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Old 07-26-2015, 01:30 AM   #1
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FO And bioballs

Hi everyone im just curious if anyone has successfully run a aquarium with just bio ball and a protein skimmer with NO live rock i have always used live rock in all my tanks for biological filtration iv read that bioballs do "work" with proper mechanical filtration (prefilter,sponge , floss).


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Old 07-26-2015, 10:35 AM   #2
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I ran one many years ago (20+ years back) with minimal rock and no skimmer. It ran fine, just had to keep up on water changes.

The issue in my mind is possible stress due to the lack of hiding places for fish that like places to dart into and/or lack of grazing.

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Old 07-26-2015, 10:48 AM   #3
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once you realize that all "live rock" provides in terms of filtration is surface area for bacteria colonies to grow, and the more porous it is the better because that equals more surface area, the rest is easy.
In reality of all the options available, I always thought bio-balls were rather lame. They offer lots of external surface area, but none internally and what external surface area they offer pales in comparison to the area offered by other media types.

I have grown to prefer Seachems Matrix because it affords lots of surface area externally as well as internally. It is essentially pumice pebbles.
There are lots of different similar materiel's available made from clay/ceramic that also offer lots of external as well as internal surface area.
Even a simple sponge filter offers more surface area than bio-balls.
why they continue to be used I can only figure is due to ease of access and ease of use, but beyond that there are much, much better options available.

So the point of this is that if you go this route, you will have much better success and stability if you choose a different bio-media instead of bio-balls.
You want something that provides lots of internal surface area for de-nitrifying bacteria, which plastic bio-balls do not.
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Old 07-28-2015, 11:55 AM   #4
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With biological filtration with any media there are pros and cons to all.
Liverock can carry creatures into the water, bioballs offer less space for bacteria, and the different stone or glass media can easily get clogged with slime that inhibit the colonization of bacteria within.

With any of the artificial media the greater efficiency of the product the more cleaning of said media your going to be doing as well.

That said yes I have seen saltwater systems run off a bio ball run sump with filter socks and no refugium. I can say that this system the owner did more water changes then I do on any of my freshwater systems or my single salt water nano tank.

I do use bio balls in my pond filter. About once a month during the summer I clean the bio balls. This is a ~1000 gallon system with high plant growth that I very rarely have to do WC changes on. This would probably be much more work on a salt water system with balance of minerals needed to keep the system running and keeping the ph balanced and salinity constant.

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balls, bio

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