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Old 11-25-2008, 11:57 PM   #1
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Question How much rock to maintain biofilter

Hello everyone,

Here's a shot of my current tank. It's at an angle so it's warping the real front on view, but you should get the idea:

My 55G Tank Side View - Aquarium Advice Gallery

What I would like to know is how much rock do I need to keep in my tank to maintain a steady bio filter? I would like to "simplify" my tank and make it more open because the way it is now is starting to feel a bit cramped to me. Although I do not want to go this far, something like the following seems cleaner and more simplified:

http://www.seas.upenn.edu/~pcozzi/fish/tank.jpg

I currently have 55G tank with about 45KG of live rock. I have a 1200L/hr canister filter and a HOB multi-skimmer (skimmer and filter) which is rated to do a tank of 200L sufficiently (I have my doubts about this but that's another topic).

It's worth noting that I am a bit of a lazy tank keeper recently (kids) and would like to step that up a bit but it's worth considering in order to keep my tank maintainable and safe.

I assume more rock means greater bio filtering and generally a more stable environment but I also assume there's a point of taking things too far, so I am just trying to balance this out.

To be honest I'd like to see more open sand areas too.
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Old 11-26-2008, 01:59 AM   #2
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That's a nice looking tank!
You could replace some of your rock with very porous rock. Remember, the more surface area, the more filtration. It looks like a lot of yours has relatively "small" surface area. If nothing else, you could drill a whole bunch of smaller holes for more surface area.
Do you have a sump/refuge?
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Old 11-27-2008, 12:13 AM   #3
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Well there's lots of small rocks and several large ones so I would have thought that would have a lot of surface area. Perhaps I will drill too.

Is there a guideline on how much live rock per gallon?

I do not have a refuge or sump, just the canister filter and HOB.

Also, thanks for your kind comments on my tank. I guess after a while you tend to not notice how nice your tank is. I think mine is pretty ordinary to be honest.
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Old 11-27-2008, 11:46 AM   #4
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I personally don't think you need as much rock as the " 1 pound per gallon" rule.
It's sort of overkill and alot of times it leaves hardly any swimming room.

But your tank is fine like it is , it looks awesome!
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Old 11-27-2008, 03:45 PM   #5
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Also keep in mind that some LR is lighter than other LR. I always suggest 1.5 lbs per gallon but that rule is getting outdated because of the introduction of lighter LR. If you got some lighter LR it would replace some of your rock you have now and open up some more area. You could sell your old LR back to your LFS if he`ll take it. BTW welcome back. Have not seen you for awhile.
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Old 11-27-2008, 03:49 PM   #6
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In the end it depends on your bio-load not the size of your tank. If you stock lightly, less ; if you over stock, more. You never have more bacteria than can be fed. The guideline is just that. Personally I am way under 1.5 and have been for years.

As always, IMO
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Old 11-27-2008, 03:54 PM   #7
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Good advice Captain on the bioload. That is very true.I have 200 lbs in my 125 gallon reef but the rock is not that light. As I said it really depends on the weight of the rock.
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Old 11-28-2008, 06:07 AM   #8
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Hi all,

Thanks melosu58. It's been while. I got a bit disappointed at the sale of the site and felt it went a bit off the rails at the time so I'd come back later. It seems all good now.

All I have is a pair of perc clowns, an yellow tail damsel and a scopas tang, so it's not that much. My filter also has ceramic tubes as well as this other crushed rock product which is raved as being very porous so I'd expect the filter to be able to handle the load anyways.

I really would like to open it up a bit more but I guess I can stack one side up a bit higher which would make for more open space on one side of the tank.

In actuality I'd like to get rid of the damsel and get some more community fish. Every time I try to add something smallish like a forktail blenny etc the damsel kills it. The tang really doesn't do much and is far too big to fit into the spaces the smaller fish can anyways. The damsel is surprisingly capable at moving into very small spaces.

I think I'll leave it as is. I gather the general rule which is out dated is 1-1.5 lbs per gallon, but there's too much variation to the rule for it to be regarding as sound.
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Old 11-28-2008, 08:05 AM   #9
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I believe the rule to be sound when the load is medium-high. Like with everything else, YMMV but I don't think you can go wrong with 1.5. Too much doesn't hurt anything cept the wallet. As someone else said, aesthetics plays a part as well.
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Old 11-28-2008, 08:30 AM   #10
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Yeah that`s the problem with damsel that they do get kind of aggressive. Do you know what type of LR you have? What location it came from? And captain you said, "Too much doesn't hurt anything cept the wallet" Well I have 200 lbs of LR at 8.99 a lb so you can see my wallet was mortally wounded. LOL
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