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Old 10-21-2005, 01:08 PM   #11
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i don't understand how a biowheel is going to be a nitrate factory. i mean, yeah it converts ammonia and nitrite to nitrate...but that's the point! does it somehow take away from the anaerobic capabilities of the LR? additionally, biowheels use oxygen from the air to keep the aerobic bacteria alive instead of the oxygen in your water.

15 gallon nano-reef (4 months old)
-pair of false percula clowns
-royal gramma
-convict blenny
-bubble coral
-clove polyps
-green hairy mushroom
-cleaner shrimp

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Old 10-21-2005, 02:01 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Genix
i don't understand how a bio wheel is going to be a nitrate factory.
I agree that since the bio wheel is hit with water after it has already gone through the AC or other media it shouldn’t have any “built up” waste that contributes to a NO3 spike.

The process is essentially the same for converting ammonia to nitrite to nitrate whether it's done by the bio wheel or the live rock. The difference comes after the conversion of nitrite to nitrate... The pore structure of the live rock (or the grain-size/depth of a sand bed) creates anoxic zones; not commonly associated with the bio wheel, that foster bacteria which can/will process nitrates converting them to nitrogen, which is then liberated from the tank as the bubbles you see rising from the rock/sand bed. The bio wheels are referred to as nitrate factories because their end product is just that...nitrate...and they are so efficient at it even when used in conjunction with live rock they can overwhelm the live rock's ability to convert same to nitrogen. Thus, most prefer to exclude bio wheels from reef systems...though they can be quite handy for dealing with large/fluctuating bioloads in FO/FOWLR systems that can handle a higher nitrate load.

Once I’ve had my lr in the tank for a couple of months I plan on reducing the amount of bio wheels I currently use (2 now) to 1 then none.

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Old 10-21-2005, 08:02 PM   #13
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Not really sure I agree with your statement. Most biowheels (or any HOT) fileters become nitrate factories just like most Wet / Drys. The reason is that since they are filters, they catch nitrogenous waste which is slowly released back into the water. Without them, the skimmer removes any uneaten food thereby reducing the overall nitrate level. The same thing can be accompished with any mechanical filter if the media (bioballs or polyfilter) is rinsed regularly with old SW to remove any crud.

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