Should I use a BIO Filter with my small reef and fish tank?

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Aquarium Advice Newbie
May 22, 2006
I have a 29 gallon reef and fish tank. I have 25 lb. of live rock, a small Yellow Tang, a clownfish, a janitorial crew, assorted polyps, mushrooms and a rock anenome. I have read that a BIO filter actually raises the nitrate level...does anyone know if that is true?
Welcome to AA :)

I hope you are aware your Yellow Tang will out grow your 29 gal within a couple of years and they should be housed in a 55+ gal tank.

Bio-Wheels do just what they are designed to do and that is to create bacteria to partially complete the nitrogen cycle just as any wet/dry filter would. Bacteria is created whether you use fresh, brackish, or saltwater and the amount of bacteria is in direct proportion to the bio-load in the tank.

The key word is that it “partially” completes the cycle and does a great job in converting nh3 to no3 but because it’s such an oxygen rich environment there isn’t any oxygen deprived bacteria like the kind found in your ls/lr that completes the nitrogen cycle for no3 to nitrogen.

The bio-wheel won’t add to your no3 any more then any other media but often trapped waste within your HOB or canister does.

I’d remove any media in the HOB or canister and run it only for circulation IMO. Even then frequent cleaning is necessary to prevent waste from building up.

You have enough lr currently for bio filtration in that you could do away with your bio-wheel completely. Another 10+lbs of lr couldn’t hurt though.
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