bio balls or not

Discussion in 'Octopus Care' started by jblystone, Feb 13, 2010.

  1. jblystone

    jblystone O. bimaculoides Registered

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    well tank is up and running 55g skimmer sump and bio balls plus live sand and 50 to 60lb of live rock still cycleing but ran into a problem some people saying ditch the bio balls so i thought i would ask the many around this site that has help me in my new adventure thanks 4 all the advise
     
  2. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    I personally don't like that kind of media and think it is a nitrate factory but there are many that use them.
     
  3. bluespotocto

    bluespotocto Haliphron Atlanticus Registered

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    I use them in my 2 octo tanks and my nitrates hover around 20ppm. I dont know salt water that much though so listen to the pros!
     
  4. Almondsaz

    Almondsaz Wonderpus Registered

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    I agree with D, I have never had them in my years of reefing as they are a great source for generating nitrates. Just like a filter sock..... It defeats the purpose of having the live rock to provide the natural biofilter. Why do you think you need the bioballs anyway? That said, there are a lot of people who swear by them and say that if you remember to clean them when you do your water change they are fine. I don't want to have to remove x number of bioballs and clean them with each water change. Just my two cents (sorry, probably a nickel).
     
  5. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    LOL, I DO use a filter sock containing charcoal where the overflow enters the sump to remove particulates, color and odor. I clean both weekly (I swap them for a clean sock and rinsed charcoal) and replace the charcoal every couple of months.
     
  6. Almondsaz

    Almondsaz Wonderpus Registered

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    I haven't used a filter sock because it is in a hard to reach space the way my sump is built. So I couldn't do the maintenance as you are doing it to avoid the nitrates. I use a separate charcoal filter.
     
  7. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    I have switched three of the octo tanks and my reef to the sock method and am pleased with it. Recently, I upgraded all of them to the 8" socks where I had 4" ones and now they don't overflow during the week between cleanings. Socks definitely have to be cleaned on a regular basis and the smaller 4" size don't really last a full week for even a 35 gallon tank. By keeping three sets, I can have one soaking, one ready to go and one in the tank. Still a lot of work but much better than when I only had one set.

    I have one sump that is very difficult to get to. I found that I could make a hook from PVC pipe and elbows and hang the unit on the edge of the tank and reach my overflow tubing. As long as I don't gain weight, I can manage the filter change.
     
  8. Joe-Ceph

    Joe-Ceph Haliphron Atlanticus Supporter

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    The downsides of using a wet/dry filter, with bio balls, on my 60 gallon bimac tank are:
    1) The wet/dry filter must have a pre-filter (floss, or a sock) to catch particles. I have to replace that filter every few days, to keep the trapped junk from decomposing. The extra maintenance is a pain, plus it means I need to turn off my return pump to feed plankton to my tank. Those who are using live rock with a filter sock have the same problem, so maybe this is a tie.
    2) I need to rinse trapped detritus off of my bio balls every six months or so. If I let it build up, it would decompose and be a problem. It's only twice a year, so I put up with it.
    3) The wet/dry filter takes up space, which might be a problem for some.
    4) Unlike live rock, the wet/dry filter does nothing to reduce nitrate, so I need to have another nitrate export system. I have a 4-5 inch deep sand bed in the display tank, which works well at a medium to low bio load, but not so well when the tank is as full of animals as I like. Also, when the octopus digs, it kills a lot of the anaerobic bacteria, and reduces the effectiveness of the DSB. I think the best solution will be to have a Remote Deep Sand Bed (RDSB), but that also takes up a lot of space.

    I put up with these issues because I didn't want to pay for live rock, and because live rock would look wrong in my southern California bimac biotope (local rocks are not porous and provide no filtration)

    My nitrates are currently being kept down well by my DSB, and when I install a RDSB, I expect that I'll have no problem at all with nitrate, even if I increase my bio load.

    I think that if you have the space under the tank for a wet/dry filter, and a RDSB, and you are willing to use a filter sock (before the wet/dry) and to rinse the bioballs (in tank water) every six months, that you will have no problem with nitrate.
     
  9. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    I have a remote almost DSB (slightly under 6") for my reef. It took atleast two years to finally start seeing some results and would consider do something like it again but with a separate tank. The sand takes up a lot of room in the tiny sump and I was considering trying to remove it about the time I finally started to see it working. If I do consider a remote DSB, it won't be for the main sump but as a third tank that would feed to and from the sump. I like having 35 gallons of easy access space just for filtration, acclimation and other sundry oddities (like breeder nets that don't clog or non-illness related quarantine) without having to worry about it collecting slimy junk or worrying about adding or reducing flow if I need it for some temporary experiment.
     
  10. bluespotocto

    bluespotocto Haliphron Atlanticus Registered

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    Is it legal to collect rocks and put them in our tanks from california?
     
  11. jblystone

    jblystone O. bimaculoides Registered

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    just wanted to thank everyone 4 the advise i just was thinking that the more filtration the better that is why i did the sump with bio balls and dsb plus live rock
     
  12. bluespotocto

    bluespotocto Haliphron Atlanticus Registered

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    thats what i have on both of my tanks and they run really nicely chemical wise.
     
  13. Joe-Ceph

    Joe-Ceph Haliphron Atlanticus Supporter

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    No. You can take 15 pounds of rocks per person per day from california state beaches. You may not take "liverock", but if there is nothing living on it, no problem. As always, try to find the actual statute, and carry a copy with you, because some park rangers don't know the law.

    I havn't found the actual statute, but here is a link to a Ca State Park web site that confirms what I'm saying.
     

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