Discussion in 'Tank Talk' started by oscar, Nov 28, 2004.
what is your opinion?
wouldn't touch them......just nasty!, I'd rather use crushed marine shells as a bacterial substrate
yeh i got that going too
I just don't think bio balls do a good enough job.
I visited a marine farm in the Hawkes Bay (North Island ) a while back (OK 3 or 4 years ago!) and they had a filtration tower filled with them. You could SMELL it about a Km away (fortunately no neighbours :D ) They were farming Seahorses, Packhorse Crayfish and Kingfish. The Crays and the Kingies were doing OK but the Horses kept coming down with bubble disease. From the smell their nitrates etc were WAY off. (& no they didn't test it!).
It's under new management now (funnily enough the previous owners ran out of money!!) I have a friend who works there and he tells me they've got rid of the bio balls and the animals are doing much better. In fact I've seen captive bred Horses from that farm for sale in aquarium stores.
other side of the coin
I think they are great. I have used them for years and still do.
If not set up right or properly maintained then they can we a waste of space.
They have a huge surface area for colonies of aerobic bacteria to set up shop but it realy is all in the way the water is passed over the balls.
If care is not spent on ensuring that the water passing over the balls is well filtered mechanically then they will soon get clogged and get smelly. So always use a really good pre filter or micron bag. I use the latter.
Also you must ensure an even covering of water flows over them, I always use rotating spray bars.
This bioball tower is about five feet tall and has a rotating bar. Also Around the inside of the tower are shelves to stop the water running right down the tower, it pushes the water back onto the balls.
How often do you clean and maintenance that???
never, its all automatic :)
the skimmer has autowashers and its own drain and bioballs have a fine micron bag to stop any waste getting through so it kinda takes care of itself, thats three years now
brilliant!!! ya cant argue with that mate!!!
Maybe you can clarify somethin here for me......
an octo produces loads of waste.. what is this waste??? messy eaters (left over food) and poo (but you can pick most of the messy food up hopefully) and their poo (but people say this you cant see, its a bit crystally lookin (is this some kinda chemical??) it doesnt sound threatenin
Are we sayin they are large producers of phosphates or what??
Cheers just makin sure im combating the right thing :)
You can see ours! Its like a long sticky streamer kinda pinkish in colour and it sticks to EVERYTHING!
Sounds like cotton candy. Without the sweet tasting bit, of course...
now you've put me off cotton candy for life
Sorry...NO idea why I was laughing..
so what ja reckon??? Are we sayin they are large producers of phosphates or what??
Yup and nitrates too!
Jean, I have a question about this. I don't have bioballs in my system, but I would like to clear this up because it demonstrates that my understanding of the nitrogen cycle isn't entirely correct.
Shouldn't the amount of nitrate generated be proportional to the amount of nitrogen waste excreted/decayed into the tank? If I had two identical tanks, one with bioballs and the other without, shouldn't the number of moles of nitrate created in a day be limited by the number of moles of nitrite created (limited, in turn, by the number of moles of ammonia?)
My conceptual model of the system is apparently lacking. The only explanation I can think of is that the bioballs encourage a growth of the nitrogen-consuming bacteria that is larger than the amount of nutrients available, thus continually blooming and dying and decomposing to end up with more nitrates.
your understanding of the Nitrite/nitrate system is fine....the main problem I have with bio balls is that the beggers, if not set up correctly, get incredibly dirty and start producing nitrates themselves (and hydrogen sulphide ) Colin in an earlier post in this thread discussed how he sets them up......which is terrific if you have the knowledge, time and money to devote to this kind of set up! I reckon if you got a simple system that works....use it!
Even our system at the lab and aquarium is pretty simple (of course it is helped by the fact it is a flow through system that only uses fresh sea water!) We use sand filters only!!!! It works a treat, so long as the tanks are kept as clean as possible.......which is why we don't open to the public until 12 noon.....we're tank cleaning in the morning (as a small aquarium we don't have a separate husbandry team....so the 1 or 2 staff on duty do husbandry, guiding and front of house!!!!)
Im trying to sort out my tank and have come to the bioball = nitrate problem, at least on the NZ reefkeeping site, so I have questions about this also.
I cant afford the live rock method of bio filtration, or seeding base rock either,
so that leaves me with wet/dry. So is this an acceptable method for bio filtration?(i will have a deep sand bed aswell) Also I found out that nylon pot scrubbers have more surface area, and will probably use these.
I have a cannister filter already, and was thinking of using this for prefiltration before the W/D containing the pot scrubbers.
Jean would this prevent nitrates from being produced rather than removed?
With a wet/dry system can nitrates be totally removed?
The plastic kitchen scrubbies that you're talking about are great for filtration. I don't know if they will stack up to a tank with a ceph in it, but I use them at home in my pond filters (on recommendation from a koi enthusiast) and they do the job well. Also they are cheap, you can go to a dollar store and usually get atleast 6 for a buck. Of course this is all in Canada and I don't know where you are. Also, I've been told to actually cut the one end of the scrubbies where it is held together, and then you can simply unroll it like a sock. Increases surface area or prevents clogging better, something like that. Good luck!
Should be OK, but will need to occasionally clean the pot scrubs. 1 point tho' make sure you don't buy the sort which contain detergent
Also you probably don't want the sand bed too deep, most of these midget species will burrow! and that will disturb the nitrifying bacteria so they won't be as efficient. I'd go for no more than 2-3cm deep and not too fine, we use a rather gritty sand which isn't fine sand but isn't gravel either!
You'll need to mesh over the inflow and outflows of your canister too. These wee guys can get thro' the smallest space and against the flow....we had one that vanished from our teaching Lab, we spent AGES looking for it but couldn't find it, eventually we assumed another staff member had released it and forgotton to log the release. Two weeks later it turned up in an experimental set up in the wet lab (same one, it had a peculiar pattern of scarring on the 1st right arm!) it had crawled through the inflow along many metres of piping and was caught by a Masters student emerging from the inflow of his tank!!!
As far as live rock is concerned you could go to the shore and collect some of your own! Just make sure that you're not near sewerage/stormwater run off (there's some good spots around Akaroa on Banks Peninsula!) and don't take HUGE quanities even two or three smallish ones will help with your canister and provide some hidey holes for your octi, You can either bring them back ina 20L bucket with some seawater or wrap them in new muttoncloth which has been soaked in seawater and put them in a poly bin (should be able to buy these at a plastics shop or sports/fishing shop) or a chilly bin.
Thanks for the info :). I have to figure out if I still want a sump, it would make a great place for a refugium for live food ect, but incorporating the cannister into the sump design is a bit confusing, made more confusing because my cannister filter is huge (eheim 2028 equivilant) and I'm not sure if a sump is necessary.
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