Bio balls poll

Discussion in '3reef Site Polls' started by steve wright, Mar 27, 2010.

to remove this notice and enjoy 3reef content with less ads. 3reef membership is free.

Bio balls - whats your opinion

Poll closed Apr 26, 2010.
  1. Used them and have no issues

    33 vote(s)
  2. Stayed away from them due to opinions of others

    42 vote(s)
  3. Used them, had issues, made changes

    16 vote(s)
  4. I dont care - stop bothering me with trivia

    3 vote(s)
  1. steve wright

    steve wright Super Moderator Staff Member

    Feb 17, 2009
    shenzhen Guangdong PRC
    Bio balls

    whats your opinion
    have you used them or using them and had or having success?
    have you stayed away from them due to opinions of others
    have you used them, experienced issues and removed later

    state your opinions please

    healthy debate, no arguements


    Last edited: Apr 2, 2010
    3 people like this.
  2. Click Here!

  3. tatted4ever

    tatted4ever Clown Trigger

    Mar 15, 2009
    Itasca, Il
    Ive always styed away from them since I was told they were nitrate factories because they were so efficient in breaking down waste.
    1 person likes this.
  4. CrazyA

    CrazyA Feather Duster

    Nov 28, 2009
    Redmond, Or
    i have used them in a very mildly stocked tank. Honestly never experienced any problems with them, but do not plan to use in my soon to be reef tank. I will however set up a coiled denitrator on my reef tank. I'll see how that works out for me once its set up.

    (Edit: BB were used in a fowlr set up)
  5. reefmonkey

    reefmonkey Giant Squid

    Mar 3, 2010
    SE South Dakota
    My skimmer came with them. There was maybe 20. I'd used them before in FW set ups with no problem and didn't know any different so I used them as instructed. 2 months later when I couldn't get N03 down below 20ppm I began removing them 4 every other day or so. Even though they were in the skimmer after the reaction chamber they still were full of nasty growing and dead algae and what ever else was trapped in there. My nitrates began dropping the more I removed and were down to 10ppm the week after the last had been removed.
    My opinion is that they may be good for FW and possibly FO SW setups but are just no good for reef builds and just trap junk putting excess nutrients back into the water.
  6. marlinman

    marlinman Zoanthid

    Nov 3, 2008
    Pompano Beach, Florida
    I need them for my sump/refugium to keep the bubbles in check. I tried it without them and it was a disaster with bubbles out of control. I called the manufacturer Sealife Systems and they explained it to me. Actually the bioballs are located just before the refugium which eats nitrates when available. I have of course heard that they are nitrate factories and wanted to not use them but my nitrates have been in check ranging under 15. I believe that now that it's been brought up I should probably switch them out for new ones. I had thought about rocks but it is real hard to get to the area. It's going to be an all day job getting the old ones out.:(
  7. ReefSparky

    ReefSparky Super Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 27, 2007
    South Florida
    I used them back in the day. I had issues. Maybe it was more attributable to me than to the poor, maligned little bioballs. There was a time when my maintenance practices were, let's say lacking. When I removed them, they were hardly recognizable and looked more like fur-covered ping-pong balls than their original design.

    These days, I think if they were kept clean they'd probably be fine. However, I don't know how one could keep the little buggers clean without removing all their biological goodness??

    Anyways, for me at least--never again. IMO if there's enough LR in the system, they are not needed.

    As an aside, anyone remember DLS? That was the stuff that preceeded bioballs. It was a spriral-wound mass of filter floss that had this net-like plastic matrix which the floss was sandwiched between before it was rolled up. In theory it was a great idea. The bacteria would absolutely PACK this thing! In practice, it was a nightmare. Once it got dirty, you might as well throw it out. It became so filthy, the water would run down the sides, rather than go through it! What a bad idea! It's so old, I almost couldn't find a pic on google images. I don't know what the pipe is, but this is close enough. Think of it without the pipe, and it sits in a wet/dry. In the day, it was often set underneath a spinning PVC trickle bar. Yeah--those got clogged too! :)

    We've come a long way.

    Last edited: Mar 28, 2010
    1 person likes this.
  8. Click Here!

  9. blumoon reefers

    blumoon reefers Millepora

    Jun 18, 2009
    Richmond, VA
    My LFS is a very good one and he got us set up with our first tank. We did not have a fuge, but used a wet/dry with a trickle bar and bio balls. (my lfs really believes in tried and true methods) We never had any issues, but we were compulsive about using them the way they were designed to be used. The bio balls were never completely submerged and we cleaned them regurlary.

    When we upgraded and went to a fuge, there was really no place to put the bio balls except for in between the baffles. Although the bio balls were now submerged, we were still fairly compulsive about cleaning them regularly.

    During my research, I decided to replace them with LR rubble. We never had issues with the bio balls, I just felt that the rock would be a more natural approach to filtration and because I like minimal aquascaping in my DT, I thought having more LR in the fuge would compensate.

    We replaced the bio balls over a month long time frame (taking a 1/4 out at a time and replacing with LR). I still very much believe in taking things slow and not doing anything to the tank in a hurry.

    I have never had a problem with high nitrates with or without the bio balls and we recently passed on the wet/dry to my brother to start his first tank.

    IMHO, I feel that having the bio balls were a great help until I had more of an understanding about the process of filtration and could make more educated decisions.
  10. mauritius-aqua

    mauritius-aqua Astrea Snail

    Dec 2, 2009
    I think for a FO, run on a wet/dry trickle, thy work really great!!
    I use Aqua-Medic Bio-balls!
  11. Night-Rida

    Night-Rida Finback Whale

    Jul 3, 2009
    Tampa, FL
    Ive used them for 12 years on FO saltwater tank.. only issue is I never cleaned them since about 9 months ago, so they were loaded with nitrates/crap.. but since replaced 99% of them with LR rumble.. I have a bunch available if anyone needs them.
  12. inwall75

    inwall75 Giant Squid

    Sep 10, 2003
    I've used them before on FO, FOWLR, Reefs, nanos, 3000 gallon quarantine systems, etc. They don't house a special type of bacteria. It's the same bacteria that is on your LR, glass, plumbing, etc. It's the most important bacteria there rapidly converts Ammonia to nitrites. They should be pre-filtered so they stay clean. Allowing this pre-filter to become dirty will result in nitrates as well so this should be changed/cleaned frequently.