07-16-2010, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Pasfur
I am very sorry that you have reached this point in your setup. It is an extreme misfortune that you were not told prior to now that bioballs are a 1980's method of filtration. I do not understand how this is possible, and I sincerely hope it was not this forum that suggested you use biomedia.
I am going to assume that you have a deep understanding of aquarium chemistry in the following explanation. If you need more details, just ask.
Biomedia causes Nitrate buildup. Nitrates are detrimental in a marine aquarium. They need to be kept under 20ppm for most systems, and the closer to zero the better.
What you should strive for is a complete removal of organics from the system. This is achieved with protein skimming. The live rock is an extremely effective biofilter, in that it breaks down organic waste completely, into Nitrogen Gas, which leaves the system naturally and is non toxic.
Additionally, a deep sand bed of 3'' minimum, preferably 4'', is very effective at removing any additional Nitrates which remain in the system.
The basic concept of marine aquarium filtration is missing from your aquarium. You are intentionally causing Nitrates to climb, which can only be removed by very large water changes.
Your future success can be achieved simply by removing the bioballs and purchasing an adequate skimmer. When i have more time tomorrow i will post a few skimmer options for you. It should not be an expensive process.
I agree with everything said here except that if you are planning to keep FOWLR and want to "pack" fish in, then the bioballs are ok along with scheduled water changes because nitrate doesn't really bother fish that much, however if you plan on keeping corals you might want to get rid of the bioballs