Bio ... balls?
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Bio ... balls?

This is a discussion on Bio ... balls? within the Freshwater Aquarium Equipment forums, part of the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium category; --> I have a BioWheel filter and everybody says they're great. So I asked the local store what they use and they said "bioball filters". ...

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Old 03-12-2007, 02:13 PM   #1
 
Bio ... balls?

I have a BioWheel filter and everybody says they're great. So I asked the local store what they use and they said "bioball filters". I think I saw one, a plastic box on the side full of spiky rubber balls. These don't seem to be the same concept as BioWheel filters.

Can someone elaborate?
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Old 03-12-2007, 02:26 PM   #2
 
Re: Bio ... balls?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terrainosaur
I have a BioWheel filter and everybody says they're great. So I asked the local store what they use and they said "bioball filters". I think I saw one, a plastic box on the side full of spiky rubber balls. These don't seem to be the same concept as BioWheel filters.

Can someone elaborate?
Same concept of biological filtration. Just a different implementation of it. The balls are able to hold more beneficial bacteria to convert nitrite to nitrate than the wheel would be. But they do the same filtration function.
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Old 03-12-2007, 05:27 PM   #3
 
My LFS sells them for $1 each. They're plastic and increase the surface area for your good bacteria to stick to. The LFS said they use them because it increases the bioload they can have in their tanks, and they're waaaay overstocked. You can buy them online in bulk for what ends up beings lots cheaper. 1000 balls that are 1 1/2 inches in size increases the surface area by 95 square feet, according to one website I considered buying from.
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Old 03-12-2007, 05:34 PM   #4
 
My impression of the BioWheel is the filter comes with nitrogenizing bacteria inside it. Plus it rotates through the air, picking up oxygen. Aren't the balls just underwater?

Though now I understand why stores use them. Increased bioload capacity is good.
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Old 03-12-2007, 05:39 PM   #5
 
They float and bob around a bit with the water flow so they do kind of have the same wet/dry as the biowheel. I don't believe biowheels come impregnanted with bacteria, can't keep it alive dry, but they colonize with bacteria as you cycle your tank.

I've also seen the bioballs inside of canister type filters.
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Old 03-12-2007, 05:43 PM   #6
 
yeah they dont come with bacteria, its just a house for the bacteria. They will need to grow there. Bio-ball filters (also known as wet/dry trickle filters) have half the balls underwater and the other half constantly sprayed with trickles of water which keeps them moist but not completely submerged. That is why they are similar to bio-wheels.

Bio balls is called wet/dry
Bio wheels is called compact wet dry

bio-balls are used in heavily stocked large show tanks, bio-wheels are used in moderatly stocked home tanks.
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Old 03-12-2007, 06:23 PM   #7
 
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The bioballs serve the same purpose as any other biological media. You can put then in HOB filter, biowheel filters, trickle filters, canisters and sumps and they all do the same thing. Provide surface area for more bacteria to grow. The only problem is if your bioload doesn't warrent the use of them they will hold bacteria that would otherwise be on the substrate and other places when it can be more beneficial. This is where you can actually overfilter and find a huge ammonia spike if the filter ever stops running for any period of time.

The show tanks run them because usually they bioballs are already seeded and they can simply move the filter to a show tank that has been arranged for a show. There is normally aton of plants and a mass of fish put in them for show and the filter has to be able to handle the bioload until the setup is torn down and the fish and plants are moved to their storage tanks.

They have their uses and a lot of people use them in bare bottom tanks because there is very little surface area for bacteria to grow on.
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Old 03-14-2007, 10:24 AM   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trishfish
My LFS sells them for $1 each. They're plastic and increase the surface area for your good bacteria to stick to. The LFS said they use them because it increases the bioload they can have in their tanks, and they're waaaay overstocked. You can buy them online in bulk for what ends up beings lots cheaper. 1000 balls that are 1 1/2 inches in size increases the surface area by 95 square feet, according to one website I considered buying from.
I thought originally my LFS was waaay overstocked until one of the guys there explained that even though the tanks are 10-20 gallons each and have many fish in them, the bio-load isn't what it appears to be because they are all connected to one huge filtration system, so he said to think of the tanks more like one huge divided tank. That made more sense to me. Maybe that is what your LFS has.
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Old 03-14-2007, 10:29 AM   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fish_4_all
The only problem is if your bioload doesn't warrent the use of them they will hold bacteria that would otherwise be on the substrate and other places when it can be more beneficial. This is where you can actually overfilter and find a huge ammonia spike if the filter ever stops running for any period of time.

They have their uses and a lot of people use them in bare bottom tanks because there is very little surface area for bacteria to grow on.
So here is a question: How do you know if your tank warrants extra filtration? Just trial and error? I know my larger tank is stocked to the max, but I have a bio-wheel and water parameters are always perfect. Does that mean a bio-ball would over filter? Just for the record I do NOT plan on adding anything else to my tank, and I do NOT plan on getting a bio-ball.
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Old 03-14-2007, 05:03 PM   #10
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andyandsue
Quote:
Originally Posted by fish_4_all
The only problem is if your bioload doesn't warrent the use of them they will hold bacteria that would otherwise be on the substrate and other places when it can be more beneficial. This is where you can actually overfilter and find a huge ammonia spike if the filter ever stops running for any period of time.

They have their uses and a lot of people use them in bare bottom tanks because there is very little surface area for bacteria to grow on.
So here is a question: How do you know if your tank warrants extra filtration? Just trial and error? I know my larger tank is stocked to the max, but I have a bio-wheel and water parameters are always perfect. Does that mean a bio-ball would over filter? Just for the record I do NOT plan on adding anything else to my tank, and I do NOT plan on getting a bio-ball.
If your water parameters are perfect with the bio-wheel don't mess with it. The bacteria amount would correspond to the amount of nitrite. If your nitrates are always good then what you have now is doing a good job of biological filtration.
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