Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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HardCory 08-03-2009 06:40 AM

Bioballs VS Live Rock
I was just wondering what people thinking about what's better to go in a wet/dry or something of the sort. I've hard people swear by LR and end up making a refugium out of it. But others swar by bioballs. What's your thoughts?

onefish2fish 08-03-2009 06:45 AM

never bio balls or even to much live rock.

just 1 piece of live rock should be plenty or 2 small pieces is prob. more then enough live rock for a refugium. any more can be put into the display or the slow flow of the refuge can treat a bunch of live rock just like bio balls and they become traps for debris to settle and build up nutrients like phosphate and nitrates.
just get a used fish tank and make a DIY sump.

HardCory 08-03-2009 06:58 AM

Sooo...? Since I have a wet/dry, should I leave the bioballs in or replace it with LR? In the case that I don't have/add a refugium. That's probably a better question.

onefish2fish 08-03-2009 07:07 AM

i personally would run it without bioballs or liverock then. the bio-balls will build up debris, detritus, left over food and so forth and as this decays and breaks down it turns into phosphates and nitrates. unless cleaned every other day religiously this can be an issue. canister filters, hang on filters, sponges, and even improper sand depth all has the risk of doing this which can be completely avoided.

HardCory 08-03-2009 05:35 PM

Hmmm...soooo say I DO put in a refugium? Then what? Is there a difference or are you pretty much saying wet/dry filters are garbage?

onefish2fish 08-03-2009 10:31 PM

this is my personal take on the wet/dry and even pre-made sumps, everyone has a right to their own thoughts and opinions. i feel for what they are they are to much money. these filters are excellent freshwater filters as the bio-balls provide plenty of surface area for biological bacteria to grow, not so much in a saltwater tank.
the very basics of saltwater filtration should be enough live rock and water flow, add a very good skimmer, carbon/phosban reactors, a refugium and you should have no problem reaching 0ppm nitrates.
if you can find a used tank off craigslist or if you have one laying around you can make a sump for the price of a few plexiglass sheets ( you can also use glass but its going to have to be cut exact, which glass shops usually will do for free but remember-exact. plexi cuts smooth on a reg. saw blade ) there are alot of youtube videos that show the construction of a sump or if you have questions, ask.
as for my refugium i currently have 2 small pieces of live rock for pods to hang out on, a clump of chaeto macroalgae ( which really provides plenty hang out space for the pods ) and a 6 inch sand bed. i also have a few pieces of kenya tree and xenia that when i see in the display i throw down there to prevent them from over-running my tank as they both grow fast. ive been waiting on a guy to give me other macro algaes for my refugium but havnt had a chance to meet up with him yet. my plan is to grow them for a food source as well as something to look at in the display if theres a good supply growing in the sump. all you need is the chaeto but ive been looking for some new macros for awhile now. i personally avoid any of the caulerpas. my refugium light is just a 6500k full spectrum work light that currently is on for 24 hours a day ( i just rotate the clump of algae every other day or so ) but usually is on a timer to come on alittle before my tank lights go out and turn off alittle after they come on.

HardCory 08-04-2009 07:34 AM

I'm planning on doing a refugium in the future but cash is always an issue. It's kind of neat ar the ONLY person I've ever talked to who said not to use a wet/dry. Not that I think ou're wrong or anything but I just goes to show you how many different ways there are to run a saltwater tank. :-)

onefish2fish 08-04-2009 07:50 AM

what do you mean im wrong, what if your wrong? :wink:

dont get me wrong if i was to setup another freshwater tank i would use a filter with the bioballs, actually i prob. would end up making a DIY sump even for freshwater ( using the bioballs ) just because how cheap it really is while doing the same thing.
they tend to charge a killing for a wet/dry or pre-made sump that is small and doesnt function as well as a sump that you made, to fit your needs. i think i paid like $80 for a stack of 1/2 inch acrylic off ebay ( which you wouldnt need to get it this thick ) like $5-10 for a tube of aquarium silicon and i had the 40breeder tank which made my sump for $85-90 + an hour of my time. my sump includes refugium section, skimmer section, return pump with heaters and a carbon and phosban reactor. for example, compare that to Reef Aquarium Filtration: Eshopps Wet-Dry Filters and it is $135 for the cheapest model and there is NO room what-so-ever to fit anything. i dont even think i could fit my mag return pump into that thing. they also advertise that they are so great with the bioballs for fresh or saltwater when truthfully the bio balls are only really great for a freshwater tank.

if your someone DIY certified, save your money here and put it towards a better skimmer.

HardCory 08-04-2009 08:23 AM

Hey Hey Hey! I never said you were wrong! In fact I said "Not that I think you're wrong..."! lol.

Well when it comes to the refugium I toally agree with a DIY one. The money that I don't have would go to live rock and sand. But for the record, I'd love to get rid of everything and have a nice refugium and skimmer. It would open up soo much room below my tank and make it a lot healthier.

Pasfur 08-04-2009 05:39 PM


Originally Posted by HardCory (Post 222634)
I'm planning on doing a refugium in the future but cash is always an issue. It's kind of neat ar the ONLY person I've ever talked to who said not to use a wet/dry. Not that I think ou're wrong or anything but I just goes to show you how many different ways there are to run a saltwater tank. :-)

If you haven't heard anybody tell you not to use a wet/dry, then you haven't been reading information from the large majority of successful marine aquarists. The vast majority of marine systems today utilize live rock, live sand, and a protein skimmer as the only form of filtration. You may find large scale systems which have ALL the water flow through a protein skimmer first, and then into a bioball section, but this far different from intentionally breaking down organic waste into Nitrates, which is what you are doing with a wet/dry unit.

To support my statement above, I suggest you check out any of the "Aquarium of the Month" articles, or any of the "Build" threads below:

2008 Monthly Index - Reefkeeping Magazine

You can also read Jullian Sprung's contribution to the hobby, which is widely consdiered to be the ultimate authority on marine aquarium care:
The Reef Aquarium Books | Reef Aquarium Books | Books, Media & Posters | Aquarium -

I have noticed a number of newcomers to this site over the last week or 2. The concept of wet/dry is beginning to present itself again for the first time in over a year. I highly encourage anyone using a wet/dry to continue asking questions until you are more comfortable with the live rock, live sand, and protein skimmer systems.

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