I'm thinking about setting up a protein skimmer that will go into a magnum 350 then flow over some bioballs and back to the tank. I have a 75 gallon salt water tank with ten fish in it. I presently have just the 350 on the tank and dont feel the it's right. Of course my nitrate is high and I want to reduce them in some other way rather than just frequent water changes. I've been wondering if instead of the bioballs a section of substrate with live rock would be better.
the bio balls and canister filters are contributing to your nitrate issues. even using live rock rubble in low flowing areas can collect debris and detritus causing excess nutrients to build up and break down causing nitrate/phospate problems. i suggest a quality protien skimmer ( read online reviews ) a deep sand bed, enough live rock with good flow, proper feeding habits to start. adding another tank as a DIY sump with a refugium would increase your water volume and add a place for carbon/phosban reactors/heaters/skimmers to be out of the main tank. a small water change regardless if its for exporting nitrates, will be needed from time to time for trace minerals to be replenished. following this method more then likely will produce 0ppm nitrates for you at all times granted its done properly.
I agree with OF2F.
That being said, in principle your idea is an upgrade from the existing system you have in place. If you already have the necessary equipment, and if live rock is an expense you have no choice but to avoid, then modifying the existing filtration with the upgrades you describe would help.
The reason for this is simple. If you allow all water to first flow through a protein skimmer before flowing over biological media, it gives the skimmer the opportunity to remove organic wastes before these wastes are broken down into Nitrate. This is not the most ideal method, but is better than utilizing biological filtration as the only filtration component.
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