Tropical Fish Keeping banner
1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
162 Posts
Terrainosaur said:
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
288 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
Discussion Starter · #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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
288 Posts
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.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,012 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,866 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
490 Posts
Trishfish said:
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
490 Posts
fish_4_all said:
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
162 Posts
Andyandsue said:
fish_4_all said:
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,866 Posts
If you never have a problem with ammonia then you have enough filtration. A few bioballs never hurt or any other media that has a large amount of surface area. I have been looking at getting Bio Chem Stars for my AC 20 HOB filters just because I want something that will hold the bacteria so I can replace the sponges when I want to.

As for your LFS, overcrowding is overcrowding wether it is because of the bioload or the simple fact that the fish can't swim freely because there is 50 swords in a 10 gallon tank. For instance, even if the filtration system is for 500 gallons, there is no way that is is keeping up with 500 gallon of water stocked to a 1,000 gallon capacity. The stress of the fish being croiwded is enough to cause deaths. Now I have seen LFS that take better care of their fish than some of the best fish keepers I have ever seen so they may be one of them but overcrowding can be as stressful to fish as ammonia in tiny amounts. The only good thing is overcrowding is remedied when we bring them home and provide them with a proper home. It would be like me saying "Well I have a filter that will hanlde 50 gallons on my 10 gallon tanks so I can put 50 inches of in there", it just doesn't work that way.

It never hurts to have a permenant surface other than the substrate to hold you biological bacteria. Like I said, if I could find the BioChem Stars locally I would already have them but I haven't gotten the fund to make a large enough order to make it worth the cost so I don't have them yet. Your tank wound not be hurt by putting a few bioballs in the filter. Just make sure that if you are overfiltering that not one source is responsible for all of the biological filtration and your tanks should always be as safe As we can make them short of having battery backups and all the other things that can be added that may never be needed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
490 Posts
fish_4_all said:
As for your LFS, overcrowding is overcrowding wether it is because of the bioload or the simple fact that the fish can't swim freely because there is 50 swords in a 10 gallon tank. For instance, even if the filtration system is for 500 gallons, there is no way that is is keeping up with 500 gallon of water stocked to a 1,000 gallon capacity. The stress of the fish being croiwded is enough to cause deaths. Now I have seen LFS that take better care of their fish than some of the best fish keepers I have ever seen so they may be one of them but overcrowding can be as stressful to fish as ammonia in tiny amounts. The only good thing is overcrowding is remedied when we bring them home and provide them with a proper home. It would be like me saying "Well I have a filter that will hanlde 50 gallons on my 10 gallon tanks so I can put 50 inches of in there", it just doesn't work that way.
Maybe, but I wouldn't call 30 danios in a 20 gallon severe overcrowding, not when filtration is adequate and they have a high turn-around, you figure if they sell a few a day, after a just a few days the tank is "understocked".

I brought this up because I, just in conversation with my LFS, mentioned the number of fish in their tanks and how do they make it work- not realizing how their filtration was set up. They do not use bio-balls by the way. I've gotten all my fish there-not one disease, not one death, so even though I've never counted the number of fish in the tank... You get what I'm saying.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,866 Posts
Souds like the LFS knows their business, good for them.

I do have one comment about the biowheel. I don't know much more than I have heard they will fail sometimes. If this happens and you have no other biological media then you can have a serious problem. In most filters this isn't a problem because the mechanical media acts as a backup to the biowheel.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,012 Posts
fish_4_all said:
Souds like the LFS knows their business, good for them.

I do have one comment about the biowheel. I don't know much more than I have heard they will fail sometimes. If this happens and you have no other biological media then you can have a serious problem. In most filters this isn't a problem because the mechanical media acts as a backup to the biowheel.
marineland bio-wheels come with a filter pad insert that has a lot of surface area (filter floss) so if the wheel does fail then this sort of backs it up. but yes there are chances the wheel will stop turning, that is why the emperor model is better than the penguins since the emperors use a different way to spin the wheel which is more effective and has a smaller chance of stopping than the penguins. But the emperors are more expensive.....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
490 Posts
fish_4_all said:
Souds like the LFS knows their business, good for them.

I do have one comment about the biowheel. I don't know much more than I have heard they will fail sometimes. If this happens and you have no other biological media then you can have a serious problem. In most filters this isn't a problem because the mechanical media acts as a backup to the biowheel.
I have a Marineland and it does fail, and quite often. Luckily I can tell when it starts getting sluggish by the sounds it makes. I have to completely clean the filter housing and especially the biowheel holder (for lack of a better term, and yes, I know not to clean the biowheel itself) two and sometimes three times a week for it to keep rolling properly. Before I knew what was up with it, it had almost completely stopped moving and I got a ton of algae.

My other tank, which is a much smaller bio-wheel never gives me an issue at all.

Musho is right though. It passes through floss (with charcoal in the pre-packaged filter packs, but I don't use their replacements anymore) and then into the biowheel, so it will technically be filtered but the good bacteria will not be as prevalent.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Just wanted to clear some things up about proper use of different types of filters and media. First, to properly use bioballs, you need a sump of some sort and a chamber for the bioballs which is NOT UNDERWATER, some tanks have these built into the back, but if you just have a plain rectangular 10 to 30 gallon tank, you don't really want to use bioballs, just get a biowheel or simple sponge filter, or make your own air-driven sponge filter out of some foam, pvc, airline tubing, and air pump. Bioballs are meant for wet/dry trickle filters where bacteria can grow aerobically which allows a greater rate of biological filtration than bacteria that are always submerged in the water, so if your bioballs are under water, or floating in the water, they're really not any more effective at growing bacteria than your gravel. Many lfs do use bioballs, but you won't see them because they'll have a huge sump and bioball chamber hidden from view. If you have a biowheel, don't worry about the bioballs, the wheel that comes out of the water and into the air has pretty much the same concept as a trickle filter, exposing the bacteria to an aerobic environment. Also, when you buy bioballs, they do not come with bacteria already on them unless you get them from someones actively running bioball chamber. The same goes for biowheels, filter sponges, and any other filtering media.
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top