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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I'm not that familiar with the use of bioballs or similar bacterial substrates.

I've got a 29 gallon 'fuge, which is mostly dedicated to growing hornwart to stave off nitrate, on my 135 main tank, and the design would allow for about 5 gallons of bioballs. However, the current design would have the water flowing through, instead of dripping over. Would that be effective? As effective?

Also, would I see much help from 5 gallons of bacterial substrate material?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

djzman
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
BillD ... thanks for the link ...

I've used scrubbies in my pond filter with success. I'll probably go in that direction ...

The original question is still there ... will 5 gallons of scrubbies/bio-substrate make a difference? I'm currently running an FX-5 which seems to be a nitrate factory ... I love that filter.

I may have missed it, but didn't see specific discussion of media versus submerged/dripped-upon.

djzman
 

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It won't hurt, but as said before, there are other media with more surface area, like Matrix products by Seachem. I use bath scrunchies, opened up. Lots of area there. I also have about 10 gallons of bio-balls. Mine are half and half, submerged and drip-style.

They work good submerged: allow lots of flow, and if put in some mesh bags, are portable from tank to tank.

What media is in your Fx5, and what's your cleaning schedule with it? If it has become a nitraTE FACTORY, perhaps mechanical filtration should be your point of focus. I did this and found my nitrates were a thing of the past. Control the debris, more so REMOVE the debris, and nitrate fears are greatly reduced. An old HOB filter w/floss changed twice a week will improve things.

Back to your specific question, yes, they work either way. Ask your local restaurant that serves crablegs if they have any mesh bags you could have. They need a good shaking out/rinsing every other month.

Hope some of this is useful, Danny.
 

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I may have missed it, but didn't see specific discussion of media versus submerged/dripped-upon.
When submerged the bacteria can utilize all of the surface area, but there is less oxygen available to them, so there's a tradeoff. The idea behind trickle filters is that you have a very thin layer of water on the media, so it's very well oxygenated, better for the bacteria and more effective. But, depending on the design of the trickle flow and the media, all of the surface are may not be used. It has to be designed well.

Just about any media will work great. Saying one is 'better' than another begs the question 'how'? Ammonia 0 and nitrite 0 is about as good as it gets. You can't improve on that. I currently use bioballs in all my wet/dry systems (5) with great results. Just throw something in there with some surface area and it'll work great. I recommend going with it above surface, but you have to design it well. Using 'scrubbies' above the surface can be ineffective if the water flows right through while only touching a small % of the surface areas. Use lots of holes in your drip tray and pack the scrubbies in tight if you want the water to hit a high percentage of the surface area. Having said that, they'll work fine under the water and the system will be easier to design and put together.

The FX5 is a nitrate factory only becauase it's not being opened up and cleaned often enough. All of the organics within are fueling this.
 

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Any good filter is a nitrate factory. As mentioned, the way to reduce nitrates is to remove the solid materials before they can break down. This can be accomplished by more frequent filter cleaning. One must keep in mind that anything in the filter must be considered still in the tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
You guys rock ... thanks for all of the helpful information.

I may just do all/most of the above.

Additional mechanical filtration; I have several filters in my junk box. (I do have another Fluval smaller unused canister, have to balance with ease of cleaning.)
Clean the FX-5 more often ... will do.
Scrubbies in the 'fuge ... can't hurt, especially with the additional mechanical filtration

I'll report back after a couple of months on the stability of the nitrate levels.

djzman

BTW, iwade4fish, I was in Melbourne last week for one day ...
 

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****, would have been nice to meet another fish geek, showed off my tanks and whatnot. Another time, maybe?!?!!?
Small world, were you in town for business??
Let me know next time, my restaurant is a good place for good eats!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
... might be returning in the not so distant future ...
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hi all ...

I have finally gotten my refugium back up and running ...

You can see it at www.danielsworlds.com in the Aquarium, DIY section. I moved it to an adjacent room and made a few improvements from the prototype. I'm really happy with how it's running. Working on writing up some notes on my website.

So, the hornwart is back in business too doing it's job. I'm going to add some Pothos to the main tank for additional nitrate control and aesthetics.

Back to the topic at hand ... now that I have the platform, I'm going to add some additional biological filtration in the form of strubbies. I did notice that in the reimplementation of the filter, that the water pouring in from the main tank make tons of bubbles in the chamber where the additional bio filtration would be ... I'm considering that a bonus.

Progress, progress ....

Daniel
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hey all,

I am finally getting around to implementing the additional media. I had another idea and wanted to put it to the forum. Would a large bubble producing airstone or air ribbon positioned below the additional media add oxygen and enable it to work more effectively?

The space where I would be putting the additional meda is about 6 (w) x 12 (l) x 16 (d) inches. So the bubbles would have a fair amount of water to travel through.

Obviously I could just buy another canister filter or something, but I don't mind experimenting with stuff from the junkbox.

Thoughts?
 

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Would a large bubble producing airstone or air ribbon positioned below the additional media add oxygen and enable it to work more effectively?
Maybe in theory, but I don't thing you'll see a practical difference. Again, ammonia and nitrite at 0 is about as good as it gets. If you need this air to keep those levels at 0, I'd resolve the problem in a different manner.

I've toyed around with these types of ideas myself, but never implemented them because I never found the need. I use bioballs in a chamber above the water line in 5 different systems and never worry about biocapacity. I do design my systems, if possible, to cascade a thin layer of water over some surface both before heading into the biochamber and then before heading to the return pump. There's also a lot of splashing that goes on where the water exits the drain and hits the drip tray. I think you'll get more oxygen into the water that way then you will by bubbling. It's a one time, no maintenance method also as opposed to running air.

I actually used an air pump to pump air into my first wet/dry biochamber. Ignored it until long after the air pump went dead. Removed the air pump, and it made no noticeable difference. Tank is well stocked and toxins are unmeasurable.

Raising your biomedia above the water line and trickling will increase the efficiency quite a bit, but again, do you really need this?

For arguments sake, I think the most efficient system would take the water and convert it into a fine mist that trickled down over the biomedia and covered 100% of the surface area in the process. Add to that the pumping of pure oxygen into the media chamber. Maybe put it into a compression chamber so you could super saturate the water with oxygen. I'd also add a micron pre-filter to keep out all organic solids, but be ready to change it daily. Not suggesting anyone do this, but just saying for argument's sake. If I had nothing but time and money, I could see designing this for fun just to see what it could do even though it has no practical value really. Not to a home hobbyist.

Another option is designing a fluidized bed filter if you just want super biocapacity.
 
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