Bio-media - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-23-2019, 03:36 PM Thread Starter
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I will be converting my 125-gallon reef tank into a planted tank. I will be using the sump from the current set-up (reef tank). I'm still in the planning stage and want to know what bio-media people are using in their sumps. Thank you.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-23-2019, 07:18 PM
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There's a fair amount of popularity for commercial bio-media's like ceramic rings and lava type rocks (like seachem Matrix/De*Nitrate [pumice]). Some is used incorrectly. For example plastic bio-balls were introduced for drip/trickle systems but are mistakenly used in canisters. A key is to provide significant surface area(s) for bacteria colony(ies) to develop. Then there are medias that claim to house anoxic or anaerobic bacteria to convert nitrates into nitrogen gas. These would include Biohome and MarinePure CerMedia (plates or balls). Finally Dr. Kevin Novak phD has published documentation of anoxic biocenosis baskets that claim not only to handle ammonia and nitrites, but also nitrates. It uses simple clay kitty litter and laterite (or Flourish Red) for iron.
Although I'm experimenting with anoxic biocenosis, I kinda gave up on commercial bio-medias and have found the bio-sponge material is every bit as good or better AND much more cost effective. ALL of my filters are filled with sponge material.
If your sump will have a drip system, dollar store nylon pot scrubbies are as good as bio-balls and in the sump proper CerMedia plates, lava rock or BioHome might be worth a try.
Then again, like SW, you might find deep sand with a plenum has value.
Lots of choices and nearly all will work to one degree or another.

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-23-2019, 07:44 PM
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In a fish-only tank nitrate removal would be a boon. Considering all the CaNO3 I add to planted aquariums already, I wouldn't want my sump consuming it too, just throwing that out there.

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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-23-2019, 08:57 PM
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I think of sump media as pretty much like media in any other filter and that leaves it open to being adapted to fit what is in the tank that makes one media better than another. So I think of what part of the filtering I want to bump up as the first step on what I use. Big sloppy fish may require more straight mechanical filtering and getting more flow, while other tanks may need more bio, so I adjust in that direction. With plants, it sometimes comes down to what is simple, cheap, and easy to deal with on maintenance as the plants do some of the filtering.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-23-2019, 09:35 PM
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In a moderately stocked planted tank with good plant growth the substrate and plants in the tank are the only bio filter you need.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-23-2019, 10:37 PM
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I prefer to use extra sponges or floss in leiu of bioballs and what not.
The bio media is useful I guess for instant cycling of new tanks or for unplanted tanks, but I find them to be a waste for my heavily planted aquariums.
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