Bio Balls vs DSB

Discussion in 'Beginner Discussions' started by Brucemg, 18 Jan 2008.

  1. Brucemg

    Brucemg

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    Hi

    Please help, I need to know what is better Bio Balls or DSB? As im getting quotes for my tank, and LFS tells me Bio. Is there a huge difference between the two and if so what are the pros and cons.
    What is preferred by the experienced reefers.
    And how can I post pics?
     
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  3. calvin

    calvin

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    bio balls have no place in a marine system they collect detritus and cause nitrate and amonia spikes often leading to complete tank crashes
     
  4. calvin

    calvin

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    go for a 12cm deep sand bed with sugar fine aragonite
    make sure there is plenty flow over its surface
     
  5. nakoma

    nakoma

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    bio balls are great for a few months they they are usless dsb lasts forever i used bio filters and bio filter media for a long time and it makes poison in the tank rather than do any good and it is unhealthy
     
  6. Kanga

    Kanga Retired Moderator MASA Contributor

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  7. nakoma

    nakoma

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    totaly agree
     
  8. Muz

    Muz

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    Well, I am no expert but I can tell you that there are no long term benefits to Bio balls that Live Rock cannot achieve in your system, I suggest a few good kilos of lR over Bio Balls as Bio balls tend to really trap detris and raise nitrite levels if they are not maintained on a very regular basis, the DSB methodologies can become complex as it depends on what you are trying to achieve but in my book are miles ahead of Bio balls as DSB's are a natural source of bio-minerals that support life and buffering capabilities, if kept in a refugium they constantly can supply live food and helps water quality with nitrate reduction..

    There are many factors to tank into account which I cannot go into detail here, I do suggest a lot of coffee and google but look into for starters .

    Depth of sand bed
    Type of substrate
    Flow over the bed

    Wait for the guru's answers but I say dump the Bio Ball idea.
     
  9. Brucemg

    Brucemg Thread Starter

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    Is there perhaps a sketch illustrating how a sump works with DSB. I need to understand still in the learning curve
     
  10. Kanga

    Kanga Retired Moderator MASA Contributor

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    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  11. Muz

    Muz

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    Nice one Kanga !
     
  12. Kanga

    Kanga Retired Moderator MASA Contributor

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    Hey thats what the dont pay me for:lol::lol:
     
  13. Brucemg

    Brucemg Thread Starter

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    Thanks for the sketch Kanga
    Reading the the DSB they say there should be worms, crabs etc which disturbs the the bed,what do they feed on, or does one need to feed. If so does this mean there needs to be lights in the sump which is under the display which is enclosed.The sand spoken about, where does one get, also at the LFS, as some where I read childerens paly sand? Is the DSB made of diferent sand substrates or jus one patrical size?
     
  14. Muz

    Muz

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    Some peeps like me mix aragonite with silca sand to make up the DSB.. only because my DSB is big enough to hurt the budget if it was 100% pure aragonite. If your budget allows, don't mix or use anything else, if you have no budget then just use play sand or pool filter sand, I have seen DSB's work fine with them.

    A DSB on it's own does not need lighting, however if you are using it as a refugium.. different story.

    Muz
     
  15. Tobes

    Tobes Retired Moderator

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    Howzit Bruce, I agree - DSB wins hands down, probably the only reason why LFS say bio balls are best is MONEY MONEY MONEY!!!!
    Had bio balls in beginning and my nitrates was 20 and struggled to get it down, had problems with red slime algae, some corals was fading away and so on.
    I have DSB now and nitrates close to zero, no nuisance algae and corals growing. Just be patient - takes a few months to really settle in.
     
  16. nakoma

    nakoma

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    i mixed fine coral sand with sand that i got out a of a rock pool
     
  17. Brucemg

    Brucemg Thread Starter

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    Can one remove sand etc. from our shore line or is a permit required. As I stay in Pretoria and my folks are on holiday, maybe they can transport some for me if they are allowed to.
     
  18. nakoma

    nakoma

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    sure you can you dont need a permit for sand no it has to stay wet though dry sand will take very long to muture it is better to use sand straight out of a rock pool but if you use dry sand get it from a spot where people dont walk often is just cleaner
     
  19. Alan

    Alan Admin MASA Contributor

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    Okay the big difference between bio balls and a DSB is the end result, bio balls are excellent at biological filtration and are super efficient at converting ammonia to nitrite and then to nitrate and that is where the filtration stops. Although nitrates are not harmful to coral or fish algae goes made for it so high nitrates=algae. The DSB has a further step because of the anaerobic conditions deeper i the sand and converts nitrates back to nitrogen gas ie complete nitrogen cycle.
     
  20. Brucemg

    Brucemg Thread Starter

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    SO the bottom line is DSB. What happens is you have a sump with Bio and DSB
     
  21. Bob the (reef)builder

    Bob the (reef)builder

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    The bioballs will be too effective at converting Ammonia etc to nitrates and you will be left with the nitrates.

    You would use bioballs in very select conditions ie possibly in a hugely stocked fish only system, where you do massive water changes and possibly utilise a big Nitrate reactor.

    A LFS might use bioballs as nitrate buildup is less problem as they are always replacing water sold with fish.

    In a reef aquarium you should steer completely clear under nearly all circumstances. And find a new LFS, it sounds like its feeding you bollocks info.;)
     
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