View Full Version : Using bead filters on their large reef/sps tanks?

01/28/2017, 07:21 AM
So I am wondering who has experience using bead filters on large reef or sps tanks. I have always heard they will cause nitrate buildup in our systems. I would have to think that with at least weekly strong flushing this could be avoided?

Should a muratic acid bath be enough to clean the old bubble bead filter from a friend's koi system? Even the beads? Or would I be better off to buy new beads?

I have about 450 gallons of sps and one tank is mixed that I struggle to keep clean of coating debre and particles. Detritus is always in the water column. I can not use filter socks because they clog in a day or two. I use a lot of vodka and vinegar to keep nutrients down since my bio load is very high. I am hoping that flushing twice a week or so will help keep bacteria mass exported from my tank as well as exporting detritus and other floating junk. Plus having to do this will keep me on top of a small water change schedule which I am to relaxed on now.

Any info from someone experienced would be a major help! Please give me some details on how you ran yours and any info that could help me.

01/28/2017, 05:51 PM
Any advice would be appreciated guys. The kind I got is a bubble bead filter by the way.

01/28/2017, 07:42 PM
Sorry, I'm not aware of anyone using this method of freshwater pond filtration for coral reef aquariums. Most fish don't seem to mind the elevated nitrate levels associated with thee beads that are so detrimental to the delicate invertebrates in our reef systems.

The closest I have seen is in public aquaria where some use sand filtration on really huge tanks similar to swimming pool filtration. They require a lot of attention and constant back-flushing to keep them clean.


01/29/2017, 08:02 AM
Yea I heard of the idea from someone who maintains a big reef system with a sand filter. I am really wondering if anyone has tried this with a reef tank without having elevated nitrate issues. I would think that the beads would be raised to kflush thanks sand therefore not causing as much of a nutrient sink. I was thinking of trying it with less beads at first so the flushing would be easier and not as much gunk would sit leftover in the beads.

01/29/2017, 11:30 AM
What exactly are you trying to achieve by doing this?

01/30/2017, 06:17 AM
I don't see why they would be the cause of additional nitrate. Nitrate 'factory' is a very misleading term. Yes filters such as these, fluidised sand beds and trickle towers do a very good job at reducing ammonia and nitrites and the end result is nitrate but they don't produce any more than any other method. The only drawback as such is that they don't deal with the end product ie nitrate like live rock will do.

01/30/2017, 09:16 AM
The reason they "add" nitrates is because they build up junk on them that would otherwise be removed via skimmer or other mechanical removal.

to the OP, I'd look into a roller mat.... I think the beads would be too much hassle as you'll want to clean them every other day to keep nitrates down.

this thing:


02/04/2017, 03:42 PM
Yea I thought about a roller mat, but I would bet my money that I would burn through material extremely quick and it wouldn't be worth it.

The point of the filter would be to remove detritus and organics that normally settle in places I don't want them. Even with two mp60 and two mp40s in my 3' cube I have to baste colonies often to keep detritus from settling in the coral colonies and causing issues. I have maybe 30 fish in the tank and more in my other two tanks. It's stocked very heavily.

LesMartin, that's exactly what I was thinking. And I would believe flushing it twice a week or a bit more would be adiquate. I got one sized fairly large and am just trying to find time to set it up.