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Old 02/09/2018, 09:58 AM   #1
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Bio balls or ceramic rings

I havenít had a reef tank for about 20 years. Seems things have changed a bit. I built my first filtration system. This time Iím buying a canister filter. My question is whether to use bio balls or the ceramic rings that they sell these days? Do these serve the same purpose?
Any help is appreciated

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Old 02/09/2018, 10:23 AM   #2
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Welcome back to the never ending journey. I personally do not use a canister filter on my system, so you can definitely take this with a grain of salt, lol. If my only option was to use a canister filter and the selection was either bio balls or ceramic rings, I would likely choose the rings simply because I personally feel that they will allow more beneficial bacteria to grow on them.

With that said, I honestly wouldn't use a canister filter on a reef tank simply because it will end up being a nitrate factory if you ask me. Most people now-a-days setup a sump/refugium. The benefits of that setup is that you can add macro algae (which will help reduce nitrates), live rock (obvious benefit here), any reactors that you may use will be around and/or in the sump, plus the biggest benefit to me is more water volume. More water less parameter swings (with proper husbandry). Good luck.

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Old 02/09/2018, 10:43 AM   #3
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Thank you for that information. Iíll definitely take all that into consideration.

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Old 02/09/2018, 11:16 AM   #4
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Either media would do the trick in providing surface area for the bacteria, I do think rings would fit better in the canister. I do use mechanical hang on filtration in my reef tank, mainly to keep the water crystal clear and debris free, a canister would also accomplish this task, they are better at mechanical filtration than biological, however in my opinion they are a good supplement to live rock, sump/refugium or wet dry filtration, people in the last 10 years or so have begun to call mechanical filters "nitrate factories" but I am not going to get into a wizzing contest again about this....if you use a canister or any mechanical style filtration, keep it clean weekly and nitrates will not be an issue.

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Old 02/09/2018, 11:35 AM   #5
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Cleaning the canister was a big reason I chose it. It’s very user friendly.

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Old 02/09/2018, 11:39 AM   #6
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I wouldn't use a canister filter.

Tanks under 40 breeder: I would just use rock and powerheads in the display.

Tanks over 40 breeder: I would drill for a sump.


Current Tank Info: 125 in-wall , 40b sump. 6 bulb T5. ASM G2 skimmer. LPS and leathers
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Old 02/09/2018, 01:03 PM   #7
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no to canister filter!

used one for my frag tank since i had one lying around from freshwater days, badddd idea.

if your main purpose of bioballs/ceramic rings is surface area for biological filter, there are a lot of different types of medias now. i use pukani (porous dry rock) and also some marine pure blocks in the sump.

my reef tank is the best skimmer... of my wallet
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Old 02/09/2018, 02:01 PM   #8
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No filter on my tank. Filters can (and usually will) raise nitrates above optimum level for corals. WAY above in some instances. Your amount of live rock and sand should be able to handle waste, coupled with a skimmer adequate for the job.


Salinity 1.024-6; alkalinity 8.3-9.3 on KH scale; calcium 420; magnesium 1300, temp 78-80, nitrate .2. Ammonia 0. No filters: lps tank. Alk and cal won't rise if mg is low.

Current Tank Info: 105g AquaVim wedge, chromis, royal gramma basslet, starry blenny, chestnut turbo snails, bristleworms, couple of hermits.
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Old 02/09/2018, 05:32 PM   #9
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I have a refugium that im building as a seperate tank that has a tube and shut off valve as a back up sump. will be a continuous flow between both tanks except during water change and salt mixing.

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