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Bio-Filter in a Bucket


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  1. #1
    Rook - Reefkeeper CR Member
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    Default Bio-Filter in a Bucket

    Anyone ever create a DIY bio-filter, or seen a good thread somewhere on the topic? I was thinking of using a five gallon bucket, pump, and some bioballs and having a tumbling bio-filter. I'm sure I'm not considering everthing for the project and wanted to see if anyone else has already done this and figured it out for me.
    MMC 2012. Attend Michigan's premeire Marine Aquarium Conference.
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  2. #2
    jimsflies - Reefkeeper
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    It depends on what you are trying to accomplish. If you were having a problem with ammonia, then this system would probably help. But bioballs in a bucket would be the same problem as a wet dry as far as increasing nitrates. They do a great job of capturing detritus and provide a great place for nitrifying bacteria to colonize. By capturing the detritus and preventing detrivores from reducing it, you end up with more nitrates. If you increased your nitrate removal somewhere in the system you'd be okay.

    I have heard of deep sand beds in a bucket to remove nitrates. The dsb provides an anaerobic area for denitrifying bacteria to colonize. And after a period of time if you suspect the dsb is causing problems, you can remove the bucket from the system, replace the sand and your back in business.

  3. #3
    Rook - Reefkeeper CR Member
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    Not sure I guess. I used to have a 100 gallon rubbermade sump with an 8 inch deep sand bed and 300 lbs of live rock for my 90 gallon tank. I used to joke that I could relieve myself in the sump and not have any algae issues Since the move to Detroit which left me with a very small sump/fuge, I've been fighting algae issues non-stop and my corals are not nearly as healthy (though my laziness in water changes does not help). I've tried different skimmers before, and I'm looking into one again, but I've not had much luck with skimmers. Bashee makes a "Bio-Reactor", which is basically a media reactor with small bioballs (or so it looks). I'm assuming it breaks down amonia to nitrates leaving the liverock, DSB in the display and the refuge to eliminate the nitrates. So, I guess I'm looking for a cheaper, DIY, version of that.

    May try the DBS in a bucket, but I have a 6" DSB in my display tank right now.
    MMC 2012. Attend Michigan's premeire Marine Aquarium Conference.
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  4. #4
    cg5071 - Reefkeeper CR Member
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    Check out slapshots new thread about his tank. You may get alot of ideas from his system. He has several different types of diy reef equipment.
    Slapshots 150


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  5. #5
    Rook - Reefkeeper CR Member
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    Default

    Thanks for the tip; Slapshot has a very cool setup. I wish I had the ability to run a basement setup again. Alast, I'm stuck to the minimal space under the tank. I may order a media reactor from BRS to run GFO and Carbon through (versus currently having it in media bags sitting in the sump). That should help, some.

    Maybe I'll just get a 5 gallon bucket and fill it with broken up / small pieces of live rock and have an extra liverock filter. I'll have to see if I can move my sump around a bit.
    MMC 2012. Attend Michigan's premeire Marine Aquarium Conference.
    http://www.midwestmarineconf.org

  6. #6
    Rook - Reefkeeper CR Member
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    What about these "Bio-Pellet" reactors? Slapshot has one on his setup. BulkReef has one for sale. What are these versus simple bio-balls in a reactor?
    MMC 2012. Attend Michigan's premeire Marine Aquarium Conference.
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  7. #7
    cg5071 - Reefkeeper CR Member
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    Yes, and I was just thinking with a dsb in a bucket run a turf scrubber at the same time. I have seen bucket models of those on the net as well. Looks very easy to do. Maybe combine both units in the same bucket. Or fluidize some sand in an old skimmer or canister and add a turf scrubber. The vertex pellets and a brs reactor might be the best after all. only 40$ for the reactor there, I am making mine from a skimmer body but you cant beat 40 unless you have extras laying around.


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  8. #8
    cg5071 - Reefkeeper CR Member
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    Those make bacteria to eat nitrates and then the corals and fish can use the output as food but you have to re-oxygenate first through your sump or some fast moving water. return? Very small bio balls,lol and they eat what they produce.


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  9. #9
    jimsflies - Reefkeeper
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    Quote Originally Posted by cg5071 View Post
    Those make bacteria to eat nitrates and then the corals and fish can use the output
    Not sure if I follow you on this?

  10. #10
    jimsflies - Reefkeeper
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rook View Post
    What about these "Bio-Pellet" reactors? Slapshot has one on his setup. BulkReef has one for sale. What are these versus simple bio-balls in a reactor?
    Bio Pellets are completely different than bio-balls. From my understanding they are basically Pro-Biotic type systems. They dissolve over time and provide an additional carbon source for bacteria to reach larger than normal populations. It is similar to vodka dosing and often used in combination with vodka dosing. Many have had good luck with Brightwell's MicroBacter7 along with these systems which adds bacteria to the system.

    I would stay away from live rock rubble. It is the same deal as bioballs...a place to collect detritus which in turns increases nitrates. Sandbeds don't allow for as much "accumulation". Plus the top portion can be scavenged by detrivores to consume it before it breaks down.

    I'd go back to better water change routine, reduce feedings if you can, perhaps reduce bioload if you can't reduce feedings. I'd also recommend adding a phosphate reactor and look into adding the Brightwells MB7. That alone may fix your problem. It also will help your skimmer pull the junk out better.

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