best, affordable, biomedia for sump?

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MoshJosh

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I usually use SeaChem matrix (partially because it came with some of my HOB filters), but I am concerned that a bag of media sitting on the bottom of the sump isn't the best solution. . .

I was thinking about Marine Pure bio bricks/plates. . . but $60 seems a bit much. . . what do yall think?
 
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shakacuz

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i have marine pure bio balls, plate, and squares. good product and would recommend. they’re brittle though, so overtime you’ll have to be cautious.

as i upgrade to a 75G from a 40B, i will be switching to maxspect bio balls and plates.

siporax is a very affordable solution used by many.
 

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I usually use SeaChem matrix (partially because it came with some of my HOB filters), but I am concerned that a bag of media sitting on the bottom of the sump isn't the best solution. . .

I was thinking about Marine Pure bio bricks/plates. . . but $60 seems a bit much. . . what do yall think?
I seriously doubt that any of these expensive media’s are worth it. I’ve increased surface area in my sump with a big bag of plastic bioballs, but that’s part of my skimmerless strategy.
 
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Midrats

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I use pond Matrix in plastic mesh bags like those that onions come in. Plenty of water flows through it. An occasional swish and dunk keeps it detritus free. It's cheap and effective. I'd stick with it.
 

dschuffert

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I use the MarinePure balls and they work well for me.
 

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afrokobe

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Haven’t done it myself but alot of peolpe suggest lava rock as a cheap media … seems like it would have good surface area
I wouldn't use lava rock. I have heard of people using it in reef tanks and had some weird algae issues.
 
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brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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All of this is a waste of money, no display reef runs low on surface area / rocks to require this media. It’s purely a carryover habit from freshwater keeping, to feel good. Specifically: anyone running seneye can tell they don’t need extra bio media of any kind, and they can tell that instantly removing all bio media from a display reef causes no loss of ammonia conversion. It’s completely neutral impact / wasted money, all because we all stack a bunch of cycled rocks right in the middle of the tank

run the sump empty
 
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All of this is a waste of money, no display reef runs low on surface area / rocks to require this media. It’s purely a carryover habit from freshwater keeping, to feel good. Specifically: anyone running seneye can tell they don’t need extra bio media of any kind, and they can tell that instantly removing all bio media from a display reef causes no loss of ammonia conversion. It’s completely neutral impact / wasted money, all because we all stack a bunch of cycled rocks right in the middle of the tank

run the sump empty
Is this still true in tanks with bare bottom? True of artificial rock? My display will likely be bare bottom with Caribsea Life rock.
 

brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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I agree that’s the low end of the scale compared to most tanks. thats a no environmental impact reef / pretty cool and rare.

there has never been a documented case using digital ammonia meters I’ve seen of a reef display unable to carry a common bioload after cycling in bare bottom condition, without sand.

nano reefs do this routinely and though they don’t carry as many fish as your larger tank will, they are scaling the bioload + dilution factor such that a calibrated seneye will read pretty much the same on both your systems.

lastly, we hear about threads where folks go on vacation and come home to all dead fish in an ammonia-spiked tank legit…the water is gray; fish disease or a hardware issue killed the fish when the owner wasn’t home to make a save

The sole function of the extra surface area was to protect against that loss, that ammonia cascade when the first three fish died. Your daily running reef will need no help; that media’s sole function is to help during a dieoff challenge.

and it never works. Those threads exist because no degree of internal padding will prevent a recycle from a multiple fish kill event. That’s the one thing that forces a reef to lose control of its cycle, with or without the extra media. Regarding daily running, and common insults like a two hour power outage, or a normal overfeeding event, those won’t crash your reef with a common bioload in tow. There’s no data ever posted to show that description failing to reef correctly and keep animals alive day to day. The reason I mention seneye is because it’s field of users do not report .25-.5 in 97% of running reef tanks, we feel it’s a tighter reference vs the status quo.


we run giant rip clean threads rinsing full beds in tap water for hours to reset them, and we make sandbedded tanks go bare bottom and we never check ammonia. Surface area is literally no concern even in multi $$ work threads where the harshest actions are ran so we can move tanks, uninvade them effectively. The sum total of the work threads on file is why I think your tank is fine with or without the extra media.


I have found that aiming all focus and study at implementing top fish disease prevention protocols is what‘s important, shoring up a cycle is never important. this will help to know during cleaning time for the extra media; the reason you can take it out and rinse in tap water to remove detritus is because you didn’t need the media in the first place. You’re taking a neutral impact item, rinsing it, and putting it back as neutral impact in every measurable way other than detritus capture.
 
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Garf

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Is this still true in tanks with bare bottom? True of artificial rock? My display will likely be bare bottom with Caribsea Life rock.
Mine is barebottom, nonporous cemented rock structures, ran without issue. I added the bioballs to replace the need for cleaning a skimmer.
 

Tamberav

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I usually use SeaChem matrix (partially because it came with some of my HOB filters), but I am concerned that a bag of media sitting on the bottom of the sump isn't the best solution. . .

I was thinking about Marine Pure bio bricks/plates. . . but $60 seems a bit much. . . what do yall think?

I think buying any biomedia is a waste...

Your rock is biomedia....

Some biomedias even raise aluminum in the tank... meh.

Not buying biomedia costs $0 dollars which sounds affordable to me ;)
 
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Garf

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Good point. No, cannot be completely sure, all I can do is trust the science.
I’ve got a feeling that if they did anything, they would just clog up till they didn’t. Or they just don’t do anything, in which case they just don’t do anything. The clogged ones may reduce nitrate a little I suppose through the concentration gradient thing that sometimes gets an airing, but I never noticed the effect using porous Fiji rock way back. Adding uncloggable media may be beneficial as a substrate for heterotrophs that consume exudates, especially in highly oxygenated water and away from the bright aquarium lighting.

Edit - a tank is more than an ammonia cycle, that’s the easy bit.
 

dschuffert

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I’ve got a feeling that if they did anything, they would just clog up till they didn’t. Or they just don’t do anything, in which case they just don’t do anything. The clogged ones may reduce nitrate a little I suppose through the concentration gradient thing that sometimes gets an airing, but I never noticed the effect using porous Fiji rock way back. Adding uncloggable media may be beneficial as a substrate for heterotrophs that consume exudates, especially in highly oxygenated water and away from the bright aquarium lighting.

Edit - a tank is more than an ammonia cycle, that’s the easy bit.
A lot of good points on this topic in this thread. It has me thinking now. I will remove the bio media from my refugium (eShopps AF-200 Refugium Sump) and give some extra room for my algae and see how it goes. A lot of good points on the bio media being left over from the freshwater days. I think for me, it was something I have always done in the past so continued to do it. There are good points here with the live rock and sand that populates my tank can/is doing the job.
 

Saltyanimals

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Good discussion. While I agree on the available surface area in your rocks, substrate and other porous things in your tank to house bacteria, what if you run a minimum rock scape?

I'm one of those folks that did the whole NSA with goals of SPS grow out filling space. In a 180 with 25+ fish, I need as much affordable housing as possible for my friendly bacteria. I'm 30 no3 / 0.05 po4. While the 30 isn't too concerning for most people, I prefer it keep it about 20. My sump is full of mature rocks that came from my old tank with bags of marinepure balls filling in space where I can without restricting too much flow through the sump. GFO takes care of the Po4, but I still can't get my no3 down anymore even after 4 weeks of carbon dosing. (Sound have kicked in after 2 weeks of daily dosing biofuel so maybe I'm not carbon limited). Worth noting that struggled with getting nutrients for awhile and dosed No3 and po4 for over a year after my tank upgraded. Finally got numbers up and now tweaking to get them back to my desired range.

I'm buying a brick now and will experiment. Can't say it's a controlled experiment because maybe 5 weeks is the turn around point for carbon dosing in my tank, but I'll roll the dice. An alternative is the no-name stuff on Amazon. I'm not against a bargain, but it's just one of those things that's not worth risking without knowing what it really is. One may get lucky and it's the same unbranded stuff from a major manufacture. Or unlucky and it's poorly made with questionable material and causes issues in your beloved tank to save a buck.

Will report back my (anecdotal) results. =)
 
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brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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nobody can tell you that Josh

anything they take is scraped from oceanic studies/no context here or from sales articles from companies who sell bacteria or biobricks etc to reefers on the click.


denitrification is a total unicorn and does not occur measurably very well at all in most attempts when we try and arrange substrates in the tank to do the job.

now if you want to setup a reactor for nitrate that's different, but getting denitrification reduction from a sandbed, or from hard surfaces like siporax/bioblocks/total sales unicorn. those are better for aerobic nitrification vs the sales point/claimed/denitrification.
 
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