Bio Balls or Lava Rock


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I am thinking about replacing the lava rock in my filter with those plastic Bio Balls that seem to be popular. Moving all that rock is very labor intensive and I am thinking the Bio Balls because they are so much lighter.

Any info would be great.
 
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I used lava rock when we first built the pond. They worked great. Now I use bio balls. The only reason I switched was the ease of taking them out and cleaning them. Much lighter.
 

sissy

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I have used lava rock for more years than i can remember .I soak it for a month in peroxide and water and try to pick the biggest rough ones out of the bag I can .Plus lava rock is cheaper .I do have real lava rock also that a friend brought me from Hawaii .2 -50 pound bags he shipped from his property there and last I will get as he sold his house and land there and moved to VA .He could not afford to keep the family home insurance was really high and cost to maintain it even higher ,paradise cost money .I do love my lava rock it keeps my pond really clean
 
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Hi Intodeep
A tale of warning here ....
We to had a bio filter that had alfagrog in it and we decided ok lets get rid of it and use k1, bio balls and biochips in place of it.
This we did and things worked well "for a time".
All of a sudden the filter a vortex shaped one suddenly spung a leakwhich was patched , it sprang another one patched again , it did it again.
After going through this patching proceedure on six seperate occaisions we ended up piping into the pond just as fast as it was pouring out.
We decided to scrap that filter and our club would fit a barrel filter cost £45 which we did and now everything works well with no leaks.
We looked into the whys of our filter springing this leak and decided in the end that by removing the alfa grog (which too two to lift)we had allowed the plastic which as moulded to shape prior to the alfa grog, then over time it had bent under the weight of it.
Removing the alfa grog had allowed it to slowly spring back into place but in doing so it had exposed a weak spot which caused the leak.
If you have the vortex style filters I urge you t beware of this happening to your own filter.
Can you remember what we were taught in Geogrophy about the ice leaving much of Northern Europe and the UK allowing everything to start raising (its the same principle).....the plastic started to go back where it was supposed to be weakening itself at the same time.
We use a mixture of K1 Aquaone Bio balls, bio balls and bio chips using six airstones in the bio filter for a great turn over of all of them

rgrds

Dave
 

sissy

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all plastic these days is made of recycled content to some extent and does not hold up as long as it should ,i have seen that with every plastic product I have bought .At least lava rock I can get for 3 dollars a bag at a garden center and when they have it on sale 2.00 dollars a bag and it is every where .I have 2 bags still sitting in my basement .Last year I tried an experiment soaked lava rock in peroxide and water and then put it in a concrete mixing tub and threw plants in it and no filter no air pump and the plants grew like crazy .First year I had water lettuce grow so well and water was crystal clear all summer.I was giving water lettuce away and even tried the same thing in my stock tank water was clear and plants grew way ,to many of them
 

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HARO

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If the idea of the lava rock is to serve as a substrate for nitrifying bacteria, wouldn't the peroxide soak be counter-productive?
And as for pros and cons, I can get $3. worth of lava rock, or $50. worth of bio-balls; same volume! How's your back? To me, it's worth the extra $47. to be able to rinse the media without being on pain killers for a month afterwards! Your choice.
John
 
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I have lava rocks over my pumps as pre-filters. I put them in laundry bags used for washing delicate items for ease of moving them and lifting them out. I never clean them, ever. Only move them when I need to get to the pumps.

If weight is an issue I suggest using these. You can buy them in the same isle as the hangers, ironing boards and such at your local store. I bought small ones so I have 6 on each pump.

I have never used bio-balls so I cannot comment on which is better.

50-60cm-bra-and-underwear-care-wash-bag-laundry.jpg
 

sissy

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I use the same type bag pecan and get them at the dollar store .Funny thing is I have a big bag of bio balls and did try them out but every time I looked they were floating up and since my filter has the hose coming in the top and water coming up from the bottom out the pipe I would find several of them every day floating in my pond .I did try putting them in bags also but I did not think they worked as well as lava rock .So i went back to lava rock .The reason I soaked them in the mixture was just to see which was better .Soaking them worked better .I have a big garbage bag full of bio balls in my basement .I got all kinds of them that I took out of filters from ponds i took apart .I don't really have to take the lava rock out of my filters I just pump the gunk from the bottom of them into a bucket and done .I only took them out when i rebuilt the one filter this year .I decided to soak some of them to clean them them good and then put them on top of my pump in a bucket in the pond to keep the pump from getting clogged from roots and stuff .I guess I just like lava rock .Not every ones choice but it works for me
 

HARO

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In our climate, filters pretty well have to be taken apart every fall, cleaned, and set up again in the spring. Having suffered a back injury at the age of 25, and having spent some 15 years of pain, I certainly can see the advantage of 3 lb. over 50 lb. when it comes to cleaning time! I'm not putting lava rock down as a substrate by any means, I've used it and it worked well in my situation, but I think weight is just one more thing that should be considered in making your choice.
John
 

sissy

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good point since i never take mine apart or clean them they just run and run ,I run them all winter here with the deicer going above the pump sucking in the warm water I really do not have to shut my filters down unless it is cold for more than a couple of weeks .We usually get a 50 or 60 or even 70 degree day a week if not more .Last Christmas it was almost 70 degrees and the year before that just about the same and then we got a sudden snow storm but snow melted in a day or two .The weather here is like a yoyo .I did try the bio balls in my stock tank but after a month nothing and put the pump in a bucket with lava rock and got clear water after a week .I just wish the bio balls could be heavier in every filter I had they would escape .
 
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crsublette

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Yeah, there are many many types and sizes of bio-balls and all of them allows very small micron size bubbles to attach for a while, until the bubbles absorb into the water, allowing the balls to float. You can speed up the process of removing these bubbles by severely agitating the bio-balls submerged in water by rubbing them in your hands and you can also soak the bio-balls in an oxidizer solution, such as grocery store hydrogen peroxide, mixed with some water to help absorb these bubbles into the water.


The big bio balls are good for making a protien skimmers (another explanation of a phoam phraxionator) or a wet/dry trickle tower (retail version of one, click the middle product image) or to make a shower tower (more like a trickle tower since shower towers have a much higher flow, example of a 55gal bucket, filled with big size bio-balls). These can be built in any container or structure as long as the main pieces still function as they are suppose to function.

The all different very small bio-balls are used to create moving bed bio-filters and here is another one that better shows one in process with video, moving bed in 275gal tote. These can be built in any container or structure as long as the main pieces still function as they are suppose to function.


Although, the lava rock is heavier, lava rock can make for a nice submerged pre-filter or trickle or shower tower.


So, in choose the type of bio-medium, it all depends on your application, construction, and goals.
 
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Ruben Miranda

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Hello
My 2 cents :biggrin: Well in this climate maybe worth a penny :bye2:

I use bio balls what I like about them is that they float and are light and the water flows all around them
and creating more area for BB to grow.
As for lava rock being so heavy and packing down on it self creating dead spots in the filter.
But as pointed out all depends on your filter type.

If your bio balls are just getting pushed to the top and out then they are not working or if they are getting pushed and gloging the exit water pipe that won't do either.

Ruben :boldblue:
 

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