Bio-wheel = Nitrates?

Does having a bio-wheel make your nitrates go up? Should i remove it?

nice link, i had some reef buff, i added the recommended amount so ill test daily i guess make sure no problems occur.

seems to me, a bio wheel can be beneficial during a cycle. ie converting ammonia to nitrite/nitrate… thereafter, it tends to build nitrates. which isnt a very good thing at all.

My opinion has always been that they worked well for freshwater and not salt. I believe they have a similar effect as bio balls and you can search others opinions on them.(99% of the opinions will be negative in marine aquariums) They can quickly convert Nitrites to Nitrates, but some how raise your amount of Nitrates higher then they would be with out the presence of the aerobic filtration.

Kaptken swears by them

I have an emperor 400 with bio-wheels…I had a problem with high nitrate production until I drilled out the spraybar to a 3/16" hole…this made a larger stream of water and slowed down the spinning of the wheels…since then my nitrates are minimal…FWIW…

FWIW? Yea, it made no sense to me, my amm is 0, nitrite 0 and i have high nitrates and i have xenia galore lol. i took it out, hopefully itll come down now i took it out and put cheato where it was suppose to be

ya dude the chaeto will deffinately help. it actually absorbs or “eats” the nitrates rather than producing it, lol! some ppl dig the whole bio wheel/ pad sponge things, but in my opinion, they are all bunk and cause issues.

think about it like this, if you wanna provide a natural environment for your fish and inverts to thrive (not just survive) use a natural filter, and ur golden!

When I first got into the hobby I used biowheels and bioballs. Had bad results, eventually had a tank crash due to them (nothing was changed for months and I had a nitrate spike). Since then, I’ve done my research (live and learn) and I only run a skimmer as my only form of mechanical filtration (filter socks aren’t bad either, but you have to be religious on changing them out/keeping clean) and I run refugiums with extra rock and cheato for biofiltration.

However, I have seasoned biowheels in my sump of my reef and placed them in my QT tanks to help with biofiltration there. Even in medicated QT tanks, the biowheels help to break down ammonia, the killer in QT tanks.

I removed the bio-wheel in my little tank like i said and today’s tests were much better! a whole color level less so far. I am still running a filter pad ( floss n carbon) but i change every 4th week with no prevail.

[quote=“michaelangelo, post:11, topic:1878”]
I removed the bio-wheel in my little tank like i said and today’s tests were much better! a whole color level less so far. I am still running a filter pad ( floss n carbon) but i change every 4th week with no prevail.[/quote]

Did you do a water change as well?

THis is something that I’ve always had a hard time with, maybe someone can clarify for me. I understand that the biowheel converts ammonia to nitrite to nitrate really quickly, and that is why some experience higher nitrates. That said, why would you want it to be converted more slowly? If your choice is either high nitrates or medium ammonia, wouldn’t you go with the nitrates? I get that liverock takes it a step further, but the nitrates can only consume the amount of ammonia that is in the system right? Did any of that make sense?

Just a guess but… if you want to run a bio wheel but are worried about nitrates, why not just stuff some macro algae behind the bio wheel… all the water that gets sent into the tank comes back and the nitrates will be consumed by the macro algae…

I personally used these filters when I was starting out with salt water… and IMO they don’t compare to what I have now, but if that is all you can have… throw a light on the back, throw some macro algae in… and that should deal with the increased level of nitrates?

Just an idea… Let me know if it makes sense/you all think that would help the problem :slight_smile:

Joe I think the concern is decaying organic material on the wheel itself perpetuating the cycling process.

same reason bioballs are the scurge of society - insert sarcastic chuckle here - the provide an area to trap organic material which decays and causes ammonia, which causes nitrites, which in turn causes nitrates.

I personally don’t think these “nitrate factories” are as bad as everyone thinks - I truely believe people need to be more consistent with their water changes and feeding habits.

Ken swears by bio-balls and bio-wheels and has some of the nicest tanks around.

I personally don't think these "nitrate factories" are as bad as everyone thinks - I truely believe people need to be more consistent with their water changes and feeding habits.

+1 Thats all its about. Any of the aforementioned methods can work and work well. The all stop working and become nitrate factories when the begin to accumulate organic detritus. This is true of live rock as well and a big contributor of old tank syndrome. If you can manage to keep bio-balls free of detritus the will work as well if not better than most commonly used methods for biological filtration.

IME, biowheels dont contribute to nitrates since its really hard for them to accumulate detritus. The reason why they work so welll in the beginning of a cycle and slowly decline is a direct result of increasing the bioload. Thats why the work so well on QT tanks with minimum bioload. A large biowheel should work flawlessly on a small tank with minimum bioload. I just dont think these things are properly rated by the manufacture for marine use. I would stick with a biowheel rated for 3-4X the acutal tank size if you want good results.

I did not do a water change in the last day. i want to see if the wheel had any thing to do with the nitrates. Bc my Amm has been 0, and nitrates a little high. So the wheel is out my Amm is still 0 and my nitrates are lower. I am guilty perhaps of feeding a little much. I did also put cheato where the wheel should go, and my lights hit it perfectly fine. I am going to feed a little less, dont get me wrong nothing has died nor looks bad bc of the nitrates and my tank has basically all xenia which love nitrates anyway but i wanted to feel a little more secure on my water params.

I do weekly changes of 2 gallons, never miss one! I do perhaps overfeed, but the wheel was gross looking, i guess i could rinse it but it was reddish looking, the light hits it and maybe growing algae.

So it is algae/crud/whatever build up people are having issues with? That makes more sense. I always thought, “How the hell can you create nitrates?” You would have to supply increased ammonia to feed them. But detrius accumulating would do it. Another instance where keeping up with recommended maintenance would probably prevent any issues.

well, i wouldnt say my tanks are gorgeous anymore. too old and too many nuisance algaes growing in them. but they are healthy. Bio balls or wheels fullfill the primary goal of keeping water free of the killer ammonia and nitrite. They are more efficient at that than most peoples rock and skimmers alone. but if you use them you need a backup scheme to consume the nitrates. which also can be lots of rock, sand beds and most of all a big fuge. along with the ever popular … water change.

michael angelo : fwiw=for what its worth