The basics of bioballs

There are so many different types of filtration media out on the market that it can get overwhelming trying to figure out which one is right for your situation. One of the more popular forms are bioballs – a plastic ball with slatches on its surfaces which are designed to catch beneficial bacteria within your tank and give it a place to live and thrive. 

Today, we’re going to discuss what bio balls are all about – from what you should buy, to how you use them and what maintenance looks like. Let’s jump right in!

How many should I get for my tank?

We have always said that the general rule of thumb for bio balls is 10 balls for every 450l of water. Of course this depends a lot on what kind of filter canister or sump pump that you have, but generally speaking – that should give you what you need. If you have a sump tank though, you can use generally as much as you’d like and it shouldn’t harm your tank as long as you’re maintaining them properly. 

How do I use them?

Like we said above, bio balls exist as temporary storage units for beneficial bacteria in your tank. They’re not there to remove waste. They’re best used after water flows through filter foam – as the foam will catch all of the waste and other bad debris from the tank so that it doesn’t get caught inside your bio balls. If you place them ahead of the foam, a lot of that bad stuff will get stuck in the balls and adversely impact your tank by causing the nitrate levels to rise to unsustainable levels. 

Are they difficult to clean?

Truth be told you’ll want to clean your bio balls inside the fish tank using the actual water in the tank, itself. The reason for this is that you want to protect beneficial bacteria that’s built up on those surfaces over time. Totally cleaning more or less defeats the purpose of having them to begin with. It should go without saying that the best time to do this is during water changes. That way, you’ll be cleaning out the bad debris all at once. Just remember – don’t scrub! 


If you’re looking to add bio balls to your tank, feel free to give us a call and we’re happy to give you some more information on what kind of solutions might be available for your tank. Until then, we hope today’s blog gave you a little bit more of an idea as to what you can expect when it comes to bio balls should you decide to invest in some for your tank in the future. Good luck!

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