Jump to content
Coral Vue Hydros

anybody use bio-chem stars?


Recommended Posts


I visited my LFS today and was looking to get some live rock rubble to put in the back filter area of my nano cube. He recommended that instead of the live rock, i use bio-chem stars which is a biological filter media that helps to grow beneficial bacteria. He told me he used them in all of his saltwater aquariums and that they work really well. I have heard from many people, that bio media shouldn't be used in the nano cube, but i figured that the bio-chem stars would do the same job as the live rock. Has anyone else ever heard of or used them before. you can find some info about the stars at:

I hope you guys can help me out. Thanks in advance!



Link to comment

Agggh, damn un/misinformed LFS peeps. No do not use any artificial biological media....i will paste from a previous post as to why.....


Ok it sounds like there is some confusion on bio wheels and bio types of filtration Basically bio filtration is good for freshwater tanks and fish only where nitrates are not as big of a deal. The big difference between the nitrogen cycle being completed in your bio filter or being completed in your LR and LS is what the final result is. The bacterium on the bio filtration will convert nitrites to nitrates. The nitrates will then build in your tank until you do a water change. The process that occurs in the LR and LS is in a oxygen poor enviornment, and ends qute differently then it does in your filter.

In an oxygen rich enviornment like the bio wheel,bio bale, bio stars etc, the bacteria will turn the nitrites to nitrates end of story. In the live rock the bacteria needs to work for its oxygen and is forced to strip some oxygen from the NO4, turning the nitrates into nitrogen gas, oxygen and/or water which will harmlessly bubble out of your tank. Some times in a deep sand bed you can actually see these bubbles occuring from the process.

So with bio filtration you are not giving the bacteria in the low oxygen enviornment of your LR and LS the chance to do its a job. The bio wheel will too efficiently turn your nitrites to nitrates and will out compete the much more desirable process that will ocur in your LR.

I hope that made sense, if not just let me know and ill try to be more clear.

Link to comment

is there a difference between when the biological filters like bio balls or the bio chem stars are used in a large saltwater tank (50 gal +) and when they are used in nanos? The large tanks at my LFS were simply spectacular, perfectly clean and definitely healthy and well kept. The guy there was also very knowledgable about saltwater aquariums too. He said he used the bio chem stars in all of his saltwater tanks. Why is the biological filtration only beneficial to the larger saltwater tanks?

Link to comment

I wasnt implying that it was only beneficial in nanos. Bio balls, bio stars, wheels etc. are all providing the maximum amount of wet/dry surface area for nitrifying bacteria to grow.

Your Live rock is used in reef tanks for the same reason, its very porous and has a large amount of surface area for nitrifying bacteria to grow.

What I am saying is that these 2 ways have completely different results. The artificail means will always end the nitrogen cycle with nitrates, but with the low oxygen enviornment of LR it will then further the process by stripping the NO4 back to NO3 then to nitrogen and oxygen. The bacteria in your LR due to the low oxygen is forced to break down the nitrates further back to harmless nitrogen and oxygen gas which will bubble out of your tank.

If you use Bio media of any type it is easier for the nitrifying bacteria to grow there, so your bacteria colonies will be growing on your artifical media more than in your Live Rock. The artifiacial media will outcompete your LR because it is easier to grow there. In turn the artificail media will leave your tank with higher nitrates than if you just used your LR. The LR will grow larger colonies of the bacteria and will convert more of the cycle into nitrogen and oxygen resulting in lower if any detectable nitrates.Which is the main reason that reef tanks use live Rocks to begin with.

I have no doubt that your LFS has beautiful tanks , and he may use the artificail bio media for several reasons, perhaps in the store he does not have a large enough amount of Live rock to get the job done. If it is a straight fish only tank with no live rock, then it makes sense to use the bio media. But with a tank with live rock, using the bio media is just reducing the beneficial effects that your LR will have on your tank. And you are really working against your own system.

Link to comment


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Recommended Discussions

  • Create New...