lava rock for filter system
  • koi888koi888 March 2012
    Posts: 131
    any sifu use lava rock for his filter system ,hear and remove nitrate and ammonia.
  • HDCuHDCu March 2012
    Posts: 1,117
    I did use lava rock for a very long time as one of the bio filter. It is a good cheap bio filter and last a long time. It helps buffer the pond ph as well. I'm not sure if it removes nitrate as mine was heavily aerated. It's a pain to clean it though.
  • ZackZack December 2012
    Posts: 232
    I come across lava rocks being sold at aquarium accessories shop. Seller says it helps to maintain low ammonia, nitrite & nitrate.

    Google & found a thread in another forum.

    This is a copy of what it was posted. Seems like even bio balls has a disadvantage over lava rocks.

    Like I said I already proved it for my situations. Nirates in my otherwise sparkling 244 tanks was running 30 PPM higher in nitrates compared to my other 4 tanks which had heavier bio-loads. When I washed the bio-balls nitrates fell but were still running 20 PPM higher, all of this testing in a span of 8 weeks. 1st 2 weeks noted rise and little chnage after 30% water chnage compared to other large tanks without sump bio-balls. 2nd week chnaged out sump blue bond media and 30% water change again with no change still running 40 PPM nitrates in 244 tank with sump compared to 10 PPM in 4 other tanks without. 3rd 2 weeks rinsed bio-balls thoroughly with aquarium water nitrates fall to 30 PPM while other tanks are 10 PPM, 4th 2 weeks removed bio balls and replaced with new lava rocks and 30% water change nitrates fall to 10 PPM like other 4 tanks.

    244 tanks has been running lave rocks for 4 weeks now and nitrates now mimic other 4 tanks in nitrate levels between water changes. So there is absolutely no doubt in my mined that in my situation bio-balls in my 244 tank sump were accumulating nitrates and that removing them cured the problem, I thing this is why bio-ball manufacturers recommend bio-ball replacement rather then washing. Being plastic it would not surprise me if after a while they act like plastic zeolites become positively charged and start accumulating nitrates just waiting to partially discharged when salt is introduced to the tank in the form of meds or even water treatment salts such as used in Prime. This would also explain why rinsing does not work. The lave rocks are incapable of holding a charge and therefore do not accumulate nitrates. I may be wrong about my theory but one thing I know for a fact, removing the bio-balls fixed my high nitrate problem.
    My kois are my lover
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  • kominatokominato December 2012
    Posts: 408
    Oh my goodness. ..50% or more of my filtration is bio balls !...and I don't think my Nitrate is low either..
  • HDCuHDCu December 2012
    Posts: 1,117
    I have used lava rocks several years ago but I have stopped using it. I am still however using some bioballs until now.

    Lava rocks are basically a cheap alternative filter media. While lava rock has rough texture surface to be able to hold many surface area for bacteria(both aerobic and anaerobic bacteria) to live and multiply, it is not really that porous as compared to pumice stones which has more surface areas and lighter in weight.

    Lava rocks rough irregular textured surface can easily trap and accumulate fish waste. Failure to clean often would result in bad heterotrophic bacteria dominating the anaerobic bacteria. Initially, nitrates would drop with the use of lava rocks as denitrifying bacteria would easily multiply in low oxygen areas of the lava rocks. However as it trap more and more waste, that is when problems would arise. You may have crystal clear water but kois might be getting sick and dying.

    I have personally witnessed a setup whereby after brushes, the biological filter media was lots of lava rocks without any aeration put in place. As it was a submerged up and down setup, The lava rocks effectively filtered the waste that would normally escape from the brushes. As the waste accumulated in the lava rocks( i suspect it was around 200kilos of it at an average size of two inches, the water had to find the quicker route out which is on top of the submerged lava rocks.

    I was called to see why the filter was not working despite the crystal clear water. The kois was dying one by one despite the fact that the whole system was being "cleaned" once a month. Incidentally, It takes two people to clean the whole system five hours making it very stressful to the remaining kois.

    There are no perfect filtration system. Each one system and each filter media has it has its own advantages and disadvantages. Lava rock or plastic bioballs CAN work and be an effective filter media as long as you get pass and live with the limitation of it while maintain it at its best efficiency. The danger lies when hobbyist equate crystal clear water to excellent water condition and green water to poor water conditions.

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