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Lava Rock as bio filter media

Discussion in 'Freshwater Equipment, Products, & DIY' started by inaun, Feb 15, 2010.

  1. inaun

    inaun Registered Member

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    Forgive me if this topic has been covered -- I did a search and did not find anything specific to lava rock....though a lot of comments on the topic.

    This thread is to discuss advantages / disadvantages of using lava rock as the media for biological filtration.

    I have a new canister filter that did not come with adequate bio-media. I will take as a given that the all-too-expensive specialty bio-media is probably superior to lava rock in applied mathmatics....

    ...but in practicality....is there any reason not to use cheap lava rock in a canister (or similar) filter system rather than running out and buying bio-balls or similar?

    And of course the flip side...is there really any reason to buy expensive bio media except where space is highly limited (thus the absolute best efficiency required)?
     
  2. duke33

    duke33 Hillbilly MFKer

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    I've read that it clogs up quick and that it is to hard to clean. But I guess if you have an abundant source, when it gets polluted you could change a little bit out at a time...
     
  3. ianab

    ianab AC Members

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    Should work OK. It's all about surface area. You can use normal gravel as filter media, thats how an undergravel filters works. But the rocks are generally round and smooth, not much surface area. You need to have a layer the size of your tank to be usefull.

    Volcanic scoria has been formed with lots of bubbles, holes and cracks, so you get a bigger surface area, so it's a better media than normal gravel.

    Ceramic biomedia has been specifically made with microscopic holes in it, so it's surface area is even higher. So even more bacteria can live on/in it.

    So if you have a big enough filter you could stuff it with Scoria, but you probably need 10X as much volume as ceramic media.

    Now if you have an empty tray in the filter, and dont need the maximum possible filtering, and dont want to shell out for expensive media, then drop some scoria in there. It will host a usefull amount of bacteria and be much more usefull than an empty space.

    Ian
     
  4. RodInCALIFORNIA

    RodInCALIFORNIA EBAY ADDICT !

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    lava rock works just fine i use some in a few of my wet dry filters along with bio balls. you can get lava rock pretty cheap at walmart.
     
  5. CWO4GUNNER

    CWO4GUNNER USN/USCG 1974-2004 Weps

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    Cant prove it but I think that besides the basic porous surface that lava rock provides, there is organic interactions that take place between the mineral molecules and the bacteria/waste. I notice that compared to other inert or man-man materials it never seems to get putrid or smell bad, in fact I never change my lava rock like I do my carbon, bio-balls, or ceramics.

    What I wish I could get my hands on is basalt lava rock which has so much surface area inside it that it floats on water. They use it to make super light concrete but as a filter media would be awesome I think.
     
  6. mott

    mott AC Members

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    Hmm your bio balls and ceramics get smelly? I haven't noticed that,
    I never used bio balls but I've been using ceramic media for years.
    People have been using lava rock with good results for years it's an excellent bio media.
     
  7. Michwol42795

    Michwol42795 CanTANKerous

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    Lava rock should be fine as a biomedia. I agree, it's all about surface area and lava rock has a lot of that!
     
  8. Mgamer20o0

    Mgamer20o0 BobsTropicalPlants.com
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  9. inaun

    inaun Registered Member

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    Sorry, this is off topic, but I noticed the PayPal spam at the bottom of your post and have to comment...

    I would never, ever, ever trust PayPal with my bank account number -- and recommend that nobody else trust such financial information to them. They are an unregulated company with a TON of complaints against them. There is a reason to use a credit card over the Internet, for your protection! PayPal entirely bypasses this protection with their big "trust us" smile. If they mess up they can totally deplete your bank account!
     

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