Aquaponic Gardening

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I'm setting up a try out AP system in my garage.I'm in tropical fish keeping & breeding hobby for about 15yrs.

My try out FT is 50G with lots happy kois, loaches, catfish, silver dollars and other tropical fish. I plan to set 3x14G GBs(about 24"Lx16"Wx12"H each) on top of the 50G FT. I would like to set up a flood-and-drain system. I plan to place one layer (about 170 bioballs) of 1.5" Bioballs on the bottom of each GB then covered with 1/2" river stone. Since bioballs are much cheaper ($0.6 per bioball) than hydroton and the ability of holding bacteria is much better. One 1.5" bioball can hold billions of good bacteria, with that many bioballs in GB the nitrate exchange should be very effective and fast, I believe.

To my personal experience, the gravel won't help very much to filter the water effectively and fast enough. Since the good bacteria only habitat on their surface so you need tons of gravel to do the water filter works. Currently, my 4yrs old 50G FT is running by a canister filer with only 30 bioballs inside as the bio filter media.

Now my question is, can I put one layer of Bioballs on the bottom of GB to act as main biological filter media for my 50G fish tank?

Since i haven't seen this layout discussed anywhere, so I would appreciate any input anyone has.

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Sounds like a good idea to me :)

Let us know how it works out!

it would work, but bioballs are meant to move around in the water, in the "bio-ball" tank.. the movement of the balls and flow of the water break down solids, but they would provide surface area for bacteria.. from the look of some of the bioballs i've seen though, i'd expect the weight of the gravel to crush them after a while

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