How Do Eco-Bio Blocks Improve Aquarium Water Quality?
What Exactly Is the Eco-Bio Block?
Eco-Bio Blocks are rock-and-cement blocks treated with bacteria that you can place in your tank. They are said to minimize the frequency of water changes necessary to maintain a good chemistry in your aquarium by reducing harmful ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates. Monitoring the levels in your tank and changing the water is still necessary, but these blocks are supposed to provide bacteria that will make your life easier. I've tried the blocks myself in my saltwater tank (although they also work in freshwater tanks), and go over my results below.
So let's begin to understand the process of how the Eco-Bio Block significantly and naturally improves water clarity and quality in both freshwater and saltwater systems. First, let's take a look at what exactly the Eco-Bio block is before examining how it clarifies cloudy water conditions and improves overall chemistry parameters in your tank setup.
The Eco-Bio Block, as you will see explained in the next few videos, is basically a unique conglomeration of a few different substances we are all familiar with. Derived from an area around Southern Japan, the Bio-Block is comprised of porous volcanic rock, a mixture of cement block ingredients, and a few other ingredients that clarify water by activating essential beneficial bacteria.
When the Bio-Block comes in contact with water, the bacteria within the block begin to multiply within about half an hour. Talk about rapid cycling! Let me mention that the Bio-Block lasts for up to two years before the stone begins to lose its beneficial bacterial effects.
Achieving Near-Perfect Water Parameters Is Essential to a Healthy-Looking Ecosystem
A Simple Explanation of Water Chemistry and the Nitrogen Cycle
As I mentioned earlier, understanding basic water chemistry and the nitrogen cycle will help you understand how this block fits into that cycle. It does a better job aiding in the cycle than an aquarium filter, plants, or even live rock, though those components are still necessary for achieving high quality water chemistry, which equates to clear water.
Here's my simplified explanation of the nitrogen cycle:
The cycle begins with decomposing matter. Your fish's fecal matter, decaying plants, or even a few flakes of fish food that begin to rot can all activate the nitrogen cycle because that matter releases ammonia, which is very toxic to most aquarium inhabitants. Naturally occurring bacteria will then turn the ammonia into another toxic compound called nitrite. Finally, a different type of naturally occurring bacteria will convert the nitrite into less harmful nitrate.
Even though less harmful, nitrates can and do stress out our fish friends and other sensitive invertebrates like corals. Frequent water changes, depending on the size of your aquarium, will often remove those nitrates. Larger aquariums are less maintenance as a general rule, but not always. Aquarium plants in a freshwater tank and live rock in a saltwater aquarium also remove nitrates—which is exactly what the Eco-Bio Block does, but the block does so more quickly. It continually increases that good bacteria in your aquarium water.
The videos below explain this in greater detail. What it's important remember is that you need a good plan to maintain water chemistry through water changes and components such as plants, live rock, and the Bio Block. I cannot stress this point enough. Without good water chemistry, you will have an unhealthy tank, incapable of supporting any type of marine life, let alone clear water conditions. The Bio-Block may help you achieve optimal chemistry sooner, but you will still need to do weekly or bi-weekly water changes. Just try to remember these three "P"s and in this order: planning, patience, and persistence.
A Simplified Explanation of the Nitrogen Cycle
A Detailed Explanation of the Eco-Bio Block
A Before Video of the Eco-Bio Block in Action
The Proof Here Is Not in the Pudding, But in the Water Clarity Observed
In the before and after videos above, you can clearly see a substantial improvement in this individual's freshwater tank water within two weeks.
Youtube videos are Youtube videos, and one result does not a conclusive study make. To know for sure whether the stone will work in your tank, you'll have to try it yourself.
I can personally attest to the fact, though, that this block does work and evidentally has water clarifying effects. As you can see by my photo at the beginning of this article, the particular 20-gallon saltwater tank that I started cycling this year has obvious water clarity and quality (less obviously, the nitrate levels are also low). In the center of the aquarium is a large Eco-Bio Stone.
Note: The block is actually pink when you remove it from the box it comes in, and it remains pink. The reason you are also seeing a pinkish hue cast throughout the rest of the aquarium is because I am using a multi-spectrum LED light fixture and it is set on a red spectrum setting. This is more for show, rather than anything else.
In about a week's time, the Eco-Stone made a substantial difference. And remember this is without adding live cured rock, which is often used as a natural biological filter to start the cycling process in new aquariums like this one. So basically what two medium pieces of live rock (which would cost about $40) would have accomplished, one large Eco-Bio Block (costing about $29) achieved in approximately two and a half weeks less time. And my nitrate level at this point in time is barely 5 ppm.
Nitrates are not necessarily a huge problem to many fish species, as long as they do not exceed 39 or 40 ppm maximum. But if you want to start an all-coral tank, as I plan to do eventually, you definitely want all water chemistry parameters to be as near to perfect as possible. And that includes a nitrate reading of nearly zero.
As explained in the previous paragraphs, I could comfortably say that, to date, the block has assisted in speeding up the cycling process in my tank, in addition to helping the water stay healthy looking! And whether it's the nitrifying bacteria that is unique to this particular rock or some other feature of its total make-up that assists in clearing the water may still need to be researched further by new and experienced aquarists who are involved in this hobby. For now, all I can say is it works for me!