Bacto Reef Balls Product Review by Immo Gerber

Fauna Marin Bacto Reef Balls

Small balls, Big Results

By Immo Gerber


Claude Schuhmacher, owner of Fauna Marin, has been well known in the saltwater hobby for his innovative products.

Similar to PC computer chip development where changes are often small and easily overlooked, the innovations made from such advances allow for notable results. When FM announced their new products, I must admit that I was curious to give one of their new products a try.

According to the product description, Bacto Reef Balls claims to provide these benefits:

  • Crystal clear, healthy water
  • Easier nutrient control: reduces nitrogen and phosphates
  • Reduced unwanted algae growth
  • Cost effective and efficient
  • Supports the natural bacterial flora
  • Eliminates troublesome bacterial plaque and Detritus build up
  • Removes organic waste products
  • Increases the skimming process and minimizes cleaning intervals
  • Simplified dosing
  • Unique depot effect, effective 2 week doses

From my experience in using past FM products, they have never promoted false claims. For those reasons, we decided to order their smallest container, 100ml for 14.95€.

After waiting a few days, the product arrived. Upon shaking the small bottle, we noticed that it sounded very liquidy. After opening the bottle, we were able to see why:

As you can see the balls have a gelatin-like structure and are encased by a liquid. The smell is completely neutral. For demonstration purposes, we have cut one Bacto Reef Ball for you.

A close observation shows that the whole ball is made of a homogenous material. The structure and nature of the product is different, inside and out.

Bacto Reef Balls in use: Our Impressions

We began using this new product by placing it into a media filter, together with PO4 absorber, carbon, and some Zeolite. After one week of use, we can clearly see the size of the balls having decreased due to the depot effect. We’ve added “new” balls to the reactor to illustrate the difference in size between the 1 week old balls and new balls:

The product’s depot effect is noticeable as the balls dissolve over time. By the proven effectiveness of its homogeneous structure, it can be assumed that the time-release method of the balls are relatively linear. The advantage to such effect is likely to be clear to everyone. Rather than supplying the tank with sudden quantities which can dissipate too quickly, the new dose method proves to be more reliable, continuous, and much more accommodating.

It was not long til we noticed a discernible effect, namely in the form of extremely clear water. This effect was similar to what would be observed the day after using activated carbon, ozone, or another comparable method. The smell of the water became neutral, just as the product said it would do. We also observed that after a few days, the vitality of coral increased, namely a significant improvement in polyp extension. Here are some examples:

And another effect that was noticed was the better coloration of our Fijian acropora. Beforehand, we had problems maintaining the coloration of corals from this region. Pieces such as Acropora Microlados “Blueberry Shortcake” were brown before Bacto Reef Balls. A decrease of unwanted and detritus in the known areas of the tank were also noticed.

One can clearly see how the corals begin to slowly change their color.

A few more pictures to illustrate:

The Verdict

Bacto Reef Balls from Fauna Marin is a really good product in our eyes. The price, the yield, especially the noticeable effects make us confident to recommend this product to every ambitious aquarist.

This review was translated from the original German text with permission from its author, Immo Gerber. To view the original German content, please click on the blog banner at the top of this page.