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Are we over complicating tanks?

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This thread reminds me of the Super cheap and easy method. dudes video cracks me up 

 

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4 hours ago, Subsea said:

In a recent conversation with Randy Holmes Farley, he commented on UV sterilization in a reef tank, 

“UV radiation ruptures bacteria membrane spilling their guts in the water”.  When I questioned him on using “bacteria guts” to feed filter feeders & sponges, he agreed that it would feed a high nutrient system.  

In my phyto experiment, I quickly raised the specific gravity of a freshwater phyto culture, causing many of the algae cell membranes to rupture.  This released the DNA (which is sticky) into the culture, causing the remaining cells to want to clump the together (which was very visually apparent).  These cells where then able to be removed with mechanical filtration (much like how a water clarifier works).

 

So in this thought experiment, I'm not sure if UV is providing food, clarifying the water (with the help of mechanical filtration), or both.  I guess the question is, are the cell contents more bioavailable than the cells themselves, and if rupturing the cells changes how the cells and contents are distributed throughout the tank (and made available to coral), and if clumps of cells are better food than individual cells.

 

I'm definitely not sure of the answers.  However, I suspect that Randy might have been speculating a bit here too.  Although there is little doubt that the UV filter has some sort of effect.

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3 hours ago, pal said:

This thread reminds me of the Super cheap and easy method. dudes video cracks me up

The cigarette while filming was a nice touch.

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I am guessing a UV could help feed sponges if there was no mechanical filtration to catch the ruptured bacteria.  I have been contemplating adding a UV to the seahorse DT.  I do not use filter pads, socks or floss to catch larger stuff.  I do run an oversized protein skimmer to help with removing all the DOC from seahorse wastes but the macros continue to flourish so obviously it is not stripping the water column.  I have some sponges that could maybe benefit from the killing of some of the bacteria.  I would probably get a UV sterilizer that would be considered on the smaller size for my tank since algae is not a problem I am dealing with.

 

However back to the original topic, I have always been a fan of simple systems that let nature do a lot of the work.  There are less moving parts to break as long as you don't destroy the biological filter and it gets better with age!

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38 minutes ago, vlangel said:

I am guessing a UV could help feed sponges if there was no mechanical filtration to catch the ruptured bacteria.  I have been contemplating adding a UV to the seahorse DT.  I do not use filter pads, socks or floss to catch larger stuff.  I do run an oversized protein skimmer to help with removing all the DOC from seahorse wastes but the macros continue to flourish so obviously it is not stripping the water column.  I have some sponges that could maybe benefit from the killing of some of the bacteria.  I would probably get a UV sterilizer that would be considered on the smaller size for my tank since algae is not a problem I am dealing with.

Dawn, so you are assuming that based on Randy's statement that ruptured bacteria is more beneficial than live bacteria (and that if any clumping of cells occurs, that this wouldn't have a negative effect).  I guess I'd like to see the context of Randy's statement to see if it was a hypothetical, or based on anecdotal evidence or scientific study.  I also wonder if your protein skimmer would react differently to ruptured cells and cell "guts", versus live cells. :unsure:

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12 hours ago, HarryPotter said:

30% Water change with RSCP every 6 months, a UV, no dosing. Super happy softie reef. Most of the corals were the “beginner” corals I gave to him when I upgraded tanks. Fist sized pipe organ is now like a basketball. (My uncles tank I set up)

 

JGSoxod.jpg

 

10 hours ago, Subsea said:

That is a gorgeous display.   How long set up?

 

PS:  In a recent conversation with Randy Holmes Farley, he commented on UV sterilization in a reef tank, 

“UV radiation ruptures bacteria membrane spilling their guts in the water”.  When I questioned him on using “bacteria guts” to feed filter feeders & sponges, he agreed that it would feed a high nutrient system.  

 

     The tank tank had been set up 4 years ago, mediocre at best FOWLER with forests of GHA, being maintained by LFS. It was taken down for construction, and ~2 years ago I restarted it with new (identical) plumbing,  lighting (T5 rather than fluorescent), a skimmer, and a UV I had laying around. Bleached and reused their dry rock. 

 

I was planning on charging them monthly to do maintenance.... but it just doesn’t need it. Tests low in Ca/Alk/Mg, but nutrients zero (It’s seeded with my tanks super bacteria 🙂 )  and corals grow. 

 

Interesting regarding the effect of UV!

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31 minutes ago, seabass said:

Dawn, so you are assuming that based on Randy's statement that ruptured bacteria is more beneficial than live bacteria (and that if any clumping of cells occurs, that this wouldn't have a negative effect).  I guess I'd like to see the context of Randy's statement to see if it was a hypothetical, or based on anecdotal evidence or scientific study.  I also wonder if your protein skimmer would react differently to ruptured cells and cell "guts", versus live cells. :unsure:

Randy’s statement was hypothetical.  The person who has done some of these studies is on this website.  He is a marine microbial biologist in academia research.  He did not embrace the concept of gumbo for filter feeders.  I lean toward, differrent size mouths eat differrent size food.  Nothing academic about that.  

 

Use of UV as a food source was never my goal, it just evolved.  Too many algae spores in my high nutrient systems draws me to using uv.

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45 minutes ago, seabass said:

Dawn, so you are assuming that based on Randy's statement that ruptured bacteria is more beneficial than live bacteria (and that if any clumping of cells occurs, that this wouldn't have a negative effect).  I guess I'd like to see the context of Randy's statement to see if it was a hypothetical, or based on anecdotal evidence or scientific study.  I also wonder if your protein skimmer would react differently to ruptured cells and cell "guts", versus live cells. :unsure:

Not totally, I am also going by experience with a previous UV on my 1st seahorse tank.  The UV only effect water borne life, so all the beneficial life on the sand and rock is totally not effected at all and that is the majority of bacteria, good and bad.  It does help with water borne parasites in the swim stage.  I just found it beneficial in my 1st seahorse tank and decided if it does anything that can possibly feed some filter feeders I am going to consider it.

 

@Subsea, do you have the flow through the UV fairly slow to kill the algae spores?

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All UV that I operate are oversized and underflowed to increase dwell time for parasite eradication.

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I probably run a complicated simple tank. What is complicated about it is the equipment I have - what is simple about it is the equipment I have. 🙄

Okay - I have bells and whistles - but they are simple. Let me explain.

 

I have a custom hybrid light from @DaveFason - but think about the light itself - it's giving nourishing light in the spectrum that promotes growth for my corals. Sure, it has 6 channels of dimming , 6 arrays, and it wasn't cheap but it's a great light and it's set to run automatically - that's simple. 

 

I have a large skimmer and a reactor as well as a fuge. I like macros and pods so a fuge is necessary, plus it can house my big cheery pistol shrimp. The skimmer and reactor are necessary because I feed a lot and need the export. That's simple right? I feed a lot - I need to export a lot.

 

I auto dose 2 part and also throw in other additives and supplements for coral nutrition.

 

I do have problems from time to time - sure. But I feel that I have everything dialed in and I don't try to chase numbers or anything.

My reef is able to thrive and recover from issues because I don't change it much - at its core it stays steady.

Like @seabass said - there are so many methodologies that are successful and that work for different people that to try to come up with one way of doing things would be a foolish endeavor. Often times doing things the simplest way is the best way. 

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Kats kinda got it. 

 

Some of you may know, I’m really a K.I.S.S. kinda guy. But, I have to admit, I do love me some gadgets. That said, I like to keep those simple, too. I use a 2 channel doser. What for? 1 channel is for kalk (yeah, it’s simpler than 2 part), the other is for a mix of mag and stront. That makes up my top off system. Kill 2 birds with one stone. My lights..... well, I gotta admit, I do love the sunrise/sunset/ ramping of LED’s. Honestly, for growth and color, I’d rather have MH. But, between heat, power consumption, and programmability of LED’s, it’s kinda a toss up (usually won by the LED fixtures.) Not to mention bulb replacement. Plus, quality MH bulbs are getting pretty scarce these days. 

 

I do have a programmer that could run most things, but in reality, it’s too complicated for me. It’s become a glorified heater controller / surge protector. Yeah, it’s a waste. But a heater controller was damn near the same cost. So, why not? 

 

I have a nice skimmer. Still haven’t set it up yet. I haven’t used a skimmer in years. Why start now? It’s just one more thing I’d have to deal with. I run a tiny amount of GFO through a homemade reactor when phos starts to climb. Beyond that, carbon, floss, and water changes. However, I haven’t run GFO on this tank yet. No reason to, yet.

 

I suppose some might consider my actual tank as complicated, but it makes sense to me. I plan out a tank. I don’t always stick to that plan (admit it. We all do that.) this one is new. I’m trying out some new ideas I’ve been tossing around in my head for years. Oddly enough, I see Subsea is doing something similar. Which, makes me feel my thoughts were on the right track. It’s not that I haven’t done some of these things before, I’ve just never set up a system that is in part, based on these ideas. It’s not groundbreaking stuff, it’s just simple biological ideas, and basing a tank, in part off that. 

 

One thing i will throw out there, that is bound to ruffle some feathers. (Hell, I don’t really care. If you’re offended by my statement, you need some thicker skin.) I think all of you setting up whole systems from dead rock are nuts. I’ll say it again. There are a thousand ways to run a reef. Don’t think my way is the only way. Do what works for you. But, I’ll take the few odd bad HH, over bacteria in a bottle any day. It’s what I’ve been doing for around 30 years, and I’m sticking with it. However, I’m now a big fan of the man made or mined rock, stuck in the ocean for a few years. Way fresher than even air shipped indo, or Fiji rock ever was. And you can’t beat a 0 to 3 day cycle. 

 

As as far as my tank goes, it’s still just starting off. I don’t know if it’ll work out, so I’m not posting about it in any detail. If it does go over well, I’ll be happy to throw out all the details. However, until I have at least some anecdotal evidence as to it’s viability on a somewhat long term basis.... my lips are sealed. Still, don’t expect a tank thread from me, EVER.

 

 

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I really love hearing about these various tank husbandry routines/theories from sucessful reefers... this should be a thread in its own right (no comments just tank ethos...). 

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24 minutes ago, RayWhisperer said:

I think all of you setting up whole systems from dead rock are nuts. I’ll say it again.

Haha.  On both of my current tanks, they were started with 100% dry rock.  That said, I've echoed your same sentiment on several occasions.  I've had to make several additions to these tanks to introduce a little biodiversity; and after a couple of years, I'm finally considering these tanks as becoming mature.  This has been sort of a working experiment for me.  My conclusion, is that rock from the ocean is definitely superior.

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14 minutes ago, seabass said:

Haha.  On both of my current tanks, they were started with 100% dry rock.  That said, I've echoed your same sentiment on several occasions.  I've had to make several additions to these tanks to introduce a little biodiversity; and after a couple of years, I'm finally considering these tanks as becoming mature.  This has been sort of a working experiment for me.  My conclusion, is that rock from the ocean is definitely superior.

I'm really leaning to the use of live rock when I do my 75g. Maybe not 100percent but at least 60 or 70 percent. I may even take rock out of my 20.

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10 minutes ago, seabass said:

Haha.  On both of my current tanks, they were started with 100% dry rock.  That said, I've echoed your same sentiment on several occasions.  I've had to make several additions to these tanks to introduce a little biodiversity; and after a couple of years, I'm finally considering these tanks as becoming mature.  This has been sort of a working experiment for me.  My conclusion, is that rock from the ocean is definitely superior.

I’ve been a believer in diversity at the microscopic level since around 2005. When I finally got a computer, and went on the GARF site, to see what everyone had been talking about for years. Granted, Leroy’s description about the benefits of bacterial diversity was vague. It still made sense to me. After that, it wasn’t just live rock, it was GARF grunge, inland Aquarius sand bag, other, mature systems friends had. I’d throw a little of everything in there. This new system, I plan on adding new sources every few years. Again, because of something I read on GARF. I believe some strains are better suited to life in a box. So, it makes sense to me, that a system will become more of a monoculture over time. I’ll combat that with new additions every few years. 

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2 hours ago, RayWhisperer said:

 So, it makes sense to me, that a system will become more of a monoculture over time. I’ll combat that with new additions every few years. 

Many, many years ago I used to have the same mindset and bought the 'Grunge' from GARF and some stuff from IPSF for my old 55g.  Interestingly, as the years went by between new additions I noticed that over the long haul I still had basically the same subset of little critters that I started with.  I totally agree with starting off with good quality ocean live rock (preferably at least 50%) as it provides the vast majority of the little critters that will ever survive long-term in a reef tank.  But for those who start with dry rock, Grunge and similar is a very good idea.

 

My current 12g hasn't had much added in a few years, just a few small odd coral pieces/frags here-and-there that added perhaps a tiny amount of biodiversity.  I still have the original critters from the beginning setup that are obviously amenable to captive conditions (colonial hydroids, limpets, collunista snails, bristleworms and various tiny crustaceans and worms).  The only critters that I added on purpose were small common brittle starfish (my original  live rock had none) and a stable mysid shrimp population from feeding non-irradiated frozen mysids. 

 

IME, when a system is stable and the small stuff hasn't been killed off via meds, heater malfunctions or other calamities, enough biodiversity is typically maintained naturally to maintain system stability.

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8 hours ago, RayWhisperer said:

I’ve been a believer in diversity at the microscopic level since around 2005. When I finally got a computer, and went on the GARF site, to see what everyone had been talking about for years. Granted, Leroy’s description about the benefits of bacterial diversity was vague. It still made sense to me. After that, it wasn’t just live rock, it was GARF grunge, inland Aquarius sand bag, other, mature systems friends had. I’d throw a little of everything in there. This new system, I plan on adding new sources every few years. Again, because of something I read on GARF. I believe some strains are better suited to life in a box. So, it makes sense to me, that a system will become more of a monoculture over time. I’ll combat that with new additions every few years. 

I am all about diversity in my reef tank.  For me, uncured diver collected live rock is the ultimate surprise, the good kind.   Once, after several years with no changes, I rearranged aquascaping to discover colorful bryozoans and Christmas tree worms abounding on the “dark side” of the rock.  I never get bored with the beauty that is on display in our tanks.  Without the “microbial overlords” it could not happen.  

 

While my reefkeeping style is simple, the microbial community is not.  It is complex, interconnected and dependent on each other with cross talk between microbes and coral.  The community of the “coral holobiont” is complex and in a constant flux of “Dynamic Equilibrium”.

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This is all super interesting, and also making me kind of sad that I didn't start with live rock...

 

maybe next time. 

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I’m with the live rock crowd. However, live rock definition has changed a bit over the years. 

 

8871E2F4-2F43-4A4D-9D0A-1BAA4EC327D9.jpeg.3956902038a9e04e75bf5a18b2c4dcef.jpeg

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12 hours ago, RayWhisperer said:

Kats kinda got it. 

 

Some of you may know, I’m really a K.I.S.S. kinda guy. But, I have to admit, I do love me some gadgets. That said, I like to keep those simple, too. I use a 2 channel doser. What for? 1 channel is for kalk (yeah, it’s simpler than 2 part), the other is for a mix of mag and stront. That makes up my top off system. Kill 2 birds with one stone. My lights..... well, I gotta admit, I do love the sunrise/sunset/ ramping of LED’s. Honestly, for growth and color, I’d rather have MH. But, between heat, power consumption, and programmability of LED’s, it’s kinda a toss up (usually won by the LED fixtures.) Not to mention bulb replacement. Plus, quality MH bulbs are getting pretty scarce these days. 

 

I do have a programmer that could run most things, but in reality, it’s too complicated for me. It’s become a glorified heater controller / surge protector. Yeah, it’s a waste. But a heater controller was damn near the same cost. So, why not? 

 

I have a nice skimmer. Still haven’t set it up yet. I haven’t used a skimmer in years. Why start now? It’s just one more thing I’d have to deal with. I run a tiny amount of GFO through a homemade reactor when phos starts to climb. Beyond that, carbon, floss, and water changes. However, I haven’t run GFO on this tank yet. No reason to, yet.

 

I suppose some might consider my actual tank as complicated, but it makes sense to me. I plan out a tank. I don’t always stick to that plan (admit it. We all do that.) this one is new. I’m trying out some new ideas I’ve been tossing around in my head for years. Oddly enough, I see Subsea is doing something similar. Which, makes me feel my thoughts were on the right track. It’s not that I haven’t done some of these things before, I’ve just never set up a system that is in part, based on these ideas. It’s not groundbreaking stuff, it’s just simple biological ideas, and basing a tank, in part off that. 

 

One thing i will throw out there, that is bound to ruffle some feathers. (Hell, I don’t really care. If you’re offended by my statement, you need some thicker skin.) I think all of you setting up whole systems from dead rock are nuts. I’ll say it again. There are a thousand ways to run a reef. Don’t think my way is the only way. Do what works for you. But, I’ll take the few odd bad HH, over bacteria in a bottle any day. It’s what I’ve been doing for around 30 years, and I’m sticking with it. However, I’m now a big fan of the man made or mined rock, stuck in the ocean for a few years. Way fresher than even air shipped indo, or Fiji rock ever was. And you can’t beat a 0 to 3 day cycle. 

 

As as far as my tank goes, it’s still just starting off. I don’t know if it’ll work out, so I’m not posting about it in any detail. If it does go over well, I’ll be happy to throw out all the details. However, until I have at least some anecdotal evidence as to it’s viability on a somewhat long term basis.... my lips are sealed. Still, don’t expect a tank thread from me, EVER.

 

 

I agree.

 

I love using liverock in my tanks.

 

 

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100% over complicating things! I have never subscribed to dosing anything - no trace elements, no parameter chasers etc.... and feel like I have had really great success with difficult SPS. Color and growth has always been solid. Water changes and patience are all you ever need to run a long term reef. 

 

The ONLY exception I have made is Fluco. That stuff is incredible and I am never with out it.  

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Dry rock for the win 😬😝. Coralline still grows, bacteria finds its way in. Just gotta be more patient! 

 

So so many tanks I see locally are covered with Aptasia. Maybe that’s because local fish stores throws dry rock into their sumps, allow it to brown up and get infested with Aptasia, and sell it as “live rock”. 

 

I dont think there is something “missing” from tanks that were started with dry rock. Some biodiversity comes with every coral you add, and although biodiversity is theoretically what you want for stability, it is not the “recipe” for success.  Corals may thrive in a (relativly) sterile environment equally to in a biologicaly diverse one. Are we talking diversity for tank stability or coral health? I

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I am a live rock gal.  All of the rock in my seahorse DT is from at least 2004 and may be from 1997 and was live rock from the ocean.  Aiptasia can be dealt with if taken care of before they multipy into plague proportions.  And Aiptasia do not only come on live rock, they HH on coral frags too (being the opportunistic little creatures that they are).  I know that because the only dry dead rock tank I ever started is my 5.5 AIO shrimp chalet, and it has a tiny aiptasia on a new frag of zoas that I bought.  I will say that my 5.5 AIO tank has been great and easy to maintain so I am not hating on dead dry rock at all.  It was a lot of fun epoxying it into the shape I wanted it to be, and that was never a luxury I had with my live rock.

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1 hour ago, HarryPotter said:

Some biodiversity comes with every coral you add...

Unfortunately, since we can't just target the bad stuff, a Bayer dip is designed to kill off a good portion of that non-bacterial diversity.

 

1 hour ago, HarryPotter said:

Are we talking diversity for tank stability or coral health?

I'd say stability; but not parameter stability (more like a microbial balance).  I feel that a more sterile environment can give unwanted invaders the upper hand (without having natural competition).  The diversity will also help establish a food chain which can also positively affect coral health.

 

Harry, with your success, I could hardly argue with your methods.  It's just another example of how there are many ways to a successful reef tank.  Sometimes the difference is the reefer (being able to identify potential problems and make corrections, where another reefer, might let it escalate into a problem).  I'm pretty sure that different protocols and methodologies, as well as different livestock vendors can make a difference too.

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