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ninjamyst

Why I will always run a refugium in all my tanks

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ninjamyst

A lot of people say a refugium for a nano tank isn't very useful because AIO tanks usually don't have enough space in the back chambers to grow enough chaeto to make a dent in nutrient levels.  I have never ran refugium in the 3 nano tanks I had.  But now I am a big believer in refugiums, not so much for the nutrient export but more for introducing and sustaining biodiversity. 

 

I battled dino for a long time in my 75 gallon reef and I finally got things under control once I got my refugium running in the sump.  At first I had trouble growing chaeto as they will turn white and melt away.  It wasn't until I started dosing Brightwell Chaetogro that chaeto growth exploded.  And then the pods and all sorts of life sprung up in my refugium.  Tons of baby snails, little feather duster things, and more.  And as the refugium matures, my tank and corals look better and better.  I stopped running phosguard, purigen, UV, etc.  I run a tiny bit of carbon just in case.  Otherwise, it's just a skimmer, biomedia, and my refugium keeping my nitrate and phosphate very low, so low that I have to occasionally dose nitrate straight up.  

 

Having seen how much of a difference a refugium made for my big tank, I added some chaeto to a new frag tank I started.  The frag tank wasn't doing well, the zoas I had in there were not growing and the color was dull.  Since this was a frag tank, there isn't any live rock in the display, just some biomedia in the back chambers.  Things were too sterile, too clean, 0 biodiversity.  Since I added chaeto, it only took a few weeks for the color to come back to my zoas.

 

I also have a Fluval 13.5g tank that's been running for 1+ years now, with the rock and sand being transferred from my old mature Fluval Spec V.  This tank has been running great with LPS but not much luck with zoas or SPS.  I recently rebooted the tank and swapped out all the LPS with BTAs because the LPS have outgrown the tank.  I figure I got a kick ass NanoBox light in a mature tank so BTAs shouldn't be an issue even though it's a nano tank.  Well, the BTAs started to bleach.  I found a rusting magnet and removed it but the bleaching continued.  So as an experiement, I added some chaeto to the back chambers.  Maybe it's a fluke but BTAs don't look as bleach after a week with chaeto.  I will continue to monitor the tank but I am convinced I will always run a refugium in all my tanks and load it with pods and biodiversity instead of running lots of chemical filtration.  So many gadgets out there but at the end of the day, nature knows best.

 

Anyone else with success running a refugium in their nanos?

 

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Matteo

So far so good. 

 

I have my entire right caddy full of chaeto in my IM40 being lit by an IM chaetomax led. It's doubled in size almost in just two weeks 

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pokerdobe

I can't keep a fuge to save my life. Failed in my 20 gallons, the 65 gallon, and now the 200 gallon. 

 

I just turned my sump into a frag tank lol. 

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vegasgundog

When I ran the bc29, chaeto grew like a weed in the media basket. Pods everywhere. Wife wants it set up in the bedroom with a clown harem. If I do, the fuge basket will run again. 

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Tamberav

I used them in the past and liked them for growing pods.  Most of my tanks don't seem to have the po4 or nitrate to grow cheato right now.

 

I haven't had any problems keeping a wide range of corals without cheato though but biodiversity isn't lacking. 

 

 

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ninjamyst
7 hours ago, pokerdobe said:

I can't keep a fuge to save my life. Failed in my 20 gallons, the 65 gallon, and now the 200 gallon. 

 

I just turned my sump into a frag tank lol. 

Dose brightwell chaetogro!  

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pokerdobe
3 hours ago, ninjamyst said:

Dose brightwell chaetogro!  

Too much has been done already lol. I'm moving alot of corals I want, but has no place in my display scape to live in my fuge. 

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Matteo

higher stocked tanks I think benefit from them or tanks that you don't want to water change as often

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Wonderboy

100% agree; nature absolutely knows best. The biodiversity is the advantage. I think that every system would benefit from either a DSB or macro 'fuge. I run everything with no chemical or mechanical filtration; my only maintenences are dosing particular consumptions back to the water column and partial/large WCs (depending on system). Given enough area away from the display, any form of algae/bacteria is beneficial; even hair algae is by far a much better tool for balancing chemical fluctuations than any manual attempt to manipulate element composition. Marketing, pics, and printing on all those products sure do make it seem simple though  😆     

 

14 hours ago, ninjamyst said:

don't look as bleach after a week with chaeto

Is it possible that your BTAs finally started getting used to the change in light right around the same time?

 

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Matteo
1 hour ago, Wonderboy said:

100% agree; nature absolutely knows best. The biodiversity is the advantage. I think that every system would benefit from either a DSB or macro 'fuge. I run everything with no chemical or mechanical filtration; my only maintenences are dosing particular consumptions back to the water column and partial/large WCs (depending on system). Given enough area away from the display, any form of algae/bacteria is beneficial; even hair algae is by far a much better tool for balancing chemical fluctuations than any manual attempt to manipulate element composition. Marketing, pics, and printing on all those products sure do make it seem simple though  😆     

 

Is it possible that your BTAs finally started getting used to the change in light right around the same time?

 

No chemical or mechanical? 

 

Savage. 

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ninjamyst
1 hour ago, Wonderboy said:

100% agree; nature absolutely knows best. The biodiversity is the advantage. I think that every system would benefit from either a DSB or macro 'fuge. I run everything with no chemical or mechanical filtration; my only maintenences are dosing particular consumptions back to the water column and partial/large WCs (depending on system). Given enough area away from the display, any form of algae/bacteria is beneficial; even hair algae is by far a much better tool for balancing chemical fluctuations than any manual attempt to manipulate element composition. Marketing, pics, and printing on all those products sure do make it seem simple though  😆     

 

Is it possible that your BTAs finally started getting used to the change in light right around the same time?

 

No mechanical filtration?  Woah!  So do you vacuum out the detritus at all?

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Tamberav

I think the key here is biodiversity and a fuge is a good way to get it but without one doesn't mean biodiversity will be lacking. 

 

I have often wanted to replace my skimmers with fuges but I tried to do a algae scrubber once and hubby was not a fan of the light spill (even a little bit) and I couldn't figure out a way to eliminate it entirely on an AIO. This thread has got me thinking to try and get it working again. 

37 minutes ago, ninjamyst said:

No mechanical filtration?  Woah!  So do you vacuum out the detritus at all?

I think there is a bunch of no-sock sump users on other forums. 

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Wonderboy
1 hour ago, ninjamyst said:

So do you vacuum out the detritus at all?

 

Nope, never - exception, QT systems. After I set up a DT and refugium, I try not to touch anything unless necessary; no scraping, no syphoning any kind of debris (I syphon from mid column). I will area scrape the glass only if I need to see something, but after cycle and introducing the proper CUC, the glass won't require mandatory scraping (will maintain itself >80% 'clean').

 

I don't use socks or skimmers. Detritus production correlates with your feeding regimen and over short time, as feeding is honed, microfauna populations will be able to find stability from its consistency. There are plenty of micro organisms that will keep detritus at bay and inevitably be fed to your corals. Flow in my DTs are just high enough to prevent debris from settling, but what happens in the 'fuge, stays in the 'fuge :happy:  I think it is important that there is almost no flow in some areas just as much as I think it is important to have plenty of flow in other places.

 

I do keep decent quantities of SW (some resevoirs plumbed directly to intended location) with correlating temps and pH for each system just in case, but I don't think that's too unorthodox. Waters are changed whenever I look at a setup and feel that something is off; occurance seems to be every  3 - 4 weeks for smaller systems, and I have gone multiple months (6+) on larger setups with good results in the past. 

 

Sorry, was asked one question, and now look at all that....

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ninjamyst
27 minutes ago, Wonderboy said:

 

Nope, never - exception, QT systems. After I set up a DT and refugium, I try not to touch anything unless necessary; no scraping, no syphoning any kind of debris (I syphon from mid column). I will area scrape the glass only if I need to see something, but after cycle and introducing the proper CUC, the glass won't require mandatory scraping (will maintain itself >80% 'clean').

 

I don't use socks or skimmers. Detritus production correlates with your feeding regimen and over short time, as feeding is honed, microfauna populations will be able to find stability from its consistency. There are plenty of micro organisms that will keep detritus at bay and inevitably be fed to your corals. Flow in my DTs are just high enough to prevent debris from settling, but what happens in the 'fuge, stays in the 'fuge :happy:  I think it is important that there is almost no flow in some areas just as much as I think it is important to have plenty of flow in other places.

 

I do keep decent quantities of SW (some resevoirs plumbed directly to intended location) with correlating temps and pH for each system just in case, but I don't think that's too unorthodox. Waters are changed whenever I look at a setup and feel that something is off; occurance seems to be every  3 - 4 weeks for smaller systems, and I have gone multiple months (6+) on larger setups with good results in the past. 

 

Sorry, was asked one question, and now look at all that....

Have lots more questions for you but will stalk your build threads first =).  Thanks for responding!  

 

Side note: Notice you are from Prescott, AZ.  Been trying to convince my wife to move there....hahah. 

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MrObscura

In my experience dinos are caused by too clean of a tank. I can feed a good amount and nutrients stay in check without a refugium. Granted I don't believe in targeting low nutrient levels and no3 up to 30 is fine with me as well as any po4 up to 0.1.

 

I know you said the main advantage is biodiversity but that will happen in any mature tank with or without a refugium, and Ive seen too impressive many long term tanks without a refugium to find them necessary. 

 

I'm a not against ever running one, but it would be for the reduction of co2 if I did. Overall though I'm a fan of the Berlin method, which is really just a fancy way of saying keep it simple... Live rock, a skimmer and you're good to go. 

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Tamberav
9 hours ago, ninjamyst said:

Dose brightwell chaetogro!  

 

I have the kents version of this, must have used it in a past tank. I just noticed it is expired so ordered some cheatogro because its cheaper on amazon then the kent stuff. Doing water changes to keep iron up is annoying for my macroalgae tank. Do you just follow the directions? 

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Matteo
2 hours ago, Wonderboy said:

 

Nope, never - exception, QT systems. After I set up a DT and refugium, I try not to touch anything unless necessary; no scraping, no syphoning any kind of debris (I syphon from mid column). I will area scrape the glass only if I need to see something, but after cycle and introducing the proper CUC, the glass won't require mandatory scraping (will maintain itself >80% 'clean').

 

I don't use socks or skimmers. Detritus production correlates with your feeding regimen and over short time, as feeding is honed, microfauna populations will be able to find stability from its consistency. There are plenty of micro organisms that will keep detritus at bay and inevitably be fed to your corals. Flow in my DTs are just high enough to prevent debris from settling, but what happens in the 'fuge, stays in the 'fuge :happy:  I think it is important that there is almost no flow in some areas just as much as I think it is important to have plenty of flow in other places.

 

I do keep decent quantities of SW (some resevoirs plumbed directly to intended location) with correlating temps and pH for each system just in case, but I don't think that's too unorthodox. Waters are changed whenever I look at a setup and feel that something is off; occurance seems to be every  3 - 4 weeks for smaller systems, and I have gone multiple months (6+) on larger setups with good results in the past. 

 

Sorry, was asked one question, and now look at all that....

Biggest take away 

 

"what happens in the fuge stays in the fuge" 

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ninjamyst
2 hours ago, Tamberav said:

 

I have the kents version of this, must have used it in a past tank. I just noticed it is expired so ordered some cheatogro because its cheaper on amazon then the kent stuff. Doing water changes to keep iron up is annoying for my macroalgae tank. Do you just follow the directions? 

yup, just followed the direction.  I actually dose less now that the chaeto has been growing well.

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ef4life
14 hours ago, ninjamyst said:

Dose brightwell chaetogro!  

I can actually recommend this too, I just started on my 40b, I could never get my chaeto to grow it was staying the same size and hair algae was growing like crazy in the sump instead. I dose 1 ml a day and the chaeto doubled in size in about 2 weeks. so far I’ve only been using it a short period of time and I’m impressed.

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mcarroll
Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, MrObscura said:

Overall though I'm a fan of the Berlin method

5000 newbies just wondered what this thread has to do with the Cold War.  😝

 

Of the few people online that still remember the Berlin Method, I think you and I are the only ones to actually mention it in the last 10 years.  😄 

 

For those curious:

 

The Berlin Method superseded in the early 1990's what was called the "hi-tec" method, which involved wet/dry filters, any and every kind of media that you could think of, O-Zone generators, ORP meters, etc., etc.  Very expensive.  Very complicated.  Very mixed results.

 

With the Berlin method, all of that was more or less replaced with a protein skimmer and live rock.  Still not cheap, but VERY simple.  WAY better results.  "Bang for your buck" went through the roof.

 

As of 2019 it seems to me like the pendulum has swung all the way back to the 1980's.

 

Many folks seem not to have a clue what live rock is for (or even being afraid of it!)...or with some folks even thinking dead rock is the same thing as live rock and of course with folks engaging in every manner of filtration and chemical water modification one can think of.

 

Reef tanks have not been so "high-tech" since the 1980s.  LOL

 

I put "high tech reefing" (from any decade) in a nutshell like this: Too much apparent control tends to get the reefer too involved.  Unless you're an expert (sometimes even in spite of being one) this inevitably results in ham-fisting the system.

 

What the Berlin Method (temporarily?) taught us is that all the control is really within the live rock and all the multitudinous micro-organisms that come with it/on it/in it.*

 

The reef keeper is a guiding hand at most... whose main job is to stay out of the way as much as possible and let the live rock do it's thing.

 

Staying out of the way is difficult because we want to add animals all the time, remove animals all the time, move animals around all the time, change the lights all the time, be dosing something all the time, adjusting something all the time etc. etc.  All that gives us the good feeling of "doing something", so I get it, but...

 

The Berlin Method is still the best...mostly for the same reasons it was better back then. 

 

*Dead rock is "dead" because of the lack of those organisms.  98% of cultured dead rock is not equivalent or even very similar, usually having a very low variety of organisms, similar to an ordinary gravel bed in a regular fish tank.  The stuff cultured in the ocean (e.g. tampapbaysaltwater, arcreef, etc) for a couple years+ is real live rock.

Edited by mcarroll
Sorry for the late edit.....technical difficulties.
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Wonderboy

Well, it's very established that increasing volume and surface area in any way increases stability of all parameters for longer periods of time, especially on nano systems (which are kind of a fad); and skimming a nano... come on, really though, most people like keeping zoas). You can hide equipment in refugiums (also a skimmer if you must). I think what you're seeing in recent times is an unfortunate result of peoples' attempt to save their money. If they don't need it (and they absolutely don't), they would rather not buy it; there are simply (sometimes unfortunately) cheaper options for their circumstance. There is a lot of research nowadays on how overly efficient DSBs can be when employed correctly, and in the end, increasing the volume is much more efficient and easier than constantly pulling out unknown compounds. It's starting to look like the new KISS method is reverting back to just trusting our most intricate mother.

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mcarroll
On 6/30/2019 at 9:59 PM, ninjamyst said:

So many gadgets out there but at the end of the day, nature knows best.

I'll start at the last comment first.    VERY TRUE!

 

And thanks for posting in general....it's definitely an intriguing set of circumstances!  🙂

 

On 6/30/2019 at 9:59 PM, ninjamyst said:

A lot of people say a refugium for a nano tank isn't very useful because AIO tanks usually don't have enough space in the back chambers to grow enough chaeto to make a dent in nutrient levels.

I'm not sure who actually says this.  I'm not a nano-keeper so I don't pursue many of the explicitly nano-oriented threads, but I still run into nano tanks running chaeto pretty regularly.

 

On 6/30/2019 at 9:59 PM, ninjamyst said:

But now I am a big believer in refugiums, not so much for the nutrient export but more for introducing and sustaining biodiversity. 

Ideally you get this innoculation of microbes from your live rock so there's no need to add a big wad of macro algae into the mix.  Unless you set up the tank run grow algae because you like to grow algae, then it's not a requirement (for biodiversity) at all.  Something to consider is that you don't have to SEE diversity to have it.  Most tanks started with live rock in old-school methods are SWARMING in pods up until the fish go in.  Then you don't see pods anymore, but they're still in/among the rocks.  (Take the fish out for a while and you'll see them "return".)

 

On 6/30/2019 at 9:59 PM, ninjamyst said:

At first I had trouble growing chaeto as they will turn white and melt away.

Chaeto is a high-demand algae.  Given that you were running tons of nutrient export, it's no surprise that it would have trouble and even melt away.

On 6/30/2019 at 9:59 PM, ninjamyst said:

And then the pods and all sorts of life sprung up in my refugium.  Tons of baby snails, little feather duster things, and more.

Very cool that the inoculation from the chaeto helped so much in your case after the fact though.  Again, using real live rock would do this even better when the tank is first set up.

 

On 6/30/2019 at 9:59 PM, ninjamyst said:

Otherwise, it's just a skimmer, biomedia, and my refugium keeping my nitrate and phosphate very low, so low that I have to occasionally dose nitrate straight up.

Do you mean live rock when you say "bio media"?   If you mean some kind of bio-block thingy, that would be redundant to your live rock and just taking up extra space for no good reason.

 

I don't care what the bottled product says, I'd be very careful keeping N and P "very low" in a reef tank.  It gets more risky the higher the load of photosynthetic corals is.  (...the bigger the demand.) 

 

Dosing nitrates into a very-low nutrient scenario is extremely risky (see first link at bottom) to corals. 

 

If phosphates are measuring zero or near-zero, dose them up to at least 0.03 ppm before dosing any nitrates at all.

 

On 6/30/2019 at 9:59 PM, ninjamyst said:

Well, the BTAs started to bleach.

I'm not sure if I got lost in the narrative, but are you saying that you placed a bunch of bubble tip anemones in a tiny tank that was "just getting on it's feet" so to speak?  New tanks have little to no nutrient reserve in the form of bound nutrients or detritus, etc.

 

Anemone's are large animals that have a quite-high demand for phosphates (and other nutrients).   A lack of phosphates is what drives a polyp to bleach...and it's "thanks" to the reaction that phosphate starvation generates within their zooxanthellae.

 

(see links at bottom)

On 6/30/2019 at 9:59 PM, ninjamyst said:

I found a rusting magnet and removed it but the bleaching continued.

Ferric oxide is all that is....mostly inert....similar to or the same as GFO.  No worries except that you may need a new magnet.

 

On 6/30/2019 at 9:59 PM, ninjamyst said:

So as an experiement, I added some chaeto to the back chambers.  Maybe it's a fluke but BTAs don't look as bleach after a week with chaeto.

When any algae dies off it releases lots of nutrients, primarily (no surprise) carbon, nitrogen and phosphorous, but larger-molecued nutrients, trace elements, etc as well. 

 

This could easily be what your algae is doing to make the anemones "happier".   Dosing phytoplankton does about the same thing.

 

Just More Thoughts And Questions

Do you test your nitrate and phosphate levels?  Wondering since you never mentioned any levels. 

 

If not, I would.  If you do, it would be interesting to know how your levels were for both parameters along though the narrative in the first post.

 

The product you mentioned really doesn't seem like it should be necessary to see the results you're seeing.

 

Feeding should accomplish well enough what it claims to do as long as you aren't ripping nutrients out of the tank (anymore) faster than food is putting them in...and might obviate the need for the refugium as well.  Isn't the idea to reduce your maintenance?  A fuge seems to increase the reefkeeper's maintenance activities, and I literally have no more time to spare for my tank so that's been one of my primary reasons for not using one in spite of any benefits they might bring.  I look at refugiums as interesting and useful accessories for a reef tank....but still an accessory.  I also like Julian Sprung's observation that "everything is a refugium".  Just not necessarily a refugium you can see into.  I think that was one or two MACNA's ago if you want to hear him elaborate on the idea.  I'd highly recommend it.

 

Check these out for background:

  1. Phosphate deficiency promotes coral bleaching and is reflected by the ultrastructure of symbiotic dinoflagellates
  2. Phosphate Excretion by Anemonefish and Uptake by Giant Sea Anemones: Demand Outstrips Supply
  3. Effect of nitrogen and phosphorus supply on growth, chlorophyll content and tissue composition of the macroalga Chaetomorpha linum (O.F. Mull), Kutz, in a Mediterranean Coastal Lagoon

 

The first two links definitely explain what's going on with your anemones and probably what was going on with your dinoflagellate bloom perhaps with your corals that didn't work out as well.   (Dino's in general appear to be TERRIBLE at phosphate uptake, and all of the few dino's I'm familiar with "go nuts" when they become phosphate starved....otherwise they're invisible photoautotrophs in the system, never blooming at all.)

 

The last link should take some of the mystery out of what your chaeto actually needs to grow, perhaps obviating the need for the product you're using.  IMO I'd remove the chaeto and let the anemones serve that function instead....simplify your system at the same time.

 

(Make sure to read the actual articles and not just my blog comments on those links!  ;-))

 

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MrObscura
2 hours ago, Wonderboy said:

Well, it's very established that increasing volume and surface area in any way increases stability of all parameters for longer periods of time, especially on nano systems (which are kind of a fad); and skimming a nano... come on, really though, most people like keeping zoas). You can hide equipment in refugiums (also a skimmer if you must). I think what you're seeing in recent times is an unfortunate result of peoples' attempt to save their money. If they don't need it (and they absolutely don't), they would rather not buy it; there are simply (sometimes unfortunately) cheaper options for their circumstance. There is a lot of research nowadays on how overly efficient DSBs can be when employed correctly, and in the end, increasing the volume is much more efficient and easier than constantly pulling out unknown compounds. It's starting to look like the new KISS method is reverting back to just trusting our most intricate mother.

The amount of volume increased by a refugium itself added to any tank, let alone a nano, likely isn't enough to make much difference stability wise. Unless you go with s huge refugium. Plus stability is really just about testing and husbandry regardless of whether it's a 10 gallon or 1000. I see just as many people having chemistry issues on large tanks. 

 

And I'm not sure what you meant by the skimming a nano comment. That most nano skimmers suck? OK, so get one that doesn't. But even a skimmer isn't necessary. 

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ninjamyst

So much knowledge being dropped in this thread!!  Thanks everyone!

 

I think a big problem in reefing today is the popularity of using dry rocks and bacteria in a bottle.  That's what I did with all 3 of my tanks, and will probably continue to do so for future tanks even knowing live rock is better.  That's why I believe refugium is important for biodiversity because we are starting from ground up.  

 

Another problem is all the marketing push for gadgets and filter media.  I read so many threads from new hobbyists preparing their first build and first thing they do is buy purigen, chemipure blue, nano skimmer, nano reactor, and more.  

 

 

6 hours ago, mcarroll said:

I'll start at the last comment first.    VERY TRUE!

 

And thanks for posting in general....it's definitely an intriguing set of circumstances!  🙂

 

I'm not sure who actually says this.  I'm not a nano-keeper so I don't pursue many of the explicitly nano-oriented threads, but I still run into nano tanks running chaeto pretty regularly.

 

Ideally you get this innoculation of microbes from your live rock so there's no need to add a big wad of macro algae into the mix.  Unless you set up the tank run grow algae because you like to grow algae, then it's not a requirement (for biodiversity) at all.  Something to consider is that you don't have to SEE diversity to have it.  Most tanks started with live rock in old-school methods are SWARMING in pods up until the fish go in.  Then you don't see pods anymore, but they're still in/among the rocks.  (Take the fish out for a while and you'll see them "return".)

 

Chaeto is a high-demand algae.  Given that you were running tons of nutrient export, it's no surprise that it would have trouble and even melt away.

Very cool that the inoculation from the chaeto helped so much in your case after the fact though.  Again, using real live rock would do this even better when the tank is first set up.

 

Do you mean live rock when you say "bio media"?   If you mean some kind of bio-block thingy, that would be redundant to your live rock and just taking up extra space for no good reason.

 

I don't care what the bottled product says, I'd be very careful keeping N and P "very low" in a reef tank.  It gets more risky the higher the load of photosynthetic corals is.  (...the bigger the demand.) 

 

Dosing nitrates into a very-low nutrient scenario is extremely risky (see first link at bottom) to corals. 

 

If phosphates are measuring zero or near-zero, dose them up to at least 0.03 ppm before dosing any nitrates at all.

 

I'm not sure if I got lost in the narrative, but are you saying that you placed a bunch of bubble tip anemones in a tiny tank that was "just getting on it's feet" so to speak?  New tanks have little to no nutrient reserve in the form of bound nutrients or detritus, etc.

 

Anemone's are large animals that have a quite-high demand for phosphates (and other nutrients).   A lack of phosphates is what drives a polyp to bleach...and it's "thanks" to the reaction that phosphate starvation generates within their zooxanthellae.

 

(see links at bottom)

Ferric oxide is all that is....mostly inert....similar to or the same as GFO.  No worries except that you may need a new magnet.

 

When any algae dies off it releases lots of nutrients, primarily (no surprise) carbon, nitrogen and phosphorous, but larger-molecued nutrients, trace elements, etc as well. 

 

This could easily be what your algae is doing to make the anemones "happier".   Dosing phytoplankton does about the same thing.

 

Just More Thoughts And Questions

Do you test your nitrate and phosphate levels?  Wondering since you never mentioned any levels. 

 

If not, I would.  If you do, it would be interesting to know how your levels were for both parameters along though the narrative in the first post.

 

The product you mentioned really doesn't seem like it should be necessary to see the results you're seeing.

 

Feeding should accomplish well enough what it claims to do as long as you aren't ripping nutrients out of the tank (anymore) faster than food is putting them in...and might obviate the need for the refugium as well.  Isn't the idea to reduce your maintenance?  A fuge seems to increase the reefkeeper's maintenance activities, and I literally have no more time to spare for my tank so that's been one of my primary reasons for not using one in spite of any benefits they might bring.  I look at refugiums as interesting and useful accessories for a reef tank....but still an accessory.  I also like Julian Sprung's observation that "everything is a refugium".  Just not necessarily a refugium you can see into.  I think that was one or two MACNA's ago if you want to hear him elaborate on the idea.  I'd highly recommend it.

 

Check these out for background:

  1. Phosphate deficiency promotes coral bleaching and is reflected by the ultrastructure of symbiotic dinoflagellates
  2. Phosphate Excretion by Anemonefish and Uptake by Giant Sea Anemones: Demand Outstrips Supply
  3. Effect of nitrogen and phosphorus supply on growth, chlorophyll content and tissue composition of the macroalga Chaetomorpha linum (O.F. Mull), Kutz, in a Mediterranean Coastal Lagoon

 

The first two links definitely explain what's going on with your anemones and probably what was going on with your dinoflagellate bloom perhaps with your corals that didn't work out as well.   (Dino's in general appear to be TERRIBLE at phosphate uptake, and all of the few dino's I'm familiar with "go nuts" when they become phosphate starved....otherwise they're invisible photoautotrophs in the system, never blooming at all.)

 

The last link should take some of the mystery out of what your chaeto actually needs to grow, perhaps obviating the need for the product you're using.  IMO I'd remove the chaeto and let the anemones serve that function instead....simplify your system at the same time.

 

(Make sure to read the actual articles and not just my blog comments on those links!  ;-))

 

The BTAs are added to a tank that's been running for almost 2 years now.  The rock and sand came from a tank that also ran for almost 2 years.  I do test for nitrate and phosphate and nitrate in the BTA tank is 5ppm but phosphate is undetectable which confirms your article.  I have increased feeding for this tank to drive up phosphate.  

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HarryPotter
15 hours ago, Wonderboy said:

 

Nope, never - exception, QT systems. After I set up a DT and refugium, I try not to touch anything unless necessary; no scraping, no syphoning any kind of debris (I syphon from mid column). I will area scrape the glass only if I need to see something, but after cycle and introducing the proper CUC, the glass won't require mandatory scraping (will maintain itself >80% 'clean').

 

I don't use socks or skimmers. Detritus production correlates with your feeding regimen and over short time, as feeding is honed, microfauna populations will be able to find stability from its consistency. There are plenty of micro organisms that will keep detritus at bay and inevitably be fed to your corals. Flow in my DTs are just high enough to prevent debris from settling, but what happens in the 'fuge, stays in the 'fuge :happy:  I think it is important that there is almost no flow in some areas just as much as I think it is important to have plenty of flow in other places.

 

I do keep decent quantities of SW (some resevoirs plumbed directly to intended location) with correlating temps and pH for each system just in case, but I don't think that's too unorthodox. Waters are changed whenever I look at a setup and feel that something is off; occurance seems to be every  3 - 4 weeks for smaller systems, and I have gone multiple months (6+) on larger setups with good results in the past. 

 

Sorry, was asked one question, and now look at all that....

 

So you don’t get coralline growth on the glass? 🤔

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