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Old 08/20/2016, 07:02 PM   #176
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I removed the skimmer so now the tank is essentially a glass box with a Tunze 6040 and a heater. The surface looks like a Jacuzzi so I think gas exchange should be adequate. The TLC bacteria arrived yesterday and was dosed. They recommended not using a skimmer or UV. I will report my observations.

The recommendation to not using a skimmer or uv was during establishment of bacteria during first 24 hours. However, if you choose to go skimmerless, it would be prudent to only unplug skimmer. Consider the skimmer as an insurance policy.


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Old 08/20/2016, 07:08 PM   #177
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Smatter,
Please describe your tank. What are your goals for this tank?


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Old 08/21/2016, 01:28 PM   #178
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The tank is a 15g Cadlights Zen 20x13x13 illuminated by a Nanobox DUO plus M. Live rock consists of 15# of Tampa Bay Saltwater 2.1 rock with a one inch layer of Tropic Eden Reeflakes sand. Water circulation is provided by a Tunze 6040 electronic propeller pump. A Cobalt Aquatics 75w Neotherm keeps the tank at 79 degrees. Evaporation is replenished by a Spectrapure Litermeter which administers 850ml of limewater daily in 150 small doses.

Since there is no surface skimming employed, the Tunze 6040 really shines as it is designed to be mounted vertically with the flow directed at the surface. It does a good job of mitigating most of the surface film. What little bit it leaves behind I ladle out daily when I do a 1-2 liter water change.

It has been set up for a few months and I plan to keep primarily LPS and soft corals. There are three frags in there now, a golden torch, an ORA red goniopora, and an ORA neon green finger leather. There are also some unidentified zoas that came with the live rock along with lots of tunicates, sponges, and other life. An azure damsel and shark-nosed goby are the two fish.

I suppose I could put the skimmer back in except that I kind of like the idea of not skimming out any good stuff. I also like the lack of visual clutter. In September Tunze is releasing a very small internal surface skimming filter. I plan to run it empty most of the time with some intermittent carbon use and some occasional mechanical for routine detritus removal.


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Old 08/21/2016, 01:31 PM   #179
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The tank is a 15g Cadlights Zen 20x13x13 illuminated by a Nanobox DUO plus M. Live rock consists of 15# of Tampa Bay Saltwater 2.1 rock with a one inch layer of Tropic Eden Reeflakes sand. Water circulation is provided by a Tunze 6040 electronic propeller pump. A Cobalt Aquatics 75w Neotherm keeps the tank at 79 degrees. Evaporation is replenished by a Spectrapure Litermeter which administers 850ml of limewater daily in 150 small doses.

Since there is no surface skimming employed, the Tunze 6040 really shines as it is designed to be mounted vertically with the flow directed at the surface. It does a good job of mitigating most of the surface film. What little bit it leaves behind I ladle out daily when I do a 1-2 liter water change.

It has been set up for a few months and I plan to keep primarily LPS and soft corals. There are three frags in there now, a golden torch, an ORA red goniopora, and an ORA neon green finger leather. There are also some unidentified zoas that came with the live rock along with lots of tunicates, sponges, and other life. An azure damsel and shark-nosed goby are the two fish.

I suppose I could put the skimmer back in except that I kind of like the idea of not skimming out any good stuff. I also like the lack of visual clutter. In September Tunze is releasing a very small internal surface skimming filter. I plan to run it empty most of the time with some intermittent carbon use and some occasional mechanical for routine detritus removal.
Have you seen the eheim skim 350?


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Old 08/21/2016, 02:47 PM   #180
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@OllieNZ I have access to one that my buddy isn't using anymore. They do work great. I'm taking care of his tank next week while he's on vacation. Maybe I will borrow it from him until the Tunze 3161 is released.

Perhaps I will redeploy the Mame skimmer too for a little insurance as Subsea suggested. It is a lot less aggressive than the 9004 and it just looks damn good



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Old 08/21/2016, 03:11 PM   #181
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@OllieNZ I have access to one that my buddy isn't using anymore. They do work great. I'm taking care of his tank next week while he's on vacation. Maybe I will borrow it from him until the Tunze 3161 is released.

Perhaps I will redeploy the Mame skimmer too for a little insurance as Subsea suggested. It is a lot less aggressive than the 9004 and it just looks damn good
For a tank that small, I see little need for a skimmer that can be easily managed with partial water changes.


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Old 08/21/2016, 04:19 PM   #182
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For a tank that small, I see little need for a skimmer that can be easily managed with partial water changes.
Do you think the skimmer will be detrimental to the biology of the aquarium? While I was hooking the Mame skimmer back up I broke the mount . In its stead is the Tunze 9004. The main thing I like about the Tunze is that it draws water from the surface, completely eliminating any surface film. I can feed much more heavily with the Tunze to augment it's greater skimming capacity and to keep all the life in the tank happy. I will be sure to unplug it for a while upon dosing the TLC product.


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Old 08/21/2016, 04:43 PM   #183
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Do you think the skimmer will be detrimental to the biology of the aquarium? While I was hooking the Mame skimmer back up I broke the mount . In its stead is the Tunze 9004. The main thing I like about the Tunze is that it draws water from the surface, completely eliminating any surface film. I can feed much more heavily with the Tunze to augment it's greater skimming capacity and to keep all the life in the tank happy. I will be sure to unplug it for a while upon dosing the TLC product.


Of course, I slant to skimmerless. Let us say things a little differrent. Do I think that a skimmer will schew differrent bacteria populations in the aquarium? The answe is yes, free swimming bacteria in the water column will be removed compared to bacteria attached to sediment and live rock. How important are the free swimming bacteria populations to the tank inhabitants. I think that they are important. I think these bacteria combined with phytoplankton set up the bottom of the food chain for filter feeders which includes corals. The whole point to natural filtration is to recycle nutrients and to grow up desirable biomass.

Consider this. If I don't export nutrients with a protein skimmer, but allow those nutrients to grow up fish and coral, it's win win. Another way to look at the negative connotation of nutrient sink is let your nutrient sink be desirable biomass like coral.


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Old 08/21/2016, 04:59 PM   #184
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You mentioned scum on water surface. Water surface is critical for the dynamic equilibrium process that involve oxygen, carbon dioxide and nitrogen. Some one mentioned a surface extractor upgrade on an HOB. Put more circulation at the surface. It gets serious during lights out. All photosynthetic organisms will consume oxygen and give off carbon dioxide. Bacteria consume oxygen 24/7.

What ever it takes to break the surface tension of water air interface. Add a power head. It can get critical quickly. Under these circumstances your protein skimmer with surface extractor addresses surface tension. IMO, hiding a power head is easy and it can address lights out oxygen issues. I am not familiar with your tank or equipment but in general the less clutter the better.


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Old 08/21/2016, 05:07 PM   #185
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Thank you for your insight. I tend to lean skimmerless as well. Some of my most diverse and interesting tanks over the years have used solely air stones and powerful diaphragm pumps for water movement and no supplemental filtration of any kind. Much more diverse than successful Berlin style tanks that I have had. A glass cover is mandatory and not really an option with my current rimless tank. Perhaps I will pull the 9004 out and just stick to partial water changes. It does take up a whole lot of real estate and makes a bit of noise. My wife thinks I'm crazy with all my tank business! She is right.


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Old 08/21/2016, 05:29 PM   #186
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Thank you for your insight. I tend to lean skimmerless as well. Some of my most diverse and interesting tanks over the years have used solely air stones and powerful diaphragm pumps for water movement and no supplemental filtration of any kind. Much more diverse than successful Berlin style tanks that I have had. A glass cover is mandatory and not really an option with my current rimless tank. Perhaps I will pull the 9004 out and just stick to partial water changes. It does take up a whole lot of real estate and makes a bit of noise. My wife thinks I'm crazy with all my tank business! She is right.
Besides the diversity, I find that the populations of the various organisms tend to develop an equillibrium over time in a 'natural' style tank. The key word is 'time' since during the first 2-3 years the system is trying to become properly balanced and certain species can often become nuisances when over abundant.

In 8+ years with my 12g I have a few 'pest' species (colonial hydroids, vermetid snails, a few types of algae), but they tend to remain in smaller numbers as long as I, the aquarist, don't go and unbalance the system in some way.


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Old 08/21/2016, 06:42 PM   #187
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This is certainly a hobby of patience. I pulled the 9004 and am just going to let the tank mature and stick to small water changes. This tank is getting moved soon because I have learned that a busy kitchen counter is a lousy place for an open topped reef tank. Once it is in its permanent place I will stock it generously with corals to create some much needed biomass.


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Old 08/21/2016, 08:35 PM   #188
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It is not a hobby, it is an addiction!

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Thank you for your insight. I tend to lean skimmerless as well. Some of my most diverse and interesting tanks over the years have used solely air stones and powerful diaphragm pumps for water movement and no supplemental filtration of any kind. Much more diverse than successful Berlin style tanks that I have had. A glass cover is mandatory and not really an option with my current rimless tank. Perhaps I will pull the 9004 out and just stick to partial water changes. It does take up a whole lot of real estate and makes a bit of noise. My wife thinks I'm crazy with all my tank business! She is right.

Why is a glass top mandatory on a tank?


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Old 08/22/2016, 07:54 AM   #189
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The Natural Reef Aquarium is a great book!

Welcome to Reef Central. I noticed in your profile that you will be setting up a tank in the next few days. What is your experience level?

Do you have specific goals? I would be happy to discuss your tank with you on this thread.


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Old 08/22/2016, 08:11 AM   #190
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Why is a glass top mandatory on a tank?
Glass tops are mandatory on my air-powered reefs. Large bubbles are employed for water movement and the glass top keeps the water in the tank. This latest tank is topless.


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Old 08/22/2016, 04:37 PM   #191
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Nuro transmitters are produced in the intestines

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Paul,
I have always enjoyed reading your post. You and I have always been a thorn in the side of the teckies.
I have always focused on bacteria as the foundation for a thriving reef aquarium. Your recent focus on gut bacteria to improve fish immune systems intrigues me. During further research, I was amazed to find out that 80%-90% of neuro transmitters in the brains of people are produced in their intestines. Considering that these neuro transmitters effect every aspect of human physiology, it is an easy deduction for me to see enhanced immunity as a natural response to these bacteria.
Keep it coming.
I thought that this post was important enough to repeat.


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Old 08/22/2016, 07:47 PM   #192
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You can repeat it, but it is, in most cases falling on deaf ears.


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Old 08/22/2016, 08:33 PM   #193
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What?

Let me put my hear aid in. Ahhh, that's better.


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Old 08/22/2016, 10:40 PM   #194
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I was reading this interesting thread recently:

"the secret to colorful,healthy corals....obvious to some,elusive to many"

http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/sh...8#post24694998

and the oft quoted "one should have at least barely detectable NO3 and P04 to have colorful corals' came up and it got me thinking since I very rarely have any detectable nitrate or inorganic phosphate readings (ELOS, Salifert). Yet. coloration is quite okay, me thinks:



So I sent a water sample to Triton and they gave my the big 'Yellow' warning sign that PO4 was only at 0.0015, so half of the 'desired' level.

Since my system falls outside the current 'norm', the obvious thing to do was look at what was different between a typical reef tank of today (skimmer, GAC, GFO, etc.) and a system that doesn't use all these filtration products.

I think the main important difference is that the free-living bacterial count in an unskimmed/no GAC tank is much higher (~10X according to Ken Felderman's research as well as POM and DOM are around 2-3x higher). In my mind, the relative abundance of these nutrient sources in a 'naturally filtered' tank could explain why untectable NO3 and PO4 levels can still produce nicely colored corals.



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Old 08/23/2016, 10:30 AM   #195
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I was reading this interesting thread recently:

"the secret to colorful,healthy corals....obvious to some,elusive to many"

http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/sh...8#post24694998

and the oft quoted "one should have at least barely detectable NO3 and P04 to have colorful corals' came up and it got me thinking since I very rarely have any detectable nitrate or inorganic phosphate readings (ELOS, Salifert). Yet. coloration is quite okay, me thinks:



So I sent a water sample to Triton and they gave my the big 'Yellow' warning sign that PO4 was only at 0.015, so half of the 'desired' level.

Since my system falls outside the current 'norm', the obvious thing to do was look at what was different between a typical reef tank of today (skimmer, GAC, GFO, etc.) and a system that doesn't use all these filtration products.

I think the main important difference is that the free-living bacterial count in an unskimmed/no GAC tank is much higher (~10X according to Ken Felderman's research as well as POM and DOM are around 2-3x higher). In my mind, the relative abundance of these nutrient sources in a 'naturally filtered' tank could explain why untectable NO3 and PO4 levels can still produce nicely colored corals.



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Old 08/23/2016, 12:15 PM   #196
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I was reading this interesting thread recently:

"the secret to colorful,healthy corals....obvious to some,elusive to many"

http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/sh...8#post24694998

and the oft quoted "one should have at least barely detectable NO3 and P04 to have colorful corals' came up and it got me thinking since I very rarely have any detectable nitrate or inorganic phosphate readings (ELOS, Salifert). Yet. coloration is quite okay, me thinks:



So I sent a water sample to Triton and they gave my the big 'Yellow' warning sign that PO4 was only at 0.0015, so half of the 'desired' level.

Since my system falls outside the current 'norm', the obvious thing to do was look at what was different between a typical reef tank of today (skimmer, GAC, GFO, etc.) and a system that doesn't use all these filtration products.

I think the main important difference is that the free-living bacterial count in an unskimmed/no GAC tank is much higher (~10X according to Ken Felderman's research as well as POM and DOM are around 2-3x higher). In my mind, the relative abundance of these nutrient sources in a 'naturally filtered' tank could explain why untectable NO3 and PO4 levels can still produce nicely colored corals.

I would like to focus on your last sentence, "why undetectable nitrate and phosphate can still produce nicely colored corals", combined with Felderman research. Consider that the wild reef coral holobiont processes nutrients and in effect is a nutrient soup in the microbial seas.

With respect to DOC, Felderman's research showed that proteins skimming was less than 30% effective with granulated activated carbon will absorb up to 80% of DOC. The big surprise in his research was that the reef tank inhabitants absorbed 50% of DOC. "One man's waste is another's treasure (food)."


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Old 08/23/2016, 01:42 PM   #197
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So Nano_sapiens has undetectable nitrate & phosphate? Subsea you have the same? I thought PaulB claimed his were 20-40 (but that he doesn't really test).

I think people use skimmers and other products because they have nutrients problems. Obviously after a while everyone adds it b/c that's what they've always had to do. If we all had undetectable nutrients, there wouldn't really be a point (we'd be adding nutrients instead).

So the answer is... don't use a skimmer, don't use GAC/GFO, use bottled bacteria like StartSmart (or natural ala Paul B)... and then? This should be simple to test. Stop all those things and wait how long before everything fixes itself? Forgive me for trying to break things down into steps, it's kind of how my mind works.


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Old 08/23/2016, 02:02 PM   #198
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So Nano_sapiens has undetectable nitrate & phosphate? Subsea you have the same? I thought PaulB claimed his were 20-40 (but that he doesn't really test).

I think people use skimmers and other products because they have nutrients problems. Obviously after a while everyone adds it b/c that's what they've always had to do. If we all had undetectable nutrients, there wouldn't really be a point (we'd be adding nutrients instead).

So the answer is... don't use a skimmer, don't use GAC/GFO, use bottled bacteria like StartSmart (or natural ala Paul B)... and then? This should be simple to test. Stop all those things and wait how long before everything fixes itself? Forgive me for trying to break things down into steps, it's kind of how my mind works.
A 'natural' system can show either high or low inorganic nutrients (NO3, PO4) just like any other. The difference is mostly due to how the system is setup and managed.

Low inorganic nutrients says little about the levels of organic nutrients, however (one can be very low, the other relatively high). Corals can use both, but in nature on a pristine ocenaic reef they use mostly organic nutrients they get from various organisms since the levels of inorganic nutrients are typically very low.

No aquarium system will 'Fix itself' without some intervention. There is no doubt that skimmers will remove some nutrients, but there are many other nutrient export pathways that are not as selective as skimmers are. For those not using products like skimmers, GAC, GFO, etc., regular water changes and detritus capture/removal can do the trick and his is what has allowed me to keep my 12g healthy for over 8 years with no signs of deterioration (it actually gets better each year ).


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Old 08/23/2016, 02:13 PM   #199
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So Nano_sapiens has undetectable nitrate & phosphate? Subsea you have the same? I thought PaulB claimed his were 20-40 (but that he doesn't really test).

I think people use skimmers and other products because they have nutrients problems. Obviously after a while everyone adds it b/c that's what they've always had to do. If we all had undetectable nutrients, there wouldn't really be a point (we'd be adding nutrients instead).

So the answer is... don't use a skimmer, don't use GAC/GFO, use bottled bacteria like StartSmart (or natural ala Paul B)... and then? This should be simple to test. Stop all those things and wait how long before everything fixes itself? Forgive me for trying to break things down into steps, it's kind of how my mind works.

I run a high nutrient mixed garden lagoon with numerous filter feeders including flame scallops and sea apples. When I stir my substrate, the feathers come out. Mushrooms, colorful softies and LPS are easiest to maintain in this nutrient rich soup.

I think that two years would settle things out. Five years to be confident.


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Old 08/23/2016, 03:46 PM   #200
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I would like to focus on your last sentence, "why undetectable nitrate and phosphate can still produce nicely colored corals", combined with Felderman research. Consider that the wild reef coral holobiont processes nutrients and in effect is a nutrient soup in the microbial seas.

With respect to DOC, Felderman's research showed that proteins skimming was less than 30% effective with granulated activated carbon will absorb up to 80% of DOC. The big surprise in his research was that the reef tank inhabitants absorbed 50% of DOC. "One man's waste is another's treasure (food)."
Your point about holobiont nutrient exchange is well taken. I believe that organic nutrients are especially crucial for the long-term success of the coral holobiont.

Understanding the holobiont in more detail, what is required to keep all the members in a good state of health and especially in the appropriate balance, is where future research will be key IMO. I do wonder if we will eventually be able to show that certain practices we see as normal today are actually less than optimal for long term coral health.

What would be interesting to see is an analysis of the DOC levels taken on various pristine natural reefs and then a comparison to various types of different reef aquarium systems.

For those interested, this article goes into the wonderfully complex world of coral nutrition sources in detail:

Coral Nutrition, Part Two: Foods for Corals (Dana Riddle)



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