Berlin Method Question

Discussion in 'Biological/Natural Filtration and Deep Sand Beds' started by Nism0, 13 Feb 2013.

  1. Nism0

    Nism0

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    Good day people,

    We all know the usual way of doing things with a DLSB, but since reading this thread http://www.marineaquariumsa.com/showthread.php?t=13971 a few months ago, I have not been able to forget it.

    That sump used a large amount of coral rubble instead of a DSB. The coral rubble would obviously have been seeded with LR and things went from there.

    The sludge in the bottom didnt cause any problems with nutrients as the tank was running for a while without significant readings.

    Now my question is this: Why do we not see more of this style of sump build? What are the pitfalls? Does it not complete the nitrogen cycle as effectively as a DSB?

    I am rather keen on trying this kind of sump in the future, but after much searching, i have only been able to find one "similar" setup being run by forum member pkc. And that setup is quite a bit beyond your general "hobby aquarium" :p
     
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  3. dallasg

    dallasg Moderator MASA Contributor

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    hi
    i run the berlin method, i place all my LR in plastic dish holders so that i can clean the bottom of the sump from precipitate etc.
    what i have found over the last few years i have run this style is that skimming is important, and it doesnt always remove the nitrates as quick, so i use the Orca cubes for that, before cubes i used algae
     
  4. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    The sludge is nothing other than silt. Or mud
    Nothing wrong with it.

    That system had no NO3 issues. As Lanzo admitted, it was the best system he had at that stage.

    The problem is that these systems take time to mature, just as a DSB. And in our never ending quest for fast results, there is not a lot of reefers around who got the patients to wait until the system matures.
     
  5. dallasg

    dallasg Moderator MASA Contributor

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    If you use fully cured LR, there is no real wait, far less time than a dsb
     
  6. Nism0

    Nism0 Thread Starter

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    The two statements above raise more questions though.
    1. Would it be better to remove the sludge or to leave it there? In terms of the health of the system and its long term effectiveness.

    2. Could the fact that @dallasg removes the precipitate be the cause of the less effective nitrate cycle?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  7. dallasg

    dallasg Moderator MASA Contributor

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    i dont think so, keeping the sump clean is paramount for me

    the biological processes happen deep in the rock, so keeping good flow to keep them clean and in the dark will help keep their effiency up
     
  8. Nism0

    Nism0 Thread Starter

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    That brings me neatly to another question :p
    In the sump @lanzo was using small LR "rubble", or so it would seem from the pictures.
    There are no pieces bigger than a golf ball. Hence no "deep" sections within the rock.
    Yet the nitrogen cycle was being completed efficiently. Would this be due to the cryptic zone created by the sludge?

    The reason for all the questions is that I would like to try and run a system based on this method. But I would also like to understand it properly before I put the lives of any fish at stake. ;)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  9. dallasg

    dallasg Moderator MASA Contributor

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    dont focus on the sludge :)
    a cryptic zone is a dark low flow area where most of our filter feeders do the work, fan worms, sponges and turnicates, so by default the center mass is a cryptic zone. i remember that tank of lanzo's and it did work well, but in my opinion it wasnt a heavily stocked fish tank, it had corals etc and some fish, so there was the success as well.
    so yes this way of reefing works
     
  10. Nism0

    Nism0 Thread Starter

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    I can see how that would be a problem for some, but if one was to seed the LR in the sump with Special blend and Stability, would that not speed up the process somewhat?
     
  11. Nism0

    Nism0 Thread Starter

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    :thumbup: My 4 foot tank had 4 fish in it for about 11 months now before I added a Orchid Dottyback. It is however my first tank and i have been very cautious.
    The plan would be to have a 1.2m tank with a 2m sump running a lot of LR. Obviously a over rated skimmer as well.
     
  12. dallasg

    dallasg Moderator MASA Contributor

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    that sounds perfect!
     
  13. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    looking at the old sump of Lanzo, then yes the bottom part of all that coral rubble was a cryptic zone.

    To clean the sludge would be a job to do every month. Take out all that coral rubble and clean under it. Rather leave it alone as Lanzo did. The sludge is basically just silt. Completely broken down detritus.

    So depending on the rock size, if small like in Lanzo case, I would not clean the settlement under the rocks. Big rocks thats easy to move around, clean under, yeah, then you can as Dallasg prefer.

    You got more than enough space then for a proper sized DSB. Can use liverock above the sand, suspended or on egg crate.

    One day when you travel up to Centurion, let me know, more than welcome to check how I set up my DSB's
     
  14. dallasg

    dallasg Moderator MASA Contributor

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    while he has the space for a DSB, he is looking at the berlin method, having used both, Berlin is easier, just leave rocks in :p
     
  15. mandarinman

    mandarinman

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    why in the dark?
     
  16. dallasg

    dallasg Moderator MASA Contributor

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    by having your cryptic zone in darkness it promotes alot of the live that doesnt grow in the light, some times they do, turnicates, sponges and the like all grow naturally in the dark low flow areas.

    it also hinders the growth of algae so that we dont get LR etc covered in it making it less effective
    Welcome to the twilight zone
     
  17. Nism0

    Nism0 Thread Starter

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    Thanks @RiaanP I will give you a shout next time im going that way. Always keen to see how other people run their systems and you are known as the go to guy when it comes to a DSB.

    As Dallas has pointed out though I am very keen on a LR based sump. "Classic" Berlin Method if you will. I have a DSB in my current system and it works even though it is too small. The LR in the tank probably compensates though.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  18. Nism0

    Nism0 Thread Starter

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    The next question relates to nutrients not exported by the LR. Phosphates.

    If you have a "classic" berlin method style sump with LR and a big skimmer, which would be the "best" way to export Phosphates? Or let me rather ask, which ones are not ideal?

    The options I know about would be Bio Pellets, Phosban (or whatever product you prefer), or a ATS unit.

    NP Pellets - Needs to run in the skimmer chamber. Therefore decreasing nitrates before they get to the LR which kind of makes the LR a bit of a waste? Unless you run it in the return chamber and route its outlet back to the skimmer?

    Phosban - Cant think of any problems with this method.

    ATS - Where would be most ideal to run this unit? Before LR or after?
     
  19. dallasg

    dallasg Moderator MASA Contributor

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    i only believe in these 2
    GFO - I use orca Phohpagaurd, and its rechargable
    ATS - can run this anywhere, over LR is cool as pods etc will gather there
     
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