Can one have to much filtration?

Discussion in 'General Discussions and Advice' started by dallasg, 5 May 2011.

  1. dallasg

    dallasg Moderator MASA Contributor

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    Hi Oom Hennie,

    as the subject says, can one over do it?
    as in carbon dosing, dsb, ATS, LR, cryptic zone and a fuge.

    thanks
     
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  3. mariusmeyer

    mariusmeyer

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    Well by going low nutrient with say vodka, your ATS will not really grow much algae which makes it almost worthless. The stuff in the refugium might die off as well so you have to think if that is worth it too.
     
  4. dallasg

    dallasg Thread Starter Moderator MASA Contributor

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    cool, but being an over feeder it might balance out
     
  5. Evo R

    Evo R

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    There is a saying....too much of a good thing is bad.

    I think that its not a question of too much, rather if too many.
    As marius stated, if your run to many different things one might cancel out or negativly affect the others proper working operation.
     
  6. dallasg

    dallasg Thread Starter Moderator MASA Contributor

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    i know, just playing devils advocate....
    i like getting different views


    thanks again guys!
     
  7. ziyaadb

    ziyaadb

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    I was thinking about your setup the other day and i was to say something but good to see u started a seperate thread on it.
    My concern would be where to place the blame should something go wrong? If u running everything which you want to do and have issues where do u point to? what do u change? how long will it take you to change? would you be able to pin point the source of irritation easily?

    I believe in keeping it simple so either all out biological:
    DSB, ATS, Fuge and Crptic zone or
    Carbon dosing or
    Zeo

    But if you have the space and ability i would try to add a Fuge and cryptic zone into any filteration method
     
  8. dallasg

    dallasg Thread Starter Moderator MASA Contributor

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    thanks ziyaadb, i like the neo way for controlling the cycle etc, and the fuge and CZ for diversity and something different... i do realise that it can be complicated but i suppose my ultimate goal is a fine mix of purist and chemist.

    the purist way for the livestock etc, as i like the harder to keep items, and the chemist way as the tank is way smaller than the ocean and provides a quicker way to rectify things etc...

    i sit and start at this every night trying to work it out, and i realise that KISS would be the best, but also i am not scared of hardwork and devoting the man hours to it
     
  9. ziyaadb

    ziyaadb

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    But what is your ultimate goal?
    As you can starve your corals with just vodka and nothing else taking out all nutrients if that is what you want to do in keeping an ULNS?
    Alternately u could use Alles and go crazy but you setting up this tank to grow sps and other corals so why make it difficult for yourself with so much complexity?
     
  10. Reef Maniac

    Reef Maniac MASA Contributor

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    Dallas, THAT's a very good question, and my honest answer is: "I don't know, but I suspect that YES, one can".

    Of course, mixing various methods of filtration can also work pretty well together, IF used in moderation and mixed & matched intelligently. Personally, I believe that running a skimmer, ATS/refugium/algae filter, DLSB, LR and a cryptic zone would be quite OK, as the various processes would complement each other. I also don't see anything wrong in adding a carbon source to help feed the bacteria in the DLSB and LR (I add a dose of vodka to my tank every day...), as long as it is done in moderation, and only once the tank has reached an advanced level of maturity. I'm further convinced that adding a certain amount of "chemical filtration" (such as running a phosphate remover or GAC) in addition to the above is also very beneficial, as long as it, too, is done in moderation.

    It does become less clear if there is any advantage of "hybridizing" a "conventional" system as described above, with the addition of "ULNS" components such as Zeolite - I don't personally believe in such set-ups, as they are not "robust" enough to my liking and needs (I must be able to leave my tank with minimum input from my wife, for months at a time when I'm away from home...).

    Hennie
     
  11. Adee

    Adee

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    NO - I believe if one would have to go MASSIVE and install 5 times the volume of your display tank and put in place a DSB and a same sized area just for tons of LR....there would be no harm as the rate of bacteria and other biological filtering organisms growing there, would only exist as much as there is food (nutrients) in your system....also assuming one is still running a skimmer.

    YES - If one had to go for say other means like also incorporating mechanical/chemical route like vodka dosing, zeo route, etc. you could have short coming and end up fueling other nasties like cyno's. The trick would would to be in tune with your system to know when to stop dosing, replenish stones, filter media, etc....which frankly is a schlep for me. Also if you going this route you probably would face some filter mediums becoming redundant. i.e. your zeo stones doing the the same job as your DSB....just a waste of sand in your set-up (or vice versa).

    The latter scenario has two cons, the schlep of keeping a very close eye and monitoring your system and making on the fly adjustments, secondly if you do get things right...your possibly just over capitalised on efforts where you could have scaled back (then have less points of failure).

    The NO scenaira, well you need the space for it and then fork out lots for LR/DSB/ATS materials.
     
    Last edited: 5 May 2011
  12. Adee

    Adee

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    Agreed!!
     
  13. dallasg

    dallasg Thread Starter Moderator MASA Contributor

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    Thanks guys, and very informative, I will sleep on it. Nice part is I had all this from my various systems which I am shutting down. But yes I am now seeing that having less maintenance route is better.
    So I am thinking zeoliths with LR backup, with skimming and phos remover and carbon
     
  14. mandarinman

    mandarinman

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    sounds like you have got everything covered, ex the water changes but that goes without saying. i dose bacteria too but this is purely to replace what is skimmed out as i believe that the levels of bacteria in a tank should be more like the sea than what we have at the moment.
     
  15. Tony

    Tony

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    I personally think you can have too much filtration. One doesn't want to strip the tank totally of anything because one invariably removes the good with the bad. Your two biggest enemies of a ULNS system are phosphates and nitrates. Ammonia shouldn't even feature in a mature tank. I'm personally going with the bio pellets as they last longer than zeolites whos ammonia absorbing capabilities are quickly depleted. The pellets have the ability to house the bacteria just like zeolites but reduce nitrates and phosphates completely and faster once established allowing you to feed heavy. You just need to build up the amount slowly as overdoing them can be detrimental to your tank by shocking a system. The pellets are even less maintenance than zeolites as you dont have to flush them a few times a day and the reactor for the pellets is cheaper
     
    Last edited: 6 May 2011
  16. Monti

    Monti

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    Very true and an excellent point, (although carbon dosing and zeo really do go in the same bracket.

    One important point to bear in mind with carbon dosing is the Retfild Ratio (N:p) ratio. Nitrates and phos will diminish at a ratio in relationship to one another in a lowish nutrient environment. If you skew this by running phos remover, you will inhibit further reduction in nitrates. The key reason you should not run phos remover in a carbon dosed tank.
     
  17. maxisoft

    maxisoft

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    Interesting thread... Tagging along seeing as the MASA heavyweights are giving their extensive advice...;)
     
  18. dallasg

    dallasg Thread Starter Moderator MASA Contributor

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    thanks Monti,
    this is more a fact finding mission, but i am loving the responses....

    i am however decided that the best way is to have the facts and pros and cons of each, which i understand and have implemented in some fashion or form, but to truely decided as the tank moves on and matures.
    i chatted/emailed alot of Q's to Chris from Brightwell regarding additives etc and will also base that on stocking and consumption levels etc.

    but i do not want to end this here, as i am sure there is plenty to be said.

    our goal is to remove the effects of the Nitrogen cycle, and keep water pristine etc etc, but the more i think about it, pristine doesnt mean clinical or sterile, i plan to keep the main params in optimal range, and focus on the others which are just as important.
    Main being NH4,No2,No3, PO4 , Ca, Mg, Alk, which i think are the basics that everyone follows, but what about Fe, I, K, Trace, Sr, Si, Br etc all the SPS keepers know how important Potassium is, but what is required to make a true successful mixed reef where SPS are growing and showing awesome colours, LPS are growing, looking bulbous and feeding, and softies are going crazy, can such a utopia exist in closed aquaria?


    my next subject here is the role of water changes, ioo many people think that water change is an effective control of nitrates in aquarium. In reality, it does not and i will try to explain why The short reason why water change does not control nitrates is that you do not change 100% of your water. You only change a fraction of the total water volume, which means only a fraction of nitrates in the tank is removed everytime. If your fish always produce one unit of nitrate(be it daily,weekly or monthly) and you remove only a fraction of it (be it daily,weekly or monthly), the nitrates level will always be high.
    If you didn't get that, here is an illustration


    Let us imagine that 10 units (This unit is a unit of volume like mg, g etc and NOT ppm) of nitrates is produced in your tank per day. The amount of nitrates produced is different for every tank, depending on the number and size of fish, amount of feeding, rotting food etc. You can be working with 10mg, 10g or even 10kg of nitrates but for this example we use 'units' as our unit of measure. For simplicity we take our end product to be 10units.


    Ok so if you are following so far, we established that our aquarium produces 10 units of nitrates per day.

    Now, suppose that we are trying to control nitrates using water change, and we change 50% of the aquarium water weekly (This is already a large water change, most people only change 20%-30% every fortnight


    We start our calculation assuming we had zero nitrates initially..
    Week 1
    initial nitrates in aquarium = 0units
    nitrates produced in one week = 10units
    Total nitrates in aquarium = 10units
    End of Week 1, 50% water change, resultant nitrates = 5 units


    Week 2
    initial nitrates in aquarium = 5 units (from the day before)
    nitrates produced in one week = 10 units
    Total nitrates in aquarium = 15 units
    End of Week 2, 50% water change, resultant nitrates = 7.5 units

    Week 3
    initial nitrates in aquarium = 7.5 units (from the day before)
    nitrates produced in one week = 10 units
    Total nitrates in aquarium = 17.5 units
    End of Week 3, 50% water change, resultant nitrates = 8.75 units

    Week 4
    initial nitrates in aquarium = 8.75 units (from the day before)
    nitrates produced in one week = 10 units
    Total nitrates in aquarium = 18.75 units
    End of Week 4, 50% water change, resultant nitrates = 9.37 units


    As you can see, as long as water is not changed out 100% (which most of us don't), nitrates will keep increasing as time goes by. Water changes does not control nitrate, but only slows down the rate of increase, normalising at the level that it is produced.


    Why some people think water changes can control nitrate​
    Percentage value is not absolute value
    Some people misinterprete the concept of part water change (or simple just didn't give it much thought.)​
    If you changed half your aquarium water 2 times, have you changed 100% of the water?​
    If you changed one third of your aquarium water 3 times, have you changed 100% of the water?​
    The answer is no for both although people have the tendency to think it is.​
    No abnormal behavior means under control
    Some people don't measure nitrates at all. They look at their fish, everything appears normal, and they automatically assume everything is under control. The fact is that nitrates are not as toxic as nitrites to most aquatic animals, and if water changes have been done, it accumulates slowly instead of suddenly so there will be no obvious changes in behavior.​
    Time factor
    If the tank has very low bioload or a constant bioload, the concentration of nitrates is low because of the stability. Also, if the water volume is very large but the bioload is small, it will take a longer for the increase in nitrates to be reflected using test kits, which measures in ppm, so it looks like it is holding stable. ​
    To effectively control/eliminate nitrates, you need something that will consume them. This can be in the form of chemicals or a denitrator.


    this is a ramble, lets debate


    my flawed logic???
    flawed? water changes can give a low ppm thereby keeping nitrates under control.

    It is not. If you continue doing the calculations you will see that the readings will normalise at the nitrate production rate, which in the example given above, is 10 units. Now, this 10units is just an example and not a ppm value. If it was 10ppm, sure the nitrates would seem under control but they are NOT! If you want to peg a ppm value to it, do the following steps.
    1. Measure the volume of your aquarium water.
    2. Weigh the amount of food you put into the aquarium per day.
    3. Divide the weight of the food by the volume of the water (remember to use the same units). if the result is 1/1000,000 that is 1ppm.
    As an example, 45g in 450kg(4x2x2ft tank) is already 100ppm(And 45g of food is already next to nothing, most people feed way more. Again, this is an example only). If maintaining your aquarium at 100+ppm using water changes means your nitrates are under control, good luck to your fish.

    i do not condem water changes. Water changes are very much an essential part of fishkeeping as it renews the water coming into your aquarium system. Water changes are also an important emergency action when your water is contaminated or has high levels of waste (even nitrates). What i m trying to show is how water change is not a long term solution to the problem. If your tank has no facility that controls nitrates, sure, continue your water changes to "control" nitrate as keeping your nitrates at a high level is better than letting it rocket from high to higher.
     
    Last edited: 6 May 2011
  19. danimal

    danimal

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    forgive my ignorance, but what is a 'cryptic' zone?
     
  20. dallasg

    dallasg Thread Starter Moderator MASA Contributor

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    a low flow dark area of a reef where benthnic creatures live, eg tube worms, filter feeders etc

    can be behind your LR or a separate tank etc
     
  21. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    Biological filtration, first focussing on DSB and refugium together.
    They are complementary. Doing different things for the same goal. All "natural" systems should at least have these together. Either combined (Macro algae above DSB or in separate tanks.

    Too much Biological filtration? No never. first if Macro Algae outgrows it food source, it will die back. Time to clean your scrubber, time to divide and share your cheato ball, time to harvest and chuck away some caulerpa. Else it will just die anyway.

    Same applies to bacteria in your DSB. There will be as much bacteria as the food source allow. Always in balance. OK, See-Saw a bit back and forth during natural cycles as certain organisms take over the world / your tank, out compete themselves and die -back, simply to have others taking over. We strive to keep that See-Saw to a minimal. Either by re-seeding your DSB, or adding bacteria capsules.

    But you cannot overdo the biological filtration.
     
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