Need to rethink my filtration

Discussion in 'Chemical Filtration / Low Nutrient Systems - LNS' started by danimal, 15 Feb 2012.

  1. danimal

    danimal

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    Hey guys

    The last few months I have become more and more convinced that my filtration is not working to its' full potential. I think it my DSB is too small, and I cannot go any larger. I am also running a DSB above it. my system is around 400 litres total, display tank is 1m x 0.5m x 0.5m, with a 3 foot sump below. running a TS2 skimmer.

    So... here are my options as I see it.

    1. NP pellets. I can DIY a reactor, which will keep the cost down. It seems people have mixed results with these... from the people who do have, what is the maintenance regime like? How often do you need to change the pellets? Are they as effective as people say they are?

    2. Bacteria dosing. I have been using MB7 for a while but have not seen any great results. prodibio biodigest, seachem stability, microbe splecial blend... how are are these for you guys?

    3. keep the DSB. well im sure I can find an improvement, so not really keen on this option.

    @Tony, @RiaanP, @Tobes, @Nemos Janitor, @crispin, @FransSny... you guys are the gurus, share some love :)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
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  3. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    what is the size of the DSB chamber?

    On older setup I used a standard 3 foot tank as sump. But with TS1 skimmer. So my middle chamber worked out to be 33% of the display. That worked. Not sure on the minimum size for a DSB, but "bigger is always better".
     
  4. Jeann1

    Jeann1

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    Not one of the per-say Gurus, but I can give you info on the Special Blend.

    I have been fighting a Cyano outbreak in my tank. 1 Dose of Special Blend and Half of the Cyano has died. Thats 1 dose. Tommorw day 8, 2'nd dose. I am 100% confident in this product.
     
  5. danimal

    danimal Thread Starter

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    40cm x 43cm. sand is 17cm deep, with 11cm of water flowing above it. there is a chaeto ball in there as well. has been running for 2 years.

    @Jeann1, thank you, all help and advice is appreciated. keep me informed on your progress
     
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  6. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    tank footprint 1m * .5m is 5000cm cm
    DSB is .4m * .43m is 1720 square cm
    in relation DSB is 34.4% of your display.

    When last did you re-seed your DSB?

    How many fish do you have? Do you feed frozen food?
     
  7. irie ivan

    irie ivan MASA Contributor

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    I would recommend you keep the dsb and if space allows add a biopellet reactor. I have had great success with a local carbon based bacteria growth medium. An added bonus is that you don't have to put it in a reactoir, a simple hang on filter will do. This of course means huge space savings. And of course huge cost savings.

    To continually have to add a bacteria culture due to insufficient space for bacterial colonization simply does not make sense to me. Guess it reminds me too much of the i"somethings is wrong, dose something to fix it" strategy. Rather sort out the root cause and supply sufficient and effective filtration capacity.
    All the above bacterial products work, but as I said, to continuously have to add the is a waste of money. Not sure if the see saw effect with regards to nutrient levels is a great idea, think about it.... Get a doser and establish a maintenace dose? Waste of money, avoidable by adding sufficient real estate.
    Another point to consider is that both the solid carbon media and the dsb will compete for nutrients, with the solid carbon likely outcompeting the dsb.
    Not a serious concern. As the dsb will still function as a refuge for microfauna, which will in turn supply a bit of food and diversity to the system.
    Special blend seems to be a great product, but again: its only treating symptoms and not curing the route cause.
     
    Last edited: 15 Feb 2012
  8. danimal

    danimal Thread Starter

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    uh.... when i built it... lol. used sand from a local beach. have never added anything to it since then, always thought the goggas in there would multiply and become self sustaining...

    10 fish. feed frozen once a week or so. the rest is flakes and pellets on an auto timer, and nori.
     
  9. Evo R

    Evo R

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    @danimal why do you say your filtraistion is not adiquite? What problems are you experiancing?

    I would remove atleast 3 cm from your dsb as its bordering on too high. Then Np pellets do work.... but if you want to implement it, you'll need your dsb to run until the Np pellets can sustain your bio load and then remove it. (Slowly!)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  10. danimal

    danimal Thread Starter

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    could you expand on that pls?
     
  11. danimal

    danimal Thread Starter

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    continuously battle with highish nutrients and cyano. this is actually the second time ive tried the MB7 route, the first time it helped a little but not for long (treating sympton, not cause i guess). just always have this feeling that my filtration is only just coping
     
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  12. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    And out-competing others for space. So yes over time the bio diversity does go down. Either get another cup of sand out of the sea, or even better from a fellow reefer DSB. Just ensure his system is disease free. Just one plastic cup is enough. Have to do it at least 3 times a year for best results. My own DSB went nose divining due to me not re-seeding my own. Got a cupfull from another established system and wow.... A lot better.

    For now, I would rather leave that extra 2cm. Actually it just means that the bottom 2cm sand in your DSB does nothing. Until you get better results, I would not stuff around with it too much
     
  13. crispin

    crispin

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    dan i think what you need to do is look at the principles of filtration and then build in an intergrated sollution for your system. Every tank is different and there are so many variables that copying one guys approach just doesnt translate to being the correct one for you. So the methods different tanks use are all different, but the principles are the same. and once you structure your filtration around the correct principles, set it up right, give it TIME and maintain it you will have a far easier tank. Let me break it down a little for you and then you can choose the options that make the most sence to you, your tank and your life style.

    three catagories to filtration:
    1. Mechanical
    2. Biological
    3. chemical
    heard that all before right? :)
    Mechanical is the easiest to do. its simply spend the cash on quality equipment to get the waste into sollution (pumps) over the overflow, into a decent skimmer. Its (in my opinion....actually this is all in my opinion so im not going to keep typing that!) the front line of your filtration. Its best to get it out the water before it beaks down that try deal with it afterwards. Its just way easier and a decent skimmer is worth all the money you pay for it. The advances in skimming are spectacular in the past 3-5 years and things like bubble plates, cone contruction, self cleaning heads, propper pumps etc etc are NOT marketting gimicks to part you from money, they work! Pay attention to them. As much pay attention to propper internal flow and decent plumbing to get the water out the system as dirty as possble and back in as clean as possible. Tunze are still the best flow pumps ive seen. Not as pretty as some but they do a fantastic job and 10 years later are still stuck to the glass doing what they are supposed to do. But there are a range of good pumps and correctly placed internal flow with random dynamic flow cannot be over stated enough in the help against getting the detritus into water collumn and out to skimmer. Have a look at that section of your tank.

    Bilogical filtration is a great subject:) its where i love keeping fish and the challenges and possibilities here are fantastic, if you are willing to pay attention to your system and build in the sections of your biological filtration that are available to you. the list is long and your immagination will be a key part in you being able to build into your system a biological filtration component that works, but they take more effort.

    you say your dsb isnt working, but which i take it you mean its not functioning to the degree you wish it to. That could be a problem with the dsb itself (too small a foot print, too shallow sand, incorrect flow over it, issuficient time to mature etc) but i will leave you to work that out. I am a big fan of dsb's, as i am of skimmers and ats's. the whole debate recently of eplacing a dsb with a pellet reactor ('because dsb's dont work!') and dsb's are old school is all rubbish in my ears. they do work. the just have to be set up correctly. if you dont have the space for one, then by all means look at a pellet reactor, or an ats, or something else. If your concern is primarily No2 and No3, and you know your skimmer is handliong the waste your overstocked over fed under water changed system then by all means look at a reactor. But i view NP reactos the same as i do carbon dosing and thats basically that they are their to drop the nutrients to zero in an already stable system. you need the base to be stable and correct BEFORE you start these things else you feed and exagerate an already unballanced equation and are just on a road to trouble. Please believe me NP pellets are not a miracle cure to sorting out and algae problem.

    ATS's are excelent, as are macro algaes and refugiums. Fantastic things, if set out in a way that are easy to maintain and you have the time to do the maintenece! Creating an environment where algae can be grown under near perfect conditions utilising the organic waste in the system to filter out the aspects of nutrient you have in excess is just simply an awesum idea.

    The problem with all (most) biological filtration is it takes space and it takes time. Time to develop and mature and time to maintain.

    the other aspect of bilogical filtration so over looked is quality LR. Its the lungs of our system and its where most of your filtration actually happens. perhaps you need more, or even less. just have a look at the LR and ascertain what you can do to make it as efficient as possible (flow in and through the LR is often a problem.)

    Bacteria dosing is very important. Which one, with carbon, wuith pellets, new strains, old strains etc etc etce? lots to think about here. But i personally believe in bacterial dosing. But remeber its all about ballance, correct bacteria in the correct amounts to deal with the amount of nutrient you have. Also remeber that bacteria and algae and almost any form of biological filtration you have are in competition with each other. it doesnt eally matter which wins (the algae or the bacteria) so long as the water quality is good.

    chemical filtration is the aspect that I personally lack in my knowledge base on. I havent ever realy needed it as i have slow well matured bilogical filtration and thus dont have masses of experience with it. But the use of a propper reactor (and i stress propper reactor as companies have done masses of research on your behalf so that the water has max contact with the filtration media, just so thankyou for all that work and get a quality reactor and pump!) with good media (carbon or phosphate for example) is such an easy way to remove nutrient and takes up so little space (concertrated down into a tiny vollume of a reactor) that its definatley worth looking at.

    i doubt most people have read all that as its long winded and rather poorly written, but go back and re read it then look at your system with that in mind.

    Most problems ive seen in tanks get sorted out by a good skimmer and less food. but it maybe that you need to up your biological filtration to handle the organic waster your skimmer isnt removing.

    If thats the case i would first pay close attantion to your husbandry (10% water changes weekly without missing them to watch rugby!) and get the tank stable for a while. Then slowly start bacterial dosing with a carbon source. I said slowly. slowly dan. i mean it, slow down on that carbon source too many people rush it and you will have issues. If ytou go with a reactor by all means try DIY one, but for my advice id just pay the money to a company thats already makes them. then start pellets at half or less dosage.

    Or build in a ATS (even remote plumb one in) or put in additional lighting to grow macro algae, and look at chemical filtration.

    It realy is easy once you get ballanced.
     
  14. danimal

    danimal Thread Starter

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    hmmm. ok cool, will do that for now.

    so, anyone in durban got an established DSB I can steal a cup from? pretty please?
     
  15. danimal

    danimal Thread Starter

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    thanks @crispin, long read but worth it!

    right now I'm thinking the following:

    will re-seed my DSB. tbh, I never ever thought about that. probably the first issue.

    need to check if my skimmer is set up correctly. it is a TS2 and is over-rated for my system, but it is now 2.5 years old and since the first week of running it in I haven't touched it other thank for cleaning.

    I need to look at my internal flow. I am only running 2 x sunsun 3000 lph pumps, and there are probably a lot of dead spots behind the rockwork.

    be more diligent with the water changes..... eish.

    be more diligent with my kalk dosing. I actually built a reactor to hook up to my RO unit, but never got round to installing it. must do that...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  16. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    Run your skimmer for a few hours in a plastic tub with vinegar. Did mine last month. Could not believe the increase in bubbles. Also have a TS2. Very old TS2. And it is performing better after the vinegar clean.

    Yes, your display is about 250L and you are moving 6000L/h. That is 24 times turnover.
    After you run the skimmer in the vinegar, then run the SunSun pumps in the same tub. Get them clean. Just a little bit of algae or coraline on the grid intakes do have a marked impact on the flow the pump produce.

    @crispin that is a good read.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
    Express Reef likes this.
  17. Express Reef

    Express Reef

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    @RiaanP, Totally agree, dit the same with gr8t results:thumbup:
     
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  18. crispin

    crispin

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    i agree with Irie here, with all thats said and its good advice. but specifically with the fact that a solid carbon source (read NP pellets) might outcompete a dsb and thats NOT a big problem in my view. everything competes and its once you have a ballance on processing the excess nutrient with the amount of bacteria you have to process that nutrient that things stabalise.

    it doesnt matter if its processed in a reactor, or in LR or in a dsb etc, what matters is that it gets processed. so i dont see the worry with a pellet reactor outcompeting a dsb, i see vallue in having them both.
     
  19. crispin

    crispin

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    thats all easy to do and wont cost you anything (not even rugga time if you do it on a wednesday!) so often it comes down to our own husbandry that leads to a drop in processing power of the systems we use.

    look into a ats or some macro algae too if space are available or money is tight, else go with a decent reactor and some NP pellets, im sure it will all help.

    youve been given some excelent advice in a short time (an hour or so) read it through again just to make sure it sticks in your mind and ask any of us if there is anything you dont fully follow:)
     
  20. crispin

    crispin

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    thanks mate:)
     
  21. danimal

    danimal Thread Starter

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    thanks @RiaanP. when you say put it in a tub of vinegar - is that pure vinegar, or diluted, or what?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
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