New - Substrate

Discussion in 'New Members' started by christoh, 27 Oct 2011.

  1. christoh

    christoh

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    Hi Guys

    I am in PE and are new to this Forum

    What is the best substrate and is it better to set it up with a reverse underground filter.

    I am starting a new REEF tank
     
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  3. butcherman

    butcherman Moderator MASA Contributor

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    welcome to MASA.
    reverse undergravel filters are old technology and i have never personally used them
     
    Last edited: 27 Oct 2011
  4. Tony

    Tony

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    I take it that you want to blow water from under the substrate using and underground filter to prevent detritus settling in the sand? If so you must use sand that isnt too fine with a diameter of 1-2mm. Crushed coral or aragonite is fine or playsand, whatever your budget can afford.

    By the way, welcome to MASA
     
  5. blackghostknife

    blackghostknife

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    What is your display tank size, i.e. Length, width, and depth, also are you going to run a DSB (Deep Sand Bed) in your sump? Remember to uploaded pictures so we can all see what you are working with. in regards to your reverse undergravel filters, Im not sure anyone does that? Very Old School!

    Oh and :welcometomasa2:
     
  6. irie ivan

    irie ivan MASA Contributor

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    Greetings

    For a REEF tank, reverse UGF will not work, as it will be a nitrate factory. I assume in a reef tank you want to keep corals? Very few corals are tolerant of nitrate. Do some searching on this forum in the beginner section about setting up a dsb, liver rock filtration etc.
     
  7. christoh

    christoh Thread Starter

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    Thanks

    Thanks for the info.
    I am reading all info on the forum.

    Will post some photos as I progress
     
  8. wukkie

    wukkie

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    I would like to understand this statment better. Is there clear proof that it will not work or is this just your thoughts that say it will not work.
    I think this falls into into a smilair debate as bio balls or even just UGF. PaulB seems to have proven that UGF can be used on a Marine setup long term, with the correct maintenance.

    My adivce to you would be reaserch, and then do more reaserch. Ask the same question across plenty of the different forums. then work with the advice that you feel comforable with. what works for one, does not mean it will work for another.
     
  9. irie ivan

    irie ivan MASA Contributor

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    Greetings and blessings:


    @ Wukkie:

    Clear proof in the science, yes. Clear proof in experience yes. My thoughts are based on the science, or at least my layman understanding thereof.
    Perhaps my choice of words should have been more careful when I stated it won't work......... Humble apologies..... it can work, but at what risk for an inexperienced reefer. Let me be a bit more vague....

    A reverse flow UGF can and will work well if well maintained in a marine FISH tank, as it does provide a large surface area for bacteria to grow. However, the setup of a RFUGF will ensure that there is a continuous flow of oxygentaed water flowing through the substrate, and my understanding is that in an oxygen rich environment, the largest contingent of bacteria are the ones which convert nitrite into nitrate and not much usage of nitrate. Which leaves me to assume that the nitrate is left to drift around our systems..?????????? Sure, this can be prevented by using very slow reverse flow and a predetermined thickness of a specific shape and grain size sediment, but AFAIK there is not much data to assist an entry level reefer in setting up a RFUGF which has denitrification properties.
    Now, where was I..... With a decent maintenance schedule, which includes regular water changes, this nitrate can be kept within acceptable levels for keeping most marine fish, and some hardy corals. BTW there are actually certain corals which apparently seem to thrive in slightly elevated nitrate conditions, but thats a topic for another conversation.
    Christoh did mention that he is starting a REEF tank, not a marine fish tank, but even if he did my advise will be the same. AFAIK Reef means to include soft and possibly hard corals.
    Look at the natural progression of most reefers, not all, but most: Fish, inverts, some zoanthids, few leathers, shrooms, few lps, few sps, and then some more of everything..... Eventually most become REEF keepers. Personally I do not know of many reefers which stick to fish only systems, except for some who keep really exotic specimens (often large and expensive).
    Its really simple progression, I see nice coral, oooh, how nice it will look in my glass box........
    The knowledge that your tank has elevated nitrate levels every time you approach a potential addition to your system will (it damnwell should) have you asking yourself whether this specimen will be okey in your system? Surely better to not have to consider elevated nitrate when contemplating a specimen, or am I missing something.
    The nitrate can be removed by addition of some modern technology, such as a sulphur denitrator, , denitrator coils, Carbon polymers, BUT:
    Why add equipment ($) to counteract another piece of "equipment?"
    Yes UGF is old technology, it did work and it will still work today, for a limited amount of species. Compare what we are keeping today to what we kept 20 years ago. Succesfully, thriving, not just surviving..... Really, if I must think of what I kept in my very old UGF tank from 15 years ago to what I have sucessfully kept and propigated recently, I doubt whether it would have been possible with the UGF, regardless of maintenance schedule. Perhaps if I was to run a permanent line from the ocean for a 25% water change per day, which I did actually consider.
    And the sucesses (mine and the general reefing world) were due to moving away from old technology to even older, i.e. liverock, deep sand beds, mud/algal systems. Why set up a UGF if a sandbed on its own will do?
    Using similar equipment to a UGF, there is a very successfull methodology based on UGF called a plenum, in short, no reverse or normal flow. Jaubert system. Google it.
    Now again we are moving away from that old "technology" of sand and LR by implimentation of zeolites, carbon dosing, solid carbon polymers, denitrators, phosphate reduction resins, etc.

    Regarding PaulB, have not seen his system, so cannot comment, but perhaps there are some hobbyists keeping some demanding corals alive with this system, but show me one and I'll show you.......
     
    Last edited: 27 Oct 2011
  10. Paul B

    Paul B

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    Dam, I wish I read that when I set up my still running reef 40 years ago :(

    OMG thats why my nitrates read 5 even though I hardly ever change water:)

    LOL, I know what everyone thinks of UG filters and I know why. In the 60s and 70s we all ran UG filters on our fresh water tanks, then when we started Saltwater in 1971 we kept the UG filters and ran them the same way. They crashed so many people went to different systems like Jaubert, BB and later DSB. Unfortunately all of those systems crashed before about 10 years.
    Especially a DSB because it can't be maintained. 10 years is no good for me, even my hermit crabs are older than that and some of my fish are almost 20 years old.
    The UG filter is not the problem but the way we used them in salt water is the problem. It took me about a decade before I got it right. Now my tank goes about 12 or 15 years before I need to do some maintenance. But I also do a little every 6 months or so. That maintenance is to use a canister filter (I use a diatom) and stir up the gravel where I can reach. It takes about 30 minutes twice a year but it totally re juvinates the tank. In the 40 years since the tank was set up I did a good cleaning twice. That consisted of removing the corals and rocks and really stirring it up good then sucking everything out with a diatom. Even if it did not need this, I would do it just to add and remove rocks to totally re aquascape as I get tired after so many years with the same set up. Some years I just remove rocks on one side to stir it up. Nothing will last without maintenance.
    How many DSBs are here over 10 years old?
    As for nitrates, I change about 20% of the water 5 times a year. My nitrates last time they were checked 3 years ago were 5.
    The thing must be run in reverse, very slow and the water needs to be filtered before it goes under the gravel.
    Is it old technology? No. A DSB is older technology than a slow running RUGF.
    Is a skimmer old technology? I used them in about 1975 and still do.
    Many of my fish are spawning, some are 17 years old, I keep SPS and LPS with no problems.
    There is a thread on here about my tank 40 Year Old Tank - Page 4 - Marine Aquariums of South Africa
    Definately "NOT" the nicesrt tank on here but in March it will be 41 years old. I am not sure about that statement that a UG filter can not work in a reef. Maybe at 41 years it will crash. :biggrin:

    I don't use any of that. I dose 2 part home made calcium and thats it.

    [​IMG]

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    Last edited: 4 Nov 2011
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  11. SteveZi

    SteveZi

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    the old bottle that looks like a scull....
    when this tank was started, that bottle was still filled with sherry, standing in a bar somewhere.

    at last i could read a thread today that ended nice and was VERY informative.
     
  12. Paul B

    Paul B

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    Thanks, that bottle held Grand Marnier. Nothing but top shelf liquer for my tank :)
     
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