Reply to Reef Maniac

Discussion in 'General Discussions and Advice' started by SantaMonica, 10 Mar 2009.

  1. SantaMonica

    SantaMonica

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    As is usually the case, when the facts of skimmers are brought to light, the thread is closed. And they are facts. Nevertheless, here is my last reply to Maniac, who's lengthy typing deserves a response:

    Incorrect. If the power fails for a weekend, the tank is dead because of lack of oxygen. If the power fails for just 12 hours, the algae just drys the outer layers, forming a crust; the inner layers stay wet, and alive. However, even at 12 hours, the tank is still dead. I've personally had 6 hour outages, with just minor increases in N and P, due to the protective outer crust. Point is, the outer crust will keep the inner layers alive longer than the tank will stay alive.

    Skimmers don't remove ammonia; scrubbers do. So if any ammonia/ammonium is in the water (for any reason), and all you have is a skimmer, the tank dies. If you have a scrubber, you have a chance that the tank lives.

    Skimmers do not remove C02. Scrubbers do. So no matter how extra food (and thus, eventually, C02) get into the water, a scrubber will remove more of it, and add more oxygen. This is why scrubbed tanks consistently have supersaturated levels of oxygen.

    All scrubbers use at least two bulbs, if built as recommended. This alone solves the problem. Those who use a single bulb, are usually only the smallest of scrubbers, where the screen is not large enough to even put a bulb on both sides. These small scrubber don't have enough algae to do what you are describing. Matter of fact they usually don't even have enough algae to do the filtering, which is why it's advised to not use only one bulb.

    It is true that in the single case of those "emergencies", having both would be best. However, few people plan their tanks according the a single emergency situation, especially since having the skimmer in the first place removes food particulates, and thus works against the feeding of the corals and small fish in the first place.

    Faulty logic. Most people in the U.S. are overweight. Yet millions of them are thin, and also eat fatty foods. Thus you cannot assume that fatty food makes people thin. The fact that you have a skimmer, and that your corals have lived, does not mean the skimmer is the cause. Add to this, the cost/placement/planning/noise/smell of the skimmer, and also the NPS corals you can't keep with the skimmer, and also the other filtering devices you must have to remove the N and P (since a skimmer does not remove N and P), and you have a huge case against skimmers.

    By the way, if a skimmer did so well at nuisance algae removal, there would be no ancillary N and P removal products being sold. But since skimmers don't remove Inorganic Nitrate and Inorganic Phosphate at all, not even a little, then there is a big market for these products. With a scrubber, no other products are needed, since the scrubber removes N and P directly. Restated, if the scrubber is built and operated properly, there will be no N and P remaining that needs to be dealt with by using other removal products.

    And talk about likely situations: A large fish dies overnight. Ammonia/ammonium immediately starts forming, probably too much for the rock or sand to deal with. Livestock immediately starts dying, thus generating more ammonia, and more death. Well, a skimmer does absolutely nothing in this situation, since a skimmer does not remove ammonia. A scrubber, howvever, uses ammonia as it's favorite food. So a scrubber is going to remove as much of the ammonia as the scrubber's size will allow. And in this case, having both (scrubber and skimmer) is of no benefit, because the skimmer does not help at all. And I think that most people would agree, having a large fish die overnight is a likely situation.

    Irrelevant. I am taking the information from researchers, and posting it here. Ask them.

    You are wanting scientific results, yet you say that because your tank it "good", therefore skimmers are "good"? And you have to hand-feed? There is no hand-feeding on reefs. I am not hand-feeding anything, including the suns and flower pots.

    And let's look at cost. Add up the cost and complexity of all your filters, and compare it to the cost of a standard scrubber. Your cost alone will be ten times higher. And the complexity will be beyond what a begginer can deal with. I'm sure there are lab devices which can far out perform both scrubbers and skimmers put together, but they are million dollars, so who cares? What matters is what filtering you can acheive with what money.

    And I believe that skimmers have a place: In a FO or FOWLR tank with large fish. I have always said that a scrubber does not "replace" the functions of a skimmer; as a matter of fact they don't do the same things at all. Thus one cannot replace the other. Skimmers remove food. Scrubbers do not. Scrubbers remove CO2/ammonia/ammonium/nitrite/nitrate/phosphate/metals, skimmers do not. They do not replace each other any more than a flashlight replaces metal halides. They both have a purpose.

    That's too bad, because in a reef (with corals) a scrubber DOES only hurt, and not help.

    Opinion; irrelevant.
     
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  3. Broder

    Broder Mudshark

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    Sorry to see your thread closed in the infancy of scrubbers becoming mainstream. I learnt a hell of a lot from it and it has changed the way I look at reefkeeping. Thanks for all of your hard work.
     
  4. dallasg

    dallasg Moderator MASA Contributor

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    this is my opinion and in no way disrespectful, if so let me know i and i will re-word it

     
    Last edited: 10 Mar 2009
  5. jacquesb

    jacquesb Retired Moderator

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    It is not skimmers that, a.f.a.i.k, caused the ATS thread to be closed, it is the fact that a VERY detrimental practice of dumping skimmate into a living tank is being advertised, which COULD lead newbie reefkeepers trying this out, causing MAJOR death in a HUGE amount of tanks.
    We as reefkeepers are, and should be nature conservationists at heart - meaning that ANY/ALL acts of any detrimental nature, to any living being, should be contravened, and NOT been advertised.

    Dumping skimmate into a tank with living beings in it - falls into the same category, as dumping radioactive waste into our seas. Who will support this act?
     
  6. leslie hempel

    leslie hempel Moderator MASA Contributor

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    i agree with jaques, not to slate any idea but the thread is still there for those who want to read through it and follw its designs and advice.. the problem is promoting these ideas to the inexperienced reefkeepers/fishkeepers..

    as with anything steer to the side of caution.. ATS have not been necessary and i would recomend them as an additional filter rather than a stand alone one..
     
  7. crispin

    crispin

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    ive been out the loop for a while and havent follwed this discussion closely, although i do think that most of what could be said about scrubbers has been said, and alot of useful info on the topic is in that one thread, but there are aspects that are leading things astray, which is why i have choosen NOT to post in the thread. Persoanlly i am not surprised if it was closed, too many aspects which are against modern convensional reefing principles are being promoted as possible miracle cures ( i think my opinion on throwing a skimmer away in preference for an algae scrubber is well known, if it isnt i think you would be really rash to do it). I really dont subscribe to miracle cures at all.

    its these aspects of reefing that could well lead people astray and cause either death in a tank, or at very least make the hobby harder than it needs be. Which in turn leads people starting out in marines to struggle and throw in the towel.

    While i agree that we all have the right to experiment and post those ideas up so that others can and do learn from those experiences i do feel strongly that we should explain that they are NOT the norm and that its done on an individual basis.

    I think the thread in questions is a remarkebly useful tool, of great value to masa and its members, but that its run its cause with regard to scrubbers as such.

    just in case i didnt make that clear, these are very definatley my own opinions only.
     
  8. crispin

    crispin

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    i agree with you there les. I think they should be viewed as 'part of', 'in conjunction with', ín addition too' etc etc....not as the replacement of skimmers, or live rock, or other filtration methods.

    placed as additional filtration for nutrient export they make some sence to me, but thats about as far as it goes.
     
  9. dallasg

    dallasg Moderator MASA Contributor

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    while i think the thread is useful, it could do with less quoting and more discussion on the science of it, sorry being a student of mathematics its in my nature to pursue the proof or dis-proof of a theory. maybe it doesnt work, maybe it does, but a few years back quantum physics was this taboo and now its more mainstream.

    just a question to all, and please take this in context of scubbers working with skimmers and not personal, but who has actually run a scrubber for a period and monitored the performance, eg, tank params and life with skimmer, and after WITH SKIMMER AND ATS? i am running a ATS with my new system and in 3 months will be able to tell its impact, then will comment, but until then i play both sides of the fence.

    Like your sig Leslie
    the proof is in the pudding and i will be the first to admin ATS is a waste of time if it doesnt work on my system :whistling:
     
  10. Neil H

    Neil H Moderator MASA Contributor

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    I have followed this and the main thread with no small amount of interest over the last little while, and both sides make very valid points.

    My little 2c worth here is that when people ask for proof that the one works better than the other, how can that proof be reliably attained? From a scientific perspective one would have to set up two identical tanks..... and i do mean identical.... break the live rock in half, aquascape the same, same flow in the same orientations, same everything right down to the coral and bioload (and coral placement).... then and only then could one ARGUE a case for or against one of the components.... while we are on the subject, a third tank would need setting up, running both skimmer aand ATS.....

    I have yet to see a south african example where somone has moved from skimming to a combination of skimming and ATS through to only ATS and has accurately documented that transition...... I would follow that story with interest !!!

    I look forward to your experiences with an ATS Dallas..... running a system of your size with it will certainly lend some weight to the argument. I for one would love to see you take highly accurate measurments of coral growth rates etc under ATS alone and then perhaps after adding a skimmer ..... then perhaps with skimmer alone ???? ( Of course the fact that during this time your system would be maturing and hence add another outside factor to the filtration question would not make these measurments beyond contestation.... it would still be very interesting.)
     
  11. dallasg

    dallasg Moderator MASA Contributor

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    i plan to do it as humanly accurate as possible....
    but i am not anti-skimmers, infact there is a ts2 plumbed in, i maybe bullish, but not complete insane :)
     
  12. jacquesb

    jacquesb Retired Moderator

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    Neil - I agree with you 100% here.

    What I CAN say, from a very casual perspective, that since I DID indeed add my HUGE mother of a Bubble Magic skimmer, my coral growth have indeed increased TREMENDOUSLY!
     
  13. Broder

    Broder Mudshark

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    I really like your moderate and level approach to this unnecessarily contraversial topic. Agreed that the science and biology of the system should be on trial here.

    On January 10 I switched the skimmer off on my 500 litre SPS dominated, 1,5 year old reef tank. It has a DSB and live rock. I can't comment on water parameters other than that nitrate and phosphate test 0.00 on a Salifert test. There is an increase in bicarb consumption, so that needs to be monitored closely. Coral colouration has obviously improved with the low PO4 levels. There is an increase in biodiversity eg. sponges worms and pods. Cooling has improved with increased evaporation.

    I've seen what the scrubber can do for your system. I'm not an experienced reefer but in my opinion I feel that switching the skimmer off, unleashes the full potential of the scrubber.

    That being said, the scrubber must be correctly made or it will be pretty much useless. Without the tireless effort Santa Monica to guide and mentor beginners to a successful outcome, I suspect that there will be some ineffective scrubbers being made, which will give the whole concept bad press.
     
  14. ted.vanh

    ted.vanh

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    Guys,

    Those of you who were at IMACSA 2008 will recall that Eric Borneman, while not advocating dumping skimmate back in your tank did say that you should skim as little as possible out of your "coral" tank because that is what corals feed on.
     
  15. Midasblenny

    Midasblenny

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    I`ve always believed that a system can be overskimmed, in fact seeing is believing and as soon as members here on MASA changed from a small to a massive skimmer, livestock loss occured, sps corals first. Also having seen the attempts by some to add a ATS they seem finicky and prone to crash. Maybe i`m doff but why would the algae grow on a mesh of plastic instead of on the rock or glass within the tank display?
     
  16. Tobes

    Tobes Retired Moderator

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    He did not guide beginners by saying you can dump your skimmate back into the tank - to be honest, that is just a plain stupid comment and advice as new guys are not informed of what can really happen when you do that. That is what started this whole thing - wrong info given! Period! This is all my opinion ;)
     
  17. leslie hempel

    leslie hempel Moderator MASA Contributor

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    the problem as stated isnt the design or assistance of design of the scrubber.. as suggested a new thread on this should be started and aimed at the correct and most effiecient way to build these scrubbers.. its being punted as a stand alone system and this is where newcomers will question a wether or not to include a skimmer.. to me skimmers are more consistent thus me being for them but i may add a scrubber if space allows..

    just out of interest santa monica would you mind posting a picture of your system? i like to see what im buying into and the first hand results punted .. this will be a big decider as to if i want to go the scrubber route or not..
     
  18. Broder

    Broder Mudshark

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    If built incorrectly they will not work, but they won't suddenly crash. The algae grows rapidly on the screen as ideal light conditions, 4000k at 10cm distance, and strong flow, provide ideal conditions for it.
     
  19. Midasblenny

    Midasblenny

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    Good call leslie!
     
  20. Broder

    Broder Mudshark

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    It was clarified at length that fresh skimmate was being referred to. Furthermore it was intended to make a point and not being advertised as a practice to be followed.
     
  21. dallasg

    dallasg Moderator MASA Contributor

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    i am no phycologist, but found this http://www.springerlink.com/content/r207360457425676/
     
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