Running FOWLR without skimmer

Discussion in 'Fish Only Tanks, Predator Tanks' started by QuickenZA, 4 Feb 2015.

  1. QuickenZA

    QuickenZA

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    Hey guys,

    I have done some research and it seems that with a reasonable amount of water changes a FOWLR tank can easily be run without a skimmer. Don't get me wrong - I am willing to put out the money for a skimmer but since I would have to wait a bit before I can afford all of the added goodies to my new tank I have been thinking of running without a skimmer for a while.

    For instance, I have a nano that's been running for a couple of months now without a skimmer and the livestock are all healthy with no problems. Since my new tank is 770L I'd say for the first while at least it would be safe to run without the skimmer as long as I do regular water changes.

    Ok so now that I have stated my story I am curious...

    If I use a filter sock that is attached to the overflow that stops all detritus from entering the sump itself, how effective do you think that would be as opposed to skimming? This also means that the sock will not actually hang in the water and the fall of the water should help with oxygenation.

    I am planning on running a DSB sump and some cheato to help with de-nitrification.
     
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  3. wookie

    wookie

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    Yea you can i used to have a 6 ft tank with a 4ft sump, it was only fish with coral bandit shrimp in it, the odd blue crayfish i ran that for 8 years with out a skimmer, but i used nsw for water changes and did 500 litres a month. Never ever tested the water for anything only salinty, and used ro water for top ups.
    Ran like a dream.
     
  4. Nemos Janitor

    Nemos Janitor

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    Wow another myth to dispel.
     
  5. 459b

    459b Moderator MASA Contributor

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    Running without a skimmer can work.
    Filter sock will help, make sure its cleaned out often before the detritus it catches has a chance to breakdown.
    Id possibly rethink the DSB. They take a few months to mature before they work efficiently. Perhaps use that space for macro algae or an algae scrubber.
     
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  6. Nemos Janitor

    Nemos Janitor

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    David correct. The most important issue is pristine water conditions. No matter what method achieve that.

    Just because it is a FOWLR or any other derivative, does not meen compromises are in order.
     
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  7. Nemos Janitor

    Nemos Janitor

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    Let me elaborate for all.

    Live rock, or any rock for that matter is "part" of the filtration process.

    It is also very "unforgiving" in most cases. IMO a gross misunderstanding is preceived. Live rock ( or any rock) is not that "magical sponge" that can absorb or adsorb an endless amount of nutrients. It will become saturated today, tomorrow or any time in the future if not managed correctly.

    I had a very similar sized tank and the primary object was to keep fish. Feeding the fish correctly and maintaining correct water parameters has give the fish longivity.

    IMO water changes and a filter sock is akin to locking you loved ones in a smoke filled room. Afford that skimmer and do what is best for the fish.:thumbup:
     
    Last edited: 4 Feb 2015
  8. QuickenZA

    QuickenZA Thread Starter

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    Ooookkk...500 litres is quite a lot for someone that lives in JHB.

    In any event by the time my tank is cycled I would have gotten a hold of a skimmer since it seems quite unanimous that skimming is the way to go in any setup.

    I was really more interested in how long I would actually be able to keep fish healthy without a skimmer.

    Thanks for all the advice...especially @Nemos Janitor for that reality checking, mind cleansing analogy
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  9. Nemos Janitor

    Nemos Janitor

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    The answer is simple.
    As long as your chosen method can support near pristine water conditions for the fish. I will always go along with that.

    BUT

    IMO I am not convinced anyone can achieve that with just water changes and a filter sock.

    Might want to look at @SantaMonica threads. He has some viewpoints,
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  10. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    Broder aka Mudshark run a skimmerless system for some time. Relying a lot on Algae scrubber to keep things in check. Plus DSB and liverock. And that was a full on reef system.

    But eventually he did add a skimmer as his nutrient levels slowly crept up on him. I'm not sure how long he did run skimmerless, if I recall correctly it was between 1.5 and 2 years.

    Link to his tank thread with some stunning photos
    http://www.marineaquariumsa.com/large-tanks/9520-mudsharks-skimmerless-reef.html?do=filter
     
  11. zippy

    zippy

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    I ran a skimmerless office tank for 2 years without issues, however you need to try as best as you can to deal with the additional protein generated by livestock/feeding etc.
     
  12. QuickenZA

    QuickenZA Thread Starter

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    Jeez that is a fantastic setup. I'd like to do some research on the algae scrubber. I have seen many people talk about it but haven't looked into it yet. Seems to be a more natural way of getting rid of nasties.

    Also, (wihout trying start a debate and derailing the thread) I am receiving varied opinions about using a DSB. I am only thinking of going that route simply because I bought a tank that came with a DSB sump. What are the alternatives to use in a DSB sump (i.e. algae scrubber)? Not keen on dismantling the DSB compartment.
     
  13. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    Just keep in mind that an algae scrubber adds another weekly job to your husbandry routine. It must be maintained. Although it works great. 2008 to beginning 2010 a lot of guys experimented with them. I had one.

    But as time went by, the scrubber popularity fell away a lot. Need to build it so that its easy to take out the screen without dripping water all over. The new float type designs are a bit better in that regards.

    A DSB, I use it. Its cheap to set up. Have a bit of maintenance to remove excess settlement. And if the flow rate is right, it works great.

    Alternatives are a refugium, NP-Pelets, Orca cubes, Seachem Matrix. OK, refugium can be combined with the DSB, in the water column above the sand. The other options means you need to buy something. A lot more expensive especially the initial costs.
     
  14. QuickenZA

    QuickenZA Thread Starter

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    Thanks for the info @RiaanP

    Having people in the know available for noobs like me is much appreciated. I have done some reading around the alternatives you posted and it seems to me that the Orca Bio-cubes is one the better options (due to reading irie ivan's write up). How would you go about setting up bio cubes in a DSB sump? How much would I need for a 770L tank?

    Also, surely you can do a mix of the aforementioned alternatives?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  15. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    Currently I use a DSB, Refugium with cheato and fern caulerpa. and Seachem Matrix.

    Tested the Matrix on my son's TL550, and he did not manage to turn it into an algae farm. Must admit, I'm impressed. I got about 6KG in my main system. can have the matrix in a plastic basket to make it easy to rinse it, if needed.
     
  16. dallasg

    dallasg Moderator MASA Contributor

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    i have been thinking about commenting...
    but i see in your comments that your are fairly new, so my advice is get a skimmer
     
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  17. SantaMonica

    SantaMonica

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