Striving for perfect water quality ?

Discussion in 'General Discussions and Advice' started by Apollo, 9 Feb 2009.

  1. Apollo

    Apollo

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    Hi Guys,

    Most of us spend a huge amount of time striving for what we deem to be almost perfect water quality in our tanks. Now the aspect of what constitutes "perfect" water quality may differ from one person to the next , but nonetheless it is an aspect of reefkeeping which we devote a lot of time to..... or is it ?

    In thinking about "perfect" water quality , my question is fairly simple and perhaps quite complex at the same time:

    Can the water be too clean ?

    I'm not talking about water which is visually clear or water parameters which are near perfect (ammonia , nitrates , phosphates , magnesium & calcium levels etc.) , but rather about water which is over filtered or over skimmed etc. , and hence may lack sufficient levels/populations of zoo & phytoplankton , pods , beneficial bacteria etc.


    Your thoughts ?
     
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  3. dallasg

    dallasg Moderator MASA Contributor

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    yes it can, thats why i dont skim :)

    my approach is a bigger dsb, algae scrubber and cryptic zones etc

    and are we talking clean for us or clean for livestock? thats the question :)
     
  4. Storm

    Storm

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    Overdoing anything in life causes harm, might not always be visible but its there. Consider the same for over exercising, overeating or over drinking.
     
  5. ben lloyd

    ben lloyd

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    my 2c is i don't think there is any one that have to worry about that problem. if you over skim you can take out all the bacteria in your water but i don't think you will easily do that.
     
  6. Apollo

    Apollo Thread Starter

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    Dallas,

    I am referring to water which is deemed "clean" for our livestock. In other words not just visually clean to us , but perfectly acceptable to livestock.

    My question stems from the fact that while the water may be accpetable to us , it may be lacking insofar nutrients , dissolved carbons etc. are concerned
     
  7. Mekaeel

    Mekaeel Moderator MASA Contributor

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    1. In terms of over filteration, chemically, eg. too much (overdose) of P04 remover can cause you nutrient levels to drop to dangerously low levels where you can starve your corals.
    When it comes to biological, I cant see how it can be over filtered.

    2. Over skimming. I've never seen my skimmer stop skimming which means i am not over skimming although im running a skimmer rated for 3500l on a 750L tank.

    3. I stand for correction for all that I have stated above :)
     
  8. dallasg

    dallasg Moderator MASA Contributor

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    i suppose the best way is to play around with the different ideas and see what works best for the current livestock
     
  9. Apollo

    Apollo Thread Starter

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    OK. Let me narrow the question down a bit more.

    I've recently spent quite a bit of time looking at various algae scrubbers.
    One issue that is pointed out , is that the use of filter floss and skimming tend to remove the pod population which is beneficial to our systems.

    Now, if we are employing various mechanical filtration techniques to remove "muck" from our systems prior to the bio filtration , are we then not also removing the beneficial organisms we try to promote in our tanks ?

    Seems like a catch 22 situation where we spend a lot of time and effort in building (sometimes) complex filtration systems , but at the same time potentially destroying the "good" bacteria , pods etc.
     
  10. Shaun

    Shaun Retired Moderator

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    I would not stop skimming 100%, run in the daytime switch off at night. Remember a skimmer performs a natural event, the wave crashing on the rocks and then you end up with that foam.
    My2c
     
  11. crispin

    crispin

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    id personally look to the experienced fellas and see that they try to get to "reef conditions"and for the most part thats way below what normal test kits can test to. Simply they strive to get to perfection ina very small vollume of water by comparrison to a natural reef.

    have a chat to bob the reef builder one day about testing to reef conditions. "perfect" is a relative term too, if you are keeping corrals many people aim at very low nutrient systems and then target feed of that corral, but in a garden reef thats trying to put two extremes of one system together.

    IMHO its a heck of alot more dangerous to a sytem and its water quality to under skim, and alot easier for me to resupply nutrients if i feel i am over skimming. I agree with shaun with effect of a skimmer and that turning a skimmer off is not a bad thing at all....running without one because you ahve an algae scrubber or a huge ball of cheato, or perhaps a massive DSB, lots of LR etc etc, is a risk not worth taking. Again in my opinion
     
  12. dallasg

    dallasg Moderator MASA Contributor

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    Skimmers will always be a bone of contention, but when my big system is up and running, more than welcome to come see it
     
  13. crispin

    crispin

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    thanks, but i'll er on the side of caution :)
     
  14. dallasg

    dallasg Moderator MASA Contributor

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    hehe each to their own, there are plenty of skimmerless tanks, even a huge coral farm, that just has a mud refugium and nothing else :) and thats in DBN
     
  15. Shaun

    Shaun Retired Moderator

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    Sorry it is not in Durban, PMB yes.:p
     
  16. Apollo

    Apollo Thread Starter

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    Thanks guys

    Will give this some further thought :p
     
  17. Bob the (reef)builder

    Bob the (reef)builder

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    It's a very complicated thing. Without skimming is easy to run into all kinds of problems. With heavy skimming you are causing a huge section of the potential biodiversity of our tanks to struggle for nutrients and very often die out.

    When Eric Borneman saw Adriaans tank and Adriaan was asking him how to get rid of some of what most of us would call excess stuff in the water, he got all excited and said how wonderful it was to see more natural conditions for once, and explained how much corals ,sponges tunicates etc. etc. were benefiting from it all.

    So it is great if we can have more food in our tanks, or even better if there is enough capacity in refuguims etc to produce large quantities of food in the system, but its a double-edged sword as I think its also very easy to run into excess nutrient build up and its associated problems, and this may only happen after quite a long time, so its very difficult to control or even know if it is controlled.:)

    If you want to go down this less ventured path, tread carefully and do lots of homework.
     
  18. christiaan

    christiaan

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    well said bob!

    @ dallas - just wondering how long you have had reefs?
     
  19. dallasg

    dallasg Moderator MASA Contributor

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    Almost 15 years, first was in 1992, that tank ran till 95, I moved and kept a nano for years, then when I got back into SA I moved to a 4ft. I am not against skimmers, but always willing to see the otherside. I might not use skimmers but I have a huge 300L refugium and cryptic zone, a scrubber, and almost 2sqm dsb. Since this is all in the cycling phase I will wait and see. My real test will be how fast/healthy frags will be in this trying to be natural system. I have spent countless hours and hundreds of emails asking/researching this approach and I feel confident enough it will produce the desired results, It might take longer to stabilise but I think once there it will a thriving environment. This is by no means a skimmer bashing but my view on how I choose to experiment :)
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  20. christiaan

    christiaan

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    cool man! I think you missunderstood me - I ran my nano without a skimmer and WOW - I loved it !

    Was simply wondering
     
  21. Shaun

    Shaun Retired Moderator

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    How bit is the Display tank?
     
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