tanks with no or less frequent water changes

Discussion in 'General Discussions and Advice' started by King_Triton, 7 Jan 2014.

  1. King_Triton

    King_Triton

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    Hi Guys,

    I am busy planning the sump design for my new tank, and would like to look at as many options as possible for how this tank will run. I am looking at ways on cutting back on maintenance, and WATER CHANGES mainly.

    I know there are guys on here who do not do as many water changes as people normally think is necessary. I would like to hear from you on what your methods are about. What are you running on your system, and the basics of how this affects your system.

    I have also seen many of the other forums where some in the hobby are using alge scrubbers as their primary means of filtration(apart from LR). Is there anyone else running such a system?

    Thanks in advance for the advice.
     
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  3. HOT SAUCE

    HOT SAUCE

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    you must first consider what will you keep in the tank.. sps dominated tanks will require to be very low on nutrients where softies tanks can tolerate higher nitrates and phosphates levels.

    most importantly in my opinion is the use of a good skimmer to ensure the removal of bigger particles that can pollute the water. then you need ways to remove the nitrates and phosphates and you can choose between pellets, phosguard, cubes nitrate removing stones etc.
    but then clean water alone would not be enough to keep healthy corals and you will need to periodically add trace elements calcium magnesium and carbonates to maintain the alkalinity where you want it to be.
     
  4. King_Triton

    King_Triton Thread Starter

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    Thanks for the info @HOT SAUCE.

    The tank will house mainly LPS and softies with teh odd SPS here and there, but these will be more of the hardy types.

    I have a skimmer rated for just over twice my total system volume. Its the H & S skimmer with 2 aqua bee 2000 pumps.

    For removal of nitrates and phospates I am trying to find info on more natural ways of removal apart from using pellets, phosguard, etc. so was thinking of a oversized fuge with as many types of macro as i can get and an algae scrubber. I also want to add an area in my sump for extra LR. @Visser shared his dosing methods with me and they seem quiet simple and cost effective so I will be dosing Ca, Mg, and Alk to keep those parameters stable.
     
    Last edited: 7 Jan 2014
  5. King_Triton

    King_Triton Thread Starter

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    The skimmer I will be using

    [​IMG]
     
  6. butcherman

    butcherman Moderator MASA Contributor

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    algae scrubbers do not cut back on maintenance, as they require weekly cleaning

    look at a big skimmer, and if it's natural filtration you want look at an oversized dsb, refugium and cryptic zones.

    also how about a denitrator as an alternative?
     
  7. Express Reef

    Express Reef

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    you can build a sump similar like I build this sump for my frag setup... the first chamber is for bio cubes, got a venture build in the return pipe so you don't need an air pump just place the cubes in there in the bag...

    IMAG1087.jpg
     
    Last edited: 7 Jan 2014
  8. King_Triton

    King_Triton Thread Starter

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    The oversized DSB might be a problem unless i incorporate it into the oversized fuge. For a cryptic zone, would it be possible to create this using live rock on an eggcrate in one corner of the fuge? I can cut the light out with black vinyl. The rock should cut off light from above and I can also use smaller pieces of rock around the egg crate to block off light into this area.

    What maintenance would a denitrator require? changing of media etc? I found this, and seems very simple, and it says once setup you wont need to change anything. how true is it?

    Thanks express reef, that is also an idea, but I firstly want to look at more natural ways of removal before turing to bio cubes.
     
  9. King_Triton

    King_Triton Thread Starter

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  10. HOT SAUCE

    HOT SAUCE

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    having a refugium is probably your best bet if you don't want to use pellets, cubes etc. and also since algae scrubbers will require weekly maintenance... different macro algaes, cheatos will keep your nutrients low and also provide a breading ground for pods
     
  11. King_Triton

    King_Triton Thread Starter

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    This is actually what I am hoping for. I dont mind using the space for a larger fuge, but then dont want to need to make extra sections in my sump afterwards if it doesnt work. I will also add as many filter feeders as possible to try and help with the water quality. Would having a large fuge, with a cryptic zone minimise water changes? I dont mind doing them, but I want to cut down the frequency. I noticed that if I leave my tank without water changes and just top up, it seems to be a lot more stable. This is until the nitrates and phos picks up. So my thinking around it, is if I can find a way to naturally get rid of the nitrates and phos I could then minimize water changes and do them rarely. I will be dosing the required supplements etc.
     
  12. Visser

    Visser MASA Contributor

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    If I might ask... Is there a specific reason you want to have a refugium etc.
    Reason i'm asking... If you havent used nitra-guard biocubes before... GIVE IT A GO. (Unless you want to use the fuge for growing a pod polulation etc.)
    Why try compromising with a different ways of nitrate removal when biocubes are gauranteed to work, has no maintenace, lasts for a year, & will cost you MUCH less than any other method.
    You dont need a reactor. Takes up almost no space in your sump, & you can regulate the amount of nitrates you want in your system by removing / adding cubes.
    IMO, its the only nitrate removing product that reduces your maintenance without compromising on efficiency!

    Other than that, you just need a good skimmer, phosphate remover, & keep your perameters in check.


    The only other ways to minimize maintenance is my automating your system.
    ATO
    Dosing pump
    Aquarium controller
    Lighting with controllers (Or run through aquarium controller/timers)
    Install a skimmate container on your skimmer to increase skimmate volume.


    Try minimizing reactors as far as possible if you want to have an easy system. (Expecially carx, denitrators, biopellet reactors, zeo reactors etc can give problems if you not at home to monitor them regularly, & there are lots of things that can break / go wrong.)

    If you try to cut back on waterchanges... Just remember to supplement with trace elements etc as @HOT SAUCE said.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  13. HOT SAUCE

    HOT SAUCE

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    the coil de-nitrator looks very interesting i'll read more about it
     
  14. butcherman

    butcherman Moderator MASA Contributor

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    ideally you want it on a orp controller and you feed it a carbon source every few hours ie a doser. that's is as far I know. no need to change media
     
  15. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    rather drop the cryptic zone and add that space to the DSB. Also setup the DSB with 200mm or deeper water level above the sand and use that space for refugium. So you maximize the gains out of the space dedicated for the DSB.

    How big is your tank. Setup cost for DSB is space and glass costs. Sand is cheap but a bit of hard labor to wash it clean.

    Orca cubes on big tanks does not make sense for me. Cost wise compared to a DSB costs. Especially if you want the benefits from a refugium. But then again, your wallet might be a bit thicker than mine at this time of the year.

    After all its your choice. But you can drop the cryptic zone part. If you cannot even wait for a DSB to mature, then forget about a cryptic zone completely. It takes a year or more.
     
  16. Riaanv

    Riaanv

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    Just a question, have not done enough research yet.

    If one wish to go natural (reason being to maximise pods, zoo planton etc.) wth no mechanical filtering and also use biocubes, would it be possible?

    The end product of the biocubes are food for corals and sponges (correct?). Left over phoshates can be handled by phos remover. DSB could potentially handle excess nitrates but usually nitrates is the limiting factor for cubes (normal), hence excess phosphate to be removed. Algae can take up both phos and nitrate.

    A large enough cryptic zone combined with corals should be able to handle the cubes output, then the circle is complete. This way you will still have the advantage of the cubes witout the negative side of the skimmer removing good stuff.

    Another question would probably how much sponge and coral do you need to equal the output of your skimmer.
     
  17. EFJ

    EFJ MASA Contributor

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    Just a thought, dosing with vinegar in your cryptic zone could help grow bacteria in that area and help keep nitrate and phos in check.
     
  18. King_Triton

    King_Triton Thread Starter

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    Hey @RiaanP,

    The DT will be 715L. Dimensions are 1300x1000x550mm.

    You sort of took the picture out of my head with what you've just explained. in my current sump I have a similar setup, where my DSB chamber seconds up as a refugium. So the idea is to incorporate the DSB and fuge. The dsb will still be small though in relation to the tanks footprint. I was thinking of a way to have a double dsb. sort of one above the other. but still gotta think that through. With regards to the cryptic zone, I was thinking of adding this to one small corner above the DSB. something like this pic, but the glass around it would have black vinyl so no light gets in, and rock on top and around the egg crate to cut the light and flow out.. your thoughts....

    [​IMG]
    pic taken from here ... Cryptic Zone Filtration - Reef Central Online Community

    oh and my wallet isnt thicker.. lol.. it gets thinner as I get more involved in this game:lol: its also the reason I want to run a more natural option of filtration to use up nitrates and phos.
    @Visser I will be automating as much as possible on this tank, but that will be done in stages. The ATO and dosing is partly done already. Will be doing the same with my heaters and LED's. I do want to minimise reactors etc, like you said. To me they still add to maintenence of a system and is also a worry when you are away.

    So I should have also said I am looking to run the system as simple as possible with as many natural ways of filtration and nitrate and phos removal.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  19. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    As I understood cryptic zones, they should be a dark slow flow area. To be a real cryptic zone. Will check into that link later.

    The problem with the setup as in the pic is that you cannot prevent algae from growing on those rocks. Plus that pic do not have enough flow. Needs strong enough flow to prevent settlement on the sand. Needs to siphon that off when needed, and in that pic it is not accessible. The cheato ball will move around much more when the flow increase and the result would be a lot more little pieces broken off due to rubbing against the rock and eggcrate. There are already a few pieces on the sand.
     
  20. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    and the snail on the right looks like a Muricidae. They eat other snails.
     
  21. King_Triton

    King_Triton Thread Starter

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    found this also. Quiet a cool site. Nice info

    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif] A cryptic zone describes habitats or physical areas that recieve almost no light, and very little water current. In nature they occur underneath or within the base areas of coral thickets, within the numerous cracks and crevices, in the caves and tunnels throughout the reef structure and they occur throughout the twilight zone. The twilight zone is the deep bottom area of a tropical reef platform. Establishing a weak light and weak current zone within a captive container is relatively easy, but to establish a cryptic zone that functions properly the aquarists needs to prevent large particulate matter from entering the zone. Barriers are typically used. Large particulate matter can clog cryptic sponges and cryptic squirts. The cryptic zone does not support photosynthesic animals. Animals that have grown within cryptic environments cannot be placed backed into the exposed zone. Cryptic animals lack an ability to shield themselves from UV light. They can also develop very delicate growth forms that are easily damaged in current. Cryptic zones typically shield or shelter these animals from larger predators. Natural and artificial cryptic zones receive inputs of dissolved organics, very fine particulate matter, bacteria and micro-plankton. [/FONT]

    Environmental Gradient
     
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