Thought - Top-up water from freshwater estury aquarium

Discussion in 'Biological/Natural Filtration and Deep Sand Beds' started by FDB, 26 Oct 2009.

  1. FDB

    FDB

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    Hi guys.
    This might be a bit unorthodox, but in the culture of trying to go as close to the way nature does things as possible, would it not be better to source the freshwater used for top-ups from a mock up estuary tank?
    In other words (Ok my research on estuaries is not top notch but..), in estuaries, there are freshwater or brackish water with plants (Mangrove, etc.) and loads of animals (Fish, crabs, frogs, bacteria, etc)
    You have your freshwater moving to a tidal zone (intertidal and subtidal) moving out to the ocean.
    The freshwater bit is important for various reasons I’m sure you guys know about already, so is the tidal zone and of course the shallow reef area (Sub tidal and ocean)... and bla bla bla...

    So.
    Here is my question:
    We are all supposed to top up our tanks for evaporation right (and yes ok.. those water changes, but i'm referring to top-ups here..)

    We can install a floatation switch to automatically do top-ups for us in the reef tank.
    If you have a freshwater tank that is more focussed towards filtration and water conditioning as your freshwater source, the water pump triggered by the floatation switch can pump freshwater to either a "Tidal zone" tank and then to the reef tank, or sommer directly to the reef tank.

    We then top up the freshwater tank with fresh water.

    Why am i asking?
    As far as i have read, there are nutrients coming from the freshwater systems into estuaries, that flow into the tidal zones and then out to see which seems to be vital for reef health. There are bacteria living in freshwater that cannot survive in saltwater (veriety is key?). The estuaries also rock and removing harmful chemicals before the water reaches the ocean.

    Yes i know that if you stock your estuary tank with loads of fish, you are kinda defeating the purpose, but i'm referring to a mud bed based Mangrove and / or freshwater plant estuary. Then a rocky tidal area tank and then the water gets into the reef tank. The reef tank still has it's DSB's, protein skimmers, etc. <Question.... Due to the difference in dencities,

    This might be an overkill i know coz you can use RO units to clean the freshwater and whatnot, but why are estuaries with plants and life so important in nature? Surely we could leverage that somehow?

    What am i missing because no-one seems to be doing or experimenting with this.


    <Sorry if this is a stupid question>

    [​IMG]

    Cheerz
    Me
     
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  3. dallasg

    dallasg Moderator MASA Contributor

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    very interesting ideas you have
     
  4. FDB

    FDB Thread Starter

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    :)
    Thanx.
    As i'm researching this, i'm getting more confused.
    We use RO units to clean water for our tanks. But it also removes nutrients and other good stuff.
    Your reef tank needs water changes to replace nutrients lost there.
    So we do water changes with RO unit water??????

    Makes no sense.
    What am i missing...?

    Here is my theory (It IS probably wrong, but i'll pitch it in any case)...
    Sticking to my freshwater estuary idea....
    If you top up the estuary with tap water that is treated with anti-chlorine, you have freshwater mud and plants with "live rocks" or "live wood" with freshwater inverts and maybe one or two small fishies. good lighting, etc.
    This estuary will stabilise the water and retain nutrients from the tap water. (And it will get it to the correct temperature)
    The estuary will contain organisms that you do not find in the reef tank too. These will be pumped to the tidal tank with the chlorine free stabilised, mineral rich fresh water.
    In there, a bubble system will mix the saltwater and freshwater and it will flow over to the reef tank (or DSB, or refrigium and THEN to the reef tank). The nutrients and (now probably dead) organisms will flow to the reef tank where anemones and small fishies will chow the organisms and the tank will have its nutrients.

    Will we get enough evaporation to accommodate a 10% flow of fresh water into the reef tank? I dunno. Will it help? i think so.


    New throught....
    What about topping the estuary up with rain water?

    Thoughts?
     
  5. FDB

    FDB Thread Starter

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    [​IMG]
     
  6. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    Read the side of the reef salt box. The complete list of minerals that is in the salt. If you are 100% sure that all these minerals will be in our tap water at correct levels, yes sure this might work. But I doubt that seriously.

    For tanks with only softies and leathers, you do not need to add any other chemicals. Regular weekly 10% water changes should replace whatever was consumed. Unless you have something specific that eats away some special trace element. No need to do any adding of chemicals and so forth.

    So the question is...
    What is the price of a good RO filter plus "running" / recurring cost of buying salt compared to using tap water, have big filtration system (if you have the space) and then adding chemicals to get the water composition correct? And those dozing chemicals do not come cheap.

    And I am not an chemical engineer, or chemically inclined, and my knowledge of science I lost long time ago as student. :1:
     
  7. dallasg

    dallasg Moderator MASA Contributor

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    i like it, i think it could work, but i would not join the dsb to the system directly, rather let it pump from the 2 tanks to the dsb...

    and in the tidal zone keep some brackishwater scats etc, i think for completeness this would work
     
  8. inflames

    inflames

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    Hi FDB,

    Some interesting thoughts there. From what I understand the reason we use RO water is we want to get water that has been stripped of everything! Absolutely everything...that means if you had to drink RO water only and permantly, you would probably die, because it has nothing in it! Unfortunately the removing of the "bad stuff" from water to get RO water, far outways the needs for the "good stuff" to remain. Once we start with "pure water" we add our salt mixes that contain (or at least we are lead to believe that!) all the trace elements in the correct ratio, as close to NSW as possible. Then we chuck it in our tanks, then we take an estimated calculated guess when some of the minerals are depleted that its time to do all of this water change all over again to replenish these minerals! Or we dose them and do less water changes!!

    What you are talking about is getting "RO Water quality (all the bad stuff gone)" with the "good stuff" still in it? And this would be via the means you have decribed above?

    I really dont see why it would not work or even be better than using RO Water to top up or do water changes with. The only problem that I can see would be a possible built up of certain minerals and "bad stuff" over a long period of time in your "estrury". Please bear in mind that the reason we do water changes is because we are not all chemical scientists that know exactly what goes on in the water column, one of the reasons we do water changes is to get rid of the "bad stuff" because we cannot filter it out 100% effectively and something always remains. My concern would be exactly that in an estury...how certain are you that all the "bad stuff" would be filtered out by the estrury (constantly over a period of time) and that none of it made its way to the rest of the system?
     
  9. dallasg

    dallasg Moderator MASA Contributor

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    nice inflames, yes i agree at some point there will be saturation and that water will be needed to change and conditioned.
     
  10. lanzo

    lanzo Sponsor

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    Remember that normal tap water not only contains minerals...but also copper...and iron due to the pipes that it flow in....and this is deadly to inverts.

    If you add a ATS to the system it may help with the phos removal that you would be adding to your setup(with the tap water)...but yet again we dont know what the % of phos you will be getting( phos may be higer in pta tap water than tap watrer in BLOEM, so each system like this will have a diff filtyer system)

    ill stick to my ro water and salt..it has all the stuff you need.

    What riaan said is correct....if this filter is used for sps dominated tank, i wont add any nutrients to that system...this might work for a softy tank...but limiting the algae in this system is going to be very difficalt
     
  11. dendrosa

    dendrosa Member

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    This would not be a very good idea in terms of trying to limit / nutrients in our system. The concentration of nutrients that you would be introducing into your tank by means of evaporative top up would be far greater than that of easturies.
    The point of using RO water is to specifically prevent adding nitrite/ nitrates and phosphates into your system.
     
  12. mariusmeyer

    mariusmeyer

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    If you are going to add brackish water to the tank as top up water you will screw up the salinity. You will make the tank more salty.
     
  13. Nemos Janitor

    Nemos Janitor

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    @FDB you might want to google "leng sy's mud filtration method" and "leng sy's mangrove" There are many thoughts on the subject there.
     
  14. seank

    seank

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    A "Freshawater" mangrove system (in nature) is not really fresh- it does contain salt and minerals, maybe not as strong as in the ocean, but if it was completely fresh/brackish, I doubt the Mangrove system would survive- My 2cents- but then again, I am not a Marine biologist
     
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