Ways to have a self sustaining tank

Discussion in 'Biological/Natural Filtration and Deep Sand Beds' started by MadScientist, 7 Oct 2013.

  1. MadScientist

    MadScientist

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    Greetings all.

    I want to start this thread and get the input from other experienced members.


    The hobby of keeping marine tanks has a world of information on the www, and there are tons of stuff that we can buy and use to "make life easier" and to also "keep our systems healthy".

    However many sources do not discuss how to run a marine tank on minimal equipment and additives. As a result we have many people scared away from the hobby. Many make it out to be impossible to keep a marine tank unless you have that flow of cash so that you can dose suppliments, add a reactor, kalkwasser, etc.

    So i am starting this thread with the hope that we all can put our experience together and find a way to run a tank with minimal addidtives and equipment. I personally dont dose any suppliments nor Ca, Mg, or a buffer. My filteration is a skimmer and a "dsb" in a portion of my sump. i used "" because a DSB needs to be atleast the same footprint as your DT in order to be totally effective. I dont make use of a chiller, or any reactors etc. Just my DT and my 3 chamber sump. I do a weekly water change of 25 litres, and top up about 2 to 3 litres a day due to evaporation. The only test equipment i have is a thermometer and a refractometer. so yes, i dont test for Ca, Mg, or anything else.

    This is the result of how i run my system.. I look forward to reading your thoughts on this, and lets see just how simple and self sustaining a reef system can be.

    DSC 2013-09-29 001.jpg

    DSC 2013-09-29 002.jpg

    DSC 2013-09-29 003.jpg
     
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  3. MadScientist

    MadScientist Thread Starter

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    You can also see that i dont have any of those expensive flowpumps like vortechs or tunze
     
  4. Ruberto Frazao

    Ruberto Frazao Sponsor

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    Wow dude you got a amazing tank... and the best of all is you dose nothing... job well done..
     
  5. shan

    shan

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    @MadScientist can you give us a bit more info on your tank, like volumn, flow, lights and so on.

    Nice thread, following
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  6. shan

    shan

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    What about feeding?
     
  7. MadScientist

    MadScientist Thread Starter

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    Thank you Roberto. This is exactly what I want to try and get across.. running a reef system does not have to be all expensive and left for the elite to enjoy. everyone can do it. The most money I have spent on this tank is on livestock. i dont spend money on this system now, except for corals, fish and salt.
     
  8. Ruberto Frazao

    Ruberto Frazao Sponsor

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    Also what salt do you use??
     
  9. carlosdeandrade

    carlosdeandrade

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    How do you keep your Ca alk and Mg at optimal levels for sps growth? Lighting, surely you change globes?
     
  10. Quintin

    Quintin

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    OK, how old is the tank?
    Doesn't look that old looking at the photos.
     
  11. mandarinman

    mandarinman

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    Your corals will cope until they start to grow and you may have problems when their demand for calcium.kh and magnesium outweigh the supply. I would monitor water perams and adjust accordingly. Your sps corals might survive for a month or two and then things may get difficult for them
     
  12. Barend

    Barend

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    What a great idea cannot wait to see the comments. It must be possible as many successful reefs were kept before the techno age.

    Where are the old hands surely you have knowledge to share.
     
  13. seank

    seank

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    So you do not feed any food to the tank?
    How old is this tank?
    How do you export excess nutrients?
    How do you get nutrients into the system?
    How many fish in the tank?
    Would love to know, make no mistake, your tank looks healthy, I just need to know how this could be possible.
     
  14. Midnight Reefer

    Midnight Reefer

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    I don't remember corals being free :whistling:
     
  15. mandarinman

    mandarinman

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    Thety were not
     
  16. shan

    shan

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    A softie tank is generally extremely easy to maintain. But sps - would love to know how this would be easy
     
  17. Visser

    Visser MASA Contributor

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    Have you ever tested for alk cal mg?
    What type of substrate are you using for your dsb?
    If its aragonite etc... It could be a small source of cal alk, but wont last forever...

    I must agree that it doesnt need to be difficult or expensive to keep a marine tank, but to set up a tank as cost effective as possible, you would need an experienced mentor to guide you through the basics & "how to's" otherwise its nearly impossible to start up without some expensive flaws!

    Dosing: It can definitely be done at a fraction of the cost when using DIY addatives & mixing your own alk cal & mag... My dosing cost for the past 2.5 years has been +- R500 & im not even halfway through my additives...
    I would however recommend that you start testing your alk, cal & mg ASAP, as the cost of test kits & additives wont be a fraction of the price of losing your lovely sps colonies!

    Lighting: Get yourself an led unit! Yes they are extremely expensive compared to mh & t5's, but it does have a small electricity bill saving & lasts for years without replacing bulbs. Nowadays, you can get a very good chinese led unit at less that R2500 for a medium sized tank.

    Skimmer: Don't skimp on skimming... Although you can get away without one... It is the best way to minimise maintenance on a tank... So get a good skimmer & you will reap the benefits!

    Tank size: Dont go massive! The less tank volume, the less corals & livestock you need to fill the tank!
    Since LS is the most expensive part of marine keeping, its a LOT cheaper to fill a nano with corals than a large tank. Also... All your nano equipment is a lot cheaper than with even medium sized tanks!

    Nutrients: Get biocubes... No expensive reactor, & works amazing!!! Nothing compares!
    A lot of guys still refuse to use them... But you will save a lot of time, effort & money by using something that really works!

    Just a couple of ideas...
     
  18. MadScientist

    MadScientist Thread Starter

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    Hello again, sorry for the late reply. got caught up with very urgent work. to answer your questions...

    I use sera reef salt.

    I dont measure, but from what i see i know its fine. I believe that the less you add the more stable your system is. my addidtives of salt is uniform due to my regular weekly water change. We also do not know if our rocks, substrate, etc leech these into the water. Every living organism has cells, some of which need to die off for new ones to grow in. How do we know what these dead cells add to our system. Most will say ammonia, as its dead matter, but has a chemical breakdown ever been done in detail to prove this? Lighting yes. I run t5s and change bulbs once a year.

    I started this tank on the 24 October 2011. So almost 2 years now and doing well.

    My tank is almost two years old. Over this time, it has boomed. I swapped quiet a few coral frags due to growth.

    This thread is on maintainence. I feed my fish, and use reef pearls diluted and poured into the tank once a week.

    Corals aren't free. I buy them but dont spend money adding minerals and dosing etc. only money spent afterwards on corals is the reef pearls. which is about R260 for a year more or less.

    Thank you for also seeing this from a beneficial point buddy.
     
  19. mandarinman

    mandarinman

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    Do you have a progression of photos from start of tank till now?
     
  20. Visser

    Visser MASA Contributor

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    Yes, extensive studies have been done regarding the release of chemicals by dead organisms... Look up redfields ratio & related studies!
    There is definitely beneficial chemicals released from dead cells, but in a marine tank, you can never reach equilibrium...
    I wouldnt recommend you suddenly start adding anything... But at least test your alk & calcium once... You might get a bit of a scare!
     
  21. MadScientist

    MadScientist Thread Starter

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    Hi Visser,

    I use arogonite for the bottom half of my dsb, and for the top half i have live sand from the sea.(this is missed out by tons of people in the hobby. but we underestimate the good we add with this sand)

    Can you maybe elaborate on how you go about doing this?

    I see what you are trying to say here but i disagree. LS is more of a once of thing. as you said with the LEDs, it helps with long term saving of costs. but what about the things most people buy to keep their livestock alive. especially corals. Are all of these really needed? or is it just what we are thought because shops open up and are free to use all of this in their system so they can show this to you when you go in to buy your stuff. imagine if you walked into a LFS and the owner showed you this awesome tank and explained that it runs on bare minimum. he doesnt dose, doesnt have a chiller, doesnt use any reactors, bio cubes, nada. would you then spend your money on all of the items he sells?

    I see where you're going with this Visser, and yes your methods do save costs. but it can still scare away a newbie with restricted pockets. the reason for this post is actually to help a buddy of mine out who is a student and is scared about marines due to this expensive stereotype created around it. there are many others and many that would not ask this question as they read up and its always so much to keep a successful system running. we need to get this idea out so that the hobby can be enjoyed by more people.
     
    Last edited: 7 Oct 2013
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