I have been in and out of the SW hobby for over 30 years. When I first started we kept simple fish only and fowlr tanks with UG filters driven by air-stones (which I am convinced took care of some of the skimming issues, yet kept the food in the tank) and external power filters which were converted for specific sw use with aragonite beds and filter floss, amazingly we managed to keep these systems running and their inhabitants from dying. Now I must state that we also used something new to the hobby called live rock and we had access to natural sea water in the Florida Keys. But our systems ran for over a year with minimal maintenance, I was sad to tear them down to move as they were thriving and many of the inhabitants from the live rock had started to thrive as well.
Then after being out of the hobby for a number of years I saw the transition to expensive and elaborate equipment that I was convinced was just over-kill, yet since my later tanks did not thrive as well as the first ones I bought into this technology oriented approach as I was convinced that those early tanks were just flukes and I would never have any hope of being successful again.
As it happens my wife now works for one of the largest manufacturers of aquariums and related equipment in the world. Over the past few years she has managed to bring home a few tanks with minor defects, a few heaters and most all of the other equipment we need (legally of course) and I was just chomping at the bit to get started. I had already built my skimmer and was actually going to plumb the whole system with a sump/fuge in the basement.
Then I saw this forum, started researching, found out about Dr Adey, found out about the industrial and large scale environmental uses of Algal turf scrubbers.
I now have changed my entire approach.
I knew there had to be a more natural way of doing all of this with much less expense. Whether I had just gotten lucky and had just the right mix of ingredients in those first tanks or if the older model just worked better I am not sure, but given the history and research of ATS systems, and just how much since the whole approach makes, I know which way I am heading in the hobby.
I also feel there are other benefits to these systems, they consume less electricity, they provide a high nutrient fertilizer for our gardens in the form of collected algae, they provide a much higher O2 level for everything in the homes where they are kept,
Santa Monica, you and the other main contributors to this site deserve a medal ! You have given a vehicle to prove to all aquarists that you do not need to be wealthy or lucky to keep marine fish in your home.
I have just one question I searched for information on whether a DSB was a good idea or a bad idea with an ATS.
Can someone give me their thoughts or point to me a discussion thread?