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Thread: Metrics of success

  1. #11
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    Re: Metrics of success

    algae has been shown to produce elevated levels of dissolved organic carbon (doc) on natural reefs which causes an increase in coral mortality
    By the way, I forgot to remind you that we deal with 14 day-old algae. At most, 14 days. How you think that compares to "reefs overgrown with algae because of overfishing" is beyond me.

    Also Vannpyt, where are the pics of the algae on your sand and rocks?

    Conveniently missed out the word EXCESS from my excess algae quote there Santa again
    Again, there is no excess in our systems. No tank has the algal mass that a reef has. And certainly not as old. 7 to 14 days.

    Secondly, you have the habit of saying that doc is amino acids as if doc is a simple substance whereas in fact there are many hundreds if not thousands of varieties, most of which are not amino acids.
    That's because you forget to remind people that reefers buy and dose Vitamin C and Amino Acids. They buy it, and dose it. Buy it, and dose it. And let's not forget pellets, vodka, etc. How many people are buying pellet DOC and dosing it. Buying it, and dosing it.

    Thirdly, do not let Santa make you think that hair algae does all the filtration on a reef. Physical levels of such algae are very low on a healthy reef due to herbivorous fish grazing, only unhealthy reefs become algae dominated.
    You need to read some reef studies. Benthic algae is the largest biomass on any reef, besides bacteria, and in combination with phyto on deeper reefs (over a few meters) it approches it's 90% level of all biomass. Coral reefs should be called Algal Reefs. The studies I read show that benthic algae do the majority of the filtering when the depth is less that about 10 meters.

    The primary algae in the ocean is phytoplankton of which aquariums have virtually zero.
    It's there, if you don't have mechanical fiters. There is just not that much water volume for it.

    Most of the water quality experienced on a reef is due to the sheer volume of water being transported there every day as Santa once mentioned, can't remember the name now, something transport, ackman, eckman?
    Ekman. But nutrients that are limiting (not DOCs), are consumed/processed long before they are transported. Limiting nutrients are documented to stay almost completely in the reef, and are cycled between the producers and consumers.

    build a scrubber with a smaller size so that there is less algae mass in the system.
    Don't you want the same amount of algae that is on a natural reef?

    Is it really needed to feed a normal stocing 50 gallon aquarium 5 cubes a day or is it enough with 2 cubes?
    Depends what you are trying to feed, and how much growth you want. Remember that wild acros grow a foot a year. Also remember that there is no target feeding in the wild, and filterfeeders have no problem growing.

    I think we all need to get out of the mindset of comparing DOC levels in the ocean to DOC levels in a tank.
    I'd agree, except that pro-skimmer folks use that because it confuses new people. They say DOC is bad, but then they buy DOC pellets, DOC vitamins, and DOC aminos, and dose them. And they say the food that skimmers remove is bad, but they buy more food and put it in. There is almost no difference between the food you buy, and waste. It's 90% the same, but waste is more useable to corals.

    in a glass box, we have maybe 1% of those "tools" at our disposal to keep DOCs in check.
    Where do you get this? DOC is eaten by bacteria; bacteria grow to a level that they need to, in order to consume all "excess" DOC. Bacteria are DOC-limited, they would grow more if you added more DOC (which reefers do, via DOC pellets, DOC vitamins, and DOC aminos, and don't forget the DOC water that is part of any liquid food you feed, including phyto).

    with all the talk on here lately about DOCs, I think others may be getting the impression they are a major factor in a lot of different problems,
    That's their goal. That's why they don't point out that reefers buy and dose the very DOC's that they say are "bad".

    Obviously too much of anything can be fatal, even too much oxygen.
    And again, too much water. Increased H20 levels, which reduces the levels of everything else, will kill all corals, all fish, and all inverts in the ocean.

    Just because you have black stinky skimmate doesn't mean it was bad to have in a tank
    Of course not. Look at manure for crops.

    I would put $ on 70% of the liquid in a skimmer collection cup is actually good stuff that should have remained in the tank
    All of it is good stuff. There is no skimming in the ocean.

    skimmers remove some DOCs (lipids, oils, and other stuff) that can be considered bad in a reef tank at elevated levels.
    But they are not elevated. Some reefs go to 5ppm. Acros's grow like crazy in lagoons. And reefers dose DOC pellets, DOC vitamins, DOC aminos, and DOC phyto.

    without a means to control DOCs in a tank (either skimming or carbon)
    You mean bacteria and microbes? What do you think bacteria and microbes eat?

    I do believe long term use of a scrubber only system with limited rock and corals in a tank can eventually lead to severe issues.
    Like operating like a real reef? Reefs seem to operate fairly long term, with no way to export DOC except for bacteria and microbes (google "microbial loop"). Just what else do you suppose consumes DOC in the open ocean? This is bio 101.

    How long until a tank reaches that point
    What point? Bacteria get the DOC to an equilibrium within a few hours, and it stays there forever. Mine is 3 years. Inland Aquatics is 15 years. If DOC "continute to increase unless you filtered it", all tanks would be destroyed within a few days. All tanks without filters; no exceptions.

  2. #12
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    Re: Metrics of success

    Where do you get this? DOC is eaten by bacteria; bacteria grow to a level that they need to, in order to consume all "excess" DOC. Bacteria are DOC-limited, they would grow more if you added more DOC (which reefers do, via DOC pellets, DOC vitamins, and DOC aminos, and don't forget the DOC water that is part of any liquid food you feed, including phyto).
    Ummm.. our tanks are on average 2' deep.. ocean is MILES deep. That is such a huge difference it isn't even debatable that in 2' of water you would be lucky to have 1% of the bacterial diversity that is in the ocean. Do you think "reefs" do ALL the filtering in the ocean? No, what doesn't get filtered at the top continues to fall down to the bottom of the ocean, along the way many many different things continue to filter the water (filter feeders, bacteria, etc). Do you think if a whale died and fell on top of a coral reef, the reef would magically eat it all and no corals would die? No, when the decaying matter is too much and too close to the reefs it can surely kill it. Most of the time things like whales fall to the very deep depths in the ocean where bacteria and other things dispose of it.

    All of it is good stuff. There is no skimming in the ocean.
    Yes, there is A LOT of skimming in the ocean. What do you think a wave is? When a wave crashes down on the shore, it create bubbles, things stick to bubbles, and the waves push all that to the shore. What do you think that line of white snot looking stuff is you see at the shoreline? Ocean skimmate.

    You mean bacteria and microbes? What do you think bacteria and microbes eat?
    Again, going back to the idea it is not possible for us to have the DIVERSITY of microbes and bacteria in a glass box in order to completely do the job like the ocean does. In the ocean, at reef depths, certain bacteria and microbes will clean what they can, but currents are always pushing DOCs all over the place, up, down, left, right... when they are forced all over the ocean they get filtered by many different types of things, things we have no way to keep in our tanks.

    Like operating like a real reef? Reefs seem to operate fairly long term, with no way to export DOC except for bacteria and microbes (google "microbial loop"). Just what else do you suppose consumes DOC in the open ocean? This is bio 101.
    We can go in circles all day if you want... you keep saying "like a real reef" and I keep pointing out a real reef is just a tiny slice of the entire ocean, and it is the entire ocean that is doing the filtering, not just to reef parts. Real reefs do have a way to export DOCs beyond the "microbial loop within the reef", it is called ocean currents, extreme ranges of depths and water volume (solution to pollution is dilution ring a bell?), and the shorelines around the world. We do not have the depths and volume capacity in a tank to have the diversity of the ocean. How can we expect the small slice of ocean we do have to be able to do all the different types of filtering the ocean does if your simply relying on bacteria and microbes? I just started dosing Dr. Tim's Eco-Balance on my tank to raise the bacterial diversity, but 2 weeks in I can't say I notice any difference in either tank.

  3. #13
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    Re: Metrics of success

    it isn't even debatable that in 2' of water you would be lucky to have 1% of the bacterial diversity that is in the ocean.
    1 ml of tank water can have the exact same diversity as 1 ml of reef water. And the same count.

    Do you think "reefs" do ALL the filtering in the ocean?
    No, they do all the filtering on the reef. Google "reef nutrient recycling"

    what doesn't get filtered at the top continues to fall down to the bottom
    No, it doesn't. Filtration is for inorganics, not organics. Inorganics do not fall anywhere. Most inorganics in the ocean or lakes come from microbes and zooplankton, and are absorbed almost instantly by the adjacent phytoplankton (microbial loop). Inorganics on reefs are absorbed by a combination of phytoplankton and benthic algae.

    many many different things continue to filter the water (filter feeders)
    Filter feeders do not filter inorganics from the water; they add inorganics to the water.

    there is A LOT of skimming in the ocean. What do you think a wave is?
    Turbulence

    When a wave crashes down on the shore, it create bubbles, things stick to bubbles, and the waves push all that to the shore. What do you think that line of white snot looking stuff is you see at the shoreline? Ocean skimmate.
    Wrong. Bubbles (a la skimmers) do not filter inorganics, at all. Not even a little. No matter how many waves or how much coastline, 100% of the nutrients stay in the water (for the algae to filter). 2nd, The percentage of volume of coastline "foam" is a billionth of a percent of the volume of the ocean, and 1/100,000th of the volume of a reef. 3rd, nobody cleans the foam. 4th, any food particles that are picked up and deposited on the shore by this foam, (if it is not washed back by the next wave) will decay into nutrients which are in fluid communication with the ocean and will thus be flushed back out.

    Why do you think that the foam does not get bigger with each wave? Because it's washing back.

    Again, going back to the idea it is not possible for us to have the DIVERSITY of microbes and bacteria in a glass box in order to completely do the job like the ocean does.
    How do you know this? All studies I've seen of bacterial counts show gigantic diversity of bacteria. Has you seen a study of tank water that only shows monocultures?

    Real reefs do have a way to export DOCs beyond the "microbial loop within the reef", it is called ocean currents
    Yes DOC is moved around, because it's 98% of the carbon in the water. Just like the air you breath is pushed around the city you live in. But DOC is still 98% of the carbon in water, including on a reef. DOC is not "exported" off of a reef. If it were, it would not measure 98% of the carbon there. H20 is also a high percentage on a reef, and it does not change percentage much, even with high currents. Majority constituents don't change much; limiting constituents do.

  4. #14
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    Re: Metrics of success

    1 ml of tank water can have the exact same diversity as 1 ml of reef water. And the same count.
    Key word, CAN have. I would bet over 99% of tanks do not have the same diversity, but could have the same bacteria count. Also, when talking about the ocean, you have to take 1ml of water from the reef, 1ml from open waters, 1ml from 1 mile deep under high pressure, 1ml from the arctic, then put them all together and then compare the overall diversity... but... next part I will concede that the reef is the biggest player in filtering by far in comparison to the rest of the ocean. I still think this is one of the best articles in regards to bacteria in natural reefs vs aquariums and what role carbon dosing, skimming, and GAC usage have on bacteria levels. http://www.advancedaquarist.com/2011/3/aafeature

    No, they do all the filtering on the reef. Google "reef nutrient recycling"
    Good stuff! I just did that. Thanks for the suggestion, lots of good information there. Some of what is said in the link below support your statements and some support mine. The reefs do not recycle 100% but it is a lot closer to that than I was thinking. So I will say I still think cold water plays some role in the overall health of the ocean but after reading some links I will admit it seems reefs do the vast majority of their own filtering.

    http://www.fisherycrisis.com/coral3.html

    As far as the skimmate from waves, I think that is more bacterial. Stuff I see on shorelines is "snot" looking, just like I get in my sump and is bacterial in nature. Once it is pushed onto the shore, the sun quickly breaks it down. When I think of ocean skimmate this video always comes to mind now. http://www.advancedaquarist.com/blog/hu ... aths-in-it

  5. #15

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    Re: Metrics of success

    Wow. It is interesting reading all of this. I don't know what to say to any of it. I know enough to know I don't know anything.

    I am going to keep going the way I am going and see how things turn out.

    Ace25: Yes, I removed my HOB skimmer from the system when I setup the scrubber. I let the scrubber get a 3 day head start though. I am going to add more light to the scrubber and am actually just thinking of going with one side only. There is ~90 square inches of surface area per side and I have about 80 gallons of water volume in a heavily stocked tank, (both fish and coral).

    I was actually thinking about iodide levels being a cause of the zoas freaking out. I do have some of the seachem aquavitro stuff for iodide. I am going to test that in the next few days and see where it is. I suspect it is within levels, but worth checking anyway.

    I am actually excited to be able to feed more, although I realize that this may cost more. I think the more food I can put into the system, the better everything will do. I like the idea of increasing the feeding load until I start to see a rise in the nutrients and then back down a little. I think I will get some DT's phyto and some oyster feast too.

    So, any last thoughts on my setup and advice to give? I am going to monitor things closely over the next 6 months as I dial everything in. The one thing I do have going for me is that in this 90 gallon tank, I have 230 lbs of live rock an 7000gph of flow. I also have a makeshift denitrator setup in my sump where the bubble tower is. On each side is some micro porous rock and on top of that is a bag of carbon. That flows into the middle chamber with the ATS and chaeto. I think with that much natural filtration, I won't have to worry about N and P any. I just have to make sure things don't starve to death

    Anyway, I appreciate all the comments and interesting debate. I wish I knew enough to chime in.

    Brandon

  6. #16

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    Re: Metrics of success

    Ohh yeah, by the way... right now I feed 4 cubes a day of food like pe mysis and other frozen cubes and I feed 2-3 cubes of frozen cyclopeeze weekly. I need to make some more homemade mush and I will add that twice a week, equivalent to 2 cubes of food and then I want to start using the smallest oyster feast they sell for the SPS and I will begin target feeding LPS at least once a week again. I kinda fell off the wagon on that. Ohh yeah, and start dosing phytoplankton.

  7. #17
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    Re: Metrics of success

    Quote Originally Posted by jnad
    Hello!

    I dont know or have the experience to say if there exist an DOC problem when using algaescrubbers, but if there is a Doc problem maybe there is a simple solution for us algaescrubber users:

    When you set up an aquarium so maybe it pays to build a scrubber with a smaller size so that there is less algae mass in the system. Follow the new size / feeding guidlines from the SM, but think That you wish too feed a little bit less. In this way, it might in the aquarium be more like the balance between algal mass and water as it is in the sea.

    Another aspect of this is that we all want green growth around the screen and a too large scrubber will then be very costly in terms of how much food you may have to purchase to achieve this growt. Is it really needed to feed a normal stocing 50 gallon aquarium 5 cubes a day or is it enough with 2 cubes?

    Just some thoughts

    jnad
    Just want to quote this since it almost got lost at the end of the first page. I really think your thoughts have a lot of merit, so much so I think you are really on to something in regards to my tank. I focused so much on getting a lush green ATS and I super sized it. I get fantastic growth on the ATS, but I also get fantastic algae growth in the tank still, over 2 years after adding the ATS. To this day I pull out as much algae from the tank as I do from the screen, and I only have about 20lbs of rock in the display but the algae grows all over it, the plastic on my returns and closed loop intake, my vortech, and my corals. I focused so much on getting a good algae driven filtration system I probably neglected the bacterial aspect (more so after I tried bio-pellets and killed my screen, I really screwed up the balance in my tank and made it act more like a Yo-Yo instead of being stable.) We talk about under sizing screens being a problem, but we don't really discuss how over sizing a screen can also be as big of a problem (by having so much algae releasing DOCs into the tank and not having enough in the tank to filter it).

  8. #18
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    Re: Metrics of success

    Quote Originally Posted by sublime
    Ohh yeah, by the way... right now I feed 4 cubes a day of food like pe mysis and other frozen cubes and I feed 2-3 cubes of frozen cyclopeeze weekly. I need to make some more homemade mush and I will add that twice a week, equivalent to 2 cubes of food and then I want to start using the smallest oyster feast they sell for the SPS and I will begin target feeding LPS at least once a week again. I kinda fell off the wagon on that. Ohh yeah, and start dosing phytoplankton.
    I don't really think dosing Phyto is necessary (or if you do, a little goes a long way, like 1 drop per 10G) but I do think dosing oyster feast is a great thing to add. Oyster feast will feed a lot more things in a tank through direct consumption from polyps catching it and eating it.

    I wonder if removing the skimmer played any role in things. 3 days is really early to remove a skimmer, I usually tell people 30-60 days to let the screen mature if their goal is to remove the skimmer out of the system. Is this a HOB in the tank skimmer? If so, I understand wanting to remove it. I used my HOB skimmer on my sump when I did use one and if you had that option and the skimmer wasn't doing anything bad (like overflowing) I would still keep it on the system. On the tank itself though, I never liked having a pump in the tank on most HOB skimmers.

    Last thoughts, don't panic, don't make any drastic changes, and the best tool is your eyes. Observe closely daily, spend 20 minutes really looking close at corals and documenting their looks/health. If you see something wrong, try and figure out the cause and make very minor changes in order to get things back on track. Like if you decided to add iodides, add 1/10th the recommended the first dose, and slowly add more each day until you get to what the bottle says to dose (of course, testing daily with a kit the first couple weeks, like a Salifert kit, to see how it is affecting your tank).

  9. #19

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    Re: Metrics of success

    Thanks for the reply Ace25.

    Yes, it was an HOB on the tank. I have the Octopus BH800s, so the the only thing in the tank was the skimmer cup, but it needed a complete cleaning badly and I was so sick of looking at it. Also, this is a living room tank with no place to hide things and the sound output was cut in half or more by removing the skimmer. Now the tank is quite and peaceful. If things start to head downhill I will put it back on. It really didn't work very well at all though. I would get maybe 1/2" of skimmate every week even I cleaned it twice a week. Once I took it off the chaeto went CRAZY and quadruppled in size in 10 days, now it is just barely doubling in size in a week. I think the ATS is starting to break in. I still need to tweak the spray bar a little but overall, I think/hope things will work out.

    Roger on the phyto, I know how potent that stuff can be. I used to dose it and got out of control with it. I really want to push the feeding limits though.

    Oh yeah, one other question... Do skimmers make my use WAY WAY more alkalnity? I mean since I installed this thing, I have had to double my dosing of alk. Right now, I have to dose a FULL tablespoon of reef builder in the morning and night just to keep it above 8.

    Brandon

  10. #20

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    Re: Metrics of success

    Hello!

    As the discussion goes on i just want to point out that i do think there is many ways to have succes with reefceeping.

    Check out this video, there is no filtering system in this tank, just the reef that does the job
    http://reefvideos.com/videos/65/andr...ont_reef_tank/


    jnad

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