25 year old 75G Jaubert Plenum on top with 30G EcoSystem Mud/Macro

Subsea

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The tank has seen little change in 25 years. Jaubert Plenum was designed to use facultative bacteria in a low oxygen environment to perform denitrification biochemistry. Substrate was 6” deep with false bottom making a Plenum under substrate. Plenum performed well until the introduction of Melanarious Wrasse to control Red Planaria, which unknown to me eliminated my detrivore crew. With a 6” dsb with 25 years of detritus, I made the major decision to vacum sandbed down to < 2”.
After removing several hundred pounds of substrate while syphoning out over 500G of water over a two week time period, I now have a thriving mixed garden with ornamental sponges and ornamental macro along with numerous other filter feeders including flame scallops and numerous fans & feathers that I have no clue to the name, but I consider it a healthy bioindicator.

So, water flow from top to refugium goes into rock rubble first chamber (wet/dry) where gas is exchanged and detritus is broken up and settles into large second compartment with mud. In 25 years, I have never replaced mud. The depth in mud filter has increased in depth from .75” to 1.5”. It felt spongy to the touch and was crawling with worms. When I converted from macro refugium to cryptic refugium, I turned out the lights, composted tomatoes, added eggcrate in mud bed so rock was clear of mud, seeded cryptic sponges and have been very pleased. The flow thru this refugium is much higher than recommended by Steve Tyree.

Flow in my tank is supplied in tank with one HOB at 400GPHR and one Cannistar filter at 300GPHR.
Flow from refugium is 500GPH.

Lighting is supplied by three 4’ BMI 108W bars with a color spectrum of 12K.

Fish include:
Blue Damsels(7)
Flame Angel
Coral Beauty
BiColor Dottyback
Green Mandarin
Blue Chromis
Banggi Cardinalfish
Melanarious Wrasse
Sailfin Blenni

Sponges include:
https://www.live-plants.com/orangesponge.htm
https://www.live-plants.com/elephantearsponge.htm
https://www.live-plants.com/yellowball.htm

Softies:
GSP
Yellow Colonial Anemone
Xenia
Green Sinularia
Cabbage Leather
Red Mushroom

Ornamental Macro
Bortacladia (Red Grapes)

Chemical filtration is seldom used, but due to some cynobacteria, I am using phosphate resin and GAC.

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Subsea

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Cryptic refugium

I have Steve Tyree’s book on cryptic zone filtration. My friend Timfish & Steve Tyree have opened my eyes to the third leg of my biofiltration platform: bacteria; algae, including coral zooanthelia and now cryptic sponges.

Anthony Calfo’s book on Reef Invertebrae discribes 50K species of sponges that are very diverse in their feeding habits. Since Anthon’s book was written, Steve Tyree has done much research around cryptic sponges. Because of my limited knowledge on sponges, I will generalize how the process works.

All photosynthetic organisms produce DOC (dissolved organic carbon). Coral DOC is rich in lipids & proteins while macro DOC is high in carbohydrates and according to the author, reef junk food. Cryptic sponges consume DOC and produce Marine Snow and DIC (dissolved inorganic carbon) both of which are food for coral.

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Lasse

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This is a great thread.

@Lasse
Is going to love talking with you.
Yes - and @Sallstrom will love it too. He has been talking about the sponge loop for many years :). Yes I try to have sponges in my aquaria but mostly in the display tank. I never clean my sump and i have a lot of cryptic animals in there. Your tank is nearly equal to mine in size and I love how it looks like :) Interesting aquaria - please post more details and thoughts around your aquaria.

Sincerely Lasse
 

Scrubber_steve

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All photosynthetic organisms produce DOC (dissolved organic carbon). Coral DOC is rich in lipids & proteins while macro DOC is high in carbohydrates and according to the author, reef junk food.
Hi Subsea; i have read that same quote & it is a misleading generalisation based on the exudates from some algae species. Lets not forget that many fishes diets consist totally of algae, as do some invertebrates. To describe all algae as junkfood is wrong.
In regards to being high in carbohydrates, Nori has a higher proportion of protein to carbs. 44.4g to 36.6g per 100g, & sugars accounting for less than 0.1g
 

Sallstrom

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Nice to see a tank not run the "standard " way! And yes, I do think the cryptic zone and sponge is important on a reef and in a reef tank :)
Looking forward to read more about this tank and it's history!

/ David
 
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Subsea

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Hi Subsea; i have read that same quote & it is a misleading generalisation based on the exudates from some algae species. Lets not forget that many fishes diets consist totally of algae, as do some invertebrates. To describe all algae as junkfood is wrong.
In regards to being high in carbohydrates, Nori has a higher proportion of protein to carbs. 44.4g to 36.6g per 100g, & sugars accounting for less than 0.1g
I could link the author and his degrees. Like you, I don’t consider algae as junk food. With respect to generalizations, as you have pointed out, there are more exceptions than the generalized group. Since you are up on algae, do you agree that macro algae (seaweed) as a general rule breaks down into a 560:30:1 of Carbon:Nitrogen:phosphorous . I have found macro to be a sponge, meaning that these ratios can change dramatically depending on water chemistry.
 

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Since you are up on algae, do you agree that macro algae (seaweed) as a general rule breaks down into a 560:30:1 of Carbon:Nitrogen:phosphorous . I have found macro to be a sponge, meaning that these ratios can change dramatically depending on water chemistry.
Yes i agree, the average N P ratio for seaweeds is 30N:1P, with a range from 10:1 to 80:1
 
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Subsea

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As a rule, I feed heavy including flake, frozen and live mussels every day. With much nutrients swirling about, algae will grow, including coral zooanthelia. Coral reefs in the ocean would be algae dominated if it were not for herbivores. Finding the right combination of janitors as detrivores and herbivores has intrigued me to match pest with solution.

The last two fish added to this tank were Sailfin Blenni and BiColor Dottyback.

305FA445-D432-4870-AC5A-E4200D9AAEBC.jpeg
 
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Subsea

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Before my sponge enlightenment, I used GAC to deal with DOC. I had good success with macro refugium composting tomatoes and growing pods for 24 years. So now, instead of growing tomatoes, I grow sponges and coral.

The GSP on back wall was tennis ball size 5 years ago, when the video was made.

 
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Subsea

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Normal day/night pH fluctuations on reefs in the wild are about 8.15 to 7.8. Aroggonite begins to dissolve at a pH of about 8.05
I rely on passive aroggonite buffering and trace mineral addittion. I have also chosen to stay away from high alkalinity consumers like SPS. My makeup water comes up from Trinity Aquifier at 1000’ with a pH of 7.8 and TDS over 950.

Ward Lab test results
TDS at 957
Na at 55ppm
K at 14ppm
Ca at 130ppm
Mg at 102
Total Hardness, CaCO3 at 750
NO3-N < 0.1ppm
SO4-S at 189ppm
Cl at 34ppm
CO3 at < 1ppm
HCO3 at 346ppm
Total Alkalinity, CaCO3 at 283
B at 0.33ppm
Total nitrogen at 2ppm
Ortho Phosphate at < 0.01ppm
Total Phosphate at < 0.01ppm
Fe at 0.02 ppm
Mn at < 0.01ppm
NO2-N < 0.1

Because make up water is full of minerals required to grow things I encourage evaporation to increase mineral dosing.
 
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Subsea

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How efficient are your sponges compared to GAC for removing DOC, & what do you base your conclusion on?
I really can’t quantify its efficiency except I no longer have to use GAC to see stellar results with less work on my part.
Bioindicators like more feathers and small tube worms for drawf angels to eat is one result that stands out. I have two flame scallops in tank for almost a year.
 

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The tank has seen little change in 25 years. Jaubert Plenum was designed to use facultative bacteria in a low oxygen environment to perform denitrification biochemistry. Substrate was 6” deep with false bottom making a Plenum under substrate. Plenum performed well until the introduction of Melanarious Wrasse to control Red Planaria, which unknown to me eliminated my detrivore crew. With a 6” dsb with 25 years of detritus, I made the major decision to vacum sandbed down to < 2”.
After removing several hundred pounds of substrate while syphoning out over 500G of water over a two week time period, I now have a thriving mixed garden with ornamental sponges and ornamental macro along with numerous other filter feeders including flame scallops and numerous fans & feathers that I have no clue to the name, but I consider it a healthy bioindicator.

So, water flow from top to refugium goes into rock rubble first chamber (wet/dry) where gas is exchanged and detritus is broken up and settles into large second compartment with mud. In 25 years, I have never replaced mud. The depth in mud filter has increased in depth from .75” to 1.5”. It felt spongy to the touch and was crawling with worms. When I converted from macro refugium to cryptic refugium, I turned out the lights, composted tomatoes, added eggcrate in mud bed so rock was clear of mud, seeded cryptic sponges and have been very pleased. The flow thru this refugium is much higher than recommended by Steve Tyree.

Flow in my tank is supplied in tank with one HOB at 400GPHR and one Cannistar filter at 300GPHR.
Flow from refugium is 500GPH.

Lighting is supplied by three 4’ BMI 108W bars with a color spectrum of 12K.

Fish include:
Blue Damsels(7)
Flame Angel
Coral Beauty
BiColor Dottyback
Green Mandarin
Blue Chromis
Banggi Cardinalfish
Melanarious Wrasse
Sailfin Blenni

Sponges include:
https://www.live-plants.com/orangesponge.htm
https://www.live-plants.com/elephantearsponge.htm
https://www.live-plants.com/yellowball.htm

Softies:
GSP
Yellow Colonial Anemone
Xenia
Green Sinularia
Cabbage Leather
Red Mushroom

Ornamental Macro
Bortacladia (Red Grapes)

Chemical filtration is seldom used, but due to some cynobacteria, I am using phosphate resin and GAC.

image.jpg
Awsome
 

Scrubber_steve

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I really can’t quantify its efficiency except I no longer have to use GAC to see stellar results with less work on my part.
Bioindicators like more feathers and small tube worms for drawf angels to eat is one result that stands out. I have two flame scallops in tank for almost a year.
It would be difficult if not impossible I imagine to know if the sponges are as efficient as GAC without some DOC tests. Perhaps if tests for water discoloration when using GAC were carried out , & then with a mature cryptic fuge to compare, a comparison could be made.

I've got Tyrees e books as well & i started a cryptic zone/ filter feeder zone, around 6 months ago.
I couldn't get any sponge to seed it so i used some sponge already in my tank.

I'll keep using GAC till the cryptic zone matures & really gets some serious sponge growth happening.
 
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