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

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I almost went the diffuser and screen route. It's one of the few things I remember from Martin Moe's book that I picked up many, many (many) moons ago. Ended up grabbing some small interlocking plates instead that are raised about an inch off the bottom glass.

When I first made up my mind to go back to the UGF, my plan was to recreate my first setup by using deep substrate and weak pull. In your experience, is there a flow rate that's too low for reverse flow UGF?

I like high flow as I am not interested in promoting anarobic chemistry. Paul B likes low flow with shallow sand bed at 2” max depth. Both produce good results.
 
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@Subsea You are correct. The UGF is designed to drive detritus into the sand. The cryptic zone and bacteria in the sand turn waste into nitrates. The modified hob circulates a slow stream from the cryptic zone through macro algae.
Just my train of thought.

you have a misunderstanding of the biochemistry of cryptic sponges in the cryptic zone.. Yes , it is true that nitrification bacteria will oxidize ammonia to nitrite then to nitrate.
To understand the biochemistry of cryptic sponges you must first understand the biochemistry of dissolved organic carbon (DOC). All photosynthetic organisms have waste as a byproduct of photosynthesis called exudates which are DOC. The exudates of coral are mostly lipids & proteins while the exudates of algae are mostly carbohydrates. Cryptic sponges consume DOC 100 fold more than granulated active carbon.
 

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@Subsea, I understand cryptic systems I bought and read Steve Tyree"s book 15 years ago, I am not trying to grow cryptic inhabitants beyond bacteria. Most of the cryptic creatures are no longer available, having lived through multible red tide outbreaks on the gulf coast I am not interested in their rock. I do have a 20 long full of bacteria. The substrate is the filter, clears the water, breaks down the waste, deep sand-beds and fluidized sand filters have all used this process. However nitrates always seemed to be a problem in these systems. So macro algae in a HOB circulating the water. Will it work, I don't know. Will I grow more algae, yes.
 
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@Subsea, I understand cryptic systems I bought and read Steve Tyree"s book 15 years ago, I am not trying to grow cryptic inhabitants beyond bacteria. Most of the cryptic creatures are no longer available, having lived through multible red tide outbreaks on the gulf coast I am not interested in their rock. I do have a 20 long full of bacteria. The substrate is the filter, clears the water, breaks down the waste, deep sand-beds and fluidized sand filters have all used this process. However nitrates always seemed to be a problem in these systems. So macro algae in a HOB circulating the water. Will it work, I don't know. Will I grow more algae, yes.

For so many reefers, nitrates are a problem. Early in my 50 yrs of Reefing, I choose to operate high nutrient systems. In every tank I maintain, I add ammonia because the system uses nitrogen and most corals and algae prefer ammonia to nitrate. The point is, bacteria are not the only consumers of nitrate.

@tvan
while red tides have been prevalent in GOM, to assume that all GOM diver collected liverock is useless & contaminated is a deduction that I do not share with you.

There is so much more than bacteria & algae involved in biochemistry of the microbial loop.
 
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“When I first made up my mind to go back to the UGF, my plan was to recreate my first setup by using deep substrate and weak pull. In your experience, is there a flow rate that's too low for reverse flow UGF?”

@Esox
If your substrate is deep and your flow is low, you will get anarobic zones with reducing chemistry. This would be the equivalent of the Jaubert Plenumn. I had that arrangement on this tank for its first 20 years. Bob Goemans pioneered what he called NNR (natural nitrate reduction). By using course substrate, he extended the oxygen gradient deep into 4-6” sandbed. During this process, as the oxygen gradient decreased, in order for aerobic bacteria to survive, they used up more energy and broke the weak bond of oxygen from the nitrate molecule and released a free nitrogen gas molecule. This is natures way to recycle nitrogen back into the athmosphere. In waste water treatment, this would be called an anarobic digester. Talk with @Lasse about them. In soil chemistry as well as in aquatic environments, certain species of Cyanobacteria perform this chemistry.
 
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I also have Steve Tyree book. Dutch research scientist have put the microscope to the cryptic zone. I have found cryptic sponges on the dark side of live rock in display tanks and yes, the live rock was collected on reefs 10 mile west of Tampa Bay.

Premium Decorative Live Rock is our most popular rock. This rock will have thick coralline algae on it and a mixed variety of plants, animals, hard and soft corals, sponges and so much more. This type of rock has an enormous variety of animal and encrusting marine life. The shapes and sizes are extremely unique. This rock could contain multi-colored Christmas tree worms, cup and tube corals, feather dusters, gorgonians, serpulid worms and encrusting clams.

This rock is fully blanketed with colorful coralline algae's, these algae's come in multitudes of fascinating shades of purple, reds, oranges, peaches and yellows. Most rocks contain bryzoans,orange leather sponge,gracilaria algae,halimeda, sea grapes, cluster corals, and cup corals. All of our premium decorative live rocks contain seeded plant life,both macro and micro algae.All pieces are hand collected fresh from our gulf lease site by our diving staff and shipped directly to our customers.We do not use any chemicals in our process. The rocks pictured are for example only. All of our premium decorative live rock is as good or better than the rocks pictured. This is Florida Aquacultured live rock.

All of our live rock comes from our personal Federal Aquaculture Lease site located 10 miles offshore in the Gulf of Mexico. All of our rock was planted on the ocean floor in 1994. So you can image how much marine life has grown on it in over the last 15 years. We have live rock in all different sizes and we can custom fit your order. Our premium decorative live rock starts at $5 a pound. We offer wholesale prices on larger volume orders.



@Subsea, I understand cryptic systems I bought and read Steve Tyree"s book 15 years ago, I am not trying to grow cryptic inhabitants beyond bacteria. Most of the cryptic creatures are no longer available, having lived through multible red tide outbreaks on the gulf coast I am not interested in their rock. I do have a 20 long full of bacteria. The substrate is the filter, clears the water, breaks down the waste, deep sand-beds and fluidized sand filters have all used this process. However nitrates always seemed to be a problem in these systems. So macro algae in a HOB circulating the water. Will it work, I don't know. Will I grow more algae, yes.

The sponge loop hypothesis proposes that sponges on coral reefs absorb the large quantities of dissolved organic carbon (molecules such as carbohydrates) that are released by seaweeds and corals and return it to the reef as particles in the form of living and dead cells, or other cellular debris.Jan 24, 2017

 
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First light: surprisingly, all GSP are extended. I assumed they were all photosynthetic with no small prey capture mechanisms. In the long term of nature, successful organisms have adopted numerous survival strategies. Yesterday, I removed much fast growing feather Caulerpa from 55G lagoon: hippo & algae Blennie love it.

Next to the 75G tank is five yr mature 120G tank. Towards the end of its 16hr light cycle, it is recovering from much too much of the same species of Caulerpa going sexual. 36 hours ago, at the beginning of its 16 hour lights on cycle, the white ooze was so thick, I added emergency air circulation. Water clarity is ok this morning at 0600hrs.
 

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tvan

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@Subsea
Most of the cryptic creatures are no longer available, having lived through multible red tide outbreaks on the gulf coast I am not interested in their rock.
I did not mean your live rock is useless, my point was that simply the life in our bodies of water have taken a beating over the last few decades and as such dead rock is now the norm. 13 years ago I couldn't find a cryptic sponge for my cryptic zone tank. My father still lives in Englewood, and on the off chance that I get to visit him, I am planing to make a short side trip. If you are still open to walk-ins. The 20 gal may grow a separate cryptic zone. But I need to focus on where to 20 is headed. My train of thought derails very easy these days.
 
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@Subsea

I did not mean your live rock is useless, my point was that simply the life in our bodies of water have taken a beating over the last few decades and as such dead rock is now the norm. 13 years ago I couldn't find a cryptic sponge for my cryptic zone tank. My father still lives in Englewood, and on the off chance that I get to visit him, I am planing to make a short side trip. If you are still open to walk-ins. The 20 gal may grow a separate cryptic zone. But I need to focus on where to 20 is headed. My train of thought derails very easy these days.

Because I look at these things from the point of view of science, what the “world culture” or the reef hobby website vendor culture thinks is of little value to how I maintain mature reef tanks with little maintenance.

PS. While I value this hobby community, if I embraced current trends, I would change methods every few years. Because I am a Laissez Faire reefkeeper, I strive for minimum maintenance requirements. With this 25 yr mature tank, I have achieved that in the last 5 years.
 
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I like high flow as I am not interested in promoting anarobic chemistry. Paul B likes low flow with shallow sand bed at 2” max depth. Both produce good results.

@Esox
If your substrate is deep and your flow is low, you will get anarobic zones with reducing chemistry. This would be the equivalent of the Jaubert Plenumn.

If I understand correctly, you are facilitating a cycle between your tank and cryptic refugium in which both produce byproducts that are beneficial to each other, reducing the amount of overall maintenance you have to perform. But without facilitating anoxic conditions, do you ever have to contend with dangerously high nitrates, or is the NO3 being processed elsewhere?
 
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If I understand correctly, you are facilitating a cycle between your tank and cryptic refugium in which both produce byproducts that are beneficial to each other, reducing the amount of overall maintenance you have to perform. But without facilitating anoxic conditions, do you ever have to contend with dangerously high nitrates, or is the NO3 being processed elsewhere?

@Esox
Thank you for precisely articulating natural nutrient management: I focus on recycling.

https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/nutrient-management-by-“old-school”-reefer.784640/

Every system I have includes ornamental & utility seaweeds. In the last week, fast growing Caulerpa Paspoidies went sexual in the 120G display because it was nitrogen limited. I dose ammonia daily, when I remember.

image.jpg image.jpg
 

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@Esox
Thank you for precisely articulating natural nutrient management: I focus on recycling.

https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/nutrient-management-by-“old-school”-reefer.784640/

@Esox
Thank you for precisely articulating natural nutrient management: I focus on recycling.

https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/nutrient-management-by-“old-school”-reefer.784640/

Every system I have includes ornamental & utility seaweeds. In the last week, fast growing Caulerpa Paspoidies went sexual in the 120G display because it was nitrogen limited. I dose ammonia daily, when I remember.

Very interesting thread, and my intent this weekend was to spend less time on the computer :D. Love the scape in your 120, btw!

What I'm taking away from all this is to stop chasing numbers, facilitate greater biodiversity and gas exchange, and give Mother Nature the space to do her thing. Now I'm kicking myself for building a stand that won't hold a refugium.

Last time my tank--a 56 gallon--was running, I loaded it up with macroalgae which appeared to serve no purpose other than to give hair algae something else to grow on. I started with dry sand and rock, had Marine Pure in the filter, and cycled it with Dr. Tim's. The only bio-diversity I saw was the occasional temporary critter on a frag plug. I suspect my melanurus wrasse viewed them as Cheetos.

Anyway, I think I have a better grip on how I'm going to approach things this time around. I appreciate you and the others for answering my questions.
 
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@Esox
I use a canister filter as a high energy cryptic refugium. Instead of any mechanical filtration, I use mature reef rubble to inoculate cryptic sponges in all baskets. I no longer open them up unless I need to seed other tanks. I suggest canister that blocks light.
 

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@Esox
I use a canister filter as a high energy cryptic refugium. Instead of any mechanical filtration, I use mature reef rubble to inoculate cryptic sponges in all baskets. I no longer open them up unless I need to seed other tanks. I suggest canister that blocks light.

That's good to know. I am planning on adding a couple AIO chambers to hide equipment, but I nixed the idea of having one chamber dedicated to a cryptic zone in the belief the flow had to be ultra low for it to work. Back to the drawing board!

I do have a canister filter lying around, but that thing pushes an enormous amount of water. Guess I just figured the flow cause detritus to pack the spaces between the rubble.
 
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That's good to know. I am planning on adding a couple AIO chambers to hide equipment, but I nixed the idea of having one chamber dedicated to a cryptic zone in the belief the flow had to be ultra low for it to work. Back to the drawing board!

I do have a canister filter lying around, but that thing pushes an enormous amount of water. Guess I just figured the flow cause detritus to pack the spaces between the rubble.
If rubble is coarse sand, that would be true.

Cryptic sponges are not detrivores. These sponges grow on the dark side of live rock in this display tank. I have seen cryptic sponges for years but didn’t realize their role in biochemistry of processing DOC.

@Timfish introduced me to cryptic refugiums and cryptic sponges intitially thru Steve Tyree successes with this filtration. It was not until Dutch research scientist highlight the “sponge loop” that it all came together.

Then, combine this with what @Paul B says about MULM



Mulm (after a while, maybe a few years) should grow on the back and sides of glass as well as under rocks.
Here in this picture of my clingfish, the mulm appears green. It is really brownish and that fish is on the side of my tank. I brightened up the picture and turned it sideways because it was in the dark and the fish was hard to see.
There is a thick layer of it on the back of my tank where my mandarins and pipefish like to hunt. My long spined urchin also grazes there most of the time as there is not much algae in my tank for him to eat. He is many years old as are the mandarins and pipefish and they are dependent on this food source.
A sterile tank IMO is the biggest problem we have keeping certain fish healthy.
Sterile is good in an operating room but very bad in a tank.
 
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@Subsea

I did not mean your live rock is useless, my point was that simply the life in our bodies of water have taken a beating over the last few decades and as such dead rock is now the norm. 13 years ago I couldn't find a cryptic sponge for my cryptic zone tank. My father still lives in Englewood, and on the off chance that I get to visit him, I am planing to make a short side trip. If you are still open to walk-ins. The 20 gal may grow a separate cryptic zone. But I need to focus on where to 20 is headed. My train of thought derails very easy these days.


I know well about Red Tides. As a child, I grew up in the marshlands of South Louisiana. we fished bayous & swamps and once a year spent two weeks summer vacation on the Gulf Coast for many years. As a teenager, I fished blue water 150 miles south of Latayette, La. Because I often got seasick, I would transfer to oil production platform while others fished. As I gazed down into the water, the abundance of numbers & variety of fish was of such wonder. As I gazed into the depths, I could only imagine what was down there. Fast forward twenty years and I am a Senior Subsea Engineer on the Discoverer 7 Seas. I am in the Oceaneering Control Console as the ROV (Remote Operated Vehicle) is operated 5000’ below us in 30 degree water. We are conducting a weekly inspection of the marine riser, which connects a floating ship to a rigid wellhead in 5000’ of water. Because the Oceeneering divers know I am a serious fisherman, they pause the inspection at 200’ depth and call me to see the huge schools of fish that made our ship a microcosm in the Big Blue. I spent 30 years working in blue water. The Gulf of Mexico has the largest anoxic zone in the world. This is mostly due to the nutrient rich waters of the Mississippi River. Yet, when you dive the oil platforms, you see Coral gardens where there was nothing before the structure was put there. The same holds for west coast of Florida. The sponges on the Florida Gulf Coast are a testimony to how nature can clean up excess nutrients in a body of water. The same holds true for grass flats in salt water marshes & estuaries. Yes, I have seen & smelled the fish kills from Red Tide and I have fished and swam those same areas a year later.

The vendors that sell real aquacultured live rock are the real hero’s and true environmental stewards in the never ending drama of the ethics of using diver collected rock in our marine tanks.
 

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I worked as a pool mechanic off the west coast for my father. Nothing like working in Boca Grande around multi million dollar homes. Walking over to the seawall and being physically unable to breath(from the algae bloom), then there's the dead fish..... The warning posted about not swimming with an algae bloom along Manasota key. Then there's the ongoing oil spills off Louisiana 14 they have been unable to cap.... I lived in Port St.John with my wife, we left before the Indian river lagoon was no longer able to support manatees and they"ve had mass die offs since 2020... The landscaping business alone pollutes the Florida coastline, now add in all the other things dumped into the gulf and Atlantic. Add the population growth over the last few years, I think those bodies of water are taking a beating.
 
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