Brand New 8 gallon bio cube

Get Fish & Corals directly for the suppliers

siggy

just keep swimming
View Badges
Joined
Feb 16, 2017
Messages
4,816
Reaction score
12,405
Katrina, you have come a long way to become the wise reefer you are today. We all benefit from your reefing skill, we admire your "I got this" attitude and most of all, we value you as a friend. Congratulations on your 10,000th post!
Congratulations @Katrina71! It sure is a challenge keeping up on this one.
upload_2019-2-6_7-27-26.jpeg
Well done @NY_Caveman
 

Fin

Tank Status: Still Dry
View Badges
Joined
Sep 28, 2013
Messages
4,880
Reaction score
19,343
Location
Lake Charles LA
Years ago, I struggled with my 75 gallon mixed reef. I built a custom sized 30 gallon remote refugium and loaded it up with caulerpa. Regular plant grow lamp sitting on top of it. I had a Euro-Reef skimmer on the tank also. After about six months the display was really doing well. I will have a scrubber and a skimmer on my 125. There will be a 20 gallon remote refugium, but it will be set up more like a grow out tank and a pod safe place.

See the refugium in back? It was 36" long and fit between the stand and the wall. Remember this was around 2004, so not exactly modern looking nowadays.

Fuge1.jpg
 

dantimdad

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Jun 24, 2009
Messages
6,847
Reaction score
27,359
Location
North Alabama
If I think nutrients are too low, I pull the skimmer cup and just let it run. This provides gas exchange while the nutrients are recovering.

I always run chaeto. If nothing else, if run on a reverse photo period, it helps stabilize pH.
 
Corals.com

Scurvy

Pirate Reefer
View Badges
Joined
Jun 30, 2016
Messages
4,612
Reaction score
17,592
Location
MA
Cultivated Reef
OP
Katrina71

Katrina71

Learn, Laugh, Love
View Badges
Joined
Mar 26, 2017
Messages
20,888
Reaction score
89,465
If I think nutrients are too low, I pull the skimmer cup and just let it run. This provides gas exchange while the nutrients are recovering.

I always run chaeto. If nothing else, if run on a reverse photo period, it helps stabilize pH.
I only run mine reverse photo period
 

Rakie

NOTED TROUBLEMAKER
View Badges
Joined
Feb 10, 2017
Messages
5,454
Reaction score
15,225
Location
Southern California
Okay, I'm going to explain my thoughts on Chaeto and Macro algaes in general. It's a broad topic, and I hate talking about it, because the complexities are based around an individuals tank, their maintenence habits, their ability and willingness to maintain their macro algaes, and how many modern reefing methodologies grate against what is necessary to keep chaeto happy and thriving. @Katrina71 I will never forgive you for making me write this much lol

Chaeto can be fine, the problem with chaeto is modern methodology of reef keeping and the long term issues people can face, if they don't take a few small extra precautions necessary to keep a fuge happy and healthy. I don't like talking about this subject because it's long and complex, there's a lot of in's and outs, nuances, esoteric and tank-specific things which can go wrong, based upon the reef keeper themselves, their habits, their maintenance, and their understanding of the subject as it pertains to THEIR tank, THEIR habits, and THEIR work ethic.

So first and foremost, this is Ehsan Dashti, the owner of Triton -- Who created what we call the triton method, and sort of pioneered ICP testing as we know it. This is his 2017 speech at MACNA. Eshan Dashti: Modern Practical Reef keeping <--- LINK.

The fundamentals Trace elements and their critical importance. Then he transitions the talk to Macro Algaes, what they need, what they do, and how they work/grow/thrive. His talk specifically about the triton methodology and keeping a fuge happy and healthy starts around 18:45 in his talk. This talk is very, very important for people to watch, regardless of if you do or don't like chaeto, it's beneficial information to know about the metabolic processes happening within your aquarium.

So what am I saying in general -- Running a fuge can absolutely be fine. BUT, I typically like to make things simpler and boil it down to nutrients, and skip over the more esoteric things that people don't know of. It's because of all these reasons which I am starting to write out, that I typically do not recommend running a fuge for the person who isn't willing to put in a little work to maintain that fuge, or understand that chaeto itself has NEEDS, and that it's NEEDS detract from corals if not properly maintained.

Again -- the core of my argument isn't that a fuge is bad. It's that statistically, YOU will NOT put in the work to maintain your fuge. And eventually, your tank and corals can suffer. This can all be easily combated, if you put in a tiny fraction of effort, and more importantly, understand why all this is important information to know and apply to your tanks.

What does Macro algae need? -- On top of nutrients, it is wholly dependent upon metals, and other important trace elements. The metabolic processes within macro algae, like all life forms, are reliant upon trace elements. As time has gone on, I have seen more and more people have issues with chaeto because they aren't taking care of it. Nutrients alone, are not enough. Lighting alone, is not enough. The trace is critically important for chaeto, and all corals in your tank.

One of the main perks of Triton method -- Is that macro algaes (now will be referred to as just chaeto) will help polish your water of metals that build up. In the beginning stages of the video I posted above, Eshan is talking about the build up of undesirable elements that slowly creep up. This is one of the things chaeto is GREAT for. It eats metals like I eat cheesecake. This will prevent, or at least slow, the build up and deposit of unwanted heavy metals in your tank.

How do these metals get in my tank? -- They get in from everywhere. Watch the BRS videos of their new pharmaceutical grade elements. Many of the options contain traces of copper, aluminum, iron, and other unwanted elements. Again, chaeto is GREAT for this in general.

So why are we talking about Triton method anyways? -- Because the cornerstone of the triton method is utilizing chaeto or other macro algae to keep your tank clean of unwanted metals, as well as lowering nutrients (which is a whole 'nother thing I could droll on and on about).

Triton has two methods -- The standard "Triton method" based around utilizing chaeto as mentioned above, and the "Alternative Methods", which is lacking the elements necessary to keep chaeto growing and thriving, because you are using "Alternative Methods" instead of chaeto.

That's right. The people who pioneered ICP testing and champion the important of trace elements have two entirely different formulas based on if you are, or aren't using macro algaes. Because triton is KEENLY aware of what macro algaes need to thrive and function metabolically.

Why is it important to know that trace elements are important for macro? -- Because chaeto is extremely efficient. It's great at what it does! And the more you have, the more it needs. The cornerstone OF the Triton method is feeding your chaeto a well balanced diet of everything it needs to THRIVE. Because chaeto, and all macro algaes, will need their OWN supplementation in time.

So why do most people implement a fuge anyways? -- Most people implement a fuge to lower nutrients. It does have other benefits as well, but this is the main reason most people gravitate towards a fuge. So going off of the triton method, their main focus is to keep the chaeto happy, by supplementing the elements it needs to continue it's metabolic processes of utilizing nutrients.

Why is this a problem with modern reef keeping again? -- Because people are being told to do water changes less, and less. They are told water changes are the least effective way to reduce nutrients (which is true) and that all it's really good for is replenishing trace, which is very rarely low anyways (this is also true).

So now you have a life form that is well known, and utilized, specifically for it's ability to strip water of nutrients, metals, and other important trace elements, absurdly quickly and efficiently. Trace elements which most people are replenishing at a lower, and lower rate as reefing as a hobby grows.

This leads to water chemistry imbalance, and issues with metabolic processes within the chaeto itself, then it will begin to impact corals through a tank starved of trace elements.

How can you spot when Chaeto is starved of elements? -- The first thing that typically happens is your chaeto stops lowering nitrates and phosphates. More than a few friends, and club members, have noticed that over time the more efficiently they grow their chaeto, the slower it begins to grow and the less visibly healthy it becomes. The first sign is usually an uptick in nutrients. The elements that allow the chaeto to work have been stripped of the water, which in turn makes it so that chaeto itself struggles to achieve it's primary function, lowering nutrients.

You will note some people say "Chaeto stops working", you'll notice this slightly more often from people who run high level fuge lighting, or ARID reactors for their chaeto. Especially if, like most people, they are doing less, and less replenishment of trace minerals and elements.

So the chaeto stops taking up nutrients.. Weren't you just saying that's good?! -- In this specific case. No. Because it's stopped taking up nutrients due to the lacking trace elements that are required to sustain a healthy reef tank. Going back to ICP testing, the whole idea of ICP testing is to have an in depth understanding of what is in your water, and to have good sustainable levels of all the major and minor trace elements your corals need to thrive.

Lacking trace elements is not ideal for coral growth, health, or coloration. As time goes on, and as your chaeto continues to strip the water bare, corals will suffer more and more. In my personal experience (as someone who DOES NOT do water changes often) I witnessed chaeto absolutely devastate my SPS. My coral became more pale, more fragile, and less healthy. Growth slowed. Consumption of the big 3 (Alk, Cal, Mag) had also slowed which I noticed in time to prevent a large spike which may have caused coral death.

Some people don't have any of these problems with chaeto. Why are they fine while others are not? -- Typically this is because either directly, or indirectly, they are doing whats necessary to sustain their chaeto. This could be a well maintained water change schedule (replenishment of trace), it could be dosing of trace elements deliberately, it could be due to a two part which has a more balanced trace element system (Triton, ATI Essentials, ESV B-Ionic). It may also be due to a calcium reactor, which doses the elements and trace required for coral health and coincidentally, helps chaeto a bit as well.

Or in some cases (more and more as time goes on), people are realizing chaeto is a living thing that has it's own requirements. For this there is Triton method, Brightwell Aquatics ChaetoGro <--- LINK

So who have you known who personally had issues with this? -- A few people. Here are a few stories.

__________________________________________________________________

E's tank -- E had a HUGE ball of chaeto in his sump. 22x16". This was in a 120 ish gallon system. That's a metric ton of chaeto for such a small tank. He originally had it lit by a single basic light, nothing too fancy for it. He also didn't do water changes at all, nor did he dose trace.

E's Problems -- E had high nutrients, and couldn't get them to lower no matter what he did. His chaeto was well light and growing, but absolutely refused to lower his nutrients, especially phosphates. They just kept climbing and climbing, no matter what he did. Finally after convincing him to do a water change because "Something may be lacking in his water chemistry" he had a jolt of success. He then assumed the lowering of the phosphates and nitrates was due to a small 20 gallon water change. he then decided to upgrade to a second fuge light. This second light had no impact.

Then he decided, it was time to invest in a real fuge light. He threw out $300 on a kessil H380. It had no impact... He then began wondering if perhaps, he needed TWO kessil H380.

After a lot of talking I convinced him to ditch the chaeto, last I heard from mutual friends his tank has improved, and he didn't waste another $300 on a kessil that wouldn't do anything for him.



S's Tank -- S has a phenominal and absolutely beautiful reef. A custom 400 gallon penninsula, and most people I've known that saw it for the first time literally have their jaw drop. It's a thing of beauty, especially the filtration room.

S's Problem -- He ran a very nice, very large ARID reactor. Although as far as I know, he was at the time, not doing anything for his chaeto, nor was he doing many water changes. This is VERY typically of people with large tanks, as water changes are pretty much the worst way to accomplish any goal you may have for your tank and water chemistry. After about a year, he noticed his nutrients began to tick upwards. And came to the conclusion that "Chaeto stops working". He pulled it, and hasn't had any issues since. Last we spoke about chaeto, he became a non-believer, because his methodology of reefing conflicted with what chaeto needs to grow and sustain a happy reef.



Steve's tank -- Steve has a MASSIVE outdoor frag tank. 1300 gallons. 20x4 FEET. It's no joke, and he is exceptionally knowledgeable on most all subjects in the hobby.

What Steve Taught me -- He successfully runs a huge ARID reactor, and openly loves chaeto (which again, is totally fine in and of itself!) At this point I had been piecing together my anti-chaeto rheteric, and being such a deep pool of knowledge I asked him why he felt our mutual friend, S, had come to the conclusion "Chaeto stops working". Without skipping a beat he walked to his cubbord and pulled out a few bottles of vitamins. He doses Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, and Cobalt to keep his chaeto happy. This is not the full suite of things in say, the Triton method, AquaVitro Fuel, or Brightwell Aquatics ChaetoGro, but the most important things which were low in calcium reactor media.

So talking with Steve taught me for sure, why the Triton method exists. Why chaetogro exists. Why S had issues with his ARID reactor, and why E had issues with his chaeto.. All while Steven didn't. He took care of his chaeto. It has needs.



Charles's Tank -- Charles has a beautiful 240 gallon deep tank, he does no water changes, and had quite a lot of chaeto.

Charles' Problem -- His SPS were starved of nutrients, and had become slightly stunted and pale due to lack of trace elements. At this point, I personally had begun to seriously understand the underlying issues with chaeto that is NOT taken care of. I suggested he look into dosing some ChaetoGro to make up for what may be lacking. He said he had AquaVitro Fuel and would give that a shot first. Upon dosing some fuel, everything in his tank began to wake up. Color improved, growth improved, and everything was on the up and up. he and a mutual friend both told me his tank had started flourishing when just a week ago it had been stagnant.

Charles still didn't do water changes (busy, large tank), and chaeto once again started removing a little too much from his water and he has since decided to pull it. In his system, with his time restraints, and his methodology, chaeto was grating against his preferred style of reefing.

I told Charles what would likely be happening chemically and metabolically within his tank. This is the order of operations for a tank that has neglected chaeto;

- Nutrients begin to spike
- Chaeto becomes less visibly healthy, and growth slows, even while nutrients are present
- Corals begin to pale
- The Big 3 begin to rise, as corals are unable to properly utilize Alk, Cal, and Mag due to missing trace elements
- Corals begin to get stunted, and look less healthy
- Corals become progressively sensitive, and less hardy
- Coral loss may occur, "for no reason"



Rakies Tank -- Rakie had, at the time, a 29 gallon biocube the first time he learned his lesson. Then he tried it again briefly in his current 45g cube. Both times he learned from his mistake. Both times everything was humming along perfectly until adding in chaeto. This is also when he learned the importance of trace element replenishment (Which is just about the only thing water changes are semi decent for).

Rakies Problem -- Rakie didn't do water changes (STILL DON'T) because they are essentially the worst way to achieve almost anything in the hobby. Need to scrub your water? Carbon. Need to remove detritus? Filter sock and turkey baster for the rock/sand. Need to lower nutrients? LIGHT carbon dosing, maybe a little bacteria. Because of this, chaeto stripped his water clean of everything corals needed to thrive.

Compared to the size of my biocube, an AquaClear 110 holds a LOT of chaeto. And mine was stuffed, and thriving.. For awhile, at least.

Rakies other problem was simple -- He was told chaeto was the most perfect thing ever, and it would make everything magical, while requiring absolutely nothing in return. And he was dumb enough to not see the bigger picture. He started believing due to process of elimination that things started going south for him after adding chaeto. he had no problems before, it was the only change he had made in 6 months, then suddenly lots of issues (Specifically the order of operations I had told Charles, above me).



There are several other people as well. But this gives you a round idea of my personal experience with others. They all had nutrients in their system so their corals weren't starved of nutrients specifically, it was the other missing elements causing issue.

__________________________________________________________________


So basically, chaeto is the devil and you hate it -- Absolutely not. Although I have come to the understanding that chaeto itself has requirements that MUST be met in order for it to not only achieve it's intended purpose, but to PROTECT your corals from the efficient algae scrubbing your water sterile. Otherwise, Triton method not only wouldn't exist, but there wouldn't be a version specifically tailor made for chaeto, and one made with different elements and quantities of elements for systems that DONT run chaeto.

So what can I do to solve this before it becomes an issues? -- Water changes. Dose elements for your chaeto. Just plain understand the 'cause and effect of metabolic processes within your aquarium, or at least gain some insight into what makes chaeto work, and what chaeto does for a system BESIDES eat up nutrients. There is a big picture in this topic, and as of when I started writing this post, not a single person made note of it. And that, in and of itself, is the problem.

So then, why do you boil it all down to "nutrients" if all this other stuff is important? -- Because it's a ton of information, and it requires more thought than most people are willing to give algae. And it opens up into a bigger and bigger picture, about essential trace elements, their place in the hobby, their importance for coral health, the way it may heavily impact your reef. it also takes a lot of information that is "tried and true", and turns it on it's head. You know how hard it is to convince people there's more than one way to skin a cat? (who skins cats??). it's almost impossible. Especially in this hobby, where a contradictory thought is more than just a different point of view, it's often taken as a personal insult against one's experience, tank, knowledge, and manhood.

This is an annoyingly impossible conversation to have. An entire line of essential elements was created by a company who specializes in the most in-depth testing of tank trace elements, specifically to keep a stupid algae alive, and thriving, and making sure there is enough trace elements so that the rest of the corals have enough to go around. Because the algae is a trace element pig. and if not properly taken care of, it CAN cause an issue.

Take ALL OF THAT, and coupled with the fact that the methodology behind reef keeping is changing in a way that contradicts exactly what this piggy algae requires makes what was no issue 10-20 years ago a potential issue today, for a growing majority of people. You have BRS telling you how awesome sauce chaeto is, and how Ryan "Can't understand how anybody would go without it", while simultaneously telling you water changes aren't really great for anything (albeit this is true, but can pose a problem with chaeto heavy tanks).

So basically i bypass what nobody wants to talk about, and point out what some people are willing to talk about. Lacking nutrients, which does also effect coral health, growth, and color.


Shout out to @Katrina71, who I totally hate for making me write all this!
 

dantimdad

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Jun 24, 2009
Messages
6,847
Reaction score
27,359
Location
North Alabama
@Rakie I applaud your explanation. However, chaeto is not modern. I personally have been using macro algae either in a refugium with sand, rock, etc. or just by itself in a ball for over 20 years.

I have never understood why folks have trouble growing it. I never have. (I probably won't be able ever grow it again now that I said that)

Like I have said before, you can watch your tank inhabitants and know what to do if you have been doing this a while.

It boils down to more or less feedings, more or less skimming and more or less light with all the reefs I have ever helped to maintain.

Now, this may be just me. There may not be another person on the planet who agrees. But, I have to go with 30 years of doing this stuff.

I probably will never run without Chaeto.
 

Rakie

NOTED TROUBLEMAKER
View Badges
Joined
Feb 10, 2017
Messages
5,454
Reaction score
15,225
Location
Southern California
I know chaeto isn't modern, I was using it first in middle school. what I'm saying is modern reef keeping methodology is moving in a direction that is not conducive to keeping chaeto healthy, and more and more I'm seeing people having problems from chaeto itself not being maintained.
 

Is your Build Thread Badge missing? Uh oh!

  • Yes it's gone

    Votes: 51 28.8%
  • Nope, I'm quick

    Votes: 58 32.8%
  • Uh I don't understand. (you better click and read)

    Votes: 26 14.7%
  • Never had one...until now!

    Votes: 42 23.7%

Online statistics

Members online
807
Guests online
2,641
Total visitors
3,448
Bulk Reef Supply
Boom Corals
Top