Calling all bare bottom tank owners for your help.

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Pistol Peet

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all bare bottom sps dominate tank owners. Walk me threw your tank set up. What did u do to get ur bare bottom to cycle? How long did this take u? What type of success are u having with ur bare bottom stick dominate tank? ( love to see those pics) I will be starting a 160 gallon acro dominate bare bottom display tank and would love to know how all u that have done this successfully went about it.
 
RAP

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I implemented mine based on the BRS/WWC method the-only-sps-reef-tank-setup-guide-youll-ever-need-the-brs-wwc-system-ep20. I started with live rock which in my opinion really accelerates and provides stability up front. I started the tank on 8/13/19, added a raw shrimp and I believe 3 different brands of bottled bacteria. On 9/1 added two clowns, 10/14 added 6 tangs and a booster of the bacteria. The tank has generally been thriving ever since. Note that I went with a lot of flow (4 MP 40s and 2 gyre fx 350s) and generally don't get any areas where detritus collects. Here are some pics (sorry for poor quality).

For filtration I use filter socks, carbon, 3 of the dimpled bio bricks in the sump and a skimmer. I also run UV on the tank and a calcium reactor with a CO2 scrubber. The total water volume is about 190 gallons and have a DOS do about 12 gallons of water changes each week. For lighting I am running 3 Radion Pros and 4 T5s.

All of the corals in the pics started out as your normal small 1-2 inch frags except the large green Monti on the left, it came out of another tank and was about 3 inches in diameter and wasn't sure it would make it (mostly brown) but now is the size of a dinner plate. I believe I added the first corals in late November/Early December 2019. I waited until I have visible Coraline growth before adding any corals.
IMG_2412.jpg IMG_2413.jpg IMG_2414.jpg IMG_2415.jpg IMG_2416.jpg
 

Anirban

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My tanks are always bare bottom. It just takes a little more time to settle if done correctly compared to sand bottom. You can take care of the nutrient issue with an oversize skimmer and filter socks. Try to introduce biodiversity in terms of pods and other critters. Live rocks help towards the stability. If this is going to be SPS dominant then a ton of flow.
 
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Pistol Peet

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I implemented mine based on the BRS/WWC method the-only-sps-reef-tank-setup-guide-youll-ever-need-the-brs-wwc-system-ep20. I started with live rock which in my opinion really accelerates and provides stability up front. I started the tank on 8/13/19, added a raw shrimp and I believe 3 different brands of bottled bacteria. On 9/1 added two clowns, 10/14 added 6 tangs and a booster of the bacteria. The tank has generally been thriving ever since. Note that I went with a lot of flow (4 MP 40s and 2 gyre fx 350s) and generally don't get any areas where detritus collects. Here are some pics (sorry for poor quality).

For filtration I use filter socks, carbon, 3 of the dimpled bio bricks in the sump and a skimmer. I also run UV on the tank and a calcium reactor with a CO2 scrubber. The total water volume is about 190 gallons and have a DOS do about 12 gallons of water changes each week. For lighting I am running 3 Radion Pros and 4 T5s.

All of the corals in the pics started out as your normal small 1-2 inch frags except the large green Monti on the left, it came out of another tank and was about 3 inches in diameter and wasn't sure it would make it (mostly brown) but now is the size of a dinner plate. I believe I added the first corals in late November/Early December 2019. I waited until I have visible Coraline growth before adding any corals.
IMG_2412.jpg IMG_2413.jpg IMG_2414.jpg IMG_2415.jpg IMG_2416.jpg
Does the curved front panel help with keeping the water circling the tank obviously the gryos do this well does the bow front help this also.
 

DC Reefer

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also what if not planning on using live rock? Trying to keep hitchhikers out and do a negative aquascape.
Not sure if the curved front helps or not, but the tank is a lot more difficult to get the circulation right than a "standard" square/rectangular tank. One of the benefits of the bare bottom is I can really turn the pumps up without worrying about sand getting scattered all over. I also have a RS170 with sand and it is hard to get much flow at all going in that small space without it going all over. The live rock I used was originally dry rock. Some of the rock I had used in other builds and other parts has been in saltwater for 5-8 years just waiting to be used. I have done dry rock tanks, but never bare bottom. If you know someone with a clean tank I would ask them if you could put a new biobrick in their sump for a month or so to help seed your tank and help with diversity of bacteria. I would also error on the side of too much bacteria and introduce it a couple of times during the cycle and then again as you start adding livestock. I used Dr Tims 1 and only, Brightwell Microbacter and one other that I forgot the name. I know folks have had almost overnight success with dry rock, but for me it was much slower going. Also with the negative scape I would have extra bio bricks in my sump to help promote bacteria.
 

javisaman

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also what if not planning on using live rock? Trying to keep hitchhikers out and do a negative aquascape.

BRS no longer recommends doing dry rock bare bottom. Live rock bare bottom is apparently the correct way to go.


My personal experience with starting bare bottom/dry rock. Spoiler after 19 months everything died.
 

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120 pounds of dry rock in a trash can fill with saltwater powerhead heater throw a raw cocktail shrimp in . Let it set for 4 months at the end of that time your nitrates should be through the roof change out 100 percent water . Get water in your tank about half power head heater .stack rock the way you want. Fill rest the way . Put pods in dose phytoplankton for a month add fish . Get stable ,you should be good for sps in 6 months . Nothing good happens fast in this hobby. So be patient. My tank has been up for 3 months with a algea turf scubber , protien skimmer ,reactor with phosgaurd and charcoal. I have started a zoa garden . Might try a few hardy lps. I have a long way to go for sps.
 

vetteguy53081

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For my Bare tank:

Live rock
Liquid bacteria
long cycle *(was 3 months)
Feeding sparingly first 4 months
Good water flow
 

mmorriso

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I have an interesting approach from my current tank that I would like to share.

I started my tank with sand, for aesthetic reasons. 6 months in, as my SPS started to establish in a significant way, I couldn't achieve the flow I was looking for without the sand piling into mountains almost as high as my rockwork. Rather than compromise on flow, I decided to vacuum the sand out of my tank, roughly a fifth of the sandbed with a water change every 10 days.

This worked without issue. I got the short term benefit of establishing a tank with sand while ultimately having the long term benefit of bare bottom.
 
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Pistol Peet

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I have an interesting approach from my current tank that I would like to share.

I started my tank with sand, for aesthetic reasons. 6 months in, as my SPS started to establish in a significant way, I couldn't achieve the flow I was looking for without the sand piling into mountains almost as high as my rockwork. Rather than compromise on flow, I decided to vacuum the sand out of my tank, roughly a fifth of the sandbed with a water change every 10 days.

This worked without issue. I got the short term benefit of establishing a tank with sand while ultimately having the long term benefit of bare bottom.
I've actually been doing the same thing except for a smaller quantity on a weekly water change schedule. So far so good. The sand in the tank has been there for 3 years. No issues as of so far. Only problem is I have to break down entire tank plumbing included do to aptaisia figured I'd start a sps tank that's bare bottom since I have ran into this stupid aptaisia problem so far in every thing went great until I got a few frags from lfs and 1 online vendor that had it on them burgia nudabroncs took care of it upfront but with it being in the plumbing it's time to start over and get rid of hitchhikers.all of them the only reason not completely broken down is because of the fish it houses. I have a backup 55g just not financially ready at the moment for thE big switch/ upgrade soon though very soon.
 

tippin.turtle

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Bare bottom is the greatest gift I have ever given myself while reefing. Started with dry rock and Dr. Tims "all in one" to cycle. It takes longer and much patience is required but the pay off is much greater than those with sand will ever know. My tank is ultra clean and my parameters are always in check. Those with sand will pay for their choice 1-2 years down the road. Take your poison at the beginning; sooner rather than later. Do it now and suffer; you'll reap the rewards as your reef tank matures. Never give in to those who say it's not possible when times are at there darkest, as there will surely be dark days ahead. There will also come a light! Stay the course!
 

blasterman

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Most of the rock in my BB came from older tanks. BB tanks with dry rock take forever to stabilize.

I would also not advise running BB and SPS if you don't have a solid handle on alk. With no crush coral substrate BB tanks have little buffering ability and a small amount of neglect has huge consequences.
 

Screwgunner

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That is why I do the same thing everyday I try not to miss a beat. But my phosphate is very low and nitrate, water is pristine looks like my fish are floating on air except when I feed them. I do use a buffer. 8.3 so far it is doing a good job. Iodine once a month. Might start a little potassium make my reds pop.
 

Garf

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I think porous dry rock is a problem. I used a few small bits of live rock to seed the display (one in the tank, one in the sump). The one in the sump (no light) is covered in a spiders web of bacterial/ fungal/ stuff and the one in the display is the only one that tends to grow algae. This isn’t surprising as when I blow out the holes with a modified turkey baster, the amount of crud that flies out is horrific. It filters out the crud just like a course sand bed would, perhaps not to the same extent, admittedly. The rest of my rock is calcite. Filter sock is a good idea (have to change mine every 2 days), any half decent skimmer for aeration, as much Kalkwasser as the alkalinity will allow for. PH is vastly underrated in my opinion. I also do a DIY ceramic horizontal algae scrubber for its benefits and as an indicator for nutrient levels, which always test too low to read.
 
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Screwgunner

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I started with my rock in a trash can with a dead shrimp ,heater powerhead . 3months latter cycle complete for rock changed out 100 percent water . Let set for month still ha nitrates 100 percent water change . Put water in tank got it rolling aquascaped it with rock with water in tank . Just for sh__s and giggles added dr.tims and biospira added 13 fish . And 4 months latter zoas are spitting up nicely just put in some sps hope it is not to soon.
 

Big E

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BRS no longer recommends doing dry rock bare bottom. Live rock bare bottom is apparently the correct way to go.


My personal experience with starting bare bottom/dry rock. Spoiler after 19 months everything died.

I've watched the videos from his setup as he went along. He made so many rookie mistakes it's laughable. He killed his tank ..........it had nothing to do with the rock. The whole setup was mismanaged.

The biggest mistake was not using some live rock from the numerous tanks they have all over the BRS offices to seed his dead rock.

Barebottom had nothing to do with his failure.
 
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