Chaeto Trimming and Nitrates

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cjpitt80

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Trimming Chaeto regularly definitely helps encourage new growth and reduction of nutrients better than if left untrimmed IME. I've run Triton tanks for a few years now and experimented with trimming and not trimming. If left untrimmed the chaeto will eventually grow into a thick mat that inhibits new growth and nutrient removal abilities. At this point the chaeto will start to die off partially and make an absolute mess as it disintegrates. Eventually enough will die to allow new growth and the cycle will continue of growth / die off. So yes chaeto is self-regulating, however it's messy and does not provide optimal nutrient removal when left too its own accord. I now trim my chaeto about every 2 weeks to keep it somewhat loose and growing fast. This provides both better nutrient reduction capabilities and also prevents die backs which are messy and clog pumps / sump teeth. For maximum nutrient reduction you should let the chaeto grow as large as possible to fill the fuge space but not to the point that it starts to mat up and get super dense.
Hmm. I guess I'll try this as well as I'm also running Triton and don't often do water changes. I don't want to get into any "full-throated debates" I just want to be able to grow some SPS LOL. It's amazing how much is going on in the tank particular and in this hobby more generally
 
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Just for anecdotal info, I just trimmed mine back three days ago. It's a 16 inch rotating ball that grows just like a ball in that it is hollow on the inside. The outer edge gets really dark, thick and wirey while the inside layers are lighter green and fluffy. Every so often I'll cut in in half. Just ran a nitrate test and found it had dropped from 25ppm to the light side of 20ppm. Wish they made some sort of waterproof sheep shears so I could just trim off the outer layer as it rotates.;Wacky
 

MabuyaQ

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While this sounds logical, I'm going to disagree.

I have a 75g sump with a majority of the space dedicated to a chaeto refugium. When my nitrates start to creep upwards, I harvest half or more of my chaeto. This causes my nitrates to plummet fairly rapidly.

I fairly certain thinning out the chaeto allows more surface area to receive light, so chaeto lower in the refugium can utilize nutrients in the water to grow. There's probably a limit to what you can trim before you start reducing the amount of nutrients that are pulled from the water, but it's probably some sort of bell curve and when you allow your chaeto to get too dense you'll be way too far right on that curve.

My point is that by harvesting your Chaeto at the right moment it should have little to no effect or a short term negative effect. If harvesting has a possitive effect you are harvesting to late and not exploiting the maximum capacity for nitrate export that your refugium can provide. Letting Chaeto grow to long you get selfshading within the Chaeto where a part is no longer consuming high amounts of nitrates and taking up growthspace for the rest of the Chaeto. Wait even longer and part of the Chaeto starts to die off becoming a producer of nitrates. Harvest frequently small amounts at the point where within the room provided maximum growth is reached and you maintain maximum export of nutrients.
 
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cjpitt80

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Nice. I never do water changes and have a package wall to wall sps tank after 1.5 years with Triton. It works but there is a learning curve.
Please, tell me EVERYTHING to get above the curve :)

This is what the sump looks like now
IMG_20190910_205747.jpg


Plan is to remove enough to get it tumbling again. I do think there could be something to the chaeto die off actually RELEASING nitrates. I have a small clear plastic tomato carton thing with tightly balled chaeto in it from a previous trim. The IDEA was to keep it as a "pod hotel" type thing. I haven't checked it in about 3 months because I literally JUST remembered it's in there behind the big chaeto ball. It stays at the bottom, so perhaps all the chaeto died in there and is slowly releasing nitrates?? I'll need to check that out
 

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Please, tell me EVERYTHING to get above the curve :)

This is what the sump looks like now
IMG_20190910_205747.jpg


Plan is to remove enough to get it tumbling again. I do think there could be something to the chaeto die off actually RELEASING nitrates. I have a small clear plastic tomato carton thing with tightly balled chaeto in it from a previous trim. The IDEA was to keep it as a "pod hotel" type thing. I haven't checked it in about 3 months because I literally JUST remembered it's in there behind the big chaeto ball. It stays at the bottom, so perhaps all the chaeto died in there and is slowly releasing nitrates?? I'll need to check that out

Well, that's asking a lot but I'll at least say this. Typically, I wouldn't overreact to ICP results unless something is consistently out of line over multiple tests. If you start chasing ICP numbers the Triton system can become a nightmare as you will think something is always wrong. You really need to learn to read your corals and know what constitutes a real problem that needs water changes etc. I've had countless ICP results show errant results but was confident enough based on my read of the corals and past results to know were likely false. In nearly every instance, the following ICP test did in fact indicate the "problem" item had gone back to normal without doing anything. So, this is why I say the learning curve is steep to run a Triton with next to zero water changes. Getting to the point that you can accurately trust you instincts based on visual observation, or know when an ICP result is actually a problem, takes time. Otherwise, you will be doing a whole lot more water changes than really required based on the ICP result directions which kind of defeats the purpose.

With a no water change system it's particularly important to keep contaminants out of the tank. Don't put your arms in the tank without gloves etc. and run carbon pretty regularly.
 
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cjpitt80

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Well, that's asking a lot but I'll at least say this. Don't overreact to ICP results unless some thing is consistently out of line. If you start chasing ICP numbers the Triton system can become a nightmare as you will think something is always wrong. You really need to learn to read your corals and know what constitutes a real problem that needs water changes etc. I've had countless ICP results show errant results but was confident enough based on my read of the corals and past results to know were likely false. In nearly every instance, the following ICP test did in fact indicate that that "problem" item had gone back to normal without doing anything. So, this is why I say the learning curve is steep to run a Triton with next to zero water changes. Getting to the point that you can accurately trust you instincts based on visual observation, or know when an ICP result is actually a problem, takes time. Otherwise, you will be doing a whole lot more water changes than really required based on the ICP result directions which kind of defeats the purpose.

With a no water change system it's particularly important to keep contaminants out of the tank. Don't put your arms in the tank without gloves etc. and run carbon pretty regularly.

This tank has been running since Jan 2017 with only 2 small water changes early on post chemiclean treatment. All corals were grown from small frags. Triton works if manage properly...

More tank envy.... Finishing up a round of 6X 15% water changes now trying to get rid of a lanthanum problem from overdosing PO4 remover. I have a whole 'nother thread on that. I need to figure a way to run GAC 24/7. I don't have much room in the sump
 

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3D592DAB-38A1-48FD-BA4A-330680912943.jpeg
DCAF1496-0BF6-4158-A9D3-CF325A2E97E6.jpeg

I run large dedicated refugium on all my set ups to grow chaeto and proliferate microfauna, for this reason I run mud or some kind of substrate on the bottom. As you can see by the pictures, I let it grow on both sides of the eggcrate. When one side is full to the waters surface I flip it and grow out the other side. The algae closest the sand bed stays green and does not die. When both sides are full, I trim both sides leaving a half inch of growth on both sides. I put it back in place and the process starts over again.
 
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I read a lot here about tumbling in sumps/refugiums. However, I have AIO systems and in the media basket there is no/zero abiity to tumble. Water movement is moderate in the media basket and I start off with a golf ball size in each stage, the growth of the cheato over time doubles then triples etc.

I check it through a sliding black out acrylc piece for top growth. When I see that the cheato is bulging in size, where it is just ripe green all the way through that if I leave it in there longer, it will not have room to grow, it is harvest time.

I cut it in half and take the other healthy harvest to the LFS for store credit.

So, I represent the nano world of cheato growth in 12-30 gallon systems as that is what I own.

Hope that makes sense, but I have zero tumbling and that is not a requirement for AIO systems, not in my case at all. A good fuge LED for growing and steady amounts of phos and nitrates, plus a lighting reverse period, you will have a harvest in the AIO systems.
 

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Here are some photos from my last harvest. I know do not cut cheato at the kitchen table, I was in the dog house big time for this stupid move. But since i had the pics I shared. I do manually move the cheato to each side when I clean the poly fiber so each side gets light.
 

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Rjramos

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EA295D92-D41F-41C9-8D4E-6F1E041BEB50.jpeg


3D592DAB-38A1-48FD-BA4A-330680912943.jpeg
DCAF1496-0BF6-4158-A9D3-CF325A2E97E6.jpeg

I run large dedicated refugium on all my set ups to grow chaeto and proliferate microfauna, for this reason I run mud or some kind of substrate on the bottom. As you can see by the pictures, I let it grow on both sides of the eggcrate. When one side is full to the waters surface I flip it and grow out the other side. The algae closest the sand bed stays green and does not die. When both sides are full, I trim both sides leaving a half inch of growth on both sides. I put it back in place and the process starts over again.
I wish I still had this kind of growth. I stopped doing my chaeto sandwich idea, and the lighting has changed. This was with a 65w 50/50 power compact bulb. I stopped using this light due to unavailability of PC bulbs. Now on a Do-it-myself, 45 watt max dimmable 15 LED fixture, with 8 photo reds, 4 blue, 3 white. Growing but not as good. Battling red slime with high phosphates now.
593600D1-999F-4732-884F-14302855CC9C.jpeg

In my all in one 29 biocube lit from behind with a IM chaeto grow, things are doing much better. The refugium basket was made by me with plexiglas. The flow thru it happens bottom to top.


54134468-6F9B-4472-ABA4-0BA08C9C0804.jpeg
DEAEAAD7-AF79-4CD9-90ED-AD7978D51E77.jpeg
 
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Micro-Reefs Aquarium

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I wish I still had this kind of growth. I stopped doing my chaeto sandwich idea, and the lighting has changed. This was with a 65w 50/50 power compact bulb. I stopped using this light due to unavailability of PC bulbs. Now on a Do-it-myself, 45 watt max dimmable 15 LED fixture, with 8 photo reds, 4 blue, 3 white. Growing but not as good. Battling red slime with high phosphates now.
593600D1-999F-4732-884F-14302855CC9C.jpeg

In my all in one 29 biocube lit from behind with a IM chaeto grow, things are doing much better. The refugium basket was made by me with plexiglas. The flow thru it happens bottom to top.


54134468-6F9B-4472-ABA4-0BA08C9C0804.jpeg
DEAEAAD7-AF79-4CD9-90ED-AD7978D51E77.jpeg
That looks like a nice harvest, I should have taken a photo of both my media baskets before I cut them to show you how it was bulging out of seams of the basket, looked like stuffed easter egg shavings that cannot fit. I am sure you get the idea, and that is from a 10 gallon AIO system. What size is your tank from that harvest?
 

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I typically remove half of an intank fuge basket every 3 weeks from my bc 32 ..any longer and mine gets so packed its tough to remove. I noticed the lighter green color mentioned , and try to replace that section in the basket . It's lit 12 hrs w an Acke light taped to the back wall
 
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Rjramos

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That looks like a nice harvest, I should have taken a photo of both my media baskets before I cut them to show you how it was bulging out of seams of the basket, looked like stuffed easter egg shavings that cannot fit. I am sure you get the idea, and that is from a 10 gallon AIO system. What size is your tank from that harvest?
The one hanging from my hand is from AIO 29 biocube. The larger refugium is under a 120 gal display.
 

Rjramos

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The AIO did you find yourself turning it once in a while since it doesn't tumble in their?
Yes about 1 time a week I turn it 180 degrees. I have the light attached to the back glass and I find that the chaeto closest to the light yellows a bit. It doesn’t die, but more yellowing.
 

Micro-Reefs Aquarium

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Yes about 1 time a week I turn it 180 degrees. I have the light attached to the back glass and I find that the chaeto closest to the light yellows a bit. It doesn’t die, but more yellowing.
So, too much light will turn it a bit light, as you describe it yellowing? I think that happen to mine if I forgot to turn it, I turn mine all sides so the chicken burns nicely. LOL
 
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