Do higher parameters = super FAST growth? | BRStv Investigates

What's your target Alk range?

  • 7 - 8 dKH

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  • 8 - 9 dKH

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  • 9 - 10 dKH

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  • 10 - 11 dKH

    Votes: 57 5.1%
  • 11 - 12 dKH

    Votes: 26 2.3%
  • Higher or lower? (Share with us!)

    Votes: 5 0.4%

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randyBRS

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Reefers check this one out!

A while back we tested elevated Alk, Ca, and Mag levels on four separate tanks and found some pretty noticeable increased growth!

So, as promised at the end of those videos, we moved that experiment into two reef tank systems to see if the growth was reproducible in a real world environment AND TODAY... we get our first look at how they're doing after about 4-months of growth!

 
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randyBRS

randyBRS

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What do you think these tanks will look like in the next year or so?
 

saf1

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Great job Randy - enjoyed it.

I was going to ask a dumb question about the dosing part along the lines of how do you know what to dose so you don't go over that edge? I mean new tank and new frags so the consumption shouldn't be high. Or so I was thinking. So then I wanted to ask how did you know what to dose to keep it set to the default and then higher test? I'm only asking because I have a few frags in a new tank and really don't see any change day after day if I test alk/cal. I'm sure it is being used so an error on my side. Never the less - great job. Enjoyed it.

Side note - can you please let me know what the damsel/chromis looking fish are? Looks like you have a set of three in there and they look pretty active. I also see a yellow tang and another fish? Wrasse? Assuming it is there for pest control so wanted to know what type.

Again - thank you for your time and effort on doing this. You speak clear and energetic so clearly enjoy doing it. Just wanted to pass that along.
 

Chad3407

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Reefers check this one out!

A while back we tested elevated Alk, Ca, and Mag levels on four separate tanks and found some pretty noticeable increased growth!

So, as promised at the end of those videos, we moved that experiment into two reef tank systems to see if the growth was reproducible in a real world environment AND TODAY... we get our first look at how they're doing after about 4-months of growth!

I'm curious if you ran a higher nutrient level along with the higher alk? I would assume the corals would need more food to grow any faster even if they had more alk and calcium.
 

vanpire

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I am also curious what was the Ph levels in the two tanks. Did u monitor? Under the same conditions, it would be safe to assume higher pH with higher ALK. Is it possible that the growth might have been higher due more to Ph than elevated levels of ALK, mg and Ca?
 

Galaxy reefer

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I have actually done this on my tank as an experiment and found similar results. Alk was kept at 10-12 cal at 450-475, and magnesium at 1450. I am definitely no expert by any means but its been quite interesting to see the changes over the last 3 months. I have before and after photos as well to show the growth. Also photos from the first day they were introduced into the tank. I did increase the feedings as well. No issues so far and i am happy with what has occurred for me. The only thing is that the color on some corals is a little dull. I suspect it is from the higher alk. The decision to now change back to "normal parameters" is quite the conundrum. Growth or better coloration? Decisions..decisions.
The real question is what would be the long term effects on continuing this level? Hmm..
Bob
 

madweazl

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Acropora dominant tank and I shoot for right around 7.0. And who the heck wants faster growth? It's already a pain keeping things trimmed down.
 

Tom Giddens

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Reefers check this one out!

A while back we tested elevated Alk, Ca, and Mag levels on four separate tanks and found some pretty noticeable increased growth!

So, as promised at the end of those videos, we moved that experiment into two reef tank systems to see if the growth was reproducible in a real world environment AND TODAY... we get our first look at how they're doing after about 4-months of growth!

I think you should add some montiporas and a clam to each tank.
 

Turtlesteve

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I run close to 7 right now.

Before anyone tries this at home, make sure you have moderate to higher N & P levels first. Doing this on a low nutrient system might be lethal for some SPS.

Here's an analog with plants....when nurseries grow ornamental plants for sale they "push" them - huge amounts of nutrients & fertilizer to get them to grow as fast as possible. But the resulting plants are actually much less hardy - they tend to have weak root systems and absolutely no stored energy, having been pushed to expend it all for growth. So someone buys and plants them, but the minute the weather turns or someone forgets to water them, they're toast. I have no idea if similar mechanisms exist for corals, but this would be my concern.

Steve
 

FO_Reef

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I run close to 7 right now.

Before anyone tries this at home, make sure you have moderate to higher N & P levels first. Doing this on a low nutrient system might be lethal for some SPS.

Here's an analog with plants....when nurseries grow ornamental plants for sale they "push" them - huge amounts of nutrients & fertilizer to get them to grow as fast as possible. But the resulting plants are actually much less hardy - they tend to have weak root systems and absolutely no stored energy, having been pushed to expend it all for growth. So someone buys and plants them, but the minute the weather turns or someone forgets to water them, they're toast. I have no idea if similar mechanisms exist for corals, but this would be my concern.

Steve
Seeing as corals are animals, I would be pretty skeptical about plant based analogies. Particularly any analogies that equate available bicarbonate to available nitrogenous fertilizer.
 

ShepherdTech

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I run close to 7 right now.

Before anyone tries this at home, make sure you have moderate to higher N & P levels first. Doing this on a low nutrient system might be lethal for some SPS.

Here's an analog with plants....when nurseries grow ornamental plants for sale they "push" them - huge amounts of nutrients & fertilizer to get them to grow as fast as possible. But the resulting plants are actually much less hardy - they tend to have weak root systems and absolutely no stored energy, having been pushed to expend it all for growth. So someone buys and plants them, but the minute the weather turns or someone forgets to water them, they're toast. I have no idea if similar mechanisms exist for corals, but this would be my concern.

Steve
Nurseries donpush plants, but the only time you should see weak root systems is when they sell them too early, grown from a cutting/plug. The weak root system doesn’t affect the growth due to always being watered and would still happen with or without being pushed. Around 70% of root growth happens in the fall/winter and 30% in the spring, from what I recall. Plants are not a good analogy for corals. It just isn’t the same. If you aren’t letting the plants have a root growth season, the roots won’t be strong. Also, the type or chemical makeup of fertilizer (which of the three components) greatly affects whether it grows up top or down low.
 

Ryanbrs

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I am also curious what was the Ph levels in the two tanks. Did u monitor? Under the same conditions, it would be safe to assume a higher pH with higher ALK. Is it possible that the growth might have been higher due more to Ph than elevated levels of ALK, mg and Ca?
It hasn't been my experience that an alk of 8 runs a significantly different pH than 12. I think most people believe the growth is related to the higher alk of 12 which has 50% more carbonate availability than 8. If you are trying to precipitate calcium carbonate for your skeleton the 50% higher availability could certainly increase the rate that happens.
 

Ryanbrs

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I'm curious if you ran a higher nutrient level along with the higher alk? I would assume the corals would need more food to grow any faster even if they had more alk and calcium.
We did not run intentionally higher nutrient levels. Rather than monitor nutrient levels, we controlled nutrient input by feeding both tanks the same amount.

While your statement is probably right we have to limit the list of variables.
 

Ryanbrs

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I run close to 7 right now.

Before anyone tries this at home, make sure you have moderate to higher N & P levels first. Doing this on a low nutrient system might be lethal for some SPS.

Here's an analog with plants....when nurseries grow ornamental plants for sale they "push" them - huge amounts of nutrients & fertilizer to get them to grow as fast as possible. But the resulting plants are actually much less hardy - they tend to have weak root systems and absolutely no stored energy, having been pushed to expend it all for growth. So someone buys and plants them, but the minute the weather turns or someone forgets to water them, they're toast. I have no idea if similar mechanisms exist for corals, but this would be my concern.

Steve
This is a good point. Getting answers often only results in more questions.

I think it is worth noting that we are not attempting to prove that the elevated elements are a good idea. Only add data and knowledge to a discussion that is often based on anecdotal experiences. Our recommended alk is till 9 dkh because it allows room for inevitable mistakes in either direction.

This is also why we are running it in a real tank for a year or more.
 

Chad3407

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We did not run intentionally higher nutrient levels. Rather than monitor nutrient levels, we controlled nutrient input by feeding both tanks the same amount.

While your statement is probably right we have to limit the list of variables.
Thanks for the reply and all the work your group puts into testing all the unknowns.
 

LobsterOfJustice

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I was going to ask a dumb question about the dosing part along the lines of how do you know what to dose so you don't go over that edge? I mean new tank and new frags so the consumption shouldn't be high. Or so I was thinking. So then I wanted to ask how did you know what to dose to keep it set to the default and then higher test? I'm only asking because I have a few frags in a new tank and really don't see any change day after day if I test alk/cal. I'm sure it is being used so an error on my side.
When you are in the “few frags in a new tank” phase you need to test 2-3x a week (if not daily) and adjust your dosing accordingly. When you first add corals you won’t see much drop in your levels, but once the corals get settled in they will suddenly start growing and if you aren’t testing, they will drop the levels, **** themselves off, and then die. If you wait until you see they are unhappy to test params it’s too late.
 
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randyBRS

randyBRS

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Great job Randy - enjoyed it.
I was going to ask a dumb question about the dosing part along the lines of how do you know what to dose so you don't go over that edge? I mean new tank and new frags so the consumption shouldn't be high. Or so I was thinking. So then I wanted to ask how did you know what to dose to keep it set to the default and then higher test? I'm only asking because I have a few frags in a new tank and really don't see any change day after day if I test alk/cal. I'm sure it is being used so an error on my side. Never the less - great job. Enjoyed it.
Side note - can you please let me know what the damsel/chromis looking fish are? Looks like you have a set of three in there and they look pretty active. I also see a yellow tang and another fish? Wrasse? Assuming it is there for pest control so wanted to know what type.
Again - thank you for your time and effort on doing this. You speak clear and energetic so clearly enjoy doing it. Just wanted to pass that along.
Thanks! Really the dosage amount came from Aaron's meticulous testing schedule for all three parameters then dialing in the daily dose. Granted the first couple of months or so there was little to no dose needed, but as they began to grow we started to see an increasing need to supplement.

I believe those are Golden Damsels. ;)
 

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