Having a Sterile Tank

Syoung

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Now that I've caught your attention with the title that everyone screams "Not true!", I'll get to my question.

I started my tank entirely with dry rock, bagged sand, quarantined fish, and dipped corals. As such, I don't have any large (i.e. noticeable) hitchhikers, but I'm sure I have some sort of microorganism hitchhikers.

Do those of you who started this way intentionally add (seed) beneficial biodiversity? Perhaps by adding pods?

Specific tank details:
IM 25 Lagoon
Mixed reef (frag stage)
2x Osc. Clowns
A few Cerith/Nerite snails

No plan for Mandarin, mentioning pods above was just for biodiversity.

Let me know what your thoughts are!
 

nautical_nathaniel

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I would find a local reefer who has a thriving tank with a diverse population of pods and "borrow" some of their chaeto ;)

IME those bottles of pods you see at LFS don't do a whole lot unless they are fresh and have a ton to eat in the new tank with nothing in the tank that will eat them in large numbers. Plus they cost like $30 or something most of the time whereas chaeto is cheeeeeaaaappp and most of the time can be gathered for free if you know someone.
 
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Syoung

Syoung

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I would find a local reefer who has a thriving tank with a diverse population of pods and "borrow" some of their chaeto ;)

IME those bottles of pods you see at LFS don't do a whole lot unless they are fresh and have a ton to eat in the new tank with nothing in the tank that will eat them in large numbers. Plus they cost like $30 or something most of the time whereas chaeto is cheeeeeaaaappp and most of the time can be gathered for free if you know someone.
Good point with the chaeto. In my specific case (AIO) I don't have a refugium. Would you recommend putting it in the display for a while and hope everything moves into the rockwork?

And I take it from your answer, You do recommend adding biodiversity to this type of tank. Anything in addition to pods?
 

Anirban

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It depends what you define as biodiversity. Seeding tank with bacteria, adding different fishes, snails, pods, macro algae, even different corals add up to biodiversity. So its on you how you want to build that up.
 

XNavyDiver

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Now that I've caught your attention with the title that everyone screams "Not true!", I'll get to my question.

I started my tank entirely with dry rock, bagged sand, quarantined fish, and dipped corals. As such, I don't have any large (i.e. noticeable) hitchhikers, but I'm sure I have some sort of microorganism hitchhikers.

Do those of you who started this way intentionally add (seed) beneficial biodiversity? Perhaps by adding pods?

Specific tank details:
IM 25 Lagoon
Mixed reef (frag stage)
2x Osc. Clowns
A few Cerith/Nerite snails

No plan for Mandarin, mentioning pods above was just for biodiversity.

Let me know what your thoughts are!
Started exactly like that. I added about 20lbs of GARF Grunge to the refugium for this exact reason about 2 months ago. I've added pods, both copapods and amphipods at various times, but they don't seem to stick around. My rock has tons of very tiny little worms crawling all over them now. This is all an effort to push the tank towards maturity.
 
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Syoung

Syoung

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Started exactly like that. I added about 20lbs of GARF Grunge to the refugium for this exact reason about 2 months ago. I've added pods, both copapods and amphipods at various times, but they don't seem to stick around. My rock has tons of very tiny little worms crawling all over them now. This is all an effort to push the tank towards maturity.
It depends what you define as biodiversity. Seeding tank with bacteria, adding different fishes, snails, pods, macro algae, even different corals add up to biodiversity. So its on you how you want to build that up.
Ok, so let's spin this around. Do you think it's possible (or a good idea) to have a tank that would be considered mature and healthy without a large, thriving microorganism population?

Are there reefers out there with mature tanks that advocate for *sterility* (for lack of a better word - reduced microorganism diversity)?
 

nautical_nathaniel

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Good point with the chaeto. In my specific case (AIO) I don't have a refugium. Would you recommend putting it in the display for a while and hope everything moves into the rockwork?

And I take it from your answer, You do recommend adding biodiversity to this type of tank. Anything in addition to pods?
I stuck some in my back chamber in a media basket with a single LED spot light over it to establish my pods and other tiny critters. It worked as a mini-fuge for the most part but the nutrient export was minimal on my 20 gallon so it wasn't worth the hassle and I removed it after 6 months, I did however grow a lot of pods in it in that time.

I would say bio-diversity is good for any reef in terms of the variety of good/beneficial critters you have. In addition to pods, I have sponges, a few spaghetti worms in the sand bed, and some other little hitchikers I have kept including an Acropora crab. Before I dip a coral, I always place it in a dish and squirt water on it with a syringe, if anything cool comes off like small amphipods, brittle stars, etc. I keep it and add it to the tank. If something bad comes off the coral gets an extra dip in addition to the two I already do before going in the display and a thorough inspection. I have only ever had a single red bug in my tank and by the time I noticed it my melanurus wrasse disposed of it before I could get a picture. Never seen a single one since or any sign of one and that was 5 or 6 months ago.
 

Greybeard

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There are several vendors that can supply starter cultures for micro and macro fauna... Of course, adding these can also add unwanted critters as well... the trade off seems worth it to me.

http://ipsf.com/ offers several kits, their refugeum kit is excellent, as is their live sand activator
http://www.inlandaquatics.com/ offers several varieties of worms, micro stars, etc.
http://www.aquaculturestore.com/Salt-Water-Invertebrates/ has many good products, as well.

I generally order a batch of misc. critters from all three of these stores every time I set up a new tank. Will you get 'stuff' you don't want? Sure. Hydroids, for instance, are almost certainly present in these cultures. Still, IMHO, the benefits outweigh the risks.
 

nautical_nathaniel

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Are there reefers out there with mature tanks that advocate for *sterility* (for lack of a better word - reduced microorganism diversity)?
I don't think anyone is ever going to be like "Oh no! I have pods in my tank, I have to eradicate all of them!" if that's what you're referring to :)
 

Anirban

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Ok, so let's spin this around. Do you think it's possible (or a good idea) to have a tank that would be considered mature and healthy without a large, thriving microorganism population?

Are there reefers out there with mature tanks that advocate for *sterility* (for lack of a better word - reduced microorganism diversity)?
What is reduced microorganism population? I think you are talking about bacteria...if so they are the part of your tank ecosystem and helps cycling the nitrogen or in other words keep nutrients down. For a tank of your size possibly those micro organism and a skimmer is your best bet to maintain a balance tank.
 
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Syoung

Syoung

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I don't think anyone is ever going to be like "Oh no! I have pods in my tank, I have to eradicate all of them!" if that's what you're referring to :)
Haha, definitely not meaning that! But if you wanted to, I suppose a Mandarin could make short work of it.

More of the situation XNavyDiver and I were thinking about, we started a "dry" tank and currently have no pod, worm, or micro/macro-fauna population. Essentially: Is it worth adding?


What is reduced microorganism population? I think you are talking about bacteria...if so they are the part of your tank ecosystem and helps cycling the nitrogen or in other words keep nutrients down. For a tank of your size possibly those micro organism and a skimmer is your best bet to maintain a balance tank.
Bacteria is absolutely important, and present. I was thinking more in terms of micro/macro-fauna: the pods, worms, sponges, and plenty others I need to learn more about. Present in almost all established tanks, and live-rock setups.

There are several vendors that can supply starter cultures for micro and macro fauna... Of course, adding these can also add unwanted critters as well... the trade off seems worth it to me.

http://ipsf.com/ offers several kits, their refugeum kit is excellent, as is their live sand activator
http://www.inlandaquatics.com/ offers several varieties of worms, micro stars, etc.
http://www.aquaculturestore.com/Salt-Water-Invertebrates/ has many good products, as well.

I generally order a batch of misc. critters from all three of these stores every time I set up a new tank. Will you get 'stuff' you don't want? Sure. Hydroids, for instance, are almost certainly present in these cultures. Still, IMHO, the benefits outweigh the risks.
Thanks Greybeard, I will check these out!
 

XNavyDiver

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Ok, so let's spin this around. Do you think it's possible (or a good idea) to have a tank that would be considered mature and healthy without a large, thriving microorganism population?

Are there reefers out there with mature tanks that advocate for *sterility* (for lack of a better word - reduced microorganism diversity)?
I'm not sure I've ever heard this before from anyone. From my perspective, new tanks struggle to sustain acroporas. New sterile tanks REALLY struggle with almost all sps corals. As growing acros is THE reason I started this tank, if I could go back in time, I would have started with 100 lbs of mature, cured live rock. Tanks started this way seem to find their balance much quicker. I let the fear of "unwanted hitchhikers" push me into dry rock. I should have done it differently. Too late now.
 

Jlentz

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I’ve had good luck with the ipsf stuff. No issues with hydroids or anything bad. I’m getting ready to order another batch of critters actually.

Edit to add:

I’m currently switching all my Fiji live rock over to dry pukani because I like the look better. (I’ve got some Fiji rock I can’t dig nems out of.) I’m trying to use pods and other stuff to help with the diversity. The way I see it, I need the biodiversity. I try to skirt some issues by getting the biodiversity from ipsf or some other vendor, to hopefully avoid really bad stuff.

I also run a dsb, so I try to actively maintain a population of these critters so the dsb can do it’s job.
 
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Syoung

Syoung

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Ok, seems like a consensus for little critters! I'll look into adding those to my tank.

Is the jury still out on bristleworms? I've heard mostly negative things, but it looks like some of these packs have them.

I’ve had good luck with the ipsf stuff. No issues with hydroids or anything bad. I’m getting ready to order another batch of critters actually.
Great!

Are you ordering again to replace die off? Or just increase what you have?
 

XNavyDiver

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Ok, seems like a consensus for little critters! I'll look into adding those to my tank.

Is the jury still out on bristleworms? I've heard mostly negative things, but it looks like some of these packs have them.



Great!

Are you ordering again to replace die off? Or just increase what you have?
I've never had any problems with bristleworms. And I've got quite a few of them. Harmless as far as I can tell.
 
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keddre

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My tank started far from "sterile," but do
I've heard mostly negative things, but it looks like some of these packs have them
You won't hear about them unless it's bad. Essentially most of them hide all day then come out to feed on leftover food at night. Unless you get one of the rare ones that kill everything, you should be fine.
 

B-rad

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Are there reefers out there with mature tanks that advocate for *sterility* (for lack of a better word - reduced microorganism diversity)?
If they advocate for sterility, then they don't have a mature tank. Biodiversity is essential for any ecosystem, regardless of how small.

Also bristle worms are highly beneficial for any tank. I make sure I always transfer them between my tanks to make sure there's a population and I avoid any bristleworm predators like arrow crabs.
 

Violetdasy

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you will get microorganisms ever time
you add corals. the rocks they come in on will have all kinks of stuff
 

Violetdasy

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I started my tank the same way. all these years later there are all kinds of organisms that I did not add they came in on the items I added to the tank. I would recommend a refug if you have space makes a world of difference
 

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