Lets Build a Tank Parameter/Chemistry Database to Better Understand What Works

Discussion in 'Reef Chemistry by Randy Holmes-Farley' started by aarbutina, Mar 6, 2018.

  1. aarbutina

    aarbutina Active Member Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    Hey folks, I was thinking yesterday it might be interesting to start a database of everyone's tank parameters and then try to perform astatistical analysis to see if we can identify which parameter or combination of parameter are most significant towards keeping health and happy corals.

    My basic thinking is that if we started a google doc that captures some basic information about everyone's tank, that information can then be dumped into a statistical analysis tool like JMP or minitab and we can start looking for trends or correlations.

    Obviously we keep some fairly complicated systems so capturing every nuance could be fairly complex but we could start with the big ticket items and then work from there. Off the top of my head I would think that things like Temperature (average), salinity, alkalinity, calcium, magnesium, nitrate, and phosphate, would all be included. These are parameters that most everyone at least look at once an a while and they have fixed values. For things that are a more difficult to quantify we can come up with a coding system to assign a value. For example the big question, would be that will help tee everything else up is, "Are you happy with the growth level of you coral" or " would you consider you coral to be healthy". For that we could code with 1 and -1. "1" being yes you are happy and "-1" meaning no I am not happy. We could also track tank age, dry rock vs live rock, sand vs bare bottom, so on and so forth.

    So who would be interested in participating? Please share you ideas for things you would like to see tracked. We have a very large number of active members on this site, if we could get a reasonable number of those to participate in this activity it could be possible to put together a large enough set of data to extract some useful information. Let's all work together better understand our oceans in a glass box.
     
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  2. drawman

    drawman Valuable Member

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    While I think a lot of people can find negatives with this in terms of subjectivity I will keep an open mind. It may be nice to come up with some semi objective (although subjective) answers to questions such as decline, no growth (static), slow growth, medium, fast, etc. Will be an interesting discussion either way.
     
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  3. aarbutina

    aarbutina Active Member Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    Obviously being happy if very subjective, but in general I think that people know when things are working when when they aren't working. But it could work to also create some sort of scale like you suggest.

    I guess what I am thinking is lets try to figure out a way that we can make sure of all this data we a tracking, trending, and sharing.
     
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  4. aarbutina

    aarbutina Active Member Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    We see post after post of people saying "help my system is dying" and then they share their parameters and everyone comments on them, based on just their own experience. A database allows us to create a collective experience that we can draw from.
     
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  5. Randy Holmes-Farley

    Randy Holmes-Farley Reef Chemist Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Article Contributor Expert Contributor

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    I'm certainly happy for folks to participate in a data gathering exercise, but I think we know a lot more than would be gathered from a few or a few dozen participants. We (I and other reef chemistry types) have already distilled results from thousands of hobbyists and the scientific literature, find that the following is generally true:

    1. Alkalinity is quite important in a number of ways, and that the exact level chosen will likely impact coral calcification rates. There are many additional comments relating to exact levels, nutrient levels, and stability that could expand to a page or two.

    2. Calcium and magnesium have large ranges over which they are fine (say, 400-550 ppm for calcium, 1250-1500 ppm for magnesium) and changes within that range have relatively little effect on organisms. Changes within that range for magnesium will have some impact on abiotic precipitation rates for calcium carbonate. Higher magnesium may slightly promote coralline algae,

    3. The effect of pH is a minor contributor to coral calcification rates and general health. Higher is generally a little better, with pH below 7.7 becoming more of a concern and pH above 8.6 greatly increasing abiotic precipitation.

    4-99. The list goes on, covering many different parameters. There are hundreds of articles covering them. The info is certainly not definitive or perfect, but is better than a survey will yield.
     
  6. Randy Holmes-Farley

    Randy Holmes-Farley Reef Chemist Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Article Contributor Expert Contributor

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    Not in this forum. Commentary here is generally by and from people who have taken a lot of learning from reading large numbers of experiences of different reefers. Speaking just for myself, I have read (literally) several hundreds of thousands of posts (if not a million or more) and have made over a hundred thousand posts myself.
     
  7. aarbutina

    aarbutina Active Member Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    Thanks for chiming in Randy, and you certainly have a valid point. That being that the thought that is in my mind is very holistic, and maybe extends beyond just chemistry. Just trying this out there as a what if, but what if we say a trend where people using LED lights saw better success at high alkalinity instead of low alkalinity (just a random combination of "parameter" to provide an example of what I am thinking). Obviously to get any sort of resolution out of this there would need to be a fairly high participation rates (dozens just won't cut it, would need more like hundreds or thousands).

    I by no means am discounting any of they work that you or any other of the reef chemists have done. I was just puzzling on a what if and thought it might be interesting to throw out there and see what happens.
     
  8. aarbutina

    aarbutina Active Member Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    Wasn't trying to be negative to put down the experience that people here on the forum have and share. That may have come out wrong.

    I certainly respect your work and the knowledge you bring to the subject. By no means think that I don't.

    But I do think that there are different things that work for different people and most people will swear by what works for them. So I guess I am just thinking lets just get all that information in one place.
     
  9. Randy Holmes-Farley

    Randy Holmes-Farley Reef Chemist Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Article Contributor Expert Contributor

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    No problem. I'm certainly all for data gathering and analysis to have reefing based on real data and not myth. :)
     
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  10. aarbutina

    aarbutina Active Member Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    Thats all I am going for here.

    I think what is interesting sometimes there are tanks that just work, even though by conventional logic they shouldn't and then there are tanks that just don't work even though everything says they should. With a large enough sample size maybe it would be possible to tease out a common thread.
     
  11. drawman

    drawman Valuable Member

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    Agreed, I think at minimum it would be an exercise in confirmation. Just like experiments in scientific literature should be repeated it never hurts to have more data.
     
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  12. NY_Caveman

    NY_Caveman Cave Dweller R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor

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    A huge undertaking for sure, but I for one love data crunching. I could spend all day with a spreadsheet.

    I think the big hurdle is getting a lot of people to give complete data. Like, not only MH, LED, or T5, but say water top PAR level too. I also think it would benefit from including aquariums up for at least a year, or maybe more. This will weed out a lot of randomness in early and doomed setups.

    So, I say start a Google Sheet where we can start entering parameters to follow, or we could just list them here.


     
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  13. aarbutina

    aarbutina Active Member Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    I think you are right participation is key.

    My thinking would be just to collect as much data a possible. It is easy to filter out data that isn't useful after it is already collated.

    It is a great way to think about.
     
  14. aarbutina

    aarbutina Active Member Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    So what i need is some help brainstorming parameter that would be of interest. I start the list and then we can add to it.

    Coral Growth Scale (TBD)

    Chemisty

    Alkalinity (dKH)
    Calcium (ppm)
    Magnesium (ppm)
    Nitrate (ppm)
    Phosphate (ppm)
    Average Temperature (oF)
    Tank Parameters
    Volume (gallons)
    Age (years)
    Lighting Type (MH, T5, LED, Hybrid)
    Refugium (Y/N) and Percentage of System Volume if Y
    Started with Live or Dry Rock
    Sand (Deep vs Shallow)
    Use of Skimmer (Y/N)
     
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  15. NY_Caveman

    NY_Caveman Cave Dweller R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor

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    Additions in bold:


    Coral Growth Scale (TBD)

    Chemisty

    Alkalinity (dKH)
    Calcium (ppm)
    Magnesium (ppm)
    Nitrate (ppm)
    Phosphate (ppm)
    Average Temperature (oF)

    Tank Parameters
    Volume (gallons)
    Age (years)
    Lighting Type (MH, T5, LED, Hybrid)
    PAR (top of water, center)
    PAR (substrate, center)
    Return Flow (x total system volume)
    Display Flow
    Type of Display Flow (powerhead, gyre, loop, etc)

    Refugium (Y/N)
    Refugium Percentage of System Volume if Y
    Started with Live or Dry Rock or combo
    Natural rock or Man made
    Substrate (Deep vs Shallow vs Bare)

    Use of Skimmer (Y/N)
    Times a Day Feeding


    EDIT
    I think simple is best. Still there are a a lot of variables additionally that should be noted as options perhaps with simple check off boxes instead of values such as:

    Various reactor types (GFO, GAC, Calcium, Macroalgae, etc.)
    Method (Triton, Berlin, Zeovit, etc.)
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2018
  16. NY_Caveman

    NY_Caveman Cave Dweller R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor

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    Edited the above to keep it together
     
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  17. aarbutina

    aarbutina Active Member Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    Nice adds
     
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  18. Catfish2

    Catfish2 Active Member Build Thread Contributor

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    I think a coral coloration scale would be nice too. Some value color over growth. Maybe a polyp extension scale. Not that PE is necessarily an indication of coral health, but some are striving for it.

    I'm just throwing things out there by the way.
     
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  19. csb123

    csb123 Active Member

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    I think this type analysis would be awesome for minor and trace elements. We just don’t know which trace element levels are optimal or even important in our captive systems. There is a fairly wide range of these elements in NSW depending on geography and depth, let alone our unnatural captive systems.
     
  20. NY_Caveman

    NY_Caveman Cave Dweller R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor

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    @aarbutina presented this idea of course, but I was thinking if someone like R2R got involved, this could be a massive database unlike any other. Simple web based entry, where every user name gets a form that can be updated and maintained with data and media. Imagine a dynamic, detailed, living build thread for thousands of aquariums. It could be searchable by cross referencing dozens of parameters such as equipment, livestock, parameters, etc.

    I think I just drooled a little.
     
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