Refugiums really do work, but can they work too well?

Discussion in 'Bulk Reef Supply' started by randyBRS, Mar 31, 2017.

  1. arman

    arman Active Member

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    Ted_C and Nano sapiens, would you plz share any article about your ideas?I want to read more about these things you discussed here.
     

  2. Nano sapiens

    Nano sapiens Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    Last edited: Apr 3, 2017
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  3. Chris Villalobos

    Chris Villalobos Active Member

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    I was using Bio-Pellets in a small tank for two years to battle a very tenacious GHA (Derbesia?). I took my nutrient levels to 0.0000. Phosphate would not even register on a Hanna electronic low level test. All my hard corals eventually died. My algae eating snails died, but my Nassarius snails survive to this day. My fish are fine as long as I don't starve them. Some polyps like zoa's can survive but others, like my mushrooms, eventually died.

    I'm a firm believer that nutrients can be to low, but only Bio-Pellets have the power to truly strip the water of those nutrients.
     
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  4. maglofster

    maglofster Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    I am starting to think that my algae reactor filled with chaeto is too efficient. It's a big reactor of about 5 gallons, so it's rather like a refugium. But on my 90G tank I keep struggling to have some nitrate. I have to add 5 ppm nitrate every day to be able to measure any nitrate at all. SPS are starting to pale a bit. So right now I'm triyng to reduce flow through the reactor and also to reduce the photoperiod.
     
  5. randyBRS

    randyBRS BRStv Host :-) R2R Supporter Gold Sponsor

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    Macro Algae is proving to be VERY effective an nutrient control, so much so that we tend to overfeed the BRS160 in order to maintain undetectable nitrates and less than 0.08ppm phosphates. Have you tried feeding the tank more than usual or supplementing with some sort of food source like Red Sea Reef Energy A&B?

    -Randy
     
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  6. maglofster

    maglofster Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    Interesting to hear that about the BRS160! Right now I feed about 4 cubes per day. Have not started to feed any other food, like coral food or amino acids. Thinking about getting a doser for that and adding small amounts during the day.
     
  7. randyBRS

    randyBRS BRStv Host :-) R2R Supporter Gold Sponsor

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    Just FYI, I feed the BRS160 about (2x) Sprulina Brine, (1x) PE Mysis, (1x) PE Calanus, quarter sized handful of Seaweed Extreme pellets, and about 4-5 scoops of BRS Reef Chili. Daily ! ;)
     
  8. maglofster

    maglofster Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    Nice :)
     
  9. BigBearMD

    BigBearMD Member

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    Holy ****.
     
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  10. NY_Caveman

    NY_Caveman Cave Dweller R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    I fear newcomers may get lost in the quest for ULNS. You can test 0 Nitrates and Phosphates while feeding heavily if you have good nutrient export of the excess (probably a good plan). You can also test 0 by feeding almost nothing with limited export (may be good). Likewise, a tank filled with hair algae can test 0 also if the algae is utilizing excess nutrients (not good). These three scenarios would test the same, but are very different. The absence or presence of nutrients alone, at a given time, is incomplete data for a successful aquarium.

    My point is to note every system is different so no one should be in a rush to suddenly decide 0 nutrients, or conversely measurable nutrients are a holy grail for them.
     
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  11. NS Mike D

    NS Mike D Active Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    very true, i just changed my gfo, reading <0.25 NO3 and 0.08 PO4 today. was zero NO3 and 0.06 PO4 two weeks ago. i did stir up the fuge harvesting macro two hours before testing today. Two of my acros are bleaching so my first thought was to up teh feeding. Two thoughts; my nutrients are way low and I have to rethink my my chasing low nutrients. Secondly, my NO3 and PO4 are out of balance with my tank stripping NO3 out while leaving PO4 which is why GHA, cyano and red turf algae are blooming. I suspect the algae is stripping ammonia not leaving enough enough NO3 for the corals to uptake it with the PO4.

    I am hoping the GFO will bring down the PO4 to a level to compliment my physical removal of the GHA and hope the acros will hang in here until I can determine if I need to increase feeding or dose nitrates.

    While the absolute numbers are providing me guidance, my observations of the algae, cyano and acros are telling me there is more to the story and not to rush to increase my already heavy feeding. In fact, I may actually do the opposite of my readings and cut back feeding to choke off the algae from using ammonia before the bacteria can get to it.

    so how is that for doing a 180 from the same low nutrient reading?
     
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  12. NY_Caveman

    NY_Caveman Cave Dweller R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    Good point. It is a balancing act for nutrients. Chasing the balance can act like tipping the scale. I have had freshwater planted tanks for years as well. The thing I found with plants is if Phosphates are pretty high and Nitrates were low, I would get blooms of algae (my tap has high Phosphates). If both were in line though, plants would be more likely to use them for growth. The limiting factor.

    I learned not to chase the numbers correcting. Instead I would figure out why there was an imbalance and address that.
     
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  13. siggy

    siggy Valuable Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    All @ one time? or throughout the day.... and the weekends?
     
  14. MaiReef

    MaiReef Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Love the video.

    I have a mixed refugium with Cheato and Caulerpa Mexicana and a 100 gallon tank.

    I have a mixed reef tank and I have played with nutrients to the point that Nitrate and Phosphate got really high. 80 and 1.5 respectively. Everything did great except my SPS and clean up crew. I then went very low where both hovered just above 0. Nothing did well except the fish, but I was very specific on feeding fish the amount they ate quickly 2-3 times daily and used filter socks for the first time. Now I see to have just about every coral growing well with more feedings, better light in the refugium(having to farm the refugium weekly), and Nitrates around 5-8 and Phosphate around .125-.25. This happened without me striving for any desired Nitrate or Phosphate. I just fed a bit more and used the better light in the fuge. I feed two cubes(same time of one larger and one smaller variety) of various frozen every day, Formula 1 and 2 flakes twice a day,baby brine hatched 1/2 teaspoon(eggs) every other day, and a teaspoon of Seachem Phytoplankton every other day.
     
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  15. randyBRS

    randyBRS BRStv Host :-) R2R Supporter Gold Sponsor

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    It usually takes me about 30minutes to go through the mixture. :)
     
  16. Chris Villalobos

    Chris Villalobos Active Member

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    I don’t think Chaeto will grow if there are too low nutrients in the tank. Basically if the Cheato is heathy and growing then you have plenty nutrients in your tank.

    The problem I had was that while I could get nutrients so low with denitrifying bacteria that the Chaeto died, the Derbesia in the display tank seemed to be able to handle the ultra-low nutrients.
     
  17. maglofster

    maglofster Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    My concern is that nitrates get to zero, as long as there is phosphate, the chaeto will use up a lot of nitrate because of the phosphate to nitrate ratio in uptake. For now I keep adding 5 PPM of KNO3 every day.
     
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  18. Chris Villalobos

    Chris Villalobos Active Member

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    Yeah, I think the reefing community has now come to the point where excess nutrients is not a problem anymore. Now the problem is how to balance those nutrients. I did a terrible job by taking my reef tank to zeros all around.
     
  19. zsxking

    zsxking Active Member

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    Yeah controlling the efficiency of the refugium is not easy. I gradually migrated my tank from vodka to chaeto refugium, mostly to rasie night time pH. When the fuge completely replaced vodka and kept nitrate to 0, the growth of the tank visibly slowed down, and I'm trying to find way to limit it. On the other hand, vodka dosing is super easy to control, just adjust the doser by 1ml and next week I can measure the difference already. Why there aren't many grow light LED that can control intensity? Even kessil h380 can't do that ...
     
  20. siggy

    siggy Valuable Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    I bought the h380 and the controller only to find out I cant use the controller:eek:..On the back of the box it says " and future products" so something is in the works, I dout that I will purchase another but at least I should be able to unload it.
     
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