Skimmerless, will it work?

Discussion in 'Reef Chemistry by Randy Holmes-Farley' started by Yas, Feb 2, 2018.

  1. Yas

    Yas Member

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    Hi Randy,

    Honestly, those things I wrote here may not be true. I'm not confident about it at all. But because removing a skimmer is a bit scary thing to me, I wanted to hear people's opinions. Well, as some already pointed, the system is totally different for each tank, and it's not about which is better. But according to your comments, my assumption seems to be wrong! As brandon429 pointed, I want to know what's happening, too! But ammonia is not detected by now. I can't explain it! :D
     

  2. Egalindo2240

    Egalindo2240 Active Member

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    It’s a mangrove I’ve had for a year or so. When I remove a bunch of macro algae it grows a little better . But had been pretty slow growing though
     
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  3. Yas

    Yas Member

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    Wow, how nice you feed a tropical plant in your sump! Cool!:)
     
  4. Squamosa

    Squamosa Well-Known Member

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    I added a filter using crushed coral that runs on a similar principle to the Dutch 'Dymico' system (after I experienced a tank crash and was looking for something different to do with the water filtration), minus the calcium reactor part of their system. In my filter that recirculates a part of the tank return water, there is ~60 kg of crushed coral (5-10 mm) equating to ~13% of total tank volume. Basically water comes in over the top in the middle compartment, gets recirculated around the filter by a small pump in compartment B and then exits through the bottom of compartment C and overflows back into the sump.
    Here is an image of it:

    Crushed coral filter.jpg

    I ran my skimmer for the 1st 3 weeks until the filter 'seeded' itself then I switched it off and ran it this way for a year until I moved house and set the system up again, where it currently runs again without the skimmer on 24/7.

    I filter ~300 L/hour of my tank water this way and I had to stop carbon dosing, turned off my skimmer and I still have to add NO3 (sodium nitrate) in, from time to time, that's how efficient it's working for me.

    The skimmer is only run when I need to remove my liquid iron solution from the water column, this is done when PO4 creeps up to ~0.05 ppm and iron is dosed to bind with it. The skimmer will then run overnight as the iron is added at lights out. This typically happens every 3 weeks or so otherwise the skimmer is off.

    I have large surface agitation and one powerhead disturbs the water surface continuously.

    Here is another link to my tank thread:
    https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/better-than-ever-after-tank-crash.332566/page-2

    Good luck :)
     
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  5. Yas

    Yas Member

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    I started using diced car wash sponge, which is extremely cheap! Porosity-wise, it can possibly do the job. I'll see how it goes.
     
  6. Jr'sReef

    Jr'sReef Active Member

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    I have a tank mixed with softies and gorgonians & 5 fish in a 55, skimmerless since day one and it's been years already. Tank running strong, I believe the live rock is the reason for its success. IMG_8187.JPG
     
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  7. Jr'sReef

    Jr'sReef Active Member

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    IMG_8191.jpg
     
  8. Squamosa

    Squamosa Well-Known Member

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    I saw that and thought, 'mmm is that a good idea?'

    I think it will fill up quickly with detritus and get blocked up, possibly causing it to harden up, this will make it non porous and you may even get dead spots in the centre that will go anaerobic quickly.

    In the long run it will probably contribute to your nutrient load causing nitrates to rise. The sponge may also break down and disintegrate over time.
    In the past, I have seen good results with people using siporax, scoria, crushed coral (such as myself) and other materials.
     
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  9. Erick Camargo

    Erick Camargo Member

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    Here is my skimmerless tank.
    RedSea Max 250.
    Just a media basket with GFO and Silicate Clear in the back sump.

    IMG_5658.jpg

     
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  10. Cae

    Cae Member

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    I think as long as you have surface agitation be it from wave makers or air stones ( heaps cheaper) you shouldn't have too much trouble with o2 levels. I started without a skimmer and went without for over a year. As long as you test all should be well.
     
  11. Yas

    Yas Member

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    Squamosa, I visited your thread. It's an amazing story that you recovered from such a loss and that you proven your method. You add NO3! I've seen some posts about adding NO3. I'm interested in it, too. Thank you for sharing.
     
  12. Yas

    Yas Member

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    Yes, I agree with the live rock. That's why I'm trying to mimic its function with diced sponges. :D
     
  13. Yas

    Yas Member

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    Well, Squamosa, I put those diced sponges in four separate net bags so that I can wash or replace a part of it without pulling all sponges. But, yes, this is something I have to keep my eye on.
     
  14. Yas

    Yas Member

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    Wow, your tank is gorgeous! Just breath taking, really. Great work!
     
  15. Yas

    Yas Member

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    Yes, I use two wave makers and the one is plugged with a backup buttery. So O2 should be fine. I'm even considering to have a small wave pump in my sump to have better aeration in the sump.
     
  16. seth&angelle

    seth&angelle Active Member R2R Supporter Louisiana Reef Club

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    I’ve had great success skimmerless. I’ve been using miracle mud faithfully since 2007 on all of my systems over the years. I’ll post a few of my favorite mud only systems.

    36796C60-2A1C-4616-ABFC-80B7485DAC7E.jpeg D84ACF66-EC08-4EB3-A2F8-B6536E8287F0.jpeg D01C357B-92D4-4088-A8CE-569326C0B50C.jpeg ABE8BAF1-44E9-4FB4-9640-7DD66D6366C5.jpeg 5A22FE53-8272-4B28-B0D8-65CF92EDA3AA.jpeg
     
  17. Yas

    Yas Member

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    Wow, those tanks look solid. It seems the key is to have a balanced cycle, and there are multiple methods to do that.
     
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  18. Hans-Werner

    Hans-Werner Active Member

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    I am running skimmerless tanks for more than two decades now. You only have to make sure there is enough gas exchange. My tanks are always connected to a sump or another tank and gas exchange takes place in the tubing when the water falls from one tank into the tank below. Skimmerless works without problems. I don't even recall what skimmers are for. Gas exchange maybe?

    I am pretty sure biological filtration is not a good idea. The theory will not hold that biological filtration forms nutrients. It only "burns" ammonium to nitrate and this will built up since corals can make much less use of nitrate than of ammonium. It is like you burn your steaks to ashes on your barbecue and then someone says because more of the ashes is left than of the steaks, which of course you have eaten, that ashes are better than steaks for you because more is left over. Bizarre, is´nt it? But that is exactly what you are doing with biological filtration.
     
  19. Lasse

    Lasse Valuable Member R2R Supporter Reef Squad Leader R2R Excellence Award Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor

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    Its very interesting observations and there is some possible explanation to this. There is two sources for NH4/NH3 in a matured reef system - fish and bacteria. IMO - bacteria is the most important source in a mature reef with sand/DSB/lot of LS

    The sponges you use for nitrification is a well known method in Europe - However - IMO - its important to have a fast flow through.

    I have not the same opinion as Hans-Werner according to nitrification in a reef system - but he knows that :) so give him only a half like for his post :) I´m 100 % with him according to skimmers - however I run a skimmer in my tank (an oversized skimmer) but its only running for gas exchange and it is tuned in order to get as low amount of skimate as possible - just aerate. Maybe I empty 0.1 litre skimate every month or two.

    Please come back with information: Your pH span during 24 hours , time when you measured 0.25 in NH4 compared with light on or off, pH at that time and method of measurements for NH4.

    Sincerely Lasse
     
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  20. Yas

    Yas Member

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    Well, Hans, thank you for your input, but in my tank zero readings on NH4, NO2, NO3, PO4 had happened without a mechanical filtration. Then I wonder how? Seriously, I'll probably have to buy new test kits to prove my test accuracy. All I need is a balance, which I believe is much more important thing than having a super clean tank without a mechanical filtration. And I want to adjust my settings when needed depending on what I hear from people here.
     
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