!!!SPS SUCK! THE ACRO-FUGIUM WRITE UP!!! I guess I finally finished this thing, sort of

Oceansize

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Perhaps this is a stupid question, but it surprised me to read that GAC _reduces_ carbon. I don't understand how adding activated carbon strips other carbon from the water?

But Robert's post pretty much nails everything on the head for me...the presence of N and P are not what is detrimental to coral, the presence of algae is. And since it is easier to grow algae than it is coral, feeding coral invariably feeds algae. How to disrupt this correlation? By leveraging the difference between long-chain and short-chain carbons, or perhaps more simply: by reducing "pelagic" carbon since algae uses the carbon in the water column and coral use the carbon inside it's tissues. Have I more or less got that right, @robert?

I run GAC 24/7 because back in my freshwater days, that's what I was told to do to prevent disease. Who knew it was a major reason why I don't have algae issues or coral issues despite slightly elevated N and P. Also really glad I decided to keep on using the UV that came with my freshwater canister filter. The only equipment I use now in my saltwater setup that I didn't use in my freshwater setup are the skimmer and the sulphur denitrator. No sump, no fuge, no macro, no GFO, etc etc etc and yet happy coral, incl. SPS/Acro
 

bklynreef

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How is it no one in the reef aquarium industry jumped on this especially since it is a fraction of what GFO costs. I guess you could utilize the liquid in to a doser so it automated and precise. You can then keep PO4 at levels needed instead of the high and low guessing game we play.
 

tigé21v

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...By the way - Bentonite - the clay, is a good alternative to reduce phosphates and organics from the water column. I've never seen a bad reaction from any fish or coral and no precipitates. Makes your water very clear as well.
I've always thought that bentonite (or some form of clay) was the main (if not sole) ingredient in KZ's Zeozym. Their Coral Snow also looks like some sort of clay slurry..
 
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bklynreef

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If this clay is the alternative to GFO then we should be switching and making people aware of this. I'd like a little more people putting in their 2 cents before I start this dosing method.
 

tigé21v

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I tried to find info on using this a while back. I'm not sure if I wasn't googling the right terminology or what, but I got little if any search results. I know koi keepers have good success with it, both for fish health and helping to reduce algae in their systems. I think (but I'm not sure anymore), that the main concern is the other elements in the clay.
Hopefully someone will chime in who knows for sure. I have a 5# box in the garage.
 

scoobyfish2

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I tried to find info on using this a while back. I'm not sure if I wasn't googling the right terminology or what, but I got little if any search results. I know koi keepers have good success with it, both for fish health and helping to reduce algae in their systems. I think (but I'm not sure anymore), that the main concern is the other elements in the clay.
Hopefully someone will chime in who knows for sure. I have a 5# box in the garage.
I'm fairly new to the game. My sy stem is barely a year old and I'm running all types of corals in there, including sps. I read all information on the "best" way to keep these corals happy. In the end I decided for myself to keep things ad close to nature as possible. To my surprise I came to the same conclusion which is being discussed here. I run sump, skimmer, a deep tub of sand in sump, a separate 20 gallon tank that's filled with copepods, chaeto, culerpa and other types of plants and tahiti mud.

Now here is the kicker, I'm thinking with those people using bentonite and gfo and carbon. I think the mud and chaeto and the others help do all the things the carbon and bentonite gfo do. Now at the moment I am running a gfo reactor and do sometimes run carbon when I think there is some chemical warfare going on and I want to get that stuff out asap. But gfo I use is half of what us recommended for system.

I can go on and on. But your tank, is your own little world, you gotta study it and recognize it, get to know it, it's quirks. Things that work for this guy might not work for you, or exactly like it because you might have one more fish than that guy, so there already your reef differs from his. I went off here a bit, but what I'm saying is, nature is king don't fight it, try to imitate it.
 

robert

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@Floyd R Turbo - the overarching point I was trying to make was that in our efforts to reduce nitrate and phosphate we largely ignore carbon as a nutrient and thats a mistake. Nitrate and phosphate are not the boogy-men we tend to make them but carbon, both particulate organic carbons and dissolved organic carbons can be.

Running any in-water denitrification system which relies on carbon sources or algae systems (macro or turf) has to be implemented with this in mind. Since there is no easy way to keep track of DOC its easy to overlook and can cause coral mortalites even when N and P look perfect. The bacteria living in the corals themselves can be lethal to the coral if carbon sources are not controlled. Even in the case where carbon sources are insufficient to trigger the outright death of the coral host, the enery the coral expends to defend itself from it own resident bacteria can tax the coral to sufficient extent to significantly impact growth.

Bacteria, turf algae, cyano and macroalgaes all produce carbons of a form which can feed and destabilize resident bacterial populations in the corals SCM and tissue. Corals on the other hand produce long chain carbons which which are difficult for resident bacteria to utilize.

I'm sure many who use ATS, macro-refugiums, bio-pellets, and carbon dosing mitigate the dangers and impacts of these systems as you do with GAC and purigen. I think more employ these systems without understanding how to cope with their potential side-effects. I know when I ran them, I had no idea that they were producing anything that could be detrimental, and I am now convinced I lost many corals because of it.

@Oceansize GAC serves many purposes, but removal of dissolved organic carbons is pobably the biggest single reason we run it in our systems and its the DOC it capures which is the biggest reason we have to change it so often. An easy way to extend GAC is to soak it in H2O2 to break up the DOC and rinse with RODI - you can reuse it several times this way.

I see you run the sulphur denitrator as well...its such a great and easy out of the water column solution to absolute control over N and P...I'm at a loss as to why more people don't use it. Its not marketable I guess. No sump? Is you system entirely in tank? FWIW - the only think in my sump are the pumps for my UV and skimmer and my sulphur reactor. No sand, no rock, no maco algae.

@bklynreef - I'm sure there could be a way to dose bentonite. Its something to think about. I typically use it at water changes once a week and ocassionally in between. I never test for phosphate - I know it goes in when I feed and comes out when I purge my filters - I have very little algae anywhen in my system. Other than water changes bentonite is the only means of phosephate export I use.

@tigé21v - you raise some good points. Kaolin clay, bentonite and zeolite are all related. The are all aluminosilicates originating from volcanic ash. Kaolin is the result of the ash being deposited in an acidic aquatic environment, bentonite results from the ash being deposited in a slightly alkaline (marine) environment and zeolite is from the ash being laid down in a highly alkaline environment.

Both kaolin and bentonite are structurally composed of small plate like structures. Kaolin is more of a 2 dimensional structure where as bentonite is like stacks of these t dimensional plates witch allow water in between. Zeolites, becauses they form in high alkalinity, are like bentonite but the plates fuse and therefore they are more crystaline. Bentonite is not rigid and will actually expand as water forms layers between the plates in its structure....

I'm being called...will be back to finish
 

robert

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Back, sodium bentonite is the most expansive - calcium bentonite - less so.

Both are carry high negative charge in water and are useful for removing heavy metal contaminations, and may possess antimicrobial/ bacteriostatic properties.

Bentonite has many uses in the food industries as clarifiers and in agriculture as feed additives binding alfatoxins/mycotoxins (mold products). I think up to 2.5% by weight is allowed in europe, but studies have been conducted up to 50%. I am aware of no reported metal toxicity seen in any of these studies. Bentonite does contain metals, but due to its extreme negative charge it does not release them into the environment. It is actually used to clean up contamination sites due to this characteristic.

I have the analysis reports of two samples of food grade bentonite...they are batch specific, but if you want them I can post them. I was worried too when I first started using this - but I don't accumulate bentonite in my tank so its not a concern in my system.

As a side note - I beleive some of the salt suppliers use bentonite as a clarifier in their mixes...

Correction - the sulphur denitrator also removes phosphate...so bentonite is my second phosphate remover.
 
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atoll

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I am an often (as in 4 times a day) heavy feeder, well not me personally you understand but my tank. I also have a fair number of fish in there so with all 3 I get to put in a lot of nutrients in one way or another. My nitrates and phosphates are low but then I run an ATS as well as a skimmer. My SPS are doing just fine and are colourful. I have long since decided nutrients are required to keep them so. If you feed well and regular you will not only provide the nutrients required for your corals but your fish will also be far more healthy, well that's my experience. I admit to have never quarantined a fish in all my years and have not had an outbreak of WS since Adam was a lad in fact since I upped my feeding to what it has been all those years.
 

jasonandsarah

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Back, sodium bentonite is the most expansive - calcium bentonite - less so.

Both are carry high negative charge in water and are useful for removing heavy metal contaminations, and may possess antimicrobial/ bacteriostatic properties.

Bentonite has many uses in the food industries as clarifiers and in agriculture as feed additives binding alfatoxins/mycotoxins (mold products). I think up to 2.5% by weight is allowed in europe, but studies have been conducted up to 50%. I am aware of no reported metal toxicity seen in any of these studies. Bentonite does contain metals, but due to its extreme negative charge it does not release them into the environment. It is actually used to clean up contamination sites due to this characteristic.

I have the analysis reports of two samples of food grade bentonite...they are batch specific, but if you want them I can post them. I was worried too when I first started using this - but I don't accumulate bentonite in my tank so its not a concern in my system.

As a side note - I beleive some of the salt suppliers use bentonite as a clarifier in their mixes...

Correction - the sulphur denitrator also removes phosphate...so bentonite is my second phosphate remover.
@Floyd R Turbo - the overarching point I was trying to make was that in our efforts to reduce nitrate and phosphate we largely ignore carbon as a nutrient and thats a mistake. Nitrate and phosphate are not the boogy-men we tend to make them but carbon, both particulate organic carbons and dissolved organic carbons can be.

Running any in-water denitrification system which relies on carbon sources or algae systems (macro or turf) has to be implemented with this in mind. Since there is no easy way to keep track of DOC its easy to overlook and can cause coral mortalites even when N and P look perfect. The bacteria living in the corals themselves can be lethal to the coral if carbon sources are not controlled. Even in the case where carbon sources are insufficient to trigger the outright death of the coral host, the enery the coral expends to defend itself from it own resident bacteria can tax the coral to sufficient extent to significantly impact growth.

Bacteria, turf algae, cyano and macroalgaes all produce carbons of a form which can feed and destabilize resident bacterial populations in the corals SCM and tissue. Corals on the other hand produce long chain carbons which which are difficult for resident bacteria to utilize.

I'm sure many who use ATS, macro-refugiums, bio-pellets, and carbon dosing mitigate the dangers and impacts of these systems as you do with GAC and purigen. I think more employ these systems without understanding how to cope with their potential side-effects. I know when I ran them, I had no idea that they were producing anything that could be detrimental, and I am now convinced I lost many corals because of it.

@Oceansize GAC serves many purposes, but removal of dissolved organic carbons is pobably the biggest single reason we run it in our systems and its the DOC it capures which is the biggest reason we have to change it so often. An easy way to extend GAC is to soak it in H2O2 to break up the DOC and rinse with RODI - you can reuse it several times this way.

I see you run the sulphur denitrator as well...its such a great and easy out of the water column solution to absolute control over N and P...I'm at a loss as to why more people don't use it. Its not marketable I guess. No sump? Is you system entirely in tank? FWIW - the only think in my sump are the pumps for my UV and skimmer and my sulphur reactor. No sand, no rock, no maco algae.

@bklynreef - I'm sure there could be a way to dose bentonite. Its something to think about. I typically use it at water changes once a week and ocassionally in between. I never test for phosphate - I know it goes in when I feed and comes out when I purge my filters - I have very little algae anywhen in my system. Other than water changes bentonite is the only means of phosephate export I use.

@tigé21v - you raise some good points. Kaolin clay, bentonite and zeolite are all related. The are all aluminosilicates originating from volcanic ash. Kaolin is the result of the ash being deposited in an acidic aquatic environment, bentonite results from the ash being deposited in a slightly alkaline (marine) environment and zeolite is from the ash being laid down in a highly alkaline environment.

Both kaolin and bentonite are structurally composed of small plate like structures. Kaolin is more of a 2 dimensional structure where as bentonite is like stacks of these t dimensional plates witch allow water in between. Zeolites, becauses they form in high alkalinity, are like bentonite but the plates fuse and therefore they are more crystaline. Bentonite is not rigid and will actually expand as water forms layers between the plates in its structure....

I'm being called...will be back to finish
Thanks for all the info, I love learning new things and the past few days your posts have been very informative. [emoji4]
 

tigé21v

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[USER=54791]@Oceansize
GAC serves many purposes, but removal of dissolved organic carbons is pobably the biggest single reason we run it in our systems and its the DOC it capures which is the biggest reason we have to change it so often. An easy way to extend GAC is to soak it in H2O2 to break up the DOC and rinse with RODI - you can reuse it several times this way.
I had never heard that you can regenerate GAC.I've heard of adding it to boiling water before rinsing to help open up the pore structure, but never found any info on regenerating it. Do you know if it works on the pelletized forms of GAC also (Rox .8)?
sodium bentonite is the most expansive - calcium bentonite - less so.


As a side note - I beleive some of the salt suppliers use bentonite as a clarifier in their mixes...

Correction - the sulphur denitrator also removes phosphate...so bentonite is my second phosphate remover.

[/USER]
 
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tigé21v

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Sorry, having issues trying to use the Quote function.
I had never heard that you can regenerate GAC.I've heard of adding it to boiling water before rinsing to help open up the pore structure, but never found any info on regenerating it. Do you know if it works on the pelletized forms of GAC also (Rox .8)?
I guess that's why they say you need to soak the clay for the day before you take it as a detox. If you don't, you run the risk of it compacting in your intestines.
It almost seems the reaction with the H2O2 would cause it to dissolve to dust.
Do you recommend sodium bentonite or calcium bentonite?
I agree with the statement about the clay in some salt mixes. It's the brown sludge left on the sides of the mixing container.
And be prepared to explain how a sulphur denitrator removes phosphate.. I'm sure you can type faster than me.
 

gettaReef

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I've heard several sources state that mixing the sulfer with the coral substrate in a sulfer denitrator will also result in reduction of phosphate as well, although I cannot explain (or know) how it does so. Is this what you are referring to?
 

June2881

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Completely agree with you Adam. I ran Zeovit for the first 2 years on my system and when they say getting your nutrient levels down to zero they meant it. I was essentially starving my corals down to pale little bits of organisms hanging on for life and I think my reef keeping talents were still pretty limited so I was unable to give them what they needed to color up and grow. I moved over to a more traditional set up and added more fish. Within a few months better color and growth and polyp extension followed. I started adding sodium nitrate and wow what a difference. For me just a shade of pink works wonders for my tank. I tried adding phosphate since my tank always measures zero but eh I wasn't too happy with those results. Anyway just thought I'd chime in great write up Adam.
 

laverda

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great discussion. I have never felt nitrate and phosphate needed to be at the levels most claimed.
 

HM3105

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So this is a very timely topic for me. I inadvertently sent my phosphates and nitrates to basically 0 fighting a couple of algae outbreaks.

As I've been trying to work my phosphates and nitrates back up I've removed my GFO and turned my skimmer down.

If I've understood this discussion correctly, I should seek to moderate the carbon sources in the system through the use of skimming and GAC and let the phosphates and nitrates take care of themselves (within reason). Is that correct?

Are the sources of nitrates and phosphates the same source for carbons in the system?
 
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Vividgraphx

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Here is a question for the tank maturity topic. Would any of you empty your refugium of its sand and replace it with new? I personally wouldn't. In my opinion the existing sand that has been there for years is mature. A fresh bed of sand takes a while to get right and do what it needs to do. How long would you say it takes for it to mature?
 

robert

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Here is a question back - what makes you think you need sand in your refugium - or a refugium at all?
What is mature sand specifically?
So this is a very timely topic for me. I inadvertently sent my phosphates and nitrates to basically 0 fighting a couple of algae outbreaks.

As I've been trying to work my phosphates and nitrates back up I've removed my GFO and turned my skimmer down.

If I've understood this discussion correctly, I should seek to moderate the carbon sources in the system through the use of skimming and GAC and let the phosphates and nitrates take care of themselves (within reason). Is that correct?

Are the sources of nitrates and phosphates the same source for carbons in the system?
Yes, I think you understood correctly...the sources of carbon are not entirely the same as for nitrate and phosphate although much of it is - Its the food you put into the system. Some nitrogen can be introduced by bacteria that can utilize nitrogen gas dissolved in the water some (bacteria - cyano - does this) - and algaes (and zoox in your corals) can fix co2 to make new carbon chains - sugars etc.
 

Any special reefing plans for this week?

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