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

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Battlecorals

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Adam, for export do you water change or are your corals eating all your nutrients? I'm guessing you run a skimmer, what else?

HI there,

Yeah I still do about 100 gallon WC on my main roughly once a month but thats really about it besides skimming.
 

Vaughn17

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I believe there is some bad info in this thread: Studies I have seen, suggest that elevated N and P by themselves are not detrimental to coral growth.
Studies that I have read indicate that PO4 inhibits calcification in corals at elevated levels (which vary, depending on the species). I'm on the zero-zero is crap bandwagon, for sure, but algae isn't the only detrimental effect of too much phosphate(s). I dose NO3 and recently experimented dosing PO4 in my nutrient challenged 38 gallon sps tank. I raised the PO4 as high as .5 ppm (with NO3 between 2.5 and 5.0). Stylo (purple and rainbow) grew like crazy at that high level. Most of the acros maintained colors and PE, but I lost frags of Hawkins Echinata and Flame Fox and a few others started to turn brown. I lowered the PO4 and the browning corals quickly recovered. The sweet spot for PO4 in my tank is between .1 and .2.
 

Ssteve

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So I have a newly setup 120g tank(5 months old) but it has about 60lbs of liverock that's out of a tank that's been running fairly high nutrients since 2002. On the initial cycle I got the regular cyano bloom. It went away, I added more fish, some corals, blasted everything with some t5's and all was good for a few months. A few weeks ago I started getting what looked like cyano again in the sandbed but its turning a red color with almost a hair consistency coming from parts of it. I have just been brushing off algea from the rocks and vacuuming the sandbed to keep it bearable to look at. I was going to start some gfo and activated carbon to see if it would help, but plan to run about 1/4-1/3 the recommended amounts.

I don't run macros, a deep sandbed or dose anything. Just skimming, filter sock and biweekly waterchanges. I feed pretty heavy, twice a day a mix of pellets and flakes from a auto feeder and a chunk of frozen every other day as well as a couple squirts of reef nutrition arcti pods at the very least every other day if not every day.

levels are all fairly low surprisingly enough, and the kicker is that colors are amazing. Got a ton of frags from a friend who has a well established tank that shows good growth in but once in my tank the colors are a whole ton better. Not sure about groth cause its too early to tell, but they have all colored up extensively.

My problem is the algae though, should I run a little gfo see if that helps?
 

AcanthurusRex

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Hopefully this link works;
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/11/161102155706.htm
In the simplest terms symbiotic corals out compete algae in a nutrient poor environment. Measured nutrient levels on healthy reefs are low, basically zero. As Adam has pointed out the corals need nutrients. The ocean is effectively dosing the nutrients at a level that is completely consumed on the reef. At higher levels of nutrients the coral will be out competeted by the "uglies".
In our little boxes we are always on a knife edge between too little or too much nutrients, the bigger the system the duller the knife but we are limited. These corals want clean water with access to unlimited nutrients. Finding a methodology that maintains our little systems on the edge indefinitely is our challenge.
 

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Are there any good methods to help reduce iron in our systems?
 

milfymartin86

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Great write up Adam! As you know my tank is new and that pack from you is growing at a great rate, but the colors since I received them has gone down! All levels are spot on besides NO3 it's at zero but hopefully they will raise soon and the color will return!
 

Turbo's Aquatics

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Are there any good methods to help reduce iron in our systems?
Iron is nearly impossible to maintain at readable levels in a reef tank because it is highly reactive, or at least, that's what I understood. So my question is, why would you want to or need to reduce iron? If anything, some people dose it on purpose. IIRC it binds phosphate nearly immediately upon introduction into the aquarium.
 

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The actual issue in our systems is nutrient control with respect to nuisance algaes and bacteria. You can try to contol these by manipulation of N and P but this is a very difficult approach. It is actually easier to control these by limiting C and Fe. C limitation to control bacteria and Fe limitation to control the large cell algaes.
Trying to reduce iron after reading above quote from Robert.
 

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Warning: This is a loaded question, that I think has some relevance to this thread. After all of the discussion that I've read and after running several SPS dominated systems with many different methods, how would you set up a Brand New SPS dominated system's filtration? Not including the lighting, pumps and turnover rates. Just the filtration methods.

This is what I'm thinking. Please shoot it down or add suggestions.
Main Display tank:
1. Curing new, clean rock from Real Reef Rock. (no pests).
2. Adding a shallow, maybe 2 inch sand bed (only because I like the look of sand beds, but don't like the extra work)
3. Fish: don't want to get too granular. My new set up is 150g total water volume. I'll probably have a couple of tangs, cleaner wrasse, clean up crew and a family of anthias.
Sump/Refugium:
1. Incorporating a Roller Mat to the sump. The goal is to catch the large particles in the water column.
2. Large refugium with Chaeto, with Maxpect red growth light.
3. Deltec Skimmer: rated for a little over 200 gallons.
4. OR add an Algae Scrubber, in place of the Chaeto.

I'm thinking this set up could be pretty flexible to allow me to add/subtract one of the filtration methods in the Sump to either add or lower my nitrate/phosphate levels.
thoughts? thanks in advance..
 

tigé21v

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Sounds like a good plan. I'm getting ready to redo my sump with something very similar.
Does anyone know if acros are also using nutrients (NO3/PO4) once the lights are off, or is the only food source whatever the polyps catch?
 
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Battlecorals

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Warning: This is a loaded question, that I think has some relevance to this thread. After all of the discussion that I've read and after running several SPS dominated systems with many different methods, how would you set up a Brand New SPS dominated system's filtration? Not including the lighting, pumps and turnover rates. Just the filtration methods.

This is what I'm thinking. Please shoot it down or add suggestions.
Main Display tank:
1. Curing new, clean rock from Real Reef Rock. (no pests).
2. Adding a shallow, maybe 2 inch sand bed (only because I like the look of sand beds, but don't like the extra work)
3. Fish: don't want to get too granular. My new set up is 150g total water volume. I'll probably have a couple of tangs, cleaner wrasse, clean up crew and a family of anthias.
Sump/Refugium:
1. Incorporating a Roller Mat to the sump. The goal is to catch the large particles in the water column.
2. Large refugium with Chaeto, with Maxpect red growth light.
3. Deltec Skimmer: rated for a little over 200 gallons.
4. OR add an Algae Scrubber, in place of the Chaeto.

I'm thinking this set up could be pretty flexible to allow me to add/subtract one of the filtration methods in the Sump to either add or lower my nitrate/phosphate levels.
thoughts? thanks in advance..


Boy I guess i let this one go a while back lol! Sorry for the serious lag in responses here. Guessing this tank has long been set up and running but better late than never my friend :)

Ultimately My sole means of filtration are my Skimmer and live rock.
 

Maacc

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Warning: This is a loaded question, that I think has some relevance to this thread. After all of the discussion that I've read and after running several SPS dominated systems with many different methods, how would you set up a Brand New SPS dominated system's filtration? Not including the lighting, pumps and turnover rates. Just the filtration methods.

This is what I'm thinking. Please shoot it down or add suggestions.
Main Display tank:
1. Curing new, clean rock from Real Reef Rock. (no pests).
2. Adding a shallow, maybe 2 inch sand bed (only because I like the look of sand beds, but don't like the extra work)
3. Fish: don't want to get too granular. My new set up is 150g total water volume. I'll probably have a couple of tangs, cleaner wrasse, clean up crew and a family of anthias.
Sump/Refugium:
1. Incorporating a Roller Mat to the sump. The goal is to catch the large particles in the water column.
2. Large refugium with Chaeto, with Maxpect red growth light.
3. Deltec Skimmer: rated for a little over 200 gallons.
4. OR add an Algae Scrubber, in place of the Chaeto.

I'm thinking this set up could be pretty flexible to allow me to add/subtract one of the filtration methods in the Sump to either add or lower my nitrate/phosphate levels.
thoughts? thanks in advance..
Actually you have about copied my system to a T. It's super stable and no water changes with a heavy fish load.
I have a deltec skimmer, a turbo aquatics L4 scrubber, a fuge with chaeto and a viparspectra light, and a clarisea filter roll. The filter roll isn't really necessary, but it makes me spend a a lot less time cleaning than socks.
 
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Battlecorals

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Actually you have about copied my system to a T. It's super stable and no water changes with a heavy fish load.
I have a deltec skimmer, a turbo aquatics L4 scrubber, a fuge with chaeto and a viparspectra light, and a clarisea filter roll. The filter roll isn't really necessary, but it makes me spend a a lot less time cleaning than socks.

Thanks for chiming in!
 
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Battlecorals

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@Battlecorals curious to know what you do actually test for and frequency?

HI there,

good question! Alkalinity is at the top of the list. I test alk everyday for sure sometimes twice. Nutrients, not very often actually. Not to say that these should never be tested. Just that Usually I'll need some reason to look into nutrient levels, like something seems off, as opposed to keeping a solid eye on alkalinity.
 

Dr. Dendrostein

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How about a complete reversal of nearly all of the preconceived essential rules to keeping our sps healthy? Now this really isn’t so new a concept, as I’ve been having this conversation with many of you over the years. In fact, so many that I felt it was finally time to just lay this one on the table for all to see.

So here it is:

YOUR SMALL POLYPED SCLERACTINIANS NEED NUTRIENTS!!! In fact, they need them so much, that I believe a well stocked reef full of SPS will act as its own nutrient reduction agent. Further simplifying any system by eliminating the need for some of the more recent methods and trends to do it. So there’s my claim.

Far out? Maybe at first notion to all of you employing every effort to rid your tank of these nutrients, but hear me out. This is really is as simple as it gets, and is quite obvious once you think about it. I’m not a chemist nor scientist at all, but simply an extremely observant sps keeper at best, that has come to this realization after many years of housing, growing and abusing acroporas.

But in all sincereness, this may not seem so far out anymore. This notion has slowly been gaining more and more traction over the last couple years. Even more so in recent months right here in R2R. It’s also one that I’ve been talking about for a long time now, and is a subject that I discuss often with fellow reefers struggling to troubleshoot, and wondering why things aren’t going as well as they'd like them to be.

In recent years, just as methods for removing nutrients have essentially gotten too efficient, I have to come to believe without a doubt, that stripping our water of even the smallest trace of nitrate or phosphate is far more deleterious on overall health, than moderately elevated, or even relatively high levels. I'll go even further to say that the benefits of measurable amounts of these vital nutrients tremendously exceeds that of a tank without. Now I never really subscribed the the phosphate is evil campaign that seemed to coincide rather conveniently with the introduction of binders such as ROWA and Phos Ban, roughly over a decade ago. While I do believe that it’s very possible, and likely that your tank will suffer at exceedingly higher levels than that of natural sea water, but that it will suffer far more at little or undetectable levels. To reiterate and perhaps reinforce my point just once more, I have seen with my own eyes, the issues that can come from exceedingly low or “stripped” levels of these nutrients, while I confess I am still waiting for the disaster that should accompany a higher or "dangerous" level. I am not saying that you are now free to abandon any means of keeping theses nutrients in check, nor to let them run wild. But rather, that I believe sps will not only keep these levels in check, but will actually deplete them much lower than we’d like as they use the nutrients up.

So what does this really mean? Well, clearly a tank full of sps is not an easy thing to simply come up with like some macro for a fuge, or even a water change to dilute. And I’m not really suggesting that this is any sort of problem solver. I am merely stating that a well balanced system will keep itself in check when it comes to nutrients, and the production and depletion of them. In short, the longer your tank matures, and the more thriving and sprawling your sps get, the easier it will be to maintain acceptable levels of certain nutrients. Maintain being the key word. Some of us even going as far as to reintroduce various forms of nitrate back into the system when these levels are not met. With exceptional results.


Now clearly this will not apply to everyones' system. If you have a smaller amount of water and a massive amount of fish, then even with a healthy crop of mature acro colonies, you aren’t going to suck the system clean of nitrate. Nor will you with just a few acro frags. You’ll need some other means of control. Weather it's a fuge or water changes or even carbon dosing if you feel that you absolutely must. What I have come to learn and understand through a number of years of keen observation, is that by keeping a very close eye on nitrate (that means testing very often) and recognizing trends, that maintaining nutrient levels at low, to even moderate amounts, has resulted in better color, better growth and better over all “feel" of the entire system. I am absolutely certain that my sps are constantly sucking it out of the water. There was a time that I ran a “nutrient free” system. For many years I couldn't get a nitrate test to turn even the slightest hint of pink, no matter how many fish I added or how few water changes I performed, or by any other seemingly reckless ways that I employed in an effort to raise them.


maybe not exactly what we are shooting for (right) but a hint of pink is good (left). Hey, I had to get at least one pic in here to break up the word wall.


Then it hit me. It was so obvious in fact it was the only possible explanation. Where else could my nutrients be going? And why do my sps always seem like they are hungry? Again this isn’t science or at least isn’t presented as such, and anyone that wants to chime in and either agree, or tell me I am full of it please feel free. The idea that my sps were in fact the reason my nutrient levels were chronically low made perfect sense, and there was only one simple and viable solution. If I was going to attempt to maintain a detectable amount of nitrate in the system, then I was going to have to add it myself. Now I am seeing more and more threads popping up offering the same sentiments as this, and maybe I should have finished writing this last year when I initially began drafting it, but it’s still very refreshing to finally see this concept gaining favor over total nutrient removal as the ideas are shifting from "stripping" to reintroduction. It’s all about balance, and the simple point that I keep repeating to friends and fellow reefers is this. Nutrients are not bad they are necessary, and are by no means something that we need to rid our tanks of completely. Especially when it comes to sps, which goes against a long standing platform of "sps rules" that we've been taught over the years. I do not disagree that there was a time before technology really caught up, that it was more of a struggle to keep tanks clean enough for sps to thrive, but I believe that these ideas of massive nutrient control are carried over from then. We have come along way, and have learned a whole lot since then. The time for a complete dynamic shift in the methods of how we raise or sps is here! It is time my friends, to welcome and embrace those nutrients.




So to sum this one up, I realize that this write up is pretty scattered and the points are as redundant as they are scarce. And that I included no real data, no charts and figures or photos or anything really, other than my convictions to reinforce my claim. If you've actually made it this far, and read every word, I really appreciate you taking the time to do so. Maybe this will help at least one person struggling with their sps, and if so then it's a success. You see, what I really wanted to do, was to assemble a very cohesive, clever and legitimate argument that SPS are undeniably, a very effective means of nutrient control, complete with all sorts of information and facts and data and a little humor even to soften the read, but a scientific journalist I am not, and what I ended up with is kind of a jumbled mess, (probably why its taken me so long to finally finish this) but I hope that the message comes across clear enough not to be convoluted or confusing at all.

Consider the whole write up more food for thought than anything, but the general thrust, simply put is this. Concepts and methods are always changing and there’s never really any true right or wrong way to achieve the same results in this hobby. But, if you're struggling with that newer tank, or with one that's been maturing for years, and you are wondering why things don’t look the way they should, or at least the way you'd like them to, then let go of current methodologies and consider pulling that activated carbon and GFO, and stop dosing any carbon source altogether. Get yourself a nitrate test kit and start testing often. Let it build up a little. You may be surprised what some nutrients in the water will achieve. The more sps you’ve got and the larger they grow, the more you’ll see these nutrient levels dwindle. So take from this what you will and please feel free to share your own experiences, good or bad on the subject. I am just as certain there's plenty of people on these boards that are way smarter than me that can add something useful, as I am that I've left out all sorts of valuable info that should have been included. Your comments are more than welcome as always!
Thinking outside the box, has made me do things to my DT, I never would have done in the 80's.
Meet my little friends

Their in the refugium, 47 of them

20190502_122414.jpg


20190502_154509.jpg


20190502_154502.jpg
 

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