Tank Trials: Ultra Low Maintenance Tanks | BRStv Investigates

Discussion in 'Reef Aquarium Discussion' started by randyBRS, Dec 1, 2017.

  1. Chris2cayi

    Chris2cayi New Member

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    duplicate to delete.
     

  2. Chris2cayi

    Chris2cayi New Member

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  3. Coolbreeze69

    Coolbreeze69 Member

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    I think this is a trick question.

    Based on a previous BRStv segment it was stated that the Colbalt heaters had the most accurate temperature and was also recommended to hook it up to a controller because these hobby heaters are made so cheaply. Going with the ULM theory then you would need two of these hooked-up to a controller. Again in another one of your BRStv segments you can buy a controller starting at 120 bucks. So it is low cost we are looking at or truly a ULM system? Not sure you can have both as some redundancy will cost a few bucks extra.

    I will also assume when you want ULM you also are asking for stability, I would think that stability would also give you ULM as well.
     
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  4. Ryanbrs

    Ryanbrs Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Platinum Sponsor

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    I have heard similar things but no real data on how much ozone each sterilizer emits. I am pretty sure at one point emperor aquatics marketed their UV bulbs were low ozone generating but I forget the exact reason why they said it was better.

    I think we will explore turning both pieces of equipment on and off for periods of time, record ORP as well as tank clarity. Part of this is really exploring different options and documenting the results.
     
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  5. Ryanbrs

    Ryanbrs Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Platinum Sponsor

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    LOL, they are the most accurate and precise but also far from free. If you wanted to use two of these to back up a standard tank you would be into it for nearly $300 without a controller.

    Since heaters fail so many people my best pulse is a combination of what the CS team says combined with the reviews. Always nice to hear what the larger community's experiences are.
     
  6. laverda

    laverda Active Member

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  7. Coolbreeze69

    Coolbreeze69 Member

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    :) So if I was starting a new tank and was a newbie at this, what advice would you give me? Buy the the Cobalt or in your option what is the next best thing? I like to get insight into those that have had reefs for a long time, knowing that they spent quite bit of money on corals and fish.

    I do appreciate your input. No baiting, just asking for advice :)
     
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  8. Steve Fast

    Steve Fast Member

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    I'd build in redundancy. I found controllers that can control up to 4 1000 watt heaters. Smaller versions are also available (http://www.jehmco.com/html/temperature_controller.html). So, all of the heaters are on simultaneously and thus they are all used equally and no single one is overtaxed. If you choose the heaters sufficiently large, losing one will not affect things. Not sure how to detect if one fails, though maybe the current draw can be monitored.

    For pumps I'd do something similar... use multiple controllable DC pumps each turned down. So if one fails, all you have to do is turn the others up until you get a replacement.
     
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  9. Ryanbrs

    Ryanbrs Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Platinum Sponsor

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    So there are a lot of approaches, and peoples opinions differ, but my opinion is you should have one heater which is fully capable of heating your tank on its own to ~78 degrees. If you have a large tank it might be a pair of heaters. This heater or heaters will be responsible for cycling on and off thousands of times a day and likely millions of times a year to maintain the tank temperature.

    Now, this heater will fail, could be 6 months could be 36 months, but it will very often be between 12 and 24 months. That's why we add redundancy with a backup heater. I think it should be the same size and very similar solution to the primary and it should be set to ~77 degrees which is one degree lower. This means the heater will basically never be used and hopefully perform like new when you need it.

    Now a lot of us have taken a different approach which is two heaters set to the same temp designed to limit negative effects a failure meaning if one fails on or off the tank won't heat up as fast or drop as low. This is certainly better than a single point of failure with just one heater but really a "less worse" or partial solution. It's also less likely to work when you need it because both heaters are cycling that same million(s) of times a year and likely to fail around the same time. If I did it this way, I might use different brands of heaters to reduce that risk.

    In either case, a temperature controller is an absolute must-have for anyone who uses a heater and wants to have their tank last more than a couple years. There are not many things I would say are 100% necessary, but this is one of them. The ink bird is $39 and there just isn't a reason not to use one other than I literally don't have the $39. If that's the case so be it but that should be the only reason. There are of course more expensive and capable solutions like the reefkeeper and apex. At this point, there isn't a universe where I wouldn't personally use one of those two options because I have a lot invested in my tanks. Most often I use the apex just because it actually lets me know "in real time" when something failed.

    As to cheap heaters verses the Neotherm? Well, it is 3 x the cost so I would only spend that to achieve a specific goal. I would also only use it on a tank that has the potential to benefit from that. In this case that could be a SPS tank which almost always benefits from every effort put towards stability. The goal would be accuracy, precision and redundnacy. In this case, I would actually use the internal thermostat on the heater to control the tanks temperature and the aquarium or temp controller to back it up. The benefit here is the we don't have to power cycle the entire heater millions of times a year which is certainly not good for it.

    Hope that helps :) , I got a bit more on this in this weeks video update.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2017
  10. SereneAquatic

    SereneAquatic Member

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    How do you find room for 4 heaters and two pumps, esp. on tanks as small as these? *boggle* I feel like I barely have enough room already for two heaters and one pump in the ~30 gallon sump I have. (middle is a big fuge)
     
  11. Coolbreeze69

    Coolbreeze69 Member

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    Thank you very much for your input. I look forward to your new video. Since I do have a Apex I will go down that route and setup the new tank as you have suggested. :)
     
  12. SantaMonica

    SantaMonica Valuable Member

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    Interesting that the most wanted ULM tactic is: More stuff (which is also more money). My initial tactic was: Less stuff.

    I get it. More things, to automate more things. That is certainly one way. But the other way is to simplify things, and do so greatly. This means low or no maintenance. And extreme reliability.

    Aside from my reef pond tactic, which is extremely cheap and unbreakable (and the only tactic requiring no glass cleaning ever), a ULM solution for heaters is: Ultra thick acrylic.

    Yes, this costs more: 1" thick acrylic custom made for a small tank. But once custom made, the heat from powerheads alone will probably keep the temps high enough. Ultra thick acrylic is also the technique used for cold water lobster tanks that go in seafood departments, to keep them cold, and to stop condensation from forming on the outside.

    Thick acrylic is like a well insulated cabin in the woods. Regular heaters on regular thickness tanks, however, are like a cabin with open doors and windows, but with a huge heater in the middle too make up for it.
     
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  13. Servillius

    Servillius Active Member R2R Supporter Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor

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    I woke up this morning to a heater stuck on. Tank at 82 because we sized it to avoid driving the temp up too much. Any solution that uses reserve heating capacity risks cooking the tank.

    I’ve considered using a second controller as a safety but it’s just not a failsafe in that in the event of a failure it does not fall into a safe mode. My experience is the backup you’re relying on doesn’t get tested enough so has a high failure rate. What you gain in backup, you lose in overconfidence.

    I’d consider one heater sized to max out at 80 - 82 F if it’s always on and an alarm to let you know when the temp is off. Two separate temp probes and two alarms.

    Add a smaller heater on a separate power source that is plugged in to a wireless controller but always off. You can turn this on manually and remotely if the main heater shuts down. Set an alarm to warn you if this comes on.
     
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  14. randyBRS

    randyBRS BRStv Host :-) R2R Supporter Gold Sponsor

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    ULM Tank Trials Ep-5: Plumbing for Ultra Low Maintenance | BRStv

    In this week's video, we discuss your thoughts on what it takes to create ULM choices as it pertains to return pumps, plumbing and heaters, as well as share the route we took for our three Tank Trials tanks! :)

    For all of those who shared their thoughts on YouTube and here on Reef2Reef, THANKS! This week we give shout outs YouTube folks Johnathan Richard ; yuyiboy ; benjy468 ; and over on the Reef2Reef community @Dylan Grech ; @siggy ; @MrineLfRlz !


    This week's question:


    -How do you choose rock and sand as it pertains to Ultra Low Maintenance? We're talking everything from the type you choose all the way to how you aquascape it! ;)

     
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  15. Arrecifero

    Arrecifero Member

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    In terms of rock, I would go with reef saver dry rock, Caribsea Liferock or Walt Smith dry rock on all three tanks because I just want to avoid any pests coming in live rock and also all the decomposing nutrients from Pukani dry rock. I love the way pukani looks in my system but from my experience it’s just not an ULM option, especially during the first six months the rock is in the tank.

    As for sand, going bare bottom could be an option in the SPS tank, if powerheads are properly placed to keep detritus suspended and not let it collect on the bottom glass, because the high flow SPS corals demand will blow sand around. That said, it can be difficult to achieve a proper flow pattern that makes bare bottoms look great without maintenance. In the softie and LPS tanks, any aragonite sand that is at least 1mm thick will be appropriate. I wouldn’t go over an inch of sand in any tank so that with the addition of a sand sifter, crabs, snails and/or sand sifting starfish, I can keep the sand pearly white without getting my hands in the tank.
     
  16. jahnje

    jahnje Member

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    As far rocks and substrate goes. I'd be really curious about using truly aquacultured live rock and sand package from the ocean. Yes it's going to come with hitchhikers and the like, some good and some bad, but at the same time it's like getting a well aged aquarium. So you won't have all of the crazy blooms and startup maintenance that can drive you crazy with a new tank. You'll start out with enough biodiversity to have a very stable long term tank.
     
  17. Rakie

    Rakie Federal Coral Reserve R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor

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    This thread should be split up into episodes. You barely started and were 17 pages in -- this is going to get exceptionally hard to follow, and keep up with.
     
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  18. Ryanbrs

    Ryanbrs Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Platinum Sponsor

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    I hear ya on that. I will share that feedback with the team.

    The first post does have links to the various components of the discussion : )
     
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  19. aarbutina

    aarbutina Active Member Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    Hey BRS crew, just watched episode 5 and it was great as usual. That being said I am very interested in what you are going to have to say in regards to Rock and Sand and episode 6.

    While I don’t have super strong opinions on what the sand should be I do have thoughts on the rock. In my opinion True Live rock is the only way to go if you want your systems, especially the SPS system to thrive in the short term. If you perform a quick search on these forums you will find countless horror stories of people unable to keep SPS and the common link between them all in the use of dry rock. Why the dry rock seems to take so much longer seems to be up for debate. Grants the use of live rock brings it own problems (pest, algae, etc), but of the stability of the system it just seems to be the right way to go. If live rock isn’t an option I would say the use of dry rock that has been cultured and fully seeded for now less than a six months to a year in a larger well established system would be the next best option. This way all the required micro and macro flura and fona has had enough time to become sufficiently established (thus maligning it live rock).
     
  20. Shawn Dahl

    Shawn Dahl Active Member R2R Supporter

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    For all tanks I would use bleach cured pukani for the live rock. When bleaching I like to use a 15:1 water to bleach ratio for 7 days then do a good RODI rinse then soak in in RODI with some Prime. I choose bleach curing because I want every bit of the organics off of my rock to start with fresh pristine rocks and don't have to worry about any unwanted algae or other organics to have to deal with in the future.

    For sand in a softie tank I would go with some oolite because I love the look of it and with a good crew of sand sifters it's easy to keep clean. I would only put oolite in a softie tank because of the low flow requirements. Keep the flow at a minimum and let the critters maintain the sand.

    For LPS tank I would use some fiji pink. It can still be maintained by the sand sifters and has a better chance of staying put with a little more flow.

    For an SPS tank I believe in bare bottom keep the flow high to keep most detritus suspended and sent into overflow. Use a good selection of snails too pick up any leftover scraps
     
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