Tank Trials: Ultra Low Maintenance Tanks | BRStv Investigates

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

  1. Reefer Keith

    Reefer Keith Member

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    All good ideas. I would suggest bare bottom tank as a choice for sure, and make sure to use lots of marine pure spheres in the sump. I would use Dr time nitrifying bacteria to quick cycle the tank because it has the most nitrifying slow growing bacteria in it. As far as the rock, Only use dried bleached/ rodi cured coral. Coral is made from calcium and is a buffer. Dont use any of tbe imitation concreted real reef style live rock because it comes with bryopsis and possible hitchhikers. Speaking from experience.
    -Bare bottom
    -marine pure spheres in sump
    -double dose of Dr Tim's nitrifying bacteria
    -only God created coral rock dead/cured.

    If you go with sand I recommend using a number 3 sand which is coarse enough to avoid dust/sand storms and is really easy to sophon/clean without losing sand and causing sand/ sludge storms. It's also still friendly/small enough for your goby. I also prescreen the sand to get rid of the contamination of fines and rinse it well to get out the plastic and floaties.
     

  2. Reefer Keith

    Reefer Keith Member

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    As far as sand I would say the best approach is: bare bottom with lots of dead/dried natural coral for the rock which must be bleached/RODI cured. You need a lot of marine pure spheres in the sump. You also need a double dose of Dr tims nitrifying bacteria to quick cycle the tank.

    Reasonings:
    -bare bottom is low/rare maintenance. Sand holds good and bad but higher maintenance.

    -natural coral is made from the same calcium that we are dosing and helps buffer the tank. I prefer nature made coral rock over concrete sand and shells. fake rock such as the named "real reef "rock carries bryopsis and other issues, speaking from experience. Clever name though.

    -marine pure spheres is a no brainer to house bacteria with large surface area and easy flow.

    -dr Tim's nitrifying bacteria has the highest concentration of the super slow growing anaerobic nitrifying bacteria which helps turbo start a cycle. I've tried 4 other popular bacteria brands that didnt work out so well. Use his ammonia start method.

    If you decide to go with sand in 2 tanks to compete with bare bottom. I would use size number 3 sand in one tank. It's large enough not to sand storm and it's easier to siphon. It's also still small enough for Mr goby to filter feed. Make sure to screen the sand to let all the fines/ contaminates through. Make sure to rinse it in a bath of water to float out debris and plastic bits that seem to be in there.

    Put live sand in the third tank to prove the ups and downs .

    I would also buy some coraline algae and introduce it from the start to out compete any other algae blooms.

    Can't wait to watch, huge fan of your videos and tutorials. You guys bring the community to the next level. You should get Neptune to fully Inegrate 1 tank with their ULM. Plenty of us are apex nuts and want to see the fireworks finally. Get that trident on there too. While your at it send one my way.
     
  3. wopadobop

    wopadobop Active Member

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    For the rock I would use the brs pukani using the bleach and acid method shown on the brstv investigates episode. The team at brs showed this to be the best method for overall curing for organic. I would not use sand in any of the tanks as it isn’t necessary for filtration regardless of the tank type . The rock structure should be strong and have flow underneath using rock lifts and reef epoxy. I find the maxspect gyres create the type of flow needed to keep detritus suspended regardless of the output of the pump as the gyre style of flow tends to keep most of the flow at the top and along the bottom of the tank.
     
  4. jahnje

    jahnje Member

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    So 3 tanks, three styles. Bare bottom and bleach cured dry rock, 1-2" standard dead sand bed w/ caribsea live rock, and ocean farmed live sand 1-2" and live rock. Seems like a great opportunity to compare sterile with wild and see what happens.
     
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  5. Phil Cusimano

    Phil Cusimano Active Member R2R Supporter

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    As far as rock is concerned I'd go with Caribsea life rock, additionally, I just can't imagine a reef tank without substrate so I just use sand sifter to keep the substrate clean. Bare bottom is an option for ULM, but doesn't look realistic without substrate. Personally, I've never like the look.
     
  6. Rakie

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

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    That does help for sure. People just need to be specific about the subject they're responding to -- a new post about the first or second video without enough clarification will leave people wondering (or arguing) what is being talked about, and how it pertains to the most recent vid -- But overall, thats not exactly a big problem, and this is a fascinating experiment you guys are working on.
     
  7. Ryanbrs

    Ryanbrs Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Platinum Sponsor

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    I get where you are coming from and respect the position that wet live rock does have it's own benefits but I'm not sure dry rock is the best common denominator for challenging issues with SPS tanks. Dry rock is so commonly used these days it's inevitable that this element would be one tank characteristic that many would share and pretty easy to misinterpret.

    On the flip side there are many many thousands of reefers setting up new tanks with dry rock every year and judging by what we hear from the supplier's wet live rock now is a significant minority. Coupled with that, the feedback we get from the dry rock users is overwhelmingly positive. However, dry rock does take additional patience and deliberate approaches to setting up a new tank or the white bare surfaces will likely get covered in algae. Wet live rock is absolutely more forgiving on new tanks.

    My experiences are also anecdotal as well but worth sharing. I don't think there is a single member of the BRS team that uses actual live rock anymore, even when we were flying in air rock which hasn't been out of the ocean for more than a couple days. Most of them have tanks at home and two or more here at the office, and it certainly hasn't shown itself to be a barrier to success. Really quite the opposite.

    So that said, proof is in the pudding. We have already followed a successful SPS tank with the BRS 160 which used artificial dry rock and I am pretty certain all three of these ULM tanks will be some form of dry rock as well. So everyone gets to see the real results and how we achieved them or didn't :)
     
  8. Ryanbrs

    Ryanbrs Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Platinum Sponsor

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    All the comments about sand are super interesting. I love sand, really makes the look of a reef tank for me but I have to say sand collects all kinds of garbage, blows around everywhere and tends to be a magnet for undesirables like cyano or dinos. I just don't know how we can justify putting sand in a ULM. I think I need someone to convince me otherwise so I can have the visual appeal I'd like : ) LOL
     
  9. aarbutina

    aarbutina Active Member Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    Hey Ryan thanks for the reply. I think you are completely right about the fact the dry rock useage far exceeds the use of live wet rock these days. It definitely has its advantages. And I also do realize that lots of folks do have success with dry rock.

    However the point that I was trying to make was that there seem to be a large number of people out there who drawing a correlation between dry rock and the length of time it takes for a system to support SPS coral. If I remember correctly with the BRS160 the first coral frags weren’t added until 9 months after the system was set up. From most of the post I have read it seems like it generally takes 12 to 18 months before SPS corals start to thrive. There was a very interesting video that Mike Paletta put out in October talking about his experiences with this (
    ).
    I am also pretty sure that he discusses that fact that Sanjay had a similar experience when he started a tank with all dry rock.

    Don’t get me wrong, there are a number of advantages with dry rock. And I am not trying to put down a product that you sell. It is pest free. It can be more environmentally friendly, and it costs less.

    But on the flip side if the coin you are sacrificing the incredible level of biodiversity that you would get with live rock, lots of which you won’t get through the introduction of frag or other livestock pieces. What used to be really to back when live rock was the thing to use was finding all the tiny worms, Starfish, sponges, copepods, amphipods, and other hitch hiking creatures that you would now have in you tank. Yes there was a chance you get some flat worms, mantis shrimp, “bad” crabs, nudibachs, Zoa spiders, etc, but some how we always seemed to make it work (normally by curing the live rock fallow for a period of time to kill off the pests).

    These are just my thoughts on the subject, and enjoy debating or at least discusssing them when ever I can.

    Again thanks for your reply. I am excited to see how these tanks end up. I can never seem to get enough of the different BRS series. Nor can I get enough of shopping at BRS. Just pull my account and you will see just how much I enjoy shopping at BRS ;Greedy.
     
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  10. Coolbreeze69

    Coolbreeze69 Member

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    There seems to be a lot of changes in the above video. Do you have a link where they talk about the changes in more detail?
     
  11. Coolbreeze69

    Coolbreeze69 Member

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    When I started my 35g cube I used dry rock and sand bed. Used Dr. Tims bacteria for starting the tank along with his ammonia. After a week of cycle added his Eco-Balance at 10ml per gal. A week later added Live Copepods & Phytoplankton algae barn. Then fish, Softies, LPS and SPS the following week. Never had new tank syndrome, no cyano and algae on my sand or rock. Did I mentioned crystal clear water.
     
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  12. Ryanbrs

    Ryanbrs Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Platinum Sponsor

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    Steel sharpens steel and real personal experiences are the lifeblood of this hobby's progression : )

    I certainly agree on much of this. It does take somewhat longer for a dry rock tank to stabilize. I have never had issues with adding corals but I don't like how dry rock often looks unnaturally white for a pretty long time. In the beginning, It also tends to grow algae much easier than wet live rock. That said my personal preference is to trade that for the pest advantages. I can only speak for myself but a little time is worth potentially avoiding some pests. Most of the pests, once introduced are there forever. I'm to the point that I bleach dry rock just to make sure it is truly dead and there is no spores or anything on the rock.

    I think the nature of this is if you have lost a battle to a pest once it changes how you approach the next tank. If you lose more than once the game just has to change. I have been pretty lucky in the past and not had a pest overtake a tank to the point of a reboot but I have witnessed so many heartbreaking reboots that I'd like to avoid that at all costs. Certainly in a video series lol : )

    I think it was a handful of months before the 160 had corals but that was mostly a progression of the series and what we covered each week. That said, looking back it was also probably a decent pace for a new tank. I don't have the schedule in front of me but I think it might be a 2+ months after it gets water before we add corals again this time.
     
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  13. itisjp

    itisjp Active Member

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    I am a fan of Pukani, it takes some work to get clean. I started my tank back in October but I put the rock in a peroxide bath at a 80/20 mix of drug store 3% peroxide for a week and it’s staying clean. I like the look of sand in the tank but anyway you do it, it adds additional work. The special grade is my choice as it doesn’t blow around as much.
     
  14. Richard the Reefer

    Richard the Reefer Active Member

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    Just grab a 40 gallon breeder with a fluval 70 gallon canister filter with a CPR large hang on back refugium with some live sand in it with some rock and chaeto with copapods or phytoplankton! Live sand and established live rock in the tank with a couple diamond goby's. Run some chemipure elite. And use reef salt of your choice. No need to skim. Just scrape glass and do a 26.5% water change once a month. With 2 good powerheads and 2 wave makers! Minimal maintenance when you don't overfeed or overstock! Have a friend that did it so it can be done!
     
  15. Cornerboy

    Cornerboy Active Member

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    I can't wait to see how you all handle the ozone. I want to see whether you end up supplementing iodine iron and those kinds of things. The Reef chemistry associated with ozone. If you do that maybe you could make some quick comparisons to activated carbon and how ozone and carbon differ as well as what they both do
     
  16. Toxic727

    Toxic727 Member

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    I also think a Barebottom is the way to go for ULM. Aside for trapping detritus or other undesirables, sometimes that sand gets shifted around exposing the bare bottom and creating an eyesore. With going bare bottom I feel that it simply is taking one more moving part out of the maintenance-equation.
     
  17. SantaMonica

    SantaMonica Valuable Member

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    You might be surprised to find out that bleach does not remove the organics. It just kills them. Then they rot in your water, adding to the cycle.

    I wonder why this is. I don't think it's the money.

    This is natural though. Algae is one part of the natural periphyton that eventually covers and stabilizes all rock.

    Interestingly, this is how long it takes a good coating of periphyton to cover rocks. A bit longer if there is mechanical filtration (which removes food particles that the periphyton eats), or a bit short if there is not.

    Because there is no periphyton in place yet. Periphyton's balance of algae and other organisims does not allow for additional algae to compete.
     
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  18. laverda

    laverda Active Member

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    That would be dead rock, not live at all.
    I am surprised how many people think dead rock is the way to go. I have set up a dozen tanks over the years and would never use anything but live rock & live sand. The benefits far out weigh dead rock in my opinion. Especially if the rock is fully cured. I have never had more then a mini cycle & and never suffered all the anguish over assorted algae blooms associated with new tanks. The hitch hikers are mostly beneficial and far out number the bad. I love when you discover something new in your tank, that is not likely to happen with dead rock. I was excited with my first tank and a tiny coral appeared one day. Granted I did not know at the time, it was a majano. All part of the learning experience. If you are that worried about hitch hikers, cure your rock in a tank where you can see what is in it and enjoy some of nature’s little critters. Even bad things can be interesting, like teddy bear crabs, or mantis shrimp. You can always put them in your sump or a separate tank.

    All the effort of dealing with dry rock is defiantly not my idea of ULM.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2017
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  19. Paullawr

    Paullawr Valuable Member

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    Go with the sand, larger grain size and keep it thinly spread. Whilst ULM is one thing the odd syphon shouldn't be ditched in total favour of it.

    If we are going to employ a reef tank it needs the aesthetics of such.
    Bare bottom still collects those same debris and will still require syphoning.

    Regarding cyano and dinos. Cyano bacteria really shouldn't be an issue unless we have dead spots and high nutrients.

    Dinoflagellates will take a hold on rock as well as sand. Sand is really only preferred by amphidium. If you introduce these little beasties the sand is likely the least of your worries and ULM will go out of the window.

    Current train of thought is to maintain fairly detectable levels of nitrate and phosphate (ie dosing it) to help combat them.
    They have a tendancy to bloom due to temperature and nutrient poor systems.
     
  20. Paullawr

    Paullawr Valuable Member

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    I love BRS TV. I'd love to shop their but sadly they don't send to UK. (come on guys... Add UK postal option!).

    Totally agree with your live rock comments.

    I've gone full circle from live rock, synthetic live, reef bones, ceramic and now back to live. Personal preference I guess.
     
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