Tank Trials: Ultra Low Maintenance Tanks | BRStv Investigates

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

  1. MarioI

    MarioI Member

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    Interesting discussion.

    I am trying to find my own ULM concept since several years. More or less 6 years ago I converted my old tank to the Triton Method.
    My new tank (introduced here...) has been directly started with Triton.
    Of course I try to automate as much as possible. Dosing of the Elementz, refill with RODI water....

    I think it is good for a tank to have a huge varity of different life forms in it. I started the tank with half life rock, half Carib Sea South Sea Base Rock and with life sand. I also used real sea water to fill up the tank.
    Sure, there is a risk of pests or other things growing that you might not want in your tank. In my opinion, it is important to make a smart selection of the life stock you put in a tank.
    Important are digging animals like starfishes or pistol shrimps to stir up the sand on a regular basis.
    Also of course it is key to have a varity of animals that will control different types of algae, aiptasia, ...

    I have really good experiences with:
    - Percnon gibbesi
    - Tectus conus
    - Lysmata wurdemanni
    - Lysmata kuekenthali
    - Wrasses like Pseudocheilinus hexataenia and Halichoeres chrysus
    - Archaster angulatus

    These guys will do a lot of work for you... ;)
     
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  2. Medic755

    Medic755 Active Member

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    I used Pukani on my first build and plan on using it on the 150 I am working on now. The difference is I will be curing it with acid/bleach as shown on the investigates series.

    I think ULM is really defined by your goals for the tank. I personally want the greatest biodiversity possible, just like a live reef. Thus my attraction to the sand bed. Yes, they can require maintenance but isn't some of the fun of getting more fish or inverts to maintain that sandbed. I personally use it as an excuse to the wife for me to have to make a trip to my LFS.

    I really want to have as much maintenance automated as possible due to work schedule but I don't want to not have to touch the tank. Everything is so much more personal when you are right up in the tank taking care of it. That for me is where I notice the weird placement of items by the pistol shrimp, a new hiding spot for the six-line in his never ending quest to make my kids play the ultimate game of hide and seek. All of which I feel would be missed if I didn't have no be up on top of the tank doing something here and there.
     
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  3. siggy

    siggy Valuable Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    When I upgraded My LFS recommended a Puka Shell base, That's what he is running in his main display. He stated that is a low maintenance, Doesn't blow around, easy to vacuum and still has the buffering and biological
    benefits, My sons 80 deep blue we are using 50 lbs of LR rubble with 40# of Caribsea natural gravel which is a mixture of shells and aragonite gravel, again a loose non-blowing substrate.
     
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  4. aarbutina

    aarbutina Active Member Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    While I totally get what you are saying, from what I can see Periphyton is a fresh water thing. However I could be wrong about that.

    That being said the establishment of some sort of micro/macro flura and fona on the rock does seem to be critical to success.
     
  5. Reefer Keith

    Reefer Keith Member

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    I recommend also getting coraline algae and adding it to the bare bottom dead real coral tank. This will out compete some algae blooms and get the tank In The right direction. Must use dr tims bacteria to rapid cycle tank too.
     
  6. aarbutina

    aarbutina Active Member Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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  7. Paullawr

    Paullawr Well-Known Member

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    Can I just go way off topic for a moment.

    I think I could speak for many by saying the BRS team have helped address conjecture and anecdotal evidence along with tips that we all need.

    I hope they continue the good work in 2018.

    On that note Happy New Year to BRS and all on reef 2 reef.
     
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  8. Coolbreeze69

    Coolbreeze69 Member

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  9. aarbutina

    aarbutina Active Member Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    No problem. Glad I could find it again.
     
  10. SantaMonica

    SantaMonica Valuable Member

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    Periphyton dominates all hard surfaces in the photic zone of all water bodies, salt or not. Maybe only glaciers don't have as much. If your rocks don't have periphyton, they are bone white. Or maybe the color of fireworks tonight :)
     
  11. Paullawr

    Paullawr Well-Known Member

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  12. Tjm23slo

    Tjm23slo New Member

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    My intent was not to use a canister, but to use the ordering of a canister in each trap zone. I like rubble with crabs and snails in first zone to trap major debris. Cheto in second to extract nutrients, refuge area 3rd for grow out and more biological filtration and last for slimmer and return pumps.

    I am planning a 120 build in the kitchen/dining room, so sound and asetics is important to the wife.
     
  13. Rip Van Winkle

    Rip Van Winkle Active Member

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    Had to re-read it a few times but now I gotcha.

    More or less, that's basically the process I have going on.
     
  14. Rip Van Winkle

    Rip Van Winkle Active Member

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    Looks like adding the aquascaping elements like rock and sand (whether live or not) is not as simple and straightforward as it would first appear.

    I'd say it's ego-based and there's varying preferences for everyone. Pretty much no one is going to build/create a tank they don't like, right? So there is always going to be some personal rationalization to justify what the "best" approach should be, based on personal preferences.

    For anyone who likes a BB tank, They'll emphasize how a BB tank is easier (and all the good reasons, etc...) for SPS.
    For people who like sand in their tanks, they'll talk about biodiversity and how the sand is natural, etc.....

    For my personal preference (if it's even important here?), I don't like a BB tank because when friends come over, I'm not trying to sell them coral, so I don't like my DT to look like it belongs in a LFS. Now if someone were to come and tell me I'm not reefing the right way and I should take all the sand out, I wouldn't like that because I just wouldn't get the same enjoyment out of looking/interacting at/with my system if it were BB. It wouldn't appeal to me at all.

    There's different ways to manage a system and both can be made to work, I guess. I think keeping an open mind about that is just a mature way of looking at it and also fair judgment.


    @Ryanbrs, so if the above is logical for you, then I say go with what you like and do a sand bed in at least one of the tanks.

    I'm fully aware that this is ULM Tank Trials and not a personal system you're setting up but I think it still applies because if your heart is not in something - especially something like the reefing hobby - then what's the point of getting into a hobby at all?

    Edit: Just to drive my point home, here - Just because Tank Trials does the 3 different tanks with BB doesn't mean that everyone reading this forum will go and remove all the sand out of their tanks. Of course not. So in fairness to everyone participating in this thread, I think at least one tank should have a decent sand bed (Probably the softie tank?)
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
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  15. Gareth elliott

    Gareth elliott Well-Known Member NJRC Member

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    I like sand for the live stock.
    Its true in the wild most reef fish we keep never see sand, spending their whole lives amongst grown reef. And a healthy reef having virtually no empty spaces.
    But there those that do visit and indeed need sand. Engineer gobies, some wrasse, countless others.

    It might not be the easiest part of a tank to keep up with, but at the end of the day i for one wanted a reef tank to have a slice of the ocean inside. It just doesnt look like an ocean without sand.
     
  16. Reef_Pilot

    Reef_Pilot Member

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    Critters are the key to ULM sand bed. What is the point of having a tank if it is lacking what makes it visually pleasing? I get why you might want to have a BB for the SPS tank, but at least try a 1-1/2 -2" sand bed with in softie tank. If nothing else, it will be a good baseline comparison to show how much extra maintenance the sand requires.
     
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  17. FunkEngine

    FunkEngine Member

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    I don't think the exact type of rock will matter much in the long run, if as we did with plumbing we ignore initial set up effort/time. However I think its a good idea to flatten the bottom of the base rocks to eliminate pressure points on the glass and increase stability of the structure. This can easily be done just by rubbing the rock on your drive way or other concrete. In addition, creating a structure that can easily be pulled apart without risking an avalanche into the side of the tank is good too. To accomplish this I would recommend adding acrylic rods between sections of the rock work but not gluing the sections together. This increases stability so that if it gets bumped during maintenance its not going to collapse either.

    Sand... well bare bottom is going to be easiest to maintain. I've heard of people spreading a thin layer of epoxy onto a sheet of pvc or acrylic and covering it with a single layer of sand to emulate the look of sand but keep the cleanliness of bare bottom. Sand might be necessary if you're looking for more biological filtration than man made however. Compromises either way I think.
     
  18. laverda

    laverda Active Member SCMAS Member

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    I am not sure what reef you have seen, but there is plenty of sand arounf the reefs to 50' deep that I have been to. Lots of channels between rocks and corals.
     
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  19. laverda

    laverda Active Member SCMAS Member

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    I don't understand all the talk about sand requiring maintenance. I have had a fairly deap sand bed in all my tanks and did & do no maintenance on them at all. My 240 was 15 years or so with no real maintenance of the sand bed. I would run my acrylic scraper through the sand ever 4- 5 years or so to clean up the front acrylic.
     
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  20. 6avin

    6avin New Member

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    I know of at least one very successful reefer that has never siphoned or stirred their sand. Wasn’t disrupting a DSB originally discouraged? Couldn’t the same be applied to a shallower one?

    Tank 1: DSB
    Tank 2: SSB
    Tank 3: BB
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
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