Tank Trials: Ultra Low Maintenance Tanks | BRStv Investigates

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Tony Thompson

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Great series BRS team.

With the advances in Bio Media and Suspended Bacterial Products, IMO the use of artificial rock is the most Sustainable and Low maintenance way to go

The addition of several known species of bacteria that have been scientifically identified to carry out specific beneficial tasks within the reef aquarium, IME helps create a more diverse biological community. and has a direct positive effect on creating lower maintenance requirements.

This IME has an immediate impact on maintenance, particularly on a new reef tank where a number of species are vying for dominance. I believe, the problems encountered, especially by new reefers, is not the presence of certain organisms. it is the dominance and therefore proliferation of a certain organism that take up the opportunity presented without competition.

I would also like to advocate the use of AIO tanks with a rear sump. Keeping everything within the one tank just seems more practical. The simpler the design the less to maintain. A number of manufacturers now produce equipment normally associated with larger sumps that are small enough to fit in the rear sumps of an AIO aquarium.

I would also agree with those comments from Pico and Nano aquarium users. Despite the numerous comments promoting the use of larger tanks. The reef aquarium is always a miniature representation of the ocean. No matter how big you build your aquarium the size is always restricting stability. That`s why we need to carefully plan livestocking. The bioload of your aquarium will have a definite impact on the level of maintenance required.

The only negative impact I have noticed with Pico aquariums is keeping them from temperature variation in the summer months, thankfully these hot balmy days are short and infrequent over here in the North of England, ha ha.

Once again, a very informative and well presented series BRS. Keep up the good work.

Best wishes from over the pond.
 
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tony'stank

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I have been reefing for 30 years. At my age ULM is pretty much a necessity. I don’t have the luxury of being able to have a setup with AWC , or the budget to obtain some of the automated monitoring systems. I agree with Mandelstam that automating everything is expensive and not necessarily the answer. I haven’t RSR 450 that I am attempting to use a modified Triton method to reduce maintainence. I am looking forward to this series to help me
 

zie2695

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Just thought I would share this. I run a 210 gallon
20171203_130428.jpg
double display system on a shared refugim and have not done a proper water change in about 21 months. I have 0 testable nitrates by API and 0.00 phosphate on hanna
For nutrient export I have a deep sand bed, refugim with 3 types of calurpa and cheato, good protein skimmer, GFO reactor, and I dose homemade nopox.
For supplements I use BRS calcium, alkalinity, and magnesium that are dosed through a dosing pump along with the home made nopox. Once I finish up this batch of BRS supplements I'm either going to order more and add HW Marine line of Trace elements or I'll switch over to the Triton line of supplements for the added benefits of the trace elements. But for now there are no Trace elements being added to my system.
( home made nopox: http://www.ultimatereef.net/threads/make-your-own-no3po4x-nopox-diy.773727/ )
 

Toxic727

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-Can ATOs, Salt Mix and Water choices be classified as ULM? What would your choices be and why?

I feel that not only can they be classified as low maintenance, I feel they are a necessity for this. I think a dead-reliable ATO such as the Tunze Osmolator would be a great choice. I think the difficulty would be concealing a large enough reservoir to last an entire month. I feel that salt and water have been proven over time with RODI and certain salt brands.
 

Gareth elliott

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Ato needed, all tanks with ro/di water.
As far as salt there are too many long term successful tanks running rc, and kiss; to say salt choice really effects maintenance. If your base salt has higher Mg, you are still changing it just as often to maintain those elevated levels as compared to another salt. From a low maintenance perspective wouldnt you get a bigger bang buying $50 box of rc and a decent mixing pump for the price of bucket of red sea?
 

Ryanbrs

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I also decided to go with abs plastic on my current build. I was surprised that BRS didn’t bring up possible leaching. I also thought it was interesting they didn’t review possibly using star board

People have debated ABS before, even PVC for that matter. While fun for conversation I don't think anyone has ever reported an actual issue with ABS. For what it is worth it is what the BRS160 Reef Savvy tank is lined with ABS as well.
 
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randyBRS

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ULM Tank Trials Ep-7: Salt, Water and ATOs for Ultra Low Maintenance | BRStv

We're about to get these ULM tanks wet, but before we do, we wanted to know your thoughts on ULM options for a water source, salt mix and ATO. In today's episode we share your thoughts as well as provide you with our own choices for the three ULM tanks!

A big giant THANKS to all of you for keeping this conversation going and giving some awesome insight into your idea of ULM! This week, we give a special thanks to @._Z_. ; @PopaSmurph ; @David S ; @Shawn Dahl from the Reef2Reef family!


This week's question:


-Today's question, what would be your approach to an Ultra Low Maintenance tank cycling process!


 

revhtree

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ULM Tank Trials Ep-7: Salt, Water and ATOs for Ultra Low Maintenance | BRStv

We're about to get these ULM tanks wet, but before we do, we wanted to know your thoughts on ULM options for a water source, salt mix and ATO. In today's episode we share your thoughts as well as provide you with our own choices for the three ULM tanks!

A big giant THANKS to all of you for keeping this conversation going and giving some awesome insight into your idea of ULM! This week, we give a special thanks to @._Z_. ; @PopaSmurph ; @David S ; @Shawn Dahl from the Reef2Reef family!


This week's question:


-Today's question, what would be your approach to an Ultra Low Maintenance tank cycling process!




Oooh can't wait to watch!
 

dvbrien

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Jason Fox uses instant ocean, and still does water changes. 600 gallons every other week. I think none of us want that level of expense. He also has reactors to suppliment his systems. Instant ocean is way cheaper and if you dose and suppliment anyway then it's a good solution. I've been using Red Sea Coral Pro for 3 years and it's a complete pain in the butt. If not used right away it has a tendancy to let the calcium precipitate onto the inside of your container. Instant ocean always mixed clear for me and stayed clear. Both brands need to have the surface skimmed with a cup before adding. Unfortunately I have 3 more buckets of pro, then switching to what live aquaria uses... (Synthetic) a friend is testing it now and will have the parameters for me tonight... if that doesnt pan out i will likely go back to IO as a basline, maybe Reef Crystals.
 
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Trevrep

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Hi all I have been contemplating doing a small 55 reef since i moved from Alaska. I definitely want to use the triton method. My question is inside the refugium along with the cheato I want to also use clams not decorative just live clams you can buy to eat. Pros and cons please. Thanks
 

Ryanbrs

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@randyBRS - Are you guys going to post a total cost to build and comparison between the tanks? I'd be very curious to know the cost of these builds, and also long term, how much is spent on maintenance costs (labor taken into consideration).

I haven't been tracking but there really are a handful of components on each tank. I am not sure how much it matters because every component is optional or adjustable to fit any desired budget.
 

Rip Van Winkle

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Hi all I have been contemplating doing a small 55 reef since i moved from Alaska. I definitely want to use the triton method. My question is inside the refugium along with the cheato I want to also use clams not decorative just live clams you can buy to eat. Pros and cons please. Thanks
Based on where I am, they're fairly easy to come by and I've tried to use them. They probably remove nitrates to some extent but I find them hard to keep alive because there seem to be several clam predators in my sump. You'll need a sand bed of course, deep enough for the size of your clam. Meaning that they'll bury themselves in the sandbed and disappear for a while. So they can die in the sandbed without being noticed and cause a problem in your system, so care has to be taken for that. For some reason, I find them high maintenance to keep but if your situation is different and it's easy for you, I'd say it's worth a try as a natural ULM method.
There's some clam experts on here so maybe they'll chime in.
 
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Slippin

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I have a similar set-up to your water mixing station (Much smaller however). I make all of my RO and saltwater in my basement and pump it upstairs to my tank through 75ft of python tubing. I have been wondering for some time, how did you make that hose reel/where did you buy it? I would love one, as my hose is a tangled mess laying on the ground in my basement.

Keep the videos coming, they are great!
Thanks!
 

Rip Van Winkle

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This week's question:

-Today's question, what would be your approach to an Ultra Low Maintenance tank cycling process!

ULM cycling for me would be cycling the system to ensure the stability long term, even if the actual cycling itself was slightly on the tedious side and took a relatively long period of time to complete. I'm not trying to knock anyone's choices on how to set up their systems but I personally find that trying to cycling a system without sand is just making things harder for yourself (@ULM Tank Trials, hint hint!! :) ) for no reason. I'd even suggest temporarily connecting an external container with a SB to the sump during the first few weeks to get the system cycling set up. It would improve the quality of the system cycling and also significantly speed the process up. Myself I would advise against using the DT alone as the primary means of cycling the system but I know opinions vary. Maybe I can describe how I personally cycle my systems and people can just take away from it whatever parts they identify with and find helpful?

This is how I do it. I get the sump materials filled (in my case wild collected LS & LR) and run the sump so that the LS and LR are flowing along with the lighting cycle. I also feed the system a little food like dry flakes but very minimally - maybe a very small pinch of food once a day. After about two weeks or so, there should start to be a little algae on the side glass. If dead rock is used then expect a period longer than a couple of weeks. So, whenever the algae starts, then at that time some macro algae (I prefer caulerpa because it's easy to grow but it doesn't absolutely have to be caulerpa - any kind of macro algae is better than not at all) can be introduced. Keep feeding the sump as before. After some growth is seen in the MA, pods can be added to the system. Keep same feeding schedule. At this point the sand should be clean but should have a little detritus. If it's not clean and dark patches can be seen in the deeper parts, then ease off slightly on the amount fed. The pods need some detritus to thrive, so no need to siphon the sand. About 2 or 3 weeks later, the MA should be growing well and a pod population explosion should occur. After that happens, carefully select and add a minimal CUC to the desired sump section(s). There shouldn't be any die-off. There are also some natural bacterial cultures that could be manually added like Dr. Tim's, which wouldn't hurt.

It's then time to set up the DT with LR and LS (or whatever kind of materials are/are not chosen) and connect it to the system. With LR & LS , about two weeks after that, check for pods in the DT. There should be lots of pods in the DT's LR. If different materials, then maybe more time is required for pods to establish in the DT. After the pods are established, the DT is ready for it's first inhabitants. Add any new inhabitants slowly, meaning the number of inhabitants. First, add a small CUC to the DT. With MA in the sump, the algae that usually occurs in the DT should be outcompeted. Keep feeding the system. After another two weeks the CUC in the DT should be settled in and then one or two fish can be added.

After the first fish are in for a couple of weeks, the sump could be disconnected and removed but the longer it stays connected, the more stable the system will be. Just sayin'. :) Seriously though, using a step by step process like this will get the system started in a way that will prevent cyano and other unwanted algae outbreaks. So while it's probably a little more complicated to do than just throwing some rock in a tank and simply waiting, it's a definite advantage, long term.
 
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