Tank Trials: Ultra Low Maintenance Tanks | BRStv Investigates

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

  1. rtparty

    rtparty Well-Known Member

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    I couldn't disagree more with your statement. You're only serious if you have space and money for a larger tank?? Anyone with a smaller tank isn't actually serious? C'mon man, give me a break
     

  2. brandon429

    brandon429 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    I have not been able to follow the intent of the thread/confused. I thought it was about producing coral mass, with the least time and money weekly, and nothing posted approaches a reefbowl by half a mile and all tanks that have been posted so far except 1 are half its age, but it doesn't qualify. From what I can tell this isn't an assessment of current reefs, its what a company could make and market as ulm? Im not sure if we're posing ideas for a new release or examining tanks already in ULM status.

    anyone using an ATO system is already in second place depending on the unit of measure here. anyone who spends over 5 mins a week, or 20 mins a month, hasn't outpaced an evaporation-controlled nano at all. If I understand correctly, the tank needs to be a minimum size to accommodate the fish that people demand but that hasn't been written.

    to help me understand the goal of the thread, what is the outcome going to be? A choice of ULM submissions or a new tank design to go into production?
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2017
  3. Bouncingsoul39

    Bouncingsoul39 Well-Known Member

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    Dozens with dozens of variations? That's a bit of an exaggeration. For actual named methods, there are probably less than one dozen off the top of my head:
    Berlin (most people run this or a slight variation of it)
    Jaubert ( I think there's one guy on this board that uses it)
    Zeo (for rich dudes)
    Triton (for rich dudes)
    Miracle Mud (The don't ever have to feed your fish or coral again dudes)
    Natural (cryptic zones)

    That's pretty much all I can think of. Now Ryan come up with a legit 6 more and we've got one dozen. :D

    For the ultra low maintenance tank, there are plenty out there. Just a pure soft coral tank that only gets evap top offs and fish food, nothing else like Sanjay's that someone else linked here.
     
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  4. Paul B

    Paul B Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Reef Spotlight Award Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor

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    Brandon, it seems the OP stated that it is for a Softie, LPS and SPS tank with the least amount of maintenance. That encompasses most tanks but some posters are not specifying what type of tank they have.

     
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  5. Ryanbrs

    Ryanbrs Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Platinum Sponsor

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    I'll Bite :)

    The heart of what I am getting at is if we keep trying to treat all of our wants and desires the same and make the assumption that the space, time constraints, and resources are the same we are destined to keep banging our heads against the wall. There is not a ton of value endlessly debating the "best" method with a focus on our own wants and desires and very little concern to the perspective of the person asking the question.

    The reference to word dozens is more of a mentality than an actual count. I think the community could endlessly debate the actual number of "named" book and manufacture methods. However within that is it really the Berlin Method if I use bio pellets, vodka, denitrator, zeolite or a fuge as the primary filtration? What If I combine them together what method is it then? Sump verses no sump?

    In the case of this first set of tank trails, we are attempting to look at what I am guessing is a decent segment of the hobby and design the system around reducing the demand on personal time to maintain an awesome reef tank. We are going to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of different approaches. I certainly hope the community will chime in and on many elements offer even better insight than we offer.

    I get that low maintenance might not be a priority for many people. In that case, this thread or series probably isn't worth following unless it is just of general interest. I am almost certain one of the following tank trials series will hit different segments which may be more interesting. For instance, I am almost certain the next one will be either the cheapest or simplest tank design possible. I can guarantee it will go well beyond anything we sell and really dive into trying to achieve that goal. I fully expect the community to offer tremendous amounts of knowledge on this approach and call us out if we deviate from the goal :)
     
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  6. Brogratz

    Brogratz Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    Looking forward to this.
     
  7. Newb73

    Newb73 Well-Known Member Partner Member 2018

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    [​IMG]

    Which part of the circled text did you not understand?

    You also seemed to have completely missed a different post i made where i admitted the benefit of a smaller tank being you could easily solve problems with water changes.

    Trying reading everything first THEN responding.
     
  8. Jake Read

    Jake Read Member

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    I would love to see an AIO tank! They always seem easier than dealing with all the plumbing and it narrows down what you can and can't use. Makes it inherently simple and simplicity leads to low maintenance. I think it would be an interesting build for people just getting into the hobby as well, due to the size and lower cost.
     
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  9. rtparty

    rtparty Well-Known Member

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    I did read that. A 4 foot cube isn't small or cheap and not readily made. Very few people have room for a 4 foot cube. Or did you not mean an actual 4*4 tank? If that's the case, maybe explain yourself a little bit...because if you say cube, I'm thinking cube.

    So I understood what you wrote completely. Anyone that can't have a 6ft tank or a 4ft cube isn't serious about the hobby...gotcha

    THEN you responded, after being called out, that you could see benefit in a smaller tank. So your first post was a total lie?
     
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  10. Newb73

    Newb73 Well-Known Member Partner Member 2018

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    To be fair my other post agreeing thar smaller tanks have some advantages was way back in the thread somewhere.

    I don't blame you for missing it.

    I don't want to derail the thread except to point out that i personally have already been down the road of going for a smaller cheaper solution only to realize i am not happy with the imitations it places on what you can stock and in many ways, increases the amount of touch tasks required to maintain the smaller tank...not decrease them.

    The net result is often a struggle between compromise, failure or alrered expectations with final result being people spend or lose a great deal more money than if they had just done something a bit more cost frontloaded.

    We see this play out daily in the tank failure and help threads which are posted here.

    Which is not to say you can't have a catastrophe with larger system, i am well aware that you can.

    I was never remotely satisfied with the limitations i faced with a 40g cube, a 65g or my 90g.

    Well, the 90 was borderline acceptable for my reefing goals but just barely.

    That is the place i am coming from. Your mileage may vary.

    When i "got serious" i bought a 225g, wish i had gone bigger.

    Apologies.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2017
  11. Ryanbrs

    Ryanbrs Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Platinum Sponsor

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    Guess there are two elements here : )

    1) What is the intent of the thread? To explore an element of reefing with a specific perspective in mind. Take the bits that apply to your system desires and leave the rest. Keep in mind that ultra-low maintenance is certainly going to mean different things to different people. For some, it might very well be about "producing coral mass, with the least time and money weekly." Others may want the same thing but want a reasonably sized display in their home. I think it's safe to say for many reefers it isn't a reef without fish.

    2) What is the outcome going to be? Hopefully, reefers can use the information shared in the videos and by the community to achieve their specific wants and desires for their systems. I guess this assumes the people following the thread have a desire for a lower maintenance tank. The only thing I can say for sure is going to happen is I have 3 tanks in my office right now, and they are going to become reef tanks with the goal of touching them as little as possible but enjoying them all the time.

    I think you made a strong pitch for the reef ball. In fact, you had a handful of us here discussing it for an hour: ) For some this will be the best solution.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2017
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  12. rtparty

    rtparty Well-Known Member

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    Oh I'm in complete agreement that limitations can suck. My entire reefing time has been smaller tanks because of space and/or budget concerns. I don't think that makes one of us more "serious" than the other, right? We just have our own set of circumstances and do best we can.

    I would absolutely love a larger tank. However, I want it like 72*36*20 and that's a custom job. So I would settle for a 180.

    I just don't think tank size equates seriousness in the hobby. I came off argumentative, I apologize. Not my intention.

    As far as this thread and series goes...my easiest tank by far was a 29g Nanocube with an entry level controller. No skimmer, no sump, no dosers, no high powered lights. A little purigen in a DIY egg crate basket in the back. Very easy SPS and LPS was all I kept.

    My upgrade to a 40g Breeder was also pretty easy to maintain.

    My biggest nightmare tank...my current tank started with ALL dry rock. I'll never go this route again. I've used dry rock in the past but always had some established LR with it.

    So to BRS... please use REAL live rock with whatever ULM you do. Or else you'll have tons of maintenance for a year plus
     
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  13. brandon429

    brandon429 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    totally clear/awesome :)
     
  14. Brad Shook

    Brad Shook Well-Known Member

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    For me ULM means no water changes, and less worrying about testing water parameters. Testing takes way too long.
     
  15. Brian Jones

    Brian Jones Member

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    excited to keep up with this
     
  16. Brian Jones

    Brian Jones Member

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    Excited to watch what happens here
     
  17. rtparty

    rtparty Well-Known Member

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    I know this has been brought up already but I really, really hope BRS is VERY clear that ULM doesn't equal becoming lazy. I'm sorry, but a lot of posts in here just come off as someone wanting to reap the rewards without putting in the work.

    I would say one of the biggest culprits behind tanks crashing is a lazy reefer. Joe Y referred to it as LARS and I loved that talk.

    So if a simpler tank setup equals more willing to put in the effort, I'm all for it. If ULM just creates a lazy reefer, I feel it's better to not start a tank in the first place.

    Of course, finding that middle path is the key. Can we create a wonderful tank (beauty is in the eye of the beholder) with less overall work but still maintain a certain level of interest and connect with the tank?
     
  18. Mandelstam

    Mandelstam Well-Known Member

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    Loved that talk too, as well as your reply.
     
  19. Ryanbrs

    Ryanbrs Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Platinum Sponsor

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    We havent released it yet but Richard Ross did a Macna talk this year about "the right kind of lazy" . I'll see if we can push it to the top : )

    One of the most important elements is actually being real with yourself about the amount of time you will have for this. Not just now but for the next 5 plus years and then designing around that.

    In relation to LARS or "lazy reefer" the biggest threat to any reef tank is the system maintenance requirements exceeds the owner's ability to provide it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2017
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  20. NY_Caveman

    NY_Caveman Cave Dweller R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor

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    I had a couple of posts in the middle of this thread trying to wrap my head around this concept. I think what was confusing to me, that I now realize, is the proposals BRS and other people are making actually have two main variables not one. Are we trying to research how ULM affects soft corals vs. LPS vs. SPS or how ULM affects different setups?

    If we wanted to perform a purely scientific study of the former, we would want three of the exact same aquariums and setups to see how the different livestock react. Of course we would also need control tanks that are not ULM to compare. To test the latter we would choose three different aquariums (say a 20 gallon AIO, a 75 gallon with sump and a 180 gallon with large sump). The three different tanks though would need to have a similar mix of livestock and also require control tanks. To test both variables scientifically we would probably needs 12-15 aquariums at least. As awesome as BRS is, this seems unlikely.

    The reality though is we probably have the collective knowledge to learn a lot from a hobby level test without the rigors of a scientific lab. It just helps me think about it to lay out what I wrote above. In my opinion the most important aspect would be to test different systems. I would guess the differences between ULM on different livestock would be smaller compared to its impact on different sized systems. With that in mind, trying to get the best of both worlds, I would vote for the following:

    Tank 1: 2 feet long, 20-30 gallon AIO with small fish, soft corals and LPS

    Tank 2: 4 feet long, 75 gallon with sump with medium fish, soft, LPS and SPS

    Tank 3: 6 feet long, 180 gallon with sump with large fish, LPS and SPS


    In my experience this mimics common hobbyist setups. The overlap in corals will allow for some livestock comparison between the different setups, while maintaining the primary focus of testing different systems. I will also mention it is probably best to eliminate as many variables as possible. For example, all of the setups should have LED lighting only. We are not testing lights here and LED seem to have the least maintenance (such as changing bulbs every few months).

    Sorry for the length. Just trying to understand this, so I share my thought process for what it is worth.
     
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