Tank Trials: Ultra Low Maintenance Tanks | BRStv Investigates

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

  1. Zoaeasy

    Zoaeasy Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2018

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    My 16 IM Nuvo ran at its best when I stopped doing anything with it including WC. Only one clown fish though.
    The Zoas and LPS and softies grew like crazy for almost a year.
    I decided to take up tank maintenance and stupidly started by thoroughly vacuum the sand bed and promptly killed the whole tank.
     
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  2. Paul B

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

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    If you would like to do these comparisons that is fine, but most tanks on here are only 2 or 3 years old and you can't do any type of test on such new tanks because just about any tank will last that long no matter what you do or don't do. You wouldn't need to test, change water or dose anything in such a tank. Maybe your test should last five or more years.
    If you set up a new tank and throw a lot of money at it, it should look good for a couple of years. But I don't think that means much. It's like comparing the reliability of 3 year old cars. You won't get much data as those cars by nature shouldn't have any problems.
    Just my opinion of course.
     
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  3. Ryanbrs

    Ryanbrs Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Platinum Sponsor

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    I think there are two approaches, scientifically or simply results based with a reasonable assumption that the results can be replicated.

    A real scientific study just isn't feasible for something like this because the goal isn't faster growth, coloration or something measurable. We are looking for methods that produce awesome documentable tanks with as little work as possible. The measurable component might actually be "minutes spent on tank" and your own personal view of if the tank meets your visual standards :) Outside of that, I expect we will all have an interesting and fun discussion on each component, implementation and watch/explore the results they pan out.

    That said we do have what I would refer to as close to scientific studies about to start in ~ February. You probably won't see a lot on them until we get them up and running but we are going to look at different variables effect on growth and coloration with controls.
     
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  4. Ryanbrs

    Ryanbrs Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Platinum Sponsor

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    I think this is pretty accurate. That said I do think two or three-year successful reefers deserve some respect for their achievement :) It hasn't been my personal experience that anyone can achieve that with minimal effort. At one point it was commonly thrown around the industry that the average reef aquarium only lasts a year. Around that point lack of maintenance, experience, system flaws or disinterest in the tank starts to show itself in either the poor health of the livestock or extremely healthy algae. I certainly think community based knowledge and technology have increased that success rate but 2-3 years is certainly a good sign that what you are doing is working. I wouldn't be surprised if 5 years probably puts you in the top 10-20% .

    I did find a couple of somewhat related reef2reef polls that are an interesting window into this kind of thing.

    https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/what-is-the-average-life-span-of-a-system-in-our-hobby.174557/

    https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/poll-when-do-you-consider-a-tank-mature.303679/

    https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/how-old-is-your-current-tank.22787/

    https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/how-old-is-your-tank.181812/
     
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  5. Paul B

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

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    Of course they do. Any body who goes through the time and expense of setting up a reef tank deserves credit and respect. It is an expensive time consuming venture, especially in the beginning, but IMO a 3 year tank can not really be called a success. It may be eventually though. That is about a third the life span of a hermit crab. :rolleyes: It's good but to go along with this discussion I don't think you will get much usable data on such new tanks. A successful reef tank should last forever or until you purposely take it down.
    Tank crashes for any reason except power failures, or other acts of God are, to me failures. Not complete failures of course because as I said a tank of any age is an accomplishment.
    If a child, bird or dog lasts three years, is that a success?
    But I am enjoying this thread and will be quiet now, I promise. :p
     
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  6. Ryanbrs

    Ryanbrs Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Platinum Sponsor

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    I appreciate your high standards, Certainly a bar to meet!
     
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  7. Coolbreeze69

    Coolbreeze69 Member

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    Biology is not exact science. You do realize that drug manufactures test on humans for 12 to 18 months before getting an approval from the FDA. Since this is a multi-billion industry and they do not look at 5 years of human data testing it would be nearly impossible for the hobby industry to do it.

    Seriously

    I have seen many DIY setups. It is a matter of where you are placing your tank. If you have space in the basement then a DIY will fit your needs and much cheaper then commercial alternatives, but if space is limited then you want to buy a tried and true method.

    As far as lab checks go, I will do that quarterly or each time when adding new live stock. Water quality is the most important part of the system and I believe if you have the data then you can stop your tank from crashing or at lease have time to correct the issue before it becomes to late. Making changes to your water without knowing the affects is dangerous.

    Please define lazy?

    I went in to my LFS to see if the new ATO for my 35g was was in when I noticed a customer was eyeing up the new Mandarine. He bought it and took home with him the same night. Two days later when I picked-up my ATO the customer was back in complaining that the mandarine was not eating. The LFS stated to him what was needed and he was upset with him, he bought the pods and left. Later that week I was in getting some plumbing I over heard him state to the owner that his Mandarine was eaten by his carpet anemone. If that is what you mean by lazy then I will agree for his lack of planning and just buying what looks cool.
     
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  8. Paul B

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

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    I know I promised but I just have to respond to this mis statement. 12 to 18 months may be used to test something like lipstick or some cosmetic, but for humans, first they do animal studies which may last for a few years and kill a lot of animals. Then they can go to phase 1,2,3 and then phase 4. The phases use small numbers of people at first then if they pass go on to additional phases with larger numbers of people numbering in the thousands over a number of years, sometimes decades. I know because my wife has MS and we are always waiting for the next phase of testing.
    This salt water hobby has been in the US for 46 years. (1971) If we are calling 2 and 3 year old tanks successful and almost no one has 10 or 20 year old tanks, we are failing miserably. But of course this has nothing to do with this thread. Sorry.
    I will again try very hard to shut up so just ignore me. :cool:
     
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  9. Newb73

    Newb73 Well-Known Member Partner Member 2018

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    Paul has a point. It takes a tank 2-3 years to even begin.

    That said i think Ryan is correct thaf we can get a glimpse of what levels of reduced maintenance works on a week to week or month to month basis in the short term.
     
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  10. RFL

    RFL New Member

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    This is my first post on Reef2Reef although I am not new to reefing. I may be over-simplifying BRS's objective here, but based upon their announcement of this new series I believe it was stated that it would be nice if we could leave for a one month vacation and come back to a tank that looked better than when we left. To me that suggests that BRS is defining 'ultra low maintenance' as investing as close to zero 'hands-on hours' in a one month period as possible while maintaining a healthy and robust reef aquarium. (Reminder: It was also stated that a 'backup person' would be needed 'just in case' something went seriously wrong). Personally, I have already done 2 weeks without any problem whatsoever, so I think one month is achievable. That being said, for this series I would like to see BRS test various techniques/methods, a) whether old or new, b) whether through application of technology or elimination of unnecessary tasks, c) whether all-in-one or large-independently-sumped aquarium design, and d) that will universally hold true regardless of tank size. (All of this with three differently-stocked-tanks as they also stated in their announcement video). A daunting task for sure, but to do less will benefit a narrower segment of the reefing community than I suspect BRS intended for this series from the outset. A one month vacation sounds good... even to a retired guy like me! Ha! Nevertheless, it's wonderful to see all the friendly enthusiasm and passion this community is expressing for this rich and stimulating hobby. Best regards to all my fellow reefers and many thanks to BRS for pushing everyone connected with this hobby, whether product designer, product supplier, livestock supplier, or hobbyist, to higher levels of knowledge and performance. This is an exciting time to be a reefer!
     
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  11. jasonrusso

    jasonrusso Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    One month? Ha, I have a 210 gallon predator fowler. If I go 2 days without feeding, I'm afraid I will be coming home to less fish. My porcupine puffer, lion, angler and eel would not even consider eating pellets from an auto feeder. The tang, angel, foxface would be fine.

    In fact, feeding time is one of the joys of the tank. It's really the only time I get to interact with the residents. Also, if someone isn't hungry, this is the only time you would know.

    ULM to me means less water changes, filter sock changes, etc. I used to dose PO4-NOx but bio pellets changed that. I change filter socks twice a week. Clean the skimmer once a week, and do 15 gallon water changes twice a month (just to replenish trace elements). I would love to remove the WC from the equation, but don't trace elements get used up over time?
     
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  12. SalinFL

    SalinFL Well-Known Member R2R Supporter

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    My thoughts exactly Jake, and they really are a lot less complicated.
     
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  13. Ramasule

    Ramasule Well-Known Member

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    Awesome,

    ULM
    AIO Tank (With cover to limit evap)
    Refugium / Light / Cheato
    No Fish
    Couple Shrimp
    Softies / LPS
    ATO is a container above the tank
     
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  14. Bouncingsoul39

    Bouncingsoul39 Well-Known Member

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    Watched the video on YouTube introducing the ULMS series. The list of ULMS items to consider was really long and I felt like some of those things in that list won't fit too well into the idea of ULMS.
    I'm not sure an SPS dominated system can ever be truly low maintenance like a softy tank can and I think that's where will see a lot of product reviews wedged into the series like "this one product here is easiest to set and forget". But with all that equipment I think we're just getting into the realm of automated maintenance, not low maintenance.

    Ali at Amazing Aquariums in Orange, CA is the low maintenance King. He's got a flower Nem tank about 3 gallons with just a light and small powerhead for flow, no fish. That's a ULMS tank.
     
  15. jahnje

    jahnje Member

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    As someone with a 5 liter pico and also who's in the process of building a 220. I've got to agree with this and Brandon. Nothing beats the ability to do a 100% WC once a week in 30 seconds. But having no fish in it does make it feel a little incomplete as a 'reef' tank, so probably not really applicable to this series. It's amazingly interesting though and you guys should try it. When the tank is that small, each polyp on every coral becomes important. It really is about noticing the little things.

    If you haven't already, you should check out the pico contest insanity over at nano-reef.
     
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  16. Paul B

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

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    I left my one ounce Mini, Nano, Pico tank alone for a week and I came home to this invasive romaine lettuce plague that I have been battling. Also, my pod died.

    [​IMG]
     
  17. jahnje

    jahnje Member

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    Obviously too much vodka and clamato juice. Have you tried the new trident method?
    ssefs-ss-ejector-fork-006.jpg
     
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  18. Bradley Keck

    Bradley Keck Member

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    Huh? Not really getting your point here..:confused:
     
  19. Bradley Keck

    Bradley Keck Member

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    Could the age of the tank really be that big of a factor in determining what type of system set-ups require the least amount of maintenance? There are so many factors to consider that Ryan has already mentioned, but we will see that certain combinations of livestock, equipment, automation, and aquarium sizes require more work than others. Defining "successful" based on how many years the tank has been running is really not possible here. I would think "successful" will mean stable parameters, healthy corals/fish/inverts, and minimal algae growth in the display. To be realistic, this could be monitored over the course of x number of months since stability over time is a key factor, but years? One thing regarding ULM and the age of the tank that is worth considering is typically the older the system the more stable and self sustaining it becomes. So, as a tank matures, it will naturally become lower maintenance right?
     
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  20. Newb73

    Newb73 Well-Known Member Partner Member 2018

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    I was responding to an earlier post about aquarists "just knowing" their tank and while my experience tells me that is actually possible to "just know" what your tank needs, it isn't mutually exclusive to also understanding why it needs it.
     
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