Had lots of fun catching up on this thread! Especially impressed with the light rack systems and the sump. I also feel you on the redundant life support systems, I have triple redundancy (even dedicated 4G internet connections on dedicated backups) on anything critical. Thankfully, unscheduled outages are measured in the hours-per-decade here, but even so, I have lots of redundancy from the electrical level on up.
Btw, an impressive array of skills you have there. I had to enlist a small army to build out everything I wanted done, I’m definitely not good with my hands like you are. A very high level of quality and service is the norm here which makes it easier. There are even university programs for aquarium systems and maintenance!
I’m really interested to see the plenum/DSB (seems there’s a new term, “DYMICO” but I’m old school) works out. I’ve always used DSBs (without plenums) in the ~25 on-and-off years I’ve had marine aquariums. I don’t think I’d ever attempt an aquarium without large regular water changes, but I’d be interested to see if even at least part of what they claim is capable is actually true. Let me know if you do any water column sampling and microscopy. I’m constantly surprised how many anecdotes and debates happen in this hobby when some basic (and not so basic) lab equipment would show us the truth. It’s been a while since I had access to a high end lab, but it was enlightening. AquariumScience.org does a solid job but focuses mainly on freshwater (although it was nice to see the myths behind carbon and purigen get debunked finally). Another reason myths can persist is that it’s a rare for a system to reach 3+ years.
I’ve never liked dealing with skimmers and don’t use them on my systems currently, so it’s nice to see another build that focuses on alternative methods of nutrient export.
Do you have access to NSW there? If you do, I highly recommend it.
Oh, have any photos of those two gallon jars you mentioned? I also like systems of all types and sizes.
Yes, redundancy will be a big part of this build (eventually). Most of my tank troubles in the past always revolve around my assumption that things are working normal as always, which of course, is not the case at some point. So I plan to build failure detection in by way of redundancy and tracking cycle timing to detect maintenance required.
The DyMiCo system is kind of like a plenum on steroids. Where the plenum is passive, the DyMiCo filter uses pumps and ORP probes to manage the denitrification. The commercial version of it does work quite well from what I have read, and does negate the need for water changes and protein skimming. It appears to be best suited for LPS and softies though. GlennF was testing it on one tank for SPS, but eventually concluded it was not as suited as his DSR system.
I do own a microscope, but I will probably buy a new one. The one I have was a good one for the time, but newer models with better video imaging are now available. Mine was just before that became the norm, though it is tri-ocular and I do have a mount for a Canon 35 mm.
Exploring the smaller part of tank life is what I find most interesting. I really enjoy watching the food web change and adapt over time. Probably why I hate running cheato in a tank. I always feel guilty throwing clumps out without rescuing the mini stars, dwarf snails and amphipods in it. Tends to become annoying after awhile.
Ya, I am not a fan of skimmers. Just because you know they have to be depleting the zooplankton during operation. In some circumstances, SPS tanks mostly, they are very helpful, almost mandatory. For that reason I have designed the filter to be fed with un-skimmed water and the outflow of the filter will bypass the skimmer. So hopefully the best of both worlds and I can run a skimmer if needed.
No NSW here unfortunately. I am too far inland. If I were a couple provinces over on the east coast, then it would be possible.
The jars are still a pile of parts at this point. I have to get my water change station built first as that is the only thing they require, a weekly water change. I am hoping this summer for the 4 jars to be setup.