The BRS 160: 10 Weeks of the Triton Method | BRStv Investigates

Discussion in 'Bulk Reef Supply' started by randyBRS, Oct 27, 2017.

  1. MnFish1

    MnFish1 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    It will be interesting what your opinion will be on the frequent testing - whether it actually helps or adds more uncertainty a your tank goes along. Aren't all trace elements balanced? (Not being facetious - curious - what does that mean?)
     

  2. Terence

    Terence Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Platinum Sponsor

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    I am not intending on chasing any specific things. If the Triton mix begins to elevate certain things outside of accepted range, I am likely to just cut back rather than try to fix anything with water changes.

    Maybe balanced is the wrong word. Maybe it’s better to say the right ratios to each other and in relative parity to seawater.

    I am curious too. And I will share those results on my thread as I go and however things turn out.
     
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  3. Reef Monkie

    Reef Monkie Well-Known Member

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    I understand the potential issues with testing, but that does not invalidate testing of any kind, and that seems to be the consensus since people test in all kinds of ways despite the limitations.

    You are saying that if you see a problem you fix it, but how do you do that unless you know what the problem is, you seem to say it is better to psychically divine the issue than to test for it. If you do a emergency X% water change while waiting for the test results then you can still see what the problem was unless that X% water change completely solved the issue, but how many potential issue are actually permanently fixed by a X% water change?

    When you say that it is rare that there are issues that need testing to be diagnose then doesn't that only reinforce the case that regular ICP tests aren't some kind of necessity if one chooses a dosing regime over water changes? If you don't have a issue with Triton products (or any other 'advanced' dosing method) then one can simply use hobby tests and dose at manufacturer recommended levels, or not?
     
  4. Randy Holmes-Farley

    Randy Holmes-Farley Reef Chemist Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Expert Contributor Article Contributor

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    Balanced with what?

    The big problem is that different organisms use different elements in different ratios. And different foods and salt mixes and other additives add them in still other ratios.

    Giving a simple example that reefers are very familiar with, some elements are mostly taken up into coral skeletons (calcium, magnesium, alkalinity, etc.), and some into coral tissues (nitrogen compounds, probably iron, etc.). So how much demand you have for these two different types of uptake of elements will depend on which organisms you keep.

    The same ideas likely extend to every trace element, some of which are more used by specific types of organisms than others.
     
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  5. MnFish1

    MnFish1 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    Maybe I wasn't clear. I never said testing of any kind was invalid. What I said was the problem I have with the Triton method and relying on the testing - is the delay between testing - and receiving the result. To me sending a test would be 'interesting' but lets say the PO4 is x higher than it should be - I would not rely on that test to make changes (the PO4 might be higher or lower than that one Triton test).

    Likewise, if I saw a problem with coral/corals, I would troubleshoot it and likely do the usual local tests - and change some water (or I would wait to see if it was an isolated phenomon. IM not sure my first thought would be to send a test which I will receive results from 2 weeks later. No more no less.

    As far as the 'rarity of problems'. I meant - I would postulate (Triton
    doesn't release this data) - that if the average tank owner with healthy corals were to test with an ICP, the results would be mostly normal with a few outliers of doubtful significance. A person using the Triton Chemicals/method (because of the way the systems is designed, is basically required to use the testing to properly dose the trace elements -at least thats how I thought worked) Contrary to that you said, were I using the Triton method, I would definitely use the testing they require.

    The chemicals in Triton are just chemicals just like in many other 'methods'. There is no magic (IMHO)
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2017
  6. MnFish1

    MnFish1 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    The 'balanced comment' was in response to Terence stating that "However, I think because of the balanced ratios of trace elements in the Triton method, it will have a leg up simply because it is not using water changes or other unknown bottles and ratios to catch up." I didn't understand what that meant - and my point was that every manufacturer (I assume) puts in the ratios of elements into their solutions they feel is the right mix(balance).
     
  7. Terence

    Terence Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Platinum Sponsor

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    And what I said above was that I probably used the wrong word. What I was meaning was that the ratios in those four bottles were developed to keep the tank at the right levels for many trace elements and for (likely) a tank with animals like mine (since Ehsans tank, where the methods development began, was a mixed reef that was similar to what I am shooting for)
     
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  8. Randy Holmes-Farley

    Randy Holmes-Farley Reef Chemist Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Expert Contributor Article Contributor

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    What about tanks with different demands and different inputs?

    The Triton method allows you to adjust many things independently (if you want), but many companies mix the trace elements, and it is VERY clear from reading through hundreds of such ICP reports, that the needs of most tanks will not be met by a single trace element mix. There is huge variability in what is depleted and what is elevated relative to NSW in many tanks. :)
     
  9. Reef Monkie

    Reef Monkie Well-Known Member

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    I see the Triton chemicals as just another balling method with some added 'stuff' (iron?) to help the algae grow in the refugium. And just like with any 2 or 3 or 4 part dosing method from what I understand people dose that based upon calc/alk, which you can measure with home kits. One can then take that one step further by periodically adjusting elements based upon ICP testing but I don't see how that is required in any way for one of the no water change methods. ICP is just a tool, nobody is forcing you to use it or mandating it for one to be a true follower of the Triton method as far as I see?
     
  10. MnFish1

    MnFish1 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    My understanding is that the "Balling method" is this:
    Named after Hans-Werner Balling who developed it, the Balling method seeks to solve the problem of maintaining calcium, carbonate, magnesium, and trace element levels in reef tanks. This method and the two-part method of supplementation are almost the same, but the latter involves two solutions added independently to supplement either calcium or alkalinity. One can either supplement or not supplement trace elements. At least in the classic Balling method, weekly water changes are used depending on the type of salt used.

    If you read the Triton literature, it is said that testing can be done 'as little or as much as one likes' - but it is highly recommended. And, as Randy Holmes Farley mentioned, different tanks use varying amounts of trace elements - so if you are going to be dosing them - prob makes sense to test - the question is - are the numbers they use the 'correct ones' (ie. for dosing)
     
  11. Reef Monkie

    Reef Monkie Well-Known Member

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    From what I understand of Balling Tropic Marin claims their 3-part is complete and in ionic balanced, so one wouldn't need to change water because you aren't adding trace elements via water changes nor are you exporting unwanted buildup of any elements as you would need to do in a dosing method that doesn't have this ionic balance. Then you would only need to do water changes in the Balling method if you have no other suitable mechanism for exporting excess nutrients. For that reason it seems to me that Triton and Balling are very similar, if you want Balling to act like Triton just add a big fuge and perhaps some Iron for your algae?

    As to the rest of your comment, of course it is true all tanks use varying amounts of trace elements, but you can't honestly use that against Triton because by that measure all dosing methods are faulty unless you test for all trace elements and test the water you use for water changes and calculate the exact amount of water you need to change to keep your tank in balance, all without using ICP because you say that ICP is not 'correct'. So how exactly do you do all this? Doesn't this mean that you are saying that everyone in the hobby is dosing wrong and running their tanks with unbalanced trace elements?

    It is perfectly fine to choose any method you choose, it is your preference, the issue I have is that it seems to me that your argument against Triton over doing water changes is contradictory and lacks a consistent internal logic.
     
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  12. dz6t

    dz6t Well-Known Member

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    When something is called a “method”, it does not imply that people have to follow everything to the teeth described in the “method”.
    I think linking Triton method with no water change is just wrong. As in their publication, triton recommends water changes, very aggressive ones too, to correct elevated concentration of trace elements.
     
  13. dz6t

    dz6t Well-Known Member

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    In terms of trace elements, they may not be that critical after all. Iron is a micro nutrient by the way.

    We don’t match the levels of major elements such as calcium, many if not most people are running their Alk at higher level than sea water, which is average at 7, any way. I think that is a indication that the natural sea water may not be the best for our coral.
     
  14. MnFish1

    MnFish1 Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Build Thread Contributor Partner Member 2018

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    I apologize if it seems like im using any one method against another... Not the case. None of them have proven themselves better than the other lol = which is all good - because - they are all the same (IMHO) - without the testing
     
  15. Reef Monkie

    Reef Monkie Well-Known Member

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    No need to apologise, although I respect the fact that you did, I think a robust debate is healthy as long as it does not get personal. In that spirit I would like to say that I don't consider myself as a advocate for Triton nor am I saying that their method is 'the way' and hope I didn't come across that way. I do like that they are shaking up things which leads people to question dogma's, and the fact that they made ICP testing available to the hobby, which even if it is imperfect does give people a means verifying some of the claims made by manufacturers of all kinds of products.
     
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  16. Joe Grubbs

    Joe Grubbs Member

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    Very interesting conversation on testing and methods for maintenance.

    For me, the value I have realized from utilizing the Triton Lab test is the realization that my water change with Coral Sea Pro Salt, CaRx, & 2 Part dosing program was missing a couple key trace elements! Ouch.

    Following the first test, as I researched the various trace element products available, and due to the specific deficiencies identified by the test, I have chosen to use corrective dosing of specific elements provided by the Triton product line. I expect that the test results will show a pattern over time and one of the mixed trace element products may be a good fit. I have not started any daily dosing of any trace element and only recently added dosing of I on a weekly basis following my test results. At this time, I send in a Triton test on a 60 day cycle and continuing my testing using the RedSea test kits.

    As for a method...likely, I'm as guilty as others are of 'doing my own thing' as opposed to purely following a detailed program. My tank: 160g, mixed reef, no-SPS, peninsula, dimmed-8 bulb T5. I use a dual-tank sump design: 75g tank for the effluent from the roller mat along with media pure balls & a 35g tank for a small 8" deep DSB & macro algae which gravity drains into the 75 for a single return pump to the tank. The tank-refug turnover rate is 5-6% of my volume @ ~750 gph (1" FMM flow sensor). This fits the roller mat and refugium design flow rates well. I use a hammerhead return pump and will likely have to re-drill the display tank to increase the flow...this is not likely to happen.

    Thanks to the BRS Videos on refug efficiency, macro algae, and lighting, I have upgraded from the smaller Kessel Tuna Blue to the 80w Kessel for macro algae. I also moved the CaRx effluent (high in CO2) from the skimmer over to the inlet to the macro algae. After a period of adjustment, the chato's growth rate has notably improved. In just a couple weeks it 'doubles' in size and fills the space available, becoming a 'dense chato mat'. I'm now cutting it in 'half' and throwing it out every couple weeks. What does this mean for nutrient export...?? Nitrate tests in the 2-4 ppm range and PO4 creeps up to 0.1 ppm between the 30 day cycle of changing the Carbon/GFO canisters.

    Do I still do water changes...well, I have skipped the last two in my monthly 20g change cycle. I do still keep 20 gallons of pre-mixed salt water on hand and have used it to bump up the SG as necessary (maintain 1.024). To help with cleaning the gravel (still monthly), I did add a 100 micron filter sock to the bucket the end of the syphon hose and a return pump from the bucket to the tank while cleaning. I believe I like this method for cleaning the gravel and getting an extra bit of filtering in. The filter sock is 'some kind of nasty' and the end of the cleaning. I believe the effort to be worthwhile. To setup, maintain, and cleanup still takes most of the time necessary to do a water change. So, I realize no time saving there.

    So, according to just 3 test results, I have seen an improvement (test over test), in the levels of trace elements. The goal is to achieve a reduction in the variability of nutrient available to the corals. I'll stick with the 60 day testing cycle for the balance of 2018 and see what I can learn.
     
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  17. Albertastorm

    Albertastorm Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2018

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    This is all very interesting:)!
    But as a farmer I think I can add something that has bin missing from our view of reef keeping.
    We are farming a tank full of corals, fish and invertebrates.
    When wheat grew on the prairies it yielded 2 bushels per acre.
    By modifying varieties ...suppressing weeds...(pests in our tanks)...by adding the right fertilizers...(calcium ..trace elements) we now get 100 bushels per acre!
    We all try to reproduce sea water..(prairie conditions)...that yielded 2 bushels per acre...(sea water).
    Why are we not trying to create a better chemistry then the prairies???
    That yields 50 times the coral growth of sea water??
    Genetic modification has contributed significantly to this yield increase of wheat:)) and GMOs will and do effect our hobby in the near future as well.
    But I always hear this ..."Lets reproduce sea water"...no lets create a better environment for our organisms...then the sea!
    Anyone on the fore front of improving our growth and success should be researching parameters of light, chemistry and food that grow better then the sea!
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2017
  18. Albertastorm

    Albertastorm Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Partner Member 2018

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    When I see a lighting company make claims of 50% better growth then the sun.
    A chemistry supplement that produces 50% better grow then natural sea water.
    A nutrient that produces 50% faster growth then sea nutrients...then we will have something:)
    Ok...5%...2%...anything???
     
  19. TbyZ

    TbyZ Well-Known Member

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    Ok, so I'm looking at your salient points -
    wheat, natural yields improved by manipulation = 25 times more food per acre...
    ok
    manipulate aquarium to do the same, increase fish growth & reduce space needed by 25 times

    upload_2017-11-7_16-1-4.png

    Yes; feed a family of four, day to day, using only a 200 gal aquarium.

    Awesome


    ;)
     
  20. TbyZ

    TbyZ Well-Known Member

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    If I read that I'd be calling cow exudates.
     
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