The tank that started the bare bottom craze

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TerraFerma

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Perhaps, but the reference to carbon and sponges would be more confusing if that's the case.


I'm not sure what gelbstoff is. But once my sponges really got going I no longer had to run carbon for water clarity. Skimmer started pulling less and less out. I feed fish and corals pretty heavy. It's to the point now that I have trouble keeping nutrients up. Not sure if Sponge Power had anything to do with it but nominally it seems to check out that it did help.

I run about 1/2" of sand. Every time I have to move things around - even my 1/2" of sand - expels stuff like a sewer. No biggy. I stir it out and the skimmer or mechanical filtration gets rid of it. I'm going to move in a few months and I plan on taking the sand out and sticking starboard down there. Everything just seems easier when I have done BB in the past. A lot easier. Main downside is wrasses have no place to bed down (although my cleaner wrasse does his slime bed thing even in BB), Jawfish and Pistol shrimp won't be so happy.

I would rather add phyto/zoo plankton than rely on junk from the sand bed providing nutrients for the coral.

If I can find a way to have some fine grain sand in a HOB refugium I think that will be beneficial. Sand looks fantastic but we're trying to replicate a rather large ecosystem in a confined space and I think sand ends up making life more difficult in the long run. Tack onto that the flexibility you get from no sand with flow for SPS and I think it's a no brainer. But I do love the look of sand. Who doesn't.

At the end of the day its your hobby/party so if you like the look of sand by all means go for it. 20 years ago my buddy did BB and his SPS were healthy and grew faster than I have seem in most tanks today. Funny how things come in and go out of style.
 
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dantimdad

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Been keeping reefs since 89. I have used a modified Berlin method from the beginning except I didn’t know it was called that. ;)

I run a 1/2 to 1” sand bed and almost always have pinky filter as a pre filter and run a large skimmer and carbon reactor. Ihave always used kalkwasser but am switching after all these years to a pump and two part.

The person mentioned by the OP probably contributed to more people leaving the hobby than just about anyone. Him and about 6 others on RC. It was the beginning of keyboard warriors and the cruelty that has become common place nowadays.
 
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The person mentioned by the OP probably contributed to more people leaving the hobby than just about anyone. Him and about 6 others on RC. It was the beginning of keyboard warriors and the cruelty that has become common place nowadays.

They left the forums for sure. One of the lads was a marine biologist at UC Davis. I enjoyed talking to him since we lived somewhat close but yes. Usenet was more popular but RC was coming online and the whole worm, sandbed, and other stuff got a bit out of control. A lot out of control. It was pretty silly at times.
 

dantimdad

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They left the forums for sure. One of the lads was a marine biologist at UC Davis. I enjoyed talking to him since we lived somewhat close but yes. Usenet was more popular but RC was coming online and the whole worm, sandbed, and other stuff got a bit out of control. A lot out of control. It was pretty silly at times.

Agreed. There was no voice of reason.
 

kenchilada

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In 1992 my 135G tank was Berlin style with 150W halides and T-12 actinics. The skimmers were garbage back then! Awesome live rock though.

Also you could buy an elegans coral the size of a basketball for $70.

I was around for the DSB wars as well. I tried one for a year and it was a toilet.
 
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Cory

Cory

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A little more info:

-Feeds blender mush to his fish.
-skims about 1/2 a gallon a day lets sg drop from 1.025 to 1.023-24. Replaces evaporation with saltwater occasionally to allow salinity to rise.
-uses natural saltwater and he would use instant ocean if he didnt.
-does two 50% nsw water changes a year.
-doses calcium chloride and baking soda amd sometimes a dash of strontium chloride.
 
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Jon Warner

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In 1992 my 135G tank was Berlin style with 150W halides and T-12 actinics. The skimmers were garbage back then! Awesome live rock though.

Also you could buy an elegans coral the size of a basketball for $70.

I was around for the DSB wars as well. I tried one for a year and it was a toilet.

You can say that again! Stores or wholesalers would have tanks or boxes full of Tonga branch, Tonga shelf, Marshall rock (best ever), Fiji and more...
 

CoastalTownLayabout

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Possibly the tank that took Starboard bottoms to a broader audience but bare bottoms were widely used prior. In fact it's probably a truer statement that DSB's briefly ended the bare bottom craze for a time. As for each's merit, well it depended on what you were trying to achieve at the time. The whole DSB as a ticking time bomb never resonated with me. The average hobbyist using either methodology was more likely to pull down a tank prematurely due to unwanted pests, relaxed maintenance, poor livestock choices, an upgrade or some other unforeseen life event. The whole crap show surrounding it on RC was amusing at best but mostly divisive.

Next....
 
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longtimereefer

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Wow, never seen anyone so worked up over so little. Perhaps tank envy. Or just regular "man" envy... Either way who gives a crap, lots of people in the world are pompous buttholes, I find those keeping score and getting fired up years later ar as big if not bigger butts... Anywho, bare bottom, DSB, thin sand bottom, whatever your choice, do it well. Ive had run ins with some folks over the past 25 years plus in salt, but always online where everyone is sooper dooper tough, I couldn't care less. Good pics, fairly innovative for the time, although I wouldn't say revolutionary etc. I usually run sand, cause I love wrasses, other than that its kind of a pain, but bare bottom can be a pain at times too and certainly doesn't look great all the time.
 
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Punchanello

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Slightly tangential take - The OP describes a BB tank with minimal fish (meaning less bio-load and waste) probably to compensate for basic (and probably pretty inefficient) filtration.

Today's BB tanks are loaded with fish, heavy in, heavy out which is compensated for with multiple forms of highly efficient filtration.

Different approaches, different technologies but more or less the same philosophy. Low nutrient system.
 
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Cory

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Heres his fish list:

2 Reef Buterflys
2 royal gramma
2 black cap gramma
1 french angel 3"
1 blue chromis
2 saddled blennys
2 green razor wrasses
yellow head wrasse
2 medium spotted goat
2 tobacco fish
4 chalk bass
2 candy bass
2 sunshine chromis
3 purple reef chromis
1 smooth trunkfish
2 one spot cardinals
1 cuban hog

So 32 fish total
 

mrpizzaface

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Paul B

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I miss the back and fourths I used to have with Bomber and I never had any problems or arguments with him. I also probably tried every system in my tank but I got whatever knowledge I have from Le Chin Eng and Robert Stroughn "The Father of Salt Water Fish Keeping".

Of course SCUBA diving helped immensely as there is no better way to learn about fish then to spend time with them on their own terms.

I was never a fan of BB tanks although I think they can be just as healthy as any other tank. I like the look of gravel and the fact that much more bacteria will live in gravel then glass just for the fact that there is more surface area, no other reason.

Over the fifty years my tank has been running many systems came out and they were all publicized in "books" as there was no internet. As those systems were developed and touted as the best thing since slice bread, I tried them all. (Except BB) I never emptied my tank that I could remember but I went through the Jaubert phase Berlin, bio balls etc. Actually I tried to incorporate those systems in my already running system, sometimes with questionable results and sometimes almost crashing the tank.

Occasionally the tank looked like it did crash and many people today would have emptied it and started over. ;Yuck

I am friends with Bob Goemans "who used to be a big name in the hobby. He lives in Arizona and has been to my home to talk" corals" (The Benefits of Live Sand)

I had outbreaks of everything at one time or another. Now my tank has a sponge "situation" and I think it will until I take it down and I may soon as it, and me are getting old.

I don't know what to call my system because there is no name for it but for the past few years I have this annoying, encrusting, photosynthetic sponge that requires quite a bit of maintenance such as trimming. I recently removed a couple of pounds of it.

I love the look of it as it looks like blue montipora but it will cover real montipora and some other corals so I have to keep watch on it.


Many of the tanks on here make me jealous and sometimes I think, maybe I should have done this or that. It's to late now so I will just keep my tank the way it is, whatever it is and enjoy it and other people's tanks on here knowing that there are numerous ways to do this and many ways to enjoy this fantastic hobby. :)

The only thing that bothers me in this hobby is the arguments on forums. I left some forums because of it.
I realized a long time ago that this stuff we are enjoying in this hobby is not that important to anyone else but us. We are not curing cancer or saving the oceans. When I started in this hobby there was almost no one else in it and it was very quiet then with no arguments. The few of us that did have a tank conversed and tried to convey information that we discovered without confrontation as to what system was better. Everything was new, every creature we tried to keep was a challenge. :cool:

I miss those days.
 
AS

Belgian Anthias

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Berlin Method Overview

Parts Sourced from The Reef Aquarium, Volume 1, J. Charles Delbeek and Julian Sprung

The modern "Berlin method" of aquarium keeping began with the work of Peter Wilkens and the marine aquarium club in Berlin. Although these systems are called natural systems, they do differ from those described by Eng (1961) and Emmens (1986) by incorporating protein skimmers in their design.
overview.gif
The basic elements to a Berlin method aquarium include: strong light, live rock and sand, protein skimming, and calcium additions. A trickle filter is not used as the live rock and sand perform the biological filtration. It is also common to see automatic top-off systems in place to offset water evaporation due to the strong light.

This site is dedicated to sharing with others my efforts to create a successful reef tank based on the Berlin method.

Is this a picture of the original Berlin system? kalkwasser is used. Kalkwasser was introduced by Peter Wilkens. He published Niedere Tiere im tropischen Seewasseraquarium in 1973 and describes most filtration methods used that period, activated carbon, fast sand filters for mechanical filtration, and a protein skimmer, ozon, uv etc, as already used in the 60ties ( Frank De Graaf. Handboek voor het tropisch zeeaquarium. Tweede druk. A.J.G. Strengholt N.V. Amsterdam, 1969.)

There is no description of a so-called Berlin system, no pictures of such a system in the book. On page 50 one will find the recipe for kalkwasser. I do have the original publication on my bookshelf. In the second edition published in 1980 also no description of such a system can be found. For me, a so-called Berlin system is a marine system in which kalkwasser is used, bare bottom or not. He also advises the use of trace elements but in that period many did. It was not Peter Wilkens who was responsible for the first so-called Berlin aquaria but one may say he made a difference by introducing kalkwasser for managing a marine aquarium and for keeping corals. I think it was Julian Sprung who visited aquaria kept by the Berlin Aquarium Club and who published what he saw.

In Germany, in the 1980s the import of many tropical reef fish species was banned, which has shifted the focus to the keeping of lower animals and corals, and this has evolved to the keeping of stony corals. The first sustainable stony corals were imported along with the base rock on which they grow (probably the input of the marine coral holobiont here contributed to the success ). Stony corals were originally kept without fish and other filter feeders, and the filtration was aimed at a much lower bio-load than usual. No need for an external biofilter to support the bio-load. Bare bottom for easy daily cleaning.
Some claim that the principle of the natural aquarium developed by Lee Chin Eng in 1961 is the basis of the Berlin system. Lee's described success was mainly based on the availability of fresh marine life that was freely available locally. Others with the same capabilities were more successful than Lee in applying technology attributed to the Berlin system, mainly maintaining carbonate hardness. Lee's system was a semi-open system, with the constant availability of fresh seawater.
“Living rock” is introduced and the use of so-called “living stone” becomes part of what is called the Berlin system. But introducing a piece of rock from the sea and a piece of coral or introducing a coral with the rock on which it has always grown, I think it makes a difference.
Robert P.L. Straughan uses live rock and keeps corals in 1975 based on the natural method ( Keeping Live Corals and Invertebrates 1975). Live rock was used and introduced in the USA long before the so-called Berlin system was introduced in the USA.
 

dantimdad

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I miss the back and fourths I used to have with Bomber and I never had any problems or arguments with him. I also probably tried every system in my tank but I got whatever knowledge I have from Le Chin Eng and Robert Stroughn "The Father of Salt Water Fish Keeping".

Of course SCUBA diving helped immensely as there is no better way to learn about fish then to spend time with them on their own terms.

I was never a fan of BB tanks although I think they can be just as healthy as any other tank. I like the look of gravel and the fact that much more bacteria will live in gravel then glass just for the fact that there is more surface area, no other reason.

Over the fifty years my tank has been running many systems came out and they were all publicized in "books" as there was no internet. As those systems were developed and touted as the best thing since slice bread, I tried them all. (Except BB) I never emptied my tank that I could remember but I went through the Jaubert phase Berlin, bio balls etc. Actually I tried to incorporate those systems in my already running system, sometimes with questionable results and sometimes almost crashing the tank.

Occasionally the tank looked like it did crash and many people today would have emptied it and started over. ;Yuck

I am friends with Bob Goemans "who used to be a big name in the hobby. He lives in Arizona and has been to my home to talk" corals" (The Benefits of Live Sand)

I had outbreaks of everything at one time or another. Now my tank has a sponge "situation" and I think it will until I take it down and I may soon as it, and me are getting old.

I don't know what to call my system because there is no name for it but for the past few years I have this annoying, encrusting, photosynthetic sponge that requires quite a bit of maintenance such as trimming. I recently removed a couple of pounds of it.

I love the look of it as it looks like blue montipora but it will cover real montipora and some other corals so I have to keep watch on it.


Many of the tanks on here make me jealous and sometimes I think, maybe I should have done this or that. It's to late now so I will just keep my tank the way it is, whatever it is and enjoy it and other people's tanks on here knowing that there are numerous ways to do this and many ways to enjoy this fantastic hobby. :)

The only thing that bothers me in this hobby is the arguments on forums. I left some forums because of it.
I realized a long time ago that this stuff we are enjoying in this hobby is not that important to anyone else but us. We are not curing cancer or saving the oceans. When I started in this hobby there was almost no one else in it and it was very quiet then with no arguments. The few of us that did have a tank conversed and tried to convey information that we discovered without confrontation as to what system was better. Everything was new, every creature we tried to keep was a challenge. :cool:

I miss those days.


I miss those days as well. I wish we could get back to our roots as aquarists but armed with the knowledge we now have.

Of course, it wouldn't hurt to be over 30 years younger either. :)
 

Midrats

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That quote is funny since Sprung played a prominent role in the dislike for sand beds and misinterpreting the the Berlin Method in the US years before that book was published.

Berlin method here was kind of like Pizza here, it resembled the original, but some things got lost in translation and we had our own version...
I remember one of his Reef Notes articles talked about how wave action in the ocean acted like a giant broom keeping the sand clean, and that couldn't be replicated in an aquarium and thus he recommended bare bottom.
 

Paul B

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Paul B : how's old Bob Goemans doing ? used to read his "salt corner" all the time...still doing jaubert systems ?

You know, I have not heard from Bob in maybe 5 years so I am not sure how he is doing. He would be pretty on in years now, quite a bit older than me and I started my tank with trilobites. :cool:

Last time I heard from him he wasn't in the best of health. If I can find his phone number, I may try to call him to see how he is.
 
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