Unconventional Reef Keepers: Are you one of them?

BRS

Would you consider yourself to be an unconventional reefer?

  • Yes in many ways (tell us in the thread)

    Votes: 79 19.7%
  • In some ways (tell us in the thread)

    Votes: 189 47.0%
  • Not at all

    Votes: 124 30.8%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 10 2.5%

  • Total voters
    402

revhtree

Owner Administrator
View Badges
Marketplace Rating
100
Joined
May 8, 2006
Messages
42,489
Reaction score
64,545
Unconventional - Not based on or conforming to what is generally done or believed.
Unconventional Reef Keepers - Reef Aquarium Hobbyists who say, nah..I'll do it my way and still succeed. (my definition)

There are so many ways to do so many things in reef keeping and not everyone always does the same thing to accomplish the same goal. That was a mouth full! What's even better is that in some instances reef keepers employ certain methods, ideas and practices that many others might consider unconventional but are still very successful. Their motto is..."I'm not a part of this system!" :p Let's talk about it today!

1. What reefing practices, methods or ideas do you employ that others might consider to be "unconventional reefing?"

2. What's the craziest thing you have ever done in reefing that was a success?



unconventional yellow tang.jpg
 

Azedenkae

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Feb 26, 2021
Messages
1,362
Reaction score
1,287
Location
Chicago
1.a. I actually want algae. As much as we want bacterial diversity, I find any diversity is good. So long as the algae is not smothering my corals, then they can live in the tank. Ugly or not, reality is all these algae exists on wild coral reefs, and they probably have their own roles to play.
1.b. Survival of the fittest - I don't necessarily fit my water parameters to my live stock, but vice versa. Reality is different salts and everything can generate different sets of parameters. Even something like where one lives - that can matter. For example, Chicago is super dry and I lose 3% of my water from evaporation every day, and if I go for 3 days without topping up that's 10% less water in the tank, and obviously concentrations of a lot of things would increase, including salinity. I do have an auto-top off system but it is ugly, so instead whatever lives in the tank have to be able to live with the conditions or die. Simple.
1.c. Stir up the sand, a lot. I believe in 'balance' from chaos, which kinda is like @Paul B's thing in a sense. I let the aquarium actually go through 'hardships' that strengthen the system. The other day I changed the entire scape and while I do stir sand, it is only some of it. That other day when I was redoing the scape, I actually stirred up all the sand that was untouched for four months. Nothing happened. No spikes in any parameters, no angry fish or corals. Well, one angry clownfish, but that's more because I was changing up her home and I got about twenty bites from her that day. Yes I released a lot of detritus that day.
1.d. I starve my fish until they accept the food I want to feed them. I thought this was more common, but anyways yeah, kind of the same point as (1.b.)-ish, but also different. Once the fish gets hungry enough, they'll eat whatever they can.

2. Mixed two species of clownfish. I have done that multiple times, though always one individual of each species. Longest period has been a year, though none of it is because of deaths or injuries, just because I had to tear down aquariums.
 

Reefjnky

Community Member
View Badges
Joined
Feb 10, 2020
Messages
52
Reaction score
72
Location
Long Island
I'm unconventional in many ways. Started in 2013 with a 40g breeder and then a 57g rimless and now a 32g biocube

I have never acclimated anything and havnt had issues.

I dont test any parameters but do water changes every few weeks. More often if things look unhappy

I dont mind some hair algae and the fish love it

I have a 4 inch hippp tang in a 32g biocube and she is loving life

I have 3 clowns in the same tank and they get along. I had a pair and the female died after 4 yrs so i took my brothers pair because he was getting out of the hobby

Currently i have over 20 corals and 6 fish with 2 shrimp and several turbo snails and a conch in the biocube

I have an upgraded return pump/innovative marine protein skinner and just started chaeto
 

Attachments

  • 20210425_173849.jpg
    20210425_173849.jpg
    208.9 KB · Views: 186

Reefjnky

Community Member
View Badges
Joined
Feb 10, 2020
Messages
52
Reaction score
72
Location
Long Island
1.a. I actually want algae. As much as we want bacterial diversity, I find any diversity is good. So long as the algae is not smothering my corals, then they can live in the tank. Ugly or not, reality is all these algae exists on wild coral reefs, and they probably have their own roles to play.
1.b. Survival of the fittest - I don't necessarily fit my water parameters to my live stock, but vice versa. Reality is different salts and everything can generate different sets of parameters. Even something like where one lives - that can matter. For example, Chicago is super dry and I lose 3% of my water from evaporation every day, and if I go for 3 days without topping up that's 10% less water in the tank, and obviously concentrations of a lot of things would increase, including salinity. I do have an auto-top off system but it is ugly, so instead whatever lives in the tank have to be able to live with the conditions or die. Simple.
1.c. Stir up the sand, a lot. I believe in 'balance' from chaos, which kinda is like @Paul B's thing in a sense. I let the aquarium actually go through 'hardships' that strengthen the system. The other day I changed the entire scape and while I do stir sand, it is only some of it. That other day when I was redoing the scape, I actually stirred up all the sand that was untouched for four months. Nothing happened. No spikes in any parameters, no angry fish or corals. Well, one angry clownfish, but that's more because I was changing up her home and I got about twenty bites from her that day. Yes I released a lot of detritus that day.
1.d. I starve my fish until they accept the food I want to feed them. I thought this was more common, but anyways yeah, kind of the same point as (1.b.)-ish, but also different. Once the fish gets hungry enough, they'll eat whatever they can.

2. Mixed two species of clownfish. I have done that multiple times, though always one individual of each species. Longest period has been a year, though none of it is because of deaths or injuries, just because I had to tear down aquariums.
I like algae also. I go for a more natural environment and the fish love it
 

iggy

Community Member
View Badges
Joined
Jun 5, 2011
Messages
83
Reaction score
31
Location
North Carolina
I slowly go retro and that seems unconventional. It does not have to be excessively expensive and gear driven.

6 or 8 T5's array with 150w halides are the gold standard. The 700 usd new kessil is trying to replicate that. Nothing grows SPS better than precise dosing with kalk. DC pumps fails. LEDs have useless channels, Led chips burn out too after 5 years . Controllers should only be monitors for alerts.

I use basic stuff and have small pile of stuff I need to unload on ebay. It should jsut be tossed.

Testing has improved dramatically for the better however. Triton and Hanna have advanced hobby!
 

Azedenkae

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Feb 26, 2021
Messages
1,362
Reaction score
1,287
Location
Chicago
I like algae also. I go for a more natural environment and the fish love it
Right? XD My cinnamon clownfish also likes to chomp on algae once in a while. I found out that they are omnivores in the wild. Who knew lol.

Also it seems like a variety of algae does help with dealing with both nitrates and phosphates well, since apparently different types consume them in different ratios.
 

sp1187

The Great Enabler
View Badges
Joined
Aug 4, 2017
Messages
6,034
Reaction score
29,114
Location
Grand Blanc MI
Tank is a 150 Tall w/ a 50g sump.
No live or dry rock. scape is fabbed pvc/2 part putty.
started with 5 8x8 MarinePure Bio Blocks in the sump.
have since removed them and replaced with 12L of SeaChem Matrix.
no skimmer. using an up flow floating algae scrubber.
rarely test. maybe once a month.
NO3 40/60 PO4 over 1.0.
no dosing. total water in the system is a measured 140g. 30g water change done every 7/10 days.
 
Last edited:

Treefer32

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 1, 2013
Messages
611
Reaction score
304
Location
Fargo, ND
1. I let algae grow on my glass. I see it as a way of exporting nutrients from the water column. I'll wait 5-6 days for my glass to grow in thick...
a. Last night was the strangest thing. I could hardly see through the front glass yesterday and was going to scrape it last night... I come down and the glass is almost clear with hundreds of fish kissy marks all over it. Once the algae was thick enough my lawnmower blenny and my starry blenny went to town scraping it off the glass for me. It's actually not bad, and they got an abundant food supply... 15 square feet of thick film algae! Has to be nutritious!

2. I run an algae turf scrubber. I was told by one fish vendor this is an extremely outdated practices and there's better nutrient exports out there... Sorry if this is old school, it's my way of doing it and it's amazing.. I rarely have algae on my rocks, and what little does grow in, my tangs and blennies take care of before it gets out of hand.

3. I run a nu-clear 25 micron cannister filter.. Old School yes, but bought it specifically to polish my water.. I have several sand sifting things that constantly turn my water column into a dust storm. In 3 years... I've probably exported 20 (out of 160 pounds) pounds of sand from my display. LOL.

4. I run an Apex Classic - It's around 8 years old along with two old EB 8s. So far, it's working great.. I can't justify the $1500 it will cost to upgrade.. :(

5. I plumbed the sump 10 feet from my display in my furnace room. I went with the "No one will see this part" mentality... None of my plumbing is straight or pretty.

6. my electrical cords or highly unorganized and highly dangly in a mess!

7. I don't dose magnesium. I have several acros growing well along with other SPS and LPS, and am dosing 200 ml of Alk and calcium a day, but, I haven't dosed magnesium in 3 years. I just tested with brand new test kits and it tested at 1410. . ...

8. I use an 8 year old bubble magus doser. (Old school probably.)

9. I like asterina starfish and have thousands of them....

10. I like GSP And have it contained to two rocks.

11. I like Xenia and will need to trim this..... :(

12. I can't grow birds nest... Don't know why.. Only SPS that won't grow in my tank...

13. I used baked baking soda for my two - part dosing. It's a thing. It's $9.00 for a bag of Baking soda from Costco, I bake it on a baking sheet at 350 for an hour or two, stirring every half hour or so. Dump it into a bucket and mix it into my alk dosing container as needed... it's cheap - One bag has lasted me 3 years.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
 

NanoLuke

New Member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 25, 2021
Messages
19
Reaction score
17
Location
Wyoming, USA
I started out as ridiculously cheaply as I could and my 20 Gallon Nano is similar in many ways to a simple freshwater tank. I run a heater and small over-the-back filter with carbon just like you would on a freshwater tank. I have the cheapest powerhead I could find, and only barebone API tests like Ammonia, Nitrate, etc. I rarely use these. Just a little rock that started out dry and some live sand, as well as a swing-needle hydrometer and terrible digital thermometer. Right now, I don't have much to loose in my tank so as my livestock investment goes up, I will progressively get better equipment. I don't even have an RODI unit yet, but that is something I will buy early this summer.

I am just taking this with baby steps right now and get a little something important here and there.
 

WVNed

The fish are staring at me with hungry eyes.
View Badges
Joined
Apr 11, 2018
Messages
6,143
Reaction score
25,010
Location
Hurricane, WV
I have always done my own thing. I still am.
I don't think I am doing anything earthshattering besides making myself happy though.
I dont think I have done anything crazy. Other people might though. They say I am crabby too.

that was the little one. Here are the other 2.

Having a good time
 
Last edited:

iggy

Community Member
View Badges
Joined
Jun 5, 2011
Messages
83
Reaction score
31
Location
North Carolina
1. I let algae grow on my glass. I see it as a way of exporting nutrients from the water column. I'll wait 5-6 days for my glass to grow in thick...
a. Last night was the strangest thing. I could hardly see through the front glass yesterday and was going to scrape it last night... I come down and the glass is almost clear with hundreds of fish kissy marks all over it. Once the algae was thick enough my lawnmower blenny and my starry blenny went to town scraping it off the glass for me. It's actually not bad, and they got an abundant food supply... 15 square feet of thick film algae! Has to be nutritious!

2. I run an algae turf scrubber. I was told by one fish vendor this is an extremely outdated practices and there's better nutrient exports out there... Sorry if this is old school, it's my way of doing it and it's amazing.. I rarely have algae on my rocks, and what little does grow in, my tangs and blennies take care of before it gets out of hand.

3. I run a nu-clear 25 micron cannister filter.. Old School yes, but bought it specifically to polish my water.. I have several sand sifting things that constantly turn my water column into a dust storm. In 3 years... I've probably exported 20 (out of 160 pounds) pounds of sand from my display. LOL.

4. I run an Apex Classic - It's around 8 years old along with two old EB 8s. So far, it's working great.. I can't justify the $1500 it will cost to upgrade.. :(

5. I plumbed the sump 10 feet from my display in my furnace room. I went with the "No one will see this part" mentality... None of my plumbing is straight or pretty.

6. my electrical cords or highly unorganized and highly dangly in a mess!

7. I don't dose magnesium. I have several acros growing well along with other SPS and LPS, and am dosing 200 ml of Alk and calcium a day, but, I haven't dosed magnesium in 3 years. I just tested with brand new test kits and it tested at 1410. . ...

8. I use an 8 year old bubble magus doser. (Old school probably.)

9. I like asterina starfish and have thousands of them....

10. I like GSP And have it contained to two rocks.

11. I like Xenia and will need to trim this..... :(

12. I can't grow birds nest... Don't know why.. Only SPS that won't grow in my tank...

13. I used baked baking soda for my two - part dosing. It's a thing. It's $9.00 for a bag of Baking soda from Costco, I bake it on a baking sheet at 350 for an hour or two, stirring every half hour or so. Dump it into a bucket and mix it into my alk dosing container as needed... it's cheap - One bag has lasted me 3 years.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
I have had issues with birdsnest too so that is interesting. I largely moved on and not concerned. I suspect it likes a dirty tank.
 

Lowkey reefing

Community Member
View Badges
Joined
Dec 6, 2020
Messages
53
Reaction score
37
Location
Hemet Ca
Unconventional to say the least.

I run a 150 mixed reef on 3 sunsun hw3000 canisters with no skimmer. Its frowned upon I know. Im a African cichlid guy at heart so i run my reef the same way.

Been up around a year and still producing great growth.

I fill each canister with 1gal per of seachem matrix, chemipure and phosphate pads. Filter maintenance is every 3 months on a rotation 1,2,3.

I use 25% water changes weekly as well.

Alk hangs at 11

Cal 480

Phosphate. 15ppm

Nitrates 20ppm

I know a little high on all but this whole year everything from acros, to torches seem to like it.
 

Attachments

  • 20210419_205208.jpg
    20210419_205208.jpg
    122.7 KB · Views: 140
  • 20210330_115918.jpg
    20210330_115918.jpg
    139.6 KB · Views: 89
  • 20210315_203951.jpg
    20210315_203951.jpg
    102.2 KB · Views: 87
  • 20210406_143916.jpg
    20210406_143916.jpg
    158.5 KB · Views: 91
  • 20210416_163819.jpg
    20210416_163819.jpg
    126.9 KB · Views: 99
  • 20210315_203526.mp4
    29.3 MB · Views: 0

Mike from TN

Owner/ Operator of the worlds most crowded Evo
View Badges
Joined
Oct 5, 2020
Messages
1,347
Reaction score
6,779
Location
White Bluff, TN
Started my tank in Sept of 2020. By Christmas, it was almost fully stocked with soft, LPS & SPS corals. Mostly colonies and just a few frags.I believe in letting mature do it’s thing. If something is too close and recedes, we’ll, that’s what would happen in the wild. Everything seems to be thriving. The first few months, I was doing 1 gallon water changes DAILY. Now I do them 3 times a week ( every other day).
Tank is a 13.5gal Evo. No skimmer, no sump, no fuge.
I wouldn’t recommend anyone else doing it this way but I gave it a shot and couldn’t be happier.
F9449396-B20C-4D3E-9174-C66263BE6C21.jpeg
 
BRS

If Reefing was a school what letter grade do you think you would be making?

  • A

    Votes: 63 11.5%
  • B

    Votes: 245 44.6%
  • C

    Votes: 177 32.2%
  • D

    Votes: 40 7.3%
  • F

    Votes: 22 4.0%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 2 0.4%
Joes
Top