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

Powertool-2010

Community Member
View Badges
Joined
Sep 30, 2018
Messages
26
Reaction score
8
No skimmer, no filter socks, refugium only, populated with gha caulerpa and some other unknown algae. Chaeto doesn't seem to grow as prolifically. Also DIYed most of everything... Lights, hood, sump, auto top off system, soon to come auto water change system. Also I have no problem doing things slow... Actually it was probably more of a problem going slow. Was having problems keeping enough nutrients because I hadn't gotten fish into my system until well after I set it up and put corals in it... Oh well lessons learned on that point.
 

Jposch

New Member
View Badges
Joined
Sep 17, 2015
Messages
16
Reaction score
6
Crushed oyster shells substrate, metal halides, 100% soft coral, only an annual water change (which is not too uncommon) no socks, floss, etc. No skimmer! I run the halides 15hrs. A day. Temp steady at 83.5F° ozone injected 24/7 @50mg/hr. Was running 100mg/hr. But ozoninator died, and spare us only 50mg. Ozone runs into a homemade pressurized pvc reactor full of CPR biobale crap. Going to replace the sand though. I don't like that the oyster shells get encrusted with coralline. The dark substrate reduces reflected light and the coral grows slower.
 

Attachments

  • 20210324_055634.jpg
    20210324_055634.jpg
    200.5 KB · Views: 14
  • 20201206_221708.jpg
    20201206_221708.jpg
    128 KB · Views: 12

IndianReefGuy

Community Member
View Badges
Joined
Feb 13, 2019
Messages
34
Reaction score
17
Location
South Florida- Palm Beach
Corals are the most important component of filtration for removing DIN and DIP. SPonges are the most important component of filtration for removing labile hydrophilic and hydrophobic DOC. Equipment only needed for water movement and light.
Clarify please ... DIN /DIP/ DOC ... disolved nitrates, phosphates, organics?? If that is the common vernacular , then I don’t disagree as I’ve seen those being needed in my own tanks for their life cycle / reproduction etc...
 

IndianReefGuy

Community Member
View Badges
Joined
Feb 13, 2019
Messages
34
Reaction score
17
Location
South Florida- Palm Beach
No skimmer, no filter socks, refugium only, populated with gha caulerpa and some other unknown algae. Chaeto doesn't seem to grow as prolifically. Also DIYed most of everything... Lights, hood, sump, auto top off system, soon to come auto water change system. Also I have no problem doing things slow... Actually it was probably more of a problem going slow. Was having problems keeping enough nutrients because I hadn't gotten fish into my system until well after I set it up and put corals in it... Oh well lessons learned on that point.
I too run no skimmer, just a small refugium in the sump, but chaeto and Calerpa does great , nitrates stay between 2-5 (Salifert) po4 usually .09-.2 (Hanna) ... but when those nutrients are high and ca/alk are 400+/ 9.8+ I see the most polyp extension ... and assume the most potential for growth.
 

Timfish

Crusty Old Salt
View Badges
Joined
Jul 22, 2012
Messages
903
Reaction score
1,225
Location
Austin, TX
Clarify please ... DIN /DIP/ DOC ... disolved nitrates, phosphates, organics?? If that is the common vernacular , then I don’t disagree as I’ve seen those being needed in my own tanks for their life cycle / reproduction etc...
The carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus cycles are more complex than I'm presenting here but this should help show some of the complexity we are dealing with.

Carbon is divided into Particulate Organic Carbon (POC), Dissolved Organic Carbon (DOC), and Dissolved Inorganic Carbon, (DIC).
- DOC is a very complex subject. It is sometimes seen subdivided into Labile, Semi-Labile and refractory DOC
Particulate Organic Carbon is particles over a certain size (roughly .5 microns, I didn't go down this rabbit hole very far).
--Labile DOC is easily consumed by microbial processes. For reef systems the labile DOC released by macro
algae promote heterotrophic (I think of it as oxygen consuming) microbial processes and is found to promote pathogenic shifts in coral microbiomes while labile DOC released by coraline algae and corals promotes autotrophic (I think of it as oxygen enriching) microbial processes.
--Semi-Refractory DOC is a small fraction of the total, accessable to some microorganisms.
--Refractory DOC is generally unavailable for microbial processes. Research has shown though, the labile DOC from macro algae can be used by heterotrophic microbial processes to completely remove all DOC.

-DIC is for us reefers is "simpler". It's Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Bicarbonate (HCO3) and Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3)

Nitrogen is found as free nitrogen (N2), Particulate Organic Nitrogen (PON), Dissolved Organic Nitrogen (DON) and Dissolved Inorganic Carbon (DIN).
-N2 is used by diazotrophs in the coral microbiome to make nitrates that may be used bu the corals
-PON is particles above a certain size. Feeding corals particulate stuff has species specific responses.
-DON includes amino acids and urea and is an important source for nitrogen for corals and is preferred to nitrates -DIN includes ammonia/ammonium, nitrites and nitrates. Corals prefer ammonia over nitrates. (I think it's
important to note we are only testing for DIN.)

Phosphorus include Particulate Organic Phosphorus (POP), Dissolved Organic Phosphorus and Dissolved Inorganic Phosphorus (PIP).
-POP is particulates over a certain size.
-DOP includes phospholipids and is an important source of phosphorus for corals.
-DIP or orthophosphate or PO4 is an important source of phosphorus for corals (This is also the only form of phosphorus we are testing for).

Here's some of the refferences I've collected if you want to dig into it more. Rohwer's "Coral Reefs in the Microbial Seas is an excellent introduction to the roles of DOC in moderating the microbial processes on reefs.

Forest Rohwer "Coral Reefs in the Microbial Seas"

Changing Seas - Mysterious Microbes

Nitrogen cycling in hte coral holobiont

Richard Ross "What's up with phosphate"


DOC stuff

Indirect effects of algae on coral: algae‐mediated, microbe‐induced coral mortality
Coral seperated from algae with a .02 µm filter die. Treatment with aampicillan prevents death.

Influence of coral and algal exudates on microbially mediated reef metabolism.
Coral DOC improves oxygen (autotrophy), algae DOC reduces oxygen (heterotrophy).

Role of elevated organic carbon levels and microbial activity in coral mortality

Effects of Coral Reef Benthic Primary Producers on Dissolved Organic Carbon and Microbial Activity
Algae releases significantly more DOC into the water than coral.

Pathologies and mortality rates caused by organic carbon and nutrient stressors in three Caribbean coral species.
Starch and sugars (doc) caused coral death but not high nitrates, phosphates or ammonium.

Visualization of oxygen distribution patterns caused by coral and algae

Biological oxygen demand optode analysis of coral reef-associated microbial communities exposed to algal exudates
Exposure to exudates derived from turf algae stimulated higher oxygen drawdown by the coral-associated bacteria.

Microbial ecology: Algae feed a shift on coral reefs

Coral and macroalgal exudates vary in neutral sugar composition and differentially enrich reef bacterioplankton lineages.

Sugar enrichment provides evidence for a role of nitrogen fixation in coral bleaching

Elevated ammonium delays the impairment of the coral-dinoflagellate symbiosis during labile carbon pollution
(here's an argument for maintaining heavy fish loads if you're carbon dosing)

Excess labile carbon promotes the expression of virulence factors in coral reef bacterioplankton

Unseen players shape benthic competition on coral reefs.

Allelochemicals Produced by Brown Macroalgae of the Lobophora Genus Are Active against Coral Larvae and Associated Bacteria, Supporting Pathogenic Shifts to Vibrio Dominance.

Macroalgae decrease growth and alter microbial community structure of the reef-building coral, Porites astreoides.

Macroalgal extracts induce bacterial assemblage shifts and sublethal tissue stress in Caribbean corals.

Biophysical and physiological processes causing oxygen loss from coral reefs.

Global microbialization of coral reefs
DDAM Proven

Coral Reef Microorganisms in a Changing Climate, Fig 3

Ecosystem Microbiology of Coral Reefs: Linking Genomic, Metabolomic, and Biogeochemical Dynamics from Animal Symbioses to Reefscape Processes


Because sponges are essential players in the carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus cycle(s) on reefs here's some links to research done with them.

Element cycling on tropical coral reefs.
This is Jasper de Geoij's ground breaking research on reef sponges. (The introduction is in Dutch but the content is in English.)

Sponge symbionts and the marine P cycle

Phosphorus sequestration in the form of polyphosphate by microbial symbionts in marine sponges
(Chris Kenndall had a problem with low PO4 and had problems raising it with Neophos. Samples sent off showed phosphorus crystals developing in some of the sponges in his system accounting for at least some of his systems consumption.)

Differential recycling of coral and algal dissolved organic matter via the sponge loop.
Sponges treat DOC from algae differently than DOC from corals

Surviving in a Marine Desert The Sponge Loop Retains Resources Within Coral Reefs
Dissolved organic carbon and nitrogen are quickly processed by sponges and released back into the reef food web in hours as carbon and nitrogen rich detritus.

Natural Diet of Coral-Excavating Sponges Consists Mainly of Dissolved Organic Carbon (DOC)

The Role of Marine Sponges in Carbon and Nitrogen Cycles of COral Reefs and Nearshore Environments.

And since we're discussing favorable and not so favorable bacteria here's a paper looking at how different corals and polyps are influencing the bacteria in the water column.

Aura-biomes are present in the water layer above coral reef benthic macro-organisms


Nitrogen Stuff

Ammonium Uptake by Symbiotic and Aposymbiotic Reef Corals

Amino acids a source of nitrogen for corals

Urea a source of nitrogen for corals

Diazotrpophs a source of nitrogen for corals

Context Dependant Effects of Nutrient Loading on the Coral-Algal Mutualism


Phosphorus Stuff

An Experimental Mesocosm for Longterm Studies of Reef Corals

Phosphate Deficiency:
Nutrient enrichment can increase the susceptibility of reef corals to bleaching:

Ultrastructural Biomarkers in Symbiotic Algae Reflect the Availability of Dissolved Inorganic Nutrients and Particulate Food to the Reef Coral Holobiont:

Phosphate deficiency promotes coral bleaching and is reflected by the ultrastructure of symbiotic dinoflagellates

Effects of phosphate on growth and skeletal density in the scleractinian coral Acropora muricata: A controlled experimental approach

High phosphate uptake requirements of the scleractinian coral Stylophora pistillata

Phosphorus metabolism of reef organisms with algal symbionts


Sponge symbionts and the marine P cycle

Phosphorus sequestration in the form of polyphosphate by microbial symbionts in marine sponges

Coral farming: effects of light, water motion and artificial foods

Comparing the capacity of five different dietary treatments to optimise growth and nutritional composition in two scleractinian corals

Elucidating an optimal diet for captive Acropora corals - ScienceDirect


Here's fig 4 from "Phosphorus Metabolism of Reef Organisms with ALgal Simbionts"
DIP DOP POP.jpg

Here's Fig. 3 from "Context Dependant Effects of Nutrient Loading on the Coral-Algal Mutualism" Context‐dependent effects of nutrient loading on the coral–algal mutualism(1).png
 
Last edited:

JohnTheReefer

Community Member
View Badges
Joined
Mar 7, 2021
Messages
73
Reaction score
200
Location
20010
I like to run a skimmer that is rated well over the water volume of the tank and do large water changes weekly. Over the years I have grown to despise powerheads of any type. Only sumps and returns for me! No filter socks or mechanical filtration.
 

stanleo

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Jan 11, 2014
Messages
1,465
Reaction score
1,909
Location
Statesville, NC
The only thing I think I am unconventional in is that I refuse to quarantine or use hospital tanks or use any chemicals other than dosing for calcium and the other elements. I firmly believe that a fish's own immune system is strong enough to fight off anything that may be lurking in a tank. As long as the fish are well fed and relatively stress free, they can usually beat anything and I think using quarantine tanks and hospital tanks and dosing chemicals to try and control nutrients only adds to the fish's stress and makes it harder for them to heal.

The craziest thing I have ever done has to be when I took over my husband's 55 gallon that was a disgusting mess of algea and broke it all down with the fish and few surviving corals in a bucket, scrubbed all the rocks with a wire brush in tank water, rinsed out the sand, and replaced 90 % of the equipment and water in the tank. The tank worked pretty after that and the only fish I lost was a yellow tang. I did all of that in one day and that was my first venture into keeping a reef tank.
 

jeffchapok

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Dec 31, 2018
Messages
1,064
Reaction score
1,430
I don't quarantine or perform regular water changes, only 2 or 3 times per year. And I'm not even sure that's necessary, I just do it because you're "supposed to".
 
BRS

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

  • A

    Votes: 64 11.4%
  • B

    Votes: 248 44.1%
  • C

    Votes: 185 32.9%
  • D

    Votes: 41 7.3%
  • F

    Votes: 22 3.9%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 2 0.4%
Your Reef
Top