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Old 10th June 2011, 09:29 AM   #41
el zone
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still going

This pico vase is still growing, producing frags of delicate acroporids and various stony corals for seeding anywhere...thought it would be a neat update to show the science is long term, and repeatable, Ive coached about fifty more vases online and its turning out to be an ideal, balanced system even for first timers. Will update pics tonite after work, its somewhere about 70 months old now, longest running pico reef worldwide still.

I thought this belonged in a science forum because it addresses the fundamental design characteristics needed for non technical types to raise, produce and export coral biomass from a $150 system.
Brandon
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Old 10th June 2011, 10:37 AM   #42
Olowkow
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I'm not sure anyone managed to post your YouTube link, so here it is:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XOsitYhihc

I had a 70 gallon marine tank for many years with 7 to 10 fish. Lots of fun, and lots of upkeep. I never had live coral, but I knew a guy out east who grew coral on a big scale, huge tanks and pumps. This is quite interesting, never saw anything like it.
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Old 10th June 2011, 10:52 AM   #43
ellindsey
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I wish I could run a pico reef like this. Just don't have the time and money for another hobby right now. Still, I appreciate the work that goes into one of these little systems.

It does occur to me that in a system this small, there is the possibility for rapid shifts in water chemistry if something gets out of balance. How much day-to-day testing and maintenance do you need to do when setting one of these up?
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Old 10th June 2011, 12:44 PM   #44
el zone
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hey thanks for that link!! I think we needed that.

ellindsey it turns out there is zero water testing, none, Ive had two of these over the last ten years and they do not require testing like large tanks, here's why-

-the water changes are once or twice weekly, and they are 100% of the water unlike common reefkeeping knowledge that would say thats harmful (corals at low tide in certain areas on the reef are flushed constantly and sometimes left emersed for up to 8 hours daily, this is kid gloves compared to that) depending on whats in the vase, and this is anticipatory to the organics and waste that will build up in the system, so there is no after the fact testing. The water changes do not have to be weekly, Ive just packed so much life in there it needs to eat that often, and we only feed just before a water change (a key trick listed below). these systems can load about half as much coral and get away with the standard twice monthly work we've all been raised on since the 80's.

We learned after years of use with these that unpredictable things do not happen in tanks that receive full water changes, and when the keeper can visually track each animal in the system to ensure there is no death/decay of higher organisms ammonia spikes absolutely do not occur. Its easy in a small system to keep track of animals...in my example videos, the only motile organisms are one crab and one shrimp. Additionally, one or both of these organisms can die in the vase and it still will not kill the system (thats happened on earlier testing models) so there is an accounting for a weekend death spree when we are out skiing lol

We also learned in early testing that small reefs are more susceptible to nerf football attacks than large ones, and home ac outages (no buffer ability, the only downside of the pico reef aquarium) But this is different than being unpredictable, they are actually more predictable than any larger reef because the water volume is switched out and all levels reset back to freshly mixed water levels at water change time, the large tanks that cannot practically switch out all the water have the trouble because one or more variants begin to come out of line, so we have to constantly test and dose to correct. people assumed this same system would be harder in the one gallon tank, but it was an easy fix.

What I found in pico reef work was that a simple reversal of much of the old dogma regarding reefkeeping made it easy to run. Normal reefkeeping says to feed a small amount of food daily, based on the needs of the tank. This is wrong for a pico reef, it will saturate the sandbed and water column with ever-increasing degrading wastes and it will become eutrophic (algae dominated) within 8 months.

my vase is packed full to the hilt, its meant to test long term items like biological oxygen demand, allelopathic chemical and physical warfare among corals etc, so I change it twice a week on Sundays and Wednesdays because a one gallon water change is so easy it takes one minute each time. Just before each water change, I have fed the tank frozen reef food an hour before in generous amounts and let every coral, benthic organism etc feed to the max. The follow up water change catches the feed right as its starting to become broken down by systemic bacteria; the nitrate cycle that tends to pump small reefs with nitrate in no time (leads to algae domination)

it was such a simple solution to feed the one gallon vase better than a 100 gallon tank without poisoning it; never feed without the follow up water change. a simple reversal.

the next conundrum of micro reefkeeping was how do you prevent wild salinity fluctuations? You either seal the tank fully, so it doesnt evaporate, or you seal it partially while all along accounting for gas exchange that is vital in all submerged systems. this makes the one gallon tank more stable in terms of salinity than any larger tank, because topoff is either totally stopped or reduced.

Don't know if I posted this already but google the online article "the history of pico reef biology" for some nerd reading.

Lastly, people's one gallon reefs don't live past a year usually because they are not dosing them for calcium and alk. They think it will burn a tiny reef to do so, and it will, but not with a certain technique.

when new, the reef is not waste-laden and oxygen consumptive...its clean, shiny, and lets the keeper get away with just about anything provided some basic care methods are ran. but as the tank ages, combined CO2 respiration from the animals, corals, bacteria etc accumulate and create a nightly carbonic acid cycle that really begins to stress the tank right around the 8th month mark. The solution is two fold; either dose the tank with CO2 binding chemicals (the alkalinity portion of two part dosers) or change the water more often now to compensate with export.

Since prior reefkeeping knowledge was full of mistruths, average keepers think they can't increase water change frequency and amounts so the reef dies and they chalk it up as impossible anyway.

I choose dosing, don't want any more water change work. The dosing is a highly specific timing and amount of C Balance two part calcium and alk additive, specifically in the morning before lights come on, and this addresses the imbalance of the nighly respiration cycle where no photosynthesis was sequestering carbon dioxide out of solution (eventually carbonic acid to drive down ph) additionally, the increasing coral biomass is commanding alkalinity from the water as base skeleton so we had to find a mechanism to address this loss, beyond basic water changes which most people don't do correctly anyway in the small reef tank (they change partial water amounts, allows waste buildup by 8th month)

my vase isn't required to be treated like this, commonly I leave town for a week and let it run untouched. These are just the methods I use when at home to get the system ready for self sustenance as needed, its incredibly flexible and it breaks every rule we've ever known about reefkeeping, thats why the dude on page one was so mad at me lol.

thanks for being so cool
B
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Old 10th June 2011, 07:23 PM   #45
el zone
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including a test shot taken a few mos ago

this shows how coral will grow tighter and tighter in the vase, most literally touching, because some form of desensitization has occurred rendering the usual nematocyst/terpene/chemical and physical warfare mechanism unneeded.

when it outgrows the vase the solution is simple.

a hammer and a bigger vase, $25 for a new vase to get me into the next decade.

The sandbed is a critical link in the system, provides substrate for larval production from the thousands upon thousands of resident insects and if feeds the corals in the natural manner. Its highly possible that this sandbed in a one gallon tank (6 inches deep) is reducing the nitrate molecule to gassed nitrogen, a phenomena reefkeepers seek but rarely find, as the nitrate measures for the dirtiest of water samples from this vase only read about 8 ppm. Usually, larger nano reefs in the 5 and 10 gallon range fare that well with even the best export.
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Old 10th June 2011, 07:36 PM   #46
el zone
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So if anyone decides to set up a vase like this here's the exact method. lets you know what you w be in for, its really easy. we can track the repeatability of the science right here.

Get vase, fill bottom with caribsea wet pack live sand that was rinsed well. Add three pounds of very high quality live rock arranged as you please. Follow the build steps from the google article mentioned above so the lid will fit and the incoming lines for the airstone and the heater will make sense.

At the time I started this thread, LED reef lights were not common. Nowadays you can get a simple light for 100 dollars that will run the setup, a par30 LED reef light from marinedepot.com (usually reef lighting is $200+)

you screw it into the base of a normal light bulb receptacle. This means no complicated ballasting etc, a problem in reef lighting. No fire hazard either. cool running.

keep the tank at salinity .023 and temp 78 degrees at all times, if this is off other things will be off.

Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights (or similar timing) change the water 100% when the tank is old. When its new, just weekly will suffice. only feed the tank frozen cyclopeeze marine food, nothing else, an hour before the water change, no other time. There are other feeds, but the nutrient index in this kind is right for our size tank.

After a few weeks of running to ensure you have salinity controlled and temp, add some basic coral frags that are aquacultured (produced in tanks, not taken from the ocean, all my corals are aquacultured it legitimizes the experiment and no one can get onto you, even live rock is aquacultured from places like ipsf.com)

post back for dosing ideas at that point, its another paragraph lol
there is nothing to the science other than this, its all in the article for build pics.
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Old 11th June 2011, 08:47 AM   #47
Amapola
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Hi el zone - great to hear that little tiny tank is still doing so well.

Interesting about the 100% water changes because of course you always hear how bad that is. I keep fresh water fishes (Australian rainbows) and the one thing I learned is, change your water - a LOT of your water - and do it every week! So I am not surprised to hear that a twice a week water change helps to keep your little tanks healthy and strong. I would dread to change out my 55 gallon at 100% though! And I too love those new LED lights. They are *awesome*. I was never so happy the day I threw out my old flourescents.

When you do your water changes, do you get it up to temp first? And are you using RO for your water? I am lucky... we live way out in the boonies so we have a well and the water parameters are pretty darn good. I sure don't have to worry about things like chlorine added to the water. It's fairly hard water but hard is good...

My tanks are filled with plants to help with the oxygenation and to keep the water clean. Do you use organisms in a similar way in your system? Something that likes to suck up all the nitrates or something? Of course on mine, I have to harvest out some of the plants that get a little too enthusiastic in there. I would imagine you'd have yours a little more stable than that.

What about keeping the glass clean? Any problems with diatoms growing on the glass etc?

Beautiful tanks, good job keeping them going!
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Old 11th June 2011, 11:19 AM   #48
marplots
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I'm not, but I'm reading this with interest anyhow.

Did you answer the question about where the calcium comes from? (I'm just doing in's and out's for a sealed tank.)
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Old 11th June 2011, 05:09 PM   #49
el zone
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Hi friends

the calcium comes from the product C Balance, from marinedepot.com

32 oz bottles, one calcium and one alkalinity component. They must be added a specific time and amount or it will kill a tank this small. Some small reef keepers choose not supplement calcium and alk, they choose to do water changes only since freshly made saltwater depending on brand has the right amount of calcium

thats a weak method however, and leads the tank towards pH instability as it ages, i experimented with change-only approaches and they aren't as good as c balance dosing in my opinion.


dosing is required to achieve the results I get, water changes alone wont do it but that method will work for quite a while before algae crashing the system. the c balance timed addition yields 450-470 calcium and 10-12 dkH alkalinity, which is specifically algae restrictive compared to avg water change leves of 410 calcium and 3-6 dkh alkalinity (or water hardness)

There are myriad approaches to dosing a reef tank with calcium, this is one of many that works. The reason I use this method is because of familiarity, I know the dose of c balance for any nano reef based on gallonage alone and large water changes that quickly reset values close to equillibrium...no water testing needed. not ever having to test a reef tank for calcium and alk is a big deal, most think you have to. Its the old way.


Im glad to hear you keep planted tanks we have that in common you saw the big 75 gallon turtle planted tank at the end of the vid~that turtle was a neat swimmer, almost always underwater (called a stinkpot turtle)

Our systems differ in nitrogen management because mine is focused on outflow/export and big water changes vs binding which is the bulk nutrient limiter in your system because of plants. Since my reefs are so small, small enough to exclude the usual algae grazers kept in a reef tank, I have to starve it in other ways to get the same look large reefs do. plants are hard to keep in my system because I focus on keeping algae out of the tiny reef environment, its a tricky setup.

I could see large water changes disturbing an old/eutrophic system where the animals are teetering on life and then the blast of cool fresh water stresses them out and they die from weakness. That was a life spent unadaptive and weak anyway, something was bound to get em. I found if you just train your new tank to take full changes, anytime you want, you take command over the tank in many ways and produce hardier organisms.

if you can please anyone post pics of their aquariums we can troubleshoot and have good science info on this thread about tanks.

You are going to think Im crazy but hydrogen peroxide is the workhorse of my reef, it solves 100% of any algae problem and not enough people know about it. Its amazing, has uses in planted tank and reef tanks alike.

For the green haze that forms on an old reef tank where the light strikes the glass, usually you have to razor scrape it as components of it are calcareous, you just rub a paper towel soaked in peroxide across it when the tank is drained for a water change. You do all the algae work when the tank is empty, awaiting refill, thats the trick for algae care.

All reefs have algae or they dont grow coral, algae are in coral relatively speaking. The balance is kept in management by reef grazers like fish and various herbivorous organisms, and our tanks are so small many of them are excluded. When a tuft or green hair algae pops up next to some corals, instead of watching it slowly wreck my tank like most do, passively, I drain the tank and shoot fire on the algae with a cig lighter. For some reason that instantly kills the algae, and the large water change was refreshing as practicers know...such a simple solution to algae management and nothing that you will read in books and online forums where 20 year old information is resold and resold.

Since someone online turned me onto peroxide usage I stopped burning although thats a viable method as well, here is my video demonstration:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hojuv2u5oS4

To use peroxide, don't add it to the water although thats an option in some neglected tank circumstances. You catch the algae when its tiny, and when the tank is empty (or the rock lifted to the surface to expose the algae) you drip a couple drops peroxide on the algae, it will naturally wick among the fronds and you wait two mins then refill the tank, or rinse off the rock frag in saltwater outside your tank then add back to the main display.

Two mins of peroxide sitting on the algae will bake it white in two days and it will fall off, so tanks that are wrecked with algae are so 1998 as the solution has been found and its in one's medicine cabinet or shirt pocket lol.
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Old 20th July 2011, 02:50 PM   #50
jdc111
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1/2 gal reef info

This is pretty awesome, I'm fascinated by the .5 gallon reef tank. Sorry if I hit you with a bunch of questions on an older thread, I just found the forum last night.

I have a 29 gal reef tank that I really enjoy, just not much luck with coral so far due the difficulty keeping all the parameters right. I kept freshwater tanks for almost a decade that were just about bulletproof, but the saltwater switch has been a big challenge.

You said it was a betta tank you bought? Is the lid sealed on with silicone, or how do you access it? How often have you had to replace the shrimp, or do they live for that long?
The vase tank doesn't have the powerhead inside, you figured out it wasn't required in the newer version? What about the refugium, did that go away in the vase too?

What did you coat that DIY algae rare earth magnet with to keep the ferrite material from leaching out, if that's a concern?
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Old 26th July 2011, 07:17 AM   #51
el zone
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thanks for responding Im glad the email notifications worked this time!

The use or non use of a refugium is incidental to success. A trend in reefkeeping for the past 20 years has been someone inventing/installing a new kind of filter system, finding success, then either proclaiming its the best way to do things or the people who set up similar systems claim it, then a fad develops until the next phase comes in.
Here's the phases I can recall since the early 90's, late 80's onward
-saltwater with bare skeletons of coral, fish focused tanks and skimmers
-trickle filters, bioball filters and huge wet dry systems that processed internal tank waste well but accumulated nitrate as an endpoint
-deep sand beds in the 90's were said to reduce nitrate and make it stop accumulating. variances in tank design made this hard to repeat, impossible to repeat in smaller tanks.
-refugiums and plant based binder systems that took up elemental waste from the water column, as it degraded in the water column (vs a skimmer that pulls out whole particle waste before it degrades)

The trick to running any of my pico reefs, or scaling up the success to larger tanks, doesn't lie in the filtration approach but in the water change and dosing approach. The biggest lie we were ever told in saltwater is that large water changes are harmful and will upset the balance of the ecosystem/bacteria.

People who work with generalized aerobic bacteria for a living only wish they were as easy to kill by pouring clean fresh saltwater on them.

Adjusting tank params by individual dosing of calcium, alk, mg, I, etc is one way to keep a reef if the keeper refuses to do large water changes. By large I mean as much as you are willing to mix up at each water change, up to all of it. As impractical as that may be in a large aquarium, the closer to it you can get, the better. Weekly water changes of 5 gallons or more is an excellent way to stay on top of params vs the individual dosing and constant water testing boring approach. You can simply force a reef tank to run indefinately proportional to the amount, frequency and thoroughness of each water change. The less you do, the more expertise is required to keep the corals. THe more water changes you do in large volume, the easier it is to keep the corals and fish.

The only water params you need to match on the large water changes are temp and specific gravity of the change water. Just use a very high quality salt mix and change water to the degree you want your reef to run without problems.

Lighter stocking of fish helps in the simple method, there is a host of processes that come from fish in the captive reef aquarium that makes keeping the tank equipment free much harder. Can you post pics of your tank here so we can see details that may not pop out in the description?

The vase was easy to run with an airstone so no pump was needed, in 2001 I was experimenting with several different kinds of systems to advance pico reef work and the vase turned out to be the simplest. Its still running, there is no longer running pico reef in the world, part of why I make these threads is to look for examples using better methods.

the sealed tank can take on many forms. There is an access hole drilled in the glass, it remains corked until feeding/water change time when a small hose is inserted in the hole and all the reef work is done without even having to lift the lid! my lid was seated onto seals but could be lifted. Some people replicating the sealed tank glued on the lids with silicone, then cut them free occasionally for large tank servicing but mostly they use the access port. either way works, there is not set way to do it. I simply started the first one and like other aspects of the hobby others made their own take.

My particular sealed tank was an experiment in reef tanks that do not evaporate. The vase is a partial evaporator, thats a key difference between the two because the vase has to vent the air pressure of the bubbles underneath. The sealed tank used a powerhead and a plant refugium to make oxygen so there was no pressure gradient to control.

Many variations of the sealed tank have been shown to work now, one simple method is not even using the plant refugium. You set up the tank and leave an inch of air above the water, under the sealed lid, then you just pull the cork every few days and blow into the reef to refresh the airspace, it goes another few days until the next refresh, but it still doesn't evaporate.

In every one of these systems housing ultra-delicate corals for years, I change all of the water weekly (or any time I feed)

The corals don't mind sitting out of water for a little bit, that was another lie we were told. THey were made out to be far more delicate than is true. I don't stock the delicate sponges that truly don't like to be emersed.

In tanks housing fish, a full water change won't work because they will be flapping around on the substrate getting stressed. The best you can do in a large tank with fish is change out 50% of the water as often as you can stand to do it.


If we can see pics of your tank + know its age, I can ascertain alot about your calcium and alk params based on the coral growth and the coralline algae loading that should be present in the system. If there is a problem keeping params, we can fix that no problem right here by simply changing way more water when you do changes and by using C Balance doser from marinedepot.com, its a two part doser I have memorized for use across systems just from using it for a decade. You can add the doser 3x per week in the mornings before lights on and combine this with the huge water changes and your reef will work exactly like mine does.

Its not possible to treat coral in a vase one way and have that not work in a larger tank. The only changes we'll make is scaling down the work with a specific timing right for your tank, since full water changes aren't possible.

Do you have a skimmer on your tank?

Last edited by el zone; 26th July 2011 at 07:21 AM.
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Old 26th July 2011, 07:25 AM   #52
el zone
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changing 20% of the water every two weeks (a freshwater tank standard for nitrate bound systems) is the reason you don't see many small reef tanks as old as mine.
They die from algae or cyanobacteria loading or the keeper takes them down because these pests smother everything in the tank within about a year at best.

Doing the exact opposite of what science told us for twenty years is the reason pico reefs exist in the tens of thousands now. Im still trying to get most of them to stop doing partial water changes so we can have tens of thousands of years old reefs, a noah's ark of coral repository to reseed the real reefs one day, hopefully.
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Old 26th July 2011, 11:14 AM   #53
marplots
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More pictures please!
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Old 26th July 2011, 04:13 PM   #54
el zone
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sorry my account is out of space lol no more pics but I'll link you to this hefty thread with them

http://www.nano-reef.com/forums/inde...+youtube+video
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Old 31st July 2011, 01:05 PM   #55
jdc111
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Something about your idea is really resonating with me, I really enjoy the incredible diversity you find in saltwater aquariums. I'm not talking about the $15-$60 fish and corals, but just the crazy amount of microfauna that just appear out of thin air. Plus, whenever we take a family trip to the coast (maybe twice a year), my wife let's me bring a bucket of whatever I can scavenge from the rocks back home. It's amazing what is native to the Texas coast (I always assumed Florida had a monopoly on vibrant marine life, but you can find a lot if you look carefully)

I used to keep freshwater tanks, and water volume is really a determining factor for amount of maintenance, in my experience. By lightly stocking, running a sump to keep a constant display water level, and doing large water changes, I could enjoy the tank 95% of the time and just devote an afternoon once a month to an intense bucket brigade of water changing nearly 70 gal at a time. The large water volume helped keep the fish happy, and the water changes were basically free, minus a little water treatment solution to get rid of chlorine, and some freshwater aquarium salt to help keep the fish healthier. Therefore, I found that water volume was inversely proportional to aquarium maintenance(ie my time), with cost being negligible after the fixed investment on equipment.

I recently downgraded from a 70gal freshwater tank with 20gal sump that was really lightly stocked to a smaller 29gal saltwater cube tank with 20gal sump, a big skimmer, a refugium with chaetomorpha, and around 40lbs of live rock. I started with a sand base, removed it for a while, then replaced it recently with a crushed coral base. The tank has been set up and running since December, and it's been far from maintenance free.

The main disadvantages of a saltwater tank have been: expense of synthetic salt mixes, RO water, live rock, skimmer, and constant top-offs to maintain salinity(almost daily). I have very little in the way of livestock anymore, only some gulf coast warty rock anemones, ghost shrimp, and several hermit crabs as a cleanup crew. There are various other inverts that hide in the crevices, enough to keep me interested, but I feed lightly once each week, and every piece is hand fed. Algae and bacteria grows at a ridiculous pace in a saltwater aquarium, so it's been very challenging to maintain a clean looking system. I haven't figured out where the excess nutrients are coming from. In short, I have found that, even with a relatively small tank (29gal is a "nano" I believe) that water volume is directly proportional to aquarium maintenance, and that cost is proportional to water volume.

So with a limited budget and time (which has some value as well, I'm sure you would agree), it seems that a larger saltwater tank is a big money and time pit. Even for a modest-sized tank, I have been disappointed with the results, as I am much less apt to perform a large water change at a regular interval, with 200gal worth of synthetic salt costing $50, plus RO water ranging from $0.25 to $1 a gallon. I have experimented with tap water, the parameters are extremely variable, so I've started going towards RO only to see if it will help with excess nutrients.

My tank is far from beautiful with some nice flavors of cyano and diatoms flourishing at the moment, as you can tell from the picture. An inexpensive powerhead failure on our week long vacation killed pretty much everything in the tank, so this is the salvaged version of what was formerly thriving with microsponges and brittle starts, detrivores, etc.

I applaud you for thinking outside the box, a small reef makes a lot of sense, I like the idea of a small complete water change, I think a gallon a week is pretty easy when compared to 2gal every other day of topoff water, biweekly 20+gallon partial water changes, liverock cleaning, etc.
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Old 1st August 2011, 07:34 PM   #56
el zone
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that tank is really clean! Id say the tiny amounts of primary production you are seeing is normal for a tank using mega healthy live rock which is quite the bioload in and of itself.

The communities of animals you can see in small detail on that rock are Ant Farms 2011, unending interactions going on in plain view I can tell that rock is really dense with life.

Its not like pet store live rock.
plus there are spores/progenerative masses in that live rock that will give you endless sponge colonies and sabellid worm hitchhikers for years to come. Indefinately.

even though we haven't chatted before we have tank keeping standards in common, I too kept a lot of big planted tanks in the 90's using the same methods. the only reason I didn't start pico reef work sooner was because it was sold to me as impossible so why try.
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Old 8th August 2011, 08:21 PM   #57
el zone
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Just wanted to post this video update of several years in the vase, its not hd or anything as its my cell phone but it does show the pics in live action taken a few weeks ago

at the top of the vase you can see the underside of the sps coral montipora digitata, which exhibits a growth-ring structure like that of a tree.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JIwyXymjyrk

Last edited by el zone; 8th August 2011 at 09:22 PM.
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Old 8th August 2011, 08:25 PM   #58
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here's some




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Old 8th August 2011, 08:27 PM   #59
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the ring structure:



Last edited by el zone; 8th August 2011 at 08:35 PM.
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Old 8th August 2011, 08:34 PM   #60
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so....a hopeful goal of the thread was to see that rule breaking in science is legit at any scale. The system is not supposed to work, much less live longer than most reeftanks you can find online. this reeftank has the highest coral loading per unit of water of any reeftank you can find online as well, the keys are in the detail and these giant macro pics show some of that


the baddest home aquarium is not a big technical feat it turns out...
I thought the irony of presenting a seemingly total opposite but with hidden facets of success would make for a branch of science you don't see everday. how to make corals grow anywhere you want them to without fail, no complexities.

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Old 8th August 2011, 08:42 PM   #61
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imagine having 20 of these vases aged and ready to reseed a given area of fiji after an el nino spike has wiped out everything. you fly over with a plane, toss them out, they break upon impact and reseed the reef with the full complement of micro and macro organisms (obviously you would stock the bowl with the correct species) grinding action of the waves and substrate will reduce the glass to powder in no time, it will reassimilate in silica systems really I feel the vases can be seeds when and where needed.

the point of these systems is bulletproof coral farming. Take the variables out such that someone who has never kept nor read about saltwater can follow 20 steps and absolutely have the same coral growth.

keeping the system in positive biomass balance was a requirement, vs a consumptive approach common to aquarium care where specimens are replaced to maintain the look of the tank.
All the corals you can see in the pics are aquacultured, they aren't ripped from nature. The live rock was but its not hard to get the same effects using cultured ceramic rock which is not environmentally impactful.

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Old 18th August 2011, 07:50 AM   #62
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mini-ecosystem

That's a beautiful tank, beats the plastic flowers you usually see in those vases for sure.

I've been toying with the idea of a semi-sealed cylindrical vase tank, maybe incorporating some type of an unlit cryptic zone underneath the sandbed (with some means of circulating water to/from the main display partition, such as several drinking straw tubes through the sand bed to the bottom section). My ideal is having the reef display, a refugium, a sandbed, and a cryptic zone in a pico tank. I've been trying to brainstorm a way to get all these biotopes with their respective fauna in a pico tank that still looks good.

I'm not sure what the effect of leaving a little water in the cryptic zone during water changes would be on the rest of the tank (to keep the sponges, etc submerged and alive). I think horizontal partitions make some sense given the sandbed provides a natural dividing line, but cleaning the glass might be impossible if algae were to develop from ambient light, so a dark wrap or cover might need to be incorporated around this zone. How to incorporate a refugium is a challenging question, given a cylindrical/round tank cross-section. I'm not expecting the cryptic zone to be much for filtration, just another layer of fascinating life to observe. The refugium is, however, a proven help, and would be a nice feature.

Any thoughts?
I'd be interested in your ideas
Attached Images
File Type: gif cylindervase.gif (13.6 KB, 255 views)
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Old 23rd August 2011, 04:51 PM   #63
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Hey jdc whats up man. Fitting that much real estate divided in the thin fluted vase will be a wonderful challenge, I think your idea is great but since its never been done on the web I can't imagine how it will turn out! It is possible though.

Now that we can see these marine aquariums aren't size restricted any longer we need people like you to continue the efforts and unfold more hidden balances in the reef. If you ever build one like that, please post on our nanos forum at reefs.org along w your post here, Id like to have that build on the forum I help out. A great collection of marine biologists and shadetree biologists/hobbyists post there.

Maybe one helpful bit of information would be the emersing part of the water change...Ive not seen any cryptic animals that mind it. Im supporting several variants of live rock sponge that do not mind emersion, add to this the sabelllid fanworms that dot every square inch of aged live rock etc.

I think they would be more productive/selected for in dark zones, even if they are occasionally emersed with your water changes.

Several partial water changes can also mimic the work of the full ones I do every week, multiple ways to skin a cat etc. see this handy calculator which takes time intervals and gallonages to tell you how often a complete changeout of water is occuring for any size tank. The more you change out old water for new in a pico reef, the longer it runs. Standard export equipment (or binding refugiums like you mentioned) can make up for water changes, but we don't have that room to work with usually so at least this helps you estimate how several partial changes over X time frame will turn over your tank:
http://www.hamzasreef.com/Contents/C...aterChange.php

try to get 100% turnover as often as you can stand to do it. Then you can input loads of food into your tank and sustain everything they once told us we couldnt. thanks for chiming in glad to stay in touch with a fellow reef aquarist with an open mind.

Hey, where's the first dude from page 1 last year, we need to get him back here and win him over. Dude prolly has a desk pico reef now at work and doesn't want to admit lol
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Old 18th September 2011, 05:39 PM   #64
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Hey el zone. I tried searching this forum for "aquarium" because I'm looking to share freshwater planted tank chatter but this was the only thread that popped up (except for a game thread.) Very cool indeed what you've managed to do, but intimidating as all hell. I have toyed with the idea of setting up a reef tank from time to time but fear that the hobby will take over my entire life (and bank account) - but the same can be said of some of my former forays into freshwater niches like discus, breeding angelfish, and general tanks that have kept my busy over the years. I suppose I have built up so much knowledge of freshwater planet tank science over the years that I feel more confident throwing money and time in that direction, but starting with marine tanks now I would be an absolute neophyte.
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Old 19th September 2011, 08:42 AM   #65
el zone
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thanks for posting!! You and I have similar backrounds, my vids show my addiction to planted tanks too!

marine tanks are such an opposite challenge, different biologically in so many ways, a few:

-co2 scrubbing vs conservation in the system (pH issues, decalcification whereas its the limiting factor for growth in a planted tank and we try to conserve it)

-detritus loading, cleanliness of the system
in the planted tank some degrading plant matrix wasn't harmful, in the marine tank detritus from reduced waste causes algae

-nutrient acquisition of the inhabitants
the planted tank keeps nitrate, phosphate and K/potassium in check in solution for direct absorbtion from the plants, we constantly dose for these elements
marine systems like to have pristinely clean water, low to no suspended waste, and access their primary nutrients from whole particles suspended in the water column (marine snow)-dissolved nutrient causes algae but we also have ways of cheating that too (peroxide above)

-sandbed/substrate waste penetration
the planted tank wants a diversity of impacted nutrients in the bed. sand stirrers, disturbances of the bed is rare to non existent in planted tanks. in marine systems, we still have the concern of detritus loading so when you see layers and layers of brown and dark materials degrading in a marine sandbed (particularly a nano reef, large tanks less affected) the care methods leading up to the evaluation have been lax or ineffective.

-chemical dosing
you already know this angle of difference...marine tanks have historically been the tinkerer's hell, but this is changing. it used to be that a marine tank keeper kept a cabinet of various dosers/testers, all half used and stained around the opening lol, a hodgepodge of stabbing in the dark to see what worked. a conglomerate of all that we've read online for better growth, less algae, etc. This is the primary reason marine tanks aren't more common/
but its changed. I own only a salinity swingarm hydrometer and a temperature probe, for ten years. no other tests, so this is what I recommend you consider if you want to start and make it last. Prepare to do most things oppositely of how we've been trained to keep marine tanks the last two decades...because it works and its much simpler when running a nano reef vs what we've been told by the keepers of large tanks (see page one of this thread for example). thats what my thread is about, how to make a nano reef tank run easier than a planted tank...

so the mitigation for all these (and more) differences is just weekly huge water changes. that solves about 95% of all the concerns you ever had with a reef tank, and all this testng/dosing/technicality that made these systems too exclusive in the past

but before we fine tune the approach, I gotta know tank sizes and how many fish you want to keep. are you a coral guy, or a fish guy etc

let me know what you plan on starting with, and we'll make it bullet proof right here for others to share!
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Old 19th September 2011, 09:44 AM   #66
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Originally Posted by el zone View Post
but before we fine tune the approach, I gotta know tank sizes and how many fish you want to keep. are you a coral guy, or a fish guy etc

let me know what you plan on starting with, and we'll make it bullet proof right here for others to share!
To be clear, I'm not a "marine guy" at all - I'm currently building a new freshwater ecosystem with various anubias (on driftwood and lava rocks) and aponogeton I pulled from other tanks. I drool over the Amano books and am looking for a good couple of carpet species that will spread out and cover the substrate - that's the best way to combat algae growth in my experience. I dose with trace minerals every few days, and I'm running CO2 24 hours (Eheim ladder, so simple and elegant) and HO compact fluorescents for a minimum of 12 hrs/day. I'm looking at introducing shrimp and otocinclus over the next few days - tempted to try Amano shrimp (pricey! and don't breed in captivity) and Cherry Reds - unfortunately the local sources aren't good (except for the otos which are pretty easy to come by) so I am looking for a good reliable online source. Also considering SAEs, with which I have had great success in the past, but when they get big enough will gobble the shrimp.

What you say about detritus loading in freshwater is generally true but even that has its limits - I've had tanks that turned from crystal clear vibrant habitats into murky brown swamps literally overnight when the phosphate load peaks. Some plants are seasonal and when they go dormant and shed their leaves big issues can develop.

Algae is of course the major problem - I prefer combating with animal life and light control but have been forced into chemical solutions from time to time. I have heard success stories with H2O2 to combat phosphate load but am skeptical. I have used various commercial "aqua clear" type solutions but they are short term fixes only and clog the filter with the particulate matter.

Since I haven't introduced any fish yet I am still up in the air about what filtration to use. I am considering DE for this one but I've never tried it. Currently using a simple Penn Plax that I'm really not crazy about - these new "improved" models are far worse than the old reliable ones I've used since I was a kid on all my 30-and-below gallon tanks.
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Old 19th September 2011, 07:56 PM   #67
el zone
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post pics man we can totally make this an aquarium thread. post aquariums or captive animal exhibits. Ive cut teeth on a few paludariums, dart frog habitats and snakes as well at least some sort of biology thread.

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Old 19th September 2011, 08:01 PM   #68
el zone
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grunion have you tried peroxide in your planted tank yet

check out some of the youtube vids of people doing it, pretty phenomenal.

The #1 thing I would not run a planted tank without ever again is a uv sterilizer. they are pretty polarized pieces of equipment, people love em or hate em

but I tried siamese algae eaters on stringy green algae and they wouldn't touch it. they swam around like 4 inch long packs of wolves stealing all feed inputted into the tank

it seems in both marine and freshwater all the anti algae animals that people had good results with never worked the same for me, thats when I became an algae cheater. lol

whatever means has the desired outcome but then again Im kind of ocd against algae
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Old 22nd March 2012, 10:37 AM   #69
el zone
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hi just an update, here is a detailed video of me applying the peroxide in my micro tank pictured above and conducting a flushing water change/tank emersion for over 7 minutes. this was supposedly impossible to do in a mixed coral reef tank without causing harm to the corals.

This is a mimic of the high energy fringing reef zone, the edge of the reef where the tides expose corals to air for up to 8 hours and beyond depending on latitude and longitude...this is a model of how reef organisms adapt, they aren't 'boxed' in like we think they have to be...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Fk8R3clElQ

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Old 22nd March 2012, 10:47 AM   #70
marplots
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That continues to be the most exotic bong ever.
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Old 22nd March 2012, 12:54 PM   #71
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Originally Posted by el zone View Post
Howdy El Zone,

I've kept relatively small (50 - 75 gal) reef tanks in the past and this technique intrigues me. Thanks for sharing.

In the video I saw you have a little coral banded shrimp in there, do you intentionally leave a little water for him or just let him flop around for a minute? I know other invertebrates, like crabs and snails, can live a while out of water, but I'm not so sure that wouldn't stress out the shrimp.

Also, you said you change the water twice a week. If you had less bio-load could you get away with once a week water changes? If I did set up a system like this I would likely only have a couple mushrooms polyps and maybe a soft coral like frog spawn and a probably a crab and a shrimp.

You said you change the water an hour after feeding to reduce decomposition. Do you worry about food left in the tank that would stick to the sand and live rock and such, or just figure it's negligible?

lastly, what lighting schedule do you use?

Thanks!
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Old 22nd March 2012, 01:05 PM   #72
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Glad to see an update here - very cool vids. Well, as far as my current (freshwater) planted tank goes I wish I had better news. It was absolutely stunningly gorgeous for a couple months - truly best tank conditions I'd ever seen - thanks to decent CO2 injection, hard-working Amano and Cherry shrimp and Otocinclus, and a wide variety of anubias, apos, moss ball, java ferns, micro swords and HC (Hemianthus callitrichoides, spreading out over the substrate and driftwood and pumping out the oxygen). ~10-20% water changes weekly, high output lighting for 12 hours daily and it was a thing of beauty. Besides the shrimp and otos, the only fauna I have in there are seven rummy nose tetras who are all doing quite well.

I've had to do a lot of travel for work lately so left the tank in my wife's care - just basically turn the light on and off daily - and during a recent 3-week trip the tank crashed. I came back to a greenish-brown swamp, complete disgusting algal bloom in the water. Felt like crying as this has happened before (different tanks, not this one) and was able to put in quick fixes but never recover completely.

Major water changes, turned off the CO2 and I left the lights off for two straight weeks, even covered the tank in a blanket to block out ambient sunlight and although the plants are suffering greatly the algae is still thriving. now I'm giving the plants low lighting for 6 hours daily - bare minimum to keep them alive i think but with the green cloud that the water has become even that isn't going to do it. Do you know of successful H2O2 treatment for freshwater algal bloom? I read all the forums and there's basically no advice that I haven't tried.
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Old 26th March 2012, 10:48 AM   #73
el zone
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Grunion you are describing a need for a UV sterilizer if I've ever seen one!!

I prefer that over tank wide h2o2 dosing but to have a fast method you can dose 1ml of peroxide from a new bottle for every ten gallons of water. Dose once, wait a few days, if not better dose again. I had similar problems in my big planted tank shown on one of the vids, but after UV it never happened again



We don't know what plants are susceptible to it in your tank but it doesn't sound like it could be worse, the blackout seems adverse...we do know it won't hurt your fish or your filter bacteria in that dosage

Bull thanks for stopping in

Lighting is all power compact, from 1pm to 10 pm all on

The CBS had been in the bowl five years and has been through hundreds of these changes, the fact is a lot of the older reef info is outdated, we are finding new actions the inverts can tolerate

He hangs in the air awaiting refill usually
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Old 26th March 2012, 11:59 AM   #74
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Quote:
Soccer player Thierry Henry plans to install a 5,500 gallon £250,000 aquarium in London residence

http://www.advancedaquarist.com/blog...ndon-residence

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Old 26th March 2012, 05:34 PM   #75
el zone
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That's definitely a cool tank must be nice to have that much spare $$
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Old 27th March 2012, 10:11 AM   #76
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I got me a 55 gallon reef ready tank that I was planning on setting up with some corals etc. Bought a stand for it, light retrofit kit and a 20 gal aquarium I was going to turn into a sump/refugium. Then I looked at how much I already spent and did the math on how much more I needed to (protein skimmer, live rock, RO system,etc) and also did the math on how much of my time would be taken up by this hobby and decided to hold off for a bit. That was four years ago, lol.

Every six months or so I would go to all the forums and websites, re-do the math and put it on hold again. A few weeks ago my fiance rearranged the furniture and the tank which was tucked away in a corner got moved to the focal point of the living room so I figured time to bite the bullet and make it happen. After more research I decided to make it into a freshwater cichlid tank.

Now I see these little pico sw setups and once again my interest is piqued... Seems like something I could handle. Moar research I guess....
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Old 27th March 2012, 11:34 AM   #77
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Hey, don't knock the freshwater cichlids, some of the best tanks I ever had were Amazonian cichlid and discus tanks (and as far as the discus tanks go they certainly rivaled any reef tanks in expense ). Keep us posted, would love to see photos. Am thinking about a large tank setup once again, not sure which direction it will go but I do love freshwater plants and inverts.
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Old 27th March 2012, 01:49 PM   #78
el zone
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I love cichlid tanks and even the challenge of keeping plants in hard water, some Anubias can work there, coffeefolia I think

Let's set up a pico vase Nate they are easy let us know!
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Old 27th March 2012, 01:53 PM   #79
el zone
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I have a grand worth into it lol, hard to imagine a stack per gallon.
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Old 27th March 2012, 03:43 PM   #80
nelsondogg
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Originally Posted by grunion View Post
Hey, don't knock the freshwater cichlids, some of the best tanks I ever had were Amazonian cichlid and discus tanks (and as far as the discus tanks go they certainly rivaled any reef tanks in expense ). Keep us posted, would love to see photos. Am thinking about a large tank setup once again, not sure which direction it will go but I do love freshwater plants and inverts.
Oh, I'm not knocking them, I'm pretty jazzed actually. Of course now I'm debating between a canister filter vs a wet/dry sump, lol.
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