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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello to everbody, my first post.

I have been lurking on this board for a couple of weeks reading the interesting DSB, settlement tank etc debates ,pondering what i should use for my next tank ( 250 gal plus 2 sumps and a refuge)
and i would like to hear what peoples future plans are so I can guage if i am heading in the right direction. I didnt want to start a poll as all the options are rarely covered.

Just to give you an idea , I have been kicking around the following filtration devices in my sumps/refuge:

Cryptic sump with sponges and sea squirts

Now i am not saying burn your skimmers ,but a cryptic sponge filtration system sounds like fun (sadly) and possibly a good way to skim the water efficiently. Im not an expert , well not until I get the book Ive just ordered from :

http://www.dynamicecomorphology.com/

but I like the sound of it . I have a semi cryptic refuge now and the sponge and duster growth is beautiful so any excuse

Compartmented DSB remote sump

remove a section of bed completely, export lots of detritus, phosphates etc . Now advive i would like to seek as I am guessing there will be a heavy release of bad stuff into the water which will also have to changed out.

Settlement tank using a red branching algae I am cultivating at the moment to act as a biological baffle to slow down the water flow.

http://www.lloydspage.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/images/redalgae.jpg

For a pic of the algae concerned. this will be grown on eggcrate baffling . The tank will have a drain at the bottom . Have not convinced myself it will work yet, I look forward to testing the idea.

Ok, this may be taken as complete waffle ,but i feel this is the place to talk about this. Please feel free to help me ,or explain where YOU are headed.
:D
 

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Hi i would just like to say Welcome to TRT glad to have ya around:):banana: :banana:
 

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Good morning Lloyd,

Cryptic sump with sponges and sea squirts

Now i am not saying burn your skimmers ,but a cryptic sponge filtration system sounds like fun (sadly) and possibly a good way to skim the water efficiently.


A couple of things that make me shy away from this approach:

1. Increasing bio load on the tank in order to remove organics. My skimmers waste is completly removed from my system, what about the waste from the sponges and squirts?

2. Consistency, how does one go about compensating for variations in organic load? In other words, if I balance the cyptic zone to my systems normal waste output, what happens if I add additional animals to the system, or when animals die within the system?

Many of these squirts and sponges may require a trace element in order to thrive, do we know enough as hobbyist to supply the type, as well as amount of this trace element?

How big of a cyptic zone is needed to handle the waste of the average reef tank? Am I going to end up with a cyptic system larger than my main tank?

Steve
 

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Lloyd
Sounds pretty unique! I dont know of anyone using this type set up around here. Sounds interesting for sure! I was kinda thinking along the same lines although somewhat modified. I dont know if its "better" but I will tell you what I got and where I think I am going.

I have a refugium hooked up to my 125 right now. I have a ton of live rock several mangroves and some Dwarf Feather Caulerpa(sp?) going and I like it a lot. How good is it working? Well I havent gotten rid of my skimmer, but its working hard to fill the waste cup up these days. Water quality and stability is better than the past by far. Future plans? I want to add about 4 more Mangroves and I want to add a few sponges. I think this would be the icing on the cake. The down side is that the Mangroves are slow growers and are sensitive to sudden salinty changes. As such if you get some...start with a tuber that doesnt have leaves yet as their survival rate and adjustment is much better. The trees do require pruning to keep them on the small side which is okay cuase its the roots I want anyways.
How much do I like this set up? Well right now I am in an apartment but retire from the military in a few months. Once I am re-established in the civilian sector, I am planning on a much bigger tank and setting up a 350 gallon (plastic horse trough) as a Mangrove refugium! This is where I stand. Is it the best route? I dont know for sure, but its where I am going, with what I have experienced so far! I have seen one set up like this and its the bomb.
 

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Imaexpat2 said:
I have a refugium hooked up to my 125 right now. I have a ton of live rock several mangroves and some Dwarf Feather Caulerpa
Do you employ a method to remove the detritus from this refugium?

How long has this system been set up?
Steve
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Steve

The overall bioload of a tank is something I have considered with the tank that I run at the moment. There is deffinately a trade off between running your tank efficiently and providing the interest that detrivores and possibly sponges and squirts can bring. Its amazing to see the response that my tank receives from people who are not normally interested in reefing ( my tank is set up as a display in an unrelated retail shop) little things like snails, worms etc illicit surprising interest from them and me. I do not want to lose sight of this because of the pleasure I gain from the little things as well as the big acros and other hard corals . This answer may not be filtrationally ;) correct, but if a cryptic sump proves as interesting as the semi cryptic version i have at the moment AND actually does something too I am not going to complain.
As for wastes from the sponges, as yet I am not fully conversant with their bi-products. I also wonder about toxicity. Hopefully these questions may be answered by a board member or even the book when its 4 week journey to me ends.
I dont think a cryptic tank will be the be and end all, maybe just an interesting experiment that will add to the others methods i am considering employing. My cryptic sump will be quite small, about 2 x1x1 feet, although i am planning again to maybe grow them on suspended eggcrate or something similar. Maybe in this way they can easily be removed if their are unforseen problems or to be harvested, although i cannot imagine their growth rates too be anymore than slow.
 

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Hi Lloyd,

My response was for those who wish to use this cryptic system as their sole filtration method. Generally when this is done, it is recommended not to run any other filter system with it (starve the cryptic animals). My question is how does one know the correct balance for this, and by its very nature it would seem to me to be trial and error, with possibly a moving target. Actually, I really hope that this method does not become more mainstream as it may result in higher animal deaths, as well as newbees giving up quickly. Is there a place for this type of filtration? I think there is, but only for those who are willing to try and balance input and uptake, and as we know, this wouldn't be many in this hobby.

I agree with you about the bugs and critters, I also really like this part of a tank, but IMO this can also be a double edged sword. The more bugs and critters, the more bioload.

At this time I cannot see me running any "natural" systems if they also include a reef tank. IMO water quality is of the utmost importance to the health of our animals, and I don't believe this can be achieved over the long run in the avarage reef tank, without some mechanical devices being employed. BTW, my best water quality (low or no nitrate, phosphate etc...) has been realized in my tank when I remember that my little closed system is not natural.
Steve
 

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SPC

Yes, I am running filtration to remove particles. Just using the plants to remove nutrients before it hits the skimmer and is returned to the tank. Dont really need the sump with my system its more for keeping my Tang well supplied with fresh greens and keep a nice supply of Mysis shrimp on hand, than for straight up filtration. Thats just an added benefit.
The tank has been up for about 3-3 1/2 months the sump for two or so. The 125 was stocked with all live rock, corals, fish an water from 1, 55 gallon tank, 2, 40 gallon tanks that had been up and running for 6-12 months.
Is this set up all that and a bag of chips? I doubt it, just had an idea and thought I would try it out and see whats up. It seems to be working out great for the time being. I will see where I am at in 11 months and decide where to go from there. Thats all.
Did you see a short comming that I dont?
 

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Imaexpat2 said:
SPC

Yes, I am running filtration to remove particles. Just using the plants to remove nutrients before it hits the skimmer and is returned to the tank. Dont really need the sump with my system its more for keeping my Tang well supplied with fresh greens and keep a nice supply of Mysis shrimp on hand, than for straight up filtration. Thats just an added benefit.
The tank has been up for about 3-3 1/2 months the sump for two or so. The 125 was stocked with all live rock, corals, fish an water from 1, 55 gallon tank, 2, 40 gallon tanks that had been up and running for 6-12 months.
Is this set up all that and a bag of chips? I doubt it, just had an idea and thought I would try it out and see whats up. It seems to be working out great for the time being. I will see where I am at in 11 months and decide where to go from there. Thats all.
Did you see a short comming that I dont?
Good morning Imaexpat2,

The only thing I would suggest is that you keep a close eye on any detritus build up in the refugium. I also have a "ton" of L/R in my ref as you said that you do. After 3 years I am considering pulling much of it out as it impedes my ability to get to the detritus build up.
Steve
 

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Yeah I am watching for that stuff to be a potential problem. Looking at the model this is based off of I dont think it will pose too much of a problem. But then again the model I based this off of was 350 gallons which is quiet a bit larger than what I was able to squeeze in.
Yeah I had a little bit of a problem with my 55 that I started out with some time back. When I set this one up I made a few changes. Such as...
I made a rack of a sorts from 3/4 inch PVC pipe that supports my rock slightly above the sand. Enough to give my brittle star and crabs access to about 80% of my sand bed.
When I stacked the rock I made sure that I left lots of nooks and gaps in it to allow for good circulation. It also gives my fish a ton of nooks and crannies to weave in and out of, put coral frangs in and such.
I also hooked 2 of the 4 600gpm powerheads up to a PVC pipe that sits behind my rock that has holes drilled in it. This pushes a good bit of water flow through and behind my rock arrangement. I think someone posted a simular arrangement in the DIY section.

I am hoping all of these steps will alleviate a lot of the problems I had ealier with my 55. They werent problems as much as they were a continuing thorn in my side. I guess with the exception of the incrediable bio-diversity in reef tanks, the best thing about this hobby is your always learning, and picking up new ideas. Some just work better than others. Hopefully these ideas will work out for me and not be a mistake.
 

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Hi Lloyd :wavey: Welocm to TRT :D

I see you're in good hands here.

The only thing that comes to mind is to pick your sponges and tunicates carefully. Some can't handle detritus buildup.

Oh and watch your fertilizers. Some contain copper.

Jerel
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hopefully the attachment shows my latest plan of my new tank.


An explanation of the way the left hand sump will work:

The frags will be placed on a black acrylic solid shelf sitting on glass ledges ( so the shelf can be lifted away for maintenance of the cryptic zone if neccessary.
The shelf will have a gap at the opposite end to the water in pipe . This will create a cyclic flow ( also pushing any built up fine particulate sponge detritus towards the dump pipe at the bottom. If too much detritus builds up I will be able to dump it to waste easily and do a small water change .
The shelves below will be eggcrate, again resting on glass ledges so they can be lifted, angled and put into a tray if neccessary for removal without being exposed to air . These shelves will be seeded with sponges, tunicates, dusters etc i have been cultivating in the cryptic sump i have at the moment

The water will cycle round the sump and overflow through a submerged pipe mid way down the cryptic zone, hopefully the lower parts of the sump will have a slower water movement more suited to sponges and the upper part of the cryptic area will be colonised by dusters and other suspension feeders. The overflow pipe can be cut until the water flows in the right height and speed for the sponges


Any constructive criticism/advice more than welcomed
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Just a note about the right hand sump. The DSB will not be happening, may just have LR below the macros , not sure.
I am on the first stage at the moment , which is building the base out of brick. One of the mini-projects i have to do next is procure my "starboard" which in my case will be acrylic . The acrylic will be cut into 3 sections that fit together when in the tank . Then the dead reef rock ( dry when imported) will be attached to the acylic base . Milliput will be used to smooth together the joins in the rock. The effect is to create the look of 2 reef pinnacles with a gorge inbetween. I want these rocks to look like 1 large rock and not dozens of smaller rocks piled together.

Any suggestions on a safe alternative to milliput that is cheaper in bigger quantities and is totally reef safe?

I cant buy sponges in the UK so I have been cultivating them in my existing semi cryptic/crypic sump. I have also been eyeing up tunicates and the like in my friends tanks, 1 guy has been also taking frags of sponges for me. He goes and buys a clam and invites me round, I end up with my head jammed betwwen the back of his tank and wall asking if i can have a couple of mm frag of a yellow blob hes never seen . :funny:
 

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i need pictures to get an idea across my head sometimes. now that i removed the DSB from my 45g refugium, this could be a interesting thing to try. right now it is just circulation water slowly. i could add shelved like that. i have a light on there now, but it is not really doing anything. i do not have any algae in there anymore. i know i have a bonanza of tube worms in the display. i also have a good number of sponges. might me a neat thing to try.

the only thing i have used in the aquarium for glue are cyano, silicone, and the two-part epoxy sticks. sorry no help there.

G~
 

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Lloyd, first of all, nice head shot of the mantis. That is a mantis right?

Secondly, your setup is enviable and you have put a great deal of thought into it. I especially like the idea of detritus removal via drain. Any reason you don't allow for one on your right sump?

Maybe I missed it but why the differing MH wattage on the main display?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
James

The avatar is a mantis, fascinating creatures.

I didn't think a drain in the right hand sump was neccessary as i am not expecting detritus to settle due to the amount of water throughput. The left hand Cyptic sump will have the slowest movement so i am hoping thats where it will fall out of suspension and settle if the filter feeders dont get it first.

The idea behind the different wattages is to give a light gradient in the tank, I am thinking this may look more natural and i can grow different types of corals in the 2 lightzones.
 

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Re: the cryptic zone, One thing that Steve emphasized and Spanky confirmed is that alot of these animals cant deal with visible detritous particles. In the EG setup the cryptic area is dived by a barrier perforated with tiny holes so that you get diffusion rather than actual water flow
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Doug
I have read that myself, but I have numerous sponges in my main tank that are not separated by anything from the display and when i kick up a part of my DSB to feed the corals , the tank gets pretty turbid. Never seemed to have a problem and the sponge growth is good ( one sponge is now over 3" across).
I guess that if the water flowing through the diffusion barrier into the cryptic area is so low, will this exchange of water be enough to act as sufficient filtration for a large tank?
 

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I really dont think you need to use the tri zonal filtration scenerio in order to utilize filtration from sponges. Nor does it really need to be cryptic or as Steve mentioned difussive flow.
SPC I hear you on the bio load but unlike complex bacterial filter such as plenums and DSB's the sponge and squirt is an all in one unit. Thier are plenty of sponges that can also handle detritus of a varity of size, this and they can handle strong flow. The reason Steve T uses diffusive flow is to combat large particle detritus but that could be eliminated with some easy plumbing tricks. My current tank is loaded with sponges ( i mean a ton) that have all come in as hitchhikers. anyway what I am trying to say is that you do not need to restrict yourself to the setup steve was displaying.
Loyd one of the problems I think your going to have with your sump as drawn is to have them on top of each other, this with out a dought will become a trap for organics and detritus. In long talks with Steve T. I think the best approach is to make a sump/refugium that is more of a gradient system. hard to discribe but you basically want the sponge and squirts filter to be higher and have water flow through them. This will allow the larger detritus particles to drop out before reaching them. Say kinda like two 2 inch pvc pipes ( of coarse you could make this alot niceer but just to gwet my point across) with the water flowing through them. Bottom line is that the more water the see the more doc's they have access to.
SPC the real neat thing about them is that they can really do a job on the doc's that skimmers cant, that and they get rid of alot of free floating bacteria.
One thing to watch out for is that certain sponges (most I believe) have a biproduct of ammonia.

Mike
 
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