PDA

View Full Version : Any skimmerless sps tanks out there?


jadeguppy
07/16/2009, 06:00 PM
After my 125g had a mini-crash my nitrates went up and have refused to drop all the way. Luckly I also have a 40g long that runs at zero nitrates. That tank has a decent sized fuge with a deep sand bed in the fuge. I do not use a skimmer on the tank. Ever since moving the sps to that tank they have been growing. After trying different methods to reduce the nitrates in my 125g I nearly slapped myself on the head and decided to try to duplicate what I have on my 40g. I'm going slightly different than the 40g because I decided to try an algae scrubber and cheato. I haven't put in the rdsb yet. The skimmer is still there, just not turned on. I plan to keep an eye on the nitrates and turn the skimmer back on only if needed.

Does anyone else run a mixed or sps tank (mine is mixed) skimmerless? I would think that if the nitrates stay at zero the additional food the fuge/ algae scrubber produces would benefit the sps and filter feeders. If you have tried this, please let me know the details of how and how well it works(ed).

p.s. Please no flamming the idea, looking for an intellectual discussion and sharing of experiences.

Thanks!

CleveYank
07/16/2009, 06:35 PM
I've seen this topic more than once. Did you fire up google, and advanced search and tell it to search domain reefcentral for skimmerless SPS or reef setups?

jadeguppy
07/17/2009, 08:41 AM
I did search and found very little. In fact, when I searched this forum "skimmerless sps" I didn't get anything. I have found a couple of threads describing individual skimmerless sps tanks and how they have been able to do it, but no discussion on which methods of going skimmerless have worked best or what to keep an eye on when doing so. I thought I would have better luck with the search, but when I didn't I posted.

skliaroff
07/17/2009, 02:06 PM
My system became skimmerless about a year ago. I use refugium with chaetomorpha, carbon and synthetic sorbents for export. The skimmer was removed to allow plancton to multiply, to bring up the pterapogons fry again.
Here are some links on my tank.

http://www.aqualogo.ru/phpbb2/index.php?act=Attach&type=post&id=25742

http://www.aqualogo.ru/phpbb2/index.php?act=Attach&type=post&id=25747

http://www.aqualogo.ru/phpbb2/index.php?act=Attach&type=post&id=25753
(after we moved to another city. Unfortunately i lost 3 very nice colonies and most of my clams)

http://www.aqualogo.ru/phpbb2/index.php?act=Attach&type=post&id=29550
(few months later, from that moment skimmer was removed (06/2008/)

http://www.aqualogo.ru/phpbb2/index.php?act=Attach&type=post&id=30965
(with new DIY light)

http://www.aqualogo.ru/phpbb2/index.php?act=Attach&type=post&id=33075
(and this is the last photo, after 2 months all corals were sold and we moved to another town again, but I made frags from almost every coral. So now my "Home sea" looks rather poor )

From the very begining I made bekcet skimmer
( http://www.aqualogo.ru/phpbb2/index.php?act=Attach&type=post&id=8825 , http://www.aqualogo.ru/phpbb2/index.php?act=Attach&type=post&id=8826 ), that very soon seemed to be excessively powerfull (system became steril - no plancton, no algae, some corals looked poor )/ And I wanted to make the system as silent as possible.
I think skimmer can be removed after a year , if you see that the system became stable and can bear its usual load . But I have to confess that I never loaded system very hard after the skimmer was removed. I never had more than 10 fishes ( and I never wanted to have more ). For nutriens export only refugium, carbon and purigen are used.

Here are some macro shots of my tank on our russian forum (its my thread) . 3 months ago my Kauderni reproduced successfully, 18 from 20 fries were brought up.
http://www.aqualogo.ru/phpbb2/index.php?showtopic=3425&st=300&p=173191&#entry173191
http://www.aqualogo.ru/phpbb2/index.php?showtopic=3425&st=300&p=174184&#entry174184
All pics are clickable


Here are another skimmerless tanks

http://gallery.me.com/markopiatapioelina
( here are more details on this tank, from its beginning http://haaga.aqua-web.org/ )
http://www.advancedaquarist.com/2006/2/aquarium#h7

jadeguppy
07/17/2009, 02:45 PM
Sweet pics! Some wouldn't pull up for me, but those that did are great. Biodiversity is one of the reasons I have turned my skimmer off for now. I'm rather sure that my gorgonians and avelopora will thank me, not to mention the clams and sps.

On another note, I found out last night that my digital themomether wasn't working right, so I had the heater set to about 88. I probably fried all the good bacteria, which would help account for why my nitrates seem to refuse to drop to zero no matter what I do. I have an sps in there that started to recess. Now that the temp is down to a real 80 degrees, I'm going to give it a day or two to see if it starts to recover before I move it back to my 40g.

skliaroff
07/17/2009, 03:00 PM
I am sorry for wrong links. I've corrected them all .

jadeguppy
07/17/2009, 05:35 PM
Did you raise the fry in the tank with other fish? My clowns haven't laid eggs yet, but having fry survive would be a really nice side effect of going skimmerless.

What does/did your copperbanded butterfly fish eat? I'll be getting one as soon as it is out of qt. It came in with a fungus and is being treated by the store. It has already been seen to eat pellets and frozen mysis shrimp, so I'm hopeful that I can keep it happy. Did the extra biodiversity from being skimmerless help provide it with food?

vijaym85
07/17/2009, 05:55 PM
One thing I can tell you is that if you run your tank skimmerless your losing one of the 3 forms of filtration Biological chemical and Mechanical,
with the loss of mechanical filtration from skimming its basically up to the other two forms to compensate. I have seen tanks run skimmerless before and its possible but you really imo will be limiting what you can do with the tank, for instance you probably would not be able to keep nearly as many fish and the ones you do keep would have to be feed more conservatively to keep from having excess waste that could end up polluting the tank with nitrates and PO4.

Increasing the biological capacity of nitrogen fixing bacteria through the use of extra live rock and sand as well as a fuge w/ cheto would be helpful, as would the use of bacterial supplements. Also having a soild invertabrate clean up crew.

Your chemical filtration via the use of PO4 removers and carbon as well as vodka dosing among others would be helpful.

Basically if you lose one form of filtering you need to balance it by ensuring your other filtration methods are optimal. Feeding and stocking of the tank should also be evaluated and be tailored to such a setup. consistent water changes would also be really important to maintain stable parms. If you have no skimmer then essentially waste is not being actively taken out of a tank. assuming you depend on Biological and chemical filtration your waste will be broken down into non toxic forms or be bound to media and made inert but it's never actually being trasported out of the system so it certainly has its implications.
But yeah its possible to make this setup work but you have to look at the various pluses and minuses

skliaroff
07/18/2009, 10:27 AM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=15370309#post15370309 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by jadeguppy
Did you raise the fry in the tank with other fish? My clowns haven't laid eggs yet, but having fry survive would be a really nice side effect of going skimmerless.

What does/did your copperbanded butterfly fish eat? I'll be getting one as soon as it is out of qt. It came in with a fungus and is being treated by the store. It has already been seen to eat pellets and frozen mysis shrimp, so I'm hopeful that I can keep it happy. Did the extra biodiversity from being skimmerless help provide it with food?

No that time I raised the fry in the overflow box. I fed them with artemia and cyclopeeze.
Helmon ate nothing except worms and aiptasia. We had to move him from tank to tank :) to kill aiptasia.
I heard that there are lots of planctonic species in Marko Haags's tank ( http://gallery.me.com/markopiatapioelina ). May be it is possible to achieve such a super biodiversity that will provide enoygh food for Chelmon , but I doubt. And I think too many conditions must be taken into account.

skliaroff
07/18/2009, 10:47 AM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=15370395#post15370395 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by vijaym85
If you have no skimmer then essentially waste is not being actively taken out of a tank. assuming you depend on Biological and chemical filtration your waste will be broken down into non toxic forms or be bound to media and made inert but it's never actually being trasported out of the system so it certainly has its implications.
But yeah its possible to make this setup work but you have to look at the various pluses and minuses

Tell me please when you change your carbon, purigen or antiphos media, do you actually transport YOUR waste out of the system or you unbound it and leave in aquarium? :)
More organic compounds can be involved in living forms in skimmerless tanks, because more microorganisms are left in tank.
When you run system skimmerless you actually have to keep biological load rather low, but only for the moment when the system will become stable and healthy food chains will appear.
In fact such a system (skimmerless) is more fragile than those with traditional filtration scheme.

jadeguppy
07/18/2009, 11:56 AM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=15373589#post15373589 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by skliaroff
In fact such a system (skimmerless) is more fragile than those with traditional filtration scheme.

Why do you feel a skimmerless tank is more fragile than a skimmed tank? To me it seems more forgiving because you are usually counting on more than one peice of equipment to keep the tank healthy. With no skimmer, I have several varieties of macro algae not to mention a ton of biodiversity that I count on to keep my 40g clean. While one algae may not be doing well, they others usually pick up the slack. However, if a skimmer pump malfunctions the tank is out of luck and have very little natural back-up to clean the tank. This is my thinking based on my 40g skimmerless, but as I mentioned I haven't tried it on a bigger tank until this week. Maybe I am missing something.

vijaym85
07/18/2009, 12:29 PM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=15373589#post15373589 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by skliaroff
Tell me please when you change your carbon, purigen or antiphos media, do you actually transport YOUR waste out of the system or you unbound it and leave in aquarium? :)
More organic compounds can be involved in living forms in skimmerless tanks, because more microorganisms are left in tank.
When you run system skimmerless you actually have to keep biological load rather low, but only for the moment when the system will become stable and healthy food chains will appear.
In fact such a system (skimmerless) is more fragile than those with traditional filtration scheme.


I agree when you remove the media you will remove whats bound but compared to removing a cup of skimmate a day ihow often does one really chnage media, and I run both chemical and a skimmer and I dont stop seeing skimmate production which means the chemical media has its limits.


I agree a skimmerless is indeed considered to be more diverse

vijaym85
07/18/2009, 02:22 PM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=15373897#post15373897 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by jadeguppy
Why do you feel a skimmerless tank is more fragile than a skimmed tank? To me it seems more forgiving because you are usually counting on more than one peice of equipment to keep the tank healthy. With no skimmer, I have several varieties of macro algae not to mention a ton of biodiversity that I count on to keep my 40g clean. While one algae may not be doing well, they others usually pick up the slack. However, if a skimmer pump malfunctions the tank is out of luck and have very little natural back-up to clean the tank. This is my thinking based on my 40g skimmerless, but as I mentioned I haven't tried it on a bigger tank until this week. Maybe I am missing something.


I may be wrong but I think all these extraneous plants and algaes may start competing for growth with your corals so I am guessing. Most tanks that grow them in a fuge want to have them extract the leftover nutrients but not compete with what is desierable. But I could be wrong.

skliaroff
07/18/2009, 02:47 PM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=15374440#post15374440 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by vijaym85
I may be wrong but I think all these extraneous plants and algaes may start competing for growth with your corals so I am guessing. Most tanks that grow them in a fuge want to have them extract the leftover nutrients but not compete with what is desierable. But I could be wrong.

You are wrong. Corals feel good in water with very low nutrients (about zero in the sea ). Most of algae cant grow in such a conditions. In the best times (for sps) no algae could grow in my tank, even chaetomorpha. So algae will never limit corals in nutrients because their requirements in nutrients are too low, much lower than that of algae.

vijaym85
07/18/2009, 03:12 PM
I am referring to the situation of having a skimmerless tank where you can get an overgrowth of nuissance algae due to a potential excess waste from lack of nutrient export.

jadeguppy
07/18/2009, 03:19 PM
vijaym85, If a skimmerless tank isn't able to export the needed nutrients to out compete what is growing in the tank, then I would say that it is not functioning properly. With the extra light, especially on an algae scrubber, it should have an advantage over what is growing in the tank. If I don't manage to find that balance where the algae isn't growing in the display, then yes, it probably would limit coral growth and I would start running a skimmer.

1DeR9_3Hy
07/18/2009, 05:54 PM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=15370395#post15370395 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by vijaym85

Your chemical filtration via the use of PO4 removers and carbon as well as vodka dosing among others would be helpful.



Dosing a carbon source on a skimmerless tank?

no. Can not be done with pleasant results.

kev apsley
07/18/2009, 07:05 PM
I wouldn't dose a carbon source without a skimmer either but yes skimmerless tanks exists and are thriving and growing sps/lps. Don't let anybody tell you different

vijaym85
07/18/2009, 07:19 PM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=15375184#post15375184 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by 1DeR9_3Hy
Dosing a carbon source on a skimmerless tank?

no. Can not be done with pleasant results.


yea your right. my mistake it would create more skimate in a skimmer tank but not help a skimmerless one. sorry

1DeR9_3Hy
07/18/2009, 08:04 PM
Just making sure some noob doesn't read this and think carbon dosing on a skimmerless tank is ok :)

The real concern in a skimmerless tank would be a bacterial bloom that would choke out the tanks inhabitants through its use of dissolved oxygen.

A carbon dosed tank needs to have the heavy aeration that a skimmmer provides as a safety net. Also, like u said there would be no benefit since you would not be exporting any of the nutrients (remember kids, the skimmer produces more skimmate in a carbon dosed tank because its removing larger amounts of nutrient loaded bacteria).

skliaroff
07/19/2009, 01:50 AM
I wonder, how I did not noticed about vodka dosing in skimmer less tank :). Of course its absurd.

It would be very interesting to try ATS filter, but its not easy to make it compact and silent.

SPSpirate
07/19/2009, 02:09 AM
i had a twelve gallon nano with zoas,LPS and two maximas and the reef was gorgious..no skimmer..no carbon..no GFO...only live rock..sand bed about 2in and some calurpa growing in one of the chambers..did about a gallon water change avery other day from my main reef set-up. nutrient export is the key no matter what form you may take.

jadeguppy
07/19/2009, 08:06 AM
I don't plan to stop water changes. I agree that they are important for many reasons.

I installed a bucket ats a few days ago and it runs silent. It is starting to get covered in brown. I'm waiting to see how it goes. I also added some cheato to the bottom of the bucket that has some water (4-6"). Going by the 2" per gallon suggestion for an ats, I should have more than I need since I will be using both sides of the scrubber.

kev apsley
07/19/2009, 08:08 AM
my 24g has been up and running skimmerless for 3 years, granted it is a smaller volume (less bio load) than a larger tank. For myself nutrient export is as simple as doing weekly water changes and running carbon. I have been growing lps and sps just fine, the only issue that has hindered me to some degree with this tank is, what type of lightning to provide and for how long. At one point I was photo inhibiting my corals and growth and color suffered but I have finally raised my fixture and now growth is back on track as well as the colors deepening. Once I can get colors dialed in a bit better I will post some pictures

1DeR9_3Hy
07/19/2009, 08:08 AM
ATS are an excellent way to remove nutrients, i just cant fit one in my setup :(

What are you lighting yours with?

kev apsley
07/19/2009, 08:12 AM
don't you have a rear chamber/overflow where you could put some chaeto in?

jadeguppy
07/19/2009, 12:45 PM
I have a clip on shop light with 6500k Daylight GE bulbs from WalMart.