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View Full Version : powerful refugium vs carbon dosing with GFO


zachtos
07/11/2016, 09:24 AM
I'm trying to pick only a few tools to reduce Nitrate and Phosphate in my new 300G build:

-skimming (Nitrate and phosphate)
-macro algae growth in dual 50 gallon tanks (Nitrate and phosphate)
-vodka, vinegar, sugar to reduce (Nitrate and phosphate)

-granular ferric oxide to reduce phosphate (phosphate)
-lanthanum chloride (phosphate)

-remote deep sand bed (nitrate)
-sulfur denitrator (nitrate)
-denitrator coil (nitrate)

I have done all of the above in the past with my old 240G SPS:

I am leaning towards a powerful skimmer combined with large 50G tank with powerful LED lighting for macro algae (48 LED of RED and 24 LED CoolWhite) and occasionally dosing LaCl to reduce Phosphates (with filter sock during the dose).

I prefer not to use GFO because of cost, (recharging not worth the risk with dangerous chemicals).

Carbon dosing yes is fine, seemed to kill off my macro algae though in competition.

The other Denitrator coil/sulfur/sandbed are all a bit too tricky for me in past, less reliable then macro algae vs GFO/carbon dosing.

What are the general consensus nowadays? All the tanks of the month are no real distinct pattern, except maybe GFO and skimming...

Jonviviano
07/11/2016, 10:31 AM
Have you given an algae turf scrubber a thought? It does not sound like your tight for space so you could probably build a relatively large one. There are some really good threads on this forum about it. I have had great success with an over sized reef octopus and vodka dosing. I have a small refugium also, although i do not consider it a great exporter of nutrients.

zachtos
07/11/2016, 01:35 PM
True, yes I forgot the algae turf scrubber. Yes, I have done that on a smaller tank. I think it is not compatible with skimmer, and I already have a very large powerful skimmer and pump purchased. One reason I eliminated ATS is humidity and noise. I think it would be a humidity factory with a large double sided waterful in atmosphere, and not sure I could muffle the water trickle sound or not. I have a lot of space under the tank, but not vertical space.

Reef Frog
07/11/2016, 03:18 PM
I've read plenty of threads where folks are using heavy skimming and an ATS together with good results. It's said even the best skimmers remove no more than ~30% or so. Some designs like the Turbo Aquarics models seem quite compact and I don't see how they would add much if any additional humidity in a cabinet. There are threads right here on this forum that may be useful for first hand information.

I'm planning out a bigger tank myself and an ATS is something I'm looking forward to using and hoping it can replace GFO in my case.

vikinglord13
07/11/2016, 05:11 PM
You may not have much vertical space but it sounds like you'll have a lot of horizontal. You could, design an ATS in such a way to get your required area but have it in a long rectangle versus a square IE: 10 in x 30 in versus 17.5 x 17.5.

zachtos
07/11/2016, 05:58 PM
Do people still do standard macro algae sumps then or have they mostly migrated to turf scrubbers?

I did not have luck keeping the hair algae contained, although it was a 15G SPS tank, not ideal for a test, but it had to be small and quiet for my office. Only made it a year before I got tired of maintaining a mini reef.

vikinglord13
07/11/2016, 06:44 PM
From most set ups I've seen most people use ATS for nutrient control/herbivore food growth and refugiums to support pod populations.

rt67ghy
07/12/2016, 09:37 AM
Do people still do standard macro algae sumps then or have they mostly migrated to turf scrubbers?


I used to have an ATS and also some chaeto in my fuge. The chaeto is doing so well that I've removed the ATS and allow chaeto to grow in 2 chambers in my sump. I know it's not scientific but I harvested 850g of wet macro in 1 month; I never got this much growth with my ATS.

Reef Frog
07/12/2016, 11:44 AM
I've never had a macro algae fuge, but have read plenty of accounts of people who use them but still have plenty of trouble with nuisance algae. Each aquarium is unique so it's hard to say why this is, but the reasons that I've encountered are:

-Too small a refugium - Not enough light - Only a small portion of the chaeto ball is exposed to light, some say it must tumble - Food input or nutrient leaching simply overwhelms the macroalgae.

A well designed ATS seems to inherently side step some of these issues according to research & conversations with ATS owners. And both approaches seem to be a good breeding ground for copepods.

vikinglord13
07/12/2016, 03:58 PM
I have chaeto in the back of my biocube, it doesn't tumble and it grows - I wouldn't be surprised if it grew faster if it did tumble though.

My understanding is macro algae didn't fully rid the DT of nuisance algae because nuisance algae is micro algae; thus, being easier to grow than macro algae. Granted, as Reef Frog said, many people don't have large enough refugiums to actually combat the nitrates/phosphates necessary to prevent nuisance algae (from what I've researched).

enb141
07/17/2016, 01:22 AM
I've tested GFO and yes it works but too expensive and I had to change it almost daily so now I'm running a super lighted sump (20 watts of led) for about 5 gallons of chaeto and a HOB skimmer, I got 0 nitrates and 0 phosphates even with lots of fish on my 20 gallon tank.

I'm not using a single gram of GFO anymore, my powerful chaeto chamber is doing the export of nitrates and phosphates pretty well.

Ron Reefman
07/17/2016, 07:56 AM
I have a 400g system. There is a 45g (2'x2'x18") refugium full of Chaeto, a 45g DSB with 8" of fine sand (close to 6 years old now), 45g evap/return pump section with some LRand a 45g section for the skimmer and some more live rock. I export a couple of 1 gallon zip lok bags stuffed full of Chaeto every month. I do few water changes and I have very little issue with nuisance algae. Nitrate and phosphate levels are always at or very near zero.

amcvay1979
08/02/2016, 09:54 AM
You might look into ceramic media for a substrate in your sump vs a deep sand bed. Much more porous and easier to control detritus. People have reported success in using the media combined with carbon dosing, skimming, or ATS/Macro fuge.

Subsea
08/02/2016, 11:56 AM
I have been skimmerless for 20 years and I use a mud filter with a macro algae refugium.

Protein skimmers remove bacteria in the water column, with nitrate & phosphate export. Protein skimmers are inefficient (30%) at removing DOC (dissolved organic carbon). Both coral and algae produce DOC. Activated carbon removes as much as 80% of DOC. With both coral and macro consuming bacteria, nutrient recycling is also active.

PS. I have one tank with a Jaubert Plenumn and a 6" DSB. I would not recommend this for nutrient export. I use it for nutrient recycling. When I stir up the top 1", the tank clouds up and the filter feeders open up.

Subsea
08/02/2016, 12:13 PM
I'm trying to pick only a few tools to reduce Nitrate and Phosphate in my new 300G build:

-skimming (Nitrate and phosphate)
-macro algae growth in dual 50 gallon tanks (Nitrate and phosphate)
-vodka, vinegar, sugar to reduce (Nitrate and phosphate)

-granular ferric oxide to reduce phosphate (phosphate)
-lanthanum chloride (phosphate)

-remote deep sand bed (nitrate)
-sulfur denitrator (nitrate)
-denitrator coil (nitrate)

I have done all of the above in the past with my old 240G SPS:

I am leaning towards a powerful skimmer combined with large 50G tank with powerful LED lighting for macro algae (48 LED of RED and 24 LED CoolWhite) and occasionally dosing LaCl to reduce Phosphates (with filter sock during the dose).

I prefer not to use GFO because of cost, (recharging not worth the risk with dangerous chemicals).

Carbon dosing yes is fine, seemed to kill off my macro algae though in competition.

The other Denitrator coil/sulfur/sandbed are all a bit too tricky for me in past, less reliable then macro algae vs GFO/carbon dosing.

What are the general consensus nowadays? All the tanks of the month are no real distinct pattern, except maybe GFO and skimming...

Zack,
I have a suggestion about your choice of light spectrum for your macro refugium. Chlorophyll A and B have peak absorption in the red spectrum and the blue spectrum. You would be better served with red and blue. While I am not an expert on LED lighting, I have been told that a white LED is composed of
red, green and blue. Your choice of lighting will work.

zachtos
08/02/2016, 02:07 PM
Zack,
I have a suggestion about your choice of light spectrum for your macro refugium. Chlorophyll A and B have peak absorption in the red spectrum and the blue spectrum. You would be better served with red and blue. While I am not an expert on LED lighting, I have been told that a white LED is composed of
red, green and blue. Your choice of lighting will work.

Thanks for tips. So far I am planning to use just my big skimmer, algae turf scrubber and activated carbon, aside from bi-weekly 10-15% water changes.

Lighting, I already changed plans to use 660nm red LED x 24 and 420nm violet LED x 6 per side of 24" x 12" algae turf scrubber.

Subsea
08/02/2016, 02:15 PM
Thanks for tips. So far I am planning to use just my big skimmer, algae turf scrubber and activated carbon, aside from bi-weekly 10-15% water changes.

Lighting, I already changed plans to use 660nm red LED x 24 and 420nm violet LED x 6 per side of 24" x 12" algae turf scrubber.


What you have listed will work well. Carbon dosing would be compatiable with what you have listed. In effect carbon feeds bacteria. Bacteria also feed coral. Because of accelerated bacteria growth in the water column, protein skimmer nutrient export is enhanced. It would all be compatiable for SPS.

PS. A big reason that I like macro algae refugiums is because of nutrient recycling with pods feeding tank and nutrient export in the form of people ediable macros like Grape Caulerpa or Red Ogo.

RTab619
08/02/2016, 02:43 PM
I still have great success with chaeto

Subsea
08/02/2016, 06:09 PM
I still have great success with chaeto

Can your fish are you eat it?

biecacka
08/02/2016, 07:28 PM
I use a Bubble King dc200 skimmer in my tank. It's a 240 with 30 fish it, the skimmer is a beast. I also dose vodka and vinegar and run a ATS. The skimmer pulls good crud and the ATS grows at a decent pace, I feed heavy. My screen on the ATS is bigger than I need because I plan on adding more fish. Some say my screen should get more growth and others say my skimmer should pull more, I think I have the perfect balance for the time being. They sort of compete against each other so neither over works super impressive results but they complement each other perfectly. My nitrates stay around the 7 number.

Corey

Remmers
08/02/2016, 07:35 PM
You might look into ceramic media for a substrate in your sump vs a deep sand bed. Much more porous and easier to control detritus. People have reported success in using the media combined with carbon dosing, skimming, or ATS/Macro fuge.


If using the ceramic media, do you suggest just laying it in the sump or do you put a powerhead over it do get motion/water movement?

polaravic
08/02/2016, 09:29 PM
Interesting thread. I used a Dremmel saw for the worst of the red fuzzy algae; then FozDown and now Aquavitro GFO (Phosfiltrum) in a reactor with two Tuxedo Sea Urchis (algae eating fiends) and 12 Trochus snails in the DT while my 75 gallon refugium gets growing. Display tank is 150 gallons. I don't have any algae any more and hopefully I can keep it this way as it's all a matter of balance. Oh yes, I have a protein skimmer as well.

polaravic

PS I am hoping to learn about these ceramic blocks so waiting for an answer as I think you can't have enough when it comes to nutrient removal.

amcvay1979
08/03/2016, 08:33 AM
If using the ceramic media, do you suggest just laying it in the sump or do you put a powerhead over it do get motion/water movement?

I've seen it laid out on the bottom of sumps, typically run with filter socks to avoid detritus buildup, etc.

BRS TV has a good episode on youtube regarding ceramic media in their BRS 160 build. I'd recommend watching that episode for more ideas.

bif24701
08/26/2016, 07:31 PM
I've seen it laid out on the bottom of sumps, typically run with filter socks to avoid detritus buildup, etc.

BRS TV has a good episode on youtube regarding ceramic media in their BRS 160 build. I'd recommend watching that episode for more ideas.

I have a MarinePure block that is standing up on one side. I love it. Never clogs and nitrates are not detectable. In fact I am trying to bring them up.