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Old 09/09/2014, 09:13 AM   #116
Michael Hoaster
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 3,573
I had read the 'Advanced Aquarist' article before, but it was good to reread. It's a bit long and technical, but there's some VERY good info in there.

One of my favorite points made was that carbon dosing worked great in the 'removed samples', but in the reef tank, bacteria levels rose then fell, reaching a sort of equilibrium with the bacteria consumers. My take away from that is, if I have a filter feeder population in my tank, a skimmer is not needed, and in fact, is counterproductive to keeping filter feeders.

They also pointed out that skimming only removed 20-30 percent of the bacteria. This makes me wonder if the carbon dosing crowd is having success because of the increased bacteria levels feeding their corals, rather than their removal of nitrate and phosphate!

Of course skimmers remove lots of other nasty stuff, which help us to maintain pristine conditions in our aquariums, so I'm not 'anti-skimmer', I'm 'anti pristine', at least for this tank. I just want to see if I can encourage natural consumers to do the work, rather than a skimmer. And if some of those consumers happen to be beautiful sponges and scallops, so be it.

Steve Tyree's book, "Environmental Gradient", on using sponges to naturally filter aquariums is also very encouraging to me. I don't plan to set up a 'cryptic zone' sump, or a sponge display aquarium. I just want to create conditions favorable to a few 'display filter feeders'.


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
our desire to conquer and control everything, and walk hand in hand with Mother Nature. -Walter Adey

Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Lagoon in the works
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