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Old 08/09/2009, 06:15 PM   #1
Tswifty
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My Bacteria Driven Journey

Well after reading the Reefkeeping Article and SunnyX's Rimless Build Thread thread, I have decided to try out a bacteria driven system on my 40 Gallon Rimless SPS Tank. My interest in a bacteria driven system started as a curiosity regarding dosing Vodka to reduce nutrient levels, but more so in an attempt to gather some information on alternative methods to clear up some algae issues that I cannot seem to beat in my current system. Also, I've just not been happy thus far with the color or growth rates out of my SPS corals. However, after doing some reading, it's beginning to become apparent that there is more to it than just Vodka.

So here is my plan (actual dosages will be determined once the products arrive):

Daily:
- Kent Lugol's
- Brightwell Aquatics Microbactor 7
- 80 Proof Vodka (starting 2 weeks after MB7)

Weekly:
- 140 ml Magnesium (70ml on Mon, 70ml on Thurs)
- Brightwell Aquatics Coral Ammino (2 times per week)
- 5 gallon water change (50/50 blend Coralife/Instant Ocean)

*Replace carbon in TLF Reactor - 1 cup every 2 weeks.

Some stats on my system:
- Just passed 6 months since initial set up.
- 30 x 22 x 16" Display (Approx 35 gallons)
- SSB (< 1") CaribSea Fiji Pink Substrate
- Approx 20 gallon Sump w/ Refugium (cheato)
- Marine Solutions MSX-160 Protein Skimmer
- Eheim 1262 Return Pump (feeds into manifold)
- Ca Reactor
- Kalk Reactor
- TLF Reactor (Carbon)
- TLF Reactor (GFO)... will be pulling offline once MB7 dosing starts.
- 1 VorTech MP40w (Reefcrest 60%)

Lighting:
- 2 x 250w DE Pheonix 14k bulbs in PFO Mini Pendants & PFO HQI Ballast
- Bottom of Pendants are 9" off the water's surface.
- Lighting Schedule:
MH1: 1:30PM - 8:30PM
MH2: 2:00PM - 9:00PM

Current Water Parameters:
Temp: 81.0
SG: 1.026
pH: 8.30
Ca: 460 ppm
Alk: 11.2 dKH
Mag: (Need to purchase a kit)
NO3: 0 ppm
PO4: (Need to purchase kit)

Current Livestock:
- 2 Yasha Hase White Ray Gobies
- 3 Bartlett Anthias
- 4 Green Chromis
- 1 Mystery Wrasse
- 1 Canary Wrasse
- 1 ORA Grade A Picasso Clownfish
- 1 Midas Blenny
- 1 Tank Bred Bangaii Cardinal
- 1 T. Squamosa Clam
- 2 T. Maxima Clams

Clean Up Crew:
- 20 Super Tongan Nassarius Snails
- 10 Cerith Snails
- 3 Trochus Snails
- 1 Mexican Turbo Snail


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Old 08/09/2009, 06:16 PM   #2
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Over the next few days I plan on getting everything that I'll need ordered, pulling the live rock and live rock rubble out of my refugium section, as well as working my alkalinity down into the 8-9 dKH range. Hopefully I'll have my "before" pictures to post later.

As always... questions, comments, concerns, and suggestions are always welcome.




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Last edited by Tswifty; 08/09/2009 at 06:27 PM.
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Old 08/09/2009, 06:44 PM   #3
soccerbag
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Looks like a good regimen to me (I've been using the patented SunnyX system for about 4 months now). The only thing you may want to consider is the weekly amino's. I would hold off until your PO4 reaches your desired level before starting aminos...as you know, the aminos will raise PO4. Personally, I believe it would be better to hold off on this until your levels come down and the nuisance algae subsides.

I had some burnt tips until my alk got down around 8 so just keep a eye out for that as well.

Just curious, are you using your kalk reactor for your topoff or separate?

I love all of your builds / tanks. Can't wait to see this one progress as well. I'm been very pleased with vodka dosing / MB7 regimen. I just started with the aminos last week.

Good luck!


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Old 08/09/2009, 09:59 PM   #4
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Old 08/09/2009, 10:01 PM   #5
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Some of my suffering corals:

ORA Marshall Island Blue Bottlebrush



ORA Tri Color



Tri Color



Paletta Pink Tip



Purple Digi



ORA Red Planet, ORA Joe the Coral, Purple Tip Efflo



Green Acro



One of the worst areas for algae.




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Old 08/09/2009, 10:09 PM   #6
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Welcome to the ULNS club. Just curious, what's your Nitrate and Phosphate readings right now? If I could give you any tip at all, I would say to go very very slow in ramping up your vodka dosage. That's one lesson I learned from my little journey.


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Old 08/09/2009, 10:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by soccerbag
Looks like a good regimen to me (I've been using the patented SunnyX system for about 4 months now). The only thing you may want to consider is the weekly amino's. I would hold off until your PO4 reaches your desired level before starting aminos...as you know, the aminos will raise PO4. Personally, I believe it would be better to hold off on this until your levels come down and the nuisance algae subsides.

I had some burnt tips until my alk got down around 8 so just keep a eye out for that as well.

Just curious, are you using your kalk reactor for your topoff or separate?

I love all of your builds / tanks. Can't wait to see this one progress as well. I'm been very pleased with vodka dosing / MB7 regimen. I just started with the aminos last week.

Good luck!
Thanks for the kind words.

I've been doing a lot of reading lately, and Sunny's thread was a great source of information. I really like the system he's laid out, and obviously his tank speaks for itself.

The alkalinity had risen a little (I usually try to keep it around 10dkh), and I think it's because I've been dealing with a faulty solenoid for some time now. Each time I have to take it apart and re-assemble it my bubble rate changes a bit. I forgot to test after this last instance, but I plan on moving it down over the next few days.

My Kalk Reactor is connected to my ATO, and helps keep my pH between 8.0-8.3 throughout the day.


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Old 08/09/2009, 10:23 PM   #8
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Very nice tank... regardless of the algae.. haha..


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Old 08/09/2009, 10:26 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by aquariumclown
Welcome to the ULNS club. Just curious, what's your Nitrate and Phosphate readings right now? If I could give you any tip at all, I would say to go very very slow in ramping up your vodka dosage. That's one lesson I learned from my little journey.
Thanks for the tip. That's one theme that seemed to be repeated in everything I read... an extreme emphasis on moving slow. Better to underdose than overdose.

Currently my Nitrate reading is, and has been, 0 ppm (Salifert) for some time now. I don't know what my PO4 reading is, but can imagine it's up there due to the abundance of nuisance algae and poor coloration of my corals.


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Old 08/09/2009, 10:30 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by JDigital
Very nice tank... regardless of the algae.. haha..
Thank you.


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Old 08/09/2009, 10:37 PM   #11
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I like the layout+ aquascape job. BTW, did Glass Cage build your rimless tank?


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Old 08/09/2009, 10:43 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by coral_lagoon
I like the layout+ aquascape job. BTW, did Glass Cage build your rimless tank?
Thank you. The tank is 3/4" acrylic, and was built by fellow RC member DEERE G.


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Old 08/09/2009, 10:44 PM   #13
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Stop bragging!!!! That is one badass setup! I gotzta get me a rimless setup! They are hottt!


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Old 08/09/2009, 10:55 PM   #14
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I've been thinking of doing the exact same thing. I also have zero nitrates and an abundance of nuissance algae. The one concern I had is that carbon dosing seems to do a better job of elminating nitrates then phosphates (anecdotal from observing a few carbon dosing threads). Since nitrates don't seem to be the problem for either of us, I wonder how much this system will help. Perhaps the additional bacteria dosing will be the key. I'll be following along closely to see how this goes.


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Old 08/10/2009, 02:45 AM   #15
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Managed to get all the live rock and live rock rubble out of my refugium section. I have one of the manifold outlets emptying excess flow into this section, but it seems I didn't have it angled properly... because once I pulled out the macro and all the rock... it was sick!

I'll have to get to the skimmer compartment tomorrow, because I only had enough water change water on had to replenish what I siphoned out of the refugium section.





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Old 08/10/2009, 02:58 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by kkdoughboy
Stop bragging!!!! That is one badass setup! I gotzta get me a rimless setup! They are hottt!


Thanks. Yeah there are some real gems around RC. I blame Nick (GSMguy) and 143gadgets for getting me on the rimless bandwagon.
Quote:
Originally posted by Bill14
I've been thinking of doing the exact same thing. I also have zero nitrates and an abundance of nuissance algae. The one concern I had is that carbon dosing seems to do a better job of elminating nitrates then phosphates (anecdotal from observing a few carbon dosing threads). Since nitrates don't seem to be the problem for either of us, I wonder how much this system will help. Perhaps the additional bacteria dosing will be the key. I'll be following along closely to see how this goes.
That's what I thought as well, however during my reading I noticed both clean and "dirty" tanks pursuing this course of action. I believe it's the MB7 which drops the PO4 drastically about 1 month in, which is why it's recommended to pull the GFO offline when you beginning dosing the bacteria so it doesn't compete with it.


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Old 08/10/2009, 03:27 AM   #17
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Great looking tank!!! Thank you for the detail description on your dosing regime, I will be following your progress. One idea/suggestion, what about reducing your photo period 1 to 2 hours? I see that you have a fairly small cleaning crew, so with the 7:30 - 8 hours of MH light you might be feeding the algae more than you are giving a chance to your cleaning crew to take care of it. Just a thought.

I recently added a 20g long frag tank and put 4 T5 on top of it. I made a mistake in my programing and was having the lights on for 9 hours. I was surprised to see some algae growing in it while my main tank didn't have any (neither the fuge and sump). I have it on opposite photo period, and in a small room so I didn't even realize it was lighted for so long. I reduced the photo period to 5:30 hours and almost all the algae has disappeared.

This is just an opinion on what might be a cause for your algae. I still think the dosing that you are planning will probably make the water parameters even better and help the coloration of your SPS.

Good luck!!!


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Old 08/10/2009, 04:09 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by boret
Great looking tank!!! Thank you for the detail description on your dosing regime, I will be following your progress. One idea/suggestion, what about reducing your photo period 1 to 2 hours? I see that you have a fairly small cleaning crew, so with the 7:30 - 8 hours of MH light you might be feeding the algae more than you are giving a chance to your cleaning crew to take care of it. Just a thought.

I recently added a 20g long frag tank and put 4 T5 on top of it. I made a mistake in my programing and was having the lights on for 9 hours. I was surprised to see some algae growing in it while my main tank didn't have any (neither the fuge and sump). I have it on opposite photo period, and in a small room so I didn't even realize it was lighted for so long. I reduced the photo period to 5:30 hours and almost all the algae has disappeared.

This is just an opinion on what might be a cause for your algae. I still think the dosing that you are planning will probably make the water parameters even better and help the coloration of your SPS.

Good luck!!!
Thank you. However, I want to make it clear that I am benefiting from the hard work of others. The dosing regiment I intend to use was put together by RC Member SunnyX and can be viewed on his thread as well as his website. Information was also gathered from the Reefkeeping Magazine Article which was written by RC Member's Genetics and Stony_Corals.

I've played around with my photoperiod in the past, and have used variations ranging between 6 hrs to 10 hrs. They only difference I ever really noticed was the amount of time I was able to view my tank.


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Old 08/10/2009, 07:44 AM   #19
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Nice thread, will be neat to see it progress.


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Old 08/10/2009, 07:51 AM   #20
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IMO, test kits for PO4 are worthless. I'd recommend finding someone with a hanna handheld PO4 meter.


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Old 08/10/2009, 10:47 AM   #21
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Really nice thread looking forward to see the progress


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Old 08/10/2009, 10:59 AM   #22
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I'll second what was said earlier about amino acids. I have been running a bacteria driven system for almost two years and I have yet to add them. Do one thing at a time, it will help trouble shoot through process of elimination. Start with the vodka dosing for a few months, tthen add the AAs and if you get weird results, you'll know why. Overall, the bacteria driven system is the best thing I have ever done. I have more fish than ever, yet my tank is still super clean with sps thriving. Just have a big skimmer.


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Old 08/10/2009, 12:23 PM   #23
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Just curious why you are dosing 140ml of Mg a week? Dosent that seem in excess? Also, you're dosing that much Mg and have no test kit? Also seems like a pretty high fish load for such a small tank. JMO. YMMV.

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Old 08/10/2009, 12:30 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally posted by Tswifty
Managed to get all the live rock and live rock rubble out of my refugium section. I have one of the manifold outlets emptying excess flow into this section, but it seems I didn't have it angled properly... because once I pulled out the macro and all the rock... it was sick!
I just cleaned out my fuge this weekend as well. I was shocked at the amount of stuff that had collected. It was probably a large source of my problems. Are you going to wait a while before you start dosing to see if cleaning out that section will have an effect first?


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Old 08/10/2009, 12:41 PM   #25
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I'm glad you're starting with the MB7 before the vodka. I started the other way around, because I wasn't aware at first about the mb7, just about vodka, and as a result, any small patches of cyano in my system blew up and grew a TON, but after about 2 weeks of vodka with the mb7, the cyano disappeared, and now after about 3 months of dosing both, I'm happy to say that I don't have any cyano, and I never really had an algae problem, so I guess I'm clear there too.

This will be a good thread, and I'm excited to see your progress.


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