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Old 06/27/2001, 04:09 PM   #1
Reefstud
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Cryptic Sponge & Sea Squirt Filtration Methodology

I just finished reading Steve Tyree's book on this subject and would like to get some other people's impressions of the system he proposes.

First let me say that I think he may have "rushed" the book out without substantial data to support any of his conclusions. You can see the progression of his thoughts in each new experiment. He is moving towards a more complex system that I feel will incorporate a dsb, etc. "Research Phase 2" which is underway will hopefully answer a lot of the questions he didn't answer in his first book.

I think there may be some merit to his methodology but I would liek to get some other people's impression. I posted this in Dr. Ron's forum and he dismissed it a little too quickly (a little heathly debate never hurt anyone). Forgive me for paraphrasing him, but he did not seem to feel there is any merit to this method.

The one thing that interested me on this subject was the concept of a cryptic (no light) refugium with low flow hooked up to the sump.

Anyone tried this method? Anyone have an opinion?


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Old 06/27/2001, 05:14 PM   #2
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I think Ron made a mistake dismissing anything Steve Tyree has to say.
Although there are no "Reef Gods", when it comes to cutting edge research on the keeping of various corals, Steve is hard to beat.
Of course when it comes to mobile invertebrates Ron is the man.

I plan on adding a cryptic area in my new reef project but will still use a skimmer at first. The goal would be to eventually phase out the skimmer once the sponges achieve sufficient biomass.

This way I can go either way and if the skimmer shutdown does not work well, I just turn it back on.



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Old 06/28/2001, 08:36 AM   #3
Brad Ward
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I just went through a massive sponge die off with my sps system. This happened when I changed to a bigger display tank. I stripped the top layer of rock off my old reef structure with the undisireable Zooanthids, Mushrooms, ect. and used the larger rocks that comprised the support structure of the old tank as the new top of the reef rocks. I should have been paying more attention, because the bottom rocks were full of sponge that were supported by calcareous tube worm casings that made the surface hard to the touch and therefore almost invisable to my sight and touch. They didn't like the move and change in current and light and died off rapidly overnight causing a massive bacterial bloom that wiped out about 70% of my corals. These sponges were up to 1" thickness in depth and were boring into the rock itself.

So... While I think that sponges are a great addition to making our tanks more natural, I have to caution you that a die off could cause your system some irrrepairable damage as well. I am not getting rid of the skimmer yet. Believe me John, you don't need to add sponge filter if you have a mature well fed tank, they are there in a vast amount already.

later,

Brad


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Old 06/28/2001, 10:06 AM   #4
dendronepthya
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Is there any online reference to what Tyree is proposing? I think the filtration scheme is interesting in that Adey sort of way.


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Old 06/28/2001, 10:15 AM   #5
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I have a modified version and it seems to work like Steve says...

After corresponding with Steve and reading his site I created a wall of manono rock out of the light from my MHs and behind the reef, and directed a slow flow over it from my sump. Lots of what looks like chicken liver sponge (hows that for scientific nomenclature?) has formed and all my levels are NSW. Course, I do all the other fun stuff too-waterchanges, dosing ESV two part, yadda yadda yadda, so not exactly a controlled test. Flow rate over the manono is about 400 gph, and again, no light hits it.


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Old 06/28/2001, 10:21 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by dendronepthya
Is there any online reference to what Tyree is proposing? I think the filtration scheme is interesting in that Adey sort of way.




http://www.dynamicecomorphology.com/

i read the book when it first came out.


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Old 06/28/2001, 10:29 AM   #7
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His website does not list the basics of his setup. I will try to give an overview. The basic premise is that you establish "zones" within a tank simulating the different areas of a reef (low flow low light, high flow high light, moderate light moderate flow, etc.). He diagrams in the book how to establish these kinds of areas. One of the larger areas is the "cryptic" or no light, low flow areas that house sponges and sea squirts. He asserts that these creatures do not have the proper environment to live in your typical reef tank (high flow, high light). He makes a case that these animals are very important in the filtering of the water and can do a better job than the caulerpa, skimmer, ATS systems. The one thing that is interesting about this approach is the lack of equipment that is required.

I am not sold that you could do without a skimmer but i do like the overall concept. I wish Dr. Ron had not dismissed this so quickly or had gone into more detail as to why he feels this system doesn't work. Tyree has had great success in raising SPS corals (my interest) and at least he deserves a more thorough debate about his methodology. There are a million ways to skin a cat and I think all methods have some merit.


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Old 06/28/2001, 11:28 AM   #8
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Why does Ron's dismissal of this method surprise anyone? I've heard he's that way about a great many topics in reefing. I like what I've seen from Tyree's tanks. Ron won't show anyone his.


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Old 06/28/2001, 12:25 PM   #9
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Dendronepthya, I agree completely. I was a little concerned about saying anything about Dr. Ron on Reef Central. He has a lot of "followers" here and I didn't want to start a flame war.

The results of Steve Tyree's work can be seen every day on his website and in the product he supplies to the market. I think it is a bad thing when "experts" like Dr. Ron shoot down others attempting to advance the hobby. I think he does not like the fact that Tyree is not a member of the "legitimate" scientific community. Tyree publishes his own books without any kind of peer review.

If anyone thinks publishing "Cryptic Sponge and Sea Squirt Filtration methods" is an attempt to make a lot of money or to defraud the hobby then that person needs a reality check.


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Old 06/28/2001, 12:38 PM   #10
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I found a picture of Dr. Ron's tank:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...#more-pictures


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Old 06/28/2001, 12:43 PM   #11
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I guess I wasn't clear. When your live rock filled tank matures, you have all those areas that Tyree calls the cryptic zones. They are filled with what will grow there. You will have high light and flow areas and low light and slow flow areas. There is no magic or special methodology involved. Sponges grow without any help or planning in nost of the reef structures everyone already has! I think that's why Ron wasn't that interested.

Brad


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Old 06/28/2001, 12:58 PM   #12
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I don't think Tyree is trying to claim the discovery of cryptic zones. I think the interesting part of this is the proportion of cryptic zones to high light zones. He is suggesting a much larger cryptic zone than most people have in their reef tanks. Look at the amount of cryptic areas there are in the ocean compared to the high light areas. Personally my tank does not have very many cryptic areas other than underneath LR and I have such high flow that there are no low flow cryptic zones in my tank.


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Old 06/28/2001, 01:42 PM   #13
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I didn't say he was trying to say that he discovered them... this topic can be found in all basic Marine Biology textbooks. You need to have a mature well fed tank and time for these things to happen. Most tanks that I see take at least several years of stable conditions to achieve this. As corals or plants grow, the flow will slow down and the light penetration will dim. That is just a normal course and again, it will happen with anyones tanks under constant conditions. Just wait a while for your tank to mature and you will see it happen. Your tank will look nothing like it does today two years from now.

Brad


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Old 06/28/2001, 02:09 PM   #14
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Thumbs up

I fully agree with those people who have stated that low flow areas will sometimes exist in your aquarium, without going to the extremes Steve Tyree went to to create them. And yes, sponges will proliferate without your help.

However, (and yes, I have read the book, it's very good), the point he is trying to make, is that he is attempting to maximize the surface area for these sponges to grow in, by creating a specific habitat that is specific to thier needs. In this way, he is trying to grow a greater sponge biomass than what would occur in your average tank, and by doing so, he can remove the skimmer completely from the equasion.

Am I running one of his systems? no.. not yet. But I can attest somewhat to what he is saying. In my sump a very low light area exists below the mass of floating caulerpa, and sponges proliferate in that area, similar to what he describes in his book. In addition, I have some very hollow live rock, with *large* hollow interior areas, completely filled with sponges. And, I run w/o a skimmer. (*gasp*)!

On my FOWLR I have set up a cryptic sump, per some of his instructions, and hope to test some of his theories out. I do use a skimmer in that system, because I believe that the bioload of a FO tank will be much greater than that of a reef.

I very much think that more reasearch needs to be done on his ideas. I don't think that he has it comletely nailed down yet. I don't think any of us do yet. But I think he has struck upon some key ideas, and the more people that try it out, and make variations on his ideas, the greater the chances are that we discover better ways to keep our tanks alive.

Also, he does have a message board on his site for discussion of some of his ideas. I have met him in person, and bounced ideas off him both in person and on the site. He is extremely knowledgeable, and willing to discuss his thoughts.


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Old 06/28/2001, 02:51 PM   #15
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garbled,

As you mentioned, sponges grow anywhere they can. Depending on what kind (photsynthetic or not), they will colonize appropriate places in our small systems w/o trying. All Steve is proposing is a refugium for low light low flow sponge colonies. What's the big deal? You can have a Xenia sp. filter or fill it with calerpa and magic mud if you want to. It doesn't matter as long as it limits nutrients. System size will always be a sticking point for most hobbyists. I prefer to use the space I have with something far more interesting than rocks with sponges. I have had rock in my sumps for years. Any body who has been keeping reefs for a few years needs somwhere to put those rocks that take up too much room from coral growth. Steve had a sump full of rock back when I visited his apt. in 95. I bet he got the idea when he had to move and break down the two tanks that were in the living room and discovered massive amounts of sponge.

I know everyone thinks running w/o a skimmer is a sign of superiority, but nothing can be further from the truth if you ask me. I like keeping large populations of fish and feed my tank a lot. I also run my tanks w/o chillers because of the cost. Temps are anywhere from 82-86 degrees in the Summer. Supersaturation of 02 is necessary. Having a skimmer on my tank is like a security blanket as far as spawning goes as well. I have had spawning clams totally fog the tank with eggs and sperm. I wouldn't want to think what would have happened in a skimmerless system. I ran skimmerless for two years on my soft coral system, and liked the results, but had some die off due to what I believe were built up chemical problems.

Bottomline is: There is more than one way to filter a reef tank. I don't have a problem with using most of them. Use whatever floats your boat and can address possible glitches in your system.

Brad


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Old 07/04/2001, 01:09 AM   #16
Steve Tyree
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Hello,

This is the author of the book CMAT Volume 1 Cryptic Sponge and Sea Squirt Filtration.
Its nice to see comments about the book from reef aquarist who have actually read it !
I have a few minutes to address some of the specific items mentioned within this thread.

>Reefstud wrote
>First let me say that I think he may have "rushed" the book out

Nope. Was written from mid-1999 to mid-2000. Research occurred from 1995 to 1999.

>Reefstud wrote
>without substantial data to support any of his conclusions.

Please provide a specifc example so I could address it for you. There were dozens
of conclusions drawn that had scientific research supporting them as well as anectodal
observations. There was even quite a bit of original science that I did.

>Reefstud Wrote
>He is moving towards a more complex system that I feel will incorporate a dsb, etc.

Not exactly. Moving toward a zonal approach to modelling the tropical reef platform.
Wont have much on sediment beds or protein skimmers in volume 2.

>Reefstud wrote
>"Research Phase 2" which is underway will hopefully answer a lot of the questions he
>didn't answer in his first book.

The second volume is going into new areas. The semi-cryptic zone and the semi-exposed
zone. There will be a formal definition of the crytpic zone and exposed zones, but all the
basic information is covered in volume 1 concerning those 2 zones. If you have any questions
concerning the data in volume 1, feel free to post it on my web site.
http://www.dynamicecomorphology.com/getzoned.htm

>Reefstud wrote
>I posted this in Dr. Ron's forum and he dismissed it a little too quickly

Ron has also accused me of plagarism without providing a specific example. He later
retracted that statement. His remarks about sponges only consuming bacteria demonstrates
he has not read Captive Oceans Volume 1 (Living Sponges) and has not read CMAT volume 1.
My theories are grounded in science. The problem is that it is relatively new science
and science that has been traditionally ignored. For example: Dr. Adey told me during
Macna X that he had not even read any of Reiswigs work.


>Brad Ward wrote
>I just went through a massive sponge die off with my sps system.

In the Modern Coral Reef Aquarium Volume 3, Alf Nilsen recommended not keeping cryptic
sponges at all. He assumed they could not be kept.
One of the problems berlin aquarist have is that opportunistic species can proliferate even within
the semi-exposed and semi-cryptic sheltered areas of a typical brightly lighted modern
coral reef aquarium. If is much safer to have a separate area for them to grow. One that
wont be exposed to occasional high levels of sedimentation, turbidity and sudden intense
light exposure.


>Reefstud wrote
> I think he does not like the fact that Tyree is not a member of the "legitimate"
>scientific community.Tyree publishes his own books without any kind of peer review.

The problem with peer review is that this is leading edge stuff, based on very new
science or traditonally ignored science. Those with their feet firmly planted in the
ground, take too long to convince and too long to educate. I dont plan on slowing
down to please any community. Life is short.

>Reefstud wrote
>If anyone thinks publishing "Cryptic Sponge and Sea Squirt Filtration methods" is an
>attempt to make a lot of money or to defraud the hobby then that person needs a reality
>check.

I am doing research that I find interesting. The fact that I can support this research
minimally by selling books helps to keep this research unbiased by outside financial
interests. Hey, I could have taken a check from a product manufacturer (wont be named)
and stated for the manufacturer, 'This product has allowed me to prolifically grow
sponges in my systems !' Since I did not need the product to prolifically grow sponges,
I did not take the check.


>Brad Ward wrote
>When your live rock filled tank matures, you have all those areas that Tyree calls the
>cryptic zones.

Not exactly. You will have semi-exposed and semi-cryptic sheltered zones that are
occurring within a shallow water habitat. These zones are however not very supportive
of the cryptic animals. There can be frequent intervals of turbid water that can kill
off the cryptic organisms. These internal cavities and crevices can also be overwhelmed
by deposits of particulate matter. They can support cryptic animals short term, but
are more suited for semi-cryptic and semi-exposed animals.

>Brad Ward wrote
> Sponges grow without any help or planning in nost of the reef structures everyone
>already has!

Actually, what you are really doing is repopulating the rocks with sponges and other
semi-cryptic organisms. These organisms were killed of by the collecting and
transporting process. There are what decomposes during the curing process.

>Brad Ward wrote
>I think that's why Ron wasn't that interested.

My job is not to impress Ron. My books are attempting to get cutting edge research
into the hobbyist hands.

>Reefstud wrote
>I don't think Tyree is trying to claim the discovery of cryptic zones.

Definitly not. 'Cryptic Zones', 'Cryptofauna' and 'Environmental Gradient' have appeared
in the scientific literature for quite a while. I am just taking these ideas and concepts
and utilizing them to define a new Tropical Reef Platform Modelling theory.

>garbled wrote
>I fully agree with those people who have stated that low flow areas will sometimes exist
>in your aquarium, without going to the extremes Steve Tyree went to to create them.

They are only superficially recreating the semi-cryptic zones. The tropical reef
platform itself has at least one half of its inhabitable surface structure as cryptic
zones. Most hobbyist tanks contain mostly exposed zones with only a minor amount of
cracks and crevices for the cryptic zone.

>garbled wrote
>And yes, sponges will proliferate without your help.

But they typically wont do very well in those habitats. The growth rates of cryptic to
semi-cryptic sponges and cryptic to semi-cryptic sea squirts is simply amazing.

>garbled wrote
> that he is attempting to maximize the surface area for these sponges to grow in, by
>creating a specific habitat that is specific to thier needs. In this way, he is trying
>to grow a greater sponge biomass than what would occur in your average tank, and by
>doing so, he can remove the skimmer completely from the equasion.

Thanks. You stated that position very well.

>garbled wrote
>I don't think that he has it comletely nailed down yet.
> But I think he has struck upon some key ideas,

Within the CMAT volume 1 book their is plenty of new science referenced and reviewed
that is extremely important to the captive reef hobby. Some of it has not appeared in
print for the captive reef market before. Since that science is 'credited' science,
it should not be ignored.

>Brad Ward wrote

>All Steve is proposing is a refugium for low light low flow sponge colonies.

Not exactly. I am proposing that you should stop ignoring the cryptic zones of
the tropical reef platform. There are more cryptic surfaces than there are exposed.

>Brad wrote
>I prefer to use the space I have with something far more interesting than rocks
>with sponges.

Actually, once the sponges and squirts are populating a proper cryptic zone,
a whole bunch of other animals start showing up. Besides, sponges and squirts
are some of the most colorful organisms that inhabit reef platforms.

>Brad wrote
>Steve had a sump full of rock back when I visited his apt. in 95. I bet he got
>the idea when he had to move and break down the two tanks that were in the living
>room and discovered massive amounts of sponge.

Thanks for visitnig me in the past Brad. Within my book I did state that the
sponges I found growing in that sump surprised me. Also mentioned that to over
500 people at Macna X. There was also some wierd sponge growth under the
rocks in my 180 exposed reef flats. Then of course RTN hit in 1996 and almost
destroyed the SPS market.

>Brad wrote
>I also run my tanks w/o chillers because of the cost.

It is also expensive to run a skimmer and also to run a lighted refugium.
The cryptic refugium has minimal power requirements. The internal cryptic
zone has almost none.

>Brad wrote
>Having a skimmer on my tank is like a security blanket as far as
>spawning goes as well. I have had spawning clams totally fog the tank with eggs
>and sperm. I wouldn't want to think what would have happened in a skimmerless
>system.

Actually, the spawns are food for the sponges and sea squirts. They can filter
the water very quickly. If you have an internal cryptic zone they will also keep
filtering during a long power outage.


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Old 07/04/2001, 02:01 AM   #17
JohnL
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Hi Steve,


To Reef Central

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Old 07/04/2001, 12:10 PM   #18
Brad Ward
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Hi Steve,

< sponges at all. He assumed they could not be kept.
One of the problems berlin aquarist have is that opportunistic species can proliferate even within
the semi-exposed and semi-cryptic sheltered areas of a typical brightly lighted modern
coral reef aquarium. If is much safer to have a separate area for them to grow. One that
wont be exposed to occasional high levels of sedimentation, turbidity and sudden intense
light exposure.>>

Funny you should mention Alf, because he was part of the group I was in when we saw your systems. Haven't gotten around to getting his third book yet, but someday I will along with yours. I tried to get yours before our first Next Wave conference but you didn't have any at the time. I would definately disagree with Alf as well as to his assumption that they can not be kept. I agree that they are evident just about anywhere that they can grow. It was a big mistake on my part not to take this into account when re setting up my sps mother colony tank.


>Brad Ward wrote
>When your live rock filled tank matures, you have all those areas that Tyree calls the
>cryptic zones.

< occurring within a shallow water habitat. These zones are however not very supportive
of the cryptic animals. There can be frequent intervals of turbid water that can kill
off the cryptic organisms. These internal cavities and crevices can also be overwhelmed
by deposits of particulate matter. They can support cryptic animals short term, but
are more suited for semi-cryptic and semi-exposed animals.>>

Of course they will only grow where a suitable niche is available. I feel most rockwork in systems give adequate surface area for the proper niches to appear given energy to grow. Personal experience has taught me that these zones and the life therein will continually change and evolve during the span of time that the system is set up.

>Brad Ward wrote
> Sponges grow without any help or planning in nost of the reef structures everyone
>already has!

< semi-cryptic organisms. These organisms were killed of by the collecting and
transporting process. There are what decomposes during the curing process. >>

What about introduction from additions? Coral additions that have rock bases attatched are an excellent way to seed for sponge in our systems. I was lucky enough to collect my own rock in Florida before the ban, and it has only briefly ever left the water in 12 years. I have however also seen rock from the S. Pacific that has been shipped dry and sat in a warehouse for up to two weeks, so I know what you mean.

>Brad Ward wrote
>I think that's why Ron wasn't that interested.

< into the hobbyist hands. >>

I certainly don't disparrage your work and hope you continue to study. I don't think either of you has not tried to help the hobby.



< platform itself has at least one half of its inhabitable surface structure as cryptic
zones. Most hobbyist tanks contain mostly exposed zones with only a minor amount of
cracks and crevices for the cryptic zone.>>

I also agree that our systems surfaces are severely lacking what is clearly apparent in the ocean. But then again, I have never seen a closed system design that is capable of matching the variety that open ocean has due to the size restraints. Are you saying that your system design has produced these surface area populations found in nature? That would be neat.

< semi-cryptic sponges and cryptic to semi-cryptic sea squirts is simply amazing.>>

I must have been lucky to grow so many of these cryptic areas w/o trying because I still continue to have success in all my systems growing them. Feeding definately contributes to these cryptic areas and the amount of life associated in total. They are still just a part of the system though, and maximum surface area including sand is important as well. Therefore I use sand beds along w/rock. Is this the perfect way to run a system? I know it's not, we haven't gotten there yet.


>Brad Ward wrote

>All Steve is proposing is a refugium for low light low flow sponge colonies.

<< Not exactly. I am proposing that you should stop ignoring the cryptic zones of
the tropical reef platform. There are more cryptic surfaces than there are exposed.>>

I agree that the cryptic zones are very productive, and believe me, as they have grown in my systems over the years I have noted the large biomass present. It would depend on the reef model in the tank itself how they would grow. As you stated earlier, closed system reef tanks are in no way alike to nature. We can't hope to recreate the ocean in even a two hundred thousand gallon tank. Least I haven't seen one yet.

>Brad wrote
>I prefer to use the space I have with something far more interesting than rocks
>with sponges.

< a whole bunch of other animals start showing up. Besides, sponges and squirts
are some of the most colorful organisms that inhabit reef platforms.>>

I was merely saying that any visable display area I and most hobbyist have, is more than likely going to be set up for corals. Sumps and refugiums can be cool as well for all the reasons we are discussing.


< sponges I found growing in that sump surprised me. Also mentioned that to over
500 people at Macna X. There was also some wierd sponge growth under the
rocks in my 180 exposed reef flats. Then of course RTN hit in 1996 and almost
destroyed the SPS market.>>

Steve, believe me, the pleasure was all mine. It was your system that impressed me enough to believe that a hobbyist could make a difference, and it prompted me to begin my own humble little farm. Thank you. I remember your set up perfectly. I saw it when I was at the WMC in 95 when you had the two tanks and sump w/huge (K2R)? skimmer in the living room and the 180 frag tank in the laundry room off the kitchen. I couldn't pry a "purple monster" frag away from you even with a real unusual trade. I remember the problems in 96 and have to admit, that was the only time I haven't been sorry that I wasn't out there near the wholesalers on a regular basis.

>Brad wrote
>I also run my tanks w/o chillers because of the cost.

< The cryptic refugium has minimal power requirements. The internal cryptic
zone has almost none.>>

I have stated that there are more than one way to a successful tank. Refugiums for whatever you want to limit nutrients with will be fine. I use my sump like this as you did. It was not intentional at first.

>Brad wrote
>Having a skimmer on my tank is like a security blanket as far as
>spawning goes as well. I have had spawning clams totally fog the tank with eggs
>and sperm. I wouldn't want to think what would have happened in a skimmerless
>system.

<< Actually, the spawns are food for the sponges and sea squirts. They can filter
the water very quickly. If you have an internal cryptic zone they will also keep
filtering during a long power outage. >>

It all depends on the spawn I guarrantee you, a massive clam spawn will tax even the best systems that I have seen unless the system has a huge reserve away from the exhibit. Bruce Carlson just reported a massive spawn in their tanks that "wasn't pretty". I will keep the skimmer and keep feeding. Since I use a sandbed, we won't get into the 02 thing.
Visit to see what you have wrought @: http://coralfarmer.homestead.com/home.html

Regards,

Brad


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Old 07/06/2001, 12:19 AM   #19
Steve Tyree
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>Brad Ward wrote
>I would definately disagree with Alf as well as to his
>assumption that they can not be kept.

When I saw that Alf had put a whole sponge chapter in his third volume
I was excited, but after reading it I was disappointed. He basically stated
that you should not keep the types of sponges I was having great success
with. Perhaps I should of sent him a copy of my sponge book, that would
have at least let him know you can be successful with them. I believe though
that this book was originally written some 5 years ago. As you noted
I have not printed a whole lot of books, but I am in the process of building
up my stock of books.

So you are one of the lucky ones that got super fresh Florida rock. Big
difference from the dried out Pacific stuff.

>Brad Ward wrote
>Are you saying that your system design has produced these surface area
>Populations found in nature? That would be neat.

Not entirely. But they are much more diverse than having just a brightly
lighted reef flat. Its not just captive reef aquarist that are behind the curve
on this, reef scientist are also just now discovering the immense importance
that cryptic and semi-cryptic organisms have on the tropical reef platform.

>Brad Ward wrote
>Feeding definately contributes to these cryptic areas and the amount of life
>associated in total.

And overfeeding can have a negative effect. Excessive particulate matter can
clog the sponges.

>Brad Ward wrote
>We can't hope to recreate the ocean in even a two hundred thousand gallon
>tank. Least I haven't seen one yet.

The point is not to reproduce the ocean, but to reproduce some of the processes
that are occurring on the tropical reef platform.

>Brad Ward wrote
>I was merely saying that any visable display area I and most hobbyist have, is more
>than likely going to be set up for corals.

Hey, I thought the reason Reef Aquarist set up reefs was so they could have fun
operating their protein skimmers ! Just kidding !

>Brad Ward wrote
>I remember the problems in 96 and have to admit, that was the only time I
>haven't been sorry that I wasn't out there near the wholesalers on a regular
>basis.

In retrospect, it was probably an educational experience. Back then no one cared
or even worried about sps coral diseases. We have come a long way since then.
Just saw a presentation by Eric Borneman were he showed us all the known coral
diseases. Was very depressing to realize how many diseases there were. But then
again, maybe us hard core Berliners needed to be knocked off our 'bullet proof
system' pillars back in 1996. I now view SPS exposed reef tanks as being
slightly similar to all fish tanks. A disease waiting to happen. That is what led
me into the wider perception of the tropical reef platform.

Yes, large massive spawns will tax a system that is heavily populated with
one type of organism (exposed). If however, the exposed zone is only one third to one
fourth of your system, when it spawns, the other organisms get fed.

I will look into you site when I can. Right now I am looking through a stack of memoirs
and surveys that I have to examine (100's of pages) in just a couple of weeks.
I am finishing a comprehensive summary list of Sea Squirt species for an appendix.
Sure are a lot of sea squirt species out there.

Steve Tyree


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Old 07/06/2001, 01:34 AM   #20
Heinrich
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Once quite a while back when I planed on writing the mother of all articles on refugia I tried tackling low flow and un-lit refugia. Had an interesting talk with Rob Toonen and some others and the main concern was the toxic compounds released by sponges. The other main point was trying to figure effective methods on reducing "Gelbstoffe" and keeping a clear but plankton rich environment.
I've found that it is difficult to have large waterchanges with a lot of sponges in your system. I like doing waterchanges that exchange about 1/3 of the water every three months or so. Here is where I was having trouble with sponges. Also generally the sponges that grew the fastest in an unlit sump were the "white long thready ones" scientific nomenclature anyone. They're not beautiful to say the least and my angels completely ignored them.
The other issues were that you have another area that is inhabited by animals consuming oxygen.
Oxygen levels are of more concern than most hobbyists realize. Especially in heavily stocked tanks at night. And I tend to really stock on fish.
The zonations are of course a great idea but not allways practical for the average hobbyist.
Few are those who would set up a system where more than 50% were not intended for the main organisms but is just refuge. And in practice the best effects on a system I've seen come when you get a ratio of more than 2:1 Refugium to Tank.
Again I think the ideas are great, but one of the main problems encountered in almost all tanks I've seen is not a lack of filtering organisms (well in naturalistic long established reefs anyway) but of food producing organisms that recycle waste and provide a variety of plankton or other food.
Most systems are still starved and that's seen on the success few people have with non photosynthetic corals long term. Again sponges produce comparatively little plankton and consume a good deal of bacteria. Which might be helpful for coral diseases, who knows.
I've come to the conclusion that once you maintain a good ballanced ecosystem with a nice ratio of refugia space, eliminated the palnkton killers as much as possible, gotten the biodiversity and feed the right foods, then adding a cryptic refugium is a great idea, but I for one have kept it in that order.
Things might change if nice seasquirts and sponges were more readily available. But if you can't see them the appeal is low unfortunately. Also I for one still have a few problems even with Coral Reef Aquarium 6 and 3 or Baensch 2,3,4 identifying any of them or even worse there requirements in a reef. But I deal with that far less now.
Thanks for the informative post.
93! Heinrich


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Old 07/06/2001, 08:21 AM   #21
Flatlander
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Some good reading. Nice to see Steve here also, and Heinrich posting again.

Although my sump/refugium is lighted and has no sponge growth, I have some fantastic sponge growth in the cave type sections of some 12 year old rock.

This has made it through several moves also, but moved very carefully and fast. I have no doubt, they and the other tons of filter feeders contribute to the overall health and success of my tank.


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Old 07/06/2001, 10:26 AM   #22
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Steve, I appreciate you jumping in on this thread. I do want to clear up some things so that you understand my specific issues.

First let me say that I appreciate people like you who are trying to advance the hobby for the love of it.

Second, the kind of scientific evidence that I would like to see would be to set up two or three tanks with relatively the same biomass and food intake that use the various filtration methods (DSB with skimmer, Eco system, etc.) and run them concurrently with your Environmental Gradient methodology. Then you could test parameters to show the differences in the methodologies over time. I know this is more expense and effort but it would allow you to show quantitative data.

When I mentioned that the book seemed "rushed" out. I was specifically referring to the semi cryptic and semi exposed areas of the book. You mentioned that phase two will address these particular areas. I just felt that after reading your book I understood your assertions regarding the exposed zone, the semi exposed zone (see below), and the cryptic zone, but did not get enough information regarding the semi cryptic zone.

Regarding the semi exposed zone, when I said you can see the progression of his thinking with each experiment I meant that each new setup got more complex. Meaning each new experiment began to address the transition areas. I believe these transition areas are possible locations for a DSB. In your experiments you left the bottom of the tanks bare so that you could quantify the particulate matter. If you did not have to quantify the particulate matter wouldn't you rather have a sand bed in that location? That would increase your detritus processing capability.

Anyway I enjoyed the book and started this thread to engage in exactly what has happened so far. I am glad Steve joined in. I wish Dr. Ron would come out and put in his two cents. IMHO, these are the kinds of threads that he should actively participate in.


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Old 07/06/2001, 11:47 AM   #23
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I don't have a big banner, but WELCOME Steve


Maybe this is unproven, but one man that disagrees with the possibility of cryptic sponge filtration has said in the past that the sponges will grow for a period of time, than die back (lack of food?) and than grow again. Sponges remove some pretty nasty stuff from the water, I'm told. When they die back they would release that build up (of maybe a years worth) in a short period of time. This large increase of toxins in our tanks (without skimmers) would be pretty detrimental to their tankmates.

I'm sorry I haven't read your book...yet, maybe this is discussed, I'm not sure, but this was one reason against the cryptic sponge filter. Is there any merit to this?????

Thanks for joining us,
Gareth


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Old 07/07/2001, 08:28 PM   #24
Steve Tyree
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>Heinrich wrote
>Had an interesting talk with Rob Toonen and some others
>and the main concern was the toxic compounds released by sponges.

Cryptic sponges do not tend to produce toxins. They are naturally hidden
from predators. Exposed and semi-exposed sponges can contain toxins
to defend from predation. Naturally, I recommend crytpic to semi-cryptic
sponges.

>Heinrich wrote
>The other main point was trying to figure effective methods on reducing
>"Gelbstoffe" and keeping a clear but plankton rich environment.

Its called "Gilvin". Originally coined and defined in the english language.
Derived from the latin word for pale yellow 'gilvus'. Water in these systems
has not turned nasty yellow. It does turn greenish though. Does not effect the
systems performance though. Much better than having algae giving off humic
substances. Changing water without exposing sponges is fairly easy. Unless
of course you are in a hurry.

>Heinrich wrote
>The other issues were that you have another area that is inhabited by animals
>consuming oxygen.

Sponges and sea squirts do not move about a lot. Their oxygen demands are
not that much of a concern. Nothing that a simple airstone cant handle.

>Heinrich wrote
>The zonations are of course a great idea but not allways practical for the
>average hobbyist. Few are those who would set up a system where more
>than 50% were not intended for the main organisms but is just refuge.

These are not refugiums. They are zones of the tropical reef platform.
The exposed zone has as much importance as the cryptic zone. Especially
if you want to farm sponges and squirts.

>Heinrich wrote
>Again I think the ideas are great, but one of the main problems encountered
>in almost all tanks I've seen is not a lack of filtering organisms (well in
>naturalistic long established reefs anyway) but of food producing organisms
>that recycle waste and provide a variety of plankton or other food.

There is a lack of filtering organisms. Some of the most dominant suspension
feeders on a tropical reef platform are the sponges and sea squirts. They are
designed to pump and filter water. If you have ever set up a reef without substrate,
you will notice that the exposed zone generates copious amounts of POM and
collodials. This stuff collects because hardly any modern captive reef has enough
suspension feeders. I mean efficient suspension feeders. The traditional way to
hide the POM is through a sediment bed in the system to collect the POM.
The traditional way to remove the colloidials is through a skimmer.

>Heinrich wrote
>Most systems are still starved and that's seen on the success few people have
>with non photosynthetic corals long term.

They are not starved. They are using protein skimmers and sediment beds to
hide the POM, collect the partially processed food and remove the collodials.

>Heinrich wrote
>Again sponges produce comparatively little plankton and
>consume a good deal of bacteria. Which might be helpful for coral diseases,
>who knows.

Sponges replace the skimmer. We don't want them adding food back into the
system. Just like we don't want the Berliner adding skimmer effluent back
into his reef. Unless of course we add marine angelfish and other sponge
predators to cycle the sponges. Instead of harvesting them.

There is plenty of food already in your reef. The problem has been
in making it presentable and collectable to the suspension feeders. I ran fully
populated cryptic, semi-cryptic and semi-exposed zones in tanks that were never
fed. They derived all their food from the exposed zone. Its documented in the
book.

>Heinrich wrote
>But if you can't see them the appeal is low unfortunately.

You can see em. Your pupils will adapt, but you can alsways light em up with
a flashlight or an incandescnet.

>Reefstud wrote
>Second, the kind of scientific evidence that I would like to see would be to set up two or
>three tanks with relatively the same biomass and food intake that use the various filtration
>methods (DSB with skimmer, Eco system, etc.) and run them concurrently with your
>Environmental Gradient methodology. Then you could test parameters to show the
>differences in the methodologies over time. I know this is more expense and effort but it
>would allow you to show quantitative data.

In my book I did quantify the performane of the EG Zonal based system with the performance
of Berlin systems. Utilized Total Bacterial Density, Water Transmittance and Nitrate PPM's.
The Berlin system is still the most reliable and has produced the best results. See photos in the
Modern Coral Reef Aquarium Volume 3 for proof. I still recommend that system for Exposed
Zone reefs. My quantifying is still attempting to fine tune my all natural approach to achieve
the levels of Berlin Reefs. Not too concerned with anything else right now and don't have the
time for anything else right now. We know the Berlin system works. Why not use that as the
metric we 'all naturals' strive for ? The only problem the berlin has is with 'long term' stability,
its new tank 'break in' requirements and the potential for coral disease outbreaks 'rtn'.

>Reefstud wrote
>but did not get enough information regarding the semi cryptic zone.

I am looking and waiting for some specific hard core scientific research to come out. Ever
hear of the CaveCam ?

>Reef Stud
>If you did not have to quantify the particulate matter wouldn't you rather have a sand bed in
>that location? That would increase your detritus processing capability.

Actually, my hunch is that the particulate matter is very important for the suspension feeders.
If it falls into the sediment, its only available to the sediment community. The one place I
do see where sediments might be helpful, is below the cryptic zone. Basically under the
cryptic sponges and squirts. It's a good weak current place where very fine particulate
matter from the sponges collects.

>Niven wrote
>Maybe this is unproven, but one man that disagrees with the possibility of cryptic sponge
>filtration has said in the past that the sponges will grow for a period of time, than die back
>(lack of food?) and than grow again.

That kind of behavior is typical of sponge zones that occasionally receive inputs of turbid
water. In a normal functioning cryptic zone very few sponges ever die. You should
loose less sponges than corals if the zone is setup right. If you add food to the system it
has to be done at regular intervals.

>Niven wrote
>Sponges remove some pretty nasty stuff from the water, I'm told. When they die back they
>would release that build up (of maybe a years worth) in a short period of time. This large
>increase of toxins in our tanks (without skimmers) would be pretty detrimental to their
>tankmates.

Actually, sponges are biological based filters. They collect bacteria, dissolved organics,
particulate matter and microplankton. They convert these captured nutrients into energy
and the production of more sponge cells. A portion of this food is converted into
the energy that drives the water currents through the sponge. If food input is nominal, the
sponge will not grow, but will continue to filter and live. Its food or nutrients support the
existing cells and supply the energy required to move water. If food input is high, the sponge
will grow larger. Granted, if you allow a sponge to get real large, there could be a problem
if it dies. Ideally, excessive sponge growth should be harvested. I don't recommend using
large sponges in small systems. I do recommend a partial water change anytime any organism
dies. I think aquarist should be more wary of organisms that actually develop large amounts
of toxins. Basically I recommend lots of small sponges and harvesting the sponges that
grow large. If a small sponge dies it will be quickly filtered out of the water by the other
small sponges. But a water change is always a good precaution.


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Old 07/10/2001, 02:09 AM   #25
Heinrich
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Alright just digesting a big meal and will then get back to studying, but let me respond to you Steve.


>Had an interesting talk with Rob Toonen and some others and the main concern was the toxic compounds released by sponges.

ST: Cryptic sponges do not tend to produce toxins. They are naturally hidden from predators. Exposed and semi-exposed sponges can contain toxins to defend from predation. Naturally, I recommend crytpic to semi-cryptic sponges.>

I don't know all the information on this especially all the biological taxonomy. Somehow I remember hearing this a few times, that virtually all sponges use chemical defenses. Whether they defend themselves from angelfish, bacteria, pods or other sponges, so the toxins might be less for vertebrates but cryptic sponges would likely have more toxins to defend themselves against inverts. Also a good deal of sponges adapt to a variety of habitats. I'm not sure if those are different subspecies, etc or still the same species but a good deal of the sponges adapt to varying circumstances.
Again, I know little about this. But when a hobbyist seeds his system he has no way of ensuring that he gets "cryptic sponges" so he is likely to seed his system with normal sponges, which use and release highly effective toxins. The sponges surviving from corals and especially from LR are capable of air exposure and light exposure so there are low chances of getting just "crypts".
I like that much nicer than cryptic sponges and seasquirts living in low.....
Anyway I'm here to learn a thing or two and am happy that your taking the time to respond. Again I like hearing everyone's point of view and am entitled to my never humble opinion.


Next:
>The other main point was trying to figure effective methods on reducing "Gelbstoffe" and keeping a clear but plankton rich environment.

ST: Its called "Gilvin". Originally coined and defined in the english language. Derived from the latin word for pale yellow 'gilvus'. Water in these systems has not turned nasty yellow. It does turn greenish though. Does not effect the systems performance though. Much better than having algae giving off humic substances. Changing water without exposing sponges is fairly easy. Unless
of course you are in a hurry.>

Well I'm German, so I'll use my terms that I grew up with, english folks always having to get a latin based complicated word to add to their vocabulary. The nice thing about German is that you can always combine words to new meanings and everyone will understand without the need to look up a definition. Gelb=Yellow Stoffe=Substances causing the before word.
Were are talking of the same thing obviously just your not down with the lingo on my block, or more likely I'm just nostalgic and don't bother about new words if I know what they mean. And maybe a handful of people.
I agree that the humic substances aren't so great although things such as acrylic acid and the antibacterial properties of some algae and the substances they release have some benefits too, which we shouldn't forget.
That's where deep sand beds come in handy since they are the one's who break down the humins (def=humic substance). Personal experience and talking to Rob Toonen and others. Compared to having a bunch of leathers and especially Xenia humins seem to be less of a problem in moderate amounts. Especially with an airstone and sufficient biodiversity and surface area to break them down such as in a DSB they seem to be less problematic. Well more so for SPS that's true. And that's your area. Whereas I concentrate on LPS, leathers and Angelfish among a zen type laisez faire setup. I very much agree with the zonation just not necessarily on the priority of one over the other.
If you can tell me how to do large waterchanges that would definitely help the practicality of sponge filtration.
I remove all the water out of the sump and drain it out of the free standing skimmer and then drain the tank until the top corals that can take it are exposed. This allows me to remove about 1/3 of the Volume of water. Which is between 35-50% total water volume if I want to add water to the tank and drain at the same time (inefficient). Then I fill the sump, turn on the pump and fill the tank and skimmer, gravity fed.
If the sump were full of sponges that really wouldn't be practical to do. Since it would kill the life there. If I drain and fill the tank that is a waste of water, and much more work.
If there are some Duh methods of doing this that I don't know please let me know, it happens quite frequently to me, to miss the obvious. Why easy when you can do it complicated?




>Heinrich wrote
>The other issues were that you have another area that is inhabited by animals consuming oxygen.

ST: Sponges and sea squirts do not move about a lot. Their oxygen demands are not that much of a concern. Nothing that a simple airstone cant handle. >

Not arguing with that just added bioload and they do produce their own waste, which nobody can deny.
Compared with the efficiency of bacteria, or even with algae which don't really compare to bacteria, their pros and cons especially virtually exclusively relying on them to deal with waste is debatable I think.


Heinrich: >The zonations are of course a great idea but not allways practical for the average hobbyist. Few are those who would set up a system where more than 50% were not intended for the main organisms but is just refuge.

ST: These are not refugiums. They are zones of the tropical reef platform. The exposed zone has as much importance as the cryptic zone. Especially
if you want to farm sponges and squirts.

Again I think a cryptic zone, by your definition of having no predators, is a refugium. An area where amount of reproduction and survival is higher than if the organisms were exposed to predation. That way they more efficiently do perform their function or survive at all.
Also A refugium is a type of specialty tank; we accomplish this by setting up a more ideal environment for specific organisms to live in, yet a refugium is still in-line with the system. This allows us to replicate the effects of different zones in far less volume. At least that's my definition of a refugia.
Again sounds the same, maybe I'm missing a crucial point.
I'm in no way arguing against cryptic zones, I'm totally for them. Just the practicality and the extent of them and if that's really the best way to go, especially space wise, their contributions and in terms of esthetics.
Everyone knows that all the gadgets a reefer keeps are there to replicate the balancing effects of the oceans ecosystem; the balancing of the exposed areas that we want to see with the rest of the reef areas that contribute or remove substances.
Whether crytpic, lagoon, or just the open ocean the main thing is creating a ballanced ecosystem that is stable and cycles waste as well as performing all the functions needed for the survival and prosperity of the organism (Well at least the desirable one's in the case of most reefers. No that's my anemone tank honestly....)

The question is how do we give the organisms the best environment for the least dollars, effort and space and make it look nice?

>Heinrich wrote
Again I think the ideas are great, but one of the main problems encountered in almost all tanks I've seen is not a lack of filtering organisms (well in
naturalistic long established reefs anyway) but of food producing organisms that recycle waste and provide a variety of plankton or other food.

ST: There is a lack of filtering organisms. Some of the most dominant suspension feeders on a tropical reef platform are the sponges and sea squirts. They are designed to pump and filter water. If you have ever set up a reef without substrate, you will notice that the exposed zone generates copious amounts of POM and collodials. This stuff collects because hardly any modern captive reef has enough suspension feeders. I mean efficient suspension feeders. The traditional way to hide the POM is through a sediment bed in the system to collect the POM.
The traditional way to remove the colloidials is through a skimmer.

Unfortunately I'm not aware of what POM maybe Particulate Organic Matter. Americans and their abrev. Well I do it just as much, I'm just not a hard core reefer enough to talk the lingo. Going back to the top. The other main suspension feeders apart from sponges and seasquirts are live free floating plankton that in turn are eaten, organisms and bacteria in the sandbed do to settling, and a few corals and other inverts. There's probably a whole lot more. The idea is that if you can convert free DOM and POM (Assuming the above and making an @ss only out of myself) into a locked up food e.g. plankton, algea, etc. The food input to the system will be recycled again and again without the negative effects of polluting the system. (Theory) Also a lot of corals really like the POM. See Sprung's selling "Marine Snow" or something like that.
I periodically stirr up the sand to get that effect. Again it all comes down to balancing the system. Having an idea what your organisms need and providing the environment for them and organisms they are "affiliated" with. Foodwebs, waste management, etc.


Well lets move on.
Damn You can even properly respond since the reply is limited to 1000words. What Fu Well please don’t be offended by my language and read on in part2.
93! Heinrich


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