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Old 08/21/2017, 07:10 PM   #51
Steve Tyree
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Been awhile. The old speculation in the Sponge consumption area has scientific backing now. And while discovering that consumption, scientists have revealed a nutrient feed back loop. Natural tropical reefs tend to be inorganic nutrient poor. So the Sponge Nutrient Loop is crucial. That just adds another dimension to the filtration method. Just did a new updated book a year and a half ago. Price was lowered by a couple bucks recently. There is a buying link on the web page and it is only in pdf format. Basically an eBook.

http://www.reeffarmers.com/newbook.htm



Last edited by Steve Tyree; 08/22/2017 at 10:55 AM.
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Old 08/21/2017, 10:44 PM   #52
karimwassef
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Thanks Steve.

The link didn't work directly but I figured it out and got it :

http://www.reeffarmers.com/newbook.htm

I got both volumes.

I have a very successful reef and sponges naturally grow on and inside the rockwork I made out of PVC and concrete. I use the hollow PVC pipe as skeleton and cover it with a fabric of concrete, then drill holes to allow water to go in and out of the hidden hollow network.

I had no plans to build habitats for sponges. I was doing it to create open structures with the least and lightest media. First pods and worms used the holes heavily, then feather dusters and sponges. I might cross-section when I take it apart.

 photo D3F68D51-6560-4F52-BBF6-3742A8D52E3C_zpsthhrz5v9.jpg

Corals growing out of the water and little protected zones of algae no one can get to:

 photo 4BB5E410-F35E-47F6-915C-3ADC831CCDCF_zpsywfdupa3.jpg

But overall very healthy

 photo EBD4BBD5-E2CE-4F27-BE68-37C9D08C3EC7_zpsx6vka6x1.jpg

 photo 4A261F16-3008-4CFA-B046-391D6D9C3977_zps6ftrjkvz.jpg

I don't run a skimmer but I have a large settling filter/algae scrubber and a large fresh air injector. I don't export anything- I just recycle all the algae back through my fish... settling filter just creates a worm and pod friendly habitat.


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Old 08/22/2017, 10:52 AM   #53
Steve Tyree
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Thanks for the link correction. In Volume 2 we defined the Filter Feeder Zone, which basically is composed of both the Semi-Exposed and Semi-Cryptic zones. Sounds like your hidden flow through zone is some where on that scale. Especially if the suspension filter feeders showed up first. What kind of flow did you have through the crypto area ? Does it have open ends ? Were there coralline growing in that area. Images would be cool. You just got all my images. Lol. Thanks.


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Old 08/22/2017, 01:54 PM   #54
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Quote:
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. . . If you don't have cryptic sponges, you are not reefing. Lol. . . .
Here Here! Couldn't agree with you more! It's been fascinating seeing how research like Jasper de Goeij's has shown how correct you were so many years ago thinking sponges are so essential! Now we have a better idea of some of the roles DOC (Disolved Organic Carbon) is playing it's very intriguing these sponges are much better at removing it than bacteria


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Old 08/22/2017, 02:29 PM   #55
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Good points Timfish, but don't count bacteria out yet. We still do not knowexactly how the Sponge captures the dissolved organic. Only that it gets consumed. Many of the cryptic cave sponges have been found to possess high internal bacterial densities. So bacteria are involved one way or the other with the cryptic cave sponges. There is still believed to also be a direct way for the sponge to catch or filter the dissolved organic. Sponges are good at capturing bacteria too. So basically you lower pelagic bacterial densities and increase internal sponge bacterial densities. Sponges have many symbionts living inside their tissue. And the internal tissue surface area of most sponges is vast as well.


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Old 08/22/2017, 06:03 PM   #56
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The ends are mixed, some open some closed.. but there is almost no measurable flow except through the action of the organisms that move in and out of the drilled holes.

Truth be told, I had only planned to use the holes as anchors for coral placement using solid airline tubing. But over time, the vast majority just became access pathways for pods in and out of the hollow PVC.

They're completely encrusted with all kinds of growths outside including corraline. Yellow, pink, white and brown sponges in the dark regions. They don't look like the usual ball or tree sponges though. They're encrusting and form webs or filaments mostly.


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Old 08/22/2017, 06:14 PM   #57
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Here's the build thread with pics

http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/sh...hcrete&page=14

Here's what it used to look like

 photo FD5D86D4-104F-4652-AB51-48F7FF0CB240_zps14dy2uzr.jpg

 photo 96CAF556-78A0-41A5-9BC7-D6FA40FA99BD_zps1qdnw9lt.jpg

 photo 1E4A1C36-0A60-4AC6-A175-4366D0BD81CA_zpsuitdvpg4.jpg

 photo 613DCD40-FB3E-45C8-A674-86F41DFEF5AB_zps7i7sbkaq.jpg

 photo 06E64819-EDAC-4854-A980-12398F097E39_zpsxkldjn5t.jpg

And an example of the guts

 photo 5DC13890-5F54-423E-8C20-C76B1C4436B1_zpsgjtul7x1.jpg

 photo E3FA8DD0-4629-4897-8AD1-AA31D7AD50DE_zpsoo76phpd.jpg

 photo 4D2580AC-63EE-40EA-912D-5CC6F3EE8BFD_zpsblx28q3h.jpg


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Old 08/22/2017, 08:44 PM   #58
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Great thread, I remember well. Hi Steve! Nice work Karim!!!!
I have a small 130 gallon system started 9 months ago and got see sponges from Dave Botwin with regards to this important topic! Keep up the good work!

Joe


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Old 08/23/2017, 08:11 AM   #59
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Good points Timfish, but don't count bacteria out yet. . l.
You're preaching to the choir Steve. Just like it's easier to say "coral" than it is "coral holobiont" when referring to a coral and it's species unique microbial assemblage it's easier to say "sponge" than "sponge-microbe association". I agree the importance of bacteria in maintaining healthy reef ecosystems cannot be overstated.

What I was referring to with regards to sponges and DOC was de Goeij's experiments showing cryptic sponges are removing in about 30 minutes the organic carbon that bacterioplankton need in 19 days to remove.


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Old 08/23/2017, 08:50 AM   #60
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Tim- got a link for those experiments and results?


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Old 08/23/2017, 04:23 PM   #61
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De Goeij's thesis chapter 3


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Old 08/24/2017, 09:13 AM   #62
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Goeij Thesis extract

Abstract

We studied the removal of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) by coral cavities of 50-250 dm3 at a depth range of 5-17 m along the coral reefs of Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles, and the Berau area, East Kalimantan, Indonesia. We found significantly lower DOC concentrations in cavity water compared with ambient reef water. On average, DOC concentrations in cavity water were 15.1 ± 6.0 µmol L-1 (Curaçao) and 4.0 ± 2.4 µmol L-1 (Berau) lower than in reef water. When the cavities were closed, DOC concentrations in the cavities declined by 22 ± 8% and 11 ± 4% in Curaçao and Berau, respectively, within 30 min. This corresponded to average DOC removal rates per cavity surface area of 342 ± 82 mmol C m-2 d-1 in Curaçao and 90 ± 45 mmol C m-2 d-1 in Berau. Bioassays showed that bacterioplankton are not responsible for this DOC removal by coral cavities. DOC fluxes exceeded bacterioplankton carbon (BC) fluxes into cavities by two orders of magnitude. On average, BC fluxes per cavity surface area were 3.6 ± 1.3 mmol C m-2 d-1 (Curaçao) and 1.9 ± 1.3 mmol C m-2 d-1 (Berau area). The net DOC removal per square meter of cryptic surface likely exceeded the gross primary production per square meter of planar reef area. We conclude that coral cavities and their biota are net sinks of DOC and play an important role in the energy budget of coral reefs.

Introduction

Coral cavities are among the largest and least-known habitats in coral reef environments. Their total volume comprises up to two-thirds of the reef volume (Garret et al. 1971; Ginsburg 1983) and their inner surface represents 60-75% of the total available surface of the reef (e.g. Jackson et al. 1971; Logan et al. 1984; Scheffers 2005). Yet, hardly anything is known about the ecological role of this cryptic habitat in the carbon cycling on the reef. The relatively sheltered cryptic habitat is inhabited by a high abundance of different organisms, called cavity dwellers or coelobites (Ginsburg and Schroeder 1973). The biomass of this cryptofaunal community might exceed that of the reef surface (Hutchings 1974; Brock and Brock 1977; Meesters et al. 1991) and the encrusting biota can cover more than 93% of the available hard substrate (Richter and Wunsch 1999; Richter et al. 2001; Scheffers 2005). As a consequence, the competition for space is high in coral cavities (Jackson et al. 1971; Buss 1979; Buss and Jackson 1979). Heterotrophic organisms generally dominate the coelobite community due to low light conditions in the cavities. Two-thirds of the cavity walls are inhabited by suspension feeders (sponges, tunicates, bryozoans, bivalves, and polychaetes), with sponges usually dominating this group. Approximately one-third of the cavity walls consists of calcareous algae (e.g. Vasseur 1974; Gili and Coma 1998; Wunsch et al. 2002).

The large area of the cryptic habitat and the high cover of encrusting organisms provide a potentially important interface in the exchange of material between the cavities and the overlying water column. Several studies showed a depletion of phyto-, nano-, pico-, and bacterioplankton in waters overlying coral reefs (e.g. Ayukai 1995; Yahel et al. 1998; Van Duyl et al. 2002). Gast et al. (1998) were the first to describe bacterioplankton depletion and accumulation of inorganic nutrients in coral crevices of Curaçao compared with overlying reef water. On the reefs along Curaçao, bacterial abundance was usually lower inside cavities than outside and the inorganic nutrient concentrations often differed from that in overlying water. Scheffers et al. (2004) and Van Duyl et al. (2006) reported bacterial removal rates by coral cavities of Curaçao of, on average, 3 mmol C m-2 d-1. A net influx of chlorophyll a was found in framework cavities in the Red Sea at an estimated phytoplankton removal rate in cavities of 75 mmol C m-2 d-1 (Richter et al. 2001).

Phytoplankton and bacterioplankton make up the major part of the particulate organic matter (POM; see List of Abbreviations) in the oligotrophic reef waters. However, by far the largest component (>97%) of organic matter is dissolved organic matter (DOM) (Benner 2002), which, in turn, is the largest carbon standing stock in the oceans (Martin and Fitzwater 1992). This fraction is operationally defined as the organic carbon passing through a fine filter, typically GF/F (Benner 2002; Carlson 2002). Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) is composed of a small labile and a much larger refractory fraction, which is not readily available to bacteria (Carlson 2002). DOC levels are usually enhanced over coral reefs and in lagoons compared to ocean surface waters (e.g. Johannes
1967; Ducklow 1990; Torréton et al. 1997), indicating that in reef waters, the production of DOC exceeds its loss (Van Duyl and Gast 2001). Sources of DOC in coral reefs are, for example, the release of DOC by benthic algae as a function of photosynthesis (Mague et al. 1980; Zlotnik and Dubinsky 1989), and release of DOC by corals through mucus production (Johannes 1967; Richman et al. 1975) or as free amino acids (Schlichter and Liebezeit 1991). The main consumers of DOC are heterotrophic bacteria (Fenchel 1988) mediating the flux of DOC through the microbial loop (Azam et al. 1983). However, DOC may also be a potential food source for marine benthic invertebrates, as has been suggested already since the end of the nineteenth century (reviewed by Jørgensen 1976). Reiswig (1981) found a discrepancy between the supply and demand of carbon in benthic suspension feeders.

However, although DOC has been suggested as the missing carbon (Reiswig 1981; Gili and Coma 1998), not much is known on the uptake of DOC by the benthic community. Yahel et al. (2003) were the first to show extensive feeding on bulk DOC by the sponge Theonella swinhoei. Although the potential importance of DOC in the carbon budgets of coral cavities and for the cryptofauna has been discussed (Richter et al. 2001; Yahel et al. 2003; Van Duyl et al. 2006), DOC removal by the crytofauna has not been determined. Our main question in this study is: Are coral reef cavities net sinks of DOC? If so, is DOC quantitatively an important food source for cryptic coral reef habitats? To answer these questions, we carried out a series of measurements and experiments. We compared the concentration of DOC and bacterial abundance between cavity water and overlying reef water in 19 cavities on the fringing reefs of Curaçao and 21 cavities on different types of reefs in the Berau area, East Kalimantan, Indonesia. To determine DOC uptake rates, we closed cavities in both areas and followed the removal of DOC over time and compared that with the removal of bacterioplankton carbon (BC). We estimated fluxes of DOC and BC for the cryptic habitat. The biodegradability of DOC was determined in a series of bioassays with ambient reef water bacterioplankton as key DOC consumers.

Discussion

This is the first study on the flux of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in coral cavities, and two independent methods indicated that they are sinks of DOC. DOC removal rates in coral cavities were on average two orders of magnitude higher than bacterioplankton removal rates. All our results strongly support a net influx of DOC and bacterioplankton into cavities. Whereas Richter et al. (2001) suggested phytoplankton and, indirectly, bacterioplankton as the most important organic matter sources for biota in cryptic habitats on coral reefs, we, however, find that the removal of DOC in cavities is more likely to be one to two orders of magnitude larger than these particulate sources. The concentration of DOC in cavity water compared to reef water is 15% and 6% lower than the bulk DOC concentration in ambient reef water in Curaçao and in Berau, respectively (Table 3.2). Depletion of bacterioplankton (29% at Curaçao and 38% at Berau) is higher than of DOC. Bacterioplankton is apparently more efficiently removed from cavity water than bulk DOC in coral cavities. These findings may not be surprising because the cryptic biota is dominated by suspension feeders, particularly by sponges (e.g. Vasseur 1977; Richter and Wunsch 1999; Wunsch et al. 2002). Sponges are very efficient filter feeders, especially in feeding on particles smaller than 2 µm, like bacterioplankton (e.g. Reiswig 1974a; Pile et al. 1996; Kötter and Pernthaler 2002). Smaller differences between cavity and reef water DOC concentrations in Berau as compared to those in Curaçao could be explained by shorter residence times of water in the cavities of the Berau area. This argument is supported by the observation that the coral cavities in Berau had more openings to the ambient reef water compared with those in Curaçao, allowing enhanced water exchange. It is also possible that DOC is less efficiently removed from the water in the cavities in Berau as compared to the cavities in Curaçao. The ratio DOC:bacterioplankton carbon in reef water is comparable in both regions, i.e. 33.3 and 34.5 for Curaçao and Berau, respectively, but not in cavity water, i.e. 38.9 for Curaçao and 50.7 for Berau. There is no clear discrimination in DOC and bacterioplankton carbon uptake in cavities of Curaçao. Cavities in Berau, however, remove relatively more bacterial carbon than DOC. The composition of DOC in Berau could be less favourable in terms of utilisation by cryptic organisms, and this could explain the positive discrimination for bacterioplankton in cavities of the Berau area.

DOC fluxes in cavities found in this study are high and unequaled in the literature, with estimated removal rates per cryptic surface area of 342 ± 82 mmol C m-2 d-1 (range: 151-493) in Curaçao and 90 ± 45 mmol C m-2 d-1 (range 33-167) in Berau. After closure of cavities organic carbon is clearly removed in two major fractions, a fast removable fraction Cf of 28 ± 12 µmol L-1 (Curaçao)
and 12 ± 4 µmol L-1 (Berau), and a slow removal fraction Cs of 84 µmol ± 14 µmol L-1 (Curaçao) and 65 ± 4 µmol (Berau) (Figs. 3.2 and 3.4). Therefore, fluxes based on a linear model are grave underestimations and are presented here only as the most conservative values of DOC fluxes into coral cavities. Another approach to determine fluxes of matter into coral cavities is given by Van Duyl et al. (2006). They calculated fluxes in an open system, based on the relation between differences in concentration of matter in cavity water and overlying reef water and the water exchange coefficient of a series of cavities at different current velocities along the reef bottom. They found an average water exchange coefficient of 0.0041 s-1, which is equivalent to an average residence time of water in coral cavities in Curaçao of 4.07 minutes. This approach rules out any possible closure effects. The average difference between cavity and reef water DOC concentration in this study is 14.8 µmol L-1. Using the average water exchange coefficient of 0.0041 s-1, the weighed average volume (148 dm3) and total cavity surface area (TSA; 2.11 m2), the DOC flux into cavities is 367 mmol C m-2 d-1, which is surprisingly close to the average DOC flux calculated with a 2G-model, namely 342 mmol C m-2 d-1. This implies that DOC fluxes based on the 2G-model are reliable. Bacterioplankton abundance declines exponentially in closed cavities.

This supports our assumption that the suspension or filter feeding activity by the cryptofauna is not arrested nor inhibited by closure of the cavities. Bacterial carbon uptake rates by coral reef cavities (Table 3.3) closely resemble those reported in literature. Scheffers et al. (2004) found significant bacterioplankton depletion within cavities on Curaçao of on average 2.5 mmol C m-2 d-1, whereas Van Duyl et al. (2006) found a bacterial carbon flux into cavities in the same area of 3.8 mmol C m-2 d-1. Ayukai (1995) found bacterioplankton carbon retention rates on the Great Barrier Reef of on average 2.2 mmol C m-2 d-1. The average bacterioplankton carbon removal in cavities in this study is 3.6 ± 1.3 (range: 1.8-6.1) and 1.9 ± 1.3 (range: 0.6-3.9) mmol C m-2 d-1 for cavities on Curaçao and Berau, respectively. This represents only 1-2% of the DOC removal. It is evident that DOC is quantitatively a far more important organic 50 carbon source for coral cavities than bacterioplankton in Curaçao as well as in Berau.

In our bioassays in the reef water of Curaçao we recorded an uptake of 20 µmol L-1, or 19%, of DOC by bacterioplankton in 20 days. We consider this fraction to be the average readily available part of the DOC. Because this percentage is close to the average DOC concentration reduction in closed cavities, it is tempting to suggest that the depletion in DOC concentration in CW as compared to RW was due to removal of labile DOC. The most likely candidate to remove labile DOC from cavity water is bacterioplankton. In the bioassays, it takes bacterioplankton 20 days to take up 19% of the total DOC, while cavities (with a 10-fold lower abundance of bacterioplankton as compared to the bacterial abundance in the bioassays) remove the same amount of DOC within 30 min. In addition, the residence time of water in our coral cavities is more in the range of minutes than days (Van Duyl et al. 2006). It is, therefore, unlikely that bacterioplankton is responsible for the DOC depletion in coral cavities. Uptake of DOC by coral cavities appears to have been an overlooked general function in coral reef ecology. Considering the sheer size of the cryptic habitat and the significance compared to other sources of organic matter, DOC may be a key factor in the carbon and energy budget on coral reefs. Net influx of DOC into cavities is shown in a wide variety of cavities in two distinct coral reef regions, i.e. an Atlantic and Indo-Pacific region.

Bulk DOC uptake rates by coral cavities vary in time and between cavities sampled in different areas. Neither the concentration of bulk DOC at the start of an experiment, nor cavity geometry accounts significantly for the variation in DOC fluxes. The difference in DOC flux size between the sampled areas can be explained by differences in composition and quality of DOC. The composition
of the dissolved organic matter (DOM) pool is very diverse with a size range of low-molecular-weight organic molecules like amino acids, to highmolecular-weight molecules (e.g. mucus, polysaccharides), to minute particles like viruses and colloids. At least 10% of oceanic DOM is colloidal material (>95% consists of non-living particles) in the size range 0.4-1.0 µm that easily
passes the pores of the GF/F filters commonly employed in the separation of DOM and particulate organic matter (POM) and a significant part still passes through the pores of the 0.2 µm filters that we used (Koike et al. 1990). It could well be that the cryptofauna mainly takes up colloidal material in this size range. Sponges can take up minute particles like viruses (Hadas et al. 2006) and 0.1 µm-sized beads from ambient water (Leys and Eerkes-Medrano 2006).

Pile et al. (1996, 1997) showed that the sponges used in their studies did not show selective feeding on any component of the plankton community. They suggested that the composition of the plankton community and the variability in the water column can affect sponge nutrition. The opportunistic feeding of sponges is further strengthened by Ribes et al. (1999) who argued that the composition of the ingested carbon by Dysidea avara mainly varied according to the availability of the different prey types in the water column. In this respect, DOM should also be taken into account as a food source available for the cryptic biota, which is dominated by suspension feeders. There is evidence of extensive DOM feeding by suspension feeders. DOC intake can explain up to 50% of the carbon demand of zebra mussels (Roditi et al. 2000; Baines et al. 2005). Yahel et al. (2003) showed evidence of extensive in situ DOC feeding, representing more than 90% of the total carbon intake, by the marine sponge Theonella swinhoei.

The variation in DOC removal rates between cavities may be attributed to differences in cryptofaunal composition. Interestingly, we know from previous data that each cavity investigated on Curaçao has its unique cryptofaunal composition (Scheffers 2005). Yet, there is no significant difference in carbon fluxes between cavities on Curaçao, and the proportion of the main functional groups that might influence variation in DOC removal rates, like sponges, (calcareous) algae, ascidians, bryozoans, and polychaetes, is relatively constant in coral cavities on Curaçao.

Depending on reef zone, the cryptic surface may range from less than 1× to 8× the planar reef area (Richter et al. 2001; Scheffers 2005). Hatcher (1997b) reviewed the importance of regenerative spaces in reefs for the carbon budget of coral reefs. His gross primary production rates of entire reefs, where back reefs were the most productive reef zones (Hatcher 1990), may, however, be insufficient (200-500 mmol C m2 planar reef d-1) to meet the organic carbon demands of cryptic biota. We measured removal rates of 1,000 mmol C m-2 planar reef d-1, assuming an average cryptic surface of 2.8 m2 m-2 planar reef for the entire Curaçaoan reef (Scheffers 2005), omitting the particulate organic carbon removal by cryptic habitats and omitting the DOC consumption by benthos of the open reef. So, removal of DOC by cryptic habitats alone is already two times more than the gross primary production. Where is all this carbon coming from? Because bulk DOC concentrations are usually higher in reef overlying waters than in adjacent ocean (Ducklow 1990; Torréton et al. 1997; Van Duyl and Gast 2001), the carbon budget is unlikely to be matched by net import of bulk DOC from the ocean to the reef, unless organic carbon is actively taken up against a concentration gradient. This implies that DOC production by reefs and reef overlying waters, and possibly DOC supply from land-based sources is probably larger than currently anticipated. A net input of external particulate organic matter (POM) to the reef, for instance by trapping of oceanic plankton and other particles by the reef (Hamner and Wolanski
1988; Richter et al. 2001), may possibly result in extra DOC supply via the benthic food web. This, however, may not be sufficient to cover the gap between gross primary production and consumption. Coral mucus, a part of colloidal DOC, has been suggested to be an important carrier of energy to the benthic food chains of the reef (Wild et al. 2004). Therefore, we hypothesise that the bulk DOC production by noncryptic reef communities is significantly higher than presently assumed. It is evident that the high DOC removal rates we measured in cryptic habitats of coral reefs in Curaçao and Berau influence our present understanding of energy budgets of coral reefs.


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Old 08/24/2017, 09:15 AM   #63
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So it seems the focus is on removing Dissolved Organics. I would think that this competes with corals seeking the same food. I'm curious about the update of inorganics - phosphates or nitrates (waste).

I don't use a skimmer already because I don't want to remove DOCs. My corals do better with organics in the system as long as they don't create inorganic waste.


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Old 08/24/2017, 02:05 PM   #64
Steve Tyree
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Karin,

That is an incredible build. Will definitely check out that build thread in the future. Wow. Did you just give me a bunch of ideas. Very cool work.


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Old 08/24/2017, 02:10 PM   #65
Steve Tyree
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Joe,

How you doing. Nice to see that Dave Botwin is producing cryptic sponges. He did have a lot of rock in his sumps and exposed display area. The cave sponges will find a way man. Their just fouling up our reefs. Lol.


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Old 08/24/2017, 02:15 PM   #66
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Timfish,

Yeah. Just clarifying the issue. Knew you understood that. But we may have a microbe specialist reading these posts. You never know. At any rate - Incredible sponge DOC consumption documented by science. Figured that was going on after I grabbed a sump rock in 1997/1998 and the whole thing was soft and spongy.


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Old 08/24/2017, 02:22 PM   #67
Steve Tyree
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Karim,

The problem is not the dissolved organics in particular, but the main issue is bacterial densities that occur due to the presence of the dissolved organics. There are direct correlations with poor coral health and high pelagic bacterial densities. Some dissolved organics will always be present within a closed system. The issue is density. That is why skimmers were needed to become successful with Acropora initially.


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Old 08/24/2017, 03:00 PM   #68
karimwassef
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Tyree View Post
Karim,

The problem is not the dissolved organics in particular, but the main issue is bacterial densities that occur due to the presence of the dissolved organics. There are direct correlations with poor coral health and high pelagic bacterial densities. Some dissolved organics will always be present within a closed system. The issue is density. That is why skimmers were needed to become successful with Acropora initially.
I see. So skimmers we're really bacterial export. I knew that was the case with carbon dosing, but never stopped to consider that they would serve the same function in a non C-dosing setup.

I stopped skimming a year ago and have continued SPS growth by keeping my inorganics below measurement levels using a settling filter and algae scrubber hybrid. This is my algae and pod/worm farm and I feed the extract back to the tank to maintain the cycle.

It may be that my filtration is dominated by algae, vs bacteria, but removing the skimmer did nothing. It could also be that I've cultivated sponges inside my pvc that are sucking down the bacteria. Probably both.

I have a shallow sand bed 3" that is crawling with worms too as well as a dozen starfish and cucumbers. My sand bed is completely exposed since the rocks are suspended from the overflow glass. This means that it's a large open sand bed with constant slow water flow over it. My mid and top flow is also intensely intermittent (surge, pulses) with little chance for food to stay in any one place. So everything in the tank in constantly eating and growing.


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Old 08/24/2017, 03:07 PM   #69
karimwassef
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If you have new ideas, I'm game!

I'm tearing this tank down and starting a massive build...

http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/sh...589632&page=25


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Old 08/24/2017, 06:59 PM   #70
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So this means that making live rock out of pvc covered in concrete and leaving it on a reef for a year would make a living man made filter?

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Old 08/24/2017, 07:02 PM   #71
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Another idea I had was to use a dead sponge as ribbing between the PVC skeleton pieces and cover it with my clothcrete skin.. then drill holes to create low flow water access into it.

My intent was to make it lightweight


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Old 08/27/2017, 06:09 PM   #72
Steve Tyree
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Karim,

Basically you have created living filters. And adding carbon to export bacteria to control inorganic nutrients is not the best way to handle that situation. One should never get the high inorganics in the first place. Natural reefs are inorganic nutrient limited. Will think about your other ideas and get back to you.


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Old 08/27/2017, 06:35 PM   #73
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Agreed. I don't add carbon or skim. I stopped skimming when I realized that the golden gel solid export from my skimmer was very similar to the coral food mix I was feeding in. I started adding my solid skimmer export to my corals and they opened up and grew just as well. So- I only have 3" sand, open cavity concrete rocks, and my algae scrubber /fuge/ settling filter. The sand is home to the worms. The rocks are home to worms, pods and sponges, and the algae keep all inorganics to zero, as well as being a safe haven for pods and worms - and their planktonic babies.


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Old 08/31/2017, 01:53 PM   #74
Steve Tyree
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Yeah. The only reason the skimmer effluent looks and smells bad is cause you concentrated all those dissolved organics into a low oxygen environment in the collection cup. And of course the bacterial population in the effluent explodes.


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Old 08/31/2017, 11:34 PM   #75
Louis Z
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steve do you add silica to your tanks? one other thing that i noticed recently. I maintain an aquarium at my childrens school. they switched to a new thermostat monitoring system. well when school ended i went on vacation with the kids. when we got back after 2 weeks we saw the temps had been in the high 80s. close to 90'F . all the corals bleached. the xenia and kenya trees started to die off. The sponges also dissolved or disappeared . I also think they lost power on a weekend after I was back.. insult to injury. The corals are closed and not doing well. But the sponges are reforming to my dismay. Not all of them but I have to give it time, because they take a while to grow. So when reefs bleach I assume that the sponges may also be affected .


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