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Old 11/10/2006, 01:47 PM   #1
Indermark
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Duplex sump concept

I am very interested in seeing if anyone has yet tried this new sump design. I am setting up a 75 gallon with a 20gallon long sump. I was just about finished with my sump when I came across a new sump concept at www.reefvideos.com. Go to the right of web site put your mouse cursor over the video that will say sump concept. this concept uses an aiptaisa zone next to the skimmer. Then a raised fuge in the middle and underneath a benthic zone for sponges, tube worms, tunics and such with low flow. The next section would be the return pump. I am seriously rethinking my sump design and just might do this. My only thought is how to make the underneath without creating some sort of badly made plenum. The videos don't give great details in how to set up the sump. I was just wanting to hear some suggestions, thoughts...anything. i posted this in the DIY forum and only received one reply.

Ryan


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Old 11/11/2006, 08:06 PM   #2
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From the video it looks like there is an opening between the top and bottom section at either end of the sump so it is not a plenum at all.

Steve tyree is the one that pioneered this approach:

http://www.dynamicecomorphology.com

Fred


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Old 11/11/2006, 09:11 PM   #3
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Finally some more information into this subject. I thought this thread was gonna get buried. Thanks for the info, when I get some more time i'll have to read more into it.. Wish there were some pictures about this.


Ryan


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Old 11/11/2006, 10:56 PM   #4
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Steve published a book that should have all the details.

Fred


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Old 11/12/2006, 11:11 AM   #5
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My tank incorporates a lot of these same concepts. I have a 170 display (reef garden style) tank with two 20 gal fuge/surge combos up above. The fuge half of the fuge/surge is filled with ruble and covered with growth. The surge half is lit and contains chaeto.



This picture shows the surge tank before I filled one half with rubble. The water enters from the bottom of the rubble filled side.

The tank hasn't been set up this way long enough to draw many conclusions. My anthias and chromis do eat well.

Another picture to show both fuge/surge.




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Old 11/15/2006, 07:32 PM   #6
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Brian, Your PM box is full. I'd like to know more about your setup


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Old 11/17/2006, 12:14 PM   #7
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I am putting together a 300 Gallon setup for a friend. His sump is a 75 gallon tank. I used the duplex concept of a benthic zone in that sump. I left out the Aiptasia farm though...

I just used the eggcrate/light diffuser to build a structure similar to the one in the duplexium video. Here is a sketchup image I threw together:





I used little clear zip ties to put the pieces of eggcrate together.

Here is a picture of how I have it installed in the 75 sump, the eggcrate is sitting on top of the sandbed with LR rubble on top of that:



Good luck!


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Old 11/18/2006, 04:41 AM   #8
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Thanks for the interest. That was the first video made for reefvideos.com, so we learned a lot too. Unfortunately, I jammed too much info in a short segment. Hopefully reading this post will answer some questions and perhaps raise some new ones.

I'm not selling anything here, just sharing ideas. I'm still playing around with the design and would love to hear other members input. I based my concept on the naturally occurring conditions found in successful, well established, reef aquariums. It's kind of a modified chaos theory. I realized that benthic invertebrates and aiptasia anemones found a niche in the captive reef ecosystem, and were thriving. Clearly they had a viable nutrient source; one that was a byproduct of nutrient import, and resulted in nutrient export or at least assimilation/dissimilation.

The idea isn't entirely new, but an evolution of somewhat problematic concepts from Dr. Addey, Steve Tyree, Jaulbert, Leng Sy, and anyone else who has tried to harness nature to export nutrients.

The crux of the concept is to design a sump that is compact and concise, using nature-based technology. The first idea is to skim surface water from the aquarium, rich in surfactants (surface active/hydrophobic agents). Nothing new here; however, you would be surprised how many overflows actually draw water from below the surface, or allow for dead zones at the surface. A simple test would be to see how long it takes for floating flake food to overflow to the sump. Even coast to coast surface skimmers can be fallible. The most common design flaw is having the return, or closed loop effluent push away from the overflow teeth. Play around with your flow until you can have it push surface water from the opposite end of the display tank to the overflow.

Now that we've accomplished this, we have "pre-skimmed", protein-rich, water to process. The first zone in our system can actually be located in the overflow box itself. I discovered by accident, that aiptasia anemones were great mechanical filters and water polishers. The aiptasia anemones in one overflow I observed looked more like rock anemones, due to the perfect living conditions they found. They had diffused lighting, no competition, and a great opportunity to grab freshly imported and skimmed nutrients (fish food).

I thought I really had a contribution to reef keeping methodology, until I came across the same idea referenced in Anthony Calfos' book. I recently built a four foot tall tank, with an overflow from top to bottom. I'm not a big fan of deep sand beds, certainly not when they're fed a carbon source, but I was willing to experiment with a passive denitrifying bed. The four foot box allowed me to put a two foot deep, fifteen gallon, sand bed as the bottom half of my aiptasia zone overflow box. I ran a 1" perforated nylon pipe from top to bottom in the sand bed. The idea was that I could use this to test dissolved oxygen levels, add a carbon source (if something better comes along), and provide a passive water exchange. Placing a heater in the pipe would yield a very slow, controllable, thermal flow, as heat rises.

Back to the design. The protein skimmer is located in the first zone, called the "aiptasia zone". By zone, I simply mean segregated area. In our case, it's a small area with a dam overflow. The surface skimmed water is run directly through the protein skimmer if possible, or at least allowed to draw its' influent from the first zone only. The protein skimmer effluent is directed to the other side of our dam overflow to assure the water is processed only once. This is a very basic concept, but one that is overlooked in many sump designs.

The aiptasia zone is named as such for obvious reasons. Aiptasia are allowed to populate this area with the intent that they will act as a biological, mechanical filter. What I mean by this, is that unlike micron filters, aiptasia collect and reduce excess nutrients without having to be exported. Of course, once the population grows, you can and should harvest what you can for further nutrient export. For those who are not confident that their sump design can mechanically block aiptasia, or kill them through ultraviolet irradiation (UV sterilizer), xenia and or star polyps can be used in their place.

Now that we've established optimum protein skimmer function and mechanical filtration, we move onto the next zone for nutrient export. The refugium zone is where our skimmer effluent water is directed. A good sump design will have an equal amount of water pumped from the sump to the display, to the amount of water flowing through the protein skimmer. In other words, if your skimmer has a pump that moves 600 GPH, then the sump pump should have the same rating. This assures that all of the water entering the sump is processed by the protein skimmer. The refugium will also benefit by a slower flow rate such as this for optimum dwell/contact time.

The key design feature in the refugium zone is the shallow depth. For stability, we're working with chaetomorpha and or gracilaria in our model. The flow from the skimmer effluent and shallow depth will assure that these macro algaes will be detritus-free as they prefer. A shallow bed of macro algae will allow us to put another zone below it, thus the name "Duplex", but we'll get to that later.

The other reasons for a shallow (4-6") culture of algae is to optimize lighting and discourage die off. Conventional refugium design allows chaetomorpha to grow into a giant mass, with new growth at the surface where photosynthesis is possible, and older growth pushed deeper where light isn't available. This "old growth" is then allowed to slowly disintegrate and release its' nutrient catch (phosphate, silicate, nitrate, and heavy metals) back into the water column. Another poor practice is to harvest the algae at the top of the mass. This removes the efficient new growth, and leaves the dieing constituents behind.

Our upper level of the Duplex has only 4" of macro algae to worry about, so the whole culture is illuminated. Old growth is pushed to the sides where photosynthesis can still occur. Macro algae can be harvested weekly from the outer margins that house the older (nutrient-rich) growth. The refugium has a rubble rock (1-2") substrate in the newer design. I found that the plastic mesh wouldn't allow detritus to settle to the lower benthic zone where it could be broken down by benthic (bottom dwelling) invertebrates such as serpulid and fan worms, tunicates (squirts), sponges, and zooplankton. Rubble rock provides a good surface for gracilaria to grow. It's also the perfect media for fostering the growth of zooplankton such as copepods, anthropods, isopods, and mysid shrimp.

The lower level of our Duplex is the benthic zone. This area houses the small invertebrates that populate all well established sumps. They occur here under natural conditions, those being diffused light, reduced flow, a nutrient source (phosphate, nitrate, silicate, bacteria, excess heavy metals/trace elements), and a viable media to attach to, and grow from. I found the limiting factor to be insufficient surface area to populate.

Live rock will provide more surface are than a bare sump, but an eggcrate grid is the best. It provides 360 degree living quarters with no flow restriction. Encrusting tunicates and clusters of feather dusters climb the eggcrate like a lattice. Tunicates or sea squirts, have been well documented as water polishers, with no significant toxins (allelopathy). Sponges on the the hand are great water polishers but considerably toxic. As a quick note, many people mistake tunicates as sponges. The rule of thumb for identification is, tunicates have "mouths" that open and close, while sponges have pores.

Reef aquariums are rich with benthic invertebrates, but they don't fare well in high flow and intense lighting. Steve Tyree has experimented with dark ("cryptic zones") within the aquarium to foster their growth, but it doesn't mesh well with popular aesthetics, and surface area is still a limiting factor. The more you do to encourage the growth of benthic invertebrates in the display tank, the worse the conditions become for fish and corals.

Jaulberts' plennums were a scaled down version of my benthic zone. While Jaulbert believed his plennums to be successful due to a passive water exchange, they're measure of success could be due to their suitability for water-polishing benthic invertebrates. This would explain why some plennums worked, while more anoxic, or less populated versions didn't.

Leng Sy believes that the key to his system is the bioavailabilty of trace elements in his Magic/Miracle/Mineral Mud. This is an easy assumption to make if you believe that captive reefs are trace element/heavy metal-poor. If you look at Dr. Ron Shimeks' work http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2002-1...ure/index.php, it's pretty clear that we're working with a surplus not a deficit. The mud is a reasonably good media for benthic invertebrates to grow, and likely the cause of sporadic success with these systems. Of course, it's easy for Leng Sy to put his faith in the marketable aspects of his design (Mud), rather than the methodology itself. With the high cost of facial mud treatments, I can't blame him.

The final zone of the Duplex sump is an area for chemical media, heaters, and the return pump intake. An UV sterilizer on the return, or a bypass line, is a useful tool in the control of aiptasia. The UV unit will not kill larger organisms like zooplankton, but it will kill smaller pathogens like aiptasia, bacteria and parasites.

It takes 6-9 months to develop a decent population of benthic invertebrates in the Duplex System. Using live rubble rock helps this process along.

It's too new of a system for me to truly measure its' value, but the substantial population of benthic invertebrates that make their home in our sumps are consuming something. It's a fair assumption that their nutrient source is the stuff we're trying to get rid of. A greater biodiveresity and well rounded ecosystem is clearly the key to replicating natures balance.

I'm looking forward to hearing of your experiences using this method.


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Old 11/18/2006, 07:25 PM   #9
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Thanks for sharing. Its a very interesting concept that pulls together ideas from a number of places.

I personally will never intentionally put aiptasia back into my tank, but as you point out, there are other organisms that can be used.

If you could put the refugium next to and slightly above the main tank you could eliminate one pump, but I realize thats not an option for a lot of situations.

Depending on bioload, the sizing of your refugium and your personal philosophy, you can also eliminate the skimmer.

I hope you will update us as you get more time/experience with this setup.

Fred


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Old 11/19/2006, 05:13 AM   #10
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Originally posted by Fredfish
Thanks for sharing. Its a very interesting concept that pulls together ideas from a number of places.

I personally will never intentionally put aiptasia back into my tank, but as you point out, there are other organisms that can be used.

If you could put the refugium next to and slightly above the main tank you could eliminate one pump, but I realize thats not an option for a lot of situations.

Depending on bioload, the sizing of your refugium and your personal philosophy, you can also eliminate the skimmer.

I hope you will update us as you get more time/experience with this setup.

Fred
Thanks Fred, I'll post some pictures some time this week.

Sorry, I'm not sure what you mean by losing a pump with a header tank refugium. In the system I describe, the skimmer uses a closed loop fractionator pump with a gravity feed flow-through from the display tank. The sump has a single return (to display) pump. There is no dedicated pump to direct flow through the refugium & benthic zones. Water exits the skimmer/aiptasia zone and passes over the macro algae culture. Only passive flow reaches the lower benthic level of the Duplex.

I was a strong proponent of header tank refugia in the past, but that was under the assumption that zooplankton were damaged by centrifugal pumps. Recent studies have shown that this is not the case (sorry, I can't reference the study, but it's mentioned in Anthony Calfos' book).

I have tried several skimmerless aquariums in recent years, with only marginal success. I find water changes to be an inefficient method of nutrient export, so I need all the help I can get from protein skimming.

I shied away from skimmers after following articles about Leng Sys' "natural aquariums". They offered a bounty of natural food for corals, something we were currently missing in our modified Berlin systems. At the same time, the popularity of refugia was taking off as a viable nutrient export alternative. The idea that protein skimming was indiscriminant, and removed valuable nutrients such as zooplankton, made it an easy decision to make. Conversely, macro algae encourages zooplankton colonies, and passive feeding of fish & inverts. The problem with this utopia was, macro algae, even chaetomorpha, have allelopathic (toxic) tendencies.

Protein skimming, if for no other reason, completes the loop, and removes the toxic agents generated by macro algae. At night, during respiration, macro algae leaks a portion of its' nutrient catch back into the water column. This process is greatly overcome by daily photosynthesis, but an issue nonetheless. Coupled with nightly PH drops (from macro algae and zooxanthellae), macro algaes' tendency of leaching phosphate, silicate and nitrate lowered water quality even more. In the morning, at the start of the photo period, micro algae, being the opportunist it is, will utilize these available nutrients before macro algae goes back online. Protein skimming levels the playing field and picks up the slack let out nightly by refugia.

Leng Sy had a harebrained idea of a continuos photo period to eliminate some of these problems (along with sexual reproduction). The tragic flaw in this practice, is that photosynthesis requires a respiratory dark period. The macro algae cultures in his refugia never grew as a result. With no growth, there can be no nutrient export. The macro algae in such systems acts simply as a living media for benthic invertebrates.

At the same time that my skimmerless tanks were struggling, several companies were making zooplankton and phytoplankton viable food stuffs. The benefits of such foods were known for many years. The DIY culture instructions from authors like Martin Moe and Stephen Spotte were great, but prohibitive for single aquarium installations.

Now that a quick and easy feeding method was available, the loss of food items due to mechanical filtration, UV irradiation, and protein skimming was no longer an issue. Once again, we needed to re-evaluate how to maintain good water quality with this added nutrient import. The advice from authors like Julian Sprung, with regards to omitting machanical filtration and possibly protein skimming from our arsenal, no longer applied to our model. We now ran the danger of nutrient build-up with the luxury of a disposable food source (zoo & phytoplankton).

I'm still with you on losing the protein skimmer for light bioloads and fish only displays. In many cases, aquarists cannot justify spending more on an efficient protein skimmer than the balance of their equipment. They're better to go with no skimmer than to spend $500.00 on an inefficient one along with the cost of a sump to run it in. Many sumps become glorified water movers. Certainly not worth the risk of flood, noise, maintenance and expense.

This is where I came in on the benthic zone idea. I was maintaining a reef aquarium that had all the wrong stuff, yet it had no nitrate, phosphate or micro algae problem. The sump was just an expensive water mover, but the tank was thriving. I concluded that the Berlin skimmer was a better refugium for feather dusters and tunicates that it was at collecting sludge. Nature had stepped in and corrected the aquariums nutrient surplus problem. The good news was, it wasn't in the usual form of nuisance algae.

A piece of eggcrate was in the sump to keep a bag of carbon in place. After a few years the eggcrate had become covered with tunicates. Much of the sump was populated with benthic invertebrates. If I had followed the popular advice of the time, I would have removed them during regular maintenance.

Another observation I made with this aquarium was that one of the two overflows was full of aiptasia, while the display had none. I also experienced a lot of swelling in my hands after touching the rock and sand in the display (I know, I should wear gloves). This was caused by large colonies of bristle worms. Once again, the popular belief at the time was that they were a parasite in reef tanks, and should be removed.

Through chaos (high nutrient import & low nutrient export) the aquarium developed specialized zones to recycle, reduce, reuse and close the nutrient loop.


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Old 11/19/2006, 06:57 AM   #11
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the best sump is :
1. All overflow from tank feed to skimmer.
2. Refugium (must past 2 becuse the flow to big).
3. the other one is buffle to eliminate the bubble.
4. after that you can inject to chemical, uv, C2R, chiller and main pump
5. all the uv, c2r and chemical output must back to the first compartement (in skimmer place).


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Old 11/19/2006, 01:27 PM   #12
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So...its okay to have a sand bed under the eggcrate area for the benthic creatures? I'm happy to see more interest in this topic. Eventually, when I get my setup finished which has almost taken me a year to set up I will add some pictures.

Ryan


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Old 11/19/2006, 05:39 PM   #13
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http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v2...g?t=1163982885

I set this up a few months ago with the duplex in mind. I still need to get a bunch of benthics. All my set up is 2 sterlite containers. The 5 gallon one is countersinked into the 10 gallon one. U can see in the pic under the SCWD is a 4 inch bulkhead. This is where water drains into the lower level. This is also where i run the hoses for the return to the main tank.. The lower level can be serviced if a I remove the PVc riser in the bulkhead. This of course drains the upper level completely so it can be removed and allow access to lower level.


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Old 11/19/2006, 06:58 PM   #14
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Quote:
Sorry, I'm not sure what you mean by losing a pump with a header tank refugium
It made sense to me when I wrote it, but you're right, makes no difference where the sump/refugium goes.

Your experience with skimmerless tanks is interesting. I have been running skimmerless for almost 3 years and have no issues with nuisance microalgae. I am running a light bioload though and, because this is a seahorse tank, have no issues with algae growing in the display. Others such as Eric Borneman run heavily fed systems skimmerless, though he does run a skimmer when he travels.

The big negative in my opinion is that skimmers remove coral and invert food: small organic particulates coated with bacteria, invert larvae and who knows what else. These two food sources are not easily replicated by commercial preperations.

Nutrient leaking from macros does happen, even during the day for bits that are no longer growing, but the new growth seems to suck everything up right away. I occasionally have to dose calcium nitrate to keep my macro's growing.

As has been said a number of times before, there are many ways to have a successful tank (and as many definitions of successful.

Looking forward to more pictures of your systems.

Fred


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Old 11/19/2006, 07:24 PM   #15
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I couldn't agree with you more Fred. I've seen reef tanks with top of the line equipment that are problematic from the start and very basic systems with instant success. Sometimes less is more, and I'd take luck over skill any day.

As I mentioned earlier, I don't do formal water changes, so that could be a contributing factor to my lack of success. The skimmerless tanks I was referring to were full reefs with intense lighting, and heavy bioloads (particularly fish) so that too would tip the scales to the favour of nuisance algae. The other factor was the absence of effective phosphate removing media, at the time.

I recently dismantled my 15 gallon seahorse tank, but it ran for several years with just a powerhead, a bag of carbon, and a monthly water change of 50%. I cleaned the walls of the aquarium only once during this time, as my 27 watt PC light and indirect sunlight allowed no nuisance algae to grow. Of course this was a unique situation to seahorse tanks.

I would consider a skimmerless tank in the future, but I would use more carbon and chemical media (puragen, chemipure, poly filters etc.). Dr. Rons' study that I linked in an earlier post provides some interesting numbers to back the capabilities of macro algae, protein skimmers and Xenia as nutrient exporters.


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Old 11/20/2006, 02:26 PM   #16
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This is a very interesting concept that I am thinking of incorporating into my 90 Gal Build.

Thanks for the info, Bill.


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Old 11/24/2006, 10:38 AM   #17
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Excellent! I was looking all over for this information as I had lost the bookmark a while back.

Here's what I'm in the process of doing. A 40G breeder as the display. I'm leaning towards another 40G breeder as the sump. I'm intrigued by the aiptasia "zone" and running UV to kill off any aiptasia from going back into the display tank. I'm also going to be running a copepod/greenwater culture on the refuge (I think that's the route that I want to go) but I was concerned that the UV would nuke any beneficial critters and whatnot from the refuge. For skimming I've got an ASM G3 with the gate-valve mod sitting in my garage that I'm going to use. I'm leaning towards an external pump which allows me to use a larger refuge because I won't have to create as large of a bubble trap/return pump area in the sump/fuge.

Am I off my rocker?

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Old 11/24/2006, 04:18 PM   #18
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Sounds like a plan to me. If used properly, the UV sterilizer will kill your green water (phytoplankton). It won't however, harm your zooplankton to any great extent. The phytoplankton would be better utilized as a drip directly into the display. Some corals are specific night feeders while others take up nutrients during the day, so dose phyto & zooplankton accordingly.

Most people run the water through the UV too quickly, thus lowering the kill ratio, particularly with larger organisms. Running the UV on a bypass, or only at night, will give your fish and corals a fair shot at the phyto. You can rely more on mechanical filtration, peppermint shrimp, molly miller blennies, and butterflies in the sump to exclude aiptasia from the display tank.

While aiptasia & majano anemones seem to be the most efficient (opportunistic) biological cure for free-floating POC (particular organic carbon/detritus), xenia and star polyps are a close second, and have a monetary value once harvested. On the downside, xenia is know to crash from time to time during environmental changes.

Now the embarrassing part is trying to convince your LFS that you actually want aiptasia. Let us know how it works out.


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Old 11/24/2006, 04:34 PM   #19
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I think I'm going to have around 350GPH-400GPH of water returning to the tank from the refuge. The rest of the flow in the tank will be a closed loop. What I was thinking about doing was to use a CPR Aquafuge external to the refuge. I was going to use an Aqualifter pump on a timer to run only a short period of time per day, say 10 minutes or so. I was thinking of running the green water/copepod culture in the Aquafuge and then the aqualifter would pump say a half gallon of fresh water into the Aquafuge, thereby displacing some of the goodies in there where they would be drained into the refuge/return to the tank. I suppose it would be possible with timers set to turn off the UV for a period of time before and after this "feeding" event.

And regarding being embarrased about getting aiptasia at the LFS: Why would you be embarrased to buy it if they're not embarrased to have it all over their tanks.

A xenia forest would be cool too. I would just think that the aiptasia are more aggressive "hunters" of their foodstuffs.

Thanks!
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Old 11/24/2006, 05:07 PM   #20
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I like your relatively low turnover ratio. Filtration is more efficient and noise and energy consumption is reduced.

If you already have the CPR Aquafuge, then go ahead, but if you don't have it yet, some kind of lowtech soda bottle device might be a better idea. You could have a few extra bottles brewing in the on deck circle, in the event of a crash.

By adding freshwater to the phyto & copepod culture, you will be lowering salinity (unless I misread your post and you're adding "fresh salt water", from the system, with the aqualifter). An semi-automated system like that is a great idea.

There are many organisms in the macro algae and benthic invertebrate refugia, that would benefit from copepods and phytoplankton, but adding it directly to the display tank would be more efficient.

You should monitor nuisance algae blooms, as phyto cultures can be quite high in organics and heavy metals. In time, you'll come up with a formula of how much and when to feed.


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Old 11/24/2006, 05:26 PM   #21
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I was going to use the aqualifter to pump water from the sump into the Aquafuge. My topoff is being handled by another system. I've already got a 12" Aquafuge, but a friend of mine has a 24" one that he said I could buy on the cheap. I figured bigger is always better!

I'm still in the planning stages anyway. I have to locate the tank I'm going to be using for the sump. I'm leaning towards another 40 breeder if I can find one for a good price. I designed the stand to be able to accomodate a 36" stand. Here's a little "blog" on my new system so far... (sometimes my host acts up and the link doesn't work) BLOG


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Old 11/24/2006, 05:35 PM   #22
mr.wilson
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That makes sense. I have a CPR Aquafuge sitting in my garage collecting dust. Maybe I'll incorporate it into something like that too.


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Old 11/25/2006, 10:49 AM   #23
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Nice blog. Very interested to see how it turns out! I love the greenwater/pod system you have in the works.

It's neat to have your opinion here mr. wilson. I am interested in creating different zones that replicate what is found in nature. Your duplex idea is so simple and I have enjoyed adding the concept into a friends sump and my own. I am curious to see what develops!


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Old 11/25/2006, 10:52 AM   #24
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Thank you much! Added some electrical to the stand today. Pictures later.


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Old 11/25/2006, 01:49 PM   #25
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Ya nice blog and Nice work!


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