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Is more better?

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Is more better?

Post by yort82 on Tue 11 Sep 2012, 4:26 am

Hi all,

I'm new to the hobby, and in the process of researching a new saltwater build. I see that there's a ton of different ways to accomplish the same thing and achieve the same results. I want a tank that is not only beautiful, but also, easy to maintain. Money, of course, is a factor... but I'm willing to wait for the stuff I'll need or piece things together as I go.

My main question is: Is more equipment/filtration/reactors/etc... better?

For example:

I'm considering at least a 90g build (and possibly up to 120g). I'd like to eventually keep LPS & SPS coral. I know (I think I do anyway) that keeping SPS coral requires excellent water quality. I'd like to be able to achieve that water quality and keep it there, and require only minimal,easy maintenance.

I'll have a sump with protein skimmer, refugium, and return section. Also looking into a carbon reactor, GFO reactor, along with dosing a 2 part calc mix. I'm also thinking about a BioPellet reactor as it does some things that the others do not. I know this is a lot of equipment, and that's why I'm asking. Some of this will be redundant.. It seems as though if you have a protein skimmer, you shouldn't need a GFO reactor due to the non-buildup of phosphates. But I keep thinking I'd like to have it just in case phosphates do start to rise for some reason... same goes for the BioPellet reactor... It shouldn't be needed if the skimmer is doing it's job, right? If it doesn't hurt, and I have the room for it, I would really like that extra layer of protection...

I keep racking my brain trying to figure out what would help or hurt!

Any comments, questions, or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you,
Troy

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Re: Is more better?

Post by grawlfang on Tue 11 Sep 2012, 2:26 pm

the protein skimmer doesn't remove the phospates as I understand it and run both ( I had only a protein skimmer and my phosphates were still high even though I was skimming out 1-2 cups a week). I am not sure about the biopellet reactor vs protein skimmer I never researched it that far and never thought about using the biopellets.
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Re: Is more better?

Post by yort82 on Tue 11 Sep 2012, 4:45 pm

Thanks for the reply grawlfang... I just didn't want to add too much to the tank and end up shooting myself in the foot due to something I didn't know about.

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Re: Is more better?

Post by Bryan on Tue 11 Sep 2012, 6:53 pm

If you run Bio-pellets you must run a skimmer. there is a good article somewhere that talks about the different types of filter media and the pros/cons of each. I will see if I can track it down.
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Re: Is more better?

Post by matt_longview on Wed 12 Sep 2012, 1:50 am

Bryan is correct. If you run bio pellets you must skim... And I'd suggest skimming wet and with a skimmer rated far above your tanks overall water volume. You'll also want the bio pellet output fed directly into the skimmer input. Bio pellets are extremely effective and quite low maintenance but come with some risk. Typically people add them far too fast or dose far too much. Irresponsible use of bio pellets can lead to a tank crash (same with most any media in marine aquariums).

So here is a quick breakdown.
Skimmer. In any system with SPS a high quality skimmer is standard. A skimmers role is to remove larger (although still very tiny) organics from the water column before those organics further breakdown into nitrates and phosphates. I is impossible to remove all phosphate production with a skimmer however, because poreous live rock, sandbeds, liw flow areas ect create areas fir organics to settle before they travel to the skimmer. You'll find stories of people who get by without, but never plan on being the exception to the rule. :-)

GFO. GFO is a chemical filtration method that removed phosphates from the water by physically soaking them up. Once the media is "full" it needs replaced. It's guaranteed to work, and is more science than art.

Bio-Pellets. Bio-Pellets are a Biological filtration method that function by providing an extremely efficient food source for bacteria. This same bacteria is denitrifying bacteria that consumes both nitrates and phosphates. As a result of the super food available to the bacteria, a significantly higher population of this bacteria lives in your tank, naturally reducing nitrate and phosphate levels. This method seems to be in the art stage... finding the appropriate balance of mL of bio pellets, amount of feeding, dosing of beneficial bacterial such as micro biactor 7 or similar product seem to produce different results in different tanks. Read read and read about these guys. I love bio pellets, but am careful suggesting them because without research, knowledge and wisdom they can lead to a tank crash.

Carbon is a chemical filtering method that removes the random stuff that gets into your tank. I'd incorporate it without a doubt as well. The choice would be between GFO and Biopellets. Both effective. Smile
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Re: Is more better?

Post by yort82 on Wed 12 Sep 2012, 1:57 am

Thanks Matt. Lots of great info. Choice would be between GFO & BioPellets, but not both, right? Would this just be ineffectient, or just down right dangerous?

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Re: Is more better?

Post by yort82 on Wed 12 Sep 2012, 1:59 am

Oh, and what do you guys think about the Vertex Alpha Skimmers? I like the build quality and features.

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Re: Is more better?

Post by matt_longview on Wed 12 Sep 2012, 9:45 am

I used both for a brief period of time once. I had just began using biopellets and they lowered my phosphates significantly... just not quite low enough. I wanted to take them from .04 to .02 or .01. So I used about a forth cup of GFO (29g tank) for a week or so. It dropped the phosphates down and the biopellets kept them low. I would rather add a very small amount of gfo than risk adding too many biopellets.
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Re: Is more better?

Post by yort82 on Wed 12 Sep 2012, 1:26 pm

Cool. Thanks for the info. Smile

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Re: Is more better?

Post by grawlfang on Tue 18 Sep 2012, 8:43 am

Troy it was good to meet you the other night, I look forward to your build as it comes along sounds like you have a good plan on what you want. Did you contact planet aquariums for your custom tank size for cost? (just curious how expensive they are) I wouldn't get the refugium/sump build until you get the aquarium and stand build (I would leave 1 end of your stand open with a magnetic door to install your sump later) I saw some DFW tank stands done that way and it was smooth, all the doors were magnetic just pulled off for easier access and the end panel was done the same way(this is the way I will build my next stand)

Of course coming back from MACNA I may change how everything runs anyway Smile
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Re: Is more better?

Post by yort82 on Tue 18 Sep 2012, 9:04 pm

Hey Kevin,

It was good meeting you too. Thanks for all the info and tips. It was good to see a setup in person, instead of just in pictures online. ha. Hopefully I'll get to see more in person as time permits and the more people I meet. Smile I'm looking forward to the build! I'm headed to Dallas on Saturday to look around some at a few places and hopefully decide on a tank. It'll probably be after our shutdown at the plant before I make a move on one though. That'll take up the entire month of October and some of November. ugh. I'll post a build thread on here when I've got it up and going!... I plan on taking LOTS of pics as I go.

See you later,
Troy

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Re: Is more better?

Post by grawlfang on Wed 19 Sep 2012, 8:04 am

lol, I just saw a 60" tank for sale 150G I believe, think it was on the DFWMAS site.
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Re: Is more better?

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