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Is it really that simple?

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Is it really that simple?

Post by matt_longview on Thu 17 Feb 2011, 2:30 am

Question was asked in anther forum... thought I would move the subject here, as there's likely to be a lot of input on it.

So here's the quote:
Yeti wrote: a guy had a small tank, with the filtetring etc at the side. From what I could make out, it was live rock, sand, and some type of weed (yes I know so little about marine), and then a fair sized pump (well to a FW guy it was big). My question is "Is it really that simple?"
At this point I would really appreciate lots of folks saying, "Oh hell no, it's way more complicated" and other such discouraging remarks.


Is it really that simple? I don't want to say yes, but at the same time I'm running a very simple filtering setup with very successful (short term) results. If I were to put together a system with the methods you just mentioned I would have a setup that has everything in it that is needed to filter water. You have no need for mechanical filtering with a sealed tank and careful feeding. You have a biological filter via live rock that completes the nitrogen cycle, chaeto which creates oxygen and reduces (hopefully to the point of removing) nitrates, and a pump to ensure enough water movement. The other things you're concerned with are air flow (to exchange fresh air into the water), trace elements (which will slowly be used up in the tank and need to be dosed or replaced through water changes), and stocking.

The issue with these tank setups is most often stocking. The choice to setup a tank of this kind reduces your stocking ability to an extreme fraction of the choices normally available. Most will push the constrains of this small setup and others ignore the constraints entirely... causing them to fail. If you stock the tank based on the tanks ability to filter instead of a desire for a particular kind of fish or invert... it's possible.

After saying all of those things... A heater malfunction, a pump break down, a power outage, an unexpected change or introduction of small change too quickly can cause small problems. But a nano problem in a pico tank is a killer.
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Re: Is it really that simple?

Post by Yeti on Thu 17 Feb 2011, 3:19 am

OK, maybe a really stupid question.
Is Cheato a SW only plant? As in why on earth don't FW folks use it?
I've read about it, but no where does it say "A salt water Algae", as I said, it may be a stupid question, but as someone that has avoided SW for years, I know nothing about it. In the UK the idea of SW was almost a non starter, there were very few SW local suppliers within 50 miles of where I lived (out in the stix), and as such you would pay through the nose for any marine life what so ever.
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Re: Is it really that simple?

Post by blueseatex on Thu 17 Feb 2011, 4:02 am

Yes cheato is a saltwater only algae. There are many types of algae that can be used for filtering purposes. Cheato is really popular because it does not attach itself to anything and can be easily removed when it grows out. The faster the algae grows the more nitrates it eats up.

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Re: Is it really that simple?

Post by DonnieP on Thu 17 Feb 2011, 1:44 pm

blueseatex wrote:Yes cheato is a saltwater only algae. There are many types of algae that can be used for filtering purposes. Cheato is really popular because it does not attach itself to anything and can be easily removed when it grows out. The faster the algae grows the more nitrates it eats up.


And the more nitrates it eats and the more light it gets the more oxygen it produces! Oxygen is a by product of photosynthesis, this is how the tank can be sealed and have oxygen in the water. I am currently building a 2.5 pico reef. Wish me luck Very Happy seriously, simple fitration can be used in a saltwater tank, mine and matt's tank both are proof of that, we use no skimmer and filtration is accomplished with floss, carbon and Chaeto. Saltwater does not have to be that complicated.

Link to the 2.5 pico build
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Re: Is it really that simple?

Post by Yeti on Thu 17 Feb 2011, 2:25 pm

Donnie, it was your pico that piqued my interest in a sealed system, and just how that was feasible.
I can see how the cheato will produce oxygen, it's more to do with how the balance of the chemicals in the water is sustained that was intriguing me. I think it was the nitrogen cycle part that I was focusing on, but I guess with so much plant life and no "animal" life, that isn't really a problem.
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Re: Is it really that simple?

Post by DonnieP on Thu 17 Feb 2011, 4:00 pm

Yeti wrote:Donnie, it was your pico that piqued my interest in a sealed system, and just how that was feasible.
I can see how the cheato will produce oxygen, it's more to do with how the balance of the chemicals in the water is sustained that was intriguing me. I think it was the nitrogen cycle part that I was focusing on, but I guess with so much plant life and no "animal" life, that isn't really a problem.


Well, the pico is going to be much more challenging than a nano! You gotta remember that the Chaeto is pretty much the only wanted plant life in the system. All the corals are animals and therefore produce carbon dioxide as they respire, Nitrogen gas from the liverock and carbon dioxide is taken in by the Chaeto and broken down into oxygen. I made a mis statement above about Chaeto converting nitrate into oxygen, had a brain fart for a minute., Anaerobic bacteria live deep inside the liverock where they transform nitrate into nitrogen gas, the final step in denitrification. The tank is not sealed totally, it is accessable, the top will be removable. The nitrogen cycle will go on in this tank just as any other just in a smaller version.

There will be a plugged hole in the glass top for feeding , dosing, and water changes, the toip is just mostly sealed to prevent evaporation. With such a small water volume dosing calcium, alk and other supplements will be a must.
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