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cosmicgabe
02-22-2015, 01:17 AM
Hello AC Community,

I am currently in the process of wanting to start a saltwater tank. To begin, I plan to keep it FOWLR for a while and perhaps some day start adding in corals. I am debating between a 60 gal tank and a 150 gal tank. Naturally, I want to go with the 150g but I have been confused about the filtration approach and it seems the more I read and dig into it, it just seems like people are throwing out contradictive opinions. I would like to know what is the best approach for the ecosystem and livestock.

My question is, if I go with the 150 gallon, is there a special type of filtration needed? (vs the 60 gallon)

Cliff
02-22-2015, 01:24 AM
You will get a lot of conflicting info, because there are a lot of different approaches, each with their own pros and cons

I would suggest a lot of good quality live rock as the best. Not only will it provide all the filtration that you need, but live rock will also help to stabilize your water parameters through the minerals it will leach out. There are also forms of chemical filtration that you can look into once your tank has stabilize, but you can do that after cycling and setting up your tank. The below link will also provide you with a more detailed answer

http://www.reefaquarium.com/2013/common-approaches-to-filtration-in-marine-aquariums/

James`
02-27-2015, 04:46 AM
Biggest in sump protein skimmer. UV moving on its ownslow pump (under 100GPH). Copper (beauty of no coral). Purigen in form reactor or just media bag. I like Seachem Matrix as biological filter media due to the fact it is also is a denitrifying media. The idea that LR is enough filter media to successfully turn ammonia into nitrite is a joke. At least not in ideal time frames. Keep salinity lower for the fish. Perform good grav vac weekly also suctioning debris directly from Inbetween LR by removing the actual vaccume from siphon.

Cliff
02-27-2015, 01:08 PM
. The idea that LR is enough filter media to successfully turn ammonia into nitrite is a joke. At least not in ideal time frames. Keep salinity lower for the fish.

Live rock is an effective form of biological filtration. I ran my heavily stocked 180 gallon for two weeks without other forms of filtration (while up-grading my sump) and it handled the load without problems. You just need to make sure you have enough live rock and good flow to make it work. No ammonia or nitrite spikes. Nitrate rose from 1ppm to 3 or 4 ppm (can remember exactly). Do a little research and you will see what I am talking about.

Fish should also be kept in the salinity they are naturally found in, which is around 1.026. When you keep the salinity lower, you will have lower levels of alkalinity, calcium, and magnesium which will not help you to stabilize your pH. You “can” get away with lower salinity levels, but that is not good for the long term health of your fish. Chemistry 101 stuff here

James`
02-27-2015, 10:20 PM
It sholdnt come as a shock to you as I understand reef chemistry. The lower salinity levels for FOWLR is reccomend by many many and has been documented as better for them and their health.

Your carbonate hardness level is not as big of a factor in a FOWLR because there's no corals performing calcicfication. Which of course includes all other ions including magnesium as you mentioned. Your pH is a reading of how strong your carbonate bicarbonate buffer is. Most salts on the market offer plenty of magnesium, far greater than those found in "natural" sea levels so the claim that keeping those levels up being harder is not too important for s FOWLR with no calcification.

I also never said live rock cannot be an effect form of biological filtration. I stated it is likely not enough. At least if speed of ammonia to nitrite is concerned. We know ammonia is quite toxic to fish and corals.

I'd be interested in discusing some more reef chemistry 101 with you if you feel I have not proven my claims?

James`
02-27-2015, 10:25 PM
Consider your tanks as a test tube. Natural Sea water may not always be ideal for our test or aquariums. It has been long a misconseption out aquariums should reflect sea levels perfectly.

I would still stay at 5 meq/l for my akalinity as still having a higher carbonate bicarbonate biffer is good especially with high bio load. We know that akalinity level is twice that of natural sea water...

cosmicgabe
02-28-2015, 06:03 AM
Just picked up my new tank today. Went with a 65 gallon!!

Started looking into live rock types in regards to dry style rock. So I watched a youtube video posted by bulk reef supply where they show a few types of rock. The pukani seems to take more space when compared to other types of same weight. I happen to like the pukani style. So if I go with pukani is it still about 1 or 2 lbs or rock per gallon? I'd imagine 60 pounds filling up and over... Idk

Cliff
02-28-2015, 01:49 PM
Pukani style rock does look very nice, good choice. I would suggest between 1 to 2 lbs per gallon would be a good target to aim for, but I always try to get as much rock into my set-ups as possible while still leaving enough swimming room for the fish

The key is that it very pours rock, you have very very good flow around all the rocks, and good oxygen levels. If you have that, then should have enough filtration for a heavy to moderately stocked tank

Skimmers are a great way to maintain high levels of oxygen in the water as well as helping with the water parameters

James`
02-28-2015, 03:59 PM
Still makes sense to me to add in at least rock ruble into the filter also. All the rock on display can become subject to algae, coral growth, frag plugs, and several other "pore-filling" reasons. I keep mentioning time as a factor here. We want ammonia to turn into nitrite as quickly as possible. If this was a reef tank where the turn over would be higher to support corals: the live rock in display may be sufficient to biologically filter quickly. With the turnover of a FOWLR much slower than a reef, there has to be much more than 1-2lbs/gallon in my opinion. At least if you want to support desireable oceanic fish.

Cliff I'm sure during the time your sump was off you also fed less and were diligent about maintenance. I don't think you just let the pumps go and hope it'd all be good? I'm also sure in YOUR 180 there has been sufficient beneficial bacteria colonies in your LR, in addition to the natursl clean up crew, and a possible deep sand bed. So yes in a matured tank with proper care and treatment I think you can get away with a few weeks, maybe even more... But I still have to encourage all saltwater keepers to add better biological in their filter. As you mentioned there needs to be a skimmer of some sort. For a FOWLR check out the Ehime surface skimmer or connect to your intake tubing. $30 vs $10. The Eheim is a great product though.

Also, The notion to remove all nitrate causing filters or rather biological filters because they are "nitrate creators" is silly. What do we think the nitrates are going to disappear without biological filters? That is not the case, it would simply be less efficient. This is also a FOWLR so those nitrate concerns are not as bad for that of a reef. The Cyanobacteria feeding nitrate issue does still exist, but that will in any FOWLR where the owner doesn't do proper maintenence with lack of denitrification reactors or media. (Of course phos, flow, light and other factors exist specifically for cyano)

Cliff
02-28-2015, 04:39 PM
Cliff I'm sure during the time your sump was off you also fed less and were diligent about maintenance. I don't think you just let the pumps go and hope it'd all be good? I'm also sure in YOUR 180 there has been sufficient beneficial bacteria colonies in your LR, in addition to the natursl clean up crew, and a possible deep sand bed. So yes in a matured tank with proper care and treatment I think you can get away with a few weeks, maybe even more... But I still have to encourage all saltwater keepers to add better biological in their filter. As you mentioned there needs to be a skimmer of some sort. For a FOWLR check out the Ehime surface skimmer or connect to your intake tubing. $30 vs $10. The Eheim is a great product though.

Nope, no deep sand bed, no additional water changes, I did remove the glass tops and had a fan blow air across the top of the tank to help ensure higher oxygen levels, but I could have also got the same results by adding a additional powerhead to move more water across the top (did not have a extra powerhead at the time). I just have enough substrate to cover the bottom of the tank. I only have 4 inch deep sand in a 5 X 5 inch spot for my haddion carpet anemone. I did keep a very close eye on all of the parameters and was ready for extra water changes should the need arise. My only concern was nitrate build-up. It increased a little, but nothing very significant.

I ran my 120 gallon for 3 months (maybe even a little longer) the same way. Everything was stable. I only added a extra power head to ensure good oxygen levels. Corals, inverts, and fish were fine

Beneficial bacteria in both marine and fresh water environments behaves in the same way, In a fully cycled set-up, t will instantly convert ammonia into nitrites and nitrites into nitrates. It doesn't matter what media you use, you just need to provide the correct environment to grow enough bacteria and use enough flow to get the water to it allowing the bacteria to do it's job.

James`
03-03-2015, 02:50 AM
Beneficial bacteria in both marine and fresh water environments behaves in the same way, In a fully cycled set-up, t will instantly convert ammonia into nitrites and nitrites into nitrates. It doesn't matter what media you use, you just need to provide the correct environment to grow enough bacteria and use enough flow to get the water to it allowing the bacteria to do it's job.

Besides several dozen different chemical interactions..... It is also not instantly. Dump 3mg of pure ammonia into your aquarium. Your filter of a heavy bio-load tank should be able to support this amount of ammonia. It will not convert the entire solution of ammonia instantly. This very much so depends on specific current direction/flow and it's ability to penetrate porous rock containing nitrifying bacteria. With specific media in a controlled environment specific for biological filtration, the test solution of ammonia will be more quickly converted.. Thus far beneficial to our aquariums...

There are organisms in reef that consume ammonia and nitrite directly, and metabolize them to organic matter. Macro algae can take up ammonia directly, and many species actually take up ammonia preferentially to nitrate.

Consequently, in a reef with a refugium, where most of the nitrogen export is via macroalgae, little nitrite may be produced in the first place. It is very likely that not all of the nitrogen added passes through a nitrite stage before becoming part of the macro algae. How much of the nitrogen added from foods enters the macroalgae as ammonia, and how much in other forms (such as nitrite or nitrate)? I'm not sure...

Time is a factor however in the speed of ammonia being converted in the aquaria... It should even be noted that in freshwater tanks that are heavily planted, those plants also prefer the ammonia as nitrogen and will readily consume bio-available ammonia before the filter even has the ability to convert it... There's some great research about this.. I wouldn't call it Chemistry 101 though...

Cliff
03-03-2015, 12:41 PM
To the OP:

I am sorry this thread went in a direction which you most likely did not intend for it to go. Please do not think this is a complex of a topic as it can sometimes be displayed as.

If you stick to the basics, and do that well, you will have no problems at all