Fishless SPS / ULNS

Discussion in 'Coral' started by kinetic, Aug 11, 2017.

  1. kinetic

    kinetic Webmaster

    Does anyone have experience or currently run a ULNS (ultra low nutrient system, is that right)?

    I'm thinking of a ULNS without any fish, very minimal cleanup crew (maybe just algae eating snails, like trochus), bare bottom, huge flow.

    Through some research, it looks like some regular feeding and dosing would be needed if you don't have fish:
    1. Amino acids
    2. phytoplankton
    3. daphnia, cyclopeez

    From reading all of this, it looks like you would actually not maintain a ULNS, but counter the fact that there's no fish as the middleman (or middlefish?) for feeding the coral. You would have to feed the tank anyway, either through the guts of fish or directly with small particle foods.

    The only upside is that you can control your overall nutrient levels in the tank, and be able to avoid too much bioload in the tank.

    The reason I'm looking this up is that I'm thinking of doing a fishless system, so that I won't have to be home every day to feed these dudes and to have a really clean tank with thriving SPS. But it seems like I may have a lot more work culturing food and would have to feed the tank everyday anyway.

    Fishless tanks are so boring too.

    Anyway, would love to hear if anyone has done it and what your experiences were!
  2. I've done this before. It was successful. I fed Reef Roids everyday. To be honest, it got boring without fish.
    kinetic likes this.
  3. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer President

    Have not done it. Do think you'd have to feed any way. I say get 1-2 fish only and call it good
    sfsuphysics and kinetic like this.
  4. Gablami

    Gablami Supporting Member

    I'm currently doing this, but not intentionally. Got ich and my tank is fallow for 72 days. It's actually kinda nice to just focus on the corals for awhile. Target feeding for once! Everything looks happy.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    kinetic likes this.
  5. Wlachnit

    Wlachnit Vice President

    My coral grow out tank is fishless (mostly because I use it to quarantine corals before putting into display) and it is nice not to worry about your nutrient levels. I typically only feed once a week at best.
    kinetic likes this.
  6. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    I'm with Mike, and DBSS, needs to be some movement in a display tank. 1 or 2 small fish even could be great, you could get away from daily feedings too if you had a large enough pod population, which 1 or 2 fish might not even be able to eradicate.
  7. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer President

    Just make sure they eat pellets and go auto feeder.
  8. Ibn

    Ibn Supporting Member

    Acropower can be dosed via doser on top of the small number of fish on auto feeder. Or you can just automate it all with a mini fridge setup.
  9. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Acropower needs to be refrigerated after opening though?
  10. Ibn

    Ibn Supporting Member

    Nope, that's Reef Energy A and B, which needs to be shaken as well. Acropower doesn't need either as confirmed by Julian Sprung.
  11. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Awesome, always looking for those dosing things that don't need to be refrigerated.
  12. kinetic

    kinetic Webmaster

    Let's hypothetically say the tank is fishless, about 45 gallons total water volume, and a few SPS.

    Are there any solutions that can be dosed and not need to be refrigerated to keep everything happy and fed?

    I was looking at AquaForest products (their salt is pretty cheap. I was a seachem salt person back in the day, so just looking for something pretty good to go with, and AF reef salt looked nice?)

    They have a bunch of things like mg/ca/alk, but also amino acids, something called powerfood, and other vitamins. It would be interesting to setup a bunch of small dosing containers with a mess of dosing pumps and have a ULNS that has a controlled amount of food.
  13. Ibn

    Ibn Supporting Member

    You could go that route or just simplify it. BRS 3 parts plus the Acropower would use up 4 heads on most dosers. That'll keep your alk, ca, and mg at the right levels with Acropower as the food source for your sps. Of course by dosing any of the major 3, you'll have to check the levels every couple of days just to make sure that you have it dialed in.
  14. kinetic

    kinetic Webmaster

    Thanks! Yeah I was dosing BRS 3 part in the past and got used to testing daily to try to dial it in. It wasn't all that fun, especially because my salifert tests were so hard to read. Probably need to get something better this time around.

    Is Acropower all that SPS would need? I guess at least for dosing?
  15. RandyC

    RandyC Supporting Member

    Amino acids will provide the source of nitrogen, but some amount of Phosphorus is needed as well. It is required in the process of calcification. If you want it automated, fish food is probably the easiest source. Auto-feeder with a very, very small amount of pellets fed once or twice a week would probably a good start.
  16. Ibn

    Ibn Supporting Member

    Aminos and detectable amounts of nitrates and phosphates. Just gotta make sure that the nitrates and phosphates don't bottom out since they're required.
  17. kinetic

    kinetic Webmaster

    Taking notes here:

    1. ca, alk, mg dosing
    2. aminos
    3. nitrates and phosphates

    1. I'm guessing aminos alone won't help with nitrates and phosphates, and this is why something like solid fish food would be needed?
    2. ca, alk, and mg doesn't necessarily change much because of a ULNS, or does it? I was pretty heavily stocked in the past (anthias, see profile photo) and still struggled with these params as the corals were sucking them all up. I think it came into the conversation because of overall dosing strategy getting an added food dose source.

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