Hello from Oakland

Discussion in 'Welcome!' started by biophilia, Aug 31, 2018.

  1. biophilia

    biophilia Supporting Member

    Hey all!
    I'm new to BAR, but have been keeping saltwater tanks on and off since 2007 or so -- and have been on various other reefing forums since about that time as well. Really looking forward to meeting some more local reefers!

    My current tank is a 10 gallon nano mixed reef (IM Nuvo 10) which has been set up for about 14 months. Prior to that I had an even smaller mixed reef (~3.5 gallons) for a little under two years. Both of those systems have been a lot of fun and a huge learning experience getting used to the sort of OCD-type maintenance that is required to maintain stable water chemistry with such a small water volumes.

    I've always loved the ocean and spend lots of time hanging out on local beaches with my girlfriend and dogs as well as sea kayaking in SF Bay and Tomales Bay. I'm also really passionate about marine and terrestrial biology and habitat conservation -- so for me reefing has been a really cool way to bring a little slice of the ocean into my everyday life and a continual reminder of how complex and fragile coral reef ecosystems are!

    Here's a current shot of my nuvo 10:


    My general strategy with this tank has been to feed like there's no tomorrow, blast it with lots of flow. keep nutrients stable with regular large water changes and a regular lanthanum chloride drip for PO4, and dosing sodium silicate regularly to encourage a large and active "sponge loop" in the rock to help keep the water clean and provide food for the corals.
  2. JVU



    Great tank pic, beautiful. Interesting approach to your little slice of the reef.
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  3. kinetic

    kinetic Supporting Member

    Wow, the growth looks great. So much to look at in the tank.

    How large of water changes do you do?
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  4. MolaMola

    MolaMola Supporting Member

    Welcome! Beautiful tank. What is right below the clown - red single polyp with white tentacles?
  5. grizfyrfyter

    grizfyrfyter Guest

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  6. Flagg37

    Flagg37 Supporting Member

    I like that your screen name means "Life Lover".

    So how are you dosing LC safely? I've heard of people dosing it into a filter sock in their sump but it doesn't look like you run a sump.

    Also, what is the "sponge loop" you're referring to? I've not heard of that before. Isn't it Diatoms that feed off of silica? You don't get blooms?
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  7. tankguy

    tankguy Supporting Member

    welcome tank looks awesome
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  8. rygh

    rygh BOD

    Great tank!!
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  9. glee

    glee BOD

    Welcome to BAR and love your tank
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  10. ashburn2k

    ashburn2k Webmaster Staff Member

    That’s a nicely stocked zoa tank

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
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  11. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Very nice looking tank, and welcome
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  12. biophilia

    biophilia Supporting Member

    I diluted the LC with a bunch of water and dose the equivalent of a little under one drop of LC mixed with ~20mL rodi every other day. I have two of those “cut to fit” carbon filter floss pads stacked on top of each other in the back “overflow” chamber of the tank and I’ve been dripping it slowly with a pipette onto the filter pad. The filter pad gets replaced every week and I figure anything that makes its way through the pad will get picked up by the skimmer in the next chamber. So far so good (no cloudiness in the water or deposits that I’ve seen on the pumps of rock). Prior to that I was using phosphate remover media pads which was making the Po4 climb to 0.06 and them plummet to 0.01ish or below every time I changed whereas the LC has kept it consitently at 0.03ppm.

    The sponge loop concept was introduced to me by a user on R2R who works as a biologist at a public aquarium in Sweden. In coral reef ecosystems, sponges filter a huge amount of the water (I’ve read reports of the entire water column in reefs being filtered through the sponges multiple times per day). They effectively pull dissolved organics out of the water column and continually shed their cells into the environment which feeds coral and and filter feeding organisms. In some environments they produce enough food that it can provide the entire source of primary productivity for the reef. In reef tanks I have no idea how well that concept works so I’m kind of just experimenting with it. Dosing silica has led to a big increase in the sponge life I can see growing throughout the rockwork — and as a bonus I’ve found that the tiny dusting of diatoms (basically invisible — not like the bloom after initial cycle) can outcompete cyano and dinoflagellates. All in all, I’ve seen way less algae in the tank since experimenting with silica dosing.
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  13. Cheedo

    Cheedo Supporting Member

    Welcome very nice looking tank.

    Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk
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  14. JVU


    I like the sponge filter concept, I’ve always been happy to see benign sponges growing in my tank when they pop up. My silica is always 0 when I test, haven’t wanted to dose it for the obvious reasons. I’m going to read up more on that.
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  15. Flagg37

    Flagg37 Supporting Member

    There’s a member on here @Apon that has a bunch of clams that he uses to filter the water in his tank. He doesn’t use a slimmer since they do such a good job.

    So in the natural reef environment, where do the sponges get the silica from? I didn’t think it was naturally occurring.
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  16. biophilia

    biophilia Supporting Member

    I try to do a 25% water change every week, but do skip a week every once in a while if I'm too busy/and/or/lazy.
  17. biophilia

    biophilia Supporting Member

    That's a really interesting concept. Thanks for the heads up! If/when I eventually upgrade to a larger tank, I'd like to experiment more with using lots of biological processes to take the place of weekly maintenance so will definitely keep the clam idea in mind.

    The ocean has lots of silica available (over 2ppm+-ish in deeper waters) so there is plenty of it for sponges to use. It's replenished through rock weathering at the ocean floor and freshwater input from rivers. So ~0.5-1ppm silica is probably a pretty normal average for reefs. In contrast, established reef tanks can use up silica really quickly. There's a write-up on Silica in reef tanks by Randy Holmes-Farley (https://www.advancedaquarist.com/2003/1/aafeature1) in which he mentions finding that his tank consumed more than 1 ppm in only 4 days which is in line with what others who dose silica have found.
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  18. Flagg37

    Flagg37 Supporting Member

    Amazing. I always considered silica to be one of the elements to try and remove.
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  19. Wlachnit

    Wlachnit BOD

    great looking little reef. No room for error with a system so small. Kudos.
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  20. OnTheReef

    OnTheReef Supporting Member

    Steve Tyree wrote a couple books on this back in the day. I attended a lecture he gave in 2003 (I think at the Seattle Aquarium Club) on creating cryptic zones in our aquariums to encourage sea squirts and sponges to grow. IMG_1878.JPG
    Incidentally, I have some very large live rock pillars from @coral4me that have large sponges and sea squirts on them. I've never seen my water so clear. I should read up on this again and see if I can get more of them to propagate.
    For those of you looking for these books, they've been out of print for years, but Reef Farmers has recently reprinted them in digital form here:
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2018
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