Triton Method

Discussion in 'Reef Chemistry' started by Bruce Spiegelman, Dec 11, 2017.

  1. At last Saturdays gathering I talked to a few people who were using the Triton Method to avoid water changes. So who's doing it, what do you know about it, how did you achieve a large enough refugium, what lighting for the refugium and is it all just snake oil?
  2. Vhuang168

    Vhuang168 Supporting Member

    I have not been doing WC for going on 2 years on the 40b.

    It’s working for me.

    The ONLY thing that would be considered close to a WC is I replace the skimmer cup’s worth of SW with NSW when I clean it.

    I dose Red Sea Colors for trace and Acropower.

    Refugium is in the Sump, it’s not very big but is chock full off Chaeto that I trim occasionally.

    I use a $80 led grow light off Amazon.

    I do run a CaRx for additional trace supplementation.

    I may go full Triton next year. I talked to Tim at Triton when I was at RAP and he thinks my issue with corals going green rather than yellow may be trace issue that the Red Sea Colors + small “WC” with RSCP is not covering. But may also be nutrient deficiency. So I’ll be doing a series of Triton tests to find out.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  3. So is your refugium 10% of total volume? And I assume if you go full triton you'll quit running the Calc reactor?
  4. Vhuang168

    Vhuang168 Supporting Member

    It’s probably close to that. Total volume for me is about 50g so 5g fuge looks about there.

    The 190 only has about 8g refugium to about 200g total volume so that’s only 4%.

    I don’t think it HAS to be a refugium. Any form of efficient nutrient export is fine imo

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  5. So an Algae Reactor or Turf Scrubber is just as efficient for the Triton method with less space requirements I would assume.
  6. Vhuang168

    Vhuang168 Supporting Member

    I would imagine so.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  7. Julius Chen

    Julius Chen Supporting Member

    I have been doing 10-15% water change every 10 days in my 20g IM setup (tunze 9001 skimmer) and 120g setup (Vertex 150 skimmer plus small compartment of chaeto). Tanks still rich in nutrients, evidenced by green hair algae and dying acans even some sifties are not well.

    I use a $20 LED light for chaeto.

    Feed dailysmall portions. Tanks are moderately stocked with fish.
  8. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    I mean I kind of am doing the Triton method on the 300g pond (no water changes... but no nutrient export other than a skimmer so most stony corals won't live). When I finally get the 200 up I am thinking of doing it though. Over the years and years of planning, one of the biggest issues I've had with larger tank desires is I don't want to do massive water changes on a regular basis, it's one thing on a 40g tank if you do 10% weekly that's great you can mix enough enough water in a salt bucket, but when 10% turns into a 30-40G brute every week... no thanks, there has to be a better way.
  9. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer President

    My question is: what's the cost analysis and time/effort equation in water changes vs. triton method?
  10. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Good questions, I probably would guess that water changes still are cheaper, but of course that is going to fluctuate based on your tank volume, especially if you are doing the Trition tests which cost the same regardless of tank volume where as your water change & whatever elements you need to dose probably scale up linearly with tank volume. I guess you could probably argue the cost of filter/membrane/DI resin replacement is lower as well. Cost of water is really minimal though.

    I'd love to throw some numbers up now but I have a not quite 2 year old climbing all over me wanting to play with my keyboard.
  11. I plan on attempting to figure that out shortly, but I expect it's possible the Triton method is cheaper in an SPS dominant tank. If you're dosing a large SPS tank you are probably dosing somewhere between 75-150 ml of alk and calc a day. If you're running a Calc reactor the initial set-up cost is over a grand for reactor and a Masterflex. If you're doing 20% water changes on say a 150 gallon tank you're going through a box of salt every 5-6 weeks at roughly $50-60 dollars a box. You dose amounts that are 75% less with the core7 Triton method.
  12. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    In the past, I went a while with no water changes, using an algae scrubber.
    Similar to Triton I guess, but before a specific method existed.
    Fish were fine. Tank was fine for a long time, then started to degrade.
    It turned into a big headache of testing / adding / tweaking.
    My base theory: The algae scrubber was to strong, and it was stripping nutrients and trace out too fast.

    So my opinion on Triton: It can work fine.
    But done a bit wrong, you can end up with endless test/tweak hassles.

    Also, if you are thinking of big changes, consider an auto-water-exchange system.
    One time hassle of building it. But then it becomes very easy.
  13. RandyC

    RandyC Supporting Member

    On my Reefer 250, I have about 55 gallons of total volume and have two Avast Marine MR10s converted into algae scrubbers. I use LED strip lighting I got from Amazon ( Each is about 1 gallon worth of volume and one runs from noon to midnight and the other midnight to noon. I can easily strip out all the nutrients with the setup and get crazy chateo growth. I don’t use bio-pellets, carbon dose or gfo. I have a calcium reactor in my setup and one thing I did notice in my setup is that chaeto growth will stall/slow with no water changes and nutrients will start to creep up. I believe that is due to iron and/or iodine being completely sucked up as evidenced by my triton water tests. I’m currently dosing iron and iodine and seeing if chaeto growth continues again, but it looks promising though. Since I started dosing, nutrients are going down significantly and are heading towards ULNS territory.

    Here are two tests that I took to figure out what a carx does/doesn’t add back to the water.

    Test one (10/13/2017) was with little to no water changes for a couple of months.
    Test two (11/15/2017) was after I did 2 weeks of 10 gallon daily water changes
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2017
  14. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    I think that's where the Triton tests (or any other similar tests) come into play, is you have a method, but every few months you send your water to a lab to test and not rely on "your corals telling you everything is fine", the lab results will tell you if anything needs to be tweaked and if you need to add more calcium or anything else you simply up the dosage on what you're probably already dosing and wait another 3 months.

    The way I see what the "Trition method" is, is that it relies on macroalgae growth and removal instead of dilution via water changes to deal with nutrients, and that's really it. Then you exchange a lab test and some "essential elements" to add in all the other stuff that MAY be in your salt mix. The thing also is you need to dose stuff with water changes anyways, because unless the salt mix is above and beyond in levels you want, which most aren't except maybe a few areas then water changes won't keep them in check, for instance if your salt mix gives Alk of 8 but your tank dropped to 6, doing a water change that is less than 100% is not going to bring it back to 8, which is why you use 2/3-part or a calcium reactor or kalk, etc.

    Or just set up a soft coral tank and not give a crap about anything :D
  15. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

  16. RandyC

    RandyC Supporting Member

    Leftover MarinePure leeching? It's been in there for a year though. Other than that, i could only imagine that much aluminum coming from the salt. I use IORC.
  17. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Well if it came from the salt then lots of water changes should not have lowered it, so unless it was a bad batch (or different salt) you're ok there I think. I have heard of MarinePure blocks leaching aluminum though, not sure where I stand on that.
  18. RandyC

    RandyC Supporting Member

    I was thinking bad batch, I did open a new box for the 2 weeks of WC. Actually, just had a thought too...tests were conducted after my short Fritz salt experimentation. I probably got 50 gallons worth of changes prior to switching back to IORC. That's all hearsay though...I have no idea what caused it.
  19. Julius Chen

    Julius Chen Supporting Member

    I thought 15% water change every 2-3 weeks is appropriate, not 10% weekly.
  20. I do 15% weekly. Always have.

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