New 135 high tech build in Arlington

Discussion in 'Build Threads' started by jcl333, Sep 18, 2017.

  1. gzr918

    gzr918 Well-Known Member BRS Member

    You can certainly run a tank to some degree without doing water changes, lots of hobbyists have done it in different sized systems. The problem is the limitation that puts on your system. When you do water changes you're doing more than just removing nutrients. You're adding a lot of trace elements, trace being the key term here. Meaning they're immeasurable by today's standards unless you work in the right lab. Does that mean you can't grow certain corals, or have certain inverts? Probably not, it just won't be an ideal scenario, since you can't dose what you can't affordably measure.
  2. dz6t

    dz6t Acro Garden, BRS Sponsor BRS Member

    That is the problem, lol

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  3. cilyjr

    cilyjr Chris Staff Member Moderator BRS Member

    Dong, what was that article about kessil being one of the companies that were just out right lying about their claims? Was that you that posted it? I think it was more in reference to their hydroponic grow lights. If it was you can you repost it
  4. jcl333

    jcl333 Well-Known Member BRS Member

    OK, I am going to agree and slightly disagree with you here. I think you are correct, but not just because of water changes. I think there is no currently known method we have that can fully duplicate natural conditions to the point that we can keep and breed any species that are thriving, with or without water changes. So I guess it would be up for interpretation how you would set your "goal" or how you would measure success while doing so with no water changes. And I think at a certain level it would become difficult to say how your method and setup is limiting you. I guess if you are arguably just as successful compared to most other hobbyists systems and methods, but doing so without water changes, then you are there. If you only manage to keep blue damsels, well so what, right? This is either fair point or a pointless and unprovable argument, or a combination of both.

    We are not at the point where we can exactly mirror the natural environment, even if you piped in real "perfect" seawater, the aquarium environment would still present differences that would hold you back, size if nothing else. One of the things I would point to on this is our ability to breed different species.... it's getting better, but still only a subset of what we would like, and some of that is only achieved with hormones.

    If your point about the trace elements is that it is just impractical on the "hobbyist" level, then yes. Most of us are using artificial sea water mixes, and likely those mixes are made by people with the "right lab".... likely a $100K+ gas spectrometer among other things. Almost the whole periodic table is in seawater, including plutonium and uranium in very tiny amounts (I took 3 years of chemistry). That being said, I think that not all of those elements are "biologically useful"...

    Some other points on this:
    - The DSR guy is making his own salt mix, and as far as I know he does not have the "right lab"... but for sure he is at an extremely advanced level with the number of tests he is doing and the elements he is tracking and dosing. I am still struggling to wrap my brain around it. If what he says he can do is true, he is growing most corals like weeds and only having difficulty with a few.
    - The Triton method, sending your sample to a lab (would that count as the right lab?) tests for far more elements, probably getting close to all of them, perhaps already more that the biologically useful ones.
    - And still, I think even if you were able to test and dose for every known element or compound, that still would not do it. From there I think ever more obscure issues would arise, likely complex organic chemistry issues that would take full-out scientists to deal with, and even then would only take you so far at our current level of understanding.

    So, I guess in the end my personal opinion is that water changes are a somewhat "crude" method that I think would be interesting to get away from, and a worthy personal achievement in the hobbby. Now, it may take $20k in equipment and chemicals, take more time that it would have if you were just doing the water changes, and possibly at a lower level of "success", that is all fair. And for these reasons some may point at me and laugh because their $500 DIY + water changes gets the same or better results, that's all fair game I would say.

    I am learning so much even researching these things, it is great. I have always wanted to do these things but never had the money, and some of the things I needed or wanted were never available until now either. At some point I would also like to go back with what I learn about reefing, and apply it to some freshwater setups I used to do, I think I could do some amazing things.
  5. jcl333

    jcl333 Well-Known Member BRS Member

    Well, they lose, because within reason I would have bought whatever they asked me to.
  6. gzr918

    gzr918 Well-Known Member BRS Member

    The "right lab" simply being a blanket term for the fact that we can only ascertain so much from test tube titrations compared to a full analysis using whatever technical means you desire. At the end of the day we're creating a small system, in no means a copy of the natural ocean but a reflection. Simply, whatever makes your system function the way you like is all that matters. I'm certainly eager to hear about the ways the hobby will shape in the future.
  7. dz6t

    dz6t Acro Garden, BRS Sponsor BRS Member

    I see some of the OP's point.
    But I think he has some misunderstanding of the scientific advancement in the recent years.
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2017
  8. dz6t

    dz6t Acro Garden, BRS Sponsor BRS Member

    First of all, coral are highly adaptable and even evolve under captive environments in artificial seawater. You can google assisted evolution of coral and see more details. With that said, we don't need to delicate exactly the natural seawater condition.

    Let's see one example, natural sea water has Alk at 7 dkh, SPS coral has been shown over and over again in labs and in hobbyists tank that a elevated Alk level at 8 to 9 accelerates coral growth.
    Artificial lighting is no where near the sun interns of spectrum but coral under captive environment adapted to it and even flourish under it.

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  9. dz6t

    dz6t Acro Garden, BRS Sponsor BRS Member

    The OP is right that not all trace elements in the natural seawater is needed by coral. Just like we don't need the trace radon gas in our home.
    Actually, the biology of coral, a relatively very simple organism, has been well studied through the past decades. We do know that most trace elements in sea water do nothing to coral health. They are just there and may not be utilized by coral.

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  10. jcl333

    jcl333 Well-Known Member BRS Member

    I agree. So, case in point, looking at this algae reactor, I see it as a possible step forward based on the success of DIY algae scrubbers and related things. New things often start out disproportionately expensive.
  11. dz6t

    dz6t Acro Garden, BRS Sponsor BRS Member

    We also know that coral, such as leather, gonipora etc, do put out chemicals into the water to compete for growth. We do know that coral and fish do put out organic waste that is not as simple as ammonia and nitrate which can be detected by test kits. We do know that there are plenty of small to large molecules excreted by sponge, bacteria etc in reef tanks. We do know that we can't test for many pollutants in our reef tanks.
    We also know that Triton test can't test for organic compounds.
    We also know that those pollutants have major affect on long term coral health.
    We also know that even the best skimmer can only take out 30 to 40% of organic.

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  12. jcl333

    jcl333 Well-Known Member BRS Member

    Oh, by the way, I just noticed your signature. Do you work at Acro Garden? I live in Arlington, it would be great if there is someplace as close to me as Concord for corals and related things. I would like to learn more, any website?

    What would be a good example of a recent scientific advancement that you think I should better understand?
  13. dz6t

    dz6t Acro Garden, BRS Sponsor BRS Member

    And we do know water change is the only way so far to remove those pollutants.

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  14. dz6t

    dz6t Acro Garden, BRS Sponsor BRS Member

    You are welcome to drop by.

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  15. jcl333

    jcl333 Well-Known Member BRS Member

    This is a good point. For some things we emulate in an artificial environment, you can make improvements and/or eliminate disadvantages. This is one of the things that makes it all the more interesting.

    I think it is a good idea to advance this hobby. In the near future corals may only exist in the tanks of hobbyists and aquariums around the world. This is already true for some freshwater species that no longer exist in the wild.
  16. dz6t

    dz6t Acro Garden, BRS Sponsor BRS Member

    Yes. we are no longer at the stage of trying to mimic the nature, which we can't and we don't need to. Seriously, aquaculture coral are mutants. Now several research institutions are trying to transplant the so call super coral back in the ocean to combat global warming.

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  17. jcl333

    jcl333 Well-Known Member BRS Member

    Did you know that some freshwater fishes release compounds (can't remember if it is hormones or endorphins) that regulate their growth and reproduction, such that they can adjust based on the concentration of those compounds in the body of water they are in. One of the reasons some fish grow much larger in the wild vs. captivity.

    And I think your point on Triton is good, and I think it won't be too long before we can test and dose all the important things we need, and one of the next major areas of improvement that will open up after that will be how to deal with organic compounds, and I mean in a similar fashion to trace elements, beyond what we already know about nutrients and so forth.

    Skimmers are certainly crude but effective. Same with MH lighting, horribly inefficient but still extremely effective.

    The Pax Bellum people claim that you could even go without a skimmer using their reactor. Not that I personally would, but it says something about what they are trying to do.
  18. jcl333

    jcl333 Well-Known Member BRS Member

    Now see, this is probably my major bone of contention is, and I am not just trying to give you a hard time over sematics. I think you need to be careful to stay away from absolute statements like that. Maybe the only way to "fully" remove them? But I even hesitate with that too, because I can think of a few cases where they are pretty ineffective... such as trying to remove high levels of nitrate because there is too much trapped matter decaying in an aquarium.

    I would say that water changes are possibly the most effective means we have currently, but certainly not the only way.

    Pre-filter socks, ozone, macro algae, displacement, you could probably name a few more.
  19. jcl333

    jcl333 Well-Known Member BRS Member

    Is this an actual retail place open to the public, or mainly a research laboratory?

    I am from Cape Cod, and I have done work at Woods Hole Oceanographic and another place called the New Alchemy Institute in Falmouth, mainly in aquaculture. I also worked at a fish store for about 9 years when I was a teenager.
  20. jcl333

    jcl333 Well-Known Member BRS Member

    Oh great, I can't wait to see the Greenpeace people complaining about GMO corals.... Well, they are probably already gluten free depending on what you feed them I suppose ;-)
    gzr918 likes this.

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