So what is the bleeding edge of reef keeping? I sort of think of it as that moment that you step outside of your comfort zone, when an aquarist opens their mind and a new trend emerges. Often the bleeding edge goes against the grain and operates on a new set of rules that redefines common principles. In aquaria it was a bleeding edge approach that led to Lee Chin Eng’s natural system, which remains today the foundation of reef aquariums. The bleeding edge has integrated technology and our aquariums and propelled the hobby forward. Propagation of corals, breeding marine fish and the open sharing of information can all be linked to the bleeding edge. In many ways the bleeding edge represents the innate ability to adapt to change and re-structure methodologies.
I will be moderating the Bleeding Edge Forum here on reefs. The goal is to bring aquarists together and create one giant brainstorming session, discussing not only the latest trends and current technology, but also giving insight into the future of coral reef aquariums and how by working together, we can make the hobby better.
The bleeding edge forum won’t just represent a place to discuss the newest and best equipment, or trying a different approach to maintaining a reef aquarium. It also represents a place to look at aquaria as a whole, from wild oceans to our living rooms. It’s a place to discuss recent discoveries in piscine intelligence, coral adaptability, micro-reef biology and the practices of the trade.
As an aquarium writer I’ve always tried to stand on the edge, because here I have a bird’s eye view of what is around. Instead of a narrow minded approach that locks into one ideology, I like both my systems and my interpretation of the hobby to remain flexible and fluid.
No one post in this forum, so I thought I would bring a topic for discussion. Algae scrubbers were once dismissed, but now are increasing becoming part of the reefing method used by more and more people. Why is that? Is it because they are very effective, when built and use right? Check out this video
I wonder what funny looks the first person who thought of an algae scrubber got. "I am having an algae problem, so I am going to grow a lot of algae..?" Algae scrubbers were never really dismissed, they just fell out of fashion when newer and higher technology methods of reef keeping came along. The sudden rise of denitrification additives, reactors, etc sort of pushed algae scrubbers out of the lime light, as that was their claim to fame. Most "artificial" or "chemical" means of denitrification have some sort of caveat. Bio-pellets are known to spur cyanobacteria growth, zeovit is tricky to use and properly dose, sulfur based nitrate reactors can be dangerous and expensive and the list goes on. Algae scrubbers don't have any of these risks - they grow algae and if the crop is strong and the aquarist keeps it pruned, it will remove nutrients, it's as simple as that. They also have the benefit of growing a food source for herbivorous fish.
These perks have brought the algae scrubber back into fashion, as people realize that this older, tried and true method of removing nutrients is more effective, safer and cheaper than all the high tech, or new age stuff.
However, I've noticed a new trend emerging in the world of algae scrubbers. One, several speciality scrubbers aren't cheap, especially those that use a specialized reactor or magnetically clamp to the sump, or those that float on the water's surface. These units are selling for anywhere between $ 300 - over $ 600. Also, some companies are touting algae scrubbers of the be-all and end-all of aquarium filtration. They claim their scrubbers can not only remove nitrate and phosphate, but create ultra-clear water and provide a host of other benefits to the tank. I have no doubt a properly set-up algae scrubber can remove nitrate and out-compete problem algae for nutrient food, thus cleaning up outbreaks. However, I recently had the maker of a new algae scrubber tell me that their scrubber clears water better than an ozone generator. I am not sure I believe that, and I don't see how algae alone (even growing en masse) will clarify water better than 03 which oxidizes yellowing compounds within saltwater.
Ha. I did not know I got a response to my post. It funny that you mention sulphur denitrator. I use one I made from plans found on line along with an algae scrubber. My reasoning is to have several different mode of nutrient exports as backup, if one should fail. The sulphur denitrator was chosen since it was easy to set up, tune and extremely low maintenance.
My nitrate level is undetectable with hobbyist kits, even when I feed 4-6 times a day. And my NPS seems to be growing.