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ARID stands for, Algae, Remediation, Illuminated, Device. ARID has the capability to drive down phosphate to levels required for vigorous SPS growth without the need to constantly buy and replace chemical media. This biological filtration system works on the principle of what we at Pax Bellum LLC like to call "biological stoichiometry", the balance of products and reactants in a biological system by use of a biological medium as a nutrient export, in this case algae.
In the reef aquarium we are mainly concerned with balancing the nutrients N:K:C, with the goal of limiting phosphate(P). Potassium(K) and carbon(C) are usually never in short supply. However, nitrogen (N) can become depleted by the growth of the algae, causing its growth to stall. To keep the algae growing the aquarist should dose the nitrate solution that is part of the ARID system, maintaining the NO3 level around 1-5ppm. This will allow the Chaetomorpha to continue to grow until phosphate levels are depleted. Algae in this system, is our nutrient export. The Chaetomorpha is vigorously rinsed periodically and a portion discarded. The ARID system differs from a refugium in this way. Chaetomorpha is not viewed as a home for arthropods, copepods and the like.
I know what you?re saying ?dose nitrates? Are you kidding? Don?t we want to get rid of nitrates?? Nitrates have gotten a bad reputation through guilt by association. When we introduce food into our aquarium we have added a source of phosphates, nitrates and carbon compounds. Nitrates in the past were all we could test for accurately to determine nutrient build up. We didn?t have the accurate phosphate tests we now have. So when nitrates rose in our tanks and coral growth slowed or worse, we blamed nitrates when in fact it was elevated phosphate levels disrupting coral growth.
The coaxial LED light tube design of the ARID maximizes light penetration and efficiency. The tube and flange design isolates the algae from atmospheric CO2 unlike a refugium. Where the algae is pushing through the water meniscus and interacting with atmospheric CO2. We did this in order to limit the carbon source for the algae to just that which is respired by the organisms found in the tank. This regulates the growth of the algae and organics that the algae leak into the water leading to water yellowing often associated with refugiums. Compounds that algae leak include sugars (polysaccharides) that aerobic bacteria consume. These bacteria can be found colonizing the surface of the Chaetomorpha, and will play a role as a nutrient export when they are rinsed away during the maintenance procedure. Polysaccharides additionally benefit the aquarium by functioning as a flocculent, binding to organics to precipitate them out of the water column, resulting in water that is crystal clear.
The ARID acts like a lung for your reef tank. Unlike a skimmer that equilibriates the O2 and CO2 levels to that of the surrounding room, a room that is often much higher in CO2 levels than found above a natural reef. The ARID supersaturates the tank with O2 much like phytoplankton does in the surface waters of the ocean. Another benefit from running the ARID on your reef aquarium system can be realized by running the light cycle reverse to your tank lighting (reverse daylight cycle). Reverse daylight cycle will balance the day/night ph swing, and maintain dissolved oxygen levels throughout the night when your main tank lights are switched off, and photosynthesis has ceased.
Any ARID owners please feel free to post pics and tell us about your experience with the ARID.