Update 2: The most cost effective way to increase coral growth? | 52 Weeks of Reefing

Update 2: The most cost effective way to increase coral growth? | 52 Weeks of Reefing


Today on BRSTV we have our second update on
the BRS160 Hi I’m Ryan your host of BRSTV this week we
have our second update on the BRS 160 Focusing on two elements where we are at with the battle
with the monti eating nudis we mentioned last time as well as share some experience we have
had with co2 media. When we saw the first signs of the monti eating
nudi’s it certainly seemed like bad news but in a way it’s also pretty cool because
is an awesome opportunity to share with the BRS community that you are not a bad reefer
if you end up with a pest in your tank because despite everyone’s best efforts it can happen
to most of us and this is an opportunity to show what we did when we encountered them
as well as what our result were. Well I am happy to say that by simply adding
the single six line wrasse and dosing the combination of KZ flatworm stop and coral
booster our nudi issue is not only what I would call manageable but if you didn’t know
any better nonexistent. Literally no sign of them at this point. None of the monti colonies show any signs
of adults of eggs. That doesn’t mean they are not in there somewhere
because they probably are but they are not reaching a population that is going to have
an impact on the corals. In fact the two colonies which I thought were
complete goners for sure because they were covered in adults and eggs, had lost almost
all of their tissue, color was gone and polyps retracted completely are now back to 70% of
their original size, color is back and they are encrusting the rock as fast as ever. i know for sure the six line wrasse was a
huge help because day one I could see him eating them and actively going after each
one he could find. It’s Hard to say what impact the flatworm
stop and coral booster combo had. It’s not completely clear how flatworm stop
works but the information I found suggests it works buy both increasing the slime coat
of the coral as well as making it unpalatable to the flatworms which are trying to munch
on it. The coral booster in combination is also designed
to regenerate the tissue faster than predators can eat it. I know a lot of reefers have had a lot of
success using this combo to keep acro eating flat worms at a manageable population that
doesn’t impact the tank. hard to say if it is doing the same with the
monti eating nudis but it seems possible many even plausible and anecdotally I am certainly
happy the nudis are currently no longer an issue. Once I run out of both products which will
be a couple months from now I will likely attempt to stop using them and see what happens. Outside of that we started using CO2 media
on the tank. Because there are 50 people in the warehouse
breathing co2 in to the air which is the primary cause of low PH in most people’s tanks, the
PH of the BBRS160 was lower than I might like general hovering between 7.8 and 8.0 depending
on the time of day and on occasion even dipping down to 7.7 As I mentioned In a vast majority of causes
low tank PH is a direct cause of the amount of people and pets in the room breathing carbon
dioxide into the air which in turn increases the amount of carbon dioxide in the tank through
gas exchange on the water surface and skimmer. The increased co2 levels directly lower the
PH of the tank as well. Opening windows to bring in fresh air and
move the excess carbon dioxide in the room will almost certainly solve the problem but
opening windows is only a temporary solution and the fluctuations might cause other larger
chemistry issues we will explain in a moment. We also need to think about why it is we even
want to raise the PH to 8.3 to begin with. It has been strongly theorized and even some
solid studies done which almost definitively show corals calcify and grow significantly
faster at higher PH’s. Short and sweet It’s believed that the corals
are allowing bicarbonate and calcium ions through their thin tissue and precipitating
them out to form their skeletal structure and grow. As part of that process they split off the
hydrogen from the bicarbonate which decreases the PH inside the corals tissue. More or less that hydrogen lowers the PH inside
their tissue and they need to send that hydrogen back through their issue into the surrounding
tank water to raise their internal PH back up and keep the growth going. It’s just a lot easier to free themselves
of the hydrogen when the sounding tank’s PH is higher and there is less overall hydrogen
in the tank water itself. End of story higher PH in your tank, the higher
the PH will be inside the coral’s tissue , the higher the PH inside the corals issue
the faster they will precipitate their skeletal structure and grow. So faster coral growth is why reefers chase
8.3. That said, Normally I would recommend as long
as the PH is consistently above 7.8 not to mess with it because you can do more harm
than good in most cases. All of the chemicals labeled PH buffer and
PH additives mess up your alkalinity balance pretty bad and I would avoid them for sure,. The only PH elevating additives worth considering
are balanced calcium and alkalinity approaches like kalkwasser and all of the 2 part additives. Outside of that you can raise your tanks PH’
by using a refugium that grows macro algae. Most commonly at night The growing algae will
consume the excess co2 in the tank as it grows. As I mentioned before you can also open your
windows or even run a air line from outdoors to your skimmer. This might impact air injection and skimmer
performance if the line is more than a handful of feet from the tank. This is where the Co2 media comes in. rather than run a line outdoors you can set
a canister of co2 absorbent media next to the tank and feed your skimmer’s air line
through it which should strip most of the co2 from the air entering the skimmer. Since the skimmer is one of the primary air
water interfaces for gas exchange in most reef tanks this can have a huge impact on
the tanks PH and It certainly did on the BRS160 . Once we put the co2 scrubber media on the
skimz skimmer we saw the PH sky rocket from 7.8 to 8.0 all the way to ranging from 8.2
to 8.35. It is absolutely the cure for the all the
people in our warehouse, resulting high co2 levels and the tanks low PH. This is also the most interesting part, the
calcium and alkalinity levels also immediately started to plummet, I eventually had to double
the tanks dose of two part to get it to stabilize at the new higher PH levels. To me this suggests the corals are consuming
the calcium and alkalinity twice as fast at this higher PH and absolutely matches the
reason why someone would want to raise their tanks PH as well as the elevated PH growth
studies out there that shows this. I will openly admit even though the results
here directly matches the goals of maintaining a higher PH tank as well as the results of
endless studies on the negative impact of ocean acidification has on coral calcification
and slow coral growth. none of us here at BRS expected the calcium
and alkalinity consumption to instantly double the moment the PH was raised to a more ideal
level for the corals. It might be the higher PH is just increasing
perception but it has been running this way for months and I haven’t seen any signs of
that on pumps or heaters. It could also be a mix of precaution and growth. We already have some PH related growth studies
planed for BRSTV investigates which will hopefully further the conversation a bit. Now there is some caveats to this. the media isn’t free and I ended up using
a cartridge a week which is about 7 bucks a week and might be more than some people
would want to spend. However considering a lot of reefers pay a
hundred to a few hundred bucks for a frag the size of a nickel doubling the growth rates
of all your corals might be well worth it. In fact even that $7 might be the single most
cost effective way of finding significant growth increases. How much media you use is a direct correlation
between the amount of air your skimmer draws and the co2 levels of your home. Many of you might get a cartage to last 2
to 3 times as long which significantly lowers the overall all implementation cost. In the end a single cartridge wasn’t my favorite
implementation because when it is fully depleted the PH drops , calcium and alkalinity consumption
drops with it and if you don’t change your calcium and alkalinity dosing system to match
the levels start to rise. Which is pretty unstable on all elements. I tried using dual cartridges to help reduce
the maintenance and find additional stability but then ultimately went to a huge dual canister
implementation which I hope I don’t have to change but every couple months. I also plan on swapping the large canisters
as the first one depletes in hopes of getting to as close to 100% utilization of each canister
as possible. These large canisters aren’t cheap but I
think you could easily DIY a version with a piece of 4” piece pipe and a some caps. Won’t look as cool, and because you can’t
see the color change you will have to monitor the endpoint with a PH meter but it will perform
the same. Just make sure to install it vertically to
reduce air channeling as the media settles. Outside if that I also in an attempt to get
an even more stable PH, get longer useable life from the cartridges we used the Neptune
Apex and a solenoid on the skimmers air line so it only draws air from the CO2 scrubber
when the PH is bellow 8.2 which is primarily at night. Net result is the PH is a really stable 8.2
to 8.25 on the weekdays when BRS team is at the office. and 8.2 and 8.3 on the weekends when only
a few people are here adding co2 to the air. We also doubled the lifespan of the media. I haven’t completely perfected this system
but I am already very happy with it and plan on using the media for the foreseeable future. We are going to explore a variety of different
implementations, see if we can at least partially recharge the media and share our findings
in that BRSTV investigates video. For those of you that are wondering what the
CO2 scrubber media is, it’s generally referred to as soda lime. Which is predominately just a pelletized calcium
hydroxide, known as kalkwasser in our industry. The material we use is a medical grade soda
lime which is over 93% percent calcium hydroxide mixed with a small amount of sodium hydroxide
and a zeolight designed to keep the media moist to maximize useable life. As the soda lime depletes the carbon dioxide
reacts with the calcium hydroxide to form calcium carbonate. I believe that’s going to make it difficult
to recharge but we will absolutely look at methods to do that and make this a more affordable
solution. So that wraps up this update I am going on
a vacation so RT is going to step up to the plate and do two BRS 52 FAQ’s a week while
I am gone which will be fun. Soon as I get back I think we are going to
start doing some of the really cool brs tv investigates episodes. Some of these just take a month or two to
get the results so I think they are going to be worth waiting for. I will see all of you early next year, so
everyone enjoy the holidays and your reef tanks!

74 thoughts on “Update 2: The most cost effective way to increase coral growth? | 52 Weeks of Reefing

  1. what would be the difference between a co2 scrubber vs outside supply line for skimmer on the PH level and stability?

  2. I've largely ignored my pH and just chased alk numbers instead. You have now changed all that! Thanks for the DIY suggestions as well.

  3. Very informative, thanks Ryan! My Tank has only been running for a week and my PH will probably Rise naturally but its sitting at 7.6 so at least i now have a plan on hand

  4. I've used a CO2 scrubber for several years now. My PH Increased overnight. Since I live in Florida, opening the window year round is not an option. The CO2 scrubber was well worth it.

  5. Fresh air ran to your skimmer air intake solves Co2 /ph issues forever. Co2 air scrubbing media is $$$$ and depletes fast. I drilled a hole in the wall of my house and ran airline outside. Problem solved forever and hardly costs a thing.

  6. Been looking for a way to fix this problem myself (other than running an airline outdoors) for quite some time. Thanks very much!

  7. I did the same with a BRS reactor that I had, not 100% sure but I had great success with it, my 55 with a 30 long sump, it lasted 2-3 weeks no problem, so I bought some on Black Friday !!

  8. I come from hong kong,to make sure i didn't misunderstand,is that meaning that increase the co2 in the tank can increace the ph value,ph8.35 is the best for coral growth?

  9. A simpler approach to a CO2 scrubber may be to run a tube from a window to the skimmer's air intake to draw air in from outside. May want to watch the temp though this time of year

  10. I run a line from my skimmer and my overflow vent tube to a BRS universal filter. My vent pulls tons of air to help with O2 in the tank. I was struggling with very low PH 7.4 to 7.8. I now run b/w 8.1 to 8.35 PH. Alk & Cal consumption more than doubled. Media is kind of high especially running more than one tank. I want to run my lines outside but it's cold and I must make the lines critter proof come spring.

  11. Just our of curiosity we know where BRS purchases its coral from, but where vendors is BRS using to supply it's fish stock from?

  12. good coral growth comes from lights!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smbq2O5dh30
    check out my reef tank, i just started videos on it

  13. BRS Investigates …sounds cool.
    An idea to investigate using Oxygen to increase pH. what do you think about using calcium reactor then another chamber filled just like the CO2.This chamber filled with a bubble counter to feed oxygen. PH probe as a controller . thanks BRS

  14. I just installed my CO2 scrubber and I was curious how long should it take before I notice a difference I know I don't want to have a super drastic change immediately but I was just curious if it's something that can affect within hours or something that takes a few days

  15. My ph was 7.8-7.9 max . I ran a 1/4 inline tubing to my skimmer out side (3ft) ph is 8.1 – 8.2 sometimes 8.3!!! no more adding ph+ thanks, I did this on dec 9!

  16. Why not just use an air pump outside to pump air into the skimmer. That way it does not decease the air intake to the skimmer because the air line will be pressurized to the skimmer.

  17. I swear by Six-line wrasses. They are the only thing to eat every crawling critter in sight.

    When I added mine, he cleared the tank of an infestation in about 2 weeks.

  18. i set my reactor up how you guys did in the video. I placed the tubing inside one of the acrylic tubes for the silencer. i noticed a change in my skimmers ability to pull in air with it like this. I have a large skimmer for my 180 gallon reef. the silicone tubing that feeds my skimmer pump is substantially larger than what came with the kit. Do you think it would help if i changed out the fittings to go to a larger diameter tubing?

  19. Dont buy the bullshit. I have been in this hobby for 12+ years and my new reef has a ph of 7.8 7.9. I got this scrubber and connected it to my skimmer and it did not increase my ph at all. Better off running kalk or soda ash for alkalinity to raise ph. I contacted brs to assure it was properly hooked up and it is. I posted a negative review on brs website on this specific product and they did not post it. Even ran the outlet tubing outside to pull outside air in(more co2) and that did not work. I would recommend not buying this at all.

  20. I have to say though… this guy is one very un-engaging person to listen to. It's like listening to someone reading an English textbook, then switching to a math textbook, then a science textbook in between every sentence.

  21. 52 weeks of reefing has brought my tank from a cyano wasteland that killed mushrooms to a healthy growing reef. Thanks BRS!

  22. Would running a hose outside to fresh air and a co2 scrubber have the same effect? I already do the hose but still have low ph.

  23. Ryan, just a suggestion for you, if you feel your PH is not stable and you want to create a more stable environment in your tank, you might try mixing the sand you're using in the tank with aragonite and crushed coral. If you don't like the look of the aragonite and crushed coral in your tank then you could always use it in your refugium or other part of your sump as an alternative. Possibly, you could also put it in both the sand and the sump. For this to work you need to have quite a large amount, so I'm not sure that enough could be held in your sump if that's the only place you put it. I suggest this because it's a natural solution and is basically maintenance free. It has worked for me so I know this will help you.

  24. For the CO2 scrubber, could you use an air pump and some type of bubble maker for the skimmer section of the sump in line with the CO2 scrubber?? That could be easily controlled by the apex when pH drops and would not interfere with the skimmer. I just don't know if it would have the same effect or add tons of bubbles to the main tank. Either that or now I'm trying to see if I can fit a smaller skimmer to be switched on only when pH drops. Btw I added the scrubber and it is the first and only thing that has ever given me a correct pH in my tank even though every other parameter was perfect. pH went from 7.9 to 8.3 in first afternoon.

  25. Will the new Neptune Apex Solenoid work instead of the Massey solenoid? It seems you can use a 1/4'' to 3/8'' push connect adapter to make the necessary conversion from quarter to three eights inch tubing. Thoughts?

  26. I do not approve of a Minnesota company having a staff member wearing a Seahawks hat in their video.
    -A Vikings Fan

  27. I experienced really good results with this media initially the media hooked up to the skimmer with in the room the tank was in worked great but I was replaceing the media about every 10 days or so… this lead me to run an air line to outside to feed the media with fresh air and then to the skimmer this was absolutely the ticket even at night time my ph doesn’t drop lowing than 8.2 (no fuge btw) and the coral polyp extension and growth was better than ever it even seemed as if my fish were more active. This actually made the media last over a month so from ten days to over a month this stuff is cheaper than carbon. Her is a tip I am willing to share to whoever wants to feed air to their skimmer from outside… just because your intake is 1/4” doesn’t mean the tube going outside needs to be I found that running a larger inside diameter tubing or conduit outside then reduce it down to proper size at the skimmer totally eliminated any negative affect of reduceing air into the skimmer body. This works trust me… so if you are running a low ph but this solution didn’t work for you because your skimmer was just to far away it was limiting performance do to air restriction just run a bigger tube or pipe out there and problem solved.

  28. OK, time out. This might be a good BRS TV investigates, are you sure that the CO2 that people breve has that much of an impact? I have a feeling with most havc systems nowadays, we would expect 0 impact.

  29. I have been using this for three weeks and it has finally solved my PH issue for good. But I do have a question on how to use it properly.

    If the media doesn't turn in the first week but the water evaporates, should another table spoon of water be added to the cannister?
    If after two weeks only half the media has turned deep purple, so I leave it in or change it out? PH hasn't changed.

    Thanks!

    Rog

  30. You guys are truly the most intelligent saltwater water guys I have ever met. Thank you for your hard work and information. My next order will be from the BRS! These guys are the best.

  31. does the air intank from your skimmer hook up to out of the co2 scrubber and the freash air hook up to the in on co2 scrubber

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