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  • Miracle Mud

    Hi everyone, I am just curious to hear your opinion on the Miracle Mud filtration method.

    I have read some opinions which are inf avour of this method and some others which are in contrast with it.

    I know it has nothing to do with Zeo, but I am curious to know what your experiences/opinions are, in relation to this method.



  • #2
    Greetings All !

    ... I am just curious to hear your opinion on the Miracle Mud filtration method.
    While I have not operated a Seng Ly "Miracle Mud Ecosystem", I have been fascinated by the principles and mechanisms that underly such a system for a long time.

    For anyone interested, some online background information ...

    Il sistema Miracle mud
    di Gabriele Andreoni

    Interview with Mr. Leng Sy on Mud Filtration
    Copyright Albert J. Thiel, 1997

    Link to posts showing the installation and progression of a Miracle Mud System

    Inland Reef Aquaria's EcoSystems Miracle Mud Analysis

    M i r A C l e M u D - the miracle mud
    Investigation report of Dipl. Ing. (FH) Lars Sebralla
    and Jens Kallmeyer
    (Google English Translation:
    (Original German:

    Ecosystem Aquarium Homepage

    Ecosystem Aquarium's "The EcoSystem™ Method.
    A unique filtration method based on sound ecology." Page

    Ecosystem Aquarium's "Development History" Page

    Off on a completely different tangent ... FYI ...

    Inland Reef Aquaria's Combi-san Analysis

    Inland Reef Aquaria is no more ...

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."
    Hunter S. Thompson


    • #3
      Thnx. Gary for the great links. I toyed with adding this to my plenum/dsb back in the late 90's but I enjoyed decent success with the Jaubert method, so I just chickened-out. Bob
      "There might be something to this ZEOvit"


      • #4
        Greetings All !

        The best hardcopy reference I've found regarding the principles that underly the application of a "macroalgae-mud refugium" is:

        Dynamic Aquaria. Building Living Ecosystems. 2nd Edition.
        Walter H. Adey & Karen Loveland, Academic Press, 1998.

        This book is great stuff ... if you can wade through it. It's one of my favorite references, but that's just a demonstration of how twisted my warped little mind has truly become ...

        ... ...

        ... but I am curious to know what your experiences/opinions are, in relation to this method.
        My opinion varies with the intended purpose of the application of such a system.

        If we're talking about an application as part of an "algae control" strategy, then I think it's just fine. "Competitive exclusion" is a wonderful ... and often overlooked ... tactic in the war against nuisance algae. Additionally, you get the benefit of limited nutrient export.

        If we're talking about an application as part of a strategy to increase a system's diversity, I'm a major fan. Algal and marine vascular plant communities are, "... vitally important in some natural marine reef environments, serving in numerous pivotal capacities. They are nurseries for countless juvenile reef denizens, and function as enormous food banks, not only in composition, but also in ability to impart nutritive elements including metabolites and epiphytic matter to the reef for filter-feeding organisms (Calfo & Fenner, 2003)." Note: This quote is slightly out of context ... Calfo and Fenner are talking about seagrass communities specifically.

        If we're talking about an application as the core of a marine aquarium's filtration design, I become much less enthusiastic ... but not terminally so. Consider ...
        "... the primary function of an algal turf scrubber is to maintain water quality on a diurnal basis by simulating the large, relatively low-biomass volume of water that lies adjacent to the ecosystem of interest in the wild. However, the scrubber also performs another critical function: removal of excess nutrients. These nutrients might first be stored as excess biomass or particulates on a marsh or mud flat. Generally excess nutrients are the result of adding food to an aquarium or microcosm to stimulate either a large area of plankton production or a larger area of small invertebrate or insect production (typically freshwater). Excess nutrients can also result from overloading the tank with fish or other higher trophic elements either purely for esthetic reasons or to drive a system faster to carry out scale modeling in a smaller space or lesser time. If the algae removed exceeds adding food by 2-5 times (see Chapter 11), the system will remain balanced. However, if the model is that of a highly oligotrophic (low nutrient) wild ecosystem and large volumes of algae must be exported to ensure macronutrient (N,P) balance, then some attention must be paid to the potential for depletion of meso- or micronutrients ... ."

        Extracted from:
        Dynamic Aquaria. Building Living Ecosystems. 2nd Edition.
        Walter H. Adey & Karen Loveland, Academic Press, pp. 199-200, 1998.
        Most reefkeepers, and most FOWLR keepers for that matter ... but certainly not all (remember species-specifc and biotope system designs) ... are trying to model a "highly oligotrophic (low nutrient) wild ecosystem ", whether they think about it that way, or not. Harvesting adequate algal mass, and maintaining a proper nutrinet environment for continued algal growth in such a way that overall system stability is maintained may quickly become problematic. I much prefer bacteria, as opposed to macroalgae, in terms of stability-reliability.

        I have been toying around with these kinds of systems, but they have all been remote (isolated) from any main system, and their emphasis has been on small crustacean production ... but as such they are not analogous to a "Miracle Mud" system.

        But I do like the pictures of it ...


        JMO ... HTH
        "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."
        Hunter S. Thompson


        • #5
          I was on the mud system before I converted to zeo. In fact, I actually started the zeo system in Nov, 04 while I was trying to maintain a mud regugium. My intial idea was that the mud system and zeo would work together to really decrease the nutrient load, including those nasty phosphates. What I observed as the zeo system began decreasing my nutrient levels was that my caulerpa growth was deteriorating. Whether this was solely the result of the zeo system I can not say with certainty.

          Further, I had a lot of trouble getting my nutrient levels to drop and became convinced that my mud sumps were acting as a giant nutrient reservoir for my system. So, two months ago I removed the mud and went to BB sumps and added an additional protein skimmer to my system. Since then my nutrient levels have decreased more markedly (especially since I found a phophate source coming from my cal rx media) and for the past two weeks I have achieved non-detectable levels of phosphates and nitrates with the high res Salifer tests. Further, some of my corals have begun to color up, show greater polyp extension, and grow a faster.

          My learning from this experience is that it would be very difficult to achieve and maintain the desired low nutrient levels required for sps corals with a mud/caulerpa refugium. While it worked fine for my softies, my sps's did not show any real vigor until recently when I was exclusively on Zeo. And while I'm not a biologist, just the concept of having that much organic matter in the sump would appear to contribute to an increase in the amount of organic matter in the water system. Further, the sump acts as a nutrient sink that will accumulate additional organic matter. In short, I would not go back to my mud system. Hope this helps.


          • #6
            Pikeman, thanks for the detailed response of your "mud" experience.
            Many have asked if you can use both mud and zeo and the answer usually is "maybe for a while". Your experience proves that it's ok but maybe you can't get to that next level.
            Still though I would have done just as you and done it in stages.

            “People are very open-minded about new things - as long as they're exactly like the old ones.”
            ...Charles F. Kettering


            • #7
              FWIW, I use it in my FOWLR. My sump has like a 3" bed of I think the Kent biosediment stuff. I dunno there's really a marked difference between say, mineral mud, biosediment or miracle mud, or even the "fiji mud". I don't have any nuisance algae in my tank currently, though I had an outbreak of hair algae awhile back. Don't really know why it came or why it left--was on one rock and then it wasn't. I actually don't grow the chaeto all that fast in my sump with t5 helios lights. It grow pretty fast under a 70w MH I have, but for the summer I take that heat generator down....
              10x3x2 FOWLR (for now)
              RD12 return, 2 RD12 closed loop, wavebox with extension
              MRC kalkmixer


              • #8
                Gary, I would love to know what it is that you do. All the post that I have read from you are so well versed, so educated and unquestionably thoroughly researched! It is always a pleasure to read your threads and post's!

                Just truly inspirational !!! :icon_mrgr
                Last edited by Funkyskunk; 05-18-2005, 12:12 PM.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Funkyskunk
                  Gary, I would love to know what it is that you do.
                  He's a mad scientist who runs bizarre experiments on aquatic lifeforms in a secret dungeon which doubles as a LFS
                  400 gallon reef, Bubble King 300, I~Spin, 2 x 10,000K BLV 400W, 2 x 20,000K Radium 400W, 2 x 6,400K Osram 400W, Schuran Jetstream 1, AquaController Pro


                  • #10
                    Greetings All !

                    Orion76 is so close to the truth that it's frightening ...
                    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."
                    Hunter S. Thompson