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Tired of winging it

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  • Tired of winging it


    I’ve been out of the hobby for 12 years. Started back a small JBJ Nano cube. What an unfortunate tank to start with. Very cramp “sump”. Starting small to get my wife’s buy in. This is my practice tank for my dream tank. I am tired of “winging it”. I’d like to start a system of reef keeping based on a tried and true principle approach. My current system is completely out of balance and I am already tired of fighting it.

    My goals: implement the zero basic 4, and select elements for basic goals, ie Amino acids for health, and long term ZeoSpur to adjust colors if desired.

    Equipment — I am going to use a small internal Innovative Marine Media Reactor for the media. Which can fit 250 mL of Zeolites with room to spare for pumping and agitation.

    I have an Apex auto change water system set up.

    Concerns — I travel out of town for my sales job up to 3 days at a time, will this be an issue? I can ask my wife to do this for me, but will not be happy to. I have preloaded her 1 mL syringes in the past.

    1. Gross water volume of your complete system (incl. sump etc.) - US gallons / UK gallons / liter — 100 L
    2. Net water volume (incl. sump etc.) - US gallons / UK gallons / liter — 102 L
    3. Are you using a CaCO2 reactor or other technique — water changes at this point, which is part of the issue creating imbalances, I will switch to 2 part system eventually.
    4. Are you using a PO4 reactor (how long, how long ago, etc.) — no
    5. Are you using Ozone — no
    6. Are you using UV — no
    7. What skimmer are you using (type, rated water volume) — Deltec MCE300 Hang on back skimmer
    8. What are your actual PO4 and NO3 levels — 0.02 PPM PO4 Hanna Phosphorus ULR and 25 ppm NO3
    9. What are your actual Ca, Alk and Mg levels — Calcium is unusually high, but I believe my Salifert test is off. 480 PPM, Alkalinity is 7.3 dKH, Magnesium I don’t test for yet.
    10. What filtration method do you use (refugium, DSB, Miracle Mud, etc.) — Sand is 3 cm, I have 8 pieces of 5 cm^3 ceramic media in the lower sump area,
    11. Type of light (Watt, color temp, how old, etc.) — EcoTech Radion, G4, very blue, 20kish, new.
    12. What corals do you keep — SPS, and a couple LPS. I’d like to expand my LPS collection
    13. Tissue color (light or dark) — richer colors, but some have lost their colors due to swinging nutrient parameters.
    14. How long has the tank been running — since August.
    15. Why do you want to use the ZEOvit system —

    I want a systematic approach to reef keeping. I don’t want to fight strange unstable parameters. I know that’s tough in a 100 L tank, but it’s this practice tank that will grow into a bigger system.

    16. Any supplemental dosing (type, amount, why —- MicroBacter7 and ZeoBak, I am fighting some nutrient imbalances, which testing shows I am low on phosphates by high on nitrates. Large Cell dinos and cyno are trying to persist.

    17. Live rock (how much, how old, etc.). — about 15 lbs, well cured and established live rock.
    18. Any present problems — mild chronic dinos or cyno. Losing some color in SPS.
    19. Problem description (tissue loss tips, tissue loss base, diatom bloom, algae, etc.) — rusty stringy sand, no green hair alage
    20. What test kit do you use (how old, recently switched, etc.) - Hanna and Salifert, Apex probes, all well calibrated and cared for.
    21. Present dosing, amounts and intervals (ZEOvit, ZEObak, ZEOfood, ZEOstart, ZEOspur2, etc.) — 1 drop of ZeoBak per day.
    22. Other water parameters and water stability (salinity, temp, etc.) 35 ppt, 80 degrees F
    23. Which salt brand do you use — Tropic Marin ProReef
    Last edited by PJewell; 01-13-2021, 11:41 PM.

  • #2


    • #3
      A question — because my phosphates are so low, how do I balance the system while transitioning to ZeoVit? Dose phosphates and monitor?

      Should I remove the Bright Well Bio-Media? I assume not all at once.


      • #4
        Welcome to !

        For a net water volume of 100 liters I would recommend you to start as follows:

        1. Place 0.2 liter zeovit in a Zeo Reactor. Water flow around 100 liters per hour. Connect the reactor pump to a clock timer and run the reactor pump with a 3 hour on / 3 hour off / 3 hour on interval. Please make sure the zeolite is not exposed to air while the pump is switched off. Clean the material daily. Leave the zeolite 4 weeks in the filter until you do the first change out. This is the first changing interval, others could be lengthen to 6 – 8 weeks.

        2. Place 0.1 liters activated carbon in a filter sock and keep it in a passive water flow in your sump, changed every 30 days. Knead the carbon daily to keep the surface clean. Most users get perfect results with korallenzucht carbon.

        3. Dose 1 drop ZeoBac daily for the first 2 weeks, flowed by a 2 – 3 x weekly dosage of 1 drop. Dose 0.1 ml ZeoStart 2 x daily (morning & evening). Dose those in front of the Zeo reactor pump while it is switched on.

        Later on you could use the additional products for coral coloration. Adjust your skimmer to skim wet, keeping it clean to export as much as possible. Do a weekly water change of 5 – 10 % with a good salt.

        Stop dosing the Microbacter product you use at the moment when starting.

        Try to get the basic water parameters in balance before starting with the system slowly, try to keep them as solid as possible close the NSW in the following ranges:

        KH 6.5 – 7.5
        Ca 400 – 420 mg
        Mg 1250 – 1300 mg
        K+ ~ 380 mg

        If some time has passed and the system is running nutrient poor solid you can start to remove the BioMedia you use slowly over a couple of weeks step by step.

        While you are not at home daily it might make sense to dose ZeoStart with a automatic dosing system. It can be diluted with RO water which was boiled and cooled down again before using it to make it easier to dose. ZeoBac can not be automatically dosed. The other products which you use for coloration are not dosed on a daily basis so you can add them when you are at home.

        For a nutrient poor environment K+ (potassium) seems to be a important element. I would recommend you to get a test kit for this element also, posting your results.

        This is a start-up dosage which might have to be adjusted later.



        • #5
          Just an update - my ZeoVit journey started last Saturday.

          Parameters in process —
          • 1.026 SG @ 26.5 degC at is my average salinity (should I lower this??? I’ve read many ULNS systems run lower salinity at 1.024 but cannot find a reason?
          • 8.3 dKH (Hanna) - if I lower my water change salinity, I will hit this easily. I am set up on a Neptune Apex, with a continuous water change. 800 mL every 24 hours continuous.
          • 8.15 average pH with the cautious use of NaOH
          • Calcium is 450 ppm (Salifert)
          • Magnesium - not tested
          • Potassium - not tested
          • NO3 - 5 ppm (Salifert) — has gone down by 5 ppm since last test.
          • PO4 - 0.18 ppm (Hanna) — holding steady.


          Zeolite procedure is being followed is as prescribed with three exceptions. I only used 0.1 L of the Zeolite material, in fears it would be too aggressive to use the full amount.

          I am using ZeoFood, as it came with the Basic 4 kit. ZeoFood, ZeoStart, ZeoBak, ZeoLite.

          I am also using Sponge Power, I heard good results. Following per the standard guide.

          Equipment —

          Apex controlling the ZeoLite Reactor - programming for 3 hours on and 3 hours off:

          Fallback ON
          OSC 180:00/180:00/180:00 Then ON

          Reactor is an INNOVATIVE MARINE MiniMax PRO Midsize Media Reactor (300ML). I replaced the pump with a Tunze 106s mini pump. It’s much quieter. Barely fits in this chamber where I removed a return pump. Didn’t need that return repetitive pump.

          General Review —

          Prior to starting ZeoVit, I’ve been using the ZeoBak for a couple weeks. Also with BrightWell Microbacter7. Since then I’ve beat dinoflagellates. Sand is bright white. Not a spec of any algae of any type. Just coralline.

          In fact, I had some persistent hair algae on my snails. As of totally gone. I believe adding diverse bacterial back after treating my tank for dinoflagellates was key. Dropping your NO3 and PO4 by super aggressive water changes is a sure fire way to get dinos.

          I’ve been focused on getting my alkalinity stable which I think has made a huge impact on my corals color. I had a destabilizing event December 21 2020. I blacked my tank out for 3 days and did some aggressive treatments. My corals browned and now many of them are making a recovery, showing their colors again.

          Polyp extension is looking good. Especially on my stylopora.

          Any suggestions?

          Last edited by PJewell; 01-13-2021, 11:54 PM.


          • #6
            Where I placed my reactor. Which is after the intake for the skimmer.
            Attached Files


            • #7
              If your salinity measurement is correct I would recommend to keep the level as it is. KH is a little bit high, let it drop to ~ 7 – 7.5 and keep it stabile there. Personally I would not use any supplement for the PH level, if it does decrease it will not cause issues.

              The ZeoVit reactor should be placed after the skimmer. If you clean the material the dust which does come out of the reactor is a excellent food source for the corals, otherwise is will be skimmed out immediately.



              • #8
                Originally posted by G.Alexander View Post

                The ZeoVit reactor should be placed after the skimmer. If you clean the material the dust which does come out of the reactor is a excellent food source for the corals, otherwise is will be skimmed out immediately.

                This picture will attempt to show where it’s at. The skimmer hangs on the back, and empties back into the return. It pulls down stream from the return. The Zoe reactor is down stream. The effluent and mulm goes through the bottom chamber to the return pump. It’s doing what you are recommending. Amazing that have it even back there lol!
                Attached Files