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Old 05-05-2011, 04:28 PM   #1
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Berlin method reef filtration?

Sooo, rather than hijack another thread here we are with the question, "is the berlin method of filtration good enough for a reef tank?

I was just told that the berlin method is just using live rock and a skimmer as filtration. No sump. just lots of water flow.

can this be done? anyone here doing that? I ask because I believe I have enough rock and flow to remove the fluval 305 i currently use for mechanical. I use a remora skimmer also. i am also looking to do a 125g reef later this year and would love not to do a sump. I really don't mind the equipment showing above the tank line.

Any input or experience with this would be great to hear! i know theres a couple people with the same question so experts, hit me with the facts!! LOL
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Old 05-05-2011, 04:46 PM   #2
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Disclaimer ---I am not an expert, but this is stuff I have gathered through research! ---

In my opinion, I think it could work but it would require ALOT more work on the reefers end. The sump, skimmer, refuge, and any other media used in the reef tank are just ways of removing nutrients from our system. The high water flow would help keep the excess nutrients in the water column, but keep in mind too much flow could affect what you can and can't have (ie, fleshy corals needing less flow, LPS needing more flow).

So basically, without all the mechanical and chemical stuff people use, the reefer would need to do alot more siphoning and be alot more thorough while doing the clean up.

The sump makes life alot easier and really just gives options to reduce the maintainance required by us to keep up with removing those nutrients. Also the sump helps clean up the display so that you don't have the heater, skimmer, cords, etc in your face that take away from the beauty of our small pieces of ocean.

If you keep up with the siphoning, water changes, and watch how much you feed, then no you dont NEED a sump, but I don't think I would want to try to reef without one haha.
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Old 05-05-2011, 04:52 PM   #3
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I'm only running bio media and pads in my canister right now, just did a maintenance on it this weekend and it really didn't need it.

Now my skimmer is another story. I have to empty it every other day and it has some serious skimmate.

I know there are vast differences between a 55g and a 125g but I have had some good success with the 55g. I do weekly pwcs of 10g and my nitrates were 2.5 but this morning it hit zero. 0 !

I also like that it would mimic nature in better way instead of tubes and pumps and all that.
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Old 05-05-2011, 05:09 PM   #4
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I'm only running bio media and pads in my canister right now, just did a maintenance on it this weekend and it really didn't need it.

Now my skimmer is another story. I have to empty it every other day and it has some serious skimmate.

I know there are vast differences between a 55g and a 125g but I have had some good success with the 55g. I do weekly pwcs of 10g and my nitrates were 2.5 but this morning it hit zero. 0 !

I also like that it would mimic nature in better way instead of tubes and pumps and all that.

Oh yea, I understand why you wouldn't want a sump. They certainly aren't required but you will need to put forward alot more work to keep the water conditions pristine.
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Old 05-05-2011, 05:31 PM   #5
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I can confidently say i can do the upkeep. I really do nothing but fish upkeep as it is and getting the 125 will decrease my tank number by 4 most likely so I'll have the time.

The only thing I would run would be a huge over rated skimmer and I would probably purchase a hob reactor in case I needed to run media ie: carbon or GFO.

In a 125 a figure a 20g pwc a week should be sufficient. But i also haven't explored stocking options yet either. I already have almost 200lbs of rock for it as well between all my tanks. I figure put another 50lbs base in and that should be good.

Any comments or critiques? I'm really interested in this possibility.
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Old 05-05-2011, 08:12 PM   #6
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OK Carey, so I'm re-follwing :P and am very interested in the process of have a SW tank with minimal equipment attached too. Details are always great to have as you move along (hint ) and hopefully I'll learn a bunch about what it takes to do a project like this.
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Old 05-05-2011, 08:18 PM   #7
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I'm waiting for some of the reefkeepers who have been doing this for decades to chime in. You know, the experts. LOL

Seems it would be a natural and efficient way to go.
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Old 05-05-2011, 08:19 PM   #8
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You can do an in tank overflow and avoid a sump altogether. Just design your liverock to completely cover it up. So you just add some acrylic/Plexiglas or whatever works and make a box in the corner that the water overflows into, gets filtered, and is returned back to the display. Really easy to do, just make sure you seal everything properly.

Berlin method is hybridized into all reefs nowadays. Some people do just use it in its pure form, but mechanical filtration definitely helps. It's only really necessary to avoid mechanical filtration when the well being of your tank requires relatively heavy nutrients floating around in the water.
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Old 05-05-2011, 08:22 PM   #9
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Wouldn't an appropriate skimmer also remove those same nutrients that the filter would? And in a more sensible manner since you can empty a cup everyday ? i know silly questions, lol, but I really don't have a clue. Just have read about it and it seems successful for people
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Old 05-05-2011, 08:40 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carey View Post
I'm only running bio media and pads in my canister right now, just did a maintenance on it this weekend and it really didn't need it.

Now my skimmer is another story. I have to empty it every other day and it has some serious skimmate.

I know there are vast differences between a 55g and a 125g but I have had some good success with the 55g. I do weekly pwcs of 10g and my nitrates were 2.5 but this morning it hit zero. 0 !

I also like that it would mimic nature in better way instead of tubes and pumps and all that.
what side skimmer are you using.

if its constantly skimming it might be sized to small
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