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Old 04-17-2012, 10:10 AM   #1
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Measuring bio load

I wonder what the opinions are on how to measure bio load and the limitations of what you can have in your tank.

In the past 1 inches of fish per every 5 gallons for a SW tank. With the advent of more advanced and better equipment, it seems that the 1/5 rule might not be applicable anymore. I've seen tanks around that seem to be stuffed with fish and have almost no issues and then seen tanks almost empty and the chemical balances are off.

Assuming regular water changes are performed (every 1 to 2 weeks), what are your experiences? When you answer, please display your tank specs/livestock.
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Old 04-17-2012, 10:29 AM   #2
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To me it`s impossible to go by the inch/gallon rule. SW fish are so different that it will not work. 6 inches of triggers is not the same as 6 inches of cardinals. There are messy eaters and there are quaint eaters that dont make a mess. There are herbivores and there are carnivores. It just wont work in a Sw setting. All you can do is look at what you have and determine what effect the fish will have on the bioload.
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Old 04-17-2012, 10:48 AM   #3
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Completely agree and that's why I'm interested in experiences.

Here's are my tank specs:

60 gallon tank was started in end of November and finished cycling beginning of January


Marineland Emperor 400 BIO-Wheel Powerfilter


Octopus Reef BH1000 protein skimmer


Small hang on custom refugium with sand, macro algea, live rock rubble made from an old cyclone protein skimmer. T8 18" full spectral bulb on for about 8 hours a night (opposite the main tank lighting)


24 watt UV sterilizer


Solarmax HO T5 lighting system - 54 Watt X 2 - white 10k, blue actinic - on a timer for ~7 hours a day


2 powerheads in tank on opposite sides

Livestock:

Yellow Tail Damsel
Yellow Prawn Goby
Clown Fish
Foxface - One Spot
Six Line Wrasse
Various Snails
Emerald Crabs
Arrowhead Crab
Various Hermit Crabs
Banded Coral Shrimp
Sand Sifting Sea Star
Sleeper Gold Head Goby
Feather Duster
Court Jester Goby
Small Conch
Sand Dollar
Green Polyp Leather
Feather Duster
Frogspawn coral frag

I test my water 2-3 times a week and 2 weeks after a water change, my nitrates are usually around 5ppm. Fish are very active, good colors, and eating well. So it appears that my tank could probably handle a bit more of a bio load.

What are some of the metrics you look at when you say, I should not add anything else to the tank?
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Old 04-17-2012, 11:26 AM   #4
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I have often wondered this. If you dose to 4ppm ammonia when cycling, couldnt you add fish and corals that equal that much waste and be fine? Problem is: How many fish and corals is the same as 4ppm pure ammonia? Kind of like "what came first, the chicken or the egg".
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Old 04-17-2012, 12:04 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spoonman
I have often wondered this. If you dose to 4ppm ammonia when cycling, couldnt you add fish and corals that equal that much waste and be fine? Problem is: How many fish and corals is the same as 4ppm pure ammonia? Kind of like "what came first, the chicken or the egg".
You wouldn't be able to do that because there isnt bacteria yet to handle the ammonia. The ammonia will be around for while until the bacteria grows. Leaving your fish and corals in highly toxic water. Even after the ammonia is converted, you'll have to wait the nitrites out until they are converted into nitrates. Nitrites are also toxic, although not as much.
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