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Old 06-16-2004, 02:31 AM   #1
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Need help with a setup for Mussels

Ok so i need some serious help here. And please try to stay with me, i know this is a long post, but there are also pictures of this setup.

I am working in a research lab that will be doing expirments relating to mussles, specifically the chemicals they use to adhear to surfaces.

My problem is that i need to build a system that will allow these mussles to live and grow for a long period of time. There have been 2 pervious attemps in the lab to get mussles to grow, however they usually end up dying within a few days.

I have the complete system that was tried in the past, however after doing some more research and reading alot on your site I felt that it would be wise to post here and hopefully get some help.

This is the current tank placement.

Each tank is 12 inches wide/24 inches long/and water fill to 10.5-11 inches, which means each tank is approximatly 13.1 gallons. Each tank is seperated from the others by a thin sheet of plastic (however if needed holes can be placed in these connecting sheets.

This shows the bottom shelf which contains the sump/resovair, bio-filter, skimmer, main pump (inside the sump tank), cooler, and UV sterlizer.

This is a close up of the bottom shelf. From left to right [u]UV[/u] light (white tube), cooler, main sump tank w/ pump, skimmer, and on the right side of the sump tank is a bio-filter.

To my understanding, the bio filter should have water trickled through it to help promote the growth of bacteria on the small plastic balls.

Here is what the backs of each tank look like. They have a control valve so I can control the amount of water going to each tank (thought it would be useful if i ever want to clean one while keeping the others going) and the drainage valve that works via gravaty and delivers the water to the top of the biofilter (water falls first onto a filter).

Here are other miscellanious bits of info:
Main pump (in sump tank) is submerged and pumps at 1800gph
Extra pump (not used) at 1200gph
Chiller - 1/3 hp
UV - 25 watt 3/4 inch tube (all tubing has a 3/4inch internal diameter)
Skimmer - couldn't find any markings on it
As much RO water as i need (comes from the tap
--Thats everything that i was given, however i can purchase more.

Things i am curious about and might need:

Some sort of Aeration
Carbon filter
live rock/base rock
sand
chemical filter
salt - what type?

The goal as stated before is to keep mussles alive for a long period of time. I will need to maintain the tank within the following ranges (22-24 C, salinity 26-30, and PH 8-8.4)

Thank you so much for reading this and please any segustions would be greatly appreciated.


Edit: spell checked everything... yes it was 1 am
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Old 06-16-2004, 06:22 AM   #2
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With that setup I don't see any where for the nitrifing bacteria to live. I would add some live sand and live rock. Wait for the cycle to complete and then add muscles. Acclimation of inverts should include a slow drip over 6-10 hrs . Muscles are filter feeders, so I'd turn off the skimmer at feeding time. Good luck
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Old 06-16-2004, 08:08 AM   #3
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Don't you mean mussels?
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Old 06-16-2004, 11:44 AM   #4
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Re: Need help with a setup for Mussles

Welcome to AquariumAdvice.com

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sanguinarius
My problem is that i need to build a system that will allow these mussles to live and grow for a long period of time. There have been 2 pervious attemps in the lab to get mussles to grow, however they usually end up dying within a few days.
What where the water conditions (NH3-, NO2, NO3) prior to adding the livestock and how was the set up cycled?

Quote:
This is the current tank placement.
Tank placement is fine although I would keep ambient lighting to a minimum to decrease the chances of macro algae growth. Film and other micro algaes will not be too much of a concern as they can help feed the mussels when it is removed from the glass.
Quote:
Each tank is 12 inches wide/24 inches long/and water fill to 10.5-11 inches, which means each tank is approximatly 13.1 gallons. Each tank is seperated from the others by a thin sheet of plastic (however if needed holes can be placed in these connecting sheets.
1800 GPH is a very decent amount of water but it depends on how well that flow is distributed between each tank. The more evently ditributed the flow the better. Filter feeders will fair better in higher flow settings (without being directed at them). I would also try to adapt a method to allow water flow from the returns to move surface water. This will give you the maximum amount of O2 saturation. Aeration is SW occurs at the surface water through it's movement and a simple airstone or the like will not be effective. Rippling water at the surface will be.

Quote:
This shows the bottom shelf which contains the sump/resovair, bio-filter, skimmer, main pump (inside the sump tank), cooler, and UV sterlizer.
Since there are no waste producing animals in the set up and the addition of organics will primarily come from you, I would urge caution when using the UV and the skimmer and run them only as a maintenance rather than a 24/7/365 part of the main filtration. They will definately help in keeping water parameters in line but at the same time removing/eliminating the food sources for the mussels. Being suspension feeders, they require as much food as possible. Since there is no organic wastes being produced by fish, this will primarily be from introduction of algal cells. You can either culture your own green water or purchase it.

Quote:
To my understanding, the bio filter should have water trickled through it to help promote the growth of bacteria on the small plastic balls.
Since there are no fish and therefore no large particulate matter to foul the wet/dry, it should work out fine as a biological filtration source. They are extremely efficient at nitrification providing they do not trap wastes. The one drawback is they cannot effect denitrification and this could be the step that may be lacking in your set up. Although mollusks will process nitrates to a degree, they cannot tolerate high nitrates. If you wish the main systems to remain as they are with only mussles occupying the tanks, I would suggest a large enough refugium incorporated into the system or coil denitrator to help process the nitrates.
Quote:
Things i am curious about and might need:

Some sort of Aeration (water surface movement)
Carbon filter (only use occasionally to polish the water)
live rock/base rock (will definately help but the refugium or denitrator will consume less space)
sand (will help but can also be incorporated in the refugium)
chemical filter (skimmer)
salt - what type? (doesn't really matter as long as the chem is balanced)
Unless you will be maintaining chemical needs through water changes, you will also be needing some sort or replenishment system for alkalinity and calcium. As the mussels grow they will definately pull these numbers down quickly depending on you success. Water changes as I said are one way but you could also look into two part liq additives or kalwasser.

What are you using as a water source?

Cheers
Steve
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Old 06-17-2004, 01:23 PM   #5
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Re: Need help with a setup for Mussles

Thanks for your response steve, it was really helpful, however i have a some more questions.
Quote:
What where the water conditions (NH3-, NO2, NO3) prior to adding the livestock and how was the set up cycled?
I have no idea about any of this. I talked to the person who had set this up before and he didn't know. :-/

What should they be before i add the mussels? Also how should it be cycled?
Quote:
Film and other micro algaes will not be too much of a concern as they can help feed the mussels when it is removed from the glass
How often should i remove them from the glass?
Quote:
Since there are no waste producing animals in the set up and the addition of organics will primarily come from you, I would urge caution when using the UV and the skimmer and run them only as a maintenance rather than a 24/7/365 part of the main filtration.
So how would i know when to run them and for how long? What signs should i look for?
Quote:
Being suspension feeders, they require as much food as possible. Since there is no organic wastes being produced by fish, this will primarily be from introduction of algal cells. You can either culture your own green water or purchase it.
Which is better to use? It will probablly be easier to just buy them, however which will keep the mussels alive longer?
Quote:
Since there are no fish and therefore no large particulate matter to foul the wet/dry, it should work out fine as a biological filtration source. They are extremely efficient at nitrification providing they do not trap wastes. The one drawback is they cannot effect denitrification and this could be the step that may be lacking in your set up.
Just cause I really don't know what i am doing, how would i seed these bacteria on the plastic ball things?
Quote:
If you wish the main systems to remain as they are with only mussles occupying the tanks, I would suggest a large enough refugium incorporated into the system or coil denitrator to help process the nitrates.
So would you think a 10 gallon would be a good size? Also where should this connect into the system. I am thinking it would just take water from the sump/resovoir and then cycle the water right back.
Quote:
Things i am curious about and might need:
Carbon filter (only use occasionally to polish the water)
live rock/base rock (will definately help but the refugium or denitrator will consume less space)
sand (will help but can also be incorporated in the refugium)
chemical filter (skimmer)
salt - what type? (doesn't really matter as long as the chem is balanced)
Carbon - When would i need to polish the water?

Live rock/sand- in refugium, gotcha... think i will need to set one of these up then.
Quote:
Unless you will be maintaining chemical needs through water changes, you will also be needing some sort or replenishment system for alkalinity and calcium. As the mussels grow they will definately pull these numbers down quickly depending on you success. Water changes as I said are one way but you could also look into two part liq additives or kalwasser.
what are a good levels for calcium and alkalinity?
Quote:
What are you using as a water source?
We have a tap in the lab with RO water, so i will have access to as much as i want.

~Chris
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Old 06-17-2004, 06:28 PM   #6
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Re: Need help with a setup for Mussles

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sanguinarius
Quote:
What where the water conditions (NH3-, NO2, NO3) prior to adding the livestock and how was the set up cycled?
I have no idea about any of this. I talked to the person who had set this up before and he didn't know. :-/

What should they be before i add the mussels? Also how should it be cycled?
Cycling the tank requires an ammonia source to begin the cultivation of nitrosomona bacteria which convert the ammonia to a less harmful nitrite and then they in turn are converted by nitrobacters to nitrate. That is in effect the end of nitrification. To complete the nitrogen cycle, you must also incorporate something that will either consume the nitrates or convert them to nitrogen. That can be done through a refugium where macro algaes can be harversted or by anaerobic/anoxic convertion via LR, denitrator coil or DSB. In your case I think the coil would be the easiest.

This article should get you started on the cycle >> How to cycle your tank with out the use of fish.


You will need an ammonia, nitrite and nitrate test kit to monitor the progress. Once ammonia and nitrite have reached zero, the tank is cycled and then a large water change should be done to bring chem levels back into sync. If you add some sort of denitrification system, it can take as much as 6-8 weeks after the cycle to show results. I would hold off on adding the mussels until nitrates remain below 5 ppm.


Quote:
Quote:
Film and other micro algaes will not be too much of a concern as they can help feed the mussels when it is removed from the glass
How often should i remove them from the glass?
Weekly or as needed, it doesn't really matter. An algae magnet or scraper would be easiest. Just be sure you buy one appropriate for glass/acrylic depending on what you have.

Quote:
Quote:
Since there are no waste producing animals in the set up and the addition of organics will primarily come from you, I would urge caution when using the UV and the skimmer and run them only as a maintenance rather than a 24/7/365 part of the main filtration.
So how would i know when to run them and for how long? What signs should i look for?
That's a little hard to say without actually being there. I would however run the skimmer more often than the UV as the UV kills everything that passes through it. Unless you are having hair algae problems, you most likely won't need the UV at all. The skimmer can be run daily if you wish just guage the health of the animals. Skimmers remove DOC from the system which is the start of where water quality goes south. A good indication of needing to run the skimmer more often is a slick at the surface of the water in the tank (An indication of excessive DOC) or uncontrolable nitrates. As mentioned by darb2 above, just be sure to watch what the skimmer removes at feeding time. If there is excessive skimmate production, turn the skimmer off. If all seems fine then leave it be. How often the skimmer runs will greatly depend on what you use to reduce nitrate otherwise.


Quote:
Quote:
Being suspension feeders, they require as much food as possible. Since there is no organic wastes being produced by fish, this will primarily be from introduction of algal cells. You can either culture your own green water or purchase it.
Which is better to use? It will probablly be easier to just buy them, however which will keep the mussels alive longer?
Live cells will always be better as a rule either made yourself or you could use DT's live phytoplankton. If available though, the one product that has shown good results for me is LiquidLife Bioplankton.


Quote:
Quote:
Since there are no fish and therefore no large particulate matter to foul the wet/dry, it should work out fine as a biological filtration source. They are extremely efficient at nitrification providing they do not trap wastes. The one drawback is they cannot effect denitrification and this could be the step that may be lacking in your set up.
Just cause I really don't know what i am doing, how would i seed these bacteria on the plastic ball things?
All you need to do is provide an ammonia source. That basically does it. Bacteria will colonize any hard surface material within the water system you don't have to do anything else.

Quote:
Quote:
If you wish the main systems to remain as they are with only mussles occupying the tanks, I would suggest a large enough refugium incorporated into the system or coil denitrator to help process the nitrates.
So would you think a 10 gallon would be a good size? Also where should this connect into the system. I am thinking it would just take water from the sump/resovoir and then cycle the water right back.
The larger the refugium the better but 10 gallon will be okay. Attaching it to the sump would be just fine. Be sure the flow through the refugium set up is only about 3-4 times the water volume. If you get cyano problems, you may need to eek it up a bit. The slower the flow, the more contact time the macro algaes will have with the water making it more effective. With a denitrator coil, it would need to run about 6ish weeks at a slow drip (2-3 drops/sec) to allow the formation of facultative anaerobes which will convert the nitrates to nitrogen. Once you get a zero reading for all the nitrogens through the denitrator, it can be opened up to a full steady stream which in turn will help controll the nitrates. If set up properly, they work very well, consume much less space and require little or no maintenance.

Quote:
Carbon - When would i need to polish the water?
GAC can be used 24/7, weekly or as needed to remove small particulate matter from the water. It is very good at removing metals and pollutants that the skimmer or UV may not be able to deal with. Sometimes the water will also take on a yellowish/green tinge even though the water parameters are all in line, the carbon will clear that up as well. IME, it's benefits far outweigh any negatives.


Quote:
Quote:
Unless you will be maintaining chemical needs through water changes, you will also be needing some sort or replenishment system for alkalinity and calcium. As the mussels grow they will definately pull these numbers down quickly depending on you success. Water changes as I said are one way but you could also look into two part liq additives or kalwasser.
what are a good levels for calcium and alkalinity?
NSW levels are best although at the higher end of the scale can sometimes be better. Basically 1.5-3 mEq/l alkalinity and 380-420 ppm calcium. The most important being a balance between the two. You may also end up needing a magnesium test kit but with just mussels, I doubt it. Mg should be 3x Ca for alk/Ca to remain balanced and in solution.

This is a good article (just excuse the title)... Calcium for!



Quote:
Quote:
What are you using as a water source?
We have a tap in the lab with RO water, so i will have access to as much as i want.


Cheers
Steve
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