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Old 11-17-2012, 05:56 PM   #1
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Berlin Filtration Method?

I recently lost my fire shrimp and decided my tank needed a protein skimmer as my nitrates were too high for my liking, anywhere from 40 to 80 ppm with 20% water changes every two weeks or so. Believe my salinity might have been too low too at 1.021 but had good calcium readings of 500 and alkalinity at the high end of the reading 800 I think...(fish store tested recently as my test kit was not working...Ph at 7.9-8.0 consistently and no ammo or trites.

So, my goals are to get another cleaner shrimp, but I want it to live... I was thinking of ditching my canister as it appears to be causing some of my nitrate problems...I did some reading on the Berlin method and only piece I don't have is good lighting as far as I can tell. I currently have LED lighting (not bright) and base rock that was seeded with live rock during initial cycle stacked to about six inches from surface in 29 gal hex (along sides arching over middle of tank (I'll try to up load a photo). See my profile for tank setup. It is updated sans fire shrimp and coralife super skimmer 65g. Oh and I use store bought RO water for water changes.

Do I need good (reef type) lighting? If so what would people recommend. Also, any other advice would be appreciated.

As always appreciate everyone's help!
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29 gallon hex, canister filter, too much live rock, two powerheads. Tank setup June 2012. Two clowns, fire shrimp, 2 chocolate chip starfish, 3 snails
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Old 11-17-2012, 06:04 PM   #2
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29 gallon hex, canister filter, too much live rock, two powerheads. Tank setup June 2012. Two clowns, fire shrimp, 2 chocolate chip starfish, 3 snails
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Old 11-17-2012, 10:31 PM   #3
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That rock set up is pretty cool! Looks different from any I've seen.
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Old 11-17-2012, 10:44 PM   #4
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I just bought a reef octopus to replace my marineland skimmer...it is in sump but I really works great.
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Old 11-17-2012, 11:38 PM   #5
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Thanks Beengirl. it took forever to get it put together...if anyone has advice it would be appreciated.
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29 gallon hex, canister filter, too much live rock, two powerheads. Tank setup June 2012. Two clowns, fire shrimp, 2 chocolate chip starfish, 3 snails
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Old 11-18-2012, 12:12 PM   #6
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I don't think lighting really has a whole lot to do with the Berlin method as far as I know. The way I've understood it, is basically all you need is a lot of good healthy live rock, live sand, and a very very good skimmer. Although a sump wouldn't hurt to hold your skimmer and heater and stuff.

The skimmer removes all of the fish poo and uneaten food etc... And the rock and sand take care of all the ammonia, nitrites, etc...

Seems to be a good way to run a tank and a lot of people have had great success with it. But the key to the whole method is a very high quality skimmer, rated at least double the size of your tank
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Old 11-18-2012, 12:23 PM   #7
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I have been reading up on my skimmer (coralife super skimmer 65g) and it seems as though it is a decent skimmer and is rated double the size of my tank (29 gallons). My tank is only 4 months old... Should I wait until it is more mature before ditching my canister filter entirely?
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Old 11-18-2012, 05:47 PM   #8
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Well personally, I only use a canister filter to polish the water and a little chemical filtration when needed, and I don't run it 24/7. It's an Eheim 2217 and is filled with filter floss, and a Baggie of carbon in the middle of it. Canister filters are nitrate factories unless cleaned every few days. It's pretty much personal preference on them, and when/if you want to use them, but just remember to clean them very regularly or else they do more harm than good.

The coralife skimmers are decent. I've had a 65 and 125, and wasn't a very big fan of either of them. They're very touchy, and one small adjustment one way or the other could flood your floor, I know from experience lol. And some foods can make them go wacky out of nowhere too. Im running the coralife 125 on my 125 gallon FOWLR, and am upgrading to a reef octopus right after the holidays because of all the troubles I've had with it. They do better with a few DIY add ons compared to stock, and they do better in-sump then hang on, when possible. Mines In sump with a hose running from the collection cup to a 5 gallon jug
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Old 11-18-2012, 08:39 PM   #9
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Good tips. I will clean it more often. Still debating on going to the Berlin method...
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Old 11-18-2012, 10:55 PM   #10
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I would get the skimmer going now. You'd be surprised what it will pull out of the tank, even with a low bioload and rock. IMHO, a skimmer is the heart of the tank, removing detritus directly from the water column that would have effected water quality. I personally wouldn't run a tank without a skimmer. Sure, you can get away with it on small tanks or lightly stocked aquariums, but don't we want the best water quality we can provide to the life that we keep? If you intend on trying your hand at adding corals, I would look into a lighting upgrade. Since you go the effort of using RO/DI water, you might want to consider adding mushrooms or some of the various starter soft corals to get a reef tank going. I really like your rock work. Excellent job. Aquascaping a hex tank is very difficult, and not only did you pull it off, but you did something different and innovative. A specific gravity of 1.021 is certainly ok for fish. Some would argue that the lower range is even beneficial for their ability to absorb O2 through their gills, as well as reducing stress. But if you intend on keeping inverts like snails, shrimp, feather dusters, or corals I would raise it to 1.025 or even better 1.026 with a temperature of 76 degrees.

Again, nice job,
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