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When Do I Start???

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Chris Rollison, Nov 29, 2014.

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  1. Chris Rollison

    Chris Rollison New Member

    Hello, new to this site but have had a growing interest in ATS for over a year as I've been planning my new tank build, 200 gal. My question for the group is "Should I start an ATS as soon as my tank starts cycling or do I need to wait until I am feeding a certain volume per day?". I have all the normal trappings of a reef tank, skimmer, GFO, bio pellet reactor etc from my former 125 gal set up that I planned on using but thought that since the skimmer is undersized for the 200 gal, the ATS would take up the difference?

    What are your thoughts?

  2. Turbo

    Turbo Does not really look like Johnny Carson Staff Member Site Owner Multiple Units! Customer

    On the skimmer, yes you are correct. My opinion on skimmers, albeit somewhat limited in the grand scheme of things (i.e. I'm not a skimmer expert, but stayed in a Holiday Inn Express once a few years ago) is that you can get away with a much more moderately sized skimmer when you have other co-filtration in place. If they rated skimmers based on feeding this would be a whole lot easier, because you could pair a 2 cube/day scrubber and 1 cube/day skimmer and get 3 cubes/day filtration. While they don't do this, you can still think about it this way and give it a good rough estimate.

    When running biopellets, when you introduce these into a system you need to increase the skimmer size accordingly (or at least have a decent brand). So this throws off the cube/day equation a bit, but not too bad as long as you don't tumble a completely full container - just use a small amount and replenish it often (Biopellet Lite, to coin a term). Contrary to what has been said in the past, you can indeed run biopellets and a scrubber together. But, if you have zero bioload, I would only run the scrubber and the skimmer (with the skimmer running nearly dry)

    As far as your original question - When do I start - you can start at anytime, if you start right from the get-go, you will not get much growth because you won't have much to "feed" the screen. So photosaturation comes into play here - too much light for too long. Run the lights only a few hours at a time and no more than 6 hours/day total if you have no bioload (of course, this also depends on your screen size, but it's a good rule of thumb).

    If you are cycling dried-out live rock, you will go through the nitrogen cycle, and with a bare/new scrubber screen, you will still see this cycle but the ammonia and nitrites will also feed the screen so it's a good time for maturing the scrubber also (and you might see a muted cycle).

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