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About a year ago we at EcoSystem set up four identical reef aquariums, each of which was run on a different filtration system methodology. We posted photos of these tanks every couple of months, so you can see how each tank has progressed over time. From photos that were recently taken, it is clear that there are some significant differences in how the tanks have progressed. Nuisance algae has grown significantly more in the tank using the Berlin system relative to the other aquariums using different systems. This same finding validates what Tom Frakes observed in his comparison of these methods in the SeaScope article in 2000, after he had done an 18-month comparative study.

 The best coral growth is seen in the tanks using the EcoSystem Plus methodology (modified Paletta method in which the protein skimmer is run approximately six hours per day). The second most successful system is the one using only the EcoSystem Method (no protein skimmer). The growth rate is slightly slower in the Berlin system and the Paletta method (protein skimmer run 24/7 similar to the Berlin system, but with an additional refugium using 10 pounds of Miracle Mud), but the difference in growth is relatively small. However, it is clear that the Berlin system produced significantly more algae growth than any of the systems using Miracle Mud, as is clearly shown in our latest video.

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Please watch the video clip below, and you will notice the large number of fish and coral in this 500 gallon EcoSystem Aquarium.  You will see that the fish and coral are all very healthy and are a part of thriving reef aquaria.

How is this particularly high bio-load maintained?  It’s the result of the filtration capabilities of our EcoSystem Miracle Mud Method filter, which allows the tank to support a much denser fish and coral population than conventional systems that do not use Miracle Mud.

This robust filtration allows us to heavily feed the aquarium, which also promotes large and healthy fish and coral.  This particular system does not even use a protein skimmer, and requires very minimal maintenance!

Just by adding Miracle Mud to your system, you can increase the bio-load that your aquarium can maintain.  Try it out today!

Don’t believe what you’re seeing?  Come visit our lab in Laguna Hills, or email me to discuss.

You can also follow us in our blog  There are also other ongoing experiments that you can follow here as well.

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Here is the first update of the tanks that are housing exactly the same corals and fish and utilize the same lighting and equipment other than filtration method for each tank. Water parameters are recorded weekly and the health and growth of the fish and corals will be documented both in a log and via pictures and video.

1. These tanks are set up the same and utilize the same equipment with only the mud substrate being different. These three mud substrates are Miracle Mud from EcoSystem Aquarium, Mineral Mud from CaribSea and Fiji Mud from Walt Smith.

2. We have also set up four equivalent tanks, each of which uses a separate filtration method. The systems include a Berlin tank, a tank using both a protein skimmer and Miracle Mud ( Paletta method), a modified Paletta method tank where the skimmer is only on for 6 hours each day and a tank using only the EcoSystem method.

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Innovation is what makes our world great, and what produces change. In 1996, after six years of research, EcoSystem demonstrated the EcoSystem Method utilizing Miracle mud, which was both innovative and a change from the standard methods then being used to maintain reef aquaria. Since then, several competitors copied this concept and brought out their own versions of a mud substrate, having done little research into the advantages and disadvantages of their product. To try and determine the differences in these substrates, EcoSystem has set up three equivalent tanks, each of which uses a different mud substrate. These three mud substrates are Miracle Mud from EcoSystem Aquarium, Mineral Mud from CaribSea and Fiji mud from Walt Smith.

The tanks are set up the same and utilize the same equipment with only the mud substrate being different. These tanks will house exactly the same corals and fish and will utilize the same lighting for each tank. Water parameters will be recorded weekly and the health and growth of the fish and corals will be documented both in a log and via pictures and video. We expect that this experiment will demonstrate the differences in these systems over time.

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This custom 28-gallon EcoSystem MINI aquarium (watch this video) has been set up since early June, 2011 using our standard EcoSystem method with Miracle Mud. This is a mixed reef aquarium containing soft, LPS and sps corals. Everything has shown impressive growth since the tank has been setup. Here are some facts about this tank:

1. Lighting: double ended MH, 150w/14K (USHIO) plus the tank receives about two hours of indirect sunlight daily.
2. Filter: EcoSystem Method filter with two 15oz Miracle Mud trays inside the refugium in the back panel of the MINI aquarium.
3. Rock and sand: About 20 lbs of cured live rock and about 4 lbs of sand
4. Water: ECO salt mix, weekly water changes between 1.5 – 2 gallons, water top off daily
5. Calcium: 10 ml of ECO 3-part calcium based on the Balling Method is added daily along with about 3 ml of ECO Reef Solution.
6. Water parameters: temperature 74 – 80 degree, pH 8.3, specific gravity 1.023, nitrate – undetectable, phosphate – undertectable, dKH 7.7, calcium 480 ppm, magnesium 1470 ppm.

The success of this tank will be updated every 3 months with additional pictures showing growth as well as other observations.

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The grey bin in the middle (sitting on it is a refugium with 20 lbs of Miracle Mud) is used as a common reservoir sump (in which we grow soft corals) for the 95 gallons saltwater planted tank to the left, the 150 gallons surge and tide pool tank in the middle and the 400 gallons marine fish-only tank to the right. The total volume of this combined display aquariums is approximately 700 gallons. These display / experimental aquariums are very unique. Perhaps they exist the first time ever in our marine aquarium hobby / industry. More detail on these aquariums…later.

But here are some facts:
1. EcoSystem Aquarium salt is used throughout our display / experimental aquariums
2. Approximately 5 oz of EcoSystem calcium A, calcium B and calcium C base on the Balling Method is added to the system daily
3. Weekly water change is approximately 4-5 gallons for this 700+ gallons system – siphoning the detritus from the bottom of the grey bin
4. One UV40w is used
5. No protein skimmer is used.

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Does anyone know the difference between a refugium filter and the EcoSystem Method? Let me explain clearly here. The EcoSystem Method has three distinct functions to a filter.

1. The EcoSystem Method takes proteins (food, fish feces, etc…) and breaks it down to ammonia then to nitrite then to nitrate and then to nitrogen gases. A complete breakdown of protein!

2. The EcoSystem Method will continuously release minerals and trace elements contained in the Miracle Mud substrate into the aquarium water making it a comprehensive filtration system.

3. The refugium is just 1 of 3 main function of The EcoSystem Method. The EcoSystem Method provides complete filtration by answering all the needs of the aquarium.

What type of filter system do you want to use on your reef now?