Cali Kid Corals

Bruce's "Never Again" Build. (Walnut Creek)

Bruce Spiegelman

Sponsorship, Public Relations
BOD
Well, after taking down my last tank a year ago, and swearing "Never Again" to a new tank, I'm back at it. Never say never...

Tank: Ken's IM 112 EXT + IM stand.

Associated equipment (so far):

Fiji Cube 30 sump
2X Jebao return pumps (for now)
2X 300 watt titanium heaters
Apex Controller + Probes
2X Ecotech Radions with Diffusers (borrowed from Mike because he's tankless for some reason.)
2X Ecotech MP40s) (Also borrowed from Mike since he's very cool.)
Rockscape by Jester6.


For now, this tank will be running skimmerless and I'll be using 17#s of Miracle Mud + a refugium with legal Caulerpa.
For the first time, I'll also be going bare bottom.

Stay tuned....
 

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Interested to hear and see more about the mud along your journey.

Have you used it in past tanks? Are you hoping to use it in lieu of dosing traces or maybe other goals for it?
The Miracle Mud in a refugium with MM acts as a denitrater filter along with continuous dosing of trace elements. Supposedly. :)
This will be the first tank that I've used it in, but I know a number of long (very long) time reefers that swear by it.
 
The Miracle Mud in a refugium with MM acts as a denitrater filter along with continuous dosing of trace elements. Supposedly. :)
This will be the first tank that I've used it in, but I know a number of long (very long) time reefers that swear by it.
I like seeing the old school things show up again. Pretty sure Julian has one in his display.
 
The Miracle Mud in a refugium with MM acts as a denitrater filter along with continuous dosing of trace elements. Supposedly. :)
This will be the first tank that I've used it in, but I know a number of long (very long) time reefers that swear by it.
You also know a number of long time reefers who used for a period of years back when it was popular, decided it was BS, and now don’t. Or at least you know 1.
 
You also know a number of long time reefers who used for a period of years back when it was popular, decided it was BS, and now don’t. Or at least you know 1.
Yep. There's certainly never been a consensus about it and definitely no "proof" that it delivers. However, there are still a lot of folks that swear by it even if the evidence is only anecdotal. It definitely doesn't have a negative effect though so I thought I'd try it out.
 
Waste of money and space maybe. But that’s opinion. Shouldn’t hurt the tank
Cheap enough for an experiment and easy to replace.

It's an interesting question though that's fun to explore. Most of us are sold on the idea of "bioblocks" or bio media which allow beneficial denitrifying bacteria to colonize. Miracle mud should do the same while also slowly releasing trace elements that do seem to have clear benefits.

@JVU Am I wrong on this?
 
Cheap enough for an experiment and easy to replace.

It's an interesting question though that's fun to explore. Most of us are sold on the idea of "bioblocks" or bio media which allow beneficial denitrifying bacteria to colonize. Miracle mud should do the same while also slowly releasing trace elements that do seem to have clear benefits.

@JVU Am I wrong on this?
I'll have a hot take here and say bioblocks (just bioballs for the 21st century) are a necessary evil because so many modern tanks don't use sand, real live rock, or enough overall rock, and instead use man made or really dense mined rock that don't have the surface area/volume ratio of some wild collected.

Still will be interesting to see how it does for you, even if it ends up at worst being a novelty.

Let me know if you want some of the halymenia stipitata macro algae to add in there from DBTC too.
 
Cheap enough for an experiment and easy to replace.

It's an interesting question though that's fun to explore. Most of us are sold on the idea of "bioblocks" or bio media which allow beneficial denitrifying bacteria to colonize. Miracle mud should do the same while also slowly releasing trace elements that do seem to have clear benefits.

@JVU Am I wrong on this?
The biomedia in very porous pumice-like material is different from the silt-like material in Miracle Mud. It really is like mud when wet. Biomedia allows some water to flow all the way through, whereas the mud really doesn’t. Biomedia provides very large amounts of hard surface for the bacteria and archaea to colonize in a biofilm, which is actually a complex many-species ecosystem that is important. The particles of MM might provide a little of this, maybe very little since it isn’t hard, but at most not very much by comparison.

The leaching out of unknown things at unknown rates from the mud into the water is either BS hand waving, or potentially a problem if true. Without stirring (which you aren’t supposed to do), you would get rapid leaching on top and then it would drop off to near zero. There’s no time-release capsules in there. It was attractive before we had trace element dosing, complete sea salts for water changes, and ICP testing. I wouldn’t put this in the “pro” column.

The main thing that holds up among the claims of MM is that it forms an anaerobic layer that can consume nitrate, and do it in less height than sand since it’s so difficult for water to penetrate. It does do this. Again, this was attractive before we had better ways to deal with nitrate. And it does nothing for phosphate, which is usually more of an issue anyway especially when unbalanced by zero nitrate (think Cyanobacteria). And potentially hazardous if the anaerobic layers get stirred up somehow.

I used it for a few years. Didn’t notice anything particularly good or bad about it besides it being messy and expensive. I’d recommend putting it in one or more plastic containers so it’s easy to remove when needed.
 
mike palleta swears by it. So I tried it in a bare bottom, dead rock in 2019. I seeded the rock with about 30% live rock. I didn’t noticed anything wowing. But I can tell you the bare bottom , dead rock. Set me back about a year and the half. The aquarium grew every algae and gunk known to man. It was rough.
 
mike palleta swears by it. So I tried it in a bare bottom, dead rock in 2019. I seeded the rock with about 30% live rock. I didn’t noticed anything wowing. But I can tell you the bare bottom , dead rock. Set me back about a year and the half. The aquarium grew every algae and gunk known to man. It was rough.
Mile Palleta and Robert Brilliantes are the ones who convinced me to try it out.
 
mike palleta swears by it. So I tried it in a bare bottom, dead rock in 2019. I seeded the rock with about 30% live rock. I didn’t noticed anything wowing. But I can tell you the bare bottom , dead rock. Set me back about a year and the half. The aquarium grew every algae and gunk known to man. It was rough.
Tell me more about your experience if you would.
 
set up my 190 with dead rock that was always kept in saltwater in my backyard. That was about 70% the other 30% was from my fowlr. Cryptic zone in the sump, Berlin method. About 20lbs of miracle mud. Spread out like a sand bed in the sump. Bare bottom. This was my first attempt at bare bottom.
I struggled with every stage of algae.diatom, hair algae, brown algae, slime algae, briopsis, cyano. Everything I did had an other reaction. But it would take a few months to pop up. At the 6-8 month mark. I started going around to old school people that I knew and asking for a cup of sand, small rock and whatever that I thought would help seed. Bottle bacteria didn’t help. I used a bunch of it. Then about the 14ish month mark I noticed that the algae was gone. It was the turning point.
After some research. Old school people were saying they had trouble also with this way of starting. And said it took them over a year to a year and the half to turn that corner. Mike palletta in his 120 started with dead rock. He never got it to turn around. He ended up breaking it down and starting all over.
I’m a big fan of starting with live rock like we did in the 90’s and early 2000’s. It would have saved me a year and the half of heartbreak and frustration.
I never noticed anything from the miracle mud. Helping or not. I researched it for a while. People were saying it’s fertilizer. But I have zero proof. I don’t think it helped or hurt my system at that time. In my mind. It was just expensive sand. I’m a big fan of the crushed coral sand bed now. Like the ones in the calcium reactors.
 
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