Understanding the Berlin Method of Marine Filtration
The Berlin Method of marine filtration was developed in the 1970’s by the Berlin Aquarium Club. The Berlin method of marine filtration is based on the natural system aquarium which was developed by Lee Chin Eng in 1961.
The Berlin method of marine filtration is the method used for keeping your saltwater aquarium clean and maintaining a stable environment. This usually applies to a coral reef set up, but not always it is just the most common.
The Berlin method of marine filtration relies heavily on using a lot of live rock in your aquarium.
The theory behind the Berlin method of filtration is that the aerobic bacterium which covers the exterior of the porous live rock and the deep sand bed will convert the very toxic ammonia into nitrites. Although nitrites are less harmful to your aquarium then ammonia is they are still toxins. The next step in the Berlin method of marine filtration is the nitrates will travel deep into the live rock in your aquarium. Here the nitrites are changed by the anaerobic bacteria into nitrogen gas.
The Berlin method of marine filtration still requires you to do weekly water changes as this will get rid of the rest of the toxins that get left over as the Berlin Method of filtration cannot possibly get rid of all toxins.
A protein skimmer is also still a good idea even when the Berlin Method of marine filtration is in place. This will help to remove some of the left over organic compounds that have dissolved. This then does not give them the chance to breakdown and turn into ammonia.
For the Berlin method of marine filtration to work your tank needs to adhere to certain rules. You could try your own way but why gamble ? A tried and tested method will give you the best results. You should typically use 1 to 2 pounds of live rock to every 4 litres of water in your aquarium. This does depend slightly on the density of the live rock which you are using. If you can’t use so much live rock then you could consider just filling your tank two thirds of the way. This will help the Berlin method of marine filtration to work.
There are four benefits of using live rock alongside the Berlin method of filtration. These are:
1. The live rock will act as a biological filter inside your aquarium, thus adding beneficial bacteria.
2. It will introduce a large quantity of marine life into your aquarium. This marine life will be used for food by many fish, corals and invertebrates.
3. It gives your tank a natural reef look and has lots of places where you can put your corals.
4. Live rock will naturally help to balance the PH in your aquarium making the PH a lot more stable.
The Berlin method of marine filtration requires very strong lighting. So make sure you research this when purchasing a light, as a weak light will make sure that the Berlin method of filtration will fail in your aquarium.
Calcium supplements are need with the Berlin method of marine filtration. This is done through the use of kalkwasser (limewater). The added bonus of using kalkwasser is that it will lower the amount of phosphates in your aquarium water as well. You must take care when using kalkwasser as it has a very high PH of 12. When using it in the Berlin method of marine filtration you should put it into your tank using a drip at night. This will avoid the PH of your aquarium rising suddenly. It is important not to mix too much at once.
Other calcium supplements can be used in the Berlin method of marine filtration, for example, the two parts balanced solutions.
The Berlin method of filtration also requires trace element supplements, specifically strontium and iodide. Some people also choose to supplement magnesium but this is not a necessity.
Good water movement is also critical in the Berlin method of marine filtration. The life that is kept in salt water aquariums come from the sea. So they are used to very powerful currents, which we are unable to replicate exactly. However we can get close and should try to get it as close as possible for the survival of our aquariums. In the Berlin method of marine filtration the most important reason for good water movement is to move the nitrogenous waste so that the nitrifying and de-nitrifying bacteria can get to it.
Using the Berlin method of marine filtration within an aquarium is fairly easy to set up and to maintain. Especially when using good quality live rock. Your aquarium could be set up within a day. Once you have set up your tank however patience is required, so your tank can take shape and the cycles in your tank can start to take place.
When using the Berlin method of marine filtration you should have your live rock in a loose arrangement so that it allows for good water flow. This helps to prevent wastes settling on your deep sand bed.
Mechanical filtration is considered a major don’t with the Berlin method of marine filtration. It will take out food from your aquarium and is not as effective as a skimmer is.
You need to make sure you still do water changes. These can be done either weekly or monthly. If you do them weekly you should do around 10 percent at a time. If you choose to do them monthly you should do around a 25 percent change. This will keep you water condition like it should be. If when you test your water you notice the toxin levels are more than they should be you should increase the water changes. You will need to do them every 3 to 4 days and around 20 percent each time until the water has returned to normal.
If you would like your water testing for free please visit Perry’s Aquatic Centre. We offer this service along with our professional knowledge. We are ready to give advice and answer any questions you might have.
Perry's Aquatic Centre 6 Market Rasen Road, Dunholme, Lincoln LN2 3QR Tel: 016738 60727