In the reef aquarium hobby today it is common to have an abundance of live rock and a hefty, powerful protein skimmer. This system, named the Berlin system is a very popular and stable way to keep a reef aquarium. However there are other ways of course, one such way is the Jaubert system, named after Professor Jean Jaubert, who was from the University of Nice, in France.
The system is best described by a subgravel system without any water flow or uplift tube to have the water run through it. Dr. Jaubert designed this system for his Monaco Oceanograhic aquarium, however shortly after this Bob Goemans modified for the home reef aquarium. He did this by using a plastic grid or egg crate which is basically fluorescent light diffusing grids. Those are held off the bottom of the aquarium by a support of some kind, most likely plastic which help create a static void (plenum). After that a thin layer of floss material covers that grid which keeps material from trickling downward and the substrate as well.
It works by natural diffusion of the oxygen downward from the core, additionally aerated body of water towards the oxygen-depleted plenum sustains the biological filtration action within the substrate, while the bacteria in the anaerobic plenum act as denitrifiers, reducing nitrate levels, and completing the full nitrogen cycle.
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Jaubert, J. and J.P. Gatusso, 1989. An Integrated nitrifying-denitrifying biological system capable of purifying seawater in a closed circuit system. In Deuxieme Congres International d’Aquariologie (1988) Monaco. Bulletin de l’Institut Oceanographique, Monaco, No. special 5:101-106.
Jaubert, J. 1991. United States Patent number 4,995,980
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Spotte, S. 1992, Captive Seawater Fishes: Science and Technology. John Wiley and Sons, Inc. New York. 942 pp.