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Who's Into Saltwater?

Discussion in 'RC-Help Lounge' started by Tony, Sep 28, 2012.

  1. ChopDrifter

    ChopDrifter Member

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    thank you will do
     


  2. Tony

    Tony Administrator Staff Member

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    Well, this may be the end of my saltwater tank. I ordered some salt and new filters for the tank so that I could get my water parameters under control. I made up some water yesterday and I started testing the salinity so that I could match the new water with the salinity of my tank water. I noticed that the salinity was at 1.025 and I usually keep it at about 1.026. You do not lose salt due to evaporation, this is how the dead sea was formed. But somehow my salinity was lower, a lot lower, than it should have been, and I had no idea why.

    Today, I started the first step in a very long process of getting the water back where it needed to be (Nitrates are very high right now due to not doing water changes). So first thing I did was remove the old filter socks which were completely clogged and doing nothing and i put in a fresh sock. Yes, just one. I then took out the skimmer, fan, return pump and the ATO tank. I put a small pump in there and ran a hose from it to the filter sock just so I could catch the detritus from the bottom of the sump in the single filter sock I had in there. I only have about 10 gallons of water made up so I had to do it this way until I could get a full 40 gallons made up. I cleaned out chamber 1 (more on that in a previous post in this thread, somewhere lol) and got that water looking pretty good and I started on chamber 2. It was when I was down there cleaning out the far corner that I noticed a pretty substantial crack in the bottom of the sump. I got to looking and I found more.

    Now I know why my salinity went down. The sump was leaking and the ATO was topping it off with fresh water. I have no idea how long this sump has been leaking, but I have a feeling it has been quite a while. The only way to get the sump out of the stand is to tear down the tank and move it away from the wall. Something that with my back injury, I just flat can't do right now. As it sits, this tank weighs over 1000lbs. If we take out enough water to keep the fish in the tank and move it like we have before, the tank only weighs about 500lbs. Still way too much for me to be moving right now.

    So I'm left with few options. I have more acrylic, but it has been so long since I build a sump or anything for that matter out of acrylic that it is going to take time to relearn how to do it. Time that the fish don't have. I don't keep my house warn enough for them to not have heated water. Not in the winter/early spring that is. Summer, this would be just fine! Catching the fish to put into a smaller tank is also out of the question because of the amount of rock that I have in there. I would have to take out all of the rock just to catch them and the amount of time the rock would be out would kill the rock. Yes, I said kill the rock. This is called live rock and it is how the ocean filters its water.

    So I'm at a stand still on what I should do. I love this tank, but my electricity bill would be much lower without it. But then again, I have never been in this house and not had the tank in here. It has been here as long as we have and we had it for quite a while before we left our last house. I would hate to see it go, but in my current condition I just don't see another way.

    It sucks that this may be the end to this thread that I started back in 2012.... It has been fun...
     
  3. Tony

    Tony Administrator Staff Member

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    It has been two months since my last post in this thread and I thought I would give you guys a little update. Okay, this may be a long update lmao.

    As you already know if you read the above post, somehow my sump developed a crack that was very very slowly leaking out water. It was enough to take my tank from 1.026 salinity down to 1.025. Now that doesn't sound like a lot, and there is no harm to anything in this little of a change, but it is a change and it is a problem.

    Once I found the crack, I immediately drained the sump and we had thoughts of just removing the sump and putting something smaller in there. I was not a fan of this idea. About two weeks ago I decided to just grab some Weld-On 3 and run it around on the inside which in a perfect world would seal up the crack and allow me to use the sump again. And from what I could tell with some fresh water testing, it did hold. But remember, this leak was so small that it is likely evaporating faster than it is leaking.

    With the temp fix in place, I decided to go ahead and do two 40 gallon water changes on this tank. This is a 90 gallon tank, but remember there is sand and live rock in there that is displacing some of that water. So in reality, I did a little over a 100% water change, kind of. First, I drained out the first 40 gallons of water and filled the tank back up as much as I could with the fresh saltwater that I just made. I did this in two stages so that I would not shock the fish (the tank was bad, more on this in a bit.

    With the first water change taken care of, I drained the overflow on the back of the tank into the sump and then I fed a little more fresh saltwater from the second batch of water into the tank just until it started flowing into the sump. From there I completely drained the sump. This included all chambers including the refugium. Then on all chambers except the fuge I took a towel and dried them out. From there, I put fresh saltwater directly into the sump first filling up the fuge (just in case anything was amazingly still alive in there...) then I filled up the skimmer section and let it flow over to the return section until I had what I figured was enough water in the sump.

    Once that was done, I drained out some more of the water out of the tank and filled it back up with the remaining fresh saltwater that I just made. I then installed the main pump and connected everything up and for the first time in a couple months, I turned the main pump on. The fish were not expecting that and it scared the hell out of them lmao.

    I did put a little too much water in the system and this was apparent once I turned on the main pump. But, I still had not put the skimmer in there nor had I put the dual reactor in there or turned the refugium back on so there was still some water that was going to be pulled from the system. And you guessed it, the skimmer was the next piece to go back into the sump.

    I went ahead and pulled the skimmer apart and completely cleaned everything. I'm not sure how or where, but I lost the O-Ring from the union, but it is under water anyway and doesn't really matter. I took the impeller out of the pump and it was not even spinning on the shaft. so I pulled it apart and cleaned the shaft as well. I put the skimmer in the sump (which is much harder than it sounds lol) and again, for the first time in a couple months, I fired it up. I really expected it to start skimming like crazy, but on the same settings as before, it wasn't even skimming at all. So I adjusted it so it would skim, and then a couple hours later it turned off due to the timer i have on the skimmer. I don't like hearing it when I'm sleeping...

    The next day I was already planning on working on the tank. I needed to get two things installed today and that is the ATO (Automatic Top Off, the container which I think is what gave the sump its initial crack causing all of this mess...) and the dual reactor. First was the ATO, so I cleaned the fresh water res that I use to hold the water and removed as much of the Kalk residue as I could and put it into the stand. Then I placed the pump and level sensor back in the res and made sure the level sensor in the sump was also set correctly. And they were. So the ATO is now in place and working like it should now that the skimmer in in the sump.

    Next is the dual reactor. I'm sure you have already yelled at the computer screen wondering what this is if you have not read all 22 pages of this thread yet lol. The reactor is just a carbon and GFO reactor. GFO stands for
    GRANULAR FERRIC OXIDE. It helps reduce some of the nutrients that are in the tank that could promote algae growth. And since I no longer have a refugium that is taking care of these, I kind of need another way to remove them. The two most notable nutrients are Nitrates and Phosphates. So GFO is a must right now but after a week or so, I will turn the reactor off and remove it from the system. Of course this also depends on if I still need it or not.

    The second part of the reactor is activated carbon. This helps remove any ammonia and also helps to clear up the water. Because this system has run with ONLY a single powerhead in the main tank for about two months or more, I ended up having a little bio-bloom. Basically a metric crap ton of little microbes have decided now is a good time to reproduce like crazy since there is fresh clean water in the tank, which makes the tank cloudy. These little guys are going go die after a while and the carbon will help keep the ammonia under control. As well as polish the water so it looks crystal clear, hopefully. Because right now it looks like dirty back water after playing in a mud pit lmao. For the record, I have never done this.... :chuckles:

    I am pretty sure the refugium is the cause of the bacteria bloom and over time it will go away. And when it does, I can remove the reactor from my system and maybe put something else in that spot which I will talk about when we get to that point.

    I did forget to mention that I am running two 4"x6" filter socks on this tank. I always run filter socks on it, I just forgot to mention it above. I figured they would be clogged when I woke up, but they are still doing their job so I'm happy lol. Those things are a pain to replace in this system. Next time, I will have a better setup for them.

    Remember above when I said the tank was bad and more on this later? Well, now is the later...

    In the two months that I had no sump to use and was only using one powerhead, we didn't clean the glass on teh tank much. My powerheads that I was using, the 1400's, something with iron in the magnet rusted and caused the magnet to swell in size and eventually crack. This also made it too large to fit in the motor so it would not spin. Rendering those two powerheads absolutely useless. I have ordered new ones which we will talk about in the next post. But back to only using one little Maxi-jet powerhead... Again, we only cleaned the glass about once a week for the first month, and the second month after we started to get a LOT of cyanobacteria (red algae) we just stopped cleaning it altogether. It was at this time that the wife and I were talking about just tearing the tank down and I even reached out to Matt (Callsign4223) to see if he wanted the livestock that was still left in the tank.

    After some talking though, the wife and I decided that we really didn't want to get rid of the tank and that we just needed to find a solution to the issue. Again, I have a temporary fix in place that should hold us over for a little while. But the tank was horrible. The read algae was being taken over by green (bright green) algae and when that happens, you know there is something very wrong in the tank. And trust me, we had something very wrong. The glass was completely covered in brown and green algae. In fact the green algae looked like it was stretching up to the lights lol. It looked really cool, but I knew it was absolutely horrible hence why there are no pictures from this. It was that bad.

    Well when I did the first water change, I took both of the mag-float magnet cleaners and cleaned off the glass and then, while it was all suspended in the water, I siphoned out the water to get rid of a lot of the algae that was floating around. I also tried to get it off the glass, rock and coral as well. But this brought up another issue. Red Flatworms. They are everywhere!!!! and they are very bad and reproduce like crazy. Rabbits can't hold a finger to these little guys. So I tried to siphon up as many of those as I could as well.

    So now the tank is running like it should be and I'm just waiting for things to stabilize out before doing yet another 40 gallon water change. I find it funny that I purchase a box of salt that is supposed to be for 200 gallons which has 4 bags in it (one bag, 50 gallons) and I use the entire bag for just 40 gallons lmao. I think their math is wrong... But whatever, we are getting it done and this tank should be back to what it was before this nightmare started.

    Livestock update

    I only have 5 fish left. I have the pair of true perc clowns, a single Bangi Cardinal, a cleaner wrass (which is supposed to be "very hard to keep" yet has survived and thrived through all of this), a single green chromis and of course my Yellow Tang. As for coral, I of course still have the GSP (Green Star Polyp) which I highly regret putting in my tank, I also still have a massive amount of branching hammer coral as well as a couple Acan's. The acro completely died once the sump died unfortunately. And I'm sure I still have some Monti that will come back even though the massive multiple colonies have taken a devastating hit from the algae attack. If it doesn't come back, I will just hit up matt and get some more from the same colony lol.

    So we are slowly getting things back to where they were. It's just nice to hear the tank again.... Post up and let me know what you think. I will be posting another update soon on the new pumps that I ordered.
     
  4. Tony

    Tony Administrator Staff Member

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    Time for a little update. And this time I have included a picture of my tank as it stands today. As you can see in the picture, the tank doesn't look like it once did. Two months without a sump and only getting poor water flow has taken its toll on this poor tank. I am happy to tell you though that my new pumps will be here tomorrow, way before I thought they would be here! So the tank is going to not only see way better flow rates from the main pump (over double actually!!!) but it is also getting a major upgrade over the old power heads that I had in the tank. All of this means water flow will no longer be an issue in this tank. I will actually have to turn the pumps DOWN and I can do it since they are now DC pumps! No more high voltage in my tank!

    So here is the picture of my tank. This is an unedited version taken with an iPhone 6S+, the only thing I did to it was crop it down to only the tank. Let me know what you think and what you would do from here.

    IMG_0890.JPG
     
  5. Tony

    Tony Administrator Staff Member

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    Here is another picture where I have outlined all of the coral that is left. As I stated, most of it is dead, but some of it was actually able to pull through it. Below is what each of the colors are circling and some more information about each coral is below.

    RED - This is all of the Hammer Coral that I have. NONE of this coral died. In fact, there is even more than what you see in the tank since @callsign4223 has some in his tank from this colony as well. All of this started out as two heads when I brought it home and it has just kept growing!!! Of course it is no longer growing now, but trust me, it will start growing here soon once again! And there are 6 circles in this picture just in case you missed the little guys lol.

    GREEN - These are my two Acan's. Otherwise known as Acanthastrea echinata, but ain't nobody got time to say all that, we in 'Murica so we just pronounce the first four letters of the first name lmao. These two I figured would definitely die during this time, but they didn't They are actually more open now than they were (the orange one especially) but they are still kicking right on along. The top green circle (there are only 2 circles in this color) is kind of ugly, but it has a purple ring around the flesh that looked kind of cool. Both stopped growing like the Hammer, but both are doing just fine now and will be growing again here real soon!

    YELLOW - This is only some of the monti that is in this tank and as you can see the one on teh right is completely broke off. Just before everything went south, I made the decision to just bust up the very large pieces and let them start over again. They were getting WAY too large for this little 90 gallon tank. Then things went south, I never pulled out the rubble and they eventually got covered in cyano algae. This pretty much killed every single bit of the Monti but I'm hoping there is something still alive in there and once I find it, I will get rid of the rest and start over with it. this time putting it VERY LOW in the tank lmao. I do want to get some different colors though.

    PURPLE - This one may be a little hard to see since purple on top of blue lights doesn't show up that well. But these are my GSP's, or Green Star Polyp's. This was the single worst decision I have made on what to put into my tank. I am now in a constant battle trying to get rid of it in my tank and since it is on the rock, it is almost impossible. There is actually way more in this tank than what I have circled but it will be pulled out of the tank since it is pretty much only on the Monti (yes, it helped kill the Monti...)

    BLUE - There are two blue circles in this picture, but I"m sure you will not be able to find the second one. It is quite small and blue on blue doesn't show up well at all. Way worse than purple on blue lol. But these are my Pipe Organ Corals. This started out as a purchase from the Local Fish Store before we stopped buying from them because they are all about the money and could care less about the livestock or the people buying from them. This thing was almost dead when I purchased it and it has come back really well. And then the Cyano Algae started covering it, but this was the only one that I took the time to actually blow off with the turkey baster because I like this coral. The second little one only has about 4 polyps on it and it tucked way into a rock, but can still get light. Growth has stopped on this and the large colony is not extending all of its polyps at this time unfortunately. Hopefully that will change here very soon.

    So those are all of the corals that I have left. Try to point out and name the 6 fish I have left in the tank (reflections don't count lol).

    IMG_0890.JPG
     
  6. Tony

    Tony Administrator Staff Member

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    Just did a water parameter test on the tank and as I suspected, I have Ammonia and Nitrate in the tank. PH is right where it is supposed to be (and I knew this from my APEX) and I have no Nitrites. Basically the tank is going through a mini-cycle and the ammonia should go away in about a week. Then, I will do another large water change, the final large water change, and things should start to get back to normal.

    I also tested my DKH or Carbonate Hardness and I'm hitting between a 7 and an 8 which is a little low for saltwater so it's time to start dosing Kalk again.
     
  7. Tony

    Tony Administrator Staff Member

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    I figured I would give you guys a little eye candy. These are some of the corals in my tank, however I have 4 new ones that I just picked up today to go into the tank. I will post some pictures of those then I get them settled in there.

    IMG_0904.JPG IMG_0908.JPG IMG_0913.JPG IMG_0918.JPG IMG_0919.JPG
     
  8. Tony

    Tony Administrator Staff Member

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    Alright everyone, here are 3 of the 4 new corals I picked up today. The 4th is just some zoo's and trust me, waiting for them to open will be worth it. They are awesome. Too bad I put them in a part of the tank where I'm constantly getting bitten from my clownfish... Little *******!!!! lmao.

    First up is my Red & Green Montipora. I know someone will say "there is no green on that thing". Trust me, there is. Look on the right side of the peak and you will see it. As it grows, it will have a LOT more, trust me lmao.
    IMG_0926.JPG

    Next is my Chalice. @callsign4223 has one of these, and I have to keep up with him, so I had to get one lmao. I will try my best to keep it out of the sand... On second thought, these things LOVE to grow on the sand so I just put him in it lmao.
    IMG_0927.JPG

    Next is the Blastomussa. I almost wanted to start arguing with the store owner on this one. He kept calling it an LPS (Long Polyp Stony) and it really looks like an SPS (Short Polyp Stony). But, since those are made up names from the hobby, I agreed since the polyps are a little larger than a standard SPS.
    IMG_0928.JPG

    Now none of these corals are fully open at this time so they will look a lot better when they get settled in. And when the zoos open up, I will definitely post a picture of those. I think they are awesome and I miss my Zoo's! lmao
     
  9. Tony

    Tony Administrator Staff Member

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    Here is a closeup picture of the Montipora and in this pic, you can see the green lmao. Man this was hard to get lmao.

    IMG_6560.JPG
     
  10. Tony

    Tony Administrator Staff Member

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    As promised, here is the picture of the Zoa's that I purchased. The coloring of them is awesome I think.

    IMG_6563.JPG
     

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