1. Guest, Thank you for visiting Rc-Help. Please do NOT post tech questions in this section, post them in the Tech section instead. Thank you.
    Dismiss Notice
  2. If you would like to get rid of these banners and the ads within the posts, all you have to do is sign up and they will go away!
  3. Welcome to Rc-Help, are you here looking for the PDF Plans? They are located in the store in the tab above, but you must be signed in to access that part of the site. It only takes a second to sign up!
  4. Like Us On Facebook!
    Hello Guest, it occurred to us during that last server failure that we had no way of informing the members of the site of the failure and I would like to invite you to like us on facebook so that you can get updates if the site happens to go down again. We don't post much over there unless we are updating the members so we will not flood your feed like some places do. Just click on Like and then allow notifications and that's it. See you there soon!

    Click Here To Rc-Help's Facebook page!
    Dismiss Notice
Hey Guest, I see you are not signed up on our forum yet. Did you know Registration is FREE and is only a couple clicks away? You can even sign in from Facebook, Twitter or Google+ for your convenience! So what are you waiting for, CLICK HERE to join in on the conversation!

Who's Into Saltwater?

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

  1. ChopDrifter

    ChopDrifter Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2017
    Messages:
    239
    Likes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    NZ
    thank you will do
     


  2. Tony

    Tony Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2011
    Messages:
    33,649
    Likes Received:
    1,306
    Trophy Points:
    113
    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

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2011
    Messages:
    33,649
    Likes Received:
    1,306
    Trophy Points:
    113
    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

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2011
    Messages:
    33,649
    Likes Received:
    1,306
    Trophy Points:
    113
    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

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2011
    Messages:
    33,649
    Likes Received:
    1,306
    Trophy Points:
    113
    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

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2011
    Messages:
    33,649
    Likes Received:
    1,306
    Trophy Points:
    113
    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

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2011
    Messages:
    33,649
    Likes Received:
    1,306
    Trophy Points:
    113
    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

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2011
    Messages:
    33,649
    Likes Received:
    1,306
    Trophy Points:
    113
    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

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2011
    Messages:
    33,649
    Likes Received:
    1,306
    Trophy Points:
    113
    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

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2011
    Messages:
    33,649
    Likes Received:
    1,306
    Trophy Points:
    113
    As promised, here is the picture of the Zoa's that I purchased. The coloring of them is awesome I think.

    IMG_6563.JPG
     
  11. Tony

    Tony Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2011
    Messages:
    33,649
    Likes Received:
    1,306
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Alright, huge update time.

    As you already know, back on May 18th I purchase (or traded is more like it) a bunch of Hammer coral to a local(ish) coral and fish store. He ended up giving me a pretty good deal on what I brought in. So much so that I walked out of there with quite a few corals, a fish, and a bunch of inverts including my Coral Banded Shrimp that I missed. Mine died (earlier post) after having him for about 5 years or so.

    The first coral that I picked out (I actually picked this one out on Friday when I went up there alone to ask if I could do some trading) was the Torch. This is an LPS coral and it looked amazing in his tank. But there was a catch. Due to shipping to him, the Torch was bleached out. Meaning the tentacles were white and not a brownish color. Meaning this coral had a bunch of stress and could die. I have had this coral right at 3 weeks and it is already starting to get its color back. I'm actually kind of sad about this because I loved the white coloring lol. But with the Torch getting his color back, that means it is liking what it has in the tank!

    IMG_1014.JPG

    Next, we have my Encrusting Montipora. I have 3 different types of Encrusting Monti as you can see in the pictures below. The first one is a Rainbow Monti and depending on how the light is hitting it, it will grow a different color. This one has pretty large polyps compared to the other two I have. The second one is a Red Encrusting Monti with Blue tentacles. My wife showed this one to me and yup, I had to have it! Then the other one was just in the tank next to the red one and it is a Blue Encrusting Monti with bluish purple tentacles. These need a substrate like rock to grow on since they do not create their own skeleton. As you can see in the picture though, the red one is not that happy and doesn't have very good polyp extension. I need to find a way to keep those friggin hermits off of it. They pick at it pretty hard.

    IMG_1015.JPG
    IMG_1016.JPG
    IMG_1017.JPG

    Next up is my Chalice. I won't lie, I only purchased this one because @callsign4223 had one and it looked awesome! So of course I had to have one. This coral, unlike the plating monti above will create its own skeleton and absolutely loves to grow out on the sand bed, which is where I have him. He is very colorful and I can't wait for it to get larger! But I do need to push that frag plug deeper into the sand.

    IMG_1018.JPG

    Next up is my only single frag of my hammer coral. This one broke off the other colony when I was cleaning the glass and I'm using him for an experiment. My large colony of hammer is in the sand bed at the very bottom of the tank. This means it doesn't get much light. Pair that with he is almost centered in the tank (the large colony) and he gets even less light. The large colony also doesn't get a lot of water flow either. Well this single head hammer is 3/4 the way up in the tank, very close to the lights, about as close as my Acro and is in way heavier water flow. You see, Matt (Callsign4223) has some of this hammer as well that he got from me and his heads are tightly bunched rather than waving around in the water column. He thought something was wrong with his, but his looks fantastic, mine are over extended like they need more light and more waterflow. So that is what I'm trying with this little guy!

    IMG_1019.JPG

    And here is a picture of the large colony of hammer in the sand bed. Hard to believe I started out with only two heads and it has grown to produce over 50 heads in total! This colony is over 20 heads alone!!!!

    IMG_1030.JPG

    This next coral is called Leptastrea. My wife said I could get NOTHING GREEN, but I had to have this one. It is so friggin bright and you know if it is happy because if you see green, it is happy. If it closes up, the green goes away. I just got done redoing my entire aquarium aquascape and all of these corals are mostly open (not those encrusting monti's lol). But man I love this coral. The Lepastrea, like the encrusting monti this is an encrusting coral that needs a rock to grow on. Medium light and medium flow and this thing will do great. That reminds me, I need to get some reef chili...

    IMG_1020.JPG

    And here we have, what I like to call one of my favorite corals. I have always loved SPS corals (monti's are SPS as well) but there is something about a Birdsnest Acropora that is just awesome! And yes, this friggin little thing is just as sharp as he looks, ask me how I know.... I just finished gluing his base down to the rock that he is on making sure one of his branches is touching the rock and he will encrust over it and keep on branching out. It is called a birdsnest because it grows erratically. Some have very pronounced growth patterns, but not these guys, they do what they want. And they have the pokey bits to make sure they can lmao.

    Matt also has one of these, but last I heard it was not doing so well. He just went on vacation and his took a turn for the worst and bleached out. Unlike the Torch above, Acro's look horrible when they bleach out. So Matt, if you need to bring that coral down, mine is doing great and I can try to nurse yours back while you try to get water parameters under control.

    IMG_1021.JPG

    Next up are my Acan's (short for Acanthastrea Lordhowensis). I was just recently turned onto these little jewels about a year ago when I purchased the orange ones you see in the picture below as well as the rather dull ones. But the dull ones are unique in they have a very light purple ring in them that you can really see when the lights are going down. The Rainbow Acan you see I just picked up about 3 weeks ago with the other corals. These things have to be the easiest LPS coral you can keep aside from the Hammer coral lmao. Well, except when it falls into your sandbed. I have not had that happen to my Acan, but it has happened to other corals in the past, and it SUCKS!!!! And that Rainbow Acan already has about 4 new heads on it that are starting to grow. I have placed all 3 of these on the same rock to try and get an "Acan Forest" going lol. And yes, the orange Acan is not happy at all. I think he got used to the low light I was giving them, and now he is being hit pretty hard with 20% more light than before. I'm going to give him another month and if he doesn't acclimate to it, I will just turn the lights back down for him. He is encrusted on the rock, so there is no way to move him unfortunately.

    IMG_1024.JPG IMG_1023.JPG IMG_1022.JPG

    This next coral is a rarity in my tank since I have a hard time keeping soft corals (other than shrooms and Zoa's). This is the Firework Clove Polyp. I didn't like them, but my wife wanted them because of their green mouth and very bright yellow/orange arms. When the lights are going down, these guys really shine!!! I placed them on a rock today so that they could grow out. I think a huge colony of these would look pretty good in the tank. They look a lot like Xenia, except they will not overrun your tank like Xenia.

    IMG_1025.JPG

    Here are the Zoa's that I pictured before. I have them laying on their sides because I want them to attach to that rock so that I can pull the frag plug out. Once they get used to the tank, these little guys should take off really fast! At least I hope so, because these guys are friggin bright as hell when the lights are just going down!

    IMG_1026.JPG

    I'm sure you guys remember past pictures where I had Plating Montipora growing all over the place. Lets just say I learned my lesson from that little mistake. NEVER put more than one piece in your tank, it will take the tank over and shade EVERYTHING!!! Thankfully, that brown monti is now dead due to issues in past posts in here, so I broke all of it I could off the rock and I epoxied this guy into a hole I drilled in the rock. He is low, in a corner and should do really well down there. This is a red AND green monti (you can see the green in a past post above) and should look really cool when he grows out. But as you can see, I had just placed him and his polyps are not extended in this picture. He is pretty happy now though lol.

    IMG_1027.JPG

    And of course, this would not be an update without saying something about the friggin GSP (Green Star Polyps). Remember that Xenia I was talking about taking over your tank, well this stuff will kick Xenia's ASS!!! I have had to pull 7 rocks so far out of my tank (I think, it may be more) that this crap has grown over. I was going to isolate it to the center rock (this picture is a rock my pipe organ was on but took the pipe organ off so this crap wouldn't kill it!!!) but I can't do that in my current setup. So I just have to deal with it or find something that can kill it or eat it! Or, I will get a stainless steel brush and a siphon through a water hose and I will take it out!!! Never again will I get this crap lmao. I just pulled an 11 pound rock out of my tank because this crap was all over it.... So yea, I hate GSP...

    IMG_1028.JPG

    So lets talk a little about some of the new items I put in my tank. We will start off with the new powerheads. I needed new ones because the old ones I had, the magnets rusted, busted through the outer covering and caused them to not spin when inserted into the motors. Completely trash! so I needed new ones. So I started searching. I was going to go back with AC powerheads because they are pretty cheap. The "name brand" DC powerheads are hundreds of dollars for one pump, and that definitely was not going to happen. But then I found Jebao. These are their PP15's and even though Matt told me to just go with the PP8's, I'm glad I did it this way. On the 8's, I would have had to run them at full blast to get what I'm getting now at 45%. Yes, these are controllable, and that is AWESOME!!! Now, I have a beautiful wave action in my tank that I have been wanting since I started in saltwater. More on the controller here in a minute.

    These powerheads, for the most part, are quiet! The one on the left (the clean one) has a slight vibration to it and I need to get my prop balancer out and do some tweaking to it. Once I do that, it will be nice and quite. And there lies the awesome thing about DC pumps. They ONLY start one way, the way they should, and they are very quiet.

    As you can see in the two pictures below, the one on the left (first one) is pretty clean where the one on the right is a little dirty. I pulled out that left one and cleaned it thinking maybe something was throwing it off balance. Nope, going to have to do that manually. The one on the right would be even more dirty but my Lawnmower Blenny fights with it and cleans it when he can lmao. It's funny to watch but I'm afraid he is going to get into it one of these days. My Cleaner Wrass used to get inside my old ones when it was feeding time, but always got out before they started up again. On these, I have them set to turn off after the lights go out and come back on before the lights come on. That way, his little butt is backed up into a hole in a rock somewhere (he is very hard to find. Waldo has NOTHING on this fish lmao) and can't get chopped up in the impeller of this powerhead.

    I am very happy about these things and for anyone with saltwater, these are worth looking into. From what I hear, they have to be cleaned a LOT, but that one on the right has not been cleaned yet since I put it in the tank. I received these on May 14th and that is when they went into the tank. Again, that one has NOT been cleaned or even taken out. Some people say they stop working, some people are taking out the ceramic bushing and putting in PVC tubing as a bushing, I'm thinking, why not just clean the friggin bushing and shaft once a month lmao. Hell, it has almost been a month and mine are still going strong! I may do a dedicated review on these powerheads. They are simply awesome!

    IMG_1034.JPG IMG_1035.JPG

    Now we come to my return pump. I have two Danner Mag Drives and anyone that knows what those are know they push a LOT of water and they are VERY reliable. The screws are rusting out of both of these pumps, but they are still kicking right on along! I have a 950GPH and a 1200GPH. The 950 is says is a 93 watt pump, according to mine, that is a LIE! On 110v I was pushing 2.3 AMPS!!! That is 250 watts! I use the 1200, which is a 110watt pump supposedly, for mixing salt since it will not only keep the water moving, but it will also heat up the water as well lol. They get pretty warm, that's for sure!

    But I wanted to save on electricity and the main pump was the best way to do that. I mean come on, pulling 2.3 amps from the main pump that had to stay running 24/7, it was a no brainer. So I was going to get either the 6000 liter per hour or the 8000 liter per hour pump, and good ole Matt stepped in and said (go bigger!!!). So I did. I went with a 10,000 liter per hour pump with equates to 2641.7 gallons per hour. Remember, I was pushing 950 lmao. So to say I don't run this pump at full speed is an under statement. I'm actually running this pump at 50% and I'm only pulling 26 watts!!! It doesn't even show up on my Apex as pulling anything. Hell my Skimmer is pulling 1.6 amps! And yes, I'm trying to find a new pump for that one too, but those are a little harder to find....

    Below you see the pump sitting in my sump. And just to prove the power draw, I have also included a picture of the controller that comes with the pump. Talk about amazing!!! I put this pump in at the same time I did the powerheads and flawless is about all I can say. It is so quiet that I don't know it is running. The only way I do know it is running is from the sound of the water in the sump moving around lol. And when a feed cycle kicks off and the main pump kicks back on (I turn my main pump off to keep as much food out of the sump and filters as I can) it doesn't just go to 100%, it ramps up slowly which keeps from scaring the living hell out of the fish. That is fantastic!!! Again, like the powerheads, I'm thinking about doing a dedicated review on this pump. I do need to order a controller for it to connect it to the Apex (some really cool programming is in my head and I want to make it a reality) but at $80 for the controller, eh, maybe next year lol.

    IMG_1036.JPG IMG_1046.JPG

    Speaking of my Apex, here is the unit. If you have the money, this thing is worth its weight in gold! I could not do what I'm doing without this controller. Below that picture you will see my EB8's, pretty much fancy power strips that can turn each socket on and off. I need to get them out of the stand, they are starting to show their wear with the salt water. Nothing dangerous, but I hate the look of rust.

    I did just recently move around a lot of my equipment and put it all on the top bar. That one is now full of my equipment that is mandatory to keep the tank running. The bottom power bar has two plugs in it, one for the cooling fan that only comes on if my AC quits in my house during the summer (has not come on yet this year) and my power adapter for the lights under the tank in the sump area. Both of those I can live without if I had to. I do need to do some more cleaning under there though. Wiring nightmare lol.

    IMG_1042.JPG IMG_1045.JPG

    I did replace this clear piece of tubing on the outlet of my tank. The first image is of the tubing that has been on the tank since I set it up at my old house. I had to heat it up with a blow torch and force it on, then held it on with hose clamps lol. So years later I finally made it to Lowe's and purchase some proper size tubing. As you can see, the water falling doesn't even hit the side of it lmao. And of course below those two pictures is my filter socks that I just swapped out today. They were a little clogged lmao.

    IMG_1047.JPG IMG_1040.JPG IMG_1037.JPG

    This has been a HUGE update for you guys and I highly doubt any of you actually read through all of that. I love this tank and it is doing better than ever. As I stated above, I just finished re-aquascaping my tank as you can see in this photo (all the bleach white rock lmao. Yes, that is the rock I had to pull out because of the friggin GSP!!! I hate that crap...) and I only have one coral in the sand now and only because it likes it down there, and that is the Chalice. Everything else is up on the rocks and hopefully happy! If you guys want to know what my programming is on this tank and the Apex, I can post that up. I have some pretty interesting coding in there to make the tank do what I want it to do lol. I do have a controller for the poweheads that I didn't show, but it is just a box with a green light on it to the left of the Apex unit. Nothing special. But the program is awesome lol.

    I do hope you guys enjoyed this little (*ahem) update. Post up your comments on the tank, I would love to hear them!

    IMG_1031.JPG
     
  12. callsign4223

    callsign4223 Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2012
    Messages:
    1,946
    Likes Received:
    28
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Occupation:
    Municipal IT
    Location:
    Midwest City, Oklahoma
    Looking good. I can't wait till mine settles out and does as well.
     
  13. Tony

    Tony Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2011
    Messages:
    33,649
    Likes Received:
    1,306
    Trophy Points:
    113
    It will get there. I think you are in that time I just went though. Not a good time, that's for sure lmao.
     
  14. Tony

    Tony Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2011
    Messages:
    33,649
    Likes Received:
    1,306
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Something weird is happening in my tank right now. For the last couple of weeks, I noticed a spike in PH starting at 1900 and 2200. We are talking about 0.1 to 0.2 increase in PH, which is usually bad for it to jump like that. And even worse since it is doing it within about 20 minutes. So I started looking at why.

    Those two times do have something in common. Those are times when something is changing in the program of the Apex controller. At 1900, my 'Energy Saver' mode kicks off which makes my powerheads ramp up, my lights get brigher and the heater is allowed to come on although my heater has not come on in about two days lol. So the spike at 1900 I have to attribute to either the powerheads or the lights. I'm still unclear which.

    The 2200 spike is very clear on what is causing it. That is when the outlet for my refugium light kicks on. I have been playing with this and if I ONLY turn the outlet on, but do not ramp up the lights my PH goes from 7.76 to 7.79. Yes, that PH is a little low, I think I have a Mg issue, but don't have a test kit for that yet. Actually, it just jumped to 7.80 with only the outlet on. Now if I kick the sump lights on 100%, which is friggin bright, the PH jumps up to 7.83 in this test, which is lower than I thought it would be. But if I dial it back down to 45% intensity where I usually have it, the PH goes up even higher to 7.84...

    So during this test I'm not seeing a jump like I do in normal automatic changes every night. But what this is telling me is that I have some severe cross talk. I have already moved the probes and the wires away from the bundle of wires they were in. The probes are quite sensitive to interference when ran parallel with power cords. But moving them away only solved the 1900 issue, the 2200 issue is still there and I can replicate that in real time just by turning things on. I have a feeling I'm going to need to somehow isolate that probe away from any and all power sources. The issue is the probe plugs into the base unit right next to the variable speed port that controls the fuge light. My only other option is to purchase a PM1 Module that has a PH Probe outlet on it and plug it in there. But at $85, that isn't going to happen any time soon.

    So the hunt continues. I have some other things to try out before getting another module.

    On a brighter note, I do have a new module coming to play with my lights with the Apex. Somewhere in here I have already talked about this module, I just need to find it.
     
  15. Tony

    Tony Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2011
    Messages:
    33,649
    Likes Received:
    1,306
    Trophy Points:
    113
    In THIS LINK, way back in 2013, I installed and programmed my new VDM module. I looked for about an hour through this thread of over 400 posts (mostly mine lmao) and I could not for the life of me remember why I took that VDM module off the tank and sold it. Absolutely no idea. I do know that I saved the cable I purchased for almost $20 since no one wanted the module for the lights, just the outlets it had. I tried to look up what I sold it for, and sure enough, I don't have that either. Actually....

    Don't you just love it when someone is searching while they are making updates to a thread lmao. I just found the email from ebay when I created the shipping label for that pump. I sold that USED module for $85. They are $100 new. I think $15 was fair but dang it, I really want to know why I got rid of it. I have a feeling I'm going to find out, TODAY!!!

    The reason I included the link above is because you can look in there to see my old code that I used on the lights. Well, after I made that post and after I sold the VDM, In December they came out with an update to the Apex unit which made the If Moon and If Sun statements much more simple. You can see that in that link I had to create 16 friggin virtual outlets. This is not an issue since you can have as many as you want, but man that took forever to write. Now, the only VO's you need are for the moon, storms, clouds, and your 20% and 70% on. No more massive virtual outlets lol. I knew they could shorten that, but the controller just couldn't process it at the time I had it.

    So today I get to find out why I sold it. Because I have absolutely no idea why I did. I want to say it was because the lights would not go down far enough, but I found a work around for that one. Just takes a little custom wiring and a diode. Yea, you read that right, a diode, not a resistor lol. Hopefully it will not come down to that.

    And once again we are waiting for the mail lady!!!...
     
  16. Tony

    Tony Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2011
    Messages:
    33,649
    Likes Received:
    1,306
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Unfortunately the VDM didn't show up yesterday (hence the post in the lounge of "I hate the postal service sometimes..."). She had it in her truck, it was marked "Out For Delivery" and yet, it was never delivered. Not sure what went on, but today it was waiting in my mail box. So it is time to program these lights.

    First thing I did was open the package and even though it clearly said NEW on the listing, I knew it was not actually new because it had been opened as seen in the photos. I figured I would look at the connections and that would tell me if it was in fact new. I looked at them, and sure enough, it was new. Not sure why she opened it up, maybe just for pictures of what's included, Only she knows. I'm also wondering why she had a brand new VDM Module (that was redundant. VDM stands for Variable Dimming Module lmao). I looked at the other items she has sold and purchased and NOTHING points to her having an APEX which is the ONLY thing this module works on lol. That is my OCD trying to figure things out.

    So I have it, it's here and it's time to plug this sucker in! I take it out of the box, I take the twist tie off the Aquabus cable (that is what they call the USB cable) and I plug the USB cable into the VDM. I take it out into the living room, I plug it into the power bar (EB8 for those that remember lol), orange flashing light, solid orange light, SOLID GREEN LIGHT!!! It's working, great, it's time to log into my controller and update the firmware on this thing.

    I log in, head over to the module page, select the VDM to update it, but then scroll down. It has "OK" next to it meaning it is updated. I'm not sure when the last update was, but I"m sure it was sometime this year for the VDM, and that is when it hit me. This module is not solid black like my last one and it even has a newer decal on it! This is quite honestly a BRAND NEW module lmao. And I got it for 50% off!!! SCORE!!!

    Now is the moment of truth though, it's time to plug it into the lights and make sure everything works. I have been thinking about why I sold the last one since I wanted to get a new one and the ONLY thing I can come up with is the fact that maybe the moon light was just too bright. Maybe it wouldn't go down far enough in intensity to actually work like the original AquaIlluminations Controller. I jsut flat can't remember and I can't find anything in this massive thread that gives me any idea as of why.

    Now that the module was connected to the Apex, I had a LOT of new switches on my Apex dashboard. I had the 4 VDM ports where I can control things like pumps and lights through an ethernet cable, and I also had two more options which were the lights on the Ai SOL Blue lights that I have. Well, I have 3 colors on my lights, so I had to go in and update that, restart the system, and boom, we now have 3 different color lights. AI_Blue, AI_White & AI_Royal (for royal blue). PERFECT!

    Now I need to go into the Profiles and check to see what all of my intensities are. I looked and they were at 70%!!!! HOLY CRAP! I'm running my lights at 45% right now because 50% is too much light for my Acan's lmao. No wonder I didn't have luck last time. I was burning the crap out of the corals lmao. At least that is what I think and keep telling myself. So I lower the intensity down to 40% just for the first test.

    I plug the cable into the lights that I had since the last module, and then I plug it into the VDM. Since I unplugged the VDM module from the Aquabus cable I went ahead and plugged that back in and boom, a nice green light and the lights lowered from 45% to 40%. Just enough that I could tell a change. Seamless!!!

    Fantastic, the VDM works, now it is time to program. And this is where I had to scratch my head a little bit because the program that they have over on the Neptune website is a little weird. I was going to use the Season Tables and have it change things automatically according to where I live, but I really don't want these lights coming on at 0600 and back off at like 1730 in the winter and I surely don't want to give these corals 14+ hours of light in the summer. So I ditched the idea of using the season table, for the most part.

    What I did was go into the season table and I edited it, every month, to do a sunrise and sunset at the exact same time every single day of the year. A time table that I know works for us. This way, I can keep their programming since they are using the season table, and typing out "If Sun 000/000 then ON" is way easier than typing out "If Time 06:00 to 21:00 Then Sun_Day". It's just easier to do it their way, and since I have to do it 3 times, once for each color, I changed that table. I guess in thinking about it, it took more work to do the season table since I had to change each month lol. But that was a copy and paste thing. But then again so would the time code... Ah well, it's done now lmao.

    As an example, here is the code that is inside the AI_Royal light on the VDM...

    If Output Moonlight = ON Then LED_Moon
    If Sun 000/-360 Then RB_Rise
    If Sun 360/000 Then RB_Set
    If Sun 060/-060 Then RB_Day
    If Time 14:55 to 19:05 Then AI_PS_Mode
    If Output Clouds = ON Then Cloudy
    If Output Storms = ON Then Stormy
    If Output Sol-On-20 = ON Then Steady20
    If Output Sol-On-70 = ON Then Steady70​

    "If" is just starting the statement. Output is either a physical or virtual outlet. Moonlight is a virtual outlet that I created. The equals sign should be self explanitory and so should ON. Basically if the virtual outlet Moonlight is on (and I will show what is in that outlet here in a second), Then (which is the classic If/Then statement lol) LED_Moon, which is a Profile on my apex. The Profile LED_Moon is set at a 5 minute ramp (I really should, and am going to change this since I can't get the If Moon statement to work since I can't modify the season table for the moon... Not sure why) with a max intensity of 3% for the moon simulation. This is why I think I sold my last module, I think it was 10% or nothing.

    The second, third and fourth line is why I modified the season table (Hindsight, you know lol). Basically daylight in the season table is called Sun. The numbers are time statements follow along with the season table. I will be changing these mainly because I forgot to for this writeup lol. Basically the straight 000/000 means the sunrise and sunset will happen right no schedule. The first number as you can see is 000/-360 which means the sunset will be delayed 6 hours, on the set (the third line of code) it is 6 hours early and the 4th line of code for day is delayed by 60, and sped up by 60. Yea, it is as confusing for me as it is for you reading this lmao. I'm sure if I played with it I could figure it out (I have a pretty good understanding kind of lol). But all 3 of those are going to go to 000/000 so they follow exactly on schedule otherwise I'm going to just use If Time which is our next line of code.

    The
    If Time 14:55 to 19:05 Then AI_PS_Mode takes the regular schedule and forces it to follow the AI_PS_Mode which is another profile I created. This profile has a 5 minute ramp (hence why the times are off by 5 minutes) to/from 30% intensity from 40 or 45, can't remember which at this time. I know some of you are going to ask, why in the world are you dimming your tank down at the peak sun times of the actual day? And the answer to that is MONEY!!! Every single hour of the day, all day, my electricity rate for June is about $0.11/kw. However between the hours of 3PM and 7PM, that rate jumps more than double to $0.26/kw!!! So during those 4 hours, I turn as much stuff off and/or down as I possibly can. And that right there should tell you why I "Invested" in DC pumps to save electricity. During those hours now, I'm showing no power draw on my Apex. Of course mine can only measure amps and not watts so there is still some power draw, but it is below 50 watts for the entire system! And everything in that tank is happy!

    The next line of code though actually trumps that last line. If Output Clouds = ON then Cloudy. I added this line after I added the last line. Basically, if the virtual outlet Clouds is on, then it will enter into the profile Cloudy. Cloudy's profile is a max intensity of 25% with minimum cloudcover intensity of 18%. The cloud duration is only set to 5 minutes, but during the time that it is on, 75% of that time will be cloudy or something below 25%. Again, I do this as a money saving feature more than anything else.

    The next statement is Storms and since I turned the lightning simulation off (don't like it), it is just like Cloudy, but goes down to 8% and is very random on when it happens. But it makes the tank much darker and in the future (probably after this post) I'm going to put the powerheads on the same Storm schedule. When i do this, when a "storm" hits, I can make the tank more eratic, higher flow, larger waves and so on to match when the tank is going through a "storm". Adds more randomness to the tank and water column. When I order the new AQLink A1 controller for my main pump, I will be putting that on the storm as well. In all reality, I'm going to use this as more of a "tank cleaning" than anything else, and I will get more into that a little later on in another post.

    Now the Sol_On_20 and Sol_On_70 are just what they look like. There is a virtual outlet with that name and there is a profile with that name as well. Those are the only two places that are linked. Nothing is set to turn the outlets on except me. Lets say it's midnight and the tank is dark but something happened in the tank, a rock fell over, a fish died or whatever, I need to get in the tank, and I need light. I can turn on either the 20 or the 70 and it will give me that percentage of light immediately. It's also good for showing your friends your tank after the lights are out. That is the only reason those are in there.

    So there you go, that is what I have been up to for the last couple of hours. Just trying to get this tank where I need it to be for the next steps that will come at a later date. For right now though, I'm going to sit here and enjoy watching the "Clouds" roll over my tank and watch my fish loving every second of it.

    Once again, I have no idea why I sold that module. I paid $100 for it, I sold it for $85, then I purchased this one for $50 so all in all I still came out ahead on this deal lol. The fact that I no longer have to put on my old man glasses to read that tiny screen that my lights came with (actually I had to purchase that separately...) and all I have to do is open my computer or my phone, or even my tablet to control the lights is worth every penny.

    As stated, the only other thing I need to get for the tank (at this time) is that controller for the main pump and guess what, I just got the OK from the wife to get it! Yup, it's game time lol. Going to be getting that on order very soon. Actually now that I think about it I need to get a DC pump for my skimmer as well. That thing pulls a crapton of energy by itself and I'm only running it on the weekends just for that reason. Okay, so I need two more things for the tank at this time lmao.... Like Rc and/or cars, the project never actually ends!!!
     
  17. D.O.G.

    D.O.G. Well-Known Member Goblin 380 Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2013
    Messages:
    2,205
    Likes Received:
    62
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Disable
    Location:
    Inverness,Florida
    Tony I'm totally amaze how you have the patience, no less the time to create a beautiful salt water tank like that. There wonderful to have, hard to maintain and easily to screw up but a "Great stress reliever"
     
  18. Tony

    Tony Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2011
    Messages:
    33,649
    Likes Received:
    1,306
    Trophy Points:
    113
    In my experience they are actually pretty easy to keep, as long as you know what to look for when things go wrong. Getting started it absolutely the hardest part. Right now I'm struggling a bit with the lighting, but I'm having to learn some new stuff and should have it sorted out in a day or two.
     
  19. Tony

    Tony Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2011
    Messages:
    33,649
    Likes Received:
    1,306
    Trophy Points:
    113
    So I just had a HUGE facepalm moment with my tank. But before we get into that, let me fill you in on some struggles that I have been having over the last few weeks.

    Lets start out with how the tank was when the sump cracked and then both of my powerheads died. Things didn't turn out very well, things died and the tank looked like crap while I figured out how to fix what had been broken. Once I figured out what to do and ordered everything that I have already talked about, it was all about water parameters. Consistently my tank PH has been 7.75 to 8.1 and the tank seemed happy. The 8.1 PH only comes when my ATO (Automatic Top Off) system turns on and doses Kalk (Pickling Lime) into the tank. This stuff has a PH of 12 and very high amounts of Calcium and Alkalinity. Well, because of the PH, I kept dosing at a rate of about 6 teaspoons of Kalk per ATO fill up, or about 5 gallons.

    Well forward a couple weeks and I tested my Calcium and Alkalinity. My Calcium was about 550 and my Alkalinity (KH) was at 11. Both are on the very high side of normal, so I backed off my kalk by half to 3 teaspoons. I figured since I no longer had those MASSIVE colony's of Monti growing in my tank, it just wasn't using as much out of the water column.

    So forward to yesterday and I tested again, and I got the exact same readings on Calcium and Alkalinity. So I figured my Magnesium had to be way off since both Calcium and Alkalinity were both high and yet my PH was still low. I was about to purchase a Magnesium test kit when I figured I would go ahead and pull out my PH calibration fluid and calibrate that PH probe.

    Before I get to the results, my tank for a while has sat at about 7.8 to 7.9 for the majority of the time, and it was stable. That is fantastic. A stable PH means a happy tank! Today I decided to kick up my Main Return Pump a little higher which lowered my sump level and caused the ATO to kick in. That took my tank up to an 8.0 PH. Pretty much what I expected. Then I decided to calibrate the probe....

    First thing is first, you have to rinse in DI water to clean off any salt water off the probe and clean it. DONE. And by the way my water at my house is a 6.43 PH, a little acidic but not too bad. Then you select your low PH test solution number, in my case it is a 7.0 solution and you swirl it around in there until the little number on the screen stops moving around. It stopped and I hit continue.

    Now you put in your High PH solution number, and mine is a PH of 10.0, selected, swirl, wait for numbers to stop bouncing around, continue and back to the main screen.

    Now it is still reading the PH from that solution at a solid 10.0. I rinse the probe off in the DI water (not sure what is in that solution, but pretty sure I don't want it in my tank lmao) and I stick it in my sump where I had it. That is when I was hit with a HUGE slap in the face!!!

    Image-1.jpg

    My PH is now at 8.43. Or should I say my PH is sitting at 8.43!!! I have an alert to warn me when my PH gets to 8.4 because my tank NEVER GETS THAT HIGH!!!!! Well, as you can see that was at 14:09 and it is now 14:40, a full 30 minutes later and my PH is STILL at 8.43!!! I send a picture of my display module to Matt and his first words are what mine were. "Time to stop dosing Kalk for a while" lmao. I'm sure I paraphrased that just slightly but you get the idea lmao.

    So yea, I have been chasing a PH number that I was already achieving, but due to an out of calibration PH probe, I thought I was low.... So now it's on to trying to lower this PH back down to a steady 8.2 where I like it. Well, between 8.2 and 8.3... It never ends with this tank lmao.
     
  20. Tony

    Tony Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2011
    Messages:
    33,649
    Likes Received:
    1,306
    Trophy Points:
    113
    As you all know, when there is good, there is also bad. But this is 'bad' that came about a while back. I'm talking about the crack in my sump that I thought was leaking water since my salinity went down. No, I'm sure it was leaking water lol.

    Day before yesterday I did a test on my tank to see where everything was at. Everything was fine except for Calcium and Alkalinity which were both high (verified by my PH reading after I calibrated it. No worries, I have made adjustments already lol). But as also stated my Nitrates were a little elevated at 10ppm. Now this is not "Dangerous Levels" by any means, but I like my Nitrates to be a little lower than that. @callsign4223 did give me a HUGE chunk of Macro algae which was a little large for my refugium, and quite honestly, I'm not that big of a fan of Grape Caulerpa. So I pulled a LOT of it out, but some of the Caulerpa still remains lol. You can NEVER get rid of that stuff which is why it is BANNED :banned: from California. You put that stuff in the ocean and it will flat take over!!!

    Taking over is the reason I left some of it in the ball of Chaeto. It grows REALLY FAST :bolt: and takes up nutrients like crazy, including nitrates! But, I just trashed 7/8's of it so all I'm left with is a little small ball. Pair that with the fact that my refugium light died and I'm getting almost no growth out of this stuff. Oh yea, and the Caulerpa can also go sexual on you and crash your entire tank. But that is quite rare lmao.

    So with higher than I like Nitrate levels and macro algae that will not grow because of no light, I needed to do a water change. So I filled up my barrel to my line that I made that equals 3 jugs and a bit of saltwater, mixed it to 1.026 salinity and let it run for a day.

    Yesterday I finally got to doing the water change and every bit of the water comes out of the sump, not the tank. Keeps the fish a little happier lmao. So I took the skimmer, filter socks, fan, heater, main pump and the old light brackets out of the sump and I grabbed my little pump and a hose to suck out the water. There was not near as much detritus on the floor of the sump as I thought there would be. No where even close to justify these nitrate levels. But, I sucked out the water from the first and second section (actually that would be the second and third section according to my original post on the sump when I built it....) and dried them out with a towel.

    Remember back in THIS POST When I found the crack in my sump? Remember how bad the tank got in a few posts after that with the green algae on the sand bed and the tank just looked like crap? Well I ended up putting a little bit of Weld-On 3 on those cracks hoping it would seal it up for a while. And it did. But while I was doing the water change and when I was drying out that last chamber, I saw the cracks again. They never went away, but this time, they are LARGER!!! This is holy **** not good!!! And yes, this time there are pictures. The second picture is of the smaller crack and the arrow is pointing to the end of it. The first picture is of the LARGE crack that has gotten larger (you can tell by where it bends) and this picture is taken at a pretty steep angle from the outside of the sump.

    IMG_1052.JPG
    IMG_1053.JPG

    Basically right now I'm kicking myself in the ass for not going out to the shop and finding a piece of scrap, cleaning it up and gluing (welding) it in there over these cracks. Also in the second picture you can see little bubbles at the bottom just above the towel, those are the micro cracks I was talking about before.

    All of this to say, I MUST build a new sump. I don't have any other choice unless I want 40+ gallons of saltwater on my floors in my house... Because this sump is going to crack, it's not if, it's when.

    Now I just need to sit down and figure up if I have enough acrylic to actually build the sump that I want, or if I'm going to have to purchase more. If I do have to purchase more, then I'm going to go for the 1/4" thick rather than this 3/16" thick stuff. Way stronger, and if I can swing it, I may even put black walls in there since I'm going to be running a pretty high powered light in the center section which will be the refugium. It will keep algae out of the skimmer/return section as well as the pump section.

    I was really hoping that I could make this a fall/winter project, but it looks like it is going to force my hand. I can still do the patch job and put it off till then especially since I have the new pumps in the main tank and all I would need to do is add an air stone to break the surface tension and add oxygen. But that is really hard on everything in the tank and I would rather not do that. I think the best thing to do is to just plan out this sump right now, get what I need to build a new one and just build it.

    I swear, it's always something with this tank lmao. But at least everything in there for the most part are happy.
     

Share This Page