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Who's Into Saltwater?

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

< Show Your Smoker In Action | Louisiana Is Slooooooow >
  1. Tony

    Tony Administrator Staff Member

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    Just ordered 220lbs of salt for my tank. That is about 800 gallons worth of water for my tank. I think I'm good for the year on water changes.
     


  2. murankar

    murankar Moderator Staff Member Armed Forces

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    How his everything recovering?
     
  3. Tony

    Tony Administrator Staff Member

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    slowly.
     
  4. Tony

    Tony Administrator Staff Member

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    So I have been playing around with the time lapse feature on a new plugin that I have on octoprint. Having a little bit of a hard time trying to get the camera to stay focused on teh item rather than the background. Still a work in progress. Here is a quick video showing the process.

     
  5. Tony

    Tony Administrator Staff Member

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    Here is the latest time lapse. This one is pretty cool, but still over exposed. Still fine tuning.

    And yes, the above video and this video are both aquarium related lol. The video above is a holder for my test kits. Cheap test kits, but they get the job done. This video is a little vacuum attachment for my MJ1200 powerhead / pump. Works great at cleaning out a sump (ahem @callsign4223)

     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2019
  6. Tony

    Tony Administrator Staff Member

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    Alright, here is a pictureless update. I will be adding some pictures when I have a little more to show. Right now though, I really don't have anything different to show other than a dead acro...

    Last year I started a project to see just how low I could get my current draw in my tank. I replaced the AC power heads, not because I needed to, but because I had to. The magnets ended up cracking and swelling because of rust. Ferrous metal plus saltwater equals perfect home for iron oxide or better known as rust lol. These magnets were so bad they actually stopped spinning because they were touching the inside of the motor housing. So they had to be replaced. And I replaced them with two PP-15's from Jebao and even though Matt (Callsign4223) said they were too big, I think they are perfect.

    I get to run the powerheads between 40% & 60% power and I get an awesome wave action in my tank. But, once a day I have them run at 100% for 5 minutes, alternating back and forth 5 seconds on, 5 seconds off and this stirs up the junk in the tank and it can go into my sump where it is trapped in the filter socks. These power heads have lowered my power consumption by a good margin. But, it wasn't my largest draw that I could get rid of.

    The largest power draw of my tank (now that I run LED lights anyway) was my return pump. I had two pumps, a 900GPH and a 1200GPH. I mainly run the 900GPH because it was less power draw and when these things are pulling about 200+ watts of power 24/7/365, that gets expensive. So I replaced that 900GPH pump with a Jebao 10,000LPH pump. That is a substantial increase in flow if I ran it at 100%. 10,000 liters per hour is just over 2600 gallons per hour. Yea, it's a massive upgrade. But this is a DC pump, it is more efficient and it is quieter. But most of all, it is controllable. I don't run this thing at 100%. I had to run the 900 at 100% because I had no choice. The Jebao I run at about 50% and get about the same flow, maybe just a little less than I did with the 900GPH. But I went from drawing over 200 watts of power with the 900, to only drawing 26 watts of power with the Jebao! Talk about a substantial savings.

    Aside from any pumps, the highest power drawing item in my tank is my 300 watt heater, but there is nothing I can do about that. It heats the water, there is no other way to do it than to stick a high powered heater in there and call it done. I do need to replace my heater though since it is about 8 years old I think, and they usually only last about 3 years.... But, I have another heater that I use in my barrel if this one goes out. And yes, I have alarms setup on my apex to text me and email me if the water temp falls below 75.

    So now that I have the power heads and main pump replaced with Jebao pumps and I'm pulling a lot less power, and sans my lights or heater, what draws the most power now? That would be my skimmer. It still has an AC pump driving it and when it turns on, I know it because it pulls 1.4-1.5 amps of current. My house voltage is 120vAC. That equates out to 168-180 watts of power. We are talking about main pump (900) power here! Which is the reason I have it come on at 0400 in the morning and turn off at 1455 in the afternoon. Not even 12 hours of run time for the skimmer.

    Most people will tell you to run your skimmer non stop, and I'm sure most people do this. But when my skimmer is the largest power draw of my tank, I find it hard to keep it running. I don't like high electricity bills, I would rather put that money back into the tank in the form of livestock or something. So it is time to make a change.

    I ordered a new Jebao DCS 2000 DC pump that I"m going to have to play with to get to adapt to the skimmer. This pump is tiny compared to what I have now, but pushes more water. I will have to either purchase or make a needle wheel for this pump unless I can take the wheel off of the current skimmer pump and make it work on the new pump. That would be awesome if I could do that!

    Of course, as is with most cheap products, I had to order that pump from China, and it is expected here within a week to a month from now. It will get here when it gets here lol. But I'm not done playing just quite yet. I have a cool new 3D printer and I have been putting it through it's paces (more on the specifics later in another post). I have made some outflow nozzles that randomize the flow of water coming from the sump into the main tank. They want something like $35 for these online already made. Um, NO! The plans are free on thingiverse and all you have to do is play with the settings to get them to fit your locline. And that is what I have done. But, I printed the test pieces out in florescent yellow PLA and under the royal blue lights, these things light up bright as anything at night. VERY bright! So yesterday, my black PLA came in and I'm now printing two new nozzles as I'm typing this.

    So that brings me to my next project, automating EVERYTHING with my Neptune Apex Controller. Right now, I have my powerheads, lights and return pump sorta controlled by the apex as well as the skimmer. But the return pump is adjustable, and I can't adjust it. The skimmer is either on or off, nothing I can do there. So I ordered something that I wanted last year, and that is a controller for the main pump that connects to the apex. With this controller, I can adjust not only the forward and reverse direction, but I can adjust the intensity of the flow. This means, when that 100% powerhead cycle begins, I can raise the flow of the main pump to help flush that crap down into my sump and into my filter socks. I can also randomize the flow throughout the day and have it calm at night. And I can adjust all of this from my phone or tablet while I'm at the tank. No having to get under the tank and mess with a control box that is now covered in salt creep. lol.

    The A1 controller for the main pump will be here today. And I can't wait. It just arrived at my post office and should be Out For Delivery any time now. Time to play with more code hehe.

    The next thing I purchased for my tank is a new Double Junction PH Probe. The one that I have is the one that I have had since I purchased the Apex back in 2013 I think. Well, that is the year that is stamped on the PH probe anyway. And my probe is a single junction, not as good, little lower quality. Now I did cheap out and went with the BRS DJ probe instead of the Neptune DJ probe. There is about a $20 difference, but BRS are pretty good about getting quality items to sell. Their RO/DI systems are some of the best on the market, and yes, I use one. In fact, I just completely rebuilt it lol. It was time.

    This still leaves me with the cracked sump that has been cracked for quite a while. I'm sure you all remember that, well anyone that has read this thread remembers that lol. I'm still using that sump, the refugium section is still completely dry with no water in it and it is still kind of working. The macro algae in the return section is extremely thick and I'm about to have to pull some out and toss it because it is getting very close to my sump level switch. Not a good thing if it touches it. But that still leaves everything under the tank in the stand.

    Yes, leaving everything inside the stand makes for a very clean install and you can't see anything but the tank from the outside. But remember when I said the main pump controller was covered with salt creep, that is pretty much the way it is for the whole sump area. The controller is the worst, but there is still some on other items under there, including one of two EB8 power strips. Yea, salt and 120 volts of AC power lol. What could possibly go wrong.

    So what I want to do is pull out everything from under the stand except for what has to be under there. The breakout box can stay since it is an open or closed sensor, no electricity. The lights have to stay including my light on my refugium (if you want to call it that) which is also 120 volts. Need to find a low power LED solution for that... But the two energy bars (that is what the EB stands for in EB8) need to come out, I want my powerhead controller to come out, I don't want to install the new main pump controller down there, the Apex needs to come out and I know I"m forgetting something.

    I said all of that to say, I am thinking of building a little cabinet to go on the side of the tank. It will be permanently mounted to the tank stand and will have a door that I can open to access all of the different 'things' I have that connect to the Apex. I will have holes drilled through the stand so that I can run wires for pumps and whatnot, but I will use either rubber or the fiber barrier to help keep the humidity out of the new cabinet. I can also use the top of the cabinet for a work surface type area if I need to set anything down or have it a little higher up to work on the top of the tank. I'm still planning this out but I'm pretty sure it is going to happen.

    So at this time, that is my update. If you are interested in how I am going to program my main pump, let me know and I will try to make a writeup about it with pictures or even maybe a video. Since I don't have a filter for my camera to look at the tank, there is no reason to get video of the tank. Way too blue for a camera.
     
  7. Tony

    Tony Administrator Staff Member

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    Okay, I have to retract my previous statement about the Acro being dead. For those that don't know, I have a Pink Birdsnest Acro that I have had for about a year. This little guy has been a struggle and he took a downturn lately and I thought completely died. I just looked closer a minute ago and I saw some places that were no longer white (bare skeleton) and they were not brown (algae) or purple (caroline algae), they were a pink color. So I looked closer, and I saw tentacles poking out. This is on the far bottom left of the coral. I think there are some other places as well. But, it's not dead!

    The picture below was taken with an iPhone 6S+ fully zoomed in, then I cropped the picture to zoom in even more when I made the image below. So resolution is crap, but you can see the little tentacles sticking out. This makes me happy.

    Maybe I should call them polyps.... Not sure lmao.

    IMG_1351.JPG
     
  8. murankar

    murankar Moderator Staff Member Armed Forces

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    Time for the rebuild of the tank. Hopefully it rebuilds nicely.
     
  9. Tony

    Tony Administrator Staff Member

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    Rebuild of the colony maybe, if I rebuild this tank, I'm going bigger lmao.
     
  10. murankar

    murankar Moderator Staff Member Armed Forces

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    Well in its current state your rebuilding the eco system.

    Maybe you'll solve that sump issue you had, or did you solve that already?
     
  11. Tony

    Tony Administrator Staff Member

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    The sump is still cracked. I did empty it out (back when I found it) and I put a little weld-on 3 on it to help seal it. It's not 100% sealed, but it's slow enough that it doesn't matter. I need to get my butt out to the shop and make my new sump, but I really don't want to lol. Building this sump was stressful. But I also need to build that new sump so that I can get my refugium up and running again like it is supposed to be. For now, I only have Cheato macro algae in my return chamber which is not the best idea, but it's growing like crazy lol. So I'm leaving it.
     
  12. murankar

    murankar Moderator Staff Member Armed Forces

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    Wasn't your water having a high fluctuations in the ph or something? I remember distressing out over the chemical imbalance being caused from the refugum?
     
  13. Tony

    Tony Administrator Staff Member

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    Ah yea, it was dropping my PH, the refugium that is. And that was because of the really slow flow I had going through it. The new sump will have a larger refugium with 100% talk water flow, which is actually too fast, but will work. It's pretty much what I'm doing now with the macro in the return chamber, but I don't have any sand for more critters. I don't put sand in the same chamber as my return pump for obvious reasons.

    But I also have a new PH probe coming that is better than the "lab grade" that I have now. I think some of the swings that I"m seeing are false readings so we will see. I'm also receiving some fresh calibration fluid for the PH probe so that I can compare fresh with the calibrations fluid that I already have. Both are 7.01 and 10.01 and when I tested it the other day, I hit 7.13 and 10.00 when I used my current PH probe to test. When I get the new solution, I will test the new solution and calibrate my probe to that, then I will use the probe to test my old calibration fluid to see how far out, if any, it is. I'm hoping it's not out by much if any.
     
  14. Tony

    Tony Administrator Staff Member

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    In the last update that had a picture, you saw that my Acro was still alive. I'm still very happy about that. But I figured it was time to give you the real update of the whole tank as it is right now. It's going to be lengthy but I hope to cover everything. I don't yet have my PH probe, upgraded DI system or my new pump for the skimmer. So without further adont, lets get this show on the road.

    Lets start off with the corals. The first one up is my Montipora. This is the one that used to have a little bit of green in it, but I am not holding my breath that it will show any green ever again. But it is definitely growing and showing a lot of new little polyps and you can see the white tips on the parts that are starting to grow again. This is only after two water changes! And they were not that large.

    IMG_1370.JPG

    As you can see, it is making a HUGE comeback! I am happy about this as well as the Acro lol. Every one of those white spots you see that have a rounded edge is a new plate forming. To say I'm going to have a lot of them is an understatement!

    Next, lets take a look at the Acan's. These guys have never been happier than they are right now. The other day I tossed in some frozen food into the tank and and the large orange one almost turned inside out it was so large. It was trying to inflate its tentacles to reach the food. It looked awesome. I was able to get it to do it one other time, but the rest of the time, this is what he looks like.

    IMG_1371.JPG

    Sorry for the blurry picture, I had to take the picture fast before it was blown out by the blue light and I guess I moved a little. I need to get a filter to put on my phone.

    The next Acan is the other orange one that is down and to the right of the large orange one. This one has stayed closed for a very long time, but in the last week, he has opened up a lot and looks fantastic!

    IMG_1372.JPG

    Again, the picture is crap, sorry about that.

    The third one is my smallest Acan and most people would say this is the ugliest one they have seen. But, the reason I got it was because of the Purple ring around the mouth. Sadly, it doesn't come out on these photos that well. But it is there. This little guy again, like the last one, has stayed closed for a very long time. He is no longer that way and is as happy as he has ever been in my tank!

    IMG_1373.JPG

    The next coral is one of my softies. This is the Zoa colony. To say that this thing has taken off is an understatement. It used to only be on the frag plug that you can see on the right, but now, it is trying to cover that rock it is on. I think I'm going to let it lol.

    IMG_1374.JPG

    Now we are up to the Acan. Most of this guy is dead, but some of him is still alive and I wanted this picture to show what it was able to come back from. This comeback is going to be amazing!!!

    IMG_1375.JPG

    Next up is my Chalice. This guy is very slow growing, but he is growing. I'm hoping with the better water quality, it will start growing faster. When I received him, he only had two eyes (the orange part), now he has way more than that lol. If you want proof of growth, look at the last picture I posted of him, and compare the lower right where he is touching the rock. You can see that he is trying to grow over to the rock, which is what I want him to do.

    IMG_1381.JPG

    This next picture is of my wifes Firework Clove Polyps. They are still not doing that great, but I'm working on it.

    IMG_1382.JPG

    Next is my Torch coral. He has not really grown, just tolerated the lack of care. Hoping to see some growth soon out of him.

    IMG_1383.JPG

    The Leptastrea. Funny name, awesome coral lol. This guy is just loving life. I just noticed last night that the shaded parts of him are darker than the parts that are getting full light. I think he is getting too much light, but he is doing what he needs to do to survive.

    IMG_1384.JPG

    So next up is the Hammer coral. This is the hammer that paid for most of the other corals in the tank lol. This little guy is in his own little hole towards the top and in stronger flow and lighting than the mother colony. But he is loving it!

    IMG_1385.JPG

    Speaking of the mother colony, Here she is just loving life lol. About time to frag this one and go make some more money. Well, turn it in for more corals lmao.

    IMG_1386.JPG

    Of course the GSP is doing great. Wish it would die. This colony I can just remove out of the tank, but because I can do that, and he has nothing but sand all around him, I'm leaving him.

    IMG_1387.JPG

    This colony though is on the bottom center rock that is resting against the glass and is not removable. I will need to do something different to get rid of this coral. I'm thinking about trying a Kalk slurry injected directly into him. I will have to do this slowly since it can and will raise the PH of my tank. But I want this colony gone!

    IMG_1388.JPG

    And then there are these little guys. These guys popped up while my tank was not in good shape. So they thrive in poor conditions which had me thinking this was a pest that I needed to take care of. Turns out, these are called Ball Anemone's and are not "bad", but you definitely want to keep their numbers in check. Right now I have about a dozen of them so not that bad. And they look kind of cool These guys are about 5-8mm in diameter. So they are quite small. And that red stuff, that is red cyano. I'm working on it...

    IMG_1389.JPG

    One if the items that I have been wanting to order for about a year is a controller so that I can connect up my main return pump to my Apex controller. But these things are $65 so they are not cheap. But because my pump is a DC pump that works off sine waves, it needs "this" controller. Obviously I ordered it and connecting it up was quite simple. wire you see on the bottom is the power wire that used to power the pump. Behind the tank drain (pipe to the left) is the wire that comes out of the controller and into the pump itself. The little thing that looks like a button in the top right, isn't. It's nothing. This little fact has been bugging me for a year lol. The light stays on solid green, never does anything else. Guess it's working haha.

    then there is the blue wire coming out of the top (again, behind the drain) is the control that goes to the Apex.

    IMG_1390.JPG

    The blue wire goes into this module, which is my VDM module, or Variable Dimming Module. So I guess VDM Module is redundant hahaha. As you can see, the blue cable, which is just a standard ethernet cable that I made, goes from the A1 pump controller into the V1/V2 port on the VDM. I'm pretty sure I did a post on this, but in case I didn't, this is the module that I purcahsed to run my lights. I had my lights running off of the stock AI controller, but I wanted to control them from my Apex. So I needed this module. The gray plug in the bottom is going straight up to one of my LED lights that light the tank, and a crossover wire goes from that light to the second one. If you are interested in the setup of this little guy, I will make a video. Yes, a video. There is a LOT to cover lol. Then the USB looking wire on the far left on the bottom goes over to one of my EB8's (main power brick) where it connects to the Apex main unit which controls it. I had the flash on for this picture, don't ask why lol.

    IMG_1393.JPG

    This is where the old controller used to be. As you can see by the salt creep, it was a bad place to keep it. I was hoping it would die and give me a reason to get the A1 module lol. Didn't work.

    IMG_1391.JPG

    and here is where the old module is now, on my desk where I can play with it until I get bored with it and put it in a box to forget where it is when the A1 dies lmao.

    IMG_1394.JPG

    Since we are down in the sump area, lets take a look at what that Cheato Macro Algae looks like...

    IMG_1392.JPG

    Yea, to say it is growing is an understatement. It is about time to pull some out and get rid of it.

    So lets talk about what is new. I ordered a TW10 pump that I was hoping I could use to mix salt water. It was a smaller pump but knowing these guys, it would be a powerful pump. And it is, for its size.

    IMG_1395.JPG

    The problem is, its size. The word "cute" comes to mind.

    IMG_1396.JPG

    In a 55 gallon barrel, it can keep the water moving, and I guess that is what I can use it for, but for mixing it just will not work. Just not powerful enough. The good news though is that when I purchased my PP-15's that are in the tank, then ordered the controller to connect them to my Apex, I was left with two controllers and it works great with this little pump. Pic below. But I may be sending this to Matt for his 20g experiment.

    IMG_1401.JPG

    One of the huge changes that I wanted to make was actually doing water changes. But I mean come on. You have to order the salt, mix it, heat it, take it out of the tank, put it back in the tank, and when you run out of salt, you need to order more at $60 a box. Well, I found a stupid cheap sale online and ended up ordering 4 boxes lmao. This is enough salt to do a 15 gallon water change every week for the entire year and still have some left over. So one of those equations is taken out. Now there is just the "doing it" part lmao. Im trying lol.

    IMG_1397.JPG

    In the lower right of the above picture you see my fresh water 5 gallon bucket (is it a bucket? lol) and it hasn't had a lid on it since I got it. So I 3D printed a new one lmao. It doesn't fit tight, but it will keep the dust and crud out of the very clean water. below is a closer look at it.

    IMG_1398.JPG

    Speaking of 3D printing, I was tired of not having a place to keep all of my API test kits. So I printed a base that holds not only the 6 vials, but also up to 12 bottles and the paperwork. Sadly I will not be using any of this ever again. More on this at a later date.

    IMG_1399.JPG
    IMG_1400.JPG

    Another thing that I wanted was a different set of outflow nozzles that return water to the tank. I wanted a venturi design that uses high pressure water in the center to pull water that was already in the tank in through the sides. This was my first, well second go at it. I started out with white that the printer came with, in fact it was my very first print. Then I tried the florescent yellow. Well....

    IMG_1402.JPG

    Yea, under Royal Blue lights, these things glow like they are radioactive! So I printed out a pair of them in Black. Hidden and I like them.

    IMG_1408.JPG

    Below are the ones that I had on there since I purchased the tank.

    IMG_1409.JPG

    Here is a whole tank shot. The algae on the sand looks worse than it is (finally) but I have a product, that when the owner of the company returns, will ship it to me that should help out with this little issue. I hope at least.

    IMG_1403.JPG

    Here is an update shot of my sump area. I have some plans to remove a lot of this from under here. I don't like having all of this high voltage around salt water. So I'm working on a little solution, more in the future.

    IMG_1404.JPG

    I'm sure you remember my Apex controller or Display Module as they call it. I have already rewired this little guy from that thin as paper wire they ship it with to a proper wire. Well, this guy is just too frustrating to use when you are trying to do a water change, turn on and off pumps and so on...

    IMG_1405.JPG

    That is where this little tablet comes into play. As you can see, I have the dashboard up and I actually just finished doing a water change on the tank. I'm loving this and plan on making a case that will secure it a little better to the edge of the tank like you see it here. And of course the Yellow Tang and Mr. Buttface have to say high. No, I don't call him buttface, but I can't post what I DO call him lmao. Again, algae on the sand looks worse in this picture than it really is.

    IMG_1407.JPG

    So that is my update at this point. I have been doing a lot with the tank and I will be doing a lot more in the coming weeks. I have some packages that are coming and when I receive them I will post up what I'm doing. Here's to hoping the tank gets better soon.
     
  15. murankar

    murankar Moderator Staff Member Armed Forces

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    looking much better and glad things are coming around on the tank.

    And all that wire under that tank is a fire waiting to happen. Hope you move it soon. lol.
     
  16. Tony

    Tony Administrator Staff Member

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    Nah, it's not a fire hazard, not the wires anyway. The 16 ports of 120vAC with salt creep on it, yea, that is a fire hazard lmao. I have plans to clean this up. There is no way I can remove all power from the tank, I still need the heater and they don't make a DC heater yet for our tanks that I know of with a low voltage and high current. At this time, the only thing touching water that needs high voltage is the heater and the skimmer pump. I'm hoping to get the skimmer pump replaced soon though, so that just leaves the heater. The rest of the stuff is all low voltage DC which will not hurt anything if we have a little voltage leak. Mains voltage on the other hand, yea...
     
  17. murankar

    murankar Moderator Staff Member Armed Forces

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    either way you need to get that mess organized.
     
  18. Tony

    Tony Administrator Staff Member

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    Working on it, I promise. It's all in my head right now, but I need to get some wood and make it happen. Now where did I put that little blue pill....
     
  19. murankar

    murankar Moderator Staff Member Armed Forces

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  20. Tony

    Tony Administrator Staff Member

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    Sent this video to @callsign4223

    He called me a "Show-Off" lmao.

     
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