drakkor

Drakkor's 29BC

65 posts in this topic

Hi! I've wanted to get a reef tank going ever since I had a saltwater fish only tank so many years ago, and so I finally took the plunge :) I've been doing a lot of reading the last several weeks, there is so much more to know about raising a reef :o

 

My tank has been set up and running for 3 months now, here is it's current state. I'm going to keep this first post updated as time goes on, see subsequent posts if you're interested in the progression from start.

 

~~~ 29G Biocube ~~~

 

Lighting:

24" 150W Sunpod MH - 14000K Phoenix

13" 28W Coralife Actinic PC

 

Circulation:

AquaClear PH802 (aka Hagen Fluval 70) return pump @400 gph

Hydor Koralia Nano @240 gph

Hydor Koralia 2 @ 600 gph

MaxiJet 900 @ 230 gph feeding chiller

 

1st chamber:

100W heater

Widened the cutout to chamber 2

 

2nd chamber:

Purigen and ChemiPure Elite

Filter floss

 

3rd chamber:

Return pump

 

Sump: (No longer using this after the move)

 

Chiller:

Current Prime 1/15hp

 

Display:

~20 Lbs live rock

20 Lbs live sand

1 Scarlet Hermit Crab

4 Blue-legged Hermit Crabs

4 Mexican Red Leg Hermit Crabs

1 Trochus Snail

1 Blue-Green Chromi

1 Mexican Red-headed Goby

1 Osc. Clown

1 Green Star Polyp (Clavularia viridis)

3 Varous Zoas

1 Orange and Purple Ricordea florida

1 Toadstool Leather (Sarcophyton sp.)

1 Red/Green Lobo Brain (Lobophyllia sp.)

1 Aussie Duncan (Duncanopsammia axifuga)

2 Unidentified Acropora sp. (white w/blue ridges, tan w/green ridges and blue tips)

1 "Purple Unknown" Acropora sp.

1 "Birds of Paradise" Birdsnest

1 "Idaho Grape" Montipora cap.

1 Birdsnest (Seriatopora hystrix)

1 Chalice (Echinophyllia aspera)

1 Kenya Tree (Nephthia sp.)

1 Blastomussa merletti

1 Blastomussa wellsi.

1 Leptastrea sp.

1 Hairy Mushroom (Rhodactis sp.)

1 Ricordia Yuma

1 Frogspawn

 

First Post:

I've still got a lot of work to do yet, but here's where it's at currently :) Obviously I'm taking my time with it.

 

Cheers

 

29bc_01.jpg

Edited by drakkor

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looks good so far you might want to get 1 or 2 pieces of LR to seed those other ones too or you might be waiting a while before theyre any good at filtering your water, obviously only when you get her up and running with water :P

Edited by Christo

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Yeah that's the plan. Going to put a little chunk of cycled LR on the right side there where it looks kind of bare. Hoping to talk them into some cycled live sand as well, we'll see if that flies ;) I gotta get some water in there first though...

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It's been a week now since I added water, and a couple pieces of cured LR to get the seeding going. The ammonia spike is over and the nitrite spike is starting to drop.

 

Current readings:

temp - 78F

salinity - 1.022

ammonia - 0ppm

nitrite - ~6ppm

 

I've also decided to go ahead with my plans to add a DIY refugium as I had most of the parts from my last tank anyway. I'm taking an old bio filter and adding some extra acryllic panels. I'm not real happy with the results but it'll do considering I didn't have any of the right tools :P I'm still letting the silicone dry, and I need to pick up some aragonite for the sand bed. Would it be cool to add some algae to it right away or should I wait until the nitrate starts going up?

 

Here's some pics...

 

Tank today

29bc_02.jpg

 

Refugium still drying

fuge1.jpg

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Hooked up my sump/refugium last night, unfortunately it didn't work too well as the HOB overflow didn't line up with the water level on the first chamber, which is the chamber I had my siphon in. It did line up with the water level in the second chamber and maintained a good level, but then I realized two problems, bubbles from the small waterfall from chamber 1 were making into the siphon, which was bound to unprime after a few hours, and if the power were lost the level of chamber 2 would rise to match that of the tank, causing the sump to take on more and more water until either the main tank level dropped low enough to stop the overflow or the sump started overflowing all over my floor! Only real solution was to make the overflow level higher, so I glued a piece of acrylic into the overflow box to make it line up with the tank water level. It'll take a few days to completely dry and unfortunatly I have live sand sitting in my sump now, oh well it should be ok, there's no livestock in the tank or sump yet anyway. Lesson learned

 

Oh and some good news, my cycle finished last week, time to turn on the lights and do a big water change to bring the Nitrate under control. I'm impatiently waiting for a brown algae bloom now :D

 

Pics to come

Edited by drakkor

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So I finally got the refugium all set up and it was working great, then I took a trip for two days and when I got back the damn air bubble trap baffles broke loose :angry: Not a disaster, it's still working but I'll need to replace that fuge some day soon, I guess my silicone must have been expired or something, gah!

 

I've got brown algea bloom, hurray!

 

Last night I also mounted my power strips/timer so they're nice and secure and not laying in a pile of wires. Also added a small clamp on light hood to the fuge with a 6500K CF bulb for the chaeto that I will be adding very soon.

 

My pumps are very loud, I think I'm going to replace the return pump with a rio 6hf as some here have suggested, need to do some more research on it first. The mj1200 in the fuge is also really loud, I'll try the old oceanic return pump in there instead.

 

Finally, one of the lights on my hood keeps going out after it heats up, probably bad wiring in the hood or ballist, damnit! I know I could probably pick up a replacement pretty cheap, but I'll probably just bite the bullet and get a lighting upgrade from nanocustoms.

 

Gotta love it!

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Figured out that the ballast of one of my lights is bad, so I need to order another one :( I modded the light hood with a Silenx 60mm fan, actually one of them didn't even work out of the box. But the one that is working is great, it's so quiet and helps blow the hot air out of the light case. Then there is the rio 6hf, loudest g.d. pump I've ever seen, what a pos, so I put the old one back in, damn my luck sucks!

 

Dropped in a CUC (5 nassarius snails and 3 scarlet hermit crabs) last weekend, as well as a blue chromi damsel. The poor chromi is so shy, I will be adding 2 more in another week, they shouldn't be kept alone anyway, they're very simple fish, but very beautiful imho.

 

[Edit] I since learned that chromi's can live fine by themselves and should only be kept in large groups if not alone. Mine is still doing fine 7 month later, he's very peaceful and eats like a piggy.

Edited by drakkor

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Quick update, things are looking good still. I've added some corals (orange ricordia, frogspawn, green star-polyp, and some zoa's). I had a 6-line wrasse for about a week but he died when the water got too hot one day :( I've since bought an air conditioner and replaced the old (read not working) fans in the hood. Here's some pics...

 

pic1.jpg

pic2.jpg

pic3.jpg

pic4.jpg

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It's been a while since I've posted any updates here, but since my last post I got a second 6-line wrasse. He was fine for about 3 months and then suddenly became very territorial and litterially chewed up most of the fins on the chromis. So I took him back to the LFS, and picked up a baby mexican red-headed goby which I've had for a week now.

 

The frogspawn died after I attempted to reactivate some purigen that was 6 months old, big mistake, it's not that expensive so it's not worth trying to clean with bleach. That episode also sent the zoas into shock, but they recovered nicely, although they haven't spread since then.

 

Finally, I picked up a lobo brain coral that has a beautiful purpleish red and green color to it, and a nice toadstool leather. I also picked up a couple trochus snails as a few of my nassarius snails have keeled over from old age or wandering into the back filter without my knowledge. These new snails are great, they take care of the glass and rocks while the nass take care of the sand! I've got more pics...

 

IMG_1843.jpg

Lobo Brain

IMG_1844.jpg

Toadstool Leather

IMG_1845.jpg

Torchus Snail and the ol' Ricordea

IMG_1848.jpg

Red-headed Goby

IMG_1853.jpg

The zoa's have grown since the last shots

IMG_1849.jpg

FTS

IMG_1846.jpg

Refugium and plumbing

IMG_1847.jpg

The back chambers and overflow for the sump.

Edited by drakkor

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I like...hows the base rock? is it live yet?

 

So far the set up looks great...when the corals grow they will fill out the tank really nice

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Hi,

 

Yeah the base rock is definitely live, there's tons of worms, pods, algae, heck even coraline is growing on it now, so I must be doing somethig right :)

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more corals

 

I know, I'm so slow about adding new things... But I did add a few more zoas and a clove xenia (that's spreading like wildfire!). I need to add pics of those :)

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Update, I moved! It was a huge pain in the ass and kept me up until 7am but amazingly nothing died in the move. To move I scraped all of the coraline off of the back and dumped all of the old sand. I also didn't hook the sump back up, it just wasn't worth the extra complexity for me. So now the base is new sand, much finer than what I had before and I can't say I really like it, it tends to make drifts. Anyway, pictures...

 

Full tank shots after the move, notice the lack of purple on the back :(

IMG_4229.jpg

IMG_4230.jpg

 

And I got a great deal on MH lights, a 24" 150W sunpod, thanks Gene!

IMG_4576.jpg

IMG_4580.jpg

 

The zoas are hanging in there, the orangecicles (middle) and kiwi's (right) really took off, the eagle eyes (left) have since started to die back, I'm sure the new lights will help a lot.

IMG_4452.jpg

 

The toadstool leather just keep growing, it's crazy comparing it to the old pics just how big it's gotten.

IMG_4463.jpg

 

My lobo brain is still around, but doesn't fill out like it used to, while I'm sure the new lights will help, I'm also going to start feeding it each week.

IMG_4577.jpg

 

The fishies are still happy and healthy, here's the red-headed goby and osc. clown.

IMG_4460.jpg

IMG_4465.jpg

 

Finally, here's just a fun pic with lunar lights only over a long exposure.

IMG_4583.jpg

 

 

So I'm excited to have a MH light now, I was really bummed that I wasn't getting the growth I was hoping for with the stock hood, hence the lack of new corals (why waste the money if they're just going to slowly die off right?). SPS, clams, it's all possible now so this thread should start being more interesting :)

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After the move I've been having a problem keeping the cyanobacteria in check. I'm very good about doing 20% water changes every week using good water so I think the problem is flow. My new koralia 2 came in today (along with some loc-line that was the wrong size).

 

Before:

IMG_4614.jpg

 

On my last water change I used a baster to blow as much as I could off of the rocks and scooped up what I could in the sand, it looks much better now, but that only takes care of the symptom. Here's a shot with the new koralia 2 and my new actinics.

 

After:

IMG_4617.jpg

 

Need to call Marine Depot and find out what the deal is with the loc-line and get the right size. Still slowly acclimating for the new lights, but soon I'll be ready to get serious and stock stock stock! :lol:

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Apparently 3/4" loc-line has a 1" diameter, not sure where they get the measurements from but oh well, gotta return it for 1/2" loc-line. Should have done more research on that one, doh!

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Found a ball anemone hanging out under a ledge trying to be coy. I already killed one when I got the clove polyps but somehow this one came out of nowhere. This time I'm going to just leave it alone as long as it doesn't get too big and start spreading like crazy.

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B) I recently stumbled across el fabuloso's DIY auto topoff post and it was so simple, easy and safe that I just had to give it a try. I didn't have all of the parts handy but it only cost me about $20 and an hour to put it together. Here's my stab at it.

 

Parts:

12' of air-line tubing

Air-line couplers (came w/tubing)

Rigid air-line tube

Air pump

2 Over the door hangers

Extension cord

2 zip ties

2 electric cord screw caps

3/4" float switch FLT015 from Chicago Sensor

1 gallon bottle

 

Tools:

Wire cutters & strippers

Black electrical tape

Drill & bits

Utility knife

Super glue

 

IMG_4618.jpg

IMG_4626.jpg

 

Steps:

I started with the switch holder that would eventually hold the switch securely in the 3rd chamber above the return pump. Note that if you do something like this you don't want the switch too close to any motors as it relies on a magnetic reed switch to operate and your motor will interfere with its operation. But my water level is pretty high in that chamber so it wasn't close to the pump.

 

I took the two over the door hangers and cut them up by scoring a line with the utility knife and snapping the plastic, pretty quick and easy. I also drilled a hole in one of them where I would mount the sensor.

 

The small L piece I glued to the larger L piece (w/o the hole in it) such that it would hang over the back of the tank just right and not slide around. I mounted the switch onto the other L piece (w/ the hole) as seen in the pictures below.

 

IMG_4622.jpg

IMG_4624.jpg

 

Next I tackled the lid of the water bottle. The one I bought is just a 1 gallon from safeway, the lid just snaps on. I drilled two small holes in the top and glued the air-line couplers in place. At first I just used super glue but after 10 min it wasn't dry so I ended up putting some marine putty around it, that worked out well.

 

I then cut a length of the rigid tubing so that it was about an in shorter than the bottle is tall. I cut a 1/2" in or so piece of rubber air-line to connect one of the couplers to the rigid tube, this lets the tube move around a bit without putting pressure on the cap.

 

IMG_4631.jpg

IMG_4632.jpg

 

Next up was the wiring. I began by splitting the extension cord down the center and cutting one of the lines. I used an extension cord that does not have ground holes so that I would be sure not to accidently cut more than one wire, plus the air pump doesn't have a ground pin anyway. With wire strippers I stripped both ends of the cut extension cord as well as the switch wires.

 

I twisted each end of the extension cord to an end of the switch wires and used an electrical screw cap to really make a good (and safe) connection. Then I wrapped the whole wad up with a bunch of electrical tape.

 

IMG_4627.jpg

IMG_4628.jpg

IMG_4629.jpg

 

Once that was done I used zip ties to attach the two L shaped switch hanger pieces together. I did not make them as tight as possible, just hand tight. This allows the two pieces to slide so that I can adjust the switch position but they are tight enough to ensure no movement when installed.

 

IMG_4630.jpg

 

The final step was simply to attach the ATO to the tank. The switch was placed into the 3rd chamber above the return pump . I put the air pump and water bottle in the stand with the pump above the water. I ran an air-line to the bottle, connecting it to the coupler that was not connected to the rigid pipe. Finally I ran another piece of airline from the other coupler up to the back of the tank, hanging it just above the first chamber.

 

IMG_4633.jpg

IMG_4634.jpg

 

Results:

I'm actually quite impressed with how well this is working so far. The float switch was very easy to position and is very sensitive. It's a real relief not to have to worry about topping off all the time and not worrying about salinity spikes.

 

The switch itself has a lot of possiblities for mounting, I just happened to have those door hangers that I wasn't using so they worked out really well. In fact the company that sells the switches has a product called mold-a-holder that is just a thin strip of plastic that you can make plyable by boiling it and the molding to fit the tank, pretty neat stuff.

 

Discussion here, I got some great feedback about this design and I totally agree with it all. I'm not happy about having AC run across the little reed switch and having it so close to the water. So I'm going with a slightly modified version using DC power and an aqualifter instead of pushing the water up with air pressure. Stay tuned.

 

I've since modified my design a little to extend the life of the switch, check it out.

Edited by drakkor

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While I hesitate to post more pics since this page never seems to wrap around (why no comments pplz?) I'm adding a few more. The right size loc line came in this week and as others have noted it was difficult to snap together without the tool but viola, it's in and I've moved the sand back into some normality. So far no drifts, and lots of wavey movement, I just hope it's enough flow on the ground to keep the cyano at bay.

 

IMG_4637.jpg

IMG_4644.jpg

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100th post! Just wanted to wrap to page 2 :)

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Found a ball anemone hanging out under a ledge trying to be coy. I already killed one when I got the clove polyps but somehow this one came out of nowhere. This time I'm going to just leave it alone as long as it doesn't get too big and start spreading like crazy.

 

Found another two near the bottom, on second thought I think it's about time to feed them some more calcium milkshakes.

 

After the move I've been having a problem keeping the cyanobacteria in check. I'm very good about doing 20% water changes every week using good water so I think the problem is flow. My new koralia 2 came in today (along with some loc-line that was the wrong size).

 

Before:

IMG_4614.jpg

 

It's been about two weeks now, the new pump and split return have really done a good job of keeping the cyano at bay. I had also added a half dozen little blue legged hermits before that to replenish the CUC, that might have helped too.

 

Oh also, no more sand drifts hurray!

Edited by drakkor

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Found another two near the bottom, on second thought I think it's about time to feed them some more calcium milkshakes.

 

 

 

It's been about two weeks now, the new pump and split return have really done a good job of keeping the cyano at bay. I had also added a half dozen little blue legged hermits before that to replenish the CUC, that might have helped too.

 

Oh also, no more sand drifts hurray!

 

I'm gonna try your mods. Thanks for your input.

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I'm gonna try your mods. Thanks for your input.

 

Cool, hope it helps out with the cyano you're seeing in your tank. That stuff is such a pain.

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Man that toadstool leather is awesome! Love the tank great job.

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Man that toadstool leather is awesome! Love the tank great job.

 

Thanks :) It's been a little frustrating since I put the new lights in because it loves the actinics so much that now it's always facing toward the back, and just goes into hiding when the MH kicks on. I can't really move it without rearranging the rock work and pumps, the only other option I can think of is to turn the actinics off or only run them for a few hours in the evening when the MH turns off.

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