XIII

XIII's Nano Cube - 28 Gallon LED

174 posts in this topic

6358546873_208b9ffbf5.jpg

As of 11/17/11

 

 

Tank Established: May 29, 2010

 

This is my first foray into the world of saltwater aquariums and reefing. I have spent many years researching the hobby and following many different communities and equipment developments during this time, and after a very long and very patient wait have finally taken the plunge and acquired my own tank and setup. This thread will allow me to chronicle this adventure, and to ask you the community and experienced hobbyists for advice, support, and feedback throughout this journey. So thank you in advance, and I look forward to join your ranks of successfully established reefers.

 

Tank Specs

 

Display: Stock 28g Nano Cube LED tank and stand

Lighting: Stock Nano Cube LED lighting (Dawn/Dusk, Day, and Moonlight)

~ Daylight = 25 x 3 Watt @ 14K

~ Dawn/Dusk = 4 x 3 Watt @ Actinic/466nm

~ Moon = 2 x 1 Watt @ Nite-Vu/456nm

~ Lighing Schedule:

- 7:00am Moonlights turn on

- 9:00am Dawn/Dusk lights turn on

- 10:00am Moon lights turn off

- 11:00am Day lights turn on

- 5:00pm Day lights turn off

- 8:00pm Moon lights turn on

- 9:00pm Dawn/Dusk lights turn off

- 10:00pm Moon lights turn off

Filtration:

~ 33lbs of Live Rock; mix of Bali Alor, Fiji, Vanuatu, Pacific, Tonga, Namoli, and Totoka.

~ 35lbs of white Aragonite live sand

~ Modified media basket (inspired by urbaneks's design) with filter floss, ChemiPure, & PuriGen

~ AquaC Remora HOB Skimmer w/ Accela Powerhead (266gph) (setup in chambers 2 and 4)

~ TLF PhosBan Reactor (setup as HOB w/ Rio 50gph pump in chamber 5)

Equipment: Jager 100W Heater, MagFloat, Refractometer, Turkey Baster

Circulation:

~ (1) stock Accela Powerheads (266gph) in rear chambers

~ JBJ Mini Arctica 1/15HP Chiller w/ MaxiJet 1200 (295gph) running inline as a main return

~ EcoTech Vortech MP10 (set at 60% in Reef Crest Mode)

Controller: ReefKeeper Lite Plus Controller (for a 5 stage lighting cycle in addition to pH and temp monitoring)

 

Livestock:

 

Fish:

~ Occelaris Clowns, mated pair (tank-raised)

~ Pygmy Hawk (Highfin Perchlet)

~ Coral Beauty Dwarf Angel (Hybrid)

Inverts:

~ Rose Bubble Tip Anemone

~ Clean Up Crew: Dwarf Cerith snails, Florida Cerith snails, Nassarius Vibex snails, Nerite snails, Bumblebee snails, Periwinkles, Trochus snails, 1 Halloween Hermit crab, 2 Scarlet hermit crabs, 2 blue leg hermit crabs, 1 zebra hermit crab, assorted dwarf hermit crabs, 1 Emerald Mithrax Crabs, 1 Skunk Cleaner Shrimp

Corals:

~ SPS:

Montipora

- Pink/Orange Montipora Capricornis

~ LPS:

Frogspawn

- Green with purple tips

Torch

- Purple with green tips

Candy Cane

- Blue

Dendro

- Yellow/Orange Large Polyp

Duncans

- Long tentacled blue/green and white

Blastomussa

- Red & Green Aussie Blasto Wellsi

Gonipora

- Hulk Goni

Acans

- Pink Candy Cane Acan

- Red and Yellow Aussie Acan

- Blue Acan

Favia

- Ice Ice Baby Favia

- Superman Favia

Chalice

- Miami Hurricane Echinophyllia

- Independence Day Chalice

Goniastrea

- Neon green and blue

~ Soft Corals:

~ Tyree Neon Green Toadstool Leather

~ Green Star Polyps

~ Blue Solomon Tree

~ Clavularia Liam's Cloves

~ Superman Mushroom

~ White and Green Frilly Mushroom

~ Palys:

- Armageddon

- Armor of God

~ Zoas:

- Dragon's Breath

- Joker's

- Orange with Blue Centers

- Orange Long Lash Eagle Eyes

- Sweet Georgia Peach

- Blueberry Lovers

- Green Center

- Pink Center

Edited by XIII

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Tank arrived on May 5, 2010, and despite a few scrapes and dings in the packaging, everything was 100% OK.

4622437364_f0b44faa5f.jpg4622451884_dc54b3e11a.jpg

 

Water fill test - no leaks, no cracks, and no signs of other damage.

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Full tank setup.

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Rear chambers with the AquaC Remora in position, with the intake located in the left side chamber 4 (you have to remove the main display pump return joint to fit the Remora pump, and then reattach it) and the return in chamber 2 (which is where I will also have the temp and pH probes from the RKL+). I'm still using the stock media basket (waiting for another part to come in to build my upgraded one) and will be running with the foam block and carbon only in it for the first week while the water "ages" and during the first week of live rock curing, then I'll switch out to the larger basket with floss, ChemiPure and Purigen.

4622443172_5465e26162.jpg

 

LED's functioning - Daylights (first image), and Moonlights(second image). My wife thinks that they are too bright at the moment; I told her that once I added the water, live rock and so forth, that it will be less noticeable.

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ReefKeeperLite Plus Controller, mounted to bracket shelf I made that allows me to slide in/out of the cabinet stand for access and maintenance.

4622015792_78ee13345f.jpg

 

I will be adding the water this weekend, and the live rock has been scheduled for delivery next Friday.

*sorry for the rather poor quality images, they were taken using my phone without enhancing.

Edited by XIII

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looking good, im interested to see results between a diy cree setup and these jbj LED hoods. keep it up

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well it looks like you have everything all in place! wow! truly impressive! even the post looks like an independant website :lol:

i wanna see how those jbj leds do as well. they look bright enough tho

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Looking good. What about the Media Basket?

 

I'm building it this weekend/Monday. I had a lot of difficulty finding the Weld-On, and ended up ordering it online, so it won't get here until then. I have the acrylic and picked up black egg crate instead of white, which I plan to also use to create supports for the live rock, and a frag rack with magnets. Any additional advice or measurements for the different pieces you can give would be helpful for the construction, though I do have one small flaw with my tank in that the rear chamber dividers are not perfectly aligned/parallel so I will have to adjust part of the build anyway; please PM me if you are willing.

 

Thanks everyone. I'll keep a running log of the LED's once I get the live rock in to track the growth process, as I know many people are interested in them. But they are very bright. As others have stated, the only downside to them at the moment is that they do not have their own on/off switch built into the hood, and are dependent on the controller or manual (un)plugging for functioning.

Edited by XIII

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So I added the salt water Friday night, and programmed my RKL controller, with a little difficulty but eventually got to what I feel is a good program.

 

Based on how I understand the RKL controller, and I could be wrong, this program should allow the following:

 

Lighting: Monlights come on at 6:30am, followed by the Dawn/Dusk lights at 7am, and at 7:30am the moonlights turn off leaving the D/D lights on for an hour by themselves before the Day lights kick on at 8:30am. At 9am, the D/D lights turn off, leaving the Day lights on for 10 hours by themselves until 7pm the D/D lights turn back on, and then the Day lights turn off at 7:30pm. The moon lights turn back on at 8:30pm, and then the D/D lights turn off at 9pm, followed by the moon lights at 10pm. No lights are on from 10pm to 6:30am. In addition to that, at any point if I enter standby mode, the lights that are on should stay on, but if there are no lights on the moon lights should turn on for the programmed standby time.

 

Is this a good lighting schedule? I tried to balance it with hours that I am awake and ideal lighting cycle time lengths?

 

Pumps/WaveMaker: I currently have the two main pumps running constantly, and are only turned off during feeding. The Koralia is set to run on a wave maker pattern, and runs for 5 minutes at a time of a randomized schedule. I may eventually run the Koralia and one of the main pumps on alternating wave patterns, but will wait to see how everything runs with rock and other inhabitants. I know that I am putting a VorTech MP10 on my Christmas wish list though, to give me even better control and options in the future.

 

Standby/Feeding: Standby mode should turn off all pumps/skimmer, keep whatever lighting is currently running, or turn on the moonlights for 45 minutes if no other lights are on, and then restart the skimmer after a 15 minute delay.

 

Heater: The heater is running as a controlled unit by the temperature probe. I have the temperature set-point at 76.5 degrees, with a +/- range of 0.2 degrees, and the heater programmed to turn on if it ever goes below 76.3 degrees and turn of when the temperature is within the set-point range. I've also programmed an alarm to the heater so that if it ever goes below the set-point and the heater fails to turn, or goes above the set-point and it fails to turn off, alerting me to a heater failure and to replace the heater, and prevent a catastrophic wipe-out of the tank.

 

pH monitoring: The unit also monitors pH, and the current reading is at 8.20.

 

 

Overall, I've had few issues with the unit while programming and getting everything to run smoothly and how I wanted it, but everything seems to be running correctly. Any assistance/advice with this unit on how to maximize it's use, or if I should be running a different schedule/settings, would be appreciated.

 

Everything seems to be going well so far. I haven't noticed any "dead spots' in water flow in the tank, and my wife likes the lighting a lot better, especially the shimmering wave patterns formed on the wall (so there is great lighting and surface flow). Now just waiting for the rock to arrive to start testing all water parameters and begin the fun part.

 

Oh, anyone know of any good free aquarium monitoring programs/Excel files out there?

Edited by XIII

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in regards to the mandarin, you could get him sooner if you were dedicated to getting him to eat frozen, it'd be easier in the long run anyway. you wouldn't want to have to supplement pods to the tank constantly nor have him living off what he can scavenge in the tank.

 

You've got a very nice set up so far, i've been thinking about leds myself, how do you like them? can you dim yours?

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in regards to the mandarin, you could get him sooner if you were dedicated to getting him to eat frozen, it'd be easier in the long run anyway. you wouldn't want to have to supplement pods to the tank constantly nor have him living off what he can scavenge in the tank.

 

You've got a very nice set up so far, i've been thinking about leds myself, how do you like them? can you dim yours?

 

I will try this method with the mandarin when the time comes, but obviously I am still a long way out from that any way.

 

As for the LED's, I like them, though unfortunately they are not dimmable without replacing the ballasts, which is beyond my technical proficiencies; additionally for the Day LED's, they run the cooling fans constantly in the hood, which for some people could be considered a little loud if trying to run a silent system. It would be nice feature though to have dimmable LED's, as the RKL does have the ability to control intensities. But that will be for my next system when I build it from scratch with customization in mind instead of an AIO system.

Edited by XIII

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So, after more issues with the RKL unit and not running as expected I found out that there was a bug in the firmware for the main controller unit that was overriding my evening lighting timers. A simple workaround fixed this issue (ignoring some of the Standby delay defaults), so they are now working as planned. The biggest issue though was that due to the low energy draw from my Koralia and main pumps, they weren't turning off properly on the solid state channels of the power control unit. I reconfigured how I had my equipment plugged in to the channels, but still had this problem. Unfortunately for me, the only viable solution supposedly was to connect an intermediary device between the power controller and the pump to increase the power draw. So I used the Ocean Wave Duo wavemaker that came with the Nano Cube, hooked both pumps into that, and plugged that into the controller, which solved the problem. Now I have an extra available channel for a future device (VorTech MP10 perhaps), and a superfluous device integrated into the system, as the RKL has its own wavemaker controller function, but whatever I guess. So much for a "simple," efficient, and clutter free system.

 

Also, due to a few days of warmer than usual weather, the tank's temperature has been running higher than normal, swinging between 78.0 and 80.9 degrees. Guess it's time to put the AC in. And for yet another setback, the live rock is now scheduled to arrive Saturday instead of Friday...

 

...just not my week I guess.

 

UPDATE (5/26/10): So after another 90degree day outside, my tank hit a new high of 83.9 degrees, not good. I installed my AC today so hopefully that will help; I really don't want to run a chiller, which was part of the whole point of getting the LED system. I also found out that my rock is still coming Friday, and not Saturday like FedEx said. So 1 minus and 1 plus...I guess I break even today.

 

UPDATE #2: Spoke too soon. New issue appeared in the RKL. My primary LED daylights occasionally flicker fora millisecond when the power fluctuates on the unit. Thing is though, all of my pumps are on my PC4#1. I only have my lights and heater on PC4#2, which I haven't been running until the rock arrives, so there shouldn't be any power draws. This is now my third issue with the overall unit. So far, I am not impressed.

 

UPDATE #3 (5/27/10): This morning thankfully the temp in my tank came back down to a more modest 78.1 degrees and cooling. I checked my pH and it was also reading 8.12. I'll have another significant update tomorrow once the rock arrives and I aquascape my tank.

Edited by XIII

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Lots of updates today.

 

So my streak of bad luck continued into Friday, as a shipping delay caused my rock to not come until Saturday. But it did come, and I have finally established my tank. The setup took place over two days, and I was also able to make a few other modifications to the tank.

 

Here are the rock I used, which was a mix of various Pacific types. This is 25 pounds, though it didn't seem like that to me. I will need to get another small piece, ~3inches or so, to better prop the central structure.

4659715923_9d350cc554.jpg

 

Under heavy cloud after adding the sand:

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The fog begins to lift:

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The aquascape full tank shot.

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The aquascape left and right sides.

4659716003_54fb5f809e.jpg4659715973_02b3f7cda9.jpg

 

For the aquascape, a created a atoll/cave foundation with lots of crevices and openings. The entire structure is hollow, with the large arch on the left also serving to hide the main opening to the center cave. There is another opening on the back right side (that you can see in the right side image) where I have positioned the Koralia to create a lot of flow through the rock work and central cave, something I think fish will eventually like. The left side main pump return is also positioned to flow through the left side arch, while the right flows across the top of the rock and provides surface agitation. I have the rock positioned on egg crate for stability and to prevent pressure on the glass. I also added about 30-35lbs of white aragonite sand, for a 1.5-2inch bed.

 

I also create my own modified media basket, based on urbaneks design, though it still isn't quite as large (should have been deeper) as it could be due to a poor silicone job in the central rear chamber by the manufacturer, causing one of the sides to angle inward. This also makes the basket a very tight fit when sliding it in/out. I may try to create another version in the future that is slightly thinner and slightly deeper.

4659715893_dc8d153fb1.jpg

There is much more noticeable and better flow now through the basket, and no more overflow due to a higher back. I'm currently running floss and carbon, though plan to switch out to ChemiPure very soon and add Purigen towards the end of the rock cycle. You can see how much space I "lost" due to the angled divider (the basket is as far back as it will go), which is why I will probably try another build.

4660338056_ebc4c0e794.jpg

Here's an above shot of the rear chamber, showing where everything is positioned. You can also see just how angled that one side (right) of the central chamber is.

4659715871_9f1ff62772.jpg

 

I also took another picture of the LED's for those who were interested. These are just the Daylights with the top open:

4660338124_a0e7f7647c.jpg

Still very bright. Though I will not be running them during the cycling period.

 

 

 

Prior to adding the live rock, I did a simple parameter check of just the salt water to have a baseline for tracking.

 

Initial Parameters:

Temp = 76.3 degrees F

pH = 8.13

Specific Gravity = 1.028

 

I then did a more comprehensive test 1 day later for tracking of the more important parameters, such as ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, and phosphate. I did not test for trace elements yet though.

 

Day 1 Parameters:

Temp = 76.5 degrees F

pH = 7.89

kH = 11*dkH

NH3 = 0.003 mg/l

NO2 = ~5.0 mg/l

NO3 = ~50 mg/l

PO4 = <0.1 mg/l

 

I'm concerned about the drop in pH and the excessively high nitrite/nitrate levels without the ammonia build-up I was expecting. I did a 15% water change to see if that helps, and plan to do another 15% water change again this weekend. Though I understand that this is part of the process with adding rock and sand with some of the die-off, is it common to have parameters like these the first day though after adding rock/sand? Any recommendations to try to balance this? Should I start using ChemiPure now as a preventative measure, or wait for further into the cycle? Also, I've read that running the skimmer during the cycling period can be beneficial as it will help to remove some of the proteins released by the die-off and help to oxygenate the water, but I've also read that some people recommend to wait to run the skimmer until you have fish; advice on this would also be helpful.

 

As I start to look ahead, what would be a good recommended CUC for this tank? Any other words of advice out there? All is appreciated; Thanks.

Edited by XIII

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Another update:

 

Last night and this morning I was checking my tank and playing with some settings on my digital camera, and decided to take some pics of the coralline and other growths on my rock. These were all taken with the lights off.

 

Full Tank Shot

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Some greens and purple growths of some sort.

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Some deep blue growth on the Tonga branch piece.

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A lot of rust/orange coloration, and more purple growths of some sort.

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And some growths that appear to be some form of deep red/purple polyps.

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4664018562_4ac7cb7f14.jpg

Edited by XIII

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I'm looking for feedback on my tank and setup (am I doing it "right", am I missing something, am I doing too much, what are some opinions, etc.)? Especially concerning the questions I am looking for advice on:

  • 1. Is this a good lighting schedule? I tried to balance it with hours that I am awake and ideal lighting cycle time lengths, though it may be too long in total.
    - 6:30am Moon lights turn on
    - 7:00am Dawn/Dusk lights turn on
    - 7:30am Moon lights turn off
    - 8:30am Day lights turn on
    - 9:00am Dawn/Dusk lights turn off
    - 7:00pm Dawn/Dusk lights turn on
    - 7:30pm Day lights turn off
    - 8:30pm Moon lights turn on
    - 9:00pm Dawn/Dusk lights turn off
    - 9:30pm Moon lights turn off
    Any recommendations on how to improve this?
     
    2. Is it common to have parameters the first day after adding rock/sand like those in the post above?
    I'm concerned about the drop in pH (which is currently reading 7.79 on 6/2/10) and the excessively high nitrite/nitrate levels without the ammonia build-up I was expecting. I did a 15% water change to see if that helps, and plan to do another 15% water change again this weekend. Though I understand that this is part of the process with adding rock and sand with some of the die-off. I plan to test again this evening. Any recommendations to try to balance this?
     
    3. Should I start using ChemiPure now as a preventative measure, or wait for further into the cycle?
    Will adding it now cut the cycle short or prevent it from going through all of the proper stages? Same with PuriGen, when should I start using that.
     
    4. When should I start running my skimmer?
    I've read that running the skimmer during the cycling period can be beneficial as it will help to remove some of the proteins released by the die-off and help to oxygenate the water, but I've also read that some people recommend to wait to run the skimmer until you have fish; advice on this would also be helpful.

Any and all feedback and support is appreciated. Thanks.

Edited by XIII

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1. how come you have so many different times of turning off and on lights? when i run mine its dusk/dawn on at 10am daytime on at noon. daylights off at 8pm and then dusk/dawn off at 10pm.

 

when the dusk/dawn turn on the moonlights are off.

 

2. i wouldn't worry about trying to balance it too much. let the tank mature and will naturally be where is should be.

 

3. throw in the chemi-pure and purigen if you want. it will just help filter things out. you putting chaeto in the back?

 

4. run your skimmer now. it will just help suck all that crap out.

 

basically just throw it all in there and let it do its thing. i would just hold off on throwing any chemicals(liquids) in there trying to fix the problem when all i think it needs is time.

 

i like the updated FTS. looks good. make sure you get enough flow everywhere.

Edited by cdr5y7

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1. how come you have so many different times of turning off and on lights? when i run mine its dusk/dawn on at 10am daytime on at noon. daylights off at 8pm and then dusk/dawn off at 10pm.

 

when the dusk/dawn turn on the moonlights are off.

 

I set it up so that each stage of the lighting cycle overlaps slightly, and so that they are not all on at the same time (the daylights are very bright and over power everything anyway, and to conserve a bit of energy). Basically tried to best emulate a dimmer controlled ramp up/down lighting system, without the dimmer.

 

2. i wouldn't worry about trying to balance it too much. let the tank mature and will naturally be where is should be.

 

i would just hold off on throwing any chemicals(liquids) in there trying to fix the problem when all i think it needs is time.

I wouldn't resort to any sort of dosing/chemical intervention yet, and will be as patient as necessary to let it find its own balance. I was just surprised by the immediately high readings on nitrites without the ammonia. I tested them again last night, and they adjusted slightly (nitrite = ~4.0mg/l, nitrate = ~75mg/l, pH = 7.87). I'm still getting great coloration and growth on my rock, and have noticed some green and hair algae start to bloom, so that's a good sign.

 

3. throw in the chemi-pure and purigen if you want. it will just help filter things out. you putting chaeto in the back?

I changed the filter floss last night as well, and replaced the carbon bag with the ChemiPure to help out. I'll add the Purigen, this weekend when I do the next water change.

 

4. run your skimmer now. it will just help suck all that crap out.

I set it up and now have it running. It will take a few days to break in, and I shouldn't have to worry about microbubbles as the skimmer return feeds back into the rear chamber before the main pump return. It's a little loud at the moment, though I know that should fade once it breaks in and starts producing skimmate.

 

Does anyone else use the AquaC Remora and have any advice on "fine tuning" the cup for skimmate?

 

 

i like the updated FTS. looks good. make sure you get enough flow everywhere.

Thanks. I plan to take weekly updates. I have a lot of flow around the tank at the moment, though I'd like to eventually add an MP10 for more dynamic flow patterns.

 

Thanks for the input.

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I completed another full round of testing on my parameters, and things are looking good so far. I'm now recording ammonia readings, and the nitrite and nitrate levels have both dropped. Th pH is slowly going back up to where it should be, and the carbonate hardness and specific gravity are within ideal ranges.

 

Day 7 Parameters:

Temp = 76.4 degrees F

pH = 7.99

Specific Gravity = 1.025 %ppt

kH = 9*dkH

NH3 = 0.11 mg/l

NO2 = ~1.0 mg/l

NO3 = ~35 mg/l

PO4 = <0.1 mg/l

 

Does any one know of a good way to test salinity?

 

After doing all of the testing, I turkey basted my rock and performed a 15% water change. I'll wait a few more days and do another partial test of the ammonia, nitirite, and nitrate levels, and if I'm lucky, I'll be able to add a clean up crew sometime within the week after. I plan on adding a few additional pieces of cured live rock, so that may set things back a little bit, but I'm not in any rush.

 

I'll try to get an updated Full Tank Shot for Monday

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For salinity, get a refractometer. They are easy to use, and accurate.

 

And by the way, awsome tank :) .

Edited by Squared

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For salinity, get a refractometer. They are easy to use, and accurate.

 

And by the way, awsome tank :) .

Thanks for the compliment.

 

I have a refractometer, which is how I've been measuring my specific gravity, but I don't fully understand how that translates to salinity (though I know that they are related and if SG is int he ideal range, than so is the salinity). Just trying to figure out if and when I should add RO water to the system to maintain the appropriate balance.

 

Picked up some new live rock today (7 pounds); a few small pieces of Fiji, and two "branches" of Totoka, which are really cool. I created two "towers" in the back corners of the tank with the Totoka to add a little depth to the tank and fill in what I felt were some bare areas. I also added a couple small pieces of fiji in the front of the main rock rock to extend it out a bit and to provide foundation for future corals or other inverts. Pictures to come once the water clears again.

Edited by XIII

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As promised, here are the new updated pics of my aquarium.

 

First, the new live rock that I added. The two large pieces are the branch Totoka, which will be great bases for inverts. They were positioned in the rear of the display as "towers" in each corner. They are very interesting pieces and are formed from coral skeletons.

4678741034_4d61ec810b.jpg

 

Next, is my modified media basket v2.0. As I said with the original build, due to a flaw in the rear chamber with a angle baffle from a poor silicone job by the manufacturer, my first basket was good, but fit a little tight in the chamber and wasn't as deep as I would have liked it to be. Version2.0 is slightly narrower, and a little deeper. I also used this opportunity to strengthen the holding brackets.

4678110783_b91c19146b.jpg

Despite it being deeper than the original, there is still some room to fully maximize some of the rear chamber, so I plan to create a third and final version. I'm also now running floss, ChemiPure, and Purigen in the three basket levels respectively. If any one is interested in taking my first build, PM me.

 

And finally, here are the new updated shots of my tank. The new rock really adds to the display in my opinion, and will be great in the future once I start adding inverts and corals.

 

Full Tank Shot:

4678110833_07b699eb89.jpg

 

Left Side:

4678741018_335a722f91.jpg

 

Right Side:

4678741048_832ac05c77.jpg

 

and an Overhead:

4678741070_27616a45ac.jpg

 

I moved the Koralia a little more forward as it was pushing the sand out from the inner cave. I wish that you could angle them a bit more than they allow, as I'd really like the flow direction to be more diagonal. I might try moving the Koralia to the center of the back wall, if I can figure out where and how to position the magnet holder so that it doesn't interfere with the media basket. I definitely plan on getting an MP10 when able.

 

Everything is going well. The skimmer is starting to break in, though still not producing skimmate it is producing froth. I placed a small piece of the original foam block under the skimmer return to reduce the waterfall noise too. My temperature has been OK, and though the pH dropped a bit again when I added the new rock, it is still 7.82 and slowly climbing. It's getting really hard to wait to add some life to the aquarium now, but hopefully soon.

Edited by XIII

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Performed another partial parameter test with the following results:

 

Day 11 Parameters:

Temp = 76.5 degrees F

pH = 7.97

NH3 = ~0.5 mg/l

NO2 = ~0.5 mg/l

NO3 = ~10 mg/l

 

So the ammonia has gone up, but both the nitrites and nitrates have gone down. The pH is continuing to stabilize as well. I'm getting better output from my skimmer daily, and it is now producing foam, but not skimmate yet (just wish the noise would level out and quiet down). That's it for now, still waiting for everything to balance so that I can add my clean up crew and start adding life to the tank. Hopefully by next week I'll be able to.

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Another full parameter test day. Everything's looking good. Ammonia is now at zero, and the nitrite and nitrate are continuing to drop off. I have my first phosphate reading, which I expected as I'm seeing more algae growth. The pH is still reading lower than where it should be. I used two different methods to measure this, and they had the same readings, so I know it's accurate. I would appreciate some feedback/advice on this, as to whether or not it is the nitrite/nitrate levels causing this, or if it might be something else, and if I should try to buffer it. Thanks.

 

Day 15 Parameters:

Temp = 76.5 degrees F

pH = 7.95

Specific Gravity = 1.025 %ppt

kH = 9*dkH

NH3 = 0.00 mg/l

NO2 = ~0.5 mg/l

NO3 = ~15 mg/l

PO4 = ~0.5 mg/l

 

I plan to clean the tank up again, replace the floss, rinse the filter media, and do another partial water change today. I'm getting a little less flow through my rear chambers at the moment, and it sounds like my skimmer is struggling to pull in enough water at times as it is sharing a chamber with one of the main return pumps, so they drain it little too quickly; so I may have to move the skimmer pump to a different chamber and run some tubing for it, though I'm not sure if it will fit in the currently available chamber. Does anyone know how to adjust the flow rate, if possible, on a MaxiJet1200?

 

I've also decided that I may need to adjust my planned lighting cycle. After reading a bit more on them, I feel that mine is too long. Additionally, I'm going to have the Dawn/Dusk lights stay on with the Daylights, as they are the best actinics for my tank, which will be better for my corals.

  • - 9:00am Moon lights turn on
    - 10:00am Dawn/Dusk lights turn on
    - 10:30am Moon lights turn off
    - 11:00am Day lights turn on
    - 7:00pm Day lights turn off
    - 8:00pm Moon lights turn on
    - 8:30pm Dawn/Dusk lights turn off
    - 9:00pm Moon lights turn off

Is this better than my planned original which is this?

  • - 6:30am Moon lights turn on
    - 7:00am Dawn/Dusk lights turn on
    - 7:30am Moon lights turn off
    - 8:30am Day lights turn on
    - 7:30pm Day lights turn off
    - 8:30pm Moon lights turn on
    - 9:00pm Dawn/Dusk lights turn off
    - 9:30pm Moon lights turn off

So instead of 15 hours total light a day, it would be 12. Still looking for any recommendations on how to improve my lighting schedule.

 

In other news, I've ordered my first batch of corals from Mr.Coral and clean up crew from ReefCleaners, and they are scheduled to arrive late next week. Both were excellent to work with and offered a lot of advice and created custom packages for me. Can't wait to see everything in my tank. Thanks to everyone here who made such great recommendations for both.

 

No new images yet, but I will have a bunch next week.

Edited by XIII

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Looking good there. Must say thats very unique scaping.

Thank you. The pictures don't fully show just how open the cave structure is though.

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  • - 9:00am Moon lights turn on
    - 10:00am Dawn/Dusk lights turn on
    - 10:30am Moon lights turn off
    - 11:00am Day lights turn on
    - 7:00pm Day lights turn off
    - 8:00pm Moon lights turn on
    - 8:30pm Dawn/Dusk lights turn off
    - 9:00pm Moon lights turn off

 

Hi there. Nice tank! Have you had any luck with this lighting schedule?

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Hi there. Nice tank! Have you had any luck with this lighting schedule?

I haven't started running it yet, though I will start a modified one tonight, and gradually bring it up to this schedule.

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