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help me restore my Solana 34


spiffish

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Hello folks,

 

Due to grad school + work + house projects, my 5 year old Solana 34 is in sad shape. (My fault for neglecting things, those are just lame excuses I suppose.)

 

2012-07-31_17-20-03_31.jpg

 

Help me get this thing back to shape! Goal: easy to maintain, clean (isn't that everyone's goal?) reef tank with 3-5 fish.

 

Current status:

 

Tank:

Stock solana with bio balls removed. Stock skimmer currently not working, I think it needs cleaned. I have a good RODI system, but have to manually top off water level. Water changes have been very infrequent :(. I hate the glass lid, seems to cause a lot of salt creep. Without the lid though, I have lost some fish (jumpers) and I have to manually top off water daily.

 

Life:

Too much algea. Various soft corals and some mushrooms. A few zoo's as well. One black clown (false perc I think?). A few hermit crabs and snails remain.

 

Reefkeeper (me): I love fish, and tend to research my hobbies well but I am not great at the chemical/biological science side of fishkeeping. I have so many things in life keeping me busy that I need to keep things simple as possible while still doing what is right. I am behind on what is current tech for tanks of this size.

 

So, I need:

 

Immegiate course of action, next steps, and long term course of action. What do I need to get, do, etc. Any help is greatly appreciated!

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1fishmonger

Immediate: Scrape the glass.

 

Ongoing: Scrape glass, bi-weekly water changes, sufficient but not too large clean up crew.

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you said u took out the bio balls, did you replace them with anything. if not go here : http://shop.mediabaskets.com/Solana-34-Pac...-SL34BUNDLE.htm

 

it doesn't look like it will take TOO much work to clean up just make sure you are doing your water changes. i have recently started doing daily half gallon water changes i have 10 gallons made up and scoop a pitcher of water out of my DT and pour a pitcher of new water in the back. takes 3 seconds.

 

for the top i would suggest either cleaning it weakly or removing it entirely and DIYing a ATO and mesh screen.

 

if your not willing to keep up with the husbandry you might as well sell the tank TBH. unless you are willing to spend 50-75$/week on a maintenance guy you have to put in the work...

 

CUC from reefcleaners.com

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I've got a Solana and I'm currently helping a friend in your very situation. I think the best thing you can do is perform a few consistent water changes over the next couple weeks to bring down the nutrient levels.

 

I had my friend do a 50% water change then 5g water changes twice a week. We scraped the glass and he uses a turkey baster to blast any detrius out of the rocks before a water change. His nitrates and phosphates were high and he had a lot of bad algae.

 

I definitely recommend the InTank media basket....IMO it's a must have for any all-in-one tank.

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Thanks for all the great advise so far folks. I will start with cleaning things up a bit and 4.5 gallon water changes. I've got a batch of saltwater mixed and ready.

 

As for the mediabasket, that looks like a great idea. What media would you suggest I use in the basket? Also, I was thinking of going with macroalgea and do a mini fuge in the back. Would that still work with the media basket?

 

Also, any links for doing a DIY mesh lid?

 

Any recommended ATO systems?

 

Going to work on the tank now. WIll post some progress pics.

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Media rack: Top, Filter floss Mid Purigen Bottom Chemi pure.

Ato - JBJ or tunze osmilator (i know i spelled that wrong), you could also go for a controller

DIY mesh lid... go to HD with your measurements and ask them to show you how to build a screen that size.

 

i don't know much about your tank so i don't know if u can use a fuge and the media basket in one.. StevieT could prolly tell you if u PM him or e-mail him from the inTank site.

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As others have said, turn off the pumps, get in there with your hands and really scrape that glass. Magic Erasers (without chemicals, just plain) work wonders. Use a big hose to syphon out as much of the suspended "crap" left over as possible. Keep up with water changes, get some good media in there. Might not hurt to change out some of that sand if its particularly nasty.

 

Really monitor your Phosphates, Nitrates, pH.

 

Finally, get a nice clean-up crew in there too. Just stay on top of the maintenance and it will be looking sharp in no time.

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What about lighting? I just realized my 150w MH 14k bulb is probably over 2 years old. Should I replace it with a 15k bulb, or go to full LED? I suppose that is a big question, but reduced heat, energy consumption, and the cost of yearly MH bulb replacement has me considering this.

 

Been researching and it seems like the new LEDTRiC 4 or a Kessil A150 might work well for my tank at a reasonable cost. Any thoughts on this?

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First i would worry about the params just as everyone else has mentioned.You mentioned doing a 4.5 gallon water change which at this point is going to have minor effect.I would do atleast a 12g water change at the same time of scraping the glass and cleaning the rocks.This way you can siphon it out also every time you do some algae removal change your filter floss or sock about an hour later.What is your current salinity at?If it is low or high get that straightened out before adding higher salinity water.This is all just my experience and i wish you the best on getting this tank back to pristine conditions.

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Thanks Reeftech. The reason for the 4.5 gallon is I just have a 5 gallon bucket for mixing. I plan to change frequently at first, every few days even.

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What about lighting? I just realized my 150w MH 14k bulb is probably over 2 years old. Should I replace it with a 15k bulb, or go to full LED? I suppose that is a big question, but reduced heat, energy consumption, and the cost of yearly MH bulb replacement has me considering this.

 

Been researching and it seems like the new LEDTRiC 4 or a Kessil A150 might work well for my tank at a reasonable cost. Any thoughts on this?

I highly recommend the kessil products. I have the a350 on my solana and I love it but with the a150 you are stuck with one color spectrum and if you ever decided to keep corals that need much light output you might be screwed and that's why I went the a350 because you can get any color spectrum you could possibly want and you can run it for 5% all the way to 100% which will fry the hell out of your corals. There are more lights out there that are good like aqua allumination, ecoxotic panorama or stunner strips.

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Well, I spent a large part of today working on the tank and researching all things reef tank. I ended up doing a ~9ish gallon water change (two 5 gallon buckets) and cleaning everything as much as possible. I also disassembled the non-functioning skimmer, cleaned it, fixed it, and performed the solana skimmer mods I discovered in today's research.

 

Then disaster struck.

 

Just after vacuuming my first 5-gallon bucketful of dirty tank water the bucket promptly exploded. With no signs of impending bucket failure it simply broke into a number of smaller pieces, spilling the water, algea, and dirt all over the hardwood floors of our hallway and livingroom.

 

IMG_6056.jpg

 

I yelled for my wife, and she immediately appeared carrying every towel we possess to soak up the spill.

 

IMG_6053.jpg

 

She is the true hero of the day, no doubt. We got everything soaked up as much as possible as the dog (Layla) supervised. The water did drip down into our finished basement, but I think everything will be ok--maybe some paint touchup later or something.

 

IMG_6058.jpg

 

Anyway, I finally got another bucket and finished the water change. I stirred up the sand and used the turkey baster quite a bit, so things are quite cloudy. I did notice the skimmer immediately began producing bubbles, which should help. I also adjusted the mj1200 powerhead and replaced the suction cup mount so it wouldn't slide down the glass. Overall I have much more flow and I think this is a good start for a restored tank. Tomorrow I will place some chemi-pure and purigen in the middle chamber. Hopefully a decidedly faulty bucket will be the extent of my troubles from this point on.

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wow thats bad luck with the bucket.... i have never seen that before!

looks like you are off to a great start, you might want to watch out for stiring the sand bed up to much.

just make sure you keep up with your water changes and you should be good!

 

Edit: nice looking dog + floors

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wow thats bad luck with the bucket.... i have never seen that before!

looks like you are off to a great start, you might want to watch out for stiring the sand bed up to much.

just make sure you keep up with your water changes and you should be good!

 

Edit: nice looking dog + floors

 

 

Thanks. Tank is very clear this morning. I'll post a pic later when the light comes on. I just ordered the mediabasket for the tank, and a new 14k pheonix bulb, and an led fuge light. I plan to order from http://www.reefcleaners.org/ soon too, just want to make sure the media basket and light come in first.

 

I am excited about getting this tank nice and keeping it that way. Can't wait to start stocking the tank once things equalize for a bit.

 

Still thinking about a Tunze osmolator too, not sure yet on that.

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Thanks. Tank is very clear this morning. I'll post a pic later when the light comes on. I just ordered the mediabasket for the tank, and a new 14k pheonix bulb, and an led fuge light. I plan to order from http://www.reefcleaners.org/ soon too, just want to make sure the media basket and light come in first.

 

I am excited about getting this tank nice and keeping it that way. Can't wait to start stocking the tank once things equalize for a bit.

 

Still thinking about a Tunze osmolator too, not sure yet on that.

if you are at all handy you can make an ATO yourself . there are some that will cost you like 20$ others are pretty much free!

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Before:

2012-07-31_17-20-03_31.jpg

 

After:

IMG_6079.jpg

 

 

Coming a long. The tank is soo much brighter and cleaner with better flow. Will the algea that remains go away over time with cleanup crew and a correct chemical balance of the tank or will I need to manually remove more of it?

 

Scape: I would like to adjust the rockwork a bit to get more height and possibly more negative space. Would be nice to cleanup some of the rubble and shells on the sandbed too. Sidenote: I am an artist/potter and I have long pondered about creating tank scape structures with fired clay or porcelain. It should be reef safe and the porosity of the clay and texture could be quite good in fact. I would make my own coral, essentially. Anyone heart of someone doing something in reefkeeping using clay?

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Manual removal always helps, but with a sufficient (I say go big.. 2 turbos anyone?) CuC and good water changes to keep the nutrients down, it should get taken care of.

 

Also, if you want to speed it up, you could shorten your light cycle as the algae is photosynthetic and whatnot..

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I think a pair of turbos is a little overkill. Get one and also get some astrea or cerith snails to get into tight places. I have 1 turbo, 3 astreas, 2-3 ceriths, one fighting conch, 10 nassarius and no hermits. I will probably add more ceriths, but am in no rush since my solana is doing well.

 

You are already looking much better. Keep up with waterchanges and it will all come back.

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