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rO.oster

rO.oster's reincarnated revision 3.0 - 1.4 years old

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rO.oster

This will be my third foray into the saltwater reef keeping world.  My tried and true Oceanic Biocube 29 has been sitting quietly in storage for 3 years now, patiently waiting for this day to arrive.  The first two revisions (1 & 2) of this tank have taught me so much about this hobby.  It's so interesting to read back over my past tank journals with the successes, the awe and fascination, the failures.  I spent so much time researching these forums and watching the technology, trends and attitudes change as the years went by.  Now, it feels like putting on a well worn pair of gloves as I once again go through the motions.  I am ready for more amazement.

 

I want to try and do a better job documenting my progress like I did during revision1.  A lot of things occurred during revision2 that never were reported; oddities, new ideas, concerns with my method, wonderment.  Each phase of the build, cycle, and growth deserves to be logged!

 

Specifications and Equipment:

  • Oceanic Biocube 29 (2010ed) w/stand
  • DIY Phillips Rebel ES LED array:
    • CH1: 4 x 4,000K Warm White, 4 x Lime, 4 x Cool Blue, 2 x Royal Blue
    • CH2: 14 x Royal Blue
    • CH3 (fuge): 4 x Deep Red, 1 x Royal Blue
  • Ecotech MP10 ES Wave Maker
  • ReefKeeper Lite Aquarium Controller & Moon Light Controller
  • Smart ATO Micro

 

Chamber Specifications and Equipment:

  • Chamber 1:
    • Aquaticlife 115 Skimmer  or JUP-02 5W UV Sterilizer (as need basis)
  • Chamber 2:
    • inTank Media Rack, 3 stage:
      • Filter floss
      • Seachem Purigen
      • BRS rox 0.8 & GFO
    • inTank Fuge Rack:
      • Chaetomorpha
  • Chamber 3:
    • Hydor Centrifical 300 return pump
    • Cobalt Aquatics NeoTherm 100w heater
    • RKL temperature probe, ATO supply line & sensor

 

Environment Specification:

  • CaribSea Argonite Seaflor Special Grade
  • Dry Rock ~ 13lbs
  • Instant Ocean Reef Crystals + RO/DI

 

Please join me as I undertake the next chapter in my reef keeping book.  I welcome all feedback from this community and any questions you may have.

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rO.oster

During the Christmas break, I was able to finish some projects, namely a newly outfitted bedroom for my young daughters. Feeling motivated, I rearranged the living room, moving my TV amoire off of a brick centerpiece where a wood fire stove used to be.  I stared and stared at this space.  What could go there?  And then, lightbulb!  So I pulled my tank out, with its green algae caked walls and leftover sand, everything dust covered and filthy.  And placed it in the space.  And wore a curious smile on my face for the rest of the break.

 

Last week I put the plan in motion.  With the spare room now free, inventory check:  

Gdrprwo.jpg

 

Must haves:  dry rock, sand, salt.  John from reefcleaners.org was right there when I needed him, the 15lb dry rock box should be perfect.  Spreadsheets, to do lists, rethink my LED lighting combinations, vinegar soaks, LOTS to do still.

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rO.oster

Now to find my old notes, find out where I stand with my inventory and equipment.  What factors did I use in choosing my last LED array?  Ahhhh sweet, found all my old google sheets with all the data, my old shopping lists, OK now here we go.  I remember where I left off!  I remember how my ATO system failed, mechanical float switches?  Uhhhh, no more of that this time...  OK create a new shopping list (FML) but stick to the minimums.

 

My RO/DI unit has been sitting idle for 2 years, thankfully with water still in it.  I replaced the two carbon blocks and prefilter, so let's see what the TDS reads before the membrane: heh, the TDS meter needs new batteries.  My PRIME membership is about to get a workout.  OK, 90ppm before, and 0-1ppm after, looks good to me!  I even have some vacuum packed resin bags in the refrigerator still, sweet!

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rO.oster

I was anxious to tear into my hood and looking at my LED combination during revision2, I knew it could be improved to better the visual representation of the way things are colored under LED lighting.  I remember finishing that build and launching, and then reading how Cool White was not being used, and the NW/RB/CB ratio was being refined.    Tight, small clusters were preferred over a spread or loose grouping.  I could have done better.  I wouldn't say any colors were missing on fish or corals, but the ratio wasn't right for the overall aesthetic.

 

Old configuration:

IQ9BxE7.jpg

 

A quick look at the vendors to see how their current AOI packages are configured.  No more Deep Red's, Cyans.  What's this, Lime?!  The hell?  More research...  The 14-UP board was really appealing, but damn I have all Rebel ES LEDs already...  I might add that my stock plastic light lens is yellowed, but only slightly.  You can only tell when laying it down in a white surface.  The discoloration is in the shape of a halo.... much like the old LED array hah.  I'm sure the 420UVs didnt help with that....

 

So I put in an order with Steve's LED, I think I'll give this 13,000K spectrum a try, even after all these years, I remember the name JediMasterBen....  If all else, I have enough 4,000K Neutral Whites to fall back to a 14,000K configuration.  

 

Chipping LEDs off the heatsink, sanding, buffing, cleaning. detail cleaning the hood.  I replaced the 2 x 80mm fans for fresh ones, the Vantech  fans are stealthy quiet.  I also got rid of the 2 x 60mm Vantech fans on the exhaust ports, I really don't need four fans for 28 LEDs.  Just the two blowing air onto the heatsink.

 

Also new fan covers with removable filters, so I can actually wash the dust off.  Ooooh what a nice clean look!!!   :wub:

 

U1gs1RH.jpg

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StephLionfish

Following along! Can't wait to see it set up.

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rO.oster
5 hours ago, StephLionfish said:

Following along! Can't wait to see it set up.

I'm really excited too, thanks for reading along!!!

 

 

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rO.oster

The LEDs arrived quickly, Jeff at Steve's  LEDs was very responsive and answered all my questions.  I cant wait to see how the new combination turns out!!  I set about gluing my new pattern, 2 x 7 on the left and right hand sides of the heatsink.  As much spread between clusters as possible whilst having a tighter CH1 [2 x 4,000K NW, 2 x Lime, 2 x Cool Blue, 1 x Royal Blue] and CH2 [7 x Royal Blue] cluster on each end

 

RS5mlqn.jpg

 

Check out my nanocustoms heatsink!!!!   I feel like my tank should have an antique tag on it LOL.  

 

After bonding the LEDs using thermal glue, I gave it over 48 hours to cure before soldering.  Short bits of wire was all i needed to connect the chain, I made small work of it and then shrink tubed all the new wire interfaces.  A quick test to see if I have any shorts and yassss, I was blinded by the light!

 

SXp6hSN.jpg

 

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ThePaontedFrogfish

I was reading thru the past setups of this tank and was blown away by the 3d modeling and the amount of planning you put into this tank in pre production! Definitely going to be watching this one! 

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rO.oster

thanks for checking it out @ThePaontedFrogfish, you need to update your thread, did you ever get that Frogfish tank rolling!?

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rO.oster

I just couldn't stand it any longer, I had to throw the hood on the tank and see how the coloration looked. 

 

I used some sippy cups of different colors to see how each one was represented under the LED array versus under fluorescent and daytime lighting in the kitchen.  I am HIGHLY impressed so far on the representation.  Every color is vividly represented, they definitely pop and glow in their own color band.  Nothing seems washed out.  Under normal circumstances I like to have a more white dominate tank light, and was unsure how the Lime + NW + CB would represent, but it blends nicely and appears white.  I was very surprised.  One crazy observation is that things that are actually white almost glow, check out the tag on the bottom RH corner of the tank.  I wonder how a Pearly Jawfish would look under these lights.

 

E0Y55Pp.jpg

 

I searched hard for threads that had pictures of this 13,000K JMB coloration, and couldn't find much of anything.  Plus the ability to take a picture that reflects real visual perception is challenging.  This picture is the closest I could get to the actual lighting before my iPhone went nuts on the white balance.

 

If only there was some way I could check out the 14,000K combination (8xNW, 16xRB, 4xCB) in comparison but I think I will settle for this configuration.  My experience with my last tank was that you could always turn the blue up if you needed more, but it was hard to get more whiteness, or, brightness to the look without washing out colors.

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rO.oster

The tank underwent a deep cleaning.  I used papertowels soaked in vinegar and let each surface wetsoak a few hours, then used a plastic scraper to clean it down.  The back chambers had a lot of vermitid tubes and detris to remove, but all of it came off easily after the soak.  I bonded some velcro strips for various RKL modules to the inside of the  stand using my Locktite Marine 2 part expoxy (the best glue EVER, I use it to fix EVERYTHING), the sticky surface that comes when you peel off the backer only holds for 6 months before the bond fails.  Using rubbing alcohol, I removed a lot of old salt stains from the hood and stand.  

 

All of it went back together and I filled the tank using tap water.  Testing heaters, returns, MP10.  I leveled the stand before sitting the tank on top but never checked the tank level.  After filling i discovered it was slightly out of plumb and leans forward, so I'm glad I checked.

 

 

 

MKvoNuN.jpg

 

VDooHMl.jpg

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Livia

Following along . I am excited to see how the tank progresses.

 

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rO.oster

Got some nice dryrock pieces in from reefcleaners.  I thought I knew my direction I want to go in, but now I am reluctant to stick with the base design and take a hammer to the boring pieces and see what happens!.  I want to try and maximize the amount of rock but still keep at like only 1/3 the total viewable height in the tank made up of rock. 

 

My scape during revision2 was very appealing, but that was the error I feel I made as I concentrated on the rock looking really appealing and not factoring in coral growth or presentation.  The rock looked good in its shape and flow but at 2/3 tank height it wasn't conducive to letting corals encrust or grow out and take the place of the centerpiece.   It was way to full and too vertical, and wasn't easy to view from the front.

 

My base design is something along the lines of the following.  Total height is like 8 inches in the back.  I want a good 2.5-3" sandbed so I am struggling to design something where the carpet is the sand level bu then know I gotta find a way to support this to the bottom of the tank.

 

d7pbT0m.jpg

 

I could also smash it all up and get true baseball sized chunks, and do bonsai type formations.  I would use a masonary drill bit and stack odd or leaning structures using fiberglass rods to support the architecture. 

 

Or a dual island or bomme effect was always pleasing to me as well, A few vertical islands something similar too:

 

TMM4fDU.jpg

 

 

So many ways to do it, all the while taking coral, livestock, water flow, viewing angles, stability, and surface area into consideration.  For me this is the hardest part!!!!  I don't plan on making scape changes after kicking off the cycle since I am planning for either a Jawfish or another randali/goby combo.

 

 

 

 

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rO.oster

I decided to fire up my fuge light for the first time.  Disaster!

 

I did not refresh myself on minimum input voltage of my LED driver, as well as negating to know that the Deep Red LEDs have a 2V forwarding voltage.  

 

Fizzle pop pop, burned up 5 LEDs....  ???

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vitreous99

Sorry for your loss ?

 

Thanks for your logs!

Pease share details behind fuge configuration when you sort it out. 

 

I've got a BC 29 from Coralife. 

 

I'm planning on 4 leds for a fuge light (Chamber 2) : 2 deep red, 1 far red, 1 royal blue... http://www.stevesleds.com 

 

They recommended the LDD-700H with a  LRS-24-75, but it's so... component(y),  if that makes sense. I liked your original suggestion which I thought was this: https://www.rapidled.com/moonlight-driver-350ma/. But I think I'd rather have ability to go up to the the 700ma to drive these and then bring the current down if it's too bright. Not sure what a little refugium like this really needs. 

 

... By the way,  I made the exact same "mistake" with my aquascape. I love the rocks, but I can now see how I really limited my choices with coral strategy. 

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rO.oster
On 1/21/2018 at 7:18 PM, vitreous99 said:

Sorry for your loss ?

 

Thanks for your logs!

Pease share details behind fuge configuration when you sort it out. 

 

I've got a BC 29 from Coralife. 

 

I'm planning on 4 leds for a fuge light (Chamber 2) : 2 deep red, 1 far red, 1 royal blue... http://www.stevesleds.com 

 

They recommended the LDD-700H with a  LRS-24-75, but it's so... compent(y),  if that makes sense. I liked your original suggestion which I thought was this: https://www.rapidled.com/moonlight-driver-350ma/. But I think I'd rather have ability to go up to the the 700ma to drive these and then bring the current down if it's too bright. Not sure what a little refugium like this really needs. 

 

... By the way,  I made the exact same "mistake" with my aquascape. I love the rocks, but I can now see how I really limited my choices with coral strategy. 

I'm not entirely sure what intensity the refugium can handle, I agree that some dimming would be preferable.  I saw your other lighting post, I am still researching a good driver/power supply combo. I read cheato can handle close to 300par so I would estimate needing a 500mA power range with 5ish LEDs not too far off the back glass.  

 

When I ran revision2 with that 350mA moonlight driver using 3 x CREE Neutral Whites, the growth was slow to non-existant. The cheato was crinkled, nappy and receded, not fluffy and filling.  Strands of chaeto would turn clear and translucent.  I also rotated BRS carbon and GFO every month so low nutes could have contributed but I am skeptical that was the root cause.  It could have been lacking in the proper spectrum too, hence the shift to DR & RB at 4-6:1.

 

During revision1, I ran a subcompact 6,500K CFL and always enjoyed good cheato growth, but needed a fresh bulb after 9 months when it slowed down.  All it required was a 120V standard lightbulb socket.  I don't recall heat being an issue but collectively I am sure it inputs more residual heat than LEDs since radiant lighting does so, but thats just inherent to the system.

 

Cost comparison leans heavily towards the single CFL....  I am still undecided and back to square one!  :huh:

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rO.oster

I've been designing different rockscapes now for the past week on the project room floor, but it feels like I haven't made any progress at all.  I'll take a few pictures, mull the combination overnight and then the next day shake it all up and try a different angle.  I've had leaning pillars and a rough concave slope before already, should I make a variation of that or try a new avenue?  I'm keep hoping for some caves or arches to materialize, but nothing is really taking shape with the chunks that I have.  I have a some pukatani dryrock pieces left over, but the shaping is of real coral and differs from the mined fossil dryrock.  I keep arriving to the fact that I wont be using all 15lbs of dryrock if I want my "less full" look, and my mind is torn between wanting to maximize the amount of LR for biological filtration.

 

I've been trying to target a particular flow of rockscape presentation since the viewing focus this time will be on the front and left glass panes.  The MP10 will be on the right hand side mounted forward, which should deliver the return swirl and wake directly into the Chamber 1 intakes!  With the new living room design, I will have a PRIMETIME, reclined, sofa seat viewing the tank from the front, left of center, slightly lower than horizontal.  I need to focus on this fact and make a rockscape that caters to this primary viewing angle.

 

Today I stacked a really good combination so it was time to see how it looked in the tank.  Originally, it was a dual tapering corner to corner ridge design, but as I started placing it inside the tank I could see how much sandbed and front viewing volume was consumed.  After scaling it back to a single ridge, this is where I am at currently:

 

wrSA3Mv.jpg

 

High flow items on the LH side, montiporas plating up the LH backwall.  Plenty of open sand and rock edge on the LH  and front sides for smaller branching LPS.    SPS sticks in the middle and upper back tier with high flow from the deflection off of the LH glass and up the lower rock base - but everything is well clear of the initial MP10 blast stream.  Maybe a exotic torch in the RH back, open brain in the middle front.  A big smothering mix of zoa's along the middle lower ridge.   Some shrooms and rics to fill in the low flow gaps....

 

 

vwEUyRH.jpg

 

I just spent the last 30 minutes walking by the tank from all the different paths to and from the living room and each angle was a great view into the tank.  It's location really makes it the centerpiece of my house!

 

It is a little simplistic, but I like the RH back corner to LH FWD corner design.  By the time everything grows in, it will achieve the "full" look while not killing all the swimming area.  I estimate it at 12lbs.  

 

Time to stare at it awhile as my mind cycles, please tell me what you think!

 

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Christopher Marks

Check out that NanoCustoms heat sink! I'm glad to see you reused it :happy: 

 

I really like that aquascape @rO.oster, great area for coral placement while keeping the tank quite open. Keep up the good work!

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rO.oster
On 1/23/2018 at 3:30 PM, Christopher Marks said:

Check out that NanoCustoms heat sink! I'm glad to see you reused it :happy: 

 

I really like that aquascape @rO.oster, great area for coral placement while keeping the tank quite open. Keep up the good work!

Thanks for the support, so far its looking great under the lights!

 

All this activity had me modivated, so I washed my dry sand out.  That stuff was filthy! 

 

Also for my sandbed around the base of my rock structure, I ordered a small shell mix to give my burrowing livestock some different choices when building their palaces.  I grew up in Florida where the seashore tourist strips had some form of shell shops, and I'd love to cruise the isles with all the different bins full of colors, textures, and shapes.  Luckily I found a vendor on Amazon and got 1lb of this mix, its approximately 3mm - 12mm.

 

 

7frwHY8.jpg

 

BFTJMUk.jpg

 

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rO.oster

I spent some time arranging the equipment into the stand.  I really took the time to zip tye all the extra cord lengths, and position everything in the upper back of the stand to free up more room and minimize the spaghetti pile.  I added a grounding probe to eliminate any stray voltage and placed it into chamber 3.   This chamber houses all the equipment which are powered.  I also routed the newATO supply and fixed it with a glueblock at the uppermost limit.  

 

After, I trimmed the eggcrate down to only what was necessary to eliminate any pin point stresses, placed the rockwork in, and added sand and the small shell mix.  Then, more dry rock rubble to fill in the gaps.  Over 7 long hours, I made my saltwater to begin the fill process.  My RODI has a float switch shutoff, so I made sure to measure exactly how much water was produced (4 gallons), and how many grams of salt was needed to hit a 1.026 SG (635g).  So, with the sand and rock displacement, the tank holds exactly 20 gallons of measurable water.  So much for a Biocube 29, that's a model number not a gallon count!  :haha:

 

I fired up the RKL and updated any  firmware modules that needed it, and then started to program my channels.  One by one, the different equipment pieces turned on, giving the tank breath and life.  One thing I did different this time was place my Hydor Pico 300 pump on its own GFI and power strip, so I can turn it off with an easy switch throw any time I want to feed the display only.  

 

fUc1BZi.jpg

 

Today, I did a little shopping and got some nice artwork to hang above the tank.  Then, I dropped by the LFS to introduce myself, and had a great discussion with the old timer running the show there.  It was good to catch up on the business happenings and talk about stock they currently have.  I picked out two very small chunks of purple covered liverock from the cured bin and a little sand/silt, and was sent home with it free of charge!  They must know I'll be coming back soon lol.

 

The cycle has commenced!  :happydance:

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vitreous99

Really enjoying your journal. 

 

Can you share your BRS carbon and GFO strategy?  You mentioned changing both every month? How much of each do you use? I'm currently using chemi pure elite but think your method is more economical.

 

How are you driving the nitrogen cycle? I used shrimp (dead) and FritzZyme TurboStart 900... Was cycled in a week!

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rO.oster

@vitreous99 I'm glad your following because you've driven some good conversations and considerations so far.  

 

For the carbon and GFO, I started out originally with Chemipure Elite.  I would buy the biggest bucket and then slit it open and spoon a few heaping tablespoons of the mix into a small mesh baggy, rinse, and place it into the lowest fuge rack.  During revision2, after defeating the customary cyano plague, I invested in the rox carbon and GFO so I could separately control the ratio and time spent circulating in the fuge.  It worked almost too well, I remember, soft coral stopped growing but the SPS loved the water conditions.  Since it never expires and stores completely dry, I thought it was a good investment.  This time I plan on using smaller amounts,  say 2 heaping tableapoons (vs 4) and see how long it takes for me to return to a 5 Nitrate level.  Bioload should dictate the useful life, it's just up to me to observe the trend and adjust accordingly as the livestock increases. 

 

For my past cycles I've just let nature do the damn thing but this time maybe not.  What concerns me is that in the past revisions, the Figi and Pukatani dryrock had a lot of various dried detris and organic material that wouldn't wash out, making for a heavy ammonia load as it all slowly dissolved out.  For revision3 I'm using almost all reefcleaners rock which is totally void of any organic material at all.  I do have one Pukatani piece in there though and spied some dried up stuff in the cracks.  I guess I'll see when and how pronounced the diatom bloom is as compared to previous revisions, I should see it sometime around day 7.

 

I just ordered some ARC Reef Purple Helix; 6+ different coralline algae strains and nitrifying bacteria freshly bottled.  I love coralline algae and hope to aviod any Asternia starfish if I can help it!

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Ranjib

Great thread. Following along.

How you are planning to control the lighting ? DIY controller ?

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rO.oster
23 hours ago, Ranjib said:

Great thread. Following along.

How you are planning to control the lighting ? DIY controller ?

 

Thanks!  The lighting is controlled by simple off/on timing function by the Reef Keeper Lite.  Sometimes I think that it would be cool to have fading and dimming, sunset or rise effects.  The majority of the viewing time I'll be able to sit down and watch  the tank is in the late evening, so I want it at its prime brightness and coloration during this time.  I currently have blues on at 11:30am and whites on at 2:30pm, whites off at 8:30pm and blues off at 9:30pm.

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StephLionfish

Coralline in a bottle? I didn't even know that was a thing :lol: Send me any asterinas you find; I love them but I always never end up with any. (I have ONE now). 

At least the cycle wait isn't as bad as waiting for equipment to arrive? :unsure:

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