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steelhealr

24G Nano Cube DX Startup, Setup, Manual for newbies, in the works

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RandyO

I do feed the cleanup crew initially, there is little to maintain them in the first month and at $70, I hate to see any die due to lack of food.

 

The food also puts nutrient into the tank and that in turn generates algae for the guys that can not eat the krill in the first place. Only put a small amount of feed in the tank and make sure it is consumed over the next 48 hours. I add again every other day watching not to create a build up of uneaten food.

 

These are actually the instructions that I was given by InlandAquatics.com that sent me the cleanup crew. The crew will build as the tank will support them.

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steelhealr

Hi...I will lean towards agreeing with Trekbear. The cleanup crew is there for 'cleanup'. I wouldn't feed them unless the tank truly looks devoid of algae, which, I doubt will happen. I will admit that I added a small piece of shrimp pellet from my FW food stash as a test and the cleaner shrimp devoured it. But...adding excess food will most likely predispose to excess nutrients and risk an algae bloom. All my crew seem content with algae right now and the shrimp seems to be able to catch some cyclopeese and drifting flake.

 

To BiffMcfly...personally, I think your crew looks good. There is a risk about putting them all in at once if there is not enough algae to support everyone. I added mine in stages, but, if internet purchase is the only way to go for you, I'd wait until there seemed to be a good algae growth. Personally, I've been disappointed with the work of the hermits....I think they are slow cleaners and you'd need a horde of them to get the job done. Still, you could go with them or supplement with cerith or nerite snails. Astrea are the best in my opinion. It's definitely a good starter crew ( I assume you have a 24G). SH

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RandyO

I am just quoting what came with the "detrivore" kit from inland, I have had not problems with their system. (regardless of which system you decide to use, you should follow the directions that the creators give you)

 

They in fact say that feeding the cleanup crew is pretty important in a new tank as there is no detritus for them to live off of.

 

A clean up crew is not strictly algae eators and if that is all you have, well you are going to have problems anyway with other wastes.

 

My crew has a number of other organisms such as bristleworms, brittle stars, stomatellas, peppermint snails. mini stars and a collection of isopods, copepods and amphipods. Not all of these will touch algae. Hence the advice to feed them is very valid.

 

You can choose to create your own system (that is the nice part of this hobby, you can reinvent the wheel at any time and have success...sometimes)But you need to make sure you include cleaners of more than just algae.

 

Unfortunately many crews are just that, pure algae eating systems and so you end up with even more algae as the uneaten food and detritus decompose and enter the water column as nutrient. That nutrient feeds the algae. They keep adding snails etc, and still continue with a sprial of more algae. Kind of ironic.

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Cloudy

Really nice thread... reads like a science fair project!

 

I've been catching up on this thread and I wanted to toss in my 2cents on skimmers...

 

Back on page five you wrote:

 

"Interesting thought...we all read so much here about the 'nitrate traps'...bioballs, sponges, ceramic beads. Yet...isn't a pile of LR rubble a mechanical filter of sorts?? Why can't this area become a 'nitrate trap' as well?? Food for thought. SH"

 

yes, if a pile of live rock rubble is trapping suspended particular organic matter from the water column then it certainly will be a source of nitrates... in fact if the d.o.p.s(disolved organic particles) stay in the water column at all, then the nitrifiying bacteria on the rock it self will act as a "nitrate" factory...

 

the idea behind the "berlin" method is to first of all have an efficent method of removing dops from the water column... secondly, we want to keep all the the undesireables in the water column for easy removal... not trapped behind rocks due to poor circulation or clinging to filter medium...

 

Water changes are a good way of exporting dops... but the peroidic nature of such changes is why having a protein skimmer on a tank is "always" (there i said it) better then not.

 

With continual protein removal, not to mention efficent water oxygenition, the skimmer will enhance water quality and livestock health... also gives you some margin of error in terms of feeding, which I would argue adds, not detracts, from keeping various creatures well fed...

 

heh, or not... just my thoughts.

 

Again, thanks for the thread, looking good. Some guys at the LFS are trying to put togather a skimmer that fits the back compartment in the 24NC... i was going to help them with some arclyic work. Dunno if they're going to sell them, but i'll try to get a hold of the plans...

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burtbollinger

I read that nanocustoms is working on a skimmer thats gonna fit in chamber 2...I'm thinking about just waiting for that. If theres one thing I'm ready to do, its be patient.

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steelhealr

Well...here is Cloudy's link on skimmers...another new post on it. As usual, there is still a split on whether or not one needs it. However, from this more recent post, it seems that the 'pro-skimmers' are ahead in the count.

 

http://www.nano-reef.com/forums/showthread...10&pagenumber=1

 

You'll have to decide for yourself. As above, I will continue 'skimmerless' unless I run into problems or see the need for one. Aqua C and BakPak seem to be popular choices for those who wish to look into it. I wouldn't hold my breath for JBJ to come out with one. SH

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steelhealr

I just completed a post/poll on skimmers and I'm including it with my thread. Hope this helps:

 

Hi..when I first joined this forum a few months ago and prior to setting up my 24G NC, the first post I placed here was asking for a protein skimmer recommendation. I received '0' responses. DOH! No wonder...this topic is one of the most 'controversial' subjects here and probably one of the most under-researched prior to placing that post question. It makes sense tho' for us 'newbies' since the responses are always divided. So, I've tried to review some of the recent posts and summarize a bit: what is consensus here to help some of us. I also will add a poll for those who skim...I'm hoping the more experienced nano-reefers will post one more time. Then perhaps, at least for 2005, you can rest the typing to this question. The fine print...always do your own research...experience is the best teacher...and never trust everything you read:

 

What is a Protein Skimmer and Why Skim

 

Our nano-systems are closed environmental systems..what we put in, does not easily come out. The addition of livestock, live rock and food adds nutrients and proteins that can accumulate and form dissolved organic acids (DSO's). As these accumulate, they can be a source of fodder for algae blooms, cyanobacteria and contribute to poor water condition which could also affect the well-being of corals.

A protein skimmer is a device that 'culls' these DSO's out of our systems. Without going into physics or the mechanical design of skimmers (that's for you to read up on), a skimmer is a chamber that creates a jet of bubbles. As the bubbles pass upward through this system, DSO's adhere to the bubble's surface and are released when the bubble bursts. These proteins are then collected at the surface in a cup for removal. A protein skimmer could also be included under the heading of a device for 'nutrient export'.

 

The Pro's of Skimming

 

Here are some of the consistent comments about advantages of skimming:

1) helps with overall water quality

2) replicates nature, waves crash and skim the oceans leaving skim on beaches

3) water changes are periodic and skimming is constant

4) gives a margin of error in terms of overfeeding

5) skimming the bad far outweighs whatever 'good things' are skimmed

6) one can't test for skimmable products likes metabolites, intermediates, toxins, etc and there are no good data out there as to what 'good nutrients' are skimmed off

 

The Con's of Skimming

 

Here are some of the consistent comments about going without a skimmer:

1) removes desirable nutrients

2) too large and make too much noise

3) require additional plumbing or don't fit well with certain systems

4) it's an unnecessary expense if you are consistent with water changes, light stocking and not overfeeding

5) creates microbubbles in the tank

6) possible oxidation of sensitive molecules (one poster listed iodine)

7) some ricordia/zoanthids prefer a small amount of DSO's

 

How Do I Decide if I Should Buy One

 

Here are some thoughts to help you decide on whether or not to buy a protein skimmer:

 

1) What is my bioload....am I heavily stocked (not a good idea for a nano) or do I have heavy polluters?

2) Do I have a tendency toward overfeeding or do I have no other methods for nutrient export (no refugium or macroalgae)

3) Lack of dedicated time for tank maintenance and water changes (not a good habit for a nano but sometimes unavoidable for busy workers)

 

Can I Make My Own Skimmer?

 

Yes you can. There are many do-it-yourself (DIY) skimmer posts out there. Here are a few links:

 

http://www.nano-reef.com/forums/showthread...ght=DIY+Skimmer

 

http://www.nano-reef.com/forums/showthread...ght=DIY+Skimmer

 

http://www.nano-reef.com/forums/showthread...protein+skimmer

 

What Protein Skimmer Should I Buy?

 

This is where I'll ask the more experienced nano-reefers to come back and at least do the poll for a final rendering of who is using what out there.

 

Summary

 

In summary, the choice of using a protein skimmer is all yours. There is still no definitive consensus, however, IMO, after being here for a few months I think the advocates of protein skimming are in the majority (unless the water changers are just not posting). While posting this and prior to the poll results, Skilter and Visi-Jet skimmers appear to get the worst comments. For us NC owners, there isn't a skimmer that fits into our tanks, so, options include:

--using an external skimmer either periodically so it doesn't destroy the beauty of your tank or plumbing it by drilling holes thru the hood in the back or

--waiting and checking in with Chris at nanocustoms.com. They are reportedly designing an internal protein skimmer to fit in the back in chamber 2.

 

Good luck everone. Hope this helped. SH

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RandyO
I think the advocates of protein skimming are in the majority (unless the water changers are just not posting).
Actually just not posting, IMO skimming is something carried out on larger tanks where sufficient waterchanges is just not practical. Weekly changes of 25% removes less beneficial, replaces more trace essentials and exports pollutants a skimmer can not. My large tank skims, my cube just gets water changes.

Water changes combined with conscientious feedings I feel provide a better environment for my tank inhabitants. If it was practical to do the same 25% waterchanges on my big tank, I would in a heartbeat.

 

My cube has only a kalk injector to keep the ph up at night and other than that, it runs without any additives or supplements.

 

I have never had any algae issues and the cleanup crew is minimal. I also just prefer the simplicity of a tank with as little hardware as possible. No cups to dump, nozzles to clean, water levels to adjust, no pumps to replace etc.

 

I just always felt the object of the cube was to have a tank with no external junk, easy to run, and low maintanance. Twice a day feedings and weekly waterchange is the extent of my intervention on my cube.

Now if I could get my big tanks like this I would be thrilled.. (This is all just my opinion)

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kgbenson

RandyO,

 

What Kalk injector are you using. Can you describe the setup?

 

thanks,

 

Keith

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steelhealr

Update

 

Well...here's how it's going:

1) All parameters are at zero...including phosphate and nitrates

2) I had a second diatom bloom but now that seems to be backing down. I have to scrape my glass once every 3-4 days. One hermit seems to have gotten larger and seems to be cleaning up the substrate a bit

3) I now have what appears to be red slime algae (cyanobacteria) on my top rock

 

algae2.jpg

 

algae1.jpg

 

Treatment is turkey baster and increased water flow. I'll try and redirect one of my powerheads towards it.

 

4) I have not seen the green clown goby since I put her in the tank now...almost 2 weeks. I'd be shocked if it was still alive.

5) I'm experimenting...I broke off two small pieces of Halimeda and put it in the tank. Some areas of it were turning white in the refugium which now leads me to reverse my thoughts and wonder if the submersible quartz halogen light is sufficient for photosynthesis. Although this diverges from the purists (lagoon vs outer reef), I think it is pleasing to the eye. It seems to be the least invasive of the macroalgaes except for it's need for calcium. I'll keep an eye on it and pull it if it seems to be a problem. I've ordered some chaeto for the back refugium to try.

6)For those using LR rubble in the middle chamber, I am convinced that this must be gravel vacuumed RELIGIOUSLY during weekly water changes to keep nitrates at 0. I can't believe how much detritus comes up.

7) I think it's safe to add my first corals despite the small area of cyano. So far, I'm free of hair algae. Despite some recommendations here (I wanted to stay away from them), I heard that some turbos may eat cyano so I may add one or two.

 

Here's a tank updated pic.

nano26.jpg

 

nano27.jpg

 

Hope this helps. SH

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doncb

Steelhealr,

 

Here is a link to the top off / dosing system I just put in my 24g DX. Back on page 6 you said you got a float switch & thought you might like to see a "double duty" DIY.

 

Like the way your tank is looking!

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steelhealr

YES!!!!!! GO INVERTS!!!!. I recently posted a thread to help me I.D. the new growth on my uppermost rock in my NC. The news was I had (sob), cyanobacteria or red slime algae. Well...I was getting ready to go to Stop and Shop to buy a turkey baster when I woke up this morning to see this:

 

nano28.jpg

 

nano29.jpg

 

My astrea snail was plowing right thru it. VICTORIOUS!!! Strength and honor to you oh mightly snail. LOL. A good lesson for all of us about diversifying our cleanup crew. SH

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yellowbird53

I appreciate your time and deication to helping out people like myself. The Naon DX 24g came with literally (No Pun Intended!)no instructions to speak of, and I was disillusioned. I started with live sand, LR from an established tak. Went through three weeks of cycling with LFS bought water. All #'s seemed right, and I overstocked, too much, too soon. IU am seeing that inpatience is a all too common death cert. for my inhabitants. All died...(Namatse), and now I am having doubts if I am qualified to run a tank this size. One larger seems a better proving gound for my level of knowledge.

My LFS, which I trust, so far, uses all stock medium provided. I am in a quandry over what to use. I am trying to re-cycle, and get my ammonia down. I would like to think that this is the phase of the cycle I have read of where it DOES spike briefly, and then drops again, and then you are towards the end of the cycle.

I regret my impulsiveness, causing the loss of such beautiful animals, but I do want the beauty I know is possible with proper Nano res[ponsibility.

Thank you for your postings. They are deep and thoughtful, and most importantly, informative. yellowbirdinc@hotmail.com. I invite your thoughts, and advice.

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steelhealr

HI Yellowbird...don't lose hope and don't give up. As a hobby or even more, setting up a successful nano-reef is one of the most challenging projects one can do in the aquarium field. Not only that, this forum is filled with people that have extra-ordinary technical abilities and ingenuity that just, well, just blows me away. That in itself is intimidating...same as being on the junior varsity and being called up to play with the big boys on the varsity team. We're all gonna take a few lumps. We just have to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and try again. You can have that beautiful tank.

 

One comment here which is really true is what I posted earlier, beautiful things happen slowly, disaster happens quickly. One absolutely must not rush things here. I am about 4 weeks into having my tank up and running and still..with trepidations ...am I preparing to add my first corals. This reef system goes thru several stages , from cycling to diatoms to the appearance of the bad guys and to the appearance of unwanted hitchhikers. Better safe to wait it out until one is comfortable with the quality of your water. These saltwater creatures just don't tolerate water quality insults like freshwater.

 

It is obvious that the loss of your fish was a tough experience but it just shows that you care from your post. We all learn from mistakes. If I were you I wouldn't quit. Hold off of adding any livestock for now and try to recycle; wait for algae again; add the cleanup crew and then perhaps, pick out another fish..just one hardy one...and go from there. Feel free to PM me if I can help out. Chins up. SH

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RandyO

I have never vacuumed my substrate. My nitrates have never been detectable either.

This comes back to cleanup crew diversity. The bristle worms do a pretty good job with keeping it cleaned up. You will find that debris will collect in certain areas of your cube, I call them the "Dead Zones". You will find amphipod molts as well as anything that dies will collect in areas near the back wall. These will turn into breeding areas for the substrate members of your clean up crew. In time it all finds a nice balance. These guys will turn out to be your best defense against algae as they will consume organic matter that ends up feeding the algae in the first place. With this happening, no nitrates.

 

What kind of substrate cleaners did you stock your tank with? I have found that hermits do a pretty lousy job and worse yet, can turn out to be predators of small inverts that help keep the substrate clean. They are fun to watch however.

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steelhealr

The Bad Players ( or Pulling my 'Hair' Out)

 

Sooner or later, you are going to see the natural changes that occur in the cube during or after cycling. This includes the growth of various algaes. Some are a natural progression, some hitchhikers and others symptoms of problems in our cube. Most should resolve when the 'imbalances' resolve. Here are a few of the nasties:

 

Diatoms

 

This is the brown slime or film that you see beginning to creep up on your aquarium walls and the substrate and is usually the first to come knocking on your door. This is usually controlled with an algae scraper (Magfloat is great) and various snails. My Margaritas and Astreas do a good job of this. Elevated silicates may be a cause of diatoms getting out of control. Scraping the glass just prior to you water change with the powerheads off will help to reduce the load.

 

Cyanobacteria or Green/Red Slime Algae

 

This stuff shows up (as you can see in my photo above) as a sheet or covering of a slimy or slightly filamentous layer on the rock or substrate in red, green or even black colors. It is not an algae but bacteria. It loosens easily and can float. Cyanobacteria is usually a sign of poor circulation or flow and can also be part of the nutrient imbalance. Treatment is with snails (my astrea above is eating it), redirecting powerhead flow to that area and using a turkey baster to dislodge and remove it. You can also increase water changes. Some would add a protein skimmer if it gets out of control. Resist the urge to use chemicals or antibiotics.

 

Hair Algae

 

This is the real bane of many aquarists. Green hair algae grows in long filamentous threads that can grow everywhere and overtake corals and essentially smother them. Causes include:

1) nutrient excess/overfeeding

2) poor nutrient export/poor water maintenance

3) excess phosphate

4) excess nitrates

5) overlighting

 

Treatment:

1) reduce feeding

2) reduce lighting; use a timer if you can't get home to turn of the lights

3) if using tap water, switch to RO/DI water

4) increase water changes

5) consider a skimmer if out of control

6) consider adding a refugium with macroalgae (chaetomorpha, caulerpa)

7) manually remove as much hair algae as you can without spreading it around the tank

8 ) add any cleanup crew members that you don't have that will possibly eat it....Astrea snails, Mexican Red Legged Hermits.

9) unlike cyanobacteria, hair algae doesn't respond to increased water flow, in fact, it likes it

 

Bubble Algae

 

This is posted on a previous page (thread page 4). And lastly, again, for those following:

 

Update

 

The astrea snail did a partial job eating up the cyano/slime algae so, off to the market to buy a turkey baster (don't use your wife's ...LOLOL). I'm going to play around with my second pump to redirect flow. Also, since my parameters are zero, I decided to focus on my pH/kH. It had been running low at 7.8/7dkH. I started using Kent Marine Buffer (you could use bicarb). I began adding one teaspoon to my topoffs. Took about 3-4 doses. My pH is now 8.2 and dkH is 10....very good. Hope this helps. SH

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trumph

The 2005 annual edition of Marine Fish & Reef has an article on Cyano/Red Slime. They say to do a series of partial water changes with RO/DI water and a good-quality salt mix if you catch it early. If not then a series of bi-weekly 25%-30% water changes combined w/siphoning as much of the Cyano as possible and even removal of overgrown rocks for scrubbing. If you are desperate then go to the antibiotics like erythromyacin which will kill good bacteria along with the Cyano.

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steelhealr

Thanks Trumph but I think the recs by Icenine did the trick. I did a 10% water change tonite. I used the turkey baster technique and the cyano floated right off and I suctiooned it out. My astrea were picking on it, so, at least I have found a way to keep it under control. I readjusted my pumps as below.

 

Mod Change and Macro Note

 

Well..sometimes you have to learn that experience is the best teacher. I had placed a smaller pump in the third compartment to increase flow. Some people had said that the 3rd chamber would'nt handle it. Well..they were right. The water level was dropping too low and the heater was becoming exposed. Also, I was using a Maxijet 400, much lower flow. And...I got cyano. So...went back to the drawing board. I pulled the Maxijet 400 (106 gph) pump out and switched back in the stock pump (295 gph). I modified the outflow tubing and used softer tubing where it goes over the chamber walls. I placed my pump in chamber one at the bottom and put my media above it. BIG DIFFERENCE IN FLOW and all levels are excellent. Now I have an excellent clockwise water movement. My other reason for doing this is my first corals will arrive tomorrow. Here's the pic of the changed mod:

 

mod2.jpg

 

mod3.jpg

 

Interesting note on the macro (halimeda)...it continues to be very green in the back refugium. However, the small amounts I put in the main tank is turning white. Go figure..now I'm back to thinking that maybe the quartz submersible IS working. SH

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trumph

Hopefully your flow will help, it doesn't help with me. I've got three AquaGlobe 300gph PH's in 3rd chamber coming out of different outlets and still have the Cyano. Cut teeth for a surface skimmer over the stock intake and drilled additional holes though the partition between chambers 1 & 2 so I don't suck the 3rd chamber dry. I don't block off the stock intake either, again will suck the 3rd chamber dry. I don't have any sponges to impede flow just a bag of Chemi-pure on top of LR in 2nd chamber, some rock in 1st chamber also. Gives me plenty of flow w/o the temperature problems everyone else seems to have. Unplugged my heater this morning at 78.8F and is now at 75F and still dropping. Stock 72w, stock fans & three pumps running all day. When I used the stock pump with an Aqua Clear 50 pumping 270gph my temp stayed at 80.1 w/o the heater. Ambient is ~69-70.

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revkev6

trumph, try putting some macro algae in your 2nd chamber. if you can get enough back there it might help some.

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shadowdragon

WOW B) Nice thread... but have a few questions for ya.

 

1) Do you think a Aqua clear 110 (500) fit on the back of the 24g nano cube. It would be used as a HOB refugium... would help remove the heat and loss of space caused by the built-in refugium in the second chamber. It would also allow you to better maintain the refugium.

 

2) Have you thought of using a SCWD Wavemaker placed in the second chamber as a way to use only one pump but increase the water movement.... would remove the heat caused by the extra pump but increase the overall water movement.

 

 

I'm looking at getting a 24g and have been trying to find ways to cut down on the heat build up.

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steelhealr

Hi Shadow Dragon...so far..heat has not been a problem for me. Since adding the second pump, my temp is steady at 79.7. That's satisfactory. There is a DIY refugium on this forum somewhere....I think you have to cut a wedge out of the hood to fit the AquaClear in. I don't want to do that. As for a wavemaker, they are not superexpensive, but, the powerheads are much cheaper and, as above, not a heat problem so far. Remember...at the present time I have the stock pump running, the Maxijet 1200 and a 10 watt quartz halogen submerisible light. My temp is 79..not bad.

 

My first corals arrived today. Will update the post later. It was a bit of work getting them in the tank. SH

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trumph

RevKev...thanks for the input. I ordered some Cheato which should be arriving tomorrow. Will move the Chemi-pure and some LR to chamber 1 to make room. Also, I got my first order of snails tonight (13 total, 5 types) and will see if they can help. Can't miss the Cyano...it traps bubbles in itself which shows exactly where its at. Anyway, don't want to mess up this thread with my probs...I just add comments that I think might help Steel and others. I'm not worried about it, being a Newbie I think it looks kinda neat!

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trumph

Ooops...I meant Chaeto!

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