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About creacom

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  1. metal halide or t5s nano cube 12?

    Robert: I just went through the same thing. I was debating between making my own CF lamp, buying the JBJ 70W or buying the Coralife 150W for my JBJ nanos. The CF required too large a lamp housing. It looked really bad. The 70W seemed ideal, but the bulb availability was very poor. The 150W, on the other hand, is available almost anywhere and with a number of colours. The heat actually is not a problem. I put the Coralife 150W as high as it goes. It has a small fan built in that keeps it cool. I have seen the tank get as high as 27.8C (82F) with the house temperature set to 24C. I made lids for my tanks from eggcrate and use an upgraded pump in the back along with a Koralina Nano recirculation pump. (Larger pumps produce more heat, I found.) Evaporation is a big issue. Right now I use a Brita water bottle with the lid adapted to connect to a short section of hose. That is inverted and put in the pump chamber to keep the water level up. I use probably 500ml per day. I will soon have a larger and proper auto-top-off. They are expensive, but I will need it if I want to be away from the tanks for more than 24 hours. The biggest issue is that two of my corals really hate it. My Frogspan hides whenever the light comes on. I have to shade it with a strip of paper-towel. One of my Pulsing Xenias hates the light also. Same solution. I shade it a bit less each day and they seem to be adapting. I would suggest the 150W.
  2. MarineKeepers 12g nano adventure w/ pics!

    I am very sorry to hear that. Also, very disappointed and a bit concerned. I went and bought two of the Coralife 150W MH lamps and have one over each tank. Temperature is a bit of an issue. I put a fan on each tank that really cools that lamp, unfortunately, it also really cooled the tank today. It was 24c (75f) when I got home. Clearly the heaters are not up to the task. I am adding second heaters to each tank today. I know one good one is enough, but why not have redundancy. What were the symptoms and why do you think it is the light that bothered the corals? How close did you mount it? (I had mine set close, but have moved it farther up to reduce the heat effect.) Are you sure it is the light and not the heat (or the fluctuation in it)? (BTW: I am not doubting you, I just would like to know how to know.)
  3. My First (2) Marine Tank(s)

    The hermit crabs seem to be doing well. I have put some fish food in the tanks every other day now so that they are fed. Two of the Blue-Legged and one of the Scarlet-Red hermit crabs have molted. (I thought they had died. What a surprise when the Scarlet got up and walked away.) It's time to put fish and shrimp in the tanks. Suggestions? I like the fire shrimp so I am thinking of two for one of the tanks. (How many should be in a JBJ 12g?) I would like a Yellow Watchman Goby and a Pistol Shrimp in the other tank. What else should I get? Here is a photo of one of the tanks sporting it's new Coralife 150W MH lamp, the requisite fan sitting on the egg-crate top, and a fancy auto-top-off by Brita.
  4. Shooting first wedding

    That is not enough light. You might want to rent a good set of lights and radios. You should have two heads with at least twice that much power. (I run with 2 400W/s heads, 200 watts of modeling lights, and a 200W/s camera-mounted fill flash.) Your remotes should be radio, not light. If it is based on light it will be triggered by every other person with a PHS camera, not be ready when you are, and may be limited in where you can place it. Unless your friend wants snap-shots with very little quality, there are a number of other factors. Your lens is probably not sufficient. If it is a cheap lens like the one that came with my Canon, you will have a maximum f-stop of something like 4 at 55. That is not fast enough to get good focusing, nor is it a low enough depth to get dramatic photos and nice soft images of the bride. (I do most of my portraits with a fixed length 50mm f1.4 on the non-full-frame digital format). There is nothing worse (in photography that is) than messing up wedding photos. You don't get a second chance. A lot of people are content with junk but others want quality for a few hundred dollars. I am not saying that you should not shoot it. Go for it, have fun. But be sure your expectations are in line and theirs also. Find some friends you can shoot as couples and try to capture a sense of beauty, reverence, or grace in the pictures you take of them. If you can do that, you are well on your way. If not, you may want to reconsider shooting your friend's wedding.
  5. My First (2) Marine Tank(s)

    Time for an update... The debate over the lights got real when I built a lamp out of stainless steel. I put four 24w CF bulbs in it. Two were the original JBJ ones that came with two of my tanks. The other two were Coralife bulbs. They have the same raing, but the Coralife is larger physically and not nearly as bright as the JBJ. The fixture was an ugly prototype and unacceptably bulky. I made a list of the pros and cons and the cons won. I cannot make the lamp look good because it has to be that large. In the end, size was the factor that made me go Metal Halide. The next decision was on the wattage. I think 150W is too much. You can disagree if you wish. I really like the look of the JBJ 70W, but, I found it hard to find 70W bulbs. 150W, no problem. It seemed to me that buying the 70W would be like buying a Delorian and hoping to use it to commute. It will be great, until you need a part. If I cannot easily get 70W bulbs, the lamp will be left off. Not good. So a 150W MH it must be. And now is. Ouch, that is bright. I picked up a pair of Coralife Hang-on-back pendant lamps. I don't think I will leave it mounted on the back though. The mounting bracket is so large, I won't be able to access the chambers with it mounted. When I turned the lamp on and it finally warmed up, I saw a lot of what turns out to be copepods on the back wall and glass of the tank. The heat will also be brutal so I have to alter my plans for the tank cover (I had cut pieces of plexi-glass) and cooling. Short of a chiller, what is the best way to cool the tank?
  6. I think you will be hard pressed to find good zoom lenses in those price ranges. What you may want to do is determine if you need a good zoom lens (and prepare to pay at least $800) or if you will settle for a good fixed length or a mediocre zoom. There are some satisfactory lenses and acceptable lenses in the price range you listed. I would caution you to avoid too broad a focal length range. Anything broader than 70-200 is too much IMHO. Spherical aberration gets worse with more extreme lenses. The lenses with less variance will often give better results. For shots that truly matter, I use a fixed length lens. Fixed length lenses are also generally faster (which means the have a higher maximum aperture). This is important for at least three reasons: (0) You can shoot at a higher shutter speed; (1) You can choose to have very little depth of field which can produce a very appealing image; (2) You camera's auto-focus (or your eye) will work more accurately and more quickly because the depth of field is lower and the available light is higher. In other words, to keep in your price range, and to get good quality, I would choose a fixed length f1.8. If you would prefer the flexibility of the zoom and are willing to sacrifice the quality, I would suggest you consider a Tamron. From your list I would say: Canon 70-200 f/4 - No, too slow a lens (f4) canon 55-250 IS - No, expect distortion and light fall-off. canon EF 70-300 mm f/4-5.6 IS USM - No. f5.6 is useless and 70-300 WILL distort. Canon 70-210 f/2.8 - Yes. I little long IMO, but f2.8 is very attractive. Sigma 70-300 APO - No. distortion. Sigma 70-200m f2.8 - Yes. Reasonable length, excellent maximum aperture. Canon 70-200m f/2.8 - Yes. Reasonable length, excellent maximum aperture.
  7. MarineKeepers 12g nano adventure w/ pics!

    Thanks for the acclimation information. That was a good idea. What sort of mesh were you using? How is the heat affecting your tank? I don't think I will get the Coralife 150W. I like the width of it, but I think the 70W from JBJ will produce enough light while drawing less electricity, generating less heat, and looking a bit slicker. On another note, I just noticed your profile mentions Software Development as an interest. Have you written an application to log and track tank statistics, chemistry, and notes?
  8. Do you keep an aquarium log?

    I wish I had found this before I wrote an application to manage and track my tank. On the other hand, I wish I had not seen some of the suggestions in prior posts. Now I have more ideas for my application. More work. Oh well.
  9. My First (2) Marine Tank(s)

    Thanks for the information. I was thinking of cutting some acrylic to cover the tank but I was concerned about the heat from the lamp and possible off-gassing of the acrylic. I take it that you think it would be an issue.
  10. My First (2) Marine Tank(s)

    Thanks. I was slow (okay, extremely slow) for three reasons: I know enough to know that I don't know enough; I did not have the time to get the tanks set up the way I wanted (if I only knew what that was); and I did not want to experiment with flow rates, filtration, dosing, water quality, et cetra with any livestock in the tank. Thanks for the info about the light. I think they sell one with a fan now. Are you running the fan continually? Are the bulbs lasting a long time? Are they a standard bulb or something you can only get from JBJ or the LFS? Does the clamp on the glass not concern you? Can it be mounted to the wall or table instead?
  11. My First (2) Marine Tank(s)

    Thanks for the pointer to Fish-Need-It. The T5HO that they have are too long for these tanks. Ditto for the Nova Extreme (which happens to be what I am running on my fresh-water tank). I need a smaller light. They also have a 70W MH pendant which may be an option to the JBJ Viper. I will probably get the Viper, I just have some questions before I do. You know, things like: Are people happy with them? Are the bulbs readily available? Are they reliable? Will they cook my fish? As to the software, I'll need another week to clean up a few minor annoyances that I have run into. At that point it will be ready for Mac-OS and/or Linux-x86 users. Windows will take a week or two longer as I don't do Windows. I'll let you know when it is ready for beta testing.
  12. My First (2) Marine Tank(s)

    The water is back in the tanks along with the sand, the original live rock, and some new live rock. In all, this amounts to roughly 20lbs of sand and crushed coral and 17lbs of live rock in each tank. The live rock that I purchased the other day at least looked like there was some life on it recently. Most live rock that I see in the stores around here look pretty dead and clean. This one had some algae that looked alive and what may have been the remains of a sponge. Does this look good? Or should I have picked up the clean (aka dead) looking stuff? I put a bunch in one tank: While I started to aquascape the other: There was more aquascaping, some rock chipping, some rubble making, and ... The tanks have been up for a day with Ammonia 0, Nitrite 1.6mg/l, Nitrate 0. The wait begins... FYI: I have written an application to keep track of my tests and results. Anyone interested in trying it? I can add as many tests as I run for each tank. Each test can have any number of steps and each step can have a timer associated with it. The Test can then be started and a countdown timer shows me how long I have to wait to complete each test. Of course multiple tests can be running at the same time. If you would like to try it, let me know. I would like to find three or four people to test it and suggest improvements. After I do my aquarium management of my fresh-water tank today, I will test the nano-cubes again and post and update on the chemistry along with pictures of the aquascaping. Perhaps someone can tell me if my aquascaping ideas will work. I am doing something I have not seen anyone else do yet.
  13. My First (2) Marine Tank(s)

    Lighting Modification, any recommendations? (NOTE: Please do not think that this post is intended to knock JBJ or Nanocustoms. It is just a record of the issues I had with the hoods I have and the retrofit kit I purchased. You may have a better go at it if you try.) So I understand that 24W is not enough. I was not convinced that I needed a MH lamp. I was certain I did not need the heat or the electrical bill. I decided to try the Nano-customs 2.24 modification for the JBJ 12G. It did not work so well for me. Let me start with a word of caution. If you think you might buy the Coralife 24W bulb (as I did), it is not the same size as the 24W JBJ bulb. You can see from this photo that is it considerably larger and does not fit with the retrofit kit as shipped: Before I discovered that little problem, i ran into this one. The heat shield could not sit flat since the mounting post for the rectifier circuit (removed with the ballast and transformer) is in the way. Here you can see the heat shield sitting as best as it can with the post in the way: I drilled a hole in the heat shield to let the post through: I also trimmed the end of the heat shield to just behind the two light sockets so that the heat shield could be moved over enough to allow the Coralife lamp to be used. Of course, that meant that the hole I drilled for the post was no longer in the right place so I cut out a square to give me room to move the heat shield without having to align the post. You will note also that there is no facility with this retrofit to power the LED night-lights, just a place to mount them. I think they could be wired to the fans, but what would be the point in that? With a square cut out and the end of the shield trimmed, the Coralife bulb now fit. Unfortunately, when I went to attach the splash guard I discovered that, with the heat shield shifted to one side, the splash guard would no longer mount correctly. It recesses at the ends and the light socket has been moved there to facilitate the larger bulb. In short, the only way I can use this retrofit is to stick with the JBJ bulbs or cut a hole in the end of the hood so that the Coralife bulb can protrude. Or, I could buy a glass top and a JBJ Viper 70W. Opinions anyone? Anyone want an unused but partly modified and assembled retrofit kit? Ah, make that two kits.
  14. My First (2) Marine Tank(s)

    Equipment and Modifications I purchased two JBJ Nano-cubes, 12 gallons each. They are the older "G" model I think. They just have one 24W lamp in the hoods which I have read is not nearly enough. I set the tanks up with "live sand" and a bit of "live rock" (both of which I doubt were truely "live") and left it running for months while I researched and considered what I would do. After a few months, and when I finally had a moment, I emptied the tanks and made the following modifications: Filtration: The first thing that had to be fixed was the filtration. I could not get the water to look clean enough. My water comes from my CoraLife RO/DI system with 0ppm TDS. I add the Red Sea Pro salt (I heard there was a difference), and experimented with maintaining the water level and salinity as well as testing for NH3, NO2, and NO3. All was well, but the water still looked dirty to me. I removed the sponges and bio-balls. I finally read somewhere that the problem with the bio-balls is not so much that they produce Nitrate - they themselves don't produce it but collect what does. The problem, as I understand it is that: they don't get cleaned enough to remove the Nitrate-producing waste; and, they do not have deep porous material that can promote anaerobic denitrification. (Did I get that right?) The live rock allows for both arobic and anarobic, the later being required to remove the Nitrate (NO3) from the water. I did manage to find "filter media bags" which I have filled with: live rock rubble; and, lava rock. These two bags sit in the bottom of my first chamber under the filter floss. There was still a floating "scum" on the water unless I used the skimmer that came with the aquarium. There were two things I did not like about the skimmer. The first is that it did not attach to the tank but fell off the wall periodically. The second is that it was difficult to regulate the flow rate through the chambers because the change in flow affected the skimmer's ability to hold to the back wall. If the flow was too high the skimmer would fall off. I decided to use aquarium silicone to fix the skimmer to the back wall. I also felt the stock pump was too slow and too noisy. I picked up the Marineland Max-Jet 1100 and fit it with a 3/4" hose. I quick test showed that it could out-flow the filtration chambers if the skimmer was too high. To use the larger hose size (without which there was little point in putting in a larger pump), I took a 1" hole-saw drill bit and drilled out the stock pipe fitting. The hole is just the right size to fit the larger tubing I am using. The stock JBJ return nozzle fits inside the tubing as does a 3/4" elbow. When the elbow is pressed into the tube and through the hole, it seals it up. The flow rate is phenomenal. After replacing the pump and fixing the skimmer to the tank, I simply broke off the tines from the skimmer to increase the flow rate through the rear chambers. I also needed to remove a portion of the wall between the second and third chambers. I removed the part of the wall that was above the drain from the second to the third chamber which allowed for a faster flow between those two sections. As long as the water level is high enough, the water level stays high enough to keep the pump submersed. My water is now crystal clear and my flow rate through the tank is excellent. Circulation: Someone finally explained to me that the reason we need so much flow in salt tanks is that we need to keep food suspended until the corals can eat them. For this reason added a Zoo-med Powersweep 212 oscillating powerhead. I like that it oscillates. Regrettibly, one of the two I bought no longer oscillates. Heat: I put my heater in the first chamber next to the bag of aggregate and under the filter floss. I put it there because I need it to always be submersed and I cannot garantee that the pump won't drain down the second and/or third chambers if the filter floss becomes dirty. Lighting: This is a long story. The short version is that I tried the Nano-Customs modification and am not impressed. Instead I am going to order the 70w Viper and glass top. There is no real rush as there are no fish or corals in here yet. ATO: An ATO is not an option, I just don't have one yet. How the tank looked back in January 2009 (I think I previously stated December 2008 as the start of these tanks. It was not. That was when I bought them but they did not see water until the start of 2009.): A 1" hole in the back wall: A comparison of pumps and tubes, 150gph vs 290gph: The 3/4" elbow installed:
  15. I have always liked fish and have had aquariums from time to time with tropical fish, but never a salt-water tank. After I discovered Nano-Reefs, I really liked the idea of a self-contained, simple marine tank. I have been reading on this and other threads and setting up some tanks since December of 2008 and am starting this thread to get feedback and suggestions and to (eventually) help others who have the same questions I have. I am new at this and expect to make mistakes. Feel free to comment/correct.