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View Full Version : Taking the Salty Plunge!


Chemi
08-03-2015, 08:18 PM
Hello everyone!
Here we go! I have been creeping these forums for a couple months now debating on whether I am ready for the reef life. And after seeing all of your beautiful creations, and reading ALL the build threads (some more than once) I have decided to switch over my 55g planted freshwater to a modest reef. I have the basic principles down, just have a few small questions for you gurus. I'd prefer not to drill, at this time the tank is 2' from the couch and my bf would not be too happy with the constant splashing of water, he couldn't even take the sound of the air pump kicking on after lights out!
I may be moving in a few months which is why I'd like to keep it 'modest'; looking at zoas, ricco mushrooms, torch coral, hammer or frog spawn and a colorful array of monti caps. Perhaps an easy SPS like a birds nest if my lights are adequate. I think this variety should be ok, if not, I'm open to suggestions!
I have been scouring the buy and sell forum, but it sees as if there aren't too many hobbyists in Edmonton, any with items up for grabs anyways lol! I am looking for most supplies really, power heads, a skimmer, live/dry rock refractometer and RODI maker so this may be a touch on the slower build side. I know from other forums that used is the way to go in terms of equipment, I have no need for the price tag of 'new' for most things as this is my first adventure. I currently have 2 canister filters and 2 aquatic life 48" T5HO fixtures.
As for the rock, my question is about live rock. Some people don't recommend it because of hitchhikers, but, wouldn't it be ok if you did use it and in the event of hitchhikers, hit it with additives to remove the worms, bubble algae and apitasia BEFORE you commence addition of your inhabitants? Quicker cycle without the nasties?

I'm excited for this build, and I'm thankful that I have this great community to help me along the way!

Chemi
08-03-2015, 08:22 PM
The old and the new!

Myka
08-03-2015, 11:59 PM
Welcome to the addiction! :D

What are the dimensions of your tank? A standard 55-gallon is 48x12x21" but yours looks wider than 12".

Fwiw, sumps do not have to be noisy. My system is definitely quieter than even the smallest air pump. There isn't even a whisper from it. I'd strongly recommend a sump because you can buy a much better skimmer for the sump for a much better price than hang on skimmers. It's tough to find a good hang on skimmer used. Don't bother with Remora skimmers or CPR Bakpak or a bunch of other terrible skimmers. The Deltec hang on is the best hang on you can buy and the Bubble Magus is good too. Those are the ones most readily available that I've seen/used. Either run the tank skimmerless or buy one that is really good. A crappy skimmer isn't worth the cardboard it's packed in, and honestly you're better of spending that money on salt for bigger water changes if that's the case!

Fwiw, Monti Caps are SPS too, just like birdnests. Both are relatively easy to take care of provided you can keep nitrate and phosphate low enough.

Don't be scared of live rock. I've been in this hobby over 20 years and I only use live rock on my own tanks. I run a tank maintenance company and some of my clients by dry rock. It takes sooo long for the tank to age. Those tanks always lose corals in the beginning where live rock tanks are easier to take care of at the beginning. Some dry rock is very heavy and not very porous which makes poor live rock. Good live (or dry) rock feels lighter than you would expect for the size of it.

Also, I never both with buying "live" sand. It's really not that live, and if you use live rock the "dead" sand will become live in no time. The same can't be said for dry rock though. It takes about a year for dry rock to become as live as live rock.

Roskoreef
08-04-2015, 12:59 AM
about the rock... i think myka is spot on, there is advantages/disadvantages to live vs dry rock.

I used Dry pukani from eli@ fijireefrock.com, now i didnt acid wash or none of that i just rinsed with the hose and did a 24 hr soak in the tank with ro/di water, then a 100% waterchange and fill with saltwater and cycle. what happened, well first 3 mths i lost a bunch of corals, rocks had algae blooms, phosphate levels were higher..now 8 mths in my rock is startingto look like live rock, darker colour lots of coraline algae..

I went with dry rock because the pukani is super light and porous, plus i was feeling cheap and impaitient so i didnt wnt to pay for water weight. Ended up with a few problems..

Good side i was able to aquascape for as long as i wanted to, even tho i rescaped several times...

if i had the money, going back i would have tried to find live pukani rock.

my 2 cents

Chemi
08-04-2015, 04:47 AM
Thanks Myka! Yes, it's a standard 55 with only a 12" width sadly. Ideally I'd like a 75 just for the extra floor space. I would like do have a sump Instead, just the noise and extra parts for potential problems is deterring lol! I do have the fittings and bulkheads already, as I was going to drill and plumb my old 90g FW, but I could get it out of the house to get the shop to drill it for me by myself so it never went sumpy. I think more so my problem is the actual action of drilling it. I'm sure it's not tempered, it's super duper heavy and the panes are 3/8" wide. I'm just really nervous about it, if the glass were to break, so would my heart! If I were to drill it, it would be through the back with a modified bean animal; 2 drains instead of 3. And there lies my other problem. Attempting a C2C weir, it would have to be glass rather than acrylic, so there would be no way of adding 'teeth' for safety. Also, the only spare tank I have is a 15Tg and I'm not sure if that would be enough room for a skimmer and such. Heater isn't a problem, I have an hydor inline.

That's what I was thinking too Rosko. I was thinking about picking up a few pieces from Eli just because of the interesting shapes, he shelves and branches.. I think it's going to be kinda hard to get a decent scape with only a 12" width. That's why I was thinking about mixing the dry and live together.

On another note, once I got the tank empty, I gave her a good scrub, and the reseal I have been putting off is definately overdue. Again, something I haven't had the pleasure of doing myself yet. So, 5 blades and 3 hours later, I have stripped the internal seams. That much time and all I got off was the silicone. Jeez, must have been a 1" bead at the bottom! Tomorrow is the acetone wash for the residual bits, tape it up and redo the seams. The trim was broken too, so hopefully I can pick up a replacement in the right size. The original trim didn't have the middle brace.

Myka
08-04-2015, 06:07 AM
Thanks Myka! Yes, it's a standard 55 with only a 12" width sadly. Ideally I'd like a 75 just for the extra floor space. I would like do have a sump Instead, just the noise and extra parts for potential problems is deterring lol! I do have the fittings and bulkheads already, as I was going to drill and plumb my old 90g FW, but I could get it out of the house to get the shop to drill it for me by myself so it never went sumpy. I think more so my problem is the actual action of drilling it. I'm sure it's not tempered, it's super duper heavy and the panes are 3/8" wide. I'm just really nervous about it, if the glass were to break, so would my heart! If I were to drill it, it would be through the back with a modified bean animal; 2 drains instead of 3. And there lies my other problem. Attempting a C2C weir, it would have to be glass rather than acrylic, so there would be no way of adding 'teeth' for safety. Also, the only spare tank I have is a 15Tg and I'm not sure if that would be enough room for a skimmer and such. Heater isn't a problem, I have an hydor inline.

A 2-drain Bean Animal would be a Herbie. :)

I have a C2C weir on my tank and no teeth, just a 1/4" gap where the water runs through.

Like I said already, if you do a good job designing the sump and plumbing it will be quiet - quieter than sumpless because the skimmer will be in the sump. On a quiet system the skimmer is the noisiest piece of equipment.

Have you considered selling the spare equipment you have now like the canisters and even your 55-gallon and you could buy a drilled tank/stand/sump? Just last weekend I sold a 50-gallon (36x18x18") tank/stand/sump/return pump for $225. It's very quiet (because I designed it lol) and is a nice shape for a reef. Sometimes "exchanging" your current equipment works out better for you in the end and won't end up costing you much, if anything.

Chemi
08-25-2015, 04:11 AM
Hello!
Just got back from a vacation in San Francisco :) Back to the build! I have had a busy week...

Pulled off all the old silicone for the reseal; definately not a fun time. Even with the masking tape seam trick I still had a mess to clean up. I think my problem was caused by having too thick of a bead of the silicone so when I removed the tape immediately after, so it kinda glob bed outward. Oh well, it looks good enough not to have to redo it again lol! http://s1332.photobucket.com/user/candi_aple/media/Mobile%20Uploads/20150821_161753_zpshxkvh1qx.jpg.html?sort=3&o=4
http://s1332.photobucket.com/user/candi_aple/media/Mobile%20Uploads/20150821_161811_zpshsuqkfob.jpg.html?filters[user]=138863365&filters[recent]=1&sort=1&o=1

No luck on finding a replacement trim, but picked up a few pieces of glass for a euro brace instead. $20 for 3 pieces 8mm 3x12" didn't think it was too bad of a deal, Woulda been about $50 for the plastic stuff so I think I scored.
http://s1332.photobucket.com/user/candi_aple/media/Mobile%20Uploads/20150824_202753_zps8csf90fo.jpg.html?filters[user]=138863365&filters[recent]=1&sort=1&o=2

Had the stand already that the skin was half completed so I have been working on that for the last few days and now it's finally complete! Pretty nice, dark cherry wood panels complete with a hood. Can't stand the light escaping from the sides and blinding me through the corner of my eye.

Good grief! I was so mistaken on the amount of time it takes to make RODI water! Took days to fill a brute container, and after all that, I still only have 25 gallons in the tank :( on the bright side of that, and least not I have 5 gallon graduation marks written on the side of the tank, should make water changes more accurate and precise.

That's all I have for now folks! Hopefully tomorrow I'll have enough water for the rest of the tank and be able to mix my salt and get my rocks organized and in the tank!

Chemi
08-26-2015, 02:02 AM
http://s1332.photobucket.com/user/candi_aple/media/Mobile%20Uploads/20150825_185010_zpsiyfvjj97.jpg.html?filters[user]=138863365&filters[recent]=1&sort=1&o=0
This is where I'm at so far..... on the left is the beginnings of an arch between the 2 mounds. The right side is a single tower. Does this look like it will be ok? Or is my dimensions and structure sizing off? I can only make it one layer at a time due to the epoxy.

Chemi
08-26-2015, 02:03 AM
Hmmmm my photo didn't post... I went through photobucket :(

intarsiabox
08-26-2015, 04:28 AM
What is your RO system rated for? It shouldn't take days to fill a brute container unless your membrane is plugged up or you have a problem with the flow restrictor.

intarsiabox
08-26-2015, 04:38 AM
Here's your picture.

http://i1332.photobucket.com/albums/w620/candi_aple/Mobile%20Uploads/20150825_185010_zpsiyfvjj97.jpg (http://s1332.photobucket.com/user/candi_aple/media/Mobile%20Uploads/20150825_185010_zpsiyfvjj97.jpg.html)

intarsiabox
08-26-2015, 04:41 AM
To insert a photo from photobucket click on the image code next to the picture in photobucket, then go to your post and click the "insert image" icon (the mountains and sun" and paste the image code in the box that popped up.

Chemi
08-26-2015, 06:06 AM
Thanks Instar! That's great! So, same question applies, is the right side too square?

Chemi
08-26-2015, 06:11 AM
What is your RO system rated for? It shouldn't take days to fill a brute container unless your membrane is plugged up or you have a problem with the flow restrictor.
I'm rated at 75 g per day. I got it off a canreefer when he shut down his system. He told me the membranes were still relatively new. Should I change out the sediment filter as a start? The line for the RO I'd T'd off from my washer so it's still good house water through pex line. He mentioned that perhaps that line doesn't have enough pressure to put out much more. It's not a stream, but not drip by drip, it's kinda a stream like drip. I done have the brand or model, he had lost he papers.

intarsiabox
08-27-2015, 12:26 AM
I'm rated at 75 g per day. I got it off a canreefer when he shut down his system. He told me the membranes were still relatively new. Should I change out the sediment filter as a start? The line for the RO I'd T'd off from my washer so it's still good house water through pex line. He mentioned that perhaps that line doesn't have enough pressure to put out much more. It's not a stream, but not drip by drip, it's kinda a stream like drip. I done have the brand or model, he had lost he papers.

You should have about 60psi on that line so I don't think that is a problem. Credible membrane manufacturers rate their membrane at normal household pressures. Some RO units come with adjustable flow restrictors which need a lot of attention and if not set right can give you problems, Aquasafe has these. How much waste water are you getting? Usually 4:1 is normal so if you fill up a cup of ro water you should get about 4 cups of waste water, if you are getting a lot more waste water than that you have a problem. Sediment filters are cheap so it can't hurt to change it. My unit has an inline flow restrictor with a valve that cam be opened to back flush the membrane out, if you have this on yours give it a 5 minute flush.

Chemi
08-27-2015, 04:55 PM
I don't have a back flush feature. I checked the TDS and it's not zero anymore so I guess I'll change the sediment filter and see if that fixes my problem.
On a more positive note, I think I've decided on the rock scape :) does this look alright? I have 1 power head top left and the other in the bottom middle facing the right. The canister intake is on the right corner. I'm debating on adding the other canister on the left somewhere just for extra filtration. Should I? Seems like there isn't any room for anything else with all the rocks and power heads lol
http://i1332.photobucket.com/albums/w620/candi_aple/Mobile%20Uploads/20150827_094249_zps8ff2szkz.jpg (http://s1332.photobucket.com/user/candi_aple/media/Mobile%20Uploads/20150827_094249_zps8ff2szkz.jpg.html)

SeaHorse_Fanatic
08-27-2015, 09:28 PM
Aquascape looks good. If you have a small flat piece, you could add a bridging piece to the two small right side rocks to form another tunnel/cave.

Chemi
08-29-2015, 05:57 PM
I added another rock where you recommended, I like the way it looks now. Thanks!
So I have a small problem. I mixed up my I stand Ocean salt, and my parameters are slightly off. My SG is 1.0255 and my pH is 7.74. How can I increase my pH without adding to any other parameters? Like adding baking soda would add to the hardness but increase pH. Should I just purchase some 'pH up'? My test kits are in the mail receiving on Monday so these are the only parameters I know as of right now.
Thanks Guys!

Chemi
10-07-2015, 05:26 AM
Wow! What a busy month! I'm kinda upset with myself I didn't continue to share my creation. Checked parameters today :)
PH 8.1
SG 1.024
Ca 375
Mg 1440
Alk 11 dKH
PO4 slight - added Phoz Buster
NO3 0
Last water change was about a week ago. Have added a few more inhabitants slowly throughout the month. These include the usual cleaners; crabs, snails, cleaner and peppermint shrimp. Green chromis, bangai cardinal, bicolor blenny, yellow tang because They are gorgeous! Have a few corals that have been added as well (highlight of having a marine tank) torch coral; which is doing 100x better once he got moved, I think it's branching! Pulsing xenia; love it's little fingers. Monti cap; having a hard time finding it's sweet spot. I think it was getting kinda bleached so it was moved lower and somewhat shady. Neon candy cane, glows in my lights. Zoas! Love zoas! So many choices I want them all lol! And a pink birdsnest. I like the spiky - ness. I think it's really happy, has a very vibrant pink color. And of course, toadstool leather. Hopefully I'll be able to upload some pics tomorrow when the lights are on :) thanks for caring guys!