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Category Archives: Reef Maintenance

Green Hair Algae REMOVAL – Dolabella Sea Hare (Dolabella auricularia)


The Dolabella Sea Hare is the horse of the sea! I’ve had quite a few of them over the years and they do one heck of a job cleaning up the green hair algae in the tank. The only problem is that they will starve if you don’t continue to feed them or find friends with tanks full of food so keep that in mind.

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Algae Scrubber Update: Turbo L2 Rev 3 – 43 weeks


Turbo Aquatics L2 Revision 3 algae scrubber update. Starting to grow a bit of dark green hair algae around the edges of the scrubber pad.

 

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Cree Lumia 5.2 Build – 1 Year Update


Well, it’s been about a year since I built my LEDgroupbuy light. I’ve gradually increased the LED intensity from 35% to 60% and am very happy with the results. I may boost the intensity up a little bit but I don’t think much. The only coral I have that seems to not be as colorful is the hammer coral which looks a little lighter. The clams seem to be very happy which makes me happy! 🙂

The only issue I’ve run into is that one of my MakersDRIVERS 5UP PRO units gave out here last week. I came home and noticed all the LED chips but one were off (far right on). I turned the lights off for a bit and then back on. All the Lumia chips fired up but the right side of my tank looked darker and more actinicly lit. The left side of the tank was bright and white. Turns out that when the MakersDRIVER went out it stop communicating to the other 5UP PROs down the line and the result was each Lumia chip down the line was running at a 100%. This could have been a bad deal for the coral, jumping from 60%-100%, but they weren’t too upset. I dug out an old window screen and placed it over the left side of the tank which seemed to filter out enough light to look consistent with the 60% output.

After the 5UP PRO went out I looked at the LED Group Buy website and saw the 5UP PROs only had a 90-day warranty… Fortunately after emailing LED Group Buy they priority mailed out a replacement at no cost. 🙂 I’m glad I went with a company who stands behind their, and their supplier’s, products!

Cree Lumia 5.2 not working

Here’s what the light looked like after I restarted it (evening). The sunrise/set controller plugs in on the right and daisy chains to the left. The second set of lights you can see are out and all chips to the left are running at 100% :-/.

 

LED group buy 6 foot Makers Light

 

Makers LED Makers DRIVER 5UP PRO failed

 

Cree Lumia 5.2 LED Chip not turning on

Even though the power was turned off to this 5UP Pro it still had about 1% power going to channel 3. I assume the Makers sunset/rise dimmer sends a little power through the audio cables.

 

Bad MakersDRIVER 5UP PRO Burnt Spot

Notice the burn spot between the fuse and fan wires. I’m guessing this is where the issue was.

 

LED Group Buy Makers Reef Light

Back up and running!

 

Happy Squami Clams, Achilles Tang, Rabbitfish, Clownfish

Happy fish and clams!

 

Achilles Tang (Acanthurus achilles)

Algae Scrubber Update: SURF2 – 71 weeks | Turbo L2 Rev 3 – 26 weeks


Algae Scrubber Update: SURF2 – 71 weeks | Turbo L2 Rev 3 – 26 weeks

Algae Scrubber Update: SURF2 – 65 weeks | Turbo L2 Rev 3 – 20 weeks


Algae Scrubber Update: SURF2 – 65 weeks | Turbo L2 Rev 3 – 20 weeks

Algae Scrubber Update: SURF2 – 62 weeks | Turbo L2 Rev 3 – 17 weeks


Algae Scrubber Update: SURF2 – 62 weeks | Turbo L2 Rev 3 – 17 weeks

Algae Scrubber Update: SURF2 – 58 weeks | Turbo L2 Rev 3 – 13 weeks


Algae Scrubber Update: SURF2 – 58 weeks | Turbo L2 Rev 3 – 13 weeks 

Algae Scrubber Update: SURF2 – 49 weeks | Turbo L2 Rev 3 – 4 weeks


Algae scrubber update video: SURF2 – 49 weeks | Turbo L2 Rev 3 – 4 weeks

Colonial Hydroids – Not Good for a Reef Tank?


I just found what appears to be a patch of Colonial Hydroids in my reef tank. I’ve never noticed them in the past 7-8 years, they just kind of popped up. Not until I changed my lighting over to LEDs did I notice them. Now they kind of glow during sunrise and sunset of my tank (most actinic). Many fellow reefers say they’ve had a lot of problems with them but if I’m just now noticing them maybe they won’t move like wild fire. Have any of you had problems with they in your saltwater tank?

Algae Scrubber Update: SURF2 – 47 weeks | Turbo L2 Rev 3 – 2 weeks


Algae scrubber update video : SURF2 – 47 weeks | Turbo L2 Rev 3 – 2 weeks

 

Turbo HF/Rev 3 – L2 Algae Scrubber Build


Unable to get my SURF2 algae scrubber from Santa Monica Filtration to produce algae growth, I’ve decided to try an L2 algae scrubber from Turbo’s Aquatics. The purpose of an algae scrubber is to create an environment that out competes the rest of the system for growing algae. As algae is grown and harvested (removed for the system) phosphates and nitrates are also removed from the system as that’s what the algae is feeding on. In this thread I will show you how I installed the Turbo HF/Rev 3 – L2 (two cubes of food per day) algae scrubber on my system. I hope to have far better results with this scrubber than my SURF2.

Turbo's Aquatics Algae Scrubber Arrival

It’s always fun to get packages in the mail! Especially when it’s good stuff.

I hate peanuts...

I hate peanuts…

Well wrapped!

Well wrapped!

Turbo's Aquatics - Turbo HF/Rev 3 Algae Scrubber

Finally, the package inside of the package is an algae scrubber.

Turbo's Aquatics Algae Scrubber Accessories

Goodies and useful accessories.

Turbo's Aquatics L2 Rev 3 Algae Scrubber

Pop the top…

Turbo's Aquatics Algae Scrubber Accessories

More goodies and useful accessories.

Turbo's Aquatics Algae Scrubber with MakersLED Heatsink

It’s pretty evident at this point that this is a very well made unit. Lots of thought and energy put into this algae scrubber.

Turbo's Aquatics Algae Scrubber MakersLED Heatsink

I really like the MakersLED heatsink. It’s the same one I used for my LED build.

Turbo's Aquatics LED Board Version 1.0

The LED board inside of the MakersLED heatsink.

Turbo's Aquatics Algae Scrubber Light Wiring

These wiring connector clips work really well. A good solid connection.

Turbo's Aquatics Algae Scrubber Bottom

Since the scrubber is made out of quality materials it’s kind of heavy. I had a difficult time trying to figure out how to incorporate the scrubber into my system. My first thought was to use a 2X6 piece of lumber over my sump and to place the scrubber on top of it. But, I didn’t think wood would hold up very long.

Aquarium Bracket - NDS Spee-D Chennel Drain

After a quick trip to Home Depot I found exactly what I needed. A piece of PVC that could span the Rubbermaid sump, be drilled, and still retain structural integrity. This NDS Spee-D PVC Channel Drain was exactly what I needed! 🙂

A few modifications to the PVC bracket via chop saw...

A few modifications to the PVC bracket via chop saw…

Turbo HF/Rev. 3 Algae Scrubber Installation

Drill a couple holes. Measure PVC drain length and whittle down.

Aquarium Sump PVC Plastic Bracket

Finely tune the bracket’s position.

Aquarium Bracket Drip Rail

In case of leaks I decided to use some silicone and a couple pieces of hose to add a drip rail. This way if the scrubber springs a leak it will run into the sump and not onto the floor.

Fish Tank Algae Scrubber Feed Line

I used the return line from my chiller/UV sterilizer to feed the algae scrubber.

Turbo's Waterfall Algae Scrubber

One last look before I plumb this baby in.

Waterfall Algae Scrubber Feel Side

While installing the feed side of the algae scrubber I ran into a little issue. The spray bar is held in place between the right and left supports. Unfortunately, the feed side support hole was tapped too wide which meant I had to bottom out the support’s threads. When the support was snug it left too much thread inside the box to allow the spray bar to fit in. So I cut the thread back a bit, maybe a little too much. Luckily the extra rubber o-ring included in the order doubled up on the spay bar’s feed end made a good seal.

Installing Waterfall Algae Scrubber

Fit the scrubber into place.

Installing Waterfall Algae Scrubber Plumbing

Firmly connect feed line. I also use electrical tape to cover each hose clamp. I find it doesn’t take long for those clamps to start rusting and looking bad.

Aquarium Sump Algae Scrubber Bracket

Time to twist in the drain pipes and zip tie the filter sock. Both drain pipes run to about 1 inch from the sump’s water level to ensure consistent flow.

Waterfall Algae Scrubber Build DIY

Making sure the spray bar was tight I crossed my fingers and turned to water on. After no leaks I increased that flow until the water almost ran down the overflow.

I must confess, this is the first time I had to look up the instructions. I just wanted to make sure I hooked up the LEDs correctly. I would have felt pretty stupid if I blew them up! Turns out they’re fool proof and I just needed to daisy chain them together. A quick text message to, and quick reply from, Bud Carlson (Owner @ Turbo Aquatic’s) confirmed I was headed in the right direction.

Turbo's Aquatics Waterfall Turbo HF Revision 3 Algae Scrubber

Add lights and you have a functioning algae scrubber. 🙂

Update – Week 2:

Update – Week 4:

Update – Week 9:

Update – Week 13:

Update – Week 17:

Update – Week 20:

Update – Week 26:

Update – Week 43:


I will post update videos below so if you are interested please check or visit my YouTube channel.

SURF2 Algae Scrubber Update – Week 36


36 weeks into running the SURF2 and I’m losing faith. For 9 weeks the GFO in the system has been removed. There are hints of success as algae starts to grow in the box but then it regresses. HELP! If anyone has had a great experience with the SURF2 please let me in on your secrets to success!

SURF2 Algae Scrubber Update – Week 30


SURF2 Algae Scrubber Update – Week 30

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Cree Lumia 5.2 LED Aquarium Light Build (8 Chips)


Okay, it’s time to replace the old metal halide lights with a set of LEDs. After seeing a lot of fellow reefers switching to LED fixtures I can’t believe how great their tanks look! The ability to finely tune each light channel really allows for complete customization. Most people’s preferences differ quite a bit on how much blue, or actinic, light is used in their aquarium. Being able to change each channel based on what looks good to you and your corals makes it all worth it to me. I love it when the corals glow in the tank. 🙂

After a bit of research I’ve decided that I want to build my own light fixture using components from LED Group Buy. I’m pretty sure I can build a LED fixture that will save on electricity and give my corals and clams better light. It looks like the Cree Lumia 5.2 LED chip is a great full spectrum reef tank option. 5 Lumia 5.2’s spaced on a 6 foot MakersLED heatsink should make for a great setup on my 90 inch tank. Tentatively I plan on using the 5 chip setup as it puts at least one chip directly above each one of my tank’s opening. It’s recommended that you use one chip every 24 inches so there aren’t any dark spots between lights. Using 5 LED chips on the 6 foot heatsink would put the LED chips about 16-17 inches apart. Here is my proposed diagram matched up with my tank:

Lumia 5.2 LED Tank Placement

I’m working with the staff at LED Group Buy to finely tune the design but I think the 5 chip design should work well.


 

UPDATE 12/31/14:

After chatting with the team at LED Group Buy it looks like 8 lumia 5.2 chips is more appropriate for my tank. 8 chips should ensure I won’t have any spots lacking coverage. Here is a rough mock up of where 8 chips would sit on a 72″ heatsink over the tank, each line representing a Lumia:

90 inch tank top spacing for 8 lumia 5.2 LEDs

Most important to me, I want to make sure there is a Lumia chip right above the clams on the right side of the tank. Currently one of the halides is close but not really closed enough:

Metal Halide Placement above Giant Clam

 


 

UPDATE 1/9/15:

The order has been placed! 🙂

Cart Items SKU Qty
180w 48v 3.75A DC Power Supply (1 per 2 lights w/ 1 extra) S-180-48 5
Arctic Silver CĂ©ramique 2 – 25g CMQ2-25G 1
CREE Lumia 5.2 – 70w Full Spectrum 5 Channel CREE LED
(Connectors: Dual Molex connectors for CREE Lumia 5.2 – Flying leads)
(Pre-order item)
SKU-4B9177A7 4
CREE Lumia 5.2 – 70w Full Spectrum 5 Channel CREE LED
(Connectors: Molex connector for CREE Lumia 5.2 – Interconnect)
(Pre-order item)
SKU-CA8B17BF 4
Hanging Kit for MakersLED Heatsink MakersHK 1
Makers CONTROLLER – Sunrise / Sunset controller for MakersDRIVER MakersCTRL1 1
MakersDRIVER 5UP Pro – Drive up to 70 LEDs! (1 per 2 lights) MakersDRV5 4
MakersLED Designer Heatsink Kit – Professional Grade – Anodized
(Length: 72″)
Makers72A 1
Meanwell LDD-700HLED Driver (5 per MakerDRIVER 5UP Pro w/ 2 extra) LDD-700H 22

 

UPDATE 2/9/15:

All of my back ordered parts have now arrived! I just need to make a little time to put everything together. Looking over my parts it looks like I need to pick up 3 – 3′ straight-ended 3.5mm audio cables (the 18″ 90 degree cables weren’t long enough to connect each MakersDRIVER), some 14 gauge power wire (16 gauge would have worked too), a few rubber grommets (< .5″ diameter and ~.25″ groove), a step drill bit, 4 computer power cords to run each power supply and 4 quick disconnects to run between the power supplies and heatsink. The plan is to basically build 4 separate sets of lights and place them on one heatsink. Each 180 watt power supply will power up a MakersDRIVER 5UP Pro. The MakersDRIVER 5UP Pro runs two Lumina 5.2s and a fan. First step is to lay everything out and figure out where the power and fan wires need to go through the heatsink.

LEDGroupBuy Light Build Components

CREE Lumia 5.2 Layout on MakersLED Designer Heatsink with MakersDRIVER

The outer Lumia’s are placed 3 inches in on the heatsink then the rest are spaced out 9 7/16″.

MakersLED Designer Heatsink and CREE Lumia 5.2 LED Layout

 


 

UPDATE 2/14/15:

A big thanks to my friend, and fellow Reefer, Kelan for helping me with the build. It’s always nice to have help with these projects as two heads are better than one.

Here we go! Using the step drill bit I started out by drilling holes for the rubber grommets (protection for each power line, fan wire and 3.5 mm audio cable). We made sure to get grommets big enough to fit the 2 – 14 gauge power wires and the small fan wire.

6 foot MakersLED Designer Heatsink

As we began to slide the screws, nylon washers and nuts down the heat sink it became clear that everything needed to be put on the heatsink in a very precise order as it’s a very compact fit. The MakersDRIVER 5UP Pro with Meanwell LED drivers does not slide over the screws. The interconnect Molex connectors will not slide under the MakersDRIVER 5UP Pro when mounted to the heatsink so be sure to put the Molex connector under the 5UP Pro before sliding it into the heatsink.

Also be sure to leave room for the acrylic splash guard to fit in the groove above the 5UP. There’s no room for error so make sure the guard fits and that you have the correct amount of screws between each unit so you don’t have to take everything off!

CREE Lumia 5.2 Interconnect Molex Connector goes Under MakersDRIVER 5UP Pro

A dab of Arctic Silver goes a long way.

The Lumia’s are placed on the heatsink and gently worked down to remove any imperfections for heat transfer then screwed down firmly.

CREE Lumia 5.2 - 70w Full Spectrum 5 Channel CREE LED

A nice “S” shape takes up the extra wire length of the interconnecting Molex connectors.

CREE Lumia 5.2 LED Build

Flip over heatsink and attach fans and run power wires through rubber grommets. Also run 5UP connection 3.5 mm audio cables through holes and add rubber grommets. Note: Because of the size of the audio cable ends and the diameter of the grommets we had to cut a slit into one side of the grommet, slide the audio cable through, then insert the audio cable end and then grommet into the hole. You can see the cut in the audio cable grommet two pictures down.

MakersLED Designer Heatsink with Fans

Make sure to have your small screwdriver set handy to tighten the screws on the 5UP board.

CREE Lumia 5.2 LEDs with MakersDriver 5UP Pro

Time for some bench testing with the extra power supply I purchased. Note: be sure to only have the Makers Controller plugged into the MakersDRIVER 5UP Pro and Lumia’s you plan on testing. If you want to test the whole unit make sure you have power running to each 5UP Pro. We initially had all of the  5UP Pro’s connected together with the audio cables and the result was the single Lumia we were testing didn’t turn on. After unplugging the audio cable connector all worked as expected. Also keep in mind, it takes a few seconds for the Lumia’s to come on and the controller is set at 50% intensity by default which makes for a very bright light. So, be careful when you turn it on so you don’t blind yourself! We turned all channels down to 35% and it was still very bright.

Bench testing Makers Control and Lumia 5.2


 

UPDATE 2/15/15:

Time to get the power supplies mounted.

A quick trip to Lowes produced a white laminated shelving board that we screwed to the wall and then the power supplies to.

LEDgroupbuy 180 watt 48 volt 3.75 amp dc power supply

Then we took out the old lights and easily hung the new unit up using the MakersLED hanging kit and strung the power wires over to the power supplies. Make sure you screw the hanging unit into studs!

Old Current metal halide unit and T5s:

Old Aquarium Lights

New shiny LED unit:

MakersLED Hanging Kit with MakersLED Designer Heatsink

Power up the 180 watt power supplies with the old recycled computer power cords.

LED group buy 180 watt 48v 3.75amp dc power supply

Turns out I had two different power cords consisting of differently colored wires. The first had black (load), white (neutral) and green (ground) wires while the other had brown (load), blue (neutral) and green (ground) wires.


Black White Green Power Cord

Green Blue Brown Power Cord

Plug each power supply into my Apex controller and flip the switch!

8 CREE Lumia 5.2 LED Build

 

LED Group Buy CREE Lumia 5.2 Before and After

 

 


 

UPDATE – 1 Week:


 

UPDATE – 4 Weeks:


 

UPDATE – 7 Weeks:


 

UPDATE – 1 Year: Cree Lumia 5.2 Build – 1 Year Update

Reeflo Snapper/Dart Hybrid Pump Upgrade


I recently purchased a Reeflo Snapper/Dart Hybrid Pump to replace my Mag Drive 24 return pump. I left the higher flow impeller in the Reeflo pump and I would say it has about the same, or a little more, flow than the Mag Drive 24. I’m sure my funky plumbing drops the flow a little bit but it still allows me to use the Mag 24 as a backup.

It’s unbelievable how quiet this pump is compared to the Mag 24! I can barely tell it’s running. Best of all, the drone from the Mag 24 is gone which seemed to echo through the house. I can only imagine the fish are a lot happier with the quieter pump. I’ll probably save around $10-$12 a month in electricity too. So far I’m a very happy camper!

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SURF2 Algae Scrubber Update – Week 27


SURF2 Algae Scrubber Update – Week 27

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Aquarium Update 10-28-14 – 11 Months


11 month update. Fish and corals are fairly happy. The refugium is full of pods. I still need to get the green hair algae under control. Phosphate levels ~ 0, Nitrates ~7 ppm.

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SURF2 Algae Scrubber Update – Week 23


SURF2 Algae Scrubber Update – Week 23

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SURF2 Algae Scrubber Update – Week 16


SURF2 Algae Scrubber Update – Week 16

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SURF2 Algae Scrubber Update – Week 15


SURF2 Algae Scrubber Update – Week 15

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