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2 Year Saltwater Aquarium Update


Our system has been up and running for 2 years. Here’s a quick video of the tank.

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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)

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?

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.

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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Aquarium Update 10-28-14 – 11 Months


Wow has life been busy here lately. A few big deadlines at work due by the end of the year… hopefully after that I can get back into water world. I’m still changing water and doing routine maintenance but the hair algae still persists. Water tests this evening showed phosphates registering at ~0 and nitrates at ~7 ppm. The tank has been up and running for 11 months now and I’m hoping to hit the “less green” phase. 🙂

Here’s an update video of what the refuge and tank looks like:

Aquarium Update 9-15-14 – 9.5 Months


Aquarium Update 9-15-14 – 9.5 Months

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4 Month Tank Update


I took a couple quick videos of the tank yesterday. Everything has been up and running for about 4 months now. My nitrates and phosphates are settling down. The refugium is showing great growth in the bug/pod populations. 🙂

This video turned out a little choppy but I figured I’d post it anyway.

A meeting at the algae clip!

 

The Tank is Running!


After a long weekend everything has been moved into the new tank. 🙂 Time to rest.

300 Gallon Reef Tank

300 Gallon Saltwater Reef Tank

300 Gallon Saltwater Aquarium

300 Gallon Reef Aquarium

The Achilles Tang likes the tank and the arch!

Big Saltwater Aquarium

Just the actinic lights on. Notice the clownfish living in the clam.

Large Saltwater Aquarium

Notice the Apex controller display unit mounted up top. I love being able to see the pH & temp so easily.

Green ORA Birdsnest Coral (Seriatopora guttatus)


I really enjoy this green birdsnest in the aquarium but since the move I do not have room. Guess I will have to find a new home for it locally. 😦
Green Birdsnest Coral - Aquacultured, ORA (Seriatopora guttatus)

Tank Update!!!


It’s time for a tank update, lot of stuff happening! I should have probably broke this up into a couple different posts but I’ve not been on the computer much lately and still have lots of work to do.

Here are a couple update photos of the 300 gallon Rubbermaid stock tank acting as the temporary home for our fish.  We actually really enjoy watching the fish and corals from above. The clams are very neat to look at too! So far the fish and corals haven’t protested the temp setup.

300 Gallon Saltwater Aquarium - Temp with 90 Gallon Refugium

Temp Saltwater Aquarium - 300 Gallon Rubbermaid Stock Tank

Squamosa Clams in Temp Rubbermaid Stock Tank

Squamosa Clam

Squamosa Clam

LPS Coral, Mushrooms, SPS

In the fish room, behind the display tank, I have set up a metal rack to hold the 90 gallon refugium and 90 gallon salt mixing tank. The refugium will go up high and have a drain that drops down into the display tank (to the right). Hopefully the refuge will produce lots of bugs for the fish to eat. 🙂 We’ve also painted everything white in the fish room with Kilz primer, added some can lights, and put in a small sink and hookup for the RO/DI unit.

Metal Rack 90 Gallon Refugium & Salt Mix Stand

Saltwater Aquarium Sink

Just got the ATO (Automatic Top Off) up and running this evening. I used a small pump and a 10 gallon tank for top-off water. I also got my APEX controller back up and running on the temp system.

Auto Top Off (ATO) 10 Gallon Reservoir Tank

While building the stand we ran three new lines to the breaker box, one for lights, one for pumps, and one for the refugium area. I’m really happy to have the aquarium system on its own set of breakers.

Moving the display tank…

6 guys, a trailer, suction cups, straps and an hour of grunting we had the tank moved. We think the tank weighs around 600+ lbs. (.5 inch glass with a bit of re-enforcement glass in the bottom). Luckily everything went well although we did bust off a fitting on the bottom for one of the returns. I think I might actually cut out one overflow (right side), deleting the broken return, and rely on my VorTech MP40s to create the majority of the flow/turnover in the tank. Originally I thought I would get a lot of flow from the return pumps (2 – Mag Drive 24s) but that just didn’t happen.

Moving a Large Aquarium with Suction Cups

Strapping down the tank on the trailer

Moving a Saltwater Aquarium

Moving of the Fish Tank

After a bit more thought and my wife’s “Not to scale” disclaimer drawings (lol) we had the stand figured out. Here’s where we are now.

Saltwater Aquarium Plans/Drawings

300 Gallon Saltwater Display Tank in Progress

Saltwater Tank Canopy Doors

(tops to be installed soon!)

Next time around we should have the tops installed, tank painted and the right side overflow removed… 😉 Time for some sleep.

Stormy Weather and Down Power Lines… Do you have a generator for your fish tank?


With all of the bad weather lately it’s a good idea to have a generator or backup power source on hand. One of my friends, who lives in a remote location, had some bad weather the other day that knocked his power out for 9+ hours. Luckily for him he had a generator to run his tank’s pumps and heaters. Lack of water circulation will kill corals in a hurry!

Personally, I have a large UPS (uninterruptible power supply) to protect against power surges and short-term power outages.  I also have backup batteries on my VorTech MP-40 pumps to keep them running for up to 30 hours. My UPS will keep my big return pumps going for 20+ minutes which is longer than most power interruptions in our town.

What is your fish tank plan for a power outage?

Checking in


Well, it’s been a while since my last post so I thought I would give an update.  Over the past few weeks I’ve been trying to sell most of the coral in the system. I taken out a 90% of the hammer coral a long with the Montipora caps and pagoda cup coral. Those corals have found happy homes here in Missoula 🙂 . We’ve decided to keep our fish, eel and clams so this means setting up some type of temp tank when we find a new place.  All I have left to really sell are our Acropora colonies (5). I will try to get some updated pictures up soon to show the empty spots in the tank…

I’ve just been so darn busy with work lately I haven’t had much time to devote to the tank. I guess this is what tends to happen to most people during the summer. Am I right?

Tearing Down the Tank, Planning a New One


Well I just got the news that we need to move houses this summer… So, that means I need to take our system down. 

But, it gives me the opportunity to plan another tank build when we find a new house. This time I will put a tank in a wall and give it its own room. 

So, over the next few months I am going to try and sell my coral, livestock, then my tank. If anyone is interested in my livestock or knows someone interested in my 270 display tank (90″ L x 20″ W x 30″ tall)/oak stand/40 sump/.3 HP chiller/ Mag return pumps, please send me a PM. I hope this won’t be a terribly difficult process but something tells me it will be. I plan on keeping my controller, vortechs, refuge, mixing tanks & rock for the next build.

As we all know this is an expensive hobby to get into so please do a little research and shoot me a fair price via private message of the things you are interested in. Everything needs to be picked up (Missoula, MT) as I will not ship.

I would rather remove my coral from the tank first as catching the fish will be an adventure. I have linked to some photos and videos of my corals and fish but more can be found on my reef blog and youtube channel.

Coral: – Video

Hammer Coral (will break into multiples) – Video
Tree/Stick Polyp – Video
(2) Pagoda Turbinaria Coral – Video
Blue Stag Acro – Top right in video – Video
Purple Stag Acro – Below Blue Stag Acro on right – Video
Green Birdsnest – Top left in video – Video
Orange Birdsnest – Top left in video – Video
Deep water acro – Top middle, left of hammer – Video
Encrusting Monti – Photo
Yellow Scroll Coral – Left of hammer – Video
Green Pavona
Green Red Wellsophyllia Brain – Photo
Montipora Cap (Red, Orange, Green, Puple, etc) – Far right – Picture
Doughnut Coral (Scolymia australia) – Video
Etc.

My livestock:

Squamosa Clam ~ 15″ – Video
Squamosa Clam ~ 7″ – Video
Radiant Wrasse (prefer he goes with the clams) ~ 4″ – Video
Zebra Eel ~ 3′ – Video
Radiant Wrasse ~ 4″ – Video
Achilles Tang ~ 5″ – Video
Two Bar Rabbitfish ~ 4″ – Video
True Percula Clownfish ~ 3″ – Video
Marine Betta ~ 6″ – Video
Red Hawkfish ~ 4″ – Video
Mantis Shrimp ~ 6″ – Video
Lyretail Anthias 3 females (orange) & 1 male (red). – Video
Orange Spot Shrimp Goby
etc.

Misc:

Serpant Star
Dolabella Sea Hare – Video
Orange Pincushion Urchin ~ 3″ – Video

Any questions? Send me a message 

True Percula Clownfish


True Percula, Clownfish, Hammer Coral  True Percula, Clownfish, Nemo

Swaying in the Wind… I Mean Water


Took a quick macro video of our Tree Polyp Coral. I just love how this coral sways back and forth.

Tree Polyp Coral, Stick Polyp Coral, Saltwater Aquarium, Reef Tank, Macro

Tree Polyp Coral, Stick Polyp Coral, Saltwater Aquarium, Reef Tank, Macro

Hammer Coral Zoom In


Zoom IN!

 

Hammer Coral, Anchor Coral, Macro, Saltwater Tank, Saltwater Aquarium

 

Hammer Coral Polyps, Heads, Saltwater Tank, Coral

Big Hammer Coral, Saltwater Tank, Reef Aquarium, Reef Tank

True Percula Clownfish – NEMO!


I think Nemo is taking a liking to the Hammer Coral. The Hammer is big enough that I don’t think it will mind being annoyed by a clownfish. 🙂

True Percula, Clownfish, Nemo

True Percula, Clownfish, Hammer Coral, Nemo

Reef Tank Pan Left to Right


Panning from the left to the right of the tank.

 

Reef Tank, Saltwater Tank, Reef Aquarium, Saltwater Aquarium

Hammer Coral Macro


Macro view of our Hammer Coral.

Hammer Coral Macro, Anchor Coral, Saltwater Aquarium, Reef Tank

Hammer Coral Macro, Anchor Coral, Saltwater Aquarium

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