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Reeftank Log

Reeftank Log Archives

Thursday, February 21, 2002

Rearranged the sump for the 50G/29G system last night and this morning so that I could fit the AquaC Urchin and the CPR SR4 in the sump. I plugged in everything and everything was running, and then the Rio 1700 on the SR4 just stopped! I took it apart, but it still didn't work, so I bought one at lunch today. The reason I put the CPR SR4 back in is that although the AquaC Urchin is a great skimmer, I think it's underpowered for my system. Even with macroalgae growing like mad in the 29G and pure DI water being added as topoff water, hair and film algae is growing in the 50G. The macroalgae is dying off though in a lot of places in the 50G. Maybe its remains are what's giving the hair algae nutrients to grow. With both skimmers running, I should be able to take out everything that's decomposing before it adds to the hair algae growth. I also want maximum oxygenation for the water since the sump inlets aren't entering any drip trays.
posted 4:01 PM

Thursday, February 14, 2002

Spent quite some time yesterday working on the reeftank at work:

1. Cleaned out NURCE. It had some brown algae growth in it since I had added water to it that wasn't very pure. From now, only DI water goes in the reservoir.
2. Replaced wimpy tubing from Orchard Supply Hardware with thick tubing from Fermentation Frenzy in Los Altos. The NURCE comes with some good tubing, but it wasn't long enough for my needs, so when I initially set it up, I had to buy some extra tubing from OSH that kinks. The tubing I purchased from Fermentation Frenzy is used for gas and fluid under pressure, so the tube walls are very thick and won't kink. The problem is that it's so thick, the clamp that comes with the NURCE needs to clamped with another clamp in order to shut off the tube - I found this out with the NURCE I retubed (is that a word?) at home. So yesterday, I used the extra thick tubing for the air side of the NURCE and the tubing included with the NURCE for the water side.
3. Replaced Hagen 802 pump with a RIO 2100. One thing I've read on Usenet is that the RIOs can fail. The scary failure is the one where the epoxy cracks and the electrical innards become exposed to the water. It kind of scares me how thin the cord is to the non-UL Rios. One thing that's really lame about the Rios are their suction cups which disintegrate in salt water. Geez, just get some better quality suction cups! The RIO 2100 gives some great output so that all bubbles are swept way in the siphon tube of the Lifereef overflow (these overflows kick ass!). Flow is somewhat impeded since I have a coupler between two lengths of the return tube that decreases the diameter of the return tube.
4. Drilled hole in sump return piping so that water level doesn't fall so much in the main tank when the pump is turned off. Makita power drill has a great mechanism for securing a drill bit. Better than the chuck mechanism on the one I have at home.
5. Moved around corals so that hard corals, particularly the green slimer, get more light. This morning they all seem to be doing fine.
6. Tried to rearrange mangroves so that they would stand straighter. Although there has been a lot of leaf loss, there appears to be root growth in all the plants, and the stems look healthy.
7. Brought some Caulerpa serrulata from home and put it in the sump to help soak up nutrients so that the hair algae in the main tank goes away. Combined with the pure water input, hair algae should be gone in a month.

posted 10:06 AM

Wednesday, February 13, 2002

Added two tablespoons or 30 ml of Kalkwasser to 2.5 gallons of DI water yesterday. I let it sit overnight, but there wasn't that much precipitate. I wonder if the lack of dissolved solids in the DI water helps decrease Kalkwasser precipitation.
posted 1:56 PM

Tuesday, February 12, 2002

Mushrooms still looked a little shriveled last night, but the film algae isn't growing back. The mushrooms looked better though by the end of the light period. I also noticed the macroalgae in the 50G is looking weak. Good things happen slowly in a reeftank. Hopefully, the macroalgae will slowly diminish over the next month.
posted 8:49 AM

Monday, February 11, 2002

Produced about 40G of DI water, and I think it's already making a difference in the 50G/29G system. What's strange about the DI cartridge is that the used up color change resin apprears to be above about a centimeter of unused resin. I'll see what happens as I use the water purfication system some more. I replaced all the water in the NURCE with the new water and also performed a 5G water change. Scraped and pulled out a lot of turf algae from the 29G - hopefully it doesn't come back with the new ultrapure replacement water and Caulerpa growth. Cleaned out inlet slots of overflow boxes in order to increase flow of siphon tubes. It must have worked since there aren't any air bubbles at the top of the siphon tubes. I have to put a more powerful return pump on the tank at work. The lower power of the Hagen 802 creates a slow flow which leads to algae building up on the slots and a huge air bubble at the top of the siphon tube.
posted 1:26 PM

Thursday, February 07, 2002

4 hours 50G / 16 hours 29G with macroalgae.

I plucked quite a bit of macroalgae from the 50G earlier this week. There is a dark encrusting algae growing in the 50G. Rearranged sump so that return pumps are on far right end and AquaC skimmer is between the input water and the return pumps. AquaC is still doing a great job producing skimmate. I'm also only feeding pellet food (Vibra-Gro and Hikari) in order to minimize phosphate addition to tank. Downloaded water quality parameters for Mountain View to check out nitrate and phosphate readings. Nitrate is 3 mg/l and doesn't change after Mountain Vidw Water District Treatment, but the phosphate climbs from .20/.21 to .87/.94. The reason is below from the aquariumsystems.com Web site:

Perhaps the most unexpected source of phosphate is common tap water, which is not common at all. Every local water treatment plant has its own purification method for local water. Corrosion of treatment plant water pipes is a major concern for plant operators. One of the ways to combat pipe corrosion is the addition of phosphate compounds to the water flowing through the pipes. This supplement can be one of several forms of phosphate, including reactive orthophosphate and polyphosphate. Both forms often also contain zinc, which is toxic to many invertebrates. Please note that the phosphate and zinc additives in tap water are not a health concern for humans. Orthophosphate can be measured by standard test kits, but polyphosphate cannot, even though polyphosphate eventually breaks down to the orthophosphate form. Hobbyist are baffled when tap water gives no phosphate reading but the mixed saltwater shows a high level. Because of the undesirable compounds often found in tap water many aquarists have been forced to rely on water purified by reverse osmosis or deionization.

Hopefully, the DI cartridges I'm putting after the Kold-Steril will take care of any excess phosphate or nitrate. I had a problem connecting the DI cartridge unit yesterday because I had no teflon tape, so there was major leakage. I may also need to get a new washer for the connector. Water appears to be soft from water quality table, so the DI cartridges should work for a while.
posted 10:25 AM

Friday, February 01, 2002

The AquaC is still pulling out a lot of gunk. It's amazing how effective that skimmer is. I have a suspicion the Kold-Steril isn't producing the ultraclean water I really need to control the algae problem in the 50G/29G system, so I'm going to take my old Maxxima RO and put carbon and tow DI change filter cartridges after the water that comes out of the Kold-Steril. I'm also going to slow down the rate of flow to .5 liters a minute or less. Finally, so that I don't have to stand around all day and change 5-gallon jugs every hour, I purchased a food-safe 55-gallon barrel to hold all the water. The Caulerpa mexicana is growing very well, but the nuisance Caulerpa in the 50G is still growing. I think I'll reintroduce the Xenia elongata next week to help suck out nutrients and shade out the nuisance Caulerpa. This week I moved some Tonga purple mushrooms and a watermelon mushroom from work to the 50G at home. They seem to be doing fine. I now have two 10,000K 96-watts and one 7100K 96-watt over the 50G, and I like the look. I move the 6700K bulb to the freshwater tank at work. It's amazing how the urchin can eat coralline algae. It munched a bit on a powerhead and the side of the glass. Corals all look good in the 50G except for one type of Xenia that still hasn't opened its polyps back up.

Thick red roots and thinner white roots are coming out of the mangrove plants. Overall, they seem to be doing fine.
posted 9:19 AM

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