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Derek's 225g - Magnifica / SPS Reef

Officially started auto water changes yesterday with my new versa bar:
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I continue to be a big fan boy of these pumps. They are incredibly precise, even pushing/pulling water to and from the tanks/drains in the garage, which are about 30 feet of RODI tubing away. I plan to use the last 2 spots for Alk/Ca and eventually sell my Dosetronic.

Currently changing 9L per day (about 1% per day), over the course of about 9 hours. This comes out to an effective WC of 20% every 3 weeks, which is exactly what I was doing manually. This method is slightly less water efficient and depends on pump reliability. But it's less work, more stability, and provides a continuous stream of the rapidly-depleted trace elements coming in with the SW.

I think it's worth it, but time will tell. I'm not a fan of the additional complexity but am a huge fan of the additional laziness and advantages for my tank.

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Also got my sink installed! Very happy about this. Drains to sewer for both the RODI system and the AWC. It's also just super nice having a big utility sink for cleaning and rinsing things:
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I really like these pumps too, but had now my first issues with a couple of new ones I bought, and they had to send a replacement now (‚out of sync‘ error which is nowhere explained what this is about, but it stops dosing). Just to clarify though: A daily 1% change is not effectively the same as a 20% every three weeks, correct? You did not mean that, or did not intend the same outcome, vs. continuously suppling small amounts of fresh artificial SW? The reason I am bringing this up is that I do not believe in the benefit in WC as a source for traces but as removal of unwanted stuff. The impact of this effect though is bigger if WC are done less frequently in larger amounts. There is a calculator of this somewhere to show the difference, but I am sure you know.

Love your new sink. I had this exact same one in my last house in Chicago but never used it (no fish tank at the time).
 
I really like these pumps too, but had now my first issues with a couple of new ones I bought, and they had to send a replacement now (‚out of sync‘ error which is nowhere explained what this is about, but it stops dosing). Just to clarify though: A daily 1% change is not effectively the same as a 20% every three weeks, correct? You did not mean that, or did not intend the same outcome, vs. continuously suppling small amounts of fresh artificial SW? The reason I am bringing this up is that I do not believe in the benefit in WC as a source for traces but as removal of unwanted stuff. The impact of this effect though is bigger if WC are done less frequently in larger amounts. There is a calculator of this somewhere to show the difference, but I am sure you know.

Love your new sink. I had this exact same one in my last house in Chicago but never used it (no fish tank at the time).

Thanks for the heads up, I'll keep an eye out for that. I plan to watch the pumps pretty closely, and will turn them off completely when out of town.

I am using an effective water change calculator, and why I said that it's slightly less water efficient doing it daily vs every 3 weeks. But I am changing enough water to be roughly the same as a 20% water every 3 weeks, but it takes me a little more water to do it, if that makes sense: https://www.hamzasreef.com/Contents/Calculators/EffectiveWaterChange.php


People often overestimate this loss in efficiency though, check out the math:
Screenshot 2024-05-24 092105.png


Those are theoretical calculations assuming immediate circulation of water - so regular/continuous changes are even more efficient depending on the circulation rate of your tank and where you pull/add the water.

This is from RHFs excellent article on water changes here: https://reefkeeping.com/issues/2005-10/rhf/index.php
 
We were stuck in Dallas about 4 days longer than planned due to the storms, so I just got back to the tank today after being gone a full week or so. It looks amazing! Better than average PE and good growth since I left.

I know the tank always seems to look good after being gone for a while, but the PE in particular is objectively better on most corals. Only thing that changed is that my filter roll ran out while I was gone.

I texted some SPS folks here that I respect and most of them aren’t running mechanical filtration either! Guess I’ll leave it off for a while and see how things go. No3 55, po4 .18
 
My CBB has started eating freeze-dried food from the auto feeder. This is a big win, especially when I have to go out of town.

Anybody have a chunky freeze dried food they recommend? I am using the Avast Reef Jerky, but it's not very chunky...lots of powder.
 
My CBB has started eating freeze-dried food from the auto feeder. This is a big win, especially when I have to go out of town.

Anybody have a chunky freeze dried food they recommend? I am using the Avast Reef Jerky, but it's not very chunky...lots of powder.
I use San Francisco Bay Brand freeze dried mysis on a Plank for my seahorse tank. They're the size of Hikari frozen mysis. They do have a tendancy to float so with the Plank, I have it dispense and soak in the mixing tube for an hour before the mixing pump turns on.

Going to try to get my CBB weaned on this too.
 
I use San Francisco Bay Brand freeze dried mysis on a Plank for my seahorse tank. They're the size of Hikari frozen mysis. They do have a tendancy to float so with the Plank, I have it dispense and soak in the mixing tube for an hour before the mixing pump turns on.

Going to try to get my CBB weaned on this too.

This mysis showed up today. The fish all love it, including the CBB and Anthias. This is a game changer! Thanks for the recommendation.
 
It's been a full two weeks now since I took the Clarisea 5000 filter roll out of my tank. I have observed....drumroll....no changes at all. Nutrients are still exactly the same, No3 50-60 and po4 .15-.20 or so. Interesting.

Also, still on a mission to take better pics of my reef. Bought a new camera and have been doing a lot of learning. Haven't used any post processing or done any editing yet, but still messing around with white balance to account for the blue lighting.

Some of my favorite corals:
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Walt Disney

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Some kind of hammer

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SCOP

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Fruity Pebbles from the CFM


Some of my favorite fish (these are harder since they move...not very sharp, but working on it):
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Some of my favorite fish (these are harder since they move...not very sharp, but working on it):
Great pictures to start! My tips would be:
  • Set your shutter speed to at least 1/250, even 1/500 for faster fish
  • Faster shutter speed means less light capture so you'll need to bump up your ISO or open up your aperture more, which comes at a cost of grainess or very shall depth of field
  • Crank up the whites for more light! This will allow you to do faster shutter speeds. Unlike corals they look better in white light and don't have color benefit with blues.
  • If your camera has focusing modes, set it to continuous focus so it'll try to track moving objects and adjust the focus itself.
  • Move the camera with the fish so when you snap the picture, the fish is in front of you. Shooting at an angle will cause distortion because of the glass.
 
Great pictures to start! My tips would be:
  • Set your shutter speed to at least 1/250, even 1/500 for faster fish
  • Faster shutter speed means less light capture so you'll need to bump up your ISO or open up your aperture more, which comes at a cost of grainess or very shall depth of field
  • Crank up the whites for more light! This will allow you to do faster shutter speeds. Unlike corals they look better in white light and don't have color benefit with blues.
  • If your camera has focusing modes, set it to continuous focus so it'll try to track moving objects and adjust the focus itself.
  • Move the camera with the fish so when you snap the picture, the fish is in front of you. Shooting at an angle will cause distortion because of the glass.

Really appreciate the tips - I think a big one was shutter speed. I read a rule that your shutter speed should be at least the focal length of your lens (1/100 in this case) and used that as my starting point but it's clearly not fast enough.

I have a fancy camera now - it does have an AF Servo for tracking moving fish and really good performance at higher ISOs so I will be playing around with both for sure!

Another mistake, which you sort of touched on, is that my aperture was already super wide open - which I think means I needed PERFECT focus with such a narrow depth of field. I will close that down some to give myself a little more room for focus, and compensate with ISO and more light. Does that make sense? My mom suggested that one and she's a professional photographer but has never shot any kind of fish tank or reef stuff.
 
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