Reef nutrition

Mike's 200 & 40 gallon tanks

sfsuphysics

BOD
Staff member
Should have said relatively small fish in the 200 as well, I have the tangs and want those the only big fish in there
 

sfsuphysics

BOD
Staff member
Well it happened that initial case of the uglies happened. I gotta say, even knowing this was coming, it doesn't make me feel good at all. Tank that was for the most part pristine white, to BAM brown "overnight"... So the time frame was far from overnight, it was over a 1 week period when I was away on vacation, part of me is happy I didn't see it happen slowly, kind of the "jumping in the pool to get the shock over with" type of vibe. But then again I'm sure the auto-feeder setup probably had a bit to do with it too, I never know which side of the fence to go on for feeding while gone, do you feed lots to make sure they're happy, do you underfeed a bit so you don't accidentally over feed, either way food feeders are notoriously random with how much food goes into the tank on any one bit.

But whatever, set up the auto feeders, realized I didn't have any sort of feeding rings, so made one myself from some scraps of that PVC foam board, and sure enough... PVC glue works on it too :D

1.5" pipe piece, some glue, and it was set in place nicely on the end, that edge piece was to stiffen it up a bit. Watched it in action before I left, food actually gets pulled down the tube instead of sinking, basically acting like a venturi tube when water blows across the bottom.

The 40 had a lot worse look to it, as the rocks in here weren't completely super bleached out, so some algae forming that came off easy enough with a toothbrush and siphon hose, some of it grew back (as you can see) which means I'll just clean it off again, and again until things stabilize.


The 200 was a bit more of a disappointment, there is an absolute caking of light brown stuff (not bubbly) on the rocks and sand. I did find when I put the powerhead in front of a rock it it almost blew it completely clean. So maybe sometime after this weekend I'll throw some filter socks on and scrub the rock down with a toothbrush to knock off the loose stuff and remove it. At the very least around the few frags that are in there so they don't get overgrown. But yeah need to make a decision on flow like super rapidly. Do I try to reuse my MP40s, and just buy a bunch of QD wetsides? Do I get the new Gyre? Do I do both? We'll have to see... but I do need to go quickly.


I did test the nitrate and phophate levels, like the first successful one I've ever done in 20 years of reefkeeping! :D
Really gotta give 2 thumbs up for the Red Sea test kits, that little "Comparitor" (color wheel) is quite nice to see your sample versus a clear reference. Nitrates were about 0.5ppm, and phophates were somewhere between 0.08 and 0.12 ppm, which may be a tad on the high side, but I'm not trying for ULNS or anything, some of that may be due to over feeding from auto-feeder while I was gone. But considering there are only 3 fish in there, it may be something I try to get under control sooner rather than later. I also realize those values may be a red herring as the rapid (diatom? algae? whatever) growth may be consuming existing stuff, so if that dies off then numbers may go through the roof.
Either way, maybe a lanthanum chloride product should be on stand by... but like I said, just waiting for things to pass before I get too worried.

Oh and a new sump is going in, more on this later, but basically what I have was always a temporary setup just to get the tank up and running. I think the quick decision on this was due to my bubble catching trap really makes it problematic to throw on filter socks when I'm cleaning... and the reality if my overflow was dialed in, I shouldn't need a bubble catching trap.
 

sfsuphysics

BOD
Staff member
Hehehe, perhaps. Or I can just wait until the phase passes, not sure how many CUC inverts eat diatoms though, that is what's convering everything. I will say though after brushing off the diatoms I did see some green surface algae under, so diatoms may be choking out that algae :D
 

NelsonCh

Supporting Member
when I started my tank, my foxface, yellow tang and bristletooth would go ham on diatoms.... Maybe I had brown algae instead.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

sfsuphysics

BOD
Staff member
Yeah I thought about doing that, put a couple trochus a few weeks back in the 40, and they're doing what they do. Was mentioned to me that there are members who breed them, or have them multiply like crazy. So I'll hit up them... who are you people!??!?!? :D Or I could just go pay the $3/snail price at a store, which i'm not particularly keen on but I'll do it anyways.
 

JVU

BOD
Staff member
Hey Mike, I have lots of baby banded trochus snails if you want a bunch for free. I’m in Walnut Creek. Just PM me.
 

rygh

Webmaster
Staff member
You have a big tank - you need big snails.
Probably 10 or so Turbo's should do nicely.
:)
 

sfsuphysics

BOD
Staff member
Sounds good John, and I will absolutely take you up on that offer Mike, whatever you feel the appropriate transport fee is is fine by me :) Assuming when you're out there is when John is available, if not let me know I'll arrange a time to swing by.

Thanks @JVU & @Coral reefer in advanced.
 

sfsuphysics

BOD
Staff member
Thanks for the snails John.

Finally got my water mixing station up, mostly.


If you're wondering why the pink, well this was an old shower stall for the in-law suite downstairs circa late 50s/early 60s which apparently that shade of pink was all the rage. It never had water hooked up to the plumbing as long as I've been here and dont plan on taking on tenants anytime soon so what better use to repurpose the area (which used to house a set of shelves so it already was junk storage. Plus the upside is the drain still works so in case there's a leak water has somewhere to go, RO waste water has somewhere to go, while ideally I'd like to have it all go outside to water my yard that can maybe be a project down the line as right now the back yard isn't close to here, and here was the only out of the way place that I could think of.

Freshwater is the smaller brute on top (28g I think), and salt is the white poly container at the bottom (100g). Originally I wanted a much larger freshwater reservoir but unfortunately the 100g one is a bit too wide to fit in another, even a smaller one, it's not like you can just run out and pick one up locally either. So I thought to elevate the freshwater on a platform, and had a 50g barrel for that but that reached all the way to the ceiling which while it fit if I ever had to do anything inside there'd be no way, so I settled for the smaller brute which in the grand scheme of things is fine, it allows me to get into the top if necessary, and it's not too much weight. Besides I can't think of a reason why I'd need so much freshwater, sure another 100G allows me to do a "100%" water change in an emergency with some quick mixing of salt maybe but the reality is I can do a "50%" water change if necessary and another 50% water change roughly 12 hrs later on if necessary.

Speaking of RO....


While life gives you lemons, the space under the freshwater is a perfect place to store my RO/DI unit. Out of the way, easy to access if necessary, and access to a water line.

So what's "mostly" not done yet, well for starters an automated way to refill RO water. I picked up the Avast RO auto-fill kit from a member who was getting out of the hobby, but stupid me didn't realize it required a controller (breakout box) to turn it off and on, I haven't looked too much into how it works, or if I can figure out a solution with a Reef Keeper Lite (or older Aqua Controller), but if I need to put too much time or effort it I might go another direction.

The other not quite done part is where all of this is plumbed into, it's all plumbed in on this side, save a ball valve at the bottom if I need to drain things (ro container or pipes), but the other side is not quite plumbed. More on that part later :)
 

sfsuphysics

BOD
Staff member
Ok more ugly stuff, but important ugly stuff.

I think it was Jess who asked about that pond liner she saw when we moved my tank, I think she asked if she was going to do a frag tank or something... god I love this club, people have ideas crazier than mine :D... well ok, single guy Mike probably would have thought of that too.

Just a bit of it on the ground, for those who may have wondered why the tank wasn't against the wall more, behold... my fish room! (Well a fish room without many walls right now... that comes later).

What's all that other stuff?


Uh oh... looking kind of planned here...

Still need to fasten a border (trim pieces) to the wall to hold pond liner in place, and also cut out a slit in the middle of it. Can't really tell from the photos but there'a french drain under there. The rubber mats have little dimples on the bottom too to prevent water from damming up. So water spills? No problem, want to dump water onto the ground? No problem

Oh yeah...last up...

Water changes? NO PROBLEM! That ugly pink shower stall? Yeah that's about 20 feet away on the other side of a wall in the garage. In my "fish abode" just a couple pipes sticking out of the wall, with hoses attached, and valves to hold shut. So I quite literally can drain to the floor and then turn a valve and fill it back up with new saltwater. Already drained about 25 gallons out of the tank for a observation/QT tank and just called it a water change. Hoses are long enough to go over to the 40G tank too. Just need to get mount something against the wall to hold the hoses up when not in use.

Everything is gravity fed, which isn't a problem for the freshwater since it's elevated quite a bit, but bottom of the saltwater reservoir is a few inches higher than the floor in here, and the top of the salt reservoir is lower than the top of the tank which means water needs to go in the sump to refill, but I'll add a connection to the end to screw in a pump if necessary, it'll be able to prime itself no problem so all is good if I need to put water into the main tank directly.
 
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