Big Bertha: 180g Build

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forestsofkelp

forestsofkelp

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Update: water is in, and I am chasing down a really small pipe leak (of course, in the worst location). Salt is mixing, but I don’t want to put it in until the leaks are gone. I had a sump issue with it not holding enough volume but a quick trip to the LFS for some loc line to make siphon breaks sorted that out

My mag drives are loud. Unacceptably loud. I think I am going to switch the return to a DC pump and the skimmer/reactor pumps to sicce silents. Then the magdrives can be backups.

One of the panta rheis is defective, new one is supposed to arrive today.

GHL has been a great system, it’s really easy to use.

Hopefully the leak doesn’t come back today. Then I can put the salt in tonight, put the rock in this weekend, and swap pumps next week.
 
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forestsofkelp

forestsofkelp

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All right more updates...this will be the last one until I get this thing up and cycling.

I tracked the leak down to a faulty fixture. No amount of tightening will fix it. I looked into alternatives a learned a little about PVC pipe fixtures that is definitely not circulated enough on reef boards.

PVC pipe threaded fixtures need to be joined with PVC pipe thread sealant. This is a non permanent, expanding glue that lets you separate the threads, but does not glue them.

Teflon type is incorrect to use. It can bunch up in the threads, causing leaks, pressure points, and, if overtightened, crack the PVC fixture. This is exacerbated by PVC fitting design, which is tapered. Teflon tape is for preventing galvanic joining of metal on metal fixtures (which, BTW, are not tapered).

My Magdrive is way too loud. I have no solution except to buy a new pump. I ended up getting an Abyzz a100.

All other AC pumps are loud (or not guaranteed to be quiet at least). So I looked at DC pumps. No DC pumps are reliable, push enough water AND come in a 1" outlet size...except the Abyzz a100. I looked at other pumps, I am sure they are good (and they were cheaper) but they either had outlets that were too large, or didnt push the volume I needed on the head chart.

The good news is at least Abyzz has a reputation of getting what you pay for. So hopefully this pump will be super silent, and reliable. It also the benefit of having adjustable outflow, which means I dont have to turn the pump on and off during feed times (an annoyance I have since pump starts are so noisy/violent).

I also turned on my Panta rheis and holy cow, these things are exactly what people said they were. So silent, I seriously though they weren't on ( I was pretty unhappy for a few minutes while until I remembered that I could crank the power to 6 levels, not 3). The flow ranges from gentle (can barely detect/see) to large enough to do a pretty good job circulating water on my tank (with 1 pump, and no returns on). At full speed, there was a barely noticeable hum. My nano tank equipment is FAR louder.
 
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forestsofkelp

forestsofkelp

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Finally got the leak fixed. Now, my RO/DI water has become cloudy. Not sure why. If anyone has any ideas, I'd be glad to hear...its 0 TDS with fresh filters that ran a couple gallons before being used in the tank. I also rinsed out the tanks with RO/DO before filling it. It was clear for a while, then became cloudy. Cant figure out why...ideas welcome
 
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forestsofkelp

forestsofkelp

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Holy cow. Sorry for the long wait. I had a few problems.

first, I had some life changes (good ones) that delayed tank work. So after I drained the tank, scrubbed it, checked the leak, updated all the pumps, remade and mixed all the salt water…

It’s finally up and running at 35ppt and 77 def. ready for rock! …and wiring clean up. And light adjustment. And pump/advanced ghl programming.

The sicce silent pumps are silent/very quiet. Very happy with them; fairly cheap, very quiet, come with a good amount of accessories. The danner mag 24 had a busted impeller and they are sending me a new one. In the meantime the abyzz is up and running.

I will say you get what you pay for with the Abyzz. That thing is pushing 1300 or so gph, very small, and had adjustable flow as well as wave modes. It’s smaller than the sicces or danner 9s, and it’s the quietest pump. It’s almost eerie. I had a small issue and customer service got me an repair set up within 12 hours (I ended up not needing it, it was user error).

now it’s time for the fun stuff…aquascaping and cycle (and a recovering credit card) for a month or two
 
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forestsofkelp

forestsofkelp

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I am going to try and get some pics up this weekend.

-I've cleaned up the wiring, and have an acrylic electronics box. I still have to 3D print some racks for the GHL boxes, so I can slide them in and out easily...or just make one out of wood thats open on all sides and save myself a lot of wiring problems.

-Rocks are in, & cycle is progressing well. There is some detritus in the tank, but it's no problem. I got some great rock from my LFS...real stuff off the reef that been dead, sitting out. So I get to start from dead rock, but its real rock. No worries about hitchhikers or expensive shipping. Temp and salinity are rock solid, ATO is working, and I made it through the alk drop of the cycle. Its so much easier to dose and manage a 200 gallon tank. All the chemistry is in 100s of mls. My 16 gallon is in <5 pls at times. Much tighter margins.

-I've learned to program GHL Advanced Logic. It's actually not that difficult; it just appears intimidating. Each powerbar switch only allows 1 function. But Advanced Logic lets you put two functions onto 1 switch. The trick is, you can nest them; for example, Logic 1 is Feed 1 and Feed 2, Logic 2 is Feed 3 and Feed 4 and Logic 3 is Logic 1 and Logic 2. Thus when you add Logic 3 to a switch, it is all 4 feed functions. Or, you make Logic 4 (Feed 1 and delay on), and Logic 5 (feed 2 and delay on). Logic 6 is then Logic 4 and 5. Add logic 6 to your skimmer, and it now has a delay function for feed 1 and 2.

Still to do: post up some photos and get my lights leveled. Then, program my Panta Rheis and doser. Finally, add sand and coraline algae, and settle in until I add corals and fish, hopefully in a month or two. I have tank pretty silent, and I'll tweak the flow while its settling. I also have one more panel to paint to hide the plumbing.

Sorry this build thread is a little weak, I literally had a newborn (and wife) to care for while my entire pump system had to be upgraded, the water emptied, tank cleaned and refilled (using a 35gal trash can for 200 gal system), followed by basically an entire months of work condensed in 3 weeks (still with a newborn) AND a computer system upgrade at work. I've been running on fumes, coffee, and 4-6 hours of broken sleep all month I've still been able to learn GHL, fix wiring, put in rock, etc etc. so I got to give a big shout out to my family if they read this.
 
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forestsofkelp

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Finally a picture worth posting
312B215D-2494-4A01-A809-116E3597C71A.jpeg
 

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Looks good. Mag drive pumps are notoriously loud and put out a lot of heat. I'm not sure many/any reefers use them as return pumps anymore.

Your water turning cloudy sounds like bacterial.

What lights did you end up with?
 
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forestsofkelp

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Thanks! Yeah I was a mag drive guy back in the day but the noise really scales up! Oh well. They are solid backups.

The cloudiness cleared. It was just from the mix.

Lights are ATI stratons. First lights I have been 100% happy with the look (obviously haven’t grown anything yet). They look like T5s with just a little bit of shimmer.

I can’t decide if the slight green tint is due to 1/2 thick starphire, a small algae/bac bloom (doesn’t look like it…) or the aquarium builder using the wrong glass (please god no)
 
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What percentage of blue versus white lighting do you think makes the best coral growth combo?

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