Blaxsun's Abyss: Red Sea 750XXL

AquaSD

ReefRondo

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June 16. R-Day +1
In preparation for my ReefMat upgrade I decided to unbox everything, find out what parts are all included, how everything works and goes together and how the actual installation and removal process for the fleece roll works. From what everyone says, the ReefMat is light years above the other fleece rollers - and the fact that even I could figure it out in a few minutes probably speaks volumes. :beaming-face-with-smiling-eyes:

This is everything you get with your Red Sea ReefMat 500 (minus the German Tropic Marin salt and the PVC adapter from Home Depot that's too big for the locking collar immediately adjacent to it). You even get carbon!

71729CAE-CD5B-4406-B557-F3ED540D31F9.JPG

But let's get the nitty gritty stuff out of the way. For a non-G2 Reefer setup with at least the 625 models and up (and possibly the 425 and 525, but I'm not sure about the overflow pipe diameters on those) - it comes with everything you need (except the sump modification kit). When you cut the main overflow pipe Red Sea provides a locking collar adapter with gasket that the ReefMat hose simply screws onto. You only need to find a 1-1.5" piece of PVC to glue the collar to your existing overflow pipe (don't worry - I'll post pictures of all this before I do the install). On the other Reefers you can just slip the flexible tubing over the overflow pipe (after cutting) and affix it in-place with either sealant or zip ties.

Addendum: It looks like a 1-1/4" PVC adapter will fit the overflow pipe « » locking collar, but I'll confirm later. Home Depot didn't have anything smaller than a 2" diameter so I'll have to hunt around.

The flexible hose for the ReefMat screws onto this collar (lefty tighty in this case), and since you can unscrew the collar you have the option of either sealing the flexible hose to the collar with the included sealant or leaving it (I'll probably opt for the latter since it's basically gravity fed and there's actually a fairly tight seal already).

The ReefMat is ambidextrous - meaning you can install the tubing, motor or sensor on whatever side of the unit makes the most sense (the motor and sensor do have to go on the same side, though). I'm opting to run everything on the right of the unit - even if this means I have to slide it over slightly to the left to access the controls (this saves about 1' of wiring that would otherwise have be placed behind the unit). All the necessary plate and pipe covers are provided to seal up whatever side of the unit you don't utilize.

Size-wise it's smaller than I expected (a good thing), and takes up roughly the same space as the 8x4x4" MarinePure media blocks in my media chamber. It will block a bit of direct viewing and access to the pair of Nyos reactors I run in the back - so I'll have to view those from an off angle (this isn't something I regularly do anyway - other than to occasionally check on the flow).

Minor gripes: packing was great, but I wish that Red Sea would place the ReefMat unit itself in an inverted plastic bag just to keep the dust (etc.) off everything. A quick wipe/dry remedied this (it wasn't too bad). Everything else was bagged, boxed/sealed and bubble-wrapped so this seemed like an odd oversight. As with most Red Sea instructions these can be somewhat lacking, so if you're confused about a specific part you may need to refer to the Red Sea website section for the ReefMat. I definitely recommend pre-assembling and trying out the unit on "dry land" as opposed to trying to do this after you've placed it in the sump - as it will be a much dryer and less 'colorful' experience when you invariably screw something up.

My wife gave me a hand reviewing and setting everything up along with advice on how I should "blow out/discount all the old filter socks and trays" (do you think someone's anxious to see this installed?), and took the opportunity for a joke at my expense about replacing the fleece rolls. I think this sums up her impressions best:

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The in-cabinet RO is half empty, so it looks like I'll probably be looking to install this on Sunday at the earliest.
This meme this is my partner 100%. Love this build by the way!
 
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blaxsun

blaxsun

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I'm sorry, but I must insist you add 2 more females so you can have "Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!"
:beaming-face-with-smiling-eyes:
I actually have two lyretail anthias which we haven't named yet (both female), so I think it's a great idea!
 
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AquaSD

Lavey29

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June 20. Z-Day Part II: Installation
I know I hinted at a video but you'll have to be content with a few post-install images. 15 minutes my a**. Maybe if you have an empty, dry sump sitting on a pedestal in front of you under a spotlight. But for most of us stuck working within the confines of the Red Sea cabinet, you should factor in at least an hour + cleanup time going around with a net to scoop up all the tiny pieces of black silicone.

It took me 3.5 hours in total, which included:
* Removal of all my media from the refugium chamber (15min)
* Cleaning off the Neptune probes (5min)
* Scrubbing the sump, decalcifying the waterline in the sump and snail removal (40min)
* Filtering all the crap out in the sump with a Sicce Zero pump into a filter sock (30min)
* Hacking and slicing the filter compartment out (1hr)
* Cleaning up all the excess silicone still left on the glass (20min)
* Running cables for the ReefMat and relocating a Sicce Nano Voyager for the sump (20min)
* ReefMat installation: connecting to ReefBeat, updating firmware, configuration (20min)

I have two minor leaks (drips) in my plumbing which I'm attributing to old silicone, so I'll have to briefly take my system offline again tomorrow to apply a few beads of silicone to seal everything up.

94D9EB90-BC60-4495-9B70-7B39DEAF81DC.JPG


I didn't have the time (or energy) to perform maintenance on the Sicce SDC 9.0, clean that section of the sump, swap out for silicone tubing or replace the in-cabinet RO reservoir (the Neptune ATK is just sitting on one of the reactors in a green bag so it doesn't get any salt creep). I also want to upgrade my heating system to a new Innovative Marine Helio - so I'll need access for this (I won't lie - not looking forward to it).

Right now I'm running between 0.8-1.0" of fleece every 20 minutes. It's picking up an obscene amount of crap and the tank is crystal clear (maybe the clearest it's ever been). I suspect (and hope!) this will start slowing down after the first 24-48 hours, so I'll be following up with an updated graph on fleece usage. The 375ml media tray under the ReefMat 500 has been put to good use with the included Red Sea carbon.

What I wasn't expecting was how much more room I have in my sump. It's actually pretty incredible. The two MarinePure blocks above were previously sandwiched together on the left side - so I have a ton of room for more media. I temporarily threw the 1.5" MarinePure spheres into the media cups for now (I'll need a few more of those or something larger). Although you can barely see it on the right, there's a Sicce Nano Voyager providing flow in the right side of the new and improved refugium/media chamber (there's only a trickle down the emergency overflow so I moved the wavemaker there to ensure a continuous flow in that part of the sump).

I picked up some of the new Polyp Lab Genesis rocks, so once I get caught-up I'm going to populate those and place somewhere in the sump as well (possibly under the ReefMat). They look to be much higher quality (and less chip-prone) than the MarinePure blocks.

Was this worth the effort? Definitely. Is the G2/ReefMat-ready sump worth every penny? Absolutely. For those of us who don't have a G2 system, the Red Sea Sump Modification Kit is an absolute must. And from what I can see so far - the ReefMat is performing beyond expectations.
Are those the bio bricks wrapped in plastic on the right side?
 
Never Wash Another Nasty Filter Sock Again!
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blaxsun

blaxsun

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Are those the bio bricks wrapped in plastic on the right side?
Those are the 8x8x4" MarinePure bio blocks - there's a wavemaker just to the right of them which is generating some nice ripples/reflection action.
 
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blaxsun

blaxsun

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Oh ok I'm blind it looked like they were in plastic bags. How much volume is the sump 120g ?
No worries - it does actually look like they're shrink-wrapped, lol. The sump is the stock 40 gallons, but if I had to estimate actual water volume I'd probably place it somewhere around 30-34 gallons. As you can see from the image - without the filter sock and overflow compartment it actually frees up a lot of real estate. I could easily place another pair of MarinePure bio blocks in that section, but I'm content simply having improved flow and more access.
 
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blaxsun

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I'm getting more used to my new Sony A6400 camera, and changed up a few of the settings that have really helped with overall image sharpness and clarity. I'm still playing around with some presets in Lightroom to find a happy medium that corrects for K and some minor image tweaks. These were all shot handheld through the glass at a depth of between 4" to 18" with a Sony FE 90mm F2.8G OSS macro lens. Mobius wasn't cooperating (per usual) so I wasn't able to run an alternate lighting scheme for the shoot.

Rose tip bubble anemone with a rhodactis and disco mushroom in front (just it and an adjacent condy anemone are the only ones that have managed to thrive in my tank; not entirely sure why).

bubbletip-anemone.jpg


Corky gorgonian (which is finally happy with the location I found for it).

corky-gorgonian.jpg


Green rhodactis mushroom (this one decided to move off the frag plug above it entirely on its own).

rhodactis-mushroom.jpg


Zoanthid colony (there are 3-4 types growing on all sides of this particular rock).

zoanthid-colony.jpg
 
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blaxsun

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June 25. Z-Day Part V: End of the Roll
After a week using the new ReefMat, I thought I'd summarize some final thoughts and share a few tidbits of advice I gleamed along the way. If it wasn't obvious, like Cortez before me - I've burned my ships (removed the filter socks trays) - so there's no turning back...

* Replacing a fleece roll on a live unit is relatively painless and only takes a few minutes, although I recommend having a scissor to cut it off the roll and a wet rag and towel to clean and dry off any components as needed.
* If you're installing this on an existing stocked tank, forego the filter media tray feature on both the 500 and 1200. While a good idea in theory, on well-stocked tanks this creates problems of its own (read on).
* Expect to see excessive use in the first week or so of operation for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to: not having the optimal water level in the sump, having a particularly dirty tank, overfeeding, messy fish, performing long overdue display maintenance such as scraping, etc. and using the included media tray.

After another day of excessive fleece use and sump water levels having returned to nearly normal, I sat there looking at the graph scratching my head. What the heck... The roll I removed last night didn't stink at all and while it was discolored - it wasn't at the same level of the filter socks after only a few days. I looked at the dispense log for the last hour and it indicated over 3 feet! (what the heck) Considering the fish are sound asleep, this makes zero sense...

Then I had a lightbulb moment: the bag of active carbon I'd placed in the media bag. I removed that the media tray and the water level in the ReefMat instantly dropped almost 4"! :eek:

So, even though the media tray on the ReefMat is a novel idea - my advice is not to use it. It seems to contribute to way (way, way) more fleece usage than normal. Like double, triple or even more.
 
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blaxsun

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June 26. Z-Day Part VI: Final Countdown
Numbers just don't lie. Here's the fleece consumption over the past week. You can see that it's slowly been trending upwards over the past week until the last 16 hours when it just drops off like a plateau. What changed? I just removed the filter tray and media from the ReefMat. I think it's an innovative idea - but it also leads me to believe that the porosity of the fleece roll isn't as high as I initially thought.

C1F8CBBC-EBB4-4C81-9AC5-8F97A376ED8B.JPG slope.jpg

After doing some digging I found some numbers to confirm my suspicions: the ReefMat fleece rolls are only 200-microns. I had been using 100-micron filter socks, so this explains why the media was probably prematurely clogging up the bagged carbon and restricting flow. I'm also wondering if this has actually caused my nitrates to spike due to potentially more crap being let through than my tank is used to - although this may be offset by the fleece continuously being removed from the water where anything it catches can breakdown.

Testing Results
I took a nitrate and phosphate reading just prior to installing the ReefMat last weekend and took another one this afternoon for comparison. Feeding has been identical this week as it was last week with the same net number of fish. The skimmer, UV and both reactors have been in continual use (although I did clean the return pumps last weekend). No change in dosing or supplements over the past 2 weeks.

June 18 results
phosphate-20.png nitrate-25.png

June 26 results
phosphate-15.png nitrate-40.png

Full disclosure: While the nitrates were higher than 25 - the color didn't completely match the "40" mark - so nitrates are probably somewhere between 25-34. So slightly more elevated than they were just over a week ago, but not obscene. On the flip side, phosphates are actually back down to my normal levels of 0.1-0.15. So I'm probably not getting quite the same filtration as I did with my 100-micron filter socks - but I'm also not getting 1-2 days of stuff breaking down in the filter socks from sitting in water.

Also note that I do run my tank a bit "dirtier". Part of this is that I don't perform water changes, part of this is that I have a lot of reef inhabitants - and a further part of this is that everything seems to do well with slightly higher nitrates and phosphates. I try to aim for between 0.10-0.15 phosphates and somewhere between 15-25 nitrates.
 
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blaxsun

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June 29. Zero Sum Game
Over the past few week everything was doing great - then my new Lubbock's fairy wrasse disappeared - and then yesterday, my new Clown tang. Scoured the floor within a 10' radius - nadda. Not in the overflow, plumbing, sump, ReefMat or anywhere else. They just up and vanished. No bodies - nothing. Today while feeding - out of the blue - the Lubbock's fairy wrasse darts out from the right corner of the tank (apparently he's found some great rock work to make his lair), devours a bunch of food (guess he was hungry!) and then disappears back into the depths again. I guess this means we won't see him as often, which is a shame - as he has some awesome coloration. On the flip side - this one doesn't appear to be a jumper, so there's that...

So I started out with -1 fish, progressed to -2 fish and now I'm back to -1 fish. I still have no idea what happened to the Clown tang, but I checked both of my anemones (even going so far as to pull the rock ledge from atop one and look for remnants of a small tang) and couldn't find any trace. While I have a very effective cleanup crew I'm not sure they're *that* effective, so I'm still holding out some remote hope that it turns up. I also "technically" still have a Rainford's goby hovering around out there but I haven't seen him in weeks, I've got way too many places for him to hid and this one likes hiding in teeny tiny crevices.

This is the second tang I've purchased that has barely lasted a week (the last one being a Naso that nosedived into an elegance coral just for kicks last fall).
 
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blaxsun

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June 30. Nom Nom
While I don't have any direct evidence, the leading suspicion for the missing Clown tang is that the Condy anemone "dined out". The condy was retracted for the past few days around the same time the clown tang went missing, and as there's zero evidence that a crime has been committed - it's the likeliest suspect at this point. Plus it's now out in its full splendour (seemingly very content).

Exhibit A has a condy anemone eating and disappearing a fairly large (stupid) tang.



Note accomplices A, B and C (clownfish) in the foreground putting the masterplan of Moriarti the shrimp into play.
 

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