reefiniteasy

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So I'm going to give this build thread a shot. I'll start from the very beginning. I teach a kindergarten through 5th grade science block. Several of my students have been asking for the last couple of years why I don't have a Nemo fish. I continuously have to explain that a Clownfish requires a saltwater aquarium. The follow up question is "well why don't you have one Mr. S?" I then have to explain that taking responsibility for animals, whether furry or scaly is a major responsibility that is not to be taken lightly and right now I don't have the extra money to support another habitat. You see, in my classroom we have a 65 gallon African Cichlid aquarium, a 38 gallon South American Cichlid aquarium, and one gorgeous Pink Belly Sidekick Turtle living in a medium WaterLand Tub. The kids love it and I love it. Think about it, I get to go to work everyday and teach elementary science using these wonderful habitats... Life is good.

Other habitats in the classroom:
IMG_3567.jpg
IMG_3143.jpg
IMG_1129.jpg


So last April/May it occurred to me that there might be a way to give my students Clownfish. I decided I would write letters to different companies in the industry and see what supplies and equipment I would be able to receive as donations. The first letter I wrote was to aquarium manufacturers. I wrote to Coralife and two other companies. Two of the three manufacturers responded and Coralife hooked us up with the 16 gallon BioCube and stand. (As a side note, Coralife's sister company Aqueon gave us the 65 gallon aquarium the previous year as well.) From the moment they wrote back to us to receiving the BioCube was 4 days. We were all blown away, not only did they send the cube, but they also sent the stand.

This is the photo just after I finished assembling the stand.
IMG_3438.jpg

At this point, I realized that this project was becoming a reality. My next thought was, "how do I go about getting "clean" water?" So I sent emails to several companies that manufacture RO/DI systems. AquaFX immediately offered us a system and mushroom corals when the time comes. What I didn't know at the time was that AquaFX is a local company so I was able to go out to their warehouse and pick up the system. Their Operations Manager, Doug walked me through the system and even added an extra capacity carbon block. I also chose the adapter to hook the system to my classroom sink, this way I can divert the water when needed. I also plan to use a 20 gallon brute trash can as RO/DI storage. I actually just sent an email off to Rubbermaid Commercial to see if they will donate the Brute cans, we will have to wait and see what happens. Now the Barracuda RO/DI did not have a TDS meter and I didn't want to ask for one as I don't want to be greedy so I purchased one shortly after picking up the system.
IMG_3618 2.jpg

I thought I would be pressing my luck if I wrote more letters, but why stop now. I sent an email off to Cobalt Aquatics and they contributed a 50 watt Neo-Therm heater. I also sent letters off to three salt manufacturers. I wrote a letter to one company in particular, they offered me salt, additives and a bunch of stuff. They told us it was on the way and nothing ever showed. I emailed them again to check on things and never received a response. I figure it disappeared in shipping. Knowing I am going to need salt very soon, I reached out to Instant Ocean. Another quick response and we were set up with two buckets of Reef Crystals. Again, my mind has been blown.

The next email I sent was to CaribSea. In both of our Cichlid habitats we use CaribSea substrate and it has been excellent. I reached out to Caribsea for a donation of reef sand. Betsey from CaribSea immediately responded that they would love to help out and that they would also send pieces of their Life Rock. Shortly thereafter a large box was delivered to the school. They sent a 20lb bag of reef sand and three beautiful pieces of Life Rock. Unfortunately the box was a soggy mess. The bag of reef sand popped. Much of the reef sand was salvageable but the live bacteria was now soaked into the box. I replaced the bag of reef sand during a recent order of supplies.
Here are the pieces of rock:
#1
IMG_4063.jpg
#2
IMG_4060.jpg
#3
IMG_4057.jpg

Today I worked on some aquascaping. My goal was to dry fit the pieces in the BioCube in a way that they would fit. All three pieces will not fit on the floor of the aquarium. Piece #1 is perfect for the back of the BioCube, however it is quite short and the three peaks are awkward. So I decided to try and fit piece number two on top of the first two peaks of Rock #1. It looks like this:
IMG_4067.jpg
IMG_4051.jpg
IMG_4052.jpg
IMG_4054.jpg


My though is by laying rock #2 on top of rock #1 I now have a ledge upon which I can set up some coral and I now have shade below for any coral or fish that prefer less light. I am not sure whether I should leave the floor in front of this piece empty or if I should use rock #3 to fill up the space.

IMG_4046.jpg
IMG_4047.jpg
IMG_4049.jpg


I would like to house a Clownfish pair and a goby. Does anyone have some thoughts on this aquascape? I only get one shot at gluing the two rocks together so any input I get now would be much appreciated.

Here is a list of equipment and supplies that I have to work with for this project.
16 gallon BioCube and stand (Donation)
InTank media basket
Cobalt NeoTherm Heater (Donation)
CaribSea reef sand (Donation)
CaribSea Life Rock (Donation)
Purigen
ChemiPure Blue 6 pack 5.5oz
Poly Filter Floss
Tunze Nano Osmolator
Hydor Koralia Evolution Nano 425
Tunze Silence Pump 1073.008
Aqua FX Barracuda RO/DI (Donation)
Vee Gee STX-3 Refractometer (Donation)
Salifert Test Kits (Magnesium, Alkalinity, Calcium, Nitrate, Nitrite, Ammonia, Phosphate, pH)
Bob Smith Industries IC -Gel and Accelerator
Ammonium Chloride for cycling
 
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Jason mack

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Wow .. that’s quite a write up there .. but well done looks like your on your way to a good start ..
Your students are lucky too have you I think .. I wish you and your students much success with this and their other projects .. hat off too you sir !!
I would certainly like too follow along on this build !!
 

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Great write up.

One quick suggestion.... leave plenty of room between the Life Rock and the glass so when it's time to clean the class a magnetic scraper will easily fit in there.

Keep up the great work and don't hesitate to ask questions.

Oh a couple of things the keep in mind with a "School Tank":

1) Make sure that the HVAC/Power are always on. Some schools reduce/power off HVAC etc when school it out. Hot Room = Hot Tank
2) Make sure the cleaning crew don't spray clean directly around the tank. My 12 year old NanoCube crashed in March and we finally determined it was most likely the cleaning crew that cleaned my office over the weekend and used spray cleaners in close proximity to my tank.
3) Think about how/who will maintain the tank if you're unable to during breaks/vacation.

Good luck :)
 
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NY_Caveman

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So I'm going to give this build thread a shot. I'll start from the very beginning. I teach a kindergarten through 5th grade science block. Several of my students have been asking for the last couple of years why I don't have a Nemo fish. I continuously have to explain that a Clownfish requires a saltwater aquarium. The follow up question is "well why don't you have one Mr. S?" I then have to explain that taking responsibility for animals, whether furry or scaly is a major responsibility that is not to be taken lightly and right now I don't have the extra money to support another habitat. You see, in my classroom we have a 65 gallon African Cichlid aquarium, a 38 gallon South American Cichlid aquarium, and one gorgeous Pink Belly Sidekick Turtle living in a medium WaterLand Tub. The kids love it and I love it. Think about it, I get to go to work everyday and teach elementary science using these wonderful habitats... Life is good.

Other habitats in the classroom:
IMG_3567.jpg
IMG_3143.jpg
IMG_1129.jpg


So last April/May it occurred to me that there might be a way to give my students Clownfish. I decided I would write letters to different companies in the industry and see what supplies and equipment I would be able to receive as donations. The first letter I wrote was to aquarium manufacturers. I wrote to Coralife and two other companies. Two of the three manufacturers responded and Coralife hooked us up with the 16 gallon BioCube and stand. (As a side note, Coralife's sister company Aqueon gave us the 65 gallon aquarium the previous year as well.) From the moment they wrote back to us to receiving the BioCube was 4 days. We were all blown away, not only did they send the cube, but they also sent the stand.

This is the photo just after I finished assembling the stand.
IMG_3438.jpg

At this point, I realized that this project was becoming a reality. My next thought was, "how do I go about getting "clean" water?" So I sent emails to several companies that manufacture RO/DI systems. AquaFX immediately offered us a system and mushroom corals when the time comes. What I didn't know at the time was that AquaFX is a local company so I was able to go out to their warehouse and pick up the system. Their Operations Manager, Doug walked me through the system and even added an extra capacity carbon block. I also chose the adapter to hook the system to my classroom sink, this way I can divert the water when needed. I also plan to use a 20 gallon brute trash can as RO/DI storage. I actually just sent an email off to Rubbermaid Commercial to see if they will donate the Brute cans, we will have to wait and see what happens. Now the Barracuda RO/DI did not have a TDS meter and I didn't want to ask for one as I don't want to be greedy so I purchased one shortly after picking up the system.
IMG_3618 2.jpg

I thought I would be pressing my luck if I wrote more letters, but why stop now. I sent an email off to Cobalt Aquatics and they contributed a 50 watt Neo-Therm heater. I also sent letters off to three salt manufacturers. I wrote a letter to one company in particular, they offered me salt, additives and a bunch of stuff. They told us it was on the way and nothing ever showed. I emailed them again to check on things and never received a response. I figure it disappeared in shipping. Knowing I am going to need salt very soon, I reached out to Instant Ocean. Another quick response and we were set up with two buckets of Reef Crystals. Again, my mind has been blown.

The next email I sent was to CaribSea. In both of our Cichlid habitats we use CaribSea substrate and it has been excellent. I reached out to Caribsea for a donation of reef sand. Betsey from CaribSea immediately responded that they would love to help out and that they would also send pieces of their Life Rock. Shortly thereafter a large box was delivered to the school. They sent a 20lb bag of reef sand and three beautiful pieces of Life Rock. Unfortunately the box was a soggy mess. The bag of reef sand popped. Much of the reef sand was salvageable but the live bacteria was now soaked into the box. I replaced the bag of reef sand during a recent order of supplies.
Here are the pieces of rock:
#1
IMG_4063.jpg
#2
IMG_4060.jpg
#3
IMG_4057.jpg

Today I worked on some aquascaping. My goal was to dry fit the pieces in the BioCube in a way that they would fit. All three pieces will not fit on the floor of the aquarium. Piece #1 is perfect for the back of the BioCube, however it is quite short and the three peaks are awkward. So I decided to try and fit piece number two on top of the first two peaks of Rock #1. It looks like this:
IMG_4067.jpg
IMG_4051.jpg
IMG_4052.jpg
IMG_4054.jpg


My though is by laying rock #2 on top of rock #1 I now have a ledge upon which I can set up some coral and I now have shade below for any coral or fish that prefer less light. I am not sure whether I should leave the floor in front of this piece empty or if I should use rock #3 to fill up the space.

IMG_4046.jpg
IMG_4047.jpg
IMG_4049.jpg


I would like to house a Clownfish pair and a goby. Does anyone have some thoughts on this aquascape? I only get one shot at gluing the two rocks together so any input I get now would be much appreciated.

Here is a list of equipment and supplies that I have to work with for this project.
6 gallon BioCube and stand (Donation)
InTank media basket
Cobalt NeoTherm Heater (Donation)
CaribSea reef sand (Donation)
CaribSea Life Rock (Donation)
Purigen
ChemiPure Blue 6 pack 5.5oz
Poly Filter Floss
Tunze Nano Osmolator
Hydor Koralia Evolution Nano 425
Tunze Silence Pump 1073.008
Aqua FX Barracuda RO/DI (Donation)
Instant Ocean Reef Crystals 2 160 gallon buckets (Donation)
Very Gee STX-3 Refractometer (Donation)
Salifert Test Kits (Magnesium, Alkalinity, Calcium, Nitrate, Nitrite, Ammonia, Phosphate, pH)
Bob Smith Industries IC -Gel and Accelerator
Ammonium Chloride for cycling
Dr. Tim's One and Only

Great to hear about the generosity of all of those companies. Lucky kids!

 
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reefiniteasy

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Today's update is short. I received a response from Rubbermaid. Unfortunately they have to initiate all giving opportunities and do not accept unsolicited requests for support. Oh well! I'll order the Brute cans from Home Depot. They have good prices and all of the color choices. I'll order one 20 gallon Brute in white for RO/DI storage and 2 ten gallon Brute cans for salt mixing and ATO reservoir. Once those arrive I will install the RO/DI system on the wall next to my classroom sink and place the Brute can below. I thought about installing the auto shut off for the RO/DI and using a float valve in the Brute but since I am using the sink adapter with valve I am not sure if I need the float as I can turn the system on anytime I need it. Well, I guess with the auto shut off there would be no chance of it overflowing. I'll think about it.

1) Make sure that the HVAC/Power are always on. Some schools reduce/power off HVAC etc when school it out. Hot Room = Hot Tank

The HVAC system is on Monday through Friday year round except for Thanksgiving, Winter Break, and Spring Break. On the weekends the habitats usually go as high as 82 degrees. I'll monitor temperature while the tank cycles and if need be I'll have to come up with a way to keep temps steady on the weekend. I know chillers are expensive so I hope the tank doesn't fluctuate much.

2) Make sure the cleaning crew don't spray clean directly around the tank. My 12 year old NanoCube crashed in March and we finally determined it was most likely the cleaning crew that cleaned my office over the weekend and used spray cleaners in close proximity to my tank.

No worries, the custodians only vacuum the carpet and clean the bathroom. I do my own cleaning and dusting as the turtle habitat is open top.

3) Think about how/who will maintain the tank if you're unable to during breaks/vacation.

I'm at school everyday during the school year, and every other day over the summer. I also have a key so I can access the building when school is closed.
 
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It's been almost a week since I last posted. I've had some summer workshops so hopefully in the next two weeks I will be able to spend extra time in my classroom. I finally ordered the Brute trash cans from HD. Once they come in I will get the RO/DI system installed and start producing clean water.

I received a few more donations this past week. VeeGee Scientific sent us their STX-3 salinity refractometer. It is awesome! When you hold it, it feels like a professional piece of scientific equipment that you would see in a laboratory, my students will love it. Last week I received an email from ESV Aquatics apologizing for the delay in sending out the salt mix that they offered us way way back. I had just figured the package was lost in shipping. Then today a large box showed up on the door step. Let's just say they went above and beyond. They sent us a 50 gallon unit of their B-Ionic Seawater System, their 2-part Calcium Buffer System, B-Ionic Magnesium, Granulated Activated Carbon, B-Ionic Transition Elements Plus, and B-Ionic Transition Elements. I am so thankful that all of these companies are so willing to help us get started. This will make maintenance so much more affordable as we get going.

I also purchased a few supplies while Bulk Reef Supply had their 10% Prime sale. I picked up Salifert test kits, Ammonium Chloride for cycling, and Bob Smith Industries glue and accelerator. My wife and I stopped at a local shop, Sea In The City, to look for some products and ask questions. Just a fact finding mission in general. The staff was wonderful and gave us a bottle of MicroBacter7 to start our cycle. Totally unexpected and totally appreciated.

Hopefully next time I post I'll be able to show my RO/DI setup.
IMG_4115.jpg
IMG_4111.jpg
IMG_4112.jpg
 
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It's ben some time since I last posted. The tank is not running yet, but the RODI system is up and running and I have filled the 20 gallon Brute trash can. I had my sister-in-law use her Cricut machine to cut vinyl letters for the trash can; can't have my students throwing garbage in my aquarium water. The system was easy to set up, I was able to flush the membrane in no time at all. After the system was running for a couple of hours I had 2ppm coming out of the RO membrane and 0 after the DI resin. I did notice through messing around that I had a high TDS creep soon after starting the system. To combat the creep and extend the life of my resin I ordered an RO tubing splitter so I can split the line between the RO membrane and DI resin. I will then put a valve on each line. This way I'll be able to flush debris off the RO membrane for a couple of minutes and then run the system through the split line and bypass the DI until the initial high TDS reading drops. Then I'll close the split line and open the valve between RO membrane and DI resin. I now need to pick up a pump and tubing so I can easy fill my salt bucket and so the water in the Brute doesn't sit stagnant. Hopefully I'll have the tank filled in the next two weeks.
IMG_4278.jpg
 
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It's been so long since I have posted an update. In the last few months we added a 20 gallon long aquarium that houses "Blue" our blue crayfish and I set up a 5.5 gallon for a Betta. So I've been staring at the BioCube that has been sitting on the stand for the last four months and I think I may have put it off because I was too nervous to start it so I made the excuse that I didn't have time. I think I was worried about making a mistake and wasting the supplies that I have. So I dumped the 20 gallons of RODI water that has been sitting for the past three months. I refilled the tank, transferred the water to my salt mixing bucket and got to work. I used the 50 gallon box that ESV sent me. It was so simple to use and super quick to dissolve. I added the sodium chloride... waited 5 minutes to dissolve, added the magnesium... another 5 minutes and then added the liquid components. SIMPLE! Tested salinity at 1.028. Ahhh! Just a little too high I thought so now I need to dilute with more RODI. dang! Too much, now I'm testing 1.023. The ESV directions say for accuracy it is best to measure ingredients by weight instead of volume. I'll get this eventually. So yesterday I arranged the rocks, rested them on small pieces of light diffuser so they are off the glass and not sitting on the stand. I figure added stability can't hurt. The BioCube 16 has three rear chambers. Chamber one has the heater, I love the Cobalt Neo-Therm (very temped to switch out all my freshwater aquariums). I removed the false floor in the chamber one to make cleaning easy and so the heater would fit. I then cut off the weird little half wall divider at the top of the divider between chamber one and two. In chamber two I have In-Tank media basket. I did not add any chemical media yet, but I did add a piece of filter floss to catch any debris or dust that might find its way in. I removed the little sponge between chambers two and three. I have the Tunze pump in chamber three and the Tunze ATO as well. I then I then added the Arag-Alive! sand, about a 1" to 1.5" bed. Then I pumped the water into the tank. I pumped into the display portion of the tank, everything was going well and then I ran out of water and the tank wasn't even close. I thought with the rock and sand 10 gallons would be plenty. Apparently not! I made a new batch of salt water measuring 1.026 and added this to the display. It's go time, I turned on the pump and chamber two and three dropped and the display level went up just a little. I then added more salt water to chamber two until both chamber two and three were just below the top shelf of the media basket. At last measurement, the additional 1.026 water raised the overall salinity to 1.024.

Next Steps:
Fill the ATO and get that up and running
Refill the RODI container
Begin the cycling process - I need to grab another bottle of bacteria. I used my bottle of Microbacter7 and ammonia to cycle the crayfish habitat and it worked like a charm. I'll have to give it more thought
Set light schedule (won't run it during cycling)
Figure out when to add chemical media (ChemiPure and Purigen)
Need to add some black vinyl wrapping, about 1 cm around the top of the aquarium under the frame. The water line is a smidge below the tank frame (I hate the way it looks). If I raise the water level it will be above the extra overflow lines and the water line will be above the the top shelf of the media basket.

Just a couple of side notes. The extra valves I added to the RODI are awesome! I now have the ability to bypass the resin, so I can monitor the TDS coming from the RO membrane before I switch it over to the resin. In the long run this will help me save on resin. I have been getting 2 out of the RO and 0 from the resin. Success! Also, the VeeGee refractometer is one well built piece of equipment the quality and sheer weight are incredible. I honestly feel that I can drop it and it would probably still work just fine. If one of my students does that, we'll see what happens.

Here are pictures, I'm anxious to see the cloudiness settle. It's already gotten a 1000 times better over the last 2 day.
IMG_0471.jpg IMG_0474.jpg IMG_0473.jpg IMG_0472.jpg IMG_0475.jpg

IMG_0471.jpg


IMG_0471.jpg
 
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Teacher here also doing a BioCube build in the classroom. I’m excited to see how this goes!
That's awesome! Please let us know how it goes. It would be nice to compare, to have someone else as a reference.
 
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So it took about a day for the cloudiness to settle and the water to clear up. The tank looks great. Salinity is still at 1.024. I think I'll take some water out and continue adding the 1.026 water until I get the tank to that mark. I would like to keep it at 1.026. I filled the ATO and plan on hooking it up on Monday once I am back in my classroom. Once the salinity level is where I want it I will begin cycling the tank. Here are some pictures of the clear tank and one of my RODI valve set up.
IMG_0491.jpg IMG_0488.jpg IMG_0490.jpg IMG_0489.jpg IMG_0485.jpg
 

Eagle_Steve

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So it took about a day for the cloudiness to settle and the water to clear up. The tank looks great. Salinity is still at 1.024. I think I'll take some water out and continue adding the 1.026 water until I get the tank to that mark. I would like to keep it at 1.026. I filled the ATO and plan on hooking it up on Monday once I am back in my classroom. Once the salinity level is where I want it I will begin cycling the tank. Here are some pictures of the clear tank and one of my RODI valve set up.
IMG_0491.jpg IMG_0488.jpg IMG_0490.jpg IMG_0489.jpg IMG_0485.jpg
Looking good. I love seeing tanks in classrooms. Be sure to keep us updated.
 

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Fellow science teacher and aquarium lover here. I love the detail of your write up. Makes me feel better about some of my posts :p.
We are fortunate enough to have a Marine Bio class and the teacher there gives each lab group a 29 gallon they have to cycle and maintain.

One question, and I don't know your state. Has the fire marshal been in?

I only ask because ours can be a little persnickety. Bunsen burner? check. Some electrical transformers in the physics classroom? Check. Oh, here's the hood where you do the thermite reaction? Cool.

"CANDLE ON A MUG WARMER?!?!?!?! What is that doing here?! You can't have a candle in the classroom! I don't care if it's to cover up the smell of the cat dissections!!!"

So, again. Just curious. That looks like a really cool classroom.
 
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Fellow science teacher and aquarium lover here. I love the detail of your write up. Makes me feel better about some of my posts :p.
We are fortunate enough to have a Marine Bio class and the teacher there gives each lab group a 29 gallon they have to cycle and maintain.

One question, and I don't know your state. Has the fire marshal been in?

I only ask because ours can be a little persnickety. Bunsen burner? check. Some electrical transformers in the physics classroom? Check. Oh, here's the hood where you do the thermite reaction? Cool.

"CANDLE ON A MUG WARMER?!?!?!?! What is that doing here?! You can't have a candle in the classroom! I don't care if it's to cover up the smell of the cat dissections!!!"

So, again. Just curious. That looks like a really cool classroom.

That is so awesome! I would have loved to take a class where i can start and maintain a saltwater aquarium. District health and safety and the fire inspectors come through a couple of times a year. I teach K-5 science so I don't have gas and stuff like that. In elementary school they look for excessive wall coverings and things hanging from the ceiling as a potential fire hazard. I have never had a problem. The issue I think I will eventually get knocked for is the amount of surge protectors and electrical items I have plugged in. Every habitat has 5 or 6 plugs. The school was great and switched many of my outlets to gfi outlets in case of splashing. Most people walk through my room, see the habitats and forget why they came in in the first place.
IMG_0253.jpg IMG_0396.jpg IMG_0394.jpg IMG_0392.jpg IMG_0487.jpg
 
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So... As of yesterday afternoon after some water testing, this is what I have:
Salinity - 1.025sg or 33ppt
PH - 8.0 or 8.3
Calcium - 485ppm
Magnesium - 1275-1350ppm
KH/Alk - 7.7-8.3 dKH

Now here is the problem. I am using Salifert test kits. The quality of the kit itself is amazing. However, I am struggling with recognizing the change in color. So, one of the tests (I forget which one, maybe Mg) starts pink and I have to keep adding drops until that color changes to a clear blue. Well, what exactly is clear blue? When I thought the color changed I marked how much the Mg was, I kept going to see if the color would continue to change and it did, it became a more discernible shade of blue. Clear... maybe, I'm pretty sure the water in the vial was clear the whole time. I don't know, it was the same with the PH 8.0 and 8.3 are slightly different shades of green. I couldn't tell the difference.

I'm going to do all the tests again tomorrow. I mean, the extra practice can't hurt.
 

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This is my experience with the test kits. I use Salifert for Ca and Alk, and I use Red Sea for Magnesium.
It's a titration, and with small volumes of water. With Calcium, it is a two step titration where you are actually indirectly measuring the Calcium. I make a mental note when I start questioning the color where the syringe is, and then I add a few more drops. If it gets more solid as a color, I go with the second reading, otherwise, I use the first.

I agree that the end point can be a little muddy. I have been advised on here (and this advice works). The alkalinity kit is more accurate than the Calcium because it is a direct titration (I may be getting the chemistry terms wrong). Do the alk test and Calcium test as best you can. Trust the alk test and if you dose alk, then wait a bit and dose the appropriate amount of calcium to match it.

My personal analogy (which is not perfect) is that magnesium is kind of like the carburetor, and the alk and Ca are like the fuel and air. Keep magnesium up, but don't chase numbers.

I know as a fellow science guy, we like to be precise and consistent. These are not lab grade test kits.

I hope this helps and take everything I say with a grain of salt. There are a lot of people on here with a lot more chemistry knowledge than I have.
 
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What's the saying... two steps forward, one step back? I feel like I'm never going to get fish into this tank. So back in January we had the tank up and running ready to begin cycling. With school related stuff popping up I never got to cycling the tank. At this point I noticed a drop off in several of the tested chemicals so instead of dosing chemicals I figured I would just do a water change and see if that got everything back where it needed to be. This time I wanted my students to mix the saltwater. The problem was they struggled measuring the 4 part ESV system. It was just too difficult for them. We lost a bunch of materials during this process. At this point I reached out to Fritz to see if they can donate the supplies to get us running again. Boy, did they come through. I met up with members of Fritz Team 6 at Reef-A-Palooza Orlando and they hooked us up with a box of RPM and enough chemical additives to last an eternity.

So this past week some of my third graders helped drain the tank, mix new salt and fill it back up. RPM was easy to mix and seems to be of great quality. Bam! We are back in business. Next step back, we noticed a weird film on the inside of our ATO reservoir. I dumped the water and wiped the glass with a paper towel and the towel turned reddish/pink. Turns out the Innovative Marine little rubber float thing that they have in there was leaching red dye into the ATO and aquarium. I guess it was a good thing we started over. But now I am down an ATO reservoir so I went back to the trusty 5 gallon bucket. Still haven't heard back from Innovative Marine. That wasn't a donation, but a purchase out of my own pocket from Drs. Foster & Smith. We'll see what happens. So now I am looking for another ATO. Maybe a custom one to fit in the stand.

Now we have another major hiccup. The hood on the BioCube coupled with no AC on nights and weekends and my school district's new 76 degree classroom policy has left us with a tank that won't drop below 82 degrees. Two possible solutions. 1. Keep the lid and add the Chill Solutions micro chiller but I don't know where to put the pump in the small BioCube. Or 2. Remove the lid, add a screen top and a new upgraded light. (Which would probably be best for coral in the long run.)

I am leaning towards the light. Many of the lights I have found require wifi to configure and operate. I am not allowed to connect devices to the school's wifi, so the AI Prime HD and others are out. So I have settled on Kessil. Should I go with the A80 or A160? It was suggested to me that the A80 is not strong enough for this application and the A160 is the best option. Any thoughts? Budget is also a concern, this teacher doesn't have deep pockets. I reached out to Kessil to see if they offer an educator discount or have a surplus light they can donate, but I have yet to hear from them.

Fritz arranged for me to pick up two bottles of TurboStart at a LFS, so I need to get this temp. problem under control so I can finally add livestock. This is a never ending forward and backward process and I'm wondering if I'll ever move forward enough where my students and I will feel successful.
 
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