DF Red Sea Reefer 250

Difrano

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Hi!

First of all a little of my background, in 2011 I started my first aquarium with a 55 Gal tank i got on Craiglist, for that aquarium I decided to do a low to none maintenance planted native freshwater tank, I used dirt and local lake bed sand as substrate, with several local fish, panfish, darts, mosquito fish, minnows etc, crayfish and snails from the lakes, that tank ran with a HOB filter for water movement and for 5 years never did a water change just top offs, also had to trim the macro algae every other month, this tank was on the garage and survived 2 moves. I was raised on the sea and was snorkeling in coral reefs almost every weekend during my young ages. I love the ocean and everything related to the sea, so in 2015 decided to start a saltwater tank and bought a Biocube 29, I started with a pair of clowns live rocks and sand, later I added a goby and a tiger pistol, later added some zoas and softies to the mix, the tank was very low tech no skimmer and only a ATO, I converted one of the back chambers into a fuge. It ran well for some years until I had a Dino outbreak that killed all my corals, so I decided to give up on corals and transferred some macro to my display and keep it as Fish only tank, I really liked it and I am not really this crazy about growing corals, I am more a fish person, so that bring us to 3 weeks ago.
My Old Bio (Didn't had trimmed the macros and GHA for a while :)):

20200503_134721.jpg


After 5 years with a Biocube 29 and taking advantage that I had to stop my work travel due to the COVID crisis I started researching about doing an upgrade to my setup.I always loved the Red Sea aquariums so 3 weeks ago I went to my preferred LFS to buy RO and Saltwater for my Biocube and found this beautiful Red Sea Reefer 250 at a very good price, ready to pickup and take home... So I went for it. I just bought the tank and the stand. (Now I needed to convince my wife that this new tank will be better and nicer than the old one to get budget approval).

After setting the tank and stand in the living room, got my budget approved by the management. My plan for this tank is for now is to move all my current livestock to the 250 and then keep a soft coral and some LPS, I have no plans so far for trying SPS and also would like to keep the bioload low like I did on my Cube so I decided on this gear, good thing is that if in the future I change my mind i can always upgrade:

Equipment:
Skimmer: Octo Classic 110S.
Return Pump: Current eflux 1050 DC.
Power Head: 1 Vortech MP40, 1 Vortech MP10
Lights: 2x Prime 16HD.
Controller: Apexel. Full Apex.
1 Trident.
1 DOS pump.
1 DDR reservoir.
Fuge light: Finnex FugeRay Planted.
ATO: Hydor smart level (Existing from cube) Decided to keep the standard ATO from RSR250.
Sand: 40 lb caribsea ocean direct live + 20 lb caribsea live sea fiji pink.
Rock: super live 30 lb from existing biocube + 30 lb new live rock from LFS.

Livestock all from my old cube:
2 Oscelaris Clowns (5 years with me)
1 YWG
1 Tiger pistol shrimp.
2 Emerald crabs.
Several snails.
New additions:
1 Grey Watchman Goby.
2 Yellow Tail Damsels.
1 Yellow Tang.
1 Yellowline Cleaner Goby.
1 Blueline Cleaner Goby.


Why I choose those options?, based on my research those equipment will give me what I need without breaking the bank, I will try to update this thread with reviews on how each device is performing on my setup.

So there I went:
20200503_134439.jpg


On a side note where the tank is now there was a Ikea bookshelf that my daughter used to keep her craft stuff, I disassembled it and cut it to do some shelfing inside the tank cabinet

Initial sump work:

20200503_134503.jpg


Shelving and cable management almost complete:
20200505_165030.jpg


Initial fill:

20200505_175450.jpg


Pool of mud:
20200505_224214.jpg


Some Pictures of sump and shelving:

20200509_214844.jpg

20200509_214856.jpg


After a week and a mini cycle I added my livestock and finished the aquascaping, water was murky due to aquscaping and moving rocks around:

20200509_185912.jpg


Sorry for the bad quality on the pictures but I was not planning to do a build journal, but after all i decided to give it a go so I can see how my tank evolve over the years.

So far I have no plans to add anything else for some months to let the aquarium settle and establish. Also will not run the skimmer for the initial 2 weeks to allow some nutrients buildup to kickstart the fuge and keep the snails feeded.

Will try to update this build as much as I can.

Cheers
 
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Phil D.

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Welcome to R2r and Reefing!! I have the Red Sea Max E-260 with sump, which is the AIO version of your tank. First off you will find that the lights you have will not be powerful enough. You may want to upgrade to the Red Sea Reef LED 90s or AI Hydra 26 HDs. I have the AI's on mine.

IMG_20200324_1751315.jpg
 
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Difrano

Difrano

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Welcome to R2r and Reefing!! I have the Red Sea Max E-260 with sump, which is the AIO version of your tank. First off you will find that the lights you have will not be powerful enough. You may want to upgrade to the Red Sea Reef LED 90s or AI Hydra 26 HDs. I have the AI's on mine.
Thanks for the advice, that was a long discussion with my LFS. At the end the 16 HDs willdo what I need for now, 2 26 would be better, but decided to save some money to pay for the apex.
 

Sordfish

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Thanks for sharing. Looking great so far. I am in the process of setting up a 250 as well. I also got the current USA eflux 1050 and would love to hear your thoughts on it. It’ll be late summer before I can set mine up since I am waiting to get budget approval to buy an apex and a UV sterilizer.

Unlike you, I chose current USA wave pumps, which can be controlled with the same controller as the eflux. We’ll see if that was a good decision since I really don’t see many people using them. Your Vortech is certainly the safer bet. Curious as to why the MP40 and not MP10?

Finally, I went with prime HDs for lighting as well. 250 used to come with 2 hydra 26s I believe. After some research, I was able to verify that 2 hydra 26s are the same as 4 primes. So you can certainly upgrade your lighting by adding additional primes - I went with three that I bought used form a local guy. One advantage of using primes over Hydras, as I learned from BRS TV, is that it allows more precise placement of the individual pucks, giving a more even distribution. One downfall is increase in power bars and cables.

Look forward to following your progress
 
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Difrano

Difrano

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Thanks,

So far I have the eflux running at 100%, and had no issues adjusting the return valve to get the overfluw return stable and no noises, I bought the eflux because at the beginning I was not planning to have an Apex (due to budget limitations),but now that I have the apex I would have preferred to have a COR pump, so you can monitor the flow with no additional hardware.

I liked the Vortech because the wet/dry configuration and simplicity of cleaning, on my cube i had 2 Koralias and cleaning them was a ***** because I had to do it onsite or remove all the cabling. Regarding why the 40, it was mainly about the discussions about the MP10 not holding well on 1/2 inch thick glass, and the vortech calculator saying that you need 2 MP10 for the 250, so i went for 1 40, I have plans to add another 40 or maybe a 10 in the near future after my bank recovers from the hit.

Regrading lighting I a am stating with low light requirements for this tank and maybe later I add a 3rd 16 HD or a 26 HD.

If you have the tank, lights, return pump and powerheads, I would say you can setup the tank and start cycling it, add some low bioload and later you can add the UV and the Apex, by the end of summer your tank will be ready for corals

Cheers!
 

Sordfish

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Thanks,

So far I have the eflux running at 100%, and had no issues adjusting the return valve to get the overfluw return stable and no noises, I bought the eflux because at the beginning I was not planning to have an Apex (due to budget limitations),but now that I have the apex I would have preferred to have a COR pump, so you can monitor the flow with no additional hardware.

I liked the Vortech because the wet/dry configuration and simplicity of cleaning, on my cube i had 2 Koralias and cleaning them was a ***** because I had to do it onsite or remove all the cabling. Regarding why the 40, it was mainly about the discussions about the MP10 not holding well on 1/2 inch thick glass, and the vortech calculator saying that you need 2 MP10 for the 250, so i went for 1 40, I have plans to add another 40 or maybe a 10 in the near future after my bank recovers from the hit.

Regrading lighting I a am stating with low light requirements for this tank and maybe later I add a 3rd 16 HD or a 26 HD.

If you have the tank, lights, return pump and powerheads, I would say you can setup the tank and start cycling it, add some low bioload and later you can add the UV and the Apex, by the end of summer your tank will be ready for corals

Cheers!
Thanks for this. I hadn’t considered the cleaning ease. I did freshwater before and cleaning pumps is not an issue. But I can see it as an issue for saltwater.

I guess you may be right re cycling. I was thinking I’d need to alter the plumbing for the UV, which would not be fun if the tank is right. Perhaps I am wrong.
 
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Difrano

Difrano

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So the money pit, is starting to get in motion... today I got a WXM for my APEX. Setup is as easy as it can be, and now I can control the MP40 modes and speeds from fusion. I am an automation engineer and I would say that the apex is an awesome product, par with the systems I am used to work on the industry. As I said I will be updating this thread with mini reviews based on my experience.

This is the profile I am running at the moment, any suggestions are welcome:
Screenshot_20200514-194620_Apex Fusion.jpg
Screenshot_20200514-194625_Apex Fusion.jpg
 
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Difrano

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Quick update, my control freak is getting bigger and bigger everyday, yesterday went to my LFS to get a pistol shrimp to replace the one that was with me 4+ years and died few weeks ago before getting into this new tank. Got the shrimp plus a BOB for my Apex so I can start making some alarming and control, so I ordered 2 level switches from BRS one to detect when ATO reservoir is low, and the other one to detect when the skimmer cup is full, also ordered a magnetic door switch to turn on the cabinet light when the door is opened.

Regarding the shrimp it was super small, I was worrying that my YWG used to a big shrimp will not pair with this little fella, but after just one night of hard work from the shrimp the next morning they were sharing the same burrow!
 
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Difrano

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Time for my next update:

Finally the tank is in the middle of the uglies, Diatoms showed and the sand up is covered up in what look like brown algae, to seed the tank last week ordered a combo from Rusalty: 1200 Amphipods and Reef Soup (Copepods) + Phyto, I was so excited when I received the package that forgot to take pictures to do a formal review, the shipment arrived on time and fast, due to them be really close to my home 2 1/2 hours next time I might take a visit. So first added the copepod and phyto one night and then waited till next day to release the amphipods, I tried to drop half to DT and half to Refugium, now as lights go out at the sump or at the DT I can see them foraging detritus all over.

Being the tank completely cycled and ready I went with my daughter to my LFS to complete the livestock for this tank we came back with:

1 Yellow Tang.
2 Firefish.
3 Yellowtail Damsels.
This was added to the existing:
2 Clowns
1 Yellow Watchman goby
1 tiger shrimp.

1 of the damsels died overnight, did and exhaustive review of the body and cannot find any sign parasites and there was no aggression. I would say that died from stress. I know that most of you would say that Damsels + Firefish + Clowns + Tang = ;Rage but the damsels are the smallest fish and there are lots of caves for the firefish to hide. Also introduced first the firefish, then a few hours later the Tang and a lot of hours later the damsels. I am keeping an eye on them but so far the only aggression is some chasing between the 2 damsels. This is going so good that the Tang now sleep's on the same cave as the clowns...

All my old rocks where covered in GHA and some Fern Caulerpa that survived the manual pull, that's why I decided to get a yellow Tang and can say I love him (my first time with a Tang because my other tanks were too small) he is just grazing all day and keeping a bay on the algae, he is also a pig that eats pellets, flakes and frozen foods destined for all the other fish. I added a clip with some nori and he did not care at all I kept it all day and nothing, so far I think he is having a fest on the rock.

Also bought a Zoa frag from the LFS as a test for my setup and see how the tank matures.

I have no plans to add anything else for a couple on months, I know I might have a battle with GHA, Dinos and Cyano at some point in the next few months.

On a curious note is the first time I use MP40s and one morning woke up and my Tiger Nassarius that had been with me for years was on the top of the wet side with what looked like a damaged foot, I picked it out and it retracted to full close, then placed on the sand bed and had difficulties burring itself, I had been feeding and it has not come out as always so I think it maybe slowly dying on the sand bed, I will not intervene and will be food for the amphipods. My question is what is the world a Nassarius snail was looking there....

Regarding equipment, did a major change, replaced my ApexEl head unit with a full Apex that was able to grab for a steal, (selling the ApexEl on this forum), also installed the BOB and added a switch to turn on the cabinet lights when the door opens, and received the 2 level switches from BRS, today installed the ATO reservoir level, during the week will install the skimmer cup level.

Also bought a Hanna Dkh and a low Po4 meters lets see how they work.
I did 3D printing for the Hanna checkers holders the boxes are too bulky, also 3D printed the ATO level swicth holder, and at this moment I am printing a guard for the MP40, don't want any more suicides in the tank.

So far things going as planned and my bank account going down as expected.

And sorry for my broken English, I am Italian and English is my third (self taught) language.

Now some pics

FTS as 05/24/2020:
20200524_142057.jpg


Zoa Frag:
20200523_200726.jpg


Refugium:
20200525_012939.jpg


Trying to catch amphipod eating dead amphipod (they were to fast):
20200523_200511.jpg


PO4 Checker holder
20200523_221201.jpg
20200523_221205.jpg

DKh Holder
20200523_221216.jpg
20200523_221224.jpg


Ato Holder
20200523_222734.jpg
20200523_222828.jpg


Ato Switch Installed:

20200525_013240.jpg
20200525_012944.jpg

Cheers!
 
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Difrano

Difrano

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@Difrano I love your 3D printed Hanna PO4 Checker holder !!!!! Could you make one for me? I'll send you PayPal......
Thanks, I cannot sell those because they are free open source on thingiverse, but definitely I can print you one and you only pay for the shipping.PM me with your shipping information.
 
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Difrano

Difrano

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Mini update:

Parameters:
Temp: 78.5 F.
Salinity: 1.026.
pH: 7.95 Day - 7.6 Night
NH3: 5 (API)
Alk: 10 (API) 7.8 (Hanna);Eggonface
Ca: 520 (API)
PO4: 0 (API) 0 (Hanna)

It look like the Tigar Nassarius survived the close encounter with the MP40, I saw it's tube on the sand this morning, the Tang is doing fine and I think he is so happy in the AYCE Algae Buffet, is grazing on rocks and sand all day and also take Nori pellets when I drop them in the tank. Now about aggression my YWG became the terror of the Firefish, I don't why because on my 32 he used to share the cave with a pair of Firefish, he goes half way the water column to chase them, good thing there are lots of caves and hiding spaces and they don't look to stressed. Now the past 2 days I haven't see him, the pistol blocked the exit overnight and had not reopened, I hope the shrimp or the goby has not died... I will keep a watch on this. The female clown is the terror of the damsels, she keep them at bay not too bad just they need to not be close to the clowns home, now the weirdest thing, the couple of clowns adopted the Yellow Tang they are all day togheter and sleeps on the same cave and a couple of times I have seen my female clown doing the twitch to the Tang :eek:.

The Zoa test frag is doing nicely, fully opening during the day and a couple of small polyps are starting to show on the sides.

Tank is moving along on the uglies, I am starting to see some cyano forming on the sump and some on the DT sand, my nutrients are not that hi for cyano, plus the caulerpa and the GHA is growing like weed and should outcompete it, lets see I prefer to do the natural way before taking any actions.

For the first week skimmer is pulling out some crap out of the tank, still very lean I run it for the gas exchange.

This week I focused on 3D printing some more stuff so I printed a guard for the MP40 to avoid any other accidents:
20200529_170729.jpg
20200529_170721.jpg


Also printed a holder for the Apex probes:
20200529_170711.jpg
20200529_170715.jpg


And finally my Red Sea DIY cover net was always falling into the tank so I printed more clips to better grip:

20200529_170735.jpg
20200529_170741.jpg
 
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