Down under Reefer 525 build

Tastee

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Hi all, I’m setting up a new Red Sea Reefer XL 525 so here is the build thread. I have an existing Reefer 250 that has been running since Sep 17 and as well as the new tank this build involves upgrading my RODI station to auto-fill and also to setup AWC for both tanks. Early days yet, but wanted to start the build thread.

Here is the 250.
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Here is the new 525.
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More to come!
 
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Tastee

Tastee

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Here is the important equipment list for the tank.

Tank: RSR 525 XL
Lights: 3x Red Sea Reef LED 90
Return: Neptune COR-20
Wavemaker: Maxspect Gyre XF350 twin pump
Skimmer: Red Sea RSK-600
Heat/chill: Teco TK-1000 heater/chiller with Octo AQ-2000 circulator
Backup heat: Aquael Platinum 300 heater
Controller: Neptune Apex 2016
Dosing: Neptune DOS x2
ATO: Neptune ATK
Leaks: Neptune LDK
Sump: Low/high Neptune OSM-1 sensors
UPS: Cyberpower 1500 (to come)
Cover: Clearview lids (to come)
Sand: Red Sea Reef Base
Rock: A mix of dead rock from a prior tank, several small pieces of live rock from the existing tank and more live rock from Majestic Aquariums. Yet to be finalised.

The RO station is also going to be Neptune heavy.

Autofill: Neptune FMM + OSM-1 x2, twin TDS monitor, Neptune solenoid x2
SW mixing station fill: Neptune PMUP
SW mix: Eheim CompactON 600
Control: Neptune FMM
AWC: Neptune DOS x2
 
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Tastee

Tastee

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I’m waiting for my Neptune equipment to arrive, including the return pump, so I haven‘t been able to make much progress. I got a good deal on the Neptune gear on a 1 day sale from a local LFS who is ordering a bulk order in direct from the US. That hasn’t arrived yet, hopefully it will next week and I’ll be able to collect it all Saturday morning.

Today the wavemakers, skimmer and chiller pump went in, as did a little of the other basics.

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Tastee

Tastee

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Unfortunately I’ve been delayed in my setup as the vendor I have purchased my Neptune gear is having ‘customs issues’. At the moment I don’t have an ETA. The biggest issue is that order includes my COR-20 return pump.

For the moment I am repurposing my Octo AQ2000 chiller circulator as a return pump. That should give me sufficient turnover to at least cycle the tank over the next few weeks. I’ve been filling it up and arranged a basic aquascape with my son’s old rock from a prior tank. The ‘scape will probably change over time but it will do for now. I have several pieces of excess live rock and some candy cane corals from the RSR 250 which are destined for this tank once it gets up and running.

The display is now full, lights and wavemaker setup. Tomorrow I will have enough new RODI made to fill the sump and turn the system on (my RODI has been making water for this continuously since Thursday night!).

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Mastiffsrule

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Hello

Tank looks great, sorry about the delay. I know I’m not good at waiting, hopefully your gear will get there soon so we can see more updates
 

DesertReefer51

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Making progress, more than I can say for my 525. I'll be watching for advice. I'm considering going heavy on the Neptune systems; ATO and DOS pump for AWC's. I'm still not completely sold on their main controller with monitoring for PH, Temp, Salinity. I'm reading more negative comments and it's difficult to separate the valid comments from those who do not maintain their equipment with regular cleaning and calibration.
 
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Tastee

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My Neptune gear finally arrived last Saturday and I will post some new pictures this weekend. The tank will look ugly as green Algae blossomed this week - not a big issue and actually good news as it means my tank can now sustain higher forms of life (compared to the bacteria which was it’s only inhabitants prior to now). The QT has been fired up and will hopefully take it’s first customers this weekend.
 
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Tastee

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It’s been slow but things are finally moving now. The Neptune kit all arrived.
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The base unit has now been setup and my initial equipment connected. I won’t show a photo as it’s messy at the moment, will post one when the cabinet is more complete.

And I have our first fish in Quarantine.
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More to come
 
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Tastee

Tastee

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I’ve been able to make some good progress on the build in the past couple of weeks and most of the equipment is now at least mounted, some in use, some still pending parts and work.

I may end up regretting my choice of sand as I went with the Red Sea fine sand that my LFS supplied - I hadn’t thought to specify the exact grade I wanted, rookie mistake I guess. Still it does look good and I have added some coarse crushed coral into the middle which has addressed the initial issues I was having with the return and wavemakers blowing it around too much. Here are some pictures.

Alexa integration up and running.
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Battery backup
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Teco heater/chiller and tank Apex equipment
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Sump
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Outdoor RODI station
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Picasso clowns, waiting to go into the tank tomorrow
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The main items of the project currently outstanding are the ATO for the tank and the Auto-fill and AWC for the RODI station. I should finish the ATO and AWCs over the coming Easter weekend. I won’t be able to finish the auto-fill and put some finishing touches on the RODI until some new equipment arrives.

As I now have two tanks the Apex integration posed a challenge, as Neptune doesn’t make it easy to integrate Alexa with two Apex units. It’s possible but pretty awful. My workaround for this was to register the new Apex and Alexa under my wife’s Amazon account and run them separately. I have granted myself full manage access to the new Apex so I can deal with both tanks under the same Neptune account. From Alexa perspective however they are separate systems. This works perfectly. The voice integration is configured identically on both tanks where relevant so the same voice commands work on both (Alexa, tell Apex Fusion to feed the fish).

The only part of the build so far that has not worked as I expected was the RODI auto-fill. This is because I didn’t realise that the Apex solenoids need to be driven through 1 Link and the EB6 doesn’t support that. I now have a 1 Link kit on order however which will sort that out for me.

Sorry about the long post but I wanted to bring you up to date with my progress. Let me know if anyone is interested in the Apex programming etc.
 

torresj36

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Great information. I will be following your progress. Thank you for sharing, I have already learned something new. I do have one question. Why did you choose Red Sea over some of the other offerings in Australia? Specifically Cade.
 
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Tastee

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When I bought my first saltwater tank, the RSR 250, I did look at a few other options, including the Cade. The Cade was certainly a nice unit but it was too deep for the location the tank was going to go into. The RSR 250 was a much better physical fit. My LFS (Majestic Aquariums in Taren Point) felt both were of similar build quality and I had read lots of good things about the Reefer range so I was happy to go with the RSR. If I had a different physical space for the tank to go into I would certainly have looked more deeply into the Cade.

Since then I’ve been very happy with the Reefer so was happy to stay with that brand for my new tank.
 

torresj36

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Thank you for your response. I am currently considering a new tank and your information was very helpful. I look forward to your next posts.
 
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Tastee

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I’ve been working on the final initial build steps over the last week and as of today that phase is complete. The RODI station is fully plumbed to the new tank and the ATO has been running for a couple of weeks. These last two weekends I have setup the auto-fill for the RODI and the AWCs (one for each tank).

The ATO is the same build as my smaller tank - FMM in the tank stand and PMUP in the remote RODI reservoir. As the run to the new tank is about 12 metres I had to cut and extend the PMUP cable, and used 2.5 mm electrical cable (as typically used in a boat or car). The joints were soldered, covered with electrical tape and then shrink-wrap tape applied over the top for a clean secure finish. The PMUP cable, along with 3 RO lines (1 for ATO, 2 for AWC) run through 25 mm electrical conduit along the side of my house to the RODI station.

The ATK is then fit inside the stock ATO reservoir and programmed to fill daily at noon. As I have had an ongoing issue with the FMM failing and needing a power cycle to bring it back online in the small tank I have programmed a VO to alert me if the ATO doesn’t run each day.

The AWC is based on two DOS heads, one for the smaller tank and one for the new tank. In the RODI station I have a 240 litre reservoir for RODI and a 100 litre reservoir for SW.

I have an FMM in the RODI station, a magnetically mounted optical sensor in the SW reservoir for high level and a PMUP in the RODI reservoir to fill the SW reservoir. Also in the SW reservoir are the two AWC fill lines (one per tank) and an Eheim CompactON 600 mixing pump. The SW reservoir has a plastic tape measure fixed to the inside so I can tell how much water is in it. Normally I will fill it to around the 90 litre mark and complete a water change in both tanks at the same time but I want the flexibility to lower the high level sensor for a short fill to just change water in one tank.

Yesterday I calibrated the SW reservoir by pouring 10 litres of water at a time and noting the level on the tape measure it reached. When 90 litres went in I turned the mixing pump on then added 3.6 Kg salt. I estimated I needed 3.8 Kg but wanted to be sure. This morning I checked salinity and it was 1.023, so I added 200g more salt. After mixing and retesting salinity was where I wanted it, 1.025.

Right now a 24 hour AWC is running - 25 litres in the smaller tank and 50 litres in the larger tank. After that finishes I’ll see how much height of SW is left - there will be 15 litres but I’m not sure how deep that will end up. I’ll use that to tune the amount of water I use for future water changes. In between water changes (6 weekly normally) I’ll refill it with RODI at least partially to give me more water on hand.

The RODI auto fill is running, but not complete, so I’ll detail that in a later post once I finish it (waiting on final parts).

Here is the RODI station and the tank as at today. I have a Lawnmower Blennie in QT currently who will go into the tank tomorrow.

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Tastee

Tastee

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My AWC finished today and I still have quite a bit of depth in the residual SW. For the next one I think I’ll drop to 80 litres and continue to change 75 litres in each tank - 5 litres residual will be quite enough to ensure I don’t run the DOSs dry. Tomorrow I’ll move my sensor down to the 80 litre mark and trigger a refill, ready for the next WC in 6 weeks.

I’ve seen a big drop in ORP normally when I change water, as expected this time around it was much less. Here are the graphs from the RSR 250 - first one the last manual WC, second the AWC.
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Tastee

Tastee

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Not too much going on in the tank at the moment, just slowly starting to stock it. I now have a pair of Black Picasso Clowns and a Lawnmower Blenny in there, going well. I also have a Hammer and a small Aussie Gold Torch frag which are doing well so far.

It turns out my Teco Chiller is faulty - chilling ok but not heating, so I dismounted it today to take back to the LFS tomorrow. It’s Autumn Down Under now and we’ve just had our first cold snap, getting down to 7C/44F overnight so with just the backup 300W heater it was struggling a little. I have temporarily added a spare 150W Eheim Jager I have on hand and that is working fine. Once the Teco is back it should be fine as it’s heater is 400W. I should then be able to using the backup as just that.

I tested all the basic parameters 2 weeks ago and it was doing well - no Nitrates, 0.04 Phosphates and Alk/Ca/Mg pretty much Aquaforest standard levels - 8.4/430/1520. Last week I did my first AWC of 50 litres. Today I retested and all parameters are much the same - Nitrates 0, Phosphates 0.02 and Ca/Mg standard. Alk however was 5.9 and I tested twice to be sure. I saw a similar initial drop when I setup my first tank, so I will manually add Alk (Aquaforest component 2+) daily and keep an eye on it. I put in 100 ml today, so will retest tomorrow and go from there. I expect as the tank stabilises the Alk will also stabilise and I’ll start to see Ca and Mg dropping as well (in line with coral additions etc).

At the moment I am putting the low Nitrates down to the fact that I dosed Continuum Aquatics Bacter-Gen MD as part of the cycle along with Gen M. I added some of that to my existing tank as well and I have seen Nitrates drop a little there as well. I’ll be interested to see if this holds up over time - my Nitrate levels in the existing tank were not that high (6 ppm) but they are now down to 1.5 ppm which I don’t mind. My Phosphate is at 0.10 ppm and other threads do suggest keeping a ratio of NO3 to PO4 around 10-20 is a good target for a mixed reef. It’s a hotly debated topic however so I’ll be keeping a close eye on both tanks.

Happy reefing all!

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Tastee

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Hi all, been a while so I thought I’d provide a quick update. The tank is going well, gradually maturing. I have one new fish in it now, a Bicolour Blennie and I have a Yellow Tang in quarantine. At the start of May my Alkalinity was starting to drop (5.9) so I started dosing. Initially I just dosed some Aquaforest KH Buffer but by the end of May I moved to the 3 part Aquaforest dosing I use on my other tank. I’m already up to 30 ml/day, last week Alk was 7.3, so I’ll keep testing weekly and tune the amount until it stabilises around 8 or so. I only have the two small corals so I expect it’s corraline algae that’s consuming the bulk of the nutrients at the moment. I’m now going to start stocking it out with more corals so this will be a weekly test and tweak exercise for some time.

My Clearview lid arrived from the states yesterday, and it was good to be able to remove the temporary top. The temporary top was blocking about 33% of PAR as it was flyscreen based, so PAR levels will now have risen, hopefully helping the Torch which is a bit unhappy. I‘m keeping an eye on it and if it doesn’t pick up with the new top will lift it up onto some of the rockscape to give it some more light.

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My second dual TDS meter arrived today so tomorrow I’ll complete the final adjustment to my RODI station to fit it and implement the RO flush cycle.
 
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Tastee

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I haven’t really played with them much yet. I have them both setup with the same program, in a similar way my Gyre is setup on my other tank. I’ll probably try the lunar cycle preset setting at some point as that’s sort of what my cycle below is meant to mimic - the 300s have a special cycle inbuilt, not sure how to use it yet however.
  1. 00:00 Gradual Pulse 20%
  2. 07:30 Continuous 10%
  3. 08:00 Random 20%
  4. 13:30 Continuous 10%
  5. 14:00 Random 20%
  6. 19:30 Continuous 10%
  7. 20:30 Random 20%
 

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