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I use an InkBird ITC 308 Temperature Controller. Has spots for two heaters and one for a chiller or fan. $30-40 new and has worked great.
I thought about this route, but I like having the temperature control integral to my controller. I also don't like that the off-the-shelf controllers have a single setpoint and on-off control. Means the heaters cycle on and off continuously. I have some hysteresis programmed into my controller. It controls the temperature between 76-78°F. This way, once the tank is heat up to 78, the heaters shut off and don't come back on till it hits 76. Reduces the cycles on the relays built into the heaters and the relays I use to control them with.
 
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Aiptasia is becoming a problem. Enough so that I've been exploring options to deal with it. Saw aiptasia eating file fish at Petco today for $15 and had to jump. I got a small one so hopefully it will be less likely to chow down on my soft corals.
 
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The little filefish is doing well. When I say little, this guy is probably less than 2 inches long. The other two filefish in the tank were 2-3 times its size, so I felt like saving it from the big bullies. It has been all over the tank, pecking at the walls and such. It was really cool seeing it display natural behavior around the gorgonians. Trying to blend in and such.

Temperature has been holding at 78°F for several days now and things seem better. Tank looks better now than it has in the last couple weeks. Hopefully this is a sign things are turning around. Had some issues holding alkalinity at 7dKH. Had a large jump, from 6.8-7.7dKH, once I brought temp back up to 78°F. I realize now the tank must've been running below 70°F for awhile. I should've known something was up with how the scissortail damsels weren't spawning regularly. Saw them spawning, for the first time in months, yesterday. They usually spawn every month.

Still holding alkalinity at 7dKH, but I've increased my carbon dosage to 3mL/day. This should be enough to get excess nutrients back under control without completely starving the tank.
 
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Installed the DS18B20 temperature probe today. Readings are very stable. Since going to a digital sensor is going to force me to rewrite a lot of my controller code, I've decided to do a major revamp of the code and get rid of the Arduino. I've opted for a TLC5947 board from Adafruit. Has 24 PWM channels. More than I need, but I'll find uses for them. Also going to clean up the user interface to make it simpler and faster.
 
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upload_2019-2-25_23-21-27.png

Created a new GUI for my controller. Finally understand how to use Qt Designer. Probably could make something better if I understood the software better. I converted the file to python using PyQt5 and will be updating the base software over the next couple weeks. The color combo I went for is based on the Talbot damsel.
 
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I use an InkBird ITC 308 Temperature Controller. Has spots for two heaters and one for a chiller or fan. $30-40 new and has worked great.

EDIT: Just wanted to correct this, there is only one heater outlet. Forgot I used a Y-Splitter.
Just wanted to correct this, there is only one heater outlet. Forgot I used a Y-Splitter. Thanks!
 
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Did a 10 gal water change on the tank today. Things are definitely turning around. Coralline algae growth has skyrocketed. Cyano is still a problem, but should start to get better. NO3 is very slowly declining. PO4 is constant at about .1-.15 ppm. Considering raising alk back to 7.5-8 dKH. Every time the alk falls to 7, everything reacts very badly.

Caught one of my emerald crabs releasing its young into the water column. I take this as a sign that things are greatly improving.
 
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Laid out the little PCB that will route my signals from the RPi to the many outputs. This is a very simple board. Don't need it to be anything more than this. In the future, I may add a 24V BLDC driver to make DC motor control integral to the controller, but for now I'd like to keep it simple. This is my first time doing this type of thing. As a mechanical engineer, I've never had a chance to see this part of the electrical side. Lots of fun.

upload_2019-3-14_0-33-56.png
 
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I redesigned the board to use SMT components. Did this because the PCA9685 board only outputs about a 2V PWM signal and the LDD drivers require at least 3.5V, preferably 5V. So I added two ULN2003A Darlington arrays to boost the PWM signal from 2V to 5V. Only issue is it is now inverted, but that is fine. I can take care of that in the code. I use a pair of MMPQ3904 quad transistor arrays to handle the switching of the relays.

The outline in the middle of the board is the area taken up by the PCA9685 breakout board. Power comes in the form of 5VDC thru the terminal block at the bottom right. Next to it is the 5 PWM channels for LED control. Next to that is the 2x9 header with the other PWM channels to be used as needed. Not sure what yet, but wanted to make them available for future expansion. Thinking of using it for the TI BLDC controller. Along the left side is the relay output to the 8 channel relay board. Above that is the input for the various float switches I use. I have 4 available. They are used for sump water level, over filled sump level, skimmate locker level, and eventually ATO water level. The 3 pin connector at the top is for the digital temperature sensor.

Needless to say, I'm excited to upgrade my controller. Next step is design an enclosure to hold everything. Plan is for it to have outlets on the left side, top will have inputs for the different sensors. I will pack the relay board, LED driver board, LED powersupply, 5V powersupply, the RPi controller and a 7 inch display into a single chassis.

upload_2019-3-23_12-57-5.png
 
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PCBs arrived. They look great. Will begin soldering components to the board this weekend. I'll also start modelling the enclosure and laying out where everything will go. Other than the connectors, which will be delivered tomorrow, I have all the components I need for the new controller.

In the last couple weeks I've decided to switch to gorgs and softies. I've kinda grown tired of SPS. I've always enjoyed my gorgs the most. I've bought 3 more types of gorgs from KP Aquatics. Now I have 8 different types, all photosynthetic. I've listed them below. I have other softies already, but also bought a neon nephthea, carnation tree, and an interesting neon toadstool I found on UC's website. When I ordered from KP, I decided to buy some ball sponges to try my hand at them. If I buy any new corals, it will probably be a stereonephthea, NPS gorg like red or yellow finger, or interesting zoas. I've still got a few stony corals left alive. If they survive, then fine. If not, then oh well. If they survive and get in the way, then I'll just trade them in for credit.

Corky Finger
Grube's
Purple Candelbra
Spiky Orange
Spiky Silver
Purple Whip
Purple Feather
Yellow Whip
 
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Decided to finally try Chemiclean. Cyano was growing despite low nutrients and switching from vodka to vinegar. The Chemiclean worked very well. Made sure to run a large airstone with oversized air pump and let the skimmer running with the cup removed. Everything survived.

I've restarted vodka dosing, but will start from ground zero again. Dosing .3 mL for the next 3 days, then jump to .6mL for days 4-7 and so on. Need to measure NO3 and PO4 to see what I'm starting at.
 
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XF150 finally died today. Noticed flow was looking a bit low in the tank lately. Tried re-positioning the XF150 and after I did it wouldn't start up. It lasted 4 years, so I guess oh well. Still, not a very long considering most other powerheads. My MP10 is well over 4 years old and is still going strong.

The replacement for the gyre will be two Tunze 6055 and I'll be using a 7097 to control them. Can't wait.
 
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The Tunze controllable turbelle pumps paired with a 7097 controller are awesome. I love this pump system. I've heard that Tunze is very reliable, so if that is the case, I probably won't be using another pump system ever again.
 
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How did you train this guy to sit still? :D
Lol, you don't see the wires?! Man, I'm getting good at Photoshop. :p

To be honest though, this was maybe the only image of the Talbots that came out acceptably sharp. All other 35664577546789 shots were like I handed the camera to my 4 month old, and I think she could've done a better job.:D
 
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Had the macro lens out today and decided to shoot some pics of the tank.

blasto.jpg
eagle eyes.jpg
My matted file fish. ORA one I got from Petco. Bought him because he was tiny and needed to get rid of some aiptasia. He doesn't eat aiptasia or any corals EXCEPT clove polyps. Oh well, guess I can't keep clove polyps.
file fish.jpg
green goni.jpg
The boss of the tank. Well he wishes. Really love this wrasse. Such a colorful wrasse. Feel like lubbock's are underrated.
lubbocks.jpg
This clam came in on a frag. Was about .25 inches across. Now it is about 1 inch. Been in the tank for well over a year now. I wish I could understand how I can keep creatures like this alive, but when it comes to SPS, I just kill them all. LPS and softies are prettier anyway.
random clam.jpg
I've had this starfish for about 3 months now. Constantly on the move. No idea what it is eating, but it has definitely grown in size.
starfish arm.jpg
 

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