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jameswetton2895

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Hi Everyone,

So after 4 years on and off in this hobby ( more off ) and a reasonably successful last 12 months with a signature 600 and then a reefer 170, I now have a Reefer 525xl deluxe model. I have always found threads on tank builds a massive help and hopefully by me documenting my progress I can continue to learn from all the more experienced reefers out there.

Current equipment list :

Tank - Red sea reefer 525xl deluxe
Lights - 3 x Aqua Illumination hydra 26 HDs
Return Pump - Jecod dc 6000
Power Heads - 2 x Jecod RW 8s
Skimmer - Deltec SC1660 ( BEAST )
Atu - Stock version on the reefer ( Hate it )
Reactor - H2ocean fluidised reactor ( running Rowaphos )
Media - Marine pure 2 inch cubes X 50
Heating - Some kind of heating controller and titanium heater bar.

My first thoughts when the tank arrived was, wow thats big and wow thats heavy. If you are planning one of these tanks, start planning some strong friends.

Please click on the pics as they then show the correct way around.

Tank built ! Mulberry ( the dog ) looks a bit annoyed that something is getting more attention than her.

IMG_6244.JPG


The build quality on these tanks is unreal, Red sea always do a great job and these tanks are no exception. Make sure you use a drill when building the cabinet or your hand will be sore for a long time. Also try and get someone to help you move it around when building as it can be quite awkward. If anyone has ever made anything from Ikea then this is the same principles but on steroids.

Water in ( towel is to protect the laminate flooring )

IMG_6299.JPG

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I had faith in red seas build quality so I didn't test for leaks, I just went for it.
The pipework is ultra easy to fit as I managed it no problem so it must be completely plumbing idiot proof.

Electrics cupboard ( this will be getting a massive sort out in the future )

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No chance in hell this will be staying like this but waiting for a dosing pump and containers before committing to a layout.

Empty Sump ( updated pics to follow )

IMG_6302.JPG


Water in but no equipment as of yet.



More updates to follow.
 
Aquarium Specialty - dry goods & marine livestock
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jameswetton2895

jameswetton2895

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Skimmer turned on to break in and wow. Don't know how but this thing started producing thick skimmate instantly. Such a brilliant piece of kit, not even broken in properly yet and I can't recommend it enough.

IMG_6306.JPG


After actually reading the instructions I realised that the water level was too high in the reefer sump for the skimmer. I had ordered some 2 inch cubes of marine pure media after reading reviews on this site and others. So having not made a decision as to where to put them, I was happy to discover that they boosted the skimmer up to the perfect height in the sump

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The cubes do need a good wash in RO water before use to get all the small particles off them that are created during transport. While washing them it was clear just how porous these little things are. They almost fizz as they enter as the water enters all the tiny holes and covers the vast surface area inside the blocks.

IMG_6309.JPG
 
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jameswetton2895

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Sand In !!! Cant see !!!

IMG_6312.JPG


I added 2 x 40lbs bags of Caribsea Ocean direct sand. I have only ever used dry sand before and also san with a uniform grain size. This however is "live" and also has every grain size possible. I probably should have read more reviews of this before ordering it however a couple of people I trust said it was great so I ended up with this. ( not sure how live something can be when it comes out of a bag but hey ho )

As you can probably see the water goes super cloudy with this sand and doesn't clear very quick. 2 day of looking into brown water and I had to take action. I had no idea what to do to clear up the mess that was in my nice new tank... Ended up trying a couple of things so not really sure what helped if anything.

First I added a bag of red sea reef spec carbon to the sump section where the overflow enters. Thinking was that whenever I have used carbon in the past it has improved water clarity however never used it to clear " sandy water "before.

Second I increased the power of my return pump ... Thinking was that the water would circulate more times per hour and therefore pass the carbon, skimmer, bubble trap more times increasing the speed it cleared.

No idea if these things helped but Day 3 and the tank looked like this, so guess something must have done the trick.
IMG_6360.JPG
 
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Rock Arrived

I ordered 30 kg of real reef rock boulders and 5 kg of real reef rock branching rock from Charterhouse Aquatics last Monday and it arrived on Tuesday. I should say at this point the tank and all equipment so far has been pushed form Matt at Charterhouse and they are exceptional. Brilliant customer service and did me a good deal on the package I chose.

IMG_6352.JPG


I decided on real reef rock because I didn't want any nasties that you can get hitchhiking in live rock. I also didn't want the pressure of aquascaping quickly and trying to reduce die off. I understand that Aquaroche and ATM false rock are cheaper options however I have always hated the light rock colour and wanted the purples and reds instantly. Reel reef rock is perfect for this.

The only negative with this rock is that it clearly gets beaten up when being delivered and the bits that come off leave a white patch which does look out of place because of the amazing colours the rest of the rock has. However these bits will eventually colonise with coraline algae and disappear in time.

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I played around with a few island lay outs on the table ( the towel was folded to be the exact size of the tank so I knew how the rocks would sit in the aquarium ) I did have some reef glue for fixing rocks together however the rock has got so many different holes in that it all seems to slot together quite easily and seems solid at this stage. I may end up buying some self rock when it comes back in stock but currently it is unavailable everywhere in the uk

IMG_6356.JPG


Any of you who have aquascaped before will know that trying to re create what you have done outside the tank, inside the tank is Impossible. After many failed attempts I got somewhere near what I had planned and settled on the following.

IMG_6384.JPG


I tried to allow large open space for fish to swim and also leave myself open to adding shelves / bridge in the middle at a later date ??? Also wanted to be able to clean all the way around the tanks glass and sand easily so hopefully I've left enough space

Probably not the final scape but Im pretty happy with it for now. I just need to stress again the colour of the rocks is unreal. You can't really tell on the pictures but it looks like the rock has been in a mature aquarium for years.
 
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Cant really see it but I had to attach a piece of 3/4 inch clear pipe to the return nozzle as the flow was going down the front glass an blowing all the sand around. Messed with the flow for ages and didn't help to luckily I had a 6in length left over from my plumbing in the sump.

zoom of pipe.jpg


If anyone is thinking of trying this it works ok at lower flow rates but as soon as I increased the power of my pump it started to bend the pipe almost straight so I had the same problem.

So I have ordered one of these from Coralreefguy on eBay.

Reefer return nozzel.jpg


Im hoping it will also help to with the dead spot issue caused by having a central weir. I did think when these tanks first got released that they were a bit thin for 1 central return nozzle with very little direction control.
 
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I had decided to cycle the aquarium using ATM colony, I have had good experience using it before on my reefer 170 and the reviews are amazing from public aquariums that have used them in the past. I appreciate that some people are sceptical of the bacteria in a bottle however I do think that the " better " brands such as ATM and Dr Tims do have substance.

Anyway Colony added on the 20th November ( 2 big bottles ) That should be enough to seed just over a 700L tank so I should be good to go on my 525.

colony.JPG


I have turned skimmer and PO4 reactor off as per instructions and also kept the bag of carbon in the sump as I have read that colony works well with activated carbon. One thing I am unsure about is if to leave this bag of carbon in even after I would be due to replace it as based on the " science " of colony Some of the bacteria would have " attached " to the carbon ?? Anyone who can shed some light on this would be appreciated.

I also added the recommended dosage of ATM paradigm. This is supposed to get rid of chlorine, boost immune systems and replace the slime coat to reduce stress in fish. The last point was my reason for using this product, I just wanted to decrease any stress in the fish I planned on adding the next day.

paradigm.JPG

Again I can appreciate that some people do not agree with using fish to cycle an aquarium but I do have confidence in the ATM product range and actually had the opportunity to meet the Guys at ATM when I was in vegas earlier this year. I will be testing a couple of times for a week or so just to make sure that everything is on track and if any results are worrying I have other mature aquariums that I can move the fish into in an emergency.

So Fish tommorw
goldfish.gif
Excited .
 
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21st November Fish in http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/images/smilies/ROFL.gif

Nh4 - 0
N02 - 0
NO3 - 0

So I was under the impression that Green chromis were a good hardy starter fish, however the staff at Abyss Aquatics in Manchester told me otherwise. They suggested Clown fish or Yellow tangs and I think they also suggested Bangal Cardinals ?

Not entirely sure if this was to try and sell me an expensive pair of clowns rather than 5 cheap chromis but I do know clowns are hardy from previous experience.
It was actually my dad who once had a really nice mixed reef tank about 5 years ago and had a heater fail and boil the aquarium. Literally there was steam coming off the water in the morning.
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:thumb down
Only thing alive in the tank was a pair of clowns ... So pretty hardy in my experience.

Anyway I ended up picking up a really nice pair of Picasso clowns for a pretty good price. Got them home and acclimated nice and safely ... all good so far.

clowns.JPG


The staff member showed me them feeding both pellets and also frozen mysis shrimp. I had frozen food but have never fed pellets before to any fish. So also picked up a tub of Pellets that they used at the shop.

So far they have picked at a couple of the pellets but left most of them, haven't tried to feed frozen yet.

Has anyone got any idea if I should feed frozen food to help the cycle along or keep on with just the pellets at the moment.

I will test for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate in the morning.
 
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Cycle on the way
stormTrooper.gif


Tested this morning for the normal things.

Nitrate - 0
Nitrate - 0
Ammonia - 0.1

So technically no cycle yet but I get excited ok ... Ant and Dec the clowns have taken a liking to the front left corner which I guess is better than behind the rock.
Slight scare this evening when the temp dropped to 24 degrees from 26 but I think its because its been so cold outside today and my heating hasn't come on. ( Not actually moved into the house where the tank is yet ) But its on the same property as I am at the moment so keep popping in. Heating now on a timer.

I will test again tomorrow.
 
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Update on the test results from this morning.

Nh4 - 0.1
No2 - 0
No3 - 0

So still technically no cycle as such. However the clowns are about 10 small pellets each this morning so hopefully that will help. Still not sure if to feed any frozen food at this stage ?
 
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Looking great! Reconsider using the marine pure for a skimmer stand. I think it's been documented that the vibration of a skimmer pump can eventually breakdown/erode portions of the block(s).

Thanks for that advice. Will see how they get on in the next couple of weeks and move them if they are breaking down. The Skimmer does have quite soft rubber feet so I might be ok ... Fingers crossed. Any other suggestions for skimmer stands that are 2 inches high ?? Have read that the marine pure works well in the space where the bubble trap goes, so might move them to there.
 

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If you want it to look nice I'd just contact any of the sponsors who work on acrylic and request a quote for a skimmer stand with the specifications of your skimmer. If looks aren't essential you can easily create a skimmer stand with lighting diffuser / egg crate or a pvc skeleton.
 
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If you want it to look nice I'd just contact any of the sponsors who work on acrylic and request a quote for a skimmer stand with the specifications of your skimmer. If looks aren't essential you can easily create a skimmer stand with lighting diffuser / egg crate or a pvc skeleton.

I guess most the sponsors are in USA do you know any good ones in the Uk ?
 

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Not sure off the top of my head unfortunately. Are American companies a problem due to shipping cost or are you concerned whether or not they will ship at all? I believe its worth contacting them and seeing if they will ship to the UK, many are active on the forum and love to help reefers everywhere. :)
 
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Not sure off the top of my head unfortunately. Are American companies a problem due to shipping cost or are you concerned whether or not they will ship at all? I believe its worth contacting them and seeing if they will ship to the UK, many are active on the forum and love to help reefers everywhere. :)

I imagine that shipping items to the uk will probably be more expensive than the items themselves. :( I will look into it though thanks.
 
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24th November test results,

NH4 - 0
NO3 - 0
NO2 - 0

Im confused to be honest ... I would have thought that the NH4 would have increased and that it would have started to be converted to Nitrite. However the little bit of Nh4 I had has now disappeared and I have tested and re tested. Can Someone shed any light on this ?
 
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