Discussion in 'Member Tanks' started by ksfulk, Sep 2, 2016.
A quick look at the tank before vacation for the week. Tank sitters only coming over once so let's see what happens!
Sweet video! Your tank really looks nice.
Thanks! Hopefully it looks as good when I get back home next week Everything survived longer vacations back in January, so I'm optimistic - but who knows!?!
Returned vacation and was surprised to find that nothing had died or exploded or leaked or anything
Alk did drop pretty low while I was out - those greedy little frags are really bringing the 2 part demand higher and higher. When I left, the alk was ~6.6 dKH, but when I tested last night when I got home... 5.94 I've manually adjusted the dKH back up to ~6.5 and I'll just have to keep an eye on it this week.
The only thing that really happened while I was out, was something that Im still just basically guessing on. When I checked on my Fusion window while at a gas station on vacation (only time I could get cell reception!), I noticed that my conductivity was dropping like a rock - from 35.6 ppt to 33.1 ppt! I was a bit concerned, as the ATO seemed to be on for a prolonged period of time (at least longer than normal). But without any of the leak detectors going off, I knew that the sump hadnt overflowed, and checking my video camera on the tank, none of the corals seemed to be impacted at all. Since my tank sitter cancelled, I couldnt trust the ATO system to be running properly, I turned it off and then would manually run it for 5-7 minutes when I ran into town over the next 4 days. When I got home, it looks like the y-split to my ATO resevoirs wasnt entirely snug, and it was pulling in air, which was causing the ATO to run forever without actually adding much water at all. So, the ATO issue was solved, but even with my water change, the conductivity is still low. Ive checked the salinity with my refractometer several times and its spot on at 35 ppt / 1.026.
Looks like tomorrows list of tank chores includes cleaning and recalibrating all of my probes! I've also been gathering some odds and ends to run a line outside my house for a skimmer air draw, as the house is always closed up tight, due to some pretty severe allergies in the family. I'm hoping this will alleviate some of my pH issues, as I have a daily drop from 8.0 to about 7.6 depending if people are home or not. Hopefully this helps stabilize and raise the pH just a bit. My only real concern is that since the pH, Alk, and other parameters are on the low side - if I raise any one of them, what will happen to the stability I currently have in the tank. Still - while the color of all the corals are good (save one or two drama-queen-esque corals), I'd like to bump me out of the real low end, as there's less and less wiggle room for issues when running levels so low.
Spent a lot of my day puzzled, but that's about a typical day for me, so all in all it wasn't bad.
I calibrated my probes this morning and the results are less than stellar afterwards. Salinity via the probe is < 27 ppt (which is obviously not accurate) and the pH is 7.2 (again not accurate). While all of the calibration fluids were within expiry, I'm not sure if it was some kind of user error or if the fluids were wonky. I placed an order for new cal fluids and I'll test them again when they come in. Otherwise, I may need new probes.
I also ran my new airline outside, which ended up taking several hours and a trip to the hardware store. My initial idea was to run the line through the HVAC exhaust that goes outside, and then just have the line run away from that outlet (so I'm not sucking in exhaust) and slap a filter on the end. Well there are about a dozen Filter plates that prevent things from coming into the house in that exhaust, so I had to improvise. The line runs parallel to the exhaust, and at the last second, runs into the exhaust vent and outside. I was able to drill a hole in the vent just after the last Filter plate and wiggle the line through. On the opposite end, I ran the line through the ceiling and then down the wall behind the tank, drilled a small hole in the outlet cover behind the tank to run the line through and then into a murloc "T" push fitting that is modded into my skimmer air intake. We'll see if I see any change in pH over the next few days. It's a long run of airline (~ 38') to the skimmer intake, so I might have to do something else if this doesn't work.
I was having the same issue with my salinity probe. I use a Milwaukee digital for reference. I read quite a few posts on the apex forum about the apparent inaccuracy of the salinity probe. It is a conductivity probe vs salinity, which is where some of the discrepancy lies. I followed some advice on the forum that said to get your tank to 78 degrees and 35 ppm (i did mine per the temp probe, which seems accurate, and the milwaukee). Then I calibrated my probe in the tank instead of the packet. Its still not spot on, reading about 0.5ppm less, but seems to be working well enough so I can see a sudden shift. I also found I need to take it off the holder and shake it in the water to remove air from time to time of it reads low. Mine is in the compartment where water enters from the tank, so I think there are occasional bubbles there.
My ph probe seems to be good (8.0 to 8.2 daily swing and shows when I add alk) so I can't help you there. Curious if it changes with the outdoor air line.
Your tank looks sooo great!
Thanks so much! It's looking good, as long as you ignore the snail shell graveyard and the bubble algae.
Still have to recalibrate the probes, but it looks like my pH variance during the day is less than last week - so that's good I suppose.
Alk is drifting upwards again, so I'm ratcheting the dosage down again. But I'm seeing growth and I found the twizzlers zoas that my wrasses knocked off the rockwork! Everyone's happy! I also got around to finally mounting my PC Rainbow that's been crusting up on the frag rack since December.
Recalibrated my conductivity probe and I'm back to 35.6 ppt which makes me happy. Got another box of goodies from BRS and I snagged a snazzy hand towel from them as well. Yay for free swag!
What params are you aiming for and do you dose anything?
How often do you do water changes and what %?
What I'm attempting:
Alk 6.5 - 7.5
Calcium: 410 ish
Mag ~ 1400
Nitrate - ?
Phosphate - ?
Alk: 7.3 dKH
Calc: 425 ppm
Mag: 1297 ppm
But I dont test frequently for any of those, aside from Alkalinity. I test alk everyday. I test calcium once or twice a month, magnesium even less frequently. I've run a handful of nitrate tests since I started the tank and 2 phosphate tests total (though I have gotten Triton result testing to confirm my numbers).
I dose ESV B-Ionic two part using a Neptune DOS dosing pump (approximately 20mL a day of each part). I do a 10-20 gallon water change on Sundays, using Instant Ocean salt. The ZeoVit system recommends 10% weekly water changes. Basically on week #1 I do a 20 gallon change entirely from the DT and then on week #2 I vacuum the sump (5 gallons) and then do a 10 gallon change from the DT. Then repeat. Some weeks I get lazy and only do a 10gallon change, depending on how much saltwater I have made up
Awesome! Thank you. I am possibly going to look into switching my BRS 2 part to another brand that has some trace elements too
I went with ESV B-Ionic mainly because the guys at Cherry Corals have been using it as their two part supplement for years - and their corals are gorgeous and thriving. Ive used Triton and it was ok, but Ive not had the same success with the Triton supplements or BRS 2 part that I have with ESV. Now, its clearly not an apples to apples comparison, but I really like ESV.
Thats been the theme of today...
Started out with not having my dress pants clean, because I forgot to throw them in the dryer before going to bed. Not a huge deal, just running a bit late for work. No problem. Then... well, then I dropped my daughter off at day care and the tire pressure light came on. Tire looked fine, but I drove it to the service station and checked the tire pressure... and when I went to fill the tire there... Big ol screw right in the tread. Fine. I call into three tire places to see if I can get in for patches. Two places tell me they cant get to it until this evening, and the third tells me they can get to it tomorrow evening if I drop the car off right away. I found another place that patched the tire for free, though it was nearly thirty miles away. Still, they did a great job and it cost me nothing... but I had to wait for two and a half hours to get it done.
So, back home - feed the fish and hang out with my son. While feeding the fish I notice there's a mild tingle when I put my finger in the tank. Looking at my fingers they have lots of small scratches and cuts, so I dismissed it at first. But when my son touched the water, he made a comment that it made his finger feel "weird". So I quickly grabbed a grounding probe that was sitting on the shelf (instead of in the tank... good job doofus!) and the "tingle" went away. Great, I have a power issue in the tank. I spent about an hour trying to narrow down which piece of equipment it was - nothing obvious. Since I don't have a multimeter handy, I figured I would pick one up on my way home from work on Thursday and go from there. With the ground probe in the tank, and no real anomalies on the EB8s for power consumption and none of the heaters/pumps looking off, I decided it could wait until I had a multimeter to figure out where the issue was.
So no more problems until later. At 5:30 I went downstairs to run my alkalinity testing and add my Zeo additives before dinner and everything is fine with the tank. I sit down to eat dinner and my phone starts blowing up with texts and emails from my Apex as about four different alarms have gone off. Guess what... my return pump stopped dead.
I tried resetting the power, resetting the controller - it was nothing easy. So I pulled the pump, tore it all apart and cleaned all the bits and pieces - a little gunk and calcium but nothing severe - worked through some additional troubleshooting and I cant find anything concrete. I sent off my customer service email to Ecotech, hopefully I hear back from them tomorrow morning. The pump is still under warranty until late August, so Im just under the wire - which is something, I suppose.
In the meantime, I have to figure out how to get water from my sump into the DT, so I went through all the spare parts... I have a pair of really nice Sicce pumps that would work well, but no tubing that fits the pump or the Red Sea fittings I had a maxijet with tubing that would fit the Red Sea fittings, but the danged magnet on the prop shaft was swollen and wouldnt spin *AAARRRRGGGHHHH* Finally I found a piece of tubing that would fit to the pump on my Zeovit reactor pump - so I ripped that out of there and hooked it up, and now I have water moving between the two. I also moved a heater and the secondary temp probe to the DT, so with the reduced flow I didnt want the DT to drop temperature several degrees. I also turned off the dosing pumps while I figure out my return pump. I figure I can also use this time to better dial in my dosing, but figuring out my exact dKH usage in a day.
Anyhow... yeah... 1am now and I just came back upstairs to finish my dinner from 6 Oh well... never a dull day with a reef tank!
Hope your day today improves -- sounds like it kind of has to
But your horrible day does show those who are brand new something critically important. Never throw anything away. Ever. Save all of those extra plumbing pieces, etc. They might save your *** one day!
Oh... and note to self -- pick up a kid or two. They make great guinea pigs for testing electrical issues
You'd think that, but my wife called me earlier and we're getting three new tires for her SUV this evening... goodbye $900!
I dont know that you'd need more than one kid - but the sensation that salt water gives you on an open cut or scrape is similar to the mild shock that was running through the system, so his hair didnt stand up or anything, but when he felt it too, and his hands arent as beat up as mine, it did clue me in that something was amiss. PLUS they are great for holding hoses and things during water changes and sand vacuuming!
And yes - spare tubing and fittings are a god send... assuming they are of the sizes you have... and fit the pumps you have. Picking up a spare return pump has been on my list, but its pretty far down the list. So, I might see if there's a Jebao cheapo pump that has the same output as my Vectra in case of emergencies.
That said, a huge THANK YOU to JT and Kevin at Ecotech Marine. They handled everything quickly and I have a new M1 pump on its way to my house that should be here Saturday (but will probably not be until Monday because of my UPS carrier).
it's starting to sound cheaper to skip the spouse, kids & cars. then all money can go directly to your tank, right?
Some pictorial updates from the week without a return pump. The replacement came in from Ecotech and it went right in and is working great. I tossed the old pump into the box and slapped the return label on and it looks like Ecotech got it back today.
That said, the tank is doing ok. Alkalinity is stable after a few day dosing break, but because the zeolite reactor wasn't running, there's a nice sheen of algae on the glass. Bubble algae that was starting to die off is coming back with a vengeance (though the emeralds are working on it). Some acros are showing signs of distress - or at least signs that they aren't pleased. Oddly enough the only corals that don't seem like they are going to make it are some of my zoas. Some have shriveled to nothing while the others are growing like crazy. Weird.
Beautiful tank and some great looking corals! Glad everything still looks great even with no puko!
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