Mega Matrix 180 build

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A week ago I finally got the controller that I have been waiting for, the Hydros Control 4 from Coralvue. I hooked it up right away, and took me couple hours to setup everything, mainly mounting the power strip and managing wires.
End result:
PXL_20201107_060215658.jpg

It might not look too impressive, but comparing to previous, It's a lot better. I don't really feel bother to tighten up the last couple loose wires.
PXL_20201024_140752258.jpg


For the controller, I'm pretty happen with it. The value it provide is awesome, especially because I need a second pH probe for the kalk stir. If use Apex, I would have to get the $800 one. I also got an additional power strip, so 8 outlet in total, and still 2 outlet short. So I ordered another power strip for $30, problem solved. The extra I can plug the Radion to it and control for overheating. I won't need to debate whether to put in almost $300 to buy another Apex power bar, or put things back to dumb outlets. All things come down to half of what would cost me for an Apex solution.

About the controllability and programmability, I don't have too much complain. The app UI is not optimized for dashboard use at the moment, the history graph of sensors are not quite good. But I contacted coralvue and gave them my feedback. They're pretty acceptive and told me the graph part is already being worked on, quite glad to heard that.

One good thing I like about the app is how big the mode buttons are. It's pretty easy to start feeding using my dashboard table. So I probably don't need to get a break out box for it. I do wonder what's the delay of its breakout box will be. In Apex, there is about 10s delay between when I push down the button and when Apex catch the signal and act. Action on the app is instantaneous on both system. But the feed mode button on Apex app is so tiny that I hate using it, that's why I got the breakout box.

One of the most brought up concern for Hydros is the wifi power strip. So far I haven't got any problem with it, it's just a week of use though. But I honestly not too worry about that, because all the equipment can be left in the default mode and be fine. I have been running the tank for 2 months without a controller anyway. Hydros is mainly as backup control, like overheat shutdown. Both heaters are running at its own temperature config. Hydros' config is 2 degree higher as backup. I'm glad that the power strip don't have to be close to the controller. When I got the new power strip, I'll put it in the dosing closet behind the tank, and I don't need to worry about running cable across the tank for it.

The one missing piece in my current setup currently is the water level sensor. Ordered one as well. That will go into the ATO reservoir by the dosing cabinet. I'm debating if I should get a Control 2 there to save the trouble of running cables over. But I figured for now I will just do without one. I can always add it later.
 
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Budmans
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Update on dino, it's still there, hanging on tips of several frags. Phosphate is still pretty low, so I continue to dose 10ml of neophos every day, that increase about 0.02 ppm.

Today I decided to take closer look into UV. Since it can barely push 40% of the algae flow rate, I removed the educator to reduce flow restriction. I also take apart the UV to see how built up it is, and here it is.
PXL_20201123_195213212.jpg
So it has been running at really minimal efficiency. I wonder how the dino will react once the UV is cleaned up and tuned up.
 
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After servicing the UV sterilizer, I came to the realization that, whether to mount the UV so that the lamp have enough space to slide out or not does not matter at all. Because in reality, the sleeve need a lot more maintenance than the lamp. Mine only run for 3 months and it's already that much built up. So it really need to be cleaned at least once every 3 month. The UV bulb can last at least 6 month, to a year. To clean the sleeve the plumbing has to be disconnected, so the whole thing is coming out anyway. So the best is to just mount it so that it's easy to be taken out, with enough unions.
 
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Fish order from TSM Aquatic arrived today. All fish are in great condition.

Bags in the box:
PXL_20201124_175022486.jpg
This is the best packaging of animals purchase online I ever saw. All bags tightly aligned in the box is mildly satisfy to see.

Fish in acclimation:
PXL_20201124_182215672.MP.jpg
The fish are surprisingly calm out of the bags. Even the wrasse is swimming. Also the temperature out of box is about 73F, in the middle of winter. Maybe that contributes to minimize stress.

A tiny bump on this order is the mandarins pair was missing from the box. I was just about to email them about it and see they already refunded them to me. Upon asking they told me the fish were not looking the best so they decided to not ship it, an apologize for not letting me know earlier. I appreciate how they handling it. Will buy again.
 
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Out of all the fish in the tank, the most chasing is the Regal Angel chasing the moorish idol. I did not expect it's between that two.

Purple tang is also in with the yellow tang. No chasing between the two so far. Both are still nervous, and often hang in together like buddies. A little bit of tail slapping, but pretty mild I think.
 
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Today, NO3 is 12ppm, PO4 is 0.09. So I think it's time to stop NeoPhos dosing for now. Ever since UV was cleaned, dino has been reduced greatly. There is only a tiny bit left on couple tip of deep water acros. Most other places are clean of dino or only have some white string left.

I started to dose Vodka today, thought to give the bacteria population a boost. Also now I remember, the first time I did vodka dosing many years ago, it cleared out the algae by the end. I thought those was algae and it's because elevated nutrient. But now that I think about it again, it was more close to what I see now with dino. Reducing nutrient does not generally solve dino, so it's more about the bacteria from vodka dosing that out completed it. So here i'm doing it again. Also at the time, I was only focusing on nitrate. I was using red sea test kit for phosphate and it's hard to read pass 0.1, so I didn't pay too much attention. But the effect on nitrate is very evidently. Then in my current tank, nitrate has been high for a month and increasing photoperiod of algae reactor doesn't seem to have great effect on it. So I want to try vodka again, to relearn the tool I thought I'm familiar. I'm definitively not using biopellets or nopox though. I tried biopellets last time, it grows some really nasty fussy stuff all over the pump and plumbing, giving me many months of trouble of pump failing and cleaning. Vodka never had that problem. I'm interested in trying the one from tropic marine, but haven't get clear signal whether it grows those nasty stuff like nopox or not. So for now I'm going the safe and familiar route.
 
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An update on vodka dosing, I stopped the next day, because one frag, the purple dragon eye, turned white overnight, and several others are losing tissue. Something is not right, not sure if impurity in the vodka, or the bacteria being too aggressive. Dino is all gone though. Could also be dino dying off, releasing toxic stuff? Anyway, since dino is gone, I have no need to do it anymore.

Couple days later when I test, nitrate is 8 ppm, lower than it ever has been in pass months. Phosphate is 0.08 ppm, a health among. So no more dosing.
 
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There is a super sad event. The Regal Angelfish died. It happened so fast that I don't have much time to research, let alone react. From postmortem, it looks like some kind of internal infection. But again, I can't tell if it's cause of death or coincident.

The night before, I dosed for the first time the Live Rock Enhance from @Reefbrite . If I were more irrational, I will just blame it for the death of the fish. But it's just a beneficial bacteria product like many others. It's hard to lay that as cause without more solid evidence. Maybe it's related, like the bacteria grow cause lower oxygen level, that lower the immunity of the fish. Or it was the vodka dosing, which is 5 days ago, that cause bacteria bloom and started the infection, and took several days for it to finally killed the fish. I won't be able to tell now. But for now, i think I will be more careful in any bacteria related product. I tank for some reason have bad reaction to them. Maybe being a new tank without liverock and minimal rockscape and no bio media make the bacteria biohome pretty unstable. Then any change can lead it to one way or the other.
 
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Yesterday, I installed the CO2 scrubber, recirculating style.
PXL_20201203_042549791.jpg
The effect is so immediate.
Screenshot from 2020-12-03 15-19-27.png
It's not even the peak of the day yet. That's 0.3 jump. kH is already start dropping.
Screenshot from 2020-12-03 15-22-58.png
Now let's see how long these media will last.
 
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4 days into CO2 scrubber. pH is really getting high. Yesterday it even went over 8.3.
Screenshot from 2020-12-07 13-25-20.png

Last night an unexpected happened. ALK dropped from 8.4 at 5pm to 8.0 at 11pm. Before and after that, it is stable within 0.05 difference for several tests. Dosing was not changed during the period. That drop is really abnormal. Not sure what the reason would be. Only thing I can think of is the dosing line clogged. I doubled checked it, it didn't seem to be the case. Kalk has not run out yet, otherwise ALK would continue to drop.

Screenshot from 2020-12-07 13-25-37.png
 
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It was some devastating week last couple weeks. The tangs got ich. It started with purple tang and moorish idol. The purple tang got quite a lot, the moorish idol was better, like a dozen or two spots. So I caught those two out to quarantine. Then couple days later, the blue tang also got pretty bad ich. Have to catch it out as well. The niger trigger and lineatus wrasse also have couple spot, but not as sever, so I left them be.

I was prepared to practice ich management instead of ich eradication from the start. Even I QT all fish, or buy QTed ones, I do not QT corals because I don't have place to setup a separate system for it. So I accepted the fact that ich can still get in the tank in some way. Now I'm sure it's there. Also because of this, I'm not treating all fish or do fallow period. I took those three out mostly to make sure they don't get worse and risk dying, also stop ich to exponentially propagate. Hopefully this is enough to break the vicious cycle and give fish the break they need to fight off ich. But if situation didn't get under control by the time those three fish finish QT, like if more and more fish get ich, I will catch them all and QT them in the tub and fallow the display.
 
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Another update on the fish is, the last fish in my previous orders, the rhomboid wrasse, came last wednesday. I had it in acclimation box for two day, then lowered the box at night. But the next day, it didn't come out of the box. But by the night, it's missing from the box and no where to be found in the display. I waited another day, yet no sight of it at all.

I was so frustrated, thought I let it out too soon. I flipped through rocks, use go pro to search behind the rock, everywhere. Then as the last check, I look down from the cabinet into the overflow box, it was there! Then I found out that, there was a pretty big gap under the return pipe with the overflow tower. Big enough to allow most long body shape fish to get in.

The rest is obvious. I took down the canopy, which is pretty involved to unwired all the lights and fans there, catch the fish, fix the return pipe.

Now the fish is in its box. It will probably stay there for a week. Everyday, there are different fish visiting it. First the lineatus, then the pintail, then even the small carpenter flasher wrasse is trying to show off to it. Another interesting development is, the day after the pintail went show off to the rhomboid, it seem to lost quite a lot of scales. I was seriously concern about it caught some other disease. But it seem to swim fine and eats fine. So just keep observation for now.
 
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Update on CO2 scrubber. Apparently getting the media wet would ruin the media. After about a week of use, I accidentally got water in it. Then two days later the media stopped working. No color changes whatsoever.

When refilling with fresh media, I decided to keep it all dry, including skipping water in the bottom, because in the recirculation setup, the air out of skimmer cup should be at max humidity already.

In addition, I got a tip about adding an additional jar before the scrubber to catch any excess moisture or skimmates. So here is how it looks now. A lot safer to keep the media dry and hopefully long lasting.
PXL_20201217_000501607.jpg
 
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Just two days without scrubber media, the dkh rised by 0.5 while alk dosing was cut by 25%. ph was dropped to 7.9~8.0. A day after refill, ph went back to 8.3. dkh is pumping happily. Will wait for it to drop back to 8.5 before upping kalk dosing back up.

Now I'm really thinking about adding a CO2 scrubber to my 42 gallon tank as well. It's currently consistently sitting at 8.02 as max pH. There are plenty of LPS there that I would love to get some great growth, including the rainbow pectina.

Now I mentioned the pectina, they are moved out of the 180 because the majestic angel got a taste of them, both the space invaders and the rainbow. But since the move, both are doing very good and puffing out nicely like never before. Hopefully the angel don't get taste of other stuff, otherwise I would run out of space and may have to trade him out.
 
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learnt something new tonight. The latest live stream from reef dude pop to my queue, it's about dosing potassium hydroxide to maintain higher pH. The idea was fascinating that I went on to some more research. Then I found a thread talking about the same topic from the same guy. Reading through it make me realized, potassium hydroxide is just a high ph boost alkalinity supplement. When put it this way, it make it suddenly obvious that it's stupid to dosing just alk supplement to boost pH, cause it will screw the balance with calcium in the long run.

But a better solution is using sodium hydroxide in a 2 part dosing. It will have similar effect on pH boosting, while safe in terms of ionic balance between alkalinity and calcium. It really make me want to use it as the supplement when kalkwasser is maxed out, instead of the Carbo-Calcium/All-For-Reef I was planning before. If it brings an 0.2, or even just 0.1 pH boost, it will already worth the one time investment of an additional dosing pump and dosage container.
 
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So the pintail, after losing some scales, and then hide for 2 days, is now passed away. The belly is also broken out. Maybe the same thing that got the regal got it. General cure food soak has been fed daily, one week in, two more to go. Hopefully it will cure the problem. Otherwise there aren't much I can do.

The majestic also decided to try a taste of the trachy ... And it only go for the $500 one instead of the $100 one. It really knows how to pick the expensive ones. So far I only saw him did it once. The trachy shrink to its bone because of it. The next day, it slightly puff back up, so looks like the majestic did not continue, maybe it didn't like the taste. If it get worse I will have to move the trachy to the 42 gal. Hopefully the majestic don't continue to taste others. There are several other puffing corals like acanthophyllia and lobophyllia. If it continue to taste them out, I will have to trade it away.
 
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Having some thought on the lights. My current setup with two Radion XR30 on each end, and a XR15 in the middle. Thought was to have the XR30 to cover 30" width on each end, and have the XR15 to cover the middle 12". But because of the center brace, the XR30 were installed further out. As a result the middle is visibly dimmer than two end. It's a shame that it's not easy to run the XR15 a bit higher. It will mean to create two separate "tank" in mobious and configure their schedule separately.

But recently another idea came to me, what if I install the diffuser on the two XR30? According to reviews, it cuts output by about 10%. In my current setup, PAR under XR30 is up to 300 and PAR under XR15 is less than 250. So cutting XR30 by 10% sounds perfect to balance the two out. Also better spread may means more light from XR30 reaches the middle section. A tempting idea to try indeed.
 
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