My first saltwater reef tank (suggestions/help appreciated)

Lavey29

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 29, 2021
Messages
103
Reaction score
42
Location
United States
Greetings everyone, I am a new member to the site. I have started my first saltwater tank having come over from the freshwater side. I have the tank filled and running for several days now but have some questions that I am hoping the experienced reefers here can help me out with. Below is my tank and equipment specs:

Red Sea Reefer XL300 tank and cabinet (65g DT and 15g sump)
Eshopps S200 skimmer
Ecotech MP 40 (running on pulse at 35%)
Ecotech Vectra M2 (running at 50%)
Radion XR 15 lights
Aqueon 300w heater
Tunze 3155 ATO with 5 gallon RODI container
80lbs Caribsea liferock
60lbs Caribsea sand

I am running the Mobius app for the equipment which seems to be difficult to manage at times. The lights lose programming with date and time. Firmware is up to date on all devices. I am having to set the date and time multiple times during the day although I have been mainly running lights off with the beginning cycle. I am doing a fishless cycle with Dr. Tim's stuff and so far the ammonia level appears to be in the proper range on day 3 but there are no readings for nitrite or nitrate yet.

I have no livestock in the tank so the skimmer is off currently however, when I turned on the skimmer it just rapidly overflowed with foam. I tried to close down the water gate and adjust the air controller to different settings but the skimmer just went crazy. I know the service that helped me set up the tank over filled the sump to give me time to get my RO system in place so that I can do my own water changes so perhaps the skimmer is to deep in water? The level in the sump has decreased over the past few days due to evap so I am hoping to try it again as the water level goes down. Is there a way to adjust the water level in the skimmer chamber as pictured below? I am hoping to use the refugium chamber down the line later also. I currently run a filter sock and a cup. I will use Maxout in the cup once the cycle is complete.

I am a total newbie but have studied the site here a lot. Any help or suggestions is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

20210429_102130.jpg 20210429_102158.jpg
 

T-J

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Nov 11, 2019
Messages
1,568
Reaction score
1,647
Location
Phoenix
Welcome to the hobby and to R2R!

Your sump level appears to be too high. It's hard to tell, but it looks like your socks are completely under water. Sumps are all different, and I don't have a Red Sea, but I'm guessing the water level should be somewhere under the black acrylic that holds your socks.

If your skimmer is too deep, you can place it on a skimmer stand. Check your skimmers instructions and it will tell you how much water it needs to sit in. I have my skimmer on a stand. No big deal.

Also, if you let your sump evap too much, just to reach a certain level, your salinity is going to get too high. You need to be topping off with RODI water. If the sump level is too high, you'll have to scoop out some water. You also want to make sure that you have enough room in your sump in case of a power outage or if you have to turn off the main return pump. If it's too high, it can overflow when the tank water comes in.
 
OP
Lavey29

Lavey29

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 29, 2021
Messages
103
Reaction score
42
Location
United States
Welcome to the hobby and to R2R!

Your sump level appears to be too high. It's hard to tell, but it looks like your socks are completely under water. Sumps are all different, and I don't have a Red Sea, but I'm guessing the water level should be somewhere under the black acrylic that holds your socks.

If your skimmer is too deep, you can place it on a skimmer stand. Check your skimmers instructions and it will tell you how much water it needs to sit in. I have my skimmer on a stand. No big deal.

Also, if you let your sump evap too much, just to reach a certain level, your salinity is going to get too high. You need to be topping off with RODI water. If the sump level is too high, you'll have to scoop out some water. You also want to make sure that you have enough room in your sump in case of a power outage or if you have to turn off the main return pump. If it's too high, it can overflow when the tank water comes in.


Thanks for the advice. I agree the sump water level may be to high. I think this was intentional during set up to give me time to get my RO system and make my own salt water. I was going to just let it evaporate down to where the ATO sensor is placed but I can scoop it out also to make it faster. I am using RODI in my top off container but when I turn the Tunze on the alarm just goes off due to the high water level in the sump. I did view skimmer stands online so I see how they can be used to raise the unit if needed.

I don't see anyway to adjust that water level in the first chamber with my sock next to the return? The glass there is fixed in place and I don't see any way to adjust it? I have heard that the red sea sump has a water level adjustment for the skimmer chamber but I sure don't see where it is located. There is a mechanical sponge filter in place between the skimmer section and the return pump. I did not receive any instructions for the skimmer so basically just using google and now this site for help....thanks
 
Aquarium Specialty - dry goods & marine livestock
OP
Lavey29

Lavey29

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 29, 2021
Messages
103
Reaction score
42
Location
United States
Water level in the skimmer chamber is now at 8". Eshopps says 7 to 9" for set up but the skimmer still just bubbles over like a crazy volcano even with the water and air inlets wide open or partially closed? Do you just let these things run and eventually they settle down? I know there is virtually nothing to skim right now because it is a new tank set up but just trying to get components dialed in properly.
 

Kershaw

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Nov 11, 2015
Messages
2,121
Reaction score
1,173
Location
sacramento, ca
Water level in the skimmer chamber is now at 8". Eshopps says 7 to 9" for set up but the skimmer still just bubbles over like a crazy volcano even with the water and air inlets wide open or partially closed? Do you just let these things run and eventually they settle down? I know there is virtually nothing to skim right now because it is a new tank set up but just trying to get components dialed in properly.
Most skimmers need “break in time” it can very from 0 days to 2 weeks depending on system and skimmer.
 
OP
Lavey29

Lavey29

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 29, 2021
Messages
103
Reaction score
42
Location
United States
Hello everyone, had a small emergency, went to lunch and came home and the last chamber where the pump is was basically empty and the pump was blowing air into the tank. Do you think damage to the pump occurred. I adjusted the Tunze sensor higher and filled the sump up again and the pump chamber filled also. Please look at the pictures below and tell me again if the water level is ok? How do I adjust the water level in the various sump chambers?.....thanks
 

Attachments

  • 20210430_131843.jpg
    20210430_131843.jpg
    203.6 KB · Views: 23
  • 20210430_132731.jpg
    20210430_132731.jpg
    125.6 KB · Views: 20
  • 20210430_133038.jpg
    20210430_133038.jpg
    235.5 KB · Views: 24
BRS
OP
Lavey29

Lavey29

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 29, 2021
Messages
103
Reaction score
42
Location
United States
Could also be that the air is opened too much.

Thanks, I tried adjusting incrementally from wide open to closed while also adjusting the water inlet. Still roared over the top. I'm going to try a stand next and get it in 6 inches of water instead of 8.
 

Kershaw

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Nov 11, 2015
Messages
2,121
Reaction score
1,173
Location
sacramento, ca
How long has this been running? I would just leave it open all the way and let it run until it calms down. It could be from all the items.
 
Fritz

FBAA

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 14, 2021
Messages
144
Reaction score
361
Location
Colorado
Your skimmer will take 3-10 days to settle down/get a bacterial layer on the output cone. In my experience it's 4-5 days. Depending on the nutrient level it can be different.
 
OP
Lavey29

Lavey29

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 29, 2021
Messages
103
Reaction score
42
Location
United States
Your skimmer will take 3-10 days to settle down/get a bacterial layer on the output cone. In my experience it's 4-5 days. Depending on the nutrient level it can be different.

Ok, I'll let it foam away then. It's on a 2 inch stand now. Should I try 3 maybe?
 
Top Shelf Aquatics

Would you use biomedia in your reef?

  • Yes! In fact, I already do! (Tell us which biomedia you use and share your experience in the thread)

    Votes: 23 52.3%
  • Yes. I would try it. Seems like a good method for nutrient control.

    Votes: 5 11.4%
  • I dunno... I'm still thinking about it, but I have questions. (Post your questions and we'll help!)

    Votes: 3 6.8%
  • No. I don't like it. I use other methods. (Share in the thread)

    Votes: 12 27.3%
  • No. I tried it, and my results weren't what I wanted. (Please share your experience with us.)

    Votes: 1 2.3%
Legendary
Top