My RSR 250 build; Back at it after 6 year hiatus

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Been a few months now, everything going well. Clowns happy, inverts happy and so far just a few pieces of coral, doing well. Before I get too far into adding expensive pieces I need to test the water. So got Hannah checkers for DKh, Phosphates and calcium. Here’s the results:

Dkh = 6.5
Phosphate = 0.00
Calcium = 201

Looks like I’ll need to look into getting my dkh and calcium balanced! So that’s my next phase along with backup plans for power outage (plan now!)
 
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Alright,time to get my DKH and calcium in check. I plan to eventually get dosers when I get more coral and dose BRS 2 part, but for now went to the only LFS that sells and has a good selection of supplements. I got the Seachem Fusion 2 part to help with my low dkh and calcium. Followed directions to do a small dose last night. Going to recheck this morning on my levels. I love my tropic Marin salt, but notice it has really LOW levels of calcium and dkh... I’m also learning that it is really difficult to find right now as brs is currently sold out... so I am debating the idea of changing salts. I used to use the Red Sea coral pro salt mix and loved it. Had god levels on my old tank... also easy to find at most stores. There’s also IO reef crystals. Anyways, that’s the fun right? This isn’t why we do this, for the fun of learning what works etc.

A side note: We are going on vacation in 8 days, and I don’t have anyone who understands fish or aquarium that I trust to take care of anything. I have everything setup, and being on apex, not too worried as I can check things. I have 1 buddy who can take care of things if an emergency strikes, but other than that everything is on auto pilot. I purchased an Eheim daily feeder for the fish along with two little fishies feeding ring so the food doesn’t go down the sump immediately!

Future plans: figure out a filter roller mod, but I have the v2 sump design, so trying to decide between the clarisea or the Klir. Either way I’ll need a mod... I’ll go with Klir if I can get my hands on a 3D print to help with water levels. So far I haven’t had luck. The clarisea will work, I just need to remove baffles and plum.

Also on the docket, dosing pumps to keep levels in check...
 
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Oopsie! Glad I double checked this! But the hanna checker for calcium was a bit confusing. Glad I dug up a YouTube video! Anyways, for the calcium I did the first test wrong. But did it correctly today and my calcium is sitting at 481. A bit higher than I want, but it’s not a crazy level. DKH is 7.2 today after my first dose of reef fusion. Still on the low side. I’ll need to balance these out a bit, obviously want dkh to go up more, so I’ll be continuing to monitor both of these. I’m going to need a magnesium test kit next!
 
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Spent the last week dialing in my parameters and things are looking better. I was curious as to why I was having such a huge dkh issue, and realized that tropic Marin pro salt is very low in dkh, calcium, and magnesium.... also got the Red Sea calcium test kit instead of the Hannah because the Hannah didn’t seem accurately. Purchased the aqua forest magnesium test kit as well to monitor those levels. After slowly bringing everything up using Sea chem fusion 1&2 (only product that was locally available at the time of purchase and didn’t want to wait for shipping) I feel good where they are at. Searching the r2r forums the TM salt with low levelsappears to is normal. I may switch to esv as many here have said it mixes with ideal parameters. But as mentioned earlier, I am happy where my levels are now!

Next to tackle low phosphates and very low nitrates. Within only 2 clowns, I don’t need to feed “too heavy” so I know this is why. We are also battling little tiny flatworms that appear on the glass. I don’t want to use flat worm exit, so looking into the natural predator route! I was looking at the yellow cori wrasse or the melanarus wrasse because a 6-line is just too aggressive.

We purchased a yellow wrasse from an online vendor, and even with overnight shipping (no delays!) he was DOA... since these flatworms are reproducing at a fast rate we decided to check out some local shops. Only one shop had a yellow wrasse for sale, but he was “on hold”... after visiting 3 shops, we went to our favorite place (also more expensive, but they do 35 day QT on all livestock, and since I do not have a QT this is important). This particular shop had 2 yellow wrasse, but they were in a display tank and not for sale. But they did have a melanarus wrasse! And after seeing it in person I was actually really surprised and happy with the beautifully colors of the melanarus! As the employee was bagging him up, my wife fell in love with a royal gramma so we got both!

Brought them home and drip acclimated both and in they went! Royal gramma already out, swimming and eating. Wrasse went into the sand bed haha. But I got 2 awesome fish out it, increased my bioload and working at the flat worms now! Love this hobby as it keeps me busy with each new obstacles!
 
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Pics of the royal gramma! The wrasse is still hiding in the sand... I’ve heard they can take a while before he comes out and is out and about.
 

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Over the past few weeks I’ve made some coral additions as well as fish. As I mentioned before, noticed some Acoel flatworms on the glass and I've been trying to eradicate them. The melanarus wrasse is doing a decent job, but contemplating flat worm exit... I want to do the natural route instead of chemicals, so found a baby sapphire damsel at a LFS and he’s already been eating them! Between him and the melanarus I feel they should do a great job!

also noticed some algae (very small amount) building on rocks in areas I do t always Turkey blast. So as I was picking up the damsel, I noticed a starry blenny which I have been eying for a while and picked him up too!

here’s some pics of the new additions the past month!
 

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I think I may have defeated the Acoel flatworms! In just 24 hours I’ve been watching the new damsel just mowing them down! Between him and the melanarus they have seemed to wipe out the entire population of these things! Did a water change today and airlines hosed the very small amount on the glass I could see and here’s hoping they may be on their way out!
 
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Just following up on the flatworms. They have all be eliminated between the melanarus wrasse and sapphire damsel have taken out the entire population! Haven’t seen 1 in over 2 weeks!

also been working on keeping calcium, Alk and Ph stable. Noticed big drops in Dkh and was requiring me to dose every 4 days. Ph would routinely drop below 7.7 at night and was lucky if it could stay above 8.0 at any point during the day, even with a CO2 scrubber.

Finally attached the CO2 scrubber to the skimmer cup (see attached photo) and got BRS 2 part and kalkwasser for ATO. This entire week dkh has tested at 8.5/8.7 and Ph has only dipped to 7.9 on the low at night and stays around 8.1 during the day.
 

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Just added a 15w aqua UV to the system! Mainly to help with water clarity and disease prevention! Picked it up used from a local reefer who was selling it this past week on R2R and the price was amazing. I was actually saving for a new one of the exact model anyways, so when I saw it I had to jump on it!
 

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follow up to the UV. Only been running for about 12 hours and all I can say is WOW! The water this morning is Crystal clear! Wow, I’m a believer! The water has never been so clear so this gets me excited!
 
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So most corals have been doing ok, but noticed that I they appeared to be getting a little bleached and not really having the color pop I want, or remember when I first purchased the corals.... starting doing some research; I’m currently running 2 radion xr15 g5 blues. I have been using the ab+ spectrum and noticed that the “point intensity” on the default setting is 100% across all 8 channels also at 100% per channel. After watching a BRS investigates regarding the ab+ Randy at BRS recommended the point intensity for a 60 gal cube to only be around 20% with all channels at 100%. Ive made the corrections and plan to rent a par meter at some point, but hoping the few pieces of LPS that haven’t been looking too good color back up, and actually show more PE and color as well as growth soon!
I guess I didn’t expect the setting to be off because I just turned on the template and went with it. Doh!
 
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Been a few weeks since figurin out the lighting issue, most corals been looking much better. I tweaked the schedule again, as the peak for these lights are the vast majority of the schedule. If I set for 10 hours, it peak intensity for 9 hours. Did more reading and learned from some, as well as thinking the sun doesn’t hit peak intensity that long, and decided to lower to 5 hours, with a slower ramp up (2-5 hours) and same on the way down. After just 1 week, corals are responding much better: more full, color popping. A chili pepper Monti I got was very retracted and polyps never came out. I was worried and moved him to several spots. He began to brown out and had a small layer of Browns algae forming on his cap covering the polyps, so I was sure he wasn’t going to make it. I moved it one last time and could be a combo of the lights and or new location? But now polyps are open and he’s looking better!

My Favia is coming back too. He’s growing his tissue back again, getting more plump and eating! I’ve been trying to nurse him back and feed every other day or so. Happy to see him coming back and popping new heads.


Some more somber news, I had a small frogspawn frag I had picked up a few months back that just slowly kept dwindling. I tried every5hing but he just kept pulling in and receding. No signs of brown jelly, he just slowly kept retracting and receding til there was nothing left. Pretty sure he didn’t like the high light intensity, which I have now seemed to fix. Glad I learned.

I’ve also decided that I will be switching salt brands soon. My old tank I used Red Sea Andy had amazing results. I’m currently using tropic marine and although I like how clear it mixes, I’m finding that the dkh and calcium in new mix is super low. At 1.026 I’m getting 6.7dkh and 390 calcium. That’s with Hannah and Red Sea test kits. This is every time I mix it. Plus, i am also starting to feel that the salt is very low in trace elements. This also makes it easier since TM is expensive and really hard to get!

Ok, I know this was a long rant.... but I haven’t posted in a while so wanted to make an update! Bottom line, know how to work your lights!
 
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Definitely seeing so much progress! Obviously this hobby is all about learning and figuring things out!

an update on my red favia, it’s doing soooo much better. He’s beginning to plump back up and his heads are now starting to regrow over all the skeleton sections I was worried about. I’m also seeing baby heads growing! So happy!

I did lose 1 frogspawn, but my torch and hammers are doing great.

the paintball chalice I noticed had some receding along the base, moved him up a bit on the rock and he’s developing a new head and his flesh is now covering the receding areas I had noticed.

so in the end, I’ve learned that the xr15 blues were probably just set too hot! Still planning on grabbing a par meter soon.

my chili pepper monti also decided to let its red polyps extend this week. So this makes me happy too!

picked up some Red Sea ABCD to help supplement my minor and trace elements.
 

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backup plans for power outage (plan now!)
Hey! I'm following along on your build because I started a similar-sized setup (60g ProStar) in April. Was wondering if you ever figured out a power outage solution. I live in Miami and hurricane season is fast approaching, so I'm trying to prepare now. Would love to know what you've done or planning on doing. Thanks!
 
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Hey! I'm following along on your build because I started a similar-sized setup (60g ProStar) in April. Was wondering if you ever figured out a power outage solution. I live in Miami and hurricane season is fast approaching, so I'm trying to prepare now. Would love to know what you've done or planning on doing. Thanks!
Looking to get some battery powered pumps. They are pretty cheap. Haven’t decided if I’m gonna do the mp40 back up or not... but also began thinking about daisy chaining some rv batteries together too... or there’s always a power generator. That’s what I used to have, but sold it 3 years ago... so to answer your question, no, just idea atm...
 

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Looking to get some battery powered pumps. They are pretty cheap. Haven’t decided if I’m gonna do the mp40 back up or not... but also began thinking about daisy chaining some rv batteries together too... or there’s always a power generator. That’s what I used to have, but sold it 3 years ago... so to answer your question, no, just idea atm...
LOL Awesome. So we are in the same boat.

I already have a generator (which never wants to run when I need it), so I'm not considering that to be a reliable solution for me unless I upgrade. I've also considered just getting a power inverter that I can plug into my truck.

I'll come back here if I end up making a decision and let you know how it goes.
 
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LOL Awesome. So we are in the same boat.

I already have a generator (which never wants to run when I need it), so I'm not considering that to be a reliable solution for me unless I upgrade. I've also considered just getting a power inverter that I can plug into my truck.

I'll come back here if I end up making a decision and let you know how it goes.
I’ve thought about the power inverter option as well!
 
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Been busy with work, but still keeping up on water changes. Parameters seem stable. No major fluctuations. Just watching Alk as that seems to be the first thing that drops daily. Need to add about 20-30ml per day to keep it around 8.5. All corals doing better too. The favia has definitely made a come back and sprouting new heads!

noticed some minor hair algae growing in certain rock areas where flow isn’t the greatest. Picked up 4 Mexican turbos to help control it before it gets out of hand! Also grabbed a tuxedo urchin! I’d rather control things with natural predators first before chemicals.
 

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