New Year, new 100G setup build.

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dmsc2fs

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This does not make the decision for you, but may help with your considerations.
Thanks. I actually debated just fixing the heaters I have like you mentioned. Using silicon, or liquid rubber, etc. I decided against it due to the fact that if the heater was hot enough to melt the sealant that is currently in place it may have been a few degrees away from melting the cable insulation. This could lead to the insulation becoming brittle and breaking or having a shorter life. It's an area (electricity submerged in water) that I don't feel I need to save a few dollars now and regret it later. 6 months from now, or 6 days, I won't think about the old heaters ever again. Move on the right way and for me the right way is to replace them.

I am debating a pair of 200w replacements now.
 
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I stocked the Refugium with livestock. I added from IPSF the following:

Wondermud
Tang Heaven Red (Gracilaria parvispora)
Tang Heaven Green (Ulva sp)
Amphipods
Spaghetti worms
Bristle worms
MicroHermits™ (Calcinus sp.)
Nerite Grazers™ (Nerita sp.)
Hawaiian Littorinid Grazers (Littoraria sp.)

One of the hermits already upsized his shell with some I had in the fuge. The snales have already decided they want to be anywhere but in the fuge. Some of them I don't even understand how they ended up where they are!

The white light was moved in place just for the photo.

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I found a piece of hitchhiker. It looks like I have to do some research on Grape Calupra. From what I read the feathery Calupra is invasive.

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I finished putting my rock pieces together and I added them to the tank. I have been slowly adding water as my RODI was making it but I have all of that on hold right now. The water clouded up and I need to clear it up before I can see if my rocks are the way I wanted them and I also need to get gravel into it. Yes, I have pre gravel clouding! I think it happened when fine dust came out or off of the fresh mined rock I am using. I did rinse it but not good enough it appears. Next time I will dip it in water first. I decided I didn't want to wait for it to settle and I'm not sure I really want the dust in my tank. It would probably be harmless, especially under the gravel but I have time on my hands right now.

Since my sump has livestock in it I don't want to plumb this in and use the filter socks/trays from my sump. Instead I took the "what do I have around the house approach again. This time to make a temp filter. 1 pail with some holes drilled in it and I filled it with floss and activated charcoal. I might need to use some other media but that is what I had for now. Time will tell. On Friday I picked up the pump I plan to use for the sump so that is now serving as the driver for my homemade filter. Lets see how this goes.

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To make sure I document the good and the bad of this journey I have another "bad". First thing this morning I checked on the water and it was clear enough that I could see the rockwork and make a decision. I needed to remove a lot of it. I was bursting with rock and not in a good way! Once I removed some of the rock I was ready for gravel.

Over the last week I had spent hours and hours rinsing gravel so that I could follow @brandon429 rinse method and my gravel would go into the tank clear. It was no to be! What I have learned is that if you think you rinsed the gravel enough, you have done 1/2 as much as it needs. I discarded all the floss and carbon from the BUWF(tm) and stuffed it with more floss and it is back into service.

*Big Ugly White Filter* ;)

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brandon429

why did you put a reef in that
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Hey beautiful setup there it’s going to shine soon

I bet the chalk will clear in a couple days no prob/ bioflocculation settling and it’ll be off and running. Hey that is a heck of a list above for the grazers my gosh that’s diverse. I’m having to go back and re read where you got such an entourage
 
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Hey that is a heck of a list above for the grazers my gosh that’s diverse. I’m having to go back and re read where you got such an entourage
 
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looks like the big ugly white filter has done it's job. At this point I am going to keep running it while my RODI makes more water. I have 10G ready now and 1 empty 5G container. Once that is full and I have to stop water production i'll pull the filter out of the DT and continue with filling it so that I can have free containers for RODI production.

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I wanted to post an update since it has been a bit. A few things have changed. I have the tank full just below the overflow and I brought the salinity up to 1.025. I added a pair of Vortex MP4s that I picked up. They currently are slipping a bit on the magnets and I have the cable hanger sticky things ordered to resolve this problem. I decided to go with 2 300W heaters to replace the 2 500W. I wasn't able to pick titanium but they are enclosed in a plastic housing and I am satisfied with them. I have a brute full of RODI and I will be bringing it up to 1.025 today with the plan of connecting the DP and Sump this weekend after the water in all 3 are aligned with salinity and temp.

I also finished my top. It is a Red Sea DIY and I debated a single top, or split top. In the end I decided on a split top with a feeding port. That's it for now, here are a few photos. In the front left corner is a pile of rubble. This will go in the sump but for now it is just seasoning.

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I was able to finish the initial configurations. We all know it is never done. I have my UV setup. My skimmer is on standby and I believe for now all plumbing is done. I do not plan to use the skimmer but water quality will tell that tale one way or another as time goes on.

The UV filter I bought was HUGE. I struggled to figure out what to do with it. I ended up building a cradle to rest it on a set of rails on the sump that the ATO tank sits on. This works; however, it has 3 drawbacks.

First I have my fuge light below the UV filter. The light itself is a grow light I bought at Home Depot to continue on with my build. If you read above, I am not having good luck with fuge lights. The 3rd one I ordered is still "shipping" This was from a 3rd vendor also so it's not a run of bad luck with the same place. If the UV leaks it could leak onto the fuge light and cause a short. I have mitigations for this with the power is all on a GFCI and I have a grounding probe in the sump.

Second, because of how much space the UV filter takes I have little room to work in the sump. In order for me to do just about anything I need to lift up the UV filter, remove the cradle, remove the fuge light and after that I can do maintenance. I do not think I will enjoy this but time will tell if it is acceptable.

Third, the ATO is shoved into one spot where I could make it fit. It isn't ideal and I would rather have it 6" to the left of where i it is. Right now because of where the ATO is I have zero access to my filter sock cradles. I do not plan to run socks and I have 4 baskets full of rock in place now. This is only to help with the noise from the waterfall. If they become an issue I would not be concerned if I have to remove the entire basket itself.

Water is currently at a salinity of 1.026 and I will bring that down slightly with removal of water and letting the ATO do it's thing. I know I am within the acceptable salinity parameters but I would like to bring it down to 1.0255. I am not confident that our measuring tools are as precise as we think they should be thus I would rather be in the middle of the salinity range not at the top.


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I have a mated pair of Watchman Goby with a pistol shrimp that I have had in observation for 3 weeks. I bought them from the owner whom had them for 1 year+ They haven been wonderful in a 20G observation tank. As soon as they landed in the DT they started moving in and the pistol started doing his thing.

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I broke all protocol's with this guy. Labout's Fairy Wrasse. He was in a medicated tank being fed medicated food for 3+ weeks so I decided to bring him home. I debated putting him in the 20G or straight into the DT. The cautions side would isolate him and that was my plan. I was going to move the goby's into the DT and the Labout into the 20G.

I drove 2.4 hours to see him. The downside of this was by the time I got home he was sucking air from the surface of the bag. I decided I didn't have time to transfer the 20G and decided he would go into the DT. I added an air stone to the bag and started drip acclimating. I kept watching him and he was showing some real distress so I transferred the bag into a 1g pail to allow more surface agitation and I opened the drip to full. As soon as he was in the pail he started swimming in circles with his mouth above the water. I immediately pulled him from the pail and put him in the DT. He shot to the surface and took a few gulps and slowly sank not moving at all. A second or two later he started twitching his fins. I was devastated, more so my wife as this was the fish she wanted to add.

Within a few seconds he started coming around and swimming normally. After that he appeared to be OK but I am sure I stressed him severely so the next few weeks will tell. He eats constantly and takes flakes and frozen but he turned his nose up to pellets at first but as they floated around the tank he started to try them. I'm hoping he will come around to them as I plan an Auto Feeder to drop pellets at least once, if not twice a day.

I really like the LFS where I acquired him and I will probably ask them to order a few fish for me. The lesson I learned is next time the bag needs to be full of water or into the cooler instead of the bag.

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Hopefully that will be it for posts for a few weeks. I have a Ruby Red Goby in QT trying to get it to eat Polyp Poppers, Frozen Copepods and live Tigger Pods. It will be at least 3 weeks before he is ready to move. My 20g is going into service for another test I want to do so the next few weeks will hopefully be quiet with a "small" diatom and hair algae bloom and no drama! Time will tell.
 
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I thought I would post an update. Not a lot has changed. I have a bit of green algae growing on my rocks. I had some brown algae forming and I lowered the lights 20% to slow it. I know that I have to go through the process of letting ti grow but I would rather go with longer time vice more algae growing. The trade off is that my fuge lights will pick up the nutrients and defeat the algae in the DT before it has time to get out of control. That is the plan anyway.

No new livestock has been added since I essentially forced my DT to be the first QT/Isolation tank due to the Labout story above. I have a 40 breeder, 20 tall and 10G QT tanks going right now with livestock. In a few weeks I should be able to start moving those animals into the DT. With everything going as I hope. I did add additional rock. I wanted to add a few extra caves and areas of protection into the rock work. I am planning a few fairy wrasse and a pair of dwarf angels. The more cover, tunnels and caves i can add the better off they will all be I feel. The pistol shrimp has completely buried the piece I was hoping they would use. He created a fallout shelter and has tunnels going under most of the left side of the tank.

I decided to pull out the skimmer and give that real estate in my sump over to a larger fuge. I have two more types of algae on he way and I rebuilt the entire area. I never liked how precarious I had the entire thing setup before. The new setup is easier to work on in every part of the sump. If I should be forced or decide to run a skimmer I am thinking I will do it with an external skimmer in a small table/stand next to the tank. I'll have to talk my spouse into that, another day...

Sorry if the photo's are not clear. My eyes are not focusing yet so I cant see clearly to see if they are good pictures.

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dmsc2fs

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I am sure that a bunch of other options are available for water changes. I have been struggling with juggling water changes with my ATO. The process is simple enough but actually changing the water and bringing the water level back to the same level again to keep salinity constant has been a struggle for me. Thinking it through I could probably turn all my pumps off, let the sump calm after all the water drains back into it and mark a line on the sump. Do a water change and top up back to that amount. I guess I decided to take a different approach. Since my ATO is the standard RedSea float valve gravity fed I decided to tap into it for water changes. As you can see from the picture I basically turn off the fresh water supply, add a fresh salt water source and pull a few gallons out of the DT letting it be topped up via the ATO with FSW. It works good and my long term plan is to move away from scheduled water changes so this will work for now. Turning 2 ball valves is all it takes to switch from fresh to salt water through the ATO valve.


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