Red Sea Max250 restoration build

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SamMule

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Ok. I've been putting this off for way too long.
A few months ago, I purchased a used RSM250 from a friend. It was up and running, but needed some serious cleaning and a few repairs.
I should have taken more pics during the process.
Here it is on day 1. On the stand and ready for a deep clean.

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Pulled all of the foam out and disassembled/cleaned the pumps.
Found 2 bad impellers and a broken wire on the skimmer pump. So, I got some new impellers and a new skimmer pump. I also ordered media basket from in-tank and a new piece of foam for pump chamber #1
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Next was cleaning the tank/sump. This job sucked but I think it turned out pretty nice. Little vinegar and a LOT of elbow grease...
Top down shot of the rear chambers:
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Full tank shot. I intentionally left the coralline on the return chamber with hopes it would come back. No such luck. Ended up scraping it off after it all turned white.
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Next, got the aquascape all put together. This is what I came up with.
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Thoroughly rinsed the sand until no dust clouds rose when it was disturbed.
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Used 50% existing sand and 50% caribsea live sand. Got it in the tank and started cycling.
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I went with a BRS heater controller and titanium heater rather than the internally controlled heater. This has a few advantages.
1: I can see and control my temperatures very easily.
2: I plugged the heater controller into a surge protector, freeing up the heater plug on the switch panel inside the tank. Now, the heater switch is instead, a flow pump control switch.
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During the cycle, I found another issue. Temp alarm on my heater controller kept going off. The water cooling fans were seized.
The red sea fans are no longer available, so I found some cheap ones on Amazon that were built to the same specs and soldered them in.
20200422_150254.jpg

Bad idea... These things are loud! Sounded like a jet trying to take off in my living room. One of them failed in less than a week. So, now what?
Well, I did some digging and found the red sea max 250c fans were close to the same and that fan module is still available. So, I ordered one and modified it to fit into the back of the tank. Didn't solder anything in yet, because I wanted to make sure these fans will work.
Still working and keeping the tank cool a few months later. These fans are 5mm deeper than the original ones, so I will have to cut one of the grates off of the original housing to make them fit. Still haven't got around to that. I will post pics when it is done.
Next on the list: lighting... The t5's in this thing were shot. Coralife bulbs that were practically black. Time for some new ones.
After doing some more research, I decided to go with ATI bulbs. I also thought an actinic LED strip would be a nice addition, so I ordered a Reefbrite actinic strip for it and modified the hood to fit.
20200519_075758.jpg

Next issue, was the hood fans. Some of them were getting pretty noisy, so I decided to replace them as well. This required total hood disassembly. Wow, that thing was dirty! But, after cleaning all of the dust out of the hood and replacing the fans, my water temp dropped 2 degrees!
While the hood was apart, I finished the modifications for the actinic strip for a little cleaner install. Turned out great! The 36" reefbrite strip just barely fits between the hinges for the hood and is angled back slightly to allow for better coverage. I purchased a coralife surge protector with a daytime and nighttime sockets. Plugged the actinic strip into the daytime socket and have it running from 8-11.
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Since then, I have only added a Tunze ATO.
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Here is the tank today.
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Current livestock includes:
Frogspawn, 2 hammers, and 1 torch.
Yellow bandit chalice
Couple ricordea Florida
Clove polyps
6 ultra RFA's one regular brown.green.
1 green/red blasto
Bird of paradise seriatapora
Unknown green acropora
Montipora setosa
Montipora undata
Nightfall montipora
Red or pink montipora capricornis
Sunset montipora
Couple acan lords
Jack-o-lantern leptoseris
Green pagoda cup
John Deere leptastrea
Green hydnophora
Meteor shower cyphastrea
Skunk cleaner shrimp
Small coral banded shrimp with yellow body (I forget the name and it never comes out)
Candy cane pistol shrimp and hi fin goby pair.
Sand sifting sea star
2 Mexican turbo snails
2 giant tongan nassarius snails
Few other nassarius snails
Trochus and astrea snails
Cerith snails
Yellow coris wrasse
2 clowns
Yellow tang
Algae blenny

It was a lot of work, but I learned a ton and the tank is up and running great!
 
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SamMule

SamMule

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FTS pic update.
Down to 3 bulbs in the hood plus the ReefBrite strip to achieve a reasonable level of PAR.
Blue+
Actinic
Aquablue special

Parameters as of yesterday.
Alk 7.9
Calc 420
Mag 1350
Nitrates 5-12(closer to 5)
Phosphates .02. (were up to .07 a week ago, but I slacked off on feeding a bit)

KIMG0196.JPG
 
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20210612_184140-ANIMATION.gif

Tank update. A lot has changed...
I got a dimmer for the reefbrite strip and have been slowly adding bulbs back to the hood. Up to the full 6 bulbs now and the strip is down to 50%.
The corals have been responding mostly positively to the changes. Had a couple montis get a little bleachy on me after adding the last bulb, but I think they're settling in now (has been about a week). The ballast for my rear 2 bulbs is going bad, so the rear 2 bulbs are intermittent. New ballasts should be here today.
I removed the marinepure blocks from my sump, and my Phosphates are finally coming up. Skimmer went down for a couple months and they actually got a little higher than I wanted, but it's back to a "reasonable" level now. .26 yesterday.
With the increase in phosphates, coral coloration has improved greatly.
RC Poison Envy is the only one that really refuses to color up for me. Still just green with yellowish tips.
Current parameters:
SG 1.026
Alk 7.8-8.2
Calc 420
Mag 1350
PO4 .2-.3
Nitrates ~15

Current lighting config.
Reefbrite strip 50% 8-11
T5's 12-8
Coral+
Blue+
Actinic
ABS
Blue+
Coral+
 
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SamMule

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Replaced the ballasts today. And they work!
Figured I would take a couple top down shots while I was at it.
Fox flame: Growing great at 350-400 PAR and the color is fantastic!
KIMG0515.JPG


LA mariculture tenuis I picked up. Starting to show some neat colors.
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A. Horrida I think? Growing slow, but love the white polyps and neon green tips.
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RC Poison Envy. Stubborn SOB grows but will not color up for me.
However, the ORA frogskin above it is fantastic. Highly underrated piece IMO.
KIMG0520.JPG
 
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Back down to 5 bulbs again... After replacing 3 of my 14 month-old bulbs, the PAR increase was too much and a few of my acros started to bleach.


Few new additions last week as well.
WD, SCOP, and JF Solar flare.

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Have been dealing with phosphates climbing too high. Got as high as .55 last week, but did a 50% WC and started 8tbsp of GFO. Feeding 2 cubes of frozen food per day.
Seems the rising phosphates are somewhat under control now.
.29 a few days ago, and .34 this morning. Nitrates have been steady in the ~15 range. Alk 7.9 this morning as well.
 
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20210612_184140-ANIMATION.gif

Tank update. A lot has changed...
I got a dimmer for the reefbrite strip and have been slowly adding bulbs back to the hood. Up to the full 6 bulbs now and the strip is down to 50%.
The corals have been responding mostly positively to the changes. Had a couple montis get a little bleachy on me after adding the last bulb, but I think they're settling in now (has been about a week). The ballast for my rear 2 bulbs is going bad, so the rear 2 bulbs are intermittent. New ballasts should be here today.
I removed the marinepure blocks from my sump, and my Phosphates are finally coming up. Skimmer went down for a couple months and they actually got a little higher than I wanted, but it's back to a "reasonable" level now. .26 yesterday.
With the increase in phosphates, coral coloration has improved greatly.
RC Poison Envy is the only one that really refuses to color up for me. Still just green with yellowish tips.
Current parameters:
SG 1.026
Alk 7.8-8.2
Calc 420
Mag 1350
PO4 .2-.3
Nitrates ~15

Current lighting config.
Reefbrite strip 50% 8-11
T5's 12-8
Coral+
Blue+
Actinic
ABS
Blue+
Coral+
I'm looking to add a reefbrite strip like you did on my RSM250.... Where did you get yours (BRS?) and did you need to get anything besides the strip (like a controller, etc)? Thanks!
 
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SamMule

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Yeah, I think it was BRS. The one I purchased is the smaller one. Lumilite maybe?
You don't need anything else, but I strongly recommend the on-line dimmer. It's only like $20 and really useful to control the intensity.
I have mine plugged into a Coralife surge protector with the timer to control on/off times. Works great.
 

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Yeah, I think it was BRS. The one I purchased is the smaller one. Lumilite maybe?
You don't need anything else, but I strongly recommend the on-line dimmer. It's only like $20 and really useful to control the intensity.
I have mine plugged into a Coralife surge protector with the timer to control on/off times. Works great.
So you got the 24 inch one, or 36 inch? How did you attach it to the hood, and did you angle it back towards the middle of the tank? Thanks again for the advice!
 
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SamMule

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Tank update:
Had something go through it a couple of months ago. Still not sure what happened. Corals started to stress and all growth stopped. Also had a few acros start to recede. No growth= no kalk consumption and silly me didn't adjust the dose to my ATO. Ended up spiking Alk to 10.5!
Ended up losing a couple of acros and most lost color.
Fox flame went from this:
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To this:
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My best looking frag of PC rainbow is basically gone. Only a few polyps left. It sure was looking good though.
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Interestingly enough, my RC Poison Envy actually started looking better. The reds started to come out finally. Seems to be the only one.
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Got things back on track in October or November.
Shortly thereafter, I had 2 pump control manifolds for my Currentusa pumps fail on me in a month. Ended up swapping both pumps out for a single MP40.
The change in flow pattern required a little rearranging, but I think overall, the MP40 is a huge step up. Corals seem to be loving it!
My A. Valida is still growing like a weed. Never missed a beat throughout the whole ordeal.
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SCOP slowly chugging along. Still haven't seen any orange yet. Light blue with more yellow polyps now.
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This A. Horrida (I think... Maybe ORA purple plasma) also didn't seem to mind all of the changes. Still slowly growing. Colors are still great.
KIMG0787.JPG


WD is still mostly green. New growth around the base appears to be getting some blue/purple and possibly yellow at the base of the polyps. Time will tell.
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Had some recession at the base of this BSA acid rain, which really worried me. It's one of my favorites! A little super glue over the affected area seemed to stop the issue. It's growing back over the glue now. Wish I could capture the color better on this one....
KIMG0828.JPG


Here's a FTS from yesterday. Some aggression issues I'm gonna have to address after rearranging, but overall, things are on the right track again!
KIMG0867.JPG


Oh yeah...
Alk running 7.5-8.5. Still dialing kalk dose back in as demand increases.
Cal 420
Mag 1325-1350
NO3 12-25 nyos
PO4 .2-.3
Reefbrite actinic on 100% 0800-2200
T5's
ABS,Blue plus, actinic, coral plus, blue plus. On 1130-2000.

Contemplating going back up to that 6th bulb again and turning the strip down to 50%. Been slowly bumping the intensity up on the strip with good results so far. The idea is to eventually get more PAR to the acros up top.
According to seneye, the light from the bulbs doesn't seem to penetrate as deeply as the strip. Could be spectrum, could be dispersion... Or both. Either way, it will mean more light for the acros and less down low.
Notes from my last measurement.
WD 450
SCOP 420
Acid Rain 450
Solar Flare 450
Fox Flame 350-400 (don't remember)
Horrida 400ish
Red Planet 340
Bonfire 400
Orange creamsicle 420
Poison Envy 470
Valida 420
Mr. Neutron 400
Fuzzy stag 350
Copps blue Hoeksemai 350

These are max par estimates from memory.
Also worth noting, the corals on the front half (where the actinic strip lighting is more intense) tend to get more vibrant coloration. Acros, LPS, everything. Don't know if it's total PAR, spectrum, or lighting type, but it does make a difference.

Sorry it's so long... A lot of this is really helpful for me to remember too!
 
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Things seem to be on the right track. Some happy acros with that last bulb in there.
R.C. Poison Envy FINALLY showing it's colors and growing at a good clip!
KIMG1014.JPG


Fox Flame coming back nicely.
KIMG1018.JPG


WD Shooting out a few new branches. Colors are coming in as well.
KIMG1016.JPG

SCOP getting a base going now. No orange yet, but fingers crossed...
KIMG1015.JPG


PC rainbow. Finally moved out of reach of the RFA that has been harassing it.
KIMG1017.JPG


JF solar flare. Not much growth, color, or PE. Might just be another stubborn piece.
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Mystery Milli from LFS. Was pretty brown when I got it last week.
KIMG1021_02_BURST1001021.JPG


Still no idea what this one is. I suspect A. horrida. Doesn't grow fast, but the colors are very unique! B.C. bonfire below it.
KIMG1022.JPG


Another LFS mystery piece. Been getting hammered by my torch lately.
KIMG1000.JPG


TGC Orange Creamsicle. Also been a great grower for me. PE has really ticked up with some recent increases in flow.
KIMG0986.JPG


B.C. Mr. Neutron. Super bright, but growth has been almost non-existent. Will be 1 yr in my system next month.
KIMG0992.JPG
 
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I finally bought the same LED to mount (Violet) and wanted to double check where you mounted yours. Did you go inside the forward part of the hood (the first 3 inches that hinges up), or did you go direct to the under side of the hood (one of your pics looks like it's right next to the clear light shield for the other lights)? What did you use to mount the brackets to (it looks like a piece of black foam), and did you need to do anything special to route the power cable? Also, you seem to be able to dim the LED's but they don't come with that capability, so did you add a switch to your setup? Thanks again for the advice!
 
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Cool!
I mounted the light at the very front edge of the main hood. Not the part that hinges. I used stainless screws and the supplied brackets. Bent them back to get the light pointing back slightly. The foam is just there to take up the gap between the hood and the bracket.
When I installed the light, I had the hood off and apart. I drilled a couple of holes and routed the power chord through the hood so that it wasn't hanging down in the water. Been awhile, so I don't remember exactly where. I might be able to snap some pics later this evening when I get home.
The dimmer is available separately for the light. BRS has them. Think it was around $20.
They also have a Bluetooth controller for it as well, but it was considerably more expensive.
Also, I use the Coralife surge protector with the built in timer to control on/off for the LED. Not sure if I mentioned that or not.
 
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