ScottB

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Your thread keeps reminding me that I DON'T yet have Vivid's Insanity and I SHOULD have a nice piece.
 
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It looks like you could do even more kalk, especially on the downhill pH time periods. I set mine to start dripping just before pH peak, and usually let it drip until an hour or so before lights on. I've noticed about a 30 minute lag time between drip start/stop and the effect on pH. It's kind of fun to play the "flatten the pH curve" game.

Thanks, that's helpful to know. The pH overlay is a nice way to visualize. I'm working to progressively adjust, but going slow as I adjust the alkalinity and calcium 2 part dosing to account for the addition of the kalk.
 

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I added kalk to the stirrer mid week. It took about 48 hours for the solution to settle and clear. I started with four intervals on the DOS. I have the drip stop for 30 minutes before and after when the trident performs its sampling. Probably unecessary, but I wanted to reduce the chances of forming precipitate in the trident's sampling line as the sampling line is located in the return section of the sump.

I rely on a couple fans for evaporative cooling and top off more than 5 liters per day, so no concern regarding salinity with the addition of the kalk. I did program in pH and salinity parameters for the DOS as safeguards regardless.

I typically adjust the volume of dosing weekly and had deliberately fallen behind a bit in order to give a little wiggle room with the alkalinity and avoid an alkalinity spike when the kalk drip came online. I also added a large tridacna noae which will increase consumption as well.

I don't have a great sense of how much the kalkwasser is going to add to the alkalinity and calcium levels. I also don't have a great sense of the volume required to affect the pH. I plan to go slowly and monitor carefully. It is going to take some time and trialing to get things dialed in, and I plan to hold off on adding the calcium reactor in the meantime.

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Love the Blonde Naso, I can't wait until mine gets a little more size and starts to get those colors.
 
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Love the Blonde Naso, I can't wait until mine gets a little more size and starts to get those colors.

He is a family favorite and has grown well for me. Has a really pleasant relaxed swimming pattern and eats like a pig.

 
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I have modified the way that I feed the tank in a couple ways.

The first adjustment has been the increasing the feeding and pump intervals for the plank. I use the plank to feed freeze dried food 8 times per day currently. As I've added fish I increased the time and amount of food I dispense per feeding. I initially didn't increase the run time of the pump and food would remain in the chamber which led to some clogging. This resolved when I adjusted the programming to increase the duration of the pump. The food dispenser runs for 3 minutes and the pump runs for 10 minutes. For the final feeding of the day, I run the pump for 20 minutes to flush out the chamber.

Here is the current programming I'm using (I deleted some of the feeding intervals to fit the programming on a single screenshot):

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The second change, has been premixing washed frozen food into a single cube. After cyano issues early, I started to wash the frozen food prior to feeding the tank.

Sometimes I leave early for work, and don't have time to wash the food in the morning. By washing the food in advance and making cubes of the food, I can add one cube of the washed food to the plank mixing chamber in the morning and walk away. The food gets dispensed the next time the pump comes on at its normal interval.

Here's the current mix 1 pack of mysis, 1/2 ocean plankton, 1/2 brine shrimp, 1 pack calanus, and reef caviar
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I melt the food in RO. The spout on the pitcher is helpful during the process.
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Here's the discarded water from an earlier batch. I think it's been helpful to avoid adding this waste water to the tank.
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Here's what the food looks like after rinsing in a brine shrimp net 3-4 times with RO water.
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I add about one tablespoon of washed food per cube.
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I add one cube to the mixing chamber of the plank once or twice a day, and can walk away if needed.
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Here's a video of the tank eating the melted cube via the feeder.


IMG_6835.jpg

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rds85

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I do the same thing! make one huge cube with a mix of all sorts of stuff. My most recent has been squid.
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I have noticed a decent spike in nitrates when I started using the plank feeder a lot more. What is your most current method for dealing with off the shelf freeze dried food. I have been using a strainer for the mysis, but that is it. I use mysis, canalus, rotifers, and cyclops.
 
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I do the same thing! make one huge cube with a mix of all sorts of stuff. My most recent has been squid.
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I have noticed a decent spike in nitrates when I started using the plank feeder a lot more. What is your most current method for dealing with off the shelf freeze dried food. I have been using a strainer for the mysis, but that is it. I use mysis, canalus, rotifers, and cyclops.

That's a good question, I'm still trying to figure out the best solution for the elevated nitrates and phosphates. Have you observed any negative effects from your elevated nitrates? How high are they getting?

I think of the nitrates and phosphates in terms of nutrient import and export. I've tried to reduce the waste import by washing the food and straining the freeze dried mysis. Once I realized how high my nitrates and phosphates were I've attempted to increase the export by increasing the refugium photoperiod. The macro algae in there is dense and I've been harvesting it once every couple weeks. I also increased the volume of my daily water changes. Currently I'm changing about 4 gallons a day up from 2.5 gallons.

I don't expect to add many more fish or increase my feeding much more, so hopefully now as the corals grow that may utilize some of the nutrients as well. I haven't experienced any negatives from the high nitrates and phosphates that I can tell, but I'm still seeking a balance. I'm reluctant to add GFO or use other media to remove the nutrients. Are there other methods of export that you think might be helpful?
 
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Have you noticed any changes with the addition of FWS and Booster?

That's a good question and difficult to answer. I started dosing about 5 weeks ago. My sps have continue to grow and base out. It's difficult for me to attribute specifically to coral booster and flatworm stop. I will say that I haven't noticed any negative effects. I have an ICP test in the mail and am interested to see if there has been any shift in the chemistry parameters.

The coral booster settles as I was cautioned, and the magnetic stirrer has been useful. I haven't experienced any clogging of the dosing lines yet. I run the stirrer for about 10 minutes around the time I dose.

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Here's the settled coral booster.
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Here's a video of the mixer in action. The settled material doesn't all go back into solution even after mixing for several minutes, but I think it helps to have it automatically stirring.

 

rds85

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That's a good question, I'm still trying to figure out the best solution for the elevated nitrates and phosphates. Have you observed any negative effects from your elevated nitrates? How high are they getting?

I think of the nitrates and phosphates in terms of nutrient import and export. I've tried to reduce the waste import by washing the food and straining the freeze dried mysis. Once I realized how high my nitrates and phosphates were I've attempted to increase the export by increasing the refugium photoperiod. The macro algae in there is dense and I've been harvesting it once every couple weeks. I also increased the volume of my daily water changes. Currently I'm changing about 4 gallons a day up from 2.5 gallons.

I don't expect to add many more fish or increase my feeding much more, so hopefully now as the corals grow that may utilize some of the nutrients as well. I haven't experienced any negatives from the high nitrates and phosphates that I can tell, but I'm still seeking a balance. I'm reluctant to add GFO or use other media to remove the nutrients. Are there other methods of export that you think might be helpful?

To be honest I have not seen any negative effects and my sticks actually look a lot richer in color. I think when I had the plank going for 5 times and day and I was feeding 3, it peaked out at 18ppm NO3. Phosphates have not been a problem at all. Max value of 0.06. I naturally want to stay in the 10-15ppm NO3 range so I took two feedings off the plank and found a happy medium.

I also change 4 gallons of water a day, and my fuge does way to good of a job removing phosphate.

I am sure once the coral get larger, they will soak up the nutrients. I would not add other medias as well. In my opinion if your tank looks good... why change it unless it is always raising slowly or you are flirting with a really high range. Can you turn your skimmer "up" a setting or two? wet skim a little more?
 
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To be honest I have not seen any negative effects and my sticks actually look a lot richer in color. I think when I had the plank going for 5 times and day and I was feeding 3, it peaked out at 18ppm NO3. Phosphates have not been a problem at all. Max value of 0.06. I naturally want to stay in the 10-15ppm NO3 range so I took two feedings off the plank and found a happy medium.

I also change 4 gallons of water a day, and my fuge does way to good of a job removing phosphate.

I am sure once the coral get larger, they will soak up the nutrients. I would not add other medias as well. In my opinion if your tank looks good... why change it unless it is always raising slowly or you are flirting with a really high range. Can you turn your skimmer "up" a setting or two? wet skim a little more?

I was just interested if you had observed anything negative. The frequent feeding and slightly elevating the nutrients has been positive in my system overall, but I did feel that the numbers were increasing and why I wanted to make the small adjustments in the export.

My process for the freeze dried food is sifting out the freeze dried mysis. I add this to the chamber and top off with calanus and add about 1/2 teaspoon of reef roids. I don't have a consistent overall freeze dried mix and it ends up being mainly freeze dried mysis. The calanus are too small to sift so I haven't done much else for the freeze dried food process. I top off the food chamber about once a week.
 
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An update on the kalk dosing, pH, and Alk curves.

I added a PM2 module to the apex and a conductivity probe to the kalk stirrer. My probe reads fully saturated kalk at about 10 mS / cm. the graph in Figure 1 shows where I added kalk last weekend. There is a healthy layer of kalk on the bottom of the stirrer, but the potency has decreased a couple percent per day and currently is sitting at 8.6 or 86% potency and has plateaued there the past few days

I'm not expecting the solution to remain fully saturated necessarily but I do want the solution to remain in a consistent range. I'm still working to figure out the best routine for the system.

Figure 1. Kalk Stirrer Conductivity
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The pH has increased and is ranging 8.1 to 8.3 now. In hindsight, the first thing I should have done was calibrate my pH probe. I fortunately wasn't too far off, but this did increase my pH reading a bit. I'm currently up to 2.1 liters of kalk / 24 hours. This is maintaining the calcium levels in the system. I continue to dose a small amount of alkalinty over 6 doses / 24 hours.

Figure 2. pH curve and Kalk dosing for past 24 hours
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Figure 3. pH curve and Kalk dosing intervals for past week. Kalk dosing interval added Oct 7 and volumes adjusted to flatten alkalinity range throughout the day
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The pH curve has improved and flattened which was my primary goal. Now I'm seeking a secondary goal of maintaining consistent alk reading over the course of the day. The trident measures alkalinity 4 times / day. The alkalinity was staying consistent at a given time of day. For example, if I measured at noon the alkalinity reading would stay the same. Over the course of the day though, alkalinity was swinging from 7.7-8.1 which was a wider range than ideal. By adjusting to 3 intervals, and adjusting the volumes in the intervals, the daily alkalinity range is more even throughout the day.

Figure 4. Alkalinity measurements and kalk dosing intervals over 24 hours
1633795836698.png


IMG_0044.jpg
 
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The tank is nearly 11 months old. Looking back through the old photos there has been some good coral growth. The initial photos are all from March to April compared to today.

JF Jolt 7 months
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Acropora microclados 7 months

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Rainbow Granulosa 6 months
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Vivid Confetti 6 months
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TGC Acrolandia 6 months

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Gold Rainbow Branching Hammer 6 months
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Sexy Coral's Orange Passion 6 months and multiple frags
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I received new ATI ICP test results. Nutrients are high, everything else looked fairly consistent with the prior ICP 3 months ago.

Major elements are all in line
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Minor elements: Iodine and Manganese are a little low. Iodine is higher than prior ICP from 3 months ago but remains deficient. I did replete after the last ICP test per recommendations. Manganese also low. I thought perhaps I might observe a difference in the minor elements due to adding flatworm stop and coral booster, but nothing notable.

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Nutrients
Nitrates are 33 and phosphates are 0.51. Nitrates are lower than previously, but phosphates continue to trend up. Although I'm tempted, I'm not planning on any chemical intervention with phosphates at this point. Everything looks good and continues to grow. I bumped up the refugium photoperiod to 18 hours.

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ScottB

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"Conventional wisdom" would suggest this tank should be overrun with GHA and dead sticks given these nutrients.

@CharliesFrags would love to see this post, but I cannot figure out how to tag him.

I tend to get some GHA going when I push .2 or so and my herbivores get lazy. I feed 3 X a day and can hardly buy a nitrate.
 

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I ordered a custom sump from @geo. The sump offers a lot of little built in features for cord management, water management, and organization of the equipment and filtration. I'm very happy with the layout and quality of the sump.
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I like using mechanical filtration, but I hate changing it. This leads to me putting it off, so I decided to try the automatic filter rollers for the new build. Due to the range of flow, there are two Clarisea SK-5000's. There is a bypass hole that allows water to equalize in both chambers.

I'd like to minimize the filter roll changes as well, so currently I put them on a timer. When I started using the timer, the rollers were coming on only once a day. I monitored the overflow and have adjusted the frequency of the timer as my bioload, feeding, and flow have changed. This is the current state of the rolls after 5 weeks of operation, and currently they come on every two hours after 5am. I am interested to see how long I can make them last.

IMG_3230.jpeg
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The skimmer is under sized based on recommendations, and due to the use of the roller fleece removing many of the organics before they have a chance to dissolve. I am using the Bubble King Deluxe 200. It's taken a couple weeks, but it's skimming effectively.

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I have two media reactors that run off the individual return pumps. Currently I am only running carbon. Changing the media has been clean and simple. There are also integrated bulkheads for the ATO, AWC (water in/out), and one in the refugium that I will use for the calcium reactor effluent once it's running.

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I like the design of the refugium post-return. It keeps the chamber a little cleaner focused on dissolved nutrients. Pods are less likely to be skimmed out which likely is not a significant issue, but I like it regardless. I also like the reefbrite strip with the light directed down into the chamber without light spill into the other chambers. I added some red ogo a few weeks ago and added my first batch of chaeto this week.

IMG_3231.jpeg


White 1/4" tubing line is the ATO connected to a spectrapure water exchange module (WXM) that is spliced into the Osmolator. There is float tree on an acrylic rod that holds the optical / float sensors in the return section. The WXM draws water from the reservoir in the garage with a 90-100' run of tubing between the reservoir and stand.

IMG_3233.jpeg


No water changes to date, but I'm thinking about getting the automatic water changes recalibrated. I've been manually dosing. I tried coralline in a bottle and I am transferring some encrusted rocks from the other system which should get things going. Once I see some coralline, I'll start adding some more sps corals.
Sorry to jump in late. How do you have the overflow set up? Is one running directly from the tank into fuge?
 
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"Conventional wisdom" would suggest this tank should be overrun with GHA and dead sticks given these nutrients.

@CharliesFrags would love to see this post, but I cannot figure out how to tag him.

I tend to get some GHA going when I push .2 or so and my herbivores get lazy. I feed 3 X a day and can hardly buy a nitrate.
It's the conventional wisdom that tempts me to treat the number, but I don't want to fix something isn't broken. Maybe if the corals keep growing they'll compensate for my feeding habits partially. :D

Regarding the algae, I'm not sure if it's the army of stomatellas that come out at night, the turbo snails, tangs, or just the coralline that keeps things under control, but I consider myself fortunate in that regard. I would certainly never recommend these nutrient levels as a target for anyone as a recipe for success, but for now it seems to be working.

Here were a couple of articles that I found interesting:



Not sure if clams will have any meaningful impact on the nutrients, but I added a few more maximas.

3A76AFE7-FEB2-4092-9108-C8F43F089BBD_1_105_c.jpeg
 
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Sorry to jump in late. How do you have the overflow set up? Is one running directly from the tank into fuge?

I have three 1.5" pipes that go from the external overflow box down to the sump.

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One pipe has a ball valve, one with a gate valve, and the third is the emergency overflow.
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Water flows from the crash box through the mechanical filtration. From there it goes to the skimmer section and then the return section.
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The return pumps go to a manifold. Part of the manifold feeds water to the refugium (orange arrow). There is an overflow in the refugium that then allows water to fall back into the return section.

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