• For a Limited Time the R2R Partner Membership is NOW OPEN! Get some cool swag and chances to win part of over $20,000 in prizes! Click here for more details

SkiCat's Dream Build: [Saving The] Planet 180 - The Making Of An Epic Aquacultured Mixed Reef

Tom Stevens

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Jul 8, 2018
Messages
347
Reaction score
548
Location
Costa Mesa
Not a whole lot going on with the tank this week as we wait for the cycle to complete. It's basically there now, but we're going out of town this week, so I won't start adding things until next Saturday at the earliest. That's when I'll put all the LPS and anemones in, and the fish all start their QT period.

One of my clowns is showing what looks like ich, which is interesting since I have seen no sign of this before, and I haven't gotten a new animal of any kind in over a year and a half. It must have been in there quietly all that time though, unless it is something else. Anyway, I'm going to separate the fish and corals and treat. I don't want to start off a clean tank with this.

I have also been doing a bit of printing. I found that the original 3D printed LocLine and RFG are restricting the flow a bit too much. I modified all the parts to have a larger bore and increased the scale from 3/4" to nearly 1". These are some PLA test prints, then I'll switch to PETG once I get them sorted out, as it takes way longer to print. PETG is safer in the water than PLA and a bit less brittle.

C0A2D352-BFEA-4C3C-9E73-94D32D0057B8_1_105_c.jpeg
What printer do you use? I just got an Ender 5 Pro and been having a lot of fun with it.
 
Top Shelf Aquatics

Tom Stevens

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Jul 8, 2018
Messages
347
Reaction score
548
Location
Costa Mesa
I have the new LocLine and RFGs ready.

5FD03F35-2560-43AE-AB0C-C8A3244981AA_1_105_c.jpeg
5D9A00A3-4D61-4E4F-BF2B-012CFE8E1E17_1_105_c.jpeg


The new larger longer RFG nozzles are on the left. With these larger scaled LocLine segments, and the improved bore in the RFGs, the reduction in flow from the return pumps is only about 10%, which is much better than the originals I made, and they work great. I held my hand in front of them and felt the changing flow patterns.

F8C6156B-9A47-4EBB-B2A0-6D25675A09FC_1_105_c.jpeg
165CCBF8-BC7A-4238-B1EF-C349FDA88E41_1_105_c.jpeg


Only problem is, the Venturi effect is so strong it's pulling air in from the surface in loud sucking tornados! I'm going to have to print one more segment for each side to put them farther down under the surface...
I played around with those and ultimately removed them. To keep the air from pulling in you have to put them low in water. At that point I was afraid that water would siphon when the return pump is off and overflow the sump.
 

JoshH

Tank Status: Wet...ish, growing things....
View Badges
Joined
Dec 3, 2016
Messages
8,536
Reaction score
29,104
Location
Calgary, Alberta
hehe, yeah, if you cut it just right you can bend it ever so slightly when installing and it fits tightly. Also, it required a rimless tank to fit snug. I guess with the rimmed QT tank you could make it slightly smaller, or cable tie two pieces together once inside the tank.

Warning though, even a 2" long clownfish can turn diagonally and wiggle through...so better for tangs or angels I guess. Pumpkin (daugher's name for orange [email protected] clown) goes back and forth freely, so the barrier turned out to be completely worthless in this case...

D075FF72-C74E-42D3-8217-CC540EEA10C8_1_105_c.jpeg


Luckily, it seems to be fine because the two of them are total buds now, swimming together in formation and hanging out. A year ago they nearly killed each other, go figure.
Not totally worthless, it gave the little guy to have the option to escape if needed:)

I have the new LocLine and RFGs ready.

5FD03F35-2560-43AE-AB0C-C8A3244981AA_1_105_c.jpeg
5D9A00A3-4D61-4E4F-BF2B-012CFE8E1E17_1_105_c.jpeg


The new larger longer RFG nozzles are on the left. With these larger scaled LocLine segments, and the improved bore in the RFGs, the reduction in flow from the return pumps is only about 10%, which is much better than the originals I made, and they work great. I held my hand in front of them and felt the changing flow patterns.

F8C6156B-9A47-4EBB-B2A0-6D25675A09FC_1_105_c.jpeg
165CCBF8-BC7A-4238-B1EF-C349FDA88E41_1_105_c.jpeg


Only problem is, the Venturi effect is so strong it's pulling air in from the surface in loud sucking tornados! I'm going to have to print one more segment for each side to put them farther down under the surface...
Yeah, I'm going to need me some of these!!
 
OP
SkiCatTX

SkiCatTX

Sustainable Reefkeeping
View Badges
Joined
Jan 10, 2019
Messages
815
Reaction score
2,082
Location
South of Houston
A bit of a Chemisty update. I have been watching a roller coaster ride of Phosphate in the last couple weeks after the cync
What printer do you use? I just got an Ender 5 Pro and been having a lot of fun with it.
It's an Ender 3 Pro with a BigTreeTech SKR Mini 2.0 controller board, TFT35 touch screen, the BLTouch auto-leveling sensor, and Raspberry Pi3 with OctoPrint. You can find more details on page 12 (wow, are we really up to 18 pages already?).

44324255-220E-4DB2-A2EC-BC532CF1333F_1_105_c.jpeg


With the mods, I can save an STL file from TinkerCAD, load it into Cura, slice, and print directly within Cura and watch the progress on the PiCamera in a web browser or in Cura's monitor tab. Also, with the auto-leveling, I never have to care about leveling all the time even if I change out the surface or add tape for adherence. I love it!
 
OP
SkiCatTX

SkiCatTX

Sustainable Reefkeeping
View Badges
Joined
Jan 10, 2019
Messages
815
Reaction score
2,082
Location
South of Houston
I played around with those and ultimately removed them. To keep the air from pulling in you have to put them low in water. At that point I was afraid that water would siphon when the return pump is off and overflow the sump.
Yeah, I'm having that problem. I printed additional LocLine segments to put them farther down, but now they are more visible and need to aim at the rocks. I still get slurping tornados a couple times an hour...

I may end up removing them as they lower the turnover, even if they have a higher flow velocity. I could drill small holes in the LocLine to reduce the amount of backflow in an emergency I suppose.
 
Fragtacular Sale
OP
SkiCatTX

SkiCatTX

Sustainable Reefkeeping
View Badges
Joined
Jan 10, 2019
Messages
815
Reaction score
2,082
Location
South of Houston
Not totally worthless, it gave the little guy to have the option to escape if needed:)
Yeah, I put a smaller piece back in the corner just in case, though he doesn't seem interested in using it. They are fighting a bit now, though I don't think they are doing any damage, mostly just chasing and posturing. My wife thinks it's a courting dance, but think it's a bit too aggressive for that. We'll just have to watch them.

I added a small mirror which worked great initially. Within seconds of adding it, they were both fighting their reflections. However, after a day or so they now ignore the mirror and just chase each other. Interestingly, the Lawnmower Blenny does posture with himself every once in a while. The clowns completely ignore him.
 

JoshH

Tank Status: Wet...ish, growing things....
View Badges
Joined
Dec 3, 2016
Messages
8,536
Reaction score
29,104
Location
Calgary, Alberta
Yeah, I put a smaller piece back in the corner just in case, though he doesn't seem interested in using it. They are fighting a bit now, though I don't think they are doing any damage, mostly just chasing and posturing. My wife thinks it's a courting dance, but think it's a bit too aggressive for that. We'll just have to watch them.

I added a small mirror which worked great initially. Within seconds of adding it, they were both fighting their reflections. However, after a day or so they now ignore the mirror and just chase each other. Interestingly, the Lawnmower Blenny does posture with himself every once in a while. The clowns completely ignore him.
My Female bullet hole clown beat the living snot out of my snowflake for the first week orso. They ended up getting along just fine after that eventhough I thought for sure it was too much.
 
Last edited:
OP
SkiCatTX

SkiCatTX

Sustainable Reefkeeping
View Badges
Joined
Jan 10, 2019
Messages
815
Reaction score
2,082
Location
South of Houston
A bit of a Chemistry update. I have been watching a roller coaster ride of Phosphate in the last couple of weeks after the cycle.

Right after I considered the initial cycle complete, the Phosphate tested at .6ppm with the Hanna Checker. I added a few ml of Lanthanum Chloride to bring it down to a reasonable level. From there it gradually lowered to nearly undetectable over a week or so.

A6012481-B4C4-4E47-9363-1DFB37911C60_1_201_a.jpeg


Since I'm only feeding a small number of LPS and Anemones, it looks like I'll either need to feed way more, or dose a bit, for now, to keep the values up.

06AE9223-DF0F-44F9-B393-F20B18C7C321_1_105_c.jpeg


I mixed up 500ml of RODI with 6g of Potassium Phosphate and dosed 30ml yesterday. I tested a few hours later and got 0.064ppt, this morning it was down to 0.028ppt. I dosed another 30ml today, so we'll see how that does again tomorrow. I'll also add some more to the feeding today.
 
OP
SkiCatTX

SkiCatTX

Sustainable Reefkeeping
View Badges
Joined
Jan 10, 2019
Messages
815
Reaction score
2,082
Location
South of Houston
My Female bullet hole clown beat the living snot out of my snowflake for the first week orso. They ended up gettinf along just fine after that eventhough I thought for sure it was too much.
Yeah, well we'll just leave them alone for now to hopefully work it out...
 

Tom Stevens

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Jul 8, 2018
Messages
347
Reaction score
548
Location
Costa Mesa
Yeah, I'm having that problem. I printed additional LocLine segments to put them farther down, but now they are more visible and need to aim at the rocks. I still get slurping tornados a couple times an hour...

I may end up removing them as they lower the turnover, even if they have a higher flow velocity. I could drill small holes in the LocLine to reduce the amount of backflow in an emergency I suppose.
Your experience is similar to mine. When I got to the point of drilling a hole in the lock line, that is when I removed. It was getting to hard to use them and besides, I am counting on the wave pumps to provide most of the flow anyway. The geek in me loved them, but they did not work out for me at least.
 
OP
SkiCatTX

SkiCatTX

Sustainable Reefkeeping
View Badges
Joined
Jan 10, 2019
Messages
815
Reaction score
2,082
Location
South of Houston
Nitrate is doing well. After the cycle it topped out at around 20ppm. Over the last couple weeks it has gradually come down to around 10ppm, as measured by the Nyos test kit. Out of curiosity, I also did a Red Sea test this morning (with slightly expired reagents, which is why I got the Nyos kit), and it came out about 12ppm, so they are still pretty close.

CF45B155-C5B8-4373-855E-649B30D0C82D_1_201_a.jpeg


If it keeps the downward trend, I might need to increase feeding a bit, or dose Nitrate as well until I get the fish in.

I guess I should also adjust the skimmer to be a bit drier. I need to keep it running to increase the pH, as when it's off and not drawing outside air, the pH drops about .2. Even with the outside draw however, pH is hovering around 7.9 to 8.0, so I may need either Calc or a CO2 scrubber...
 
OP
SkiCatTX

SkiCatTX

Sustainable Reefkeeping
View Badges
Joined
Jan 10, 2019
Messages
815
Reaction score
2,082
Location
South of Houston
I had to clean the back glass for the first time yesterday! YaY...

Only a small number of brownish dots, but I figure I need to get into the habit or the white background will not be white for long. I have a long scraper with a blade, but for this, and for the acrylic, I just needed to wipe it this time. Here's what I came up with:

FE49944D-1B8A-4473-91C4-2687943B4C3F_1_105_c.jpeg


Just wrapped it with a Magic Eraser thin pad, worked great!

499B305B-01C8-4F5D-B718-CBD7E4EF0FE4_1_105_c.jpeg


These are one of the best aquarium cleaning inventions ever! Totally worth having a box of these around. Just peel one off, clean, and toss. There are genetic versions around as well, I believe.
 
OP
SkiCatTX

SkiCatTX

Sustainable Reefkeeping
View Badges
Joined
Jan 10, 2019
Messages
815
Reaction score
2,082
Location
South of Houston
First fish and coral pics!

I'm still waiting for the lens filters that I ordered. The ones I originally got turned out to be graduated filters, with color on one side, and clear on the other side for filming sunrise/sunsets I guess. I have to return those, but I ordered the correct ones, which should be here this week.

For now, I just took these with bright light RAW and adjusted them in the Photo app to be reasonably close. Here are a few decent captures out of a few hundred that I took. It was my first time trying an SLR camera on the tank, as usually I just use my phone. These are with a macro lens with a +5 macro filter.

"Grover" the Lawnmower Blenny
IMG_4255.jpeg


"Pumpkin" and "Storm". These are a bit out of focus, but I was not able to get any with both of them in focus and not blurred...still need to work on faster shutter and smaller aperture...probably need more light for that.
IMG_4288.jpeg
11506AFE-203C-473F-B415-9723B27D3E98_1_201_a.jpeg


Duncan still on the rack
IMG_4246.jpeg


Torch. These one was so blue I couldn't get the white balance correct without loosing too much detail in the polyps, but I think it came out OK. The narrow focus is pretty cool.
IMG_4300.jpeg


Rock Flower Anemones. This one is pretty deep in the tank with again a narrow focal range, but kind of cool. I could probably zoom in more and crop.
IMG_4333.jpeg
 
OP
SkiCatTX

SkiCatTX

Sustainable Reefkeeping
View Badges
Joined
Jan 10, 2019
Messages
815
Reaction score
2,082
Location
South of Houston
As for feeding, I'm sure I'm totally overdoing this for just a few LPS and Anemones, but I need to up the Phosphate and Nitrate anyway, and I want to foster the right balance of bacteria and pods over the next few months when I will start to add more SPS and fish.

A8CEEF5E-2647-4269-BE94-EB53405C88BE_1_105_c.jpeg


Daily, I'm adding the following:

30ml OceanMagik Phyto (mixed with about 20ml each PNO Yellow Sno and PNS Pro Bio, for about 15 minutes), then dumped into the tank. These are all from Algae Barn.

Spot feed later in the day about 1 heaping micro spoonful each of Reef-Roids and Coral Frenzy, 1ml CoralAmino, 4ml Reef Energy AB+. I set up feeding mode with the Hydros (triggered by the Apex) to run all the wavemakers at 5%, and leave on the return pumps while feeding with a long tube, and turn off the UV Sterilizers and Skimmer for about a half-hour afterward. I'm also going to adjust the skimmer to be a litter drier so I'm not pulling so much of this back out, while still aerating the water.

AB07F294-909A-4F56-9980-0137DDA8D4EF_1_105_c.jpeg


I pre-mix the spot feeding in 1oz cups and put them in the mini fridge. I try not to make more than a week's worth, usually only 4-5 days so it doesn't go bad, but recently I've been so busy I would rather make more than miss feedings.
 
OP
SkiCatTX

SkiCatTX

Sustainable Reefkeeping
View Badges
Joined
Jan 10, 2019
Messages
815
Reaction score
2,082
Location
South of Houston
I started mounting a few of the frags. Just a few of the healthier ones, others I'll wait at least another week and see how they're doing, some are still quite a bit stressed.

The putty is gray, even though it was advertised as purple...so it ends up pretty bright under the lights. I figure it will be brown or purple soon enough, so it's not such a big deal...

I have tried a lot of mounting techniques over the years, but my current favorite is to cut most of the bottom pin off the plug, put some super glue gel on the cut spot, apply a ball of two-part epoxy putty, then another layer of super glue gel. I then push this against a hole or notch in the rock, pushing the putty into cracks to secure.

Using just super glue, the glue forms an instant skin when it hits water and won't stick, the putty by itself is too pliable, sags, and also doesn't really stick it just turns solid and falls off later. However, the two together seems to work really well (I think the putty pushes the glue down into the rock), but can still be removed down the line if necessary without a lot of fuss if I need to remove the colony for some reason.

IMG_4339.jpeg


The Torches are doing especially well, as are these green and yellow Hammers.

A7832926-A422-46B8-B5D4-38D20D9607E9_1_105_c.jpeg
E70E7EAE-F10C-46F4-A17C-7B6B489ABC01_1_105_c.jpeg


The Duncan colony is also as happy as ever.

IMG_4364.jpeg
 
Fragtacular Sale

Tom Stevens

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Jul 8, 2018
Messages
347
Reaction score
548
Location
Costa Mesa
I started mounting a few of the frags. Just a few of the healthier ones, others I'll wait at least another week and see how they're doing, some are still quite a bit stressed.

The putty is gray, even though it was advertised as purple...so it ends up pretty bright under the lights. I figure it will be brown or purple soon enough, so it's not such a big deal...

I have tried a lot of mounting techniques over the years, but my current favorite is to cut most of the bottom pin off the plug, put some super glue gel on the cut spot, apply a ball of two-part epoxy putty, then another layer of super glue gel. I then push this against a hole or notch in the rock, pushing the putty into cracks to secure.

Using just super glue, the glue forms an instant skin when it hits water and won't stick, the putty by itself is too pliable, sags, and also doesn't really stick it just turns solid and falls off later. However, the two together seems to work really well (I think the putty pushes the glue down into the rock), but can still be removed down the line if necessary without a lot of fuss if I need to remove the colony for some reason.

IMG_4339.jpeg


The Torches are doing especially well, as are these green and yellow Hammers.

A7832926-A422-46B8-B5D4-38D20D9607E9_1_105_c.jpeg
E70E7EAE-F10C-46F4-A17C-7B6B489ABC01_1_105_c.jpeg


The Duncan colony is also as happy as ever.

IMG_4364.jpeg
Nice job! I use a combo of putty and super glue gel as well. The coral holds much better and for SPS, they seem to like to prefer to encrust over the putty.
 

Sisterlimonpot

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Jul 15, 2009
Messages
1,809
Reaction score
4,320
Location
Litchfield Park
This pic really showcases the white on white in white. Looks good!

One question, does that printed version of RFG really change the flow like the true RFGs? I was under the impression that all they did was spiral the water. There wasn't any randomness to the 5 directions it can flow...
 
OP
SkiCatTX

SkiCatTX

Sustainable Reefkeeping
View Badges
Joined
Jan 10, 2019
Messages
815
Reaction score
2,082
Location
South of Houston
This pic really showcases the white on white in white. Looks good!
Thanks! I like it so far, going to have to stick with it to keep it clean though...

I do wish the Gyres came in white. I am going to look into printing a cover for the outside magnet, and some king of anemone guards for the inside blade covers.

One question, does that printed version of RFG really change the flow like the true RFGs? I was under the impression that all they did was spiral the water. There wasn't any randomness to the 5 directions it can flow...
Yeah it does. It needs pretty high flow, but it comes out a little offset from center in one of the channel directions. After about 2-3 seconds it switches to one of the others. It continues to switch every couple seconds.
 
OP
SkiCatTX

SkiCatTX

Sustainable Reefkeeping
View Badges
Joined
Jan 10, 2019
Messages
815
Reaction score
2,082
Location
South of Houston
I finally got around to calibrating the Trident the other day. It is almost time to change out the Alk reagent! Interestingly, it really wasn't that far off. After the calibration, Alk only changed about 0.05, and Ca and Mg only about 5.

815C2208-8A57-447F-9D20-B6C9E3DC4131.jpeg


The one thing I don't like is that the tests that the machine does during the calibration are recorded in the history log. You can see the dips in the graph. It does at least mark when the calibration happens, but it also puts a big dent in the graph if the values of the calibration solution are not the same as the tank at the time.
 

How often do you have some type of algae issue?

  • Constantly Something

    Votes: 242 42.3%
  • Every Month

    Votes: 32 5.6%
  • Every Few Months

    Votes: 69 12.1%
  • A Few Times A Year

    Votes: 82 14.3%
  • Once A Year Or So

    Votes: 60 10.5%
  • Every Few years

    Votes: 29 5.1%
  • Never.....(are you lying?)

    Votes: 38 6.6%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 20 3.5%

Online statistics

Members online
2,201
Guests online
5,328
Total visitors
7,529
PremiumAquatics.com
Top