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

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SkiCatTX

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Looks really nice! Get those push out door things, where you push it and it pops it out so you can open it. NO KNOBS...please please. It would pain me and it’s not even my stand.

I guess they’re called magnetic push latches.
Yeah. The problem is that the doors fit snugly against the frame. In order for those to work, the door has to stick out about 1/4", which would be obvious when the doors are closed.

Actually, I have an idea. What if I attach magnets to the back of the doors where the knob would be and hold a magnet in the front to open it? I have a few of the very strong magnets left, I'll check it out. Also, I might just keep a tool nearby to open one door...same if I had to keep a magnet took around... We'll see...
 
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Is this food line-up still working well for you? I'm having really decent success (in an NPS system, actually) using most of the same (I'm using Coral Feast instead of the Roids and Frenzy).
Yes, I believe so, so far. I just ordered another round from Algae Barn since I was out of everything but Phyto for a while now. All the Torches, Frogspawn, Hammers, and Anemones are doing really well, the Candy Cane are recovering slowly but seem to be doing OK.

The Stylo is not recovering as fast as I would like. It's doing OK, but polyp extension is not great. That might be due to temperature as I raised it for a couple weeks to around 82'F in the hopes of speeding any parasites during the fallow period. I'm gradually bringing that back down as I plan to add the fish from QT this coming weekend.

Some of the excessive feeding is trying to get Phosphate up, and to feed to pods. I have yet to see any pods in the sand, but they went in super small and have only been in for a few weeks so far. I'll continue to add more for a few weeks in the hopes of getting a good population before we have fish that will eat them.
 
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Speaking of NO3 and PH4. I turned down the dosing on both, since Nitrate was reading around 10 and I was dosing 12ml per day, that is now 6ml. And Phosphate was up to 100ml per day of NeoPhos for over a week and still no detectable reading. So I've cut that back to 24ml per day for now, since the more I put in, the more the algae was just soaking it up. Until I have something in there to eat the algae, I'm not sure I'll be able to get a non-zero reading.

The Lawnmower Blenny goes in this weekend, so hopefully, he'll get started on it, and with luck, I can get some tangs through QT in a month or so. I'm looking now, but most Captive Bred fish other than clowns are sold out right now...
 

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Yeah. The problem is that the doors fit snugly against the frame. In order for those to work, the door has to stick out about 1/4", which would be obvious when the doors are closed.

Actually, I have an idea. What if I attach magnets to the back of the doors where the knob would be and hold a magnet in the front to open it? I have a few of the very strong magnets left, I'll check it out. Also, I might just keep a tool nearby to open one door...same if I had to keep a magnet took around... We'll see...
Hmm, why does it have to stick out 1/4”? I’ve had them on another stand and it’s flush. Maybe I’m confused what part you mean.
 
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Hmm, why does it have to stick out 1/4”? I’ve had them on another stand and it’s flush. Maybe I’m confused what part you mean.
Hmm, I have one on a cabinet where when you close the door it clicks and pushes in. Then when you want to open the door, you push on the door and let go and it pushes the door out. In order to push the door in, it has to be out just a bit (Maybe it's not 1/4", but it's some distance) when it's closed.

Is there another type?
 
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I just changed out the Trident reagents on Sunday.

I am amazed at how difficult it has been keeping the Alk steady on a system with over 200 gallons of water and almost no corals. I imagine the fact that various algae and bacteria are competing to get things going, so hopefully, it will level out a bit. Plus, there is the changing pH as I get the CO2 scrubber working.

E26CE2DB-18A9-401C-8D1E-006DC96BB7CC_1_105_c.jpeg


The graph is for the last week. The spike is the calibration pass for the new reagents.

I'm shooting for 8.5 dkH, but I have to keep upping the dose of Triton CORE7 3a/b to keep up. We're up to 36ml/day so far... At that rate, a $50 1L (per part) supply will last less than a month. I may be looking for that Ca Reactor sooner than I thought...5L supply doesn't really save you much.
 

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Hmm, I have one on a cabinet where when you close the door it clicks and pushes in. Then when you want to open the door, you push on the door and let go and it pushes the door out. In order to push the door in, it has to be out just a bit (Maybe it's not 1/4", but it's some distance) when it's closed.

Is there another type?
Ah I see what you mean. No it does need to have a little bit of room. Not sure how much.
 

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I just changed out the Trident reagents on Sunday.

I am amazed at how difficult it has been keeping the Alk steady on a system with over 200 gallons of water and almost no corals. I imagine the fact that various algae and bacteria are competing to get things going, so hopefully, it will level out a bit. Plus, there is the changing pH as I get the CO2 scrubber working.

E26CE2DB-18A9-401C-8D1E-006DC96BB7CC_1_105_c.jpeg


The graph is for the last week. The spike is the calibration pass for the new reagents.

I'm shooting for 8.5 dkH, but I have to keep upping the dose of Triton CORE7 3a/b to keep up. We're up to 36ml/day so far... At that rate, a $50 1L (per part) supply will last less than a month. I may be looking for that Ca Reactor sooner than I thought...5L supply doesn't really save you much.
Have you considered Kalk dosing with your top off water till the tank matures?
 
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How is your CO2 scrubber working? What’s the pH been running?
It is doing better now that I have sealed the canister. pH is running about .2 to .3 higher than before installing it, but still not as high as I would like. There are a couple of interesting notes, and I'm going to experiment a bit to see what's happening.

The first couple days pH was higher, then it dropped a bit for a couple days. I only did two things that I can think of that might have caused this. Note the dip at the left of the graph is when I took it offline to glue the holes in the canister.

C8B8C572-F05D-4640-A20F-B8E04E909521_1_105_c.jpeg

(check it out, looks like Neptune has enabled dark mode on the web, and in the app too!)

I pulled two of the pieces of tape off the skimmer cup that limited the air escape from the cup lid, and I increased the skimmer from about 60% to 80% in the DC pump controller. I have both intakes on the Aeraqua Duo fully open, and the outlet fully open in order to run the skimmer higher while limiting the skimmate generated. This in theory pulls the most air through the CO2 scrubber.

I'm only guessing, but either additional non-skimmer air is being pulled into the scrubber through the holes in the lid, or pulling air through the scrubber faster is not allowing gas exchange in the small canister. First, I have lowered the skimmer power back to 60% or so, and that seems to have helped. I'm going to run that for another day or two, then I'll block the holes again and see what that does.

Likely, if this is the issue, then I either need a bigger canister or to add additional canisters as I had planned anyway.
 
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Have you considered Kalk dosing with your top off water till the tank matures?
I have, and I do have some, but my RODI canister is 50 gallons and is the same one I mix saltwater from. Also, I'm a little concerned about variable evaporation rates causing even more fluctuations. I would prefer a Kalk stirrer and doser, although at that point I might as well just get a Ca Reactor. I could even do both, but now we're getting even more complicated...
 
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Next up, I'm looking at which captive-bred fish I want to start with. I have a very long list of fish I want. Of those, there's a much smaller list that are regularly commercially available. Then, there is the list of what's actually available now...which in the recent weeks is a very small list. It looks like the demand has gone way up recently as summer comes to an end...and everyone is sitting home looking at their tanks...

Here is my shorter list of what I'd like to have, roughly in order of interest:
  • Blue Hippo Tang
  • Purple Tang (though might have to settle for Yellow)
  • Golden Lined Rabbitfish
  • Yellow Watchmen Goby (or some sand-sifting goby that's large enough to deal with the Lawnmower if it comes to that)
  • Coral Beauty Angel
  • Flame Angel
  • Anthias (these are hard to get, and can be very expensive, so we'll see)
  • Chalk Basslet 3-5x school
  • Pajama or Bangi Cardinal School
  • Mated Pair Clownfish
My plan is to get 2-4 fish at a time about every 4-6 weeks so they can go through QT for a month. I have a 17g tank with the diagonal divider with a hang-on filter and skimmer as needed.

Where it gets complicated is making sure I can get 4 fish that can be together in QT, and in the tank, and won't cause a problem later when I get more of that species. So, likely I need to get multiple angels at once, or tangs, or whatever. Also, I do have other tanks I can use, so if a fish comes up later at a random time, I may jump on it anyway and just deal with multiple QT tanks at once.

If anyone knows of another captive-bred fish that I should consider, please let me know...or a source online to order them. I may end up going through an LFS, since they might be able to get better availability, or other sources.

I will also consider "rescues", or fish that were wild-caught, lived in a tank for more than a year, and the owner is moving, shutting down the tank, or the fish is oversized for their nano, etc. But, those are often spur of the moment, or last minute, so they are hard to plan for.
 

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It’s very admirable what you’re trying to do. I’ll readily admit that I am unable (or unwilling) to do it. It’ll be interesting in the end to see how many of your fish end up being rescues vs captive bred. The hurdles with cost and selection are unfortunately significant.
 

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Doors are on!

IMG_2588.jpeg


I might need to get some knobs. It was fine when it was just bare wood, but with shiny new paint, I can't get them open... :0

IMG_2591.jpeg
dude...that's the exact look I'm ultimately going for on my stand and hood with a few caveats... Nice work. Would love to pick your brain on how you did that.
 
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It’s very admirable what you’re trying to do. I’ll readily admit that I am unable (or unwilling) to do it. It’ll be interesting in the end to see how many of your fish end up being rescues vs captive bred. The hurdles with cost and selection are unfortunately significant.
There is no question it's more expensive and more difficult, but my hope is that it will improve over time. I plan to support the effort however I can.
 
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dude...that's the exact look I'm ultimately going for on my stand and hood with a few caveats... Nice work. Would love to pick your brain on how you did that.
I was reading your thread and thinking that what you were building was similar. I almost got an aluminum stand, but the steel stand came as part of the deal and was way cheaper. Most of how I built the stand is in this thread so have a look, then let me know if you want more specific details on anything, or if it wasn't clear why I ended up doing some things.

Note that it's a 48" DX18 inside the hood with XR-15s in the middle. I really like the dimming T5s so far, works great with the Apex. I just wish the G5 Radions worked wit the Apex...such a pain to switch apps just to change the lights, and I can't access them online like with ALL my other devices...
 

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Sounds good, I didn't have the time earlier today to do a deeper dive into your thread but I will do so tomorrow. Great job so far! Yes we seem to be on a similar train of thought lol. I'll keep in touch.
 
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We're having a bit of a situation this week. I just put the two fish Grover and Storm into the tank after the fallow period and their QT time in Copper Power, then then I saw some spots on Storm. The first thought was that it was Ich, after all I've done to get rid of it...

IMG_4669.jpeg


Terrible phone picture of the left side. There are whitish spots, that don't exactly look like Ich, but I thought what else could it be. His right side is fine, not a blemish. So we watched him for a couple days and the spots faded quickly. I figured I would just ignore it for now and see what happens.

This morning I checked him and he was nearly healed, then I saw this after lunch on the other side.

IMG_2734.jpeg

IMG_2820.jpeg
IMG_2775.jpeg


NOT Ich, but Bite Marks!? I'm 99% sure that's what they are. They look just like the bite marks in the algae from the Lawnmower Blenny... There are a couple sets of rounded arcs of missing scales. The stupid clown likes to hang out right next to the Blenny, like they're best buds. Usually, it ignores him, but I have occasionally seen it dart out to scare him away. Apparently, it's stepped it up one notch... I hope he gets the hint.

I could be wrong, so we'll keep an eye, but I'm fairly sure at this point...


IMG_2784.jpeg


This one doesn't show the marks, but he's like "stop with all the pictures already..."
 

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It is doing better now that I have sealed the canister. pH is running about .2 to .3 higher than before installing it, but still not as high as I would like. There are a couple of interesting notes, and I'm going to experiment a bit to see what's happening.

The first couple days pH was higher, then it dropped a bit for a couple days. I only did two things that I can think of that might have caused this. Note the dip at the left of the graph is when I took it offline to glue the holes in the canister.

C8B8C572-F05D-4640-A20F-B8E04E909521_1_105_c.jpeg

(check it out, looks like Neptune has enabled dark mode on the web, and in the app too!)

I pulled two of the pieces of tape off the skimmer cup that limited the air escape from the cup lid, and I increased the skimmer from about 60% to 80% in the DC pump controller. I have both intakes on the Aeraqua Duo fully open, and the outlet fully open in order to run the skimmer higher while limiting the skimmate generated. This in theory pulls the most air through the CO2 scrubber.

I'm only guessing, but either additional non-skimmer air is being pulled into the scrubber through the holes in the lid, or pulling air through the scrubber faster is not allowing gas exchange in the small canister. First, I have lowered the skimmer power back to 60% or so, and that seems to have helped. I'm going to run that for another day or two, then I'll block the holes again and see what that does.

Likely, if this is the issue, then I either need a bigger canister or to add additional canisters as I had planned anyway.
Are you recirculating the air going into the C02 reactor? If not then I found that you have to put a couple of teaspoons of water in the reactor everyday to keep the media moist. Also, are you controlling the reactor some way, to turn in on or off? I use a solenoid I bought from amazon and control it with my apex. I can send you a link if you want. This is my PH with a C02 reactor on my skimmer and the solenoid turning it on and off between 8.1-8.21.
Screenshot (2).png


And the dip at the beginning is where I forgot to turn my skimmer back on, so you see it does work, lol!
 
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Are you recirculating the air going into the C02 reactor? If not then I found that you have to put a couple of teaspoons of water in the reactor everyday to keep the media moist. Also, are you controlling the reactor some way, to turn in on or off? I use a solenoid I bought from amazon and control it with my apex. I can send you a link if you want. This is my PH with a C02 reactor on my skimmer and the solenoid turning it on and off between 8.1-8.21.

And the dip at the beginning is where I forgot to turn my skimmer back on, so you see it does work, lol!
The air comes from the skimmer cup to the scrubber, then back to the skimmer input. I actually have to empty the bottom of the scrubber every few days because the bottom section completely fills with water.

I'm actually going to add a water trap before the scrubber here shortly so it can hold more water, and I can remove the water easily without taking out the scrubber all the time. I'm also going to add a second chamber so I can swap out the media one at a time.

So far it hasn't raised my pH enough to control it, but yeah, I might add a solenoid at some point. I already have a Tee hooked up with a 3/8" ball valve so I can let in some outside air in the mix...but haven't needed it yet for the same reason.

It might be the media, as I am currently using the bag that came with the Ice Cap Scrubber, which is supposed to change color. However, after two weeks not one single piece of it has changed in the slightest. I also bought a bag of BRS color changing media, which I haven't opened yet...so it may be about time to try that out...
 
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