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

Rob.bucek

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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..."
I'm pretty weak in the areas of fish disease but trying to pick up all the knowledge that i can... it's not flukes or anything crazy like that is it?
 

Billldg

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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...
The media color doesn't change much. I use BRS media and have never really seen it change, though I do see the color change on top of the container in which I keep the media. I believe RKPeterson gave me the link for the solenoid on amazon, and it work great. Most solenoid have to keep power on to maintain a certain position, the one I use has a limit switch, so the power is turned off after the solenoid reaches the open or closed position, thus it doesn't burn out. Don't forget what I said about adding some water daily to the media. It does dry out rather quickly and shortly their after it stops doing what it is intended to so. I can see when I forget to add water to the container on my Apex as the PH drops. When I add water I am able to extend the life of the media.

This is the solenoid I use.

 

Rob.bucek

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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...
Lol always choices right? Initially I'm going with the stirrer and see how far it takes me. Then it's decision time. Do you have an ato box?
 

Rob.bucek

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Updated PAR FTS.

IMG_4585 2.jpeg


This is after raising the XR-15s about 3/4", adding the two additional T5s, and changing their order in the fixture. I mounted a few more frags as well and put the rest on the rack on the glass.

I also just finished cleaning the left side of the back and overflow...what a pain...
What did you use to take those measurements?
 
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SkiCatTX

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I'm pretty weak in the areas of fish disease but trying to pick up all the knowledge that i can... it's not flukes or anything crazy like that is it?
I don't believe so. I spent some time looking online for pictures, and the flukes that I see online are larger. It actually looks a bit more like Brooklynella than anything, but I still believe it is just loose or lost scales due to a bite. I'll continue to watch and see what happens with it. He moves so fast and never stops, even at night, so it's difficult to see or get a good picture.
 
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SkiCatTX

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The media color doesn't change much. I use BRS media and have never really seen it change, though I do see the color change on top of the container in which I keep the media. I believe RKPeterson gave me the link for the solenoid on amazon, and it work great. Most solenoid have to keep power on to maintain a certain position, the one I use has a limit switch, so the power is turned off after the solenoid reaches the open or closed position, thus it doesn't burn out. Don't forget what I said about adding some water daily to the media. It does dry out rather quickly and shortly their after it stops doing what it is intended to so. I can see when I forget to add water to the container on my Apex as the PH drops. When I add water I am able to extend the life of the media.

This is the solenoid I use.

I decided to change out the media this morning.

Reading about it got me thinking...I didn't realize that letting the media dry out just once makes it ineffective forever, even if you re-hydrate it. I couldn't remember if I ever ran the media dry, or maybe when I first set it up and it was leaking air through the canister, maybe it drew too much dry air in that some of the media dried out, and that's why it only partially works.

IMG_2847.jpeg


I poured the old media into a ziploc bag and looked at it. It is definitely just white, no sign of even a hint of color after 2-3 weeks of use. However, there was some water clinging to the lid that clearly stained the acrylic purple, even after washing it, so there was dye in there at some point.

IMG_2846.jpeg


The BRS media is a bit smaller and irregular shaped compared to the Ice Cap included media, so maybe there is more surface area, we'll see. You can see in the picture the bubbling water at the bottom of the canister. I have to pour some of that out every couple days when it fills up that bottom section.
 
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SkiCatTX

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Lol always choices right? Initially I'm going with the stirrer and see how far it takes me. Then it's decision time. Do you have an ato box?
I may have to go that way if this scrubber doesn't work out. It's frustrating since I read about all the people who have to turn theirs off after the raises the pH too much...

I don't use a separate ATO box, I just take water directly from the 50 gallon RODI container upstairs. Check out my pre-build thread with all the details of that and several other projects I completed prior to getting the new tank.


IMG_8113.jpeg


It is controlled by a second classic Apex with lots of sensors, heater, circulation pump, and high-pressure RODI pump. The container on the right is RODI, it refils when the level gets down to the bottom optical sensor, then stops when it reaches the top one, or times out. The entire thing, including the RODI unit, are over a drain pan that drains directly outside, just like a water heater or AC unit.

I mix salt water on the left, and the pump continuously circulates it. The ATO and AWC both draw directly from these containers.

IMG_1796.jpeg


For safety, there are solenoids on both 1/4" tubing going into the sump which only open when the water is needed, so when the power is off no water can run at all (unless I manually open a valve). Then, for the ATO, the apex can open the solenoid when water is needed, and I use an Apex DOS for water change that dumps old water directly into the toilet drain in the room behind the tank.

There are also float switches on both so when the water level in the sump is too high, it physically can't enter the tank either. I even tested that the DOS can't push water when the float valve is closed. In fact, it makes an awful grinding noise when that happens that you can't miss...kind of like an alarm. I also have optical sensors at the top of the sump, and two leak sensors in the stand and on the floor, if all that fails and the water gets too high or spills.

Hopefully, that's enough. :)
 
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Rob.bucek

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I may have to go that way if this scrubber doesn't work out. It's frustrating since I read about all the people who have to turn theirs off after the raises the pH too much...

I don't use a separate ATO box, I just take water directly from the 50 gallon RODI container upstairs. Check out my pre-build thread with all the details of that and several other projects I completed prior to getting the new tank.


IMG_8113.jpeg


It is controlled by a second classic Apex with lots of sensors, heater, circulation pump, and high-pressure RODI pump. The container on the right is RODI, it refils when the level gets down to the bottom optical sensor, then stops when it reaches the top one, or times out. I mix salt water on the left, and the pump continuously circulates it. The ATO and AWC both draw directly from these containers.

IMG_1796.jpeg


For safety, there are solenoids on both 1/4" tubing going into the sump which only open when the water is needed, so when the power is off no water can run at all (unless I manually open a valve). Then, for the ATO, the apex can open the solenoid when water is needed, and I use an Apex DOS for water change that dumps old water directly into the toilet drain in the room behind the tank.

There are also float switches on both so when the water level in the sump is too high, it physically can't enter the tank either. I even tested that the DOS can't push water when the float valve is closed. In fact, it makes an awful grinding noise when that happens that you can't miss...kind of like an alarm. I also have optical sensors at the top of the sump, and two leak sensors in the stand and on the floor, if all that fails and the water gets too high or spills.

Hopefully that's enough. :)
lol that's perfect!

The container on the right is RODI, it refils when the level gets down to the bottom optical sensor, then stops when it reaches the top one, or times out.
Very similar to how I'm going to control my ATO which will be plumbed to my RODI. I'll be using an indepentant Spectrapure liquid level controller to do the same thing. Final fail over is an overflow to a floor drain. Cuz I'm paranoid. Great setup man.
 
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SkiCatTX

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What did you use to take those measurements?
I use an Apogee SQ-520 USB sensor, which has an app that runs on a computer. Along with the over-priced wand, I can just hold it around the tank and look at the value on the screen.

IMG_2848.jpeg


For my PAR images, I just take an FTS, open it on my iPad, then write the values right on the image.
 
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SkiCatTX

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I just went through the whole build thread... Awesome setup! Thank you for bringing us on your journey!!
Thanks! Not a problem, it keeps me honest, and frankly it helps keep me going when I'm just about tired of dealing with it sometimes... :) Reading about other people on here finally convinced me to go for it after all these years! Happy to share.
 
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SkiCatTX

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Invert QT Update.

I moved all the snails to the slightly larger 12 gallon Waterbox AIO tank that I previously seeded with sand, rock rubble, and algae from the garage fallow seed tank. I let it get good and covered with algae to keep them happy for a while. If they manage to clean it, I have more macro algae available, and there is a never-ending supply of briopsis and other micro algae in the main display (despite the efforts of Grover the Lawnmower Blenny to eat the entire tank's worth of algae himself).

IMG_2855.jpeg


It has also developed a bit of an algae bloom, but I believe it is a Phyto population as it is bright green and doesn't appear to affect anyone. I'll just leave it be for now. I feed it pretty heavily with flakes (and nori as needed) and make sure the phosphate and nitrates are kept up for algae growth.

I can't wait to get rid of my old office furniture, as it does not match the new tank at all...but an office overhaul is not on the list until next year... :)
 
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SkiCatTX

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And, on the other side of the room is the QT tank ready for my first round of fish this week!

A522AE6C-0AA8-4AC0-92E2-56E61EF7E9DF_1_105_c.jpeg


This is to the right of the main display, where the frag tank will go. For now, it's still just an old file cabinet, but it'll do for a QT tank bench in the mean time!

Outside, you can see the rain has started for our next tropical storm...Beta...yay... ;( Fingers crossed this will just be some rain, and not too much of it either...
 
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SkiCatTX

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As for the fish...

I just placed an order with Biota directly for two top-of-my-captive-bred-list fish, which I have been waiting for forever. I had planned to order some fish this weekend, whatever I could find on the list, and what do you know, these two showed up:

purpletang1_540x.jpg
Gold-Line-Rabbitfish-1_eb86fa47-594d-4dd4-9683-2568a06bf0ca_540x.jpg


Captive-bred Purple Tang and Gold Lined Rabbit Fish!

Pics are from their web page, not the actual fish I'm sure, but they should arrive later this week, weather permitting of course. They will spend several weeks in QT though, so we'll have to wait just a bit longer to see them in the display.

I'm still waiting on a Blue Tang...for some reason, everyone is out of them right now. Also, I would like to get a sand-sifting Goby or two in this round, but that might have to wait since the shipping for those would be more than the fish.

I'll wait on Angels and Butterflies until my coral collection is considerably more established (and can handle nibbling), and the tank itself is much more mature.
 

powers2001

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I decided to change out the media this morning.

Reading about it got me thinking...I didn't realize that letting the media dry out just once makes it ineffective forever, even if you re-hydrate it. I couldn't remember if I ever ran the media dry, or maybe when I first set it up and it was leaking air through the canister, maybe it drew too much dry air in that some of the media dried out, and that's why it only partially works.

IMG_2847.jpeg


I poured the old media into a ziploc bag and looked at it. It is definitely just white, no sign of even a hint of color after 2-3 weeks of use. However, there was some water clinging to the lid that clearly stained the acrylic purple, even after washing it, so there was dye in there at some point.

IMG_2846.jpeg


The BRS media is a bit smaller and irregular shaped compared to the Ice Cap included media, so maybe there is more surface area, we'll see. You can see in the picture the bubbling water at the bottom of the canister. I have to pour some of that out every couple days when it fills up that bottom section.
That's amazing your skimmer-scrubber loop mod puts that much moister in your CO2 reactor. So you are not using a solenoid like @Billldg ?
 
Fragtacular Sale

powers2001

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The media color doesn't change much. I use BRS media and have never really seen it change, though I do see the color change on top of the container in which I keep the media. I believe RKPeterson gave me the link for the solenoid on amazon, and it work great. Most solenoid have to keep power on to maintain a certain position, the one I use has a limit switch, so the power is turned off after the solenoid reaches the open or closed position, thus it doesn't burn out. Don't forget what I said about adding some water daily to the media. It does dry out rather quickly and shortly their after it stops doing what it is intended to so. I can see when I forget to add water to the container on my Apex as the PH drops. When I add water I am able to extend the life of the media.

This is the solenoid I use.

@Billldg the link to the Amazon solenoid you use doesn't work. Would you mind posting it again?
 
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SkiCatTX

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That's amazing your skimmer-scrubber loop mod puts that much moister in your CO2 reactor. So you are not using a solenoid like @Billldg ?
No, until I sort out what’s wrong with the system, there’s no need. So far the highest pH I’ve gotten is just over 8.1.
 

Billldg

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@Billldg the link to the Amazon solenoid you use doesn't work. Would you mind posting it again?

If the link doesn't work again, you should be able to copy and post this in Amazon and come to the same solenoid.

HSH-Flo Motorized ball valve 1/2" DN15 AC110V-230V New Normally Open For Electrical Ball Valve, With US Plug (1/2")
 

powers2001

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If the link doesn't work again, you should be able to copy and post this in Amazon and come to the same solenoid.

HSH-Flo Motorized ball valve 1/2" DN15 AC110V-230V New Normally Open For Electrical Ball Valve, With US Plug (1/2")
@Billldg thanks for the link. Do you have this in one of your build threads, which one and which pages(s)?
 

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