Used Red Sea Max250 restoration build

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 some serious cleaning.

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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.
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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.
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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!
 
Orphek OR3 reef aquarium LED lighting
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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)

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SamMule

SamMule

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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

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!
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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.
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SamMule

SamMule

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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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