Vacation Time! Tips for your reef tank.

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jgvergo

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Im gonna be gone from my tank for about 9 days next month, this is what Ive done (unfortunately no apex system):

1. had electrician install a dedicated 20 amp circuit (my tank electronics tripped the circuit breaker)
2. bought a APC 1500v battery and hooked up a wavepump to it (runs about 4.5 hours on the battery)
3. Setup a webcam so I can see the tank from my phone
4. bought a tailgater portable generator
5. Will have a tank sitter come check on the tank every other day.

Hopefully this will suffice.
ATO and DO/DI water ready to go?
 
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Ray Panti

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My preparation for vacation is like that:

I will cut the sump, I have a hob skimmer, and I bought a canister filter, I will drop the spare heater in the DT and autofeeder for the food.
I will drop the Salinity to 1.020 so with the evaporation to not have more than 0.002- 0.004 increase (I have a 30gal DT).
I will ask a friend to pass by once a 2-3 days and ask to add a cup of rodi water in the tank.
I am thinking that with a canister filter is less likely for something to go wrong.
What do you think?
 
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jtl

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So far I have only been gone overnight so the true test is yet to come. We are planning to take a 7-10 trip in the near future. My biggest fear is a power outage. I have a generator that saved me when I lost power for 7 days during hurricane Irma. My plan is to set it up, fueled and ready to go. It starts pretty easy and will run 8 hours on a tank of gas. Most outages we have are short, like a couple of hours.

The next issue is a leak, unfortunately that is a tough one. Not likely to happen but if it will be a disaster. I suppose I could lessen the odds by eliminating my sump and just rely on my powerheads in the DT for circulation.

If I lose my light I have a spare, not a great one but it may save the day.

My ato is good for 10 days at 1 gallon per day, I don't dose anything but I suspect that will change pretty soon as the stony corals are growing nicely for a change.

I will have someone check on things every couple of days and have the lfs on call if a problem arises.
 

Ray Panti

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What's the benefit of cutting the sump? How do you keep circulation going in there? Are you only running a skimmer in the sump?
The 2 powerheads will still be inside the display working, the only difference is that by cutting the sump and replace it with a canister filter and a hob filter filtration will be poor, but one week will do, by that I am avoiding disasters like overflow loosing the siphon or ato malfunction, wich will cause devastestions in my tank if I am not there to fix it wright away.
 

Ashish Patel

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One thing i've noticed when away from the tank for 4 days is ALK consumption goes up.. I tried to simulate the reason by not touching the tank for 4 days (when home), but no conclusions. For example, Alk was 7.9 range for weeks and after 4 days away dropped to 7.2dkh. This has happened to me at least 5 times. I figured it was overfeeding when I was home but its something else.. Perhaps higher PH with no one in the house, not cleaning the glass, or that I tend to feed heavier the day before leaving. I would advice anyone leaving get there tank used to pellets on a autofeeder and increase you 2 part dosing slightly perhaps 5-10% Also, I got a cloud cam from amazon which is excellent since I leave the cabinet open so I can see the tank, lights(if there on or off), water level, ATO, Temperature, and doser, etc
 
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tupes

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@dbl thanks for this write up. This is the first time I'm reading it and I'm sure it will help many, many people.

One question I have is, is that a photo of your top off container? If so, how many gallons is it?
 
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dbl

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...One question I have is, is that a photo of your top off container? If so, how many gallons is it?

Actually that wasn't my reservoir in the picture. When I wrote this article, I had a small one built in to the sump I had at the time. I currently have a 30g acrylic reservoir I built myself and I can get 2 weeks out of it pretty easily.

20160910_161616_zpsotu0ss9t_edit_1473540452927.jpg
 

FGourdin

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Thank you for an excellent writeup. I can't stress how important it is to develop friends in the reefing community-someone who really knows what they are doing. I have a friend who used to work in a local fish store. He has saved my system when I was out of town on several occasions. I gave him internet access to my Apex and he gets the alarms as well as the video feed
of the tank and sump. He once shutdown a reactor pump based on a floor alarm when the video showed a discharge line had come loose.
 
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dbl

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Thank you for an excellent writeup. I can't stress how important it is to develop friends in the reefing community-someone who really knows what they are doing. I have a friend who used to work in a local fish store. He has saved my system when I was out of town on several occasions. I gave him internet access to my Apex and he gets the alarms as well as the video feed
of the tank and sump. He once shutdown a reactor pump based on a floor alarm when the video showed a discharge line had come loose.

Excellent point and I agree...it's a huge bonus if you have someone local that can help out in a jam. I am fortunate that I do; and, knock on wood, I'm also fortunate I've never had to use their services. :confused:
 
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JoeIII

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I think I've mentioned it before, but for us the limiting factor of how long we can be away is our ATO reservoir. Especially in the summer when we see more evaporation.

Apex makes all the difference - auto feeder, temp/ph monitoring, also warns me if the ATO runs too long (switch stuck)

I added a manual (virtual) switch to refill the ATO reservoir and I can refill it without worrying about flooding by having an unlimited supply of water for top off in case of malfunction.

As others have mentioned, it is amazing the good a week away can do for your tank. 1) you aren't messing with it and 2) with people out of the house less C)2 = higher ph = better coral growth. The last time we were away for two nights ph was .2 higher when we got home than "normal"
 
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