Welcome to all the fun: setting up a 12 foot reef tank

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ScottB

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I would not give a 2.6 degree temp swing a second thought if it is over a few hours. I don't think those fans are anywhere enough to vent the canopy. The screens in front really reduce the air flow as well.. Definatly not enough for the chiller cabinet. I think if you put a temp probe in the canopy and chiller cabinets you will clearly see the Temps really spike in both locations.
One way to vent the canopy would be if the top stood proud just a little bit to let the hot air rise out naturally. Just a small 1/8 gap along the length would make a big difference with the fans blowing in.
I would personally not trust the Apex so much. I would run half the heaters directly on Rancho controllers. Set them a degree lower than the ones on the apex. Or you could do it the other way around. I would not run the chiller on the apex at all. I find the apex is the least reliable of the options, besides the heaters themselves.
Also every pump you add is adding more heat. A 100 watt pump is pretty much the same as a 100watt heater on constantly.. Have you considered using the drain lines to feed your UV and chiller? You will have to get creative to remove most of the air going into the UV. I have run chillers this way for years. Drain through chiller then to filter sock/sump. I have never run a UV on my display tanks before. I feed my recirculating skimmer of a drain line. Other reactors can easily be fed thus way as well.
Looks like some very nice work otherwise.
Comforting to know that 2 out of 2 replies aren't overly concerned about the 2.6 degree temp swing. Even better though, since changing the default differential the thing seems to be keeping a tighter range of 1.5 to 1.6 in the "D2" setting. Seven day chart below.

@laverda I hear you on the APEX fragility. I have had no software issues through the years, but the hardware is cheap stuff. I would never use the EB as a primary relay for heat or chill, it is just there to stop a FAIL ON for either and to monitor. The heat is the BRS titanium 4 X 200w running through two calibrated Inkbirds. The Inkbirds are powered by the EB and only shut off at >82F

I haven't really ever considered connecting stuff to the drains. That would give me worries about clogging and overfilling the overflows. The water level in the overflows is already a bit high for my tastes. Plus, I like being able to dial the flow through the UV to accomplish different things, for instance for a dino outbreak I would slow it down. Right now, just running it fast for ich prevention with all these new fish going in every few days.

As to the pumps, well I am including the 4 MP60s in the count. They don't add much. The return pumps and skimmer pump are all DC pumps that also tend to run cooler.

I am sure the cabinet fans are running continuously. I will take another look at the cabinet/ceiling joint to see if there is a way to open things up more, but the aesthetic police are pretty particular.

Yesterday was the first full run with the T5s (10am to 4pm) and we are looking pretty good now.

1623686801394.png
 
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ScottB

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BTW - I finally hunted down the manufacturer website. they DO make these MP60 sized. Here's the link.
These have been ordered. Again, thanks for the tip. I really hope they help as we need to crank the 60s up.

The flow is very good in the first 3-4 feet on each side, but the middle is FAR too calm. I dropped some frozen fish food in the middle yesterday and it sank virtually straight down. :(
 

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These have been ordered. Again, thanks for the tip. I really hope they help as we need to crank the 60s up.

The flow is very good in the first 3-4 feet on each side, but the middle is FAR too calm. I dropped some frozen fish food in the middle yesterday and it sank virtually straight down. :(
I suspect you're going to be working on flow in the center of the tank for a long time. If it gets too challenging, you can switch to a power head completely in the tank, with magnet on the "outside" - that is waterproof enough to have the magnet in your overflow box. It's an alternative idea.
 

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Comforting to know that 2 out of 2 replies aren't overly concerned about the 2.6 degree temp swing. Even better though, since changing the default differential the thing seems to be keeping a tighter range of 1.5 to 1.6 in the "D2" setting. Seven day chart below.

@laverda I hear you on the APEX fragility. I have had no software issues through the years, but the hardware is cheap stuff. I would never use the EB as a primary relay for heat or chill, it is just there to stop a FAIL ON for either and to monitor. The heat is the BRS titanium 4 X 200w running through two calibrated Inkbirds. The Inkbirds are powered by the EB and only shut off at >82F

I haven't really ever considered connecting stuff to the drains. That would give me worries about clogging and overfilling the overflows. The water level in the overflows is already a bit high for my tastes. Plus, I like being able to dial the flow through the UV to accomplish different things, for instance for a dino outbreak I would slow it down. Right now, just running it fast for ich prevention with all these new fish going in every few days.
Couple of inputs.

First, I run my system directly opposite of yours. Apex is in control of heating & chilling, "inkbird" or non-Apex controllers are there for safety to not Cook the tank nor Freeze the tank. Through this setup, I've been able to monitor, control and diagnose my system well. I've tuned control to be within 1degree, but that's my choice based on watching temp response and relay cycling.

Also, I've added two temp probes to monitor the environment (via used PM1/PM2 modules and extra temp probes). Air probes have helped me debug when tank room got too hot, or too cold (winter) and heater couldn't keep up. A couple of safety items are programmed. eg; if tank temp gets too hot, turn off the lights.
  • T-tank : Water temperature, as it comes Out of the tank. (in overflow)
  • T-air : Air temp of the room.
  • T-Hood : Air temp, inside the hood. (affected by T-air and 6x Radion xr30's)
Regarding Apex relay wearout. I have not experienced it, an am not that worried. One caveat, I don't directly power the chiller via EB port. I power it via the now discontinued Neptune Socket Expansion box. (there are equivalent products out there) This allows me to direct the electrical load to an outlet - in stead of going through the EB832.
1623696638714.png

You'll hear many people argue that this will cause the EnergyBar output relay to wear out from too frequent On/Off transitions. However, the EB832 relays are rated for over 1 million cycles. Reviewing my output logs, I see that my heater turns on and off about 50 times per day on average. At this rate, that's 18,250 cycles per year, so it would take over 54 years to reach 1 million cycles. I've been running my heater and EB832 this way for over 3 years with no problem, and I don't lose any sleep over it.


Here's a control chart. Obviously my chiller was running June 3rd. (adding to graph made it messy) Ignore the T-tank drop Jun10th, did small water change.

1623696820483.png


1623697003250.png
 
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Couple of inputs.

First, I run my system directly opposite of yours. Apex is in control of heating & chilling, "inkbird" or non-Apex controllers are there for safety to not Cook the tank nor Freeze the tank. Through this setup, I've been able to monitor, control and diagnose my system well. I've tuned control to be within 1degree, but that's my choice based on watching temp response and relay cycling.

Also, I've added two temp probes to monitor the environment (via used PM1/PM2 modules and extra temp probes). Air probes have helped me debug when tank room got too hot, or too cold (winter) and heater couldn't keep up. A couple of safety items are programmed. eg; if tank temp gets too hot, turn off the lights.
  • T-tank : Water temperature, as it comes Out of the tank. (in overflow)
  • T-air : Air temp of the room.
  • T-Hood : Air temp, inside the hood. (affected by T-air and 6x Radion xr30's)
Regarding Apex relay wearout. I have not experienced it, an am not that worried. One caveat, I don't directly power the chiller via EB port. I power it via the now discontinued Neptune Socket Expansion box. (there are equivalent products out there) This allows me to direct the electrical load to an outlet - in stead of going through the EB832.
1623696638714.png




Here's a control chart. Obviously my chiller was running June 3rd. (adding to graph made it messy) Ignore the T-tank drop Jun10th, did small water change.

1623696820483.png


1623697003250.png
That is a nice tight temp band you have there and I certainly know some simple Fusion lines could get that done. But you get burned by an EB once and it is really hard to trust them again. These failures only happen on a perfect powder day in Utah. Maybe I will get over that at some point.
 
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ScottB

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I suspect you're going to be working on flow in the center of the tank for a long time. If it gets too challenging, you can switch to a power head completely in the tank, with magnet on the "outside" - that is waterproof enough to have the magnet in your overflow box. It's an alternative idea.
It is conceivable. I just know these 60s are capable with the throttle open a bit more.
 

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That is a nice tight temp band you have there and I certainly know some simple Fusion lines could get that done. But you get burned by an EB once and it is really hard to trust them again. These failures only happen on a perfect powder day in Utah. Maybe I will get over that at some point.
But that's the point of the 2nd controller. If EB outlet get stuck on for a heater, it only heats soo much more. If EB outlet gets stuck on for a chiller, it only cools so far. And monitoring watts of EB832 and monitoring Temps let's you know if something has gone wrong.

In all cases, It helps to monitor (and have out of temp alarms set). Once had a problem with two heaters being too close or touching in my sump. The kind of heaters with internal temp sensors built in. Heaters are just loose in my sump, apparently, when one kicked on - it effectively heated the water right next to the other one and shut off. I found this during a cold spell, tank temp was too low, and debugged by watching Apex say "turn heater 1 on" "turn heater 2 on" - and the power draw watts bounce up and down all day long. Talk about relay toggles! (inside each heater)

I've probably had 3-4 heaters or their controllers go bad. I've never had an EB outlet/relay go bad. But acknowledge, the Salt-Water-Rule exists: It's not IF it will fail, it's about When it will fail - and what's the impact.
 
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@Daveobrien I totally get your point about 2 controllers for heat and 2 for cool. It is just my experience to use APEX as the backup and not frontline for an outlet that needs to oscillate. My experience with the EBs (at least the new models) is not that great. Much cheaper (and less painful) to replace external controllers. Via the Output Log, I can see when equipment is running.

I gave up on heaters with internal temp sensors. There is a box of old ones around here somewhere that I would only use in a mixing station.
 
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Back in the day, the common opinion was NOT to stock corals for a while. Maybe add a couple softies after the 2nd or 3rd water change. With a dead rock start, that is probably still a good idea.

This system began with 200lbs of live (sump) rock, so we took a very different approach and stocked it with corals as soon as we had the temp swings under control, so about 9 days wet. It is fairly basic stuff except for the zoanthids which are higher end varieties like Yellow Brick road, alien anti-venom, LA LAkers, Midas, Rastas, Tubbs and some very cool blue no-names.
Here is where we are on coral stock now. This is all from my frag systems. I am delighted to get all this frag space back.

Zoa 2"5
Zoa 1"3
Purple Stylo Lg2
Purple Stylo Med0
JF Red Hot setosa Lg1
JF Red Hot setosa Med0
JF Red Hot setosa Sm1
BubbleGum Digi Lg0
BubbleGum Digi Med1
BubbleGum Digi Sm1
Orange Monti Digi Lg1
Rev Sunset Digi Med1
Hammer 5 head1
Hammer 4 head1
Duncan 5 head0
Duncan 6 head0
Bali G Slimer Lg1
Bali G Slimer Med1
Yeti Anacropora Sm1
Golden Barrel Med0
Golden Barrel Lg0
 
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Happy to report that (knocking on wood) we seem to be holding up well so far in terms of:

a) Building HVAC through the past two weekends was cool and steady
b) Canopy ventilation since introduced seems to help eliminate/reduce the chiller overshoots
c) Fish livestock all accounted for. My monster transfer of Orange Shoulder and One Spot Foxface could not be happier. They cover the length of the tank many times per minute. Together as always.
d) Shocking, but the corals seem to be doing very very well without exception. Pretty hardy stock but still pretty good for a few weeks wet.
 
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BTW - I finally hunted down the manufacturer website. they DO make these MP60 sized. Here's the link.
Well the shields arrived yesterday. Excellent turnaround time on the order. Nicely constructed and fit the pump like a glove.

I gave them a whirl. But no love on the first try, the sandstorm seemed actually worse with them on. It was a different blow pattern but not an improvement. As the Shield adds width, I did actually have to lower the pump maybe 3/4". If we could establish they provide utility, I could notch out the Shields to get that extra 3/4" of height back. If not, we will have to return them as they are not cheap. Randy is going to go back tomorrow and tinker by rotating it around.

One way or another we gotta get some flow to the middle. 20% on these isn't really going to cut it. I might test fit an MP40. But then would need to find a home for 4 X MP60s that are no longer NIB. :(

A link to the sandstorm:
 
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Temperature situation remains quite stable 78-79 with the chiller kicking on every 4-5 hours during lights on. The room temperature remains set at 70 and the HVAC returns over the atrium seem to be keeping up pretty well.

A little scare this morning as the APEX lost connection to Fusion. I hate that "blind" feeling. Also hate that the APEX has no robust means of reconnecting when there is a WiFi blip. Hey @SuncrestReef are you aware of any way to get the APEX to try a little harder to reconnect? At home, it is no big deal, just cycle it and it reconnects.
 
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Temperature situation remains quite stable 78-79 with the chiller kicking on every 4-5 hours during lights on. The room temperature remains set at 70 and the HVAC returns over the atrium seem to be keeping up pretty well.

A little scare this morning as the APEX lost connection to Fusion. I hate that "blind" feeling. Also hate that the APEX has no robust means of reconnecting when there is a WiFi blip. Hey @SuncrestReef are you aware of any way to get the APEX o try a little harder to reconnect? At home, it is no big deal, just cycle it and it reconnects.
Sorry, there's no setting on the Apex to make it "try harder" to reconnect. Personally I avoid WiFi for anything critical and use a wired connection for my Apex. But I understand that's not an option for everyone.

Having worked in IT for 30+ years, I've seen some pretty innovative ways to remotely reboot a device using smart plugs. If you're away from home and can't access your Apex, if it was plugged into a WeMo or other type of controllable outlet with a cloud app to control it, you could turn off and on the Apex from your phone or computer, as long as the smart plug still has Internet access. Just an option to consider if this is a recurring problem for you.
 
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Sorry, there's no setting on the Apex to make it "try harder" to reconnect. Personally I avoid WiFi for anything critical and use a wired connection for my Apex. But I understand that's not an option for everyone.

Having worked in IT for 30+ years, I've seen some pretty innovative ways to remotely reboot a device using smart plugs. If you're away from home and can't access your Apex, if it was plugged into a WeMo or other type of controllable outlet with a cloud app to control it, you could turn off and on the Apex from your phone or computer, as long as the smart plug still has Internet access. Just an option to consider if this is a recurring problem for you.
Thank you for the prompt and creative response. I do have a spare smart plug or two.

As the brain is connected to both the EB and the little 12v auxiliary, I would need to reboot both, wouldn't I?
 

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Thank you for the prompt and creative response. I do have a spare smart plug or two.

As the brain is connected to both the EB and the little 12v auxiliary, I would need to reboot both, wouldn't I?
Yes, both power sources would need to be cycled at the same time. Maybe not the best solution for your setup.
 
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Great build. Love all the fish and corals.

Quick question, why two sumps, and not one larger one? IMO it adds a lot of complexity.
Thank you. Almost done stocking fish, but many more corals to go.

There were a few things that led us to the 2-sump solution.
a) This tank has two overflows -- one on each end -- and they are 12 feet apart. Neither of us like to have long lateral runs for the overflows. Turnover in this system is pretty high > 10X per hour.
b) The stand openings really limited our options on sump size & shape. At this size, we were able to get them into the stand by vertically inserting them.

What you probably cannot see in the pics is the "load balancing" pipe that connects the two sumps. There is a piece of 2" flex PVC running behind the control board that connects the return sections of the sumps. In effect, it operates as a single sump.

I should point out the the drawing (Post #11) was later revised to have the overflows drain straight down to the sump and the return lines making the longer lateral run. Each sump is flipped around from that drawing.

Thanks for checking in!
 
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Here is a link to a quick/dirty video I took the other day. Sorry for the heavy blues but I didn't bring a filter.

The ends of the reef I've not yet stocked. I wanted to see how the corals were going to hold up as the chemistry is different from my growout systems. But 200lbs of live rock combined with abundant fish poo to be keeping them pretty happy for now.

 

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Well the shields arrived yesterday. Excellent turnaround time on the order. Nicely constructed and fit the pump like a glove.

I gave them a whirl. But no love on the first try, the sandstorm seemed actually worse with them on. It was a different blow pattern but not an improvement.
Sorry the shields didn't help the situation for you. My Spidey senses tell me you've considered hard plumbed recirculation loops, with Sea Swirls for rotation in the middle of the tank...
 
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Sorry the shields didn't help the situation for you. My Spidey senses tell me you've considered hard plumbed recirculation loops, with Sea Swirls for rotation in the middle of the tank...
Wait! I am behind on updates. I will blame Reefapalooza NY.

I did some tinkering with the shields, rotating them around to different positions around the clockface. Very counterintuitive but we got them to certainly improve things at (face on) about 22:00 hrs. Running 50% now with just a bit of sand moving. We will see. File might be too big to watch.
 
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