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Thread: Need to redo my tank - SM what are your suggestions?

  1. #1

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    Need to redo my tank - SM what are your suggestions?

    Howdy! I've been a long time lurker and learner. When I first started this 5+ years ago I built a DIY waterfall scrubber and it did well for a poorly maintained, inherited tank.
    Thank you Santa Monica for all of your diligence and putting all this information out there.

    I currently have a 90 gallon, reef ready tank that's been in operation for several years. The tank is stocked with 9 fish, 2 shrimp, numerous soft corals and a few LPS. It has a 2.5" sand bed, 50-60-ish pounds of live rock and lighting is programmed LED.

    The sump is approx 25+ gallons of moving volume through a filter sock, bubble magus curve 7 skimmer -- into refugium with caulerpa, CPR vho light on opposite lighting schedule as LED. I also have 2 stage filter of GFO/Carbon at the return.

    Major issues with bubble algae, cyano and aiptasia. I'm curing new rock to place into the tank and I'm several weeks away.

    When I read through this web site and your videos years ago you had a beautiful tank with nothing in the sump, the auto-feeder (medical pump) and an algae scrubber.
    My questions are:
    1. What would you recommend to do in setting up my aquarium (add this, remove this, etc.)?
    2. I want my fish and corals happy so that means feeding plenty, pods and clean water - I'd like to start at 2 cubes per day.
    a) which scrubber would you recommend?
    3. Any other suggestions for creating a simply maintained relatively pest free reef?

    Many thanks for taking the time to read this.

    Dave

  2. #2
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    Welcome, and glad you see you reading for so long.

    If your rocks had lots of nuisance algae, especially at the top and on sharp edges, I'd say that the rocks were full of phosphate after these years, due to slightly less export that input. However yours sounds more like a lot less export than import, especially with a lot of cyano and aptasia; I'd guess you have high nutrient readings, and that the GFO and caulerpa are not keeping up, and of course the other things do not remove nutrients.

    New rocks of course will help because they are a new filter, ready to absorb for another year or two. Another option though is to keep your current rocks and built-in life, and add a strong scrubber to slowly pull make the rocks "clean" again. This option will keep all the life in and on (periphyton) the rocks.

    If you could define "simply maintained" and "pest free", then we could have some suggestions for you.

  3. #3

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    Thanks for the reply SM, I know you're a very busy person. I like the idea of keeping the built-in life, current rocks and not stressing everyone out (me included...hahaha)

    My definition of simply maintained is a happy and thriving reef that doesn't rely on a lot of unneeded equipment or chemicals. After doing this a while I think the right equipment, an ATS is in that group, configured correctly with healthy feeding is good. Simply maintained also would mean minimal water changes, minimal to no media (GAC/GFO) and not trying to maintain a low nutrient systems.

    Pest free would be visually minimal and/or easily kept in check or removed manually or via natural predators. Thank you again for your time and input.

  4. #4
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    Sounds like a powerful twin scrubber just needs to be added, and then the other devices removed.

    Let's see what your sump looks like.

  5. #5

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    I really appreciate your time and input on this. Here are the pictures of the sump area:

    Left side of sump - water coming in from display
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    Middle of sump
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    Right side of sump
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    Top of sump
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  6. #6
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    How about converting the whole caulerpa section into an upflow scrubber. This would disrupts things as little as possible, and create a very large scrubber.

    You would simple build a frame with eggcrate on the bottom that dropped in. The eggcrate would have the bubblers and strings attached, and above would be a strong plant-grow light pointed down.

  7. #7

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    great idea and elegant.

    What light/lights would you recommend?
    Would it best to route airline tubing along rows of the crate or use numerous air stones?

  8. #8
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    One of the big water resistant hydroponic LED plant grow lights. Probably at least 50 watts, maybe 100.

    Don't use airstones; they clog. Sliced airline is best.

    Harvesting, once fully grown, would be just reaching in and grabbing.

    The frame should probably have solid black walls, to keep light from escaping. But a white interior is best to reflect light, so a double wall could be used.

  9. #9

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    As Tony the Tiger used to say, "They're great!" .... LED lights that is

    I'll start researching lights and post my findings here.

    What do you think about doing one side roughed up screen and the other side strings (like in the SURF models)?

  10. #10
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    You can do that; you can also add strings to a screen. Screens are hard to harvest in-place however because you can't get your fingers around them.

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