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Old 06/06/2016, 08:24 PM   #1
bitwise
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bitwise's Red Sea Reefer 170 (Round II)

About a month ago I decided to take the plunge on a larger system. The Reefer 170 is a 34 gallon cube-ish shaped aquarium with a 9 gallon sump. I'm quite happy with how easy it was to put everything together. Ease of setup was an important factor for me since I rent an apartment. I wanted to get up and running relatively quickly.

I've been circulating saltwater for about 24 hours now, in preparation for my TBS order coming on Wednesday.

Equipment wise I picked up some really nice new things. I'll also be reusing some things from my 18 gallon. I'll be running a 6 bulb ATI sunpower, a oversized Reef Octopus skimmer, a Sicce Syncra 2.0 return pump, and at least 1 MP10 for water flow.


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Red Sea Reefer 170 - SPS focus
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Old 06/09/2016, 08:37 PM   #2
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My live rock order from TBS shipped today, 25 pounds worth. The rock has a TON of life on it. The tank is not sterile anymore.

For now I just put the rocks in the aquarium. Tomorrow I'm going to aquascape and start breaking in the skimmer.


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Old 06/11/2016, 09:17 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bitwise View Post
My live rock order from TBS shipped today, 25 pounds worth. The rock has a TON of life on it. The tank is not sterile anymore.

For now I just put the rocks in the aquarium. Tomorrow I'm going to aquascape and start breaking in the skimmer.
TBS liverock is amazing. A friend of mine got her rock from him and ended up with 3 free urchins, some brittle stars, a cucumber and all kinds of corals and bivalves.


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Old 06/11/2016, 09:56 AM   #4
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I love your tank! How are you liking the ATI sunpower?


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Old 06/12/2016, 05:46 PM   #5
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I love your tank! How are you liking the ATI sunpower?
Thanks! I'm loving the sunpower so far. The build quality is excellent.


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Old 06/12/2016, 05:53 PM   #6
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I just tested the water, and boy was I surprised.

Ammonia - undetectable
Nitrite - 0.05 ppm (had to switch to low range to detect)
Nitrate - 5 ppm

I'm thinking about when I should move things from 18g over.
Here is my 18g stock:
2 clowns
1 serpent star
2 trochus snails
4 emerald crabs
1 hermit crab
~20 smaller corals zoas/palys, lps, sps


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Old 06/12/2016, 07:58 PM   #7
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Is your ATI the Dimmable?


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Old 06/13/2016, 07:12 AM   #8
bitwise
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Is your ATI the Dimmable?
No it's not dimmable. 2 bulbs are connected to one outlet plug and 4 bulbs are connected to a second outlet plug.


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Old 06/14/2016, 09:00 PM   #9
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I arranged the live rock. I'm happy with how it came out. I wanted a sturdy structure first and foremost. Making it sturdy without any cement, rods, or sand is tricky.

I haven't started running the skimmer yet. I'm going to start breaking that in after my mini-vacation this weekend.

ATO is up and running as of this evening. I'm keeping a very close eye on the operation of the unit, especially this first couple of days. It is the Tunze 3155 unit, which is supposed to be a very good unit. The reservoir is only ~1.5 gallons. For longer vacations I'll be taking the "metering pump" out of the mini-reservoir and dropping it into a 5 gallon bucket on the side of the cabinet.

I'm planning on doing something different than most builds of this size for the electronics. I want to have a control panel of sorts outside the cabinet. I think there are way too many controls and cords to house in the cabinet in a decent fashion. This is likely going to be the final phase of the build.

Also, I ordered a top with feed door from Artfully Acrylic. I think keeping jumpers in the aquarium is the right thing to do.

Attached photo is a side-by-side shot: 18g gallon and new system

* Photo credit: my girlfriend


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Old 06/20/2016, 02:21 PM   #10
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Do you work in Fresno, CA by any chance?


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Old 06/20/2016, 09:37 PM   #11
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Do you work in Fresno, CA by any chance?
No


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Old 06/27/2016, 04:07 PM   #12
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I managed to get a bunch of stuff done this weekend. My old aquarium is completely broken down. Clownfish, 2 trochus snails, serpent star, and corals are now in the new system. Everything looks really good with the exception of one of the trochus snails.

I tested alk, cal, and phosphates today. Alk and cal were nominal, phosphates exceeded the 200 ppb (~.6 ppm phosphate) limit of the Hanna ULR meter.


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Old 06/27/2016, 04:09 PM   #13
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More pics


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Old 06/28/2016, 06:46 AM   #14
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The tanks looking really good.

What bulb combination are you using for your t5s?


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Old 06/28/2016, 09:06 AM   #15
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The tanks looking really good.

What bulb combination are you using for your t5s?
Thanks.

4 blue plus
1 coral plus
1 purple plus

Most of those photos were taken with my sunrise/sunset bulbs (2 blue plus).


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Old 06/29/2016, 08:24 PM   #16
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I started breaking in my skimmer yesterday. It is a Reef Octopus 110S.

I don't have the collection cup on it right now. I found it impossible to take off the collection cup with the skimmer in the sump. I ordered some food grade grease that I am going to apply a tiny bit of to the o-ring on the collection cup. I'm hoping this makes it much easier to remove the cup.


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Old 06/29/2016, 08:32 PM   #17
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I'm keen on adding a few smaller fish soon. I only have a few caves in the rocks and have no sand. Also, I think I have a pistol shrimp. Whatever it is, it came as a hitchhiker with the TBS rock. I can hear a loud popping noise from time-to-time. I read online that pistol shrimp can kill smaller fish. Should I set a trap or roll the dice?

I'm interested in hearing suggestions for fish.


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Old 07/20/2016, 09:25 PM   #18
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I decided to put fish purchases on hold until next month because of an upcoming vacation.

I've been battling algae problems for at least the last 3 weeks. I started to get really aggressive about the situation this past Monday. I started running a large amount of GFO passively and testing phosphates daily. The reefer 170 has a shelf (actually a sponge) between the constant level skimmer chamber and the return pump chamber that all return water passes over. I have the bag of GFO sitting right on the shelf.

Also, I painstakingly scrubbed the bare bottom today. The bare bottom had spots that were covered in hair algae that was trapping detritus. I think that the amount of detritus in the aquarium has something to do with the algae.

I also cut back feedings to minute amounts.

I'm changing about 10 gallons of water a week.

I'm pretty disappointed that I've had such bad algae problems so early on. I think the algae problems can be attributed to intense lighting and higher than ideal phosphates. So many crabs and other animals (with the rock) were added to the sterile system at one time that I think the system was imbalanced. Hopefully the aquarium is now starting to become balanced. The algae growth was so fast a few days ago that clean glass would be completely covered in algae to the point where you couldn't see into the aquarium in 48 hours.

If you have any tips or suggestions on my current situation please post. My priority right now is to avoid a full blown hair algae outbreak on the rock. I know how hard that is to beat.

I'll try to get a FTS up tomorrow.


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Old 07/21/2016, 06:26 PM   #19
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The algae growth was so fast a few days ago that clean glass would be completely covered in algae to the point where you couldn't see into the aquarium in 48 hours.

If you have any tips or suggestions on my current situation please post. My priority right now is to avoid a full blown hair algae outbreak on the rock. I know how hard that is to beat.

I had the same problem when I set my tank up. I definitely stocked too fast with live rock. Using GFO, Chaetomorpha(I just tied a piece of fishing line through it and attached to side of tank), emerald crab, snails, 50% water change per week (easier with a 10 gallon I know), pre-filter floss change every 2 days has helped get it under control.


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Old 07/21/2016, 07:27 PM   #20
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I like the fishing line idea. I've been considering buying chaeto because it is a more natural approach than GFO. Actually, using large amounts of GFO can cause alkalinity levels to drop quite a bit in a nano tank. I saw this in my 18g.

Did you have the chaeto in the display part of the tank?

In my experience emerald crabs are able to keep hair algae at bay, but I'd like to keep this aquarium emerald crab free. I've had problems in the past with them eating the flesh of choice LPS.

Phosphate was at .06 ppm this morning, so the levels are coming down. I'm on day 3 since cleaning the glass and although there are parts that have a fair amount of algae, I can see through about 1/2 the glass clearly. This is a lower rate of growth than what I was seeing.


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Old 07/21/2016, 07:51 PM   #21
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I took this shot of my trachyphyllia yesterday. I've owned this coral for about 2 years. The second I saw it at my LFS I jumped on it.


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Old 07/22/2016, 04:12 PM   #22
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I like the fishing line idea. I've been considering buying chaeto because it is a more natural approach than GFO. Actually, using large amounts of GFO can cause alkalinity levels to drop quite a bit in a nano tank. I saw this in my 18g.

Did you have the chaeto in the display part of the tank?

In my experience emerald crabs are able to keep hair algae at bay, but I'd like to keep this aquarium emerald crab free. I've had problems in the past with them eating the flesh of choice LPS.

I do have a problem with alkalinity dropping. I am having to dose KH at a higher rate than Ca and MG. I thought it was due to being a new tank, but maybe it's the GFO.

I have the chaeto in the display because I don't have a sump. It's not the most beautiful thing, but better than hair algae. I have it a little hidden but getting light and good flow.

I thought you transferred your crabs from the old tank. My emerald had to go back to the store after he got rid of the hair algae. He was hungry and picking at the coral, not sure if he was hurting anything but I figured I should be safe. If it starts growing again, I will buy another small emerald crab.

One more thing that I think helped, using floss to clean the glass and getting the algae out of the tank.

I think export is key, chemical or manual.

Do you have any experience with bubble algae? I had a piece of coral I didn't catch it on and when I did, tried to get rid of it an popped it. Now I have 5 small bubbles in various places. I'm afraid to try to manually remove again.



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Old 07/22/2016, 05:18 PM   #23
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I transferred 1 hermit from my old tank. About 2 dozen crabs (porcelain, gorilla, and 1 unknown) came with the TBS rock.

I do have some experience with bubble algae. Someone told me that emerald crabs are manually removing it too, so they are doing the same thing: popping them. They may be popping new growths so fast that it seems like you never have bubble algae.

I have very small amounts of bubble algae on my frags. I tried to remove any traces before putting the frags into the new system, but I'm seeing some growing now. I'm going to try careful manual removal outside the aquarium.

Honestly, I wouldn't worry about bubble algae. Ideally, you wouldn't have it in your aquarium but it's not that bad.

Phosphates were at 0.09 ppm today. I changed out the GFO. Probably won't test again until Sunday because I'm out of town.

I also changed the lighting schedule. Down to 5.5 hrs for all 6 bulbs instead of 7 hours.


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Old 10/23/2016, 04:16 PM   #24
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Here's a cool shot from this weekend.

Overall the system is doing well. Parameters are stable at:
Calcium 420 ppm
Alk ~8 dKH
Magnesium 1155 ppm
Nitrates ~2 ppm
Phosphates are a little on the higher side at ~0.06 ppm

I battled a type of brown hair algae for about 2 months. It was infuriating, 95% of the algae was of this brown variety, I don't think any other algae had a chance.

I lost 3 LPS pieces over the past couple of months, all in a similar way: tissue recession. I'm not sure what caused this.


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Old 10/24/2016, 04:00 PM   #25
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My guess is your alk keeps dropping quickly because your mg is low. I would try to increase your mg to around 1350-1400 slowly. Once your mg is up higher, it will help maintain your alk and calc with less dosing required. What is your temp and salinity at?

The LPS loss could be a few things, one of which could be your low mg as stated above, or it could be either flow too direct or not enough flow (didn't look to see what flow you had), or your lighting schedule with only 5.5 hours of light. Most people have their lights on around 12-14 hours, with around 8-10 of those hours being at peak brightness. I do more of a ramp on mine, but I still have what I would consider "day light" intensity for about 10 hours. Your corals are probably only getting 1/2 of the amount of photosynthesis that they need.

Out of curiosity, why did you decrease your lighting schedule to 5.5 hrs from 7? I would have gone the other way and bumped it up to 10ish hours.


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