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Old 03-07-2005, 03:05 PM   #11
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Large aquariums use something called an ozone replicator in order to not have so much husbandry to do.
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Old 03-07-2005, 06:43 PM   #12
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Since I'm new to SW I'm learning as I go, and I came across the Octopus 3000 system.

Does anyone have this system or something similar? As far as I can tell it just monitors the water, nothing corrective.
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Old 03-07-2005, 06:52 PM   #13
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I do not want to discourage you from your hunt but salt-water aquariums are a lot of work. Most parts of this work cannot be avoided. Steps that get missed show up in time because salt water is such a hard environment to maintain in an unnatural environment.

I live this every day of my life. When my husband and I decided to do a salt-water tank I thought that you could just put all the cool stuff in and not really worry about it… Wow was I wrong! For the last 4 or 5 months we have been battling cynobacteria and hair algae. Hair algae is not bad really as long as you have fish and stuff that will maintain it for you, but it is not that pretty.

Unless you are prepared to spend a lot of time with your tank and a lot of money on your tank, I would not do it. I have heard that the ozone simulators help a lot to control the PH and all of the water but they are very pricy. I know of nothing else that is smart enough to maintain the system for you.
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Old 03-07-2005, 09:21 PM   #14
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Hmm...I'm not sure what it would be worth, but I'd like to make the following observations...in addition to what has already been said. You mentioned correcting ammonia and nitrite. These will not be an issue in a cycled tank that is properly maintained. If these do show up in a measurable concentration in a cycled tank, there is a big problem somewhere that will need human interference...quickly. Nitrates are another one. As I said before, testing for nitrates requires that the nitrates first be converted to nitrite...then the nitrite is measured. Nitrates can be easily controlled with proper nutrient export and water changes. Both of these are easily automated. There are several different ways to export nutrients with the protein skimmer probably being the most prevalent although macro/mud based refugiums are gaining popularity quickly. Water changes can be automated using a couple of pumps, a couple of timers, and float or pressure switches. Ozone injection can be controlled with an ORP controller. Cal/alk levels can be controlled, to an extent, with an efficient cal reactor coupled to a pH controller. Salinity stays pretty constant in a properly designed system as the only salt that is exported from the system is via the skimate produced by the skimmer and whatever salt creep occurs. Either of these would take a long time to affect the salinity of a med-large size system. Automated fresh water top off would keep salinity very stable. Temp control is easily controlled, even in extreme conditions, with a dual channel temp controller coupled with a properly sized heater and chiller. Copper is and absolute unconditional NO-NO in a reef tank because it will kill inverts indiscriminately. It can be used in a FO tank but needs to be dosed very carefully and only if there is a disease present that requires it's use. IMO, if this is the case, the tank requires the daily attention of it's owner until the situation is resolved. I'm not trying to discourage you at all. As I've said, this is something that interests me. I just wanted to point out some things that I don't think you'd need to automate and, IMO, the reasons for that. I'll look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas and I'll help if I can.
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Old 03-07-2005, 09:58 PM   #15
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Thanks for the input, keep them coming. I understand the work involved in SW aquariums, and my first reading item just came today. "The New Marine Aquarium" by Michael Paletta.

I don't intend on this system completely replacing human knowledge and interaction, but I think it would be a great safety net.

I'm learning as much as I can as quickly as possible, and I think if I decide it is very feasible I will try to start planning the actual design over the summer.

Thanks again, input from everyone is appreciated.
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Old 03-07-2005, 11:37 PM   #16
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Sounds as if your trying to take away the very thing most people enjoy about having a reef tank, now I'm sure their are some lazy folks out their that would enjoy a gadget but for me personally I enjoy spending time and caring for my tank, anyone can hook up a gadget and grow a beautiful reef tank with what your describing but not everyone has the patience and so called green thumb to do it all by hand, Not trying to raise a stink just give you my honest oppinion
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Old 03-08-2005, 12:10 AM   #17
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I thought about that side too. Exactly why I'm glad to hear everyone's opinions.
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Old 03-08-2005, 12:49 AM   #18
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IMO, having some automation in place doesn't have to take away from the enjoyment of caring for the tank. I'm interested in it for two reasons. One, I've had several wealthy customers inquire about having a reef tank set up in their homes. To a person, not one of them wanted to do much, if any, work to it...just have it sit there and look pretty. They wanted me to do all the maintenance. One guy didn't even want to be bothered with feeding the fish...I declined to give him a quote on a tank setup. Anyway, in this situation, I would need some automation to keep things on an even keel between visits. Two, I think it would be nice to know the electronic box was keeping an eye on things in my tank when I wasn't around. The right combination of events could wipe out a tank while you were at work. Having an electronic watchdog that would call your cellphone or send you an email, and that is a currently available option on some controllers, might avert a terrible disaster. JMHO anyway. OK, three reasons...I love gadgets .
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Old 03-08-2005, 10:51 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper
I enjoy spending time and caring for my tank, anyone can hook up a gadget and grow a beautiful reef tank with what your describing but not everyone has the patience and so called green thumb to do it all by hand
I agree with you. While it can be a real pain in the arse when things go wrong, it is one of the most relaxing activates I am blessed with on a daily basis. Sure when things do go wrong and I am battling bad bacteria I curse the tank and say its not worth it... but God knows I do not mean it. My tank is my second Yoga. If I did not have it to clean and maintain I think I would not sleep so well at night.
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Old 03-08-2005, 11:17 AM   #20
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How much would you be willing to pay for a system that can automatically measures and corrects temp, pH, nitrates, nitrites, ammonia, SG, copper, and alkalinity?


For me, not much. A reef tank is a great hobby for a tinkerer and I like to tinker with my tank. I also like building things myself. I also like as much of the engineering in my tank to be mechanical rather than electrical. Looking at that "automated" system - it's all at the mercy of an electrical cord.
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