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Old 12-23-2009, 09:44 PM   #21
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Fourth stage cleaning - 12/23/2009

Got in there today with 50 gallons of water and as it turns out, the exact amount of salt left over from the 200g box I bought to make the SW. Howís that for luck?

I didnít do any special cleaning (besides Magfloat on the glass), I just started siphoning the gravel. It was so bas in places that chunks of waste came out that were so big, I had to jam the Python intake down into them to break them up. I found one section in front of the base of the overflow that was 6 inches long and an inch wide.

Before I started, I measured the tank dimensions to get surface area and calculated how many inches of water I could remove. By the time I was about Ĺ way to the line, I was less than Ĺ done with the area I had left over to do from the last cleaning, and there was no way I was going to cut corners. I ended up leaving roughly the last foot of the gravel alone, filled up the tank, had about 5 gallons left (didnít remove the area from the overflows from my calculation) and siphoned out what I could, and topped it off.

No pics, had to get home and prep for xmas travel. Winter storm in the Midwest. Driving on I-35 from Des Moines to Minneapolis tomorrow will be an adventure!!!

The next step in this system is to finish off the gravel siphon, service the pump (take apart & clean), replace the return hoses, disassemble the bulkhead connections and clean the U-tube intakes (gunky), clean the overflow hosesÖdid I leave anything out????

He also had a UV sterilizer on his 225 (which was a discus tank) and Iím thinking that would be good to run in line with the return pump. Does a UV sterilizer need to run at a lower flow rate to work effectively? Should I run it on a Y off the return pump on a lower flow rate to maximize itís effectiveness?
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Old 12-23-2009, 10:52 PM   #22
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Good job Floyd. Have a good Christmas.
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Old 12-23-2009, 11:27 PM   #23
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Floyd, you are a miracle worker -
May I ask if this is free work, or paid?


Safe travels

PS - (It was 42 celcius where I live yesterday - 108F, still struggling to keep the temps below 28.5 c or 83F, wish it was a little cooler )
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Old 12-24-2009, 01:00 AM   #24
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So far I've charged him about $300 and I gave him a $40 discount on the first service call, so really about $260. I've agreed to get paid in food. We have 4 kids so each time we order it's about $35-45, even with 3 meals for all he still owes about $125. We'll be eating there for free for quite a while! But I also told him that I would be using my work on his system for advertising my services, so once I figure that in, I should be getting more out of it than I put into it, eventually.
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Old 12-24-2009, 01:04 AM   #25
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Nice. Sounds like you've got quite a good deal going!
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Old 12-29-2009, 12:27 PM   #26
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Fifth Stage Cleaning - 12/28/2009

So, yesterday I did another 50 gallon water change, and finished off the gravel siphoning, which was only about 15% of the remaining gravel. There's still some algae/cyano growing on the overflows and on the LR, and I can still see some gunk in the overflow (below the lower intakes) and I don't really know how I'm going to get that out of there, maybe I'll try to find a longer tube cleaner.

The next step is to replace all the pump hoses and clamps, pull the U-tubes and clean them out, clean the powerhead, and give the sump a good once over again (rinse bio-balls, etc). I also might rotate the bioball tower and install a filter sock on one of the intakes, the sump still gets quite a bit of chunky waste in it.

Anyways, here's how it looks now:

Full tank shot



Left



Middle



Right



Right closeup



Also you'll notice the Koralia 4 powerhead. I just got one because I wasn't sure he wanted to pop for it, even though he needs 2 and it sounded like he understood. He also has the protein skimmer ordered so that should be in by the end of the week.

We also discussed replacing the substrate, since the gravel siphoning just couldn't get all the gunk caught in it. The waste is heavy enough that it won't get sucked up, Python hoses have that shutoff that really slows down the flow rate, no matter what level the other end of the hose is at. So we're going to replace it in sections. The next question is with what?

Obviously there are 3 choices: aragonite sand, aragonite, and crushed coral. I'm thinking that a mix of aragonite (Arag-Alive brand Special Grade Sand) and Florida Crushed Coral would look nice. Or even just the crushed coral. Either way, the pH of the tank won't budge from 7.8, which is why I think mixing the 2 would be good, best of both worlds. Any opinions?
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Old 12-30-2009, 03:32 AM   #27
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Don't they all say Crushed Coral = High Nitrates later down the road? Something to do with gunk getting caught in all the small nooks and crannies in the coral. Just what I've heard, no actual experience.
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Old 12-30-2009, 10:06 AM   #28
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Some hate CC and some Love it.
People will debate until their wits end about it

Go to google and type in Crushed Coral Nitrates, you can see some of the large debates.

Plenty of pros and cons for both CC and Aragnite Sand.
With a mix, I guess you would have the best of both worlds!

At the end of the day - It's really up to the owner and cleaner of the tank.
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Old 12-30-2009, 11:40 AM   #29
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I only see a damsel in the last pics,where is the dog face puffer and sergeant majors?
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Old 12-30-2009, 01:11 PM   #30
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I only see a damsel in the last pics,where is the dog face puffer and sergeant majors?

Hiding

Don't they all say Crushed Coral = High Nitrates later down the road? Something to do with gunk getting caught in all the small nooks and crannies in the coral.

That what LFS told me too. Going to just replace with like kind.

I ran another set of tests, diluting the sample again for Nitrate, and came up with about 25-30 on the 1/8 strength sample, or 200-240. Salifert kit on the 1/8 strength showed between 25 and 50, I pegged it at around 40.

Phosphates were around 2 both on API & Salifert.

Now I've got the flu, so happy new year to all!
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