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Old 01-02-2015, 04:21 PM   #1
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Lighting and Plumbing Questions

I am starting a 90G tank.

I got it second hand on craigslist and the previous owner siliconed the bulkheads in place. Water testing it showed one leaked. I had to dremel it off and noticed the gasket had slipped, causing the leak. I'm going to replace both. Getting all the silicone off is a nightmare. Does it have to be down to the bare glass or is a slight film ok?

I'm going to try to connect this myself and I have no experience doing plumbing. I have a 30 x 18 x 10 miracle sump. The center chamber had bioballs, which I removed. I think it's what is called a trickle sump. I was thinking about putting either rubble rock or chaeto in that compartment. I think what I want is one gate valve connected to the drain line. I also believe I should have a check valve and gate valve on the return. Is this correct?

Included in the sale was stock lighting which is useless for what I want to do. I know that I want an LED fixture. I was looking at getting 2 of these:
Mars Aqua 165W light fixture with 55 LEDs 3W. It has different colored LEDs. It claims that it is full spectrum - which I question. I like the idea of different colored LEDs but will this promote algae? If I bought this light, what coral would survive under it?

Also - I have some concerns on the tank itself. I talked with the previous owner about his experience with it. He claims that he fully stocked it twice and everything died within days. After blowing a few thousand dollars he decided to quit the hobby. Sounds like he didn't cycle it but I feel uneasy about it. I'm wondering if the tank was cleaned with something toxic or he quit because that bulkhead was installed incorrectly and he didn't want to deal with the leak. The bulkhead I can fix but I'm wondering if someone would have a setup like this (it's fairly decent) and wipe out his stock twice in a row within days??? That seems insane. Tank looks brand new. Sump looks a little beat up but is water tight.

Thanks
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Old 01-03-2015, 02:03 PM   #2
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Scrape the silicone off as close to the glass as possible. None left is your goal to prevent any possible issues with the old causing a leak.

For your plumbing, just PVC everything together. There isn't a need for any valves on the line going into your sump. If you need to do any type of restriction, you want to do it after your return pump.

In terms of lighting, I can't really tell you what would be best without knowing what you want to do with your tank.

In terms of the tank itself, just clean everything really well if you are concerned about it. You can even use bleach as long as you rinse it over and over again until the bleach smell is gone. It just sounds to me like it was a system that wasn't cycled and expected to throw some fish in and things magically work.
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Old 01-04-2015, 09:07 AM   #3
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Thanks I think the most challenging coral I would keep would be a rose bubble tip anemone. That's a year down the road and my heart isn't set on it but I would like the ability to add one without upgrading the lights. Think these LEDs would support it?

While removing the silicone, I discovered a small and shallow chip in the glass where it had been drilled. It looks cosmetic and odds are it will have no impact on the strength of the glass but it concerns me. The gasket will cover it, if the bulkhead is installed correctly.

Although I HATE cleaning this old silicone off, I'm wondering if in this case, adding silicone on that one gasket might be wise because of the chip. This bulkhead did not fail the leak test but he had a mountain of silicone covering it. I'm considering using a thin film and being absolutely sure that gasket doesn't slip. Not sure what to do. The gasket will cover the chip with room to spare. Wondering if I should just trust installing it dry.
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Old 01-04-2015, 10:53 AM   #4
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Those mars aqua fixtures will be fine for growing whatever you want. From this ad-
Marsaqua Dimmable 165W LED Aquarium Grow Light Full Spectrum Reef Coral LPS SPS | eBay
It shows that it only has 2 reds, so I wouldn't worry too much about algae.

Some folks believe bulkheads are meant to be sealed with silicone. Perhaps this was why the guy did it. Maybe he was also worried about the chip like you. If the gasket covers it fine, and it creates a seal, I don't see the need for silicone.

Check valves have a much higher chance of failing in a salt tank. All sorts of things grow inside those pipes and thus, they are unreliable. I would control how much water hits the sump in the event of a power outage from above- drill a hole just below the water line on the returns inside the DT, so when the water level drops, the siphon breaks almost immediately.

I'm replacing the silicone on my tank as well. I have no experience with it, but I'm just telling you what my google search came up with-
"Can I apply new silicone on old silicone?
For the best adhesion, we recommend removing the old silicone. New silicone will bond to old silicone, but the bond is not as strong as if it is adhered to a clean surface. If you choose to apply over old silicone, the warranty is void.
"


Taken from here:
Frequently Asked Questions About Products, Applications, Troubleshooting, and More
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Old 01-04-2015, 12:06 PM   #5
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Great news about the lights! Can't beat the price and they look nice.

I've been using green scotch brite scrubbies and isopropyl alcohol to remove the old silicone - once I got it down to a film. I used this technique when I replaced the frame on my paludarium. It was easier with the frame project because access was simple and you could work on it from lots of angles. No harm to the fish and no scratches. I did rinse well. I was tempted to use very fine steel wool on the bulkhead project that I'm working on. There are youtube videos of guys using it on their car windshields and it doesn't scratch. Months ago, I saw a youtube video where a guy used steel wool and alcohol to completely remove all silicone from aquarium glass (tank was taken apart into individual pieces). He literally completed that job in 5 minutes. I can't find the video though. It may have been removed. Sounds like the way to go for big projects but I would test on a scrap piece of glass first.

I think I'll skip the check valve based on what you said. I will drill a siphon break hole - thanks for the advice.
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Old 01-04-2015, 01:13 PM   #6
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One technique to clean silicone from glass uses 600 grade sandpaper and water and looks REALLY fast. I would test it first - I wish I saw this earlier:

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Old 01-10-2015, 07:49 AM   #7
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Use a stanly blade to remove large bits of silicon the use acetone to wipe off residue. I built my whole tank and sump using this method and guess what, it's as strong as new.


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Old 01-10-2015, 09:18 AM   #8
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I ended up using a blade for the big stuff, and a very fine sanding block to remove the film. It worked great and no harm to the glass as far as I can see.
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Old 01-19-2015, 09:10 AM   #9
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Thanks for the input. Hadn't thought of acetone and sandpaper sounds like the way to go.

I have a question about marco rock. I bought a few pieces for aquascaping. I have live rock from a nanocube that I'm going to seed it with. I've been warned that phosphates will leach into the system and I can expect to battle hair algae for 5 months. This sucks. However, I want to do a complex aquascape and would prefer to do this with dry rock.

Has anyone tried putting the rock in a container and setting up conditions to GROW the hair algae to pull the phosphates out rapidly and then bleaching it afterward? I was wondering if I setup a Rubbermaid container with heat, water circulation and high lighting and a nutrient source if I could get the algae to run its course faster before putting it in the display tank. Bad idea? I've had "bad" rocks before. For whatever reason, some rocks are a magnet for "crud." In the past, it was just easier to remove them rather than "fixing" them. However, I want to use these rocks that I bought...
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Old 01-19-2015, 09:30 AM   #10
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I haven't heard of this hair algae issue with the marco rock, however, you can buy the BRS dry rock and not have any trouble with it. This I know from experience-
Bulk Dry Live Rock - Rock & Sand - Bulk Reef Supply
I can't imagine your rock would be any different. It even looks the same. I have found that a lot of the information on the internet is misinformation. Noobs get rock and start a tank then blast it with light, feed the heck out of the fish, then look for something else to blame.
I dunno...I don't think if you put this dry rock in water you are going to see any hair algae, unless you introduce hair algae.
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