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Old 06-23-2007, 08:58 PM   #61
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Tests today

The skimmer is doing it's job - pulling out lots of beige-colored, soupy, crud. The "cloud" from the sand and rocks I added, and the rotting jumbo shrimp. I've got it turned all the way down, and its still a mass of solid, stable foam slowly rising up into the cup. I didn't expect the green gooey stuff since I don't have any livestock in there. But the water is getting clearer - in fact it's quite clear now.

Test today - ammonia, 4.0 - nitrite 0.50. pH is right on at 8.2, which is surprising considering the lack of water movement for the last 2 weeks.

I haven't tested nitrates yet. Probably tomorrow. I expect to see some 'trates showing, and 'trites start to drop soon.

The lone nassarius is still alive and kicking.

Very little evaporation going on - I'm surprised. I expected more with all the turbulence in the temporary sump. It's very humid right now in the basement, that could explain it.

Also, the display tank temp is right at 80 degrees, which is very surprising, since the house is well over 90 - it's been very hot this week. The basement sump is working wonders to keep the water temp down. Any lower than that and I'd need to add a heater to keep it higher.

Both of my SG swing-arm meter saying 1.028. My new refractometer will be here next week, but I trust my old one.

Did a 5G water change (treated with Prime, but no salt mixed), to start lowering the SG. I'm going to try to at least 5G each day, probably 10 to 20 next week.

I have about 2 weeks before I'd like to move my current livestock into the new tank. Going to keep moving my LR and LS to the new tank over the next two week, which should help the cycle finish up fast. I hope.

The new skimmer has produced about a 1/3rd inch of dark green crud on my current tank. It seems to still be breaking in, and producing a bit faster each day.
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180G build thread

180G All-glass with dual megaflows in a custom stand
AquaC EV-180 skimmer
250 pounds LR
160 pounds aragonite
Custom acrylic sump from GlassCages.com
2xPCX-40 return pumps
2x250MH 14K, 2x175MH 14K - PFO lighting, 2x65W PC
No-name 36W UV
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Old 06-24-2007, 03:35 PM   #62
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Today's update. Ammonia is down a tiny bit, nitrates are up to between the 2.0 and 5.0 reading (from 0.5 yesterday - big jump)

The ammonia alert badge, which I don't rely on, but use as a quick check, is down to the lowest level above 0.

I didn't test 'trates yet, but I'm sure they'll be building up.

I think the pumps "broke in" a bit, because they seem to be moving quite a bit more water than before. The returns are dual-output tubes, each adjustable, so I aimed the two middle ones down towards the rocks to get some water moving across/through them. The two outer once are pointed more upwards and toward the front - to add some surface disturbance. Gauging be "feel" alone, I'd guess each of the 4 nozzles are moving around 300 GPH - just comparing to my pumps here at home.

I have some water buildup on the inside of the cabinet doors - moisture, mostly - it wasn't salty. When I install the cooling fans this week in the canopy that might help remove the humidity and mist above the tank. If not, I need to so something about this.

I re-arranged the 150 pounds of reef rock. Couldn't see what I was doing beecause after I moved 5 or 6 pieces, the water clouded over bad. My acrylic sump and two sump socks/brackets will be here in a few days - that will fix that problem quickly. I'll probably purposely stir up the sediment for a few days to get rid of as much as I can. The 150 pounds is enough to cover the back glass half-way up, and come out about a foot at the bottom.

I might get some underwater expoxy putty and glue the reef roock together, up the back wall. Haven't decided yet. I do like to be able to re-arrange things, but I'd like to cover most of the back glass. That would help expose more of the rock for filtration too, and give me more spots to place corals. If I do, it's going to be a big job. 150 pounds of mostly fist or two-fist sized pieces would take some time. I'll wait until my sump and socks are installed, so the silt can be removed as I work.

Skimmer is still pulling out sandy-colored foam like mad. The water level in the temporary sump isn't constant, since its a tub with no baffles, so the skimmer isn't constant either, but it's pulling out enough foam that it must be working.

Temp is extremly stable - the basement sump is awesome!

pH is still 8.2. LOTS of water turbulence in the sump where the two overflows empty. O2 levels should be pretty good with that going on.

I'm wondering, since the 6 jumbo shrimp I put in a few weeks ago are all but gone, if I need to add more to keep the cycle going. Thoughts? As soon as I see ammonia and nitrate drop to safe levels, I'll probably add a damsel or two.
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180G build thread

180G All-glass with dual megaflows in a custom stand
AquaC EV-180 skimmer
250 pounds LR
160 pounds aragonite
Custom acrylic sump from GlassCages.com
2xPCX-40 return pumps
2x250MH 14K, 2x175MH 14K - PFO lighting, 2x65W PC
No-name 36W UV
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Old 06-25-2007, 07:45 AM   #63
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Sounds like you are well on your way Great that the pH is so stable right now

No reason to add any more shrimp unless you don't plan on adding fish for more then a week or two. If not then I'd add one shrimp a week which will keep your bacteria going.

I'd add 2-5 Blue/Green Reef Chromis over your typical damsel since they are beautiful fish and actively school.
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Old 06-25-2007, 07:57 AM   #64
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Yeah, once the cycle was done (or close enough for rock and roll) I was going to add a few, and green chromis was on my list, I have 3 already, so 5 or 6 would school nicely, and they're so small they won't do much to my future bioload. I'm pretty sure they're damsels themselves, but most other damsels can be little monsters. I had a jewelled damsel early on when I started - the guy at the store told me they were friendly. Haha. He immediately started attacking all my other fish. I have a blue damsel - he behaves mostly now, but there were times I thought he was going to have to go.
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180G build thread

180G All-glass with dual megaflows in a custom stand
AquaC EV-180 skimmer
250 pounds LR
160 pounds aragonite
Custom acrylic sump from GlassCages.com
2xPCX-40 return pumps
2x250MH 14K, 2x175MH 14K - PFO lighting, 2x65W PC
No-name 36W UV
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Old 06-25-2007, 08:03 AM   #65
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I think they are damsels also but wasn't 100% sure. Only other damsel I have/had is the yellow tail which IMO is a fun harmless small fish. Mine is 2 years old and still only 1.5" and gets along with everyone.
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Old 06-26-2007, 08:48 PM   #66
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Tonight ammonia is almost down to zero. Even the alert badge is back in the safe zone. Cool. Cycle has gone well so far.

The skimmer I have on it is no longer generating massive amounts of sandy-colored foam, but now is starting to spit out the green stuff. I'll probably back it off until I start adding livestock.

Nitrites skyrocketed - off the chart even. With ammonia under control, I'd think this spike wouldn't last more than a few days.

My AquaC EV180 is really performing well now, and is nicely broken in. No sump yet - the delivery I thought was the sump was actually my Xbox 360 being returned for repairs. Bummer. But I did get the 2 sump socks and brackets in, so as soon as I can straighten the drain lines, I can add those and start polishing the water.

Once trites are down to zero, I'll add a few damsels, then if that doesn't cause a spike, I'll add a few of my existing fish - whatever I can catch As I decrease the bioload on my current system, I'll move more of my LR and sand out to the new tank, until it's basically empty. I have a little over two weeks to get it all wrapped up.

Besides installing the permanent sump, I still need to cut some vent holes and isntall fans in the canopy, and do some more rock-scaping.
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180G build thread

180G All-glass with dual megaflows in a custom stand
AquaC EV-180 skimmer
250 pounds LR
160 pounds aragonite
Custom acrylic sump from GlassCages.com
2xPCX-40 return pumps
2x250MH 14K, 2x175MH 14K - PFO lighting, 2x65W PC
No-name 36W UV
Water General 125GPH RO/DI
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Old 06-27-2007, 10:03 PM   #67
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Sump came in today. Looks great, but for a 2" crack in the acrylic on one end. Talked to Glass Cages, and I'm fine with "fixing" it - so they're sending me a couple tubes of good ol' #16.

I installed one of the sump socks and brackets on the rubbermaid sump, the hose isn't reach right for the 2nd. The real sump is a bit taller (and square) so it'll fit fine on it. But I've gotta get it fixed up first.

Ammonia is gone - nitrite is still high, off the chart still (goes straight to a dark purple that's not even on the color chart). Nitrite's been reading for a week or so now, so since ammonia cycled so fast, I expect nitrite to be gone in a few days.

Since pH and temp are so stable, I hope I might be able to pick up some chromis for the tank this weekend if nitrites drop out.

Oh, and the RO, water softener, and charcoal filter for the house are all installed. Once they're plumbed, I'll have RO water to work with - though I'll switch to my own RO/DI unit once I relocate my current livestock.
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180G build thread

180G All-glass with dual megaflows in a custom stand
AquaC EV-180 skimmer
250 pounds LR
160 pounds aragonite
Custom acrylic sump from GlassCages.com
2xPCX-40 return pumps
2x250MH 14K, 2x175MH 14K - PFO lighting, 2x65W PC
No-name 36W UV
Water General 125GPH RO/DI
Filstar XP3
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Old 06-28-2007, 07:53 PM   #68
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Nitrites are still up there. A little closer in color to the top of the scale on the colorimetric chart than yesterday, so I think it's come down a bit. If I have time tonight to run out to the house, I'll do a half sample, to verify the real value, since it's so high.
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180G build thread

180G All-glass with dual megaflows in a custom stand
AquaC EV-180 skimmer
250 pounds LR
160 pounds aragonite
Custom acrylic sump from GlassCages.com
2xPCX-40 return pumps
2x250MH 14K, 2x175MH 14K - PFO lighting, 2x65W PC
No-name 36W UV
Water General 125GPH RO/DI
Filstar XP3
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Old 06-29-2007, 12:02 AM   #69
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Sounds like it's coming along well.

Are you seeing any nitrates yet? Just curious.
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Old 06-29-2007, 08:04 AM   #70
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Was going to test tonight,to see if nitrite is getting processed yet. I think I'll see a little.

I realized one thing I should have done - plumbed a drain line behind the tank, so I could do water changes, drained to the basement. I can still have a line over the tank, into the stand, and through the floor, and then down to the drain, but it's not quite as clean as I was hoping for. Maybe after we move in I'll punch a line through the wall behind the tank.
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180G build thread

180G All-glass with dual megaflows in a custom stand
AquaC EV-180 skimmer
250 pounds LR
160 pounds aragonite
Custom acrylic sump from GlassCages.com
2xPCX-40 return pumps
2x250MH 14K, 2x175MH 14K - PFO lighting, 2x65W PC
No-name 36W UV
Water General 125GPH RO/DI
Filstar XP3
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Old 06-30-2007, 12:32 AM   #71
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Can't just take the water from the sump downstairs? I do most of my water changes from the sump room. I will do some siphoning on occasion but nothing major.
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Old 06-30-2007, 08:10 AM   #72
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It's not big enough to do a real change. 30G. Completely full, with the skimmer in there, probably about 25G or so real capacity.

Long-term, I'm probably going to use my 75 as a sump.

I could drain water from the sump as I pump in the change, but then I'm mixing old and new as I change.

No biggie.

(Later)

Lot's of progress today.

Moved 20 or 30 pounds of my old LR, and another few quarts of sand. I added some of the new baserock to the tank awhile ago, so I'm not worried too much about losing bio capacity.

The params all checked out - 'trates are climbing towards 20, nitrite's gone, and ammonia's been gone for awhile. pH still right on at 8.2 - maybe even a tad above that. SG has been worked down to 1.025. I don't have my refractometer yet - or the #16 glue to fish my acrylic sump. Will need to do another good PWC before next week.

So, I made a trip to my favorite LFS and picked up 3 blue chromis and a yellowtail damsel.

About 6 hours later, they seem to be acclimating fine - swiming at all levels, schooling (not the damsel), and ate the tiny bit of a snack I fed them.

I felt bad about them being in the dark, so I put a 6500K CF bulb in a metal workshop type reflector over the tank - I'll run out and turn it off tonight.

I also got the glass cleaned up, inside and out.

Putting a 2" PVC tube over the curved 1 1/4" ID flex tubing helped quite a bit. I do want to replace all that flex tubing with PVC someday.

I plan on having all the lights and equipment wrapped up next weekend, and have all the remaining LR and livestock relocated too. With all the rock in my tank now, catching fish is near impossible, so I'll probably empty out all the LR sometime this week, then immediately catch the fish, and head out. Then come back for the corals and soft stuff.

Since I don't have any bubble baffles, I am getting a lot of micro bubbles working back up to the tank. When I get the real sump in place that'll be fixed up.

The "Street of Dreams" show is in two weeks, so I might just make it





(Update 10PM)

Went back out and installed 2 of my old CF 65W 12K lights. Looks much better than the yellow, plus I didn't want to give any algae a head start with that 6500K bulb.

Chromis were still schooling, and the yellowtail was out and about. I'll have to see how they're doing tomorrow, and maybe see if I can catch one or two of the fish from my current tank.
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180G build thread

180G All-glass with dual megaflows in a custom stand
AquaC EV-180 skimmer
250 pounds LR
160 pounds aragonite
Custom acrylic sump from GlassCages.com
2xPCX-40 return pumps
2x250MH 14K, 2x175MH 14K - PFO lighting, 2x65W PC
No-name 36W UV
Water General 125GPH RO/DI
Filstar XP3
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Old 07-01-2007, 12:07 PM   #73
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I seem to be talking to myself, but that's fine This lets me keep track of when things happened.

Stopped by the house this morning to turn on the lights and check the new residents.

Everybody's doing fine - the chromis are still schooling, and the yellowtail is out and about - not hiding as much as yesterday.

They all ate the little bit of food I gave them.

The tank is clear as can be, even looking through the end, it's crystal clear all the way to the other end. My first SW tank was so cloudy for the first 2 months you couldn't see all the way to the other end.

I can't find my #16 acrylic glue I bought when I tried to make a denitrator, so I'll have to wait for the 2 tubes glass cages is sending to patch the crack in my new sump. Was hoping those would be here yesterday.

I'd like to get the new sump installed, because the rubbermaid tub I'm using is too short - the sump socks are too low, and kinda float in the water. I'm sure they're not working as well as they should like that.

Skimmer went nuts after I added more sand and LR yesterday - pumped out a gallon or so, but it's settled now.

Once I move a few of my fish I'll move the EV180 out there - it seems so much more stable than the CSS. When things get stirred up, or I use additives, or feed, it slows down, instead of going nuts like the CSS. But for now the CSS has been doing a good job removing silt that gets stirred up.

I really wish I'd rinsed the sand.
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180G build thread

180G All-glass with dual megaflows in a custom stand
AquaC EV-180 skimmer
250 pounds LR
160 pounds aragonite
Custom acrylic sump from GlassCages.com
2xPCX-40 return pumps
2x250MH 14K, 2x175MH 14K - PFO lighting, 2x65W PC
No-name 36W UV
Water General 125GPH RO/DI
Filstar XP3
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Old 07-01-2007, 03:45 PM   #74
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Lookin' good! Thanks for the updated pics.
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Old 07-02-2007, 02:48 PM   #75
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Today's update - all 4 fishies are doing great, very active, eating. Water params are still right on. I need to figure out how to do a water change - the house water won't be on for a couple days, maybe tomorrow. But then I'll have a temporary RO water feed, which will save me a lot of work.

The sump socks and brackets are too tall - the top of the socks are under water, so they're not working well - I need to get a taller rubbermaid type container to run the drain lines into, then plumb that into the sump. That will eliminate some of the ferocious bubbles that are happening where the flow from the drains hit the sump.

I hope to move most of the LR and fish out to the new tank on Wednesday (yeah, the 4th), cause I"ll have the day off. Then I'll move the corals and anemone's, but I need to get the lighting in first. The guy I found who was selling dual 250W MH setups isn't responding to my calls/emails, so I think I'll have to go through an e-tailer, like MarineDepot.com. About $150 more that way, but I won't worry about actually getting the stuff.

I have 2 occellaris, a prince parrotfish, yellow tang, blue tang, green mandarin, scooter blenny, blue damsel, 2 pajama cardinals, 3 more reef chromis, and a sixspot sand goby to move. Seems like I'm missing something in that list.

I'd like to pick up an emperator angel, or another large fish (10" or so) before the show, but I doubt I'll find one locally in time.
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180G build thread

180G All-glass with dual megaflows in a custom stand
AquaC EV-180 skimmer
250 pounds LR
160 pounds aragonite
Custom acrylic sump from GlassCages.com
2xPCX-40 return pumps
2x250MH 14K, 2x175MH 14K - PFO lighting, 2x65W PC
No-name 36W UV
Water General 125GPH RO/DI
Filstar XP3
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Old 07-02-2007, 04:19 PM   #76
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Sounds like a lot of work coming up, hope it all goes smoothly!

I've been keeping track of your thread, love how it's unfolding.

Thanks for the pics, and updates.
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Old 07-04-2007, 01:31 PM   #77
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Today's the day - I've moved all the LR that doesn't have something growing on it (other than sponges, which there are lots of).

Wow. A 5 gallon bucket full of LR and enough water to cover it all is really, really heavy.

I'm letting the water settle a bit in the current tank, from the mess moving the LR made, then I'm going to grab the corals, and rush them out to the new tank.

Then when I get them in, I'll come back, drain most of the water out of the current tank - and start catching fish. I'm going to put them in two separate buckets since there are so many.

Once they're acclimated and in, I'll come back, and grab hardware. Filstar (just for the heck of it), EV180, my mag 9.5, RO/DI filter, big water resevoir, and my current 175W MH lights (250W still aren't in). I should have a water source for my RO/DI unit tomorrow.

I haven't decided what to do with my current fuge. I don't want to dismantle it - there's too much life in there. But I can't drill it without emptying it (its glass), so I'm trying to work out a way to plumb it without drilling or overflow boxes. Got some ideas. I'll drop a PH on the fuge to keep things going meanwhile.
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180G build thread

180G All-glass with dual megaflows in a custom stand
AquaC EV-180 skimmer
250 pounds LR
160 pounds aragonite
Custom acrylic sump from GlassCages.com
2xPCX-40 return pumps
2x250MH 14K, 2x175MH 14K - PFO lighting, 2x65W PC
No-name 36W UV
Water General 125GPH RO/DI
Filstar XP3
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Old 07-05-2007, 02:26 PM   #78
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Awesome, best of luck.

Wish I could help with the fuge stuff. All this plumbing, fuge, sump, etc. talk is greek to me.
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Old 07-05-2007, 09:39 PM   #79
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Fish were moved in yesterday afternoon. So far so good.

The water has clouded up a bit - all the params are still good. I need to get my Filstar, EV-180, and UV out there as soon as I can. I broke the nozzle off my UV hookup, disconecting it from the old plumbing, so hopefully it's a standard MPT size so I can hook something else up to it. I have all this stuff ready to go out to the house after the little ones get in bed tonight.

I have A/C at the sump area finally. No more power strips, and GFI protection. W00t! Now I'm waiting for the 8 outlets in the canopy to go hot.

Temp is under control after a few warm days - the central air is now running in the house. Temp's down to 81.5, from a high of almost 84. Ouch.

Snails, shrimp, crabs all look good.

One of the 6 chromis has been a little shyer than normal - but he's active. All the other fish are behaving normally. I've had all of them at least 6 months (except the 4 new ones from last week), and have had most of them a year, so I'm pretty familiar with how they act.

Shrooms have been a little shrivelled. Both anemones are filling out, but the shroom have me worried.

I've decided to NOT move any more of my old sand to the new tank, I've got plenty in there now. Clean start.

Lighting still isnt' ordered - got a week and a half. Will probably order everything tomorrow, to be here by next wednesday.
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180G build thread

180G All-glass with dual megaflows in a custom stand
AquaC EV-180 skimmer
250 pounds LR
160 pounds aragonite
Custom acrylic sump from GlassCages.com
2xPCX-40 return pumps
2x250MH 14K, 2x175MH 14K - PFO lighting, 2x65W PC
No-name 36W UV
Water General 125GPH RO/DI
Filstar XP3
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Old 07-06-2007, 07:41 PM   #80
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Whew. Getting there. Added UV today - water is still a bit cloudy, I expect the UV to clear that up. Protein skimmer is working like a dream. An amazing amount of bubbles. No crazy amounts of water, but lots of foam and green crud settling and draining to my external container.

One chromis is being more shy than normal - hanging out in the corner. I'm worried about him. My anemones both look pretty good. The other fish are all acting normal.

The RO/DI filter decided to start working. No idea why it wasn't last night, but I blew two hours messing with it. The TDS meter is showing around 10ppm solids, so I ordered some new filters.

Draining my 45G bucket right now to take out, to build up water for a real water change (did a small one last week before fish).

I also have my mag 9.5 to hook up to my EV-180 (recommended pump to "overdrive" the skimmer).

This weekend I'll drain my fuge as far down as I can without emptying it, and take it out to setup. I've got an air stone in there (making made bubbles) to keep a little current going and keep the stuff in there alive. Without the rest of the system hooked up to it, it got a little hot - maybe too hot. The caulerpa looks fine, but I don't see swarms of pods and mysid shrimp anymore. I adjusted the heater - hope that helps.
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180G build thread

180G All-glass with dual megaflows in a custom stand
AquaC EV-180 skimmer
250 pounds LR
160 pounds aragonite
Custom acrylic sump from GlassCages.com
2xPCX-40 return pumps
2x250MH 14K, 2x175MH 14K - PFO lighting, 2x65W PC
No-name 36W UV
Water General 125GPH RO/DI
Filstar XP3
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