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Old 02-24-2010, 11:20 AM   #21
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I was concerned about phosphates. I would rather just not introduce them into the tank to start with. Maybe I am wrong here, but I am just doing the "better safe than sorry" approach and trying to establish decent water perameters from the get go.

I understand that I will still go through the nitrogen cycle, thus trying to reduce nitrates right now is kind of pointless... I suppose my fear was some of the other minerals.

Anybody else have a point of view on this. I wouldn't mind just filling this thing with tap water, but I am trying to be proactive in keeping phosphates and such down.

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Old 02-24-2010, 11:38 AM   #22
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Hey Ray, I agree on a tap fill and test, but I would then drain it and re-fill with RODI to start were I to do a new tank.
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Old 02-24-2010, 11:44 AM   #23
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Have you tested your tap for phosphates? That may answer your question.

CMOR, if there are no phosphates in the tap, then why use the expensive water to start?
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Old 02-24-2010, 02:38 PM   #24
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at about mid-night, the python hose, which was 4 years old i remind you, burst at a kink location due to the pressure. The sound of the hose exploding under the pressure was unreal. my cat laying in bed with me and my wife freaked out, scratched her back as it ran for cover, and used my face as a spring board to jump onto the dresser. She stepped right on my eye socket just as i was waking up due to the loud sound. I think she nearly poked my eye out. the dog started barking just as the abusive cat knocked a metal cup off the dresser onto the hard wood floor resulting in more crashing.
hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.
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Old 02-24-2010, 03:34 PM   #25
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Now THAT, is something else. That sounds like a horrible chain of events..

I know what it's like to have a cat grab on to your back and not let go.. Not very fun.. at all. Hope your eye is ok.. those aren't replaceable like the python hose ya know..
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Old 02-24-2010, 05:39 PM   #26
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Yeah, everything is fine. My eye was a bit sore yesterday, but today feels normal again.

Ok, I am still on the fence about the RO to start thing. I suppose if I was buying RO from the store, it would be really expensive to fill the tank. I bought an RO system though, so its really just the cost of the membrane and cartridges.

Ill see how the progress went today when I get home, and if its still only 1/3rd full, I may just go tap water.
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Old 02-25-2010, 02:23 AM   #27
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Salt mixes (most of them anyway) are designed to be mixed with RODI water. Tap water contains a host of minerals and other stuff that is fine for humans but may upset the balance in a tank. Sure, PWCs will dilute the tap over time,, but why start with it if you have a RODI unit?
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Old 02-25-2010, 09:05 AM   #28
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Ok, RO water it is. I added 120 pounds of sand yesterday and need to get another 80 pounds. I washed the sand, but the water is still really cloudy and has some foam floating around on the top. With the displacement of the sand, the water is still only about half full.

This is taking forever. I started on Monday, but only run the RO system when I am home... next weekend, I would like to start buying live rock.
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Old 02-25-2010, 02:38 PM   #29
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Alright, I have been having this concern lately regarding the sump and pump. I fear that I might have been too agressive with my pump selection. I choose the Gen-X 150 which has a flow rate of 2131 gph. I was under the understanding when ordering it that the more the better. Now, I have a couple of concerns regarding this pump.

1a. With a 1" diameter drilled overflow standpipe, is this thing going to pump faster than the tank can gravity fill the sump?

1b. Because I wanted to be able to tune down the pumps flow slightly, I included a t in the return line plumbing to allow me to divert water back into the skimmer compartment while reducing flow to the tank from the pump without putting pressure on the pump. Maybe this will solve the issue from question 1a.

2. I have been reading today that you shouldn't use all hard plumbing for the return, which of course I did. In many articles, they state that there is too much friction which causes stress to the pump which in turn causes more heat in the pump which is transfered to the tank water. Many of the articles say that if you use hard plumbing for the return, be prepared to buy a chiller.



Am I worrying about nothing here, or do I have to make some adjustments to my set up? Luckily, the RO system is still chugging along filling up the tank, so I have time to swap out this pump if I need to.

All your input is greatly appreciated.
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Old 02-25-2010, 03:35 PM   #30
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That pump is way overkill and will cause problems. You want to match a pump output to your drain. A 1½" drain straight drop can flow at 1200gph. With 2 1" returns you can match that. You do have to take head height into account, but you only have about 3 - 4 feet max.

You migiht try building a closed loop system that you could T into the pump return thereby saving the cost of buying power heads.

I don't beleive the pipe runs are long enough to build up enough friction to heat the water much if at all, but I'm not an engineer.

I normally run my RODI overnight when I'm filling my Top Off tank. There are days I have started it before work and left it running all day too. I don't plug in the booster pump on those days so my output is less than half of the rated 150gpd.
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Old 02-25-2010, 04:03 PM   #31
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Great. So it sounds like I need to return this pump to Dr. F&S. Unfortuantely, I already threw the box and packaging away. Bummer. I am going to call them and see if I can down grade to a smaller pump.

14 times turn over too much?? haha
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Old 02-26-2010, 12:05 PM   #32
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Alright. The pump has been removed and is being shipped back to Dr. Foster and Smith. The new pump has inlets and outlets 1/4" smaller than the one I just pulled out, so so creative bulkhead/bushings were required to make everything fit again. We will see when all the parts and the pump come in how easy it is to get the new pump installed.

I also bought another 60 pounds of argonite sand yesterday. With my previous purchase, this will equal about 210 pounds of sand. That is all I plan on putting in.

The RODI is finally getting almost full in the tank, so it looks like if the pump gets here fast enough, we could have this thing up and running soon. I would love to finally see some water moving through the system.
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Old 02-26-2010, 01:51 PM   #33
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Turn on some power heads <g>
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Old 03-01-2010, 03:33 PM   #34
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Oh Joy! What a long weekend. As stated earlier, I pulled the pump that was sized for a small lake off and returned it. The good news is, I was able to get the new pump and a protein skimmer for the same cost. The events of the weekend went something like this:

I woke up Saturday and started to mix salt into the tank water. I would remove 5 gallons, mix in as much salt as I could get to disolve and re-add to the tank. I then would wait awhile and when the powerheads had sufficiently mixed the new salt water, repeat the process.

I originally bought a 150 gallon mix of salt, and I intended on putting it all in. My wife is so smart. She asked about thef act that alot of water was displaced from the substrate we had added, and asked if that would affect salinity. It was like a light bulb went off in my head. The good news is that I hadn't added all the salt yet... and even better, she is starting to get interested in the tank. I taught her how to use the refractometer, and she thought it was very interesting. She is somewhat scientific in nature. She then asked "why can't we start getting some live rock since the tank has heaters and powerheads installed. Bonus!

So, on saturday afternoon, the new pump came in from FedEx. I love living this close to Drsfostersmith.com. I didn't have all the plumbing pieces I needed since the input/output of this pump is 1/4" smaller than the lake pump I originally bought. We decieded to go get plumbing supplies and some live rock on Sunday.

Sunday morning, I got up, tested all the water, and was very surprised. As expected, using RO water, my phosphates were zero, ammonia zero, nitrites zero, nitrates... 10? The only thing I could think of was all of the sand we put in the tank. It was dry argonite, but obviously something had nitrates in it. I know it isn't cycled yet, but I was surprised to see any readings here. I also tested two other things that I need your help on.

Calcium came back at about 550. I am new to this, but that seems high. Also, my KH came back at like 25 drops, which is off the scale which tells you the degrees.

What is going on here?

So sunday I spent all day shopping for live rock, found 50 pounds at a reasonable price, but to be quite honest once getting it home I wasn't really happy with it. Its nice big base pieces, but there is nothing on them. Some green algae which I take as starts of coraline, but other than that, it looks like base rock they had soaking. They claim it is "fully cured" but I am not buying it. We also picked up the rest of the plumbing supplies. Let me tell you, a 1" MPT x 3/4" FPT reducing bushing is not easy to find. For future reference, MENDARDS has TONS of plumbing supplies, and lots of those little pieces you can't find at HD. Because of how the outputs lined up on the pump (and the fact that Gen-x puts their output at some weird angle coming out of the top), I was unable to reconnect everything with hard plumbing. I gave up and just used some barbed connections and ran about 5" of tubing right at the pump to the union directly above it. There were alot of swear words involved when trying to put elbows together to make a 25 degree angle or what ever that output comes out of the pump at. No matter what I tried, even if I could get the pipe to run straight vertically, it wouldn't line up with the hard plumbing I already had installed. I gave up, not happy about using the tubing, but it works.

I got the pump installed, and let me tell you about the lesson of the day.

When installing a bulkhead, the gasket ALWAYS goes on the flange side, regardless if the nut is inside or out. My bulkhead nut is inside my return chamber, so I figured that is where the gasket would go. It was leaking like crazy. Read online about the correct location, flipped it, and wouldn't you know, water tight.

Tank and sump are fully, running great, got all my heaters down in the base, added 20 pounds of crushed coral to the substrate (wife insisted), and all is well.

The water is still really cloudy, but I was pleasantly surprised when I woke up this morning that I could see the rocks in the distant middle of the tank.

Pictures to follow. Thanks for following along!
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Old 03-01-2010, 04:31 PM   #35
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Calcium came back at about 550. I am new to this, but that seems high. Also, my KH came back at like 25 drops, which is off the scale which tells you the degrees.

What is going on here?
You don't have to worry about calcium and alk yet. They will jump all over the place as the rock is added and you get a cycle going. What brand salt did you use? Was the water cloudy from the sand when you tested it?
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When installing a bulkhead, the gasket ALWAYS goes on the flange side, regardless if the nut is inside or out. My bulkhead nut is inside my return chamber, so I figured that is where the gasket would go. It was leaking like crazy. Read online about the correct location, flipped it, and wouldn't you know, water tight.
Do you mean you installed the bulkhead upside down...and kept it that way? Or did you flip the whole thing so the nut is under the tank and not inside the overflow?
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added 20 pounds of crushed coral to the substrate (wife insisted), and all is wel
Anyway to talk her out of using it? It can cause problems down the road.
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Old 03-01-2010, 04:37 PM   #36
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Oh, one other thing... I measured the inside of the glass in the tank to determine water volume. Its 34X34X25. Which comes out to about 125 gallons not including the overflow area.

Kinda bummed/angry about that. If marineland is going to call this a 150 gallon, 25 gallons off is not really close.

Id be makin some phone calls. That is a huge discrepincy!
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Old 03-01-2010, 04:38 PM   #37
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You don't have to worry about calcium and alk yet. They will jump all over the place as the rock is added and you get a cycle going. What brand salt did you use? Was the water cloudy from the sand when you tested it?
Yes, it was. I figured that would probably throw some readings off.

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Do you mean you installed the bulkhead upside down...and kept it that way? Or did you flip the whole thing so the nut is under the tank and not inside the overflow?
The bulkhead isn't for the overflow box, its in the sump since I have an external motor. Thus, the bulkhead in question was in a horizontal location with the bulkhead nut on the inside.

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Anyway to talk her out of using it? It can cause problems down the road.
I tried to explain it to her. She really wanted to have it, so I figured 20 pounds in a tank with 200 pounds of sand wouldnt make that much difference. In all actuality, 20 pounds is a pretty small amount in the tank as a whole. What do you think?
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Old 03-02-2010, 04:19 AM   #38
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I think any CC is a bad idea but thats just me. Just be prepared to pick it all out if Nitrates get bad.
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Old 03-02-2010, 09:48 AM   #39
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Alright. I will reconsider the crushed coral. It was listed as "sand" but it is big pieces of sand compared to the sugar size I filled the tank mostly with.

Had a new problem last night. When I turn the return pump on all the way and close the valve that recycles some of the return water back to the pump, the return chamber drains. I suppose my pump is more powerful than the water gravity draining back down. I close the recycle valve slightly and resolved the issue.

Another problem. Marineland drilled the siphon break on the return valve in the bottom of the elbow on the 90 just before the 2 diffusers. This caused a nasty spraying sound with the pump turned up. That noise in conjunction with the pump and fans on the lights was making this tank very very loud. I stuffed some sponge in between the overflow wall and the bottom of the elbow hoping the sponge would let water into the siphon break while stopping the sound. THe sound stopped, and I shut off the pump and the water drained down to the return diffusers. I guess I just defeated the purpose of the siphon break. I did have enough room in my sump to avoid an overflow, so I guess this is the best option.

Here are some photo updates.

Setting up tank/sand/RODI fill



Spot where water is shooting out of the siphon break



Tank with 100 pounds of cultured and figi live rock

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Old 03-02-2010, 11:50 AM   #40
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I would like to see a pic of the difference between crushed coral and the bigger sand. I always thought of crushed coral as big chunks that range in sizes from a pencil eraser and bigger.
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