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Old 09-10-2011, 11:58 AM   #61
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looking awesome

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Old 09-10-2011, 12:50 PM   #62
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It is coming along nicely! Looks great!
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Please don't forget about the toxins in some corals (like zoas and palythoas)
180 gallon reef announcement!:
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Old 09-10-2011, 02:06 PM   #63
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Here are some shots of the final filter setup. We'll see how good it does.

  • Washable air filter from Home Depot cut up ($5 with a ton left over)
  • Nylon dish scrub pads ($2 for 6, 3 bags)
  • Body wash scrubbers, dollar general only had 6 bags of scrub pads ($1 for 2, 8 scrubbers)
  • 5oz of active carbon from Walmart ($5) in 2 knee high leggings ($4.50 for 10 pair)
  • Crushed coral
I ran out of spray paint for the spray bar but it’s probably for the better so the paint is being sprayed off into the tank.



I used fishing line to string the nylon scrub pads together. They'll be easier to take out as 1 large piece.


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Old 09-10-2011, 05:11 PM   #64
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if you have labs they will breed
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Old 09-10-2011, 05:17 PM   #65
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Well I finally got water in the tank and started the pump cycle. I have a few issues. Nothing that can't be fixed but it's more of a delay and moral crusher. To fix the issues the right way I think I need to tear down a few portions of the sump.

First off, the spray bar being level allows water to drop to the ends of the PVC which is causing water to drip constantly out of the back portion of the box. I think a few beads of silicon around the bottom back 1/2 may make enough of a drip edge to fix that. I'll have to try it tonight but I can't run the pump any longer or I'll have a huge spill in the morning.

Second, my flow doesn't seem to be as intense as I would think it would be give the dual pipes. It's not horrible, but it just doesn't seem super strong.

Third, I think the refugium wall needs to be lower. I don't know wat to do other than try and grind a few slots along the acrylic's top edge. At best I'll drop it a 1/2" this way but I think it needs to go down 1"-2" for sure. This would require a tear down, cut and re-silicone. This is a small issue but I think I need more room for overflow once the power is out or siphon breaks.

Forth, the siphon does seem to be breaking when I do the power out tests. I only got to do this once though because of the spray bar drip.

Finally, as if all that isn't enough, I really needed my ball valve on the other side of the union piece in the PVC. DUH. I can't shut the valve and remove the spray bar lol. I could tear this apart and glue one in but I think it's going to have to be later or never.

sigh... I'll have to work on it some tomorrow. We have plans tonight.
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Old 09-11-2011, 11:15 AM   #66
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Looks great... 15
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Old 09-11-2011, 09:53 PM   #67
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Well I think I have my leaks on the spray bar below fixed with some silicone. I got my old fish in this evening and I'm crossing my fingers. PH is a nice 7.8.







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Old 09-12-2011, 08:22 AM   #68
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The water seems to be much clearer already this morning. I hope it's not just the HOB doing it's thing.

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Old 09-12-2011, 09:37 AM   #69
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Looks great! Good work
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Old 09-13-2011, 10:22 AM   #70
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So here is the latest on the tank. It's been running for the better part of 2 days now. I'm sure nothing has had time to start cycling but everything is at 0 and my ph is at 7.8. The catfish and all danios were well until last night at some point. One of the danios got behind th background and sucked into the overflow. I was stupid and thought removing some of the teeth on my overflow would help flow rates but all it did was ruin it and allow this fish to get sucked up. I'm upset that I ruined the overflow at this point, I don't know what I was thinking.

The flow rate is the biggest issue I think right now. I started another thread but basically I ordered a larger 1,300gph pump and will be returning the current 700gph. The 700 i being hurt by the 5' height of the return and the number of elbows in it. I'll most likely divert a lot of flow to the refugium and dial back but the return doesn't seem to be doing the overflow justice.

I also need to cut down the teeth and the refugium wall. I'm not sure how I'm going to go about this but I need more volume to catch backflow to feel better about it and I need some more play in the tank water level due to evaporation. It appears I'm losing about a 1/4" of water in my return pump section a day. That seems like a lot but it's a very small space so it's probably only about 16oz of water or so.
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Old 09-13-2011, 02:15 PM   #71
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I made a quick and dirty feeding ring today to combat the overflow and spray bar. This is at the opposite side of the spray bar in the tank. I used a suction cup from the 6 pack I bought last week and some extra air line tubing and a scrap of the "T" I cut up for the overflow's air line attachment. Seem to work good so far



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Old 09-13-2011, 04:12 PM   #72
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That's a really great idea, tank is looking awesome by the way, good job.
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Old 09-14-2011, 12:37 PM   #73
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ok so I just used my dremel with a drill bit to cut the grooves another 1/2" deeper. This means I'll get another 1.2gal in the sump if power were to fail. So I cut the refugium wall down about 1" as well. Cutting that gave me another 0.21gal space in the sump. Testing a power outage, the water is pretty close to the rim but everything seems good. I may trim it down another 1" though to make up for the added depth on the overflow teeth. I have to think on it. It's not pretty now but it's doing the job. I can tell that the new pump will make a flow difference for sure.
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Old 09-17-2011, 03:56 PM   #74
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So SUPER big update today and maybe even another tonight. I ran out to the LFS and picked up my first 3 plants. I got 2 for the tank that are supposed to be less tasty to the future cichlids as well as a plant for the sump. I ended up getting an Echinodorus Horemanil, Anubias barteri var. nana and some Ceratopteris Cornuta for the sump. This is after reading the 2 part plant/cichlid article on Plants 102 - Plants and African Cichlids

I also scored 2 24" T5 fixtures and 2 extra boxes of T5 bulbs on craigslist for $65!!!!! One has two 14watt 6700k rated T5’s while the other has two 24 watt floramax rated T5’s. You can really see the bulb colors with the fixtures sitting on the glass but I think they will blend much better once mounted up in the canopy about 6".

Also, I ordered a new switched power strip after searching most of the usual local places like Best Buy etc only to waste 2 days and finally finding one on NewEgg.com. Why are these so rare??

Last, my new 1,300gph pump came 2 days early!!!!
I don't have time to redo the plumbing on this today so I'll work on that some tomorrow.

To top off the day, a local guy posted some cichlid fry on craigslist and I may run out to check them out today as well. I would be beyond stoked if I pick some up. It's a bit early but he tank seems to be doing well.







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Old 09-17-2011, 09:01 PM   #75
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So I just scored 10 fry for $3 each. Some are around 1/2" and some are almost 1". Will post pics and types later!!!
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Old 09-18-2011, 10:46 AM   #76
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So I was mixing water all last night and this morning and I can't seem to bring the PH down in the container I have the fish in. I would think I've turned over the water in there twice by now. It was reading 8.8 right out of the bag and after hours of water swapping we're still around 8.6. It's crazy. My tank is at about 7.8 right now. I added some buffer this morning thinking I might be able to bring the tank up a tad over the course of the day while I keep trying to bring the fry water down.
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Old 09-18-2011, 11:47 AM   #77
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Your setup is insanely cool!
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Old 09-18-2011, 12:00 PM   #78
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Thanks!!! I'm really working hard on it to make it a decent tank.
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Old 09-18-2011, 01:14 PM   #79
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I wouldn't mess with ph to much, it makes life alot easier to acclimate the fish to your setup than to change your setup to the fish. It's much more stable also if you keep your natural ph. African cichlids are pretty tough and adjust well, not to mention your ph is fine for them. If your concerned I would do a long slow acclimation.
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Old 09-18-2011, 02:02 PM   #80
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I would agree, I wasn't trying to bring the tank up too much. I've got them down around 8.2ish now and I think we're ready to make the jump soon.
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