Brandie's 210 Upgrade

Discussion in 'Tank Journals' started by goldielocke76, Jan 25, 2013.

  1. mediumrare

    mediumrare Guest

    I put one on my 40b...the two MP10s were not enough :)
    Although I have it pointed behind all my rock work, along the back wall, it still provides that extra surge that all my SPS love. I have it on for 5 min and off for 5 min through my neptune.
  2. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    first experience with reef keeping and getting rocks was 90 pounds of tonga rock, straight from tonga, sat on a tarmac all day in Las Vegas, and then

    edit: WTF half the post disappeared?

    (now for the exciting conclusion....)
    and then... got to SF during a 3 day heatwave where temperatures topped mid 90s (no A/C in this city!)... because the tank was in the living room the only way I could close off the smell was to stay in the bedroom for 2 days in a row! (I came out to check on the tank, get food, go to the bathroom mind you)
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2013
  3. goldielocke76

    goldielocke76 Supporting Member


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  4. goldielocke76

    goldielocke76 Supporting Member

    Lol not quite yet. Sump is still empty. Needs some finishing touches before the first batch of water goes in. Siliconing around the drilled holes being the biggest thing right now. Hoping we can get that done tonight or tomorrow b

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  5. DeeAnnMG

    DeeAnnMG Guest

    Thanks for the tip! I bought a couple red footed (legged? o_O) hermits and forgot to ask about shells. Then I went back a couple days later for shells... and they didn't have any! Thankfully I remembered your post about Michael's shells. So, I went and picked up, what looks like the exact same bag. How cheap are those BTW? Anyway, I'm going to boil them right now, and place them in my tank ASAP.

    BTW, how are Lady and Jak-Jak (did I get the spelling right?) doing?
  6. Apon

    Apon Volunteer

    I thought you only had dry rock/dead in the tank? and the pumps are running? So what is causing the smell....smell is usually mean something is dying in the tank, but you have nothing live yet right?
  7. goldielocke76

    goldielocke76 Supporting Member

    Have you ever bathed rock in muriatic acid then dried it out? That's what the dry rock that I have is. When you put it in water, half in, half out, like it was, the smell is atrocious. That's why it sat on my porch until Johnny came and worked with it. I rinsed it off for him and got it ready to work with, and then left it in bins. OMG the smell..

    But this is besides the point! Going to post a new update!
  8. goldielocke76

    goldielocke76 Supporting Member

    Alrighty guys, I know, it's been about a month since I have been on and updated. What can I say, between life and all the mishaps I've had with this tank upgrade, I have to say that on Saturday night, I was pretty sick of this whole thing. "Who gets sick of an upgrade?!" you may ask yourself, but, when you get through my post you may understand why.

    Erin (@Kensington Reefer ) told me once that life will always balance itself out. We were talking about how to stock a tank right when I first ventured into this hobby, and we were on the phone talking about what can I add (fishwise) what I should add, and what I should avoid. That thought has always stuck with me, and I never imagined I would be testing it out.

    You all know I have tons of fish. I love my fish, and I am working super hard to get them a bigger box. I was using the 90 as a pseudo quarantine; I got my cleaner wrasse, and copperband from Jim, trying to make them happy and super healthy before putting them in the big tank. Only problem was, the big tank was taking me much longer than expected. So, I took in a little nekkid clown, and I put her in what we call "the nursery." Well,, she didn't like it too much and almost immediately broke out in crypt. I was hoping that by feeding her good food, she'd be on the road to healthy again and would be ready for the 210, I mean, so far, my fish haven't been able to resist the cocktail of food I fed! Well, she did, and the other fish didn't like the nursery being in the tank (not like I blamed them) so eventually, my kole tang broke out in a horrible case of crypt, and so did a female anthias. Everyone else still looked, good, but I knew their immune systems were compromised. Well, to make this shorter, I ended up with a loss, in the first time of fish keeping. I lost my nekkid clown, my cleaner wrasse, smallest anthias and copperband to crypt. Everyone else was still doing ok, but my male mandarin and midas blenny looked so so. Well, I think because of their low immune system, they were predated on, because they just disappeared, as well as my biggest female anthias and sand sifter. Not sure if they just weren't feeling well and a worm got them or what. It was pretty nauseating. 8 fish, and several of those were fish I had had for almost 2 years. But Erin said that life will balance itself out, and I think by my adding that last clown, I knocked down the precarious balancing act of my system that I had maintained for so long. Ugh, talk about disheartening.

    After this, when I really didn't want to deal with my tanks, I had to still work on the 210. I last left you off with me still needing to fill the sump. Well, needless to say, I got it filled! And I was super excited, because the day to turn on the WHOLE system to make sure things were working right and to fix any leaks was here! That means if everything went well, I could start cycling! Little did I know...

    I don't know if I mentioned before, but I glued the drain together, and I had a friend help me measure out and glue the return. He did plumbing every day for a living, and the return was a little more complicated, and I wanted to be sure that I got it right. After all the plumbing was done, we were all together leak testing it. Our friend came over to help us tighten joints as needed if we found any leaks after I turned on the system. I ended up having one small leak, because I cut the piece of vinyl tubing too short. We needed to cut a second piece of vinyl tubing to replace one that I didn't make long enough. My friend thought that the tubing that connected the plumbing to the bulk head was much longer (and it wasn't) so when he tried to move the vinyl piece of tubing over the sump to catch all the water that was coming out of the full return line; he snapped the bulkhead. We cleaned up and called it a night. I had to track down a bulkhead now. After some research and digger, I found it and bought it off ebay, and it was supposed to be here 12/05/13. It never arrived. UPS almost sent it back (took almost two weeks to get here, even though it was 2nd day air) because I was never home to accept it (I live in an apartment complex and we still can't figure out why they didn't take it to the office on the first attempt) and then they had truck issues for three days. What a mess. When it finally arrived, we quickly got everything reconnected and I plugged in the tank after fixing the leaks, only to find out that the right side of my overflow wasn't working. Denzil was sure something was wrong with the check valve but I wasn't convinced. I tried to solve the issue by cutting my four return outlets down to two. When that didn't work, I thought it was because the tee from the return pump wasn't even between the two outlets, the left side was longer than the right. Well, I was going to start cycle it anyways, and the day I was going to go pick up a bucket of salt, I had a pipe on the return bust. I couldn't figure out why Denzil shut off the darn tank that night. LoL, well, now I knew. So, I decided to cut out and redo the whole return line and make it even so both overflows had flow. I undid the unions and ripped out the return line and I checked the ball valve on a whim, remembering what Denzil said he had thought. Sure enough, my friend who helped my return line used so much glue that he glued the ball to the wall of the check valve = / and he didn't glue well enough and a pipe burst. Lesson learned; I will struggle through my own plumbing by myself. So, on 12/22, I patched the hole we drilled into the sump, and started getting my return line built. I was able to save my unions, and after hearing about anti-siphon holes, decided against any type of check valve. Funny thing how things tend to work out. My unions were savable because my friend swapped the ends of the check valves and ends of the unions; so when I swapped them back, all I needed was a 3/4" male to slip adapter, which I got on 12/23. They worked like a dream. After everything was measured out, I glued everything together and let it sit over night. Denzil suggested that I put a union right by the pump, to make pump maintenance easier. I got the union on the 24th, glued it in the early morning, and let it sit for a few hours. Right before I left to work, Denzil and I hooked everything up, and damn, no leaks on the first try! Easy hook up, easy disassemble. I am pretty sure at this point we can cycle the tank!

    We went to Christmas, and left the tank off, because we still needed to drill the four anti siphon holes on the locline. When we got back on the night of 12/25, Denzil drilled 2 small holes on each locline, 1/2" below the normal water level (this was Marc Levenson's idea) and we turned on the system to test it out... worked perfectly!!!!!! Now I added 3 heaters; 1 in each overflow and the giant one in the sump, and we turned the system on. Keep in mind, we have had fresh water in it this whole time. It was noisy, but for a fresh water tank, it was still pretty darn quiet. I believe with the addition of salt, it will quiet down. Now...

    No leaks?? Check! Good flow on both return outlets?? Check! Sump is complete??? Check!!! It's now time for salt!!!!

    We heated everything up and this morning (12/26) I added my first batch of salt! 30 cups!! I went to work and got home, and it was all clear. What else is there to do but to add another batch of salt?! Added 30 more cups about an hour ago.

    LoL congratulations. If you've read this whole post, you must have the patience of a saint. Your reward is pictures!!! Don't have many, but I have a few :D
  9. goldielocke76

    goldielocke76 Supporting Member

    The beast!! It's alive!!


    Here are some pictures of the beast's innards. Not pristine quality photos, but it gives you a good idea ;)

    Sump set up.

    The left side of drain and return. Sorry it's blurry.

    Right side of drain and returns.
  10. goldielocke76

    goldielocke76 Supporting Member


    The belly of the beast. Drains right next to the skimmer, and I have room enough to throw on a filter sock if needed. Any big detritus is caught by the netting on the egg crate. Middle acts as a settling area that will be suctioned out quarterly, and the rocks will eventually be build up enough to also be a beachy area for cool crabs. Notice next to the pump, in the middle of the egg crate tables, is an egg crate box full of rubble. This will be the perfect housing for pods to grow! Chaeto will be in the middle. Pump is only there for salt mixing purposes.
  11. gimmito

    gimmito Guest

    Great progress Brandie! FYI...salinity salt dissolves better at room temperature (Boomer mentioned it to me when I started up my tank). You mix 30 cups at a time ? Are you getting any precipitation ? :eek:
  12. Kmooresf

    Kmooresf Supporting Member

    Awesome job guys. I have never had a tank that didn't give me a headache or twelve. :( Don't let it get ya down.

    I am very sorry about this fish though. That is tough. Having the tank running is HUGE though. Look to the future and learn from the past, right?

    Excited to see the new tank mature. Congrats.
    denzil and goldielocke76 like this.
  13. Kensington Reefer

    Kensington Reefer Supporting Member

    Go Brandie go!
    goldielocke76 likes this.
  14. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer President

    Fish killer!
  15. goldielocke76

    goldielocke76 Supporting Member

    So far not that I have seen. I have found that when I mixed my salinity in the tank temp water, as long as I don't keep a lid on whatever cat in using to mix, I experience no problems, and the water mixes and clears in about 2 hours. Most of the time though I let it sit longer. That was my problem in the beginning; I kept the brute lid on the can and it was causing the white issue. Problem solved. Leave off the lid and no issues. The canopy on the tank is open so I wasn't too worried about it. :)

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  16. goldielocke76

    goldielocke76 Supporting Member

    Thank you!! It was hard not too; lost my Midas and that was a huge blow, as well as my sand sifter and mandarin :'( if I keep going on it'll just make me blech.... But you're right, live and learn.

    One month and my first batch of fish go in!! ^.^

    Lol this whole upgrade was a headache. I just know it'll be worth it in the end ;)

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  17. Kensington Reefer

    Kensington Reefer Supporting Member

    Is the QT system ready?
  18. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Ouch that sucks about your fish loss, and then the hardware issues. Building tanks seems so fun on paper, then they can turn into a real nightmare when the implementation part comes around.

    Are you treating your remaining fish at all? You obviously have the disease/parasite in your system and have had it there, might as well medicate and eradicate while you can.
  19. patchin

    patchin Facilities / Event Coordinator

    Looks great!
  20. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    BTW, totally should have a post somewhere about that conversation about which fish to add, and what not. I remember my early days in fish keeping (pre-saltwater) the fish store I went to had one side listed "community" the other side listed "aggressive". While that is a nice simple break down, there should be a little more to it that than. Things like types of wrasses that you can keep, which need sand, which will jump, which will decimate an entire fish population, never get that long horn cowfish even though it looks so darn cute!
    denzil likes this.

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