Cymen's 20G tall

Discussion in 'Tank Journals' started by Cymen, Jan 31, 2015.

  1. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    Those retrofit boards look pretty good.
    You will probably like the 660. I added that to mine, and there is a subtle difference, especially on Coraline.
    I am not sure the 520 helps, but it might reduce the "windex" look from extra blues.
    Slight concern about funky disco effect, since the different colors are a bit spread out.
    Any R/G/B type combos need to be clustered.
  2. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    Opinion: You definitely need snails. And a mix is nice. Each has different preferences. Hermits ... I am undecided as well.
  3. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    Hmm... one concern on the sBox LEDs you linked to.
    That is 55 LEDs, mounted, with lenses, and some profit margin, for $70.
    That is pretty far below normal pricing.
    Enough to make me a bit nervous about really low quality components.
  4. Cymen

    Cymen Guest

    Oh, I only posted that to compare the LED layout choice. Yes, the LEDs on these inexpensive Chinese fixtures are Bridgelux supposedly so makes the trade off towards less efficient for less money. The LEDs I'm ordering from China are also Bridgelux to my understanding. They physically look the same and performance seems similar to the stock LEDs so at least it seems to be the same source.

    My light is one of the 165w LED lights you can find on eBay for about $80-100. There is a variant now with wifi for +$40 or a 300w bigger unit too. They seem to vary on if they use a resistance method or PWM for dimming (unfortunately, my unit is resistance so I'm not going to try to modify it to hook up to a computer as it's too complicated for me to want to do that -- I'm fine with on/off).
  5. Cymen

    Cymen Guest

    That makes sense. My light is mounted low and that is why I pulled the straight R (660) and G LEDs from my stock unit. There was too much discoloration. I have way more power than I need though so another option is to mount higher but I don't like the glare. So I pulled R and G and added some 420nm and 10k/20k. I realized I might need a little more red though so I ordered some 4.5k LED which are a little cooler than the 3.5k LED (that got replaced with 10k/20k). I'll try swapping the 10k/20k that I added with 4.5k.

    Kind of convoluted but basically trying to avoid disco yet still have somewhat decent wavelength coverage. I'm reading the thread over at Nano-Reef that goes into the different LED colors and what they offer:

    That tipped me off to the 4.5k vs 10k/20k.

    This is all for me to learn and to be able to see the different LEDs so later on when I decide to DIY or buy, I can make a fairly informed purchase :).
  6. Cymen

    Cymen Guest

    False alarm on the red legged hermit crab dying. It was a molt after all. It looks so much like a piece of dead crab. I turned on the lights for a bit today and he was in the back crawling up the tank corner.
    Enderturtle likes this.
  7. Flagg37

    Flagg37 Colorado member

    I thought that might have been what had happened. The first time my emerald crab molted, he left behind such a complete exoskeleton that I thought the same thing. I was surprised to see this crab walking around my tank then realized what had happened.
    Cymen likes this.
  8. Cymen

    Cymen Guest

    I cut about 1" off the two baffles. Now the skimmer is easier to adjust. The water coming into the sump from the display got louder as the elbow on the end of the spa tube was now out of the water. I cut about a 1.5" piece of spa tube and stuck it in the lower end of the elbow and that seems to have quieted it back down to reasonable levels.

    Next up on the build list is a one or two bigger rocks. I'd like to try to get them more porous if possible and pukani-like. I didn't use it last time but I have some ice cream salt (clean rock salt). That might help a bit with adding more surface area. I'd like tall and stable so it's going to be tricky to get all this in. But I've got some cut up fiberglass rods for bones and I can always mortar together multiple smaller rocks. And there is plenty of cement and crushed oyster shell.

    Nitrite: ~0.2
  9. Enderturtle

    Enderturtle Volunteer

    Be careful with making your own rock. I know someone who crashed his tank because he didn't get the right mixture or something.

    If the cement doesn't fully cure, you can have high pH problems.

    What does the ice cream salt do?
    Cymen likes this.
  10. Cymen

    Cymen Guest

    Making your own rock is definitely an adventure. I'm using MasterEmaco cement which supposedly can be made one day and placed in the tank the next without overly impacting ph/alk. So it skips the time required to wait for other cements to go stable on ph/alk. I believe this is what jestersix uses -- at least the brand, not sure about the exact cement. I'm using "488 CI" but it is confusing to trace as the names changed over time.

    The salt is supposed to help increase surface area. But reading again last night, I'm back on my original inclination not to use it. I didn't use it on the rocks I made.

    The filler I used on my current rocks is crushed oyster shell. Some say that will lead to phosphate issues later and it's better to use Aragonite sand (1.0-2.0mm). I might use that for the next big one. I have a sparge bag of Fiji Pink Arg-Alive! which is 0.5-1.5mm. Seems like that might be fine or I could go check the local stores. Still thinking that over.
  11. Cymen

    Cymen Guest

    Unfortunately, the clown died sometime during the night. Last night, I was going to change some water on the tank and I reached in to get the suction cup that holds a digital thermometer out. I pulled in one direction and oddly, the fish was up at the top of the surface right there between my finger and the side of the tank (couldn't see him due to the bezel). He wasn't doing well but I think that did him in :(.

    I'm going to tear down the QT tank and clean it and then let it air dry. After reading about practices, I'll try doing tank transfer next time (waiting for complete cycle and fallow time for any parasite life cycles to have gone past so not any time soon).
  12. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    I made my own rocks as well. Similar concrete. But I think I mixed it a bit wet in a few spots. It sets very fast, so I was stretching it.
    A few years later, the rocks started falling apart. Cement disintegrated. So be careful!
    But yes, that type of cement does not have the horrible PH problems.

    Salt might be useful if your rocks are nothing but concrete. But if you are using cement to stick regular
    live rock together, then seems like a waste.

    For my new rocks, I use "Aragopoxy." I mix a good quality 2 part epoxy with an aragonite sand filler.
    Cymen likes this.
  13. Cymen

    Cymen Guest

    Where did you get the aragonite sand filler? Just curious if there is a good local source.

    I'm not opposed to buying some live rock but I worry about buying used and am not sure what the stores offer. I'll call around and be informed before I go further.

    I do like being able to make my own shapes but it's a bit "chicken and egg" as I don't know what shapes are good yet.
  14. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    The filler was simply the normal aragonite sand we use in our aquariums.
    Specifically caribsea aragomax select.
    Well washed and dried though.

    Yes, buying dry live rock can be a bit risky. A common issue is phosphates.
    Sometimes from poorly maintained aquariums.
    Sometimes because the rock is dug up on land, not from the ocean, and fertilizer from nearby farms leaches in.
    I used MarcoRocks. Both direct, and indirectly from some BAR members who had leftovers.
    One batch years ago had bad phosphate issues. But he seems to cure them better now.
  15. Cymen

    Cymen Guest

    After mulling it over, my inclination is to stay the course and keep going with the rock as I've been doing it. I'd rather have problems later and know why (*) then be unsure if it's the ratio of my oyster shell rock to my aragonite rock. This could be a big regret or it could be great but trying to take a middle road on it doesn't interest me.

    So I'm going to stick with my current approach.

    * Well, make reasonable conjectures while hand waving :).
    Enderturtle likes this.
  16. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    To clarify: I was not really trying to change your mind. Just be careful when mixing the concrete.
    Mix in small batches, exactly to spec. If it hardens a bit in the pot, throw it out and mix a new small batch.
    Do not add a bit of water to extend it!
    Cymen likes this.
  17. Cymen

    Cymen Guest

    Oh, I didn't assume that. I was revisiting the whole thing myself and trying to decide if I wanted to do it the same way again.

    I didn't know about the hardening in the pot issue -- I'll do that. Thanks for the tips!
  18. Flagg37

    Flagg37 Colorado member

    Sorry to hear about your clown fish.
    Cymen likes this.
  19. Cymen

    Cymen Guest

    Today, I made a skeleton for the main rock with fiberglass rod, pvc couplers, super glue and zip ties. Planning on having a foot base but might need to bulk up the weight on the lower rear.


    Things didn't go so well afterwards. I forgot most of what I learned mixing the concrete and (washed) crushed oyster shell. When I picked up my cement, either White Cap didn't have Acryl 60 or I skipped it. I found it's on Amazon with prime shipping so I ordered some of that to try. But I'll see how far I can get without it. I've got some of it covered and going to see if I can add more to it tomorrow.
    Enderturtle likes this.
  20. Cymen

    Cymen Guest

    While researching DIY rock (going over that long mega-thread at Reef Central again), I started to question what I wanted out of it. I ended up cancelling the Acryl 60 and buying 30 pounds of the dry Florida rock for not much more. I still want to try the Acryl 60 and continue to experiment with the rock but it'd be nice to know what I'm aiming for. I need to call White Cap tomorrow and see what there pricing is for a gallon.

    The DC-Fix Sand Effect diffuser material came in for the light. I'm using two layers at the moment and it's great. Someone did a PAR test and found it reduced the light by about 5% but I think that was one layer. I'll need to try taking off a layer to see if it still has all the properties I want. But the great thing is the light is much more diffuse, the harsh glare is greatly reduced and if the fixture is in the corner of your vision, it's less annoying (and I don't have to worry about the baby staring up at it). Here is the thread about it over at Nano-Reef:

    Great Diffusion Material- Tested only 5% light loss through water
    Enderturtle likes this.

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