Hornberson Reef - DSA 90 gallon mixed reef

Discussion in 'Tank Journals' started by wpeterson, Feb 8, 2015.

  1. Enderturtle

    Enderturtle Volunteer

    With lower light, your camera is going to struggle to capture your mandarins moving around. Your camera will try to compensate for the lower light by having a low shutter speed which affects the clarity of your video.

    Not sure what your skill level is at with a DSLR. Have you tried increasing the ISO to 800 possibly higher? This will make the video a little grainy but you're going to have more clarity.


    I feel like there might just not be enough light when your mandarins are spawning but give it a try.
  2. wpeterson

    wpeterson Webmaster

    I've been able to address our high pH issues by moving our Refugium light schedule back to begin at midnight and shortening the length to 6 hours.

    I'm planning to cull half the chaeto if I have time over the weekend, which should let me run a longer refugium light cycle until all the chaeto grows to such a large mass as it is now.
  3. Enderturtle

    Enderturtle Volunteer

    My overall pH has dropped too mainly due to me turning off the dosing pump. I think in the future I'll slowly bring up my alkalinity and calcium by hand dosing and then set up a dosing schedule that inputs lower amounts. Maybe 5ml per day is too much for my tank.

    Bicarbonate dosing appears to have a lower affect on pH changes than carbonate dosing.

    What brand calcium and alkalinity supplements are you dosing?
  4. wpeterson

    wpeterson Webmaster

    I'm dosing something like the Randy Holmes Farley two-part #2:
    - Arm & Hammer Solution (1L RODI / 4 tbsp baking soda) - 9ml/hour
    - Kent Tech CB Part A (Calc & Mag solution) - 9ml every 3 hours
  5. wpeterson

    wpeterson Webmaster

    I noticed that the output line from the doser that delivers calc/mag two-part to the sump had popped off of the nipple. I re-attached the line and manually re-pumped fluid up and it popped off again. I tore tore the plumbing and pulled the calcium line to see about a foot long section of precipation ending in a centimeter nub totally enclosing the dosing end of the Calc line. This certainly explains why my calc has been so low over the last two weeks. The blockage in the far end of the dosing line caused enough pressure that the line actually popped off the dosing supply nipple.

    The upside is that this was delivering calc directly into the sump where the dosing pump is and not onto the floor. Alk is 10dkh and Calc is 400ppm, low but not awful (unlike last week when it was 360ppm).

    I replaced all the tubing between the doser and the sump, including the blocked line. How do folks have their dosing tubes setup? In some kind of probe holder just above the sump water level? I may need to re-do my dosing inlets, they are in the same shared tube for ATO topoff, calc, and alk right now.

    Our tank is doing well and I've been debating adding a new fish for the last month or two. I finally pulled the trigger and we have a tang in QT for the next week.
  6. wpeterson

    wpeterson Webmaster

    After fixing both the supply and delivery sides of our Calc dosing tubing, things have been steady.

    pH has also been more reasonable (8.2-8.4 daily swing) since moving the timing of the refugium light cycle back toward midnight. It seems most effective to balance pH when the refugium photosynthesis kicks off about 2-3 hours after main lighting cycle ends to smooth out the drop in pH and keep the lower pH level up while providing adequate time for the system to absorb more CO2 before the main light cycle comes back on again at noon.
  7. wpeterson

    wpeterson Webmaster

    I'm excited to add a yellow tang to our tank, who's been a bit shy but is exploring and eating nori after 24 hours. There's been a bit of contention between our flame angel and the yellow tang - since the angel was previously the largest and most aggressive fish in our tank - but no active hostility. Since the tang was added last, it doesn't have a strong territoriality yet and it's slightly bigger than the flame angel. The flame angel wants to feel aggrieved but hasn't messed with the bigger tang. There's enough caves/territory for everyone.

    The tang seems quite healthy, but shy when people are visible in the room. He was active all over the display when I watched him on our aquarium webcam today, though.

    Unfortunately, one of MP40s seized up and my wife had to kill the power while I was at work today. Surprisingly, it was the one I bought new and not used. Vinegar bath, scrubbing, and some lube fixed it up. It seems like the ceramic drive shaft collar built up some deposits. The wet-side design on the MP10s seems much better than the MP40s.

    We've been experiencing pH that was too high over the last month, I think due to CO2 deficit /O2 surplus balance issues due to our refugium. Adding more bioload seems to help balance the system by transforming more O2 into CO2 and resulting in a more reasonable pH range of 8.1-8.3.

    Current stocking list:
    • 2x Clownfish (pair)
    • 2x Mandarin Gobies (breeding pair)
    • 1x Bengai Cardinal
    • 1x Flame Angel
    • 1x Yellow Tang
    I'll try to capture some pictures of the fish, but they're both shy and constantly in motion.
    Nav, Geneva, jonmos75 and 1 other person like this.
  8. Enderturtle

    Enderturtle Volunteer

    So the extra fish helped with the pH leveling you think.


    That's good the tang and angel aren't fighting. They're kinda similar shaped fish and similar size. Now you have a tang for any algae control too :thumbsup:

    Ever since I stopped dosing my pH has stabilized back to its original range of 8.0 - 8.3 My corals are definitely looking better. I think it was the overdose of Alkalinity that threw off my pH balance.

    wpeterson I actually did try adding Carbonated RO Water to my tank according to the dosing amount by Randy Holmes Farley.

    It did drop my pH a little but the pH would increase within an hour or so. It did have an immediate desirable effect but I feel like it wasn't truley helping with my pH and the high pH was caused by an over abundance of carbonate from overdosing alkalinity.

    Will begin dosing again when my tank/corals stabilize.
    wpeterson likes this.
  9. Geneva

    Geneva Supporting Member

    Ooh, I love tangs - especially yellow! Mine is very shy and sweet....congrats!
    wpeterson likes this.
  10. tygunn

    tygunn Webmaster

    Hmm good catch on the doser. I notice I have little precipitate stalactites under the dosing lines in my sump area. I'll have to see if I'm getting precipitate or not.

    My doser is below the tank and doses up to the tank so the lines should stay submerged all the time. Don't know if perhaps having the pump higher might make a bit more problem as the lines will want to drain dry between cycles?

    Sent from my Nexus 6 using Tapatalk
    wpeterson likes this.
  11. tygunn

    tygunn Webmaster

    Wonderful choice of fish. I had a yellow tang in my 140g... He was by far the biggest "character" once he got used to his new home. Whenever I walked up to the tank he'd swim around and show off for me. He also loved swimming head-first into the output from the Tunzes, stopping at the powerhead and then getting blown back to the other side of the tank before repeating.

    Sent from my Nexus 6 using Tapatalk
    wpeterson likes this.
  12. wpeterson

    wpeterson Webmaster

    I've heard it recommended to have the dosing lines above the water level, but clearly I don't have it all figured out yet. At this point I just plan to check/replace the lines every 3-4 months. You can give them a vinegar bath, but it's just airline tubing, easier to replace a foot or two.
    tygunn likes this.
  13. tygunn

    tygunn Webmaster

    Yes true enough. I keep mine above the water level to prevent the possibility of a siphon starting in reverse. Just takes the line to pop off like it did for you to get a slow mess.

    Yeah airline tubing is so cheap might as well just replace it.

    Sent from my Nexus 6 using Tapatalk
  14. wpeterson

    wpeterson Webmaster

    I added smaller screens in my media reactors for the GFO last month to prevent particles of carbon/GFO from escaping but I think it restricted the flow too much. Either that or I have waited too long to change my GFO since my Phosphate was 0.16ppm today!!! I'm changing out the media and increasing it by 20% and removing the extra filters. Just the TLF sponge filters.

    The Alk/Calc remain stable now that I fixed the Calc dosing tube issues last week.

    Update: After a water change and GFO media change, Phosphate is back down to 0.06ppm, the top end of what I consider acceptable.
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2015
  15. wpeterson

    wpeterson Webmaster

    Full tank shot and our new Yellow Tang is front and center:


    Our new tang is beautiful and eating like a pig - lots of spirulina brine shrimp and nori. The first two days I put nori on a frag plug inside one of the big caves, but by day 3 she was eating off the veggie clip on the side glass.

    There's been a little bit of scuffling and dominance moves from the tang toward our flame angel, who was previously on top of the pecking order but no violence. That's been a relief. Our cleaner shrimp has cleaned the tang once or twice, which makes him happier and the angel seems less averse to the cleaner shrimp after seeing the tang being cleaned.
    neuro, Geneva, Newjack and 4 others like this.
  16. jonmos75

    jonmos75 Supporting Member

    Nice shot of your tank...it is looking amazing....glad to see the two starfish hanging out together....:)
    wpeterson likes this.
  17. humu

    humu Guest

    Beautiful tank. Everything looks so healthy. Those Red linkia look great against the black back drop...
    wpeterson likes this.
  18. wpeterson

    wpeterson Webmaster

    Thanks! The orange linckia belongs to @jonmos75 but he's been staying with us for a while. The other starfish is a red fromia, with an interesting red/black pattern.
  19. Enderturtle

    Enderturtle Volunteer

    Looks great as usual!

    That splash of yellow is definitely missing from most reef tanks since Yellow is not a common fish/coral color.
    wpeterson likes this.
  20. wpeterson

    wpeterson Webmaster

    Ugh, found a terrible surprise this afternoon - 1-2 liters of standing saltwater inside my cabinet, outside my sump. I've got some kind of slow leak that dropped this over the last day or two, I could swear it was not there last night.

    I checked all of the main plumbing, ATO, and doser and can safely rule them out. It seems to be either a leak in the sump itself (unlikely) or the media reactors.

    I pulled the media reactors and cleaned up all the saltwater and I'm going to re-check the o-rings and plumbing on the lines to the media reactors. I love the TLF reactors for their simplicity, but they don't have the same quality of seals and plumbing as the BRS reactor or fancier options.

    Take away here is I need to diagnose/fix the leak. Secondly, I think I'm going to invest in a leak detector for the Apex and wire up the cabinet and plumbing. Thankfully, it was only a small amount of water and did not damage anything or touch anything electrical.

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