Hornberson Reef - DSA 90 gallon mixed reef

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

  1. wpeterson

    wpeterson Webmaster

    @Corallus - Kessil warns against attaching anything to the lamps in the case they interfere with airflow or cooling, so take that as caution.

    There's about 1"+ of space between the Kessil lense and the edge of the lens cover assembly. These are 1/2" x 3" 3-led strips, so I used a 3M adhesive strip to mount them on the lens cap surface. It's not the most beautiful setup, but it works and has not interfered with cooling or airflow. I wound the cables for these around the goosenecks with the Kessil power lines.
  2. siokoy

    siokoy Supporting Member

    Very clean setup, nice tank..
    wpeterson likes this.
  3. Corallus

    Corallus BAR Sponsorship Coordinator

    I understand the warning, thanks ;)
    Great solution... I need to take advantage of the 350 sale soon!

  4. wpeterson

    wpeterson Webmaster

    Hey Rolf,

    It was great to meet you the other day. I hope the tank is doing well.

    I have an extra AutoAqua SmartATO, btw. We had one on each of our two nanos in Boston, but I'm only using one on the 90 gallon. I need to take pictures and post all of the extra gear we've got.
  5. tr1gger

    tr1gger Keyboard Cowboy

    Looking good! Black sand is definitely eye catching but man is it a huge pain in the arse. Be careful!
    wpeterson likes this.
  6. wpeterson

    wpeterson Webmaster

    What kinds of problems have you had?

    This is the second tank I've had with black sand without running into trouble. I've heard some folks worried some brands are magnetic (neither of the two sands I used is).
  7. tr1gger

    tr1gger Keyboard Cowboy

    The black sand contains ferric particles that will get stuck to magnets and such. I have had it in 2 of my 3 tanks and both times had issues with it getting stuck to magnetic scrapers.

    Seems like you are already aware of it :)
  8. wpeterson

    wpeterson Webmaster

    I don't have a high opinion of Petco as a store or a brand, but their black sand is non-magnetic and the right level of medium coarseness I like. During Black Friday, the Petco 20lb bags were $15 shipped so I stocked up.

    I think I added 3-4x Petco and 1x Caribsea Aragonite Hawaian Black. There's always a good deal of rinsing to remove fine particles and floating debris, but no hassles after it was rinsed thoroughly. The Caribsea sand had a lot more flecks of different colors and a wider range of textures, so it added a little character to the Petco sand that was fairly homogenous in color and texture.
  9. aqua-nut

    aqua-nut Supporting Member

    Sweet tank. Is the front glass concave? Sort of anti-bowfront? ;)

    Love your food ring. I've been using a floating ring that sorta suctions to the side. I've gotta steal that idea!
  10. wpeterson

    wpeterson Webmaster


    The tank is 3/4 of a 120 - 36" long x 24" wide x 24" high. The return nozzles originally were angled in such a way they blew out some of the sand from the front right/left corners over time - which created a gradual rise in the center. Hence your anti-bowfront look there :/

    I should do a little sandbed raking to level that out.

    We chose a tall stand (40") that puts the tank closer to eye level, but between the height off the ground and the 24" of depth, it's a pain to get to the sandbed (at least with the length of my arms).

    I like the shallow reef tanks better, but I opted for maximum size I could fit in a 36" space in our living room to give us more water volume for stability and biomass.
  11. Anhit

    Anhit Guest

    very nice setup wpeterson! Can't wait to see it all grow in.
    wpeterson likes this.
  12. tygunn

    tygunn Webmaster

    Wonderful setup and great attention to detail!
    wpeterson likes this.
  13. wpeterson

    wpeterson Webmaster

    I do my best to publish all my major reefing mistakes and disasters in the club for other folks to learn from. We've been lucky to have good results with our new 90 gallon tank that it's been a long time since I've made a post like this.

    I did a 25 gallon water change on our tank yesterday, but the salinity was way too low. I had accumulated dried salt on the top lid of my refractometer sample lid, so that it read 1.025 when in reality the sample was much lower. I noticed that the water change water had a different index of refraction when I was pumping it in, but thought it was just the heat difference (I prep water change water at ~ 80 degrees, when the tank is ~ 78 - to account for heat loss during pumping and heater/flow being turned off in transit). After I completed the water change I measured the tank salinity to see it had dropped to 1.022 from 1.025.

    Because this had just happened, advice I read online suggested raising the salinity back up immediately could prevent as much trauma to the tank so I brought the salinity back up to 1.024 over the next hour and hoped as this water evaporated over the next 24 hours it would rise to 1.025.

    None of the fish, snails, SPS, or LPS in the tank seemed to show any signs of trauma. Our Rose BTA reacted negatively when the salinity initially dropped but had bubbled back up to normal when it was returned to a more normal level.

    Unfortunately, the rapid drop and rise in salinity hit our Tuxedo urchin hard and I don't know if he will survive. I feel terrible. I should have removed it from the tank when the initial salinity drop happened and then drip acclimated it after raising the tank salinity back up over 2-3 hours.

    I feel terrible that my careless has probably killed an animal in our tank.

    I am careful to clean the inner sample surface on the refractometer, but I'm resolved to clean the entire sample lid and re-calibrate it more frequently. A warning to other folks that you can correct salinity mistakes like this quickly enough to avoid stressing out some animal and corals, but you need to think about sensitive inverts. I fear this may have injured some of our trochus and astrea snails as well.
    Alex Uribe likes this.
  14. tygunn

    tygunn Webmaster

    Aw that sucks man I've been there before. Every time I make up salt water I think I should determine an exact pre-measured amount of water and salt to combine to get the perfect salinity but I never do it. I end up constantly fiddling with change water to get it just right.
  15. wpeterson

    wpeterson Webmaster

    I've only done two water changes with the full Brute barrel and I thought I had the number of scoops down. I added that many, then measured the salinity, then let it cook for two days with a heater and a power head. I should have double checked it more carefully.

    Best believe I'm going to be paranoid from now on. This is the first time this has happened in years :-/
  16. wpeterson

    wpeterson Webmaster

    I'm going to be upgrading the flow in the tank. The recently discontinued MP40wES models are on sale for $250 and I just bought one. That was less than I paid for the MP10wES new.

    I'm planning to move the MP10s to the rear walls on either side of the overflow and turn them down to 50% or less (currently at 90%).

    I'll put the MP40 on the right side panel flowing across the tank length wise, and should be able to run it ~ 50%.

    It should be interesting when I can get them all wired up together.
    Coral reefer likes this.
  17. tygunn

    tygunn Webmaster

    Sounds like you're going to have a lot of awesome options for varying your flow. Are you planning on doing a standing wave or a gyre, or just random flow in general?
  18. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer President

    Temp can effect salinity readings too depending on your instrument. Temp of water and more important, temp of refractometer.
  19. wpeterson

    wpeterson Webmaster

    I've had good luck running the two MP10s in anti-sync Reef Crest mode at ~ 80-90% power for the life of the tank, but I worry this creates too strong of a narrow current across the tank.

    I don't know if I'll change the mode, but I might run all three on synchronous reef crest. The two MP10s can go on the back wall and run at 20-30% to provide extra fill. I'm hoping the MP40 will provide a larger volume of water movement and I can run it at 40-50%.
  20. aqua-nut

    aqua-nut Supporting Member

    Bummer! It sucks when we try to do good and are derailed by something so simple as a salty refractometer! Thank you for posting.

    I have a couple of suggestions if you don't mind...

    How about smaller water changes? Any error in salt mix wouldn't be as drastic a change on the system.

    The other suggestion is to weigh your salt instead of making volume measurements. I use ESV and there are four ingredients to measure - two solids and two liquids. I use a OXO kitchen scale ( and yes it's also used in the kitchen! ) to measure. It's so much easier to get accurate, repeatable amounts.
    wpeterson likes this.

Share This Page