Jestersix

Chromis’s 90g Acropora tank

Chromis

Supporting Member
Quick tank info:

Water parameters:

Alk 7.5-8.5 dKh
Salinity 33-34ppt
Nitrate between 0.1 to 0.5ppm
Phosphate between .04 to .08ppm
Temp 76-79F
Mag between 1280-1400 ppm
Ca between 390-480 ppm
other parameters see latest ICP test posting in the thread

Equipment:
Reefer 450 aquarium
Skimz skimmer (run 1-2 days per week for 4 hours)
H80 Sump light
2x Maxspect Gyre XF250 power heads
2x 4’ T5s using actinic and blue special bulbs


Livestock:
Yellow tang (added 2017)
chromises (last ones added ~2018)
2 ocellaris (from old tank added ~2014)

Feeding schedule:
Flake fed 4x daily by autofeeder
Hand-feed frozen 1-2x daily (rotation of spiralina brine shrimp, mysis, spirulina mysis, and PE Calanus)
Reefroids: spot feed chalices between 1x weekly to monthly depending on tank nutrients
Aminos: about 20ml Acropower once a week
Carbon: TM NP Plus 1-2x monthly depending on nutrients


Water changes:
20-40% per month, Fritz, Red Sea, or TM salt
Trace dose using Red Sea ABCD

—————
The goal of my new setup is to give my acropora space to grow into large colonies, allowing the corals to create a natural aquascape.

Starting with a RedSea Reefer 450, we added a custom RO water feed, emergency drain, and light canopy.

We had to relocate a floor vent from the tank area, and used the opening to route RO and emergency drain lines through. Here is the bottom part of the stand getting lined up:
f6f1f81a22d3ce40179fc0c355479cf9.jpg


To avoid any single point of failure, we built a lot of redundancy into the RO feed: the RO is fed by a drip line timer, there is an RO shut off valve between the timer and inlet, and a float valve in the the top off tank that came with the Reefer. We added an emergency overflow bulkhead to the RO container so if all that still doesn’t work, RO will overflow to the drain instead of our tank. The top-off water container is connected to the sump by the provided float valve. We installed a similar overflow bulkhead to the sump. Here is the first test - the RO shut off when the sump/ATO tank were full as hoped:
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Chromis

Supporting Member
The tank filtration is basically chaeto and pukani rock. The skimmer is just there to remove soaps and other contaminants that chaeto wouldn’t absorb. As an example, I accidentally dissolved a whole clump of emarco into the new tank water. So much for 0 TDS water! The water was a grey cloud:
110570413070f3f220d0180c6909dd7f.jpg
The skimmer seemed to get most of it though - I was dumping grey slurry out of the skimmer cup a couple hours later. I’m really happy with this Skimz SN143-QP. It has only a 6”x6” footprint and works reliably. I felt the tank was finally online after moving the chaeto over from my old 40g sump - in my mind it’s the engine of the tank. So far it’s not getting into the skimmer intake. The chaeto is lit by a Kessil H80.
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Chromis

Supporting Member
A couple other scary set-up moments: the trochus snails seemed to be bailing out for the first 36 hours. I worried there might be something wrong with the water, but everything else seems happy. I guess they were just trying to get back to their old 40g “tide pool”?
b8b5283a63a24ec5d2a6928c1d2d1dee.jpg
 

Coral reefer

DBTC Officer
BOD
A couple other scary set-up moments: the trochus snails seemed to be bailing out for the first 36 hours. I worried there might be something wrong with the water, but everything else seems happy. I guess they were just trying to get back to their old 40g “tide pool”?
b8b5283a63a24ec5d2a6928c1d2d1dee.jpg
Maybe water was cold?
 
I bet they’re trying to spawn. With changes in tank conditions they’ll crawl up as high as possible and “let loose”. I have a lid on so they can’t get too high, but sometimes they would be partially out of the water.


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The tank filtration is basically chaeto and pukani rock. The skimmer is just there to remove soaps and other contaminants that chaeto wouldn’t absorb. As an example, I accidentally dissolved a whole clump of emarco into the new tank water. So much for 0 TDS water! The water was a grey cloud:
110570413070f3f220d0180c6909dd7f.jpg
The skimmer seemed to get most of it though - I was dumping grey slurry out of the skimmer cup a couple hours later. I’m really happy with this Skimz SN143-QP. It has only a 6”x6” footprint and works reliably. I felt the tank was finally online after moving the chaeto over from my old 40g sump - in my mind it’s the engine of the tank. So far it’s not getting into the skimmer intake. The chaeto is lit by a Kessil H80.
0629a8801573e8272d709ea0f8bac31a.jpg
Great start! Consider a sump divider to separate your skimmer and your fuge. Part of it is to keep the detritus and chaeto from entering your skimmer, second is your skimmer body is going to get a bunch of algae growing in it with the light bleed.

A divider can block the light and keep the stray chaeto bits from entering your skimmer. I personally like to have fuge first, then skimmer, but you could go either way. I feel better about fuge first because I’ve started going sockless.

Just some thoughts.

a52e879f466702df669e154f1aaea926.jpg



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I’m so happy for you. It’s been such a long time coming. Overflowing the ato to a drain is genius. Does your ro system do an automatic flush to get rid of tds creap?
 

Chromis

Supporting Member
Maybe water was cold?
I did set it up a degree or two cooler than the old tank, on purpose to avoid shocking things too much. Figured I’d raise the temp again later. Seems like corals get less upset going from high to low temp/alk instead of the other way around?
 

Chromis

Supporting Member
I’m so happy for you. It’s been such a long time coming. Overflowing the ato to a drain is genius. Does your ro system do an automatic flush to get rid of tds creap?
Yea the tank’s been sitting in my garage for months. Some of the corals I had been collecting for the new tank had overgrown their plugs a bit... one benefit of acrylic frag racks is corals pop right off:
07f721fa48a7dd44f1a1f47cd01f4515.jpg
86b7279bd50ee0e48b8cf8c006b921e7.jpg
ade9f6f2c414279c80daa9bdcd2ca089.jpg

What I decided to do was cut the plug off with the bandsaw to make the bottom flat, and then just lay the coral on a flat rock with a little superglue.
0aaee7804b29b13e4bd68666975eab4b.jpg
 

Chromis

Supporting Member
To separate the other SPS corals from my old rocks I used a combination of dremel with grout remover bit and a chisel. Here is a another scary moment where it looked like the frog spawn was melting as I was trying to remove acroporas from the zoa-infested rock it sat on. Here it is the next day:
14c6a7e26ebfd1f2370c90fa81ad8e3e.jpg
b0e1f34d29ebbcf0601e800e4b4f499f.jpg
 

Chromis

Supporting Member
Great start! Consider a sump divider to separate your skimmer and your fuge. Part of it is to keep the detritus and chaeto from entering your skimmer, second is your skimmer body is going to get a bunch of algae growing in it with the light bleed.

A divider can block the light and keep the stray chaeto bits from entering your skimmer. I personally like to have fuge first, then skimmer, but you could go either way. I feel better about fuge first because I’ve started going sockless.

Just some thoughts.

a52e879f466702df669e154f1aaea926.jpg



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We’ll see what happens, I like your solution.
 

Chromis

Supporting Member
Full tank shot. Went with two Maxspect Gyres, and they’re quieter than my old MP10. The return pump (Skimz quiet DC pump) is quiet except for a very high-pitched hum. Has anyone else heard a high pitch noise coming from their return pump and does it go away?
480af5659493da78cde4eb8116e66954.jpg
 
Full tank shot. Went with two Maxspect Gyres, and they’re quieter than my old MP10. The return pump (Skimz quiet DC pump) is quiet except for a very high-pitched hum. Has anyone else heard a high pitch noise coming from their return pump and does it go away?
480af5659493da78cde4eb8116e66954.jpg
In my case, I was running a powerful pump with a less-than-ideal manifold pvc diameter (ie excessive head pressure). Are you reducing your return pipe at all?


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Last edited:

Chromis

Supporting Member
In my case, I was running a powerful pump with a less-than-ideal manifold pvc diameter (ie excessive head pressure). Are you reducing your return pipe at all?
I took your advice and ran the pump with no output fitting (facing down so it wouldn’t create a fountain) and the noise completely went away. The pump came with three barbed output fittings, 5/8” , 3/4” and 1”, and I have the 5/8” installed with silicone hose to the Reefer return. What’s weird is I just looked up the pump info and it’s not supposed to come with this smaller 5/8” fitting:
835579501c703ac1db2a370d12ae3a04.jpg
So maybe like you said the reduction at the pump output to 5/8” is causing all the noise? I’ll order some 1” silicone hose since this also fits the Reefer 450 and see if that cuts out some noise. Thanks!
 
Yeah for a 1000gph rated return pump 5/8” is pretty small. I would go as large as possible, and I bet that at 1” it would be quieter, you would get more efficient flow back to your DT allowing you to run it lower and transmit less heat to your tank.


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