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Everything posted by SubzeroLT

  1. Not posted here for quite a few months. Over the past months, I've been stepping up efforts to keep PO4 'low' in the 0.05 to 0.1ppm range. I used to struggle with high phosphates in the 0.3-0.7ppm range. Primarily with the reluctance to change out the media knowing it may not be fully depleted/saturated (waste $$ by discarding it prematurely). And keep the media going for another period till the next water change (2 weeks later). By then the media is not effective & phosphates creep up. I tried using using 2 chambers in series but its too hard to control the flow rate. The setup that works for me is having 2 chambers in parallel and changing media alternatively every 2 weeks. That means media in each chamber is used for 1 full month (should be fully depleted). Media wise, I've had good success with both DD's Rowaphos or Two Little Fishies Phosban media. Both do work great. I've been using Rowaphos for years with good success. Note the media needs to be kept humid/damp in the bucket. Phosban media comes very dry in the bucket. And hence storage is slightly easier (no need to keep it damp). And the bucket comes with a nice o ring to seal the bucket tight. Personally, i don't have a preference over which is better. Both equally effective. Slightly more effort to rinse Rowaphos compared to Phosban but its manageable. If you don't want to mess around with the rinsing the fine brown bits, then try aluminum based phosphate removers (eg. Brightwell Extraphos..... more on this in another post) I'm currently using Two Little Fishes Phosban. Some pics : Weigh some a small portion of dry powder then rinse before putting into the reactor. About 2-3 rounds will get it clean. Will do the above for a few rounds. Since I'm using 2 reactors in parallel, I'll put about total 150g of dry Phosban media into each reactor I'll cut some filter wool to place at the top of the reactor to minimize fine bits from flowing out into the sump. Taken in 1st June 24 : 0.06ppm 7th April 2024
  2. Found a tiny elegence coral on the rocks. Probaby a small piece broke off from the main skeleton. Just a regular looking Elegance in today's context....but feeling happy to see it as its from Golden Octopus legacy. Anemone split Making a small hollow rock structure for the anemone to secure itself. I see many reefers now use fine sand & liquid cyanoacrylate glue to hold rocks together. Feel quite old school ....still using Alteco epoxy and gel glue to hold the rocks together.
  3. Love this contraption to assist with dissolving the salt quicker. Clears the bottom of the barrel very quickly. BTW, using the Brightwell NeoMarine salt now. Quite good.
  4. Empty out 50% of the basket every weekend. It becomes full again after about 5 days. This urchin is everywhere
  5. Some coral pics from tonight : Red ferrari Back to basics : Forest Fire digi (From Andrew) Miyagi tort (originally from Mike Stone) Monti & clam corner Space invader pectinia (originally from coral fanatics) Anemone (from HaiYang) Elegance
  6. Recently installed a Reef Factory Calcium Reactor Dosing Pump for more precise control of the effluent flow rate. Using on this Calcium Rector : Aquatic Exclusive CR200 (10L media capacity) Installation configuration : Water inlet hose from the CR is dipped in the sump. Installed it in a "pull" configuration. The other option is to "push" water into the CR. According to BRSTV, a pull configuration is more ideal. Key paramaters : Effluent drip rate ~ 30ml/min. CO2 bubble count 130 bpm. CR PH ~ 6.6PH. System alkalinity ~ 9dKH. Comes with 2 sizes of fittings. I'm using the default fitting for normal 4mm air hose tube. Software is quite easy to use After calibration, its possible to do an accuracy test. Expected 10g of water. Spot on. unning it at at 30ml/min, its very silent! Loving it. Max flow rate of this pump is 60ml/min but I don't ever need to run it at such high flow. Always best to run it as low flow rate & 'most concentrated' effluent as possible to minimize dumping low PH water back into the water column. Installed mine on a 3030 aluminum profile straddling across the beams in my cabinet.
  7. 3D printed a basket clip that straddles over the Euro brace. Very convenient (though quite unsightly) to have a basket around to place frags. In my case, its to grow some chaetomorpha & caulerpa algae. To shade the trachyphylia, for nutrient export and also as a snack for the tangs. Chaeto is not their favourite but they will still finish it.
  8. Quick update on the Smart Roller fleece. Installed on 1st Jan 2024. As of today, its about 56 days (almost 2 months) Rolling well : Nice to see the daily fleece usage rate :
  9. Some folks asked me on my opinion about the KH Keeper Plus and how it compares to other automatic testers. Got my Alkatronic back in Feb 2018 - an early adopter. Gosh...its been 6 years! Back then, having an automated parameter tester was a novel idea and it was a game changer to keep the most important parameter (Alkalinity) properly monitored. Alkatronic 1st gen was rather loud. Vibration and noise isolation was improved with Gen2. Software bugs were resolved over time. Reagents lasted a long time. Its been a good product with good local support. Over the years, I've used GHL KH Guardian, multi parameter testers like Mastertronic & Trident. But felt the fundamental Alkalinity tester is still the most critical to be run more frequetly (eg. 2x a day), especially for a calcium reactor user. Fast forward to 2024, KH tester technology is mature and stable. New Alkalinity testers became available. Earlier this year, I got a Reef Factory KH Keeper Plus. Reasons : It has a small foot print, pumps are silent, reagents are cheap and has fantastic software integration with its cloud based Smart Reef app. Some pictures : Got mine from ReefmarketSG. I understand this is a new batch of testers with new type of stepper motors. New is good. What's inside the box. I read the user manual ahead of time. https://www.reeffactory.com/?state=productsKHKeeperManual Finally took me only about 30 minutes to get the unit installed, connected to the wifi (effortless) & probe/pumps calibrated. Comes with a weighing scale to help with the calibration - genius idea. No more fumbling with measuring cylinders to calibrate the pump volume. Small foot print. Clean & simple design Water inlet hose. The kit includes a filter/tube holder to ensure its submerged in water. Comes with 2 bottles of PH probe calibration fluid. I like the fact it comes in a bottle. If the probe that is dipped into it is cleaned & dried properly, the calibration fluid can probably be stored & re-used again in the new future without issues. To make the diluted reagent for use, mixture is 1:9 ratio (1 part concentrated reagent : 9 part RODI water). The kit comes with a 150ml reagent pack - Can make 1.5L of diluted reagent. I also got a 1L concentrated reagent (SGD$70). This can make 10L of diluted reagent - good for ~ 1400 tests. That's good for almost 2 years @ 2 tests per day. Kit comes with a 3D printed hose clip. This prevents sharp kinks which can tear the silicone where its inserted into the hard tube App to calibrate the tester. Very clear & easy to follow using the app. The app allows you to run an accuracy test. Here, its expected to output 5g. Spot on 5g. If you enter the amount of reagent you made, the app can tell you how much is used & how many days its going to last. When the unit is running a measurement, the LED turns blue. When results are within your specified range, a green LED will light up. If its outside the specified range, it'll be red. Nice to have a visual notification like this. My mobile app also triggers a notification. And I also receive an email. Some notes & findings : Readings are very consistent with Salifert. The pump accuracy is good. I checked it a month later & its still spot on. Tip for mixing reagents : The concentrated reagent is an acid (density is marginally higher than water ~ 1.004g/mL). Ratio is 1 (acid) : 9 (water). To prepare the acid part, use volume method using a beaker or cylinder. Don't use weight method for the acid for optimum mixture. For the water, OK to use weighing scale If you use the weight method for the acid, you will actually be adding marginally less acid => more diluted mixture => dose more reagent during measurement => output from tester is higher KH than reality.
  10. Swapping in a new set of the Coral Essential 1 & 2. Currently running on a dosing pump @ 12ml/day (split over 7 doses). Sent in my water last Sunday & received my ICP test results yesterday(Friday). Thanks AllyBoy for the ICP kit you passed me a year ago. Generally numbers look to be in range. Some fine tuning but nothing too concerning. Re-setting up my phyto culturing container on the top left hand corner. Could not find my grow lights. And the F2 is probably expired (5yrs old?). Time to source for both.
  11. Following up on the road to lower Phosphate levels. Started from ~ 0.71 ppm phosphate ~ Nov 23. Its been stuck at the 0.2ppm range for the longest time. A fellow reefer suggested trying TLF Phosban GFO after his good experience with it. It shot down to 0.1ppm quite quickly. Here is my take on it: Got a 1.2kg bucket. Its dry GFO (absolutely dry). Hence it does not have any particular storage requirements (a good thing). Do note the lid of the 1.2kg bucket has a unique way of opening. From the graphic, it says to break the locking features on the edge of the lid. Basically, use a screwdriver & hit it downwards to break the feature. Absolutely dry. You will realise its so dry once you rinse it. You can hear the crackle sound when water is added. Easy to store (as its dry). No need to worry about keeping the product moist or drying out. Instructions say 50g to treat 50G (200L) of tank water. Hence, i prepared 200g of dry powder. Rinsed in a small container. Very easy to rinse. Water clears up after about 3 rounds. Its quite fine powder. Instructions says NOT to let it tumble. So this is how its placed in my reactor. I put a lot of wool on top so no fines escape. Leave a small gap to the wool to let it expand a little and let water flow through it. (Repeat : And not let it tumble) Started using Phosban on Sunday 14th Jan. Phosphate reduction effort progressing well after a couple of days. Happy with the results so far.
  12. Added a large abalone on 30th Dec 23. Still has the blue/green tint when I took pics of it yesterday (13th Jan). I've not cleaned the glass for 2 weeks just to leave some film of algae for it to eat. Pretty sure it helps to clear the fine film of algae as it mows through the rocks & glass. Glue everything down!
  13. 2 week mark of using the Reef Factory Smart Roller. Im my setup, 100% water filtered through it without bypass. I've set it up for the water level mark on the unit to sit about 2" higher higher than the actual water line. Its been running very well. Fleece looks like its picking up dirt fairly well (not advancing prematurely). Cleaned tank and sifted some sand yesterday & today - hence more fleece was consumed. Look at the number of days remaining. It will change to a more realistic number once the daily usage rate average out & stabilize.
  14. I have been looking forward to seeing more 'smart' devices available in the hobby in this era of IoT (Inernet of Things) with interconnected devices & available of data. This post is about the set up and usage review of the Reef Factory Smart Roller. After having used other roller filter for the past few years (can't reef without one now), I was glad to see one that could have more control & feedback. The key enabler here is the integration with the Smart Reef App - Feedback on the length of fleece used per day Notify if the roller jams Notify when its time to replace the roll Adjust the amount of fleece to advance each time. Able to set the time delay after the float switch is triggered before it winds the fleece. This is useful is say, your return pump goes into feed mode and the sump water level rises for a few minutes. You may not want the fleece to start winding like crazy but rather wait a while to 'confirm' before advancing I got the M sized unit which is rated for 300-1500L Footprint information : Comes in 3 sizes, Small, Medium & Large. Specs here : https://www.reeffactory.com/?state=productsSmartRollerOverview The fleece width is 20cm wide. 40m long. 50 microns non-woven filter. An "non woven filter" refers to a porous fabric comprising of random arragement of fibres and are excellent for filtration applications. There is a media basket under the unit. The unit is likely to be lifted above the sump floor. Always good to place some media in a high flow area (under it). Either use this basket or your own media bag/basket. Filled up with Siporax There is a targeted water level marking on the acrylic. The user manual explains that the bypass flap is at the 'water level' mark. If the filter sits higher up, any water that comes out if the flap is open will create a splashing sound. Mine is set up higher so there is more water pressure to push through the filter than water rising upwards towards the float switch (i.e. roll of fleece will last longer) There is a bypass flap in case you don't want all the water to pass through the filter. The "basket" assembly to route the fleece is removable. A nice feature for easy fleece change. A close up view of the water inlet pipe. Clear acrylic - you can see what's trapped & blocking the grooves (maybe a fish? Bubble algae?) There are facing both upwards & downwards to enable higher overall tank pump rate through the unit. Water inlet can be rotated to any angle. Nice to have this flexibility. Wire routing Routing the fleece is quite simple. Lay it flat across the unit Then insert the basket Tape the 'used' end then wind it 3 rounds All done! As always the Smart Reef is very easy to use. Some screenshots Choose what you are adding. Follow the screen instructions to scan the product QR code & input wifi password. Set it as "new roll" & it'll start tracking at a starting point of 40m Running it for a couple of days and very happy with it. So far, the fleece usage rate looks quite low Nice to see it track the usage per day and over time and be able to tell you how long the fleece will last. Or if the usage rate changes drastically, the it could point to something in the tank system to investigate.
  15. Did some major cleap up of the sump over the year end break. Cut out some panels of the sump to simplify the layout & to create a single large 1st section (for filter roller, bio media & skimmer). And also to use it as a space for fish to reside. A view during the tear down process. That's 7 years of sludge. Some sections under the basket of bio media had about 1cm of 'mud'. Next big challenge is how to clean up the water to resume the water flow. My blue drum for mixing fresh salt water is only ~ 120L and insufficient for the entire sump water volume. Process wise, I siphoned out the sludge. that was about 80L. And drew out about 2 buckets of water from display tank to rinse the bio media. Siporax. This was quite popular back then. Cleaned up the Nyos 220 skimmer as well. The wife complained about the mess on 1st Jan 2024. To clean up the rest of the water, I used a 5 micron filter sock. This worked incredibly well. It used to be so difficult and expensive to find 5 micron socks - which I previously used to capture the precipates from dosing lanthanum chloride. Now available from ReefmarketSG. Price is reasonable. Link here : https://www.reefmarketsg.com.sg/filter-sock-5-micron
  16. Very lovely as usual. Looks to be growing well
  17. Received some queries about the Reef Factory Smart tester. Been running the SmartTester for the past 2 weeks. Goal is to manage down the phosphate levels but yet want to be cautious not to overshoot to too low levels. Longer term plan is to monitor it within a tighter range. Firstly some pictures to show how the installation went. Just some key highlights on the main steps. Put the unit together (refer to visual aid instructions sheet) Must read the manual for detailed step by step instructions. https://reeffactory.atlassian.net/servicedesk/customer/portal/1/topic/051f8c01-101d-4842-82ed-06678a390de7/article/647823361 After the initial setup of adding the unit into the SmartReef app and wifi setup (easy), the app will guide you through the rest of calibration & setup process. Cute sticker to call for technical support. But it was not needed. The above manual was sufficient to get me through the setup process The water In & Out luer fittings are located on the left side of the unit. Note that the waste out needs to go into a waste container. It should not be released back into the tank. Very nice that an acrylic holder is included. The water-in tube will sit in a quiet spot in the sump. Note that the sediment inlet filter is NOT needed for PO4 & NO3 measurements. Only needed for Ca & Mg measurements. Filter was removed after this pic was taken. 1 - aquarium water connection, 2 - used water connection, 3 - used water pump / emptying pump, 4 - measuring chamber, measuring capsule, measuring cuvette, 5 - reagent container A (each test requires a different set of reagents, each set of reagents may consist of a different number of chemical reagent containers with different capacities), 6 - container with reagent B (each test requires a different set of reagents, each set of reagents may consist of a different number of containers of chemical reagents with different capacities), 7 - reagent container C (each test requires a different set of reagents, each set of reagents may consist of a different number of chemical reagent containers with different capacities), 8 - chemical reagent pump C, 9 - pump of chemical reagent B, 10 - pump of chemical reagent A, 11 - droppers of chemical reagents A, B and C, 12 - aquarium water pump / filling pump. The measuring chamber is located here. In in is a small glass cuvette where you need to drop in the magnetic stirrer during the setup. To remove it, just hold the tab & pull out. Drop in the magnetic stirrer To put the measuring chamber back, push in & ensure you hear the click sound to know its fully inserted. Precision needles at the measuring chamber area. Info from manual : For PO4 method, it uses zinc chloride and photometric measurement for 610nm wavelength Next is to calibrate. Start with a container with some water. Weigh the container on the digital weighing scale (included in the box) The pump runs to draw water. Then you weigh the container of water again. Input the numbers into the app. The reagent pumps are calibrated using RO water. An empty cartridge is provided. Fill it up with RO water. Similarly, follow the app to step through all 3 pumps. Next install the reagents. There is batch treability that is scanned into the app. All done!! I've set my tester to run once a day. l turn off the schedule if i don't want to auto test. Operation is very silent. Can barely realize that its running a test Some data captured the past days. Observations on PO4 levels: After my last water change day where I vacuumed a small portion of the sand bed, PO4 shot up from 0.19ppm to 0.23ppm. I turned off the schedule for a couple of days so as to save reagent. A couple of days later its at 0.16ppm. Progressing slowly and steadily. A set if PO4 reagents will run around 160 tests (depending on the tank's PO4 levels). I understand it'll use more reagent when PO4 is higher. SGD$42 for the reagent kit for 160 tests is affordable. The app provides good information such as the expected number of tests its able to run - 147 tests to go For my tank setup, I'm using it to manage & monitor problem areas (elevated phosphate levels). One tester can only run 1 parameter at any time. The unit has some flexibility built in. If I ever need to measure another problem area in future (eg. NO3), its possible to swap over to another type of reagents. Happy with the SmartTester after running it for the past 2 weeks. Accurate (same numbers as Hanna PO4 tester when I last checked it) App is easy to use. And integrates with other sensors in its ecosystem Provides insights to number of remaining tests Small footprint. Silent
  18. Tank is generally doing OK but phosphates running a bit on the high side for the past 6 months. SPS colors definitely dropped quite significantly. Tends to darken in areas that face dimmer light (see the bali shortcake in pic below). Noticed they are more susceptible to STN from the bottom eg. acropora speciosia (Flaming Sunrise) & acropora walindii (Blue Dragon). Even hardy corals like acropora yongei (Bali Slimer) are not spared. For quite several months, its been running arond the 0.4-0.7 PO4 levels. Simply complacent and not paying enough attention to water parameters....not good. The issue was running a single reactor. The effectives of the rowaphos will slow down as it gets depleted. Being cost consious, I didn't want to pre-maturely change the rowaphos. Hence let it run a while longer so it gets fully depleted. Usually phosphate levels will ruse towards the tail end. And with complacency, the rowaphos isn't changed when its time to. .. Some say it could be related to "Old Tank Syndrome" (7yrs old). Time for action : I got some 5 micron filter socks And ran Brightwell Aquatics Phosphat-E for about 2 weeks. Lanthanum chloride is supposed to be the most economical option. Read much horrer stories in overseas forum about fish & clam death. So proceeding with caution. Based on the dilution information, I diluted about 4ml of PhosphatE into about 4L of RODI water and slowly dripped this into a filter sock over a 24hr period. Based on this ratio, 4ml lanthanum chloride should remove 0.07ppm of phosphate in 850L of water. So hard to find 5 micron filter sock locally. Bought some online but they were expensive. This is the setup : Had some tank water flow into the sock. And PhosphatE drip onto the stream of tank water. Nested 2 socks. 10 micron on the inside & 5 micron on the outside so that the pores don't load & clog so quickly. In hindsight, just the 5 micron one will probably suffice. In reality, phosphates didn't drop 0.07ppm per day but more in the 0.02-0.03 range reduction per day. I continued dosing about 4ml each day for about 14 days. Socks are cleaned every 1-2 days. Didn't notice any signs of lanthanum chloride affecting tangs or the clams at all. After 2 weeks (of 4ml per day), phosphates were down to the 0.4ppm range. But it was a lot of effort per day to manage this. For the moment, I've switched back to rowaphos in a reactor as its possible to just let it run on its own for several weeks each time. The change I'm making this time is to use 2 reactors in series. One with fresh rowaphos. And another with the previous batch. After 2 weeks, discard the old rowaphos & replace with a fresh media. In this way, hopefully the rowphos can be fully utilized. And to minimize or even eliminate bits of rowaphos exiting the reactor into the tank, just stuff the top of the reactor with lots of filter wool. BTW, I found this method of cleaning rowaphos the best. Place a couple of heaped spoonful of rowa in a container. Rinse it in this small container. Once 'clean', then scoop into the reactor. Important to be agressive in managing phosphates. But equally important not to overshoot in its removal. Another change made on having better phosphate management is using the ReefFactory Smart Tester. Loving it having used it the past week. Accurate, small footprint and the software/app provides good level of data & feedback.
  19. Some random pics : Monti area. They help shade the acan colony underneath. As mentioined in Tank Talks interview with Reef Monster boss, too much light will cause them to turn reddish. Next : Looking to add some sunburst montipora. Recent trachy addition from Aquamarin : Not a great picture but this was one of the brightest yellow tip torch I've ever had. I'm told from Coral Fanatics folks these were hand picked from their recent trip to Bali. Surprisingly decent price for this quality.
  20. Tank husbandary hasn't been tip top the past few months with work & family commitments. Coral colors dropped and were more scusceptible to infection (more on that later). Time to step up on proper system maintenance & operations. One of the first things I was looking at was a good quality, wifi-connected doser for dosing trace elements. A recent brand that is gaining popularity is Reef Factory. I've been following the brand since they started in 2019. Along the way, they introduced several "Smart Devices". The recent buzz is all about IoT (Internet of Things), having interconnected sensors and data communication & data analytics. In the past year, I've tried their ICP testing and they have a nicely integrated mobile app. Products are stable with good local support from ReefMarket. Got the reasonably priced Reef Factory Dosing Pump X3. Small & compact size Dosing heads are packed seperately. To install the dosingg heads, align the tabs of the dosing head to the grooves in the doser body. And rotate anti clockwise. I'm mounting mine on an aluminum profile. Used the provided hole template as spacing reference. BTW, there is an acrylic stand available but I didn't get that. User manual available. Scan QR code from instructions sheet to access it. Note there is a small magnet in one of the dosing head packs. This is to factory reset the unit by placing on the 'reset' label on doser body. The setup via the mobile app is quite simple. Details in the instruction manual. In any case, its quite simple : Add device via the mobile app Prime the tubes (they call it "Fill the circuit") Calibrate the pump. Use either a measuring cyclinder (~ 10ml needed. Not provided) or a good quality weighing scale. Set the dosing schedule Some pics : Priming the tube with RODI water in prep for calibrating the pump Software is quite intuitive For the calibration, it'll pump slightly less than 10ml. Just input the volume you get into the app. This was a pic for Pump B (8.3). Pump C was 8.6 Then define the next calibration reminder. Typically 1-3 months cadence is about right. But as this is a new set of tubes, I will recheck it in one week. Dosing schedule is also quite simple to generate a 1st pass list. From the template, I fine tuned it to skip some a few doses in the middle of the night. And dose a bit more during peak lighting hours. Finally rename the pumps & specify the volume in the dosing container so the app will notify you when its empty. The beauty of this doser is that its possible to export the logs. My plan is to double check the doses made vs the weight of the bottle after a few days. This would be a simple way to check accuracy of the dose. If there is any drift or intended change, its possible to set a % offset in the app. Pretty cool. All set & running the past week week already. Loving it.
  21. Some recent pics with yellow filter lens. Fiji Pipe Organ. Previously purchased from fellow reefer MarCal Got this from Coral Fanatics. Gonio garden from Makassar (Indonesia) Top view Anemone all shriveled up as the lights dim out. Using these to block the clam from falling off the rock scape. From Allyboy. I should grow this on some 3D printed structure New addition. Scooter Blenny. Someone asked what I dose. This :
  22. If yours is a local set, you can facebook message Reef Depot (https://www.facebook.com/ReefDepotPteLtd/) . They are are the authorized distributors for Ecotech. Service Center located at AMK area.
  23. Added a new anemone. Moved an IP camera to monitor it just in case it moves & able to shut off the wavemakers remotely. Paranoid.
  24. Got some clownfish from Asphalios (Friendly chaps. Good price) Given they are 'high risk' fish (i.e. species is gnerally susceptible to brooklynella ), they were isolated for observation in a seperate tank for a week before putting them in the display tank. The plan was to isolate & observe. No medication(unless they are sick). Had some mature media from the display tank. & a small USB air pump. As they were fed both pellet & frozen food (minced fish/prawn meat), had to do water change ~20% each time twice a day A week latter, added a pair to the display tank.
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