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Rebuilding and recovering a live tank from hell *SUCCESS*

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Re: Rebuilding and recovering a live tank from hell (RSM130)

Postby Matt_84 » Thu 22 Aug, 2013 1:46 pm

Hey Dave,
Its been a good read of your journal, glad to see it's finally coming together! Should be a good looking tank soon.
Just a quick question, are you sure it's coralline algae you have a problem with and not cyano or diatoms?
The only reason I ask is I thought coralline was a identifier of good water quality and your appears to be getting less the better your water quality gets. Is it soft to touch or does it flake of when you scratch it. Just curious, as my coralline is quite hard and it's a more purple colour where as yours looks alot more red.

Cheers,
Matt
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Re: Rebuilding and recovering a live tank from hell (RSM130)

Postby Aydee » Fri 15 Nov, 2013 11:13 am

I've had a change of plans for something I think will work FAR better, and a little bit of sad news.

Norp died. (My matted filefish). He got trapped in some rockwork, and I think when he struggled, the rockwork just crushed him.. :(

Now onto rest of writeup.

The hospital tank had a minor upset. Nothing major, and getting under-control again. I caused a bit of die off on rock (Accidentally turned off heater. Doh!). So it's re-cycling now.

But plan B which I think will work better:
1) After cycle in hospital tank is finished, transfer clowns to the hospital tank.
2) Drain main tank completely. (Reason: Aiptasia was found in the back sump section)
3) Scrub main tank down completely. Vinegar. RODI. The works.
4) Restart cycle on main tank. Will add about 25% of LR from hospital tank to main tank. This should wake things up. When it stabilizes, retransfer fish back.
5) ???
6) PROFIT!

So, I'll see how I go over coming weeks.

Dave
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Re: Rebuilding and recovering a live tank from hell (RSM130)

Postby blacjack » Fri 15 Nov, 2013 7:59 pm

I've seen people have a bad run of luck Dave, but holy cow talk about having problems. I hope things turn around for you and I've got some ideas on how to deal with my aiptasia problem if I go the same way :thumbsup:
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Re: Rebuilding and recovering a live tank from hell (RSM130)

Postby Aydee » Tue 19 Nov, 2013 3:10 pm

OK.. Small update, and a very late reply to Matt84
Matt84: Yup. Coralline. Lovely deep purple, and it's flakey and all sorts of stuff. I seem to grow this stuff by the truckload.

Otherwise, hospital tank appears stable. 0 ammonia. 0 nitrite, 10ppm nitrate.
Have put a little bit of fishfood in there to confirm cycle is operating normally. If all goes well and readings still good on Saturday, I'm transferring clownfish to hospital tank and GAME ON!

Dave
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Re: Rebuilding and recovering a live tank from hell (RSM130)

Postby Aydee » Thu 21 Nov, 2013 5:11 pm

OK. Shifted transfer forward 2 days. Schedule allowed, so did it.

Parameters in hospital tank:
0ppm ammonia (Approx 2 wks)
0ppm nitrite (Approx 2wks)
5ppm Nitrate (Similar duration)
0.00ppm tested phosphates (Red Sea Pro test kit)
1.025
25.3C

It looks good to go.

After a bit of stuffing around, finally caught my clowns and started acclimatizing them to the new water.

Once done, transferred them without the water (of course!)

A little bit of stress and shock to the fish. This is expected, but within 15 minutes they're doing a little better now. Not resting on bottom and instead sitting about 1" up out of the water in a corner. I expect they'll do better in another hour or so, then will give them a feed.

So Pictures:
The fishies in their new home:
Image

The tank I'm rebuilding:
Image

Notice that 'pontoon' of algae at the bottom. That's where it all settled down to after I scraped the sides and turned off the pumps. I'm not done yet. I figure that algae is easier to scrape when still wet rather than dried onto the glass, so I'm going to get the glass crystal clear, THEN drain the water.

Dave
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Re: Rebuilding and recovering a live tank from hell (RSM130)

Postby Aydee » Sun 24 Nov, 2013 4:37 pm

About 90% there. Got sidetracked with Real Life (tm). Friends came to visit. When you suddenly have an additional 2 adults and 4 kids to entertain in your house, fishtank maintenance takes the backseat. However, clownfish are eating happily. They're even looking at 'nesting'. They've started picking at a rock.

Looks like things are on track and according to plan. (HOO HAA! :D )

Dave
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Re: Rebuilding and recovering a live tank from hell (RSM130)

Postby Aydee » Wed 01 Jan, 2014 5:28 pm

Been a little while.. But PROGRESS! The tank has been emptied. Scrubbed down. Vinegar'd. Scrubbed down again. Vinegar'd again. Scrubbed down. And is as clean as it's going to get. :D

The pumps were giving a bit of preventative maintenance. They're happy pumps now.

Heater also cleaned up and reinstalled neatly.

A BRAND NEW SKIMMER! A "Skimz SH-1". I decide to take a chance, and although I haven't turned it on yet, I'm very impressed with the build quality, and the fact that it was a PERFECT fit in the tank. I'm not joking. IT just slid down into place and stopped at the perfect height. (There is tup/olerance for me to move it down a good 2" either way too!) It had about 1mm clearance (Front/back) in the end. Which is fine. The intake and outlet are perfectly positioned.

So there you go. If you're looking for a cheap, skimmer that just 'drops in', check it out.

Now? RODI water is getting made and put into tank. First batch will be going in shortly. (About 20L at a time).

Meanwhile, clown are very happy in the holding tank. They're feeding well and the water parameters are good. Nitrates are getting up a little, but that's ok. After the tank is filled, I'll do 1 large water change in holding tank, leave for a few weeks to ensure main tank settles, then off we go!

Oh and a blurry pic for you:
Image

Dave
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Re: Rebuilding and recovering a live tank from hell (RSM130)

Postby Gastel » Wed 01 Jan, 2014 7:41 pm

Glad to hear you are getting going.
Also glad you got the skimz. I have been looking for a new skimmer for my 130 and wanted to save as much space in the back as I could. The skimz looked like a nice option but wasn't too sure it would fit. Let us know how it runs when you fire it up.
Good luck.

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Re: Rebuilding and recovering a live tank from hell (RSM130)

Postby Aydee » Sat 04 Jan, 2014 3:22 pm

Phone update.

Filled with salt water. Substrate in. Major bommie in. Two things remain. Three really.

One, finish the prep of the light. Got to redo power lead and then hang above tank.
Two. Monitor tank for a mini cycle. If all OK, transfer fish and more live rock from holding tank.
Three. Monitor. If all good, transfer last of rock.

At this point, rebuild will be officially complete!

My goal was SPS ready by my birthday. Not going to make it. Birthday on Tuesday. I think I'll be up to fish transfer then. I'll miss target by one week. For something over one year in the doing, not bad at all.

Dave
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Re: Rebuilding and recovering a live tank from hell (RSM130)

Postby Gastel » Mon 06 Jan, 2014 12:53 pm

How is the skimmer going Dave?

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Re: Rebuilding and recovering a live tank from hell (RSM130)

Postby urbanrat84 » Mon 06 Jan, 2014 5:28 pm

Last edited by urbanrat84 on Sun 01 Nov, 2015 3:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Rebuilding and recovering a live tank from hell (RSM130)

Postby Aydee » Mon 06 Jan, 2014 8:27 pm

Gastel: Can't comment yet. Not enough bioload. 1 largish rock and sand at moment. HOWEVER, I will say that there was some detritus on the rock that got in the water column. That's now in the collection cup. I honestly think you'll be waiting a good month or so before you get a true answer mate. I'd love to say "It's Perfect", but I can't. Not in all honesty. It's got the signs of being good. Good water flow. Good action in the body of the skimmer. But that could all go to hell in a handbasket when placed under real load.

Few more days and I'll have some bioload in there.

Dave
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Re: Rebuilding and recovering a live tank from hell (RSM130)

Postby Gastel » Fri 10 Jan, 2014 12:28 am

No probs Dave. I appreciate you taking the time to keep me informed. I'm not in a huge hurry and can put up with what I have for a bit longer.
How is the noise level on the skimz though.

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Re: Rebuilding and recovering a live tank from hell (RSM130)

Postby Aydee » Fri 10 Jan, 2014 6:16 pm

Noise = equivalent noise to the RSM Prizm skimmer.

Not louder. Not quiter. Just the same really.
----------------------
Got a little ammonia in the tank from the change over (Not surprised). Giving it a few more days to stabilize before I consider moving fish. Ammonia is now gone as is nitrite, but I've added another rock to the tank and will see how that goes with ammonia/nitrite and whether stable.

Slow and steady this time... :D

Dave
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Re: Rebuilding and recovering a live tank from hell (RSM130)

Postby Aydee » Sun 26 Jan, 2014 7:20 pm

Success!

Fish across and happy. (Took this photo not long after the lights came on. The 2 clowns are hiding in the ceramic pipe in the middle of the photo. You can see the females head in there)

I had only just scraped the glass, so the water is fraction cloudy, but nothing dramatic.

Image

I'll try and sort out a less 'potato' photo later. But I'm calling this "Win".

The chemistry:
1.025 sg
26C
PO4 (Can't detect on Red Sea Pro kit.)
Calcium = 450
Mg = 1400
dkh = approx 10 (Screwed up the testing and CBF'd testing again)
Ammonia/nitrite = 0
Nitrate = minimal (Api potato test kit. My RSM kit had expired)

Tank looks better IRL. I've got more rock in a 2nd tank becoming "live" which will be added to main tank when ready.

But from page 1 to now? I'm happy.

Now my reefkeeping journey really begins!

Dave
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Re: Rebuilding and recovering a live tank from hell *SUCCESS

Postby NewyReefer » Sun 26 Jan, 2014 7:33 pm

Huge difference mate well done, that scape is going to look cool as when its got some corals in there :thumbsup:
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Re: Rebuilding and recovering a live tank from hell *SUCCESS

Postby Aydee » Sat 01 Feb, 2014 6:17 pm

OK. Brief update..

I've done one thing I thought I wouldn't do.. But.. Anyways.. I put an acro in there. I got it for $5. So... Oh well. We'll see what happens.. (I'm moderately certain it's some form of millepora)

Otherwise, 1 x turbo put in as well. Yes. I need more. My budget this fortnight was $20. Our LFS sells them for $18 (No. I'm not joking). But it was needed. 1 better than none. I went $3 over budget with the acro. It looked a decent piece, just browned out.

So, acro in. It did its horrible mucous thing (I did acclimatize it, but mucous is mucous is mucous. It has settled down now).

The snail went in, and I think it's OCD. It climbed the glass in a straight line, then followed the water line around the entire top of the tank. When it finished it's first lap, it then went down a little and started it's next lap. None of this crazy zig-zag stuff for this snail. Methodically starting at the top and working downwards.

The skimmer. Skimz SH1. Impressed so far. I'm now getting the hang of the tuning of it. It's a little quirky to get my head around, but getting there. The big thing with this, to fit it in the sump of the RSM130 properly, you need to remove the rubber buffer from the magnet that is attached to the actual skimmer. When you do this, perfect fit. Make sure you don't pull the air hose up when you slide it in place. If it feels like things are catching. Stop. Work it out and then slide down. The hose does pinch easily. Once done, tuning the skimmer body and skimmer cup consists of moving the main body and the skimmer collection cup rubber grommet up and down. When going, I can produce anything from wet skimmate to sludge. I am currently impressed. (Short run time. Less than 1 month. Light bioload. 2 clownfish in 130L. At the time, no corals, no inverts.) I'd put this skimmer as a significant improvement over the RSM stock skimmer. Now it's settled in, it's significantly quieter than the RSM stock skimmer. As such Gastel, I'd say, if you're on a budget, and you're looking for a skimmer, I would recommend. IT fits without significant modification (Mod = remove the rubber thingie from the internal magnet. The end). It produces good skimmate and can be tuned. It takes some messing with both skimmer height AND cup height AND air intake, but you get the hang of it. If I had an ATO it would be easier.

Dave
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Re: Rebuilding and recovering a live tank from hell *SUCCESS

Postby neilsonw » Sun 02 Feb, 2014 12:39 pm

Dave,

its looking good and your patience should be commended. :clap: :clap: :clap:

If you need more turbo's let me know, I've got hundreds, come and collect some, you can come and take a fungia as well.

Great work.

W
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Re: Rebuilding and recovering a live tank from hell *SUCCESS

Postby Aydee » Mon 03 Feb, 2014 3:06 pm

Will definitely take you up on the Turbos and fungia. Sounds terrific.

Message me a day/time which would be suitable. I'll bring some baggies for transport and a foam esky.

Thanks mate.

Dave
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Re: Rebuilding and recovering a live tank from hell *SUCCESS

Postby Aydee » Sun 13 Apr, 2014 12:13 pm

Just an update. Going through 'new tank' fun at the moment. Not much I can do but patience. As I've put a silicon based sand, Diatom's are everywhere, but they've stopped 'expanding', now just to wait it out.

Bit of algal growth on rocks, I guess when I soak them in vinegar and the lanth, there were parts that the stuff didn't get to. It's interesting to note that the rocks really only have a single plume of algae here or there rather than smothering the rock. Oh well. That's getting under control too. (Vinegar dosing. 30ml/day at moment. Slowly ramping up.)

Fish continue to be happy. The $5 frag I accidentally bleached. I up'd the vinegar dosing too quickly (I misread something and that's not cool. ALWAYS DOUBLE CHECK IN THIS HOBBY. Read the label twice. Read instructions twice. I didn't. I accidentally had my eyes flick on a column and increased the dose by about 30% instead of about 5%. Next day, white coral. I think it's still alive as I can see polyp extension, but it's now an exercise in futility. Tank not mature enough. So it's just a bleached feature at moment.

Dave
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Re: Rebuilding and recovering a live tank from hell *SUCCESS

Postby Matt_84 » Fri 19 Jun, 2015 11:57 am

Any updates mate?

It's been a while
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Re: Rebuilding and recovering a live tank from hell *SUCCESS

Postby Aydee » Sat 14 Nov, 2015 2:45 pm

OK.. Updates.. What a topsy turvy time.

I thought I had got all the phosphates out of the rock. I was wrong. Oh.. so... Wrong.... (I got lax on testing and just stopped testing phosphates).
The phosphates got to 2.5ppm ( Not joking! )
So, I started dosing vinegar. I was up to 30ml/day. Initially, phosphates went down to 2.0ppm. I thought I was onto a winner. But then, it plateau'd.

I couldn't work it out, then the brain kicked in. I got a decent nitrate test kit (Thanks to Michael of MASAOG!) And... My nitrates? Undetectable on the kit. Not even on the Ultra-low-range-reading method. Nothing.

No nitrates, no PO4 reduction. No doubt I was generating nitrates, but I think with the amount of PO4 I had combined with my carbon dosing. Well.. I was reducing nitrates is all I can say.

So, with the advice of Pete from Oceanarium (Another awesome MASA dude! This is why we join guys!) I got some Potassium Nitrate. 500g. Mixed up the solution. Started dosing. 2ml's at a time.
Then I made a mistake. What was the mistake? I didn't test frequently! I had messed up my calc's by 10 fold. The solution was about 0.1 the strength I had intended. I should have been dosing 20mls!

Fixed this up. Again. TEST GUYS! Why? Well, it's a long complex story, but I got into the habit of daily 20ml's without testing! I finally tested and OMG 25PPM NITRATES!!!!! How did I get there? Simple. I had stopped testing Phosphates too! Turns out, my dosing was such that my phosphates were going down. And when they got lower? Less to bind to nitrate, and thus the only option left was nitrates to increase. (Import greater than export!)

So.. Now I've kicked my own butt. Worked it out.
Readings at moment:
Phosphates: 0.00 (Hanna checker. Tested weekly)
Nitrates: 18ppm (Salifert). Currently tested every 3 - 4 days.

Due another water change today.

What's changed since:
Thanks to the awesome-sauce at Canberra Marine, my livestock has slightly increased.
I've got a Blennie. (Named: Blen. Named by my 6yr old son). He was described as a 'misc blennie' but colouration is sort of like a Jewelled Blennie (not exactly. But close enough)
I got snails. Some trochus and nassi's.

They're having a field day. With the high phosphates I had algae everywhere. They are now nomming it down like nothing else. I've got weird patches of white sand.
The blennie is happy. Still a little nervous in his new home. But he's now starting to do the 'peek out at you' thing that all blennie owners know. But I frequently see him hitting the algae on the glass (I got a winner. He is nomming down the algae on the glass like anyones business!)

No pics at moment. Will try to do so in coming days. Things are on upswing again.

Dave
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