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Life after death, diary of an obsessed man

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  • Life after death, diary of an obsessed man

    After making the decision that I am no where close to being done with this hobby, I thought it might be interesting and fun to document the build up of a failed tank. Not only that, I would really like your guys' input going forward.

    So last night, I needed to figure out exactly where I stood and the condition of the tank. Keep in mind, I haven't dosed anything for weeks, haven't done any water changes. Pretty much all I have done is turned the lights on and off on a daily basis and added top off water when needed.

    After testing, I was really surprised:

    SG was right at 1.024
    Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, Phosphate all at 0. Calcium is at 380, alk is at 7.4. I figure that as I raise ca, alk will drop. PH is at 8.2, with MG low at 1080.

    Didn't get to a water change last night, that will be the first thing done when I get home from work today.

    However, I did change out the zeolith, the carbon and really stired up the tank - lots of gunk. Skimmer filled up at least 3 times over a couple of hours. I also got the new heaters put in and pulled those crap Won heaters out and in the trash!

    I think this weekend I will get some snails and spend the next two weeks dosing. I will also get the controller hooked up.

    So my question for you is this, at what point do you think it will be safe to add my first coral to the tank - provided I do everything that I am supposed to do?

  • #2
    Hi Matt, thnx. for taking the time to post up your recent tank history. Although your water is safe for fish now & would recommend waiting a few wks., allowing you time for continue "to stir-up" the detritus & use the ZEOvit to clean up the waters even further before adding more livestock. Bob
    "There might be something to this ZEOvit"


    • #3
      Thanks Bob - that is exactly what I am doing. I just got my water change and dosing done. I am thinking of getting a good 3-4 weeks of nothing but water changes and dosing along with one swap of zeolith before attempting to add anything.

      In that time, I will also be upgrading my lighting, adding my controller and hooking up my calcium reactor. I might even plug in a new a skimmer - will have to see though...


      • #4
        WOW, Matt, you certainly have put yourself in a position to succeed--good show:Bob
        "There might be something to this ZEOvit"


        • #5
          week 1 update...

          Things are going good. I find myself visiting more often, reading and posting - I really think that is helping me stay on track. So far I have been dosing 3ml start 2 twice daily. And then 3 drops bac and food every other day.

          As I posted in another thread, I was able to find X-10 controllers for $8.35 each, so I have those coming. I also have the CA reactor just about set up and ready to go. Just need to cut some pvc lines and hook it all up. I haven't done anything with the lighting yet - I am almost certain that I will be going with a RO3, BlueWave, AB10K set up. I also still need to get some new bulbs for the PC and modify my lighting rack to accomodate them. Not a big deal, just need to run by home depot to get the parts.

          This past weekend I did get a couple of turbo snails. And last night I had 'operation snail rescue' - [email protected] snail got stuck in one of the drain lines. Of course whose fault is that? Yeah I forgot to put overflow strainers on. So after some nice work with the hacksaw, the snail is free and the strainers are in place

          As for Dana's seahorse tank, she too got a couple of turbos (strainers are in place), a yellow watchman, and a damsel of some sort. I have been looking for pictures of this guy to find out exactly what he is. He will also probably be going back to the LFS if/when she does get seahorses. She also picked up some really nice blue mushrooms (I've always wanted some of these guys but have never been able to find any)!


          • #6
            I had forgotten about this thread that I started. And since 9 months have passed, I figure an update is long over due.

            I first want to thank everyone here for all their help, support, guidance and advice - between Dana and everyone here, had I not had all of that, the tank would have definitely been broken down by now.

            A lot has happened since I last posted.

            First off, I added a 2 20 gallon fresh water storage containers and a float switch. This has made water top offs easy as well as water changes. At just about any given time, I have all the water I need to do whatever is needed to both tanks. I also added a digital tds meter to the RO unit - about the best $20 I have ever spent in this hobby.

            Next, I've added an ACII controller. Still workout out the last couple of bugs, but this has definitely added to the stability of the tank. All of my lights, heaters, skimmer, closed loop pump are hooked up.

            Next I added a Tunze Osmosulater to handle top offs. Any time I check the tank with a refractormeter, my salinity is never off or 1.026. I've found that I need to clean the sensor in the sump every couple of weeks but other than that, no problems.

            Some of you may recall my electrical questions - I had to add two new circuits to handle the new lights. I got the new circuits installed and put together an 'outlet board'. Now when the new lights fire up, no breakers trip. As for the lighting, before I was running solely MH pendants (both 10Ks). I never really liked this and now wonder why I even did this. So this time, I added 2x110 03 Actintic VHO and 2x54 Blue+ T5. Since my tank didn't have much space above, I used Edwards idea and mounted these behind and above the tank on a board at a 45 degree angle. Next I added 2 ROIII pendants on a Blue Wave 7 ballast with AB 10K in one and a Pheonix 14K in the other. Over the sump I have 2x96 PCs on a reverse 12 hr photo period (these are the guys who are giving me problems with the ACII - just haven't had time to ground the reflectors). The VHO and T5s run for 12 hours and the MHs are up to 5 hours. I think in the next two weeks I will bump this up to 6 hours.

            The very first time I fired this new lights up, the temp in the tank soared to 84 degrees in about 2 hours. I was able to find a great deal on a Teco RA200 chiller - now the temp never gets above 79 and never drops below 78.

            hmmmm.... what's next, oh yeah, I have since stopped zeo, so I added a kalk reactor in line of the fresh water top off. I've added about 40 lbs of LR in the sump. I still need to hook up the CA reactor and I want to re-do the mounting bar for the MH pendants. Still running the ER 5-3 skimmer, but I have done the gate valve mod and get about 1/2 of dark green skimmer tea every day or so. I've been looking at those new 'small' BKs, so who knows...

            Tank params:
            Ammonia - 0
            Nitrite - 0
            Nitrate - 0
            Phosphate .02 (Hanna)
            CA - 420
            Alk - 9

            I need to dig out the Mg test kit, but I have a feeling that is a little low as my CA and Alk levels have been a bouncing around a little.

            Looking back on all of this, I think it was Bob who said that the main problem with my tank before was that it was too unstable for a nutrient poor system. As you can see, I have almost killed myself (at the expense of Dana's hands around my neck each time I tell her what I will be spending on the next peice of equipment) to create stability and I think I am just about there.

            How do I know this???

            I have been keeping about a dozen various sps frags for about 3 weeks now!!!! I know this isn't a lot of time, but for this tank, this has been the longest so far. I have great pe, all the fresh cuts have already healed or are almost there. Some of the brown outs have started to color up in the tips. And I am starting to see some growth - mostly in the monti digi and monti caps.

            Sorry for the long rambling....