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Starting my new tank: Red Sea Reefer 200 XL

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  • Starting my new tank: Red Sea Reefer 200 XL

    Hi everyone,
    I'm new to the forum and the Zeovit method, although I've been keeping marines for more than 10 years. Since space is a bit limited, I opted for the Red Sea Reefer 200 XL. Display tank volume (as filled) is approx 150 liter with a sump volume (as filled) of about 35 liters. The tank was set up with 17kg of dry rock/base rock and about 3kg of live rock and approx 3-4 cm aragonite as substrate. I started the tank with the Zeovit system. The system is now 7 days old and I can already see some sponges & tunicates starting to grow on the live rock and the first signs of green algae, but other than that there is not much happening as yet. No diatoms/cyano etc.

    Equipment wise, I run the following:

    Lighting: Red Sea Reef LED 90
    In tank flow: Red Sea Reefwave 25 Gyre pump (7000lph)
    Skimmer: Red Sea RSK 600 - Skimmer is still bedding down and skims either very wet or not at all. Will adjust this in the next week or so.
    Return pump: Tunze 1073.02 (2000 lph) - Will upgrade this shortly to a Aqua Medic DC Runner 3.2 (3000lph)
    Inkbird temperature controller with 2 x 200W heaters
    Kamoer P4 Pro dosing pump - will be commissioned at a later stage when the need for dosing arises
    Red Sea filter sock - Will be replaced shortly with a media cup and filter floss

    I have some questions:

    1. Due to space constraints, I currently have the Zeolites in a mesh bag in the skimmer compartment since no reactor will fit in the sump. I do shake the mesh bag twice daily, but just wondering if there would be any long term issues with keeping the Zeolite mesh bag in the skimmer compartment ? Should I switch off the skimmer temporarily when shaking up the Zeolites and dosing Zeobak, Zeofood, Sponge power etc?

    2. I'm using approx 3kg live rock and 17kg of aquascape dry rock/base rock. I am aware that this will impact the duration of the initial cycle and that it will take longer than 14 days, but does anybody know how long it is likely to take before stability is reached (biological filtration stability)?

    3. In keeping with the question above: Would it be advisable to wait until stability has been reached (given that most of the rock is base rock), or could I look at adding some initial corals in the next 2-3 weeks ? (Thinking about adding some Euphyllia - Torch , Pocillopora damicornis and perhaps some plating Monti's)?

  • #2
    Hello GReef and welcome to ZeoVit.com !

    Running the ZeoVit material passively flown in a mash bag will limit the nutrient processing of the system so I would recommend you to get any kind of a reactor, a hangon filter with some DIY might also be possible.

    Unable to tell you how the cycle will last as this does depend to many factors but basically it is good that you have added some live rock additional. Adding some robust corals around week 4 if all water parameters are OK and if no algae do grow is something you can try, I would expect it does work without issues but the “real” cycle will take additional time.

    G.Alexander

    Comment


    • #3
      OK. Thanks for the feedback.
      I'll have a think about the Zeolite reactor. Seem to recall seeing a link on this forum to some DIY options.

      Comment


      • #4
        Hi GReef,
        I am considering setting up a smaller tank and Reefer 200 is one of the candidates. Anyway I already had some time to look around and there are manufacturers that make nano filters that are designed to fit into small sumps or filter panels on AIO tanks.

        Here is Bubble Magus, compact, you can't shake it, but still it's better than filter bag. You can get them in most fish stores, ebay, amazon etc...
        http://www.bubble-magus.com/products.aspx?id=24
        or Innovative Marine, these have limited capacity, but can be actually shaken.
        https://www.innovative-marine.com/sh...tors-c47487661

        I guess these are compact, not expensive options. Only thing that has to be done is figuring out a way to choke the pump a bit to control the flow through media, but this can be also easily done.

        Cheers
        “Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.”
        - Matsuo Munefusa

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks Michal,

          This is very useful information. In the meantime I did manage to find a small reactor (Red Starfish 1.2L reactor - pic below).

          This has a footprint of 130mm x 130mm so will fit my sump. I will still have to put this in the skimmer chamber (only place big enough to accommodate a reactor), but at least it has an outflow which can be directed. Just need to add a small pump to this and then we should be in business. Will do a post once I have this all in place and working.

          Comment


          • #6
            Great news GReef,
            I would like to see a picture of your sump once you accommodate your new filter in there. Just to have reference for my future build
            “Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.”
            - Matsuo Munefusa

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Michal View Post
              Great news GReef,
              I would like to see a picture of your sump once you accommodate your new filter in there. Just to have reference for my future build
              Absolutely. I’ll post some pics as soon as it’s in the sump. Should have the reactor by next weekend.

              Comment


              • #8
                So, quick update: I'm into Week 3 of the cycle and whilst not much was happening in the first 10 days, this has changed quite a bit. Several pods running across the glass 😃. Unfortunately I now have an outbreak of green & brown hair algae 😯. The GHA is on most of the rocks and there are a few small patches on the sand as well. The base rock has only brown hairy algae, whilst the liverock has mostly green hairy algae 🤔
                I know that this is all part of the cycle, but the hair algae is growing quite fast and my concern would be that it starts overrunning and becomes difficult to solve. It could also have to do with the fact that I dosed Zeofood over the past week. I have now stopped dosing the Zeofood to see if the situation improves. On the upside, there does appear to be some good coralline algae growth on the live rock with various shades of pink and purple (where it is not covered in GHA)

                I've set the skimmer to skim wet at the moment, but there is not much skimmate being collected (probably 100-200ml skimmate daily). I have used a turkey baster to blow water onto the rocks. Lot's of white powdery particulate released (only on the live rock though). The filter sock is washed every 4-5 days at present

                I also took the opportunity to test parameters again (using Aquaforest test kits for all parameters). These are stable and have not changed over the past week.

                Salinity : 35 ppt
                Nitrate : 3 ( Was 1 last week)
                PO4: Almost zero. Difficult to read the colour on the scale
                Calcium: 490-500
                Magnesium: 1470-1500
                Alkalinity: 7.6

                Haven't been able to test the Ammonia yet, but will get to it later today. Will measure Potassium when my test kit arrives later this week

                I am still dosing the following:
                Sponge power: 2 drops daily
                Zeostart: 0.4ml daily
                Zeobak: 2 drops daily

                Whilst I suspect that the Zeofood dosing may have contributed to the outbreak of GHA, is there anything else I could/should do at this stage, or should I just let it run it's course and hopefully burn out by itself?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Lets keep the dosing break of ZeoFood until the algae have gone. Beside manual removing them there is not much more you can do at the moment. If you like to you can dose 2 – 3 ml CoralSnow / 25 US gallons every other day to support this process for some time.

                  The main water parameters are all relative high, have you already cross check your salinity with a different, accurate instrument to make sure it is OK ?

                  G.Alexander

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by G.Alexander View Post
                    Lets keep the dosing break of ZeoFood until the algae have gone. Beside manual removing them there is not much more you can do at the moment. If you like to you can dose 2 – 3 ml CoralSnow / 25 US gallons every other day to support this process for some time.

                    The main water parameters are all relative high, have you already cross check your salinity with a different, accurate instrument to make sure it is OK ?

                    G.Alexander
                    Thanks for the feedback and agreed on the proposed way forward.
                    Regarding the salinity: I have checked this twice with my refractometer which was recently calibrated. Will see if I can do a check with another instrument to validate the measurements.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Have just done a check with another refractometer which I borrowed from a friend.
                      Salinity is at 34 ppt, which means my refractometer is faulty or the calibration was done incorrectly. Will get this sorted out in the coming days.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        The difference of 1 ppt is not that problematic, do you have a idea where the high Ca and Mg level is coming from, might your salt mix have such a high concentration ?

                        G.Alexander

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by G.Alexander View Post
                          The difference of 1 ppt is not that problematic, do you have a idea where the high Ca and Mg level is coming from, might your salt mix have such a high concentration ?

                          G.Alexander
                          Very likely that it comes from the salt. I'm using Red Sea Coral Pro salt as I've always had good results with this salt. To be fair, it could also be that I'm not doing the Ca & Mg tests accurately. As you know, titration is always a bit of a fiddle. The higher Mg levels will certainly fuel the GHA growth, plus I'm running my tank at around 26.5 deg C which may also contribute to the problem.

                          On the bright side: I've noticed some polyps which are growing on the LR. They seem to have survived the cycle, but are still too small to make an identification. My best guess would be either clove polyps (or perhaps star polyps, but time will tell. I'll post some pictures when I get to it over the weekend, just to show the extent of the GHA. This is not my first encounter with GHA, as I've had it in all my previous tanks. Was just hoping to avoid this in my Red Sea Reefer setup, but I seem to be very good at growing the stuff !!😜

                          I really want to avoid treating the GHA by means of chemicals, so will just be a bit more patient, keep the rocks clean and do some small water changes by next week. Other than that, I'll look at adding some CuC. Very tempted to look at a Seahare, but do not want to really risk the health of the animal by letting it starve once all the GHA is gone.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            A sea urchin would be a alternative when the algae are short, they usually doing well even if the hair algae have gone, if necessary you can feed him with algae leaves additional or transfer him to another system. Those are the two kind I would recommend you:

                            https://www.meerwasser-lexikon.de/ti...a_globulus.htm
                            https://www.meerwasser-lexikon.de/ti...s_gratilla.htm

                            G.Alexander

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              So, finally managed to get around to taking some pictures of my setup.
                              The tank is now in Week 4 of the cycle and as mentioned I have a fairly severe GHA outbreak. Some diatoms & cyano are starting to appear on the sand, but these are only small patches.

                              So first up there are two full tank shots (pics attached)

                              I've included some photos of the GHA outbreak on all rocks. The attached pics provide a bit of a grim picture😪
                              It is good to see though that there is some macro algae which is starting to grow on the live rock - See pics. The GHA is very difficult to remove by hand. The strands are very fine and slimy, so I spent about an hour just cleaning one rock....😲

                              Lastly, I've included a pic of my current sump setup. As mentioned in the posts above, I managed to find a small enough Zeolite reactor which fits in the skimmer chamber. The overflow from the reactor is directed towards the return pump compartment, so it bypasses the skimmer. Flow rate in the reactor is approx 350 l/hr at present.

                              Next week I will start adding some CuC (mostly snails) and once the GHA outbreak has been resolved I'll look towards the first corals and fish.

                              Comment

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