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Merman last won the day on December 24 2018

Merman had the most liked content!

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About Merman

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    Reef Keeper

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    South Austin
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    Software engineering, skiing, softball

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  1. Merman

    Redsea Reefer 450 Build / Upgrade

    I used an AI Prime as a fuge light and it worked great (too well actually). You'll have no problem growing algae. I feel like it's overkill though so watch your nutrients and make sure they are greater than 0 and you're not growing too aggressively. Your settings look fine to me.
  2. Merman

    Redsea Reefer 450 Build / Upgrade

    Instead of a union you might want to consider another gate valve (which also acts as a union) if you have space. That would give you the ability to tune the return flow to the tank independently of the reactors. In hindsight, I wish I had done that on my setup. Looks like you're space constrained but would be ideal if you could eliminate the 180 degree turn right before the return bulkhead. That will knock your GPH down a little bit but your pump looks pretty strong so might not matter. Either way great job!
  3. Merman

    Some Frags Available - UPDATED

    Wow nice selection. Put me on the waiting list for one of those brain freeze montis.
  4. Merman

    Auto water change

    I forgot to mention I also have a breakout box already. My plan lines up almost exactly with your suggestions so that's validation I'm on the right track. Thanks for the reply! I already have high and low sensors in the sump and will repurpose those for this application. I have another sensor that's tied directly to my return pump (separate from my Apex) that kills the pump if the level gets too low. Not going to touch that. My plan is to have triple redundancy in both directions, drain and refill. For the drain there will be the primary level sensor, a backup sensor just below that, and then the drain pump will be mounted just below that. Worst case the cheap drain pump is damaged from running dry and I'm out $20. For the refill, I will also have 2 sensors (primary and backup) and a float valve. I'm going to do exactly what you suggest by timing how long it takes to drain the desired amount and then set the drain cycle to be a little bit longer than that. Same for refill. Drain and refill cycles will be sequential and won't overlap. One thing I haven't figure out yet from a coding perspective is how to send an alert if a water change isn't executed properly. I'm sure I can find a solution but I know I'll end up babysitting it for the first month anyways which should give me some confidence. Is there a reason you suggest optical sensors? I've never used them before. I don't have a specific reason for not using them, the mechanical sensors have always worked great.
  5. Merman

    Auto water change

    I have recently decided I want to up my reefing game and implement an auto water change system. My current routine isn't too bad: I'm using pumps, siphons and valves to move water around. I'm not carrying buckets and there is no heavy lifting but it's still a manual process in that I have to watch it and turns things on/off. I'm sold on the benefits of automating this using smaller more frequent water changes: I can perform the change in my sump without having to disturb the display I don't have to worry as much about matching temp and alkalinity It's obviously easier on me (as long as the system is robust) It's not as inefficient as I thought and it's not a big deal to just change more water to compensate: http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2005-10/rhf/index.php I've done some research and there seems to be 2 primary strategies for doing this: Peristaltic pumps to add/remove water at the same time (continuous) Drain and replenish using traditional pumps and float switches. Most seem to prefer option 1 using Neptune DOS pumps. I don't think this option is a good fit for me because I don't want anything noisy and I don't want to pay $300. I'm sure it's much easier to setup though so maybe I'll try it one day. That leaves option 2. I am a skilled programmer and I already have an apex and some traditional pumps laying around so it won't cost much. Just need to figure out how to securely mount everything in the sump. People warn that it could potentially result in disaster and won't be as accurate (salinity will drift) but I don't necessarily agree with that. Float switches and float valves almost never fail in my experience (had a valve get clogged once, that's it) and I'm having a hard time foreseeing potential problems and issues that can't be addressed with redundancy. I'll probably have a different attitude after I try it of course Anyone doing this? How's it working out for you? Happy to share my progress if anyone is interested.
  6. As far as providing a consistent effluent I have no complaints. It's solid. The air buildup issue is probably the most difficult and demoralizing equipment related problem I've ever had in my reefing career. I just couldn't figure it out and ended up replacing almost everything except the reactor itself. I even bought a cheap regulator to verify mine was working. I might be a little sore about it Take that away and I would be really happy with it. I haven't had to perform any maintenance yet so I'll let you know how it goes in case you're still deciding. Noise wouldn't be a problem for you since you have a dedicated room. For $260 I feel like it's pretty affordable, even if one craps out early.
  7. I'm curious what horror stories you've read about the Kamoer pump? I use a Kamoer pump with my calcium reactor and can give you some honest feedback from my experience. I wouldn't consider it a horror story but the first several months of using it was really frustrating. Air would constantly build up in the reactor and required purging every couple of days. It's no worse than having to constantly adjust a needle value (using the push method with a conventional pump) but the whole point is to NOT have to mess with it. Drove me crazy until I finally found a thread on reef2reef with the solution. The reactor needs to be slightly pressurized to avoid this air build up. You have to setup the Kamoer to pull and use either a conventional pump or return manifold to push and apply pressure. Works great now. I use a Geo calcium reactor so I'm not sure if this problem exists with other reactors. I've always had issues with air/gas building up in my reactor for various reasons. Not ideal having to still push with a pump or manifold but I've never been able to get a needle valve to work well, even with a faster stream/drip. It's also slightly louder than I would like but not too bad. My tank is in my living room, a couple feet from the couch so you can hear everything. I've had it for 8-9 months and have not had to recalibrate or change out the tubing yet.
  8. Merman

    Refried...I mean Refrozen food :)

    Good call on rinsing your frozen food. Probably the easiest way to reduce the amount of nitrate/phosphate you are adding to the tank. Another option is rinsing right before feeding. Add a little bit of water to a plastic container along with some frozen food (enough for a week or so) and store it in the fridge. Whenever you feed just strain out the juice before adding food to the tank. A tea strainer works well. Something you might consider if making your own cubes becomes too laborious.
  9. Merman

    Struggling with acros in a reefer 525

    Obviously the people commenting here know what they are talking about and you should follow the tactical advice given. My advice is more strategic. Like others have suggested, your tank is really young and it just takes time. I would focus on getting montipora to grow first since they are one of the easiest and most forgiving. You could also try pocillopora to start with. It sounds like you're on top of your maintenance so you're probably better off not worrying about it too much and enjoying your tank. It's a long process and you'll get there. I would also put the Acros on hold temporarily and save yourself the expense and frustration. I have both Hydra 26s and Hydra 52s and, based on my experience and observation, I think it will be a challenge to get anything but the most robust Acros to grow under 26s. To put it into perspective, my tank has similar height and length dimensions as yours and I have 3 Hydra 52s. I still get shading and have not been able to keep the more challenging, light-hungry Acros. That being said, you don't have to have a tank full of exotic Acros for it to be awesome. I know that's not something you want to hear since you just bought those lights less than a year ago. Probably isn't even true, just my personal (i.e. worthless) opinion having used AI lights over the last 5-6 years. If you're interested, I'm happy to help out. I know how frustrating it can be to watch frags you spent your hard-earned money on inexplicably die off. I have several different montiporas that have been rock solid in my tank over the years. I'll break you off a couple frags for free if you want to try them. I also have a PAR meter you can use. I think you'll find the 26s are not as powerful as you think they are.
  10. Merman


    I ran a 230 on my 150 gallon for a couple years and eventually retired it. Cleaning is really difficult and they need to be cleaned often. Makes for a brutal maintenance experience and sucks the fun out of owning a reef tank. Looks like other people have had better luck but I hated this pump long term. Never considered selling it because I didn’t want to pass the frustration onto someone else.
  11. Merman

    Anyone know what this is?

    Thanks for the info! I really appreciate it.
  12. This thing started growing in my buddy’s tank over the last couple months. Any ideas?
  13. Merman

    ISO Chaetomorpha Algae

    I should have enough for 2 good sized portions. I trim it about once a month so I always have some. Send me a PM whenever you're ready.
  14. Merman

    ISO Chaetomorpha Algae

    Yep deal is still on. Good timing, was about to pull some out anyways.
  15. Merman

    How to setup a Calcium Reactor

    You need a way for gas (air or undissolved C02) to exit the reactor(s). That's probably why he suggested you switch them, otherwise it will build up in your secondary reactor.