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the jolt 1̶5̶0̶ 180


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Some of you know that I have a new rimless 150 180 gallon tank on order from Reef Savvy. It won't be here for a few months so I won't yet bore folks with details on that -- but I am excited and as we get closer to black friday I'll start to do the big equipment purchases!

Between now and then I'll post some of my thoughts on equipment and I hope for your feedback on the tradeoffs of various choices grin.png

Today's topic: So far my QT, RODI, and SW mixing facility has been geared towards my current 32 gallon tank. So I've spent the last few months doing a makeover to increase my capacity. I did not have much room to work with -- just a small closet in the back of the house. Fortunately it's on the other side of the wall from the washer/dryer so I am able to plumb and get electricity in there through a single hole in the wall.

The real trick has been trying to figure out how to cram as much gear as possible into a minimal space. Here's a few photos and brief description.

Today I finally started filling the RODI tank for the first time, after testing the float valve and the ASO valve. I'm getting kind of excited as the next phase is to bring one of the SW stations on line and then begin filling the 40B.

Some details:

Rock prep/Qurantine/Frag Tank

I bought a 40B at Petco dollar-per-gallon sale. Drilled it and installed a glass holes overflow. Painted the back and bottom black, and made a stand for it. The idea is to sequence some things through this tank. Starting with preparing some seed rock for the DT. I bought 100 pounds of Fiji dry from BRS and I'm getting another box from Reburn down the road. I'm gonna start cooking some of it now as seed rock and then move that to the DT once I have it. Then I'll do another batch or two. I'm going to put a couple of small pieces of already seeded live rock in here to get the ball rolling. After that, the tank will transition to the QT for initial fish stocking. Eventually I will transition it to a frag tank, unless I have to use copper on the QT at some point.

RODI reservoir

I bought a 35 gallon tank and drilled it for a float valve and put it in a drip tray. It's plumbed with a union and is intended to be gravity feed to the rest of the system. I mounted it on a shelf I constructed over the 40B. The drip tray is plumbed into the washer drain. Then the float valve is plumbed into an auto shutoff system. So two safety mechanisms. Hopefully no more flooded floors!!

Saltwater mixing.

I bought two 10 gallon mix tanks that were wall-mountable. These have a sloped bottom sump. I plumbed the RODI outlet over to these and put ball valves for easy fill. They drain out the bottom through a couple more ball valves. There is a third ball valve for straight RODI water, and I'll have a short hose attached to that for filling buckets, etc. I drilled access holes in the top of these to get the wiring in for heater, pump, and digital thermometer. This is all plugged into individually switched outlets, wired through a gfci box.

Here's the RODI tank mounted over the 40B:


Here's the SW mixing tanks:


A closeup of the ball valves for filling the SW mixing (notice the switched outlet bar above for the heaters and mixing pumps):


And here's the RODI unit with the auto shutoff and triple TDS meter mounted to it (you can see the gfci box with drip loops beside that)


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Gona do the new kessils on this one?

I'm thinking not. I am disappointed that they have even less integration capability than the current A360WE. And I think they are awfully expensive. Seeing them in person at Macna could change my opinion, but I am doubtful.

Right now it's a toss up between ATI powermodule and Radion.

I am expecting Ecotech to announce next gen radions at Macna next week and so looking forward to checking those out. They are expensive, but have a great track record, I've seen the results on SAMs tank, and they have great Apex integration.

I think the ATI is a proven coral color and growth machine, but I am not 100% happy with the aesthetics of the unit, with the mounting options, with the ongoing bulb replacement costs/effort, and the lack of integration with the Apex.

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Yeah I have the t5 right now just because they were built in my tank, I'm actually liking them more than the kessils I had as far as colors on the corals. The radions are certainly proven and if I went led that's the only way I would go. The ati light is crazy cool though, Rory aka Juiceman just got one and it comes with quite the control panel. He hooked his up to the computer of course not the apex that I'm aware of. Cant wait to see it though!

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Back from MACNA. Wow was that a blast!

Picked up a JF Shock Tart, a JF Tierra del Fuego, WWC Pink Duster, and a Pink Lemonade from Cherry corals.

One decision on equipment for the new 150 was made for me. I won a pair of Neptune WAV pumps at the raffle! For anyone interested, the Sicce rep told me (off the record) that they are building the WAV pumps for Neptune.


It's crazy, I've never purchased a flow pump, but I've now won 4 different ones at raffles.

Also, I spent a LOT of time with Chris Benner who does the cabinet work for Reef Savvy. My wife loved the example cabinets they brought so I think we got some traction on the cabinet design this weekend.

I am 100% sold on the Ecotech Vectra M1 pump. Definitely gonna go that route on the return pump.

I also spent a lot of time at the CoralVue booth and I've added the Giesemann Aurora combo T5/LED fixture to my list to consider. It is in third place right now after Radions and ATI Powermodule. Gonna spend more time researching this important decision.

I also spent a lot of time with Justin from Avast Marine when I caught him hanging out in the Sicce booth. I did not get to see any of their gear but I got to ask a million questions. I am very impressed with Justin's understanding of my needs and I'm pretty sure I am gonna go with a CS1 skimmer, swabbie neck cleaner, davy jones skimmer locker, and possibly even their ATO unit which integrates nicely with the Apex. I need to go over and check out Reburn's Avast gear soon.

And, I spent about an hour talking to a guy from the UK who has been running triton, and I also talked a while with Ehsan. I am still pondering a full Triton setup for this tank. I'm not sure I'm convinced in their testing abilities, but I really kind of like the method itself, especially if it can get me to no water changes as advertised. Go ahead and let me know why it would be a bad idea, I'm interested in all opinions smile.png

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I like all the smart features of it. For example you can tune feeding mode to just barely keep flow going but maintain your sump level. And you can tune the max volume rather than using a ball valve. And it's got incredible head pressure. And its only 80 watts for 2100 GPH capacity. And it supports the ecotech battery backup. And it has safety shutoff, monitors its own flow and heat and the integration with Apex through the WXM is coming and should be good. And it's really quiet compared to similar DC pumps. That's it for now :)

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Ty - I really enjoyed the mindstream workshop (very technical, so of course I liked that), the Vectra workshop, the triton Q&A session and the Walt Smith talk on farming corals in Fiji. Also, the Apex users meeting was great, with a free champagne brunch and three good talks. The keynote speech at the banquet was outstanding too.

ckyuv - sure, if I don't kill the TDF ;-) It looks great in my tank today, but after seeing all the real pros frags and then coming home to see my system I can see a big difference. I still have a lot to learn, and hopefully a bigger tank, and better lights will help too. One of the best frag tanks I saw was using an ATI fixture, but it was all T5, not a powermodule. Best color in the place after JF.

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I looked around to see if they were recording the mindstream talk but there was no pro gear setup. Some interesting things: they talked about the way they implemented multisampling across the disc and use that to detect wearout, fouling, etc., , they read each strip 15 times and do statistics on the readings to determine if all is well. They also went into how the flourescence worked through excitation and reabsorption of electrons. I felt like they had a good handle on the physics of what they were doing.

For pics, I recommend the R2R thread for MACNA photos. There's a ton of them. I did not take many.

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  • 2 months later...

UPDATE - Black Friday Equipment List so far (note I already bought an APEX gold on sale at C4 last summer)

- Custom Geo 618 twin chamber CaRX

- Apogee PAR Meter

- BRS Deluxe GFO & Carbon reactors

- APEX PM1 & Lab Grade PH probe

- APEX Leak Detection Module and Probes

- 2nd Apex EB8

Tomorrow, Avast Marine is having their sale:

- CS1 Recirculating Skimmer

- Swabbie neck cleaner

- Skimmate Locker


I think that's a wrap for Black Friday .... Now it's hurry up and wait for the tank and stand, and the difficult sump and lights decision

LIGHTS: Gonna wait and see if Ecotech and/or ATI do any new lighting products or updates.

PUMP: Gonna wait and see what the Neptune COR pump looks like versus the Ecotech Vectra (since I already have the WAV kit and it has an extra port for a return pump).

SUMP: And I am really digging the new Synergy Reef sumps, but they are PRICEY ....

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  • 1 month later...

Well, the main update is that Reburn talked me into adding one foot to the length tank, so it is now a 6'x2'x2' 180!

I am expecting the tank probably in April, and I've been working with the cabinet designer a bit this last week. Should have drawings soon.

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