Welcome, Guest
Username: Password: Remember me

TOPIC: Slow Plan for a restart

Slow Plan for a restart 2 months 2 days ago #72314

  • monarchzman
  • monarchzman's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Apistogramma agassizii
  • Posts: 102
  • Thank you received: 4
  • Karma: 1
Yea, it's been a while and there have been a number of changes in life, which I can sum up rather quickly. I graduated from grad school and accepted a postdoc in California. Given the move, and the fact that rental property goes for $4+ a square foot per month here, space is a premium and I couldn't take a 75 gallon out here. I'm itching to get back into the hobby, but I'm going to correct a number of problems I had with my old tanks, and try to make a new one as idiot proof and automated as possible.

As such, I'm probably at least a year out from setting up a tank, if not longer (in small part because this postdoc, at the moment is for a year, maybe longer, but I don't want to set up an aquarium for 10 months just to tear it down). The other reason is that idiot proof and automated is expensive. The positive is that I have bastardized some of the equipment from my 75 to help reduce costs (namely a AI Hydra FiftyTwo, Maxspect Gyre, doser, Apex Automatic Feeder). I'm hoping to sell some equipment and get some of the newer Apex equipment to take advantage of a few of the new modules.

So the general plan is to get a Red Sea Reefer Nano tank, stand, and sump. It's expensive, but for now, I want a small tank that could easily be moved, and I want a drilled tank to reduce the risk of floods as well as to take advantage of additional equipment in the sump. I like the rimless look to it as well. There are a number of options, but I decided on this one as well because it's a cube (smallest footprint possible). This is the "easiest" decision. The tank itself is 21 gallons, and the sump is 7, so, in total, it's a 28 gallon system, which I think is about the perfect size for having a decent amount of space but also being able to move it if necessary.

Next comes the idiot proofing. To begin with, a new Apex. For now, I think an ApexEL will serve my purposes, but I might look into a full Apex. While my current Apex can certainly do most of what I want, some of the newer modules are particularly attractive. First, the Fluid Monitoring Module (FMM). I can use optical sensors for an ATO, which is the first thing I would use it for. But I can also have a sensor on the ATO reservoir so that it notifies me when the reservoir is low. The second is the COR-15 intelligent pump. I have an Ecotech Vectra, but I like the idea of being able to control the pump through my Apex. Further, I can incorporate flow sensors that measure flow from the pump and alert me if there is issue with flow (not to mention I can also use them for reactors). The third, while it hasn't been released yet, is the TRIDENT, the Cal/Alk/Mag automatic measurement system. While I have yet to see the full functionality of it, if it can adjust the DOS based on readings it comes up with for nutrients, I may sell my dosing pump and opt for a DOS.

I have come to find that I am, as I would guess most people are, rather lazy when it comes to tank maintenance. So, I think the most important thing I'll get is a Smart AWC, a smart automatic water changer and ATO (unfortunately, not a Neptune product, but should easily be worked around). The idea being this. I'll have three five gallon water reservoirs (maybe larger, depending on the space available). One will be for RO/DI water for the ATO. While the Rea Sea Reefer Nano comes with an ATO and reservoir, the reservoir is only 1.2 gallons, and appears to only last a couple of days, at best. I'd like a longer time between refills. The second reservoir will be fresh saltwater that the AWC will use to change (5 gallons a week). The final will be waste water. Remember the optical sensors? Each of the reservoirs will have one to tell me when they're empty (ATO and fresh saltwater) or full (waste saltwater). This will notify me when each needs changing and should, hopefully, prevent floods (having my old tank flood a couple of times was not fun). So, basically, I'll be able to have water be changed automatically, and all I have to do is fill/empty reservoirs (and I'll get annoying emails, which I am good about attending to). I haven't yet figured out how to hide the reservoirs. Probably get some sort of side cabinet to put them in.

So I've covered water changes, water top off, nutrient monitoring and dosing, now to temperature. I'll get a heater but I'm also thinking of a chiller. A fan is a possibility, and certainly cheaper, but it increases evaporation, which means my replacing of ATO reservoirs will increase as well. As this is a nano tank, a massive chiller is massive overkill. Enter Chill Solutions CSXC-1. This is a nano, inline chiller. It looks like a perfect solution because I can put it in line (either mainline or reactors) and I could use the flow monitoring to get the ideal flow). The heater and chiller should act to keep the temperature perfect in the aquarium. The big issue with nano tanks is the ease massive fluxes can happen (temperature and nutrients, primarily). These solutions should address that.

For other stuff, I'm thinking a Reef Octopus Classic 110 Space Saver skimmer for the sump. This should give me enough space to have an optional reactor (maybe biopellet - haven't decided that yet). Given that I will have an ATO reservoir, I'll probably convert the stock ATO reservoir into a refugium/chaeto reactor (to further combat nutrients). I'm also thinking of possibly getting an inline UV sterilizer to help combat algae and keep the water crystal clear.

The builds I've been looking at for this often use a MP10s for flow, often putting them in the recessed area next to the overflow box. I think that, since I already have a gyre, that would be better, placed vertically, and be relatively hidden and out of sight, and keep flow throughout the tank. The possible concern with this is a dead area in the middle of the tank, but if necessary, I can mount it horizontally.

So, if this all goes according to plan, the tank should automatically feed, automatically top off evaporative loss, automatically change water, keep temperature constant, monitor and adjust nutrients as needed, and warn me of any variety of things.

So what goes in a tank like this? It'd be a waste to spend all of this time, effort, and money, and put clownfish (of any kind) in it. So, at the moment, I think the star of the show will be a blue spotted jawfish, but this'll probably be invertebrate heavy. Lots of different shrimp, crabs, and a clam. Thinking, in terms of other fish, probably a few of the other options are pygmy hawkfish (which I recently learned are anthias, and as a result, not quite as aggressive as actual hawkfish), banggai cardinalfish, purple firefish, royal gramma, black and gold damsels, flame angel, flaming prawn goby/yasha goby/Randall's goby (with shrimp), maybe a couple fairy wrasses. Obviously, I won't have all of these fish, these are just some I've been thinking about (and I know there are jumpers, so I'll have a net over the tank). In terms of corals, I'm thinking a mixed reef tank, probably starting out with easy stuff just to make sure the automation works, then I might venture into the more high end stuff (I do like jawbreaker mushrooms, and if I can get them reproducing, them may help pay back the costs of the tank). But ultimately, I'd like a variety of corals, SPS, LPS, and softies. I think with the water change regime, a skimmer rated for 60 to 130 gallons depending on bioload, and dosing, it should be able to handle all of this without too much difficulty.

That's the plan right now. As you can see, it's both complex, probably overkill for a nano (the idea right now being that this equipment can be used down the road for a big tank), and not cheap. So I'm thinking of slowly acquiring the equipment over the year and do a dry build at some point. Then when I move to a spot where I'll be for more than a few years, all I'll need to do is get sand, rock, and livestock. With my old tank, I pieced together the tank over time, as such the cabinet looked like a nightmare. I'm hoping to avoid that with *loads* of preparation beforehand. With luck, that preparation will mean I can largely be hands-off with the tank, but still have it look awesome. Thoughts? Anything I'm missing?
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Slow Plan for a restart 2 months 2 days ago #72315

  • Aquamoo
  • Aquamoo's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Microgeophagus ramirezi
  • Posts: 61
  • Thank you received: 3
  • Karma: 1
Never set up a saltwater tank so I can't be of much help but everything you described seems logical to me. Rush has a good thread about his 40 breeder setup here: www.oscarfish.com/forum/saltwater-and-ma...breeder-journal.html and Buehler has a 10 gallon setup here: www.oscarfish.com/forum/saltwater-and-ma...ler-s-10g-build.html

Im sure others with experience in saltwater will chime in.

- Aquamoo
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Slow Plan for a restart 2 months 2 days ago #72316

  • ohern4ever
  • ohern4ever's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Microgeophagus ramirezi
  • Posts: 51
  • Thank you received: 2
  • Karma: 17
Hi Monarch. Another blast from the past. You were the one who always posted the beautiful wildlife photos correct?

its good to hear you planning on getting back into the tank realm. I am just getting a tank setup after almost 10 years. I started planning this two years ago when I thought it was going to happen for me at any time. It just goes to show that life sometimes has other ideas. If you can keep the thought alive then eventually an opportunity will present it self so you can go for it.

I would love to do a nano tank so one day when you start the journey with this program I will be interested to see how it goes. I don't know salt at all so I have no idea how much the Apex system really is necessary. They are pretty expense though correct? The thought of monitoring all of those different water parameters is the part that scares me off every time. It just seems like too much can go wrong. everything sounds good to me expect under no circumstance would I ever use an automation feeder since it seems like those always have an issue.

I love the plan though. With a tank like that I would probably make it mostly coral with just a few fish and shrimp to make things interesting. Salt tanks with corals. clams etc really are works of living art of I really hope you go for it and keep us posted as you do.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Slow Plan for a restart 2 months 2 days ago #72318

  • monarchzman
  • monarchzman's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Apistogramma agassizii
  • Posts: 102
  • Thank you received: 4
  • Karma: 1
Aquamoo, thanks for the links. I've been here probably for 10-15 years now (oof...). I haven't been all that active, and mostly lurk these days, but I'm still around. I've kept saltwater for 4-5 years, but as I say, it's been pretty piecemeal. I'm hoping to avoid errors of the past with obsessive planning for a future project.
ohern4ever wrote:
Hi Monarch. Another blast from the past. You were the one who always posted the beautiful wildlife photos correct?

Yep, that's me.
its good to hear you planning on getting back into the tank realm. I am just getting a tank setup after almost 10 years. I started planning this two years ago when I thought it was going to happen for me at any time. It just goes to show that life sometimes has other ideas. If you can keep the thought alive then eventually an opportunity will present it self so you can go for it.

I would love to do a nano tank so one day when you start the journey with this program I will be interested to see how it goes. I don't know salt at all so I have no idea how much the Apex system really is necessary. They are pretty expense though correct? The thought of monitoring all of those different water parameters is the part that scares me off every time. It just seems like too much can go wrong. everything sounds good to me expect under no circumstance would I ever use an automation feeder since it seems like those always have an issue.

I love the plan though. With a tank like that I would probably make it mostly coral with just a few fish and shrimp to make things interesting. Salt tanks with corals. clams etc really are works of living art of I really hope you go for it and keep us posted as you do.

In my opinion, an Apex should be considered as vital equipment as lights and a return pump for a saltwater tank. Without it, you're liable to make mistakes, and it can be overwhelming. With it, well, it makes it a piece of cake. It'll fully automate the tank (if I had space and the set up, I'm pretty sure I could even rig it to make saltwater such that I could be completely hands off in water changes). An Apex is worth its weight in gold. Depending on the functionality you want, an Apex system runs anywhere from around $200 to $800. It's a fail safe and piece of mind. It'll warn you if anything goes wrong and you can access it anywhere in the world as long as you have an internet connection.

If you're getting into saltwater, a large tank is a bit more forgiving than a nano because those parameters change slowly. For a nano, they can change quickly. And if you have valuable livestock, that can mean trouble. The Apex should mitigate that.

I've never had problems with the automatic feeding system through Neptune (other than dropping them into the water, which kills them...). My only complaint about it, and I hope Neptune addresses it is that the Apex doesn't detect when it's empty. Otherwise, it does the job and does it well.

I really like the diversity of small stuff that can be found in the saltwater hobby. Those can easily be missed in a larger tank, so this tank would likely be heavy on the invertebrates (which also is nice because they produce a fraction of the bioload). I imagine I'll have 4-5 fish in the tank which will probably mainly as coral food (i.e., fish poop) generators.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Slow Plan for a restart 1 month 1 week ago #72329

  • buehler
  • buehler's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Microgeophagus ramirezi
  • Posts: 33
  • Thank you received: 3
  • Karma: 0
This sounds like an incredible build! You won't be disappointed with a cube tank, I really dig the one I have.

Are you moving to a place that doesn't have air conditioning? My tank is about 5 gallons total, and there have been some temp swings (in the ball park of 79 - 84 if direct light hits it) and the corals haven't flinched a bit. I have been taking a more lagoon mentality to my tank, where parameters shift considerably with tides. That being said, you may be able to get away with not having a chiller, because it is going to drive evaporation (like you mentioned) and be a huge power suck.

Otherwise everything looks top of the line. Do you have an idea of what kind of light you are going to run? I have a kessil over my tank and it works like a dream. I think the newer models can even be set to timers and what not.

Can't wait to see build pics in a couple months.
10 gallon IM Fusion - Zoa Tank
Eagle Eye Zoas
Scrambled Eggs Zoas
Utter Chaos Palyzoas
Fire and Ice Zoas
Pipe coral
Ricordea Mushrooms
Rhodactis Mushrooms
Glove Polyps


phryno.wordpress.com
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Slow Plan for a restart 1 month 1 week ago #72330

  • monarchzman
  • monarchzman's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Apistogramma agassizii
  • Posts: 102
  • Thank you received: 4
  • Karma: 1
buehler wrote:
This sounds like an incredible build! You won't be disappointed with a cube tank, I really dig the one I have.

Are you moving to a place that doesn't have air conditioning? My tank is about 5 gallons total, and there have been some temp swings (in the ball park of 79 - 84 if direct light hits it) and the corals haven't flinched a bit. I have been taking a more lagoon mentality to my tank, where parameters shift considerably with tides. That being said, you may be able to get away with not having a chiller, because it is going to drive evaporation (like you mentioned) and be a huge power suck.

I do have AC and will probably use it initially. The chiller is not likely to be something I get immediately. It's going an option for now. I'll think more on it later.
Otherwise everything looks top of the line. Do you have an idea of what kind of light you are going to run? I have a kessil over my tank and it works like a dream. I think the newer models can even be set to timers and what not.

Can't wait to see build pics in a couple months.

I've got an AI Hydra FiftyTwo from my 75 that I'll use. Yea, I know it's overkill, but it's a top of the line light, and I already have it. But I'm thinking with that, and the maintenance of parameters, I can grow even the most finicky SPS in it.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Slow Plan for a restart 3 weeks 4 days ago #72348

  • ~rush~
  • ~rush~'s Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Senior Mod
  • Posts: 4911
  • Thank you received: 494
  • Karma: 41
Aquamoo wrote:
Never set up a saltwater tank so I can't be of much help but everything you described seems logical to me. Rush has a good thread about his 40 breeder setup here: www.oscarfish.com/forum/saltwater-and-ma...breeder-journal.html and Buehler has a 10 gallon setup here: www.oscarfish.com/forum/saltwater-and-ma...ler-s-10g-build.html

Im sure others with experience in saltwater will chime in.

- Aquamoo


I think its safe to say that JP (Monarchzman) has surpassed my knowledge of the marine world years ago. I learn from him now.

Look forward as always to new pics from you MM!
"My Country is the World, and my Religion is to do good." -Thomas Paine
The administrator has disabled public write access.
Moderators: sprout, ~rush~, screwsloose
Time to create page: 0.120 seconds
Powered by Kunena Forum