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Old 10/24/2020, 10:13 AM   #101
FlyingFishSKYw
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Great job, Hans!

I've got the same SCA 150 on the way- should be shipping my way soon. Steel stand is being welded up this week as well. My guy will be powder coating mine, but I like the look of yours!

How did you support your plumbing? Drill into the steel stand, plywood, or what?
I thing you mentioned wood stringers under the plywood for that task...

Great job on the plumbing. Inspirational for me. I will most likely go the same route as you with dual return pumps.
What size returns are you using?

I'm sure I'll have more questions as I get building mine...

Keep up the good work!


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Current Tank Info: 75 Gal, H2Overflow, LifeReef VS3-24 Skimmer, 2x Hydra 26, 30 gal diy sump, Apex
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Old 10/26/2020, 02:03 PM   #102
hhaase
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I made some 3D printed hangers that hang the plumbing off that back crossbar I had welded into the stand.

For the return lines I used 3/4" PVC.

-Hans


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This hobby would be easier if my local stores had more fish.
https://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2701233

Current Tank Info: Slowly stocking up 150 gallons, only a little livestock right now.
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Old 11/15/2020, 09:43 AM   #103
hhaase
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More livestock added. Nothing spectacular, a lawnmower blenny and some turbo snails.

Still struggling with color on the montipora, and I think one half of the frag is now dead. I can't see any polyps at all on it. Growth appears to have stopped as well. The other half is still kicking, and I still see polyp extension. But these don't seem to have ever recovered from the extreme bleaching. I'm not going to go crazy trying to save a single frag while the rest of the corals in the tank seem to be doing well. The Favia, acuta, and sarcophyton are all keeping their color and health. I'll have to do some fresh photos to compare growth on the stony pieces.

The little kenya tree still isn't growing, but nor is it shrinking or showing other signs of stress. I'm going to try relocating it and seeing if I can get it to thrive like the rest. I'm thinking it may just have too much water flow in its current location.

And still no coraline growth anywhere in the tank. That part is odd, you'd think I'd see something after about 6 months.


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This hobby would be easier if my local stores had more fish.
https://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2701233

Current Tank Info: Slowly stocking up 150 gallons, only a little livestock right now.
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Old 12/16/2020, 07:06 PM   #104
hhaase
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I need to get some pictures again soon, a pair of Bangai cardinals went in yesterday. Starting to finally have what I'm looking for in livestock, I'd say about 50% capacity now for fish. I'm starting to see some bright green in my Kenya tree too, and it's definitely bigger than it was last week, so maybe I'm finally going to see some real growth in the inverts?

Bad news though is I've got a driver module going bad in one of my lights, and these aren't exactly available. Not completely out, but flickering constantly. I'm going to have to start figuring out either a way to fix this driver, find a way to upgrade the drivers, or maybe consider replacing the lights at some point. Bad timing to be honest.

I'll see what I can figure out.

-Hans


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This hobby would be easier if my local stores had more fish.
https://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2701233

Current Tank Info: Slowly stocking up 150 gallons, only a little livestock right now.
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Old 12/18/2020, 12:04 PM   #105
hhaase
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hhaase View Post

Bad news though is I've got a driver module going bad in one of my lights....

I'll see what I can figure out.

-Hans
Good news, kinda, after tearing the control module apart. It's fairly easy to swap in meanwell APC LED driver modules. Even better news, the blue LED's that I swapped are capable of running up to 1000ma. From memory, I believe these LED's originally ran 350mah drivers.

So I've got a pair of 350mah drivers on the way, plus a pair of 500mah drivers too. This way I know I have a solution to keep things running but I also have a potential option for increasing the PAR from these fixtures. I also have a few alternate LED's on the way to mix into the white half of the fixtures. I'm just not completely happy with the color I'm seeing so I need to make a few slight changes.

Looks like another round of tearing apart the lights is in order. Except this time I'm excited about it. If this all works it means I have a long-term solution to both maintain and upgrade these fixtures indefinitely.

-Hans


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This hobby would be easier if my local stores had more fish.
https://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2701233

Current Tank Info: Slowly stocking up 150 gallons, only a little livestock right now.
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Old 01/17/2021, 04:53 PM   #106
hhaase
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Should have some fun updates in a couple weeks on some lighting stuff. Assuming what I'm about to try actually works.

In the meantime, I really need to figure out how to get good photos of things in the tank under the regular lighting. My Acuta has completely changed in the past few weeks since I had to fix my lighting issues. It's taken on a nice pink color, with bright green polyps. Very nice colors to it now. Looking back at reference photos it's thickened considerably. Seems like it's about to start growing out.

The sarcophyton has also been doing very well, looks healthier anyway, and a nice bright pink instead of a drab brown. Size hasn't seemed to change much though.

All the fish are doing well. I never see the Banggai cardinals actually eat when I feed, but they're obviously not starving and look healthy. I did figure out I have to be careful with the algae pellets, as the lawmower blenny will absolutely gorge himself on the things, and he's actually getting FAT.

-Hans


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This hobby would be easier if my local stores had more fish.
https://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2701233

Current Tank Info: Slowly stocking up 150 gallons, only a little livestock right now.

Last edited by hhaase; 01/17/2021 at 05:48 PM.
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Old 01/20/2021, 07:13 PM   #107
Cool tangs
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Killer looking tank!


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Old 01/25/2021, 01:26 PM   #108
hhaase
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Killer looking tank!
Thank you. It's still got a long way to go until I've reached my goals, but I'm in this for the long haul, so as long as it continues to be healthy and progress in the right direction, I'm happy.

I'm finally starting to see some critters in the rock which makes me happy. I have some small vermetid snails, which aren't currently bothering anything so I'm just going to monitor for now. Last night was the first showing of harmless white flatworms. So the ecosystem is starting to establish itself and find its balance. Once in a while I see a shed that may suggest larger copepods but I haven't seen any live specimens. I do have a couple micro brittle stars that came in with my favia. Would be nice if they start to reproduce for me.


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This hobby would be easier if my local stores had more fish.
https://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2701233

Current Tank Info: Slowly stocking up 150 gallons, only a little livestock right now.
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Old 03/07/2021, 03:38 PM   #109
hhaase
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Let's lead with a full-tank shot, then get into the details of a decently big update. I'll split it into good-news and bad-news posts since I have some of both. Actually, I may have a few posts the next few days to show some of the changes.



First the good news. Tank is still quite stable and I haven't had any real issues to report. Even better, I can finally confirm coraline algae growth is being seen along the back wall of the tank. Sure took long enough, like 9 months I think? It's not much yet but it's definitely there along the corners of the overflow and along the back wall of the tank. That just a pitfall of using dry rock, it takes longer for the ecosystem to fully establish.

My Favia is continuing to grow nicely, and when I compare to old photo's it's actually quite a bit of growth. It's now wrapped completely around the frag plug on one side and I'm hoping will eventually attach itself to the rock. Great extension of the feeder tentacles at night, I really should start target feeding this guy. It's got some micro-brittle stars hanging out underneath too. I'd like more of these guys but it's a start. Hopefully they'll propogate.



The Acuta has really turned a corner in a good way, with strong color both on the body and on the polyps. It's showing the intended pink/green coloration pretty nicely. Looks like it's growing but not as noticable as the Favia. Still, it does look healthy. I'm still struggling with photos on this guy, sorry.

If this keeps up I may start dropping a few more pieces of LPS/SPS in there. Seems the ecosystem is really starting to thrive now. I think it's also time I can start thinking about seed population of pods and such. Weather is warming up enough that it may be viable to have livestock shipped now. Always a concern here in the Dakota's in the winter.

I'll do some equipment update photos in a later post, but a quick version is that I have the ATO feeding from the bulk tank finally, and am almost done setting up the AWC feature. I still need one more water level sensor for that to be workable but at least I can do water changes with just turning pumps on and off. It's only the automation that is missing. No more buckets and water containers needed for this tank.


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This hobby would be easier if my local stores had more fish.
https://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2701233

Current Tank Info: Slowly stocking up 150 gallons, only a little livestock right now.
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Old 03/19/2021, 03:33 PM   #110
hhaase
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Hmmmm, forum seems to be having some issues. A lot of icons for editing the posts are now coming up as their alternate text on Chrome. I hope that gets fixed soon, not much maintenance being done to the site here these days.

Anyway, long time coming on this post. May not seem like much, but this is my continued rebuild of the MaxSpect LED's. I've been having driver failures and have been hobbling along for a while. I wasn't using the big coral-burning 60w LED units since they killed my Monti, so I've been swapping around drivers in the 3w LED circuits to keep the lights working. These lights are old, yes, but I also had 4 of the drivers fail within the first year when they were still 'new'. So I've been expecting and planning for them to die.

This is my long-term solution.

The top half of this picture is the original MaxSpect drivers and distribution board. The original distro board isn't bad at all, nor is the controller board, but the drivers are garbage. Very high failure rate and poor quality manufacturing. Such a disappointing purchase, but I paid a lot originally and I'm stubborn. So I WILL make these stupid things work properly and MaxSpect won't get another penny of my money in the process.

Bottom half of the photo is the custom distribution board I designed, which mimic's the function of the original, but lets me use Meanwell drivers. The unit on the left is a 12v power supply that powers the control board, relay circuits, and fans. The white blocks are the new LED drivers. I've got two channels I'm currently using but can add back in that third channel at some point too. I'm a bit crunched for space since the Meanwell drivers are a lot larger but don't currently have any LED's that would use that last channel in the pendants. I'm going with 500mA drivers for now, but can also bump up to either 700 or 1050 by just swapping the driver. Not exactly an efficient way to control output but it'll work till I decide I'm ready for a more modern set of fixtures.

If I can find a way to shoehorn that third module into the housing I'd like to add about a half dozen cool blue and half dozen more deep blue in there for a bit more punch and pop. Maybe some UV, I don't know. That's a later discussion. Either way, I've finally got reliable lighting. I've also enjoyed doing the rebuilds and learned a lot more about LED circuits in the process.

In the meantime, if I can find one more unit of these lights out there, I'd love to do a similar rebuild and add a third fixture to the tank. I've got a few more of the distro boards and can always get more LED's.





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This hobby would be easier if my local stores had more fish.
https://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2701233

Current Tank Info: Slowly stocking up 150 gallons, only a little livestock right now.
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Old 03/21/2021, 06:39 PM   #111
hhaase
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A touch of bad news, I had my first fish loss about a week ago. My Lawnmower Blenny managed a successful escape, and was found on the carpet behind the tank. He was quite dried out by that point. Shame, he was a fun one. I haven't found another locally. I do need to start looking into options for fish retention at some point.


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This hobby would be easier if my local stores had more fish.
https://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2701233

Current Tank Info: Slowly stocking up 150 gallons, only a little livestock right now.
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Old 03/22/2021, 10:19 AM   #112
FlyingFishSKYw
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Man, thatís a bummer!

Iíve got the DD Jumpguard on my SCA150. Itís a DIY type screen cover thatís fairly easy to assemble. It sits nicely hidden within the euro brace.


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Current Tank Info: 75 Gal, H2Overflow, LifeReef VS3-24 Skimmer, 2x Hydra 26, 30 gal diy sump, Apex
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Old 03/22/2021, 04:37 PM   #113
hhaase
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyingFishSKYw View Post
Man, thatís a bummer!

Iíve got the DD Jumpguard on my SCA150. Itís a DIY type screen cover thatís fairly easy to assemble. It sits nicely hidden within the euro brace.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Tried a DIY option..... and I found a DIY that I can not D. Looked absolutely terrible and only lasted 10 minutes on the tank before I binned it. So I'm looking at a few of the more commercial options.


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This hobby would be easier if my local stores had more fish.
https://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2701233

Current Tank Info: Slowly stocking up 150 gallons, only a little livestock right now.
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Old 04/01/2021, 08:07 AM   #114
hhaase
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Whole pile of updates coming in soon, lots of goodies either arrived or about to arrive.

PAR meter.
MOAR LED'S for the main fixtures.
High end refugium light.
water testing schtuff.
New and pretty frag.

The PAR meter arrived last week. It has actually already driven me to make some significant changes to my overall planning on this tank. I'll give more detailed numbers later, but the PAR from my rebuilt MaxSpect fixtures was actually higher than expected. On the substrate I was seeing about 50-70 PAR in the prime viewing areas, lower at the far edges of course. Up on the rocks most of my LPS and soft coral were in the 100-125 range, with 250 on the top of the rocks. This is well within the range of acceptable for an LPS/softie tank. Since I'm mostly stocked with LPS/Soft corals right now, it made me ask the questions of "Why Aren't These Corals Growing faster?" and "Why is the color so muted?"

Part of this solution is to improve the spectrum in the fixtures and give a moderate PAR bump. That's going to be covered in later posts after I actually perform the modifications. But I've known for a while that the old blue/white LED color spectrum was sub-optimal, and I'd planned this change for a while. So no real big deal there. That should help with the coloration. A small PAR boost will also be good for growth and allow more variety of coral stocking.

Another concern is that I hadn't honestly been testing phosphates and nitrates, and I know I should have. I dug out my Hanna phosphate checker, and I still had one reagent pack left, but a dead battery. New battery was easy enough, and my phosphates are 0.42!!! Oops! But there's no algae issue except a bit of brown hair algae here and there. So I'm guessing I've got a low nitrate / high phosphate issue going on. I've got a nitrate checker arriving today, plus more reagents for the phosphate checker. Time to get serious on water testing. The good news is all my other numbers are doing great. Temp/pH/Calc/Alk/salinity/magnesium are all holding right where I want them to with my current dosing and water change schedule.

The biopellets are extremely good at stripping nitrates, but much less efficient stripping phosphates. And if there's no nitrates they stop clearing phosphates completely. The easy solution to this is of course to increase feeding and increase the bio-load in the tank. Not many good fish in the area though, so that may take a bit. I just need to make sure it's not a phosphate heavy food.

I'm also going to be starting a macroalgae refugium and phasing out the biopellets. My time with a heavily planted freshwater tank has given me a whole new perspective on natural filtration. That little tank is just so absurdly stable and easy to maintain it's incredible. I feed, occasional water changes, trim the plants, and just a touch of plant nutrient dosing. The guppy/shrimp/snail population has settled into a very stable balance. The aquaclear filter is only just moving water and housing a couple sponges at this point, no carbon.


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This hobby would be easier if my local stores had more fish.
https://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2701233

Current Tank Info: Slowly stocking up 150 gallons, only a little livestock right now.
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