Cycle Begins

Discussion in 'Large Reef Tanks' started by Jacques Pels, Jan 27, 2018.

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  1. Jacques Pels

    Jacques Pels Member

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    Hi.
    We added our first salt water Jan 18 to 22.
    Water is returning via the 3 center overflow pipes ( 50mm each) to the sump, going through 3 200 micron filter socks, then some coral rubble media. The Skimmer is here but not yet turned on.
    Added a few pieces of old fishing bait fish on Jan 18, which have become blobs of 'jelly' by now.
  2. Jacques Pels

    Jacques Pels Member

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    Hi,
    a few images for an overview..

    Attached Files:

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  3. Jacques Pels

    Jacques Pels Member

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    Hi, a few more images of the Fish room IMG_3610.JPG IMG_3605.JPG IMG_3606.JPG IMG_3607.JPG IMG_3608.JPG IMG_3609.JPG
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  4. slin1977

    slin1977 Member

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    Very nice, the stuff of dreams . Very very nice!!!
  5. Ben Daley

    Ben Daley /dev/null

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  6. Sam Parker

    Sam Parker Moderator

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    Awesome stuff Jacques, great to see it finally wet! The fish room looks amazing, how are you finding the pool pumps?
  7. Jacques Pels

    Jacques Pels Member

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    Thanks Slin ... the sort of wet dreams I have been waiting for now for many years.
  8. Jacques Pels

    Jacques Pels Member

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    Thanks Sam.
    Yep, it certainly took a lot longer than expected, but she is finally wet !!
    I took your advise way back in April i think, for a center overflow. Even built the glass wier around the 6 pipes... but, when i started to 'clad' it with smaller rocks, it became clear it will result in 2 'narrow' passages left and right, so we removed it, and have gone with just the stand pipes ! To be frank, I am maybe too old school, and always assumed to use the glass wier overflow, so having the pipes makes me a bit nervous. We could not find black 40 and 50mm pipes to replace the standard white, that stood out like a sore thumb, so ended up using the Gorilla tape, 80mm wide, to wrap each pipe, then glued the rocks and coral to them. Took many hours trapped in the tank, with many wise-alec remarks to boot, but maybe due to the silicon fumes it kind of worked out.
    The pumps - I recall this became a hot topic, and I can well understand your suggestion to go with the Abyz, with the reputation they have. I had my doubts and concerns, but I must say, at least to date, I am impressed with the 'pool' pumps. Very silent, and being DC, we can set them to any speed. As I am just cycling now, only the main sump pump is working, at 1650 rpm, using just 170 W ! The volume of water being returned is more than adequate, even at this low speed.
    The second pump is just closed loop, and at the top of the tank, is split with a 3 way actuator, (motorized as of Friday) to split the returning CL water left or right, or both. Each side as 4 25mm outlets, each with its own valve to control water volume. Waiting on the new Goosenecks to attach to each, so have control /flexibility on water direction.
    The 3 10W Hailea Chillers, are hard plumbed, 2 to the main sump pump, and one to the CL, each with 3 way Jayde bypass valves.Tested them, working, but not activated for now, till after the cycle.
    Bought the RO/Di from Peter at PSI, and is mounted, just awaiting the plumber to extend the mains water we brought through the basement wall.
    Got the Devil skimmer, all assembled and ready to be activated.
    Got powerful air pumps - one for the 2 IBCs under the deck at the water side, and the other in the top IBC at street side.
    Salt water is delivered by truck at street side. We ran a 50mm pipe through the garden wall, with a kemlock connection, and all the way to the 2 IBCs at water side. These 2 IBcs are plumbed together. From there another pool pump, 40mm, pumps salt water up to the top IBC at street side, through a canister filter, just to be safe. From the top IBC we draw water, via gravity, down into the basement and into the sump, passing through the 3 200 micron filter socks.
    I added another 3 way valve to the return line of the sump pump, to give access to system water. This leads up to the 4 way 25mm connector, and can be diverted to each top tank with their own 25mm valves.
    The 3 tanks on top of the sump, are for quarantine. The right most is intended as a general tank, for frags, or breeding, and is plumbed to discharge directly into the sump again.
    The other 2 are actually too big, being 700mm long by 600mm wide front to back, so they were supposed to be split this weekend into 2 each. We already drilled them for separate standpipes, which are connected to the main drain.
    The sink was made and installed last week, so just waiting on the plumber to connect.
    Thats a brief (?) overview of where we are at today. Still quite a bit to do, and as I wrote to you the other day, the only major item still on the shopping list are the lights.
    If Lesley really intends to sell her set up, I would be glad to buy them, otherwise we will go light shopping next week :)
    If we can get the Q tanks partitioned this week, I would like to get my first few fish in, to Q for 3 weeks, and be ready to introduce into the tank - and finally silence the kids as to why we finally have so much water, BUT no fish, WHY daddy ???
    My youngest, Matt 6, offered to put one of his Sand Crabs in, but I explained it might not be such a good idea.

    So, from the mechanical side, looks more or less like we are ready to rock and roll... but now the biological side will for sure cause me all sorts of headaches and grey hairs till I get it even resembling yours !!
    Your advice will be most welcome and surely needed.

    Have to dash.
    I look forward to sharing this journey !!
    Jac
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  9. Sam Parker

    Sam Parker Moderator

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    Great stuff, I hadn't even noticed the stand pipes till you mentioned - so I'd say they have turned out well. Glad to hear the DC pool pumps are working well, keep them well maintained and you should be sweet.
  10. Jacques Pels

    Jacques Pels Member

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    First Fish !!
    Hi all,
    Update - fish room progressing - RO/DI set up, awaiting plumber to connect mains water tomorrow. Skimmer set up, awaiting deployment in a few weeks, after cycle. Had some issues with Algae growing in the top IBC, and ended up having to dump a load of salt water, scrub and rinse the IBC, and pump new Salt from the lower IBCs, and then able to fill the Quarantine tanks above for first time.:stop
    On popular family demand, got our first few fish into the first Q tank yesterday evening - 3 cromis, 2 damsels, and 3 Pajama cardinals.
    They survived the (stress) night, and feeding this morning.

    The Amonia, Nitrite and Nitrate readings are still way up there, but we are only 15 days into the cycle.
    The main tank is still yellow, but may well be a combination of the Algae tinted water we used from the IBC, and probably some leaching from the 2 pieces of drift wood.

    Attached Files:

  11. Sam Parker

    Sam Parker Moderator

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  12. Jacques Pels

    Jacques Pels Member

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    Thanks Sam.
    Got the RO/DI hooked up and working this morning.
    I made a post, asking advice on lighting, as it is critical, but have had no response.
    I think you will appreciate my concern - with a tank this size, especially this deep 900 to 1200, I cannot simply compare specs of the many lights out there, and arrive at a decision.
    My set up for 20 years was the 8ft tank, with Halides... huge power consumption, and heat, so I am not inclined to go that direction.
    That means T5 and LED. When I saw what Lesley did, it made sense with a combination of T5 and LED. Pity we cannot find out what hers panned out to, especially as she seemed so passionate about the new set up, and had a wealth of experience.
    The images you hav posted of your set up are awesome, but I believe you went Halides.
    If you had my tank, at this point, what would your thoughts be and what lights would you be putting in ??

    Jac
  13. Sam Parker

    Sam Parker Moderator

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    I'd be putting halides on it every day of the week. Led's are fine for colour and for light ramping, but to me anyway, they don't give enough punch for proper coral growth. T5 feels like a compromise that just takes the negative of halide and led: bulb replacement, high power and high heat plus expensive fixtures.

    With your volume and remote sump, I don't think heat from halides would be an issue
  14. Jacques Pels

    Jacques Pels Member

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    Hi Sam,
    thanks for the advice. When I set my first 8 ft tank up in 1988, there was not much else if you wanted to maintain or grow corals, so I had the Halides. Maybe that is why I am slightly gun-shy, although I am sure they too have changed and improved over the years.
    Do you think they can handle the 900 depth I have .
    For the step-down to 1200 deep, we are thinking of a pair or Kessil, narrow lens.

    Sad news - the 2 Damsels remained very shy, hiding behind the filter box, not rushing out like the others to feed, and both now have died. I have been doing a 15~20% water change every day, Amonia is minimal, so doubt it is the water. The 3 Chromis and 3 Pajama have adjusted well, and race to the front for any chance of food.

    Main tank is still a yellow tint, but pretty sure it is from leaching of the driftwood. Water is very clean, so the only solution I think will be a major, as in 70% water change a bit further into the cycle.Starting to get the brown patches on sand and rocks.
    Amonia, Ni and Na levels fluctuate daily still.

    Have a great weekend.
    Jac
  15. Sam Parker

    Sam Parker Moderator

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    Hi Jac, nothing else will penetrate like halides. You could run narrow kessils, but mate you would need a heap of them.

    Driftwood?
  16. Jacques Pels

    Jacques Pels Member

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    I will bite my tongue and take a deeper look into Halides this week.
    What spec, and how many would you think I will need for my tank at 3000mm long, 1100mm wide and 900/1200mm deep ?

    Yes, Driftwood. After long debates, of what to use for the drop-off to 1200, we were convinced to use 2 pieces of Driftwood - thought you had picked up on that from the images ?
    We let them soak in a 50 gal barrel for 24 hours, and seemed minimal leaching of any color, but.....

    Jac
  17. Sam Parker

    Sam Parker Moderator

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    I'd definitly look into halides, feel free to not go that path if you wish - but give them a look at least. Even if you want to run some LED's between to give you some colour pop and sunrise/sunset. I'd start with 250w radium halides, you could always up them to 400w once you get some more coral growth. You could use "proper" aquarium halide fittings, but I'd just go the cheap ebay units to start with, see how they work for you. Can always upgrade later

    Ah yep, I see the driftwood clear as day now! Curious to see how that goes. I fear it could break down and continue to leach tanins into the water or just be a perfect host for algae. But my fear is only because I haven't seen it done before, which is not really a good reason.
  18. Jacques Pels

    Jacques Pels Member

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    Sam,
    have been doing a lot of research, asking, reading.
    At the end of the day, at least as I see it , there is no one 'perfect' solution for this tank. Sure if I want to just keep throwing money at it, we could come up with a bells & whistles set up, but from a more practical and down to earth side, I think a combination may be what is called for. I have now heard from several, that the LEds will simply not give me the penetration needed for the deep end.

    The T5 as the main general lighting may be the way to go, combined with 2 LED strips,for color and shimmer, and for the 1200 step-down a pair of Halides.
    Thats a 'theory' - now how to execute ? How will the combination of these look and allow for control ??

    Driftwood - yep, my concerns too. I am hoping now that it has been wet for 3 weeks, the leaching will be just about gone. However, re Algae, got the first stringy strands (white/green) forming at the tip of the branch, and the brown Algae on rocks and sand.
    Not sure if there is much else I could/should be doing at this stage, other than discipline myself to sit tight and let it run its course ?
    Quarantine - all 3 chromis and 3 PJ Cardinals doign fine, good movement, fins and eating well.

    Your thoughts, comments or suggestions always welcome.

    Jac
  19. Sam Parker

    Sam Parker Moderator

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    Hi Jac,

    personally I think T5's are the worst of both. Still high heat and power consumption, have to replace bulbs and they give a terrible washed out look (in my opinion only, others LOVE them).

    If it were me, I'd go 250w halides over the "shallow" end and 400w" halide(s) over the deep end. Add a couple of LED's in between (whatever type, brand, fixture you like the look and features of) and you're done! Let the LED's give you the colour and shimmer you want with sunrise and sunset, have the halides run for only about 4-6 hours in the peak of the day (which will cut down on heat and power) and you have a winning setup.

    Of course, I am slightly biased as that is the setup I have for my main tank. But if it gives any more weight, I have had T5's on the tank as well and I also have pure LED tanks, pure halide tanks and a tank with all three on it currently.

    Hopefully the driftwood won't cause any issues, but I'd have a plan b up your sleeve just in case it does cause any issues. Or alternatively, do some searching online to see if others have made it work at all?
  20. Jacques Pels

    Jacques Pels Member

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    Sam,
    many thanks. I have been trying to get this sort of feedback, and will keep reading, asking, to be able to pull the trigger on a final set up.
    I was able to get 2 IBCs of new water the last 2 nights, and one more I hope tinight, so we may be in a position to do a big water change on Friday evening or Saturday. The plan is to do at least 60% water change, and that should tell us how bad the leaching is. I hope after more than 3 weeks soaking, we have seen the worst of it.
    Yep, I do have a lan B ready - I used fiberglass rods and silicon to gradually glue together 4 of the Fiji rocks we used for the aquascape, into a 600mm long stepped ledge. It could replace the driftwood over the drop off, but Zi will need to re-position a few base rocks to weigh down and anchor this cantelever.

    Jac

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