Protein Skimmer - Aquatopia 80l Marine Kit

Discussion in 'New To Reefing' started by Mott, Feb 17, 2017.

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  1. Mott

    Mott Member

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    Good morning all
    My daughter has saved her pocket money and purchased an Aquatopia 80l marine starter kit. We went to the local (and only) pet store and had a look at what was available and gained the information we needed to kick this project off before purchasing/committing. My partner and I are complete novices when it comes to marine tanks.
    We followed the instructions provided to us by both the store staff and the small, roughly translated flyer in the box.
    First we put in the base shells/rock with the salt water and turned the power on. Pump on the side was working but nothing out of the protein skimmer. (Thought this might kick in when we get the live rock)
    Salt levels were all good and put the live rock in two days later. Still nothing from the protein skimmer.
    I don't know what to do, how do I get this working? I thought these were plug n play? Is there supposed to be water in the chamber where the protein skimmer and filter boxes sit?
    I hope I haven't ruined this for her
    Cheers,
    Leanne IMG_2335.JPG
  2. RobbieMVFC

    RobbieMVFC Member

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    Hi Leanne , and welcome to the Reefuge.
    Unfortunately these all in one kits (from my experience) haven't got the best equipment. not to say this one hasn't because to be truth I have no experience with the Aquatopia range.
    It may just be there is nothing within the tank that needs to be removed.
    A skimmer breaking in time can also be upto 2/3 weeks.

    Can you tell us a little more about the skimmer ?
    Also have you used anything to start the cycle?

    P.S Marine tanks are a great thing to get your daughter into , she will learn alot about marine biology but best of all she will have no money left over for drugs & alcohol.....lol
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  3. RobbieMVFC

    RobbieMVFC Member

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  4. Mott

    Mott Member

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    Thanks for your reply.

    When I filled the tank with salt water it didn't fill the area where the filter and skimmer sit. I thought it would just do its thing when I plugged it in but there was no noise or movement from the motor in the skimmer (just the pump on the right) do they get submerged in water?

    It does say on a sticker inside the lid to turn the motor through a little hole if you get it stuck (after being turned off for long periods of time) but I can't turn it. It feels like it is seized, but I'm unsure if it needed water to kick it off?

    I'm so confused and completely deflated. We got this on Monday and I don't know what to do? Could it have been faulty out the box or did I break it? Where can I buy another one before the tank turns?

    Sorry but I don't know what start the cycle means? I got a list from the pet shop telling me when we can put items into it. I tried attaching a photo but the button isn't working for me (I'm on my phone)
  5. RobbieMVFC

    RobbieMVFC Member

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    you should add water to the sump part at the back until its at the recommended water level .
    Then you should switch the return pump on, The will return the water from the filtration section back into the main tank.
    After it starts flowing then switch on the protein skimmer .
  6. Mott

    Mott Member

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    Oh, ok.. I couldn't see any markings in the sump but I will have another look when I get home from work and try take some photos.

    The protein skimmer doesn't do anything, no noise, no turning of the little prop inside when turned on. Should I buy another one?

    Thanks for that link, I've just printed off some pages for reference. (Now I get the cycle)
    The lady at the pet shop said we could put shrimp, snails and a star fish in after a week with the live rock. Is this ok?
  7. ajkdark

    ajkdark Member

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  8. RobbieMVFC

    RobbieMVFC Member

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    NO , unfortunately the average cycle takes at least 4-6 weeks before you can start adding anything.
    if you add any thing b4 that it will most likely die.
    I assume that rock in your tank was live rock?

    You should look also look into buying some test kits to test the water parameters.
    With the Skimmer just wait until you fill the back section , then try it out again.
    There is plenty of youtube videos on how to tune a skimmer check out MR saltwater tank TV or BRS on youtube. The learning curb is step but very rewarding once you get it right.

    With Marine tanks slow and steady wins the race.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2017
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  9. ReeferRob

    ReeferRob Solidarité

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    Welcome from up here in the USA. As the other Rob said, slow and steady wins the race in reef keeping. Nothing ever good happens fast in a reef tank, been doing this for 32 years now.

    Now here's where the fun starts. I take it you're in western Australia? If so, you're in prime collecting area provided you follow your governments rules, check with your local game wardens. You can collect live rock if you're far enough north if legal as well as other critters to fill the tank. Natural sea water reigns supreme in my book. Again, if you're close enough to the coast, you can take a few extra buckets to bring water home with you.
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  10. Mott

    Mott Member

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    Thanks guys!

    It turned out the protein skimmer from the kit was faulty straight out of the box. The store swapped it over with no hassle and boom it's working
    I found that the issues we had with the water levels is because the little grate/vent at the bottom of the tank was covered so it wasn't balancing out.
    I did purchase a PH test kit (sitting at 8.0-8.1) and have an ammonia (I think) tester hanging in the tank. Akira checks the salt levels with a hydrometer each morning and they are in the good range.

    The big rock in the tank was purchased as a live rock. I also got a little excited at the store and bought Akira another small live rock. Turns out it has a little coral type thing attached and we squired a tiny hitchhiking crab He seams happy.

    Yes we are in Karratha, Western Australia. The floor of the tank is from one of the beaches up here (Hearsons Cove). I was warned about putting the ocean water from here in the tank as it may contain live (unless we go out on the boat)

    Here's a pic. I'm so glad Akira wanted to do this. It truly is a magical experience watching each part come to life - and we don't even have any fish yet lol
    IMG_2342.JPG

    How often should we leave the lights on? The tank is fitted with both blue and white LEDs. Also what temperature range is good? It's sitting at 25 with no heater - it gets quite warm up here, the pool is like a hot bath
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  11. slin1977

    slin1977 Member

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    Welcome to the world of thereefuge .
    This will be an awesome tank if you keep asking us questions no matter how easy or complicated you think they are.

    I cant wait to see this develop.
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  12. ReeferRob

    ReeferRob Solidarité

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    The only issue I see with that tank is the gravel you have in there, it's a dirt trap and nutrient bloom waiting to happen.
  13. slin1977

    slin1977 Member

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    Good for starting out but long term, say six to nine month mark the gravel trap will come into play. But weekly gravel syphon will help a lot in preventing such algae outbreaks appearing.
  14. Mott

    Mott Member

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    Oh no! What should we have in there? I thought it would be good
  15. Mott

    Mott Member

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    What is a gravel trap?
  16. Mott

    Mott Member

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    IMG_2403.JPG Sorry another question.. I did try google but I couldn't find anything..
    These white 'splodges have appeared on the original live rock. I noticed them this morning. Pic is attached, are these harmful or am I stressing over nothing?
  17. slin1977

    slin1977 Member

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    Dirt trap.
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  18. ajkdark

    ajkdark Member

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  19. ReeferRob

    ReeferRob Solidarité

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    You could mix the shells in with a finer gravel to keep dirt and detritus from being trapped and adding unwanted nutrients to your system. I use a good mix because I like critters that dig, Jawfish, pistol shrimp and gobies.
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  20. Mott

    Mott Member

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    Thanks guys! I'm so glad I stumbled across this forum. I really appreciate all the advice

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