KJoFan's SCA 150g Build

Discussion in 'Tank Builds' started by KJoFan, Apr 15, 2018.

  1. OP
    KJoFan

    KJoFan I contributed!
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    I haven’t tried that yet. I think my plan right now is sump replacement with one that can utilize socks if/when needed.

    In fact, UPS says it was delivered today, so it will be waiting when I get back home. So, I will be swapping out the Trigger Triton 44 for the Trigger Sapphire 39.

    After I get that swapped out, I will start manual removal of as much as I can. This way I’ve got the mechanical filtration to help catch and remove the floating stuff that will happen.

    I might utilize some hydrogen peroxide too.

    After all that, and some water changes, I am hoping my two existing pin cushion urchins can clean up the bits I’m sure to miss.

    I don’t know if that’s a plan that will lead to success or not but we’ll see.


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  2. OP
    KJoFan

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    First, the GHA battle is ongoing.

    But, the biggest issue I’ve been facing I’ve come to realize is ever since moving 5 years ago, I have not had a tank thrive like I did in my previous house.

    Water source is different (worse). But, is that really the culprit?

    Some recent test results from my city:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Water does go through a softener before the ro/di. I’ve switched to a three stage DI process using the separate anion and cation beds and finishing with a mixed bed. Cation is used pretty quickly.

    The other difference is the tank is located on the lower level of a split level home. I’m sure CO2 levels are higher causing lower ph.

    ICP tests on water haven’t shown anything majorly off so I just don’t know what to point the finger at but the fact remains I have far less coral success in this house. In fact, to the degree that I’m wondering if it’s worth it anymore.

    Another thing I can think of is I have predominantly used leds for lights here where I used T5 previously but that’s not an exclusive change. Meaning I did use leds in the old house some as well.

    So, is this a thing? Can there really be something that’s just preventing success or have I just lost my touch?


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  3. jlanger

    jlanger "The North Remembers"
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    I'm finding myself in a similar situation with my rebooted 120gal. Old system; smooth sailing. New system; rough seas.
    I have a theory, so I'll ask this question...

    Is this your first build using dry rock with bottled bacteria?

    I started my new build with dry shelf rock and seeded the system with bottled bacterias and copepods.
    All of my previous systems were set up when you could still find wet live rock available from online sources.
    I'm wondering if the issues that are occurring with the new systems may stem from starting with dry rock and bottled bacteria. The live rock that I used in previous builds was full of microfauna, microflora and bacteria that just isn't present on the sterile dry rock. Even though we're adding beneficial bacteria, copepods and such to the new rock, maybe all of the other life found in wild live rock is what's missing.
    I don't know. It's just a theory.
     
  4. OP
    KJoFan

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    Hmm, so I'm trying to think back. Here's how I believe things have gone regarding the use of live/dry rock:

    A TCMAS member was tearing down a tank once upon a time and I purchased his live rock. He kept it in saltwater until I could pick up and we transported it home in saltwater. We used that to start a 90g tank at the old house. A year or so later we upgraded to a 120g. I'm pretty sure we used the existing live rock from the 90 plus purchased dry reefsaver rock from BRS and used a combination for that tank. The existing 120 was up for a couple years at the old house then got tore down and moved to the new house 5.5 years ago. The existing live rock moved and it was all re-assembled at the new house. When the 120g got tore down I stored all the rock and let it dry out. All that said, I can't fully recall how the 120g did once moved to this house in the time it was up. However, there was a reason I tore it down as well, so maybe it wasn't thriving after the move? I wish I could remember better. Maybe I need to go back through photos to see for sure.

    For my current 150g I cooked the stored dry rock for a few months before setting the tank up. But, as you mentioned, there is probably still a lack of microfauna in the rock since it had sat dry for awhile.

    You could be on to something, and I have seriously considered purchasing some live rock from Tampa Bay Saltwater to either replace all or at least some of my current live rock. But, the risk of unwanted hitchhickers holds me back the most. Along with the unknown of if that would improve/help anything.
     
  5. OP
    KJoFan

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    Someone on R2R seems to be having similar issues and they aren't sure if it's the start their tank with dry rock, or possibly the presence/leaching of Tin from their SCA tank. I had high Tin levels initially but they were down as of last ICP test in April. Some Tin still present. I know low iron glass can leach it, but he's wondering if there's an excessive amount or something else present in these brand tanks that's causing issues.

    But, the three of us have dry rock starts in common...
     
  6. jlanger

    jlanger "The North Remembers"
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    I went back and looked at my Triton results from May and I had 0 ug/l of tin; nothing.
    My tank was built by Planet Aquariums with three sides low iron glass.
     
  7. OP
    KJoFan

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    So that's not an issue for you. My first ICP test back in 2018 had tin at 39 ug/l. My most recent test back in April was down to 10 ug/l. Still present but to a lesser degree. I did remove some rusting magnets from the system between the two tests.

    I believe the other SCA owner also shows Tin in his results. Not sure this is the true culprit though could contribute to the larger issue of the starting with dry rock.

    The question is, at this stage of the system (1.5 yrs in), do I stick with what I've got and it will get better? Or, do I work to replace the rock with true live rock?

    The only way I could truly know if the SCA tank itself were an issue would be to disconnect my Deep Blue frag tank from the overall system, give it it's own sump and everything that goes with that, and see how things do in there. I'd probably purchase some true live rock from somewhere to add to it as well for some biofiltration.

    Or, throw in the towel and just get out lock stock and barrel?
     
  8. OP
    KJoFan

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    Been scrubbing away the hair algae and trying to beat that down and now it looks like dinos are reappearing.

    Tank. For. Sale. (Maybe. Soon.)


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  9. Mandarin_Jake

    Mandarin_Jake Senior Member
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    You can do this, finish strong. Have you done any hydrogen peroxide dipping?

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  10. OP
    KJoFan

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    For the hair algae? I haven't. I've mostly just done manual removal to preserve the biofilter of the rock. It was so widespread on the rock I'm not sure peroxide would have done much good without dousing the entire rock which would probably lead to larger issues.

    I actually would have thought nutrients would rise after the removal of the GHA, and though I haven't tested them, the reappearance of dinos tells me they must still be fairly low. Maybe the removal of the GHA, paired with the introduction of filter socks and some deep cleaning kept them lower than I think. Or they were never extraordinarily high to begin with.

    Maybe I'll do another 3 day blackout and see if that kicks the dinos and some of the remaining GHA at the same time.
     
  11. OP
    KJoFan

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    Clean(er) slate. (No aquascaping has occurred yet.)
    [​IMG]

    I have to say I feel like I just dialed back the clock on my tank a bit with the wholesale live rock change but if it helps in the long run, so be it.

    I did keep a few pieces that weren’t too full of algae in there. I also tossed in some Dr. Tim’s One and Only, two bottles of Helix coralline algae stuff (pink and purple), and some Reefbrite Live Rock Enhancer.

    There’s no rock in the one end because I started at the right end and all my leopard wrasses had buried in the left end. So I left that for now.

    I will attempt some kind of aqua scape later this week after things settle down a little bit.

    I still have a 32g brute can full of more live rock if I need it.

    I’ll have way more than I need I think. Here’s hoping I haven’t completely messed things up.


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  12. OP
    KJoFan

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    Alright, so GHA is not much to speak of at this point. I feel like unless something goes sideways I've got that under control and on the full decline.

    Now, what to do about lighting? I know there are approximately a mllion and one answers to what lighting to get. Right now I'm rocking the MH w/Reefbrites and honestly I like them quite a bit.

    But, I don't know if that's my long term plan. Is there really an advantage anyone can speak of for a hybrid LED/T5 fixture vs just straight T5?

    The hybrid solution seems all the rage right now, but is it really superior or just trendy? To outfit a 5' tank with a hybrid solution is not cheap. An 8 bulb T5 seems much more reasonable aside from bulb replacement cost. Then the question becomes is straight T5 an advantage over just keeping the MHs? Heat really is a non-factor regardless.

    Thoughts? Ideas? Opinions?
     
  13. Justin715

    Justin715 TCMAS Event Committee
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    I'll throw my opinion in on this one.
    LED seems to be a convenience factor more so than anything, lack of changing bulbs, you get to adjust color/kelvin, intensity, ramping, moonlight etc all in one fixture. But the drawback is they are more direct source of lighting so the tank tends to shadow easier.
    There's no doubt T5 have amazing coverage and with bulb combos the spectrum is somewhat adjustable, this is where the hybrid are so trendy as of late; you can set certain ramping,color intensity features described above and then add to that better, more full coverage with little to zero shadowing and less cost than using x amount of all LED fixtures.
    MH is just considered "old tech" even though it's proven to work just fine for decades.
    The thought of changing bulbs every x amount of months used or efficiency costs of running or heat output vs T5 which has just as good of coverage for less yearly costs. Which is also a reason people switch to LED efficiency of not switching bulbs and using less electricity.
    So to answer your question about straight T5s an advantage over MHs/reefbrites?
    Not really, yes in some aspects, like less heat output, less power consumption but the light produced probably isn't that much better to warrant the necessity to switch.
    T5s you can customize your spectrum a little more with multiple bulb combos vs just a single set kelvin bulb.

    PS glad your GHA is under control now, hopefully the dinos are kicked too
     
  14. OP
    KJoFan

    KJoFan I contributed!
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    I agree with your thoughts on lighting. My indecision leads me to think I should just sit tight with my MH for now and see what happens with the tank.

    Dinos, cyano, everything is gone currently. Hopefully I am not back at square one with everything and I can actually move forward instead of retracing my steps. Time will tell!

    I need to complete the scape but am waiting on a couple leopard wrasses to settle in before making anymroe wholesale changes inside the tank. Gives me time to think about how I want it to look.
     
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  15. Fishfoo

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    IMO people mainly use hybrid solutions for the pop the led's provide and the even spread + proven results T5's provide. Or at least that was my reasoning for going that route.
     
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  16. OP
    KJoFan

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    I kind of was leaning toward an Aquatic Life hybrid fixture with Kessil A360X's but...I'm not sure. Seems like for best sps growth and color T5 or MH is still the preference. So, I might just stick with the MH/Reefbrites for now.

    I really thought the T5/Kessil combo was a good choice, but someone on R2R took the wind out of my sails as far as best for sps. Sigh.
     
  17. DarkSky

    DarkSky Administrator
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    That's why I went with one. I wanted shimmer/pop of the LEDs, but I don't like the disco effect/spread that they can sometimes give. T5s give such a nice even blanket of coverage, so it makes sense to use both!

    ... and I didn't want a sauna in the basement so unfortunately MH was out of the question. :D
     
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  18. HouseofStark

    HouseofStark I contributed!
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    What did the R2R member have to say? Not enough par?
     
  19. Justin715

    Justin715 TCMAS Event Committee
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    I agree with @DarkSky
    I'd go with LED/T5 hybrid
    Not sure what you were told on R2R but there's so many people and opinions on there it's easy to be given less than useful info or especially biased info.
    My consensus is that the LED fixtures can replicate any spectrum that MH fixture can but it's also adjustable so you can run more than just that one spectrum throughout the day.
    LED are also nice for ramping, timing and moonlight at night as well.
    I'm going LED/T5 hybrid myself.
     
  20. RSnodgrass

    RSnodgrass TCMAS President
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    Keep in mind all my sps are at 150-250 par.
     

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