First Corals

Well. Besides the green star polyps that came in on the rock.

I went to a guy’s house that posted on FaceBook that he had corals for sale. His pricing was very reasonable and I just got a paycheck…

I bought one of each of the following:

  • Neon Green Birdsnest
  • Red Montipora Capricornis
  • White Favia
  • Blastomusa

I walked out only spending $60, which you really can’t beat seeing that the corals were all almost 2″ in size. He said he wasn’t even planning on fragging the montipora, but one of his tangs got caught up in it and snapped some of the branches off. I think this is a pretty good start.

I also worked on trying to get the wavemaker working. That thing is a pain in the arse to work on. It was really a bad design on my part. It’s still not working, but at least I have water flow out of all 4 pipes now to help move things around.

 

Updated some prints and water change

Finally got around to doing my second water change. The process is super simple and only takes me about 10 minutes start to finish now. I lay out my water hose and extension cable, hook up the pump to the top-off valve, and then I open up the drain on the return pump. As the water goes down in the sump, it trips the top-off which sends fresh salt-water from the tank outside. The temperature drops about 1 degree with the temperature of the water from the outside storage.

I also finally got the power supply controller printed. It took a couple of re-designs to make everything print. I think part of my problem is that ABS shrinks and also that my printer prints a little on the small side (about .5 mm per side on a 20mm print). I still need to calibrate my printer’s axis.

3d Printer is here!

I received my 3D printer a little over a week ago. It took me about 6 hours to build it and another 4 to realize that the rods that came with it were bent too much to be useable. I replaced the cheap steel rods with some hardened rolled steel ones.

It still took me a week of fiddling with it, but I finally have it printing reliably. The first thing I did was to print new versions of the DC-9000 pump mounts. I only have the power supply housing printed right now, but will print the controller housing tonight.

I’m not quite ready to start leaving the printer running through the day while I’m at work. The plan is to get a Raspberry Pi running Octoprint with a camera working. Then I’ll be willing to leave the print going. I’m going to install a relay so that I can shut off the printer when the print is done.

I also plan on mounting the whole thing in a box to help keep the air temperature stable. The programming I’ve done on the aquarium controller should make a simple fan controller pretty simple to do. I might try to write a plugin to Octoprint to tell an arduino what temp to maintain, since PLA and ABS both have their own settings.

Here’s some pics of the printer I built and the new power supply mount.

More Fish and First Real Freeze

I added some more livestock to the tank over the weekend.

I added 1 of each of the following:

* Bi-color Blennie
* Golden Headed Sleeper Goby
* Engineering Goby
* Skunk Cleaner shrimp

The Citrinis Clown Goby has been much more active since adding the other fish. He’s been following the engineering goby around the tank. I don’t know if he’s being territorial or just curious. He came close to the other fish a couple of times, but I haven’t seen him nip or anything.

The Bi-Color blennie does what they always do… he’s camped out on various perches watching the other inhabitants in the tank.

The Sleeper goby immediately swam into the rockwork. He’s since been busy building a tunnel from the front to the back of the largest rock. He was out sifting sand shortly after making his new home.

The skunk shrimp went into the rock work as well. I’ve seen him out a few times, but he’s mostly staying out of view.

I’ve been able to find my peppermint shrimp using a flashlight during the day to peek under some of the rocks. I don’t know how many are still under there from the original 3… mostly because I don’t know if I keep seeing the same one, or different ones.

On a side note… Freezes are REALLY bad to water setups outside. I need to rig up some type of pump to circulate water in the storage containers when it drops to freezing. Right now I have the salt-water mixing pump running, but I don’t have anything in the fresh water. It got above freezing just long enough yesterday for me to get 10 gallons of water out of it for the top-off tank.

When I opened the doors to my outside storage, I saw that the freeze caused two of the canisters on the RODI to freeze and break. I’ll have to order new ones. I’ll just take the new canisters off and bring them inside when it looks like it’s going to freeze.

New Year Update and Fish

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve last updated. In that time, we’ve added our first fish and had our first casualty.

On December 28th we added a hermit crab, a matted filefish and a citrinus clown goby.

On January 1st, we lost the matted filefish. I never really saw him eat anything and he barely picked at any of the aptasia in the tank.

I also had a big problem with the Citrinus goby taking plumbing rides to the sump. He did it three times in 2 days. Once was even after I tried putting filter floss in the overflow to block it.

Finally I ended up getting some light diffuser material from Lowe’s and wrapping that in the filter floss. He hasn’t gone for a pipe ride since.

The plan is to add a fish or two each month until the tank is stocked. Corals will be added here and there as well.

Here’s the obligatory pictures:

Water on the floor

And it was all my fault.

I woke up Saturday morning to the sound of the recirculation pump squealing. I have a spare bearing set for it, so I figured I’d just pull the pump and replace the bearings. I get the pump out just fine with only spilling a bit of water only to find that once off the tank, the pump was no longer making noise.

I grabbed the two ends of the pump and found that if I flexed it just a little, the squealing came back. That’s easy enough to fix, I just need to put something solid under the back of the pump to keep it from flexing.

I put the pump back on the tank and decide I wanted to fix one of the wave maker returns that was being stressed. I gather all my PVC materials and reach up and cut the pipe… which happened to be below the hight of the water in the tank. Water starts pouring out of the top of the pipe. Some quick thinking on my part and I grab the coupler and extension I was going to put on it and shove it on the end of the pipe, stopping the water flow.

I then spent the next 30 minutes with towels and the shop vac cleaning up the water from all over the floor.

So, here I sit… the floor is dry, but I have the PVC pipe dry fitted onto the end of a pipe that as soon as I remove it, water starts pouring out.

I turn off the main pump and let the tank water drop down a few inches. I check, but the PVC is still a bit lower than water height.

I finally decide to just go for it. I take my pipe glue and put it within arms reach. I wrap a large towel around the pipe. I grab the extension, I pull it off, stick it on my thumb, grab the glue, put it on the pipe, and then I shove the extension back onto the end of the pipe. Only about half the towel got soaked in those few seconds… not bad.

I finish my repair work, and pick up all the tools making sure nothing is leaking. Then I grab the son and we head to Hooters for lunch.

What I thought was going to be a quick 1 hour task ended up taking 2.

On a side note, I did end up swinging by the aquarium store and picking up 10 snails for the tank. They seem happy, or at least the ones I can find.

Also, after moving a bunch of rock around last week, the wave maker is clogged again. I’m hoping clean water flowing through it will clear it out, but I’m betting I’ll have to pull it off again and disassemble it and clean it. That was such a pain in the butt. I really need to redesign how it’s mounted on the tank.

Built the sides for the Stand

Got the sides built for the stand. There’s a HUGE sound difference. I tried to get a video of the difference, but I’m not sure how well it truly comes across.

I’ve also found a few more hitchhikers in the rocks. There’s a rather large bristle worm crawling around and some Asterina starfish.

Lastly I got the wave maker cleaned up so it’s working now, and I started killing Aptasia.

1126161732a_hdr

Little Asterina Star

1125161309_hdr

Sound of the Aquarium

Bristle Worm

Das Rock!

I brought over most of the Live rock that I purchased in the beginning of this whole ordeal. We left one big rock at my friend’s house so that we didn’t completely deplete all of his bacteria load. Within a few hours, you could already see that the silt in the water was starting to settle and by this morning you could almost see all the way through the tank. I can already see that there is some aptasia on the rock, so I’ll be spending some time in the coming weeks trying to get rid of it.

I also spent some time yesterday working on the website for the data logging. I added a manually tested section and created a form. This will let me track the following chemicals over time as I test for them:

  • Temperature
  • pH
  • Salinity
  • Ammonia
  • Nitrite
  • Nitrate
  • Calcium
  • Alkalinity
  • Magnesium

I ordered a set of Salifert test kits to measure all of these. They’ll be in next Tuesday. I’ll miss out on testing during the first week of tank cycle, but with the live rock being fully cured, I wouldn’t expect much of a cycle.

Before adding the rock:

1120161752_hdr

After adding the rock and sitting over night:

1123160624_hdr

We have Water!

It took two days of making water and three batches of adding salt, but the tank is full!

I also wiped out all the old data in the database, so the logs will only show actual reef data.

Lastly, I did a lot of little projects that needed to be done. I made a lid for the top-off tank, got more paint on the canopy, installed the cabinet lighting, and cleaned up the rest of the wiring.

Unfortunately, I completely forgot to clean the sand before putting it in the tank. Well, that’s not 100% true… I remembered after I was half way through putting the sand in the tank and decided to just keep going. I’ll need to read up on ways of cleaning out the sand. I’m thinking of filling my second reactor with cotton balls and seeing if that will help filter it all out.

I  still needed something to house the top-off water, so I did some measuring and found out that 10 gallon aquarium would fit perfect on the side of the stand. I went and picked one up after work on Thursday.

Anyways, here’s the pictures.

1119160709_hdr

1120160958_hdr

1120160958a_hdr

1120161421_hdr