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Week One

Posted 01/25/2014 at 01:09 AM by zitra

My tank has one week anniversary and so far it seems to be going well.


Well, the tank is doing well, I am learning.

Lesson number one: Do not stuff the fluidized bed filters!

First few days I was battling the Deltec FR509s quite a bit. I guess the main problem was putting way too much media inside. Now I realized I want to have about 4 inches of media when not fluidized. And mixing the RowaPhos and carbon is not great idea. It kind of cakes as the Rowaphos is small and just fill in the gaps between the carbon pellets. The foam inserts are as well bit of struggle, but I think I have figured it out. I have decided to get a third FR509 and when it arrives (mid next week) I will do bit of plumbing and move all three filters out of the sump. First of all I would not fit all three into the sump, second having them outside on rigid PVC manifold will make things bit easier to manage. I will as well have to make myself a rig for flushing these with freshwater.

Lesson two: Skimmer can by funky first week.

Well I was warned about this and I actually did not run the skimmer first two days. When I started to run it on third day I had to raise it by two inches, else it would foam the tank empty. The foam would lift the top cover and spill everywhere. After I raised it the foam was still coming through the vents on top a bit. After a day it all settled, I could lower the skimmer down to the bottom of the sump (it is Deltec SC1455 and I run it in 8 inches of water). I cleaned it last evening and after 12 hours there is nice half an inch of skimmate in it. The skimmate has color of tea in glass cup. Considering the the only bioload is decomposing stuff from the rocks, I think it is working pretty well.

I found few stowaways already in the tank. Those came with the live rocks. A snail, a little starfish and few bugs. Well not sure how they enjoying the ammonia and nitrates. I have some more live rock coming next week. Because what I get here locally is not that great (I think) I have ordered some from abroad.

Speaking of chemistry. The tank is cycling fine. I have couple of glitches. Number one is that my ammonia test run out last evening and even if I have a spare one, the spare one is different type (I used the Sera before for my freshwater tank and the new one is Salifert). So as much as yesterday the Sera one was showing me 2 ppm ammonia, the Salifert today is on 0.5 ppm. I am not sure I read the Salifert right.

I am holding SF between 1.024 and 1.025 (had to add some salt because of the amount of wet skimmate in first few days). The pH is surprisingly stable around 8.0-8.1. That seems lower than ideal, but I read everywhere "do not fuss about pH unless you way low below 7.8). The RowaPhos took care of PO4, from initial 1 ppm it came down to unmeasurable 0. I will only test for it once a week now.

The only tricky part seems to be Alk/Ca/Mg trinity. The Mg and Ca are holding very high (Mg at 1410 ppm and Ca at what I estimate is 600 - standard Salifer range is up to 500 and I have to extrapolate the titration result). The Alkalinity is coming down at very alarming rate. It started at 3.66 mEq/l and in less than a week I am this morning on 2.35 mEq/l. That is lower than recommended and I read everywhere to fuss about the Alk. Now I can push it up by just adding some sodium bicarbonate, but I just do not want to start throwing stuff into the tank. Especially I have not idea why is the Alk coming down so much.

So I have to go and do some reading. Before I do so and while talking about chemistry ... a decorative picture of my chemlab .

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