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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
175 Gallon mature tank, redo, now restocking!

Hello everyone, new member looking for some advice. Have had my tank running for about 10 years and looking for some ideas to move to the next level. It is a 175 gallon Oceanic Bow front. Lighting setup is 4 VHO 36 inch 95 watt tubes, (2 blue 2 white) running off a ice cap ballast. Filter setup is simply a 30 gallon sump tank with 3 dividers. My tank has 2 returns each going to its own filter sock. No bio balls for about 7 years now. 2 Rio 3100 pumps go back to the tank and a Rio 2100 goes to a ultraviolet light then a Berlin Protein skimmer. Not sure of model numbers on either as they came with my tank. I took out the factory filters in the returns years back and made a long u shaped pick up with 1 inch pvc with a small hole drilled at the top to stop the chugging in the return. There is a name for that setup but it escapes me right now. I have about 150 pounds or more of mixed live rock but mostly Figi. Never had a chiller and tank with all glass lids on top to help slow evaporation runs an average of 80 degrees. I bought the whole setup from a buddythat got me into the hobby when he moved to a new house and had a 1200 gallon all fish custom built. Maybe I will start a thread with pics of that later. I have had lots of different fish and corals over the years and never ( knock on wood) had a major crash. Heck I have never had a single fish with Ick, and I have freshwater dipped every fish that has ever been in there. Yes I know that freshwater dipping is debated but I am a firm believer in it. I have had the whole book of reef safe fish over the years and still have a Cardinal that was the first fish I got to help cycle the tank along with a harlequin serpent star and a red serpent star. I did not know they could live that long but they have!

Over the years I have learned what will work and not work with my tank setup. Soft corals do well and hard corals do not. I realize my lighting is a major cause for that but the fact that I have never needed a chiller with this setup makes it ok in my book. My cleaning routine has varied over the years from 10 or 20 percent water changes every 2 weeks to experimenting with letting it go to ever 2 months. My water is well water that has zeros across the board but does have .5 for nitrates. The tank stays around .10 nitrates with 0 ammonia and 0 nitrates. Phosphate level is also very low but have had problems in the past. I keep my salinity at 1.220 to 1.230. Hope that makes sense guys as it has been awhile since I had to talk about this in depth and I may be confusing some of this so go easy on me. Also I have never used a RO system just straight well water.

So not to get a personal but over the past 8 to 10 months I have let things go. I lost my Father to Brain Cancer 3 months back and over the past 10 months of him battling it I have been at a loss for time to maintain properly. So my protein skimmer and ultraviolet light setup started leaking aBout 6 months back and I turned it off. I have done this before though just to experiment. I have not done a water change in 4 months now and I am getting red slime algae bad. Some of that I do blame to my lights which are over 2 years old and are no longer putting out a proper color spectrum. But still my fault. I am down to basically colt coral and 5 fish so not much bioload anyway. I feed have been feeding every 3 days for a long tI'm now to help keep the biology down, but also have alot of copiopods (spelling) for them to hunt. Fish left are 1 clown, 1 hawk, 2 blue damsels and one Pajama Cardinal. Also about a dozen various hermit crabs a few snails and 2 Seastars and one big 7 year old coral banded shrimp. About 6 mounths ago I lost a 7 year old Seabae enemie that had clownes in it that even laid eggs on the rock near by. Tried to save them but it did not happen.

Ok at the risk of writing a entire book as I could go on for pages that is where I am at now. I am wan ting to change up my filter setup. Maybe a algae refuge would be best for this setup? Also the lights will be the big ticket item I need to change. Have been waiting for the LED technology to catch up as I have avoided a chiller all these years and would like to continue. Will post up some pics next from a few stages of the tank over the years.

Any advice would be great. And take it easy as I know a water change every few months is not idea but it has worked for a long time for me. My Dad loved my tank as he was a life long scuba diver and he would want me to bring this tank back to the show piece it once was..
 

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I'm sorry for the loss of your father. Renewing your tank does sound like a wonderful tribute to his memory. As a nano tank person I may have no place replying and you might have already done this, but I would think that maybe doing some small weekly water changes and a good cleaning of your current filter would be beneficial to getting your tank back to show piece conditions until you research and purchase your new lighting and filtration.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·


















The pic I am not proud of. The tanks current state but not for long. You can see the red algae bloom.

 

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Welcome to TRT, and as others have stated thats a terrible loss. Life is far to short, and that being said you will catch no grief for letting the tank go to be there in the time of need for your family.

Led's are there, the tech side is far advanced and there are dozens of models available that would suffice great for your bow.

As far as the red algae (guessing cyano bacteria) you simply need to blow off your rocks and become a nutrient exporting machine until it subsides. Detritus build up is the prime factor with cyano.

you might also consider increasing your turnover in your tank (flow), this will help keep detritus suspended rather than settled and decaying.

Are you in the market for a new skimmer? I have suggestions if you are. A budget would help me to make those suggestions though.
 

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That's not nearly as bad as I expected!
I dont think it will so hard to turn it around :)

Also, LED's might not be as pricy as you think, and it sounds like you aren't set on the really picky corals so that makes it cheaper. More experienced people will have advice to help you decide where to spend first, skimmer might take priority.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks guys and gals! Was afraid to post because of letting things go but this is not my first rodeo. Family first but Pop would give me a stern "look" to motivate me. So to answer questions, all equipment should be in working order after a cleaning except for the smaller Rio pump for the skimmer and uv light. Sitting in the water it is probably frozen but maybe I get lucky and free it up after taking it apart.


TOTS I do believe it is cyano. Never had it this bad since when the tank was new. I have used a syphon with a small 3/8 tube to suck it off the rock but will try and blow off any thing left. As for the gravel there is not much. Have learned that over the years. Started with a solid 3 inch of live gravel and crushed coral back when I started to give Jaw fish a good home. Now down to just enough to cover the glass around the rocks for appearance. But I will vacuum it all. Glad to hear the LEDs have improved, I am a electrician by trade but I also see that marketing looks better then technology sometimes.

Want to get the filter setup in order first then will go onto the light setup. Right now the 2 filter socks and 3 submersible pumps take up most of the sump. There is a plugged port to do a external pump on the far side and that has me thinking. But that would only be if it is worth to try one of these macro algae setups with a light as all in the sump. What is the real benefit of that setup. With the amount of established live rock I have I think I already have enough biological filter but I am just guessing. Those Rio 3100 pumps are probably 7 and 10 years old and run like Champs so hate to switch something so reliable. So to get more flow would you change them out or pumps in the tank itself? Right now they both go up to a split head Y setup. 2 facing each other to make turbulence working at each other and the others facing the front glass to move the current down the glass and back up the wall of the tank. So I guess my first problem is if I should change this setup? Will see if I can get some pics of exactly the why I have the ports and returns.

Thanks aga in guys for the help. I realize I am jumping around a bit here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Going to start a big clean up this weekend and get the skimmer and UV light back on. Just ordered 2 Sun 1200 gph wave maker pumps from Amazon. Will use them for some extra flow as suggested and point them on the rocks to help keep algae from growing plus blow out the detritus. Will get a wave controller for them next. Will re-assess everything after an initial clean-up.
 

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Welcome to TRT!!

:wavey:

sorry for the loss of your father. :(

you have what is affectionately called old tank syndrome. this is what happens when detritus is not exported on a regular basis. the nutrients, notably phosphates, keep building up. they have to be exported, they do not off gas like other elements.

the phosphate build up is also the reason why you are not able to grow hard corals. it has little to do with the lighting except that the more nutrients a system has the more lighting is needed to counter the affects of the increased nutrients. if you were to drop your nutrient level down to natural out reef, then you could grow hard corals even with that lighting. i suggest not going that because your soft corals would die. soft corals and hard corals come from different nutrient level environment. you can find the razor edge, but it is easier to just pick a nutrient level and go from there.

while you think about which direction you want to go with the system i suggest reading through the Reefkeeping Made Easy thread. link is located in mine and others signature. this will explain a lot of what is going on and how to not have it happen in the future.

one thing i would suggest right off the bat is to remove your substrate completely and get that LR purging itself of phosphates more efficiently.

G~
 

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Hi cooter, and as the rest of us here, I'm very sorry to hear about your dad, and was glade you had your priorities straight and took care of him. And now his tank. Great job! That being said......we're practically neighbors. I live over in Cologne, in Atlantic County. Looks like you're going to have no trouble bringing her back to life....tech. has changed a bit, but the hard stuff you already know. Roll those sleeves up and let's get moving! I have a 220g tank I've had up and running since July that's a 'softies-tank'. Best of luck to you, and keep us all informed how you're doing, and if you need anything,
Hack
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Wow, I can tell I will like this site already. Thanks for all the support. Will try to get some more pics of mechanical setup to help, and maybe help the next person. Also will do a full test of the water and put up the water parameters. :beer:
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Geoff, ok I am reading into that thread about 3 pages now, and this is going to take awhile but great info. I have not read up this seriously about this subject in years. Nitrate cycle I have down but forgot about that anoxic part. That is why some people used to do the "Berlin System". A inch or so dead space at the bottom of the tank then a few inches of sand above it sitting on mesh. That was to keep that anoxic space at the bottom of the tank. I almost did that setup when I first started but got gun shy. Ok, back to reading that thread. This has got the blood pumping in me again!
 

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Welcome to TRT Cooter! Sorry for your loss. When you want to talk about LEDs let me know. You are an electrician, and I am a young EE. Sometimes I wish I would have gone that route though. When I am stuck behind a desk and not in the field fixing something I am not at home lol. I can help walk you through an LED build farly easily if you decide to go the DIY Route. It can be cheaper and you don't have to buy a bunch of features you won't use. We can automate them as well with controllers. LEDs are not as complex as everyone thinks. I can help you make them less intimidating. getting into controllers is where people start to....what's the phrase.... Shut down. I can help make that part easy too.

I don't have my work shop up yet but will be operational in the next few months if all goes well. I am also in the middle of a tank build. So it's a stressful and exciting time. I will be able to help with videos, pictures, run experiments for people(if I have time). By the time you get the filtration figured out I will have much more time and energy to help you if you are interested. About every electrician I know loves to tinker lol.

There are also a wide variety of premade fixtures if you don't want to make a fixture. I guess I get a little excited when there might be an opportunity to help someone build something electronic. Especially LEDs.
 

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So sorry to hear about your loss. You already have the big guns here guiding you though so you are in good hands.

What are looking to do do once you get the tank back in shape? More corals (what types), fish? What is your end game?

Looking forward to seeing the progress and also learning a thing or two myself in here. Always good info in threads like this.
 

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good to hear that you are getting through the Reefkeeping made easy thread. i would also encourage you to read through the Saltwater handbook Thread. i had forgotten that one. it helps with what is going on in the very beginning of the annoying nitrogen cycle.

G~
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
So just took some time to record some test numbers. Can't believe how much better then expected it is. It may be confirming my hunch that my VHO tube are worn out and throwing a bad color spectrum. Normally they say replace T-12 VHOs every 6-8 months. These have got to be close to 3 years old as I am thinking about it. Can't find them at any LFS.

Anyway here are the numbers. Will do a water change tomorrow so that may spike some stuff.

Water temp 80.

Gravity is 1.021

PH 8.2

Alkalinity 200

Ammonia .0

Nitrite .0

Nitrate .0

Phosphate. 0

Magnesium 1200 ppm
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Did a 15% water change today. Spent some time scraping the back wall that I had let purple algae grow on. What is that purple calcium hard algae called again? Still lots of the cyano. Going to take a couple more water changes to really get back on top of this. Swapped in 2 new socks. I needed to change pumps but have a Rio 2100 working the UV light and Protein skimmer. Everything takin apart and cleaned. Added a small pump to my sump tank. Figured it will keep any detritus from gathering on the floor under the socks (which it always has). Installed 2 Sun 1200gph pumps in the tank and faced them straight forward. Well kind of at the middle of the front glass. Want to push any floating detritus up to the over flows. Did not want to shock the system and change to much at once but also changed the light cycle. Had it down to 8 hrs a day to slow some algae growth. Back up to just over 10 hrs a day.

So That is where I am at. Not sure what the end game is going to be so suggestions wanted. Only thing left sadly is Colt coral. Kind of a blank slate. Have always done well with soft corals, and some LPS. If I up grade the lights could I move to SPS? Also need to build back my fish stock. Long way from a show piece but I am back on it.

Some pics.





How does this look for the skimmer? Should it be less air? That is fully open on the air screw.



Pic of the over flow setup.



Some growth in the return.



Colt looks unhappy after getting manhandled.



Anyone know what this kind of algae is?

 
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