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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Good Evening TRT!!! I would just like to tell you about the change from crushed coral to bare bottom.

With crushed coral I continually had problems with cyanobacteria due to the trapped nutrients in the gravel (never do only crushed coral unless extremely thin) and thus I took the leap to clean my tank up.

First, I started by removing the entire gravel bed in one day. This sounds easy? No, it took around 5 hours due to the fact that I had to fill a 29 gallon tank with fresh saltwater, remove every piece of coral that I had, Every single rock I had, place them in the spare 29 gallon, begin siphoning and scooping out every last piece of gravel, sand and excess detritus that the bed had collected over the last year. I then took the opportunity to complete almost 50 percent water change, clean all power heads, heaters, skimmer.

Anyway, my point is, choose what you are for sure is going to be permanent before you create a mistake that takes a long time to fix, but also know that there are always ways to fix something done in the past. :)

The benefits, although only being ~1 week~, have been good. There has been a drop in algae growth, increased clarity of water (nothing to knock up from the crushed coral), increased healthy flow where it needs to be (under and around the rocks and not just the top of the water and glass). I have seen the fish poo and dead organics collect in little whirlpools which allow me to easily scoop them up with a fine net. When I see obvious results of less nutrients in my tank like this, I am encouraged.

The side effects have been a slight loss of aesthetics (you get used to it, especially when there is less algae on rocks and none on bottom) The gravel was just covered in cyanobacteria anyway. The most significant affect I have seen that has been negative is my melanurus wrasse often is found pushing his nose into the bottom of the tank (not sure if attempting to dig or attack himself (both are possible)) and my yellow watchman goby can not create a burrow. Neither the goby or melanurus have had issues with health or eating. The goby now just goes between rocks when frightened(doesn't seem bothered without sand) but he actually stays on top of the rocks more frequently now. The melanurus wrasse used to show signs of aggression towards my Lubbock's multi-color fairy wrasse(flaring of fins and chasing but nothing serious), but now has ceased. He seems to be worried about his opposite more now.

Anyway, for the next few weeks, I will continue to hope that the wrasse becomes used to the glass bottom...Also wanted to post some pictures for Geoff of the new arrangement.

Note: 2 large 1600 gph powerheads, 1 small 150 gph powerhead for hitting surface. protein skimmer center tank HOB. No sump.

http://www.thereeftank.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=95045&stc=1&d=1348547426

http://www.thereeftank.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=95046&stc=1&d=1348547426

Lol messed that picture up and am too lazy to fix it... you get the point
 

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Chasing Stability
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I went BB a few months ago and I am very happy with the decision. Cleaning is a breeze.
 

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do you have an ATO on the system? you were having problem with keeping the film off the top of the water. on skimmers like the one you have keeping water level consistent is paramount. any changes cause the skimmer to behave differently and usually not in a good way, so the proteins are not removed from the water column very well.

speaking of that skimmer. can you describe what i am seeing back there. i see a powerhead and larger black box. what is the black box doing? is it just a bubble trap?

G~
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
oh yeah its a failure bubble trap. Bubbles poured over the edge when i had the original foam stuff it came with so i replaced with gravel which helps a lot but still bubble come out the bottom and top. The pump beside it is the intake for my skimmer.

Also no ATO because that would cost like $50 but i keep the water level pretty consistent. I replace water daily.

P.S. any red stuff on the rocks could be coraline or cyano... unfortunately I got stuck with a coraline algae that happens to be the exact same dark red color... I also have purple, pink, and green.
 

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get a sheet of something and paint it black and put it behind the tank as a background. that will help bring out the colors. seeing the wall behind that tank washes the tank out.

with your softies in there, do not be afraid to feed the tank. they are going to want food. you will need to experiment a bit with leaving some detritus in the tank to find the sweet spot of nutrient levels for the softies. it will not take long to find out how much detritus is needed to keep the corals happy and the algae not. :D

that skimmer pump is going to make it difficult to get rid of the protein film on the surface of the water. it would be better if the pump was in its own little overflow in which the protein film can fall into, then the pump would grab it and process it in the skimmer. let me think on that for a bit. there may be a way to create both an overflow for the skimmer pump and a bubble trap for the return in the corner about the same size as the equipment there now.

G~
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Sweet thanks for the tips and help, I'm willing to spend a little money (under $50) for minor improvements throughout the tank. I had the back painted black but the paint peeled off (skimmer touching back started it)... ill repaint it with some other type of paint. Before, I used latex paint. I chose latex because it doesn't chip, so if you decide to remove it, it easily peels off. So if you have nothing that would start the first peel, i recommend latex paint for ease of removal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Firstly, I'd like to show you the hammer coral i split two days ago... used a dremel tool to cut an 11 headed hammer coral into 3 frags. It was out of water for about 30 min but i was spraying it constantly with the tank's water. It wasn't growing at its full potential because the new tiny heads (didn't add them in my count of 11) were being shaded out. The big heads were also shading one another.

http://www.thereeftank.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=95087&stc=1&d=1348699675

Also here is the tank with black on the back (had some time after school today)

http://www.thereeftank.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=95088&stc=1&d=1348699767

Annnnnd lastly, the protein film being pushed by a powerhead on my tanks water (i know it's bad) Notice the bubbles in my water... stupid protein skimmer.

http://www.thereeftank.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=95089&stc=1&d=1348699767

My tank looks better in real life... you don't notice the glare like you do in the photos.. also the mushrooms pop.
 

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Nice hammer.

For film on top one thing that helped mine was a small pico pump aimed up a bit below the surface. Sort of like a fountain. It only gets about 3/4 above water but the down current as it falls back in does pull a good deal of surface skin down and remixes it in the water column so it can be removed via water change and skimmer.
 

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Invic- the problem, i think is that without a true overflow and the skimmer pump being so low below the waters surface, the skimmer is just not getting any of the proteins. the surface agitation is just not getting the film to the pump. though there is nothing wrong with adding more agitation that is for sure.

KeithHargis- the tank looks great with the black background. have you tried moving the skimmer pump up towards the top of the tank? this could be very bad, just warning you. what i am thinking is that if you can get the pump just a little closer to the waters surface so as to occasionally get a small vortex forming down from the waters surface to the pump that it will suck down some of the proteins at the same time and allowing the skimmer to get them out of the tank. just a thought for now.

G~
 

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It's helps but it's hard to explain. I need to take a picture of mine. Ran into the idea messing around one day with a pico pump I had. All it does is helps get surface build up to be pulled back into the water column. Then it's more accessible to a non overflow fed skimmer. Without an ATO evaporation limits making a good internal overflow without risking burning out a pump.

A small pump not a power head just a bit below the surface creates a strong direct flow. This pushes a small fountain of water above the normal water line about 3/4". The water then falls back into the water surface pulling surface film around it down in the current and remixes it into the water column. The outside of the fountain or "surge" is moving upward and falls out the outside of the fountain. So any thing it pulls in can also end up being pushed back up in the up surge and helps really mix it back in. It works but will not remove it all but can reduce it a good deal. I was working on a stronger one but stopped since upgrading now. It doesn't create micro bubbles since the water never falls far or through an air gap.

Mine cut down the film by about 60%. I still have some but it's thin but I don't have a skimmer helping reduce it between water changes. Keep in mind thus was on a 30g tank so larger would have less impact per pump. For myself it leaves the top of the tank film free until just a day or two before my water change. Keep in mind I do have 3 power heads aimed up creating surface movement, but until I added my little pump they had some but limited effect compared to both working together. Power heads push film around and mix some back in, and film pushed near the pump gets pulled back down. I think without both it would really would have less of a impact.

I'll get some pictures tomorrow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Okay, im at school right now, but when i get home ill turn the 150 gph pump vertical. thanks for the help.
 

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Okay, im at school right now, but when i get home ill turn the 150 gph pump vertical. thanks for the help.
See if it helps, I have a picture in a couple hours when the tank lights come on lol.

Just remember to be careful and move it up slowly, not wanting to spray out of the tank just create a small up swell of water. Hope it helps some.

As G was talking about working on improving the skimmer, will by far help the most in getting the skim out of the tank in the end.
 

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Okay, got some pictures hopefully they help. Its definitely helps keep the film from building up to heavily, but better skimming, and doing your best to get all the detritus waste out makes a big impact as well. I do have all 3 of my power heads at the top of the tank 450gph ones aimed upward angles as well assisting. When they were unable to keep the film down by themselves I added the little pump to pull more back into the water.

Picture of pump stuck at the top of the tank on the glass. Stronger the pump the farther you need to be from the surface. remember if you set one up like this as water evaporates the fountain will get bigger, so make sure to keep it low enough in the tank that when your tank gets a bit low its not going to fountain to high. I slid my canopy back in case it does, its contained still for insurance.



Couple pictures of the "up swell" or fountain from the pump above the water line. It doesn't take much just enough to break surface tension of the water, where as power heads tend to mostly ripple the water and the surface tension is not disrupted as much.





Hope this helps, its not a total solution but helps a good deal. Plus its cheap and easy
 

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we need to come up with some kind of false overflow for the pump.

Keith- do you know the exact model of that pump for the skimmer? if we can get a flow chart for that pump we can create an inexpensive overflow for it that would guarantee getting the protein into the skimmer.

G~
 

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I tried it, its only been 1 day and its cut down on some.
Good glad it helped. Sadly it's just helps and does not solve it.
Need to think about overflows again hoping G knows a trick I havnt thought of yet lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Well another part of the protein film is simply the bubbles coming out of the "bubble trap" they are helping make the film. The model for the pump is unknown, but what I can tell you is the gph. That is 325 gph. Needle wheel impeller.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Also would like to add, all of my fish(excluding clown pair) are much more easily startled even after over a week of bare bottom. It must be their own reflection scaring them. When i walk up to the tank they all hide for about 15 seconds. Then come out 1 by 1.

It annoys me a lot.
 

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ok, according to an overflow calculator for 325gph of flow you would need 5 linear inches of overflow. what that means is that we need to make a small box that has 5 linear inches of length along its top. that could be 3 inches across and 1 inch deep, or what ever. my guess is that any box that you can fit the pump in will have more than 5 linear inches. what i am thinking is this. find a tupperware container that is about the size of the skimmer pump. cut a lot of slits along the top edge about 1/2" deep. as many as you can. the slits can be as wide as you want, as long as they are thinner than your fattest fish or snail. then put this box around the skimmer pump. what i am hoping will happen is that this will form an overflow box, so that the scum will be pulled into the box then run through the skimmer.

G~
 
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