Good Afternoon

Discussion in 'New Members' started by Brian, Jun 26, 2017.

  1. Brian

    Brian RRMAS Supporter

    I am a new member, I live in North Little Rock. I have had aquariums forever it seems, but being in the service for 21 years, it could never be something I would not have to tear down and sell or give away. I put a lot of time and diy into it, military people are not rich, and tried a lot over the years. I retired in 2001, and until lately, have only had three aquariums in the house, my africans in the living room, my loaches and neons in the bedroom, and my wifes community tank in the sun room. Now that my daughter has moved out on her own, I took over her room as my man cave. Of course, I needed an aquarium in there. I found a 75 at a garage sale for 25$, I bought a 40 breeder at a flea market for 20$, built a stand, bought/built mercury vapor and fluorescent lighting from goodwill. diy my 40 into a sump, built the overflow from pvc, found a good used skimmer on ebay, added two sock filters and a return pump, a six stage di/dw water filter 100 gpd. (I actually bought these new), the heater was a spare. I 3/4 of the way through my second bag of instant reef, it was at 1.020 last I checked. I have carbon pads, phosphate pads, ceramic rings, and scrubbing pads as filter media in the sump. I haven't checked the ph yet, I wanted to see what the instant reef does to that first, but I already have a bottle of ph buffer that advertises it will not let ph go over 8.3. I used filter sand for substrate, and am contemplating mixing in a bag of live sand with it. I filled it and the sump from my filter in a 1 1/2 day. It is running away, waiting for the salt to come up, the ph to be right and stable, and something alive put in it.
     
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  2. Brian

    Brian RRMAS Supporter

     

    Attached Files:

  3. Brian

    Brian RRMAS Supporter

  4. LJC6780

    LJC6780 Well-Known Member

    Welcome!
     
  5. huntindoc

    huntindoc RRMAS BOD Membership Director Staff Member

    Wow! Impressive skills Brian, looks like a custom set up!

    What are your plans? Fish only, reef tank? softies, LPS or SPS?

    What is filter sand? Is it silica based or aragonite? Do you plan to add more rock later?

    Without any powerheads or return lines to supply surface agitation pH may be a little low. I would not really try to manage pH other than making sure your alkalinity is adequate and stable, your air exchange is good and your skimmer is adequate. Buffers are just that. If you have aragonite sand and keep alkalinity adequate you really should not need any additional buffers. I would never measure pH if my controller didn't come with a pH probe.

    1.o20 is fine for fish only but a little low for a reef tank 1.024-1.027 are where most recommend keeping it.

    I have a feeling your DIY skills are going to be a source of jealousy for some of us who are less skilled!
     
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  6. Kim

    Kim Secretary Staff Member

    Welcome!

    Nice! Love how you done the hood. Does it lift up for maintenance?

    Yeah, don't chase you're PH...it'll drive you nuts. It's not as important in saltwater as it is in freshwater.
     
  7. Brian

    Brian RRMAS Supporter

    - Filter Sand is what most people with saltwater swimming pools use to filter their pools. It's clean, safe, and reasonably priced. It's not alive though, that's why I am considering adding some live sand to it.
    - I got a gift card for father's day for the LFS, so I will be using that for power heads and a hunk of live rock to start with.
    - I will get the LFS to measure the ph when I go to pick up the power heads
    - As for surface agitation, I do have a nozzle on the end of my return hose that does a nice job of that, and my overflow is taking it's water from the surface, so I hope I have a good exchange going on
    - 1.020 is just an in progress measurement, I add a bit of salt every day to bring it up. I will stop at 1.024. The LFS calibrated my spectrometer, so it should be accurate and hold there
    - I want rock and coral, my daughter wants nemo, my wife wants anything colorful or strange looking. It's in my den, so ultimately it will be what I can find or grow myself
    - My diy skills are what I do when I am not reading. I read a lot before I give it a try, and I have a lot of patience. I don't know the name brands of all the things you are talking about, I think most of the time, I think what I need, and see if I can make it myself, so it would be my brand.
    - A friend of my wife's once asked me to come look at her koi pond. She was spending tons on equipment and chemicals on it, yet her fish kept dying and her water was green. I told her I tossed a small bale of barley in my mine once a year, cleaned the mud out of the filter, and trimmed the plants back. I don't have any chemicals. I have had fish get eaten, I have fish try to climb the waterfall after a piece of algae, and not make it back to the water, but my fish don't just die. That is how I think of things I guess, make is clean, stable, feed the fish, and let nature take it's course. That's what I hope for as I am scared of the assortment of chemicals for reef tanks. I just want them to grow and be healthy, and look nice.


    Actually, there are doors on both ends that are hinged to open. But for serious maintenance, I just raise it up and have two boards to hold it in place. Of course, my daughter thinks I should have a hydraulic lift on it, but I think that is going a tad to far.
     
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  8. Deton8it

    Deton8it President Staff Member

  9. huntindoc

    huntindoc RRMAS BOD Membership Director Staff Member

    So basically Quartz sand. I would be a little concerned about silicate and diatoms but it might be fine. It will be interesting to see how well this works.
     
  10. LJC6780

    LJC6780 Well-Known Member

    Did they calibrate the refractometer to theirs or to 35ppt solution? I personally would get a bottle of solution and just check it every now and then. You just turn the screw to adjust the reading. Super easy!

    I am no expert but I haven't had the need for a lot of chemicals for my reef. I use salt mix and usually mix it all at once. For water changes you'll figure out how many cups you'll need for how many gallons you are mixing for the SG you want. Really the only thing I've added is a bit of magnesium because mine reads lower than I'd like. If you do regular water changes with a quality salt mix you shouldn't have to dose much, if anything ... and that will really depend on what corals and how many you end up owning.

    Oh and remember that you'll either need a reservoir of RODI and an auto top off (ATO) or manually top off the tank with RODI water every day to maintain SG since only the water evaporates and the salt stays.

    If you join the club, you'll get a monthly coral at the meetings! :)
     
    Brian likes this.
  11. Brian

    Brian RRMAS Supporter

    By Rob Toonen. Posted to Reefkeepers emailing list, Saturday 18th September 1999.
    I can't remember who said it anymore, and I don't really want to single anyone out, but the statement that buying cheap sandthat contains quartz will ruin your tank is plain-and-simple bunk. I'm not sure where the idea that silica sand is dangerous to a reef tank came from, but typically silica sand is 99.0-99.9% SiO2 (depending on the source and grade), which is about the exact same chemical composition as the glass of your aquarium. If the addition of pure quartz sand is somehow dangerous to keeping a reef tank, we'd better all get our animals out of glass aquaria...
    Quartz (SiO2) is considered "totally insoluble" in water according to the US MSDS, and is also nontoxic (although inhalation of silica has many well-documented health risks for humans -- I'll explain at the bottom if anyone cares). Yes, water is a "universal solvent" and yes, everything (including the silicone) dissolves slightly into the water over time, but the amount of dissolution is so low that it is impossible for it to make a difference to your aquarium. There certainly are highly soluble forms of silica that will increase the level of dissolved silicates in the water (such as aluminosilicate) and are likely to cause problems, but quartz sand (SiO2) is not one of them.
    The fact is that quartz sand (and the walls of our aquarium and even the silicone rubber which is the most soluble of the lot) do not dissolve enough in seawater to be measurable If silica sand contributed in any significant way to dissolved silica, then you would expect there to be big differences in the silica concentration around sandy beaches and on calcareous beaches (such as the red "sand" of Bermuda, which is composed mainly of calcareous foraminiferan skeletons) but there are not -- although calcium concentrations do vary significantly, the silica concentration in either location is about the same (roughly 2 ppm everywhere other than adjacent to the mouths of rivers where FW inputs increase the level). That suggests to me that quartz sand doesn't make much of a difference to the silicate concentration of seawater. Silica gets into water by being in a more soluble form than SiO2 (such as aluminosilicate), and the most common source of contaminating silicate in aquariais the freshwater used for top-off or mixing. In fact, normal river runoff entering the sea has 2-5 times the amount of dissolved silica present in the surrounding seawater (which as I just said is higher than the norm), and researchers studying oceanic silica cycles consider quartz sediments a "dead end" for silica (so little is released it does not contribute to the global silica budgets of the ocean -- if it doesn't make a difference on a global scale with all the silica sand in the ocean, how much difference do you think it can make in our tanks?). The major input of silicate into seawater remains freshwater runoff into the sea, not the minuscule (and unmeasurable) amount of dissolution from the *enormous* amount of quartz in the sea...
    In fact, that same quartz sand that people are recommending against is what was smolted and fused to form the glass walls of your aquarium... I don't know exactly what (if any) chemical changes are involved with the smolting process, but according to the glassblower for the Department of Chemistry, it's just melted and reformed into the appropriate shape -- it's not really doing anything to the sand other than burning off any organic contamination in the sand (the melting point is about 3110F). Even after being formed, glass is still SiO2, so there isn't any reason to suspect that there are important chemical changes occurring. Also, there should be no changes occurring as the sand passes through the guts of the animals in the tank -- is no noticeable degradation of the SiO2 spicules from ingested sponge tissue as that passes through the guts of animals (such as angelfish, sea stars & urchins) adapted to eating sponges, and that's where you'd expect some effect of digestion if any was going to occur. Given that, it's pretty hard to argue that using quartz sand is bad when the glass box that you're putting it into is made of the same stuff.
     
  12. Brian

    Brian RRMAS Supporter

    The LG'S used pure water to set zero, then checked it against the water in their storage tanks for 1.024.. I used them because I don't have a referance sample, and they did it all for me
     
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  13. huntindoc

    huntindoc RRMAS BOD Membership Director Staff Member

    Yes, I read that one. There is also another on R2R that quoted an experiment that proved that silica based sand (at least the kind tested) released 10 X the amount of silicate that aragonite did. Controversial and interesting subject.

    I'll try to find that article and link to it.
     
  14. LJC6780

    LJC6780 Well-Known Member

    Possible toxins aside ... it won't do anything FOR your tank such as providing that buffer that aragonite sand does. And even non live sand/rock will become live over time as bacteria and critters colonize there.
     
  15. huntindoc

    huntindoc RRMAS BOD Membership Director Staff Member

    Here's the quote from the article by Randy Holmes Farley, who is actually proponent of dosing silica in reef tanks.

    "It has been suggested that the amount of silica coming from calcerous sand might actually be as high or higher than that from silica sand. To test this hypothesis, I repeated the small-scale experiments above on a calcium carbonate sand from Home Depot (Southdown). In this case, there was some soluble silica released after the first 48 h, but only 1.6 mM (0.1 ppm SiO2), or about a factor of 10 lower than the silica sand. In a long-term test, the concentration had only risen to 5 mM (0.3 ppm SiO2) in 14 days with once a day stirring.

    From these experiments, I conclude that:

    1. The “silica” play sand that I purchased from Home Depot can substantially raise the dissolved silica concentration in seawater.
    2. The dissolvable portion of the silica sand cannot be completely removed by several rinses with either fresh or salt water, although it may be decreased somewhat by that process.
    3. Southdown calcium carbonate sand (likely aragonite) can release soluble silica, but about ten fold less than the “silica” sand.
    Is it OK to use silica sand? Probably. Many people do so. I also believe that not all “silica “ sands will be the same for the reasons described above relating to processing of the sand and the nature of the mineral inclusions present. So the fact that many people successfully use some (or many) types of silica sand does not necessarily imply that all people can use any type of “silica” sand without a problem"
     
  16. Brian

    Brian RRMAS Supporter

    You did notice he used the term "play sand".... Play sand and pool filter stand are very different things... The previous article States the absorption rate of Silica into sea water is immeasurable, even on oceanic scales, so I am not comprehending where he is pulling his data from... Do the walls of a glass aquarium get dissolved into the seawater??? You are absolutely correct that the filter stand will become live sand, that is why I am considering mixing live sand into it to help that process along... You are also right about the ph buffer... I have a product that States it will do that, but I am still thinking of a more natural solution
     
  17. Brian

    Brian RRMAS Supporter

    Oh and remember that you'll either need a reservoir of RODI and an auto top off (ATO) or manually top off the tank with RODI water every day to maintain SG since only the water evaporates and the salt stays.





    I notice most people have their reservoir for the ATO, with a pump in it, controlled by some kind of level measuring setup in the sump. Does that mean that you would actually have two reservoirs, with with RO water for ATO, and the other with saltwater for water changes? Keeping things simple, wouldn't putting a solenoid valve on the water supply to my RO, having the level switch control that solenoid, maybe with a sprinkler valve and a 24 volt transformer, and just make water when I need to top off the tank, putting it straight into the sump?
     
  18. LJC6780

    LJC6780 Well-Known Member

    I do know that some people hook their rodi directly to the sump for top off ... HOW they do it I really don't know! lol I use a reservoir with a Tunze ATO unit. I know people do make their own ATO using float valves and pumps but again, not sure how. I haven't really looked into that.

    As far as a Saltwater reservoir, that is totally up to you. I personally have 2 large brute trash cans in my garage. One with rodi and the other that I mix salt in. I have a shut off valve in the rodi can and a pump to transfer water to the salt can. Both have ball valve spouts plumbed in to fill buckets. For me I would not want to risk the unit being directly plumbed because if the stops were to fail, it could pump water until I catch it and shut it off where my reservoir only holds 5-10 gallons. (I'm actually not sure how much it holds, I just add a 5 gallon jug here and there. Might be 7 gallons?) also, before I set up the water changing station, I just mixed salt in 5 gallon buckets as needed. So you don't have to have it made up ready to go ... but you can.
     
  19. Kim

    Kim Secretary Staff Member

    Hiya,

    I believe we have a member that has a hydrolic system that lifts the lid on his tank. His set up is AMAZING!
     
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  20. LJC6780

    LJC6780 Well-Known Member

    We need an "extreme tank builds" section! Lol
     

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