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Featured Colin's Mire of Despair

Discussion in 'Large Tanks (101gal+)' started by Colin, Dec 24, 2014.

  1. Colin

    Colin Registered

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    It's long overdue but I thought I'd better get a tank thread up so I can get some better feedback to progress through this ever more confusing hobby.

    Current specs
    Tank: 68" x 24" x 30"
    Sump: 48" x 20" x 18"
    Lights: 2 x Orphek Atlantik V2.1B
    Flow pumps 2 x Vortech MP60WES
    Skimmer: Deltec SC1455
    Miracle mud and Chaeto
    Calcium reactor: Dastaco 1000
    Dosing pump: Jebao DP4
    Carbon reactor: Two Little Fishes
    Phosphate Reactor: Deltec
    Return pump: Jebao DCT8000
    Heating: SCT1000 and 2 x 400W heaters
    ATU: Reefloat

    The tank was originally a planted Discus tank but they were a bit dull to watch and we decided we preferred our marine Fluval Edge so the bullet was bitten and we embarked on the salty conversion way back in the late summer of 2012. Seeing as this tank is over two years old I'll keep it short and stick to the facts as they unfolded. Initially the tank was set up as a full Zeovite tank along with 4 x 120W Chinese LEDs with 2 x 80W T5s, 2 x Sicce Voyager 10s and a Growtech HEA200 Skimmer.
    After the initial 2 week cycle we added some CUC then finally in October 2012 we added four yellow ,a regal tangs, two plating and one digi Montipora along with the livestock of our Edge. After a couple of weeks the Sicce pumps started so sound like hammer drills so we had them exchanged but in the time this was happening I decided to buy the Vortechs so the replacement Sicces were sold.

    All went well for a few months and we invested heavily in some lovely SPS colonies from Cockfields which in turn started to grow healthly. In the spring of 2013 we had a Bryopsis outbreak which was successfully treated with Hydrogen Peroxide in very small quantities directly to the Bryopsis with a syringe. A month or two after this we started to see some striping from the base of one of our acros, within a couple of days it had died completely. This slowly started happening to the others one by one. Eventually all the SPS died and the only possible explanation was a neoprene pad I had put under the return pump to quieten it, it had shrivelled a bit and we could only put it down to that after exhaustive searching for the cause (more on this later).

    Over the next year we tried several time to get SPS and LPS to grow with no luck, they'd look PK for a few weeks but then the same thing, strip and die. We tried to convert the tsnk from Zeo to Miracle mud but the surface area was a bit on the small side to be 100% effective so I was never able to fully drop the carbon dosing which is still my main means of nutrient control. With some sadness we decided to resign ourselves to just keep softies and bought a load from FishnoChips along with a orange digi that Ged made me buy in exchange for feeding me chocolate Hob Nobs, more on this digi later!

    November 2013 saw me having a shoulder operation which limited the maintenance I could do for a while so the tank was left alone, the softies grew and some aips grew.All the usual suspects were used to eradicate the aips including a DIY wand which was great fun but only made them spread further. Flatworms appeared and were dosed with flatworm exit (documented in my "trial by Flatworm" thread. The purchase of a file fish and three banana wrasse sorted these problems out. I still have flatworm but the wrasse keep them under control, the sump is full of aips but there's none visible in the display.

    So by summer this year, I'd had enough, my dreams of a nice tank had come to nothing, it was just a load of effort (or rather neglect at this time) and expense for a rather brown looking mess that only looked anything like just before lights out but here was the interesting thing, the orange digi Ged had sold me six months previously was still alive, it hadn't grown any but it was still alive but enough was enough and the decision was made to sell the tank. I don't know why I did what I did next but I remembered reading somewhere that dosing iodine helped someone's softies look good so I had a quick read and bought some from ebay. Dosing was duly started and continued for a couple of weeks before we disappeared on our summer holidays for 4 weeks leaving my mother to dose vodka (which had become my carbon source by then) and feed the fish. To be honest I wasn't really bothered by the outcome of our break on the tank as long as the fish were OK but what we saw when we returned was surprising to say the least! Once we cleaned the glass and could see inside the corals looked good, they had even grown, the digi Ged sold me had become orange again and even had white growth tips (or at least I hoped they were growth tips not stripping). There was also two green patches one on a dead plating monty and another on a dead green acro that had long since apparently died and become covered in coraline. A hammer that had been in the tank for nearly a year and had all but died had revived, things had changed while we were away. The pump on our skimmer had also packed up while we were away, four weeks earlier I would have done nothing but with this change we decided to give it another go and we bought a Deltec skimmer rather than get a new pump (as you do!). Over the next few weeks the tank was cleaned, water changed, iodine was dosed and things continued to improve, yey!

    During the big clean up I dropped a wetside of one of my MP60s breaking the thrust bearing, Jez at ITC sent me the entire bearing assembly next day free of charge despite it being my own fault and 12 months out of guarantee. There was a problem with this and the wetside wouldn't run properly so Jez suggested swapping bits around with the good wetside. What I then found was the other wetside's magnet casing had blown open exposing the magnet but was now covered in a brown gunk. This must have been the problem that had caused the initial death of all our SPS colonies two years earlier but now the gunk was sort of keeping the badness contained or at least that's how it looks to me. Again next day and free of charge a brand new wetside was sent to replace this. If only I had checked these earlier but they were brand new, why would I? Well we live and learn and hindsight is a wonderful thing.

    It seems now that our initial problems were behind us and a further plunge was taken to but the Orphek lights in a joint buy with Clearwater from Orphek direct as there was not UK agent at the time. Some frags were acquired from Chris/Fishmans, Steve/Burscough, Nigel/eyore and Gary/Clearwater all of which are doing fine so far.

    We've also bought some bits of plate that have been soaking in RO for weeks and recently went in the display with the intention of one of them being a home for a clam sometime in the future when we get some confidence again.


    So there it is two years of woe compressed into a small mire of despair!

    DSC01627.jpg DSC01628.jpg DSC01629.jpg DSC01634.jpg
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 5, 2016
  2. jrob3rts

    jrob3rts Registered

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    Re: Colin's Mire of Depair

    I enjoyed reading this. I appreciate you kept the bad within the good and look forward to seeing the updates when the confidence has been regained.
     
  3. Synthetic_Reefing

    Synthetic_Reefing Registered

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    Re: Colin's Mire of Depair

    Many would have given up with the list of set backs that you have had but I'm glad you are sticking with it.

    It will be worthwhile!
     
  4. Colin

    Colin Registered

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    Re: Colin's Mire of Depair

    Many thanks, thankfully I'm blessed with the stupidity to carry on regardless! :lol:

    This is a Hystrix that came from Chris/Fishmans showing an example of the growth over two months (after it fell off its plug)
    Hystrix Growth.jpg
     
  5. chippypah

    chippypah Registered

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    Re: Colin's Mire of Depair

    Looking very nice there Colin, and good write up as well.
     
  6. reefloat

    reefloat Registered

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    Re: Colin's Mire of Depair

    by the look of the tank though its been worth it, think we all just wait for the next crisis round the corner, often wonder if anyone gets away without some pest or nuisance algae
     
  7. Colin

    Colin Registered

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    Re: Colin's Mire of Depair

    Thanks Gordon, to be fair the fact that it survived the long period of neglect it endured earlier this year is down to your ATU and the calcium reactor which kept it pretty stable other than the salinity dropping from 1.026 to 1.023 probably from skimming
     
  8. Clearwater

    Clearwater Registered

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    Well


    You would never know the tank had issues from looking at the Photos

    Well done for sticking with it
    Nice lights LOL
     
  9. Colin

    Colin Registered

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    Re: Colin's Mire of Depair

    The lights are pretty cool :)

    Still not perfect but it's on the mend for sure. I've got a bit of cyno that's appeared since I started dosing Acropower but it's not bad, I can live with it. On the subject of acro power I've changed the dose again from 1 x 1ml/day to 1 x 10ml/week, they cyno has receded a bit as a result. There's been a build up of white slimy film on the glass this last couple of days, my nutrients have dropped again so I've cut back on the vodka a bit more, should get rid of it in a couple of days.your slimer frag is doing well, it's got a good 1/2" growth on the tips.

    Addressing the sand bed is the next big job, I've got a shallow (1" - 1 1/2")mixture of coarse grain (6mm) and sugar grains. I'd like to get the course out and either keep the fine and top up with 1 - 2mm sized or replace the lot. The issue is the course is always on top and is constantly growing coraline catching detritus which looks a mess. Not sure what to do for the best there
     
  10. StarfishEnterprise

    StarfishEnterprise Registered

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    Re: Colin's Mire of Depair

    About time you got a thread going!

    Bin through the mill by sounds of it. Nice write up and intro. good to finally take a look at what you got going on.

    Big Thumbs Up
     
  11. Clearwater

    Clearwater Registered

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    Sand bed wise I would start again But only remove 1/3 at at time This stuffs good as it's more dense than Aragonite.
     

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  12. Colin

    Colin Registered

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    Re: Colin's Mire of Depair

    Well you could say I've been lucky, fingers crossed and so far we've managed to miss any serious fish problems. More by luck than judgement that but it would have been far more distressing than what's happened here
     
  13. Colin

    Colin Registered

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    Re: Colin's Mire of Depair

    From Steve if I remember right?

    Should I soak it in salt water for a couple of weeks before putting it in?
     
  14. Clearwater

    Clearwater Registered

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    I would just rinse in RO

    But soaking in water change water would do no harm
     
  15. Colin

    Colin Registered

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    Re: Colin's Mire of Depair

    I was concerned that if it was going to pull my water parameters out I was thinking I would rather it did it in a bucket before going in the tank
     
  16. Clearwater

    Clearwater Registered

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    Go for it soak

    Probably still deplete Mg though
    Just add a cm at a time
     
  17. Colin

    Colin Registered

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    Re: Colin's Mire of Depair

    Cheers Gary, I'll do that, I'll ask Steve to get me some in the new year. My sand bed id sectioned off by the new plates that went in a few weeks ago, I can do this section by section a cm at a time to lessen any impact
     
  18. Colin

    Colin Registered

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    Re: Colin's Mire of Depair

    My missus bought me a Neptune Apex with a break out box, the wireless WXM module for the Vortechs and the leak detection module. Spent a couple of days setting it up. Setting it ups was easy, plug and play, it can be controlled either via its own web server or via a browser via Neptune's Fusion facility, that allows access from anywhere on the internet via phone, Mac or PC which is cool.

    So far it's controlling the temperature, the skimmer and the MP60s, next job is to set up the leak detection so that it shuts down the skimmer, return pump and sends me a text and an email to let me know of any impending or unfolding disasters, probably hook up a webcam too so I can have remote visual monitoring just in case.

    We go away in our campervan often too, thinking of draining the skimmer cup into an old salt bucket with a float valve on the top. If the bucket fills it will stop the skimmer (like the avast locker), not thought this bit out yet but maybe then have a pump to pump the skimmate into a drain and possibly pump the same amount of salt water back into the system, need some failsafes on that, it has the possibility of disaster
     
  19. Colin

    Colin Registered

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    Re: Colin's Mire of Depair

    Not a lot to report, a couple of new residents last week, a Christmas wrasse, a dusky wrasse and a peacock wrasse which seems to have disappeared. Also a harlequin shrimp to have a go at the asterneas, only seen him once since he went in but the asterneas are diminishing rapidly so I guess he's on the case. The big news I guess is the clam from Steve (sorry iphone pic)

    IMG_1519.jpg

    And the growth on the Hystrix in the last 2 1/2 months as a measure of how general growth has been

    Hystrix Growth 4 month.jpg
     
  20. Clearwater

    Clearwater Registered

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    Re: Colin's Mire of Depair

    Light are doing their job then (-) super growth and colour

    love the Clam
     
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