Archive for February, 2013

Progress

Posted: February 26, 2013 in 90 Gallon Reef
Tags: , ,

I intend to dedicate a post to the entire build process of my tank (from painting the stand, through building the LEDs and adding rockwork). However, I have not yet had the time.

So I just thought I would add a couple pictures of the progress I have made since first acquiring the tank used:

9-11-2012

Followed by installation into my basement:

11-04-2012

First time adding saltwater:

Picture added 2-5-2013. Water initially was added 1-31-2013

And the next picture is the most recent one:

2-19-2013

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Refugium

Last night I decided to spend sometime (pre lights out on the display, prior to lights on in the fuge) with a flashlight sitting on the floor next to my fuge and peaking in. I was shocked at how much extra life already has overtaken it! The fuge began with the year old rockwork from my 28 gallon tank. I never seemed to have much microscopic life within this rock work at the time. But after a short time in the new fuge, it’s crawling with it.

Little pods were crawling all over the rocks, larger ones were found here and there (not enough to say a pod explosion… yet). In addition, the small little coralline spots on the rocks have vastly expanded. Now pink, dark purple and even a lot of light green. What had started as two microbrittle stars has transformed into at least 20, with little arms popping out of my rockwork everywhere.

My mangroves, which had sat in uncirculated, unheated water, for about a month after I took down my HOB fuge before setting up this one, have mostly come back. It looks like 2 of the 5 are thriving, with an additional one still living. I am going to give the other ones a few more weeks to see if they come back. The Chaeto is also looking great.

Additionally, my peppermint shrimp seems to be on a mission. In the 28 gallon, it always hid, and never touched aiptasia. Now, there is none to be found, and it constantly came out to investigate the light. It definitely enjoys not having any potential fish predators! I might need to pickup a couple more for within the display tank if I ever see any aiptasia pop up.

Lastly, I had great success in my previous tank with miniature feather dusters. They LOVE the new fuge. Only a smallish size colony started within the fuge, and now they are all over the rockwork.

There is one negative to the fuge right now. My rocks had a lot of settled gunk on them. This may be a good thing to help feed the inhabitants, but I am a little worried about how this could affect my water quality long term. I also really need to look at adding some addition to stir my sand, as it’s got some gunk settling on it as well.

It’s amazing how much having overflows seems to help a skimmer. I have it setup on my fuge now, and it’s CRAZY how much better it’s working (same skimmer that I had running on my 28 gallon) when it gets to skim the surface. My whole fish closet REEKS from the gunk this little guy pulls out. I am excited to see the results when I end up getting an appropriate sized skimmer.

My display has little life outside of my fish and coral. I can’t wait until the life starts to make its way into it. It’s in need of it’s cleanup crew (arriving Thursday), and then all I can do is wait!

Clean Up Crew!

Posted: February 25, 2013 in 90 Gallon Reef
Tags: , ,

After a major Diatom outbreak (that seems to get better, then suddenly get much worse) it’s officially time to order my cleanup crew!  ReefCleaners.org is the only place I’d ever buy my crew from. They have amazing customer support (I’ve literally had John, the owner, email me confirmation within minutes of ordering before).

Unfortunately, do to the wintery temperatures, I will need to have the CuC delivered to work. I don’t think the receptionist will be thrilled if she knew what was in the box she’s getting (snails tend to do that to some people lol!).

I am going with the quick crew, then adding a few items of my own.

Here’s my planned stocking:

85 Dwarf Ceriths
29 Nassarius
27 Florida Ceriths
32 Nerites
3 Fuzzy Chitons
4 Limpets
2 Porcelain Crabs

Hoping to order within a day or two to get the tank cleaaaaaaan!

WiFi Issues

Posted: February 25, 2013 in Reef Angel

I have had issues with my Reef Angel WiFi since I purchased it. In the past (when it was on my 28 gallon), I initially had problems getting it setup correctly.  After some initial struggles, I got the WiFi to work, and it worked well for a good six months.

Then, I had an incident with the head unit needing to be replaced (my fault, ended up getting it wet). Since then, I haven’t had this thing working.  On the 28 gallon, it would randomly lose connection and wouldn’t stay connected for more than a day.  After reading the forums, I believe this had to do with me installing a windows gadget for the reef angel that was found to cause issues.

Finally, I upgraded to the 90.  And things have gotten worse. The WiFi now generally only stays connected for a matter of hours (I’ve had it range from 1 hour to 6). I thought I had it fixed when I had 2 straight days of connection. I had upgraded the firmware, upgraded the client suite, and removed the windows gadget.  However, it started crashing again. I noticed that this time, it didn’t just lose connection… but instead appears that the entire unit has shut off. There are no status lights, and it sits lifeless.

I reached out on the Reef Angel boards, and it appears that my WiFi unit is faulty, and they are going to replace it for me (for the cost of shipping). Hopefully I will have it ready to be shipped sometime in the next few days.  Let’s hope it works well when I get it back!  Also, this means that my reef stats (which haven’t been updated as regularly as they should since it keeps going on and offline) will be down for a few days.

Once again, awesome support from the Reef Angel crew!!

Cons:

  • Lack of Documentation/Outdated Documenation
    • This is my biggest negative for the Reef Angel. It seems like there isn’t much documentation, or what they have is outdated. This is most frustrating in relation to changes, both to the hardware and libraries, overtime. A perfect example: I purchased my Reef Angel used. I had no idea this meant that I had an outdated Relay Box that needed an additional (albeit cheap) part to get my PWM signal for my LEDs since current Relay Boxes include it.
  • Open Source
    • Normally this would be a Pro (and, in face I list it there as well) but it does create some drawbacks. Since some of the programs that are used in relation to it are created by sources outside of Reef Angel, they occasionally cause issues. Updates to the libraries can also create issues with these programs. A prime example: I installed the desktop sidebar app. However, apparently this causes issues with the wifi, and I ended up unable to keep a connection more than an hour at a time. Once I deleted this, and updated the Reef Angel Client, all my wifi issues disappeared.

Pros:

  • Open Source
    • Apart from what I wrote above, I see Open Source as a great thing. I can update the libraries as I see fit for my own needs if I wish, or create my own applications to interact with the controller. Of course, the one caveat to this is that I need to be aware of how updates to the controller’s software would interact with the custom software.
  • Versatile
    • With a little coding, you can do things that are outside the box. The Arduino Coding language is based on C and C++, making picking it up fairly easy. I have done a fair number of things that were entirely custom to my personal setup.
  • Cost
    • At the time of my purchase, it was the cheapest option that included everything I needed.
  • Support
    • Hands down, this is the best part about the Reef Angel. What it lacks in documentation, it more than makes up with in support.  They are EXTREMELY helpful with any and all questions on the Reef Angel forum. They have helped me from the simply questions to helping with complex issues.
  • Remote Connection
    • Gotta love accessing the vital statistics about your aquarium on the go!

Overall, I am pleased with my Reef Angel. I definitely would recommend it. Until my recent issues with poor documentation, I absolutely loved this thing. However, their support makes up for the documentation.  Fair warning, it’s the only controller I’ve used… but definitely so far I’ve been impressed!

Test Post

Posted: February 20, 2013 in 90 Gallon Reef

This is a test post.