In March 2016, I filled up my biopellet reactor with Biospheres. I used 1000ml worth, or one large pouch. At the time my nitrate was quite high, but within about eight weeks it had dropped them to less than 5ppm. I talked about this entire process in a video I released four months ago: http://youtu.be/aRHf8b1H5u4
Some time in early 2016, maybe March or April, the Swabbie motor stopped rotating. I ordered a new motor from Avast Marine, and it arrived within a few days. I never tackled that repair primarily because there's no space in the ABS section and I thought my tank sitter Bobby could do it more easily than I could. He loves this stuff, fixing broken things.
During a recent trip to Home Depot, I looked through the LED bulbs seeking a new refugium bulb to use on the frag system's fuge. I found this one rated 5000 Kelvin, and the shape of the bulb looks promising. The bulb cost $14 and uses 8 watts.
Today's club meeting was at Oceans Avenue, and they did a fragging demo workshop for the club members and customers. As we watched, they cut various corals and then used glue to mount them to frag plugs. A grill was out back, providing burgers, hot dogs or chicken to everyone. I had to grab a Corona and then filmed and photographed some stuff which will be shared later.
When it comes to cutting up corals, there are hand tools, and then there are time-savers like a table top bandsaw. The Gryphon C-40 AquaSaw is something I purchased over two years ago at MACNA, and only opened it up for the first time two weeks ago. I thought I'd do an unboxing video, but that never happened. When I was recently in the midst of fragging colonies, I opened up the box, put it together, plugged it in and was instantly impressed with how well it worked. Cutting away dead skeleton, creating small frags from larger colonies of montipora and chalices, it kept up beautifully.
This interview was done at MACNA last weekend. Jim Welsh's newly built invention is the Alkalinity Monitor. It will measure tank water as frequently as you desire, and that data can be acted upon by your controller. It could send you texts & emails if the reading is out of range, and you can see what the latest measurement is just by glancing at the display on the device, or by computer or smartphone. It could trigger or stop a doser if needed. He explains it quite well, and I gotta say I'm really impressed.
Earlier today, the SmartATO began beeping while I was working at my desk. Thinking nothing of it, I ignored it for about 4 minutes while I wrapped up what i was doing. When I went over to unplug it, I saw a small flood in the fishroom and grabbed my camera. The cause of this was by a quick-disconnect I shorted out a week ago, and hadn't fixed yet. I tried to fix it, got frustrated and blew it off. You know what happens when you leave something unfixed on a reef, right? Well...
One of the topics I wanted to address as a full video is biopellets. Short answer: they work. Earlier this year, nitrates spiked in my reef and despite lots of effort it didn't get them down and keep them down, so I opted to get biopellets running again on my 400g reef. The results were spectacular, as expected.
After 21 days, the tank finally measured 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite and 5 ppm nitrate. Good enough for me, and the Red Spot Glass Cardinalfish. I filmed their introduction for an upcoming video, but here's a picture of them in the tank. They are eating well, which is perfect. They were ordered from Live Aquaria's Divers Den, and arrived in a well packed box. Pictured above.
The next thing that it needs is lights. I had to install a shelf to hang the lights from, and that's done now.
After about a year of saying I needed to do this, it's finally operational. The stand, tank, sump, ATO reservoir, doser container are all built (by me). Plumbing was accomplished and the new Vectra M1 pump is circulating the system. Here are some pictures, less than a day after water was added. The skimmer cleared the water overnight.