Taste test

Earlier today, I refilled my top off containers from the RO/DI system in the adjacent room. I noticed while walking into the fishroom that there was a puddle on the floor, and I quickly assumed that the connection to the float valve had failed, leaking out some RODI water. This had happened in the past; the fitting on top allowed water to leak past it due to the water pressure of new water being added. I replaced the valve which resolved it, but this occurence was too soon for that to happen. Still, I went on with my day expecting that puddle to evaporate.  

Nikon 35mm f/1.8 lens acquired

I bought a new lens for my D90 today. I've been having a problem using any of my lenses for topdown photography, even though I've lowered the corals to the rockwork in my recent reef reset.

The camera wouldn't focus, and I couldn't even press the shutter button. It was one of those annoying things I've been putting up with for a long time, raising the camera more and more away from the subject. The minimum focal distance was the hurdle.

Resetting the reef to open up some space

After more than 3.5 years of growth, some colonies were dominating the aquarium blocking light and impeding flow. Duane helped me with this project, which involved cutting out the huge corals and planting smaller choice bits to reset the reef. It's not an easy task, and mentally it can be challenging as well. I had to give him the reigns because left to my own means, I would have saved every coral instead of sacrificing the bulk to attain new beauty.

No sucking sound?

Back in 2013, I built my return assembly for the 400g version 2.0, and when I did so I used a check valve installed backwards, which I refer to as the Reversed Check Valve. When the return pump flows, water pushes the valve shut, but as soon as the pump has been powered down (intentionally or unintentionally), the backsiphon of water sucks the check valve open.  When this happens I hear a brief sucking sounds letting me know the siphon has broken.

Pictures from above

Two days ago I took a few pictures of the corals from the side of the tank, but today I wanted to get a few images from above as well. However, the lenses I have require a minimum focal length that frustrates my process. Basically, the corals are too close to the lens for it to focus. Shooting from the side of the tank with a tripod, I can back up slightly to get that perfect distance for a good shot, but from above there isn't much room.  I'm going to try out a new lens soon and see if that works because I love shooting from above.

How nice is this?

It's been five days since the reef was reset. I knew I'd need some time getting used to the new look of the reef. Duane begged me to turn on the 20,000K lighting Saturday evening because "your rock is so white!" under 10,000K lighting. Not surprising since it had about 60 lbs of corals shading it for the past couple of years, right?  After he was done gluing the last frags in place, I did flip over to 20,000K so he could see his handiwork.

Out with the old...

Last Saturday, Melev's Reef had a viewing party.  Locals were invited to watch the transformation of the 400g which was desparately in need of a major clean-out.  Corals had grown into massive colonies, completely shading whatever was beneath. Flow was obstructed, and the prettiest view was really only from above. Daily I saw the dead supporting skeleton holding up the living section above, and it was hard to 'like' my reef in that condition.

The frag system update

The frag system has been less fun that I'd hoped.  Water quality has been an issue because it's just not as stable as I like. While skimming is hands-free as well as top off, dosing three part to the tank is an unpleasant task for me. I'm spoiled by my calcium reactor on the big reef, and would probably love one on this smaller tank. Mixing up the solutions, replenishing the reservoirs as they run out, making sure the parameters are on target or adjusting the dosing pumps to compensate for preferred numbers... not a fan.

An Acrylic Power Panel to hide all those messy wires

This week's video is about a power panel I've been wanting to build for my frag system. All the gear that was on the floor is now finally up on the wall in a nice tidy panel, which looks nice and is easily accessible for me. There's no cover for this project because I didn't want one -- I like to just reach over and press a button or unplug something easily.

Extra details here: http://www.melevsreef.com/blog/well-worth-the-wait