Retirement and forum shutdown (17 Jan 2022)


John Howell who has managed the forum for years is getting on and wishes to retire from the role of managing it.
Over the years, he has managed the forum through good days and bad days and he has always been fair.
He has managed to bring his passion for fish keeping to the forum and keep it going for so long.

I wish to thank John for his hard work in keeping the forum going.

With John wishing to "retire" from the role of managing the forum and the forum receiving very little traffic, I think we must agree that forum has come to a natural conclusion and it's time to put it to rest.

I am proposing that the forum be made read-only from March 2022 onwards and that no new users or content be created. The website is still registered for several more years, so the content will still be accessible but no new topics or replies will be allowed.

If there is interest from the ITFS or other fish keeping clubs, we may redirect traffic to them or to a Facebook group but will not actively manage it.

I'd like to thank everyone over the years who helped with forum, posted a reply, started a new topic, ask a question and helped a newbie in fish keeping. And thank you to the sponsors who helped us along the away. Hopefully it made the hobby stronger.

I'd especially like to thank John Howell and Valerie Rousseau for all of their contributions, without them the forum would have never been has successful.

Thank you
Darragh Sherwin

Upgrading to a new tank - the adventure begins ;)

26 May 2014 17:29 - 26 May 2014 18:10 #1 by Bohrio (Alex Rodriguez)
Ok guys so as some of you already know I will be getting a new tank soon. The reason why I havent done it already is because the wife wasnt sure of where she wanted me to build and I didnt want to push her too far (she has been patient enough so far :S). This is a good thing because he has finally decided where she wants it and this means that I am no so restricted in regards size anymore! :)

Anyway I thought I would share this with you as I would appreciate any inputs you might have.

Over a year ago I decided to build a custom nano tank that would sit inside a cabinet I decided to build a nano sump as well to help me hide some of the equipment.

The tank looked ok and it was very well disguised

Unfortunately mostly because of my lack of experience I soon realized that the project was never going to be successful.

The access to both the sump and the DP was too small (barely 7 cm) so it really didnt give me much space to maneuver making cleaning the tank a very tedious task

The tank was also becoming over populated and it was very hard for me to control the temperature as well as the salinity/water parameters so I decided to move to a bigger tank. However, because we werent sure were we wanted the new tank and summer was coming (I havent gone on holidays in over 1 year, not even for 2 days) I decided to use my old freshwater tank (which was our bedroom and the wife had already grown tired of it) into a marine tank, until I got my new one built.

The new aquarium wont be ready until after summer (I will start the project once I come back from my holidays) in the meanwhile I slowly started moving my nano aquarium to my new temp tank.

The temp tank is a 200 liters bow front aquarium. It has no sump and the lights included were not enough so even though it was going to be a temporary tank I had to make sure all my livestock would live under the right conditions, but of course, without spending too much money!

Anyway, so it is a 200 liter bow front tank (100 cm x 25-45 cm x 60 cm). Not the best looking tank but more than enough for what I need. The light I will be using (for now) its a giesemann 4 x 24 w T5HO with a 250 W HQI. A bit overkill but again, will have to do for the moment. The filtration will be an FX5 and an external skimmer.

This is going to be a long thread btw!!! ;)

Ok so the first thing was of course to clean the new aquarium and have it ready for its new inhabitants. At the same time I had to move the remaining fish on my 200 to a new aquarium so it was a busy weekend for me

Once the freshwater fish were in the new aquarium and everything was running smoothly (it took over a day to move them all and glad to report no losses) I started filling up the tank with RO water. I bought a 6 stage RO water system and a DI pod as well to bring the TDS down to 0. The last 2 stages are just because my wife wanted to use the RO system to drink water as well

The RO system was installed under the kitchen sink and although is not the fastest it works great for me (I get around 75 gph) with a TDS of 0.

Next was to fill up the tank with RO water, add some salt and mix it inside the tank (i though it would be better than to mix the water in separate smaller containers).

Once I achieved the desired salinity and added live sand. I will not be using live rock (just base dead rock) so I need good quality live sand. I bought 60 kg of red sea base pink reed live sand to help me with the cycle and to build a solid bacterial colony.

The tank was cloudy for a few days, I decided to add extra filter wool to help me clear the water. The next day the tank was completely clear.

At this point all I had was the external FX5 and a MCE600 that I bought just to help me with the cycle (I had already ordered a Bubble Magus Q3 from fish-street but I knew it would take a few weeks to arrive) and a small power head (1600 lph hydor powerhead) and of course the sand and a heater.

I threw a good piece of fish to start a fishless cycle, at the same time I started adding some microbacter 7 to help build my bacteria colony.

No matter what I would do the ammonia levels will never go higher than 0.25-0.5, I decided to use more raw fish (like half a fillet) but it made not difference, in fact, my second raw fish piece only raised the ammonia levels somewhere in between 0 and 0.25.

Anyway while I was cycling the tank I started curing some base rock I bought from my LFS. The rock was not cheap (around 0.9 euro per kilo) but I had some many unwelcome hitchhikers on my previous live rock that I decided to use dead rock to avoid any unwanted guess.

So the curing process was simple enough, so this is what I did

Curing base reef rock

So once you have the rock the first thing will be to brush it throughly and remove any dead matter of the rock.

The just put the rocks in some RO water and attach a pump to the side of a container. Leave them in there for a few weeks until the ammonia levels go down and until the phosphate levels stop increasing.

It is impressive how quickly ammonia levels increased. The below test was done 12 hours after I added the rock to the water

Phosphates levels were over 3 ppm

I was doing water changes every 2 days or so.

I had never done this before so I wasnt sure of how long it was going to take so I decided to be patience. I used some NOPOX as well to help my control the nitrates levels but after a week I stopped doing this and just focused on chaging the water (I would do between 60 to 100% water changes).

So now back to the aquarium. Two weeks after adding the live sand and 1 week after my fishless cycle attempt I decided to add my seneye monitor and add some of my corals. The reason why I had to rush is because for the last 2 weeks I had noticed that my elegance was not doing very well in my older DP. There the phosphates levels were very high so I was a bit under pressure and had to move all my livestock to the new aquarium asap.

First then it was my elegance and to frags. As soon as I put the elegance in the new tank it opened up fully again, so happy days. The below picture was taken 30 minutes after I put the elegance in.

Anyway, thanks to the seneye I was able to keep an eye on the ammonia levels which never rose higher than 0.002. Salinity was at a steady 1.025

A week later I started moving some of the other fish. My two snowflakes were next (they were easy to catch)

due to the lack of ocean rock I had a few bits of PVC added as well. The clowns didnt seem to mind the open spaces but the blenny was not happy at all so I had to put in back in the old display tank.

I couldn't catch any of the other fish.

So I waited until I had some rock in the tank before adding more fish to it.

During this period I had a bit of a cyano outbreak so I added some critters to help me get rid of it (some hermits, bumble bee snails, fighting conch and turbo snails.

It went away a few days later.

A few days later the rocks were ready for the aquarium. The ammonia was almost 0 and the phosphates between 0.3 and 0.5. I couldn't wait any more (as I was going on holidays in two weeks) so I decided to put them in.

I added some PO4x4 remover as well as some rowaphos to help me control the phosphates. I also used NOPOX, but this was more to help me control my nitrate levels.

Also, to help me control the phosphates I had added some macro algae to the DP as well.

The rock was in and a week later my water levels were as follows:

Ammonia 0.001
Nitrates 5 ppm
Phosphates 0.03
Salinity 1.025

So far so good.

I am going to stop here I will create a second post for want happened next. I hope this is not too boring because I just got started!
Last edit: 26 May 2014 18:10 by Bohrio (Alex Rodriguez).

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26 May 2014 22:59 #2 by Jim (Jim Lawlor)
Definitely not boring - keep going!!

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26 May 2014 23:04 #3 by LemonJelly (Johnny Cowley)
not boring at all. it's good to see such a comprehensive post :cool:

"The only thing that burns in Hell is the part of you that won't let go of your life; your memories, your attachments. They burn them all away. But they're not punishing you.They're freeing your soul."

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26 May 2014 23:09 #4 by swai (Simon)
Very good and detailed. Gave me a good account for starting a marine tank in the future!

Keep it up!

Marino, Dublin 9

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26 May 2014 23:58 #5 by jeff (Jeff Scully)
you finally twisted her arm!! your wife must be wearing the best pair of shoes in ireland right now :laugh: :laugh:

still think that elegance would look better in my tank :P :P

what size tank you having made ??

if yeh need a tank sitter while ur away ive no probs helping u out

Where the tongue slips, it speaks the truth.

A life making mistakes is not only more honourable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing at all.

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27 May 2014 18:50 - 27 May 2014 20:55 #6 by Bohrio (Alex Rodriguez)
Hey guys

Good, glad to hear that.

Yeah Jeff... My elegance is one of the reasons I am getting a bigger aquarium, it already was more than half the width of the nano!

I am not sure about the size yet. It will probably be 150 x 60 x 65 cm probably (I know it will be much more expensive to make it 65 cm tall so I will think about it whether is worth it or not). So not as big as yours but big enough for my apartment :)

Thanks for the offer about tanky sitting my tank. So far I am only going away for 4 days so I am getting someone to come in to feed the fish some frozen food (damn filefish wont eat anything but frozen food) so it should be ok but I will hold you to this one! And likewise of course!

I hard to say is hard to find someone to look after a tank

Anyway, lets keep going.

So we left at the point where I had added the base rock to the tank. I had only bought 20 kg of live rock which will do well considering the amount of fish I have in the tank, I already have another 40 kg drying at the moment, I will be curing soon but I dont think I will be adding all of it to this tank. This rock will go on the new tank a few months from now.

I know some people think that using dry rock instead of live rock is not worth it but I tell you if you can do it, IMO knowing what critters you have in the tank is priceless.

Of course there is a chance that when I get corals from my LFS they might have some sort of pest in it but I am planning of quarantining every coral I get for at least 1 month before adding it to the aquarium to try to spot any pests..

Anyway, so while I was curing the rock the new skimmer arrived. It was a Bubble Magus Q3. This is a new small external skimmer that is suite for 100-300 liter tanks. I have already used a Bubble Magus Naq nano skimmer and was very happy with it hence why I decided to give this nano a go.

It was much more expensive that the equivalent internal Bubble Magus Skimmers but I thought that it would fit perfectly in my tank. Here is a picture of it beside the MCE600

So as you can see the skimmer is about half the size of the MCE which gives me extra space for me to add or hang other stuff as well as being tighter between the skimmer outlet/inlet and the wall of the aquarium

I thought the skimmer would start pulling nasty stuff almost straight away like my other BM did but it took over 1 week for the skimmer to break in (still is not quite there yet). I might write another review in the review section in the future.

So with the new skimmer running and the rocks in the aquarium I monitor my water levels for the next 5 days. Everything looked perfect, I didnt get an ammonia spike (my seneye never registered ammonia higher than 0.003) and the nitrate never went over 0.04.

I started adding microbacter7 to the aquarium on daily basis to start seeding the rock with some bacteria as well. The microbacter7 helped me stabilized the tank and I highly recommend it as it will help you prevent nasty ammonia spike in the tank. I was also dosing NOPOX (again to help me with the nitrates and the Phosphates) once the skimmer started "skimming" I stopped using it, at least for now.

Here is a picture of the tank with the rocks in. I also added another coral I had in the other tank. The coral was in one of those coral frag thingies, it had two different "branches" so I had to cut the coral frag "holder" in two with mini electrical angle grinder, the missing was a success. That mini grinder is perfect for this sort of thing. It cuts through rock/concrete like butter, you just have to be careful not to damage the coral (obviously)

Along with the skimmer I also bought a UV light (jebo 18 w), a powerhead (wp-25) and a fan with a temperature controller as my flat gets quite hot during summer (and the HQI does not help it either).

The powerhead is very good, I was going to get a hydor 3200 (I already have 2 hydor powerhead controllers) but when I saw the price of this wp-25 (8000 lph variable speed) I had to buy it (around 50 euro delivered).

I cannot recommend this powerhead highly enough, I will write a review one day because it is so good that it is worth it over much more expensive powerheads. I was looking at cheapish stuff for this tank as it is only a temporary one but this power head is so good that I might even keep it in the new tank! It even comes with a controller with several different modes (wave modes) and a light sensor for night mode

Anyway moving on. So I added the powerhead, the UV system and the fan (on a timer) as well as replaced the internal heater with my old inline heater (this thing is so good I couldnt wait to use it again).

I connected the UV and the heater to the same line. Using an eheim 600 pump to pump the water from the DP to the UV and through the heater back to the aquarium via another outlet.

This is where the return pump is connected and the tube going down to the UV (I also placed the fan in that same corner blowing towards the HQI)

This is the UV before I attached it to the top of the cabinet

And the return outlet back into the tank (the heater is behind the tank so I can't take pictures of it)

This is a temporary tank so I am not too worried about thins not looking nice and tidy! ;)

So after making sure there were no leaks I started moving the remaining live stock from my old tank. This took me all weekend (well all saturday).

I only had to move a filefish, the blenny, two skunk cleaners, a pompom crab and a few snails and hermits.
I also wanted to keep as many amphipods, sponges, smallers snails, mini bristle starfish and any other detritus feeders I would find useful.

This proved to be a very tedious job but I hope it was worth it.

So the fish, shrimps and snails/crabs were very easy to catch (though it would be harder) and they were in the new tank within 2 hours (after acclimating them).

The rest of the critters were a different story. Once I was able to move the tank out of the cabinet (old tank) I started examining all the live rock for any critters.

I was able to catch over 15 mini bristle stars, over 60 amphipods, 2 sponges and several feather small worms I discharded any type of bristlewarm/fireworm, asterina (I actually like this guys, only a very few type of asterinas are actually not reef safe, I didnt know which one I had so I decided to get rid of all of them), as wel as aptasia.

This is one of the sponges I decided to quarantine (and keep)

And this is after I pulled it out of the rock

After I finished filtering the "good" from the "bad" I put whatever I decided to keep in a quarantine tank

In total, 1 black sponge (I had to get rid of the other one as an aptasia was growing beside it), some bits of chili coral, some button polyps, star polyps and some macro algae.

Everything else was left outside to dry :(

I will be using this rock after I dry it and cure it (probably break the worst quality rock to make rubble).

After a few days I moved the sponges and the chilli coral to the DP, I havent decided what to do with the other two remaining corals (so far no sings of any pests)

Some of the corals (those that werent attached to any rock) were moved to the main DP tank

What is left of the chilli coral

And voila!

So far the tank is doing well, a bit of cyano around the elegance but I rather leave it there for the critters to feed as there is almost no algae in that aquarium

I am still looking for a proper light, at the moment I will be using this (dont want to spend too much money on a new light as this is a temporary tank)

I am also working on a cover for the aquarium (again, cheap one probably made up of egg crate)

This is my black mithrax looking crab... around 10 cm wide (from claw to claw) over 3 cm body length. So far it ignores everyone in the tank and only goes for algae... hope it stays like this, he has been with me since the beginning and survived my tank crash almost 1 year ago. I am not getting rid of it, if it gets aggressive it will end up in the new tanks sump!

You can't really see the crab but maybe you can distinguish the claw? Sorry for the picture, my good camera has no battery! That's his new spot... loves it there

And a full view of the front of the tank

My water parameters are

NH3 (free Ammonia) 0.001 (normal reading for my seneye)
NH4 10
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 5ish
Phosphates 0
Mg 1460
Calcium 420
pH 8.2
Salinity 1.025
Kh 10
O2 8.1

The pump on the top left side is just the nano skimmer. I put it there at the beginning to help me with the nitrates, it is now gone.

Next, well I need to keep seeding the tank and wait for the new base rock to be fully seed, this should happen within a few days, a week or two tops (the rocks have been there for over 2 weeks now).

I will keep you posted. Next will be finishing the tank cover, finding new lights and starting the design of the new aquarium!!!

Thanks for reading!
Last edit: 27 May 2014 20:55 by Bohrio (Alex Rodriguez).

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10 Jun 2014 20:26 #7 by Bohrio (Alex Rodriguez)
Hey guys

So the tank is going well so far.

I have added a few more fish, a tiny hippo tang called Goliath who likes to sleep on one of my powerheads

A small pistol shrimp and a black ray goby (can't take a picture of this guy but it is minuscule (around 2cm long), beautiful fish, the picture below is the best I could do as he is very shy at the moment

I also have a very small red dragonet that I havent seen since I put it in the tank...

Couple of corals as well, a duncan and some zoas (currently in quarantine).

I was also able to take a picture of my black crab (I can't remember the exact type, it is not a mitrax crab but it is similar enough)... it is a scary fella but so far hasnt done any harm to any fish nor corals and he seems more sociable now since he is in the main display tank

The elegance is doing great, around 30 cm wide and getting bigger

Havent seen it this happy in months!

Here is a short video, For me, watching the elegance "move" is one of the most relaxing things to see

I will be buying LED lighting arriving next month, looking forward to it as I will have more control over the lights/colors/down/task etc.

The leds model are KEY K5 LED and they look very decent both in price and specs. Technically I would need the 90 cm unit for my current tank but as this is a temporary tank and the new tank would be in between 120 cm and 150 cm I think it will be better for me to get the 60 cm unit now and then another one when the new tank will be up and running. I might need extra lighting like 4 x 54 W T5HO (2 on the back and 2 on the front) but I will worry about that when it is time

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11 Jun 2014 11:36 #8 by ger310 (Ger .)
Very interesting thread mate,i dont know how i missed it when you first posted!!

Really well illustrated and the tank is looking real good i must say :)

Keep the updates coming please :)


What do you call a three legged Donkey?

A Wonkey....duh ha :)

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11 Jun 2014 12:53 #9 by carlowchris (chris)
love the elegance ,I'd say no matter which tank he's in he'll always be the star

I've been looking at stuff off fish street for the last year but always a bit wary of ordering stuff on line and so I've always bought my stuff from the lfs ,its good to actually someone using and liking there products ,,, maybe a few more of us may order from them in the future and with the savings maybe we can then all afford to put real beauties like your elegance in our tanks

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11 Jun 2014 20:04 - 11 Jun 2014 20:11 #10 by Bohrio (Alex Rodriguez)
Last edit: 11 Jun 2014 20:11 by Bohrio (Alex Rodriguez).

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11 Jun 2014 20:10 #11 by Bohrio (Alex Rodriguez)
Hey guys

Thanks for that. I am happy with the way the tank is doing despite that I have never try to put any effort in making it look good as this tank is only a temporary solution until I get the new one built. This tank is just the base of what the new one will be.

I am planning in seeing base live rock in this tank and then using it on the new tank. This also goes for the live sand although I am still not sure of how I am going to transfer the live sand to the new tank without making a mess and stressing the fish... I will figure something out I suppose.

Chris, I recommend fish-street. So far I am very happy with them. They are cheap and some of the stuff they sell is good. I am interested in seeing how their LED perform, so far, I have only seen them on youtube

As soon as I get them I will post a full review of this LEDs, maybe this will encourage people to start buying them.

For example, their skimmers are fantastic, I have two bubble magus and they are both absolutely great. And they cost 1/3 of the price of similar spec skimmers

I have bought skimmers, pumps, powerheads, uv filters and lots of accessories and never had a problem.

There is however one thing that concerned me and it is that the last packaged arrived in very bad shape. I am not sure if this happened in Ireland or between China and Ireland but the box was wet and cracked on one side.

The stuff inside was in perfect condition but I was missing a couple of plugs, the good thing is that when I told them they sent me new ones free of charge and without asking questions.

Another problem I have with them (doest bother me too much) is that their English is not very good and sometimes I will ask them something and their answer will have nothing to do with what I asked!

But I suggest give them a go. Sometimes I dont mind buying from my LFS but other times I just find it way to expensive.

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05 Jul 2014 16:01 #12 by Bohrio (Alex Rodriguez)
Hey guys

So in the end I went for the GHL Mitras LEDs... I have started a small review of those lights in the product review section in case you want to check it out, so far, very happy with it although I am only running them at 35% to avoid bleaching any corals.

I have also added a couple of fish, a long nose butterfly and a sailfin tang (tiny as usual). Also added a few new corals.

Another thing I have done is well... I have a couple of spare tanks that I am not really using, one of them is a 20 l nano tank that I used at the beginning as a quarantine tank. However, my macro algae is growing very quickly in my main tank so I decided to cut some and move it to this little tank. And while looking at the tank I had an idea...

What if I move all the macro algae out of the main tank into the nano and start growing it in there instead of the display tank?

The caulerpa is a good macro algae but the main problem I have with it is that it is toxic for the elegance coral. I was covering most of the right rear part of the aquarium so I stuck my hand in and after a few bites from my clown (little bugger hates me lol) I pull it all out.

And then I said, being the nano tank so close to the tank, and as I have a spare overflow box I could use this nano as a refugium, mostly as a copepods/brine shrimp factory to feed the fish while I am away...

So I bought a bit of tubing and in about 10 minutes it was all set!

I have to say the tank looks better without the algae but I kind of miss seeing it in there

Then I decided to add a few copepods, as soon as I did that they all went down the drain to the mouth of my grateful fish

So I decided to add some cured crushed coral to the bottom of the nano

Then I remembered that the caulerpa needs iron, and that I could use the refugium to supplement the DP. The flow inside the refugium is very very low, probably around 200-300 lph. I have a spray bar to try to avoid strong currents, I might increase it slightly if I feel is necessary. Anyway, so I wouldn't have to worry about iron supplement and other additives I decided to try that miracle mud, I stopped the pump, added it to the nano, mixed it with the coral rubble and after 1 hour turned the pump on again (I put some floss right under the overflow weird to help me trap some of the mod particles).

I am curious to whether or not this miracle mod works. I also put the seneye inside the nano as I already have enough stuff inside the DP.

here is a picture of both the new refugium and the DP tank.

And here some pictures of some of my corals under the new lights

Hammer coral (small frag)


Orange carnation corals and duncan corals

Brain coral and kenya tree


Colt coral

sorry for the size of pictures

I will keep you posted

I will start designing the stand for the tank next week and hopefully have it ready before the end of the summer. After that I will start with the sump design (have it almost finish) and then, the tank!

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05 Jul 2014 20:11 #13 by carlowchris (chris)
`cool ...i had a simalar idea to turn an old tank into a refugium but was talking to darren in seahorse,he didn't seem sure but what you've done there is exactly what i was planning so i think i'll getting moving on it

was unsure of using sand or mud but never considered using crushed coral,seems like a good idea

love those ghl's too,,i've 2 of them above my tank,every where i looked i could find people saying bad things about the other 2 most popular units but nobody as far as i could find on line could say anything bad these and considering there going to last 10 years or more,i think there worth the extra money,,,,only bad thing was it took a bit to connect to computer but could be a windows 8 issue or a cheap computer issue,......my laptop aint going to last as long as these lights

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05 Jul 2014 22:31 #14 by Bohrio (Alex Rodriguez)
Hey Chris

It all depends of what you want to use the refugium for. If it is for phosphate control I recommend that you use a slightly bigger tank size. But I think it is a great idea, the only thing that worries me is that I am using an overflow box, As this is only a temporary thing I dont mind but I will be getting a water level controller in case the overflow stops working and the tank overflows.

Aside from that I think it is great. My main reason believe it or not was so I could put live food in it and keep it for a few days in case I go away.

Personally and unless this miracle mud proves the opposite when I will build my new tank I will go for a DSB, I could mix crushed coral as well or even use crushed coral on its own but the problem I find with only using crushed coral is that caulerpa doesnt stick to it, but of course I can use other macro algae like caeto which doesnt need to be anchored to the substrate.

I will see, I live the idea of a bottomless refugium but again, I wouldnt mind trying a proper DSB in a refugium. I am planning of buildin a modular refugium so worse case scenario I can empty it and start again!

And about the GHL well, you are right, that was the main reason why I went for them and not the AI or the echotech, I couldnt find any bad reviews about them. I will be getting two (one more) in my new aquarium. How big is yours? I had no problem installing mine but I am using windows 7.

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04 Aug 2014 09:46 - 04 Aug 2014 09:51 #15 by Bohrio (Alex Rodriguez)
hey guys

Just a quick update. I decided to remove the small refugium as I was going on holidays and I didnt feel comfortable leaving it there while I was away.

A few additions to the tank couple of fish and a torch coral. This guy was tiny when I bought it and it has quadruple in size in just 2 weeks.

The carnation coral is still alive and doing well

Finally got a picture of the black ray goby with the pistol shrimp

My kenya tree has triple in size in the last 2 weeks as well, they really seem to like the new LEDs same as the zoas. The SPS are doing ok, My lights are currently running at 55%. I am waiting for my acrylic cover before increasing the power.

I have a a lovely blue spotted Jawfish, here is a picture of him with his stoker behind him

he is doing well, so far, he gave me a fright on the second night, I was having a look to see how he was doing and I noticed he was laying on the side very pale, suddenly I realized that the zoas were pressing his body against the sand so I removed the zoas and move them to the middle of the tank, he recovered very quickly.

I wasn't expecting him to dig his burrow under the zoa, all my rocks have special supports (pvc rings) underneath to prevent rocks from sliding), the only thing without one are my corals! Is like he knows...

One of the fish I have always wanted was the helfrichi firefish, they are not cheap (neither are the bule spotted) but I like the idea of having a tank with rare fish. Sorry I dont have a good picture of him, this picture was taken shortly after putting him in the tank, he is doing well, however, the tangs are not very happy with him (not sure why as he doesnt bother anyone) and they will occasionally harass him, he doesnt seem to mind (so far). He is looking much more colorful today.

Another thing I did and I have always wanted to do is to add an anemone in the tank. I had to rearrange the rocks and the flow of the tank.

I have left the entire middle section for the anemone, I think this is the place he likes although it is too soon to tell. It is a small quadricolor anemone

This is how the tank looks now after rearranging the rocks (and adding a few more kgs of cured base rock).

A couple of modifications I had to make, first thing is to make an improvised cover made out of egg crate and transparent plastic mesh (I have ordered some cut to size acrylic and I will hopefully get it next week). So far it does the trick (the jawfish and the firefish are known jumpers).

Added my old Auto top up unit

As well as a temp controller (cheap one I got from fish-street) excellent addition especially in summer as while I was away my temperature increase to 29.5 degrees (from 25.4) in only a few hours (the temperature in the apartment was 35C. This controller keeps my tank temperature stable with a variation of less than a degree (when hottest), I recently lowered the temperature 1 degree to accommodate my jawfish (it is now set to 25 degrees). The fan is currently set to go when the temperature reaches 25.5 degrees.

Look at the graph, you can see the before and after... (last bump is me lowering the temperature 1 degree)

Having a temperature controller is a great advantage specially if you are going abroad and for 20 euro you can't really go wrong with this one.

Once my cover is finished this will be it, and I will start working on the new tank.
Last edit: 04 Aug 2014 09:51 by Bohrio (Alex Rodriguez).

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10 Aug 2014 21:53 - 10 Aug 2014 21:58 #16 by Bohrio (Alex Rodriguez)
Hey guys

So I few upgrades/changes regarding the aquarium.

My skimmer wasn't performing as I wanted so I decided to upgrade to a tunze 9211 rated for up to 1100 liters which should be more than enough for me. The reason why I went for this skimmer is because it allows me to position it inside the aquarium without taking too much space.

Another thing I had to do is to built a cover for the aquarium as I didnt trust the temporary one I had made out of egg crate and transparent plastic mesh. Specially since I will be going away in a few weeks and someone else will be looking after the tank in my absence. It is not fully finished but I am happy with it so far (I still need to figure out what will be the best way to place the cooling fan).

The cover is made out of acrylic. I got the acrylic from 365 plastics. I ordered 3 mm acrylic (although I think they sent me 2 mm) but tbh, 2 mm is enough. I asked them to cut them is several pieces so I only had to do smaller modifications with my mini angle grinder. I know that an acrylic cover has its drawbacks (less O2 will increase CO2 and decrease pH) but so far so good. I might need to make more wholes in the cover but for the moment it doesnt seem to be necessary. The other problem is heat dissipation, but again, so far so good, it was 34 degrees inside the apartment on saturday and the tank temperature never went over 25.8 degrees (with the fun running).

The cover is split in three part, 2 x 35 cm and 1 x 30 cm (middle).

The left side is where the fan goes, I had to cut a square in the middle of it to fit the fan.

The rest of the cover fit perfectly on the sides of the tank. I also cut the front of the cover to match the curved front part of the bow aquarium, that took a bit of time.

The right side of the cover is where the skimmer is so I had to make several wholes to fit it. I also needed to make a few cuts to fit the auto top up sensors and hose. This is how the left side of the cover looked like at first, at the back is the ATU and the RO water return.

But then I realized that the collection cup whole had to be bigger (it was resting on the cover and not on the skimmer) so I increased the size of it. I also made a little whole big enough to fit the tip of a syringe (for dosing).

I also cut the front of the cover to fit the front of the aquarium (bow shape).

The middle part was easy, I just made a small rectangular cut near the top to allow someone to feed fish, big enough to fit a hand, then I made a small cover out of egg crate and transparent plastic mesh and voila!

Here is the final result

I will probably replace the egg crate cover with acrylic in the future but I need to find acrylic cement first so I can make a proper "feeding door" as well as an acrylic hinge but that can wait. I needed to finish this cover and the ATU and the temperature controller before I would go on holidays so mission accomplished!

And the craken loves the shadow under the elegance

This will be probably it for this tank (maybe a doser but I dont think I will spend more money on it, my next step is to downsize the freshwater tank, and get rid of the 125 tank so I can remove the cabinet and start building the aquarium!!!

Hopefully it will be ready before xmas! :)

In the meanwhile I am still cycling more base rock in preparation for the new tank.
Last edit: 10 Aug 2014 21:58 by Bohrio (Alex Rodriguez).

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10 Aug 2014 22:59 #17 by carlowchris (chris)
Love the cover ..very neat..very cool...the only thing i was thinking though was when using the skimmer do you really have to worry about a decrease in o2????

Planning an upgrade in my skimmer too and was looking at the tunze...very good reviews and seems like a very good choice....any update on the plans for the new tank???..will the tunze be big enough????

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11 Aug 2014 10:36 - 11 Aug 2014 10:38 #18 by Bohrio (Alex Rodriguez)
Hey Chris

Thanks. The decrease in O2 wont be because of the skimmer but because of the lack of air (as the acrylic cover has very few openings and this will prevent O2 from outside coming in). However, the fan will pour air in anyway so the levels should remain stable, at least while is hot. If anything the skimmer will help with the O2 generation, I am sure that if I turn my skimmer off for a few days my pH will drop.

I am happy with the tunze (so far) but the only reason why I went for it is because there was no other option and my external one just couldnt keep up with my current bioload, also designing the cover was easier when using the Tunze. This tunze is rated for 1100 liters so it should be enough even for the new tank.

If I were you and having a sump I would go for a bubble magus, probably a Curve 7 or even a Curve 9


You could also go for the Coral Box DC700, excellent skimmer as well


You wont find anything as good as those 3 within that price range.
Last edit: 11 Aug 2014 10:38 by Bohrio (Alex Rodriguez).

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11 Aug 2014 11:25 #19 by LemonJelly (Johnny Cowley)
Love the tank. And your updates are always fascinating and comprehensive!

"The only thing that burns in Hell is the part of you that won't let go of your life; your memories, your attachments. They burn them all away. But they're not punishing you.They're freeing your soul."

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02 Feb 2015 22:48 #20 by carlowchris (chris)
Hi ya alex...hows the tank going???hows the little jawfish getting on??

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03 Feb 2015 09:37 #21 by Ski (Alan McGee)
Very nice Bohrio, great post

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04 Feb 2015 19:29 #22 by jeff (Jeff Scully)
Has that elegance got to big for the tank yet B)

Where the tongue slips, it speaks the truth.

A life making mistakes is not only more honourable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing at all.

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05 Feb 2015 13:40 #23 by Bohrio (Alex Rodriguez)
HEy Jeff

It hasnt grown much tbh, I lowered the light so as I had an algae outbreak (haven tbeen looking after the tank much tbh still busy with the cat)

Everything is still alive and happy, all the fish are getting along really well including the BSJ which has proven to be extremely resistant.

TRying to find my mojo back but I think I wil be getting rid of my FW tank just to keep things simple

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05 Feb 2015 17:33 #24 by jeff (Jeff Scully)
That pussy sure does get allot of loven it must have yeh wore out

Its good to hear everything is OK, when u have a marine tank your better off sticking to that and that only for a good while until you get how it runs as all tanks will be different in their own way

Call into me some evening and we'll try get that mojo going again

Where the tongue slips, it speaks the truth.

A life making mistakes is not only more honourable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing at all.

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05 Feb 2015 19:06 #25 by LemonJelly (Johnny Cowley)

That pussy sure does get allot of loven it must have yeh wore out

What the fudge did I just read? :ohmy:

"The only thing that burns in Hell is the part of you that won't let go of your life; your memories, your attachments. They burn them all away. But they're not punishing you.They're freeing your soul."

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06 Feb 2015 00:03 #26 by Bohrio (Alex Rodriguez)

That pussy sure does get allot of loven it must have yeh wore out

What the fudge did I just read? :ohmy:


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08 Feb 2015 01:00 #27 by jeff (Jeff Scully)
Hehe :whistle:

Where the tongue slips, it speaks the truth.

A life making mistakes is not only more honourable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing at all.

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23 Apr 2015 21:34 #28 by Bohrio (Alex Rodriguez)
Ok, so I think I am back.

After 8 months and thousands of euro later the cat is still alive and kicking, not bad considering we were told that he wouldnt last more than 2 weeks...

It is hard work though, daily subcutaneous fluids, antibiotics and other meds, but as long as he is happy we are happy (no holidays for me though).

Anyway, I kind of left both tanks unattended doing barely 1 or 2 water changes per month, very little cleaning, only feeding once a day and that's about it.

Well considering how obsessive I was before, watching the tank constantly, any small thing would bother me for days, feeding several times, different feeding methods etc... I was surprised how the tank has done with only 1 casualty to report (my bicolor blenny got stuck between to rocks and died while I was away for the day). This is in over 8 months.

And this is the best part, before I left I was always fighting with nitrates (around 10 ppm), always checking ammonia and phosphates, running test 2 or 3 times a week etc, well, I decided to run a water test a couple of weeks ago, and couldnt believe my eyes

salinity 1.025
Phosphates 0
Ammonia 0
Nitrates 0.2

Now on the meanwhile all my fish (including the jawfish) are doing well, happy and fat, hippo is great, sailfin is getting pretty big, the firefish is happy, and they all have learnt to leave with each other, they dont bother (remember I use to have lots of issues with the Sailfin biting the jawfish's fins) well that's gone now too, clowns are happy as well and much more social, even the pistol shrimp is still alive and kicking.

Which goes to show you that sometimes you dont really need to be so obsessed with fishkeeping and that you are just better off letting things go their way

I wont be adding any more fish for a while, nor corals, now is time to start saving again and built the aquarium I always wanted but just wanted to say hi to everyone and share my experiences.

Now although I wasnt looking after the aquarium it does have dosing pumps (nopox and alkalinity) and I did have to adjust my LEDs due to an algae outbreak (lowering the reds and cleaning the rock with a toothbrush did the trick) but that's about it (oh and I change the filter twice, and removed all the bioballs and replace them with live rock) cleaned the glass twice a month and that's about it.

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24 Apr 2015 13:37 #29 by carlowchris (chris)
Good to hear Alex....just goes to show that ya tank really must be an ecosystem on its,own....Very little maintainance and everything perfect is probly what a lot of us would like.....

Do you use the jabao dosing pumps...any good???any issues with them?????

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24 Apr 2015 18:39 #30 by Bohrio (Alex Rodriguez)
Hey Chris!

thanks mate, yes I am and so far I am very happy with it, no issues whatsoever ;) Highly recommend it specially for the price.

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