New 135 high tech build in Arlington

Discussion in 'Build Threads' started by jcl333, Sep 18, 2017.

  1. jcl333

    jcl333 Well-Known Member BRS Member

    Hello everyone,

    I just posted to introductions, and here is the start of my build thread. Sorry if this is a long read.

    This will be my first saltwater / reef tank but I have been doing fresh water for a long time. I am an engineer and love technology, and probably am more interested in the filters and related design than I am the inhabitants. I am going for a high-tech build with the goals of lowering maintenance and even eliminating water changes. I would not have even thought it would be possible to run any aquarium without water changes, much less a reef tank. But, I have been researching for a few months now, and apparently people have done it, and it looks really interesting.

    I actually just got back from a visit to the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta. I always wanted to go there, and I used a solar eclipse viewing trip as an excuse to do it. Well, I paid for the $15 "back stage" tour (yes I have pictures), which was great and I highly recommend it. But the tour was given by a marine biologist who could not really answer filter questions, so I asked if I could talk to one of their filter people. So he asked and sent someone down, and we ended up talking for a good hour and a half. The Georgia Aquarium is land-locked, and the local water and sewer department can not handle water changes on a 6.3 million gallon tank (plus all the other tanks). So by necessity they have a system that runs without water changes per-se, mainly through the use of multiple two-story tall protein skimmers, allot of ozone, sulfur de-nitrators, and a few other things. There is a little bit dated but interesting article about it here:

    Other no-water-change (or low water change) systems:
    DSR (Dutch Synthetic Reefing)
    - Really complicated, but really interesting
    Triton Method
    - Really interested in this, should make things allot easier

    So, here is what I have so far:
    - 135G Oceanic, RR + black back + Starphire glass
    - Oceanic solid oak stand I bought used and re-furbished
    - LED lighting with four Kessil A160WE Tuna Blue's
    - LifeReef LF2 W/D filter / sump
    - LifeReef protein skimmer Model VS3-24
    - Blue Line HD40 to run skimmer
    - Iwaki WMD55RLT main pump
    - Iwaki 30RLT that will probably run lifeguard filters
    - Lifeguard mechanical, chemical, and 25W UV
    - 500W blue line titanium heater with controller
    - I have a plastics fabricator building me a custom ABS canopy to add to aesthetics and cut down on light wash into the room

    Here is what I am planning to add: (so far)
    - Automatic roll Pre-filter
    , Klir from CoralVue
    - These things look really great, was going to go with socks, but this idea is much better
    - Algae scrubber
    - Pax Bellum ARID N24 macro algae reactor
    - It looks to me like these guys came up with something really special here that took years of research
    - Going to do this instead of things like GFO reactor, Sulfur de-nitrator, and similar things
    - When you get to the point where you are actually dosing nitrate and phosphate, that is amazing
    - I actually have prior experience in aquaculture, and this idea basically gives you an aquaponics based system, which are well proven in both fresh and salt water.
    - Calcium reactor
    - DaStaCo automatic calcium reactor
    - These things are expensive, but it looks to me like most calcium reactors are relatively finicky, so I am interested in this type of automated calcium reactor, and it can work together with the algae reactor
    - Water movement, Two Ecotech VorTech MP40 power heads

    Things I am still researching:
    - Apex controller (figuring out all the modules and parts I need)
    - RODI setup, mainly for automatic top-off (will probably use Apex)
    - Test kits - leaning toward electronic one's such as Hanna, looks easier than matching colors
    - Peristaltic dosing systems, just starting to research which one of these I will need
    - PVC reservoir, looking for something large 180G+
    - I really wanted to use ozone, but the algae reactor documentation recommends against it, I may contact them to find out why. I really like the idea due to the ability to make the water very clear.
    - Coral knowledge, need to get to the point where I can understand better, right now it still sounds a bit like another language. My current thinking is stay with all things marked best for "beginners" until I feel confident enough to go further.

    Progress notes:

    Putting everything in basement

    - There is no way all of this is going to fit under the tank in the stand, so recently I decided to switch to putting all the filters in the basement. This will have added advantages of reducing noise, controlling temperature, reducing mess in the living room, and I can go with a much larger reservoir

    Wet/dry filter

    - I know the current trend in not to use these due to nitrate production. However, I think part of the reason people have this problem is because they are taking raw or just pre-filtered water and putting it over the bio-balls, which will cause them to collect detritus and thus nitrate. The algae scrubber I am looking to use can in theory reduce nitrates so low, people resort to dosing. So, since I already have one of these with the Lifereef, my idea is to put already-filtered water over it so that it does not clog (see diagram in pictures), and run is specifically so that I can feed the needed nitrate to the algae reactor, as well as helping support a higher fish load. Using the belt automatic pre-filter and protein skimmer should maximize nutrient export in general.


    - Looks like I will need around 135 lbs of live rock and live sand, although I am concerned about having areas in the tank that you cannot reach to clean.

    Here are some pictures as well as a diagram of the current filter concept:

    I am very interested to see what all of you experienced reefers think of this idea.


  2. Curren007K

    Curren007K Well-Known Member BRS Member

    Grand ideas, followng along.
    I have all my equipment in my basement as well.
    Looking at your diagram, I would suggest you can reduce the number of pumps you have.
    I would size the main return based off the head loss from vertical height, number of fittings, desired turn over rate but I would also recommend tapping off your return line with tees/gate valves to feed your filters/reactors.
    Reguardless your main pump will be pretty powerful, so be sure to use vibration pads underneath the pump and also to use flexible pvc for the intake and atleast 3' for the return to dampen the vibrations which will greatly reduce the noise.
  3. jcl333

    jcl333 Well-Known Member BRS Member

    Thank you for the reply.

    I am curious, what pump are you using for your main pump? If you have a 180, then your setup should be similar to mine, just maybe taller. Do you have a rough idea what your net flow is?

    For sizing my pump, when I ran the calculations, I come out with a net flow of about 700 GPH, not including the flexible tubing at the end, not sure how to calculate that exactly. The megaflow overflows are rated at 600 GPH each, so I am thinking I want to try to stay below that so that one overflow could handle everything if one failed. The only way to do better would be to not use those, and use both bulkheads for overflow, and pipe the returns over the side, which is an option.

    As far as reducing the number of pumps, I agree that would be nice to do, I think of it this way:
    Main circulation return pump
    - I could potentially use this for the algae reactor and calcium reactor, because those probably won't present that much back pressure, and I might be able to have everything in-line and go directly back to the tank. This would have the added advantage that I could put the skimmer and wet/dry before the algae reactor, something I would prefer.
    - Just wondering if is an issue to have all that head pressure after the algae reactor... probably OK but becomes very important that the seal stays healthy, I could also potentially setup a bypass so that I could do maintenance on it without shutting off the main pump.

    Reactor and skimmer pumps

    - The other option would be to get one large pump that could do both of these, not sure if the blue line HD40 is big enough for that...
    - The skimmer should pretty much stay constant, and as I mentioned I don't think the algae scrubber presents that much restriction
    - I could potentially put them in series with the skimmer 2nd, or parallel from a T/Y.
    - The disadvantage is I would prefer to have things go skimmer then algae reactor, although some are saying the reverse is better. But I am wondering if the algae reactor would then quickly accumulate detritus, and could then increase nutrients and/or block maximum light exposure to the algae

    Pressure pump for lifeguard modules
    - I don't want to branch off of this to any reactors, because as the mechanical and chemical modules clog it will change the flow, which could possibly lead to constant adjustments and fiddling with the input to the reactors, as it is I don't like doing that to the wet/dry, but it is probably ok since it is not super dependent on a specific flow rate
    - I had an earlier design that had this on the main pump, but especially after switching to having things in the basement, I think this not a good idea so that I have consistent turnover

  4. cilyjr

    cilyjr Chris Staff Member Moderator BRS Member

    If you want to try to eliminate water changes and are planning on spending a good amount of money then
    Have fun!

    Are you planning on running a calcium reactor from start up? Most people wait until demand warrants it. If there's no demand alk and ca will gradually increase and ph will be dealing with excess co2 for no reason.

    I wouldn't go straight from Rodi to tank. Alot of people will tell you that if a float switch or valve fails you could flood the tank with freshwater. I'm sure with enough fail-safes anyone could stop this if they wanted to try hard enough. In addition to that cycling an ro unit off and on in small intervals is harder on the membrane than a long pull. And one usually gets a small TDS spike the first 10 to 15 seconds of run time.

    If you are really looking to automate maintenance as much as possible a controller is pretty much a necessity. There are many options (including diy arduino) but neptune systems apex is king of the hill. I would not go any other route. It is hands-down the best most important purpose purchase I ever made.
  5. jcl333

    jcl333 Well-Known Member BRS Member

    Sounds like you meant this somewhat jokingly, but actually, that is a pretty nice piece of equipment. Basically a fully automatic turn-key water changer, including mixing the salt for you. I would not have thought to use RO as a filter for the tank water, but yes it would work, with some trade-offs pointed out by some of the reviews.

    Really good article about a guy who uses one here:

    If this were 10 years ago, I would probably get one of these. But, I think I should only need it if I am unsuccessful with the no-water changes idea. But overall this has some benefits, and if you add up all the things it replaces and the time and space it saves, it is not as horribly overpriced as it might seem at first.

    Probably not. As you say, it would take awhile before it would be needed. I might get it just so that I can figure out the plumbing, but not actually start it up until needed, unless it has a really low setting.

    My way of dealing with the excess CO2 would be the algae scrubber.

    These are some good points, yes I have read that too. I was going to look at one of these highly redundant auto-top-off systems like the apex one.

    The long vs. short cycle could be an issue. One thing I am considering is that I already have a Kinetico RO drinking water filter for the house, and a water softener, so I could tap off of that with a DI module for the final stage, and then I would not have to worry as much. The Kinetico also has a holding tank probably for the same reason.

    Oh yes, I think I am definitely getting one of those. I am only hesitant because it seems that they have had a fair bit of problems with the new one vs. the older one's. Hopefully that has settled down a bit.

    Thanks for you info

  6. cilyjr

    cilyjr Chris Staff Member Moderator BRS Member

    Jokingly? Naw I only said have fun because for tech junkies those reads are just that.
  7. jcl333

    jcl333 Well-Known Member BRS Member

    Oh, ok. So would you not consider yourself a tech junkie?

    Sent from my XT1650 using Tapatalk
  8. cilyjr

    cilyjr Chris Staff Member Moderator BRS Member

    I'm in the middle. I like to make a lot of stuff
  9. cilyjr

    cilyjr Chris Staff Member Moderator BRS Member

    I'll give my 2 cents on your equipment. If interested please continue reading below. if not please enjoy this cute puppy meme and disregard the following.

    You seem to have chosen some big older style powerhog pumps. I'm unsure why. I understand you need a good pressure pump to get water upstairs but reeflow has a similar model that runs at about 1/2 the watts (it's not the berricuda that everyone seems to buy) I think it's the sword tail. There are also the newer style DC pumps. The biggest advantage in my opinion to these is they will run for a long time off of a battery backup because DC amps are far less than AC amps. Meaning a big 8D deep cycle battery will run a dc pump for far longer than an AC pump since it's on 12 volts instead of 120 volts.

    I don't like LED lighting so I can't give much advice in that area. But the kessils are known to be particularly spotlight-ey ( sometimes I make up words). I would definitely consider some T5 supplementation. Personally I would ditch them all together and if you had your heart set on LEDs, Radeon xr30 G4 Pros are the only ones I think are finally "there". Mostly due to the Optics over anything else.

    The Pax Bellum unit isn't anything revolutionary. Us nerds have been doing this DIY for a while. I however haven't (I just use a 5 gallon bucket but that's a whole nother story). The one thing I take from the article as interesting is using in the calcium reactor effluent directly to the algae reactor to help bleed off excess CO2 both helping keep it out of the system and spurring algeal growth. That said Dong has been doing this for over a year now. I think that there are far cheaper units that will render roughly the same results. I think the unit is so expensive because they felt the need to run a coaxial LED down the middle of the unit rather than just wrap lights around it like the "poor people" do. So now we're spending money on a big heat sink and a watertight seal that the lights it's in. I'm guessing that's going to be a pain to clean once it starts to fog up.

    I don't disagree about bio balls and detritus collection. What you're saying makes a lot of sense. However in addition to that most denitrifying bacteria love a far more anaerobic environment than bio balls can provide. Plenty of live rock should take care of that anyway. My personal opinion is that extra chamber might be better served with either more live rock or alternatively those blocks that people are selling these days though I don't know much about them I've never tested more than .2 nitrate so haven't had to look into it.

    I don't really know anything about that skimmer. I understand the Venturi skimmer vs needle wheel skimmers vs recirc skimmers Etc. My personal opinion is they're all acrylic tubes where we try to make a lot of bubbles. At the end of the day best case scenario you're going to get about 30% organic removal regardless of how amazing the manufacturer tells you they're skimmer is. Slightly off topic but most of out equipment is just acrylic tubes and how we arrange them.

    Can you find any information on how large the tube diameter is on that calcium reactor? I'm curious as I feel to 4 inch tubes would be too small eventually. I ran a calcium Reactor with two 4-inch tubes and eventually I was dripping effluent at 120 ml/min which was bringing tank PH down way too much even while dripping kalkwasser. I recently switched to a larger unit and was able to cut effluent trip by half and still maintain calcium and alkalinity. If the tubes are two 6in tubes then it's probably fine. Also consider the Geo reactors they are a nice quality build and have been around for a long time. Absolutely stay away from aquamaxx they do weird things when building them and they're difficult to use.

    The roller Mat pre filters seem fun! Not for me but fun nonetheless.

    As far as Apex I'm not sure if the problems with the new 2016 model I'm Still rocking a Apex classic. It uses pretty much all the new modules coming out except I heard it won't use that trident thing that tests alk and calcium Etc. And I assume we will see more of that in the next few years. But mine works fine. I think the biggest advantage to the new one for most is it will connect over WiFi whereas the classic requires a bridge if you wish to use Wifi. Personally I like to hardwire sensitive equipment.

    I hope I'm not raining on your parade it is not my intention I think you have a fine build and a great start here!
  10. jcl333

    jcl333 Well-Known Member BRS Member

    Thank you very much for taking the time to give me this detailed reply, I really appreciate it.

    In general, and in response to your previous post, I too am a major DIY guy.... but, lately I have so many demands on my time, I just don't have time to do it. So sometimes I just want to buy something that someone has already figured out, even if I have to pay a premium for it. That and as I mention in my post I am an engineer and love fancy gadgets.

    On the pumps....

    Well, the first reason is that I already had them. But I will certainly research your suggestions and see if it would be worth switching, I might have to do that anyways because it is possible that my 55RLT is not large enough for my needs, and if what you say is true that there is a pump that is literally twice as efficient, then I am interested. The other reason is that these are tried and true reliable pumps I have been using for years, reliability is certainly a factor.
    From what I have been reading, the DC pumps would be OK for some applications, but most do not have the head pressure to be the main pump.

    I am in a different place on the battery backups. The main loss you will have with AC is about 10-20% to conversion losses, and perhaps the cost of the inverter.
    But, aside from that, I would not use lead-acid batteries... I am considering getting one of the Tesla powerwall whole-house backup batteries, it's expensive, but I can run more than just the aquarium and I can charge it with my solar panels.

    On the LEDs...

    Hehe, I guess we are on different sides on this one. I see in your signature you are using MH.... I honestly could not bring myself to even enter the reef hobby with these, I would have gone all T5 if LED's did not get to where they are now. But I simply can't stand the inefficiency, heat, energy consumption, short lifespan, and cost of MH... it creates too many problems for me. Other than that, they do do a good job, and they also have the nice shimmer effect.

    The Radeons are indeed nice, the one you specify I think was out after I made my purchase, but I had a difficult time deciding between Kessil and Radeon. For my taste, I actually chose them because I like the "pendant" style, and I love the shimmering effect created by the "spotlight-ey" kessils. They are basically a direct replacement for 175W MH, or at least that is the intention. I agree I don't think LEDs 100% perfectly replace prior solutions, not yet anyways, but they are close enough that enough people are keeping successful reefs with them to be good enough for me. And then they have some really big advantages as well.

    If I find that these LEDs limit my success, then I can always add or change them later. But it is something I am keeping an eye on so it is a fair point.

    On the PAX Bellum....

    I think the devil is in the details. Take a look at this PDF file here:
    It explains allot about how it functions and answers allot of your questions and concerns. I am not trying to sell it to you, just why I think it is good.
    It includes why they went with the coaxial LED, and that cooling solution is called a heat pipe, they have been in use for years cooling CPUs in computers, so it is actually a clever use of that passive technology. And the center sleeve is replaceable if it fogs up too much after repeated cleanings, actually I think they recommend changing it annually.

    I have seen many DIY solutions that are quite good as well, but many of them take up too much space for my setup, so I am OK if the PAX only does "just as good at a price" but doing it in a much smaller footprint. Also, the aesthetics and build quality are really nice, you have to admit there are some pretty ghetto DIY solutions out there, even if they do function well.

    On the bio-balls or wed/dry...

    Well, nitrosomonas and nitrobacter are aerobic (ammonia and nitrite) and it's anaerobic denitrifying bacteria that take the nitrate to nitrogen gas. So yes, you aren't going to get any of the latter in a wet/dry filter, but it is really good at hosting the first two.

    My setup will have about 135 lbs of live rock and live sand, but it makes me nervous to rely on that alone because I want to run a high fish load, and I like to have some redundancy as well.

    I was going to go with a sulfur denitrator and I was also looking at some of that material you are talking about, but then I saw this algae reactor and I think it is one of the best options I have seen in awhile. I hope it works as well as people say.

    On the skimmer....

    Lifereef has been around for decades, actually one of the first skimmers to come along when they were invented. It is not as fancy or pretty as some of the latest things around, but it is tried and true, and does not have some of the drawbacks of the new one's either. I really like the build quality and simplicity, and that it is expandable.

    On the calcium reactor...

    They have a few different models with different sizes, and I have not decided which one I would get yet, or even if I will go with that reactor at all, still thinking.
    I am hoping that the algae reactor will help allot with the acid effluent problem, but I am willing to do additional things also if that is not enough.

    Yeah, I agree. It is just too cool to pass up.

    On the APEX...

    I am with you, I hate WiFi... I was going to hard wire either way (I am an IT guy so it is easy to do correctly for me anyways). Yeah, I could consider going with the prior model if it can still do enough things and the bugs take too long to work out on the new one. Everywhere I read the older one is solid and they are still selling it.

    Not at all, I appreciate the suggestions and advice. I would rather someone smack me because I am doing something unwise or stupid before it is too late, then have them quietly watch me fail or struggle.

  11. Curren007K

    Curren007K Well-Known Member BRS Member

    I was teetering between a Reeflo Barracuda/Hammerhead Hybrid and a Reeflo Manta Ray for a while.
    I opted for a Reeflo Manta Ray in the end, its oversized but the hybrd would have ultamitely been undersized for my setup not even being able to maintain a 5x turnover.
    I have it dialed back slightly, but makes up for my headloss, feeds my chiller and taps for future equipment, pumps my waste water up and out of my basement to a drywell for water changes and maintains a 10X turnover rate no problemo.
    My only regret is the energy consumption, the Manta draws subtstainial 770W. I won't be cursing at National Grid as much when I finally go solar.
  12. cilyjr

    cilyjr Chris Staff Member Moderator BRS Member

    On the pumps (I'm using this format now)

    That is a great reason to be using those pumps. I think that old Iwaki pump will be okay, it's pretty hard core pressure rated. It just uses a lot of energy.

    Perhaps I'm not understanding what you mean by 20% loss. If you take 8.3 amps (roughly 1000w at 120v) it will require about 90 amps dc @12v to run. Battery runtime comes down to amp hours. Which means how long a battery will run for 20 hours at certain amount of amps the problem I found is that's all 12 volt DC amps. But perhaps I'm missing something.

    Yeah the Tesla thing will be a thing soon!

    I was just mentioning some of these DC pumps have inline battery backups that will run the pumps for 20 or more hours and they're not very big(physically) They use sealed batteries so they're easy to keep in the house over a huge inverter that might need to have a few batteries outside.

    On the lights

    The reason I mentioned the spotlight effect of the LED is that as corals become larger and start to shade themselves out. There is more Reflection from more traditional forms of lighting allowing the base of the corals to continue to get the lighting it requires. People complain about STN and sometimes consider these low light areas from LED lighting as a potential contributing factor ( I would never suggest that they are these sole factor in these scenarios).

    I won't say that led don't grow Coral they absolutely will. I think a huge problem is people simply do not want to put enough of them over there tank. Even with the high end Optics on the new radions I would still put six over my tank and adjust the intensity accordingly. My big complaint with LEDs is spread

    On the algae reactor

    There sure are a lot of crappy looking algae reactors out there that have been DIY'd. Mine is one of them as it's simply a 5 gallon bucket with a couple of uniseals and a par38 spotlight. I'm sure their product is fine I just don't think it's worth a grand.
    For fun...

    On the wet dry

    Sure they do that but so will live rock. I just don't see the point of adding something that does 2/3 of the job when you can just add the Rock and have it do 100% of it in the same space. Using that space for more than 135 lb of live rock as you quoted above I think will probably be a more efficient way of dealing with the high fish load . Not to mention the adding of more maintenance of having to clean bio balls. But if it works for you have at it!

    On the subject of high fish loads, the ability to filtrate the waste from a large bioload does not necessarily mean that you have the ability to add a large bioload. A good friend of mine put way too many fish in his 120 in the beginning and found that aggression was extreme as fish were competing for hiding places at night. Mortality rates were also high because of the consistent stress of too many animals in the confined space.

    On the skimmer

    I don't run one of those fancy skimmers either. Well at least it wasn't until I modded the bejesus out of it. I am also a fan of tried-and-true Technology hence my metal halide lighting and my ancient mag 18 return pump.

    Though I got to say I kind of enjoyed the life Reef fear-mongering write up about how needle wheel skimmer pumps are dying every couple of weeks and they're impossible to find.

    I stand by my original statement of a protein skimmer is just a acrylic tube with a lot of bubbles in it. How one gets those bubbles is up to them and I'm sure that skimmer will work fine.

    On the ca reactor

    Most are fine. I would find one that has a 6-inch chamber. I would also consider staying away from that the couple that have a jar type screw lid. That's really my only advice and this area.

    Ok hit me with more! I seem to have taken an interest in this thread
  13. RyReef

    RyReef Well-Known Member BRS Member

    interesting i skip all the words... n went straight to pic. :D
  14. jcl333

    jcl333 Well-Known Member BRS Member

    Yeah, I am concerned about the energy, mainly in how much heat dump I will get. It's 192W at full power.

    I was over the character limit which is why I switched to the bold headers....

    All I am saying is that with every conversion there is loss. I am going to say a "typical" medium cost inverter will be between 80-90% efficient. So in your example, the ac pump running on a 90% efficient inverter would draw 9.13 amps (8.x + .83) off of the battery to do the same job. The point is that assuming ac and dc pumps manufactured around the same time and around the same size will be very similar in efficiency. As you point out, the DC pump has the advantage of being able to run directly off the battery without an inverter. However, at all other times it needs a step-down transformer to bring the 120v down to 12v.... well, if that device is also 90% efficiency, then the ac pump has an advantage of not needing that, so over time consumes less power as it is likely power outages are rare.

    There is the somewhat separate issue comparing a "modern" dc pump to the much older iwaki that I have, that will of course make a difference as well, but it might not be as big as you think. And if the iwaki is more reliable, and you end up having to replace the dc pump, that would easily wipe out any difference in savings due to power usage.

    Batteries are also not 100% efficient, every inch of wire has loss to resistance, and so on.

    Yup, in that scenario, if you have frequent power outages then yeah I would say it is an attractive feature. Although inverters are not necessarily big, you can get a 120w inverter for your car cigarette lighter for like $50 or less, and it is smaller than a can of soda. The one on my solar panels is about the size of a carry-on suitcase, and fairly expensive because I think it is around 97% efficient.

    For me, with a large battery and inverter, or a generator, you have the added convenience of also running your refrigerator, heater, etc. Not just the aquarium.

    What is STN? Not familiar with that. You may be right, I don't know because this will be my first reef tank.

    I think you are totally right on people under-sizing LED setups. You will notice that I have four of the small Kessils on my tank, and it is possible I may need to go to six.

    Funny thing on the "spread".... So, the sun is a single-point light source, one of the reasons you get shadows. MH lights are also a single point light source, but comparatively much closer to the subject, and you typically have a large reflector around it that has a wide spread. T5's are really good for filling in because they are not single point and you also use a reflector with them.

    The Kessils also emulate this single-point light source by bunching the LEDs close together, emulating the "shimmer" you get with MH, and well the sun as well. I like it, but it is personal preference, and yes maybe the Radeons are better. I think I have a long way to go with my reef tank before I think I will be able to appreciate the difference.

    I think your setup is great, I am a big fan of DIY and used to do that all the time before I had a family.

    You won't get any argument from me that the ARID filter is not worth $1,000. Even if it is 10x more efficient than your bucket solution, the buckets would probably still barely hit $200 for 10 of them with lights. They would however take up more space, use more power, produce more heat, and not look as nice. I don't really have the space for the buckets or a larger algae scrubber, so I like it, and I am a big fan of it's engineering.

    I am not so sure about this. I am honestly not sure what the difference is in surface area between live rock and quality bio balls (or perhaps those porous bricks). But salt water is an extremely poor carrier of dissolved gasses like oxygen.... fresh water can hold 5 times more, and air holds about 50,000 times more. This gives the wet/dry a big advantage because the aerobic bacteria gain allot from the direct air/water interface. The only other difference is that the live rock can, as you point out, also do anaerobic bacteria as well.

    But then, it appears to me that the vast majority of reefers have to do something to mitigate nitrate build up in addition to just live rock.

    I guess someone would need to do a research paper on this to know for sure. I am basically experimenting with my theory to see if it works for me. I think that is one of the most fun parts of this hobby.

    Yeah, the lifereef guy is pretty passionate about his products.

    They were designed to emulate the foam that you get on the beach, same effect. I think the main difference is how much fiddling and cleaning it takes to keep the skimmer going. I am thinking of getting one of those neck-scraper things for mine to reduce maintenance.

    I am glad I was able to hold your interest over the competition with the cute puppies :)

    On the ca reactor, the one I am looking at appears to come in both wide and narrow models, not sure why. But of course I am going with the horrendously over-priced one that is fully automatic.

  15. cilyjr

    cilyjr Chris Staff Member Moderator BRS Member

    Darn we switched again. I can't keep up!

    Even big inverters aren't big. The 8D deep cycle 200ah battery to keep stuff going for a significant amount of time however...

    AC amps and dc amps don't convert like that, is my understanding... the ac pump still works off 120V so it's going to pull alot more from the source, in this case a 12v dc deep cycle battery. 8 Ac amps in this scenario = 90 dc amps. Means the battery life is greatly shortened. The battery used by say the vortech eliminates this because the pump is asking for direct current and the battery provides this...if interested see link below.

    Seems a bit condescending (I'm sure it was unintentional) Let's just say I'm pretty familiar on how all the different light sources produce light. We'll just agree we have different tastes in lighting.

    They all do. Protien molecules like what they like whether on the beach or in my acrylic tube.

    Oregon Coast "protien skimmer" that goes pretty much all the way to the point ya can see in the distance.

    The more media and reaction time=the more saturated the effluent=the less effluent needed to maintain alk=the less carbonic acid entering the aquarium.

    The datsco unit is just acrylic tube + Aquariumplants Carbon Doser + watson and marlow peristaltic pump. Well not exactly but that's essentially what they bundled

    500 to 600 for an equivalent ca reactor, 320 for the carbon doser regulator, 400 to 600 bucks for a used lab grade 100% duty peri pump. So that unit isn't that much more expensive
  16. dz6t

    dz6t Acro Garden, BRS Sponsor BRS Member

    Is the tank 6 feet long?
  17. dz6t

    dz6t Acro Garden, BRS Sponsor BRS Member

    The ARID algae filter can have issue down the road because of coraline algae and and other film type algae covering the tube wall that house the LED light.
    It is a unique design and looks cool. But I think it is too small to effectively filter a 135 gallon system.
  18. cilyjr

    cilyjr Chris Staff Member Moderator BRS Member

    Dong, I think they make a 3 foot one with a 12 inch diameter. I think I remember John (sea creatures) showing me that
  19. dz6t

    dz6t Acro Garden, BRS Sponsor BRS Member

    Yes the C36 model at $1695 which they said rated for 300 to 1000 gallon. The chamber is 8 inch in diameter and 30 inch tall. Led power is 42 watt. But even with this largest model, I don't think it can support a tank anywhere near 300 gallon.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  20. dz6t

    dz6t Acro Garden, BRS Sponsor BRS Member

    Harvesting algae from it is a pain in the ...
    I have a ball of algae about 10 inch in diameter just to scavenge CO2 coming out of the calcium reactor, it double in size every week and I have to trim it back.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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