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CalmSeasQuest's Big Blue Wall

Discussion in 'Saltwater Aquascapes' started by CalmSeasQuest, Mar 16, 2014.

  1. CalmSeasQuest

    CalmSeasQuest Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Location:
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    In addition to the Apex EB8s which will manage all the devices that need to be controlled,

    [​IMG]
    1400VA UPS for critical systems (controller, water movement and emergency heat)

    [​IMG]
    All circuits will be protected by an auto-resetting GFCI

    [​IMG]
    Trip Lite all metal commercial, 20 outlet power strip will power all the non-Apex items

    [​IMG]
    Cabling will be run in 2.25" cable chase
     
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  2. CalmSeasQuest

    CalmSeasQuest Aspiring Aquascaper

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    I spoke w/Steve at GLA - They are behind largely due to the weather. They plan on starting on my tank and sump this week. Delivery should be less than 2 weeks away.

    I've been working through how to handle GAC and GFO. I wanted fluidized reactors with small footprints that can be easily plumbed using the manifold. Perhaps most importantly, as these require frequent maintenance, I was looking for the easiest-to-service options. I decided on a pair of the the Vertex RX-U 2.5L

    [​IMG]
    These will run ROX0.8 and BRS HiCap GFO.

    I've been torn between using a Kalk reactor or large still-well. I've decided to use 40 gallon brute which will be located next to the saltwater station. This removes more equipment from the cabinet, lessens maintenance and allows for the addition of vinegar to the ATO Kalk if desired.

    I've also started acquiring livestock - The Mid Michigan Swap was a great success and I picked up more then 40 SPS and Acan frags. I also placed large orders with Pacific East Aquaculture and found some stunning Acans at Mr.Coral. All combined there are more than 100 new additions to the grow out tank en-route.
     
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  3. CalmSeasQuest

    CalmSeasQuest Aspiring Aquascaper

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    I had time to un-box and inspect the Vertex media reactors.

    [​IMG]

    My initial reaction is that of disappointment.

    [​IMG]

    Both units were received from BRS having been opened with the seals broken

    [​IMG]

    The top O-ring on one unit is damaged, the O-ring on the other unit was badly twisted.

    [​IMG]

    Although difficult to see in the photo, the section where the downtube and O-ring mates with the top-lid is badly scarred which, if left unpolished, I imaging would quickly destroy the O-ring.

    [​IMG]

    My greatest disappointment is the overall design of the unit. I was willing to pay a premium for these as I had hoped they would provide the simplest/fastest cleaning and media replacement. The downtube O-ring has to be engaged 4 times for each cleaning and media replacement as both the top lid and top diffuser plate must be removed over the very tight-fitting O-ring on the downtube. It's very tedious to do. Based on the fact one O-ring was received damaged and the other twisted - Even with proper lubrication, it will seemingly result in a very short life and far too-frequent O-ring replacement.

    I'll reach out to BRS and see how they and Vertex will handle the issues before determining if I keep these, or return them and choose alternate reactors.
     
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  4. CalmSeasQuest

    CalmSeasQuest Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Just heard from GLA, the tank is being built today and might be delivered as soon as this Sunday. :) I'm also having the back of the sump blacked out to minimize light leakage from partially un-skinned section of back of the stand.

    RX-U 2.5L problems - I finally got a hold of BRS, they are shipping 2 replacement reactors. I also called Proline Aquatics (Vertex distributor) hoping to get a few replacement O-rings. They said they had none to sell currently as they needed them for warranty replacement. Apparently there as a manufacturing defect in some reactors where the O-ring channel was cut too shallow, resulting in a very tight fit and the O-ring being quickly destroyed.

    Hopefully the replacements on the way from BRS won't be part of the defective group.

    The Apex AFS and Crossover Diet finally came in...

    [​IMG]

    I also wanted to clarify the Vertex media reactor open-box issue. BRS told me that they were opening and inspecting all the Vertex reactors as many had shipped without the unions. They were also kind to advance ship replacement reactors.

    Thanks BRS!
     
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  5. CalmSeasQuest

    CalmSeasQuest Aspiring Aquascaper

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    I compiled the plumbing list to complete the saltwater station (feed and drain plumbed to the tank), CWC, and ATO along with the Bean Animal drain, return and manifold.

    Here's the list of parts ordered through USPlastic and PVCFittingsOnline.

    I sure hope I can remember where everything goes :)

    Part# Count Type Description
    24153 1 Each 3/4" MPT x 1/2" Insert PVC Reducing Adapter
    62022 1 Each 3/4" NPT x 1/2" Hose ID Black HDPE Adapter
    64809 1 Each 1/2" Tube ID x 3/4" NPT Black Nylon Threaded Adapter
    64325 2 Each 1/2" Tube ID Black Natural Coupler
    56524 3 50' Roll 1/2"ID x .728"OD Nylobrade® PVC Tubing
    57470 40 Each .714" x .810" Snap Grip Clamps
    64409 24 Each 1/2" Tube ID Natural Polypropylene Elbow
    64431 3 Each 1/2" Tube ID Natural Polypropylene Y
    64314 2 Each 3/4" Tube ID x 3/4" NPT Black Nylon Elbow
    60474 1 Each Black Plastic Tubing Cutter
    59036 6 Each 5/8" to 23/32" Holding Range T-Clip 1.72"W x 1.68"L x .80"H - #10 Screw Size
    26325 20 Foot 1 1/4" Gray PVC Schedule 80 Pipe
    26326 25 Foot 1 1/2" Gray PVC Schedule 80 Pipe
    62283 3 Each 1/2" Hose Barb x 1/2" Hose Barb Par-Barb® Polypropylene Ball Valve
    64349 1 Each 1/2" Tube ID Black Nylon Tee
    58032 1 100' Roll 1/4" OD x .040" Wall Black LLDPE Tubing
    28753 4 Each 1-1/2" PVC SCH40 90° Street Elbow Socket x Spigot
    28087 1 Each Schedule 80; Gray 90 Deg Elbow PVC Socket 1-1/2"
    28088 6 Each 1 1/2" Gray Sch 80 PVC 45° Elbow
    28093 3 Each Schedule 80; Gray Union PVC Socket 1-1/2" Pipe Size
    28072 1 Each Schedule 80; Gray 90 Deg Elbow PVC Socket 1-1/4"
    28074 4 Each Schedule 80; Gray Tee PVC Socket 1-1/4" Pipe Size
    64846 3 Each 1/2" Tube ID x 3/4" NPT PVDF Threaded Adapter
    26086 3 Each 1-1/4" x 3/4" PVC Threaded Reducing Coupling
    26122 1 Each 1-1/4" x 1" PVC Socket Reducing Coupling
    60706 10 Foot 1-1/4" ID x 1.62" OD Reinforced Clear PVC Tubing w/Polyester Braid
    27275 1 Each Schedule 80; Gray Female Adaptor Threaded X Socket 1-1/4" Pipe Size
    24034 2 Each 1-1/4" PVC Adapter
    57164 4 Each 1.123" x 1.296" Snap Grip Clamps
    16501 1 Roll PTFE Thread Seal Tape, 1/2" x 100"
    820-012 1 EA 1-1/4" Schedule 80 PVC Cross 820-012
    S1720C12 1 EA 1-1/4" Clear PVC True Union Swing Check Valve - Socket
    2022-015 1 EA 1 1/2" PVC Socket Gate Valve Spears 2022-015
    2022-012 5 EA 1 1/4" PVC Socket Gate Valve Spears 2022-012
    21105012 2 EA 1 1/4" PVC True Union Ball Valve 021105012
    897012 3 EA 1-1/4" Schedule 80 PVC (S x S) Union 897-012
    898012 1 EA 1-1/4" Schedule 80 PVC (FPT x FPT) Union 898-012
    848012 1 EA 1-1/4" Schedule 80 PVC FPT Cap 848-012
    PFLEXA10-34-R PrimoFlex Advanced LRT Red 1/2in. x 3/4in. Tubing 10ft
    P012FGP-RD-5 1/2" Red PVC Pipe
     
  6. CalmSeasQuest

    CalmSeasQuest Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Another delay - GLA says the tank won't be delivered until next weekend.

    The replacement media reactors arrived and appear to be free of the O-ring defect.
    Since it seems it will be forever before the tank is ready for livestock, I ordered a bunch of additional livestock for the grow out tank including a Monti collection, a large group of Acans and a bunch of misc frags.
    The ribbon LEDs to illuminate the cabinet arrived - 24 Watts of 6000K waterproof light

    [​IMG]

    Since the tank has been delayed another week, I'm working on the plumbing, auto water change (ATO) and Constant Water Change (CWC). One of the challenges with the CWC is achieving the exact same rates for the removal of old saltwater and new saltwater replacement. Despite using a Masterflex peristaltic pump driving 2 pump heads at the exact same RPM, there will likely still be a difference in flow as one head will be pumping water against a ~10 head , while the other is drawing water, aided by gravity. My plan was to use a pinch valve on the faster line...

    [​IMG]

    But I think I've found a better solution. Cole-Parmer makes pump heads that provide the ability to vary the occlusion rate (amount of pressure placed on the tubing by the rollers.)

    [​IMG]

    I'll replace one of the fixed-occlusion pumps currently installed with the variable model. By slightly reducing the occlusion of the faster line (likely the drain), I hope to be able to tune the CWC pumps to run at the same rate. The 4 rollers should prevent any siphon.

    My plan for the ATO is to use another Cole-Parmer pump and the left-over fixed occlusion pump head. Although I could rig a series of floats managed by the Apex, I've had great success with Tunze Osmolators, and will use another on this built with a Switched Socket Outlet, This allows me to replace the stock Osmolator pump with the Masterflex which provide adjustable flow rates, is impervious to the Kalk-laden top off water and can easily handle the head pressure.
     
  7. CalmSeasQuest

    CalmSeasQuest Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Most of the plumbing components are in....

    [​IMG]
    Strangely, I find that I am 4 nipples short (leave it alone :))

    The Pukani has been bleached, followed by 3 rounds of vinegar baths, then 3 rounds of Lanthanum Chloride and numerous rinses.

    [​IMG]

    You can see where much of the coral skeleton on the exterior has been dissolved. I also like that the underlying rock appears much more porous That said, in retrospect I wish I had just ordered more Reef Saver or Marco and avoided all the hassle - especially since there will be additional biological filtration provided by the Marine Pure spheres and plates.

    As most of the recent purchases have been unexciting PVC plumbing, I ordered a couple of "trinkets" today...

    [​IMG]

    The Neptune probe holder looked like it would be right at home in my sump.

    [​IMG]

    A large shelf piece of Aquaroche in an attempt to further complicate my aquascape.
     
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  8. CalmSeasQuest

    CalmSeasQuest Aspiring Aquascaper

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    A small collection of Monti frags, that by the time this tank is ready for them, will no doubt be large colonies....

    [​IMG]

    Back Row-Ora German Blue Digi, Green Digi, Orang Digi, Original Setosa
    Middle Row- Tyree Undata, Tyree Pokerstar
    Front Row- Orange Cap, Tyree Idaho Grape Cap, Leng Sy Cap, Green Cap, Tyree Aquatubericulata
     
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  9. CalmSeasQuest

    CalmSeasQuest Aspiring Aquascaper

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    And a pack of Chalices at a price I couldn't resist...

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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  10. CalmSeasQuest

    CalmSeasQuest Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Got the fill/drain, ATO and CWC lines ran to the tank area...

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I replaced the top 3/4" pressure line with a 1/2" Fill/Drain line. Using a T, a Wye and 3 valves, this single line/manifold can,

    • Feed RO/DI or ASW to the DT or stock tank in the basement
    • Drain the DT via siphon (~3GPM) or faster via manifold pressure line
    • Fill a local container with ASW or RO/DI
    • Drain the ASW or RO/DI tank
    A total of 4 1/2" lines were ran for the tank

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Fill/drain, RO/DI Kalk auto top-off, new saltwater in, old saltwater out.

    With any luck, this should mean I can ditch a bunch of buckets :)
     
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  11. CalmSeasQuest

    CalmSeasQuest Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Steve sent a couple snap-shots of the tank and sump...

    [​IMG]

    96" X 30" X 22" ~270 GAL

    [​IMG]

    Overflow is sized for 3 X 1 1/2" Bean Animal style drains with 1" return feeding 2 X 3/4" loclines. Top bracing is acrylic to minimize light blockage/shadowing

    [​IMG]

    72" X 24" X 18" with 1 1/2" baffles set at 10" for skimmer/return and 12" prop/fuge
     
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  12. CalmSeasQuest

    CalmSeasQuest Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Apparently acquiring anything BubbleKing or Vertex does strange things to a marine aquarist.

    [​IMG]

    Prior to this build, had anyone told me I'd be buying red PVC or tubing, I'd have thought them NUTS :)

    The red PVC is for the discharge on the Vertex media reactors. The red silicone tubing will feed the reactors from the manifold.

    I'm starting to lay out the plumbing and realized how large (tall) the SP6 return pump is...

    [​IMG]

    I had planned on including a check valve on the return line, not due to sump overflowing concerns as the sump will hold more than enough drainage, but rather a convenience to prevent the skimmer from overflowing. With the tall return pump, manifold/fuge feed and gate valve on the return, I might have to lose the check valve.

    GEO 612 cleaned, refilled with Tropic Eden CR media and ~25% ZEO mag and ready for service...

    [​IMG]

    The tank will at some point out-demand this small reactor and I'll have to replace it with a larger CaRx.
     
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  13. CalmSeasQuest

    CalmSeasQuest Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Another reefer pointed out I could use a delay command to avoid the skimmer overflowing (Thank You h.cordero.) This turns out to be a simple solution that addresses most of the use cases for a check valve.

    As I thought this through, I realized I have been looking for a mechanical solution to a problem that really doesn't exist, or at least isn't significant enough to warrant another device which requires maintenance and adds more unions (opportunity for leaks) to the plumbing.

    With a simple delay command added to the Apex skimmer outlet,

    • Power failure - The return pump is on the UPS, so in the event of a power failure - it will continue run for at least 30 minutes providing enough time to get the generator online. A check valve wouldn't even come into play in this scenario.
    • Extended power outage/generator failure - In this case, the delay command would prevent the skimmer from restarting until after the return pump had restored normal water levels in the sump.
    • Maintenance requiring the return pump be shut off - If working on the pump or plumbing, simply trigger a feed cycle that pauses the skimmer during maintenance or manually shut off the skimmer if a longer period of time is needed.
    The only use case I see where the check valve provides some value is in the event of return pump failure. But even in this case, I plan on using a sump high-water float to alert me of the problem, which can easily also shut off the skimmer. Add the fact that the size of the check valve further complicates my plumbing design and adds a small amount of additional head pressure - I come to the following conclusion...

    For Sale - One never-used, 1 1/4" check valve.
     
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  14. CalmSeasQuest

    CalmSeasQuest Aspiring Aquascaper

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    I was hoping I'd be posting photo's of my newly delivered tank at this moment, but it was not to be.

    Delivery of the stand and sump went fine. When the tank was brought in and placed on the stand, I grabbed a couple of large LED flashlights and began the inspection. When I got to the dead center of the front of the tank, I found multiple scratches both inside and out.

    My heart sank...

    Had they been on the end panels, or perhaps toward the bottom I might have been able to overlook them - but dead center front panel, I could not accept.

    To his credit, Steve and Great Lakes Aquariums acknowledged the problem and immediately loaded the tank back in their trailer. They hope to have a replacement tank built and delivered in 30 days.
     
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  15. CalmSeasQuest

    CalmSeasQuest Aspiring Aquascaper

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    I've got a few weeks remaining before the replacement tank is delivered, so I started to lay out the equipment in the sump and estimate the plumbing and electrical runs. I installed 32' of waterproof LED ribbon lights (48 Watts total) in the top of cabinet that will function as work lights.

    [​IMG]

    They are much brighter than they appear - They are only running at about 60% while I wait on an new power supply. Eventually, I'll add a few door switches and connect them to the Apex via the break-out box so the cabinet is illuminated whenever a door is opened.
     
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  16. CalmSeasQuest

    CalmSeasQuest Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Thinking Rock...
    • Pukani, Reefsaver and Marco Rock....Check
    • Assorted diamond blades and drills....Check
    • Travertine tile, acrylic and nylon rod, epoxy and hydraulic cement.....Check
    [​IMG]

    And so it begins...
     
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  17. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    CalmSeasQuest

    Thank you very much for posting such a detailed first post re your SW tank

    In all my years on Aquarium Forums I have never seen a new post with so much detailed information, it looks like its written for a SW Magazine or a SW Aquarium group.

    How do you comment on all of that other than its all WOW, WHIZ BANGS have you missed any thing?

    I love that store room I know of many LFS that would only have a fraction of what you have in that room

    Looks like you are well on the way with all the planning and prep work already done.

    We can just sit back and admire this great adventure you are well on the way towards completion.

    Keith:):)
     
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  18. greenfinger 2

    greenfinger 2 Active Aquascaper

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    Hi CalmSeaQuest, Thank you for sharing:) I will be following this thread :cool:(y)
     
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  19. greenfinger 2

    greenfinger 2 Active Aquascaper

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    Hi Tom, I hope its not rude to ask :unsure: What will be the total cost of the build ;) As i have never seen such a fantastic set up like yours :cool::cool:
    Sorry to hear about the scratched Tank:(
     
  20. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    First, I want to echo the sentiment of the others. Thank you very much for posting such a detailed account of your build process. I'm sure it will prove invaluable to anyone else on ASW considering a saltwater build. We'd really like to see some salties take on saltwater aquascaping in a similar manner as the planted aquascapes. There are a lot of stunning examples of folks having done so. I love when keeping fish transcends being just some nerdy hobby to a marriage of art and science resulting in a beautiful point of focus for a home.

    I want a reef too now! But have some hurdles to get over first...and not sure if I wouldn't enjoy a very large freshwater aquascape as much. I love gadgets so seeing all the "whiz-bangs" as Keith calls them is fun.

    Your plumbing solution is quite clean and elegant. The wiring and plumbing up through the floor is very clean and unobtrusive. I have a colleague who is also quite an accomplished fish keeper who has been trying to convince me of a similar setup for my larger aquascapes. The benefits of a small daily water change on any tank cannot be overstated. I think I will have to do something similar if I ever do a very large setup.

    The planning and thought process going into this tank reflects your experience level. I'm glad we have been able to coax over someone of your talents to a little of the freshwater side. I'm sure there will be equal conversions the other way. Thank you again for sharing this project and please continue the detailed postings. I'm excited to see this come together.
     
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