04 June 2012

CAlibrating Reefkeeper Elite SL1 Module

Thanks to some help from Digital Aquatics, I was able to get the SL1 lab module working in the basement.  The thermocouple was showing a Temp error which was resolved by hooking up themyReef software and resetting the temp channel to factory default settings.  Then calibrated the pH probe with both 7.0 and 10.0 pH buffers which couldn't be easier.  Next step will be to set up the auto topoff feature with my kalkwasser reactor in order to get the pH up.

03 June 2012

Finally, a functioning Aquarium!

Wanted to at least get saltwater circulating through the aquarium this weekend.  Filled up 110 gallons of salt water which was in the basement and pretty cold (about 67 degrees F) but really could only get it warmed up in the system using my immersion heater.  I put about 30 gallons of water into the aquarium and then worked in all of my old dead sand to make a 3"+ bed.I then added 10 lbs. of live sand to inoculate the bed from Tropical Isle in Framingham.

I them placed my dead Kaelini rock in the aquarium with a passable aquascaping job, and filled up the aquarium with saltwater.  After adding 10 lbs of live rock to the aquarium, we filled the system with the balance of our salt water and started the main pump.  It was quite the sandstorm and the WMD-40RXLT  Iwaki pump did a fine job of lifting the water from the basement into the tank.

Down in the basement, the Bullet skimmer was making bubbles, but no foam.  I also took the opportunity to place some live rubble in the refugium, along with a small ball of chaetomorpha algae.  The heater was on and slowly brought the loop temperature up to 79-80 degrees.

By the next morning, the LED lights had come on as programmed and much of the sand had settled.  The circulating water temperature was about 79 degrees F with a specific gravity of 1.023.  The pH probe was not yet calibrated and I was having some problems with the RKE SL1 probe module.  All data and control was through the head unit which I mounted on the left side of the tank, near the overflow.

Finally, to get better circulation in the tank, I installed a Vortech MP-20 magnetic pump on the right side of the tank which was set to maximum flow and placed in reef mode, which will randomly vary the flow every minute or so, simulating the swell in an energetic reef environment.

I had this unit, unopened in a box for the past 5 years.  Although it is no longer in production, I figured it would still work well and it does contribute to the total tank flow.  I estimated that the Iwaki pump will handle about 10 gpm or 600 gallons per hour.  For my 90 gallon tank, that would be 7 turnovers an hour.  The Vortech MP-20 will contribute another 500-2000 gph  so at this point I expect 12-29 turnovers an hour.  It would be great to have this distributed between two prop pumps but well see how this works out.

02 June 2012

Lighting Issues Resolved

I contacted both Aqua Illumination help line as well as Digital Aquatics for help in figuring out why only one of my two AI Sol Blue modules was following the Advanced Lighting Program I placed in my Reefkeeper Elite Head Unit.  I have to admit, both companies were really quick to respond with useful suggestions…..Thanks Guys!

Ininitially diagnosing the problem, I executed the program using every combination of options for hooking up the serial input cables.  Each AI Sol unit has two so there are 12 combinations of how the units can be daisy chained together.  I also ran each module as a single unit as well as swapped power suppliee bewteen units.  In all cases module 1 followed the programming flawlessly wihilst #2 would come on for a couple of minues, suddenly get bright, momentarily turn off and finally just stay off for good.

Aqua Illumination quickly mailed me out this new control board plus instructions on how to install it.  The boards looked slight different with the new one labeled R8.1 vs. the R8 it was replacing.

The actual swap was very easy but have a gentle hand!  The entire cover comes off with 4 allen  screws and the optics lift off of the LEDs very easily.  The board itself is connected to the base through 3 phillips head screws but the board is very thin, so take care when pulling it off of the four sets of LED pins.  I can see how an unknowing brute could flex the board and snap it.

Same warning when installing.  Make sure all fo the board sockets are lines up with the LED pins before gently pushing the board home in all sockets.  When replacing the phillips and Allen screws, just tighten them minimally.  I can see how it would be easy to strip the tapped hole in the thin plastic of both the board and the cover.

After reassembly, tried out the lights and they both worked great, following the program in perfect synchronization.  Time to start aquascaping!