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.

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