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  1. #21
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    Thanks, Ace. I was sort of hoping you'd chime in, since you've built your own. So, what your saying is to just keep doing what I'm doing? I'll check that link out. The 120 is 4' x 2' x 2', and the 75 is a standard 75. I was looking at 120watt led fixtures on ebay. Would two, 120 watt fixtures light up even the 75? I may switch over to mostly sps, but I doubt it. I really like lps, and softies. My game plan hasn't really changed, since I first planned these two tanks. Garden type, mixed reef tanks. I figure, after macna, and soon to be, Christmas, I'll end up with a lot more options, and price variation. Thanks, for the advice. I figured, but when you don't really know, figuring isn't worth much. Hey, Ace! How much would a fixture, like your talking about, cost diy. I'm not worried about dimming, and all the additions. Just basic design. I've watched a couple youtube videos on diy led reef fixtures, but it seems like it couldn't be that easy. I'm pretty handy, but not an electrician. How difficult is it? I've seen several nice fixtures go up for sale for $200 to $250, but don't know what fixtures are worth the money. I just drool, looking at these fixtures, thinking about bulb, and electric bill savings, but I don't want to get ripped off. My parents offered to help me, by buying the led fixtures, and letting me pay them back, but I don't want to jump in, when the fixtures seem to get cheaper every month. I'm using T5HO lights, now, 6 over my 75, 4 over my 120, with 4 bulb compact, and 4 stunner led strips. I'm not happy with the amount of light over either tank. I'm told T5's are inferior lights to metal halide, and that led's can compete, so, would love to switch over. It's hard watching other people's sps tanks blow up with growth, and looking at my softies limp along, and grow slowly. More advice? Thanks!





  2. #22
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    Reefbuilders.com is showing as a risky site, by my browser. Any other sites I could look at? Thanks!



  3. #23
    www.centralcoastreefclub. com Ace25's Avatar
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    Not sure what odd software your running for reefbuilders to say it is "risky". Works fine in IE and Chrome for me. They are by far the #1 aquarium news site on the net. Maybe it is some of the ads they run on the site causing the issue, but the ads are mostly aquarium related, nothing "adult".

    It is easy to build an LED light.. connect + to - with wire on each LED and to the +/- wire on the driver.. a little thermal epoxy to secure the LEDs to a heatsink.. it is easier to make an LED light than it is to make a "retro T5HO" light (wiring is more confusing on something like an Icecap660 ballast for T5HOs). As far as comparing T5 to MH, they are, or can be, equal depending on the amount of T5 bulbs you use. T5s are better for efficiency and heat, but not by much compared to a MH. My first LED light ended up being 2-1/2x more powerful than a 400w 10k MH bulb, so equal to about 1000w of MH and only uses 140w of power. Not that I run it full blast, I would kill my corals if I did, but that is what it can do when turned up all the way.

    My only 2 "must haves" when switching to LEDs is 1. must use 3w LEDs (those 120w LED panels on Ebay only use 1w LEDs), and 2. Must have dimming control, without dimming you run a very high risk of killing your corals because the light is so different. If you try and replace a 400w MH with LEDs and make it visually appear the same, you will end up killing your corals every time. LEDs right now do not appear as bright as other lighting methods (mainly due to the use of Royal Blue LEDs) but the PAR they put out, which is the light that is usable for photosynthesis, is much much higher with LEDs than with T5s or MH. Problem is, a lot of people like the "blue look" in a saltwater tank, and to get that look, people use a lot of Royal Blue LEDs... great for giving you the look you want, unfortunately it puts out extreme amounts of light right at the photosynthetic peak (around 453nm) which can super saturate the coral and cause major issues.



  4. #24
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    I won't say who I'm using, but it's a reputable company, that does security for browsers. I used to be able to go on there with no problems. Weird. Anyway, they do have 3 watt units on ebay, but they are a couple hundred more. I, kind of, want to build my own, so, I can get exactly what I want, but am not sure of price. Where do you get your led's? How much would it cost to get the dimmable unit? I read a thread on reefcentral.com, that was from 2009, and his total cost was over $600, for a light for a 75 gallon, which, frankly had a lot of shadows in the corners. Could I use several skinny heat sinks, linked together, to get the spread I want? 2 for the back of the tank, and one for the front? I don't have coral in the rear of the tank, but I'd like to be able to see the fish, shrimp, etc. I like the numbers on intensity, and that sold me on the dimmable driver. If I could turn it up, if I decided to switch to primarily sps, that'd be ideal. Would you use optics, and which one's, if so? What would you have the ratio of blue to white led's be, for the health of the coral. I like a blue tank, as well, but not at the expense of coral health. Mainly, I'm looking at cost, as the primary issue. I'm sold on led's, but don't know what all I'd need, and a total cost, for the fixture. I'd like to, ultimately, switch all 3 of my tanks to led's. I don't want to spend close to $400 for a marineland reef ready that is being compared to a 2 bulb T5HO fixture. I'd need 3 of them, for one tank! Anywhere I can look to see a good, recent, build, for a 4 foot tank? Thanks, Ace! Anyone else want to chime in, also? The more, the merrier!



  5. #25
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    Still having cyano. problems, but a local reefer reminded me to siphon out the cyano., not just wave it off the rocks, with my hand.I, totally, forgot that part. Sheesh! I read, and read, and it's hard to remember every little detail, of the past year. I did that on my 75, along with vacuuming out my sand, and it cleared up, in a couple of weeks. My last water change, Wednesay, I siphoned out as much as I could, and changed out some more water, than usual. That should help. I have a bunch of zoas, some palys, 4 heads of trumpet, a big frag of hammer, a small piece of cabbage leather, some green star polyps, a rainbow ricordea, two kinds of hairy shroom, a couple of purple/blue shrooms,and a long tentacle toadstool in there, now. I'll try to post pics., when the cyano. clears up.



  6. #26
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    Sad Update :(

    I'm so bummed. I was feeding all my fish, when I heard a rattling from my 120. I thought, "Oh, Great! My mj 1200's have stopped again.", they are the new one's, with the water mover feature, and they don't start, automatically, after being turned off. I have to shake them, after I turn off the tank. Anyway, I turned around, and saw my canary fang blenny, caught in the powerhead, getting beaten to death by the propeller! Aaahh!!! I euthanized him, afterward, because he was going to die, slowly, and painfully. No chance for recovery. This happens, right after I got home, from buying a Kole yellow eye tang, and a blue/green chromis, and finished acclimating them. Crud. The fish gods giveth, and the fish gods taketh away, I guess. I was having such a nice day, too. Poor fish. He was my favorite fish, in that tank. I am having the worst luck with fish. I was doing fine, until I started getting this tank set-up. Lost two anthias, in quarantine, two mandarin gobies(one was starved when I got him, and the other just died, after a couple weeks, with plenty of pods still in the tank), my yellow tang died, after I added two koralias, etc. Plus, I have a headache. Stupid cyano. still hasn't gone away. Bummer.



  7. #27
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    If you have a lot of Cyano it is likely due to 3 factors:

    1) Water quality. Get a TDS meter and make sure the water you are putting in the tank registers 0 TDS prior to adding the salt. If not, this is your issue.

    2) I am not exactly sure if this is the case from your wording, but it sounded like you transferred sand from one tank to another. This is a BAD idea. When you move the sand it releases all the built up gas and dead matter. I tried this once early and had a massive algae and cyano problem. I had to siphon out all of the sand, replace it with new live sand, and the problem almost immediately ceased.

    3) Lighting. Obviously you are trying to replace it (I am actually not clear on what you are currently using) but if you are using the wrong spectrum's, or old bulbs, this can also cause cyano outbreaks.

    I hope that is helpful to you. The siphoning off of the cyano is not going to cure the root cause of the issue. Once you do fix the issue, then siphoning it out is a good idea, but if it keeps returning you have not solved it and need to look elsewhere. This cost me a lot of money, I'll be honest with you. Replacing one thing after the other to try and find the source. It did eventually stop though.



  8. #28
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    The 3 things you mentioned are possible, but only 1 seems likely. I use well water, and have two other tanks, doing fine on the same water, so, probably not that. The lighting is 4 T5HO bulbs, 4 Compact bulbs, and 4 stunner led strips, andf the bulbs are still pretty new, so, probably not that. I did transfer sand from the tanks original location, but I've thouroughly vacuumed it, every week, since I set up the tank. When I vacuum, now, I get almost nothing out of the substrate, as far as detritus, and what not goes. It's still a new tank, and I had the same problem in my 75, but it cleared up, after I started to vacuum the sand. From what I've read, this is a normal event, with newly set up tanks. Problem is, this tank was having cyano. problems when I bought it. The original owner didn't vacuum the sand, and had several large fish in it, plus his skimmer pump froze, and he had a back injury which left the tank severly under maintenanced. I figure, the problem will clear up, with diligence, and regular maintenance. The sand size is kind of large, but I think buying some nassarius snails can help with left over food maintenance. I've had other people advise me on cyano., and I've read up on it. I have engineer gobies, so, my sand underneath the rocks gets stirred up, often. Any other advice would be appreciated, though. Maybe I missed something or forgot another critical piece of info. I'm having trouble vacuuming out all of the cyano. due to my placement of rock. I didn't want to lean it on the back "glass", so, I have a semi-circle wall, which leaves the back somewhat inaccessible. I'm working on it, though. I really need to take some more pictures. I guess, I'll have to borrow my dad's camera.



  9. #29
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    I usually don't chime in on Marine tank posts as I don't have my 120g reef set up anymore, broke it down to go planted 2 years ago(I now have 9 planted tanks). I have well water, TDS is over 500 out of the tap. I had my reef set up for 6 years. I had the same fish live in that tank for the entire time. I had Tridacna Crocea for over 4 years that grew 4x it's original size and showed beautiful colors. I kept soft coral and LPS corals, a few SPS corals. I faithfully did a 20% water change weekly, every week, rarely I missed a week. I decided early on to not use RO water as I feared making 25 gallons a week of water would put a strain on my well system (the filter system on my well cost well over 8K to replace). I decided to keep what I could keep with my high TDS well water. Thing is, I didn't find anything I couldn't keep. I did have a kick a$$ sump and protein skimmer from Life Reef, I use the sump for my 125g Tangy tank today. When I see posts stating the all cause of your problems is your well water, I scratch my head. Wasn't a problem for me.



  10. #30
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    I didn't see him say he was using well water prior to that last post, so I assumed city water.

    If however he is using city tap water, there is a BIG difference. Well water is generally going to have minerals and so forth in it which are generally not harmful, or even helpful, depending on where your well is located. City tap water has flouride, chlorine, copper, etc in it (or worse depending on where you live). The 0 TDS thing is just a way to verify that whatever might have been in the water has been cleaned out and you are starting fresh. You don't actually need 0 TDS water to be successful, but it's the only way you can be sure any pollutants were removed.

    As for the sand, the detritus is obviously not good, but the bigger issue is that the bacteria and other organsims tend to build up toxic gas in pockets under the sand. When you stir this up you release it into the water. It's why they say either to always stir your sand, or never, because if you do it once in awhile it can wipe out your tank. Like I said, I battled the exact same problem you are and I replaced my sand and it stopped almost immediatly. I vacuumed, water changed, none of it ever worked (I tried for like 5 months). When I changed the sand I also took every piece of rock out and washed them in a bucket (of freshly mixed water) and scrubbed them with a soft bristled brush (like one you use for the kitchen) before i replaced them. It was a serious chore, but the problem was gone and never came back. Just relating my experience, do with it what you will.
    Last edited by lanimret; 10-16-2011 at 10:19 AM.



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