The Long Awaited Journey into the Dark Side - RSM 250

Joined
17 Jul 2018
Posts
66
Reaction score
7
Hi All,

I have always admired reef tanks from the Light Side (I assume that that's what the reefers refer to Freshwater guys as... Since they refer to Reefing as the "Dark Side" :m12:) but was always discouraged as I thought that the maintenance and start up costs would overtake what I could handle. I supposed that much of it was due to my high tech planted tank, which became a burden due all the water changes, ferts, and and and... Eventually ended up shutting down that tank after my First kid was born.

She is now 5, and loves Finding Nemo, so guess what she wanted??? Took this as an opportunity to try my hand at the Darkside and I must say, it has been awesome thus far. Best part of the hobby is the support from most of the guys and gals that I have met.

I saw this specific RSM250 at an excellent price and thought that this would be the perfect starter tank for my Daughter and I. Unfortunately due to work, family and studies, I could not dedicate enough of my time to start the tank up sooner, but this changed over the weekend (after 7 months) and I managed to fill her up.

All of the reading points to patience being the vehicle to success in this hobby, so patients I will have :banghead::banghead::banghead:, or try to atleast.

I had to fix the lighting up, luckily for me, I consider myself a DIY guy and managed to sort the disaster of wiring in the hood. I also made a few changes as detailed below:
1. Inserted an airflow valve to the skimmer as I read and later discovered that the stock airflow would prove to be a task when emptying out the collection cup.
2. Changed the airflow from the light cooling fans. All four of them were blowing out of the hood and I decided to change it such that the fans on the right side blow cool air into the hood and the fans on the left blow the warm air out. Will monitor to see how big of a difference this makes.
3. Changed the direction of airflow on the cooling fans at the back of tank to blow into the tank as opposed to out. I read on a post that this helps cooling of the tank since the tank runs hot due to the lights. It also prolongs the life of the fan since the salt water does not get in contact with the fan itself.

So whats in the tank???
-
Stock RSM250 return pumps, skimmer, heater and lighting.
- All Dry Rock (Its a mixture of Rock, some heavy, some light that seem to break easily). I bleached the rocks for about a week and rinsed for about three.
- removed the ceramic rings that came with the tank and replaced it with matrix.
- a mixture of Aragonite, some that came with the tank and some Red Sea Reef base Pink.

To Do List:
-
Install an ATU (I have the float switches and 12vdc pump. Just need to put it together)
- Secure the loose rocks on the scape.
- Install the chiller (Also have this).
- Build an LED light unit (I have the LED's, drivers, TC421 controller (thank to Fraser and JP from AskCgs Group) just awaiting some 90 degree lenses and time :m14:)
- As a long term project, a tank controller based on the RaspberryPi/Arduino. I see that guys at ReefPi have built an open source controller so I might start of with their design.

Enough of the blabbering, following are the pics as of last night, 2 Days old now.

*** EDIT, Tried to change the Subject but couldn't figure out how to. Should be "The Long Awaited Journey into the Dark Side :m85:" ***

Before the clean.

20190118_094015_zpswrkbvdsn.jpg


After the clean

20190118_140015_zps8pyraodp.jpg


Pictured Last night (04 Fe 2019)

DSC_0184_2_zpsyohdlbmw.jpg


DSC_0185_2_zpsupolwfj6.jpg


DSC_0186_2_zpsa8gaw6hj.jpg


DSC_0187_2_zpswjyjd0ay.jpg


Would not have gone out and bought this, but it came with the tank and decided to give it shot. No Livestock will be put in until the full cycle has been completed. Will wait as long as I need to with testing in between. Not the best background for bokeh, I know:m13:

DSC_0193_2_zpsolgluezp.jpg


N.B, any and all critique is more than welcome.

Thanks for Reading
K
 
Last edited:
Joined
17 Jul 2018
Posts
66
Reaction score
7
The water cleared up nicely last night. Did some tests as well with the results below:
Ammonia : 0.8
Nitrites : 0.1
Nitrates : 10
salinity: 1.026

Whats your opinion on running a skimmer during cycling???

Being a noob to reefing a switched on the skimmer from day one. It produced some skim waste while the water was cloudy but now, the bubbles do not reach the as high as it did. So I have a theory, which might be rubbish, but based on my observations, I don't think that its actually necessary to run the skimmer during the cycle period because there simply isn't anything in the water column for it to skim.

Anyway, some pics of the now cleared up tank.

DSC_0202_2_zps6pu2s0xt.jpg


DSC_0203_2_zpsr4zf3rht.jpg
 
Joined
9 Sep 2018
Posts
159
Reaction score
34
I’m not the best guy to give advice, however I did run my skimmer during cycling, I followed the guidelines of red seas reef mature starter kit. My tanks doing well, been running for over a month now, last week I added 2 hermits and 2 snails, they seem to be doin well.
 
Joined
18 Sep 2008
Posts
816
Reaction score
118
Location
Centurion
Welcome to the salty side!!

My 10c is do not start with the skimmer on, due to you starting the tank with dead rock(base rock) you need bacteria to colonize the tank.
Week 2 i normaaly turn the skimmer on. thats also the first time i do a water change in the tank.

You can try kick start the bacteria by adding a prawn to the tank....just remember to take it out
 
Joined
25 Feb 2018
Posts
260
Reaction score
75
Welcome to the salty side!!

My 10c is do not start with the skimmer on, due to you starting the tank with dead rock(base rock) you need bacteria to colonize the tank.
Week 2 i normaaly turn the skimmer on. thats also the first time i do a water change in the tank.

You can try kick start the bacteria by adding a prawn to the tank....just remember to take it out
I agree with not turning the skimmer on for the first week or two of the cycling process. It actually skims out some of the bacteria, especially if you are intentionally introducing bacteria via some product, and it removes potential food sources for the bacteria as it is starting out.
 
Joined
17 Jul 2018
Posts
66
Reaction score
7
Thanks for the Feedback guys.

I think I will switch the skimmer off tonight as my skimmer is not skimming anyway.

With regards to water changes, shouldn't one wait for the ammonia and nitrate levels to drop first??? This is way, you allow the bacteria to fully colonize (same principle as the skimmer argument, my view anyway) or am I totally wrong?
 
Joined
17 Jul 2018
Posts
66
Reaction score
7
Welcome to the salty side!!

My 10c is do not start with the skimmer on, due to you starting the tank with dead rock(base rock) you need bacteria to colonize the tank.
Week 2 i normaaly turn the skimmer on. thats also the first time i do a water change in the tank.

You can try kick start the bacteria by adding a prawn to the tank....just remember to take it out
Thx for the welcome @Quintonv
 

hotdog83

Clone Fish
Moderator
Joined
28 May 2008
Posts
5,219
Reaction score
1,659
Location
Cresta, JHB
With regards to water changes, shouldn't one wait for the ammonia and nitrate levels to drop first??? This is way, you allow the bacteria to fully colonize (same principle as the skimmer argument, my view anyway) or am I totally wrong?
Yes, wait for cycle to finish. There isn’t much bacteria in the water column itself, so a water change in itself won’t cause another cycle. But the ammonia and nitrite is in the water, so don’t do a water change until both reads zero.
 
Joined
17 Jul 2018
Posts
66
Reaction score
7
Yes, wait for cycle to finish. There isn’t much bacteria in the water column itself, so a water change in itself won’t cause another cycle. But the ammonia and nitrite is in the water, so don’t do a water change until both reads zero.
cool, thanks for the confirmation.
 
Joined
17 Jul 2018
Posts
66
Reaction score
7
9 Days in, and the tank is trotting along with the cycle well on its ways. Tests done last night with parameters listed below:
Temp:28
pH: 8.2
Ammonia: 0.2
Nitrite: 1
Nitrate: 50
Salinity: 1.026

Will be wiring up the ATU this weekend.
 
Joined
17 Jul 2018
Posts
66
Reaction score
7
Lots of work was done over the past weekend, but due to work being busy, I only had time to update the thread now.

Firstly, I finally had enough time to complete the quarantine tank fix. This included replacing the back glass, stripping and resealing the entire tank. This was my first shot at a tank build so the silicon work isn't the best but it does hold water:m28:.

DSC_0218_2_zpsbl9vkdhj.jpg


DSC_0216_2_zpspo8q0nop.jpg


DSC_0213_2_zps7rvf3jcv.jpg


Hooked up the chiller as well. Tried to plumb as neatly as I could. One question I have though... If I install some fans in the cupboard, blowing into the cupboard, would the ventilation be enough for the chiller??? The cupboard is open at the back.

DSC_0221_1_zpsmbw4tft4.jpg


Next was to hook up the diy ATU setup. I used two float switches, a 12vdc pump and an old 1 ft tank to hold the top up water. The float switches are held in place by magnet cleaners, one in the main tank and one in the holding tank.

DSC_0219_2_zpsrtzmz05e.jpg


DSC_0223_1_zpstmxnecdv.jpg
DSC_0224_1_zpstl6sdey1.jpg


Thanks for looking
 
Joined
22 Feb 2019
Posts
35
Reaction score
5
This tank is one my favorites. Great quality. My brother in law has one and says its the perfect setup for a entry to expert level
 
Joined
17 Jul 2018
Posts
66
Reaction score
7
So I came across a few issues last week. Firstly, my chiller pump packed up so a new one is on its way (Bubble Magus Rock pump WP1000), secondly the ATU seems to be acting up and keeping the circuit closed although the float is in the open position. I have a few idea's for the fix and will hopefully get to it during the week.

I was a little disheartened due to the cycle last week, with nitrites being high for two weeks. Then I tested the parameters last night and I'm happy to say that the cycle is almost complete with ammonia: 0, nitrites: 0 and nitrates: 20.

All of the reading that I did on the cycle pointed to diatoms, algae and other critters during the cycle period but I am yet to see any of it. Could this be because the tank was started with dead rock (bleached) and dead sand?
 
Last edited:
Joined
26 Feb 2017
Posts
247
Reaction score
123
So I came across a few issues last week. Firstly, my chiller pump packed up so a new one is on its way (Bubble Magus Rock pump WP1000), secondly the ATU seems to be acting up and keeping the circuit closed although the float is in the open position. I have a few idea's for the fix and will hopefully get to it during the week.

I was a little disheartened due to the cycle last week, with nitrites being high for two weeks. Then I tested the parameters last night and I'm happy to say that the cycle is almost complete with ammonia: 0, nitrites: 0 and nitrates: 20.

All of the reading that I did on the cycle pointed to diatoms, algae and other critters during the cycle period but I am yet to see any of it. Could this be because the tank was started with dead rock (bleached) and dead sand?
The current that your pump is drawing is holding the switch closed. I tried it the way you have before and it also gave me issues. You need to run the switches on a seperate low current circuit through a relay that switches the pump.

Hope that helps
 
Joined
17 Jul 2018
Posts
66
Reaction score
7
The current that your pump is drawing is holding the switch closed. I tried it the way you have before and it also gave me issues. You need to run the switches on a seperate low current circuit through a relay that switches the pump.

Hope that helps
Thanks for confirming my suspicion dude... I wonder if i would get the same result if I used a higher amp power supply?
 
Joined
17 Jul 2018
Posts
66
Reaction score
7
Been a while since I updated this thread.

A month and 7 days on and the tank is doing pretty good. Only starting to get algae and diatoms now.

We have added our first batch of livestock as listed below:
1 x cleaner shrimp
1 x fire shrimp
2 x Ocellaris Clown fish (Quarantined for a week)

Ammonia, Nitrate and Nitrate all seem stable at the following values respectively: 0, 0, 10.

And some pics:

207431


207432
207433
207434
207435
207436
207437
207438
207439
 

Top