Thursday, September 01, 2016

Transform your reef aquarium into THE ULTIMATE TECH TANK




We started out with a fish only system, then converted the tank to a reef system.  In this video we are going to turn this tank into the Ultimate Tech Tank by installing a Neptune Systems Apex Wi-Fi controller along with a handful of Apex accessories.

Adding a controller to your tank is hands down the best investment you can make to your reef.  Controllers provide you with the ability to automate many of the laborious tasks involved with keeping a successful reef tank.  They also help to maintain more-stable water parameters and provide a variety of fail safe and monitoring options to protect your precious reef tank.



Starting with the heart of the control system. The New Apex now includes a MUCH-desired feature: Wi-Fi!!! You can now access and update your Apex though Wi-Fi and your home network. Gone are the days of needing to connect a long network cable from the Apex to the router for updates, or doing a work-around with wireless bridges that really are not all that reliable.

Another significant upgrade is the new Energy Bar 832. It now features individual power monitoring so you can monitor the performance of each device plugged into the energy bar: such as a light not turning on, a pump getting jammed and much, much more.

For advanced users, these readings can then be used to change the behavior of other devices: say your return pump gets jammed up and slows down, you can then automatically turn up the flow rate of the wavemaking pumps inside the aquarium. Or, if your protein skimmer pump gets dirty and the impeller is not spinning as fast, the Apex can send you an email or text message to alert you that it is time to clean the skimmer pump.



Mounting your Apex is an important thing to consider so be sure to think about this during your install.  Be sure the Apex display is mounted in an easy to access location and your energy bar should be within reaching distance of all the power cords you need to connect.



 Drip loops are absolutely crucial for safety.  We have seen some pretty elaborate installations and don’t be afraid to get creative.  Creating a mounting board and coming up with a system to keep the cords organized really goes a long way in terms of building a contemporary and clean looking reef tank.

We plugged in all of the filtration equipment to our Apex Energy Bar including the skimmer, media reactors, heater and return pump.  Each socket can then be programmed specifically for the device.  For example, the APEX will not allow power to the heater socket if the tank gets too hot and this is on the tip of the iceberg in terms of the control you can program into the Apex.



For internal flow, we are using two of the Neptune systems WAV pumps. These pumps are really powerful, pumping up to 4,000 GPH each and are completely controllable. They connect to the APEX using the 1link ports located right on the Energy Bar 832 and therefore will not take up any of the power sockets: which is a huge benefit especially in situations where multiple powerheads are required to keep water moving.  They are also quiet and very energy efficient; consuming only 35W at full power.

For dosing the tank, we have the DOS+DDR combo pack which will be filled with AquaMaxx Synergy Plus two-part solution to keep parameters on point.  This DOS dosing pump utilize heavy-duty stepped motors and include many features that ultimately result in precise dosing and long term operation.

The dual dos reservoir or DDR is awesome not only for its great looks abut because it includes a pair of optical sensors that allows your apex to monitor the liquid levels inside the reservoir and alert you when you are running low.

The Neptune Systems Break-Out-Box is used going to be used for auto top off.  It easily connects to a standard float switch which is securely mounted into the return pump reservoir.  Next, the NEW PMUP all-purpose utility pump will be dropped into our Trigger Systems Emerald ATO reservoir to deliver freshwater into the tank and will work in conjunction with the float switch to automatically top off the tank as needed.



The ALD or advanced Leak detection module allows you to connect water sensors that will alert you of a flood and automatically control whatever equipment caused the problem: such as turning of your return pump and skimmer pump when water is detected on the floor of your stand.



Now onto the monitoring probes.  We have the double junction pH and ORP probes along with the temperature probe; all of which are really easy to set-up and calibrate using the Neptune Calibration wizard and will install nicely into the sump using the Neptune System Magnetic Probe Rack. The new double-junction probes are especially nice as it improves accuracy and durability by placing an extra barrier between the electrolytes in the probe and your aquarium water.

We are also adding the Par Monitoring Kit to really see, and monitor, the light intensity levels inside the aquarium. The PMK is helpful because you can monitor the PAR levels inside your tank helping to ensure you are providing the correct light for your corals.



Our final addition is the Neptune Automatic Feeding station.  By pushing a single button on your Apex Fusion Dashboard, you can throw your tank into feed mode, reducing water flow and automatically feed your fish.

Now let’s look at the APEX Fusion Dashboard which is the very user friendly and feature rich webAp that allows you to access your Apex system and gain complete control over your aquarium.
An android tablet, smartphone or computer can be used to access the Apex Fusion Dashboard.  We have an Amazon fire tablet which is an inexpensive device that allows you to easily access the Apex Fusion and eliminates the need for the classic hard-wired APEX graphical display.  From here you can program your Apex, monitor your equipment and water parameters, store and reference all sorts of graphical data, and much more.  Check out this video which is displaying real-time footage of the tank with the use of a Wi-Fi camera.  We could really spend days going through all of the features and capability this powerful control system has to offer.

- Take Care and Hppy Reefkeeping.



Tuesday, August 30, 2016

How to turn your FOWLR Aquarium into a (deluxe!) Reef Tank




We are often asked, “What would you do if it were your tank?”...... well today we are going to show you just that.  A few weeks back we showed you guys how to set up a simple fish only system.  If you missed that video, you can find a link on our video description below.  In this episode we will continue working on that 64 gallon tank and show you how to convert a fish only system into a full blown reef tank with all the bells and whistles.

The first thing we want to do is to drill the tank for an overflow box and add a sump. Canister filters are great for fish-only systems. However, they do take more effort to keep clean because you need to take apart the entire canister filter to access the filtration media.  If not maintained on a regular basis, canister filters trap debris and become nitrate factories which really work against you in terms of keeping optimal water quality for a reef tank.
 
A sump will not only hold and hide much of the filtration system, but will also increase water volume for added stability. We will be going with the top of the line Trigger Systems Emerald sump. They are gorgeously made right here in the USA and have a ton of awesome features: such as an interchangeable plate for running foam block or filter socks, adjustable skimmer chamber height, media tray with self-adjusting foam block platform, probe and dosing tube holders.

While the easier route is to add a hang-on overflow box, we had the tank drilled and used a CPR retrofit overflow box. Usually, we love to do things ourselves. However, we did not want to risk damaging our gorgeous low-iron tank, so the drilling was done for us, professionally, by a local glass shop.  Drilling your tanks makes for a much cleaner installation and reduces the risk of the flood associated with a hang on overflow box.
 
We installed a black background from Blue Life USA that will hide the electrical wires and all of the plumbing and give the tank a sleek and professional look.

When it comes to the plumbing we made a durso style drain pipe and used some 1” flexible PVC for both the drain and return water lines.  We are installing an AquaticLife Macro AquaFlow Swing Wavemaker directly onto the return bulkhead to help create some random water movement in the tank.
 
An AquaMaxx CO-1 skimmer is placed into the skimmer chamber of the sump.  We added a couple of AquaMaxx media reactors for chemical filtration and the trigger systems sumps include a filter sock to take care of mechanical filtration.

We are also going to install a matching Trigger Systems Emerald ATO Reservoir right next to the sump to hold our top-off water.

We choose the awesome Reef Octopus VarioS controllable DC water pump for the return.  These little pumps are very efficient, run quiet and offer a variety of handy failsafe and control options. It is also Apex-Ready which means the pump can be monitored and controlled with your Neptune Systems Apex Controller

As we were impressed by the upgrades and the output of the new of AI Prime HD LED Lights, we added two fixtures to provide high output lighting for the corals.  This is one of the main differences between a fish only aquarium and a reef tank.  Reef tanks require intense lighting to promote photosynthesis among the corals while fish only systems only need standard output lighting to provide a natural day and night cycle for the fish.

So that does it for this video but the fun does not stop here.  In our next video we are taking this tank to the next level because we teamed up with Neptune Systems and will be adding the new wiFi apex controller to show you guys just how far you can go in terms of automation and control for your reef.  We also have a big surprise in store so be sure to check back in with us. 

- Take Care and Happy Reefkeeping. 


Thursday, August 25, 2016

Aqua UV Advantage Series UV Sterilizers: What YOU Need to Know




The AquaUV Advantage Series Hang-on-back UV Sterilizers are designed to be plumbed inline from your sump or canister filter and hang directly off the back of your tank. These versatile UV sterilizers are available in two sizes; an 8 watt and 15-watt version. Both models include a ½ inch hose-barb for quick connection to standard vinyl tubing and also have a clever 90-degree spout to quietly return water back into your tank.


The slender and compact form factor make it easy to fit the unit right on the back of our tank; the translucent glow cap lets you know the unit is operating and it includes one of the industries longest lasting UV lamps.

A UV sterilizer improves water clarity and eliminates free-floating pathogens in your aquarium water. If you are looking to clean things up your tank, the Advantage Series are among the easiest and most economical solutions available for complete UV sterilization.

- Take Care and Happy ReefKeeping!



Tunze Comline Filter 3162: What YOU Need to Know





The Tunze Comline Filter 3162 is an in tank filter that has a number of unique features that make it an excellent, no frills filtration solution for tanks up to 30 gallons. 




This all-in-one filter measures 4.3" x 3.5" x 10" and has a strong magnetic mount suitable for glass up to 3/8” thick; it can hold 47 cubic inches of filter media and includes both a surface skimmer intake and a controllable bottom intake to handle heavy sediments.  An energy efficient Comline water pump powers the filter and is controllable from 70-225 GPH with a maximum power consumption of only 4.5 watts. 



What makes this filter different is the retrofit capabilities. Tunze carefully designed the filter box to easily accept most any submersible aquarium heater with a maximum length of 8” and also connects perfectly to the Tunze Osmolator 3155 ATO system for precise water level control. This means all of the crucial components for your tank are discretely housed in a single filter box making the Tunze Comline Filter 3162 one of the most stream-line and comprehensive internal filters available. A matching Tunze 9004 protein skimmer can be added to create the perfect, and complete, reef filtration system.

-Take Care and Happy ReefKeeping!


Tunze Comline Filter 3162: What YOU Need to Know





The Tunze Comline Filter 3162 is an in tank filter that has a number of unique features that make it an excellent, no frills filtration solution for tanks up to 30 gallons. 




This all-in-one filter measures 4.3" x 3.5" x 10" and has a strong magnetic mount suitable for glass up to 3/8” thick; it can hold 47 cubic inches of filter media and includes both a surface skimmer intake and a controllable bottom intake to handle heavy sediments.  An energy efficient Comline water pump powers the filter and is controllable from 70-225 GPH with a maximum power consumption of only 4.5 watts. 



What makes this filter different is the retrofit capabilities. Tunze carefully designed the filter box to easily accept most any submersible aquarium heater with a maximum length of 8” and also connects perfectly to the Tunze Osmolator 3155 ATO system for precise water level control. This means all of the crucial components for your tank are discretely housed in a single filter box making the Tunze Comline Filter 3162 one of the most stream-line and comprehensive internal filters available. A matching Tunze 9004 protein skimmer can be added to create the perfect, and complete, reef filtration system.

-Take Care and Happy ReefKeeping!