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Nicks Mini Reef 160 - Salt Virgin (ULM Triton)

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Nicks Mini Reef 160 - Salt Virgin (ULM Triton)

Postby Nickalls » Wed 28 Aug, 2019 7:28 pm

Introduction:

Hi Guys,

I'm new to reefing, moving over from a high tech planted tank, an I have to say.. this is like an alien world to me, so much to learn! I'm in the process of setting up a Mini Reef 160 an shopping for tech, which is my favorite part :-x

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Here's an overview of my setup and what I'm looking to accomplish

System Objectives:

The goal of this build will be ULM, running a fuge, bare bottom, and the Triton Method. The setup will be automated where possible, on a budget (So no Apex controllers :p)

Display System: Aqua One Mini Reef 160
System Type: Mixed Reef
Strike up Date: TBA
Display Tank: 160l Low Iron White Glass (156.03l Actual)
Substrate: Bare Bottom Textured ABS
Display Lighting: x2 Aqua Illumination Prime HD
Stand: 90x45x80 Melamine / Laminated
Hood: Open Top
Sump: 51.35l working volume, + 21l ATO reserve
Total Volume: 207.38l
Refugium: 39.86l
Refugium Lighting: Viparspectra 300w grow light

Support systems:
(Hope my partner never sees this list!)
System Water: Natural salt water
Display Water circulation: Jebao CP-40 Cross Flow pump
Return Pump: Jebao DCP-6500 Return Pump
Plumbing: Holman 25mm 2 port manifold / x2 "1 PVC gates
Flow Monitoring: FAILED K24 1" flow meter
Skimmer: Coral Box Skimmer D300 plus
Media: Continuum Exxodus BAC Brick
Evaporation Top Up: Ripple Aqua Auto top-up
Heating: Aquael AQN Platinum Heater 300W
Cooling: Aqua One Chiller Arctic L1/6hp 800-2200 L/hr 7-8 degrees B/A up to 300L
Monitoring: Seneye Reef / 4G SMS Monitoring / Grid Connect Alerts
Power Protection: Arlec RCD / Belkin BSV603 Surge Protection Strip / Emerson 300w Backup UPS
Power Control: x3 Arlec Grid Connect WiFi smart power boards

Chemical Support:
Supplements:Triton Core 7 https://www.triton-reagents.de/en/products/corechem/core7/
Dosing: Auto - Jebao DP-4 dosing pump


Cheers,
Nick
Last edited by Nickalls on Thu 12 Sep, 2019 11:42 pm, edited 11 times in total.
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Re: Nicks Mini Reef 160 - Salt Virgin (ULM Triton)

Postby Nickalls » Wed 28 Aug, 2019 7:29 pm

Seriously can't believe I'm this deep without any water in the tank! So far I've kinda test fitted some of the larger components to see how much space I have to work with. Electrical in progress, space is limited but where there's a will there's a way.

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Next Up, Electrical
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Re: Nicks Mini Reef 160 - Salt Virgin (ULM Triton)

Postby Nickalls » Thu 29 Aug, 2019 11:40 am

Electrical day!

Hi All,
Last night I got in some time with the tank and completed the wiring. Have to say that I had delusions of grandeur at the start of this project, visualising an awesome mounting board with super neat wiring but just don’t have the space for it inside the cabinet, or on either side of the tank.

Wiring goals:
  • Hidden wiring / clean look
  • Easy Maintenance
  • Backup power for flow
  • Keep most of the sump area free from cabling
  • Minimise possible corrosion points
  • Easily access controllers
  • Easily access on/off switches
  • Timers for devices
  • Some splash proofing
  • Surge and RCD protection

To achieve these goals, there is nowhere to put the cabling other than the back of the cabinet. This presents an accessibility issue when the tank is against the wall and full of water, I can’t get my hands in there to turn things off. Enter the Arlec Grid Connect Powerboard

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These powerboards have the ability to perform remote switching, scheduling, and automation rules via the Grid Connect app. For this build, I’ll be using the apps ability to create automation rules (more on that in future), and scheduling for things like the fuge light.
X2 of these Grid Connect power boards are now mounted at the back of the cabinet, along with the Belkin surge protector, and all the power packs. The wave maker is connected to the battery backup UPS, and the wave maker and return pump are connected to a standard power outlet so I don’t have to worry about automation failing me.

There was just enough space to mount the control panels inside the right door, which (hopefully) is far enough away from potential salt spray.
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Dosing pump has been installed on a nice Perspex shelf up in the top right corner
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And my favourite bit, x2 new AI Prime HDs
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Next up, plumbing
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Re: Nicks Mini Reef 160 - Salt Virgin (ULM Triton)

Postby Nickalls » Sat 31 Aug, 2019 11:09 pm

Hi All,

Bit more completed over the past couple of days, but first I wanted to touch on some of mods on the 160 and why I've done them.

I picked up the Mini Reef 160 second hand for around $400, 8 months old which had quite bad water damage to the cabinet. I'll cover how it happened and what to look out for, hopefully this post will save someone else out there some heartache.

The original cabinet was white, construction is a combination of laminated MDF and melamine which has expanded and split from water ingress in the back left corner. This is where the durso overflow exits into the sump from the display. Air carried into the sump from the durso overflow rises to the waters surface then pops, spraying the walls of the cabinet, flowing down the walls, and pooling on the ground. This wouldn't have been a huge issue if the tank was off the ground, but the cabinets feet only measure about 4.2mm high. Water is then absorbed by the left hand panel. There is no adjustment from factory for this system (valves etc), and the issue (without modification) might be unavoidable.

If you're looking at one of these systems second hand, take a look in the back left corner of the sump area for tell-tail signs of water stains, and expansion of the cabinet panels. Assess any damage and decide if the price is worth it. The good news is the issues are easy to fix. Replacement melamine panels will run you about $16 from Bunnings and some of your time. In my case, Aqua One were kind enough to replace the cabinet under warranty.

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Modifications:

  • Feet have been changed, raised from 4.2mm to 9.5mm
  • DIY Sump fan installed to reduce humidity inside the cabinet
  • Spray guard over the return

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Will keep an eye on things when it's running again, as I'll have a fair bit more water running through the display.
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Re: Nicks Mini Reef 160 - Salt Virgin (ULM Triton)

Postby Nickalls » Sat 31 Aug, 2019 11:50 pm

Build Update

Hi All,

Posting the most recent pics of the build, which is complete - test pending

After having flow issues with my planted tank causing endless algae issues, I've decided to install a flow meter. Due to limited space I've installed it just off the return pump so I can see the LCD display on the meter. Ideally it would have been on the outlet going to the display, but would have been much harder to see. This way, it will measure total flow, up to 120 lpm, and a cheap peace of mind at $35. The plumbing is all 1" /25mm, and quite simple with a x2 port manifold. I really wanted this to be bigger (more manifold outlets), but the Viparspectra grow light over the fuge is a total space hog. The manifold is a Holman irrigation fitting, with a couple of 25mm gates.


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Other updates

  • Display is connected to the new plumbing with braided 19mm hose to reduce the chance of kinking
  • Chiller is plumbed in prep for summer (still 20 deg ambient right now)
  • Sump fans installed
  • 3rd Grid Connect power board added to control return pump, wavemaker and sump fans
  • Skimmer stand added
  • Splash guard added to cover the powerboards (sandwiched under the tank between the stand and glass)
  • Splash guard added to cover the UPS backup (with plastic risers under it to lift it off the ground, hopefully preventing rust)

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First water should be in mid week!
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Re: Nicks Mini Reef 160 - Salt Virgin (ULM Triton)

Postby parrdog » Tue 03 Sep, 2019 6:51 pm

Thanks heaps for sharing mate, your build looks nothing short of spectacular!

Bloody well done mate, it's lookin' amazing!!
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Re: Nicks Mini Reef 160 - Salt Virgin (ULM Triton)

Postby Nickalls » Tue 03 Sep, 2019 10:22 pm

Thanks mate, I really appreciate your comments. Something kinda cathartic about writing a journal I reckon.
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Re: Nicks Mini Reef 160 - Salt Virgin (ULM Triton)

Postby Nickalls » Wed 04 Sep, 2019 8:32 pm

Hi All,

Last mod before water day! To help reach the goal of having a ULM tank, the bare bottom plastic has just gone in.

I've gone for textured ABS from Plastic Engineering Brendale who hooked me up with a sheet measuring 135 x 56 cm for $50. Not sure what the pattern is called, but it's much finer than a haircell texture, with less gloss. The sheet is about 4mm thick, and was really easy to cut with a jigsaw. There's a glass lip all the way around the top of the tank for a lid, and I was worried I wouldn't be able to get it inside the tank in one piece, but was able to bend it into an ark and slide it in just fine.

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The sheet is fixed in place with aquarium grade silicone on the bottom, and sealed around the edges to prevent gunk getting wedged between the plastic and glass.

Did a run to 100% Reef Safe today, and prepaid 300l of natural sea water, and 60l of RO. Have also picked out a single piece of live rock about 70 x 35 x 35cm 7kg which looks amazing, delivered tomorrow at 11am, can't wait!!

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Re: Nicks Mini Reef 160 - Salt Virgin (ULM Triton)

Postby Macca_75 » Thu 05 Sep, 2019 11:10 am

Looking good with lots of thought, but if the tank is pushed back against the wall can you still pull the plug's out? I see you have the ability to power on/off through the power boards wirelessly, but what if you need to replace something, take it out for maintenance, etc?

I would also look to adding a piece of soft tube between the pump and pipework to reduce humming/vibrations.

Consider if you can put unions in the plumbing in case they are needed later. Also those ball valves are REALLY hard to tune and stick after a while. Have you considered a better quality double union ball valve (retails for around $50 I think).

Slotted duct will keep cables tidy.

Great first build - just some of the things I wish I knew when I started many years ago.

Also buy a RO/DI unit now - it will pay itself back in no time (and the added convenience of being able to make RO when you need it, not when you get to a shop).
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Re: Nicks Mini Reef 160 - Salt Virgin (ULM Triton)

Postby Nickalls » Sun 08 Sep, 2019 5:30 pm

Macca_75 wrote:Looking good with lots of thought, but if the tank is pushed back against the wall can you still pull the plug's out? I see you have the ability to power on/off through the power boards wirelessly, but what if you need to replace something, take it out for maintenance, etc?

I would also look to adding a piece of soft tube between the pump and pipework to reduce humming/vibrations.

Consider if you can put unions in the plumbing in case they are needed later. Also those ball valves are REALLY hard to tune and stick after a while. Have you considered a better quality double union ball valve (retails for around $50 I think).

Slotted duct will keep cables tidy.

Great first build - just some of the things I wish I knew when I started many years ago.

Also buy a RO/DI unit now - it will pay itself back in no time (and the added convenience of being able to make RO when you need it, not when you get to a shop).


Thanks Macca :)

Murphy's Law happened on water fill day which really tested me and validated the wisdom of your timely comments haha. Valves on the chiller didn't seat properly when I did them up, and had a mini flood. I also connected some gear incorrectly and needed to access the plugs and remove them, lucky for me I did leave enough room!

As for the better quality ball valves, I'll have a look and see where I can source some. RO/DI is also on my purchase list.
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Re: Nicks Mini Reef 160 - Salt Virgin (ULM Triton)

Postby Nickalls » Sun 08 Sep, 2019 6:06 pm

Water Fill Day

Hi All,

Thursday was fill day (Thanks Sam @100% Reef Safe!), and it's been non-stop tinkering since then.

These first few days have required a few changes to the setup to get things dialed in. Initially I had a small flood :-D caused by the chiller ports not being seated right, which lead to the tear down and dry out of the chiller. Have to say that I've never owned a chiller, and am pretty surprised that the design allows for leaks to enter the unit. The whole thing was saturated within 2 minutes. Lucky for me I wasn't standing in the salt water on the floor :crossfingers: cause I'm sure it would have been the first test of just how good the RCD device was!

The Sump had a few teething problems, as the water started going in I pondered if the flow meter was waterproof... how did I not think of that? Turns out, no, it isn't. The riser between the meter and return pump was increased in height 3 times as I worked out how much water needed to be over the pump to stop micro bubbles in the display... turns out a lot more water was required, about 20 more liters than the recommended max working volume. The addition of the extra water settled everything down, no more micro bubbles, I'd say there's probably 15-20 cm of water over the pump now.

The sump fans which blow into the cabinet at 180 CFM warped the cabinet door directly in front of it by 5-8mm in 24h, opps! These have now bee reversed to suck air out of the cabinet, will see how that goes.

Last change has been to the foam splash guard I made for the intake which has been really effective diffusing the turbulent water, however, I could still see very fine spray venting, so have added 2 more. With 3 layers of foam at the top now, there is zero mist from the venting air/micro bubbles.

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Re: Nicks Mini Reef 160 - Salt Virgin (ULM Triton)

Postby Macca_75 » Mon 09 Sep, 2019 4:18 pm

I there is to much water in your sump - should be a few cm's lower. The water level should only sit above the baffle on the skimmer side and should be lower on the return pump side. This allows the skimmer section to remain consistent in height, which in turns leads to more stable performance of your skimmer. At the moment both levels are above the baffle and thus will fluctuate with your ATO.

Also double check when you turn various bits of equipment off it doesn't flood (ie. turn the skimmer off and some water should drain back into the sump, turn the return off and more returns into the sump.
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Re: Nicks Mini Reef 160 - Salt Virgin (ULM Triton)

Postby Nickalls » Thu 12 Sep, 2019 10:19 pm

Macca_75 wrote:I there is to much water in your sump - should be a few cm's lower. The water level should only sit above the baffle on the skimmer side and should be lower on the return pump side. This allows the skimmer section to remain consistent in height, which in turns leads to more stable performance of your skimmer. At the moment both levels are above the baffle and thus will fluctuate with your ATO.

Also double check when you turn various bits of equipment off it doesn't flood (ie. turn the skimmer off and some water should drain back into the sump, turn the return off and more returns into the sump.


Thanks Macca, I've had a good tinker with the water level and hit some system limits. Due to the volume the pump is pulling, the baffle spacing, durso etc, and needing to have 15+ cm of water over the pump, I've had to keep topping it up to reach an equilibrium. Durso has also been drilled out to 8mm and is as loud as I can tolerate. Power outage and back-filling is still ok. Display is pushing 2200lph.
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Re: Nicks Mini Reef 160 - Salt Virgin (ULM Triton)

Postby Nickalls » Thu 12 Sep, 2019 11:33 pm

Hi All,

While the tank is going though it's cycle, here's a few updates since fill day.

Flow Meter:

The K25 flow meter failed after 65000 liters, it started grinding and had to be pulled. Looking at the build quality and materials of the meter I had suspicions it wouldn't last, but while it was working I was able to tune the display to 2200lph, and the chiller to about 1500lph. Will eventually replace it with a paddle wheel flow meter, rather than a turbine style.

Power Outage Monitoring (Alerts) for $25:

This was a cool update :) I wanted power outage notifications on the power outage event, and when power was restored. The idea was to use an old android phone with a 365 day pre-paid sim to monitor power outages and call my mobile if one occurred (Outage alert triggers when the phone stops charging). My phone would receive the call, auto reject it, then I'd get a missed call SMS

For the outage itself I've used:

  • Old Android phone with a cracked screen that was laying around
  • Charger and cable
  • Aldi $5 Starter Sim Card
  • Aldi $15 Sim Top-Up
  • Android App - Power Cut Alert by WindowsIT

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Monitoring Phone:
  • Connect the phone with no sim to wifi
  • Download the app
  • Open the app and activate monitoring + add your mobile you'd like called in the event of an outage
  • Install the sim and activate, selecting the 365 day plan
  • Plug the phone in and start charging
  • Disconnect it to test the auto dialler. The phone will automatically call your programmed mobile number on power disconnection

Phone that will be called:
The incoming call from the monitoring phone needs to be auto rejected
  • Download and install an app for call blocking, such as 'Call Blocker - By Unknown Phone.com'
  • Add the monitoring phone number to the block list

Power Restore Alerts:

These alerts are provided by the Grid Connect App for the smart power boards. In the Grid Connect App, each power board is named, in this case, they're Top, Middle, and Bottom, and each socket is named after whatever is connected to it.

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In a power outage, these power boards don't return to their previous state, you have to tell them what to do. If the power is cut and restored, the power board restarts in standby, connected to wifi but with no sockets on. It then looks for any schedules or automation rules set, and carries out the command if required.

In this case, to get the devices to come back on, and notify me after a power cut, a couple things need to happen:

Set the devices to turn back on:
  • Each power outlet needs a schedule telling it to always be on 24 hours a day 7 days a week. This way, when power is restored, the board looks at this rule and says, this socket is scheduled to be on now, and activates it

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    Send the alert:
    • An automation needs to be setup on each outlet that says for example; When the power is restored, if the Return Pump is off, wait 30 seconds and send an alert

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The end result is on a power cut, the monitoring phone detects no power and calls me, and I get an SMS. When the power is restored, I get individual notifications to say each device has been restarted

Presto
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If this interests anyone and you have questions, PM me :) happy to walk you through
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