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Slawmans Solar Reef - New Skimmer - TOTF May Winner

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Slawmans Solar Reef - New Skimmer - TOTF May Winner

Postby slawman » Sat 09 Mar, 2013 8:34 am

Well here I go again. I am still running my cube however a heater incident a month ago triggered my persistent need to get a larger tank. My dear wife has also become quite vocal on the subject, almost demanding I get a larger tank (well that is what I hear anyway). Planning for the new system is well under way and I am finalising suppliers for the tank build and stand at the moment. Hope to have water in it by the end of April.

I have struggled to find a top quality builder for the tank and stand and was planning to use Dave from Extreme Reef however he has stopped building for the time being. The last big tank I had made was by Laurie at St George Aquariums who are sadly no longer about. I am down to three suppliers now and planning to go out and see examples of build quality over the next week to make a final decision. I must add that I am slightly alarmed by the number of suppliers who seem willing to "have a go" with a big tank and some of the design suggestions are scary (10mm glass, no bracing, someone even tried to convince me that I would need an 18mm base).

The big difference with this setup from my cube will be the increased water volume (hopefully translating to improved stability of water parameters) and the use of sunlight via two 250m solar tubes. I have a few improvements planned to make it easier to maintain however a lot will stay about the same, just on a larger scale.

System Objectives: A healthy stable tank full of a few fish, clam or two, some SPS and a few select LPS

System Type: Mixed Reef

Display System:

Strike up Date: April 2013 est.

Display Tank: 1500 (L) x 800 (W) x 600 (D) Starphire with coast to coast rear weir. Beananimal design plumbing.

Display Lighting: Solar tubes (2) supplemented with LED and T5

Stand: Standard cabinet and collar stained to match the kitchen

Hood: Yes, Open top and back

Sump: 800 x 600 x 500.

Refugium: Not at this stage

Support systems:

System Water: Natural salt water

Display Water circulation: 2 x Tunze 6105

Return Pump: Red Dragon speedy3 80w

Skimmer: RLSS 8u until March 2015 now Deltec 2060

Evaporation Top Up: Auto Osmolator

Chemical Support:

Calcium Addition: Kalkwasser as toppoff

Alkilinity Addition: Randys two part

Other Chemical Maintenance: Not at this stage

Water Chemistry Target values : If applicable
Nitrates: 1.5
Phosphates: Zero on a Hanna checker
Alkalinity: Around 7.5 dKH
Calcium: Around 410ppm
Salinity / Specific Gravity: 1.024/1.026
Magnesuim: Not tested
Last edited by slawman on Sat 07 Nov, 2015 3:45 pm, edited 15 times in total.
The winner is the one who has had the most fun at the end

Solar Reef: viewtopic.php?f=148&t=248587
My Cube : viewtopic.php?f=51&t=216858
A long time ago: viewtopic.php?f=51&t=177925
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Re: Slawmans New Reef

Postby CBrian » Sat 09 Mar, 2013 9:32 am

This sounds very promising, I'll be following. I'd suggest using Leng as your tank builder, his build quality is exceptional in the absence of Dave, I think Auburn Aquarium and Aquaristic use him to build all there tanks. That's who I would go for :)
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Re: Slawmans New Reef

Postby slawman » Sat 09 Mar, 2013 11:51 am

Many thanks CB. Yes, Lang comes up over and again as the builder to go for. He is pretty pricey is the only thing but at the end of the day you get what you pay for.......
The winner is the one who has had the most fun at the end

Solar Reef: viewtopic.php?f=148&t=248587
My Cube : viewtopic.php?f=51&t=216858
A long time ago: viewtopic.php?f=51&t=177925
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Re: Slawmans New Reef

Postby CBrian » Sat 09 Mar, 2013 12:05 pm

Yeah, I've actually sold a few of his tanks and set them up, and I'll say that he does do excellent stuff mate :)
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Re: Slawmans New Reef

Postby slawman » Thu 14 Mar, 2013 6:35 pm

Quick update. I have decided to go for an acrylic DIY sump. I like the idea of being able to drill holes where I like and stick things on to the side (like probes etc....). I am also going to implement a permanent (daily) water change system using a Kamoer dosing pump. I like the idea of making the water changes as simple as possible and the slow change process promotes stability.

Pumps and extra heaters have been ordered!

I will be having the tank build by Craig at Salt Aquarium. After discussing the build with several prospects, and visiting their workshops, I am confident he has a great commitment to customer satisfaction and quality. I have always been impressed with the way Salt runs their setup and hoping this will translate to a great build....
The winner is the one who has had the most fun at the end

Solar Reef: viewtopic.php?f=148&t=248587
My Cube : viewtopic.php?f=51&t=216858
A long time ago: viewtopic.php?f=51&t=177925
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Re: Slawmans New Reef

Postby mattyc » Mon 18 Mar, 2013 10:29 pm

I too am looking for a tank builder and was going to use extreme reef, who is Leng where does he work at?
Cheers..
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Re: Slawmans New Reef

Postby slawman » Fri 22 Mar, 2013 7:21 pm

mattyc wrote:I too am looking for a tank builder and was going to use extreme reef, who is Leng where does he work at?
Cheers..


He is available through Majestic aquariums and Auburn aquariums that I know of. I suggest getting in touch with Craig from Salt as part of your research. Have inspected a whole lot of tanks over the last three weeks I am confident his build quality will be every bit as good as Lengs and he has been great to work with as my design develops......asking lots of questions to check everything was as I wanted and coming up with design ideas which is exactly what I was after in a builder.
Last edited by slawman on Sat 23 Mar, 2013 7:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
The winner is the one who has had the most fun at the end

Solar Reef: viewtopic.php?f=148&t=248587
My Cube : viewtopic.php?f=51&t=216858
A long time ago: viewtopic.php?f=51&t=177925
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Re: Slawmans Solar Reef

Postby slawman » Sat 23 Mar, 2013 7:16 am

Research this week was on my top off system. I want to go for a daily, 10 litre or so change. I want to automate this as far as possible so it gets done reliably. I know how easy it is for me to miss regular water changes and they will be critical to my objective of maintaining stability at optimal water quality over a long period.

I am going to run 10mm line from an IBC in my garage into the sump then pump tank water to waste at the same time. Not a new idea and there are a few on the forums who use a similar method. This method uses a bit more water than the traditional changeout to achieve the same result but I like the idea of the stability it maintains and as I mentioned, the fact it is largely automated means it will probably end up much more effective for my particular setup.

I ended up with a choice between a dual head diaphragm setup from Reef Filler and a Stenner dual head peristaltic pump. Both are very reliable and accurate. The trick is to match the input and output without having to calibrate every second week. The diaphragm will be noisy and my have trouble self priming, it also does not come in a 220v config. It is however, bulletproof. The Stenner on the other hand will be very quiet, comes in 220v but may need tube replacement every 1000 hours or so (year and a half).

I am about to order a Stenner dual head from the US. Should end up with it landed for about $450 so it is also a fraction cheaper than the reef filler. On a side note, the price I have been quoted for the Stenner pumps locally runs between 1250 and 850, I am buying at 283, man sometimes i wish I was in retail......... Dusting off my US mailing account :roflmao:

I am also trying to work out how to paint/cover my solar tubes. They will be exposed for the 70cm drop from the ceiling to the tank and sit about 30cm off the top of the water. Not sure if I want to paint them and may end up with a shroud of PVC piping or similar but then I have to mount this to the ceiling somehow.....Thats a solution for next week.
The winner is the one who has had the most fun at the end

Solar Reef: viewtopic.php?f=148&t=248587
My Cube : viewtopic.php?f=51&t=216858
A long time ago: viewtopic.php?f=51&t=177925
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Re: Slawmans Solar Reef

Postby mattyc » Sun 24 Mar, 2013 3:01 pm

Thanks mate, I wish I had seen this earlier so I could of went out there today to check them out.. I talked to the guys at aquaristic today and im getting a price back tomorrow, they also use so you know..
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Re: Slawmans Solar Reef

Postby slawman » Mon 25 Mar, 2013 10:14 am

mattyc wrote:Thanks mate, I wish I had seen this earlier so I could of went out there today to check them out.. I talked to the guys at aquaristic today and im getting a price back tomorrow, they also use so you know..


The guys at Aquaristic are great to deal with but they don't do cabinets and I wanted to go with someone who did both.

I also like the idea of going with someone who can help me out with some premium livestock down the track :thumbsup:
The winner is the one who has had the most fun at the end

Solar Reef: viewtopic.php?f=148&t=248587
My Cube : viewtopic.php?f=51&t=216858
A long time ago: viewtopic.php?f=51&t=177925
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Re: Slawmans Solar Reef

Postby slawman » Thu 28 Mar, 2013 6:52 pm

Well fellow reefers, I am after your advice once again.

Here is a picture of the top of my tank currently under construction. The two circles represent placement of 250mm solar tubes, 250mm above the water surface. The rest of the drawing indicates bracing and the rear is the weir.

I am interested in any experience with supplementary illumination and any thoughts on how this may affect my ability to maintain the tank. I am thinking about running some t5s along the front or two LED. I am planning on having the tubes about 250 to 300 off the surface of the water.

Image
The winner is the one who has had the most fun at the end

Solar Reef: viewtopic.php?f=148&t=248587
My Cube : viewtopic.php?f=51&t=216858
A long time ago: viewtopic.php?f=51&t=177925
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Re: Slawmans Solar Reef

Postby slawman » Fri 05 Apr, 2013 11:23 am

Well after discussing my setup with a few reefers who are using solar and looking at some of the output data available from solatube I have now elected to go with 350mm tubes for the extra light :thumbsup: This means I need to modify my roof to get the extra width in :konk: Slight delay but nothing major. The 350s have double the throughput of the 250s.

To get the positioning of the tubes right I have taped out the new footprint, you can see it will be a bit bigger than my current cube.

Image

Jury is still out on the supplemental source but I do know it will have a good portion of 460nm to 500nm for coloration and fluorescence. I am thinking I might try my hand at DIY led?

Hope to have some tank and stand build shots up shortly......
The winner is the one who has had the most fun at the end

Solar Reef: viewtopic.php?f=148&t=248587
My Cube : viewtopic.php?f=51&t=216858
A long time ago: viewtopic.php?f=51&t=177925
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Re: Slawmans Solar Reef

Postby slawman » Sun 07 Apr, 2013 4:16 pm

Well the rain cleared in Sydney today. Perfect weather to cut and brace a few Joists and Rafters :roflmao: .. A few shots of roof where the tubes will go. Need to get up there more often to clear those leaves.

Image

Image

Image

I am hoping to have the tubes in on Tuesday.
Last edited by slawman on Sun 07 Apr, 2013 4:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
The winner is the one who has had the most fun at the end

Solar Reef: viewtopic.php?f=148&t=248587
My Cube : viewtopic.php?f=51&t=216858
A long time ago: viewtopic.php?f=51&t=177925
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Re: Slawmans Solar Reef

Postby Aydee » Sun 07 Apr, 2013 4:18 pm

Nice cordless drill. (I have the same make/model).

This will be a fun one to follow. Having installed a skylight recently, would love to see how you go about 'installing it'. (Not over fishtank. Over dead light area in the house. Got the wife off my back with that)

Dave
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Re: Slawmans Solar Reef

Postby slawman » Sun 07 Apr, 2013 4:31 pm

Its my brother in laws. We ended up going 240 to get the screws into the timber, the cordless couldn't hack it. Not sure what sort of timber it is but it was as hard as. They don't make roofs like that anymore.

The solatube guy seems pretty confident although i am not sure he realises how exact the placement needs to be. The first time he turned up he got a bit of a laugh out of the fact I am putting them over a fishtank.
The winner is the one who has had the most fun at the end

Solar Reef: viewtopic.php?f=148&t=248587
My Cube : viewtopic.php?f=51&t=216858
A long time ago: viewtopic.php?f=51&t=177925
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Re: Slawmans Solar Reef

Postby slawman » Thu 11 Apr, 2013 7:10 pm

Well the Solatube install was delayed on Tuesday due to a bit of rain but all of the kit was delivered. Here's a pic of one of the turret extensions that will (weather permitting) go in tomorrow. I have lifted the collectors about 1 meter off the roof to get the morning sun and avoid the shadow cast first up by the pitch of my roof.

Image

Some pics of my new skimmer being broken in. While i do love my german engineered fancy gadgets, i also love value and I have to say on first impressions this skimmer is every bit as well-made as it's german counterparts. Quiet as a whisper and impressively solid construction. If it stands the tests of performance and time we have a winner (thanks Andries!!).

Image

Image

Image

First pic of the new stand.....staining will be next week.

Image

Planning on doing a bit of wall plumbing over the weekend....making the Mrs very nervous :roflmao:
The winner is the one who has had the most fun at the end

Solar Reef: viewtopic.php?f=148&t=248587
My Cube : viewtopic.php?f=51&t=216858
A long time ago: viewtopic.php?f=51&t=177925
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Re: Slawmans Solar Reef

Postby priscacara » Fri 12 Apr, 2013 2:03 pm

Enjoying reading your builds! Love the new stand, very nice!
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Re: Slawmans Solar Reef

Postby slawman » Fri 12 Apr, 2013 4:55 pm

priscacara wrote:Enjoying reading your builds! Love the new stand, very nice!


Many thanks Priscacara, I am looking forward to seeing it stained but very happy with how it is coming along.

The tubes went in today;

Image

Image

Image

They pump out tons of light, would love to get a meter under them. I am glad I went with the larger diameter 350mm over the 250mm tubes.

Itching to get the new tank in and cycling.
The winner is the one who has had the most fun at the end

Solar Reef: viewtopic.php?f=148&t=248587
My Cube : viewtopic.php?f=51&t=216858
A long time ago: viewtopic.php?f=51&t=177925
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Re: Slawmans Solar Reef

Postby jamesant » Fri 12 Apr, 2013 10:34 pm

Nice work. Love the solar tube concept.

I am considering doing something similar on my next build.
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Re: Slawmans Solar Reef

Postby JonH » Fri 12 Apr, 2013 10:54 pm

Nice size tank your going with! Love the solatubes, it can't get any better than natural sunlight
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Re: Slawmans Solar Reef

Postby AJD » Fri 12 Apr, 2013 11:34 pm

Waiting for this one to get going! Love the concept and the tubes.
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Re: Slawmans Solar Reef

Postby klaery » Sat 13 Apr, 2013 12:08 am

Looking good mate. Solar tubes sound/look great.
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Re: Slawmans Solar Reef

Postby LPS fan » Sat 13 Apr, 2013 6:37 pm

Class all the way, can't wait to see how it progresses.
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Re: Slawmans Solar Reef

Postby slawman » Sat 13 Apr, 2013 6:53 pm

Thanks for the comments and your interest gents. I was out at the factory today and took a few more shots of the build. Tank should be assembled early next week. Loving the look of the sunlight through the day on my cube, it is brighter than I was expecting but will need some blue supplementation which I was expecting I prefer the 10 to 14k look and the sunlight will be coming through at about 5k. I will stick up a few more pics tomorrow.
The winner is the one who has had the most fun at the end

Solar Reef: viewtopic.php?f=148&t=248587
My Cube : viewtopic.php?f=51&t=216858
A long time ago: viewtopic.php?f=51&t=177925
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Re: Slawmans Solar Reef

Postby slawman » Sun 14 Apr, 2013 9:15 am

Had a good look over the build yesterday arvo with Craig. All coming along very nicely. Heres the back with the weir cutouts. Didn't go with water jet as the back is going to have an acrylic liner with a couple of 1.5cm slots cut for the overflow. The middle brace will be 200 wide.

Image

The right hand side of the cabinet will open completely to allow for maintenance and for the oversise sump to go in. You can get sort of an idea in the pic, I couldn't get a better angle.

Image

This is a shot of my existing cube under one of the tubes. To my eye it looks pretty bright at about 10am when this pic was taken. At this time of year I am getting a decent amount of direct light into/onto the tubes from 7.30 through to about 3. From 3 the sun gets a little shaded from some trees. I am surprised the tubes introduce a shimmer affect without any supplementation.

Image

A bit of sumpage........main objective here was to keep it simple and give me plenty of space and increase the water volume by 240 liters.

Image
The winner is the one who has had the most fun at the end

Solar Reef: viewtopic.php?f=148&t=248587
My Cube : viewtopic.php?f=51&t=216858
A long time ago: viewtopic.php?f=51&t=177925
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Re: Slawmans Solar Reef

Postby Doomant » Sun 14 Apr, 2013 10:38 am

This is going to be a great tank, can't wait to see it under the solar tubes.
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Re: Slawmans Solar Reef

Postby Rod the Reefer » Sun 14 Apr, 2013 12:37 pm

Looking good Jordon. :pirate:

You'll probably shock those zoos with all that new light!

Did you decide on LED or T5? Or a combination?

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Re: Slawmans Solar Reef

Postby slawman » Sun 14 Apr, 2013 4:15 pm

Rod the Reefer wrote:Looking good Jordon. :pirate:

You'll probably shock those zoos with all that new light!

Did you decide on LED or T5? Or a combination?

Rod. :thumbsup:


Thanks Rod,

The Zoos all seem to be lovin the light, I will end up with even more of the darn things, they are growing like weeds.

I will take my time with the additional lighting and wait until the tank is in and running before deciding. I intend to rig my illumina up in a few spots and play around with colours and intensities to get a better feel for what I am after. I am also thinking of an aquascape that may look cool with some specific "spot" and backlighting. We were actually playing around with the light today and my wife came up with the idea of putting a strip of LEDs down the bottom front edge and firing light up into the rock work, which looked pretty cool (although it would confuse the hell out of the corals I am sure).

I have already started to play around with the domes. They are designed with a beveled section to reject a portion of midday sun so even though it already looks very bright, I want to get rid of that bevel to get the full strength of the sun in. Here's a pic of my fiddling. I put a clear, flat bit of cast acrylic in place of one of the domes. To my surprise, it actually halved the light coming out the bottom of the tube (compared to the other one). I was expecting it to be brighter. It did make it a little "bluer". Don't entirely understand why it was not nearly as bright yet, clearly the domes significantly increase the collection area. I will keep fiddling....

Image
The winner is the one who has had the most fun at the end

Solar Reef: viewtopic.php?f=148&t=248587
My Cube : viewtopic.php?f=51&t=216858
A long time ago: viewtopic.php?f=51&t=177925
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Re: Slawmans Solar Reef

Postby Rod the Reefer » Sun 14 Apr, 2013 9:42 pm

That's because there is a reflector in the dome to catch additional light and transfer it down the tube.

Rod. :thumbsup:
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Re: Slawmans Solar Reef

Postby ssscuz » Sun 14 Apr, 2013 9:46 pm

The dome helps collecting light early in the morning and late into the afternoon. I wouldn't be taking them off.

Would still be interested to see the par difference
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