4- Filter :
Both External and internal filters can be used in the marine aquariums , Avoid the carbon and chemical media , use Bio ball , ceramics media .. For more information about filters you can go to the filters section in the fresh water aquarium components ..
- Undergravel filters :
As their name suggests, these filters are placed underneath a layer of aquarium gravel. These filters move water through the gravel to create conditions favorable for biological filtration. Once the beneficial bacteria colonize the gravel, they begin to efficiently break down waste materials. Undergravel filters are relatively inexpensive and rely on either an air pump or powerhead to function. Undergravel filters are primarily biological filters. However, many models feature a replaceable cartridge placed at the end of the rigid tubing to provide supplementary chemical (activated carbon) or mechanical (filter floss) filtration. These filters are available for small or large aquariums but are best suited for aquariums with a light fish load.
Undergravel filters can be work Air pump or connected to the external filters.
5- Protein skimmer:
The majority of unwanted organic wastes found in our aquariums collect at the surface of a gas-liquid interface. These "surface-active" materials, including fish wastes, uneaten food, and decomposing matter are what we attribute to increasing our tanks pollution. We associate this extra waste with increases in nuisance algaes, cyanobacterial blooms, and having a generally unhealthy tank appearance. Therefore, when we add new fish, and/or increase the volume of foods in our tank, we hope to remove an equal amount of potential pollution. The good news is we can reduce some of these potential wastes by removing them from the water before they cause problems. One method of removing organic wastes from a fish tank is through foam fractionation (skimming).
The protein skimmer originated in the wastewater treatment industry many years ago. It was used primarily to reduce the organic load before the water reached the activated sludge reactors. This technique exploits the affinity of organic waste to adsorb to air bubbles. In basic terms, organic-waste-laden aquarium water is reacted in a column of air bubbles, the waste sticks in the foam, and the foam collected. Foam is what is produced when one passes a gas through a liquid that contains high levels of surfactants.
In the following sections of this article I would like to explore the basics of protein skimmers (also known as foam separators, foam fractionators, or air-strippers), discuss why foam fractionation works, and describe a few of the current skimmers which are commonly available to the hobby.
- So What are We Trying to Remove?
Fish poop, of course. Honestly, proteinacious waste only makes up a small portion of what we are trying to eliminate. the concentration of proteins found in natural seawater (as amino acids) is about 0.02 to 0.25 ppm (20 to 250 ug/l). These make up 2-3% of the dissolved organic compounds found in our tank water.
- Okay, So How Do We Make a Protein Skimmer?
Theoretical concerns VS reality
If a foam fractionator were constructed in its simplest form, it would look like a tall tube in which tiny air bubbles are injected into the bottom center. Waste laden water would be pumped into this tube with the intent of the waste adhering to the air bubbles. If you recall in the above DOC section, air bubbles act as an adsorbent, and waste molecules are attracted to this adsorbent and are removed from the water column as foam. With this description, let's explore the parts of a simple skimmer.
A skimmer has at least three parts:
1.The skimmer body, where most of the contact between the DOCs and water takes place.
2.The foam separation area, or riser tube, where the organic laden foam is separated from the water.
3.A collection cup, where the foam spills over the riser tube and is drained away.(image below)
The above description can take many shapes and forms, and the myriad of hobbyist skimmers available on the market suggests this is true. However, my basic description above doesn't look like many of the skimmers on the market today, and this is where hobbyists get confused. With so many skimmers on the market, which one is the "best one" for their tank? The bottom line is there is NO one best skimmer. Many hobbyists are looking for the perfect skimmer, one that will remove all the organic waste in the tank water, a skimmer which is compact in size, inexpensive to run, and requires virtually no maintenance. In reality, what skimmer to use is truly a guessing game. What we do know is that different skimmer designs equate to different levels of effectiveness at removal of waste. The confusing part comes when hobbyists are confronted with manufacturer's advertising, claiming their skimmer is superior over all the rest because of some 'new' skimming technology. Claims such as, "The"Cycloskim2000" which is 18" tall, will easily skim your 100gal fish tank, and only requires 1 watt of electricity to operate," are rampant in manufacturer's advertisements. So, how do we separate what's truth and what's advertising? For me, one of the least complicated ways to understand which skimmer to buy is to understand a few of the theoretical basics of skimming and then apply this theory into functional reality. In chapter 9 of the textbook Aquatic Systems Engineering: Devices and How They Function, P.R.Escobal 2000  Escobal presents a few theoretical concerns that should "shape" the efficiency of a skimmer. These are presented in original form in Table #1.
2nd Law:The bombardment rate (number of times a clean air bubble bumps into a drop of water) depends on the duration of the tank water exchange and the diameter of the skimmer.
3rd Law:Increased skimmer length or height only raises the value of the absolute contact time but does not affect the bombardment rate.
5th Law:The airflow rate entering a skimmer should produce a full upward blossom of bubbles without excessive turbulence, and is theoretically determined as a function of skimmer diameter, length, bombardment rate and absolute contact time.
6th Law:The value of bombardment rate within the skimmer, its length, diameter and airflow must all be properly chosen for optimum operation.
Simplifying and summarizing these "skimming laws" allows us to focus our efforts to ensure we have optimal skimming (Table #2). This is a list of concerns, and there are four parameters that need to be addressed.
Skimmer Design Concerns
•The water flow rate through the skimmer
•The height of the skimmer
•The amount of air pumped into the reaction chamber of the skimmer
•The diameter of the skimmer
1)For optimum skimming, water flow thru the skimmer should be sufficiently slow as to allow interactions of an air bubble and organic waste. The best designs for this are skimmers that employ water moving against the flow of bubbles. These are called counter-current skimmers. However, slow is a relative term.
2)Make the skimmer reaction chamber as tall as possible to maximize the contact time that the water has with the air in the skimmer. Pump as much air into the reaction chamber as possible.
The key to injecting air is twofold: a) maintaining the smallest sized air bubbles, and b) reducing any potential turbulence of the air bubbles in the skimmer reaction chamber.
3)The diameter of the skimmer must be increased in proportion to the amount of water being skimmed. The larger the amount of water to skim, the wider the diameter of the skimmer should be.
Remember that these are theoretical concerns; and often a theory is just that, a theory. Reality is often times different. As an example, let's assume that you want to build the most efficient skimmer for a 100 gal-reef tank. Using the skimming laws above, the skimmer should have a five to six foot tall, eight inches wide reaction column, with a turnover of two tank volumes/day. It would have dense thick foam consisting of 0.2 to 0.5mm bubbles, injected in a counter current fashion against the water entry. So, while this might be the most efficient skimmer, it is also, in my opinion, impractical for many hobbyists. This is where we can put aside the theory as directly written and understand some real world examples.
Can sufficient skimming be achieved by using a shorter, thinner skimmer or one that has a higher flow rate? Yes. Will it be as efficient as our theoretically-defined skimmer above? Maybe not, but it will be sufficient for the needs of many hobbyists. Manufacturers of skimmers have gone to great lengths to optimize their skimmer function and even though many of the above "skimming laws" are not met at face value, their skimmers work efficiently. In attempting to bypass tall reaction column heights, manufacturers have devised clever ways to lengthen the reaction time: the use of triple pass flow, and downward air injection tubes of equal length to reaction tubes which thereby effectively double, or triple, reaction column lengths. Water swirling patterns will also effectively increase reaction times. To maximize bubble density, manufacturers have incorporated air-injecting spray heads, venturi valves, and other foam generating heads (such as a Beckett valve) into their designs. The use of a foaming head effectively removes the requirement for airstones and an air pump. When matched to a powerful water pump, many of these foaming heads produce much larger quantities of air than any airstone/air pump combination can achieve.
the skimmer types available on the market today:
- Air driven counter-current (CC) skimmers :
Air driven skimmers are the original type of skimmer designed for the home aquarium, and fortunately they are one of the most efficient. However, they also require the most frequent maintenance, and can be costly. These skimmers use wooden air diffusers and a powerful air pump to produce their bubbles. These skimmers have excellent foam volume and consistency when operated with new (unclogged) airstones. According to Theil , the minimum recommended height of an air driven CC skimmer is 28", and this skimmer should have two to three air woods (airstones) for every 4" of skimmer width. Therefore, a 6" diameter skimmer should have four to six air woods. Depending on the organic load of the tank, airstones should be replaced monthly to every two months, and air pump diaphragms checked and replaced when weakened. His reasoning for a minimum height of a CC skimmer is due to the fact that the water and air bubbles must interact over a set distance and time, and a skimmer shorter than 28" does not meet these criteria. Long-time hobbyists consider this skimmer type to produce the most consistent quality foam. Interestingly, this skimmer style strictly adheres to our "skimming laws," and when tuned properly it seems to yield the best results. This is a common skimmer for DIY'ers, as this skimmer is easy to construct and requires minimal construction skills.
- Venturi skimmers:
A venturi skimmer uses a venturi injector to create air bubbles. These skimmers tend to be shorter than air driven CC skimmers, and require a powerful pump to drive the venturi valve. For an explanation of how a venturi valve works . One reason why venturi skimmers are often utilized in home aquariums is that venturi valves produce tremendous amounts of bubbles.
with a high performance pump, these injectors create large volumes of fine bubbles. The bubble quality tends to be very good, and this aerated mixture is often injected into a reaction chamber in a swirling fashion to maximize contact times.
Another type of venturi skimmer is a Beckett-head skimmer. The Beckett foam generating spray head is designed for increasing the amount of air that is mixed into the water. Skimmers incorporating a Beckett-head often utilize the Beckett in a higher position than the water level and this extra distance allows for an increase in reaction time. Additionally, manufacturers have begun to tangentially inject aerated water into swirling patterns, which also increases contact time. What is most obvious with a Beckett-head is the density and consistency of the foam; it far exceeds any of the other current aeration strategies.
- Downdraft™ skimmers :
The downdraft™ skimmer is designed quite differently from all other skimmers; it utilizes a jet of water sprayed at high velocity into a column containing bio-balls. This column contains media that effectively disrupts the jet spray and forms bubbles. After the bubbles flow through this "bioball column" they enter a sump box, and are deflected upwards to the foam collection riser in the neck of the skimmer.
In this skimmer configuration, the lengthy water path through the bioball column, across the sump, and up through the neck of the skimmer, effectively increases the reaction time. Additionally, the disruption of the jet spray results in copious amounts of bubbles and foam. These skimmers require a very powerful pump to run correctly, and tend to be fairly large units. A skimmer incorporating this design is the ETSS® Gemini 800.
- Aspirating impeller skimmers (Air Shredding) :
This style skimmer offers a unique twist on an inexpensive aeration system. Essentially, directing air into the impeller cavity of a powerhead or small pump creates bubbles. The regular impeller is a specialized needle wheel , or pegged wheel .. then finely chops up these air bubbles into very fine bubbles like those found in an airstone driven skimmer. These units are unique in that they have a very slow water flow, generate large amounts of foam, and are cheap to run because they use low power pumps. A concern which has arisen with these skimmers is the durability of these specialized impellors. Because these needlewheel impellors place the weight load on the periphery of the impellor (and not close to the central shaft), these impellors have higher failure rates than do normal vaned impellors.
Above is the Venturi Tube ..
Skimmer can be big like this in this photo above for public aquariums and retails
Nowadays these types of protien skimmers are widely used in the hobby due to it is quality and efficiency ..
Several types of impellers can be seen for this type of skimmers
To the left a skimmer designed to be hanging on behind the aquarium - not in the sump
Rule of thumb to select the capacity of the skimmer :
Choose the skimmer to be double the volume of water in the aquarium : For example : if your tank 100 gallon select the skimmer to be 200 gallon per hour more .
if you plan to keep hard to keep coarls like SPS you need to be 400 Gallon per hour for 100 gallon water volume ..
Water voulme here is the tank size - rock and sand volume .
6- Salt :
Synthetic sea salt mixes offer a convenient, do-it-yourself way of creating saltwater for your aquarium. When mixed withRO or RO/DI filtered tap water, synthetic sea salts become pure saltwater with consistent calcium, alkalinity and pH levels. And, thanks to the purity of the formulations, synthetic sea salts are nitrate and phosphate-free, minimizing the likelihood of unwanted algae blooms in your aquarium. Higher-priced salt mixes often contain higher calcium, alkalinity and trace element levels, which make them better suited for the reef aquarium environment.
For more information about Salt water and Aquarium chemistry :
Steps to mix the salt for aquarium :
1-Fill a clean container with Reverse Osmosis or Distilled water. Plastic storage bins or plastic garbage cans are relatively inexpensive and work well.
2-Use a heater appropriately sized for the quantity of water you are mixing.Specific gravity or salinity measurements are temperature dependent. Pre-heating the new water to the same temperature as your aquarium will give you the most consistent salinity.
3-You can use a powerhead or air pump/stone to help stir and aerate the water.
4-Add some salt mix to the water. Follow the directions on the salt manufacturers packaging. If no directions are available, the general rule of thumb is 1/2cup of salt mix for every gallon of water.
5-Use a refractometer, hygrometer, or salinity probe to obtain a specific gravity ideally between 1.021 and 1.025.
6-Let the salt water mix stir or aerate overnight. Leave your powerhead and heater on during this time.
7-Double check the water's temperature and specific gravity. If everything is satisfactory, your salt water mix is now ready to use.
7- RO-DI Units :
You need to produce your own water by using RO-DI unit to reach a zero TDS ad then mixed with aquarium salt ..
Domestic and commercial reverse osmosis systems in general, are actually referring to a series of somewhat different filtration methods used in combination to achieve the best possible quality in filtered supply. The typical (average) 4 stage RO set-up sold for household use is shown here. It is also described below.
Stage 1: Fine Particle/Sediment filter :
The very first stage of filtration is the sediment filter. There are many different styles of sediment filters but they are all measured by the same standard, the size of opening or size of particles that will pass through it. Most systems begins with a 5 micron sediment filters to screen out any large particulates including large iron silts, dust, and spores to name a few examples. This will prevent any large particles from getting onto the ultra fine RO membrane or carbon filters shortening their usable life. Sediment filters should be changed every 3 to 5 months depending on the quality of your water supply and usage. As with almost any type of filtration system, if you get better quality media you will get better quality water.
Stage 2: Granular Activate Carbon:
The Carbon filter is next stage (2nd stage) of filtration the water will pass through. Water will pass through this filter just the same as the sediment filter.Most carbon filters will pick up about 90 to 95% of all the organic particles and remove most of chlorine and at least some of the chloramines. Pressurized water will move through the carbon filter from the outside into the center of the filter and then to the next stage of filtration, the RO membrane. It will also remove other impurities such as toxins, chemical impurities, and additives used by your local water department (just to name some examples). There are also a few different types of carbon out there to choose from. The granular activated carbon is one of the two more popular types of carbon to find in RO units (the second most popular type is discussed later). A properly maintained carbon filter will help the long term efficiency of the RO membrane and keep replacement costs down. A granular activated carbon filter can last from 4 to 6 months depending on the quality of your water supply, the quality of the carbon, and your usage. As with almost any type of filtration system, if you get better quality carbon you will get better quality water.
Stage 3 RO Membrane:
Then the third stage of filtration is the RO membrane. This is main filter of any RO system. The fine membrane acts as surface filter with fine enough mesh to pass only a small amount of minerals and water molecules through it. Any long chain organic compound, including micro-organisms and also artificial compounds such as pesticides and herbicides will be screened out. Because of the ultra fine mesh size of the membrane, it will also block all harmful virus and other micro-organisms which may pass through in case of alternative filtration technology.
Reverse Osmosis typically employs a membrane with less than 5 angstrom (1 angstrom = 1/10,000,000th meter compare with human hair which is 750,000 angstrom diameter on average). Compare with size of virus which has size in the range of 90 to 1000 angstrom, size of bacteria, which has size in the range of 2000 to 2,000,000 Angstrom, the reverse osmosis membrane technology when installed properly and used with check valve can effectively sterilized the water.
RO units are normally based upon one of two membrane technologies: cellulose triacetate (CTA) and thin film composite (TFC). CTA based systems are typically cheaper and do not filter as well (90-95% rejection rates). TFC based systems cost more but have higher pollutant rejection rates (95%-98%). CTA membranes break down over time due to bacterial attack whereas TFC membranes are more or less impervious to this. CTA units are not recommended for reef tank purposes. TFC membranes are very sensitive chemically to the chlorine found in most water supplies. It is therefore very important to regularly replace the carbon block pre-filter associated with all better-grade TFC systems. TFC membranes are damaged by chlorine so a properly functioning GAC prefilter is mandatory.
A RO membrane can last from 1 to 2 years depending on: the type and quality of your carbon and sediment filter used before the membrane, the quality of your water supply, and your overall usage. Whether or not you back flush your system can also effect the life span of your membrane ( the porcess commonly referred to as back flushing and discuss latter on in this article). As with almost any type of filtration system, if you get better quality membrane you will get better quality water.
Stage 4 Granular Activated Carbon
The fourth and final stage is another granular activated carbon filter. There are sometimes small odors in the clean water which is a result of the interior finishing of the water tank and inner lining of the tubing. Thus a final post carbon filter is normally added as a final polish filter to remove such odors or taste. A carbon filter placed after a RO membrane can last from 8 to 10 months
Storage Tank :
Although this is not a part of the filtration, I thought I would mention it anyways as most RO systems have a storage tank. Because of the high pressure drop of the Reverse Osmosis the clean water stream has very slow flow rate. A temporary water reservoir tank is used to buffer the flow when no clean water is drawn from the system. An automatic shut off valve (Which can be electronic or mechanical) is then used to shut off water supply to the RO system when the water tank is full. Some systems do not use a storage tank, but have a booster pump instead.
The pump provides extra water pressure to the system increasing the flow coming out of the system and eliminating the need for a storage tank. Whether or not you choose a system with or without a storage tank would depend upon if you have a GFI electrical outlet close enough to where you will be setting up you RO system and if you want to spend the extra money on a system with a booster pump.
This would describe a typical RO unit sold for household use. IMO, it would provide you with a really good improved water quality for use in your home. But I also feel this set-up has a few drawbacks that I personally do not like: There only are two stages of filtration before the RO membrane resulting in reduced RO member life. There is no stage of filtration after the RO membrane to catch the remaining particles that get through the membrane, and placing a carbon filter after the membrane will only help to improve the taste and smell (assuming those two situations exist) doing nothing for any TDS that my get past the membrane. When I originally had my RO unit set up like the above unit, I had around 4 to 2 ppm of Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) in the water coming out of the unit (my tap water has ~150ppm). After researching how to get 0ppm of TDS, I set up/modified my RO unit which is pictured and described below. This was my approach to produce the most pure water that I could. This system consistently produces water with 0 ppm of TDS. I reconfigured the sequence of the carbon filters, and add a Deionization resin cartridge which seemed to be the most economical approach to getting a really good RO/DI water.
No Change to Stage 1 and 2
When comparing this to the typical off the shelf house hold use filter system, only the first two stages remain the same or at least in the same order. There is a sediment filter followed by a granular activated carbon filter
Stage 3: Catalytic Granular Activated Carbon (additional stage)
The use of two carbon filters (one after the other) can sometimes be required due to the water source conditions including chlorine concentration, organic content and chloramines. In my case, I wanted a higher quality carbon (higher quality than regular granular activated carbon) that will handle the chloramines in our water supply and not let it get to the membrane filter. Not all of the carbon filters in the 2nd or 4th stages of your average 4 stage RO filter will separate the chloramines molecule into its small components of chlorine and ammonia molecules. Some will leave at least some of chlorine to be removed by the RO membrane. As the chlorine is a larger molecule, your membrane will not last as nearly as long until it becomes clogged and ineffective.
Catalytic Granular Activated Carbon is a type of Granular activated carbon (as previously discussed as the second stage of filtration). Carbon filters which are made with catalytic granular activated carbon are much more aggressive than regular carbon. It has a greater ability to break the bond between ammonia and chlorine, and then remove the chlorine before the water enters the RO membrane. A catalytic granular activated carbon filter can last anywhere from 4 to 8 months depending on the quality of the tap water and usage
The 4th stage is still the RO Membrane (unchanged)
Same RO membrane as discussed before
The 5th Stage: The De-ionization (DI) Cartridge
DI cartridges come in two basic varieties: mixed bed and separate bed. Two media chambers are commonly used in separate bed units, one for anion resins (to filter negatively charged ions), the other for cation resins (to filter positively charged ions). Mixed bed units use a single chamber with a mix of anion and cation resins. Mixed bed units seem to be more commonly used. Water production rates for DI units varies, but is typically around 10-15 gallons/hour. DI units are 100% water efficient with no waste water. They are most commonly rated in terms of grains of capacity (a grain is 0.065 grams). Once the capacity of the unit is reached it either needs to be replaced or recharged (using strong acids and bases). Recharging is normally only an option for separate bed units.
Some contaminants captured by a DI cartridge may get past the cartridge long before the unit indicates its capacity has been reached. Silica is a good example of this. What happens is that silica is loosely bound to the resins initially, but is replaced by stronger binding materials like carbonates as the resins become exhausted. The use of two DI units (one right after the other) will allow you to overcome this potential problem. A good quality DI cartridge will remove ammonia, just to name one example. Once I have the money for it, I will be adding a second DI cartridge to my unit DI cartridges can last anywhere from 8 to 18 months depending on the effectiveness of your RO membrane.
The filter media (visible through the clear plastic case) will change color once the media is full of particles and cannot accept any more. The below pic shows what an example can look like based only on my DI filter. You can it starting to turn a very light color at the bottom as the media fills up. This picture was taken only 2 months after the filter was replaced.
Some hobbyists will also set-up an auto top-off system for their aquarium as a part of their RO/DI unit. This will extend the life of your DI stage as it will only be used for the aquarium top-off water and not the household drinking water.
A few more thoughts about RO systems and uses RO or RO/DI water.
RO or RO/DI Water in Aquariums
In marine and reef set-ups, the RO or RO/DI water is mixed with salt (or reef crystals) to provide higher quality salt water. The salt adds back the required trace elements, salts, and minerals necessary to maintain the different forms of marine life. Using pure water can help to eliminate many unsightly problems that can be encountered when using tap water resulting from impurities like: phosphates, nitrates and silicates. Many of these impurities provide required food for undesirable bacteria and several forms of nasty algae. For discus and other soft water fish, the RO or RO/DI water is reconstituted by adding the trace elements and minerals back into the water. In some cases, filtered tap water is carefully blended with the RO water until the correct hardness is achieved. This will give you softer water with a proper ph level. If the tap water is unfiltered a good quality dechlorinator must be used.
Storage of RO or RO/DI water
Often food grade barrels are used to store RO or RO/DI water until it is needed. These food grade barrels are more expensive than trash cans or other containers, which may have various chemicals including mildew retardants added to them during manufacture. Garden hose have been said to be unsafe due to the chemicals used in many of them. Some may be okay but it is a risk not worth taking (IMO). I use clear poly tubing for moving water. Whatever type of storage container you choose to use; the container should have constant aeration and a heater to maintain a constant temp.
Auto Shut-off valve
Not all RO systems have an auto shut off valves. Many people order RO units from mail order companies which refer to the auto shut-off valve as an add-on option. Installing the auto shut off valve on the RO unit simply involves cutting all tubing and installing the valve in as recommended by the manufacture. Any a RO unit that is set-up to also store water in a barrel (or in the typical storage tank that comes with most units), will required an auto shut-off valve. Make sure you know if you are getting an auto shut off valve or not.
RO, RO/DI Unit Maintenance
On a regular basis the storage barrel should be cleaned. This should also be done to your canister housings when replacing cartridges. To clean filter housings scrub well with a weak vinegar and RO water solution followed by rinsing with RO water. The clear tubing can easily be cleaned periodically by submersing for a few hours in a 5 gallon bucket with hydrogen peroxide/RO water mixture followed by a good rinse in RO water.
When the RO unit has only a light demand placed on the membrane it will easily keep a standard 3 to 5 gallon drinking water storage tank topped off as water is used. However, when the RO unit is also used for other applications and/or is used to fill larger storage barrels, the membrane is placed under a heavy demand. In the case heavy demand you should flush the RO membrane on a regular basis. This is often commonly referred to as back-flushing the membrane although that is not a very accurate description of the process. This just involves opening a valve (or flow restricter) on the waste water line for 3 to 5 minutes to flush built up mineral deposits off of the membrane. The information you got with your filter will show you how to complete this. Not all manufactures will have a valve that you can manually open either. You need to check for that before you purchase your system.
The storage tanks will typically required some type of maintenance as well. As different manufactures make their tanks a little different, you should consult your owner’s manual for any required maintenance.
RO system performance For a standard 4 stage set-up as previously discussed you can expect fairly good performance depending on your water quality (tap water) and your maintenance routine. You should expect the produced filtered water to have 10 to 5 ppm or less of TDS. For most marine set-ups this would be very good water to use. For a 5 stage set-up as such as the one that I have and previously discussed, you can expect excellent performance depending on your water quality and maintenance routine. You should expect the produced filtered water to have 0ppm of TDS consistently. This would be the best quality of water to use. As for TDS meters, I have used and would suggest the below two options for you to consider
The system is mounted on a 24" X 48" piece of plywood that I covered with some old Formica I had laying around. Starting from the left and moving right, I'll describe the individual parts:
1- 10mm sediment filter. This is places before the booster pump to eliminate any danger of sediment (read sand) damaging the pump.
2- the Aquatec 8800 booster pump. This pump turns on whenever the the pressure falls below around 45PSI, which is almost always. The pump turns off automatically when the water movement stops due to a float valve closing when the water level in a storage tank has reached the top.
3-the power adapter for the booster pump.
4-a pressure gage. The gage is connected to the input side of the RO membrane, which is output side of the pre-filters. In this position the gage can tell us when pressure falls, indicating that one, or all, of the pre-filters is clogged or clogging.
5-1mm sediment filter.
6-first activated carbon filter. Gets rid of chlorine chloramine and some organic chemicals
7-2nd activated carbon filter. This pic is a few months old. I have since decided my system doesn't really require two carbon filters so I replaced it with a 0.5mm sediment filter.
8-the 1st of two DI filters.
9-I have two 75gpd FilmTec RO membranes installed in my system. Two membranes greatly increases the amount of product water produced every 24 hours. You can see one membrane cartridge. The other is below the one that is visible.
10-the 2nd of two DI filters.
11-a DIY RO/DI ATO (automatic top-off) unit. It takes care of controlling when the RO/DI turns on so that the fresh water storage tank is filled.
12-the dual TDS meter. The meter reads TDS at two locations: after the RO membrane - indicates the condition of the membrane, and after the first DI filter - lets me know when the resin is exhausted.
8- Sump :
A sump is the term used to describe any type of container used beneath or behind an aquarium. It holds water and provides a location to place various pieces of equipment that our systems need. When guests visit we want them to appreciate the livestock in as natural a setting as possible, without a bunch of cumbersome devices scattered throughout the tank. Sumps can be built out of glass, acrylic,HDPE food-grade plastic or livestock feeding troughs. How much space you have to work with usually dictates which material is the best choice.
If the sump has to fit inside the stand under your aquarium, then the usual choices are a glass tank, an acrylic tank or a Rubbermaid™ container. If the sump is located in a basement or if there is plenty of space behind the aquarium, a stock tank might be better. Each type of container has its advantages and disadvantages that should be considered, which I'll touch upon. But first, let's consider what equipment might go into a sump.
The most common items are a protein skimmer, heaters and a pump to push the water back up to the tank. Other equipment that might be used includes a calcium reactor, a denitrifier, a phosphate-removing reactor, a place for filtration media such as GAC (granulated activated carbon), a Kalkwasser reactor, various probes to measure common water values and an automated top-off system (float or switch). Wow, that's a lot of stuff! Each person's tank is set up differently, and not everyone uses the same equipment. For example, I didn't mention an ozonizer or a UV sterilizer; nor did I mention a chiller. You will ultimately choose what your system needs. Additionally, a refugium is something I highly recommend and have incorporated into each of my reef tanks over the past five years.
Any Sump consist of :
Drain lines – plumbing that drains into the sump
Return lines – plumbing used to push water back up to the display tank
Return pump – a pump used to move water through the return lines from the sump to the tank
Bubble trap – a series of baffles that help lessen or stop tiny bubbles from passing through the sump and back into the main display
Bubble tower – a device used to trap bubbles created by the drain lines (video)
Refugium – a zone designed to allow pods to breed without predation; an area to grow macroalgae
Skimmer zone – the area where the protein skimmer is located
Return zone – the area from which water is pumped back up to the display tank
Sumps have many advantages:
Increased total water volume - This dilutes the pollutants that accumulate in your tank’s water, and helps to slow issues that arise quickly in sumpless tanks.
Skims the surface - No more surface scum, just crystal clear water.
Lowers temperature - I've observed a 2°F drop in temperature after installing a sump.
Hides equipment - Heaters, protein skimmers, monitoring probes, grounding probes and more can be moved to the sump and out of the display tank.
Consistent water level - The display tank will maintain the same water level all the time; evaporation occurs in the sump over time.
Safe place to pour in additives - Adding chemicals or reverse osmosis de-ionized (RO/DI) water in the sump allows it to mix before entering the display tank.
Increased circulation - The return water from the sump is yet another way to move water in your tank. You can point the return outlet(s) in different directions to create some flow, reducing the need for some of the powerheads needed in your display tank.
Increased oxygenation - As water drains into the sump, air mixes with it, allowing for beneficial gas exchange -- releasing CO2 and adding fresh O2.
Refugium on reverse lighting - Helps maintain pH levels during the late night hours.
1- Water enter to the sump tank from main tank ( By Gravity through the pipes) and hear using pre-filter like a socks to catch any debris ..
2- Baffles to slow down the water stream and eliminate the bubbles .
3- Lighting for refugium
What us refugium ?
a refugium is a seperate, smaller tank that's plumbed into the system. This area is often used for Deep Sand Beds, and for growing Caulerpa for the purpose of nutrient export. Another function of the refugium is to provide a refuge for small bugs and critters like pods and other planktonic life. The predators are in the main tank, so they cannot wipe out the bug population completely since a large part of it resides in the refugium. At the same time the refugium replenishes the planktonic populaton in the main system. Anyone....? Did I miss anything?
4- & 5 - Plants and live rocks in the refugium
7- Protien Skimmer
9- Return pump : to return the water to the Main Tank
Instead of Pre filtet socks , a filter media used
9- Pumps :
Several types of pumps will be used in the Salt water aquarium , Try to select the best brands for it :
- Return Pumps : these pumps used to pump the water again to the tank , the life of the whole tank depends on these pumps , it will be better if you install two pumps in case of any one stop or failure ..
the modern pump is DC pumps low energy counsumption and come with multi speed which gine the hobbyist reliability in use and can ajust the desired flow for the aquarium , these type is higher in cost than the fixed speed pump which is much more used and popular with hobbyists .
Above and below adjustable pump and to the left fixed speed pump
A less used type of pumps is the external pump which installed outside of the aquarium , the space required under the tank is one of disadvantages of this pump
Below is the connection of the Pump to the Sump
-Power Heads : Power heads can be used to work with reactors to move the media inside like Calcium reactor or phosphate reactor , also in the salt water container ..
- Wave maker :
One of the essential pumps which work in the main tank ( in the big tanks – Not needed in the nano reef or below 30 gallon tank size aquarium ) to move the water and make the waves which is important to replicate the waves in the original place of the corals , corals and specially the SPS ( small polyps stony ) which need high water currents ..
Also wave makers important for gases exchange , making light shimmers Aside from providing natural-like currents, wave makers also help prevent dead spots from forming in your tank. A dead spot is an area that receives no water movement. This can provide proper conditions for red slime algae to grow or denitrus to collect.
There are many different wave maker systems to choose from. Some are simple controllers while others are elaborate programmable systems that can even be connected to your home computer. The only real reason not to have a wave maker is cost. Even lower end controllers are over $100 plus the cost of power heads or pumps.
to the left the normal wave maker give steady current and like all wave makers can be fixed to the glass by Magnetic pad
Above is the programmable type which can give different direction of water streams one pump work and one stop all both works ..
GYRE ( From Maxspect) is advanced , newest and very efficient wave maker .. can kill all dead points or corners in the aquarium by moving the water to front .. the rear position can give good advantage to hide the equipments and to be not too viewable ..
10- Other Equipments :
- Hydrometer : Hydrometers and refractometers are essential equipment for saltwater aquariums. These testing devices are used to maintain the ideal specific gravity (SG) for your marine aquarium fish, corals and other invertebrates. Normally the SG should be between 1.021 to 1.025 by adding the salt to the aquarium you can control the SG level :
- Floating glass hydrometer for measuring aquarium specific gravity Extremely simple-to-use hydrometer for fast and effortless testing Monitor and maintain proper specific gravity in saltwater aquariums Extreme ease of use makes the standard floating hydrometer a classic favorite. Measuring aquarium specific gravity is as simple as floating the Sera Marin Hydrometer in your marine aquarium. Features measurement range of 1.000-1.040 with graduation increments of 0.01. The Sera Marin Hydrometer is calibrated at 77 degrees Fahrenheit and measures 5/8 diameter x 6-1/2. Please click on More Information for tips on testing
- The second type is more advanced and the pointer giv more accurate reading The unique, patented design of red Sea's hydrometer enables it to be installed inside the aquarium or sump. Giving a continuous "real time" reading of specific gravity. In addition it can be used as a typical hydrometer for periodic measurements.
- Test concentration of salt in several aquariums with this portable, economical, and lightweight refractometer. Featuring the same accuracy as more expensive models, this optical device provides a direct reading of specific gravity and salinity in water. Requires no batteries and automatically compensates for temperature.
- Test Kits :
Testing your water parameters is an important method of foreseeing problems in your aquatic ecosystem before they result in catastrophe. Luckily, tools that were once only accessible (and affordable) to advanced hobbyists have since become simpler and more affordable. Easy to use and read, a new generation of testing equipment provides accurate results without the wait.
The water parameters most often tested are: pH, Hardness, Alkalinity, Nitrite and Nitrate. Testing these once meant using five different test kits, but now the quick dip of an economicaltest strip monitors all 5 in a single swipe. Results appear in less than a minute so all you have to do is match the test strip to the color chart on the packaging to view results. While not as precise as a laboratory grade test kit, these will give you the results you need to determine if a problem exists and if actions should be taken to correct it.
Even beginner reef enthusiasts don't have to worry any longer about keeping the ideal saltwater conditions. A portable refractometer is an optical device that provides a direct reading of specific gravity and salinity while automatically compensating for temperature. Simply place a drop of water on the lens and hold up to the light to read results in the viewfinder.
Investing in accurate testing equipment will save your budget and time later, by allowing you to catch symptoms before they become costly health problems for your aquarium and its inhabitants.
- Refractormeter is important for any serious hobbyist ..
Several types of test kit to know your water
Electronic testers from Hanna Checkers - Long procedure but accurate reading
Complete set with nice handbag ?!
- Reactors :
One goal many aquarists share is to make their reef aquarium maintenance as easy as possible. One way to simplify reefkeeping is to include one or more types of reactors in your setup. Reactors reduce the number of chemicals you normally dose manually to maintain water quality and can move you one step closer to aquarium automation.
There are a few different kinds of reactors for reef aquariums. These few types can be further broken down into two categories:
1-Reactors that Add:
Calcium and kalk reactors add elements to aquarium water
2-Reactors that Take Away
Media and denitrate reactors remove elements (like dissolved organics) from aquarium water.
In this week's article, we will cover the four most popular types of aquarium reactors. We'll explain how they work, their benefits and what it will take to set them up and run them with your aquarium.
1. REACTORS THAT ADD:
In a reef tank, calcareous organisms like corals and clams along with calcareous algae, such as coralline algae, utilize the calcium dissolved in the water as one of the components to build their skeletons or shells. To keep a constant level in our reef tanks we need to supply calcium into the water column. One of the ways to accomplish this is the use of a calcium or kalkwasser reactor.
- Calcium Reactors:
What You'll Need
The reactor itself, a feed pump (or small powerhead) to pull water from your tank or sump through the reactor, a CO2 regulator (preferably with a solenoid), a CO2 tank, a calcium based media and some flexible tubing (for hooking up the CO2 as well as the feed pump). A pH controller is also nice to use with a calcium reactor, but is not a necessity.
The Basics: How Calcium Reactors Work
Water is pumped (or gravity fed) from the main tank or sump into the calcium reactor where it is mixed with carbon dioxide (CO2). The mixing of CO2 with water causes a drop in the pH of the water. The lower pH allows the calcium-based media to dissolve, releasing calcium (and other elements) into the water. This calcium-enriched water (called the effluent) is then fed back into the sump or main tank to replenish calcium that has been utilized.
Reactors have a recirculating pump to help aid in the dissolving of the media within the reactor. This pump helps move water through the reactor more efficiently and allows the water to pass through the media multiple times before it is returned to the tank. This enriches the water with higher levels of calcium than if it were to flow only through the reactor once in a single passing. Some reactors are set up to push the water through the media from the top down (down flow), while others push the water up through the media (up flow or fluidized). I wouldn't get too hung up on deciding which would be “best” for your system; I have found both types work extremely well.
A Few Additional Notes on Calcium Reactors:
1-Calcium reactors are best for maintaining the calcium levels in your aquarium. If the calcium levels in your aquarium are already low, you should assist your reactor by using a calcium supplement to raise the level and let the reactor maintain it from there.
2-The calcium needs in your tank will change over time. As you add more corals and the corals themselves grow, you'll need to occasionally adjust your reactor. There are actually two adjustments you can make. The first adjustment is to increase or decrease the flow of CO2 into the reactor. The second adjustment is to increase or decrease the effluent rate. If you need to increase the amount of calcium being delivered to your tank, you would either increase the flow of CO2 (causing the pH to drop lower, dissolving the media quicker) OR decrease the effluent rate to allow longer contact time with the media. If you need to decrease the amount of calcium being delivered to your tank you do just the opposite.
3-When first adding a calcium reactor to your tank, start with the manufacturer's recommended effluent and CO2 bubble rates for your size aquarium. Test your levels over the course of the next few weeks and adjust the CO2 bubble or effluent rate until your tank's desired calcium levels are sustained.
4-Under normal usage, a 5 lb CO2 bottle lasts 6-12 months; media lasts approximately 6 months before needing to be replaced. While the initial investment may be a high, the long-term costs are very inexpensive.
5-Under the items needed I mentioned the use of a pH controller and at this time I would like to mention why this is a nice piece of equipment to use in combination with a calcium reactor. In a reef tank we are trying to maintain high pH levels (normally between 8.2-8.4). When using a calcium reactor we need to inject CO2 into the water to lower the pH to dissolve the media. Normally a well-balanced tank and a properly set up calcium reactor will have little to no effect on the pH of our tank. But if something becomes out of balance within the tank or there is some type of equipment failure that causes excessive amounts of CO2 to be injected into the tank, the pH in the tank could drop to dangerous levels. A pH controller monitors the pH level of the tank and can turn off the flow of CO2 by shutting off power to the solenoid on the regulator if the pH level drops below a set point.
Kalkwasser (Kalk) Reactors:
What You'll Need
The reactor itself, kalkwasser (Calcium Hydroxide), reverse osmosis (RO) water or reverse osmosis/deionized (RO/DI) water, any tubing not included with the reactor for feeding water into and out of the reactor, digital timer(depending on the reactor type) and a dosing pump (optional).
The Basics: How Kalkwasser Reactors Work
Before I get into how they work, I want to explain what kalkwasser is. The word kalkwasser (shortened to kalk most of the time) is a German word for “limewater.” When calcium hydroxide is mixed with RO or RO/DI water it creates a solution that is rich in calcium, carbonate and also has a very high pH, normally above 12. This mixture can be very beneficial to a reef aquarium as it can not only supply calcium and carbonate to the tank but can also help bump up the pH, a problem many hobbyists contend with.
Since the mixture has a very high pH, you don't want to dump too much too quickly into your tank or you may raise the pH too high and cause major problems for your tank's inhabitants. Dripping the solution into the tank is the best method for delivery.
Now let's discuss how these reactors work. The reactor itself is generally comprised of an acrylic tube with some type of stirring device to help dissolve the kalkwasser in the water. Some reactors use a powerhead to mix the water while others use a stirring stick (acrylic rod). Both are efficient ways to accomplish the same task. RO or RO/DI water is fed directly into the reactor and dry kalkwasser powder is manually added; the stirring device helps dissolve the kalkwasser.
There are a couple of different methods for delivering the kalkwasser into the tank. One method is to use a dosing pump to drip the kalkwasser into the sump. The second method is to have the reactor gravity feed (drip) the solution into the sump. The water flow comes from a freshwater reservoir filled by your RO or RO/DI filter. The water travels through a dosing pump (or is gravity fed) into the reactor. The water then passes through the reactor and drips into your sump, delivering calcium-rich water to replenish what the tank's inhabitants have used. By pulling water from a freshwater reservoir, your reactor will be filled with water at all times. However, as the water drips out, the kalkwasser is depleted. You will therefore need to occasionally add more dry kalkwasser powder to the reactor.
A Few Additional Notes on Kalkwasser Reactors
The pH of kalkwasser is very high so you'll want to be careful not to overdose. Some people hook up their kalk reactors to their auto top-off systems. While in principle this is a great idea, you'll have to consider the potential mishaps. I have seen a few cases where top-off systems failed for one reason or another and too much kalkwasser was added to the aquarium. I find using a dosing pump to control the drip rate is one of the best ways to prevent this from occurring.
Some consider kalkwasser reactors to be the best way to keep up with a tank that has a very high demand for calcium (such as a heavily stocked tank filled with Acropora, Montipora and other stony corals and clams). Some use them in addition to a calcium reactor, while others use them instead of a calcium reactor.
2. REACTORS THAT TAKE AWAY:
Now that we have talked about reactors that add to the water, let's look at two reactors that remove organics from the tank. Nitrates and phosphates can cause major problems in a reef aquarium, like excessive algae growth (nuisance algae in particular) as well as inhibit the growth of corals by limiting their ability for calcification. Other dissolved organics can cause issues with water clarity. The use of filter media within a reactor can help alleviate these issues.
What You'll Need
The reactor itself, media (if not included) and a feed pump (if needed or not included).
The Basics: How Nitrate Reactors Work
Water from the aquarium (with high nitrate levels) slowly flows through the reactor and bacteria forms to break down the nitrate. The area within the reactor becomes low in oxygen and the bacteria within it will use the oxygen found in the nitrate (NO3), thus reducing the nitrate levels. The filters become biologically active so it may take a few weeks for signs of lowered nitrates.
A Few Additional Notes on Nitrate Reactors
Since these reactors rely on bacteria to break down the nitrate, you'll need to give them time to perform. Once established, they will help reduce your nitrate levels. You'll just need the patience to allow the bacteria to form and do its job.
Most nitrate reactors are designed for large aquariums where high fish populations are the norm. While I have occasionally seen them used on smaller tanks, they are usually best on aquariums of 55 gallons or more.
What You'll Need
The reactor itself, feed pump (if not included), filter media (such as a phosphate remover or carbon) and any tubing needed for hook up.
The Basics: How Media Reactors Work
These reactors are becoming increasingly popular, especially since the advent of Two Little Fishies' affordable Phosban Reactors. Now many companies produce similar reactors for use on all sizes of aquariums.
Water is fed into the reactor where it flows through the media (usually an upward flow) and then back into the tank or sump. By keeping the media fluidized (almost floating, if you will) within the reactor the water will come into contact with 100% of the media particles. This ensures the most effective use of the media within the reactor.
A Few Additional Notes on Media Reactors
Some people like to mix different media within the reactor, such as mixing carbon with phosphate media. However, in my experience, this is not the best option for a few reasons. First, the actual flow to keep the media fluid may differ. Carbon is usually heavier and requires a higher flow; most phosphate media is lighter and will require less flow. If they are mixed within the same canister, it is difficult to find an ideal flow rate that won't cause the lighter media to be pushed out of the reactor. Second, since the media will be “crashing” into each other, it can cause the softer media to break apart. This could cause that media to end up flowing out of the filter and into your tank. Lastly, the time frame in which they should be changed may be different. For example, the carbon may need to be replaced every 2-4 weeks, but the phosphate media may not need to be changed for 1-2 months. Once they are mixed together, you probably aren't going to want to try and separate them.
If you want to use two media types my suggestion would be to use two reactors, one for each type of media. You can then either run them on their own pump (one for each reactor) or use a Y hose barb fitting to split the outlet from a single pump into two outlets and run one to each reactor.
Calcium reactors, kalk reactors and nitrate reactors are generally best suited for larger tanks, but media reactors can be used on almost any sized aquarium. And, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to let us know. Happy reefing!
Several types of Calcium reactors it is important for big reef aquarium with large quantites of corals
Above and below a several types of media reactors and in the left is phosphate media which can put in the reactor .. sometimes need sponge to refine the water from media Impurities
- BIO - PELLETS RECTOR :
BENEFITS OF USING BIO-PELLETS:
NO3 and PO4 removal
No need to maintain a specific dosage or increase over time
No cyano or bacterial side effects
No risk of Overdosing
Simple to use…Set it and forget it.
Increases protein skimmer output
Bacteria is consumed by tank inhabitants like corals and sponges
HOW DO BIO-PELLETS WORK?:
Solid carbon dosing (bio pellets) has recently become an extremely popular method of removing nitrates from the saltwater aquarium. Most Bio-Pellets are made primarily of a biodegradable polymer that “feed” and promote aerobic and anaerobic bacteria making it a viable carbon source to consume nutrients (NO3 and PO4) within the water column. Just like the traditional methods of dosing Vodka, vinegar or sugar as a carbon source directly to the water column to promote the reproduction of bacteria cultures in our aquarium system to consume nutrients with the common downside of unsightly, stringy bacteria throughout the system.
By utilizing a reactor filled with solid bio-pellets changes everything! Rather than staging the entire aquarium into an ecosystem of bacteria, a reactor allows us to provide those microscopic creatures with a “food dish” tucked neatly away in the stand. Now the bacteria congregate in the confined space of a reactor and continue the same life cycle as before without leaving their mess behind for us to look at.
Remove GFO during the initial phases of the seeding of the reactor
Allow 8 weeks before making adjustments to the reactor
Additions of bacteria supplements can help diversify the bacteria
Remove UV sterilizers.
Make sure your skimmer is running at full efficiency and the effluent of the reactor is directed towards the skimmer feed pump
Keep the reactor in a dark area away from light
Above the bio pellets and it's reactor
The revolutionary new reactor which can save good space in the Sunp tank
When used correctly, an aquarium ozonizer can prove to be extremely useful in creating healthy water conditions for the livestock in an aquarium. Ozonizers can be utilized in marine aquarium setups as well as freshwater systems with a pH above 7.5.
How Ozone Works?
Certain organic wastes are unable to be removed by conventional mechanical or biological filtration. Ozone oxidizes the water, breaking down these waste products. This makes the wastes easier to be processed by the filtration, resulting in clear water. Ozone also provides additional oxygen to the aquarium as well as killing bacteria and parasites by eating away at their cell membranes.
Ozonizers work by creating electrical discharges that combine oxygen molecules to form ozone molecules. The generated ozone is then added to an ozone reactor or protein skimmer in regulated amounts to diffuse into the aquarium water. Caution needs to be taken in adjusting the amount of ozone added to the water, as too much ozone can be hazardous to the fish as well as anyone nearby.
Redox Potential (ORP):
ORP, or Oxidation Reduction Potential, is a measurement used to determine the oxidizing potential in water. In aquarium water, chemical reactions create a transfer of electrons that can be measured by a sensitive voltmeter to determine the ORP level. As ozone is introduced to the water, the ORP level gradually increases as the water gets sterilized. This ORP reading is used to further control the regulation of an ozonizer unit with a Redox controller, similar to how a thermostat controls the operation of a heater. When operating an ozone system, the ORP level should be 300-350 mV, which indicates an oxygen-rich environment with low waste levels. An ORP level higher than 350mV should be avoided, as it will create levels of ozone sterilization that could be hazardous to the aquarium inhabitants.
Setup and Operation:
Deciding on the amount of ozone to add to your aquarium will depend on the volume of water, water and air flow, existing equipment, and the biological load in your system. In most cases, ozone production should be 5-15 mg/hour for every 25 gallons of water. Systems with fewer fish can be maintained with less than 5mg/hour per 25 gallons, while heavier bio loads with few invertebrates should be towards the 15mg/hour per 25 gallons. It is possible to dose in greater quantities of ozone for very heavy fish-only populations, however extreme caution will need to be taken. Due to the potential dangers of this, dosing above 15mg/hour per 25 gallons is normally not suggested.
The first step in adding ozone involves an air pump to force air into the ozonizer. An air drier is also used to reduce humidity and ensure ozone is generated in an efficient manner.
After the ozone is produced, it should never be directly diffused into the water. To help diffuse it in a safe, regulated manner, the ozone is run through a pressurized unit such as a protein skimmer or ozone reactor. Not only does this properly diffuse the ozone into the water, but the pressurized housing of the skimmer or reactor helps prevent excess ozone from escaping.
Since escaped ozone can be dangerous, it is necessary to install a carbon filter on your protein skimmer or ozone reactor at the areas where ozonized air escapes (I.E., the top of certain reactors or under the lid of the skimmer collection cup). It is also advisable to place an activated carbon filter at the outlet where the ozonized water enters back into the sump or aquarium. The ozone in the water then breaks down organics in the aquarium water and takes care of parasites and bacteria.
Ozonizers: More Powerful than a UV Sterilizer:
UV sterilizers are commonly used in aquariums to control bacteria, algae, and parasites. However, when parasites are exposed to UV light, it is usually only intense enough to simply sterilize them to help prevent further reproduction. In contrast, ozonizers are able to take it a step further by outright killing parasites, doing a more effective job at controlling them.
Ozonizers are an excellent piece of equipment for the advanced aquarium owner looking to create the best possible water conditions for their inhabitants. With the increased oxygen and ability to break down organics, bacteria, and parasites, these systems work very well at improving the health of an aquarium.
- Dosing Pump:
In a reef aquarium, elements and nutrients corals and invertebrates use to survive must be replenished by the aquarium owner.
The rate these elements and nutrients are depleted varies from tank to tank based on the organisms inside the aquarium. If a reef aquarium is fully stocked, they may need to be replenished daily.
Setting up an automatic dosing system to administer the proper amount of elements and nutrients for your reef tank can be an enormous benefit. Not only to your sanity, but to the animals that call your tank home.
One of the most reliable ways to automatically dose your aquarium is by using a peristaltic dosing pump.
Peristaltic dosing pumps are perfect for dosing fluids into aquariums because they deliver them at a safe, precise and controlled rate. They are also self-priming and can draw fluids/supplements out of a dosing container, into the pump and then into your aquarium without any harm to the pump itself.
If you have been kicking around the idea of setting up an automatic dosing system for your reef tank, this article is for you. We provide step-by-step instructions and reveal how to set up a dosing pump to free you from maintenance with the larger goal of creating a thriving coral reef in your home or office.
STEP 1: Choose Your Pump
There are a variety of dosing pumps available. All perform the same basic duty of adding fluid to your aquarium at a safe, slow rate. The major differences between them are the number of supplements you can dose and whether or not the pump can be programmed.
Some dosing pumps are continuous duty. They can only dose a single supplement and do not include a built-in controller. These pumps require a standard timer or aquarium controller to turn the pump on and off as necessary based on your dosing needs. The amount of time the pump operates will control the amount of fluid being dosed
Higher-end dosing pumps often include built-in controllers and multiple pumps to dose several different liquids. These pumps are ideal because no additional equipment is required to control them and you can set up a comprehensive dosing system to cover everything from feeding coralsto maintaining calcium and alkalinity. Other cool features like controllable flow rates, aquarium controller compatibility and the ability to integrate float switches or water sensors may also be included..
The programming capabilities of the controller should not be overlooked. Specs vary from pump to pump, so it is important to ensure the dosing pump you are considering is capable of delivering the amount of fluid you need at the correct rate. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask our experts.
STEP 2: Get the Equipment:
Even after you select a dosing pump, there may be some additional equipment required to get the system up and running.
Most include enough tubing to run to and from the pump. However, if you have a tall aquarium, you may need to acquire additional tubing that is long enough to accommodate your specific needs.
A tube holder of some sort is almost always necessary because it keeps your tubing in place on the edge of your aquarium or sump. A tube holder not only keeps your tubing organized, it also helps prevent back siphoning water out of your aquarium since it is highly unlikely the tubes will ever accidentally fall into your tank.
Dosing containers are another great accessory. They offer the ability to store supplements for dosing and be emptied without losing prime. Most dosing containers are tapped at the bottom or feature a long downstem to draw fluid from the bottom. This ensures the pump stays primed until the container is empty. Another benefit of dosing containers is they look professional, save space (often stackable) and may even feature a graduated metric scale for easy measuring.
STEP 3: Mount the Pump and Attach Tubing
A dosing pump can usually be mounted discreetly inside your aquarium stand. Since dosing pumps are not submersible and can be damaged by heavy moisture or salt creep, it is important that the unit be secured in some form.
Bubble Magus has a beautiful (sold separately) bracket that works for their BM-T01 dosing pump and BM-T02 extension; others keep it simple and have slots for screws in the back. Your dosing pump should be placed within close proximity of the supplements you are dosing and your tank or sump so you do not have to run long lengths of tubing.
I have observed two types of tubing connections on dosing pumps: standard barb-style fittings and heavy-duty compression fittings. Compression fittings are preferred because they ensure a secure, leakproof connection with your tubing.
Your tubing will need to be cut to length, but be careful not to cut it too short. Allowing a little excess may help you maneuver the tubing in and out of sight, if necessary. Attach tubing to both the suction and pressure sides of the pump, then to your dosing containers. Next, secure the tubing to your aquarium or sump. Be sure the ends of the dosing tubes are ABOVE the water line. This ensures water will not be back siphoned out of your aquarium.
You can actually place tubing directly into your supplement bottles if you prefer. The biggest problem with this approach is the tubing may not pull out all the supplement fluid before losing prime. This can leave you with 1-2” of usable fluid left in the supplement bottle. A good way to combat this problem is to attach a ¼” piece of rigid airline tubing to the end of the dosing tube to reach deeper into the bottle (or just use the nice dosing containers mentioned earlier).
STEP 4: Set the Dosing Schedule :
When you first set up your automatic dosing system, expect some trial and error. Basically you will need to dose, test your water parametersand then readjust the dosing schedule so that it fit your aquarium’s needs.
For dosing pumps with fixed flow rates, you can use a simple calculation to estimate the length of time to run the pump. For example:
Let’s say your pump is rated to deliver three liters per hour and you need to dose 100mL per day. You can deduce the pump delivers approximately 50mL per minute. You can then set the pump to run for two minutes once every 24 hours. You can use our handy conversion calculator to help you here.
Keeping with this example, if you wanted to split the dosage in two to avoid larger fluctuations in water chemistry, you could set the pump to run for one minute every 12 hours.
The way the controller works varies from pump to pump, although most work based off a simple program: how long the pump should run and how many times it should run within a period of time. If your dosing pump does not have a built-in controller, the concept remains the same. Set your timer to run the pump for however long you need based on the pump’s flow rate.
Sophisticated high-end dosing pumps, like the new Neptune Systems DŌS or Innovative Aquatics Sentry, offer the ability to adjust the rate at which the pump turns to control the flow rate. This type of precise control may not be necessary for all aquarium owners, but it is certainly nice for those of us who need to micro-dose or create complex dosing schedules consisting of several supplements.
STEP 5: Test and Monitor Water Parameters
Once you have your schedule set up, do trial runs before applying the system to your tank.
The easiest way to do this is by using a couple of inert glass or plastic cups to collect the dosed fluids rather than simply allowing the unit to dose your aquarium. After the first cycle has completed, measure the amount of fluid to ensure you are dosing the intended amount, or close to it. This way you can be sure your program is correct.
You are now ready to allow the unit to dose your aquarium.
I recommend testing the affected water parameters and adjust accordingly. If you are using the dosing pump to feed your aquarium inhabitants, schedule it so you are able to view the tank during the first couple of feedings to ensure the proper amount is being dispensed. Make sure your protein skimmer does not overflow due to the supplements being dosed. If it does, you might consider putting the skimmer on a timer so it shuts off during the times when your aquarium is being dosed.
- Controllers & Monitors :
Controllers & Monitors allow convenient measurement of important aquarium parameters. to help simplify maintenance of freshwater or saltwater aquariums. ...
Sample of these equipment is Aqua angel :
ATMega328P microcontroller running at 16MHz
32K Flash memory for coding
128x128 Color LCD screen
64K EEprom memory (2 banks of 32K)
Real time clock
Battery backup for clock settings
Thumb joystick with center select push-button
3 temperature probe ports
2 float switch ports
Serial TTL port
Dimension: 5.00 x 3.80 x 1.50 in.
8 independently controlled outlets
AC Input: 85-265VAC
Max Load: 10A
Max Load per outlet: 5A
Choice of Analog or PWM Dimming signal
Analog Output: 0-10VDC
PWM Output Frequency: 500Hz
PWM Output Amplitude: 10VDC
3 prong USA type socket/plug available for other countries)
Dimension: 7.62 x 4.62 x 2.25 in.
Head Unit (32K memory)
HDDB15 Communication Cable
Waterproof Temperature Probe
2x Float Switch
2x Float Switch Connectors
USB-TTL converter cable