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Freshwater African Cichlid ATS Build

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by sabbath, May 16, 2015.

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  1. sabbath

    sabbath Member Trusted Member Customer

    I cycled a freshwater 180g african Cichlid aquarium a few weeks ago. I put a L4 on it right away. I started running it with only 7 hours a day to get it started. This was not working and when I jump it up to 10 hours a day it kicked in. I'm finding that as I up the hours it is growing more and more.

    I also added my L2 to it a week ago and have it running on the same timer at 10 hours a day. It is half covered with green already. I'm thinking to up the Led timer to 14 hours.

    So far it is not keeping up with the Nitrates. I did a water change thursday and the Nitrates went from 30 down to 20. Now today 2 days latter they are back to 30. So at this point I'm doing 3x40 gallon water changes on the 180g a week. I'm hoping to keep the Nitrates down at 5-20ppm.

    Here is the L4 screen at today's cleaning. Thinking to clean the L2 mid week to spit them up.

    Thoughts?


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  2. sabbath

    sabbath Member Trusted Member Customer

    Oh and I'm feeding 1.5tsp of pellet food per day at this point.

    Filtration is 2x6 gallon Wet/Dry trickle filters, 300gph canister to polish the water and the 2 L2 & a L4 ATS's
     
  3. Turbo

    Turbo Does not really look like Johnny Carson Staff Member Site Owner Multiple Units! Customer

    FW scrubbers are a bit of a different animal. I've got one customer running 1 L4 and 2 L2s on 3 tanks, all FW, I think one is a Cichlid tank also.

    The screen cures up faster but it's finer algae and that takes longer to form a solid anchor to the screen, because there isn't as much calcification going on at the screen (that's my theory). Also nitrate levels in FW seem to rise a lot faster, possibly because there is less of a denitrification mechanism in play like there is in SW.

    Anyways, you can hit it with a lot more light. I think your L4 has the LED boards, right? If so, then first up the light really high - 20+ hours/day. See what happens. If you don't get any photosaturation effects (bare spots, basically a reversal of growth) keep it there for a few weeks and see how that affect nitrate levels.

    If it seems to be working and getting you to your goal, then leave it there for a while longer. If not, then start flipping jumpers between the red pairs to bump them up to high intensity. Start by changing all the jumpers on one board at a time.

    To do this, you unplug the fixture, remove the screws from one of the end caps, and slide the shield out of the way. Then you remove both jumpers and replace one across the middle 2 pins. This puts that pair in series. You can place the other jumper on one of the end pins for storage - it won't affect anything. Leave the blue jumpers as-is (never change these). Do this for the 3 red pairs then re-assemble the fixture. Don't use a drill to reinstall the screws or you will strip the channel - just hand tighten to snug (don't crank on them).

    You can probably do this to both boards on one side at the same time, then give it a few weeks. If you need more, same process for the other boards.

    I can't recall if your L2 has boards or not, I'm thinking it has the diffusers? If so, just remove those.

    FWIW...I accidentally left my timer on my L2 (120 SW) tank in the "on" position for the last week (running 24/7), and the growth was great. Once I discovered my error I decided to just leave it like that and see what happens. So far I'm on track for cleaning a lot sooner.
     
  4. sabbath

    sabbath Member Trusted Member Customer

    Ah Okay nice to see that your ATS's are so easy to make setup changes to them! And good to hear that you have some experience with running a freshwater ATS. I wonder if they are less popular because most FW tanks don't have sumps..? Be nice to see a good working hang on the back ATS for sumpless setups.

    I wonder also if the cubes per day also is only close for a SW system.

    I have bumped my hours up to 20hrs per day. Here is my Led version.
    Thanks


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    Last edited: May 17, 2015
  5. Turbo

    Turbo Does not really look like Johnny Carson Staff Member Site Owner Multiple Units! Customer

    Yep those are all in series and the diffuser is what reduces the intensity. were you using the diffuser?
     
  6. Turbo

    Turbo Does not really look like Johnny Carson Staff Member Site Owner Multiple Units! Customer

    That is the rev 2 version - before I had the LED boards made. So you don't need to open that fixture (ever)
     
  7. sabbath

    sabbath Member Trusted Member Customer

    Yes I was running the diffuser. I was concerned that the light was going to be too much at first to get the screen started. I see now this is not an issue with a freshwater ATS screen. It diffuser is still on the other side because the heat sink is up against something. So I'm thinking to remove it the next big full cleaning.

    So should I swap the wires on the terminals to have the 2 halfs in parallel? Will the Led's and the driver work with that?
     
  8. Turbo

    Turbo Does not really look like Johnny Carson Staff Member Site Owner Multiple Units! Customer

    No, that would effectively be like having the diffuser in place. you want the LEDs at full power, so run like you are (1 diff out, 1 in) and remove the other diffuser whenever you get to it
     
  9. sabbath

    sabbath Member Trusted Member Customer

    Okay, I just wanted to make sure that I was on the same page as you. :)

    Oh and an update on your ATS's;
    They are still working like the day I got them! I will never sell mine even if I get out of the hobby. I would hate to need them and not be able to find one someday.
     
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  10. sabbath

    sabbath Member Trusted Member Customer

    The ATS lighting is running 21hrs a day and I figured that I would test No3 before I did a WC. It has been 3 days from the last one. The No3 reads just a hair over 20. YAY. For the first time I'm not going to a WC.
     
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  11. sabbath

    sabbath Member Trusted Member Customer


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    Here is after a week. There is a weird tan hard stuff in the middle.

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  12. Turbo

    Turbo Does not really look like Johnny Carson Staff Member Site Owner Multiple Units! Customer

    I think that's probably algae that is not getting enough light or flow. Looks like a bit of die-off happening. Like I said I haven't personally ran a FW scrubber and my customer with 3x of them is not on the forum (not a forum guy I guess)

    But I would scrape all that off. How many days growth is that? How are Nitrates doing?
     
  13. sabbath

    sabbath Member Trusted Member Customer

    This was 7 days. No3 was 20ppm after a water change Wednesday. I tested it today and it is holding at 20ppm. This is a good step forward.
     
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  14. sabbath

    sabbath Member Trusted Member Customer

    The L2 screen with both diffusers is solid green.

    Maybe it is too much light in the L4? I'm going to try the diffusers back in that one and see what happens.

    Wondering if ultimately I should pull the diffusers and run less hours of light in both. Not sure if so, how many hours to start out with.
     
  15. Turbo

    Turbo Does not really look like Johnny Carson Staff Member Site Owner Multiple Units! Customer

    Well...I'm just guessing here, same as you. Put the diffusers in and run long hours - 20-22, maybe even 24/7. See what happens?
     
  16. sabbath

    sabbath Member Trusted Member Customer

    I made a filter sock hanger out off a poly toggle anchor. It works okay.

    Note, The only reason that mine is clipped up is because it is close to a sump drain and it would go inside and slow it down.


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  17. sabbath

    sabbath Member Trusted Member Customer

    Yay ATS. No water change in a week and NO3 went to 0.

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  18. Turbo

    Turbo Does not really look like Johnny Carson Staff Member Site Owner Multiple Units! Customer

    Nice!! So is this with both the L2 and L4 running long hours? Growth pics?
     
  19. sabbath

    sabbath Member Trusted Member Customer

    Yes I'm running both the L2 & the L4. I have them lite for 20hrs a day. The growth is still basically like the pic above. I still get tan crusty stuff at the base once and a while. I have been scrapping it off with each 7 day cleaning.
     
  20. sabbath

    sabbath Member Trusted Member Customer

    The harvest on the L4 was bigger this week. Usually it's about half of this one.


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