Filtering & Automation

Filtration – My tank was set up based on the Berlin system

This is a shot of what’s below my tank. On the left in the blue container I keep my reverse osmosis make up water. In the center is the Kalkwasser reactor. It is fed from the blue tank whenever the water level in the sump (on the right) dips below a certain level. The Kalkwasser reactor sits on top up of a laboratory grade (Dow Corning) spinner. My first spinner gave out after about 4 years so we’ll see how long the upgraded one lasts. At the top of the picture you can see I’ve mounted a shelf and suspended it from the bottom of the tank. This gives me extra storage room and keeps the lighting ballasts high and dry.
The Tunze’s job if to do the main biological filtration. I’ve just switched over from a Rio 2100 to a Iwaki 220 pump to return water from the sump to the tank. Other than that all my filtration is natural, the live rocks, a 2 inch layer of live sand in the tank, a serpent star to do the large cleaning, smaller hermit crabs, and sea cucumbers to keep the sand clean.

Automation – The lights, the circulation pumps and the kalkwasser spinner are all set up on an X-10 power line carrier controlled system. I use a CM11A to provide the main control with a X-10 timer set to send an extra set of commands just in case. The first picture shows the X-10 modules that control the lights. Notice the tape, there was enough current leakage to cause the lights to go on on their own without a command. So I had to open up the X-10 module and disable the circuit that allows to to turn the module on by turning on the light that’s connected to the module, also known as local control. By disabling the modules ability to detect if the light that’s connected to it being on I was able to control the lights without them going on by themselves.

The circulation pumps, two Rio 600’s run for six hours and then the running pump is switched to the other side. This is to try and simulate the tides, and provide good circulation of water so there are no dead spots in the tank.

A kalkwasser reactor spinner is set to go on at three times when the lights are not on to mix the kalkwasser solution that is a part of my top off system. A float controlled top off system adds water as required throughout the day.

Just cause I’m a little paranoid I’ve also added an automatic Y value. In case of a power or sump pump failure it will automatically close and prevent the main tank from draining too much water into the sump and causing it to overflow. About once a year I have to shut the pumping system down and unscrew the cap on the left to clean out the Y to allow the plunger to freely fall when pressure is not being applied from below.

Now with all this stuff below the maintenance of the tank is really easy. I fill the blue RO tank once a week. I add the basic trace minerals once a week. And the rest of the time I just sit back and enjoy it’s beauty.