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Aquarium Tip Tank Podcast 016 | Aquarium Care Tips for a Holiday or Vacation, a Fish, and Some Problems

Aquarium Tip Tank Podcast 016

Finally! It’s here! Here is another Aquarium Tip Tank Podcast filled with aquarium tips to help you set up some automatic aquarium systems so that you don’t have to worry about topping off the evaporated water or feeding your fish when your away from your fish tank! In fact, you can even keep these systems set up when you aren’t away from your tank, and you’ll have more time to just enjoy your aquarium.

In the last podcast we recorded, Aquarium Tip Tank Podcast 015, I talked a lot about the first few fish that I added to my 30 gallon saltwater tank. Not only has it been over 2 months since that last podcast was released, but its almost been 3 months since those fish were added to the tank. In that time I’ve added a Coral Beauty Angelfish to my aquarium, and I’ve had to be away from my tank so that I could go on vacation over the holidays. Everything is explained in the podcast, so go ahead and take a listen while you scroll through some of the pictures and check out all of the links below!

Adam Puli's 10 Gallon Freshwater Aquarium

Adam Puli’s 10 Gallon Freshwater Aquarium

Adam Puli of Melbourne, Australia reached out to me, gave me a few pointers for the podcast, and sent me a few pictures of his 10 gallon freshwater aquarium. He was worthy of a podcast shout out and including one of his pictures in the show notes!

The Components of a DIY Freshwater Auto-Top-Off System

The Components of a DIY Freshwater Auto-Top-Off System

In this episode of the Aquarium Tip Tank Podcast I talk about setting up a freshwater auto-top-off system. For now, I’ve included a picture of the necessary components, but check back soon for a set-up video!

Coral Beauty Angelfish head on

Coral Beauty Angelfish head on

Coral Beauty Angelfish from the side

Coral Beauty Angelfish from the side

Above are some pictures of the Coral Beauty Angelfish that I added to my aquarium. I encountered a few problems about 2 weeks after it was added. I think, and I hope, all of my problems are gone!

Equipment and Links Mentioned in this Episode:

Aquarium Tips of Note in this episode:

  • Turn off and unplug the equipment that you’re maintaining
  • Test all DIY projects as soon as they’re complete
  • Test all automatic systems for a few days before leaving your tank unattended
  • Purchase tank-bred fish whenever possible

Do you have some automatic systems set up on your aquarium? Which ones? Leave some comments below!

TJ

 

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How To Perform an Aquarium Water Change

I’ve had to perform a water change or two for my new 30 gallon saltwater aquarium, and I figured it was about time to share some aquarium tips and a video showing how I perform a water change for my aquarium. Here are a few tips and tricks to make your aquarium maintenance and water changes quick, easy, and mess free.

Setting up for an Aquarium Water Change:

  • Prepare new water ahead of time.
  • If freshwater, have some ready and sitting in a container for a day or two prior to performing water change. Condition the water properly and de-chlorinate. Make sure water conditions match that of the water in the display tank.
  • If saltwater, make sure pH, salinity, and water chemistry match the conditions of the water in the display tank.
  • Make sure new water temperature matches the temperature of the water in the display tank.
  • Have a towel handy.
  • Gather all of your tank cleaning and water changing tools and have everything staged and ready.
  • Keep filters, pumps, power heads, and protein skimmers running while you clean the walls and insides of the tank. This way, a lot of the algae and gunk that is scraped from the surfaces will get removed by the filtration devices and not just sink to the bottom of the aquarium.
  • Turn all heaters, pumps, power heads, filters, and protein skimmers OFF BEFORE REMOVING ANY WATER! You don’t want to break the heater or any of your pumps and electrical equipment by running them when they are dry if they are meant to be wet.

Once you’ve done these few simple steps you are ready to change the water in your aquarium. Take 20 to 30 percent of the water out of your display tank, and add that same volume of new water back into the tank. Here is a video showing how I clean out my tank and use the Aqueon Water Changer to perform a quick water change. Enjoy!

Have any cool tricks for performing aquarium water changes? Leave comments below!

TJ

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Unpacking the AquaC Remora-S Protein Skimmer

If you’ve been following along with the Aquarium Tip Tank Podcast you’ve been listening to a lot of aquarium tips for starting and setting up a home aquarium. You may have also heard me say something like, “A protein skimmer is  not necessary for the first few weeks of cycling your tank.” While this is true because you want to allow the organic compounds that the protein skimmer would normally remove to break down into nitrogenous waste to kick start your biological filter, a protein skimmer is one of the best ways to help filter the water and increase the water quality in your aquarium.

My 30 gallon saltwater aquarium had been up and running for about 2 weeks and I decided it was probably time to do some research and  purchase a protein skimmer. You may have also heard that my API Nexx Canister Filter leaked. My tank had been cycling for 2 weeks without any kind of filtration and only the Hydor Koralia Evolution 550 Aquarium Pump being used for water circulation. Everything was going well and all of the water tests that I performed were showing me that the tank was cycling correctly, but it was definitely time to add some filtration to the aquarium.

I decided to go with the AquaC Remora-S Protein Skimmer. Protein skimming is a type of mechanical filtration that physically removes organic compounds from the aquarium water, but it is the only way of removing those organic compounds before they start to decompose. This improves the water’s redox potential and eases the load on the biological filter. There are many aquarium hobbyists that swear that a  protein skimmer is the only filtration device they ever use to keep a smaller sized reef aquarium thriving and happy. My plan is to only use a protein skimmer, some chemical filtration with a phosphate reactor, the biological filtration of my live rock and live sand, and, of course, regular water changes.

There were a few things that I had to keep in mind when selecting a protein skimmer for my tank. The protein skimmer I chose had to:

  • Hang on the back of the tank- I don’t have enough room in the tank stand for a  sump to house the protein skimmer.
  • Not be an eyesore – After all, it is going to be hanging off the back of the tank and everyone will be able to see that it is there.
  • Be rated for at least 30 gallon aquariums, and preferably rated for larger aquariums.
  • Be quiet – In the world of aquarium equipment quieter is always better.
  • Be easy to clean and maintain – Isn’t this always a necessary feature?

The design of the AquaC Remora-S Protein Skimmer takes care of all of these concerns, and more! Some of the features included with the Remmora-S are:

  • Hangs on the tank
  • Compact Size and Profile
  • Translucent Gray Acrylic Main Body to inhibit the growth of algae and marine organisms
  • Rated for aquariums between 20 and 75 gallons
  • Neoprene foam noise muffler
  • Extended Collection Cup
  • Optional collection water drain fitting
  • Level adjustment screws at the base of the skimmer
  • High Flow Spray Injector
  • Nylon cleaning brush
  • Cobalt MJ-1200 Pump

The reviews were great. The Remora-S had everything I needed. I went ahead and ordered one, and it arrived just a few days later!

AquaC Remora-S Protein Skimmer arrives in a 3′ tall box

The Remora-S Protein Skimmer arrived in a very large box despite the fact that it is only 19 inches tall. Its probably from all of the packaging that was used to keep my delivery safe!

Remora-S Packed for safe travels

As you can see, the Remora-S protein skimmer was packed to withstand the worst of shipping environments. I’m glad everything arrived safely!

All the parts and pieces were packed well inside the actual Remora-S Protein Skimmer box too

The body of the Remora-S protein skimmer, collection cup, Cobalt MJ-1200 pump, and cleaning brush were also safe inside the actual AquaC packaging. However, I figured all of the parts and pieces would look much better out of the box!

All AquaC Remora-S Protein Skimmer parts out of the box!

The only real assembly steps for the Remora-S Protein Skimmer are giving everything a quick freshwater rinse, and attaching the output of the Cobalt MJ-1200 pump to the flexible intake tubing of the Remora-S. Then, you are ready to hang the Remora-S on the back of the tank, adjust the leveling screw, and plug the pump in. Skimming has been started!

Skimming with the AquaC Remora-S Protein Skimmer

The full profile of the AquaC Remora-S Protein Skimmer

The AquaC Remora-S Protein Skimmer uses a spray injection system that produces a powerful, high-pressure air-induction spray to bombard the main skimmer chamber and generate an enormous amount of waste-removing bubbles. Protein skimmers work by using an air stone, aspirator, or spray induction to create a large air/water interface by injecting large volumes of bubbles into the water column. Organic waste molecules then collect on the surface of the bubbles in the collection cup. The more bubbles that are created, the bigger the air/water interface is, and more organic molecules can be collected. For a huge increase in performance, the Remora-S features a high flow spray injector for increased air and water flow, smaller bubble size, and thus, more bubbles and organic waste removal.

Are you using a protein skimmer for your aquarium? What kind? Where is it in your system? Leave comments below!

TJ

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Aquarium Tip Tank Podcast 014 | Stocking a Fish Tank

Aquarium Tip Tank Podcast 014

It’s about time to put some fish in the tank. The 30 gallon saltwater aquarium has been running for 2 months. I’ve added a complete cleaner crew and I need to figure out what fish I want to put in the aquarium!

In this episode of the Aquarium Tip Tank Podcast I talk about the scientific art of stocking a fish tank. I try to explain why there are limitations to the number of fish that you can keep in one fish tank. I also discuss some of the rules of thumb that are used for stocking an aquarium, their exceptions, and how I like to go about putting fish in my tanks.

Aquarium Tips of Note in this episode:

  • Don’t overstock your aquarium
  • Stock your fish tank slowly
  • Perform water quality tests on a regular basis

Is it time for you to put fish in your tank? Do you have any questions or comments? Leave them below!

TJ

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Unpacking the Doradon Aquarium Acclimation System

If you follow along here at Aquarium Tip Tank you know that I have been going through the process of setting up a 30 gallon saltwater aquarium. A couple weeks ago, I decided that it was time to start adding a cleaner crew to the tank. At that point the aquarium had been cycling for about 5 weeks, there had been a few nice diatom blooms, and it was time to add some hardy invertebrates that like to feed on some of the algae.

As with any livestock that is going to be added to an aquarium, I needed to make sure that all of the members of the cleaner crew were acclimated to the conditions of my saltwater aquarium. I started to investigate and do some research into ways to make my own acclimation system until I did a quick search on Amazon. There, I found the Doradon Aquarium Acclimation System for only $20.

Sure, I could’ve gone to the hardware store and found some small diameter tubing, a drip valve, and all of the other materials necessary for this project. However, I probably would’ve spent $20 or more at the hardware store and a whole lot more than the 2 days that Amazon takes to deliver items to my doorstep.

The Doradon Acclimation System all boxed up

The Doradon Aquarium Acclimation System allows users to equalize new aquarium livestock to both the temperature and chemical conditions of your fish tank simultaneously. It holds the bag that your local fish store sent your new fish, coral, shrimp, or invertebrate home in, allowing it to float in your aquarium water to equalize temperature while keeping the top of the bag open to equalize the chemical conditions by dripping water from your tank into the bag.

Opening the Box of the Doradon Aquarium Acclimation System

The Doradon Aquarium Acclimation system includes all of the necessary parts and pieces to hang an open bag in your aquarium water and drip your aquarium water into the bag. All of the parts and pieces are also different colors! This helps make the included instructions easy to follow. The three main parts are the blue aquarium frame with the silver thumb screw, the green bag holder, and the clear dripping cup with flow control nozzle.

The parts assembled with the directions, but still in the box.

Above, you can see all of the parts assembled. The green bag holder has a hook that slides onto one of two spots of the blue aquarium frame. The clear dripping cup has two holes at the back that allow it to slide onto the pointed cup supports at the top of the blue aquarium frame.

Blue Aquarium Frame on the Tank

To start getting the Doradon Aquarium Acclimation System on the tank, you should first put the blue aquarium frame on one wall of your aquarium by itself.

Thumb Screw Used to Keep the Aquarium Frame Upright and Level

The thumb screw allows the acclimation system to be used on various aquarium wall thicknesses. Adjust the thumb screw so that the blue aquarium frame stays upright and level on your fish tank with a little bit of pressure pulling the aquarium frame forward. After all, you’re eventually going to hang a bag with livestock in it from this frame. You don’t want it tipping over, and ruining your plans to acclimate your livestock.

Livestock bag attached to bag holder.

The next step is to pull the top of the livestock bag through the bottom of the green bag holder, open the bag and wrap the open end of it out and around the outside of the green bag holder. Use the pointed arrows of the green bag holder to poke holes in the top of the livestock bag so that it can be held securely by the green bag holder.

Livestock Bag floating in Aquarium water and being held by the green bag holder and blue aquarium frame.

Next, you can pick the green bag holder up with the livestock bag attached to it, and slide the hook on the back of the bag holder over one of the holder supports on the blue aquarium frame. At this point, you should have a bag of livestock floating in your aquarium water with the lights off. The temperature is equalizing, and its time to start equalizing the chemical conditions with the drip cup!

Dripping Cup with Aquarium Water hung from Aquarium Frame and dripping into livestock bag.

All you have to do is dip the dripping cup into your fish tank to collect some of your aquarium water, hang the dripping cup on the blue aquarium frame of the Doradon Aquarium Acclimation System, and adjust how fast your aquarium water drips into the livestock bag using the flow control nozzle at the bottom of the dripping cup.

Acclimation to your Aquarium Conditions in Process

Now, just let the acclimation system do its work for at least 15 to 20 minutes. If there is still water in the dripping cup after 15 to 20 minutes, just leave everything alone until the dripping cup is empty. I actually like to let everything acclimate for about 30 to 45 minutes. The temperature will come to equilibrium in about 15 to 20 minutes, but it usually takes a little longer for the chemical conditions to equalize.

I hope you made it this far because I have a couple more aquarium tips about acclimating your livestock. First, use a quarantine tank. No, a quarantine tank may not be absolutely necessary for your first round of cleaner crew. However, a quarantine tank should definitely be used for every fish that you place in your display aquarium. Yes, I’ll admit that I’m guilty of not always using a quarantine tank with new fish, but you never know what kind of disease, parasites, and stress the fish store has given the fish that you just brought home. That disease will quickly spread to the rest of your fish tank and you’ll end up scrambling to set up a quarantine tank to keep your display aquarium alive and thriving. Its much easier to just use a quarantine tank first, get rid of all the fish diseases, then acclimate from your quarantine tank to your display tank.

Second, acclimate livestock that comes from different tanks and systems of your LFS separately. For example, you may stop by your LFS and pick up a cleaner crew from one tank or tank system while also picking up a fish from another tank or tank system. Or maybe you purchase a fish from one wall of your LFS and another fish from another wall of your LFS. Do not put them in the same bag and acclimate them together. Acclimate livestock from different aquarium systems separately. Sure, that one wall of tanks in your LFS is probably working off of the same filtration system with the same sump, protein skimmers, filters, etc. The other fish that you get from that other wall of tanks is probably running off of an entirely different system and the water characteristics may be different. Acclimate them separately and they will go through a much safer, and less stressful acclimation process.

Finally, acclimate between every tank. Acclimate between your LFS and your quarantine tank, and acclimate between your quarantine tank and your display tank. Your fish and your aquarium will be much happier, and much healthier if you take just a few simple steps.

Putting fish in your aquarium? How do you acclimate them to your tank? Leave comments below.

TJ

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Unpacking the Koralia Evolution 550gph Movement and Circulation Aquarium Pump by Hydor

If you’re a frequent visitor here at Aquarium Tip Tank you probably know that I am in the process of setting up a 30 gallon saltwater aquarium. Actually, you’ve probably already seen pictures of the Koralia Evolution water circulation pump set up in this fish tank. However, I’m not quite sure that I’ve actually showed you the pump itself and explained who it is made by, why it is necessary, and how it works. I figured it is about time to share that information with you!

First, lets talk a little bit about water circulation in an aquarium. Good water circulation is important in a home aquarium for three main reasons. Water circulation provides a means of food delivery, waste removal, and the provision of oxygen.

In order to adequately disperse and deliver the food that is fed in a broadcast manner to the livestock of your aquarium, water must be circulated around the entire fish tank and to all corners of the aquarium. This is especially important when dealing with sessile invertebrates. After all, they don’t really move. Of course, you can dose individual corals with food filled syringes, but corals and their symbiotic zooxanthellae algae also grab the tiny particles of plankton and nutrients that are floating in the water. In order to make sure that the food an nutrient rich water passes close enough to the sessile invertebrates to feed, good water circulation is necessary.

Not only does circulating water deliver food and nutrients to all parts of a fish tank, but it also picks up and removes waste particles that have been left behind. The oceans have waves, currents, and tides that are constantly creating water circulation that removes waste. In an aquarium, water circulation must be created in order to pick those waste particles up and off of the corals, rocks, sand, and decorations. Proper water circulation will then help bring those waste particles to the inlet of the filtration system so that they can be removed from the aquarium water.

Finally, water circulation in a home aquarium helps with oxygenation of the water. Water does not have the ability to hold as much oxygen as air does. The warmer the water gets, the less oxygen it can hold and warm saltwater holds the least amount of oxygen. If water in a fish tank were left stagnant, only the water in the top water column of the tank would be in contact with the air for oxygenation. Good water movement will constantly circulate all of the water to the air/water interface, allowing gas exchange and proper oxygenation for all of the water in the tank.

Okay. Now that we know why proper water circulation is important in a home aquarium its about time I show you some pictures of how I’m moving the water around my 30 gallon reef tank.

The Koralia Evolution 550gph Movement and Circulation Pump Revealed

Koralia Evolution 550gph ready to be opened!

Most manufacturers show flow rates and recommended tank sizes for their pumps. As shown below, Hydor provides a chart on the back of their Koralia Evolution Movement and Circulation pumps.

A very general rule of thumb that is used when it comes to flow rates is that water circulation should be at a flow rate equal to ten times the net water volume of the tank for soft corals. For example, I’m putting this pump in a 30 gallon tank. Therefore, the flow rate for water circulation should be at least 300 gallons per hour (gph) if keeping soft corals. For hard corals, a flow rate equal to 30 times the net water volume of the tank can be used. Therefore, for hard corals, the general rule of thumb states that I would need 900 gph of water circulation.

I’m currently only putting one Koralia Evolution 550 gph Movement and Circulation pump into the tank, and that should work for right now. When I decide to put hard corals into the tank I may need to add another pump for a total of 1100 gph from power heads. However, some water circulation is also produced by filter returns and protein skimmers and another power head may not be necessary. That is a decision for future TJ to make.

Flow Rate Chart on back of Koralia Evolution box.

The Koralia Evolution 550gph in its box.

Koralia Evolution 550gph Movement and Circulation Pump out of the box!

Koralia Evolution 550gph Movement and Circulation Pump by Hydor in the Fish Tank!

Shown above is the Koralia Evolution 550gph pump by Hydor mounted to the side of my tank. Currently, the pump is actually closer to the top of the tank. The top of the tank just seemed like a better spot for the power head once the live sand, live rock, and saltwater were all in place. The location near the top of the tank also helps create some waves and turbulence at the air/water interface to help with oxygenation.

How do you circulate the water in your aquarium? Leave comments below.

TJ

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Aquarium Tip Tank Podcast 011 | Setting Up a Home Aquarium, Part 2 – Cycling A Fish Tank

Aquarium Tip Tank Podcast 011

On the last episode of the Aquarium Tip Tank podcast we talked about all of the steps to setting up a home aquarium up until the nitrogen cycle. Since then, I’ve been setting up my 30 gallon salt water aquarium and have started the cycling process. Are you in the process of setting up a tropical fish tank?

In this episode I discuss the final step necessary for setting up a home aquarium. Yes, its performing the cycling process of your tropical fish tank. I discuss why the cycling process is necessary, what happens during the cycle, and methods for performing a fish tank cycle.

You can go check out the post about how I performed my aquarium system check here. I took a few pictures documenting the rest of my aquarium setup process, and they are included below.

Draining the Fish Tank after a System Check

Ready to make some Saltwater for the Aquarium

Making saltwater for the aquarium was very quick and easy with Instant Ocean Reef Crystals. Instant Ocean claims that the Reef Crystals are specially formulated for use in reef aquariums and contains extra calcium, additional trace elements, vitamins, and a metal detoxifier to ensure the health and growth of reef life. Check back at Aquarium Tip Tank for more about making saltwater for your aquarium. We’re feeling a video in the works.

The First Bag of Live Sand being added to the Tank

Next, some Live Rock was needed

Saltwater is Necessary for a Marine Aquarium

Now, remember not to freak out if your water turns cloudy when adding the saltwater. Some tiny particles in the live sand are just getting picked up in the water and will take a few hours to clear up. As shown below, my tank had such a milky white cloud that nothing could be seen inside the tank after it was filled with saltwater. It took about 4 to 5 hours to clear up after turning on my canister filter.

I can’t see anything in that cloudy tank!

Then, when I went to check on things I found water on the floor, under the canister filter. As stated in the podcast, Aquarium Tip Tank no longer recommends the API Nexx Aquarium Canister Filter. At this point, we just don’t trust them. Yours might end up working great. Ours ended up leaking.

Thankfully, it was only the canister filter. I was able to stop the filter and get it out of the tank without too much of a mess. Also, it isn’t absolutely necessary to have a filter running during the cycling of a tank. Some even say that they only run their power filter or canister filter while clearing the cloudy water, then they turn the filter off. The theory is that the filter will end up extracting things that you want to keep in your tank during the cycling process. For example, decaying food particles actually help jump start the cycling process by creating an added ammonia source for beneficial  bacteria to feed on. So, you actually want to keep those decaying food particles in the tank and in the water rather than sucked up in your power filter or canister filter. I may end up just adding a protein skimmer and leaving water filtration up to it and the biological filtration in the tank itself. As always, whatever I decide, you’ll know it here first!

Items Mentioned in this Podcast:

My tank is currently cycling, and creating that biological filtration system. How is your tank coming along? Leave comments below.

TJ

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Aquarium Tips of the Day | Be Creative and Functional with Aquascaping

Today’s Aquarium Tip Tank tips will help you enjoy your tank while making sure that it also fits all of the needs of your livestock. Want to make sure that your tropical fish tank looks a little different from all the rest? Want to make sure you enjoy a little personalized style in your aquarium? But what about making sure that you’re providing a cave or some hiding spots for your butterfly fish at night? What about making sure that you’ve got places to secure all of your corals so that they can get the necessary light they need? Well, go ahead and be creative with your aquascaping, but while you’re doing it just keep in mind the needs of your livestock.

We don’t only talk about reef tanks here, that just happens to be what I’m trying to set up. Therefore, you don’t have to use live rock, or any rocks for that matter. You can go out and get fake decorations that suit both the needs of your creativity and the needs of your livestock. Or, maybe you want to arrange, cut, scrape, and sculpt your rockwork into your own fun and useful decorations! My opinion is…go nuts. If people ask you how and why you aquascaped the way you did, its time for a fun lesson!

Share some pictures of your aquascaping! Fire me an email at tj@aquariumtiptank.com if you have too!

TJ

 

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TJ’s 30 Gallon Saltwater Aquarium System Check

If you’re a regular at Aquarium Tip Tank you probably know that I am setting up a new 30 gallon saltwater tropical fish tank, and that I am sharing this process for all so that everybody can see how its done, get some home aquarium tips, and learn from my mistakes. Once you have all of the necessary aquarium equipment on hand, it is time to start setting up your tropical fish tank. All of the steps for home aquarium setup are listed in Aquarium Tip Tank Podcast 010 | Setting up a Home Aquarium, Part 1.

The first step in this process is to get all of the equipment in place, running all of your hoses and plugs, and making sure that everything is in the location that you think you are going to want. You can listen to the story of how I cleaned and leak checked my aquarium tank prior to moving it into position on Aquarium Tip Tank Podcast 003, and see how I set up and placed my API Nexx Aquarium Canister Filter here.

I attached my heater in place on the back wall of my tank, attached my thermometer to the side, got my light and light stand set up, and ran all of my plugs to my surge protector. At this point, it was time for me to put some RO/DI water into my empty fish tank and run a 24 hour system check. First, here is a quick little video about how I go about filtering my tap water.

Now that I have some RO/DI purified water, its time to fill up my fish tank and perform my 24 hour system check! I have to admit, not everything worked out exactly as planned. I hope you listened to Aquarium Tip Tank Podcast 010 prior to setting up your tank and you had an empty bucket, some towels, and some extra RO/DI purified water handy.

Yes, you’ve probably guessed by now that I had a leak. Much to my dismay, the leak was coming from the API Nexx Canister Filter. BUT WAIT! Don’t return your filters just yet. I did eventually get it to work, and I think it was just user error. That’s the only thing that can really explain the leak because as I write this, the API Nexx Aquarium Canister Filter is currently working perfectly, and has been for 4 days.

I did try to fix the filtration system on my own – I apologize for not having pictures or video of this, but I was frantically gathering towels, cleaning up water, and turning electrical equipment off and not thinking about grabbing my camera. Initially, the leak was a small stream of water coming from in between the base unit and the canister section. I turned off the filter, dried everything up with a towel, and took the canister section off of the base unit.

On the bottom of the canister section there are 2 male water ports that slide into 2 female water ports on the base unit. The male water ports on the bottom of the canister section both have O-rings around them to seal up the tubing and keep water from leaking. This had to be where water was getting out. I decided to try putting some plumber’s tape around these ports, put the canister section back on the base unit, and try again to see if water stopped leaking. Well, the leak actually got worse.

I turned everything off, cleaned everything up, and at this point I was baffled. This thing could’ve been leaking from anywhere. Having a degree in Mechanical Engineering, it was, of course, time to take the entire system apart for inspection. I grabbed a screwdriver and started taking the API Nexx Aquarium Canister Filter apart.

This is where having some empty buckets ready really came in handy. In order to take the entire system apart, the tubes feeding the base unit and canister filters with water and returning the water to the tank, had to be removed from the base unit. Well, when you turn the handle to take the canister section off of the base unit, you are also closing valves and re-routing water. It was fairly obvious that there was still water sitting in the water tubes that would need to be drained. However, what happens when you disconnect the water tube from the base unit? Water keeps draining out of that tube until the water level in the aquarium is lower than the pump for the filtration system.  I’m glad I had a few empty buckets around.

I disassembled the entire filtration system, but still couldn’t find any other place that water could be leaking from. It wasn’t until after reassembling everything that I thought to myself, “You know, those o-rings on the male ports of the canister section are there for a reason. Maybe I shouldn’t be covering them with plumber’s tape. Maybe the plumber’s tape actually made the tape worse.”

So, I removed the plumber’s tape from the male ports on the bottom of the canister section of the filtration system. I then went about reconnecting the water tubes to the base unit, and very carefully placing the canister section back onto the base unit making sure that everything is lined up properly and that the canister section was pushed snugly onto the base unit. I turn the handle at the top of the canister section to lock everything in place and open up the valves that allow water to flow through the canisters, and turn on the canister filtration system one more time.

Much to my surprise, there are NO MORE LEAKS! The API Nexx Aquarium Canister Filtration system has been working great for 4 days now! The unfortunate part of all this is that I don’t really have an answer for you about why the thing leaked in the first place. My only guess is that maybe I didn’t have the canister section properly aligned on the base unit. Like I said, maybe it was user error?

I must also say that RENA/API, the manufacturers of the API Nexx Aquarium Canister Filter, were very quick and fantastic with customer support. I sat down and sent them an email before I took the canister filter apart. The email was sent on a Saturday evening at 6pm through their contact form on their webpage. By the time I woke up on Sunday morning I had a response to my email.

I will continue to keep you updated on the durability of the API Nexx Aquarium Canister Filter. Do I have trouble placing the canister section back on the base unit the next time I change my filter media? Do I spend 30 minutes to an hour chasing small leaks every time I take the canister section off the base? Or, does it work perfectly every other time I go to use it?

For now, here’s a video showing how I filled my tank with RO/DI purified water for my system check and how everything is performing and looking after letting my saltwater tropical fish tank system run for 4 days. Enjoy!

Did you perform a 24 hour Aquarium System Check? How did it go? Leave comments or questions below!

TJ

 

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Aquarium Tip Tank Podcast 010 | Setting Up a Home Aquarium, Part 1

Aquarium Tip Tank Podcast 010

Its time to start setting up your tropical fish tank and here are a few aquarium tips to help you on your way! We’ve discussed all of the pieces of aquarium equipment that are needed to start a home aquarium. I’ve purchased all of the equipment that I need to start setting up my new saltwater aquarium. Have you acquired all of your aquarium equipment? Are you finally ready to start setting up your home aquarium?

In this episode of the Aquarium Tip Tank Podcast I’ve listed and I discuss all of the steps of setting up a home aquarium. I’ll start with getting all of the equipment set up, and attached to the correct places of the aquarium. I’ll get into performing a 24 hour system check, and I’ll end with starting the nitrogen cycle. In part 2, I will discuss the entire nitrogen cycle process for a home aquarium.  Included below are a few pictures of my home aquarium setup process.

White Vineger, Sponge, and Towel For Cleaning the Aquarium

Above are all of the cleaning supplies I used to do a final wipe down of the tank. Below are the two light timers that I’m using. The Ecoray 60DX LED lighting system has one plug for the blue LED lights and one plug for the white LED lights. I’ve used zip ties to label them so that I know which plug is which. The white zip tie is around the plug for the white LED lights and the neon yellow zip tie is around the plug for the blue LED lights. I would’ve used a blue zip tie for the blue LED lights, but the pack of zip ties that I have didn’t have any blue zip ties. You can also see the plug for the heater. It is not plugged in yet because there is no water in the tank for it to heat. You may also notice that the surge protector has several places to plug things in. The thing I like about this surge protector is that the plugs rotate to easily accommodate different sized plugs.

Two Light Timers. One for the Blue Lights and one for the White Lights

Close-up of white LED light timer

Close-up of blue LED light timer

Ecoray 60DX LED Aquarium Light System on DIY Tank Hanger

Starting to Fill the Fish Tank for a System Check

Items Mentioned in this Podcast:

How’s your Tropical Fish Tank setup coming along? Leave comments and/or questions below!

TJ

 

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