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Follow my Oceanic 144g half circle reef tanks progress.
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Water Changer Update & Mods

Posted 01/14/2012 at 04:47 PM by Aaarrrggg

ARGH... my reef junkie tendencies are showing again...


...but before I open the box, I need to do an update.

The LiterMeter has been running for 2 weeks now and I'm very impressed with it. I loooove not having to do manual water changes! (...and the hardwood floor loves it too! Tip for husbands; if you want your wife to sign off on an automatic water changer, just point out how much less water will end up on the floor!)

When the SW reservoir gets down to around 35g it starts splashing; which is a perfect reminder for me to top it up. I turn the taps to fill it back up with FW, dump in some salt and let the pump do the mixing. So far I've been leaving the LiterMeter on during all of this. If I was mixing the whole 50g up I'd turn it off, but as it's less than half the tank I figure it's probably OK to allow it to keep drawing water. By the time water gets to the aquarium its probably going to be pretty well mixed in the tube anyway... and even if it isn't, it's such a small amount I doubt it will notice. I guess it could cause some damage if I left it running unsupervised indefinitely, but with occasional checkups it's easy to keep an eye on things and correct accordingly.

SG has kept steady at 1.025 and Nitrates have fallen somewhere between 10-20ppm (hard to tell exactly on those color test kits.) I had thought getting the salt mix amounts right would be more of a pain, but it's turned out to be pretty forgiving. The storage tanks helpfully have the gallon amounts marked on the sides, so I can guesstimate the amount of salt needed. I test it later on and if it's slightly off I just add a little more salt or water. I'm getting pretty good at it now and I can usually get it right first time.

The only hiccups have been:[LIST=1][*]Sump lvl seemed to be going down more than it should. I worried it might have somehow been removing more than it was putting in, so I recalibrated everything just to be sure. I also upped potential amount of RO that can be pumped per day. One or other of these things seemed to do the trick and the sump lvl now only varies about an 1". (The way the sensor tube works, the water has to fall a little before it allows the pump back on again, so there's always going to be a little movement.[*]One time I found the LiterMeter was switched itself off. Turns out I didn't have the controller sensor tube up high enough and it had shut everything down. It's worth mentioning to anyone else setting this up that you should make sure the water has to rise about an inch before turning off the LiterMeter. The sensor tube needs the water lvl to fall a little before it turns back on; so if it accidentally turns off in the constant lvl of the sump, you're going to have to loose quite a lot of water before it comes back on again, (that's a lot of evap!) Lesson learned: I moved the sensor tube higher and it hasn't been a problem since.[/LIST]
As per forum feedback (thanks internetz! ) I added a few bits to the fish cupboard to make it more efficient. Shown here are:

Top: [URL=""]Reverse Osmosis System Flush Valve Kit[/URL]
Bottom: [URL=""]JG 1/4 inch x 1/4 inch Union Ball Valve[/URL]


RO/DI unit with new bits added:


The Ball Valve goes in between the RO/DI unit output and the float switch. When I close the valve the back pressure shuts off the whole RO/DI unit (no more reaching under the sink, yay!) Rather than letting the float switch constantly top off the freshwater tank with tiny splashes of (increasingly dirty) RO; now I just flip this switch and shut the whole thing off. Once the RO tank is empty enough, I open the valve and let it fill back up. The float switch prevents it from overflowing and I just need to remember to turn it back off again when it's full.


The flush valve goes on the waste water (yellow) line. After I've made a batch of RO I open the flush valve for 20s. This allows the waste water to bypass the flow restrictor and rush though the system, pulling any crud and impure water with it. I'm learning so much about RO units!

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