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What would you do with $300...

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1stupidpunk View Drop Down
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    Posted: September 30 2013 at 12:03pm
So just a wee bit of backround... My 72g bowfront is just over 2 years old, and after moving out of apartments every 6 months or so and going thru lots of issues, its finally stable and starting to look like a reef tank should. All the equipment has been slowly purchased/upgraded from older equipment i was able to get good deals on from the forums here/ksl. At the moment im running a 4 bulb T-5 coralife fixture, a rio return pump, coralife UV, ato, and some koralias.
 
My wife and I are expecting our first child here in a few months(due on valentines day!) and i work 60 or so hours a week trying to provide for us. All the money that goes into the tank comes from whatever profit i make from my side home based vinyl business.
 
 
Now for the question... If you were in my shoes and looking at all the potential upgrades, what would you spend your money on...here are a few of my thoughts...
-ebay leds to replace the T-5s to be able to grow more sps
-WP40 pump to replace the koralias
-dosing pumps (i dose alc/mag manually atm)
 
 
My other thought is keep it a somewhat low tech tank and just add some neat coral/fish....
Let the brainstorm begin!
 
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jdinchak View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jdinchak Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 30 2013 at 12:18pm
Are the ebay leds going to be good enough or will you be upgrading those in a bit as well? 

Are the Koralias adding good flow to your tank, is it enough? 

How often do you dose?  Do you have issues keeping your parameters up? 

If the lights and koralias are good I would see about the doser.  I like my Koarlias a lot (especially on my Apex) but am very curious on the WP40.  I would also see about saving up for an Apex or if you can find one used. 


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote aceofspadeskb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 30 2013 at 12:19pm
I can't really say what you should do in your situation, but I can say that I LOVE my WP25 in my 55 gal.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JohnnyHeavens Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 30 2013 at 12:23pm
Congratz on the new one! You're a busy guy so I'd have to say get something that makes things easier. Of those you list I'd think the dosing pumps are the best fit in that mission. Should allow you to improve stability with less work. My first suggestion would be to get a tank controller and automate as much as you can along the way.

My ordered suggestion list and a why I ordered them this way:
1. tank controller-peace of mind and automation. (In the end I believe can save you money by allowing more flexibility in what you purchase. example: dosing pumps. you can get cheaper "dumb" pumps that are controlled via the tank controller vs ones with built in timers/meters) With about the same amount as what you'd spend on a MP40 you can get started with automation and with monitoring Temp/pH.
2. Dosing pumps-automates added stability and simplifies maintenance.
3. MP40 - Love the flow of my ecotech pumps!
4. ...ebay LEDs...Keep your T5s. I personally didn't feel comfortable going with the super cheap LEDs. They are the newest option and so I wanted to go with lights that had the best chance of working.  If I couldn't have purchased my radions I would have gone with MH/T5s long before risking it all on knock-off efforts.  When I built my frag tank I didn't have the cash for more radions so I picked up a used MH/T5 fixture and spent the money on extending the reach of my Apex controller.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote seamonkey Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 30 2013 at 12:29pm
$100 on wp40 and $200 on fish/coral
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 1stupidpunk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 30 2013 at 12:33pm
Originally posted by jdinchak jdinchak wrote:

Are the ebay leds going to be good enough or will you be upgrading those in a bit as well? 

Are the Koralias adding good flow to your tank, is it enough? 

How often do you dose?  Do you have issues keeping your parameters up? 

If the lights and koralias are good I would see about the doser.  I like my Koarlias a lot (especially on my Apex) but am very curious on the WP40.  I would also see about saving up for an Apex or if you can find one used. 


I dont know much about leds, but a few people on here rave about how the ebay leds are a great bang for your buck, my lights are in great mechanical shape, just cant keep much sps with them.
 
I have 2 koralias i think their either 1100 or 1500... they do a good job keeping water flow when the are working properly... if the power bumps or i turn them off to clean them i have to spend another 30m trying to get the impeller to spin the correct direction.
 
I dose alk,cal,mag twice a week per the manufactures directions, i test every weekend.
 
I would really like to find a good deal on an apex, a controller would be a really good upgrade. i dont see many used apex up for sale but maybe ill see how much id have to spend to get one, i dont have tons of equipment that needs a controller atm so maybe i could get away with a reefkeeper....
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Molli Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 30 2013 at 12:33pm
I'd save it for a rainy day with a baby on the way!  Wink
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Melissa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 30 2013 at 12:33pm
Hello fellow 72g bowfront ownerTongue

I would definitely go with the dosing pumps, even if you weren't expecting a kiddo soon.

Once you get them all dialed in it is sooooo much easier to keep your levels stable, and it is so nice not to have to worry about forgetting or dosing too much at one time.

Also, I didn't see a skimmer on your equipment list...

Oh, and I ended up getting a computer UPS to plug my koralias into so I didn't have to deal with the stopping and never starting right whenever there was a brown out or to give me a few hours in a power outage.  That was helpful.


Edited by Melissa - September 30 2013 at 12:36pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JohnnyHeavens Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 30 2013 at 12:34pm
duh-I read MP40 and not WP40...no wonder they are getting legally pursued.

I have a couple WP40s too and they are OK. Better than the Kyrollias I started out with.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Krazie4Acans Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 30 2013 at 12:57pm
With a baby on the way I would spend it on anything you can to reduce the time you have to spend on the tank. Controller, dosers, etc. Once the baby gets here those sleepless nights start to drag on you and you might be tempted to cut corners or reduce maintenance in order to save a little time. I say go higher tech and save your tank from the "no time to deal with it" moments that are sure to come.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BobC63 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 30 2013 at 1:03pm
$100 on a wp40
 
$100 on a used MH setup (maybe less)
 
$50 take your wife out to dinner
 
$50 save for later (you never know)
 
Then sell the T5 and use the proceeds to buy fish / corals for yourself
 
Everybody 'wins' and you have a little bit left over
 
 
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Adam Blundell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 30 2013 at 4:47pm
I didn't read above, but my advice is to get another skimmer.  

Adam
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mike Savage Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 30 2013 at 5:07pm

I'd get a camera.



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 1stupidpunk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 30 2013 at 5:37pm
Originally posted by Adam Blundell Adam Blundell wrote:

I didn't read above, but my advice is to get another skimmer.  

Adam


Oh i didnt put it up there put i have a tunze 9006 which skims like a champ.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ReefdUp Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 30 2013 at 8:05pm
As someone who is pregnant with a first child...and has a serious addiction, here's my advice...

1. Automate, automate, automate. You can't worry about your water topoff levels, overheating, or whatever while you're dealing with a newborn. Get an ATO if you don't have one. Then get a controller. There's no need for you to go with a full-blown Apex at this point. Get a used AquaController...Apex Jr., or even a Reefkeeper Lite.

2. Lighting. I see no reason to switch to an eBay LED system if you have GOOD T-5 lights (meaning ATI bulbs). How many bulbs is your fixture? If I was going to switch to LEDs, I'd go with a fixture that I know would last a long time and have the correct spectrum (which the eBay lights don't.)

3. Dosing. Do you actually need to dose? You said you're dosing per the manufacturer's directions. You should be dosing by what you need to obtain the correct levels...not by what is on the back of the bottle (if I understood you right.) If you're having to dose 50ml of each chemical a day, then I'd get a dosing pump. But, you can make a cheapo gravity fed system for next to nothing.

4. If the above won't make your family's life easier, then don't spend the money IMO. Save it...babies cost more than expected. Or, get mom a nice "push present". Hehe

5. Flow. IMO, this is a "nice to have". Koralias aren't bad, although they take up a lot of real estate in a 72g.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 1stupidpunk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 30 2013 at 8:40pm
My calc and mag are usually pretty good to be honest, i do have to dose for alk twice per week, but i dose per the bottles instructions (if that makes any sense)...

I really think an apex jr would be plenty of controllability for my somewhat low tech system.

My lights are a 4 bulb t-5 HO coralife fixture, they produce night light with ati bulbs, just cant keep sps

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ReefdUp Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 30 2013 at 8:48pm
Ahh, gotcha. I'd go with an Apex Jr. for my #1 recommendation then. I've had my Apex for 4 years now, and it's been a lifesaver on many occasions. It finally broke this week, and Neptune's customer service was awesome to work with. They responded the same day, and they were even answering my questions on a Sunday. Unfortunately I did have to send the unit back for repairs, but they said they offer some minor repairs for free, and pay for half of shipping. They are also updating the system for free. I have to say...I don't know how I survived this long in the hobby without a controller. LOL.

You *should* be able to keep some SPS with 4-bulb ATI's (assuming they're 54W each). I've kept SPS looking decent under junk power compacts...it can work. How do your SPS respond? To be honest, I don't think I'd worry about keeping SPS until the baby is well-settled in. You don't want to be worrying about RTN while the baby is purple-crying.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 1stupidpunk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 01 2013 at 3:28am
I can keep some of the easier SPS, i have a decent sized orange monti cap going strong, I have tried some acros and they always start to bleach from the top down, which i believe is a lighting issue not water quality issue?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ReefdUp Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 01 2013 at 6:44am
Bleaching from the top down is rarely a lighting issue. If it is caused by lighting, it is from too much...or too much too quick (improper acclimation). I've got about 1000w of light over my tank, and that even isn't enough to bleach the tips.

More commonly, bleaching at the tips is from alkalinity burn. What's your alk?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 1stupidpunk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 01 2013 at 7:05am
My alk has always been a bit on the low side, hence the dosing.... ill test when i get home and post what its at today...
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