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GreenJeans

Getting excited about starting my first tank, lots of questions

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Images attached for easier review.

You'd go with sbreeflights to save the $$?  Their website is janky, doesn't inspire confidence in the product...

I looked at the Maxpect Gyre, but they're not apparently controllable with the apex (without an additional controller purchase)? I'd like to design my system to be as integrated into the apex as possible.

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Much easier to see!
Ya, I'd go sbreeflights (and plan to buy one soon). There are reasons I wouldn't be the first to voice, but a fancy website does not mean they are better lights. Your can buy 3 or 4 of them for the price of one Radion 30 pro, if you're really worried , but an extra to keep on the shelf for backup :)
There's an easy hardware hack to make the "basic" sbreeflight (or almost any cheaper black boxes) dimmable by any controller, and less temptation to keep messing with spectrum.
The gyre might be less integratable. If that's critical for you, then the vortech is a winner. I plan to do some tinkering for my future tank and try to get the gyre controlled by my reef-pi, I'm sure there's a way to get it under Apex control, but it's surely not as plug n play as the vortech.

One more: live sand isn't super critical if your starting with a bacteria product. I'd focus on getting the grain size you want, perhaps a single bag of live sand, and add a few bacteria starters.
Prodibio, microbacter 7, Dr Tim's one and only, biospiro, fritz, others. I'd also continue to dose these and things like live rock enhance, microbacter CLEAN, Dr Tim's waste away periodically for the first year

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But don't take my word alone...I do know my microbiology (BSc from OSU), and I'm super over the top on researching things I'm interested in (drives my wife crazy), but I'm only one guy.

Go cruise here and other forums to see if I'm right.

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Oh don't worry, I don't completely trust you 😛

That's actually one of the most exciting parts of this new hobby for me, learning for myself what works for me.

If I was to go with SBReefLights, a single sBox Extreme 32" Wifi would be enough for my 48" tank? The lights they recommend for various tank sizes in their FAQ don't exist or are out of production.

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Nice list.  I have used SB reef lights successfully for a few years and others on here have as well.  It is basically one guy and his wife so you definitely have to take that into account when setting expectations around support and communication but, that said, you are able to get things like replacement parts (diodes) so not impossible.  If you do decide to go for a more compact design and controllability (ala the Radions) you should definitely give the ReeFi extremes made by our very own @danlu_gt a look as they are very impressive and competitively priced with Radions.  Just a thought.  Also, as for Apex integration and choices around that @SuncrestReefis your guy. Also, you can often score some great deals on used equipment on forum if you are patient.

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I have two Maxspect Gyre XF-230's controlled by my Apex using the IceCap Gyre module.  You can purchase the Gyre pumps without the standard controller, then add the IceCap so the Apex controls it.  The advantage is I can integrate the Gyre's into my Feed Mode programming, and my in-cabinet control box to turn off everything with a single button.  Let me know if you want more detail.  All of this was covered a couple weeks ago when I was interviewed by Terence for Neptune's #ControlFreakWednesday video.

68501564_10217127640096332_6653550807096492032_o (1).jpg

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Oh don't worry, I don't completely trust you
That's actually one of the most exciting parts of this new hobby for me, learning for myself what works for me.
If I was to go with SBReefLights, a single sBox Extreme 32" Wifi would be enough for my 48" tank? The lights they recommend for various tank sizes in their FAQ don't exist or are out of production.
Tricky question... It would be a ton of light, but you'd be missing some brightness on the ends ( about 8" on either end). You could actually use this to your advantage, putting things like cyphastrea or softies there (things that don't do great under high light), but it may not have the look you want.
If I were in your shoes, I'd probably buy two of the 18" basic and do the hardware hack to get them under Apex control. You would lose the moonlight channel but you can add that with any of 100 options later if it's really critical. For most of us, you can just kick one light on 10% or so and get the effect you want for dim viewing.

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I have two Maxspect Gyre XF-230's controlled by my Apex using the IceCap Gyre module.  You can purchase the Gyre pumps without the standard controller, then add the IceCap so the Apex controls it.  The advantage is I can integrate the Gyre's into my Feed Mode programming, and my in-cabinet control box to turn off everything with a single button.  Let me know if you want more detail.  All of this was covered a couple weeks ago when I was interviewed by Terence for Neptune's #ControlFreakWednesday video.
1120851526_68501564_10217127640096332_6653550807096492032_o(1).thumb.jpg.bf5e8372080f99bfc21e09879982f910.jpg
I've watched that interview twice now... Don't worry, I'll be coming after you with questions soon! I'm thinking mostly auto water changes sooner than later...

I understand the gyre can be integrated with the ice cap, but that's additional expense... Worth it over a vortech unit?

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1 minute ago, GreenJeans said:

I've watched that interview twice now... Don't worry, I'll be coming after you with questions soon! I'm thinking mostly auto water changes sooner than later...

I understand the gyre can be integrated with the ice cap, but that's additional expense... Worth it over a vortech unit?
 

I haven't personally used a Vortech, so I can't compare.  Here's what I like about the Gyre:

  1. Moves a lot of water is a wide swath rather than a narrow central stream
  2. You can angle the right side and left side different directions
  3. You can run it in forward or reverse.  Mine alternates between forward and reverse every 10 seconds.
  4. Quiet operation
  5. Very easy to disassemble and clean

 

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7 minutes ago, SuncrestReef said:

I haven't personally used a Vortech, so I can't compare.  Here's what I like about the Gyre:

  1. Moves a lot of water is a wide swath rather than a narrow central stream
  2. You can angle the right side and left side different directions
  3. You can run it in forward or reverse.  Mine alternates between forward and reverse every 10 seconds.
  4. Quiet operation
  5. Very easy to disassemble and clean

 

The total price is slightly less than the MP40:

Screen Shot 2019-11-14 at 4.30.03 PM.png

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I'm not sure if the xf280 is compatible with the same icecap controller, but if it is, your call but it (pump only) for about $50 not than an mp40, but the xf280 moves up to 6000 gph, the mp40 moves only 4500, the mp60 moves 7500, but costs way more (almost $200 more than the gyre setup).
Moreover, that flow is, as@SuncrestReef said, a broader flow, which will have advantage on a smaller tank. You can put one in each end, having 4500 (max) from one side and 6000 (max) on the other, in different patterns. That's like 80x for your tank, which would be way overkill, but they won't run 100% all the time, do you'll probably need more like 40x... Which is great

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I like that idea, but I think I prefer the (assumed) benefits of the vortech - all the motors and cables will be outside the tank, with less controllers to deal with (cable management, mounting space, etc), and easier integration with the apex.  If I end up wanting more/different flow down the road, I'm sure I'll be looking at the gyre first.

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4 hours ago, albertareef said:

Nice list.  I have used SB reef lights successfully for a few years and others on here have as well.  It is basically one guy and his wife so you definitely have to take that into account when setting expectations around support and communication but, that said, you are able to get things like replacement parts (diodes) so not impossible.  If you do decide to go for a more compact design and controllability (ala the Radions) you should definitely give the ReeFi extremes made by our very own @danlu_gt a look as they are very impressive and competitively priced with Radions.  Just a thought.  Also, as for Apex integration and choices around that @SuncrestReefis your guy. Also, you can often score some great deals on used equipment on forum if you are patient.

If you're looking for premium reef lighting, check out my ReeFi Duo Extreme.  50% more LED diodes than Radion XR30w g4 at 35% lower cost.  

https://www.reefi-lab.com/reefi-led-duo-info/

https://www.facebook.com/reefilab

Let me know if you have any questions.

 

DLU_3074.JPG

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Dang, sounds like you are really going after it with the equipment. I have the Crystal Reefs Stealth 60 sump and a 360 gallon Custom Aquarium tank. I love them both. A couple important notes, though:

 

1) (likely the most important)There's been a lot of chatter about Mike (CRA tank/sump builder) getting out of building stuff. I had mine delivered about 6 or 7 months ago. There was a falling out between the two business partners, but I spoke with Mike over the summer and he said he would still be building and doing things without the other guy. That's the last I heard. But it seems like more people have said he's out. Guess you'll have to check it.

 

2) Mike's work is freaking beautiful. I had some customizations don't with mine as far as where holes were drilled and also got some lids. I love everything about it.

 

3) CA offers a little known service where they produce cleaner silicone lines on the inside bottom of the tank. The default silicone almost looks like they just spew a huge glob around the perimeter of the bottom panel. If you are using sand, the "glob" look will just be covered by sand. I went bare bottom so I needed the silicone to look perfect. Seems odd that there was an upcharge for clean silicone lines, but there is. To be clear, I'm only taking about the inside perimeter of the bottom panel. All the other seams are clean.

 

4) I don't know if CA has an agreement with Synergy overflow or not, but that's what they push. I found Modular Marine makes much higher quality overflows. I asked them to drill my tank for Modular Marine overflows and they said no (even though MM was telling me their overflows work perfectly for CA tanks). They claimed they had issues with those overflows not working with their steel trim. I begrudgingly agreed to let them drill for Synergy. However, once I received everything I had super bad buyer's remorse for Synergy. They have shoddy reviews to say the least. I reached back out to MM and asked them what options I have. Turns out they can create a custom overflow that fits tanks drilled for Synergy. The builder told me he has customized numerous overflows for people who dropped for Synergy and wanted to switch to MM. Now I have the MM overflows and am super satisfied in those.

 

I've read a couple online threads where people have argued their case back and forth until CA agrees to drill for MM. So if I were you, I'd make them do that. If they won't, consider going somewhere else. In hindsight, I'm really dissatisfied by CA and the whole overflow debacle. All that being said, the tank itself turned out just as expected.

 

Good luck!

 

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Good info there.
Fwiw, I am one who was told CRA is closing their doors. I was talking to them as the only glass builder in the area and was planning a custom 180 or 210 with them until they said they are closing down, at least for custom tanks. Not sure the status of sumps and other things

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Good to know...I guess I'll cross that bridge if I end up unsatisfied with the Synergy overflow, glad to hear the mm can be customized to fit.

 

If I can't get the CRA sump, thoughts on the trigger systems Sapphire CR44? About the same dimensions, and looks nice. Built-in refugium too... The rest of the sump would get lit with the fuge, but maybe that's okay.

 

Or the trigger Triton44 v2... Better fuge with a light blocker? Does it make sense to use a "Triton method" sump if I'm not doing the Triton test kits and stuff? This just means it has a large fuge space?

 

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I can't speak to individual sumps, but the main thing with the Triton method sump is a large fuge, and usually placed a little different with regard to the skimmer chamber, but I wouldn't worry about it; big fuge is nice.

As for light blocking, you can slide in a thin piece of abs or other light blocking material along the fuge... If the sump you love's only real shortcoming is clear fuge walls, just fix that yourself. If you can handle this hobby, you can darken a sump baffles default_smile.png

 

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I would NOT discount something because it is not integratable with apex. Gyres are awesome and have a very very customizable controller. If EVERYTHING is controlled by your apex and it has a problem.. then everything doesnt work.

I know it's a seductive idea but I have seen people loose functionality just for the sake of being able to program something themselves.

Other comments.. live sand is just sand that they add bacteria too. Buy dry sand and bacteria...much cheaper.

Tropic marine salt is Very pricey and the advantage is debatable.

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