Aqua Medic Percula 90: Additional Equipment & Setup

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Welcome to the Aquatic Creations Online Aquamedic Blog. In this post we’re going to discuss some of the additional equipment we will be employing throughout the project as well as going through the initial setup of the Percula 90.

As I said last time, to avoid boring holes in the ceiling, we have welded up a pair of stainless steel brackets from which the Oceanlight 150 will be hung. The first thing we needed to do was to drill holes through the steel and into the cabinet to affix the brackets. While the cabinet is made from particle board, it did prove substantial enough for us to drill decent enough holes to take the 75mm stainless steel self tappers. The brackets were firmly attached and proved to have more than enough strength to hold the weight of the light. The power cable for the light was cable tied up one of the suspension lines and over the bracket. Ideally I would have liked to cut the plug from the cable and run it inside the bracket itself, thereby concealing it entirely but given we intend testing a number of different lighting rigs down the track, we thought it best to leave the existing power cable intact. Please note that power cables should only be modified be experienced and preferably licensed people, (hope this keeps the lawyers happy).

With all of the essential life support equipment in place it was time to add the substrate and prepare for the fill, having done a freshwater test fill previously, (which is a sound and well recommended practice – particularly for larger Aquariums).

Substrate:

Having attended the Seachem Platinum training program – (Hi to all of the Seachem team – thanks again for your efforts in February last year), I was inspired to put a number of Seachem products to the test. Thus for substrate I elected to use Seachem Kona Coast Aragonite. In the past I’ve almost always elected to forgo substrate altogether in my reef tanks, my reasoning being that the ability to completely clear the tank floor of detritus outweighs both the aesthetic value of coral sand as well as its supposed benefit in relation to pH buffering. I’ve seen so many tanks over the years where the substrate has trapped such a volume of detritus that it transformed into sludge and had to be removed. I also tend to think that often, the depth of substrate employed is too great, leading to anaerobic areas where problematic bacteria flourish, in turn leading to outbreaks of slime, (cyanobacteria ) and other nasties. This problem peaked during the “deep sand bed/plenum” craze of the 90s and we can all be grateful that nightmare is over. Some reef-keepers are still paying exorbitant sums for supposedly ‘live’ sand when in reality, I feel they are wasting their money transporting seawater by air freight.  One of the strongest arguments in favour of deploying substrate is that it can act as a pH control mechanism where a drop in pH causes the substrate medium to become soluble and thereby buffer the water, raising the pH back to an acceptable level. In the case of fine coral sand, however, some argue that as bacteria colonize the medium, this coats the sand with slime, insulating it from the water column and preventing it from breaking down when the pH drops. The size and porosity of Seachem’s Tidal Marine substrates prevents this from occurring whilst still providing an ideal medium for bacterial colonization. You can read what Seachem have to say about their Marine substrates here. Aside from buffering pH, Seachem Marine substrates will also stabilize calcium levels benefiting calcareous organisms in the Aquarium. We are currently shipping Seachem Tidal substrates throughout Australia and you can purchase it here. The Kona coast is also very pleasing to the eye and despite it being larger than traditional coral sand, burrowing invertebrates seem to have no trouble making their way through it

Next Time – Artifical Rock and Fill.

About Richard

I have been involved with the Aquarium Industry for over 25 years and have worked in a number of Melbourne stores. I'm also co-founder of Aquatic Creations Online.
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