The reef is doing well. I have some problems with hard corals, but I’m working on it. Otherwise since my last writing, I’ve changed the wiring of the LEDs with regular CAT5e cable. That way there are fewer wires to hang around and the RJ54s are very easy to plug/unplug , so now it much easier to dismantle the whole thing.

I also have the controller up and running. Initially it started monitoring pH only and wasn’t logging the data. Then I added a few temperature probes. Then came the programming of the network controller and I added a small program that saves the data to a database and uses Google’s Web Toolkit to visualize it:
http://reef.geodar.com/

As you can see it is fairly taxing on the browser and even though I like how it looks, I wasn’t very happy with it. A few days ago, however, I found out about ThingSpeak, which does roughly the same thing, but it is much more polished than what I had written. It also uses a much lighter library for charting – Highchart – so it is much easier on the browser.
So I quickly sat down and fixed up the code for the controller to talk to ThingSpeak and I put together a quick graph:
[iframe_loader src=”https://thingspeak.com/channels/445/charts/1?height=220&width=450&round=2&average=60&timescale=1&days=2&bgcolor=%000000&yaxis=pH&xaxis=%20&title=pH” ]
[iframe_loader src=”https://thingspeak.com/channels/445/charts/2?round=2&average=60&days=2&bgcolor=000000&yaxis=%CB%9AC&xaxis=%20&title=Room Temperature” ]
[iframe_loader src=”https://thingspeak.com/channels/445/charts/4?round=2&average=60&days=2&bgcolor=000000&yaxis=%CB%9AC&xaxis=%20&title=Display Tank” ]

So now I’m playing around with their API more over here:
http://reef.geodar.com/charts.html

For a few months now, I’ve also been removing my sandbend so that I can replace it with a coarser one. The super fine sand just gets blown too easily and it I don’t like that. Now it looks pretty good and I’m sandstorm free:

Last week, I finally put my dosers for calcium and Alk because I grew tired of manually dosing every night. And since I have a controller I modded the dosers a bit with a simple relay so I can directly start and stop them:

I put them on the 2×4 in the ceiling of the cabinet. Very good place in my opinion:

I’m also glad I left some space on the side of the sump. Otherwise I don’t know where I could have put these solution jugs:

So for one week now, I’ve been doing Ca and Alk tests twice a day at 8:30 so that I can adjust the dosage properly. On the first day I noticed that something was wrong and first looked at the code of the controller. Of course it was a little messed up :). I fixed it and set the calcium to 47.6ml and the soda to 58ml (Alk is a little low so I want to bring it slowly up). Here are the results:

I use two tests for Alk so that I can verify what is happening. As you can see the Salifert test had some strange readings at one point (I repeated the test every time I noticed an anomaly just to make sure I’m not making a mistake in testing) compared to the Hanna digital checker. Also, both are showing somewhat different value (though with almost constant difference). Which one is the correct value is arguable, but I don’t care much. After I get it to the level I’ve decided, I’m just going to care about the stability.

Calcium still hang below 400, so I’ll probably increase the dose a bit to get it to 450 and keep it there.

When I talked abut the controller earlier, I forgot to mention that I’m working on a box for it. This weekend came my last connectors so I mounted them and did some internal wiring:



Now I wonder whether I should wire out the rest of the pins to something like a DB25, but I’ll probably leave it as it is for now. All I have do to now is make a little hole for the IR RCVR and paint the box and it should be all set.

Finally, I am in the process of setting up a continuous water changing system, but enough for this post. I’ll write more about this in the next few days. My new salt is coming on Tuesday so I’ll probably turn it on for the first time on Wednesday. Keep your fingers crossed 🙂