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Wednesday, October 30, 2002

I was very lucky this morning. The emerald crab that I've wanted to extract from the 150g was in an Acropora at the very top of the tank. All I had to do to extract the crab was to lift the whole rock with the Acropora and crab out of the tank and put the crab in a net. Now the crab is at work, sharing the growout tank with a coral banded shrimp. The maroon clown is digging a really deep hole for his bubble tip anemone. I hope he finishes soon since he throws up a lot of subtrate. Last night, I removed the sponge around the output of the Euroreef skimmer and put some rain gutter plastic leaf guard grating around the output. This slows down the output flow so that it doesn't splash. I removed the sponge since I think it could become a nitrate producer, I want to filter out as little plankton as possible (a amphipod came out when I cleaned the sponge), and to save myself some sponge cleaning time. The grating should need minimal cleaning.

I brought in a water lettuce from the outdoor pond since my brother says the winter temperatures in Northern California are too cold for it. I put it in with my mangrove trees at work which are now in the freshwater I took from the freshwater planted tank at work.

Corals are coloring up quickly in the new tank. I can't wait to see what they'll look like after a month.

pH is ranging between 8.10 and 8.24.

posted 9:31 AM

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Drained both the 50g and 29g over the weekend and moved all the inhabitants without any problem. One thing I made sure to check was that the salinity between the old and new tanks were the same. I hope the bushy macroalgae doesn't grow over everything like it did in the old tank. After talking with someone at the recent Seabay meeting, I've decided to supplement my calcium reactor with a kalkwasser addition every morning. Right now, I'm mixing 8 heaping teaspoons in 4 to 5 gallons and putting in a quart every morning of this kalkwasser mix. It only raises the pH .1, so it doesn't affect the pH too much. My only concern is momentary pH spike in the sump and how it will affect the sponges living in there. Right now I have the lighting set at 12 hours for the PCs and 6 hours for the MH. I think I'll increase the MH to 8 and maybe even 10 hours. I've put all the SPSs in a rock structure on the left and most of the soft corals in the areas on the right of the tank. Eventually, I'll move all the liverock from the 20g and put in the center back of the tank for more SPS specimens. The two bubbletip anemones are doing fine. The maroon clown initially went in the smaller one, but now he's in the larger one.
posted 8:10 PM

Thursday, October 24, 2002

pH of 150g was at 8.10 this morning. Added Kalkwasser and pH went up to 8.25. I think I'll just add the C-Balance tomorrow morning and check the calcium, alkalinity and magnesium levels on Friday night. I'll be moving to the 150g or taking to Natural Life Aquarium all my 50g and 29g specimens on Saturday. I'll bring over a pom-pom Xenia to the Seabay meeting on Saturday night for fragging since that will be the topic of that night's discussion. I can't wait to see that puppy slime...
posted 11:30 AM

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Mixed two heaping teaspoons of Kalkwasser mix with 1 gallon of water and poured half of it into the sump of the 150g last night. The pH went from 8.24 to 8.47. This morning, with the pH at 8.14, I poured about a quart in of the same mix and the pH when up to 8.27. I think I'll mix a flat teaspoon of Kalkwasser mix into 1/2 gallon of water and add the Kalkwasser in the morning until pH is between 8.1 and 8.2 during the night and 8.3 and 8.4 during the day without any Kalkwasser supplement. I may occassionally add Kalkwasser in order to precipitate phospate and maintain calcium levels and pH.
posted 9:01 AM

Monday, October 21, 2002

I checked the water parameters on Saturday with the new Salifert test kits and got the following results

Aquarium Water: 2.6 meq/l alkalinity, 320 ppm calcium
Effluent: 3.6 meq/l alkalinity, 350 ppm calcium

Since I have a magnesium kit, I should also check magnesium levels since low magesium levels make it hard to reach proper alkalinity and calcium levels.

This makes sense since I've read that an increast in 1 meq of alkalinity increases the calcium by only 20 ppm.

pH has been fluctuating between 8.0 and 8.2, so I'm trying to increase the pH by adding more buffer and increasing salinity which is presently at 1.024 SG. Added 2 cups of salt to sump, and added 50 ml each of C-Balance A and B yesterday afternoon. The alkalinity B pumped the sump pH all the way from 8.04 to 8.5, but it stabilized to 8.24. What's interesting is that I added the same amount to the sump this morning, and the pH went from 8.04 to 8.5 as before, but it stabilized at 8.14. I'll keep adding 50 ml each of C-Balance every. I may add some kalkwasser tomorrow morning. Anthony Calfo said that he just dumps all the kalkwasser mix in at once, and as long as the pH doesn't go above .2, it's not raising the pH too much. Luckily, since I have a pH monitor, I can easily see if I'm adding too much kalkwasser. My goal is to get calcium levels above 400 ppm and alkalinity to above 3.0 meq/l.

posted 4:10 PM

Saturday, October 19, 2002

Fed the carpet anemone a cube of Formula One yesterday. He (He?!, man, it's an anemone. I should be referring to it as it!)ate the whole thing, but then he regurgitated most of it in a little ball. The regurgitated Formula was in a loose mass. I fished the Formula One with a net so that it wouldn't pollute the tank. I wonder if the anemone was going to try to redigest the Formula One. This morning, it has its foot underneath a rock that's more toward the center of the tank. Hopefully, he'll like the conditions there better. I just wish it would stick its foot in the substrate like it did at work.

The copepod population in the refugium is really exploding. I hope some of them will make it to the main tank as coral food. I think I'll put Cercona Cubes and Kordon Bio-Mech in the refugium as habitat for amphipods and bristleworms. I want to take out the two Cercona cubes to make more room for the refugium macroalgae.

Noticed some trails on the substrate surface this morning. The sea cucumbers must have made the trails.

posted 9:49 AM

Friday, October 18, 2002

Received order form E-Tropicals yesterday. I was a little disappointed with the order on three aspects.

1. Of the ten peppermint shrimp I ordered, half of them were only 3/4" long.
2. They neglected to add the 10 Turbo snails I had in the order
3. The Tiger Trochus snails weren't really Tiger Trochus. They were the white Trochus snails that aren't nearly as good. The true Tiger Trochus have striped bodies and a purple and white striped shell.

I received

The shipment came through okay though with all the specimens still alive as of this morning. I'm still not sure of how a sea cucumber is supposed to act, but they moved into the rocks along with the brittle stars. I put four of the smallest peppermint shrimp in the refugium.

I noticed a lot of copepods swimming in the corner of the refugium. I moved the Ulvaceous away from the overflow. I think I eventually will add the twin PC lights for increased macroalgae growth in the refugium. I just have to make sure no light leaks toward the calcium reactor or sump, since I don't want anything growing photosynthetically underneath the tank except in the refugium.

Drip rate of calcium reactor is 75 ml/min with 1 bubble every three seconds. Effluent pH is 7.48 with tank pH ranging from 8.0 to 8.2.

I added an additional Ebo Jager 125 watt heater so that I now have a 200, 125, and 100 watt heater connected to the temperature controller.

I noticed coralline algae growing on the front pane of the tank! Coralline on live rock appears to be spreading. SPS corals are turning brown, so I turned the MH light period from 3 to 6 hours. They're at the bottom of the tank so they need as much light as possible.

Clowns still haven't gone into the carpet anemone. I wonder if they ever will!

Used Magnavore magnet to clean algae off front tank. The two pieces separate very easily since the tank wall is a lot thicker than the 50g.

posted 11:45 AM

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

pH was at 8.01 this morning. Perhaps calcium reactor is slowly raising alkalinity which will help stabilize and raise the pH. I'm going to have the calcium reactor effluent drip to the far side of the sump so that the excess CO2 gets blown off in the protein skimmer and the highly oxygenated outflow from the overflow.
posted 11:16 AM

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

pH of tank only dropped down to 7.98 last night. Tank pH rose to 8.2 while lights were on. Thick diatom growth on the front of the tank. Added twin tube half actinic/half daylight 96w PC to back fixture, and it makes the tank look a lot better since it was too blue before. Red Tang Heaven is growing very slowly since Ulvaceous is shading it. Maybe I should clear the refugium of some of the Ulvaceous. I notice a lot of small things swimming in the refugium.
posted 10:32 AM

Monday, October 14, 2002

Set up pH controller (only using the monitor part for now) yesterday and the tank reads at 7.9 pH while the calcium reactor effluent reads at 7.5 pH. I'm concerned about the low pH of the tank, but I'll wait till the end of the week to see if it goes up. I'll check alkalinity and calcium tonight with the salifert test kits. I read that a new tank may have a low pH for awhile. The only coral the low pH appears to be affecting is the white anthelia. Everything else seems to be doing fine. It's interesting the pH of the tank is low even with a Euroreef CS6-2 protein skimmer and a refugium. I may start dripping the reactor effluent into the inflow of the protein skimmer or the refugium. I just have to remember not to change any parameters too quickly.
posted 9:09 AM

Friday, October 11, 2002

Carpet anemone has moved one space over on the Cercona rock closer to the center of the tank. Plugged in the Maxijet 1200 calcium reactor feed pump, and the two chamber tops don't seem to be leaking. Maybe the seal with both chambers got better over time.
posted 9:24 PM

Thursday, October 10, 2002

Purchased a float switch today from californiareefs.com. Will probably use a 30g rubbermaid as my reservoir and a Maxi-jet as my pump. I pulled a major bonehead move last night. I went to open the top of the canopy, and it got stuck halfway. I thought the hinge arm was sticky, so I applied more force, whereupon the front PC fixture pulled free from its clips, fell on top of the tank and shattered. The cord for the PC had been looped underneath the right fan casing, and that's what had caused the canopy to stick halfway up. When I put more pressure to open the canopy, it pulled the whole light from the clips. The cord was looped underneath since I had taken the hood off the previous night with my brother, and somehow the cord found itself under the fan casing when the hood was put back on. 1/3 of the shards went in the tank, but most of the shards stayed on top. I used aquarium tongs to pick up most of the glass shards inside the tank. I'm not really concerned about the glass, I'm more concerned about anything in the tubes that might poison the inhabitants. I'll have to see how things are tonight. Purchased a twin tube 6700K/Actinic 03 96 watt from lampsnow.com to replace the broken tube. I will disconnect the PC lighting cables the next time I have to move the canopy!

I fed the fish Hikari Marine Pellets and the clowns gulped them down. I guess it was familiar food for them. They weren't eating the Formula 1 flakes I was feeding them. I also fed some Vibragro for the damsel. Carpet Anemone has stuck its foot in one of the openings of the Cercona rock in the tank.

posted 9:41 AM

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

Moved Xenia rock and three different types of sps corals from work tank to 150g yesterday. The sps corals this morning have full polyp extension, but the Xenia are still a little withdrawn. I also moved a carpet anemone, but as of this morning, it still hasn't set down its foot. Because of this, I've kept the two Reeftec PE-1s off so that the anemone doesn't get blown around the tank. I ordered a replacement Pinpoint pH probe yesterday in order to check the pH of the reactor effluent and the tank. Luckily, I had a spare Pinpoint controller that hasn't seen much use lately because I was using it for a CO2 injected freshwater plant tank that has been taken down. I'm thinking of using a float valve to autolevel the sump. I purchased one from Grainger a few years ago, but I never used it since I had a NURCE. With the large size of the 150g though, I think my NURCE would have to be refilled quite often.
posted 8:49 AM

Tuesday, October 08, 2002

I went to test the effluent of my two stage myreefcreations calcium reactor yesterday, and my Kordon pH test kit only went down to 8.0 pH. I'm purchasing a Salifert kit that will measure down to 7.4 pH. How are people measuring saltwater pH from 6.5 to 7.4 since I haven't seen a test kit that measures saltwater pH at such a low level? Since I'm using a two stage reactor and Caribsea A.R.M. (which states that it dissolves at 7.5 pH), I think that if I get my effluent down to 7.4 pH, my reactor should be working.

I measured the pH of the tank yesterday and it was 8.2. The effluent pH was at least 8.0 or lower. The alkalinity of the tank was 2.5 meq, and of the effluent

Tank - pH 8.2, alkalinity 2.5 meq, calcium 525 ppm
Effluent - pH 8.0 or lower (test kit only reads down to 8.0), alkalinity 3.0 meq, calcium 630 ppm

I'm not sure how exact the readings are since the kits I used to kit were pretty old. I'm purchasing new Salifert pH, Alkalinity, Calcium and Magnesium test kits.

Bubble counter was reading at one every 5 seconds or 12 a minute. Effluent was flowing out at 25 ml/min. I increased effluent flow to 50 ml/min since I think the two stage reactor can dissolve calcium at relatively high pH levels for the effluent.

posted 10:29 AM

Monday, October 07, 2002

I set up the myreefcreations CR-2 calcium reactor over the weekend. One thing that was driving me a little bit crazy for a while was how the tops of the two reactor chamber reactors kept leaking. I solved this by turning off the Maxi-Jet MP1200 feeder pump. The feeder pump was creating high pressure within the whole reactor setup, and it was more than the o-rings for the two reactor chambers could take. Now I'm just using a siphon feed for the pump. Eventually, I may add a valve to the output of the MP1200 so that I can decrease its flow as a feeder pump. But I may just leave things alone in order to conserve electricity and generate less heat. It looks like no bubbles are building up in the siphon feed, so I should be able to do this. If I do need to dispel a bubble in the siphon feed, I first turn the bubble counter over so that water is flowing out of the CO2 feed, and then I turn on the pump. If I don't turn the bubble counter over, once the pressure from the feed pump is gone, some air from the bubble counter is sucked back into the top of the siphon tube as the feed pump pressure is released.

Slow leaks were occurring since there wasn't enough teflon tape on the CO2 inlet and the first reactor small tubing outlet, so I put 9 wraps of teflon tape around the small tubing outlet threads and that solved that leak. Since the CO2 inlet was at the lower part of the reactor, and I had already filled it up with water and media, I just put some epoxy putty around where the slow leak was and that solved the problem. I think the best thing I should have done with the reactor would have been to test it for leaks with fresh water before adding any reactor media or salt water.

I noticed that when I was flushing the reactor filled with Caribsea A.R.M. for the first twenty minutes of operation in order to dispel excess air out of the reaction chambers, that my Euroreef skimmer went crazy. There must have been something in the Caribsea A.R.M. that caused this, but the skimmer was back to normal within 24 hours.

The Mag2 pump is so strong that it's churning the reactor media two inches deep in the first chamber.

Presently, I have the effluent coming out at about 25 ml a minute with a bubble of CO2 coming out every 5 seconds with the bubble counter. I'll have to check pH of the effluent output sometime this, and later on, I'll have to check the alkalinity of the tank.

I cleaned out the 20g over the weekend. I moved some of the rocks and corals to the 150g, but most of the other rocks went into the sump for the 150g or the sump at work. The main reason for this is that green star polyps have overgrown a lot of the rocks in the 20g, and I don't want the same thing to happen in the 150g. I'll still have one or two rocks of green star polyps in the 150g, but they will be well isolated from the other rocks. I've put the green star encrusted rocks in the sumps, and they will stay there until they have no more green star polyps growing on them. I hope the Urchin skimmer and macroalgae in the system at work can handle any dieoff in the rocks at work. I guess the rocks themselves will also act as a filter. I had to move the mangroves out of the sump at work in order to fit all the 20g excess rocks in there.

posted 9:33 AM

Friday, October 04, 2002

I put superglue along the crack in the inlet on the Mag-2 pump and encased the whole outside of the inlet with epoxy putty. It shouldn't leak now. (addenda 10/7/2002, the seal is working well.) I added two Cercona blocks that had been sitting in the 29g refugium, but that were now all dried out, and the protein skimmer started going crazy. It's a little bit better today, but I'll have to give the protein skimmer another rest overnight. There must have been some organic matter in the blocks that caused the skimmer to create so many bubbles. Algae growing on a lot of the gravel surface now. I hope things don't get too bad. Two types of macroalgae in the refugium are still doing okay. Both have a deep, rich color and are growing.
posted 10:30 PM

Thursday, October 03, 2002

I cracked the female inlet of the Mag-2 pump yesterday when I was screwing in the male threaded connection of the calcium reactor piping. Looking more closely at the inlet/impeller cover of the pump, I could notice a slight discoloration in the plastic that extended past the crack. There was must have been some flaw when the cover was molded which led to the crack. I think I'll try to add some two part epoxy all around the crack in order to prevent any leaks. I really want to set up the calcium reactor this weekend.
posted 11:11 AM

Wednesday, October 02, 2002

Setting PCs to 10 hours and MHs to 2 hours for the moment. I'll gradually increase the MH hours to 6 once I've moved all the corals. Hooked cooling fans to same outlet as PCs so that they only come on when the PCs come on. Put together other Reeftec PE-1 yesterday and hooked both PE-1s and Custom Sealife T2 pump to a Red Sea Fish Pharm Wavemaster Pro. I have both Reeftecs pointing from the front corners of the tank diagonally to the opposite rear corners of the tank. I plan to have my SPS corals at the middle of the tank where the water flow from both Reeftecs meet. I've noticed diatom growth on the right front corner of the tank since there hasn't been as much water flow there. Hopefully, the new setup creates adequate circulation throughout the whole tank.

I noticed some red sponge growing on the inside of the sump. The sponge rock I put in there from the 50G/29G setup must have seeded the sump. I really love how easy the Euroreef CS6-2 is to clean. Addition of Formula 1 food really makes the skimmer produce a lot of foam. The coloring of the damsel looks really good, so I think he'll survive.

posted 9:42 AM

Tuesday, October 01, 2002

Pumps were running and 3x96 watt PCs were running last night when my wife decided she wanted to warm something up in the microwave oven two rooms away. Suddenly, the power goes out to the aquarium and the microwave. I can't believe the same circuit breaker is tied into two outlets so far away from each other. The metal halides weren't even on. So now when my wife wants to use the microwave, she'll have to turn off the lights on the aquarium first. The things reeftank significant others have to put up with.. Looks like I'll have to invest in some electrical upgrades in the house after all.

Received the myreefcreations.com calcium reactor today. It was well packaged, and I can't wait to set it up. One thing I'll need is something to test the pH of the effluent. I wonder if I should get a new pH probe for my controller or just use a pH test kit.

Fed Formula 1 to the tank yesterday. Damsel seems to like the food and bristleworms came out to feast on the bits in the refugium.

posted 3:56 PM

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