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Monday, December 30, 2002

Bubble-tip Anemone split again on Saturday night so now I have three of them in my tank. The daughter just moved to the next rock. I hope it doesn't move too far. Picked up two big turbo snails from Scott.

I spent a lot of time Saturday morning cleaning off the algae on the front pane of the 150g. I was using a Kent ProScraper to deal with the harder brown algae near the substrate's surface, and an older Magnavore IV (it's only 1.5" x 3.5" in dimension) for the rest of the glass, so I ordered a Tiger Float from Premium Aquatics which is 4"x2", and should allow me to clean the front of the tank a lot faster. I just have to maintain a regular cleanup schedule with the front pane so that nothing too hard starts growing.

Ordered a used Mag7 pump as a backup pump in case the T2 return pump fails. My only concern about the Mag7 is how much heat it will generate since it will be used as a submersible pump.

posted 9:45 AM

Friday, December 27, 2002

Added a 90 degree bend to input of refugium so that I don't need to have a sponge to capture all the bubbles. Input is now above water line so that water just pours into refugium.

CAL E-200 pump had to be restarted again. I just took the pump out of the water and kept spinning it until it spun again. I wonder how often I'll be doing this.

posted 8:25 AM

Tuesday, December 24, 2002

Alkalinity 4.34 meq/L
Calcium 400 ppm
Magnesium 1170 ppm
pH ranging between 8.10 and 8.35
temperature ranging between 78 and 80

Alkalinity, Calcium and Magnesium up since my last testing on November 9th. pH is also at a higher average level. All parameters look good which is probably why a lot of coralline is growing on the rocks. The coralline still hasn't taken over the rocks I scrubbed free of green star polyps, but I see some spots of coralline starting here and there. I'll have to mix up a batch of Instant Ocean and Coralife salt in order to see how they compare in terms of Alkalinity, Calcium and Magnesium. I have the feeling I'll have to supplement all three parameters with these two salt mixes.

posted 9:35 AM

Monday, December 23, 2002

I just received the Corals of the World 3 volume set as a Christmas present from my wife. Man, those books are heavy at 15.4 pounds for the set. I'll have to make sure my dear 2-year old daughter doesn't get to these books until she's a bit older! I just glanced through the books, and the thing that most amazes me is the density of the coral colonies in the wild. It's amazing to see all the species trying to eke out their portion of space and light on the reef.

I think I need to take down the growout tank at work. I have too much going on with work and my other tank, and I'm sick of lugging RO/DI water to work. I also don't get to view the growout tank that much which is leading to my lack of care for it. The only things living in the tank are a coral banded shrimp and a large sally lightfoot. I'll just have to take them to the LFS if I decide to take down the tank. I think I may put a growout tank into the closet next to the main tank and share the same sump which will make maintenance pretty easy - especially since I can share a skimmer and calcium reactor. I'll have a pretty slow flow from the sump to the growout tank, but I'll be generating a lot of current within the tank itself with a Reeftec. I think I may keep the tank substrate free because I'll be concentrating high flow Acropora in the tank. The question now is what tank I should put in there. I have an extra 50g and an extra 29g, but only the 29g will fit underneath. Actually, I'll have to check again if I can fit the 36" length of the 50 in the closet. If so, I'll have to see what clearance I have for lighting.

posted 12:04 PM

Sunday, December 22, 2002

I spent some time looking at the Polymerics website, and they had an epoxy stick called Aquamend that has a work life of 20-30 minutes vs. 4-7 minutes for the multi-purpose stick I used. They suggest using the Aquamend for Aquariums, but only the multi-purpose stick is:

Certified by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF INTERNATIONAL) for use in contact with potable water under Standard 61 Ė Drinking Water System Components Ė Health Effects. Authorized by USDA for use in federally inspected meat and poultry plants.

Therefore, I think I'll stick with the multi-purpose stick for now although it has a shorter working life. What's interesting is I think I used the Aquamend product before as an OEM product from an aquarium products company. The Aquamend didn't seem to stick very well to wet live rock. Both the REPAIRITQUICK and the Two Little Fishies AquaStick appear to have the same bonding characteristics to live rock. One thing I really like about the REPAIRITQUICK is that it leaves minimal residue on my bare hands (something I unavoidably due since I need a little more epoxy after mixing an initial amount with disposable gloves). One thing that looks really nice and sticky is the SPAR that was used at a recent Seabay meeting. But SPAR is definitely something that needs to be used with gloves.

posted 6:30 AM

I used some REPAIRITQUICK multi-purpose epoxy stick from Polymeric Systems to Cask of Amontillado (Ironically, I watched Panic Room the night before I thought of this reference) the green star polyps starting to grow on some live rock, and the Euroreef CS6-2 doesn't seem to go as crazy as when I use the Two Little Fishies product. The only thing that happens is that more microbubbles are produced from the skimmer and make it to the return pump and back into the tank. I stuck a frag of Acopora microthalma on top of the epoxy barrier.

The red open brain coral is looking a bit shriveled, so I'm going to put it farther away from the light. I think I'll put a clam where it is in the next few months.

I was playing yesterday with the Reeftec I had taken out of the tank because it had stopped, and managed to get the propellor spinning again. I plugged it in, spun the propellor, and noted some resistance. I kept spinning the propellor, and then the propellor started spinning again. I've seen this same phenomenon with Hagen and Rio powerheads where they stop after a loss of power, and you have to manually spin the drive shaft in order for the powerheads to start up again. I wonder what the reason is for this.

Since the Reeftec is working again, I'm going to put it back in the tank and take out the Maxi-Jet 1200. I'm taking out the Maxi-jet 1200 because I plan on putting in another return line with a supplemental pump (probably a Mag-5) to the T2 just in case the T2 fails. I'm concerned that I won't be around when the T2 fails, and if it does, the heat from the heaters and the skimming from the skimmer won't be benefitting the main tank.

I opened up the CSL 2x175 MH ballast yesterday and saw that there were two normal (not pulse start) Venture ballasts in there. I ordered two Aqualine Buschke 175 watt 10K lamps, and I've read that they should be run on pulse start ballasts, and will be unreliable in their start up with normal ballasts, but I've been reading at reefcentral.com that people are able to fire their AB 10K lamps without any problems using their CSL ballasts. HIDdirect has some really good listings and prices about specific types of metal halide ballasts.

posted 6:16 AM

Thursday, December 19, 2002

I came home last night and there was nothing for me to futz with in the tank! The left fan wasn't buzzing, no corals were knocked down or out of place, no pumps or powerheads were dead, and the Blue Regal Tang has recovered from its ick. The only thing that's bothering me a little bit right now is a remnant of green star polyps is growing on one of the rocks in the middle that I really tried to scrub free of of all gsp tissue. There are two things I could do. One is to calcium hydroxide paste them, or I could just seal them off with some epoxy since they're growing in a crevice which is receiving only a small amount of light. GSP is so tough though, I'm concerned that the paste won't be 100% effective, so this weekend, I think I'm going to have to add some epoxy to seal them off from any light.

I have jury rigged piece of insulating foam, a zip tie, duct tape, and a children's plastic fork from Ikea in order to stop the vibration from the left fan on my canopy. That's pretty pathetic.

I'm still amazed at how much gunk the Euroreef CS6-2 pulls out after a week.

Right now, the PCs are on 12 hours a day, and the MHs are on 8 hours a day. I'm going to increase the MHs to 10 hours a day over the course of two weeks. I'm doing it by switching the MHs to 9 hours a day yesterday, and then next week, I'll switch the MHs to 10 hours a day.

posted 8:48 AM

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

Those emerald crabs in my tank are pretty amazing in what they can turn over and move. I've had to epoxy, zip tie, or really secure pieces of rock and coral that they've moved. The emerald crab I've had the longest has pretty long claws and doesn't come out much during the day, but the two newer ones are more active during the day and appear to eat more macroalgae. I haven't seen the 6-line wrasse for awhile. I wonder where it is?
posted 5:53 PM

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

The green Montipora capricornis has a beautiful light green jade color and texture. I hope it forms some of the beautiful patterns I saw in Derek's tank. Purple Acropora humilis is really growing, and it looks like it has light blue polyps. I have to find another rock to place by the main bubble-tip anemone, since the flat platform rock is sliding into the depression created by the maroon clownfish for the anemone. With another rock, I can also add another coral ;-)
posted 10:36 AM

Monday, December 16, 2002

More Dieselman zoos are opening up, and they are purple with light yellow-green tentacles.

Freaking Reeftec PE-1 Cal E-200 pump died over the weekend. I just removed the whole damn thing so that the only powerheads in the tank are a Maxi-Jet 1200 and the Tunze Turbelle Stream 6080.

Added three frags from Derek this weekend. An orange Montipora digitata, a green Montipora capricornis, and a yellow with yellow fluorescent polyps Acropora. I've started securing new frags with Zap Superglue gel because it doesn't cause the skimmer to go crazy like epoxy does. What I do is add some gel to the bottom of the frag and dip it in the water to let it coagulate. Then I add more gel to the gel I've already added, and I find this sticks the coral pretty well. I had to use this method with an epoxied frag, since the frag wasn't surrounded in epoxy, and fell off where it was connected at the base. The epoxy I use doesn't have great adhesive properties, so to make sure it holds a frag, I have to encase a frag. One method combining epoxy and glue is to hold the frag with epoxy and then superglue the epoxy base to the live rock in the tank.

Purchased 24 water vial containers fro 15 cents a vial in order to hold frags for growout. They were filled with water and plant food, so I have to wash them out before I use them for the frags.

Power went out for a few hours on Saturday because of the crazy storm that's hitting the west coast. Luckily, power went back on within a few hours. Since the 150g is so big, it's pretty stable with its temperature after a power failure.

posted 2:11 PM

Friday, December 13, 2002

Reefcentral.com has been down since the early morning. This might not be a bad thing since I've been spending way too much time on its boards. I hope they're able to deal with their hardware/software/bandwidth issues soon since the board is so slow even on a T1 at work or a cable modem connection at home. It's hard to prepare for the traffic when a site becomes very popular, and that's what's happening to Reefcentral.com. My friend at E-Bays says they thought they were pushing a lot of bandwidth when they had 2 gigabits/second of traffic. Now they have 4 gigabits/second, and I shudder to think of the hardware they need to handle all the database queries.
posted 10:06 AM

Most of the Dieselman zoos look like they won't make it since they're still closed up. But the ones that are opened up are starting to color up blue. The tangs are picking at the dead zoos.

Holy Shnikeys! Blue tort didn't make it. I'll just wait till Shawn Bennett has frags available again.

I've been so depressed that I lost a clam and a blue tort frag this week. Man, I could have purchased a nice cordless powerdrill with the money I spent on those two items.

Most people put reminders or Post-its on their refrigerator. As a reef aquarium addict, I'll put a reminder on my aquarium so I don't forget to attend the Michael Chabon/Jim Steranko event tomorrow.

I'm going to change 15g in my tank this weekend. Haven't changed the water since I set up the tank! But this water change article in reefs.org shows that you really have to perform large amounts of water changes in order to maintain desired chemical levels (magnesium and calcium), and to decrease other chemical levels (nitrate and phosphate). Unless you're performing relatively large amounts of water changes on a frequent basis, they aren't going to make up for proper system maintenance of your aquarium. What really stinks is that I used Coralife salt when filling my tank because I couldn't get to my regular store the weekend I filled the tank in order to purchase Instant Ocean. Normally, I use Instant Ocean which seems to work well for me, but I think Coralife is deficient in calcium and magnesium. I'll have to check the calcium and magnesium levels of the tank and then of freshly mixed Instant Ocean water to see how the two compare. In a case of using too much power than I really need, I'll use a Turbelle Stream 6080 in order to mix the salt in a Rubbermaid wheeled trash can. I think the Stream should give a comparable mixing effect to the mixer in this 1997 Aquarium Frontiers article by Craig Bingham. Interestingly enough, he mentions in the article how propellors might be used in driving water motion in reef aquaria in the future!

posted 5:25 AM

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

Received the Zoos from Dieselman yesterday. They still weren't fully opened at the end of last night. This morning, they looked like they were starting to open up a little more. Right now, they look a bit drab compared to the pics I saw on the web, but I'll wait into they're fully opened to give a full assessment.

Iím so sorry, but the clam I had in the middle of the tank died sometime last night. Yesterday evening, I noticed its mantle was very withdrawn, and I feared the worst. I checked its shell and foot for any intrusion, but I couldnít find any worms or snails. This morning, I noticed a peppermint shrimp eating the flesh of the mantle, telling me the clam was dead. What kills me is the clam was doing very well. Thereís also full polyp extension with most of the sps corals in my tank so that the water conditions appear to be pretty good. The only thing I can think of is that I epoxied two new coral frags over the weekend, but Iíve epoxied before with the clam in the tank, and the clam suffered no ill effects. I just hate it when stuff dies in my tank, and I feel such a loss that something taken from nature is now dead. Iím not going to add anything new for awhile just to make sure everything really establishes itself since my tank is still relatively new (filled with saltwater first on September 16, 2002). If I add anything new, Iím going to use Zap gel instead of epoxy.

I'm concerned a little about the Blue Tort frag. I posted this question on reefcentral:

I have 10 different sps corals in my tank and all are doing well. I just added a blue tort frag, and I noticed yesterday that the zooxanthellae are forming striations along the body of the frag and the tips are a little whiter. Is the frag just adjusting to the new conditions to the tank? I think if I move it now, I may be doing more damage than just leaving it alone. It was under a 400 watt from the person I purchased it from, but now it's under a 175 watt, so I don't think increased light intensity is causing this "adaptation". Any experience and thoughts on what to do?

It took almost 2 full days before I could turn the protein skimmer on after using epoxy. I may not have fully mixed it so that a lot of it may have been in the water column. Skimmer is fine now this morning. I'll keep my fingers crossed on everything else in the tank.

posted 12:45 PM

Monday, December 09, 2002

I've put quite a few new frags into the 150g lately. I traded with cal3v, and obtained a green polyped brown coral (hopefully, it turns purple), a green montipora digitata, and a purple-tipped nana. At Tropical Paradise, I picked up a large purple Acropora humilis colony and a small purple-tipped frag with some green highlights. A small area between the tip and main body died, but now the rest of the coral looks fine with full polyp extension. I purchased a 3" to 4" green with purple edge Montipora capricornis from another local reefer, and it's doing very well. Yesterday, I purchased a blue tort frag and another frag with blue polyps from kvosstra, and they look fine this morning. the blue tort looks so cool. I had to do quite a bit of rearranging and epoxying around the tank yesterday, but now all I have to do is wait from my blue Zoos from dieselman. I tried to add the other Turbelle Stream 6080 over the weekend, but two of them in my tank is just too much power. Trying to install the second one did give me the idea to shim the one I already have in there so that it points slightly upward now and really agitates the water's surface. I need to put a small powerhead pointing away from the overflow because right now, with only the Reeftec PE-1 during feed and pointing toward the overflow, a lot of food gets sucked into the overflow.
posted 9:26 AM

Friday, December 06, 2002

I was concerned about my purple Acropora humilis colony yesterday since a small section of it is white, and some parts look a little faded, but I feel a lot better today seeing that there's a lot of polyp extension on the colony and the small purple tipped frag I also purchased from Tropical Paradise.
posted 11:34 PM

Thursday, December 05, 2002

Picked up a nice frag with blue tips from Erik yesterday for taking care of his tank during Thanksgiving. As I rearranged the rock for the new frag, the Maroon Clown bit me and this time I shouted and jump since she finally broke the skin on my fingertip. That clown is really territorial now. Even if I'm working on something two feet away, she goes after me! Luckily, she really doesn't care about the two Percula Clowns in the tank. I have the Reeftec PE-1 set on fulltime flow until I can jury-rig a grill in front of the prop. I've decided to turn on the Turbelle Stream 6080 only 12 hours a day during the light period for the PCs for a calm water effect at night. I noticed a lot of shrimplike plankton when I looked down in the tank last night when the lights were off. I wonder where they came from.
posted 9:47 AM

Wednesday, December 04, 2002

The Tunze Turbelle Stream 6080 and Velocity T2 return pump now share the main pump outlet of the WaveMaster Pro so that during feed both are turned off. I checked the tank this morning, and the sps corals in the path of the Stream 6080 still have good polyp extension at night. I have the Reeftec PE-1 presently hooked up to the pump 2 outlet of the Wavemaster Pro so that it cycles and during feeding stays on, but I think I'll just hook it up to another outlet so it just stays on all the time. The main reason for this is that there's no protective grill in from of the Reeftec PE-1 propellor, so the Kole Tang or some other fish will surely get hit by the prop again if it's on an on-off cycle. If it's on all the time, the fish should stay away. The off-on action of the wavemaker also may compromise the longevity of the metal shaft of the CAL E-200 pump in the Reeftec PE-1. I'm not keeping the Stream 6080 on all the time since Hikari A large pellets get stuck in the intake slots of the pump.

I really love the wave action in the tank right now. There are actually waves on the top of the tank because of the power of the wavemaking pumps in there. The Stream 6080 was so powerful, it was moving whole coral colonies 2 to 3 feet away. I had to really secure one of them so it would stop rocking back and forth.

posted 1:11 PM

Tuesday, December 03, 2002

I spent most of last night working with the Turbelle Stream 6080 since itís so powerful, and the 6080 is only the basic model! If the Reeftecs are Hummer H2s, the Turbelle Streams are Porsche Turbos! If I point it straight across my 5 foot long tank, the bounceback is another foot and stirs up my sandbed! I now have the stream angled across to my rockwork and sps colonies on the left, but even after 2.5 feet, there is high flow across the corals and pieces of macroalgae. Whatís crazy is that I purchased two Stream 6080s not thinking they would be such beasts. They both could work in a 150, but only if you have a minimum sandbed and all sps corals. The only two things that I don't like about the 6080s are that you canít put them on a wavetimer and you need to buy an additional bracket if you want to put the 6080 back against the wall of an acrylic tank. I spent a lot of last night figuring out how to ziptie a Stream to a Reeftec bracket. The Stream 6100s are electronically controllable so that you can set them up as wavemakers and fine tune the flow, but theyíre a lot more expensive, and sold out at the moment. Iíll post a full review up at reefcentral at the end of the week contrasting them with the Reeftec PE-1s I also use in my 150g. All I can say is that the waterflow coming out of the Streams is amazing! The flow from the Streams reminds me of the waterflows Iíve felt when Iíve been snorkeling in Hawaii or Australia.

posted 11:12 AM

Monday, December 02, 2002

Picked up a lot of stuff over the Thanksgiving weekend. At Tropical Paradise in San Leandro, I picked up a six line wrasse, two emeral crabs, a large purple Acropora humilis colony that had been growing in someone's tank, and a small green frag with blue tips. Tropical Paradise is in a warehouse location, and the autoshop next door doesn't exactly add to the ambience, but they have some great livestock. I saw Ricordea for the first time, and I was amazed at the sps frags and colonies they carried. One thing to know is that you can park in the cul-de-sac by the store although there are all these no parking signs. It's just too bad that San Leandro is so far away. At Tropical Paradise, I also traded two of my frags for a purple with green polyps (right now it's brown with green polyps, but I put it right underneath on of the metal halides so that it would color up), a purple with green polyps Montipora digitata, and a purple tipped Acropora nana. I met someone in front of Seascapes and purchased this awesome 4-inch piece of green with purple edge Montipora capricornis. I did some major rearrangement of the tank in order to put the anemones together and to place all the new frags. I also brought the carpet anemone to Natural Life Aquarium so that it could find a new home. It was walking all over the tank, and I didn't want it to zap anything.
posted 10:21 AM

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