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Friday, January 31, 2003

I am pretty frustrated this morning as I saw the tissue on my blue tort frag from Shawn Bennett sloughing off this morning with a peppermint shrimp picking a the dying or dead tissue. The first thing I would like to state is that this isn't any fault of Shawn's. He did a great job with my order, and the Acropora valida and Acropora tenuis I ordered from him are doing fine. Here's a vendor feedback note I posted on him at reefcentral.com:

"Back in mid-November, Shawn put me on his reserve list for his blue-purple Acropora tortuosa. Last Friday, he told me my tort was now ready, so on Saturday I ordered the tort along with an Acropora tenuis and an Acropora valida and the order was shipped on Monday.

Shawn had great customer service with the frag order. I appreciated his prompt e-mail confirmation of my Paypal payment and the FEDEX tracking number. My frags arrived this morning, and they were in great shape with a warm heatpack and warm water in the bags. The frags were quadruple bagged and the zipties used to close the bags were very easy to remove with my wire cutters.

Now that my tank is pretty full with sps frags and colonies, I can start working on my Ricordea collection..."

The blue tort is such a beautiful color morph, but for some reason, my two tries at it just haven't gone well at all! The frustrating part is that I have 20 other sps frags or colonies in the tank (some which are even wild) that are doing well. The first thing I noticed about the most recent tort two days ago was that the tip was white, but the rest of the body looked fine. This morning though, it looks like I'll be coming home to a white blue tort frag.

A pom-pom Xenia was encroaching on my lavender with green polyp Acropora frag, so I peeled it off and initially tied it with fishing line to a rock. Of course, the Xenia stalk sheared off where the line was pulling against it. I then superglued the stalk to the rock, and now it appears to be doing well and staying in place.

I've noticed some danderlike growths in the tank. It's some type of faded, fuzzy algae. I'll have to watch that it doesn't get out of control.

I'll have to install the locks to the sump area since my dear daughter turned the effluent outflow on my calcium reactor to full blast yesterday. I also have to replace the 5-pound CO2 canister with the 20-pound one in the garage since the 5 pounder is running low on pressure.

Purchased a new siphon pump for 50-gallon barrel where I store my RO/DI water.

posted 10:53 AM

Friday, January 24, 2003

Had to clean out the T2 pump again since a chunk of built-up calcium broke off and jammed the impeller while it was off during feed cycle. Derek, who has a T4, suggested that I use white vinegar to periodically clean out calcium deposits. Despite the need for periodic maintenance, I still love the quiet nature of the pump. I'll be hooking up a Mag 7 as a redundant pump in case the T2 fails while I'm away.
posted 10:00 AM

Monday, January 20, 2003

Ordered the following four corals from Cquarium.com last week:

1. Acropora with lavender body and fluorescent green polyps. I just love the delicate shade of lavender with this coral and the contrast of the polyps. It looks like the colony and the small frag that broke off during shipping that I superglued close to the colony is doing fine.
2. Encrusting Montipora with neon green body and bright purple tips. Whatís interesting about this coral is that the polyps are neon green, but that it forms bright purple tips in the skeletal area. The polyps are showing full extension on this coral, and I hope it maintains its color at the bottom of the tank close to right underneath one of the metal halides.
3. Encrusting Montipora with blue/purple body. There has been whiteout of the tissue with this colony, but the majority of the colony is still purple. This coral has a very puffy, porous structure, and itís hard to see any polyp extension with it. I wonder if the polyps will ever extend with this coral or whether the polyps will also stay deep within the porous skeleton.
4. Ricordea with fluorescent green body with a hint of purple/blue. My first Ricordea purchase, and I love it! Iíve been eyeing a Ricordea purchase for quite some time now, and Iím glad I finally made one. Thereís something about the bright colors and textures that make them an expensive obsession for many people. Darren of PalmettoReefs.com e-mailed me back after I inquired about what type of stock he had and he said theyíre like snowflakes in their diversity. I would be very interested in purchasing blue, purple, orange and other multi-colored Ricordea in the future to carpet much of the front of the tank. Whatís nice about Ricordea is that they prefer high light levels, so that they can be place on the substrate underneath the halides and sps corals. Most other ďmushroomsĒ wonít tolerate high levels of light.

The Cquarium was very well packaged, and I would order from them again. I really love their Hit or Miss section which shows exactly what youíll be receiving.

At the Seabay meeting on Saturday evening, I won some red macroalgae for the refugium, phytoplankton, an Acropora with bright yellow polyps, and a scrolling green Montipora. With the addition of the Cquarium and Seabay corals, thereís not much room now for any additional sps corals, but I would still like to add the infamous blue tort. I really should just save up for my sps only tank that I would like to set up sometime later on this year.

Iím glad people liked the Chaetomorpha or ďBrillo PadĒ macroalgae that I brought in for the raffle. One person referred to it as the ultimate refugium macroalgae. I think itís such a great macroalgae because of the following characteristics.

1. Grows relatively quickly. Itís quick growth reflects uptake of excess nitrates, phosphates and other pollutants from the tank.
2. Does not go sexual and whiteout, introducing a lot of pollutants to the tank at once, like many Caulerpa species.
3. Easy to harvest. Tight curly strands that donít make any holdfasts mean you wonít be ripping out any substrate when you harvest.
4. Dense structure makes it a great place for critters to hide and thrive. It also isnít so light that it gets sucked into the overflow of the refugium.

posted 5:35 PM

Monday, January 13, 2003

Epoxied over some more green star polyp patches. I still have three small ones that I have to take care of. They're small and hard to see with the light canopy up, so I'll take a digital photo of where the gsp patches are, and display it on my laptop so I'll know exactly where to epoxy over. Moved a Montipora capricornis frag and epoxied it so that it would not fall down. Replaced lighting in refugium with a Lights of America Fixture with a 27-watt bulb. Using a bungee cord wrapped around left canopy fan to dampen vibration noise.

I receive my Tigershark Float magnet last week, and just for the sake of curiosity, I put both pieces together. I couldn't pull them apart with my bare hands so I had to use a putty knife and wooden spoon to do the job. Just a warning that the stronger aquarium magnets can be very powerful. I'm really concerned what my 2-year old daughter could do with the superstrong outside magnet of the Tigershark...

My wife went to dinner with some friends from her old company last week, and after she mentioned my reefkeeping hobby, one of the friends said she now works for the company that makres Mr. Sticky which is an underwater epoxy with some unique features like its ability to bond to PVC and its flexibility. Mr. Sticky has also been tested to be nontoxic for aquarium use. The full list of its capabilities can be found at www.underwaterglue.com and is available at petwarehouse.com. She was nice enough to send me a sample, and I'll have to use it sometime in the future.

posted 1:54 PM

Tuesday, January 07, 2003

Last night, I was so happy to see all the polyps on my sps polyps fully extended. The purple Acropora humilis looks like its polyps are taking on a blue tinge. My wife says the new brighter bulbs are a lot better since you can really see the gold spots on the gold-spotted rabbitfish. I pushed down the far left sump pump return outlet so that the turbulence would stop forming bubbles. This also seems to have stopped the water flow from the Turbelle stream that was scooping out the far back left side of the sandbed in the tank. I also noticed that the rabbitfish had a full stomach and was nibbling at the macroalgae I've been trying so hard to eradicate. I hope it does the job!
posted 12:53 PM

Monday, January 06, 2003

Last night, I had to take apart and clean the VelocityT2 pump because it had stopped working. When I checked to see why the pump wasn't working, I noted it was hot to the touch and there was a mild burning smell. After taking the pump apart, I noticed small Strombus grazer snail shells had clogged the intake and turbine blades of the velocity pump. The mild burning smell was the calcium and detritus buildup in the pump that had been cooked carbon black. Fortunately, after cleaning the pump and reassembling it, it worked again with maximum output. In order to prevent this pump clogging from happening again, I put a bulkhead strainer in the sump.
posted 10:23 AM

Sunday, January 05, 2003

I installed a folding support brace from Orchard Supply in my canopy so that the lid wouldn't come crashing down anymore. Yesterday morning, the method that came with the canopy using a little screw that keeps the sliding support from sliding failed, and a 96-watt PC light shattered as the lid came down. The scary thing is that I had just lifted my 2-year old daughter to look into the tank from the top since she saw me working on the tank and always wants to see what I'm doing. I also grabbed her in order to minimize the amount of Malt-O-Meal she was smearing on the front of the tank with her hands. The new support brace now locks into place, so I won't have to worry about the canopy crashing down. The weak point I see in the new brace is the single brass screw that the brace rotates upon. I'm thinking of getting some folding doorstop device in the future as a backup to the support brace. I also added an additional hinge to the canopy lid since two of the screws had pulled out of the lid on the canopy hinge on the left.

I replaced the 175 watt 10ks that came with the Custom Sealife fixture with Aqualine Buschke 175 watt 10ks, and the ABs are a lot brighter! The glitter lines are a lot more prominent now, and there are distinct shadows cast by the new lights. I noticed last night that a few of the sps corals are also displaying more polyp extension so they must be liking the additional light. I decreased the hours of metal halide lighting from 9 to 7 hours in order for the corals to adjust to the new bulbs, but I'll keep a close watch on things to see whether I should decrease the lighting period more.

I think one of the emerald crabs is shearing off Acropora branches. I have a large colony of Acropora humilis, and I noticed a branch was cleanly sheared off last week. This didn't bother me too much since the colony has a lot of branches, but last night, I noticed a single mounted Acropora frag was sheared off at the base just like the humilis. This frag was 1 cm in diameter, so whatever did it had to exert some pretty good force. There's one big guy who I think is the culprit. I don't think he actually shears the branch. I think he just grabs hold of the branch and breaks it off. It's happened twice now, and the crab is the only organism I could think of that could do it. I tried the upright glass method to catch the emerald crabs, but all I caught was one hermit crab overnight. Luckily, two nights ago, the biggest emerald crab was right out in the open, so it was easy for me to grab it with some plastic tongs and throw him in the sump. I have to set up an intake grate in the sump for the Velocity T2 so the rogue's gallery of denizens in the sump (emerald crab and sally lightfoot crab with an additional sally lightfoot crab and a coral banded shrimp from the tank at work soon to be added) don't plug up the return pump. I have 1" bulkhead intake grates, but the intake for the T2 is a 3/4" so I purchased a 1" - 3/4" reducing coupler. The other concern I have right now is if one of the sump denizens gets sucked into the open intake of the Sedra 5000 for the Euroreef CS6-2.

posted 4:24 AM

Thursday, January 02, 2003

I added a Goldspotted Rabbitfish to the 150g on December 31st in the hope that it would eat the macroalgae the three other tangs in the tank won't eat. Compared to the graceful lines of the Yellow, Kole and Blue Regal Tang in my tank, the Rabbitfish looks and moves like an ungainly Zeppelin. But on the 1st, my daughter woke up and instead of coming to her parents' bed like she usually does, I found her standing on the chair that sits in front of the tank, looking at the rabbitfish which she calls "The Big Fish!". With the ph monitor and salinity monitor, it was easy to see when the acclimation to the 150g's water parameters was close enough to allow the rabbitfish to be released into the tank.
posted 10:55 AM

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