Set temperature controller to 81 degree high with 1 degree range and 79 degree low with 1 degree range. The instruction manual suggested a 2 degree range, but the 150g system is so large that it takes quite a while to cool or heat the tank 1 degree. And once the tank is cooled or heated, it takes a while for the tank to change temperature. I think the manual suggested 2 degrees so that the cooling and heating devices aren't constantly turned on and off. Originally, I had the high set at 82 degrees with a 2 degree range. What this means is that the cooling fans don't turn on until the tank is 84 degrees, and that they don't turn off until the tank is 82. The problem with this setting is that as I mentioned earlier, once the tank is at a certain temperature, it takes a while for the temperature to change since the system is so big. So the tank would hit 84 degrees, and it would take hours to cool the tank down again to 82 degrees. By setting the controller to 81 degrees with a 1 degree range, the cooling fans kick in at 82 degrees. This keeps the tank at 82.5 degrees or lower even with all the lights on and a room temperature of 85 degrees. I read somewhere in reefcentral that it's easier to start cooling a tank earlier rather than later because a large tank is such a big heat sink - it's only common sense. Perhaps the 1 degree range with the low setting will also help decrease heater activity in the winter.
posted 12:11 AM
Wednesday, July 16, 2003
There were some more white areas on the purple Acropora humilis, Acropora nana, Acropora tenuis and Acropora with blue polyps. I decided to cut the light period of the new 250 watt lights to 5 hours from 6.5 hours. I think the corals that were most affected were the ones farther away from the metal halide lights since it appears they received a lot less light from the 175 watt lights than the corals that were right underneath the lights - thus they have to acclimate to a greater lighting change. I was running the 175 watt MHs for 10 hours.
posted 10:55 PM
Anemones and red open brain coral showed some extreme expansion yesterday, but they're normal as of this morning. Noticed some whiteout on some Acropora - hopefully, it doesn't spread.
Read an article suggesting the use of two cups of carbon per 55 gallons, so I guess I'll change out 6 cups a month of carbon. The article said more is better, and there appear to be no adverse affects for an aquarium with the use of carbon:
Seachem president recommends 100 ml for each 20-40 gallons and changing it at least once a month. I have two bags of carbon in the tank at a time. If I need to change carbon, I take out the bag that has been in there for a longer amount of time, and let it dry for a few days so it's easy to pour out all the carbon. I change the carbon in the other bag when it's time to change the carbon again.
posted 2:59 PM
Tuesday, July 15, 2003
Power was shut off yesterday morning at 9 am for the installation of a new breaker box and a dedicated circuit for the aquarium. PGE was scheduled to come out again yesterday to turn the order back on, but they didn't come back until this morning! I thought the aquarium would be fine even after the battery ran out on the ups that was powering three small pumps for the aquarium, sump, and refugium, but I forgot that a deep sandbed sucks up a lot of oxygen. The result is that things didn't look too well in the tank at 7:30 pm last night. All the xenia were collapsed and the fish were either trying to suck air from the top of the tank or lying on the tank bottom. The shrimp were also looking pretty bad. I agitated the top of the water a bit with a cup and then got an inverter from Walmart. But byt the time I got back from Walmart, the electrician said he would hook up the electricity temporarily in order to save the denizens of the tank. He used electrical tape and just said not to use any heavy power equipment. I lost one kole tang because there was a lack of oxygen or too much carbon dioxide. What's strange is much larger fish, including larger tangs, did fine. The kole tang also looked like something had bitten its side. It also didn't help that it was resting within an anemone's tentacles. I should have checked on the tank at noon, and also not gone out to get smoothies with the family at 6 pm thinking PG&E would be there by 8 pm. Things looked okay last night. The only things that looked a little different were the Xenia polyps and the anemones were really expanded and stretching out. I wonder if it had anything to do with the large bag of Marineland carbon I put in the sump last night to help clear out any toxins. I put in 10 ml of Iodine just in case that was the problem. In the future, when there's a power outage, maybe I should just run an airpump with three airstones for the aquarium, sump and refugium.
posted 9:46 AM
Thursday, July 10, 2003
Two of the white pom-pom xenia and one of the brown xenia attached to the reef rubble in the refugium, and I put them up top in the main tank early this morning. Unfortunately, the off-white pom-pom xenia was disintegrating. Next time I try to reattach or frag that specific type of Xenia, I'll have to keep it in a high flow area.
I also found the teal Ricordea that I thought was permanently lost under some live rock. I saw it slightly poking out, and then a few minutes later, it was all the way out. I surrounded the teal Ricordea with some reef rubble in order to make sure it wouldn't float away again.
I scraped most of the hair algae off the sides and back of the tank. It was a lot of stuff, and the most interesting thing is that the water flow is now faster throughout the tank. The reason is that the soft strands of algae were absorbing the water flow as it hit the sides and back of the tank. With the algae gone, the water moves faster against the hard acrylic surfaces.
posted 4:33 PM
Monday, July 07, 2003
On Saturday, I upgraded my 2x175 CSL MH tar ballast to 2x250 Hamilton Electronic ballasts with Ushio 10K bulbs. The light appears a lot brighter with the new bulbs, and I like the small size, low heat, low noise and energy efficiency of the new ballasts. I mounted the Hamilton ballasts and the VHO ballast on to a wood board in order to get them off the carpet and to clean up the clutter in the closet. I've switched the lighting to 6 hours instead of 10 hours a day in order to let the corals acclimate ot the new lights.
On Sunday, I installed the second float switch and positioned it two inches higher than the first float switch so that in case the first float switch fails, the second one will kick in and turn off the reservoir pump. I plugged the first float switch into the second float switch so that the first switch turns on only if the second switch is on. As an added failsafe, I plugged the second float switch into the pH monitor, and it switches off the second float switch if the pH goes above 8.50. The pH will most likely go above 8.50 if there's a dump from the reservoir since it's filled with highly alkalinic kalkwasser. Before the recent kalkwasser dump, the pH of the tank was between 8.24 and 8.64 depending on the time of day. Presently, it seems to be between 8.08 and 8.35.
Used the tds meter to test the tap water and it read 196 ppm. Tested the water in the 55 gallon barrel outside which is filled with RO/DI water and it read 6 ppm, so the RO/DI filter seems to be working.
Purchased a a nice tricolor frag and a red/pink Ricordea at Aquatic Gallery. I also got some reef rubble in order to propagate Xenia. I dumped the rubble and Xenia frags in the refugium. I hope they do well in there.
posted 10:37 AM
Thursday, July 03, 2003
Reservoir pump put in about 5 gallons of kalkwasser into the 150g system yesterday evening. pH climbed to at least 9.6 and SG dropped from 1.026 to 1.024. Water turned a little cloudy, but it didn't turn the super milky white when this happened before. Perhaps I didn't see this happen until well after the dump. The thing that tipped me off is that a lot of the corals had greater than normal expansion and the water looked a little cloudy. I then opened the closet that holds the reservoir tank and noticed a pump running dry in an empty reservoir.
I have to set up the second float switch as a failsafe so that this doesn't happen again. Both times, I've been lucky that there's only been 5 gallons in the reservoir tank so that the sump hasn't overflowed. I want to put together a better holding bracket for both float switches and also extend the length of their wires since it's such a long length from the sump to the closet with the pump.
Ricordea are still doing well. They're slowly moving to find more secure settings.
posted 3:57 PM
Wednesday, July 02, 2003
Received a bunch of Ricordea from blowfishaquatics.com yesterday, and they are awesome! I ordered the 9 for $99 deal, and among the Ricordea were fluorescent greens, teals and pinks - I also definitely received more than 9 polyps. The powder blue ricordeas for $80 I ordered also fluoresce well under the VHO actinicss. I had to attach some of the loose Ricordea to rubble with Zap Gel to make sure they wouldn't blow away, and I can't wait to see them expand and grow in the tank. I also rearranged some rock and corals to make more room for the Ricordea. Thanks to TigerShark for telling me about the company and sharing a shipment with me in order to save on shipping costs.
A good sign that the tank is doing better is that the green star polyps are showing expansion again. I just have to be careful that they don't overgrow the tank.
Owner of Natural Life Aquarium suggested I use the Kent Phytoplex instead of DT Phytoplankton when I asked for it at the store. His rationale is that there's no way the DT stuff is alive, and it's difficult to maintain its freshness. I'll see what happens with the Kent Phytoplex and Zooplex that I bought. I checked on Reefcentral and Rob Toonen's research shows the DT is the best in terms of nutritional value, but people are having success with the Kent stuff. I may also try to grow my own phytoplankton in the closet next to the tank (yeah if I have any extra time with two little kids!).
Nuisance algae is still sloughing away. Red footed snails really do a good job of eating the film algae on the front of the tank. I notice their radula do leave little scratches on the acrylic though.
posted 11:08 AM
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