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Reeftank Log

Reeftank Log Archives

Friday, August 29, 2003

I took some pictures of the tank with my new Nikon 4500 yesterday. I've been longing for a DSLR, but even with the new Canon Rebel DSLR which is $999 with a lens, the Nikon 4500 with its $200 rebate was too hard to resist. The Nikon 4500 will also be a lot easier to carry around than a DSLR. The Canon G1 was a nice camera to have over the past few years, but lately, I've been really disappointed with its macro performance. After seeing so many good macro pictures taken with the Nikon 4500, I decided to take the plunge, and last night I started familiarizing myself with its operation. It will take awhile to get used to the Nikon 4500. One particularly annoying thing is that the zoom function on the G1 is in the same location as the on/off function on the 4500. So sometimes in trying to zoom the lens of the 4500, I inadvertently turn off the camera. Being a lighter camera, I also had to figure out how to stabilize the 4500 when I was taking macro shots without a tripod. My solution was to put the camera against my belly and to look down at the viewfinder like it was a wide format camera. I kept the twistable lens section in the same plane as the viewfinder section instead of twisting 90 degrees like normal, and with this method, I was able to take some pretty good macros.
posted 7:04 AM

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

I made a 52 liter water change this morning, and it went pretty smoothly.

I think algae growth has decreased since I shut down the calcium reactor. This is probably due to the lack of excess CO2 in the tank. I shut down the reactor since the 20 lb CO2 bottle was empty. I checked the Caribsea A.R.M. in the primary chamber, and it was pretty mushy so I disposed of it and am purchasing a 50 lb bag of A.R.M. from Custom Aquatic which should last for quite a while. For some reason, the CO2 started coming out faster out of the bottle as it was nearing its end. Since the Mag2 on the calcium reactor has also developed a slow leak, I'll also try to replace it with a Quiet One 1200 pump. The new design looks like it might work well.

posted 2:16 PM

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

I went to Madco in Mountain View to exchange my empty 20 lb CO2 bottle for a full one. When I was making the exchange, I was asked if the CO2 was for paintball. I said, "no." Then the bottle loader said, "Is it for corals then?" How many of us crazy coral reefkeepers are out there? I originally purchased CO2 from Madco for my freshwater plant tank, but now I just need CO2 for my reeftank. I'm glad it's easy to obtain CO2 bottles in the local area.
posted 3:29 PM

The John Laroche character played by Chris Cooper in the movie Adaptation has a great little monologue about fish. I laughed so hard at how his encounter with fishkeeping ended. I liked the theme of obsession in the movie. I have that same obsession with my reeftank and a lot of the aspects of the hobby. Where else do you get to play with so much equipment so that you can create something so beautiful? I feel sometimes that I'm checking every day on a special patient when I look at how the inhabitants in the tank are doing, and then do a quick check of the temperature, sump water level and pH. All the life-support equipment can be mind-boggling to someone new to the hobby. Sometimes, I feel like setting up a very simple tank like plankton's just to get back to the basics.

Regarding Chris Cooper, I'm glad he won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in the movie. I've appreciated his work ever since I saw him in Matewan. There's an honesty to his performances that's unmatched. It's hard to forget his scenes in Great Expectations and American Beauty, and I think he did a great job as lead in Lonestar. The dental prosthetics he had in Adaptation were pretty amazing.

posted 9:01 AM

Monday, August 25, 2003

Picked up a nice pink millepora colony, a live rock with blue sponge on it, 5 lbs of live sand, and some leftover fish and coral food from Newkie on Saturday. It was sad to see his tank being taken down, but at least he was finding new homes for everything he had carefully maintained and raised. I was very impressed by his custom tank and stand. It was very well designed, and I envy the future inhabitants of that tank. I wonder who will buy the setup. If my 150g wasn't already set up, I would seriously think of buying his tank!

After coming back to Mountain View, I met cal3v and I gave him the stuff that I had picked up for him from Newkie. We traded a few items, and I was very pleased that he let me frag the teal with blue tip acro that he bought from Newkie.

I moved two of the pom-pom Xenias into an area with more light since one of the smaller pom-poms wasn't looking too good regarding its polyps and stalk. I'm seriously thinking of selling my montipora capricornis because it's taking up a lot of space in the middle of the tank. I'll see how things go over the next few months. It may be easier to sell in the fall and winter months when people spend more time with their tanks.

posted 5:41 PM

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Forbes.com: Affording Nemo

A Forbes story on the high-end, custom installation market for marine and reef tanks. It's funny, yesterday, when Ally saw the shark at Aquatic Gallery, she shouted out, "I want that shark!". That's the first time she's shown so much interest in a fish at a store. I told her we would need a bigger tank for a fish like that and she asked Mom for a larger tank. I let Jennifer pick out a purple coral with blue polyps and green tips since she thought the rounded structure of the growths was much different than the thin branching growths of my other sps corals in my tank. She's also given me so much support in setting up and maintaining the tank.

posted 2:13 PM

Monday, August 18, 2003

Did quite a bit of rearranging this weekend with the corals. I also purchased two new colonies from Aquatic Gallery. One is a brown coral with green corallites with bright blue tips. Another is a purple with blue polypes with bright green tips. A Bali coral importer at the store mentioned that the Bali corals he was bringing in are really popular. My tank's pretty fully with corals right now (I know, I've said that before!). I tried to isolate the zooanthid and Xenia colonies so that they wouldn't grow into the sps colonies. I also purchased 5 green chromis and some sawblade caulerpa.

Added 8 cups of Reef Crystals to 52 liters of water and it gave me 52 reading on my Pinpoint Salinity meter - exactly like the reading of the tank! I mixed the water and salt in the 15-gallon blue container I purchased. This should make it a lot easier to add water when I do saltwater changes.

posted 8:28 AM

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Measured the output of the RO yesterday and it reduced the dissolved solids in the tap water from 210 ppm to 3 ppm. Why do I even need the DI section?! Blue 50-gallon barrel must leach some stuff or I have to clean it out since it reads 6 ppm when I take water out of it.

Did a very superglue job on orange ricordea and teal ricordea. Hopefully, they'll stay put this time.

Daughter is licking front of tank to get my attention. I just don't understand her sometimes.

Increased MH lighting to 6.5 hours today - 5:30 PM to 12 AM.

posted 12:56 PM

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Used the smaller Magnavore magnet to clean the front of the tank this morning in order to minimize the chances of scratching the tank by picking up any sand. For film algae on the front of the tank, it's actually easier to use because it's not as hard to move, and when I get close to the sand's surface, it doesn't create as much turbulence which stirs up the sand. I just have to make sure to clean the front every few days so that the film in front doesn't get too thick.

The Acropora valida really spreads out its polyps at night. I can't wait to see the frag I have grow into a full-fledged colony.

Float switch stuck again this morning, but the pH controller shut it down again after the pH started climbing from the kalkwasser. I have to clean the float switch in some vinegar and move it away from the kalkwasser output.

posted 8:43 AM

Sunday, August 10, 2003

I think the orange montipora digitata is getting too much flow in the center rear of the tank since it's in the direct path of the unmodified Stream 6080. I'll have to find a softie or sps that is used to greater flow. I used the cleaner magnet to clean the algae on the side of the tank yesterday, and I took off a lot of stuff. It looks like the skimmer picked up a lot of it this morning. The two frags I bought from tubs earlier this week look like they're doing fine, with some good polyp extension.

I'm glad I put in the failsafes for the float switch. For some reason, it got stuck again, but since I have the pH monitor turn off the switch power if the pH goes too high, the power was cut before the water level could even hit the second switch. I played around with the float a little, and it appears to be working fine this morning.

posted 6:09 AM

Thursday, August 07, 2003

They've cloned a horse. Arnold Schwarzenegger is running for California governor. We are living in a William Gibson future.

Yesterday, I picked up a blue tort and a powder blue frag from tubs. As I drove in the evening commute on 237 from Mountain View to Milpitas, listening to the details of the cloned horse on NPR, all I could think of was how absurd it was that I was making a special trip and spending some serious $$$ in order to purchase two small pieces of coral. But this whole reefkeeping business is a little crazy, and I love it. Tubs has some really great unique specimens. Some of the cool ones he still needs to grow out some more like a blue and pink millepora and an encrusting purple montipora with bright orange polyps. I can't wait till he has those available.

After I got home with the frags, I isolated most of the xenia (especially the fastgrowing brown elongata) to the rear right corner of the tank so they wouldn't overgrow any of the sps frags. I put the orange montipora digitata in the center rear of the tank since it seems to color up well even if it isn't directly under the metal halides. I put the blue tort right underneath the right metal halide at about a 12" depth (I noticed it has some fluorescent green on its corallites under actinic lighting) and the powder blue on a rock behind it. Acropora valida is really showing its purple now. It looks like it will grow out quickly. I'm a little disappointed at the purple/green corallite frag from Aquatic Gallery since it has turned pretty brown, but I think it may be adapting to the tank. I also have the metal halides on for only 5.5 hours a day right now. I think I'll increase it to 6.5 hours this weekend since algae is dying away.

posted 2:12 AM

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

I put a Vornado fan behind the stand on the right and set it on medium blowing up diagonally toward the rear left of the tank. The main reason for this is that although the canopy fans are blowing cool air into the canopy and evaporating the water for a cooling effect, a warm pocket of air stays around the whole system - limiting its ability to cool down. Hopefully, the Vornado will blow out the warm air coming from the back of the tank and bring in cool air. I also hope it will help blow out the humid air in the sump area since there are open areas in the back of the sump area of the stand.
posted 1:35 PM

Monday, August 04, 2003

I put 14 pounds of cured Indonesian live rock into the tank in order to build up some structure on the right rear of the tank. I may add one more piece depending on whether I want a higher structure or not. There was some nice purple coralling on the rock and some interesting fanworms. Algae control is really working well. There are only a few spots of it left on the center rear rock of the tank. Brushed a lot of algae off the intakes of the Turbelle Streams. The coralline growing on the removable intakes has made them too hard to remove so I just scrub them in a plastic container placed on top of the tank. Lavender and lime green acropora is starting to color up. Acropora valida is also showing purple.
posted 6:05 PM

Friday, August 01, 2003

I hope the BTA has found a place it will stay at now. It's in a good location right now that gives it great access to light, and it's also isolated from any corals it might sting. Algae still seems to be going away. Used magnet to clean front pane and made sure not to get too close to sand. Skimmer doesn't seem to be producing a lot of scum. There's still some algae on the front and side I should scrape off in order to minimize any potential future growth.
posted 10:08 AM

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