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Sunday, September 28, 2003

Visited Jeff's Exotic Fish in Gardena yesterday. What I was most impressed by was the large variety of live rock there. I really liked the monster pieces he had available.
posted 11:12 AM

Sunday, September 21, 2003

The bubbles in my calcium reactor bubble counter were coming out at an erratic rate. The bubbles would come out slowly, and then there would be a big burst of bubbles. Today, there were no bubbles coming out of the bubble counter at all. I checked the regulator, and it was working fine. By a process of elimination, I saw that the check valve wasn't any allowing any gas flow in the correct direction. I tried to get the flow going again by opening up the needle valve and blowing directly through it, but I had no luck. Fortunately, I had another check valve, and it worked fine to get the bubble counter pumping out at 90 bpm again. I wonder what happened to the check valve. Could it have been a particle that jammed it up? Especially since I just switched my CO2 canister?

I attended the Seabay meeting on refugiums, and it was interesting to see the pictures of the refugium setups, but I didn't really learn anything new. Once thing that Bao Le uses that I don't use is a micron filter sock to catch large particles. He says he mainly does it to maintain a clear tank, but I have my tank is pretty clear without any particulate filters either on the inflow of my sump or the outflow of my Euroreef skimmer. I think the detritus tends to settle in my sump or my refugium. He also favors caulerpa macroalgaes over chaetomorpha, but I still like chaetomorpha because it's so easy to harvest. I have added some sawblade caulerpa though as a macroalgae that won't be free floating and growing from the top of the substrate since it has holdfasts that it sinks into the sand. I also chose sawblade since it doesn't seem to have has much fluids as other caulerpa or have as much a tendency to go sexual.

posted 8:56 PM

Thursday, September 18, 2003

I replaced the 2x27 watt LOAs with 1x65 LOA. It's very bright and fits the top of the 10-gallon very well. It should really kick in the growth of the macroalgae. I added a sponge to catch the bubbles and spray coming from the overflow input. I noticed a lot of mysis shrimp swimming around the sponge. I noticed one of the frags I got is coloring up to a nice purple color on its corallites again. It had a purple and green coloration around its corallites when I first got it, but it turned brown soon after. I think I should move one encrusting sps because some nasty algae is growing on it, and a ric because it never fully expands, to a more shaded area.

I'm going to end my subscription to FAMA because I'm getting most of my info from the web now, and I'm not getting enough new info from the magazine to warrant continuing my subscription. I already cut my Aquarium Fish magazine. I may subscribe to TFH just because it has really nice stock and cool pictures. It will also be a different magazine to look at for a while.

I ordered a Quiet One 3000 pump and more Loc-Line pipe so that I can set up another return pump from the sump. Since the Quiet One only draws 40 watts vs. the 98 watts of the CSL T2 pump, this is the pump I'll put on a UPS in order to keep the circulation going even if we have a power outage. If the UPS runs out, I'll hook the pump up to a car electrical converter that plugs into the lighter.

posted 8:51 PM

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Looking over a lot of tanks lately, I think I should have selected a black instead of a light blue back for my tank. The black hides algae better, and I think it serves as a much more dramatic background for the corals, fish and live rock. Black also creates a better sense of depth within the tank.
posted 1:56 PM

Wow, BloggerPro is gone since Blogger is now part of Google and since Google has loads of bandwidth and computers, they won't be charging for better bandwidth or premium features anymore! Sounds like we're back in 1999 again. As thanks to ProBlogger subscribers, we'll be getting a hooded sweatshirt. Yeah! More nerdgear to go into my collection.

Cleaned out algae growing on intake grill of Tunze Streams - this made a big difference in increasing the amount of flow coming out. I'll have to make sure to keep those intake grills clean in order to maintain optimum flow in the tank. The 6080 is just so strong, I'll have to put a different coral besides the orange montipora digitata in the full path of its flow.

Adjusted the calcium reactor to 90 bubbles a minute and 100 ml of effluent a minute. This gives a reading of 7.25 pH on the output of the second chamber, so the first chamber output should be around 6.75 pH. I really should take a direct reading of the first chamber sometime, but from the settings I have, there should be some good calcium dissolution going on in the reactor.

I noticed that a lot of my recent additions like the pink millepora and blue tort are growing and encrusting, so that's a good sign they're adjusting to the tank conditions.

posted 10:36 AM

Monday, September 08, 2003

After reading some more articles on water flow for corals, I think I'm going to switch my Tunze Stream 6080 to a 5-hour on/1-hour off cycle which will produce 4 of these cycles in a 24-hour period. I just want to ensure that the corals and tank get as much flow as possible, yet still allow some low flow periods for the corals and fish.
posted 12:10 PM

Saturday, September 06, 2003

I put the on unmodified Tunze Stream 6080 on the right on the tank on a 1-hour off/1-hour on cycle. One reason I did this is so that there are quiet times for the algae eating fish to eat the algae off the center back rock in the tank which is in the direct path of the stream. I hope it also provides some variation in the flow in the tank. Putting the two Reeftecs back into the tank and hooking them up to the Wavemaster Pro would be great for some variable current, but I really like the look of the tank right now with two extra large powerheads. The only other increase in water flow to the tank I want is the addition of another return pump from the sump as a backup to the present CSL T2. The return would come out of the third small circular hole cut out along the rear of the top pane of acrylic.

I added some baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and 7 teaspoons of Seachem Calcium Hydroxide in order to raise the alkalinity and calcium levels of the tank. I should do a test tomorrow to see what all my chemical additions have done to the parameters of the tank.

I added a sponge to the input of the refugium in order to minimize salt spray. Hopefully, the water flowing through the sponge doesn't produce too many nitrates. The macroalgae in the sump is really taking off, and I hope it really starts sucking the phosphate out of the tank. I just noticed today that the two Lights of America outdoor security lights have 27-watt PCs instead of 65-watt PCs. I wonder where I can find the more powerful LOA security lights in order to really grow out the macroalgae. I think with a 65-watt LOA security light, I could also possibly go with just one light!

posted 10:07 PM

Just learned from ReefCentral that nigari can be used as a cheap source of magnesium chloride in order to maintain magnesium levels in a tank. I've been using epsom salts and Seachem magnesium chloride, but nigari sounds like the best solution. Nigari is used to coagulate tofu and is derived from sea salt, so it should be the perfect source of magnesium for a tank - especially since it has to be food safe. It's interesting all the things people find out in order to save some money in this expensive hobby.

GFCI was going off yesterday about 15 minutes after I would plug in the outlets connected to the pumps. It turned out the Mag 1200 feedpump was tripping off the GFCI after it was on 15 minutes. I wonder why exactly it was doing this since it was pumping water without any problem. Luckily, I have a lot of extra Mag 1200 pumps so I was able to replace it easily, and the replacement pump is working fine.

Tested the water today:

Alkalinity 2.86 meq
Magnesium 1230 ppm
Calcium 380 ppm

I added the last 1/6 of my half gallon carton of epsom salts, and I'll test tomorrow to see how much it raised the magnesium. I'm going to shoot for at leat 1300 ppm. Overall though, it appears all the parameters look okay although the three measurements appear a little low.

posted 12:09 AM

Thursday, September 04, 2003

On Tuesday, September 2, 2003, Tiger Shark, Al G Blenny, Reefdream and I went on a tank tour to view each other's tanks. Highlights of the tour for me were the great variety and numbers of ricordea in Tiger Shark's tank, Al G Blenny's mini carpet anemones and goby, and Reefdream's zoanthids, anthias and clams. All the tanks on the tour were beautiful and well-maintained, and it was great to hear everyone talk about the inhabitants and setup of their tanks. Everyone on the tour besides me had two tanks while I only have one which is making me want to set up an additional tank!

Reefdream showed us how he used a Cole Parmer dosing pump as his auto top-off pump. It looked like a very solid piece of machinery, and I may get one in the future to help deal with evaporation from my tank. Reefdream told us an interesting story of how his powerhead kept pumping kalkwasser into his prop tank since the float switch stuck, and how he added muriatic acid to bring the pH back down. Unfortunately, he added too much acid and his pH dropped down to 2.7! His fish were jumping and his coralline algae was fizzing. He brought the pH back up to normal levels with more kalkwasser, and fortunately, he didn't lose anything in the tank. Reefdream also managed to burn a small hole in his floor with some spilt muriatic acid!

I was amazed at how Reefdream maximized the use of his sump area by having a custom refugium built into his stand, and placing his electronic metal halide ballasts under his refugium. I think the tank tour was very informative and interesting for everyone involved, and I look forward to future tank tours. I also traded Al G Blenny one of my hot pink ricordeas for one of his blue/turquoise ricordeas.

Yesterday night, I went over to Tiger Shark's and he showed me how he frags ricordeas with a razor blade and attaches them with fishing line or bridal veil to reef rubble.

posted 12:30 PM

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