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Friday, October 24, 2003

Ulva, sea lettuce and nutrients

Hmmm, another interesting page that shows that Ulva like a lot of nitrogen. Looks like this plant will be a great item for sucking out excess nitrates from the tank. I have the feeling it will also suck out other stuff like phosphates in order to keep the main tank clear of nuisance algae. My only concern with the Ulva is that its big, flat sheets might block out too much light for the other macroalgae in the refugium.

posted 10:12 AM

Wow, I was doing a Google search on ulva macroalgae and came upon this study of the effectiveness of various macroalgaes as biofilters. It appears that Ulva reticulata was the best species while Gracilaria crassa didn't do a bad job either. For some reason, they didn't find Chaetomorpha to be as effective as a biofilter. It's funny that they state that Ulva may have shown a lower growth rate because it starts to float and the exposed parts get dessicated or bleached. Luckily, the floating Ulva in the refugium stays pretty moist.

I was particularly intrigued by this statement: "The results also show that with high water velocity, high removal rates can be obtained even with relatively lower nutrient concentrations." To me, this means that the flow through a refugium can be high as long as it doesn't disrupt the flora and fauna too much.


posted 9:49 AM

Macroalgae is looking good in the refugium. Two of the nassarius snails have climbed out of the refugium into other parts of the sump, so I've taken those and thrown them into the main tank. Of all the macroalgae, it's the ulvaceous that tends to clog the refugium outputs the most since the big flat sheets float up and engulf the output intakes. I noticed some grape caulerpa turning white, but everything else looks fine. I added some iron this morning to give the macroalgae a boost. Nuisance algae in main tank looks like it's really coming under control.
posted 9:34 AM

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

I put the items from the Bill's Reef shipment into the refugium this morning, and the most interesting thing to me was the codium macroalgae. It has a fuzzy tubular structure and it should grow holdfasts. From what I've read, it looks like it will grow pretty quickly. I found this link on the web showing that it is an invasive species on the east coast:


This link has a good picture of Codium:


The shipment also had a large amount of Ulvaceous and Gracilaria. I put some in the main tank immediately to see how the tangs and rabbitfish would take to them. The cultured live sand was full of life, and the bristle worms were huge. The Nassarius snails and sea cucumber were full of activity when I placed them in the refugium. I tried to plant the two types of seagrass (turtle grass or Thalassia testudinum which has thick leaves and Spartina grass which has thin leaves) so that they would root and take hold. Overall, I was very happy with how the order was packed and shipped and the quantity and quality of the items in the order.

You can order from Bill's Reef at:


I also removed the plastic cover from the 65-watt Lights of America light in order to have more light in the refugium. The refugium is full of macroalgae now, and I can't wait to see all the various species growing in there.

posted 12:51 PM

I was up really early this morning modifying the pvc outputs for the refugium section of the sump. I sawed off most of the straight section after the bend of the 90 degree PVC fittings and put gutter grating in them in order to filter out any stray macroalgae or debris that might make it to the return pump section. After doing this, I made a box out of plastic window diffuser material to support the bubble trap since it now had to be higher in order to work. I opened up the lid of the bubble trap a little so that the bubbles wouldn't come out of the hole where the overflow enters the bubble trap. I look forward to populating the refugium section with my order from Bill's Reef today.
posted 9:47 AM

Monday, October 20, 2003

I picked up my custom sump last Monday, and I'm close to finalizing its setup this week. I've already hooked up all the plumbing, electricity and lighting. I've added new aragonite to the refugium section in the middle of the sump and put in some live rock and macroalgae that were in the old sump and refugium. I may add additional reef rubble or ceramic rings to the refugium in order to give more living spaces to amphipods. I ordered the small refugium kit from Bill's Reef, and it should help boost the diversity in the refugium. I liked his kit a lot because it included live sand, nassarius snails, macroalgae and sea grasses. The refugium area should look pretty interesting after I add the kit and it grows out. I really like the new refugium because it's so easy to look at and clean out as opposed to the old 10-gallon refugium which I had to observe and clean sideways. The integrated refugium/sump is also a lot better with its use of space so that it's a lot easier to maintain the calcium reactor and external return pump.
posted 10:27 PM

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

It turns out I had the lights hooked up to the non-dedicated circuit for the tank - DOH! The GFCI on the non-dedicated outlet is totally shot, but the dedicated one works fine. I'm adding a Tripplite surge supressor for the light outlets so that their electrical leakage doesn't affect the GFCI.

I need to get some very thin padding or styrofoam for my custom sump. I want the bottom to be evened out and cushioned, but I don't want it raised too much because of the skimmer height requirements for taking out the collection cup.

posted 2:10 PM

Monday, October 06, 2003

Soaked two cubes of mysid shrimp and one cube of brine shrimp (both Hikari brand) in Zoe and Zoecon. I dripped the Zoe and Zoecon over them and then let them dissolve. Wife called during the day and said the GFCI was clicking like mad and that the lights had shut off. It turns out that I had the lights hooked up to the normal circuit in the family room and not the 20 amp dedicated, grounded circuit! It looks like the GFCI on the normal circuit is shot, so I'll have to replace that if I want to use it. The other thing I've been reading in my research is that electronic ballasts can trip a GFCI since they leak some current, thus setting off the GFCI. The GFCI can also be tripped if a lot of wattage is going through an electrical timer. So I put the two electronic 250 watt metal halide ballasts on separate timers, and staggered them by 30 minutes so that they don't cause a surge/leak of electricity at the same time and trip the GFCI.
posted 8:31 PM

I'm adding both Zoe and Zoecon now to my fish food. I really hope I can reverse the HLLE with the addition of both supplements - I read that Zoecon is what really helped one person. I've put both items in the refrigerator in order to help preserve their contents. The Zoe is fine, but the Zoecon gets pretty viscous since it's such a fatty product. I've been soaking flake and pellet food with both products for about 10 minutes and then dumping the food so that it falls toward the empty area in the middle of the tank so that it doesn't fall between the rockwork.

Nuisance film algae on the sides and back of the tank really seems to be decreasing. I think it might be due to the greater efficiency of the refugium with more macroalgae in it.

I saw an awesome 180-gallon sps focused reef over the weekend when I dropped off a spare Reeftec drive dog for someone I met at Aquatic Gallery. He had 3x400 watt 10ks and Reeftecs and a Stream providing a lot of current. I think I could add more sps, but I would have to clear out the top right corner of all the xenia. Maybe I can start putting the xenia in the sump.

posted 1:35 PM

Friday, October 03, 2003

I'm adding Zoe to my fishfood now to help combat the hlle in my blue tang. I was just reading up some more, and it looks like I should also be adding some Zoecon. I guess it can't hurt to have both vitamins (Zoe)and omega-3 fatty acids (Zoecon)to my flake and pellet food. I think it's best to add the supplements to flake food since when the pellets get loaded with supplements, they just sink immediately when they're added to the tank, but the flakes still get blown around.

Initiating the construction of a two-piece acrylic sump. My Rubbermaid sump is just looking way too ghetto, I want to maximize the stand sump area, and I want to clean up the plumbing underneath the tank.

Cleaned the impellers of both Tunze Streams this morning with vinegar. Both Streams had frozen up due to calcium buildup. Took out detuned impeller out of one of the Streams and put back in the full strength impeller. I used a sponge to prop up the Stream holder so that the flow shoots up to the surface to create more turbulent flow instead of just straight across the tank. I would like a more aesthetic method of propping up the holder.

Blocked reefcentral.com at work with my firewall. This will absolutely prevent me from surfing this site too much at work.

posted 5:33 PM

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