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Reeftank Log 03/98

Monday, March 02, 1998

Have been using HydroCarbon2 GAC and Kent Phosphate Sponge to limit the input of nutrients to the tank. I think the hair algae growth is decreasing. Hopefully, it just disappears like the red slime algae. Skimmer output has been decreasing. Performed a 5-gallon water change last night. I didn't add any CombiSan or Coral Vite this weekend. I'm going to do a water change every week now until the algae clears up. I also ordered Poly Filter to put in the empty area of the BakPak. I'm now using two empty audiocassette cases to lift the PowerCompacts off the top of the tank to allow for more air flow and gas exchange on the top of the water. This will also decrease the condensation and salt that would build up on the underside of the PowerCompacts. I've also been going light on feeding. Temperature ranges from 77 degrees at night to 80 degrees during the day with a 1.024 SG after last night's water change.


Wednesday, March 04, 1998

Algae still seems to be growing in the tank, but I know that a fix won't come immediately. I entertained thoughts of purchasing a yellow tang, but it seems like too much fish for the tank. I'll just do a water change every week and manually remove any excess algae that I see until the problem clears up. I do hope that the hair algae problem eventually clears up.


Thursday, March 05, 1998

In retrospect, I think the major cause of my present hair algae bloom was the lack of efficiency in my CPR BakPak 2, old lighting, too long of a time between water changes and too much nutrient input via the weekly additions of nutrient and food. I'm going to cut back the hours of light to a 8hr 6700K and 10hr 7100K cycle, just add iodine and strontium/molybdenum and kalkwasser as daily additives, do a weekly water change, and manually extract hair algae until I solve the algae problem. I may get a fish tonight, but a better bet may be a sally lightfoot clam. I hear they really like algae. After reading about Coral Vital on Jeff Pfohls home page, I think I'll discontinue addition of the product. One good sign is that coralline algae is starting to grow on the Powerhead outlet tube.

From what I've read today, I should change the Phosphate Sponge every few days and also the water. I'm going to try to change the Sponge and water every three days and see what happens. I'll perform a change on Tuesday and Saturday until the algae problem clears up. I might purchase a Sally Lightfoot crab tonight. It's amazing I didn't have more of an algae problem with all the gunk the protein skimmer pulled out over the past two months. I'm also mixing fresh Kalkwasser every morning now –hopefully, this has more effect than mixing the Kalkwasser once a week! I think mixing it fresh definitely allows less to precipitate out.


Tuesday, March 10, 1998

Replaced the Whisper 500 pump last weekend with a Hagen Optima pump and it's making a big difference with the BakPak protein skimmer! I'm able to pull out about .5 cm of gunk a day out of the skimmer on the day after I've fed the fish. I also added 1/3 of a Poly Filter to the BakPak over the weekend and the corals appeared to open up more. The other nice thing about it is that it doesn't restrict the water flow as much as a bag of carbon or phosphate sponge. I may use the Poly Filter now in lieu of any other filtering medium. My only concern is that it may be too efficient in removing trace elements and vitamins once I start adding them to the tank after I solve the hair algae problem. Hair algae growth is definitely down. The only place where it's still giving some problems is where the light tan polyps are. I purchased a 2.5 inch yellow tang over the weekend in the hope that it would help alleviate the hair algae problem in the tank. I haven't seen it chomping on the algae yet, but maybe it needs some time to acclimate to the tank. I should probably buy some marine algae food for it today, but first I'm going to wait till the end of this week to see if a hungry yellow tang will help control the algae in the tank. The Sally Lightfoot crab is hiding behind the powerhead in the left corner of the tank during the day. Its structure is so vertically compressed that it can easily hide underneath rocks or other objects. I'll be performing a water change tonight. After reading about the caustic properties of newly mixed salt water, I'm going to start mixing the salt water the night before I add it to the tank.


Thursday, March 12, 1998

I'm so happy that the Yellow Tang is accepting Formula 1. It looks like it doesn't care at all about flake food, but when I fed some Formula 1 to the tank, the Yellow Tang gulped down any piece he could find. He definitely isn't as aggressive as the Clownfish or the Neon Dottyback. I'll feed the fish every other day with this food. Since it's a gel food, hopefully not too much gets dispersed in the tank and decays before it gets eaten. I don't believe I used to drop a whole Formula 1 cube into the tank and let the Arrow Crab take it.


Monday, March 16, 1998

Performed a 5-gallon water change yesterday with Instant Ocean mix. Also added ½ tsp of Kent Iodine and ¼ tsp of Aquarium Systems Strontium. I'm going to go to a weekly dosing now of trace elements. Put half a Poly Filter into the BakPak – will replace this every week along with a weekly water change – may go to a biweekly schedule once the hair algae is under control. Will feed only three Hikari Marine Pellets a day. The clownfish usually gets one pellet and the neon dottyback also gets at least one. The yellow tang looks like it's starting to eat a lot more algae now. The only problem is that the algae problem seems worse than ever before. Replaced airstone in skimmer with a wooden airstone and it produces very fine bubbles as opposed to the coarse bubbles produced with the old airstone. Waste material produced is a lot darker than before. Read today that frozen food is chock full of phosphates. That must have been what caused the recent algae outbreak after things started looking good for a while.


Monday, March 23, 1998

5 gallon water change on Friday with water from the water machine at Piazza's. I ordered a Kent Maxxima to insure that water isn't the problem I added Kent Carbon and Kent Phosphate Remover, but I may just stick to the Poly Filters so that no bad water is added (I'm using sink water right now to rinse the carbon and phosphate sponge). Protein skimmer isn't creating as much gunk after the water change. Turned off the 6700 K light so that only the 7100 K light is on 9 hours a day. The PowerCompacts are so strong that two 55-watt lights are too much for the mushroom corals in the tank. I added 10 drops of Kent Coral Vite, 45 drops of Kent Iodine and 15 drops of Reef Evolution (Aquarium Pharmaceuticals) Strontium. I pray for the day that my tank is hair algae free…


Tuesday, March 24, 1998

Pulled out a lot of hair algae today. It was actually easy to pull out since I had given it almost a week to grow so the longer strands were easier to pull out. I'm going to perform a water change on Wednesday. I took out the carbon, phosphate sponge and Poly Filter this morning and replaced it with ½ a Poly Filter pad. I'm still using water from the water machine at Piazza's. I may start adding whole Poly Filter pads to filter out as much phosphate as possible. I hope that is the root of the problems.


Thursday, March 26, 1998

After reading Herbert Axelrod's latest book on corals which suggests 3 to 5 hours of light for some of the low light corals, I'm cutting the 7100K light to 5 hours a day and the 6700K light to 3 hours a day. Hopefully, the decreased light hours will slow the growth of the algae so that the yellow tang can help take care of it. I've been every impressed by all the hair algae the fish eats. I'm even more impressed by how fast the hair algae grows back!


Friday, March 27, 1998

Performed 5-gallon water change this morning with Instant Ocean and water from Piazza's. I also put in a new ½ Poly Filter pad. I let the mixed water sit for two days before adding it. Heater had some mineral buildup at its tip. I have to make sure the new water is the correct SG before adding it since it was at 1.030! I diluted it with water to make it compatible with the water in the reef tank. SG 1.024 and 76 F after change. Water temperature has been 76 in the morning to high 70's in the evening. Algae growth seems to have slowed. Maybe new water and lighting conditions have been working. Actually, it's too early to see whether 5hr 7100K/3hr 6700K photoperiod is working. The mushroom corals seem to like the shortened photoperiod.


Monday, March 30, 1998

Took a toothbrush to the algae buildup in the tank today and scrubbed things clean. It looks like the Yellow Tang will eat hair algae as long as it isn't too long. So I scrubbed the rocks and corals clean of hair algae and hopefully, the Tang will keep things under control. I think I may have scrubbed some small button polyps too hard, but they look like they're recovering. They look somewhat white at the moment. My main concern is that the green star polyps aren't as open as they used to be. What's interesting is the green star polyps at the back of the tank are doing great. I think the purified water from Piazza's may be a big factor in the recovery of the tank from algae.

I'm going to start feeding the fish OSI flake food since when I feed the pellets, the neon dottyback often eats all the pellets before the clown has a chance. The yellow tang is also eating flake food now so the food is palatable to every fish (the yellow tang wasn't eating at all when I first introduced him to the tank).

I superglued one dark purple mushroom and two red mushrooms to the rock. Hopefully, they'll keep the algae under control. I also superglued a 8x4 mm piece of brown star polyp to a bare piece of live rock. I should take digital photos of the transplanted piece every week and see how fast it grows.

One good sign that conditions are improving in the tank is the growth of coralline algae in the BakPak and on the insides of the aquarium. The greatest growth is in the BakPak. I wonder if the water flow and oxygen saturation have anything to do with the new growth. When I fed the fish last night, the Yellow Tang was excreting a huge chunk of algae so I know it's nibbling on the algae in the tank. I might do some more toothbrush scraping of the algae in the tank which I missed over the weekend.

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