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Reeftank Log 07/99

Friday, July 02, 1999

The two main things that are concerning me right now are my peripatetic anemone and whether the stand for my 29-gallon refugium/rdp tank will hold up. The anemone was in the same place it was when I arrived home from Atlantic City last Friday. But since then, it has moved to the far left of the tank and now it's back almost to where it was before. I hope it ends up in the same place in the middle of the tank. It had its foot on the inside of dead clamshell and when its tentacles were fully extended, it saw a lot of light. This morning, the anemone was on the clamshell, but its tentacles were extended toward the rear of the tank in the path of the Micro-Jet MC450. We'll see what happens this evening. I'll try to feed it more regularly if it shows up at a good location. That may have been the reason it initially moved since I didn't feed it at its original location. When I do feed the anemone, I have make sure that all the shrimps are occupied with their own morsels of food or they go after the anemone's food. Everything in the tanks seems to love Formula 1.

My other concern is that whether the stand that the 29-gallon acrylic tank sits upon will support the tank, the water and a 6-inch sand bed over a 2-inch plenum. The stand has a very open design that doesn't have any support in the middle. One other thing I'll have to look into is earthquake proofing all the tanks. After experiencing the Loma Prieta quake of 1989, I'm scared what a big quake could do to all my aquariums.

The Pulsing Xenia is doing very well. The polyps are pulsing and the whole Xenia is fully expanded. What's funny is that the Xenia stalk I cut off and superglued has moved off its superglue connection but stays connected to the rock. It looks like the two stalks are ready to split.

I added four Green Chromis and a Six-Line Wrasse last weekend. Initially, one of the Chromis wouldn't school with the other three, but now all four of them swim merrily together around the tank. I loved the huge schools of Chromis I saw while I was snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef and that's why I purchased them for the tank. The Six-Line Wrasse I purchased is pretty small at 2 inches in length including the tail, but I think he'll grow quickly.

All the fish in the tank are eating well. The Coral Beauty is the omnivorous one of the bunch. It picks at the algae in the tank and has accepted all the flake foods, pellet foods and frozen foods I've given to it. I'm not sure what the Six-Line Wrasse has been eating, but its stomach looks pretty full every time I feed. The Chromis seem picky about getting the right size food. Although they have pretty big mouths, they prefer eating smaller pieces of food. With the Formula One, they'll eat a large piece, spit it out into smaller pieces and eat the smaller pieces. I also always see them snapping at things in the water column. The shrimp all rush out whenever I feed. It's funny watching them scamper out. One thing I'm not going to do again is just add dried algae to the tank. It stayed floating on the surface during the whole feeding period and then was sucked into the siphon overflow. The worse thing was it got sucked into the airline tubing that is connected to the top of the overflow to remove trapped air. The algae clogged the airline tubing. Luckily, it was only a partial clog. From now on, any algae fed to the tank is attached to a clip.

Temperature control hasn't been much of a problem. Since the 50-gallon tank isn't near any window and is relatively large, it takes a while for it to change temperature. Also, it cools off at night so the tank doesn't stay hot for too long. It looks like the warmest the tank has been is 84 degrees. I've been leaving the doors to the sump compartment open when I think the day will get really hot.

I sawed inch off the top of the collection cup of the SR4 so that I could easily slide the collection cup off the skimmer without tilting the whole skimmer. It appears that the collection cup still works fine. I believe that the water pouring through the drip trays of the TidePool II and being aerated by the skimmer is getting fully oxygenated and expelling any excess dangerous gases.

I plan to put the Goniopora growing quickly in the 20-gallon tank on the bare substrate of the 29-gallon tank. I hope it thrives in there. It's amazing how fast it's grown and the number of tentacles it now has. I wonder how big it will eventually become.

I've stopped adding Kalkwasser to the 50-gallon tank. It appears that coralline algae is growing on the sides of the tank without the Kalkwasser. If I do add any calcium supplement, it will be C-Balance. With the 6-inch depth of the 29-gallon refugium/rdp tank, I hope the Caribsea aragonite will take care of most of my calcium needs. I've noticed a lot of air pockets in the substrate of the 50-gallon. The pockets are only in the top 2.5 inches of the substrate. I hope it means the substrate is processing ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. After a month in the tank, the Caribsea aragonite has stayed whiter than the small sample of reef rubble I purchased from IPSF. The IPSF rubble was initially less bright and seems to be more porous so that algae which darkens it has a stronger foothold than it does on the Caribsea substrate. I've already added 44 lbs. of the Seaflor Special Grade Reef Sand #00050 to the 29-gallon tank. I may add a slightly different type of Caribsea substrate to both the 50-gallon and 29-gallon tanks to add to the substrate diversity of both tanks. I would do this to help add more color and shape diversity to the substrate and also provide more niches for the organisms in the substrate.

I changed the light period to 8 hours a day from 3:30 PM to 11:30 PM. After reading the amount of light.


Tuesday, July 06, 1999

Anemone still hasn't moved from its location underneath a rock in the center back of the tank. I hope it moves out into the light soon.

I hooked up the 802 Powerhead to a spraybar return for the 50-gallon tank. With only five 3-mm holes, the return flow of the 802 is really down. I'll probably drill more holes and/or make the existing ones larger since the 802 is really powerful when it has unimpeded flow (it actually pumps out too much for the CS50 overflow to handle).

Opened the CS90 overflow on Sunday night and the back panel was partly separated from the main box. I used some Super Glue gel for a quick fix. I'll run a bead of silicone on the inside edge of the box as additional insurance against water leakage. I wonder what happened to the overflow since it was pretty well packaged.

Added some Nature's Ocean aragonite substrate and five pounds of their live sand product to the 29-gallon tank to create a 6-inch bed over the 2-inch plenum. The stand appears to be holding for the moment. I plan on hooking up the 29-gallon to the sump for an hour or two (I'll insert a coarse and fine filter pad into the drip tray of the sump) to clear up the remaining floating matter. In the meantime, I'll just turn off the return to the 50-gallon. I purchased some Nature's Ocean live sand in a bag and added 15 pounds directly to the 50-gallon tank. The other 5 pounds went into the 29-gallon tank. I like the look of the sand with its 0.5 mm to 1.5-mm grains and flecks of pink. It doesn't look that white since it's wet inside the bag, but once you add it to the tank, it has a beautiful white appearance. The other nice thing about the live sand is that it has no very fine particles that cloud a tank. I don't know how they process it, but this appears to be a great product. It's a little pricey at $40 SRP for a 20-pound bag, but I think if it does have the right bacteria in it, it makes a great product to seed a tank. Combine it with some substrate critters from IPSF and one can create a nitrogen processing sand bed very quickly.


Wednesday, July 07, 1999

I drilled out the holes on the spraybar to -inch diameter holes. This made a huge difference for the output of the Hagen 802 Powerhead. Now there's more than enough water flow created by the powerhead. I think I'm going to purchase another 802 and have it hooked up to the Sea-Swirl -inch for the 29-gallon tank. That way, I won't have to worry about any additional powerheads. I will probably drill a small hole right below the waterline on the output so that the siphon when the power's turned off doesn't make the sump level rise to high.


Sunday, July 11, 1999

We're now in the middle of the hot Northern California summer so now I'm going to leave the doors to the sump compartment open and have a floor fan blow in there when the lights are on. The plumbing to the 29-gallon gallon refugium is nearly finished. Now all I have to wait for is the Sea-Swirl. I tried to have the Hagen 301's venturi in the sump act as the overflow bleed for the 29-gallon and 50-gallon overflow by connecting both bleed lines to a t-connector, but the Hagen 301 isn't powerful enough, so I had to buy another Hagen 301 powerhead.

Moved the red mushrooms, small Goniopora and small green button polyps to the 50-gallon tank. Moved the yellow polyps to the 20-gallon tank. I wonder why the brown-star polyps aren't opening up in the 20-gallon tank. It's very strange since the brown and green star polyps that have been there a while are fine. I think the heat is the main culprit. I moved the green open brain to the 29-gallon and also put a piece of Caulerpa racemosa from the 20-gallon in the substrate. I've put 2x20 watt Vitalite Aquatinics above the tank until I receive the 55-watt lamp for the Perfecto SHO. I've also put an acrylic barrier between the tank and light since the SHO doesn't have any barrier between the light and the surface of the water.

I removed the foam block which disperses the water falling from the sump's drip trays with a piece of the same window screening I used for the 29-gallon's plenum. The only piece of foam left that nitrate producing aerobic bacteria could inhabit is the foam block I use to disperse the output from the protein skimmer. Since the piece of foam and the water flow is over a small area, I don't think it will become the nitrate sink that the large foam block could become. I noticed that detritus is forming in one corner of the sump. I'll have to clean it out regularly. Fortunately, with two Hagen 301 powerhead outflows in the initial overflow dispersal area of the sump, detritus won't collect there. I noticed gas bubbles have already formed I the new Nature's Ocean aragonite I put in the 50-gallon tank.

I wonder what's up with the green bubble tip anemone. It seems to have found a place it likes, but it won't fully spread out. I think it's sensitive to changes in water conditions and with all the stuff I've been doing lately with both tanks, it probably feels a bit disturbed. Hopefully, I won't be doing anything too drastic over the next few weeks. One thing I've noticed is that the Peppermint shrimp sometimes pick at the anemone and causes it to retract its tentacles.

I really like the epoxy from Two Little Fishies. It mixes easily without any crumbling or flaking and when its stickiness underwater is much better than other epoxies I've used. I used some epoxy tonight to firmly attach the small green button polyps, pastel flower polyps and red mushrooms. The protein skimmer didn't look like it was going crazy with the amount of epoxy I used.

The Pulsing Xenia is really taking off, but it doesn't look blue at all. I would like to get some nice Silver Tip Pulsing Xenia or a lighter Xenia with larger polyps. The Xenia I do have is already splitting and spreading. I notice that sometimes a stalk will retract all its polyps while the other stalks around it are still spread out with actively pulsing polyps. I wonder if the Xenia is going through some sort of cycle.

Maxi-Jet Powerhead pump attachments are super secure. Someone should redesign the suction cup mounts for the Hagen Powerheads they are simply pathetic. I wonder if their new powerheads have better mounts.

I can't wait to get my shipment from IPSF on Tuesday. I particularly interested in the Live Rock Sample Pack and Baby Bristle Worms that I'll be adding to the 29-gallon tank. I may add Nassarius snails to all the tanks after reading the Shimek article in Aquarium Fish magazine. I think someone mentioned in rec.aquaria.marine.reef that Aquarium Concepts in Hayward has them.

Check the output from the RO/DI water filter today and saw nitrate levels are still undetectable. In order to conserve water, I've funneled the most recent batch of wastewater in to a 75-gallon rain barrel that I purchased from Gardener's Supply. We'll have to raise the rain barrel on some cinder blocks since the pressure from the barrel's hose is tool low when the water level falls below (wife noticed that one while watering the garden).

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