Sun, 05/14/2006 - 15:18
Water tests were completed yesterday. While it is important to test the water often, I find myself putting it off for various reasons. I think the biggest reason is because I worry the water results will come back negatively, and it'll be one more issue that needs to be dealt with. Yesterday's results were pretty good, which was a nice surprise.
Phosphate - the test was really hard to read this time, but it was somewhere between .03 and .5ppm. That's a good thing. About three weeks ago, I tested the effluent (the output) of the Calcium Reactor, and it was testing 1.0! For those of you that have a calcium reactor, it is good to know if it is producing phosphate. A few months ago, I threw out all the media and washed the reactor well, then started with new media. For the first few weeks, it was testing 0 phosphate, but over time the level rose. I gave some thought to replacing the media again, but instead tried something different. After opening up the reactor, I poured in about 1/3 of a bottle of CaribSea's Phosbuster Pro. Next I replaced the lid, screwed it down, and turned on the circulation pump. Quickly the water in the reactor turned white as expected, and a week later I tested and it was <.03ppm. That was a nice solution for now, to stop adding PO4 to my reef tank.
Cyano bacteria - I've been dealing with cyano here and there in the tank, but not enough to grow concerned. A few corals have had some adhere to them, and a patch in the center of the tank had a tough layer that was siphoned out. I believe what is left in my tank is Chemi-Clean resistant, so I'm just siphoning it out, or blowing it off with a turkey baster.
VHO actinic lighting - About a week or so ago, the VHOs refused to turn on. I tried a secondary ballast, and still no joy. I'm not sure if this is a ballast issue, a wiring issue, or a bulb issue yet. I'm going to set up a secondary VHO setup just to test each ballast as I have four or five now. It would be nice to know if the ballasts are good or not, rather than just sending them in for repair when the problem is something else. My tank looks just fine without VHOs, but I prefer the blue hue as it makes some corals pop with color.
Fish - All the fish in the tank are very happy, and seem to be behaving themselves. The large blue mandarin is the only one that looks far to skinny to be healthy, but it has looked like this for about two months now. The other mandarin is fat as can be. My guess is the blue one may have an internal parasite, but I've been unable to catch it. I was thinking about putting it in the refugium to get the lion's share of the pods, but that may not solve anything if the fish has internal parasite situation. Spock still looks amazing as always, the Purple Tang is very beautiful, Tucker seems to be behaving himself, and the Copperband finally figured out that aiptasia taste good. I hardly see any in my tank anywhere now. The clowns continue to lay eggs every couple of weeks, and the other Ocellaris that lives in the lavender Frillies seems very happy to nestle in deep and pop out occasionally.
Invertebrates - The Blood Shrimp still comes out only rarely, but seems to be happy. A few weeks ago I saw it cleaning the Copperband Butterfly's gills, and the CBB seemed to really enjoy it, waiting nearby hoping for more of the same. The cleaner shrimp in Casper's tank was moved over to the main reef, and it seems to like its bigger home. The Bubble Tip Anemones look bigger all the time, but still are together in one area fortunately. I never feed them, and they simply catch a snack each night when I feed the tank.
Corals - For the most part, all of the corals in the tank look great. I mentioned a little cyano issues, but this hasn't affected the SPS much at all. A few corals need to be moved around a little bit to make some more visible than others. I did have a Hammer Coral that was losing a head (polyp) each night, and I fragged what was healthy and moved it to the quarantine tank. This didn't seem to solve anything unfortunately. All it did was delay the inevitable apparently, because two weeks later, the last two heads let go of the skeletal structure. There is still one tiny head that seems okay at this time, and one independent one that may be 100% unaffected. The pink branching hammer coral near the Tyree frag needs to be fragged soon, as it is getting too large and seems to be encroaching on nearby SPS. The Tyree frag was recently bumped accidentally, but I retrieved the three tiny pieces that broke off, and glued them to a new rock. A few days later, they seem to be fine.
Cooling - The 8000 BTU window A/C unit was pulled out last week and cleaned up of any salt accumulations. It looks pretty good considering it has been in use for over 1.5 years in the fishroom. Some of the aluminum fins near the bottom of the coils were eaten away, but for now I think it will be fine. I need to get a backup while we are still in the season to buy window units.
Prodibio - After losing two corals in my tank, I basically put the brakes on since the last dosing. I'm going to resume since the water tests looked pretty good, but I won't use as much as originally planned. I'll do a water change today, and then dose the tank with a reduced amount.
Casper's health - Casper and her H. kuda husband are still in their 10g hospital tank. She's cured of the tail rot, but hardly eats anything at all. I'm really not sure how she's still alive, because she never seems to snick any food at all. The kuda looked pregnant for 3 weeks, but now he looks less (or non) pregnant. No babies were released, so I don't get it. Both horses will be moved to a new tank in the near future, and hopefully they'll be happy there. I'm looking forward to getting my countertop back.
Upcoming Projects - I have a few projects to do on my tank in the coming weeks and months. 1) The propagation section of my sump will finally be utilized as originally planned. I'm going to use an Oceans Motions Squirt to create some random flow in that section, and a 150w DE Metal Halide fixture to light the corals. 2) I'm planning to move the Gold Stripe Maroon clownfish and their anemone to this section as well, and take down the tank in my son's room. 3) I need to install a vent fan in the ceiling of the fishroom to remove heat and humidity. This will ease the load on the a/c unit, and reduce the moisture issues that occur in the fishroom at night. 4) Woodwork. LOL Yeah, it's on my list.
Reefcast - I'm getting lots and lots of PMs and emails about reefcast, asking when the next podcast will come out. Episode 6 was recorded a month ago, but Evan's life got way too busy. I was hoping that things would settle down and we could get back to it as before, but I have a feeling this isn't going to happen. I talked with him a couple of days ago, and asked him if it would be alright if I could continue editing Ep. 6 so it can be released, and start doing a few shows without him until he can get some free time again. I know it won't be the same without him, but I'll do my best to keep it entertaining. I've got some ideas for contests as well as guest hosts that should make the show enjoyable and informative, and I really don't want to see it just vanish into dust. Thank you for being loyally patient with us.