Aug 2005

Mon, 08/29/2005 - 22:40

By: melev | Tags: | Comments: 0

Time for a long overdue update. First of all, water tests have been published. Nitrates are sky high, but I have a feeling that the nitrate test kit is faulty. Jimmy Walls came over with his test kit and the reading was much lower, like under 10ppm. Mine says 75ppm. Just in case, I'm treating the tank with Algone, a product that is supposed to absorb nitrate. I may have to pick up another kit just to get further comparison numbers. Both Salifert kits were relatively new, both opened up for the first time this month, and the numbers really should have been similar, right?

I've changed a lot of water in the past week. Something close to 130g worth. Since there are multiple tanks in the house now, even making 55g at a time doesn't really do much when they all need water changes.

The Pico tank is doing quite well, but the fan modification I did didn't last. Now the fan just blows at a steady speed, whatever 6v produces. The tank tends to stay around 78F, but if I turn it off it rises to 80.5F. Since Casper is used to cooler waters, I'm letting it run cooler than I'd prefer. The zoanthids seem fine so maybe it won't be a problem running cooler than normal reef (81F) temperatures.

While peeking in the tank very closely yesterday, I was stunned to see polyps extended from what looks like a dead montipora frag covered with some cyano bacteria. If life is trying to come back in those conditions, I have to believe the tank is going to turn around finally. I really would like to get more SPS in the tank, but due to the losses (higher PO4-related) over the past few months, I've been holding off.

Here is a new coral I purchase. It is a diploastrea, similar to Nipples the other coral purchased the month before.

I also picked up a black branching suncoral from a club member.

Late at night:

The Euro-Reef 12-2 Protein Skimmer was modified with a kit I purchase from Premium Aquatics. It uses a ballvalve and other gray PVC fittings to make it run silently. I placed a white cap on the riser tube to stop the gurgling sound, and it is super quiet now. I love it. It was well worth the $40 for the kit.

One day I made the time to remove some larger bristleworms and questionable asterina starfish. The white ones are usually fine, but the blue ones tend to munch on corals. Since they aren't quite so easy to discern color-wise, I just plucked out what I could reach one night. The bristleworms were put in the refugium.

I made an adjustment to the way I was dripping kalkwasser, and in the process created a very easy to use setup. I drilled a small hole in the side of a 6g salt bucket, just large enough to force a piece of bent rigid airline tubing into the hole. The rigid tubing goes down the inside of the bucket and stops 1" before the base of the bucket. Flexible tubing was pressed on the end of the rigid tubing on the outside. Once the bucket was filled with water and 1-2 tsp of kalkwasser powder, I pressed the lid down until it snapped on tightly, making a good seal. I realized at that point that the kalk wouldn't be able to drip out as the tight lid created a vacuum. So I pried the lid back off, and just set it on top. At that point, I saw the kalkwasser dripping out of the tubing! I thought I'd have to suck on the end to start it in the first place, but realized by sealing the bucket and pressing on the lid, I forced liquid up and out of the tubing. With the lid removed, flow was established. Thus, here is a self-priming kalkwasser drip system. :D The clothespin allows me to dictate how quickly it drips.

Here is a picture from the Pico tank:

And a few more images from what happens when Casper latches on to something. You'd think his tail would do some real damage as he strains to eat in the current, holding tightly to a feather duster worm tube, but not only doesn't he tear it... the featherduster is still able to extend or retract as it desires.

He does the same to some zoanthids regularly.

Here is a nice picture of Dole, my Lemon Meringue Wrasse.

And of Tom, a Copperband Butterfly that is doing quite well in my reef.

Last month I had to set up the frag tank to hold a bunch of flatworm infested frags given to our club, as well as corals that I'd purchased. It is a 28g acrylic tank I made last February, lit by a single 250w MH bulb. Dripping kalkwasser maintains the pH, alk and ca levels adequately. After a few days, I treated the tank with Flatworm eXit, and they are now gone. Snails have been added to keep algae at bay, and most of the corals have done quite well. About 15 frags went into last month's club raffle, and more will go in our next meeting's raffle. The rest will be going into my reef, since the water quality has improved.

Over in the Pico tank, I had a fun experience with some zoanthids that kept blowing into the back of the rockwork. I had a time of it keeping them in front. Finally I found out why:

And finally, here's Spock telling you that this is the end of today's tour. :)

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