Reeftank Log 01/98
Performed a 5-gallon water change yesterday on the 20-gallon reef tank. Moved the yellow polyps back to the right side of the tank since they were shrinking in size on the left side of the tank. I also moved the Tongan purple mushrooms a little bit to the left to make room for the yellow polyps. I added a little bit more CaribSea Aragonite to the left of tank and used two small pieces of rock as a waterbreak for the red open brain coral on the left side of the tank. Everything seems to be doing okay now in their new location after the water change and placement changes. I think I'm going to cut the Strontium/Molybdenum additions to 5 drops a day after reading somewhere that excess Molybdenum can lead to slime algae growth. After changing the water yesterday, the SG was 1.0245. I'm going to try to keep it at this SG.
Present additions a day: 10 drops Kent Iodine, 5 drops Kent Strontium/Molybdenum, and 15 drops Coral Vital. I'm also dripping in ¼ teaspoon of Kalkwasser a day mixed in with 16 to 24 oz of water. The new drip doser I created for the tank out of Rubbermaid containers seems to be working fine. I'll try to mix new Kalkwasser everyday from now on for the reeftank. Weekly additions of 15 drops of Kent Coral Vite and 15 drops of Combi-San are still being made. Will change 15 teaspoons of Kent Carbon a month for the reef tank to maintain clarity and to keep impurities down. I'm going to try to stick to a 2 week schedule for changing the water in the reef tank. I'll just alternate it with the schedule I have for the freshwater tank. If I skip a week, I won't sweat it.
Presently, the only problem I have is the red slime algae that keeps coming back on the left side of the tank. I think a little bit more water circulation there would solve the problem, but I have corals in that part of the tank that don't like a lot of water motion. Hopefully, the corals grow enough so that they suffocate out any red slime algae.
I just realized today that I don't have any hair algae growing on the substrate like I did a month ago. I don't know whether it's the addition of more substrate or decreasing the weekly dosage of Kent CoralVite and CombiSan, but there is no hair algae problem anymore on the substrate. I still have a slime algae problem, but things appear to be getting better. I wonder whether I had all the algae problems because the CPR BakPak Skimmer was clogged and not producing the bubbles it should have been. Yesterday, I noticed a new crab on the right side of the tank. It is smooth and has a dark claw compared to a lighter colored body. I wonder how many other hidden crabs there are in the tank.
Added a brittle star yesterday to the tank for scavenging duties. I checked the water in the bag it came in and the SG was only 1.021. I poked two pinholes in the bag and let the brittle star acclimate for 1.5 hours before letting it go. This morning, it sits in the front of the tank.
Decreased the water flow of both powerheads after looking at the small tank at the store in Hayward and noticing that the mushrooms in the tank were fully expanded since there wasn't as much water flow as in my 20-gallon tank. The only problem is that with the decreased water flow, there is now a surface slick on the top of the tank. But the mushrooms look much better now. I may modify the outlet of the powerheads so that there's less of a surface slick by attaching a tube with multiple holes to one of the powerhead outlets.
The only two problem areas in the tank at the moment are the slime algae infestation on the left on the decrease in size of the yellow polyps. I think I may take down the SG to 1.023 and see how that affects the slime algae. I've also ordered 4 new Triton lights – maybe the lights are getting old since they haven't been replaced since May and the wavelengths of the old lights are causing the algae outbreak. Once I have the other tank set up, I think I'm going to remove both the open brain corals and the yellow polyps and turn the tank into a mushroom tank on the bottom.
When the brittle star moves around, he really aggravates the deep purple Tongan mushrooms. They spew out a lot of that white fibrous stuff from their mouth. But they seem to be doing okay most of the time.
I finally modified the drip doser so that it would dose correctly by adding another valve at the bottom of the doser and snipping off the bottom of the valve outlet at the drip end so that a true drip would occur. I picked up the doser after it had been there awhile and I was concerned that it was leaking since the outside of the doser was wet, but the only reason it was wet was because of condensation. I'll try to maintain a dosage of 24oz a day (3 cups) of 2 tsp./gallon kalkwasser and see how the tank inhabitants like it. The dosing I did this morning appeared to have no adverse effects. Even the hypersensitive watermelon mushroom didn't close up in response to the dosing.
I think it wouldn't hurt to get some substrate digging snails and a few more hermit crabs in the future. I'll probably purchase them from GARF once I have the 50-gallon tank set up.
I'm taking the SG down to 1.023, but I'll keep the temperature at 80 degrees for now. I told Connie to put in 8 drops of Kent Strontium and Molybdenum a day while I was gone, but I think I'll go back to 5 drops a day when I get back.
Tuesday, January 20, 1998
Took out one of the powerheads and attached a Fluval exit spray bar to the outlet of the powerhead. I put silicon on the venturi inlet so that water doesn't spray out of it from the backpressure when the water tries to stream out through the spray bar. The spray bar circulates water from the right to the left of the tank and agitates the surface of the water. What's nice about the new setup is that although the water surface gets really agitated, the mushroom polyps and open brain corals have water flowing across them which isn't too high. All the polyps last night looked really well opened up. I threw away the yellow polyp rock because algae was overgrowing the polyps and the yellow polyps looked like they were decreasing in size. I feel bad about them because for a while they were doing really well.
I put the deep purple Tonga mushrooms on the left and spread the brown mushrooms that were in the back left corner to the front right and front left. They looked like they needed some more light. I hope they develop more of a metallic highlight in their new location. Hopefully, the growth of the mushrooms will choke out the slime algae. I noticed that some slime algae had started growing on the left side of the tank, so I wiped it out. I'm a little bit concerned about the green hair algae growing on the light brown polyps on the top of the tank. I'll try to manually remove them the next time I clean the tank. The nice thing to see is that there isn't much algae anymore around the flowering star polyps. Perhaps with the increased circulation on the top of the tank, the algae around the light brown polyps will also disappear.
Thursday, January 29, 1998
Did a major rearrangement of the corals in the tank yesterday night. I put the Tonga mushrooms back in the upper right rear of the tank. Moved the watermelon mushroom to the far right, the brown mushrooms to the front left and the small green buttons to the middle right front of the tank. I received some frozen snails and hermit crabs yesterday from Aquatic Connection. The box arrived okay, but when I opened it up and put my felt the temperature of the water in the bags, it was like ice water! If they don't call back tonight, I'll give them a call on Friday about sending me a replacement shipment. It was ridiculous that they didn't use styrofoam or a heat back for the specimens! Heck, I'm going to call right now about the damaged shipment.
There has been a hair algae and diatom explosion in the tank. I think it's due to the fact I replaced the light with 4 new Tritons instead of the old configuration of 2 Tritons and 2 Blue Moons. The Tritons just put out too much of a red wavelength. This morning I replaced 2 of the Tritons with two of the old Blue Moons. Hopefully, that will keep the algae controlled until I receive the PowerCompact lights from Pet Warehouse. I'm excited to see how these new lights work. The main reason I purchased the lights is because the replacement cost of the bulbs (based on cost and lifetime) appears to be the cheapest among the different lighting systems. I also like their light intensity and low heat and power usage.