Reeftank Log 06/99
Tuesday, June 2, 1999
I tried using the Hagen 802 powerhead as a second return pump, but that combined with the Hagen 402 was too powerful for the CPR CS50 overflow. I replaced the Hagen 802 with a Hagen 402 and both Hagen 402's combined seem to have the perfect water output for the CS50. I connected an airline tubing from the siphon air bleed of the CS50 to a Maxi-Jet 900 powerhead I'm using as circulation for the tank. Tonight, I'm going to try to connect a longer piece of airline tubing from the siphon air bleed to a Hagen 301 powerhead which sits in the sump. The reason I'm doing this is that the Maxi-Jet 900 occasionally blows air bubbles from the siphon air bleed into the tank which causes salt spray to form on the overhead light. Small bubbles in the sump won't cause this problem to occur.
Yesterday night, I moved all of the rock I had in the 20-gallon holding tank into the 50-gallon tank. Using an idea I saw on the Harbor Aquatics web site <http://www.harboraquatics.com/>, I used nine 1 inch diameter PVC tubes about 3 inches in length as supports to lift the live rock off the sand. This allows the water to circulate underneath the rocks and increases the filtration capabilities of both the rock and the sand. I was thinking of buying 10-feet of 1.5 inch PVC pipe and cutting it up into the sections I needed, but then I noticed that there was a 10-pack bag of the 1 inch PVC tubes (they're actually couplers used to connect lengths of PVC pipe). I still bought three 1.5 inch PVC pipe couplers, but I had no use for them. It was fun arranging all the rock and balancing them on the PVC sections. With some judicious coverage with the sand, I'll be able to conceal the PVC sections from view.
In addition to moving the live rock, I also moved the brown star polyps, the red mushrooms, the encrusting coral and the green open brain. I tried to place the green open brain in a protected section of the tank away from the brunt of the light and water flow.
I also added a bag of Marineland Black Diamond carbon and 2/3 of a Polyfilter to the filter compartment of the sump. Once I acquire the SurfZone Live Sand Activator from IPSF, I'm going to remove the filter pad I have in another filter compartment. I've placed an AquaClear 500 foam insert underneath the outlet of the final drip tray for the TidePool II in order to quiet the sound of streams of water hitting the sump. The foam insert is wedged in between the plastic protrusions where the Bio-Wheel is supposed to sit.
With other pieces of PVC tubing, I was able to create a directed outlet for the skimmer so that it wouldn't splash. The outflow goes into a sponge that came with a Renaissance canister filter.
Water parameters as of this morning were 77 degrees Fahrenheit and specific gravity of 1.026. I'll probably start using the Custom SeaLife PowerCompact 2x96 (one 7100K and one 67000K) tomorrow for four hours a day and see how it works. I just remember how shocked the corals were in the 20-gallon when I started using the 2x55 PowerCompacts. I received the Nurce today from Aqualan <http://www.aqualan.to/>. I hope to install it some time this week as my auto water top off device.
Monday, June 7, 1999
Installed the Nurce last Thursday. Since the Nurce is not right next to the sump, I had to buy additional tubing. I bought the additional tubing and shelving to raise the Nurce to the correct height at Orchard Supply Hardware. The tubing at OSH had the same internal diameter but a smaller external diameter than the tubing supplied with the Nurce, which makes it more likely to kink. I had to create a rubber shim for the bracket that leads the hoses for the Nurce into the sump since the sump has a flanged edge. I was very impressed by the construction of the Nurce and it appears to be working without any problems. It will definitely be a godsend since it looks like the 50-gallon tank loses about ½ to ¾ of a gallon a day. This water loss will definitely go up once the weather starts becoming warmer and I'll have to blow a fan across the sump to keep it cool. I'll probably just use the Nurce for water top off and use a separate container for kalkwasser dosing. The idea that seems easiest at the moment is to use a one-gallon jug and attach a drip valve to the bottom of it.
As I was leaving for work last Thursday morning, I heard the sucking sound of the siphon created when the return pumps from the sump are turned off. I looked at the sump and saw the return tubing from one of the Hagen 402's to the tank had fallen off. In order to insure that this didn't happen again, I put a rubber ring around the return line to hold it against the outlet pipe of the pump.
Received my shipment of snails, hermit crabs (the Reef Tank Tuneup), Ministars (1/2 to ¼ inch pale brittlestars), Mama Mia Worms, Live Sand Activator and WonderMud from IPSF last Friday. I was amazed at the number of bags I received with my order. As noted on the IPSF web site, the hermits from IPSF are very active. I had a lone blue-legged hermit whose shell was covered with hair algae since there was no other hermit in the 20-gallon holding tank to keep its shell clean. By Sunday afternoon, the IPSF hermits had cleaned the larger blue-legged hermit of all the hair algae on its shell. The most interesting snail to me in the Reef Tank Tuneup was the Strombus maculatus. It has a very long tube protruding out of the front of its body. I think it uses the tube to sniff for food. One by one, I emptied the bags from the IPSF shipment into the tank and watched all the critters spread among the sand and the rocks. I turned off the powerheads for about 12 hours in order to give a chance for the WonderMud to settle so that the organisms in the mud could transfer to the substrate in the tank.
On Saturday, I purchased 16 pounds of very nice live rock from Seascapes. I was particularly attracted to the rock because of the sponge and macroalgae growth on it. The rock also had a high amount of purple coralline algae growth. The rock was pretty well cured as evidence by the lack of smell and any protein skimmer waste production after the new rock had been in the tank for over 24 hours. With the addition of the new rock, I moved the brown star polyps back into the 20-gallon tank and transferred the watermelon mushrooms into the 50-gallon tank. In the 50-gallon tank, the watermelon mushrooms now have room to fully expand their large polyps. I also moved the Caulerpa that came with the IPSF shipment left of center at the front of the tank. I've never seen this type of Caulerpa before. The fronds have a thin feathery structure. I'm hoping the Caulerpa provides a good home for beneficial critters. I'll also be pruning it regularly as a means of waste export. I've created a very open rock structure in the 50-gallon tank for water circulation reasons and also to give me room to scrape coralline algae that will be growing on the front and sides of the tank. I have so much rock in the 20-gallon that I gave up on scraping the sides of the tank. I want to keep the sides clear on the 50-gallon since it's interesting to see what's growing on the sides and back of the tank.
After all the rock rearranging with the addition of the new live rock, I had an extra rock with a lot of tunicates and sponge growth and minimal coralline algae growth. I decided to put the rock in the sump after reading in the Reefkeeping 101 column (April 1999 Aquarium Frontiers) of Randy Donowitz's practice of including a few pounds of live rock in his sump as a source of food for the main tank.
In addition to the live rock, I also purchased some flowering star polyps. I've always missed this coral ever since they were engulfed and killed by the hair algae outbreak in my 20-gallon tank. I love their delicate pastel colors and structure. The flowering star polyps opened quickly after I transferred them to the 50-gallon tank.
Tank parameters: Temperature: 82 degrees Fahrenheit, Specific Gravity: 1.025.
On Thursday, I added ½ tsp of Kalkwasser mix directly to the top drip tray of the TidePool II sump - I figured the water volume of the tank and sump would mitigate the direct addition of the Kalkwasser. Probably not the smartest thing to do since the main tank water turned slightly cloudy and the brown star polyps receded a little - I'll probably do the gallon jug slow drip method. On Friday, I added four capfuls of C-Balance. I really want to get the coralline algae growing. From what I've read, the calcium additions might not be that necessary considering the reeftank has about 80 pounds of aragonite in it and presently no organisms that are assimilating calcium very quickly. I've considered a calcium reactor, but I presently don't have the room or desire to set one up.
On Sunday, I added a half teaspoon each of Reef Evolution Strontium, Reef Evolution Iodine and Combi-San. Lighting is 6 hours a day. I have the WaveMaster Pro cycling at 4 hour intervals through the gentle, rolling and turbulent cycles. It's mesmerizing watching the Caulerpa and Flower Star Polyps move to the rhythm of the waves.
I fed the Green Open Brain Coral 1/3 of a piece of Hikari Algae Wafer. It was interesting watching the mouth and mesenteries engulf the food. Next time, I'll try to feed the Green Open Brain some Formula 1.
Tuesday, June 08, 1999
Yesterday morning while I was in the shower I heard my wife shout, "Hey, is this snail supposed to be out of the tank!" I told her to put the Nerite snail back in the tank and explained to her that it was a tidal organism that occasionally comes out of the water. She put the snail back into the 20-gallon tank. Later on she told me it fell right on the outstretched polyps of the Goniopora when she put it back in the tank and the Goniopora quickly pulled back its polyps.
Yesterday night, I was checking the level of the sump and I notice a big black thing in the return lines of one of the Hagen 402's. Upon closer examination, I saw it was a Nerite snail that had crawled into the output of the return line and crawled two feet down the tubing! This morning, it appeared that the Nerite had exited the return line. But another thing I noticed this morning was the unmistakable trail of a Nerite snail on the top center front panel of the 50-gallon. I guess the Nerites in both tanks really wanted to do some traveling yesterday…
The pink-orange sponges on the live rock from Seascapes appear to be expanding and growing. The macroalgae on the rock is also showing growth only after a few days. I noticed about 7 hermits around a Nerite shell this morning. It looks like the Nerite died and the hermits decided to munch.