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Old 05-14-2016, 07:47 AM   #46
tarmstrong
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Wow it has been almost a month since my last update and so much has changed on Bubba’s Reef. So where to start, lets cover equipment improvements. I decided that I was not happy with my heater setup so I purchased a ReefKeeper Lite Basic - Digital Aquatics Controller and two EHEIM Jager Aquarium Thermostat Heater 200W for the tank. I now have total control of my temperature within .2 of a degree plus an automatic cutoff if the heater burns up and tries to cook my tank.

I’ve been having an issue with higher than normal nitrates (40ppm), all other water chems look great. I cut back to feeding once a day and did two 30% water changes and tank cleanings over two weeks and the level is back in the 18ppm range now. Not perfect but headed the right way. I was also having problems with my protein skimmer working correctly which I think added to the issue.

I lost my green honeycomb coral, it just started dying (bleaching out) one day after months in the tank. Relocated it a couple of times but it bit the dust. That is my first LFS coral to have a problem. I thought my pipe organ coral was dying but I relocated to a new spot on the reef and its doing well now.

We recently added two new corals to the bottom of the reef from our LFS. One was a lavender goniopora coral and the other is a large white tentacle plate. The clown fish have now taken up residence in the tentacle plate and dance all around in it.

We went to the local reef show last weekend and picked up some great pieces of coral at terrific prices. We purchased the following:
• Green Bubble Coral $45
• Sun Polyp Coral $35
• Ricordea Yuma Mushroom $30
• Large Merulina Coral $50
• Blue Polyp Duncan six headed Frag $60
• Chalice Coral $20
• Green Mushroom Coral Frag $free
• Purple Mushroom Coral Frag $free

So far they are all doing well, it has taken some work to get the Merulina Coral located to a suitable spot on the reef. It is 6-7 inches across and it has tentacles that reach 7-8inches so getting it placed with the proper conditions but away from everyone else took some work. It is really awesome with its purple shading and green neon markings!!

My current challenge is getting my new Sun Polyp coral to eat. It has about 15 polyps and is international orange colored. I have not been able to get it to open up and eat yet, which is a problem since it has to eat otherwise it will die. I talked to Jeff at the LFS and he has given me some good advice on what I need to do. I have made a long plastic bottle with the bottom cut out. He told me to put it over the coral and feed it some Algagen coral smoothie mix then close the top of the bottle to hold the mix around the coral. This should cause it to come out and eat. That is on my agenda for today to get the sun coral to eat. He did tell me that it can sometimes take 2-3 weeks to get a sun coral acclimated to a new tank so I’m hoping that is the case with mine.

Sharon and I went to the LFS last night to check out the fish and the frags. We still have one more spot in the top right corner of the reef that needs a nice piece of coral. Did not find any corals we liked but did purchase a really beautiful male pink square anthias about 6in long. He along with the yellow tang are now the center piece of the reef. He is very feisty, just trying to get him dipped and acclimated last night was a real adventure. He tried to jump out of the acclimation tank twice last night, it was crazy. When I finally put him in the reef tank he vanished in the LR. I took a risk by not putting him in the quarantine tank. The guys at the LFS have had him in their tank for almost two months and he looked great so I decided to just dip him in paraguard and add him to the reef. He is out swimming around exploring his new surrounding on the reef this morning looking great!!

After chasing each other around the reef for weeks my two diamond backed gobies have decided that they like each other, go figure. I have named them “Mutt” and “Jeff” because they are such a pair now. They now dig up the bottom of the tank together so when I came home last night they had completely dug out around the lavender goniopora coral so it looked like it had a large moat.

All the other fish are doing well. One of the clownfish has had a slightly bugged out eye for the past few days but he seems fine otherwise so I think it is just from playing with his brother. Time will tell….

I did find my two missing blue chromises, they along with a shrimp, 3 crabs and a few snails were all in the overflow for the tank. I was able to drain the overflow into a net and recover all the critters and fish without any harm.

Well time to close from Bubba's Reef, hope y’all have a great week!!

Weather here in Raleigh is supposed to be great this weekend so we are going to try and get outside and enjoy it!!

Regards,
Tim
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Old 05-19-2016, 09:43 AM   #47
tarmstrong
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Link to my Bubba's Reef FB Page
https://www.facebook.com/TimsSWaquar...homepage_panel

Reef Tank Pics:
https://drive.google.com/folderview?...m8&usp=sharing
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Old 08-13-2016, 07:46 AM   #48
tarmstrong
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Bubba's Reef Update

It has been a couple of months (May) since I last posted an update about life on Bubba’s Reef. I lost 7 fish over 11 days plus 3 of my favorite corals for no apparent reason…

It was really a humbling and painful process not to mention the monetary loss; I have never felt so helpless. Just as soon as it started happening it suddenly stopped and everything returned too normal. When the smoke cleared I had the following fish left:
• Yellow Tang
• Six Line Wrasse
• Yellow Reef Chromis
• Blue Chromis
• Diamond Backed Goby

I waited for a month to make sure everything was OK and stabilized. During that time the matrix stone that I added to my W/D filter established itself and my nitrates are now looking really good.

I also built myself a 50 gallon RO/DI Water tank system in my upstairs laundry room so I don’t have to haul water jugs around anymore. I can now do a water change in less than 30 minutes without having to carry anything other than a hose. I just make the RO water, throw in the salt, let it mix for a few days and then connect the hose and refill the main tank, it’s easy-peasy!!

I also added a second Digital Aquatics ReefKeeper Lite Controller to my tank which includes a PH probe. I now have one controller on the battery backup unit that runs my main circulation pump and one of my two heaters. The second controller handles the second heater, the gyre circulation pump, my ATO unit, and my protein skimmer.

I upgraded my protein skimmer with a couple of quick homemade mods. I added a one-gallon overflow tank with an overflow cutoff switch to my protein skimmer so I have much more room for wet skimming. I also ran an external airline to the skimmer so it now gets outside air reducing the amount of stale air I was sucking into my tank which helps improve my overall PH levels.

I have been slowly rebuilding what I lost, with the addition of a new male and female Lyretail Anthias and a tomato clown. Plus, some other new critters Fire Shrimp, Large Conch, Mexican Turbo Snails, and Astrea Snails.

I have also added a lot of new corals frags to fill in some of our blank spots;
• Fire and Ice Zoanthid Coral Frag
• Orange Zoanthid Coral Frag
• Pipe Organ Frag
• Xenia Pulsing Coral
• Athelia Waving Coral
• Blue Sympodium Coral
• Superman Purple Mushroom
• Long Tentacle Plate
• Feather Duster Brown
• Coco Worm Red
• Orange Mushroom Colony

Everything is going well these days and as we hit the six-month mark I am excited to see how stuff continues to grow and fill in on the reef!! Every day is a new adventure on Bubba’s Reef. Hope you have a great week.
Regards,
Tim
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Old 04-29-2017, 04:18 PM   #49
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Past the one year mark and my tank is doing great. Discovered Marine Buffer to help keep my PH in the 8.1-8.2 range and all my fish and coral are very happy now. I just posted a new set of pictures on my Bubba's Reef Facebook page at

https://www.facebook.com/TimsSWaquariumPage/

Take Care,
Tim
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