The Reef Tank banner

1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi!
I'm currently an undergraduate biochem student who has taken over the abandoned marine aquarium. At the time I took it over, maybe five months ago, the water level was well below normal and there were three animals- a largeish (maybe 4") (Allard's clownfish, Amphiprion allardi or Amphiprion clarkii) clownfish, a 2-3" blue damselfish, and a wayward hermit crab- living in less than ideal conditions.

This tank has reportedly been in the labs for 7 years, though I assume the fish are not quite that old.

The tank itself is 110 gallons, dimensions are 8' (98") long by 18" wide by 22" high, the lights about 2" higher. There is a great deal of liverock, perhaps 10 medium size pieces (I wish I knew the pounds). There is one 48" fluorescent light at 40 watts along the front of the tank. The 'back' lighting (just behind the fluorescent) is a combination of four 24" lights, 2 blue atinic(sp) 2 daytime. These are coralife brand, and 65 watts each. All the lights are on a timer, the blue lights stay on perpetually, and the daytime lights are on 7am to 7pm. There is a 3-way combination carbon, sponge, and bacterial filter which came with the tank, though the sponge and bacterial flora was replaced by myself maybe 2-3 months ago.

I keep the salinity between 1.022-1.026, keeping on the higher side lately, and do water changes about once a month. I replace one of the blue lights recently, and think that the remaining lights may indeed be seven years old due to the contrast in vibrancy.

I have, of course and against the advice of these forums, increased the invertebrate and vertebrate life in this tank. I first added an anemone and absolutely love this little guy and a cleaner shrimp. The anemone is a Corkscrew I believe, Macrodactyla doreensis, at the time of buying it had a bright pinkish orange polyp with whitish-purple tentacles, looked beautiful but now I hear that's quite unhealthy, and at the biggest it can read about 9" diameter face, stays around 5-6" about.
A while later, I added (stupidly all at once) a bright fuchsia basslet, a flame goby, and a 2-3" sand sifting sea star. Later, I also added a larger starfish (thinking the sand sifter had passed and wanting something to show off to the anatomy students). It takes care of some of my wall algae, but I generally take a sponge to the inside of the tank once a week.

I feed them a 'cocktail' of 4-6 frozen cubes (mysis shrimp/brine shrimp staple, optional squid/plankton), and 15 mL each zooplankton and phytoplankton solutions 4-5 times a week. I try to place cod (raw frozen from food service, ran out of tiger shrimp) or krill in the sand once or twice a week for the starfish. It's pretty cool to feed the big starfish while he's on the wall too. :)

Now, my issues start.

The cleaner shrimp I found dead underneath some liverock- I fear the clownfish has become aggressive now that it has an anemone and the clownfish killed the poor thing. I believe that is considered normal, but for a while the goby (expensive little *******) had disappeared. Like it disappeared for over a week. And now it disappeared AGAIN. Shortly before, the basslet disappeared! I asked my local pet store (where I buy everything, pet supply outlet) about it and they said these species like to hide in the sand, live rock etc and not to worry too much, but I'm not sure it's as peachy as it should be. Neither has been seen in around a week, maybe two.

The anemone at one point looked absolutely wonderful- spread face, simply exuding happiness.
Now, it doesn't look particularly awful, but professors are asking me if it is alright as it seems "listless, shriveled, and the clownfish seems to be avoiding it." I have done some research on it, and have come to accept that my lighting is inadequate. How do I fix it within a departmental budget?
As well, is the clownfish too big for this anemone? What can I do about it if so? I have previously 'caged' the anemone with some (clean!) labware, a metal box type cage open on one end with minimal metal intersection, and the anemone seemed to perk up overnight. Was this simply my overreaction to the anemone expelling water? I do not think I can cage it anymore as the clownfish can now get underneath it due to where the anemone is in the liverock geography.
Another issue is that the anemone appeared to be turning pink. I attributed this to the color enhancing phytoplankton, which I only started feeding perhaps 6 weeks ago. I have also cut back direct feeding of the anemone to once every two weeks (generally cod) based on internet advice. It still captures a small amount of frozen shrimp, and I can only assume it filter-feeds the zoo/phytoplanton.

I suppose my conclusion questions would be: what can I do to make this aquarium flourish on a departmental budget? The anemone is having issues, the clownfish has become overly aggressive, and the fact that fish are disappearing are my main issues. As well, is my feeding strategy adequate? Has my anemone eaten my other fish? What lights should I be looking at?

Thank you so much for any feedback!
 

·
Aquatic Philosopher
Joined
·
15,434 Posts
Welcome to TRT!

My question is what are you wanting to do? What is the goal?

Do you have and equipment list of what is running on the tank? Lighting is a bit under powered. Getting better lighting might be the best thing for the nem. The feeding regiment seems like a lot and without a big skimmer, you are likely nutrient loading the tank (eutrophication).

As for the "fish killers" I would look towards the damsel/hermit crab. If the hermit is large, then it is like more predatory.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks :)
I think the main goal right now is to have the nem flourish. He seems to be the patron star of this tank. What type/watt/color lights should I be looking for? I have one source that says metal halide is best.

4-6 cubes is too much?? Seems like hardly anything to me (fits in a 100mL beaker).

The hermit crab is actually quite small, I have suspicions that he came with the liverock. He is perhaps half an inch or so.

Are damselfish predatory? we had named him Chainsaw but it was mostly in jest.

Thank you so much!
 

·
Aquatic Philosopher
Joined
·
15,434 Posts
4-6 cubes a day is a TON of food for a 2 fish... even over a week. Adding zooplankton/phytoplankton only increases that demand. I would recommend New Life Spectrum Marine Pellets as a really good normal feeding source and use the frozen only a few times a week. Otherwise, I also recommend feeding Hikari's frozen Ocean plankton since it is a marine-sourced food (mysis is freshwater) this stuff (and it tends to be cheaper: http://www.hikariusa.com/oceanplankton/.

As for the lighting, Metal Halide (MH) is a very strong choice. Really, a High-output T-5 (See ATI fixtures 6-10 bulb fixtures with ver specific 54w bulbs), MH (175-250w MH with a 25 facet reflector and electronic ballasts), or very specific LEDs (with CREE XP) would work very well. What you are looking for is a high PAR fixture (Photosynthetically Available Radiation). Lighting a 96" tank is not going to be easy. You are looking at either 2 48" T-5 fixures, about 4 MH pendents, or several LED arrays. Normally MH has the cheapest initial outlay of capital but will have higher operating costs. T-5 will be a little more to start up and about the same operating cost as the MHs. LED are more expensive but they are much MUCH cheaper to operate. MH and T-5 require yearly bulb replacements. Which will run about $250-400 a year for both MH and T-5. LED do not have bulbs to replace and will likely need diode replacement every 5-10 years costing about $5 per diode. The electricity consumption will be about 1/2 as much with LEDs and there will be little/no need for a chiller because unlike T-5 and MH, LED run much cooler. You can build LEDs to keep the cost down for just a little over the cost of the MH but LED will cost about $400 per factory-finished unit and it will take about 6 units to cover that tank. MH will require about 4 pendents costing about $300 each, and T-5 will cost about $800-900 each and need two units plus the cost of bulbs (about $25 each).

Here are my recommendations:
ATI 6-bulb (minimum) Fixture, get two
http://www.reefgeek.com/lighting/T5...54W_Powermodule_T5_High-Output_Fixture_by_ATI

Coralvue Lumenbright Pendents (mounts higher with less heat exchange and puts more light/PAR into the tank) with e-ballast and bulbs... you will likely need 4
http://www.reefspecialty.com/virtue...nished-lumen-bright-complete-pendant-kit.html

LEDs AquaIlluminations.
http://premiumaquatics.com/aquatic-supplies/AI-SL1001.html

or if you want to make them yourself, check out rapid LED, you will likely need at least 3 kits, 3 heatsinks, and some fans
http://www.rapidled.com/servlet/the-224/24-LED-Plug-dsh-n-dsh-Play-Retrofit/Detail



If the hermit is small, just keep an eye on him. If it is one of the generic dwarf hermits, he will be fine. When you said a "wayward" hermit, I though it was a local shore collected hermits or a large hermit species. The difference between dwarf and large hermits is about the same difference as a house cat and a mountain lion.

Damsels are just aggressive as can be... chainsaw is a good name
 

·
Aquatic Philosopher
Joined
·
15,434 Posts
Oh and one more thing...

since you are making arguments with Professors and department heads, don't say the "internet says this"... say a Ph.D. candidate with a background in Urban Planning (transportation and ecology focus) has made these recommendations (and let them chose). If I can model transoceanic shipping routes and then add their likely near-shore environmental impacts, designing a tank is easy.

I was the student who got the left over urchins from the lab after the sexual reproduction course was over :lol:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Oh hot ****! You single?? XD I kid, I kid.
I wish my school did that sort of urchin thing, i could probably have a whole separate tank devoted to invertebrate life. I've thought about halving and growing starfish clone colonies, but don't think I can morally justify it.

As per the tank- I had a facepalm moment while measuring and misread a ruler. It's 'only' a 48" tank. Completely exemplifying my inability to sight-measure.

And I sent this to WetWebMedia as well- and called my pet store. I apparently have a badly bleached Heteractis crispa, Sebae: not a corkscrew nem. I called to find out about metal halides- and I am looking through the links you sent me. What I am finding is that these are horridly expensive- BUT perhaps I will be able to find bulbs that are metal halide and fit them into my existing lighting kit.

I need to do a WHOLE LOT more research. ><
 

·
Aquatic Philosopher
Joined
·
15,434 Posts
Married :) to my college sweetheart :D

As for the length, I though something was funny. Normally folks get the gallons wrong but not the measurements. Oh well. :lol:

As for the lights, they are not as expensive with a 48" tank. Check out these as inexpensive T5
http://premiumaquatics.com/aquatic-supplies/CV-T5LED486.html

T5 are easier and you really have to know what one is doing with MH. Considering this is the school's tank, you have to plan on a varying expertise. So keeping it simple is best. LED would be even better since you don't need to replace the bulbs every year.

I say get two of these (simple to build)
http://www.rapidled.com/servlet/the-225/24-LED-Plug-dsh-n-dsh-Play-Retrofit/Detail
and mount them to two of these
http://www.rapidled.com/servlet/the-256/Drilled-fdsh-tapped-6"-x-9"/Detail

really easy to do and since undergrad labor is cheap ;) should not be much of a burden. It should last about 10 years of you do not run them 24/7 and keep it to no more than 8 hours a day. Remember with new lights, you do not want to burn that nem... so when you get new lights start off with a 1 hour photoperiod and slowly ramp it up over a few weeks (increase it 15 minuets per day)
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top