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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello! I grew up with freshwater fish, breeding freshwater fish and reading everything I could get my hands on. Of course, the inevitable, my first marine aquarium. Goodbye to freshwater.

As time permits, I'll bore you, should you actually read this, about the history of this hobby..in a way..since I'm now in my 50's, and I was doing this in my teens..with MANY absent years inbetween (like 30 years). Ineresting comeback.

Right now, besides my 5 gal Seahorse tank...a story in itself, I'm in the process of setting up an 18 gallon tall acrylic tank made for the eclipse system, except that I am not using the eclipse system..just the tank (it's all I could fit in the space I have, otherwise I'd setup a 100 gallon tank...). I'll be using a glass top (which I'm having cut before the tank arrives...duh) with enough space for:

a Lees protein skimmer (nice and long) (will be using an ozonizer)
an outside hanging power filter (I forget it's name, but I'll go into it later)
it has enough compartments for me to put purigen, activated carbon --seachem---the little round ball stuff) and phosphate aborber (the typical iron oxide one..or whatever it is), besides the very small compartment for those ceramic things, which, ingorant I may be, seem totally rediculous.

The substrate, what little there will be of it, will ONLY be De-Nitrate. I think that makes a perfect substrate, less than a single layer, with bits of the bare bottom of the tank showing through.

The other substrate are Marco's dead rocks. I've got a boxfull sitting unopened in my kitchen. I'll figure out what to do with that. Probably wash them off under the tap, bake them in the oven (I actually believe there will be some horrible parasite preserved perfectly in the dry 'dead' rock, that I won['t be happy until it's baked in my oven), then let it sit in salt water in some plastic container (I've got to find one), with a pump in thar, and innoculate it with some commercial bacteria thing, or something from my 5 gal tank. Not sure yet.

Heater.

Aqualight 50/50 96 watt (helluva time finding one)

oh...and ... I am so proud of this little dingy::::

two Koralia nano pumps, one 200 something, the other 400 something, both connected to a duo whatever ($50+ bucks) so they will alternate pulse. I'll keep the pulses long (I think). Tested it out in freshwater, and everthing functioned well, so I guess the Koralias can now handle timers.

wow

patience...total patience...
this is what I tell myself.

*************
18 Gallon tall Aquaclear acrylic without the Eclipse top.
Kent Reef Sea Salt
Coralife Aqualight 50/50 96W
Jager Submersible Heater
Eheim classic filter 2213-37 (started with a Fluval C hangon filter which proved inadequate)
Red Sea Ozone Generator
Turbo twist UV 18W

Filter contents:
Seachem deNitrate
Sponge (came with the Eheim filter an just used as a seperator)
Seachem Purigen
Seachem activated carbon
Phosban
Final Filtermedia/pad/floss whatever (came with the Eheim filter)
CRP Skimmer with 5% O3 channeled into it
JBJ Ocean Pulse Duo Wave Maker with
Hydor nano pump 240
Hydor nano pump 425
15 lb Marco's Rocks is the only substrate, otherwise, barebottom


***********
***********

5 Gal Dwarf Seahorse tank

protein skimmer
sponge filter with UV 5 watts attached
small internal filter with carbon/purigen/phosban at very slow flow
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Setting up tank, growing rotifers and nannochloropsis

OK, The 18 gal acrylic tank arrived!
Made some deionized water (some? yeah..like 20 gallons...that tied up the kitchen sink for a long time). Kent reef mixture (which I found out has so much iodine in it that iodine supplementation hasn't been necessary). Salinity 1.024 (using a good refractometer + I have no idea what the best salinity is for corals, so...more reading to do)
I added the Marco's rock that I baked (literally) in my oven and then put it thru two changes of rapidly circulating salt water + the addition of rotifer and copepod culture {{what the hell}})
Of course, I had to glue some of these rocks together for a nice configuration...to give some HEIGHT in the tank....using reef glue and epoxy putty, the hold is NOT strong enough, so my decor is not really stable...
...
...
so...this means BUY MORE reef glue and epoxy and when it comes thru the mail, take some rigid plastic tubining and glue along the backs of the structures I build..just so the don't fall all over the place...

....
God knows, I don't want to scratch the acrylic!!!!

...
Temp (74 F +/- as I have one Jager heater suctioned to the bottom of the tank...I think it's 75 Watt...could have been higher wattage, but I bought the heater before I knew I'd have 18 gallons to deal with...also, I keep one thermometer on top and one at the bottom, and despite the very good and continuous circulation, there IS a degree or two difference).
...
Lighting is the 50/50 actinic daylight combo as 96W via the Coralife Aqualight 20" width on plastic legs. Seems perfect to me. 4 cooling fans.
....
The filter is the Fluval C in which I placed one of those small pre packaged purigen bags that I think is good for 100gal, about 5 tablespoons of Seachem's carbon (which I think is GREAT), and about 3 tablespoons of Phosban. The Phosban lies above the purigen in the largest compartment, and is packed such that it won't move around), and the Carbon is placed in the so called 'trickle chamber', since I didn't have anywhere else to put it, and honestly, the little flow of water over that chamber allows longer contact time with the carbon...which also can act as a biofilter, so I am content with this arrangement.

The other filter, of course, are the Marco's rocks, so I innoculated the tank with a triple dose of "The one and only" product + a nice dose of live nannochronolopsis with rotifers and copepods. I'll repeat the rotifer/copepod dosing periodically thru the next few weeks.

...

Last but not least, the protein skimmer.
The Lees took up[ too much space, so I bought (and am waiting for) a CPR hang on skimmer. Why? Just look at the way the bubbles swirl around in that compartment and how little space it will take up INSIDE the tank). A little pricy, but ehy...

Now, MY goal is to figure out how to pump ozone into the reaction chamber, and that...I'll be able to do once I get my hands on the skimmer.

If I can't...well...

But if I do, I've got a nice long piece of silicone tubing 3/8" diameter that I bought off Amazon.com, and as with my other protein skimmer, I glue that over a hole on the lid of the skimmer and run it down into a big jug of cheap aquarium activated carbon. Not bad..eh? No smell of ozone in this house!

Now...why do I choose ozone over UV? 1. It's probably generational, 2. It's cheaper if you're running a few aquariums, 3. I think it's better and assists in breakdown and oxidation of waste that UV cannot.

Would I NOT use either ozone or UV? No way. I will NEVER run a tank without either a UV or ozone. NEVER. Just past experiences, that is all I can say. Did I say NEVER????

.....

Now, last night, I experimented, because the temp and salinity were OK.
I took one of the xenia plugs from my (to be) dwarf seahorse tank, treated it with REVIVE (smells darn good) and placed it at the near bottom of my new tank. I tried to find an area with the least amount of water movement...hard to do, but I found it. So, lets see how the xenia does. If the xenia does well, I'll begin stocking the tank!!!

>>>>

Substrate!!! other than the Marco Rocks...NONE!!!!

I was going to use De-nitrate rocks (Seachem) as substrate, as I do with the Seahorse aquarium, because it could serve multiple purposes, but the floor of this new tank just looked SO DARN CLEAN, that I just can't bring myself to put anything down on it.

Another thing I will NEVER do, is to use 'live sand'. I think a deep bed of sand can serve great chemical purpose, and is great for burrowing animals (like pearly headed jawfish). But personally, I will NEVER us ANY kind of sand...especially 'live' sand that is full of critters I do NOT want in my aquarium (tho, I fear they'll come in with the corals wether I like it or not).

+++++++++++++++
SUMMARY---I will edit my FIRST post in this blog series, to reflect what equipments I'm using etc...

If you've read this far, I congratulate you for your patience, tenacity and good taste! Haha!!!

-Michael

oh....I didn't get to the rotifer and nannochloropsis culture stuff I wanted to get into..

next post will be that!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I should really just put a few lines in a day here, because things just get going and going and then you end up in a place that no one knows about.

Quick update, I made the mistake of buying a group of corals from garf dot org. I've looked at the website for a few years on and off, and just blindly trusted them. Well, I got 8 plugs or 9 plugs, I forget, with bits and pieces of coral ... small bits and pieces ... glued on each plugh in a hodgepodge. Welcome aptasia. Over a dozen showed up within a day, one of the xenia colonies lost all it's heads, another coral (I don't know what it was) went into meltdown, and a few fell off of their plug (mostly zoas). The one skinny purple gorgonian is in the process of melt down now (half of it is gone, but he assures me this is not unusual and they come back, as will the xenia heads). Hydroids have now shown themselves and also another pest, I'll find out the name of it. I am TOTALLY TOTALLY pissed. The one thing I thought I could avoid came smashing into my aquarium...basically. Besides all this, the specimens were meagre and mediocre. Compare this to the pom pom xenia I got from Foster and Smith is like comparing a 20 yr old fiat to a brand new mercedes.

Anyway, this is what I'm stuck with, and this is what I have to work with, so I will, and I am, and I stepped into a ball of epoxy with my new shoes and argggghhhhh well...I'm sure you all know the hazards of aquarium keeping...
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Well, some of the corals are still alive, half or more are dead, and I'm stuck with aptasia and hydroids. I told the owner of g ar f dot o r g that I was photographing the specimens for ID and emailed them to him. Each time I've called I've been rushed off the phone, or dodged, so have not had any real communication with him. Real answer? ==He's embarrassed and he's been caught. I wonder if I should contact the credit card company. I'd really like some nice silver tipped xenia, a neat gorgonian and colorful zoas. I know it's not my tank because the pom pom xenia I got from fostersmith are doing incredibly well, all my parameters are good and the corals really have a nice home. Whatever has survived by now will, I believe, continue to survive and re-establish themselves. I just wish I knew the ID of some of them. I'll post some photos when and if they grow and get established and maybe ID them that way. Placement, of course, not knowing what I've got (except for some clove polyps), is purely arbitrary at this point.

I glued another piece of something that was rolling around the floor of my tank, to a piece of rock today. I thought this was great, because I glued another one just like it to another rock the day before. Unfortunately, the glue for the first one didn't hold. AAAARrrrrrggghhh, I've to to do it again, arms lenght into the tank again!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
oh--I've been culturing rotifers and copepods and haven't achieved population densities in the copepods to make me feel secure enough to get a dragonette, but Ive been innoculating my tank, and the copepods quickly too up residence, as I can see them on the acrylic where the algae is growing. In culture, I'm finding my best copepod cultures (and the cleanest) are those in combo with the rotifers. These are tiger pods by the way, they are photoTROPIC as they come rushing to the beam of light I shine into any of their culture bottles. For some copepods, it's the complete opposite though. In my Seahorse tank, I have a copepod population that dives into the substrate the minute I turn the lights on. The other copepod population in there that I have are the tiger pods which stay out in the open.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I feel really good about myself

I just _______ threw one of those **** plugs out. There were so many aptasia and several hydroids made their appearance that I said the xxxx with it just throw the darn thing out. And I did.

Well, at least for now those darn hydroids aren't in my face. Hopefully, I won't see any more of them. Aptasia is enough to deal with, Hydroids are the worst (IMHO).
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
stocking the tank further

Parameters are fine, algae is growing, my original (fostersmith) xenia is fabulous, garf's bits and pieces are starting to come around (no further dying off except the gorgonian totally disintegrated).

The skimmer is working perfectly (thank you cpr).

My copepod seeding was totally successful, and the population is good.

I was going to wait a few more weeks but decided to just order the fish, which I did, from Petco no less. I'll surprise you with what they are, if indeed they were all in stock as Petco claimed. I will tell you this, I am taking the chance with a coral beauty. Maybe it's my anger towards the guy who sold me the garbage displaced onto the poor polyps, I don't know, but (besides being Freudian), I decided to attempt this. If the Coral Beauty becomes a problem, I'm sure I'll have no problem placing her/him with someone.

Oh...I did order three peppermint shrimp, considering you know who contaminated my tank with aptasia.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
I think I'm learning a lesson

Though, in the past, I've bought fish from locals that looked clean but burst out in horror after being introduced to the aquarium. Well, my order from PETCO is as follows
3 peppermint shrimp: 2 dead on arrival, the third, either hiding in my tank or dead underneath the rocks...I have no idea. PETCO already reimbursed me for the two.
4 percula clowns: all with ich, one died the same evening I introduced it, the other three are iffy. I cranked up the ozone, photographed the dead one for PETCO.
1 Coral Beauty and a darn beautiful specimen. I would have liked a smaller one for a longer life span, but this one...aside from the ich,,,,is very healthy.
I'm counting on the ich just going away in a healthier setting.
Ozone is cranked up in the reaction chamber.
1 Starry Blenny, as healthy as could be and a total character, as blennies tend to be.
Perculas have no personality. None. Maybe others see it differently, but I bought them, really, for my mate. They're pretty, but it's like they really have no brain. Compared to an angelfish that's smart and a blenny that borders on the mystical.

So, that's my story so far.

PS I will actually be going to a local aquarium store in Waterbury CT, tommorrow. They said they've got fire shrimp and tons of peppermints, so I'll check that out. I could certainly use a cleaner...or, actually...my fish would.

I have dedicated a large plastic container to place ALL aquarium type items for this tank in one place, and did the same with my Seahorse tank...god forbid the seahorse tank gets ich AND/OR aptasia, I'd be ruined.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Waterbury Aquarium

Well, I finally went local. I don't usually venture into Waterbury, but better here than going south and dealing with parking and Greenwich prices. The store was exactly as commented on by reviews on the internet, good stock, knowledgable staff and cluttered. Fine with me, the specimens looked great, and I bought two Fire Shrimp and two small Peppermints. And yes, my other peppermint shrimp IS alive, and HEALTHY. I took a look at the tank with a flashlight last night, and the peppermint was scuttling around the tank, going in and out of nooks and crannies. This morning, I was less most of the aptasia, so he/she/it is obviously eating them. GREAT!!!!

Now, if the Fire Shrimp will eat the parasites off of my fish!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Ah!!! The
Fire shrimp ARE eating the parasites off the fish.

In fact, the angel, in particular, loves being cleaned and has no visible parasites any longer.

The clowns are improving, 2/3 of them are eating (live baby brine shrimp and frozen mysis, but everything else they spit out).

I mail ordered for some garlic stuff since no one locally had it.
It was an ordeal to find frozen Mysis (considering where I'm located).

The tank looks GREAT, and four new corals were introduced (which I got from Reefaholic). Really great corals.

Thanks Reefaholic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Was up late last night making water. ****, I don't know how people do it with larger tanks.

I tested the salinity of my tank, noticing how quickly the water is evaporating (this must be in part due to the huge air mixing going on in the reaction chamber), and it was 1.026

pH 7.7 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (and yet everyone/thing seemed as happy as could be)

I did not check alkalinity.

I added some Kent buffer in pure water, had to add some salt water because the level was too low to restart my filter, and rechecked the salinity at 1.025.

I'll check the pH today and add more fresh water. Once it gets to where I want it I'll make the level with a piece of tape on the side of the tank so I'll know how to top off. Actually, I'll do a partial water change.

Similarly for my Seahorse tank that I've neglected in terms of cleanliness since my main goal was to keep the tank saturated with baby brine shrimp and rotifers for 'my' newborns. There was yet another birth yesterday, and the water started to cloud, despite the ozone, so I got into a little panic. The babys are too fragile to do a hard core cleaning and I will not do a major water change, lest I kill them (been there, done that), so I just cleaned the sponge filter, added a UV, and picked up some grunge from the floor. pH, surprisingly was fine, phosphate zero and the purigen starting to turn brown but not dark enough for replacement or recharge. Today, I'll try siphoning off grunge from the bottom using a thin rigid tubing and do a 2 pint water change for a 5 gal tank. I'll just keep doing this daily. The water is crystal clear now, by the way. Everyone seems content.

Oh...by the way...back to the main tank. One of the newer peppermint shrimp died but the other two are fine. They hide. The fire shrimp are boldly out all the time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Quick update. Everythings fine, except that one clown finally kicked the bucket. I couldn't remove him with a net because as sick as he was, he'd dodge into some rockwork everytime I went in with the net. I wasn't about to remove all the rocks. Then, it dawned on me...suck him up in a large tube. Which is what I did. Instantly, I had him. I put him in a hospital tank but he died that night. He was so emaciated, that I'm glad he finally died. I wish I could have saved him.


I used selcon on my tank via feeding. It clouded the tank and took days to clear out. I don't deny that selcon is a great nutrient, however, it is soap. I mean, if you think about it, it is soap. I let the skimmer run amuck dumping out collection cup after collection cup. Finally the tank cleared.

Fearful this was bacterial, I decided to change my filtration to an eheim and add a uv light. I actually paid for overnight shipping from fostersmith.com

WELL

HA>>>>HA

I broke the quartz tube while assembling the UV step thingamagig, had to PAY to replace it, fostersmith agreed to splitting the overnight postage with me, and today, I got the quartz sleeve. Everything assembled, I turn on the eheim and water comes shooting out of the UV casing...the part that I DID NOT HAVE TO ASSEMBLE...i.e., there was a defect in the assemblage of the outercasing. I called fostersmith, they're sending a new one...no...they won't pay for overnight shipping, no, I cannot afford it, and yes, they want the quartz sleeve I bought since they're sending out an entirely new unit.

So much for overnight shipping!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The one thing I wanted to avoid when I set up this tank, was LEAKAGE!!!!

This is why I got the hang on the back power filter...which is useless...by the way.

The eheim all ret to go just sitting there.

I decided to run it, attached the spray bar (I hate spray bars) and turned it on and VOILA! NO LEAKS.

Before I end this, if You've gotten this far without falling asleep, this is the media setup for the eheim:

Threw out all their media (except the white filterpad and 'sponge')

bottom layer: Seachem de-nitrate (5X recc dosage)
sponge
seachem carbon (5X recc dosage)
seachem purigen (ditto)
phosban (little fishies) 2x min dosage
white filterpad

I think I should have just made the WHOLE thing with just cheap activated carbon and left it at that, and all this other cr.. is just useless. Except the phosban. Useless. But who am I to know? What do I know anyway?

Whatever the case, the eheim is operating beautifully, the ricordea prefer this current and we all seem happy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
U.V. light FIASCO!!!!!!!!!

trial #1:
after a period of several days of cloudy water (post use of SELCON) (maybe i should call this the SELCON fiasco), I overnight ordered (I thought I'd never do this, but now...too scared) an Eheim (basic 116gph) and the Aquastep 15W UV.

a) of course, the water was crystal clear the next day, but the stuff arrrived and I assembled everything, and as above, I broke the quartz sleeve while trying to put on the gasket, so I had to BUY another one.

b) the new sleeve comes and I finish assembling everything and start the water flow and voila! there's a leak in the casing of the Aquastep. Major salt water cleanup on good carpeting. I call fostersmith and they send me another one

c) the second Aquastep arrives the next day (thank you fostersmith). I am assembline it and the housing cracked when I was screwing in one of the barbs (now look, I'm not an idiot, I'm not a clutz, I've handled equipment and really sensitive equipment my whole life). I phone fostersmith and tell them the plastic on this device is junk. In turn, I bought the TURBO TWIST UV STERILIZER.....being totally fed up with and not trusting of lifequard.

d)the TURBO TWIST arrives, I assemble it in no time flat, I'm ready to hook it up and then see I need 5/8" tubing.
.......................how do I get 5/8" tubing NOW?
.......................how do I join the 5/8" tubing with the Eheim tubing????

wait another day....go to hardware store

d) bought 5/8" tubing at hardware store, bought a coupler that I'd have to REALLY REALLY work at getting the EHEIM tubing on the other end but succeeded

I used a piece of EHEIM tubing slipped over the end of their J tube that attaches to the spray bar, and slipped the 5/8" tubing over that and tightened the whole thing with one of those screw things and...

SUCCESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

everythings fine and operational...

more on my theories of using 18W UV on an 18 gal tall aquarium!!! later...
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Things are going very well

I just thought I'd give a quick update. All the hair algae that I've been siphoning out (it just lifst off and gets sucked down a siphon, very easy to remove that way), is not returning. Instead, the rockwork is developing a beautiful green algae, very lightly powdered over but a nice bright green. Corraline algaes are colonizing all over the rockwork and I'm not certain if some sponges or algae of some sort are also beginning to show up all over the place. I'll just have to wait to see what actually grows out.

I'm trying to grow caulerpa in there. I know a lot of people consider it a pest, but Ive got tons of it in my seahorse tank, and I think it's quite lovely. In an 18 gal tall, with the rockwork I've got, it should be beautiful and easily controlled. Only problem is...and I'm assuming its my coral beauty...it's being eaten..just enough to prevent it from fully developing. I imagine eventually it will take hold (as I see some runners are adhereing to the rockwork) and grow faster than it is being eaten. If not..I tried. If it becomes a pest...I'll let you know.

The FIRE SHRIMP bred, they've become very very used to their environment and always come running towards me, expecting...DEMANDING...to be fed. Nothing seems to scare them. I have to kind of push them out of the way if I'm working in the tank, and they readily take food from my hands. The angel is getting close to taking food from my hands but I just don't have the patience to train it, and I don't like sticking my hands in the tank unless I have to.

The CORAL BEAUTY literlly LOVES being cleaned by the FIRE SHRIMP, and the FIRE SHRIMP try to seduce all the fish in the tank as they swim buy.

One of my CLOWNS was into being cleaned regularly by them, but I haven't seen that in awhile. Their relationship doesn't seem to be as close as the Angel and the Fire Shrimp.

Mr. Blenny with the huge belly is incredibly demanding. He's really...I think...one of the brightest (mentally) fish I've ever seen (although I had a Niger Trigger years ago that was pretty intelligent). He is absolutely crazy about the spirulina flake food that I've been using. As are also the CORAL BEAUTY and THE FIRE SHRIMP.

The PERCULA CLOWNS just have a major thing for CYCLOPEZE and live BABY BRINE SHRIMP and feed on that exclusively. I ordered some flake foods the fostersmith, because I needed some 5/8" Eheim tubing and wanted to make the shipping payment worth it to me. Money is very tight right now and the food I'd like to order will have to wait (more later).

The 5/8" tubing I am using on my 18W CORALIFE TURBO TWIST UV LIGHT is too thin, and starting to bend. This doesn't make me happy since it will only add resistance to the water flow, so I ordered the EHEIM tubing and will replace what I've got, with that. (When I first got the UV LIGHT, I had to run to the local hardware store to get some tubing of the right diameter).

I LOVE the fact that my water is passing thru a UV LIGHT at a rate that should kill protozoans. All the more reason to have a high wattage lamp and a slower water flow (18W with 116gph max).

The EHEIM filter was a great idea and a worthwhile purchase. I tossed out their media for my own concoction (explained above).

The AEROFORCE SKIMMER is perfect for this tank.

MY CONJECTURE:

A NANO REEF OF 18 GAL, DENSLY POPULATED, WILL REQUIRE 'OVER FILTRATION' i.e., more than is reccommended for that size tank, therefore, the EHEIM with 5X more media than recc, except for the Phosban which I keep at just twice what is recc), an 18W UV rather than a 5, 10 or 15 W, a fairly large protein skimmer with ozone at 1/2 mg/gal/hr, a decent amount of rockwork (as above, I bought dead rock and gave it life), and a bare bottom with internal HYDOR pumps positioned to pulse in opposite directions and in such a way that the water is basically swept all around and through the rockwork, so nothing really collects anywhere but one tiny corner that is cleared by the tank inhbitants anyway.

I am going to decrease my water changes. I know, I like the idea of a 20% change a week, but I just don't have the time or stregnth to make that much water and do the whole thing, so I'm trying to limit myself right now to topping off to maintain salinity and replacing the volume removed by the skimming with fresh salt water. I am starting to use Kent supplements more routinely, and yes, I know....don't add what you can't test for. But I am cheating on that too, just using my best judgement, because I simply cannot go through these tests with any frequency (except pH)...I just don't have the verve I had when I was younger...I'm too tired and lazy maybe, but this is the way it is. I'll just test less frequently and determine if I"m doing the right thing or not, based on the results.

Oh...I AM USING BLACKPOWDER. I know the controversy. I don't think it's snake oil. I think it's actually helpful, but not running double blind studies, I can't prove it, and anectodal evidence either way is not compelling, but in my brain (and I am a scientist, believe it or not), it should, based on it's consituents, help provide the carbohydrate source for a good biofilm. This just make sense to me. Whether the improvement in my corals is linked to it's use, I don't know. But what I do know is that my tank inhabitants go ABSOLUTELY NUTS when I add it. I don't know if they eat it, but whatever is in there definitely stimulates them. Maybe I'm NUTS for using it. Maybe the opposite it true. ????

So, here I am, nothing but good news. Let's see how long I can keep this going.

SEAHORSE ADDENDUM:
My other tank, a 5 gal devoted to Dwarf Seahorses is doing very well indeed. I can't count how many dwarfs I have, there are so many, and they grow so FAST!

Since my brine shrimp and rotifer additions to that tank is so great, I do a 5% water change every other day by siphoning off detritus from the bottom. Also, UV light rigged up to the sponge filter....

got to go right now
more later
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
De-shelling Brine Shrimp Eggs

I still haven't decided if it's worth doing it $$$ rather than buying already de-capsulated brine shrimp eggs. I haven't figured out if the commerically prepared ones are worse or not. My feeling is that there's more waste when I use the commercially prepared, and when I use my own, I get a much cleaner hatch.

My method:
1. prepare a super-saturated brine solution to use later (it'll have to cool down before use, so I make it first). 6 cups of tap water and as much salt as it takes so that when its simmering or boiling, you cannot dissolve in any more salt (i.e., salt crystals remain floating or at the bottom). When it cools, more salt will crystalize out (since increased temperature increases salt solubility and vice versa). Put it aside (sometimes refirigerate as it may not cool down fast enough, and when you use it, you don't want to cook the eggs and ruin all the work you've put in)

2. Hydrate the eggs with tap water. I use 6 cups of water to three tablespoons of eggs. Let the aerate vigorously for 1.5 hr. No more, no less (range given is 1-2 h).

3. Add two cups of bleach (Clorox). Vigourously aerate for seven minutes. 7. SEVEN. Literature shows +/_ since once the eggs turn orange, it's time to stop. I found my hatches are better if i don't go beyond seven minutes. Once, I REALLY bleached those eggs to a beautiful orange by keeping the eggs rolling in clorox (as above) for 15 min. I killed all the eggs. I stick with seven minutes.

4. Immediately pour into brine shrimp netting (I use a bag shapped net) and rinse with cold fresh water.

5. You have a choice of rinsing until you don't smell clorox anylonger or using a dechlorinating agent (like prime), and there are other methods mentioned in the literature, like using vinegar. I'll stick with a dechlorinator after a rinse.

6. Let them drain (a gentle squeeze on the bag, but not enough to crush the eggs___I don't know how strong they are at this point) Then dump them in the super-saturated saline and let them aerate in this for about fifteen minutes. This starts to dehydrate them again, which is what you want, since this will prolong their storage life. Literature shows that some people dehydrate this way a lot longer, which is probably fine, but I'm impatient, and I'm going to salt the eggs anyway. I just want to get rid of most of the free water this way.

7. Drain and put them in a bowl. Keep adding salt and kind of fluff them, fold them, but don't stir them. Blend in the salt until the volume is about 50% eggs and 50% dry salt.

8. Bottle and refrigerate. These are salted eggs. They keep longer than eggs left in a super saturated brine solution.

I hatch brine shrimp DAILY, mostly for my dwarf seahorses, but also for my clown fish and any corals that might like them.

Anything left over from the hatch, goes into another container with aeration and the addition of enough algae paste to make the water slightly green. I don't use SELCON anylonger. I think its over-rated and detrimental to my fish tanks. Maybe I'm wrong, but I dare to think differently than most. I just don't like the stuff. To me, it's just a form of detergent.

The shrimp don't eat until after the first moult, and that will probably occur sometime by the next day, so, I give the leftover shrimp the opportunity to eat, should they be able to. This way, when I use them the next day, while they've lost a significant amount of their nutritional value, at least they've eaten something healthy, and which has HFU's anyway, and will therefore nourish the fish anyway.

THIS IS MY STORY, AND I AM STICKING TO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Seahorse Update

I've been doing some housekeeping in the 5 gal Dwarf Seahorse tank, which now has so many Seahorses, I simply cannot count them. The Caulerpa has grown 'out of control' and a lot of it coated with a very fine stringy hair algae + foraminifera (out of control). I still don't think they're hydroids, rather, foraminifera. Not having a microscope, I can't be certain, but if they're hydroids, they're the darn smallest hydroids I've ever seen. I don't think they're hydroids. Whatever the case, the tank needed (and still needs) a cleanup.

Shaking off the Seahorses, taking out SOME of the Caulerpa, cleaning off it's leaves and throwing a lot out, then, replacing about 15% of the water.

Over the past three days, I've lost 4 juveniles. I don't know why, and I find it kind of upsetting. What did they die of? I don't see any disease, but that doesn't mean it's not there, though, I doubt it. The "hydroids" (if my ID is mistaken), stinging them? I just don't think so. Then, it's the water. What did I do? Too fast a water change? Well...checking pH, salinity, Ca, NO3, Mg etc...

Also, one of my males aborted, so I'm a bit on edge.

Otherwise, the mating dances are going on all over the place, the juveniles and babies appear healthy and eating...and swimming. Nice. If not beautiful.

Hopefully these losses aren't an indication of some underlying problem I cannot control.
 
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