Tropical Fish Keeping banner

1 - 20 of 20 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
319 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
hard to believe it's been a year since I started my first salt water build http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/beginner-saltwater-aquariums/first-salt-water-new-build-374802/....This winter has been especially brutal here in the north east and My job and just staying even with mother nature has had me distracted.. tired and left with no time to post on my progress....it has provided me with time to let my tank mature...stabilize and grow...and keep my hands out of the tank...

Today... I am happy to report that IMHO.. it is thriving... my parameters are stabile and have been since Mid December and rarely move month to month.. and then if anything I may only need to boost the magnesium... I only do water changes once a month now @ a rate of about 30% of total volume ( tank and sump).. my Nitrates remain less than 10ppm most of the time.. I do vacuum, clean the glass( front and sides only) and clean debris from the rock work weekly.. the sock filter in the sump catches all "floaties" and is cleaned daily( floaties being mostly bits of Romain from the foxface).. ... My ATO mixed with Kalk has done a great job of helping hold my water stabile... the entire back of the tank is covered in coralline algae.. the blue back is only visible where there is no light... I use it as my "drain down to" mark during water changes... the rock work is no longer that sterile white... all have taken of a nice pink hue.. most of my corals have grown considerably...some have "taken over" and had to be "pushed back" as they encroached on other coral domain..my mushrooms have spread, some leaving their colonies to start their own.. most of the caves have mushrooms sprouting in them.. I did loose my fungia and my Hammer coral.. there simply was too little light @ 3 watts per gallon...I'm really not sure I want to invest in more expensive lighting... maybe when I put up the 125 gallon I'm thinking about I'll go "al in":twisted: ...all my fish are doing well... all 3 clownfish are still living in harmony.. it's been a year... as they were my first purchase..still no fights.. and 2 of them have doubled in size...,my foxface likes my wife better than me ... he takes romain from her hand but hides in a cave when I go near the tank...and the blue BULLY damsel ( really a yellow tail) still attacks my hands if I put them in the tank... the flame angel is the sheriff and puts BBD in it's place...the BBD shares a cave with my coral banded shrimp.. kind of an unlikely CRANKY duo..but it works... My mandarin still hunts the rocks continually.. he now takes enriched brine shrimp, Mysis shrimp and finely chopped table shrimp in addition to the newly hatched brine shrimp I feed him every few days...My Anemone which was the size of a quarter when I got it is the size of a soft ball when it is fully "sun basking".. and my sump... it's almost as fascinating to watch as the DT... lots of little critters and fan worms living amongst the mangrove roots and in the macro algae ( fern calpera and chaeto).. after seeing what A friend goes through with the same sized tank and no sump... I couldn't/wouldn't want to be with out one....I'll post some pictures this weekend..

this has been a great learning experience... I've still got a long way to go... every day is a journey. But at this stage. It's more fun and less work. My wife has taken a vested interest in the tanks as well... something she never seemed interested in when it was just the fresh water tanks...she's learning every day...

Tank #2( about 6 months into this one) 20 Gallon Bow front
.. the sea horse tank... they have grown as well... doubled in size...I had to move the bubble coral out of there...too much flow in the area I had to put it in... luckily I had a home for it;-) the sea horses love surfing the current.. they move around the back where the water is still then move up into the flow and 'surf" to the front... they will do it multiple times.. I see it as a form of play... almost like they are showing off!... They eat ALOT have come to recognize that the turkey baster means ...breakfast....lunch ...or dinner.. one of the peppermint shrimp appears to have an abdomen loaded with eggs...I'm hoping to be a dad ... I had to also move the zoa colony back to the main tank..not enough light in the 20 gal bow.. they stopped opening up.. 2 days back in the 75 and it's like they never left!...the mushrooms and gorgonians are doing great and expanding their territories... I'm contemplating adding a chilli coral for color.. I'm already there with the turkey baster 3 times a day... if I add a little oyster feast or reef plankton I'll be in the game..... any inhabitants need to accept dim lighting..IMHO .. the chilli will be perfect..
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,824 Posts
Outstanding progress! You u are very diligent in y o ur routines and that can make a
l the difference in the marine world. You should share a picture of those two miniature reefs. I like how you mention you do not clean the back of coraline, some people find the coraline on the glass a nuisance and scrape it off but I tend to let it grow on all but the front of my glass, in the end I feel it looks much more natural and you can attach corals to it. You mention a 125? That would be quite the upgrade, I have a 125 and a 210 and they take up alot of room, wiegh a ton, and soak up much power and time. B7t if you go that route let me know and I may have a few recomendations\pointers for you. Oh and great job by the way, you have had very few bumps in the road on yourr saltwater journey wich is not something most people can say, your patience and research have been paying off along with your level heaf and capable mind...keep it up.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
319 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Outstanding progress! You u are very diligent in y o ur routines and that can make a
l the difference in the marine world. You should share a picture of those two miniature reefs. I like how you mention you do not clean the back of coraline, some people find the coraline on the glass a nuisance and scrape it off but I tend to let it grow on all but the front of my glass, in the end I feel it looks much more natural and you can attach corals to it. You mention a 125? That would be quite the upgrade, I have a 125 and a 210 and they take up alot of room, wiegh a ton, and soak up much power and time. B7t if you go that route let me know and I may have a few recomendations\pointers for you. Oh and great job by the way, you have had very few bumps in the road on yourr saltwater journey wich is not something most people can say, your patience and research have been paying off along with your level heaf and capable mind...keep it up.
Thank you very much... your advise has brought me a long way... it was always helpful and always has been encouraging yet has allowed me to learn on my own... I know there were things I posted that you knew were going to be a problem.. but you let me learn on my own... We had 20 people over the house this week end.. I didn't get to take pictures...I'll try tonight..

I mentioned the 125 more as a joke.. but it COULD happen some day.. I could see my tank needing an upgrade in another years time at the rate everything is growing... the only part of the back glass I clean is a narrow strip for the heater... the damn thing wont stick to coralline!.. I ordered a set of Orbit marine programmable LED's for the two tanks.. they will succeed the under powered single T8 lamp on the 20 gallon bow front and will supplement the 2 2 bulb t-5 fixtures on the 75...they come pre programmed with a coral acclimation program.. I bought a blue eye goni over the weekend for the sea horse tank. And a pair of coco worms. ( my ringed cowrie ate through the tubes on the feather dusters.. no way it can chew through those hard tubes).. the LFS recommended a dry mixture for the goni.. I think it is called Goni power...it gets mixed 2:1 with tank water to dry powder... it also says good for feather dusters and coco worms.. so I figure one less food type to administer!

I don't think I mentioned my Duncan's.. I bought them with 2 heads... I don't have enough fingers and toes to count the heads anymore:lol:.. the thing is massive... it and the mushroom are having a little turf war... when the "breeze" blows the toad stool over too close.. I can see the tentacles of the closest Duncan's head elongate and reach out for the toad stool. Then the polyps on the toadstool retract and it pulls away...amusing to watch.. I haven't seen a bristle worm in the tank since I got the coral banded shrimp.. but he is a mean little bugger!.. then again. Anything that hunts bristle worms has to be a bit on the rough side..

On a sad note... My ornamental pond froze to the bottom ( it still has 2' of ice in it).. all the snow caved in the winter house and set off the GFI... with 4' of snow on top of it, I had no Idea the heater and pump were off... good news..I'll make it bigger and better...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
319 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
OK...FINALLY got a chance to take a few pictures... the fish were going bonkers because it was feeding time... once they see the turkey baster even the coral banded comes out looking for food..

the sea horses have grown... the tank is only 6 months old or so...and I have yet to clean the glass... the snails and ringed cowrie keep it spotless... I supplement dry nori sheets twice a week .. as evidence of the green "tumble weeds' along the bottom... that was all gone this morning.. compliments of my fighting conch
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,824 Posts
Wow, some of those corals are massive, you are going to have to slice a couple up and trade some to the Pet Store. Are the PJ cardinals a pair? And I do like the black clownfish, a nice color contrast for the reef. Oh and be careful as many of the soft corals will emit toxins to "fight" with their neighbors and this is what is probably happening to the duncan. It should grow out in the opposite direction on its own over time and if I recall you use carbon so that is all you can really do.

Sea horse tank looks great too, I do love the gorgonians and that there looks like a healthy specimen. I was going to say it might look nice to add a couple of the red macro algaes but I bet your clean up crew would really "clean up" on that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
319 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Wow, some of those corals are massive, you are going to have to slice a couple up and trade some to the Pet Store. Are the PJ cardinals a pair? And I do like the black clownfish, a nice color contrast for the reef. Oh and be careful as many of the soft corals will emit toxins to "fight" with their neighbors and this is what is probably happening to the duncan. It should grow out in the opposite direction on its own over time and if I recall you use carbon so that is all you can really do.

Sea horse tank looks great too, I do love the gorgonians and that there looks like a healthy specimen. I was going to say it might look nice to add a couple of the red macro algaes but I bet your clean up crew would really "clean up" on that.
No doubt there are some turf wars going on.. the toad stool has the capability to move but it seems to want to fight sometimes...I can tell when there's been a battle ( like when I took the picture).. the toad stool will have retracted polyps and sometimes a yellow "wound'... it heals in a few days and the cycle sometimes repeats.. I guess they don't learn so quickly.. the Duncan WAS tiny when I got it...not so much anymore.. ... I run a carbon reactor and change it every 2 weeks just for that reason... dunno if those cardinals are a pair... bought them a long time ago ...Petco wanted to "get rid of them" when they were redoing some of their tanks I bought them for $2...that black clown is one of the original ones I bought almost a year ago .. ( the other went down the overflow).. it gets along nicely with the other 2.. they stil all sleep together each night....The gorgonian was another petco 'gimme".. @ $5 it looked like crap.. covered in cyano ... I cleaned it up and fed it marine snow twice a week and it seems to have recovered nicely... the Sea horses LOVE it.. It seems to like the Goni power as well.. when I SHUT OFF THE WATER FLOW TO FEED.. IT WILL EXTEND ANY POLYP NOT EXTENDED.. EVEN THE ONES UNDER THE SEA HORSES ( oops cap lock)... I'm waiting on the new lights tomorrow...cant wait to get rid of that T-8..
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,824 Posts
Sounds like some really nice scores for the tank, those prices can't be beat. I just ask about the cardinals as I have had males fight amongst themselves and I have had to break em up. The males have a very "grumpy" face as the mouth is down turned slightly more than the females.And maybe one day you could send me a frag of that gorgonian, not many types of that floating around here.

Yay! It is always fun to play with more lighting, I bet you can't wait. Bring on the 420\460 actinics.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
319 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Sounds like some really nice scores for the tank, those prices can't be beat. I just ask about the cardinals as I have had males fight amongst themselves and I have had to break em up. The males have a very "grumpy" face as the mouth is down turned slightly more than the females.And maybe one day you could send me a frag of that gorgonian, not many types of that floating around here.

Yay! It is always fun to play with more lighting, I bet you can't wait. Bring on the 420\460 actinics.
the cardinals do like you see by day.. staking out a eddy behind their own leather or rock plié. Once the lights dim.. they actively hunt together... I "sneak" them small pieces of shrimp when the other gluttons have gone to bed!

I'm going to have to learn how to frag sooner or latter...my leather is about another month away from being totally out of control.. that gorgonian will be out of the top of the tank soon... I'm at the point where I'm afraid to do anything to upset what's going on...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
319 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
new lights are AMAZING....

I got one USA orbits 18-24" programmable LED for the 20 gallon bow front...programing was easy, and the tank likes the 30 minute ramp to moon light and 30 minute sun rise modes ( they are fully adjustable from 0 -30 minutes)... the cloud features are cool but the lightning storm scares the bejesus out of the fish( in the 75...no fish in the sea horse tank).. I'm not likely to use it.....I bought 2 more 48" Orbits USA programmable LED's for my main tank after "trying" just one strip as a complement to my t-5's.... the t-5's don't compare.. my singularia is much more flesh /pink colored than it was with the t-5's that left it looking yellow in comparison( even with 4 brand new bulbs)..I see much more polyp extension on it as well...my candy cane corals open wider and are much more colorful... for the first time since I've owned my ricordia( 9 months or so) I can see brilliant color in it... the colors are amazing... I always wondered what all the fuss was about with them...my anemone opens wide and has brilliant white tips under the new lights...my previously sad looking brain corals are regaining color and growing new flesh!... I am very happy thus far with these lights... I'll post pictures when I get a chance... as part of the upgrade I bought digital aquatics heater/chiller controllers for all 3 tanks ( I still have to give a LITTLE love to the fresh water tank).. .. ..I'm too deep in this hobby now not to protect my investment ....So aside from protecting from the heaters boiling my fish... I bought a Ice probe chiller for the sea horse tank to aid in summer time cooling ( I have no A/C in the house)...I am in the process of researching a reasonably priced chiller for my 75... last summer I had the main tank reach 87 a few times... so not wanting to make the ice bucket challenge part of this summers regime... I'm launching a preemptive strike... on a last note.... I know I shouldn't have.. .. but I bought a large ( 6") maxima clam for my Sea horse tank...I had enough GC's from a local fish store to buy it... It's about 8" below the new lights and for the time being seems happy.. the colors are magnificent.. I will monitor it closely...everything I have read says it needs a bigger tank.. but the larger the specimen the more forgiving they are towards their requirements... so if it outgrows the tank.. well.. I'll know what to do...and if I do see it seemingly not doing well... I've already talked to the owner of the store and he will take it back ( of coarse for a monetary loss on my part)...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,824 Posts
As long as you have a quality full spectrum LED things will be Brighter in the future for you and the corals. The biggest problem I have with them is taking photographs, the color balance is waaayy off,Blues that hurt the eyes. I will post more later but I am on my way off to work.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
319 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
As long as you have a quality full spectrum LED things will be Brighter in the future for you and the corals. The biggest problem I have with them is taking photographs, the color balance is waaayy off,Blues that hurt the eyes. I will post more later but I am on my way off to work.
I hear ya..beauty of these is the spectrum( both white and blue) is fully adjustable...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,824 Posts
So are these units "Full Spectrum"> I know some boast that remark but many are far from it. I am contemplating taking down my AI Sols because of this, they are only 3 types of LEDs and I am not sure if it is performing as well as say some of my Ocean Revives or my custom built units with red,green,cyan,UV, 10K, Ect.

I even put a OR unit over my main tank for a minute to show a friend the OR and I started seeing colors on acros that I had not seen just like you mention with your corals. Hmmm the costs are the setbacks for me... and many other peoples.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
319 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
duel actinic claiming 445 and 465 nm.... duel daylight 8K...12K....

I had a zoa colony in my sea horse tank... I took them out( prior to the light upgrade in there) because they were rarely opening..I had them high up under the light ( 1 10K t8).. I placed them in the old tank about 1/2 way down. Not are they only opening full.. I never resized how bright green the centers were...on another note.. my anemone.. has never really displayed "bubbles" on its tips before yesterday.. they were bright white.. fully extended but never bulbar in appearance.., they looked like little base balls yesterday .... I received the new lights one is defective and is being returned, right now I'm running 2 LED strips and one t-5... the tank has never looked better... long term .. we'll see if it works out...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
319 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
sunset on the reef...

I took these last night as the tank prepared for nightfall.. the t-5's were out.. the rear set of LED's were 20 minutes into sunset.. while the front set were 5 minutes into the "fade"... I had one of the new LED strips fail as I was programming it ( right out of the box) i and am waiting for a replacement.. for now.. I have two LED's and one duel t-5 fixture which is on an 8 hour timer( I kind of like this set up and may use the 3rd LED on my freshwater tank ,thus keeping my current set up)... the LED are on a 12 hour cycle that includes 1/2 hour "sun rise" and one half hour sun set that fades to moon light that lasts for 4 hours..originally the moon light came programed for 10% intensity blue..0 white... I didn't like it.. so I knocked the blue down to 4% and added 2 % white..it looks a lot more natural...
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
319 Posts
Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Time marches on..

and things evolve and change...I've been vinegar dosing the main tank for a month now... I'm holding at 20ml of vinegar a day and haven't removed algae from my glass in 9 days...PH is holding steady at 8.4...cal. is at 420... Mag ( with a once a week 2 teaspoon supplement) stays around 1420... my dkh has been around 11 so I've gone to1 tsp per gallon of Kalk from 2/gal. to allow it to come down slowly...

I added a spiny cup patina to my tank ( my first sps. and it looks like it belongs there),,,it's high up and took the place of my red/green open brain coral... which... had been getting unmercifully harassed by my flame angel... it must be personal because it bothers no other coral in the tank.. I moved it over by my wells... the FA doesn't patrol that part of the tank... hopefully in a few days it will open...

my trumpet coral frag that I had given up for dead has rebounded and grew all it's flesh back on one head... it appears to be growing a second head...

the sea horse tank is maturing.....now that the controller is keeping the temp around 74-75.. they are MUCH more active... this picture was taken at feeding time...this morning.. my shadow had it retract but it was coming back out... when I took the picture..it has now attached it's foot to the live rock I provided...My gonipora have spread... and have taken over the rock they are on...

the main tank picture is from last week before the new corals.. the sea horse tank from this morning..
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
319 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
UPdate...

I'ts been a while since I've updated this.... time fly's!

My 20 G bowfront is addressed in my sea horse tank build..so that brings us to the 75 g... I need to take more pictures... things have changed ALOT in the past 4 months...

I lost 2 of my open brain corals... it seems that the constant harassment from the flame angel was more than they could take.. I moved the Wells to the sea horse tank but the lighting there is not strong enough.... hopefully moving it to my new 29 bio cube will save what's left of it...

everything else is doing awesome... my candy canes are huge and expanding.... my Singularia is beyond ridiculous .. it actually dropped branches that I traded for a hairy mushroom colony at the LFS....

the biggest changes come in the form of automation...I've done some plumbing rework.. I swapped out the Danner 2400 in sump pump for a Pan world 150PS external... 1100 GPH and capable of 28' of head... which has been an issue.. the display tank is 12' above the sump and goes through several 3/4 90 degree turns.. the Danner only provided 3 turns an hour because of this and required a second pump to run my Phose ban and carbon reactors...
Instead of drilling into my sump.. I opted to make a siphon driven intake 1 1/2" in diameter .. the closed loop keeps its siphon even when the pump is shut off during sock and skimmer service... this pump needed to be dialed back even when some of the flow was diverted to the reactors... I wish I had gone this route in the beginning... it's quieter.. more efficieant and I can run the tank up to 10 turns and hour( just short of overflow) if I desire with power to spare....
My next big change came in the plumbing of water change automation... I added a float to my R/O/D/I system so I can leave it with out fear of a flood... I now moved the salt water mix drum ( 35 gallon Rubbermaid) next to the R/O/D/I tank and hard piped it to my water manifold... I included check valves and ball valves as well as a TEE piped to a drain... now to change the water I open a few valves and the main pump pumps up to 20 gallons from the sump.. when the water gets to the low water level .. a switch shuts off the return pump.... I close one valve and open another.. I then flip the switch to the pump in the Salt mix drum and it flows into the sump... the sump begins to fill until the high level is reached and a float switch turns off the pump from the mix tank.. by this time the level has come up in the sump and the return pump is running... I close the ball valves and shut the main to that( mix tank) pump off.. it takes about the same amount of time to change the water as it does to clean the sock filter and skimmer...no hoses... no buckets...no problem... a small 250 GPH pump in the R/O/D/I tank replenishes the Salt mix drum shutting of at a prescribed level... I add the amount of salt I need and double check 24 hours latter...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,824 Posts
WOW that sounds like quite an upgrade, I can't imagine the Mag drive 2400 not being able to push enough water but I guess as you mentioned the elbows took away some needed GPH. I wish you lived closer and you could shoot me some ideas on my systems as you seem to have an eye for detail on your maintenance setup and procedure.

I love trading corals for corals, it makes things so much easier on the wallet and it gives a sense of accomplishment similar to a gardener. To an extent it is a form of aquatic gardening after all.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
319 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
WOW that sounds like quite an upgrade, I can't imagine the Mag drive 2400 not being able to push enough water but I guess as you mentioned the elbows took away some needed GPH. I wish you lived closer and you could shoot me some ideas on my systems as you seem to have an eye for detail on your maintenance setup and procedure.

I love trading corals for corals, it makes things so much easier on the wallet and it gives a sense of accomplishment similar to a gardener. To an extent it is a form of aquatic gardening after all.
I was pretty surprised because it was rated at 18' max.. it worked but but minimally also being in sump it provided a heat load and needed bi-monthly cleaning( the slimy bacteria formed from my vinegar dosing) to keep it at max capacity... then again...apples to oranges...I should have gone the "real " pump route the first time... I work with pumps every day here at work ( waste treatment and coolant supply pumps) why I didn't think of a siphon supply in the beginning is puzzling.. I love the system I have now.. I did have one tiny "mishap"... when I went down stairs yesterday morning... I saw a small stream of water hitting the wall opposite the sump... first thought my supply hose sprung a leak with all that extra power... it turns out.. with all my disturbing /moving hoses... I knocked the lock off the check valve for the ATO and it was only being held by one tab... now I have a nice kalkwasser stripe on the concrete!
 
1 - 20 of 20 Posts
Top