Monday, January 18, 2016

January Kickstart

I had to laugh, we were doing a cleanup of the reference library on canreef and my blog appeared. Specifically, my old blog of my 90gallon tank, which this one used to be before I transferred it over to blogspot and upgraded to the current 180 gallon.  The link was broken and it was marked for death but I remembered the newer address so typed it in. Almost 3 years since I posted eh? And no goodbyes, no see ya laters, just stopped completely.  So sad. Not like anyone is reading this anyways. But I'm bored at work and well, this is something to do so why not make a post?

So since we last talked a lot has happened. A lot hasn't happened as well.

The newer bellus croaked after about 5 weeks in the tank. It never really "acclimated" and the old one went after it every chance it got.  Too delicate I guess. Since then the "old" bellus has some orange on her, like she's trying to change to a male but can't get that last bit done. No balls I guess.  LOL!

The hair algae situation escalated.  The sea hare was worth his weight in gold.  He did his job and then moved on to another home. He did come back to visit as a few patches reared their ugly heads but the sea hare met a tragic end in the sump :( Not sure how he fit his big butt down there.

The zeovit sort of fizzled, a few drops of this and that daily is a pain in the arse.  I neglected the tank due to a new baby (a human one) and the majority of the SPS died due to a massive cyanobacteria bloom. I finally eked out some time to do a chemiclean treatment but it was too late.  The LPS survived and most of the fish are still around. The melanurus wrasse went blind in both eyes (first one so I hand fed him but then the other went too) and couldn't see to eat so I eventually had to euthanize him (a very sad day) and the royal gramma and linear blenny disappeared.  The maxima clam died, unrelated to the algae issues, I'm not even sure when that happened. The squamosa packed it in just before Christmas 2015. I had done a hinge "replacement" on it in early 2014 when I found that the two shells moved independently of each other.  Someone suggested repairing that by supergluing a piece of velcro onto both shells to keep them together.  It worked until last fall when the superglue started to release. I reglued it but the clam never seemed to be the same and languished for a few months before finally giving up altogether.  That was a big bummer. The tank is now disappointingly clam-less. I doubt I'll get another since they're so ridiculously expensive these days and squamosas are hard to come by.

Currently, the tank has a couple small patches of SPS that seem to be thriving. Last year I tried my hand at resurrecting the tank with some new frags but alas, 2 little kids made for a lot of neglect and the tank was getting infrequent water changes. I also suspected that the magnesium additive I was using was a problem as it left a black scummy deposit in the dosing container. I honestly can't remember the name of it, it wasn't DOWflake but something similar, for driveways but "reef approved" on reefcentral or something.  Fellow reefers were using it without any problems.  Even though the black stuff was left at the end of the dosing (the hose wasn't deep enough in the container to reach it) what else was going into the tank??  I discontinued that and got back on track with the water changes (at least monthly water changes and parameter monitoring) and a couple of the SPS have gone from a scant few polyps to large encrusting patches.  Hopefully I'll get the bug again and add a few frags but other than that I'm just sort of in a holding pattern, the bug hasn't really rebitten at all. I even started up a nano tank at work (Innovative Marine Nuvo 8, zoa dominant) but thats become a bust as well with algae and death.  At least the 180 gallon tank is algae free (which I can say is a first since I started it up!!), the fish are far from being neglected food-wise but they attack anything green in the tank so thats a silver lining!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

New Fish/Zeovit

So the Bellus went into the tank on the 19th, she had stopped eating for about 3 days and I was getting worried. The 10 day treatment was up anyways but I would have liked to have QT'ed her longer. I never have much luck with QTing fish, I have no idea why, maybe there is some sort of trick to it. Either they die in QT or they croak in the tank a few days later.  One of the reasons why I don't normally QT but the thought of my beloved fish dying of velvet scares the crap out of me so I must prevail and go the QT route. Sadly the newbie did not make friends and my old Bellus did not want either a girlfriend, or the competition from another girl in a tank full of boys (my assumption, there aren't many female fish available in this hobby). So she swam about that evening and the next morning and then I didn't see her until 5 days later when I had pretty much written her off.  She's living under a rock in a corner. She seems to have made friends with the Royal Gramma who lives there and is an old curmudgeon (usually). I guess they made their peace with one another.  I just saw her again tonight (a week later) and she is eating but very pale (I assume from being stuck in the dark all the time).  I would assume from her intense submissiveness  that she isn't going to be the one to change to a male, if indeed the trigger to change is made.  The old beeyotch will be the one to change. Either that or I'll have a very expensive rock dweller :(

The hair algae situation I assume is slowly getting better.  Sometimes I see a new rock that has been cleaned, then other times all I can see is the long wavy lush green algae on every other rock. The tank is definitely looking better but I suppose when there are acres of algae to eat, sea hares do it slowly because its not like it won't be there tomorrow (and the day after that, and the day after that, etc). I actually saw his butt the other day, camped out under a rock. So I know he's still in there (I know the bare patches are evidence as well but sometimes you just like to see the critter actually alive).  I've been in there almost weekly or 10-days-ly yarding out a good liter or so of algae but it gets monotonous after awhile and I don't really know if I'm doing the tank any good as the stuff flies everywhere in the tank. I try to scoop it all up with a fishnet but its a real pain in the arse.

I started up Zeovit again. I wasn't going to, as I don't really want to invest any more money in this hobby (says she who just bought a pricey fish). But I figured what the hell, the tank is already sucking, lets see what Zeo can do for it. I just bought the rocks and the start2 or something like that. I can't remember the names of it all but I'm just doing the basics. And I'm already sucking at it. I hate dosing mostly because I forget constantly and wonder what is the point if I can't even remember to do something basic like that (which reminds me, I should get my arse downstairs and dose).  Anyhoo, we shall see what it does.  Some corals are coloring up already, could it be the Zeo?

Other than that its business as usual, I think I've lost yet another colony. It really paled up and hasn't had polyps out in awhile, I thought it was just cranky but looking closer at it its almost like it didn't get enough light and its now starting to recede. Not sure what its problem is as one of the corals right next to it is coloring up awesomely so I don't think its the bulbs but who knows. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Back at it! March 2013

Ok so I know its been awhile. Life got pretty busy around here and I got lazy.  The tank did pretty well for itself and I pretty much left it alone, doing my regular weekly waterchanges and various parameter checks and keeping my dosing levels on track.  However at some point last fall, I checked the phosphate levels and they were much higher than they should have been. This is partly because I hadn't been looking at the correct scale (all this time!!!)  So instead of my phosphate levels being at a happy 0.03ppm they were actually about 3 times that. No wonder I had algae!! I had just recently changed out my GFO so I figured, clearly it wasn't getting the job done. I had heard great things about a different product which was a liquid additive. Basically you measure your phosphate, dose accordingly to drop the levels by a safe amount and then the next day test and dose again etc until you get to your happy place.  However, by day 4, I got sloppy and dosed the same as day 3 and didn't realize my skimmer wasn't doing its job.  By day 5 or 6 my weekly waterchange came up and I saw my skimmer wasn't working and the $hit was already hitting the fan. A couple frags were receding, some were completely dead. Half a colony was gonzo, I completely lost my 12+ year old Pocilipora damicornis.  Bad idea.

So away I went, waterchange after waterchange. I went through an entire bucket of salt and then some.  Things started to slow down and so did I.  I saw a tuft of hair algae. WTF?  Lets get that outta there. However, there were some patches hiding in the midst.  Life got busy and I was really really disheartened by the loss of my oldest and most beloved coral.  By the time I felt like paying attention, it was flowing fields of green hair algae in the tank. I got disheartened and it got worse and worse. How the hell do you fix that when you've got enough time for a waterchange and a feeding and thats it? You make time, I guess.  However, for those of you who don't know about hair algae, its a long and arduous battle. Not much eats it because apparently it tastes like crap (I don't know this from personal experience but I did read it on the internet so it must be true).  We have crap for LFS around here and driving to the nearest decent one (1.5hr drive) was just not going to happen.  I ended up going to one of the lesser ones and picking up some more cleaning crew but it was a waste of time as half the snails died anyways and today I found the damned urchin deader than a  doornail today (WTH do those things eat anyways because I've got about eleventy billion different algal species in my tank to choose from!).  So I was thinking between the manual removal which I could barely make time for and the sea hare which may do a decent job but starve to death after it was all said and done, I should really get my act together.  So I now have a sea hare in my tank and he has enough food in there to keep him busy for at least a few months. I was under the impression that they were crazy for hair algae, I dunno, this one is a muncher but certainly not Speedy Gonzales.  I can live with that.  Sometimes its like Christmas where you get up and see a big patch of hair algae missing, sometimes its a regular day where I can't see anything new.  I haven't seen him in the tank since day 2 (its been about 2.5 weeks) but I know where he's been (and he must be nocturnal, although I still don't have much time for tank viewing).

The fish are all doing well, actually I just bought another bellus angel who is patiently swimming around in the QT tank being treated with chloroquine phosphate. Only 7-10 more days to go (I haven't decided how brave I am going to be, Velvet scares the bejeesus out of me).  I've lost many corals, when I actually get around to posting a photo, you'll see some major changes in coralscaping, esp of my larger colonies which are now gone. Seems like I have a frag farm every few years.

Eventually I'll get back into it, I always do. But the periods of disinterest are much closer together than they've ever been.  I often lament to my reefer friends that I am coming close to the end. However, we have made some stupid pact that we're all in this together and apparently I'm not allowed to quit. Which I suppose is a good thing but sometimes I think its incredibly lame, why do I subscribe to it?  Then again, I can't imagine going downstairs only to stare at a wall for 10-15 minutes. How boring would that be? ;)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Pics or Post?

Post it is! Mostly because I'm too damned lazy to go through all the rigamarole to post pics.  So whats new? Well I've removed the carbon altogether as what I suspect is HLLE is still progressing in the regal tang. I have no idea what the problem is but I recently started dosing vitamin C after hearing good things about it. Although, I also heard good things about selcon and HLLE and I've gone through 2 bottles with nothing happening.  I'll keep it up though, as who knows what the dealio is and I have the bottle here.

The bellus angel is in the display tank now and doing great! She fits right in with everyone although still a bit timid when I feed nori, but who can blame her, everyone gets so ridiculously nuts during feeding its hard to get in there.  She gets her turn when I feed the rest of the tank, which is a little more broadcast fed than stuff hanging on the nori feeder.

So because I've removed the carbon, the cyano is back. No idea if the two are actually related or just coincidental so I'll let the cyano build up some, then put some carbon on there and see what happens. I love little experiments like that :P

Other than that, the corals are doing well, really coloring up now since I added the ROX carbon and changed out the bulbs. I guess I'll never really know if it was the carbon or the bulbs that did it. I suspect a combination of both probably.

Anyway, thats about it. I'll try to get some pics up one of these days :)

Friday, March 09, 2012

March Update

Well the ROX carbon certainly made an impact in my tank. I think the new bulbs did too. Cyano was about 90% gone there for a bit, its come back a bit more in the past week but nowhere near what it was before. Maybe I need to change the carbon again.

The tank is looking much better. With less cyano its lost that pinkish cast and the new bulbs its much brighter. Things are coloring up nicely, my purple slimer is actually purple again instead of an odd purplish brown color.

The Bellus in quarantine is doing wonderfully well, although I'll admit I go down every morning worried she's kicked off in that tank due to ammonia levels. I dose daily with amquel and do 50% waterchanges every 4th-5th day or so from the main tank (except the week before last when I ran out of salt). I even have one of those little seachem ammonia alert thingies in the tank that registers the ammonia levels (although it has yet to register anything even though my Hagen test kit (I know, I know, it was all that was available) is telling me there are "terrible" levels of ammonia in the tank).  Anyhoo I finally got some non-copper drugs to kill whatever beasties reside in my lovely little fish: Chloroquine phosphate!  2 doses over 20 days and she should be good to go.  Hopefully I get her a girlfriend before the treatment is up so I can treat her too. Yay! :)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

February Update

A buddy of mine works at a LFS in town and got a Bellus angel on his list so last Saturday I was lucky enough to score the only one he got shipped in.  Of course I was ill prepared but he was nice enough to supply me with a 30 gallon QT tank and a CPR Bakpak skimmer (which IMO does nothing more than aerate the water, but since its an angelfish and they're sensitive to oxygen levels, I'll take it!). So my lonely little friend has been swimming about all by herself for the past week and has 5 more weeks to go. I almost feel I should get her a little friend but am not sure what kind of fish I would add and well, it would just add more ammonia to the tank anyways (which I have managed to keep in control with Amquel and waterchanges, thank goodness).

The display tank still looks like hell though, I'm having some problems with coral bleaching on a couple of corals, one just has a couple spots, the other its pretty much the whole thing. They're not bleached white but definitely lighter than they used to be. I find this odd as my bulbs are pretty old (over a year) so I guess that isn't the cause. I did have one of my heaters croak on me a few weeks ago, it was barely 2 years old while my 10year old Ebo-Jager is still working like a champ.  Turns out it was one of the recalled (unbenownst to me) Marineland Stealth 250W heaters. After scoping it out online, turns out they were recalled last year after killing a couple of peoples tanks via malfunctioning (not sure whether it was electrical or they overheated them). Anyhoo, I got some info from a few friends and turns out I may be able to get a refund on it and sent it back to Marineland. I already replaced it with another Eheim-Jager which after fiddling with I finally figured out.  Anyway, I was looking at my controller and there were a few dips in temperature, not too bad though, down to about 76.8-77F at night and then up to 79.9F during the day. I really don't think that's too wide of a swing but perhaps the corals didn't like the lower temps. Now I have it set for a much tighter swing and the tank doesn't go any lower than 78F at night.

Course, thats only two of the reasons I can think of off the top of my head.  Then there's the feeding the tank with frozen food that is quickly thawed with tank water and dumped in. God knows what the temperature of that water is, I would imagine at least 10F lower than the tank. Who knows how thrilled corals are about having that dumped on them (which I would imagine is the reason why their tips were receding and getting covered with cyano).  Now it seems there is some issue with Kent carbon cropping up in Canada and the US. My 5gal bucket of carbon is pretty old though so I can't imagine that is the problem. I've been working my way through it for at least a year and the LFS I had gotten it from had been sitting on it awhile.

Anyway, who knows whats causing it. Its not getting any worse at this point so I suppose it can only get better or stay the same. Either way I don't really care, the tip recession is pissing me off more and that has kind of come to a halt and will take time for the tissue to regrow (if it does).

Cyano is still rampant in the tank. I bought some ROX 0.8 carbon that is supposed to  cure cancer, make my hair more shiny and manageable as well as do my laundry. Hopefully it gets rid of cyanobacteria too! ;)  I must admit, the tank does look pretty crystal clear after running it for the past 24 hours or so. Then again, I changed the bulbs on the tank as well (I can never just do one thing at a time).  I finally got my Boxing Day Sale Ushios from OceanAquatics (yay!). I had ordered some 200 micron filter socks that ended up being backordered so I was waiting on them (didn't want to pay extra for the shipping). It worked out well because I ended up getting the Amquel with it. Stores around here only sell Hagen products so I would be definitely SOL for any kind of ammonia reducer and it would have been water change city for my Bellus (and salt is ridiculously pricey around here).

Ok so tank photos  :)

Feb 18, 2012

And another shot of "The Portal" magnifying coral viewer. I just love this thing!! 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Dreaded HLLE

So I was feeding the tank the other week, the usual quick head count of fish, then stir and dump food in, before moving on to other things like various fluid levels etc and noticed my regal tang had a circular "lesion" looking thing near his eye. It was almost perfectly circular/oval and didn't have any ragged edges and was a bit discolored, kind of greyish compared to the vivid blue coloring he normally is. I thought it kind of odd and posted on Canreef. After I did, I thought to go down and have a closer look at the fish. When I finally got a good look at the other side, I had my diagnosis. HLLE or Head and Lateral Line Erosion.  Total bummer :(

Jeez I thought I was safe using Kent carbon. I've used it for...well, years really. I can't even remember a time when I didn't use it. I have it running in a phosban reactor. However, lately I've been lazy about clearing out the fines on startup. I don't rinse it, never have, but I usually let the first gallon or two of flowthrough go into a bucket and dump it before letting  it flow into the sump. I haven't been doing that for awhile.

I looked back through some photos (the last photo I had was AUGUST!! crazy!) and sure enough, you can see the beginnings of it.

I have some photos from June but they're pretty terrible. I can't see any signs of it starting then but then the pits might be pretty small. He's a fast mover so the shots are kind of blurry. I'd say sometime between June and August was the start of it.  I have no idea what I did differently in that time, although I'd say I did less maintenance than ever and likely it was the bad husbandry with the carbon.  I've been coating everything I feed in Selcon so hopefully that does the trick and he heals up or at least it stops the progression.

Other than that, not much to report. My bulbs still haven't arrived, they're waiting for some backordered stuff to be shipped with it. I have high hopes for these new bulbs and my SPS coloration. Its gonna be magic I tells ya! Magic!! ;)

Friday, December 30, 2011

Year End

Almost the end of another year, my tank is just two months shy of being 2 years old.  Frankly I think it looked better last year.  And I miss my Bellus angel :(

Oct 2010

And Dec 2011

I'm kind of disappointed with the coloration I'm getting in the tank, not sure what I am doing wrong other than missing the weekly water changes. They're about every second week now or whenever I can fit one in. Then again I have been having low alkalinity problems too... I guess I need to get back on track. Its time for the yearly bulb swap out as well  (hello Boxing Day sales!) so that will be coming up as soon as I get them in the mail.  Some of the corals grew pretty well over the year, others croaked or were removed because they were taking over.  All in all I need to get back on track and figure out whatever it is that makes the tank happy.

In other news, I removed the turaki. It was just getting worse and worse and only the undersides of the coral seemed to be fairly intact. I found a couple of branches that looked half decent and fragged them off and dipped them in Coral Rx. I also dipped the frag I made a couple months ago as it was showing signs of the same issues the main colony was having, although not nearly as bad. So far the frags look pretty good, but its only been a couple of days.

I also had to remove the yellow scroll (left side, next to the pink pocillipora). There was just no tissue left on it, algae had taken over and the fish were pruning the algae so the tissue had no chance to regrow. The underside of it was completely fine (which I thought was odd) but it just wasn't coming back so I turfed it. On the bright side, while doing that, the yellow acro, marshall tricolor and rosaria on that side (very far left) broke off the rock as one chunk of coral (they've all grown together) and I found an acan which was attached to the yellow acro which was being shaded out by pretty much everything on that side so I disengaged it from the acro and put it in the spot where the scroll was.  Its a bit bleached out but coming around. Of course, getting the coral trifecta attached to the rock again was another matter *le sigh*

Bought a Christmas present for the tank. Its called The Portal and made by Its pretty cool, a magnifying viewer for corals that attaches to the glass and doubles as a glass cleaner.

I don't have high hopes for it actually cleaning the glass but its pretty helpful if you have a bit of scuzz on the glass right in the middle of your viewing area (or to the left of it, ew! sorry about the crap photo!). As for the viewing, its just awesome. They had one set up at the LFS on their display tank and I was sold. Unfortunately not sold on the price, but thanks to some Christmas money, its all mine now ;)

Photo taken through The Portal

I thought a photo taken through it would be pretty neat but it just really doesn't compare to just looking through it.  I found that a photo taken through the magnifier or just against the glass was about the same.  No matter, that's what I have zoom lenses for. But this is pretty cool, and *if* I had red bugs (and thank goodness I don't) I could easily see them with this viewer without having to squint to search one out like I do without it ;)

Happy Reefing and Happy New Year! :)

Thursday, December 08, 2011

December update

Things are looking better in the tank although the turaki is looking pretty rough. I fragged a chunk off and it seems to be doing ok, better than the colony anyways so I guess that is something. Here is a pic of the colony:

As you can see it has bubbly cyano on most of the tips, a lot of the tips are "eaten away" and don't have any tissue on them. Some parts are looking better than others and I'm hoping that the coral wins and not the cyano. Oh well, if worse comes to worse I still have the frag and know where I can get another piece if necessary.

Another affected coral was one of my tricolors. This one I swear was fine one minute and the next the tissue just peeled back like a banana skin to reveal white skeleton beneath. It was the oddest thing. Its starting to recover as you can see in the photo:

Although there are a couple of really odd spots in it off to one side, the coral is grey colored. Like all the color just went out of it in that spot. Not really bleached per se, but I dunno how to describe it. Something odd going on with this one....

So I was doing my regular tank maintenance on Sunday, waterchange, skimmer cup cleaning etc. Tried to restart the skimmer and it was a no go. I pulled out the impeller as I could hear the motor humming and sure enough, the impeller magnet was split and rusted to all hell (gee, algae issues much?):

Yes folks, it must be close to Christmas. My tank does this to me every year, either around my birthday or Christmas. It wants a piece of the present action too I guess. Anyway, a new impeller courtesy of Reef Dynamics (skimmer is a EuroReef RS250) is $80 and $25 to ship it. Frankly I think the $25 to ship it stings more than the sticker price. Anyway I had a look online and there were a lot of google results for GX6000 (the pump) and sedra 9000 together so I figured I'd have a go. My old ER skimmer had a Dolphin pump running on it which is also similar to a Sedra pump and used a Sedra 5000 impeller on it so I figured Sedra must have something going for it if everyone and their dog is copying their pumps. I also have the sedra needlewheel from that skimmer (the needlewheel didn't fit, I just needed the magnet) and it looks remarkably similar. Here is a pic:

Crazy eh? They're almost exactly the same. The only difference I could find is that the Reef Dynamics one uses black plastic which is softer and the needles actually can be bent a little while the sedra one has very stiff needles and they're a bit shorter (although that could be because its rated for a smaller impeller/smaller pump, I put the new impeller in the skimmer before I took photos and it was such an ordeal I'm not hauling it out just to take a photo. Take my word for it :) ). So it turns out yes the Sedra 9000 impeller fits the GX6000.  Nowhere on the internet is that in the same sentence so I'm saying it. So all you googlers that land on my page can thank me for typing it ;)

Anyhoo, the skimmer is running again after 4 days down time.  Hopefully it pulls out lots of nice gunk :P

Now for a tank photo:

And some other photos:

New squamosa I picked up awhile ago, its not overly striking but there's just something about those blue spots :)

Friday, November 25, 2011

November update

So I stopped dosing potassium and for the most part the tip recession has halted, now of course cyano is settling in on the exposed bits. Another thing I thought it might have been is that I routinely thaw my frozen mysis, rinse it and then refreeze it in a container. When I need to feed, I add some water, swirl it around for a bit and then dump it into the tank, which I have been doing for quite awhile. However, this last month I thawed a whole 16oz package of mysis into the container and then added the water as normal, not thinking of what the giant frozen block of mysis was doing to the water temperature.  I was pretty much pouring that cold water right onto some of the corals.  I suspect this because all the corals that are affected are right near where I dump the food into the tank.  So, I've changed this and I now have cubed my frozen mysis after rinsing and I try to let it thaw over a couple of hours before I dump it into the tank, or I have it run through the return inlet in the sump so it can at least mix there a bit before heading to the main tank. I'm not restarting potassium until everything is ticketyboo again though. It never ceases to amaze me how fast the tank can go to crapola yet how slow it is to return to its former splendor.

My turaki colony has taken a bit of a hit as well. It wasn't in the feeding radius (that I know of, but maybe its just persnickety)but its had a fair bit of recession and cyano is really attacking it. I've fragged a chunk off but its very cyano-ey looking as well and I'm pretty sure I'll end up chucking the whole colony. I may be able to save a very tiny branch and get it going again but I'm not feeling very positive about it.

Other than that there isn't' much new, I've only added a squamosa clam to the tank, its small abut 3" or so, brown with blue spots (which are pretty neat-o). No pics yet, the tank has been pretty neglected and I haven't even bothered to clean the glass, partly out of laziness and partly because the tank seems to do better with dirty glass. I'm not sure if that's really true or if its just that I can't see in to see whats happening so by the time I actually clean it a week or so later everything looks like its grown/colored up etc.  I've started doing that on a regular basis just so I get a bit more jazzed about the tank.  I've become a bit bored with it lately, mostly because I have zero room for frags, not much time to deal with the tank other than fish inspection, feeding and waterchanges and haven't seen any fish that I'm interested in at the LFS/online shops (which I also haven't been to in months). I'm sure it will pass.....eventually.