January 2001

January 14th, 2001 / Sunday / 1:00 PM

I was away on holidays for 2 weeks so I had a friend watch the tank. No major problems. Performed a 25% water change today just to be sure. Levels look good: 0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrite, 0 Nitrate, 1.021 salinity, 77.2 Temp, 8.21 pH, 474 ORP, Calcium 350.

I started using additives today. Here is the schedule:
  • SeaChem Reef Plus - 5 mL every 2 days into the sump
  • SeaChem Reef Calcium - 5 mL every week into the sump
  • SeaChem Reef Complete - 5 mL every week into the sump
  • All tap water is treated with Amquel Dechlorifier, plus SeaChem Reef Builder one week and then Sea Chem Reef Advantage one week. 5 teaspoons of either goes into the 5 gallon bucket when refilled.
  • Carbon for 3 days every month
Update to this: As I now use a calcium reactor, I no longer use any SeaChem products.

The livestock inventory of the tank is:
  • Approximately 50 hermit crabs and 100 snails
  • 2 cleaner shrimp, 2 fire shrimp, 2 peppermint shrimp
  • 2 Linkia starfish, 2 brittlestars
  • 3 sea cucumbers
  • 2 Chromis, Mandarin dragonet, purple tang, gold head sleeper goby
  • 2 sun corals, dendronephthya soft coral, scleronephthya soft coral, yellow polyps, Sebae anenome, Wharta anenome, 3 varieties of Acropora, 2 varieties of Xenia, and a collection of mixed Gorgonians
Livestock losses to date are:
  • A few hermit crabs and snails - they naturally die off or are eaten by other hermits
  • 1 peppermint shrimp - I think it was eaten by something
  • 2 Chromis - one was attacked by another Chromis and the other just disappeared
  • Gold head sleeper goby - it disappeared one day, the other one I have is healthy
  • Scopus tang - Unfortunately, it was beaten to death by the purple tang (which was added later). I attempted to quarantine it and bring it back a week later but the purple tang just wasn't friendly.
  • Royal gramma basslet - it did not survive shipping from Los Angeles, CA
  • Sinularia leather coral frag - this was eaten by a crab
  • Nudibranch - died from a lack of food. When I purchased it, I believed it would eat algae, apparantly not. I will not get another nudibranch.
  • Lessons learned: (1) Watch the tank carefully with all the lights off for signs of crabs (not the hermit kind). One night, I found a 1 inch wide crab going to work on one of the corals. I was able to grab and remove it from the tank. (2) No nudibranchs.
On the plus side:
  • The sun corals are going really well. At night, the polyps expand to even greater than the pics in the photos section. See picture on right.
  • The dendronephthya and scleronephthya are also going well. They expand their bodies and open their polyps at night. They have both grown over the past month, with the sclero even growing new polyp arms at its base.
  • The two Xenias are growing very fast; they are about 10-20% larger than a month ago.
  • The coralline algae continues to grow. While a lot of the light-facing rock is green, most of the shaded areas are really attracting a solid purple cover.
The current issues with the tank are:
  • Skimmer producing foam, but the output is still low. Will continue to adjust as necessary.
  • There is a lot of green algae growing on the tank. I am told this is normal, but am hoping that raising the alkalinity and calcium levels via the additives will curtail it. I also plan to add another 50 or so hermit crabs.
  • I have to watch the Sebae anenome as it has placed itself at the bottom back side of the tank under a few rocks. The good thing it is not shrivelled up.
  • I will add 2 more powerheads to increase the water circulation.
  • There are tiny bubbles in the tank from the skimmer. I am thinking about building a plexi sump similar to the one available at the ETSS site.

January 18th, 2001 / Thursday / 1:00 PM

Order from Garf came today. It included:
  • 35 more hermit crabs and 15 more mixed snails
  • Yellow cauliflower coral frag, Neospongodes
  • Bright green brocolli coral frag, Nephthea
  • Green slimer staghorn coral frag from Bali, Acropora
  • Florida false coral, Ricordea florida - this is a corallimorpharian
  • 5 different button polyp colonies, with the following color combinations: Green rim with blue center, red with silver, green with pink, blue with green, and purple with blue, Zoanthid sp.
I also ordered from Marine Depot test kits for phosphate, alkalinity, and nitrate. The nitrate kit from Red Sea is a little shaky.

January 21st, 2001 / Sunday / 11:00 AM

So here's a major problem. The dose of SeaChem Reef Builder recommended by Garf appears to be too high - 5 tablespoons for the 5 gallon auto-fill up. Lucky I got an alkalinity test - the level was 20 dKH, with the recommended range supposed to be 8-14 KH. I performed a 50% water change and got it down to 13 KH. The calcium was also down to 300 so I will add 20 mL of SeaChem Reef Calcium per day until around 380. I could tell there was a problem in the tank because one of the Xenia corals was all shrunken. I am not sure they are going to pull through.

January 25th, 2001 / Thursday / 9:00 PM

I removed the rotting Xenia. The arms had become fully withdrawn and yellowish brown. It took several days but the calcium is back up to over 350, alkalinity down to 11 dKH. Needless to say I will have to be much more careful about buffer dosing.

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