I had to leave the tank in the capable hands of my eldest son for three days over the Christmas period whilst I was away visiting the in-laws. Amazingly everything survived the ordeal, lol, although the squat lobster is currently MIA. I am hoping that he is in hiding following the shedding of his exoskeleton but equally he may have passed on. I will be very sad indeed if he has died.
I really need to get my dosing regimen sorted out. The alkalinity dropped as I wasn't dosing which is somewhat unexpected since there are no corals in the tank to suck up the calcium and yet the calcium and magnesium levels remained stable.
As predicted the growth of algae (interestingly on the live rock only and not on the sand) has increased with the addition of the new Mitras light so to keep on top of it just before I went away I decided to add some more CUC. One more small Black foot Trochus was introduced along with a Mexican Turbo snail for added variety. The Turbo snail (named Pablo) has done a wonderful job eating the furry looking algae that has started to cover the well lit areas of live rock.
Recently there has been an explosion of tiny critters crawling about the tank, most noticeably on the glass. They look like tiny white specks but when you look really closely they are incredibly detailed and really quite beautiful. Well I think they are anyway. I fully expected the numbers of copepods to have dwindled since the introduction of the possum wrasse but I'm pleased to say that they are still going strong which is certainly good news for the wrasse.
The photos aren't so great but you can get an idea of what they look like, they are only a millimeter or two long after all.
Two days ago, after what seemed like an interminable wait, my lighting unit was finally delivered. Yeeesss, Christmas came two days early for me that's for sure! The GHL Mitras LX7 is one sweet looking lighting unit. Needless to say I wanted it up and running asap (I mean come on the tank has been without a decent light for 10 whole weeks!!) so a quick trip out to purchase some wall brackets was required and then yesterday (after working myself up to it) came the stressful bit of hanging it up over the tank. It was at this point that I really wished that I'd waited to start up the tank and add some little fish. Visions of it (or the drill) falling into the tank and blowing up flashed through my head. Anyway to my very great relief all went well, no smashed tank (or dead fish thank goodness!) and there's no way that light is going to fall down any time soon. We've left the hanging wires long for the moment in case we need to adjust the height of the light in few days time.
If I thought that getting the light up there was the hard bit then I was way off, that was a doddle compared to working out how to programme a lighting schedule. There are so many options on the Mitras that it's really quite daunting. I think we have it down for now, no doubt the odd tweak may be required in the future. Wow this light is bright! I'm thinking that the algae growth in the display tank will go into overdrive now, eek! I hope the CUC are prepared.
The biggest downside to the lights is the fact that I can't take photos with my iphone anymore, the shots come out very strange looking with odd lines on them. Darn it! Back to my trusty DSLR then but even that has problems with the white balance. I'll need to sort out the settings asap.
I can't wait to go out and get some corals now.
The tank is now just under 10 weeks old and all the equipment is finally up and running bar the dosing pump for Balling salts (that's going to have to wait a while as I'm currently penniless at the moment).
The sump has changed quite a bit since the initial set up photos were taken. Within it now resides a Deltec SC1351 skimmer, a Schego 200W titanium heater, a Tunze 1073.02 return pump and the sensor for the Reefloat ATU-pro3. Additionally it now contains siporax in three separate baskets, two in the sump and one in the old ATU tank. Altogether they contain 5l of media and will be cleaned on an alternate basis to minimise disruption to the bacterial colonies. To the left of the sump sits a DIY refugium, it's a bit of an odd shape, tall and narrow, it remains to be see if it will grow algae efficiently or not. It is lit by a Beamswork Evo 6500K 18W LED on a reverse cycle to the display tank. Presently it contains a layer of Tropic Marin reef mud and a variety of macro algae (Cauperpa prolifera, Caulerpa serrulata, Chaetomorpha and a tiny bit of C. racemosa that sneaked in with the Chaeto). Both the refugium and the old ATU tank are supplied with water from the overflow via a small Eheim pump, they have been fitted with bulkheads to allow the water to flow back down into the sump and up to the display tank (DT) via the return pump.
I have removed the filter sock and to begin with I ran the tank without any form of mechanical filtration. Recently however I decided to add a bit of filter floss as I was starting to see increased levels of particulate matter in the DT.
The electrical sockets are sited away from the tank in a cabinet to the left, along with the RO reservoir for the ATU.
Siting this tank opposite from where I work was a really bad idea, I'm finding it very hard to get any work done at all.
A couple of days ago I noticed the Scaleless Shrimpgobies were interacting again. #1 was out in the open over by the entrance to #2's home. Every now and again #2 would venture out and they would rest side by side. #1 was quite persistant swimming over to 'visit' with #2 a number of times during the course of the day. Then the following morning I discovered that they were both residing in #1's cave and they have remained together ever since. Excellent! I'm am hoping that they have paired up and maybe, just maybe, there might be tiny goby babies in the future.
Stripes the squat lobster has been dicing with death again. He's been out adventuring and yesterday I discovered him sitting on the left circulation pump or should I say 'sucked' onto it? Surely he couldn't have been there by choice, he's only little thing and the pump is mighty powerful. I switched the pump off but he didn't move so I decided to encourage him a little (actually a lot). I hope he doesn't find his way up there again.
Recently I have noticed a number of brown spots appearing on the rockwork, mainly on the left-hand rock pile. To the casual observer they look similar to an infestation of planaria (eek!) but fortunately they are not. However there may come a time when I regret typing that, planaria may in fact be easier to control. I believe the spots to be a type of algae called brown wafer algae, Lobophora sp. and apparently this algae can become problematic. Manual removal is difficult and there's very little that eats it with the possible exception of a Naso tang, which obviously I'm not going to be able to introduce if needed. At this point there's not much I can do about it, short of pulling the rocks out, so I'm just going to wait and see how it progresses, I used to have some in my old tank and as far as I remember it didn't overgrow anything or cause any trouble so hopefully this will be the same. Fingers crossed!
Edna the possum wrasse is settling in well, still a little shy but out and about much more than I expected her to be after only two days. She is tucking into brineshrimp and mysis as well as helping herself to the copepod buffet available in the tank. I anticipate the numbers of pods will fall dramatically now.
The tank is now two months old and yesterday I decided to take a trip to the LFS to see what fishies they had available. To my very great surprise they had quite a few from my wish list in stock. After much umming and ahhing I decided upon a sweet little possum wrasse. It was labelled up as a White Banded Possum Wrasse (Wetmorella albofasciata) but I'm fairly sure that it is actually a Tanaka's wrasse (Wetmorella tanakai). They are very similar looking, achieve the same size and behave in the same manner so it doesn't really matter to me which one it is. They are classed as a peaceful reef-safe fish that are generally quite reclusive, we've called her Edna. No picture to show as of yet.
Fortunately the other gobies don't seem bothered at all by the new arrival, in fact they have been out and about a little more than usual today. Possibly because they missed out on both tea and supper yesterday, lol.
Day 60: Argh, horror of horrors! This morning I discovered that Stripes the squat lobster had lost a limb (the left cheliped). How on earth did that happen? As far as I am aware there is nothing in the tank that would attack him. The gobies are tiny, the shrimp ignores him, the snails are veggies. The Nassarius are zombie-like.... lol! I guess the most obvious suspects would be the scarlet hermit crabs but they are tiny, I mean smaller than the lobster himself and he's pretty small. Stripes looks unbalanced now, I'm hoping he'll regrow the claw after he's moulted a couple of times.
To make matters worse he decided to scale the silicone at the back of the tank and hang out at the back of the weir. If he turned sideways he could take a dive through the comb and over. I suppose it could be considered a good place to catch food particles as they pass by on their way down into the sump but the flow is fairly high for a tiny crustacean. Anyway things took a turn for the comical later on in the evening after the lights went out. A Cerith decided to join him at the top of the weir and he proceeded to hitch a ride on the back of the snail's shell as it worked its way around the front of the comb cleaning off the diatoms. When I turned in for the night they were still 'together' half way along the comb, I wonder by that time that he was not clinging on to the snail for dear life. I wish I'd taken a photo of that! Will I still have a squat lobster come morning time??
Day 58: Yesterday I was excited to see that the two shrimpgobies seemed to have finally rediscovered each other. Up until now they have resided separately, one (#1, named Hop) 'under' the right-hand rock pile and the other (#2, named Skip) 'under' the left-hand pile. Then I noticed that #1 was resting on the sand in between the two piles close to #2 Following that #1 actually moved over into #2's 'home' i.e. 'under' the left-hand rock pile. However my happiness was short lived as #1 appeared later on in the day with a torn sailfin after which he or she proceeded to move back 'under' the right-hand rock pile. Darn it! I have no idea what this means. Are are they the same sex or actually a male/female pair who haven't got it together yet? They were sold to me as a male/female pair but I guess nobody really knows if this is indeed the case. It's fascinating to observe either way (as long as they are both happy in their own territories).
Hi, my name is Lisa and I live in Derby, UK. I am a self-confessed reefaholic!