It's four months since this little tank was set up and all seems to be going really well. Almost a bit too well actually, I'm expecting something to go wrong at any moment, it's usually the way. I'm keeping a close eye on the water parameters now that I have added a few more corals. In the past I have really struggled to keep the alkalinity and calcium levels at appropriate levels even with the use of a calcium reactor and kalkstirrer. As soon as it was pumped in it was sucked up by the corals and clams. This time round I'm hoping to maintain good levels with careful dosing. The parameters today were:
The above were tested using a refractometer, Salifert test kits and a Hanna pocket checker for the phosphate. I'm fairly sure that my phosphate level is not really zero but it must be pretty low and there is very little in the way of nuisance algae growth in the tank apart from a bit of furriness on the rocks. I do not know what the furriness is but it doesn't look too unsightly and stays short. In any case there seems to be less of it now. The macro algae growth in the refugium has been disappointing to date, considering the lack of nutrients I suppose it's not entirely surprising. As long as the reason is not down to a lack of flow or lighting, time will tell, I can't imagine this situation will last for long. I've started dosing a small amount of Reef Roids and KZ Sponge Power recently so they may affect the levels in the future.
You'd think that over 4 months I'd de familiar with all the livestock in my tank, well no actually. A couple of days ago I noticed that the Seriatopora had retracted its polyps and on closer inspection I discovered a small crab sitting at it's base. Where on earth had he suddenly popped up from?? I highly doubt that he came in on any of the SPS frags as they are too small to conceal a crab, I suppose it could have hitched a ride in on the zoanthid rock but the most likely explanation was that it was hidden in the live rock when it was first added. It doesn't look like it's chowing down on coral flesh (at the moment, heh!) so I'll leave it be for the time being and watch and wait. I hope it behaves itself or we'll be having some fun and games with extrication later on.
Day 34: The snails have been hard at work and the rocks are looking clean again. Looks like the coralline is slowly starting to spread too.
Day 26: Oh yes the diatoms are really here now! Time to take the plunge and add a small clean up crew. I do feel a touch nervous as I have no way of knowing if the cycle has actually taken place or not, I've never set up a tank and not been able to follow the progression of ammonia to nitrite and then nitrite to nitrate. Still I'm going to trust that all is well and take the plunge. Two black-footed Trochus and two ceriths were introduced after careful acclimation.
Day 23: I'm finally starting to see a small amount of diatoms on the rock, nothing on the sand yet. Who knew that the appearance of algae in my new tank could fill me with so much excitement, we're on our way! I've still not detected any ammonia or nitrite, did I miss the cycle I wonder?
Day 11: This live rock is exceedingly clean, no hitchikers on it at all. Not so much as a copepod has been found and I've been looking VERY carefully. I'm actually rather disappointed. I just hope that there's some bacteria in there at least, I've been testing for the usual suspects (ammonia, nitrite and nitrate) and so far have only detected 2.5ppm nitrate today.
Day 10: The rocks are now visible (they were the very next day actually). I decided to go with a minimalistic rockscape so that the tank doesn't look too cramped and allow for good flow all round. Clearly I have an issue with the circulation pumps and the sand. These Tunze pumps pack a real punch and the sand just won't stay put. A bit of playing around with the positioning of pumps will be required to find the best location for each of them.
Hi, my name is Lisa and I live in Derby, UK. I am a self-confessed reefaholic!