For a while now some of the corals have been losing colour. The worst affected being Acropora #3 (A. formosa?), the one that has been recovering from blistered skin. It's reached a point where some form of action needed to be taken. I had hoped that by introducing some more fish the nutrient levels would increase and the corals would look a bit happier, but even though I'm adding a lot more food to the tank the nitrate and phosphate levels still remain oddly undetectable. I performed as many tests as I could on Friday (with the exception of Iodine) and the results were as follows.
Specific gravity: 1.026
The levels are a touch lower than I'd really like them to be especially alkalinity and Strontium but the Tropic Marin Pro Reef salt mixes up to give an alkalinity level of 6.7dkH and 0-3ppm respectively so if I want those levels to increase I'm going to have to supplement them in my mixing bucket before doing a water change.
I intend to add Reef-Roids to feed the corals more frequently as the filtration system I have in place seems able to cope with the extra loading. Along side that I also decided to alter my lighting schedule. I looked at some of the other LX7 lighting profiles posted on the GHL website and their levels were set lower than mine. Had I been unintentionally frying my corals with too much light I wonder? So now I have reduced the levels and the difference is quite noticeable to my eye, the tank looks a lot darker and quite a lot more bluer! To be honest I really don't like the look but if the corals respond positively then that's what counts. I expect I'll get used to it eventually.
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.
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.
Hi, my name is Lisa and I live in Derby, UK. I am a self-confessed reefaholic!