My tank is exactly a year old today! Wow, where has the time flown to? I've been a bit lax with the updates recently so there's lots to catch up on.
First lets get the bad news out of the way. I'm afraid that I've lost the lovely Tridacna maxima clam, it simply never thrived in my tank. Before adding it I carefully checked the shell looking for any nasty hitchhikers but I never found any. I must have missed some (or their eggs at least) as I started to notice some pyramid snails feeding on my precious Trochus and Turbo snails. Nooo! I checked the clam regularly at night with a flash light but never found any of the little devils feasting on it. After two and a half months it finally it became clear that the clam was doomed so I decided to remove it before pollution became an issue. I checked it over again when it was out of the tank and still couldn't find any pyramid snails on it. These guys are so small and clearly hide really well! Later on three teeny tiny ones did emerge from inside of the clam, it's hard to imagine that just three could have any impact on an animal so much larger than they but clearly over time they do. Unless of course the maxima was suffering from something else too?
At this point there's not much I can do about the pyramid snails, I am removing any that I see every day and I've become quite adept at spotting them now. On average I remove about 10 per day. The wrasse are sadly not eating them, come on guys I could really do with a helping hand here, sheesh earn your keep why don't you!! At least I haven't lost any of the snails yet and my original Tridacna crocea clam seems to be doing fine, it's laying down new shell so I take that to be a good sign for now.
The other blip on my reefing horizon is the Balanophyllia. It just doesn't look as good as it once did and I can't work out why. Am I feeding it too much or not feeding it enough? I had been offering it a piece of food once per day (at night), generally PE mysis, clam, Krill or lancefish, perhaps that wasn't enough to sustain it? So I decided to up the feedings to multiple times per day (anywhere between three up to a maximum of five a day) but this seemed to make no difference at all (in fact the coral looked a little worse) so now I'm trying less food. It's really frustrating because the sun coral is looking fantastic on a single feed per day.
Apart from the above everything else seems to be doing OK. The fish are all good, Rei the Yellow wrasse eats like a horse and is noticeably bigger. The best news is that my Tomiyamichthys nudus gobies have finally paired up with the Red Spotted pistol shrimp so I get to see them all much more now. The male goby still goes MIA every now and again but always resurfaces at some point. The gobies and pistol shrimp do not naturally associate together in the wild but I suspect they have done so in my tank because there are simply no other alternatives.
The corals are getting bigger and some are starting to get close to each other already, war is on the horizon I expect.
The zoanthids are spreading nicely especially the Utter Chaos, these are reproducing at a phenomenal rate and unfortunately over taking some of the original slower growing morphs. Whatever was afflicting the Red Tuxedo zoanthids seems to have subsided and I've not lost any more recently, I hope that's the end of that.
After a bit of a slow start the algae in the refugium has really got going now and the amount of life in there is incredible. It's amphipod, mysis shrimp and brittlestar heaven! Charlie the hitchhiking crab is alive and kicking and still growing. She was such a tiny thing when I first noticed her in the DT hanging out in the Seriatopora, now she's huge in comparison.
Life in the refugium.
Whenever I harvest any algae, I spend the following 30 minutes rescuing brittlestars from amongst the fronds. Well I can't just throw them out can I? It's easy to see how they are reproducing by division.
My first canister of ATI Carbo EX came to the end of its life in September, it lasted just over 3 months which I don't think is too bad. I have decided to continue with the CO2 scrubbing and have replaced it with a fresh cartridge.
Last week to celebrate the fact that the tank was approaching its first birthday I decided that some new additions were required. There was a gap (left by the T. maxima clam) that was just crying out to be filled. OK it didn't really need to be filled but what can I say, any excuse to shop for new corals.
I decided another encrusting Montipora sp. would do nicely and since it was likely to be the last addition (never say never tho) I wanted something special. I decided the Beach Bum (what a name!!) Montipora would contrast nicely with the three that I currently have. Since I was mail ordering from a fellow reefer I found I couldn't just buy the one coral so I ended up with frags of Hawkins Echinata (Acropora echinata) and a Sunrise Goniopora too. My name is Lisa and I'm a coral addict, lol!
Here they are on the sand awaiting fixing (squeezing!) in place.
Phew that was a marathon (are you still with me?) before I sign off I'll add a few more updated photos. After all who doesn't love a bit of eye candy?!
The Montipora, despite my best efforts to kill these frags, have all survived and are showing signs of growth. :o)
As for Acropora #2, there are no signs of any remaining red bugs (yet!), the remaining piece of encrusted coral looks like it may well survive to fight another day. The polyps are out at least, indestructible or what! I don't know what I will do if the bugs reappear, there are not many options left to me now other than just living with them or trying a pipefish for biological control.
Acropora #3 continues to make a slow recovery from the blistering issue.
The Plexaurella gorgonian has made an amazing recovery since it was moved to a different location. The damaged areas of branches have grown over already and it's pretty much back to its previous fluffy splendour.
I'd like to say that everything is on the up but just as one set of problems looks to be solved another rears its head. I've noticed that the Red Tuxedo zoas have not been expanding as they used to and some actually appear to be shrinking. Nudibranchs I wonder? Sigh, there's always something I find to worry about, lol!
Anyway today I got my camera out and snapped some top down coral shots. I really want to get some new photos of the the fish, especially the wrasse but they are so very camera shy.
Another month has passed by so it's time for another update. The day after I added the three gorgonians etc. I received one more delivery. This time the box contained some tiny frags of encrusting Montipora danae on frag plugs plus a small rock of fan worms. When it came to mounting the Montipora frags I removed the base of the plug but that still left huge round chunky base, no matter how it was positioned it would never, ever blend in. So I decided to take the rather risky option of removing the frag from the plug entirely and sticking it directly on to the rocks. Since the frags were only 1 cm across it's not hard to imagine how beaten up they were during the whole process, I don't think that I've ever treated corals so harshly in my life, well not intentionally anyway. This is what they looked like 2 days after fixing down.....
...and here's how they looked 9 days later, amazingly not dead yet. The green one looks like it will do OK the other two not so much, only time will tell if they make it or not.
For the most part the other corals have been doing fine with base encrustation and/or upward growth. The zoanthids are really doing great with multiple new head; the exceptions being the first addition which seems to stay the same no matter what and the Wango Tangos which still have the same number of heads as when they went in with. The clam seems happy with its lot and has developed an extra line of scutes since I've had it. The only coral I'm specifically concerned with at the moment is the Plexaurella gorgonian. I noticed that it had a damaged area on one of the branches yesterday, I'm not sure if it's because it's unhealthy or because I've inadvertently damaged it. I do get very close to it with the pipette when I'm feeding the pistol shrimp so I will take more care in the future and hope that it can recover.
There is a bumper photo update below and I've added the new shots to the individual livestock pages to illustrate any growth (or not, lol). There are a few shots left to take such as the clam but that will have to wait till another day.
I'm pleased to report that I haven't lost any more of the Red Spot Cardinalfish which is a relief. Sadly there has not been any more spawnings, I see plenty of what looks like courtship behaviour but no release of any eggs.
The Nudus gobies have unfortunately been evicted from their cave yet again by the pistol shrimp's digging activities this has been upsetting for everyone concerned. I really need to remove either the shrimp + goby or the Nudus goby pair but I'd never be able to catch them without stripping out the tank which I just can't bring myself to do. I've hardly seen or been able to feed any of the affected parties for the last 2 weeks. Skip the female Nudus goby vanished for the 3 days, leaving Hop, her mate, swimming about searching for her. I feared that she'd come to a sickly end facing up to the pistol shrimp but to my very great relief she popped up again ready to fight another day. She'd probably spent the 3 days underground hassling the Whitecap goby who always seems to be the biggest loser during these turf wars. I hope he's survived OK. I can still hear the pistol's shot every now and again so I know he's fine.
I'll sign off now with the obligatory new month FTS. I took it upon myself last month to strip and clean one of the Tunze nanostream pumps. Boy did it look out of place when it was put back in, I suppose I should do the other one to match but now that the coralline has gone it's allowed the brown algae to grow. The snails need to get munching pronto.
Hi, my name is Lisa and I live in Derby, UK. I am a self-confessed reefaholic!