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  Reef Tank Diary 
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7/4/99
  • Traded some Red Sea Xenia at Aquarium City in Canoga Park for a red and green Blastomussa colony, and a cultured tan Montipora with green polyps. Also got a small yellow-green branching Montipora fragment
  • Had an accident where a Platygyra got knocked on top of a purple corallimorphian colony. The Platygyra ended up with an exposed hole on its skeleton where the flesh burned away, while the individual mushroom that it landed on died. I put a bit of coral in between the two to keep them apart. LESSON: Make sure corals are in secure positions. 
 7/11/99
  • Brought some of the Xenia to Aquarium Center in Sherman Oaks and got enough credit for a large red serpent star and a little cluster of orange zooanthid polyps. 
7/25/99
  • More Xenia at Aquarium City got me a nice Pavona colony, and an Acropora fragment with some puffy looking white Xenia growing on it. I'm not sure the Acropora will make it in my tank since I only have normal output lights, but I wanted that Xenia! Also got some live sand to boost what I already have in the tank. 
  • Rearranged some things. I'm running out of space now, so I better propagate the Red Sea Xenia more often because it's taking up a lot of room. 
  • The Platygyra that got a hole burned into it  has completely covered the bare spot with new tissue. 
7/29/99
  • The new puffy Xenia doesn't look too good, but the Acropora that it's growing on is showing more polyp extension with each passing day. Go figure! We'll see how the Acropora does with normal output lights. 
  • Sally lightfoot seems to be missing. 
  • I moved the Montipora fragment to a rock near the center of the tank, where it could get better water circulation. At the same time, various corals were epoxied in place because the turbo snails kept knocking them around. 
8/7/99 to
8/8/99
  • The puffy Xenia looks better and has grown nice and fluffy again, which is a relief. The Acropora still seems to be doing well too. 
  • The main Red Sea Xenia colony got thinned out a bit by removing a rock that I had plunked into the middle of the colony a few days ago. Several stems had attached themselves, and it was an easy matter to just move the rock to a different location, carrying the stems with it. Most of the stems are starting to look like they need pruning. You can tell when the sides develop buds that look like they're reaching for something to attach themselves to. 
  • Finally got a picture of the red serpent star
  • Tropical Imports in Glendale was having a fire sale, so I went to check out what they had. I ended up with a bluish green Caulastrea, some sea grass seedlings, and an oyster with a blue Christmas tree worm on it. 
8/15/99
  • The Platygyra is looking a bit pale. Maybe it knows I secretly hate it because it's been sending out long sweeper tentacles? :-) 
  • Two other corals that haven't been doing very well: a yellow Porites that I salvaged from a pet store has receded to where only one bit is still alive, and the Nephthyigorgia hasn't been expanding lately. I guess we'll see how they do. 
  • Traded yet more Xenia with a fellow hobbyist. Got to see his tank, and talk reefs for a while which is always fun. One sure sign of a reefer before you see the tank is a reverse osmosis unit attached to the sink!  I ended up with some green-striped and red mushrooms, brown star polyps, and some nice Cerithium snails. 
8/17/99
  • Checked the specific gravity, and wondered how it got so high. Started adding more fresh water, then remembered that the hydrometer hadn't been rinsed out. Sure enough, after it was rinsed with fresh water to wash salt deposits, the specific gravity was correct. LESSON: Always rinse out hydrometer with fresh water after use. 
8/19/99
8/28/99 to
8/29/99
  • R.I.P. Yellow Porites is gone. I guess I shouldn't try saving stuff from the pet shop that's on the way out, even if I can get it cheap. 
  • Hauled my old Bio-Logic wet-dry filter out of storage and modified it a bit to make an overflow channel. I'm hoping to turn it into a refugium. 
  • Traded more of the Xenia (dang that thing grows like a weed) with yet another fellow hobbyist. Got to see his beautiful huge reef system, which almost makes me want to go back to a big tank! I've got to take some pictures of that tank one of these days. This time I brought home more frags: a Montipora capricornis, a pink Seriatopora and an Acropora; all were propagated in his tank. I've never had luck with Seriatopora before, and only the growth of the first Acropora colony (from 7/25/99) encouraged me to try another piece. It will be interesting to see how these two do. 
  • Spent some time finding spots for the new additions. I rearranged some of the older corals too, and cleaned the front glass while I was at it. I've moved a yellow polyp (Parazoanthus) colony alongside the green star polyps (Pachyclavularia); we'll see if the two can inhibit each other's spread. Since the yellow polyp rock also has a green Porites colony on it, I figured I might as well scrape back some of the yellow polyps and put the Porites where it could get more light and water circulation. Also used a rubber band to attach the brown star polyps to a powerhead. Hopefully it will encrust the powerhead and help hide it. 
9/2/99
  • Arrrrrggghhhh! The new Acropora fell over the other night, but pretty much stayed on the rock I put it on. Unfortunately, I didn't epoxy it in place, and of course tonight i come home from work and it's upside down on top of the anemone. I've put it back in place, and lodged it in securely, but the damage has been done. Amazingly, the polyps are coming out again so MAYBE it will survive. LESSON: Make sure corals are in secure positions, and do it NOW. 
9/4/99
  • Used a Magna-Scraper to clean the inside of the front glass. Sure beats plunging my arm in there with a flat razor. 
  • Siphoned out the detritus that collected in the sump, and replaced about 3 gallons of water. 
  • The Acropora that fell into the anemone looks like it will survive... the polyps are all out again and it doesn't seem to even have any dead spots. I did move it to a safer place, higher up where it will get more light. 
  • The brown star polyps that I attached to the powerhead has patches of white fuzz on it. I'll be blasting it clean with a turkey baster now and then; hopefully it's not getting overcome by some kind of infection. 
9/11/99 to
9/12/99
  • The Seriatopora seems to have developed a few bare spots on the tips of the branches. Algae has started growing on the exposed skeleton.  The Acropora that got stung doesn't seem to like the new, brighter location it got moved to,  because the areas that are exposed to more light are getting pale. 
  • Worked on a refugium, got the hardware running. Just need to add the substrate and livestock now. I moved the Nephthyigorgia under the overflow, and it's starting to expand its polyps during the night phase again. 
  • Pruned the Red Sea Xenia by quite a bit. I laid down some dead coral branches on top of the colony a few days earlier, and then cut off the stems that had attached themselves. After it was all done, I had lots of cuttings to trade again. And when the lights came on and the mother colony expanded, it was almost as if I didn't cut anything out at all! So I put more coral branches on top of the colony, so hopefully I'll be able to prune it again soon and maybe make more room for other stuff. 
  • Traded some cuttings at Aquarium City, and took home a small aquacultured Pocillopora colony. Had a hard time finding a place for the colony in my tank, because it's attached to the edge of a large cement disk. I'm going to have to get a chisel and see if I can break most of the disk away. 
  • Broke off some chips from the edge of the Leptoseris (thanks to Aqualink for the i.d.) and attached them to a couple of snail shells with gel cyanoacrylate. 
9/18/99 to
9/19/99
  • Scraped the glass clean. I think I need more snails.
  • The bleaching Acropora looks even whiter now, while the bleached Platygyra is regaining its brown colors starting from the most shaded side.  Moved the Acropora down again.
  • Traded even more Xenia cuttings at Aquarium City took home a small rock with three umbrella Sarcophyton and a hard-tubed orange and white serpulid worm. I'm putting the Sarcophyton in among the Xenia colonies, and hopefully they won't sting each other. Had to move some of the Xenia , and ended up with more Xenia frags that were already attached to loose rubble. 
  • Moved the Lobophyllia between the green Pachyclavularia and the Xenia colony, after pulling away some rocks that were covered with the star polyps. This time I'm hoping the Lobophyllia will sting the green star polyps and keep their growth in check. At the same time I moved the Montipora capricornis to where the Lobophyllia used to be. 
  • Found a place for the newest Pocillopora, in among the cluster of sps corals. 
  • Put some rubble near the pistol shrimp's burrow, and the shrimp has already renovated its home by expanding the tunnels. 
9/22/99
  • Ack! The new Sarcphyton's stems have rotted away, and two of the umbrellas have fallen off. The tops look okay though.  The puffy pompom Xenia also had part of a stem rot away for some reason. 
9/25/99 to
9/26/99
  • The new Sarcophyton is basically gone, but there's a chance some tissue from the base remains on the rock it was on. The pink Seriatopora seems to hace kicked the bucket too. Drat. 
  • However: the rock that the Sarcophyton was on is actually an almost-dead coral of some type. Looks like a brown Turbinaria, but the polyps are a bit different. Hopefully it will recover and grow.
  • Some green and orange zoanthid polyps that are growing on the Seriatopora's base are spreading nicely.
  • Added a T to the pipe that feeds the refugium and directed the water to a propagation tray. Made more coral cuttings.
  • Added a lip to the spout on the refugium box, to act as a drip guide.
  • Started feeding the tank with cryopreserved algae paste (Tetraselmis and Nannochloropsis) from Brine Shrimp Direct
10/3/99
  • Cleaned the skimmer cup (finally!). 
  • Traded MORE Xenia at Aquarium Center for a rock covered with Ricordea. Then spent two hours finding a good spot for it. That tank is getting full! I had to move some mushroom rocks around, and a couple ended up in the propagation tray.
  • Put some coral rubble on top of some Xenia colonies because they need thinning out. When they stems attach themselves to the rubble, more cuttings will be made.
  • Moved the red chili coral (Nephthyigorgia?) to a shadier place. It was starting to shrink and get covered with algae, but has started to extend its polyps again during the dark cycle, especially when I add some greenwater made with the aglae paste. 
10/10/99
  • Traded EVEN MORE Xenia (I think I'll call the propagation tray the X-farm) at Coral Gardens for some gorgonians. One has long straight branches with blue polyps, and the other has short curved brachges with yellow polyps. 
10/12/99
  • One of the actinic lights burned out, and I don't have a spare! I've rewired the lights so that the two lights that are left can still work, and have ordered new fluorescent tubes through Pet Warehouse
  • Going out of town for the weekend, so I have to make sure everything's running well. I'm cleaning the overflow's siphon tube to make sure the water flows through fast enough to whisk air bubbles away. Other than that, there's just the light to replace but I won't be able to fix that until the new ones arrive and I get back. I hope the corals won't mind too much. 
10/19/99 to
10/21/99
  • Looks like most of the coral made it while I was away.  The puffy Xenia is gone, but the only other one that looks like it's in trouble is an encrusting Montipora which bleached almost completely. It still has some live tissue left, so hopefully it will grow back. The lesser amount of light the tank got over the weekend didn't seem to faze most of the other corals. Nothing got damaged during the earthquake either. 
  • A brown Acropora grew new several new large polyps with lavander tips over the weekend. 
  • The new lights arrived on 10/20, but they were all broken so I had to call for replacements. I have to send back the broken ones (UPS will pick them up) but Pet Warehouse is sending the replacements via 2nd day air for free. 
  • Divided up some colonies of RSX (Red Sea Xenia) that have taken over the propagation tray.
10/24/99
  • Traded more RSX at Coral Gardens, but only got credit because I couldn't decide what to get. I did order a Christmas tree worm rock and a blue sponge and hopefully Clayton (the guy who runs Coral Gardens) can get me good ones. Clayton also very kindly supplied me with some used lights to tide me over until the new ones get in, since my actinic white was so burned out only half the tube was lighting up. 
  • Traded a couple of  tiny Leptoseris and Psammocora (Thanks to John Rice for the i.d.) frags with Joe Kelley for some Nassarius snails and a bunch of assorted macroalgae and associated organisms to seed the refugium and propagation tray with. At the moment the refugium has no lights, so all the aglae is in the propagation tray. 
10/25/99
  • The lights came in, and I've set up all three. The time they're set to stay on has been reduced by a few hours to let everything get used to the new lights. 
10/31/99
  • Did more trading today; this time with "Rabbit" who posts on some of the online reef bulletin boards. I got a brown striped Xenia and a yellow Anthelia (well, we think it's an Anthelia!) in exchange for some green star polyps, a Pavona frag and some macroalgae cutttings The frags I got are now sitting in the propagation tray . 
11/6/99 to
11/7/99
  • Noticed that one Acropora had long polyps extended when the lights were just turned on. I've never seen that happen  before. 
  • Thinned out the RSX colonies, and tried to break off some frags from the edge of the Leptoseris. All I ended up with was some tiny splinters that I glued to some shells. I also managed to peel off some sections of Pachyclavulariaandglued them to shells too. 
  • Moved the Blastomussa a bit, away from the Leptoseris
  • Jammed a gorgonian cutting into a hole in a rock because it wouldn't stay attached to the bit of coral that I epoxied it to. 
  • Cleaned out the air intake of the skimmer, which wasn't foaming. I wonder if that's why the Acropora was extending its tentacles so much?
11/13/99 to
11/14/99
  • Siphoned off some detritus from the sump, and replaced about 3 gallons of water.
  • Traded more RSX at Aquarium City, where I also took some photos of their cool display tank. The  pictures are in the Aquarium Adventures section.
11/21/99
  • Used the credit from last week's trade at Aquarium City to get a pound of live sand for the refugium, and also a brain coral that I've had my eye on for a while. I'm suspecting that the brain puts out long sweeper tentacles, so I've put it where it won't do much damage if it does. This meant rearranging some of the rocks in the right side of the tank
  • Had a scare when I was putting the new coral in, because of a strong chlorine odor coming from the little tub that I use to acclimate the coral in (I use an air hose to drip water into the tub). It turned out that my brother had poured drain cleaner into the sink in my bathroom, and had accidentally dripped some onto the counter where I had laid the bags of coral and sand and the tub! Fortunately I didn't use the tub to dip water out of the tank, and I didn't float the bags in the tank either. The odor was coming from the bottom of the tub, which was the only part that got a trace of drain cleaner on it.
  • Attached a coral branch to the wall of the tank using a nylon cable tie and superglue gel. A small dab worked much better than a large glop! I just let the water in the tank siphon down into the sump a bit, then scraped an area on the glass clean with a razor blade, then glued the tip of the cable on that spot. The branch, which is covered with Xenia and zoanthids, shades some mushrooms which don't expand well when exposed to bright light.
  • The yellow gorgonian frag got dislodged and fell behind the rocks a few days ago. I just found where it got swept, so now I have to figure out how to get it out of there. 
11/22/99
  • Well, looks like the superglue didn't hold, but at least the rock fell into the perfect spot! I'll eventually have to move the rock  when the Xenia grows too much (in a week or so?), but right now it looks fine. 
  • The Platygyra that had bleached back in August has now fully recovered, and the Acropora that bleached in September also seems to be recovering. However, another Montipora frag bleached and I don't know what's caused it besides the new lights... it doesn't explain why the other two corals have recovered though. 
11/23/99
  • Received some live sand and some of the associated critters (tiny snails, brittle stars, worms).  Also got a neon green "Nepthya." All these are in trade with Matthew Shmuck of MM Coral Farms for some RSX which I'll be sending on Monday. I've put the live sand in the refugium box, and the soft coral cutting in the propagation tray
11/28/99
12/2/99
  • I was finally able to rescue the lost gorgonian frag from under the rocks in the back, using a spring-trigger grabber tool (sorry, I don't know what it's officially called!). I had to wrestle the red serpent star for it, but I got it. I dropped the frag into the propagation tray, where it's already extending its polyps. 
12/5/99
  • The green Nepthea cutting had attached to a rock, so I moved it from the propagation tray into the main tank. Unfortunately, the Xenia that I shipped in exchange for it didn't make it, so I'll have to work on my shipping methods so I can get replacements on the way. 
  • The rock that I tried to glue to the side of the tank has a nylon cable tie, which ended up with a glop of dried superglue on the tip. I just latched the tie to one of the notches of the overflow box, so now the Xenia covered rock helps hide it. 
12/12/99
  • Traded more RSX at Aquarium City whereI used up today's and last month's credit to get a cluster of small feather duster worms and a baby Tridacna derasa. I haven't had a giant clam since I've switched to this tank, and I hope it does okay. 
12/19/99
  • Traded even more RSX at Aquarium CityI didn't get anything with the credit, but they gave me a bag of live rock rubble to use for the frags. I'm storing them in the refugium box. 
  • The refugium box seems to be developing a good population of tiny brittle stars...are least, there seems to be more now than what I originally put in. The propagation tray is certainly acting like a good refugium too. I can see lots of little critters swimming around and crawling on the sides. The caulerpa seems to keep crashing, but a brown sargasssum-like algae is doing pretty well. In the tray, the leaves grow very fine and small, but a clump that I put in the main tank is starting to grow larger leaves. 
  • The clam seems to be doing well. The blue polyped gorgonian doesn't seem too happy though. 
12/26/99
  • Moved the Platygyra from the back to a slightly shaded area closer to the front. 
  • Cleaned the glass cover of the tank, and wiped down the reflector too. Even with the glass cover, the reflector had developed a thin film of water and salt deposits which was cutting down on the amount of light bounced back into the tank.
12/27/99
  • Discovered a bald spot on the Leptoseris. At first I thought something had eaten the tissue away, then realized it might have been a chunk of salt that fell from the glass cover when I cleaned it. The salt must have burned the tissue before dissolving.
12/31/99 to
1/2/00
  • Looks like the tank has survived New Year's just fine. I did find a couple more burn marks on some corals, all in the same line as where the glass cover panes meet so it looks like the encrusted salt fell in several places. Among the injured are the red chili coral and the Lobophytum. The bald spot in the Leptoseris is healing quickly though.
  • The blue polyped gorgonian looks even worse, so I guess it's on its way out. I also think that a hermit crab fell into the anemone. Bye bye crab....
  • I discovered a small crack where the two parts of the overflow box are joined. I tried to fix it with some acrylic glue, but I'll have to be careful from know on when I tip the box to help push bubbles out of the siphon tube. 
  • Moved the Platygyra to a brighter spot, where it seems to be doing well. 
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