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  Reef Tank Diary
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1/7/01
  • I did a partial water change because I noticed quite a bit of detritus collecting in the sump. After pumping out almost five gallons of water, I noticed that the dirty water had lots of mysids and some gammarus swimming around in it, so I ended up pouring just the water through a fine net to try to save them. Some of the coarser detritus got dumped back into the propagation tray with the critters, but I figure it was worth saving them.
  • When the time came for the lights to come on, they didn't. I tried reconnecting all the endcaps but couldn't get all the lights to work, even though I could get two in any combination to work when I rewired the setup. So now I only have two lights over the tank until I can figure out what's wrong. Oh, and that cool white tube I'm using sure has an odd greenish tinge to it. Icky, in a way. 
  • The propagation tray tends to make a loud gurgling noise when I set the overflow to drain the surface scum out, plus it tends to suck in more water than the siphons do so most of the water going in ends up going to the sump instead of back to the tank. Today I attached a short section of PVC pipe to the bulkhead, then put an L connection on the end of that to give me an adjustable overflow. Seems to work fine now.  Right now the propagation tray seems to be doing the hang on refugium's job much better. 
1/12/01 to
1/14/01
  • I managed to get all three lights working again, and the green tint went away when the second actinic is on. I've also plugged the propagation tray and refugium's feed pump into the wavemaker, and now both compartments get intermittent currents. So far everything is doing fine, so I'll leave it like that. 
  • Attended my first MASLAC meeting on Friday, met nice people, heard a great talk on live sand beds by Ron Shimek, and won some live snails and a hunk of live rock at a raffle! I'm looking forward to the monthly meetings. 
  • One of the new snails promptly got eaten by a hermit crab, who now wears its shell. 
  • Made more Xenia cuttings. 
  • Pulled some patches of Bryopsis out, and repositioned some corals and moved the Tridacna derasa (which I suspect is a hybrid derasa X gigas because it has blue windows like a T. gigas) higher up. The last big persistent patch of Bryopsis is growing in between the brown and green Caulastrea polyps, probably because the urchin can't get in there. I moved the Caulastrea lower down, and one of the Mithrax crabs started picking at the stubs left after I tore the Bryopsis out. Then the urchin went for it too! It managed to dislodge the colony so now it's sitting on the sand, but I'll leave it there until it looks like the herbivores are done with the algae.
  • I think I'm growing some little jellyfish. I found a string of them attached to the side of the refugium.
1/21/01
  • The Caulastrea is back on the rocks, after being cleaned by the crabs and urchins. Right now it's hard to find any Bryopsis left, but I'll keep an eye out for it in case it reappears. 
  • Took a bunch more of the RSX to Aquarium City
  • I managed to catch the blue damsel using some fish food and clear plastic measuring cup. I just put some fish food in the cup, and scooped up the greedy little fish. I've put her in the propagation tray where she'll hopefully eat the flatworms. She's been doing a pretty good job in the main tank whenever I flush some flatworms in there to feed the mandarin and the watchman gobies. Actually, she's the one that gets to eat most of them, so I'm hoping she'll really go for them in the tray. I'm just thankful that even if she eats all the mysids in there, I'll still have a population growing in the refugium box.
1/27/01
  • I don't know if the damsel is actually picking the flatworms off the sides of the propagation tray, but now there are clear areas where the worms once congregated. I do know that if I swirl a few up into the water the damsel dashes in and eats them. On the other hand, now I found a few worms in the main tank clinging to the glass near the propagation tray's siphon. I'll probably move the damsel back into the main tank as soon as I get time to do it, and hope that the flatworm population in the tray peaks and crashes on its own.
  • The Bryopsis hasn't regrown between the Caulastrea polyps, finally. I still see one last patch on a powerhead, but all the rocks seem to be free of it now. 
  • I had to move the Tridacna again, because it was starting to push the Pocillopora colony that it was sitting next to out of position. I'm glad I moved it higher up though, because it's starting to turn more colorful. 
2/3/01 to
2/4/01
  • Traded some Xenia at Tropical Imports in Glendale, and brought home a turdlike sea cucumber and a rather sad looking Condylactis anemone. Both are currently living in the propagation tray.
  • Traded more Xenia at Aquarium City and took home a finger leather coral (possibly a Sinularia) and a couple of sailfin mollies. The mollies adapted fine to saltwater but the male didn't make it through the night--  he might have blundered into the anemone since I put them in the propagation tray too. I was hoping that they'd breed and produce some fry that I could feed the corals and fish with. Oh well. The female might be gravid anyway; I guess we'll see. 
2/9/01 to
2/10/01
  • Had another great time at the MASLAC meeting, where Peter Baxter gave a talk on the aptasia-eating Berghia verrucicornis, and people got to compare their hydrometers with a refractometer.
  • On Saturday I joined a group of MASLACers on a behind the scenes tour at the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific. Afterwards a small group of us went to visit Jeff's Tropical fish where I got a couple of cheap little non-photosynthetic corals (a red gorgonian and an orange Schleronephthya-type thing) that I just couldn't resist. Thanks very much to Dennis Levitt and Beverly Perez for giving me a ride! 
  • Got home, and had a hard time finding places for  the new corals. My tank is now VERY VERY FULL.  I was planning to put them in a cave section but I couldn't reach into that area because the corals above it have grown too close to the front glass. 
  • The sea cucumber escaped from the propagation tray by going through the siphon, and is now in the main tank. 
  • I put the Condylactis in the main tank too, but before it could attach itself it got swept by the currents to the opposite side of the tank. I think it met up with the rock anemone on the way because it looked pretty unhappy and shriveled, but now it seems to be doing better. 
2/18/01
  • I moved the Pavona colony a bit higher up and away from the Montipora capricornis, and replaced it with the Sinularia. I figure it will be better to have the two plating corals apart just for appearance's sake, and the finger leather does contrast nicely with the Montipora. It also allows much more light to reach the Montipora, and the Pavona was growing too close to the glass anyway. I had to break a few branches off the Pavona to allow it to sit securely on its new perch. 
  • One of the emerald crabs got moved to the propagation tray to hopefully eat some bubble algae that keeps showing up there. 
  • Started feeding a pinch of Golden Pearls daily again. 
  • The Condylactis is looking good, but still not securely attached to anything as far as I can tell.
2/25/01
  • It's been a pretty quiet week, nothing much happened except for the death of the molly. I noticed that she had fungus on her tail one morning, and that evening the red serpent star was eating her. Other than that, things are going pretty well with the tank. The sea cucumber is getting quite big, and is doing a great job cleaning the sand. 
  • I still haven't seen the gorgonian open its polyps, but the Schleronepthya seems to be doing okay.
3/3/01 to 
3/5/01
  • Took more Xenia to Aquarium City on Saturday. Got more credit, but there really isn't much else I can cram into the tank. 
  • The gorgonian finally opened its polyps, so I fed it some Golden Pearls. 
3/11/01
  • The gorgonian fell off its rock and into the Euphyllia, so now it doesn't look too good.
  • The green Lobophytum has finally started reopening its polyps after staying close for several months. 
  • I gave the tank a dose of crypreserved phytoplankton, but I'll keep the feedings light because I'm noticing patches of cyanobacteria on the sand. I sure hope this isn't going to be the next plague I'm going to get. 
3/17/01
  • Traded more Xenia at Aquarium City for store credit. 
  • The Montipora capricornis is being stung on one side by some Ricordea mushrooms and  on the other by the Euphyllia divisa. It's responded by starting new growth at the margins of the areas that got killed off. 
  • I broke off a branch of the orange Montipora digitata because the same Ricordea mushrooms were starting to sting it. 
  • There are still patches of cyanobacteria, but it hasn't started spreading like crazy. I'll probably have to do a small water change soon. 
3/24/01 to
3/25/01
  • Went on a MASLAC tank tour, and visited several members' tanks. Drooled a lot. Had a great dinner at a Chinese restaurant afterwards. 
  • Picked up an anemone shrimp (Thor amboinensis) at Aquarium City (finally got to spend some of my store credit!). Unfortunately the shrimp escaped too soon from the acclimation container I was floating it in and I had to guide it to the rocks to keep the fish from picking on it. It hid under the Blastomussa and I never saw it again. And now the royal gramma is looking a bit fat too! Next time I'll make sure I don't release one until after the lights are out, and guide it directly to the anemone.
  • Did a 5 gallon water change.
  • The neon green Sinularia is showing dark necrotic areas again. 
4/1/01
  • Traded some RSX with another hobbyist for some blue-green Xenia.
  • The green Sinularia seems to be recovering on its own. Usually I take it out and rinse it off in tapwater, but now it's attached to the rocks and I couldn't do that without causing more damage.
  • I've moved the Tridacna to the propagation tray again, to make more room in the main tank.
4/8/01
  • Traded more RSX at Aquarium Center for a chili coral. I haven't been to that store in almost a year, and they still remember me! 
  • Moved the Tridacna back to the main tank after giving away some green star polyps to make room.
  • I cut off a portion of the sump return pipe, and added a PVC elbow to it. Now it blows water through a cave towards the front of the tank. I moved the red gorgonian to the cave, and it immediately extended its polyps. Seems like it prefers constant unidirectional current, rather than random turbulent currents. 
4/13/01 to
4/15/01
  • Got some green mushrooms and some gravel full of mini brittle stars and other critters at the MASLAC frag swap. 
  • Used up my credit at Aquarium City and got a pair of anemone shrimp (Periclimenes sp., possibly brevicarpalis), an anemone crab, and a couple of sea slugs (Chelidonura varians). 
  • This time when I introduced the shrimp to the main tank I guided them directly to the rock anemone. At first they were sticking to the tentacles but they eventually hid under the anemone's disk, and have since been seen crawling around among the tentacles. 
  • The anemone crab was guided to the Condylactis anemone but it jumped off and is hiding in the rocks. 
  • The sea slugs are in the propagation tray/refugium, hopefully eating some of the flatworms that are thriving there. I've covered the exit siphon with some coarse mesh fabric to keep them from getting sucked into the main tank. 
  • The chili coral that I got last week still hasn't expanded.
  • I'll be going on vacation for a week, so hopefully my dad can keep the tank running with no problems. 
4/23/01
  • I'm back from vacation, and the tank looks fine!
  • The anemone shrimp have moved to the Condylactis anemone, while the anemone crab has moved to the rock anemone. 
  • The Chelidonura slugs have GROWN and there are few flatworms left in the propagation tray!
  • The chili coral looks shriveled up, so I'll have to move it to a different spot. 
5/2/01
  • Whoops, I've forgotten to update my diary! One of the Chelidonura slugs somehow got into the propagation tray's emergency overflow, and got swept into the sump where it met an untimely end by geting stuck in a powerhead.  This is in spite of the fact that the overflow was above the water line. In the meantime, the other slug has been laying eggs and has eaten all of the flatworms. 
  • The Condylactis anemone has moved through the rockwork and re-emerged further back in the tank, close to the skimmer box. One of the anemone shrimps had to be rescued from the skimmer box. 
  • I had to move the brown and green Caulastrea because it was getting stung by the Pocillopora and Pavona.
5/3/01
  • Sent off the Chelidonura varians slug to MASLAC's Catherine Lee to eat her flatworms, since mine are all gone. Last I heard, it was being a "turbo flatworm eater!"
  • Took more Red Sea Xenia to Aquarium City, and got a neon goby with part of the store credit. I haven't seen the goby since the lights came on, but I hope he's okay.
  • Trimmed away some of the RSX, and moved the tridacna clam back into the main tank. 
5/12/01 to
5/13/01
  • MASLAC had a tank tour, and the club members got to visit my tank! Among the visitors was this month's guest speaker Eric Borneman, author of Aquarium Corals (T.F.H. press, 2001). It seemed to me that the tank creature that garnered the most interest was the anemone crab, who was playing peek-a-boo with everybody from under the rock anemone's oral disk! 
  • I set up the 96-watt PC light I ordered from AH Supply. That thing sure is bright! I'm running it for a few hours a day to start, until the tank gets used to it. The colors in the tank sure look different under the 10000K light. I aslo reinstalled the fan to keep things cool.
  • The condylactis is still peeking out from among the rockwork, but isn't expanding like it used to. 
  • The neon goby has not reappeared, so it looks like something ate it. Looks like the mandarin also finally died, probably starved to death since it was looking really skinny. 
5/20/01 
  • I was looking at the tank with the lights off, and guess who decided to show up? The neon goby is alive!!!! It went back into hiding when the lights came back on, but at least I know it's still in there. 
  • Traded some RSX for  a blue Tridacna maxima from Coral Gardens. It's been kept outdoors in natural sunlight, but I hope it adjusts well to my lights. 
5/27/01
  • The neon goby is still being shy, but shows up after the lights go off.
  • The Tridacna maxima fell off its rock a few times, but after being put on half a clam shell (my old T. derasa!)  it attached itself and now seems to be doing fine. 
  • A filament of Bryopsis has reappeared! I'm going to have to pull it out and do a water change this coming weekend. 
6/2/01 to
6/4/01
  • Thinned out the Xenia in the propagation tray, and traded some with fellow MASLAC  members. Among the corals I got were some cuttings of a leather coral (looked yellow in the original tank, but looks green in mine) and some feather dusters worms from Brian B., and an Acropora frag, different colored zoanthids, a Hyndophora frag, and an encrusting gorgonian from  Myron L. 
  • Also thinned out some other corals from the main tank (Sinularia, Montipora), and traded them for a pair of dart frogs.
  • Moved an emerald crab out of the sump back into the tank to graze down some algae mats. 
6/9/01 to
6/10/01
  • The Leptoseris was growing over the base of one of the Acropora colonies, so I had to cut off the Acropora and re-mount it on an oyster shell using superglue gel. At least now the Acropora is oriented where the branches are more visible from the front of the tank.
  • The Leptoseris has turned rather brown under the PC lighting, but it's growing faster too.
  • Used up my credit at Aquarium City to get a couple of Thor amboinensis and a pistol shrimp at Aquarium City.
  • I added a tiny 55-gallon-per-hour pump to the wavemaker. The pump was a raffle prize from this month's MASLAC meeting. Even though it doesn't push much water, it seems to make a difference in the turbulence pattern in the tank.  I've also tried feeding the Tubastrea with soaked freeze dried krill (turtle food, another raffle prize). The coral seems to like it.
  • Lazy me, I still haven't done that water change! The emerald crab has mowed down the algae though. 
6/17/01 to
6/18/01
  • I attended MASLAC's rock maiking workshop on Saturday, and made a bunch of frag plugs using a cardboard egg crate as a mold. I would've made a busty mermaid but there wasn't enough cement mix to go around. 
  • Brought Joe Kelley a frag of my Leptoseris, and got  frags of Bali slimer Acropora and Echinopora in return. I may not have any room left in my tank, but by golly I'm going to make room!
  • The two little Thor shrimp are still alive! They're not living in the anemone though-- they're more like hanging around it. I'm glad that they're managing to avoid the banded coral shrimp.
  • The pistol shrimp has been busy digging tunnels all over the sand, and the tank often looks like there's a snowstorm going on from all the detritus that's been kicked up. 
  • Replaced the two actinics with new ones from Pet Warehouse. 
6/24/01
  • Went with some fellow MASLAC members to Jeff's Exotic Fish and brought home a large chunk of Christmas tree rock that has multi-colored feather duster worms in it (most of the Porites was dead but I think what's left has a good chance of recovering), a couple of pieces of rubble from the live rock bin that has some purple Distichopora and orange sponges growing on them, a chunk of rubble that had a Cynarina, Porites, and a small Fungia type coral all growing on it, and two Entacmaea bubble anemones (one for a friend). I wasn't sure I'd have room for the Christmas tree rock, but when there's a will there's a way. Since I brought Jeff some Xenia to trade for store credit, all I really spent was a whopping $13.25.

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