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  Reef Tank Diary
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7/4/01
  • I noticed some cyanobacteria spreading, and checked the Turboflotor skimmer. Turned out that the air intake was clogged and the cup needed cleaning.
  • I also added some activated carbon in a mesh bag, which I placed in the overflow box next to the siphon so water could run over it. 
  • The queen conch moved back to the propagation tray after I had moved it into the main tank, so I left it there. Moved a brittle star OUT of the tray and back into the main tank.
7/8/01 to
7/11/01
  • Traded some xenia at Aquarium Center for two bags of fine white beach sand... looks like it's silica sand (didn't bubble when doused with vinegar), but as long as it's fine enough it should work for a sand bed. Added the sand putting it in a plastic bag, immersing the whole bag in the tank, then pouring the sand out near the bottom. I also used a big turkey baster to suck sand (with water) out of a cup and blowing it under and behind the rocks. I only used half of one bag this time, because I was worried about burying the existing live sand too deep.
  • By Wednesday, I'm seeing worm trails and bubbles in the sand!
7/13/01 to
7/14/01
  • Won some Nassarius snails and a small bunch of zoanthid polyps at our MASLAC raffle. Also adopted a tiny mantis shrimp and an odd looking annelid worm that another member got out of his live rock. Shrimp and worm are currently living in a perforated cup in the propagation tray.
  • Added more sand to the sand bed, and put a flat rock near the front where the water motion tends to blow the sand away. I'm hoping that the pistol shrimp will decide to dig under it, where I can see the tunneling activity.
7/21/01 to
7/22/01
  • Went on a MASLAC fieldtrip to visit Marine Specialties International and traded some xenia for some orange and pink Scleronepthya, a small feather duster worm, and a branch of Heliopora. I also traded a cup of my live sand with some mysids for a cup of theirs (coarser grained, unlike my rather silty sand), to increase our sand diversity. I spread the live sand near the front of the tank, but the sea cucumber ended up sucking most of it up and expelling it further back under the rocks. 
  • Traded some more xenia with another MASLAC member for more live sand, which I've put in the propagation tray .
8/1/01 to
8/4/01
  • The Entacmaea has decided to start roaming around, and I had to peel it off the back glass to keep it from coming into contact with a powerhead. I put it back on the rocks, and it moved down and behind the rocks for a few days. It re-emerged an the glass right next to another powerhead, so I moved it back to the rocks. I'm hoping it will settle down soon.
  • I removed the Indo Ricordea rock because the mushrooms were growing so big they were stinging neighboring corals. The rock now sits in the propagation tray . I also pulled out a stubborn clump of Bryopsis algae that was rooted behind a powerhead. 
  • I'm still getting a layer of cyanobacteria on the sand in some spots, but at least it's not spreading too much right now. 
8/5/01
  • Traded some xenia at Aquarium Center and brought home a pair of green clown gobies, an abalone, and a female banded coral shrimp. I'm going to try to pair up the shrimp with the male that I have, and so far they're not killing each other. I was going to put the female in a perforated cup but I ended up dumping her in the tank anyway. The two shrimp came together when their antennae touched, and have been together ever since. They tend to face each other with their antennae meshed together, and don't seem to be acting aggressive towards each other. I left them alone for a bit, then came back to find that the female had lost both her big claws! I wonder if she allowed the male to pull them off, or if she tangled with the emerald crab which is the only other critter capable of hurting her. The female is bigger than the male so I can't imagine him doing it, but who knows. I guess I'll see what happens. 
8/25/01
  • Gee, looks like I've been reaaaallly bad at keeping my diary updated these days.  Anyway, I've traded some Xenia with a fellow MASLAC member Yvonne for some Pseudocorynactis anemones. The anemones are currently living in the propagation tray
  • The banded coral shrimp seem to have paired up. The male now lets the female take food right out of his mouth, and the female has also partially regrown her lost claws.
  •  The clown gobies seem to be doing okay, though I'm not so sure they're a pair anymore since they don't hang out together much. 
9/3/01
  • Went to fellow MASLAC member Francesca's house to buy a used external pump, and came home with some new corals and other stuff! Of course I didn't really have room for them but when there's a will there's a way. So now I have a new red Blastomussa , some blue sponges, a gorgonian, what appears to be a Capnella cutting,  and some macroalgae for my refugium. 
  • Bringing home all the new stuff meant I had to move things around a bit. Surprisingly enough, everything fit and the tank actually looks a little better to me... I guess I like a lot of variety in there. Of course, I make sure that the corals aren't stinging each other (much) and that there's (some) room for them to grow. I did have to do some pruning to keep things in control. 
  • The orange Scleronepthya was moved under a ledge. I had to redirect the sump return a bit to give it a constant blast of water, which it seems to prefer.
  • I attempted to make a cutting of my orange/pink Ricordea , but the polyp I selected just contracted to the point where I couldn't make a decent cut without mushing up the whole thing. I ended up putting a rock next to the mother polyp, hoping that it'll eventually move onto it. 
  • One of the clown gobies was missing, but then I found it in the propagation tray so I had to catch it and put it back into the main tank.
  • Replaced the main pump with a Mag Drive 700 because the old pump's impeller housing broke. It's working better than the old one because the increased water flow means that no bubbles can collect in the overflow's siphon.
9/9/01
  • The propagation tray has started to grow brittle and crack, probably due to the heat from the lights. I replaced it with a new sweater box and moved everything from the old box into the new one. The water in the entire system turned cloudy for a while after I moved the sand, but everything settled down quickly. I've covered the parts of the box that are directly under the lights with black plastic tubing to protect it.
  • A slight earthquake today caused some minor shifting of a few rocks. I had to move the orange Montipora capricornis back and away from the Blastomussa, and the Scleronepthya rock had to be picked up and returned to its hole. This time I've positioned the coral colonies upside down in the current, and they seem to be doing fine.
9/16/01
  • I had to prune the Pocillopora because its branches were getting a little too close to a couple of Acropora colonies. Now I have three frags in the propagatin tray. While I was at it, I made some Xenia cuttings too.
  • Visited a friend's house to help her with her tank, and brought home a small Euphyllia frag and an ailing Caulastrea colony to nurse back to health in the propagation tray.
9/23/01
  • Looks like one of the Pocillopora colonies has released polyps, because I found a couple of new colonies starting to grow on the overflow box!
  • The bubble anemone is on the move again, but fortunately it doesn't look like it did much damage stinging corals in passing.
10/19/01
  • I'm back from vacation! The tank looks like it did fine for almost two weeks without me, since I left instructions with my dad on how to top it up and such. The front glass needed a good cleaning, and the Xenia needed pruning really badly but after all that was done, things are looking good again.

10/27/01 to 10/28/01

  • Traded off some more Xenia: Got a blue colonial tunicate from Aquarium City, and three pink and white feather duster worms from Aquarium Center.
11/4/01
  • Pruned the yellow-green Sinularia because its branches were starting to spread too much and sting the orange Montipora digitata behind it.
  • Accidentally broke off the orange Montipora capricornis, so I moved it up higher and to the back. It was growing so close to the front glass that I didn't have room to put my hand in there to prune some Xenia that was getting too big.
  • The blue tunicate lost some branches, but is starting to regrow the little bulblike whatchamacallits at the end of the remaining branches.
  • I tried putting some of the feather duster worms in the sand bed, but I think the pistol shrimp ate them! Grrrrr
  • Found another tiny Pocillopora colony growing on the wall of the propagation tray! I wouldn't have noticed it if the abalone hadn't crawled through the siphon tube from the main tank and cleaned up all the algae growing on the sides of the tray.

11/9/01 to 11/11/01

  • The tunicate colony suddenly fell apart and disappeared into the rockwork. Oh well....
  • I won three Coralife fluorescent lights at the MASLAC meeting's raffle! Just in time to replace my lights, which are starting to get a bit dim. I used a 50/50 and a 10,000K tube, replacing the cool white and one of the actinics. Now the colors look much better in the tank
11/18/01
  • Traded more Xenia at Aquarium City for a cool looking brittle star.
  • Found another new Pocillopora colony developing on a rock!
11/24/01
  • Changed about 5 gallons of water, and siphoned out the detritus from the sump. I saved a lot of the gunk though, because it was crawling with worms and mysid shrimp. The saved gunk was poured into the refugium.
  • Pulled out a bunch of Bryopsis algae.
12/02/01
  • Traded some more Xenia at Aquarium City and brought home another tomato clown and another neon goby. I'm hoping to pair them up with the ones I already have. Also got a nice hunk of Tubipora. I had to break up the Tubipora to fit it in the tank, so I have an extra piece in the propagation tray now. I just had to get it because it had nice small feathery white polyps with green centers.
  • I moved the Tubastrea lower down in the tank, since it seems to be getting stung by some yellow polyps. I figure that since it opens up really well now, it will be able to catch food on its own when I feed the tank. I still plan to target feed as often as possible though.
  • The new tomato clown seems to have decided to use the frogspawn Euphyllia as a host. So far the two clowns haven't fought, but there's a lot of body shaking going on. The neon gobies seen to be getting along well.
  • The water looks a bit cloudy, because the Trochus snails are spawning.

12/9/01 to 12/10/01

  • Looks like the Tubipora isn't doing very well, because it's getting covered with some sort of white fungus-like growth.
  • The bigger (and presumably female) neon goby disappeared for a while, but reappeared later on. I'm guessing that she laid some eggs. The male clownfish has a few ragged fins but is otherwise getting along fine with the female. The female has turned more aggressive and often chases the blue damsel and the royal gramma, and the royal gramma tends to hide more these days.
12/16/01
  • The infection on the Tubipora seems to have spread to the Red Sea Xenia! The propagation tray is now virtually wiped out of it, while the colonies in the main tank seem to be thinning out. The blue-green Xenia seems unnaffected though.
  • I won a bottle of cryopreserved phytoplankton at MASLAC's Christmas party raffle, so I have the tank its first dose in the propagation tray. The mysids seem to like it.
  • Pulled out some more Bryopsis, but it doesn't seem to be as much as last week's batch. I hope it's slowing down.
  • Looks like the royal gramma has died; I finally found its remains disgorged by the scarlet serpet star. So long, Magenta.

12/23/01 to 12/31/01

  • The Red Sea Xenia has weathered another crashing event, and this time about a quarter of the colonies were left (compared to last time where I had maybe 5 POLYPS left!). The colonies in the propagation tray are mostly gone, but there are individual polyps still pulsing away in there.
  • Spent the weekend before Christmas fragging a Pocillopora and a Pavona that have grown a bit too big. The Pavona was starting to sting a Montipora digitata, but when I fragged the offending Pavona branch I accidentally fragged the Montipora too! Good thing I now have lots of space in the propagation tray, since most of the Xenia there is gone. I also moved the Tridacna derasa to the tray since it was getting too big for its spot in the main tank.
  • Since I had the tube of glue open, I also stuck the orange Montipora capricornis to a rock so it wouldn't get knocked around so much. The Scleronepthya on the same rock isn't doing very well anymore, but since I'm feeding the tank with microalgae pasteI hope it will revive itself.
  • There seems to be more Bryopsis growing again, probably due to all the extra feeding!
  • I've taken down the hang-on-the-back refugium, since the propagation tray seems to be producing more mysids and other little critters anyway. I was also afraid that the refugium was putting too much strain on the glass it was hanging from, since it was so heavy.
  • I'm toying with the idea of keeping some dwarf seahorses. I've plumbed in a small acrylic tank that the propagation tray/refugium will overflow into, and the seahorse tank will overflow into the sump.
  • Did a partial water change, and saved as many of the mysids and worms that got siphoned out of the sump as I could, and dumped them into the future seahorse tank. Also dumped everything from the old refugium into the seahorse tank. Added a bag of carbon in the overflow in case all that stirred-up sand releases too much nutrients into the water.

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