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TOPIC: 40 breeder Journal

40 breeder Journal 4 months 3 weeks ago #72218

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7/19/18 UPDATE

Apologies for the absence lately. Been pretty busy.

Tank: The tank is doing... ok. I believe I am finally done with the cyano phase in the tank. It was just furious for about 3 weeks where I would do a water change and then later that day you could begin to see reaccumulation of algae on the glass. I wanted to turn the lights off and do a black out scenario to slow it down, but I didn't want to hurt the nems, as a few of them were touch and go for a while and one/two still are. Right now the tank remains mostly clean for about 3-4 days without scraping the glass, and the rocks have somewhat resumed a nice light gray color where there is no green algae. I have still witnessed no coralline growth and am wondering if I might need to introduce some more rock to get it going.

Sump: Sump tank is a godsend. It really makes maintenance easy and while there are definitely things I would do differently next time around, I love the setup. I do have a few problems. One is the amount of evaporation. It's just ridiculous. There just is no way I would be able to keep up with this evaporation rate without running a RODI constantly to top off if this was a reef tank. I mean I do about 6 liters per day to keep the pump from sucking up a bunch of air. It's crazy. I don't have any corals I don't use a RODI currently but I am seriously considering building an ATO just so I don't have to worry about topping off every day. Next problem is space - vertical space. I just should have built this thing a tad taller. Pulling the filter sock and adjusting things down there is tough with the amount of space I left myself. I have about 7-8 inches of height between the top of the tank 20gH and the underside of the stand. Not enough even for my little hands.

Livestock: Fish - the fish are relatively stable right now. Everyone is healthy, everyone that is alive that is. I lost two banggai cardinalfish, and I also lost the royal gramma. My damsels are doing incredible, but one of the two 3 stripe damsels has grown so large that he has assumed the mantle of boss a-hole. I'm almost certain he bullied the banggai's to death. I also see him squaring off with the clowns every now and then as well, but it seems that they have more or less formed a pair and stick together to back him down. They are doing quite well. The other two damsels get harassed frequently but seem to just shrug it off as a part of life. They also look quite good. The blenny looks great when he comes out which I don't witness much. The wife does her workouts downstairs and says that he comes out a lot between 7-9pm ish so maybe I am just missing him. Lastly the six line wrasse (I bought a six line wrasse) is looking drab and thin. I think he is also suffering from bullying by the big damsel. So short story here is that I need to get the big damsel out, and hope the two remaining ones do not become him in his absence. Then maybe think about a different addition to fill the missing gap of two cardinalfish, a gramma, and a damsel...

Nems - Nems are all still alive, and one actually split. The biggest one in the tank ended up splitting into two, but now both clones are really struggling. They close their mouths up every night now, but for a while they didn't. The nem on the far left side also went through a tough phase where he would stay closed up for a good amount of the day even with the light on. I put a thin rock over the top of him to shade him out and then he began to open up and stretch and now opens more readily, but still has not quite recovered. The nem that I had facing the back of the tank is doing very well. He has moved to the front of the tank at the very top of the rockwork, but has moved several times the last few days so I'm not sure where he will be even when I get home from work today. But he opens quickly and bubbles up very nicely and has great color and has grown in size. I think my biggest problem with the nems was Nitrate. I didn't not actually test levels, but I'm sure they were high. I was trying to do water changes with 5g buckets on a roughly 50g system. Just not enough even when you do a w/c every day for 3-4 days in a row. I finally bought a 30ish gallon tub and have been doing 20g w/c's every other day and the cyano really backed off and the nems seem much happier in the last week or so now. My plan is to just do my best to keep them happy and get them all back to a point where they are stable and growing before I decide what I'm going to do with now 4 bta's.

Will try to get some better pics for you guys now that the cyano phase is done. Cheers.
"My Country is the World, and my Religion is to do good." -Thomas Paine
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40 breeder Journal 4 months 3 weeks ago #72221

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Coming along nice! Iv'e been wanting to try salt water but I want to do a really big Freshwater tank first.
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40 breeder Journal 4 months 2 weeks ago #72234

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"My Country is the World, and my Religion is to do good." -Thomas Paine
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40 breeder Journal 3 weeks 4 days ago #72403

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Update: 11/15/18

The tank is hanging on. In the past few months I have not been overly watchful of this tank. I will admit I've been quite lax about testing and doing water changes, cleaning the skimmer neck and topping off water. As a result I have quite a bit of algae in the tank. I'm pretty sure it's diatom algae - brown and grows very very rapidly. Seems to for elongated slimy arms attached to the sand bed or the rock or equipment. It's quite unsightly but it's easy to clean. I just take the algae scrubber and lightly brush the rock or disturb the sand bed and it lifts up. But then of course a water change is needed to really get rid of the stuff. Cause? Increased nitrate/phosphate probably?

Status update Livestock - I have 2 clowns who are doing quite well, I have an orchid dottyback who seems to be fine, I have a bicolor blenny that is doing very well, and I have 3 damsels (3 stripe, domino, and yellowtail). The three damsels are buttheads. They are aggressive and really won't allow for any new tankmates. I last tried to add a royal gramma before I had the dottyback and he just was never really allowed a chance to settle in. The damsels just harassed him until he jumped. I'm thinking the damsels all have to go. I'd maybe like to try cardinalfish again but we'll see.

I bought three anemones who have all slowly faded. I have two left which are clones of the largest one on the right side pictured above. They seem to be doing a lot better now that I have nitrates under control a bit and have turned the light intensity back up. I'm not entirely sure why they did so well in the beginning and then shrank and split and shrank, but I'm sure it had something to do with nitrates as I'm pretty sure nems don't love nitrates, and I simultaneously turned down the light intensity to help control algae but in hindsight I think that was a double whammy for the nems. I've got nitrate back to a 10ppmish state now and paying more attention to the skimmer so hopefully we can keep it under control and keep the light intensity up for the nems.

I also picked up a small rock with some palys on it a few weeks back for cheap. My LFS carries a few corals every now and then but manage them poorly and staff doesn't know much about them. Kid said they had it for like a month and a few of the heads never opened up. It was listed for 50 and I took it for 20. It had 4 polyps when I took it. 2 didn't open right away. After a week in my tank, all heads were opening and I now have two new polyps opened up. Its a nice green polyp with swirls of crème color in the center. Looks really nice. I'll have to get a pic up.



What Am I Doing Wrong???

- After several months now of not being satisfied with the tank I had to sit down and really look at what's going on with the tank, what's going on with maintenance, and why things are the state that they are in.

1) clearly there is a lack of maintenance and testing.

I need to do a better job of maintaining a consistent level of well everything. Nitrate and phosphate especially - I am not currently using RODI water. Off the top of my head I didn't think it would be a huge deal given that my phosphate levels are quite low out of the tap but when you only do a water change once a month, but you add top off water every single day - you are adding phosphate to the tank every single day. Not something I had thought about previously but makes sense after thinking about it more. So I think regular water changes are more important than I had realized previously and I need to get on RODI water.

RODI water is a ball of wax all on it's own due to the amount to evaporation I am experiencing. I literally add (no joke) 6-8 liters of water to this tank daily. The amount of evap is ridiculous. Keep in mind I have an open top tank with no glass tops and I have a sump which is open as well. I need to get some versatops and cover the display at least to help cut down on the amount of top off water I'm using. I think once I have the tops on and the evap is a little more manageable I can go back to the RODI water. I have the RODI just need to get set up.

Making maintenance easier. This is just something I didn't really adjust for. The stand I built is short and I built it that way so maintenance in the display would be easier for me (I'm quite short myself at 5'4"). However this meant that the sump and everything in the sump is quite cramped vertically and doing things like removing the skimmer for cleanings is a pain in the butt, and even something as simple as changing filter socks becomes something I groan at the thought of doing. Filter socks should be changed every 2-3 days, I'm doing it maybe every other week... Just not enough. Detritus is breaking down in the socks adding to the nitrate instead of being removed all together as is what the filter socks are meant to do in the first place. I need to either suck it up and just do it more often or design better placement of the socks or just make it easier to switch them out.

If I can get this stuff under control I think the tank will be in good standing. I just need to do a few things to improve the process, make it easier on myself for maintenance and then I need a reason to be invested in the tank - corals. I know it sounds like a bit of a justification to buy things and I think I'd be lying to myself if I didn't say that it's at least partly true, but if I'm not interested in the tank I just don't pay much attention to it. I think it's time to add a few things. I may start browsing a bit. The tank is almost 9 months old and there will likely be a few more algae issues in the coming year but I think it's time to move forward. Get excited about things again. Stay tuned. :)
"My Country is the World, and my Religion is to do good." -Thomas Paine
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40 breeder Journal 1 week 4 days ago #72434

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Update: 11/29/18

The tank is doing much better since I've upped my maintenance on it. I haven't been real strict about testing but I try to do a little bit with the tank every day that I'm home. Small things. I dump the collection cup on the skimmer more often and clean the skimmer neck about once a week, I change filter socks about every 2-3 days, and I have my hands in the tank more often just doing algae maintenance. I scrub the glass a little and I have to manually remove some of the diatom algae from the rocks to really get it up and out of the tank. I do think that phosphate is probably still an issue as the diatom is still hanging in there. I've done about three large water changes since the last update - probably 30-35% so more than one per week and nitrate was in the 10ppm range the last time I checked. A vast improvement over the 40ish ppm the time before that but the diatom algae isn't really fading. It accumulates slower but I'm also noticing more green hair algae. I think it's time to employ a reactor and some biopellets. But one thing I do want to try before I do that is just getting on 100% RO water. Not quite there yet. Got the RODI hooked up and my next few water changes will be strictly RO. Hopefully that will also help curb some of the algaes.
"My Country is the World, and my Religion is to do good." -Thomas Paine
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40 breeder Journal 1 week 4 days ago #72435

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I wish I had filter socks... How many microns thick are your filter socks? Have you lids to fix the evaporation problem yet? All livestock and anemones doing ok?

- Aquamoo
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40 breeder Journal 1 week 3 days ago #72438

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I have some 200 micron socks and some 100 micron socks. Previously I was using only the 100 micron but I wasn't changing the often enough and they would clog quickly after a few days so I just put the away and went with the 200's. But I'm back to the 100's now and I'm doing more routine maintenance so I prefer the 100 (finer mesh) to get more particulate matter out of the water column. I'm pretty sure its working because my skim mate production has dropped significantly.

No lids yet. Going to pick some up from my bro next weekend. Getting the rubbermaid filled with RODI water for the next water change.

Livestock have had some bumps. I lost 2 of the three damsels and my bicolor blenny to an unknown source. Just found the blenny and domino damsel dead one night, and then the next morning the yellow tail damsel was gone too. I highly suspect a new unrinsed filter sock as the cause. I'm not sure if this is a common thing but it's the only thing I can put a finger on as for cause. Water levels are all in good order 0/0/~10ppm and no temp issues. No other fish had issues and no nipped fins or scrapes or aggression that was out of the ordinary. I'm left now with 2 clowns, one orchid dotty back and one three stripe damsel. I think the plan is to scoop out the three stripe damsel and return him (he's a butthead anyway) and try a few banggai cardinals and go for another blenny. I loved that guy. Easily one of my favorite saltwater fish to date.

Nems are really looking great since getting the nitrate under control. I've fed them a few times - small small pieces of cut up shrimp and they have done very nicely. I think if I can get the diatom algae under control I will up my light period as I'm sitting only at 6 hours currently. I'm sure the nems would appreciate a longer photo period but I just don't want to exacerbate the algae issue.


If you have a sump filter socks are cheap. I paid like 16 bucks for a set of 5 on amazon.com.
"My Country is the World, and my Religion is to do good." -Thomas Paine
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40 breeder Journal 1 week 2 days ago #72439

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The way that my sump is configured, without a complete redesign, filter socks are impossible to incorporate. I would need to change out the return pipe for a hose and then build some sort of filter sock holder out of egg crate. Another problem with my sump is the lack of room, there's only like 6 inches of room between the top of the sump and the bottom of the tank.

Good luck with the algae!

- Aquamoo
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40 breeder Journal 1 week 4 hours ago #72443

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So I left the tank alone for the weekend, and didn't really do a whole lot of algae maintenance to see accumulation. Today I scrubbed and removed manually the diatom (which I'm not thinking may be cyano) algae. The algae on the glass is green spot and takes good scrubbing to remove but it's not much after three days as long as you keep on top of it. The diatom or cyan - not sure what it is at this time - is pretty aggressive yet. It's not as bad as it was a few weeks ago but it still accumulates significantly even though I'm getting nitrates under control a bit more. Once I start committing to the RODI water and water changes I'll do some more strict testing to see if elimination of phosphate helps.

Nems have really come along nicely in the past week or so. I feed them each a small small piece of shrimp about once every other week. Today when I came home I just visually noted the nem in the front of the tank to be larger than normal. Has great color and just looks happy. At this point I think I've got them on the right track. Once i get pic hosting site figured out I'll get them up for you guys.
"My Country is the World, and my Religion is to do good." -Thomas Paine
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40 breeder Journal 6 days 10 hours ago #72446

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Yeah, I think all the pictures hosted on imgur got taken down or something as they aren't showing up. As far as I know, all photobucket pics are still working fine.

- Aquamoo
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