Until next time (sooner than a damn year, I promise!) happing reefing and welcome to the addiction!
Hey everyone. Hope you are still finding some great info here on the site. I apologize for the super long delay in updating, but it has been nuts to say the least. Between, two jobs and (now) a new baby, life has be LIFE! I will be updating the site over the next few weeks and hope to have some new people join on and talk reefing. As always, please feel free to drop me a message if you have any questions or comments.
Until next time (sooner than a damn year, I promise!) happing reefing and welcome to the addiction!
A quick update on the tank. It seems that when I do major cleaning to a piece of equipment it dies shortly there after! I cleaned my skimmer in a vinegar bath and when I put it back on the tank--boom, barely skims. Get a new no name from the LFS, which is working very well aside from the fact that the acrylic work could have definitely been better (poor seams). I decide to clean my return pump (first time in over a year) and boy did it need it. I had noticed that when I turned the pumps off, sometimes the pump would either make a hellacious noise or not start. When I pulled it I sure knew why. Almost everything had some degree of encrusting on it. It was so bad that vinegar wouldn't clean it, so I used a diluted HCL mixture**--worked wonderfully. Only took a few seconds and the pieces looked brand new. A few days later, odd sounds coming from the tank, and I also notice very little water coming from the return. Realize the pump is not putting out like it is supposed to be. Luckily a good friend had a spare pump and is letting me borrow it until I can get a new one. I was using a pump by Reef Octopus but it is huge. The borrowed pump is a Danner Mag 9.5--awesome pump. I can not even hear it running. Only sounds from the tank are return and skimmer. Very nice! As such, I am going with a Mag 7.
I've been fighting hard to reduce nitrates and phosphates through water changes and changing GFO and I really believe it's working. My SPS seem to finally be developing color, and the DREADED RED HAIR ALGAE (aka wire algae) is dying off. I've also been supplementing magnesium and that may be helping as well. I just ran out of regular GFO but am going to try a new product my LFS has. For lack of a better description, it is GFO croûtons. They supposedly absorb 500x more phosphate than regular GFO--and for the same price. When I get some we'll see.
Coral growth is going very well. Some things are better than others, but isn't that always the case?! My LPS are adding heads left and right and most of my SPS are growing very well also. For some reason though, my Acros have stopped growing (or slowed significantly). Almost all of them have very good PE, but they just seems to have stunted. Maybe this is what they do. Since I've never had them, I really don't know. They ARE still alive and seem generally happy, so maybe they will take off.
Until next time, happy reefing and welcome to the addiction!!!
**A few words of caution--if you have severe encrustation on a piece of equipment and want to use diluted HCL (muriatic acid) remember 1) HCL is VERY caustic. It has a pH of 1. It WILL BURN SKIN and especially EYES. Use protection such as gloves and goggles. 2) Dilute the acid at a 2:1 ratio--water to acid. ALWAYS add acid to water; never the other way around. Water and acid mixed together is very exothermic (gives off heat) and by adding water to acid, it can literally bubble (explode) in your face. 3) Acid LOVES metal, so be very cautious using a strong acid (HCL) on any metal parts. It will eat it, so use good judgment.**
Well here we are in June with the official kickoff to summer a week behind us. Temps are getting higher now with the 90's showing up across a good portion of the country. As such tank temp will be going up while most tank maintenance will be going down. Who wants to do a water change vs. going outside with the kids? I know I have to force myself as it is to do a WC! Anyway, tank update time. Still fighting red hair algae (of course) and now I've got a bit of GHA but plan on taking care of that tomorrow with some H2O2. Most all of my corals are growing well, especially the birds nest. I've fragged it, broken it and generally pissed it off, but it still grows. My Pocillopora has stopped growing out, but seems to be making thicker branches. All of my Acros are growing slowly, but they are trying to color up some. Every Montipora I have is growing pretty well. The three caps are expanding and curling at the edges while the M. digitatas are finally showing some good growth. I lost one Acan however. I was out of town on a business meeting and it fell/was knocked over. When I got home I saw it, but it was too late. Of course it was the pink one that I liked the best. My green Acan is adding eyes, as is my Favia and trumpet. My LPS are all growing very well. My frogspawn and hammer both have little heads popping up as does the torch. The big leather has dropped about 4 babies now. The only corals that I would say are not doing real well are my GSP and several of my Zoa's.
Very cool thing has happened (finally!!!) in my tank. My clowns finally spawned--third time right now! I know the larvae won't survive the corals, other fish and filtration, but I think I must be doing something right for them to do it (no pun intended) so I'm happy.
Have decided that my coloration problem as well as my algaes are still due to Nitrates, so I will be changing skimmers tomorrow. Big thank you shout out to my LFS for lending me an actual in-sump skimmer to use. Excited about getting it in the sump tomorrow as well.
I will also be trying a new form of GFO when my current stock runs out. I can't recall the name or brand right now, but the GFO comes in cubes that feel like "croûtons". Due to the increase in surface are it is supposed to be 500x's more effective than regular GFO--when I get some I will see and report.
Until next time, happy reefing and Welcome to the Addiction!
A quick update on the SPS in the tank. Some of the Acros are slowly getting color in them again as well as the pink and purple Monti caps. The Montis are still growing very well and continue to encrust the rocks they are on. My green Acan is getting very large and adding new eyes as is the pink one. I moved my pink Acan to a location off of the bottom but still low in the tank and it seems very happy. The trumpet coral is adding color back almost to where it was before I dosed the H2O2. The birds nest is growing like a weed but still lacks color. My frogspawn, hammer and torch all are growing need heads but also are rather bland in color. For some reason, my neon green Sinulara has hit a growing spurt and is very large now.
My pump for my media reactor locked up due to Ca+ build up so I wasn't running GFO for a couple of days. Didn't notice that the media wasn't being fluidized. Nothing seems upset, but I'm sure my PO4 came up some.
I've also cut back my MH photoperiod to see if that helps my corals color up some. My LFS suggested they coud be bleaching given the amount of light I am giving my tank--500w MH and two T5 suppliments in a 55g. I've not checked my PAR but I will soon.
Until next time,
Love the addiction!
And here I am again talking about corals. Well some updates about the tank. First, the Acros were starting to really color up. Several had a beautiful blue coloration to them and their polyps were extending very well--then the damn red hair algae returned. That stuff is insidious! I broke most of the tank down and did a long dip in H2O2 water again. I shouldn't have dipped as long as I did. Both of my Monti caps, all of my Acros as well as my trumpet and my Goniopora all lost most if not all of their color. The hydrogen peroxide did it's magic on the RHA but it sure bleached my corals. I was worried at first that I had possibly killed them, but under UV light I see color in the tissues plus good polyp extension.
Not to be outdone by the algae and H2O2 treatment, both of my Koralia power heads have mysteriously broken the fronts out of the screens. I assume the starting and stopping from the Smart Wave controller causes the impellers to "jump". The jumping actually causes a "thumping" and as such causes the impeller to hammer against the screen. The best part of all of this is that with the small center piece missing the HK pumps now run in reverse! Thus, I have very little wave action in my tank, bad nutrient export and algae is beginning to raise its ugly head again. I've contacted HK four times now (3 emails and a phone call) and am waiting for a response. My LFS is also trying to get me some help on this.
Then as if this wasn't all enough, the new timer strip I got has an issue. It runs great for about 22.5 hours a day, then around 5 in the morning it starts lagging and instead of my actinics kicking on at 6, the timer is stuck at about 5ish. I contacted the company from where I bought it and they are going to replace it as soon as I get it to them. Just have to buy another one and then send them this one for a refund. What a PITA!
Over all though, the corals are still growing and I've added a couple more pieces--another Monti. cap. a tricolor M. digitata and a red digitata. I traded a fellow reefer several softie frags for these. He has a phenomenal 210g tank that is SPS dominate. He is making a softie tank, so...trade away.
Until next time, happy reefing!
Well the new timer arrived on the 8th or 9th and I installed it the next day. This timer is much more robust than the one it replaced. I really like this style of timer because you can run day lights, blue lights and night lights all separately. I have my blue lights come on at 6:30 in the morn so we can see the tank before our day begins. The blues stay on until 8. They again come on at 1 pm and the MH then come on at 3. MH stay on until 7 pm, the blues till 8. My moonlight LEDs then come on and are on until 6 the next morning.
My biggest concern with my tank aside from the wire algae (another blog another time) is the color of my corals. Most of them had great color when I added them, but quickly fade to either muted colors or good ole brown. I am happy to say that my Acros are starting to get color to them. Nothing like I hope, but they are definitely not brown!
I was also able to hook up a fan to keep things cool when the MH come on. It's kind of noisy, but it does a great job. Before the fan with the MH on for 3 hours the tank would rise to about 84 degrees and to 86 degrees after 4 hours. With the fan on, after 5 hours the tank temp is 78.
Check out the Macro shots on the Pics page and you can see some colo
Well the new year is well underway and the tank keeps on chugging. After adding the Smart Wave I hoped to notice a larger growth rate in my SPS corals, but alas that's not been the case. While they are growing, I'm still not getting great polyp extension nor are they getting any color.
I did change out my power heads and now run two Hydor Koralia Evolution 1050 plus the two Aqueons. The Aqueons are not connected to the Smart Wave because they "pop" when they start so they are running constantly. The two Hydors are a ton of flow, and I wonder sometimes if it's not too much. I will say however that my Torch coral seems to love the moderate flow that it gets from the Hydors.
As far as color goes, I added two 250w Hamilton metal halides using Phoenix 14,000k bulbs. A few days after adding the MH my timer crapped out so one is on the way via mail. I hope that once I get my lights situated color will increas in the SPS as well as the LPS. Unfortunetly the MH add a lot of heat to the system but I've got a fan now and will make a bracket for it so that it will help cool the system. I'm hoping that once the new timer gets here , the fan installed and the MH running on a schedule, my corals will repsond well.
Till next time, happy reefing.
Since my last update the SPS in my tank have definitely been growing well. Originally, of the Acros, the pink Valida was growing very slowly while the tri-color was growing the fastest. While the pink V hasn't exactly taken off, I've noticed some upward growth from the encrusting portion. This is true for the tri-color. I expect both of them to have secondary trunks growing before next month. The GARF bonsai seems to have slowed down as well, but this is most likely due to my moving it several times, plus I broke a small part of it but I glued that as well--then it fell and broke a tip. Now all three pieces are encrusting. While none of them are "colored" yet, they ARE beginning to add color back. Again I hope this was due to tank shock.
As far as the other SPS the birds nest is by far the fastest growing. While it did have a crazy initial growth, it has slowed, but still is out-pacing anything else. In second place are the Monti caps. Both of them are showing very good growth with the pink one having great color. The purple one is still gray looking, but I feel it will color soon. The Pocillopora has slowed as well, but it now seems to have better color as well.
Today, I added a Hydor Smart Wave unit. I have wanted one since I first saw them online back in the spring. I love the ease of use and it works great. I really think my tank is going to benefit from it and I will see that in coral growth.
Until next time.
This is a BLOG I wrote on another site and have brought it here. I will update it as I feel is necessary. Pics are not available here, but if you would like to view them, read the original BLOG at http://www.reeftools.com/live/browse_blogs.php under the title "Jumping Into Acros!"
[Jumping into Acros and SPS Corals]
I've had my tank since Sept. of last year. I've had ups and downs--algae, dinos, great growth from softies, LPS doing pretty good etc. I built a sump for my tank in Jan. using acrylic. While it was a little time consuming, I have been more than happy with it as it turned out very well. Wish it was bigger, but you only have so much room to work with. Since I've added the sump and an ATO, I really think my tank has been much happier. I know I have! So, I bought some frags from a guy in March, one of which was a 1-1.5" piece of Pocillopora damicornis. The piece is now the size of a baseball! I also bought a piece of Montipora capricornis that was about the size of a fingernail--it is now larger than a 1/2 dollar and is encrusting the rock I have it on. This gave me a lot of confidence in my tank and what I'm doing as a reef keeper. Because of these successes, I've decided to try some Acroporas. I love these corals but was always worried that they would just be too difficult to keep. I love the colors and the growth forms. I bought three frags of them yesterday--a pink Validapora (Acropora valida), tri-color Validapora (A. valida) and a GARF Purple Bonsai (A. valida). I also bought another frag of Montipora capricornis. This one is supposedly purple w/ blue polyps. I bought a frag of a birds nest coral (Seriatopora hystrix) which is a "Raspberry" color morph. I will post pics soon, and I will try to do a weekly update to see how they grow in my tank. I hope for the best!!!
Just a quick update. Most of the new frags are showing some polyp extension. The tri color and the bonsai seem the happiest, while the pink Valida seems the least. Pics soon.
Sorry for the poor quality, but using a PoS camera. I enhanced a couple for contrast against the back of the tank.
Raspberry Birds Nest-
I wanted to show the growth I've gotten from my other SPS. I really hope I get this with the Acros!
Pocillopora in March
Here is my red Monti cap in March...
You can see how it has encrusted the rock I glued it to. The second frag I accidently broke off and just glued it on as well.
Well it's been a little over a week and I've placed all of the frags where I think they will be happiest and still look good in the tank. Everyone seems happy except for the pink Validapora. Its polyps aren't extending very much. The purple Bonsai and the tricolor seem very happy and are showing what I feel is good PE. The corals don't look "fuzzy", but I can see their polyps moving in the current. I moved the purple Monti cap lower in the tank off a shelf. The polyps are coming out very well with it also.
I will update in a week or so unless something major happens. Thanks for reading.
Here are some pics I took today to show my growth in a little over two weeks. I am very happy with the amount of growth; however, I notice that almost every coral in my tank fades its color. It's not bleaching, but a slow fade. All of the SPS I got have lost almost all of their color now. Instead of the beautiful purple, they have faded to a sort of "golden/tan" color. I just don't get it. ANYway, below are the pics. The birds nest is the hardest to see, but the white "dots" are actual growth and you can see how it will be branching out from those spots. With the Acros, you can see the white new growth as well as encrusting on the rocks and over the glue. On the purple Monti cap, you can see how it is starting to encrust the rock. A good point of reference is the "speed bump" looking spot along the top--that is where it grew over the super glue holding it to the rock!
Enjoy and will update after next week.
Well, I'm a little over a month into it and I've had a couple of things happen. First and foremost, all of the frags I bought have not only survived, they are growing very well (at least in my opinion). I'm more than happy with both. The second thing I've noticed is the drastic change in color I've had from when I first go them. All frags have faded to a drab color of its former self. As you can see below in the pics, the corals ARE growing and have very good polyp extension, but the colors have goon from purple to tan, and raspberry red to almost white. The pink Validapora is growing the slowest and the birds nest the fastest. I have noticed however, over the last week that the Tricolor Valida tissue is getting darker, so hopefully the color changes have been due to different tank/lights etc.
One note: sorry about the birds nest coral pic, but it was very hard to get a pic given the angle it is growing from.
GARF purple Bonsai
Raspberry birds nest
and the Purple Monti cap to further show growth. You can see the amount of encrusting.
Please post any comments/ suggestions/ observations and thanks for reading.
Okay, so I'm about a month and a half into this little experiment and for the most part all is going well. Even though I started out with this being about Acros, I decided to include the other couple of SPS that I added/had in my tank. I feel these better shows what's going on in my tank. For a fast recap, my tank has softies, LPS and SPS. Prior to starting this BLOG, my tank had a Pocillopora and a red Montipora capricornis that were added in March. Both of those were growing well so that's what made me decide to try more. I added the three Acropora species, a purple Monti cap, and a raspberry bird’s nest. When I first added the frags, they all went to the middle of the tank. I made the leap of faith that since they were SPS and they came from high light tanks, they would be fine in mine with T5's. For the most part I was right about that, as the frags began to encrust the rocks they were on within a week. That same night I even notice descent polyp extension. If you've read my other entries then you know that all of the recent frags lost their color rather quickly. Arguments have abounded as to why--not enough light, too much light, too much nutrients, not enough nutrients, wrong spectrum etc, etc, etc. While I know my tank obviously doesn't have the light of MH or LED's, my PAR reads 500 at the top. I skim kind of heavy, and try not to feed too much. Given all of this however, the corals are starting to show signs of color again, so hopefully what it all boils down to is tank transfer shock. All of the frags are growing very well, in fact, one of the Acros has encrusted an area the size of nickel----from a frag that is maybe 1/4" in diameter. The birds nest has branched four times, with more divisions easily on the way. The only one that is growing slow is the pink "validapora". It has good PE and is encrusting, but just not as good as the others.
Well, It's I am almost two months into my first Acros and the few other SPS corals. The two Acros are still growing very well and are even starting to put some color back on. I still feel that the loss of color was due to tank shock vs. poor lighting. In fact, my GARF purple Bonsai has encrusted to the point that the edges seem to be starting to rise up. The birds nest is still very pale, but is growing the fastest of all, but the two Monti caps are growing very well too. The pink/red one has now connected to the smaller frag and has encircled the entire rock chunk to which I glued it.
Reef lighting can be a very confusing and daunting if not outright frightening aspect of owning a reef tank. Since we are trying to bring a section of the natural reef into our homes, offices or wherever, we must strive to attain the physical parameters found in nature. Because the animals we want to keep and have thrive in our tanks are primarily photosynthetic, lighting is crucial. Since we cannot realistically bring the tropical sun into these areas, we must come as close as possible using artificial means.
As we all know, the coral itself is not actually photosynthetic, but rather the zooxanthellae is. This unicellular symbiotic algae is what keeps the coral alive and beautiful. Without the proper light, these algae can be ejected from the coral (bleaching) or outright die, resulting in the total coral animal suffering, stopping of growth, diminishing or outright dying. To prevent this we must provide the correct light to the corals. Some corals can be kept with minimal lighting, but generally, high intensity lighting is required. The most important aspect of reef lighting is the photosynthetically active radiation, or PAR produced by the lights. PAR is the spectral range of sunlight used by plants during photosynthesis. The wavelength range is between 400-700nm with the most effective wavelength being around 420nm. Because PAR is so important, reef lighting must be able to not only produce this light, but also project it through the air and the water deep into our tanks. Another important consideration of reef lighting is the color temperature of the bulb. A reef bulb is rated by the color that it primarily produces and this color is based upon the kelvin temperature scale (°K). The kelvin scale is a physical property stating that as a black body is heated it will radiate different colors according to its temperature—in other words the hotter it gets, the different the color. Colors range from the pale yellows up to the violet blues. An example is a fluorescent bulb that is for a reception area would be a 3500k bulb while a classroom would be a 6500k. The 6500k bulb is whiter for better visibility. A bulb that would peak in the favorable PAR range would have a color temperature from 14,000k up.
Reef lighting is available in many different types, with each having advantages and disadvantages. Lighting is divided into three groups: 1) fluorescent, 2) metal halide, and 3) light emitting diode, or LED. Fluorescent lighting is broken down into two distinct groups; the straight tube style “T” lighting and the bent tube style power compact (PC). PC lighting is a high output fluorescent bulb but is being replaced by the more popular “T” style bulbs. The “T” style bulbs are just standard tubular fluorescent bulbs. These bulbs are sold as T12 or T5. The number refers to the diameter of the bulb in 1/8th of an inch, so a T12 bulb is 1.5 inches in diameter and a T5 is 5/8th of an inch. Fluorescent bulbs sold for reef aquariums are high output bulbs and therefore generate a large amount of light. T5 lighting seems to be more popular than T12, I assume due to size constraints. Fluorescents must run from a ballast and produce the most light when each bulb has its own reflector. Fluorescents are energy efficient, have a good life span, are very affordable, and come in a vast variety of colors temperatures. A downside to fluorescent bulbs is they do not produce “shimmer”. This is the effect of surface rippling being shadowed on throughout the tank.
Metal halides (MH) have been the go-to standard in reef lighting for many years. MH is a type of incandescent bulb where an internal filament is heated by electrical current and produces light. MH gives off intense light and is manufactured to produce given wavelengths. Metal halides are made in single and double-ended bulbs. These lights must be run from ballasts as well and each bulb must have its own reflector. MH’s produce some the best “shimmer”, but produce a lot of heat and use a lot of electricity. One danger of MH lighting is that they generate UV radiation, so shielding must be used in the form of quartz glass. MH lighting costs similar to high output fluorescent lighting.
The newest form of lighting in reef lighting is the light emitting diode, or LED. LED’s have been in use for quite some time, however, the intensity needed for reef lighting has just been developed in the past few years. Light emitting diodes are small solid-state electronic light bulbs that use semi-conductor alloys to generate light when an electrical current is passed through them. LED’s produce very intense light like a MH, but without the heat or energy consumption. LED’s are available in many color temperatures and they produce shimmer. The main disadvantage of LED’s is their cost. Costs seem to be about double of a comparable sized T5 fixture. Another area of concern is whether LED’s actually cause coral growth. Most users swear by LED’s and claim growth similar to MH but others claimed a lack of growth or even decline.