Reef nutrition

Mike's 200 & 40 gallon tanks

sfsuphysics

BOD
Staff member
Thanks John. Yeah those ROYGBIVs have been with me for a while and I've given them out here and there but apparently Jason Fox hasn't called me so they're not that special :D But seriously I named them that for the MARS swap because I had no idea what to call them, calling them "Rainbow" seemed so overused... and honestly a disservice as there is more colors in them than most "Rainbow" coral out there.

Frag tank update
That said, powered down the frag tank. I just got so tired of fighting calcium and alkalinity that I decided it was enough. Only thing in there is a small Rio pump to move water (keep the bacteria alive), heaters off, lights off, Vortech is off. Moved everything to the sandbed of my display tank. I figure it served it's purpose as a QT to make sure nothing cross contaminates my tank. Unfortunately I think the light on my sandbed is brighter than the light in the frag tank and things looking a bit bleached out, oh well stuff I moved over earlier has colored up a bit so I think we're still good, I'm hoping things are good for the frag swap.

40G update
Since the frag tank is down I moved the LEDs over to the 40 and replaced the LEDs there. The old LEDs were a long ago "emergency light" I built, can't remember the exact LED lay out but I know there was 4 neutral white, and 20 royal blue, blue and maybe violet (forget the exact make up) but 2 channels on old meanwell off/on drivers (no dimming). While I didn't mind the "all blue" look when the whites came on (also had 8 royal blues in it) you could see the over saturation of white just made browns that much browner because it was 1amp running full bore. Plus at night when only blues were on it was super bright compared to the 200G tank and that "late night dark look at the tank" immersion that I liked really was getting ruined.

So moved over the other LED fixture that I made, and this one has 4 separate channels, 12 neutral white, 12 royal blue, 12 blue, 12 violet. But what I did is I ran some really long phone wire around the room to tie into the controller on the other tank, (yeah thanks Neptune and every other manufacturer for not supporting PWM!) Now both tanks share the same lighting schedule. Now I know those with off the shelf LED fixtures that have their own built in controllers probably can't feel the joy I have since it's a no brainer to make that work since EVERY fixture has a controller built in it seems (except Kessil... still need to daisy chain those guys), but I like building stuff and I don't think I would enjoy this hobby nearly as much if I simply bought everything that goes on my tank. So when I can I will make stuff. Besides I'll put my fixtures toe to toe with most commercial ones circa 5-6 years ago (when I made them) :)

Also noticed ANOTHER RBTA in the tank. Fortunately this is on the original structure with the main (home) RBTA for the 2 clowns. While I had the idea of letting this go "wild" I really don't want to make it wall to wall RBTAs. Originally I had an idea to mix in some green ones and kind of make it bit rainbowy but unfortunately other color morphs (that are drastically different) are just way too expensive for my tastes (a sour side of the hobby that I have). And I decided to go with soft corals (specifically zoanthids, and if I can get them ricordia). But more importantly I want more than 2 damn clownfish in one 40 gallon tank, and I feel that if I let the RBTAs "go wild" there won't be room for other fish. Currently my 3 chromis seem to be ok with the situation, but I need to see about removing anemones
 

rygh

Webmaster
Staff member
For frag tank, consider an auto-water-exchange.
New Salt water -> Display tank -> Frag tank -> drain.
As long as your frag tank is small, and auto water exchange is large, it can really just overflow to drain.
It becomes a zero effort tank, and no acclimation needed.
 

sfsuphysics

BOD
Staff member
Well I was just going to use a 1 gallon water bottle with kalkwasser and use a dosing pump, I just never got around to doing it, I got the 1gallon jug with kalk, I manually poured in, just didn't go the extra step and put a doser on there to automatically do it. I just felt like now was the time to take the tank down, all corals I had were appropriate QT'd until I was happy no majanos or anything nasty were on them, so moved to my main tank where they can hopefully color up a bit more.

If I ever set up a non-QT frag tank I'm just going to plumb that into the main tank and call it a day.
 

sfsuphysics

BOD
Staff member
New addition to the tank, maybe people will give me less crap for the PJ cardinals. Didn't realize my shutter speed was so low though, oh well this is as good as you get for now.

 

Chromis

Supporting Member
That’s a beautiful fish - what is it?
It’s really hard to maintain parameters on a small QT tank, I think @rygh hit on a good idea - add “dirty” water from an established tank so nutrients/good bacteria stay present.
 

sfsuphysics

BOD
Staff member
That is a Naoko's fairy wrasse, price was too low to pass up on.

And yeah, using tank water for a series of water changes is a pretty good idea, however it requires me to do water changes on the big tank too :) And I'm more of a fan of doing large water changes than staggered smaller ones.
 

sfsuphysics

BOD
Staff member
Ok, some swap goodies that are currently hanging out in the QT while I let them acclimate and I have time to go over them with a fine toothed comb, aka magnifying glass although the macro shots often do a similar job.

First off Maureen's class tank, I shall call it... until further notice "Chocolate Acro" :D

I thought I saw a hint of red to it, which is why I took a picture, but nope just a lighter shade of brown :D I am encouraged with the polyps extension though. It may be brown, but it sure looks healthy!

Overall the swap was fun, even though I was the man in charge of making it work :D, really was looking to increase my millepora collection a bit not even with "named" ones just different colors, unfortunately not a millepora to be seen but the SPS sticks were a bit on the low side this swap. The upside is I put in 3 bonus corals that I didn't even realize were bonus corals until someone else brought them as bonus corals, so managed to get 1 bonus ticket.

This was my bonus ticket, I'm really a sucker for digitata, one guy on RC was selling 2 healthy minicolony sized pieces of two digis, one really an OG piece, but those were gone within 5 minutes of posting so when I saw this, I had to snatch it up. I think I may have a piece of it, but it's not looking terribly healthy right now, but hey more to go around and now I have something to compare to.


Picked up an Utter chaos with my first "real" pick, and sure enough this is different from the one I have, that I'm now 100% sure is not.


This is always the case with having multiple tanks, which tank do you get corals for? Well the 200G is kind of reaching capacity, I'll still go for milles and digis but I think I need to sit back and let it grow in before I put a ton of frags 2 inches from each other than wonder why they're crowding each other out in a couple years.

I think this one was Gatorade? I'm guessing the green one, and the orange were "bonus" zoas on the same plug. I may try to separate them though, just in case one grows much faster than the other.... but damn I hate fragging zoas.

This is my "I need to give it some love" piece, a Lime in the Sky acro, the back half of it is completely devoid of flesh, which at first worried me that it was a pest, but seeing all of the corals brought by that person they all have one side which was completely uncovered. So either they fell on the sand bed, and/or were horizontal branches


This was actually my last pick, but same person brought this one. An "Electric Blue" digitata, decided to take a chance on it because ... digitata, :) I know the issues with "blue" digitatas, is that they polyps are blue but the base is typically brown. This one is a bit on the skinny side, but we'll let it grow out a bit see what's up, and if it stays ick.. then it'll move to the softy tank where it's on it's own :D


Couple broken frags in the container, glued them horizontal on a plug, again will see what they do.


In addition to Millepora & Digitata, I'm a sucker for Acan (Micromussa) Lords. I haven't had any for a long time, and I haven't decided where to put these, part of me thinks softy tank but then I have to worry about calcium and alkalinity in that tank. Part of me thinks my 200G tank, even though I said that's going to be an SPS only tank... I would need to put a bommie in the middle or something to make sure they stay separated though, with no accidental "falling into" situations. We'll see though, either way I"m happy these guys want food right away :D
 

sfsuphysics

BOD
Staff member
Here's some non-frag swap related stuff I got too

What I said about acans? Yup, and this is under my "white" lights too, they pop even more under just blues.


Nice looking "traditional" ones, with the candy cane perimeter, I like the pinkish/purple interior though. Again where do I put these... :D


This one is a Vietnamese zoanthid rock, not sure if this came straight out of the water (I'm guessing it did due to that bivalve on it), but it's a good sized piece I'm going to probably end up chopping into smaller pieces most likely, maybe DBTC it for people if there's any interest.


Nothing super special about the coloration, it's "nice" but nice is fine by me. This was more for the "instant gratification" for my softy tank that has exactly 2 frag plugs of zoas in it maybe 10 zoas total :D


Super sexy top down, under the water surface with a super macro lens photo :D
 

sfsuphysics

BOD
Staff member
Vietnam :D

But seriously, online vendors. However after getting it and doing research apparently zoas from Vietnam are the new "budget" zoa. You probably could ask any LFS if they can get them for you.
 

sfsuphysics

BOD
Staff member
Noticed some flatworms in the frag tank on a couple frags actually more so on the frag plug than the frag itself, they were from different people, and honestly could have been due to Gus' corals too, so not going to point the finger at anyone. I usually dip before putting corals into my display as well as before putting them into QT, although I'll admit when in a rush sometimes I just throw them into the QT and do dipping at a later date. If they did come from Gus' tank this one is on me, I know his 8" x 8" montipora I couldn't exactly dip just due to the size. I'm fairly certain it's the easy to deal with Red Planeria type of flatworm, the shape is quite distinctive although they weren't in large numbers (saw a few, and only with a magnifying glass). Think I'm going to get some Flatworm Exit and just deal with the frag tank to see if that's what they are (them dying will be a big clue), then preemptively hit my display tank(s) with it just to make sure I get them before they get to plague levels then it's more of a pain in the butt to deal with.
 

sfsuphysics

BOD
Staff member
Ok a bit more at ease with the flatworms I noticed. They're tiny, on the order of 1mm in size, they're closer to white in color, and they don't have that distinctive 3rd "fin" coming out their "butt" like the red planeria.

Most likely harmless, although the noticing them around the time of frag swap time gives pause that they're in some way related to that. I did use Salfert's Flatworm Exit on the frag tank and the few that were in there looked very pissed off scooting along real fast like something was irritating them, and they did kind of recoil from the glass, so obviously it was having an effect, they didn't just drop off and leave long strings of floating flatworms like with the red variant, yeah I had them a few times in tanks long ago. I did try one in a small cup with 1 drop of FWE in it, and yeah it died real fast (4 drops treats 20 gallons, so it was a fairly lethal dose).

Not sure if I should dose my main tank with it to just kill them off now, or leave them be, what I read is that they do eat copepods in the tank and ebb and flow in numbers based on the available food, not sure if I want my pods to go out of control, or if I'd like something to keep them in check. The upside is they probably are not releasing a toxin like the red ones, so maybe no reason for carbon as a follow up. I might wait a few days before making a decision, see if I start seeing lots on the glass, or if I can live with the few that I see. The main reason I'm hesitant is that I'd probably have to use an entire bottle of the stuff just to treat the tank

Here's some pictures in case anyone is interested, and yeah I did need a pretty decent magnifying glass to see these in any sort of detail.

 

sfsuphysics

BOD
Staff member
Almost 2 months since my last FTS, might as well update! :D Ok so. I've been playing around with moving pumps around. I REALLY want a vortech in the middle blowing through the "channel" of rockwork, however the whole "no electricity on the inside" actually poses a problem, because my overflow pipes (all 3 of them) are right in the middle with not anywhere close to the amount of room to squeeze a dryside motor back there, Now I can put a regular pump back there and slide a magnet between pipes and tank, unfortunately the only one I have is quite powerful, not controllable (at least not without a $200 add on) and well I'm having enough issues with sand moving as it is :D My latest experiment is to put all three pumps on the right side. And well sand on the left side has migrated towards the right :) Overall I like the general feel of flow in this tank as I can see the natural gyre(s) that are forming as a result, but still a work in progress. One BIG issue is Vortech pumps are designed to have the rubbery sticky part of the dryside against something that it can kind of stick to like glass or acrylic, unfortunately I think the thin foamed PVC sheets I use to black out are a bit too slippery for the pumps to hang on. I can put a smaller spacer so the magnet really hangs on, but I'm worried about the long term effects of doing that. Oh well still playing around.

All 3 tangs decided to get into photograph formation in this shot

Doesn't look too different? Well that's the problem with an all* SPS tank, stuff doesn't typically grow super fast... maybe I should do bi-annual updates instead?

Other viewing pane, fish were not as cooperative in this shot.

You can see all the pumps on that side (I have more, just not on the tank). Sand near the bottom of the picture shows it piling up. Making me think more and more about barebottom all the time, although however many months in... I kind of like the look of sand still.

So my tank always had a plan as far as corals. Rule #1 no soft corals, period. I have the 40 gallon tank for soft corals. Although if I ever decide to plumb both tanks together... yeah no soft corals inside this rectangular box of water. Rule #2 only SPS, this rule I've broken a bit, I am a nut for acan lords, and to a lesser degree favia but I can do without favias and well got a good sized acan colony for super cheap so kinda had to. Rule #3 segregation, basically a plan for what corals can go where, I didn't want encrusting montis making it difficult to keep acros because they grow faster and over them...
So the right side of the tank are two main rock structures, a lower and a high one, with a little C shaped area in between for fish which is currently holding a big montipora colony that doesn't like white lights too well (polyps only come out when whites are off), but these structures are for acropora only, the monti is on the sandbed and it's a temporary thing until I can rehome it/donate it to a better cause.

So here's the near rock, rock is lower so my eye line isn't blocked with stuff to the back, plus corals grow. Still having issues with snails knocking crap off, even after being glued down, waiting for the corals to encrust onto the rock is painfully slow though. Couple torts, one is a miyagi I think, a blue stag, red something or other, lime in the sky, and one or two others I don't remember names of and don't really care at this point until they grow :D

Here's the back half of the right side, brightest part in the tank, relatively high PAR values, you can see by the photo really saturated (I don't feel like taking a "nicer" unsaturated picture)

Couple milles, tricolor, green slimer, and some other random ones in there too. Next time I get around to taking individual coral pics I'll be a little more forthcoming with names. At the very least I'll describe the color :D

This little bit here was an addon that I did in the tank, not quire sure how I feel about it yet, but it was a place to put my newly acquired acan lords. Probably could put them elsewhere in the tank, but that bigger colony takes up a lot of real estate. Maybe in the C-shaped sandbed area when I finally move the big monti out.


This over on the left side are for non-acros. Nearest to the front glass is for non-acro sticks. So there's digitata, stylophora, birdsnest (which looks much better with no whitelights :D), and some other stuff too.


And the last section is for encrusting corals, so plating montis, encrusting montis, porites (the Sand dollar). I'm a tad worried about that Idaho Grape, looks great, perfect purple but as it grows... ugh we'll see the rock is movable so I can rearrange.

You can also see part of that montipora in the background. Looks quite bleached out, no polyps until the whites go out.
 

jccaclimber

Supporting Member
One BIG issue is Vortech pumps are designed to have the rubbery sticky part of the dryside against something that it can kind of stick to like glass or acrylic, unfortunately I think the thin foamed PVC sheets I use to black out are a bit too slippery for the pumps to hang on. I can put a smaller spacer so the magnet really hangs on, but I'm worried about the long term effects of doing that. Oh well still playing around.
Secure the dry side cord from above and they'll stop walking/tilting. Doesn't take much, just enough to discourage them a bit. This at least used to be in the mounting directions as well, although I find that a lot of people get away without it.
 

sfsuphysics

BOD
Staff member
clean!
looks real clean
it's looking right in there
I cab see lots of new growth on those monti's
That's my goal, keep ahead of dirty/algae if possible. And yeah the montis will typically have the most obvious growth.

Keeping up with my calc/alk has been a bit of a chore because I found that my Avast kalk stirrer has a very tiny pinhole leak where the bottom meets the cylinder, it's very tiny but still it's a leak I don't want. Tried filling around the edge with weldon 16, and that stuff just doesn't make a decent enough fillet weld to be useful, used air pressure to force weldon 4 from the inside out but that doesn't fill gaps, so ultimately I just need to find a way to get a weld around the edge that actually works. Plus there's the whole "is that kalk still good? It's still powder?" (which is a kalkwasser problem in general). Either way went old school with a salt bucket filled with water and periodically toss a pump in to blow it around, alkalinity seems to be on the rise again which is good. I'm really resisting going 2 part until I absolutely have to.

Secure the dry side cord from above and they'll stop walking/tilting. Doesn't take much, just enough to discourage them a bit. This at least used to be in the mounting directions as well, although I find that a lot of people get away without it.
Yeah, I've done this on glass but I'm not quite sold on it working on the pvc foam. Plus I'm not real high on using the cord to support the weight of the pump, I'll probably do it eventually but I'm resisting it right now. I have an MP60 that has the black sheeting separated from the dryside of the pump specifically because it was used to support the weight.
 
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