Reef nutrition

Moving in from Texas


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Welcome! How does one move 600g worth of livestock across state lines? That must be somewhat challenging. Will you be joining us for the coral swap? If so, perfect time to be a supporting member and partake! No pressure :).
I won't have the big tank out by then (might not even have much livestock out by then), but if I'm in town I'll come by to meet people.
Small house with 2 adults (I'm home all day every day), a kid (home 3-5 days a week), a dog, 2 cats and 24 fish means my tank naturally peaks at around 7.9ph (before adding a refugium)

I put in a CO2 scrubber and a solenoid to run Skimmer air through it any time the pH is under 8.2.

My ph swings between 8.15 and 8.25 daily. I bought a 5g jug of media for $90 over a year ago and I'm only half way through it.


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The quest to get this thing running continues. I realized my nitrate was at a hard 0, which is never a good thing. Of course it was the brown slime that clued me in, so I'll get to fight that back. Now manually dosing KNO3 targeting 10-20 PPM just because I know I'll end up having to periodically skip a week.

On the plus side, the frags I brought back last weekend are doing well for the most part. I also got my frags back from Ashburn2k (thank you again!) and at least 80% are doing well. That was interesting actually, a handful of SPS died, yet others that have given me more issues in the past showed really good growth in the few weeks he had them. The chalices mostly look fantastic, one in fact much better looking than when I handed them off to him.

A few of my frags had some hair algae (likely a carryover from my frag system), so I went about treating those today. For those who aren't familiar a 10:1 or even 5:1 mix of tank water to 3% H2O2 does a nice job of killing algae in an agitated 5 minute dip with zoas, and I've yet to kill a zoa doing that.

LPS would probably survive that, but I've never had a need. With SPS and LPS I tend to just put a few drops of undiluted 3% right on the algae at the margins and then put them back in the tank after a few minutes. This can either damage just a bit of SPS tissue at the margin or leave a thin margin of algae, but can be really handy for cleaning up frags.

The latest concern is where to put everything. I still don't have most of my chalices or larger items and the 170 is starting to look cluttered with frags.

Last thing, the macro from Jeff is growing like a weed. It was a softball just a few weeks ago and is now starting to fill up the macro chamber on my refugium chamber (24" x 6" footprint, 11" tall).
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I got the 2 part set up tonight, and then promptly manually put in ~60 mL of alk and 75 mL of Ca. Alk behaved as expected, Ca results lead me to believe my test earlier today was probably erroneously low. A bit of epsom salt at some point and Mg will be where I want it. Current setup should be putting in ~0.2 dKH on the alk side, so we'll see if I actually have growth to support that. My guess is not yet, but there's an easy way to find out.


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I grabbed some epsom salt when I was at the pharmacy last week, but thank you. We'll see how fast I burn through it.
I'm actually traveling at the moment and need to decide if I want to bring back some larger pieces from TX on this trip. The tank in SF is living, but I wouldn't call it thriving just yet and I haven't gotten my finger on what it is (other than just being a new tank, which might be most of it).


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Thank you Rob. I'm starting in about a week (before heading back home to wrap some things up), although the fish plan is still stuck behind things here. Starting to line up reefers in this area I can frag out half my tank to in case things move poorly. Harder to frag the clams and fish though.

No kids, although soon enough, so while I don't care what the schools are like now, I probably will in 6-7 years.
We aren't the bar/clubbing/night on the town type. Currently living in quiet suburbia (hardware and grocery stores nearby, drive to our occasional commercial entertainment and work).
Nice to know that the solar still works in foggy areas.

It'll take some acclimating but being originally from the north and would probably prefer San Diego, I'm looking forward to the weather. I can always on more clothing, but at some point you can't take more off.

Soon to be co-workers advised Daly City through San Mateo if SO ends up working closer to San Jose, and East bay if she ends up in the Berkeley area. Housing looks tons cheaper towards Hayward, but I'm not sure I can put that much of my soul in to the commute. I need to get a feel for what my office hours will be. It seems "starting time" varies from 5 AM to noon depending on what group you're in, and of course commute isn't constant at those times. I feel like I'm over-thinking this, but that's what engineers are good at.
I moved from the west bay to east bay 3 years ago ( Hayward ). Not bad and your kinda in the middle of things either way


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How did I miss this thread. Looking forward to seeing this thing slowly. I’ve forward.

Maybe a dehumidifier in the apartment?


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Lids solved the humidity issue, and I've actually been leaving a window open as well. Interestingly the pH took a pretty good drop when I got home despite this. Currently the skimmer is pulling from the hallway, but perhaps routing it out a window would be more appropriate.

Got home late Sunday night after being gone 11 days. The good news is that the brown slime that was covering the rocks is completely gone. The bad news is that there are little tufts of hair algae on the floor and some of the equipment, enough that I'm not going to be able to manually trim it off. I'll need to hunt down some snails as I missed the last group buy. I suppose I could also grab a few urchins, although then I would definitely need to glue down all of my frags. Knowing that I'll be moving at some point I am starting to wish that I had drilled the rocks for faster teardown/rebuild, and because urchins are bulldozers of a special sort. Thinking about it, I could probably catch one or two next time I'm home, but seeing as that will be at least 3 weeks out and they are still needed there that might not be the best idea.

No pictures yet, but I did grab one of my duncans (estimate 50-100 heads, non branching) and a few other corals that like to eat on my last trip home. Why that's important below.

The alk dropped from 10.8 before I left to 8.4 when I returned, so I manually put in 1 dKH of alk and also upped the alk doser a bit. I'll have to keep an eye on it and see how it does.
The other interesting thing is that my nitrates remain high. For a while the tank was pulling them down from ~5 to 0 in just a few days. Between an inexact test kit (API) and not testing often enough when it stopped I ended up pushing the nitrates up towards 40 perhaps a month ago. Not a big deal I figured, the chaeto will pull it out. Oddly they haven't really moved in the last 3-4 weeks, so I'm curious if I've zeroed out my phosphate, which would explain some coral issues I've been having. Unfortunately no phosphate test. The appropriate thing is probably to pick up some cubes of mysis and start feeding the duncans. I'd still like to add some fish, but I'm realizing that my tendency to be occasionally gone for 10 days is a bit of a liability there. My fish back in Dallas are healthy enough, and the natural grazing in the tank large enough, that a week at a time here and there is a non-issue, but in a smaller tank with fish that I haven't had time to fatten up I could see it being an issue, and I don't want to impose on anyone.

Some coral dead, sadly including one from the frags from the swap and I think I have an efflo frag that's not going to make it, but more where the parent colony came from. Other things obviously growing (that alk went somewhere).

Also on the bad front, the water is REALLY cloudy/white. I'm about to change the skimmer, so I figure between that and the macro being trimmed recently and finally having room to grow it might clear its self up. While it's sort of annoying to look at the zoas seem really happy about it, so I'm not going to worry about it until its my biggest issue. Pretty is a benefit, but the real goal is just keeping things alive/established as I slowly move across the country. Wife is still job hunting, so no real date yet.


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In the mean time, here are a few recent pictures from the tank in Dallas I took last weekend. The blue lights really are quite magical in the morning. Not only do they make the colors come out nicely, they hide the truly horrific amount of algae on the rocks. The same corals as before, but pretty pictures none the less:







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So in person (and in your opinion) that second coral is pink or red?
It is color accurate in the photo given the very blue lighting. The photo was taken with a gel to correct for the phone camera’s issues with blue lights. During the daytime lighting spectrum it is a paler red/pink.


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Bare bottom bacterial blooms are normal

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I have considered putting containers of sand in the tank, but I don’t want to fully sand the tank as I expect to move it again in the next 3-9 months. I wonder if a few Tupperware containers of sand would help?


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Nah. Stick with bare bottom. Once you go bare bottom and get stabilized you’ll never go back to a sand bed.