Thursday, October 11, 2012

Long Overdue Update.

So here we are in September of 2012 and I am finally getting around to updating the blog, the question is where to begin . . .  hmmm.  First the Oregon Tort, it's doing o.k. It's growing and the main body is deep navy in color, but the new growth is paler so I'm still a little concerned.  The frags that I put in my basement frag tank are doing even better, but interestingly enough they are under the old school 400 watt Radiums with Super Actinic VHO supplements and sitting only about 6 inches below the surface directly under the Radium.  Talk about blasting a coral!

Next update is the lighting on the main display.  I switched to Sfiligoi fixtures.  I have 2 fixtures each with 8 T5 lamps and 2 150 watt HQI Radiums.  They are connected to a Profilux controller.  I love the fact that I have a true dawn dusk simulation and the color of the light is fantastic.   My corals all look better than ever.  In particular the blue millepora which had been struggling to recover is stunning again, and the thick branch pink birds nest which is hiding in the back of my tank is pinker than I have ever seen,  and fantastically a frag of ORA Red Planet that had turned green and sickly is quickly recovering to it's beautiful reddish coloration.  It's not completely there yet, but it's definitely getting there.

In the category of we never stop learning no matter how old or experienced we think we are, I was talking to Rob at Greenwich Aquaria about how I always  struggle to keep my alkalinity up, and he asked if I had ever tried to up the output on my calcium reactor to match the alkalinity usage in my system.  Truth be told I had never studied the science of my reactor and had always been working under a stable but flawed process that amounted to guessing so I went home and found a webpage made by J. Dieck that allowed me to carefully analyze my reactor output.

What I found was that my effluent was around 15 dKh and my flow rate was less than 100 ml/min.  Based on the information on his page I increased the flow rate to a maximum suggested rate of 150 ml/min and then studied my alkalinity over a period of several weeks.  I ended up increasing the bubble count from the CO2 to about 120 bubbles/min which created an effluent alkalinity around 20 dKh and now my tank alkalinity is stable at about 8 to 8.5 dKh.  The savings in B-Ionic cost will be enormous, but the question remains how often will I need to refill the reactor with media and exchange the CO2 tank with a new one.  Regardless, I am certain it will have a net cost well below the B-Ionic cost.  I haven't yet tested the pH so I wonder if it is lower now that I'm adding more effluent.  Standby for more info on that!

Well I think that's a good start for now .  .  .

Thanks everyone for checking in!

Happy Reefin',


P.S. Watch for some very exciting work to come from my daughter Grace.  She's decided she wants to take charge of my Banggaii breeding project and so we are working on setting up a 93 gallon cube in her bedroom.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Trouble in paradise.

So if you're the type that enjoys "SchadenFreude" then you'll love this . . . my favorite coral of all time, the Oregon Tort, has gotten sick.  Call it "white tip disease" or just slow death it wasn't happy so I took the chance and broke it out of the tank to dip it in Coral Revive and frag it into as many pieces as I could.  Much of the frags are pale and so I think sick, but the piece I put back is still dark navy, but only time will tell if this will work or not.  Hopefully at least a couple of the frags will live.  The silver lining if there is one, is that I have lots more room to add the ORA Pearlberry and Ice Fire Echinata in premium position now.  I'm including a couple crappy photos just so everyone can see what I'm talking about.  Funny thing is all the other corals are looking superb . . . .

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Water change day.

Did a sump vacuum, rock rinse, and water change today.  2.5 hours.  Using ESV salt now instead of Coralife, and it mixes much faster and clearer, not that that means anything by itself, but there it is . . .

The Tubbs Blue Zoo rock has fully recovered with all polyps open.  Took about 1 month.  After a month of being closed up I was certain it was a goner, but here again patience and care paid off.  On the flip side, one of my stylo's fell over after I tried to move it into an area of lower light.  I left it at the top of the tank with high flow for about 6 months and it did grow, but it still hasn't gotten that deep pink with hints of purple that it had in Rick Souta's tank in Oregon.  We'll see if the new location is any better.  Possible it's like the purple acropora nana which doesn't really show it's best color until the colony grows fairly large.

Off to work tomorrow and this time I have to leave early so got to get everything done tonight.  Not gonna get to the skimmer this week, but it really doesn't look that bad so I think I'm o.k. waiting 'til next Tuesday.  Really want to get a web cam for my tank.  I'm hoping once I have Verizon FIOS installed I can try their home monitoring system!

That's it for today,


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The list gets longer . . .

Since being home Sunday my days have been filled so the list of work is starting to pile up.  Hopefully, I can get it done next week:

water change
Iwaki pump clean
vacuum sump
rinse sump LR
adjust Ranco controller temp
catch Banggai babies in sump
cut frags

Interesting note:  I changed to 250 watt Radiums from 400 watt Radiums and then I brought the interval for the Radiums down from 10 hours to 8 hours and my corals never looked better.  Just today  I am adjusting the interval down to 7 hours, and we'll see how it goes.

Also, a picture of the new Scoly as well as two corals I thought I had lost.  The acan I got way back in 2007 when I changed from the 280 to the 240 and the Tubs I have been trying to grow for years.  Both corals seemed to have virtually disappeared and the Tubs were shut tight for the longest time, but now everybody seems to be recovering.  Sometimes it's just a mystery . . .

Friday, January 20, 2012

Hi ho Hi ho, It's off to work i go. . .

Once again the slight nervous trepidation as I prepare to leave my baby alone for 3 days.  Heading off to Rome, but I'll be back late Sunday night.  Cleaned the glass and the skimmer, dosed 1L of B-Ionic, and topped off the RO bucket before leaving.  Also got a new coral, but I'm worried about a tiny amount of damage on the rim.  It's a Scoly, and I'm a wee bit ashamed to say what I paid for it, but hey it's beautiful!  Can't seem to get the photo from email right now so I'll have to wait until I get back home Sunday or Monday.

Cheers All!


Monday, January 16, 2012

Testing and dosing day.

Started the morning by dosing 1L B-Ionic because I knew it had been a while since my last dose and figured the tank would need it.  Now this afternoon I just finished testing all the parameters:

Ca            450 ppt
Mg        1450 ppm
Alk           8.0 dKH
pH            8.3
I             above NSW
NO3       0.25 ppm
PO4        0.00 ppm

That says to me that the PO4x4 stuff works incredibly well.  I still can't believe that a mere 250 ml treats a 700 gallon system with no trouble.

Also did some aquascape rearranging today.  I was on ORA's webste reading up on my Ponape comments and noticed they recommended lower light for more green tinging of color and darker purple so I broke up the piece I had been growing and put frags at a couple different levels in the tank.  That also made the high light, high flow spot that it had been inhabiting available for a new frag.  It's a piece of $500 Efflo that is not looking to $500ish right now but I have high hopes!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Check out my new Facebook page!

I recently thought that to connect to more people, I should set up a Facebook page so if you have a chance, please go on and check it out, like it, and tell your friends about it!!/pages/The-Coral-Gardener/260898250643419