Friday, February 29, 2008


The Ich outbreak that my Blue Tang was suffering appears to be least for now. He/She is looking healthy again. There were no signs of spots this morning. I am somewhat familiar with the lifecycle of Ich. It's possible that the buggers are alive in my tank and going through their free-swimming stage. We shall see. The best medicine is prevention. Keep the water conditions good and don't overfeed.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


I spotted my Regal Tang seeking out a cleaning from my Fire Shrimp. I got curious since I never saw this tang seeking out a cleaning from my cleaner shrimp nor have I seen any fish seek out a cleaning from my Fire Shrimp. Upon closer examination I discovered that my Regal Tang has a nasty case of Ich. I also spotted a few spots on my Royal Gramma. I have seen both scratching against the glass or a rock. Both are eating vigorously.

I always shied away from the Regal Tang because they always looked unhealthy in the store. This one looked healthy to me so I bought it several weeks ago. Now, a few weeks after getting sucked into my powerhead and surviving it gets sick. I have since read that these fish are Ich magnets"

Quote from "One of the other problems associated with Hepatus Tangs is their tendency to become sickly. They have a strong propensity to contract a variety of parasitic infections, especially marine Ich or Cryptocaryon. This infection is so prevalent with this species that many people refer to this fish as the “Ich magnet”. There is another health concern with this particular fish."

I tested my water the weekend before last. My nitrate was at 5ppm. Chemically everything looks good. I'm not sure what to do except wait. I probably should get a quarantine tank set up.

This is the first time I've ever encountered Ich in either salt or freshwater. Hopefully, this works out OK.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


One of my firefish has gone missing. I haven't seen it for just about a week now. I've peered into its bolt hole but have not been able to spot it. So, like Steve Fossett, I'll just have to declare it dead at this point.

This is the second mystery death in my tank since it has been well established. First a clown fish, now a firefish. What killed them I may never know. I do know that my water quality is close to perfect. Nitrates at 5 ppm, phosphate 0, calcium 460 ppm, pH 8.3. In both cases the fish looked perfectly healthy the day before.

My blue tang has looked better also. It developed some white spots around the fin on its left side. It looks like it is recovering but this is of some concern. I know that the water quality is good so what else can I do?

Monday, February 18, 2008

Auntie Em, auntie Em, it's a twister!

Life has been getting in the way of posting lately. It has a habit of doing that.

My new Koralia 3 power heads have been installed and are running. If I had to do it again I would have ordered the 2's. The current generated by the 3's is on the high side. I knew I had to adjust the aiming when my wife commented that my torch coral looked like it was going for a ride in a convertible. They are aimed at the surface of the tank along the back glass.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

New Powerheads on Order

I've had my aquaclear 802 (70) powerhead unplugged for a while now to prevent any additional tragedies. My Blue Tang looks like he has recovered fully from getting sucked into the powerhead. The white lines on its right side have vanished. I figured out that this powerhead doesn't come with a cone shaped screen that's why I could never find them. My torch coral isn't expanding quite the way it had been. It really liked the higher current.

I have two new powerheads on order. I decided to go with Hydor Koralia 3 pumps from Marine Depot. They are meant specifically for circulating water in a tank with a gentle flow rather than sucking water through an undergravel filter lift tube. At 4 incles long they are a little big but I should be able to hide them behind live rock. If I do end up putting them in plain view I'm sure they will be covered with coralline algae within a few months anyway and blend in. What is really nice about these is that they are held in place with magnets so they can be positioned anywhere. There are no suction cups to lose grip causing them to fall.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Birth, Death, Stupidity and Hopeful Recovery

This past weekend in my familyroom reef was quite eventful.

Sexual reproduction, to be more exact. I witnessed one of my mushroom anemones spawning. A fine stream of sperm or eggs was exiting its mouth. The anemone was green at the time whereas all of the others on the same rock were brown. The anemone had the same appearance that it has when the lights are first turned on in the morning with the exception that its mouth was larger than usual and it looked a lot more relaxed. By the time I grabbed my camera, which has been living on the end table closest to the tank, the event was over. Here is the picture I was able to take. The mushroom anemone that spawned is the green one smoking the cigarette.

I'm not sure why they call it a mouth anyway. It should be called the multi-purpose orifice since anemones eat, poo and breed through this "mouth".

I lost my flame angelfish this weekend. It was starting to get adventurous and swimming in and out of all of the openings and caves in my live rock. It never ventured out of the shadows of the rock but it was coming into plane view quite a bit. On Saturday morning I couldn't find him. Then, to my horror, I saw red and blue fins sticking out of the intake to one of my power heads. I quickly turned off the power to the pump and removed the victim. It was lifeless. It got to close to the intake and got sucked in and was plastered up against the intake screen. I had been operating this powerhead from my old setup for months without the cone shaped screen since I couldn't find the screen. I only meant to use this power head temporally while I was setting up the tank. However, since everything was going well I didn't want to change anything. I've looked for the cone shaped screen to buy individually but I haven't been able to find them. Per Murphy's law my most expensive fish to date was the one to get killed. Talk about bad karma.

After the loss of the flame angel I considered pulling out the powerhead while I looked harder for a new screen or replaced it. I was afraid of the impact of the reduced current on my corals. I decided that removing the powerhead would be like closing the barn door after the cows escaped anyway. I also figured that the flame angel incident was a fluke. Everything ran fine for more than 3 months without an incident. What is the chance of another incident occurring before I replace the powerhead. It turned out to be pretty damn high. Yesterday evening I couldn't find my blue tang. I gasped when I spotted a yellow tail fin sticking out of the powerhead. Like a bad recurring nightmare I turned off the powerhead and removed the tang. This time the fish was still alive. He had the deep impressions of the filter screen on one side of its body and looked stunned but it was alive and swimming. It even went to the glass and started eating algae. This morning he was up and about swimming and eating. The impressions of the screen have faded to just thin white lines. Hopefully, he will make a full recovery without getting an infection. We'll see. By the way, the powerhead is now turned off.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Mr. Happy

My bubble anemone is reaching massive proportions. Its disc is about 8 inches in diameter during the day. Most evenings it shrinks down into a little ball no larger than a baseball. Its foot is firmly planted on the bottom of a piece of rock. Its shaft extends about 8 inches from the foot to its disc. And thats no exagerated guy measurement either. Its simply massive. I had to move my rock with the star polyps because the disc of the anemone was regularly covering the rock.

The tentacles don't have the bubbles at the tips but I've read that metal halide lighting or a hosting clown fish may be required for the anemone to develop the bubbles. Everything else about the anemone looks healthy to me. But hey, what do I know? I've been in this hobby for only 3 months.

Bubble anemone

Bubble Anemone and Peppermint Shrimp