Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Goodbye Biowheels

I've done 3 water changes in as many weeks. I went out and bought an API nitrate test and found my nitrates are indeed 20 ppm. I have a really old kit that was measuring around 5 ppm. However the new kit confirms the results of the LFS from the other weekend. I also tested my RO/DI water and found the nitrate level is 0 (or darn close to 0). If I can assume that the Coralife salt I'm using is indeed nitrate free then they must be produced within the tank.

I have 3 biowheels running in this tank in addition to all of my live rock. It is likely that these are the source of the nitrate so I'm pulling them out. I'll need to rely on the live rock to perform all of the biological filtration from here on out. If this coupled with more water changes doesn't lower the nitrates I'll have to add a refugium with a deep sand bed and macro algae.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sweeper Tentacles

I was looking very closely at my rose colored brain coral this morning while enjoying a cup of coffee and a cookie. The coral was fully expanded this morning and was looking at its best.

I was carefully watching it extend extremely fine filaments from the underside of the coral. I had noticed these before and thought is was just another small worm living in the tank. However, after studying these long enough I realized that these were tentacles and the coral was feeding. You see, the coral would let these out and would let them drift about. The coral would then rapidly reel them in. Look closely at the first photo below because the tentacle is difficult to see because it is so fine. Each tentacle has one main strand with small "rungs" hanging off of it.

These tentacles appeared to be able to extend 4 or 5 inches beyond the edge of the coral. My green open brain was in stinging range of these tentacles so it got moved a few inches further away.

Here are a few more pictures of my rose brain coral.


I had my water tested today and it turns out that my Nitrate is around 20. To make matters worse this is after I did a water change today. This is too high. I need to cut back on the amount I'm feeding. I'll do another water change this week.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Separation Complete

My Pom Pom Xenia finally separated into two today. The small tether that had been linking the two broke today. I now have two Pom Pom Xenias. The polyps are still small on both. I wish I could say that they looked better. Unless something changes I expect these two to melt away like the first Xenia I bought. I added a cap full of Iodine solution this morning and will do another water change this weekend.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


It's been really busy at home lately so I haven't been able to post regularly. Here is a quick update.

The Pom Pom Xenia is still in the process of splitting. Unfortunately, it isn't looking that great. It is starting to shrink a little. The polyps are much smaller than they once were and the stalks are a little shorter than they were a couple weeks ago at its peak. I did a water change last week in hopes that things would get better. I haven't really seen an improvement yet though. I'll do another water change this weekend. Here is what it looks like today, May 14th.

Here is how it looked one week ago on May 7th. Look how the polyps were so much bigger. This is bad Dory.

I also added carbon to my filters to see if this would make an improvement. So far I haven't seen any change.

In other news my Toadstool leather is always flopped over in the morning but then straightens up during the day. This didn't start happening until I added the Colt coral. Interestingly it leans exactly in the opposite direction of the Colt as if it is trying to get away from it. I know that the soft corals use chemical warfare against SPS corals but I didn't think that this affected different soft corals. I added carbon over the weekend to clean up any chemical toxins just in case. As of yet I have seen no change. Maybe it just likes to lean over to sleep. It looks totally fine during the day and molts every few days.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Make like a Xenia and split

My Pom Pom Xenia I bought a few weeks ago is growing. It is still pulsing but I don't think it is doing it quite as vigorously as when I first got it. Also, at times, the polyps seem a little shriveled. Most of the time it looks good. It is growing and now it appears to be splitting in two.

Here is how it looked when I bought it. It had only a single short stalk.

The stalk started to spit down the middle as the Xenia grew. One stalk grew a few nubs on it. The split eventually reached the foot of the coral. The stalk with the nubs started to drop down closer to the rock it was on. After a day or two of sitting next to the rock one of the nubs became a foot and grabbed hold of the rock.

The coral now looks like this. The two stalks are now in the process of splitting completely in two.

The taller stalk appears to be starting to split also. Looks like the whole process will repeat itself soon. Some people complain that these things can grow like weeds. I look forward to the day I can prune these and perhaps trade the frags for some different coral.

Meanwhile, my original Xenia has completely disappeared. I examined the rock it had been attached to and couldn't find a trace of it anywhere.