Friday, February 20, 2009


Here are some pictures from this evening.

Full tank shot

Left side

Right side


Yellow tipped green clove polyps

Montipora Digitata

Purple zoas

More zoas

T. Maxima

Different angle


Green Slimer

Monti Cap

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Good-Bye Hofer Gurgle Buster

I pulled my Hofer Gurgle Buster (HGB) from my overflow tonight.

A few days ago I noticed that the water level in my main tank was way high. After investigating I determined that a big clump of algae dislodged from the inside of my overflow (the part inside the tank) and got stuck against some of the holes in the HGB. The water level in the overflow rose and caused the tank level to rise. This caused my sump to empty and my pumps started blowing microbubbles in the tank. These bubbles ended up collecting in my siphon tube between the overflow boxes because the flow slowed down dramatically. When I noticed this my tank was within a half inch of overflowing and my siphon tube contained a huge bubble that was also blocking half the pipe.

This was the second time this happened in about two months. When I got home tonight I noticed again that the water level in the overflow outside the tank was rising again. Another big piece of hair algae was trapped. I could no longer ignore the warnings the HGB had to go or get modified before I came home to a flood.

After pulling it out I noticed that the overflow really wasn't all that loud. I then got a new piece of PVC for a stand pipe and cut it so it was just lower than the height of the wall in the overflow. By using a stand pipe I eliminated the noise of the water crashing over the wall in the overflow down to the drain.

It turns out this is all I needed. The overflow is just as quiet as the HGB was and I don't have to worry about algae clogging the drain holes and causing a flood. Now, I'm not knocking the HGB design. Perhaps the holes I drilled ino it were just too small. But if the simple PVC standpipe does the job just as well why should I make something that is more complicated and has a higher risk of failing?

It would be really hard for anything to get stuck and block the hole at the top of the simple PVC. Perhaps my overflow is quiet since I don't have a huge amount of flow, I'm just using two 802 powerheads for my return pumps.

So what is the lesson here? I determined that I needed the HGB even before I actually tried my tank without it or trying the simplest solution first. Always try the simplest solution first.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Stop The Stimulus Scam

And now a brief detour away from reef-keeping and to politics.

Sign the petition here!

Conference Report Is Another No-Stimulus Disaster
This bill provides the least tax relief of any version yet, even cutting President Obama’s signature middle class tax cut from $500 per individual and $1000 per couple to $400 and $800. That takes money out the pockets of regular Americans to pay for more wasteful spending.
This bill, by all accounts, still funds the stealth imposition of health care rationing via so-called “Comparative Evaluation Research,” that would let bureaucrats decides whether people are too old or too sick to receive a treatment.
The price tag, is still astonishing. $789 billion might be less than the Senate’s $838 billion, but it’s massively more than the $300 billion this bill originally was proposed at, and still tops a trillion dollars when interest is including. This is money we don’t have being spent on things we can’t afford on every city and state’s pork wish list.
President Obama promised the federal government would be more open and transparent, and that all legislation would be available for 5 days of public review. The House voted unanimously to allow a 48-hour public review that now looks unlikely to happen. Can't we slow down and properly evaluate a measure that will (including interest) cost taxpayers over a trillion dollars?
What's Wrong with the Stimulus Bill?
The so-called “Stimulus Package” is being sold to taxpayers as an investment in useful infrastructure like roads and bridges. But the facts prove otherwise.
Only 3.6% of the scheme’s $825 billion price tag would actually go to real, practical infrastructure projects--roads and bridges.
Most of the other 96.4% would go to special interest pet projects, and to cramming years’ worth of radical policy changes into the single largest spending and debt scheme in history.
Even the Congressional Budget Office, the official scorekeeper of the economic impact of legislation, has said that it would, on balance, hurt the economy.
Why are our nation’s leaders doing this? Obama White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel was strikingly honest when he said "Never let a serious crisis go to's an opportunity to do things you couldn't do before." Exactly what fringe policies are big-government politicians attempting to ram through with this colossal bill?
Under the auspices of a “Comparative Effectiveness Review,” the package heavily funds the first steps towards the socialization and government-mandated rationing of health care. And this is just one of many government power grabs being shoehorned into the so-called “Stimulus Package.”
In fact, even by the most charitable estimates, the bill would force taxpayers to foot the bill for at least 600,000 new government bureaucrats. That’s six tenths of a million more people on the government payroll -- adding little or no value to our economy and being paid with billions upon billions of your hard-earned tax dollars.
And just what sort of special interest giveaways and wasteful government spending are included in the so-called “Stimulus Package”? To name just a few...
- $4.19 billion in slush funds for ACORN, the left-wing advocacy group best known for allegations of voter fraud during the 2008 presidential campaign- $600 million to buy brand new cars for government bureaucrats- $335 million for adult sex workshops (one of the few line items which could conceivably deliver "stimulus" )- $150 million for honeybee insurance- $2.8 billion for the US Department of Agriculture in a misdirected program more likely be spent to build unnecessary broadband internet services in urban areas than in the rural areas that lack service.
These are just a few examples of the shameless feeding frenzy taking place in halls of Congress today with this so-called “Stimulus Package.”
This trillion-dollar debt and spending scheme will provide little or no stimulus, but will put each and every American household in at least $6,700 of new debt, to be paid by our children and grandchildren.
Spending Stimulus Can't Work
1. Every dollar the government spends comes from the private sector.
Nobel Prize winner Milton Friedman famously said: "there ain't no such thing as a free lunch." Government spending is either financed through higher taxes, higher federal borrowing, or by printing money. Those are the only possibilities. They all create greater economic damage than any stimulus effect of new spending.
● Tax increases lower the incentive to work, save, and invest. There is a strong association between tax increases and reduced economic growth. In an economic crisis, tax hikes should be unthinkable. The Revenue Act of 1932 was one of the major reasons an economic crisis deepened into the Great Depression.
● Government borrowing also takes money out of the private economy—the money that bond purchasers hand over to the government in exchange for the bonds. That money could otherwise be used for business investment that would expand the economy’s productive capacity. If the funds are borrowed from abroad, our exports are lowered because U.S. dollars are being used to buy bonds instead of goods. Borrowed funds also have to be paid back, placing a burden on future taxpayers. Excessive borrowing also may increase interest rates, deepening the credit crisis.
● Inflation may be most damaging financing mechanism of all. If government spends money that it hasn’t taxed or borrowed, then it is literally creating money out of thin air. More dollars being created means that the dollars in our pockets and bank accounts are worth less than they were before. Inflation is a stealth tax that erodes the value of everything and destroys real economic growth.
2. History shows spending stimulus fails.
America experimented with large-scale expansions of government spending in the 1930s with the New Deal and again in the 1960s and 70s with the Great Society. These dramatic expansions of government spending coincided with economic failure. The long-boom that started under Reagan and continued until now with only a couple of brief, mild recessions coincided with a significant decline in federal spending as a percentage of the economy.
3. Infrastructure projects should be judged on their merits, but not as stimulus.
There is a role for government in providing certain public goods that the market cannot efficiently provide. If financing is available at favorable rates it may make sense to take a long-term view and begin projects that are legitimately justified on their merits. We should be under no misconception, however, that public works spending is stimulative, because borrowed dollars are taken out of the private sector.

Monday, February 9, 2009

New corals

Browsing ebay for corals I came across a place in Villa Park, IL called Reef Depot. I sent an email asking if I could just pick up the corals if I won an auction. One of the owners, Mark, said I should just stop by on the weekend. So, this I did. My daughter and I took a road trip and stopped at Chipotle for lunch along the way.

I wasn't sure what to expect. I knew this was somebody's home. I figured that he had a couple tanks with egg crate and coral flags and I would be the only one there. Turns out they have a good business running there. There were about 4 or 5 other people there while we were there. They have two huge homemade plywood tanks lined with rubber. All pumps were turned off so you can easily view the tanks from above. Each tank had at least 500 coral frags in it. They also had some much bigger corals, mushroom rocks and a few huge clams. They also had two very friendly chocolate labs. We had to be careful not to step on any paws or tails while browsing.

So here is what we got. I appologize for the lousy pictures. I'm not feeling great today and didn't want to get the tripod out. I'll take some better ones later.

Red Australian Acan with 10 polyps (some of them are small). $40

Fiji yellow tipped clove coral with 3 polyps. At the store it only looked like it had 2 polyps so they only charged me $10. After it opened at home a 3rd free polyp showed itself.

A green paly

and a purple one

Each of these was $10 per plug.

Finally, some zoas. Also for $10/plug.

Put my Xenia to Work

I stopped into a LFS on Saturday and asked them if they would be interested in taking some of my Red Sea Pom-Pom Xenia frags from store credit. I was prepared and took a video with my phone so I was able to show them pulsing away. He said to bring in 10 of them and we negotiated on a price of $5/rock. Most rocks had two small stalks, some had one and one had 4. He said he would be interested in more when I get them. He actually gave me cash. So what did I do with my hard-earned pay? I bought another coral of course. A beautiful leather.

I think this was a pretty sweet deal. I would have had to eventually throw the Xenia out to trim them back to prevent them from taking over the entire tank. I hope to have another crop ready to go in another month.

These pictures were taken by wife. Who is, for the most part, very understanding of my obsession/hobby.

My toadstool leather that I've had for some time hasn't opened up during the day since I got the new leather. Its tentacles were out this morning when I woke up and the tank was still dark.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Gold Flakes Inside My Anemone

So I was looking at my bubble tip anemone the other day and I noticed a spot of color on one of its tentacles.

I sat there and watched it for a while and realized that the speck or flake was moving and was inside the tentacle.

When the tentacle was lifted straight up by the current the flake would fall with gravity.

When the tentacle drifted down, the flake would work its way towards the tip of the tentacle. Looking around I could see some very small flakes in a few other tentacles.

So what are these? These flakes look like the flakes of real gold in a bottle of Goldschlager. Now I've heard of people dosing their tanks with vodka to help with nitrate reduction. Now, it almost looks like somebody has been giving my anemone Goldschlager. Could my anemone be sneaking out of the tank when we aren't home and getting into the liquor cabinet? Hmmm, better install a webcam.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Which Salt Mix is the Best?

Here is a study of the most common seawater salt mixes.
To me it looks like Coralife seems to be the best. Interesting.

Here is another analysis.