Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Change in Lighting Cycle

I decided to reduce the amount of time my lights are on. I noticed my corals colored up when I replacing some higher PAR bulbs with actinics. I figured I'd reduce the amount of time the lights ae on and observe the results.

Actinics: On 9:30 am, Off 11:00 pm, Total 13.5 hours
Rest: On 10:00 am, Off 9:30 pm, Total 11.5 hours

Actinics: On 10:00 am, Off 11:00 pm, Total 13 hours
Rest: On 11:30 am, Off 9:30 pm, Total 10 hours

Frogspawn Update

It appears that I have stopped the progression of dying heads on my frogspawn by fragging the dying branch off. I'm convinced that leaving the ranch with the dying head would have caused the spread from one head to the next. The piece I cut off had one head that was still alive. I tried dipping it in iodine but it did not save it.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Dead Heads

Three heads on my frogspawn have died. The most logical explanation is that I dropped some dried salt on the edge of the tank into the tank when installing the net lid. The frogspawn sits in the middle of the tank directly under the center brace. Per Occam's razor, the simplest explanation tends to be the best one.

Tank Lid

I decided to make myself a lid for my tank after reading the trigger I bought last week is a notorious jumper.

I started with just egg crate cut to the size of the tank. This blocked too much light and was hard on the eyes because it was so bright when looking at the tank from above.

I then started removing some of the egg crate material to open up the size of the holes using wire cutters. It was a long process. I stopped before getting half way through one side because my hand started blistering.

I thought about plan B and came up with using deer or bird netting that is draped over bushes or flowers to prevent the deer from eating your plants. I bought a roll of bird netting at Home Depot for $7.

The next thing I needed to think of was constructing a frame. I wanted to find some plastic rods but I couldn't find any at Home Depot or Michaels (craft store). So I decided to use 1/4" hardwood dowel rods instead. I needed 5 of them at $.59 each or $3.

I cut the dowel rods to the proper size and wove them through the netting. I connected the dowel rods with pieces of airline tubing. The tubing is tight so I had to stretch the tubing by inserting some needle nose pliers into the tubing and expanding the pliers to stretch the tubing.

Stopping Carbon

All but one polyp of this coral started lightening up around the end of last year. I thought it may have been because I moved it up just a little into the rock work. So, a few days ago I moved it back down. The lightening started occuring prior to my anemone getting caught in the powerhead so I can rule that out. The only other change was the addition of carbon and the carbon reactor.

Therefore, as of this morning, the carbon reactor has been taken off line.

I thought I had noticed some increased growth in some of my acros since adding the reactor. Additionally I have definitely noticed my green open brain starting to expand more and more lately.

When I first got it would always be expanded. For the last yer or year and a half it stopped expanding. So this is a definite change and perhaps a benefit of carbon.

Also this morning a few heads of my frogspawn are retracted.

My chaeto has also started to brown a little. Perhaps because the carbon is removing some of the nutrients needed by the chaeto. Perhaps the browning chaeto is causing the stress in the tank.

This is the latest in a series of unfortunate events. Is it due to carbon? I don't know. However, it is easy to take the carbon off line and observe what happens.

Fragile Digitata

In the past I've been clumsy and have broken off a branch of my orange digitata while performing maintenance on the tank. This morning, I woke to find a good size branch sitting on the sand bed propped up by my maze brain and green trumpet. I'm guessing the trigger brushed up against it and broke it.

The break is visible in the center of the coral. The piece that broke off is simply propped up against the rock behind the coral.

Anthias Missing

Second in a succession of negative events in my tank is the fact that my Anthias is missing. Thursday I noticed that it had an injury on its left side. Some sort of an abrasion. It seemed fine and ate well on Thursday. It didn't see it at all last night. It has not made an appearance so far today either.

RTN Event

The red monti frag I bought last week is no more.

Here is what it looked like up until yesterday.

Yesterday, evening when I got home from work it looked like this.

I dipped it in a solution of Revive in an effort to save it. But alas this morning it looked like this.

I'm not sure what caused this. It's weird how a coral can be fine one day and completely gone the next.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Nice Wrasse

The Radiant Wrasse I introduced on Sunday finally decided to come out of hiding. It seems to be getting along with its tank mates.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sunday - New Fish

I heard about a reef store about 45 minutes away so my wife and I took a trip up to Sho Tank in Mundeline, IL. What a great store. A great selection of fish and corals.

Here is what I bought:

A male Lyretail Anthias

A Blue Jaw Trigger. I'm assured that this is reef safe. It spent its first full day in hiding. It finally came out briefly to check out the tank.

This trigger is huge. It is 5 or 6 inches long. Despite its size it is extremely shy and is easily spooked. It doesn't like to stay out for long.

I also bought a Radiant Wrasse. After I introduced it it disappeared into the sand and I haven't seen it yet.

Finally, although not a fish, I bought a maze brain. I've been looking for one for months with no luck. This store must have had 4 or 5 of them. I bought one of the smaller ones. It fluoresces nicely under the actinics.

Saturday - New corals

On my way from the grocery store on Saturday, (yes I do most of the grocery shopping), I stopped at my LFS. I occasionally, stop in to see if they have anything I really want to add. They finally had a Pink Birdsnest frag. I've been wanting one for almost a year and had yet to find a good looking frag.

Since all their frags are two for $30 I also picked up a red millie of some sort.

Before adding these on Saturday I moved my Green Slimer and added a piece of rock to elevate it a little. In the process of adding it the slimer fell on and broke a piece of my orange monti cap. I superglued the unintentional frag to the rock.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Coral war, huh, what is it good for?

My green birdsnest and a nearby millie have oh been taking off lately. The tips of a branch of each finally got very close and the birdsnest lost the war. Sunday morning I noticed the polyps on the affected branch of the birdsnest were not extended and the branch was discolored.

I moved the millie immediately after this picture was taken.

Today, two days later, the birdsnest looked like this.

A small portion of the branch had died. I'm not sure if this is RTN or what. I decided I wasn't going to take any chances and fragged off the affected branch to prevent the RTN from spreading further. If I waited longer an the RTN spread I would have had to frag apart the colony.

I cut off the living sections of the branch and superglued them to a plug. Hopefully this will be the end of this. I'm not sure if the anemone in the powerhead exacerbated this or what but I would not have expected to lose a branch due to a coral war.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Anemone vs. Koralia 1

Who won? The Powerhead did.

Yesterday morning I noticed the BTA on the right side of the tank had moved just a few inches from where it has lived for the last four months or so. I wasn't too concerned because it went back to it's original spot by the afternoon. By evening it was on the move again and was crawling up the glass only to be stopped by the branches of my Green Slimer. It retreated slightly by the time I went to bed. Just before bed I moved the closest Koralia 1 far away from the anemone as a precaution.

When I woke up this morning I turned on the lights in the tank to see what was formerly an anemone wrapped around the inside of another Koralia 1 in the tank. Part of the anemone was on the outside of the powerhead and part was on the inside and had been sucked through the protective grill. There was no saving it. It had to be ripped apart to free it from the powerhead.

I'm really bummed to see this guy get killed this way. This is the anemone that didn't look good a few months but then came back. Yesterday it was quite a beautiful animal and its tentacles were all bubbly while it was hosting my Maroon Clown part time. I had been thinking to myself just a few days earlier how neither of my two anemones had moved at all for the last several months.

What changed to make the anemone wander? The only thing I can think of is that I cleaned the acrylic light shield on my Nova Extreme Pro just two days earlier. I removed the entire cover and cleaned both sides in the bathtub. The inside had a good coating of dust and the outside had a good coating of salt spray. Perhaps the difference in light intensity was enough to upset the anemone. Perhaps it was upset because I hadn't been feeding my anemones lately because they were getting huge on their own. I'll never know.