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Old 10/21/2017, 05:51 AM   #26
RedGabino
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The Vectra pump can't be controlled with Apex.
Your tank is awesome

Enviado desde mi BLN-L24 mediante Tapatalk


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Old 10/21/2017, 06:10 PM   #27
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Thank you RedGabino. It is very disappointing to see EcoTech moving away from a partnership with Neptune. Ever since I removed the loc-line check valves the flow from my return has been much better. I'll stick to my current pump until the COR comes out and wait to see how it does before upgrading. The only reason to upgrade is the controllability.

And with that, update time! Last weekend I picked up an ORA chalice frag, a blue acro frag, some margarita snails, and some cerith snails. I picked these up to test my tank's stability and see if I could keep them alive. So far so good, though I'm pretty sure I shocked the snails when I acclimated them. They've been very slow to start moving, but are alive and seem okay now. That said, I really didn't want the margaritas, but the store I went to didn't get a shipment in last week, so it was slim pickins. Now that my tank is stable, I will place an order with ReefCleaners.

My phyto culture is doing awesome! Today was the fourth cutting and the diluted culture is so dark you can't see through it. For the Tisbe pods, I dumped them into the half of the culture left over from the split two cuts ago. Last week I sieved them out and moved them to the left overs of last weeks split. However, this method doesn't work well as it's impossible to see them in the dark green culture to manage. Today I sieved them out and put them in their own containers with fresh saltwater. The sieve carried some of the phtyo gunk with it and I added half an ounce of phyto to each container. Now the culture is very light green and I can see the pods, several of which are carrying eggs. Now I just need to find the right amount of phyto to keep them producing.

I also changed my lighting schedule today. Before I brought every color up to 100% at 4 PM, but had the blues come on earlier and stay on later. Now I'm running 20k at 100% with a 3 hour ramp up and ramp down period.

Now some pictures to finish it off. However, 20k lights with an iPhone camera doesn't result in very good photos :/ The chalice is reddish/pink and the acro is bright blue, but you can't really tell in the pics.

Chalice - It has 4 eyes.

Untitled by Mike Burns, on Flickr

Acro

Untitled by Mike Burns, on Flickr


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Old 11/04/2017, 05:20 PM   #28
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The acro completely bleached and the flesh is peeling off the chalice. I am very annoyed as I have no idea what caused it. My parameters are perfect and I don't see any parasites. There are a lot of what I believe to be flatworms in the tank, but I do not think they are parasitic flatworms and I haven't seen them on the corals. Either way, I am going to wait hold off on corals until my fish go in. I'll be getting a pink streaked wrasse, which should eat all the flatworms and other critters. While I don't think parasites are an issue, I'm still going to let the wrasse go to town before coral round two.

My phtoplankton culture crashed. One of the containers went completely clear overnight. The other still had a faint green tint, which I immediately cut and put about a quarter each into two new containers. They have reestablished nicely, so I don't have to start over. Going forward I'll be using a smaller amount when I cut to prevent such high densities from forming again. I'll also be expanding to at least 4 cultures from 2.

The Tisbe pod cultures are doing well and they are reproducing like crazy. I will be expanding the number of cultures for the Tisbes from 2 to at least 6 or 8.

I am also going to start a white worm culture. I found an interesting culture from a dealer in CO called Select Aquatics. I will likely be giving them a try, as they are not the traditional white worms seen and thrive at warmer temperatures.

In happier news I got the Neptune doser. I was manually dosing my tank 3 times a day for alk, calcium, and magnesium. The doser will be handling the alk and calcium over much larger time periods and I will dose the magnesium manually once a week.


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Old 11/05/2017, 08:47 AM   #29
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How do you like the prime? I am debating on getting one


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Old 11/13/2017, 08:15 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Indiana Reefin View Post
How do you like the prime? I am debating on getting one
I like it so far, very sleek. Iíll probably get a par meter next month to check its power on the tank.


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Old 12/08/2017, 07:38 AM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clownfish4 View Post
My phyto culture was split for the second time today and is going strong. As such, I ordered my pods. I ordered the ReefGen Tisbe pods from LA. Should be delivered Wednesday. Once that culture is stable, I will order my fish. I am going to get a spotted mandarin, diamond watchman goby, and pink streaked wrasse.

I haven't fully settled on a feeding regiment yet, but I am thinking about adding pods every evening and baby brine every other morning, then dried cyclop-eeze soaked in selcon once or twice a week. I may decide to do two brine cultures and feed baby brine every morning instead of every other. I will also be adding phyto once a week.

I am waiting to order my cleanup crew until about the 4th week of quarantine, that way they will go in about a week before the fish. I will be sticking to snails only and ordering from Reef Cleaners.

Over the past week or so I have noticed a large population of the organism pictured below on my glass. My assumption is that these are harmless, algae eating flatworms. If you know what these are, please let me know.

Untitled by Mike Burns, on Flickr
The one on right looks like the type I had overtaking my tank years and years ago. Keep an eye on their population, if they really start becoming noticeable then FWE sooner rather than later. I found hardly anything that would actually eat enough of them to make a difference, besides the nudi that's my avatar pic and that wouldn't be a good option for your tank setup.

Tank looks great though!


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Current Tank Info: 60 gal Deep Blue cube, AquaC EV180, Kessil H80 fuge, A360WE TB
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Old 03/04/2018, 01:27 PM   #32
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Thank you Pete!

Sorry for the long break, life got in the way, as it does. I've made A LOT of changes since November. My rock and rock wall were completely covered in algae, and the rock wall was taking up too much valuable real estate. As such, I tossed the rock wall and pulled all the rock out. I also decided I didn't want to risk the flat worms, so I pulled all the sand out as well and sanitized the tank.

Starting over, I decided I wanted to go with live rock. I do most of my shopping online as the closest LFS is over an hour a way. I decided to go with Walt Smith 2.1 and it was a tossup between TBS and LA. I went with LA due to cost. Unfortunately, I made a very stupid assumption that the Walt smith rock provided by LA was live. It didn't clearly state on the website if it was live or dry, but they required two day shipping, so I assumed it must be live. I mean, who would require two day shipping on dry rock, right? Well, apparently LA required two day shipping on dry rock I contacted their customer service and they were very defensive and dismissive and stopped replying after a single response. I've always had good luck with LA, so I won't let one experience stop me from using them, but that one definitely stung. Luckily I was ordering rock for an 18 gallon and not a 300.

For Christmas I got the Apex FMK and PMK. In order to install the FMK, I reversed my bulkheads in my drain. I put the 1" meter on my full siphon and the two 1/2" meters on each of my returns. Each meter is directly connected to the bulkhead.

Untitled by Mike Burns, on Flickr


I also installed the VCA random flow generators on each of the returns. These things are awesome and create very interesting effects. The T for the return pip is closer to one of the returns, so one return is pushing 95 gph and one is pushing 99 gph. The return averages about 12 gph more than the two return combined. I just split the difference and assume the flow through the tank is ~200 gph. Total system volume is about 18 gallons (display tank is 18 gallons and sump volume is about 4 gallons, I round to 18 due to displacement), so I have roughly 11x turnover between my sump and display.

Apex Flow Meters by Mike Burns, on Flickr


I haven't played around much with the PMK yet. When I get around to it, I am going to set it in a few different positions for 24 hours and graph the full daily PAR cycle for each spot.

I also moved my probes to the overflow box, which meant I had to move the light mount. I moved the light mount to the side of the overflow box so that I could still put a mesh top over the tank. The only other thing that blocked the top was the cord for the Tunze nano, but luckily the cord fit in the overflow slot, so I pushed it down. Now I just need to buy the mesh top and install it.

Untitled by Mike Burns, on Flickr

In the sump I added SM Drop .2 ATS and moved the skimmer to the fuge chamber. Since I added the ATS, I'm not going to put substrate or algae in the fuge. I'll add some rock to the skimmer/overflow chamber.

Untitled by Mike Burns, on Flickr


Last week I added Dr. Tim's One-and-Only and dosed ammonia to start my fishless cycle. Here are the logs so far:

2/26 - Turned skimmer off, added One-and-Only, and 70 drops ammonia. Ammonia tested at 4.0.
2/27 - Ammonia tested at 2.0.
2/28 - Ammonia tested at 2.0.
3/1 - Ammonia tested at 2.0.
3/2 - Ammonia tested at 2.0, nitrate tested at 25.
3/3 - Ammonia tested at 1.0, nitrate tested at 25. Turned skimmer back on.

I'm going to keep testing daily until ammonia tests .5 or lower, then add 17 drops of ammonia. If it doesn't drop to .5 or lower by 3/8, I'm going to do a gallon water change, then dose 17 drops.

I have some light diatom algae on the sand bed, which was expected. I left the lights on during the cycle and am going to leave them on so long as their is minimal algae growth. The ATS has been running for the full cycle.

The biggest issue I have right now is surface scum. there's a dusty/oily layer on the surface and the returns/Tunze nano aren't enough to break it up. The returns break up a few square inches each. The return with 4 gph lower volume has significantly less impact on it. I ordered 4 loc-line elbows to raise the height of the random flow generators. This will both increase surface agitation and significantly reduce the amount of water that back siphons when the power goes out. In the picture below, directly above the closest outlet, you can see a clear streak. Everything else, except an area above the other nozzle, is dust/oil scum.

Untitled by Mike Burns, on Flickr


I have five last things to do to the physical setup.

1. I need to buy and install the mesh top.
2. I need to mount all of the Apex stuff and clean up the cabling.
3. I am going to install the COR-15 as soon as I can get one. Kicking myself for not pre-ordering as they are all sold out now.
4. Install the loc-line elbows.
5. Install a door on the front of the stand.

I've also decided to change up my stocking plan. For fish I am going to get a pink streaked wrasse and a mated pair of gobies with a symbiotic shrimp. I am also going to get a fire shrimp. For coral I am going to go predominantly SPS with a few softies and LPS, and of course a clam.

Assuming the cycle progresses smoothly I will be planning on adding fish in the next couple of weeks. LA's Diver's Den has a few mated goby/shrimp trios, so I will go with whatever the best available choice is when I order.

For fish food I plan on blending a seafood medley with spirulina, selcon, garlic, and ginger. I will also do occasional live baby brine, maybe once a week. I still need to figure out what I am going to do for vacations. I will likely get the Apex auto feeder and have it dose pellets while I am out of town, as well as ask local reefers to stop by.

I think that covers everything. Here are some more pics.

Untitled by Mike Burns, on Flickr


Untitled by Mike Burns, on Flickr



Last edited by clownfish4; 03/04/2018 at 01:33 PM.
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Old 03/06/2018, 06:43 AM   #33
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Got my first PAR measurement yesterday. Below is the graph for middle of my sand bed (inside the rock cove).

Apex PAR Sand Bed Middle by Mike Burns, on Flickr


And her is the graph of the AI Prime schedule. The highest line is 100%.

AI Prime Schedule by Mike Burns, on Flickr


I moved the meter to the top of the front-right rock, so I will post that measurement tomorrow.

For the cycle, 3/4 tested at 1 ammonia, but 50 nitrate. On 3/5 I did a 5g water change, which brought ammonia to 0 and nitrate to 25, then dosed 35 more drops of ammonia. Looking at ordering fish either next week or the week after, more so dependent on finding a day to work from home.


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Old 03/07/2018, 06:32 AM   #34
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Below is the PAR graph on top of the rock in the front right. I'm a bit surprised at the minimal increase from the middle sandbed, however it is off center whereas the middle sandbed was directly beneath the light.

Apex PAR Top Right Rock by Mike Burns, on Flickr


The cycle is still chugging along. I have some nice diatom growth. Below is the log of the cycle.

2/26 - Turned skimmer off, added One-and-Only, and 70 drops ammonia. Ammonia tested at 4.0.
2/27 - Ammonia tested at 2.0.
2/28 - Ammonia tested at 2.0.
3/1 - Ammonia tested at 2.0.
3/2 - Ammonia tested at 2.0, nitrate tested at 25.
3/3 - Ammonia tested at 1.0, nitrate tested at 25. Turned skimmer back on.
3/4 - Ammonia .5, nitrate 50.
3/5 - 5g water change, ammonia 0, nitrate 25. Dosed 35 drops ammonia.
3/6 - Ammonia 0.5, nitrate 50.



Last edited by clownfish4; 03/09/2018 at 05:08 PM.
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Old 03/09/2018, 05:08 PM   #35
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Below is the PAR graph for the top middle rock.

Apex PAR Top Middle Rock by Mike Burns, on Flickr


I got the 4 1/2" loc-line elbows today and installed them on the returns, which reduced the flow by about 10 gph for each side. I'll post updated measurements on those once they have time to break in.

Cycle looks to be about complete. I have some breeder nets coming to hold the fish temporarily to make sure they are eating before being released and the parts to make the mesh top. Still on track to order livestock next week.

2/26 - Turned skimmer off, added One-and-Only, and 70 drops ammonia. Ammonia tested at 4.0.
2/27 - Ammonia tested at 2.0.
2/28 - Ammonia tested at 2.0.
3/1 - Ammonia tested at 2.0.
3/2 - Ammonia tested at 2.0, nitrate tested at 25.
3/3 - Ammonia tested at 1.0, nitrate tested at 25. Turned skimmer back on.
3/4 - Ammonia .5, nitrate 50.
3/5 - 5g water change, ammonia 0, nitrate 25. Dosed 35 drops ammonia.
3/6 - Ammonia 0.5, nitrate 50.
3/7 - Ammonia .25, nitrate 50.
3/8 - Ammonia 0, nitrate 50. Dosed 35 drops ammonia.


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Old 03/10/2018, 12:09 PM   #36
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How's your Prime mount? I've read horror stories about the plastic screw on it breaking/flexing and the light ends up in the tank.


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Old 03/10/2018, 12:36 PM   #37
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Fig, I haven't had any issues with it, but I worry about everything. For the time being I have a zip tie that wraps around the return pipe, then around the plastic screw on both sides of the mount. If the screw loosens, this should prevent it from falling in the tank. I'm still working on a long term solution. I'll also be putting a mesh top on the tank, but I'm guessing the light is heavy enough that it would break through the top if it fell.


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Old 03/10/2018, 06:19 PM   #38
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I was looking at Diver's Den today and saw a mated pair of orange spotted gobies with a red banded pistol shrimp, as well as a pink streak wrasse, so I decided to place my order. After adding those to the cart I looked at the shrimp in Diver's Den and found a single fire shrimp, then I saw a mated pair of skunk cleaner shrimp. Can you guess which I went with? If you said fire shrimp, you are WRONG! Never had mated anything in the ~15 years I've been reef keeping, now I'll have two mated pairs in my tank. To finish it out I cruised over to the aquacultured corals in Diver's Den and found a very intriguing chili pepper plating montipora. All are scheduled to be delivered Tuesday.

The mesh for the screen top arrived today, but the rail kit was "lost". Carrier says they delivered it, but it's nowhere to be found. The delivery notes say it was left in my mailbox, but the shipping box is 3' long and my mailbox is maybe 18" deep, sooooo I don't think they put it in the mailbox. I contacted the distributor and they shipped a replacement that should arrive Monday.

The breeder box should arrive tomorrow. I'm not going to quarantine. Yes yes, I know I should, but I've thought this through a lot and am not concerned. The breeder box will hang on the side of the aquarium submerged in the display. It has a divider, so the gobies and pistol shrimp will go on one side and the skunk shrimp and wrasse will go on the other. I'll leave them in there until they are eating readily.

Speaking of eating, today is fish food making day. I couldn't find a prepackaged medley at the grocery store, so I bought octopus, clams, and shrimp. I'm grinding those with Selcon, Coral Frenzy, Omega One flakes, fresh garlic, and fresh ginger. I will also be hatching brine shrimp.

I'll be doing a 5g water change tomorrow, and probably another one on Monday to get rid of all the nitrate from the cycle. The ATS hasn't really grown much as the fishless cycle doesn't introduce phosphate or any nutrients outside of the nitrogen cycle. Once that is kicking I'll be going ULM with minimal water changes.

Last thing to do before Tuesday is turn the dosers on. After the water change tomorrow I'll test and dose Ca/Alk/Mg to the desired levels, then turn the dosers on.


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Old 03/11/2018, 04:57 PM   #39
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The top and breeder box are in place.

Untitled by Mike Burns, on Flickr


The 5g water change today left nitrates at 25. I'll be doing another 5g water change tomorrow, then will test and dose Ca/Alk/Mg. Should be all set for Tuesday's delivery. One edit to my previous post, the skunk cleaner shrimp will bypass the breeder box, so the pink streak wrasse will go in one side and the gobies/pistol will go in the other.

To acclimate I built an eggcrate "table" that straddles the heater in the sump. I'll put containers with the fishes/shrimp on the shelf and drip acclimate them. This way they'll maintain temperature while the water drips in. I'll post pics on Tuesday of the process.


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Old 03/12/2018, 09:45 AM   #40
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I like the development of the tank! And the new the rock setup is really great!!
How about the skimmer - are you still happy about it??


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Old 03/12/2018, 11:55 AM   #41
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Thanks Christian! I agree, I think the new rock work is much better. As for the skimmer, the jury is still out. I havenít had much of anything in the tank for it to pull out, so I havenít been able to really test it. Hopefully once the fish go in tomorrow Iíll start getting some bioload to kick it in.


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Old 03/12/2018, 12:13 PM   #42
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Love the updates...keep them coming. Can't wait to see your new additions.


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Old 03/12/2018, 07:33 PM   #43
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Thank you Jenyphur! It's been a long time coming. I haven't had fish in about a year and a half, so I am very excited!

Nitrate was still 25 after my water change yesterday so I changed another 5g today. Now my water parameters are:

Nitrate - 10
Calcium - 410
Magnesium - 1200
Alkalinity - 6.8
Phosphate - 0.9
Temp - 77 F
pH - 8.13
Salinity - 35
ORP - 400

I dosed an ounce of soda ash to bring my alkalinity up to 9. I'll be dosing an ounce of magnesium later tonight and throughout the rest of the week to get it to 1300. The phosphate measurement surprised me. The only source I can think of is leaching from the rock. Since there aren't any other nutrients in the water, I assume the ATS doesn't have everything it needs to start growing. Hopefully once the fish go in and I start feeding it will kick off and drop the nitrate with my skimmer.

I also started a small test batch of brine to get a baseline of how long my eggs will take to hatch. I won't be feeding at all tomorrow, but will start another batch of brine tomorrow so I have it ready for Wednesday/Thursday.


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Old 03/13/2018, 03:31 PM   #44
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My livestock arrived around 10 AM this morning. I made the foolish mistake of thinking I would receive four bags, one for the wrasse, one for the two cleaner shrimp, one for the gobies and pistol shrimp, and one for the motipora. I should have known better; every specimen was bagged individually, which makes sense. Needless to say, I was not prepared for this:

Untitled by Mike Burns, on Flickr


So, what do we do when we're caught off guard, improvise! Fish went into the sump to acclimate:

Untitled by Mike Burns, on Flickr


Shrimp and coral went into a 5g bucket with a heater to acclimate:

Untitled by Mike Burns, on Flickr


They all drip acclimated for about 2 hours, then I put the two skunk cleaners and the montipora into the main tank. Next I put the pistol shrimp in the breeder box and what happened, he slipped right through the slots in the bottom and was roaming between the bottom and netting Next I put the two gobies in the breeder box, no issue there, then put the wrasse in the other side.

Untitled by Mike Burns, on Flickr

Untitled by Mike Burns, on Flickr


About an hour later, the wrasse slipped through the tiny slits and wedged himself between the netting and bottom So, I loosened the netting to give him some room. I put the larger goby in the main tank, though he nearly landed on the floor because he jumped out of the box when I tried to get him. Now the box is tilted on the side and I am patiently waiting for the smaller goby and wrasse to swim out. Then I'll put the pistol shrimp near the gobies.

Best laid plans always change! I'll post more pics once everyone starts cooperating. I mean, if they start cooperating.


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Old 03/13/2018, 06:47 PM   #45
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Everyone is in tank. The cleaner shrimp, gobies, and pistol shrimp are doing great. The wrasse hid himself away somewhere and I cannot for the life of me find him. I decided to feed today because everyone was looking so good. Everyone devoured the homemade food I made, but it wasn't enough to draw the wrasse out of hiding. Hopefully he comes out in the next day or two. The gobies and pistol made their den on the front of the back right rock, which is perfect! Here are some super fancy iPhone pics.

Untitled by Mike Burns, on Flickr

Untitled by Mike Burns, on Flickr

Untitled by Mike Burns, on Flickr

Untitled by Mike Burns, on Flickr


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Old 03/14/2018, 08:52 AM   #46
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This morning I was looking at the tank and saw these bright orange eyes starting back at me. The pink streaked wrasse has been hiding in the gobies den. Surprisingly they don't seem to mind. They have completely excavated under the rock and are popping out on multiple sides of it now. Now that I know where the wrasse is hiding, I am target feeding into the den so he doesn't starve. He is slowly starting to swim around when I am far away from the tank, but dives into the den anytime I get close. Once he warms up I'll get a pic, he is gorgeous!


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Old 03/14/2018, 09:00 AM   #47
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The goby is so cute!!! I love watching them...and trying to find them. My watchman found the pistol shrimp and I haven't seen much of the duo since then. But when I feed, they do pop out for a few seconds to let me know where they are so i can target feed them. Love this little pair.

Great updates. Thanks for sharing.


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Old 03/17/2018, 05:04 PM   #48
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Thank you Jenyphur! My gobies do not hide, at all. most of the time they sit right out in the open on the sand bed. At night they retreat to their caves. They have excavated under every rock in the tank and move around between them. As far as I can tell the pistol shrimp never leaves the cave under the back right rock.

I cleaned the tank today and it is looking much better with all the algae off the acrylic. I got a picture of the wrasse, but it was before the cleaning. I haven't been able to get another one since. He is spending more time in the open now, but is still very skiddish. I was expecting him to act like a more peaceful sixline wrasse, but that has not been the case. He's more of a cardinal, he doesn't swim much. When he is out of the cave he just hovers and slowly jolts every now and then. I'm a little disappointed he isn't more active, but he is still pretty. I'm debating adding one more fish that is more active. I'm considering a single clownfish, but am not sure if I will get anything, or something different, at this point.

My water parameters are being a bit of a pain. My ATS has ZERO algae growth even though my nitrates and phosphates are high. The good news is there's not much algae growth in the tank either, mostly just diatoms. I'm wondering if I don't have any spores to start the growth since I used dry rock. I'm also having a hard time keeping my alkalinity up. I have my doser running at night for alk and during the day for calcium. My calcium levels are perfect, but my alkalinity doesn't want to go above 7. I've been trying to set my doser to maintain and doing manual doses to get it higher. Twice now I've manually dosed enough to raise it to 9, but two days later, with the doser running, it is down to 7. On 3/15 alk was 7.0. I dosed 1 ounce of alk and increased the doser from 5 ml to 10 ml a night. When I tested today, 3/17, it was at 7.3. I'm going to raise my alk dose to 20 ml tonight and retest tomorrow. The calcium doser is currently at 5 ml.

I'm also considering getting a second doser for magnesium, but then I'll have a fourth doser that isn't doing anything. I'm trying to think if there is something I can use it for. I'll also be using my doser for water changes going forward. Since my total volume is only 20 gallons, a 5 gallon water change causes a lot of disruption to the tank.

Here are my parameters for 3/17:
Phosphate - 0.1 ppm
Alkalinity - 7.3 dKH
Calcium - 400
Magnesium - 1245
Nitrate - 50

I'm still trying to figure out when I'm going to add snails. Since I have minimal algae growth and high nitrates, I expect they would die if I added them right now. Speaking of which, one of my cleaner shrimp died Wednesday, the day after I got everything. Everyone else is fine. The jury is still out on the skimmer. It was full of nasty stuff today, but running much too wet. I dialed it down a bit and will see how it performs now. At the very least it is creating a horrible smell, so it is definitely working!

And now for some pictures! My apologies, I don't have a fancy camera so I use my iPhone. The picture of the montipora does not do it justice. It has very bright red spots with fluorescent green all around them.

Untitled by Mike Burns, on Flickr

Untitled by Mike Burns, on Flickr

Untitled by Mike Burns, on Flickr

Untitled by Mike Burns, on Flickr


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Old 03/17/2018, 07:24 PM   #49
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Old 03/18/2018, 11:02 PM   #50
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Yesterday I increased the alk (soda ash) dose to 20 ml. It does from 2300 to 0900. Today I did a 5g water change around 7 1900. About an hour after I tested and alk was 7.9 dKH. Iíll test again tomorrow with the hopes that it is 7.9. If so, Iíll manually dose to bring it up to 9 and hold there.


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