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Nice update! I like your pod culture setup. Do you still have the original light for your refugium? I’m considering trying  a different light myself because I’m using that same one for the chaeto in my pod culture and it’s keeping it alive and growing a bit, but I think there are other lights that might work better to achieve more rapid growth. I think there’s an active thread on this subject right now mentioning that lighting in the red spectrum will work better. I’ll probably give it a shot. 

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8 hours ago, banasophia said:

Nice update! I like your pod culture setup. Do you still have the original light for your refugium? I’m considering trying  a different light myself because I’m using that same one for the chaeto in my pod culture and it’s keeping it alive and growing a bit, but I think there are other lights that might work better to achieve more rapid growth. I think there’s an active thread on this subject right now mentioning that lighting in the red spectrum will work better. I’ll probably give it a shot. 

Yes I'm still running the same light in my refugium that I originally setup.  I never had any trouble with my Chaeto until I started growing a forest in my tank.   I believe that the GHA was sucking up all the nutrients and starved out the Chaeto.  So my hope now is that with the majority of the GHA gone, the Chaeto will start growing again and starve out the rest of the GHA🤞.

 

When I was researching the light I came across the 6500k spectrum being good for algae and that's one of the reasons that I chose it.  Also when it's on the back glass of the biocube it is a very shallow chamber so it doesn't take much light to penetrate the water (less than 2 inches) so I believe that's why it works well. 

 

In your pod setup, is your Chaeto is inside of the 'infuser' and further back from the light?  If that's the case then you may need a stronger light to penetrate into it. 

 

The other issue may be nutrients.  I don't know if the cultures have enough to support the algae on their own.  I'm still learning about them, but it appears that a little bit of ammonia builds up and they require water changes around every 4 weeks to dilute it.

 

How do you feed your cultures?  Do you use live phytoplankton and how often? 

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4 hours ago, Jackal227 said:

Yes I'm still running the same light in my refugium that I originally setup.  I never had any trouble with my Chaeto until I started growing a forest in my tank.   I believe that the GHA was sucking up all the nutrients and starved out the Chaeto.  So my hope now is that with the majority of the GHA gone, the Chaeto will start growing again and starve out the rest of the GHA🤞.

 

When I was researching the light I came across the 6500k spectrum being good for algae and that's one of the reasons that I chose it.  Also when it's on the back glass of the biocube it is a very shallow chamber so it doesn't take much light to penetrate the water (less than 2 inches) so I believe that's why it works well. 

 

In your pod setup, is your Chaeto is inside of the 'infuser' and further back from the light?  If that's the case then you may need a stronger light to penetrate into it. 

 

The other issue may be nutrients.  I don't know if the cultures have enough to support the algae on their own.  I'm still learning about them, but it appears that a little bit of ammonia builds up and they require water changes around every 4 weeks to dilute it.

 

How do you feed your cultures?  Do you use live phytoplankton and how often? 

Yes my chaeto is in the infusers... could be the distance from the light that’s the issue, or nutrients. Though I actually use Nutri Seawater for my cultures, which has beneficial bacteria, so I’m thinking that most likely may help to keep the parameters in check in the cultures. (Haven’t tested the parameters.) I had thought the chaeto had grown fairly well when I had it in the refugium in the tank with that light, though, so it could just be the variables with the culture setup. 

 

I accomplish water changes in the cultures when I do harvests... I just open the little spigot, run about 50% of the water with pods out through the 53 micron sieve, with the water pouring through right into the sink (which is conveniently right next to the cultures), then replace that water with fresh saltwater. And of course I pour some fresh saltwater or some tankwater through the other end of the sieve to add the pods to the tank. I feed Reef Nutrition Phyto Feast or Seachem Phytoplankton to the cultures every couple days, enough to keep it a little cloudy. I used to feed crushed pellets too, but I haven’t done that lately. Are you in the Facebook group The Copepod House yet? It’s really good, with lots of interesting info. 

 

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48 minutes ago, banasophia said:

Yes my chaeto is in the infusers... could be the distance from the light that’s the issue, or nutrients. Though I actually use Nutri Seawater for my cultures, which has beneficial bacteria, so I’m thinking that most likely may help to keep the parameters in check in the cultures. (Haven’t tested the parameters.) I had thought the chaeto had grown fairly well when I had it in the refugium in the tank with that light, though, so it could just be the variables with the culture setup. 

 

I accomplish water changes in the cultures when I do harvests... I just open the little spigot, run about 50% of the water with pods out through the 53 micron sieve, with the water pouring through right into the sink (which is conveniently right next to the cultures), then replace that water with fresh saltwater. And of course I pour some fresh saltwater or some tankwater through the other end of the sieve to add the pods to the tank. I feed Reef Nutrition Phyto Feast or Seachem Phytoplankton to the cultures every couple days, enough to keep it a little cloudy. I used to feed crushed pellets too, but I haven’t done that lately. Are you in the Facebook group The Copepod House yet? It’s really good, with lots of interesting info. 

 

Do you notice a difference between feeding the phytofeast (live) and Seachem's (dead) phytos?

 

 I did look up the copepod house but because it's a closed group I can't see any of the posts in it. 

 

Most of the information that I found specific to Apocyclops culturing came from scientific journals mostly geared towards using them to breed fish.  There doesn't seem to be a lot of hobbyist level info out there yet for this species, but from what I have found I feel that they will be most similar to Tisbe cultures.

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30 minutes ago, Jackal227 said:

Do you notice a difference between feeding the phytofeast (live) and Seachem's (dead) phytos?

 

 I did look up the copepod house but because it's a closed group I can't see any of the posts in it. 

 

Most of the information that I found specific to Apocyclops culturing came from scientific journals mostly geared towards using them to breed fish.  There doesn't seem to be a lot of hobbyist level info out there yet for this species, but from what I have found I feel that they will be most similar to Tisbe cultures.

I haven’t really noticed a difference with the two types of phyto aside from the fact that Phyto Feast is green in color so it turns the water green, the Seachem product is more of a brownish color. And I recently saw that Reef Nutrition sells two versions of Phyto Feast - original and “Live” - both with at least some live cells; I’m using the original, which I get from my LFS and store refrigerated.

 

Steven Parker, who runs The Copepod House FB group, is a really nice guy and has some incredible outdoor cultures going in the UK... if you submit a request to join it may just take a minute for him to approve it due to the time difference. 

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So it's been about 6 weeks now since I've added the bleached RFA into the tank.  It has steadily improved over time and now I've started to see some green color coming back and the tips continue to grow: 

Day 1:

y4mBS1BTAf4_tQISSfxiF5e1cIl2RnMCPfwGfJV7

 

3 Weeks:

y4mrj709gunM86MIRi_jy4rx2xTDiDRuFsEuaux9

 

6 Weeks:

y4m2E2kBmVDjcwPVn-2fuNRFGKBGEK-N7aCYhSXs

 

It'll never be an ultra but I'm happy to see it gaining some color. 

 

The tank as a whole is still doing well.    There's a couple spots of cyano on the sand probably from feeding a little heavier.  I'll monitor it and if it gets worse then I'll start peroxide dosing again.  Here's a current FTS:

y4mRyg5UwIcfvOHOlttiQG7M_wmq11INnwvBI6H2y4mtN7I7vQW6nZLXJKrzK3MsQ9e_E3blgAOTMeig

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Wow, great progress with your RFA!!! I’m getting a little cyano too... just monitoring for now. 

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Love it! I can tell you love the tinkering and lab work in this hobby.

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5 minutes ago, Wyatt45 said:

Love it! I can tell you love the tinkering and lab work in this hobby.

Yes I do.  I find it fun to try new things and observing the results.  It's amazing to see how this little ecosystem is sustained within a small glass box and watching how all of the tiny creatures interact with each other. 

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That's so cool that you've been able to nurse the RFA back to health!

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Dosing pump setup:

 

Okay, got a little bit delayed but I finally have got my dosing pump up and running.  It's a pretty common setup using a Jaebo DP-3 doser, an airline holder, and a mix of soft and rigid airline tubing.  I made a few modifications to make it work with the hood on the biocube which I'll outline here.

 

Here's what I started with for the airline holder: 

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This is too wide to fit in the back of the biocube.  So I cut it in half giving me two tube holders which was perfect because I dose ESV Bionic 2 part.  So now it looks like this:

y4mmgzdAitbv-XjRI1IhCEFgwIYRS_XtX3Ms_8o6

 

Now it fits with plenty of room between chambers 2 and 3.  So the dosing lines will dose directly into the return chamber. 

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Lastly, I hooked up the dosing pump and calibrated the first two heads.  Normally you would calibrate this pump for 100ml.  I've read about it being inaccurate for small doses which is what I'm using it for.  So after reading in another post about it, I've decided to calibrate for 50ml.  After testing it both pumps are measuring 1ml accurately.  I've setup my program to dose 1 time per day currently at 1ml each to start with.  

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The unit is pretty compact and fits in the biocube stand easily.  I set the doser ontop of the box that it came in.  For dosing containers I just used two water bottles with holes drilled in the lids, rigid airline going into the bottles, and soft airline going to the doser and to the tank. I got the doser on sale and the whole setup was only around $60.

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Well it's been a while so it's time for a tank update. 

 

The new corals have been in the tank for about 6 weeks now and everything has been looking good so far.  

 

The Acans have been looking very puffy and happy lately: 

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y4mDP_GUVHgB17pcu1DUz0hQPWhV3JFlUTX7Xa8H

 

The Ricordea trio are still holding strong: 

y4mm71Wxpr__7pD04yAs_QeAPCB1NgX13rGNUe2N

 

The hammer coral has really opened up wider lately.  I can see the first signs of new heads starting to form under the existing ones now:

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The GSP has really taken off since it opened back up.  It has almost covered the rock that I put it on in just a few weeks.  It also has regained the metallic green color and glows brightly under the blues again: 

y4mSOehJRr-w0przhrsBd87owNt-ZQ_fqO7t89Fy

 

I haven't shown off the fish for a while but they are still doing great.  The Clowns have grown quite a bit since they were put in:

y4m8C8wUNll0fveWA9UjfPtaLPvZUb7mV_qsAEA2

 

 The hardest working member in the tank, it never stops doing laps: 

y4mXxe7L832M-_5ngBs9J1yn3XKDMWEapqXBPdh2

 

As for struggles, I'm still battling bits of hair algae in a few spots.  They are mostly under control and the algae in my refugium has been growing well again.  Hopefully the fuge will out compete the hair algae in the long run. 

 

I harvested my 1st gallon from the pod culture today.  After running it through the sieve I could make out at least a few pods running around, but they are so small that it's hard for me to see them.  I will continue the culture to see if it gets denser over time. 

 

And finally with the holiday sales I ordered some new corals to finish filling in the gaps in the tank.  They should be arriving later this week.  I've got some different types that I look forward to trying out.

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Great update! Everything is looking really happy, and it’s interesting to see the transformation of your GSP.

 

It’s hard for me to see the copepods, too, but I dump em into the DT late at night with the blues on and I can see them best when I first add them. Are you using a 53 micron sieve to harvest them? 

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45 minutes ago, banasophia said:

Are you using a 53 micron sieve to harvest them? 

Yes I am.  From what I read 53 micron should be small enough for the pods and eggs both. 

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3 hours ago, Jackal227 said:

Yes I am.  From what I read 53 micron should be small enough for the pods and eggs both. 

Yes that’s my understanding. Unfortunately it also catches the algae. I’m a little worried because my tigger pod culture has tons of algae, including possibly bryopsis... still need to figure it out. 

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11 hours ago, banasophia said:

Yes that’s my understanding. Unfortunately it also catches the algae. I’m a little worried because my tigger pod culture has tons of algae, including possibly bryopsis... still need to figure it out. 

Luckily, I shouldn't have to deal with any algae since my culture isn't lit.  

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 The corals arrived today and are now in the tank.  They are still acclimating but here is a preview of one of the new ones that I wanted to try:

 

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I glued the rest of the corals down today.  Here are some of the exciting new additions to the tank: 

 

I added some Zoas to fill in the spaces between some of the bigger corals.  It was a coral pack of three so I wasn't sure what I would receive but they look great. 

Sour Lemons:

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King Midas:

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I also got a second frag of Sunny D's.

 

I hadn't seen this coral before, but I really like it now that I have one.  It's a nice sized Violet Cespitularia which adds nice color and movement:

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For the LPS I picked up a Meteor Shower Cyphastrea:

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And a John Deere Leptastrea:

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Now the main reason for the order is that I wanted to start filling in the top of the tank.  So for SPS I got:

A beautiful Bali Green Slimer:

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A Blue Montipora Digitata that came in pieces so I've actually glued four small frags spread out instead of one big one.  It also looks red to me instead of blue, but we'll see if it colors up over time: 

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And last but certainly not least, I needed something that would work on top of the overhang.  Because it is near the water surface it would have to be a flat or entrusting coral.  I decided on a beautiful Leng Sy Montipora Cap.  It has some great texture and the purple rim that grows on the edge looks really nice: 

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I'm hoping that it'll grow kinda flat and cover the overhang. 

 

Overall I'm very happy with the new corals and I think that they'll look good once they grow in. 

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It's been a while since I updated my FTS.  The tank has changed quite a bit over the last two months and I'm looking forward to watching the new corals fill in.

 

14 Months FTS:

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1 hour ago, Cpl_Wiggles said:

Looking great. 

 

What do you have in the back chambers at this point? 

What is your maintenance schedule? 

Thank you. 

 

Not much has changed in the back. 

-chamber 1: heater and purigen

-chamber 2: filter floss & carbon up top and Chaeto & Red macro algae below the media rack

-chamber 3: temp probe,  matrix, dosing lines and return pump

 

I'm still doing 2.5 gallon weekly water changes and changing the filter floss during the water changes.   I change the carbon out every 3 weeks.  

 

The current dosing schedule is 1ml of Bionic 2 part per day. 

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5 hours ago, Jackal227 said:

Thank you. 

 

Not much has changed in the back. 

-chamber 1: heater and purigen

-chamber 2: filter floss & carbon up top and Chaeto & Red macro algae below the media rack

-chamber 3: temp probe,  matrix, dosing lines and return pump

 

I'm still doing 2.5 gallon weekly water changes and changing the filter floss during the water changes.   I change the carbon out every 3 weeks.  

 

The current dosing schedule is 1ml of Bionic 2 part per day. 

So you have water flowing over the carbon just below the filter floss and not submerged in the bottom? What made you decide to dose?

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3 hours ago, Cpl_Wiggles said:

So you have water flowing over the carbon just below the filter floss and not submerged in the bottom? What made you decide to dose?

Yes, I've always kept my carbon under my filter floss but still on top of the media rack. 

 

I setup the doser to add more stability to the system.  When I was dosing by hand I would use larger doses twice a week and I might miss one sometimes so it created higher swings in alk.  With the doser I can setup smaller daily doses to replace what is being used by the corals. 

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