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Lognor

I'm pretty new to all of this.  I had freshwater tanks for a while, many years ago, but didn't really understand the hobby and I didn't take the time to learn.  I've always wanted a salt water tank, but stayed away because I was afraid of the the time and money commitment.  A friend of mine owns a pet store.  For years he's been trying to get me into the hobby because I'm always hanging out at his shop looking at his saltwater stuff.  In December he finally got me.  He gave me a Coralife 29 biocube.  Oh boy, I had no idea what I was in for.  It's been just under 6 months and it has been a hell of roller coaster, both good and bad.  There's a lot to recap in just 6 months, but I'll start with where I am now.  Then I'll recap everything I can recall going through/doing along the way to this point.  Hopefully others can make use of all of the things that have and have not worked well for me.

 

Attached is what my tank looks like as of April 8, 2018.

 

Hardware: 

Coralife biocube 29

Stock hood/lighting: CF daylight, Actinic Blue, Blue LED bar x2

Stock Pump

Upgraded ultra quiet hood fans

Hydor 425 & 240 powerheads

EHEIM Jager 150W heater

Filtration: stock bioballs, carbon filter cartidge, Chemipure Elite Blue biobag

2 digital electric outlet timers to control lights

 

Livestock:

2-Picaso Clowns

1-Yellow Wrasse

1-Purple goby firefish

1-Redstripe cleaner shrimp

1-Sand sifting starfish

6-crabs (3-red, 3-blue)

2-Nessarius snails

3-Turbo snails

2-Trochus snails

4-Astrea snails

1-Zebra snail

1-Bumblebee snail

 

Corals:

Duncan

Frogspawn

Hammer

Kenya tree

Zoanthids

Blue star polyps

Hollywood stunner

 

 

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Lognor

In December 2017 when I got the tank I brought it, 25lbs of live sand, 20lbs of rock (dry and live), and prepared salt water home.  Setup was pretty easy and straightforward.  It had all of the stock equipment with it and a water heater.  I put the tank in the corner of my family room.  There's a lot of natural light and windows on the opposite side of the room, but talking with my guy and doing some research indicated it would be okay, probably a little more cleaning, but should be fine.  I set everything up and was on my way. 

 

First week, the sound of the stock fans began driving my wife and I crazy.  Did some research and found that a lot of owners had the same issue and upgraded the fans.  This was a fairly easy task.  The key was to get the specs on the existing fans and make sure the size matched what was already in the tank so I wouldn't have to do any custom work to get them mounted.

 

In addition to the normal cycle I was getting some other nuisance algae since some of the rock was live.  Normal water changes, cleaning the algae and treating Chemiclean got everything under control. 

 

It took about 3 weeks total to get everything in shape and I was ready for my first round of livestock.  I added 1-Ocellaris clown, 1-Onyx clown, 2 astrea snails, 1 bumblee snail, 2 crabs, and a red brittle starfish.  

 

First big lesson, and they always seem to be learned the hard way, my salinity was too low.  I was testing my water parameters every couple of days the first few months.  All were looking great, except for Salinity, which I didn't realize was low (1.016).  Within a week I had lost the starfish and snails.  While the fish and crabs were able to adapt, it was just tool low for the snails and starfish.  After researching and talking with my guy as a double check, I put a plan together to safely bring it up.  It took about 2-3 weeks to slowly raise the salinity from 1.016 to 1.025.  

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Lognor

In January, once I managed to get the salinity to the right level, I added my next group to the tank: 1-Chromis, 2-crabs, 2-astrea snails, and a small Zoa coral frag.  I also put a fake anenmoe into the tank hoping it would help the clowns.  Everyone went in okay, no issues with the livestock, but I started noticing brown algae on the sand and green hair algae on the rocks. 

Big lesson #2 was now upon me, flow/circulation.  At this point I only had the stock pump for circulation.  With no other circulation, the additional bio load was resulting in the algae growth.  Did my research, bought a Hydor 425.  Things started getting better.  The cuc got to work on the green hair algae before it got out of control and the brown algae/diatom started clearing up. 

After a few weeks, I was still having some diatom in the sand, so added another powerhead.  This one I got from, my LFS because I didn't feel like waiting for shipping.  I also added the Red stripe shrimp, a single head hammer coral, 2 turbo snails, and a couple more crabs.  

Diatom really cleared up as there is now a lot of flow (too much actually, but I figure that out later).  Looking back at the pictures, I now see that Purple coraline has really started growing on one of my rocks, and the greenhair algae is gone.  😄

Fake anenome adds nice color, but neither of the clown is interested.  😞

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Lognor

Beginning of Feb 2018:

Continuing to slowly add corals.  Added a Kenya tree and a Frogspawn (1st pic).  No issues.  Everything went in and adapted just fine.  A week later, I reorganized the coral so everything wasn't sitting in the middle of the tank (2nd pic).  

I didn't feel confident in using glue or putty, so I ended up pulling two of the rocks out to drill holes to set the corals in.  It went fine, but it really made me realize, this was not going to be viable for the most part as I added more corals.  I'm going to have to figure out how to use glue and epoxy/putty effectively to continue to add things.  I'm happy with the result visually.

Since I got the tank, I've been having issues with the temperature, or at least think I'm having an issue.  The temperature swings from 77 to has high as 82 in a twelve hour period.  Lots of research has me thinking about the hood causing heating issues, having to replace the SF bulbs with LED's, needing a chiller, and a few other things I'm sure I'm not remembering.  Eventually I get onto a good thread about the water heater.  The one I'm using was given to me with the tank.  Thinking that I may have a mechanical issue, I replace it with a 150W EHEIM Jager.  Within 24 hours, my temperature problems go away.  My temp now fluctuates between 78.5 ~ 79.5.  Finally, another one of my stressers with my tank is put to rest.  Best $25 I've spent.  While I'm at it I replace both the 10k and Actinic bulbs.  Tank is a lot brighter and the color looks better.  Very happy with those purchases.

 

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Lognor

In the week after I did all the work to reorganize and mount my coral, I started having issues with my inhabitants.  The fish in particular, were not happy with all of the changes.  Between me pulling all the rockwork out changing where things went back in, and then changing the waterflow, the fishes behavior changed.  Within a couple of days, I observed the Ocellarus clown doing some bullying of the Onyx clown.  At first it just looked like one was going to assert it's dominance over the other.  I'd been told and read that this was likely to happen at some point.  Within a day or two, the Chromis also started bullying the Onyx clown, and the Onyx was swimming very erratically.  The Onyx had become so stressed by the other two that it was darting all over the tank, flashing, spinning in circles and swimming on it's side.  It had gone from a little concerning to quite a bit stressful and scary for me overnight.  I isolated the Onyx in a plastic container I modified (pic).  He was still swimming sideways, but calmed down significantly.  I think that was due more to space than anything else.  I talked to my friend the LFS guy and he told me to bring him in.  He put the Onyx in an isolation tank, but he immediately started his erratic swimming behavior again.  My guy was guessing that his swim bladder was way out of whack due to his stress.  Unfortunately the little guy didn't survive.  The Onyx always did swim a little odd, so my friend thinks that he may always have had a swim bladder issue, but the stress of the changes and the other fish acting out just put him over the edge,

 

So big lesson learned on this one for me was being careful of too much change all at once.  I went from a stable tank with comfortable inhabitants to a dead fish in a matter of days. 

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Lognor

End Of February 2018

A couple of weeks after the issue with the Onyx, I decided it was time to add a 3rd fish back in the tank.  I had always intended to have 3-4 small fish in the tank.  Nothing more, and certainly nothing that was going to be large in size.  I know I have a small tank and don't want to give these guys no room to move.  I went to my LFS and picked up a Yellow Wrasse.  I had talked to my friend, looked into the size, temperament, etc.  Should be a good fit for the tank.  I got him home, got him acclimated, and turned him loose in the tank.  After about 1 minute in the tank, he disappeared into the sand.  Totally freaked me out.  What the hell!  I don't know what to make of it.  Off to the internet I go.  Luckily, the reefing community here has already been through all the non-sense I am stumbling into and assures me it's totally normal behavior.  In fact, I learn from my new little guy, he sleeps under the sand at night.  Within 5 minutes of the Actinic light going off, he dives under the sand for the night and comes back out in the morning when they come back on.  

 

Also picked up a Duncan Coral.  I love thins thing.  It's beautiful.  Unfortunately, I now have a flow problem again.  I have 425 gpm and a 1k gpm powerheads, it's keeping things moving, but with the duncan, the hammer, frogspawn, and Kenya tree, it's just too much flow.  I'm worried about the frogspawn and duncan in particular.  I read posts about damaging flesh etc.  So I pickup a 525 gpm powerhead and replace the 1k unit.  Better but still seems like too much.  I can't get it placed right so the sand it's furrowing and/or the corals are being subjected to a tornado.  Eventually I end up taking the 525 back and get a hydor 240.  Corals are much happier.

 

More lessons learned.  Asking questions at the LFS isn't enough, a little more research is needed.  And patience.  I see it posted in the forums all the time, and for good reason.  Lots and lots of patience.

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Lognor

Still end of February.  Oh boy, some new behaviors in my tank have taken root and are now on full display.  Since the tank re-org and the incident with the Onyx clown, the Chromis has become territorial, big time.  It wasn't apparent when it was just him and the Ocellaris, but now that the Wrasse has been added, it's out in full force.  The Chromis started bullying the Wrasse after he emerged from the sand later that day.  He's got the wrasse pretty much contained to a 3"x3" space in the corner of the tank and won't let him move anywhere else.  If the Wrasse wanders off the Chromis is right on top of him herding him back into the corner.  I am now observing the that the Chromis has laid claims to 90% of the tank.  The Ocelleris is only swimming in the back of the tank at the top.  After the issue with Onyx, I'm texting my LFS/friend asking him if I should bring the Wrasse back, if it will get better, etc.  He tells me it likely won't change now that the Chromis has set his territory.  He offers to take the Chromis back.

Next learning experience:  Catching a healthy fish in a tank filled with stuff is not easy.  Holy crap!  This was tough.  Internet to the rescue!  After searching through a lot of stuff, I find a common DIY fish trap, a water bottle with the top cut off and inverted.  After a lot of shrimp, a lot of aggravation, and a few hours of work, the little bugger is in it.  For those that haven't dealt with this, be advised that cleaner shrimp are very clever, sneaky, and hungry.  That son of gun was in and out of that trap so many times stealing food, I was seriously doubting it was even going to work.  Fortunately, the shrimp was clever, but the Chromis was not.

After removing the Chromis, the mood of the tank changed significantly.  The Wrasse and the Ocellaris are now swimming all around the tank, no issues.  Once again I'm stressed to no end, seriously questioning my decision to get into this hobby, but ultimately grateful for a good friend.

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Lognor

Beginning of March

It's been a few weeks since I removed the Chromis from the tank.  Been working with my LFS for a new clown and a Firefish.  He was getting clowns, but added firefish to the order since I asked.  I'm at the shop discussing all the issues i've had with the Onyx and the Chromis, now both gone.  I settle on the firefish and a picaso clown.  I'm a little concerned about another clown, but we go with the smallest one in the tank which should keep the dominance thing out of play.  I'm also adding another Zoa and a small frag of a Hollywood stunner.

 

Get everything acclimated and in the tank, first two days no issues.  The clowns seem to be fine.  Some flashing, checking each other out, and the Ocellaris looks to have established itself as the dominant one.  After a couple of days things start escalating.  The Ocellaris starts really going after the Picaso.  Locking mouths and eventually the Ocellaris is banging the Picaso into one of the rocks.  I get the Picaso isolated in the tank, surprisingly he looks to be physically ok considering the beating he was taking.  After a long discussion with my guy, we decide to remove the Ocellaris and swap it for another Picaso.  I do the swap and by that evening, I have the two picaso's together in the tank.  First night no issues, but the next afternoon the new Picaso is beginning to show signs of bullying the original.  I'm starting to freak out.  Once again I'm questioning every decision i've made including getting the tank to begin with.  What a nightmare this has become. 

 

Another conversation with my friend and he tells me I need to make a physical change in the tank and kill the lights for 24 hours.  That will help calm everyone down and reset things for the fish.  He also suggested putting my fake anenome back in the tank.  I killed the lights, and went out and got another fake anenome from Petsmart since I had tossed the other one.  After 24 hours, I brought the lights back on.  Amazingly to me, it did the trick.  Not only did the bullying stop, the two have settled down and even better, they both made the fake anenome their home!  It's amazing to me to watch them both wedge into this little fake anenome and rest.

 

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Lognor

April 28th, added a large piece of coral to the tank.  The piece is about 3"x3" with a bunch of zoa's, paly's, and some clove polyps.  Pretty excited about the new additions, but of course, planning, planning, planning.  I bought the piece online, and thought I had space for it, but once it arrived I quickly realized it was bigger than expected.  I could have just placed it, but it would have taken up too much space for my liking.  I decided to pull one of the big rocks out and chop off a chunk in the back so it would sit a little farther back in the tank.  Ideas are great in the head, but in practicality, not always so.  I had to move the other rocks and corals around it to pull it out.  I managed to get it all done without significantly damaging anything.  one minor casualty was my hollywood stunner frag which broke off at the base where it was glued.  That piece was pretty fragile, so I was left with less than an inch of space available to remount.  Luckily got it done without damaging the actual coral.  In the end it's in a better spot I think now anyway.  Everything went back in and placed without any more issues, but quickly realized my flow was an issue.  The clove polyps looked like they were in a category 5 tornado.  More adjusting and got things calmed down.  Everything is pretty happy at this point.  Under the blue LED's the new stuff looks awesome.  The orange zoa's look amazing.  I don't think my picture does them justice.

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Lognor

May 5th - Cleaning and water change day.  Happy to see more purple coraline growing around the tank.  Green algae is a bit more under control.  Vacuum the sandbed, clean the glass, wash the filters off, everything looking good, business as usual, until I put the new water in...  I close the lid and am looking in the tank and notice the water looks off.  It has that shimmer look like when you put RODI into salt water.  Panic sets in and I check my water jug to make sure I didn't grab the wrong one, nope all good.  I get out the hydrometer and take a reading on the water int he tank, it's 1.0225.  Crap!.  It's normally 1.025.  I pour a bunch of water from the jug in a bucket and start testing it, it's at 1.011!  Crap, I just did a water change with super low salinity water.  I get my water from my friend who owns an pet shop.  This last time, he wasn't in and so one of his employees got me salt water.  They had specifically asked me if I wanted salt or RO and I said salt, but obviously they screwed something up.  I called my friend to let him know about the mix up, so hopefully it doesn't happen to someone else.  Every other day for the past week I've been pulling a few gallons from the tank and upping the salinity.  Almost back to normal.  Put quite the scare into me.  I'm still relatively new to this hobby so any little issue stresses me out.  Luckily as I'm sure most of you would tell me, it'll be okay, just be patient and bring it back up slowly.  DOn't over correct. 

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Newstead

Enjoyed reading about your tank. You are so right - everything in this hobby is up & down. Good things happen slowly, bad things Fast! Looking forward to seeing it mature.

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Lognor

May 14 - A week or so ago I noticed something new growing out of one of the zoa's.  At first I was thinking it was part of the zoas growth, expanding into a new set of heads.  Took the picture below just before I was heading to my LFS for water.  I asked my friend about it and discovered it is a type of anenome called aiptasia.  The short version is it's a nuisance growth that needs to be eradicated before it starts spreading like bad weeds in the lawn.  In fact, in the picture you can see a second one in the background.  Picked up aiptasia-x and applied it to the two growths.  Both retracted after the application and haven't been seen in 3 days, so I think I got it.  

 

Got a new reef master test kit.  Previously I was using a nitrate kit and one of the all-in-one stick test kits.  Levels all looking good.

Calcium - 400

Phosphate - 0.5

Nitrate - 0

Salinity - 1.025

 

Now that the parameters are all back to normal and I've dealt with the aiptasia, my next focus is on my Duncan coral.  The past few weeks it's been closed more than open.  I have a number of different ideas why (Salinity dropped a couple of points, its been closed a bunch so it's not getting fed as much, redstripe shrimp hangs out next to it brushing it with it's antennae all the time, it's going through a growth period or a molt), but there's no clear culprit.  I've been trying a different powder food along with the mysis shrimp to see if it likes that more than reef roids.  It doesn't look sickly, color is fine, it's just not as open, extended, or full as it has been.

 

Picked up a couple of small zoa frags.  I think i'm done with zoas finally.  I have plenty of room for other stuff, but I'm only focusing on two more.  Eventually I want to get an orange hammer and an acan lord.

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Newstead

Watch that aphasia carefully - I had one on a mushroom frag, shot it with Aiptasia-X, thought all was good - until it popped out on the other side of the frag! Since they are a type of anemone, they can and will move. If you can take the frag out, superglue over where the aiptasia is. If it was on a frag plug, pop the zoas off and toss the plug. Had them in my first biocube14, didn't know what they were so thought, oh boy, a new coral and you can guess the rest. 

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Lognor

Oh, good to know.  I didn't glue this one down, so I will take it out and take a look.  The second one was coming out of the rock itself, so it will be interesting to see what happens.  Thanks for the tip.

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Lognor

Well, one of those annoying little anenome/weeds popped back up in my zoa.  Used the  Aiptasia-X on it, can't see any sign of it, so maybe I got it.  We shall see.  I tried to pick up the coral, but the zoa has overgrown the plug and attached itself to the rock, so looks like I'm going to have to wait and see what happens.  Talked to friend last night about it, the one who gave me the tank way back when, he suggested getting a peppermint shrimp.  He told me that they eat the spores on those things and will keep it from spreading as I try to get rid of it.  Thoughts from the community?  I'm not against getting another shrimp, just want to see what others have experienced with this nuisance.

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Lognor

Started a new thread on this to try to get more visibility, but wanted to include it in my ongoing journal as well. 

 

Over the past several weeks my Duncan and Frogspawn coral don't seem to be happy.  The duncan has a few heads open, but most are somewhat or completely retracted.  The one's that are open don't have their fingers extended as far as they had been in past.  The frogspawn hasn't been as full/extended either.  All corals are being spot fed every other day (reefroids and Mysis for the duncan).  I've checked my water parameters and everything is in the normal ranges as far as I can tell.

Calcium - 400

Phosphate - 0.5

Nitrate - 0

Salinity - 1.024

My inhabitants are all acting normal.  The other corals seem to be fine. It leads me to think I have a flow issue.  The Duncan and Frogspawn were relatively normal before I added a large rock of zoa and had to change the flow some because the clove polyps looked like they were in a category 5 hurricane.  I changed the direction of one of the powerheads (from front right to front left-middle) and the direction of the pump return (slightly lower on the front glass) and while the cloves are okay now, the others aren't.  Both the frogspawn and duncan are getting flow, but it's less than before, so I thought that would be okay since low to moderate flow seems to be the common recommendation.

 

First pic is what the Duncan looks like most of the time the past few weeks.  Please forgive the nighttime shot, I forgot to get a current one with the day lights on.  After it's under the LED's only, like in the picture, it will become full retracted until the lights come on in the morning.

 

So now, I don't know where to put these stupid circulators to make everyone happy.  The second pic is where they are now and roughly where flow is going.  I have a Hydor 240 and Hydor 425 for powerheads.  All three are bouncing off the front glass.  The second and third pic were taken the day I moved the circulator.  You can see the duncan and frogspawn looked normal at that point.

 

The third pic is a thought I was having based on a lot of other tanks I've seen with similar placement.  I know that placement varies depending on the aquascape and inhabitants.  It's driving me nuts, and I could use some experienced reefers advice.

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Lognor

Well, the past few weeks have been really interesting.  I found out I'm a bit of a dumb-ass, imagine that.  I'd been trying to figure out why my duncan and frogspawn haven't been very happy.  I thought it was a flow issue and spent a lot of time searching forums, posting a plea for help here, and playing with the powerheads.  I finally decided to take a sample of my water to my friend who owns the LFS I go to.  He tested my water and found everything was high.  Son of a gun!  I had been testing everything and thought it all looked normal.  After some discussion and going back through my test kit I learned to important lessons:  1. Read the instructions carefully, don't just skim through them, and 2. when in doubt get a second set of eyes.  What I wasn't doing was allowing the tests to sit long enough before comparing them to the charts.  I also learned that you're supposed to look down through the top of the test tube and not across.  The two mistakes combined to make me think I had normal readings.  Now that I am doing it the right way, my tests now match what my friend was getting.  The good news is that the Nitrates and alkalinity, while off, weren't in dangerous territory, but enough to tick off the corals.  

 

To start addressing my parameters, I started doing larger water changes.   I had been doing 10%/3g changes once a week.  The past 2 water changes I bumped that up to 33%/10g.  Parameters are coming down, closer to normal ranges, and the corals are responding, so obviously that was my real problem, not flow like I had been thinking.  I'm going to continue the larger water changes until things come back into normal range and then drop down to 5g/week changes and see if that keeps everything in line.  I'm guessing my weekly 10% changes just weren't enough to keep things balanced, so the nitrates were building up.

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Lognor

A few weeks ago I bought a pack of Acan frags from AquaSD.com.  I've been wanting to add Acans to the tank.  I'm full up on zoa's, paly's, and hammers, so I wanted to get something different.  They had a deal I couldn't pass up, so I got them.  First internet order for me.  I've gotten everything else through my LFS up until this point.  I was a little nervous, but everything was great.  The Acans arrived without issue, and got acclimated easy.  After a week being in the tank and getting knocked around by turbo snails, I figured it was time to mount them.  I cut the stems off the frag base, used some reef putty and superglue gel, and got them in their new homes.  Went way easier than I expected, and I was done within an hour total.

This past weekend I decided to cut a branch off of my duncan because it seemed to be getting overshadowed by the other branches.  I took it to my LFS who was happy to have a frag and ended up trading it for a really nice piece of frogspawn he had just fragged from a really large one.  The frogspawn is a really bright white with just a hint of neon green.  My guy thinks it will get more green as it gets more acclimated in my tank, but I really like it as it is.  I think it really stands out in the tank and gives it a great new color other than pink and green, lol.  

 

Below is the latest picture of the tank with everything mounted and secured.  The second pic is one I took of the acans under the blue LED's with my iphone.  The colors look amazing, this picture doesn't do it justice.  I'm looking forward to taking pics with my DSL and macro lens to get some better shots, so more to come. 

 

Thanks for listening/reading!

 

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lpsouth1978

The tank is coming along nicely. We all hit speed bumps along the way, but we learn and improve because of them. That frogspawn looks like it is likely bleached. It will probably make a comeback and get it's color back, but in some cases too much damage has already been done and the coral will slowly decline until it dies.

 

Are the clown actually using the fake anemone? If not, I would remove it from the tank. I think it takes away from the natural beauty of the reef system you have. Actually, if it was me, I would take it out even if they are using it, but that's just me.

 

Keep up the good work!

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Lognor
2 minutes ago, lpsouth1978 said:

The tank is coming along nicely. We all hit speed bumps along the way, but we learn and improve because of them. That frogspawn looks like it is likely bleached. It will probably make a comeback and get it's color back, but in some cases too much damage has already been done and the coral will slowly decline until it dies.

 

Are the clown actually using the fake anemone? If not, I would remove it from the tank. I think it takes away from the natural beauty of the reef system you have. Actually, if it was me, I would take it out even if they are using it, but that's just me.

 

Keep up the good work!

The Frogspawn - My LFS guy got it from another customer who didn't want to frag it out.  It was huge when I first saw at the LFS a few weeks ago.  My guy had just fragged it out into smaller pieces.  It's really opened up a lot since when i saw it at the store and put it in my tank.  I'll keep an eye on it and do some research on the bleaching you mentioned.  So far so good, so hopefully it recovers, if indeed it is declining.

 

The anenome is definitely fake, but the clowns love the damn thing.  When I take it out to clean it off each week they're completely lost until it goes back in.  I certainly would love to get them to take to one of the real corals, but the corals just aren't big enough for them yet., and real anenome is out of the question for me.  Too much work and too many potential issues from everything I've read about them from other reefers.  

 

Thanks for the feedback!

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Lognor

Linking a new discussion I opened about some new behavior from my clown fish.

 

 

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Lognor

Earlier this week I ordered a torch coral from AquaSD.  I had a really good experience with them on the Acans I bought, so they got some repeat business.  I've been wanting a torch coral to round out my LPS/softie reef.  Plus I'm hoping that in the long run the clowns take to it and the Duncan so I can get rid of the fake anemone that they've made their home for the past few months.  Initially I ordered a smaller single head piece and another zoa (I have a zoanthid obsession/problem).  I ended up changing my mind and changing my order to just a larger 3 head torch.  AquaSd was really accommodating, especially since I ended up paying more.  Today it arrived and to my surprise there was a second bag in the box.  At first I thought they made a mistake and gave me the single head and the triple.  Both corals were closed up so I wasn't sure, but then I noticed the unexpected bag said freebie on it.  Apparently it wasn't a mistake.  Got them acclimated and after a dip the went in the tank.  After an hour or two they began opening up.  To my surprise the freebie coral appears to be a single Duncan head!  Nice.

 

I planned on putting the torch in the front corner of the tank and moving the fake anemone further back, so after a little rearranging, everything found it's new place.  I put the second piece on the sand near the torch initially.  Once it started opening and noticed it was a Duncan, i moved it to a different spot.  Not sure where it's permanent home is going to be since I wasn't expecting it.  Looks like i have some aquascaping to do this weekend.

 

Now that the Torch is in it's home, I'm concerned about flow.  I think it's getting moderate flow where it is, but not sure if it's too much.  I'll have to wait until it opens up more.  I'll take some video and post later.

 

In an earlier post I mentioned that one of the clowns was banging away at the Duncan pretty regularly.  Based on feedback and other posts, he seems to want to make a new home.  The Duncan hasn't been a fan of being punched in the mouth, but that behavior seems to have died down.  The clown still spends time swimming around it, but I don't think the Duncan is big enough for him yet.  He swims around it, stops by and takes a look and even bumps it once in a while, but the Duncan isn't responding the way I think the clown is expecting, so he moves on.  I think he's expecting it to close around him some so he can cozy into it, but the Duncan just isn't cooperating.  It's certainly interesting to watch.

 

I've upped my water changes to 5g per week from 3g previously, and things in the tank seem to be happier.  That and understanding the right way to use my test kit helps!  So far parameters have been stable and in the right ranges.

 

The Acans I added a month or so ago are doing amazing.  It's interesting that two of them have grown significantly bigger and the other two are not getting as big as the others, but are adding a number of new heads.

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Lognor

I have been battling flow issues for the past 4 days.  The new Torch coral looked like it was in hurricane.  I'm very nervous about damaging polyps on my LPS, so I spent a lot of time this weekend monkeying with the position of the powerheads and return pump.  All 3 were originally pointed at the front glass.  No matter where I moved them, the Torch, the Duncan, and/or the Hammer were getting a lot of movement, which made me nervous. 

 

On Friday the Hammer and Duncan were a lot more closed than normal, so the next thing I tried was to turn off one of the powerheads.  I have a Hydor 425 & 240, and turned off the 425 primarily because of location.  The lower flow helped the Torch and Duncan on the left side, but the Hammer on the right was still getting too much.  I then switched the Hammer on the right with the Duncan.  The thought is that the Duncan typically likes a little more flow than the Hammer, so this would work better.  Early results were mixed.  The Duncan seemed to like the flow at first, but then started closing up more.  The Hammer looked like it was getting more flow in spots before and was showing some signs of possible damage.  Some of the polyps on one head looked to be very narrow at the base almost like they were twisting around in circles.  I'm not sure that's the case because they didn't appear to be dying, but regardless it made me nervous.  The Torch was still getting a bit more than I think it wants right now.  

 

On Saturday, I moved the Powerhead, pointing it at the other side wall so the flow is going across the top of the back wall and bouncing around from there.  That's where I have left things.  The Torch seems to be okay, as is the Hammer.  The Duncan hasn't really adjusted yet and is mostly closed still.  I do have an issue with the Blue star polyps on the back wall now though.  They've been closed up since they're getting direct flow now.  If they don't open up in the next day or so I'm going to have to try to point the power head lower so it goes behind that rock, or move the rock to another spot.

 

On Sunday during cleaning and water change, I cut down the Duncan's stone base/branch because it was sitting pretty high off of the rock in it's new location.  It has been fragged a couple of times, so it's main branch was unnecessarily long anyhow, bit of course so it is really pissed off at me now.  The Torch and Hammer are doing the same as Saturday, so I think they have adjusted to the new arrangement and flow.

 

I'm still concerned that by turning off the 426 powehead I won't have enough movement overall in the tank.  The algae growth has been minimal and not much detritus, so the old flow was working, just not sure how things will be with the lower flow.  Next weekend during maintenance I'm going to swap the 425 and the 240 to see if the higher flow is helpful or not.  I've also been considering is getting the Hydor smartwave pump controller.  I'm thinking that alternating them on and off to vary the flow will better handle only having one on at a time.  After doing research, the only issue people have with them is the clicking sound the PH makes when turning on and off.  With all the messing around I did this weekend, I was able to tell that wouldn't be an issue for me, both of them turn on and off silently.

 

I would love any feedback.  I forgot to grab some new pics for reference.  I will post pics and a video or two tonight after I get home.

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banasophia

Wow, just read through your thread... you have been through a lot on the past few months but seems like things have settled down a bit. Amazing what that faux anemone did to calm down your fish! Your tank is looking really nice. I’m new myself, have a Biocube 16 up and running for 4 months, and really liked my switch to a Vortech MP 10 (from a Koralia) allowing for adjustable flow, but they are extremely pricey ... maybe keep an eye out for a used one in your local area on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, I see them occasionally in my area for $100 and wish I hadn’t paid full price ... it’s great to be able to adjust the flow pattern and strength. 

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Lognor

 

Just now, banasophia said:

Wow, just read through your thread... you have been through a lot on the past few months but seems like things have settled down a bit. Amazing what that faux anemone did to calm down your fish! Your tank is looking really nice. I’m new myself, have a Biocube 16 up and running for 4 months, and really liked my switch to a Vortech MP 10 (from a Koralia) allowing for adjustable flow... maybe keep an eye out for a used one in your local area on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace... it’s great to be able to adjust the flow pattern and strength. 

Good suggestion.  That's kind of my goal in general.  I want to be able to vary and adjust flow without having to play around with placement and direction all the time.  I'm pretty much full on coral at this point, so I hopefully won't need to keep dealing with it once I settle it back down.  thanks

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