Jump to content
timeconsumer

timeconsumer's 20 long build

Recommended Posts

timeconsumer
11 hours ago, billygoat said:

My wet sandbox! 😄 I might have to steal that one someday! That's exactly how I feel about my own system as well.

 

Some neat work you've done there with the hanging Reefbrite strips. I personally have never done anything more complicated than mount my A80 on a factory gooseneck, so I am always very impressed with those reefers who display their DIY chops. I bet you could cultivate some gorgeous macroalgae under those grow lights, if that's something you're interested in!

 

Lol, glad you like watching the process. But for real it's just a self-tapping screw, I spent all of 5 minutes on it. I have actually though about putting some decorative macros. The shallow water coloration I have in mind would really make some of those reds and greens pop. For now the only macro I have growing is some GHA. I had hoped that running this thing with no lights for 8-10 weeks would give me a little biofilm on the rocks to stave off the algae for a little, but I was wrong. I need that coralline algae to kick in quick.

Share this post


Link to post
timeconsumer

I'm busy this week I suppose. So I take a look at the tank and I see something I haven't seen in a reef before. I've got these tiny black stringy things. Part of me thinks they are very tiny worms because they aren't staying in the same spot. But I also don't see them crawling around. Just when I check back a few hours later the few I remembered the location of aren't there anymore.

 

There appears to be a small attachment point on them and they wave around a little in the current. One on the glass I feel like is eating a small tuft of GHA. They are maybe 1/4" long. Has anyone seen something like these guys before?

 

20190406_135716.thumb.jpg.6fbb45ee63326a8bddce239309e7e314.jpg

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
billygoat
7 hours ago, timeconsumer said:

I'm busy this week I suppose. So I take a look at the tank and I see something I haven't seen in a reef before. I've got these tiny black stringy things. Part of me thinks they are very tiny worms because they aren't staying in the same spot. But I also don't see them crawling around. Just when I check back a few hours later the few I remembered the location of aren't there anymore.

 

There appears to be a small attachment point on them and they wave around a little in the current. One on the glass I feel like is eating a small tuft of GHA. They are maybe 1/4" long. Has anyone seen something like these guys before?

 

20190406_135716.thumb.jpg.6fbb45ee63326a8bddce239309e7e314.jpg

 

Well, that's extremely bizarre, now isn't it?

 

My first guess is that they are some sort of free-swimming nematode worm, but their tiny size is going to make a precise ID pretty difficult. I don't suppose you'd have access to a microscope, would you? Even if they turn out to be completely benign, they are neat little critters and I would love to have a closer look at them.

 

Anybody else out there have any ideas about these little guys? I am extremely interested.

Share this post


Link to post
timeconsumer

Negative on the microscope.

Share this post


Link to post
timeconsumer

Alright friends it's been a couple of weeks and time for some updates.

 

-Tailspot Blenny is doing well. He still isn't really taking any sort of prepared or frozen food though. But he's not thinning out so I think between the pods and the algae I'm leaving on the glass he's getting along just fine.

 

-Speaking of pods, I bought a bottle of tiger pods or whatever the orange ones are a couple weeks ago, to seed the tank and whatnot. And I poured the whole bottle in, and blenny loved it. Obviously there were some dead ones, it happens, and then I got kinda a pinkish orangish surface scum that was kinda nasty. A bit too much podification. No worries though, a little work with a water change and the scum is mostly gone.

 

- Speaking of water changes, I'm sticking to about 4 or 5 gallons every two weeks. I'm getting a little hair algae right now, but it's not too crazy. Meanwhile my rocks are starting to get specks of color, but nothing that looks like coralline. But I'd say I'm not really getting the "ugly phase". A little GHA, some hints of cyano here and there. If anything I'm getting the mardi gras phase as my rocks have itty bitty purple, green, and yellow specks everywhere. It's kinda fun.

 

-My Ranco temperature controller came in last week. It's pretty honking big but it's under the cabinet so no big deal. I felt this would be a better option than an inkbird for multiple years. It's just nice to have.

 

-I don't know why I chose this format to write in. At first it seemed like a good idea but now it seems weird. I'm no quitter though, we're in this to the end.

 

-I bought a banded coral shrimp today. He's pretty cool. I'm going from store to store waiting for someone to get a pink streaked wrasse. I could order one, or have them order it for me. But that takes out the fun of snooping around the stores a few times a week. I have two stores really close to me which is nice.

 

-While I was at the store I just couldn't help myself and I picked up a coral. Of course the store I was at, like most stores here, had their LED lights over the frag tanks turned to basically straight 450nm. I had to have the kid pull a bunch of the florida ricordea out of the tank and put them in a container so we could hold them under a different light so I could see what actual color they were. The green, orange, and blue rics are really hard to tell apart under straight blue lights. I grabbed a frag with two mouths worth of blue rics. Really lovely color under a whiter light.

 

-Speaking of lights, while I was there I saw they had Geisemann T5 bulbs for 30% off. That means the normally $21, 24w bulbs were like $14 and change. You bet your ass I bought a few. That's a good deal for quality bulbs. The selection was a little limited, and these were the old Geisemann D+D powerchrome bulbs, apparently the store owner bought a pallet of them almost a decade ago and still has a ton of them so....30% off. Yeah buddy that's a steal even if they are old. Well, there was one problem though. I picked out 2x Actinic+ (basically an ATI Blue Plus), one Aquablue+ (Aquablue Special), and one Lagoon Blue (idk, maybe 12k?). Come to find out the Aquablue+ had some other dude's old 14w offbrand T5 actinic in it, guess I didn't get the greatest deal after all. But with the two Actinic+ and one Lagoon Blue combined with one of the 6500ks I got with the fixture it actually looks great, so I'll take it. I'm not driving all the way back to that store to get my $14 back.

 

Anyways, lets toss up some pictures. These are kind of shitty because I'm still using my phone and haven't decided to break out the DSLR for this journal yet. I'm being lazy. Such is life.

 

3Z0e4UJ.jpg?1

 

Trg5ruq.jpg?1

 

eRvupIF.jpg?1

 

jmE66T6.jpg?1

 

I tried to white balance the last one as close as I could to what the tank looks like to the eye. It ended up looking weird. Damn phone cameras need to get off my lawn.

 

So, that's it for now, thanks for reading and let me know if you have any questions, comments, or concerns.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
billygoat
23 minutes ago, timeconsumer said:

So, that's it for now, thanks for reading and let me know if you have any questions, comments, or concerns.

I have a question!

 

What happened to those weird black nematode-looking things? Did they just disappear?

Share this post


Link to post
timeconsumer
35 minutes ago, billygoat said:

I have a question!

 

What happened to those weird black nematode-looking things? Did they just disappear?

 

 

Nope, still there. Not really getting any bigger either. Just, being little black squiggles on my rocks.

Share this post


Link to post
timeconsumer

Alright let's talk tanks again. So here I am at about the 3 month mark from the first day this thing got wet. My livestock so far is:

 

  • Tailspot Blenny
  • Emerald Crab
  • Banded Coral Shrimp
  • 2 Nassarius
  • 4 Ceriths
  • 3 Florida Ricordea

So far so good everything is staying pretty healthy. I don't feed all that often still and I let my blenny eat some algae I keep on the glass for him and let him pick off the rocks a lot. He's not getting skinny. My shrimp I toss a couple pellets into the sand for him every few days which is nice because none go to waste and he can be targeted easily. Blenny doesn't eat the pellets. I toss in some mysis twice a week for everyone to chow on, maybe 1/10th of a cube, they don't need much. My rics are just hanging out on frag discs in the sandbed for now, I'll mount them in a few weeks once I feel they're really settled.

 

Now of course this is prime time for algae growth thanks to the dead rock start and I've been getting a little taste of it. I get some GHA pieces popping up here and there and there's been some patches of cyano. This weekend when I did my 5 gallon water change I pulled out most of the rocks (left the big one) and scrubbed them all down with a nylon brush and rinsed them off in the old tank water to remove most of the GHA and cyano. It worked pretty well and I can see some spots of coralline starting. Also siphoned the sand bed as best I could and such. By not feeding much and running a very short but high intensity photoperiod (6 hours) I think I'm keeping the algae at bay pretty well.

 

Now since I've been doing 5 gallon water changes twice a week I feel pretty comfortable that nutrients are under control-ish for now. Hard to know since I still don't own any test kits. But I was doing some thinking about how to manage nutrients in between big changes, and how I can potentially reduce that 5 gallon change also because it's a lot of water to swap at once in a small tank. So I was tossing around the idea of keeping a bucket of premixed water with circulation and heat and whatnot so I can swap out small amounts every day like a cup or two. And that just sounded kind of annoying.

 

Then I had an idea, what if I just mixed the tiny batch of water everyday and used it straight away? Stay with me now I know how dumb this sounds. So I grabbed a mason jar and put 1 cup of RODI in it (a little more than half full) and measured out 1.5 level teaspoons of salt into the jar. Then I capped it and shook it by hand for about 2 minutes. Then I let it sit for maybe 20 minutes. Check it with the refracto and bam, 1.026 on the button. So I can easily make small amounts of water to order with no more effort than it takes to make a protein shake and no need to keep a premixed bucket circulating and worrying about evaporation and whatnot. I don't know if I'll do this every day or not but it seems like a decently simple morning ritual to scoop out 1 cup and pour in one cup of shaken-not-stirred saltwater martini while I slowly increase bioload and figure out how I want to maintain the tank between larger water changes.

 

Other than that it's just business as usual here in nanoland. Tiny squiggles of unidentified nematodes or worms or whatever seem to be reduced significantly in number. Lots of tiny little calciferous swirlies forming on my rock from the LFS which may or may not be vermetids, time will tell.

 

VBWEYkP.jpg

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
billygoat
12 hours ago, timeconsumer said:

Then I had an idea, what if I just mixed the tiny batch of water everyday and used it straight away? Stay with me now I know how dumb this sounds. So I grabbed a mason jar and put 1 cup of RODI in it (a little more than half full) and measured out 1.5 level teaspoons of salt into the jar. Then I capped it and shook it by hand for about 2 minutes. Then I let it sit for maybe 20 minutes. Check it with the refracto and bam, 1.026 on the button. So I can easily make small amounts of water to order with no more effort than it takes to make a protein shake and no need to keep a premixed bucket circulating and worrying about evaporation and whatnot. I don't know if I'll do this every day or not but it seems like a decently simple morning ritual to scoop out 1 cup and pour in one cup of shaken-not-stirred saltwater martini while I slowly increase bioload and figure out how I want to maintain the tank between larger water changes.

This is brilliant and I want to do it in my own system starting immediately. If you always use the same container and the same make-up water, and you know exactly how much salt it takes to get the SG you require, what could go wrong? Sounds simple and effective!

Share this post


Link to post
timeconsumer
7 hours ago, billygoat said:

This is brilliant and I want to do it in my own system starting immediately. If you always use the same container and the same make-up water, and you know exactly how much salt it takes to get the SG you require, what could go wrong? Sounds simple and effective!

Right, it's pretty simple. Although I will probably swap to using the salt by weight just for accuracy purposes. Even then when I'm only swapping out 1 cup at a time small variations in salinity would take a long time to actually effect the ~16 gallon volume. I'll also probably grab a bigger jar so I can do 2 cups at once.

Share this post


Link to post
timeconsumer

Another week, another update. So I recently ordered a couple of corals off of liveaquaria. I've been looking for a nice Galaxea and a bubble coral locally and haven't seen anything recently. I wanted to wait for the ARC Coral Expo this weekend but the retailers were showing preview lists and it was all high-end named zoas and mushrooms and acans and sticks and other things I'm not very interested in. I don't care for high end corals really. So some bubbles and a galaxea popped up on LA and I decided to go for it, they just came in this morning. They haven't opened up fully yet as they've only been in the tank for a few hours.

 

So I ordered a "white" bubble coral (more on that) and a green galaxea. I was kind of hoping the galaxea would turn out to be aqua blue like my last one, but it wasn't. Oh well, I took a risk there. However my white bubble coral is definitely more of a purple. Kinda upsetting because I really love the white ones. It still needs to fully open up so maybe it turns out whiter. The galaxea also hasn't opened up yet. They're both down in the corners for lower flow, lower light etc. I'll find permanent homes for them soon.

 

AEOvlIR.jpg

 

3fnaalV.jpg

 

Anyways outside of that I'm still dealing with the usual young reef biology balance issues. Some cyano and GHA keep cropping up and I keep smashing them down. For now on the weekends I scrub the rocks off in a bucket of tank water right before I throw them back into the tank with new water with a water change. It's keeping things pretty clean. I'm also really keeping food to a minimum in the tank and keeping up with the mini water changes in between the weekend ones.

 

I'm not getting any coralline growth yet, so hopefully I didn't jump the gun on the stonies but these are pretty hardy so we'll see how it goes. I'm not sure I'll get any stonies at the Coral Expo this weekend unless I see a really nice octospawn, one with some nice clear arms. In case you didn't notice I'm not a fan of really bold colored corals, I love subtle ones.

 

Is anything else happening? Not really I guess. Waiting on a LFS to get a Pink Streaked Wrasse in. About to buzz by one of them today to grab a quick calc, alk, and mag test kit since I think I've put it off long enough. I could order one from BRS but I don't mind spending a little extra money to support the local shop outside of food and livestock purchases. I guess I could use a bucket of salt too.

 

P9ysISK.jpg

 

Also I tiled a backsplash in my kitchen this weekend. Not that it has to do with anything, but you get to see it anyway.

 

bVYqfPV.jpg

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
timeconsumer

Hey so this is fun. I bought the Red Sea Pro Calc/Alk/Mag test kit from the LFS and took it home. I've used this same kit for years although they changed the alk test ph indicator colors it appears. Anyways I test my alk and it shows 9 dkh, a little high for Red Sea Blue Bucket at 1.026 SG which is what I run and I don't supplement. No big deal I'm fine with 9 dKh. Then I test calc and holy hell it took 1.7mL of titrant. That would mean I have a calcium concentration of 850ppm! From a salt mix that should have 430ppm at this salinity. Yeah I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that is dead wrong. It should be snowing in my tank with CaCO3 precipitation if that were the case. I emailed Red Sea to figure out what the hell is wrong with this batch but haven't heard back yet. Hopefully they make it right because I don't want the LFS to have to deal with it as it's not their fault.

Share this post


Link to post
debbeach13

Backsplash and tank are looking good. Wow that calc test is crazy keep us posted on what happened.

Share this post


Link to post
timeconsumer
1 hour ago, debbeach13 said:

Backsplash and tank are looking good. Wow that calc test is crazy keep us posted on what happened.

 

Oh I got an update on exactly what happened right here:     I'm stupid.

 

850ppm calcium. Pretty much exactly double what it should be. I wonder what could cause it to show up double? Maybe because some dumb guy puts 10ml of tank water in the vial instead of 5ml? Yup, that'll do it!

  • Like 1
  • Haha 2

Share this post


Link to post
debbeach13
18 hours ago, timeconsumer said:

Yup, that'll do it!

I didn't want to be a jerk but I was wondering if you repeated the test. 

Share this post


Link to post
timeconsumer
28 minutes ago, debbeach13 said:

I didn't want to be a jerk but I was wondering if you repeated the test. 

 

I had repeated it a good 3 or 4 times. But I kept repeating it with the wrong amount of water. Funny thing is the customer service rep I was emailing from Red Sea (and who asked for images of my tests) didn't catch that the vial was more full than normal either and was about to send out replacement reagents when I figured out what I was doing so I was able to tell them in time not to ship a replacement.

 

In other news I am emailing Live Aquaria to see if there's a solution to the problem that they sent me a purple bubble coral instead of a white one. The Green vs Blue Galaxea was my mistake and I can live with that. But I really wanted a white bubble coral and if it was listed as pink or purple I wouldn't have ordered it at all and would have waited to find a white one. We'll see what their response is about the matter

Share this post


Link to post
billygoat
19 hours ago, timeconsumer said:

 

Oh I got an update on exactly what happened right here:     I'm stupid.

 

850ppm calcium. Pretty much exactly double what it should be. I wonder what could cause it to show up double? Maybe because some dumb guy puts 10ml of tank water in the vial instead of 5ml? Yup, that'll do it!

It's funny, I just got my Red Sea Reef Foundation kit yesterday and had exactly the same problem in reverse. I kept having Alk come up with atrociously low numbers, like 4 dKH. Repeated the test several times and got the same result. Well, turns out I was using half as much tank water as I was supposed to be using! 🙄

 

Those vials man! They're tricky!

Share this post


Link to post
timeconsumer
2 hours ago, billygoat said:

It's funny, I just got my Red Sea Reef Foundation kit yesterday and had exactly the same problem in reverse. I kept having Alk come up with atrociously low numbers, like 4 dKH. Repeated the test several times and got the same result. Well, turns out I was using half as much tank water as I was supposed to be using! 🙄

 

Those vials man! They're tricky!

 

Right. Also I forgot how annoying titration is. I'm going to buy a magnetic stirrer for these so I'm not constantly shaking vials.

Share this post


Link to post
timeconsumer

Time for another update.

 

I went to the ARC Coral Expo this weekend. It was interesting but in some ways it also was a little frustrating. Every tank was lit with what felt like 100% actinic LEDs. The tanks were so deep blue I couldn't tell what actual color half the corals were. I know this is trendy nowadays but, idk man. I wasn't a fan. Also everything had a damn name. I get that names help for very specific things but it felt a little ridiculous. Maybe I'm just being grumpy, but it felt like I was at a car show looking at what was new and flashy and rare and not about something involving nature. I still scored a couple of decent euphyllias for about $20 a head.

 

Otherwise I've also recently ordered an ATO since I'll be out of town all next week. I opted for the Avast Marine ATO which I've used before and found to be very reliable. I paired it with an old Tom's Aqualifer I had lying around.

 

With my new hammer, frogspawn, bubble coral etc I realized my flow rates might be a little higher than I want so I've been toying with solutions to reduce/redirect some flow on my Tunze 6015 pumps. So far using some PVC and zip ties is working well-ish but I'm still fiddling with it.

 

I also ordered some calc, alk, mag supplement as well as some kalkwasser so I can be ready to start supplementing once it is necessary with my new stony corals. I intend to mostly use the kalk and the other stuff is just for specific adjustments. This was a BRS kit. At the same time I grabbed some more salt and they had a nice deal on Brightwell salt for $60 on the bucket so I gave it a shot. It definitely is a finer grade salt and dissolves faster, I might stick with it over Blue Bucket. Lastly I ordered an RODI TDS meter because I don't trust color changing resin. Still at 0 TDS on product water for now which is always comforting, but I also found my source water is only 49 TDS out of the tap and 1 TDS from the membrane. That's amazing compared to my Louisiana water.

 

I'm still pulling the rocks out regularly to scrub off cyano and GHA and siphon the sandbed. I'm pretty aggressive with my methods but I think it should work well enough to get me through the ugly stage without getting too ugly. I keep changing water regularly as well and feed very little. It will just take time to get this tank to balance out. I'm starting to see the coralline algae spreading which is a great sign.

 

Anyway here's a picture of it recently.

 

36pAcDD.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
debbeach13

Looks like it is getting there. That's an interesting DYI on redirecting the waterflow. I think if it works I would have to paint it black but that's just me. 

Share this post


Link to post
timeconsumer
58 minutes ago, debbeach13 said:

Looks like it is getting there. That's an interesting DYI on redirecting the waterflow. I think if it works I would have to paint it black but that's just me. 

 

Yeah I've been playing with a few different things. I also made this:

TnbYsVt.jpg

 

But it restricted the flow way too much. I've got a few other things I'm trying out also. And yes if I settle on one of these it will get painted black.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recommended Discussions

×
×
  • Create New...