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Enthrol

Struggles of a beginner

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Enthrol
11 hours ago, Clown79 said:

The tiny things are pods most likely.

 

The bigger white creature looks like a flatworm- not all are bad.

Those do look similar. I'm reading that the white/clear varieties are okish. I scraped them off my glass, hopefully I didn't make a mistake. 

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Clown79
42 minutes ago, Enthrol said:

Those do look similar. I'm reading that the white/clear varieties are okish. I scraped them off my glass, hopefully I didn't make a mistake. 

Thry are in the tank regardless so scraping them just removes them from the glass.

 

Pods are definitely not bad

 

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Enthrol

Well I just had a mini heart attack. Saw a hermit crab out of its shell just laying on a rock. Tried moving it and it had no weight and didnt react.

 

Found out hermits molt. Hope this is the case but I gotta find some larger shells for these guys. Might have to start making some calls to some fish stores further out than I normally travel.

 

Edit:

Found both hermits in their shells grazing. I dont know why I didnt think marine hermits molt, I've kept land hermits when I was a kid.

 

Also digging out my water change supplies ran across the bag of hermit shells I'd purchased with the tank and forgot about. Just need to boil em and soak em. I'm really surprised that I had not only forgotten about this bag but apparently that I forgot to add more shells for them. I got so lucky they didn't outgrow their shells yet.

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Enthrol

3-29 update

 

Learned a valuable lesson today. Just because a brand has a great reputation doesn't mean you shouldn't double check the reading occasionally.

 

My Hanna salinity checker was about .003 sg low. Got a new refractometer a couple days ago, calibrated it with ro water today. Tank read 1.029, tested the newly mixed saltwater (weighed the same as the last time I made it) came out to 1.030.

 

First thought was that my refractometer wasn't calibrated right. Found a lfs a couple cities over selling calibration fluid. They kindly calibrated the refractometer with their opened bottle and tested against their's.

 

Got home, new mixed tested 1.029 and tank tested 1.027. Checked the calibration with the fluid I purchased and it read the same. 
 

Luckily 1.027 isn't terribly high but after diluting the mixed water to 1.025 and adding it my tank reads 1.026. 
 

New parameters:

ph: 8.0

alk: 8.0

Phos: .13

nitrate: 3

calcium: 410

magnesium: 1250

 

Calcium and magnesium worry me. There's no change compared to last test for Calcium, and there's a 100 drop in magnesium (tested 3 times).

 

Maybe I didnt mix up the salt well enough in the bucket and the magnesium settled. This would account for the drop in magnesium. Calcium could be getting used at a rate equal to what I'm putting in or it could have settled as well. I'll have to monitor those two more closely this week.


Cleaned the tank throughly today. Pumps, chambers, sand and rocks got a good cleaning. Checked calibration on my inkbird. Will post some pictures tomorrow while my lights are on.

 

Livestock update:

Flip is still doing good. No signs of pests or distress.

Hermits have started working overtime. Little guys are all over the tank doing their thing. Added them some shells to relocate into if wanted.

My last snail has gotten lethargic now. Hopefully its just a dietary break again.

 

One of my lfs is talking about opening up a couple days a week to provide emergency supplies. Hoping they'll part with some CuC if they do decide to open.

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mcarroll
21 minutes ago, Enthrol said:

New parameters:

ph: 8.0

alk: 8.0

Phos: .13

nitrate: 3

calcium: 410

magnesium: 1250

 

Calcium and magnesium worry me.

Those numbers all look great to me.

 

Don't read too much into variances in Ca or Mg as those levels don't seem to actually matter very much.  

 

Neither is like alkalinity, which has far lower levels in the water to begin with (200 ppm = 11 dKH...vs 420 ppm Ca or vs 1350 ppm Mg) and which is tied directly with tank pH and dissolved CO2 levels....and all that those parameters entail and imply.  

 

(ie Alkalinity is WAY more important than calcium and WAY WAY more important than magnesium)

 

If you're testing in triplicate and getting similar results each time, then the variation is likely in the salt mix you're scooping from to make salt water.  

 

Settling isn't that uncommon in large containers of salt mix that have had LOTS of time to ride around in the back of a truck and to get handled 10 or 20 times.  

 

Ideally buy a package size that you can use all at once without scooping parts of it out for each little bucket of water...settling is then irrelevant.  Instant Ocean sells them down to 10 Gallons in size, I think.

 

Whatever size you pick to buy, if you take some care to re-mix the contain of salt before using any of it, you can prevent any issues like this from being present.  You can do it now with your current salt container but might be too late....roll your saltmix around on the ground for 10-15 minutes to redistribute everything inside.  Then test your next batch of saltwater to see if results are better or if they are the same.

 

Again, either way I wouldn't worry too much about it....the numbers you have may technically be "off" but they are still fine....especially if they are more or less consistent from water change to water change.

 

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Enthrol
12 hours ago, mcarroll said:

Those numbers all look great to me.

 

Don't read too much into variances in Ca or Mg as those levels don't seem to actually matter very much.  

 

Neither is like alkalinity, which has far lower levels in the water to begin with (200 ppm = 11 dKH...vs 420 ppm Ca or vs 1350 ppm Mg) and which is tied directly with tank pH and dissolved CO2 levels....and all that those parameters entail and imply.  

 

(ie Alkalinity is WAY more important than calcium and WAY WAY more important than magnesium)

 

If you're testing in triplicate and getting similar results each time, then the variation is likely in the salt mix you're scooping from to make salt water.  

 

Settling isn't that uncommon in large containers of salt mix that have had LOTS of time to ride around in the back of a truck and to get handled 10 or 20 times.  

 

Ideally buy a package size that you can use all at once without scooping parts of it out for each little bucket of water...settling is then irrelevant.  Instant Ocean sells them down to 10 Gallons in size, I think.

 

Whatever size you pick to buy, if you take some care to re-mix the contain of salt before using any of it, you can prevent any issues like this from being present.  You can do it now with your current salt container but might be too late....roll your saltmix around on the ground for 10-15 minutes to redistribute everything inside.  Then test your next batch of saltwater to see if results are better or if they are the same.

 

Again, either way I wouldn't worry too much about it....the numbers you have may technically be "off" but they are still fine....especially if they are more or less consistent from water change to water change.

 

Didn't know some companies sold small packages of salt.

 

Good to know I shouldn't be concerned and calcium and magnesium dropping like they did. Still going to test them a couple times this week to see if something is consuming it or if the salt mix had separated, for curiosity's sake. 

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billygoat
12 hours ago, mcarroll said:

 

Settling isn't that uncommon in large containers of salt mix that have had LOTS of time to ride around in the back of a truck and to get handled 10 or 20 times.  

 

Ideally buy a package size that you can use all at once without scooping parts of it out for each little bucket of water...settling is then irrelevant.  Instant Ocean sells them down to 10 Gallons in size, I think.

 

Whatever size you pick to buy, if you take some care to re-mix the contain of salt before using any of it, you can prevent any issues like this from being present.  You can do it now with your current salt container but might be too late....roll your saltmix around on the ground for 10-15 minutes to redistribute everything inside.  Then test your next batch of saltwater to see if results are better or if they are the same.

+1 to mixing your salt very thoroughly! The way I like to do it is to buy smaller buckets of salt (I use Red Sea blue bucket, which has a "55-gallon" size - about a 2 gallon bucket of salt) and then pour them into larger (5 gallon) buckets for permanent storage. I then mix the entire package of salt very thoroughly with a plastic spoon before using any of it. I also give it another brief mixing each time I open the bucket to brew up more saltwater. Since the bucket I store the salt in is much larger than the quantity of salt I am working with, it's very easy to mix it up without spilling it all over the place.

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Enthrol
3 hours ago, billygoat said:

+1 to mixing your salt very thoroughly! The way I like to do it is to buy smaller buckets of salt (I use Red Sea blue bucket, which has a "55-gallon" size - about a 2 gallon bucket of salt) and then pour them into larger (5 gallon) buckets for permanent storage. I then mix the entire package of salt very thoroughly with a plastic spoon before using any of it. I also give it another brief mixing each time I open the bucket to brew up more saltwater. Since the bucket I store the salt in is much larger than the quantity of salt I am working with, it's very easy to mix it up without spilling it all over the place.

Have you noticed any clumping of the salt? A 5 gallon container would definitely help mix it up better but I'm curious if the increased air volume (and subsequent moisture) wouldn't promote clumping.

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Enthrol

New tank pictures and one of Flip tucked away sleeping:

 

6804E47E-E482-47BC-B30C-7E45C9F199F9.jpeg

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763D99F7-0606-475C-8DAB-AF673D42810B.jpeg

8EC85FBE-CB01-4736-A8FE-4B26EF2EBB4E.jpeg

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billygoat
1 hour ago, Enthrol said:

Have you noticed any clumping of the salt? A 5 gallon container would definitely help mix it up better but I'm curious if the increased air volume (and subsequent moisture) wouldn't promote clumping.

I've never had any issues with clumping. The 5 gallon bucket I use is an old screw-top Red Sea salt bucket that seals pretty tightly, and I'm always careful to close it immediately after using it. I think that as long as you have a good lid and you don't keep your salt in a high-humidity area it's generally not a problem. 👍

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Enthrol
1 hour ago, billygoat said:

I've never had any issues with clumping. The 5 gallon bucket I use is an old screw-top Red Sea salt bucket that seals pretty tightly, and I'm always careful to close it immediately after using it. I think that as long as you have a good lid and you don't keep your salt in a high-humidity area it's generally not a problem. 👍

Alright, cool. I'll have to grab a new bucket and give it a shot.

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Enthrol

The white specs on the glass are back.

 

One of them is significantly bigger. Definitely a snail, has a shell forming on it's back.

1945DC2F-53D4-4563-955A-6EF4EF377C0B.jpeg

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Clown79

I buy the 75g red sea blue bucket which is stored for 6+ mnths. It's never clumped.

 

I remove some of it and add it to my old aquaforest smaller bucket. 

 

Neither has ever clumped. Both have bags that are tied and in a bucket with tight lids. 

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Enthrol

Anyone have experience curing dead rock?

 

I'm reading posts about acid and bleach to remove organics but I'm kind of skiddish about knowingly putting anything treated with a harsh chemical in my tank. Just concerned about leeching really.

 

I've had the branch drying for 4 days now and another rock that started live but hasn't seen water in months.

 

I'm looking for a way to remove organics and pests before I start cycling them. Any tips?

 

Edit: 

Nevermind, just going to toss the rock rubble into a bucket with a powerhead and heater for a couple months. That seems like the easiest and safest way to do it.

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Enthrol

Got my rfg nozzle from Vivid Creative Aquatics today, wasn't expecting it for a while but apparently deliveries haven't been shut down like I believed.

 

Thanks for the suggestion @Clown79! Set it up to frequently agitate the surface but not constantly. It immediately kicked up small diestrus from the rock and sand bed, and keeps it suspended. 
 

Now I need to play with the aqamai to see if the rfg leaves any dead spots and use it to hopefully eliminate them.

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Enthrol

What's a good rate to increase lighting period?

 

To give a reminder:

3-12 I reduced the photoperiod from a mistakenly set up 16 hours to 7 hours to help fight some weird algae growth.

 

I've had a lot of success keeping this algae down with the reduced photoperiod and manual removal. The last couple weeks I've seen very little in the way of algae growth.
 

I did a cleaning 5 days ago and pruned back the algae pretty hard. Not seeing any growth 2 days after I increased the photoperiod by 30 minutes.

 

I'm wanting to get back up to at least a 10 hour photoperiod but dont want to rush it and end up in the same situation I was in. Would a 30 minute increase once a week, assuming no wild algae growth, be too much?

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mcarroll

If you are not also raising the intensity, and the tank is now otherwise (esp. regarding nutrient availability) stable, then you should be able to go back to 12 hours IMO without worrying about you corals.  

 

I'd bump it up a couple hours a week or so.  Might be fine to bump it up all at once....like there was a weather system over the reef shading it for a period of time and now it's back to clear skies.  

 

Whether you need more snails than you have (or not) won't change with a longer light schedule but it may become apparent faster.  So just keep watching things and hand pull/add more snails if needed.

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Clown79
12 hours ago, Enthrol said:

What's a good rate to increase lighting period?

 

To give a reminder:

3-12 I reduced the photoperiod from a mistakenly set up 16 hours to 7 hours to help fight some weird algae growth.

 

I've had a lot of success keeping this algae down with the reduced photoperiod and manual removal. The last couple weeks I've seen very little in the way of algae growth.
 

I did a cleaning 5 days ago and pruned back the algae pretty hard. Not seeing any growth 2 days after I increased the photoperiod by 30 minutes.

 

I'm wanting to get back up to at least a 10 hour photoperiod but dont want to rush it and end up in the same situation I was in. Would a 30 minute increase once a week, assuming no wild algae growth, be too much?

I've always taken the cautious side with lighting, have had crappy experiences without acclimating corals or jumping the light time.

I raised my light by 1 hr every week to get back to my regular photo period. 

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Enthrol
1 hour ago, mcarroll said:

If you are not also raising the intensity, and the tank is now otherwise (esp. regarding nutrient availability) stable, then you should be able to go back to 12 hours IMO without worrying about you corals.  

 

I'd bump it up a couple hours a week or so.  Might be fine to bump it up all at once....like there was a weather system over the reef shading it for a period of time and now it's back to clear skies.  

 

Whether you need more snails than you have (or not) won't change with a longer light schedule but it may become apparent faster.  So just keep watching things and hand pull/add more snails if needed.

Everything has been stable since dropping the lighting. Fortunately, at least for this instance, I can't control intensity with the stock biocube lighting. 
 

Think I'll err on the side of caution and do weekly 1 hour increases, like Clown. Should also give me more of a window in case my CuC needs increase with it.

 

I dont have corals yet, so I can focus more on algae control right now, but I am looking for a solid local source. Think the lfs I frequent will be it, as they have the cleanest set up for their displays I've seen so far. Wish they had a better selection for CuC but can't have it all right?

 

Updated lighting schedule:

moonlight comes on at 1:30pm

sunrise/set comes on at 2pm

daylight comes on at 2:30 pm

 

daylight goes off at 8:30pm

Sunrise/set ramps down at 8:30pm, off at 9pm

moonlight ramps down at 8:30pm, off at 9:30pm

 

Tank is dark from 9:30pm to 1:30 pm, for 16 hours of dark.

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mcarroll

Hard to go wrong erring on the side of caution.  👍

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