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geekreef_05

The Desktop Reef

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geekreef_05

Ive been thinking deep thoughts about lighting lately and the corals Ive placed on order. This morning I took a notch off daytime white light to get closer to the PAR values of the incoming corals, based on where I will be placing them.  

 

Reef Light Cycle:

Sunrise 0830 - 1000 -recommended settings on automatic gradient. 

Daylight 1000 - 1900 - B 100%, R 75%, G 29%, , W 40% (recommended is 65%). 

Sundown 1900 - 2130 - recommended settings on automatic gradient. 

Moonlights 2130 - 0200 - B 5% 

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geekreef_05

Its NR.com notepad time. Live tank testing night! ...

 

Ammonia:  didnt measure
Nitrite:  didnt measure
Nitrate:  0.2 ppm, hey that low range test kit comes in handy, although it took longer than reading moby dick.   
pH:  8.2 - 8.4 (used old school test kit)
Specific Gravity: 30ppt, kinda low according to the new Hanna Checker! Note I calibrated it.

Alkalinity:  8.6
Phosphate: 0.0ppm this is using the Hanna ULR Checker.
Calcium: 520ppm

Magnesium: 1400ppm

 

...good grief those Hanna Checkers are a workout. 

 

I started dosing 1mL Mg per day, in tiny 0.1 increments. The objective is to maintain 1500ppm Mg. 

 

Tomorrow I'll prep a higher salinity WC to get salinity up. 

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geekreef_05

So ive thought about my low salinity. Im mixing some water right now and tested the jug of mixed water I had used previously. It tested right at 35ppt. So my tank had been slowing loosing salinity over time.

 

Now Ive been feeding the fish and shrimp with RODI water. This was a misunderstanding for myself on how AIO aquariums work. I assume I was helping the ATO, but thats not the case. I was slowly lowering salinity. So I'll go back to the classic feeding method - with tank water. 

 

Something else happened yesterday that kept me busy and prompted the late night water testing. I'll post pictures during my lunch break. 🙂...

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geekreef_05

Well yesterday at lunch break, I was installing the Mg dosing line and adjusting the cables and water lines behind & under my desk, when the doorbell rings and the delivery guy points down at the box.  I open the door and its 1 of my 3 orders of corals. 

 

I was a little frustrated. I placed 3 orders from 3 different stores and called each of them to ensure all the corals were shipped on the same date. This timeline should have given me 1 week to finalize stuff like the Mg levels and any other minor tweeks I could think of, including cable aesthetics. It was also my plan to stock the tank once, monitor like a hawk, adjust and then just let things grow, rather than buying frags bit by bit. **Caution: For anyone reading, if you are a new reefer - do NOT as I do - this move is for those with experience only**. 

 

Anyway, back to the situation at hand - having no choice, I went to work with the corals - it was dip, inspect, frag and acclimate time. My kitchen and dining room converted to home office turned into a salty operation for the next hour. Also I found a brittle star hitchhiker that I acclimated into the tank with a couple nass snails I ordered as well. They all seem good. This morning the I took the shots below. And since then, the torches have opened up even more. I may have to move one of lil flower pots, the indo's tentacles are a couple inches away. Unfortunately one torch with 3 heads didnt make it. I think it was just too stressed from the shipping with its tentacles beat up. You can see the glue on a rocks from where it stood. It quickly melted away with brown algae, which had infected all 3 heads. I tossed it onto my snowy back porch and let the it die. 😞

 

For note Ive put a bag of carbon in CH1 to pull out any toxins the dying torch may have expelled. 

 

Hilariously the GSP hasnt opened yet. I have to admit I wasnt super careful with it. And I fragged it spread it around a couple parts of the tank. And the early pictures, just as full sun hits the tank. I'll take better shots this evening or tomorrow, 

 

20210127_100519.thumb.jpg.84c9f3fdfad7dbf4a0583aa603677b92.jpg20210127_100412.thumb.jpg.ec99ee66af4c3c2bbb9b66da5b58b34d.jpg20210127_100350.thumb.jpg.658b0ec11011a7024aa31563aa93450f.jpg

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geekreef_05

Well after work, I changed about 3.5 gallons at 40ppt. Brought me to 32 ppt. I'll just do another couple gallons tomorrow with the 40ppt mix.  

Since I did a 30% wc, I'll have to record some fresh baseline parameters in a few days. I might test a couple parameters this evening just to ensure ALK and Mg is OK. 

 

I called the coral shops in Toronto where I ordered from and I believe they'll ship out tomorrow, so I'll receive the livestock Friday PM on the overnight express. I'll probably take the PM off work. Very excited. 🤪 😎🤞.

 

 

 

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DevilDuck

Those torches & frogspawn look fantastic! I love the colors and variety you picked out. Sorry to hear about your 3 head torch.

 

I contacted the seller of my melted black torch and they will be giving me a new one! It will be a week until they get more stock. I'm probably going to spring for a frogspawn too if they have a nice one.

 

Can't wait to see what else you have coming in!

 

 

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geekreef_05

Tomorrow will be exciting! The rest of the livestock gets shipped today via overnight express. 

 

Here are some much better pictures from last night, after the water change: 20210127_200609.thumb.jpg.47de9c01315a85f1afba5b129c430fd2.jpg

 20210127_200619.thumb.jpg.ae7b53d31fe3774fcb082afba6a60b18.jpg

 

20210127_200639.thumb.jpg.d3ab2d51ceec17a0f0ebc801202dc895.jpg20210127_200628.thumb.jpg.66d0610b8895f42336a2ccf5906dc518.jpg

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geekreef_05
17 hours ago, DevilDuck said:

I contacted the seller of my melted black torch and they will be giving me a new one! It will be a week until they get more stock. I'm probably going to spring for a frogspawn too if they have a nice one.

I didnt even think of that. Good call! Best of luck with the frogspawn - cant wait to see it! 

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geekreef_05

Its notepad time. I tested just two parameters this evening.. 


Specific Gravity: 32.5ppt

Magnesium: 1480ppm

 

Just about where Id want things. Still a touch low, but I'll get that figured. 

Dosing 1ml / day of Mg of the last 24hrs. DId a 2 gallon-ish water change though. 

 

So I'll leave it as-is and test again tomorrow 🙂 

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geekreef_05

The reef is now stocked. Ive been combing the corals for pests and removing aptasia when detected (3 heads so far). Corals have been in place for over 24hrs now. 

 

Its notepad time again. quick test:


Specific Gravity: 32ppt

Calcium: 500ppt

Magnesium: 1560ppm, getting too high. 

 

I backed Mg dosing off from 1ml / day to just 0.2 ml/day. 

I'll have to slightly increase calc as well.

 

I'll test again in the morning. 

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JustReading

I'm with you. I bought three more Hanna testers and omg it's time consuming 

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geekreef_05

Its notepad time again. quick test:


Specific Gravity: 32ppt

Calcium: 500ppt

Magnesium: 1400ppm -> wow really ate up Mg in 12hrs.

 

Mg dosing increased to 0.8ml/day.

Calc steady. 

 

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geekreef_05

Its notepad time again. quick test:


Specific Gravity: 32ppt

Calcium: 500ppt

Magnesium: 1360ppm -> hm, super low. Dropping all day despite the increase. Very curious. 

 

I did a 0.2ml addition and increased Mg pump back to 1ml/day. I'll check again before bed. 

Calc steady. 

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geekreef_05

Its amazing what every 0.1ml of Mg has on the tiny reef! 💉

 

Magnesium: 1600ppm -> Big jump. Feels like the situation I was in last night. This time Im going to back off slowly. Last time it was hard to tell after the 30% WC. 

 

Mg Dosing pump now set to 0.8ml/day. I have a hunch this is the sweet spot and that it'll level it out just above 1500ppm in the morning. Lets see how it pans out! 

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geekreef_05

Magnesium: 1360-> Very interesting. I was wrong. Again the reef is eating up massive Mg overnight, this time despite being at a relatively high level to start. It maybe that I need to dose more Mg overnight. I'll keep testing to find out. 

 

This is where she was yesterday morning as well...

So adjusting from yesterday's results Ive added 0.1ml right now and set the dosing pump to 1ml/day. Lets see what happens! 

 

 

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geekreef_05

OK, lets do stocking review, post lessons learned and pictures of course...  

 

Shout-Outs & Thanks:

First Id like the Fed-Ex driver. Seriously he was awesome. He had kept the livestock in the front seat with him in the heated cab. For note its winter here in Canada and the temps have been hanging around -20C or -4F. So it was crucially important that my livestock - shipped from Toronto, overnight to my home - didnt massively drop in temperature or freeze - yikes!. 

 

And Id like to thank the vendors whom I ordered from. This was 3 stores in Toronto. I of course ordered online: 

Candy Coral -> Pro: Awesome to deal with. Good communications. Listens to customer notes. Cons: Larger store, talked to 3 different people, but they communicate well internally.  

Fragbox -> Pro: Quality dry goods- I bought most of my dry goods here as well as a couple corals. Shipping is fast. Con: Communication is poor. Some items where not in stock, but I got no proactive communication on it. Only found out after I received items and noticing something (dry goods) were missing. 

GTA Reef -> Pro: Amazing to deal with, great communication. Con: Uses super strong glue on his corals-frag plugs!

 

Summary: 

Its now Monday. On Friday I stocked my reef, with all the corals I intend to keep long term. Ive been monitoring over the the weekend, making small adjustments and removing aiptasia whenever I see a head. My clownfish and shrimp are thoroughly freaked out. haha. My goal from here out is to keep my hands out of the tank. 

 

*Quick Update. I forgot to add a couple inverts* 

Complete Livestock Inventory: 

2x O Clowns

2x Fire Shrimp

3x Mexican Turbo Snails

4x nass snails

2x astraea snails -> free from Candy corals - thanks dude! 

1x serpent sea star -> hitchhiked under a torch 

 

Softies

1x Pulsing Xenia

2x GSP -> I fragged this into at least 6 pieces, placing them around the aquarium

1x Blue Clove Polyps

1x Sympodium Blue -> I had never heard or seen this coral before. It's a gamble, but it looks phenomenal. 

1x Nirvana Polyps -> this was free from GTA reef - thanks dude! 

 

LPS

1x Frogspawn -> Passed away Feb 4th, 2021. Shocked from stocking day and then another shock from salinity change. 

15x Torches

4x Goni's  (2 ruby, 1 neon green/pink, 1 red/orange short tentacle)

 

SPS

1x teal birdsnest

1x yellow bird of paradise

1x Green Pocillipora

1x forest fire digita

2x Monti Caps

1x encrusting monti -> also free from GTA reef. Thanks dude!*

1x acropora 

 

 

Fuge Livestock: 

Just a reminder that I have chaeto in CH2 and I wanted to note that noticed an update in pods all over. 

They are are lots now swimming in my fuge and occasionally I catch one one display glass. 

The starter pod kit from Algae-Barn definately works and Id recommend it anyone starting a tank or wanting to increase their pod population.

 

Lessons Learned:

 

Reef Glue Sucks:

Back in the day, reef-glue was basically unheard of. People traded and purchased corals, but they call came on a small rock, or just as a branch or snipping. We had to place them on the sand, or in a naturally secure spot on the rockscape to make it work. Today reef glue is the ultimate tool. But it can also be a total mess. And you'll see that in my aquarium, with messy glue around every coral - it kills me, so ugly! I must have used 100ml of reef glue. And I went 3 different brands of glue: Poly Labs, Sea Chem and ecotech marine glue. BY FAR polyp labs glue is the best to use. It can be squirted underwater, with easy pressure and very accurately. If I were to do this all over, I would ONLY use their glue. Ecotech Marine has the worst glue - its super tough to get outta the bottle, the bottle should not be placed into the aquarium and it comes out in giant globs! Nasty stuff. I spent the next day scraping reef glue off my glass, rocks and hands. 

 

Now that the glue has settled its as hard as the rockwork, so I wont be doing any more glue removal. There are still some glue spec's on my sand that i'll remove at a later water change. 

 

Corals Placement: 

Due to reef glue its tough to move corals, once their in place! Its key to really think out the placement or just place things and dont glue them in immediately. Note in the pictures Ive posted, I ended up moving one torch to the sandbed as it was blocking the light and waterflow for its tank-mates. But it took strong cutters and lots of finesse to get it off the rock. 

 

Frag Plugs:

Also not having a depth of experience with frag plugs, since they werent super prolific back in the day, I fully take responsibility for cracking two torches. I glued them back together and put them in, and they'll rebuilt themselves in time. Poor corals, they are alive but not amazing! The problem was two fold -> i find the reef glue GTA reef uses is super super strong. AND there was no space between the frag plug and the torch heads - so space to remove the coral from the plug was non-existent. I was feelin brave, so I went for it, but it didnt work out 😞

The lesson here is two fold -> better tools (specific reefing cutters) may have done the trick. And dont get over zealous taking corals off frag plugs if its dangerous to the coral. With patience this could have been re-approached in a few months and then cut as the coral will have grown. 

 

Generally, I hate frag plugs in my aquarium. Just hate them. But my tone changed after cracking those two and I started to shy away from removing others. The neon green/pink goni and the red/yellow were real trouble as well, for the same reasons. One I finally removed from its plug, the other I just gave and left. And then there's the SPS. With the alternative being me creating a gluey mount to stand up each frag, I figured it was better to just see the plugs, oy-veh. 

 

I hate reef glue and I hate frag plugs! 

 

Free corals:

This is usually amazing. But in my case I planned for everything, based on very little space and as a result I had no idea what to do with that encrusting monti. I hate where I put it, but I was not successful in gluing it to the back wall. The nirvana polyps are fine on the sand although the shrimp seem like to kick them and watch them close. 

 

Coral Spacing:

In a small tank with lots of coral, its tough to ensure the right flow and light are getting to your corals. In my case only Im concerned with the spacing of my goni's and the sympodium blue. If they start to react I'll have to move one away. No biggie, but something Im keeping an eye on. 

The blue clove polyps will get fragged when they start to grow and I'll place bit in various places of the aquarium, like the GSP. 

 

And thats it.. onto the photos! 

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geekreef_05

These photos were taking 24hrs after stocking: 20210129_193619.thumb.jpg.491c8c37d938376deffc6b5ce1acbf5d.jpg

 

20210129_180018.thumb.jpg.e29fbb6e19fc7df184738d6b1386b885.jpg

 

20210129_180003.thumb.jpg.6f7f46007343a54ec4de2d8a0ca3974e.jpg

 

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geekreef_05

And a day later I took some sectional shots: 

 

Torch corner: 

 

20210131_163854.thumb.jpg.fe4a8882bbb3c6b5a73468d87da120b2.jpg

 

Goni garden and softies: 

 

20210131_163801.thumb.jpg.e44ddeb1c3ee9ac01de160ee26525885.jpg

 

And finally the SPS at the top: 

20210131_163755.thumb.jpg.541e23b0d9b25b5fd4468f6165c04a6e.jpg

 

Notes: 

The yellow/red goni is looking better, but hasnt opened yet. 

The GSP, as we know being the worlds most sensitive coral (hehe) hasnt opened yet through the weekend. Ive been way too handys with the reef and its definately way too stressed out. 

 

Hope folks enjoy the pictures. As things settle I'll take more shots this week. Ive moved one torch this AM as well, which I can already tell is help with better flow and light to its buddies. 

 

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debbeach13

Tank is looking great. Wonderful selection of new corals. 

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geekreef_05
53 minutes ago, debbeach13 said:

Tank is looking great. Wonderful selection of new corals. 

much appreciated! 🙂

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JustReading

Looking good!

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geekreef_05

Here's a few pictures from coffee break at 1030am local time. The Torches and Goni's have nicely opened up. 

Of course the very sensitive GSP is still hiding 🙂

 

20210201_103513.thumb.jpg.116518a4aaa13df977a6b08db0bc8a07.jpg

 

Goni Garden, 

20210201_103527.thumb.jpg.42f8414deedb0c8beb43661ffbdafc23.jpg20210201_103533.thumb.jpg.0953a914def0d72f8948f7ddc90a7ab0.jpg

 

Torch Corner: 

 

20210201_103541.thumb.jpg.d624453c5ac1b05ee303263b9dc7b852.jpg

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DevilDuck

That torch garden will look amazing! Can't wait until it all grows in!

 

What is your coral dipping procedure? What dips do you typically use?

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geekreef_05

Thanks dude! Im totally gonna move one more torch soon to get them more spacing as well. 

 

Since I had alot of corals at once I just put 1/2 cap of Coral Rx into a bowl with saltwater from my reef. I dipped each coral in there and removed or attempted to remove them from their frag plugs before gluing them into the aquarium. Each coral probably got 30 seconds to 2 mins of dipping time, depending on my visual inspection. 

 

Please note that dipping corals is also new since back in the day... and due to that I also have no experience with other dips or generally with dipping corals. I did blast them with a pipette and swirl and stuff. I did what youtube learning told me to do on this one, ha! 

 

One torch has a black infection on its stalk, its one of the pink tips. But ive noticed it reseeding over the last 2 days. 

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geekreef_05

Quick Test Kit Time:

 

Calcium: 500ppm

Magnesium: 1400ppm*-> Still low. Mg is being used increasingly. 

 

So adjusting from this morning (9 hrs) results Ive added 0.2ml Mg right now and set the dosing pump to 1.5ml/day*. Lets see what happens in the morning. 

 

* re-tested and corrected. I noted the Red Sea Mg test will revert back to the original colour when left to settle for several minutes.  

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