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About ajmckay

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    Wrasses McGee
  • Birthday November 9

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    Sterling Heights, Michigan

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  1. Cephalapico - ajmckay's Creative container

    Well now... still waiting on my light :/ Had high hopes it would show up today or before... according to eBay since the end of the delivery time frame is Sunday. 2017-12-01_12-00-38 by aaron M, on Flickr
  2. Tank restart! dandelion's Fluval 13.5

    Nice update - those are the marco rocks? Whatever they are the scape looks nice. I like your mini frag racks with the magnets! It's been a while since I've gotten any frags - I'll have to look out for an upcoming swap and load up.
  3. What is wrong with Emerald Crab

    Yeah that's true... With things like building a PC you have a standard hardware interfaces and software protocol that pretty much any part uses. So swapping a video card should be straightforward in almost all cases if you've made sure they're compatible. Now imagine if everyone's computer's PCIE slot was different. They all do essentially the same thing but there are any number of ways to actually install that card. Additionally, how the video card actually performs depends on how each user manipulates their own driver software. Probably a bad analogy but biology is difficult. There are still soooo many things that all the highly educated scientists in the world collectively don't understand. With some experience you will begin to realize that the natural processes at play in our aquariums all do the same thing - but there are any number of ways to manipulate the variables. So while "misinformation" is indeed a problem at times the overall truth is that there are many paths we can take to get to roughly the same place. The most common error is that we all assume "what worked for me must work for you, follow steps 1,2,3....". We also like to quote absolutes - which is rarely correct. For example how do you measure your salinity? Many will insist that a refractometer is the only way to measure. Truth is there are at least 4 ways I can think of off the top of my head that will give perfectly acceptable results for measuring salinity - and yes a hydrometer works fine if you take care of it and you calibrate it using a calibrated refractometer (lol). The key is to understand what works for your style of reefing. Example: I generally don't test (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate). Not even during a cycle. Why? Because I've done it enough to know how to manipulate the process and using visual cues I can tell what's going on. Haven't quite figured out how to tell If my MG is off visually - but with some work developing a my tank's usage rate is and some math I could use an auto-doser to maintain a certain level with an acceptable margin of error. Just an example - not everyone needs an auto doser on their tank. But for advanced tanks with lots of hard corals you have to know how to use one. Best advice is at this stage spend a lot of time observing your tank and noticing what's going on at the various stages. Don't worry about everything but do try to get answers. Read some the articles in the nano-reef library. Include your kid where appropriate.
  4. What is wrong with Emerald Crab

    Well put... First gain knowledge, then apply knowledge to gain experience. Finally learn from experience. Honestly the cause of your crab woes could be anything... Maybe it was on the way out when you bought it. Most of the animals we see at the LFS are wild caught and go through hell before landing in your tank. Most LFS don't offer any sort of guarantee on SW livestock though. Your tank is decently large though so the crab dying probably didn't have much of a negative effect. For now it would be prudent to just leave the tank as it is for a week or 2. Let the biofilter catch up. The biofilter is simply the bacterial populations existing on/in your rock. It looks like dry rock so chances are that in the 5 week you let the tank "cycle" only a minimal bacterial population was established. Now that you have inhabitants you're likely to see some pretty rapid changes. I always say that the "cycle" is just that - not a one time event but rather a constant process of establishing equilibrium between the amount of waste being created in the tank and the biofilter's capacity to process it. Good luck keep on researching and it might help you to ask more specific questions and provide all the relevant information up front. You'll get better answers. Good luck.
  5. Fluval EVO 13.5 Lighting

    I wonder if he maybe got his model numbers confused and was thinking of the A80? I tend to agree that an A160, being a 40w high quality light would be enough to grow just about anything in a small tank like this where the display area is probably what, 16-18" wide? Depth is minimal
  6. So if you're able to clean it out frequently mechanical filtration can be pretty effective. A refugium is nice but it's been fairly well proven that unless you dedicate a large water volume (as a % of total system volume) to the refugium it's not going to be particularly effective in removing nutrients compared to a skimmer. That being said they do provide some benefit in the form of culturing natural food sources and various infauna. You could do something similar by putting a small ball of chaeto or something and just let it float around or you could "tether" it to something with some fishing line. Depending on which All-in-one tank you're interested in many have a spot for a compact skimmer built in. A skimmer would also have the benefit of better gas exchange, which is a nice thing for systems with partial or full lids. So if you have the budget I say get a skimmer. An alternative is to still gut the filtration and install a mediabasket. http://shop.mediabaskets.com/ This would allow you more flexibility to use a combination of filtration.
  7. Agree - an AIO is clearly the way to go if you're needing simplicity - modified with a large ATO (auto top off) reservoir and the help of a trusted neighbor that can help with feeding. Innovative marine (IM) and Fluval offer some smaller AIO tanks that are not super expensive and offer quite a bit when it comes to equipment - oh and visually the package looks nice too. If you're careful not to overstock you can likely get along fine without a skimmer. Just adds another thing to potentially go wrong while you're gone anyways. I would advise going for an ATO that has high reliability rankings - which will likely mean something other than float switches. Spend some time browsing some of the online retailers (there are several good ones that are sponsors of the forum here) as well as your local shop and I'm sure you'll catch up on the equipment side of things quick. Good luck.
  8. The Mad Science Experiment

    Pretty cool little "tank" you have there lol. I like the piece of rock you put in there. Personally the red light also seems kind of neat/spooky considering your theme.
  9. Cephalapico - ajmckay's Creative container

    So I did some research on this because it seems fascinating but it appears that the anemones do exist on their own in the wild. The species "most commonly" associated with pom pom crabs is Triactis producta. It seems that these anemones do look different when not held in the claws of a crab though. They have weird looking zooxanthellae-packed "pseudotentacles" that are out during the day while the "true tentacles" only come out at night/low light. My pom pom is rarely out during the day so I can't say I've seen any such pseudotentacles on it's nems. Then again the anemones seem to be much smaller when carried around by the crab so it could be that they never develop this second set of stalk-mounted tentacles. https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/malacology/invert.htm https://wikivisually.com/wiki/Triactis_producta I am going to take another look at the anemones that I called aiptasia earlier in this thread and see if they may actually be free-roaming Triactis producta! They're up on the glass, out of the reach of the pom pom crab - Maybe the crab parked one of it's nems and the anemone wandered off lol!
  10. Cambro Reef

    Bummer on the snail... Sounds like you went out of your way quite a bit to pick it up. Trochus are great snails though. I've had one in a 3g for over a year. I bought it the size of a dime and now it's about the size of a gold dollar coin. It's shell is also super tall so it bumps into stuff a lot. I suppose I should get a replacement and re-home this one to the 40b...
  11. $1,000 budget, build advice

    Wood is really only used for massive budget builds that I've seen... The hassles of dealing with the material alone make it not worth the effort when you could buy glass for a small tank like this with minimal cost. If you called around I'm confident you could get 1/4" glass cut to about any size that would fit into that space for maybe $75. Add some silicone and you have a DIY tank. For a touch of professional have the top edge polished. 30 x 18 x 12" sounds like a nice tank size - and not too difficult to light since it's shallow. Compare that to wood and the time it would take to build, limited lifespan, and limited viewing opportunities and it doesn't seem worth it for anything less than a tank the size of a room where glass and acrylic become less of an advantage due to weight, cost, and manufacturing complexity/logistics. Anyways - If I were you I would take a step back and decide on some clear objectives for this tank - like literally write them down. Think about accessibility (for when it's time to clean), livestock choices, equipment you might want now or in the future, etc... Maybe will help solidify the answers to some of your questions? Good luck.
  12. Cephalapico - ajmckay's Creative container

    So I just leave it in a ball. Some pieces do fall off and get stuck in the pump but I bought a pair of super long forceps in stainless steel that I use to pick out the rogue strands occasionally. I once came up with an idea to use fishing line run through the chaeto to secure it loosely to a small piece of egg-crate but that was simply to keep it in place in a much larger tank. In a pico I don't think it matters much.
  13. Cephalapico - ajmckay's Creative container

    Thanks Oranutran! Getting off to a slow start due to missing the rest of my equipment (on it's way from China)... It's interesting that you ask about the aiptasia because I've found what I believe to be an aiptasia or majano in the Evo III but the pom pom hasn't used it as a "wavey boi" - yet. Obviously they can't be trusted with some other small anemones either. The container does have 1 set of graduated markings molded into the plastic so that will stay. I use a baster to send a few his way every few days... Practically climbs into the baster when it gets near. While feeding I usually squirt some of the "juice" from the frozen food (the tiny bits) into the tank for the pods to eat. I keep a ball of chaeto in there that the pods are crawling on/in. It's my thought/theory that the pom pom eats the mysis I feed it while it feeds the nems with the detritus from the other inhabitants, and maybe also some of the smaller pods/worms and such. This is not an immaculate tank! Oh wow - that would be horrible. The pom pom crab is honestly a great little creature. Suited for a nano/pico for sure. Mine has the weird behavior of "parking" one of it's anemones somewhere for a day then it picks it back up again. I'm pretty sure it's not splitting the anemone because they seem to be the same size each time I look at them. So far I haven't found any rogue anemones of that species so it doesn't appear to be "seeding" them. I feel like there is probably a lot more I could (should) learn about these little crabs. Note that at this moment I'm not planning to transfer the pom-pom to the contest pico. Would love to but I feel the 3G Spec III provides a better habitat. Plus I either won't have a heater in the container pico or it won't be a very good heater (risky).
  14. My clown fish is a pig and my goby is slow

    Oh it certainly ate - just not very aggressively. Actually I realized I don't know what kind of goby you have. I had a sand sifting "sleeper" goby. The thing was voracious when it came to sifting through sand. Could go through a 40b multiple times per day. Not bad for a 3" fish. Anyways it's a tough problem to have... I think the ideas are good - hope you find something that works!
  15. My clown fish is a pig and my goby is slow

    Had the same issue a few years back - unfortunately it didn't end well but here's the stuff I tried - maybe something will work for you or you'll have an idea of stuff that doesn't work lol...