blasterman

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About blasterman

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  1. This is why I don't keep rhodactis shrooms. They tend to migrate and grow rapidly, and they also mildly sting other corals. I've seen them take over entire sections of larger tanks. Purple shrooms and other varities like spotted or stripped tend to be better behaved and aren't as invasive.
  2. Yep...... Alk, which is either sodium bicarb (baking soda) or sodium carbonate (soda ash or heated baking soda) is the prime source of carbon building blocks in reef tanks. Bacteria and other primal organisms use up alk rapidly as their colonies increase. You may see alk also dive before periods of algae blooms or during cyano outbreaks as well. Totally normal with new tanks. I wouldn't let it go below 7. Anything higher ride it out until you do a water change. It will stabilize just as fast.
  3. Not to be buzzkill, but most corals look crazy under royal only LEDs.
  4. I'm already adding pH scrubbers to all my tanks to get every little decimal point I can to keep SPS healthy, and I can't think of a need for more. During the night cycle soft corals expel C02 and there's almost always too much of it. Even my softy tanks show a generous improvement in growth and health if I add calcium hydroxide directly and keeping pH no lower than 8.1. C02 uptake in corals as I understand it is very little. It can increase under high light periods. Calcium carbonate substrate in tanks, contrary to urban myth, does little to buffer pH or alk. Local acidity needs to get lower than 6.5 to begin to disolve calcium carbonate. However, at much higher pH levels coral calcification starts to stunt. Might be an interesting experiment with zoas or softies.
  5. If you plan on doing regular water changes and aren't running an SPS heavy tank but will be keeping mixed coral all you really need is an alk test kit. Calcium/Magnesium can easily be replenished via moderate water changes. You are otherwise just checking your salt mix for consistency and not consumption. Alk levels can dive and weave for several months after you start a tank, but they are easy to correct with good old baking soda. A nitrate kit is important for when the tank matures. I've actually begun to add potassium nitrate to starter tanks to get nitrate levels up to 'mature tank' levels so all bacteria can get a running start. I don't even bother with ammonia/nitrite kits, even for cycling. If you use live rock and 'seed' the tank with ammonia first I've never had a problem beginning light stocking a couple weeks after seeding. Overstocking too quickly, and/or relying on bottled additives creates a need for 'ammonia chasing'. A pH test is only advisable if you plan on going SPS heavy.
  6. You don't need to test for magnesium and calcium in a new tank, and you aren't running SPS anyways. Alk tends to dive fast in a new tank because establishing bacteria colonies use it as their main source of carbon, but that's it. With just a few softies nothing is going to be consuming calcium or magnesium.
  7. Again, the Chinese black boxes like the Mars Aqua have a strong following and color is exceptionally good albeit for 2 channels of color. They aren't as efficient as the Cree / Luxeon based premium lights like the Radion, nor do they have the ability to control each color discretely or emulate thunderstorms at specific lattitudes and a custom sunsets according to GPS coordinates. I also found I could care less about such features and a $10 lamp timer turns it on and off each day when I want. I can also focus on growing coral more. Two should be fine for a 55 with center brace although you'll need to raise them a couple feet for full coverage.
  8. As per Jedi I'd stick to the Mar's Aqua units. Same price, and for the Chinese black boxes it's a known variable with a decent reputation. Coverage should be perfect for a 29cube. I have one, and they are very popular on RC. Realize though they use some 460nm LEDs, so the color balances differently (warmer / whiter) than DIY rigs using just royal blue LEDs.
  9. Remember some years ago when AI Sol users were bleaching the %^&* out of their SPS at low power levels? It was because they had the additional 470nm LEDs, which is a wavelength not common for *any* reef light source regardless of technology but still utilized heavy by corals.
  10. 15W ..... of Kessil PAR....which is not exactly super efficient. So, we're talking 10watts of Cree or Luxeon. Roughly the same as a single triple-up I just ordered from Steve. Growing shrooms in a Mason jar? I love Kessil shimmer, but the lack of color depth and the absurd price per PAR doesn't do it for me. Maybe it's time to dense matrix somebody elses chip and focus on color and power.
  11. I can cofirm that not only are those palys dangerous to humans but they are significantly toxic to other corals, especially LPS and SPS. I had a 3-3" colony given to me, and after they got 'upset' after being pushed into some xenia by a turbo snail all the SPS and LPS in my tank was dead in 12 hours. Nothing but skeletons. Unfortunately reef stores sell them to beginners for cheap. Butt ugly stuff that needs to be banned from reef trading and importing if you ask me. Those are green implosions. They have not been verified as toxic like the others, but care should still be taken. I consider implosions to be 'weeds'. The won't stay in tight clusters and will randomly appear in spots of your tank not desireable. They don't sting, but will irritate other corals. I got rid of mine with an insulin syringe and vinegar. They did not survive the injection. I'd still prefer to remove the rock and scrape them off with a razor though.
  12. If you can remove the rocks with the palys then do so. Scrape the zoas off with an hobby knife, and dispose of the remains is several layers of plastic bags wrapped tight enough where critters can't get at them. Try not to keep the rocks out fro more than 5 minutes at a time so as to not harm beneficial things on the rock via prolonged air exposure. Paly toxin can't penetrate skin. It needs an open wound to get into the blood stream, ingested, or inhaled via boiling. Just cutting palys doesn't make them dangerous in terms of skin exposure. Wear latex / food prep gloves if so inclined. The ones with the highest amounts of palytoxin are the shallow water varities. They mostly have a drab, uniform light / dull green color and grow dense colonies. If you don't want to remove the rock then get an insulin needle and inject them with vinegar.
  13. The fact is that low / high alk or calcium is almost always self induced by the tank owner, and calcium falls at a far slower rate than alkalinity, which often fools noob reefers. Another fact is this article is based on using two part suppliments, and the vast majority of reef tanks I've seen over that past 20 years eventually fail with two parts, or simply drift into stagnation. Contrary to this the majority of reactor driven tanks I've seen over the past 20 years are successful, and don't suffer the problems of this article. At some point I'd like to the authors of these articles to address the issue of different types of calcium availability in reef tanks, including the potential failure of calcium chloride based delivery. I could otherwise take 20 different tanks, set their calcium / alk ratios with spot on parameters, and 7 out of 10 of those tanks won't grow SPS worth a shit. / Rant
  14. These guys are big (about the size of gobstoppers), and even though only had them a couple weeks already making new heads. Can't find them in any online coral guide though. _MG_4945 by blasterman789, on Flickr
  15. Automotive HID does the trick with low voltage and low cost. The problem I found is HID plummets in terms of efficiency when you drop below 150 watts. I found 35watt HID retrofits astonishingly dim compared to LED. We need some high powered LED picks for this.