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About malacoda

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  • Location
    Northern Virginia
  • Interests
    motorcycle riding, grilling, straight razor restoration, and, I suspect, reefkeeping
  1. I think it's more for human aesthetics. Let's us see what's going on in our tanks at night. The moon doesn't provide nearly as much light/brightness under the ocean surface as LED 'moonlights' provide our tanks with. Fish can do just fine without them.
  2. Not worth the money or maintenance time for a tank that size IMHO. Just stick with your water changes. Perhaps a bit of floss now and then if you feel the need (and aren't already using it). As for aeration, the movement of the water through the back chambers of your IM 10 should provide more than enough.
  3. +1 on Clown79's comments. Really depends on your tank and your goals. There are several ways to achieve balance. For example, I was running both a reactor (e.g. container) with Phosguard, carbon, and De*Nitrate, using filter floss, and running a Tunze 9004 on my 24g. P was always 0.01 and NO3 was always 1ppm. While away on a 3 week vacation, I left my skimmer turned off since there would be no one to empty the cup every couple of days and it would just overflow back into my sump. (I was able to have someone stop by at the 1.5 week mid-point to change the floss.) Upon my return I tested the water and, guess what -- P was 0.01 and NO3 was 1ppm. Seemed like the skimmer wasn't really needed. The combination of the Phosguard, carbon, DeNitrate reactor and floss was enough to keep the tank in balance. So I removed the skimmer. It's been 4 months now without the skimmer. P and NO3 still rock solid at 0.01 and 1ppm. Film algae growth on glass hasn't increased at all. And system still as healthy and happy as it always had been. For me, I'd rather not deal with constant cleaning of a skimmer if my system doesn't need it. Others my prefer the added sense of 'safety' they get by having a skimmer ... or may have a super-heavy bio load that requires it. All depends on you tank, your comfort level, and your goals.
  4. Decide which size tank will give you more enjoyment first, then decide how to best care for that tank while you're away at school. If the 20g won't give you the room to create the slice of reef you want, it won't matter whether it's at home or with you in a dorm room - it'll begin to feel like an added nuisance in an already busy college life, and come to feel like a burden rather than a joy. If you really think it will give you the slice of reef you want, then it'll feel like a joy rather than a burden despite how busy you may be. Likewise, if the 65g fits you dream better, it'll feel more worthwhile figuring out arrangements for it to be cared for while you're gone ... and more rewarding and enjoyable during the periods when you're home.
  5. How long has it been in that spot? And, any changes to your lighting or flow recently? Other than being a little retracted, it looks alright. I'd just leave it be and see if it adjusts/re-adapts.
  6. Not quite a direct comparison, but I had pink-streaked wrasse in a 24g with a sexy shrimp and it never paid the shrimp any attention.
  7. Both are great pumps in terms of flow. The better choice may depend on your aquascape. While not quite a direct comparison, I started out with an xf230 gyre in my 24g (24x16x16). Loved flow. My aquascape is a bit tall though. And eventually there was no way to redirect the broad stream of flow from the gyre in a way the didn't blast the stylo (causing the polyps to stay partially retracted). For a while I got away with running just one propeller instead of two. But as the coral grew further I found myself turning the gyre down so low that the rest of the tank wasn't getting quite enough flow. I recently swapped out the xf230 with a tunze 6040. Great pump. Great flow. And if desired, great at creating a resonant wave. If my aquascape were lower, and didn't put my corals in the direct path of the initial blast of output, the gyre would still be my no. 1 choice. Since my scape is tall, the smaller size of the 6040 ... along with it's less broad output stream ... gives me more flexibility in where I place the powerhead. Bottom line: both produce great flow for a 25g. Let your aquascape and desired level of control determine which one will be suit your needs.
  8. As long as they eat pellets an Eheim auto-feeder (<$35) should work just fine. I use one for up to 3-4 weeks at a stretch when I'm away. Just make sure you follow the directions closely when programming it. It's REALLY easy to program. You just need to make sure you cycle through all 4 feeding cycles (even if you are only using one or two per day) during set-up, otherwise the set-up won't take. And if too many pellets come out of the little sliding door even on its first notch, just cover part of the opening with a piece of scotch tape.
  9. Can't speak as to which one might be the 'best' ... but both Modular Marine and Exotic Marine Systems offer what look to be good options. (Note: as of a few days ago Modular Marine has been on a 'hiatus' to catch up on a backlog of orders.)
  10. +1 on more tank info +1 on the don't look like they're doing bad at all You mention they've been 'like this for two weeks' ... but how long have they been in the tank? If they've only been in there for 3-6 weeks, they may just be adapting to the environment. It can take corals a few weeks to adapt to a new tank ... especially a change in lighting. Often when you first add a coral, they'll look super for a few days ... then the 'difference' in the new environment hits them and they can look a bit less vibrant ... then they adjust, become more vibrant again, and start growing. None of them are fully closed and the colors look good. So they may just be adjusting a bit. If they were closed up, and remained that way for more than a day or two, it would be an indications something more major is going on. RE: testing -- at a bare minimum, you really should test alkalinity and calcium regularly. If you do consistent water changes on a frequent schedule - e.g. 10% every week ... or 20% every two weeks - your parameter shouldn't bounce around much ... but the only way to know for certain though is to test. For example, if your doing a 20% water change every two weeks but your corals are using a fair amount of alkalinity, your alkalinity may be dropping 1 dKH between the changes. A swing that big can irritate some corals ... and you may need to switch to doing 10% every week instead. You'll know if something like this IS or ISN'T happening is by testing.
  11. i take pretty much the same steps on my 24g as you've described when I travel ... the only differences being that I turn off my tunze 9004 skimmer and rely purely on filter floss instead (the skimmer cup would just overflow after 5-7 days), and I place a Two Little Fishes feeding ring beneath my Eheim autofeeder. The ring keeps the pellets in place for the fish to pick at them. And what the fish don't eat eventually sinks so the CUC can get it. Even just the first 'notch' on the Eheim slider let's too much food into the tank, so I just put a piece of tape over 1/3 of it to reduce the amount of pellets that fall out to the amount I want. I also put a big 25g container next to my stand and ... depending how long I'll be gone ... fill it anywhere from 50% to 90% full with RODI water to take care of ATO while I'm gone. I've left my tank running on this set up for up to 3 weeks unattended ... on several occasions ... and has done just fine. If I'm going to be gone more than 3 weeks, I have some one come over once every 2nd week to replace the filter floss and check on things just to be sure nothing major has happened.
  12. I think something many reef keepers may like to see would be are tanks with black glass for the back pane. Great for hiding plumbing - particularly on larger tanks that have 2 or 3 overflow drains in addition to the return line.
  13. As clown79 mentioned some heaters last ages, other can fail while still quite young. For the most part, most recognized brand names will last quite a while. But even among beloved brands occasionally one will still go bad earlier. I had an eheim that failed after just 3 months. Far from the norm, but it's a mechanical device and once in a while one will malfunction ... especially in such a harsh environment. (e.g. a electrical device in saltwater that is constantly switching off and on through the day, day after day.). IMHO, 2.5 years is a pretty good life span for a saltwater tank heater.
  14. As long as you stay on top of your filtration - via water changes, the Seachem products (BTW - I'm a big fan of Seachem's stuff too), etc. - and keep a close eye on your water parameters, I think you should be okay with one more goby or clown. Wouldn't recommended anymore bioload to someone who is just starting out ... but as long as you're confident you've got good feel for your tank now, and remain diligent in caring for it, you ought to be alright.
  15. Great way to look at it! A clean slate and the opportunity for change can be rejuvenating and exciting.