Crabby's "Elite210" tank at the Romberg Tiburon Center

Discussion in 'Tank Journals' started by Crabby, Dec 22, 2008.

  1. nanocube-guy

    nanocube-guy Guest

    nice man. I like your monticap
  2. GreshamH

    GreshamH Guest

    #2 is a bad idea as unfrozen food starts to decay at the point of not being frozen any longer. If you use any RN products in this method it is also a bad idea. Feed reactors simply put rot your food to a degree prior to the animals getting it.

    If you do #1 I suggest running a 1/2" line through the fridge and connect the peri tubes to it. There is a great thread on RC-NPS forum about this.

    What corals do you think are actually eating phytoplankton as almost all from all my research do not feed upon it directly?
  3. Crabby

    Crabby Guest


    The other day when I was leaving to go home I glanced at the tank and noticed that the aquamedic pendant that illuminates the cheato section of the sump had fallen into the sump. The wire holding it up had broken. Luckily there was so much cheato in the tank that it supported the pendant, and luckily the pendant wasn't yet turned on. I dried the pendant off and tested it the next day - the bulb fired and it seems to be running fine!

    Corals are all looking great and soon will DBTC a lot of stuff. Unfortunately, I have to miss the upcoming swap due to arrival of an international visitor at the same time.
  4. Crabby

    Crabby Guest


    Everything was doing well until last week. I had noticed that the corals were looking a little bit pale a week ago on Friday but didn't have time to check parameters etc right away. So, I did a quick water change and left for the weekend. On Monday I got to work and saw that everything was MUCH WORSE!!!. I went to get more water for a water change and it came out of my mixing tank yellow, like pee yellow. I looked into my SW mixing tank and was shocked to find a large board (think 12" shelf) with nails etc IN THE WATER. Ack. So I dumped all that water and figured that the reason corals were bleaching was because of whatever was in that wood. Not sure how long the wood was in my mixing tank for. To do a big water change, ~ 1/3 tank volume, I got about 80 gallons of fresh water from one of our experiment tanks. I also changed out the carbon with fresh stuff. I was hoping that would help, but little did I know that at some point during the water change I accidentally changed the light timer from "auto" to "on" so the lights were on for about 40 hours straight until I noticed early on Wednesday AM. Needless to say, partially bleached corals don't like solid light. Double Ack. Bottom line: nothing is dead, but some stuff is half-dead, and many corals are pretty bleached. I shortened the light cycle by an hour. Am thinking of switching to lower K bulbs (14K) to provide more PAR for the corals, but feel like I should wait until they have recovered. The present bulbs are about 9 mo old, so hopefully the corals will recover by the time the bulbs are ready to be replaced.
  5. JAR

    JAR Supporting Member

    Ack!!!!! LOL. stuff happens.
  6. Crabby

    Crabby Guest

    Since the last set of Acks in September, all has recovered nicely. No corals were lost, although regions of some corals bleached so badly that they died. All of the corals are colored up nicely again and regaining their zooxanthellae.

    A few more updates:
    - I bought a bunch of frags at Green Marine last week, plus one small clam. Photos forthcoming.
    - I have obtained all of the new lights for improving (I hope) coral growth. I want all the corals I have to grow like crazy so I can start fraggin them! The tank is presently lit with 2X 400W 20K MH (Radium) SE bulbs. The corals have great color but slow growth. I have purchased 2X 400W 10K bulbs (Ushio) and 2 48" reefbrite blue LED fixtures. The 48" reefbrite turned out to be the most cost effective. I also have some warm white LED strips that I may incorporate with the reef brites for dawn/dusk simulation. My plan is to run the actinics for about 12h/day, white LEDs for about 10h/day, and the halides will be on for up to 8h/day. Presently the 20Ks are on for 8h/day, but the 10K light will be much stronger, so I'm thinking I'll slowly ramp up the 10Ks from 4h/day to 8h/day over about 2 weeks (adding 30min of light every 3 days). Anyone have thoughts on how to best make this light transition?
  7. JAR

    JAR Supporting Member

    that's a lot of light!
    I run my 2x 250 20k mh's for 6 hours and get vg growth.
  8. Tumbleweed

    Tumbleweed Guest

    I don't think you are really going to have to worry about bleaching with only changing from a 20k bulb to a 10k bulb. You are still using the same amount of light, just a different spctrum of light. If you are still consernd and really want to take extra procaution you can run them for the 6hours to start with and putting some window screen netting over the tank to help defuse the light. Start with say 3 layers and remove a layer every 4-5 days or so.
    But again I really don't think it will be needed.
  9. Crabby

    Crabby Guest

  10. JAR

    JAR Supporting Member

    if it ain't broke ...
  11. Crabby

    Crabby Guest

    yeah - that's my current thinking. Now, what do I do with 2X 48" reefbrites and 2X 400W 10K bulbs?
  12. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer President

    Mmmmm. Reefbrites...
  13. JAR

    JAR Supporting Member

    All blue?
    I could use one strip if don't want to hang on to them.
  14. Crabby

    Crabby Guest

    Yes, all blue. I'll let you know what I decide....
  15. Crabby

    Crabby Guest

    Well, it's been since December since a tank update - far far too long!

    Not much exciting happened between December and about March. Corals kept growing and everything was looking great. In March 2011 I bought some frags from Green Marine and STUPIDLY did not QT them. Even though I didn't buy any montipora corals, I still managed to get an infection of monti eating nudibranchs. These are the only items I added to the tank, so I know that the nudibranchs must have come with these frags. Anyhow, I started to see montis getting eaten - the first was very large pieces of tyree blue polyped tank base monti cap. The pieces, which were about 8" long and 4" wide are completely dead now. I found many nudibranchs and eggs on the dead pieces of coral. At that time I wrote another thread about the treatment options: < >

    A number of monti frags and larger colonies were lost completely, but other montis were untouched. I really didn't have the resources to deal with this infestation - no place to remove all the corals while treating them, and no time to do it. So, I decided to just see what would happen.

    In April-June the tank was looking mostly fine. The acroporas were growing like crazy with great color, and while some Montis were definitely taking a beating, others were untouched by the nudibranchs.

    Then in mid-June, a new pest started to crop up: asterina sea stars. Their numbers grew seemingly exponentially from a few to thousands. A green eyed chalice that I grew from about the size of a quarter to about 4" across was eaten from the rim to the center in just a week or so. I have two pieces of this chalice, and both were eaten. Other chalices in the tank were untouched. A big monti cap that had been getting slowly chewed by the nudibranchs all of a sudden had large totally dead spots at the edges. In both cases, there were tons of tiny asterinas at the edges of the "eaten" areas. I didn't look at the asterina gut contents, and while it's possible that they were just grazing on already dead corals, their population explosion coupled with the sudden coral loss was strong correlative evidence that the stars may have been eating the corals.

    Again, I lacked the resources to deal with the sea stars as I was leaving for a 1-month series of trips overseas. I left the tank in the capable hands of my graduate students with the hopes of returning in August to deal with the nudibranch and sea star issues. I told them to just do regular (daily) small water changes on the tank and prayed for the best.

    While gone my students wrote to me to let me know that the corals were looking bad. I asked them to check the pH, which they did, and it was about 7.5. Apparently, something went wrong with either the Ca reactor, the refugium, or their mixing of new seawater. I instructed them to raise the pH, which they did to some extent, but when I returned in August, many of the corals, especially certain acropora frags, had perished.

    Also while gone one of the Tunze 7095 controllers stopped working properly. So, now the 4 pumps it controlled are just full on all the time. There's still a lot of flow in the tank, but I liked the flow pattern better before. I'm going to have to diagnose the problem - probably one pump that isn't working properly. Might be a good time to take them all out and clean them.

    I did a whole series of water tests (pH was low, Ca and Alk were low, Mg was too high, salinity too high, PO4 was present), and started to aggressively correct water chemistry through water changes, new GFO media, new carbon, and addition of aquavitro products (which I don't normally use due to costs). The water chemistry is back to normal, and, hopefully the corals will recover. Some, like my Hawkins blue echinata that was growing well with great color, has died at the tips but is still alive at the base. We'll see how it goes. A rather large (4" across) tabling acro that was doing very well has died on top, but is alive on the bottom. I'm trying to not be sad about the corals I lost...

    To deal with the pests: I have purchased a pair of harlequin shrimp in the hopes that they'll eat some sea stars. I'm looking for a dorid nudibranch that likes to track down and eat aeolids (the monti nudis are aeolids), but haven't found one so far.

    It was also time for new lightbulbs and so I decided to put the 10K MHs on the tank in the hopes that switching from 20K would provide additional PAR and help the corals increase their photosynthesis rate. I reduced the photoperiod to 3h and increased by 30min each day (15 min earlier and 15min later) to an eventual photoperiod of 6h (10AM-4PM). I'm going to add the 2 reefbrite blue strips and have them on from 9AM-5PM or so. Might build a new canopy first, though, as the one I presently have isn't too pretty.

    Finally, some of the corals have started stinging each other, so it's time for some fragging and DBTC. I need to set up a tank to QT frags before DBTC - I'll do povidone and potassium permanganate dipping with the hopes of getting the pests off before they go to other people's tanks.

    It's tough to have a hobby tank also be a public display!

    I'll try to post some pics soon.
  16. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer President

    Sorry you've had troubles! Hope it picks back up, that tank was pretty cool when I picked up that water tank.
  17. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    I'm a bit skeptical about the asterinas being "predators" on your corals, my thought is algae came first, and they're simply consuming the algae.

    Either way, sucks you lost so much

    I think a temporary plaque (white board/blackboard) with a description/educational bit about why the corals are looking so poo-poo might be a good step since it is a public display.
  18. Apon

    Apon Volunteer

    sorry to hear this
  19. Crabby

    Crabby Guest

    Thanks. The tank is STILL COOL!! and some of the corals remain great looking. Others not so much...
  20. Crabby

    Crabby Guest

    This is good idea - my wife mentioned the idea of using this as a way to talk about how fragile coral reefs are, and how humans can so easily disturb them in nature. I'm going to consider making an interpretive display about coral eating nudibranchs.

    I think that in the near future I'll pull out a bunch of corals, frag them, dip them, and try to revive them into healthy specimens in another system (one I've yet to set up!)...Might be time for me to have that frag tank at home where I can quarantine corals and have a backup to those at the lab.

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