I could use some help...

Discussion in 'Tank Journals' started by Jim123, Feb 15, 2015.


    BAYMAC Guest

  2. gaberosenfield

    gaberosenfield Juvenile Chromis over an Acro in the Red Sea

    That "green tufted algae" is in the genus Cymopolia, probably C. barbata. I just got some myself and it's really cool and already growing new segments after just 1 week :)

    Go to some LFS and look in their coral tanks for pieces of live rock with coralline algae on them and no loving coral on them. Ask if you can buy the rock. They'll probably sell it to you for the same price as their other live rock. Just check it out very thoroughly before you put it in your tank to prevent the introduction of pests. Better yet, quarantine it for a month first!
  3. Jim123

    Jim123 Guest

    Gabe, Thanks for the advice.

    The patience that this hobby requires is really difficult, especially at the start!

    Things are progressing. Here are some current tank pictures:

    2015-02-28 09.26.36.jpg

    2015-02-28 09.24.30.jpg

    2015-02-28 09.25.00.jpg

    All the macro algae is newly added.
    The water is very slightly cloudy. Maybe it is cycling.

    One thing I don't understand is the the alkalinity has been dropping and dropping.
    It drops about 2 dKH per day. I correct with buffer each day.
    The Calcium and Magnesium levels are OK and constant.
    This means the the drop in alkalinity is not caused by biological calcium carbonate uptake.
    It looks like some process is just lowering the pH and that lowers the alkalinity? I don't understand this...
    The pH is in range and fairly constant.

    Anyway, everything else looks OK. Zero ammonia so far, about 1 week.
    I have added canned tuna and various other things to promote cycling.
    I have ordered some Microbatcer-7 to perhaps aide in the cycling of the tank.

    I am just going to continue buffering up the alkalinity and see what happens.
    I ordered a small amount of live rock to seed coralline algae in the tank.
    I guess I should quarantine this... sigh...

    Thats it for now, Jim : )
  4. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer President

    Maybe has to do with the cement blocks? What did you make them out of ?
  5. Jim123

    Jim123 Guest

    The tank legs are made of concrete blocks glued together with construction adhesive.

    Uhm, did you mean "what did I use for the rock work etc in the tank"?

    The coral is dead mined coral.
    It is attached to acrylic frames and boxes with reef safe epoxy.
    The substrate is dry natural coral sand.
    There is a little bit of black foam stuff that I was just playing around with.
    The black foam sprays out of a can and says it is fish safe and it is used to seal between rocks for
    waterfalls etc on outdoor ponds.
    It is sort of like the "Great Stuff" that is used for construction insulation.
    That is pretty much everything in the tank, except for the equipment, the saltwater and the biology.

    Thank for any input.
    Stay tuned...
  6. Jim123

    Jim123 Guest

    Hi again Mike;

    The things that might look like concrete blocks in the tank are actually acrylic boxes filled with
    coral sand. The boxes have holes along the bottom with screen on them to keep the sand inside.
    This, maybe, allows for some slow water flow through the sand. This is sort of my version
    of a very deep sand bed. It also raises up the rock work and gives me sand beds and different levels.

    "If you don't understand it, it must be art".

    Coral reefer likes this.
  7. Geneva

    Geneva Supporting Member

    I think he might have been asking what those blocks in the tank are made of but I think you said "Yes there are boxes of sand supporting the rock." but what was used to keep their shape (which may impact your readings)?!
  8. Jim123

    Jim123 Guest

    The boxes (filled with sand) are made of pieces of acrylic sheet glued together with acrylic solvent
    from Tap plastics. The screen in the boxes is fiberglass window screen. Should be inert...
  9. Enderturtle

    Enderturtle Volunteer

    So I take it you won't be adding any tangs ;)
  10. Jim123

    Jim123 Guest

    Yea, no Tangs for sure!
  11. Coral reefer

    Coral reefer President

    Yeah. I was wondering about the sand boxes. Sounds like they should be fine.
  12. aqua-nut

    aqua-nut Supporting Member

    Interesting looking tank.

    What are you using to 'buffer up the alk'?

    You might be getting some coraline growth and that would effect Alk. Alk is consumed more than Ca. (at least it tests that way) and you might be experiencing that.
  13. Jim123

    Jim123 Guest

    Hi John...

    How is your tank doing? I looked at your original tank thread and it doesn't seem like there is much
    new info...

    Actually I would be happy if it was coralline algae causing the alkalinity drop.
    That is the next phase I am looking for.
    I seems like it is too early though.
    I am dosing Salifert KH+pH Buffer, but when I use this up I plan to go to plain old baking soda.

    The Alkalinity uptake has seemed to have slowed.
    Maybe less than 1 dKH per day, we will see.

    The tank went through a period of rapid dense green algae growth on the rocks.
    Tons of photosynthetic oxygen production.
    This algae is now dying off and the rock looks more like bare rock.
    It looks like the tank may never really cycle or only very slowly.
    I think that algae and macro algae can take in ammonia, nitrites and nitrates directly and there
    may be no need or ability to cycle.

    I am getting a small amount of live rock to seed coralline algae in the tank.

    Anyway 15 days and I have dosed this 200 gal tank with 3 tbs canned tuna, 1 tbs dry cat food and 2 tbs time
    release house plant fertilizer. : ) So far no ammonia and no nitrates! (I didn't get a nitrite kit)

    All the macro algae is growing like crazy, especially the Sea Lettuce (Ulva) and the Tufted Algae (Cymopolia barbati). The Ulva seems to be growing about 20%/day! I love it! Lots of plant growth makes me
    feel secure about my tank stability. (Embrace the algae, Grasshopper...)

    This is a very different type of reef tank. It is, to me, very interesting.
    I am already figuring out which soft corals I want to order.

    I also "won" on eBay a 8" tall Sponge Bob Square Pants talking figure for on top of the tank!
    I love it when a plan comes together...

    Thanks for your interest, stay tuned...
  14. Your surface water looks like it could use a bit more aeration, unless those pics are just with the pumps off.
  15. aqua-nut

    aqua-nut Supporting Member

    You mean we're supposed to update the tank thread? :oops: I should do that!

    Your tank seems closer to a planted FW tank than reef. I've followed the EI method for my planted tank. It feels odd adding nutrients! Only problem - the plants grow too fast and there is LOTS of maintenance that I don't do.
  16. Jim123

    Jim123 Guest

    I have read a lot online about reef aquariums, however it seems that the
    foundation of my philosophy on reef tanks is "I don't know what I am doing...".

    I have a freshwater planted tank and I guess this is how I am proceeding with my reef tank.
    So far so good (?).

    I have no idea if one is supposed to update one's tank thread.
    So you actually have a planted salt water tank or do you mean planted freshwater tank?
    What does the "EI method" stand for?

    Hi Andrew!
    Yes the surface has almost no agitation.
    I need to aim one of my circulation pumps upward slightly.
    I suppose, maybe, some of the longer organic molecules from my dosing experiments are accumulating there
    and creating a surface film of some sort.

    Thanks for your comments...
  17. aqua-nut

    aqua-nut Supporting Member

    Sorry, that was supposed to be a joke. :oops: I just added a short vid to my thread. Tanks for the prod! :)

    Yes it's a FW tank. EI is 'estimative index' system developed by Tom Barr, plant guru. A way to fertilize planted tanks cheaply. Just too much work for me because the plants grew too fast!
  18. Ahruk

    Ahruk Guest

    Really love your macro tank. It inspired me to finally set up a tank journal for my crazy jar-pirement. Also there are a lot of very easy easy coral which you should be able to grow without too much worry after your tank finishes cycling so don't let the algae take up your WHOLE tank ;P Also I personally think that the mini-feather dusters make an awesome addition to any macro tank.
  19. Jim123

    Jim123 Guest

    Hi Ahruk!
    Thanks for your interest.
    Uhm, pardon my density... but is jar-pirement a play on retirement? If so, or not, I am also retired (happily most of the time). A reef tank is quite an adventure of sorts. How long have you been in the hobby, it sounds like you have some experience.
    Also what do you feed mini-feather dusters?

    Here are pictures of my planned biology: (It changes day to day...)

    Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 1.51.22 AM.png

    Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 1.51.36 AM.png

    Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 1.52.03 AM.png

    I am not sure I believe the colors on the soft corals, especially with my 6,500K and 10,000K lighting.

    Hope I am not talking too much...

    Hey John,
    No worries.
    My comment about you joke was actually a weak joke itself. Typing has such limited bandwidth...

    Later Jim
  20. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    Yes, that is quite common for people that set up an algae scrubber system.
    Although you usually see a little bit of Nitrite.

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