Mike's Machination

Discussion in 'Tank Journals' started by sfsuphysics, Jan 8, 2014.

  1. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Gotcha, I seem to recall that the PWM pins draw anywhere between 1-5 mA per controller, so I'm probably good to go.
  2. Geneva

    Geneva Supporting Member

    Just reading your journal - amazing tank and pictures! Love your BTA farm - wow - how many did you start out with and do they just split / reproduce on their own?! I've had no luck with them so really enjoy looking at other's! Thanks for sharing!
  3. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Started with 1, never bought any more.

    I've seen BTAs in tanks that are huge glorious beasts, not sure if it's the conditions of my tank, or that perhaps there's some slightly different genetic marker that mine split before getting too big, but yeah they just reproduce and split and eventually when there's no more room one goes walkabout :D
    Geneva likes this.
  4. dswong01

    dswong01 Supporting Member

    I would be interested in you if ever want to sell one. My cousin wants to set up a tank in future and wants nemos with anenomes.
  5. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    No problem Dudley, although if you some frags for my shiny new tank I'd also accept those in lieu of a monetary transaction :D
  6. tr1gger

    tr1gger Keyboard Cowboy

    Mike, I may have missed it somewhere in the posting, is this a Blasto? This thing is off the chain! :D
  7. dswong01

    dswong01 Supporting Member

    Ok let me know whatcha looking for
  8. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Dan, Yup blastomussa wellsi, welcome to the wonderful world of macrophotography (i.e. a lot of those details I can not see with my naked eye :D)

    Dudley, I'm looking for everything! ... but to widdle that down, I think some montipora species would be a good start, the plating ones initially I think since they will end up covering a large area of tank space. Although any sticks (acro or montipora would be fine too, seriously I'm not terribly picky and I trust you to have decent stuff (as long as it's not brown I'll happily take it). I'll more like than not be at that June food making meeting so if you want I could bring one (or two.. not sure how many are attached to the smaller rocks) as soon as then.
  9. Geneva

    Geneva Supporting Member

    For those that don't have anything yet to trade, would you consider selling a nem?! I've had horrible luck with store-bought ones so would like to try a tank-raised....and if yes, how much? Thanks...(I do have a giant bright green hammer on DBTC that I can give you a frag of if you would be interested in such a thing!) I am planning on attending the June meeting if it happens...
  10. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Well I don't know if a store-bought one would have a drastically lower mortality rate versus one that has lived in my tanks, but why don't shoot me a PM so we don't turn my build thread into a for-sale thread ;)
    Geneva likes this.
  11. Geneva

    Geneva Supporting Member

    sure, sorry....
  12. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    No need to apologize, I just feel like selling is just more of a private matter between two people not everyone who wants to watch :D
    Geneva likes this.
  13. Geneva

    Geneva Supporting Member

    I know this new tank is bigger than your old 180 but do you know how many gallons the new tank is and how much down below?! What will your typical water change regiment be (change X gallons every X weeks)? Is the purple tang getting along with the yellow?
  14. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Well going by the outside dimensions, the display is 375 gallons, and the tank below is 270 gallons. It's a bit less than that because the acrylic is 3/4" thick on the sides, the water doesn't go all the way to the top of the inside due to the overflows and of course the top bracing makes the tank almost an inch taller, so if I had to guess somewhere closer to 320 gallons or so. Ditto with the bottom tank, probably closer to 200 gallons of water in there when everything is all said and done.

    As to the water change regiment, haven't quite figured that out yet. As of now I'm doing tiny ones of maybe 5 gallons or so, simply see where the dead spots are where the detritus is, sucking that up as I see it, then making up some fresh salt water to replace that. Basically I still only have 3 fish, I feed them the same as I did before, so regardless of the water volume the water does not need to be changed with any more frequency. Now that said, after I clean out the greenhouse a bit more, I will be putting a 40g brute next to my 100g freshwater storage tank, and will probably do 40g every 2 weeks, which translates to something like 15% a month change which I think I'll be happy with. I will put quite a few more fish in there, however probably no more large fish except one particular type of tang (bristletooth) which isn't that large, and won't have anywhere near as many fish as other people would have with a tank this size. So might end up having a "light" bioload for a tank this size, hell I think I only had 6 fish or so in my 180g. I would like to get a lot more "reef" fish though, ones that stake out an area and stay closer to that more so than free swimmers like tangs and the like

    And yeah the purple and yellow seem to be getting along fine. When I put them both in, the yellow stayed in the front of the tank with his life long buddy fatty foxface, the purple stayed near the back wall where it's darker and I think felt more comfortable. As far as I can tell within that first day they didn't even know each other was in the tank, and when I did see them the yellow showed it was much larger and chanced a few times the next day, but when I looked at night I saw both of them "sleeping" (hiding) in the same cave area. Every now and then the yellow flares up a bit and the purple goes running, but when I peek around the corner (since my presence drastically changes their behavior) I do see that they're both just picking at rocks and what not fairly happily. I do hope to set up a webcam or something so I can watch them without being there sometimes, just to see what really is going on.
  15. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Ok so talking about how I change their behavior, that being they see me they expect food, I decided to exploit that to try and get some pictures!

    The three amigos! Whom just happened to swim right in front of the water mark on the acrylic... oh well, good enough family portrait. Purple tang, Yellow Tang, and Fatty Foxface

    Who you calling fat!?

    Out of the way fatty

    Birthday also came a bit earlier this year, got a couple presents from Avast Marine.
    MR16 media reactor and K2 Kalk stirrer. Bought the kit versions, because it's just as easy to put them together to save about $50 each. Thought briefly about making my own, however 6" tubing would cost me $120 easily (granted for 6 feet of it) and all the other things adding up got me to the point where I simply wanted nice cut pieces to make it look pretty and that was worth the money, I couldn't even imaging cutting a 6 foot long piece of 6" wide tubing... definitely would require the guys at Tap Plastics to make the cut for me :D
    Carbon most likely will go in the reactor.
    wpeterson likes this.
  16. rygh

    rygh Supporting Member

    Wow, your foxface really is seriously fat. I thought you were kidding.
    Your yellow tang is not so skinny either.


    Yeah, sometimes DIY is just not worth it.
  17. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Yeah I'd used to toss algae covered rocks from one tank into the tank with them, and by the next morning the rock would be stripped bare of algae, it was an awesome site. Although there also was a bristletoothed tang in with them too so the fantastic trio of algae eliminators has only been running at 66%... although they eat everything in site.

    Although I noticed pellets don't seem to appetizing to the tangs, at least when they first hit the water (maybe too crunchy?) the foxface though eats those up like the Beggin' Strips dog.. "nom nom nom it's BACON!"
    aquatic mouse likes this.
  18. aqua-nut

    aqua-nut Supporting Member

    Looking good, Mike. That's the way they look in the ocean!
  19. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics Supporting Member

    Majorly over due progress report, hell looks likes like 1 year is the good anti-Gimmito post time :D (and yes if you know me this is going to be wordy as all hell)

    Well overall I'm not happy. Algae is a bit of an issue in the tank, I have a feeling it was related to my carbon dosing to take care of nitrates. Somehow my 4 tangs and 1 foxface couldn't care less about grazing anymore (although every now and then I see a tang picking at rocks...). I'm tempted to cut back of feedings since they're herbivores and there is a "forest" of food for them, although I do have non-herbivores in the tank and don't want to starve them. Other issues are aiptasia, it's really visible in my anemone section of the sump, oh the irony!, although I do find one or two in the main tank, I'm less worried about those because I can handle those as they pop up. SPS has not been able to be kept in the tank at all, the low point came when my pink sand dollar monti finally died, it was the one few montis that were able to stay alive in the tank. Parameters are ok for what it, 380 calcium, 7dKh alkalinity (a bit on the low side yes, but shouldn't be super critical, nitrates are unreadable now (thanks carbon source! now take the algae with it!!!!). Plus I see the electric bill (which I'm not going to lie, I'm going to say that's all the tank :D) and I'm wondering what the point is anymore if I have such few corals in the tank, why bother with paying that electricity for essentially a fish tank.

    So I've reached a low point with my tank, I think many reefers hit this point at some time in their lives, so I'm not totally willing to go off the deep end (i.e. quit the hobby). But I've made some decisions, and been thinking about some potential decisions.

    Decision 1: Move the anemones & clowns from the bottom.
    I have a few smaller tanks I want to setup, arrange them in such a way that I could put a single lumenarc MH pendant over the whole shebang to keep the anemones lit. Then I can try and handle the aiptasia in those tanks instead, cutting off pieces of rock if need be, also get a head count of how many clownfish are left, I have a feeling I may only have half a dozen or so left.

    After the aiptasia is gone, two plans of action, maybe put some in the main tank, because why the hell not, it's not like I have to worry about corals getting stung, or find homes for all of them. Apparently at $20 an anemone I can't get rid of them fast enough. Virtually no LFSs in San Francisco, so it's not like I can trade them in for store credit. I could bring some as raffle (or auction) prizes to the meetings, but I'm sure that'll get old quick. Either way need to figure out long term goals.

    Decision 2: Remove the 270 gallon sump
    That was a bad decision from day one. While my vision was grandous, it turned into a regular pain in the butt for me. First and foremost because of it's size (and the way I placed it) I think I compromised the structure of the tank over it, not so much the vertical strength, but any sort of lateral strength, the big one hits, then the big one might hit the floor. So removing that tank will allow me to restructure the whole thing, add sheets of plywood to give it lateral strength, etc. So if anyone wants a 3 foot wide, 8 foot long, 20 inch tall sump let me know! You move, you haul, you can have! There are two very beefy baffles at one end, so effectively it's an all-in-one type of tank that's 6 feet by 3 feet :D

    So I figure I can replace it with something much smaller, I have a 100g acrylic tank with goldfish in it in my greenhouse, chop it down a bit, throw in some baffles, beef up the perimeter, I can get a 6 foot by 18 inch footprint in no problem, and be much easier to work with. And if the acrylic is too fragile, I figure something else out. I like this idea the most because I'll get a few benefits in addition to a stronger stand (I really really really wish I had the skills to make my own steel stand and call it a day).
    1) Less water volume! But wait, I've read everywhere that more volume is better! Yeah it's better to keep things stable, BUT there is a limit to how much water volume is actually useful AND stability can be a two way street, if things are bad it's really easy to keep things bad. I was thinking of this when I was doing a water change (1- 42gallon brute) and almost realizing how futile it was. I don't have the ability to do much more than that either, I could if I really really want to, but I'd rather not, so if I am unwilling to do larger water changes, might as well make the existing change a larger percentage of the tank. I figure removing the existing sump area and replacing it with what I have will chop 200 gallons of water out of system, which is fine by me.
    2) Less water to heat! as it stands I'm heating around 600 gallons of water. I definitely see a difference in my electric bill during cold months, and not to the point that I can attribute it to less solar power generation.
    3) Less surface area! That's a good way to waste energy, lots of surface area for evaporation to occur. Going from 24 square feet down to 9 square feet. Now for some people this might sound like a negative, however here the temperature doesn't get so high that it becomes a worry for me.

    Potential Idea 1: Break down the tank and restart
    My wife actually said this might be an easier way to go about it too! Plus it allows me to work on the tank without a fear of a ton and a half of water above me that could fall down :D But the rocks are covered in algae, set up a frag tank (won't take much), take out all the rock, and completely cook the ever living crap out of it. Get rid of aiptasia, red planeria, everything.

    Potential idea 2: Get rid of the big tank
    Bigger isn't always better, while yeah the landscape is vast to make the city of my dreams, it's a real downer when that city has more in common with Detroit. I miss having multiple smaller tanks, then I could do various biotopes, maybe a soft only tank, or what not. Then water changes become WAY more effective as I could do a 30-50% change on one in a day, bam, next week do it on another BAM. Plus if I get any sort of issues I can deal with them all in one go on a smaller scale. Definitely would want glass though, I'm super duper finished with acrylic, I want to be able to take a razor blade and clean the entire pane without fear of scratching and be done with it and have it look brand new. 2 tanks in the 100-120 gallon range would be idea (and would take up SO much less room in my basement! Unfortunately while I could find people giving away acrylic tanks like no ones business, everyone who's got a glass tank still wants a premium price for it :D

    Either way the only thing that is happening soon is decision 1, decision 2 might come soon, but I'd need help removing the tank, and the ideas 1 and 2 are a long ways off (unless someone had glass tanks today! :D)

    Oh well, sorry for the depressing post, but I'm kind of bummed about this hobby at the moment.
  20. wpeterson

    wpeterson Webmaster

    Sorry to hear things are so disappointing. I know I grappled with how big of a system I could manage in a very small space here. I was overwhelmed by the scale of 120 gallons vs. our 29 gallon nano - in water changes/volume and also in coping with 24" of tank depth that was frustrating for aquascaping and maintenance.

    Thanks for sharing the frustration and I'm sorry it's a tough spot. I think it's more important to share the problems and the setbacks with the community than the success. Everyone who isn't in the hobby can appreciate how beautiful the tank is, but hopefully people here can genuinely understand the frustrations and the setbacks.

    Good luck! There's no shame in downsizing.
    jonmos75 likes this.

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