Starting Your First Marine Aquarium

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Dino Update: Given Up

So, no pictures for this one, but lets just say I have given up trying to destroy these pesky guys.  Hydrogen Peroxide dosing did absolutely nothing except anger my Green Star Polyps.  I tried general tank dosing, upping the dose, and applying directly to the dinos.  They didn’t seem to be affected at all.  So, I have given up.  I am not willing to risk my livestock to kill them.

So what am I going to do?  I have removed the vast majority of my sandbed, and will be manually removing it from now on.  I will be vacuuming the remaining sand, and scrubbing it off the rocks as necessary.  I will not be replacing my snails with new snails, but rather, I will fight it myself, and maybe get a couple hermit crabs, although I am worried they will eat the dinos and perish as well.

Definitely frustrating, but since I take good care of my tank, it is not much more than a nuisance.  I can no longer have sand sifting creatures, or even have a sandbed, so that is frustrating for sure.  But, I do enjoy a clean looking tank, so a very thin layer of sand is okay with me.

Update: H2O2 Dosing

Just a quick update on my dosing.  I started dosing 4 ml of Hydrogen Peroxide three days ago, and I have seen virtually no results.  So I have been upping the dosing to about 10 ml per day, and spot treating.  I am mixing two cap-fulls in a glass of RO/DI water, and then using my turkey baster to blast the brown dino’s directly.  They seem to not be affected at all by the H2O2.

That being said, my Green Star Polyps are definitely not happy.  They are barely extending and the polyps themselves look like they are wilting.

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I had also upped my Soda Ash to keep the pH at around 8.4, but that was no good.  All that was happening is I was gunking up my pumps and coating the glass with carbonate which stopped my pumps and made me have to scrub the glass.  The pumps alone had to be soaked in a vinegar bath most of the day, and I already cleaned the glass twice today.  I also vacuumed the sandbed today, and am considering removing my sandbed altogether.  I’ll give another update soon.  Disheartened!

Dinoflagellates: Identification and Tips

I have officially upped my game.  Here is why and how.

I have positively identified the snotty looking brown gunk as dinos.  Here is what they looked like under the microscope at 400X.

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The basics of what I am doing now is H2O2 dosing with 3% food grade Hydrogen Peroxide.  I am going to start dosing 1 mL per 10 gallons, try that for several days, and double it if it is ineffective.  I just started dosing yesterday, and so far, there has been no change.  Here is the cheap microscope I bought on Amazon, and also the Hydrogen Peroxide I bought online as well.

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My Euphyllia Garden

While I’m not completely satisfied with the layout of my Euphyllias, I do love them!  Euphyllia corals, while obviously from the same family, they are actually more closely related than that.  Euphyllia is actually a genus, with several different species.  The most well-known corals in this family are commonly known as the Torch Coral, the Hammer Coral, and the Frogspawn Coral.  Check out my video below on my Euphyllia garden. 

Corals are related to anemones and jellyfish, and they all have stinging cells called nematocysts.  Basically, corals have the ability to “harpoon” neighboring livestock to protect their territory, but also to feed.  It can be challenging to put different species of corals together, because they will often sting each other as they try to fight for their territory.

Sweeper Tentacles

Sweeper tentacle

The wonderful thing about Euphyllia corals, is that they typically get along.  That is not always the case, but usually, you can place all Euphyllia corals together, and they will not sting each other.  And for those of us that love Large Stony Polyp corals, there is really nothing more beautiful.

My Frogspawn coral is really the centerpiece.  It is huge, and I recently moved it toward the front of the tank so I could have a better view of it.  The smaller hammer coral on the right side is awesome, but I really want it to grow to blend in with the Frogspawn more.  And my new Torch Coral is quite small, and when the Frogspawn is opened all the way, it overshadows about half of it.  But, they have not been stinging each other which is awesome!

Frogspawn (purple tipped)

Frogspawn Coral

Hammer Coral

Hammer Coral

Torch Coral

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February Tank Update

Not a whole lot to talk about.  I already posted this video on YouTube, but I did a lot of work today.  This is a picture of the new layout.

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I basically moved the frogspawn forward and tilted it down, so that the view from the front would be better.  The added torch coral is now a little bit hidden, but overall it is nice.  I’m still not completely satisfied, but it is okay.  It is time for some more corals.  I’m going really slowly so that everything has time to acclimate, and I’m glad.  But the majority of the tank is still empty and I’m getting a bit tired of looking at all the empty space!

My maintenance is going to be the same for the upcoming future.  Weekly vacuuming the sand.  But when I vacuum the sand now, I just tie a mesh bag to the end of the vacuum, and place it in the sump.  That way, I can just take the water from the display to the sump, and make it a continuous circle.

I’m not going to start hydrogen peroxide dosing until I absolutely have to.  I have dinoflagellates, but I’m hoping to keep them under control with manually removing them, keeping nutrient levels low, and not doing waterchanges.  I do have some other slow growing algae in the tank, but I’m not super concerned about it.

Okay, got to run!

Reefer 170 February Update

The blue lights are on!  It is evening on my tank, and that means all actinics.  It is a bit too blue for my tastes, but it is alright.

I am on the verge of introducing the last of the Euphyllia’s- a torch coral.  I’m a little concerned about exactly where I should put it though.  I have heard that although Euphyllias won’t necessarily sting each other, sometimes torch corals are the exception.  And I’m just not sure of the placement.  Right now you can see I have an absolutely stunning Frogspawn right smack in the middle of my tank, and an amazing hammer coral just below it.  I want to put a torch coral next to the hammer coral, but I’m a bit concerned that it is going to sting the frogspawn.  But I don’t want to move the other corals arounds because they are thriving and there really is no reason.  I think what I will likely do  is find the right torch coral, and just try it and see what happens.  If it does sting my other Euphyllias, I will immediately move it.

Algae is still causing me a bit of a problem.  I’m 50/50 as to whether or not it is dinoflagellates.  Today and vacuumed the surface of the sand to pick up a lot of the algae, but it has started growing all over the rocks.  I did not do a water change, but rather I filtered the water through a mesh bag, and then poured the clean water back into the tank.  It seems to be working alright for now, and I’m hoping to starve out whatever it is that is growing.

Lucille and Benny (my clowns) are both happy.  They are still completely ignoring the anemone and the corals.  I’m still hoping that someday that will change, but I am not holding my breath.

My Pistol Shrimp has made a new home for himself underneath the central rock.  I’m pretty happy about that choice because I can see him more.  I have been feeding him pellets every other day, and giving him a small piece of shrimp once a week or so.  I have also been feeding the anemone a very small piece of shrimp about every other week.

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