February 2016 Update

So, the 72 hour photo blackout is over, and it basically did nothing!  I am beginning to have my doubts as to what exactly the culprit is.  So, basically, I’m going to let it grow.  I’m going to see what happens if I let it take over a bit.  I will hopefully be able to identify it a bit easier.  Here is what it looks like right now.

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It is pretty minimal right now, but it has definitely started growing all over my rocks.  I thought about removing my snails, but since I am not convinced it is dinoflagellates, I’m going to leave them in and watch.  All of my water parameters are perfect.  I have no nitrates at all, and absolutely no phosphates. I barely feed the tank, and my maintenance is impeccable.  So what is causing the algae bloom?  Could be a dead snail I don’t know about feeding it.  Could just be completely photosynthetic.  Or maybe it is the salt-mix.  I’m using Red Sea Salt, and there is a chance that every time I do  water change, I am introducing silicates and other elements that this type of algae/bacteria is thriving on.  So I’m not going to do a water change for at least a month, unless I absolutely have to.  I’m hoping to starve it out!

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Other than that everything in the tank seems healthy and happy.  You can see a new polyp starting on the green star polyps.  It is looking great and I’m sure it is going to encrust the entire rock which will look amazing.

I am frightened to buy any other fish though.  I bought the cleaner shrimp, and he died overnight.  I bought the goby, and he jumped out with my old cover in place.  I bought sand-sifting goby, and he never settled in and died.  It is not only frustrating, but I don’t like watching these amazing creatures die!

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Dinoflagellate Update

So, I don’t have any pictures because I’m out of town, but I wanted to give a quick update.

I’m no longer 100% convinced that I do have dinoflagellates.  And I feel stuck in this bind right now.  Either I keep actively fighting the light loving algae, or I let it grow a bit to positively identify it.  The 72 hour blackout period worked to a certain degree.  When I pulled the cardboard off, there was just a tiny bit of brown coloration left.

I performed a 30% water change, and vacuumed the sandbed.  All of my corals, fish, anemone, and shrimp survived, and they appreciated being fed.  My two clowns were out exploring quickly, happy to have light back in their tank.

I then changed my filter sock, and dosed MicroBacter 7.  I have also reduced my photo period to 10 hours a day, with my Radion’s set at 55%.

I think I need to step back a bit from fiddling with everything.  I’ll keep an eye on things, but I’m going to try to step back to bi-monthly water changes, and let some nutrients build up in the tank.  I’ll take a picture of the tank and post it when I get home!

The Fight Has Begun

Well, I am officially worried!  72 hours until I remove the cardboard.  I feel that I have like a 10% chance of beating dino’s on my first go around.  Before I put the cardboard up, I changed my GFO and carbon, put on a new filter sock, fed the livestock, and crossed my fingers.

My pH has already started to fall.  It went from about 8.1 to 7.94, which means the carbon dioxide level is spiking inside the tank.  I hope it does not fall too much lower.  I am also really worried about my livestock.  I know that corals and anemones can make it 72 hours without light, but I have heard enough horror stories of corals dying to make me nervous.

And what about my clowns?  I’m going to feed them once a day, at night, when the room is pitch black.  I’m dying though not being able to look in.  It was also a huge pain in the butt putting the cardboard on, so if I have to do it again I am going to cut everything to size and do a much better job of it.

My biggest concern, after the well-being of the livestock, is that a tiny sliver of light is getting into the tank, and that a few small cells of dinoflagellates will survive, so that when I remove the cardboard, everything will look good, but that the dino’s will come rampaging back in.

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As soon as the the cardboard comes off, I will be doing a 30-50% water change, including a siphoning of the sandbed, and addition of MB7.  My hope is that if I do not get all of the dinoflagellates, that the introduction of large amounts of beneficial bacteria will out-compete the dino’s for food, and will starve the dinoflagellates to death.

If this first go around doesn’t work, then I am going to repeat the process, but this time I will raise my pH to 8.5 using Kalk.  I will not perform any water changes for several weeks to minimize the amount of nutrients for the dinoflagellates.  I will also increase my magnesium to 1600, and then, and only then, repeat the 72 hours of lights off.

If that does not work, I will be removing the sandbed, getting rid of my pistol shrimp, repeat the process outlined above, but also start adding more chemical types of dosing, such as Hydrogen Peroxide dosing, vitamin C dosing, and then who knows.

Wish me luck, and I will keep you all updated with my progress in three days!

Dinoflagellates

So, I have some bad news… I officially have dinoflagellates.  The bane of the reefing hobby, and I have allowed myself to introduce them into my tank.

For those of you who don’t know, dinoflagellates are toxic to your aquarium, and will likely kill all of your snails and crabs, and any fish that eat them.

If you live in the Pacific Northwest like I do, you occasionally hear of a red tide, or toxic algae bloom.  Basically, large amounts of dinoflagellates reproduce, causing massive fish die off as well as high levels of toxicity in filter feeders such as clams and mussels.

I thought that my tank just had diatoms at first.  But then the snails started to die.  So what do I do?  I go out and buy a filter feeding goby thinking it can help.  And then of course when it dies, I realize the hard truth.

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Evidently, dinoflagellates are an absolute nightmare to get rid of.  Here are the steps I am going to take to try to get rid of them.

  1. 72 hours with no light.  I will be completely covering my tank with cardboard for 72 hours, and only feeding the fish once a day.
  2. Then I will do a 50% water change to get rid of as much of the dead dino as I can.
  3. Microbacter 7- I am then going to treat the tank daily with healthy microbacteria so that any dinos that may have survived, will hopefully be out-eaten by the healthy microbacteria.

My nutrient levels are near zero, which makes me think that my dinoflagellates are largely photosynthetic, so light seems to be the main method of combat here.

Here are a couple links to helpful articles/discussions on how to beat this nasty stuff!  I will keep you all updated with my progress!

 

The trick to beating dino is persistence.  There are thousands of different types.  Some will be killed my no lights, some will respond to high ph, some will be helped with carbon dosing, etc.  Don’t give up!

Cleaner Shrimp Dies Overnight

So I stopped by my LFS yesterday, and picked up two new additions.  A beautiful hammer coral and a small cleaner shrimp.  I got home, I drip acclimated both together (no copper used), for about 30 minutes.  I then introduced the cleaner shrimp.  He/She seemed lethargic from the beginning and seemed to get sucked toward the MP10.  I turkey basted him away, and he was hanging on to the side.  He moved down to the rock before I went to sleep.

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When I woke up, my wife noticed that he seemed to be sitting on the MP10 again, and upon closer inspection, he was a goner.

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I’m not sure why he died.  Could have been I acclimated too fast, maybe he was not strong to begin with.  Maybe the Mp10 killed him. But alas, another beautiful addition is no more.

I never look at my losses as merely financial.  I really believe I have a duty to take care of my livestock, and I feel that I did not do my job again.  Grrr….

New Pictures

February 6th, 2016.

I spent a lot of time working on my tank this week.  It was actually pretty frustrating.  After watching so many of CJ’s videos, I thought I could improve my aquascape.  I was hoping to add a second tower on the right hand side.  To do that I needed to epoxy a rock in place to stabilize it.  So I did, and while I was at it, I decided to remove the plug from the Frowspawn, and place it back in the same place, but closer to the rock-work in order to cover the calcium carbonate stem.  Well, after about four hours, it looks worse than when I started!

I was able to remove the plug, but now you can see the ugly epoxy.  On top of that, I had a hard time attaching the Frogspawn to the rock-work, and had to use a lot of epoxy!  So now it looks worse as well!

My Tank

During this entire process, I wanted to try to get the clowns to host either the anemone or the Frogspawn.  So I took the frogspawn, placed it in a plastic colander, and floated it in my tank.  I then caught Lucille (the large female), and put her in.  It took me forever to catch Benny, and he actually hid near the anemone, offering me a fleeting moment of hope.  I think he actually brushed against the anemone at one point and time, but it didn’t take.  So I finally caught him and put him in the colander as well.  Absolutely no luck!

Lucille and Benny

I’ve also been struggling with my Iphone 6 Plus.  I really want to take nice pictures and videos, and I am not having any success.  I’m reading blog after blog, I bought some gel filters, I’ve tried different ways of uploading, and I’ve tried different video editors.  Nothing.  The best I’ve got is my latest video, but it still looks like crap.  Take a peek!

I also got my first negative comment on YouTube.  I was actually surprised that it irritated me.  I know my videos aren’t good, but I’m having fun and learning a lot.  And I like watching others videos.  I was nice and suggested I probably wasn’t the right channel for this person, and then recommended another channel.  Such is life I guess!

I worked a lot on organizing my site today.  I had a whopping one whole visitor today!  So pretty much this is my journal that nobody ever looks at!  Oh well.  It is fun and I like having it up!