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My Nano Reefs Part Fifteen - 4/12 to 5/12

Last Updated: 6/4/12

On 4/7/12, I did the usual. The pineapple brain coral which I epoxied down last week was not attached. That epoxy (very expensive) just does not work! The coral seemed okay even though it was just sitting there in a little epoxy bowl so I won't try to epoxy it some more unless it falls off. I have not seen Peppy in a few months. He was the peppermint shrimp in my 6 gallon takn. He is presumed dead. I did see Scary the crab this past week.

The water test results for the day were:
12 Gallon Tank: 77.1 degrees F, 1.026 SG, pH 7.60
6 Gallon Tank: 77.6 degrees F, 1.025 SG, pH 7.56
Make up water: 74.5 degrees F, 1.025 SG, pH 7.80

On 4/14/12, I did the usual.

The water test results for the day were:
12 Gallon Tank: 78.0 degrees F, 1.025 SG, pH 7.74
6 Gallon Tank: 78.5 degrees F, 1.025 SG, pH 7.50
Make up water: 74.5 degrees F, 1.025 SG, pH 7.71

On 4/20/12, I did the usual. I have shifted most of my Saturday chores to Friday until I get a new job. This frees up Saturday to go to just a few of the tons of events I've missed all my life being stuck home doing chores. It's a daffodil show tomorrow.

The water test results for the day were:
12 Gallon Tank: 77.8 degrees F, 1.025 SG, pH 7.48
6 Gallon Tank: 77.6 degrees F, 1.025 SG, pH 7.50
Make up water: 74.8 degrees F, 1.025 SG, pH 7.64

I went to Mr. Coral on 4/25/12. I brought some of the algae that I have in my tanks. He says the pink hair algae is "pink slime algae" even though it is not slimy. As I figured, he had no ideas aside from less food in and less light to reduce the problem. I bought two new corals for the 12 gallon tank. One is a favia coral that is orange with a green center. The other is a zooanthid colony that is red with brown edges, very pretty. A tube worm and feather duster worm are on that piece as well.

On 4/27/12, I did the usual. I calibrated the pH meter.

The water test results for the day were:
12 Gallon Tank: 78.6 degrees F, 1.025 SG, pH 7.22
6 Gallon Tank: 77.5 degrees F, 1.025 SG, pH 7.32
Make up water: 74.9 degrees F, 1.025 SG, pH 7.53

On 4/28/12, I changed the lamp in the 6 gallon reef tank and the two lamps in the 12 gallon reef tank. I dropped the screws twice. There are 9 for the 6 gallon and 10 for the 12 gallon. One screw went behind my 20 gallon freshwater tank among a dozen cords but I got it! The other fell in the 12 gallon tank. It took a while but I found it too.

I did a search on the internet and found that my red hair algae is called cotton candy algae. The only animal that people have been able to use that eats it is the Mexican turbo snail, Turbo fluctuosa. It's a bit big for my tank, and they die when they eat all the algae but I'm thinking it may be worth it. Perhaps I could try one and return the snail later. I will look in to it.

On 5/4/12, I did the usual. Both reef tanks could use a total cleaning with removing everything, scraping off algae, doing a total animal inventory, removing dead corals, etc. I will see if I can make two batches of RO water before Thursday and do it then. It takes 3 hours to make a batch, and my mother always wants to do laundry then. The laundry drain goes in the laundry sink which is the only place that I can hook up the RO water.

The water test results for the day were:
12 Gallon Tank: 78.5 degrees F, 1.025 SG, pH 7.36
6 Gallon Tank: 78.5 degrees F, 1.025 SG, pH 7.42
Make up water: 75.3 degrees F, 1.025 SG, pH 7.60

Zeby started acting lethargic on 5/7/12. I thought maybe he wanted a larger shell so I put one in. On 5/8/12, the power was off so they could install a pole from 9:40 am to 2 pm. I put an air stone in the tank. A few hours later when I fed the tank, I looked for Zeby. I found his body, out of his shell, in the back of the tank. He had died. I loved him so much and will miss him.

I needed to revamp the saltwater tanks so I made three batches of RO water on 5/7/12 and 5/8/12. On 5/9/12, I mixed them all up, one hour for each bucket on the stir plate with aeration. On 5/10/12, I did the cleanings. I put heaters in Buckets #1 and #2 but not #3 which I used for rinsing things (did not go in the tanks). I thus made 10.5 gallons and would have 3 gallons left over when done even though I used one bucket for rinsing things; the tanks are really much smaller than 6 and 12 gallons. I did 50% water changes on the tanks, and I'll use up the extra saltwater next week.

The water test results for the day were:
12 Gallon Tank: 77.4 degrees F, 1.025 SG, pH 7.21
6 Gallon Tank: 76.9 degrees F, 1.025 SG, pH 7.26
Make up water #1: 73.8 degrees F, 1.025 SG, pH 7.34
Make up water #2: 71.8 degrees F, 1.025 SG, pH 7.34
Make up water #3: 67.6 degrees F, 1.025 SG, pH 7.32

I did the 12 gallon first. I drained off half of the water in to two buckets. I started to collect animals in one bucket. Once I got the animals that I could, I removed live rock. With each piece, I removed as much algae as I could by hand and then put the rocks in the other bucket of clean water. I broke off the old, dead Duncan coral that I loved so much. It had 17 heads on it. Once I got to the bottom, I removed the smaller pieces of shells and so on and set them aside. I stirred up the gravel and put it in a bucket with fresh saltwater to rinse it and then in a bucket once rinsed. I got everything out of the tank. I cleaned behind and to the side of the tank which I forgot to do when I did this two years ago. Boy was that glass and table dirty! I cleaned all the filters. I put back the gravel followed by the bottom piece of live rock and added some fresh saltwater and fresh aragonite gravel on the top. I then put in the rest of the live rock and old saltwater from that bucket. Then went in all the remaining animals, the rest of the saved old water, and then topped off with new water. It pretty much went as planned. I did find one strange yellow sponge in the live rock (at an angle that I couldn't see except when out of the tank) and took photos. The following animals remain alive in this tank: Nemo, 2 Astraea snails, 2 cerith snails, 2 hermit crabs, green star polyps, a few zooanthid colonies, and the newest corals that I put in a few weeks ago. Both of the nassarius are gone; in fact, the new hermit crab moved in to one of them.

I then did the 6 gallon for the first time since it was set up almost four years ago. The method was the same as above. I found Fireman, 2 Astraea snails, 2 nassarius snails, Scary (my crab who had just molted), green star polyps, mushrooms, and zoos. The shrimp are all gone (which I knew). I will have to get some more. I took out the two fake starfish and the fake Acropora coral. This freed up a lot of room in the tank. I had some trouble getting the live rock back in in this tank because I couldn't remember how the rocks were sitted. I also made the mistake of putting in water with the live rock instead of sitting the rocks dry. The water was opaque from the new aragonite so I could only set rocks by feel; I couldn't see. Both tanks were clear by afternoon. For the 6 gallon, I had mixed in a cup or two of fresh aragonite with the pink sand instead of just putting it on top. That way, I could retain the look of the sand but add volume. The water movement sculpted the sand in to some interesting shapes over the next few days.

On 5/12/12, I got two animals at a local pet store. First, I asked for a Mexican turbo for my 12 gallon (to eat that cotton candy algae) but I am pretty darn sure it is a margarita snail! They are in the same family but I don't think he'll do the job. After acclimation, this guy was writhing for a while with a clam shell until finally he was writhing with an Astraea and two cerith snails who came over and who then all went sliming up the glass together so he may be okay. I also got another coral for the 12 gallon, a new one for me. It's a Pagoda cup coral. This LPS coral is nice with 32 heads! I put it where the Duncan used to be (which I had broken off with the cleaning). It was fully open in just an hour once in the tank! With the coral, I found what looked like a very, very tiny starfish. It had three legs and two that were half busted off. I don't know for sure if it was alive or not but I put it in the 12 gallon tank. Unless I see it again, I'll assume it's dead.

I made a Live Aquaria order on 5/12/12 for the following animals to replace some that I have lost.

For the 12 gallon tank:
1 Mexican turbo snail
2 Nassarius vibex
1 Dwarf zebra hermit crab (to replace Zeby)
1 Dwarf yellow tip hermit crab
1 Electric blue hermit crab

For the 6 gallon tank:
2 sexy shrimp

For both tanks:
One soft coral pack (4 tiny corals)
One nano polyps pack (5 mostly zoos although I might get a button polyp in there)

They should arrive Tuesday.

I got the above animals and more on 5/15/12. These are what actually went in the tanks.

For the 12 gallon tank:
2 Mexican turbo snails - one huge guy and one small guy (I really did not want two!!)
2 Nassarius vibex - so tiny that I couldn't figure out what they were at first!
2 Dwarf zebra hermit crabs - at least I think so; these are the smallest two hermit crabs that I have ever seen
1 Dwarf yellow tip hermit crab
1 Unknown hermit crab - this free crab has blue legs and yellow tips but is not the same species as my dwarf blue leg hermit crab
1 Electric blue hermit crab - this guy was attacking all the other crabs, trying to rip them from their shells
1 Unknown coral - it is either a thin finger leather coral, tree coral, or Kenya tree; it would not stick via reef epoxy to the live rock so it ended up on the floor; it has tiny white polyps but has only rarely opened; I don't think it will make it. I will just call it a tree coral.
1 Dead coral stick with about four zoo polyps on it that have yet to open (think they are yellow); I broke off the other half of the dead coral using a vice as it had no zoos but instead it had two majano pest anemones on it!
1 Zooanthid colony of half a dozen polyps on a half clam shell; they are red with brown edges
1 Little stray zoo that I don't think will make it

For the 6 gallon tank:
2 Sexy shrimp - super tiny; both looked near death but survived their first few days
1 Green striped mushroom coral (that folded over on itself and may not make it); this piece of live rock also has a ton of strange and scary tube and feather worms; one large tube has shiny tendrils coming out
1 Green star polyps (certainly didn't need that one!); I just set it on the floor until I come up with a better plan
1 Yellow polyps; these are nice; a few feather dusters on the dead coral stick too (this time two of the corals were on dead coral sticks which are hard to place)
3 Nice zooanthid colonies; all have green edges; one center is light pink; one is light orange; and one is light purple; they seem to change daily though; I glued these to the top of the live rock

Unpacking and acclimation took a little over an hour. I couldn't get anything to stick with the reef epoxy in the 12 gallon due to the algae but it seemed to work in the 6 gallon. The Mexican turbo snails which were the whole reason I did an order are moving around and eating but hardly deleting all the algae from the tank in days as had been claimed on various web sites. If the algae runs too low to feed the huge guy, I will bring him to a pet store and give him away for free.

On 5/18/12, I did the usual. The margarita snail (sold to me as a Mexican turbo snail) is dying.

The water test results for the day were:
12 Gallon Tank: 79.9 degrees F, 1.025 SG, pH 7.33
6 Gallon Tank: 78.6 degrees F, 1.025 SG, pH 7.36
Make up water: 77.4 degrees F, 1.025 SG, pH 7.62

One of the new hermit crabs was eating the margarita snail on 5/20/12 so it finally died. It had been writhing upside down for a few days. I am 100% sure what this snail sold to me as a Mexican turbo was a margarita since it looks nothing like my two new turbos, it looks exactly like the margaritas that I had, and it died a hideous death just like all of them did, perhaps due to the warm temperature (80 degrees F) in the tank. The other animals are chugging along. The sexy shrimp have recovered.

Hooray! The electric blue crab showed back up on 5/22/12. I had not seen him since 5/17/12. He changed shells. One of the tiny hermit crabs also has a new shell two times too big for him.

On 5/25/12, I did the usual. I calibrated the pH meter. The turbo snails seem to finally be making some headway on the algae. Most of the cotton candy algae (pink hair algae it looks like to me) is gone. The thick, hard-to-remove green algae is slowing being reduced.

The water test results for the day were:
12 Gallon Tank: 80.2 degrees F, 1.025 SG, pH 7.23
6 Gallon Tank: 78.7 degrees F, 1.026 SG, pH 7.36
Make up water: 76.9 degrees F, 1.025 SG, pH 7.65

I always seem to make the wrong decisions! On 5/27/12, I saw something moving. It turned out that it was a nudibranch. Not knowing if he was bad or not, I didn't bother him. I saw him again in the morning, seeming to maybe be eating some algae. Then, I did some internet research, and I am pretty sure that he's a pest who will eat my corals. The zoos have been closed lately. I think he came in with the new corals. I had seen and removed the pest anemones that came with the corals but I didn't see this guy. Now, I have to wait for luck. If I see him again, I'll remove him. Since they're asexual, if he's laid eggs, I may end up with an infestation. I got all the new corals and animals to improve the tank's life, and I ended up making it worse. If I had money, space, and time, I was supposed to have set up another tank for quarantine and found these problems before the main tank was affected. Hopefully, like the Aiptasia and planaria, this will be a passing problem.

I did it! On 5/29/12, I saw the nudibranch again and used large tweezers to remove him from the tank! I tried to take photos and video but it was so small that I don't think they turned out (will find out later). I kept him in a cup for a day to show family and then washed him away. I hope it was the only one!

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