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About Me

Found 5 results

  1. Hello everyone, I wanted to start a journal that was centered around my journey in all my aquariums. I figured this would be a great time to start this as I will be changing 3 of my 5 aquariums. For starters, I will begin this by providing an update on my 40 Gallon Breeder organic soil aquarium. The build and journal for this aquarium is here: I will start with the bad news, I was never able to get the crypts to fully bloom. The flowers would grow up between 8-12 inches tall and then lose their shape. I am not sure if I would have to lower the water line to get them to bloom. I had around 10 total flowers. The other bad news is that my sterbai cory fry all developed sort of a bloated belly and did not make it. The good news is that I have been feeding heavily still and have another 20 plus cory fry. These fry do not appear to have the bloated belly issue so far. I added gravel to the breeder box as I did notice that the shrimp would pick at the fry from underneath. The other good news is that the aquarium is thriving. The plants continue to grow well and I am loving the overall jungle it has become. I even had to drape the pothos over the light as it was in the way. Like Cory mentioned in the recent Aquarium Co-Op video, all aquariums are an experiment and I have been learning a lot from this aquarium. I will attach some pictures below.
  2. Hey guys! So, I recently had a disaster in my hobby. My apartment had to be treated for pests, and I was required to remove all of my tanks from the apartment during treatment. During this time, I ended up losing about half of my livestock - including my beloved Peacock Mantis Shrimp. I do really miss having a mantis shrimp - they such cool little creatures. Very interactive, inquisitive, and always getting into some sort of trouble in the tank. Reminds me of my puffers, in some ways! But I don't think I want another peacock right now - I want to try a different species. One I've had my eye on for quite a while. The Wennerae Mantis, Neogonodactylus wennerae! These guys max out at around 3", and are perfectly suited to small tanks. They're smashers (meaning they have modified claws to break open shellfish), just like my peacock was, but with much less power. These guys are able to hunt down crabs, shrimp, and snails, but are going to struggle to crack open anything with a thick shell. I went to my LFS today, and picked up a 5.5 gallon Seapora glass tank for $16.99. It's a nice tank for the price - Seapora makes nice stuff, IMO. I rinsed it out, just to get any dust out of it, and this was it. Next, I decided to paint the back black, since the tank wasn't going right up against a wall. I taped off the rim of the tank with duct tape, cause that's all I had lol. I just use some Krylon Black Acrylic paint and a roller for this. I prefer spray painting but I don't have an area to do that here, so rolling paint on is the best I can do. It looks fine from the front side of the tank, but usually looks kind of "meh" from the back. First coat: I did three coats total, which got me a decently opaque surface. This is what the tank looked like, pre-fill: I added some sand from the Peacock Mantis tank, which has long been dried, but not cleaned. I'm hoping all that dead gunk in the sand will help get us a strong cycle in this tank. Whenever I filled it the first time, I ended up getting milk, basically. Gotta love aragonite. I had just used plain freshwater to fill that time, though, so I drained the tank and added in the rock. I'm using a piece of marco dry rock that I had from a previous tank, a piece of well-seasoned rock that's got some life already on it (although, not much algae due to being in a bucket), and a piece of rock I got from the LFS. I got this particular rock for a reason - but that's gotta be a surprise. Whenever I refilled the tank (with saltwater this time) I was careful to do it slowly to minimize cloudiness. The powerhead I bought (Aquatop MCP-1) was way too strong for this tank, and was blowing water around. So, I pulled my Koralia Nano 240 out of my 10 gallon QT, and switched them around. Each tank is better off, I think. Then, I tossed in a preset heater and a thermometer, and we're off to the races! I'll update this post tomorrow, and tell the story of why I picked this rock, and what the extended plans are for this tank.
  3. I have been asked to start a thread on modern lighting techniques for reef tanks. So here we go... I will start with discussing the various lighting technologies that are frequently used in reef tanks. 1. LED: Pros: Small form factor Little heat emitted No need to change bulbs Controllability Availability Cons: Too much controllability (this will be discussed further below) Lose efficiency after about 5 years Can be expensive 2. T5 Fluorescent: Pros: Proven technology Many choices for bulbs and bulb combos Great spread More affordable Cons: Need to change bulbs every 8-14 months Little controllability Losing popularity Decreasing availability 3. Metal Halide: Pros: Proven technology Great spread Full spectrum Cons: Produce a lot of heat Need to change bulbs every 9-12 months Little controllability Losing popularity Decreasing availability Consider these pros and cons when choosing a lighting technology to go with. Know that the vast majority of reef keepers are using LED lighting, although many still have success with T5 and metal halides. Let's discuss the most important aspects of reef tank lighting. I would say that there are three main aspects of lighting that are the most important: spread, spectrum, and intensity. Spread: I would argue that of the three, spread is the most important. You can have correct spectrum and intensity, but it is a moot point if you do not have the spread to deliver that light to the coral. This is an area where T5 and metal halide really shine (pun intended). T5 does it by being a light source that is as big as the aquarium, thus delivering light to nearly every corner of the tank. Metal halides accomplish this by using large reflectors that send the light to every corner of the tank. There are two common ways that LED light manufacturers address spread: using a wide-angle lens, or using a flat panel style light. Wide angle lens: Panel style: The pros of the wide angle design is that it gives a natural shimmer look to the tank that many people love. This comes at a cost however. Using a point source light with a wide-angle lens creates shadows in the aquarium, thus limiting the possible areas of the tank where you can plant corals. The pros of the panel design, is that it does a great job of limiting shadows in the aquarium, much like a T5. It does come at a cost of the shimmer, creating a much more flat look to the aquarium. Panel style lights have been much more prevalent in the hobby recently and are gaining popularity. Spectrum: The spectrum of the light that is emitted is also a very important factor. The coral animal contains a symbiotic dinoflagellate called zooxanthellae that performs photosynthesis which gives energy to the coral. This graph shows the wavelengths of light, or spectrum, that are most important for coral photosynthesis: You will notice that most of the peaks of absorption occur within the blue spectrum. This is why most reef keepers agree that having a light that produces a wide spectral band in the 410-470 nm range is important. This is where the controllability of LEDs can be a con. It gives the user the ability to manipulate the spectrum, which can be detrimental to your corals. What looks good to the user, is not necessarily what is good for the corals. The spectrum produced by many metal halide bulbs is considered full spectrum. It is closest of all of these technologies, to the light produced by the sun. It includes wavelengths of light in the UV, far red, and IR spectrums. There is considerable debate as to the effects of these spectrums on coral growth, so I will not go into it too much. Intensity: The intensity of the light is also an important consideration. We usually measure the intensity of lighting using PAR, or Photosynthetically Active Radiation. This is measured using a PAR meter. The PAR needs of your corals depend greatly on the species of coral you are lighting. Generally, soft corals like lower light (50-100 PAR), LPS (Large Polyp Stony) like medium light (75-150 PAR), and SPS (Small Polyp Stony) like high light (200-300 PAR). These are generalizations and vary greatly depending on the specific species. The best way to make sure that you are meeting the PAR needs of your corals is to buy or borrow a PAR meter. You can use this to tune your lights so that they are meeting the demands of your corals. Under-lighting your corals usually corresponds to lessened color and growth. You also do not want to over-light your corals, this can cause bleaching. Popular Reef Lighting Brands: These are some of the most popular lighting brands that have produced considerable success in many people's tanks. Ecotech Radions Kessil Aqua Illumination Primes and Hydras Red Sea Philips Coral Care ATI GHL Maxspect Orphek Reef Breeders If you decide to go with lights from any one of these manufacturers, you know that there are many people who have used these and had success, and are also willing to assist you with any questions you might have. There are also many "budget" friendly options available. However, there is usually little information about them online, so getting help with them can be tough, which is why I generally do not recommend them to beginners. That being said, it is very possible to have great success at growing corals with budget options, such as "black box" LED fixtures from Amazon Conclusion: In conclusion, there are many factors that go into mastering lighting for your reef tank. None of this matters though if you have not already gotten the hang of keeping good and stable water chemistry. Likewise, it is possible to have a great looking reef tank with sub-par lighting, if you already have good water chemistry. Feel free to offer critiques or if you have any questions, feel free to ask them below. *Do not quote this post so edits can be made later.
  4. I've always wanted a big tank. But one thing or another has always stood in my way. Cost (that's a big one!). Space. Structural support. The prospect of moving in the near future. You get the idea. Well finally the stars have aligned. I was able to get a decent sized tank! My plans are to make this into a deep, rock reef à la Taiwanee Reef in Lake Malawi. I now have the space to do this and do it right. The tank is about 72"x30"x30" and about 280 odd gallons sitting on a powder coated steel frame. There are decent sized openings to allow for scaping with fairly large rocks. This project will be a slow burn. First I need to do some plumbing. The wall behind the tank is my boiler room - with a drain in the floor! So, I'll be setting up an auto-water changer system. Fill will be in the tank, and drain via a bell siphon (that I'll need to build) in the final sump reservoir. I'll also need to put in the PVC lines for the air from a linear air compressor in the boiler room as well. Then I'll need to get at least the back and one side wall for the "cabinet" done before moving the tank out and then back into place. The tank alone weighs 275#, so it'll be a project just getting the cabinet backing on. The cabinet will be plywood that I''l paint black and hang from the steel frame with counter sunk magnets. Once that is done, onto the sump filter. I'm having long conversations with some incredible folks about the design. I think it's going to end up being an innovative sump design. Stay tuned for that! Then I'll have to add the acoustic paneling, which I add to all of my sump builds to help keep everything quiet. After everything under the tank is done, then I finally get to worry about the tank. The current plan is to use some local limestone to build a reef in the tank with some granite derived sand in between. Flow will be a challenge, but I suspect reef pumps will be involved. I have lighting plans. They involve soldering my own COB LED lights and running strip LED lights to attain a deep water shimmer with loads of blue saturation. For stocking, I have only one fish in mind: Chindongo saulosi (syn. Pseudotropheus saulosi). I hope to get fish from at least three different distinct sources and get a genetically diverse breeding colony going. Why? Because I like having colonies of a species. Sorry the justification wasn't more interesting that that. Anyhow, I hope at least a few folks will be interested and follow along with me on this journey. Thanks for looking!
  5. I want to start a reef tank and i would really like some advice on what challenges and things to watch out for when starting a reef tank. Thanks Goldfish God
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