Aquarium Diary - Part 6
Another early morning rise - this time 5.30 am on Thursday 24th March 2022.😴
Covid is rife and it seems we could be on the verge of WW3 if Russia continues its invasion of Ukraine. With all this depressing bad news my aquarium hobby can become a great escape.
I woke up excited about the new tank and so set to work beginning transferring stuff over from the old aquarium.
I took the skimmer (model reef octopus classic series) from the old tank and gave it a good clean before adding it to the new sump. (I just used warm water and an old toothbrush, don't let that brush find its way back to bathroom!)
early morning skimmer cleaning! - a protein skimmer works by mixing air and water together in a chamber - the air forces waste particles (protein) to the top of a tube where it can be collected and removed,thus cleaning the water.
The skimmer from the old tank is to be used on the new one - I noticed that the air inlet was almost completely blocked with salt deposits! - I'm surprised the skimmer was pulling anything out but come to think of it it didn't seem to be performing as well recently - that's why! I should have learned the lesson about protein skimmers by now, indeed I have had the exact same problem in the past. Having owned lots and lots of different models large and small I can tell you that they are all fussy creatures! - They are very finnicky and do need attention fairly regularly to keep working at best. They are not the sort of apparatus you just set up and leave. Every model is different and will need a little tweaking now and then cos the slightest thing off and they wont be pulling much gunk out. I would certainly recommend weekly checks and regular cleaning because sometimes you don't notice the problem until you take the thing apart. Salt creep in the airline is common so if you have a reef tank check yours!
So the old skimmer has been cleaned and is now in chamber #1 of the new sump on the blue tank. It started producing foam nearly straight away so that's great.
The plan now is to add some of the corals to the new tank, I don't think I'm gonna do it ALL today but will take my time.
So the process will be siphoning some old tank water into tubs, placing some of the corals in there, then moving them close to the new aquarium where I will slowly introduce the new water with some airline as to acclimate. Once the tubs are full the corals can be put in the new tank. It sounds simple but this is where aquascaping will come into play. It will be a case of trying pieces of coral and rock at different positions, angles, all the while considering coral placement and the loads more rock that needs to fit in here somewhere!!
I went as far as to drawing some sketches so I have a rough idea of the look I want. I don't want to take too much away from the 2 arch features I already 'scaped'. I also don't want it too look too overcrowded - lets see how it goes.
I had also acquired some nice big Tonga Coral Branch rock and plates (old coral skeleton) that I would really like to use somewhere if there is room.
(BTW I made my wife drive all the way to Torquay and back to get these - thanks Kate - you are the best!!)
The joy of aquascaping! - many hours spent moving rocks and wetting the carpet!
The next few days are a bit of a blur to be honest (no I wasn't drunk!😆) I spent 2 late nights and 5 more hours early on Saturday morning moving pieces of rock, trying to catch fish and generally getting water all over the lounge!🌊
I used large tubs and buckets to place the corals and chunks of live rock in with water from the old tank and then moved them across the room until in front of new tank, then used a piece of airline tubing with a little tap valve to slowly drip new water so as to acclimate to new water for around 30 minutes.
Once all the rock was out it made it much easier to catch the fish and I acclimated them in a bucket in much the same way as the corals. The large red squirrelfish however took me ages to catch, the water in the old tank had by this time turned so cloudy from all being stirred up it was impossible to see him. In the end we Corralled him to one end of the tank with a larger sheet of acrylic and the net - finally he was caught and introduced to the new home. 🐠 Great all fish in 👍
I don't want to pretend this was a smooth affair - it was actually chaos with water, rock, buckets, tubs and everything else all over the place🙃 - my shorts actually ended up ringing wet soaked with water. At times I became extremely stressed but pressed on, I wanted it to be perfect and I wanted finished.
Impromptu cementing of rocks on Kates Yoga mat - whoops! - get that out the way before she wakes up🙄😏 - they look wicked though - this cement literally took a few minutes to set hard - brilliant stuff.
The hardest part was the actual aquascaping - placing all those rocks in the new tank - all the time whilst trying to keep a more open structure with lots of negative space - I didn't want the tank looking too crowded with rock. In fact I ended leaving several large chunks and a even a few corals out of the new display. Basically it then took me 5 hours of moving rocks just slightly, stepping back and looking, moving them again, stepping back and looking,moving, looking, moving again, no that's not right, re position, re position... finally after much stress and water all over the floor I was happy.🥳
I tidied up as best I could before Kate got up! The new tank was itself now very cloudy and it wasn't until I returned home from a night out in the early hours of Sunday that I could really see what I had created - I was very pleased with it! and it seemed the fish and corals were too : ) 😍
The new tank finally setup and all fish and corals moved👍
More to follow shortly!
On a side note I recently had the pleasure of visiting our local reef specialist (the Ocean Project in three Legged Cross) and wow what a shop! - absolutely amazing selection - and all kept pristine too! - well worth a visit - check them out on face book https://www.facebook.com/TheOceanProject or visit them at 2 Bayard Place, Verwood Road BH21 6RJ Three Legged Cross