Reef Aquarium Diary - Lucky 7!


Update! Update! ūüźüūüź†

Not been keeping up with tank progress? - go back to view from the start here

So a lot has happened in the last few weeks since the new tank was finally stocked with the existing fish and corals.

I've had a minor outbreak of brown algae on the sand and rocks - which I'm pleased to say is already subsiding.
Experience has taught me that ugly algae stages are nearly unavoidable with newly setup tanks and all part of the process - its still not very nice to se your pristine sandbed covered in brown gunge though! I have manually siphoned some of it out during a water change but it actually seems to be dying off on its  own anyway which is great.

Then yesterday I added 2 new stunning fish! - a large specimen Australian Copper-band Butterfly and smaller but equally impressive Moorish Idol.

Chelmon marginalis

Chelmon marginalis

I fully drip acclimated both fish and they settled in straight away, both fish scouring the rocks for food within minutes of being added, no aggression from the new tank mates either which is fantastic.

drip acclimate fish

Things are getting exciting now ūüėÉ

drip acclimatising fish

moorish idol

the 'Moorish Idol' or 'Hawaiian Idol '

Zanclus canescens

Schoolboy Error?ūüėź

I have a fairly good knowledge of most marine fish but after coming home and reading up about the 2 new species I had acquired I am a little worried about the long term success - especially of the Moorish Idol.

It seems I have inadvertently purchased one of the hardest fishes to maintain : (

There are plenty of articles on the net stating that they don't seem to survive long in captivity. Usually due to them being fussy feeders with a liking to living sponge. I believe I has previously researched this fish (as you always should do!) and had come to the conclusion that a similar relative -'the banner fish' would be more suited. However some time had passed since I was looking into this and I had kind of forgotten - it was the the all so common impulse buy because I fell in love with the fish in the shop and had to have it. Now luckily there is quite a lot of sponge on some of my old live rock and I even saw the fish pecking at this so that's great. However it probably wont be long before he or she decimates the existing sponge growth. What is encouraging is that this fish seems very healthy and I saw it pick some soft pellet morsels up from the sandbed - so maybe it will be OK - I hope so! It certainly seems to be actively feeding and I will try my best to offer a wide range of foods - possibly even adding extra rock with sponges. The fish does seem healthy and well rested and has been through good quarantine procedure.

I do trust the shop where I purchased this fish and hope that my one will do well.

Certainly with these fish an abundance of mature live rock with plenty of growth will be beneficial so they can feed naturally on it.

IT IS FEEDING!¬†ūü§Ē- As i sit here and type this I'm watching the fish in question pecking at bits of food from the sand bed and rocks so that's good sign surely - maybe wishful thinking but hoping I have a new special fish which has been taught to eat well! - hope so ūü§ě
marine fish tank

They look right at home - settled straight away - such lovely fish.

UPDATE  19th April - The Moorish Idol is actively consuming nearly every food offered so far including mussel,cockle, seaweed and soft pellet - a good sign surely!!


Note to self and fellow aquarists  - Unless certain of requirements its probably best walking away and doing a little research and then coming back to make a purchase of any fish or coral you intend to buy, I'm a little annoyed with myself but hopefully my specimen will fair well - I will certainly do my best. The fish was almost certainly from TMC which is a quality importer and I'm fairly confident it been treated in the correct way - they wouldn't knowingly offer a species that's always doomed to failure would they??? Maybe this guy is from a hardier strain? - hmmm.


sorry Rocket - your not the biggest fish in here now - although still the chunkiest!

Hawaiian idol fish Zanclus canescens

love him! (or her) - this one eats like a pig!! so far at least¬†ūü§ě

The butterfly is a stunning example - I know this fish is feeding too as was I the shop a few weeks ago (and I had been thinking about this fish ever since!!) I was advised to feed frozen chopped cockle and mussels plus Gamma soft pellets - all 3 of which I have previously fed to Rocket the red squirrelfish so already feeding a similar diet which is good.

It did take me  while o figure exactly what species he was - the common Copperband Butterfly is usually sold at a much smaller size and has different stripe arrangements and a tail spot. This large specimen is an Australian Marginal - gorgeous fish!!!

TOP TIP: Always ask to see fish feeding in the fish store - some don't adapt well to frozen and dry foods.

Coral Eaters?
So I took a bit of a risk with these 2 fish as both have been known to consume coral polyps in the past so not 100% 'reef safe' I better keep hem well fed then!! - that's the plan and hopefully not too much of a challenge.

Test Results.

Its been a while so here are some current parameters measured:

NITRATE: 15 ppm (before water change)

PH: 8.0


ALK: 10dkh

by the was I have a Seneye monitor now setup and running. I will provide some PAR Light readings and info on the lighting setup soon.

Heres what those numbers should ideally be in a healthy tank:

ideal reef parameters

Just after taking the above reading I performed a 50 litre water change with freshly made sea water. Once that algae in the sump gets going I'm hoping to see the phosphate and nitrate reading go down!

There is also a Nyos Torq Reactor in the sump running GFO phosphate remover and activated carbon, I will change this out for new media soon to try and get that that phosphate down a bit.

Old tank water analysis - the results from the ICP test should be in and I will update here as soon as available. see here for update on results (old tank water)

Go back to start of this series - Diary Of A reef Tank

read next update here

a handy general guide to acclimating saltwater fish and corals is here PDF File