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Reef Tank Diary Part 9! its alive!!

REEF DIARY UPDATE MAY 2022 

501 AM 6/05/2022

Woke up early and couldn't go back to sleep so up I get.
Sat drinking a tea and about to perform some tests on the reef tank.

marine reef aquarium test apparatus and kits

TOOLS OF THE TRADE - testing apparatus for my aquarium - I actually need more.

What I'm hoping is that the phosphate has come down to a lower level, be nice if nitrate has fallen also , we shall see.

First thing to note is the recent surge in microscopic lifeforms in the tank, the other day I was amazed to see the sheer amount of what looked like tiny copepods and shrimp like creatures all over the front glass in the main display - I then had a good look down in the sump and found it was also teeming with little critters including some fairly large shrimp like animals.😎

video clip of copepods and other critters coming soon.....

That's a good sign - its always great to have live food for the fish and corals to feast on.

I'm not sure if they came from the supplements I added? although I was assuming they were bacteria based - could just be from the live rock - its just I haven't noticed this sort of micro life for some time - is it the safety of the refugium which means they've had chance to establish? I think it must be.

I added a second phosphate reactor online last night, probably only a temporary measure. I am sure once that  chaetomorpha algae gets going the waste levels will drop, id be far more comfortable adding some hard corals / SPS then.

The tank and all inhabitants have been doing well, the corals are starting to open polyps nicely and anemones are finding there places amongst the rock work. Most notably both new fish (the Moorish idol & Copperband Butterfly) are eating very well indeed!

copperband butterfly care

'Cooper' - the copperband butterfly fish
REEF FISHES
In fact my concern over the Moorish Idol seem so far totally unnecessary - the old saying 'he eats like a pig' really applies here and he happily consumes every type of food ive added to the tank - flake, soft pellets, cockle, mussel, Mysis, sea weed - so im extremely pleased about that as they can be reluctant to feed and often succumb quite quickly - keep up the good work Rocco (that's his name BTW)

Although slightly shyer when feeding the copper band is enjoying chopped mussel especially, I recently read in an old Jacques Cousteau book that in the old days of marine aquariums they used to wedge pieces of chopped clam into a small rock, allow to dry and then add to the tank so the fish could peck and browse over it - a great idea I might have to try - he sure seems to enjoy poking his long beak amongst the rocks nooks and crannies.

So the only bad point really is that ugly brown mat algae im getting on the sand bed. Thing is I know this sort of thing is common in new tanks and its only a thin film that quickly scrapes away as soon as I disturb the sand. The thing is I only have 1 large turbo snail in the tank and nothing else to stir up the sandbed - CUC (Clean up crew) will be my next purchase - large turbos and a sand sifting starfish me thinks. Another thing is tat due to the tank depth, flow is also lacking near the bottom, I still need a second wavemaker.

reef aquarium fish

more footage of tank coming soon - will be updated shortly.....

LATEST TEST RESULTS:

Temperature (did a reading on 4 different devices to show differences and then took the average
HANNA CHECKER 26.6
GUN 27.8
TDS PROBE 25
SENEYE 25.8
you can see how devices can vary a degree or two either way.

APPROX AVERAGE 26c


Salinity: 33.8 ppt = 1.025 SG (Specific gravity)

Phosphate: 8ppb phos = 0.0024 ppm
conversion table: https://www.hannainst.com/hubfs/006-finished-content/Aquarium/phosphorus-to-phosphate-conversion-table--hanna-instruments.pdf

Nitrate: 7.5 ppm

PAR:
TOP 300
MIDDLE DEPTH 100
SAND BED 50

Handy charts showing required light levels of different species: ⬇

PAR lighting For different corals species

REEF PAR RANGES IDEAL

par min and max for coral growth


SUMP (Lighting reading over algae in sump - should tell me whether the light down there needs upgrading or it will do its job nicely)
PAR 30 Initial reading

PH: 8.2
ALKALINITY: 8dkh


Conclusions:
So I'm very happy especially with the phosphate level, all other main parameters also seem fine and stable.
I've been feeding fairly heavily so the nitrate level is also OK, If I can get the nitrates down to below 5ppm that will be the water where I want it : )

Nice to see all the micro life forms such as copepods thriving too 😎


Refugium Lighting:

I took some readings in the sump to see how the light down there measures up, its a 50w LED GROWLIGHT, The brand is FECIDA, its gives off a super pink colour. Im very impressed with this lights build quality for the money - recommended!! 

here's some info about the FECIDA LED:

FECIDA REFUGIUM LIGHTING


So on the water surface the PAR reading was 30. A the top near the light source it was a whopping 300 PAR! Nearly the same as my Kessils. Obviously the algae does not require lighting as bright as some corals but I did lower the light unit a little and am now achieving 60 PAR on the water level. Once the algae is established I think this will suffice but an option to upgrade to better lighting down here is always a consideration in the future.

BEST REFUGIUM LED ON A BUDGET

The sump light to grow algae - Possibly the best refugium LED on a budget!? and probably good at growing other things too 😉

refugium light

a nice well made bit of kit for not much money - they do put out quite a bit of heat though....I might invest in another one....lets see how the chaetomorpha grows in next months..

 


SENYE REEF MONITOR The Seneye probe is an invaluable tool for many reasons including the ability to read PAR. This takes some of the guesswork out of coral placement.

SENYE REEF HOW TO

It constantly keeps an eye on temperature, PH and ammonia and can show trends of how the tank fluctuates over time.

FIND OUT MORE HERE ON SENEYE.COM

excellent article on refugium lighting:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKNOfwEUdPs


back to previous Reef Dairy Entry<<<<<

Aquarium Acclimation of fish and corals - guide to best practice

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