New Corals!

Okay, here are all my new coral pics! Not all of the new corals are 100% open right now, so stay tuned for more updates!

Here are the palm-tree polyps (there are 3, not all open right now):

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And the blue-striped mushroom (can’t wait for these to propogate!):

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And the pulsing xenia:

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My favia frag (the only SPS in the tank at the moment):

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The bright orange zoanthids (not really open yet):

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And the new GSP frag (not really open):

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And my new leather frag from Sean McQuilken:

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And last but not least, my new toxic green hammer:

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I can’t wait to see how all these new corals open over the next couple days!

Here are some new photos of the older corals in the tank:

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OSRAS Conference 2014

The OSRAS (Ocean State Reef Aquarium Society) Conference is this Sunday! I can’t wait! Jamie and I met my friend Sean there last year and had a great time. Jamie and I weren’t originally planning on going since the drive to Providence is long, but I convinced him!

This year you get a FREE coral with every paid admission! Yeah, I’m pretty pumped about that. That means 2 free corals for my tank! I’m going to go out to Wal*Mart later today or tomorrow and pick up a small plastic cooler and some hand-warmers to pack all my purchases in. Not to self: limit how much cash I bring. That way, I can’t go broke buying things.

I’m pretty excited that in addition to all the awesome vendors, raffles, and corals, that the two talks this year are on nano-reef aquariums and LED lighting. Did I mention that the LED lighting talk is by Sanjay Joshi? Yep. Pretty cool!

So you can expect a post Sunday night or Monday with all the news from the conference!

 

Staying Organized

The last couple days have seen nothing more than tankmares… you know… nightmares with your tanks…

It was time to take out the canister filter for monthly maintenance and GFO replacement. Well, the canister has been very difficult to disconnect the last couple times, and it proved to be a little bit of a disaster this time. I’ve had to enlist Jamie’s help, because the canister filter’s hoses are so strong to disconnect, I can’t do them myself. I won’t go into the finer details of the panic and shouting, but we ended up with some water on the… well… a little bit got everywhere. Thank goodness most of my electrical cords had drip loops. The digital light timer strip got wet though, and that needed to get dried out. We ended up turning off the power to everything and taking everything apart. Very stressful.

Long story short… we’ve been monitoring the canister filter which was dripping/leaking water from the intake hose. Also, in the fray of the canister filter issues, the power filter just up and died. Wasn’t a huge deal, as it’s at least as old as the tank (and I didn’t get it new). Jamie was wonderful enough to find and get a new one (same model). I was picky about the canister filter model because I didn’t want to deal with pre-packaged carbon inserts. I like having complete control over my filtration media.

I replaced the venturi inlet on the skimmer (after dealing with Coralife Tech Support, they sent me a new one) and I ordered a replacement water flow controller for the skimmer and replaced that. Good thing I did, as the O-ring on the adjustable dial was completely warped (no wonder I was having trouble with it). And the skimmer lives! At least it’s producing microbubbles, that’s all I care about.

Today my project was getting the digital light timer hooked back up (I HATE having to plug in the white light in the morning and unplug it at night). Thankfully, it is working just fine. Now, I’m still wary of the canister filter and it’s in good practice anyways to keep electrical devices off the floor of the cabinet. A couple of 3M Command strips are holding the timer vertically on the back inside of the tank stand/cabinet. I used a bunch of colored zip ties to manage all the electrical cords I’ve got, labeling the devices with colors. I still have to get to the heaters, but that’s a project for later. So all my cords associated with my white LED light strip are yellow. All the cords for the actinic/blue LED light strip are blue. I couldn’t have made it easier. Long cords connected to devices that need to always be on (canister filter, skimmer, etc) are in clear/white ties. I also played around with the light cords to make them a bit less unsightly.

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View from inside the tank stand.

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View from behind the tank. Sorry about the blur!

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How the tank looks today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are some recent coral photos (these photos were taken a couple days ago):

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What a happy frogspawn!

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The zoas are doing well!

And just for fun, here are some tank-related cat photos, because why not?

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Loki approves of the new cord management.

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Loki always know just what to do with boxes from tank equipment.

Life Lessons

Lesson #1: Don’t get coral glue on your fingers.

Lesson #2: Don’t get coral glue on your fingers.

Lesson #3: Don’t get… yeah, you know what I’m going to say…

But seriously, don’t get coral glue on your fingers! Ick! I hate it when it happens! And it seems inevitable. I’ve been trying to get my new Duncan frag to stay in place for a couple weeks now, and finally I just had to glue it. Yesterday I placed it at a bad angle and the glue didn’t hold. Today, I went to glue it and the frag came right off the plug. In hindsight, I should have just taken it off first. Frags are so much easier to position in the live rock without the ugly plugs!

Note to self: take coral frags off plugs in the future. Except zoas. Unless I’m wearing gloves. Those suckers sting!

I think it is finally in a good place. I’ll check when I get home and see if the glue held. Photo to come.

So where was I going with this? Oh yeah, don’t get coral glue on your fingers. I ended up getting on 3 fingers. After several long minutes of hot soap and water, to Google I went. Did you know if you put petroleum jelly (I have Vaseline) on the affected areas and rub a nail file over the skin for about a minute, the glue comes right off? Super effective way to get that stuff off. Now I won’t be picking at the skin all day.

More Coral Photos!

As promised, more coral photos! They are all doing very well!

Here are a couple shots of the new Kenya tree:

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And a couple of the frogspawn, which finally opened today:

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And some of the new Duncan:

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And of the GSP:

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And of the new zoas (not fully open here):

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And of the old Duncan:

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And the old zoas:

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I also just went out to visit a LFS I had never been to before (Underwater World in the Silver City Galleria) picked up a rock with some beautiful new zoanthids that is acclimating right now. Photos of this beauty soon!

Skimmer Trouble

So my Coralife Super Skimmer (a replacement for an original that failed me!) has not been functioning. I’ve taken it completely apart, scrubbed it, soaked submersible parts in CLR, put it back together, and still no micro-bubbles! I contacted the tech support staff at Coralife, who assumed I just didn’t have the venturi chamber pressed fully on to the pump (nope, not the problem) and asked me to make sure I removed the air hose from the venturi inlet when cleaning. Guess what, the air hose is not designed to come off (I distinctly remember having that problem with the original skimmer). When I tried, the venturi inlet completely broke off, air hose still attached. Thanks Coralife, your troubleshooting help was super helpful. Thank goodness I have an Aquarium Science minor, common sense, and some coral glue. I have since fixed the inlet, and believe it or not the skimmer works like new. I won’t be giving the tech support staff credit for my ingenuity, especially when I just blew air into the hose to make sure it wasn’t clogged. Moral of this story, always have coral glue. I swear it can fix anything.

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Working skimmer = happy hobbyist.