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Welcome to the Dark Side of Reefing... Closing Down

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Welcome to the Dark Side of Reefing... Closing Down

Postby Dan » Thu 12 Apr, 2012 5:22 pm

Welcome to the Dark Side of Reefing...

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System Objectives:

The objective of this system is to experiment with flow rates, feeding methods and densities required to support azooxanthellate (azoox) corals with the intent to design and build a dedicated azoox system in the next 12 months. The tank is going to be quite challenging however I will learn a lot and am looking forward to seeing what can be achieved in this niche marine category.

My initial objectives at this early stage are:

- Build an automatic feeding system which will allow chilled foods to be fed to the tank at 1-2 hour intervals 24 hours a day
- have a better understanding of flow rates and be able to fine tune flow rates to be optimal for some groups allowing for optimum feeding responses
- successfully propagate larger polyped azoox Gorgonians such as Menella sp.
- be able to sustain Dendronephthya over a 6-12 month period and see some form of growth. Growth will be judged based on polyp count of a certain sample area with the count assisted by photos of the sample area.
- Investigating natural methods for control of pest species such as Aptasia and Hydroids

System Type:

This system will be set up for Non photosynthetic Corals (azooxanthellate) however there will be a few photosynthetic species which will adjust to the tank.

Display System:

Strike up Date: Currently running (24 months) and slowly being converted over to meet the needs of azooxanthellate corals

Display Tank: 3x2x2 euro braced with right hand corner weir (durso + backup)
Display Lighting: 120w Inwatter LED unit (currently run at 40%)

Stand: Pine, custom made.

Sump: Custom 3 section semi-racetrack style (skimmer -> refugium -> return & utilities)

Support systems:

System Water: Natural salt water

Display Water circulation: VorTech MP40W Gen2 + battery backup

Return Pump: Ehiem Compact + 3000

Skimmer: ATB Nano b Cone Skimmer + airstar pump

Evaporation Top Up:Auto top up with float switch & 60lt RO resivoir

Feeding: Feeding will be round the clock and controlled by a 3 channel BM dosing pump located in its own dedicated refrigerator. Foods will be dosed directly into the tanks plumbing system through a Mazzei venturi injector. Daily feeding has already commenced with the following products and I will slowly increase as required:
- Ocean Nutrition Lobster Eggs (half block)
- Ocean Nutrition Chopped Krill Superba (half block)
- 5ml of concentrated live Artema (newly hatched brine shrimp)
- 5ml of Aquawerx Phyto Diet concentrate
- 3ml of Aquawerx Coral Diet concentrate

I also intend on adding rotifers to this mix however still debating with myself if they should be live or if frozen will suffice

Chemical Support:

Calcium Addition: Manual addition

Alkilinity Addition: Manual addition

Other Chemical Maintenance: Manual addition of Magnesium, Iodine and Potassium.

Phosphate Control: Phosphate will be controlled through weekly 10% water changes, macro algae harvesting, Rowaphos in a fluid bed reactor and also fortnightly additions of the Prodibio system.

PLEASE NOTE: the corals in this tank journal as a generalization have extremely poor track records in captivity and should only be kept or attempted to be kept by experienced aquarists who understand, and able to provide for their demanding nutritional needs. All corals for this tank will be collected by request from a collector so as to not support sales in local stores which in turn increases collection impacts on these azoox corals that would be destined to starve to death in most tanks.
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Re: Welcome to the Dark Side of Reefing...

Postby Dan » Thu 12 Apr, 2012 5:24 pm

Most of the equipment for the automatic feeding system has arrived, I need to work on the plumbing plans and getting power inside the fridge and to the dosing pumps and then I should be able fire it up. The fridge has 4 pre-drilled 6mm holes on each wall the perfect size for airline tubing :)

The fridge:
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And Mazzei venturi injector
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This will be my new bible, kindly signed by one of the co-authors!
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and a couple of current pics of my test corals

Dendronephthya (acquired November 2011)
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Dendrophyllia (acquired March 2012)
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Coco Worm (acquired February 2012)
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Menella (acquired June 2011)
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Fragged on 03-04 (9 days ago) and it has already laid its base down.
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This Gorgonian (Menella) was hit by the sweeper tentacles of a brain coral which caused some recession at the base. I moved it and it seems to be repairing itself, 9 days ago the damage was past the V which you can see by lack of fully developed polyps.
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Re: Welcome to the Dark Side of Reefing...

Postby DAY1 » Thu 12 Apr, 2012 5:32 pm

Sounds good Dan , Will be watching this one evolve , I might get one of those small fridges for my own dosing , I could fit 6 bundy cans in there :cheers: :roflmao:
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Re: Welcome to the Dark Side of Reefing...

Postby dejavu » Thu 12 Apr, 2012 5:38 pm

Dan,
What mechanism will you use to prevent the suspended particles/food in the bags from settling? Maybe a magnetic stirrer?

Love to see how your adventure work out.
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Re: Welcome to the Dark Side of Reefing...

Postby Dan » Thu 12 Apr, 2012 5:55 pm

I am planning on using a magnetic stirrer to keep things suspended but if one wont fit in the lower section of the fridge I will need to work out something else..
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Re: Welcome to the Dark Side of Reefing...

Postby Darr1n » Thu 12 Apr, 2012 6:02 pm

:o This is going to be nice!
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Re: Welcome to the Dark Side of Reefing...

Postby Rod the Reefer » Thu 12 Apr, 2012 6:58 pm

Dan, you're the man. :pirate:

Will be watching closely. (No pressure)

Rod. :thumbsup:
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Re: Welcome to the Dark Side of Reefing...

Postby ACRO AL » Thu 12 Apr, 2012 10:46 pm

Non photosynthetics are awesome :pirate:

looks good, will be interesting to see how dendro's go with the feeding.

I know you dont want to hear it, but my good ol mass water changes, suddenly made them just "live"..., i mean i tried for years with them no luck.

I only feed the fish, and ive got heavy filtration, 200 micron bag cleaned twice daily, and a 10 micron disposable 10 inch cannister with eheim 1262 wahsed daily replaced weekly.

I cant figure it out :-s

from what ive gathered, they are feeding on phytoplankton, but must need outstanding water quality or something else that comes in with the water maybe?
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Re: Welcome to the Dark Side of Reefing...

Postby Dan » Fri 13 Apr, 2012 10:50 am

Al, there is no doubt that large flushes of fresh natural sea water is optimal for keeping inhabitants happy, I think one thing which you which many don't is easy access to reliable sources of water. For me it is a 2 - 2.5 hour round trip for collection at a reliable source which isn't sustainable. I get my water delivered however it would have sat in storage for long enough that most planktons will not be live. How long have yours now been in the system?

Studies are pointing to the fact that Dendronephthya primarily feed upon phytoplankton and this may be where your success is coming from with the extra large water changes. Up until around 2 weeks ago I had been feeding mine predominantly on zooplankton as I could see it being captured and ingested so thought it must be consuming and utilizing the food source (see photo below). I've recently discovered and reading up on pseudo-feces and its impacts with filter feeding corals whereby they consume everything possible from the water column but expend energy having to remove it again from the polyp if the food particle is not the correct source of nutrients so causing a negative result of energy gained/lost. Even though my coral seems to look healthy they are known to last 6+ months without the correct diet and also known to over expand in times of nutritional stress so it is hard to measure positive progress with these corals.

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Re: Welcome to the Dark Side of Reefing...

Postby ACRO AL » Fri 13 Apr, 2012 11:11 am

The thing is theres plenty of phytoplankton in any tank, especially when you clean the glass.

I havent had them in the system for 6 months yet, maybe 4, but I remember trying to keep them alive a few years ago, and they wouldnt even last 1 month.
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Re: Welcome to the Dark Side of Reefing...

Postby Mr Miagi » Fri 13 Apr, 2012 12:26 pm

The thing is theres plenty of phytoplankton in any tank, especially when you clean the glass.


Cleaning a tanks glass would be a "one off"event though, I would imagine, done a couple times a week (maybe once a day if that). And I wouldnt class that as true phytoplankton, it was once sessile algae which has been knocked off a substrate (glass).

VERY cool though! Will be following this along with great interest! :bow:
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Re: Welcome to the Dark Side of Reefing...

Postby ClayLutt » Fri 13 Apr, 2012 12:31 pm

should be a show stopper when its in full swing Dan! cant wait to see progress!
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Re: Welcome to the Dark Side of Reefing...

Postby Onsan » Fri 13 Apr, 2012 4:46 pm

Freaking Dantastic setup man!!! good luck, very keen to see how you go.
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Re: Welcome to the Dark Side of Reefing...

Postby Sin » Fri 13 Apr, 2012 6:37 pm

Looks like alot of planning has gone into this, Can't wait to see it all come together. :thumbsup:

IMO this is definately a more interesting and rewarding path than the average tank crammed full of coloured sticks.

:cheers: Sin
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Re: Welcome to the Dark Side of Reefing...

Postby Doomant » Fri 13 Apr, 2012 6:41 pm

Onsan wrote:Freaking Dantastic setup man!!! good luck, very keen to see how you go.


+1
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Re: Welcome to the Dark Side of Reefing...

Postby Dan » Sat 14 Apr, 2012 7:52 am

Onsan wrote:Freaking Dantastic setup man!!! good luck, very keen to see how you go.


Mate, I'll be bouncing idea's off you all the way along :)

Thanks guys for the interest shown, will be awesome if it works or a tank full of algae if it doesn't :bs: Need to find a place in Brissie that does John Guest fittings and I'll be able to hook the fridge up, if I can't find them locally its off to PSI filters :)
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Re: Welcome to the Dark Side of Reefing...

Postby Dan » Sat 14 Apr, 2012 8:36 am

- Ocean Nutrition Lobster Eggs (half block)
- Ocean Nutrition Chopped Krill Superba (half block)
- 5ml of concentrated live Artema (newly hatched brine shrimp)
- 5ml of Aquawerx Phyto Diet concentrate
- 3ml of Aquawerx Coral Diet concentrate

I've been daily feeding of these levels for just under 2 weeks now and surprisingly have recorded a reduction in PO4 despite missing last weekends water change :o PO4 tested at 0.09ppm on both 5/4 and 9/4. Today is tested at 0.02ppm (I actually tested twice as I thought the first reading was an error and both came back with the exact same reading). Don't know how or why but I am pleased to see the system handling the input.
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Re: Welcome to the Dark Side of Reefing...

Postby dejavu » Sat 14 Apr, 2012 1:39 pm

Dan,
Do a test run of the magnetic stirrers. Some brands can stir smoothly even at low speeds while others stutter. if you are considering a particular brand, I can see if I have the same one in the lab and test it at different speed for you.

I was reading through your old tank's journal and must congrat you on your efforts on the coco worm and Gorgonian!
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Re: Welcome to the Dark Side of Reefing...

Postby Dan » Sat 14 Apr, 2012 1:43 pm

Hi Louis, thanks mate. Yes these corals are my test bunnies in the tank.

I have been looking at this stirrer however I am pretty nervous about the fit in the fridge, it is going to be so tight like mm tight, if there any protrusions (power plugs, switches etc) which add onto the width listed then it ain't going to fit :( Plan B is going to be something like a modified kalk stirrer.

http://www.ecrater.com.au/p/7394598/hanna-professional-magnetic-stirrer-with-variable
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Re: Welcome to the Dark Side of Reefing...

Postby bradw6860 » Sat 14 Apr, 2012 2:18 pm

used to use that stuff in chem!

Good luck with the venture Dan
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Re: Welcome to the Dark Side of Reefing...

Postby dejavu » Sat 14 Apr, 2012 2:19 pm

Dan,
How about a bigger fridge and one of these bad boys:
http://www.coleparmer.com/Product/Ika_5 ... W-04671-69

The IKA stirrers are quite low profile, but typical pricing structure of scientific equipment (aka rip off).
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Re: Welcome to the Dark Side of Reefing...

Postby ACRO AL » Sat 14 Apr, 2012 4:07 pm

setup a super macro hi def camera on a stand, zoom right in, and film the tentacles on a dendro.

do this everyday when you feed, but feed a different food each time.

Then play it back. Check which food the tentacles fold down on, and grab, but dont release again,

BINGO! :banana:
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Re: Welcome to the Dark Side of Reefing...

Postby Dan » Sun 15 Apr, 2012 7:52 am

dejavu wrote:Dan,
How about a bigger fridge and one of these bad boys:
http://www.coleparmer.com/Product/Ika_5 ... W-04671-69

The IKA stirrers are quite low profile, but typical pricing structure of scientific equipment (aka rip off).


yeah WOW, awesome idea and perfect for this set up but I forgot to bring home that money tree from the nursery the other day :wall:

do you know if those hanna stirrers are any good and their 'exact' measurements? I've worked out the door has a slight recess so I probably have 140mm depth and the stirrers have 120mm as their quoted dimensions.

ACRO AL wrote:setup a super macro hi def camera on a stand, zoom right in, and film the tentacles on a dendro.

do this everyday when you feed, but feed a different food each time.

Then play it back. Check which food the tentacles fold down on, and grab, but dont release again,

BINGO! :banana:


Al, I don't have a video cam unfortunately but I also think that they will still ingest all food types regardless of if they can us its energy or not so I am not sure this will decisively tell me which foods they require, certainly studies have shown they are phytoplankton eaters only but that photo I posted not only shows polyps holding food but you can see the orange mass in the digestive tract showing ingestion of the artema :)
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Re: Welcome to the Dark Side of Reefing...

Postby Dan » Sun 15 Apr, 2012 7:54 am

First full tank shot, the display is now tidied up, next weekends job is re-plumbing the tank, plumbing in the fridge in and getting the tank on automatic feedings

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Thanks for tagging along :thumbsup:
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Re: Welcome to the Dark Side of Reefing...

Postby Kapyong23 » Sun 15 Apr, 2012 8:39 am

Hitching along Dan. :thumbsup:
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Re: Welcome to the Dark Side of Reefing...

Postby zeebull » Sun 15 Apr, 2012 9:33 am

Looking good Dan :thumbsup:
Will be an awesome tank once again.Its great to see someone doing something a bit different to the ordinary :clap:
Can't wait to see it grow into another piece of art work , not to mention the pretty pics that go along with your TJ
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Re: Welcome to the Dark Side of Reefing...

Postby Kapyong23 » Sun 15 Apr, 2012 10:13 am

Just out of curiousity Dan - where did you get the fridge from if you dont mind me asking? :thumbsup:
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Re: Welcome to the Dark Side of Reefing...

Postby Dan » Sun 15 Apr, 2012 10:40 am

Kapyong23 wrote:Just out of curiousity Dan - where did you get the fridge from if you dont mind me asking? :thumbsup:


Any real man should have shopped at this place before :pirate:
http://www.bar-fridges-australia.com.au
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Re: Welcome to the Dark Side of Reefing...

Postby Byronredsea » Sun 15 Apr, 2012 11:52 am

Hi Dan so no fish in the new Tank ?
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Re: Welcome to the Dark Side of Reefing...

Postby Dan » Mon 16 Apr, 2012 8:56 am

Byronredsea wrote:Hi Dan so no fish in the new Tank ?


Jase there will be fish, at this stage we are still thinking about the fish list and we're in no rush... likely we will be keeping the purple tang so the fish list will be built around him.
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