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Stu's Initiation: RSM 130D

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Stu's Initiation: RSM 130D

Postby Kozzi » Sat 23 Feb, 2013 3:30 pm

Introduction:

Hey all, I've been lurking around MASA and desiring a marine fish tank for about 5 years now. I always thought I was too busy and bills were too tight to afford such a luxury and had resigned myself to live vicariously through other peoples' TJs. Then I got pretty crook. Next thing I knew, I had ample time... Bills were still tight, but priorities had shifted... So, finally, in February I bit the bullet and decided to invest in a tank of my own (tangible and everything!).

Despite lurking around the forums for so long my knowledge is very novice. I was more enjoying the aesthetics of everyone else's tanks as opposed to thinking of the pragmatics of keeping them running. So if I make any noob mistakes, or if you have any advice, then I am all ears.

Full Tank Shot
Image

System Objectives: To take things slowly and learn as I go. I aim for this tank to be FOWLR initially until I gain confidence in my ability to maintain water parameters and keep stability as a priority. Once I am confident that I'm not the butcher of all things marine then I'll start to transition the tank to a full reef system.

System Type: FOWLR before evolving into a Reef system

Display System:

Strike up Date: February 2013

Display Tank: RSM 130D

Display Lighting: Stock RSM T5 Lighting

Stand: Stock RSM Stand

Hood: Stock RSM Heat Trap

Sump: No sump for the time being. I may, later down the line, consider running a HOB overflow box in the future.

Support systems:

System Water: NSW and RO top up

Display Water circulation: None as yet. I don't believe I need too much additional circulation whilst I'm FOWLR but will upgrade either with a MP10 or Tunze Turbelle once I begin to seriously consider corals.

Return Pump: 2*Stock RSM return pumps

Skimmer: I upgraded to the Tunze 9002 and Steve T media rack about 5 weeks after strike-up. Much happier.

Evaporation Top Up: Tunze Osmolator upgrade after 10 weeks.

Chemical Support: Activated Carbon for first three weeks. Removed after I noticed how much detritus it was trapping. Purigen and Chemipure Elite used from Week 6.

Current Water Chemistry:
14 April
Temp: 26
Salinity: 1.026 (Refractometer)
PH: 8.0 (RS)
KH: 7dkH (RS)
Ammonia: 0 (RS)
Nitrite: 0.05 (RS)
Nitrate: 0 (RS)
Calcium: 400 (Dupla)
Magnesium: 1495 (Dupla)
Phosphate: 0.02 (Hanna)

Biological Filtration:
15kg LR I also have about 3 inches of 1-2mm aragonite forming the tank's substrate

Current Inhabitants:
Fish
Bicolor Blenny (Pop) Purchased 14/4/13

Inverts:
2 * Nassarius Snails (Hide & Seek) Purchased 28/3/13
Strombus Snail (Elly) Purchased 12/4/13
3 * Turbo Snails Purchased 28/4/13
HitchHiker Red Cerith Snail (Red Snail)
HitchHiker Turbo Snail
HitchHiker Purple Sea Cucumber
4 * HitchHikerBrittle Star Fish

Coral:
Eagle Eye Zoos Purchased 12/4/13
Common Brown Zoos Purchased 12/4/13
Green Polyp Toadstool Leather Purchased 30/4/13
Gold Tip Torch Coral 2* Zoo frags Purchased 7/5/13
Candy Cane Orange and Blue Acan Purchased 7/5/13
Bright Red Morph Purchased 7/5/13
Purple with Orange Spots Morph Purchased 7/5/13
HitchHiker Favia
HitchHiker Green BTA
5 * HitchHiker Fungia Factories
2 * HitchHiker Different Leather Coral Clusters
Last edited by Kozzi on Fri 10 May, 2013 10:46 am, edited 9 times in total.
I now have a bacteria collection! Stu's RSM 130D
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Re: Stu's Initiation: RSM 130D

Postby Kozzi » Sun 24 Feb, 2013 5:06 pm

Waiting for LR to cycle gives me ample time to dream about what I'd like to keep once my tank is no longer an ammonia death trap. The difficult thing is most of the websites that I find information on seem to be geared towards a US hobbyist and I'm uncertain which fish are reasonable to acquire in Australia...

Regardless, the shortlist currently looks as follows:

A flame angel
An ocellaris clown fish
A six-line wrasse
A Starry Blenny
A Green Coral Goby
A Yellow Watchman Goby

Possible alternatives include:
A Banggai Cardinal
A Chalk Bass
A Royal Gramma
A Lawnmower Blenny

I imagine that if my desired list is available that the best order to purchase, and acclimatise, these fish would be:
1: Starry Blenny
2,3: Yellow Watchman Goby / Green Coral Goby
4: Ocellaris Clown
5: Six-line Wrasse
6: Flame Angel

Does this sound right?
I now have a bacteria collection! Stu's RSM 130D
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Re: Stu's Initiation: RSM 130D

Postby priscacara » Mon 25 Feb, 2013 11:39 am

Hi Stu, I'm still a noob but list looks ok to me. Not sure if you plan on adding anything in just yet but when you add your 20kg of lr you will probably go through another cycle as things on it will die off in transport.
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Re: Stu's Initiation: RSM 130D

Postby Kozzi » Wed 27 Feb, 2013 9:02 am

Hi priscacara,

Thanks for the reminder. Yeah its a pain having to go through another cycle but when the rock isn't in town I guess its the only option I've got. Hopefully by having the cycle started I'll have a slightly more robust/diverse bacteria colony to minimise the impact of the new rock.
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Re: Stu's Initiation: RSM 130D

Postby Kozzi » Wed 27 Feb, 2013 9:13 am

Week 1 Journal

I've now had the tank running for a whole week. After a shaky start I think I'm getting the hang of this. I only did science up to Year 10, so the idea of measuring chemicals to test water was pretty foreign to me, but its now water under the bridge. I am hoping other similar processes that intimidate me will undergo the same procedure.

Water params have been pretty stable.
Temperature: Constant 28
A little high for my liking but I've heard the RSM is known for running hot. Hopefully by the time I'm ready to stock it'll be closer to winter and I'll see an adjustment. That'll give me time to save for a chiller.

Salinity: Started at 1.025, I overdosed the top-up water early on and it has dropped to 1.023.
I'm now much more careful of how much top-up I use. I'm currently topping up with NSW to get it back up as close to 1.025 as possible.

PH: 8.0-8.2

Ammonia: 0.1-0
It is oscillating between these low numbers.

Nitrite: 0.1
There has been no movement on the nitrite figures for the entirety of this week.

Nitrate: Started at 10, has since dropped to 5

Algae has started to grow on the live rock and glass. And I've found my first hitchhiker... it looks like a feather duster worm to me.

Image

Here he is, he's an amusingly timid guy. Withdraws the minute any debris or loose sand brushes by

Image
FTS of my lonely piece of rock.
I now have a bacteria collection! Stu's RSM 130D
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Re: Stu's Initiation: RSM 130D

Postby priscacara » Wed 27 Feb, 2013 2:56 pm

Nice one, I like spotting these guys although I have to say I have a childish streak now and then and have been known to cast a shadow just to watch how fast they retract :-)
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Re: Stu's Initiation: RSM 130D

Postby Kozzi » Wed 27 Feb, 2013 3:50 pm

Nice one, I like spotting these guys although I have to say I have a childish streak now and then and have been known to cast a shadow just to watch how fast they retract :-)


It is good to know I'm not the only one!
I now have a bacteria collection! Stu's RSM 130D
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Re: Stu's Initiation: RSM 130D

Postby Kozzi » Fri 01 Mar, 2013 11:11 am

Week 2 Journal

The tank has been maturing nicely. I've got different kinds of algae growing which I think is a sign that the nitrate cycle is in full swing. It is unusual celebrating cleaning glass for the first time, I'm sure that'll wear off soon.

I'm still waiting for the live rock to come in. Equally I'm waiting on the skimmer to still come in, as well as the SteveT media rack. This hobby sure teaches patience.

In the interim I've been dwelling on aquascaping and have decided to thread my live rock like is shown in this video. It was first devised by Sanjay Joshi and provides good stability for the structure and, it appears, greater surface area for caves and the like.

I purchased 6mm acrylic to work as a base and cut it into three 150x100mm baseplates. I think the surface area will prove really stable, especially considering how much weight of water and sand will be compressing down on it. I've also got a 10mm acrylic rod which I'll be using to mount the live rock.

The bit that I really like about this method is that I can start mounting the LR a good 50mm up the acrylic rod which will enable me to reduce the surface area in contact with, or submerged below, the substrate as much as possible. I believe this can only help out with keeping trapped detritus low. It also reassures me that I won't be waking up to a possible rock collapse which I've read about.

Image
My drying acrylic stands.

As for water params. Everything has been pretty stable bar my PH. Today has been wet and cold and my tank has dropped in temperature to 25C and the PH has risen from 8.2 to 8.6... I don't know if there is a correlation between the two or not.
I now have a bacteria collection! Stu's RSM 130D
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Re: Stu's Initiation: RSM 130D

Postby cody.sheridan-2008 » Fri 01 Mar, 2013 6:50 pm

Looking good :)

We have a whole tank of cycled LR out the back if you need any.
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Re: Stu's Initiation: RSM 130D

Postby Lore » Fri 01 Mar, 2013 7:14 pm

Your substrate and lonely piece of rock look good :roflmao:

When your 20kgs of LR arrives let me know if you'd like a hand with your scape, I'll bring the beer :pirate:
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Re: Stu's Initiation: RSM 130D

Postby Kozzi » Sat 02 Mar, 2013 4:05 pm

Cheers for the offer Cody. I'm happy to wait for the time-being, I've already pre-paid for the LR in the tank package that I negotiated. So hopefully it'll be coming in soon. I guess at least it forces me to let my tank mature!

Lore, cheers! I'm actually quite looking forward to the challenges of designing with irregular shapes. If I get stuck/dismayed/in-over-my-head I'll definitely be in touch! Beer and expertise sound like a great tonic.
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Re: Stu's Initiation: RSM 130D

Postby Kozzi » Thu 07 Mar, 2013 11:33 am

Week 3 Journal

Still no live rock. I'm certainly going to appreciate it when it arrives. So my one piece of LR still stands alone. Its now covered in tendrils of green hair algae which I believe is a good sign at this stage of the cycle. I'm also beginning to notice some vibrant purple patches which I believe is coraline algae.

My return pump died when I was away on Monday. I came home and checked the water level expecting it to have dropped substantially by evaporation and was puzzled when it was higher than where I left it. I guess it is good that the RSM 130 has two return pumps allowing a little redundancy... it isn't amazing that a return pump dies after only two weeks though...

My Steve T media rack arrived yesterday and apparently my Tunze 9002 is not far behind. I've got to give props for the media rack, it is a very nicely designed piece of kit and I even got given 3 fish candys too! I've taken the stock skimmer out in preparation for the replacement, it wasn't skimming much of note anyway. I was amazed at how much sediment gets trapped beneath the plastic skimmer chamber! I'm really glad I found it this early and not in two months to be honest.

I have my Purigen and Chemi-Pure ready to run but am currently thinking I'll wait for the LR and whatever consequential cycle it brings before adding them. Consequently my current filtration is only the biological LR and mechanical filter floss. That should change tonight when I get the new skimmer.

Finally, I picked up a turkey baster from ebay. After my magnetic glass cleaner it has proven to be the best piece of cleaning kit that I've bought. I was astounded at how much debris was dislodged from one lowly piece of LR.

As for water params, things are going along nicely. Temperature has stabilised at 25-6. PH is a solid 8.2. Salinity is at 1.025 and I'm struggling to work out how to dose it with RO accurately before my replacement pump comes as I don't know what the water level is when only one pump is operational.

Ammonia is a solid 0, Nitrites have been dropping from 0.1 to about 0.07 and Nitrates have been dropping from 5 to 2.5.
I now have a bacteria collection! Stu's RSM 130D
My Aquatic Log can be found here
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Re: Stu's Initiation: RSM 130D

Postby Kozzi » Thu 07 Mar, 2013 7:01 pm

An update that couldn't wait...

Tonight I installed the Tunze 9002 and all I can say is :-x :-x :-x

It is so quiet in comparison to the stock skimmer that I'm stunned. Three times my wife has exclaimed "I can't believe how quiet it is".

I look forward to seeing how it skims
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Re: Stu's Initiation: RSM 130D

Postby priscacara » Fri 08 Mar, 2013 11:57 am

I had looked at this skimmer for the 3 footer but not needing a skimmer yet (its currently my qt) so good to see something about the 9002. From what I have been told it should do a great job.
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Re: Stu's Initiation: RSM 130D

Postby Kozzi » Fri 08 Mar, 2013 3:34 pm

Yeah its been 24 hours and I'm a pretty happy camper. I'll hanging for the LR to arrive so I can begin to get an idea of how well it performs. Apparently the supplier has finally got LR in so it is now just a case of working out a time to fly it to Sydney when I can pick it up ASAP!
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Re: Stu's Initiation: RSM 130D

Postby Kozzi » Wed 13 Mar, 2013 12:15 pm

The rock arrived last night! I am really impressed by the quality of the rock and so glad that I decided to wait.

It is loaded with a bunch of critters, the only catch is that I'm at a loss of how to identify them. I've been trying to search through the coral forums and even google image search but am finding it really hard to identify anything with any confidence. Does anybody have any tips?

Here are the shots of some of the newest (free!) inhabitants of my tank. First, the gastropods:

I've found a snail that I believe is a turbo snail. He had purple and white stripes along his shell but it was too dark to photograph him on my iPhone. The rest of the snails I found during daylight and have been able to take (dodgy) photos.

Image
This guy has a white body and very vibrant orange coloration on his shell. I'm wondering if he's a cerith of some kind?

Image
I'm pretty sure this guy is a deer cowry. He started off with his shell being brown with white spots and his orange flesh covered over the top of the entire shell!

Image
Is this guy an Asrea snail?

I've also found some corals / anemones that I'm really struggling to identify. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Image
This is really pretty and glows under blue light. I'm worried he may be a majano anemone, does this mean I need to get rid of him? If so, how do I go about doing that?

Image
You can only see one from this picture but there are actually three clumped together. It looks a bit like those spiky rubber balls that young kids play with

Image
This is another colony of a similar looking creature but its body is much darker... any ideas?

Image
Is this a leather coral?


Finally, here is my FTS shot. It was late last night so my priority was basically to scan the rock for baddies and get it in the water quickly. I'll be rearranging over the next couple of days.

Image
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Re: Stu's Initiation: RSM 130D

Postby priscacara » Thu 14 Mar, 2013 1:37 pm

The fun part, spotting all the hitchhikers :-) I still enjoy it! Unfortunately I'm not real great with ids on things, so much to learn.

That is a beautiful orange mantle on the cowrie!
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Re: Stu's Initiation: RSM 130D

Postby LPS fan » Thu 14 Mar, 2013 2:58 pm

That's some nice liverock you got there. Those things look like ricordeas to me, but it's hard to tell.
If I may offer one suggestion? Perhaps move that little piece of liverock in the middle on the sand and the chunk next to it so you have a clean valley?
Kind of looks like the aftermath of the twin towers atm ;)
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Re: Stu's Initiation: RSM 130D

Postby Kozzi » Sat 16 Mar, 2013 4:51 pm

Week 4 Journal

Big week. The live rock arrived midweek. The remainder of this week has basically been spent glued against the glass and trying to spot the new inhabitants. I've tried my hand at arranging the LR and am pretty happy with the number of caves and caverns that I've been able to make. Nothing is puttied in yet and I didn't end up using the stands, I was a bit too worried about drilling through something living. The current scape looks like this:

Image
FTS

Image
LHS

Image
RHS

I've had a moderate ammonia spike. It rose up to 0.15 and the nitrite level has risen up to 0.2. I performed a 10% water change and will see if that helps it settle down a little.

I was worried that one hitch-hiker was a Majano anemone, I'm now much more reassured that it is not. It seems far too large and is expanding with each day without splitting. I tried to place his rock in a prominent position but he decided he didn't like it and has gone for a wander.

Image
Image
His base is really quite long, it better be considering he is perched in the middle of the rock and craning out whenever the lights are on

Hitch-hiker wise this LR has proven a gold mine. I knew I had a couple of starfish in the tank but the scampered into the middle of the LR as soon as possible and I have only just had an opportunity to grab a photo of one

Image

My snails seem to love the water skimmer. At first I thought they were dead as I couldn't see them anywhere and only put two and two together when I noticed this

Image

Finally, I have noticed several more corals now that they've recovered a little from their transit. I'm not sure what most of them are and are currently trying to identify them

Image
Is this an acro?

Image
I think this is a moon coral

Image
What kind of leather coral is this?

Image
Image
Image
Image
I think these guys are the same even though 3 out of the 4 are found in different parts of the tank... any ideas?

So yeah, eventful week. The fish tank is beginning to look like an environment and I'm searching all corners of the internet for guides on how to identify corals
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Re: Stu's Initiation: RSM 130D

Postby AJD » Sat 16 Mar, 2013 8:06 pm

Looks like your LR held a gold mine of new inhabitants for your tank. Gotta love the day by day discoveries!
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Re: Stu's Initiation: RSM 130D

Postby Kozzi » Fri 22 Mar, 2013 12:38 pm

Week 5 Journal

Lets start of with the water params:

Temp: 27 (consistent the entire week)
Salinity: 1.023 (just dropped from 1.024 this morning)
PH: 8.0 (dropped from 8.2)
Ammonia: 0.1 (Spiked at 0.25 earlier in the week. I've since done two consecutive 15% water changes and it seems to have settled)
Nitrite: 0.07 (Spiked at 0.12 just before the ammonia spike. I thought that was the worst spike I was going to see from the addition of the new LR and decided to feed my corals. It was a silly risk)
Nitrate: 5 (constant)
Magnesium: 1365

So lets start with the lows. My other original return pump died this morning. Full credit to RedSea and their warrant program. I've had no questions asked returns on both occasions. Still, a little worrying that they break so easily. Hopefully I'm just unlucky.

Speaking of unlucky, I took my KH test into the LFS. Looks like the reagent has been labelled wrongly. They're taking the issue up with the Red Sea distributor and will replace it once they have a replacement. I also bought a Ca/Mg test from Dupla as it worked out far more reasonably than the equivalent Red Sea, my Ca test had a dodgy reagent too! The store replaced it on the spot.

So a shout out to Rod at Marine Boutique. The customer service has been really good and I've had no hassles in sorting out any dodgy products.

The hair algae is getting pretty intense. I'm trying to sit tight and remind myself that it is a part of the cycle process, although I'm worried they'll soon overgrow the corals I've found and starve them of light. Consequently I'm considering running high magnesium in an attempt to diminish their numbers. I'm sitting tight on making that decision for the time being though.

The final lowlight is that I'm pretty certain I have a mantis shrimp. We've heard clicks coming from a rock in the morning and yesterday I found a dismembered crab! Photos will come up later, I haven't had a chance to sync my camera.

Highlights. Still finding tons of new lifeforms. Photos to follow...
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Re: Stu's Initiation: RSM 130D

Postby Mr Reefer » Mon 25 Mar, 2013 11:44 am

Clicking could also be a Pistol Shrimp.

Either way, as great as liverock is for bringing in little surprises of corals and anemones, it also can carry unwanted surprises like Mantis Shrimps and Pistol Shrimps among other things.
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Re: Stu's Initiation: RSM 130D

Postby Kozzi » Tue 26 Mar, 2013 1:54 pm

Here are the photos that I've had a chance to take on my wife's iPhone.

Image
This is what we found on the substrate in front of the piece of rock that we have heard clicking in. The crab's legs were also dismembered and scattered around the tank

Image
A much clearer shot of our Cowry snail that we have named 'Bowser'

Image
The leather coral is beginning to fully extend

Image
A new hitchhiker. I think this guy is a sea cucumber. He is currently the most active member of the tank

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A bizarre hitchhiker who we have only seen once. His body is translucent and we could see the algae he was eating go down his digestive tract. At his head he had 8 small arms which looked a bit like the protrusions from a feather duster. He was using these both to hang onto the glass and also to (we presume) remove algae from the glass and place it into his mouth. Really interesting guy
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Re: Stu's Initiation: RSM 130D

Postby LPS fan » Tue 26 Mar, 2013 3:44 pm

What primo liverock! So much life. Tagging along. Interested to see what did that to your poor crab.
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Re: Stu's Initiation: RSM 130D

Postby Kozzi » Sat 30 Mar, 2013 3:23 pm

Week 6 Journal

The water parameters have settled down really nicely. Ammonia has settled down to 0 and remained there. A couple of days later the nitrite dropped from 0.1 to 0 and has settled. The nitrate has dropped to 2.5 and remained there too.

We keep on seeing new hitchhikers. I really though after the first couple of days I had seen most of what there was to see. Couldn't have been more wrong. The two most notable recent HH's that we've noticed are:

Image
This pink and green coral. I don't think it has fully extended yet although last night I noticed it extending its feeder tentacles.

Image
These transparent tunicates have started popping up on the underside of some of my live rock. Over time the mouths of them are getting more fluorescent yellow.

This morning we went to Marine Boutique and purchased two Nassarius snails to start the cleanup effort. We call them zombie snails as that's what they look like when they emerge from the substrate. Consequently our two zombie snails are named Shaun and Rick after the protagonists in two of the best zombie texts ever.

I rearranged the rocks to try and place the freebie corals in more easy to view locations. The catch is that the fungia factories ended up pretty close to the leather corals. They have taken a while to fully extend again and I'm wondering if this has to do with the fact that they were moved, or moreso due to their proximity to the softies. I'm going to give it another couple of days before making a decision, hopefully they extend again and my mind will be made up for me.

Finally our orange mantled cowry snail (Bowser) has continued to spend his nights inside the surface skimmer which, due to the sheer amount of time he spends in there, we now refer to as 'the man-cave'. Let me tell you it has taken me a while to get used to hearing my wife say in all seriousness, "Bowser is back in the man-cave".
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Re: Stu's Initiation: RSM 130D

Postby priscacara » Sun 31 Mar, 2013 12:46 pm

Sounds like it is all going well! The fungias mght be sulking a bit with being moved, mine hate being moved at all and I think it is just different flow they are getting (just my theory :-)).

Go Bowser! Every guy needs his man cave ...............assuming its male :-)
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Re: Stu's Initiation: RSM 130D

Postby Kozzi » Wed 10 Apr, 2013 12:28 pm

Week 7 Journal

This week I learned that my Nassarius snails were definitely not both male. After feeding them for the second time they started to chase each other around the tank before wrestling on the ground. I was worried that they were getting territorial or something (how naive!) or that they didn't like each other. How wrong could I be. They certainly liked each other... they liked each other a lot. So this week I woke up to find one of the snails high up on the glass and not moving. At first I thought he was sick until I realised that there were some dainty rows of eggs behind him.

These nassarius snails proved to be a bargain! Buy 2 get 150 free.

Needless to say the names of Rick and Shaun seemed slightly illinformed now. Consequently we've renamed the snails to Hide & Seek. Seek is so called because it is terrible at hiding. It normally only goes halfway under the substrate before giving up. Hide however bothers to fully conceal himself, hence the names.

The algae is continuing to cause issues. It is beginning to impede the extension of some of my hitchhiker corals so I've decided that I'm going to start taking pro-active action (especially now that the cycle has finished its main process). Consequently I've added some Chemi-Pure Elite and Purigen to the Steve T Media rack as per hundreds of other RSM owners. I was amazed at how much clearer the water was that night. Really impressed.

I've also started the initial dosing of an algae control product recommended by the LFS. My rationale is that I can afford to be more aggressive whilst my livestock is minimal.

Finally I decided to order the Hanna phosphate checker online. Looking forward to that coming in.
I now have a bacteria collection! Stu's RSM 130D
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Re: Stu's Initiation: RSM 130D

Postby Aydee » Wed 10 Apr, 2013 1:15 pm

What algae control product you using?

Love the names of the snails now.

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Re: Stu's Initiation: RSM 130D

Postby priscacara » Thu 11 Apr, 2013 1:26 pm

Good news about your snails, love the new names too :-)
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Re: Stu's Initiation: RSM 130D

Postby Kozzi » Fri 12 Apr, 2013 10:26 am

Thanks for commenting Priscara and Aydee. I've got to admit the names have really grown on me too.

Aydee, the product is from API and called Algaefix Marine. My LFS owner reckons that it kills most algae and also their spores too bar Bryopsis which is why I'm using the Kent Magnesium product too which reputably is very effective on Bryopsis.

It is early days but I've noticed that the algae isn't as green as it once was. I scraped the algae of the surface skimmer and it has definitely retarded its regrowth.
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