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My Nano Reefs Part Six

Last Updated: 11/11/08

On 9/13/08, I changed 2.5 gallons in the 12 gallon tank and 1 gallon in the 6 gallon tank. First, I sucked up some red planaria. Then, I used tweezers to remove some bubble algae. Then, I put the zooanthid rock in the bucket of dirty saltwater and yanked off more Caulerpa. I also removed the smaller piece of live rock and yanked Caulerpa off of it too. The hard green algae was scrapped off the front glass which is hard since it is curved glass. I had to forget clearing the left glass (I can also look in there to check on animals). The back and right glass I leave alone for the snails to chew on. I rinsed the sponge filter in the dirty water. I changed the mesh bags of RowaPhos and carbon. I added a new small mesh bag of aragonite to the filter in hopes of buffering the water better. I also sprinkled some around the tank as the sand bed was mostly small shells and not very deep. I plan to add a little each week for buffering and to keep the sand bed stable as aragonite dissolves over time and gets sucked out with water changes.

Soon after I finished with the two saltwater tanks, I noticed that the plastic skimmer intake had fallen off the 12 gallon filter intake which was strange. The pump was not pumping! I ran power from another line and still no pumping! With a lot of pulling, I got it out of there and took it apart. The drive shaft is metal! Metal plus saltwater equals corrosion. I scraped off some of the rust but it is not in good shape. I got the pump to work, then it did not, then it did, then it did not, and finally, it did and stayed on. This added half an hour to my 12 hours of chores. I will have to buy a back up pump (way overpriced) for both tanks. I am glad I bought a Koralia Nano pump that I was not sure if I needed. I may try to get a double extension cord so I can run it (I am out of plugs; I have 13 cords, half of those on extension cords, running 15 things plugged in to two power strips in a single double outlet!). If the main pump dies, I have that back up although it would not go through the filter chambers.

The water test results for the day were:
12 Gallon Tank: 79.0 degrees F, 1.024 SG, pH 7.98
6 Gallon Tank: 79.2 degrees F, 1.025 SG, pH 7.90
Make up water: 77.6 degrees F, 1.025 SG, pH 8.18


On 9/19/08, I saw something retract in to the top live rock when I was in the room after dark. I think it might be a peanut worm. If so, it is the first I have seen.

On 9/20/08, I did the usual maintenance. First, I sucked up some red planaria. There are a ton all over. I did not see any bubble algae (but later saw three so they did not get removed). I pulled more Caulerpa off of the zooanthids which are doing worse and worse thanks to the Caulerpa. I rinsed the filter sponges in the change water and put in 2.5 gallons of new water. Then, I took out the old pump which was barely working. Someone in the nano reef forum suggested that I get a Marineland Maxi Jet 900 which I did. It pumps 230 gph versus the pump that the tank came with which pumps 106 gph according to the place I got it but 900 L/hr (237 gph) according to the pump itself. The top broke off of the new Maxi Jet so I had to leave that off. I could only get the Maxi Jet in there one direction which is not the way it is supposed to go. It is supposed to be intake down and output up. I put it in sideways with the intake facing to the left. The heater sits on top of that (the suction cups do not suck) which is not good but I got it all jammed in there. The tubing from the tank does fit over the Maxi Jet but the tubing does not bend so that is another reason I had to lay the Maxi Jet on the bottom (instead of using suction cups) on its side. The water flow coming out is definitely more than the old pump which is good. I managed to get the grommets back over the cords for the heater and Maxi Jet as they exit the lid. I could not get the grommet on last week after removing the old pump so I ended up squishing the cord a few times putting dents in it. Everything in these nano cubes is so undersized and squished together! The 6 gallon is even worse. I have ordered a Maxi Jet for it as well.

The water test results for the day were:
12 Gallon Tank: 77.7 degrees F, 1.0235 SG, pH 7.94
6 Gallon Tank: 77.1 degrees F, 1.0245 SG, pH 8.16
Make up water: 77.6 degrees F, 1.025 SG, pH 8.47 (I do not know why it was so high since I follow the same recipe for the saltwater every week; I used it anyway to help bring up the tanks' pH)


On 9/25/08, I removed a dozen or so large bubble algae. I do not know where they all came from! That day, I also did my last (anytime soon) order for saltwater animals! I ordered for the 6 gallon tank one green clown goby, two sexy shrimp, and two astraea snails. For the 12 gallon tank, I ordered a pink dwarf feather duster worm. For both tanks, I ordered Live Aquaria's nano mushroom and polyp coral packs which include seven and five small corals respectively. That is a ton of corals for my little tanks but costs less money than just getting one or two larger corals. I am hoping they are very tiny!

As the new animals were coming, and water would be used for both acclimation and water changes, I decided to make up 5 gallons of saltwater for Saturday. That required making 3 gallons of RO water Thursday night and 2 more gallons on Friday night yielding almost 8 buckets (3 gallons each) of waste water (which I would use Saturday for Tator's 40 gallon tank in which I feed him). I made up the saltwater Saturday morning in two batches since it will not fit in one bucket.


I was surprised that my animals came a little after 9 am Saturday! The corals did not come. I later called to find out that, due to a glitch, they will not be coming until next Saturday. The first new animal is Larry, the green clown goby. He was not looking good in the bag when I got him, listing to the side. He would later mostly sit in the fake pink Acropora coral and the corners of the tank. Then, I ordered two sexy shrimp. They are SO tiny and so cute! Both were active and did well all day, wiggling their rears. The two astraea snails that I requested turned in to four! Luckily, two are pretty small so the tank will not be overcrowded as of yet. I really did not want six snails in the six gallon (the other two are large nassarius snails that have been in there a while). The fish, two shrimp, and four snails were for the 6 gallon tank. I also got a pink dwarf Hawaiian feather duster. I named him Dusty. I am having trouble keeping him anchored. His body is soft and kind of yucky! Half way down the body is a hole in it, and this gunk is hanging out. It does not brush off. I am not sure if it is normal. I stuck his tube in a crevice and put the shell of the large dead cerith snail over it to try to keep it in one place. Dusty has been opening and closing all day.

Since the animals came at 9 am, I floated the bags in the tank while I went to the grocery store. About an hour later, I then set them up for drip acclimation which lasted 1.5 hours. Before starting, I measured the pH and specific gravity of the 6 and 12 gallon tanks and each of the bags of new animals. Here are the results using the pH meter and refractometer.

12 gallon tank - pH 7.89, SG 1.025
6 gallon tank - pH 7.99, SG 1.025
Bag with the green clown goby - pH 8.09, SG 1.021
Bag with sexy shrimp #1 - pH 8.07, SG 1.027
Bag with sexy shrimp #3 - pH 8.12, SG 1.0275
Bag with four astraea snails - pH 7.91, SG 1.025
Bag with pink dwarf Hawaiian feather duster - pH 8.02, SG 1.027

As you can see the salinities were all over the place! The poor fish was looking awful and was in low salinity. The shrimp and worm were in high salinity. Only the snails were close in water chemistry to my tanks. I put the two sexy shrimp together for the acclimation. Around 11:40 am, I put the animals in the tanks. The worm went in the 12 gallon; the rest went in to the 6 gallon.

The 3 gallon batch of saltwater for the 12 gallon tank had a temperature of 77.1 degrees F, SG 1.0245, and pH 8.18. The 2 gallon batch of saltwater for the 6 gallon tank had a temperature of 81.9 degrees F (I let it cool without the heater while tending to the 12 gallon), SG 1.0245, and pH 8.16.

It was not until past 3:30 pm that I got around to the cleanings of the tanks (which were now down about half an inch and two inches for the 12 and 6 gallon tanks respectively from the acclimation). For the 12 gallon tank, I tried to suck up the red planaria of which there are tons! I did not see any bubble algae (but I got those a few days ago). I did not mess with the Caulerpa as it seems it has died back. I hope the green polyps and orange zooanthids recover from that onslaught. I readjusted the feather duster which had fallen down. I scraped algae off the front glass. I put a quarter cup of aragonite in the bottom. I changed the carbon and RowaPhos which I do every two weeks. I put back almost all of the 3 gallons of saltwater I had made for the 12 gallon tank. I then removed more water from the 6 gallon tank, cleaned the glass, and put back most of the 2 gallons I had made for that tank. I have about half a gallon left over which I will use to help next Saturday with the corals that I had expected today.

I created these new pages for the new animals:
Clown Gobies
Sexy Shrimp
Feather Duster Worms


On 10/4/08, my two coral packs came from Live Aquaria. For details of what I got, see my coral page. I floated them while at the grocery store, drip acclimated for an hour, and then epoxied and/or set them in the tanks. Only two small ones went in the 12 gallon; the other 12 (yes 12!) went in the 6 gallon tank. I took photos but have not processed them yet today.

I did the usual water changes and chores. I removed a hundred or so planaria but made little dent in their population. I pulled some more Caulerpa from the polyps and removed some bubble algae.

The water test results for the day were:
12 Gallon Tank: 75.9 degrees F (heater broken?), 1.024 SG, pH 7.86
6 Gallon Tank: 80.4 degrees F, 1.024 SG, pH 7.98
Make up water: 76.9 degrees F, 1.025 SG, pH 8.35


I removed a colony of bubble algae from the front of the live rock on 10/7/08.

On 10/11/08, I did the usual Saturday tank cleanings. Most of the animals are doing well. One of the new zooanthid rocks have yet to open in a week. The button polyps have four heads but only two have opened; the others seem to be rotting. One zooanthid rock only has one open polyp. I took a lot of photos in the last week but have not had time to process them as of yet.

The water test results for the day were:
12 Gallon Tank: 77.3 degrees F, 1.024 SG, pH 8.11
6 Gallon Tank: 77.2 degrees F, 1.0245 SG, pH 8.10
Make up water: 76.2 degrees F, 1.024 SG, pH 8.39


On 10/18/08, I did the usual. I pulled some strange algae off the oldest zooanthid colony. The red planaria and Caulerpa are still suffocating parts of the tank. Something awful happened by accident. I was using the tubing to suck up planaria, and as I moved the tube from the front of the small tank to the back, the Xenia was sucked up the tube for just a moment. This caused the soft tissue to elongate but not break off. The poor thing looks horrible. I hope it can recover. It is trying to pulse but is bent over and obviously damaged. I was so upset.

In the 6 gallon tank, I moved the button polyps to the back of the live rock. The purple mushroom coral had inflated over the polyp (the larger of the two survivors) so it was not opening.

I still have not processed the digital photos of the new corals from two weeks ago. I have no time!

The water test results for the day were:
12 Gallon Tank: 75.0 degrees F, 1.0245 SG, pH 8.19
6 Gallon Tank: 75.3 degrees F, 1.025 SG, pH 8.11
Make up water: 74.9 degrees F, 1.025 SG, pH 8.33


On 10/25/08, I again did the usual. The planaria are really out of control as are the bubble algae. I had to leave most of them in there due to lack of time. Of course, there is no way to get all the planaria out of there. The Caulerpa have taken over spots in both tanks so I tried to pull some to not much effect. The Xenia seem fully recovered from last week's accident.

The water test results for the day were:
12 Gallon Tank: 77.5 degrees F, 1.024 SG, pH 8.01
6 Gallon Tank: 76.7 degrees F, 1.0245 SG, pH 8.05
Make up water: 76.4 degrees F, 1.0245 SG, pH 8.29


On 11/1/08, I did the usual. The tanks are not looking as good as I would like. The 12 gallon is festooned with red planaria and green bubble algae while the 6 gallon has this wispy brown gunk hanging on things. In the 6 gallon tank, there was a plain anemone. I am pretty sure it was not an apistasia so I was letting it grow; it was interesting and stationary. I was starting to get worried though since it was getting to be about a third of an inch wide and might eventually try to eat the shrimp, fish, etc. Then, when I saw another the same size I had not noticed, I was worried enough that I wanted to remove them with tweezers. But as soon as the dead brain coral on which they were attached was removed from the tank, the anemones disappeared (they collapse). I then did something I may regret. I ran the dead coral under the faucet (so freshwater) and toothbrushed it removing/killing not only the two anemones but a ton of hair algae and red bubble algae (yes, red; I had not been harvesting it like the green bubble algae in the 12 gallon since it is interesting and not that invasive so far). Also, a few pieces of a huge fireworm came out. He will probably regenerate from what was left. The red bubble algae will probably come back to. Time will tell if more anemones show up.

The water test results for the day were:
12 Gallon Tank: 77.8 degrees F, 1.024 SG, pH 7.82
6 Gallon Tank: 77.3 degrees F, 1.024 SG, pH 8.00
Make up water: 76.5 degrees F, 1.024 SG, pH 8.19


On 11/8/08, I did the Saturday chores. The red planaria and the bubble algae are so out of control that I only removed some of them. If I really wanted to affect a reduction in their populations, I would be sucking and tweezing for hours! There are bubble algae everywhere. I do not really see them as causing problems though; they are not bothering the animals. I do not have the time to remove something like 40 bubble algae. In the 6 gallon tank now, there is a small colony of larger white planaria. I removed a lot of Caulerpa from the 6 gallon tank while the batch that had suffocated the green and red zooanthids in the 12 gallon tank for months seems to have died off on that rock for now (very good news for those corals). For the last month, there has been one margarita snail in the 12 gallon tank who keeps landing on its back. I would right it twice a day until, sometime this week, it finally died. I have no idea why; none of the other animals were bothering it.

The water test results for the day were:
12 Gallon Tank: 77.8 degrees F, 1.024 SG, pH 7.97
6 Gallon Tank: 76.8 degrees F, 1.024 SG, pH 8.00
Make up water: 76.1 degrees F, 1.024 SG, pH 8.16


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