We’ve Reached Our Destination

It took 20 doses at 0.75mL, but I’m finally at 2.5ppm copper in the quarantine tank. The fish don’t seem stressed at all. Everyone is eating fine and acting normally. I am noticing Ammonia is starting to creep up. That’s expected with the high copper levels. I did a 10% water change today with water already at 2.5ppm copper. I’ll probably do another one tomorrow with the same to try and get the levels down.

The plan is to keep the fish in here at this level for 14 days. On February 23 they will get transferred in to a sterile QT with completely separate equipment and with no copper. This is sort of a hybrid between the Tank Transfer Method and straight copper treatment. If you keep them at therapeutic levels for 14 days and then move them to a clean tank it has the same effect as TTM. The fish have no parasites on them after 14 days and none are able to get to them due to the copper. Transferring them keeps them away from the parasites.

Once they’re in the second QT, I’ll observe them for another week (maybe 2) and then they will join Jaws in the DT.

It’s Copper Time!

Tomorrow is the big day! Starting to run copper.  I’m going to raise it up over the course of 10 days since wrasses are particularly sensitive to copper. People have found that chelated copper, like Copper Power and Copper Safe, tend to be easier on fish. The therapeutic range is also higher which means it is a bit harder to overdose. Lucky for me, it is readily available at most local fish stores. Chelated copper levels can be tested using API’s Copper test kit.  It can not be tested using Seachem’s or Salifert’s.

The therapeutic level for Copper Power is 2.5ppm.  Over 10 days, I’m going to raise by 0.25ppm per day.  It takes 0.5 oz (according to the bottle) to reach that level in 10 gallons of water.  On day 1 (tomorrow), I’m going to dose 0.025 oz (~0.75 mL) in the morning and again in the afternoon.  I’ll test after the first dose and in theory, I won’t see much if anything detectable on the test kit.  Repeat for the next 9 days and I should get to 2.5ppm.  I have sand in there for the wrasse, so this might take more than expected to reach therapeutic levels.  It also might get absorbed, so daily testing for 30 days is a must.

Wish me luck!

New Fish (Update #1)

All of my new fish friends have settled into quarantine just fine.  The wrasse still seems content to sleep under some bioballs at night instead of in the nice bowl of sand I made a special trip to the store to buy for him that he just ignores… ARG! The watchman goby spends all day and night between those same bioballs but pokes out and keeps an eye on things during the day. The firefish is always out and about, but sleeps under one of the PVC elbows at night.

The fish are all eating a rotating diet of mysis shrimp, spirulina brine shrimp and live black worms.

They are currently on their second round of Prazipro to prophylacticly treat for flukes or other skin borne parasites. This will continue until 1/29 when I’ll do a water change and drop in some carbon.  Then on 1/30 I’ll start the slow 10 day climb to therapeutic copper levels and then a 30 day treatment there.

If all goes well, the plan is to get them into the DT between March 18 and March 25.

Hannah Phosphorus ULR (ppb) to Phosphate (ppm)

During Black Friday Bulk Reef Supply was offering all of the Hannah checkers for $35, so I grabbed the Calcium, Alkalinity, and Phosphorus Ultra-low Range (ULR) checkers.  I’ll take the time to do a write up on each of them eventually, but for now I wanted to make a quick note about how to make sense of the results from the Phosphate ULR checker.

The reading you get from the checker is parts per billion (ppb) of phosphate, not phosphorus parts per million (ppm).  Conveniently enough for us, there’s an easy way to go from phosphorus (ppb) to phosphate (ppm). ..

Multiply phosphorus (ppb) by 3.066 then divide by 1000 to equal phosphate (ppm).  Hannah also provides this handy look up table.

New Fish Have Arrived

That turned into quite an adventure to get these fish and snails here! After an initial delay from last week due to poor weather in Kentucky, the next delivery date was shipping Monday with delivery Tuesday.  The weather didn’t look great at the time, but I had until 10:30A on Monday to decide if I wanted to delay again.

It turned out the weather showed no precipitation and the daytime high was in the 40’s.  I called anyway just to make sure that was OK because the overnight temps were in the 20’s.  Apparently, they have systems in place to enable them to ship down to -20F.  Holy cow!  Needless to say, they saw no reason to delay due to temperature and they didn’t see any reason that we needed to hold off on the delivery.  “Ship it!”

Tuesday morning rolls around and I wake up to check the UPS tracking data.  Both shipments (one from ORA in FL and one from LA in CA) arrived in Kentucky and were on the plane bound for Philadelphia.  This was at 5:30A and I thought it was odd the plane hadn’t left yet, but whatever… I should have trusted my intuition.  I looked outside and we got a surprise dusting of snow.. It was maybe 1/4″ so I figured it would be fine.  As luck would have it, the plane got delayed in Kentucky.  It eventually left, but didn’t get to Philadelphia until almost 8:00A.  “OK,” I thought, “It just needs to get to West Chester and then onto a truck to get to me, should be fine.” I got an email during this time from UPS saying my package would be delivered, but wouldn’t make the 10:30A window.  Still OK, so long as they get here today…

At 9:40A both packages arrive at the West Chester sorting facility.  12:30P rolls around and they’re still showing that they are sitting there. I reach out to UPS and they say odds are they aren’t going to make it to me today.  Naturally, I said I would drive the 45 minutes to the facility to get the boxes myself.  I drive over there and….

“Sorry, those went out for delivery on the regular truck.  He should be there in about 45 minutes.” ARGGHHHH!!!  I speed home and… nothing.  4:30P rolls around and the driver still isn’t here.  He’s normally here well before then, so I call to make sure I didn’t miss him.  Long story short… he showed up 20 minutes later and apologized for all of the runaround.

I was freaking out that everything was going to be dead.  To my surprise, everything was warm and still alive!  I floated the fish for 20 minutes to temperature acclimate them.  I tested the water, expecting salinity to be 1.023 like Live Aquaria told me.  What did I find…? The bag from ORA was 1.020 and the bags from Live Aquaria were 1.022  I quickly adjusted the QT salinity and in they went.

That’s all for now, but more updates to follow!

Delayed! (Updated 1/16/18)

Well so much for my first new fish getting here today… I got a call from Live Aquaria telling me they weren’t going to ship the fish out due to potential delays at UPS’s hub in Kansas City.  They are going to try again for delivery on Tuesday, but we are supposed to get snow/rain Monday and Tuesday so it might not happen…

UPDATE 1/16/18: The fish have arrived!  It was not without drama though more about that in another post.

Well that was a long break!

I had the best of intentions to keep this blog updated, but for so many reasons I got behind and it’s been almost a year since my last post.  Things went from great to crap during the year and I started to contemplate tearing down the tank.  I had a mini crash while I was away on a trip and I’m still trying to recover from it.  I lost 98% of my corals, including some I didn’t get a chance to even talk about on here.

Well, it is a new year and time to get a new start.  I won the Reef2Reef monthly supporter giveaway in November which is a $100 Drs Foster and Smit/Live Aquaria gift card.  I decided to finally get some new fish in my tank and I placed an order which will get here on Friday!

Here is what I ordered:

Yellow Corris Wrasse

ORA Captive-bred Yellow Watchman Goby

Exquisite Firefish (more yellow in it)

I also ordered a whole bunch of snails to resupply my cleanup crew.  More updates to follow!

My first SPS…

I’ve always been a LPS/zoanthid kinda reefer.  I’ve had the odd SPS here or there in old tanks, but they were usually the first to get clobbered by my algae issues.  I was also pretty intimidated by them.  Listening to the horror stories about calcium reactors freaking out and rapid tissue necrosis was enough to keep me sidelined with them.  Aside from the fact that they can be craaaazy expensive.

Now that my 50g has been up for about 18 months I think it is fairly stable at this point and decided to try adding an SPS to the tank.  There’s an area right under my Kessil A360WE that is too intense for any zoas that I know of.  I figured it might be a good spot to try a small SPS garden (is that a thing?).  A member of my local club gave me a great deal on a Red Planet acropora frag.

I added it to the tank on January 23, 2017.  The polyps immediately came out and it looked pretty happy to me.  I think it needs to color up a bit more, but it already has a nice deep red to it.

Red Planet Acropora added on 1/23/17

I shot a video of the polyps while I was messing around with my 90mm lens.  I thought it was kinda fun looking so I uploaded it to YouTube.

If it makes it, I’ll put up another post later showing the growth progression.  Wish me luck!

How to sterilize a Quarantine Tank

I came across a fantastic article on Reef2Reef today about how to properly sterilize a quarantine tank and its equipment.  It is really very simple and should only take you about 10 minutes to complete.  From that article:

1. Gather your cleaning equipment: Vinegar or Bleach, old rag or sponge, and all equipment used during QT like hoses, HOB filter ect. Be sure to dispose of any media inside the HOB filter and use new for the next batch of fish. Dispose of any air stones used as well.

2. Empty all the water out of the tank, leaving all the pvc elbows, heater, thermometer and any other equipment inside the tank.

3. Refill the tank with freshwater from the hose to about half way. Add 1 teaspoon of bleach per gallon of water if you choose to use bleach. Or just splash in about a ½ cup of vinegar. Vinegar won’t hurt you if you add too much, so the instructions are meant to keep you from wasting it or making your hands smell really bad. You can take this opportunity to soak everything in bleach or vinegar, but it’s not necessary.


4. Use your old rag or sponge to wipe everything down individually including each piece of equipment and the walls and bottom of the tank.


5. Fill the tank again with fresh water to rinse and empty. Take each piece of equipment out and rinse individually, then rinse the tank individually.


6. Set each piece aside to dry for several days to be sure every little nook and cranny has dried completely. The drying is the most important part of the whole process.

Super easy, right?!  Meredith was even kind enough to provide a video if you don’t like reading 🙂

Source: Video – How to sterilize a Quarantine Tank | REEF2REEF Saltwater and Reef Aquarium Forum