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

How much flow can my plumbing handle?

The question comes up quite a bit on the forums, “Can my drain line handle the flow from my return pump?”  Then come the usual questions about what type of drain setup is being used, how many tees and elbows, how far the drop is, etc.  Really what most people want to know is if they’re in the right ballpark or if they’re way out of bounds.  I’ve frequently used this excellent calculator over at Melev’s Reef.  Just a few simple questions and it tells you roughly what the flow rate you can expect is for your plumbing.

Melev also talks a bit about the theory behind how the calculations are made, if you’re a big ole nerd like me you’ll enjoy that part too.

Hydraulics for the Aquarist

Weird/New Way to Frag Zoas and Palys

I think we are all familiar with the standard way to frag zoas and palys.  You cut them off a rock or cut a frag plug and glue them on another.  Pretty simple, right?  I usually wind up whacking a few polyps in the process and as a result I’ve tended to just go with “natural frags” by putting a piece of rubble next to a colony and waiting until it grows onto it.  I came across a really cool thread on where “GoFish” talks about a new and quite possibly brilliant approach.  Just cut the top of the polyp off an glue it to a plug and you wind up with two polyps…. How could that work!?

Continue reading “Weird/New Way to Frag Zoas and Palys”

Bayer Coral Dip

I’m filing this one under pest treatment, although it really is more of a pest preventer!  While the best way to ensure you don’t bring any unwanted pests into your tank is to use a coral quarantine tank (QT), that isn’t always an option.  This coral dip is safe for your corals, but deadly for most of the pests we want to keep out of our tanks.  It’s as simple as can be and it is very effective.

I first came across this coral dipping method when I found my CoralRx expired and realized the price had gone WAY up since I last bought it.  I wanted to use something less expensive and something that was proven to work.  I never really trusted CoralRx, it just smelled like Lemon Pledge to me.  A quick Google search for “coral dip” and the first post that isn’t talking about CoralRx takes you here, to Murfreesboro Aquatics.  The first time I read it I thought these guys must be nuts!  Who dips their prized corals in insecticide!?  A little further research and sure enough, it’s a real thing and people are having great results.

If I find some good information on why this works, I’ll come back and update this entry.  For now, let’s just get to the real meat of why we’re here…. the dip!

The original entry is for making 5 gallons of coral dip and you need to use it right away.  I tend to only want about a cup or two to dip a few frags, so I’ve modified the instructions to match that.

Bayer Coral Dip Instructions

1. Bayer Complete Insect Killer
2. 3 containers for the water
3. Measuring cup and dosing syringe
4. Gloves and eye protection
5. Turkey baster or small power head
6. 3-6 cups of saltwater

As with all dips, wear gloves and protective eye wear!
1. Measure out 1-2 cups of saltwater into the first container.  I like to use the water the frags came in.
2. Add 1.5mL of Bayer per ounce of water to the cup. (There are 8 ounces in a cup)
3. Add your frags to the cup.
4. Using a powerhead is the best bet here, but if not make sure you use your turkey baster to blast all of the corals on all sides.
5. Let your frags soak for 15 minutes
6. Shake the frags vigorously in the water and move them to your second cup with 1-2 cups of tank water.
7. Let the frags soak for 15 minutes.
8. Repeat steps 6 and 7.
9. DONE!

Bayer Coral Dip – Soaking in Bayer with a Power Head

That’s all there is to it!  You’ll notice that the Bayer makes the water milky white and you really can’t see what comes off of the frags.  I like to dump the water out through a coffee filter so I can see what I pulled off.  It also gives you a chance to possibly do another dip if you see something particularly scary in there.

After the dip, examine what came off using a coffee filter (Nothing here to worry about!)

It is best to do this with tools that are ONLY for use in your tank. I bought a set of bowls that I’ve labeled just for dipping corals. I wrote on the bottom so I know what goes in each so I don’t need to worry. I use these bowls:


As of writing this, these were only $12 on Having a lid is nice so you can swirl the frags around if you aren’t using a powerhead.

How to Quarantine Fish (Part 1) – Equipment

Quarantining fish has always seemed like a time consuming, expensive and complicated process.  I’ve been lucky and haven’t had any fish with ich, velvet or other parasites in my display tank in the past.  That said, there are more and more reports of fish coming in with ich and velvet from the major US importers.  I have a clownfish in my tank, Jaws, that has been with me for over 7 years as of writing this.  I’m just not willing to risk her health to take a shortcut when adding new fish so I decided to learn what quarantine is really about and what equipment it takes to accomplish it successfully.  There is a process that is entirely different for quarantining inverts and corals which I’ll talk about in a later post.  For now, let’s focus on fish.

We will start the conversation looking at the equipment needed to successfully quarantine…

Continue reading “How to Quarantine Fish (Part 1) – Equipment”

Macro Shots!

I bought myself a Tamron 90mm macro lens on a whim and I love it!  It takes pictures that are amazingly better than my kit lens.  Here are a few I took recently.  I’m still getting used to taking pictures with it, but I’m slowly getting better!  I’ll try and put a post together with details about how to set your DSLR to get great results.

Continue reading “Macro Shots!”

A new start!

I’ve been so bad at keeping this site up to date.  It was mostly due to using an old iWeb website which meant I needed to get on my computer and spend half an hour to make the simplest change.  I made the leap into WordPress and I’m going to be able to stay much more active with the site now.  My plan is to update this page with new things I’ve learned (quarantining, disease treatment, fragging tips, etc.) and to also keep an running log of the corals and fish in my tank.  I started to forget what some of my corals are called.