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

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 Reef2Reef.com 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.

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