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Journal One Zero Three

Geoffrey Rea

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Cheers @seedoubleyou it’s all on the mend. Currently tempted by kalkwasser though 🤔

Scoly had tissue recession when bought, but is back to a circular button shape now. A shot with its gob open from above would’ve been better but feeding is done for the day.
 

Geoffrey Rea

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Not really got a pH problem though @seedoubleyou so not pulled the trigger on Kalkwasser.

Current parameters 30 minutes before lights on:

NO3 = 2
PO4 = 0.25
Mg = 1500
Ca = 500
dKH = 11.5
pH = 8.6+
S.G. = 35ppt

K = 430
I2 = 0.03
Fe = 0-0.05

The Hanna pH tester is freshly calibrated and across 24 hours there’s readings of 8.3 at minimum, then 8.6+ which is the highest it will read up to.

Things go smoother with the skimmer left off periodically throughout the week. Think given it’s LPS now, higher nitrate to match the overall high numbers suits the system. Skimmer and reactors off (activated carbon and Rowaphos offline) leaves the micronutrients more stable.

Current daily dosing:

7.5ml All For Reef per day
10ml of AB+ amino
4ml phyto

Twice per week:

1ml of A,B,C and D Red Sea Traces

The above gives consistency at those numbers.

However… Given the tank is devoid of SPS now Red Sea Coral Pro Salt seems entirely moot. Just ran out so tempted to switch salt to something closer to natural sea water first. Can maybe entertain Kalkwasser and seperate elements with NSW parameters to take that for a spin.

As ever though, it’s solving a problem you don’t have really.
 

seedoubleyou

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I think those numbers are fine. I’ll be honest I never tested my water unless something looked unhappy.
Corals definitely prefer consistency over trying to hone in on set parameters.

If everything is growing and has great colour, then as you said, why change a system that isn’t broken.

The only thing that’s a little high for my taste is the dKH, I always preferred a number between 7.5-8 but that’s just how my tank ran.
 

Geoffrey Rea

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The only thing that’s a little high for my taste is the dKH, I always preferred a number between 7.5-8 but that’s just how my tank ran.

Currently, seems 11.5 to 12.5 is what you get with weekly WC’s with Red Sea Coral Pro salt and All For Reef dosing at this age of maturity in this setup. The all for reef is dosed at that level to keep Ca and Mg stable, KH is a byproduct and quite high though.

Suspect when/if coralline and skeletal growth picks up that number will be smashed down to 8-9.

Corals definitely prefer consistency over trying to hone in on set parameters.

Certainly the experience so far. Loathed to change anything without a reason, hence the inaction. Simultaneously suspect this is also akin to driving a car in third gear all the time though… Yes you can do it, but are there cues to tell you when to shift up and shift down. It’s all just learning really.

Already suffered a setback so should just leave things trucking.

I’ve seen tanks with NO3 well above 10x what yours is reading and there’s been no adverse affect.

One more fish being added soon. That number may well go up.
 

Geoffrey Rea

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Not a fantastic photo, iPhone on zoom, but under daylight conditions with the phone pressed to the glass to remove reflections:

1659342675718.jpeg


Despite the crappy photography, still manages to look absolutely stunning. Mandarin is the last fish going in this setup.

Went in yesterday afternoon and immediately got to hunting pods. Got the brine shrimp hatchery going, see how she reacts to other food sources:

1659343212109.jpeg


She doesn’t seem too fussed about mysis shrimp so far, probably on account of the pod population being readily available. Will be upping the phytoplankton dosing to try and keep the pod population up now there’s a predator.
 

Geoffrey Rea

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Different photo… lights on and orange filter:

1659383726605.jpeg


LED lighting doesn’t quite convey the array of colours quite like sunlight.

She hasn’t been interested in live baby brine shrimp today. Seems content picking off pods and worms. Upping the pod breeding game for this setup.
 

mort

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Getting dragonets onto frozen food used to be part of my day job so I just wanted to say don't be overly concerned if it ignores the food for a very long time. They tend to carry on as they would in the wild and then slowly, over a number of months, start switching themselves by taken small bits of frozen that are lying around. The first frozen foods they normally excepted were lobster eggs (ocean nutrition) and they can easily be trained to take food from a pipette eventually.

I don't know if you turn the flow off to feed but it's the movement that triggers the strike, so if you do, try a gentle waft of the food with a turkey baster or similar.

It looks in great condition at the moment though.
 

Geoffrey Rea

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I don't know if you turn the flow off to feed but it's the movement that triggers the strike, so if you do, try a gentle waft of the food with a turkey baster or similar.

Certainly do. Had a couple of months to think about how to feed prior to introduction. Info like above @mort is invaluable, thank you 🙏🏽 Will pick up some more Lobster eggs to try. Maybe give a pipette a go so her intake can be monitored.

They tend to carry on as they would in the wild and then slowly, over a number of months, start switching themselves by taken small bits of frozen that are lying around.

Every couple of days for the last few months been doing a mass feed on the tank, with pumps off, then just watching. The heavy feed leaves a decent film on the glass afterwards. Been leaving one panel of glass uncleaned as it gets covered in thousands of pods and stays covered in pods:

1659444428368.jpeg


So far she likes hunting on the uncleaned glass throughout the photoperiod so it’s working well. The pod population in this setup is nuts. It’s the reason why a Mandarin/Dragonet appeared suitable once the system matured more. Don’t think she’ll go hungry.

Thought she was taking a nibble at some mysis on this coral before:

1659444837131.jpeg


But she was feasting on the pods you can see that were drawn to the mysis. She does the same around the torch, hangs out and picks them off:

1659446082824.jpeg


Hoping as you said that she’ll consider other food stuffs in time.
 

Geoffrey Rea

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Looking for advice from anyone with reefing experience.

After the runaway precipitation down the rear of this tank whilst away, the salt creep did sufficient damage to split open the base wood the glass sits on.

Out of an abundance of caution, the plan is to transfer everything from this AS600 setup into a new D-D 1200.

Beyond the obvious of matching the water parameters, does anyone have specific experience/words of wisdom for doing this successfully?


For anyone who knows the situation here, the existing freshwater 1200 is coming down right now. This means the D-D 1200 can go in its place, so for the transfer you will have the two saltwater setups side by side simultaneously during the transfer. Imagining this will make the process a hell of a lot simpler than attempting to replace a tank in an existing tanks location.

After the transfer the AS600 will be taken down and the 1200 freshwater put in its place (1200 freshwater on the left and 1200 reef on the right).
 

mort

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Running the two side by side makes it as simple as you can really. Do you have a timescale? Doing it over a longer period of time is safer but I doubt you'd run into any problems doing it in one day as long as the filtration is kept.
I'm guessing your maintenance with the sand is pretty good but generally I'd use new sand (but seed the old with a couple of cups from the old tank) in the new setup and rinse the rocks in the salt water before moving them across. Basically it's any detritus that would be the biggest thing to worry about but since the volume is so much larger I wouldn't be overly concerned.

With livestock you can acclimate in the normal way or just water change between the two tanks, so they have matching water.
 

Geoffrey Rea

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As ever @mort thank you. You’ve managed to answer pretty much every follow up question as well.

Do you have a timescale?

With the 1200 freshwater empty and out the way, can take as long as it takes.

I'm guessing your maintenance with the sand is pretty good but generally I'd use new sand (but seed the old with a couple of cups from the old tank)

Sand gets blasted once per week, 30 minutes later the water clears and the floss gets changed once it’s caught what went into suspension. It isn’t being run squeaky clean anymore though and is teeming with life.

Will do as you’ve suggested, few cups thrown in with the new.

Basically it's any detritus that would be the biggest thing to worry about but since the volume is so much larger I wouldn't be overly concerned.

It is considerably more volume. Current setup is 103 litres after displacement, hence the journal name One Zero Three so wouldn’t forget.

New setup is est. 365 litres before displacement so we’re tripling the volume with some spare change. Figure this will make things more forgiving.

With livestock you can acclimate in the normal way or just water change between the two tanks, so they have matching water.

Would imagine they’ll be close straight off the bat. Shifting the current set up from Red Sea Coral Pro salt onto regular Red Sea salt for NSW parameters. That means that over the weeks the setup will have received a 200% water change across the month if the maths is correct.

Will obviously test the water of both tanks beforehand though, but taken the hit changing salts over the month now so everything will be adjusted to NSW parameters ready to go in the 1200 without too much discrepancy. Both tanks will have fresh, or very recently fresh salt water in them. Figure that this is more reliable than trusting hobby grade test kits. It’s all from the same batch of salt.

Couple of questions if I may:

Any reason why you wouldn’t use some of the water from the old setup in the new? Not particularly running crazy low NO3 or PO4 as corals are doing much better with higher numbers. It will be getting diluted down…

Also… fish in first or rockwork/corals in first? The 1200 will already have some fresh rock in for the right hand side so won’t be bare. Just lifting the current scape out and laying it out exactly the same on the left side of the 1200. Should give some familiarity to the stock.
 

seedoubleyou

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I’ve done it over a longer period and lost a few corals as a result.
I’d completely disagree with the above and providing the water SG and temp match, just move it all across.

Corals are tougher than we give credit for and I never acclimated a single one, I floated them to match temp and in they went.
No dipping, no drip acclimating.

You can always drain as much if your water down and use it in the new setup too, along with all your sand and rock.

Just house the corals in a plastic box with heat and flow whilst you move across.

It’s the slime that they create when disturbed that kills them, so perhaps do a waterchange once you move them.
 

seedoubleyou

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Yes use water from the current setup.
Add in sand, rock, coral then fish

This will keep the process as clean and stress free as possible, as you will likely want to do a water change after you’ve moved everything (to clear up all that slime)

If you’re planning on new sand, then you could literally set the new tank up, and just take everything out of the old and place straight into the new, then take some old sand and add it in afterwards.
 

Geoffrey Rea

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I’ve done it over a longer period and lost a few corals as a result.
I’d completely disagree with the above and providing the water SG and temp match, just move it all across.

Corals are tougher than we give credit for and I never acclimated a single one, I floated them to match temp and in they went.
No dipping, no drip acclimating.

Both tanks will be setup side by side @seedoubleyou so the moving part is just a matter of lifting or netting, then move a few feet to the right and popping it in. It’s unlikely anything will be out of water for more than 20 seconds if putting everything straight in.
 

seedoubleyou

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Both tanks will be setup side by side @seedoubleyou so the moving part is just a matter of lifting or netting, then move a few feet to the right and popping it in. It’s unlikely anything will be out of water for more than 20 seconds if putting everything straight in.
That should do it.
As already mentioned just have some carbon running and do a waterchange to remove all the slime that will be created during the move.
 

mort

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I do agree you can simple just move the stock from one tank to the other and be fine. The running them side by side for a while is just to make sure everything is running properly and give your new rock and sand time to go through the inevitable manky stages without risking your corals. I just find it easier to slowly move things over this bedding in period and it's less stressful on us.

You can definitely use the water from your old tank. This is what I meant by water changing to eliminate the need for acclimation, you just water change between the two so they are running exactly the same (makes shifting motile inverts easier to). If I have/had to strip an old tank to start another I just syphon as much clean water as I could down to where it nearly began to pick up detritus and filled the other tank with it. Then just wash the rock in the old water and add them in before catching the fish and moving them over. Most of the normal concerns are eliminated by not using the old substrate as this is where the risk of quick starting a cycle can lie (although in your case that's probably a very small risk).

I'm not sure why moving corals over slowly would cause them to die unless you had fluctuating parameters. It's far riskier putting them in an immature tank than taking your time imo. The flow will be different which can definitely annoy fleshy lps and depending on where you go with the lighting, it won't be exactly the same (I don't know the depth of the tank or spread of the lights) and I've seem more corals frazzled by light than die of other reasons.

The biggest reason to simply swap them over quickly is if you are running the same life support equipment or dosers.
 
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Geoffrey Rea

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Thank you both @mort and @seedoubleyou .

Most of the normal concerns are eliminated by not using the old substrate as this is where the risk of quick starting a cycle can lie (although in your case that's probably a very small risk).

In the new 1200…. Would introducing some of the old sand to the new sand, putting in some of the Marine Pure media, leaving lights off for 48 hours, running a higher temperature to speed up metabolic rate before reducing, then moving things across be the most vigilant method?

Know it’s a stupid question, because how would you know 🤷🏻‍♂️ Thought it worth asking to kick the idea around. Obviously there’s no loading on the new tank in that time, so why would the bacterial assemblage not end up as something random/dying.

The thinking being the assemblage would have time to get a footing across the sand bed without photosynthetic nuisances causing hassle..? Bit of insurance that virgin territory doesn’t end up with undesirable occupants.

After the initial 48 hours… The rest would be adding cycled media, rock and stock all in at once so the necessary assemblage goes in with the stocking/demand. Then let things settle….

But all sort of seems moot having this intermediate period without the loading of the stock going in at the same time.

Sure, you could Dr. Tim’s the new setup for nitrifiers but it isn’t anywhere near the same as the historical assemblage that keeps the system working currently…

If it sounds like there’s a mini nervous breakdown happening to the OP here, it’s because this move is a major point of stress after getting the current setup robust again, after some serious setbacks. The Mandarin is getting fat on pods as the system is healthy and could well do without the hassle of potentially destroying her food source.

The saving grace is with enough thought, know it can be done, because it has already been done.

The flow will be different which can definitely annoy fleshy lps and depending on where you go with the lighting, it won't be exactly the same (I don't know the depth of the tank or spread of the lights) and I've seem more corals frazzled by light than die of other reasons.

On it with flow @mort the flow pattern will be replicated (different directions every 10 seconds). Main thing is to ascertain the % needed on the program to hit the same water movement in this volume. Can eyeball this by watching when feeding to see the general movement of the column.

As for lighting, the Kessil A500 can go straight on top, same as now. BRStv have already done the leg work on this model. Will calculate the reduction from the taller tank height and adjust. For the area of the tank (left side) with the existing scape/corals, it should be near enough like for like.
 
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