Friday, October 19, 2007

Clowning Around

I figured I'd post up today with some pictures of the stars, my two Clowns (Amphiprion ocellaris, to be exact). The larger of the two is the female, who I've named "Aaralyn." Kind of nerdy to name fish, I know, but if you see these two in person you'd understand. The smaller, the male, has been dubbed Bering. I know, A. Ocellaris lives nowhere near the Bering Sea, but...well...get over it.

These are the same two clowns I started the hobby with back in March, and they've been through a lot. Several months of treatment for parasites (Presumably Cryptocaryon irritans, commonly known as Marine Ich) as well as several moves of the tank. Unfortunately, they're not done yet. I'll have to tear down and move everything home in a couple of months for the winter break, move it back after about a month...I'll likely have to move it back and forth for spring break as well, and finally home for the summer...only to be moved back into the dorms in August when RA Training starts up again. I'm terrified that every time I move the tank I'm going to lose something, I guess I can only hope that it won't be these guys.

Monday, October 15, 2007

And We're Up To Date!

Okay folks, this is the last segment of the "catching up" series on my tank. Here you can see the tank after all of the earlier changes, and after I traded off a troublesome peppermint shrimp for the frag of Zoanthid's on the right hand side. You can see my Frogspawn coral on the left, and the Xenia is still pretty plentiful. This was before my move to the dorms.

Of course, you can see from the first post that I got a new coral today, so here that is, followed by a full tank shot from today. You can see that all of my Xenia has disappeared for some unknown reason. About three more pounds of rock were added to the tank, as you can see here, and the frogspawn has been growing nicely. The zoanthids I got in trade for the peppermint shrimp are over on the right side and the new Hairy Mushroom is on the small rock on the sandbed directly front center.

As far as maintenance goes, I do a 10-15% water change every week. This comes out to be about 1.5 gallons and I am using RO/DI and Instant Ocean salt mix. You can see in the updated FTS that my coralline growth is getting pretty good (Coralline is a beneficial algae that encrusts rocks, it's the purple that you see in there.) The frogspawn has grown a bit since I got it as well, and the clowns are looking happy and healthy.

And, to finish up with, some sweet eye candy of those Zoanthids on the right.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Saga Continues

So it came time to move the tank home from school. I moved the display tank first, putting my rocks and inverts into a rubbermaid container for a couple of weeks while I did some work on the tank. Painted the back of it black, and replaced the dirty sandbed with some fresh new oolitic (sugar-sized) sand.
The black background would add an aspect of depth to the tank, and the new sand just looks better.

The lighting was soon replaced with a 175 watt Metal Halide system run by a PFO ballast. This shot was taken while it was using a generic 14,000 kelvin bulb, but it has since been replaced with a Hamilton 14,000 kelvin and the results have been obvious.

I have since rebuilt the pendant that the fixture is mounted in and added some moonlights. I also removed the filter from the Eclipse 12 in favor of the flow provided by a MaxiJet 900 powerhead, and to eliminate the ridiculous amount of shade created by the filter (it wasn't all that efficient anyways.) The PVC stand for the pendant has also been painted black.

After a good three months, the clowns found their way back into the display tank and have remained healthy to this day. The following picture is a full tank shot after reintroducing the clowns into the tank and after most of the previously mentioned changes to the system.

How It All Began

A used tank purchased from a friend for $40. Had I done research on Nano's beforehand, I probably wouldn't have made the buy...but I did, and I kinda like this goofy little tank...even if it is set up terribly for a reef environment as is. Join me on a crazy journey of purchases and DIYing.

Here's how it was the day I bought it...It's a mess. Algae all over, the filtration had been off for at least a week, so it was just bad. Still, I cleaned it up and filled it back up...kept the sand in there (which resulted in some gross algae clumps laying aro
und for weeks.) March 22nd:
And after cleaning it up and refilling it:
As you can see, it made quite a turnaround on that day. It was a lot of work, and I wasn't even close to finished with it yet.

A couple weeks later, added live rock and a pair of A. Ocellaris ("Common Clownfish" for those not addicted to the hobby). It took about three days for the clowns to get sick and end up in Quarantine.

During QT there was a good month where I would wake up every day fearing the worst, that I would look into the QT tank and see a pair of dead clownfish. Fortunately they pulled through and are with me and thriving in my tank to this day.


Evening, world.

The first of many posts here to the Trance Reef blog. Eventually I'll go through and write up the entire back story of my aquarium, including all of the DIY work I've done and whatnot. For now, I'll leave you with a picture of my most recent addition, a Hairy Mushroom species.