Julian and Sarah's Reef Aquarium
Monday, January 05, 2004
Images from January 2004
Images from January 2003
Timeline (from December 2001)
||Tank cleaned, and backing applied.
Tank 3/4 filled with salt
Twin Powerheads installed.
SeaClone Protein Skimmer installed
|The backing is thick plastic sheeting that is coloured from
almost black at the bottom to blue at the top. It was purchased at PetCo.
It was applied by first smearing a very thin layer of Vaseline all over
the rear glass of the aquarium, and then carefully placing the plastic
(cut to exactly the right size) against the glass, smoothing out any air
bubbles with a damp cloth.
||30lbs of Aragonite sand added
50lbs of Live sand added
40lbs of Fiji rock added
|The Aragonite sand is "dead", and was spread to a
layer of about 1/2" on the bottom of the aquarium
The Live sand was then spread over the dead, producing a total sand bed
layer of between 2" and 4".
It took about two days for the water to lose its cloudiness after
adding the sand.
The Fiji rock was then added. This used to be "live" rock,
but was kept out of water for several months after we moved house. Before
adding to the aquarium, it was thoroughly cleaned using an old toothbrush
and copious amounts of water.
This picture shows the aquarium at the tail end of its cycling: there
is still quite a bit of brown algae, especially visible on the Fiji rock.
A small canister of activated charcoal is visible at the centre of the
|December 20, 2001
|Five yellow tail damsels||These damsels are to help cycle the water
||SeaClone Skimmer modified
||Two very worthwhile modifications were made:
|Augmented the air intake tube/valve supplied with the skimmer by an
air intake needle valve which provides precise control of bubble size
and flow rate|
|Removed the central tube of ~1" diameter, cut it down to about
4" in length, and then glued it back in position (tricky!). This
generates much more turbulence and a longer bubble mixing time in the
After making these changes, the gunk collected in the collection cup
was much darker (and more foul smelling!) than before, and was more
|January 12, 2002
|Pencil Sea Urchin|
|Chocolate Chip Starfish|
|Scooter Blenny ||Scooter Blenny hopefully will mess around in the sand bed
and help to turn it over, as will the urchin and starfish.
|January 14, 2002
||22 lbs of Fiji and 22 lbs of Tonga Ridge Live Rock ordered
||Order placed with Flying Fish Express
Shows the curing tank ready for the Live Rock, with bubbler and heater.
|January 15, 2002
||Live Rock arrives from Flying Fish Express
The bubbler in the curing tank produces copious amounts of bubbles
which carry off impurities and sit on the surface (see picture). They are
then skimmed off using a bucket, and discarded. This is a primitive form
of high-capacity protein skimming: no expensive equipment required!
The curing tank full of Live Rock.
|January 23, 2002
||The Chocolate Chip Starfish stops moving around the tank,
and then appears to be splitting in half.
In the end it simply died :-(
Showing the starfish, with two legs fully detached from the body. Both
legs and the body are independently mobile!
|January 25, 2002
||Live Rock curing
||Ten days after arrival, the Live Rock appears to be curing
well: the number of bubbles sticking to the surface of the curing tank
water is now negligible, and there are tufts of new macroalgae growth on
the rock. This is in a variety of colours including pink, purple, light
green and light brown.
||Live Rock added
||All Live Rock cured, added to tank. Outbreak of brown algae.
Added hang-on filter with activated charcoal. Resorted to scrubbing rock
with soft toothbrush to remove brown algae almost daily. Algae much
reduced and no longer a problem after a couple of weeks.
|March 22, 2002
|Yellow Tang (Zebrasoma Flavescens)|
|Two Yellow-tail Damsels (Chromis xanthurus)|
|One Half&Half Chromis Damsel (Chromis dimidiata)|
|One Lawnmower Blenny (Salarias Fasciatus)|
|One Tomato Clown (Amphiprion Frenatus)|
|One Pencil Urchin|
|5 Blue-Legged Hermit Crabs||
|April 12 2002
||Added Royal Gramma
||A bit pissy to begin with, but soon settled down.
|April 19 2002
||Added Zooanthus sp. soft coral
||Apparently easy to keep. We shall see!
|April 23 2002
||Lighting System Replaced
||Removed all current light fixtures and replaced with a JBJ
Retrofit Deluxe consisting of four 65W compact fluorescents (2x6500K
daylight, 2x7100K blue), remote ballasts and ripple reflector. Model
Difference in intensity is
striking. All colours in the tank appear much more vibrant.
||Strange trails on the aquarium glass
||What could these be?
The following describes the original aquarium, which was set up
in June 1999 and dismantled in March 2001 because we moved house ....
|50 gallons (48" x 13" x 18")|
|18 lbs of Seaflor Aruba Puka Shell Substrate|
|18 lbs of CaribSea Geo-Marine Florida Crushed Coral|
|45 lbs Fiji Live Rock|
|Reef Crystals Marine Salt|
|50 Gallons Pasadena Tap Water||
|One Boxfish [deceased]|
|Three Yellow-Tailed Damsels (Chromis xanthurus) [deceased]|
|Two Four-Stripe Damsels (Dascyllus melanurus) [deceased]|
|One Four-Stripe Damsel (Dascyllus melanurus)|
|Three Domino Damsels (Dascyllus trimaculatus)|
|One Yellow Tang (Zebrasoma Flavescens)|
|One False Gramma [Royal Dottyback] (Pseudochromis Paccagnellae)|
|Two Percula Clowns|
|One 150 Watts American Lighting compact fluorescent|
|Powerlighting E432PI120G11 Ultramiser Electronic Instant Start Ballast|
|One F40T12 Marine Glow blue actinic (40 Watts)|
|One F32T8 Philips Alto TL70 Cool White|
|One F32T8 Sylvania Cool White|
|One F40T12 Sylvania Cool White|
|Custom Wiring and Fittings||
Other Animals (identified and unidentified)
|Sebae Anemone [deceased]|
|Six Scarlet Reef Hermit crabs|
|Twelve Trochus Snails [deceased]|
|Eighteen Red Leg/Left-Handed Hermit crabs|
|Chocolate Chip Starfish (Protoreaster nodosus)|
|Red Starfish (Fromia sp.)|
|Hawaiin Feather Duster worm|
|Large Hermit crab|
|Peanut Worm (Sipunculan "peanut" worm)|
|Several Serpulid polychaete worms|
|Unidentified Discs (picture) (Ideas)|
|SeaClone SCPS-100 Protein Skimmer|
|AquaClear Powerhead 402|
|AquaClear Powerhead 301 with Quick Filter (occasionally filled with activated charcoal)|
|Thermal 200W Submersible Heater||
|June 6, 1999
||Tank purchased. Substrate washed and added to tank. Tank filled with salt
water. Conditioned with Seachem Prime. Hagen Cycle added. Heater installed, Powerhead 402
installed. Single F40T12 light installed
||Why do these bags of substrate always say "pre-washed" and yet
they need about 1/2 hour of continuous washing in running water before the cloudiness
|June 7, 1999
||SeaClone Skimmer installed
||This is a venturi counter-current device. Seems more efficient than the
VisiJet I installed on my reef aquarium in France
|June 13, 1999
||Uncured Fiji Live Rock arrives from Flying Fish Express. Dipped in
saltwater and added to tank.
||The Live Rock is very different from some Indonesian I bought in
Switzerland years ago ... the Fiji rock has no snails or crabs or other critters like
that, but it does have much more attractive coralline algae on it ...
|June 15, 1999
||Hood equipped with electronic ballast and tubes.
||Electronic ballast and end caps purchased at Home Depot. Very simple
installation. Still requires a reflective layer of some sort to be attached on the
underside of the hood, above the tubes ....
|June 19, 1999
||Four damsels added.
||The fish seem to enjoy the tank.
A peanut worm is spotted hanging half
out of a piece of live rock.
|June 23, 1999
||Much hassling in the tank between the two yellow-tailed damsels.
are many clumps of purple coralline algae growing on the lice rock.
Lighting is currently two F32T8 cool white and one F40T12 blue actinic.
|June 24, 1999
||One yellow-tailed damsel added, plus one large Hermit crab and two smaller
||The extra damsel was added in an attempt to calm down the existing two.
However, the fracas continues.
|June 27, 1999
||Large piece of coralline live rock added
|July 5, 1999
||One Boxfish and one Sebae Anemone added
||Damsel fracas seems to have ended. Anemone very difficult to place, even
with powerheads turned off: it tends to "swim" around the aquarium randomly! SG
1.0215, NH4 <0.25 ppm, T 82F
|July 7, 1999
||Boxfish found with snout up the the powerhead intake: dead. Only remaining
fish alive in tank is one of the striped damsels: the rest have been killed, probably by
the toxin which is reportedly produced by the Boxfish.
There has clearly been a
"spurt" of activity in the protein skimmer... enough to blow the top off the
Dead fish removed. Start filtering with activated charcoal granules.
|July 23, 1999
||One chocolate chip starfish, one red starfish and three domino damsels
||These are the first living things added to the tank after the disaster on
Lighting is currently three F32T8 cool white, and one F40T12 blue actinic.
|July 27, 1999
||CleanUp Crew (from Flying Fish Express) added, plus one False Gramma and
one finger leather coral.
|July 31, 1999
||One Yellow Tang added
||Water slightly cloudy so adding activated charcoal in a cannister to the
tank, attached to powerhead intake.
|August 14, 1999
||One cleaner shrimp added
||Some very small black dots have appeared on the Tang.
|September 12, 1999
||Two Percula Clowns added
||Most of the turbo snails have died and been eaten by the chocolate chip
starfish. There are four left.
|October 20, 1999
||Sebae Anemone shrank, hid, then disappeared: probably eaten
|October 31, 1999
||Finger leather coral dead
||Probably insufficient light
|November 1, 1999
||Installed 150W compact fluorescent
||Light from this is "warm", and predominantly yellow: probably
|November 7, 1999
||One Hawaiin Feather Duster added
One Bubble Anemone added
||Tank broken down
||Moving House. See above for Sarah & Julian's new Reef
Several people have suggested what the mysterious disks might be:
|From: "Martin Miller" <firstname.lastname@example.org>|
Could be disk worm.
If they are, the only problem with them is they can choke coral to death.
The best way I konw to get rid of disk worm is a Mandarin, they love them.
|From: email@example.com (Ahartplus4)|
I have these in my tank also. My tassled filefish eats them sometimes but my
friend has a China Wrasse that made short work of the many in his tank.
Just a thought...
|From: Edith Hedges <firstname.lastname@example.org>|
I have something like that in my system and it seems to be giving the hard
corals some problems. If you chase it off the glass and it swims in a
unulating fashion I would guess that it may be a nudibranch. If they are
like my little critters they reproduce.......rapidly. Solution:???Maybe a
|From: email@example.com (Nanoreef1)|
This ones new to me.
They could be sand dollars.
Which if you have a thin sand layer in
your tank will be quite beneficial.
But to be sure ask a Klingon.
|From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Nullman)|
Hey, I have a few of those in my reef too! I seem to remember having
quite a few when I first set up my tank, then didn't see any more for
months. This weekend I saw two of those! freaky....
No, I have no idea what they are. I didn't even think they were alive
until the next day they were both in different places.
|From: "KaboomMn" <email@example.com>|
I had Charles Delbeek look at your photo to see if he had any thoughts as to
what it may be. He thought it could be a rather pale_ Acetularian sp._,
which is a type of algae. I blew up your photo in PhotoShop5 for a better
look and then viewed a number of pics. of various Actel. and I don't think
that's what it is. I also thought it was some type of algae and maybe it
Chuck also thought that it may be a Foraminfera, which is an amebic animal,
with a calcium carbonate test (shell ). I remember these things from Invert.
Paleontology and I know some get quite large. I check all of my books and
found one that deals with the Meio-Fauna and to my surprise there was a
diagram of a species that very closely resembles yours and gets even a
little larger. I'm not saying that is it, just some thoughts.
From: Alan Monroe [firstname.lastname@example.org
Looks like a chiton (Kiton)...I'm unsure of the spelling ... but there
sort of snail like but they never move ...sort of like barnacles
Some online fishy stores: