Finally got approval from the wife to have a "fish tank"

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Feb 9, 2010
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Update

Thought I would update my status- so here is my tank after 42 days. I finally thawed my large pieces of aragocrete and put them in last night in preparation for the arrival of my new pets; 25 cerith snails, 20 blue leg hermits, 1 large chiton and one Harlequin star. I have had no detectible toxins for a week.

Temp; 78
SG; 1.023
N02; 0
N03; 0
Ammo; 0
Dkh; 6 (a little low today, down from 8 yesterday)
Ph; 8.2

So far I believe the Aragocrete to be working better than even I expected. Doesn't look like much, but a gallon of water will drain out of the bigger piece, and if the diatoms swarm on it in a period of 5 hours, I’m assuming so is the beneficial bacteria. I used roughly 4 parts crushed oyster to 1 part portland cement, nothing else. Mixed the dry cement and oyster shells well before I added any water, and then slowly added until I reached the proper wetness of the cement. And you need gloves, because I have tough hands and those oyster shells rubbing on my fingers sliced and diced! I believe curing in hot water greatly reduced curing time also. 50 lbs cured within a month, I detected no harmful affects adding it to the tank. So far I think Aragocrete is 100%:thumbsup:

The params have been really stable with the exception of Alk, which seem to be the only things that fluctuate (just a little). I am pretty sure that my API Ca test is no good. The bottle was leaking when I got it in the mail and it tests off the chart; like 580 ppm. I have a 3200 power head coming tomorrow, and cleanup crew on Tuesday.

Also, can somebody confirm that the smaller rock with the pink specks in the picture is coralline growth? I have a piece of coral rubble that died and now is completely covered in coralline again. There are Diatoms (chiton heaven hopefully), little pink patches and now bright green specks (too small to see in crappy Iphone picture).

And a side note; Gawd I love this site!:read: all weekend!
 

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Well, Unfortunately, it looks like my Harlequin serpent star and one of my chitons are not going to pull through. One chiton came with some sort of wound, and hasn't moved hardly at all, but I did notice while he was on the glass he took a few bites of algae...

The harlequin needed some help hiding, but after an hour or so disappeared into the rocks. I looked late last night and he was venturing out and waving about. This morning he's still in the same spot, in a shadow but still completely in the open.:sad:

Everything else on the other hand is having a hay day! My other chiton cruises on the rock and glass like he's a motorcycle and the hermit on his back is driving
 

DWhatley

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Humm, I find it odd that the chiton is moving during the day. The one that you don't see moving is more typical (but they can cover a lot of ground at night as I would find mine completely across the tank in the morning.
 
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I think he was just shaken up from shipping. About 10-15 minutes before lights out he wakes up and is on the move. He spends most of his time on the roof of the tank and comes down for an occasional dip. The other sits on a rock (day and night) and this morning I noticed he moved a couple inches. What kind of chitons do you Have D? Mine are the Eastern Surf Chiton.

I also think my serpent is going to make it. He came out last night and ate a piece of squid, when the lights came on he scurried back into his rocks looking much feistier.
 

DWhatley

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I was going to suggest the harlequin would likely be OK. The serpents are a hardy bunch and I have almost all that I ever bought (I believe I have lost two, outside of a couple from a supplier that I would never order from again).

Unfortunately, I no longer have the chitons (I had two). They only lived a few months and I did not try them again. I am not sure of the species but do know they are native to the FL keys as that is where they were collected.
 


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Does anybody use sea grass? I'm looking and thinking about trying to procure some for my display. Seems like it would be extremely beneficial in a reef or invert system. Just looking for some feedback on how it compares to other plants/algae we raise in our little ecosystems.
 

DWhatley

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I've had the opportunity to try it a few times without much success. It is illegal to harvest it from the ocean (at least where I know a little about the rules) but can be collected when it washes up on the shore so there is some disadvantage health wise to start. The last batch I tried was collected the night before it shipped because a storm was kind enough to schedule itself for an overnight shipment so it was the healthiest I have tried but it still did not establish itself and grow (but did live longer than other attempts).

I do try to keep some form of green algae in my tanks for esthetics but have to replace it several times a year. Halimeda (an algae that looks something like grass) does a little better but still does not last more than a few months in my tanks. This can be harvested fresh and with roots and I have one piece now that has done better than any others I have attempted. There are other algaes that do well in tanks but they tend to have the opposite kind of issue and over take the tank if not trimmed back regularly. Additionally, if some of the spreading algaes go asexual (go to seed if you will) they can release high quantities of absorbed nitrates quickly so I avoid them altogether.
 
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Thanks D. I've been doing my research but there isn't very much information out there on the subject of marine algaes and vascular plants. At least not that I have found. Anything that can go sexual has been ruled out, and it would be nice to have something that has roots. My chaeto ball (named Argyle) just isn't as handsome as I would like him to be.
 

DWhatley

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Kara (sealifeinc.net) has two rooted algaes at the moment that I get from time to time. She also often has a third (common name pansey I think) but I don't see them listed today. I'm her webmaster so I am bias (and also have an easy link to most things I mention) but they do their own collecting so everything is freshly havested if you want to watch the site for rooted algaes. I have also bought a few very interesting macros from ReefCleaners.org that have added nice color, won't take over a tank and are octo safe (keep in mind that I don't have long term success with algaes though).
 
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Cool! I just found another marine algae site for anybody who might stumble upon this thread; www.live-plants.com. They have 36 different marine algae’s (although many aren't in stock). Thanks D! Looks like I have some more reading and pondering to do!

Any ideas on why there hasn’t been any long term success with macros?
 

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