I fed a long tentacle anemone some cod (a bit of my dinner) and he liked it almost as much as he liked the salmon I fed him. To feed him, I dropped food for the clownfish. The clown fish feed him I think. They take the food, bring it to the anemone and then when the anemone tries to grab it, they let go of it without a fight. I used tho think anemones ate clownfish scraps but I’m starting to think their relationship goes beyond that. The fish feed them.
Tonight I’m having salmon for dinner and I had a little piece I cut off the end because it was hard to scale. So, like always, when I’m having fish, I share with my fish and corals. I was really surprised to find how much everything in all my fresh and salt water tanks loved salmon. The clownfish didn’t even get to eat much because the anemone took the salmon from them—twice. I wish I had cut them a bigger piece. The rest of it is all covered in tomatoes and spices. That anemone hardly wants to eat anything I feed it, so it just gets scraps of flake food and has been doing well on it but he really loved that salmon. I’ve never seen him eat like that before. The closest was with trout—interestingly, another red fish.
I’ve been doing fewer water changes lately than what I’ve recommended in my literature. Part of this is has been because of I’ve changed my schedule and no longer have the same cues to do the change and part of it is because I am without a day job and water changes can be expensive—when salt is $50+ a box plus the cost of additives. The results have been surprising. Corals are doing well, even without frequent water changes. There has been some more bacterial and algae growth bu there have not been any blooms of cyanobacteria. I do have a bit of a problem with this hairy fuzzy algae in two systems but not in the third. The mushrooms continue to grow and are nearly filling the 2/3 of the 30 gallon tank they are in. Orange capricornis is also doing well. I nearly don’t miss the very large one that was poisoned by a tongue coral because it has been mostly replaced by a fragment that broke off of it a few months before. So today, I did 3 water changes and have one more to go. The tanks that I cleaned look better, even as they are foggy. I’m certain the last will look better too.
I’ve had problems with a powerhead that led me to remove it and the star polyps are not happy about that but they are still living and growing.
A few weeks ago, I lost the sponge I use to clean the acrylic tanks. I’ve been meaning to get to the store to buy a new one but I just haven’t . So, a few days ago, I broke out a scraper to clean one of the that way. I was just trying to clean a small part to get a picture so I didn’t do the whole thing. After I was done with the picture, I noticed Foxie (the foxface) eating the soft algae I scraped from the side. So, now every day, I go in there and scrape a line and Foxie comes by and eats. Foxfaces are very timid fish and they will hide while you are disturbing things. Today something different happened. The foxface swam between my hand and the acrylic to get at the floating algae. Does this mean I’ve fed the bears? I’ve changed the demeanor of the foxface to not fear the human hand. Does this mean I’m going to have to watch the foxface more closely when I reach my hand in there? Foxface are supposed to have a sting that is many times worse than bee or wasp. People don’t normally get stung though because the fish are afraid of us and they just go hide when we are near.
(i have a low budget) i have a 60 gallon tank with every thing but a power head which would you recommend and i'm running a marine land penguin bio wheel fillter 350 is that good?
You have a filter designed for a fresh water system. At least I’ve never heard of a biowheel being used on salt. The primary biological filter for a reef tank is the live rock though. I feel like the best filtration system has a refugium sump, where you can put additional live rock and where plankton can thrive without your fish eating it. An alternative to a sump would be a to make a refugium in a divided area in your display tank that fish can’t get to. There are many types of powerheads. I like the newer osculating ones best. Another alternative is to get one that bidirectional flow. Taam has one in two sizes that changes the direction of flow gradually. Most corals live in an alternating current environment and don’t do well with a jet or a steady stream of water on them. Adding a protein skimmer and or some macroalgae/mangroves to your refugium is important for reduction of nitrates. Do you have enough lighting for a reef? I’m curious because of your filter. I’d want to see at least 4 T-5 HO bulbs over a 60 gal tank, or a reef bright LED system. I have lots of information on setting up a reef tank in the Coral Care Guide. There is a link in the side bar.
For the record, when I fragged those zoanthids the other day, I was wearing gloves and safety glasses. In hind sight, a mask would have been a good idea too. Palytoxin can also enter the body by touching your lips. Zoanthids are inflated with water and squeezing and pulling on them can cause them to squirt. That’s why safety glasses and a mask is a good idea. Actually a face shield would be good. You never know when you have the deadly zos.
Save Energy: Home and Aquarium Climate Control in the Summer
I’m going to get to some practical tips in this post but first I need to talk a little bit about some simple chemical physics.
Think about how much energy it takes to boil a pot of water till it is dry. It’s a lot of energy right? It doesn’t matter whether you are boiling it or if it evaporates, it takes the same energy to turn water into vapor. This same heat energy must be transferred elsewhere in order to turn the vapor back into steam. So when water evaporates into vapor and later condenses into water again, it carries a lot of energy from where it evaporates to where it condenses. I’m going to explain how this happens with your aquarium in your home and talk about what it means.
I just said that when water evaporates, it takes a lot of heat energy with it. This leaves the remaining water cooler as the evaporating water pulls heat energy from it. Just to be clear, water vapor has more energy than liquid water if the two are the same temperature, so in order to make vapor the temperature has to fall unless more heat is added. This is why sweaty skin can be cooler than the air temperature. Air that is full of freshly evaporated water also feels cooler. For example: standing in one of those cool zones in a theme park or next to a humidifier.
So far, I haven’t identified a problem. Water evaporates from your aquarium; it cools your aquarium and it cools your home. So far, your cooling bill should be lower. Except this isn’t the end of the story on the extra heat energy now floating in your home’s air, nor is it the end of the story about what happens in your aquarium.
The water vapor from your aquarium comes into contact with the coils inside your air conditioner where it is turned back into liquid water. All of the heat energy that is in the vapor is transferred to the air conditioner coils and then on to the air flowing out of your AC ductwork. Now remember, I just said that the evaporation cooled the air in the first place and now the condensation in the AC is acting to warming it back up. So on net, you haven’t gained or lost anything. So what’s the problem?
One thing I mentioned above but didn’t elaborate on is that this cooling doesn’t just cool the air in your home; it also cools your aquarium. In Aquatic Castle’s Coral Care Guide I recommend that you keep your aquarium between 76 and 78 degrees with some acceptance of temperatures outside that range. If your air conditioning thermostat is set at 73 and your aquarium is evaporating quickly because air conditioning constantly dries the air as it cools, the temperature in your aquarium could easily fall well below 73 degrees.
Before the temperature in you aquarium falls below 73, or even 76 degrees for that matter, the heater in your aquarium is going to kick on and warm the water back up. The warmer water will want to evaporate faster and your heater will work harder to keep it warm. So the bottom line is, water evaporation and condensation is acting to conduct (for lack of a better word) heat from your aquarium’s heater to your air conditioner, causing both your heater and your AC to work more and use more energy. Also having a higher humidity in your home causes evaporation in your skin to be slower, which will cause you to lower the temperature setting on your AC thermostat which also uses more energy.
The Practical Tips
To stop this cycle, you can take steps to reduce the amount of evaporation from your aquarium. This is as simple as covering it and any open water in your system. The moment you cover your aquarium, evaporation slows. If you already have a cover and there are gaps in it, closing those gaps down some will also slow evaporation. You can use something as simple as plastic wrap. There is more than just your heater that produces heat for your aquarium and you may find that covering it too much will cause the water temperature to climb above acceptable limits. A Biocube in my living room runs about 4 or 5 degrees warmer than the room it is in which is above the temperature setting on the heater. Some people who use metal halide lighting may even have to accelerate this evaporative process with a fan because the lights produce a lot of heat and may overheat the water. If this is you, make sure to put your fans on a timer so they don’t run at night and cause your heater to come on. A final note: you don’t want to completely seal off your aquarium because your fish will need air to breath.
The two tier system I made this past winter has about 18-19 square feet of open water and a 200 watt heater. It puts off about 10 gallons of water a week. Think of boiling off 10 gallons of water on your stove for how much energy that is. Today I covered the top tank, reducing the square feet to 10-11. I plan to cover the sump which will reduce the square feet to 8. For now I just use plastic rap on the top tank, which I can’t even see without getting on a chair but I plan to make covers for it. Yesterday, I covered the 30 gal tank with a store bought cover and already it’s dripping with water—which tells me it’s working even with a big gap in the back. The condensation is only on the front, which tells me I could get a lot more bang for my buck if I put the plastic part on the back and cut out for all of the stuff that overhangs the side.
Above: You can hardly see the plastic wrap because it’s overhead.
Above: Standing on a chair, you can see the plastic wrap.
Above: here you can see the water condensing on the front have of the cover for the 30 gal tank.
Today I made 12 zoanthid frags. I noticed some of XL zo colonies had some loose frags ready to break off at the edges so I finished the job and glued them to some small rocks. Between the mushroom madness I blogged about before, these zoos and just general growth off all colonies, the corals in my systems are growing faster than I can sell them. I’m going to give these 12 frags away with orders over $100. I fragged some before and put them in the store for $5 to $15, which is pretty cheap but I think the giveaway is needed now. I’m running out of room. On a related note, many of the corals in the store are larger than advertised.
Above, they are disgruntled from me fragging them but they will open up in time and be nice little frags. You can see the new frags are surrounded by other corals—button polyps to the rear and Chalice to the rear left. Not all 12 are in this picture, some are inserted between the XL colonies they came from.
Above: These are the ones I fragged earlier, taken shortly after fragging under actinic only light. This light makes them glow bright colors, more than daylight. The tank runs under this light for a couple hours each day.
some people told me, if you want to keep some coral and fish, you have to have a suitable tank, some lights, and food, and this and that, you have to spend at least $500,lol, for me , It’s really not cheap, should work harder~~~~
Here is my response.
It’s easy to spend way more than $500 on salt water tanks. That said, I helped my brother set one up for a bit less than that. He has a 10 gal tank which you can pick up for less than $20, a set of t5 lights from an odysea light for less than $60, a Finex 360 (you might consider an aquaclear and macro algae as a hang on refugium) filter for less than $40, and some sand for $20. A hydrometer for $8. $20 for a Milwaukee PH600.
$20 for a bag of reef salt, reef buffer for less than $6, phytoplex for $13, marine food for $10, $2 for calibration fluid for the Milwaukee ph600.
Fish, you can get some damsel fish for $4 or $6 each. They are aggressive and will try to kill new fish. Just buy them all at once and only get a few. Make sure they are about the same size.—5 for $25. 4 coral frags for $100.
Rocks, you can add rocks a bit at a time but to start you will probably want one live rock $20 and some dry rock $25 to start. If you were buying more than frags for the coral, you could buy all dry rock. Larger coral would come on live rocks.
$168 in equipment and sand. $111 for consumable stuff $45 for rocks ————————————— $324 spent within about a month or two to get you started.
There are probably a few things I forgot. The $500 seems pretty realistic for a minimalist tank but that is an expenditure over about 3 months. My brother’s 10 gal tank looks quite nice too. He hasn’t even put coral in it yet. He set it up like 3 months ago.
Another thing to consider. These are prices for all new equipment. There are often deals on craigslist for cheap used stuff. I recommend you stay 30 gal or less though because a larger tank will be more costly to maintain and to stock.
all of your photos are absolutely beautiful and i hope that when i start up my 20 gallon long it looks that good. ( im from michigan also)
Thank for the comment. With patience and planning, your tank will look good. I helped my brother set up a 10 gal tank. It looks great and he hasn’t even put coral in it yet. If you see something you like, much of what’s in my photos is also in the Aquatic Castle store. As you can tell from the mushroom madness post, a lot of items have been growing since posting them.
If you have been reading this blog you know many corals, if not all, contain palytoxin or some other form of chemical defense system. You’ve seen the scar a mushroom put on a montipora capricornis. Now See what a tongue coral can do to a cap. One day I looked into the tank with the mother colony and noticed the tongue coral on top of it. I’ve never seen the tongue coral move before but there it was resting in the bottom of the orange cap.
I wasn’t surprised when I saw a bleached area around the tongue coral much like the one a mushroom left. I took the tongue off the orange cap and figured the bleached area would just fill back in like it did with the mushroom.
To my surprise after I moved the tongue coral, the bleached area of the cap grew over several days, until the entire colony was dead. I’m just glad that I had propagated this coral with 2 other pieces. I’m going to have to pull one from the Aquatic Castle store and make that the new mother colony. It will take it a while but it is already growing nicely.
Above: Here is the orange Capricornis looking healthy and happy.
Above: Here is the colony after I moved the tongue coral off and you can see the tongue in the bottom right of the picture. After this, I moved it to the other side of the tank. Never mind the hermit crab.
Above: The bleached area several days after removing the tongue coral.
Above: There it is; all bleached and dead. It’s pretty even dead though.
Two weeks ago, I started a new day job after being out of work for three months. While I’ve been adjusting to it, I haven’t touch my tanks except to scrape junk off the glass. I also haven’t done anything to promote the Aquatic Castle store. I usually put things on Ebay to get things moving. With this lack of aquarium activity, I haven’t had any material to post. Today, I spent 4 hours with the reef tanks and posted that macroalgae pic earlier. Once I exit the training stage of my new job, I’ll start promoting the store again. My schedule will be different then. If I can sell some of these corals, I can get new ones and get new pics up. In the mean time, the corals I have in the store are growing and some new pics will be warranted because of that.
Shark populations around the globe are plummeting at an alarming rate, threatening the stability of our ocean ecosystem mainly for shark fin. Vancouver is the second largest Chinese restaurant industry in North America next to San Francisco….
Your the only person I could think of to ask, I have a tropical fish tank and somehow I've managed to breed zebra danios or neons I haven't a clue which and I've hit a problem I have loafs of eggs and baby fry and now I have planirna (possibly spelt wrong) I googled about them and how to get rid of them but I can't clean the tank and disturb the eggs and fry what should I do? Should I just clean te tank anyway?
Hi, I have a few thoughts on this question.
It’s possible that when the fry start to grow up, they will eat the planaria. If you can clean the gravel without disturbing the eggs, you can do that. You may want to move the eggs to another tank as they will likely be eaten anyway once they hatch. I’m surprised this hasn’t happened already. I’m not sure exactly on the egg laying patter of the danios or neons. If the eggs are attached to something you can move that something. You said they are in loafs. It’s possible you can just move the loaf. You should move them to a small tank with an air driven sponge filter. and no substrate. If you use water from your main tank to fill the small one it will have bacteria in it to feed the sponge filter. If you don’t have another tank, a small one and a sponge filter are cheap. You could even use a plastic tote.
Once the eggs and fry are out of the main tank, you can do the nutrient starving cleaning. If you really want to clean that gravel well, take it out and rinse it. Just watch your ammonia levels after and don’t clean your filter at the same time.