by, 04-15-2012 at 11:01 PM (1239 Views)
It almost feels wrong counting days of the 215g temporary tank. The 400g ran for just over 13 months when it sprung a leak, and that mental counter was discontinued. In order to fix the tank, it needed to be emptied, and eight days ago I was able to squeeze a loaner aquarium into the fishroom to hold the livestock.
As soon as everyone left, my cold kicked into overdrive and I ended up trying to will away the flu with all the meds I had on hand. It took a full week to get back on my feet, and just as soon as I was, Matt and Lindsey came over to help me get it plumbed in and transfer the fish and corals.
Friday evening, my son came over to climb into the tank to clean it out with vinegar and water. Saturday, Lindsey took the lead in plumbing the 215g to the sump. Using the sump allows all the equipment already in place to provide filtration and life support for the reeflings, keeping it online and ready for the future tank. The glued fittings cured overnight and Sunday we moved all the corals and fish.
The water quality in the 400g was pretty bad, since all the fish and corals were sitting in dirty soup awaiting their imminent transfer. I wasn't in any shape to attempt a water change in a tank that was 50% empty. Phosphates measured 1.0ppm, Nitrates were around 10ppm, and pH was running low at 7.6 with the very short light cycles. In preparation of the transfer, I mixed up 250g of new saltwater in the poly tank. The 215g was filled up with new saltwater, and all the water circulating in the sump was tied in next. Salinity is running a little high at 1.027sg due to evaporation during the two weeks of running in lagoon mode, but that will be diluted down in the coming days. I'm really glad to have a tank and sump so everything will stabilize and be automated once again, and don't know why anyone would want to run a reef without a sump - two weeks was rough. Remember I had the calcium reactor dripping (from the sump) into the reef, and then had to drain water back down to the sump once a day to avoid putting more pressure on the weakened seams.
After mostly all the rock and corals were moved, the fish were netted out of the 400g one by one. Matt was quite the fish whisperer. For the bigger fish, I took my acrylic quarantine tank and placed it on its side in the corner of the aquarium to herd Spock and the Purple Tang in... and then we poured them into the 215g.
It was nice to see four Purple Dartfish, as I'd hardly seen two lately. The Helfrichi was out in the open for a while, transferred into the tank accidentally within a piece of live rock. It's obvious all the fish were stressed by the big move, and the corals slimed heavily. All the newly aged saltwater will surely have a positive effect versus the soup they were in for the past week or more.
Aquascaping in the new tank wasn't easy. The massive centerbrace is completely in the way. The tank is tall, and many rocks moved had bits of coral encrusted that I'm hoping weren't obscured under the new arrangement. Lots of Euphyllia, tons of fungia plates, these took up quite a bit of space. About 80 lbs of sand was added to the tank, and I may add a little more.
Tomorrow I need to get the lights over the tank, and then all the sand needs to be taken out of the 400g. Here's a picture with the LED fixture I won last month lighting the center.