September 18th: Annual Maintenance
by, 10-09-2011 at 07:49 PM (576 Views)
Time is short, so much to do and so little time.... once again I post about something I did almost a month ago. I almost skipped this one, but, blogs are about sharing experience and I think the pictures will be useful to teach people what NOT to do .
Compĺeted my annual maintenance cleanup... and concluded annual is too long a period to do it .
Before you see the pictures please mind that my refugium is lighted by a non direction compact fluorescent light, therefore light is hitting where it shouldn't. Don't do the same when you setup your refugium. I need to change that lamp for directional lights or maybe add a hood/shield so the light hits mostly the refugium and not all the sump area.
Here it goes... what my skimmer looked like after a year without cleanup and under too much light:
Closeup of the skimmer's base, some of these are aiptasias... I have an aiptasia infestation in the sump. Got rid of all of them except those in the baffles area... don't know how to get rid of them:
Another closup of the base, lots of sponges, a few bristleworms:
Top of the skimmer's body. Yes, that was a carpet of algae inside it:
The other side of the skimmer's base:
Here is how the skimmer looked like after the cleanup:
After cleaning the skimmer's body, which was a pain because it doesn't disassemble, cleaning the two return pumps, the refugium feeder pump, the heater, the hoses, scraping most of the sump's glass to remove sponges, aiptasias and most of the coraline algae, I then removed about 40L of water with all the junk that decanted at the bottom. The sump got clean, not 100% but clean enough for the time I had, except for the baffles for which I didn't have an utensil to reach into.
I did everything wearing gloves for I was afraid of being stung by any aiptasia.
Added new salt water, but, suspecting it was quite cold I decided to add it before reconnecting any return pump and checking temperatures. Good choice, as my tank is set to 26.5C (~80F) and the temperature probe in the sump found the new salt water was at:
Not good, very far from 26.5C (~80F) so I put in an extra heater and a powerhead in the sump and let the new water heating up until it reached 25.9C (~78.5C). In this picture you can see how the refugium light is a "sump" light...
After about 40 minutes it reached the right temperature and I reinstalled the return pumps and then the skimmer.
One thing that is a mystery to me is why does my cheato grow so little, or, not seem to grow at all if I get algae growth even in the skimmer with the same lighting conditions.... hard to understand.
There must be lots of organic matter in the water because I have red bubble algae in the DT, in the refugium, valonias in the refugium and a few small ones in the DT, some green hair algae in some DT spots, but, cheato who is supposed to grow like crazy in nutrient rich water isn't growing.
I haven't measured parameters for quite a while now, only intend to do so when I get back to doing regular, predictable, water changes. As I started, time is at a premium right now and water tests take quite a lot of time....
My "next steps" list for this tank is (not necessarily in this order):
- Change refugium lighting
- Add a fan to the refugium to cool down the tank when over 27.0C .
- Change the power supply of the DT's LED lighting, current one is weak and not reaching full lighting potential
- Add an LCD display to the LED controller, and maybe a temperature probe too.
- Manual removal of the red bubble algae in the DT in the next water changes. That's going to be tough as there are a lot and they grow back quite quickly. I scraped one of the rocks clear recently and it is blooming like a mushroom farm does... but I have to continue removing to get that organic matter out of the system.
- Regular WC and parameter testing again.