Some conclusions and pictures
by, 05-05-2012 at 08:19 PM (755 Views)
Got some time to post, will continue my thought process from the last blog post.
I concluded a few things from my experience in these 2.5 years:
- I should underfeed my fish. First because I probably have a tendency to overfeed, second because they don't get easy food in the wild. Come on, "real" fish have a hard life! They swim a lot, compete a lot for food and don't get that much prey every day.
- I should finger feed my fish. A tank as small as mine (DT=180L/48G) doesn't need more than a pinch of granulated food per day.
- The mix of fish and invertebrates is critical, in the sense that you need fish that eat food in all sections of the aquarium:
- I started without fish that ate food on the surface, so leftovers that floated would become detritus. With the 5 green chromis I have now that problem is gone.
- I need invertebrates that eat well, like my peppermint shrimp pair, who are ALWAYS hungry, and I believe they find the stuff that falls to the floor which the fish normally don't eat.
- If possible I should always have invertebrates or fish that also eat pests, like my peppermints who eat up the inevitable aiptasias, and the mithrax crabs I had who ate the valonias.
- I should avoid flake food. It is hard for me to dose it well, and, hard to see if it was all eaten up or not. Much easier to do that with granulated food, or even dry cyclop-eeze in powder (as long as I have fish that eat those who float). Also easier to see that with home made food, which is easier to dose right.
- I ran for too long without a refugium. My refugium helps to export nutrients and is producing a large pod population which I believe makes it up to the DT and helps feed the fish. Not a great algae harvest, but, every week I'm removing a bit of valonias, cheato and other carpet like algae, organic matter that which without the refugium would stay in the system.
- I should frequently blow the rocks with a turkey baster, and stir the sand surface to ensure the detritus is puffed up and makes it to the sump.
- When the tank was a few months old I started doing that, following the advice in Paletta's book, and respectable clouds of "dust" came up from that... but one or two weeks after I started I got a green hair algae bloom.
- I thought the bloom was the result of forcing organic matter into the water column, so I stopped the procedure. Maybe it was, but I think it was a big mistake to stop.
- When I washed the rock in my recent cleanup the water would come out quite brown after each rinse. It took some 5 or 6 rinses to get normal water color after the rinse. Imagine how much junk was inside the rock's pores...
- I ran for too long with too little water flow. Nowadays with the pair of MP10 I have it is visible how detritus that lifts from the substrate gets puffed up by the flow and gradually makes it to the drain and into the sump.
- Using a filter sock on the drain pipe seems to do marvels to remove organic matter, as long as I clean it every week. I am impressed by how much junk I am removing from the 50 micron bag every week as I clean it up.
I'm not sure if there is hope for this tank in the long run. As a FOWLR sure, as they don't seem to mind algae, buy I'd like to have some corals. Right now only my hardy Palithoa has survived well. My last zoa colony, which had been quite hardy up to now and I thought would survive the cleanup, seems to be going south...
I might decide to redo this tank. Redo, not expand, since I don't have space to expand. The design this guy created attracts me very much (he is known as Basso, is somewhat of an old marine aquarium guru in the Brazilian forums, and from following his posts I can understand why, the man is always experimenting and discovering simple and effective ways to get the aquarium thing done). This design is cleaner and simpler than my current design, but still a cube like structure:
- A. A post with pictures of a new aquarium running it
- B. First post of the thread about this aquarium model showing pictures of the structure/setup
- C. Second post with pictures of the structure/setup
- If it seems like a simple cube that means you haven't figured it out. I know the vast majority of you won't be able to read the Portuguese of the posts, but if you pay attention to the pictures you'll figure it out or get very close, here are the two most important aspects of this design:
- He has a closed loop pointing up in the middle, to ensure good flow.
- He drains water to the sump using 3 of the cube's corners, and his return from the sump is done using the last of the cube's corners. Low volume pump for the return because the strong closed loop takes care of the flow.
Finally, here are some full tank shots of my tank, taken today. As you might notice the red bubble algae wants to come back, but, at least its comeback is slower than the last time. I like the whiter and pinker look after the cleanup, it was too dark before with bubble algae on the rock everywhere.
- Left side view:
- "Front" view (assuming the glass with the MP10s is the "back" of this cube):
- Right side view:
Time to sleep... Hope to post the next time not too far from today...