Thursday, October 19, 2006

A Low Tech System

About eight months ago I decided to set up a low tech reef tank. Not a "getto" reef but one that has the basic elements of the traditional reef tank without all the bells and whistles. Live Rock (Tongan Branch and some Fiji rock), 100 lbs of Carib-sea aragamax sand, a sump with a Little Giant pump to recirculate water, two 175 watt 20,000k xm bulbs, 4x32 watt actinics, and nothing else. NO SKIMMER. I am using kalkwasser additions for my make up water. The Tank is a 150 gallon plexiglass tank with an overflow which runs from front to back on the right side of the tank. The tank is at least 15 years old and I had to buff the scratches and dried coraline algae off which took about 10 hours.
After going through the normal break in period brown diatoms to a little red slime I have reached the point of nirvana an algae magnet once a week. Well at least that is what I call my nirvana. How about you?
I have a breeding pair of Ocellaris clowns. I had them in another tank and moved them to the 150 and about a week later the female layed eggs. They have had that same ritual every two weeks for the last six months. And when I have the time and the patience I promise I will raise the fry up to healthy clowns that I can give to my friends.
The tank has five species of soft corals Cladiella spp., Sarcophyton sp., green Sinularia sp., Capinella sp. and green Nephthya sp. Also some red mushrooms Discosoma sp. and one purple and red Rhodactis sp. I have never seen this combination of color in a mushroom coralmorph before. I'll try to post a picture.
I am not going to bore you with my water chemistry stats. But they are with in all the generally accepted levels. And seem to stay that way as long as I do my monthly water changes and kalkwasser additions.

So if your looking for a simple and easy reef tank I recommend low tech soft coral reef tank.
Live rock,
Araganite sand,
Return pump,
A few animals,
and you are set.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Northcoast Reefers Should Be Renamed The Northcoast Beer Drinkers

Last Week I spoke at The Northcoast Reefers meeting at The Russian River Brewery in Santa Rosa. It was a Monday night football night and there still was a good turn out. My talk was on reef aquarium books and magazines. It is not the most interesting topic but i think it is one that is over looked by many hobbyists. Books and periodicals like magazines and newsletters are great sources of information. Unlike the Internet (which you and I are both using at this moment) where there is so much information you can't tell if what you are reading is accurate on any of these sites and forums. You never know who is making the claim. On most sites with you should be skeptical even on my blog DO NOT EVER BELIEVE ANYTHING I WRITE ON THIS BLOG OR WHAT YOU READ ON THE INTERNET without checking out the sources yourself. If I make any claims I will provide sources.

Where was I ?... Oh ya books at the brewery. I wanted to bring a can of PVC glue and have everyone take a sniff so they could enjoy the talk just a little bit more. But judging from the feedback from everyone I didn't need it, or maybe it was all that beer ? I can't remember.

Books and magazine are great resources. I like to keep them around as references. Say I see this creature crawling up the glass of my reef tank and it is waving at me I know that I can always run over to my book shelf and pull out Anthony Calfo's Reef Invertebrates book and without fail he will have a picture and a brief description of this waving creature. The Charles Veron book helps me most at my work. We get these long lists of available corals from our wholesaler and it never fails that there are some corals that we are not sure what they are and most of the time I can find it in the Veron book.

Anyway I want to thank the Northcoast Reefers for putting up with me and hopefully I can do it again in the near future.

Keep on Reefin'