Monday, November 29, 2010

Not Since the early nineties have I been this excited about the hobby. Reef keeping is in over-drive. I find it everywhere from the amount of new hobbyists I come in contact with on a daily basis to all the way up to the scientific literature that is being published. New magazines Like CORAL or C the Journal are at the cutting edge of information. Everyone should subscribe. The areas that I am most excited about are fish and coral nutrition and the advent of LED lighting for growing corals. I'm also working on a new coral propagation project. Big things to come.

Keep on Reefin'

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


"This is a copulation of some of my own info, experience along with some that is easily found on the internet." I don't claim to be the author of all this information just part of it.
Quarantine, Quarantine, Did I mention Quarantine?
Red bugs, nudibrachs, flatworms, crabs, pistol shrimp, Aliens, mantis shrimp, Bristle worms, a giant worm that eats clams, Welks, bristleworms and sea spiders. I’m probably leaving a few things out but you get my point. So why do we spend all this money and time and just plop an organism right into our most prized possession our aquarium. Maybe we are the gambling type or like living on the edge but I’m here to tell you that it has to stop. I see it on a daily basis.
“ Do you have a Quarantine tank?” and 99% of the time the answer is a puzzled “no”. (My percentages might be off since I have not use any type of statistical analysis to come up with my numbers.) So my goal is to have us all pest free. So we can feel reasonably safe that we are not passing anything to each other or introducing something from any place else. Maybe I might even save you some money.
Quarantine System For Corals
A quarantine system can be one small aquarium or multiple tanks but one is better than none. The general rule of thumb is a quarantine system should be about 10 percent of the cost and size of your main system.

Parts List

Aquarium 10-20 gallons


Thermometer (digital w/high low alarm)
Small filter (hang on the back, sponge or canister)
Water pump
U.V. sterilizer
Maybe a protein skimmer in some situations
Bare Bottomed
Egg crating
Oh, don’t forget a trap!!!
The quarantine (QT) should last a minimum of 30 days.
To set up the QT just use water out of your main display. You can keep a sponge filter in your sump, transfer it to your QT when the need arises. This will maintain a healthy colony of the benifical bacteria preventing any unwanted ammonia or nitrite spikes.
Once the QT is up and running the photoperiod should mimic the main display that the organism is eventually going to end up in. All other parameters calcium, phosphate, Alk. and specific gravity should be similar.
Water changes:
Should be preformed daily. With a small gravel vac or a small diameter hose 1/2” or smaller. Vacuum the bottom of the QT removing all debris this will help siphon out any unwanted pests, seen and unseen. The amount is dependent on the situation or the medication being used. On average 10-20% if you are using water from your main display it can be up to 100%. With pre-mixed not more than 50% at any one time. A large water change could reduce the beneficial bacteria population and cause a spike in ammonia or nitrite.
Don’t forget to get the temperature and specific gravity of the new water to match the QT system.
Example Schedule
1st 24 hours w/c at 1hour and 12 hours.
24-72 hours w/c every 12 hours.
3rd –28th day w/c every 24 hours.
Plus two days for good measure, completing the 30 day QT.
Most QT systems lighting will not be as intense as the main tank. Close is good. If it is as bright or brighter there might be a need for some screening. Keep on the photoperiod as the main display.
(Sometimes it is necessary to give up some color for the long term health of the organism. The color can be back in a coral in just a few weeks in the main display.) *Remember it’s not brown it’s “chocolate.”
Keep a trap in the QT on a continuous basis. Be mindful that the food in the trap should be changed out regularly. Don’t let it foul the water or your newly prized “uber rare LE” frag will be lost.
A platform made from PVC pipe and egg crate work the best for most applications. You can find it all at Friedman Brothers. Remember shop local.
Bare bottom.
Unwanted pests are easier to see.
Water volume is easier to calculate.
Less organisms to add to the bio-load the better.
The rule of 6 - if multiple coral frags are in one system keep at laest 6 inches in all directions between each coral. Same species are safe near each other. (alleopathy)
If you introduce a new coral to an existing QT system with corals the clock turns back to day 1.
Remove any and all plugs, rocks from corals before putting in the QT system. Little critters love to hide out in the cracks and crevices.
Don’t attach freshly fraged corals to plug or rock. Give the coral time to heal.
Keep QT system separate from your main system.
Do not mix equipment from system to system. (Algae pads, hoses, nets, ect.)
Sterilize everything that comes out of the QT 1/2 oz bleach per gallon for at least 5 min. Declor (Sodium Thyoslfate) and rinse in hot water for 10 min. Let dry.
After the QT is over break down the system clean and sterilize everything.
Keep a log.
Post your experiences on-line.
Remember to share your results with other hobbyists.
Preventatives, Dips and Drugs.
Flatworm exit
Aptasia control
Iodine (lugol’s solution)
Tropic Marin pro coral dip
Medication removal
Water changes. “Dilution is the solution to pollution.”
GAC-Granulated Activated Carbon
Poly filter
Protein Skimming
This Last Section I got straight off a web page that does not exist any more. It probably is posted some where else too.
The Red Bug Treatment
If you use this medication it is at your own risk. No one but yourself is responsible for your actions with this medication. Please read carefully and follow the directions. This medication will most likely kill off all crustaceans in your aquarium.
If you use this medication it is at your own risk. No one but yourself is responsible for your actions with this medication.
The medication is a DOG heartworm medication called Interceptor, it is only available from a veterinarian with a prescription. The tablets used in the initial treatments were for large dogs, 51-100lbs. These tablets are just under 1 gram each and contain 23mg of Milbemycin Oxime, the rest of it is a lovely smelling beef flavor. This chemical is active against Nematodes (Heartworms in dogs) and select arthropods (some types of Mange in dogs). Luckily, our red bugs are one of those select arthropods. The tablets come 6 to a box.
Here is the official information from Novartis on the medication.
Refer to this thread and read the whole thing before you begin the treatment.
The dosage used in an aquarium to kill redbugs is 25mg (0.025 grams) per 10 gallons of actual tank water. That is 25mg of the entire tablet. Each tablet in the pack of 6 will treat about 380 gallons. The tablets are ground with a mortar and pestle into a fine powder.
Do you’re very best to calculate your actual water volume. Take into consideration your sump, oversized plumbing and things like that. All of the initial tests were done with the estimated volume of live rock and live sand subtracted from the total gallons. You need to make sure that every part of the system that’s capable of holding water is treated. This means your refugium, the water inside your calcium reactor, the water inside your skimmer while it is not foaming. It’s easier to calculate in a bare bottom system.
Measure out the Interceptor on a very accurate scale that is capable of reading down to 0.001 grams. Remember, the dosage is 0.025grams per 10 gallons. For safety’s sake get as close as you possibly can. It has been pointed out that it may not be necessary to get down to the 1/1000th of a gram point when we are guessing on the actual water volume. This is an excellent point, however, since we are pretty much guessing our water volume, we should do our very best to make sure that we treat that guess accurately. We don’t want to over treat an over estimate.
Before adding the medication to your tank, turn off your skimmer (water needs to run through it, but you do not want it producing any bubbles. Remove any mechanical filtration if present. Remove any carbon if present. Turn off UV sterilizers and ozone generators.
Remove any shrimp or crabs that you want to save. They will have to stay out of the system for the duration of the treatment. Remember, that when you add them back to your tank, there is a slight chance that you will re-introduce the red bugs to your tank.
The medication is dissolved into some aquarium water (it is not easily soluble, you will have to stir for a while) and spread evenly across the surface of the water. Your tank should remain perfectly clear and look very normal the entire time. The bugs hang on well into the 4th and 5th hour of the treatment, don’t be alarmed. Many of the bugs will hang on for days even after they are dead.
If anything goes wrong during treatment perform a water change ASAP and add a large amount of carbon to your system.
After 6 hours, a 25% MINIMUM water change is performed and as much activated carbon as you can fit should be added to the tank. Normally for general maintenance most tanks it is about 1 cup per 100 gallons. For SPS systems it is a 1/2cup per 100 gallons. So doubling or even tripling it to remove medication is the way to go. In the initial tests, crustaceans that were reintroduced to a tank after a 25% water change and carbon were unaffected by the medication.
24 hours later the water should be changed again and the carbon replaced.
There is no maximum for the water changes or carbon, the more you do the better.
The treatment needs to be performed a MINIMUM of 3 times. We know it kills the bugs, but we don’t know enough about their lifecycle to determine if it kills them at every stage of their life. We have to assume that all of the most of the adults are killed in the first treatment. The goal of the second treatment is to clean up any left over adults, and any juveniles that have hatched out of eggs that might have been unaffected. The third treatment is a just in case treatment, its goal is to get any bugs that could have possibly survived the first two. I know that three treatments sounds scary, after the first one you will feel much more comfortable with it though.
The frequency of the treatment: Depending on infestation. I have been done 2 treatments 24 hours apart every 7 days. I will repeat this 4 times for a total of 8 treatments. For a light infestation, 3 treatments every twenty four hours usually does the trick.
The medication seems to be fairly safe, it is best to err on the side of caution and treat several times. Pretend its an antibiotic, if your going to use it once, make sure you do the whole treatment process at least 3 times!!!