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Electrokate's tank


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I am new to this club, and have not yet gone to a meeting. I hope to start going soon, maybe this will motivate me. I have met a few members, I used to work at World of Wet Pets and also sold some coral on Craigslist, everyone from the club I have met so far has been great.

My current tank is a 55 and some of these pictures are old, it's a little tight due to the growth of the coral so I keep having to rearrange and frag or outright remove things. I have been holding out on that as much as possible as a 90 is on the way, if I can get it here. It's in Puyallup and I don't have a truck...

So this is the tank as it was in December 08:




and one year prior-January 07. Most corals have at least doubled in size, most showing fast exponential growth:




That gorgonian grows like mad, I have to frag or it will grow into the overflow and right up to the surface. I have a blueberry gorgonian which is a bit more of a nightmare. They are considered not appropriate for aquariums for a good reason, hermit crabs eat them and most of us keep hermits. To make it especially fun they do it at night so you won't notice. I picked out all the hermits, put them in the sump and then they crawled into the return pump and stopped up the scwd, making a horrid noise and breaking it. Why do I need hermits anyway? The fish do their work better.

My tang farms the tank, that is why the caulerpa is there. He keeps it short and stout by trimming the tips so that it is more difficult to remove. But it looks good and he is happy so I don't care too much, long as it stays off the coral. He also farms a red hairy algae, looks like gracillaria, and eats all the bryopsis he can find. My friend Josh put him in the tank for bryopsis control after an outbreak. The overflow got coated with that too so I put the rock boring urchin I found in there and he cleaned it. The urchin was dime size when I found him in my sump, I don't know where he came from. Pretty cool.


I love Pocilloporas, used to have them in tricolor, purple, green and pink. All but pink were lost in moves, the pink showed up as a tiny volunteer, probably from this colony.:




Volunteer pocillopora at base of softie:




Here is the softie over the pocillopora. It is much bigger now, I started snipping to keep it from growing to the surface. Very easy coral. It leans over to sting the neighbors but usually nothing happens. I think it's a wimp. Could have a more subtle slow toxic action though.




This plate coral started the same way-5 or 6 polyps on a pea size spot on a rock. In a year it has grown to about 5" across and is developing whorls, despite me bumping and breaking pieces every time I clean the glass.




This was dropped at World of Wet Pets by a local guy who had too much of it, I can see why. Fastest grower I have ever seen. It's a good picture, you can see the part lit mainly by 6700K vs the part by actinics. With well mixed light it is neon, as in blacklight in your face wildly bright green. I don't believe in upping the saturation of my photos unnaturally, so maybe it doesn't show, I don't know what it looks like on other peoples' computers either. But it is great looking and fast growing, two of my favorite qualities in a coral.




Here is one I should not promote... yes I have a dendronephthya-like cauliflower. I have had it since last fall, and it has grown in girth at the base and doubled in length with new growth developing spicules. I do feed SF bay brine shrimp nauplii, they are smaller and higher in HUFA's than Utah brine, and I also have a thriving fuge, sand stirring fish, and this coral was picked because it had tan polyps suggesting it was hosting photosynthetic zooxanthellae.




I am writing too much. Here are pictures without all the jabbering on:










Self fragging yellow fiji toadstool (polyps glow slightly green under moonlights so was sold as green toadstool by wholesaler). This specimen will break at the base and dump frags randomly, and most do not get bigger than a few inches. Perfect for me! Eats brine shrimp too.




I love sponges, I try and get them from friends whenever possible and share them if others are interested. This one is photosynthetic so tries to spread horizontally.




This grew from 2 polyps my boss in Oly gave me to save. The tissue was a tiny shred in the center of the exposed skeleton, so I hand fed it til it grew back, and now it's the size of a softball. Yesterday I saw it dripping tissue, don't know if it was damaged or if it is trying to reproduce. Some LPS do that, and I find little LPS growing under rocks and in the sand sometimes. But something in my tanks attacks the coral at night. Bristleworms? Peppermint shrimp? Blood shrimp? Whatever it is if I remember to drop some pellets in after the lights are out I don't get damage that night. Need to set up a timed feeder to do that. Anyways, yeah this coral... it's HUGE now. I have even sold frags.




I am getting into the year old photos, these are larger now in number and in size. My favorite zoanthid, they glow. There are blue spot purple mushrooms dispersed among its polyps which really look great together in contrast.




These look good but are a pain. They are everywhere. I am going to have to start hitting them with aiptasia control where they are encroaching on the corals, I don't mind them filling in open spaces but don't touch my sps! Major bad decision to put these in the tank. They are only good for FOWLR tanks and feeding butterflies in distress. I can't believe this hobby has gone from unable to keep coral at all to having some corals become a pestilence.




Here is the hydnaphora, with the wrasse I don't have anymore. He jumped a few days after I took this picture. I miss him, he kept the fish moving.

The Hydnaphora has to be fragged all the time, it's gotten huge. Funny thing about them, they are only neon green when distressed. Or so it looks to me.




If you don't want to read all this or want to see my photos of orchids, norkeling and Hawaiian plants my photobucket account is here:









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Hi Kate,


I met you before at WoWP, I was the guy asking about kili's a long time ago. I decided that my office wasn't a great place to have any pets. I don't have any room anymore for a tank.


Wow, you have a nice tank, and everything looks really healthy!


Do you feed the gorgonian? I'd really like a frag whenever you have any available.

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That's a nice tank! Thanks for the pictures. Usually new members tell us all the equipment and stats with no pics. You did it the other way around! Tell us a little more about your lights, sump, and other equipment. You have a great looking tank. We'd like to know more about how you are getting those results.:D

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Wow, thanks everyone, I didn't think I'd get many people looking (: I don't have much room in that tank actually, so really am hoping to set up at least a 90. 1/6 of the volume of the 55 is taken by the ridiculously oversize overflow, inconveniently located in an odd spot left of center. Total waste of space, though the hair algae likes it. It gets a fish free zone right under the middle of the light to go to town in. I suppose that is my "algae scrubber" (:

The tank is an All Glass "megaflow" or whatever they called it... with the return hooked up to a scwd and a Mag 12 or 9.5, can't remember which. My friend Finn hooked me up with some Lokline nozzles and a great acrylic sump he built, and helped me plumb it. First chamber of the sump holds a Coralife Superskimmer, middle is refugium with a couple inches fine aragonite sand and a wad of chaeto with some red ogo and some caulerpa, maybe a few strands of gracillaria I found on a beach in Puget Sound last year. It hates heat, but I still try. There are also some bits of shell and rubble in case I need to glue a frag, and sometimes frags. The light on the fuge is a heat lamp made for chickens, with a standard screw in PC bulb, 13 watts, nothing fancy. It's on a timer in reverse of the tank lights to produce O2 all night. Heater and return pump are in the last chamber. There is one powerhead in the upper left of the display to keep the surface agitated, I read an article suggesting that high CO2 and alk were implicated in cyano outbreaks so I try to keep alk at 8-9 and keep the surface as agitated as possible.

That is about it, it's really simple. I guess there are a couple Kent plastic doser things for dripping top off water. i have been dosing C-Balance and testing to try and keep the calcium at about 375-400 but it tends down to 325 if I get lazy, and I double dose Lugols iodine weekly. Magnesium is at natural sea levels, usually near the low end of the range. I switched from Instant Ocean salt to their higher end version recently and noticed better color, don't know if it made a difference or is coincidence. Growth is amazing though, and that I credit to the T5HO because these corals have been under PC, VHO and halide lights over the years without showing this kind of growth and color. Not even 10K XM halides did this.

It is not all success, I do have some cyano and something nips the acros at night, probably peppermints or maybe crabs? Whatever it is it won't do it that night if I drop some pellet food in, so am going to put a battery operated fish feeder on. I have also seen some huge bristleworms, could be them.

I have a 20 with frags and stuff that does not fit anymore, it's got a CPR backpack and 2 power filters, super old 55 watt pc and hang on 50 watt heater. Really simple setup. Stuff in there is not as pretty nor growing as fast so am going to retrofit the light strip with T5HO. I am on a vow to not throw plastic away if at all possible, which is really hard if you want to eat. So I am attempting to reuse old hoods. The ones in question have decent reflectors so it's not a big sacrifice on my part, and it's going to be cheaper than buying a new light bulb or fixture.

I don't have the money to be a real gear freak like some reef keepers, or maybe I would. But maybe not, I never try to get a great car, camera or bike either, am kind of cheap... if it will do the job for half the price I am mostly ok with it, I try to sleep on it if I find myself drooling over some new kind of equipment. For like a month. (: Since my spousal unit makes the money he also gets to put his foot down if I get real crazy, like my constant "I Need A Bigger Tank" whining, which probably sounds not unlike I did when I was 8 and "needed" a pony. Yeah I would love a nice EVC skimmer for sure, and the Superskimmer leaks like mad, but in sump it's safe and usually produces well enough. Have not done the calcium reactor because I am afraid I would screw it up and nuke the tank, ditto ozone. I think a separate thermostat and/or digital thermometer are great, if you can get a thermometer with alarm even better. They are about 25 bucks and totally worth it. I also recommend getting one battery operated backup air pump per 25 gallons. They are about a buck for each gallon that they save. When my friend Josh had the tank in Washington during a couple storms the air pumps kept it alive first for 7 days and then for 9. He had a woodstove for heat and kept blankets over it. The air bubbles did the rest, only one coral died-xenia. Xenia might have died anyways. So they are worth it if you do not have a generator. They plug in and turn on automatically if the power goes out.

I have sponges and feather dusters galore, I think they do more to filter the water than any gear I could buy except maybe an ozonizer. Sometimes I run carbon for a while, like if the water is yellow from too much caulerpa. But I don't want the carbon to suck up the good stuff. I am no expert, I like easy stuff. LPS, zoanthids, Pocilloporas are all favorites. Love the acans. Birdsnest corals are cool though, and I do have a couple acros right now. One even has pretty good color! Wow... it's not brown (: I would love to share sponges and have plenty of established frags of the gorgonian to swap, but the gorgonian frags has not grown much in the 20 so they are small. Maybe when I do the lights up it will increase.

I did not understand the question on the green M digitata photos, but it's possible I made a typo earlier that question related to. I do that sometimes. My cameras unfortunately have trouble with seeing green flourescence, it just does not show. I will work on the other camera, see what I can do. One has bad color, small pictures and excellent lens with manual focus. The other has big pictures but lousy autofocus and marginal color. One thing I would really really love is a Nikon D70 with a macro lens. That would rock.

Thanks for the compliments, I hope I answered the questions.


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Great looking Tank Kate. I do have one question - you mentioned hitting your polyps with Aiptasia Control to kill some off. I have a similar problem and will something like aiptasiaX kill a polyp other than Aiptasia?



I believe it will, got some myself but have not tried it yet. It will kill or definitely damage ricordea, as I found out by accident... :( but that could be used to your advantage. I believe there is a place for invasive corals like paly polyps, kenya trees, sarcophytons and even aiptasia as they can do well in underlit FOWLR systems. I don't like killing things either. So I don't discard them lightly, but where they are killing eachother and impossible to remove I do kill a polyp if necessary.

You need to read the directions on aiptasia X. It says to clean the syringe completely after it has been in saltwater and let it dry. If you accidentally put any saltwater in the product it clots and becomes useless. Most people ignore this and ruin their Joe's Juice or whatever it is.


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Long post.

I like your style of reef keeping. =)


Thanks, I am kind of a mad reefer myself (: I type 70wpm when I am doing well, though it takes a serious nosedive at times.

I am never really sure which info is important to people. Like there are people who do not know that they need to add buffer, calcium, that sort of thing. They buy all the equipment in the world and can't figure out why their corals die. They just don't hear all the info from the guy at the fish store (who may think they will read and not have time to explain every detail), and a lot of people don't like to read websites or books, which often are out of date or contradict eachother anyways. Plus 10 people can keep their reef tanks 10 different ways and all succeed, so no one way is right.

I have met people who did not know what a skimmer is and have nasty reef tanks, people using skimmers and dosers but not lights, people who did not know that you need to use chlorine neutralizer in tap water... I am not kidding. So I try to be thorough. Of course anyone who takes the trouble to join one of these forums is probably a lot smarter and more informed than those people who do not read. There are those too who want to know exactly what product you use for whatever reason too. I was skeptical about C-Balance but my friend Josh used it double strength on a softie and anemone tank and had the corals grow so much they were smooshed into the sides. He had to trim them. The flowerpot had babies and tripled in size. He also double dosed iron, for whatever that is worth. I like to watch what other people do when they get good growth and see if it is worth trying.

Mostly I just read, think and write too much (:


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I want some of that first coral you show after the tank shots.


That is Pocillopora damicornis. I just picked up another at Upscales, a frag of one that is pink with green tips. They may have more. Mine are not big enough yet to frag but I bet you can find them from other people, and mine are growing fast so will be available soon. They can be bright green, pink, cream, brown or purple and a tricolor version out there somewhere. It's nice and easy, for an SPS. Bleached versions recovered in my tank pretty fast, too. But their recovered version may be brown, as were most of the colonies in Hawaii.






The wild colonies will grow massive and stout in areas with pounding surf, protected coves let them develop the more brittle and wispy form we have in our aquariums. That is why they look different. The few I saw growing like tank raised colonies were in caves and isolated pools, and looked like lace compared to their boulder like counterparts elsewhere. One was the size of a VW bug. It was growing in a dredged area so you could date it's "birth". I read they do not grow fast enough or live long enough to get that big so maybe I am wrong about that huge specimen, but I don't think so. Maybe I should email the Waikiki aquarium and tell them where it is (:


This one was the size of a golfball and actually had nice color.




Here was another with purple pigment, I was so focused on it I did not notice the HUGE turtle right in front of it til I almost turned away. Biggest turtle I saw...




Hawaii is a great place to visit, especially with an underwater camera. I think it should be turned over to the Hawaiians though.



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The pic of the Digi is great. I just wanted to see if the base was an opposite color' date=' like green polyps with an orange base.[/quote']


The digi can be orange with neon green polyps and even purple tips but in my tank it's fairly even brown. I did get it to go neon green with a single LED moonlight after about a week, and one time took it outside to look at it in the sun, it was definitely brilliant green. Under some 10K Coralife DE 250 watt halides we used at my job it was brown. I hope with continued tinkering to get that color back. Do you have it? Not many people do, even though it's easy.


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  • 11 months later...

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