Erk's Attempt at a Reef

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Looking good! I'm loving the photos!!
Thanks!

I'm waiting for Nikon to repair my 200mm macro lens then maybe I can take even better macros.
 
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Several months ago I decided to hang a mirror on the side of my tank to try and reduce aggression. It has worked amazingly well to reduce aggression among similar species but has also helped to increase the breeding colors of my wrasses. Now I frequently find all of my wrasses showing off for the mirror. I need to break out the flash and get some nice images of my fish soon.
 
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I've started to notice aiptasia cropping up around the tank. They are still very small, with the largest no bigger than a dime when fully expanded. Typically I'd use super glue or some other method to snuff them out quick, but I want to find a long term solution. I've started looking into peppermint shrimp as I've used them in the past, but with a well established coral banded shrimp, I'm afraid that might not end well.

Was hoping to hear from others on their methods of controlling aiptasia growth without using chemicals or other short term solutions?

Also, I've decided to replace the pump on my skimmer with the new Eheim CompactOn 5000. BRS had an open box deal. I'm sure this will be far quieter and more efficient than the CHJ-4500 I've used for the last year.
 
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The pump I was using to power my venturi skimmer was a Sun Sun CHJ4500. The pump was reliable, but always took a bit to start up and very loud even inside the cabinet. I decided to switch it out for the new Eheim CompactOn 5000. Just powered it on and it is very silent. It is also pulling way more air thru the venturi than the CHJ4500 ever did. Really happy I went with the new Eheim pump and recommend it to anyone looking for a compact, silent, and powerful pump.
 

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The pump I was using to power my venturi skimmer was a Sun Sun CHJ4500. The pump was reliable, but always took a bit to start up and very loud even inside the cabinet. I decided to switch it out for the new Eheim CompactOn 5000. Just powered it on and it is very silent. It is also pulling way more air thru the venturi than the CHJ4500 ever did. Really happy I went with the new Eheim pump and recommend it to anyone looking for a compact, silent, and powerful pump.
Yep, eheim pumps are seriously reliable. The CompactOn are are their newer more modern looking pumps. Supposedly better all around, they just don't have the track record of their predecessors yet. Considering eheim in general, i'd wager they're pretty solid.

When it comes to return pumps, IMHO, the big three are Tunze, Sicce, and Eheim. Each one is ridiculously efficient, and long lasting.
 
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Had to add a ball valve to the Eheim CompactOn 5000 outlet because the skimmer was overflowing constantly. Even though the previous pump, the CHJ4500, is rated at the same flow rate, I think it was exaggerated a bit. The ball valve fixed my overflow problem as expected.

Today is water change day, so I think I might take some macro shots after I finish the weekly maintenance.
 
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I took some pictures, but not of coral. Decided I wanted to get some fish pics. I also wanted to try a remote flash setup. The remote flash setup worked very very well. No glare and the subjects were very well lit. I will definitely use this setup for photographing fish.

Here is my flash setup on a tripod. I also put a blue color correction filter on it to try and reduce that harsh look you get with flash.
flash setup.jpg

This is the lens I use for fish photography. I couple this to my Nikon D810. It's an old lens, but a goodie.
lens choice.jpg

Coral Beauty Angel:
coral beauty angel.jpg

C. lubbocki and rubriventralis:
double wrasses.jpg

C. rubrisquamis:
red velvet.jpg

C. rubriventralis flashing:
rubriventralis flair.jpg

rubriventralis flair2.jpg
 
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I'm a bit confused as to what why my alk and Ca readings are rising. Coral growth is booming and and yet I'm having to reduce my dosing. I think I need to send in for an ICP test and check that my tests agree with the ICP test. I'm using Hanna checkers for both alk and Ca. I use a Waverly 10-100uL mechanical pipette for the Ca tests.
 
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I decided today while doing my weekly WC to remove the carpet of algae that grew in the top layer of substrate. It was like removing a green carpet with gravel in it. It came off in sheets and I would roll large sections up and then tear out. It was a lot of work, but I'm happy I did it. The tank is far brighter now. I increased my vodka dosage by 1mL to account for the lack of nutrient uptake from the algae. I may to increase it again, but will wait a week to see how things progress.
 

mdbannister

Ahh...the Reef Life
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I decided today while doing my weekly WC to remove the carpet of algae that grew in the top layer of substrate. It was like removing a green carpet with gravel in it. It came off in sheets and I would roll large sections up and then tear out. It was a lot of work, but I'm happy I did it. The tank is far brighter now. I increased my vodka dosage by 1mL to account for the lack of nutrient uptake from the algae. I may to increase it again, but will wait a week to see how things progress.
Awesome! Now it's time for more pics! :D :D
 
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I was excited today as I was getting my Nikon Micro 200mm f/4 lens back. Turns out Nikon refused to repair it. So I tried my hand at it. I realize now that the previous owner dropped the lens and did not disclose this fact. Needless to say, the lens isn't really usable now. Focus ring is very stiff and very difficult to switch between AF and M modes. I plan to keep the lens as the glass, aperture, and electronics are in good shape. I can always use the parts to repair the replacement. Now I have to go back on the hunt once again for a good telemacro lens. Ugh.
 
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Took some shots this evening. Let me know what you think.

FTS2.jpg
look back.jpg
brownie.jpg
creme de menthe.jpg
sarmentosa.jpg
spath colony.jpg
tierra del fuego.jpg
unknown acro 2.jpg
unknown acro.jpg
favia.jpg
unknown lps.jpg
WWC fanta.jpg
mummy eye.jpg
neon green toadstool.jpg

FTS.jpg
 
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Yesterday I was watching one of my male scissor tail damsels courting the lone female and I noticed something strange about the tip of his pectoral fins. There was something hanging from them. I wouldn't call the object fuzzy, but more papery looking. Fins weren't clamped tight and none of his other fins were affected. I couldn't see any damage on his pectoral fins, so I can't understand why he would get a fungal infection on his pectoral fins. Some of his other fins showed typical damage for how long they were, but no infection. This male was recently guarding some eggs, so I'm wondering if rubbing against the hard surface scraped or damaged the fins? I'm keeping an eye on him and if he starts showing signs of distress, I'll see about pulling him out and treating him. No other fish show similar signs of growth on their fins. Maybe it is just something to do with their spawning behavior I've never noticed before.
 

DSC reef

Coral wasted
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Sweet build! I love the macro shots. Corals and fish look colorful and happy, well done.
 
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Sweet build! I love the macro shots. Corals and fish look colorful and happy, well done.
Thanks. I strive to keep the fish happy first. They probably get too much food, but nothing better than a fat fish.
 

DSC reef

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Thanks. I strive to keep the fish happy first. They probably get too much food, but nothing better than a fat fish.
I agree 100% and so do our fish;)
 
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Just want to share some images I took of my other hobby. I keep orchids. They can be a challenge and that might be the thing I enjoy the most about it. The challenge and the payoff once they reward you with a bright bloom.

aloha apricot web.jpg

big phal.jpg

white and purple phal.jpg
 

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