My First Saltwater Aquarium - Fluval Evo 13.5G

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This morning, I tried to take a look at the mouth of my hammer coral before lights came on. The polyps don't look bad from above, but I couldn't see what the mouth looked like since it was covered by the polyps. I also didn't see any recession in the flesh of the stalk from the side although this is the side opposite of the problem area and I really don't want to move the coral and potentially aggravate him if there are no issues.

One thing I did do was to change the set temperature on my Inkbird to 79F from 80F. My tank has been heating up to 81F at which point, the fan kicks in and brings the temperature back down to 80F only to repeat this cycle. I don't know if temperature is causing my hammer coral to act up (if he is), but it doesn't hurt to lower the tank temperature by 1F.

I unplugged my heater so that it doesn't interfere with the temperature for now until I can program it to 76F at the next water change.

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I’ve had plenty of euphilia trouble - I’ve found that the best thing to do is try to keep it as happy as possible and wait and see. Dipping can help. I’m sure others would have better answers than me though.
Sometimes they get better, sometimes they don’t.
Pull at the first sign of brown jelly.
 
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Well, I did it! I am now the proud owner of a maxima clam and a big one at that! I was going to buy a smaller one (~2"), but they were harder to find and I felt that they were really expensive for how small they were. This one is almost 5" and he is huge! Hindsight being 20/20, I'm glad I got a bigger one since I think he has a better shot at surviving on the sand bed and further away from the lights than a smaller one. He is currently chilling in the display tank.

When I got him (yesterday), I was pleasantly surprised that he did not look all that dirty. I spent almost six hours working on getting him cleaned up and as pest-free as I could knowing that I wouldn't be quarantining him as he was going straight into the display. I broke as many of his scutes as I could to get at the gunk beneath and picked out debris/pests. He also endured a 30-minute freshwater dip to get more pests off and as a preventative measure against pinched mantle disease.

Overall, I was really happy with the health of the clam. He had bristle worms and other pests, but I was glad to see that he had NO pyramid snails on him (that I could find). His byssal opening was in rough shape as it looked like he had been attached to something that was pulled off or had fallen off. I think the brown stringy stuff are his old byssal threads, not his foot which looks okay.

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When I put him in the tank, my nassarius snails went crazy. I think they smelled his rotting byssal threads and were thinking it was dinner time. One adventurous snail tried to poke his head in the inhalant siphon looking for food and got caught when the clam suddenly closed on his shell in reaction. I'm glad to say that no animals were harmed in this incident. The snail was able to wiggle free and went on with his business.

20220414_183041.jpg


As a side note, I finally dialed in my extra light to be 100% whites and blues. I thought that 100% brightness meant all LEDs were on (which they were at the lowest setting), not realizing that they can change in intensity. Oops! As of today, my secondary light is at 100%. That should help all my clams.

I also started giving my tank the maximum recommended dose of Phyto-Feast today (5drops/1G = 50 drops). And I discovered that some of the critters on my glass that I thought were copepods are actually some type of *gasp* bristle worms. I saw a slightly larger one crawling on the glass and realized it was not a copepod. I siphoned him out along with some others that looked like flat worms, I think.
 
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Today was the first water change after putting in my ginormous clam. I moved him to face the other direction and then decided to put him back in his original position. He has not attached to the clam hammock and there looks to be more dead byssal threads than before when I turned him over. I'm not going to mess with him for the next week and see what he does.

Water Parameters
  • Salinity 1.025 --> slightly higher due to excessive evaporation, topping off with freshwater
  • Alkalinity 9.75dKH --> shot up from last week
  • Calcium 455ppm
  • Magnesium 1440ppm
  • pH 8.15
  • Phosphate 0.03ppm
  • Nitrate 2.5ppm
My alkalinity went up drastically from last week, but calcium and magnesium stayed approximately the same. I'm going to be keeping an eye on calcium specifically in case the maxima starts using it all up. Will also continue with the All-For-Reef at 2mL daily.

Nitrates are up as expected with all the Phyto-Feast I'm putting in, but my phosphates are not increasing. I'm going to have to figure out what is going on. I'll probably start tracking what I feed my tank in the AFR table to see if the foods I am using could be the cause of this imbalance. I also spoke too soon about conquering the cyanobacteria last week :rolleyes:. Sigh.

And last of all, I took out my heater altogether today. The weather is starting to warm up and my tank is running around 79F to 80F right now so no need for a heater. I'll put it back in when the weather starts cooling down again.

Date​
Alkalinity​
Calcium​
Notes​
04-09-22​
8.45dKH​
475ppm​
Dosed 2.0mL AFR after water change; alkalinity and calcium were measured on water taken out of tank before AFR daily dose; 30 drops live phytoplankton; replaced activated carbon
04-10-22​
Dosed 2.0mL AFR; 30 drops live phytoplankton
04-11-22​
Dosed 2.0mL AFR; 30 drops live phytoplankton
04-12-22​
Dosed 2.0mL AFR; 30 drops live phytoplankton
04-13-22​
Dosed 2.0mL AFR; 30 drops live phytoplankton
04-14-22​
Dosed 2.0mL AFR; 50 drops live phytoplankton
04-15-22​
Dosed 2.0mL AFR; 50 drops live phytoplankton
04-16-22​
9.75dKH​
455ppm​
Dosed 2.0mL AFR after water change; alkalinity and calcium were measured on water taken out of tank before AFR daily dose; 50 drops live phytoplankton

20220416_174743.jpg


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I fed my tank today and did a little bit of light maintenance such as scrubbing the crocea clams' shells and around the arch. I also destroyed what I thought was a vermetid snail tube. Actually, it was a small, whitish raised area on the big crocea clam's shell that I noticed recently, but I wasn't taking any chances of it being a pest.

I reattached the micromussa lord to his frag plug. It detached a while back and I didn't put it back on. He hasn't been looking good so I gave him an H2O2 dip yesterday to get some hair algae off him and glued him back on his old frag plug today. I wonder if he has the same issue as the hammer coral. Both of them have looked out of sorts for some time now, but the alveopora is doing great. I have no idea why.

As for feeding, all RFAs and the micromussa lord got a little piece of chopped scallop. I tried feeding it to the walking dendro and the hammer coral as well, but they wouldn't take it. I'm sure the nassarius snails will clean those pieces up. I also put in about half a cube of herring fish eggs and fed the other half to the corals in QT. I followed that up with 50 drops of Phyto-Feast and put in the last bit of Tigger-Pods from the bottle I had. That should take care of feeding everyone in my display tank.

I counted three nassarius snails so they are all alive and well. I usually see the two that I recently put in as they are very active, but I hardly ever see my original one. I thought he was dead and the other two already took care of the body, but I saw his snorkel this morning when I was feeding the tank.

I forgot to add one item on my wish list that I am looking for which is a Christmas Tree Worm rock. I want a small piece that I can put on the top of the arch with the crocea clams. I think they would look really cool up there with the clams and scolys (if I ever get those corals in the display).

One thing I forgot to do yesterday was to put in some more Dr. Tim's One and Only. I'll put it in tomorrow when I dose the tank with AFR.
 
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I have sad news to share...my maxima clam died yesterday :crying-face:.

Up to that point, he had looked fine albeit his mantle started looking flaccid a few days before his passing, but only when lights were out. With lights on, he was extending as expected although slightly less and less as the week progressed.

The only thing I can think of is that his foot was damaged when I received him. I thought the damage was only to the byssal threads (wishful thinking) that had to be cut to dislodge him from whatever he was attached to before I got him. My guess is that his foot was damaged during that process.

Yesterday morning, I noticed he was gaping a lot and he never extended when lights came on. At that point, I took him out of the tank so that he didn't pollute the water. It has been a stressful week watching him and wondering if his floppy mantle was a bad sign. It was.

This picture was taken right before I took him out of the tank. The nassarius snails' snorkels can be seen in the sand, kind of like shark fins, circling their prey.

20220421_153055.jpg
 
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I did an extensive cleaning today including the water pump and changed twice the normal amount of water. I wanted to make sure that the dying maxima clam didn't cause my water parameters to go out of whack.

Water Parameters
  • Salinity 1.025
  • Alkalinity 9.75dKH
  • Calcium 455ppm
  • Magnesium 1410ppm
  • pH 8.15
  • Phosphate 0.1ppm
  • Nitrate 2.5ppm
After my clam died, I stopped dosing the tank with Phyto-Feast. I will probably start back up next week, but not daily.

I think I figured out what was wrong with my hammer coral and micromussa lord...they were starving. I didn't realize that they weren't eating the Oyster Feast that I put into the tank and the Phyto-Feast did nothing for them. When I hand fed them the scallops on Sunday and then frozen mysis shrimp a couple of days later, they started to perk up.

Date​
Alkalinity​
Calcium​
Notes​
04-16-22​
9.75dKH​
455pm​
Dosed 2.0mL AFR after water change; alkalinity and calcium were measured on water taken out of tank before AFR daily dose; 50 drops live phytoplankton
04-17-22​
Dosed 2.0mL AFR; 50 drops live phytoplankton; 10mL Dr. Tim's One and Only
04-18-22​
Dosed 2.0mL AFR; 50 drops live phytoplankton
04-19-22​
Dosed 2.0mL AFR; 50 drops live phytoplankton
04-20-22​
Dosed 2.0mL AFR; 50 drops live phytoplankton
04-21-22​
Dosed 2.0mL AFR; 50 drops live phytoplankton; maxima clam dying/dead and taken out of tank
04-22-22​
Dosed 2.0mL AFR
04-23-22​
9.75dKH​
455ppm​
Dosed 2.0mL AFR after water change; alkalinity and calcium were measured on water taken out of tank before AFR daily dose; 15mL Dr. Tim's One and Only; replaced activated carbon

I've also been having problems with my tank overheating again. I currently have my Inkbird set to 79F with the fan turning on at 80F to cool it down. If left alone, my fan would be running continuously with hardly any effect on the tank's temperature (it was staying around 81F). I tried to prop open the stock lid with plastic knives in addition to leaving the AIO chamber lid off to see if some of the heat would dissipate through evaporation, but that didn't work either.

I finally unplugged the fan to give it a break and my tank shot up past 82F! I chilled some freshwater in the fridge and put it into the tank to try to cool it down. That didn't help. It took my changing the thermostat in my house down a couple of degrees to get my tank to stay around 79F so the ambient temperature in my house definitely plays a big part in how my tank's temperature fluctuates.

I'm also keeping an eye on my original crocea clam. He has been acting strangely lately and with the death of the maxima clam, I am completely paranoid that I am going to lose another one!

I placed a small PVC tube on my rock structure to see if it would fit in a crevice. I'm hoping that I can train a bubble tip anemone to attach to the inside of the tube. They'll go where they want to go, but maybe he'll like the PVC tube. It can't hurt to try although I don't have a BTA yet and am still thinking about it, but here's the tube in the tank.

20220423_193550.jpg
 

reeferpat137

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I did an extensive cleaning today including the water pump and changed twice the normal amount of water. I wanted to make sure that the dying maxima clam didn't cause my water parameters to go out of whack.

Water Parameters
  • Salinity 1.025
  • Alkalinity 9.75dKH
  • Calcium 455ppm
  • Magnesium 1410ppm
  • pH 8.15
  • Phosphate 0.1ppm
  • Nitrate 2.5ppm
After my clam died, I stopped dosing the tank with Phyto-Feast. I will probably start back up next week, but not daily.

I think I figured out what was wrong with my hammer coral and micromussa lord...they were starving. I didn't realize that they weren't eating the Oyster Feast that I put into the tank and the Phyto-Feast did nothing for them. When I hand fed them the scallops on Sunday and then frozen mysis shrimp a couple of days later, they started to perk up.

Date​
Alkalinity​
Calcium​
Notes​
04-16-22​
9.75dKH​
455pm​
Dosed 2.0mL AFR after water change; alkalinity and calcium were measured on water taken out of tank before AFR daily dose; 50 drops live phytoplankton
04-17-22​
Dosed 2.0mL AFR; 50 drops live phytoplankton; 10mL Dr. Tim's One and Only
04-18-22​
Dosed 2.0mL AFR; 50 drops live phytoplankton
04-19-22​
Dosed 2.0mL AFR; 50 drops live phytoplankton
04-20-22​
Dosed 2.0mL AFR; 50 drops live phytoplankton
04-21-22​
Dosed 2.0mL AFR; 50 drops live phytoplankton; maxima clam dying/dead and taken out of tank
04-22-22​
Dosed 2.0mL AFR
04-23-22​
9.75dKH​
455ppm​
Dosed 2.0mL AFR after water change; alkalinity and calcium were measured on water taken out of tank before AFR daily dose; 15mL Dr. Tim's One and Only; replaced activated carbon

I've also been having problems with my tank overheating again. I currently have my Inkbird set to 79F with the fan turning on at 80F to cool it down. If left alone, my fan would be running continuously with hardly any effect on the tank's temperature (it was staying around 81F). I tried to prop open the stock lid with plastic knives in addition to leaving the AIO chamber lid off to see if some of the heat would dissipate through evaporation, but that didn't work either.

I finally unplugged the fan to give it a break and my tank shot up past 82F! I chilled some freshwater in the fridge and put it into the tank to try to cool it down. That didn't help. It took my changing the thermostat in my house down a couple of degrees to get my tank to stay around 79F so the ambient temperature in my house definitely plays a big part in how my tank's temperature fluctuates.

I'm also keeping an eye on my original crocea clam. He has been acting strangely lately and with the death of the maxima clam, I am completely paranoid that I am going to lose another one!

I placed a small PVC tube on my rock structure to see if it would fit in a crevice. I'm hoping that I can train a bubble tip anemone to attach to the inside of the tube. They'll go where they want to go, but maybe he'll like the PVC tube. It can't hurt to try although I don't have a BTA yet and am still thinking about it, but here's the tube in the tank.

20220423_193550.jpg
Ambient temp will have a greater effect on small tanks. I have 4 pumps in my evo and it keeps the temp at 78-79 with my room at 70. If my room hits 72 tank temp wants to go into the 80's. What light are you using?
 
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Ambient temp will have a greater effect on small tanks. I have 4 pumps in my evo and it keeps the temp at 78-79 with my room at 70. If my room hits 72 tank temp wants to go into the 80's. What light are you using?
I have the stock light and another small LED light that I placed inside the stock hood in late March. There is more information about the second light in post #165 of this thread.

The stock light runs for 8 hours on whites and the small LED light is on for 6 hours (max intensity blues and white). They are usually both on at the same time mainly for my clams.
 
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Feeding my tank today. All the carnivores got frozen mysis shrimp while the clams and smaller corals i.e. alveopora and rhodactis got Brightwell Aquatics PhytoGreen-S. I didn't count how many drops I put in, but it was somewhere between 10 and 20.

I planned on moving the two button scolys into the display today, but after dipping them (4 times at 30 seconds each in freshwater followed by a 12-minute dip in KoralMD), one of the button scolys was still shedding junk. He is currently awaiting my decision to move him to the display or put him back into QT for a little bit longer. I'm leaning on putting him back into QT.

The other scoly is now in the display tank. He is looking the worse for wear after all the dipping, but he did manage to eat some mysis shrimp.

My newest RFA has been moving around trying to find a comfortable spot on Dragon Island. Here is where he's at right now. (After this picture was taken, I noticed that he had squeezed underneath the skirt of the big RFA on the left.) The scoly is on a frag plug to the right of the RFA.

20220424_130232.jpg


And here are some pictures of my clams from above this morning with lights off. They look okay, but I am now paranoid that they are all at death's door just waiting to die.

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One thing I wanted to mention is that my feather duster lost his crown a few days ago and I'm wondering if he is dead or just stressed. I did a water change of the QT and scraped some hair algae off the glass. I will look in on him later after everything settles down.

EDIT: I forgot to mention that Tux got his little piece of nori as well.
 
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full dominate clam tank?
Hmm...I have three crocea clams in my tank at the moment. My maxima clam died last Thursday. I will probably get another one to replace him...maybe. I realized that the size of the larger maxima clam threw off the overall scale of my tank.

I also plan on having fish in this tank in the near future (a clown fish and a yellow watchman goby for sure) as well as some more corals. I like the look of the clams and the croceas, at least, look like the little round rocks on the top of the arch so maybe not a totally clam-dominated tank?
 
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Update on the little RFA that was moving around yesterday. He is now snuggled in with the largest RFA in my tank.

20220425_145420.jpg


And here's a before (yesterday) and after (today) snapshot of the button scoly in the display tank. He was very irritated/stressed yesterday and seems to have started plumping up today.

20220424_193634.jpg
20220425_145245.jpg


Finally, I put my feather duster into the display tank today. He had already lost his crown of feathers last week, but he was still alive when I checked on him yesterday. I brushed his tube with freshwater using a toothbrush and then dipped him 3 times in freshwater for 10 seconds each before I placed him in the display. I saw him peek his head out earlier, but he's not out in the picture.

20220425_145128.jpg
 
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Fed the tank again today. I didn't want my corals to starve like they were before. This time, the carnivores got fresh chopped shrimp from the market. I also dropped in a little bit of Reef-Roids for the smaller corals and 11 drops of Phyto-Feast for the clams and feather duster.

Tux has been hanging out around the feather duster for a while and I can't see what he is doing...so Tux may be getting a timeout when I can see what's going on again.

And if you have ever wondered what a button scoly looks like right after he has consumed a large quantity of meat, here you go!

20220426_135330.jpg
 

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Fed the tank again today. I didn't want my corals to starve like they were before. This time, the carnivores got fresh chopped shrimp from the market. I also dropped in a little bit of Reef-Roids for the smaller corals and 11 drops of Phyto-Feast for the clams and feather duster.

Tux has been hanging out around the feather duster for a while and I can't see what he is doing...so Tux may be getting a timeout when I can see what's going on again.

And if you have ever wondered what a button scoly looks like right after he has consumed a large quantity of meat, here you go!

20220426_135330.jpg
Nice!!
 
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Okay, I am officially stumped.

The corals in QT were looking off so I decided to take them out and clean the tank. When I was taking the large scoly out, a pest come off of it onto the towel I had underneath the coral to keep water from dripping on the floor. At first, I thought it was a piece of shrimp leftover from when I fed yesterday. I was about to pick it up and throw it away when it starting moving. Freaked me out!!!

20220427_105856.jpg


It's about 0.3" long and I have no idea what it is. I'm stumped because most of the corals in QT have been there for over 2 months with the exception of a hammer coral that has been QT for almost 2 weeks. Along the way, I have had various inverts like snails, shrimps, anemones, and a feather duster pass through QT on their way to my display.

All of my corals are dipped religiously when I receive them and most of the corals have gone through multiple dips except for the hammer coral (and he was full of pests when I got him). Can something this large have been on one of the other corals in QT for 2 months and have stayed hidden this long? Can this pest have come in on one of the inverts? Or has this pest somehow eluded me when I dipped and inspected the hammer coral initially? I can't believe I let something this big slip through and now I am questioning everything that is left in QT.

I'm also worried about the corals/inverts that I have recently put into my display tank as well. Could something like this have made it into my display on one of them? It certainly does not look harmless to me!

EDIT: My LFS told me it is an amphipod so not as bad as I thought as they are considered beneficial for the saltwater aquarium. Still wondering how I could have missed something that big though.
 
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