Perseverance Reef

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As I stated in my 75 gallon build thread I decided to reboot things. This system is a 45 tall. It already looks better although the water is still cloudy.

All animals and inverts made the trip safely to the new tank including the corals.

I looked at some samples from the old system under the scope Monday night. I didn't get a good sample of dinos although I did see some diatoms and even some green algae. Later today I will get a better sample and take some pics.

Most of the dinos on the rocks flaked off into the old tank. Some ended up in the new system but not super badly. The rocks are more green than brown now. It will soon be time to reign in the feedings before I have super high nutrients instead of not enough.

I unleashed some apocyclops pods into the main system along with some phyto. Hopefully they'll populate fairly quickly and eat any remaining dinoflagellates.

Speaking of phyto I split the tetraselmis culture I bought into three cultures. I refrigerated two and the third is in a bottle with a gentle bubbling of air. Today I'll set up my grow lights for the cultures and for the sump.

Today is going to be the day for cutting pipe and cementing pvc. I also have to clean the 10 gallon tank I am using as a sump for this system.

By the time I got everything transferred it was late so I didn't take pictures but I will take some today.
 
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Fishy888

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Actually I am decreasing feedings. I increased them in the old system and green algae has taken over most of the rock now. Some pods do eat dinoflagellates however not in huge numbers. My phyto cultures are for the pods. The pods are just one of several tools I'm using to get rid of dinos once and for all. The 10 gallon would be temporary. I'll be looking for a larger sump.
 
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Things are looking awesome so far compared to what they looked like in the old system. I took some pictures.

I cemented the pvc pipe for the overflow and the return line. It isn't the prettiest exactly but it is good and secure. It will take until tomorrow morning at 1:00 AM to cure.

I do believe the corals are starting to react positively to the new tank. I dosed a bit of phyto to the tank for the pods. The xenia perked up a bit since the phyto was added. The GSP has a patch of dinoflagellates growing on it but I'll clean them today.

Both shrimp were out for a while. They were fairly active. Several hermits were also out. The clownfish are cruising the new tank and seem to like it.

It looks like I crashed my first phyto culture already. I will find out for sure but the culture was hot from the lights. Clearly they need to be farther away. Thankfully I still have enough to make 2 more cultures.

I had the grow lights on when I took the pictures tonight. There is a purple glow in the background. I'll take more pictures tomorrow with the grow light off.
 

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Fishy888

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I didn't get to take any pictures last night but the tank looks awesome.

Yesterday I added more sand and blew the detritus and dying flakes of dinos off the rocks. I strained them out of course. There is now an inch of sand approximately. When I added the sand I removed and replaced the rocks so they could sit on top of the sand.

With all the issues in the old system I didn't expect any bristle worms to survive but as I was cleaning the sand from the old tank I found one. There is still more sand to clean. That task will get done later today. That sand will go in the sump eventually. Until I get a 20 long sump I'll store the sand in a 5 gallon bucket.

The pvc cement is cured now so I just need to assemble the overflow and sterilize the 10 gallon tank I'm going to use as a temporary sump. Even though it won't hold much water it will allow detritus to settle there where I can get it out more easily. I won't put sand in it since it will be a temporary sump. I might use it as an auto top off tank once I get the 20 long.

Phyto culture number 2 is now under a warm white led pot light like one would see mounted in ceilings. It is a 15 watt light that I have mounted sideways. It illuminates the side of the bottle.

So far the culture looks good. As such it has already lived longer than culture number 1. I dosed 5 ml of f/2. Hopefully it will soon grow darker so I can start an even larger culture.

I dosed more phytoplankton last night to my display. Hopefully it won't be long until the pods bloom. I also hope it will keep my nutrients where they need to be. I know that phyto can bring levels up quickly. Since I started dosing the phyto the dinos have been receding. The rocks that were most effected by dinoflagellates are now almost clear of them. Even my GSP which was constantly covered in dinos are cleaner and aren't attracting dinos like they were.

I got to see both shrimp again last night. There were 7 hermits grazing away in the front of the tank. The clownfish have been cruising around the tank more than in the old system. They used to be "hosted" by a circulation pump in the old tank. I think they are looking for a new "host" and once they find something they'll stay close to it like they did in the old system.

The corals are looking good although the xenia look like they're reaching for light. Since the tank is deeper then the old one it doesn't surprise me entirely. I'll figure out a way to raise it up a few inches today. The cabbage leathers are doing good but I think they are going to shed again soon. The GSP are doing well considering what they've been through. I didn't count how many polyps were out but today I'll count them.
 
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I took a few pics just a little while ago. As I expected some small patches of dinos grew back a bit but I'll clean those up before long. Otherwise things are doing well.

I got to see one of my pods on the glass tonight. It was walking around for a bit then it swam away. I love the micro life as much as I love the fish, clams (which are eventually coming), and corals.

My tetraselmis culture had clumps in it today. I suspect that I either contaminated the culture somehow or it was in the fridge too long before getting used or both. I took clean toilet paper and a funnel and caught all the clumps. The culture is a pale green at this point and some mini clumps got in it but I am hopeful it will survive. One other mistake I made was not using the rigid air line tubing. I tried to use the air line itself and it didn't stir things up well enough. If this culture dies I will try again in April. I hope to get nannochloropsis in April as well. The picture of my tetraselmis culture and the light looks dark but the light fixture puts out a decent amount of light. The culture in that pic looks brown but there is another picture taken from an angle that shows the true color of the culture in its current state.

20220311_184743.jpg 20220311_184814.jpg 20220311_184939.jpg 20220311_190547.jpg 20220311_190739.jpg 20220311_190703.jpg 20220311_185210.jpg
 
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It has been a busy weekend so I haven't installed the sump yet. Part of the reason for that is that I unexpectedly got a new reefing partner. A friend had another friend who died. He owned a Goffin's cockatoo. I now have her since no one else wanted her. I couldn't be happier with her.

Back to the topic of this build... despite that the water came from the old tank it has cleared nicely. I believe the phyto dosing has been a big factor in that as well as the copepods.

All animals and inverts are doing great. Even the GSP are extending a bit more.

My second culture of tetraselmis almost crashed but it is now greener than it's ever been. It will likely be another week before I can split this culture up but it's getting greener by the day.

I have attached a picture of Kyliegh the cockatoo. I will get some pics of the reef later.

20220313_202040.jpg
 
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Well as soon as the phyto ran out the dinos came right back. I need to source some nitrate and phosphate to dose to this tank. The GSP is not doing well and the xenia have been better. I have a large water change to do later. At least the cabbage leathers are doing OK as are the fish and inverts. It has been hectic and will be for a while still so I won't be posting as frequently as I was for the foreseeable future.
 
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It has been a challenge but the eco balance is working. For quite a while even the clownfish were hiding in the cave where the shrimp hang out, barely coming out for food and going right back to the cave. The dinos got that bad.

I actually put the tank up for sale but I only got super low ball offers. Lol there was a petco employee who tried to tell me my clownfish weren't "special" and when I told him how old they were he lost all interest. I'm glad actually. These were no DOA petco fish that were bred to their parents and siblings. I love them too much to let them go to someone like that.

Today the sand is mostly clear of dinos and the clownfish are back to normal. I decided to persevere and now that I have a solution to the dino issue this system is going to be awesome. I won't be selling the system. Besides Perseverance Reef is the name of this build.

I know that a handful of hermits are still alive. I am not sure about the shrimp. I know that the xenia are hanging on but I still can't see if the others are ok. The glass is covered still although green algae is taking over the dinos. Until I get more salt and eco-balance I am scared that if I clean the glass right now it will spread the dinos and their cysts. When I do the water change I'll scrape the glass without spreading the dinos and cysts.
 
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A few days ago a friend of mine took in my clownfish so I could reboot this tank. Once things are where they need to be I can get them back.

My tank is a mess right now. The dinoflagellates are almost completely gone but there is a bunch of cyano on the sand. The water column is full of tetraselmis algae. Several hermits survived but I lost my corals and shrimp to the dinos a couple of weeks ago.

The eco-balance did a great job but I only had a 4 oz bottle. When it ran out the tank quickly became overrun with dinos. The die off that resulted fed the phyto. Between the cyano bloom and the phyto bloom there no longer appear to be any dinos left.

I picked up a new bucket of salt yesterday. I am going to do a big water change today. Once the water is clearer I'll be able to see if there are any dinos left behind the rocks. I hope to be pleasantly surprised by finding a xenia polyp or two as well.

In another week or so I am getting a 32 oz bottle of eco-balance. That will help as will the big ball of chaeto my friend gave me.

The tank will sit fallow for a month or two except for the pods living inside the chaeto and the hermits that survived. Once the pods bloom and colonize I'll start adding the fish back.
 
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Fishy888

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Wednesday night I did the water change. I changed out 90% give or take. It's cleared out a bit but the water is still a little cloudy.

There are no traces of any coral except, believe it or not, the GSP. There is a decent amount of mat left. If all goes according to plan polyps will grow back eventually.

I almost gave up on the hobby when everything went haywire. It only took a couple of weeks to go from doing well to pea soup. When the dinos came back after running out of the eco-balance the die off began. I lost my shrimp, several hermit crabs, and probably my bristle worms. It only took a week or so for the dinos to kill them and another week for the phyto bloom. I felt like a failure. My wife encouraged me to keep going however. I am grateful to her for that.

On a positive note I can actually populate the tank with pods, bristle worms, and other beneficial microorganisms once the tank clears up all the way. Once the pods get established and the system is dinoflagellate free for several weeks I'll reintroduce the clownfish.
 

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You sure are determined and I hope things work out for you.

IF I was in your shoes, I would start over from scratch. I would take the rocks out, brush them and let them dry. Maybe keep one or two alive if they seem fine.

I would also take the sand out and rinse it thoroughly. Scrap the water and make a new batch entirely.

Then put everything back in the tank.

But before doing that, I would seed some biomedia for 3-4 weeks and keep it wet while working on the new start so you don’t have to redo your cycle.

Then after that, make sure to go very slow with ramping up the light, don’t use chemicals and don’t overfeed.

And test. Every week.
 
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I cleaned the rocks during the water change. The rocks are ok now that the phyto bloom essentially killed off the dinos. I'll still have to be careful though since the cysts dinos make can survive heat, cold, and even drying out if I recall correctly.

The sand definitely needs to be cleaned the rest of the way. Later today I am going to start cleaning it. I vaccumed the major stuff when I did the change but the smaller stuff needs to go.

Eco-balance is the closest thing to chemicals that I'd use especially in a display tank. Testing is going to start happening before long.

I will do another water change after I tackle the sand bed. I'll need to use tank water anyway to rinse the sand since I want to keep the sand alive.

The ball of chaeto my friend gave me is about the size of a football. I have it sitting in the DT currently but later today I am going to set my sump up. I have a grow light I am going to put over it. Once that's ready the chaeto is going in there. I know there are amphipods in the chaeto and I am sure there are copepods in it as well. There are plenty of spirorbid worms in it as well. Once the micro fauna bloom and colonize both sump and display tanks I'll put the clownfish back in.
 
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Well the water has taken on a green tint again. I see the green water as a mixed blessing. It looks unsightly but it feeds pods and there is no trace of dinos. It is nowhere near as bad as it was before the water change however.

I have intentionally kept the lights on 24/7 since I did the initial water change because I still have the chaeto ball in there. I'll have my sump set up later today. It will have a much stronger light over it for the chaeto. That will mean the potential for pea soup conditions. Hopefully there will be a pod bloom. I am pretty sure I am seeing baby amphipods cruising around and on the chaeto as it is and hopefully there are plenty of copepods in there as well. The pods should start putting a dent in the phyto population.

I will perform another large water change. This time however I might keep a 5 gallon bucket worth, get some f/2, and use my second grow light to culture green water and pods. I am 99% certain this algae is tetraselmis from when I had coral and a small pod population eating it.
 
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I wasn't going to post again tonight but I had to. The pod bloom has started. I am going to do the water change tomorrow instead of tonight like I was going to. It'll only be a 50% change instead of another 90% change. The sand will also get cleaned tomorrow.

The pods had been swimming in and around the chaeto ball but none were on the front glass. Tonight there were a bunch on the front glass about 2 or 3 inches from the chaeto. I still plan to culture 3 or 4 gallons of the tetraselmis. The pods seem to be all over it.

As of today there are no dinos. There is some cyano on the sand but I am going to take care of that.
 
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At this late hour I am halfway through another large water change. This is going to be another 90% change after all. I did a pseudo rip clean of the sand while I was at it. The water is green enough that it should make for a good culture. I just don't want THAT much green in the DT's water.

The chaeto is still in there and I imagine the pods will be just fine even though I stirred a lot up. I am taking a break for now. I am going to "decant" about 4 gallons of green water to culture then I'll fill it up. If I am still this awake after I fill the tank I'll start getting the sump going.

I might be able to get away with buying more eco-balance. The tank most certainly has both pods and phyto now as well as chaeto. It still has the good bacteria in there as well. That is good because I'd rather get $30 worth of live rock at this stage.
 
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I just finished the water change. Needless to say it looks much better now.

I've set aside 4 gallons of green water which almost certainly is tetraselmis. I took several sheets of paper towel and folded them. Then, using an old mayonnaise bottle, I poured the green water through the paper towel "filter". By the time I was done the paper towel was almost black. The green water is an emerald green. For now I put a lid on it. I left a gap for air. I am going to set up the air tubing later today as well as the light. Once I get the culture bubbling I'll give it some f/2.

The chaeto ball still looks good but I found a few strands floating around during the water change. I know that it's to be expected. I am not worried though since the chaeto ball is springy and has a healthy color.

I spent some time to see if any pods were swimming around. I am pretty sure I saw a few but none on the glass. While I was watching for pods I got to see a hermit crab take over another shell. I could briefly see the whole crab as it left the old shell and entered the new one. Speaking of hermits I still have 4. I thought I only had 2 or 3 so that is a pleasant surprise.

The GSP mat that was still in the tank disintegrated when I tried to brush some algae off it. A few small pieces fell in the tank but I got most of it out.

Right now I have a beamswork light. It is 54 watts. It uses 1/2 watt LEDs. The light that is going over the sump is 165 watts. Since it is twice as bright and has a lot of red I will need to be extremely careful lest I end up with more green water. Once the chaeto starts growing in earnest I would think it would outcompete the tetraselmis algae. The pods should put a dent in the tetraselmis as well.

I am attaching several photos. One is what the tank looked like before the first 90% water change. Another shows the tank as of now. I also took a photo of the tetraselmis culture after I filtered it.
 

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Fishy888

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The water has cleared up since the water change. The hermits are out doing their thing. I will post a picture later on.

Even though the water is clearer there are no traces of dinos. I am cautiously optimistic that the system has turned a corner.

After dinner tonight I'll start on the sump. I'll also take care of the tetraselmis at the same time.

As promised earlier I took a picture of the tank. Even though the tank looks greenish in the photo the water, though slightly hazy, is clear.

As anyone can see the sand needs another cleaning. Still I am much happier with the system as it is now.

20220522_202432.jpg
 
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