Perseverance Reef

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Are you absolutely positive you have phosphates trapped in algae? I find that when my phosphates are nondetect algae starts growing (cyano, dinos, etc) and as I start feeding heavily those start disappearing as the corals start utilizing available phosphates and nitrates. I'd be curious what your experiment shows.

I’m pretty sure sadly. Just before I started the original 75 gallon last year I got some base rock from a LFS and from the person I got the 75 from. I started noticing these colored small plastic balls about 1/16” in diameter floating around. After looking around I saw several of these balls stuck in the rock from the LFS so I suspect it was previously used. The second one was used in a freshwater tank of all things. Then when the dinos came and I got my first pieces of live rock they disappeared and I fed heavily. I’ve cut back a little but not that much.

I feed the tank at least twice a day, usually three or four times a day. I feed new life spectrum sinking pellets once a day as well as my DIY frozen food. The food I made last year contained far less diversity and was made with tap water. This year’s has much more diversity and was made with distilled water. I feed it fairly heavily.

Algae growth has slowed a little but it’s still there. Also the majanos are starting to spread to other rocks so there are definitely nutrients in the system.
 
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I asked about my idea in the chemistry forum. It seems my “GHA” is really green cyano. Admittedly it looked like cyano but it’s the brightest green I’ve ever seen, at least in nuisance algae (or bacteria).

The good news is I won’t need to dose anymore LaCl. The fish, corals, and other invertebrates are doing well post treatment. I haven’t seen my shrimp today but I am pretty sure they’re both doing ok. The starfish are doing great, both asterinas and micro brittles alike.

Now I need to get my ALK checked. My corals look better than I have ever seen with a couple of exceptions, namely my waving hands anthellia and the new colony of GSP. In the case of the anthellia it’s because of the new flow pattern. In fact the duncans have 2 rapidly growing baby polyps, and the GSP are expanding their territory on their rock. My cabbage leather is likely to form a fifth leaf soon. The mushrooms are growing too.

There is something else growing too and it’s not super desirable unless you’re doing a pest tank, something I might do one day. Team majano has 2 new members. They have jumped to the rock my xenia are on. It’s probably because they get fed when the tank gets fed.

The tank currently gets about 12 hours of light. 2 hours of that time is as close to sunrise and sunset as my straight T5 light can come. I’m going to cut that back to 8 hours with two hours of sunrise and sunset. That might keep the cyano at bay. If all goes well the majanos won’t multiply so fast either. Hopefully I’ll find an efficient means of eradicating the pests before they can spread much further.
 
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I started redoing my flow but clearly it wasn’t enough to rid the sand bed of cyano. I started thinking about positioning the pumps so one is further down. The cube is 25 inches tall so I can afford to drop one. I just wish they made circulation pumps in clear lol. I might take the second one and put it on the back wall. I want what’s best for my animals and what’s best for aesthetics. I want to hide them but I don’t want to make for extreme laminar flow on the reef. I’ll likely try having them both on the back wall. We’ll see if that works.

My majanos have spread out but I have just 8 still. For now. I’m still considering my options but I think it’s going to be the dental pick option. I’ll take the rock out so I can (hopefully) keep them from releasing their “spores” into the system.

The GSP seems to like the flow now. I see what look like polyps on the new GSP colony. I just didn’t realize how poor the flow on the sand bed and the lower 10 inches of the DT was but I should have realized it. I’m eventually going to deal with my low return flow. I’m thinking 2400 gph minimum, possibly 3000 gph.

I’ll have to grab some j. b. waterweld and possibly a hole saw because the drain line has a 1” fitting constricting flow. I want to open the fitting to 1 1/4”. Then I can get good flow and use the loc line I have. I might even be able to get good enough flow to retire one of my circulation pumps.
 
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Last night I took my circulation pumps apart and scrubbed them fairly well. After I put them together I repositioned them both on the back glass about midway down. The flow is much better. I think it could be better still but it’s kicking up much more debris than it was off the rocks and sand bed.

The rock with the mushrooms and the new GSP colony came with a bunch of micro brittle stars. There were starfish arms hanging out of almost every crevice. Lately I started seeing less of them. I only saw a few starfish arms yesterday in the aforementioned rock. Last night however I saw a starfish trying to settle in the rock with my original GSP colony. I took a couple of pictures of it as well as a video. I can’t post the video of course but I can post the pictures. They are grainy due to the debris the new flow pattern is kicking up.

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Good news. The new flow pattern is working wonders. Bad news. I’m going to have to replace the pumps within the next few months.

Bad news first. The plastic rods in both pumps have cracked. I found this out when I opened them up last night. Now I realize why the flow decreased so much. After cleaning them they are putting out much more flow. That is helping majorly. Which brings me to the…

Good news! As long as the pumps continue to hold together until I can replace them the flow pattern is awesome! The he old GSP colony is extending further than they have ever extended and the new ones are opening finally! I can only see the centers right now but they are coming out finally! The duncans also have their tentacles more extended than I have ever seen them and the baby duncans are also extending more. Even the Kenya tree seems more extended than usual. All the corals seem to like the new flow pattern and look healthier. I’ll post pics later.
 
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Here are the pictures I promised. You can also see that the cyano is being stripped off the rocks but by bit. There’s still a decent amount of cyano on the sand bed but even that’s starting to die back a little. There’s also a picture of the newer GSP colony which has its very small polyps peeking out of their stolons. There’s some brown in the pic but it’s not the polyps opening. The white dots at the ends of the stolons (stalks) are the polyps.
 

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Today I took the 5 micron sock out and shut off the filter that was feeding it. I haven’t seen any new algae growth except on the glass and it’s patchy. There’s new cyano in the sump but it’s growing much more slowly than before I started the LaCl.

I got a new picture of the newest GSP and now I know polyps are out on it. I had to get quite the closeup but the polyps are clearly visible. I also took a picture of the original GSP colony with the same magnification.

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So all my corals are looking quite good today. Much of the cyano is off the rocks but it’s still persistent in spots on the sand bed. Even so it’s not growing very fast if at all, not even in the sump. I am beginning to believe my test kit when it says 0 phosphates (which just means they’re 0.1 ppm or less).

The crystals that form reagent number 2 in the Salifert PO4 test kit were loosely stuck together. I was able to shake them loose but I was concerned the reagent might have been ruined. I’ve been feeding more once again. Not in crazy amounts but I am feeding NLS pellets once a day and frozen twice.

I decided to go with the Jebao scp-120 wireless circulation pump. I hear nothing but good about this pump. The flow across the top, down the front, and up the rock will be great for turbulence. I’ll have to wait until January but it’s in the budget. Now I just need to get the Hanna checker for PO4. Hopefully that’ll be under the tree for Christmas. I also hope there’ll be a peristaltic pump there too but because it’s more economical to get a 4 head system I might not push for it yet.

At this point I merely want to think of everything I know I’ll need well ahead of time and have it when I need it. My duncans for instance are my only stony coral at the moment. It’s growing fast now but by no means do I need to dose kalk… yet. I want to be able to dose as soon as it becomes apparent that I need to.

This brings me to All for Reef vs. straight Kalk. At this point I'm leaning heavily toward straight kalk. I’d rather move only one chemical at a time, and only if I can test for it.

All the animals are doing great. The newest GSP colony died back some since I got it. The part that didn’t is starting to get color in its mat and it’s starting to put more polyps out. There were probably 20 open today. Yesterday it was more like 10.
 
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I am noticing a slight uptick in green micro algae on the glass. The cyano is dying off of the rocks fairly quickly at the same time. Since I still read 0 on Salifert I’m not that worried.

I’ll be doing a partial water change with the RO water from the supermarket (which I thought were distilled). I wish it was DI also but it’s filtered through a carbon pre-filter and then run through a carbon post-filter. They also run it through UV. I thought it was distilled but I think this is the closest I can get to either distilled or RO/DI. It’s not too far behind though or I wouldn’t use it after driving my phosphates down. I intend to keep them down.

My new GSP colony is opening more each day. What I thought was color coming into the mat was my eyes playing tricks on me. The mat is a whitish gray color still. The original colony is doing fantastic. It too died back some a month ago or so but now it’s got bigger polyps and has started growing in size as well as number of polyps. My other corals look amazing too compared to where they were when the big algae bloom happened.

It looks like Perseverance Reef is heading in the right direction. In March and April my battle with dinos ended and all my corals at the time were doing better than they were. That was like me clearing the first level. Now I’m poised to start level 2 and get all the dry goods I need.

In January I’ll get my new circulation pump. In February I’m looking to get the Viparspectra reef light or if there’s a better one in that price range I’ll go for it. I also need to get the second power strip for the heaters and lights put together, get the peristaltic pumps, reservoirs (plus building the supports for the reservoirs), the upgraded return pump, and possibly a kalk reactor. Then I need to deal with the drain line. Thankfully I have a hole saw and can access it easily enough. There’s a 1” fitting in the drain line that’s siliconed into place. If I can use the hole saw to open it up I will. I might even be able to get the 1” fitting out altogether and replace it with a 1 1/4” fitting and plenty of J. B. Waterweld.
 
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It’s been almost two weeks since I stopped dosing phosphate-e. So far I don’t see any GHA and I still get a 0 reading with Salifert. I’ve been told that Salifert won’t read below 0.1 ppm. Hopefully I won’t break that mark anytime soon.

The “lovely” majanos have settled super close to three different corals. They aren’t reproducing quickly. They’ve only made 2 clones since I got the rock they came in on. Still two more become 4 more etc so I want to get rid of them. The only biological control that’s even remotely doable is a certain filefish. Even though it’s not reef safe I might have tried it but they need a 4’ tank minimum. The only other control methods involve using a dental pick, but if I do it under water it’ll release spores. If I do it out of water I better hope I get every last cell. As it is I’ll have to pull my rock work apart but I’ll do it. I just have to get every last cell or I’ll be tearing my rock work out on the regular to deal with majanos. I’m tempted to take the affected rocks out, get a hammer, and chisel out enough rock to ensure no majano cells get back into the tank. Whatever I do will have to be done while there are only 10 and not 100. It’ll give me the excuse to redo some of the aquascape since I’ll be pulling rocks out anyway.

Even more of my newest GSP have emerged. The first tentacles to come out are now clearly visible with no magnification. The others are close behind. Once I get the new circulation pump in place both colonies will take off.

I’m still planning on doing a partial water change but I’m putting off the water change for another week or so. I’m trying to think about whether I should get the circulation pump first and get the RO/DI in the February-March timeframe or the RO/DI first and the pump in the next month or so. I’m leaning towards the pump since I can get the water I need from the supermarket for now. It’s only 8 weeks away at most. I can get the water to make up enough saltwater for a 10% water change; and for a month worth of top off in two or three trips to the supermarket. March would be the latest I’d have to wait for the RO/DI unit.
 
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Things are looking up today. I got some tongs to target feed LPS corals today. I target fed my duncans. The two baby polyps that have developed enough to eat got their first target feeding today. All four polyps got fed of course. There’s definitely a fifth polyp developing too. My xenia are starting to grow some. In fact the leftmost colony has grown to be twice the size it was in April. The other colony really hadn’t grown much but I’m seeing it colonizing totally new areas.

For about a week or so I hadn’t seen the peppermint shrimp. I finally saw one this afternoon. I think they were both hanging out together but it was hard to tell. The one peeked out from behind their rock. I might have seen the antennae of the other shrimp but it was mainly behind their rock which is all the way in the back towards the right hand side of the bommie.

I finally found a place in town that had pickling lime. Pickling lime is kalk that costs a bit less and comes in different packaging. For now I’m using it but some discourage it. To me though it’s food grade sooo….

I’m going to put said kalk to use. There are some anemones that need to be target fed some kalk paste. Don’t get me wrong, I love most anemones. Just not pest anemones unless they’re in a pest tank.

I’ve been looking at peristaltic pumps lately. I was looking at a $30 pump but the reviews were not exactly stellar. I decided to hold off for a few months since I only have 1 stony coral right now and I’ll probably need to dose phosphate-e once or twice a month. Then I’ll go for something like BRS’s two part dosing pumps. There are also some Wi-Fi pumps that I want to look into.

I’ve also started researching ATO systems but I have more to do before I figure out what I truly need in that department.

I took some pictures just a little while ago. I’m excited to see how far Perseverance Reef has come and how far it’ll go.

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Tonight I am dosing some phosphate-e. I shouldn’t have to dose again for another couple of weeks. My test kit still reads 0 but my early Christmas present is in the way. Yes I’m now a member of the “I got a Hanna checker ULR for Christmas” club. Well I will be by Tuesday. I’ll finally know if Salifert is reading right. I suspect it isn’t since it keeps reading zero despite my feeding pellets, more frozen food, target feeding my duncans, and seeing more cyano and green algae on the glass. The algae in the glass is only taking a couple of days now to form. I doubt my phosphates are above 0.2 ppm at this point and most likely I’m much closer to 0.1 ppm. Even though I’m feeding more I’m not getting stupid about it. I feed pellets once per day and only what the fish will eat in 30 seconds. They also get frozen food twice a day. I target feed my duncans daily but there are only 4 polyps capable of eating currently and, like today, only 1 ate. The 2 baby polyps didn’t want any and the third polyp got fed a piece too big for it so it got rejected. Anyway I should get my answers Tuesday.

I am seeing more asterinas now. They had declined for a while around when the 75 gallon tank leaked and everything had to be shoehorned into a 30 gallon cube. It’s probably helped that phosphates have been low. My brittle stars are staking more territory which is awesome. I know of 4 rocks they are living in. I’m hoping I can get my pods to proliferate more. There are certainly pods in there but I want many more. I’d like to have a mated pair of mandarin dragonettes so I need all I can get.
 
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Tonight I am dosing some phosphate-e. I shouldn’t have to dose again for another couple of weeks. My test kit still reads 0 but my early Christmas present is in the way. Yes I’m now a member of the “I got a Hanna checker ULR for Christmas” club. Well I will be by Tuesday. I’ll finally know if Salifert is reading right. I suspect it isn’t since it keeps reading zero despite my feeding pellets, more frozen food, target feeding my duncans, and seeing more cyano and green algae on the glass. The algae in the glass is only taking a couple of days now to form. I doubt my phosphates are above 0.2 ppm at this point and most likely I’m much closer to 0.1 ppm. Even though I’m feeding more I’m not getting stupid about it. I feed pellets once per day and only what the fish will eat in 30 seconds. They also get frozen food twice a day. I target feed my duncans daily but there are only 4 polyps capable of eating currently and, like today, only 1 ate. The 2 baby polyps didn’t want any and the third polyp got fed a piece too big for it so it got rejected. Anyway I should get my answers Tuesday.

I am seeing more asterinas now. They had declined for a while around when the 75 gallon tank leaked and everything had to be shoehorned into a 30 gallon cube. It’s probably helped that phosphates have been low. My brittle stars are staking more territory which is awesome. I know of 4 rocks they are living in. I’m hoping I can get my pods to proliferate more. There are certainly pods in there but I want many more. I’d like to have a mated pair of mandarin dragonettes so I need all I can get.
My Salifert reads zero also but when I test my pool water with it and compare to the pool store results it's accurate. ULR will definitely give a better reading.
 
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I decided to do one more dose of LaCl tonight. There was some improvement but I could tell I needed an extra dose. I’m not dosing anymore until my Hanna checker phosphate ULR comes and I get the test results with it.

I’m not sure if it’s because I dropped phosphates a bit but the baby duncan polyps looked larger to me today. I didn’t target feed my duncans today but I might tomorrow.

All my other corals are looking good. Tomorrow I’m going to deal with the majanos. I’ll pull the rocks out so I can get to them easier and to make sure they die. Several of them are too close to my corals for comfort. There’s also algae that needs to be scrubbed from the rocks.
 
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I was thinking that tomorrow was when I’d get the Hanna checker. Clearly I messed up on that. I get it next Tuesday, the 13th. In addition I actually ordered the phosphorus ULR instead of the phosphate ULR.

The bad news is that I can’t read quite as high a phosphate level as with the actual phosphate checker. The good news is that, with the conversion chart, I will get even better resolution with the phosphorous checker and have a good idea of both phosphorus and phosphate levels.

I took another reading with my Salifert test and got another zero reading. I’m continuing to feed the tank decently. The undesirable algae is pretty much absent on the “crest” of the “bommie” where flow’s the greatest. As a result there’s plenty of exposed rock where phosphates should be able to be leached directly into the water column. I still have plenty of cyano and such where the flow isn’t so high so they could be taking up that phosphate. I’ll know next week.

I got some pictures of some pink algae in the cleared out areas in high flow. I hope it’s coralline. Time will tell. I also got some pictures of the reef today. My duncans are honestly one of the biggest success stories so far, which isn’t saying much but it’s certainly letting me know this tank is just about ready for more LPS. The baby polyps are about half the size now that the original two were when I got them.

I still haven’t gotten to the majanos yet. While I hope to soon I haven’t been feeling well lately although I’m a bit better today.
 

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I was thinking that tomorrow was when I’d get the Hanna checker. Clearly I messed up on that. I get it next Tuesday, the 13th. In addition I actually ordered the phosphorus ULR instead of the phosphate ULR.

The bad news is that I can’t read quite as high a phosphate level as with the actual phosphate checker. The good news is that, with the conversion chart, I will get even better resolution with the phosphorous checker and have a good idea of both phosphorus and phosphate levels.

I took another reading with my Salifert test and got another zero reading. I’m continuing to feed the tank decently. The undesirable algae is pretty much absent on the “crest” of the “bommie” where flow’s the greatest. As a result there’s plenty of exposed rock where phosphates should be able to be leached directly into the water column. I still have plenty of cyano and such where the flow isn’t so high so they could be taking up that phosphate. I’ll know next week.

I got some pictures of some pink algae in the cleared out areas in high flow. I hope it’s coralline. Time will tell. I also got some pictures of the reef today. My duncans are honestly one of the biggest success stories so far, which isn’t saying much but it’s certainly letting me know this tank is just about ready for more LPS. The baby polyps are about half the size now that the original two were when I got them.

I still haven’t gotten to the majanos yet. While I hope to soon I haven’t been feeling well lately although I’m a bit better today.
I've had several people tell me to get the phosphorus ULR instead of the phosphate ULR if I get one since it reads all phosphorus whereas the phosphate checker only reads phosphates. For the ranges you feel are in your tank currently you might be better off with the phosphate checker. Either way, if it flashes with the max reading you'll know you're close to that 1.0 as you are expecting.
 
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I've had several people tell me to get the phosphorus ULR instead of the phosphate ULR if I get one since it reads all phosphorus whereas the phosphate checker only reads phosphates. For the ranges you feel are in your tank currently you might be better off with the phosphate checker. Either way, if it flashes with the max reading you'll know you're close to that 1.0 as you are expecting.
Actually I’m hoping that I’m closer to 0.1 ppm since I dosed the phosphate-e for 11 days about a month ago. There’s less nuisance algae now than there was when I began the LaCl. Here’s to hoping.
 
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Lol my poor reef. It doesn’t look so hot this moment but it was phase one of anemopocolypse. I got most but I missed a couple unfortunately. The good news is I am getting the hang of it. I was able to see that one of the anemones I missed was still in its place just before lights out. The other one I’m not so sure of. It might move on me but that’s why I didn’t put everything back together again yet.

I did a few in the tank and a few outside it. I missed some both ways but some were so close together that hitting one made the others retract before they could be hit.

That said one of the mushrooms almost instantly opened up quite a bit. The nems kept it from opening all the way. I was able to get more algae/cyano off the rocks. Even though I missed some majanos I still feel successful. The kalk paste will help PH a bit too.

I am going to rearrange things slightly tomorrow if I can get to the rest of the pests. Hopefully once I do no more will pop up. Now that I have successfully killed most of the anemones I feel more confident about getting any others that pop up as I’m sure at least one released its progeny into the system.

Majanos are easier than aiptasia to kill with kalk. They don’t retract as fast as aiptasia so it’s much easier to get the kalk into them even after the needle broke off the syringe I was using.

I took a picture of things as they are now. Things are getting better even if they don’t look it yet tonight.
 

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I bumped off the rest of the majanos although I may have missed one somewhere. I’m glad to say the rock that had most of the pests now has none. They got buried under some kalk paste.

I had to rearrange my rock today. There was an anemone on a rock located at the bottom rear of the DT. It actually looks good to me. The GSP that were on the bottom are a bit higher up now and in better flow. The new GSP is positioned where the bottom mat has flow and can get more light. Polyps haven’t come out on the bottom portion of the colony yet. Both sides are getting good light.

There’ll be more restructuring eventually but if all goes well I won’t have to move my corals from where I have them now.
 

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Now that everything cleared out I took some pictures of the aquascape from the front and sides. In particular I honed in on the rock with the mushrooms. There’s a beautiful feather duster worm out too. Everything looks happier on that rock now and there’s no sign of majanos yet. I’m hoping for the best but preparing for the worst in regard to the majanos.

Edit: I forgot to add the picture of the aquascape from the left side of the DT. I will add it as soon as I can.
 

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