I read somewhere that culturing in bigger containers is better than smaller ones because smaller ones crash more easily. That said I probably won't keep all of it. Perhaps a 2 liter or two. That'll make it less expensive as well.
I have now done 2 90% water changes and a 66% water change since Sunday. After noticing that a dime sized patch of dinoflagellates returned I went on the offensive.
All the rock and shells were removed and soaked in a bucket of 1 part 3% hydrogen peroxide and 3 parts water. After 45 minutes of that I soaked them in freshwater for another 45 minutes. I brushed the rock right after the peroxide soak and before the freshwater soak.
While the rock and shells were soaking I did a second, even more comprehensive cleaning of the sand bed. Then I did the 66% water change.
After I did the water change last night I took a few pictures. This is the best this tank has looked in a very long time.
So far the chaeto is doing OK. I hope the pods inside it survived. I am sure a decent amount made it. One of my hermits died Tuesday night but I still have 3. Now that the tank is coming around I think they'll start doing better.
I was planning to set the sump up last night but I cut the return pipe for the 75 gallon tank and not the 45. I forgot I did that. As a result I have to fix that later today. That is the only thing keeping the sump from working. I set up everything else though so it won't be long before I get the sump operational.
Here are some pics I took earlier this evening. The water changes are paying off big time.
I just took pictures of the tank which now has a working sump albeit small and primitive. The chaeto ball is in there now.
Since this is a temporary sump I didn't put sand in. Since the sump is small it'll be easy to stop it, do a water change, clean out any sludge, and start it up again.
The renovations have started. We are slated to move in early August but they change their minds every 3 seconds so we'll see. By the time we move I should have a bigger sump. Using the 10 gallon sump until then means moving day will be far easier. Once we are settled in I'll get a much better sump.
I placed the grow light to the left of the sump and set a timer. The light will run 18 hours on and 6 off. I hope to see major chaeto growth soon.
The tank has cleared up considerably. I took a couple more pictures. I am quite happy with the progress that's been made overall. There is still quite a bit that needs to be done of course but I am happy with the direction that Perseverance Reef is heading in.
One of the biggest things i need to do is to make sure the grow light isn't too much on the chaeto. At the same time I have to be careful that I don't end up with another round of green water. The grow light is 3x stronger than the light on the DT. Since the sump is only 10 gallons there isn't a lot of dwell time for any given parcel of water that happens to get illuminated. That combined with keeping the DT lit for only 6 hours a day should work in favor of the chaeto and keep the tetraselmis in check.
Except for the many microbubbles the DT is clear as, well, glass. I added about a gallon of freshwater to the sump. I can already see that there are less bubbles in the system than earlier. I don't mind the bubbles in the DT. My worry is for the pump. I don't want it to cavitate.
The jet of water in the DT has scoured out a bunch of sand beneath it. Loc-line will help with that. I will get some soon.
After 12 hours of light and a 6 hour break the chaeto ball is still a dark green.
I am happy to report that there is no green water. If anything the tank is clearer than it has been since I set it up. I just have to tone down the microbubbles and remember to put the heater in the sump. I forgot to do it last night.
There are 4 things I credit for getting to this point. Dr. Tims eco-balance, a rip cleaning of sorts using h2o2, the chaeto, and the pods in the chaeto.
It is wonderful to not have to talk about dinos anymore. I will always be watching just in case but it looks like the dinos have gone extinct. I do have the beginnings of green algae on the glass. There is very little. The rock is starting to get some also.
While watching my hermits attack a raw shrimp I discovered 2 tube worms on 2 different rocks. The 2 rocks in question were bought 40 miles apart. I don't remember seeing them before now. I took pics of course. Most likely they came in via the chaeto ball. I'll take it!
The chaeto ball is doing well. It's still springy and a bit more firm than it was before I put it in the sump. It hasn't lost any color. I just hope the pods can stand the microbubbles until I can eradicate them.
I forgot to take the heater from the DT yesterday to put in the sump. After a soak in vinegar to clean the calcium deposits I placed it in the sump. That's one more thing out of the DT. Once I paint the back of the tank or get a blue background for it the only things that will show are the surface skimmer side of the overflow box and the portion of the return inside the tank.
I believe I am in for some hair algae. The pics of the 2 different rocks with the same tube worms also show how green the rocks are getting now. I'll take it all day long over dealing with dinos. I am going to get a Mexican turbo snail for the algae.
This morning I found some dinos on the glass. Thankfully they are not on the rocks or the sand. I wiped the dinos off the glass with paper towel so they would be contained and exported from the tank. That should make it less likely the dinoflagellates will spread as a result of cleaning the glass today.
The rear glass has a green film algae growing. I am going to let it grow for now. I am going to get a Mexican turbo snail to help deal with the algae. For now though the rocks are green and the green algae is beating out the dinos for the most part. I am happy to let it stay for now. I do want to grow coralline algae ultimately so I need to get things consistent.
Since I saw dinos return even if only on the glass, I added about 1/2 a cup of phyto back to the tank about 30 minutes ago. I want to encourage the green film algae to expand further and discourage the dinos from forming at all.
For quite a while now I have relied solely on water changes to replenish any chemicals that are depleted and restore balance. Soon I will get the Hanna ul phosphate tester. I also want to get nitrate, cal, alk, and mag but I won't be able to get those immediately. I will get them as soon as possible however.
Well there is bad news and good news. The bad news is that the dinos came back. The good news is that they are diminishing in the display tank and heading into the sump.
The sump has much brighter lighting than the display currently. The lights stay on 18 hours a day for the chaeto. The DT gets about 6 hours a day of light. I might increase light in the sump to 24 hours.
I have two large balls of chaeto in the DT in an effort to seed it with pods. The chaeto from the DT will soon end up in the sump. I'll do a blackout of the DT at that time while leaving the sump lights on.
Before that happens I am going to shut down the return pump and dump the water from the sump. The plumbing will come out and the sump will get a vinegar bath. Once I do that the sump will get restarted and the DT will get a blackout.
In July I want to get some filter socks of the correct size to filter out dinos. I am also pricing UV sterilizers.
Last night I broke out the (kid's) microscope. Until last night I never saw movement under the scope. I saw a bug-like creature moving at a super fast rate. I am going to keep practicing my slide preparation skills so I can finally identify the dinos I have. Of course I want to be able to ID other creatures in the reef.
The dinos are don't appear to be making anymore progress. Water changes have ceased. I put a ton of my diy frozen food in the tank about 45 minutes ago. The hermits are on it. This way my nutrients will go up. I'll be watching for an ammonia spike just in case.
I have a green water issue again. It wasn't a total surprise. An ultraviolet sterilizer is going to happen sometime this month or early next month.
I saw an amphipod on the glass today. The tetraselmis in my system will hopefully make for a bloom of pods soon. I also saw cyano growing on some of my chaeto. I never thought I'd be so excited to see cyano. There is a decent amount of the purplish red stuff but only in the chaeto. Hopefully between the pods, cyano, and the large amount of frozen food I'll see much more green and much less brown.
At the rate I'm going I'll want to upgrade from the kid's scope sooner rather than later lol. That said I am seeing more and more beneficial life. I was worried that I killed off the pod population but I am not so worried anymore. There are tons of copepods on anything like detritus. I have seen nematodes, strands of cyanobacteria, and I am pretty sure I've seen rotifers as well so far. I also got to see a large amphipod on the glass of the DT last night. No microscope necessary for that one.
There is plenty of green water right now. Tomorrow my UV sterilizer gets here. It's a 13 watt unit. It is the submersible type and it will go in the sump. It has a pump that can be varied between 50 and 200 gph give or take. It is a relatively cheap off brand but it looked decently made for the price. I expect it to take 2 or 3 days to see clear water. Total system volume is 55 gallons. Hopefully any dinos that go swimming at night will get sterilized along with any other not so great critters that may be lurking in the water column.
If the dinos are making progress it is slight at best. What I thought was dinoflagellates in the sump on the sides of the glass is actually a green algae though there are patches of dinoflagellates here and there. I just can't seem to find live dinos, at least not on the scrapings I've taken from both sump and DT so far.
At long, long last I am getting a nice bloom of pods. I guess it's ironic that I am removing the phyto they love so much. I will eventually get more as I want to keep my pods going strong. One of the larger amphipods looked like it was munching on dinos. There are plenty of copepods on the glass as well.
The UV is doing its job and then some. That tank was full of pea soup. You could only see about an inch in the tank. Yes, that bad. It's still green but I can see to the back of the tank already. Once the tank clears up I'll clean the uv sterilizer up and set the flow as slow as it can go. Then it's fried dinos.
To protect my pod population I have chaeto in the sump and in the display tank. It seems to be working so far. If all goes well the pods will eat all the dinos and survive to tell the tale.
I still have hermits in the system so I fed them frozen food. I want to keep nutrients high until these dinos die off. Once they go away I want to get coralline growing. I will add some very hardy corals as soon as the dinos are gone as well.
Those microscopic copepods and amphipods are growing exponentially. There were several amphipods on the glass about 1/4 of an inch. There were plenty of copepods on the glass as well.
The tank is almost clear. There is a transparent biofilm on the front glass. I am tempted to leave it for the pods although they are eating some of my diy frozen food mix as are my hermits.
My awesome wife found a free tank that may well be a 37 gallon tank. That will most certainly be my new sump once I clean it up. The only problem is that I have to modify the current stand or build a new one. I would prefer modifying the current stand since it could be done faster and cheaper. I will do some calculating and figure out which way to go.
I am going to add established live rock from the friend of mine who is holding my two clownfish for me. She has been a huge help. She is why I have good, healthy chaeto full of pods. I am deeply appreciative of her. The rock I am getting is a good size and has xenia on it. My friend is going to catch me a few bristle worms as well but it may have to be another day. I am getting the rock tomorrow though.
My hermits have done well so far during the war on dinos. I still have at least 3. I had 4 before the green water problem. Most likely the 4th is just hidden in the rockwork.
There is a green tint because of green algae growing on the front glass. There is an area on one rock where dinos increased but the pods are attacking it in other areas. They are blooming nicely and its only the beginning.
I got my rock full of xenia today. You can tell how healthy it is. It even has coralline algae on it. It also has limpets. It probably has a lot more than that in it too. That was the best 10 bucks I've ever spent in all my reefing career. Someone else is getting some of that rock too but if there is any left I'll be on it.
This is where things stand as of now. The new rock and xenia colony seem to be doing quite well considering they have only been in the tank for 5 hours give or take. They opened up and started pulsing within 45 minutes of going into the tank. Things are looking up!
Before and after. The pics speak for themselves. I am going to clean the front glass today. The pods are doing well enough that it should be OK if a couple go through the UV at this point. Hopefully none get sterilized but it's possible. The good news is that the dinos on the front glass will also get sterilized.
Well I ended up cleaning the glass front, back, and sides. I also decided to put one of my 3200gph circulation pumps to work. That comes out to about 71 GPH worth of flow in this system. The pump should keep dinos and other undesirables in circulation until the UV can get to them.
Even though I cleaned the glass and added all that flow, I could see several amphipods on the new rock. I left the chaeto ball in the DT alone for now in case I killed off the pods (via the UV sterilizer) that were on the glass when I cleaned it.
I am excited to see where things end up. The first thing though is to get my clownfish back. That will only happen once the dinos dwindle more and visible dinos are at an absolute minimum. So far things look encouraging but I am also guarded in my optimism. Things are a bit different this time. There is a new 10 lb. rock with good bacteria, algae, and xenia from an established aquarium not to mention limpets and other life. There is also a UV sterilizer.
Things are looking good and the water column is clearing up quite well. There is the small matter of two small aiptasia that decided to pop up. I think that the flow and dissolved nutrients from the decaying food have brought them out. Admittedly I knew my friend had aiptasia since she raises berghia. They are small enough to not worry me currently but I do want to keep them at bay.
I am more worried about the potential for the anemones to wipe out my fledgling pod population if they get too numerous. I'm pretty sure the amphipods will be fine. The copepods maybe not so much. Of course I will try to put them down fairly quickly. If I can't safely eradicate them without berghia I might have to get some, at least on a temporary basis.
The xenia seem to like the flow. I technically have 100x flow between the return and the circulation pump. The flow is turbulent and I have tons of surface agitation. One stalk broke off of the rock as soon as I turned up the flow. I have the stalk pinned to a rock so hopefully it'll attach soon.
The pods aren't on the glass since there isn't much in the way of either algae or dinos on the glass now. There are plenty on the rocks though.
I took out my microscope and took a scraping off the glass before I cleaned it yesterday. I put the scraping under the scope. I found several paramecium and a single live dinoflagellate cell. There was also what looked like nematodes but they moved slowly and not like nematodes.