Since my last post on my 180g journey things were going really well the first 5 months of 2010. My corals were flourishing and I was looking forward to my tanks 1 year anniversary. Fish on the other hand were not doing ok. Out of the 12 green chromis I only have 8 left. The male bellius angel jumped out of my tank. Two of my flasher wrasses disappeared and the third which I thought had also disappeared is now living in one of my over flow boxes. I have tried taking it out into the display and a day or so later he is back in the over flow box. I have a feeling either my mystery wrasse or the fake mystery wrasse are the ones who aren’t allowing him into the reef. Strangely the flasher wrasse was there months before the other two were added.
Late May to beginning of June I got too busy with work and neglected my tank. No water change in June. Then July and most of August I was away. Here is where I think my troubles began. My roommate was in charge of adding top off water and feeding while I was away. I did 10% water changes with mixed salt water from my LFS
in between my trips. I also changed my 250 wt radium bulbs in July and had the bulbs running only at 4 hrs for acclimation per day. To top it off my ca
reactor lines were clogged therefore not dosing. Several things changed:
1. Corals color diminished
2. Nitrates were up to 25ppms
3. Phosphates were up to 15ppms
was at 13dkh
was at 400
6. Lost a few sps
7. Lost a few chalices
8. Lost a few acans
I immediately did a 25% water change from mixed salt water from my LFS
in mid August. Still things of course were not looking right. I had a hard time and could not control my CA
, and MG
. 3 months of neglect showed me how quickly the tank could go bad.
One week after my wc
I did a test and bought two ORA acros at MACNA, an Eric Hawkins and a tricolor( both pieces which I had lost in this mishap ). Within 1 week the Hawkins was showing signs of stress. Its pe was gone and was losing tissue from the bottom up. The ORA tri-color was fine. I was at my wits end since I couldn’t 100% figure out what was going on.
I decide to search for a way to get my water parameters back to normal this I knew I could fix. I was going back to everyday tinkering and testing. I am currently adjusting the CA
reactor to get back to my effluent numbers and Co2
drops per minute. I still had higher nitrates and phosphates than what was normal for my tank.
I had been reading while away on several forums, the TOTM winners articles. Most of these guys used some form of vodka, vinegar or probiotics. I did not want to tie myself to something else that would need my complete attention. I went to my LFS
and while discussing my negligence and fatalities the store rep said why I don’t try EcoBak pellets by Warner Marine. He described what it did. Basically the carbon source pellets allow good bacteria to grow on them. The pellets biodegrade over time while clarifying the water. They also supply Planktonic bacteria as a food source for corals. The bacteria consume Phosphates and Nitrates along with other organic compounds.
I went on the forums to read about the product,similar products and how other fellow aquarists were coming along using these types of products. At MACNA Ken Feldman did a fantastic oration and presentation on dissolved organics in the aquarium. One week later I went back to my LFS
and I said that I needed to try EcoBak! My prayers were answered I thought. I bought 1000ml of EcoBak to start off with, knowing that I had a big bio load and may need to add additional EB.
Another journey begins…………………
Well finished setting up the MRI reactor. I started slow here guys. I purchased a 1 liter pkg. I added 1/4 ( 250ml) of the product. I will add 250ml every week until I have added all of the EB. Why? I want to control the process as much as possible. Keeping an eye on water parameters, corals, fish and making documentation on the whole process. Since the plates that come with the MR1 are large I had to buy from Michaels these needle point round shape, hard plastic guides. I cut and zip tied them together.
Even though the MRI came with a pump that produces 132 gph
I so far only see channels where the gentle circulation is going. The rest of the EB just sits there. From reading other threads looks like the EB are not getting enough flow. I will post a quick video. It would be nice to have this kind of tumbling throughout!
I have an old but still working 802 Aquaclear power head. They call them Aquaclear 70 nowadays.
Anyhow it is rated at 400 pgh. The great thing about it is that I can control the output because it has already a built-in water flow restrictor. Now if I see that at the opened up max the EB blow all over I will turn it down. If I turn it down all the way and the EB are still blowing all over the place then I have to look for something else. Now mind you I still only have 1/4 (250ml)of the 1 liter in the MRI reactor. I will work on it next week and let you know.
In the meantime if anyone with pump knowledge let yourself be known!( once I found aquaclear pump its outlet was not conducive for this application)
Well guys week 2 I added the 2nd 250ml. I am starting to see more clumping of the EB. Two possibilities from what I am thinking.
1. The flow isn't enough with the current pump
(currently it is supposed to run at 132 gph
2. I noticed inside the reactor a lot of extra debris, including some white scum like looking thing. I am not running any kind of filter sock so I will add one this weekend.
On the plus side glass is looking very clean!
Ok week three and placing the 3rd - 250 ml of the EB. So far no undesirable alga blooms! I also bought another pump, a SYNCRA 3.0 pump by Sicce.
They were at MACNA and I was impressed by the display and the fact that I can control its output. The new pump really does a much better job at tumbling the pellets.
I also added a filter sock. While a few reefers out their note that the filter socks keep a lot of the particles and food substances for corals out, I also know that my sump and the reactor were full of debris. This debris can also block water flow along the bottom and top crates. This would prohibit EB from tumbling.
Well guys a bit of news.
After 4 weeks and 2 days and 1 liter of EB my No3
is .02 and Po4
is at 0.
I am using Salifert test kits. I will purchase those new Hanna digital readers for Alk
and Phos just to have a second source of testing.
I have no algae blooms and water is crystal clear. Only have to clean glass only once per week since on EB. I only feed once per day but am usually a broadcast type feeder for fish and corals. On this particular day I turned off all pumps and was getting ready to feed when I looked from the top down. I swear I had good sps
coloration before EB, but I can say that some of my colors are really popping out.
Will post pics soon!
All of the 1000ml of EB is now in. So far today the EB’s are fine and they are tumbling like they are supposed to. A 10% wc
was done over the weekend. It seems as though some of the sps
’s that were affected by whatever it was have slowed their tissue loss. Here is video two with all 1000ml of EB running. From what I can see I will start to turn the pump down. Most guys and WM receommend starting with the whole dose because it will take longer to show results. While I agree on this and Jon from Warner Marine does too. When I spoke with him at MACNA he indicated that my results would just take longer to show. I am ok with this.
I am considering the following as possible culprits besides my neglect.
spike ( salt change from RC to IO to NeoMarine back to IO)
lower than 1200 ( need to dose more)
bought water parameters did not match display tank
5. Roommate over feed and possibly caused water parameters to go crazy especially phosphates and nitrates
6. Roommate dosed RO
water in 2.5 jugs all at once instead of dripping like I taught him
bulbs were not on long enough (this one I feel isn’t really a problem, I think)
Interesting enough guys all sps
’s that are big colonies are doing just fine! I’m hacking my brain trying to figure out what the cause was. I do though need to stay on top of things but need to move on. I do know that EcoBak has changed my tank. I sincerely hope that running a UNLS will help my reef tank stay as nutrient free as possible. Lessons to be learned here guys.