Monday, January 4, 2010

Fun Web Site

The Monterey Bay Aquarium has a wonderful website. Its well laid out, has beautiful pictures, and even better information.

The animal guide was caught my attention of course. Check it out for yourself!

Tools of the Trade

I wanted to show you some of my favorite tools for working on the tanks and around the house. Everyone should know how to use a sewing a machine or at very least a needle and thread. I repair clothes, make simple toys for the ferret and modify bags and carbon pillows with mine.

Sewing these things by hand is a pain but well worth the effort if your like me and can only find 55 gal carbon pillows but have a 10 gal tank. Sew a double line down the center, being very careful to not hit any of the resin pieces with the needle, with a very small tight stitch. Make sure its far apart enough to cut down the center, leaving enough seam overhang to prevent the stitches from tearing out.

Don't forget to save the bag(or can if its the old packaging) and keep the unused half sealed up because it will absorb toxins from the air as well as water. As a disclaimer, bio-zorb says that cutting or modifying the bag in any way is a big no-no.

Pipettes and turkey basters are wonderful, I had read about other people using them but didn't buy one until after starting the salt water tank, should have starting using them years ago. Bamboo dowls have been on my must have list for many years. You can use them like chopsticks to move things around the tanks, poke holes in bags, scrape off undesirable algae, apply glue and silicon....and a myriad of other things. Pictured is my main piece of tubing for doing water changes, but I also use a short piece at times and smaller diameters for acclimating.

Jan Saltwater Update and Additions

I'm currently battling green hair algae and cyano-bacteria, aka red-slime algae. After reducing my feedings by half, blowing the cyano off with a pipette twice daily, and increasing my water changes, the cyano problem has improved, but the hair algae is trying to take over. I've decided to take drastic action and purchase a sea hare to consume it. I'm hoping that by combining this with the twice weekly water changes I can rid the tank of algae and export the nutrients at the same time.

Things are starting to fill in nicely but I'm still not happy with the aquascaping, it just seems to bland. Click through for a larger picture.

Some new additions that I'm very happy with:

The radioactive dragon eye zoanthids I aquired a few months ago are doing well and have doubled in number and size. With out and with flash.

Its taken a lot of research, but I've finally decided on an ID for these anemones I bought two weeks ago, Rock flower anemones, Epicystis crucifer.

With the anemones I brought home this porcelain anemone crab, I just couldn't resist because he was so cute. Of course he flat out refuses to hang out with the anemones, probably just to spite me. I was fortunate enough to catch him hanging out next to the fromia star that has been hiding for the last few months. When I put the fromia in the tank he was near death with only three legs and most of his body cavity disintegrated, he has healed nicely and has begun to regrow his missing body parts.

These purple zoanthids have been a pain in my side since they were given to me by a friend. First, every appointment I made to pick them up had to be canceled because of work drama. Then, they refused to stay attached to there ceramic plug, taking half a bottle of superglue gel to stay in place. I am happy with there growth and size though, even though my lighting is not strong enough to sustain there deep purple coloration. In two weeks their skirts have turned distinctly brown.

After several months this florida ricordia still hasn't attached to anything so I took matters into my own hands. It formed two mouths soon after adding it to the tank and I'm hoping that rubber banding it in the middle will help it split faster also.

My El Fab Mod

It came out great. My bulb seriously needs to be changed, and as the cost is beyond me at this point, I just added one of my t5 reptile lights which conveniently fits over my filter as well.
Top down with the light removed. I decided to make the two chambers a bit more equal then what El Fab had his since I use Bio-Zorb rezen pillows and wanted room for them to fit.
With the filter floss(ahem...*cough*...quilting batting) removed, below it is my bio-zorb with some rubble mixed in.

You can see how the organic matter is building nicely.

I love this thing.