Thursday, January 28, 2010

Aquarium - Chapter III: Things are Happening!

Since I'm on a roll... Let's copy/paste some more! This post dates back to Jan 11...

Chapter III: Things are Happening (and No, I didn't panic!)

So the tank's been up since Monday afternoon (Jan 4 '10). I've pretty much left it alone other than setting up the light timer and checking the salinity, pH, Nitrites, Ammonia and Nitrates every couple of days or so. So far nothing too dramatic has happened, numbers-wise (although I think I need to upgrade from these cheesy 5:1 test-trips I was using on my FW tank).

On Saturday, I'd planned on going out to buy my chaeto and set-up the tank rack/refugium. Well, Saturday morning, I noticed that my beauteous rock-work was covered in brown gooze!

"Ahhhh, Diatoms" I exclaimed "Perfectly normal!"
(Well, those might not have been my *exact* words. I think it might've sounded more like "Oh sh*t - That looks AWFUL!").

So, off to Neptune's we went...

It didn't even occur to me to bring a water sample ("D'oh!" Newbie Mistake #2). But I did bring my refractometer which they graciously calibrated for me. I whined (ever-so-slightly) about my diatom woes and they suggested shortening the light cycle. They also noted that I could get a clean-up crew started in there.

"So soon?!"


Soooo... "I've got crabs!!!"

They immediately set to work, gobbling up the brown gooze. Yay Hermit Crabs!

I like this shot:
They look like they're all bellied-up to the bar! "Tres mas cervesas por favor!!!"

So yeah, I got 5 blue-legged hermit crabs; 2 Trochus snails and 2 Cerith snails. And, like I say, they're munching furiously on the diatoms. I also picked up some GFO pellets as a pro-active measure against phosphates (which I can't test for - yet!). So far, the critters are "almost" keeping up with the diatom bloom. But I've cut back the lights to 10.5 hrs/day - hoping that will help.

But I am NOT panicking, okay?!

In fact, when I saw a hermit crab "body" on the bottom of the tank - I didn't panic THEN either. I think he just molted (I couldn't get a clear pic of that, unfortunately). His front end was dark, but where his body would have been was all clear-lookin' so I think that's some kind of exoskeleton or something, right?

Oh, but I've gotten ahead of myself! I forgot to illustrate "The Build" of the refugium!

Okay okay okay: Here's the tank rack, empty - save for the u/w pond light (both from InTank):

Here's the rack with Chemi-pure Elite on the bottom and chaeto in the middle (I moved the lights up one level):

I also added 2 TBS of GFO (tied up in panty-hose) to the bottom shelf, and some filter floss on the top shelf. The whole things slides neatly into chamber 2 of the BC.

Soooooo... That's where I'm at now! And now I don't feel so weird when I sit and stare at the tank because at least there are "critters" moving around in there. Okay, maybe I'm a little touched because I find myself cheering-on the hermit crabs as they scale "Everest!" (But then, I don't get out much!)

Okay, stay tuned for Chapter IV: TBD....................

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