This page last updated: 18 March 2013.

Details of the tank setup are archived here, otherwise what you have on this page is the most recent segment of the tank diary.  Our piece of advice for anyone starting a marine aquarium is "think SimCity".  You will have in your hands an entire and rather complex ecosystem; it's not just fish and filtration.  Keep that in mind and you'll do the Right Thing.  As well as the diary, we now have:

Aiptasia X
18 March 2013

While looking for the replacement skimmer we found something else rather intriguing, a product called Aiptasia X from Red Sea.  Anyone who has tried killing aiptasia with a syringe and kalkwasser will know that the aiptasia retract the instant you get near them.  This stuff, on the other hand, is amazing.  It is a milky goo in a bottle and comes with a syringe which you use to apply it, much as you would the kalkwasser but without the need to jab a sharp needle into the centre of a quickly retracting creature. Instead the aiptasia stay open to collect the lovely go and then quickly collapse utterly.  As the instructions say, they almost implode.  Absolutely amazing.  Where has this solution been all my fishy life?

Skimmer Reinsertion
18 March 2013

The new Deltec MC500 skimmer was inserted on the evening of 14th March.  Since we're monitoring the tank's vital statistics it is interesting to look at what has changed as a result.  Temperature, salinity and pH have not changed form but both dissolved oxygen and redox potential have:

                graph around time of skimmer insertion
Dissolved oxygen graph around time of skimmer

The redox is showing a steeper rise, which is expected, but the amplitude of the daily dissolved oxygen curve has also reduced quite dramatically.  This is good, of course, but answers on a postcard as to why adding a bubbling thing to the water has done this.

Getting Things Back Into Order
17 February 2013

The tank has been allowed to lie fallow for several years, water changes down to once every 6 months, the single Pyjama Wrasse from 2009 its only fishy occupant.  It is suffering from both red and green slime algae while the Deltec MC500 skimmer has died without us noticing. It is time to sort things out.

First we put in a handful of snails and hermit crabs to begin cleaning, then two cleaner shrimp.  However, the cleaner shrimp didn't survive a day.  Hmmm.  The IKS Aquasatar monitor suggests that the pH is low at 7.85 though not intolerably low (should be above 8). A test suggests that nitrates are low at 15 mg/l.  Temperature is steady at 25 C.  Redox, though, is far lower than it should be at +240 mV (range should be +300 mV to +400 mv).  The salinity meter on the IKS Aqaustar unit was broken and, once replaced, it showed a density of 1.017, far lower than the accepable 1.025, which is probably what did for the cleaner shrimp.  Dissolved oxygen is good at ~6 mg/l but a TDS meter goes off the scale with an electrical conducitivity (EC) level of at more than 19 uS. Now since this is salt water we're not sure if that measurement is meaningful but the redox reading suggests that it is pretty dirty.

So, the strategy:

  1. Replace the skimmer, getting rid of the dirt (once Deltec's factory fire has passed).
  2. Replace all the lights, lets get the stimulus right.
  3. Do a 10% water change (the maximum practical amount) every couple of weeks with double the usual amount of salt (usually 1 kg in 25 litres, so now 2 kg in 25 litres) to gently get the salt levels up without killing the pyjama wrasse.
  4. Add some caulerpa in the sump tank (the previous lot had died).
  5. Repair the live data page so that we can monitor the trends.
  6. When safe, add some cleaner shrimp.
Should take around 6 months we hope.


Urchin Gone
9 August 2012

Well, it's been some time since we've update this page.  The tank has been left pretty much alone and, as the fish population has died off we've not replaced them as Rob's time spent maintaining the tank has reduced.  Less fish means they survive with less maintenance.

Anyway, a few days ago the Urchin passed away and the remains are quite fashinating.  Back in early 2007 it looked like this:

Flower Urchin when it was
          alive in early 2007

Now, just two days after it fell of its perch, all the organic material has fallen away leaving the shell:

Flower Urchin shell
          after death

...and inside the shell was this skeleton, which appears to have hooked in place on these lugs, just like some sort of plastic kit with five-sided symmetry:

Flower Urchin skeleton
Flower Urchin lugs

White Spot
16 June 2010

The Regal Tang was absolutely covered in white spot today.  Here's a bad picture of it.

Regal Tang

We have dosed with 50 drops of eSHa Oodinex and hope it will clear up quickly.

Less, Then More, Then Worms
31 May 2010

The Yelloweye Tang and then the male Maroon Clownfish are now deceased so we visited Totally Tropicals to procure more fish.  We have another Yelloweye Tang, a lighter variety this time, and a Purple Firefish that is rather shy.

Yelloweye Tang MK II

Purple Firefish

We also purchased some more coral: another variety of Green Star.

Green Star,
          another variety

While giving the fish their first feed we noticed worm activity once more.  This time it's clear that there are two worms and that they notice when brine shrimp are put in the tank.  Watch the one at the back: it picks up a brine shrimp and wolfs it down through its, err, mouth/hole thing. 

Worms feeding on brine shrimp

14 February 2010

Yesterday we very briefly spotted a huge bristle worm in the tank and, today, managed to catch it out in the open, though unfortunately not with the right camera.  Still, here are a few fuzzy pictures of it.  It seems to be around 15 cm long when fully extended and quite "hairy" in tufts along its side.



Earlier entries are available here:

  1. 2009.
  2. 1 July 2008 to 31 December 2008.
  3. 1 April 2008 to 30 June 2008.
  4. 1 January 2008 to 31 March 2008.
  5. 1 October 2007 to 31 December 2007.
  6. 1 July 2007 to 30 September 2007.
  7. 1 April 2007 to 30 June 2007.
  8. 1 January 2007 to 31 March 2007.
  9. 1 October 2006 to 31 December 2006.
  10. 1 July 2006 to 30 September 2006.
  11. 1 April 2006 to 30 June 2006.
  12. 1 January 2006 to 31 March 2006.
  13. Up to end 2005, including tank setup.

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