Reef Cleaners to the Rescue!!! *UPDATE* pg. 4

Discussion in 'Reef Cleaners' started by hydrologic, Dec 22, 2010.

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  1. hydrologic

    hydrologic Feather Duster

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    Several weeks ago, I was the lucky(?) winner of the ReefCleaners.org | Clean Up Crews and Macro Algae - Home "Ugly Tank Contest." Here is the winning tank...
    [​IMG]

    Yuck, right?

    Well, last Thursday John sent me my prize of 70 hermit crabs! They were a mix of blue-legged, and greyish hermits. Not sure on the ID of the grey ones, but I suspect they are a common Gulf of Mexico species. As far as physical characteristics go, they look very similar to scarlet hermits, except for the color. Oh, and not a single one was lost during shipment. John also sent along a bag of assorted shells for all the new inhabitants to swap with.

    So, my saga began when a piece of caulerpa verticillata (fuzzy caulerpa) hitchicked into my tank on a piece of live rock that I didn't quarantine. Lesson learned. This stuff exploded in my tank. For those who've fortunately not had experience with it, it's the wrost. It is a very fine caulepra and it's impossible to remove it all by hand.

    So, my strategy for removal is two-pronged.

    The first prong is to reduce nutrients as much as possible. To accomplish this I invested in a new skimmer, Bubble-Magus NAC3.5, I'm running carbon and changing it every three weeks, I'm doing a 25% water change every two weeks (blowing off rocks and stirring up the sand before-hand), I'm using R/O water for top off and water changes (though I plan on buying my own RO/DI system soon), I'm watching my feeding (only just enough for everyone to get a couple pieces of flake or mysis everyday, and sometimes I skip a day), and I plan on installing a GFO reactor soon. Oh, and the hermits from reefcleaners also sift the sand and clean off the rocks sending ditritus to my skimmer. I added another koralia nano yesterday to bring my turnover rate to 30.2gph. Now, almost all of the ditritus makes it into the water column gets sucking into the overfow before settling.

    Skimmer after finally getting it tuned in just right
    [​IMG]

    My refugium lit by a boostled (3RB, 2W). Also, I have a 25w PC fixture suspended above the mangroves
    [​IMG]
    The second prong is physical removal. By hand, I've removed as much of the fuzzy caulerpa as possible. I spent two hours yesterday trying to remove as much as I could. I hate doing this because inevitably I brush or bump a coral, and the fish don't appreciate it either. However, I was able to get a significant amount out, and this is where ReefCleaners.org | Clean Up Crews and Macro Algae - Home comes in. The shipment of hermits is an emense help in removal. As I'm typing the little guys are picking away at the caulerpa and I can usually see a tuft of it floating around so I know they're doing their job.

    This is what the tank looks like after removing as much as possible by hand yesterday.
    [​IMG]

    Here are my parameters:
    Temp - 77.0*f
    NO3 - 0
    PO4 - 0
    PH - 8.2
    Mag - 1275 (low)
    Ca - 400 (low)
    Kh - (7, very low, working on that)

    Keep in mind the NO3, PO4, PH, CA, and Kh were all tested with the API reef kit. Not the most accurate, but it's all I have for now. The Magnesium was tested with a Seachem Reef Status kit. Also, the PO4 and NO3 may be zero because of the algae and this is why I'm reducing nutriants as much as possible. Trying to starve it out.

    Oh, and my lighting is listed in my signiture, but I must tell you guys that my bulbs are about 13 months old, after I get done with the holidays, replacing them is at the top of the list. Currently, I'm running a Ushio 10K bulb, but I'm going to replace it with a Phoenix 14K bulb. I've read great things about them. Also, my tank is up against a window and even with the blinds closed it is still bright. It faces the south. Thus, I plan on tinting the back of the tank.

    Well, that about sums it all up. I'll keep updating every week or so to document the progress. I can't wait to get my tank back! Please let me know of any suggestions you guys have as this is the main reason for posting this.

    Thanks again John and reefcleaners! For the helping with my tank and giving me the motivation to turn this thing around!

    Best, Jarrett
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2011
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  3. johnmaloney

    johnmaloney 3reef Sponsor

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    gulf of mexico? who do you know who lives over there? :) I bet it is Pagurus longicarpus, white clawed hermit. Funny little hermit...common is an understatement lol....but I like them. They like to shell swap with other members of their own species quite a bit.
     
  4. montecarloz38

    montecarloz38 Fire Shrimp

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    Tampabay, FL, USA
    Good write up. It took me lousing 3 expensive fish to stop neglecting my tank and doing all of the maintenance.
     
  5. hydrologic

    hydrologic Feather Duster

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    Ya, I like them a lot! So fun to watch the little fellas going about their business. Adds lots of personality. Also, most of them are too small to bug any corals they crawl on.
     
  6. hydrologic

    hydrologic Feather Duster

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    Thanks, I wanted to share my experience, document the progress and get some good advice on the way. I haven't lost any fish in the 2 years the tank has been up, but I did lose sight of my tank when the fuzzy caulerpa took over. Guess sometimes it takes a wake-up call to start doing things right though.
     
  7. johnmaloney

    johnmaloney 3reef Sponsor

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    algae for the most part is good for fish, it is just unsightly and takes up valuable real estate.

    i only tested what animals would eat what, i never really did get a chance to see who is faster at what. sometimes you need a thread like your battle with fuzzy caulerpa or peredhills diatom document to see what species are more prone to it than others. let us know what you find there too if you could, I would go by mass rather than individual numbers if possible. They stay small like that, I hope I had the right species name, with hermits I am only really confident with common names, because those are easily confused anyway :) Didn't know you were going to quote me, so I will double check that now and we can go back and fix it later to make it look like I know what I am doing. :) That species will stay small though, the largest you have now are full grown adults.
     
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  9. Magnus

    Magnus Sharknado

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    Just thought I may add that when you get into fixing your water parameters, start with the magnesium. Once the magnesium reaches 1350 or so, you're done! I would not use more than 1400 ppm of magnesium. Let it be 3 days or so, measure calcium and add supplement accordingly, but do double check mg before you add the calcium if needed. Lastly, work on your alkalinity.

    You need to let a few days pass between adding mg, ca and alk. Magnesium specially, takes a few days to balance things out and when you up your mg, your CA will also raise a little bit by itself.
     
  10. 2in10

    2in10 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Congrats on being the winner? Kudos for posting a clean up thread, this will be fun to follow. You have a great recovery plan. Bset wishes.
     
  11. hydrologic

    hydrologic Feather Duster

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    I just googled Pagurus longicarpus, but I'm not sure if that's the one. I also searched a while and didn't find a match. Do you know a good resource for identifying hermits? Here is a picture of one in my tank. It's a bad picture:-/, but I only have a phone to use. It's the little guy posted up in the big shell
    [​IMG]
     
  12. Peredhil

    Peredhil Giant Squid

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    congrats on the win. some nasty competition this round ;D