New Year, New...

Discussion in 'Reef Tanks' started by ezza, Feb 13, 2018.

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  1. ezza

    ezza Member

    Comments:
    51
    Ratings:
    +33
    Country:
    Australia
    State:
    NSW
    Hey all... You would hope that things would be all shiny and new by now. Last year was my epic year of sickness with Pneumonia that just seemed to last forever. I got sick in April 2017 and while my chest was clear by June, my sinuses were blocked for the rest of the year and I kept having relapses. I finally took my last antibiotic tablet yesterday. I am hoping my body will have strength to keep me bacteria-free for a while. I had 2 surgeries last year on my wrist and knee. I have recovered very well from my knee surgery and have found my core muscles have reactivated after 20 years of non-function (which led to my spinal injury). Unfortunately, not all is well. I went pretty hardcore applying for jobs in the last few months. I have learnt that noone will hire a person with a spinal injury. I'm highly amused by the looks on peoples' faces when they find out. I had a medical for one job and the doctor performing it asked if I was being "made" to look for work in order to satisfy a 3rd party... unfortunately not. I had to give up my university studies last year, and have basically been restricted to not doing a lot of anything because it turns out that I have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. It's in my right hand, but we need to check the left because it still has deficiencies after my surgery due to a broken Scaphoid. I randomly came across a medical study that links CTS with the other issue my Ortho is investigating... Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, which has finally been documented by an observant medical imaging technician who identified an arterial anomaly in my right arm while trying to identify something. It seems all this stuff could be linked to the Fibromyalgia I was diagnosed with a few years ago. My specialist has ordered Nerve Conduction Studies before I see him again and at this point, I assume I'll be having surgery at some point after March... It's just uncertain whether it will be in 1,2 or 3 places.

    So with all of this, I have been trying to manage my aquarium as simply and easily as possible. The upside, is that I can carry 20L Jerry cans with RO to my tank on my own now (YAY!!!). I have good days and bad days so mostly just do it in small lots if my husband isn't around to help. I have found that hanging plant hooks from bunnings can really help with water changes. I can hang the bucket on the side of the aquarium and siphon the waste without worrying about having to hold the bucket. then you can just lift it off an carry it to the sink 10L at a time. I have a siphon with an off switch that means I can clean the system by myself without getting out of control.

    I have been trying to maintain water params at acceptable levels to keep SPS. I don't have many pieces these days. But I have desperately been trying to not kill the coral I do have after a bit of a disaster that killed some stuff last year. I have been using the Aquaforest Agents (+Mg) system via the AquaCalculator app and the ionic balance charts once available through reefgrow.com. It is bloody hard!!!! I have a much better understanding of ionic balance, the chemistry and the maths required to get this stuff right. It's hard though. I am always testing Alk, Calc and Mag and sometimes it just doesn't go right. I was talking to Sunnie at Eastwood Aquarium the other day and I think my Salifert test kits are sometimes (regularly) off. It seems to me the calcium has issues, if not the Mag. I bought an AF test to try.

    Just before Christmas I bought myself a beautiful anemone for my orange clowns who are constantly laying eggs. I'd love to breed them, but really don;t know how to do it simply. I don't have the luxury of spending heaps on the tank these days, so I am not adding anything new for a while (plus I just want to see overall mineral stability for a while and see my SPS grow and look happy. I have had big blooms of coralline algae in recent months which makes me very very happy. I have never had great luck growing purple algae. I introduced a few different strains, some from reef origins, some from my local beach which comes in pink and a light purple. It has been growing around the tank and sump and things are looking GOOD! Unfortunately, I have also had a bloom of cyanobacteria recently. It's driving me mad. I wanted to try to take my biopellet reactor offline, because the pellets were dumping too much bacteria into the system and i was struggling to remove the waste properly. I ended up changing pellets and this seems to have triggered the cyano. I don't know that for sure though, and I really am not having much luck reducing the algae. I have recently done a full sump clean, increased the skimming quality and quantity, "gravel vacuuming" with an eheim elecronic vac to strain the cyano daily, continuous filter sock filtering and trying running a couple of mangrove seedlings I had found high and dry on a beach after a storm (which eventually failed), I have also brought in seaweed from the rockpools I collect snails from, and removed dead empty snail shells (I had a monster hermit crab that feasted on almost every snail in the system and went from a little tacker to a behemoth in months. Our air con died between Christmas and New Year (just in time for the heat wave). So we had to spend a large chunk of our savings on a new machine. It's a wonderful air con, which we do rely on for cooling our aquarium during hot weather. The tank temp has been more consistent though. Summer is always hard. I just don't really know how to turn my system around. I'm sick of spending money and ending up with useless things that don't produce results, and losing expensive corals in the process.

    My luck with worms continues. I recently flushed out a rock after seeing a pencil thick fire worm poking around. I managed to get him and his friends out. They damage the corals and removing them buys some time until the next generation comes of age. I collected several small bristle stars and snails during my last beach trip. One snail I have had great success with is the money cowrie. I bought a few from Asquith and they are hardy, hungry and not particularly fragile. I've been happy with their progress in munching waste. I keep losing starfish (larger display ones) to the wavemakers. The damn things just get munched into them. I have been collecting a few common local stars that are quite small but really good algae eaters. They are fairly non-descript, but definitely help keep the algae at bay.

    Life! The universe! Everything!!

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    The weird pinky/purple thing is a "tissue" that I discovered grows under the rocks at the beach I go to. It is usually below the waterline, but with the blue blood moon recently, the tide dropped lower than usual and i took a sample and a bit of sponge to experiment with in my system.

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    My behemoth crab in the Giant Triton shell he took over after taking out all my snails. He has been sent to a new home.

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    Portion of fireworm caught

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    Beautiful anemone.

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    Red Lined Bubble Snail, common to this area. eating some nori. They have an incredible irridescent blue tinge to their mantle.
    • Like Like x 1
  2. ezza

    ezza Member

    Comments:
    51
    Ratings:
    +33
    Country:
    Australia
    State:
    NSW
    Sometimes I really just wish I could have a break from my life. I noticed the entire right half of my system was quite dully lit this evening. It was really obvious actually... My light is dying. This is exactly the thing I needed RIGHT NOW.
  3. somethingfishy76

    somethingfishy76 Member

    Comments:
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    Country:
    Australia
    State:
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    Chi
    Chin up there EZZA!! Its going to be ok, you have been through a lot but it will get better I'm sure. Just take it easy and take one step at a time. Look after yourself and don't let the tank stress you out. You come first then the tank once you are in a good place. You'll get there mate! Need help, just ask. There are a lot of good guys here on this forum that might be able to help.
  4. ezza

    ezza Member

    Comments:
    51
    Ratings:
    +33
    Country:
    Australia
    State:
    NSW
    Thanks honey :) I am a lot more relaxed and accepting of my destiny these days. I am enjoying being a lazy arse. I spend a lot of time in my PJs cuddling my dogs and I can't complain about that at all (except for doggy breath!! :x) :D Having to work through the expectations I have of myself, and that others have of me, has been an experience in adaptation... but it's working out. Because I have Fibromyalgia, I don't cope well with hot weather and humidity, so we bought this little above ground frame pool just after Christmas. It was the best $280 ever spent!! I get to pretend I'm swimming on the great barrier reef whenever I like and no one interrupts me while I am there :). The last year has really been one great learning experience. God certainly makes Himself clear when He wants you to listen. The thought has crossed my mind to shut the tank down so many times... but it is one of the most wonderful and relaxing things I have ever known. Even my dog Fizzy loves to watch the fish swim and the coral wave as she lays in your arms. I am going to really hold off on adding more coral for a while. I'll fix the light and then I want to just watch things as they are. See the coral grow and then I might try to find a range of cheap SPS frags (because I assume everything will be stable by that magical point in time).

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    *Cheers!*

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