Reef Tank, June 2023

I’ve had my salt water reef tank for nearly a year, so I thought I’d post an update. The gist is that it’s been both easier and more difficult than expected.

It’s easier because I was worried that doing water changes and parameter checks would be complex or difficult. They are neither. I do a 15% water change every week, and test for Nitrates, Nitrites, Phosphates, and Calcium every 10 days to two weeks.

It’s more difficult because pest control in a salt-water tank can be a bitch! Algae is a constant thorn in my side. I just can’t seem to be rid of it. The tank has suffered outbreaks of green hair algae, red slime “algae” (quoted because it’s actually Cyanobacteria and not algae), and now bubble algae. I’ve also got a little Aiptasia that I’m keeping an eye on.

Everyone talks about a tank’s “ugly” phase and now I know what they mean. I think I’m coming to the other side of it, though. Algae is often caused by too many nutrients and/or waste, causing the Phosphate and Nitrate levels to rise. Algae love Phosphates and Nitrates, so the trick is to reduce them. To do this, I’ve drastically reduced how much food I introduce. After conversations with some experts, it’s obvious that I’ve been over-feeding. The other change I made was to shorten the period during which the tank lighting is at full. I’m now only running full lighting from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. rather than from 10-6. I think I’m finally starting to see the algae weaken and recede.

As for fish, I hadn’t added any because of Tony, the Royal Gramma. Tony was an asshole. He was constantly picking on Pierre the Cleaner Shrimp, and I love Pierre. He also flared up and fought with anything new in the tank. Tony was beautiful, but I kicked him out. Messing with Pierre was his last mistake. I gave him to the local fish store so they could re-home him.

With Tony gone and the algae on the decline, it was time to start adding things. This week, I’ve introduced three new corals: Palythoa Grandis1, Acan Red, and Green Star Polyps (GSP). I also got a little Emerald Crab. We named him Craig.

Even though it can be frustrating at times, I enjoy the tank very much. It’s so much fun to just sit and watch things happening. It’s like a whole world in there and it’s amazing.

  1. Apparently, Palythoa can produce a quite deadly toxin (palytoxin) so I’m weighing the pros and cons of keeping it. It’s pretty and cool, but yikes. ↩︎