Active Carbon helped in balancing the system

Two weeks ago, my Bubble Coral started showing stress. A week ago it started deflating. I could see the skeleton coming out of the coral mouth. I thought it will die for sure, It did look terrible. I used Active Carbon by Rowa, and already after 4 days the coral looked regenerated (as you can see in this photo above). It is very good running Active Carbon 3-4 times a year, to prevent organic build-up.
This recently introduced Clavularia coral started showing off lots of green color. Soon enough it will become totally green. Can't wait ;-)


Just a quick video update


Peppermint shrimp, great Aiptasia eater

I added one Peppermint shrimp to this set-up, just to test it's capability in eradicating Aiptasia Anemones. I had two new (and 2 old) Aiptasias growing on the rock. I wasn't sure why this sort of anemone started growing in my tank, since the 2 old Aiptasias weren't thriving at all. Something did change in this Nano-reef lately and I wasn't sure what.
I did some water testing and all except KH (6.3KH) was good. Since my Ca levels are Hi, at 450ppm, it is impossible to raise the KH, so I am stuck for a while, until I lower my Calcium levels.
In any way, I got this lovely looking shrimp to see for my self how effective it is in eating Aiptasias. 24 hours after introducing it to the set-up, the Aiptasias were gone !!! Is it possible, that this shrimp alone eradicated all 4 Aiptasias alone? I bet it did, since they were gone.
I have read many stories on the net about the Peppermint shrimp. Many say it is good and many that it is bad at eating Aiptasias. Is it possible that people are talking about two different species of similar shrimps?? I am not sure, but I sure can state that this shrimp of mine is very effective in removing the Aiptasia Anemone. My Aiptasias were no longer than 4cm, so still very small. I am not sure would this shrimp be able to eat a big Aiptasia though.


Acalycigorgia Blue Sea Fan

I have added one more coral to this Nano-Reef; Acalycigorgia sp. Blue Sea Fan
This coral is not photosynthetic and therefore should not be exposed to strong lights. It is a filter feeding coral which should be fed 4-5 times a week with Phytoplankton, frozen Cyclops, Marine Snow, Zoo-plankton. The best is to mix all these types of food together and feed the Blue Sea Fan coral. This coral requires medium to strong water current. Also, I was observing the Sea Fan while feeding. One can actually see how its tiny polyps capture food particles and move them into the mouth that is in a middle of each polyp. That is the best proof that this coral is getting the right type of food. This coral should be supplied with Iodine, Calcium, Magnesium, Strontium and other trace elements.
I like the blue adition to the left. I will introduce one more Clavularia viridis Green to the bottom left to create a "grassy" look.


Box or Sundial snails - Polyp eaters

These snails can be found on different types of polyps like Zoanthus, Palythoa and Protopalythoa. They feed on polyps, by sucking out polyp's fluids. If left in the tank they can ruin polyp colonies. I advise to take them out as soon you spot them. It is easy to remove Sundial snails manually. Inspect newly purchased coral colonies before introducing them to the tank.


Video update

Everything is in order. The only problem was my Trochus snail had died. This aquarium never had any algae and I speculate the snail couldn't find enough food.


Asteriniid star

Asteriniid stars are harmless and very common in reef aquariums. They usually come with living rocks.


Bubble algae (Valonia) and Coral Wars

I have discovered a few Valonia Bubble algae growing in my Nano-Reef. This one was the biggest one. I have removed it manually (fingers) which was very easy really. This algae has a very strange "skin", like a rubber balloon. One should take care not to press it to hard while removing it, otherwise it could pop ;-) and release all the spores around the tank.

The next photo represents the Coral War! The Green Bubble coral (Plerogyra sinousa) is burning the much weaker Turbinaria coral (on the left-down). Corals fight for space in aquariums as well as in nature. The best thing to do is to move the weaker coral away a bit.
My Zoanthid colony is coloring very nicely (shot from above)
These green Trachyphyllia corals are showing off a very nice fluorescent color (photo from above).
Photos by Dusko Bojic.


Time for testing the water

NO3 is 10ppm, PO4 is 0.03ppm, KH is 6.8, Calcium is 440ppm, SG 1.023, Temp 24'C.

So far no algae problems. All corals are looking great. I can see some corals burning each other but nothing major, except the Rhodactis mushroom burning very bad the Tubastrea. I have to remove it, or move it away a bit.

I have two small Aiptasias from the beginning and for some reason they are not thriving in this tank of mine. Folk usually has problems with them and report that once you have it, Aiptasia will spread rapidly all over the tank. But not in my tank. I am still trying to find the reason why. BTW I have never tried to kill it (boiled water, kalkwater, etc).
I will see will low KH make Aiptasia feel better :-) Like with everything else, even Aiptasias have their favorite conditions. Will test and see.


The maturing nano-reef

This reef is maturing nicely. No algae issues. I didn't have any problems so far.

Discosoma sp. died :-(

I didn't have time to update this, so I'll do it now. This Discosoma mushroom colony died suddenly. I wasn't sure what it was, but after researching abit I have figured out the culprit. The Euphyllia coral is know to release toxic substances in accordance to fight other corals. No other corals have suffered, but this one. And Discosoma was the hardiest coral I grow!! One could prevent this from happening by using Active Carbon which can absorb the lethal substance but I didn't know this back then.


Clownfish adopted Rhodactis Mushroom

A few days ago, one of my Clown fish adopted the Rhodactis Mushroom. The second Clown joined in today. The coral doesn't seem to be stressed.

Tests; NO3=5 ppm, PO4=0.03 ppm, Calcium at 460, KH 7, SG 1.022, Temp 24'C.
Calcium is a bit over the line. Will stop dosing it for a week and see what happens.
SG is a bit too low, will do next water change with higher salinity.


Orange Sponge and Purple Mushroom added

Photo 1 - taken from above (nice colors)
Next image is showing the final reef-scape.
I have introduced one colony of Purple Discosoma Mushrooms.
The Sun Polyp is doing well so far, but not perfect. It needs constant feeding and the mechanical filtration is trapping most of the food particles. I am seriously considering to remove all the mechanical filtration, like sponges etc. Filter sponge will trap all food particles, limiting food resources for the filter feeders (Orange Sponge, Sun Polyp, other corals and microscopic life form). The best thing is removing the food trap together with all sponges and filter floss, so food can freely float through the pumps and back into the aquarium. Food trapped in mechanical filters will only rot and pollute the water. One should ideally rinse all mechanical filters once a day. But instead I will take them out, next week before the water change.
This Orange Sponge doesn't need much light and ideally should be placed in low light areas. It should be fed 3-4 times a week with Phytoplankton.
"American" Zoanthids are doing fine, developing fine coloration (Green, Red, Blue and Yellow)
I am sure I have some sort of Pistol Shrimp in between the rocks. One day during the feeding time I have heard 2 clicking sounds and a small sand cloud came out side one crevice under the living rock. The Goby is almost all the time hiding in that exact spot under the rocks and comes out only at feeding time. Time will tell am I right. All snails and Crabs are still alive. I believe that Pistol Shrimp might be still small.
Photos by Dusko Bojic.


Tubastrea sp. coral introduced

The Orange Sun Polyp is a very attractive animal that is non-photosynthetic (doesn't require light) and for that reason need daily feeding for best results. The one in the photo is still stressed, but after a few days should be in top form. I am feeding it once a day with small amounts of Cyclop-eeze.
The next photo represents the actual scape. I am pretty sure it is going to stay like this. I will add at least two-three more corals to fill in all the "holes".


Changing the Reef scape

I decided changing the scape. The first one was making the aquarium look way too small and kind of arranged (fake). This time I am trying to make it look as natural as possible. Reef looking. I have returned the Goniopora and Cynarina corals.

I introduced one Discosoma colony with nice green hue.
In the next photo one can see how Rhodactis feeds. It forms into a "cup" first, and after traps the pray into a ball, closing completely. It will feed on anything that falls into it; Artemia, dry fish food like Formula One pellets.
All inhabitants are doing well. The Trachyphyllia is also feeding on Formula One pellets.
Photos by Dusko Bojic.


Rhodactis sp. and Euphyllia sp.

I am changing the reefscape a bit. I placed one stone with Rhodactis mushroom on the left-front and the Favia that ws there is moved to the right-front instead of the Cynarina. I will return the Cynarina. I have not enough space for it. I was thinking to return the Goniopora as well, because it is placing a shadow over the Turbinaria and Trachyphyllia.
I also introduced a few fragments of Euphyllia sp. and placed them far back.
Turbinaria (photo below) was again feeding on Formula One pellets today :-) well...
I have tested the tank today;
NO3 2.5ppm , PO4 less than 0.03ppm almost 0ppm , Calcium 440ppm , Temp.26'C
And for the reason the PO4 levels are kind of low, I have removed the Rowa PO4 remover from the filter for now. Symbiotic Zooxanthellae algae which are living in the coral tissue need nutrients like NO3, PO4, CO2 to thrive.
Everything seem to be in order.


Living Rock is indeed living ;-)

The photo above shows a critter called Chitons and is harmless. It came with the living rock. I have noticed this "shell" on one of the rocks and for almost two month I thought it was a fossilized animal. It didn't move until 2 days ago. It was probably hibernating (my assumption).

The next photo shows a very hungry looking Trachyphyllia with inflated polyps ready for feeding. On this image one can witness my Turbinaria eating an Ocean Nutrition Formula One pellet (shock) I couldn't believe it. This also happened yesterday. I believe that this coral feeds at day time. In the night time it hides the polyps making feeding impossible. I will observe it closely.
Spotted prawn goby is doing fine. Usually staying on one favorite spot and waiting for pray that is growing in the tank like Mysis, Cyclops, Amphipods, etc. I also feed it with pellets and frozen Artemia which it takes readily.


Favia sp. and Amblyeleotris guttata

I have performed 10% water change today and have rinsed all filter media. The SG is at 1.025, temperature is at 26'C, PO4 is 0.03ppm, NO3 at 2,5ppm. I introduced some Rowa Po4 and Silicate remover to the filter media. I will dose 1 ml of Calcium chloride 3 times a week, 2ml Salifert All In One every week (Tuesdays), 1ml Iodine every second week (the 1st and the 3rd Thursday in a month). I also replaced the Nano Koralia 900 l/h pump with a Ferplast 250 l/h. Now I have less circulation than before, and corals seem be thriving much better. The circulation now is: Maxi Jet 680 l/h + Ferplast 250 l/h.

The Goniopora is thriving extremely well in these Nano conditions;
I introduced another stone coral - Favia sp.
I also added one Spotted prawn goby (Amblyeleotris guttata). It grows to 7cm.


Myth or fact - Caulerpa taxifolia (UPDATED 11th Oct.)

Caulerpa taxifolia, the creeping death, or not???
Many web sites refer to this plant being a "killer algae". Also many forums claim that this algae can kill corals. I can't see any of it happening inside my aquarium (yet).
Many as well claim that this algae is so toxic that no predatory fish will eat it. I was observing an Emperor Angel fish eating it. Some Tangs will eat this algae also.

One thing is clear though. This algae is very invasive, and can smother other organisms if left unchecked (pruning is necessary). I am not sure this algae can release toxins (Caulerpenyne) into the water causing water quality issues, resulting stressed corals. Cynarina was the only coral affected by this algae. C. taxifolia was growing way too close to the Cynarina, meaning, they were all the time in physical contact. I believe this algae is able to sting corals, and by doing that, injecting certain amounts of caulerpenyne toxin into the coral. I removed major amount of Caulerpa, leaving behind just 4 leaves. I didn't perform water change. If it is true that this algae releases toxins into the water, corals should start reacting to it. A few weeks passed, nothing happened. All corals look great, even the Cynarina started coming back to life.
I have another theory also;
Most corals house symbiotic Zooxanthellae algae inside their tissues. This sort of algae (like any other algae) feed on: light, nutrients and CO2. I would say, since Caulerpa is absorbing nutrients much faster than Zooxanthellae, this symbiotic algae will start dying off. When this happens, corals will start releasing brown looking strings (Zooxanthellae) through their mouth. And by saying this, corals should have small amounts of PO4 and NO3 to be able to feed Zooxanthellae. This is my theorie, I am not sure is this scientifically proved.

One should know that Caulerpa needs nutrients like NO3 to be able to thrive. It is enough keeping NO3 levels between 5-10 ppm for it to grow. When NO3 is totally absorbed C. taxifolia will rapidly die off, and like any other plant/algae form, will release organics back into the water column. In this case older "leaves" become pale very fast, if this happens, take all algae out as fast as possible. To prevent this from happening, regular pruning is necessary. Growing a small amount of C. taxifolia is not an issue, but when the bio-mass increases, the algae will need up to 20x more NO3. One could dose extra KNO3, but this is not advised if a Coral Reef is in question.
I will continue observing it, and post updates.

Photos by Dusko Bojic.