Monday, October 20, 2008

Update: More progress with the 54-gallon tank


Let me start by apologizing for my lack of updates. Time has not been on my side the last few weeks. But with the weather turning cold in the Northeast, it is time to start moving inside (after the leaves are all raked up) and get the tank filled with life. I am actually surprised I don't like the cold weather, as I was born in Vermont, but I guess living in SoCal for 7-8 years thinned my blood somewhat because now I don't really care for temperatures below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

So ... where is the tank at this point?

Well, it's actually up and running with saltwater and even a couple of "starter" corals. I still need
to hook-up my auto top-off system so I can stop dumping water in the tank manually for top off. I have both of my Vortech Pumps running in the tank and, compared to the "old" versions without the wireless wave drivers, the "newer" versions are just incredible! I have tried a few different settings on the tank and was even able to create a nice wave action using the Short Pulse Mode. But I ended up using the Long Pulse Mode for now, but as I start to stock the tank this may change.

As I mentioned, I added a couple of small corals to the tank last Thursday (Oct. 16th). My friend let me come over and take a few pieces from his tank (he wanted me to grab more corals, but since they were the first going in, I just wanted a couple to try out). I ended up grabbing two heads of Hammer or Anchor coral (Euphyllia species, not 100% sure which one yet) and a single polyp of an Orange Ricordea. Both are doing great in the tank so far. My plan for the tank is to have a few large corals in the tank instead of lots of little ones, I just hope I can be patient enough to wait for them to grow out before I start fragging them, LOL. I am also hoping to go with all captive raised/propagated corals as well. I would like to have mainly all SPS, with a couple of LPSs (Euphyllia and Duncanopsammia sp).

I am still trying to figure out my fish wish list for the tank. I don't think I want a large "show piece" fish in the tank, rather I prefer more smaller fish. I am thinking a pair of clownfish (I really liked my pink skunks in my last tank, so I am leaning towards a pair of captive bred skunks or a pair of captive bred true percula clowns) and then some gobies and/or blennies of some type ... or maybe some type of dottyback, like an Orchid Dottyback (Pseudochromis fridmani).

I have always been a fan of pygmy angels (Centropyge), but I know they are not always the best choice for a reef tank. I have kept a pair of flame angels in the past in a 135-gallon mixed reef tank (they did great, but would occasionally nip at things) and, most recently, kept a Cherub Angel (C. argi) in my tank without any issues. I might consider trying an African Flameback Angel (C. acanthops) this time around, as they have always caught my eye.

One last large piece of equipment I am considering adding to the tank is a Calcium Reactor. I have always used reactors on my larger tanks, but have never used them on smaller tanks. I have always used two-part supplements, like AquaC Complete. But I have a brand new AquaC RX-1 Calcium Reactor along with all the needed equipment (CO2 tank, regulator, etc...) to get it up and running just sitting here on my shelf.

I think for now I am going to stick with dosing the two-part supplements, especially since I just ordered a new set and the demand for calcium on the tank is very low right now. But once it starts getting some corals in the tank and the coralline algae starts to take off, the demand for calcium will become greater and, whenever possible, I prefer to automate the process of adding supplements instead of manually dosing.

I have been promising some pictures of the tank, but I still have not loaded the software on my computer so I can download pictures. I am going to do that over the next few days and will take some pictures (although right now it is a pretty empty tank) and post before the end of the week. Hopefully I can get some decent shots of the tank now that it is actually running. While I am not overly happy with the liverock aquascaping (I will probably change it around a bit), at least it will give everyone an idea of where the tank is at.

Thanks for reading the latest update! Feel free to post any comments, questions or suggestions you might have for the tank.