Welcome to The Reef….!!!
You may have read in the last post on the blog, that there has been a new addition at Floyd Towers. In the corner of the lounge, on the unit, now sits a Microhabitat30. It's a self contained marine reef tank for the complete novice,(which is most certainly the catagory I fall into!).
Now, why then I hear you ask, (well at least I am imagining I hear you asking in your zillions) does that warrant a blog page of its own? The answer is simple. I was stumbling through Twitter earlier today, as you do, when a superstar in the world of blogging, '@mammasaurus', pointed out that over on www.loveallblogs.com , was a new thread. I think it's called a '366/52'. Essentially it's a graphical account of one thing, seen either every day, or every week throughout the year. Naturally I thought that 'The Reef' would be something that might fit the bill, so I am going to give it a go. So check out this page every week to see how it all comes together, and how it hopefully develops from an empty plastic box, into a teeming tropical reef the likes of which would keep David Attenborough occupied without the need for any stunt Penguins or acting Polar Bears ! (Not that they will feature anyway!)… As ever, please feel free to comment, it makes it all worth while….
So hold onto your snorkels…. here we go… enjoy the dive… FD :@)
The first week, the tank is set up with 3 Kilos of 'Live Rock', some gravel substrate, and 3 shells on the insistance of the youngest ! All the workings of the system are out of view at the rear. The filters, heater, circulation pump and Protein Skimmer set to work 'cycling' the water for 7-10 days until the levels of Nitrate and Ammonia are safe for stock.
Week 2… And out of the blue, the first signs of life have appeared. This little critter must have been 'Hitch-hiking' in on the live rock. I forget it's real name, but it ended up being called 'Stomy'. A quick check with those in the know, reveal he is a good guy, and so he gets to stay…
Ok, week 3 is upon us, and we have some new additions to the tank. Meet 'Patty' the Peppermint Shrimp, brought in to clear up the Glass Anenomes which began sprouting from the live rock.(I wanted to call it 'Pil-Pil', after my favourite prawn dish, but that was vetoed!). In there to, are three blue legged Hermit Crabs, and together, they form the cleaning crew ! Also we have added a smattering of hard and soft corals. First fish are on their way, so check it out next week !
So Week 4 arrived, and into the tank went 2 tiny clown fish, (flip and flop), and a Yellow Rock Goby (Gordon). There is always a risk when adding stock that the chemical levels in the tank can 'spike' and cause mayhem. Surely that wouldn't happen to Floydsdad??? In the meantime the Peppermint Shrimp shed it's skin, leaving this old outer skin on the rock. The text I got from Mrs.FD read.. 'The Lobster's sat on the rock, but it's gone see through !' (see what I have to work with !).
Those of you who know me, will know how my luck generally pans out. Remember the threatened Ammonia 'Spike'? Well, it came, and put pay to Gordon overnight ! I was working away (just to increase the stress of the situation), and had to deal with the fallout over the phone. The next night 'Flop', the smaller of the two clowns, decided to play 'Jackass' and lept out of the tank via a 3/4 inch gap, and was found 'crispy' on the lounge floor the following morning. Rather than show you that, I thought a shot of the luminescent coral under the blue 'moonlight' would be less traumatic !
So after the trauma of last week, with the Johnny Knoxville of the fish world leaping to his death, a more tranquil scene this week. Here is the remaining Clown going about his business amongst the corals. We have a Mythrax crab in there now, by the name of Alan! (it was the youngest's idea!) Big plans for some serious Feng Shui in the next 2 weeks. Keep watching,and of course feel free to leave a comment.
Here is one of the Trumpet Corals, a 'hard' coral which sits up near the top of the tank to soak up as much light as possible. Next time you see The Reef there will be a big change. Out with the black gravel, in with live coral sand, and also a spring clean for the live rock to shift that awful red bubble algae. A re-design of the actual reef stack, and, (water tests permitting) a couple of new inhabitants. Please feel free to let me know what you think!
Ta Da !!!
I love it ! This was what I had in mind when I first started the tank off 8 weeks ago. I'm glad I asked around for advice on how to go about doing the change, so thanks to everyone at 'The Salty Box' forum who chipped in, and a special thanks to Duncan at @Cockfields_Farm who gave me the thumbs up to crack on. So, out with the black gravel, and in with the coral sand. A clove polyp right at the top, just below and to the left, a yellow polyp 'garden', the luminous green trumpet coral under that, with the greentipped bubble anenome under that. In the centre, under the red fern grass, is a pink centred green polyp,(but it's shut), and sitting on the top of the new large sandy coloured piece of live rock, is the other clove polyp, and I think it's a 'Blasta' frag. In the sand are the tiny luminous Zoas, the Mushroom Coral in the centre, and to the left of that, is a 'Feather Duster', a worm that lives in a tube, and pops out every now and then, to waft it's feathers. A week of regular water testing now, before hopefully adding fish number two…
Please leave a comment, star-rate it, tweet it, share it on Facebook or whatever it is people do in a networky way! The super talented @ITAteam has tweeked things, so there is no need to register now to leave a comment. See you next week! :@)
Time to start a tour around the reef in a little more detail. To the Upper left you can see the fronds of the pulse Polyp, these little fans snatch away all day, presumably sifting out bits of food from the water. To the right of that is a 'Blasta' frag, which will be a slow growing piece, but looks good under the blue light. Talking of looking good under the blue light, nothing beats the 3 zoanthoid frags you can see along the bottom. In a week or two, I will show you what I mean. Thanks for popping by! FD :@)
Welcome back ! This week, a close up of one of the 'clean-up crew' on The Reef. Sitting pretty on the bright green Trumpet Coral, is one of the three Sexy Shrimp which live on the rocks. It's hard to tell from the photo, but they really do prance around on their front legs, 'shaking their booty' as I believe it is called ! This photo was taken under the white light, like I said, next week I will show you how things change when you whack on 'a bit of blue!' See you then ! FD :@)