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Monday, September 28, 2009

New plumbing, a crash, the Alpha 250 and clownfish breeding!

It has been many months since I posted on this blog and I apologize.  Its been a very busy year for me, work and personal.  But, the tank still continues to survive!

Let me give you some updates and then we will talk about the real news.

1.  I had a major alkalinity swing about 6 weeks ago.  I was not monitoring my tank as well as I should have been and the custom salt mix I was using ended up having an alk issue.  My alkalinity dropped to 5 dKh and it shocked my corals.  Then, I made the mistake of bringing it back up to quickly which was just as bad!  Needless to say that I lost a bunch of SPS corals.  And some nice ones too.  So far, I have lost 5 totally and I have another 10 or so that are teetering on the edge.  However, the rest of them have recovered.  They all have a few dead spots but they look like they will make it.

2.  Next, I redid my fish room in the basement.  As you may recall I had a 30g sump and 30g fuge set-up with 2 glass tanks.  Well, one of the tanks cracked and had a slow leak and I felt like I didn't have enough room in the existing tanks.  So, about 3 weeks ago, I ripped out both tanks and re-did the whole set-up.  I now have 3 stock tanks in the basement fish room.

Coming off one overflow I have a 40g stock tank acting as a refugium.   Off the other overflow, I have a 50g stock tank that is my new frag tank (complete with a 250w metal halide pendant over it.)  That tank drains into aother 40g stock tank that is my sump.

The two 40g stock tanks T together and are pumped in a single line back to the tank.  My ATO is not hooked up yet, so I have to manually add top-off water.  But I hope to fix this soon.

3.  Just this past week, I changed out my AquaC EV-180 skimmer for the new Royal Exclusiv Alpha 250 cone skimmer.  This thing is a beast!!!  It is everything that it is advertised to be and more.  The only problem is that is comes with ZERO documentation!!!  And there is not a lot of help on the web. 

Now on to the exciting news!  I was just speaking with one of the ORA guys this past week about my clownfish and lamenting the fact that, though they seem to be a mated pair, they have never bred in my tank.  And, last night, they laid eggs!!!!  Talk about a major coincidence.  It really is mind boggling!

I saw the two fish really focusing on a single spot of rock under the anemone around 7:00 last night.  They were picking at it over and over and the rock was almost white it was so clean.  I also saw that there was a translucent white tube sticking out of the abdomen of the female and her belly was huge!

I grabbed the video camera and set it up on a tripod and went out for a bit.  Sure enough, when I got home there were eggs on the rock!!!!  The male was still going back and forth and fertilizing them!!!!

I have not watched the video yet, but I have included a couple of photos at the bottom of this post.  I spent the rest of the evening reading up on breeding clownfish.  It is not an easy task and requires that you culture microalgae and rotifers to feed them for the first 5 days and then hatch brine shrimp after that....

But, I think we are going to give it a try.  I really think it will be educational for the kids!!!

I will continue to post updates about this but I don't think I will try to raise the first batch.  I won't have my rotifer food ready in time and don't expect to be home when the baby clowns hatch.  But, I will be getting ready for round two which should be about 12-18 days after this first batch is born!!



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