It’s been a couple of months since our last update in May. As we have observed our new tank grow, we have made several alterations to try and produce the best habitat for our coral. This update we will focus on how the current lighting is working over the tank, discuss our switch from using Prodibio to ZEOvit and the new feature we added to our overflow box.
In our previous update, we mentioned using the product Prodibio. We did observe coral growth and a nice color “pop” when utilizing this product in our tank. However, we did encounter one drawback. Following the instructions for the product, we would dose the vials in the evening every 15 days. At this time the protein skimmer (AquaMaxx WS-1) was turned off. The following morning, the protein skimmer would be turned on once again. We like to run our protein skimmer so that it produces a dry skim (meaning less water extracted with the junk in the skimmer’s cup). When the protein skimmer was turned back on, within a matter of hours, the protein skimmer cup section was completely filled with water. It appeared as though hardly much junk was extracted with the water in the cup. As the 15 days progressed, we found ourselves frequently having to readjust the protein skimmer to have it function properly (sometimes on a daily basis). At times it felt (as our nitrate tests demonstrated) that we had no protein skimmer at all. In all fairness, we have a small protein skimmer given the size constraints of our sump. Perhaps on a bigger system with a more advanced protein skimmer this would not have been an issue. This was one factor which encouraged us to make our next change to this system.
While we are moving away from Prodibio in our Nano Reef Tank, we are currently contemplating utilizing this product for our Innovative Marine NUVO Concept Abyss Panorama Drop Off Aquarium which is still in the process of cycling. The coral growth and color was appealing and the ease of use for this product has us wanting to continue to observe its benefits within a different system setup.
The other deciding factor for a biological dosing change came when we recently had a custom 240 gallon (909 liters) aquarium delivered to our home (stay tuned for a build blog soon to come)! We have planned for this system to be a mixed reef tank and run utilizing ZEOvit. What is ZEOvit? To put it simply, it is a system which utilizes bacteria to help rid an aquarium system of excess nutrients (such as phosphates & nitrates). While the premise itself is easy to understand, implementation can be another matter. ZEOvit systems are typically reserved for predominantly SPS tanks; however, we are hoping to maintain both SPS and LPS corals. The ultimate push for us to switch from Prodibio to ZEOvit resulted from our desire to become accustomed with the ZEOvit regimen before establishing our much larger aquarium and to observe how ZEOvit introduction influences our current LPS which we hope to ultimately transition to the large tank.
We currently have two AI Primes running over our tank. The Primes do a fantastic job illuminating the entire tank and provide a visually sharp appearance to the system. One consideration to bear in mind if you choose to run these lights over such a shallow tank is that they will need to be calibrated to a lower intensity. Currently each unit sits 9.25 inches (23.5 cm) from the tank (measuring from the top of the glass to the bottom of each puck).
Our Current Lighting Schedule & Settings
Our lights are on from 12 PM till 8 PM. With an hour ramp up & down time. An hour of actinic blue lighting from 7PM to 8PM during the ramp down time.
Above images were taken from the myAI app in conjunction with our AI Prime lights.
It has taken us some time to calibrate these settings for our tank. Over time we gradually increased the intensity and observed our corals for any sign of stress. About 3 weeks ago we gradually increased the intensity of the lighting from 10% to 14%. After a week of this increased intensity two of our corals previously mentioned (an open brain coral and plate) begin to show sign of distress with tissue degrading. Both of these corals are positioned directly in the cent of the tank and therefore presumably experience greater PAR levels due to being within range of both light fixtures. Additionally, one of our Acan frags began to show signs of distress, though it did not loose tissue. At these signs of struggle, we immediately returned the lighting back to their original intensity of 10%. I am relieved to say our Acan frag instantly improved and our plate coral is showing signs of improvement with tissue returning. Unfortunately, the open brain coral suffered greater tissue loss in comparison to the plate coral. At this time we are continuing to monitor the brain coral and hope next time to report on its improvement.
Keep in mind that should you choose to go with this arrangement for your tank, each tank has its own set of variables that could cause the lighting calibration for the units to differ than ours. Additionally, I’m excited to say that AI has just released their latest version of these lights: AI Prime HD. As detailed on their website: “No longer are you limited to using a fixed amount of power per channel, the HD dynamically adjusts power available to each color, borrowing power from the colors you’re not utilizing. Giving you the most vivid spectrum your tank has ever seen.” This new functionality provides even greater control over determining the settings that work best for both your tank and your coral.
The one caveat I will state about these lights is that ours produce a slight “buzzing” sound when in operation. Since our tank is near the kitchen with other appliances (i.e. fridge & dishwasher) generating noise, I hardly notice. However when everything else is silent and I’m standing next to the tank admiring the view, the noise is audible. While some have reported having similar issues with their units online. Others report that their AI Primes are silent. Perhaps the latest models of the AI Primes HD will not encounter this same issue.
Hang On Back Overflow:
We are happy to report that the hang-on-back overflow (CPR CS50 Overflow Box) has been functioning beautifully with no problems. However, the noise generated from the unit was becoming a bit tiresome. In order to rectify this issue, we installed our own noise dampener.
As we continue to observe and make modifications to this system, we will continue with updates.
That's it for this time. Keep Krill'in!
This tank has experienced quite a bit of an overhaul since we originally set it up in January of this year. In that time, we have added a sump and exchanged several pieces of equipment currently running on the system. This is an update on some of the successes and struggles we have experienced over the past few months.
With the extremely elevated nitrate levels, we had to conduct several water changes to insure that the nitrate levels had been brought down. Despite our immediate action upon recognition of an issue, several of the other corals began displaying signs of distress. This initial loss has triggered a domino effect of sorts. We ended up losing the other two SPS frags shortly following the first demise as well, who up until this point, had been displaying wonderful polyp extension and color. Their death again began to contribute to the nitrates found within the tank. The fluctuating parameters has also triggered our open brain coral to begin tissue necrosis as well. We have removed this coral from the tank and placed it in quarantine to spare ourselves any further addition to our nitrates. It is our hope that we can aid this coral in repair; however, its chances are slim to none at this point. Even though the open brain coral’s future seems bleak, we feel compelled to give it a try at rescue within quarantine.
Following this episode, we have had a difficult time in returning our nitrates back to 0 ppm. However, our current levels hover around 5 ppm or less. While not ideal, it is far better than the dramatic swings we were experiencing during periods of coral tissue death. It is our hope that with close observation of the remaining corals in conjunction with a few other elements we are adding (which we will address below) our numbers will reach ideal conditions again in the near future. As it stands now: our tank now holds two acan frags, a torch, hammer, short tentacle plate and long tentacle plate coral. Until our parameters have once again reached a consistent positive state, we will not be introducing any new inhabitants into the tank for a period of time.
In order to try and emulate a setup we are considering for the large tank build, we decided to remove the live rock and instead use MarinePure High Performance Biofilter Media. The 8” x 8” x 4” (20 x 20 x 10 cm) block provides a much greater surface area for bacteria colonization than traditional live rock. Especially for anaerobic bacteria that help to convert nitrates into nitrogen gas. Since we choose to remove our live rock contained within the sump, this also means that we sacrificed a large portion of our biological filtration. We selected to address this issue with through the final major change with our system.
For a week following the removal of the live rock, we dosed daily with Seachem Stability. This assisted in establishing a bacteria within the new MarinePure block. We also decided to begin dose using Prodibio BioKit for Nano Reefs. The product contains 5 vials of each of the following:
We dose the products every 15 days. The supplements are added at night with the protein skimmer turned off. The skimmer is turned on again the following morning. To date we have only instituted 2 rounds of dosing and we are excited to watch for any results.
Despite some of our more recent setbacks, we are eager to see how some of the new implements we’ve added impact the entire system. As our nano tank continues to progress, we will continue to post updates here on this blog page.