Seaweed and Tank Update (Jan14)

Trying to grow macroalgae was something I really wanted to achieve with this project and so far I am quite pleased. Its very enjoyable to me to observe growth especially new shoots. One of the reasons surely has to be that the watertemperature in the tank is around 15degrees which is about 6 more than currently in the sea. The lights are on 9 hours but shifted from real (11am-10pm) so I can look at the tank after work 🙂

Recently I found a piece of seaweed with two very small nice greenish snakelocks that I brought home. I thought once they move off the little branch I discard it but only when I put it in the tank and had a closer look I realized this could be one of my favorite seaweeds, the so far elusive Bushy Rainbow Wrack. It started to grow new shoots and I am now hopeing it isnt just the normal Rainbow Wrack that I have already. This seaweed was one of the triggers for me to start this project in the first place after reading this.

Another piece of “dead” seaweed attached to a rock that I added a few weeks ago is reanimated and growing new shoots, I am starting to think that it is Wireweed Sargassum Muticum but not sure yet.

Most exciting for me is the coral weed which is settling in various places on rocks that were barren before and also on seaweeds 🙂

A few animals had to go after annoying me too much 😉 The bigger cushion star was caught feeding on the most beautiful snail I ever found the painted topshell. That was his ticket back to the wild together with the two grey snakelocks and the very “destructive” bigger of the Seaurchins that was constantly trying to mess up my seaweed plantations, heading off with the thermometer and also causing a rockslide! Its amazing how strong they are pushing through crevices. Thankfully nobody was hurt during the slide and it gave opportunity to make a closeup shot of the strawberry anemone.

Probably due to overfeeding and overstocking I had a bit of a nitrate problem (40ppm). None of the fish or inverts showed any signs of stress, fin damage or discomfort at 40ppm. If you go after the books everything should have been dead! So I was quite surprised when I watched the test going more and more orange/red. Panic! Waterchanges didnt have a great effect as the nitrates apparently accumulate in the substrate and rocks so even after a partial waterchange has brought the nitrates down to about 20ppm the day after it was back to 40ppm. I was reluctant to add shop bought live rock to the sump for filtration so far but it was time to start now. I added 6kg of live rock and some filter sponges between the baffle plates to increase nitrate reducing bacteria. After the storms I found lots of eelgrass washed up and planted some in the displaytank thinking it might be quite fast growing. Looks nice too and is indeed growing. After a week now of adding the liverock and reducing feeding I am very surprised to see the nitrates have already gone down to 15ppm.

Sump with live rock, oyster and clam

Sump with live rock, oyster and clam

The red hair algae is not extremely exploding which I would have expected with such high nitrates. Its only thriving really well around the large Snakleocks where the cleanup crew doesnt dare to go. I noticed that the prawns dont seem to like to the high flow in the tank and are most of the time between the rocks and crevices. The pump controller is now programmed so that there is very high flow for 30min (both pumps alternating which gives a lot of turbulence) then no flow at all (except sump return of around 900lph) for 30min to give them a better chance to have a cleaning tour. Might need to increase the time further.

On Saturday I found this severely injured and battered 1 1/3 armed spiny starfish. A voracious predator but I would like to nurse it back to completion (with 5 arms) and then release it. Will be interesting to see how long it takes to regrow.


Few recent pictures here to sweeten the post 😉

Thanks for reading

2 thoughts on “Seaweed and Tank Update (Jan14)

  1. Looking very nice, the seaweed indeed looks like the Bushy Rainbow wrack, but even if it is one of the other species it is great that it is growing so well! I suspect that the top shell was dead before the cushion star got to it, they seem to scavenge mainly and I don;t think they can kill large snails…cheers Michiel

    • Thanks, its great to watch the new shoots, fingers crossed its the Bushy one, the pictures you have of it on your blog are just breathtaking. You are dead right its a scavenger and the snail was probably dead already, too late for mercy now 😉 Thanks for the advice anyhow! Wonder why the snail died? Maybe the high nitrates?

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