Saltwater Walstad?

"For those who wished to find the answers to their questions by doing some experiments." - Paul K

Re: Saltwater Walstad?

Postby Erica Wieser » Sat Jun 16, 2012 10:52 am

The fry tank holds water (and the floor is still intact, tank still level) so I added salt and fifty pounds of crushed coral. It's cloudy at the moment or I would share a picture.
Also, the $0.50 cent each tank divider 7 mesh plastic canvases arrived in the mail. They really do fit into the slots I embedded into the back wall. I'm glad it works :)
Erica Wieser
 
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Re: Saltwater Walstad?

Postby Erica Wieser » Sun Jun 17, 2012 8:05 am

There is good and bad news in the progress of this tank setup.

First the bad news.
The background is very bouyant in the top tank. I'm weighting down the plastic lip around the tank to keep it from popping off.
nothings gonna hold me down.jpg
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I think soaking it in water helped because the bouyancy was much higher for the top half of the background as compared to the bottom half. Maybe in a few days I can take the weight off and it will stay down. I'll give it a while to absorb and then check it again. :( If anyone knows how to resolve this, I'm open to ideas.

Now the good news.
The fry tank is looking good! Salinity's at 1.021 or 1.022, temperature's nice and heated, light works, filter works, everything's ready. The beneficial bacteria culture is on its way in the mail and I placed a few bids on some photosynthesizing metallic green star polyps and starburst polyps (same species, won't eat the harpacticoids). Theoretically this should look like a big lawn.
Here's a picture of the tank all ready for bacteria and then green life:
crushed coral in fry tank.jpg
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Erica Wieser
 
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Re: Saltwater Walstad?

Postby Erica Wieser » Mon Jun 18, 2012 8:18 pm

I consulted with my local fish group and they suggested using silicone to attach the background to the glass. *sighs* This means draining the tank and waiting for it to dry. I checked out the price for a caulk dispenser and a tube of silicone and it looks like this is going to be cost me $5 and $25. *sighs* I think the difference between the top tank (floating background) and the bottom tank (no hassle background) is the way I cut the bottom tank's background in half (which decreased the amount of bend imparted to the styrofoam by the drying foam) and the bottom tank also has a straight line wedged in there really well at the top of the glass. The top tank's background has thicker foam, too. Anyway, so, I'm going to go get silicone and dry the tank and wait for the background to dry completely, then wait for it to cure completely, then finally add water. The good news is my bottle of beneficial bacteria shipped so probably the first day I put water in this top tank I'll have the bacteria on hand and will be able to instantly cycle it. Then I can order the harpacticoids, macroalgae, and fish. Yay for bacteria in a bottle (if it works like it claims to)
Erica Wieser
 
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Re: Saltwater Walstad?

Postby Erica Wieser » Tue Jun 19, 2012 9:31 pm

Erica Wieser wrote:I consulted with my local fish group and they suggested using silicone to attach the background to the glass....I checked out the price for a caulk dispenser and a tube of silicone and it looks like this is going to be cost me $5 and $25.

I ended up buying a second $8 tube of silicone from the pet store. But now I'm thinking I may have overestimated the size of that tube and that maybe it wasn't enough silicone. Man this 75 gallon tank is big. Oh well, I'll find out if it worked and the background stays submerged in three days when I test the water again.

Current amount invested: $867
Estimated total cost of project: $1035
Price of mandarin dragonettes at local pet store: $25
Estimated sell price of baby mandarin dragonettes: $10 to $20
Number of babies to sell to recoup investment costs: 50 to 100.
Number of fish raised by Matthew L. Wittenrich from first two spawns at day 90: 182 according to http://en.microcosmaquariumexplorer.com ... n_Mandarin
ROI from sale of fish alone: < 1 year

An ROI of 2 years or less is considered a sound investment. I keep reminding myself of the ROI because this magnitude of expenditure (a hefty portion of my salary) is kinda overwhelming. Maybe this is why all of the ones in pet stores are wild caught, even though their wild numbers are dwindling. It's expensive making a setup to captive breed them. By the way the fry tank is still looking good. That tank's background is obeying properly and staying submerged.

I also talked to the macroalgae vendor and they've got two possible species of caulerpa prolifera available. "one is thin (1/2") and tall and is commonly found growing in large patches, this species can grow 4-6" tall. The other species is wider (1") and has a tougher dark green tissue. It grows considerably taller depending on aquarium conditions to about 8" or more." I think I'm going to get the 'grows in patches' one so it looks more like a lawn.
The auctions I bid on for the green star polyps for the fry tank are just about to close. I still can't believe how beautiful these polyps are. http://www.aquabid.com/uploads/swc1340205629.jpg
http://www.aquabid.com/uploads/swc1340495089.jpg
Erica Wieser
 
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Re: Saltwater Walstad?

Postby Erica Wieser » Thu Jun 21, 2012 4:37 pm

The top tank is full of water. So far the $7.25 of silicone in between the background and the glass is making all the difference and keeping the background down. It's cloudy or I would share a photo.

This is what the fry tank looks like today:
tank6.21.12.jpg
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It went through a little yellow phase yesterday.

The green star polyps should arrive mid next week. I'm excited for them; they're the closest I can come to the chlorodesmis I posted about on page 1 of this topic.

The beneficial bacteria that I ordered to speed things up (unlike a freshwater tank, you can't just add plants to cycle a saltwater tank immediately. The 'plants' [macroalgae] have maximum tolerated amounts of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate before they decide to go sporal and look for a new area with better water quality) has been 'delivered' by FedEx which is to say not delivered at all. I called them and the shipper and both say they're not responsible. Greeeat. Well, anyway, that's what's new with the tank. I'll post pictures when the green star polyps, these strange photosynthesizing animals, arrive.
Erica Wieser
 
Posts: 170
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Re: Saltwater Walstad?

Postby Erica Wieser » Wed Jun 27, 2012 7:40 pm

The lawn arrived :)
The seller on aquabid was absolutely excellent. I recommend Thereef to others :)
metallic green star polyp day 1.jpg
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This is day one. That purple thing is its protective matting that it curls up into after, for example, it is stuck in the mail for a few days.
By the way if anything goes wrong with this it's my fault because I wasn't able to properly drip acclimate them. But I think they'll be fine. I will post more pictures as they open to show their color.

The top tank is looking a lot better now that the background is staying submerged. The salt is in and it's cycling the old fashioned way because FedEx ate my package of beneficial bacteria. Meh oh well.
top tank resize.jpg
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Erica Wieser
 
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Re: Saltwater Walstad?

Postby Erica Wieser » Thu Jun 28, 2012 7:29 pm

Green star polyps one day later:
green star polyps one day later.jpg
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zoom in.jpg
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They're opening more and more. The tiny green fingers are promising. This could one day look like a lawn.
Erica Wieser
 
Posts: 170
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Re: Saltwater Walstad?

Postby Erica Wieser » Fri Jun 29, 2012 2:46 pm

Update:
I put the lights on the top tank. There is one Odyssea T5 high output on top (this one arrived with all four bulbs intact: two 10,000K and two actinic). There is also a $10 Walmart four foot 32 watt shop light with some Home Depot Daylight Deluxe bulbs in it.
The metallic green star polyps are opening nicely in the fry tank. I put a Walmart light on that tank, too. I really should replace the broken bulbs soon; I can see how much yellower it is than the top tank.
lights on the top tank.jpg
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green star polyps opening.jpg
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Erica Wieser
 
Posts: 170
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Re: Saltwater Walstad?

Postby Erica Wieser » Sat Jun 30, 2012 7:41 am

There's something adorable that I hadn't expected. The polyps 'wake up' in the morning. I turn the lights on and over the course of fifteen minutes to an hour they slowly peep their heads out from their mat. Awww.

Here is an updated picture of the middle rock.
middle rock resize.jpg
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and the fry tank layout:
bottom tank 6.30.12.jpg
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The goal is to have the entire bottom covered with these metallic green star polyps eventually. I imagine it will look a little bit like a lawn. :)

I talked to both Tom Zaffer at ablackhorse.com and FedEx and they both blame me for not receiving the package of beneficial bacteria that was never delivered to me. Apparently unless I buy it again from them I'm not getting it and hmm, for some reason I'm unwilling to give them any more money. Like the reason that in the time I've been waiting to receive the beneficial bacteria the tank has basically already cycled. I've been squeezing my freshwater tank's sponges into it and adding ammonia sources (kibbles of dog food) for them to eat.

There is a hurricane going on right now in the Gulf of Mexico so the macroalgae supplier I wanted to buy from is telling me to wait a week. Which is fine with me, because I want to be positive the top tank is cycled. It theoretically should be getting close to being done cycling. But another week or two to let the bacteria grow won't hurt anything.
Erica Wieser
 
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Re: Saltwater Walstad?

Postby Erica Wieser » Sat Jun 30, 2012 7:53 am

lol
I was just now inspecting the lights to try to figure out which of the bottom tank's bulbs broke during shipping and it turns out there was an opaque plastic cover over the bulbs to protect them during shipping that I hadn't yet removed. Lol. So I did and now the tanks are much brighter XD
It was one of the two actinic bulbs, by the way.

Update: order placed! It was $16 including shipping. The local pet stores don't carry four foot long T5 actinic bulbs. *sighs* Oh well, the tank's going to look great once it arrives! yay!
Erica Wieser
 
Posts: 170
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Re: Saltwater Walstad?

Postby Erica Wieser » Mon Jul 02, 2012 2:36 pm

Updated photos of the polyps (marine photosynthesizing animals that will play the role of freshwater vascular plants in the fry tank)
leftmost metallic green star polyps.jpg
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middle metallic green star polyps.jpg
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rightmost star polyps.jpg
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Erica Wieser
 
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Re: Saltwater Walstad?

Postby Erica Wieser » Thu Jul 12, 2012 3:41 pm

The sargassum (yellow) and gracilaria (red) arrived in the mail from Gulf Coast Ecosystems. I would recommend this seller to others; the macroalgae are vibrantly healthy and were very professionally packaged. If they die now it's my own fault XD

top tank new macroalgae is adjusting.jpg
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sargassum is yellow and gracilaria is red.jpg
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The caulerpa prolifera (green) is in the mail from a seller from ebay. I would have bought that from Gulf Coast Ecosystems as well (with $8 per macroalgae and $14.50 for shipping and handling it pays to combine shipping) but a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico led to a lack of supply, so I had to order it from another source. Hopefully I'll be able to captively propagate these species just like I do my freshwater plants. I wish there was less reliance on collecting things in the wild for saltwater tanks, but that does seem to be the current state of things. I've got some (wild caught of course *sighs*) mandarin dragonettes sourced to a local store. I will go pick up the fish after everything is stable in the tank for a little while. The fry tank went through a diatom phase so who knows what this top tank is going to do, and I don't want the fish to have to suffer because it's a new tank.
Erica Wieser
 
Posts: 170
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Re: Saltwater Walstad?

Postby Erica Wieser » Sun Jul 15, 2012 6:40 pm

These are the rightmost star polyps on July 2nd and on July 15th (13 days later). You can see a new little baby polyp in the bottom left about a centimeter down left from the leftmost and bottommost adult polyps.
rightmost star polyps 13 days earlier.jpg
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rightmost star polyps 13 days later.jpg
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I think it is officially safe to say that the polyps are going to live. Yay :)

The gracilaria's doing this weird clear thing that I find ominous. I'm keeping an eye on it.
I will update when the caulerpa prolifera arrives in the mail. It's theoretically supposed to come on Tuesday.
Erica Wieser
 
Posts: 170
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 4:41 pm

Re: Saltwater Walstad?

Postby Erica Wieser » Wed Jul 18, 2012 4:34 pm

The caulerpa prolifera arrived! It came kind of smushed together in a ball. I didn't want to rip it so I gently teased it apart a bit but mostly left it alone.

top and bottom tank.jpg
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Erica Wieser
 
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Re: Saltwater Walstad?

Postby Erica Wieser » Sun Jul 22, 2012 7:58 am

I went and bought some copepods, rotifers, and liquid microalgae diet from a nearby specialty saltwater fish store. There's not really anything to share here, because they're too small to take a picture of.
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