Oct 20, 2019

My New Kamoer F4 Pro WiFi Dosing Pump

What have I been up to? Trying to automate as many functions on the Unicorn Reef Bowl as possible. Kamoer F4 Pro to the rescue.

Things have not been going as well for the bowl as I wish they were. Many corals have finally been recovering since the crash last year when I was stuck in the hospital for 3 weeks. Having a new baby makes it difficult to keep up with maintenance and dosing, however, and the poor bowl has been neglected. I am happy to report that most of the original corals from the 2 gallon reef jar that were moved into this bowl are still alive and doing better. I am still mourning the loss of my favorite M. setosa, but the others are healing and growing.

Calcium and Alkalinity Dosing

Something I have changed about my reef bowl routine since my last post -  I am now dosing Tropic Marin's All-For-Reef (Carbo-calcium with added trace elements). I used to be able to do near-total water changes frequently to replenish calcium and trace elements, but that wasn't working for me any longer, and I needed to start dosing, especially after the Superman Cyphastrea frag my sister gave me spread like wildfire and started sucking up so much Ca and Alk, stunting my other corals.

Tropic Marin's All-For-Reef and Carbo-calcium are awesome because they are one-part Ca and Alk dosing supplements (like Kalkwasser, but without the bad side effects or limitations).

So what am I using my Kamoer F4 Pro for? 

Kamoer F4 Pro overkill on a nano? No way. I see most folks using dosing pumps to, well, dose various supplements, elements, and foods. Since I only needed one dosing head for my All-For-Reef which takes care of my calcium, alkalinity, and trace elements, I had 3 dosing heads left over.

Feeding the Bowl

I've been using Benepets Benereef, which was reviewed by my friend Marcin on Reefs.com. I was definitely chronically underfeeding this tank for years, and my Zoas were the first to show signs of malnutrition. They've been enjoying better health since I've been using this food. I don't have to worry about overfeeding and jacking up my nitrates and phosphates with Benereef, so it's ideal for a nano/pico like this.

I also got a sample of EasySPS to try with my new doser, so I decided to use pump #2 for feeding. The best part is that it comes with a hanger and fittings for a dosing pump, so it was very easy to connect to my dosing pump.

Automatic water changes with a dosing pump

I had two dosing heads left, and I had a final problem to solve - water changes. The tubing holder that comes with the Kamoer F4 pro has tube connections on both sides, so I was able to attach some clear airline tubing that I can hide inside the bowl to draw water out of the bowl from closer to the bottom of the tank. I programmed the doser to remove 150ml of water from the bowl at 2pm each day. The water goes into a 5 gallon bucket next to the tank that I empty later. Then the last head replenishes the water from another 5 gallon bucket next to the tank full of saltwater that has a heater and powerhead constantly running to keep it fresh and oxygenated.

Dosing pumps aren't really meant for water changes, and running them constantly can wear them out faster. I would definitely not recommend using these for automatic water changes on larger tanks. Pico tanks only! If you're looking for something that can handle automatic water changes on a larger tank, check out the Smart AWC.

I love my Kamoer F4 Pro so far. It's aesthetically pleasing, so I didn't mind hanging it right above the bowl. I love the colored dosing heads, and I decided to use different colors of silicone airline tubing than the colored tubing that was provided with the doser. I wanted more "girly" colors that matched my bowl and the artwork hanging above the bowl better. I'll keep you all updated on the Unicorn Reef Bowl, as always.

May 29, 2019

Why is my protein skimmer overflowing?


 “Why is my protein skimmer overflowing?” - This is one of the most common questions asked in reef keeping and today we are going to look at the reasons why.

#proteinskimmer #proteinskimmeroverflowing #proteinskimmeroverflow

The good news is that an overflowing skimmer is not broken or defective. Let’s talk a bit more about protein skimmers to help us understand how they work and what can cause them to overflow.

When food, livestock waste, or any decomposing organic matter breaks down in your aquarium, it forms organic compounds in the water column. Each molecule of these compounds has one side which is positively charged, and one side which negatively charged. These charges are the reason you may see an oily film on the surface of tanks that don't use a protein skimmer. One side of the molecule is attracted to the water while the other (side of the molecule) is repelled by it, drawing them to the surface.

Just as the charged waste molecules are attracted to the surface of the water, they are also attracted to the surface of the tiny bubbles created by your skimmer.

As the bubbles rise through the skimmer body, they collect these waste molecules. Once they reach the top, they form a foam that will overflow into the skimmer cup and can be easily removed.

Occasionally, the skimmer can overproduce foam, quickly filling the cup and resulting in an overflow.

Within the first two to four weeks, it pretty standard for your skimmer to overflow. Until the body builds up the appropriate "biofilm", the skimmer tend to act pretty erratically.

Adding activated carbon to your filtration and doing additional water changes will reduce the viscosity of your water, causing less foam and fewer overflows.

It's also pretty standard for skimmers to overflow during tank cycles. Since there typically isn't much waste in the tank during this period, its ok to just leave your skimmer off until the tank is cycled.

Outside of removing waste from your water, another benefit of skimmers is that they heavily oxygenate your water. If you still want this oxygenation during your tank cycle, feel free to leave your skimmer on and just remove the collection cup.

Whenever you add new chemicals to your tank, they are going to change your water chemistry. As skimmers are very finely tuned, even the smallest changes can affect their performance and will often result in an overflow.Some of these overflow perpetrators include Water conditioners, bacteria mixes, oily foods, medications, and frag epoxies, but the list goes on.

Another culprit that tends to fly under the radar is fresh filter socks. Often times when filter socks are produced, they will have some sort of residue left over on them from manufacturing. When introduced to your tank, this can unfortunately get into your water and cause your skimmer to go crazy. A quick rinse of the socks before installation will fix this problem and make your life much easier.

Even household cleaning solutions such as soaps and air fresheners sprayed near the tank can change your water chemistry just enough to trigger an overflow.

Again, carbon is your best friend here and is great for pulling these undesirable chemicals out of your tank.

If you are introducing medication directly to your main tank, expect your skimmer to go haywire. Unfortunately, the skimmer is going to overflow until you are done medicating and all of the excess chemicals have been pulled out either via carbon or water change.

Remember to always check your skimmer’s user manual for its recommended water level. Although nearly every skimmer allows you adjust its internal water level, this can only go so far. If the water level in your sump is too high it will elevate the foam to a point where there is too much running into the cup, once again resulting in an overflow.

If you find that your water level is too high, a number of companies sell skimmer stands just for this reason.

Make sure to keep up on your regular maintenance as well. Just soaking the pump parts in a vinegar and water solution and giving them a quick scrubbing with a toothbrush will greatly increase your skimmers performance. Don’t forget to clear your venturi’s airline of any blockages as well.

If you find yourself with an overflowing skimmer, just remember to ask, "what's changed?"

Have you recently done a major water change or started dosing medication? Did you just switch out your filter socks or change to a new frozen food? Did you see the first spots of ICH on your fish and dose and medicate your tank in a panic? The simplest way to solve a overflowing skimmer is just to figure out what is different from before.

Let us know your experiences with overflowing skimmers and how you handled them in the comments below. If you found this video helpful, please share it with your friends and don’t forget to subscribe for similar videos. As always, Take care and enjoy the reef-keeping journey.

May 24, 2019

Fluconazole for Green Hair Algae & Bryopsis: How To Treat Your Tank with Flux Rx from Blue Life USA

Fluconazole for Green Hair Algae & Bryopsis: How To Treat Your Tank with Flux Rx from Blue Life USA

 https://https://mdshop.us/FluxRx Today we are going to focus on green hair algae and how to get rid of it using Flux Rx from Blue Life USA

Hair algae Derbesia and Bryopsis, have always been a major nuisance for reef aquarists. Given adequate lighting and nutrients, these algae can quickly grow out of control and smother our precious corals.

Getting rid of hair algae has always been a hassle. Manual removal is typically the go-to for getting rid of algae. But water changes, media reactors, refugiums, and algae scrubbers are also used to reduce nutrient levels. Once the algae really takes hold, these approaches unfortunately may not be enough.

You can also look into stocking fish and inverts that are known to eat algae; however, relying on animals to take care of this issue is often questionable as you can’t guarantee what they will want to eat. Many of these algae eating species have also been known to pick at coral polyps while others such as the sea hare will release toxins when they are scared or dying.

If typical methods aren’t solving your hair algae problem, it may be time to look at Flux Rx from Blue Life USA. Fluconazole, which is the active ingredient in Flux Rx, has been used by professional aquarists to remove hair algaes successfully for years. Unfortunately it’s pretty tough to find a reliable source for fluconazole and even more difficult to dose it properly. Blue Life USA Flux Rx puts the algae fighting power of fluconazole into the hands of aquarists in a way that is simple to use. The major bonus of Flux Rx is that it is reef safe. After testing it on our tanks we saw no negative effects on our corals or other sensitive inverts.

One thing to keep in mind is that Flux Rx will only target Bryopsis and Derbesia, so it likely won’t take out other types of hair algae like turf algae. The active ingredient in Flux Rx is thought to stop these algaes by blocking important enzymatic pathways and disrupting integrity of the algae’s cell walls. Some reefers have reported that macro algaes can be affected by Flux Rx so if you are running chaeto or other macros in a refugium it would be best to remove them while treating your tank. This also means that if you are running a algae reactor or algae scrubber, you would temporarily need to remove them as well.

Always remember to remove media reactors and carbon filters from your system to make sure that it doesn’t immediately remove the Flux Rx from your tank after dosing. It's also recommended to turn your skimmer off when you begin dosing as it will likely begin to overflow. Once the algae starts to break down after about 72 hours and release the nutrients, you can turn your skimmer back on.

When dosing, noticeable results may begin in the first couple days of treatment. Certain strains of algae may be a bit more resilient so they may take a bit longer to be affected. After the full 10-14 the results will be apparent. Once you pass the 14 day treatment period, do a 20% water change and feel free to start reintroducing your reactors and filters.

It is fairly easy to reintroduce the algae back into your tank so it is a good idea to give any equipment that you are reinstalling a quick wipe down with vinegar and to change out your filter media. Doing so will remove any algae traces that may be left over from before the treatment. Even after the algae is eliminated, its important to continue keeping an eye on nutrient levels as they can open the door to another algae infestation.

Blue Life also makes the regenerable medias, Phosphate Fx and Organic Fx to help you out on this front as well.

Let us know about your experience will nuisance algae down in the comments below and please share this video if you found it helpful. Don’t forget to like and subscribe, and as always take care and happy reefkeeping.

#fluconazole #greenhairalgae #bryopsis

Buy Flux Rx at Marine Depot (and read product reviews!): https://www.marinedepot.com/Flux_Rx_Bryopsis_and_Green_Hair_Algae_Treatment_Blue_Life_USA-BL0118-FIADAL-vi.html

Buy Blue Life USA's Regenerable Resin Medias at Marine Dpeot: https://www.marinedepot.com/search?tag=regen-media-blue-life-usa