Seahorse Shop Tips

Most Mispronounced Words

Anemone    a-nem-o-nee     Oscellarus   os-cel-lar-us    Polyp      pa-lup           Nudibranch   new-dee-brank   

Aiptasia       ap-tay-sha         Caulerpa      ka-ler-pa         Halide     hay-lied         Acropora       ack-row-por-ah    

Aragonite     a-ra-go-nite       Actinic         ack-tin-ick        Xenia       zee-nee-ah                                                          

Refugium    re-few-gee-um   not   ref-u-gee-um              Percula    per-cue-la   not   per-cue-la                            .


Happy or Not

If a coral is looking good where it’s at, leave it alone. If not, move it to lower light – lower flow first then toward higher light slowly until it finds a good spot.  Corals like a much gentler flow then you’ve been led to believe

Changing lights

Both metal halide and fluorescent lights (VHO, T-5, power compacts) have a limited life span. At six months start planning their replacement, by nine months you should have replaced them and at 1 year they are overdue.

Saving Sick or Injured Corals

Corals get bacterial infections that cause the tissue to decay. Give them a bath in tank water that is very slightly tinted with Betadine – we’ll give you a sample – for about 1 minute. Repeat daily if necessary. Dip after fragging or gluing.

When do I add my “clean-up crew”?

After about 4 weeks your tank should have gone through the ammonia/nitrite/nitrate cycle and the brown algae/green algae cycles. At this point you hardly have enough to keep a few hermits and snails alive. Add them slowly over time as needed. Dumping in dozens of snails, hermits, etc. will only cause death by starvation. Stay away from arrow crabs. They eat everything- snails, hermits, shrimp, small fish, bristle worms – your clean-up crew.

Red Slime Algae

First you must know that the red slime algae often seen is really a bacteria and it comes in several colors. Black, dark purple and super bright green are also colors with red being the most common. It is found in tanks with poor water quality, poor lighting, and/or poor circulation. Since any or all of these conditions can cause this soft, colorful coating to grow in your tank, you may have to correct more than one problem. The biggest reason is usually circulation. Re-direct your power heads or add another because cyano bacteria hates moving water. Filters should be every 2 or 3 days If adjusting circulation, changing to new bulbs and doing 50%+ water changes fail, then do the following. Siphon out as much cyano bacteria as possible. Add new, clean saltwater to replace what was siphoned out. Then because it is a bacteria, one method of removing it is by adding erythromycin.  One capsule or pill or packet  (200 mg) is enough for 50 gallons with a small outbreak. A 100 gallon tank with a very heavy amount of slime algae may need 4 capsules. Use your judgment. Open capsules and mix with saltwater because the capsule itself will not dissolve. Crush pills and mix with saltwater. Turn off protein skimmer air, and remove carbon and other absorbents, etc. Add erythromycin.Red slime should be dead by morning. If not, repeat the next night. When it is gone, turn on the skimmer, do a 33-90% water change and use fresh carbon. Carbon can be used for 3 days if you don’t have a skimmer. Keep your particle filter clean – everyday or 2.

Saving stony corals

When plate, brain, bubble corals, etc. have tissue degeneration, use a small syringe or pipet to squirt water at the bare skeleton while it is in a Betadine dip. This will help remove algae and/or dead tissue.

Treating Bacterial Infections

Mix antibiotics with a minimum of water. With a sheet of Nori (sushi wrapper) lying flat on a glass plate, pour the antibiotic slurry/solution over the seaweed. Let dry. Tear off pieces of seaweed and feed to your sick fish. Hopefully the sick fish will take a bite and ingest a mouthful of antibiotic. It’s OK if the healthy fish eat the same food. Once fish stop eating, they seldom recover. Save the unused portion for the future. Start treating immediately if you suspect a bacterial problem. This is a reef safe procedure.

Getting lion fish to eat frozen food

Volitan lions (and others) can be trained to eat frozen food. Initially start with feeder goldfish, preferably orange/yellow ones. Only feed 1-4 depending on the size of the lion every 3-5 days. After two or three feedings, kill a feeder and feed it using a wooden skewer.  Wiggling and moving the skewer away teases the fish  If you can get them to eat dead food, move to krill next. Krill is colored like feeders and they can be fooled. The secret is not to overfeed and to keep them hungry. Try silversides too.

Checking your pH

pH varies in your aquarium (unless you have a well balanced refugium) over a 24 hour period. It is lowest in the morning when the lights turn on because of Carbon Dioxide (which forms carbonic acid) absorption overnight and no photosynthesis. When the lights turn on, photosynthesis begins, carbon dioxide is used up and pH is at its highest when the lights turn off. Check your pH at the same time each day to accurately monitor fluctuations.

Skimmer Collection Cups

Skimmers that have the drain tubes on the side of the collection are disasters waiting to happen. Should your skimmer over-skim due to a dead animal, over feeding or certain water conditioners, the collection jug will fill and then run all over the floor. It is possible to loose several gallons of water this way. A collection cup without the drain can only fill to the height of its inner tube. Then the skimmer will let the foam fall back and not overflow.

Is your aquarium grounded?

Alternating magnetic fields are used to spin impellers in your pumps/powerheads. This will also produce low amounts of AC voltage (4V-10V) in your tank because saltwater is such a good conductor. You may not feel this but it does affect your inhabitants. Anemones and corals will not open fully, fish and inverts may display eratic behavior and it is attributed to “hole in the head” and lateral-line disease. Titanium rod is used in saltwater because it will not dissolve – copper and stainless steel will. They will also save your butt if a pump shorts out too.

Hatching brine eggs

Simply add 1/8 teaspoon brine eggs to a quart or 2 liter bottle. Fill almost full (2 inches from top) with regular tank water. Add an air bubbler without any “stone” on the end – just an open airline – into the bottom. Bubble 3-5 days. At first you need to shake the bottle 3-4 times a day until the eggs become wet and stay in the saltwater. Then as they hatch, the egg shells collect at the top of the bottle. When hatched, remove the air line. Point a flashlight shining sideways at the bottom of the bottle. The baby brine will swim toward the light. You then can siphon them off and feed your corals, seahorses, fry, etc.

Brine eggs hatch slower but better in cooler water.  Conversely they hatch faster but poorly in warner water

Catching unwanted creatures like mantis shrimp.

Use an empty, clear, narrow neck bottle and tie a string around the neck to easily pull if from the tank. Place some stinky food in the bottom and freeze the food to the bottom. This only takes a few minutes in the freezer and keeps the food in place when you put it underwater. Set the opening of the bottle near the suspected hole and wait. During the times with the lights out, use red cellophane over a flashlight for night vision.

Low light corals you can kill with too much light

Fox, Stylaster, Carnations, Chili cactus, Sun coral  (black, red & yellow/orange)

Copper renders tanks uninhabitable to corals and inverts.

It can be removed using EDTA which is a heavy metal remover. Only in this way can you guarantee complete removal – other absorbents are not 100%. Copper does absorb into your gravel and rock, this is why you need to re-dose during treatment.  After many months of changing water copper concentration will drop to zero   Use a snail – if a snail lives in your tank then there isn’t any copper.  Cupramine does NOT absorb like others do – it can be removed with carbon

Adjusting the air in your skimmer

Get a good water flow through your skimmer with the air completely off. Then open your air adjusting valve until a white cloud just begins inside. Tiny bubbles are better than larger bubbles. Remember that dirty/oily skimmers work much better than clean ones so don’t do more than rinse your skimmer when it gets super dirty. Skimmers only work when there is something in the tank to skim.

Puffers Puffing

Here you sea a dogface puffer in an excited moment. They will puff up for unknown reasons and it’s cool to see but don’t try to force them to do it. Puffers forced to do this may stress and stop eating or even die.

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