2007 – The tank (when it was amazing!).
Initially my 6ft tank was a freshwater set-up and in 2007 Christina (who wanted nemo’s!) and I started over and set it up as a marine tank. It was in it’s prime by the end of 2007. I was obsessed with aquaria (even hanging out on fish forums) and I was changing 10-20% of the tank water weekly with natural salt water which I collected at the boat ramp in Botany (heavy and depending on the tide, sometimes dangerous work!).
2008 and a lot of the hard corals had died off.
At some point I failed to keep up the tank maintenance and all of the more fragile corals started dying off one by one (pretty sad as most if not all of it had been plucked from the ocean). I only just realised today that it’s been 8 months since I’ve changed any water (!) and I hadn’t serviced the equipment nor did I change the light bulbs (pretty important in a marine tank as many corals feed off light).
2009 and the anemones are shrinking (read: dying).
I spent today taking everything apart. Before I did anything I took a photo of my current set-up:
Amazingly all my fish are fine. I put it down to the system I spent a lot of time designing when I was super into it in 07/08. On the left is a small canister filter which runs filter media which reduces phosphates. The white bucket on the left is filled with highly filtered tap water and when the tank volume drops (due to evaporisation) a sensor triggers the pump inside this bucket to fill up the sump. Next is my remote deep sand bed which is designed to reduce nitrates, next to that is a protein skimmer which is hanging off a sump which gets water via an overflow box on the back of the main tank and a pump in the sump redirects water back into the main tank.
Whilst it’s a largely automated system, it turns out my protein skimmer was completely non-functional (blocked up) and 2 out of 4 bulbs had blown. I used to have a light and a lot of green seaweed growing in the sump which produced a whole lot of micro organisms which in turn fed the fish and critters in the tank but that all died off ages ago. The media in the small canister would be long expired and as you can see there’s a lot of salt creep all over the sump and skimmer.
I’ve cleaned everything up and ordered new filter media for the canister, new bulbs too. I’ve serviced the skimmer and it’s now working as well as the first day I bought it. I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to get the tank into such great shape again but I’m at least going to attempt to keep a monthly routine which will include servicing the skimmer and preforming a 20% water change. More updates as they come!