Not exactly me, but my tank.
This morning I woke up determined to be productive. I would write. I would give Little Incredibly Dumb Dog a haircut and bath! I would clean the kitchen and make dinner. I wrote. In the scene I worked on, there was a little tank talk. Which made me look over at my poor, neglected little tank. Really neglected. As in, I don’t quite remember the last time I cleaned the viewing panels, or did a water change. Bad Mama.
Today became Spring Cleaning, Part I. I hear some people wash their windows when they’re Spring Cleaning. Pfft. I’m a reefer. Tank maintenance, it is. First I unplugged everything and took out the pumps.
Husband drove me to the store, so I could pick up premixed saltwater and some Chemipure Elite. Read the label, it cures everything. I think the EPA should invest in some for the next time there’s an oil spill. Basically, it’s a mix of charcoal and ferric oxide, to lower nutrient levels, phosphates, silica, and other bad things you don’t want measurable amounts of in your tank. Because if you have too much of these, you get cooties.
Next, time to begin the long and tedious process of scraping algae from the viewing panels. Coralline algae is beneficial to the overall health of the tank, but not when there’s so much you can’t see through the glass/acrylic. Toothbrush to the rescue again, along with an old credit card for scraping without scratching the acrylic. I’ll be honest, I didn’t get it all clean, plenty of patches of algae still around, but it’s much better.
Some sheets of cyano were covering the remnants of a zoanthid colony, I think some of them will recover. Pretties! To my shock, my mini carpet anemone is still alive. Unfortunately, it’s rolled itself into a ball, and wedged itself between two rocks in a way that I couldn’t get to it without shredding my hands. Maybe it will come out now.
Another pest uncovered today
I’ve now got about a gajillion vermatid snails and their tubes all over the tank. All over the rocks, growing from the sand bed, I even scraped tubes off of the pumps. By themselves, they aren’t specifically harmful. They aren’t poisonous, and don’t bite. But those little tubes are sharp as hell, making it hard to work in the tank, and they cast fine threads out of the tubes to catch whatever bits they can to eat. When there are so many of them, those little webs and threads irritate the corals.
After scraping and stirring everything up, I changed out about four gallons of water, a little less than half of the total water volume of the tank. Threw the chemipure and a couple of pieces of poly-filter into the back chambers of the tank. The sexy shrimp were the first critters to venture out. Couldn’t get a shot of them, they’re too jumpy today. Found a new yellow sponge growing along the bottom of one of my rocks. I’m going to keep an eye on it, I had one pop up like that in my last tank, it smothered a delicate coral. Then the wrasse came out of hiding.
I left to go walk a dog, then came home and walked my dogs. Shut the pumps again and threw a little food in the tank. The pom pom crab ventured out.
I stink. Literally. I smell like a blend of vinegar, low tide. and dead snail. My back hurts from lifting and carrying water. My hands feel a bit chewed up from all the scrapes of the vermatid snail tubes. Looking into the tank, I can now see how much work still needs to be down, and all the coral losses from these last several months of neglect. Somehow, though, I feel excellent. If I can get my back to loosen up, I’ll even make dinner.