Thursday, August 4, 2011

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real - The Saturday Edition

round button chicken

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~


Blueberry Muffins made with fresh blueberries

Lemons for making freshly squeezed lemonade



The skunk cleaner shrimp is comfortable having Maria's hand in the tank.  He will swim up to her and clean under her fingernails!


This is the test kit for the saltwater tank.  We have to check the following every week to a couple of weeks:

nitrate level
nitrite level

Here Daddy and the kids are checking to see if the levels are within normal range.  We wanted to get another fish...a clown we needed to make sure the nitrite level was ok.  The yellow color in the vial indicates the level is good!  Uneaten food and fish poop make the nitrite level increase.

Next we needed to do a water change.  Daddy changes out 5 gallons of water every month.  So far we have done 2 water changes.  He bought a piece of plastic tubing for siphoning out the tank.  Maria wanted to give it a go.  Unfortunately, she sucked up a bit of water.  Yuck!

Hopefully, you can see the water level going down.  It's pretty cool to watch!
Ours is a 30 gallon Hex Tank which means it is taller than a rectangular box tank.  I liked this one because of the "smaller footprint" it would have in our home.  I took that phrase from a friend of mine...Thanks, Heather!  Because we have this kind of tank, we can only accommodate hover-type fish and not darters.  Fish that dart wouldn't be comfortable bumping into the tank when....darting!  Damsels, pajama cardinals, gobies, clownfish, smaller shrimp, hermit crabs, and snails do better in this size tank.  We also have 4 pounds of live rock in the tank...that middle column is the rock stacked on a rod in the middle of the tank.  The rock makes our tank a reef tank so we also have a family of bristle worms living under the rock in the sand.  They come out to feed at night and basically suck the surface of the sand like a vacuum cleaner.  There are also several different organisms that live on the rock fanning out and retracting themselves to catch particles in the water.  It's very cool to watch!  

Lighting is another issue with a Hex Tank.  We needed two different types of bulbs in the lamp to keep everything happy.  We needed an Ocean Sun bulb that would evenly distribute the light at the surface of the water.  This keeps the top layers of rock and the fish and snails that live at the top level happy.  It also keeps the good algae growing close to the surface.  Next, we needed an Ultra Sun bulb.  This penetrates deeper in the water all the way down to the sand.  This regulates the growth in the rest of the tank and will provide excellent conditions for coral and an anemone...which we hope to have soon for the clownfish.  

It's also amazing to see where all the fish hang out.  They all have a place they like best.  When we introduced the clownfish on Saturday, the damsels kept attacking it.  The clownfish finally hid in a part of the rock, but one of the damsels would back up to it and slap it with its tail!  How's that for a welcome?  On Monday, they all settled down.  The clownfish has now made friends with the shrimp and  the pajama cardinal.  They've come to its rescue from the blue damsels.  So the damsels stay in the middle hiding in the rock.  The clownfish and the pj cardinal hang out in the back of the tank near the sand.  The shrimp takes up a small part on the left of the tank, and the snails usually burrow in the sand or clean the glass.  The hermit crabs love climbing up the rock until they are out of the water at the very top of the tank until they  drop back down to the sand.  

Well, now you know more than you ever wanted to about saltwater reef tanks.  You're very welcome!

Go see more Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real Moments with the lovely ladies over at Like Mother, Like Daughter by clicking on the button above!

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