Saturday, December 18, 2010

Cycling, not just a hobby involving bikes!

You learn a lot about yourself when you start building a saltwater aquarium.  Sometimes they are things you really didn't want to know.  Okay...mostly they are things you really don't want to know about yourself and what you're willing to give up for the sake of fish. 
Cleanliness is one thing that comes to mind.  I am not a germaphobic woman by any means but I certainly am not a slob.  I have found that I am developing an affection for, and even trying to harbor, bacteria.  To explain: when cycling a tank you are preparing it for the fish, coral, and invertebrates you will be placing in the closed ecosystem of your aquarium.  You put in live sand and live rock, and then make sure that it is happy enough that you develop an algae bloom - essentially you want to fill your tank full of good bacteria (mmm) that your plankton feeding fish and ravenous coral exactly what they need to remain healthy and happy.  The live sand and live rock serve as biological filters, and harbor many different tasty treats for your tank. 

Disgusting when you get right down to it, no?  Yet I find myself anxiously hovering over the tank each time I pass through the living room, peeking around to see if there's any sign of an algae bloom.  It's a very disconcerting thing to a woman who makes best friends with bleach and other handy-dandy household germ eradicators.

I am drastically oversimplifying this process I assure you. 

At some point today I need to shove my arm down into the tank and start moving the live rock around.  Last night we (the most wonderful and patient man and I) talked over dinner about how we would like to place the large column to hide our overflow box.  I need to inquire with those more skilled whether or not it's a bad idea for us to have the overflow box black - we can't move the tank far enough from the wall to put it behind without five cats trying to drink from the sump or chew on cables.  As such it is going to have to hang on the side closest to the kitchen and feed down into the sump in the cabinet.  I personally don't see any issue with having the overflow black, but call me paranoid I'd rather be safe than sorry. 

We should have a good idea how many more pounds of live rock we need to pick up this coming week when our new Octopus Reef Skimmer and pump come in at our live fish store.  Starting out with 34lbs I am thinking we're going to need another 30-40lbs to get the look we want and keep enough room for our P.Russelli to swim around when she gets bigger. 

I'm beginning to think it would have been wiser to just stick with rescuing and raising cats.

So for the sake of my own sanity the tank "To Do" list for this weekend:

  1. Purchase a new dark overflow box or finagle the existing one into place.
  2. Begin the live rock spire in the far left corner of the tank that will hide said overflow box.
  3. Clean the light hood and write a giant note on the refrigerator reminding us to take it to S.W.S. (Southwest Saltwater).
  4. Measure and purchase flexible tubing and black pipe for the return water to the tank.
  5. Purchase or check prices on a surge protector with at least 3 hours of battery time for power outages.
  6. Change the wall outlet behind the tank so that we don't electrocute ourselves.
  7. Look into the prices for a really good camera so we can begin taking pictures of the tank.
  8. Buy a new thermometer for the tank.

1 comment:

  1. "I'm beginning to think it would have been wiser to just stick with rescuing and raising cats."

    No, no, no, you can't have ten cats named Frank, silly girl!