Saltwater tank, Turbo Snails and Barnacles

I picked up a few snails from Big Al’s Aquarium yesterday. They  are super interesting, and really fun to watch.  My aquarium is a salt water tank, and I’m wanting to turn it into a reef tank versus a marine tank, but the salt water part has been much easier, because of my friend Dan Grewal (he Rocks, literally http://www.ottawafolklore.com/2010/08/dan-grewal/)

I started out about a year ago, and I convinced my wife I should pick up a 45 gallon fish tank, the filter, heater, and no light for $75 in Fort Saskatchewan.  January 2013 was the start of the journey.  I picked up this tank, and it came with a mid-sized pleco, and I turned it into Big Als.  The other two fished died, but the pleco got a new home.  I started my scrubbing of the fish tank…what a lot of work that was.  It was vinegar and a souring pad I used to scrape the inside clean.

Once I got it cleaned, I loaded it with water…45 gallons of Instant Ocean. What a task that was, but finally I got it up and going. Dan said I needed to have it run for about 3-4 months. The long it ran, the more of a good cycle I would have (referring to the Nitrogen Cycle of all fish tanks).  I let it run for 3 months, 4 months, 5 months. About month 3 I think I saved up enough money to purchase some Live Fiji sand from the pet store. It was necessary to have a thick bed of sand, called the substrate, so that anaerobic bacteria could eventually develop.  Again, no light.Then it hit me, about 10 months into this that I really needed a light, and that the ambient light from the sun from my living room wasn’t cutting it. So, for Christmas I asked my wife for the gift of light. Amazon had a good 150W metal halide with two 450nm actinic T5 fluorescent bulbs and and LED moonlight. Once I got it, the tank started to do some amazing thing, including grow cyanobacteria or this red-slime algae.

The final move was when this red algae stuff was looking like it was spreading all over, I went over to Big Al’s Aquarium, bought a dozen red-band turbo snails to eat the algae, and my problems would be solved.  After acclimating the snails to the tank (30 mins of temperature and water swapping) I put them in, and two of the 12 right by the large patch of red slime. The next morning…BOOM! The right 1/2 of the algae was all gone, and what was left was the purple Coralline algae–SWEET!  These weren’t Mexican Turbo snails like the websites seemed to say, but the Red Band Turbo snails seemed to be effective. Here are some pics of them below.

I sort of miss talking with Dan at work about this tank. He had other plans with his family, but nonetheless I was happy to have met him and asking him how to start a salt water marine/reef tank.  I love looking at the clear patches, cleared of algae. I also like looking at the tank both with the metal halide on as well as in the moonlight LEDs. Now that my sw tank has cycled, I only need to convince my wife on getting some of the corals. My first one will be what my friend Mike Paustian likes, a Green Star Polyp, which looks like grass flowing in the sea.

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