Welcome to Mayja's World

This is my online world. Mayja is my online identity. I hope you enjoy my ramblings, things I share, and my hobbies.

In addition, I am a WoW gamer. So, you'll see some gamerspeak in here as well. :P

90 Gallon FOWLR: Now, With More Live Rock

Posted by Mayja | Posted in ,

I never thought I'd say: Look at the great algae on these rocks!

Just added 50 pounds of more live rock and complete my aquascaping. It took a little over two hours.

I'll have to see if this will recycle the tank. The rock came from a very established tank that was recently downsized. Got an amazing deal - $2/pound! It's usually $4 or more depending on the rock.


90 Gallon FOWLR: Now, With More Live RockSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Micro Bubble Trouble

Posted by Mayja | Posted in ,

This is a general call out to the world of fish tank enthusiasts: please help me solve the micro bubble mystery! Watch the video of my fuge/sump in action. Please post ideas!


Micro Bubble TroubleSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Mexican Turbo Snails Fight!

Posted by Mayja | Posted in ,

Here's the latest insanity inside the fowlr tank. My Mexican Turbo Snails are getting feisty!


Mexican Turbo Snails Fight!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Freshwater Nano Tanks

Posted by Mayja | Posted in

Some of you have asked me why I am attempting a saltwater tank if I have never kept fish before. Oh, but I've kept fish! Many FRESHWATER fish! Just not saltwater ones. All of my current freshwater fish are Petco rescues. Alas, my 10 gallon hex tank died when we moved to this house, but I've been keeping my nano tanks up and running:

This is my three gallon Eclipse that currently holds 5 black phantom tetras.

This is my half-gallon cube for my male crowntail betta, Shadow (in reference to the Shadow ships from Babylon 5).

Nano tanks are much more difficult to maintain. Since the water volume is so small, the slightest change in temperature or water quality will affect the fish immediately within an hour or two. I've had some pretty good scares keeping these tanks. They require many more water changes weekly, and constant monitoring.

Honestly, I'd love to move the betta into the Eclipse and the phantoms into a 10 gal. That would be ideal. If my 10 gal hex were still around, I would have done that. The more room, the better. And the more water, the easier it is to maintain.


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FOWLR 90 Gallon Aquarium Update

Posted by Mayja | Posted in ,

Check out my new Mexican Turbo Snails!


FOWLR 90 Gallon Aquarium UpdateSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Coralline Algae: WIN!

Posted by Mayja | Posted in ,

You can see my live rock again now that the diatom bloom is over (that was the nasty, brown algae all over the rock and substrate). There's still some on the substrate but NOTHING like before. I took some photos of the rock to show my fellow reefers on the forums when I noticed an awesome color: PURPLE! I ran to my computer and started Googling everything about purple algae growth and if it were a sponge that needed to be plucked. I asked the forums for aid. The conversations went like this:

Is it squishy?
Is it moving on its own?
Can you blow it off the rock with a turkey baster?
One sec...
Can you easily scratch it off the rock?
Dude! I just toweled off!
Hang on...
Then it's coralline algae. Congratulations.

Why congratulations, you ask? Coralline algae is considered to be one of the better algae to have in your saltwater tank. For one, it looks pretty as it comes in a variety of colors. I currently have deep red and purple.

Two, it grows slowly so you can keep an eye on its growth pattern. Three, and most importantly, it can only exist if your tank's water parameters are very good quality. Coralline algae can only thrive in water that is lower in nutrients, which means that the other nasty algae (that thrive on nutrients in the water) cannot grow. Coralline does not tolerate ammonia, nitrites or high nitrates in the water. Coralline does eat up calcium from the water, which is detrimental to corals, but for now that's okay because I don't have any corals yet. Plus, you can always add a calcium supplement to the water if you have enough of the algae to make a big difference.

Yay for awesome water parameters! I can grow algae! Comments

Coralline Algae: WIN!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

UPDATED: Hermit's Gone, But Where's His Shell???

Posted by Mayja | Posted in ,

UPDATE: Did you know that hermit crabs molt? I had NO idea! I had found another "dead" crab and I was thinking there must be some sort of predator in the tank, but then I counted 10 active/occupied shells. Off to the computer I went where my forum peeps on ReefSanctuary and MichiganReefers confirmed that crabs molt just to scare the crap out of their owners.

So, upon inspection of the tank this afternoon, I saw a very sad sight: a dead hermit crab. I'm not posting a picture of the dead crab, so here's a current view of my live rock with live hermits instead:

It looked like the rear half of him had been eaten (the legs and head were in-tact), but no shell. I immediately grabbed my arm-length glove, my step stool (I'm such a shorty!) and my turkey baster (dedicated to the tank - not ever used with any food) to get him outta there. Afterwards, I did a headcount: all other hermit crabs were present, with shells. I began to hunt for the missing shell, but I couldn't find it anywhere! Not lodged in a nook or cranny, not under the rocks... it's gone! WTF?!? I know that these things can pass away for no good reason, but if I have another one die anytime soon, I'm going to need a CSI team here!


UPDATED: Hermit's Gone, But Where's His Shell???SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Algae: Should It Stay or Should It Go?

Posted by Mayja | Posted in ,

I do love that song from The Clash! Unfortunately, this topic is about algae, which is every saltwater tank owner's nemisis (go ahead and listen to the song while you're reading!).

It all started with a dark, brown coating all over my live rock. My LFS guy and everyone I spoke with on the forums at Reef Santuary and Michigan Reefers all say that this is normal and not to worry. Right. Easier said than done!

So, I followed their advice. My LFS guy even brought over 10 hermit crabs to help with clean up of the algae. Many of the forums discuss the outbreak of diatoms and that it's just a matter of time before they either die off, get eaten, or the tank matures to the point where there is a better balance of silicates and other nutrients in the tank.

Yesterday, I noticed that the algae has mutated and become stringy and hairy! Ick! Of course, I ran back to the forums. Again, the forums agree: it's normal. Chill out. Stop stressing, you freak!

Okay. (breathe)

Still, it's so much easier to tolerate the ugliness when someone's holding your hand through it. As Donkey said in the movie Shrek, "I think I need a hug."

If you have dealt with the algae tank-cycle crisis before, please comment!


Algae: Should It Stay or Should It Go?SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

FOWLR 90 Gallon Tank Update

Posted by Mayja | Posted in ,

Here's the latest video updating the condition of my fish tank!
Enjoy the show!


FOWLR 90 Gallon Tank UpdateSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

It's Crab Time! Release the Hermits!

Posted by Mayja | Posted in ,

I woke up this morning, turned on the tank lights and BOOM! Brown algae all over my liverock. I immediately contacted Patrick from Amazon Stingrays and he promised to bring in the clean up crew: red and blue legged hermit crabs!

These guys love to feast on algae and other stuff in the substrate, like uneaten fish food. I never thought that I would be so fascinated by these little guys, but they are too cool to watch! So far, I have 10 in the tank. I'll keep adding more as I need more things cleaned.


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Clownfish! Meet Marlin and Coral

Posted by Mayja | Posted in ,

Please meet my first two percula clownfish: Marlin and Coral. Here's a YouTube video of them in action:

I chose the name Coral instead of Nemo because it was so tragic what happened to poor Coral. This way, Marlin and Coral will truly have a chance to be together. And if they do have kids, I'll name one of them Nemo.

I'd like to give a shout out to Reef Gently and their AccliMate Pro. This made my life so much easier for a painless acclimation process.

Their chosen territory is right next to the overflow. Though every once in a while, they will venture out and play in the currents and swim headon into the return.


Clownfish! Meet Marlin and CoralSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend


Posted by Mayja | Posted in ,

As I was walking past the tank this morning, I noticed something sticking to the back glass. I turned on the lights and sure enough: two starfish! I had no clue which kind they were or if they needed to be immediately removed. A few minutes searching on Google taught me that these are Asterina starfish and for the most part are harmless algae eaters.

My first official tank residents!

STARFISH!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Live Action: New Tank Equipment

Posted by Mayja | Posted in ,

Here's a video of the tank so you can see the sump in action. Enjoy! Comments

Live Action: New Tank EquipmentSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

My Dream of a Saltwater Tank Has Come True!

Posted by Mayja | Posted in ,

After years of asking and hoping and proving my skills in keeping fish alive, I was finally able to purchase my first saltwater tank. It's a 90 gallon fish-only-with-live-rock (fowlr) tank for now (not sure if I'll get into corals just yet). No fish yet. I'm practicing the fine art of patience. I'm also waiting for the dust to settle and make sure all systems are functioning and no pipes are leaking! I'll keep you posted as this project progresses.

That's Patrick - the owner of Amazon Stingrays - who is plumbing my tank.

Aqua UV 15 Watt Classic Sterilizer hanging over the refugium and Rio Hyperflow 20 submersible pump.

This is how it looked once the setup was complete. The cloudiness is due to tons of substrate floating around. It will settle in a few days.

That's a Bashsea refugium you see there - 30 gallons - 30x14x16. Comments

My Dream of a Saltwater Tank Has Come True!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend