Since my last blog post, there has been A LOT going on. However, I regret to inform you all that most of the events in the past couple weeks are not positive. Now, we must keep in mind that this is a biology project which means that there is going to be plenty of room for error in the experiment.
The first event that happened was that there was an extreme manifestation of algae in both tanks. This is still due to the necrotic nature of the dead coral frags that were previously in the tanks. This is evident if you look at Figure 1 below. This issue went relatively untouched for a long time because I didn’t know exactly what the cause was for all of this algal growth. I will touch on solutions later on.
The next obstacle that I ran into was not being around to take care of the tanks myself which meant that I had to learn how to manage these sophisticated tasks over email or text with the people that were filling my shoe for the time being. This was extremely difficult because I wasn’t always able to tell if everything had been done correctly. This is exemplified when I think about water tests that were to be ran. While I was away, I had asked the tenders to take a couple of water tests for the sake of keeping a consistent log. However, these tests had not been carried out correctly so the data was not able to be used in the log as well as the issues in the tank were not able to be understood by anyone because no one had any idea what exactly it was that was causing the issues.
After having a lot of long conversations with my mentor, Zack Rago, and a local specialist, I was able to come up with a possible solution. If I turn off all of the circulation devices in the tanks and let all of the loose algae settle, I will introduce algaecide and some algae eating organisms into the tank to help manage that. I also turned off the lighting rig to try to eliminate further growth of algae being as it is photosynthetic. Hopefully, this will clear up the issue with the algae in the water, then I will be able to plan on putting more coral back into the tanks.
If anyone in the southeastern Pennsylvania area is looking for a great local resource, the link is right here for the local specialist that I am personally in contact with.