Coldwater marine aquarium Blog 2007 October
11 October 2007

Time flies

It's a month since last update. I've been very busy with work mostly. I also had a week of vacation and visited some relatives and friends in eastern Norway. It was a nice trip. Put some pictures from it in this update. As usual I spent a lot of time walking along Glomma, Norway's biggest river, and other smaller rivers. The freshwater fauna is very rich there because it was connected to the euro-asian continent with waterways just after the last ice age. I caught 7 species of freshwater fish and donated them to the local public aquarium in Bergen.

Codium fragile

Newcomer among the algae: Green sea fingers (Codium fragile). Very common and nice algae. Haven't dared taking them before because they grow slowly. They can get big so there is potential here.

I just changed the lighting settings to 10 hours day and 6 hours full light. The light levels are in their fastest drop-phase in northern regions now. Sea temperature is lagging behind. Right now it is not dropping that fast. Tank temp is set to 14 on the chiller. Temperature drop accelerates until December. The temperature is at it lowest in early spring.

Technical issues I am working on


The chiller is too noisy. The loud bass noise is not acceptable for a livingroom. So I really want to get something done about that. I am planning a cabinet for it. The cabinet will be relatively small, maybe somewhat shaped like a table so I can place things on it. It will be completely covered with sound insulating mats on the inside. The cabinet will be divided into two rooms where the chiller is part of the wall between them. The front of the chiller, where the air intakes are, will be in the front room. The back, with the air outlet, will be in the back room. Air will not be able to circulate from the back to the front when the chiller fan is running. The outlet from the cabinet will be a wide, short and chimney like channel going straight up from the back chamber, to lead hot air up and away. The intake will be on the side of the front chamber and will have 3 silent high quality 120mm x 120 mm computer fans. Together their area is a bit smaller than that of the chiller fan, but they spin faster. So I hope the air flow over the chiller's condensation unit will be a bit greater. This system also opens up the possibility for adding a "turbo" unit to the chiller where I feed in air directly from outside of the house. The fans will either be running continously, or I will open up the chiller and wire them directly to the compressor's circuit.

Double glazing

Next is the double glazing for the tank. Currently I am looking for aluminium square tubes, and dessicant. I am also looking for white bands and some locking mechanism to strap the glass to the front of the tank without ruining the nice look of the setup.


Green, red and brown

Here are some green, red and brown algae that I find hard to identify. The green ones could be Cladophora, Bryopsis or Acrosiphonia. The reds are most likely Ceramium. The browns are most likely Ectocarpus siliculosus or Pilayella littoralis.

This one is sort of working well today, but it has at least three problems. First, it's the overflow comb. It cloggs too easily. I am not sure if I can do anything about that though. I don't want to take it off. So I'll probably have to live with that for now. It is not a big problem, especially with the other improvements I plan on the overflow. Then it is the drain tubing. The system I use now is both unstable and vulnerable. To avoid noise in the tubes and overflow I have narrowed the outlet in the sump so that the tubes and half the overflow are always filled with water. As long as the overflow is half filled no air is sucked into the outlet and you don't get the noisy gurgling of air bubbles trying to fight their way up against the current in the tubes. The loud splashing caused by water falling from the edge of the overflow box is also removed since the fall is shortened. The outlet in the sump is kept narrow by a garden hose valve. This functions as a reduction valve an regulates the flow. This is very unstable because if the flow through the return pump or overflow is slightly altered then pressure changes and things can come out of balance. This is not the way to make a robust system. But the worst problem is the risk that an obstruction like a snail comes into the tubing and blocks the outlet. That could easily happen and is a risk that I have lived with for too long.

The new system has no strain on the outlet in the sump. To avoid gurgling noise I will install a T section with an open ended tube going up to a level higher than the water surface so that air can be sucked in inside the closet, and not through the outlet in the overflow. The splashing noise will be reduced with filter sponges. That also solves the problem of too much junk entering the sump and clogging the intake of the skimmer pump and return pump.

Various algae

The large kelp here is sugar kelp (Laminaria saccharina).

Urticina felina

Pinky, my nicest colored, but very shy, dalia anemone (Urticina felina).


Hermite inspecting a potential new home.


Making a quick change to test it out.

Palaemon elegans

Beach prawn (Palaemon elegans).

Palaemon elegans

Found many of these on a collection trip. Didn't know oysters were so common around here.

Vacation pics

Combined vacation and fresh water fish collection for local public aquarium.


Largest fish is grayling (Thymallus thymallus).


Silver colored ones are dace (Leuciscus leuciscus).


Alpine bullhead (Cottus poecilopus) and Ruffe (Gymnocephalus cernuus).


Glomma, Norway's largest river.

Freshwater plants

This is what I wanted my aquarium fw plants to look like!

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