My live sand is alive all right. These are droppings from a large worm. The "cable" has a diameter of about 4mm.
Not many pictures to show of the tank these day. It's the dark season. Light is only on for 2 hours a few times a week, and then only 100Watts. The rest of the time it is dark. So I rarely see into the tank without a flashlight. Oddly enough, the kelps seems to be growing still. The rest of the algae have disappeared or are just barely hanging on, well actually some of the reds are doing well. The brown nuicance algae have completely disappeared.
This is now in place. Things didn't go exactly according to plan, but actually turned out better in the end. First, I couldn't find any aluminium square tubes. They have these in glass workshops around here, but all I could find were too large and probably expensive. Still, aluminium tubes aren't necessary or even desirable. I ended up using some plastic pieces that my father had lying in his garage. I cut them into 2x1 cm strips and used them as spacer. They were shaped in a way that allowed me to hide the silica gel desiccant inside, behind the gasket. The gasket was of a type that is used in door and window frames. But as the work progressed I felt really uncertain if the gaskets were really diffusion proof. They seemed porous. That would allow moisture to diffuse into the space and saturate the desiccant. It also seemed hopeless to get the 4 joints between gaskets and plastic pieces air tight with the hard aquarium silicone I used.
In the nick of time I came up with a rather nice idea. When shopping for gasket I found this nice product, a type of "silicone replacement". This was basically a string of silicone-like material with white plastic on one side. It is used to create diffusion tight seals between building parts and is decorative and adhesive, but can also be removed. This fit perfectly around the glass pane, created a perfect seal and can be removed in a minute. The original plan was to use bands around the tank to hold the glass firmly in place. But the seal now holds the pane in place so that no unsightly bands are necessary. Now I am free to set the temperature as I wish. December is a really cooling month. The temp will be 4C at the end.
The chiller is hitting the wall right now. I recently adjusted the temp down to 7C. But the chiller has serious problems reaching that temperature. It tends to stop around 7.5 depending on how many pumps that are on and air temperature. I've tried various adjustments like turning off some pumps, adjusting down room temp a few degrees and adjusting up the air feeding fans to the chiller box. But nothing seems to have any significant effect. Also, in general, cooling down the tank takes incredibly long time, 4 to 8 hours per degree from 9C to 8C. I calculated that the net cooling effect is something between 40 and 100 watts. At present time the lights are off. Add 324 Watts of lighting in March and it's obvious that the temp is not going to be near the 2 degrees in natural water at the time. I'll be lucky if I can keep the temp below 10. So I've ordered a new chiller. At first I tried ordering from the UK, from the links in the last update, because it is the only place in Europe were they sell D-D and Hailea chillers. But I could only find one shop that stated that they would ship to other countries. That was Aquatics Online. They would send the chiller, but they wanted £70 for shipping and they would not pay return shipping in case of a faulty product. I could live with that, but they couldn't get money out of my credit card. After a dozen mails and a boring phone session I just called it off. After that negative experience I decided to not try to beg any of the other UK shops to send me a chiller and rather just order a chiller from aquaristic.net in Germany. A Teco TR20. Hope it works out. I should have it sometime in January. The chiller I really wanted is one of these: AquaLogic Delta Star Research Chillers 40°- 80°F. These are specially made for cold water, you get them in 230V, and not even particularly expensive! But you know, shipping from the US. I didn't even want to go there this time. Next time though...
Now who would have thought cooking could be fun?
This is my second attempt at making food for the tank. Not often I have this much fun in the kitchen. This time I used fish eggs, copepods and artemia. These were hand mixed into the mass, along with some dry pellets. Meat from saithe, shrimps, clams and dry pellets were blended in. The blending went over several stages. First some food was blended very well, to fine matter. Then some was added for less blending, and some for relatively coarse particles in the end.
Some of my animals are simply too difficult to get any good pictures of. Some of them are night active and always hide, some stand in a shady location and some always move. Here are some pics of those.
Corkwing wrasse (Symphodus melops). Wrasses have a reputation of biting and damaging other tank inhabitants. But my experience with juvenile corkwings is only positive. I have never seen them damaging anything. They only swim around catching microscopic animals. They obviously find food because they grow well even though they never eat the food I put in the tank.