Pretty straightforward.  It’s been 5 days since I came home and panicked at a missing Lightning Maroon.  I honestly couldn’t bear to take pictures of it all shredded up, but thankfully most has healed and it is only the spine dorsal damage that remains…will it heal is anyone’s guess.
I’ve been “practicing” pairing Maroons in the basement.  I took the Female Maroon I got from Debbie in the Twin Cities (I think the fish’s name is Lucy…I’ll have to go look).  I tried pairing a significantly smaller white stripe that I got in trade from a local hobbyist (Ryan), who also brought along a slightly larger white stripe that he had been trying to pair the smaller one with.  My test pairing of Ryan’s “male” White Stripe Maroon Clownfish with Debbie’s “female” didn’t go so well…the larger maroon basically took random pot shots at the smaller one, occasionally chasing it around the tank.  After a couple hours, I separated the two…the smaller “male” was placed in a specimen cup that has a lot of holes drilled in it.  The two could now interact but can’t have physical contact.  The next day I was working on the tanks and heard some pretty viscous whacks as the larger maroon attacked the specimen cup.  Since then however, I haven’t noticed much animosity between the two.  I may try releasing the smaller one again to see if things work now.  I am honestly expecting that I’ll have to do this same thing with the Lightning and the smaller male I chose to get it to work.  by the same token, I’ve noticed the two other PNG Maroons (who’ve been separated for months) seem to be kinda hanging out together now at the screen that separates the two of them.  Perhaps I finally have a pair there?  Only way to find out will be another introduction and I’ll probably know pretty quickly.
The algae is slowly coming under control via the addition of the Turbo Grazers (Turbo fluctousa supposedly).  In the Lightning’s last tank, they would often be found crawling around on top of his “cage”, feeding on algae while partially exposed – a clue as to their intertidal nature.   I think they NEED this, and the current setup of the Ecoxotic with its tight lid allows them to venture up above the water should they feel the need.
Today was literally my first opportunity to test the water since my new test kits arrived.  I opted to continue with the Seachem test for pH and total Alkalinity…I’ve found them to be VERY easy to use.  I also ordered a Salifert Magnesium test kit to replace the Seachem one that had obviously gone out of date and wasn’t accurate.  Meanwhile I’ve been dosing C-Balance routinely, generally 2 or 3 times per day, knowing I was using it up before.  Here’s how the water tested out at lunch:
pH – 8.3
Total Alkalinity – 5 meq/L
Calcium – 415 ppm
Magnesium – 1215 ppm
Nitrate – 0 ppm (undetectable either at low or medium resolution – gin clear)
Might have to break out the Phosphate test kit…kinda stumped what caused the hair algae explosion in the tank while I was away.