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Share photos/videos, journals and logs for your Opae ula tank setups for others to read.
 #5308  by dayeianis
 26 Jun 2018 13:07
Ultrasonic cleaner uses
A use for a cheap ultrasonic cleaner from eBay.

I've been using an ultrasonic cleaner for cleaning glasses and things with small nooks, like watches, electric shaver, electric toothbrush, tools etc. However since coming into possession of some Opae Ula, I've found this device to help with some challenges; which I thought I'd share here today.

Cleaning dry reef rocks
Ultrasonic cleaners clean those white Calcium Carbonate dead coral pieces very, very well.

I purchased a small piece of dry, white dead coral to buffer the water and as a source of Calcium Carbonate for the little guys. So a quick wash, & I placed it in my tank.
A week later, I found that the reef rock had this fuzzy, pale white/brown cloud around parts of it. It was rotting. Something organic was in the rock. It makes sense; it was once alive after all. But the shrimp weren't eating it.
So I pulled it out. and pondered how to clean out the dead, organic matter.
Cleaned my ultrasonic cleaner, filled it with pure water (RO, charcoal filtered) and placed the reef rock in.
Within 20 seconds, the water body was solid opaque; and it STUNK. I let it continue for it's 5min cycle. Not much else changed after 20 seconds though.
Rinsed the rock after, put it back in the tank, no more worries. Amazed.

Killing hairy rocks
Seems to work with the long hairs which grow upwards on rocks.

My tank started from almost all 'new' salt water. So something hitched a ride from my seller with the shrimp and their water. My lava rocks now grow long wispy algal hairs. I don't want lava rocks with long wispy hairs. The shrimp don't seem to eat them either. (though I'm sure they absorb excess nutrients from the water, and for that I'm thankful - but it's time for some house keeping)
Same as before, placed a couple of rocks into the ultrasonic cleaner for 5min, pure water only. The rocks didn't get cleaner, and there was no noticeable difference to the rocks when they came out. The water didn't go opaque or dirty. Just a few strands of hair came loose in the water. Less than the number of fingers on my hand.
I expected this. The little Opae are incredible cleaners to begin with. There wasn't much more "cleaning" left to do.
The rocks returned to the tank, & I watched over them for the next few days. I found that the algal hairs were get eaten off of the rocks. Leaving short, grey/white hairs evenly trimmed along the top of the rocks. Like stubble on a chin. An older gentleman's chin.
I expected the algae to die, as the pressure of micro bubbles forming and collapsing under ultrasonic water would damage cell structures and functions. I did not expect the shrimp to evenly trim the hairs as though they had a set of Number 2 clippers.
They are seemingly slowly eating the hair algae. From the top to the base. Some (not all) of the green on the rocks is also getting eaten.
They seem to be happier; moving and swimming actively and out of their hiding spaces.
I'm placing a few rocks in the cleaner at a time with weeks between batches. As I don't want to kill the hair algae population. It's a renewable food now.

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Completely dissolving Spirulina
That dissatisfying emulsion of water and Spirulina? Goodbye!

I received some Spirulina from the seller which sent me my Opae Ula. It doesn't blend with water well at all. I have some of the same powdered, Hawaiian Spirulina at home I used to use a long time ago in shakes. Even a blender leaves lumps in the shake and on the side of a blender. That is probably the second reason why it stays in my cupboard (the Spirulina).
So when I gave some to my Opae Ula (a very, very small amount) it didn't blend with the water, and just sat in lumps on the water surface; either on top of the water or floated near the top in clumps. This was expected; and will not do.
Opae Ula are (like a lot of shrimp) filter feeders. Their 4 front 'hands' are like sieves; made to filter little things out of the water or pluck them from surfaces.
I was also just dissatisfied I had to look at lumps in the water.
So I had a thought. (Well I had a few, but most were bad; ethically)
Ultrasonic cleaners move the water very rapidly back and forth. Like when you place your hand on a speaker/sub-woofer port and you can feel the air move rapidly. Just that Ultrasonic cleaners do it to liquids VERY rapidly and EVENLY. However, I don't need a litre worth's of Spirulina infused water. (the capacity of my Ultrasonic cleaner). So I need a very small body of liquid mixed with Spirulina.
I placed a small amount of pure water and a (very) small amount of Spirulina into a clean, tall shot glass (glass is very bad at absorbing shock, so it'll pass that energy onto anything inside the glass. It's also inert, doesn't absorb/release odours or chemicals and is easy to clean - perfect). I half filled the Ultrasonic cleaner with tap water (we won't be introducing it to the tank either, so use the cheapest liquid around) and started a 5min cycle. I lowered the shot glass with the Spirulina into the running cleaner and swirled it around. It dissolved completely within 10 seconds. No utensils or hard stirring needed. I was surprised how well it went.
I then used a pipette to pull up the (satisfyingly-even) green liquid out of the shot glass and introduced it to the Opae Ula. They seem to notice immediately, and in a frenzy cartwheeled around the tank. Either they were searching for it, or they were eating it. I am still unsure if they got it all, but they seem to be fine and the water quality is still fine.
I'll be using this method of food delivery for every second feed and for larvae when they appear.


The Spirulina floats here because it's temperature is warmer than the water's - but not by much. It' sinks almost immediately after. The concentration is also much higher than I usually use. This was for the video.

First post; enjoy.
BettaBeau, QDanT liked this
 #5312  by odin
 28 Jun 2018 20:28
Welcome to the forum! That's a really neat idea and we have these ultra sonic cleaners at work but unfortunately they have had chemicals in them so i cant ever use them myself for tank stuff. Luckily i didn't have issues with my lava rock and ocean rock and most if not all of the organic matter was gone.

Thanks for sharing the video and photo's! Keep them coming. :cool: :happy: :grin2: