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#1
msscha

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[Note: this thread started as "msscha's 14 gallon biocube" -- I've changed the name to reflect the recent upgrade! FTS of the JBJ24 (purchased used)]

 

Since I'm clearly obsessing over my excursion into the world of marine aquariums, I decided to start a thread -- it is easier than writing things down in a tiny notebook and more productive than talking to myself :happy: .

Full Tank Shot -- day two
tankview3.jpg
My 14 gallon oceanic biocube was born on 9/04/11, constructed with no tank modifications, 20 pounds arag-nite fiji pink live sand, 15 pounds freshly harvested Florida live rock, and a dose of micro-bacter. My LFS, Ocean Exotics, runs weekly specials -- I got lucky and began my tank as they offered a killer deal on new LR (6.99 USD/pound). The "catch" is you have to order the rock sight unseen, provide a general description of what you're looking for, and pay up front before the day is out. Given the cost of premium live rock and my utter n00b status, I went for it. I wanted rock pieces that would let me create caves for visual interest and fun for critters.

The tank cycled quickly -- went from a nitrate reading of 5.0 ppm on day 3 to nitrate 0 on day 5. Ammonia and nitrite have measured 0 on all 3 days I took readings. Ph is holding at 8.0, specific grav at 1.025, and temperature between 74.5 and 75.9 from when I get in at 7:45 a.m. to when I leave at 2:30 p.m. Light cycles automated by a simple Zoomed timer; I leave the moonlight LEDs on all the time b/c the timer cannot be set for multiple tasks. This morning (9/12/11), diatom and green slimy-looking algae strings are abundant; all readings are at 0, so I'll be adding critters tomorrow. I'm rather fond of the underwater garden look, so I'll be adding a snail or two for algae control, a peppermint shrimp, and probably an ocellaris clownfish, and something that likes cave life. I would like to add Xenia and calerpa, too, though will not likely do all of this in one day. Tomorrow, I'll add whatever the LFS recommends to start with. The halimeda discoides is adding lots of new green growth, and both reddish and green macro algas of various kinds are growing. Not sure what they are! The green has two varieties: a thin stemmed kind and a fuzzier looking one, so there should be food for grazers.

The life on the rock is coming along nicely!
colorsideview.jpg

I am still in the process of identifying most of what is in the tank -- awaiting 2 books that should arrive this week, Reef Coral Identification: Florida Caribbean Bahamas (Deloach and Humann) and Reef Creature Identification: Florida Caribbean Bahamas (Humann). From some other websites, here is what I think I've ID-ed so far.

Amphiroa Rigida
Amphiroa_Rigida.jpg

Cladacora Arbuscula
Cladacora_Arbuscula.jpg

Yellow Ball Sponge
yellowball_sponge_with_lightbulb_anemone

Light Bulb Anemone
lightbulb_anemones.jpg

That's it for today :D

UPDATE: FTS, One Year Later!!
http://web.clas.ufl....ts_one_year.bmp


Edited by msscha, 30 August 2013 - 09:06 AM.


#2
msscha

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The Amazing Ambulatory Anemone

Okay, so I get this is pretty normal, but I was astonished to arrive at work this morning and find an anemone missing in action!

Yesterday, they looked like the picture above of the three light bulb anemones. Today, this is what I found:
Posted Image
Is the white thing-y a type of sponge?

About two hours later, I return from class and find it had moved!
Posted Image
I have named the trio "The Jonas Brothers". I am ridiculously pleased by this and heartily wish I could afford time-elapse photography!

I also discovered what I believe is an oyster -- when I cleaned the algae off the glass, it suddenly closed up, thereby indicating it was there in the first place. This afternoon, it has opened back up and appears to have a friend.
Posted Image

I think there is a second one, too, in lovely shades or purplish red.
Posted Image

Off to the LPS to see what comes next :happydance:

Edited by msscha, 13 September 2011 - 10:39 AM.


#3
msscha

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Off to the LPS to see what comes next :happydance:

I had a good conversation with the LFS yesterday -- he found a trace of ammonia which I had not found the day before. He recommended holding off on stocking for another few weeks until the tank really has the opportunity to fully cycle. Frankly, I was glad about that recommendation since I am enjoying watching what is already in their a lot!

A few patches of red hair algae have turned up, too, and I'll keep an eye on those and pull them if it gets too much. I wonder if I should trim the dying halimeda off since it has all that new green growth? I'll ask in the Beginner's forum.

#4
metrokat

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good progress. much too early for fish. if the algae continue get the cuc.

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#5
msscha

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good progress. much too early for fish. if the algae continue get the cuc.


Yep! Was relieved that the LFS stated as much given that is the recommendation I found on much of the nano-reef forums. Increases my confidence in their advice.

#6
msscha

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Aah, the pain of cycling.

It appears I have my first known tank mortality. Makes me sad, even if it is to be expected, b/c anemones have very long lifespans in the wild. But this is not the wild.

One of the Jonas Brothers says goodbye :(
Posted Image

#7
msscha

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One of the Jonas Brothers says goodbye :(

Umm, maybe not. Talked to LFS who suggested watching the stem for peeling -- if it's looking smooth and white, then the bulb nem is doing something else. And it is already starting to puff out a bit. Aah, n00b-life :D

#8
Builder Anthony

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Whats a b/c anemone?

Edited by Builder Anthony, 14 September 2011 - 10:42 PM.

Anthonys 5 Gallon
Pictures
http://www.nano-reef...howtopic=267313

#9
msscha

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Whats a b/c anemone?

sorry -- I teach writing (believe it or not) and use a lot of acronyms -- "b/c" is "because".

Umm, maybe not. Talked to LFS who suggested watching the stem for peeling -- if it's looking smooth and white, then the bulb nem is doing something else. And it is already starting to puff out a bit. Aah, n00b-life :D

And, in fact, it is all healthy and big again this morning! In general, the tank looks a bit better this morning, too. No additional diatom growth, about 1/2 the brown speckly stuff swirling around on the surface, more fans worms (and wormy things in general), and a few cerith snails have been out and about. I am spending too much time at work watching the aquarium :blush:.

#10
msscha

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Too much of a good thing

Well, I've pretty much decided that there are just too many anemones in the tanks. There are 5 good size ones, about 4 medium ones, and probably a dozen or more babies. There is one type that I've not identified yet and has a tube that looks like a transparent, elongated bubble rather than the smooth sheath that the others have. I would like to ID it before getting rid of it, though whatever it is has plenty of tank mates. I feel somewhat guilty here...although I have no problem killing weed and insect pests in my garden, I haven't reached that stage with regards to the tank. So mostly I am gathering courage based on the experiences of others. Some of the anemones (those that I am nearly certain are pest aptasia, and not actinarias) are on the back of the rocks facing the back of the tank which doesn't leave me much room. Getting the Aiptasia X there should be quite the adventure.

Mystery Anemone
http://web.clas.ufl....ery_anemone.bmp

UPDATE: Finally got up the courage and took out about a dozen, including the ones on the back of the rock. My hand shook the whole time. I am such a cry-baby:-).

Edited by msscha, 21 September 2011 - 07:52 AM.


#11
msscha

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It also looks like I've got a couple of something called a "Small Bead" anemone, shown in the link's picture #11 with a Chicken liver sponge -- I have this exact critter, too, so feel pretty confident of its identification. I haven't found much info on it, though.

Also identified the fat, nubby-haired critter as a type of sea cucumber -- see link above, #57.

Edited by msscha, 21 September 2011 - 05:17 AM.


#12
msscha

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Club CUC
Added six snails to the tank yesterday -- woo hoo! The LFS I go to is run by a husband-wife team. I prefer working with the wife b/c she is generally more cautious than her husband. She recommended 2 each astrea, nassarius, and margarita. Watching her bait and catch the nassarius was a trip, and while I certainly don't want them to starve in the tank, I did like the experience of watching them rise from the sand like something out of a horror movie to converge on the dead fish. Would be fun to occasionally add a piece of grouper and film the action! (may have to as one just surfaced briefly!). I did become somewhat concerned when I read at home that "margarita" snails are NOT meant for reef tanks as they come from cooler Atlantic waters and just slowly cook to death in the warm waters of a reef tank (currently at 75.5). OTOH, the snail the book showed as a margarita didn't look like the snails I got which more closely resembled nerites -- this would be better as they are a good choice for the tank. But I have not found it this morning (it buried itself in the first 5 minutes; the nassarius disappeared in less than 45 seconds). I've already found I enjoy watching them, including some morning play between two...snail sex, perhaps?

Club CUC
http://web.clas.ufl....anoreef/cuc.bmp

Astrea with beautiful colors
http://web.clas.ufl....a_and_color.bmp

Snails at play
http://web.clas.ufl....f/snailplay.bmp

#13
msscha

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Evil Crab?
That spidery looking crab, possible a nimble spray (sally lightfoot) seems to have done some serious damage to my tube coral. It looks as though everywhere it's feeds, it leaves a trail of death. I am seriously unhappy with this thing, and if I can get hold a hemostat, I will crunch it's little bones.

Before Crab
http://web.clas.ufl....efore_crab2.bmp

After crab
http://web.clas.ufl....e_tubecoral.bmp

Am I being paranoid? I have several other clumps of cladacora arbuscula, one with red coralline growth, that I would hate to lose. I also saw another crab yesterday -- not the same type at all. It was hard to get a picture of b/c it was hiding in a hole and nearly the same color as the surrounding rock. It does not have black tips on its legs and looked a bit like a red mithrax (red emerald crab). I haven't seen it today. I may post to ID section to see if someone feels confident about IDing it.

Red Emerald Crab?
http://web.clas.ufl....thrax_maybe.bmp

Edited by msscha, 22 September 2011 - 07:06 AM.


#14
gena

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Wow...that's amazing rock with tons of life! I will certainly enjoy following the progress on this reef tank :) It looks great!

#15
msscha

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Wow...that's amazing rock with tons of life! I will certainly enjoy following the progress on this reef tank :) It looks great!

Thanks so much, Gena!! :happydance:

#16
msscha

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Death to Crab

I spotted the little spider-y crab this morning on the same block of tube coral I've seen it in before. This morning, it made me mad, so I took the straight "needle" from the aiptasia X syringe, attached it for extra leverage, and ever-so-slowly lowered to above the crab, then stabbed it several times -- I'm pretty sure I got it since it was already at the bottom of the coral and didn't have anyplace to go. I saw at least one limb float away. The other crab is still in its hole. When I poked it, it first poked back, then shrank to the back. Since it's hanging out in the top piece of LR, I might just lift the piece and get at it that way. The rock has a cute little yellow ball sponge on it, so I don't want it out of the tank completely (though it certainly survived it's trip in wet newspaper from the LFS to the office).

The snails seem to be doing fine, and one has begun making its way through the algae sludge on the back of the tank -- yeah! I don't want to add anymore b/c I was reading that many snails slowly starve to death when too many are put in the aquarium. I'd rather have them take a bit longer to clean everything up. The one snail I wasn't certain was a "margarita" b/c it didn't look like the ones in the book (Marine Invertebrates, Ronald Shimek). look like a nerite snail, which is a good thing b/c they are an appropriate choice for the tank.

The Nerite Snail (labeled "margarita" in LFS)
Posted Image

I messed up something with salinity/spec grav the other day. Will take those readings again this morning. I'm concerned b/c my hidden cup coral was beginning to extend nicely, but has since completely withdrawn, indicating something is probably wrong. Yesterday's params were good, though nitrate had climbed to 5 ppm; everything else was at 0, and SG/S were at 1.023/31.

I have also identified the algae on the sand is bryopsis plumosa. It's actually rather pretty, but the snails are not eating it; they are on the LR and tank walls. So far, it has seemed contained to the same spot the diatom grew, but I'll have to keep an eye on that. No more livestock for a couple of weeks. Will do my first water change next week and am interested to see what impact that has.

Edited by msscha, 23 September 2011 - 05:11 AM.


#17
msscha

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What on earth is this?

This is a new creature, making its way from underneath a ledge. The picture had to be taken with a flash in order to get sufficient focus, so the color may be a bit off -- it almost looks like an anemone, except it is not "spreading" its tentacles. I have to leave for the weekend in a few minutes, so I guess I'll find out on Monday!

http://web.clas.ufl....wn_creature.bmp

#18
deligirlmss

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I was really excited when I read this thread! I started my biocube on 9/3/11. Ocean Exotics is also the fish store I use. I absolutely love Janet and Kurt! I have about 19lbs of the Florida live rock, and many of the same corals and pests as you. Do you mind if I ask where you teach? I am a student at Santa Fe, so it would be pretty cool if you worked there also. Your biocube is looking great! :D
deligirlmss's biocube 14 adventure http://www.nano-reef...howtopic=282318

#19
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Good lord woman. You stabbed something to death with a syringe because you didn't like it's presence?

All those anemones you keep calling cute names are not at all your friend.

Those corals you accused the crab of eating need to be spot fed as they are NOT photosynthetic. If you haven't been feeding them quite regularly, then this is why they are fading away. The crab didn't ask to be put in a little glass box, he is only doing what nature programmed him to do and now you have mortally wounded him out of distaste. :angry:

Edit: It could also be the giant aptasia like anemone smack in the center of the colony that could be causing harm as well.......crab killer.

Second Edit: You got shaky hands while taking out aptasia but you can gouge a much more complex invertebrate through the carapace with a large gauge syringe?? ####s wrong with you?

Edited by Formula462, 24 September 2011 - 06:53 AM.


#20
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Also, the critter in your last photo is a nem. I have one also.

Also if you go into OE (Ocean Exotics) they will give you a crab trap and some silversides so you can catch any unwanted hitch hikers. Then you can bring the crabs back and feed them to their trigger fish.
deligirlmss's biocube 14 adventure http://www.nano-reef...howtopic=282318

#21
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Is the crab deadus duckus? Did it have black tipped claws?

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#22
msscha

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Is the crab deadus duckus? Did it have black tipped claws?

I am pretty sure the small crab is dead, though I'll see tomorrow morning if that's the case! Mostly, I took the presence of a snail munching down at the spot where I killed it to be a kind of confirmation. It did not have black-tipped claws; it was mottled/striped, and really looked very much (from what I could tell) like the nimble spray. This crab is listed as tentatively reef safe as it is supposed to be herbivorous when young, but is known when older to rip the sides out of coral polyps to get to the guts. It certainly seemed that what it was doing was ripping into the tube coral as the places I saw it were dead when it moved. Of course, it could be that they were dying anyway and the crab was simply doing the detrivore thing, but I was unwilling to risk it!

#23
msscha

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I was really excited when I read this thread! I started my biocube on 9/3/11. Ocean Exotics is also the fish store I use. I absolutely love Janet and Kurt! I have about 19lbs of the Florida live rock, and many of the same corals and pests as you. Do you mind if I ask where you teach? I am a student at Santa Fe, so it would be pretty cool if you worked there also. Your biocube is looking great! :D

Hi, deligirlmss! I teach at UF, not at Santa Fe, though sometimes I think I'd prefer Santa Fe :). So nice to meet you! Maybe we'll meet at OE sometime or the Reef Club -- did you join that? I've got young kids, so it's sometimes hard to get out of the house weekday evenings, but I am doing to try to make the next one.

#24
msscha

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Good lord woman. You stabbed something to death with a syringe because you didn't like it's presence?

All those anemones you keep calling cute names are not at all your friend.

Those corals you accused the crab of eating need to be spot fed as they are NOT photosynthetic. If you haven't been feeding them quite regularly, then this is why they are fading away. The crab didn't ask to be put in a little glass box, he is only doing what nature programmed him to do and now you have mortally wounded him out of distaste. :angry:

Edit: It could also be the giant aptasia like anemone smack in the center of the colony that could be causing harm as well.......crab killer.

Second Edit: You got shaky hands while taking out aptasia but you can gouge a much more complex invertebrate through the carapace with a large gauge syringe?? ####s wrong with you?

Hmm, it did occur to me this morning that maybe the crab wasn't a bad guy, though the general message I read across many boards is there is no such thing as a good crab. As for my distaste one way or the other, even economists have finally acknowledged what marketers have always known: humans make decisions on emotion, not logic (this is even true for men who create fancy labels for their rationalizations). I didn't like killing the anemones because they were the first thing in the tank I'd killed and because I like them -- they are pretty, they wave in the current, and that is what I got the tank for. I had no such problem killing the crab because it looked like a spider and I hate spiders. I kill black, brown, and white widows on my property all the time and don't feel obliged to make excuses other than they are dangerous, ugly, and I have kids to protect. None of which are logical reasons -- they are endpoints of emotional relationships.

Also, I claim the right as a beginner to make my own mistakes.

The point about feeding corals is well taken -- the reason I haven't begun supplementing nutrition is that I do have copepods and other small critters and the LFS suggested waiting for a few weeks for the initial cycling to stop. I planned on asking them about this next week. Since I do really like the tube corals, I need to get on this.

Edited by msscha, 25 September 2011 - 08:49 AM.


#25
msscha

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Also, the critter in your last photo is a nem. I have one also.

Also if you go into OE (Ocean Exotics) they will give you a crab trap and some silversides so you can catch any unwanted hitch hikers. Then you can bring the crabs back and feed them to their trigger fish.

I like that idea! I'll try trapping the other spider, which may be a gorilla. And I was thinking that creature was probably an anemone, but it looked big and I hadn't seen it elsewhere. I could be that it was one I didn't take out fully when I culled a bunch last week. Have you started a tank thread yet? I'll take a look. It'll be fun to compare notes with someone who got the same rock at the same time.