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msscha's 24 gallon office cube


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#51
msscha

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A bit of Re-scaping Work

I did a bit of re-scaping on the rock work this morning -- mostly, I wanted to move a bit more of the base rock surface into the light, so to speak, so it can available for corals. The overall shape is still the same, though. I also trimmed off the red turf algae which I IDed from someone who was asking about it on the ID forum thread. Even if not considered a major nuisance, I have enough macro (halemida discoidea and some kind of reddish-brownish-greenish one with attractive leaves that may be a form of strap alga, phylum:phaeophyta) that it isn't needed for nutrient export. And, aesthetically, it was taking up major eye space in the middle of the tank.

Was musing on live rock last night. Getting truly freshly-harvested live rock is a lot like inheriting someone else's wildflower garden -- the colors are gorgeous and life outstanding, but it isn't ever going to be sculpted or controlled. I've been looking through some of the other 14 gallon BCs, and the sheer beauty of their reefs is breathtaking -- but it seems like many began with premium live rock that had been well-scrubbed: a healthy blank canvas of sorts. This is quite different from my situation. I am not complaining! Given the tank is in my office and my time relatively limited, starting with all this life has made having the tank a joy from the beginning. Yet, the experience is different, I think.

Edited by msscha, 07 October 2011 - 05:59 AM.


#52
msscha

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New Tank Mates

Just got back from the LFS with an acan (don't know which one specifically), a little barnacle blenny, and a peppermint shrimp! They are drip acclimating at the moment -- the peppermint is already cleaning. Let's see if it'll help take out some nems!

45 minutes later...

The transition to the tank went smoothly. The acan is still closed, but I expected that. It got a quick freshwater rinse before acclimating which rinsed off a small brittle star. The brittle start would've probably been a good tank addition, but I bet they are already in there somewhere!

The peppermint shrimp seemed to disappear, then suddenly I saw it, upside down in a space with several small anemones. Damned if I didn't see a tentacle go flying! Don't know that it'll take out the bigger ones, but I am so happy to see it munching so soon :) .

The barnacle blenny did not head straight for a hole which is what I thought it would do -- it is hanging out in the front of the tank, looking, umm, well, barnacle blenny-like.

http://web.clas.ufl....cle_blenny1.bmp

Everyone got a snack before I leave for the weekend -- very fun to watch the blenny eat!

Edited by msscha, 07 October 2011 - 11:08 AM.


#53
pbjelly

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A bit of Re-scaping Work

Was musing on live rock last night. Getting truly freshly-harvested live rock is a lot like inheriting someone else's wildflower garden -- the colors are gorgeous and life outstanding, but it isn't ever going to be sculpted or controlled. I've been looking through some of the other 14 gallon BCs, and the sheer beauty of their reefs is breathtaking -- but it seems like many began with premium live rock that had been well-scrubbed: a healthy blank canvas of sorts. This is quite different from my situation. I am not complaining! Given the tank is in my office and my time relatively limited, starting with all this life has made having the tank a joy from the beginning. Yet, the experience is different, I think.


I love the wildflower garden analogy.
I started exactly the opposite way with a barren desert of completely dry rock and I've been musing on how different my experience has been from those of you who started with gorgeous live rock. I've been staring at an empty box of water for a month desperate for signs of life, clinging to the smallest movement.
I too am not complaining, because it's been fascinating, but I'm amazed at how disparate our experiences can be.

#54
msscha

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Monday Notes

I thought the barnacle blenny had disappeared over the weekend, but after searching, found that he has "nested" in a clump of tube coral rather than choosing a hole. He was quite happy at feeding time, though a bit greedy! It was a bad strategy as the nassarius came up to eat that chunk pretty quickly. The blenny tried to protect his turf by lunging at the snail's snout, and though he didn't save his food, he did manage to make the nassarius go elsewhere. The blenny's colors are better today, too -- lips are nicely pinked, eyes are painted with deep reddish-orange, and skin/scale colors are darker and better defined.

The acan had been pushed onto the rock below and has yet to re-emerge after I moved it back to where I want it. I thought because I didn't have fish that I wouldn't need to glue it in place, but I forgot about the snails -- duh!

My hidden cup coral is so much happier now that feeding has commenced. This is probably my favorite hitchhiker -- I wish I had more of them.

Happy Hidden Cup Coral
http://web.clas.ufl....n_coral_cup.bmp

Greedy Blenny! Didn't mama ever teach you not to eat anything bigger than your head?
http://web.clas.ufl....eedy_blenny.bmp

Acan Getting Adjusted
http://web.clas.ufl....oreef/acan1.bmp

Edited by msscha, 10 October 2011 - 08:36 AM.


#55
msscha

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Zombie Tuesday

Came in this morning to tank weirdness. Barnacle Blenny is nowhere to be seen. Red emerald crab is frozen out in the open, next to a newly emerged anemone that is likely aiptasia. Hmmm...

Two hours later
Blenny emerged just as I was going to class -- yeah! But I forgot to unplug the heater and the water temp rose 4 degrees -- not yeah.

Here is a pic of the crab -- hard to see -- maybe it molted? The eyes are white which pretty much indicates nobody is home.
http://web.clas.ufl....f/crabshell.bmp

Edited by msscha, 11 October 2011 - 06:52 AM.


#56
pbjelly

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Hopefully just molted.

Glad about your blenny - super cute. Makes me want one.

#57
ApiratenamedJohn

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Came in this morning to tank weirdness. Barnacle Blenny is nowhere to be seen. Red emerald crab is frozen out in the open, next to a newly emerged anemone that is likely aiptasia.

Here is a pic of the crab -- hard to see -- maybe it molted? The eyes are white which pretty much indicates nobody is home.
[img]http://web.clas.ufl....f/crabshell.bmp[/img


Sounds to me like he molted. my emerald crab did the same on a rock, till presto, there was a fresh green crab standing next to the old pale molting.

#58
msscha

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Yep, the Crab has Molted and Other Stuff

The crab has indeed molted and looks half again as big as it did a week ago. Kind of freaks me out! Also tried a brief video showing it snacking on debris -- it "waves" its front claws a couple of times, maybe in a grooming or catching motion? As the crab makes its way across the rock, the blenny's looking a bit nervous!

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

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

Lots of life crawling about today -- loved this little "spongescape" with intrepid snail explorer.
http://web.clas.ufl....scape_snail.bmp

I tried to get a picture of some of the new sponges and tunicates in the back of the tank, where there isn't much light. The tunicates are clear and didn't come out at all, but the orange sponge stuff is cool.
http://web.clas.ufl....te_backtank.bmp

Finally, I spotted something new in the tank today -- I have no idea what this is. A mystery mollusk? Something hiding? Last week, I thought the red-orange "casing" was a piece of macro alga. Today, it has a split and something inside with transparent parts and either spots or bands. Any ideas?

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

Edited by msscha, 17 October 2011 - 09:53 AM.


#59
pbjelly

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

this...reminds me of the cover of Le Petit Prince - reefer version. It's a really lovely photo.

Finally, I spotted something new in the tank today -- I have no idea what this is. A mystery mollusk? Something hiding? Last week, I thought the red-orange "casing" was a piece of macro alga. Today, it has a split and something inside with transparent parts and either spots or bands. Any ideas?

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

and this...reminds me of the scallops I used to catch as a kid. Don't know if that's what it is, but I was always fascinated with the rows of (what I thought were) bright blue eyes.

#60
msscha

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this...reminds me of the cover of Le Petit Prince - reefer version. It's a really lovely photo.

and this...reminds me of the scallops I used to catch as a kid. Don't know if that's what it is, but I was always fascinated with the rows of (what I thought were) bright blue eyes.

Thank you! I like it, too, and have changed my avatar to use it. I also thought it might be a scallop -- I just ducked my head over to take a look and the huge mollusk on the side of the rock (I think it's a jewel box) and the scallop both just closed up in horror :o! There was a lot of anemone movement last night, too. Still too many of them; they need to go.

Edited by msscha, 18 October 2011 - 07:15 AM.


#61
msscha

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Damn Crabs

I just spotted a different crab in the tank, hiding in a spot that is just off the corner of the tank, so very hard to see around the curved glass. It is quite hairy looking and appears to be white. I found a white cast-off shell last week, too, but thought is must have been dragged up from the bottom by a snail. Damn. I've read several anecdotes stating that white crabs are bad. (update -- on closer inspection, it is not white -- just has whitish, spiky hairs -- body appears to be reddish -- looks like a Sally Lightfoot -- I do not recant the cursing)

Also made a tactical error in feeding schedule. I need to take out a bunch of anemones and for some clearly n00b reason thought feeding the tank first would be a good idea. Dumb dumb dumb :angry: . Now, all the anemones are pleasantly digesting breakfast with their mouth orifices all closed up. One of the LFSers yesterday suggested getting a hyperdermic to inject the aiptasia X rather than using the larger tube sent with the box. That's how he got rid of his. May need to do that.

Aiptasia Update -- just treated the tanks many nems -- have no idea how well it will work, but am determined to repeat until they are gone. I am pleased by the water quality, oddly enough! And the various bivalves and mollusks have just gone bananas during this process, opening and closing all over the place. In fact, I discovered a couple of live ones I didn't know were there b/c they were hidden by anemones. Also just caught a nasty looking claw snacking on a nubbin off my yellow ball sponge! It's definitely not the red emerald b/c that one is eating nicely out in the open, having become used to my presence. I still have the club soda...

Crab Update -- I wonder what the TA in the office thought when I crowed "aha! got you son of a b*tch!" upon dislodging what was definitely not an emerald crab and probably a gorilla from a piece of halimeda. I just removed the piece of rock, poured some club soda into the hole, and prayed (for the second time now) that exposure to air wasn't going to kill the littler yellow ball sponge. While searching for the crab, I removed the apparently dead body of the tank's largest anemone, which had conveniently moved onto that piece of rock and another nem, which had resurrected in the macro a couple of weeks ago. So, two nems and one bad crab down; only 1/2 dozen or so nems to go.

And during this whole episode? The blenny sits calmly on his nest in the tube coral, even when my hand comes within an inch of his little head. I think I'll name him Earl. Or maybe Duke.

The acan, though, looks seriously upset. I mean really not well. I don't think it looked this sad when I brought it home. I know the aiptasia X is not supposed to harm corals, but I sure hope it's happier tomorrow. I had started seeing a bit of new growth already, too :( .

Edited by msscha, 19 October 2011 - 11:31 AM.


#62
msscha

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Happy Friday!

Today was payday, so I budgeted $100 and went off to the LFS. Came back with 3 more corals -- ricordia, duncan, and mushrooms -- and one new fish, a yellow clown goby. Woo hoo!

Mushrooms + clove hitchhiker which hasn't deigned to open up at all (I thought the shrooms would look more orange than they do...blends a bit more than I was hoping.)
http://web.clas.ufl..../mushrooms1.bmp

Ricordia
http://web.clas.ufl....f/ricordia1.bmp

Duncan
http://web.clas.ufl....ef/duncans1.bmp

Yellow Clown Goby -- hiding in halimeda...
http://web.clas.ufl....wclowngoby1.bmp

Getting some attitude!
http://web.clas.ufl....wn_attitude.bmp

Looking Less than Happy
http://web.clas.ufl....owngoby_mad.bmp

#63
msscha

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Good Monday Morning

I added a titanium heater last week which seems to have helped maintain a warmer temperature somewhat, though the temp listed on the heater's digital read-out and the one listed on the Coralife digital thermometer varies quite a bit. At first, I had both temp sensors in the back so I didn't have to look at them, but became concerned that the reading would be too warm given they were in the chamber next to the heater. So, I moved them out front again...and read on another thread that a temp sensor can be placed too close to lights, thereby messing with the readout, too. I will lower the heater's sensor today and see if the two get any closer. I don't really like the heater -- it's bulky and I'm not confident of what it is doing, though the water is staying warmer (it would dip down to 72F over night).

The yellow clown goby is doing well, though still a bit shy. She moves to the back whenever I move so I don't yet have her lovely yellow presence darting about just yet. She (or he, I don't know which, but it looks like a "she" the same way the blenny looks like a "he" in drag) did eat a bit this morning, which is a good sign.

The corals seem to be doing great! The baby cloves have opened nicely, the mushrooms have expanded (still wish I'd gotten the blue-green ones, though), the duncan has a terrific neon-green glow around the mouth, and the ricordia is really plump. The acan has recovered from the anemone-killing-spree, though hasn't quite plumped today yet. And the blenny is doing well -- hangs out in his tube coral cave, waiting to see if food will float by. Copepods abound on the walls of the tank! Wish I had a camera that could get a good enough pic to enter this month's photo contest.

Had a newbie moment of pride last week when my water tested beautifully at the LFS, and two others came in complaining of dying fish and water tests with colors so deep I didn't recognize them as ammonia, nitrate, and phosphate.

Happy Ricordia (though in tank, the orange is more brilliant and the blue looks more purple)
http://web.clas.ufl....f/ricordia2.bmp
(Update: today, (11/25/11) one of the two ricordia is curled up kind of like a flower cup or vase shape. It is nicely plump and open, except for the convex. Is it moving? Unhappy? There's a damn little glass nem that might have hitchhiked in and perhaps that is the problem. Suppose I need to wait a few days and watch.)

Mushrooms and Cloves 1 & 2
http://web.clas.ufl....ooms_clove1.bmp
http://web.clas.ufl....ooms_clove2.bmp

11/25/11 -- The Acan was tipped over this morning when I came in. I think I need to actually glue it in place, but I just read in several spots that it has somewhat aggressive tentacles that comes out at night, so am not sure where I'd like to place it. Further, it should be fed at night?? Yikes. May have to reconsider the Acan. On the other hand, I am more delighted with the ricordea each day, and the mushrooms have taken on a pinkish-tinge that contrasts beautifully with the gray-green of the clove polyps. It has a very Seussian look to it B) .

Edited by msscha, 25 October 2011 - 10:30 AM.


#64
msscha

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Fave New Tank Picture

The macro setting on my camera is pretty mediocre, even when I use the "flower in bright light" setting. It's really hard to get a good picture of the yellow clown goby that isn't shimmering to the point of blurriness. She is still adjusting to tank life, so tends to hang out in the back or among the halimeda. But at least she's moved out of the corner behind the mag float where she spent her first few days. The first picture shows the "spots" she developed. They don't look like ich insofar as they are not white and do not appear to be multiplying past their current point. I spent quite a while searching this last night and it turns out a lot of people have had this condition with this particular fish, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed this is an adjustment phase and not an illness. All in all, she pretty charming, though I find myself wanting at least one fish that will swim about. Been thinking about a wrasse -- am especially fond of the six-line -- but all the info points to wrasse happiness is for a bigger tank. I may end up pleasing the kids by going the ocellaris route!

Yellow Spots (on fin, but in a few other places on body as well)
Posted Image

I'm not coming out and you can't make me!
Posted Image

Well, maybe just a little.
Posted Image

I spotted an anemone under the ricordia plug the other day; this morning, it was on top of the plug. I took a chance on upsetting the coral by taking out the whole plug and scraping where the nem should have been. That seemed the kinder than covering it with aiptasia X. The ric is slowing starting to plump back out and I haven't seen the nem although the plug itself keeps shifting position. The pic below is of the "concave" or vase shape one side was holding yesterday. I am thinking that I may switch the ricordia and the acan so the ric gets a bit more light and the acan can spread all over that rock and do no harm to anyone else.

Posted Image

Trying to get pictures of the clove polyps is difficult, too. I love the way they look against the mushroom! I've also found a new life form in the tank -- something with long, bristly arms/tentacles, whitish with blue spots or striping. Sometimes I just see one arm, sometimes I see as many as three. They are quite thin and my camera cannot get a good picture of them. Brittle stars, maybe?

Posted Image

Finally, this is my new favorite tank picture!

Posted Image

#65
gena

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I love your new additions! I hope the Clown Goby will be ok. They can be so hit or miss. I suppose if it's eating you are one step ahead of the battle.

#66
pbjelly

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Fave New Tank Picture

Trying to get pictures of the clove polyps is difficult, too. I love the way they look against the mushroom! I've also found a new life form in the tank -- something with long, bristly arms/tentacles, whitish with blue spots or striping. Sometimes I just see one arm, sometimes I see as many as three. They are quite thin and my camera cannot get a good picture of them. Brittle stars, maybe?

Maybe a spaghetti worm? For about a month, the only 'pets' in my tank were a snail and what I think is a spaghetti worm. I would spot a few long, thin tentacles easing their way from a small hole in the piece of dead coral I got from my LFS to seed my tank with. I became quite attached to him - to the point where now I'm trying to seed a new pico and I refuse to put that rock in it until I'm sure the ammonia has spiked because I don't want to hurt the worm.

Your tank looks great. It's really turning into a garden.

I'm jealous of your ricordia. Mine didn't come attached to anything and now I have a bunch of them in a box in my tank - waiting to hook their feet to something. Yours looks happy - and ATTACHED!

Edited by pbjelly, 26 October 2011 - 07:35 PM.


#67
msscha

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Maybe a spaghetti worm? For about a month, the only 'pets' in my tank were a snail and what I think is a spaghetti worm. I would spot a few long, thin tentacles easing their way from a small hole in the piece of dead coral I got from my LFS to seed my tank with.

I have a ton of spaghetti worms, too -- I see them all over the place with arm-like things that range from hair thin to tubular. But these arms are not like that -- they are firm, bristly, striped and I spotted an actual body on one that pretty much IDed it as a brittle star. I don't have by reef ID books at home, but I did find one that I'm pretty sure matches the description. They stay pretty small, so I'm not worried about it. But I haven't noticed them before, so I think they hitchhiked in with the coral plugs. I did a freshwater rinse (for about 5 seconds) on the acan which dislodged a star, but I didn't do that for the ric or mushrooms b/c I read that it is really harsh. Oh well!

#68
gena

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The description totaly sounds like a brittle star. I have some right now (HH) that are all white. In the past I've had the black and brown/white stripe variety though. I never saw their whole bodies, just the legs.

#69
msscha

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The description totaly sounds like a brittle star. I have some right now (HH) that are all white. In the past I've had the black and brown/white stripe variety though. I never saw their whole bodies, just the legs.

Yep, that fits exactly!

#70
msscha

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Red Banded Hermits and Banded Clinging Crab

My sharp-eyed daughter spotted a hermit crab today which I first thought was a brittle star living in a cerith's shell. Nope! It was a tiny hermit crab with banded legs -- looks like a red-banded hermit. I have no idea if these are good or bad, but they do get big for a BC 14 (2-3") and the only other shells are the hitchhiking ceriths and the CUC. I have no intention of sacrificing the CUCs, so I'm thinking the hermit will need to go. I'll call the LFS and see what they say.

My other discovery may be that the evil crab I wanted to get out is actually a banded clinging crab (Mithrax cinctimanus) not a Sally Lightfoot. What I've spotted looks like it-- they stay pretty small and seem relatively harmless.

I moved the acan and ricordea yet again. The ricordea is now back on the rock that sits on the bottom. I don't know if it's a good move since it was certainly happy at the higher position, but I didn't want the yellow ball sponge to get hurt. The acan hasn't looked truly happy in days, so may need to move it, too.

#71
gena

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I think it's great that your daughter is enjoying the hobby along with you. That's what got me into this hobby...my dad :)

How's your Clown Goby? I wouldn't mind seeing another FTS too! I love all the life you have in this tank, even if some of it isn't the greatest for the tank (crabs). I especially love that yellow sponge!

#72
gena

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

I totally think of "Jack" the Jack In The Box mascot when I see this pic.....:lol:

#73
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looking good!

Click the Icons for links

Kats.png max.png TOTM.png featuredRB.png NLOGO.jpg MDfish_White_Background_copy_bigger.jpg JBJ-Cubey-3-Gallon-Desktop-Aquarium-Blac


#74
msscha

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looking good!

Thanks so much, metrokat!

#75
msscha

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Tank Gazing -- my new favorite past time

Why didn't I start dong this years ago? I am having so much fun watching the tank. The peppermint shrimp is more active during the day -- apparently, it has become accustomed to day-time feedings, The red emerald is getting name "Godzilla" because it has become huge -- at least to my eyes! The LFS recommended moving the acan to get more light, and it has puffed more in the last hour than in the last 7 days. The coralline algae is re-shaping, too. Lots of the lavender has disappeared (as has my one really cool bit of black sponge), while some hot pink is more apparent -- and also some velvety-looking deep red alga that I don't think is bad. The barnacle blenny has taken to grazing on the sand as well as eating like a pig from his perch, and the goby is just developing enough courage to swim out into the middle of the tank for a few seconds at a time -- also her spots are nearly gone, so I really do think it was a change-induced stress reaction. There are more snails eggs on the walls, making this the third time that snails have been sexing it up and contributing their plankton. The nerite just got off the turbo's shell where it spent the last two days hitchhiking around the tank, the lazy sot. A couple of my feather worms have disappeared, including my favorite. Don't know where they went or who got them. I have my eye on a blue-green ridordia and an ocellaris for next week. Woo hoo!

I especially love that yellow sponge!

The yellow sponge is one of my faves, too, and has been doing really well. It just pops in the middle of the tank!