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  • FlowerMama

    Christopher Marks

    Congratulations to community member FlowerMama and her 40 gallon nano reef for being selected for our June Reef Profile. This vibrant aquarium houses an ever growing collection of spawning rock flower anemones! Below is the aquarium profile FlowerMama has written for us sharing her experiences in the hobby and this aquarium's progress over the past year. See what she's been up to and share your comments and questions in FlowerMama's featured reef profile announcement or in the comments section below. Be sure to also check out her aquarium journal for more information about this beautiful reef tank.

     

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    Tank Specs

    Display: 40 Gallon 'Breeder' Glass Aquarium (36" x 18" x 16") with homemade BRS cover.
    Lighting: NanoBox Quad with BlueFish Controller.
    Rock: About 35- 40 lbs Gulf Live Rock.
    Substrate: Tropic Eden 20 lbs Live Reeflakes and 30lbs Mesoflakes.
    Heater: ViaAgua Titanium Heater
    Circulation: Jebao RW-4 
    Skimmer: Reef Octopus Classic 90-HOB
    Filtration: AquaClear 70
    Filter Media: Floss, Carbon, Chemipure Elite.
    Top Off: Freshwater added daily by hand.

    Established April 1st, 2016

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    Maintenance Routine

    I keep it simple. I use a razor to clean the glass almost daily. I fluff up the sand using a turkey baster to release the nasties and follow-up using a vacuum in a few places where the rock flowers aren't situated. I do a water change once a month. I need to pick up that schedule to every 2 weeks. The skimmer is cleaned monthly.

    Fish

    • A black & white Ocellaris Clownfish and a Misbar
    • Longnose Hawkfish

    Anemones

    • 30 Mature Rock Flower Anemones
    • 20 Baby Rock Flower Anemones

    Invertebrates

    • Harlequin Starfish
    • Lavender Pincushin Urchin
    • Maxima Clam
    • Coral Banded Shrimp
    • Orange-legged Hermit
    • A Couple Blue-legged Hermits
    • Various Snails

    Corals

    • Green Sinularia
    • Toadstool
    • Devil's Hand
    • Kenya Tree
    • Pipe Organ
    • Grandis Paly
    • Branching GSP
    • Green Mushrooms
    • Corky Finger
    • Xenia
    • Red Dragon's Breath Macro
    • Rose Coral that came in on the rock

    History

    I kept freshwater tanks from college onward, and started reefing around February 2013 or so. My interest in reefs began 6 months after my spouse passed away due to illness 6/1/2012. I had to stop thinking about his absence 24 hours a day. My sister suggested keeping a reef tank, she had actually joined Nano-Reef.com before I had about 10 years prior. I started an 8 gallon Evolve and was consumed with learning, and I found it truly helped me cope with grief. Now it's 5 years and six tanks later.

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    My first 8 gallon nano reef

    After that first nano reef tank I have had 6 more tanks: 34g Maiden's Voyage, Gertie's 20g, a 60g flop, a 10g, the 40g current tank and the Nursery.

     

    I built my first fuges for the 34g and the 60g Deep Blue. It was fun learning how to glue in baffles and use my Dremel to grind some glass that was cut professionally but not evenly. Unfortunately the 60g ended up being a flop. It was to be the tank of all tanks, nothing but rock flowers, and it was quite beautiful for a moment. I thought it was going to be so excellent. It did well until a simultaneous cyano and dino outbreak, which was so bad I made up a phrase to account for what I had and killed my tank: cyanodinodamnitall. But another lesson learned: Carrying water to the basement is no fun! I split the rock flower anemones among my 34g and Gertie the mantis' 20g. Found out Gertie didn't like the anemones as they were in her way. She beat up a few.

    Time had passed and it was 4 years later and I bought a condo. I bought a 40g breeder, which I found out to be the best size for me. I was going to try something different. I used black freshwater gravel that I could easily vacuum, and it would let baby rock flowers take hold. I painted the back of the tank black. I added the flower anemones. When I moved the tank to my new place, I put white plastic egg crate on top to hold the light, as I hadn't mounted the Kessil yet. I bumped the crate. The Kessil fell in. Not a zap sound was made, not a spark to be seen, but within minutes everything died. I was sick to my stomach watching everything twist and turn sour. The very things that brought me first happiness and the ability to see something on this earth as beautiful were gone. I was grieving my flowers and my husband again. Starting out a new life in a condo wasn't going as planned.

    Little did I know my N-R family was helping me with a collection. I took a little time off away from the site after feeling so empty and mad at myself for bumping the light. You all thought you might get me just a few flowers and it turned out you raised enough money to buy a graciously discounted new light from Dave with Nano Box Reef. With free shipping paid for as well and an incredible donation of 10 rock flowers from Frank at VIP Reef, I was on my way again with a new beginning. This was my first time with softies and leather corals too.

    Future Goals

    I'd like to buy a couple more fish and a few leathers. I love the brightness of the tank but I want a yellow fiji leather and some bright orange mushrooms. 

     

    My original goal was to sell rock flower anemones as a side job as no one has them in my local shops. One thing I've learned: They grow incredibly slow that all the love you put into them isn't worth just $20 a flower. Now I can see why they can be more costly as well. I'll enjoy watching them grow but maybe not sell at all. I feed by hand, all the parents, all the babies. I love seeing them grow and change. I feed a variety of foods which please my fish too: jumbo mysis shrimp, Larry's Frozen food, frozen fish, frozen scallops, frozen cyclopeeze and some Omega pellets. The tank also gets a helping of Coral Frenzy, Reef Bugs, Seachem Fuel, Phyto and Oyster Feast.

    Anemone Spawning

    In the first year of this tank I had my first huge anemone spawning, 60 rock flower anemones on Thanksgiving 2016. Since that time I moved 4 to the nursery tank and I have about 20 babies in this Bloomin' Tank of Generosity. Once they are big enough I will move them to the nursery for grow out.  It's easier to feed baby nems when you don't have clowns and a coral banded shrimp seizing the opportunity to pull food from their mouths.

     

    Advice For New Hobbyists

    You can go as elaborate as you want or as simple as you want with this hobby. But I do believe less is more. This tank will have more grow-out than previous tanks. Never skimp on lighting. Always get the biggest you can for your tank, think ahead where you might be a year or 2 from now. Don't skimp on water either, always make your own. If you're not sure what you're fighting against, get a sample and mail it to any number of people in this community that have microscope access. Listen to others who made mistakes before you. And don't rest your light on top of light crate!!!! Last tip: Pay it forward: donate some corals, macros, etc. to a newbie in this amazing hobby.

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    Stunningly beautiful FlowerMama!  Well deserved.

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    Kellie in CA

    Posted

    Well deserved!  How beautiful that what you used to help you with his passing would become TOTM on 6/1 five years later. 

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    @FlowerMama - congrats!!!! It's been a tough week and what good news to come in and see your beautiful tank featured 

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    Such gorgeous RFA's!  Congratulations!

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    I've read every single TOTM and yours was hands down the best story. It's incredible the things a silly little reef tank can do. Congrats to you, well deserved. (Gunna go follow and read all your build threads ;))

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    I've read every single TOTM and yours was hands down the best story. It's incredible the things a silly little reef tank can do. Congrats to you, well deserved. (Gunna go follow and read all your build threads ;))

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    Congratulations, Annette! It's funny, I was thinking about how your tank deserved to be considered for TOTM just the other day. It looks beautiful and you have overcome so much to get to this point. Great job! 

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    FlowerMama

    Posted

    Thank You.  It was such a surpise!!  And today, now, when I finally sit down, I'm on 2 night beach vacation in Folly Beach SC, I read it and cry.  But I wanted to be at the beach.  And one day I'll take a trip to FL and bring Gertie to her original place of residence.  

     

    You guys all mean so much to me.  I've learned so much here.  I continue to do so.  

     

    And who would have thought, 5 yrs later.  It's been such anot incredible journey so far.  

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    FlowerMama

    Posted

    1 hour ago, Kellie in CA said:

    Well deserved!  How beautiful that what you used to help you with your husbands passing would become TOTM on 6/1 five years later. 

    He enjoyed my freshwater 55g, I know he would be so thrilled and cogratulatory.

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