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[Stock] Tightrope

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"They all said I was sick in the head. They said I needed help. Well, maybe I am a bit batty. Blame it on the bats in my belfry." - The Joker


I have never done a saltwater tank before. I have been keeping freshwater since I was a child (with a several year hiatus), and Tropheus and other Tanganyikan cichlids since the start of this year. This will be my very first saltwater tank, and it's going to be a reef. Nothing like jumping right into the ocean to see if you can swim!


The concept for this tank is to feature only purple and green corals. It will be an exercise in color choice of livestock, as well as texture and placement. Too many eye-blinding corals will make the tank unpleasant to look at. Not enough, and it'll be boring. I could have started simply, but oh no, I had to go for High Concept Art.


Livestock will be chosen to contrast the corals. Some livestock will be chosen for function, such as a cleaner shrimp. Those just don't come in different colors.



Standard glass 10g tank



20" 1x40w Current USA Satellite PC


Filtration and Circulation

AquaClear 50 HOB filter (200 gph)

AquaClear 30 Powerhead (175 gph)



Visi-Therm Stealth 50w heater



15 lbs cured live rock

Tahitian Moon Sand

Water from LFS

Obsessive worrying


Entry Photo




November 9, 2006



Somewhere in the Nov. 20 region, 2006



November 30, 2006


Edited by Tightrope

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saw your idea for this tank in your other thread..... and ill be sure to be following along.. too bad you dont have any corals to trade, cause I have the PERFECT echino coral for you that would fit perfectly in this purple and green tank ;)

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Awesome idea! This will be a thread that I WILL be following along. There are a lot of corals these colors. I have a neon green/pink tipped frogspawn (check my avatar). So there are plenty options!



GL in the contest


Edited by irishtexan

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Alas, I am frag poor. Would you like a cichlid? :lol:


I am really looking forward to this. I spent most of my day today researching, looking at pictures, making notes, and generally obsessing. My husband is playing counterpoint to my ideas, as he has a good artist's eye, so we're discussing how things should go. We're currently discussing the choice of black substrate vs. white substrate. The end decision on this will probably rest on if I can get the black and white clowns I want for a price that isn't more than my monthly rent...


Tomorrow is going to be a busy day! I have to call four LFS to see what's available, I have to go to PetSmart to pick up a new 10g (my old ones are all icky, and I'm hoping they have the nice "optical clear" glass on 10gs), I have to get my entry picture done, then get the substrate washed and in, and the filtration up. Friday, the moment the paycheck clears the bank, I go and get the live rock, and put in a rush shipped light.


Then I start making a coral budget. Oh, won't that be depressing. :D


Thank you all for tagging along! I'm hoping this'll be something worth seeing (if only to point at it and laugh!)

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Uhm... what a creative name for your tank, the "Joker" tank. I wonder where you got the idea to name it that? :D

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Heh! Asin, that name was the bomb. You had me combing my shelves for my copies of "The Dark Knight Returns" and "Mad Love" yesterday. What you don't know about, of course, is the extent to which the joke has gone over here since.


I told my husband about it, and he first wanted to paint a giant joker face on the back of the tank. Then he wanted to swap out the molding for purple and green. Then we started talking about livestock.


Our current ideas are:


One pair of black and white clownfish. Why? Not only for their colors, which I consider perfect, but they are clown fish. They are the Clown Fish of Crime.


One green clown goby, one purple firefish, one tailspot blenny. Clown goby is a clown name, of course, goes with the green and purple theme, the firefish looks kind of like the Joker and is purple to go with the theme, and the tailspot is just adorable and eats algae. I'd ponder a court jester goby instead of the tailspot, but I know they can be hard to keep alive.


One green clown goby, one black cap basslet, one tailspot blenny. In this case, the black cap not only matches the color theme, but he has a cape, like Batman.


Yeah. We were up really late last night, and the theme totally got out of hand. :lol:

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Freakin' sweet!

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Sounds like a fun tank.


I think you'll need a Clown Anemone Shrimp. :)



Holy cow, you're right, I do need one of those shrimp. That shrimp is a must have. I wonder if I can find one...


Which seems to be something I say repeatedly this week. "If only I could find a..." In most cases, though, I have. Now I'm just going to have to pony up for some shipping from Sharky's, because they have a coral I absolutely positively must have for my tank. Please don't sell it before I can afford it, Mister Sharky, oh please oh please oh please...

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hahahaha, this is definitly getting out of hand...... and i love it! keep up the good brainstorming, as this right now could be a front runner for this contest!


oh, and what do you think about this echino...;)



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oh, and what do you think about this echino...;)




Sandlot, you make Tightrope cry. Are you sure you don't want a cichlid? How about two? If that's for trade...would you trade pretty green bills? ;)


Nothing Ever Goes As Planned in Tightrope's Circus

Or, "You want me to buy what? I bought what??"


In this hobby, only bad things happen quickly, and things can go bad very quickly. My very well-laid plans and careful research all hopped into the handbasket for a ride to Hades today. After all the scrambling, though, I'm reasonably happy with how it all came out.


It's a long and sordid story, and I won't trifle you. But I will put in a priceless quote:


"That rock would fit in your tank." "It has aiptasia all over it." "That one there doesn't." "Not that we can see, no..."


I'd planned to buy cured live rock and premixed salt water. Obviously, the live rock from the first store was, shall we say, unacceptable, so I made plans to buy from a second store that has mostly cured rock but is run by a friend of mine. I didn't figure I could go wrong with premixed salt water, though. I had some all ready, warm and happy, for when I brought the live rock home.


Um. Well, yes, folks, you can. Boy howdy, can you. May I note for all newbies that you should test the premixed saltwater you buy? Thank goodness I did. I didn't find out there might be a problem til I had my live rock picked out, boxed, and was walking out the door of the second LFS. :rant:


This is where you need to cue the circus music. omgomgomg I now know how to mix saltwater, and how to calibrate and use my refractometer. It was a pretty quick tutorial.


From here on out, I'll be mixing my own saltwater. I'll be going down to get some more RODI water tomorrow from a third LFS (tonight's came from a store that fortunately sells RODI water in gallon jugs) so that it can properly sit and cure. I'm reasonably certain my live rock will be fine with freshly mixed stuff.


The tank is now set up on my desk. My desk is as solid as bedrock, level like the sea, and may well be fused with the floor. Weight won't be a problem. Mess was. This was the desk before:




Tonight, it holds my very first, honest to goodness saltwater tank:




With the flash:




The real light gets here Monday. That's an ancient 15w NO light that I put up there for photographic and flow testing purposes.


I just can't decide if I'm exhausted or hyper. :haha:

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Tested my tank this morning, and had a teeny parameter spike. SG was still at 1.025, pH still at 8.2, ammonia was at .25 and nitrite at about .10. This was pretty much as expected. When I tested it about 15 hours later, both the ammonia and nitrites were at 0. Go live rock! It's your birthday!


I'll monitor the parameters daily. I'll also give the tank a wee bit of food, to help the bacteria start building themselves up. I'm so used to cycling my freshwater tanks with pure ammonia, and having massive colonies built up. This is a change for me, but I'm enjoying it.


I went down to the LFS to buy some RO/DI water today, and to show my husband some examples of what fish we could get. I was particularly fond of the falco hawkfish, which I wanted to get one of to name Commissar. (If you understand this joke, you're old, too!) My husband seemed ambivalent, so we kept looking around.


Loved the midas blenny. I'll have to get one someday. Anthias are pretty, but too skittish, and too big for this tank. The chalk bass wasn't the right color, but I liked him. And then...both the husband and I fell in love.


It was a little bitty clownfish. They said he was a saddleback, with a yellow face and yellow fin tips. He was hysterical. He was hovering over a mushroom, which was apparently his host, and he would swim right up to us, bold as you please, and shake his tail. He was either telling us off for being too close to his coral, or was asking for food. I suspect the former. I loved him immediately, and my husband was grinning like a loon.


So I looked him over, and he looked very good. Bright eyes, nice fins, no lesions or signs of ich. No other fish in the tank with him. There was, however, another saddleback in another tank, and he, too, looked very healthy. I opted to buy them, and ask the fish store to hold them while my cycle finishes. They'll put them together for me, and get them used to each other there. I also asked them to keep them in a tank by themselves, so that they can be observed for signs of brook or ich or yuck or whatnot.


I know that saddles will eventually get too big for a 10g, and that's okay. They're small enough to stay there for now, and by the time they've outgrown the 10g, my 60g will be up and running and ready. (I have all the equipment now, I'm just waiting for the drill bit to arrive.) As I don't see them outgrowing the tank before the contest is over, it should work out just fine.


Thus do I have my fish for my tank. They're just chillin' at the LFS, waiting for the happy bacteria to set up a big enough welcoming party. I'm thrilled.

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The new light arrived today!


The box, with our lovely model Gunney:



On the tank:



I really need to wipe off the glass.

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wahoo!!!! great work so far! now just make sure you are completly ready for the fish before you add them, cause you want them to stay healthy! lets see some green and purple!

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Diatoms have just invaded me

Now there's brown as far as I can see.

Oh why must I

Get algae?


Nasty rust

Wouldn't leave no matter how I cussed

Pitched in inverts, hope they won't be a bust

Come on, crabs and snails, eat the

Nasty rust.


Why'd it

Have to bloom? Get a broom

Clean it away.

It's all

Brown and green, not so clean

As yesterday...


It's all brown.

No hosting corals for my little clown.

Shakes his tail, I can see him frown.

I need corals for my

Little clown.



Testing stable, glad I'm able

To test all the time.


Ammonia blast, too much too fast

So get the Prime.



It's just a week and a half away.

I'll order corals on that fateful day.

Purple and green

Two weeks from yesterday.


- to the tune of the Beatles' "Yesterday"

Edited by Tightrope

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Ma'am, I applaud you. That was beautiful.

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My clean up crew is doing great. I could use some nassarius snails to grab detritus, but I've got four astraeas, two scarlet hermits, and an emerald crab in there, and my algae's pretty much under control.


I added one fish early last week, and the other today. I added the clean up crew in the middle. My parameters have been rock solid, but for one teeny tiny ammonia twitch that was barely detectable on my tests. I Primed anyway, but no one in there seemed to care.


The clowns are doing the usual "getting to know you" dance. We twitch, we shimmy, we lip lock. It's all old hat for someone that keeps Tropheus and Petrochromis. :) I'm keeping an eye on them, though, to make sure I don't need to separate them. So far, it's not too bad at all.


This week, I get a coral budget. Payday's Friday. I'm stressing over coral choices and places to order from. I can't seem to find any PPEs or Joker palys just yet, but I have a couple locals on it. I also have my favorite LFS manager trying to find a green hammer, a grape or purple tipped frogspawn, and a green bubble coral. (On another note, all my LFS are sick to death of the words "green and purple".)


I'm debating the addition of a small brain coral, or a plate coral. I'd like to get representation of LPS, mushrooms, polyps, "wavey" LPS (like frogspawn and hammers), and sand sitters. Why do 10g tanks seem so huge and so tiny, all at once?


I've chosen to skip a torch coral, because I don't feel it's a good idea in such a small space. Frogspawn and hammers play nicely together, so I think they're a better choice. I really, really, really want a brain. (If I only had a brain...) I need to toss some polyps in there, too.


Thank goodness for research. If I hadn't known any better, I would have bought a green BTA this week on impulse.


I also managed my very first water change. Not too shabby.


Anyone know anything about Aquatic Bliss?

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"They're finny and funny, and oh so delish! They're joyful and jolly, Joker Fish!" - Harley Quinn


Ahh, aggressive fish. How I love them.


The first clown I added didn't really care for me adding a second one. I'd hoped it wouldn't happen, but soon enough, the new addition was hanging out in the upper corners and hiding behind the rocks. That just wouldn't do. So, I got a new breeder box, and I herded the aggressor in there.


He is Not Amused. The newer fish immediately came out and started swimming around, and Mister Grumpyfins is fit to be tied that someone is in his territory. I'm heartbroken. Really. (Not.) Mister Grumpyfins can hang out there for a day or two, until he's feeling less antisocial.


Water parameters are still solid. All the inverts are looking happy. My algae is nearly gone, but for a few spots on one rock. I need to get some nassarius snails to eat detritus, if I can find some. And...I think I have to have an urchin.


Picking a place to order coral from is hard. I keep finding places that have things that I want, but not the things I want to start with, or places that have one thing that I want, which makes shipping too pricey. If Sharky's keeps up with their current specials, I'll likely put in an order from them. If not, it'll likely be Marine Depot Live.


I'll put up my next FTS when I have coral to show. Right now, it looks a lot like it did before. :)

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I'll put up my next FTS when I have coral to show. Right now, it looks a lot like it did before.


Uh ya, except now you have fish in the tank! I wanna see the tank with fish in it! :D

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For my greatest fan:






These are not what I'd call the greatest pictures, but my camera kind of stinks. For some of my contest shots, I'm going to try with my film camera. I have a tripod, and a professional SLR, so we'll see if I can't get something really nice. But as you requested, the fish!


A day in the penalty box seems to have adjusted Mr. Grumpyfins' attitude some. As you can see, they're both in the same area now, not fighting and not bothering each other. In fact, they'll both take prepared food now, and in each other's presence. This is a Very Good Thing.

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Good job! I'm a HUGE fan of the penalty box for fish who decide not to take their "Act Right Juice" :D

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First coral order is put in. I was this close to ordering from Fraggle Reef. In fact, I'd already convinced myself to get a green and purple mini anemone. I may still, if he still has them when my budget rebounds. But then...


Dr. Mac put up new corals, including a nuclear green bubble coral. Which was exactly what I wanted. So I have an order in for my "main" pieces of coral, including the green bubble, a green galaxia (going to have to get the flow right to keep his tentacles to himself), a purple tipped frogspawn, and a green hammer, as well as a couple cerith snails and nassarius snails.


Not sure when they're getting delivered yet, but I hope for this week. Now, I've got to find some purple. I'm way green heavy.

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I'd try for some purple sea whips. They have a nice deep purple color and the height makes for a nice contrast IMO. Plus they're usually not too hard on the wallet.

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