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Nano Sapiens 12g - Ye Olde Mixed Reef

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mitten_reef
On 6/8/2020 at 10:48 AM, Nano sapiens said:

Yumas are finicky, sometimes, and they don't all seem to like exactly the same conditions.  How much light and flow are the Rics currently getting?  

 

Also, the Yumas with the similar sized round tentacles that look more like Floridas have done well.  I now avoid the Yumas with the line(s) of larger, different colored bubbles that radiate from the center outward.  The few I've tried have all detached and slowly shrank over many months time.

Well right now? It gets a lot of flow, but not much light as it is wedged under a rock. I’ve tried both the pattern-y one and the solid color ones, not much success on either.  I honestly just gave up on this one a long while back. I don’t know, sometimes you just have that one coral that doesn’t like your tank. And if Yuma is it for me, I can live without it. 🤷🏻‍♂️😂

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Nano sapiens
1 hour ago, mitten_reef said:

Well right now? It gets a lot of flow, but not much light as it is wedged under a rock. I’ve tried both the pattern-y one and the solid color ones, not much success on either.  I honestly just gave up on this one a long while back. I don’t know, sometimes you just have that one coral that doesn’t like your tank. And if Yuma is it for me, I can live without it. 🤷🏻‍♂️😂

Most likely it's the higher flow (conditions which are common in today's SPS dominated tanks).  If the flow is just lightly lifting the outer skirt margin, that's about right.

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Nano sapiens

12th Year Anniversary Update:

 

Aug 2020 FTS:

 

315685633_12gFTS_080720.jpg.602854c94785b9832ba81cb4821772e0.jpg

 

 

Right side:

 

1184318105_12gLeft2_080720.thumb.jpg.55ea96978372348d23f4e4e6b3ce1013.jpg

 

 

Left side:

 

963754373_12gRight1_080720.thumb.jpg.282a848ab2762894be23de782ede2709.jpg

 

 

For this 12th year update I decided to take pics before my weekly cleanup (tomorrow).  If you look closely you might be able to spot some algae and white micro-snails on the back wall feeding off the biofilm.

 

This has actually been a rather eventful year for this little box of saltwater.  Went something like this:

 

1.  The tank survived a corroded metal bolt in a rear chamber, an alkalinity ‘whoops’ of 14.5+ and a full day without power. 

2.  I said goodbye to my 4+ year old Yellow Striped Neon Goby and hello to a new replacement. 

3.  Made a new Ponape Birdsnest beginning from a few frags (the original colony grew too large and was impeding flow) and found better placement for a languishing Bird-of-Paradise Birdsnest. 

4.  Introduced the first ever true soft corals to the system (Xenia and Capnella). 

5.  Finally having success with Mussids (Acans and Blastos). 

6.  Added a bunch of Zoanthid morphs. 

7.  Had enough excess Ricordia to help supply a local LFS. 

8.   Watched a really old Sunset Monti colony loose ~1/3 of it’s tissue…and then bounce right back. 

9.   Extirpated an exceptionally invasive ‘Molten Lava Leptoseris’ (easier said than done!).

10.  Watched a single Duncan head swallow a Meal Worm…and sprout five babies a week later.  😲

11.  Reduced white lighting ~7% (resolved an issue with Leptoseris and ‘burnt tissue’) and increased Hyperviolet/Blue/Cyan to compensate.

12.  Manually removed first few bubble algae that I’ve seen in years (either old spores or came in on frag plugs).

13.  Brown sand bed algae now quite rare due to a reduced nutrient load (fish reduced from 5 to 2 and regular sand bed cleanings). 

14.  Digitate hydroids that came in on a frag (joy of joys) :angry:

 

Other than a few issues, all's well enough  :smilie:

 

This last year I decided to push the mixed reef boundaries in a small nano aquarium (with no chemical filtration) a bit further by slowly adding soft corals.  I'd almost forgotten how nice they flow in the current and especially how darn fast they grow!  Neon Capnella, Xenia and a hitch-hiker Clavularia (fluorescent, colorful morph).  I expected a bit of disruption due to potential allelopathy, but can't say I saw anything out of the ordinary that I could directly attribute to the new additions.  So 'cool beans' 😊

 

Other corals added this year were a single Duncan head (now seven), a single Blastomussa merletti polyp (now a colony of 12), a small colony of Blastomussa wellsi (three out of four polyps doing well, just not multiplying yet), a frag of Jack-O-Lantern Leptoseris, and a bunch of Zoas (Rastas, Utter Chaos, unnamed) that I've split up and have in different locations.

 

Had quite a few extra Mushies that wound up at a local LFS (good to support the locals, especially in these uncertain times).

 

On the parameters front, pretty much the usual (no big swings or other issues, other than the single high alk incident).  I did lower my intensive white LEDs a bit when I saw my Leptoseris loosing tissue higher up in the tank.  I kept most of the tank's brightness/warmth by pumping up my cyan channel and increasing the red channel slightly. 

 

Added a few more hermits (four Red Legged now) to work on some small green turf algae.  Of course, they boycotted the idea and spend 90% of the time sifting the sand bed (not so bad a trade off, actually).

 

Due to the recent plague of Digitate Hydroids, I have been cutting way back on Reef-Roids (no broadcast, only target feeding where needed) and rinsing any frozen foods to eliminate those small pieces before feeding.  May not starve them out completely, but should help to control them.

 

All-in-all, I'd say maybe an 8 out of 10 currently (when is a reef keeper ever satisfied?) 😉.  Looking for some Zoa spread and slow-but-steady stony coral growth in the next couple months.

 

Ralph.

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debbeach13

12 Gallons - 12 years. Congratulations! One of my all time favorite tanks and a true representation of a nano reef. Especially like that you have maintained such a lovely tank with no filtration. I went to page one just to view the FTS's showing the changes and see the growth. It is so great that you documented the changes. I wish you continued success. Great update thanks.

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Nano sapiens
On ‎8‎/‎8‎/‎2020 at 5:39 AM, debbeach13 said:

12 Gallons - 12 years. Congratulations! One of my all time favorite tanks and a true representation of a nano reef. Especially like that you have maintained such a lovely tank with no filtration. I went to page one just to view the FTS's showing the changes and see the growth. It is so great that you documented the changes. I wish you continued success. Great update thanks.

Thank you for your interest and kind words.  At the start, I never intended for this nano to run more than 5 years (let alone keep an ongoing journal of the whole process), but as they say "There it is" :)

 

Considering that this aquarium has had 1250 water changes and 625 weekly cleanings (+/- a few) over the last 12 years, I think the simplicity of the system and the uncomplicated maintenance routine contribute greatly to the prevention of 'Reef Tank Burnout'. 

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Nano sapiens

Bonus pic 

 

 

Eyebrow Barnacle Blenny on the sand bed:

 

356865102_EyebrowBarnacleBlennyonSandbed_080820.jpg.532f8950ca8361db02ace02bd646bf20.jpg

 

Nightime coloration.  I never see it on the sandbed when the lights are on, but on rare occasions in the morning when the tank is dark it'll cruise on down and use it's pectoral fins prop itself up when the lights are off.  Perhaps just like how we can get stir crazy when in lockdown, it needs a change of scenery once in a while 😊

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Nano sapiens

Just a note that the aquarium is now down to one Eyebrow Barnacle Blenny now.  The ORA Yellow Lined Cleaner Goby was watching a reef blog that said 'Go carpet surfing, it'll be fun!', but then it wasn't...

 

Quite interesting to see how very different the personality was between this ORA Yellow Lined Cleaner Goby.  My previous one I had for 4 years was really laid back and had no interest in cleaning much of anything.  However this new one was the exact opposite and would get so obsessed with cleaning my hand and arm that it would even stick it's head out of the water looking for tidbits.  It also had the really bad habit of going inside my Hydor nozzle when it was off.  I think when I turned it back on yesterday it probably got startled and launched.  I haven't lost a fish to jumping out in about 8 years, so this was unusual...

 

Since I'm having excess nitrate lately, I'm going to leave it at one 2-1/2" fish in ~10g of water, for now.

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Nano sapiens

'Just for kicks' update of a corner of the aquarium:

 

20200927_173843.jpg.bde5ce67515799acff669ea4f6188bc6.jpg

 

Working to optimize my DIY LED array, both spectrum and intensity.  Replaced my couple year old polycarbonate splash guard with a new one (will use cloth only to clean this one as paper towels scratched the previous one badly!).  Will replace all the old Violet and Hyperviolet LEDs when they go on sale as close examination has revealed severe fracturing of all the lens (all other LED lenses look a-okay).  Have been slowly decreasing white, increasing cyan and decreasing red.   Looking online, the closest I can come to the spectrum I currently have is the Radion G5 Blue, which is one of the few that has a healthy helping of cyan.  I also used the Apogee compensation factors for the individual color channels I measured and for underwater, so my PAR readings are about as accurate as it gets for my old SQ-120 quantum sensor.  Highest reading just under the water is 443 PAR and mid point of the aquarium ends up being 177 PAR, which is a bit higher than I expected, but just about right IME for a mixed reef with medium light SPS (but no high-light loving Acros).

 

I might whip out my old DIY spectrometer one of these days and give it a go to see if I'm close to what I think the spectrum looks like.

 

And, a super tiny little R. florida blob (just barely visible to the naked eye) just starting to grow tentacles recently (10x eye loop + 2.8x camera magnification):

 

20200927_180638.jpg.c76fd06f68a26bd6959cb4a9c4251d5a.jpg

 

Both green and yellow/orange tips...interesting!

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xellos88

Do you have Nassarius snails? Just admiring the clean sandbed.

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Nano sapiens
24 minutes ago, xellos88 said:

Do you have Nassarius snails? Just admiring the clean sandbed.

The only snails I have are tiny 1/8" collonista snails that came in on my live rock 20+ years ago.

 

I do have a few Red Legged Hermit Crabs that spend maybe 30% of their time on the sand bed, but mostly it stays clean because I vacuum twice a week with my water changes. 

 

I had difficulties with 'brown algae' on the sand bed for nearly a year during and after I removed most of the fish from this small tank (had 6 fish at one point 😲).  Consistent vacuuming and using a filter sock when doing water changes eventually did the trick 👍

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xellos88

When a rock reaches "peak ricordea" do they eventually detach from the rock or do they just stretch out more?

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Nano sapiens
1 hour ago, xellos88 said:

When a rock reaches "peak ricordea" do they eventually detach from the rock or do they just stretch out more?

So far, I haven't had one detach due to crowding.  I have had detachment from too much light, though.

 

This front rock with five green R. florida on it is only 2x3 in size and they've been together for maybe 3 years:

 

20200927_205632.jpg.c04ea37d3c0b8d56ad2955a742247881.jpg

 

When Ricordia get too crowded, I've noticed that they will take turns, on a day-by-day basis, to open up 'under the sun' so that everyone has a chance.  In this case you can see that the single Turquoise one is pinched shut so that the others can open, tomorrow it might be open and a green one or two will be shut.  Strange how that works (especially with animals without a brain), but I've noticed it too many times to just be coincidence.

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Nano sapiens

Adventures in Nitrate Reduction via Vinegar Carbon Dosing (no skimmer)

 

This was an interesting exercise to see if carbon dosing without a skimmer would be effective. 

 

I was able to drop nitrates from 25 ppm to 2 ppm in slightly more than two months using a maximum dosage of 1/2 ml/day/10g water volume added to my ATOs containing a Kalkwasser/RO mixture.  In lieu of a skimmer, I used a combination of scraping all the walls to dislodge any bacteria film, vigorous blasting of the live rock to dislodge detritus/biofilm, sand bed vacuuming and a filter sock attached to my return pump outflow with every weeks' cleaning/water change.  Looking at this objectively, I believe that the carbon dosing in combination with the somewhat enhanced cleaning protocol required to remove the light bacterial films was responsible for the reduction.

 

My main concern with carbon dosing was driving my typical consistently low PO4 even lower and thus causing starvation and possible bleaching.  I started to see mild signs of stony coral bleaching at around the 4 ppm NO3 mark ('0' ppm PO4) and so started immediate vinegar ramp down and increased coral feeding by around 25% to supply additional phosphate/nutrition.  Only two stony corals in particular have shown issues during this time frame; a Leptoseris that lost some tissue in higher light areas and a Ponape Birdsnest that lost all it's green fluorescent pigment.  However, I can't say for certain that other factors didn't play a part with these two since other coral/false coral came through this just fine.

 

As expected with carbon dosing, I had to clean my pumps and rotating nozzle twice as often as normal to maintain proper flow due to bacterial buildup.

 

Of interest now is can I keep NO3 below 10 ppm naturally...or will I have to resort to carbon dosing again.

 

And after all that wordiness a few pics of a quite small H. Bowerbanki I picked up last weekend under my normal ~14k day lighting:

 

Bower3.thumb.jpg.466cf04b1fb9ac5d1c619ae63ed7ee31.jpg

 

 

And since pics under actinics seem to be the thing these days:

 

Bower1.jpg.e5112120d81f57ded8cea974673c8944.jpg

 

Got to love these guys, they starting eating like little piggies as soon as I had placed them in the tank 🐷

 

I also picked up a half dozen itty-bitty baby Trochus from the LFS.  They were amused since no one had asked for those before, but I explained that they are perfect since they are used to captive conditions and are small enough that hermit crabs have no interest in their shells (at least for now). 

 

On top of that, I spied a pair of large Stomatellas in their coral raceways, so those are now residents in my tank (fingers crossed that the spawn survives).

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Nano sapiens

Rather appropriate for Halloween, me thinks...

 

1686343204_HalloweenHermit_103120.thumb.jpg.ed755f07bac39b1f8221b7cdf443c672.jpg

 

Still a juvenile, but already looking pretty spiffy :)

 

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Nano sapiens

Surprising, this Halloween Hermit is chomping through my well established colonial hydroid clumps!

 

1966718650_HalloweenHermitFeedingonColonialHydroids_103120.thumb.jpg.d07d9c70292a08c39d6a10553e2487cc.jpg

 

He's been at it non-stop for 3 hours, so they must be tasty to him/her. 

 

I'll be watching this closely, but so far it looks like I may have inadvertently found a biological control for these stubborn pests.  Now if he takes out my few Digitate Hydroids, too, that'll be icing on the cake 👍

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debbeach13

Love when they earn their keep.

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Nano sapiens

Weekly cleanup and I decided to run a magnet through all accessible areas (twice).  I haven't done this in quite a while, so wasn't sure what I'd find:

 

1921540547_12gNanoIron_110720.jpg.cdf283231c38431e17fea76712f5056e.jpg

 

1739051157_12gNanoIronCloseup_110720.thumb.jpg.7e6efd6ee491f5a84980c727fc1bf4ed.jpg

 

Yay, 'rust nuggets' 😐.  Could be formed from processed feeds, rust on tools or equipment, WHY.  A good amount for such a small nano!

 

I do wonder how much of this iron is actually bioavailable to the system.  At any rate, certainly not something anyone should aspire to have in their reef tank!

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debbeach13

Dam! Do you just put a paper towel over a loose magnet?

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Nano sapiens
3 minutes ago, debbeach13 said:

Dam! Do you just put a paper towel over a loose magnet?

I have a scribe tool with a magnet on the end: which is really handy for a small nano

 

20201107_112231.jpg.86bf5e434e80a89a9c3df20c23b41fa1.jpg

 

I just run it through the sand and then wipe off any filings on a paper towel.

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Nano sapiens

'Things that make you go "Hmmm...'

 

1010649474_PonapeBNFHLeptoBleaching2_110720.jpg.427d35b9682925dcd9533c86c99e3626.jpg

 

The Birdsnest up in the top left corner is a 'Ponape' type, so where did all the fluorescent green pigment go? 

 

And what's up with the severe tissue loss on that orange Fallen Horizons Leptoseris?  

 

Problems with a few individual corals in a system that is otherwise doing well are the most difficult.  The trick, especially in a mixed reef, is to find a remedy for recovery that doesn't start other problems elsewhere.  Stay tuned for the 'before and after' photos (assuming my solution to this problem is the correct one).

 

Looking on the bright side, one could say that things like this keep the hobby interesting 👍

 

 

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Snow_Phoenix
50 minutes ago, Nano sapiens said:

The trick, especially in a mixed reef, is to find a remedy for recovery that doesn't start other problems elsewhere.  Stay tuned for the 'before and after' photos (assuming my solution to this problem is the correct one).

^I agree with this 100%. Mixed reefs are indeed tricky sometimes.

 

Love your tank though - especially the rics! :happy:

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Nano sapiens
26 minutes ago, Snow_Phoenix said:

^I agree with this 100%. Mixed reefs are indeed tricky sometimes.

 

Love your tank though - especially the rics! :happy:

Thank you! 😊

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Nano sapiens

Bonus pics for the night:

 

Tiniest snail ever! (hanging out on the glass and literally, the size of a comma in a book):

 

188773288_TinySnail_110720.jpg.73af1287a1a25fd2f9c8a99f63b9428f.jpg

 

 

Congregation of sandbed worms (I have no idea whey they are so thick in just this one spot):

 

20201107_204601.thumb.jpg.18e2403d50109fbb5d2aaa4051ceb64d.jpg

 

 

Certainly not reef related, but cool none-the-less.  Say hello to the 4" Arboreal Salamander that greets visitors at my front door 👋

 

332998458_ArborealSalamander_110620.jpg.324a2f79b02271eaa6957761fc6ccc4b.jpg

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xellos88
11 hours ago, Nano sapiens said:

Weekly cleanup and I decided to run a magnet through all accessible areas (twice).  I haven't done this in quite a while, so wasn't sure what I'd find:

 

1921540547_12gNanoIron_110720.jpg.cdf283231c38431e17fea76712f5056e.jpg

 

1739051157_12gNanoIronCloseup_110720.thumb.jpg.7e6efd6ee491f5a84980c727fc1bf4ed.jpg

 

Yay, 'rust nuggets' 😐.  Could be formed from processed feeds, rust on tools or equipment, WHY.  A good amount for such a small nano!

 

I do wonder how much of this iron is actually bioavailable to the system.  At any rate, certainly not something anyone should aspire to have in their reef tank!

GFO? 🙂

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Nano sapiens
8 hours ago, xellos88 said:

GFO? 🙂

I don't use an 'GFO' 😉

 

All kidding aside, that amount of iron was definitely surprising.  I can likely find just as much under the rocks, too.

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