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Nano Sapiens 12g - Ye Olde Mixed Reef

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Nano sapiens

One of those little unexpected oddities image.gif.e58f5f982d37d037a2aef69a1b58b248.gif

Two little 1/4" diameter 'mystery corals' that may possibly be very young Mint Green Pavona or even left-overs from the Molten Lava Leptoseris that I exterminated a year or two ago (would be really interesting if they were something not yet seen in this 13 year old aquarium):




I noticed them about 2 months ago when I saw tiny pin-head sized fluorescent green blobs under blue light. They are partially shaded by the small Zoas, but otherwise are under ~160 PAR. Single polyps with striations that don't meet the central mouth (as is typical in the Mint Green Pavona), fleshy outer rim with oddly spiky dark tentacles that can partially retract if disturbed, but will usually reinflate quickly. Will retract if fed powdered food, but too small to tell if they actually eat any of it.

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Nano sapiens
On 9/20/2021 at 8:48 PM, Nano sapiens said:

One of those little unexpected oddities image.gif.e58f5f982d37d037a2aef69a1b58b248.gif

Two little 1/4" diameter 'mystery corals' that may possibly be very young Mint Green Pavona or even left-overs from the Molten Lava Leptoseris that I exterminated a year or two ago (would be really interesting if they were something not yet seen in this 13 year old aquarium):





Coral story geek-out time (and a healthy dose of speculation) 🤓


Ok, so when I first saw these really little green polyps they immediately reminded me of a really tiny coral polyp that had come attached to a large wild Ricorida yuma back in 9/14.  At the time I separated it from the main rock, but it was so small that I ended up accidentally gluing it shut to the tiny piece of rock it was on when trying to glue that to a larger rock (that the hermits couldn't turn over in the sand)...and then couldn't quite figure out where it had gone!  At that point, I have to admit that I lost patience and tossed the itty-bit rock in my dry rock plastic bag to be used another day.


Evidently, I used the rock sometime later for Zoas or something and apparently it survived the drying out ordeal and had VERY slowly been growing under a large colony of zoas ever since,


On the left is a closeup pic from 9/14 and on the right is the recent pic for comparison:




Considering that the pic on the left is in lower light (~70 PAR) and the one on the right is in higher light (~150 PAR), I think that's a reasonably good match.  At least I can say that nothing else I've ever had in the tank has had anything matching the coloration and unique black pattern stripping with black bordering.  The whiteish reflective rim on the current coral pic is quite unusual and may possibly be a result of the more intense lighting


So what the heck is this little fella?  When I spoke to one of the folks at Unique Corals back in 2014, they had seen more of this coral on a piece of previously connected rock and believed it to be a type of Pavona.  That got me examining Pavona species in detail and lo-and-behold there are many more that we don't often see in the hobby.  We typically see 4 or 5 species, but the Corals of the World website shows (15) Pavona species!


All that out of the way, I'm feeding the three little polyps 3x/wk with a blend of pulverized feed and instead of moving the polyps I'm removing any zoanthids that try to encroach/overtop the polyps.  Growth has definitely picked up (polyps are touching each other now) and if all goes well I'm hoping to see 1/2" solid coral coverage by Christmas.


Best guess at this stage and time will tell, but as I've learned over the years one can end up with egg on one's face when trying to positively identify these really tiny coral specimens,  But it's still fun trying 🙂


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Currently have the lighting spectrum and intensity 'Set in Stone' (for as long as that lasts 😉), so it's a good time for some coral specific par numbers:


Coral                                                        Orig.  True PAR (reading x 5 x 1.08 (UW correction)
                                                                           x 1.15 (spectral correction))


Acropora echinata                                   24     150
Seriatopora dendritica ('Ponape BN')      25     155
Seriatopora guttatus ('BOP' BN)              31     193
Blastomussa vivida                                    6      37
Blastomussa wellsi                                   11      68
Blastomussa merletti                               23     143         
Leptoseris sp. ('Jack'o'lantern')                20     124

Leptoseris sp. ('Fallen Horizons')             20     124

Nemenzophyllia turbida ('Fox Coral')      15       93
Duncanopsammia axifuga ('Duncan')      11      68
Pavona maldivensis ('Copper')                 31     193
Pavona frondifera (Mint Green') - Front   23     143
Pavona frondifera (Mint Green') - Rear    20     124
Homophyllia bowerbanki                         15      93
Micromussa lordhowensis                        12-15   75-93
Zoanthus sp. ('Red People Eaters')           12      75
Zoanthus sp. ('Shadow Prince') - Top       20     124
Zoanthus sp. ('Shadow Prince') - Right    12      75
Montipora danae ('Sunset Monti')           20     124
Scleronephthya sp.                                   20     124


* Spectrum ('Daytime, all channels active') from this DIY LED array is set similarly to a Radion V4 with a 9 hr. DLI (daily light integral):


No real surprises here except maybe the Blastomussa vivida doing well and colored up at only 37 PAR (some liken Vivida to the Bubble Corals (Plerogyra) as far as lighting needs go).


Seriatopora are so variable depending on type, and that's pretty clear with the 'BOP' (Bird of Paradise') not even sweating at near 200 PAR, while the 'Ponape' freaks out and blushes bright pink at 170 PAR:





And the more typical coloration that everyone knows and loves at 155 PAR (super-fuzzy BOP in the right foreground):





After a couple exciting months of watching an A. echinata do absolutely nothing, I decided to move it to a slightly higher lighting location and angled it off on it's side so it can absorb more light:




Had to remove some encrusting Stylocoeniella from the Acro's base, and after scraping as much off as I could my plan was to dip just the base in full strength Kalkwasser for a few minutes to finish off any Stylo remnants.  That part went well, but due to too much superglue on my fingers from previously gluing some Zoas down, I fumbled the frag right into the small glass of KW (one of those 'oh crap did that just happen?' moments).  Within 2-3 seconds I had the frag back in the tank water and swirled it around vigorously to remove the KW.  I also attached it 'back side up' since that was the angle of the previous base, so it's definitely looking a little peaked right now.  Time will tell how this one turns out...


Tank has settled at 25 ppm nitrate no matter how much I clean it (trying to keep a Scleronephthya well fed will do that).,  At any rate, the only long-term issue I've had is with some of the small zoas (Rastas, and such) developing zoa pox, but it has since subsided.  My 'remedy' for this condition is a little extra iodine and a good tank cleaning/larger water change, which seems to help (anecdotal 'evidence' only, take it as you will).  Larger zoas, what many call 'palys', are totally unaffected, thank goodness, as are all the other corals.


Other than a few pesky digitate hydroids in inaccessible locations and the usual coral territorial battles, it's all good 👍


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Had a bare spot after relocating the A. echinata and so a trip to the LFS was in order 🙂. Hadn't been in a while and was struck by how thin the selection was (looks like supply chain problems everywhere these days).


Picked up a tiny 'Rainbow Yuma' (that's currently hiding out and too small for a good pic) and this fat dumpling of a Lobophyllia:




When I think of the 'Classic Lobo' this is basically what comes to mind; grayish/brownish/purplish base with fluorescent orange around the mouth and some green on the sides.  It's also a rescue as it had fallen onto a chalice (and lost), but was fully healed when I bought it (lesson learned a good while back, never buy a LPS that has unhealed injuries).


To my eye it adds a nice natural tone to help balance out some of the more overtly fluorescent specimens:




I did a similar thing with a quite dull and somewhat bleached-out freebie Ricordia florida.  Really didn't look like much would come of it, but I snuggled it in between a couple bright fluorescent green Rics anyway.  It's turned into one of the darker blue Florida's that I've seen in a long while (even popping a bit of orange) and it's providing a nice focal point/countershade to all that 'in-your-face' bright green:





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