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Walker's 35g - Home of the Great Zeo Experiment


Walker

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I started this tank on June 17th as my first saltwater foray. I've always wanted a saltwater tank (bough the Conscientious Reef Aquarist 7 years ago), and I decided to take the jump (dive?) now that my wife and I have moved into a home of our own.

The idea is going to be a lightly stocked 35g, and just seeing how far I can go in the hobby!

Equipment:
35g 36x12.5x18 (old Hagen from craigslist)
Aquaclear 70 with sponge, carbon, purigen, BRS GFO
Reef Octopus BH1000 protein skimmer
Aqueon 100W heater
Vortech MP10

Neptune Apex, pH and temp probes, EB8
Tunze Osmolator
Coralife 4x39W T5HO on a 9.5hr daylight cycle

2 BRS Dosers, 1.1mL/min for ESV B-ionic 2-part

Stocking:
2x Ocellaris clownfish
1x Tailspot Blenny
1x Yellow Watchman Goby
1x cleaner shrimp
green with green polyps acro
tricolor acro (purple with green polyps)
green slimer
red monti cap
red planet
Green birdsnest
Bird of Paradise
pink prostata

pink milli
Cali tort
Yellow tort
pink pocillopora
Bali tricolor
tricolor bonsai
Forest fire digitata
Incredible Hulk/Purple Plasma acro
Encrusting rainbow montipora
Frogspawn LPS (green with purple heads)
Hammer LPS (green with dark green heads)
Hammer LPS (pink with light blue heads)
Stubby torch LPS (dark green with light green/white tips)
Orange Chalice
Duncan
Toadstool softie
4x Trochus snail
at least 5x baby Trochus
1x Super Tongan Nassarius
10x Ceriths
2x Red Legged Hermits (Paguristes)
3x small Blue Leg Hermits
1x blue porcelain crab
1x white porcelain crab

FTS 2012-07-22:
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FTS 2012-08-11:
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FTS 2012-08-27:
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FTS 2012-10-05:
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FTS 2012-10-20:
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FTS 2012-10-26:
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FTS 2013-01-06:
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FTS 2013-02-03:
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FTS 2013-03-01:
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FTS 2013-04-01:
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FTS 2013-05-07:

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2013-06-04:

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2013-07-05:

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2013-08-01:

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2013-09-03:

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2013-10-01:

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2013-11-03:

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2013-12-01:

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2014-01-01:

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2014-02-02:

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Meet the fish:

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Cleaner:

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Frogspawn:

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Zoas:

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Toadstool:

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All the livestock I've gotten have been very small, and part of what I want to do is to let the disparate parts "grow into" each other.

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New critters this week:

 

Duncan:

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Orange Chalice:

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Hammer:

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FTS:

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I think I'm mostly done with the initial additions to the tank. I'd probably add a couple of ricordea and a candy cane, then let the tank mature a little more. I'd love to add a blenny (midas or tailspot) and a chromis at some point as well. I'm considering changing out the stock T5s from the Coralife fixture for ATIs or Giesemanns, but I don't know if it's worth it at this point, and I need to do some more research. For now though, from the limited research I've done, I'm leaning towards a Giesemann combo of 2xActinic+,1xAquaBlue+, and 1xAqua Pink.

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Just realized that I have a population boom of spirorbid worms in the tank. I read they're a normal part of a maturing tank, so I won't worry too much about them. Since I started from 90% dry rock, I assume they hitchhiked on the frogspawn. I also spotted a couple of stomatella snails riding on the hammer when I brought it home - I just let them be and let them hike into the tank.

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I don't think you'll need to swap out the bulbs yet, with the corals that you've got. I'd wait until the bulbs need to be replaced at this point.

 

I use the same fixture over my 40B. I use ATi bulbs: Blue +, Coral +, Blue +, Purple +

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I don't think you'll need to swap out the bulbs yet, with the corals that you've got. I'd wait until the bulbs need to be replaced at this point.

 

I use the same fixture over my 40B. I use ATi bulbs: Blue +, Coral +, Blue +, Purple +

Thanks for the advice Enigma. That's what I figured as well. I might replace one of the 10ks with either a bluer bulb or a Fiji Purple though, don't quite like how the 10ks wash out all of the colours. Otherwise, yeah, I'll just wait until December/January sales :).

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Ok, I think I just passed a watershed moment in my tank... I'm seeing a ton of copepods on the glass all of a sudden. With the spirorbid worms, I'm happy to see that the tank is maturing well :).

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I couldn't stand not knowing, so I dropped by the LFS to get a Giesemann Actinic+ (what I think is the closest analog to ATI Blue+). Holy crap this bulb is BRIGHT compared to the stock Coralife T5HOs. I replaced one of the actinics and it just blows out the remaining 2 10Ks and 1 actinic. I can definitely see how replacing all of the stock bulbs with higher-end T5HOs can fry corals in the tank. I can live with the slight blue hue (actually like it). When the rest of the bulbs get older (next year?), I'll slowly replace them with my target bulb set.

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My cleanup crew has not been keeping up with the algae that has been cropping up in the tank, so I decided to augment them with new additions. Additionally, I lost the 1 tectus snail (probably damaged in LFS) and 2 small nassarius (looks like cleaner shrimp harrasment). I also saw a very nice incandescent green candy cane at the LFS - since I had a candy cane as my "last" addition before leaving the tank be, I figured I might as well go for it.

I also added 2x tongan nassarius snails to help out my last remaining nassarius.

 

New critters:

2x trochus snails

2x tongan nassarius

4x cerith snails

Green candy cane

 

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There is a hitchhiker on one of the candy cane branches (you can see it clearly on this photo - rightmost branch) - I think it's some sort of tunicate or sponge.

 

FTS:

 

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I'm not really liking the zoanthids, so I might trade those in for another coral sometime down the line. Maybe when the tank matures more, I'll trade it in as credit for a montipora.

 

The frogspawn seems like it likes the new light, so I'll keep it as-is for now, even though the blue hue is a bit glaring.

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I find that I'm not a big fan of Zoas, either. I have some Mohawk Palys that I quite like . . . But I've gotten rid of all of my zoas.

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I didn't really have an idea of just how much life there is even on a 1/2 lb fragment of live rock. I seeded my dry rock with such a piece, and now that the tank is maturing more, the stuff on this LR is just taking off. I've seen a number of worm trails on the sand now (looks like sand tubes lying on the sand extending a few inches away from the rock), a few filter feeders starting to come out, and even a red encrusting sponge starting to develop.

 

The big surprise was a large bristle worm that made its home in the rock. I have no idea how it even survived in there, but I was taken aback when I saw this worm wind its body into the hollows inside the rock. I find that that single LR piece is the one rock I keep observing.

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  • 2 weeks later...

An update and some sad news to report - I added two yellowline neon gobies and a blue assessor basslet. First, the bad news - the neon gobies are tiny tiny things and one of them got sucked into the protein skimmer :(. It came as a rude surprise when we found him in the outflow. That was my first fish fatality, unfortunately. I've since stuffed the skimmer's input with coarse sponge to save the other goby from the same fate. I figure that the goby was sleeping near the clownfish (who love the intake of the skimmer for some reason) and got caught when he stopped swimming.

 

The assessor is still very very shy but is now starting to poke his head out of his hidey-hole. He's starting to interact with the clownfish (who are very curious about the newcomer) and eating well. I was hoping he'd fit as the "rockwork fish" of my aquarium. Only time will tell.

 

I also traded in the candy cane because I didn't really like the tunicate that was attached to the branches, and I find that I actually prefer the active hammers and frogspawns more. I now have a pale blue/pink hammer and my first SPS, an encrusting rainbow montipora. Hope it does well! If it does, I figure I'll try the other montipora types (digitata and plate).

 

Pictures to follow as soon as I get access to the good camera again.

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Pics as promised (FTS added on first post):

 

New hammer (replacing the candy cane). One of its heads is pretty pissed off and another one's receded because it was placed too near a candy cane and it was being stung repeatedly. It's started to settle down already (looked worse a few days ago).

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Rainbow montipora (or at least that's what my LFS told me). Looks pretty cool, and I hope it encrusts onto the rock in short order.

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Yellowline goby:

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Macneill's assessor. You can notice a bump (scratch?) on his left side when he dove right into the rocks after being acclimated. It's healing pretty well.

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The cleaner crew together:

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I find that I'm really liking the euphyllias (frogspawn and hammers). I might just try to theme the aquarium with two sides - the aggressive/Euphyllia side and the peaceful softy/duncan/SPS side.

 

The Euphyllia side:

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The peaceful side:

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Blue assessor passed :( :(.

 

The assessor was doing very well last week, feeding and associating with the clowns. It was still a little skittish (it'd dive into its hidey-hole when people get close) but it was eating well on mysis and cyclop-eeze (doesn't like pellets for some reason). I was even adding corals during the "night" cycle of the aquarium (montiporas) to reduce stress. It was ok two days ago, then it started hiding all day yesterday, and then it was gone today :(. I liked that fish, it will be missed.

 

Basic params are all ok (ammonia 0, nitrate 0, pH 8.2) so I assume it is transport shock/stress that eventually did it in. I just find it a bit weird since it was doing very well up until yesterday.

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Blue assessor passed :( :(.

 

The assessor was doing very well last week, feeding and associating with the clowns. It was still a little skittish (it'd dive into its hidey-hole when people get close) but it was eating well on mysis and cyclop-eeze (doesn't like pellets for some reason). I was even adding corals during the "night" cycle of the aquarium (montiporas) to reduce stress. It was ok two days ago, then it started hiding all day yesterday, and then it was gone today :(. I liked that fish, it will be missed.

 

Basic params are all ok (ammonia 0, nitrate 0, pH 8.2) so I assume it is transport shock/stress that eventually did it in. I just find it a bit weird since it was doing very well up until yesterday.

 

Sorry to read that Walker, was it being chased by any other fish maybe, or was it kind of stressed ever since you got it?

 

The reason I am asking is that the Assessor macneilli Basslet is typically somewhat aggressive itself and will not let itself be harassed IME.

 

So it is odd that it went into that hiding behavior which although it likes to do and just sit on or in between rock formations, if another fish comes too close it tends to want to defend itself and it will demonstrate a defensive position instead of what you describe.

 

That is what makes me wonder whether something else went on with it (e.g. disease of some sort) or stress before you got (btw how long have you had it?)

 

Did you notice heavy breathing or listlessness or any other behavior that would be a sign of some kind of internal or external disease.

 

Did its body have any discoloration or splotches that were not of the blue that they should have been?

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Sorry to read that Walker, was it being chased by any other fish maybe, or was it kind of stressed ever since you got it?

 

The reason I am asking is that the Assessor macneilli Basslet is typically somewhat aggressive itself and will not let itself be harassed IME.

 

So it is odd that it went into that hiding behavior which although it likes to do and just sit on or in between rock formations, if another fish comes too close it tends to want to defend itself and it will demonstrate a defensive position instead of what you describe.

 

That is what makes me wonder whether something else went on with it (e.g. disease of some sort) or stress before you got (btw how long have you had it?)

 

Did you notice heavy breathing or listlessness or any other behavior that would be a sign of some kind of internal or external disease.

 

Did its body have any discoloration or splotches that were not of the blue that they should have been?

 

Not that I've seen, and I've been observing it a lot, as it was kinda skittish to begin with. The clowns were perfectly happy swimming with it. The only thing that really encroaches on its space is the cleaner shrimp when mysis lands right in front of the assessor's cave. Then the assessor would exhibit a threat display or nibble at the shrimp to get it to go away.

 

It could have been stress. It was the last of the three assessors the LFS got and it was there for a good month I think, with no rockwork and lots of other fish around. Also, I was rearranging some corals yesterday morning, which could stress it out, but I assumed it wouldn't bother it too much as it was on the "night" side of the light cycle. I knew that it was alive yesterday evening as it peeked out from underneath its cave right before dinner. It did have that scratch from acclimation but it looked to be healing quite well. It had a couple of what looked like bruises that were darker blue near the base of the dorsal fin. I have had it for 2 weeks.

 

Another possibility is that it wasn't eating well, but I personally see it gulp down a couple of mysis every time I feed the tank.

 

What surprised me is that it didn't die in its cave, but actually outside it and a little buried under some sand. It did make it easier to get it out, but is that typical? It almost seemed like it was trying to swim around at night when it expired.

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Not that I've seen, and I've been observing it a lot, as it was kinda skittish to begin with. The clowns were perfectly happy swimming with it. The only thing that really encroaches on its space is the cleaner shrimp when mysis lands right in front of the assessor's cave. Then the assessor would exhibit a threat display or nibble at the shrimp to get it to go away.

 

It could have been stress. It was the last of the three assessors the LFS got and it was there for a good month I think, with no rockwork and lots of other fish around. Also, I was rearranging some corals yesterday morning, which could stress it out, but I assumed it wouldn't bother it too much as it was on the "night" side of the light cycle. I knew that it was alive yesterday evening as it peeked out from underneath its cave right before dinner. It did have that scratch from acclimation but it looked to be healing quite well. It had a couple of what looked like bruises that were darker blue near the base of the dorsal fin. I have had it for 2 weeks.

 

Another possibility is that it wasn't eating well, but I personally see it gulp down a couple of mysis every time I feed the tank.

 

What surprised me is that it didn't die in its cave, but actually outside it and a little buried under some sand. It did make it easier to get it out, but is that typical? It almost seemed like it was trying to swim around at night when it expired.

 

Yes that is very odd indeed. Maybe he just was too stressed when you got him and he never really acclimated properly to your tank.

 

Pity.

 

Sorry for your loss.

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*sigh* I guess sometimes you just never know. I'll have to sit down and think about my stocking plans again. I think I'm still good with the plan of a blenny (midas or tailspot) and a chromis, but I'm kinda bummed out about losing such a nice fish. I was so bummed out that I went to my LFS and got a couple of cheap SPS frags (which I said I wouldn't do until 6 months down the line). Shopping therapy is not very healthy :P.

 

Albert, would you suggest any other fish for a mixed LPS/SPS tank? There are some species I was interested in, but a lot of them are apparently too aggressive (dottybacks), reclusive (basslets/grammas), or nippers (clown gobies/most blennies). I also run an open-top so that precludes firefish too.

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*sigh* I guess sometimes you just never know. I'll have to sit down and think about my stocking plans again. I think I'm still good with the plan of a blenny (midas or tailspot) and a chromis, but I'm kinda bummed out about losing such a nice fish. I was so bummed out that I went to my LFS and got a couple of cheap SPS frags (which I said I wouldn't do until 6 months down the line). Shopping therapy is not very healthy :P.

 

Albert, would you suggest any other fish for a mixed LPS/SPS tank? There are some species I was interested in, but a lot of them are apparently too aggressive (dottybacks), reclusive (basslets/grammas), or nippers (clown gobies/most blennies). I also run an open-top so that precludes firefish too.

 

Check out the Lantern Basslet, nice fish and mine leaves everything and everyone alone, and is not a jumper

 

I also would suggest a Banggai Cardinal or if your tank is large enough a pair of them. They are peaceful and just hang around are not jumpers either

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I just checked out the LFS I got the assessor from, and lo and behold, they have another one that was in the same tank as mine. Only, this one I think is a return/exchange, and it was being harassed constantly by the other fish in there. It had quite a few fins nipped as well.

 

I think that the month that mine spent in that tank was extremely stressful (even though there were no nipped fins when I got him), and maybe it just caught up with him.

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