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Gorgonian / fan care and selection tips?


duganderson

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I'm potentially interested in getting a Gorgonian / sea fan for my 28 gallon fish, 2 RBTA and primarily softie tank. I have a 28 gallon cube with CF lights and I don't dose or have a skimmer but everthing is growing well and healthy. I'm interested in a gorgonian for a shaded spot under a shelf and I had some quesitons....

 

1. How hard are these to take care of? Are they fragile/break easy?

 

2. How often do you need to feed them and what is an easy/inexpensive option for feeding? How do you feed them?

 

3. Any ideas for which one is interesting shape, nicely colored and easy to care for?

 

4. Are they fast growers?

 

Thanks, Doug

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First question, by shaded area are you looking into a NPS (Non-phostosynthetic ie. azooxanthellate) gorg? This will greatly determine your options.

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First question, by shaded area are you looking into a NPS (Non-phostosynthetic ie. azooxanthellate) gorg? This will greatly determine your options.

 

Yes, I assume I need a NPS gorg since I'm looking to fill space under a ledge in the shade.

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altolamprologus

First off you need absolutely perfect water parameters-better than for sps. Nitrate needs to be zero and phosphate below 0.03ppm (which is not easy to do when feeding so much). I run twice the normal amount of GFO (changing it every two weeks) and do frequent water changes. It's also a macro algae dominated tank so they help take care of nutrients. They also need high flow like sps. For feeding, it needs to be done daily, preferably two or three times a day or more. A mix of phytoplankton, rotifers, live baby brine shrimp and a dry food (I prefer reef cleaners filter feeder formula) is good. Gorgs rely heavily on nutrition from zooplankton so don't do too much phyto, though this isn't to say phyto isn't necessary. I broadcast feed (mostly because there's bunch of nps that need food) and also target feed by filling a turkey baster with food and slowly squirting it upstream of the gorgs. As for which one, it's up to you. They're all relatively difficult, just stay away from blueberry gorgs and Muricella sp as no one has ever been able to keep them alive. All nps gorgs grow pretty slow, but if you're successful, you will notice growth.

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If you had to compare the easiness of photosynthetic verse nps, would they still be on the same "expert level" or since they don't need to be fed so heavily, more like moderate?

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If you had to compare the easiness of photosynthetic verse nps, would they still be on the same "expert level" or since they don't need to be fed so heavily, more like moderate?

 

Thanks for the details. It sounds like they are not for me.

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altolamprologus
If you had to compare the easiness of photosynthetic verse nps, would they still be on the same "expert level" or since they don't need to be fed so heavily, more like moderate?

Photosynthetic gorgs have pretty much the same care as acros. Give them flow and light and the occasional feeding and they do fine. The nps ones are the ones that almost never survive long term

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Photosynthetic gorgonians are probably as easy to keep as any other soft coral out there. Give them enough flow and they'll grow great too. They seem to like "dirtier" water, but if you're running a low nutrient system you can supplement feed them for better growth/ health.

Non-photosyntethic corals on the other hand are harder to keep. Some are easier to keep than others (think Diodogorgia and Menella sp. vs the "blue berry seafan"). The first will do fine with daily feeding of fine foods, while the latter really need to be fed 12+ a day. It seems like diodogorgia would be a good option if you'd be up to the feeding, whatever people make you believe they really don't need pristine water quality, just make sure you get a healthy specimen.

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What are the easiest photosynthetic fan gorgonians? Are these appropriate size for a 28 g. cube?

 

I like the look of the Purple Candleabra (Pseudopterogorgia bipinnata)? Are these hard to find?

 

They apparently require medium light. Do you think they would be OK with the CF lights in my 28 g. cube?

 

Thanks, Doug

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The easiest gorgonian is probably Briareum asbestinum. Other lower light species would include most Plexaura species and Eunicea variations.

A great source for gorgonians are Eco-gorgs from Aquascapers (a forum sponsor). Their gorgonians are sustainably harvested and come on a frag plug which means you'll get a much healthier specimen vs most other sources. If shipping is too expensive, I believe you can order their gorgonians through your LFS as well (just ask if they don't)

http://www.aquascapers.com/store/13-eco-gorgs

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What are the easiest photosynthetic fan gorgonians? Are these appropriate size for a 28 g. cube?

 

I like the look of the Purple Candleabra (Pseudopterogorgia bipinnata)? Are these hard to find?

 

They apparently require medium light. Do you think they would be OK with the CF lights in my 28 g. cube?

 

Thanks, Doug

I've had good luck with all of the gorgonians I've purchased from Sealifeinc.net. If nothing else, you can check out their site to get ideas of what to ask your LFS to order for you.

 

My 28g AIO is full of gorgonians and they are happy :happy: I've also kept them in my NC12 with stock lighting and they did great. I've had success with T5, PC, and LED lighting my gorgs (not all at once, of course).

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Of the easy to keep photosynthetic gorgs, which are most apt to keep the classic sea fan shape?

 

I know it won't look exactly like this but I'm trying to shoot for this look as much as possible. I especially like the purple ones.

 

See photo below

 

If you have one in your tank, I'd love to see a photo attached.

post-70500-1347891740_thumb.jpg

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I wouldn't suggest this one for you since its nps. It's for advanced/experts only. If you get to that level, planning and research becomes very extensive. I would stick to photosynthetic ones for now.

 

Mine which is fed multiple times a day which is a must.

4960b8eb.jpg

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There is no EASY sea fan photosynthetic or NPS. The classical Caribbean sea fans that you would run into in a curio shop are Gorgonia flabellum and Gorgonia ventalina which require high light, high laminar flow perpendicular to them and low nutrients. So very similar in care to so called SPS. Oh and also both of those species are illegal to collect so you have to come across a frag from stock that was pulled from the oceans years ago.

 

I would start out with some easier PS gorgs like the ones at Sealife and Aquascapers.

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I would start out with some easier PS gorgs like the ones at Sealife and Aquascapers.

 

Which of the ones that they carry have the "sea fan" look the most over time once they grow and increase in size?

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I've had good luck with all of the gorgonians I've purchased from Sealifeinc.net. If nothing else, you can

 

Thanks for the site, I'll definitely be looking at purchasing a gorgonian from them soon :)

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