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Lizzyann's IM 20 Peninsula - A Mediocre Anniversary

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So I had my first omg I'm such an idiot experience with this tank. I didn't think natural sunlight could be causing the super excessive algae growth since the tank wasn't really in front of a window or anything, and was somehow totally ignoring the fact that there is a skylight in the room. I've had the shade covering it for a couple weeks now and the algae is dying way back, with help of manual removal. 

 

I got another zoa frag in the hopes that a little zoa garden area might work out better if several were filling in at the same time. I also grabbed a small, cheap, algae-ridden piece of GSP since I read they were hardy and grew fast, and knowing I already had an algae problem I figured it couldn't hurt. 

 

I also got two astraea turbo snails because my current snails didn't seem to care much about the algae on the rocks. They have been going at it!

 

After the new purchases I went out of town for about 4 days with my boyfriend keeping an eye on things and came back to a not so healthy looking tank. Parameters seemed ok (Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrates 0-1, Phosphates .015, Calcium 440, Alkalinity 7.7, Magnesium 1365, Salinity 1.023, pH 8.3) but the zoas were all closed up, the new one had been knocked off the rock and upside down into the sand, and only 1 or 2 of the GSP polyps seemed active. I did a water change and was in the tank quite a bit trying to get algae out, adding a little more rock, and tidying things up. I took the new zoa that had fallen out to trim the frag plug and got it glued down but I feel like it took forever. I scrubbed the algae off the GSP but feel like I mangled it. I was getting frustrated, everything seemed unhappy, and the tank was just looking kinda gross. Definitely still stuck in ugly tank phase.

 

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One of my astraea snails seems to have a vermetid snail or worm or something on it's shell but I haven't seen it send out any long strands of mucus, just a single antennae. Trying to decide if I should try to kill it or not... it's a little cute riding around on the snail's back.

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Also found some strange white/clear growth on the back of my rock in the shadows. Anyone know what it could be? Doesn't seem rock hard but doesn't flow either, and kinda breaks off if I run tweezers over it.

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I haven't been feeding the tank anything yet, but wondering if I should start. I feel like there's still plenty of algae and die-off for the snails (but actually maybe not if nitrates are so low?), but I'm not positive and from what I've read the zoas could benefit from an occasional meal. 

 

I've been researching stocking plans more and reminded myself that I really want to stick to captive-bred livestock, which won't allow me to get a possum wrasse. A little bummed because I was starting to get most excited about that fish. So cute! Anyone have any other ideas? The candy and swissguard basslets I momentarily considered because they look ADORABLE and apparently have been successfully captive bred, but then I came across the $1000+ price tag, hah. I want something that will be a definite contrast in looks and tank habits to the shrimp goby. I looked into pink skunk clowns, but they'll probably be a little too big for this tank. Maybe a yellow tail/belly blue damsel? Royal Gramma? When I started this tank I was strongly against a clown fish because it seems like everyone has them, but I'm starting to accept that everyone has them for a reason. They're pretty, fun, interesting, and perfectly suited to a small tank. Maybe it's the one, we'll see.

 

I still think I should probably get the shrimp and goby first though. The tank has been cycled for about a month now, who thinks it's time to pull the trigger on a fishy friend? I'm a little wary because I feel like things are still settling and don't want to go out and buy something just because I'm bored/frustrated with things. On the other hand I feel like a fish could create a bit more holistic environment and provide some food for the other inhabitants?

 

Also still debating what kind of power head I should get, but should probably get on it as I'm guessing it would make the zoas and gsp happier too. 

 

That's it for now. Maybe next post I'll share my cute coral layout drawing!

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Check it out! I spent hours and hours and hours researching corals that I want and doing this cute little layout drawing that I'm very doubtful I'll actually be able to stick to (be it lack of personal will, desire, and patience or just not being able to successfully keep things alive that gets it my way) but here it is anyway.

 

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At the top I've got a thin bird's nest and plating montipora; next down a zoa garden, pagoda cup, and pipe organ. Under the pipe organ on the lower side of an overhang is a cyphastrea, then a mint pavona on the rock below. On the other side I've got pink sun corals under another overhang, with a duncan below it. Assorted mushrooms at the front of that rock, then a couple acans on the separate rock at the front right. I didn't include it in the drawing, but I'm considering doing the back wall GSP thing as well, but just have GSP on the front rock at the moment (already not following the plan of course 😉).

 

Anyone see any glaring or even slightly possible problems here? 

 

Regardless of plans, everything is going faaairly well. I settled on the Aqamai KPS for flow and it seems great so far. I really haven't delved too much into getting the right location or settings yet though. Added a couple mushrooms and some GSP from a local reef-keeper and they are doing well. The mushrooms are rather boring colors ("green" that looks white/translucent with a neon green sheen and "orange ghost" that looks like a brown booger with the tiniest flecks of neon orange and green at the edges in actinic), but it's a start. He said they were shrinking and losing color on him, but that he guessed they should spring back under my better/brighter lights. Here's hoping, though I've read since that usually they shrink under too high of light, so we'll see. 

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The GSP is my current favorite coral as it (as expected) seems like the happiest and most colorful thing in my tank.

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My rasta zoas seem pretty happy, but kinda need to do some growing to look their best. The unknown pink/orange/yellow ones seem pretty good, just a little rounded at the edges, like they aren't wanting to fully open. My larger colony of (what I think is) gorilla nipples just seem iffy. They are rarely all open (usually before the light gets strongest mid-day, so maybe they need less light) and some of the polyps always seem like they are shedding gunk. I always see some kind of pod bugs on them (def not nudibranches or zoa spiders) so maybe that's irritating too. The rock they're on has a bivalve of some sort and several little feather dusters so I wonder if they really appreciate all that. The colony is much larger than my other frags so to keep the growth more similar I'm considering doing surgery on it. Is it possible just keeping several of the healthiest looking polyps will help it or is that just too much stress on an already not 100% colony? 

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I'm so ready for a fish (definitely going with YWG and pistol shrimp pair), but waiting to place the order until my 90g planted fw that I'm re-scaping is ready for new fish as well so I can get some free shipping action goin on.

 

In the best news of all, the algae is close to gone!

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12 minutes ago, banasophia said:

Love your layout!!! How did you do that? Looks amazing!

Thanks! I drew over the photo on my tablet with a stylus.

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I got my watchman goby and pistol shrimp from LiveAquaria last week and they seem to be doing well, though they haven't really paired up. To be honest I'm a little disappointed with the goby. It was cheap, from Biota, and I should have known it wasn't going to be a brightly colored specimen because they only called it a watchman goby, but there is NO hint of yellow on this puppy. I feel terrible for saying it, but if this might be the only fish in my tank, I really would prefer a prettier one. He/she (some people have said the grayer ones might be female?) also hates me, but I'm hoping it's just shyness that will improve with time. Here s/he is only coming out to eat when a RUDE snail tries to steal its food:

 

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Totally in love with the shrimp though, he's beautiful and hilarious and digging and snapping away in there. Of course, I never see him because he doesn't have anyone to warn him of danger and stays under the rock most of the time, except when he scurries to his door to snatch a snack at feeding time:

 

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They haven't paired, though the goby hangs out on top of the rock the shrimp is tunneled under. I feel like it's going to be difficult for the shrimp and goby to be housed together because the watchman goby is really too big to fit into the shrimp tunnels. We'll see what happens but if I see one of the captive-bred yasha gobies for sale I might spring for that and try to find a new home for Mr. Graygrump.

 

I needed another little purchase to get free shipping so I stupidly added a meteor shower cyphastrea to my cart since they had a couple beautiful pieces in the diver's den. It didn't look amazing after shipment, and looks worse now that it's been in my tank, hah. The surface has lots of brown patches and there's only a little polyp extension. I have it half in the shadows for now. I knew it was probably way too early to add any SPS but it sounded like an easier one and wasn't too expensive, so I went for it. We'll see what happens. 

 

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In the easy and pretty coral department, I got a little ricordea florida mushroom from my LFS when I went to pick up water. It's doing pretty well but still none of the mushrooms seem really relaxed and happy. 

 

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I've been keeping up perfectly with weekly water changes of 10%-20% and parameters have been fairly stable and in a healthy range. My salinity has gone up and down a bit (though never suddenly) as I realized my hydrometer was reading .002 - .003 lower than reality and I've been trying to remedy that. Unfortunately still dealing with quite a bit of fuzzy algae on the rock and sand.

 

Current stats are:

Ammonia 0

Nitrite 0

Nitrate .2

Phosphate .015

Calcium 435

Alkalinity 7.7 

Magnesium 1425

Salinity 1.025

pH 8.1

 

Oh and since I'm sure someone here will appreciate it, here's a pic of my 90 gallon freshwater tank I just took down and completely re-scaped a week or two ago. A bunch of rummynose tetras helped to put my LiveAquaria order in free shipping territory.

 

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29 minutes ago, lizzyann said:

I got my watchman goby and pistol shrimp from LiveAquaria last week and they seem to be doing well, though they haven't really paired up. To be honest I'm a little disappointed with the goby. It was cheap, from Biota, and I should have known it wasn't going to be a brightly colored specimen because they only called it a watchman goby, but there is NO hint of yellow on this puppy. I feel terrible for saying it, but if this might be the only fish in my tank, I really would prefer a prettier one. He/she (some people have said the grayer ones might be female?) also hates me, but I'm hoping it's just shyness that will improve with time. Here s/he is only coming out to eat when a RUDE snail tries to steal its food:

 

MVIMG_20180603_220214_exported_stabilized_4361219597726585445.gif.bc5da631fc44fd68fc3af731cda6770d.gif

 

Totally in love with the shrimp though, he's beautiful and hilarious and digging and snapping away in there. Of course, I never see him because he doesn't have anyone to warn him of danger and stays under the rock most of the time, except when he scurries to his door to snatch a snack at feeding time:

 

giphy.gif

 

They haven't paired, though the goby hangs out on top of the rock the shrimp is tunneled under. I feel like it's going to be difficult for the shrimp and goby to be housed together because the watchman goby is really too big to fit into the shrimp tunnels. We'll see what happens but if I see one of the captive-bred yasha gobies for sale I might spring for that and try to find a new home for Mr. Graygrump.

 

I needed another little purchase to get free shipping so I stupidly added a meteor shower cyphastrea to my cart since they had a couple beautiful pieces in the diver's den. It didn't look amazing after shipment, and looks worse now that it's been in my tank, hah. The surface has lots of brown patches and there's only a little polyp extension. I have it half in the shadows for now. I knew it was probably way too early to add any SPS but it sounded like an easier one and wasn't too expensive, so I went for it. We'll see what happens. 

 

MVIMG_20180604_152748_1.thumb.jpg.f8c60057da98293d8b14a95de55c3e0a.jpg

 

In the easy and pretty coral department, I got a little ricordea florida mushroom from my LFS when I went to pick up water. It's doing pretty well but still none of the mushrooms seem really relaxed and happy. 

 

1180134506_MVIMG_20180604_152713(1).thumb.jpg.eb49167c9dc9e599aa47008272abc724.jpg

 

I've been keeping up perfectly with weekly water changes of 10%-20% and parameters have been fairly stable and in a healthy range. My salinity has gone up and down a bit (though never suddenly) as I realized my hydrometer was reading .002 - .003 lower than reality and I've been trying to remedy that. Unfortunately still dealing with quite a bit of fuzzy algae on the rock and sand.

 

Current stats are:

Ammonia 0

Nitrite 0

Nitrate .2

Phosphate .015

Calcium 435

Alkalinity 7.7 

Magnesium 1425

Salinity 1.025

pH 8.1

 

Oh and since I'm sure someone here will appreciate it, here's a pic of my 90 gallon freshwater tank I just took down and completely re-scaped a week or two ago. A bunch of rummynose tetras helped to put my LiveAquaria order in free shipping territory.

 

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Let LiveAquaria know if the cyphastrea doesn't do well, and soon. You'll get your money back. 

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The cyphastrea is actually doing a little better! Brown patches are fading and the purple base is changing to a pretty green/teal color. 

 

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I'm still dealing with a good bit of algae so I turned my light down some. Curious to see if that might help the mushrooms loosen up a little bit as well. 

 

I went against my original snail-only CUC plan and bought a hermit crab today. It immediately went to work on cleaning the sand so hopefully it will help with the algae too. 

 

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I assume spurred by finally having a fish and routinely feeding (even though I try to suck back up what it and the shrimp don't eat), an outbreak of vermetid snails has started. They are the tiny kind, so I'm hoping they won't do too much damage, but I'm a little pissed about it. There were what seemed to be dead/empty shells all over the live rock when I first bought it from the LFS but I thought nothing of it since this was my very first tank and I had no idea what kind of hitchhikers I might want to watch out for. If they end up covering everything it's going to look pretty ugly in here, and they already seem too tiny and numerous to think about gluing or tearing apart every little one of them. I read about some hermit crabs occasionally eating them so that encouraged my decision to get a new friend as well.

 

Haven't seen the shrimp in a while, but trying not to get worried about him. I saw what I *hope* was pieces of his molt floating around Saturday, so maybe he's just hiding until he's nice and strong. Watchman goby is still trying to hide from me but seems ever so slightly more outgoing and is eating really well.

 

Here's a new FTS after I did some zoa trading and coral shuffling over the weekend:

 

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A month since my last update and most everyone's still truckin.

 

I couldn't resist the Aqua SD Father's Day sale so I've got a few new corals to show off. Still sticking to the plan though!

 

I bought two acan lord frags, and kinda want to add another one or two to their rock. I feel like I fall in love with every new coral I get and just want to get 5 more of the same thing. It's hard to balance wanting to fill up the space with frags and waiting for things to grow in to their own beautiful colonies. I guess that's bound to happen when you're brand new to the hobby. Every new thing I get in the tank is just mind-blowing.

 

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They immediately seemed to lose a touch of their color, especially the blues, but I still love them. So much fun to feed them!

 

Two new zoas, "mermaid souls" and "inferno hearts" 

 

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And in a wonderful stroke of luck, a freebie that was actually next on my list, an aussie duncan.

 

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The meteor shower cyphastrea is doing really well (I think... not sure what those dark patches where the teal color is lacking), and has started encrusting where I glued it. 

 

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Ricordea florida is growing nicely but the other two ugly, shriveled shrooms are just continuing to look ugly and shriveled.

 

Here's the new full tank:

 

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Before I ever got a tank and was just in research phase I would always hate the look of frag plugs and putty. I tried to avoid it at first (I usually at least try to round over edges of plugs to make them look a little more natural and such) but I've quickly realized there's no good way to avoid it if I actually want to stick to a thought-out layout. So, I guess excuse my mess, but hopefully it will all be grown over before toooooo long? 🤞 

 

I actually went on a 10 day vacation after gluing everything down and was pretty nervous, but besides some extra gunk on the glass, everyone seemed happy enough. We went to Olympic National Park for most of the trip and one of my favorite parts was tide pooling! Check out these precious critters we saw!

 

Lots of mint green anemones, some with pink tips.

 

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Starfish, mostly purple and a couple orange ones.

 

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Tons of hermit crabs and snails and macroalgae and barnacles. The only fish we saw were little tidepool sculpin.

 

And here's me exploring the OMFG SO GORGEOUS landscape:

 

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My boyfriend just bought a fancy new camera so get ready for some fancy ass aquarium pics... once I convince him to get a fancy ass macro lens.

 

Ok let's try to wrap this up, back to the tank.

 

Goby is good, still not the most attractive fish in the sea, and by that I mean just so depressingly boring and gray, but much more outgoing and eating well. Probably going to give her away for free the second I see a yasha for sale somewhere 🤫

 

Still haven't seen any sign of the shrimp. No normal tunnel openings or stirred up sand or sticking a claw out from a rock at feeding time for over a month now. 😢

 

There's still a little algae here and there, definitely dinos collecting on the sand between water changes, and a little cyano, but overall not too dirty.

 

Oh I kept researching and hooray, what I thought was an intense vermetid snail outbreak is just spirorbid worms, much less of a nuisance. 

 

So, what coral should I get next? Keeping my eyes out for a white & green short-tentacled pipe organ, wanting another pretty mushroom, or wondering if I should go ahead and get one of the sps I wanted at the top of the rock... 

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Everything is moving along swimmingly! Hopefully I'm going slow enough? The tank has been running for 5 months now. Parameters have remained fairly stable. Current numbers are pH 8.2, salinity 1.025, nitrate .5, phosphate 0, calcium 455, and magnesium 1500. I did lose the mermaid soul zoas, which I loved. They had fallen off the rock after my vacation and just never opened back up. I got a few more corals from AquaSD, as well a the Polyplab cell phone lenses (LOVE THEM), so figured I would share some photos!

 

Finally getting some top-down worthy action

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A close up of the zoanthid garden, which I'm fairly pleased with. The center zoas are the new one from ASD, skittls galaxy. The skirt was a bright teal at first but they've dulled a bit and a customer service person said they love light and should color back up, so hopefully now that they're off the sand and the light acclimation cycle has finished, I'll see some more of that original color. I think I'm finished with this section and will just enjoy watching it grow in!

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I'm feeling like my Acan Lord rock is about finished as well with this new addition. I spot feed them occasionally and they seem healthy, growing new polyps, nice color, extending feeder tentacles, etc., but I feel like they are never inflated as pics I see on here. I'll look into this more but if anyone has an easy answer I'd love to hear it! 

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Cutiepatootie Duncan is probably my fav right now, and likes to show off all its babies under its skirt. There's 6 or 7 new heads circled around the original.

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I wanted to go ahead and start trying some SPS for the top of my rock, and ordered the idaho grape monti cap as it was the only capricornis they had in stock. I wanted a vibrant purple monti, and I'm afraid this one might be more mahogany (aka brown) than I wanted. It's still on the sand though, so maybe it will color up more. I'd love to see someone's large, healthy colony to see what I'm getting into here before I glue it down.

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Annnd I just liked this photo 😸

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I'd love suggestions and critiques if anyone has them!

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That purple cap is a tough one.  It grows like a weed and will stay brownish unless under a ton of light.  Your drawing had a birdsnest, I think it's time to try that.  :)

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Tank is looking great and I love the zoa garden! I also liked the last pic and had to do a double take because I thought a cat was peering into the tank! Coincidence?

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1 hour ago, SeaFurn said:

Tank is looking great and I love the zoa garden! I also liked the last pic and had to do a double take because I thought a cat was peering into the tank! Coincidence?

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Hehe, the cat in the background was definitely why I liked it so much!

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Good news/bad news. Bad news is that things died, good news is I spent money on new shiny things. 

 

First, a new FTS (with all the random extra frags and grow out GSP and such hidden away):

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So first bad news is my hermit mysteriously passed away. Parameters have stayed pretty steady and normal, though my nitrates have been a little high (around 6ppm when I test right before a water change). I don't think that's enough to kill a hermit? Occasionally the goby will nip at it, but not really in a way that seems likely to cause injury, more just tries to nudge the shell off its turf when the hermit gets too close. I had been meaning to provide some extra shells for the hermit to change into and hadn't done that yet. That's my best guess. Could not having a bigger shell to change into for 2-3 months be fatal?

 

I'm going to get a new one because I noticed hair algae starting to pop up again after it died (maybe no hermit to eat it, maybe over-feeding), so hopefully it will do well and start tackling the algae with me. There's also been bits of bubble algae and some thick, bare-stemmed algae here and there that I seem to be holding back with manual removal. I've been spot feeding corals once or twice a week but I'm thinking it probably makes too much of a mess so I'll cut back on that. I also feel like I might just not have enough rock for good biological filtration and wondering if I should add crushed rock to the back. How much of a difference will this make? Also probably going to get a skimmer soon. 

 

The monti cap bleached completely but seems to still be alive, maybe not with terrific polyp extension though. I was rethinking the monti cap at the top of the rock idea anyway, so I'm not too heartbroken, but still curious if it will make a comeback. I asked about it here if anyone wants to see pics or has any input: 

 

 

After these set backs I obviously needed to buy new things! Sticking to the plan, I got a mint pavona and pink birdsnest from ORA via LiveAquaria. They seem to be doing well!

 

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Included in that LiveAquaria purchase was... drum roll please... a POM POM CRAB! It was in the diver's den with both its pompoms, so I pounced. OMG I'M SO IN LOVE. This thing is the sweetest, cutest, most beautiful creature. It usually hides during the day, but always down for it's nightly photo shoot. 

 

Admire the luscious poms...

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the beautiful markings...

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the hypnotizing sway!

 

Watchman goby is doing fine and normal and grumpy and I got a good pic recently

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Oh and check out this trippy stuff going on in the shadowed area of my cyphastrea. Is it normal for colors to look melted into each other on one of these?

IMG_20180916_174342.thumb.jpg.a6a1cdbbbefd9dce8e0b8abe486a54c4.jpg

 

So overall I'm happy with how things are going and just hope I'm at the right place for a 6 month old tank. In rethinking the scape for the top of the rock, I'm considering an ORA stellar stylo (all the pink plz) on the other side from the birdsnest, and one extra beautiful acro in the center (only fiiiiiinally starting to really like the looks of those). Still a long way from that though. I'm hoping to not add new coral for a couple months and just enjoy watching things grow and make sure I've got a handle on the algae and nitrates and such. I'm always terrified of a catastrophe right around the corner :scarry:!

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2 hours ago, Mark L. said:

Great pictures, what are you shooting with?

Cell phone! Google pixel 2 with the polyplab coral view lens kit. The lens kit has a clip with magnifying, yellow, and orange lenses. I really like it!

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Everything is looking great! I posted about your monticap bleaching in the other thread - very mysterious. 

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WTF?!? I added another hermit crab yesterday. Drip acclimated it for about an hour, put it in the tank, seemed fine. This morning it was dead! What's going on? I got it from my LFS and the little tanks with the crabs and other small creatures do look a little gross but everything seemed to be alive and active. The hermit was active when I checked on it before I went to bed. Then in the morning it was totally limp and falling out of the shell. Gave it some pokes, checked on it later, etc and it was definitely dead. 

 

I guess it could just be coincidence at this point but ugh... kinda sad/annoying/mysterious. I would think if it was a water sensitivity issue then the pom pom crab would be suffering too, but it's still kicking. Maybe the goby hates hermit crabs, but the first one was in the tank for almost three months before it died. 

 

Now to decide if I want to keep experimenting or just give up on them and hope my snails keep the algae in check 🤔.

 

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I'm worried you might have a contaminant,  I've had a meteor shower cyphastrea that I nearly killed by having calcium too low and it didn't smear like that,  The monti, the hermit, the cyphastrea all might point to the same issue.    The cyphastrea is a stony coral and it appears the skin is pealing off the skeleton.  

 

 

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2 hours ago, markalot said:

I'm worried you might have a contaminant,  I've had a meteor shower cyphastrea that I nearly killed by having calcium too low and it didn't smear like that,  The monti, the hermit, the cyphastrea all might point to the same issue.    The cyphastrea is a stony coral and it appears the skin is pealing off the skeleton.  

 

 

 

I was worried about something like that, but I figured any contaminate that would kill the hermit crab would also kill the pom pom crab. 

 

I don't thiiink the skin is coming off on the cyphastrea. The colors have started to look pretty funky but I don't think any skeleton is showing. It looks more like the colors are kinda melting/bleeding into each other. What looks like cracks aren't actually cracks, it's all smooth bands of color. There's the maroon color in the shadowed areas and on some of the new growth, a pale teal on most of it in the light, then a bit of a darker teal/green as well in the upper new growth areas. It's a meteor shower, so technically it should be that pale teal. There's not much polyp extension on the heads in the maroon/shadowed area. It's been encrusting significantly over the past few months. Here's a couple more photos. This is the first one I've had so I'm not positive on what is normal and healthy. 

 

IMG_20180920_151819.thumb.jpg.a6015f9198bf17b712c3ae018318cc49.jpg

 

IMG_20180920_151750.thumb.jpg.683b9e04d6a6262e6b2e0cdbf6cd62bb.jpg

 

The mint pavona and birdsnest are also doing well so far and they've been in the tank for about 2 weeks, but maybe if it's a very small amount of something bad it would take longer that that to start affecting the SPS? 

 

Current parameters are nitrate 7ppm, phosphate 0, calcium 470, alkalinity 8.4, magnesium, 1450, salinity 1.025, pH 8.2, and temp varies between 78 and 80 degrees. I'm using bottled distilled water and reef crystals. Perhaps the distilled water has something nasty in it, but I feel like that's pretty unlikely. I'll be getting a RODI system here pretty soon.

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25 minutes ago, Porkpie5000 said:

You could always try a little Poly-Filter and see if it pulls anything out.

Ooo I didn't know about this stuff, thanks!

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I've never actually used it. It has been around forever though. It seems kind of stupidly expensive but I just ordered some. The people that use it swear by it.

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I feel like things just aren't quite right, but really not sure what it could be or what to adjust. I got some Poly-Filter just to make sure there's nothing contaminating the tank. I installed an Eshopps skimmer that was staring to work but when I did a water change yesterday it was sending out tons of micro bubbles, even after 30 minutes and everything was getting mucus-y and dirty, so it's off for now. Maybe something to do with the poly-fiber? As I said earlier, my nitrates have been a little high and phosphates at zero (according to salifert nitrate test and hanna low range phosphate checker). I've had good bit of turf algae and a little bubble algae growing and I've read people mention that algae can use up phosphates so they read as zero, when in fact there's definitely some in there. Would there be enough "unreadable" phosphates to negatively affect the coral? Or would the algae use the phosphates before the coral could benefit from them so the 0 reading is correct in that the coral are being harmed by too low of phostphates? I guess I need to do more research on the nitrate/phosphate balance and when/how corals and algae use each of them.

 

I tried to get a lot of the algae out manually but it hasn't been declining between water changes and I'm wondering if I should try an emerald crab or other cleaner that will eat the bubble and turf greens. Also tempted to put some display-worthy macro in there.

 

One of my 3 acans hasn't been puffing up or extending feeder tentacles, very slowly looking worse and worse, though it did at least attempt to swallow stuff when I fed today. It looks slightly better now, so I'm wondering if maybe it was just mad that I hadn't spot fed them for a couple weeks (because of the high nitrates).

 

The cyphastrea is definitely doing worse, and hasn't had polyps extended for a few days. I'm worried!

 

The bleached monti is still bleached, but with some polyp extension and continued encrusting. It might just barely be coloring up in the shaded areas, but those have a rather brownish hue.

 

The pink birdsnest has been iffy. I'll be worried about it not extending polyps, and having dark spots where the polyps are, then a while later it'll seem back to normal. Pretty sure It's had its polyps retracted since the water change yesterday though.

 

The rhodactis shroom isn't quite as big and full as it once was, but doesn't necessarily seem unhealthy.

 

Everyone else seems very happy.

 

I'm leaving on a 4 or 5 day vacation tomorrow evening so there's not much I can do at the moment. Just going to change a little water and the filter floss before I leave, have a friend feed the fish once or twice, and hope for the best.

 

More cats n' tanks for photo's sake:

IMG_20180902_132025.thumb.jpg.2f5d7e64fefd1851ca48f2250f00850d.jpg

 

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I hope things start working out better for you!  Are you around Seattle?  I noticed you said you went to the peninsula for vacation.

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