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Xanthine

Xanthine's Biocube 16 - the journey continues

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billygoat
2 hours ago, Xanthine said:

I didnt mention this yet -  the day or two after my puffer was killed in my other tank, my hydor heater exploded and filled my house with acrid electrical smoke. Thank goodness my travels have been cancelled, so I was at home to catch it relatively quickly. The only damage besides the heater itself was the black soot on the white plastic lid of the JBJ, but that mostly wiped clean.  

Exploding heaters! That's intense. I'm glad you were around to catch the problem in time, otherwise that would have been a real disaster! Did you have a replacement heater on hand to keep things stable?

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Xanthine

So not long after my post about how much growth I was getting in the softies...there was a mini crash.

 

I don't know what happened but it started with white area on my orange lepto, then spreading white area around the base of my large duncan, then the entire base of the original cespi turned white and shrank to almost nothing, then the wall xenia disappeared and some cyano showed up.  

 

AprilCespi2.jpg.a997866a855e16aa318a7232fd155e28.jpg

 

All the parameters were in normal range, so I really have no idea.

It was also weird that it didnt impact both lepto, both duncans, or both cespis - only one of each. 

 

The lepto and duncan have since recovered, and cespi seems to not be getting any worse at least. 

Here's a picture that I'm now realizing is a bit blurry too (stupid phone camera!!) and I hadn't cleaned the glass or removed algae in awhile.

I have a few days off later this week and plan on doing some more heavy maintenance and take better photos.

 

On a positive note, I love that my bicolor blenny uses the devils hand leather as his perch spot; it is so cute!

 

May42020.thumb.jpg.2c22de7bcd2ed592e0b831909841a120.jpg

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Xanthine

I swear when I post things on here about something going well, disaster soon follows.

I found the skeleton of my bicolor blenny.

He was such a good fish - eager eater of anything, chill towards tankmates but not too shy, and beautiful coloration.

My snails have been dying off too. I have a feeling it's related to the ant spray/insect poison used in the same room as the tank. 

RIP little friend

BicolorBlenny.thumb.jpg.286aa265bcbc217566bc69a8db98dab7.jpg

 

 

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Xanthine

Just a quick snapshot. That bottom left rock is just out of control with hair algae. I wonder if that is the rock I initially got from the old LFS that was from someones tank breakdown and now it's leaching phos that is feeding the algae? I'll have to dig back through my old pictures. 

 

Every other day or so I find a frag in the sand in the morning it seems, no matter how well wedged I think I have them in there.

My scarlet hermit is ruthless in pushing them all down, such a bully!

 

The frogspawn looked bad after a fall that landed half head down and I was so worried about it not making it, but it came back like a champ.

 

I might use some JB water weld epoxy to finally mount the frogspawn and sinularia and toadstool and leathers and ...ok well like everything pretty much..haha.

I haven't had issues with the JB but I know some have, so I'm worried. 

But maybe more worried about the potential damage that is going to happen one of these days from a frag fall.

 

I think I'm finally happy with my arch scape and ready to commit to start mounting coral. Two years in, lol.

 

(Although I guess I should do my investigating on the history of that bottom left rock first...hrm..) 

 

May232020.thumb.jpg.04b039eae12facec1c6928f77af47227.jpg

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Xanthine

Well, one month since my last post and I still haven't glued anything in place...or bothered to go back to investigate origin of bottom left hair algae rock.

 

I did start using auto-doser on Seachem Reef Fusion #1 (previously dosed only RF#2 manually for alk stability, then manual doses of RF#1 biweekly to correct Ca). 

Calcium is MUCH more stable now that I'm dosing both equally - (duh) - looking back, I wish I had started with that.

 

Since RF#1 has Mg too, my Mg values have skyrocketed. Tank was almost always in the 1100-1200 range previously - I'm now at 1410 for Mg.  (Ca is 415 and Alk is 8.0)

 

Good news: The cespi is doing amazing, and is now 'hosting' my clown. It's so fun to watch. 

 

Bad news: The GSP on back left wall doesn't seem to have survived the hair algae takeover and is melting off. It looks gross. Hair algae on bottom left rock continues to be nuisance.

 

Super bad news: The heavy matting maroon cyano on the sand and some corals has returned. Noooooo!!  

 

'Beauty lights' in morning:

1904866763_June202020(2).thumb.jpg.064743a6024c425fbdea09d04462fd5e.jpg

Normal daytime lights in afternoon:

June202020b.thumb.jpg.3bac14f94a6dfe82f078b1af7d0fe254.jpg

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debbeach13

Congratulations on 2 years. Sorry your having some problems. I hope it turns around for you.

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Xanthine

So, frustratingly, my curse of happy postings on here returned.

It seems whenever I mention something great happening in my tank in this thread, disaster soon strikes.

 

This time...my blue cespitularia.

Right after I was so excited how my clown had 'moved in' amongst the arms, and how many grandbabies the original was having....it's gone. 

It just..melted. Totally down to the base. Gone.

 

Here it is right when it started to decline:

CepsiMelting.thumb.jpg.8b6fb695e983561b1164038416a6d7e7.jpg

 

The cespi baby/grandbabies are now looking somewhat melty now too. The base is white with holes in it...

 

BottomMelting.thumb.jpg.989dea31dc69183198acd1ea553cf7e5.jpg

 

 

I don't know whats going on. I'm crushed. 😞

 

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Xanthine

I don't want to be too optimistic here, but a dose of chemiclean to knock out the cyano followed by a hefty water change 48hrs later and a fresh bag of carbon seems to have slowed the rate my cespi is collapsing/dying.  Maybe I won't lose all of it.

I did some googling and found that others have seen super high periods of growth, followed by massive die-off.

 

 

I didn't mention in my last post but I did end up switching out that bottom left rock that was infested with hair algae, to a rock from my former puffer tank that was originally dry rock. 

 

Also I tried to pry off that round frag plug that I glued to the back left wall with the GSP...it is not budging and I really don't want to accidentally break into the 3rd chamber. 

 

July22020.thumb.jpg.91bf73db80ee5d511f787da24286fac5.jpg

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Xanthine

Have some more stringy brown algae/stuff popping up all over - mostly on corals.

Haven't looked at it under scope yet but don't think it's dino's this time- no bubbles.

Had a round of nerite snail die-offs (4 within a couple days of each other...)

I need to get in there and clean up the sand from all the shells the hermits scatter everywhere.

I am not a fan of the messy look I have going on right now.

 

July182020.thumb.jpg.84f9e417474690819770f251dc449530.jpg

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banasophia
3 hours ago, Xanthine said:

Have some more stringy brown algae/stuff popping up all over - mostly on corals.

Haven't looked at it under scope yet but don't think it's dino's this time- no bubbles.

Had a round of nerite snail die-offs (4 within a couple days of each other...)

I need to get in there and clean up the sand from all the shells the hermits scatter everywhere.

I am not a fan of the messy look I have going on right now.

 

July182020.thumb.jpg.84f9e417474690819770f251dc449530.jpg

Looks good! I have the same issue in mine with a bunch of shells scattered on the sandbed too and I agree, my tank looks tidier without them for sure... I think that’ll be my project for tomorrow. Hoping to pick up a sea hare today for some algae cleanup. 

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Xanthine

FML.... It's Dinoflagellates. (Ostreopis maybe? - they were doing the circle tether spins..) ....  (ALSO WTF IS THAT MONSTER CRAWLING ON THEM ....creepy video to come....)

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WIN_20200718_19_13_29_Pro.jpg.f45a01422d4d3a6183fabc6413d5b3c5.jpg

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Xanthine

Tried to embed video - uploaded to imgur, vimeo, streamable....but they would not embed here. 

(I don't use insta or youtube, oh well)

 

See video here of whatever that weird thing is crawling in the dinos.

It's like a bivalve-ish hairy pod with black leg..something branchiopoda / ostracod-like? 

https://imgur.com/a/GZXKWls

 

Stabilized version of same:

https://imgur.com/a/4IxHRQ0

 

 

Some blurry pics of its 'belly' where the black appendages come out, and the fuzzy 'back' end of it:

 

283100324_SatJul1817-42-12.jpg.d3ee4395b004755e0b54d4028b1f6c47.jpg

 

WIN_20200718_17_46_34_Pro.jpg.34ba1306fbf78770e57efbaa260a235e.jpg

 

 

 

Actions taken so far for starting another dino battle:

  • Cried a little bit  'why meeeee'
  • Pipetted out all the long strand wrapped around the various corals.
  • Netted/scooped out some of the sand that had some mucus strands too
  • Added UV 
  • Dosed some phytoplankon
  • Dosed N and P to bring to 3ppm N and 0.3 P.  (was at 1ppm N and 0.0 P...dangit)

 

Plans moving forward:

  • Gradual dose N up to 10ish and P up to 0.6ish (redfield-ish) 
  • Manual mucus/strand removal multiple times a day as needed
  • Continue UV (only at night? - still reading)
  • Blackout (maybe - still reading)

 

 

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Xanthine

Well, I lost my cleaner shrimp the day after my last post. Continue to lose snails here and there as well. There was also a pod dieoff I noticed while turkey-bastering the rocks.

Phos is being used up around 0.10 per day (?!?), so continuing to dose. (Using both Hanna Phos URL and Salifert tests to monitor)

Nitrate staying stable.

Keeping nitrate at 5ish and phos at 0.2ish

Hair algae and film algae is getting greener.

Running UV at night - only while the dinos are in the water column.

Mucus removal during the day while they congregate in their nastiness.

I'm seeing less dinos on the corals and more on the sand now (which disappears at night).

 

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Xanthine

Dino updates - Not seeing any more mucus/long strings the past week, only the daytime sand coverings. But it's THICK. Also lots of algae and some cyano which I'm hoping will outcompete the dinos soon. Still dosing phos every other day to maintain above 0.10 on Hanna.

 

Fish update - My now lonesome ocellaris clownfish I thought for sure was going to be dead this morning...  Yesterday while feeding a sample of new PE pellets, they were just a tad too big and he 'choked' on them. Spit them out, then ate them again, 'choking' every so often. His stomach also got huge. Soon he was having extremely rapid shallow breaths, then started rubbing on the live rock, and eventually dug a hole in the sand and laid down in it.  He would sometimes swim back up and it almost looked like he had a stroke - his right side of his body was like ...drooping? This lasted at least 6 hours. I added an airstone close to where he was laying for extra oxygen and added some fresh carbon. I figured this morning I would have to bury him. But nope - he is back to normal today so far!!!

 

Coral updates - My larger duncan lost a head, which then turned into brown goo (BJD maybe, ugh), and spread to the neighboring 2 heads.

Maybe just coincidence but it was pretty close to the UV outlet.

Since I think I've read that dinos release even more toxins as the die, perhaps that duncan just was getting a full face blast of toxins? 

Or its possible a hermit picked at it, which irritated it enough to let infection take over?

Whatever it was, the death smell must have lured this bristleworm out  - I almost never see them during the day

 

DuncanJuly302020.thumb.jpg.d7bf3597c9f6dcfc0cc890f7e0145da2.jpg

 

I did an iodine/reef dip after siphoning off the jelly, and the rest of the heads perked up and went back to looking normal the rest of the day.

 

Now, today, it's spreading more, and ALL of it looks pissed off, and there is jelly-like substance coming off of the main 'stalk' of the duncan. It's all in-between all of the flesh that is between the heads too. 

I pulled it, did a revive dip, cut off the impacted heads (gah I hate doing that, seems so cruel, but I know it's my old shot at saving the rest).

Now it is in my QT-turned-mini fowlr  that only has chaeto, a gramma, hermits/snails, no other coral.

 

It doesn't look good, but my main concern is that if it is/was BJD.....and it spreads to my torches...no no no no no.

I'm close to giving up as it is, and I think that will be the last straw for me.

Going to keep an even closer eye on everything now. 

 

 

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banasophia

So sorry to hear your tank is having these issues. 😞 Glad your fish made it. If you’re looking for a good pellet food, all of my fish really love Sustainable Aquatics Hatchery Diet pellets. And I didn’t see if you had tried this, and not sure it’s a common practice, but did you try to dose some Microbacter 7 to address the dinoflagellates?

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lizzyann

Ugh sounds like you're dealing with a lot! When my dinos got really bad I did everything you're doing but also did a 3 day black out w/ uv running. I saw you were considering that, but it's what finally put the nail in the coffin for me. They've popped up a little here and there since, but nothing that wasn't manageable with manual removal, feeding a little more, small water changes, etc. Not sure about the effect of a black out on the other issues though... I have no experience with BJD. I do think the dinos can be killing the coral too though. I don't think I ended up losing any of my coral but some looked pretty bad. I think it did play a part in one of my fish dying, and plenty of snails. Also recommend adding bacteria and pods! 

 

You might already know this but the chemiclean, big water change, and new carbon all at once is probably what caused the dinos. Now that you know your tank is sensitive to dino outbreaks be careful when making any big changes like that, unless it's your only option. The times mine have come back just a little is always after doing a larger water change or any kind of big "clean up" change.

 

Sounds like your dealing with a lot though, so take what I say with a grain of salt! Seems like it's hard to tell what your biggest evil is at the moment 😩

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Xanthine
21 hours ago, banasophia said:

did you try to dose some Microbacter 7 to address the dinoflagellates?

I hadn't this time around -- but after reading this I just did!! **crosses fingers**

 

20 hours ago, lizzyann said:

 also did a 3 day black out w/ uv running.

I think I am going to give this a shot next!! 

 

 

Right now I'm waiting for the daytime coagulation to occur so I can grab a sample to scope, just to ID. 

I'm wondering if it may actually be back in diatom stage and not dinos anymore, since the mucus, strings, and bubbles are all gone.

(EDIT: nope, scope shows it's still dinos with their silly little tethered circle swims)

Normally by noon-ish it would be a thick layer...but somehow today it's just a light dusting?!?  improvement?? maybe?? finally??

 

Good news, the duncan seems to be recovering well from the beheadings so far, and no more signs of decay thus far. I switched that tank light from the fowlr LED's to the lominie asta 20 again, and wow my royal gramma in that tank has perked up - normally it is so shy and hides unless it is feeding time, but with that light changeout, it is basking in the open!!

 

Also I was a little dramatic yesterday. I'm not reallllyyy that close to throwing in the towel. Quarantine has me a little on edge. 

Here's the tank a few minutes ago. (I took UV out for cleaning).

It's not in that bad of shape and most things are doing well, despite the neverending cyano/dino feuds.

 

August2nd2020.thumb.jpg.5ff1d5e3890d48e6e6fb92c27a574115.jpg

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Xanthine

So the past 2 hours now I've been watching my dinos alongside watching the NASA stream of the Crew Dragon DM-2 splashdown.

 

Interestingly, this is a different strain of dinos than initially proliferated a few weeks ago - previously it was the sesame seed shaped ostreopis who swung around like a game of tetherball. Those are the ones that were all stringy and muscusy.

 

Now, this sand based strain are FAST little buggers  -  amphidinium I think. 

Not totally sure if small cell or large cell. I need to put them against my scope scale. I'm thinking small cell though based on how fast they are. 

Small cell reportedly produce more toxins than large, but at least the small still go into water column at night so UV should still work. 

 

It looks like one battle approach is to purposely dose silicates to allow diatoms to take over instead.

I'm reading up a bit more on that before I pull the trigger though.

 

Auguststart.jpg.7c4af85b55ffb5cd84f954b231c92e0a.jpg

 Two hours later:

Augustfinish2hrs.jpg.53ee65dbecac2e5000da44c621439235.jpg

 

 

Gif of two hours. There's some wormies and pods that shift the sand around every so often. 

At the end-  the green filtered frame indicates when I added H202.

It only took a few minutes after that for the bubbles to form and everything stopped moving. 

NGL it felt kind of messed up seeing them die. I know they are 'bad'..but still....

Quarantine is getting to me for sure lol

 

DinosAugust2020.gif.06a411cabf1da382b33538a76a885591.gif

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Xanthine

I'm on day two now of the return to light after a solid 3 day blackout. 

 

It's looking way way better!!! I think the combo of increasing phos over time, UV, microbactr7, and the 3 day blackout helped a lot!

 

August132020.thumb.jpg.d345249763dddfc722fe06a6f5655481.jpg

 

One of the leptos (the one behind the leather) lost a lot of tissue during the blackout. The monti did too.  My toadstool mushroom also isn't looking too hot.  I moved the toadstool over to the little tank for now since it is kind of disintegrating and I'm leary of it releasing toxins. 

My turbo snail also died, and some of my coraline is bleaching white. 

I just did a small sand siphon, as there were visible chunks of detritus. I decanted the same water back into the tank after letting it settle since I'm avoiding water changes.

 

The big duncan that had started losing heads earlier this month was doing well in the little tank, but there isn't really enough flow there, so I moved in back in here and will continue to observe.

 

Having the tank boarded up for 3 days made me realize how much I enjoy watching the tank, even when it's driving me mad.

 

I ordered some snails and pods that will arrive next week - I'm excited to get the spiny star snails especially; I've wanted those forever but they have never been in stock during my past orders. And I've got plenty of hair algae for them now!

 

I also have a ricordea, acan, candy cane, and sun coral coming in. I know the sun coral will be a challenge but I think it will be a good quarantine distraction.  And the increased feedings I'll have to do to support them will hopefully help keep my phos up!

 

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Xanthine

A month later - and still no dinos - woohoo! 

 

But...the deep maroon cyano is back. It's mainly growing on patches of hair algae and in high flow areas.  Assuming it has to do with raising my phos levels.

I'm just turkey bastering rocks, siphoning out big patches - trying to let things balance back out without the dinos and with more stable nutrients. 

 

Also - lots of yellow sponge/tunicates! Like - everywhere. I've seen a few here or there previously, but now whenever I look I find a few -- check out under my green torch:

 

September2020.thumb.jpg.6678002472882c52d0d4693ea62ee3df.jpg

 

This is a terrible blue pic but my cespi is choosing not to stay on it's cespi island and instead made a little flesh bridge over to the main rockwork - so interesting to watch! 

My GSP island rock is also refusing to stay contained, and is becoming branching by building onto itself in little hollow rolls, it's pretty neat. 

 

Sept2020.thumb.jpg.4b0d73694becf245095f4b2851d8a571.jpg

 

I really need to get around to mounting some corals on rockwork - battling my mental epoxy fear still.

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billygoat

Finally caught up on the last few months of posts, and I have to say - kudos to you for sticking with it, despite the consistently huge problems that you're faced with. 🙏 It's enormously vexing that the same pests continue to come back again and again, despite the fact that you are clearly doing your homework and taking a wide variety of different measures to try to combat them. It takes a lot of fortitude to not lose faith in that kind of situation! I'm really glad to hear that you're still enjoying the hobby despite the setbacks, and I hope you are able to get your tank back to a stable state soon. I always enjoy reading your posts and I think your corals are beautiful despite their consistent problems.

 

This is likely something you've already checked out at some point, but have you taken a look at your source water? That was the first thing that popped into my head when I thought about the amazing regularity with which your cyano has returned. There might be something strange in the water you're using that's throwing stuff out of whack. Perhaps an ICP test would shed some light? Could be worth a shot at least. 🤷‍♂️

 

Hang in there! We're all along for this ride together with you here. 😁

 

 

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Xanthine
22 hours ago, billygoat said:

have you taken a look at your source water?

I review the annual CCRs, just from my past history working with EPA water testing and NPDES permits, but haven't actually tested my water now that I lost access to my 'free' work ICP.  Without doxxing my location too much...there are a lot of cyanotoxin /HAB (harmful algal blooms) in the (fresh)water here....but I would think using city water as input to my RODI would purify it enough?  For the first year or so I was only using bottled distilled water, and then I moved 100 miles away, and now use RODI...but I'm going to go back through my logs and check for any trends... it's an interesting thought that has me curious now!!

 

 

I've got a better picture of the cespi stretches. 

As I was removing clumps of hair algae, I realized that I have cespi and some xenia both growing on TOP of algae - kind of funny.

I'll be interested to see if the main stalk of cespi shrivels up and shrinks after the bridge to the great-grandchildren snaps, like what happened back at the end of June. If so I won't panic as much this time -- circle of life and all that I suppose.

 

CespiStretchSept2020.thumb.jpg.b072f7612c2c72b420c73e0810ec3b42.jpg

 

Here's a messy top down shot, before I did some cleaning, where you can see the red cyano - worst areas are top left where it took over the lepto, middle right rock around the blue sympodium, and the poor sun coral frag at the bottom that hasn't opened before getting covered with cyano.

But despite the challenges I still am pretty happy with it 🙂

236048311_TopdownSept2020(2).thumb.jpg.5bdcb15d8b1c609c70bd7d1325e1fcca.jpg

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