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sublunary

Tiny Fish, Big Tank - sublunary's RSR 250

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sublunary

Spiky new friend has arrived to help with my GHA.   It's ORA captive bred, so hopefully it will will with me for a good long time.  It's only about an inch in diameter right now.   I've never had an urchin before and I'm absolutely captivated. 

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I also got a handful of nassarius snails.  I started out the tank with a handful of nassarius who disappeared into the sand and were never seen again .  I didn't think much of it, since it was a shipment that USPS had held hostage for way longer than they should have and had several DOAs.  It was also the shipment where I was sent 2 marginella snails instead of the 2 cowries I ordered. 

 

Well, I think I know what happened now.  The second the nassarius hit the water today, the marginellas appeared and started chasing them down.  Those little buggers are fast!  So now I've got a couple of nassarius in the sump and a couple of new empty shells for the urchin to use as camoflauge.  Weirdly (thankfully) the marginellas seem to have no interest in any algae-eating snails.  Those nassarius must be extra tasty for some reason.

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sublunary

I'm leaning into my areas of success and focusing on softies and algae for a bit.  I had the opportuniy to get some macro from a local reefer, which I've split between the display and the fuge. 

 

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Also picked up a green nepthea, which seems happiest at night. 

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The urchin has chosen it's first piece of camo. 

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It cracked me up when I saw it had grabbed a piece of botryocladia 5 times it's size.  Super sneaky.

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I'm still working on the GHA (clearly).  I'm siphoning it as close to every day as I can manage, and will do some more hands-on manual removal when I restock my gloves.  It's a slow battle, but not overwhelming yet.  And I did not expect the GHA to attach to the macros like it did, so I'm being extra careful to clean them off.  The CUC is helping with the rocks, but not so much with what's on the macros.   

 

I've gotten a bit of brown stuff on the sandbed in one spot - a spot that looks like it gets high flow.  *shrug*  But thankfully the pervasive brown stuff I had problems with earlier has not returned.   I'm also getting cyano in a couple of spots, but that's kind of typical.  I'm definitely feeling more optimistic about everything,  There's a lot of work to do, but I feel like I'm back on the right trajectory. 

 

For no reason, emerald crab hugging the baby leather. 

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Tired

GHA will latch onto macros that aren't strong enough to fight it off, yep. Pull it off by hand and try to tilt things in the macros' favor. 

 

What are your parameters? Non-pest algae and macros, AKA hair algae competition, need good levels of nutrients to grow. If you're doing a lot of water changes, that can be a problem.

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farkwar

I wish I had GHA

 

It's easier to deal with than this brown sludge algae I got..merkin algae

 

And I know who I got it from, too.  Never had this junk in my tanks before. But have seen a few YouTube tanks with it or references to it now

 

I predict more and more reefers will be seeing it

 

Anyway, just two pointers on urchins

 

They will eat through insulation of electrical cords in your tank, say for powerheads.  And they will eat coralline algae, they eat down to the rock

 

Put some of that spiral wire wrap around your cords, before anything or anyone gets a zap.  Just a suggestion

 

Or use cordless powerheads like the Ecotech MP pumps

 

 

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sublunary
On 11/2/2020 at 1:09 AM, Tired said:

GHA will latch onto macros that aren't strong enough to fight it off, yep. Pull it off by hand and try to tilt things in the macros' favor. 

 

What are your parameters? Non-pest algae and macros, AKA hair algae competition, need good levels of nutrients to grow. If you're doing a lot of water changes, that can be a problem.

Yeah, I think the pulling off by hand is helping at least.  Still figuring out how to tilt things more in the macros' favor. 

 

Nutrients are typically high - nitrates are around 25 (Salifert)  and Phosphate at .30 (Hanna ULR).  I have a hard time with keeping phosphate stable.  I'm still trying to find the right balance of GFO (but not so much that it bottoms out phosphate), and feeding (but not so much that it maxes out the Hanna checker).  

 

On 11/2/2020 at 1:24 AM, farkwar said:

I wish I had GHA

 

It's easier to deal with than this brown sludge algae I got..merkin algae

 

And I know who I got it from, too.  Never had this junk in my tanks before. But have seen a few YouTube tanks with it or references to it now

 

I predict more and more reefers will be seeing it

 

Anyway, just two pointers on urchins

 

They will eat through insulation of electrical cords in your tank, say for powerheads.  And they will eat coralline algae, they eat down to the rock

 

Put some of that spiral wire wrap around your cords, before anything or anyone gets a zap.  Just a suggestion

 

Or use cordless powerheads like the Ecotech MP pumps

 

 

I'd heard about urchins eating coralline, which doesn't overly bother me.  I had not heard about them munching power cords though.  Thank for the warning!  The gyre pumps have cords in the tank so that'll be next on my list to deal with.   

 

I just dealt with some brown sludge before the GHA went gangbusters.  I wonder if it's the same stuff.   Or if that brown sludge is something I get to look forward getting eventually...  There's no end to the variety of annoyances in this hobby.

 

 

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vlangel

Hey, I have not visited N-R for a while but I am liking what I see with the direction your tank is going.  Don't let the nuisance algae discourage you, that will settle down as the tank continues to mature.  I love the fish, inverts and coral you have chosen.  So many interesting creatures!

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sublunary
3 hours ago, vlangel said:

Hey, I have not visited N-R for a while but I am liking what I see with the direction your tank is going.  Don't let the nuisance algae discourage you, that will settle down as the tank continues to mature.  I love the fish, inverts and coral you have chosen.  So many interesting creatures!

Thanks Dawn, that's the kind of encouragement that keeps me going!  I'm glad to see you back.

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vlangel
7 hours ago, sublunary said:

Thanks Dawn, that's the kind of encouragement that keeps me going!  I'm glad to see you back.

Thanks sublunary, it's nice to be back.  Ha ha, it's nice to see folks who still remember me.

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sublunary

Yesterday I added another new friend to help prune the algae.   I've been contemplating getting a captive-bred Rainford's goby since I heard about their much higher rate of success over wild caught.   Since I have plenty of algae and an opening for an active swimmer I decided to pull the trigger. 

 

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It's very brave and likes to come investigate when I'm sitting in front of the tank.  Otherwise it's doing constant patrols around the rock scape.   I think the assessor likes having it around so far.  The assessor has been out more than usual today, and will occasionally follow the goby to the other side of the tank, as if checking out what it's up to.  

 

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I have seen it pick at the sand a bit, but no clear eating yet.  But it's still early.  Hopefully it will continue to settle in and stay with me for a good long while. 

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Tired

Aw, I love those. My old tank had a Hector's goby, which is pretty similar, and I kept it fat and happy by not pruning some hair algae patches that had showed up. There was enough for him to eat on it without running out. 

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farkwar
On 11/3/2020 at 1:54 PM, sublunary said:

I just dealt with some brown sludge before the GHA went gangbusters.  I wonder if it's the same stuff.   Or if that brown sludge is something I get to look forward getting eventually...  There's no end to the variety of annoyances in this hobby.

 

 

Seabass clued me in to what it most likely called

 

Chrysophytes

 

All of the reefer info and posts appear to be relatively new. Say, 2017 on

 

I have never seen it before, And I've been doing this since the 90s

 

What's bad about this is that it kills corals, mine at least.  I don't think I have ever had a crap algae do that before

 

I am going to starve it to death

 

Then move, was already going to do this, the corals to a bigger tank

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sublunary
6 hours ago, farkwar said:

Seabass clued me in to what it most likely called

 

Chrysophytes

 

 

Oof, I've seen a few other people post about chrysophytes recently - never heard of it before this year.  It seems tough to beat.  Good luck!

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sublunary

When someone is coming over:

20201123_185355.thumb.jpg.cefb82d2bedc41c7c639c695c041dc0e.jpg

 

Literally all of the rest of the time:

20201119_141058.thumb.jpg.9c81bf0ac89167eb6e88ac86a576693b.jpg

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farkwar

My housekeeper was drinking some Voss water the other day

 

Me, "When you done with that water, can I have the bottle?"

 

She's, "It's your water"

 

Me, "Oh, that's cool. I don't want the water. Just the bottle, drink the other ones too"

 

Seemed silly to buy it, and pour the water down the drain

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sublunary

Ha! I love it.  Yep, I basically chugged 6 sparkling waters so I'd have somewhere to keep Phyto. 

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vlangel
On 11/23/2020 at 6:59 PM, sublunary said:

When someone is coming over:

20201123_185355.thumb.jpg.cefb82d2bedc41c7c639c695c041dc0e.jpg

 

Literally all of the rest of the time:

20201119_141058.thumb.jpg.9c81bf0ac89167eb6e88ac86a576693b.jpg

This makes me laugh and takes me back to my younger days!

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sublunary

B:  Taking aquarium photos?

Me:  Yeah, I haven't done that in way too long.

B: . . .

B:  You do that literally every day!

Me:  Not with the good camera.....

 

 

I haven't felt much like taking photos lately because OMGAlgae.   I'm siphoning (almost) every day, doing a no-light day once every week or two, and manual removal once or twice a week.  I had a 'well duh' moment last week.  I've been sad I built my scape in way that I can't take rocks out without destroying the sandbed...and it took me until last week to remember that's only true for the branch rocks.  Most of the other rocks are only balanced and not glued down for just this situation.  So I spent about three hours with a bunch of dish pans and a toothbrush, and feel like I finally made some progress. 

 

Still messy, still a lot of work to do, but getting there.

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This guy has started pulling his weight.  He is appreciating the siphoned-clean algae a lot. I find it funny that whenever I feed the rest of the fish, he starts grabbing algae like he wants to share mealtime with them. 

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You can see some of the newly cleaned rocks here, and how I forgot how to put them back in their old positions.  The mushrooms at the bottom are relatively new.  Someone in my local reef club had one that turned into about 100 and was selling them to the club for cheap.  

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This is from about a month ago, when it was one mushroom instead of 3.  I have high hopes for them, once I figure out a final placement. 

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Every one else is doing their thing.  Yellow assessor still likes to hide in the back corner when I have the camera out, though it's much braver the rest of the time.

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The male blenny still hangs out in the egg barnacle 24/7, making spectacular derp faces.  

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The female spends most of the days on top of the shrimp shelf looking for food.  She looks so chonky, it's adorable. 

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Hi Fin goby, showing off its sparkle.

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and last, a confession.   I've been keeping a secret.  

 

I got 2 more fish right around the time things really started going wonky.  I didn't post about them right away because a) everything was going wonky and b) I wasn't sure I'd ever get pictures.   But after 2 months of fairly frequent sightings I think it's time to share.

 

Meet my favorite fish ever, Discordipinna greissingeri, the flaming prawn goby.  

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I haven't found any info on how to sex them, so all I can say is that mine are not a bonded pair.  They don't live together, but they also aren't aggressive towards each other. 

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They use a surprising amount of the tank and I've seen them pretty much all over.   The biggest difficulty is that they are mostly out at dusk, when everything is blue and hard to photograph.  My first FPGs were out a lot in daylight, so I'm kind of hoping I'll see more of them eventually.  It's not for everyone, but I love having secret fish that are rarely seen.  It's like a surprise gift every time they show up for me. 

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vlangel

It looks as though things are going pretty well and in the right direction.  I think once the tank matures that the algae issues will recede and resolve themself.  Like you I occasionally remove the rock on top of the sandbed for maintenance purposes.

 

I love your fish choices and the pics of them.  Especially cute is the blenny peeking out of the barnacle.  The new 'secret's fish are pretty cool too.  I also like secret fish like my panamean barnacle blenny.  I plan to get a few more of them.

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Tired

I wouldn't suggest scrubbing your rocks. The best way to get pest algae to go away, is to have plenty of competition for it. That competition comes in the form of various less invasive algaes, which can only grow if you give them enough nutrients and time. Scrubbing the rock, though it removes the pest algae in the short term, also removes the non-pest stuff. And pest algaes, being what they are, will rapidly spread back onto the clean rock. 

 

Give it time. Keep your nitrates and phosphates up at reasonable levels, make sure your cleanup crew is adequate, and let it work itself out. The pest algae will slowly phase out in favor of the less bothersome stuff. You should remove long tufts of hair algae, since snails can't eat that, and you should keep it off corals. Other than that, let it be ugly. 

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sublunary
2 hours ago, Tired said:

I wouldn't suggest scrubbing your rocks. The best way to get pest algae to go away, is to have plenty of competition for it. That competition comes in the form of various less invasive algaes, which can only grow if you give them enough nutrients and time. Scrubbing the rock, though it removes the pest algae in the short term, also removes the non-pest stuff. And pest algaes, being what they are, will rapidly spread back onto the clean rock. 

 

Give it time. Keep your nitrates and phosphates up at reasonable levels, make sure your cleanup crew is adequate, and let it work itself out. The pest algae will slowly phase out in favor of the less bothersome stuff. You should remove long tufts of hair algae, since snails can't eat that, and you should keep it off corals. Other than that, let it be ugly. 

Agreed, the main point of scrubbing the rock was to get more areas of new growth that the snails can eat.  My snails have been fleeing to the glass to eat, because what stays on the rock was too long.   Also, I have had to move all of my zoa and blasto frags to a rack or the sandbed because they were getting overgrown within days.  I need a clean area of rock to work with.  

 

But yeah, I'll be watching to see how the tank and these rocks in particular react.  If I can avoid ever doing that again, I'll be perfectly happy. 

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sublunary

Let's try this whole instagram embedding thing...  I want to share with you overly blue videos of flaming prawn gobies, since they are slightly more interesting than overly blue still photos of them.

 

Blah, ok apparently instagram is full of errors tonight.  So no video for now.

 

In other news, I have been thinking since I measured my PAR oh so many months ago, that my old Primes were just not cut out for this tank, and I needed an upgrade.  I decided to go with ResSea ReefLED 90s.  I like that they are made for my tank and the programming is designed to be idiot-proof, so there can be at least one thing that I can stop second guessing.  They arrived last week, to much excitement, only for me to discover that one of the mounting arms has a defect and can't be put together.  Thankfully RedSea customer service is hooking me up with a replacement, but it means I can't play with the new shinies until next weekend.  

 

Also in things I feel like I tested ages ago, ICP-analysis finally posted my results.  Everything is in range except iodine, which they found to be undetectable.  I find that surprising, and concerning if it's true, so an idoine test kit will be one of my next purchases.  (If anyone else is thinking of doing an ICP test right now, pay for one of the more expensive brands.  Their website is all sorts of broken and won't even display my results correctly.)

 

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sublunary

So after entirely giving up on embedding, I went to drop the link, and it worked.  Huh.  

 

So since then things have been obnoxiously rocky. 

 

I bought new lights!  

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They arrived at the beginning of the month, but a piece of the mounting bracket was made incorrectly.  Red Sea customer service was great, sent me what I needed with very little questioning.  Except the piece they sent me was not the piece I needed replaced.  So another week or so, and they sent me the correct part.  Then things were crazy and I had no free time...  but today they have finally been installed!  I'm doing a 2 week acclimation period, because the advertised PAR for these in my tank is so much higher than I was getting with my primes.  I'm going to repurpose the oldest Prime as a fuge light and keep the other for other projects.  Part of me wants to try a pico at some point...  

 

Totally unrelated to lights, my pH probe seems to have acquired a seizure disorder.  I went from getting nice gentle waves in the 8.0 to 8.2 range, to this monstrosity:

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I gave the probe a good cleaning and now have it in a mounting rack, and it's mostly stopped doing that.  I plan to recalibrate it and see if that fixes it.  I may need to buy a new probe, but honestly I don't know if it's useful enough to me that I feel the need. 

 

Unrelated to all of that, we had a couple of really cold nights last week, and I learned that a) the wall next to the tank is not as well insulated as I thought, and b) one heater is not sufficient when it gets that cold.  Unfortunately it took me a while to realize that plugging in a second heater might help.  So the tank dropped from 77 to 74 over about 12 hours, then came back to 78 over about 10 hours,  I've had worse fluctuations in prior tanks, so wasn't overly worried about it.  But temp got back to normal Thursday evening, Friday morning things looked ok, and Saturday morning both my cleaner shrimp were dead.    The only think I can think of to explain it is the temperature fluctuation, since nothing else happened around that time.  It's just weird to me it would be delayed by a day.  The other inverts are all fine.  I'm really sad about it, I hate losing animals, and it hurts worse when I can track it back to me doing something dumb. (Though watching a 1 inch pistol shrimp try to carry off a 3+ inch cleaner shrimp corpse is kind of morbidly hilarious). 

 

My GHA problem is much more in control, to the point where I can leave most of the maintenance to the CUC.  I am dealing with the nasty brown stuff again though. I'm still not sure what to make of it.  I always have detectable phosphate and high nitrates, plus I don't get anything pulling together when I do the jar test, so I really don't think it's dinos.  It mostly grows on the sandbed and is just not pretty. 

 

In more optimistic news, I received some nice reefing gifts today. 

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I am really excited about the tripod - I delete sooo many blurry pictures because of shaky hands.  Here's hoping I can get through the remaining festivities and find some time to play with it soon!

 

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vlangel

Nice update, although sorry to hear about the cleaner shrimp.  I hate losing animals too so I understand.  It sounds like in general the tank is doing well.

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sublunary
On 12/26/2020 at 10:12 PM, vlangel said:

Nice update, although sorry to hear about the cleaner shrimp.  I hate losing animals too so I understand.  It sounds like in general the tank is doing well.

Thank you.  I always find losing animals makes me lose my confidence for a bit, even if other things are going well. 

 

I did have a nice confidence boost tonight though.  I went to check out the tank during moonlight, and noticed a few little white spheres floating around.  The more I looked, the more I noticed, gently floating up and around like a slow motion snow globe.  I traced it to my tall orangey gorgonian. 

 

 

I've never had a coral spawn before, so I'm super excited.   I love how the hobby gives me these moments of unexpected beauty. 

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Tired

Oh, cool! That's really rare in aquaria, though I guess it doesn't help that not too many people keep gorgonians. Did you see any others releasing any other gametes? It would be amazing if they spawned successfully and actually landed more gorgonians, though I'm sure all those eggs probably wound up as fish snacks.

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