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Tiny Fish, Big Tank - sublunary's RSR 250

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1 hour ago, Tired said:

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.

I didn't see any others releasing gametes, and I only have one of that species.  I'll settle for the free fish food, and the extra motivation to indulge in night time tank viewing. 

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On 12/28/2020 at 10:14 PM, sublunary said:

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. 

That is super cool and something I have never experienced.

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I've had a couple of weeks to adjust to the Reef LEDs.  I've finished up my acclimation period, so they're at full strength.  I chose the 20k setting, which runs 100% blues and 50% whites.  I honestly prefer a much whiter tank, but picked a bluer setting to hopefully favor the corals a bit more than the algae.   The tank looks pretty purple, which I don't love, but don't entirely hate.  I'm down to a manageable amount of GHA and haven't had to do any manual removal in quite a while.  The corals seem to be liking it.  Some of the zoas I had nearly given up on are opening now. 


I find it really interesting that 2 clumps of sympodium getting different amounts of shadow have noticeably different colors now. 



The lights were advertised as being designed to focus more light into the tank, creating less shadowing in the tank and less lightspill into the room.  Compared to the Primes (which were admittedly a few inches closer to the water surface) there is sooooo much more light spill.  Light everywhere.  And yet some of the shadowing inside the tank is a bit worse.  Oh well.   I can deal with both.


I'm really liking the moonlight setting.  With the primes, I could set moonlight, but kind of had to guess at what color channels and intensities to use, and never found one I liked.  The automatic moonlight channel on the ReefLEDs is a great gentle light that looks fairly natural to me.  I don't think they were running long enough to give them credit for the gorgonian spawn, but it's possible. 


The one thing I really don't like about them is that they SUCK for photography.  The AI Prime app had a nice big button for "All On" so that with one click I could make the lights a good mostly-white blend that was pretty easy to take photos under.  No such button from Red Sea.  I really wish lighting apps would include an option to schedule a photography mode that would last for a set time the way pumps have a feed mode.    I should set up a custom schedule that's just 24hrs of mostly white that I can switch to for pictures.  I don't know why I didn't think of that before. 


Look at all this purple.  It's awful.



You can barely see the fish.




As you may be able to see above, my brown slime is still an issue, and is getting a bit more pernicious. I finally got a decent enough sample under the microscope and it's definitely dinos.  I'm not able to make a firm ID of what kind though, so if you think you can help, please head on over to my:  Dino ID Thread


So I'm hoping to get a more narrow dino ID to so I can make a game plan.  I stopped doing water changes once I started suspecting dinos.  Nitrates are still over 25, phosphate still low but detectible.  I'm siphoning them into a filter to remove some without removing water.   I'm kind of hoping I have one that I don't need to buy a UV for, mostly because I know I'll get so nervous about hooking it up that I'll procrastinate on it...

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I've got a preliminary ID of my dinos as amphidinium.  The amphididumim behavior described in most guides I've seen doesn't seem like mine - they are frequently confined to the sandbed and don't form strings.  Mine are on every available surface and very stringy.  They aren't supposed to kill corals and CUC like other strains.  I've had quite a few losses I attribute to them.  But the more I compare microscope videos the more convinced I am.   And they're one of the hardest to get rid of.  Yay.  


I've spent a while reading the big R2R threads and gathering materials, and more or less have a plan.  Amphidinium are not light dependent, and blackouts don't seem necessary.  They hunker down in the sandbed at night instead of going into the water column, so UV fixtures don't seem to help.  I'm reading mixed reports on whether regular removal of dinos, by siphoning through filter sock is actually helpful.  Raising temps only seems to help people temporarily.


The main solution seems to be increasing biodiversity and particularly increasing diatoms to outcompete the dinos.  This includes having detectible nitrates and phosphates, increasing silicates, and making sure diatoms and other critters have what they need to multiply.  Having diatoms take over seems to be the key.  


I haven't done a water change in quite a while, so my trace elements have probably been pretty well depleted by the dinos.  My nitrate remains high (between 25 and 50).  Since my last post, my phosphate bottomed out, even with increased feedings.  Kh and Calcium are kept pretty stable by dosing.


So here's the plan:

I've been siphoning dinos into a 5 micron filter sock a couple of times per week.  I'm going to make that a bit more frequent. 

I'm going to do about a 10% water change this weekend to get some trace elements in there for the diatoms to use.

I started dosing silicates about a week ago at a very low dose.  My Si test kit arrived today, so I will be able to ramp that up in an informed way going forward.

I have started dosing NeoPhos to get/keep my phosphate detectible again.

I'm going to keep dosing my home brewed phyto and copepods. 

I'm getting an IPSF order on Thursday for a microfauna boost.  A few people have had success covering the most infested parts of their sandbed with IPSF's wondermud so I figure it's worth a try.  This will also replace some of the sandbed worms I've lost. 


Some people have said they've only had success beating ampihdinium with removal of their sandbed.  I really, don't want to do that, so cross your fingers it won't come to that.  I like my sand-burrowing critters.


There's a lot of conflicting stories and not a lot of success out there, so I may be in for a long ride.  


FPG came out to flip it's fins at me as I was working today.  It didn't appreciate the flash,  But at least I have a photo to post...





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Wow, I feel for you!  It sounds like you have a solid plan however.  I wish you the best of luck.

Great pic of the FPG.

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