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billygoat

18g Caribbean Biotope - Six months old!🎉

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billygoat

Hi folks! I am here to share my nano with you. I've been in and around aquariums for much of my life (mostly as an admirer of other people's systems), but this is the first tank I've ever set up and managed entirely by myself, so I am still very much an amateur. In early November of 2018 I started lurking on nano-reef and a few other forums, and soon got the itch to start a tank of my own. After doing a lot of research I decided to set up a small system to display some of the species that I remember from my childhood in the Caribbean. 

 

So, here it is! Most recent FTS is at top; the FTS included with my original post is underneath.

 

6/14/2019

IMG_0194.thumb.JPG.093375dd1c9adb5308ede8f9b11cc31d.JPG

 

 

3/15/2019

3_15.19FTS(3).thumb.jpg.fec3f31616fa7cec62a7b579dc80cccf.jpg

 

My goal from the beginning was to create a simple and easy-to-maintain ecosystem that features species from Florida, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea. I wanted to run it as "natural" as possible, with as little equipment as I could get away with. So far I think I've done a pretty good job of meeting those goals. Here are the specs:

 

Equipment:

Tank: 18g Cobalt C-Vue AIO aquarium (with stand)

Lighting: Kessil A80 Tuna Blue w/Kessil X Spectral Controller

Heater: Cobalt Neo-Therm 75w

Circulation: Cobalt Mini MJ606 return pump and EcoTech Marine VorTech MP10 wavemaker

Mechanical filtration: pair of stock filter socks

ATO: Tunze Nano 3152

 

 

Stocklist:

(This list will be updated periodically to reflect the tank's current inhabitants)

Clean-up crew:
Dwarf and Florida Cerith, Planaxis, Virgin Nerite, and Nassarius snails
Orange brittle star (Ophiocoma wendtii)

Scarlet hermit crabs
Limpets (coral-munching hitchhikers!)

 

Invertebrates:
Caribbean mushrooms (Discosoma carlgreni and D. neglecta)
Ricordea florida
Purple plume gorgonian (Muriceopsis flavida)

Purple sea rod (Plexaura flexuosa)

Purple sea feather (Pseudopterogorgia sp.)

Rusty gorgonian (Muricea elongata)
Zoanthids
Stony corals (Stephanocoenia intersepta and Phyllangia americana)
Various hitchhikers (colonial tunicates, encrusting sponges, micro feather dusters, tiny brittle stars, bristle worms, Aiptasia, etc.)

 

Fish:
Masked gobies (Coryphopterus personatus) (2)

Sailfin blenny (Emblemaria pandionis)

 

Macroalgae:

Acetabularia crenulata

Amphiroa spp.
Botryocladia sp. (hitchhiker)
Galaxaura rugosa
Gracilaria hayi
Halimeda opuntia
Penicillus dumetosus
Rhipocephalus phoenix
Udotea flabellum

 

All very simple and easy-to-maintain inverts and fish, as you can see. I can't even really call it a reef, since the only few corals I have are nearshore Caribbean species that came in on my live rock!

 

Maintenance is very simple as well; I dose Ca and Alk by hand, and I do a 15% (~2 gal) water change once a week. I switch out the filter socks every time I do a water change. I also have a bag of carbon in the back that gets changed every 2-3 weeks.

 

You can view my original post and pictures here:

Spoiler

 

I started off with 10 lbs. of uncured live rock straight out of the Gulf of Mexico (gulfliverock.com) and 20 lbs. of CaribSea West Caribbean Reef live sand.

 

December 2018

firstfill.thumb.jpg.c9a2a898d259fd1c8fd4b7b527a43091.jpg

 

I am very wary of overstocking, so I have tried to keep things as simple as possible. My stocking was very gradual; I didn't even add fish until the tank was about two and a half months old.

 

Here are a few more photos. I apologize once again for the low quality ><

 

View from the left-hand side:

3_15.19(2).thumb.JPG.a0fe5630f56de35a8f24ec998cf4c5ef.JPG

 

One of my forbidden Caribbean SPS corals 😉 I am fairly sure this one is the Blushing Star Coral, Stephanocoenia intersepta. The lovely red macro at the top is Galaxaura rugosa.

3_15.19(1).thumb.JPG.125bb732f7dcb60ea02014cdacc86651.JPG

 

Purple plume gorgonians (Muriceopsis flavida). I chose this species because it is hardy and quite rigid, as there is not a lot of space for more whiplike gorgs to blow around in my tank. I originally only wanted one, but the "medium" specimen I ordered from kpaquatics.com ended up being more than nine inches tall, so I had to cut it into three pieces to fit it into my tank. So now I have three of them! ^^

3_15.19(7).thumb.JPG.61493919fdca1db06454e44127ccdb6e.JPG

 

Zoanthids and some of my plain-old turquoise ricordea, with a masked goby in the background. A monster Aiptasia anemone is visible on the right as well. Above the blue zoanthid on the central rock you can see another of my SPS corals. I am not sure about the ID on that one as it is still quite small; it may be a young colony of Oculina. (Edit 4/6/19: This is not actually Oculina but rather the Hidden Cup Coral, Phyllangia americana.)

3_15.19(3).thumb.JPG.8727e6e0d61c0573b517773f67f4f081.JPG

 

Here is one of my favorites: a giant fish-eating mushroom (Discosoma neglecta). When fully expanded it is more than three inches across, and I hear they get much bigger! I am not sure about the ID on the pretty red macro on the left; it started growing spontaneously on the substrate. It has soft feathery branches and seems to prefer fairly strong light and water movement.

3_15.19(4).thumb.JPG.5578b5d8497e3911917511bf0770b6fc.JPG

 

So far I have had no major disasters (knocking on all available wood), but small setbacks have certainly occurred. My tank has almost every type of aquatic pest you can imagine, including hair algae, cyanobacteria, bryopsis, Aiptasia, bubble algae, Dictyota, and more! So far none of these things have reached plague proportions, largely thanks to Cerith snails and diligent manual removal, and most of the nuisance algae is now in decline. Cyanobacteria growing on the substrate and glass continues to be a problem, but I think it is only a matter of time before that one gets beat as well.

 

I also have had some problems keeping crustaceans alive in my system, for reasons that are not entirely clear to me. I've tried a number of times to keep peppermint shrimp as a control for my Aiptasia, but they always seem to lose equilibrium and randomly die after only a few days in the tank. Even hardy hermit crabs don't last very long, with most of them slowing down gradually as time goes by, until they simply stop moving and die. A few have even exited their shells and wandered around naked for awhile before kicking the bucket. I'm a bit perplexed by this weird behavior, especially since everything else in the tank seems to be doing pretty well, but I have a few theories; perhaps there is a problem with heavy metals entering the tank somehow (copper, lead, etc.), or maybe some kind of allelopathic voodoo released by the soft corals or red macros is at work. I added some carbon this morning, so I will run the tank on that for a week or so and then perhaps try adding another shrimp.

 

Anyway, It's definitely been a learning process, but that's about what I've got right now! Thank you very much for visiting my journal, and thanks to each and every one of you for creating this wonderful community. This is my first post, but believe me when I say that I have already learned a whole heck of a lot from you guys. I look forward to being a part of the community! (And also to getting a better camera!)

 

 

Thank you for visiting my journal! I hope that you enjoy what you see in this thread, and if you have any questions about my system please don't hesitate to post them or message me!

 

Cheers,

Billy

 

 

 

 

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Friendly

welcome bg and thank you for sharing. that is an impressive looking tank!

 

have you lost any fish to that mushroom?

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Nano sapiens

Welcome!  Looks like you've put together a nice assortment that reflects the Caribbean biotope.  Your 'take it slow approach' with stocking is the correct way to go, IMO.

 

Out of all the pest species I'd be most concerned about the Aiptasia.  They sting just about everything and typically spread really fast (especially in tanks where fish are fed well).  My recommendation would be to save yourself headaches later on and remove the few (or is just one?) that you have in there now.  Also watch out for Mantis Shrimp if your fish start disappearing for no apparent reason.

 

Crustaceans and mollusks are indeed sensitive to toxic metals, so you may have some contamination.  I had similar difficulties (mostly with snails) many years ago in a tank with sand from the tropics (probably Philippine at that time).  After checking all the equipment for rust or deterioration (there was none), I remembered a story about someone finding some type of metal object in their sand bed.  Using a net that had mesh big enough for most of the sand to pass through, I sieved all the tank's sand and found a rusty fish hook!  You just never know...

 

Another thing you can do is run Polyfilter pad material.  It is supposed to remove elevated levels of metals and other elements, but not deplete them entirely (small amounts of trace elements are needed for system/organism health).

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billygoat
9 hours ago, Friendly said:

welcome bg and thank you for sharing. that is an impressive looking tank!

 

have you lost any fish to that mushroom?

Thanks @Friendly! So far the umbrella mushroom hasn't claimed any lives, but it does worry me... its feeding response is super fast when something favorable stimulates its oral disc, with the whole thing closing up in about three seconds. It's kind of fun to feed, as it curls up into a big green tomato. I've even fed it dead hermit crabs.

 

9 hours ago, Nano sapiens said:

Welcome!  Looks like you've put together a nice assortment that reflects the Caribbean biotope.  Your 'take it slow approach' with stocking is the correct way to go, IMO.

 

Out of all the pest species I'd be most concerned about the Aiptasia.  They sting just about everything and typically spread really fast (especially in tanks where fish are fed well).  My recommendation would be to save yourself headaches later on and remove the few (or is just one?) that you have in there now.  Also watch out for Mantis Shrimp if your fish start disappearing for no apparent reason.

 

Crustaceans and mollusks are indeed sensitive to toxic metals, so you may have some contamination.  I had similar difficulties (mostly with snails) many years ago in a tank with sand from the tropics (probably Philippine at that time).  After checking all the equipment for rust or deterioration (there was none), I remembered a story about someone finding some type of metal object in their sand bed.  Using a net that had mesh big enough for most of the sand to pass through, I sieved all the tank's sand and found a rusty fish hook!  You just never know...

 

Another thing you can do is run Polyfilter pad material.  It is supposed to remove elevated levels of metals and other elements, but not deplete them entirely (small amounts of trace elements are needed for system/organism health).

Thanks for visiting @Nano sapiens! Of all my various pests, Aiptasia are definitely the ones that worry me the most. I have two large-to-medium sized individuals and I am beginning to see small babies pop up here and there, which is very concerning. My original plan was to ignore the reproductive adults and rely on peppermint shrimp to control the babies (I assumed that the shrimp would not be interested in the larger anemones), but my difficulties with crustaceans kind of threw that idea off course a bit. I may end up manually removing the big anemones, but I am kind of scared to try. Perhaps I could inject them with hydrogen peroxide? I am not sure of the right way to go.

 

I'll definitely have to check my equipment for signs of corrosion, and perhaps my sand bed as well! I've got a pretty deep layer of substrate to support my rooting macroalgae, so perhaps something sinister is at work in there... Hopefully the carbon I added will help clean things up, and if not I think I will check out those Polyfilter pads.

 

Mantis shrimp are another concern, though thankfully I think they would probably have starved to death during the first months if they came in on my rock. I might not have chosen uncured live rock if I had fully understood the range of pests it was going to bring into my system, but I must admit that the coralline coverage and cool hitchhikers are definitely a bonus.

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WV Reefer
12 hours ago, billygoat said:

Hi folks! I am here to share my nano with you. I've been in and around aquariums for much of my life (mostly as an admirer of other people's systems), but this is the first tank I've ever set up and managed entirely by myself, so I am still very much an amateur. In early November of 2018 I started lurking on nano-reef and a few other forums, and soon got the itch to start a tank of my own. After doing a lot of research I decided to set up a small system to display some of the species that I remember from my childhood in the Caribbean. I resolved that if I could keep the system going with no major disasters for a period of 90 days, I would go ahead and start a journal to share it with you guys. And so here we are - my first fill was three months ago today!

 

So, here it is! Sorry for the poor photo quality; I'm hoping to get a better camera soon 😞

3_15.19FTS(3).thumb.jpg.fec3f31616fa7cec62a7b579dc80cccf.jpg

 

My goal from the beginning was to create a simple and easy-to-maintain ecosystem that features species from Florida, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea. I wanted to run it as "natural" as possible, with as little equipment as I could get away with. So far I think I've done a pretty good job of meeting those goals. Here are the specs:

 

Tank: 18g Cobalt C-VUE AIO aquarium (with stand)

Lightning: Kessil A80 Tuna Blue w/Kessil X Spectral Controller

Heater: Cobalt Neo-Therm 75w

Circulation: Cobalt Mini MJ404 (~160gph)

Mechanical filtration: pair of stock filter socks

ATO: Tunze Nano 3152

 

Nothing fancy here, that's for sure! Maintenance is very simple as well; I haven't been dosing anything, and I do a 15% water change once a week.

 

As for stocking, I started off with 10 lbs. of uncured live rock straight out of the Gulf of Mexico (gulfliverock.com) and 20 lbs. of CaribSea West Caribbean Reef live sand.

firstfill.thumb.jpg.c9a2a898d259fd1c8fd4b7b527a43091.jpg

 

I am very wary of overstocking, so I have tried to keep things as simple as possible. My stocking was very gradual; I didn't even add fish until the tank was about two and a half months old. Here's what I've got in there right now:

 

The crew:
Numerous dwarf Cerith snails
Florida Cerith snails
Virgin Nerite snails
Chocolate brittle star (color morph of the red brittle star, Ophiocoma wendtii)
Limpets (hitchhikers)

 

Other inverts:
Caribbean mushrooms (Discosoma carlgreni and D. neglecta)
Ricordea florida
Purple plume gorgonian (Muriceopsis flavida)
Zoanthids
SPS corals (Stephanocoenia intersepta, plus one other unidentified species)
Various hitchhikers (colonial tunicates, encrusting sponges, micro feather dusters, tiny brittle stars, bristle worms, Aiptasia, etc.)

 

Fish:
Masked gobies (Coryphopterus personatus) (4)

 

Macroalgae:
Avrainvillea sp. (hitchhiker)
Botryocladia sp. (hitchhiker)
Bryothamnion triquetrum
Cladophoropsis sp.
Galaxaura rugosa
Gracilaria hayi
Halimeda sp. (hitchhikers)
Penicillus dumetosus
Rhipocephalus phoenix
Udotea flabellum

 

All very simple and easy-to-maintain inverts and fish, as you can see. I can't even really call it a reef, since the only few corals I have are nearshore Caribbean species that came in on my live rock!

 

Here are a few more photos. I apologize once again for the low quality ><

 

View from the left-hand side:

3_15.19(2).thumb.JPG.a0fe5630f56de35a8f24ec998cf4c5ef.JPG

 

One of my forbidden Caribbean SPS corals 😉 I am fairly sure this one is the Blushing Star Coral, Stephanocoenia intersepta. The lovely red macro at the top is Galaxaura rugosa.

3_15.19(1).thumb.JPG.125bb732f7dcb60ea02014cdacc86651.JPG

 

Purple plume gorgonians (Muriceopsis flavida). I chose this species because it is hardy and quite rigid, as there is not a lot of space for more whiplike gorgs to blow around in my tank. I originally only wanted one, but the "medium" specimen I ordered from kpaquatics.com ended up being more than nine inches tall, so I had to cut it into three pieces to fit it into my tank. So now I have three of them! ^^

3_15.19(7).thumb.JPG.61493919fdca1db06454e44127ccdb6e.JPG

 

Zoanthids and some of my plain-old turquoise ricordea, with a masked goby in the background. A monster Aiptasia anemone is visible on the right as well. Above the blue zoanthid on the central rock you can see another of my SPS corals. I am not sure about the ID on that one as it is still quite small; it may be a young colony of Oculina.

3_15.19(3).thumb.JPG.8727e6e0d61c0573b517773f67f4f081.JPG

 

Here is one of my favorites: a giant fish-eating mushroom (Discosoma neglecta). When fully expanded it is more than three inches across, and I hear they get much bigger! I am not sure about the ID on the pretty red macro on the left; it started growing spontaneously on the substrate. It has soft feathery branches and seems to prefer fairly strong light and water movement.

3_15.19(4).thumb.JPG.5578b5d8497e3911917511bf0770b6fc.JPG

 

So far I have had no major disasters (knocking on all available wood), but small setbacks have certainly occurred. My tank has almost every type of aquatic pest you can imagine, including hair algae, cyanobacteria, bryopsis, Aiptasia, bubble algae, Dictyota, and more! So far none of these things have reached plague proportions, largely thanks to Cerith snails and diligent manual removal, and most of the nuisance algae is now in decline. Cyanobacteria growing on the substrate and glass continues to be a problem, but I think it is only a matter of time before that one gets beat as well.

 

I also have had some problems keeping crustaceans alive in my system, for reasons that are not entirely clear to me. I've tried a number of times to keep peppermint shrimp as a control for my Aiptasia, but they always seem to lose equilibrium and randomly die after only a few days in the tank. Even hardy hermit crabs don't last very long, with most of them slowing down gradually as time goes by, until they simply stop moving and die. A few have even exited their shells and wandered around naked for awhile before kicking the bucket. I'm a bit perplexed by this weird behavior, especially since everything else in the tank seems to be doing pretty well, but I have a few theories; perhaps there is a problem with heavy metals entering the tank somehow (copper, lead, etc.), or maybe some kind of allelopathic voodoo released by the soft corals or red macros is at work. I added some carbon this morning, so I will run the tank on that for a week or so and then perhaps try adding another shrimp.

 

Anyway, It's definitely been a learning process, but that's about what I've got right now! Thank you very much for visiting my journal, and thanks to each and every one of you for creating this wonderful community. This is my first post, but believe me when I say that I have already learned a whole heck of a lot from you guys. I look forward to being a part of the community! (And also to getting a better camera!)

 

Cheers!

 

Very nice tank!! 😊 

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Nano sapiens
2 hours ago, billygoat said:

Of all my various pests, Aiptasia are definitely the ones that worry me the most. I have two large-to-medium sized individuals and I am beginning to see small babies pop up here and there, which is very concerning. My original plan was to ignore the reproductive adults and rely on peppermint shrimp to control the babies (I assumed that the shrimp would not be interested in the larger anemones), but my difficulties with crustaceans kind of threw that idea off course a bit. I may end up manually removing the big anemones, but I am kind of scared to try. Perhaps I could inject them with hydrogen peroxide? I am not sure of the right way to go.

 

 

The two methods I've used to rid a tank of Aiptasia depend on where they are in the tank.  If they are an inch or more away from other organisms, I remove the rock and drip a drop or two of kalkwasser (calcium hydroxide) from an eye dropper onto the Aiptasia in such a way that it doesn't get onto other organisms (I've heard of people using lemon juice, too).  Calcium hydroxide has very high pH of around 12 and lemon juice has very low pH at around 2, so the organisms won't survive either.  If the Aiptasia is close to other organisms, I manually remove the rock base that the organism is attached to with a small flat screwdriver.  You don't want to shred the Aiptasia if you can help it since it can regrow from even a tiny piece, so removing the small piece of rock that it's foot is attached to is optimal.  After 'surgery' I would then check each week and if I saw any new ones (no matter how small) I'd eradicate them immediately.

 

It's a bit intimidating the first time going at these pests, but once you've done it you'll thinking "Why did I wait, this isn't so bad"  :)

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billygoat
10 hours ago, WV Reefer said:

 

Very nice tank!! 😊 

Thanks so much! I read your TOTM post several times during my lurking research period and was inspired by the low maintenance "dirty" style. It definitely helped me out a lot!

 

8 hours ago, Nano sapiens said:

The two methods I've used to rid a tank of Aiptasia depend on where they are in the tank.  If they are an inch or more away from other organisms, I remove the rock and drip a drop or two of kalkwasser (calcium hydroxide) from an eye dropper onto the Aiptasia in such a way that it doesn't get onto other organisms (I've heard of people using lemon juice, too).  Calcium hydroxide has very high pH of around 12 and lemon juice has very low pH at around 2, so the organisms won't survive either.  If the Aiptasia is close to other organisms, I manually remove the rock base that the organism is attached to with a small flat screwdriver.  You don't want to shred the Aiptasia if you can help it since it can regrow from even a tiny piece, so removing the small piece of rock that it's foot is attached to is optimal.  After 'surgery' I would then check each week and if I saw any new ones (no matter how small) I'd eradicate them immediately.

 

It's a bit intimidating the first time going at these pests, but once you've done it you'll thinking "Why did I wait, this isn't so bad"  🙂

I had read about using kalk to poison Aiptasia, but I had never considered simply chipping off the rock under their feet with a screwdriver! That's actually a super great idea! I will take a look at the positioning of my various pest anemones and see if I can simply remove them that way. Thank you! I am very grateful for the advice.

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billygoat

Here's another issue I've run up against: epiphytic pest algae growing on my macros.

 

epiphytes.thumb.JPG.1832a20da5844525d8c38a4cb9882306.JPG

 

Most of my red macros are pretty good about keeping themselves clean, but this particular one (Bryothamnion) seems to be just horrible at it! I've tried manually removing the algae from it multiple times, and I even pulled it out of the tank once and gave it a vigorous scrubbing with a toothbrush, but the algae always seems to return before long. In fact this macro is one of the only places in my tank where hair algae still grows regularly. Cerith snails occasionally climb its branches, but they don't spend much time up on top of it where the algae grows because the flow in that part of the tank is too strong for them. To make matters worse, Bryothamnion's serrated branches tend to trap a lot of detritus, which further encourages algal growth. It's an attractive algae (when it's clean) and I like the color, but I am considering just replacing it with a gorgonian, as I feel that a gorg would be less of a chore to maintain 😕

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billygoat

Top-down shot of the 'scape. Looking at it this way makes me realize just how oppressive that big flame algae on the right is... Not totally sure about that sea fan right smack in the middle of the center either. 😄 

 

3_15.19(6).thumb.JPG.56a25c7190bdf71f7fd96f752f41cda0.JPG

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Gourami Swami

I love this tank! Biotopes are awesome, I have kept several freshwater biotopes in my time and find it to be a very cool part of the hobby, to be able to recreate an exact replica of one region in your tank. I think your macros mesh well with the corals you've chosen, and the scape looks really great. I feel like this is totally something I would see diving in the islands. I'll keep an eye on this thread.

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billygoat
9 hours ago, Gourami Swami said:

I love this tank! Biotopes are awesome, I have kept several freshwater biotopes in my time and find it to be a very cool part of the hobby, to be able to recreate an exact replica of one region in your tank. I think your macros mesh well with the corals you've chosen, and the scape looks really great. I feel like this is totally something I would see diving in the islands. I'll keep an eye on this thread.

Thanks for the kind words! Biotope aquariums are definitely awesome, though I have to admit that a Caribbean biotope is so easy to put together that it almost feels like cheating... there are just a ton of reputable online retailers based in Florida that are more than happy to provide customers with local species. A freshwater biotope sounds quite a bit more challenging, especially if it's planted!

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billygoat

Got a shot of my "red" Caribbean brittle star this morning. At first I was a little dismayed about the chocolate color, but it's actually kind of grown on me. I like the orange spines, and these guys are such good scavengers that it's really hard to complain no matter what color they are.

 

brittlestar.thumb.JPG.a56de2a501fa247d729eb37a2e81bbf6.JPG

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TatorTaco

You've done a great job with your tank!  What are your future plans with this tank?

 

I wish I could offer some advice on your invertebrate fatality rate, but it hasn't 'affected your starfish which puzzles me.  Have you ordered your CUC from anywhere else, or from the same place?  Are you familiar with how to acclimate them? 

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Firefish15
5 hours ago, TatorTaco said:

I wish I could offer some advice on your invertebrate fatality rate, but it hasn't 'affected your starfish which puzzles me.

I also was wondering about that. Plus you have snails too. Maybe the shrimp and crabs are just more sensitive to heavy metal contaminants if that is the problem.

 

Looks really cool so far!

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billygoat

@TatorTaco and @Firefish15, Thank you both for checking out my system, and I'm glad that you like it! I do indeed have sea stars and snails, which is one of the reasons I was a bit confused as to why I was having problems with shrimp and crabs. If contamination with heavy metals is indeed the problem I'd expect my sea stars to be vulnerable as well, but so far they seem perfectly healthy.

 

I've purchased peppermints from two different retailers and in each case have followed their acclimation instructions: one suggested I do a slow drip acclimation, and the other directed me to simply float to match temperature and then add the shrimp directly to the tank. The drip-acclimated shrimp died within 48 hours, whereas the floated-then-directly-added shrimp lasted about a week. Both died in a similar manner, flitting around violently in the tank and appearing to "seizure" before losing equilibrium and falling over dead. 

 

I also thought it might be a matter of too-rapid pH or salinity changes, but my pH seems to stay steady throughout the day and night (at 8.2) and my salinity is held at a constant 35 (1.025sg) by my ATO. Maybe cyanobacterial poisoning could play some role? Red slime has been growing steadily in my tank for the past month or so, and quite a bit of it gets kicked up into the water when I manually remove it. I've never heard of that affecting shrimp though, much less hermit crabs, and everything else in the tank seems unaffected by my cleanings. It's a real mystery 😕

 

6 hours ago, TatorTaco said:

What are your future plans with this tank?

My most immediate goal is to get rid of my Bryothamnion macro because it is a horrible hair-algae magnet, and probably replace it with a new gorgonian. Hopefully that will happen next week! Beating cyanobacteria once and for all is another top priority, and eventually keeping shrimp alive would certainly be great as well. I think I'll try a new round of peppermints once I've had the system on carbon for awhile.

 

As for long-term goals, I just want to try to keep this tank healthy and stable for as long as I can. I'm not planning on adding much more livestock, as I think it's important not to go too wild with stocking when you have no skimmer or other equipment to help balance things out. And I'd like to get a real camera so I can produce some actual photographs of my tank!

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Firefish15

I've had pretty bad luck with emerald crabs, specifically. Lost both of the ones I tried with. I've had a hermit crab since the beginning though, and I got a peppermint shrimp a month and a half ago, which has molted a few times already. 

2 hours ago, billygoat said:

 

As for long-term goals, I just want to try to keep this tank healthy and stable for as long as I can. I'm not planning on adding much more livestock, as I think it's important not to go too wild with stocking when you have no skimmer or other equipment to help balance things out. And I'd like to get a real camera so I can produce some actual photographs of my tank!

Sounds like a good plan! I should take your advice about not going too wild with the stocking. I've got a simple, low tech 10g, but I've been wanting to add a third fish. I should resist... :rolleyes:

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Tigahboy

Sweet Christmas.  This is an amazing biotope nano!  And this is your first tank?! 

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billygoat
33 minutes ago, Firefish15 said:

Sounds like a good plan! I should take your advice about not going too wild with the stocking. I've got a simple, low tech 10g, but I've been wanting to add a third fish. I should resist... :rolleyes:

The temptation is definitely real, that's for sure 😉 But I think two fish is just about perfect for a 10g. Unless of course you want to add a skimmer... but be careful going down the equipment rabbit hole! You never know where you might end up.

13 minutes ago, Tigahboy said:

Sweet Christmas.  This is an amazing biotope nano!  And this is your first tank?! 

Thank you so much! That's very encouraging. It is indeed my first tank, but I did quite a lot of research before getting started, and I've had a whole lot of help and guidance along the way - especially from experienced reefers like yourself, right here on N-R!

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billygoat

A few photos from this morning. Trying out a different phone camera, seems slightly better.

IMG_2925.thumb.JPG.774e7ae1a9a228d514bfccc50d48716d.JPG

 

IMG_2926.thumb.JPG.0f37a823212016ad8a3732de52c2c65e.JPG

 

I think I might pick up one of those clip-on lens filters. Seems like they make a pretty big difference.

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Firefish15
1 hour ago, billygoat said:

I think I might pick up one of those clip-on lens filters. Seems like they make a pretty big difference.

I've read good things about the Polyp Lab one. Haven't bought one myself though. I need more coral to photograph first. :lol:

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lobster876

I think an rfa would be cool in here

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billygoat
1 hour ago, Firefish15 said:

I've read good things about the Polyp Lab one. Haven't bought one myself though. I need more coral to photograph first. :lol:

I've been reading reviews for a number of them and the Polyp Lab lens set definitely seems to be well-liked. I'll have to do some more research before settling on one though!

 

What kind of corals are you hoping to get in the future?

 

34 minutes ago, lobster876 said:

I think an rfa would be cool in here

I actually tried an RFA some months ago and ended up killing it thanks to some improper handling. 😞 I inadvertently damaged its pedal disc, after which it couldn't attach to anything and quickly disintegrated. An amateurish mistake to be sure, but it was an important lesson!

 

I think you're definitely right though; rock flowers are one of the most iconic Caribbean species and my biotope doesn't seem complete without at least one of them. Maybe I could replace the Bryothamnion algae that I am planning to get rid of with an RFA instead of another gorgonian? I will have to do some more reading about them though, as I am not sure what sort of light conditions and water motion they prefer.

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Firefish15
9 hours ago, billygoat said:

What kind of corals are you hoping to get in the future?

Nah, don't want to clutter up your build thread too much. This is your space.

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billygoat
11 hours ago, Firefish15 said:

Nah, don't want to clutter up your build thread too much. This is your space.

Well that is kind of you... but I still want to know! I will kick it over to your thread and ask there 😉

 

Yesterday I stuck a powerhead (Koralia Nano 240) back into my tank to try and get some more water movement on my cyanobacteria. I must have gotten exactly the right angle with it, because everything in the tank was just loving the flow. Gorgs were looking beyond extended... and my giant mushroom was nearly 4" across! I think I had better just leave that powerhead right where it is for now 😄

 

IMG_2930.thumb.JPG.7f7a0a39a1d3f3e1936839c9ead21330.JPG

 

IMG_2928.thumb.JPG.629486a05979bfeacb73428d713931c6.JPG

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DutchNanoReefer88

I really like the natural look with all the algae, very nice to see! Good luck with the tank. 😉

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