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billygoat

18g Caribbean Biotope - Six months old!🎉

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Kangster911

 

I agree with adding more macro algae to your display tank. It makes the biotope look more complete and it will probably help with red slime. Nonetheless, your tank still looks good, way better than mine. Hope my tank will look as good as your tank oneday

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billygoat
12 hours ago, Kangster911 said:

 

I agree with adding more macro algae to your display tank. It makes the biotope look more complete and it will probably help with red slime. Nonetheless, your tank still looks good, way better than mine. Hope my tank will look as good as your tank oneday

Thanks for your kind words! 😊 I'm thinking about getting some Sargassum; it's always been one of my favorites. Probably not the best filtering species, but it is very beautiful when it blows in the current. It's very common in the Caribbean and is emblematic of the region, so I figure it belongs in my tank.

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billygoat

The Maw of Murder. It has started to stretch sideways in the direction of the current since the introduction of my MP10; note the off-center position of its mouth. I wonder if it will eventually split if this keeps up. 🤔

 

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billygoat

So, a couple of notes from today that I'd like to keep a record of:

 

- I decided to remove my glass lid. The enormous reduction in light coverage was not worth what it had to offer, and I didn't like the general look of it. I'll be ordering a DIY screen lid set from BRS this week, I think.

 

- I took a look at the grocery store water machine I've been using, and have concluded that it is probably fine. It just takes tap water and runs it through RO, a carbon filter, and a UV sterilizer. No weird minerals or ozonation or anything like that. So I don't think that is my problem. Instead...

 

- I remember reading somewhere that CaribSea AragAlive sand has a tendency to leach phosphate - a compound that, along with iron, is one of the primary drivers of cyanobacterial growth. Now my sandbed and the lower regions of my glass are where the overwhelming majority of my cyano grows, and disturbing the top layer of my substrate (e.g. when attempting to manually remove cyano) seems to trigger an increase in growth. I also learned that phosphate toxicity can be an issue with sensitive crustaceans such as shrimp. So an overabundance of phosphate could be a possible explanation for both my red slime problem and my inability to keep certain crustaceans alive. So far reducing feedings, adding a 'fuge box for Chaeto, and increasing my flow don't seem to have had a significant impact on cyano growth, which leads me to believe that phos leaching might be the culprit here. I will order a RedSea phosphate test kit and test both my tank water and makeup water to see what I am working with. Hopefully I am on the right track, because things don't seem to be getting any less red in there! 😅

 

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I'm not 100% sure what I should do if I discover that leaching is indeed the problem. Rooted macroalgae have spread all throughout my substrate, so I can't toss the sand without losing all of those, and plus I don't want to throw out all the neat worms and other critters that have populated my sandbed over the past four months. There is some pretty cool and useful stuff living in there.

 

Quite a dilemma. I will have to think on it. 🤔

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Kangster911

I have the same sand for my tank but I only have CUC and a few frag corals now so my feeding is very sparing and only happens twice a week. Yes I am feeing a CUC defeating the purpose but I consider them as the members of the biodiversity of my tank and the emerald crab looks pretty cool. I hope I do not run into the red slime problem you are having once I add fish and start feeding more later...

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billygoat
22 hours ago, Kangster911 said:

I have the same sand for my tank but I only have CUC and a few frag corals now so my feeding is very sparing and only happens twice a week. Yes I am feeing a CUC defeating the purpose but I consider them as the members of the biodiversity of my tank and the emerald crab looks pretty cool. I hope I do not run into the red slime problem you are having once I add fish and start feeding more later...

I'm far from certain that my sand is the root of my cyano problem, so I wouldn't be too worried about it. Here's hoping that it never shows up in your tank at all! But even if it does, there are many ways to beat red slime, and some (I'm looking at you Chemi Clean) are much easier to execute than others. I'm trying to avoid dramatic chemical cures though, both because I want my tank to stay as natural as possible and because I am interested in determining the underlying cause behind my cyano outbreak, so I can address it and avoid such episodes in the future.

 

Also there's certainly no shame in feeding your clean-up crew, especially early on! I do the same thing actually. Every once in awhile I have to throw in a piece of rehydrated krill specifically for the army of Nassarius snails that was accidentally shipped to me. 😄 Amazingly it seems like many of them are still alive, despite my otherwise very light feeding schedule.

 

 

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billygoat

It's been awhile since I posted a "full-system" shot, so here's one for posterity. The primary appeal of a nano reef is of course in the tiny details, but sometimes I like to observe my tank from a considerable distance as well. I love the way all the reds, greens, pinks, and browns blend together from afar. I think it will look great once my sand turns white again! 😅

 

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melson

You need some gorgs in your life man! More macro too!

 

Basically more of everything! 😆

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billygoat
14 minutes ago, melson said:

You need some gorgs in your life man! More macro too!

 

Basically more of everything! 😆

It's too true! 😂 It's looking awfully bare in there. Don't worry though; I've got some livestock picked out and will be getting it in (hopefully) early next week. Then I just have to wait for GCE or ReefCleaners to get some Sargassum in stock, and I should be set. 😉

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Northwoodsreefer
12 hours ago, billygoat said:

It's too true! 😂 It's looking awfully bare in there. Don't worry though; I've got some livestock picked out and will be getting it in (hopefully) early next week. Then I just have to wait for GCE or ReefCleaners to get some Sargassum in stock, and I should be set. 😉

GCE is restocking this week! I was also looking at sargassum for my nano! 😂

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billygoat
10 hours ago, 9darlingcalvi said:

GCE is restocking this week! I was also looking at sargassum for my nano! 😂

Sargassum is definitely a lovely one! Not 100% sure where I will end up putting it, but hopefully I can find a location where it will blow in the current like it does in nature.

 

One of my shaving brushes has been receding over the past week or so, which led me to guess that it was getting ready to send up a new sprout someplace... and sure enough, a few days ago a fresh brush popped up right next door to the old one! This is pretty incredible because it is growing directly out of my live rock, which means that the new shoot was somehow able to wend its way through the undoubtedly complex internal structure of my rock before finally emerging to the light several inches up above. How do they even do that!? Algae are so cool. 😂

 

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Firefish15
29 minutes ago, billygoat said:

How do they even do that!? Algae are so cool. 😂

 

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Phototropism, man. Not sure the mechanism by which it happens, but it's still awesome.

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Kangster911

Hi. I emailed John at Reef Cleaner today and he says he will get more stock in a few weeks or two, saying it is starting to be season again.

Congratulation on the new sprout!

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billygoat

New livestock is ordered! I can't wait 😁

 

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Shoutout to KP Aquatics for all your patience and understanding!

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Firefish15

Pulled the trigger on the Gramma, huh? :lol:

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billygoat
8 hours ago, Firefish15 said:

Pulled the trigger on the Gramma, huh? :lol:

It took me a long time to decide, but in the end I went for it. It seemed criminal to have a biotope without a gramma! 😄 I'm trying to set the tank up so that when fully stocked it will contain species that can all be found in more or less the same environment (namely nearshore/lagoonal areas with around 1-2 meters of water). Seems that the Cherub Angel I was considering prefers to be quite a bit deeper, down between 10 and 40 meters.

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melson

I have both those gorgs and you can throw anything at them and they'll chug along, especially the purple sea feather. That was my first gorgonian and it has not cared one bit when I screwed up. 

 

Never had much luck with the sponge though. Longest I could keep one was 6 months and the tank was dirty and nutrient heavyy!

 

I have thought about keeping a gramma but already having a chalk bass I decided against it due to possible aggression. Right now my neon gobies fight plenty already! Lol 

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billygoat
20 minutes ago, melson said:

I have both those gorgs and you can throw anything at them and they'll chug along, especially the purple sea feather. That was my first gorgonian and it has not cared one bit when I screwed up. 

 

Never had much luck with the sponge though. Longest I could keep one was 6 months and the tank was dirty and nutrient heavyy!

 

I have thought about keeping a gramma but already having a chalk bass I decided against it due to possible aggression. Right now my neon gobies fight plenty already! Lol 

Glad to hear about the gorgs! I did some research and decided to pick the hardiest ones I could find this time. I figured it would be a good idea to get tough species, given my track record with them. 😅

 

The sponge is going to be a bit of an experiment. Other filter feeders seem to do well in my tank (my colonial tunicates seem to be multiplying), so I thought I might give it a shot. Not 100% confident that I can pull it off, but we'll see how it goes.

 

Good call on not mixing a gramma with your chalk bass; I think the two of them would go at it for sure.

 

In other news... I spotted this bizarre creature roaming the glass on my tank last night, and found it again buried deep in the substrate this morning. It seems to be some sort of giant planarian flatworm. It's about the size of my thumbnail. I think it feeds on film algae that grows on the glass, or perhaps on the tiny creatures that live on the algae. I have no idea how long it has been in there, but it seems safe enough. I'll tentatively declare that it is a pretty cool critter.

 

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Northwoodsreefer
5 hours ago, billygoat said:

Glad to hear about the gorgs! I did some research and decided to pick the hardiest ones I could find this time. I figured it would be a good idea to get tough species, given my track record with them. 😅

 

The sponge is going to be a bit of an experiment. Other filter feeders seem to do well in my tank (my colonial tunicates seem to be multiplying), so I thought I might give it a shot. Not 100% confident that I can pull it off, but we'll see how it goes.

 

Good call on not mixing a gramma with your chalk bass; I think the two of them would go at it for sure.

 

In other news... I spotted this bizarre creature roaming the glass on my tank last night, and found it again buried deep in the substrate this morning. It seems to be some sort of giant planarian flatworm. It's about the size of my thumbnail. I think it feeds on film algae that grows on the glass, or perhaps on the tiny creatures that live on the algae. I have no idea how long it has been in there, but it seems safe enough. I'll tentatively declare that it is a pretty cool critter.

 

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That is the coolest creature ever!!!

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billygoat

My RedSea phosphate test came in, and my aquarium appears to be running at undetectable levels.

 

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Tested my RO bucket too; also undetectable. Now this doesn't mean that nothing in my tank is leaching phos, since it could simply be used up as quickly as it becomes available. But at least it seems to confirm that my RO water is not contaminated with organic nutrients. I did a massive manual cleaning of my sandbed yesterday right before the lights turned off, and will be performing a fairly large water change today, so we'll see if that has any impact on cyano growth.

 

Edit: Also, Alk is low; around 5 dKH. I will retest after my water change and see how it looks. I may have to perform several large water changes this week to get it back up to where I want it. Raising Alk will almost certainly help with cyano, I think.

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billygoat

Rics, gorgs, and macros. It's not much, but it's all I've got, folks.

Check out the weird growth pattern on that Galaxaura. I wonder what's causing it to branch all crazy-style like that. Maybe it's getting too much light or flow.🤔

 

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billygoat

Limpets have been chewin' on the edges of my Stephanocoenia colony lately. 😢 I know I should prioritize the coral, but I don't know if I can afford to get rid of the limpets. They do such a great job of cleaning the rocks... and besides, I don't even know if it's actually possible to remove them. They are super strong!

 

A disclaimer: my limpets are hitchhikers that are a different species from the ones that John at ReefCleaners sells. So don't be dissuaded if you see them there; I believe his are 100% reef safe!

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billygoat

Decided to break down my 'fuge today. After nearly 3 weeks my chaeto had shown very little growth, and was becoming overgrown with slimy hair algae, film algae, and cyanobacteria. The low-flow space at the bottom of my 'fuge box had also become a disgusting graveyard of decaying algae encrusted with cyano. This isn't the best shot, but you can see all the nastiness down there:

 

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Oh well! The chaeto was probably getting too much competition from the macroalgae in my display. Here's today's lesson for my fellow reefers: no, your planted aquarium probably does not need a refugium. 😅 Learn from Billy, folks! You'll save some money down the line!

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Firefish15

Add the fuge to the equipment stockpile for your next aquarium! 😂

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billygoat
9 minutes ago, Firefish15 said:

Add the fuge to the equipment stockpile for your next aquarium! 😂

Looks like that's where it's going! 😆 I don't regret it; I think it was an idea worth trying. Just happens that whatever my cyano is eating is not something the chaeto was willing to compete for, I guess!

 

I'm doing another large water change today to try and raise alk, so hopefully that will help more than the fuge did.

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