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billygoat

18g Caribbean Biotope

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Maddie

Ooh, try to find a Briareum like mine! It's so fluffy and moves a bit in the current. Super easy care too. 

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Amphrites

You could have gone with a continuous power supply unit meant for computers, they're called UPS', you can find a good branded one with an effective 500W battery-charge for $60-80 and they double as a power-strip lol.

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billygoat
16 minutes ago, Maddie said:

Ooh, try to find a Briareum like mine! It's so fluffy and moves a bit in the current. Super easy care too. 

Briareum is definitely a consideration! I'm also looking at Eunicea, or Plexaura flexuosa. Got to do some planning about placement. 🤔

 

6 minutes ago, Amphrites said:

You could have gone with a continuous power supply unit meant for computers, they're called UPS', you can find a good branded one with an effective 500W battery-charge for $60-80 and they double as a power-strip lol.

I considered getting a UPS backup or similar unit, but after a lot of research I decided against it. Apparently those PC backups do rather poorly at low voltages (it would just be running a wavemaker), and become unreliable relatively quickly. I was sorely tempted to just save a hundred bucks and get one anyway, but in the end I decided to get something that I'm (mostly) sure will work for at least a good while. I'm still sort of salty about it since the VorTech backup is massive and weighs like 17 lbs., but it's too late to change my mind now I guess! 😅

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Amphrites
4 minutes ago, billygoat said:

Briareum is definitely a consideration! I'm also looking at Eunicea, or Plexaura flexuosa. Got to do some planning about placement. 🤔

 

I considered getting a UPS backup or similar unit, but after a lot of research I decided against it. Apparently those PC backups do rather poorly at low voltages (it would just be running a wavemaker), and become unreliable relatively quickly. I was sorely tempted to just save a hundred bucks and get one anyway, but in the end I decided to get something that I'm (mostly) sure will work for at least a good while. I'm still sort of salty about it since the VorTech backup is massive and weighs like 17 lbs., but it's too late to change my mind now I guess! 😅

Some brands are flakier than others for sure, at ultra-low amp/watt-draw essentially all backups will lose efficiency (as they're all pretty much using the same tech). The real issue is that they can absolutely die for no real reason and leave you without a functional-backup and very few have any way of notifying you, however the same is also sadly true of just about any similar piece of equipment =( Some have them up and running for a decade or longer, others have them fail in a week or even go up in flames lol... Batteries man, they're a heck of a thing. Ecotech is a good brand though ^^

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billygoat
3 minutes ago, Amphrites said:

Some brands are flakier than others for sure, at ultra-low amp/watt-draw essentially all backups will lose efficiency (as they're all pretty much using the same tech). The real issue is that they can absolutely die for no real reason and leave you without a functional-backup and very few have any way of notifying you, however the same is also sadly true of just about any similar piece of equipment =( Some have them up and running for a decade or longer, others have them fail in a week or even go up in flames lol... Batteries man, they're a heck of a thing. Ecotech is a good brand though ^^

I'm vaguely afraid of the damned thing exploding or catching fire to be honest... I feel like anything can happen with these batteries! It's almost enough to make me throw up my hands and just roll the dice with no backup at all. But a short outage last week left me absolutely terrified, and I'm not at home much during the work-week so I think a battery-powered air pump would not be a reliable solution... so here we are I guess! 😅 Hopefully I don't run into any horrible problems with my backup down the road. I don't have anything rare or expensive in my tank, but I would still hate for anything to happen to my livestock.

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billygoat

Looks like my Cymopolia turned out to be a dud. 😞 Whatever caused it to dump all its chlorophyll during shipping must have turned out to be fatal, because it was bleached bone-white for five days and when I tried handling it today during a tank cleaning it began to rapidly disintegrate. 

 

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I went ahead and discarded it. Oh well! Better luck next time I suppose.

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Amphrites
17 hours ago, billygoat said:

I'm vaguely afraid of the damned thing exploding or catching fire to be honest... I feel like anything can happen with these batteries! It's almost enough to make me throw up my hands and just roll the dice with no backup at all. But a short outage last week left me absolutely terrified, and I'm not at home much during the work-week so I think a battery-powered air pump would not be a reliable solution... so here we are I guess! 😅 Hopefully I don't run into any horrible problems with my backup down the road. I don't have anything rare or expensive in my tank, but I would still hate for anything to happen to my livestock.

I'd be lying if I said I didn't sniff-check and feel the battery portion of mine for heat a few times a week...

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billygoat
3 hours ago, Amphrites said:

I'd be lying if I said I didn't sniff-check and feel the battery portion of mine for heat a few times a week...

Who can blame you? I'm sure I will be doing the exact same thing as soon as I finally get mine installed.

 

I also forgot to mention: last night I was observing my tank with a red light after the A80 turned off and I noticed my red brittle star harassing my feather duster worm. I drove it off with a toothbrush and tossed a piece of krill in there to distract it, and in the morning the duster looked fine... but that's one more thing to worry about! 👎

 

That brittle star is going to need to get rehomed eventually I think. It's getting pretty big for my little nano, and keeping it fed is proving to be a hassle!

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billygoat

Here's another interesting discovery: poop! A few days ago I noticed these fecal pellets appearing under a ledge in the rock, next to the Maw. I have no idea what is producing them or what it is eating to make so many of them, but a pile this size takes about a day to accumulate.

 

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I assume it is some sort of worm, since I've seen these pellets getting tossed out of a hole right in that area. But whatever it is, it doesn't come out of its burrow; I've checked both night and day and seen nothing so far. Very mysterious! Anyone have any ideas as to what this secret creature might be?

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vlangel

Haven't got a clue!  Maybe some nassarius snails would help eliminate some of it? Or a cucumber???

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billygoat
5 hours ago, vlangel said:

Haven't got a clue!  Maybe some nassarius snails would help eliminate some of it? Or a cucumber???

Yesterday I noticed my Cerith snails eating it actually, so I figure it must be mostly algal in origin. My sandbed is full of rhizomes from rooting macroalgae that have spread all over my tank, so maybe there is a worm digging around down there and eating those? It's very mysterious!

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billygoat

Things are turning south for my feather duster! Last night it got harassed by my brittle star again, and lost a few of its feathers. And this morning I saw it getting assaulted by a Nassarius snail, of all things! 🙄

 

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I have to be at work all day today, so for the time being all I can do is hope that it doesn't get any worse. 😓

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billygoat

Well, we've got the glass lid on 'er again. I have a love/hate relationship with this thing. Here's what I'm thinking:

 

1) It's been cooler recently and my tank keeps getting temperature swings, sometimes down to 75 in the evenings. The lid keeps it at a steady 78.

2) It keeps dust and dog hair out of my system. Bonus.

3) The black acrylic panel that covers my back chambers was starting to bow out. Using the attachment hinge to connect it to the glass part of the Cobalt lid set mitigates this.

4) It encourages me to keep my hands out of the tank.

5) It actually looks pretty slick when the whole thing is put together.

 

 

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It still reflects a ton of light but I've been ramping up my lighting over the past couple days to compensate for this a bit, so hopefully it will end up being okay. I have off tomorrow so I will monitor my lighting throughout the day and see what I think of it. I know this lid works fine for @melson, so maybe it can work for me as well.

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Amphrites

From my understanding, at least with acrylic, people tested with PAR meters and found you only lose like 10-12% at most even with condensation, long as it isn't crazy dirty. IIRC glass took away more, especially glass with any green in it as it actually filters out certain wavelengths, that said green likely isn't super necessary and you're probably not loosing that much par, it just looks like it.

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billygoat
37 minutes ago, Amphrites said:

From my understanding, at least with acrylic, people tested with PAR meters and found you only lose like 10-12% at most even with condensation, long as it isn't crazy dirty. IIRC glass took away more, especially glass with any green in it as it actually filters out certain wavelengths, that said green likely isn't super necessary and you're probably not loosing that much par, it just looks like it.

Well, that makes me feel quite a bit better about it! I figured I'd be losing a ton of PAR, but if it's not a big deal that puts me at ease. I will keep the lid on for the time being and see if anything shows a negative reaction. If not, it'll likely stay on for awhile.

 

As an extra bonus, this tank is almost completely silent with the lid on. Previously the loudest part of the system was the trickling noise from the overflows, but with the lid even that is only audible in the immediate vicinity of the tank.

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billygoat

Today is May 15th, and that means my little "reef" is five months old! 🎈 It's come a long way but I still have a whole lot to learn, that's for sure.

 

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In celebration of this occasion I decided to finally buy a Red Sea Reef Foundation test kit and check out my Ca/Alk/Mg levels. I found that my Ca is around 400, Mg is at 1300, and Alk is at an abysmal 6.3 dKH. Not exactly where I want to be, but fortunately I also picked up a few other goodies! It's time to dive into the Dosing Zone.

 

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I am going to be raising Alk slowly over the course of this week, and I bet that once it gets up to around 9 dKH that pesky cyanobacteria is going to be done for!

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melson

Tank is looking great!!!

 

I like my lid. It's FINALLY getting warmer here so probably in a month or so I'll replace it with a mesh screen to help with cooling.

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billygoat
2 hours ago, melson said:

Tank is looking great!!!

 

I like my lid. It's FINALLY getting warmer here so probably in a month or so I'll replace it with a mesh screen to help with cooling.

It's been unusually cool here in California as well! I was expecting it to be scorching hot by now but it's really very mild. I have a screen lid already made and ready to go in case things get too warm, but I will roll with the glass top for awhile longer to see how it goes.

 

Also: I was just browsing SaltwaterAquarium.com and saw they had a few of Waterbox's discontinued 4g pico cubes left in stock (on sale!) so I... bought one? 😂 I don't know why or what I am going to do with it, but I really wanted it for some reason that I don't understand! So that's on the way, apparently!

 

Is this multiple tank syndrome? Am I... ill? 🤣

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billygoat

My feather duster finally got fed up with my brittle star's constant harassment and popped its top while I was at work today. 😞 Its tube is still intact and it seems to be doing well enough given the circumstances, so I will try to keep it fed by administering Reef Roids directly into its tube with a pipette. Hopefully it can gather its strength and begin to regrow its tendrils... and in the meantime I will attempt to find a home for that evil brittle star!

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melson

My lfs offered me 5 bucks in store credit for my brittle star hitchiker that was getting just a bit too big in my 8g for my liking. You could go that route? 

 

I like that you're posting your successes AND your challenges. I was always apprehensive to do that because I thought if I bought something and it died people would assume I am a "killer" and lacking knowledge on what I'm doing.

 

That's just not the case. We are trying to replicate the ocean's most complicated ecosystems in our living rooms. There are a lot of variables with that!

 

Seriously keep it up! 🙂

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billygoat
9 hours ago, melson said:

My lfs offered me 5 bucks in store credit for my brittle star hitchiker that was getting just a bit too big in my 8g for my liking. You could go that route? 

 

I like that you're posting your successes AND your challenges. I was always apprehensive to do that because I thought if I bought something and it died people would assume I am a "killer" and lacking knowledge on what I'm doing.

 

That's just not the case. We are trying to replicate the ocean's most complicated ecosystems in our living rooms. There are a lot of variables with that!

 

Seriously keep it up! 🙂

Thank you melson! I really appreciate your kind words and support. I admit that it's a little embarrassing to report on one's failures (especially when you have lots of them, as is often the case with young systems), but I have always figured that when it comes to journals record-keeping should be the top priority. Now if you have no problems to keep a record of, that's of course the ideal situation... but only the very best of us are there! 😅 Practically every reefer has at least a little something undesirable going on.

 

Publicly displaying these challenges to anybody who reads our journals is another part of what makes N-R so great. Take this whole fiasco with the feather duster for example: I did my homework on these worms and made sure that I wouldn't have anything in my system that would go after one (peppermint shrimp, cherub angels, etc.) before pulling the trigger on my purchase. Nowhere did I read anything about feather dusters getting attacked by brittle stars, of all things! Unfortunate that I had to learn this way, but at least now someone else in the same situation might happen to read this account of my experience and plan their own system accordingly. So even if my animal doesn't make it, I've made a contribution to our collective knowledge that might help somebody else down the road.

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billygoat

The feather duster didn't make it. I attempted to spot-feed it with a pipette, but without any tendrils there was very little it could do to eat. Then it got brutalized a second time by the terrorist brittle star, which seemed to be interested in eating the poor duster's tube. The worm survived this assault but got pretty well mangled and soon became unresponsive, so I decided to euthanize it in the freezer.

 

Sad, especially since it was doing so well in my system before the brittle star took an interest in it! But a lesson is learned, and I am a better reefer for it. Remember friends: delicate tube worms and large brittle stars don't mix!

 

Other than that everything is actually looking quite nice on the reef today. I think I'm largely finished stocking fish and invertebrates in here (though I know I've said that before...🙄) but I'm planning on getting some more macroalgae later this week to help fill things out. Not sure what species yet but I'll keep you posted. 😉

 

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billygoat

The Maw! It's rupturing! omgomgomg

 

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This mushroom has been acting weird for the past week or so, and tonight I noticed that it is split open along one side. Some mesenterial filaments are protruding from this breach. I'm almost 100% certain that this fissure was initiated by the animal itself, because there is nothing else in my system capable of inflicting such a wound. I am not sure if it is splitting into two or just dying, but I will be sure to keep a careful eye on it!

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billygoat

Morning updates! The mushroom has a definite notch in its right side now. My money is on it splitting rather than dying. Here's hoping!

 

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Also Florida Cerith snails have been laying eggs all over the place, including directly on my front glass. Glad they're happy, I guess?

 

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Amphrites

I need more ceriths and nerites but all the LFS are selling 2-year+ old animals the size of quarters...

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