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billygoat

18g Caribbean Biotope

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minimal

Sweet post on the gorgs. Once my tank grows up a little bit, I might try one!

 

Love that coralline growth too, looks like it's growing really fast! 

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billygoat
14 hours ago, minimal said:

Sweet post on the gorgs. Once my tank grows up a little bit, I might try one!

 

Love that coralline growth too, looks like it's growing really fast! 

Thank you so much! I recommend gorgonians if you ever need to fill up vertical space. Most photosynthetic gorgs are very easy to care for and are not invasive like some other species of "filler" soft coral.

 

I'm so glad you mention coralline algae too! They are some of my favorites. Here are some different varieties of coralline from around my tank.

 

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Every reefer knows coralline is desirable and indicative of a healthy system, but I feel that few really appreciate the huge variety of different shapes and colors that these incredible algae display. I have taken to leaving certain patches of my hardscape intentionally bare, just so I can see the progression of coralline species that come in to colonize them. I'm a bit of a freak for pink and purple rocks, as you can see! 😁

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minimal

This tank is quickly becoming a favorite of mine! It’s all the tiny stuff that makes a reef KILLER. 

 

Did these just just naturally develop or did you get frags (I guess they’d be frags?)? I know gulf coast ecosystems carries the branching coralline sometimes. This is the first tank I’ve seen it grow noticeably in! 

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billygoat
12 hours ago, minimal said:

This tank is quickly becoming a favorite of mine! It’s all the tiny stuff that makes a reef KILLER. 

 

Did these just just naturally develop or did you get frags (I guess they’d be frags?)? I know gulf coast ecosystems carries the branching coralline sometimes. This is the first tank I’ve seen it grow noticeably in! 

The tiny stuff is really what I am in it for! I love all the little micro life-forms that sprout up here and there, and spend endless hours trying to identify and catalog them. 

 

As for the coralline: I started with uncured live rock straight out of the Gulf of Mexico, so all the encrusting and plating coralline species in my system came in that way. The thick branching (Neogoniolithon sp., I think) and soft branching (Amphiroa sp.) varieties were purchased separately, both from Gulf Coast Ecosystems if I recall correctly. Reef Cleaners also stocks similar varieties of branching coralline from time to time, so I've been thinking about picking some more up just to see if I end up getting a different type. 😅

 

Speaking of Reef Cleaners, I noticed they've been having $8 RFAs in stock off and on over the past few weeks and decided to get another one. It shipped just fine this time and attached immediately, which I took to be a very promising sign. It's rather small but I expect it to expand quite a bit once it settles down.

 

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Shout out to @johnmaloney for choosing a lovely specimen for me! It has beautiful pale golden tentacles.

 

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TatorTaco

I had no idea he sold RFAs! Sent him a message as I definitely want to order a few with Macroalgae, but I’ve been waiting on something else to add to warrant the shipping costs. 

 

Thanks for the the heads up!

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Firefish15
On 7/5/2019 at 6:57 AM, billygoat said:

Oh yeah; I totally expect that Agardhiella (and the Laurencia as well) to be a rather different shade of green/red a few months down the line. I'm quite curious to see what color they become once they get accustomed to conditions in my tank.

 

Right, so about those inverts that I also got.

 

Peppermint shrimp! The simplest shrimp you can get. I am a simple man; what can I say. This shrimp already seems to have eaten two small Aiptasia, which is great, and it's behaving normally so far. I am hoping this guy is one of the good ones, because I saw RFAs on sale at Reef Cleaners for $8 yesterday and couldn't talk myself out of buying one. I'm going to be target feeding this shrimp with a piece of flake morning and evening every day, so hopefully it won't get hungry enough to go after the rock flower 'nem once it arrives. Assuming the shrimp lives that long, of course. 😁😅

 

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The Naxia crabs have certainly wasted no time in making themselves at home! Just two days in and they are already thoroughly decorated. I'm actually quite surprised at how effective they are as cleaners; this guy singlehandedly trimmed down a decent-sized patch of wiry red hair algae that nothing else in my tank has ever been interested in eating. You can see him wearing some of it on his back now, presumably as a trophy of his conquest. Grisly.

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I was also thinking of getting a temperature controller since very hot weather will probably be in the cards here in LA pretty soon. But after examining my remaining power outlet options, I decided against it. 😅

 

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You can get power extenders, which are basically 6" extension cords. That way, you don't cover up outlets with bulky timers and adapters. 

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billygoat
10 hours ago, TatorTaco said:

I had no idea he sold RFAs! Sent him a message as I definitely want to order a few with Macroalgae, but I’ve been waiting on something else to add to warrant the shipping costs. 

 

Thanks for the the heads up!

Yeah, he's had them in stock a few times over the past week but they always seem to go super quickly despite the fact that they have so far been limited to 1 per order. Keep an eye on it! The one I got is quite small but is a great bargain nonetheless.

 

2 hours ago, Firefish15 said:

You can get power extenders, which are basically 6" extension cords. That way, you don't cover up outlets with bulky timers and adapters. 

Good idea! I bet that could save me some space if it ever comes down to it. I'll keep them in mind.

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billygoat

Been pretty busy the past couple of days but I do have some updates!

 

Predatory flatworms seem to have eaten most of the pods in my refugium. Sort of a bummer, but I can always reseed it later after they all starve, so I am not too worried about it. I've also been removing them manually by sucking them out with a pipette, which seems to help. The Ulva in there is doing fine, and there are a lot of tunicates and snails and other interesting creatures living in it, so I'd say that the 'fuge overall is doing well.

 

I trimmed back my Laurencia considerably because it was starting to get overgrown with epiphytic hair algae. Overall I have been unimpressed with Laurencia so far. It's kind of a less attractive, more brittle and difficult to clean version of Bryothamnion. It's possible that I just got a dull specimen though; I know the color can vary considerably.

 

Obnoxious cyanobacterial strands have started to reappear, this time streaming from the tips of my macroalgae. The sandbed remains unaffected. I believe this growth is the result of a temporary imbalance brought about by the introduction of my refugium and new livestock a few weeks ago, and may include a new variety of cyano that hitchhiked in on those recent additions. It's not a cyano "bloom" by any means, just a few strands that appear by the end of each day, so I am confident that things will swing back into balance before long.

 

Here's a quick and dirty FTS from this evening, and a few blurry pictures of crabs:

 

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A tiny porcelain crab:

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And a thoroughly decorated decorator crab (also quite tiny):

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billygoat

Hot weather is finally here in Los Angeles! Took forever this year, but I figured it would come around sooner or later. I've switched out the glass lid for my janky homemade screen one, and so far the temperature is holding at 80.4 F. I'm fine with anything between 76-82 as long as it doesn't swing too quickly, so that'll do for now.

 

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billygoat

Last night I experienced my first unplanned power outage since setting up this tank. Overuse of air conditioning due to hot summer temperatures knocked the power out on my block for almost 7 hours. I have to say, I sure am happy I pulled the trigger on a battery backup for my wavemaker! It has saved my tank several times already. If you're on the fence about buying a backup, I suggest that you go ahead and do it. They are quite expensive but the peace of mind is worth the price.

 

One nice thing about having a screen top on my tank is that it's much easier to remove for feeding and maintenance. That means I'll be able to get a lot more top-down shots! I love this view and am excited about getting to see it more often. Here's a picture from this morning:

 

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For comparison, here's a photo from April 15th:

 

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Things certainly have filled in a bit over the past three and a half months! I'm excited to see what the tank will look like on its one-year anniversary in December. Let's hope it makes it that far! 😅

 

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melson

Looking awesome @billygoat

 

All the tiny inhabitants make quite the sweet tank! 

 

I've always loved nano and Pico tanks and a major reason why is being able to take a magnifying glass and be in awe of all that is living in one! You've managed to do that in an 18g! 

 

 

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billygoat
39 minutes ago, melson said:

Looking awesome @billygoat

 

All the tiny inhabitants make quite the sweet tank! 

 

I've always loved nano and Pico tanks and a major reason why is being able to take a magnifying glass and be in awe of all that is living in one! You've managed to do that in an 18g! 

 

 

Thanks @melson! Things have definitely been growing in nicely over the past few months. It always amazes me how much tiny life I find in my aquarium, even after all these months of observing it. It seems like every day I spot something new and say "How cool! I wonder how long that has been in there..."

 

I hope everything is going well over in your biotope too! 😁

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billygoat

Had an exciting delivery today: rocks! 😄 I ordered some rock rubble from Reef Cleaners, and boy am I ever satisfied!

 

The mailman was extremely confused. "I'm so sorry; this box is all busted, and it's leaking some kind of white powder," he said. I told him not to worry about it because it's just a bunch of rocks, which prompted him to visibly try to work out in his head why anyone would ship a box full of dusty rocks across the country by priority mail. Must be a reefer thing. 😅

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This is really top-shelf stuff though. It's full of old shells and calcified worm tubes and is extremely porous. It obviously came right out of an ancient Caribbean reef. I'm ecstatic. 😁

 

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Some of these pieces will end up with gorgonians or other soft corals on them, which will provide me with the space I need to squeeze some more livestock into my biotope. I have a lot of choices though, as you can see! What am I going to do with all of this rock? 🤔

 

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It's clearly way too much for just the C-Vue alone. If only I had another aquarium, maybe some kind of pico, I could bust out the JB WaterWeld and make an extremely cool aquascape out of some of these frags! If only...

 

Meanwhile, in the corner of my bedroom, covered in dust:

 

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Hmm...

 

🤔...

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billygoat

Top-down shot with some new rock fragments in the display! They're so blindingly white! It's crazy to think that all the rock in my tank probably looked like that at some point. I've got the beginnings of a stocking plan for this new space, but the gears are still turning on that. In particular I'm not sure what to do about the small spot on the bottom left, next to my green mushrooms. Maybe more green mushrooms? 🤷‍♂️

 

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Amphrites

If you don't the green mushrooms will certainly move in the direction of "more green mushrooms" =p

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billygoat
1 hour ago, Amphrites said:

If you don't the green mushrooms will certainly move in the direction of "more green mushrooms" =p

You're probably right; given enough time those mushrooms will probably just cover that rock on their own. 😄 I think I'll leave the piece at bottom left uncovered and see how many months it takes for it to become encrusted with coralline algae. It'll make for an interesting experiment!

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Pjanssen
19 hours ago, billygoat said:

I'm not sure what to do about the small spot on the bottom left, next to my green mushrooms.

Corky!

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billygoat
1 hour ago, Pjanssen said:

Corky!

I was so torn on getting a corky! But I eventually decided to get the angular sea whip instead, as it's been a gorg I've had my eye on for awhile. I may end up putting the whip up front next to the green mushrooms rather than in the back though. We'll see how big it is when it arrives.

 

Ultimately I ended up ordering mostly Ricordea! 😅 I got (from KPA):

 

2 rainbow Ricordea

2 blue Ricordea

1 orange Ricordea

1 purple sea whip (Pterogorgia anceps) - nano size

cinnamon brown palythoa (~5 polyps)

 

I hope this will add some nice, soft new colors to the tank. I also contemplated getting another fish (either a neon goby or a royal gramma), but since I do not have any quarantine facilities set up at the moment I opted not to take the risk -- especially since the three fish I've already got have struck such a nice balance for themselves. They each have their own territories and they never fight, not even at feeding time. 

 

New livestock should arrive on Tuesday! Very exciting. 😁

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Amphrites

I just wish I could get my Ric to stop pouting lol, such Moody corallimorphs... I think it's because it is in the process of splitting into three or four separate animals though... 

Excited to see the rainbows, hope they don't shift in color too much!

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billygoat
2 hours ago, Amphrites said:

I just wish I could get my Ric to stop pouting lol, such Moody corallimorphs... I think it's because it is in the process of splitting into three or four separate animals though... 

Excited to see the rainbows, hope they don't shift in color too much!

They can be a bit moody, that's for sure. If you think yours is going to split, keep an eye out for budlings; sometimes Rics will drop little unattached clones of themselves which then drift randomly around the tank or get sucked into filter media. 😬 They also may look wrinkled or upset when they are in the process of moving to a better location. They inch across the rock extremely slowly, but eventually they will get where they are going.

 

I lost one of my tiny decorator crabs this morning. I actually think it had been dead for some time and I just didn't notice, because they move so slowly. 😅 I think he might have had a hard time in shipping or something. The other little decorator I have is still very active and looks to be going strong, so I am not too worried about it.

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Amphrites

Sorry to hear about the crab, the ric has three heads on it and seems to be splitting from the big and oldest head on the colony apart from the two new baby heads.

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billygoat
15 hours ago, IceParrot said:

If you were going to add another fish you could possibly do this: https://www.orafarm.com/product/tiger-goby/

I would love to get one of those ORA tiger gobies! That's a fish I've been considering for awhile, and I would feel much better about introducing it without quarantine if I knew it was captive raised. That's far from a guarantee that it's going to be healthy, of course, but I think that generally speaking fish are much less likely to have diseases if they have never been in the wild. Problem is I've not been able to find a vendor that actually stocks those ORA gobies. Live Aquaria lists them but I have never seen them in stock. Maybe some day I guess! 🤷‍♂️

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lizzyann
2 hours ago, billygoat said:

I would love to get one of those ORA tiger gobies! That's a fish I've been considering for awhile, and I would feel much better about introducing it without quarantine if I knew it was captive raised. That's far from a guarantee that it's going to be healthy, of course, but I think that generally speaking fish are much less likely to have diseases if they have never been in the wild. Problem is I've not been able to find a vendor that actually stocks those ORA gobies. Live Aquaria lists them but I have never seen them in stock. Maybe some day I guess! 🤷‍♂️

ORA tempts me with so many of their fish that aren't actually being bred or for sale anywhere! I actually emailed them about a couple species and got a very nice response saying that the ones I was interested in are no longer being bred. I get the feeling one of their goals is just to breed new fish that haven't been successfully captive bred before, get them out there and hope others pick up the breeding program while they move on to new species. 

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IceParrot

I think ProAquatix also breeds tiger gobies but I am unsure of there availability.

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