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18g Caribbean Biotope

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Wonderboy

That's my favorite view of this system - looking very nice! Look at that jawfish watching everything you do lol!

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billygoat
On 9/16/2019 at 9:49 AM, Wonderboy said:

That's my favorite view of this system - looking very nice! Look at that jawfish watching everything you do lol!

Glad you like it! The top down is definitely a great view. It reminds me of looking into a tide pool.

 

Here are some photos from around the tank today, as promised! 😊

 

The jawfish has been working very hard on various home improvements. His hole is starting to look more like a proper burrow.

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After more than six weeks in the tank, these palythoa are quite comfortable and have started to reproduce. I'm sure that soon I will have more of them than I know what to do with. 😅 They are huge eaters, accepting everything from Reef Roids to flake food with extreme gusto.

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Ricordea florida. These are some of the newer ones. All of them seem to have adjusted well. I also got a tiny orange Ric as a freebie when I ordered my jawfish, but that one detached and disappeared shortly after being introduced. Not much to be done about that I suppose. 🤷‍♂️

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The Maw of Murder and its neighbor, a green RFA with golden tentacles. These two actually seem to get along pretty well. They don't appear to be stinging each other.

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Purple plumes. These were the first gorgonians I added to my system, but they seem to grow quite slowly despite being downright shaggy with polyp extension. I have a feeling they might benefit from increased feeding. 🤔 I may have to start feeding Roids more frequently.

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Plexaura flexuosa. This gorg sure has come a long way. It's my favorite of the five species of gorgonian in my tank.

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And here's a full system shot to cap off this photo dump. Thanks for looking! 😁

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Ratvan

So much to look at in each photo. Jawfish is amazing. Love the snail army too

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lizzyann

Beautiful, love that jawfish pic! 😝

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billygoat
1 hour ago, Ratvan said:

So much to look at in each photo. Jawfish is amazing. Love the snail army too

37 minutes ago, lizzyann said:

Beautiful, love that jawfish pic! 😝

Thank you both! The jawfish is definitely the star of the show whenever he is out and about, but unfortunately he still spends quite a bit of time hiding. I'm hoping that he will become a bit braver as time goes by. He is still only a juvenile, after all.

 

As for the snails... yeah, I have some snails. 😂 I think it's something like eight or nine Florida Ceriths, somewhere between 50 and 70 dwarf Ceriths, 6 virgin Nerites, 2 larger Nerites, small Planaxis snails, at least a dozen Nassarius snails... they are starting to reproduce in there too, so I probably won't have to worry about getting more anytime soon. Which is great because every time I order more from Reef Cleaners I end up with way more than I need. 😅 

 

I do however have a distinct lack of hair algae grazers. I think I have only one blue-leg hermit left; not sure what happened to the other 5 or so but they were tiny so I reckon they got consumed by something. I'm considering getting a cherub angel to help pick on the turf, hair, and bubble algae that has been cropping up here and there of late. I don't mind a bit of turf on the rocks but I would like to make sure it stays under control.

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Amphrites

>_> You could condition a sailfin molly to saltwater
https://www.practicalfishkeeping.co.uk/features/mollys-the-word/

"Many mollies are found in the Caribbean islands and several species are endemic to just one island or island group, for example, Poecilia elegans and Poecilia dominicensis to Hispaniola, and Poecilia vandepolli to the Lesser Antilles."

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Lypto

Guppies also work!  They aren't as avid algae eaters I think though.

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Amphrites
7 hours ago, Lypto said:

Guppies also work!  They aren't as avid algae eaters I think though.

Are there Caribbean guppies too?
Oh wow there are... Endlers live bearers are REALLY gorgeous and supposedly adapt well to saltwater and breed a little too readily for some lol...

https://news.illinois.edu/view/6367/206943

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billygoat
12 hours ago, Amphrites said:

>_> You could condition a sailfin molly to saltwater

 

9 hours ago, Lypto said:

Guppies also work!  They aren't as avid algae eaters I think though.

Mollies and guppies are certainly both beautiful, and I wasn't aware that they came from the Caribbean! I feel like they might not be appropriate for this particular biotope since they are not normally found in the same nearshore full-salinity areas that the rest of my livestock comes from, but keeping them alongside macroalgae and gorgonians would definitely make for a stunning display. I wonder if anyone has tried it before? 🤔

 

Maybe keeping the fish count at 3 is the best option anyway, since the jawfish will likely become quite a bit bigger as it grows. Foregoing the 4th fish and adding some additional hermits to try and control algal growth is probably the safer course, though hermits have traditionally fared somewhat poorly in this system for whatever reason. I think they end up eating the available algae and then starving to death, so a fish would be better in that regard because it would be easier to make sure it stays fed. Plus those cherub angels are awfully active and beautiful... I don't know; I'm super on the fence about this. 😂Hopefully sooner or later I will make up my mind.

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xM3THODx

Another sweet Caribbean reef tank, Love it! 

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billygoat
10 hours ago, xM3THODx said:

Another sweet Caribbean reef tank, Love it! 

Thank you! I really appreciate the support. 😊

 

I've got some news from this morning: the Maw has moved! I noticed it repeatedly detaching/reattaching after I repositioned the MP10 at the front of the tank a few weeks ago, so I decided to switch it into the back corner and move the orange Ricordea and green mushroom in that corner up to the Maw's previous spot in the front. It seems to have taken this in stride, and is already fully expanded. I think it is enjoying the reduced flow.

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This does slightly alter the overall layout of the tank, as you can see from the top-down view. But I think it will end up being better for all parties overall.

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Oh, and when I was moving the Maw I noticed that during its travels it had left behind a little bit of its foot on one of the rocks it had crawled across. So now I have a little Micro Maw! It looks like a tiny lump of brown goo at the moment, but I know that in time it will grow into a fish-eating monster like its parent. 💪 The green thing at the top right is one of the Maw's marginal tentacles, just to give you an idea of how tiny this little budling is.

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And also: jawfish. Can't forget the jawfish.

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That's all I've got for today. Hope you folks all have a great day! 😊

 

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Hannahhhh
23 minutes ago, billygoat said:

Thank you! I really appreciate the support. 😊

 

I've got some news from this morning: the Maw has moved! I noticed it repeatedly detaching/reattaching after I repositioned the MP10 at the front of the tank a few weeks ago, so I decided to switch it into the back corner and move the orange Ricordea and green mushroom in that corner up to the Maw's previous spot in the front. It seems to have taken this in stride, and is already fully expanded. I think it is enjoying the reduced flow.

IMG_0510.thumb.JPG.8a4df88e8da181c5107ada3e352c2800.JPG

 

IMG_0515.thumb.JPG.bf72ec72d6dd56e9a15c003b4103ebc6.JPG

 

 

This does slightly alter the overall layout of the tank, as you can see from the top-down view. But I think it will end up being better for all parties overall.

IMG_0509.thumb.JPG.85b2b405603f2042364075c33dfda711.JPG

 

 

Oh, and when I was moving the Maw I noticed that during its travels it had left behind a little bit of its foot on one of the rocks it had crawled across. So now I have a little Micro Maw! It looks like a tiny lump of brown goo at the moment, but I know that in time it will grow into a fish-eating monster like its parent. 💪 The green thing at the top right is one of the Maw's marginal tentacles, just to give you an idea of how tiny this little budling is.

IMG_0512.thumb.JPG.27b5bcb1619d6a99208fd061bfa52a21.JPG

 

 

And also: jawfish. Can't forget the jawfish.

IMG_0508.thumb.JPG.75871d89aa975ddda2229bbca9fa4d6a.JPG

 

That's all I've got for today. Hope you folks all have a great day! 😊

 

Your tank looks awesome! I love your blue zoas, what are they called? Also what exactly is a maw? It looks similar to my mushroom.

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billygoat
37 minutes ago, Hannahhhh said:

Your tank looks awesome! I love your blue zoas, what are they called? Also what exactly is a maw? It looks similar to my mushroom.

Thanks @Hannahhhh! The blue zoanthids are a no-name wild-collected species from Florida. They came from KP Aquatics. KP's zoanthids are beautiful and very affordable, so I suggest you check out their selection if you are interested in getting some more zoas!

 

The Maw is just the name I gave to my giant Caribbean mushroom (Discosoma neglecta). I call it that because it ate one of my gobies a few months ago. 😅

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Hannahhhh
4 hours ago, billygoat said:

Thanks @Hannahhhh! The blue zoanthids are a no-name wild-collected species from Florida. They came from KP Aquatics. KP's zoanthids are beautiful and very affordable, so I suggest you check out their selection if you are interested in getting some more zoas!

 

The Maw is just the name I gave to my giant Caribbean mushroom (Discosoma neglecta). I call it that because it ate one of my gobies a few months ago. 😅

Omg I didn’t know mushrooms could do that...

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billygoat
5 hours ago, Hannahhhh said:

Omg I didn’t know mushrooms could do that...

Most don't, so don't worry! But this particular species definitely likes to snack on small perching fish if it gets the chance. Its feeding response is very rapid, and it readily accepts various meaty foods. I personally think it is super cool even if it has a fairly standard coloration and a penchant for devouring my other livestock. 😁 I've fed it dead hermit crabs as well, and from time to time it will also consume a hapless snail that drops on top of it from the glass above. At one point it even came close to eating a peppermint shrimp! 

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Ratvan
3 hours ago, billygoat said:

Most don't, so don't worry! But this particular species definitely likes to snack on small perching fish if it gets the chance. Its feeding response is very rapid, and it readily accepts various meaty foods. I personally think it is super cool even if it has a fairly standard coloration and a penchant for devouring my other livestock. 😁 I've fed it dead hermit crabs as well, and from time to time it will also consume a hapless snail that drops on top of it from the glass above. At one point it even came close to eating a peppermint shrimp! 

I love the name "The Maw" it makes me think of horrific images of a massive gaping mouth lined with teeth

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The Shroom is cool too 😄 

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billygoat
5 hours ago, Ratvan said:

I love the name "The Maw" it makes me think of horrific images of a massive gaping mouth lined with teeth

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The Shroom is cool too 😄 

"A massive gaping mouth lined with teeth" is basically an apt description for the thing... minus the teeth of course. I'm actually kind of tempted to get an anemone shrimp, just to see if it gets eaten. I have a feeling that this mushroom would be more interested in a snack than it is in symbiosis. 😂

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billygoat

This deep blue FTS under evening lights makes me realize how much green stuff I have in my aquarium. It's a pretty common color for photosynthetic organisms I guess! 🤷‍♂️

 

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Also, I decided to purchase a captive-bred (ORA) sharknose goby to replace the sailfin blenny that jumped a few weeks back. That should be arriving on Tuesday. Not the most responsible purchase as I am quite broke right now (just got a new car a few weeks ago), but I love my aquarium and wanted to celebrate the fact that my tank is 9 months old by "finishing" the system with a 4th and final fish. After that I have no plans to add any additional livestock for the time being, but I am very excited to watch everything I've put together fill in and grow. 😊

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Pjanssen

Yep green and red are definitely predominate colors, especially when you don't do sticks or high end Zoanthids (none of which seem to be caribbean). But you also have a lot of the purples and yellows from the Gorgs. A nice balance I think.

I think I missed the part where your sail fin jumped 😪. I enjoy my little shark nose gobies, I just wish I could keep them both together.

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billygoat
15 hours ago, Pjanssen said:

Yep green and red are definitely predominate colors, especially when you don't do sticks or high end Zoanthids (none of which seem to be caribbean). But you also have a lot of the purples and yellows from the Gorgs. A nice balance I think.

I think I missed the part where your sail fin jumped 😪. I enjoy my little shark nose gobies, I just wish I could keep them both together.

It's definitely a more muted color scheme in here, but I really like the soft pastel greens, pinks, reds, and blues and the natural balance of the algae and gorgonians swaying in the current. Though I admit that part of me will always be jealous of the insane colors on high-end zoanthids and SPS corals, I like to imagine that it's possible to build a beautiful (and inexpensive!) reef system even without them.

 

As for the sailfin blenny, yeah he unfortunately jumped about three weeks ago. At the time I had a poorly-fitting homemade lid on the tank that left about a 2/5 of an inch gap between the edge of the lid and the glass. Turns out the poor blenny found a way to jam himself through there at just the perfect angle. I've since made a much better lid that actually fits properly, so I no longer worry much about jumpers. I just wish I hadn't learned that lesson the hard way. 😞 The new sharknose goby will at least be protected when he arrives!

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Dirté Sanchez
7 minutes ago, billygoat said:

It's definitely a more muted color scheme in here, but I really like the soft pastel greens, pinks, reds, and blues and the natural balance of the algae and gorgonians swaying in the current. Though I admit that part of me will always be jealous of the insane colors on high-end zoanthids and SPS corals, I like to imagine that it's possible to build a beautiful (and inexpensive!) reef system even without them.

 

As for the sailfin blenny, yeah he unfortunately jumped about three weeks ago. At the time I had a poorly-fitting homemade lid on the tank that left about a 2/5 of an inch gap between the edge of the lid and the glass. Turns out the poor blenny found a way to jam himself through there at just the perfect angle. I've since made a much better lid that actually fits properly, so I no longer worry much about jumpers. I just wish I hadn't learned that lesson the hard way. 😞 The new sharknose goby will at least be protected when he arrives!

I'm sorry about your blenny! I have a horned blenny and he likes to get a little hoppy in there, testing the boundaries. I did a DIY mesh screen from IM when I got the Evo, but I couldn't figure out how to make a light cutout, so the screen came up about an inch short to the back of the tank. We solved that with folded sheet metal corners that we painted and protected to cover the gaps on either side of the light holder. Since I restarted the Evo tank, with a new light, there was a new gap formed, and for now I cover THAT hole with a credit card and rock to hold it down. 

 

Have a new lid coming in another month or so from ClearView. I wish it didn't take quite so long, but making do until then. At least my blenny can't get out.

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Poison Dart Frog

This tank is looking excellent. It looks so nice with how much it is growing in. Having a biotope makes it look like peering into the ocean while snorkeling. 

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billygoat
21 hours ago, Poison Dart Frog said:

This tank is looking excellent. It looks so nice with how much it is growing in. Having a biotope makes it look like peering into the ocean while snorkeling. 

Thank you so much! I tried to stock this tank with a bunch of species that I remembered actually seeing in the ocean when I lived in the Caribbean, and so far I am pretty pleased with the way it has come together. I'm glad you are enjoying it as well. 😊

 

So check this out. I came home late in the evening and the lights were nearly out, but you can see in this bluest of too-blue pictures that one of my porcelain crabs has somehow made its way off the rocks and onto the bottom of my wavemaker, where it is currently waving its feeding appendages in the current. How did it get a good six or eight inches above the nearest climbable surface? I have no idea. Porcelain crabs are not strong swimmers by any stretch of the imagination, but I guess anything is possible on the reef. 😂

 

InkedIMG_0528_LI.thumb.jpg.0f2f7e149a798bad8a78dd3ba8e7a24a.jpg

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billygoat
On 9/21/2019 at 8:35 PM, Dirté Sanchez said:

I'm sorry about your blenny! I have a horned blenny and he likes to get a little hoppy in there, testing the boundaries. I did a DIY mesh screen from IM when I got the Evo, but I couldn't figure out how to make a light cutout, so the screen came up about an inch short to the back of the tank. We solved that with folded sheet metal corners that we painted and protected to cover the gaps on either side of the light holder. Since I restarted the Evo tank, with a new light, there was a new gap formed, and for now I cover THAT hole with a credit card and rock to hold it down. 

 

Have a new lid coming in another month or so from ClearView. I wish it didn't take quite so long, but making do until then. At least my blenny can't get out.

Be sure to post a review of that ClearView lid when it comes in! I was looking at getting one as well but it would be quite expensive for me since my aquarium is kind of a weird brand and they don't have a template for it in stock, so I'd have to get one custom-done. Congrats in advance on it though! Sounds like you've come up with a good solution to jumping fish in the meantime as well. 😊

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Dirté Sanchez
8 minutes ago, billygoat said:

Be sure to post a review of that ClearView lid when it comes in! I was looking at getting one as well but it would be quite expensive for me since my aquarium is kind of a weird brand and they don't have a template for it in stock, so I'd have to get one custom-done. Congrats in advance on it though! Sounds like you've come up with a good solution to jumping fish in the meantime as well. 😊

Yes we actually made the lid after we first started this adventure back in January. One of the clowns chased the other clown out of the tank and onto the floor. After that trauma we got a screen. 

 

My poor little blenny died yesterday, not completely sure why. 🥺☹️ Seems to be a trend lately for people to lose creatures.

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