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billygoat

18g Caribbean Biotope

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billygoat

Here's an interesting development! A few days ago one of my masked gobies excavated a burrow for itself under a rock.

 

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I did a bit of research about these fish before purchasing them, and nowhere did I read that they demonstrated burrowing behaviors. So that's pretty cool. I even saw my smaller goby hanging out in there with the larger one, so maybe they are pairing up! The large one still chases the smaller one around a bit, especially at feeding time, but they definitely seem to be getting more comfortable with each other. It would be super cool if they decided to breed!

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thecoralbeauty

i LOVE little fish like that- my shark nose gobies kind of made a burrow like that under a rock in my tank too.  :wub:

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billygoat
13 hours ago, mwhitelock said:

i LOVE little fish like that- my shark nose gobies kind of made a burrow like that under a rock in my tank too.  :wub:

Aren't they so cute down in their little lairs? My big goby is the largest fish in my tank (for a little while longer, at least - but don't tell her that 😉), and she really acts like she owns the place. She'll be up in the water column posturing, flaring her fins, doing little goby pushups on the substrate... but get your face too close to the glass, and she's back in that burrow quick as lightning! 

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billygoat

It's been a good couple of days since I added the MP10 and cyanobacterial growth remains steady, though I believe it has slowed a bit in areas that get hit by direct flow. It seems to be creeping up my glass more than before, which is sort of upsetting but at least easier to clean. Turning up the flow is of course an option, but I am worried about my Ricordea getting hit too hard if I do. I feel like what I really need is some sort of reliable biological control that eats cyano like crazy, but I am not sure what I could add; my tank already has so many snails! Does anyone have experience keeping Florida fighting conchs in nano tanks? I think that would be my best bet for cleaning the substrate, but I am hesitant to get one as I fear I might not have enough exposed sand for it to sift through.

 

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Also both of my scarlet hermits seem to have disappeared. Their shells are both empty. I am extremely perplexed as to what continues to kill my shrimp and hermits, and why my porcelain crab remains fine through it all. I have a few theories though. It could be

 

1) Predation. Something in there is eating my shrimp and crabs. Maybe my big brittle star? It seems pretty docile though. This explanation is unconvincing.

2) pH fluctuations due to macroalgae respiration at night. This is a possibility but also seems unlikely since my porcelain crab clearly doesn't care at all, and also because hermits/peppermints naturally live in nearshore areas that experience pH/salinity swings on a daily basis.

3) Insufficient food. It's possible that my crustaceans have simply been starving to death. However I target-fed my hermit crab a few days before it vanished, and also observed my peppermint shrimp picking at my rocks and eating all sorts of things off of them, so this seems unlikely as well.

4) Cyanobacteria. Perhaps this sort of cyano I have is toxic to crustaceans? Hermits and peppermints both pick at stuff that is covered in it, where as the porcelain crab does not consume it at all. Seems like a bit of a stretch, but I'm at a loss as to what else the problem might be.

 

Whatever is killing these critters seems to gradually slow down their metabolism until they just stop moving and die. All of my hermits so far have become less and less active over the course of about a week before dying, and my peppermints have demonstrated similar sluggishness before kicking the bucket. It's quite a shame because I would very much like to have these animals in my tank at some point in the future. I hope I can puzzle out a solution. 🤔

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billygoat

Something else just occurred to me as well: I have so far been using "purified RO water" from a water machine (now relabeled as Primo Water) at my local supermarket. It is entirely possible that this water contains some sort of undesirable voodoo. The blurb (posted on the machine) that describes their filtration process does not mention softeners, added minerals, or ozonation, but who really knows where that water comes from or what it goes through before it gets to my tank? I have a home RO unit that I use to produce drinking water but have avoided using it for my aquarium because it produces so much waste. Might be time to change that, though. 🤔

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melson

 

I struggled with keeping inverts consistently until I switched to a legitimate RODI unit (now a BRS 4 stage) and made sure on WCs new water I was putting in was the exact same salinity as the water going out.

 

The RO water you're using could also explain the cyano. Your Chaeto should help with nuisance algae too, is that up and running yet? Also what's your light schedule on it?

 

I'm not nearly as much of an expert but that's my theory. 

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billygoat
11 minutes ago, melson said:

 

I struggled with keeping inverts consistently until I switched to a legitimate RODI unit (now a BRS 4 stage) and made sure on WCs new water I was putting in was the exact same salinity as the water going out.

 

The RO water you're using could also explain the cyano. Your Chaeto should help with nuisance algae too, is that up and running yet? Also what's your light schedule on it?

 

I'm not nearly as much of an expert but that's my theory. 

Yeah, I was thinking the same thing about the cyano. Perhaps my RO water is contaminated with phosphates, iron, or something else that's causing them to grow. I've only ever tested it for nitrates and it came up 0, but there are plenty of other things that could be in there.

 

I think I might end up either investing in a new RO/DI unit or just sourcing my water from an actual water store if I can find one here locally. I am fairly sure the home unit I currently use for drinking water is only RO and does not include a deionization stage, so it might not be quite up to snuff for reefkeeping.

 

Come to think of it, the water I've been buying probably does not include a deionization stage either. I can't imagine them having a resin filter in one of those water machines... 🤔

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billygoat

By the way my Chaeto chamber is all set up and running. I have it set on a 12-hour reversed photoperiod (the 'fuge light switches off at 7:30am when my tank light turns on, and vice versa in the evening). It's only been online for about five days now, but I think the Chaeto is growing well since I see it floating towards the top of the 'fuge basket when I check it in the morning.

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billygoat

Here's a top-down shot from feeding time this morning. The Maw is all curled up at the bottom right, feasting on flake food.

 

My little tank turns 4 months old today! And my last round of livestock comes in tomorrow, so I am excited 😁

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Firefish15

It's like looking into a tide pool! :lol:

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Kangster911

Hi. I did not read everything but I scanned through the photos and your tank looks amazing!

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billygoat
10 hours ago, Firefish15 said:

It's like looking into a tide pool! :lol:

That's great to hear, because that's pretty much exactly what I was going for! 😁 The whole idea behind this tank was to capture some of the scenes I remember from my childhood in the islands, which was more-or-less entirely spent turning over rocks in Caribbean tide pools in search of cool critters.

 

9 hours ago, Kangster911 said:

Hi. I did not read everything but I scanned through the photos and your tank looks amazing!

That's very kind of you to say! Thank you so much for stopping by to check it out. 😊

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billygoat

A bit of a disappointing update today, as it seems I won't be finishing my stocking plans just yet after all! The blenny I wanted to get turned out to be out of stock (it was mislabeled on the site due to some kind of clerical error), so I decided to cancel my order with kpaquatics until I get another day off that aligns with one of their delivery days. This probably won't happen for another few weeks at least, so my masked gobies get to reign supreme for a little while longer. In the long run this is probably for the best, since adding more livestock while fighting a cyano bloom is not a great strategy anyway, but I'm still a bit saddened to have to go for a few more weeks without replacing my gorgonians. 

 

Oh well! That's how it goes I guess. At least the tank seems to be doing well today. Here's my porcelain crab at feeding time, rocking out on top of a tunicate. He's a reclusive guy most of the time, but when he smells blood in the water (or shrimp juice, as the case may be), he gets right up into the current and goes for it 😄

 

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melson

I was a bit back and forth on getting a blenny too. I've noticed they have gained in popularity but have been harder to find! Hopefully you can get your livestock in soon and replace your gorgonians!

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billygoat
19 minutes ago, melson said:

I was a bit back and forth on getting a blenny too. I've noticed they have gained in popularity but have been harder to find! Hopefully you can get your livestock in soon and replace your gorgonians!

Blennies are cute for sure, but since my order was cancelled I've been kicking around the idea of getting a pygmy angel instead. In the end I'll probably only be able to house one more fish in my tank, so I'll have to choose between them. Which got me thinking about my system...

 

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I decided to try out the C-Vue lid set for awhile. I've had it for quite some time and have never really found it to be necessary, but a few things have got me thinking. First of all my tank tends to have temp swings, and having a lid helps a lot with that. Second, evaporation is super low with it on, which is nice. Third, it helps keep a lot of dust, dog hair, and other debris out of my system, which is definitely a plus since my tank is in a pretty dusty area of the house. And of course I will need the lid for sure if I decide to get an active, non-perching fish...

 

The downside is that I'll probably have to turn my lighting up quite a bit to compensate for the lid. I noticed that you are also using the C-Vue lid set @melson; do you notice a lot of condensation staying under it consistently? You can see from the picture that a massive amount of light is just bouncing right off the top. Those little droplets are murder on light penetration. ><

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melson

Yeah I use the lid. Part of my daily maintenance is taking it off and letting majority of the drops flow back into the tank then taking it over to the sink. I haven't upped the light spectrum yet as the tank is in a room with a large window and summer is fast approaching.

 

Funny you mention a pygmy angel... I was planning on that being my last fish! Great minds really do think alike! Lol

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billygoat

Seems like a good strategy to keep the drips off... I'll have to try adding a quick lid-cleaning to my daily routine. My aquarium is also in a room with a huge sliding glass door and gets a lot of indirect sunlight, so hopefully the light intensity won't be too much of a problem.

 

I suppose I could just DIY a screen top as well, but that wouldn't help much to keep junk out of my tank. I'll give this glass lid a shot for now.

 

28 minutes ago, melson said:

Funny you mention a pygmy angel... I was planning on that being my last fish! Great minds really do think alike! Lol

Pygmy angels are just so beautiful! And plus I read that they like to eat algae, so I figured they would be in heaven in my tank. 😁 I'm not sure if they would be interested in my decorative macroalgae, but even if they are I can't imagine a 2" fish eating enough to do any permanent damage. Maybe I could even feed it Chaeto from my fuge!

 

I think it's hilarious that neither of us has a Royal Gramma, despite it being the most iconic Caribbean fish around 😂

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Firefish15

A chalk bass could be cool too. You'd probably already considered them though.

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billygoat
11 hours ago, Firefish15 said:

A chalk bass could be cool too. You'd probably already considered them though.

Chalk bass are definitely on the list of candidates too. Very cool fish. I could of course just get a Gramma too; I'm hardly against them or anything. I'm just not sure I have enough rockwork to make it happy, as I know they like to cruise sideways and upside-down in caves and under ledges.

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billygoat

I almost didn't post a picture today! Can't have that, now can we? 😄 

 

This shot (from yesterday) is a bit glare-y, but I wanted to document how large my Ricordea are getting. The green one is so massively expanded during the day that it's beginning to cover my goby's cave! My lone surviving gorgonian also seems to be loving the MP10; I'm sure that its buddies would be in heaven if I hadn't needlessly murdered them 😢

 

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Thinking about getting a lighting upgrade for this tank in the future; I may be taking a step up the Kessil ladder to the A160WE since I already have the controller. I wonder, do you guys think the Tuna Sun would actually be a better choice for this tank than the Tuna Blue, since I have so much algae? I read that 6500K is the color temp you want for macros (vs. the 10K-15K that my Tuna Blue is currently running), but I am curious to see what effect this "downgrade" in K would have on my softies and gorgonians. Any thoughts?

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Northwoodsreefer
24 minutes ago, billygoat said:

I almost didn't post a picture today! Can't have that, now can we? 😄 

 

This shot (from yesterday) is a bit glare-y, but I wanted to document how large my Ricordea are getting. The green one is so massively expanded during the day that it's beginning to cover my goby's cave! My lone surviving gorgonian also seems to be loving the MP10; I'm sure that its buddies would be in heaven if I hadn't needlessly murdered them 😢

 

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Thinking about getting a lighting upgrade for this tank in the future; I may be taking a step up the Kessil ladder to the A160WE since I already have the controller. I wonder, do you guys think the Tuna Sun would actually be a better choice for this tank than the Tuna Blue, since I have so much algae? I read that 6500K is the color temp you want for macros (vs. the 10K-15K that my Tuna Blue is currently running), but I am curious to see what effect this "downgrade" in K would have on my softies and gorgonians. Any thoughts?

I don’t know anything on the lighting, but I love the scape and hope my 5 gallon spec can turn out like this 😂. Mine isn’t a biotope juts more a biotype in the fact that I’m replication a tidepoolish. Excited to watch this tank progress, I have a thread it’s called “project resurrection” 

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billygoat

Another rather glared-out FTS, just to document red slime growth on my substrate. This one is from two days ago (4/16). I've been very busy with work this week and haven't had a chance to check parameters (or do anything else in my tank either, honestly). I've reduced feedings back down to once every other day, so hopefully that will help.

 

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Northwoodsreefer
9 hours ago, billygoat said:

Another rather glared-out FTS, just to document red slime growth on my substrate. This one is from two days ago (4/16). I've been very busy with work this week and haven't had a chance to check parameters (or do anything else in my tank either, honestly). I've reduced feedings back down to once every other day, so hopefully that will help.

 

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Tank still looks nice even with some red slime, hope the feedings make a difference 

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billygoat
37 minutes ago, 9darlingcalvi said:

Tank still looks nice even with some red slime, hope the feedings make a difference 

Thanks! I have been thinking a lot about that slime, and I think I might have seized on why it has become so dominant in my system. In the early days of my tank (before I started this thread), I had a lot more macroalgae. Here's a picture from February:

 

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Red slime was still a thing in my tank at that point, as you can see by the splotches against the glass. But in general it seemed to have a much harder time finding a foothold. I think removing so many macros from my tank may have given the cyano the springboard it needed to gain the upper hand. I hoped that growing Chaeto in the back chambers would help me get away with having fewer macros in the display, but maybe I should just add a few back in! I'm sure it couldn't hurt. The tank looks so lush in this picture; I kind of miss the way it was set up back then. Between my gorgonian murder and the gradual removal of many of these macros, a lot has gone sideways since this picture was taken! 😂

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Northwoodsreefer
3 minutes ago, billygoat said:

Thanks! I have been thinking a lot about that slime, and I think I might have seized on why it has become so dominant in my system. In the early days of my tank (before I started this thread), I had a lot more macroalgae. Here's a picture from February:

 

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Red slime was still a thing in my tank at that point, as you can see by the splotches against the glass. But in general it seemed to have a much harder time finding a foothold. I think removing so many macros from my tank may have given the cyano the springboard it needed to gain the upper hand. I hoped that growing Chaeto in the back chambers would help me get away with having fewer macros in the display, but maybe I should just add a few back in! I'm sure it couldn't hurt. The tank looks so lush in this picture; I kind of miss the way it was set up back then. Between my gorgonian murder and the gradual removal of many of these macros, a lot has gone sideways since this picture was taken! 😂

Good to know! I will be adding more macro to my tank so I hopefully don’t get micro algea

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