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billygoat

18g Gorgonian Garden - A Caribbean Biotope

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billygoat
7 hours ago, DutchNanoReefer88 said:

I really like the natural look with all the algae, very nice to see! Good luck with the tank. 😉

Thank you so much! It's nice to know that people still like it, even without any beautiful corals or other hard-to-keep livestock. I will do my best to keep it going.

 

Tonight I got a shot of my big Discosoma neglecta snacking on a piece of krill. Fried green tomatoes!

 

IMG_2931.thumb.JPG.4a7253c176e16880990d6b55a8accc1f.JPG

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TatorTaco

Looks good.  Could you post a FTS?  I'm curious how cool this looks from the front.  

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Firefish15
13 hours ago, billygoat said:

It's nice to know that people still like it, even without any beautiful corals or other hard-to-keep livestock.

"Hard-to-keep" or "expensive" doesn't always translate directly to beautiful. There are lots of different kinds of beauty. And in the end, it's up to you what you like. 

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billygoat
40 minutes ago, Firefish15 said:

"Hard-to-keep" or "expensive" doesn't always translate directly to beautiful. There are lots of different kinds of beauty. And in the end, it's up to you what you like. 

I certainly agree with that sentiment. Softies and macroalgae are probably the easiest things to keep in a saltwater tank, but I still love them to death.

 

4 hours ago, TatorTaco said:

Looks good.  Could you post a FTS?  I'm curious how cool this looks from the front.  

Sure! It's a good day for an FTS, because I actually removed my big Bryothamnion algae just this morning (rest in peace, bearer of epiphytes!).

 

The angle in this one is a bit awkward; turns out the morning is not the best time of day for me to photograph, as it's hard to get the whole tank without including a free bonus picture of my kitchen in the glass 😄 But hopefully it will suffice!

 

3_21.2019FTS.thumb.JPG.92b775587d4056229bc42717302aa055.JPG

 

I ended up buying one of those Polyp Lab filter sets, so I will probably experiment with that a bit later on today and hopefully will come up with a better shot 😉

 

I also went in for some Aiptasia X, which is currently on its way. So my giant monster of an Aiptasia will hopefully be gone soon!

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lobster876

tank looks nice

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TatorTaco

Thank you so much for the FTS!  Don't mind the kitchen in the reflection.  I've always wanted to do a Florida biotope, but I just can't get past my love for leather corals and I don't think any are found in that area. 

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billygoat
1 hour ago, TatorTaco said:

I've always wanted to do a Florida biotope, but I just can't get past my love for leather corals and I don't think any are found in that area. 

True leather corals (e.g. Sarcophyton, Sinularia, etc.) are unfortunately all native to the Indo-Pacific. It's quite a shame because I am very fond of them as well. In the Caribbean, the same shallow, turbulent, near-shore environments that leather corals love are instead home to forests of photosynthetic gorgonians. The opposite is also true, with gorgonians being mostly (but not entirely) absent from many Indo-Pacific habitats where leather corals are abundant. It's quite interesting that things worked out that way.

 

If you'd like to see a real Florida biotope you should check out @yardboy's TOTM from way back in 2008. That was a beautiful tank, elegantly done, with a great assortment of life from the region. It was a big inspiration for me when I was doing research prior to setting up my own aquarium.

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Firefish15
10 minutes ago, billygoat said:

True leather corals (e.g. Sarcophyton, Sinularia, etc.) are unfortunately all native to the Indo-Pacific. It's quite a shame because I am very fond of them as well.

I grew up partly in Kenya, so at some point, I'd love to do an Indian Ocean biotope. I did some scuba diving out there, and I've been thinking about it ever since. That tank would have all those big leathers. I'd incorporate scroll algae and mangroves as well. It would be cool to keep some of the big fish too, like Moorish Idols and Emperor angels.

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1.0reef

Beautiful setup, already one of my favorite Caribbean biotope setups that I’ve seen. The centerpiece gorg really perfects the scape

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748S911
On 3/19/2019 at 11:42 AM, billygoat said:

A few photos from this morning. Trying out a different phone camera, seems slightly better.

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I think I might pick up one of those clip-on lens filters. Seems like they make a pretty big difference.

lovely tank billygoat

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billygoat
2 hours ago, 1.0reef said:

Beautiful setup, already one of my favorite Caribbean biotope setups that I’ve seen. The centerpiece gorg really perfects the scape

 

2 hours ago, 748S911 said:

lovely tank billygoat

Thanks to both of you, and thanks for stopping by! Your support is very encouraging 🙂

 

Here's a rather better FTS. Still no filter on the camera though (it hasn't quite arrived yet!). 

 

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The right-side area is much more open without that Bryothamnion cluttering it up. It changes the vertical profile of the tank quite a bit (and also makes it much easier to see the powerhead), but overall I think I like it. The 'scape has more of a clean look to it this way.

 

The view from the right-hand side, which used to be all but obscured, is also quite nice now. It has a lot more depth to it:

 

IMG_2934.thumb.JPG.2036966f6c19e08751058881075babb0.JPG

 

Plus now I get to pick something else to put on top of that rock 😉 How exciting!

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billygoat
2 hours ago, Firefish15 said:

 It would be cool to keep some of the big fish too, like Moorish Idols and Emperor angels.

An Indian Ocean biotope would certainly be amazing, but those fish sound tough! I've seen particularly successful aquarists with very large systems keep Emperor angelfish, but a Moorish Idol is one thing I have never seen outside of public aquariums. They're supposed to be one of the most finicky and delicate species you could ever aim to keep, so let me know if you ever pull it off! 😄

 

And goodness gracious, I don't even want to think about what either of those fish would cost $_$ But hey, it's important to have goals, right? 😉

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748S911
3 minutes ago, billygoat said:

 

Thanks to both of you, and thanks for stopping by! Your support is very encouraging 🙂

 

Here's a rather better FTS. Still no filter on the camera though (it hasn't quite arrived yet!). 

 

3_21.2019FTS2.thumb.JPG.998570540596ee1b117420cce82ae6b5.JPG

 

The right-side area is much more open without that Bryothamnion cluttering it up. It changes the vertical profile of the tank quite a bit (and also makes it much easier to see the powerhead), but overall I think I like it. The 'scape has more of a clean look to it this way.

 

The view from the right-hand side, which used to be all but obscured, is also quite nice now. It has a lot more depth to it:

 

IMG_2934.thumb.JPG.2036966f6c19e08751058881075babb0.JPG

 

Plus now I get to pick something else to put on top of that rock 😉 How exciting!

love it, looks like the reef.. some orange and red sponge would look good there to complete the carib reef.  

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FSTanks

Nice biotope!

Keep the updates coming!

 

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Firefish15
49 minutes ago, billygoat said:

An Indian Ocean biotope would certainly be amazing, but those fish sound tough!

Maybe not the most realistic, to be sure. Good thing there are around 200 species to choose from, some of them much more forgiving.

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billygoat
45 minutes ago, FSTanks said:

Nice biotope!

Keep the updates coming!

 

Thank you! I will do my best to keep up with the updates. I very much enjoy sharing my tank with this wonderful community.

 

1 hour ago, 748S911 said:

love it, looks like the reef.. some orange and red sponge would look good there to complete the carib reef.  

Funny that you mention sponges, as I was just considering adding a red ball sponge to that bare rock on the right-hand side of my tank. A gorgonian, an RFA, some more mushrooms, or another macroalgae are other potential choices for that space, but I think that since other filter-feeding organisms seem to do reasonably well in my tank, a sponge might be worth trying. I'm not 100% convinced I'd be able to keep it alive though 😄

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748S911
7 minutes ago, billygoat said:

Thank you! I will do my best to keep up with the updates. I very much enjoy sharing my tank with this wonderful community.

 

Funny that you mention sponges, as I was just considering adding a red ball sponge to that bare rock on the right-hand side of my tank. A gorgonian, an RFA, some more mushrooms, or another macroalgae are other potential choices for that space, but I think that since other filter-feeding organisms seem to do reasonably well in my tank, a sponge might be worth trying. I'm not 100% convinced I'd be able to keep it alive though 😄

https://www.aquariumcreationsonline.net/sponge.html

 

here's a link for different types of sponges

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Tamberav

Love your tank! I had that same issue with Bryothamnion. I did find it can live in almost no light thought to discourage GHA. 

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billygoat
24 minutes ago, 748S911 said:

https://www.aquariumcreationsonline.net/sponge.html

 

here's a link for different types of sponges

Thanks! I am unfamiliar with this website, but I always like to read new things about reefing 😉

 

6 minutes ago, Tamberav said:

Love your tank! I had that same issue with Bryothamnion. I did find it can live in almost no light thought to discourage GHA. 

Thanks so much for checking it out! Your coldwater biotope was one of the first TOTM posts I read on this forum, and it got me thinking about biotope aquariums in general... which eventually led me where I am now!

 

I thought about reducing the light on my Bryothamnion to try and discourage algal growth, but I couldn't figure out a good place in the tank to put it 😕 In hindsight I guess I could have just moved it into a bucket for awhile, but oh well, too late now I suppose. >< Hopefully I'll end up replacing it with something more interesting.

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billygoat

It's Gorgs Gone Wild over here today... seeing some really freakish polyp extension. They've gone past fuzzy and arrived at... furry? 🤷‍♂️

 

IMG_2935.thumb.JPG.6a67227ee570eb9fe25f9656ae2c6a94.JPG

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TatorTaco
On 3/21/2019 at 5:06 PM, billygoat said:

If you'd like to see a real Florida biotope you should check out @yardboy's TOTM from way back in 2008. That was a beautiful tank, elegantly done, with a great assortment of life from the region. It was a big inspiration for me when I was doing research prior to setting up my own aquarium.

For those of you as a tad lazier than me, I found the link:  

 

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billygoat
16 hours ago, TatorTaco said:

For those of you as a tad lazier than me, I found the link

 

Yeah, that's the one! 😄 Thank you!

 

So I picked up Polyp Lab's lens set and have to say I am quite pleased. Here are a few pics I took this morning during feeding time with the 15k filter.

 

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Even under very heavy blue light (my lighting is very blue early and late in the day) things come out much clearer.

These are with the 15k + the 10x macro lens, under the same lighting as above:

 

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Not exactly studio quality, but not too bad for a janky iPhone 6! I think the lens set really does make a difference.

 

Also I am happy to report that my adventure with Aiptasia X yesterday has produced some more or less positive results. I destroyed several of the larger anemones in my tank, though I think the largest of them was so big that it may have survived in some severely damaged form, deep down in the rock. I plan to add another peppermint shrimp next week to clean up the survivors (assuming it lives long enough to do so!).

 

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Firefish15

Nice photos! 

 

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billygoat
13 hours ago, Firefish15 said:

Nice photos! 

 

Thank you! I'm slowly getting better at taking pictures of the tank, or so I like to imagine.

 

So after a long period of careful consideration, I have decided that my next livestock addition will be... nothing! 😄 I do want some more zoanthids and probably another gorg at some point, but I've had my hands in the tank a lot lately, removing macros and moving things around and etc., and I think the best thing to do for the time being is just wait on adding any more corals so the system has a chance to stabilize. So I'm going to lay low and let my cyano bloom run its course for a couple of weeks before finishing off my stocking plan.

 

I did however order a few crustaceans (2 scarlet hermits and a peppermint shrimp) to see if the carbon has had any impact on their survival rates. Hopefully they will do well this time around! They should arrive next week.

 

Also here is a picture of a snail.

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billygoat

My Ricordea are ruffling up quite a bit under the increased flow with the Koralia 240 in there. I read that they can adapt to a variety of flow patterns, so hopefully it won't be too much of a problem for them. Looks alright I think? (Besides the gross cyano on the substrate; I'm workin on that! 😄 This particular corner of the tank is a mess with red slime.)

 

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