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billygoat

18g Gorgonian Garden - A Caribbean Biotope

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billygoat
1 hour ago, Dirté Sanchez said:

I just love the jawfish peeking out of his den!!!! 

He's so adorable! When he's ready to rest for the evening he moves the rocks around to seal up his hole, just like he's closing the door at night. 😄😍

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Dirté Sanchez
17 minutes ago, billygoat said:

He's so adorable! When he's ready to rest for the evening he moves the rocks around to seal up his hole, just like he's closing the door at night. 😄😍

That would be so cool to watch! Maybe someday I can get one- how deep actually is your sandbed? I keep seeing they need six inches minimum to make a den.

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billygoat
10 hours ago, Dirté Sanchez said:

That would be so cool to watch! Maybe someday I can get one- how deep actually is your sandbed? I keep seeing they need six inches minimum to make a den.

My sandbed is about 2 inches deep on average. The jawfish seems to just start digging horizontally once he hits the bottom, and so far appears to be completely comfortable with the sandbed I have, though he has undermined several of my rocks and caused them to shift. He's just a juvenile though, so we will see if his needs start changing as he grows larger. Generally speaking I imagine that deeper is better for the sandbed, but jawfish will likely make due with whatever you've got going on. I've also heard of instances where they live in holes in the rock when insufficient sand is present, but I think they definitely will be healthier and happier if they are able to burrow.

 

One thing I've noticed is that jawfish do a much better job of making a burrow when you provide them with a mix of various sizes of rock and sand to build with. I smashed up a bunch of dry rock into 1/2" or smaller pieces and piled it in my tank and the jawfish used it to line the walls of his hidey-hole. 😊

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billygoat

Over the past few days I've noticed that one of my masked gobies has not been making an appearance at feeding time. He's instead been hunkering down in his burrow, only barely sticking his face out. Today I think I discovered the reason, as it looks like that particular goby has come down with crypto. 😥 The ich was probably brought into my system by the jawfish, as I noticed a few spots on his fin a few weeks ago. All the other fish including the jawfish seem to be fine, but that single goby doesn't look so good. He won't venture outside of his burrow and I'd have to dismantle the entire rock structure to get him out (which would probably collapse the jawfish's burrow in the process), so quarantine is not really an option. I did get him to eat a bit today so he's not down for the count yet. Hopefully I can help him fight through the infection.

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Pjanssen

Oh no! I hope he and his fellow tank mates will be alright.

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billygoat
13 hours ago, Pjanssen said:

Oh no! I hope he and his fellow tank mates will be alright.

Thanks! I hope so too, but unfortunately things seem to be going more awry with the fish. Temperatures dipped quite low last night, possibly all the way down to 74, and the thermal stress seems to be having a negative impact on them. The jawfish has abandoned his burrow and is currently hiding in the macroalgae at the back of the tank, the sharknose goby is nowhere to be found, and the sickly masked goby continues to hide away under a rock. The only fish behaving normally is the other, healthy-looking masked goby. I switched my screen lid out for the glass one to help stabilize the temperature, and it seems to now be climbing back to its normal range.

 

I hope the jawfish will come out of hiding and return to his burrow soon. I think something must have spooked him in the middle of the night. He looks terrified cowering back there behind the algae! 😥

 

I checked the back chambers for the sharknose goby but did not see him back there. Also checked the floor in case he managed to jump through the screen but couldn't find any evidence of fish jerky. Hopefully he will make a sudden reappearance, but I am not getting my hopes up since he did not show up at feeding time. There are a number of things that may have consumed him during the night in here. I'm concerned that my Eunicid worm might be turning carnivore now that it has consumed all the fleshy algae in the vicinity of its burrow.

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Pjanssen

So very stressful for you, I know. Remember my sharknose was missing for several months before I saw him back in the chamber. He can get under the partition and stay hidden, and scootch up against the wall in the corner where he is hard to see. Hopefully everything will make a turn for the better. 🤞

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billygoat
1 hour ago, Pjanssen said:

So very stressful for you, I know. Remember my sharknose was missing for several months before I saw him back in the chamber. He can get under the partition and stay hidden, and scootch up against the wall in the corner where he is hard to see. Hopefully everything will make a turn for the better. 🤞

Thanks for the encouragement Penny. It's amazing how stressful this hobby can be when things aren't going according to plan, but I know that if I just take it slow and don't change too much at a time I can hopefully get things back into balance. I'm just mystified as to why the jawfish would be so spooked all of a sudden! He was growing bolder by the day, but after last night he's skittish and hiding and just generally acting as if he were just introduced into the tank yesterday. 🤔 Something must have scared the heck out of him last night.

 

Anyway, the tank is looking pretty nice despite the fish issues (fissues?) that I've been having. A few strands of cyano here and there but nothing too major; that's to be expected after adding a few new fish fairly recently. The system is probably still coming back into balance. Temperature has stabilized at 78 after switching back to the glass lid. 👌

 

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Ol' D. neglecta is looking awfully puffy today. Perhaps a little too puffy. And the way it's all stretched out... it almost looks like it's gloating. This mushroom may be mocking me! If my sharknose goby doesn't reappear within a few days I am going to chalk it up as yet another victim of the Maw. 😥

 

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Wonderboy

Sorry to hear about the recent spontinuities. I have used Microbe Lift Herbtana (1/2 dose at first) in QT tanks often w/corals and inverts with good results.

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billygoat
18 minutes ago, Wonderboy said:

Sorry to hear about the recent spontinuities. I have used Microbe Lift Herbtana (1/2 dose at first) in QT tanks often w/corals and inverts with good results.

Thanks for the recommendation! I may try the Microbe Lift Herbtana if it seems like parasites continue to be a problem. I managed to coax the jawfish out of hiding and back into his burrow this afternoon, so he's looking more comfortable already. But still no sign of the missing sharknose goby. I'll comb the system for him during my water change tomorrow.

 

I was looking through the TOTM archives and reached the conclusion that based on the amount of PAR many successful aquarists are dishing out over their tank, this system could probably use a lighting upgrade. But on the other hand everything seems to be growing reasonably well under the A80 I've got on here, so perhaps it's a bad idea to go changing things when nothing is wrong. What do you guys think? Would investing in some more powerful lighting (say a Kessil A160, since I've already got the controller) be worthwhile in here, or should I just leave things as-is?

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Pjanssen

When I first saw the last picture, the one with Maw, I thought there was a little fish looking up at me with sad little puppy dog eyes. Then I realized that it's only a snail on the glass in front of Maw 😂

Glad to hear the Jawfish seems to be settling down a little.

I don't think you have anything in there that would require more PAR at this time. I keep saying I'm going to get a PAR meter, but they are so expensive.

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Amphrites
2 hours ago, billygoat said:

Thanks for the recommendation! I may try the Microbe Lift Herbtana if it seems like parasites continue to be a problem. I managed to coax the jawfish out of hiding and back into his burrow this afternoon, so he's looking more comfortable already. But still no sign of the missing sharknose goby. I'll comb the system for him during my water change tomorrow.

 

I was looking through the TOTM archives and reached the conclusion that based on the amount of PAR many successful aquarists are dishing out over their tank, this system could probably use a lighting upgrade. But on the other hand everything seems to be growing reasonably well under the A80 I've got on here, so perhaps it's a bad idea to go changing things when nothing is wrong. What do you guys think? Would investing in some more powerful lighting (say a Kessil A160, since I've already got the controller) be worthwhile in here, or should I just leave things as-is?

Most overdo it with their PAR-values, BRS had a video and pretty-solidly concluded even sps can only use 250-350 for optimal-growth, plenty of papers showing the ideal photoperiod is no longer than 8 hours with only 5-6 peak as well. I'd say your animals look happy enough I see no reason to add more light.
That said I'm throwing a bit more over my system for the maxima (which can take up to 5-600) and some sps nublets, though I'm still trying to stay below 400 where anything is actually going to be growing.

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billygoat
2 hours ago, Amphrites said:

Most overdo it with their PAR-values, BRS had a video and pretty-solidly concluded even sps can only use 250-350 for optimal-growth, plenty of papers showing the ideal photoperiod is no longer than 8 hours with only 5-6 peak as well. I'd say your animals look happy enough I see no reason to add more light.
That said I'm throwing a bit more over my system for the maxima (which can take up to 5-600) and some sps nublets, though I'm still trying to stay below 400 where anything is actually going to be growing.

I'm pretty sure the A80 delivers well below 250-300 PAR, as it is a truly weak LED at only 15 watts. But generally speaking I think you and @Pjanssen are both right: if the tank is doing well, why change anything? As tempting as it is to think "Sure, it's doing well... but maybe it could be doing better!" I know that in this hobby that road often leads to imbalance or eventually disaster. So I'll just leave the A80 as is for now... though I may increase the max intensity period a little. 😁

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billygoat

I'm happy to report that the "sick" masked goby is back out and roaming around the tank this morning. 😊 He seems to have gotten over whatever was afflicting him. That's a relief!

 

Still no sign of the sharknose goby though. I think being captive-bred may have been the poor guy's downfall. He just wasn't prepared for the panoply of murderous creatures that inhabit my tank. I'll go ahead and strike him off the stocklist for the time being, pending his miraculous reappearance many months from now. Perhaps 3 fish is simply the balanced number for this aquarium! Who am I to say no to what the system is telling me?

 

Seems I am out of hermits and down to one porcelain crab as well. I think my Terror Star has been eating these small crustaceans at night. When the lights go out it leaves its cave and roams around the tank, so no one is safe. I know brittle stars are supposed to be scavengers, but when you're so very much bigger than everything else in the tank I have to imagine that every tiny crab looks like a meal. I know I should probably get rid of the star, but it's awfully cool looking... 😅

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Pjanssen
1 hour ago, billygoat said:

Perhaps 3 fish is simply the balanced number for this aquarium! Who am I to say no to what the system is telling me?

This is how I feel about my 29. Every time I add a 4th fish, It only live a few months or less. I'm seriously contemplating a predator tank though, so I may add a snowflake eel to see what happens.

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Ratvan
1 hour ago, Pjanssen said:

This is how I feel about my 29. Every time I add a 4th fish, It only live a few months or less. I'm seriously contemplating a predator tank though, so I may add a snowflake eel to see what happens.

So is that the Eel and the dwarf lion? Or just the Eel?

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Pjanssen
6 hours ago, Ratvan said:

So is that the Eel and the dwarf lion? Or just the Eel?

Well I was just talking about a juvenile snowflake eel (no lion fish, yet) to see how it goes. They are only about 20 bucks, compared to 400-500 for the dwarf moray. The predator tank will be a whole new set up with a bigger tank.

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debbeach13

Good for you

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billygoat

Water change day has come and gone with no sign of the sharknose goby in the rear chambers. I know they are excellent at hiding themselves, but it seems like pretty slim odds that he's still alive. Oh well! 🤷‍♂️ Everything else in the tank looks great, so I am just gonna count my blessings and not dwell on the loss too much.

 

After a week of filterless experimentation I decided to re-implement the filter socks. They're definitely not really necessary, but without them I have to suck a lot more gunk out of the rear chambers every week and that's kind of just as much of a chore as cleaning the socks was. Also the overflows on the C-Vue are super loud without the sock holders in there, as the water falls a few inches from the grate into the rear chamber. With the socks in and the lid on, the system is all but silent. I figure I will just use the socks until they fall apart, and figure out what else I want to do when that happens.

 

1 hour ago, Pjanssen said:

Well I was just talking about a juvenile snowflake eel (no lion fish, yet) to see how it goes. They are only about 20 bucks, compared to 400-500 for the dwarf moray. The predator tank will be a whole new set up with a bigger tank.

I can't wait to see this predator tank! Eels are amazing. I was actually considering getting one in the early days of this system, but snowflakes are the only affordable variety and they would get way too big for this tank. Plus I am pretty sure they're not from the Caribbean, though I could be wrong about that. 🤔

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Pjanssen
30 minutes ago, billygoat said:

can't wait to see this predator tank! Eels are amazing. I was actually considering getting one in the early days of this system, but snowflakes are the only affordable variety and they would get way too big for this tank. Plus I am pretty sure they're not from the Caribbean, though I could be wrong about that. 🤔

Very much in the talking phase right now. I think Snowflakes get to be about 12-18 inches, but are fairly slow growers. My plan would be to start with a snowflake, then if all goes well trade for a dwarf. I don't believe they are caribbean

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billygoat

I've been dumping lots of text in here recently, so I think it's time for some pictures! 😁 These are all from this morning.

 

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Pjanssen

Love it!

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billygoat
3 hours ago, Pjanssen said:

Love it!

Thanks Penny! I really appreciate the encouragement. 😊

 

Been awhile since I updated the thumbnail so here's a new FTS (with minimal glare for once) for October. 

 

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billygoat

Here are a few quick photos from this morning. The jawfish is always moving and is still a bit shy of the camera, so it's difficult to get him in focus. But he's definitely being much more active now and spends less time barricaded down in his hole.

 

I hope you are all having a great weekend! 😊

 

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billygoat

Hello! Not much to report over here. Everything is humming along. Today I have a few pictures of tiny lifeforms to share.

 

There are many species of coralline algae in my system but this type is one of my favorites. It used to be a strictly encrusting variety, but a few months ago it started to branch, possibly due to increased calcium supplementation. There is also a variety of very small bubble algae that has taken to colonizing the surface of this and several other (but not all) types of coralline in my tank. You can see some of those bubbles in this photo as well if you look closely; they are very small.

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These bright orange colonial tunicates are doing quite well.

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A group of micro-sized feather duster worms. These have been around since the early days of the tank. They seem to be slowly increasing in number. Small tube-dwelling worms such as these are abundant on the rocks in my aquarium, as are various other filter feeders such as tiny bivalves, tunicates, and sponges.

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Branching coralline algae. This one has been in the tank for quite awhile and is starting to accumulate a collection of interesting epiphytes. The tiny coralline-associated bubble algae I mentioned earlier are clearly visible amidst the branches in this photo.

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Blushing star coral, another hitchhiker that has been in the tank since day 1. At one point this colony was ravaged by grazing limpets (also hitchhikers), but the limpets have since been removed and the coral has made a nice comeback. It's now starting to encrust in earnest and is showing slow but visible growth. It's not much to look at, but this is a bonafide Caribbean stony coral! 😁

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Ricordea florida is one of the most popular soft corals in the hobby, and for good reason! I don't think I'll ever have a reef tank without Rics. I am very lucky they come from the Caribbean. 😊

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Okay that's all for now! Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoyed these photos. 👍🙏

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