Jump to content
billygoat

18g Gorgonian Garden - A Caribbean Biotope

Recommended Posts

billygoat

The Royal Court. Lesser mushrooms gather to pay tribute to their king.

 

IMG_0763.thumb.JPG.10b1795a92beb587d97e27e1d5be7b66.JPG

  • Like 1
  • Haha 7
  • Wow 1

Share this post


Link to post
billygoat

The tank is cruising along now, so there's not much to report. Only one thing continues to vex me: my Antillogorgia sp. gorgonians (formerly Pseudopterogorgia; I recently learned that this genus has been reclassified) refuse to extend their polyps and I am at a loss as to why. The light and flow they receive has changed a bit over time, but not considerably. I think their recent withdrawal may be related to the removal of all the Halimeda and other macros from my system. Nutrient levels, dissolved oxygen concentrations throughout the day/night cycle, and daily pH fluctuations have likely changed as a result of less photosynthetic activity in the tank. Perhaps this has impacted these particular gorgonians in some difficult-to-measure way.

 

IMG_0764.thumb.JPG.969a328f26e5cb96da8bdbc954c62cbd.JPG

 

What makes the situation even more vexing is that literally every other specimen in my tank is doing fantastically well, including the gorgonians that arrived just a week ago. As a result I find myself disinclined to make any major changes to my lighting/flow/etc., as I don't think trying to change things to suit these stubborn gorgs is worth disrupting the balance of the system as a whole. I guess there's not really much to be done except wait and see if they come around. 🤷‍♂️ I have some Chaeto coming in on Thursday, so I am going to restart my refugium (third time's the charm!) and see if the re-addition of some macroalgae to the system can help make these gorgs happy again.

 

But yeah, everything else looks great. Here's a close-up of one of my new gorgonians (Eunicea calyculata). It has adjusted very well after only a week in the tank, and now shows constant full extension. Its polyps are large and very pretty.

 

IMG_0765.thumb.JPG.ade8f6c3a75008d2ad299bd727a7d1dc.JPG

  • Like 5
  • Confused 1

Share this post


Link to post
billygoat

Nothing much going on today, just a picture of my Caribbean palythoas. Or are they protopalythoas? Now @Ratvan has got me thinking... 🤔😂

 

IMG_0771.thumb.JPG.1dd98a896565586072274bf13edb0788.JPG

  • Like 2
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
mitten_reef
2 minutes ago, billygoat said:

Nothing much going on today, just a picture of my Caribbean palythoas. Or are they protopalythoas? Now @Ratvan has got me thinking... 🤔😂

 

IMG_0771.thumb.JPG.1dd98a896565586072274bf13edb0788.JPG

 

I think those are paly’s, protopaly would be like SunnyDs (I think they’re referred to as palys) and some other large zoas.  But whatever, Look at those rics glowing!!!

  • Like 2
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
billygoat
18 minutes ago, mitten_reef said:

But whatever, Look at those rics glowing!!!

You know it! It's not a reef without some Ricordea, right? 😂

 

IMG_0774.thumb.JPG.1e37fb922be88f73f5bc253b64cabd33.JPG

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Ratvan
7 hours ago, billygoat said:

Nothing much going on today, just a picture of my Caribbean palythoas. Or are they protopalythoas? Now @Ratvan has got me thinking... 🤔😂

 

IMG_0771.thumb.JPG.1dd98a896565586072274bf13edb0788.JPG

I dont have the book with me, it was also late and I had been playing with my Butters and Oils again 😄

But a simplified version of what I was reading is here

https://saltyunderground.com/category/identifying-zoanthus-palythoa-and-protopalythoa

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
billygoat

No pictures today, but just a few notes in case I need to look back later!

 

I restarted my refugium today with some Chaeto from Reef Cleaners. They sent me a chunk about the size of a tennis ball, which is pretty considerable as these Chaeto orders go. I decided to try going without my InTank 'fuge basket this time, and instead plopped the Chaeto ball straight into the first sump chamber right under the overflow from the display. I'm hoping that the added water movement through the Chaeto ball will help keep it healthy. 👍

 

I also decided to move the two Antillogorgia gorgonians that were not doing well and place them in different locations around the tank. They're kind of arranged willy-nilly at the moment, but the one in the center was starting to lose flesh so I decided I had to take some sort of action. I think orientation relative to the current is very important to this genus, and I have a suspicion that when I moved my powerhead and changed the tank's flow pattern I triggered their long, slow decline. We'll see if they survive. If not, well, it's a lesson learned! 🤷‍♂️

 

If the Antillogorgia don't make it I'll probably end up getting a new gorg from a hardy, shallow-water genus to replace them. Pterogorgia citrina is my top candidate right now. I'll keep you guys posted.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
billygoat

So! Some updates on the Antillogorgia. They are both looking a lot better since I relocated them to the front of the tank. They get a lot more flow in this location, and they seem to like that very much. One should pull through for sure, and although the other is quite badly deteriorated I think it will probably end up surviving as well. A note for aspiring gorgonian keepers out there: purple or yellow plume gorgonians like a lot of water movement!

 

While that's good news, it also means I had to make some pretty serious changes to my aquascape to accommodate these gorgonians. Both of them are now up near the front, which wasn't really part of the original plan, and their absence at the rear leaves a "hole" of sorts in the 'scape, as you can see here:

 

IMG_0777.thumb.JPG.d08151b8d242612abcde54b0ba542189.JPG

 

I've got a couple of options to fill that space at the rear. I could either purchase a new gorgonian to sit on top of that rock and fill up that vertical space, or I could just let the Eunicea and/or other frags that I acquire over time grow in and naturally fill that space on their own. What would you guys do?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Gravity

Isn’t another gorgonian always the answer? 😉

  • Like 2
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
billygoat
15 hours ago, Gravity said:

Isn’t another gorgonian always the answer? 😉

I mean honestly... yeah, pretty much always. 😂 I feel like the responsible thing to do would be to leave some open space for my existing gorgs to grow in, but... well, we'll see how things shape up in the coming weeks. 😁

 

Had to toss one of my Antillogorgia frags this morning. It took a turn for the worse overnight, and started losing lots of flesh. I considered fragging some of the branch tips but ultimately decided to just discard the whole specimen. I made sure it was dead by putting it in the freezer.

 

The other Antillogorgia is looking like it will probably come around, but I will continue to monitor it. Everything else in the tank looks really good, so I am not too torn up about the loss. 

  • Like 2
  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
billygoat

So I had the day off today and decided to do some maintenance on the tank. I looked back in my log and found that the last time I cleaned my MP10 and return pump was... mid August. So almost three months ago! Yikes! 😅

 

I gave the MP10 a vinegar bath, scrubbed out the return pump, and cleaned the heater. Everything seems to be running much better now, especially the return. It was pretty gross! I'll have to be better about cleaning it out in the future.

 

IMG_0780.JPG.071a2a48f20f27d2edb6435d2884082e.JPG  IMG_0778.JPG.60b14632d30699f3b2929382796f91d7.JPG

 

Also took the opportunity to grab a top-down shot while the pumps were off. Almost everything is doing about as well as I could hope for, and coralline growth continues to look pretty good. I'm interested to see what it will be like in another six months or so.

 

IMG_0781.thumb.JPG.1f54d71bdf67fbef9543f8b4d9b639de.JPG

 

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
kimberbee

Could you ID these for me and if they came from KPA? 

 

Screenshot_20191109-144351_Chrome.jpg.e467cd15462d706435a7f3a75650ffaf.jpg

 

I think I have the red circled one, but not the other two. I'm hoping to place an order with KPA soon!

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
billygoat
19 minutes ago, kimberbee said:

Could you ID these for me and if they came from KPA? 

 

Sure!

 

Red: Candelabra gorgonian (Eunicea calyculata)

Green: Rusty gorgonian (Muricea elongata)

Blue: Angular sea whip (Pterogorgia anceps)

 

The rusty gorgonian and sea whip are from KPA, but the Eunicea is from Gulf Coast Ecosystems. KPA sells similar specimens under the heading "Knobby Sea Rod," though they are not guaranteed to be the exact same species (there is quite a lot of variance within the genus Eunicea).

 

I can't wait to see what you get! 😁

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
billygoat

It's a riot of life here on the reef. Today I spent a very relaxing day observing it all. 

 

Edit: Also, gonna change the thread title to something a bit more catchy I think. 😎 Just, you know, for style.

 

IMG_0788.thumb.JPG.5c8b0946ffd8f6220676ac8203040f6b.JPG

 

IMG_0793a.jpg.8c769579725fbeeff38d01940963ac35.jpg    IMG_0792a.jpg.23cb441167bd49ad264273385a7bf5b9.jpg

 

 

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Sharbuckle

Tank looks fantastic. 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
mitten_reef
4 hours ago, billygoat said:

It's a riot of life here on the reef. Today I spent a very relaxing day observing it all. 

 

Edit: Also, gonna change the thread title to something a bit more catchy I think. 😎 Just, you know, for style.

 

IMG_0788.thumb.JPG.5c8b0946ffd8f6220676ac8203040f6b.JPG

 

IMG_0793a.jpg.8c769579725fbeeff38d01940963ac35.jpg    IMG_0792a.jpg.23cb441167bd49ad264273385a7bf5b9.jpg

 

 

that eunicea looks so purple in many photos, but mine is pinkish gray kinda like yours.

 

Do you think they can "color up" or is it just based on individual's coloration? 

 

edit:  never mind I have it confused with Plexaura.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
billygoat
11 hours ago, Sharbuckle said:

Tank looks fantastic. 

Thank you! It really means a lot to me. I appreciate you checking it out. 😁

 

9 hours ago, mitten_reef said:

that eunicea looks so purple in many photos, but mine is pinkish gray kinda like yours.

 

Do you think they can "color up" or is it just based on individual's coloration? 

 

edit:  never mind I have it confused with Plexaura.

To make things even more confusing, my understanding is that the species you are thinking of, Plexaura flexuosa, was actually moved into the genus Eunicea relatively recently. So now it's Eunicea flexuosa, even though most vendors still refer to it as a Plexaura🤷‍♂️ Eunicea in general is a genus that demonstrates a lot of variance in coloration, even among members of the same species, so it wouldn't surprise me if you've simply got an off-colored specimen on your hands. It apparently is quite common.

 

But as for changes in coloration - so far in my experience I have never seen a gorgonian change the color of its "skin", but the colors of their polyps certainly can change and appear to be affected by lighting. I've had a few specimens that came in with white polyps that later turned brown. This may be due to the relatively weak lighting in my tank; I have only a single 15w Kessil A80 on this system.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
billygoat

Some good and bad news today. Let's start with the bad.

 

I ended up losing my other large Antillogorgia colony. I was sure it was on the road to recovery, but the main axis disintegrated overnight and the branches began to rapidly deteriorate. I still have a small frag of it that seems healthy, but it's unfortunate that the larger colonies did not pull through. I think they had a lot of trouble adjusting to the changes I made to flow in the tank. 😞

 

The good news is that everything else looks great! And I did a bit of minor rescaping to free up some space in the rear, which means that I can fit in a specimen that I have been wanting for a long time: corky fingers! I saw that Gulf Coast Ecosystems had some in stock, and I couldn't resist. I was very pleased with my previous order of gorgs from GCE, so I have high expectations.

 

It's going to go right here:

InkedIMG_0795_LI.thumb.jpg.00254de5eb94c3d32381a05fe0b86214.jpg

 

The corky finger should arrive later this week. I'm so excited. 😁

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
billygoat

Another upside of the space-creating rescape I did a few days ago is that now the rock with all my turquoise Ricordea is actually pointed at the glass. Previously it was kind of canted towards the rear wall instead. Oops! 😅

 

Some of these polyps are getting very large.

 

IMG_0797.thumb.JPG.91bacbddb1419a4c521c9e750bf52504.JPG

  • Like 5
  • Wow 2

Share this post


Link to post
DutchNanoReefer88

Damn, I want Ricordea with that kind of polyps as well! Mine always look retracted.. 🤨

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Amphrites
47 minutes ago, DutchNanoReefer88 said:

Damn, I want Ricordea with that kind of polyps as well! Mine always look retracted.. 🤨

Most folks don't get near the extension here for sure, beautiful animals.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
billygoat
On 11/13/2019 at 9:17 AM, DutchNanoReefer88 said:

Damn, I want Ricordea with that kind of polyps as well! Mine always look retracted.. 🤨

I suspect that there is a lot of variance in the flow/light preferences of Ricordea based on the conditions that each individual inhabited in the ocean before it was collected. The plain-looking turquoise ones in that photo come from very shallow water and like a lot of illumination. More colorful specimens generally tend to come from deeper water and do better with more shade. Figuring out each polyp's preferences and positioning them appropriately in your tank can be quite challenging, but I seem to have gotten it right with those particular specimens (probably accidentally, of course 😅).

 

23 hours ago, Amphrites said:

Most folks don't get near the extension here for sure, beautiful animals.

Thanks Amp! They definitely seem to be doing pretty well. They're not splitting though, which is interesting. Instead the individual polyps just keep getting bigger and bigger. 🤷‍♂️

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
mitten_reef
1 hour ago, billygoat said:

 

Thanks Amp! They definitely seem to be doing pretty well. They're not splitting though, which is interesting. Instead the individual polyps just keep getting bigger and bigger. 🤷‍♂️

from what I've seen with mine, they don't "walk off" and dropped babies like discosoma or Yuma mushrooms, despite the latter being same ricordea genus.  Instead, they kept growing so large, then the mouth splits, then kept on growing.  If the conditions are right, then the larger "colony" (now with multiple mouths) may show pinch points and finally split into individual mushrooms.  ...does that makes sense?  I might be able to grab some pics from my tank, or i may even have existing photos that may show this phenomenon somewhere. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Amphrites
29 minutes ago, mitten_reef said:

from what I've seen with mine, they don't "walk off" and dropped babies like discosoma or Yuma mushrooms, despite the latter being same ricordea genus.  Instead, they kept growing so large, then the mouth splits, then kept on growing.  If the conditions are right, then the larger "colony" (now with multiple mouths) may show pinch points and finally split into individual mushrooms.  ...does that makes sense?  I might be able to grab some pics from my tank, or i may even have existing photos that may show this phenomenon somewhere. 

That's what mine were doing pre-crash as well, but they stayed pretty-tiny throughout the process.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Northwoodsreefer

I need to re-read this whole thread before I get most of my stock for the new tank, so much knowledge and personal experience with a large number of Caribbean species 😍

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recommended Discussions

×
×
  • Create New...