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Billy's 18g Caribbean Biotope - Breakdown Complete!

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Ratvan

Sorry to hear about the Goby, another one so sorry. What is the typical lifespan for one of these?

Aren't most smaller gobies typically a year or two max?

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Pjanssen

Sorry about the goby 

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billygoat

Thank you all for your condolences regarding the masked goby. Unfortunately though, the fish troubles seem to keep on coming! This time it's my tiger goby that's missing. I haven't found a body or anything so it could still be hiding somewhere in the rockwork, but I haven't caught a glimpse of it all day, not even at feeding time. Hopefully it's still in there somewhere.

 

This system has seen amazing success with invertebrates, but my record at keeping fish has been absolutely dismal. Let's take a look at what I've tried to stock so far:

 

  1. 4 masked gobies. One was bullied to death, one died mysteriously, one was eaten by the Maw, and one lived for more than a year before kicking the bucket a few days ago.
  2. Sailfin blenny #1. This guy took a flying leap and turned into jerky.
  3. Royal gramma. Was basically dead on arrival. I pulled his corpse from the rocks the morning after adding him.
  4. ORA sharknose goby. Vanished a week after adding. Assumed eaten by the Maw.
  5. Yellowheaded jawfish. Lived for the better part of a year, but never really settled down. I recently lost her after she became egg-bound.
  6. Chalk bass. Lasted a month or so before coming down with some mysterious syndrome and dying a few days later.
  7. Atlantic tiger goby. Currently MIA.
  8. Sailfin blenny #2. Still alive and well. Good luck little guy!

I'm thinking I should just stick to gorgonians. I feel bad throwing more fish at this system when none of them seem to do very well. Maybe it's okay to just keep corals? 🤷‍♂️

 

Speaking of gorgonians though, all of mine seem to be flourishing. The purple plume is out of control. It's breaking the surface! 🐋

IMG_1323.thumb.JPG.ce93af22afdee726e28ce165033d98e0.JPG

 

This small frag of yellow whip gorgonian has doubled in size over the past few months:

IMG_1322.thumb.JPG.34d296c3ecc63d036f9ac7086dda48df.JPG

 

Viewed from the right side, the tank is a forest of gorgs:

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Meanwhile, the left side of the tank has been overtaken by Palythoas, mushrooms, and Ricordea.

IMG_1324.thumb.JPG.f37ea3a1154f68bc1b6a1e1ebd899b3c.JPG

 

The center rocks are home to many zoanthids. Coralline growth is also extremely thick here.

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And here's my sailfin blenny. Possibly my last remaining fish! He's still kind of afraid of my phone, but he's starting to come around.

IMG_1326.thumb.JPG.c44a6d1a34957af4a4e40bcbecaa2760.JPG

 

That's all I've got for now. Thanks as always for reading. 🙏

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Tired

Oof, bad luck all 'round with the fish. Especially since a lot of that really just looks like bad luck or the presence of one giant mushroom- none of it screams 'bad tank for fish', except the slight question of a disease.

 

If you want something for midwater that's not a fish, there's a type of cleaner shrimp that hovers a lot. Urocaridella are transparent little spotty creatures that hover around like a wasp or some kind of giant mosquito, which is pretty cool. They, uh, will jump, like other cleaner shrimp, so lids are good like usual. Speaking from "forgot to put the lid back on" experience, RIP weird little shrimp. 

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billygoat
On 5/13/2020 at 8:42 PM, Tired said:

If you want something for midwater that's not a fish, there's a type of cleaner shrimp that hovers a lot. Urocaridella are transparent little spotty creatures that hover around like a wasp or some kind of giant mosquito, which is pretty cool. They, uh, will jump, like other cleaner shrimp, so lids are good like usual. Speaking from "forgot to put the lid back on" experience, RIP weird little shrimp. 

I'll have to look into those shrimp. They sound pretty neat, although they may be able to jump right through my 1/4" mesh lid if they are small enough. 🤔

 

I've done some rearranging over the past few days. I moved the Codium from the cube into the C-Vue, and put some gorgonians into the cube to take its place. The Codium looks pretty nice on the side of my 'scape. Hopefully nothing will eat it. 🤷‍♂️

 

IMG_1328.thumb.JPG.5419a4991a6d115b4a9e41133ad404c8.JPG

 

Edgy down-angle FTS:

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Here's the cube. Gorgs are still pissed because they got manhandled today, but they're already starting to come around.

 

IMG_1330.thumb.JPG.c73d4ae467d9c9603567b2029879cb62.JPG

 

The 'scape is nice and balanced now, but unfortunately I couldn't come up with a way to put the zoanthids in front. They're still visible from the left side (you can see them reflected in the glass in the picture above), so hopefully that's good enough.

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billygoat

Just a few quick photos this evening! My blue zoanthids are really taking off again. It's good to see them fully recovered from my lighting fiasco back in December, even if it took four or five months for them to come around. 😅

 

IMG_1332.thumb.JPG.848651cff5ae8493b2d7f6696e3f540d.JPG

 

Here's the cube too. The gorgonians I had in there were struggling a bit, so I switched them back into the C-Vue. I think this system is a bit too young for them still. That means the cube is even more simple, but I think it still looks alright. I'll probably end up making a dedicated thread for this little system sooner or later.

 

IMG_1331.thumb.JPG.675fad833794de4dbbaccb8fcadccc95.JPG

 

More photos to come soon! Thanks for reading.

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billygoat

Hello there! It's been a minute since I've posted here in the journal, mostly because I don't really have much to report! The tank is just trucking along. Nothing much added or removed. Routine maintenance has been reduced to daily manual dosing, feeding, and a weekly water change. The system kind of takes care of itself at this point! That being said, I still intend to update here at least once weekly, just to stay in the game. I like to keep tabs on what's going on in the tank so I can look back on it later.

 

I have some pictures from today!

 

Zoanthids. The blues are looking good. I also moved the yellow-eye ones from the cube into this system, but they're still adjusting. They just started opening a few days ago. You can see them at the bottom right in the first photo below.

IMG_1344.thumb.JPG.52770ebddc72de511874211e703372b8.JPG

 

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Ricordea. The usual suspects. I'm happy to report that all of them are still doing well.

IMG_1343.thumb.JPG.3c9b36014a9ce9412a45287615f74df0.JPG

 

Plenty of glare in this one, but here's the whole pile. 😁

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Even more glare in this one!

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I should take a moment to mention the Maw's pico as well, since it's just about one month old at this point. The little cube has turned into a bit of an experiment in hands-off reefing. I want to see if I can get away with doing almost nothing other than a once-weekly water change with this one. I haven't even been scraping the glass, but I did add a fairly beefy compliment of snails. We'll see if they can keep the glass transparent on their own. Terrible glare in this picture as well, but apparently that's just how I roll:

 

IMG_1339.thumb.JPG.290bf5726f191eecd917da65e2472b71.JPG

 

Not a whole lot going on in there besides a whole lot of ugly, as you can see. I did notice a little nubbin of a gorgonian that hitched in on a rock that I moved from the C-Vue though. I think this is a purple whip (Pterogorgia anceps) from way back in the day. It started off as just a holdfast, but now it's growing a new axis! Pretty cool.

 

IMG_1340.thumb.JPG.33e29cd37bd102b8610e8faf27de06a4.JPG

 

Okay, that's all I've got for now. Thanks for reading all that! I hope you are all having a grand weekend out there in N-R land. ❤️

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Tired

Cube is going through its ugly stage, I see. 

 

I think something tall in the background (halimeda?) would benefit it. Or, heck, something growing up the background. I feel like you need some up in there. 

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Tigahboy

Everything looks great!  I like the weekly updates idea.  I have no such self-control though.

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Poison Dart Frog

Is that a corky sea finger in the tank with the Maw? Looks really cool.

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billygoat
On 5/24/2020 at 8:09 PM, Tired said:

Cube is going through its ugly stage, I see. 

 

I think something tall in the background (halimeda?) would benefit it. Or, heck, something growing up the background. I feel like you need some up in there. 

The Uglies are definitely in full swing in the cube, yes. I keep rearranging things to try and make the 'scape more coherent, but I agree with you - it definitely needs some up. I'm not sure if that means some sort of taller macroalgae in the back (maybe Sargassum), or simply a few gorgonian frags. Lord knows I have plenty of those.

 

Here's the latest iteration. Still haven't scraped the glass, but the snail crew is making pretty good progress on it.

 

IMG_1346.thumb.JPG.c0220ede5c8c71857cd7045034ff30ec.JPG

 

On 5/24/2020 at 9:09 PM, Tigahboy said:

Everything looks great!  I like the weekly updates idea.  I have no such self-control though.

Thanks Tigah! If my little pico cube ends up looking half as good as yours some day, I'll be a happy reefer. 😄

 

On 5/24/2020 at 10:00 PM, Poison Dart Frog said:

Is that a corky sea finger in the tank with the Maw? Looks really cool.

That is an encrusting corky finger, yeah. There are apparently two varieties - one that builds stalks and grows vertically like a gorgonian, and another that forms a mat and creeps over the rocks. Mine is the latter type. It's basically GSP without the showy colors.

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billygoat

Hello everyone! I've got a few updates this week.

 

1.) My tiger goby is alive! While doing a water change today I spotted him in the sump chambers of my tank. Incredible! I guess he's just been feasting on pods back there for... a month? Good for him! 🤷‍♂️

 

2.) After about a year in the same location, my orange RFA went for a walk and is now at the base of the rock it used to be on top of. Seems like it just really wanted to feel the sand on its toes. Go figure.

 

Everything else is just trucking along. Purple plume gorgonian still needs to be fragged, but I'm just so lazy.

 

Pictures!

 

IMG_1352.thumb.JPG.2183e20270aa1b09dfc837b0db07ecbe.JPG

 

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Oh, and I moved a gorgonian into the cube! I chose to move the yellow whip (Pterogorgia citrina). So far it has been doing well!

 

IMG_1350.thumb.JPG.83f0efd86e2dff61a7247b670be5027a.JPG

 

This little tank is really growing on me. It's a bit difficult to see the red Gracilaria on the black background in the picture, but when viewing the tank it's stunningly beautiful.

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Pjanssen
12 hours ago, billygoat said:

1.) My tiger goby is alive! While doing a water change today I spotted him in the sump chambers of my tank. Incredible! I guess he's just been feasting on pods back there for... a month? Good for him! 🤷‍♂️

   Sounds like my neon/shark nose goby. She disappears for months then suddenly reappears. Has happened twice now.

2.) After about a year in the same location, my orange RFA went for a walk and is now at the base of the rock it used to be on top of. Seems like it just really wanted to feel the sand on its toes. Go figure.

   Did you offer it a cold PBR?

 

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Ratvan
12 hours ago, billygoat said:

Hello everyone! I've got a few updates this week.

 

1.) My tiger goby is alive! While doing a water change today I spotted him in the sump chambers of my tank. Incredible! I guess he's just been feasting on pods back there for... a month? Good for him! 🤷‍♂️

 

2.) After about a year in the same location, my orange RFA went for a walk and is now at the base of the rock it used to be on top of. Seems like it just really wanted to feel the sand on its toes. Go figure.

 

Everything else is just trucking along. Purple plume gorgonian still needs to be fragged, but I'm just so lazy.

 

Pictures!

 

IMG_1352.thumb.JPG.2183e20270aa1b09dfc837b0db07ecbe.JPG

 

IMG_1353.thumb.JPG.4b1b775a0cd43ae91cb00c390ef54526.JPG

 

Oh, and I moved a gorgonian into the cube! I chose to move the yellow whip (Pterogorgia citrina). So far it has been doing well!

 

IMG_1350.thumb.JPG.83f0efd86e2dff61a7247b670be5027a.JPG

 

This little tank is really growing on me. It's a bit difficult to see the red Gracilaria on the black background in the picture, but when viewing the tank it's stunningly beautiful.

Does the Maw Mansion have its own thread yet?

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Diamonds x Pearls

I could use my toes in the sand.

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melson

Keep up with the updates man! You are helping a lot of people show the fun and challenges of keeping a saltwater aquarium and even a biotope!

 

 

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billygoat
On 6/1/2020 at 3:35 AM, Pjanssen said:

 Did you offer it a cold PBR?

I did not yet offer my anemone an ice-cold PBR straight out of my fishing-boat cooler... but that's next on my list though. 🤣

 

19 hours ago, melson said:

Keep up with the updates man! You are helping a lot of people show the fun and challenges of keeping a saltwater aquarium and even a biotope!

 

 

Thanks @melson! And don't you worry - I'm not goin' anywhere with the journal here! The updates will continue, regularly enough.

 

On 6/1/2020 at 3:42 AM, Ratvan said:

Does the Maw Mansion have its own thread yet?

It still doesn't have its own thread, which is basically criminal because it's a sweet little tank. I promise I'll get around to that - hopefully some time this week!

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billygoat

What do you think - is it time to clean my MP10? 🤔😂

 

At least coralline growth is really good I guess.

 

IMG_1355.thumb.JPG.6d77b24ac6ace1d8bab86b36897ea386.JPG

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Ratvan
On 6/3/2020 at 10:10 PM, billygoat said:

What do you think - is it time to clean my MP10? 🤔😂

 

At least coralline growth is really good I guess.

 

IMG_1355.thumb.JPG.6d77b24ac6ace1d8bab86b36897ea386.JPG

If its still pushing water, where's the need to clean it? 😁

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Diamonds x Pearls

My 240s are kinda growing the same way. I haven't touched it yet.

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billygoat

It's time for an update! If you can even call it that! 😅 Not a whole lot going on in my tank these days, except for the regular showings of Gorgs Gone Wild. Baby RFAs are all over my rocks. Coralline algae is out of control. An Atlantic tiger goby continues to live in my sump. Let's cut to the pictures. Plenty of glare, so don't worry! This is the quality you've come to expect from my journal. 

 

IMG_1360.thumb.JPG.aa80343ee066a31c34774544a77c3bab.JPG

 

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That red grape algae is going nuts in the front of the tank. Maybe I should trim it soon. 🤔

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Tired

Oh, the goby is still in the sump? Can you get your hand down there? 

 

I had to get a royal gramma out of the back compartment of a biocube once. I bent a net to make it narrower so it would fit. It worked, with some grumbling about small spaces and fast fish.

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billygoat

Don't you worry, friends - I'm still alive! Some quick updates today for the C-Vue:

 

1.) Tiger Goby in the sump is dead. Not sure what happened to him. I found his mutilated body during my weekly water change last Sunday. Unfortunate, but not much to be done as I don't think there's any way I could have gotten him out of there anyway (or prevented him from getting back in the sump even after I'd removed him).

2.) RFA apocalypse. Tiny rock flowers are all over my rocks. There are at least a dozen of them. Not a hundred percent sure what I'm going to do once they grow up, but we'll figure that out when we get there.

3.) Yellow whip gorgonian and one sprig of Eunicea moved into the cube. I did this in an attempt to add some more "tall stuff" to the smaller tank. So far it seems to be doing pretty well.

 

Pictures!

 

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The cube!

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cheesesteak

Just wanted to say, as someone who is also from Florida and spent their childhood on/in the water, this is a beautiful biotope! 

 

Sorry about the fish struggles 😔

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billygoat

Hoo boy! I sure have been pretty lax with the updates. I know I said "once a week," but that turned into "once a month... or so" in almost no time! Sorry about that. I will try to be better about it moving forward.

 

On 7/6/2020 at 7:02 PM, cheesesteak said:

Just wanted to say, as someone who is also from Florida and spent their childhood on/in the water, this is a beautiful biotope! 

 

Sorry about the fish struggles 😔

Thank you for your kind words, and I am glad to hear you enjoy my humble tank! It's nothing fancy really, just a bunch of gorgonians and other simple corals, but I continue to take care of it despite my recent absence here on the forum. In fact, the tank has quietly crested the 18 month mark and is barreling onwards towards 2 years since setup! It's amazing how the time flies.

 

On the subject of fish struggles too - I do have one that is hanging in there! The sailfin blenny is my last fish left, and he's doing very well. Totally fearless animal, and the absolute boss of the tank. He eats like a pig and goes where he pleases.

 

IMG_1388.thumb.JPG.3bb9e6df457130ba10726276872da357.JPG

 

Most of the rest of the tank is doing quite well too! Gorgonians are growing like crazy, RFAs are reproducing, and everything looks generally happy. Here are some photos from around the tank. First a side-view of the Ricordea pile, on the left-hand side of the tank: 

 

IMG_1386.thumb.JPG.d631b781b9cf1ac51482c5058009d67c.JPG

 

Here's the right-hand side of the tank, with a big Eunicea in the foreground.

IMG_1385.thumb.JPG.bcbf70edda17af219d7162f06062c0b8.JPG

 

A flourishing Caribbean tube coral. This coral grows slowly but is very beautiful. It started out with 4 heads and now has more than 30.

IMG_1384.thumb.JPG.bb5f08cbd48e7e83d95c1356fc4c15a5.JPG

 

Zoanthids and RFA at the front of the tank. This colony of zoanthids began as a single hitchhiker, and has grown into a cluster of 20+ polyps.

IMG_1383.thumb.JPG.a24294e5a754930355d0d10f9c9c65f2.JPG

 

I have had a few minor hiccups amidst the general good news. Most vexing of them are my Caribbean mushrooms. A few of them have started to wither away for some unknown reason. Here's an example:

 

IMG_1390.thumb.JPG.4f0940212d516e95cb7c485ae03ac2bf.JPG

 

I have a few other individuals of the same species that continue to do very well, so I don't think that water quality is the issue. A bacterial infection may be the culprit. I'll continue to monitor them, but at this point I have no plans to take dramatic action to try and save them. If they bounce back that's great; if not, something else will occupy that space in their stead. 🤷‍♂️

 

My yellow whip gorgonian (Pterogorgia citrina) has also been struggling a bit. In this case I think the cause is clear: I transferred it back and forth between the C-Vue and my 4 gallon cube a few too many times during an aquascaping spree a few weeks ago. Again, I have other cuttings from this same colony that are doing well in my tank (note the small sprig at the right of the photo below, in front of the red grape algae), so I don't think water quality or lighting is an issue. The big colony has been slowly extending polyps over the past few days, so hopefully it will come around.

 

IMG_1389.thumb.JPG.c06293951295c4368d050ca35bc6680b.JPG

 

I think that's just about all I have to report... except of course for this FTS! With all the glare you've come to expect from my photos - don't worry.

 

IMG_1387.thumb.JPG.571b26ea004fa8d5aacb9559705a967f.JPG

 

Thank you as always for reading. I hope all of you reefers are hanging in there and doing well. 🙏

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