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Billy's 18g Caribbean Biotope - Breakdown Complete!

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lizzyann

I'm sorry, that sounds awful to deal with! Is that a baby maw that looks pretty well off towards the back right of the waterbox?

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billygoat
1 hour ago, banasophia said:

Oh no! So sorry... must be very stressful too... as if there wasn’t enough stressful stuff going on right now... I hope your tanks recover. 💛

Thank you for your kind words @banasophia. I am just happy that I opted for a resilient mix of hardy corals, and that my system has been stable and strong for so long. If I had a more delicate reef stocked with fragile SPS corals and such, I imagine that all of them would be dead. Thank goodness for my laziness and soft coral stocking plans! 😅

 

21 minutes ago, lizzyann said:

I'm sorry, that sounds awful to deal with! Is that a baby maw that looks pretty well off towards the back right of the waterbox?

That is indeed a baby Maw! There are two of them in there and both look a whole lot better than the parent does. Honestly though, I wouldn't be surprised if the big Maw pulls through, despite looking pretty terrible at the moment. It's a tough, mean old bastard and has been through hard times before (though not quite as hard as 30 hours of hypoxia, to be sure). 

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Nano sapiens

Glad to see that the main tank pulled through relatively unscathed.

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Poison Dart Frog

I hope the Maw survives. Despite its dreadful reputation, or maybe because of it, it's kind of a legend. 

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Tired

Oof, yeah, that little tank doesn't look so good. I think they make laptop backup batteries that don't cost too much? Might be good to get one for future problems. 

 

Do you think you could lift the whole tank? Since it's, what, 4 gallons? If you could, you could probably just put the whole thing inside a cooler, and put a couple ice cubes in the cooler at a time, to help keep the temps down if/when this kind of thing happens again. Or I guess you could upend a foam cooler over it, and put the ice in a tray, or in a bag in the tank. A whole big bag of ice would be a bad plan, clearly, but 1 or 2 cubes wouldn't drop the temps too much at a time. Would melt super fast, though. 

 

 

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billygoat
21 hours ago, Nano sapiens said:

Glad to see that the main tank pulled through relatively unscathed.

Turns out those corals are pretty dang resilient, just as you mentioned a while back. I think they would have quickly suffocated if I had not had a battery backup ready to go for the MP10 though. I'm sure that with such high water temperatures and relatively heavy stocking, my tank would have sucked up all the oxygen in no time. I'm greatly relieved that everything survived.

 

19 hours ago, Poison Dart Frog said:

I hope the Maw survives. Despite its dreadful reputation, or maybe because of it, it's kind of a legend. 

Honestly... I have a weird feeling that it's going to be fine, despite how abused it looks now. The Maw does not simply die. Soon it will probably be looking as big and puffy (and hungry) as ever. 🤷‍♂️

 

13 hours ago, Tired said:

Oof, yeah, that little tank doesn't look so good. I think they make laptop backup batteries that don't cost too much? Might be good to get one for future problems. 

 

Do you think you could lift the whole tank? Since it's, what, 4 gallons? If you could, you could probably just put the whole thing inside a cooler, and put a couple ice cubes in the cooler at a time, to help keep the temps down if/when this kind of thing happens again. Or I guess you could upend a foam cooler over it, and put the ice in a tray, or in a bag in the tank. A whole big bag of ice would be a bad plan, clearly, but 1 or 2 cubes wouldn't drop the temps too much at a time. Would melt super fast, though. 

 

 

I contemplated various similar strategies, but in the end I decided to just let it roll and sort of see what happens. This was partially out of laziness (which I realize is lax of me, given that animals' lives were on the line) and partially out of a desire to see just how resilient these soft corals really can be. Turns out they're awfully tough!

 

I'm not sure about the cube, to be honest with you. It has not really given me the same degree of pleasure that the C-Vue does, and events like this past power outage demonstrate its vulnerability. The Briareum I have in there is also not a great fit for such a small system, as it grows so quickly and is so aggressively encrusting that it is threatening to take over the entire tank (it can never be "isolated" on the sandbed, despite what you might read on the interwebs - the stuff simply spreads its stolon directly across the top of the sand 🙄). I'm considering breaking the cube down and giving the livestock away to an LFS or perhaps another reefer, though I don't know anyone in my area that might want it. I'll think it over and see if I can come up with a new plan for the cube, but if I can't it's probably going to end up getting broken down.

 

This post needs a picture, so here's Lurch the Hermit attempting to traverse the Ricordea pile. Looks like he's in over his head! 😄

IMG_1439.thumb.JPG.d602a10771015d0165ee4bacd76ce6d4.JPG

 

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Tired

Lurch looks more like Lunch in there; looks like something's got him! 

 

As far as seeing what happened with the cube, seems reasonable. It's just corals in there, right? They're about as conscious as plants. 

 

I think the point of putting fast-spreading things where they're isolated on the sandbed isn't to keep them from spreading, period. It's so that they spread onto the sand, and you can then easily cut those portions away, as opposed to having them spreading onto rock that you can't easily cut. An exacto knife and a solid cutting surface would do the job just fine, I'd imagine. 

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billygoat

Made a few changes today. No matter how many rocks I add or remove I always seem to have one too many rocks in the tank, so today I moved one out: the rock with the Codium attached is back in the 4g cube. My gorgonians are growing a lot and they need more space to sway, so I think the roomier look is better for them. I moved the big shell that was at the front right into the rear where the Codium rock used to be. I kind like the more open front area, as it makes the orange RFA easier to see from the front.

 

Here's a fresh FTS from this afternoon.

IMG_1445.thumb.JPG.96163938fe71b1619e10d15ee1794ceb.JPG

 

And here's an FTS from July for comparison. A lot can change in a couple months! Those green zoas on the front-right rock have really gone crazy. They've completely taken over the branching coralline algae that was above the green RFA, which I suppose is a bit sad but probably inevitable. All the Ricordea have shown strong growth as well.

IMG_1393.thumb.jpg.230aeda388fb82439aaf8470b6569fc7.jpg

 

And a bonus photo: a close up of a beautiful Eunicea gorgonian.

IMG_1441.thumb.JPG.6413e7afd32dbb0a3ff9ebcbfcfe9779.JPG

 

Thanks as always for stopping by! ☺️

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billygoat

I moved my orange Ricordea back to the front of the tank. They were doing well off on the side, but I felt that their attractive colors were wasted over there. I think they look pretty nice right up in the front, near the zoanthid piles.

 

IMG_1447.thumb.JPG.7129fc817c7b284ea812e112bcae26e0.JPG

 

 

On the subject of Ricordea, and since we were talking about growth rates (@Tired) in here the other day: I did some digging through my photo archives and discovered that I got my first orange Ric in late July of last year. It started off as a single polyp with one mouth, and remained that way for about eight or nine months before splitting. Since the split, growth has been rapid, and one of the new clones has already developed a second mouth.

 

Here's July 2019:

IMG_0340.thumb.JPG.605f48c182569245711d44026c6ee3d5.JPG

 

And yesterday:

IMG_1446.thumb.JPG.7da14d96aac7ca7c8da84094c675e99f.JPG

 

I'm not sure if 9 months is a normal rate for these things to split (seems kinda slow to me), but it probably depends on what stage in the process they're at when you first get them. In the early stages this polyp was moved around quite frequently, which may have slowed its rate of splittage. 

 

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Tired

Oo, those are some nice ones. It's interesting that there seems to be an orange strain that has lots of blue on it, and one that doesn't. Funny that you see them both just listed as "orange ricordea". Both are nice, but, boy, blue and orange like that is a great combo. 

 

I see a baby RFA in that last pic! So cute. 

 

I have an app, AquaticLog, that I'm logging my different livestock in. I have notes about how many polyps something had when I got it, so I can keep track of growth over time. It's fun, and more collected than "okay, let me look at my pictures from a few months ago and see if I have a pic of this". 

 

What red macro is that, again? It looks like- I think it's called flamingo feather? But I thought flamingo feather liked high light.

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billygoat
15 hours ago, Tired said:

I have an app, AquaticLog, that I'm logging my different livestock in. I have notes about how many polyps something had when I got it, so I can keep track of growth over time. It's fun, and more collected than "okay, let me look at my pictures from a few months ago and see if I have a pic of this". 

I wish I was that good at record-keeping! I'm ashamed to admit that I barely even keep a log at all anymore. I used to be so good with it too, meticulously documenting my activities in the tank, dosing, measurements of parameters, maintenance performed... nowadays I just write in the log when I do a water change, so I don't forget to do one two weeks later. I dose KH and Ca manually, but it's always the same amount so I don't even write it down anymore. 😅 An app like the one you describe would probably be good for me.

 

15 hours ago, Tired said:

I see a baby RFA in that last pic! So cute. 

Oh yeah - they're all over the place! I probably have 15 or 20 of them in total. Some of them are a dull green, but most of them are orange, like these super tiny guys:

 

IMG_1449.thumb.JPG.ad9642eb80fcf01f39d7c7d34ec35f17.JPG

 

15 hours ago, Tired said:

What red macro is that, again? It looks like- I think it's called flamingo feather? But I thought flamingo feather liked high light.

It's a bit hard to tell from the picture, but that's actually red grape algae (Botryocladia). It came in on my original live rock as a wild hitchhiker, and continues to grow steadily throughout my tank. I have to trim it every few months to prevent it from rubbing against my gorgonians.

 

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A.m.P

Those nems look like they're going to be beautiful when they grow up, you should consider shipping them =p

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Tired

Honestly, I only just started using the app, and am just using it for water changes and polyp counts. I should probably keep track of feedings? 

 

Oh, that's the same stuff I have, the macro. It's a relative of that red bubble algae that can be a pest. I actually had some of that pest red bubble show up in a piece of macroalgae, but I took it out. It's neat, but I've seen pictures of it engulfing rockwork. The branching stuff doesn't tend to be a pest because it's branching, so it's easy to cut back, it doesn't attach so firmly to the rock. Looks like yours might be a slightly different species, the bubbles are larger. 

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Poison Dart Frog
5 hours ago, Tired said:

Honestly, I only just started using the app, and am just using it for water changes and polyp counts. I should probably keep track of feedings? 

 

Oh, that's the same stuff I have, the macro. It's a relative of that red bubble algae that can be a pest. I actually had some of that pest red bubble show up in a piece of macroalgae, but I took it out. It's neat, but I've seen pictures of it engulfing rockwork. The branching stuff doesn't tend to be a pest because it's branching, so it's easy to cut back, it doesn't attach so firmly to the rock. Looks like yours might be a slightly different species, the bubbles are larger. 

Have you ever had "cotton candy" algae? The photos of it look amazing despite its being labeled a pest. 

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StinkyBunny
3 minutes ago, Poison Dart Frog said:

Have you ever had "cotton candy" algae? The photos of it look amazing despite its being labeled a pest. 

I get it once in a while on wild collected rock from Tonga. The Scats I use for Aiptasia removal think it's cotton candy because it gets about 2cm long and they eat it down to the rock.

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billygoat
33 minutes ago, Poison Dart Frog said:

Have you ever had "cotton candy" algae? The photos of it look amazing despite its being labeled a pest. 

Not the best photo (it's from a long time ago) but is it the stuff growing on the left here? This is from the way-early days of my tank, almost 2 years ago now.

 

3_15.19(4).thumb.JPG.ef8cddd1ebb94e4697ca8b2c82d6e390.JPG

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Tired

I've heard it can be a pest, especially because it can grow on and smother other macros. It's pretty, but I don't think I'd put it in anything but a pest tank on purpose. I haven't had it yet.

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Poison Dart Frog
38 minutes ago, billygoat said:

Not the best photo (it's from a long time ago) but is it the stuff growing on the left here? This is from the way-early days of my tank, almost 2 years ago now.

 

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The photos I've seen of it are usually a lighter pink but it may be the lighting causing it to look different. 

pink-cotton-candy-algae.jpg

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billygoat
On 9/14/2020 at 4:57 PM, Poison Dart Frog said:

The photos I've seen of it are usually a lighter pink but it may be the lighting causing it to look different. 

pink-cotton-candy-algae.jpg

I see the resemblance! I think mine might have been a different color because there were diatoms growing on it. Or perhaps the lighting could have influenced it - I think red algae in general can change colors quite dramatically in response to lighting. At any rate, I don't remember it being particularly invasive, but that's likely because it had to compete with all the other algae that I had in the tank at the time.

 

Not much news from the C-Vue recently. Everything is looking good and going according to plan. I spent some time the other day trying to get a solid ID on the super cool hitchhiker cup coral that's been growing in my tank since day 1, but I have not yet found success. It seems that cup corals like mine are common in nearshore environments throughout the Caribbean, and display considerable variance in growth and size depending on local environmental conditions. This makes precise identification difficult. Here's the coral in question, in case anyone else wants to take a crack at it:

 

IMG_1442.thumb.JPG.6de419407f7a3b3b231083c122454e85.JPG

 

Looks a bit like a tiny dendro. The biggest corallites (at the top) are about 5mm across. At first I thought it was a Phyllangia sp., but as it gets bigger I see that this seems less likely.

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StinkyBunny

It's possibly Montastrea cavernosa.

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kekke1082

I'm in the process of reading this thread from the original post to current updat and let me tell you this is a beautiful and amazing tank! Its just the inspiration i was looking for! Ive been agonizing for weeks over how i wanted to set up my 10gal nano reef and i knew i wanted something unique and uncommon with species found in and around florida waters. It took weeks to find something that would lead me in the right direction! Thanks for sharing this beauty! 

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billygoat
On 9/16/2020 at 3:14 PM, StinkyBunny said:

It's possibly Montastrea cavernosa.

Hmm... could be a Montastrea, but those are generally more bouldering, with thicker, rounded corallites. I'll have to dig up some of my old coral ID books (paper ones, yes) and see if I can find anything.

 

12 hours ago, kekke1082 said:

I'm in the process of reading this thread from the original post to current updat and let me tell you this is a beautiful and amazing tank! Its just the inspiration i was looking for! Ive been agonizing for weeks over how i wanted to set up my 10gal nano reef and i knew i wanted something unique and uncommon with species found in and around florida waters. It took weeks to find something that would lead me in the right direction! Thanks for sharing this beauty! 

Oh wow, thank you for taking the time to read all that! I sure hope there is something useful buried in there somewhere! 😅 And thanks for your kind words about my tank. A Florida biotope (which is basically what my tank is; I say "Caribbean biotope" because it sounds fancy, but in reality every single animal in my system came from Florida) is one of the easier ones to set up, since you've got a whole lot of reliable livestock dealers to choose from. Please let me know if you have any specific questions about anything you see in the tank!

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billygoat

Had the pumps off to apply some Aiptasia X today and took the opportunity to take an overhead shot. This angle is somewhat unflattering for a tank dominated by gorgonians, but I still think it's pretty cool.

 

IMG_1451.thumb.JPG.46613358176e572194ec6f9f55a494fb.JPG

 

I also wanted to document a relatively new find: a young stony coral. You can see it right next to the baby orange RFA (the biggest one) at the center of this photo:

IMG_1452.thumb.JPG.0938a44e4beeece3e2b608a0b5198bb8.JPG

 

I first noticed this new coral a few months ago. Very hard to tell what it is since it's just 6 polyps at the moment, but it is undoubtedly a hitchhiker of some kind. I'm not sure why it took so long to appear, but I think it might be because its location was obscured by rocks until I rescaped the tank earlier this year. It has demonstrated steady growth every since it was revealed to the light.

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Poison Dart Frog

Have you ever used a coral food called Nutrigorg? I ordered some because I thought it looked interesting. It is phytoplankton mostly I think and good for all gorgonians as well as sponges and other filter feeders. 

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billygoat
8 minutes ago, Poison Dart Frog said:

Have you ever used a coral food called Nutrigorg? I ordered some because I thought it looked interesting. It is phytoplankton mostly I think and good for all gorgonians as well as sponges and other filter feeders. 

I have not tried it, but I've read about it! I'd be happy to give it a shot if I could get my hands on some. Where did you order it from?

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