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billygoat

Billy's 18g Caribbean Biotope

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billygoat
8 hours ago, lizzyann said:

ORA tempts me with so many of their fish that aren't actually being bred or for sale anywhere! I actually emailed them about a couple species and got a very nice response saying that the ones I was interested in are no longer being bred. I get the feeling one of their goals is just to breed new fish that haven't been successfully captive bred before, get them out there and hope others pick up the breeding program while they move on to new species. 

 

6 hours ago, IceParrot said:

I think ProAquatix also breeds tiger gobies but I am unsure of there availability.

Thank you both for the information! I was curious about the weird stocking patterns on ORA's website, but it makes sense when you put it like that @lizzyann; they probably just have periods where they are only breeding certain fish. I bet the other, "inactive" species remain listed on their website even if ORA has no plans to actively breed them anymore. 😥

 

KP Aquatics also lists tiger gobies but I have never seen one in stock despite regularly checking their site for the better part of a year. For the time being I guess I will be content with my three fish and their weird invertebrate friends. When it comes down to it I've got a good variety of stuff, from gobies and blennies to a few interesting crabs, a huge army of snails, and the murderous Terror Star. They make observing the tank a lot of fun, even though finding a final fish has been a bit of a struggle. 😅

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IceParrot

After this I’ll stop trying to convince you to spend money... I promise. 

 

What about sexy shrimp instead of a final fish? They are native to the Caribbean and could host the RFA. Not to mention they are pretty cute.

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billygoat
40 minutes ago, IceParrot said:

After this I’ll stop trying to convince you to spend money... I promise. 

 

What about sexy shrimp instead of a final fish? They are native to the Caribbean and could host the RFA. Not to mention they are pretty cute.

Oh don't worry, I definitely don't need any convincing to spend money on my aquarium. 😁 It's just a matter of figuring out what to buy!

 

Sexy shrimp are super cool, but unfortunately I have an abysmal track record with shrimp. For some reason that I still don't understand, I have not been able to keep them alive for more than a couple of weeks. So for the time being I've decided to hold off on adding shrimp, which sort of sucks since I think they are super cool and would love to keep them. That's how it goes I guess! 🤷‍♂️

 

Here's a picture of my sailfin blenny. Every morning around feeding time he leaves his hidey-hole and moves up to the top of this clump of coralline algae, where he vigilantly watches the water surface with his weird eyeballs until food appears. 😄

 

IMG_0326.thumb.JPG.7d305679f5ff48d5533c7901a080d729.JPG

 

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Pjanssen

can't wait to get my sailfish into my tank.

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billygoat
10 minutes ago, Pjanssen said:

can't wait to get my sailfish into my tank.

If yours is anything like mine it should start growing pretty rapidly once it gets settled in. My sailfin eats like a pig, to the point that I am having to deposit small amounts of food directly on the substrate with a pipette just to make sure the Nassarius snails get some as well. The blenny won't let a single flake or pellet pass him by! 😅

 

How much longer does your sailfin have in quarantine @Pjanssen?

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Pjanssen
10 minutes ago, billygoat said:

How much longer does your sailfin have in quarantine @Pjanssen?

I don't know. I've never really followed a hard and fast rule. it's been 2 weeks. I'm going on a long weekend vaca the end of next week. At first I was thinking I'd transfer them over just before leaving so that the house sitter didn't have to worry about top offs and another tank. But now I'm thinking if something goes wrong after I add them then she won't really be able to do anything. So I'll like likely eat until I get back.

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billygoat

New livestock came in today! Everything looks good as usual, but my KPA order this time around was a little bit wonky nonetheless: I ordered five Rics and they only sent me four, but charged me for the 5th one. 😬 I'm sure I can get it sorted out but it's just a bit unfortunate because it will probably mean that I'll have to place yet another order from them. Oh well! Maybe I'll get that corky finger next time around... 😅

 

Anyway here are some pics! Everything is pretty upset from shipping and mounting and etc. but I think that they'll look quite nice once they expand.

 

Orange, rainbow, and blue Ricordea:

IMG_0328.thumb.JPG.cf8ccc4bef1fa602858ab0027f26b824.JPG

 

Some big ol' honkin' Caribbean palythoa:

IMG_0329.thumb.JPG.3d4581f2c977235159509143a9ccb176.JPG

 

The purple sea whip looks fine too but I have it way in the back and can't get a good picture with the glare at this time of day. 🤷‍♂️

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Pjanssen

maybe Philip will throw in the corky when you tell him he left out a ric.

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billygoat
18 hours ago, Pjanssen said:

maybe Philip will throw in the corky when you tell him he left out a ric.

I contacted him and he gave me some store credit for my next order. That corky is definitely coming along sooner or later; I already figured out where I want to put it. Should have taken your advice and just added one to this last order! 😅

 

In other news... my poor, lonely SPS coral got brutalized by limpets last night. I woke up to find it very heavily grazed down:

 

IMG_0330.thumb.JPG.369454a135fda59bfff46c4a965c152b.JPG

 

Limpets have nibbled at this colony's edges in the past, but this is the worst damage I've seen. I think it might be time to get those coral munchers out of there. I hate killing anything if I don't have to, but if it's a choice between this coral and the limpets, well... 😣. The coral is a total champ and has demonstrated an extraordinary capacity for regeneration, but each time this happens it becomes harder for the animal to bounce back. I will likely remove the limpets (there are 3 of them in there) over the next few days and euthanize them in my freezer. I'll have to replace them with some other herbivore in order to preserve the balance. Perhaps some Caribbean Nerite snails will do the trick.

 

I hate having the make decisions like this, but I guess it is part of the hobby! It's that or just watch this blushing star coral get slowly eaten away. 😥

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melson
On 7/25/2019 at 2:51 PM, billygoat said:

Thanks @melson! Things have definitely been growing in nicely over the past few months. It always amazes me how much tiny life I find in my aquarium, even after all these months of observing it. It seems like every day I spot something new and say "How cool! I wonder how long that has been in there..."

 

I hope everything is going well over in your biotope too! 😁

Things have been going great on my end! No die off, and everyone is fat and healthy. My Caribbean Gold CBS is even starting to venture out of his cave during feeding time. Talk about shy!

 

I also ordered a couple more gorgonians and I think that's it for me! Now time to sit back and relax! I think the only thing I would add now is *maybe* a GBG pair but I think they'd get lost in the tank, end up in the back chambers or something. Other than that that's it. The Caribbean theme really can put limits on what to add. I'd love something hard to find or not common in the Caribbean biotope but I think I've added just about everything one can buy!

 

 

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billygoat
1 hour ago, melson said:

Things have been going great on my end! No die off, and everyone is fat and healthy. My Caribbean Gold CBS is even starting to venture out of his cave during feeding time. Talk about shy!

 

I also ordered a couple more gorgonians and I think that's it for me! Now time to sit back and relax! I think the only thing I would add now is *maybe* a GBG pair but I think they'd get lost in the tank, end up in the back chambers or something. Other than that that's it. The Caribbean theme really can put limits on what to add. I'd love something hard to find or not common in the Caribbean biotope but I think I've added just about everything one can buy!

 

 

Glad to hear everything is doing well! Gorgonians are in my opinion the backbone of any Caribbean biotope; there are just so many of them out in nature. It's pretty difficult to have too many of those! That and Halimeda, which grows in enormous abundance in certain nearshore habitats. Mangroves would be another cool direction to go in, as they are the foundation of some of the most spectacular marine environments that the Caribbean has to offer.

 

The most iconic ecosystem in the region is probably the shallow water turtle grass bed (Thalassia testudinum), but keeping these plants in captivity is extremely difficult and requires a highly specialized setup. I've never seen turtle grass for sale but I imagine that certain collectors would be willing to get it on special order; I don't believe it is protected or anything. To tell you the truth I'm interested in giving it a shot if I ever upgrade my system. 😉

 

Another thing that is very common in certain parts of the Caribbean are sponges... but I'm not sure if you want to venture into that territory, since they are notoriously difficult to keep alive (My one attempt failed spectacularly, and I don't think I'll be trying again! 😅).

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Pjanssen
4 hours ago, billygoat said:

The most iconic ecosystem in the region is probably the shallow water turtle grass bed (Thalassia testudinum), but keeping these plants in captivity is extremely difficult and requires a highly specialized setup. I've never seen turtle grass for sale but I imagine that certain collectors would be willing to get it on special order; I don't believe it is protected or anything. To tell you the truth I'm interested in giving it a shot if I ever upgrade my system. 😉

 

https://floridapets.com/Turtle-Grass-3/plants

 

I highly considered it, but in such a small system a 6 inch sanded would imo not look great.

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Pjanssen
5 hours ago, melson said:

Things have been going great on my end! No die off, and everyone is fat and healthy. My Caribbean Gold CBS is even starting to venture out of his cave during feeding time. Talk about shy!

 

I also ordered a couple more gorgonians and I think that's it for me! Now time to sit back and relax! I think the only thing I would add now is *maybe* a GBG pair but I think they'd get lost in the tank, end up in the back chambers or something. Other than that that's it. The Caribbean theme really can put limits on what to add. I'd love something hard to find or not common in the Caribbean biotope but I think I've added just about everything one can buy!

 

 

Do you have a thread

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billygoat
5 minutes ago, Pjanssen said:

https://floridapets.com/Turtle-Grass-3/plants

 

I highly considered it, but in such a small system a 6 inch sanded would imo not look great.

Oh wow, this site has a surprising variety of true plants for sale. I'll have to remember it if I ever get around to upgrading! I think I'd need at least a 40B or bigger to successfully keep turtle grass, just because the sandbed alone takes up so much space in the tank, as you've mentioned. Something with a lot of both vertical and horizontal space would be ideal. High-power 6500k lighting would probably also be necessary. Imagine if you could pull it off though! I'd stock the exhibit with interesting turtle grass dwellers like Cassiopeia jellies. 😍

 

6 minutes ago, Pjanssen said:

Do you have a thread

@melson's got a build somewhere out there, but he doesn't update it very often! 😜

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minimal
16 minutes ago, billygoat said:

Oh wow, this site has a surprising variety of true plants for sale. I'll have to remember it if I ever get around to upgrading! I think I'd need at least a 40B or bigger to successfully keep turtle grass, just because the sandbed alone takes up so much space in the tank, as you've mentioned. Something with a lot of both vertical and horizontal space would be ideal. High-power 6500k lighting would probably also be necessary. Imagine if you could pull it off though! I'd stock the exhibit with interesting turtle grass dwellers like Cassiopeia jellies. 😍

 

 

Check out Halophila engelmannii, from what I understand it can grow in much shallower sand beds. Like 3-4" shallow. 

 

I believe @seabass had a pretty in-depth thread talking about Halophila.

 

Edit: Ahh, here it is:

 Lots of good links and info in there. Not as much about specifically pertaining to Halophila as I remember though 

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billygoat
38 minutes ago, minimal said:

 

Check out Halophila engelmannii, from what I understand it can grow in much shallower sand beds. Like 3-4" shallow. 

 

I believe @seabass had a pretty in-depth thread talking about Halophila.

 

Edit: Ahh, here it is:

 Lots of good links and info in there. Not as much about specifically pertaining to Halophila as I remember though 

Ah yes, Star Grass! I remember reading a bit about that one. I think a broad, shallow display (say an IM25 Lagoon) with minimal rock and a 3-4" deep sandbed stocked with seagrasses such as Halophila and a mix of rooting macroalgae like Caulerpa and Udotea could make for a beautiful aquarium. It would definitely be challenging to set it up and strike the right balance of lighting, nutrients, and flow, but the more I talk about this sort of seagrass habitat the more I am convinced that I will have to try it some day.

 

Regarding that seagrass thread: what a huge wealth of information! Just what I would expect from a reefer as meticulous as @seabass. I am here at work and really ought to be working, but I think I may have to start perusing this thread in detail... 😅

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billygoat

I got home rather late today so the lights are quite low and there aren't many good pictures to be had, but here is a shot of my $8 Reef Cleaners RFA under the actinics. It has settled in quite well and has very attractive colors. It's quite small, just about an inch and a half across when fully expanded, but I think it will grow quickly now that it has gotten used to its new environment.

 

IMG_0331.thumb.JPG.1123a2a6615995457fa48e9798da67e8.JPG

 

Yesterday's new arrivals all seem to be doing well. The Rics are all a bit more inflated today, and the purple sea whip is starting to show some white polyps on its edges. The palythoa have not opened up just yet, but I think they will likely start to do so tomorrow.

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billygoat

Top-down shot from feeding time this morning, showing all the new arrivals! I relocated a clump of fine branching coralline algae to the sandbed after it fell off the rock I had glued it to. I think it looks fine where it is so it'll probably stay there for the time being. 

 

IMG_0332.thumb.JPG.34f515bd4fa70062f674437e1fe1f7aa.JPG

 

Today is water change and maintenance day, so I should have some more pictures later on. 😁

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Wonderboy

Wow that's packed - and everything has room to grow still, good job - the new stuff looks great!

Wow that's packed - and everything has room to grow still, good job - the new stuff looks great!

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Amphrites

Such a lush and beautiful tank, the top down looks totally different from the FTS.

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billygoat
1 hour ago, Wonderboy said:

Wow that's packed - and everything has room to grow still, good job - the new stuff looks great!

Wow that's packed - and everything has room to grow still, good job - the new stuff looks great!

 

33 minutes ago, Amphrites said:

Such a lush and beautiful tank, the top down looks totally different from the FTS.

Thanks folks! I am glad you are enjoying it. 😀 It's a real pleasure to observe from every angle, and the top-down is one of my favorites.

 

So recently I've started to notice a resurgence of cyanobacteria streaming off the tips of my macros and decided to do two things about it. First, I performed a deep cleaning on my back chambers. I removed the 'fuge box and pulled out all of the red algae I had stuck back there. There were a few types of Gracilaria turning to mush back there, just melting and losing their color. So those are out. The refugium now contains only Ulva, which I think is probably for the best.

 

I also siphoned a lot of sludge out of the rear chambers/refugium area:

IMG_0334.thumb.JPG.d8e5a0cb5bc28413efb7b0ffef1fb88a.JPG

 

Definitely not what my water change water usually looks like, I promise! 😅 I'm pretty glad to have all that gunk out of there. This was a little bit of a larger-than-average water change but I think it was worth it.

 

In addition to that cleaning I also dialed up my MP-10 considerably: to 50% power, up from 25%. I have it set to random Reef Crest mode. I think the high variance of Reef Crest mode becomes more valuable as you increase the base flow, since the contrast between the highest highs and stillest lows becomes greater; I noticed very little difference running Reef Crest on lower power, since the difference between max and min was only a matter of 100 gph or so. So far I am liking the improved water movement, but I will keep an eye on it throughout the day to make sure it doesn't bother any of my tank's inhabitants. Should help out a lot with the cyano too.

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Northwoodsreefer

DUUUDE this tank is dope!!! I need to get gorgs in mine but idk if I have room...maybe if I get that free 14G biocube ill have two biotopes🤭. One zoa drop off and then other a gorg tank 😋

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billygoat
2 hours ago, Northwoodsreefer said:

DUUUDE this tank is dope!!! I need to get gorgs in mine but idk if I have room...maybe if I get that free 14G biocube ill have two biotopes🤭. One zoa drop off and then other a gorg tank 😋

I agree that it seems like it might be tough to squeeze a gorg into your pico. Maybe you could fit one on the sandbed if you mounted it on a piece of rubble?

 

Speaking of gorgonians, check out this one enjoying the increased current. It looks... furry? 🤷‍♂️ This is one of the ones you just got @Tigahboy (Purple plume).

 

IMG_0336.thumb.JPG.2ef8e795fb10eed238c519da5f1bac43.JPG

 

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Tigahboy

Wow.   That's super furry!  Looks pretty cool.   

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billygoat

I'm lookin' at the rocks like weird, is that algae I see growing on top of my coralline? Did it just spring up overnight? But no, turns out it was just a wandering crab with a very fancy outfit. 😅

 

IMG_0333.thumb.JPG.d70ff8eb084f171a7bfa2c0b7589f581.JPG

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