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billygoat

Billy's 18g Caribbean Biotope

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melson

Great choice for both! You're gonna like your chalk bass.

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billygoat
17 hours ago, Amphrites said:

Your photo skills just keep getting better, couldn't end up with better subject shots and framing. 
So excited to see the Chalk Bass in this system, it has so much tall-shelter and will doubtlessly find its' own little spot to hang out in and feel safe.

Thanks so much @Amphrites! It really means a lot to me. I am still working with a horrible camera (iPhone 6) but close-up shots like the ones above tend to turn out pretty well.

 

As for the chalk bass, I am hoping the gorgonians and limited rockwork in my tank will provide enough cover for it to feel comfortable. They are really such beautiful fish, and I would hate for mine to feel nervous and stressed because it doesn't have enough hidey-holes. And if it doesn't end up working out, well... I guess I'll have no choice but to get a bigger aquarium! 

 

17 hours ago, melson said:

Great choice for both! You're gonna like your chalk bass.

I sure hope so! You're the one that inspired me to go for it @melson! Same with the yellow whip really - I like the look of that cactus in your tank.

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billygoat

Oh, and I forgot to mention - I got a new toy for the tank! This morning I upgraded my tiny Cobalt MJ606 return pump to a Sicce Syncra 1.0. 

 

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I noticed a lot of other reefers are into these Sicce pumps, so I decided to give one a try. The pump is very quiet. It produces slightly more vibration than my Cobalt MJ606 did, but it's definitely pushing a lot more water, and I expect it will settle down a bit once it breaks in a little. Flow through my rear chambers is noticeably higher, which increases the effectiveness of my filter floss, improves gas exchange, and increases water movement over my heater. Seems pretty good to me!

 

In fact the increased flow through my tank's sump area might allow me to finally find success with a refugium back there! We'll see if I get around to experimenting with that over the next week or so. 👍

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Amphrites

I love sicce pumps myself, company has a great rep and low-prices, uses solid parts and they're quiet with absurd power-efficiency. Quick-maths had my little 110 gph pump running for nearly 10 hours on a $60 UPS from amazon, hard to beat darn-near anything about that lol.

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billygoat

New stuff is here! omgomgomg My chalk bass and yellow sea whip both arrived in good condition this morning. I was very satisfied with KPA's packaging, as usual.

 

The chalk bass will likely need quite a bit of time before it comes out and starts being active in the tank, but I am happy to report that it looks healthy, with good coloration and no signs of injury or disease. Here's a shot of it lying dazed in a corner right after being added. It's a bewildering new world out there for this little fish!

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The yellow sea whip is very pretty as well. This particular specimen is more of a cream color than it is yellow, but the shape and size of it is almost exactly what I envisioned for the spot I had in mind. I couldn't be happier with the way it fills in the top middle of the tank and completes my aquascape. I can't wait to see it with its polyps extended!

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Here are some preliminary photos of the system just a few minutes after the yellow whip was placed in the tank. It looks like a ghostly cactus for the time being.

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Amphrites

It's so tiny lol.

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melson

Looks like a great fish @billygoat! Is he working out still? How big is he?

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billygoat
On 2/20/2020 at 2:14 PM, Amphrites said:

It's so tiny lol.

It's super small! I was surprised at the size. I'd say it's about 1.5 inches.

 

On 2/21/2020 at 1:47 PM, melson said:

Looks like a great fish @billygoat! Is he working out still? How big is he?

The chalk bass is settling in, still being very timid but it has started eating so that's a great sign. I think it just needs some time to settle down before it starts to gain confidence and move around the tank quite a bit more.

 

I unfortunately came down with the flu just a day after adding my new livestock, so I haven't had a chance to observe them as much as I'd like. The yellow sea whip is doing really well though. It sloughed off its waxy covering a few days ago, and the polyps are now beginning to extend consistently. I'll try to get some more pictures if I get a chance today.

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Pjanssen

Hope you're feeling better :flower:

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billygoat
On 2/23/2020 at 10:25 AM, Pjanssen said:

Hope you're feeling better :flower:

Thank you. I was pretty low for a couple of days but I am feeling a lot better now. I should be back up to regular speed pretty soon. 👍

 

I didn't have a chance to post about it earlier, but I caught my orange RFA spawning again a few days ago. It has done this several times in the past, always in the last hour before the lights go down in the evening. It assumes a very distinctive cupped posture and starts releasing milky clouds of gametes from its mouth, usually for the better part of an hour. I have not observed my other RFA responding in any visible way, but there must be some kind of mojo going on in there because I did discover a tiny baby RFA on the other side of the tank (not pictured - I'll have to try and get a photo of that one soon). Seems like a pretty good sign I guess. 🤷‍♂️

 

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billygoat

Evening falls once again on the reef. The new gorgonian is looking pretty good, but I don't think it has reached full polyp extension yet. Should take maybe another week or two.

 

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Still need to decide which piece of artwork (if any) I am going to mount over the tank. I have a couple of options lined up but I'm still mulling them over. 🤔

 

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Felicia
On 2/18/2020 at 10:05 AM, billygoat said:

Oh, and I forgot to mention - I got a new toy for the tank! This morning I upgraded my tiny Cobalt MJ606 return pump to a Sicce Syncra 1.0. 

 

IMG_1027.thumb.JPG.79dbd9e065259195be49f3e03b05e92c.JPG

 

I noticed a lot of other reefers are into these Sicce pumps, so I decided to give one a try. The pump is very quiet. It produces slightly more vibration than my Cobalt MJ606 did, but it's definitely pushing a lot more water, and I expect it will settle down a bit once it breaks in a little. Flow through my rear chambers is noticeably higher, which increases the effectiveness of my filter floss, improves gas exchange, and increases water movement over my heater. Seems pretty good to me!

 

In fact the increased flow through my tank's sump area might allow me to finally find success with a refugium back there! We'll see if I get around to experimenting with that over the next week or so. 👍

Nice choice!  I took down my Innovative Marine 14 gallon last night to upgrade to the IM 20 Pro and was absolutely amazed at how good the Sicce pump still running in my return chamber when I was taking everything apart.  I honestly can't remember when I bothered to take it out and clean it last (a year ago?  Two years ago?) to the point that I completely forgot I had even upgraded from the stock IM pump to the Synchra.  Anyways, its a little workhorse that ran for years for me with basically no maintenance, so good choice!

 

Also, I love the Caribbean biotope, especially since I have a soft spot for gorgonians.  I love the yellow sea whip from KPA.  I've had a couple of those over the years and I may need to get another one at some point for my new tank.  I've spent way too much money ordering from KPA over the years.  😂

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billygoat
2 hours ago, Felicia said:

Nice choice!  I took down my Innovative Marine 14 gallon last night to upgrade to the IM 20 Pro and was absolutely amazed at how good the Sicce pump still running in my return chamber when I was taking everything apart.  I honestly can't remember when I bothered to take it out and clean it last (a year ago?  Two years ago?) to the point that I completely forgot I had even upgraded from the stock IM pump to the Synchra.  Anyways, its a little workhorse that ran for years for me with basically no maintenance, so good choice!

 

Also, I love the Caribbean biotope, especially since I have a soft spot for gorgonians.  I love the yellow sea whip from KPA.  I've had a couple of those over the years and I may need to get another one at some point for my new tank.  I've spent way too much money ordering from KPA over the years.  😂

Thanks @Felicia, and thanks for stopping by! Glad to hear I made a good decision with the Sicce pump. I've certainly been very pleased with it so far.

 

Your 40g predator system from 2015 was one of the tanks that got me interested in the great potential of gorgonians for aquascaping! Makes sense that you'd be a fan of them as well. 😊 And honestly, if you're going to spend a lot of money ordering livestock, you may as well have that money end up going to KPA. They seem to run a pretty good business and they've been delivering quality product for many years. Almost all of my gorgonians (and heck, much of the rest of my livestock too!) came from them.

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growsomething

Update, please.  You are using some of the venders I am and have a lot of the same algae I want to use.  Was your purple candelabra tan in your fts?

 

I really love the close up micro shots like the zoanthid surrounded by very live rock.  I remember snorkling Key Largo on school trips in the 80's and being fascinated by the soft corals/gorgs/tiny patch reefs right off the beaches, more so than the  proper hard coral reef offshore.  Having snorkled s.e.asia,  it's actually overwhelming, the diversity of life on an acro field, etc.  Even there I find the small patches like our nano tanks more captivating, probably because of those early experiences.

 

This tank is tempting me to go for a biotope instead of focusing on red, white and blue colors as a tank theme.

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growsomething

oops, I commented while viewing a page from last year.  I got so excited I guess.

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billygoat
12 hours ago, growsomething said:

I really love the close up micro shots like the zoanthid surrounded by very live rock.  I remember snorkling Key Largo on school trips in the 80's and being fascinated by the soft corals/gorgs/tiny patch reefs right off the beaches, more so than the  proper hard coral reef offshore.  Having snorkled s.e.asia,  it's actually overwhelming, the diversity of life on an acro field, etc.  Even there I find the small patches like our nano tanks more captivating, probably because of those early experiences.

 

This tank is tempting me to go for a biotope instead of focusing on red, white and blue colors as a tank theme.

Hello and welcome! I am glad to hear you are also a fan of biotopes. They're definitely pretty cool! I had a lot of similar experiences in the West Indies, which is where I grew up. Those memories are actually a lot of the reason I decided to put my tank together in such a way. My original plan was to make this tank into an example of one of those gorgonian patch reefs such as can be found in seagrass meadows or back-reef rubble zones throughout the Caribbean, just as you describe. Eventually it turned into more of a "royal sampler" of soft corals from the region though.

 

12 hours ago, growsomething said:

oops, I commented while viewing a page from last year.  I got so excited I guess.

No problem, let me know if I can clarify anything from way back in the day. 😁

 

12 hours ago, growsomething said:

Was your purple candelabra tan in your fts?

Almost all photosynthetic gorgonians look essentially the same color when their polyps are extended (brown or tan). The different colors that appear in their common names (e.g. "yellow" sea whip, "purple" plume, etc.) are only visible when the colony is retracted, which doesn't happen very often under good conditions.

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Felicia
On 2/25/2020 at 8:37 PM, billygoat said:

Thanks @Felicia, and thanks for stopping by! Glad to hear I made a good decision with the Sicce pump. I've certainly been very pleased with it so far.

 

Your 40g predator system from 2015 was one of the tanks that got me interested in the great potential of gorgonians for aquascaping! Makes sense that you'd be a fan of them as well. 😊 And honestly, if you're going to spend a lot of money ordering livestock, you may as well have that money end up going to KPA. They seem to run a pretty good business and they've been delivering quality product for many years. Almost all of my gorgonians (and heck, much of the rest of my livestock too!) came from them.

I'm glad my predator tank got you interested in gorgonians!  I miss that tank!  I got hooked on them years ago when I had seashorses and now I can't picture putting together an aquascape without them.  I love the height and softness/flow they add to a scape.  The fact that the photosynthetic gorgonians are relatively inexpensive and so easy to care for doesn't hurt either!  Yep, KPA are good people and I'm always happy to give them my business.  I'll be placing an order with them sometime soon for my new build.  I'm just waiting to see if they get a few more things I want in stock so that I can justify the shipping charge.  In the meantime, I ordered a couple gorgonians from Gulf Coast Ecosystems that came today.  They're also a great source for photosynthetic gorgonians and I'm always happy with the size and health of the ones they send.

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growsomething

True story Billygoat, I was doing my 75g fw w/c, when I thought I'd kill the last few minutes of fill time on nr.  Your closeup pics were engrosing on the totm page, and I was zooming in on each till I heard the dreaded sound...of water spilling.

Turned off the nozzel, grabbed used bath towels, turned off the spigot, reversed the python flow to drain, then began cleaning up.  Forgot about the python draining till I had to do another tank fill 😄.  Continued cleaning the nooks and crannies with a broomstick and towel, forgot about the refill...caught it just in time.  

Thanks! 😛

20200301_183424.thumb.jpg.a11382a04bf81753310b42be7fcebe4b.jpg

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billygoat
3 hours ago, growsomething said:

True story Billygoat, I was doing my 75g fw w/c, when I thought I'd kill the last few minutes of fill time on nr.  Your closeup pics were engrosing on the totm page, and I was zooming in on each till I heard the dreaded sound...of water spilling.

Turned off the nozzel, grabbed used bath towels, turned off the spigot, reversed the python flow to drain, then began cleaning up.  Forgot about the python draining till I had to do another tank fill 😄.  Continued cleaning the nooks and crannies with a broomstick and towel, forgot about the refill...caught it just in time.  

Thanks! 😛

20200301_183424.thumb.jpg.a11382a04bf81753310b42be7fcebe4b.jpg

Oh no! 😂 I mean don't get me wrong - I'm really glad you enjoyed the TOTM post, and very pleased that you like my photography, but I'm so sorry you ended up flooding your floor as a result! Haha. Hopefully the damage wasn't too severe. 😁

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Gakarl100
On 4/9/2019 at 10:11 AM, billygoat said:

Here's a shot of the whole system showing the rear-chamber cover that I installed a few days ago. Pest algae growing in the back chambers was becoming an issue, as my A80 throws quite a lot of light back there (you can see the circle of it on the top of the cover). I also noticed that with the cover on the back I can keep the heater in the sump area without worrying about temperature fluctuations. I've had it back there for a few days now and the temp has remained stable.

 

It took me a few days to get used to it, but all in all I think it looks pretty clean.

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Where did you get that sump cover?

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RoboNarples2929

Congrats on TOTM!

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cosmicbread
44 minutes ago, RoboNarples2929 said:

Congrats on TOTM!

Ditto!! Well-deserved!!

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billygoat
1 hour ago, RoboNarples2929 said:

Congrats on TOTM!

 

34 minutes ago, cosmicbread said:

Ditto!! Well-deserved!!

Thank you both! I really appreciate all the support. Now it's got me thinking about where I should take the tank in the future, and whether I should end up upgrading after all... 🤔

 

1 hour ago, Gakarl100 said:

Where did you get that sump cover?

The sump chamber cover is part of the C-Vue glass lid set, made by the manufacturer. I bought it off Cobalt's website, but unfortunately it has apparently not been in stock for about a year now. To tell the truth I'm not sure if Cobalt has continued support for the C-Vue line of aquariums, as I've noticed that the tanks themselves have also been out of stock for a long time. Kind of a shame, as I think the C-Vue is a very beautiful and well-made aquarium.

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Gakarl100
14 hours ago, billygoat said:

 

Thank you both! I really appreciate all the support. Now it's got me thinking about where I should take the tank in the future, and whether I should end up upgrading after all... 🤔

 

The sump chamber cover is part of the C-Vue glass lid set, made by the manufacturer. I bought it off Cobalt's website, but unfortunately it has apparently not been in stock for about a year now. To tell the truth I'm not sure if Cobalt has continued support for the C-Vue line of aquariums, as I've noticed that the tanks themselves have also been out of stock for a long time. Kind of a shame, as I think the C-Vue is a very beautiful and well-made aquarium.

was drawn to your tank from the TOTM, congrats!   Slow afternoon at work so that drew me to reading almost all 44 pages of your tank thread since I setup a cvue 18 about a month ago and I am curious to some of the things you have been through on your tank.  I thought I read at one point you switched to filter floss and removed the socks?  Did you take out those sock holders and what are you using to hold your filter floss?  Also what was the solution to the red algae on your sand bed?  Looks like that is all cleared up. 

 

Yeah unfortunate on cvue tanks not being made any longer, my lfs neglected to tell me that when I bought the tank last month and I have figured that out as I have learned more since setting it up.  How you liking that new pump in your  sump you installed, The flow on my stock one seems a bit low and been thinking about upgrading. 

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Amphrites

I knew you were holding out on us, don't think I didn't notice those beautiful shots of your adorable little basslet and goby in the well-deserved TOTM thread.

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