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billygoat

Billy's 18g Gorgonian Garden

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banasophia
5 minutes ago, billygoat said:

Just the usual suspects this morning. Ricordea florida:

 

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And my silver bush gorgonian (Muricea laxa) :

 

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Great pics! Your Ricordeas look amazing... have they been splitting? 

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WV Reefer
21 hours ago, billygoat said:

Nothing much to report, just a top-down shot for water change day!

 

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The Briareum is looking pretty nice. It's... extremely fluffy. I read that this species is not interested in food and need not be fed, but it showed a very strong feeding response to Reef Roids today, so... 🤷‍♂️

 

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Top down is still my fave! 😃

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Ratvan
22 hours ago, billygoat said:

Nothing much to report, just a top-down shot for water change day!

 

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The Briareum is looking pretty nice. It's... extremely fluffy. I read that this species is not interested in food and need not be fed, but it showed a very strong feeding response to Reef Roids today, so... 🤷‍♂️

 

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That Briareum confuses me a lot, it looks almost exactly like my "GSP" which is a pale Burgundy with white centres but my polyps are tiny. 

 

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billygoat
4 hours ago, banasophia said:

Great pics! Your Ricordeas look amazing... have they been splitting? 

Thanks @banasophia! Means a lot coming from you. 😊 The Rics are doing well, but they have not been splitting. Their growth seems to be quite slow. I imagine that they would grow much more quickly with regular feeding, but I have not been targeting them.

 

4 hours ago, WV Reefer said:

Top down is still my fave! 😃

I definitely like it a lot too! Sometimes I take the lid off for awhile just so I can stare at it.

 

4 hours ago, Ratvan said:

That Briareum confuses me a lot, it looks almost exactly like my "GSP" which is a pale Burgundy with white centres but my polyps are tiny. 

Well you're not the only one that's confused... apparently there are a lot of different varieties of these so-called "star polyps," and all of them are closely related to each other. The differences in color and morphology between the various types that are common in the aquarium trade seem to be mostly based on the region of the world from which they were originally collected. Briareum is the Caribbean morph, whereas classic GSP came from somewhere in the Pacific... and I'm sure there are numerous other varieties with slightly different forms that are from other places as well.

 

Do you have a photo of your "GSP"? It would be interesting to compare them.

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Amphrites
6 hours ago, Ratvan said:

That Briareum confuses me a lot, it looks almost exactly like my "GSP" which is a pale Burgundy with white centres but my polyps are tiny. 

 

The problem with these kinds of issues and debates is that even the coral-taxonomists are confused, between our penchant for confusing look-alikes and otherwise assigning totally-useless or misleading names to things in this hobby, and the overwhelming amount of nuance and literature, frankly most of us don't have a chance lol...

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billygoat
54 minutes ago, Amphrites said:

The problem with these kinds of issues and debates is that even the coral-taxonomists are confused, between our penchant for confusing look-alikes and otherwise assigning totally-useless or misleading names to things in this hobby, and the overwhelming amount of nuance and literature, frankly most of us don't have a chance lol...

I agree with you here; trying to disentangle the taxonomy of all the weird "fringe" Cnidarians is way beyond my marine biology pay grade. 😂 If anyone asks me what it is I'll just tell them "it's pretty."

 

@Ratvan interesting specimen there... I have to say it does look a lot like a corky finger. What color is the mat underneath the polyps? Looks the same as the polyps themselves, which sets it apart from the corky - Briareum has a purple stolon and brown polyps. When it is closed up the color is totally different.

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Ratvan
9 hours ago, billygoat said:

I agree with you here; trying to disentangle the taxonomy of all the weird "fringe" Cnidarians is way beyond my marine biology pay grade. 😂 If anyone asks me what it is I'll just tell them "it's pretty."

 

@Ratvan interesting specimen there... I have to say it does look a lot like a corky finger. What color is the mat underneath the polyps? Looks the same as the polyps themselves, which sets it apart from the corky - Briareum has a purple stolon and brown polyps. When it is closed up the color is totally different.

The mat is the same colour as the polyps, the photo isn't too far from IRL colours a little more red perhaps

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billygoat

My tank is exposed to direct sunlight for several hours in the morning during wintertime. My livestock seem to love it! One day I would like to try setting up a tank that's lit only by the sun. I wonder if it would be doable, or if algae would simply grow completely out of control. 🤔 You'd probably need quite a few macros to get it going.

 

This Briareum is especially beautiful in natural light.

 

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billygoat

I have the day off today so of course I have a few more photos! Today I'm focusing on some of the interesting micro-life in my reef. I find observing the numerous tiny life forms that live in my aquarium to be one of the most rewarding aspects of the hobby. Forgive the poor picture quality; my iPhone 6 is not getting any younger. 😅

 

Hitchhiking zoanthids, turf algae, spirorbid worms, numerous species of encrusting and branching coralline, and a weird rock-dwelling shaving brush alga are visible in this close up shot. Note the small Nerite snail on the right that has become almost completely encrusted in coralline algae.

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A tiny burrowing polychaete worm traverses the sandbed. The red blotches are subsurface colonies of cyanobacteria that live up against my glass. They appear to be permanent and occur nowhere else in the system.

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Another Nerite snail grazes on my return nozzle. Despite regular cleaning this nozzle has been colonized by a huge variety of species, including red turf algae, GHA, Ulva, a brown diatomaceous alga that forms circular crusts, and at least two different species of coralline. Its nooks and crannies are also home to several small chitons that emerge at night to feed.

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A micro brittle star extends its arms into the current. A small bivalve and several tiny white tunicates are also visible.

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And here's a somewhat glare-y FTS. Doesn't really do it justice, but it's the best I can do for now. 😅 Thank you for reading!

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Poodges

Really getting interested in gorgonians and want to add one to my tank. I think I have a good spot for it. What’s your favorite photosynthetic gorgonian?

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billygoat
17 minutes ago, Poodges said:

Really getting interested in gorgonians and want to add one to my tank. I think I have a good spot for it. What’s your favorite photosynthetic gorgonian?

Oh gosh, my favorite gorgonian? That's a tough one! I love them all so much! 😁

 

I think my favorite is Eunicea flexuosa (formerly Plexaura flexuosa), the purple sea rod or purple candelabra gorgonian.

 

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It has a beautiful branching structure and nice medium-sized fuzzy polyps. The downside to this one is that it's pretty difficult to get it established. It's an exceptionally poor shipper and sometimes disintegrates within a few days of arrival. Also the only retailer I have ever seen selling it is KP Aquatics, and they only express ship their gorgonians, so it's quite expensive to get one.

 

For a first gorg I'd probably recommend the purple plume (Muriceopsis flavida). It's a very hardy species that is tolerant of a lot of different lighting and flow conditions, and is also very attractive. M. flavida was the first gorgonian I added to my tank, and it has done well over the past year or so. In fact it has even self-propagated and now I have a new one growing next to the original! Here's a shot of mine from a few months ago (it has grown a bit since then but I don't have a recent picture on hand). Note the young colony to the right.

 

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Poodges
16 minutes ago, billygoat said:

Oh gosh, my favorite gorgonian? That's a tough one! I love them all so much! 😁

 

I think my favorite is Eunicea flexuosa (formerly Plexaura flexuosa), the purple sea rod or purple candelabra gorgonian.

 

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It has a beautiful branching structure and nice medium-sized fuzzy polyps. The downside to this one is that it's pretty difficult to get it established. It's an exceptionally poor shipper and sometimes disintegrates within a few days of arrival. Also the only retailer I have ever seen selling it is KP Aquatics, and they only express ship their gorgonians, so it's quite expensive to get one.

 

For a first gorg I'd probably recommend the purple plume (Muriceopsis flavida). It's a very hardy species that is tolerant of a lot of different lighting and flow conditions, and is also very attractive. M. flavida was the first gorgonian I added to my tank, and it has done well over the past year or so. In fact it has even self-propagated and now I have a new one growing next to the original! Here's a shot of mine from a few months ago (it has grown a bit since then but I don't have a recent picture on hand). Note the young colony to the right.

 

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Awesome advice.  Thank you so much for the excellent write up and suggestions. I’m going to a LFS tomorrow that has several options and hopefully they have a purple plume to look at.  I know they have a rusty gorgonian which I had heard was relatively easy too.  

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billygoat
2 hours ago, Poodges said:

Awesome advice.  Thank you so much for the excellent write up and suggestions. I’m going to a LFS tomorrow that has several options and hopefully they have a purple plume to look at.  I know they have a rusty gorgonian which I had heard was relatively easy too.  

Of course, I'm happy to help! The rusty gorgonian is probably something from the genus Muricea (common names are kind of hit-or-miss when it comes to gorgs), which includes a lot of really attractive species. The only downside to Muricea is that most of the species in that genus get a bit beat up in shipping, but if you're getting the specimen from your LFS there won't be any shipping involved anyway so you should be fine. 👍

 

Make sure to post about what you get! Very exciting. 😁

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Wonderboy

Tank looks great! 

 

Check this out, I've been waiting to be able to try this one day:

 

 

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billygoat
9 hours ago, Wonderboy said:

Check this out, I've been waiting to be able to try this one day:

Omg that's incredible! Looks weird as hell to have this giant tube descending from the ceiling into your exhibit, but I think I'd get used to it. 😂

 

Gosh, sunlight just looks amazing. I love it a million times over. I have to figure out a way to light a tank like that some day.

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billygoat

The ritual top-down shot for water change Wednesday. Notice that the jawfish has relocated to the back right hand corner. He seems a little more comfortable over there and continues to eat well, but I am still a bit worried about him.

 

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billygoat

Also here's a lazy uncropped FTS. It's a soft coral party in here and no mistake.

 

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Poodges

You have 2 things (actually a lot more than 2) in this tank I’m really jealous of, Florida rics and a jawfish.  I already have 8 fish in my tank, but if I add one more in a moment of weakness, it will be a pearly jawfish. 

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billygoat
54 minutes ago, Poodges said:

You have 2 things (actually a lot more than 2) in this tank I’m really jealous of, Florida rics and a jawfish.  I already have 8 fish in my tank, but if I add one more in a moment of weakness, it will be a pearly jawfish. 

The jawfish is definitely an interesting character, but I can't help but wonder if I made a mistake by adding one to my tank. I think these fish need a lot more space than people give them credit for, and mine remains skittish and unsettled despite being in the system for three months (to the day actually!). Now I did make a few fairly major changes to my aquascape about a month ago which may have caused the jawfish some considerable distress, but still I have to imagine that there is some other factor at play conspiring to make it feel uncomfortable. So just a word of caution on that! 

 

That being said, jawfish are not aggressive and generally do well in community reef tanks, and your aquarium is much larger than mine so perhaps it would feel more comfortable. It would however probably do a lot of rearranging of your sandbed and potentially necessitate some changes in your aquascape, which would be very unfortunate because your 'scape looks really nice just the way it is. All things considered it might be more trouble than it's worth. 😬

 

As for the Ricordea florida... I say you should get your hands on those for sure! I recommend KP Aquatics as they have a selection of beautiful colors that ship cheaply by priority mail.

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mitten_reef

Feels like I missed this entire page. So you’re getting a bunch of like’s notifications today 😄

 

On 11/25/2019 at 12:02 AM, Wonderboy said:

Tank looks great! 

 

Check this out, I've been waiting to be able to try this one day:

 

 

What an awesome concept! Have you ever come across the one in a glass acrylic bubble chair-turned-reef-bowl?  That one was lit by a solatube too iirc. 

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billygoat
8 hours ago, mitten_reef said:

Feels like I missed this entire page. So you’re getting a bunch of like’s notifications today 😄

Not a problem at all! It's been pretty much business as usual recently but thank you for stopping by and checking it out. 😁

 

So I have decided that I should probably rehome my jawfish. It's pretty sad but he just seems to be having a really hard time adjusting and getting comfortable in my tank. This evening I came home from work and saw him behaving normally, hovering over his burrow as jawfish do, so I tossed a few flakes into the water to see if he wanted to eat. He went after the food at once, chowing down with gusto... but then suddenly went berserk. He was jumping and splashing all over, went catatonic for awhile and stuck himself up against the overflow grate, then did a weird behavior where he was bumping the surface of the water repeatedly. Gradually he drifted back over the vicinity of his burrow, and is now lying dazed on the substrate nearby, glancing fearfully at everything that moves. I'm at my wits end as to what I can do to help him, so I think the best solution might be to simply find him a new home. 😥

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Amphrites

Dang, it seemed to be doing so well too, I'm having a bit of a parallel-experience with one of my percs. Every night the smaller of the two is ruthlessly-aggressive and pushes it to the waters surface, stressing it to the point it splashes on its' side and gulps air. I get the feeling that since they were kept as the only-clowns with peaceful fish in a 120 at the LFS they both turned female...
Granted I could be wrong and mine are damsels/clowns so it may improve with time, but I'm really sorry to hear that, so bizarre that something might still be bothering it...
It's so darn pretty and cute.

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Wonderboy

Sorry about the jawfish @billygoat - I think your decision is best based on those strange circustances   :[

Everything else in the tank is looking nice and happy - I think the corky looks great, really liking it

 

@mitten_reef very cool, had not seen that before - https://reefbuilders.com/2010/03/29/reef-bowls-think-outside-the-glass-box-115-gallon-reef-bowls/ - best part: My wife appeared behind me with her hands on her hips saying, “Only you could have created a death ray in our living room, only you.” 

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billygoat
On 11/29/2019 at 8:39 PM, Wonderboy said:

Sorry about the jawfish @billygoat - I think your decision is best based on those strange circustances   :[

Everything else in the tank is looking nice and happy - I think the corky looks great, really liking it

Thanks for your kind words! I do like the corky fingers quite a bit as well. They seem to have really taken to the tank quite quickly.

 

The jawfish is definitely a bit of an unfortunate situation though. It's so strange since he was doing so well in the beginning. I wonder what has changed to upset him so? I'll have to think it over some more. Maybe I can hit on something I haven't considered yet. Rehoming him is almost certainly the best option but I am not willing to simply pass him along to another home reefer unless they have a setup that is specifically tailored for jawfish. For that reason I am going to be speaking with some of my co-workers at the Aquarium to see if I can maybe donate him to the Seahorse Community tank, which is already home to several other fat and happy yellowheaded jawfish. I think that would be the best place for him.

 

In other news I have some... news! I took advantage of some Black Friday savings and purchased a lighting upgrade for this tank: a Kessil A160WE. I like the color balance of Kessil lights and I already own the spectral controller, so I decided to stay on-brand. The A160 is almost 3x as powerful as the A80 that I am currently using, so I should be able to mount it higher above the tank to achieve a better lighting spread throughout the display. I'm very excited! 😁

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