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billygoat

Billy's 18g Gorgonian Garden

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billygoat

Got some good news and sort of worrying news today! Let's start with the good news.

 

The jawfish seems to be settling down in his new location and for the past few days has not been jumping or drifting around the tank at night. Previously he had a sad little ditch in the rear corner of the tank into which he awkwardly jammed his body to hide, but now he is actively excavating again and has turned his den into what looks a lot more like a proper jawfish burrow. Also it's right up against the glass, so you can see all the way down into his lair, which is pretty cool! 👍

 

I'm going to slow-roll my plans to rehome this animal for the time being. I've been thinking that the numerous small (and sometimes not-so-small) rescapes I indulged in back in October may have "reset" the jawfish's understanding of its environment, causing it to temporarily revert to acting just as it did right after I added it to the tank. If I don't disturb the habitat anymore he may end up settling down again.

 

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However, on the other side of the tank a new problem has appeared... my Eunicea flexuosa has been struggling to show polyp extension for the past few days.

 

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This is my favorite gorgonian so I am quite worried about it. It could be just preparing to shed, but I don't recall this specimen ever shedding before. With that in mind I decided to look for other reasons it might be withdrawn... and in the course of testing I discovered that my tank's Alk is abysmally low - around 6.0 dKH. Yikes! That's quite a bit lower than it used to be back when I was regularly dosing, so that might be the reason this gorgonian is struggling. I dosed some KH solution this morning and am now mixing some water to do a small water change, so we shall see if that's enough to get things back on track. 🤔

 

Can't wait for my new light to get here next week... the past ten days or so have been overcast and rainy, and I've noticed that the tank looks noticeably dimmer without the ambient sunlight that normally comes in through the windows nearby. I have a hunch that the windows have been providing my tank with more useful light than I give them credit for. Perhaps my lighting upgrade is coming at the perfect time to correct the imbalance brought about by the winter weather.

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melson

@billygoat, take it from me, do NOT give up your jawfish. I gave mine up once thinking he was too much, and he is still  my favorite fish. 

 

My experience has shown jawfish like to stay in one area. Once they find a suitable burrow they don't like it getting changed around. They don't really make a burrow then make another. Once they are happy they stay with it, only going out more and more once they get comfortable with the tank. Blasting around the area with a turkey baster is okay, I find it gives them something to do, but re-scaping the whole tank would stress it out.

 

I do have to ask you, what kind of lighting is working out for your ricordea? More of mine keep shrinking and I decided to buy some more from GCE to experiment again. 

 

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billygoat
1 hour ago, melson said:

@billygoat, take it from me, do NOT give up your jawfish. I gave mine up once thinking he was too much, and he is still  my favorite fish. 

 

My experience has shown jawfish like to stay in one area. Once they find a suitable burrow they don't like it getting changed around. They don't really make a burrow then make another. Once they are happy they stay with it, only going out more and more once they get comfortable with the tank. Blasting around the area with a turkey baster is okay, I find it gives them something to do, but re-scaping the whole tank would stress it out.

 

I do have to ask you, what kind of lighting is working out for your ricordea? More of mine keep shrinking and I decided to buy some more from GCE to experiment again. 

 

I do like the jawfish a lot and would be sad to see him go. Hopefully he continues to grow more comfortable. I will do my best to keep my hands out of the tank to avoid disturbing him as he re-establishes his new burrow. How long have you had yours? It's going on a couple of years now, right? Also how often do you feed him?

 

My Ricordea seem to do really well under the super weak 15w Kessil A80 that I am currently running. It's on a 12-hour photoperiod with 7 hours at 90-100% intensity and a 2.5 hour ramp-up/ramp-down at either end. I'm curious to see what will happen to the Rics when I upgrade to the 40w Kessil A160 next week. I'll start it off on a low setting to simulate my current lighting schedule of course, but I do plan to ramp it up over time to get more light to my gorgonians. I'm hoping that if I dial it up very slowly (like +5% intensity every 2 weeks) the Ricordea will be able to adjust without getting too blasted.

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Northwoodsreefer
On 12/1/2019 at 8:00 PM, billygoat said:

I do like the jawfish a lot and would be sad to see him go. Hopefully he continues to grow more comfortable. I will do my best to keep my hands out of the tank to avoid disturbing him as he re-establishes his new burrow. How long have you had yours? It's going on a couple of years now, right? Also how often do you feed him?

 

My Ricordea seem to do really well under the super weak 15w Kessil A80 that I am currently running. It's on a 12-hour photoperiod with 7 hours at 90-100% intensity and a 2.5 hour ramp-up/ramp-down at either end. I'm curious to see what will happen to the Rics when I upgrade to the 40w Kessil A160 next week. I'll start it off on a low setting to simulate my current lighting schedule of course, but I do plan to ramp it up over time to get more light to my gorgonians. I'm hoping that if I dial it up very slowly (like +5% intensity every 2 weeks) the Ricordea will be able to adjust without getting too blasted.

I feel like the slow intensity raise will be good for the rics, If they "freak out" a bit maybe go 3 weeks then raise the intensity?

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billygoat

Top-down shot for Wednesday! You can see that the jawfish has relocated yet again, this time to the back left hand corner. That's where he used to flee when he freaked out at night, so I am hoping this can be a more permanent location for him. He kind of buried a few Rics back there but if the damn fish finally settles down and is happy I will consider them to be acceptable losses. 🤷‍♂️

 

The rest of the tank looks good! New light is arriving today so I will probably be installing that once I get it. I considered waiting to avoid scaring the jawfish even more than I already did with my water change today, but I figure it might be best to get all the trauma out of the way at once, and then give him a long undisturbed period to properly settle down.

 

IMG_0858.thumb.JPG.fa8ac429ac87c504c69bd0cfdf3aa466.JPG

 

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Ratvan
On 12/2/2019 at 2:00 AM, billygoat said:

I do like the jawfish a lot and would be sad to see him go. Hopefully he continues to grow more comfortable. I will do my best to keep my hands out of the tank to avoid disturbing him as he re-establishes his new burrow. How long have you had yours? It's going on a couple of years now, right? Also how often do you feed him?

 

My Ricordea seem to do really well under the super weak 15w Kessil A80 that I am currently running. It's on a 12-hour photoperiod with 7 hours at 90-100% intensity and a 2.5 hour ramp-up/ramp-down at either end. I'm curious to see what will happen to the Rics when I upgrade to the 40w Kessil A160 next week. I'll start it off on a low setting to simulate my current lighting schedule of course, but I do plan to ramp it up over time to get more light to my gorgonians. I'm hoping that if I dial it up very slowly (like +5% intensity every 2 weeks) the Ricordea will be able to adjust without getting too blasted.

Ah i understand the question on my thread now, mine came with something preset as was second hand. This was over a 75G SPS Tank

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Far too strong for me at the moment even on the acclimation setting (1% increments) so set up my own

 

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Looks better for me and less Algae on the sandbed 

 

Whats your A80 Schedule look like? I'm going t set mine up over my 15G (24x12x12) should be similar to this tank?

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billygoat
14 hours ago, Ratvan said:

Whats your A80 Schedule look like? I'm going t set mine up over my 15G (24x12x12) should be similar to this tank?

I had the A80 starting out at 5% color/intensity at 7:30 AM and then ramping gradually up to 60% color and 100% intensity at 11:30 AM. Then 4 hours at that intensity followed by a ramp down in reverse, ending at 7:30 PM. Here are the nodes I had programmed (note that I have the Spectral Controller X instead of the original controller, so I have two extra time slots in my interface):

 

7:30 - 5c / 5i
8:30 - 30c / 55i
10:00 - 45c / 90i
11:30 - 60c / 100i
15:30 - 60c / 100i
17:00 - 45c / 90i
18:30 - 30c / 55i
19:30 - 5c / 0i

 

Notice I said had... truth is, I've installed my A160WE to replace the A80! Today was the first day I had it running and I have to say it looks a lot better. It's only maxing out at 35% power for now, but the color schedule is the same as above.

 

IMG_0863.thumb.JPG.efaa5ff041987e2f71f368adb09254b1.JPG

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Tired

Oh, gorgeous.

 

You wouldn't have happened to come across anything about starlet coral, would you? Had a coral skeleton show up on my live rock, and it just turned out to have a few live polyps. I'm not really sure what to do with it aside from gradually acclimate it to light- it's been in the dark for a couple months, directly under the rock it's on. The top of the rock is covered in macro, so I figure it's been in the dark(ish) for awhile now.

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Ratvan

So the controller X has more light setting points? That's coming off the A80 then!

 

Looks good

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billygoat
6 hours ago, Ratvan said:

So the controller X has more light setting points? That's coming off the A80 then!

Yeah, the X controller has a few other features like moonlight mode, storm effects, etc., but these are currently only usable with the fancy 360X. For non-X A-series lights (like the ones we have) the two controllers are functionally identical save for the two extra light setting points.

 

12 hours ago, Tired said:

Oh, gorgeous.

 

You wouldn't have happened to come across anything about starlet coral, would you? Had a coral skeleton show up on my live rock, and it just turned out to have a few live polyps. I'm not really sure what to do with it aside from gradually acclimate it to light- it's been in the dark for a couple months, directly under the rock it's on. The top of the rock is covered in macro, so I figure it's been in the dark(ish) for awhile now.

Thanks! 😊

 

Starlet corals from the genus Siderastrea are common hitchhikers on aquacultured Florida live rock. They are very hardy shallow-water corals that can survive in a wide variety of conditions, and they often occur in very turbid environments such as seagrass beds. This genus tends to be pretty bland-looking as corals go (they're almost all nondescript and brown), but if you gradually acclimate the one you found to brighter light it may begin to display a bit of fluorescence. You'd be surprised at how tenacious they can be!

 

I have a starlet coral (either Siderastrea or Stephanocoenia sp.) on one of my rocks as well. At first I wasn't even sure if it was alive, but it made a strong recovery and has been slowly growing over the course of the past year. It seems to do well with bright light and moderate water movement, but it's been moved around and re-oriented a bit since I got it so I get the impression that it is not particularly picky.

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Tired

Good to know, thank you. I'm not sure which species I have, but I'm hoping it's an encrusting/flat one rather than one of the particularly bulbous ones. That, or it's a slow-growing bulbous one. I either need something that's relatively easy to trim down, or won't get big fast, because I'm keeping a pico. 

 

Is yours very aggressive? I don't know how far away to keep my other corals, or what it'll object to.

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billygoat
50 minutes ago, Tired said:

Good to know, thank you. I'm not sure which species I have, but I'm hoping it's an encrusting/flat one rather than one of the particularly bulbous ones. That, or it's a slow-growing bulbous one. I either need something that's relatively easy to trim down, or won't get big fast, because I'm keeping a pico. 

 

Is yours very aggressive? I don't know how far away to keep my other corals, or what it'll object to.

Mine certainly doesn't seem very aggressive, but I also don't have it positioned near any other corals so I can't say for sure. My impression is that starlet corals in general are pretty docile. The growth I've seen over the past year seems very slow by captive coral standards, although I admit that my colony did experience some dramatic setbacks due to unchecked grazing by predatory limpets (also hitchhikers). I've since removed the limpets and the coral has made a full recovery, but the heavy grazing probably impacted its growth quite a bit.

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Tired

I've got a couple of limpets, but they don't seem to be bothering anything. Here's hoping they stay that way. 

 

What do you feed yours? I'd like to try and get these multiplied a bit, there's maybe 5 polyps at most and I'd prefer to have more in case something happens. Slow-growing would be convenient, though. It's not colorful, but the texture is interesting, and I bet I can make a nice little section for it with some hitchhiking macro around it to make it stand out more. Maybe this bit of what I suspect is C. prolifera. 

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billygoat
9 hours ago, Tired said:

I've got a couple of limpets, but they don't seem to be bothering anything. Here's hoping they stay that way. 

Keep an eye on those limpets! Mine started out very small and were harmless until they got bigger, then they started indiscriminately grazing on everything in sight. Hopefully yours will be better behaved.

 

Here's a picture of my star coral from back in July, demonstrating some limpet-inflicted damage. It was pretty brutal!

IMG_0330.thumb.JPG.3e76a20919b40d873b4ed8bb128f28bb.JPG

 

 

9 hours ago, Tired said:

What do you feed yours?

I feed this coral Reef Roids, usually once a week. This feeding is probably not necessary but it does seem to encourage the coral's growth.

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melson

I'm so jealous you have some of those corals that came on live rock and can't be purchased!

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Tired

Hm, maybe I'll get those limpets out now. My main problem is how the heck I'd do that, though. It's a limpet! Its whole thing is not coming off of rocks. 

 

And I think you can buy those corals, from another hobbyist at least. They just can't be collected from the wild. 

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billygoat
On 12/7/2019 at 7:43 AM, Tired said:

Hm, maybe I'll get those limpets out now. My main problem is how the heck I'd do that, though. It's a limpet! Its whole thing is not coming off of rocks. 

 

And I think you can buy those corals, from another hobbyist at least. They just can't be collected from the wild. 

I pried the limpets off my rocks with an old credit card, but that technique can be a bit tricky. You have to catch them when they are turning a corner or traversing the edge of one of your rocks. That way you can quickly wedge the card under the edge of their shell and pop them off before they have a chance to clamp down. Even if you get it just right, the buggers will still resist you with all their enormous limpet strength, so be careful that you don't knock your rocks over while attempting to wrestle them loose. Also it's almost certainly going to be easier to remove them if you let them grow a bit bigger first. I have no idea how you'd pry a micro-sized limpet off without doing extreme damage to your hardscape. Plus who knows, your variety might end up being totally benign! I have to admit that the ones I had were excellent grazers, and I'd have been happy to keep them if they hadn't acquired a taste for coral.

 

Here's a picture of that starlet coral from today. It has made a healthy recovery since its ordeal with the limpets, but its growth remains slow.

 

IMG_0864.thumb.JPG.b39f5a29205f7c93d1a215d8bdac877e.JPG

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Tired

Good to know, thanks. I'll have to try that if I get the chance. I'd prefer not to kill the little guy if I can avoid it, rather just rehome it, so hopefully I can get him out in one piece when he gets a bit bigger.

image0.jpg?width=473&height=630

This is my best photo of the little fella, ft. a bad shot of my Black Hole Sun zoas. It moves surprisingly fast. I think there's a couple more small ones, but this is the biggest I've seen. It has the 'keyhole' on top of its shell, and a small, semi-translucent, speckled gray mantle that's visible around its edges when it's not locked down. I tried to remove it with a set of big tweezers (not really expecting it to work), and it held on tight until I let go of it, then sped away at a fairly impressive rate of speed. I'm hoping that's a weakness- maybe I could get something in front of it, scare it, and get it to move onto the something. Never seen it on the glass or sand, just the rocks. 

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billygoat
1 hour ago, Tired said:

Good to know, thanks. I'll have to try that if I get the chance. I'd prefer not to kill the little guy if I can avoid it, rather just rehome it, so hopefully I can get him out in one piece when he gets a bit bigger.

image0.jpg?width=473&height=630

This is my best photo of the little fella, ft. a bad shot of my Black Hole Sun zoas. It moves surprisingly fast. I think there's a couple more small ones, but this is the biggest I've seen. It has the 'keyhole' on top of its shell, and a small, semi-translucent, speckled gray mantle that's visible around its edges when it's not locked down. I tried to remove it with a set of big tweezers (not really expecting it to work), and it held on tight until I let go of it, then sped away at a fairly impressive rate of speed. I'm hoping that's a weakness- maybe I could get something in front of it, scare it, and get it to move onto the something. Never seen it on the glass or sand, just the rocks. 

It does look a lot like the ones I had, that's for sure. It's so hard to say with limpets though. They all look so similar, especially when they are very small. You can certainly remove them without damaging them much, so hopefully it won't be too much trouble to rehome them if it comes to that.
 

I tried to scour my photo archives for a picture of the limpets I had, but it seems I didn't really take any photos of them intentionally. This photo from way back in April is about the best I could come up with:

 

IMG_2986.thumb.JPG.ac686c038c817a6d1b76f7681671ae23.JPG

 

You can see one in the center there next to the peppermint shrimp. It does look a lot like the one your picture.

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billygoat

I have a few more photos from today as well. I liked the look of @Poodges recent distant-full-tank-shot so I tried one myself. My tank is not quite as pretty  (and only has 1/3 as many Kessil A160s! 😅) but I still think it's a pretty cool angle. I'll have to remember this one for future photos.

 

IMG_0865.thumb.JPG.272803d62bb8da4cc1eb2adcb5f966a4.JPG

 

And here's a shot of my Ricordea pile, with a cheeky bonus appearance from the jawfish. He has been building very industriously on the other side of that rock.

 

IMG_0867.thumb.JPG.c4dccebb501514f2d470d8432718ba72.JPG

 

Also goodness gracious but I have been experiencing a lot of film algae growth recently. Look at that back wall! What a mess. I think it's due to a combination of increased nutrient levels from me trying to fatten up the jawfish with extra bonus feedings + algae going to town with my new light + a need to reinforce my clean-up crew. I ordered a few more snails and did an extra water change today to help bring things back into line.

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Tired

Oh, that's beautiful. Exactly the light I'm going for- mostly white, good to look at, with just a smidge of blue thrown in to pull the colors out. Is the color in the photo tweaked at all? 

 

And yeah, that looks like my limpet, thanks. I'll pull him out when I get the chance. He's nice, but not really worth the risk. I'm sure someone with a FOWLR would happily take him.

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melson

Looking good @billygoat!

 

Now the bigger question is what is your next fish going to be? Maybe a Basslet? or an Angel? 😉

 

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Poodges
15 hours ago, billygoat said:

I have a few more photos from today as well. I liked the look of @Poodges recent distant-full-tank-shot so I tried one myself. My tank is not quite as pretty  (and only has 1/3 as many Kessil A160s! 😅) but I still think it's a pretty cool angle. I'll have to remember this one for future photos.

 

IMG_0865.thumb.JPG.272803d62bb8da4cc1eb2adcb5f966a4.JPG

 

And here's a shot of my Ricordea pile, with a cheeky bonus appearance from the jawfish. He has been building very industriously on the other side of that rock.

 

IMG_0867.thumb.JPG.c4dccebb501514f2d470d8432718ba72.JPG

 

Also goodness gracious but I have been experiencing a lot of film algae growth recently. Look at that back wall! What a mess. I think it's due to a combination of increased nutrient levels from me trying to fatten up the jawfish with extra bonus feedings + algae going to town with my new light + a need to reinforce my clean-up crew. I ordered a few more snails and did an extra water change today to help bring things back into line.

Looking great!  Glad to have inspired a new picture angle for you.  You inspired me to get some ricordea... and a pearly jawfish. 

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billygoat
23 hours ago, Tired said:

Oh, that's beautiful. Exactly the light I'm going for- mostly white, good to look at, with just a smidge of blue thrown in to pull the colors out. Is the color in the photo tweaked at all? 

Thank you! The color is not edited but I did use a gel filter on my phone - the 20k clip-on lens from PolypLab. I'd say the photos above are pretty dang close to true-to-life color though. Kessils are definitely beautiful lights.

 

10 hours ago, melson said:

Looking good @billygoat!

 

Now the bigger question is what is your next fish going to be? Maybe a Basslet? or an Angel? 😉

 

Thanks @melson! After all the trouble I've had trying to get my jawfish to settle down, a next fish hasn't even been under consideration! 😂 If I did end up getting one it would probably be a sailfin blenny to replace the one that jumped many months ago. I think they are super cool fish and have a lot of personality.

 

10 hours ago, Poodges said:

Looking great!  Glad to have inspired a new picture angle for you.  You inspired me to get some ricordea... and a pearly jawfish. 

Glad to hear you're going to go for the Rics. 👌 They certainly seem to be a feature of pretty much every reef tank these days... and for good reason! They're absolutely gorgeous! 😁 Jawfish as well are very cool, but I hope yours has an easier time adjusting than mine does. Your tank certainly is a lot bigger than mine so that's a major plus. Just make sure that you have plenty of smashed coral rubble, empty shells, and other medium-to-large-sized bits and pieces on hand for the fish to build with. Jawfish seem to greatly appreciate a mixed substrate with a healthy amount of largeish rubble thrown in.

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billygoat

Pictures! 😁

 

Morning sunlight strikes the reef. It's hard to capture it properly on camera, but it's a really beautiful effect. The Halimeda is so green!

 

IMG_0870.thumb.JPG.6c9b2608a1ae9b44c675c33489e8dfd1.JPG

 

The traditional top-down shot. 👌

 

IMG_0871.thumb.JPG.9dcf638bfb428517875838dbd03f6352.JPG

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