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Snow_Phoenix

I just wanted to share pics & a quick vid. of my very dirty fuge: 

 

IMG_20210329_190320_256.thumb.jpg.f9070e53e7b65d3e6e27ffcf53f5d981.jpg

 

IMG_20210329_190320_274.thumb.jpg.8b66c1afba3e3d304cf6dc4ddd976b32.jpg

 

As you can see, the fuge section is densely packed with macro and I seldom prune it. The macro is a mix of both good & pest algae, and I have no concerns in removing the pest algae (eg. GHA, cotton candy, red bubble etc.) because I figured more algae types = more diversity. 

 

A good portion of the fuge is actually full of small & medium-sized LR pieces encrusted with sponges, tunicates and other sessile inverts. Some of these rocks are pullovers from other tanks which I've shut down in the past, and have been with me since 2015/16. 

 

I have one critter in this fuge which has become extremely beneficial in spreading the algae around - my spider decorator crab, Spyder. 

 

He actually decorates himself with pieces of my macro and seeds different parts of my sump with various algae. He's quite elusive though, and camoflages himself very well in the fuge (I haven't found him for a week, but I know he's lurking somewhere in there). 🤐

 

Back to the fuge - it's crawling with various types of microfauna like below:

 

Yes, my fuge/sump is filthy, but I don't think it's possible to run a *clean tank when you have multiple dragonets - they actually poop a lot and require constant food. 

 

In the fuge/sump area, I've observed various types of pods, flatworms, bristleworms, microbrittlestars, asterina stars, collonista snails, hydroid jellies and other weird stuff which I honestly don't know the name of. The diversity of microfauna helps a lot. Some of them provide a constant supply of live food for the fish in the DT, others are simple CUC in the fuge/sump. 

 

I always, always replenish the macro in the fuge on a monthly basis because I *want a new influx of microfauna in my fuge, to preserve/increase the diversity that I already have. 

 

Fuge aside, here's a quick vid. of Illaron & Bella's courtship being interrupted by Cubert the conch: 🤦‍♀️

 

 

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Snow_Phoenix
4 minutes ago, debbeach13 said:

So glad to see they made it through the night. 

I am glad too. Hunter is adapting well. Zoey remains to be seen. Will try to feed the tank a mix of frozen food tomorrow. Hopefully that'll entice them to eat more. 😊👍

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debbeach13

You are right that fuge is PACKED.

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Snow_Phoenix
29 minutes ago, debbeach13 said:

You are right that fuge is PACKED.

Yep! It's so dense - I'm thinking of getting either a stronger fuge light or a second fuge light to back up my current one. Will save up for either option. 

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banasophia

Looking good. Poseidon is so chunky and your new pair is beautiful. Looks like they’re all getting along? 

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Snow_Phoenix
59 minutes ago, banasophia said:

Looking good. Poseidon is so chunky and your new pair is beautiful. Looks like they’re all getting along? 

Thanks, Bana. 🙂

 

I'll be honest - there are times that my dragonets don't get along (mild chasing, flaring & posturing), and in the beginning Poseidon did give my new mandarin pair a hard time (he kept nipping at Hunter's fins - especially the dorsal spike), but things seemed to have calmed down for now. 

 

Poseidon is my largest and most dominant dragonet in the tank - my male scooter, Illaron, is a close second. From my time of owning various dragonets in different systems across the years - I can say they're not exactly passive fish. The can get aggressive - and I mean really aggressive, when there is a lack of food (especially live pods), breeding/pre-breeding time (pre-courtship period, especially, when one of the pair is not receptive towards the other as a potential mate) and if there's not enough barriers in their direct line of sight.

 

Right now, I lack the third - the barriers. Previously, I had a lot of corals on the sandbed so my dragonets would skirt around them, hide behind them or even hover over them. They're constantly busy circling the corals for pods to eat, and this minimizes the chances of them *bumping into one another. 

 

My current tank setup features an open sandbed, which is ideal during feeding times and when I need to dump spoonful after spoonful of pellets on the rocks and sand so that *all the fish have a chance to eat. *But, I have seen some of my dragonets shoo another competitor off - especially during meal times. So I'm planning on getting a large LPS to put on the sandbed, in the middle of the tank - like maybe an elegance, green bubble, or even giant brain (cynarina, maybe?). 

 

LPS prices have skyrocketed recently, so I'm saving up to get a large one. This will take time though - if I'm lucky, I *might be able to get something in late April, if not, some time in May or June. 

 

I'm a bit concerned though. Hunter, the male blue mandy, is out and actively looking for pods. Zoey is nowhere to be seen, and I'm not sure if she made it through her second night in the tank. If she did, I'll monitor her further. If she's struggling to eat in this tank, I'll try to find a way to catch her and move her back into the 10G for training, and once she's accepting prepared (hopefully!), then I can shift her back to the 60G. 

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banasophia
14 minutes ago, Snow_Phoenix said:

Thanks, Bana. 🙂

 

I'll be honest - there are times that my dragonets don't get along (mild chasing, flaring & posturing), and in the beginning Poseidon did give my new mandarin pair a hard time (he kept nipping at Hunter's fins - especially the dorsal spike), but things seemed to have calmed down for now. 

 

Poseidon is my largest and most dominant dragonet in the tank - my male scooter, Illaron, is a close second. From my time of owning various dragonets in different systems across the years - I can say they're not exactly passive fish. The can get aggressive - and I mean really aggressive, when there is a lack of food (especially live pods), breeding/pre-breeding time (pre-courtship period, especially, when one of the pair is not receptive towards the other as a potential mate) and if there's not enough barriers in their direct line of sight.

 

Right now, I lack the third - the barriers. Previously, I had a lot of corals on the sandbed so my dragonets would skirt around them, hide behind them or even hover over them. They're constantly busy circling the corals for pods to eat, and this minimizes the chances of them *bumping into one another. 

 

My current tank setup features an open sandbed, which is ideal during feeding times and when I need to dump spoonful after spoonful of pellets on the rocks and sand so that *all the fish have a chance to eat. *But, I have seen some of my dragonets shoo another competitor off - especially during meal times. So I'm planning on getting a large LPS to put on the sandbed, in the middle of the tank - like maybe an elegance, green bubble, or even giant brain (cynarina, maybe?). 

 

LPS prices have skyrocketed recently, so I'm saving up to get a large one. This will take time though - if I'm lucky, I *might be able to get something in late April, if not, some time in May or June. 

 

I'm a bit concerned though. Hunter, the male blue mandy, is out and actively looking for pods. Zoey is nowhere to be seen, and I'm not sure if she made it through her second night in the tank. If she did, I'll monitor her further. If she's struggling to eat in this tank, I'll try to find a way to catch her and move her back into the 10G for training, and once she's accepting prepared (hopefully!), then I can shift her back to the 60G. 

Yea, I’ve seen firsthand how aggressive mandarins can be when they don’t get along... it was alarming to see my sweet boy Finnick attack the small female I tried to introduce as a companion. Seems yours are doing reasonably well. Hope your female adapts to her new home and makes it! 

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Snow_Phoenix
36 minutes ago, banasophia said:

Yea, I’ve seen firsthand how aggressive mandarins can be when they don’t get along... it was alarming to see my sweet boy Finnick attack the small female I tried to introduce as a companion. Seems yours are doing reasonably well. Hope your female adapts to her new home and makes it! 

Just spotted Zoey (the new female). Turned the pumps off, and she popped up a few mins later, looking for food. 😅

 

I agree they can be aggressive when one is established, and a new one (most often another male, or an opposite sex to a pair) is introduced. I've tried to introduce Poseidon to 3 females before this - all of which were smaller size than him (because I couldn't find a female his size - he's quite large, by mandy standards), and he fought them off. I had to rehome all 3 females because none of them would last a day in my tank, and I was worried he'd kill them. 

 

There is a large, old female at my LFS though - I believe she's over 4-years-old, and came from another reefer's tank. She now lives in one of the main frag tanks of the LFS, and is Poseidon's size. I did ask my LFS if they were willing to let her go (I'll pay full price or more) because I wanted to pair her up with Poseidon (and if I don't succeed, return her back to the LFS at no cost) but the store was reluctant to sell. I didn't push the matter with them, but I did tell the manager that if ever they change their mind, they can contact me anytime. They agreed.

 

It's very hard to find female mandys in the hobby here. Most of the ones that arrive are males, and malnourished or sickly ones at that. Once in a while, a female might come through...half-dead. 😞

 

I think Poseidon is more a 'me-alone' type of fish though. Maybe it would be best to leave him be.

 

However, I'm still looking out for a female ruby to pair up with my male ruby, Orion. He originally came with a female, but she was very weak and sickly from the get-go, and perished prematurely. 😞

 

I tried pairing him up the second time with another female, but that one was also very thin and unhealthy, and died within 24 hours. Considering how expensive rubys are here, I decided to skip out on getting any females until I come across a healthy (alert, mobile & moving with clear eyes), preferably fat one at the LFS. I believe it's been ~1 year, but I'll still keep looking. Rubys are very sensitive and die quickly during shipment (more than any other dragonet I've ever seen), and tbh, I got off lucky with Orion. 

 

I've heard complaints from other reefers that their rubys always die in their tanks <6 months, bearing in mind that these folks have large tanks which are within 5' to 6' long. They don't handle parameter fluctuations well. 😞 

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Snow_Phoenix

Some of my dragonets - guess who didn't want to be filmed today? :rolleyes: :

 

Illaron:

 

IMG_20210330_174801_533.thumb.jpg.e4f81e9ddfd0481a6f7cebdd082e7b78.jpg

 

Zoey:

 

IMG_20210330_174801_532.thumb.jpg.fd6c4b519ef66b48ee8ef84d08af004c.jpg

 

Bella:

 

IMG_20210330_174801_531.thumb.jpg.230fa4bbc8b95518169015d342d53e13.jpg

 

Orion:

 

20210330_174839.thumb.jpg.b2f364c32095c6096dc0159811855939.jpg

 

Hunter:

 

Hunter & Zoey:

 

Yeah, I'm aware my corals look sad and the tank looks pitiful. 😭

 

I'm planning a very, very large 2-part WC over the course of 2 days (or 1 day, if I can manage it), and some extensive maintenance. I'll be doing a thorough clean up of the sump, but I won't be touching the fuge. 

 

The next will be the display - a large WC of 20G (at least) to 30G. I will be extremely careful in stirring the sandbed though, although I'm sure it is full of gunk. 🤐

 

I estimate that the tank hasn't been WCed for ~2 months, which is why most my shrooms have turned dark. Pretty sure my nitrates & phosphates are extremely high too. Got a lot of work ahead of me to set this tank back on track. 😓

 

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debbeach13

The 2 days to get it done sounds like a good plan. Just don't over do it or you will end up back in bed. 

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Snow_Phoenix
1 hour ago, debbeach13 said:

The 2 days to get it done sounds like a good plan. Just don't over do it or you will end up back in bed. 

Yeah. If it proves to be too much, I'll split it up to 3 days instead of 2. Definitely don't fancy being stuck in bed. 😔

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Snow_Phoenix

Hunter & Zoey have slowly become more confident and are starting to explore the tank. It was really nice to see them actively skimming over the rocks. 😊

 

Hunter:

 

IMG_20210331_175736_458.thumb.jpg.f2dc497faf1a5d8e1ad4ee995e4cf97f.jpg

 

IMG_20210331_175736_493.thumb.jpg.e2a2a2a10bbd410945fe664406396ae8.jpg

 

Zoey:

 

IMG_20210331_180153_985.thumb.jpg.5bc09778f5d89186f5c2dadd1bbfc870.jpg

 

As you can see, both dragonets are thin and have prominent lateral lines showing. Their bellies are not pinched, but they don't have the *full, rounded-out look either. Instead, the bellies are flat - which means the fish are eating, but not eating enough to gain weight. 😕

 

Based on my experience with helping wild dragonets adapt to captivity, this *might actually get worse before it gets better. I expect the pair to lose more weight before they accept prepared food (Hunter is on his way there and progressing well in training, Zoey still only eats live pods), and thicken out. 

 

Two most memorable cases of dragonets losing a *lot of weight before regaining it and more is Illaron, my male scooter, and Orion, my male ruby. In Illaron's case, he became so bony at one point that I was worried he'd never make it. 😔

 

But in the case of both fish, they *kept eating, and the trick was finding out which prepared food they liked better, and trying to target-feed them that food so that they'd eat (yes, that means chasing them all over the tank with a large baster full of food, 4x a day). It was tedious, time-consuming and at times downright frustrating, but eventually I managed to wean them both from live to frozen to pellets. 😊

 

I have a sense Hunter will adapt faster than Zoey though, but I'm still prepared to fail with these fish. 😔

 

Training dragonets can be challenging, and not all fish are receptive towards training. Some perish prematurely because they lose too much weight before they can adapt and recover. I'll try my best with them though. I'm both nervous & excited - and I'll update their progress in this journal as frequently as possible. 

 

Also, my aiptasia problem is getting a little out of hand, so I'll try to purchase some peppermint shrimp to help out with that. 👍

 

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Update: Illaron (male scooter) is driving Bella (female scooter) to mate/spawn too much (he literally wants to do it everyday) and it's taking a toll on her. She's lost a bit of weight and I'm concerned. Her appetite is good, but there are times when I noticed she won't eat properly if Illaron is close by. I think he *might be pestering her too much into over-breeding with him. I'll try to look into different food combinations (preferably those with high % of protein) to supplement Bella's diet. 

 

Hopefully she'll regain the lost weight. I'm not sure how to stop them from spawning repeatedly though. 🤔

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Snow_Phoenix

One of my mandarins in my nanoreef, 6 years ago:

 

IMG_20210403_174040_714.jpg.fdc61649bfbeda564416b7b124f009b5.jpg

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Snow_Phoenix

^If Hunter & Zoey make full recoveries and grow out a bit more, *that will be their potential size. 😊👍

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Snow_Phoenix

Chunky boi: 

 

IMG_20210404_131928_689.thumb.jpg.f60326c4556966fadf6bdb93c909c7d7.jpg

 

IMG_20210404_131928_691.thumb.jpg.b09403b5ca37e652cbb641e553ee4859.jpg

 

Other 🐲🐉 are still here: 

 

IMG_20210404_132033_629.thumb.jpg.c82e6aca05e5b97ffefd2fc6edeee088.jpg

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Tank is very bare, but I managed to scrape the glass today:

 

IMG_20210407_175053_003.thumb.jpg.c2dfacac3d734c42dae329c21b5ac222.jpg

 

I thrust a wad of macro behind the rocks, but I doubt it'll last. I have 3 urchins and macro = snack time. 😄

 

I think...I'll get 3 large LPS pieces in the future. One one either side of the tank, on the rocks, and another one to dominate the sandbed. 

 

Will need to save up though. Prices of corals have soared since the bans all over the world. 😔

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Orion:

 

IMG_20210407_161013_106.thumb.jpg.30413317293c63a78daad82c671770a6.jpg

 

All dragonets are adjusting very well to the tank, but Zoey needs more time. I noticed she had some rips in her tail though - but I suspect this is Poseidon's doing, not Hunter's. 🤔

 

Need to create more barriers to break their direct line of sight. Until I can acquire some proper corals to restock this tank, I *might pull up some chunks of LR from the fuge and place them in the center of the sandbed in the DT. If I have enough small rocks, I can create multiple small *islands on the sandbed, then move the rocks back into the fuge once the corals arrive. 🤔

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Everyone, meet Titan:

 

 

Titan & Poseidon, size-comparison:

 

Titan is roughly ~5.5" and easily the largest mandy I've come across so far. Poseidon has absolutely no idea what to do with him, and can't/doesn't heckle him - like he did to all the other mandys because Titan is simply too large, and ignores him. 

 

Zoey (female blue mandy) is very, very small in comparison to Titan. But she keeps booping him and following him around, and so far he doesn't seem to mind her. 

 

On the subject of Zoey, she is skinny. She's still in the middle of being weaned onto prepared food, but her progress is a bit slow. 

 

Based on my limited experience with training dragonets so far, it usually tends to get worse before it gets better. My male scooter, Illaron, and male ruby, Orion, were examples of this - they thinned out quite a fair bit before stabilizing and then regained more weight than before and *grew larger/longer. 

 

Hunter (my smaller male mandy), has been transferred to my 10G nanoreef a few weeks back because Poseidon wouldn't stop bothering him. He's actually doing okay in the nano - eating well, swimming well & has even become bolder. 

 

Bella, my female scooter, has lost some weight. Mostly due to overbreeding/over-spawning with Illaron. I'm actually trying my best to catch her and put her in a breeder box so that she can recover and be separated from Illaron for a while - he's a very, very pushy fish, and always tries to mate with her almost every single night. I'm mostly worried she's exhausting herself by continuously producing eggs, and would die prematurely from the stress of constant spawning attempts. 😞

 

Night time is the easiest to catch a dragonet, but the issue with scooters is that they sleep in the sandbed, and my pair doesn't sleep in the same spot every night, so it's quite difficult to find them in the tank when the lights are off. I'll try to find a way though. Bella really, really needs a break. 

 

 

 

 

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debbeach13

Glad you had such a successful visit to LFS.

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