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Fisker's 20 Long Macro Tank!

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Fisker

Alright, guys, thanks for your help the past few days. I would have had no idea how to ID this stuff, so the fact that you guys were there to help me ID probably saved this tank.

 

Also wanted to wish everyone a happy fourth. We don't always get along, we disagree, and sometimes we outright dislike eachother as a country... but we're all incredibly lucky to live where we live, and regardless of how you feel about things happening in the world right now, we have it pretty good. Everyone enjoy their fireworks (or, at the very least, some good food!), and have a great night.

 

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Tamberav

The tank is beautiful!!

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billygoat

Yeah it's looking really nice! I can't wait to see how everything fills in. I hope you're having a good holiday @Fisker!

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Fisker
36 minutes ago, billygoat said:

Yeah it's looking really nice! I can't wait to see how everything fills in. I hope you're having a good holiday @Fisker!

I am! Lots of red meat and explosives. Perfect.

 

Hope you're having a great one, too!

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Fisker

Okay, so, I'm working a double shift today (one at the Italian joint and one at Petsmart), so I had basically no time for my tank this morning, and doubt I'll have the energy for any serious stuff tonight. I'll still go through and blow off what I can, though. Here's what I noticed before I left this morning:

 

Cyano growth seems to have slowed since I moved stuff into higher flow and turned down the temp. There was still a fare amount in the tank this morning, but it seemed to be growing in the same places, just less densely. I'll take it as a win.

 

I seem to have lost some decent chunks of both the C. Racemosa and the C. Mexicana - the stuff just instantly melts as soon as the cyano begins growing on it. However, I'm also seeing new growth that seems to be growing pretty fast, so I don't think it's really killing the algae as a whole. I'll amputate what I have to tonight, and try my best to keep them clean in the future. My G. Hayi seems to be handling everything fine, with no noticeable change in color or health. The Christmas Tree is actually growing, but is no longer all nice-looking in it's normal shape... it looks dishoveled, like a fake christmas tree before you bend the branches back out the right way when it comes out of storage. Know what I'm talking about?

 

On my gorg, there are three branches that have exposed skeleton from earlier damage. All three are growing cyano on them - however, with manual removal, I'm actually seeing flesh start to beat out the cyano on the skeleton. My other corals, despite having some cyano growing around them, don't have any on them and were wide open even without lights on. Good sign?

 

I've been looking around at online sites, and was wondering with anyone has good experience with Pod Your Reef. Reviews seem to be good on their website, and while their selection is limited, I've been considering ordering some pods and a Red Mangrove from them. I think I can kinda arrange the right side of the tank as a Mangrove/Caulerpa garden, which I think would be pretty cool, especially if I can get some red caulerpa in there too - yes, I'm a fool for loving caulerpa... but it's awesome!

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Tamberav

I used podyourreef... No complaints... The tisbe pods are tiny and hard to see but they are there. I am guessing it's similar to algaebarn. 

 

If you add stuff to your cart but don't finish checking out they will email you a code for some money off 😉 At least they did for me.

 

I am not sure if the 4th sales ended yet or what....algaebarn was 25 percent off yesterday with a code...not sure what podyourreef had going. 

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Fisker

Update time!

 

The cyano hasn't stopped growing, but I wouldn't say it's spreading much. I need to get in there and really clean today, as I just kinda brushed the macros off last night before bed (I had 17 hours of work between 2 jobs yesterday!), and things look really hairy today. It's growing on most of the macros now, and the Caulerpa species I have are all taking pretty big hits - none of them are dealing with the infestation very well at all. My G. Hayi gives no Fs, and my Christmas Tree looks messy, but healthy. On the bright side? My corals are doing strangely well. I can count 3-4 new polyps on the toadstool, some new mat on the GSP, quite a bit of new growth on the Gorg, and even flesh regrowing on my hammer! Yes, the hammer that looked 100% dead!  I can clearly see the mouth of one head now, and I can see just the tip of one fluorescent green tentacle. I'm not sure if the other head survived, but it's pretty cool that the little guy is coming back.

 

Hopefully he doesn't become puffer food.

 

Tamberav already knows this, but I actually picked up a starving mandarin dragonette from a LFS. I got him for $5, and he's pretty close to death. Probably less than a week, I think, if he doesn't start eating well. I got him eating frozen bloodworms, he's picking at some smaller pieces of mysis, and I'm hatching some brine shrimp for him now. He's not in here yet, but provided he survives and I can keep up with his feeding schedule, I'll be adding him into this tank at some point. I'm trying to get him trained onto frozen foods in a QT tank, and then I'll be researching and DIYing contraptions to keep him fed over time. Hopefully I'll have a real nice population of pods in here by then, and not so much cyano. If I decide that I can't keep up with him, I'll be finding him a good home locally once he's fattened up a little. I do have my concerns about keeping a mandarin in a 20 long, but it seems as if perhaps it's a bit more accepted than I thought, at least before they're adults and when they're accepting at least some frozen foods. In my head, I had mandarins filed under either the "Fish that shouldn't be kept in tanks at all" category or the "Fish that should only be kept in larger species-tanks" category. In reality, the story seems a bit different, from what I've read.

 

Other than that, not much new is happening. The female clown is getting truly fat, even with decreased feedings. Not bloated, mind you, but fat. The male is less chubby, but still kinda chunky. I think it's because they're a bit faster and trigger happier than the puffer, and end up stealing his food - the female will even wait till the puffer cracks open a snail, dart in, and run away with the meat. Which is mildly amusing, I admit, but still. The puffer is doing fine. Good weight, good color, normal behavior. Even with it's current issues, I really love this tank!

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Tamberav

FYI I kept 6 dragonetts in a 20g macro tank with a 20g fuge, my oldest was with me 5 years. So it can be done. There is a coral magazine on mandarins with the breeder Matt Peterson who kept them in a 29g biocube macro tank which was a good read and what got me to try.

 

Unfortunately I didn't QT a wild caught jester goby because they are difficult to feed which lead to disease and I had to pull all fish out and go fallow, I was moving out of state not long after so I decided to sell the fish and tear it down. 

 

It was a lot of work still so I took a break until now... if I can get my tank up and running correctly and into a pod factory again.

 

Just the fact you want this to be a macro/softy tank will increase your long term success greatly! I am sure you will get over this hump of algae problems, I know I didn't like looking at mine for awhile. 

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billygoat
3 hours ago, Tamberav said:

Just the fact you want this to be a macro/softy tank will increase your long term success greatly! I am sure you will get over this hump of algae problems, I know I didn't like looking at mine for awhile. 

I can definitely second this. My tank was gross for a good three months or so, with pretty much every sort of pest you can think of. It's gotten over everything from GHA to cyano to hydroids and now is looking a lot better! So don't worry too much about the slime on your algae, I'm sure it's just a phase.

 

Cool to hear about the mandarin! I really hope you're able to nurse it back to health. That will be quite an accomplishment if you can pull it off, and it'll be even cooler if you can keep it alive in the long term! This seems like the sort of tank where a mandarin would really be able to thrive.

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Fisker

Thanks for the info - I knew you were into dragonettes at one point, but I didn't know you were THAT into them!

 

I do hope that the mandarin works out long-term! He's pretty awesome, even as a juvie. We'll see, though - I don't want to get my hopes up too much. I've got some brine shrimp eggs hatching now - we'll see if he takes to those. I'm trying to train him to the Mandarin Diner idea - stick a jar into the tank, and do all of the mandarin's feedings in the jar, so the food is easily available and relatively safe from other fish and inverts. I'd say the hermits would probably get in there pretty easily, but I doubt the other fish would intentionally go into the jar very often. We'll see. So far, he's spending quite a bit of time in the jar... so, maybe it's working.

 

The tank got a 1 gallon water change last night to help suck out some of the cyano, and got a pretty good scrub, too. I'm kinda leaving diatoms and such on the glass until I'm siphoning to maybe use them as sorta nutrient export. Not sure if it's working super well, but I'm taking out quite a bit of floating algae when water changing.

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Fisker

Alright, so over the past few days, Cyano growth has slowed significantly. I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a problem, but it's slowed to a rate so that it's basically only growing on my rocks. I've just been cutting way back on feeding. A couple pellets each for the clowns every 2-3 days, and 2 snails every 2 days for the puffer.

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Fisker

Decided to pick up a healthy-looking BTA today. Figured it'd go great in this tank...

 

Acclimation went fantastic. It seemed to be acclimating well. Got it into the tank, and it started attaching immediately.

 

And then the puffer nipped at it. Of course. I'm acclimating it to my mandarin tank now, which isn't ideal, but it won't get eaten in there, at least.

 

Ugh.

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billygoat

That's quite a bummer about the 'nem. Hopefully you can find a place for it where it won't end up getting nipped into oblivion!

 

Great to hear that cyano growth is starting to come under control though. I figured it would only be a matter of time, though I'm sure your reduced feedings are doing a lot of work in that department as well.

 

What's the status of the rescue mandarin? Does it look like he's going to pull through after all?

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Fisker

I'll try it in the mandarin tank - if he does well, he'll reside there. If not, I'll take him back or something. It's all good, as long as the injury on the nem heals.

 

The mandarin is in about the same shape as before. Eating bloodworms very well, but ignoring mysis. Today, I tried oyster eggs, and it was hard to tell if he was really eating any or not. I think that maybe he's put on a LITTLE weight, as he doesn't look quite as skinny and hunched, and he IS way more active now, but I still don't think he's doing particularly well. I got a bottle of Tisbe pods, but they were DOA, and I'm waiting a couple more weeks for some to come in.

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Poison Dart Frog

I really love the look of this 20L. Just going through old posts and this one really stood out.

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Fisker

Oh man, it's been a while!

 

So... things have not been great for this tank, sadly. The Valentini Puffer sadly passed away a few weeks ago - water parameters were fine, and all other fish in the tank seem completely healthy. Nitrates were a bit higher than I like them (20), but not high enough to kill a fish. I chalked it up to a pre-existing condition, or possibly an issue with something he ate - although his diet was varied.

 

The mandarin went away to a store and, as far as I know, is living a life of luxury in a sump. I tried my best but just couldn't handle him. I threw a balloon molly in here, but she was getting bullied by my clowns so I moved her out. Not worth the stress for her, although she was a beautiful molly.

 

So... now this tank is covered in algae, has dying macro, and unhappy coral. The tank doesn't look terrible, necessarily, but I'm not happy with it. Currently, the plan is to clean up the tank as I have time to work on it (double majoring and working a job is a lot), and to slowly get it cleaned up and healthy. I don't think I'll be adding anything for quite a long time, unless it's part of the clean-up crew or something.

 

I'm actually really considering just tearing down the tank, giving the tank and equipment a nice clean, and setting it back up as a FOWLR with a few macro thrown about. I might keep the gorgonian too. That way, although it won't necessarily be 100% FOWLR, it'll be super simple and easy, and basically the only parameters I have to worry about are basic ones such as PH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. Oh, and SG too.

 

Losing the puffer hurt (he really was my little buddy), but seeing the clowns do their thing every night when I get home is pretty awesome. I don't want to get rid of this tank, but I do NEED to simplify it down a bit. So, I think a few macro, a couple fish, maybe a couple of fun inverts and a water change a week will do it for me.

 

Anyone have any suggestions, comments, or concerns?

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billygoat

Sorry to hear about the puffer. 😞 It is never easy to lose a fish, especially not one with so much personality... and especially when you're not really sure what happened. Glad to see the clowns are doing well though.

 

I think you've got an interesting idea with the semi-FOWLR plan, but you could also consider pulling the macros entirely (or almost entirely) and running this as a soft coral system. Mushrooms, gorgonians, zoanthids, and leathers of all varieties would thrive in this established setup, and I think your current lighting and flow would be more than sufficient. I've noticed that macroalgae-dominated systems have a tendency to slowly evolve into soft coral tanks over time, probably because macros are temperamental and frankly require much more maintenance than softies since they must be pruned, trimmed, fed with the proper trace elements, given more or less light, etc. So you could simply cut to the chase and go right for the softies. I think it would be extremely low maintenance (weekly waterchange and a bag of carbon in the back switched every two or three weeks would be all you'd need to worry about), and leave you more satisfied in the end than a tank with just rocks and fish. You'd hardly have to care more about params than you would in a FOWLR setup anyway, and dosing would not be necessary unless you go super crazy with stocking and end up needing to add iodide or something.

 

Anyway, that's what I would do in your situation! 😊

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Fisker

That's actually a really good point - I think once I get my parameters back into check the softies in here will probably bounce back, as they're actually all still open and happy despite the abuse the past couple of months have been on them.

 

I don't know if I'll actually remove ALL of the macros - for example, the Christmas Tree algae has actually grown a pretty complex root system, although the original algae looks almost dead. The dragon's breath is doing well, too. I think maybe I'll remove some of the Caulerpa (or at least isolate it) and just stop adding macros. From there, I can add softies and stuff like that as I find stuff I like.

 

I think to start, I'll just do some pretty heavy maintenance and tweak the tank to fit my schedule better, as I haven't touched it much since college started. I'm doing a 5 gallon water change right now and am scrubbing equipment, and I think I'll probably do a second 5 gallon change over the weekend as well. I'll probably bring my lighting schedule down to just 6-8 hours in the evenings as well, since I'm gone from my house from 5 AM to 6-7 PM on most days. From there, maybe I'll give it some time to stabilize and make a trip to the store to see if they have anything that catches my eye. Might pick up a couple more pieces of rock to fill in the right side of the tank, now that it's kind of no longer reserved for sandbed macros. I'd probably cycle them in a separate bucket for a couple of weeks, but it's something to consider.

 

I know stocking is ultimately my choice, but any tips on what I should add? Easy, colorful, and resilient are the things I'm looking for. I'm not necessarily against a third fish, but I'd want it to be something that meshes well with an established pair of clowns. If that doesn't exist in this size tank, meh, I'll just skip adding another fish. Any particular inverts/coral you recommend?

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billygoat
12 hours ago, Fisker said:

I know stocking is ultimately my choice, but any tips on what I should add? Easy, colorful, and resilient are the things I'm looking for. I'm not necessarily against a third fish, but I'd want it to be something that meshes well with an established pair of clowns. If that doesn't exist in this size tank, meh, I'll just skip adding another fish. Any particular inverts/coral you recommend?

There sure are a lot of good options when it comes to soft corals! I think Ricordea florida are one of the best places for you to start. They are super hardy and colorful, and should do well in this system. I am also fond of branching leather corals like Sinularia spp., and of all the various toadstools (Sarcophyton spp.). These all have the advantage of being readily available in the trade, so it shouldn't be too difficult to find them in the neighborhood either. If your gorgonian is doing well I would consider getting some more of those too. They are definitely very hardy and are a great way to fill up the vertical space in your tank without adding huge piles of rocks. And speaking of rocks, you're probably going to need a bit more of them in here if you're interested in softies, so I like your idea to pick up a bit more rock down the road.

 

You've got a lot of options for fish as well. Most fish you could reasonably put in here will be at some risk of aggression from your clowns, but if you choose something that occupies a different niche in the reef I think you will probably be fine. Benthic fish such as gobies and blennies of all descriptions would make good tankmates, and other easygoing, non-territorial fish (like firefish for example) would also probably be compatible.

 

Oh, and rock flower anemones would be another good choice! They are very easy to keep, don't move around much, and will be content with an occasional feeding of whatever you are feeding your fish. Your clowns won't host in them though.

 

Anywhere there's my 2 cents! I can't wait to see what you come up with. 😊

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Fisker

Thanks for all the tips! I'm slowly gathering ideas on my off-time.

 

Tank got a 60% water change today, as I had to move it. It looks much better and the toadstool and GSP that's in there are looking pretty happy. Still gonna give it a couple weeks to settle out though. Might even wait for a good sale and just order in a bunch of frags then - might make it easier to wait and let the tank recover instead of wanting to jump on everything now.

 

I'm looking around at fish and am trying to figure out what I might like. Honestly, I'm looking for something different - I've done firefish and quite a few gobies. I've considered a pair of Yellow Clown Gobies, or maybe trying my luck with a shrimp/goby pair. Or a bi-color blenny. Just wanting something hardy and "out there". I'll continue looking! What're your thoughts on a Royal Gramma?

 

RFA's are awesome! I had one a while back but he just never did well. I think it was already in sorta bad shape when I got him, so I never really had a good time with getting him to recover. I may throw one on my order whenever I order frags!

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Fisker

Picked up a Maxi-mini Carpet anemone today. Looked awesome in the store, especially for $20. He acclimated and grabbed onto the rock with no issues. Grabbed a Royal Gramma too, while I was at it! Probably going to be adding in some zoas or maybe some shrooms next.

 

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Here's some GSP and a Green Toadstool looking happier:

 

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Now, you can see quite a bit of algae, but it looks way better than it did a week ago!

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