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Wonderboy

Project Xenia

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Wonderboy

I don't even know the volume of this thing. It was important for it not to be too volumous, though. I set this up mainly because I wanted there to be some existing reason for making that ATO I retired from use for my 2.5G a while back. This is going to be my special little xenia experiment. I am not sure of all demands that this thing may need to be powered by xenia instead of any kind of pump, but I have some ideas and am willing to fail if not figure it out. This is what I've done so far:

 

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Start-up was 8-22-19

 

Ingredients: dry rock, water most from my 10G reef some RODI (for a salinity of 1.0205), 1/2mL Microbe-Lift Special Blend, fauna, macro, and a dash of Reef Roids

 

Fauna introduced (same day): 1 blue leg hermit crab + shells, 7 tiny dwarf cerith snails, 1 asterina sp. starfish (which immediately split over night, so kind of 2), tisbe copepods, munnid copepods

 

Macro:

pretty sure it's a titanophora sp.? - it responds well to low or bright light - there's many little free floating pieces placed under the rock intentionally)

 

Equip:

jar, thrift shop stand/cabinet thing, air pump, acryllic top, DIY ATO bottle, little centrifugal fan, blue and pink LED lights strips (wattage: not a clue), 15min increment analog timer, and emergency didgeridoo

 

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I was aware already that these LED strips produce a good amount of heat from using them on my 2.5G - so I knew I would need to cool this thing. The fan is wired so that it is on with the LEDs. I had the fan mounted to the inside of the box at first - it pulled air from outside and pushed it up throught the LEDs - the water temperature was not being reduced (running at 83 - 84F) - swapped the fan to the outside (would have done it in the lower compartment if there wasn't a hole already) water temperature has been stable at 78 - 80F

 

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Adding the xenia soon - thanks for checking this nonsense out! 

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Clown79

Very cool looking.

 

Xenia are pretty awesome corals. Not even bta's kill it! 

 

They love light and flow.

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Wonderboy

I remember Xenia to be a large part of the reason that I started reefing - it is easily still one of my favorite corals since getting into the hobby - I have been growing out a small portion of it in an area with as little flow as possible - seems to be well, stout and waving. One of my observations has been how a volume of water that would be hypoxic can be easily prevented from becoming so if provided sufficient algae and light at, specifically, the bottom of the volume. It will be important for something to be introducing CO2 at a sufficient rate as well - hence the snails (I think I need them to amlost overpopulate before removing the airpump - lots of food). WC when needed. Plan to put some additives in the ATO (iodine, maybe seachem fuel) and run a crazy circadiam rhythm of about 2 or 3 hrs lights on, 1 or 2 hours off to prevent oxygen acidification (and to prevent too much 'not pulsing xenia' thereof). As far as stagnation goes, the plans to use the xenia to prevent this is pretty much the entire goal of this pico. I'm thinking that the salinity should probably be kept lower so that any slow segregation of salts within the water column doesn't create too high of a concentration, or dilution of, any element in any area, and that the xenias probably need to be mounted somewhere near that supposed segregation zone so that they can mechanically aid against the inevitability of this event. Right now the airpump is set at about 2 BPS - will be lowering slowly after xenia is introduced. The goal of this experiment is to see if it is possible for xenia to move the volume of its own closed system (no introduced flow) and if so, for how long. 

 

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Probably going to need to figure out that pinktinic camera filter thing...

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Wonderboy

...soon

 

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But at least the LEDs seem to be sufficient - got some pretty noticeable growth from the macro so far I think - both the mounted and free floating macro at the bottom seem to be developing more intricate edges:

 

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There's munnids all over and little medusas drifting here and there - feeling optimistic that the xenia will tolerate this thing well

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Wonderboy

Sorry for the haze - phyto bloom, algae on glass, sun glare, but anyways here we go:

 

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Wonderboy

Lights just turned on:

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Pulsing is minimal, things are kind of stretching - thinking I need more light - I have a plan for that

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billygoat

Man this is an ambitious project if I've ever seen one... and yet it makes perfect sense when I consider the mad genius who's behind it. 😄

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Wonderboy

Thanks @billygoat - sometimes I still worry about myself though  :]

 

....So, a couple mornings ago - the xenia had melted over night. I looked in and all that was left was little fleshy stumps with little debri piles under each one from what were clearly once their limbs... Syphoned that out with a WC and left the stumps. I have more xenia I can cut apart in a little. I have already adjusted the light schedule because I'm rather assured that it was from oxygen acidification. All other inhabitants are well.

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billygoat
3 hours ago, Wonderboy said:

I have already adjusted the light schedule because I'm rather assured that it was from oxygen acidification. All other inhabitants are well.

Incredible! The poor little zooxanthellate buggers, they know not what they do to themselves! 😂

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Wonderboy

It was them, the algae on the glass/rock and the macro - need more snails. I'm not too concerned - been spending some time trying to get the 2.5G running right. Anyways, maybe I should have warned everyone, but yeah, some zooanthellate may have to be harmed in the making of this project. Viewer discretion advised.    :sideeyes:

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Ratvan

Sorry, so the idea of this is to see whether the pulsing of the xenia will give enough water movement?

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Wonderboy

Yes, just to see

 

I just looked at the xenia nubs and noticed that they have sprouted little micro xenia hands - they look like xenia montiporas right now - all nubs look like this and might recover. It still need a little more light though I think, but I have been busy with other tasks. Soon probably. I will do my best to watch the pH this run. Photos shortly.

 

 

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Wonderboy

They're actually growing back pretty quick:

 

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billygoat

That's pretty crazy! No flow whatsoever but the Xenia refuse to die. Those things are literally unkillable. 😂

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Wonderboy

Just noticed the first little twitching/pulsing in some of the new polyps today - still haven't added more light... need to do that.

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Wingy
On 10/16/2019 at 6:36 PM, billygoat said:

That's pretty crazy! No flow whatsoever but the Xenia refuse to die. Those things are literally unkillable. 😂

If you wand dead xenia just add them to my sexy shrimp playground.  They tore my xenia apart and picked the rock clean.  

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Wonderboy

Quick note, then not so good news: I had raised the salinity after the last "meltdown" to 1.022 to raise the buffering capability to further prevent pH fluctuations

 

Well, I forgot that this thing needed to be at 1.022, and I did a 100% WC with water at 1.025 somehow not thinking about it the whole time (30 seconds lol) - so basically, the xenia has melted again... I don't know if they'll come back or not like last time, only one has polyps still, but I'll watch. Before my mistake, the polyps were about three times the size of the last photo and over 30% had started to pulse. I may just end up cutting new xenia frags for round 3. Also, the macro algae was being consumed by things faster than it grew (likely cerith... many many baby snails) - it's almost gone - so, I think I'm going to have to try a different macro algae species soon - maybe scroll?

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Frag Factory

I cleaned out my canister filter on my frogfish tank a few months ago, it had not been opened in 6+ months.

 

in the bottom section there was a cupful of xenia, growing (attached to the bottom and spreading out) in no light at all. Just flow and nutrient rich water...

 

It didn't look nice or especially healthy (very stringy) but it survived.

 

I feel sorry for anyone trying to get rid of the stuff 😂

 

My next build will use a Xenia bed instead of chaeto, far more interesting and stable. 

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Wonderboy

Haha! That's awesome - I've always liked the idea of softy 'fuges - definitely going to do something similar to what you're thinking for my FOWLR (in design), too.

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Seadragon

Wow, I just noticed this thread and was excited to find another Xenia lover.  I'm thinking about doing my own Pico Xenia experiment, but instead of no flow, I will do no water changes. 😉 It'll basically be a 2.5g Fuge Tank with only Xenia & Chaeto and a Tailspot Blenny.  🙂

 

Ahh..  if only I had space to create such a thing.

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Frag Factory
2 hours ago, Seadragon said:

Wow, I just noticed this thread and was excited to find another Xenia lover.  I'm thinking about doing my own Pico Xenia experiment, but instead of no flow, I will do no water changes. 😉 It'll basically be a 2.5g Fuge Tank with only Xenia & Chaeto and a Tailspot Blenny.  🙂

 

Ahh..  if only I had space to create such a thing.

Luckily 2.5G's are small 😂

3 hours ago, Wonderboy said:

Haha! That's awesome - I've always liked the idea of softy 'fuges - definitely going to do something similar to what you're thinking for my FOWLR (in design), too.

The fuge is something I want to try for sure, if you google "Tony B's grow out tank" he's a very successful reefer in the UK with a stunning SPS tank that runs a 3'x3' tank of Xenia.

 

I don't know what else you could run as a soft coral nutrient export method... I'd be concerned about chemical warfare in most softy species. Xenia don't ever release mucus, GSP could work also... The good side of running this is trading frags into my LFS instead of throwing cheato in the bin, the downside is I guess I will need a slightly better light over my sump.

 

Your experiment is super interesting though, it's very cool to see people doing stuff like this!  

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Wonderboy

The xenia melted away this time - going to frag more, but first I have been letting this little jar run so I can see how long it takes to deplete the ATO resevoir - it has beeen working very well so far. The water level in the top off res is down to 1.5" and it is still providing a constant water level in the "DT". The CUC in here is still active and well. There are little bits of that purple shimmer macro algae growing here and there on the rockwork, but I will probably still try a different macro. I am also going to just go ahead and increase the salinity to 1.025 so that I am able to use old water from my other systems for some WCs (kind of what cooked the xenia last time). 

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kurnn

Sorry to hear the sad news.

I think pulsing xenia needs a little cooler water temp. It gets warm, it will melt down.

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