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ValerieR

66 SCA Predator Reef build

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ValerieR
5 hours ago, Elizabeth94 said:

That is a really neat fish, never heard of them before this thread. Ill have to do some research! 

I love the predators. They always seem a bit more intelligent and curious to me. My favorites are:

*Cockatoo Waspfish (Taenianotus Ablabys)

*Leaf Fish (Taenianotus Triacanthus)

*Fu Manchu Lionfish (Dendrochirus Biocellatus)

*Blue Eyed Stingfish (Minous Trachycephalus) - very uncommon in stores

*Various eels I won't go into here

 

All stay small and I haven't had too much  of an issue getting them to eat. With large enough tank mates, they won't bother them. And "large enough" can be relatively small when they're max size is 5-6" and they can't fit a large shrimp in their mouths. They're not goldfish; you can't just dump food in and walk away, but they don't starve to death if you put in a little effort to get them on prepared/frozen foods. Have fun researching!

 

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Tired

I think predators are actually more intelligent than prey, broadly speaking. They have to hunt down their food, after all, while it tries to evade them. Doesn't take much brainpower to hunt down algae, and brains take a lot of energy to make and run, so there's not much benefit in being smarter than you need. 

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ValerieR

Ok, just when I was talking about predator intelligence, Mocha goes and proves me wrong. 3 tries "hunting" a feeder shrimp. 3 fails. Even tried to hand it to him in a net. Nope. He's an idiot. No idea how he survived in the wild. No wonder he's a huge fan of me handing him food with tongs. I rarely feed live, but my LFS got a feeder in with their peppermint shrimp. I was in there showing off my new motorcycle (one of the guys there is a motorcycle guy too) so I picked it up. Had to be creative on how to get it home, but I figured it out. Mocha, however, went to bed with his dinner still swimming around. 

 

Fail 1:

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Fail 2:

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My LFS guy is fish shopping tomorrow, and said they'll look for waspfish or leaf fish for me. They'll even not put them into their tanks, cuz they're a bit Ich-y, and I'd rather check them out in their supplier water/bags and then quarantine them here. We'll see what happens. I'd better wear a backpack on the bike tomorrow. 

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mcarroll

Maybe we're talking about the wrong type of leaf fish, but from what I've just read on Ablabys taenianotus it sounds like he'd appreciate a shady seagrass bed-bottom and night-feeding more than a brightly lit reef and daytime feeding.  Any thoughts on this?

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Tired

That sounds about like what a leaffish would enjoy. If it looks like seaweed, it probably lives with seaweed. 

 

Your guy looks perfectly confident, though. I might add some places to be sure he can lurk in the shade if he wants, and some macros may not go amiss, but he's a fish. He's not thinking "hey, where's the seaweed", he's just working with what he's got. All most fish really need is the proper amount of cover, and if they're strongly substrate-related, the right substrate. 

 

If I were you, I think I'd keep the rock to a relative minimum, like you have in the pics on the first page, and add some macros around the back. That way you have your reef for yourself, your rocks for your eel, and your critter-appropriate cover for your leaffish. 

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mcarroll

There wasn't a whole lot of reading material, but what I saw mentioned that they like to drift with the mulm on the bottom whike blending in and that's their ambush hunting method.

 

He might not feel too comfortable on an open sand bed.... or maybe just not comfortable hunting there.  

 

 I also wonder if he would do better with smaller prey items?

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ValerieR

He is doing great so far. He leans up against the rocks and scatters sand on himself. There are times I have difficulty finding him; this is obviously a method he's used to. I'll be adding bottlebrush, mermaid tail, etc. The middle with have mushroom islands. The middle back will have a large cave from my 13.5. He's confident and explores well once he sees me. I'll add soft corals instead of flowy macro, as much of it is relatively invasive and I don't want issues with my LPS. I will add a limited amount though. Most shallow lagoon fish are fine in bright lights, which is why I assume he comes out in the evenings as the lights dim. I feed at "dusk" usually, so it's well within his comfort zone. He has about 4 favorite hiding spots that he's happy with, so even once I add "friends," he'll have plenty of options. 

 

The shrimp is missing, so I assume a night hunt was more effective. The size was appropriate for him. Leaf fish have very small mouths; he's a Waspfish so his mouth is a bit bigger: he can take slightly larger prey. Thank you all for your concerns. 

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Pjanssen

I'm considering setting up a predator tank for the benefit of my 3 year old grandson and 60 something year old hubby(hubby has little interest in corals unless he sees them actively feeding!). Looking forward to seeing more un this tank as it progresses.

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William

Love the tank, you should try and get an Ambon waspfish, I had one about 6-7 years ago and he was great. 

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ValerieR
13 minutes ago, William said:

Love the tank, you should try and get an Ambon waspfish, I had one about 6-7 years ago and he was great. 

Ok. Those things are awesome. I've just never seen one in a store before. 

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ValerieR

Mocha the Waspfish is doing great. He's become very personable. He will swim now to follow the tongs, and generally won't leave them once they enter the tank. I've decided not to hand feed him due to the risk of getting stung accidentally, as I think he would follow my hands around the tank as I adjusted corals etc and I'd likely bump him eventually. I added the Scopas Tang I got and she's adjusted well. She still has a very strong "aaaggghhhh, HIDE" response when I come near the tank, but she's learning that when I show up, food falls from the sky, and is coming out a bit more. Shelby has named her Sunset. I couldn't resist and also got another yellow headed coral banded shrimp. It's big enough to give Mocha a run for his money, and is doing well so far. I would like to put the 2 I have together and see if I have a pair, but I've heard that they fight, so I'm worried I wouldn't be able to get them apart, or that Mocha would take the opportunity to eat one/both. 

 

I added another rock to make a cave on the left side of the tank. I still have room in the back for the cave shaped rock and one more arch from the 13.5. I have also slowly been adding corals that are hardy, were either getting stung, or just not doing well in the 13.5. I added 1 frogspawn on top of the new cave, and if it does well, I'll add the other 4. 

 

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The tank is covered in scuzz, which I'm taking to be a good thing and I'm waiting it out. The tank looks much more alive now, which is a good thing. I'm starting to get some good skimmate from the skimmer now. I put a piece of glass over the top, which has helped with evaporation, but not with access. I'll need to find an alternative or cut/hinge it. I already have 4 small snails, and 10 little hermits, and I've started adding snails from the other tank, and I'll increase the quantity of macro I have in the sump. I put the sump light on a timer opposite the tank lights instead of running it 24/7 like I do the 13.5. I may reduce the time the main lights are on. I'll keep browsing the LFS for leaffish. 

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ValerieR

There are now 4 (ok, 5) inhabitants in the 66. I put a clear floaty separator in to try to catch Slimy the eel, and somehow accidentally caught a damsel. I hate them, so I tossed it into the 66's sump until I can catch the other one. 

 

Then my daughter managed to lure Slimy into the holding separator box with a piece of shrimp. Tank water specs are the same, so in he went. I attempted to snap a photo before releasing him, but jerkface decided that wasn't his good side, and up and over the edge of his holder to "freedom" he went. The lid may have been a good idea, but he only had to go 10'.

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Took him a bit to find a PVC tube, but he did, and he's settled in now. He's been there about an hour, and now that the lights are nearly off he's exploring and giving my Scopas Tang a small heart attack. Hopefully my glass lid is tight enough. He looks much smaller to me now. 

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Mocha does not seem to appreciate being slithered over indescriminately and is going full mohawk when approached. This may prove interesting. I'll have to check on Slimy at 0-dark-o'clock when I wake up. He may be too big an idiot for his own good and I'm not sure how he'll handle it if he's stung. 

 

I took the time to move several mushrooms over as well, and added another cabbage leather I picked up today. This one is brownish/purplish. It'll be a nice contrast to the bright green one, plus the heads are smaller and more upright. We'll see if it gets brighter or duller in my lights once it settles in.

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We'll see how this goes. Heading to bed with fingers crossed. 

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ValerieR

Slimy is an idiot and I woke up to my dog standing, head down, up against the tank at 1am. Thinking he'd been sick and not wanting to step in it in the morning, I got up. Nope, Slimy had jumped out of the tank and landed on the floor. Thank goodness my doberman isn't a hunting type, and he just wanted to see what it was. Thank goodness I didn't step on him getting out of bed. No injuries at all, just a dryish eel with hair and wool carpet fuzz on him. Looked mildly stiff and lifeless but perked right back up after I unceremoniously dropped him back in the tank. Got all muceousey and wiggled away from the fuzz he'd gotten stuck to. Looks like the gap from the glass top holders IS big enough for him to fit through. Custom lid, here we come. Ugh. 

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Tired

Aw, poor idiot. Glad he seems okay. I've heard plenty of "my eel turned into jerky and then back into an eel" stories, so he should, I hope, be all right. 

 

You may be able to rig a lid solution. Many craft stores (and Lowe's) sell thin, cuttable-with-scissors acrylic sheets, and you could easily enough cut those down and glue them over the holes as patches. 

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ValerieR

While I am as excellent a jerry-rigger as anyone, I prefer things to at least look nice. I'm going to see what Tap Plastics can get me, and I may try my hand at making a lid myself. That way I can keep the screen cutouts to put back on when I need to reduce evaporation. 

 

I do have a screen kit now, and I'll just need to cut it to fully cover/sit outside the glass, and toss the holders. It'll be workable in the short term while I get something prettier with a feeding door. 

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WV Reefer
5 hours ago, ValerieR said:

Slimy is an idiot and I woke up to my dog standing, head down, up against the tank at 1am. Thinking he'd been sick and not wanting to step in it in the morning, I got up. Nope, Slimy had jumped out of the tank and landed on the floor. Thank goodness my doberman isn't a hunting type, and he just wanted to see what it was. Thank goodness I didn't step on him getting out of bed. No injuries at all, just a dryish eel with hair and wool carpet fuzz on him. Looked mildly stiff and lifeless but perked right back up after I unceremoniously dropped him back in the tank. Got all muceousey and wiggled away from the fuzz he'd gotten stuck to. Looks like the gap from the glass top holders IS big enough for him to fit through. Custom lid, here we come. Ugh. 


Slimy, Slimy, Slimy. 🤦🏻‍♀️ 
 

he’s a lucky dude. 

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ValerieR
15 hours ago, WV Reefer said:


Slimy, Slimy, Slimy. 🤦🏻‍♀️ 
 

he’s a lucky dude. 

Especially considering I'm asleep by 9 and up for work at 4. I get ready for work in complete darkness so I don't wake anyone. I'm almost never awake at 1am, and I don't know how the dog's collar as he stood and stared at the eel woke me. I don't know how long he was on the floor. If my mom's dog had come in later in the morning and found him, she would have killed him. She's a terrier. 

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ValerieR

In other news, the red slime algae is receding in the 13.5, and once it's gone, I'll move the rest of the live rock over to the 66. I'm still stalling on moving the frogspawn because it's my favorite and I'm afraid it won't be happy. My Duncan, which is one of my first coral, is growing a new head, so I'm really excited about that. It looks like the damsels have been nipping at it, so I'm glad I got one of them out and will be catching the 2nd one once I pull the rock with the Duncan already attached) into the 66. 

 

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I'm considering putting the yellow headed coral banded shrimp in the 13.5 this weekend when I can watch them interact, and seeing if I have a pair. If I don't, I'll just separate them back to their respective tanks. With shrimp and predators, maybe it'll be good to have a spare. 😂 

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ValerieR

The cave in the 13.5 is bigger than I realized, but it's in the 66 now. I also moved the arched piece over with my 1st Duncan. It's acting like nothing happened already.

 

One of my LFS just moved so I got a great deal on a big bubble coral... $30 for a large piece with 2 heads. Nobody knows where his new location is yet and he's still building tank racks, so he was in a wheeling and dealing mood. It's still pretty upset about being relocated, but we'll see how it's doing tomorrow and adjust the pumps accordingly.

 

I fed Mocha before I moved the cave, and I'm glad I did, because he is NOT happy. He's acting like they're dangerous and staying well away from them. Slimy, in a new behavior, won't eat. Interesting. I'll keep trying. I'm sure he'll settle in. 

 

The tank still needs work, but it has the main components in it now. I feel like I need one more rock on the rear middle/right, but I'll wait to find the right one. Funny how fast these tanks feel too small... 

 

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Tired

Maybe Slimy isn't feeling too well because of getting half dried out. He might just need to get his systems to settle again, I'm sure that's not good for one's general body.

 

It looks really good! Nice find on the new coral, hope it does well for you.

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ValerieR

I'm still looking for another waspfish and for leaf fish. One LFS (I have 4-5 good ones here) keeps trying to convince me to get whatever he has in stock at the moment (Fu Manchu, Drawf Fuzzy Lion,... whatever). But taking those would mean no group of Leaf Fish without overstocking, so I'm sticking to my guns. I'll wait till they come along. 

 

Slimy swims around still, but has made no more suicide attempts. He found a cool cave I didn't know about, and seems to be learning his new environment. He seems to move with a purpose now instead of wandering and stumbling across things. Makes me think they have a home territory that they learn in the wild instead of just wandering. He refused food on Saturday, but looked interested. Just unsure. I'll try again; he'll eat when he's ready. It's fun chasing Mocha off so Slimy has time to consider (no, its not). Mocha has been hanging out in front of Slimy's main PVC tube... I think he realized food goes there and thinks he's missing out. 

 

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It's nice with no turbo snails knocking everything over. I've been glueing corals to rubble pieces and just setting those in place, and they're not getting knocked over. Still building my CUC. I just don't want to overdo it. 

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ValerieR

Been a while since I updated. I've now got my White Ribbon Eel, 3 Cockatoo Waspfish, 2 Yellow Leaf Fish, a Yellow Headed Coral Banded Shrimp, a Blood Shrimp, a Six Line Wrasse, a lawnmower blenny, a Scopas Tang and a Sand Sifter Star. The Leaf Fish are in the 13.5 learning to eat frozen food with low competition, as I had been having to feed the Cockatoos until the could no longer swim. The corals are relatively happy, and all seems well. I'm done adding stock. 

 

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Dirté Sanchez
1 hour ago, ValerieR said:

Been a while since I updated. I've now got my White Ribbon Eel, 3 Cockatoo Waspfish, 2 Yellow Leaf Fish, a Yellow Headed Coral Banded Shrimp, a Blood Shrimp, a Six Line Wrasse, a lawnmower blenny, a Scopas Tang and a Sand Sifter Star. The Leaf Fish are in the 13.5 learning to eat frozen food with low competition, as I had been having to feed the Cockatoos until the could no longer swim. The corals are relatively happy, and all seems well. I'm done adding stock. 

 

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Really an amazing tank!! 

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ValerieR
3 hours ago, Dirté Sanchez said:

Really an amazing tank!! 

Thank you! 

 

I had a similarly stocked non-reef 38 right out of college, and I've been really missing it. I'm glad "reef" and "predators" seem to be meshing well. It's still got a long way to go. 

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Dirté Sanchez
12 minutes ago, ValerieR said:

Thank you! 

 

I had a similarly stocked non-reef 38 right out of college, and I've been really missing it. I'm glad "reef" and "predators" seem to be meshing well. It's still got a long way to go. 

Yeah I’ve been watching this with amazement that they all get along. I guess though sharks and other predators live on real reefs without devastating it, so I hope yours continues to thrive! It’s so cool, especially the cockatoos— they remind me of Blennies with Mohawks 😂 

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