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Tired

Tinitanks 5gal pico, The Alcove (thread currently under construction)

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Wingy

Duncans are vertical and can grow into a nice colony.  One you find the spot they like they are really easy to please.  Mine isn't bothered by things around it or brushing against it.  They love to eat and respond well to target feeding.  Best of all amphipods don't  seem interested in it.

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Hami
On 9/25/2019 at 11:58 PM, Tired said:

I was really happy to hear from the shop that it should be cycled, too. They've had it for awhile, apparently, and it does look cycled- as much as anything can "look" cycled. The bivalve shells pretty much all seem to be empty, and are free of anything rotting. There's no smell to it (any more than rock and seaweed has), and it doesn't have any warningly-colored substances or anything that looks like it's dying on it. I'll keep an eye on things, of course, but I'm pretty confident that they're right.

 

Unrelated, what is this? The shrimp guy at the LFS wasn't there, and the person who was there wasn't sure which of their (long) list of possibilities this was. She said her best guess was "humpback shrimp", but if I try and google that, it's mostly camel shrimp that come up. This is much cooler, and I want to find out what it is and if I can keep one. That fuzzy bit on its back, at the bent section, is part of its body and not just something behind it. It wasn't doing much, just sitting there looking around. Such a strange-looking thing, though- the snout! It reminds me of a lantern bug. If I had to name this thing, I'd probably call it either a platypus shrimp or a lanternbug shrimp, but I'm sure it has a name already. It was in a tank with some other shrimp and some zoas, so presumably it isn't a danger to those things. 

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And then this is an anemone shrimp of some sort, right? 

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I know that this post was a long time ago... but I found that shrimp... I didn’t see that anyone else found it, so here it is

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Tired

Oh, yeah, that guy! I did find out what he was, I just forgot to post it here. They also go by Donald Duck shrimp. They're so rarely available in the hobby that there's very little info on them, and I kinda wish I'd bought that guy. They do seem to be at least somewhat reef-safe. 

 

Thanks for the ID, even if I had already found him out. I appreciate it.

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Tired

Made some purchases that will be arriving in the new year, now that shipping has calmed down a bit. I got some zoas and a Fruity Pebbles encrusting monti from POTO, for one. For another, I've placed an order with KP Aquatics. Some snails, some bits and bobs, and something I'm pretty excited about: this guy.

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A roughhead blenny. About the smallest blenny you can get ahold of. Very cute. I wasn't planning on one, but when I saw these were in stock, I had to grab one. Their bioload is really low, and their whole diet is pods. I just have to give it a nice spot where I can easily see it. Hopefully it takes up residence somewhere visible, and not behind the rocks. I'll have to check if I have a tubeworm tube in my shell collection anywhere, these guys apparently love sections of those. 

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Tired

I got a bunch of stuff. Most of it came in on the 4th, and I've been watching for it to settle in. I don't really have nice photos of most of it, I'll get those once I place everything in final spots. 

 

I do have pictures of this lady! 

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She's from KP Aquatics. Male roughhead blennies tend to be darker and have a black spot on their dorsal fin, so this is a female. No name yet. She's very small, only about an inch long, and incredibly slender. 

 

She's set up shop in a hole on the front of one rock, where I can easily see her. She's a bit picky about food- she won't take any prepared foods I blow directly at her. I have to put it next to her, and after it settles on the rocks, she'll eat it. She's mostly eating copepods for now, and since she's so very tiny, I give her frozen BBS now and then. She'll try to tackle larger food, but can't swallow chunks of PE mysis with any degree of success. 

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She's hard to photograph because she's very small. For perspective, that first picture (taken by flashlight at night) has a goby who's about 1 1/4" long. Doesn't help that she's near the back of the tank. Surprisingly bold, though, she'll sit in there and watch as I rearrange things with the tongs. Funny contrast to the goby, who darts for cover if I so much as move too quickly near the tank. I guess having a hole to dive into makes her more confident. 

(Also notice: the porcelain crab molted between these photos. It grows brown algae all over itself, then sheds and turns shiny again.)

I love this fish. Hope she lives a long time. She has these little cirri that move when she's looking around, and she watches me when I come near the tank. Expressive little face. 

She'll top out at an inch and a half, and stay really slender. I don't think I'll have any bioload concerns, since the fish I have in here are just her and the goby. 

 

The antenna goby is AWOL, unfortunately. Has been for months. The pistol shrimp stopped sounding off at the same time as I stopped seeing it in its burrow. I don't know if something fell on them both, or if they somehow killed each other, or if it was coincidence. I'm getting another pistol shrimp, but I don't know if I'll get another antenna goby. That's the third one I've tried- the first one jumped, the second vanished, and now this one's vanished. I don't know what happened to the second two. I don't think the trimma goby was responsible- I saw him near the third one, and he just sat there, no chasing that could have caused anything. Trimma gobies aren't very aggressive anyway. 

The pederson's shrimp is gone, too. I got a new pump, and had some trouble hooking it up properly to the outlets, so it was temporarily pointing kind of a weird direction. It blew right over the mushrooms, strongly enough that the shrimp left them. I didn't think that would have hurt the shrimp (I figured it would either hang out in something else, or be OK for a couple days, since they don't just keel over dead in holding tanks from not having mushrooms with them), but the day I was able to put the flow back to normal, I couldn't find the shrimp. Still can't. It seemed sort of subdued while out of the mushrooms, but I didn't know that would apparently hurt it. Poor lil guy. 

I can't find the heart mime crab either, no clue when that happened. For all I know it's still alive, but I think I would have seen it by now. 

 

Corals are mostly growing well, or are at least not dying, but I'm having some algae trouble. I first attributed it to the death of a very large snail during Election Week (when I didn't really have the energy to do water changes, due to being on strong anxiety meds to prevent an adrenaline issue from riling me up horribly), then to having gone too long without changing the carbon filter in my RODI unit. I don't think either thing helped, but after having changed the filter, done many water changes since then, and added a few more snails, I still have algae. Mostly cyano, with some hair algae underneath it. It's going down slowly, at least.

After some reading, this seems to happen sometimes in tanks around the one-year mark. It's frequently attributed to a buildup of organic matter in the tank. There's definitely quite a bit of gunk behind the rocks. Which brings me to the largest issue this tank is having: I should not have put the rocks this close to the walls. I can't get  behind them to clean, and I think my snails are having trouble getting back there to clean. 

So, I'm going to fix that. I'm not going to drastically change my aquascape, but I think, with some fiddling, I can move the rocks inward enough to allow snails and siphons to get behind the rocks on either side. I'm also going to remove the sand behind the rocks, as it's laden with detritus. I think I'll fish out the micro brittles, rinse it, and put about half of it back. We'll see if that helps the algae. At least the corals are healthy! They're annoyed by algae, but healthy. 

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In the interest of honesty, here's an "I haven't cleaned the glass in awhile" pic. I didn't clean it right before the pic because I have lemon juice all over my hands. My coral cutters got rusty, and we have a decorative lemon tree in our yard that sheds lemons constantly. I went out, got some lemons, cut about a dozen of them into quarters, and squeezed it into a bowl. Soaked the cutters in that, and they work perfectly now. But my hands smell really lemony, and I don't think I should put them in the tank until that wears off a bit. 

That triangle of cyano up against the glass is my decorator crab. It seems to like the cyano, and since the snails can't crawl on it to clean it, it's got loads of the stuff on it. 

 

On a positive algae note, I got my hypnea to start growing, finally. It melted away to basically nothing, but the tiniest little fragment of it survived, and is growing. It's multiple half-inch strands now, camouflaged against the rocks on the back wall. I'm not touching it until there's a nice big clump in that area, but I hope to transplant some of it around. I also have the encrusting halimeda growing, and the codium. Most of the rest is largely gone, except for strands hanging out behind the rocks, thanks to the algae that engulfed them.

 

My micro brittle stars are doing well. The white ones have multiplied a bunch, and the "black" (striped) ones have grown. I'm hoping they'll multiply, too. Anyone near Austin want some white micro brittles? You can have 'em if you come get them, I have spares. 

 

My encrusting montipora is growing nicely. It lost the color in its polyps (suspect high phosphate, low light relative to high phosphate, or both), but the color on the base is solid, and it's growing. So I got a JF Fruity Pebbles encrusting monti. It lost most of the color on its base while in shipping, but has nice polyp extension and polyp color, and a few patches of blue. Guess it got stressed. Will post a close picture when it gets its color back. 

You can see my montipora containment strategy on the back wall there. I made a flat piece of putty, then attached the Mystic Sunset to the top of that. Now, once it gets near the edges, I can just cut it back and add new putty edges. The JF Fruity Pebbles was too tightly attached to a frag plug to remove, so the putty on that one is around the plug. That putty is gray because I ground up some activated charcoal and put it all over the putty, to try and make it less white. Worked okay. 

 

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I can't photograph it nicely, but I got a little RFA, about an inch and a half across. In front of it is some Nirvana zoas, which are going to stay on a frag plug in the sand because they're apparently a very fast grower. Next to it is a Chemical Warfare favia (got it as a "mystery frag" from TSA), which I will be moving further away from that anemone. It's a type of favia with very small polyps, like the Fascination favia, so I'm going to give it a try. Apparently their sting range is only a couple inches, even once they get a bit larger, and right now it's only a half-inch frag. Really nice colors, too. I made a frag disc extender, with more charcoal dust on it. 

 

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The blue-green sympodium is looking nice. It grows slowly, but has gotten larger polyps since I started feeding it. It has some Sonic Flare zoas to the right of it (which I'm probably not keeping in that spot), and I believe those are Eagle Eye zoas in front of them? Very small, very cute. Got them as a freebie with the rock flower anemone. The Holy Grail micromussa (which has not kept its full color under my lighting- "tweak lighting to try for more color" is another thing on my list to do this year) is directly below the sympodium, with some nice feeding tentacle extension. It's been growing. 

 

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This is what I got for my branching coral. Nice little candycane. This pic is just after putting it in the tank, it's puffed up since then. I'm keeping it near the ricordeas until it grows larger, and plan to eventually attach it to the rock near the Captain Jerks palys, once it's long enough to get into the light despite their shading. 

 

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I got this nice Vulcan/Bloodsuckers combo frag. They make a good combination. I know there's some risk of zoas eventually overwhelming each other, but I'm going to keep them together because I like how they look. The frag was a good price for either zoa variety, so if one eventually gets crowded out, oh well. I think I'll put them where I formerly had the pink clove polyps. I took those off the rockwork- decided I didn't want to deal with trying to wrangle the little buggers. They get to go on a frag disc while I decide if I want to keep them.

Funnily enough, my mystery zoas that I ordered from TSA were Bloodsuckers also. They're another type, though. I think these are WWC and those are TSA strain Bloodsuckers? The other ones (don't have a pic) don't have the sort of black radial stripes, and their frill is more towards bronze, not gray. Might let those mix in, too, see how they look.

 

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These on the left are Pink Candy Apples, I think. The others, I'm pretty sure are bleached. Didn't realize it from the sale photo, but in person they don't look quite right. Ah well, they opened fast and seem healthy, bet they'll recover. Curious to see what they'll grow into. The ones above those are the yellow-eyed blue zoas that KP Aquatics sells, which have opened up since then. 

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Tired

Oh, right. I was going to actually put my to-do list here. 

 

-Contain the Captain Jerks better. I like them and want to keep them, but my original plan to fence them with macros didn't work so well (because all the macros melted), so now they're loose. I think I'm going to use coral cutters to snip the rockwork they're attached to off, then use a similar strategy to what I'm doing with the encrusting monti. I figure the safest route is to make them a sort of frag plug, that I can specifically take out of the tank to prune when needed. 

 

-Move the rockwork in slightly so I can get a siphon down both sides of the tank more easily. 

 

-Siphon out all the detritus back there. 

 

-Find final positions for corals. 

 

-Slowly increase my lighting intensity a bit to see if the corals respond well. Possibly adjust lighting color slightly. I'm willing to sacrifice some color if it means I can keep the light at a look I prefer, I don't really like the look of those solid blue tanks. 

 

-Manage algae. I've already changed the photoperiod- previously my lights were on full from 10am to 8pm, with a 10-minute ramp-up in the morning (so as not to scare the fish, mostly), and an hour of the lowest possible setting from 8 to 9, in an effort to lure amphipods out for my fish to eat. So that was a 10-hour period of the lights being at full brightness. I took an hour off at the end of the day, and that hour will be at a very low level now instead. Figured it was worth a shot to try 9 hours of full brightness, instead. 

 

-Get candycane pistol shrimp, and keep an eye out for mime crabs for sale. Also dove snails. Planning on an order from ReefCleaners in the spring, when more stuff comes out of hiding and they can catch it. Probably get another anemone shrimp.

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A.m.P

Someone else looking for dove snails, a fellow reefer of culture! Although I've read that the lightnings are anecdotally useless compared to the varieties out of indo.

 

Lol I think moving the rocks is a great idea, thanks for the update.

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Tired

They're pretty snails, and I like that they breed in aquariums. I like variety in my snails, too. Figure they're worth a shot. And cute, newly hatched snails would be pretty nice, too. Hoping RC gets some in this spring. 

 

Part of the reason I had the rocks so close to the walls was I was trying to keep too many things from getting knocked down there by hermits. I'm just going to glue things instead, and/or not put them near the edges. I love my hermits, but scarlet reef hermits apparently like to lift things and look under them for food, and I wish they wouldn't. They're great at rolling things away from where you meant to put whatever it was.

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