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Seafurn's Old School Pico Gets An Upgrade - 365 Day Challenge

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SeaFurn

Day 160

 

I still haven’t decided what I’m going to do and I’m not really that motivated right now given all the set backs and with so many corals in recovery - if they really even are. 

So, I'm going to take a break from the daily posting until I have a plan and something worth reporting. 

 

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A.m.P
47 minutes ago, SeaFurn said:

Day 160

 

I still haven’t decided what I’m going to do and I’m not really that motivated right now given all the set backs and with so many corals in recovery - if they really even are. 

So, I'm going to take a break from the daily posting until I have a plan and something worth reporting. 

 

Sounds like a good idea, thanks for keeping us all posted, its' been fun to follow along. I hope things mend-up and get back-on-track quickly.

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debbeach13

Sorry things are not going well. Take care.

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Tamberav

Sorry for all the issues. 

 

The VeeGee STX-3 is pretty amazing. It won't drift like cheap refractometers. Once you calibrate it, it lasts!

 

You could also just put a glass lid on your tank or such. My pico has one and I have never had to top off since this competition started. It does not seem to have any negative impact on the tank and jars use lids a lot. This way there isn't an ATO to fail.

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SeaFurn

Day 169

 

Check it out! Finally made a decision - the IM10. I went this route because I want to get a couple of fish and wanted the extra volume to help with stability.  Pic below is from Sunday. 

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Filled half the tank with water from the 45 and half new water and added sand! I moved the corals over on Monday after the dust settled and they have been doing great. A couple zoas are still closed up though. I did lose the psammocora and the acro through it all. Nitrates are barely registering but phosphate is a little high at 0.19 (hence my gha problem in the 45). Alk is 8.75.

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The rocks look a little small in this tank now. I have been thinking about cycling some more rocks and building a little larger scape. We’ll see. 

Still need to move a CUC over but will do so when I see a little more algae. 

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debbeach13

I like it. A little more rock would be good but not too much. Do you have any idea what fish you want?

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A.m.P

Branch rock is fun in tall tanks if you can find it, sorry to hear about the SPS.

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SeaFurn

Day 184

 

Corals are looking good tonight in this side view. Will post my monthly FTS tomorrow.

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On 8/15/2020 at 2:54 PM, debbeach13 said:

I like it. A little more rock would be good but not too much. Do you have any idea what fish you want?

Since I’ve got a little more volume now I think I’d like to get a pink streaked wrasse. I think I’ve seen people keep them in 10s. If it wouldn’t work out I could always move it to the 45. I haven’t seen many available recently though.

 

On 8/15/2020 at 3:13 PM, Amphrites said:

Branch rock is fun in tall tanks if you can find it, sorry to hear about the SPS.

That’s not a bad idea and I have a couple of pieces actually!

 

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SeaFurn

Day 185

 

I have a couple of corals hiding behind the rocks that I need to move back out front but I have been trying to keep my hands out of the tank. It’s been a pretty good couple of weeks. 

August FTS

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debbeach13

Looking good

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SeaFurn

Day 198

 

This is pretty cool and quite a surprise! You’ll remember I moved all the corals to my 45 for a couple of weeks after the most recent ATO failure. So while they were in there, one of the RFAs must have had some babies and this one landed on a rock from the pico! I’m just going to leave this little guy in there. 
 

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SeaFurn

Day 215

 

Sorry everyone -  I’ve kind of checked out a bit on posting and checking out everyone’s progress. I’m tired of this pandemic and all the unrest and turmoil in the country. 
I’m still taking care of the tank every day and trying to keep things in order. I’ve done a pretty good job keeping a little nitrate in the water and phos at 0.02-0.04 by dosing both daily. Alk was steady most of the month at 7.3.  I haven’t changed much water this month and didn’t check ca and mg until today. Both are low. (Ca - 375 / Mg - 1230). Alk has slipped to 6.85 but that just could be measurement variability/error. 

Late in the month, I started getting  cyano outbreaks on the sand. Snails mostly take care of it but it’s not going away, as you can still see in the pic below. 
As far as corals go, the euphyllia are doing well. The acan is growing especially well and puffy most of the time. The zoas are doing much better than before but several still don’t have their color back and are still shrunken. I still experience a healthy polyp or two within many of the colonies just close up for no reason and stay that way for weeks at a time. When they finally do open they are much smaller than they were and it takes a couple of weeks for them to return to normal.
My two large ricordea are doing well but many of the smaller ones that shrunk in size due to the salinity swing continue to get smaller and smaller, even though I’m feeding the corals several times a week. Maybe a larger water change would puff them back up.
The psammocora, which I had moved to the 45, had pretty much lost all its tissue. I actually pulled it from the tank but before discarding it, I somehow knocked it into the overflow and forgot about it. It was probably in there for 2 weeks, in complete darkness, before I remembered it. I put it back in the tank (45) and noticed a small part was still glowing green. That one little part is getting bigger and bigger every week! Fingers crossed it  continues. That would be awesome to move it back to the 10 one day!

September FTS - looks like I need to give my trochus snail a haircut.

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SeaFurn

Day 246

 

Happy Halloween!  Another month in the books. I still don’t quite know what’s going on with my tank. Some things seem to be growing and others not so much. Parameters have been in normal ranges and steady, water changes are getting done, corals are being feed a few times per week, and I guess I’ve been expecting more. 
Positives are the euphyllia, the GSP, the palys and the large ricordea. 
Negatives are the smaller ricordea, which are still shrinking and withering away to nothing, and most of the zoas. Anyone have any advice on how to stop the small ricordea from shrinking?

I posted the following on the Zoa and Paly Club thread which gets to my continuing problem. Again, if anyone has any thoughts on this please let me know  —>

I'm still baffled why some colonies of zoas will be fine and open and thriving one week and then the next week a few of the polyps will close up for no apparent reason for weeks on end to only shrivel to nothingness while the other polyps around them are fine (as well as the other colonies around them are fine).  And if by chance, the closed polyps do end up opening again after several weeks, they are a fraction of their original size and it takes weeks and weeks for them to regain size.  The process then repeats then with a differentcolony in the tank. I've checked for pests/parasites, monitored the water, and just about everything else you can think of but just don't have a clue why this happens. Does anyone else have this experience?    

——

Here’s the run down on the zoas: 

Zoas on the Struggle Bus -

Rastas - the colony was closed most of the month. A couple of polyps have opened but they are super small. All the others are still closed.

 

Scrambled Eggs - A colony of about 12-15 polyps has now dwindled down to about 6. Sad. They remaining ones are all still closed. Last month I swear there were 2 new small polyps. 
 

Solar Flares - these have actually regained a bit of color on their perimeter but still have black centers. 
 

Utter Chaos - still super small (they used to be such big polyps) and the centers are still black like the Solar Flares. 


Zoas Just Existing - Cat Eyes, Mandarins, pink somethings

 

Fruit loops & Green Bay Packers - half of each colony was open, the other half not.

 

Zoas Doing Well - 

Bam Bams (these are thriving- and I wish all the others were like these), Candy Apple Pinks (usually always open but no new polyps), 

Bob Marleys (one new polyp)

 

The snails are keeping up with the algae and I have pods. I just wish I could get everything to thrive.
I’m not planning on adding anything to the tank right now and I’ve actually been debating just taking it down. We’ll see....

 

October 2020 FTS

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A.m.P

It really sounds like a pest or a disease, but I don't have much helpful to add at all to the situation past that...

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debbeach13

I hope you hang in. Things might turn around. I have the same struggles with zoanthids. 

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SeaFurn
On 10/31/2020 at 11:13 PM, Amphrites said:

It really sounds like a pest or a disease, but I don't have much helpful to add at all to the situation past that...

Thought that it could be some kind of disease but it seems like it would affect all of them. Should run my UV sterilizer for a day or two? 

 

On 10/31/2020 at 11:40 PM, debbeach13 said:

I hope you hang in. Things might turn around. I have the same struggles with zoanthids. 

Thanks for the encouragement. I know some people can grow them like crazy but I guess you and I are in the other club. If you figure out the trick to it let me know! 

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Tired

UV sterilizer for a day or two won't do anything. If they have a disease, it's on them, not in the water. 

 

Sneak up on them at night with a red light and see if anything is on them. 

 

What are your parameters? Zoas need nutrients. 

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debbeach13

I did increase the flow and amount of light. Some responded well to this and of course some not so much. Someone reminded me they not all zoanthids are the same. They do come from different places and have different requirements. Mine are already glue to one rock. The only difference is where they are glued, top, middle, bottom, and I know the flow is not exactly the same all around the rock. But for the most part they all pretty much get the same treatment in my tank. I have not tried UV. I would be interested to see if that makes a difference.

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SeaFurn

Day 276

 

The month of November reads pretty much like October.  The bigger ricordea continue to do well while the smaller ones struggle and appear to be shrinking. One disappeared completely.

The GSP is growing like gangbusters. The frogspawn is slowly recovering and the hammer looks like it may split next month.  The zoas continued to do what they do - some stay closed for most of the month, shrink down in size, then open back up while other ones then go closed for lengthy periods and the process repeats. The ones that don't do that and stay open seem to be thinning out though.  The scrambled eggs zoas are now down to 3 polyps that didn't open up at all this past month.  It does appear that sometimes a certain type of algae gets on the zoas that the snails won't touch and then that's the end of them - despite me going in frequently and brushing them off. 

I did spy some pretty huge amphipods in the tank this month. I guess they are growing large from all my coral feeding. Wish the corals were benefiting as much as the amphipods.     

 

My heart just isn't into this tank anymore.  This started as the old school pico 2 years ago and I had struggles with that tank. I thought maybe moving them to the larger Lifegard 4.1 at the start of this contest would keep me motivated and help things improve but you'll remember the set backs my ATO caused earlier this year. And even now, in this 10 gallon, things aren't turning around much at all despite my constant attention to stable parameters, adequate flow and lighting, and frequent feedings. I know nothing happens fast in reefing but I thought I'd see more improvement. I try and focus on the positive things - and the corals that are growing and the lack of chrysophytes but i still can't help but think I'm missing something and doing something wrong.     

 

Here's a photo dump from today which will give you a good look at the corals.  My favorite coral is the bright orange ricordea!  It may split soon.

If you click into the pictures you'll get a better quality photo in Flickr.

 

November FTS

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T

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Or with the blues - 

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And back from the dead - the psammocora - but it's still in the 45 with the RFAs.

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SeaFurn

Day 307

 

Happy New Year!  I'll be glad to get this one behind us for sure.  So this month I changed it up a bit.  No water changes and only dosed to keep phosphates (0.04) and alk (7.0) steady.  As a result, many more zoas opened up than last month but November was a brutal month and I lost many polyps of several types. There are a couple types where I'm only down to 2 or 3 polyps remaining.  The frogspawn has been least happy about the lack of water changes.  You'd think the hammer would act similarly but it hasn't.  I did move it down to the sand as I felt it was shading a few of the zoas too much. There's a constant amount of red cyano present in isolated areas but I take care of that with a brush occasionally. I pick those red spaghetti worms out of the tank constantly and there are some REALLY BIG amphipods in the tank.  I often wonder if the amphpods are irritating the zoas.  And despite every other day feedings, I'm not really seen much growth restarting - except for the GSP just like last month. I suppose one of the smaller ricordea doesn't seem as shrunken as last month but the other two are still suffering.  I have a hypothesis that if I had fish in the tank things would be much better off.  Anyway, another month in the books.  Thanks for following along....

 

December FTS  - Click on the picture for a better quality photo in FLICKR

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Tamberav

I love the blue ricordia. A hasslets goby would probably eat those pods for ya. 

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Tired

From what little I've read of them, a hasslets will eat every pod in the tank, and then all the worms it can find. Which may be what you want!

 

Amphipods will definitely irritate corals if left to run wild. They'll especially go after corals that are already stressed, and will chew and eat them. It's very possible that you're losing zoa polyps because the pods are eating the stressed ones. 

 

In other words, you should get a fish. Preferably something with a big mouth for its size, or something with some pretty severe gumption. My trimma goby has done a good job of getting my pods back under control, and is definitely suitable for tiny tanks. I got him because I asked the LFS to see if a clown goby would eat, before I bought it. The clown goby wouldn't take the food, but the trimma goby in the same tank scarfed up a mysis the size of its head, and I figured that was a good sign. 

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Tamberav

Yah... I have never seen a amphipod or bristle worm in my pico with the hassles. They will also hunt at night so pods coming out to feed at night is just midnight snacks.

 

I do have super small copepods and feather dusters though. The dusters easily hide in the rock I suppose and the tiny pods being too small to bother.

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SeaFurn

Day 309

 

Sure didn’t expect to be posting again so soon, but I just had to share this - almost every zoa in the entire tank was open or in the process of opening today! I’m talking even ones I haven’t seen open in over a month or more. I’m thinking what is going on here - why today - so unbelievable. So why not check the parameters, right? 
78.6 degrees

1.026

nitrates - < 1

phos - 0.07

alk - 7.5

Ca - 375

Mg - 1320

 

Not really surprised by those since I haven’t done a water change in a month (although phos was higher than I thought it would be) and not sure any of those gives me any more clue as to why the zoas were all open since yesterday’s params would have probably measured the same, but whatever - it was a good day! 
 

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Tired

They might like the phosphates. That's a good phosphate number. Bet they'd like more nitrates, though. 

 

Looks like you need to keep not doing water changes! 

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