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KMitch

KMitch's Double the Trouble Tanks -- Mixed Reef & Clown Harem — Problem Riddled and Going in Reverse

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KMitch

Well, the IM20 clownfish situation isn't going well. I've lost two more clowns because they never started to eat. I've never met clownfish that have no interest in eating anything I've offered, nor have I had fish from L-A before that never worked out. At least they have the guarantee on their fish....

 

Anyway, going to need to re-boot that tank with new clowns. Otherwise, the "big tank" has been continuing along without any issue.

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KMitch

Alas, we're down to one clown in the "harem" tank -- which means it's not much of a harem! I need to figure out what to do in that tank, but looking at trading the one survivor in to the LFS and starting anew with the clown situation there. Thankfully L-A has their guarantee, but still pretty frustrating. That's the first time I've had so many issues with a fish I got from them, and it's certainly the first time I've had three fish that just had no interest in eating and who were already starved when they arrived.

 

But I do have a fantastic BTA in the tank now! So when clowns arrive, they will have a home.

 

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This BTA is wicked huge, and came out of another tank breakdown. I think it might be what is commonly sold as a black widow BTA. Either way, it's huge, it's beautiful, and I love it in the tank. I can't wait for it to split and continue to cover the whole tank in those beautiful anemone tips. (Pic features the last surviving clown...)

 

In other news-- I moved the yellow clown goby out of the main display and back into the IM20 tank. He was really bothering some of the SPS sticks, and decided that I didn't need him to munch on any of my Acropora. Thankfully he was easy to catch -- I used the "red light" trick. If you're not familiar with the trick, the gist is that you can stun and confuse the fish if you turn on the lights with red spectrum only. I did this and channeled the goby into the corner of the glass and scooped him quickly.

 

I have a PAR meter coming from my local reef club today, so I'll have a chance to tune the new Kessil light. 

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KMitch

Update! Well that didn’t take long. One of my favorite area shops for some beautiful fish in today and we have new residents in the tank. I did a water change and cleaning as part of their acclimation, so pics in the AM when things have settled down. I also scooped the lone survivor and have him in a bucket with heater and pump; tomorrow he’ll find a new home and hopefully a tank that suits him well. 
 

I also got an email from EcoTech about the Vectra S1 pump that died. They didn’t say what the problem was with it, but did say they found the issue and are shipping me a brand new S2 free of charge. Holy customer service Batman!

 

Of course I’ve already replaced my return pump with the Neptune COR. So have to figure out if I want to keep it as a backup or sell it. Thinking of selling it and getting a cheap cheap backup. 

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KMitch

In case anyone is curious what a months worth of waste from the Neptune Trident looks like... it’s purple Gatorade!

 

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Apologies that I haven’t updated with more pics recently! Been busy. I added a pair of mandarin dragons this weekthe mandarins have been named Sesame and Dumpling. 

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KMitch

Normally I take pics of the tank with my iPhone, but it was a snowy day today so I decided to pull out my "good camera" and take some macro shots of the tank. I hope you enjoy...

 

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Nano_Addict

Beautiful pictures!

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Ocean_dreamer89
On 1/9/2021 at 7:26 PM, KMitch said:

I took measurements and mapped them out at two depths of the tank. This lets me understand where PAR values change depending on their placement across the rocks. Here are the results:

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6" back from front of the glass

 

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18" from front glass

Love the PAR overlay on a FTS! Great idea!!

 

BTW just ran across your thread and really enjoying it.  I'm working on a RSR 250 right now and appreciate the detail of your build thread!

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KMitch
18 minutes ago, Ocean_dreamer89 said:

BTW just ran across your thread and really enjoying it.  I'm working on a RSR 250 right now and appreciate the detail of your build thread!

 

Glad to hear it and know folks appreciate my attempts to document this project! Good luck with your build!

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KnH

What are your thoughts about sand vs bare bottom and the KP rock in the IM 20g

trying to decide on my next project

great progress 

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KMitch
11 hours ago, KnH said:

What are your thoughts about sand vs bare bottom and the KP rock in the IM 20g

trying to decide on my next project

great progress 

I prefer sand for a few reasons:

- better aesthetics

- opportunity to keep sand dwelling gobies, which are often good choices in a nano tank

- biological stability and filtration. The sand is a huge source of home for bacteria to live and work, and the surface area of sand greatly exceeds that of rock. In a big tank I think you can compensate by having other biological media bricks in a sump, but no space for that in a nano

 

The key with sand is to not let it become a litter box of fish crap. So I siphon and clean it regularly to remove detritus. I think that’s key. 

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Sharbuckle

Sorry to hear about your fish troubles. Im sure you’ll find some nice healthy clowns soon. I had a clarkii harem once, i really miss them!

 

Beautiful shots as well. Well done. 

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KMitch

Well the fish woes have picked up steam.... 🤬

 

I have never run a QT system. Most of the stores I buy fish from have some sort of basic QT or at least keep healthy stock. I’ve generally taken my chances, and my luck ran out. 
 

I’m fairly certain that Felix, the purple tang, introduced Ich to the system. He’s had spots on him on-and-off since the day after I introduced him into the tank. And now I’ve had an Ich outbreak that I’m loosing the war on. 
 

Yesterday I had three anthias all succumb within hours of each other. The day prior they had a few spots, but were still eating and swimming well. By morning.... corpses abound. 
 

Felix continues to have it on his body and face. The clowns haven’t shown it yet, but that’s probably because their slime coat is thicker. 
 

All told, I’ve lost all 5 fish introduced to the tank after Felix came in. I am stumped about the next step. At this point the only fish in the system are two Yasha gobies, two clowns, and Felix. I don’t have the setup needed (nor would I stand a prayer of ever catching the Yasha gobies) to pull out all the fish, go fallow for the 76 days needed to remove Ich from the tank, and then restore the fish. I could pull one fish — Felix — out and treat him with copper or the tank transfer method, but then I’d re introduce him into a tank that has Ich. Bleh. 

 

No replacement fish going into the tank until I get a plan to get out of this mess. Opinions or ideas on resolving the problem welcome!

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A.m.P

There's unfortunately no way to get rid of ich without a fallow period and copper treatment in a qt system.

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KMitch
2 hours ago, A.m.P said:

There's unfortunately no way to get rid of ich without a fallow period and copper treatment in a qt system.

Yeah I know.... got the clowns out this AM and started them in a copper bath. Got the trap set to catch Felix and he’s currently outsmarting me. 
 

Not sure what to do about the Yasha gobies. Even if I took out rock, they’d burrow up into it. They don’t look sick currently, so they might have to stay while the others swim in copper. 

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A.m.P

If you're not confident in being able to trap them, you could bend the barb on a sabiki rig, otherwise the possibility of fallow failure is pretty high...

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KMitch

Well this hobby certainly knows how to inflict pain at times. I’d always read the posts of “I have never done QT, never had an issue” and “I never QT’ed, then I lost everything”. I seem to be heading full speed at track #2. 
 

I put the clowns into a copper treatment and this morning I lost the first. His skin had turned white, almost like he had applied sunscreen and not rubbed it in fully. In my conversations with folks like Humble Fish, sounds like I might also be contending with brook in the tank. 
 

Yellow tang continues to be wise to the trap game. Trying to get him more comfortable swimming into it, but he’s a smart little bugger. 
 

Assuming I can get everyone out, I’ll start a fallow period and try to kill off whatever is in the tank, while keeping the fish (hopefully) alive in buckets. 
 

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RIP buddy 

 

My “third” tank setup...

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This has been emotional for sure. I got those clowns and had every intention of raising them for 15 plus years. I did all the work to build a system that was redundant in technology, but wasn’t redundant in protecting my fish, and I failed them. Never again. I have put my last fish into this tank without some QT (or buying from a shop like Marine Collectors that pre-QTs fish). Sigh. 

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A.m.P

Damn, sorry to hear about the losses. TSM also QT's, but at the very least I would recommend a bath in rally pro and a possible two or three day soak in General Cure + H202 dosing (fin rot and fungus) + formalin ambient, then a dip before transfer to DT. Prophylactic General cure medicated food can then be given in two 7 day stints 3 weeks apart if you want to be doubly-sure about the internals. 

The process I described isn't as reliable as QT, it has many places where it can fail and relies heavily on making sure the source you get your fish from absolutely does not have ich or (to a lesser extent) velvet which would frequently survive (with ich essentially 100% of the time, if velvet lines up right two dips *might* do it if you get Very lucky); however brook, most external infections, larger external parasites and internal parasites almost certainly won't.

Honestly though, always defer to folks like Humblefish, it's tempting to feel -as a hobbyist- we "know what we're doing" because we've done it for a while, but they're the experts for a reason, they put the time in to *really know*.

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KMitch

Lost the second clown tonight. Ironic that the fish that introduced these problems is the one living the longest.... now I’m down to two Yasha gobies and the purple tang. Sigh. 

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DreC80

Sorry to hear, hang in there.  It’s never easy losing fish, but I’m sure you’ll recover from this as a stronger reefer.

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JohnTheReefer

Are you running a UV sterilizer? That can help combat ich. Not eliminate it completely, but a useful tool. 

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KMitch

Well I am behind in my updates, so let me catch everyone up....

 

I managed to finally catch Felix the purple tang and remove him from the tank. Ran him through a good copper treatment but wasn’t sure about my ability to keep him alive for the next two months while the tank ran fallow. He was also a bit of a bully, so returned him to the LFS once treated (and they knew about the situation and kept him in QT). 
 

At this point only the two Yasha gobies are in the tank. So it’s not totally fallow, but gobies are not prone to carrying Ich. More importantly, as I researched what it would take to keep Ich out of the tank forever I realized this was an unobtainable goal for me. I don’t have the tools to QT every last snail, coral, crab, etc before putting it in the tank. I have instead opted for Ich management with a bit of a reset period right now. This will help reduce the Ich population in the tank. I am also going to send a water test into AquaBiomics, who will be able to test my water for parasites and diseases. With that info in hand, I’ll be able to make a smarter decision about when to re-introduce fish. 
 

I had been battling a little more new tank syndrome in the form of higher phosphates and some red hair algae, so this time also gives me a chance to work on stabilizing those parameters without a heavy bio load to strain them. To help manage these parameters, I am introducing two new ZeoVit products to the tank - BioMate and Sponge Power. I am also cutting ZeoFood and temporarily limiting dosing of some of the coral boosters, as those could contain elements of phosphorus. I do appreciate the ZeoVit system and the support from that community. Trying to make the best out of the situation!

 

The 20 gallon tank continues to tick along. We had a minor hiccup where a few of the anemone tentacles decided to get puréed in the power head, but I caught it almost immediately. The water was cloudy, so I did a big 10 gallon WC and ran carbon - seems to be all better now. 
 

 

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KMitch

Hasn't been a whole lot to talk about recently as I wait for things to settle in the main tank. I've cut ZeoFood and BioMate / Sponge Power and that seemed to help with the algae, but my nitrates and (specifically) phosphates are higher than I would ideally want. I've done a ton of reading about some of the issues I'm having and one theory I'm developing is that the rocks, which are the artificial branch rock, does not have the same bacterial diversity as the real live rock I've used in the past. 

 

To try and improve that and identify if that is the root of the issue, I've started working with a company called AquaBiomics. They are on the cutting edge of doing microbiome testing for reef tanks -- this isn't an ICP test. It's a test to tell you what bacterial strains are in the water. Can also tell you if you have the strains for common fish diseases, coral diseases, etc. Pretty sweet. I ordered the test from them and just sent it back today. I also got some live rock rubble seeder material from them. This is pretty cool -- it's tested (and includes a full report of the bacteria present) and is guaranteed to be free of all pests and diseases. You put it in your tank to help seed either dry rock or to help boost the diversity of the tank. So I put this in and sent a test back. I'll do another test in a few months. Then I'll be able to compare and see how the tank is "growing up."

 

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Live rock rubble

 

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Test results showing exactly what is in that rubble. Awesome. Unlike the magic elixirs sold by other companies, they tell you exactly what you are getting. 

 

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Rock rubble. Not enough to aquascape, but certainly could glue a frag to this in the future

 

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Test kit to sample the water biomes. Pretty straight forward, though they ask you to do things precisely in order to get a good sample. Includes sterile testing equipment.

 

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Collecting samples. Sorry for the poor photo quality!

 

If you are curious to learn more, check them out here: https://aquabiomics.com I think this is going to be a very popular thing to do in the coming years, and they are on the cutting edge. Super cool to support a group of scientists trying to push this sort of innovation and insight to reef geeks! And I look forward to hearing their analysis of what's going not well in this tank!

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