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Snow_Phoenix

Snow's 2.6G Little Monsters Picoreef - 58 Coral Types & Counting

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Snow_Phoenix

 

Hi everyone,

 

I've decided to start a journal for my third tank - a tiny 2.6G picoreef with some vicious monsters from the deep! :scarry:

 

Background:

 

This tank was originally set up to meet the O.S.P.R.C. organized last year by NR. However, I kept battling a persistent flatworm issue which resulted in a loss of livestock and motivation in general. It served as a betta tank for a short while, but now that I've moved my betta into a better/larger tank, I've decided to re-start this tiny aquarium as a picoreef. Most of the corals added to this tank was done via an emergency TTM, because I ran into some really nasty temp. issues with my nanoreef in the library (the water spiked up to 33'C :blink:) and this was my last-ditch effort to save whatever I could. 

 

The pico is located in my bedroom, which is currently the coolest spot in the house, and the average temp. is between 26'C (night) and 29'C (very hot days). The TTM went over quite smoothly so far, but I didn't have any extra sand when the tank was re-set, so I went barebottom for the time being.

 

 

Specifications:

 

2.6G tank

11.5" x 6.5" x 8" 

Rimless

6mm Crystal Glass

 

Equipment:

 

500L/Hr Dophin HOB

1x Aquazonic LED (17W)

1x Chihiros A-Series LED (18W)

1x Thermometer

 

Media:

 

Activated Carbon

Filter Floss

 

Rocks:

 

Established LR taken from my 60G's refugium

 

Sand:

 

1.5kg Aragonite Live Sand

 

Water:

 

Tap Water + Dechlorinator (Nutrafin/Prime)

 

Salt:

 

Fritz RPM

 

Fish:

 

1x Circus Barred Goby (Prowler)

 

Inverts: 

 

(My monsters!) 

 

1x Banded Serpent Starfish (Ophiolepsis superba) - Benny

1x Bubbletip Brittlestarfish (Ophiomastix annulosa) - Kraken

1x Turban snail

2x Stomatella snails

1x Saron Shrimp (Saron marmoratus) - Harvey - 09/06/2020

Hitchiker collonista snails

Hitchiker microbrittlestars

 


Corals:

 

Red Pavona

Orange Passion Acropora Tenuis

Orange Montipora Setosa

Chili Pepper Montipora

Purple Rim Montipora Undata

Red/Green Cyphastrea

Meteor Shower Cyphastrea

John Deere Leptastrea

Green Leptastrea

Orange Leptastrea

Jack-O-Lantern Leptoseries

Green Favites

Green/Purple Acans

Green Blastos

Tricolored Blastos

Orange/Green Blastos

Purple/Green Blastos

Red Blastos

Blue/Gray Blastos

Purple/Blue Blasto Merletti

Malayan Rainbow Acans

Green Candy Cane/Trumpet

Orange Clove Polyps

Purple Death Palys

Rainbow Implosion Palys

Metallic Green Palys

Green Zoas

Mint Green Zoas

Watermelon Zoas

Radioactive Dragon Eyes Zoas

Tubbs Blue Zoas

Peacock Blue Zoas

Armor of God Zoas

Green Bay Packers Zoas

Gorilla Nipple Zoas

Sparkling Red Zoas

*Unidentified Red/Beige Zoas

*Unidentified Red/Green Zoas

*Unidentified Blue/Green Zoas

*Unidentified Orange Zoas

*Unidentified Pink/Brown Zoas

Sunflower Zoas

Orange Bam Bam Zoas

Red PE Zoas

Purple Gorgonian

Red Fungia

Red/Blue Lobo Brain Coral

Rainbow Brain Coral

Orange Rhodactis Mushroom

Teal Green Discosoma Mushroom

Bullseye Rhodactis Mushroom

Red Devil Mushroom

Leopard Discosoma Mushroom

Brown Toadstool Leather Coral

Green Weeping Willow Toadstool Leather Coral

Duncan Coral

Metallic Green Star Polyp

Neon Green Star Polyp

 

Macroalgae:

 

Fern Caulerpa

 

*TBA:

 

Livestock:

 

Assorted Corals

Assorted Macroalgae

 

Pictures:

 

Empty tank on 20/4/2020:

 

First Invert addition on 21/4/2020:

 

FTS on 22/4/2020:

 

FTS on 26/4/2020:

 

Regrowth of acans from almost-dead skeletons observed five days ago:

 

Added more rock and rescaped. FTS on 29/4/2020:

 

Red fungia regrowth noted yesterday:

 

Addition of CUC today:

 

Transfer of injured rainbow brain coral from 60G to pico today:

 

FTS today on 2/5/2020. Under yellow filter lens, and without yellow filter lens. So far, 3x full WCs have been performed without any issues. 

FTS on 26/5/2020:

 

Topview FTS on 28/6/2020:

 

20200628_155707.thumb.jpg.e16f4c2c4be95dbeb4a871e97f311fdc.jpg

 

FTS on 23/7/20 :

 

20200723_144312.thumb.jpg.1994b59da9f0f707251c67ebc7611cee.jpg

 

Topview FTS on 23/7/20 :

 

IMG_20200723_153909_451.thumb.jpg.097f86ef1cb353041ef14376d13c4225.jpg

 

FTS on 16/8/20:

 

20200816_142242.thumb.jpg.0d3b9cde675a917decb1b30034b607ae.jpg

 

Topview FTS on 24/8/20:

 

IMG_20200824_183510_378.thumb.jpg.36119177763fd218521ab443a6f922b3.jpg

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teenyreef

Nice! I'm glad everything seems to be doing well after getting overheated in the other tank.

 

That freebie acan rock is doing great!

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kimberbee

Yay!!

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Snow_Phoenix
12 hours ago, teenyreef said:

Nice! I'm glad everything seems to be doing well after getting overheated in the other tank.

 

That freebie acan rock is doing great!

Yeah - I was quite amazed by how quickly it bounced back. It's only been a week and the new heads are regrowing very quickly. The original color was vibrant green with purplish (?) stripes. Hopefully, it can regain those colors. 

 

Most of the other corals are still unhealthy one way or another, but I am seeing regrowth/color returning to several pieces. My red digi, which was a half-dead nub, actually popped out a few red polyps yesterday. The red fungia regrowth is the fastest so far. 🙂 

 

Only downside is that I lost my green torch in the beginning - was too far gone when I moved it over, then developed BJD. 😞 Within a few days, all heads were just white skeleton. 😞 

11 hours ago, kimberbee said:

Yay!!

:happydance:

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Tired

Oh, that looks really good, even with the upset corals. 

 

If you want a fish in future, any of the tiny perching gobies should work fine. I wouldn't recommend any of the watchman/shrimpgobies, they should really have sand. You want one that's going to be up on top of the rocks and wants to duck into them to hide, not something that's naturally inclined to dive into a hole in the sand.

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Snow_Phoenix
29 minutes ago, Tired said:

Oh, that looks really good, even with the upset corals. 

 

If you want a fish in future, any of the tiny perching gobies should work fine. I wouldn't recommend any of the watchman/shrimpgobies, they should really have sand. You want one that's going to be up on top of the rocks and wants to duck into them to hide, not something that's naturally inclined to dive into a hole in the sand.

Yeah - actually, I'm planning on adding sand to this tiny tank - managed to grab 2kg from my LFS yesterday. Problem is, I'll have to take everything out, add the sand in, then re-add the LR and loose coral pieces one by one. There's a concern that the tank *might have a mini-cycle if I add new sand - I have inverts in this already. I'm worried any mini-cycles will kill them, especially the stars. 😞

 

I was leaning mostly towards a YCG in the future. Or a tiny blenny like a TSB etc. Nothing that exceeds 2" (~1" is better). If I add sand to the tank though, I will consider a Hi-Fin/Candycane Pistol shrimp pair. Otherwise I'll just skip it and go with the original YCG/TSB plan. 

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Tired

Live sand or dry sand? Dry shouldn't cause a cycle. And you can put the sand in while the rock is still in the tank, if you just gently put it around the rocks. That's what I did in mine, so the rocks are mostly resting on the bottom- no chance for any burrowing to shift things. 

 

TSB are one of the ones that need to graze algae all day, I think. Maybe not the best for such a small tank, though I know some people have success. Clown gobies are ideal. For pico tanks, and just in general- so cute. 

 

You could have a candycane pistol without the shrimpgoby. In a tank without anything to scare it, it'll be relatively bold. I'm not sure what it'll think of the serpent star. You might hear some snapping if/when they meet, but candycanes are small enough that they can't really harm much.

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Snow_Phoenix
7 minutes ago, Tired said:

Live sand or dry sand? Dry shouldn't cause a cycle. And you can put the sand in while the rock is still in the tank, if you just gently put it around the rocks. That's what I did in mine, so the rocks are mostly resting on the bottom- no chance for any burrowing to shift things. 

 

TSB are one of the ones that need to graze algae all day, I think. Maybe not the best for such a small tank, though I know some people have success. Clown gobies are ideal. For pico tanks, and just in general- so cute. 

 

You could have a candycane pistol without the shrimpgoby. In a tank without anything to scare it, it'll be relatively bold. I'm not sure what it'll think of the serpent star. You might hear some snapping if/when they meet, but candycanes are small enough that they can't really harm much.

Dry. 🙂

 

Did you use special tubing to get the sand into the back corners of the tank? I was trying to figure out how to add it in the more...inaccessible parts - like behind the rocks. The pico is very small, and I always have trouble moving things around in there because I keep knocking over something else (usually a frag or two). So I've been using chopsticks to push things around. 

 

Hmm. Then a YCG would be the best. 🤔

 

Unfortunately, my LFS always sells a shrimp with a goby (it's a combo deal), and don't sell them separately. But any nanofish I order in will probably take 3 to 4 months to arrive. All ports are still closed because of our lockdown, and none of the stores can bring in any new livestock. 

 

Once the serpent star grows bigger, I'll move it to my 60G, where I think the more shadowy crevices/space will be ideal for it to thrive. 

 

I did check on both stars just now though. They're still well-hidden, and occupying different areas of the tank. Will target-feed them some pellets today, then diced shrimp next week. 

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Snow_Phoenix

Hi everyone, 

 

I finally figured out how to get a decent pic of my tank with the most accurate colors as possible.

 

Here is my FTS today, on 3/5/20:

 

IMG_20200503_191555_895.thumb.jpg.91b69436b3f725636329c8002801e17c.jpg

 

I had to use a clip-on yellow filter lens to kill the blues, and also turn on my lights on max. The reason I run my lights at only ~75% of its original output is because this unit is very old, puts out an enormous amount of heat and is too bright at max. (will fry corals). But for pic purposes, max. strength + yellow filter lens gives me the closest colors to what my reef looks like in RL. 

 

This is how a FTS with a yellow filter lens + 75% light output looks like - everything appears yellowish-brown, pale and anemic:

 

IMG_20200503_191555_892.thumb.jpg.85a7f4e14670ba97f83e2fc1537023c1.jpg

 

It is quite a staggering difference when both pics are compared side by side. I am still struggling to get good coral pics - the colors still appear washed out and pale, so I might need to tinker with some phone/light settings in the future.

 

Speaking of corals, here is my red pavona, which is slowly regrowing around the edges:

 

IMG_20200503_190704_418.thumb.jpg.d02d7296a077cba5e34ea9e008c8392d.jpg

 

My Malayan rainbow acans used to have 3 to 4 colors. Now, it's mostly a bleh shade of orangish-red: 😭

 

IMG_20200503_184201_079.thumb.jpg.b437440759a40d410b99bc631f9d99c3.jpg

 

But at least it is regrowing a new tiny head at the top. 

 

My rainbow implosions are down to their last two stubby polyps. Not keeping much hope that they will survive, because zoas hate me: 😰

 

IMG_20200503_190816_104.thumb.jpg.1c53461537c6c0f1ccbdf74ea1084d49.jpg

 

This was the red digi I spoke of yesterday. Very tiny polyps can be seen coming back on the nub:

 

IMG_20200503_190908_863.thumb.jpg.a2621a041d3478a0961ee37933dddacf.jpg

 

My John Deere leptastrea has encrusted to the LR and is growing...slowly:

 

IMG_20200503_190956_300.thumb.jpg.f9049f90ed11681a5b27a2087c71706a.jpg

 

I spotted a new tiny green acan head hidden behind the rock today! 😮

 

IMG_20200503_191107_739.thumb.jpg.170cba197599b6e884151b46ef2e1a3a.jpg

 

20200503_191138.thumb.jpg.80b4e3713f0991f3912bcd036c72bf3c.jpg

 

I think this freebie has a very strong chance of regrowing in full. 🤔

 

This was the rainbow brain I pulled out of my 60G. It still has a pinched corner. When retracted, the pinched area is actually missing some flesh. But I think it can regrow in time:

 

IMG_20200503_191343_566.thumb.jpg.3b48b020f7168b418d23cf36926082f0.jpg

 

Teal discosoma:

 

IMG_20200503_184029_052.thumb.jpg.899ebce9c99cf69e8989c9955f098b4c.jpg

 

This is my random mix-mess corner. Most of the frags were partially melted and are still recovering. I hope the colors on my Jack-O-Lantern leptoseris return though. 😨

 

I really liked that piece. 😔

 

IMG_20200503_191435_980.thumb.jpg.52337b16ee3d6354cd684afc33153b6e.jpg

 

These two lazy butts still have not cleaned the algae on my glass/rocks. 🙄

 

IMG_20200503_191712_643.thumb.jpg.714d025e247ad44f3f786702fd86823e.jpg

 

And here is a very short vid of one of my hitchiker microbrittles responding to food in the water column:

 

Sorry for the long post! 

 

 

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Smurf

Are the zoas in bight light? Try putting them in lower flow / lower light area.

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Tired

I've read that acans will lose color and go orange if the light is too bright. It may be worth a try putting those in a more sheltered area.

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teenyreef

Wow, that FTS looks great! It's really interesting to see how much difference just changing the lighting level made with the same filter both times.

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Snow_Phoenix
13 hours ago, Smurf said:

Are the zoas in bight light? Try putting them in lower flow / lower light area.

Actually, they're in a slightly shady area of the tank. They lost a lot of polyps in the nano (it started out as a mini colony) due to the temp. spike in the nano. And they're currently in a medium-flow area. 🤔

13 hours ago, Tired said:

I've read that acans will lose color and go orange if the light is too bright. It may be worth a try putting those in a more sheltered area.

Yeah - that's why I moved it from its original mid-level position on the rock-pillar on the far left to a smaller LR piece at the bottom/center of the tank. It's now in a more sheltered area, but will take time to bounce back. Good news is that it's slowly regrowing a new head. 🙂 

12 hours ago, teenyreef said:

Wow, that FTS looks great! It's really interesting to see how much difference just changing the lighting level made with the same filter both times.

Thanks! 🙂 

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Snow_Phoenix

Feeding time for the little reef today! :happy:

 

We have diced raw shrimp and shrimp juice on the menu:

 

The response was wild! 😄

 

You can see my brittlestar making the most of the meaty offerings in the background:

 

My Serpent Star was a little trickier to feed. He was well-hidden underneath the rocks, but I found two of his arms peeking out so I used a pair of forceps to drop a small chunk of shrimp next to one of his arms. He accepted the food without any issue. 🙂

 

All corals - even the sick, half-dead ones showed full PE, which was amazing! I only target-fed a chunk of shrimp at the duncan and brains. The rest were broadcast-fed:

 

Experimented with my light settings again - on my phone this time. Decided to turn on the blue light filter my phone comes with. Not sure if this had any effect, but I think yesterday's FTS looked better. Still used the yellow filter lens though:

 

Also, I discovered something amazing in my nano. I actually found two very, very shrunken-but-alive pieces of coral hidden in the shadowy corners of that tank. A pea-sized red acan (which was originally red with green stripes and a full-sized mini colony), and a green nepthea. Also found an unhealthy strand of blade caulerpa, so I ferreted that away as well:

 

The acans are almost non-existent though, so I'm not sure if they can come back even though there is still a *bit of flesh left behind. I think the nepthea can grow out though, provided it attaches to one of my LR pieces. 🤔

 

Also checked back on the tank when the lights were off (post-feeding), and found my rainbow lobo rather bloated after being fed:

 

It still has a pinched bottom, but still looks like it's about to explode. :blink:

 

Oh, and spotted a bristleworm out and about, scavenging for leftovers:

 

 

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Ratvan

Wow that Lobo looks ready to burst

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Snow_Phoenix
1 hour ago, Ratvan said:

Wow that Lobo looks ready to burst

I know. :eek:

 

I think I overfed it. Honestly, it was just a chunk of shrimp. I swear. :unsure:

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Ratvan
6 minutes ago, Snow_Phoenix said:

I know. :eek:

 

I think I overfed it. Honestly, it was just a chunk of shrimp. I swear. :unsure:

Its the Quarantine 15 affecting our corals omgomgomg

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teenyreef

I had to laugh about how you are feeding the serpent star because when I had starfish, getting them to eat was the last thing I worried about. They got so aggressive that they would come out and steal food out of the mouths of all the poor hungry corals and eventually got too fat and big to keep. I'm pretty sure they were travelling overseas at night to steal food from starving corals in the Pacific.

 

That lobo looks like he's ready to pop :lol:

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Snow_Phoenix
36 minutes ago, teenyreef said:

I had to laugh about how you are feeding the serpent star because when I had starfish, getting them to eat was the last thing I worried about. They got so aggressive that they would come out and steal food out of the mouths of all the poor hungry corals and eventually got too fat and big to keep. I'm pretty sure they were travelling overseas at night to steal food from starving corals in the Pacific.

 

That lobo looks like he's ready to pop :lol:

What type of serpent stars did you keep? I used to have a mean green one - now that guy, I had no issues feeding whatsoever. My current one is super shy and still small - I'm just worried he'll starve or something. :unsure:

 

I've never seen any of my corals this puffy after feeding. If my tank is covered in rainbow-slime tomorrow, then well. You'll know what happened. :unsure:

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teenyreef

I had a red serpent star. He was beautiful and I loved him and he turned out to be waaaaay to big for my 10g tank. He would come out at night and go up near the top of the tank, and could reach almost across from one end to the other when he stretched.

 

I have him to a local reefer with a 200g tank and everybody lived happily ever after 🙂

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teenyreef

Here's a picture of the serpent, as well as a harlequin starfish, back when they were little babies. The harlequin was reef-safe too, but eventually got a little too big. He moved in to the 200g tank with the red serpent.

Baby Starfish

 

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Snow_Phoenix
43 minutes ago, teenyreef said:

Here's a picture of the serpent, as well as a harlequin starfish, back when they were little babies. The harlequin was reef-safe too, but eventually got a little too big. He moved in to the 200g tank with the red serpent.

Baby Starfish

 

I actually have that red one in my 60G. 🙂

 

But I hardly see him because he stays well hidden. That tiny harlequin looks pretty too. Nice crabs, btw. 😁

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A little monster from the deep has emerged today afternoon! :scarry:

 

Another freebie from the LFS is actually regrowing quite slowly. Started from half-a-pea-sized polyps to slight-more-than-a-pea-sized polyps. I think they're supposed to be green blastos (?), but I'm unsure. Only time will tell: 🤷‍♀️

 

I'm still trying to figure out where to place the nepthea I rescued yesterday. Might just slot it into a rock crevice...somewhere, and hope it attaches:

 

There's more green returning to the previously-green-now-turned-white zoa polyps. I think full color should return in a month or two:

 

This used to be a very pretty tricolored blasto. It kept falling off the pillar-LR, but I'll try re-gluing it again later. Good news is that there are 2 to 3 small baby polyps at the rim, so it's still growing somewhat:

 

Three red fungia have fully regrown ever since I moved it to the pico. A fourth (hidden below) is still regrowing:

 

The fungias are so far the most resilient corals I have in this tank. As of right now, I'm not dosing anything, but I am manually topping up the water almost every day because the evaporation rate is very high. I'm also sticking to 2x WCs per week for now, but once the corals have stabilized, I'll slowly scale this back to once a week. 

 

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Snow_Phoenix

Okies, so I managed to drop by the LFS today and I picked up 2 new frags and a duster worm. All animals are quite healthy, although my new clove polyps have yet to open:

 

IMG_20200506_175145_348.thumb.jpg.9deaa93f6842ffbac7ecff715759999c.jpg

 

The second frag is this beautiful bright orange leptastrea that have purplish skirts/rims:

 

IMG_20200506_175056_138.thumb.jpg.26329aa9f2bd52c0aa548681e18261b1.jpg

 

It is actually brighter than John Deere leptastrea. 🙂

 

This is my new duster worm - haggled it down to RM 20 only:

 

IMG_20200506_175246_706.thumb.jpg.5938c2e2ae8fbc470e3f06da23c87e98.jpg

 

My LFS also gave me a mix. of macro for the fuge of my 60G. I noticed some of the macro had vibrant red coloring and appeared to be non-Caulerpa - possibly dragon's breath? I'm unsure: 🤔

 

IMG_20200506_175440_585.thumb.jpg.5167bdb5e94236f2bc81997423c00f66.jpg

 

IMG_20200506_175440_586.thumb.jpg.3873789b82d410c3e511836dc10b58a0.jpg

 

I suspect the two red, fluffy 'ball'-shaped algae at the top could be cotton candy algae (?), which if I'm not mistaken is a pest species. 

 

The larger red bubble-like balls are tough - erm, can bubble algae be red? 🤔

 

I'm honestly not sure. If you guys have any idea what it is, please let me know. 👍

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Tired

It looks like cotton candy algae. Yank it immediately. If you want some second opinions, keep it in a cup of tank water just in case, but yank it. 

 

I've seen pictures of red bubble algae, though it seems to be more uncommon and less invasive than the green stuff. The red clump of stuff does look like dragon's breath or something similar. 

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