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4.1g Desktop Reef: New Coral!

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Amphrites

Man, I really hope I can chance into some branching cyphastrea locally sometime, such an awesome coral. Hope yours recovers from the tissue damage, parasitic amphipods - I really don't understand how so many experienced hobbyists can continue to insist they don't exist - I hope you continue to win in your fight against them.

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2 hours ago, Amphrites said:

Man, I really hope I can chance into some branching cyphastrea locally sometime, such an awesome coral. Hope yours recovers from the tissue damage, parasitic amphipods - I really don't understand how so many experienced hobbyists can continue to insist they don't exist - I hope you continue to win in your fight against them.

Yeah, even online you don't see branching cyphastrea around as much as you would think, so had to jump on it. I'm hoping to see some tissue recover by around the two week mark.

 

Thankfully, the evil amphipods are only munching on the old zoas that struggled through the cyano tank crash before the upgrade, but I want to put a dent in their population before they get a taste for anything else. With so many documented cases, and having watched them do it myself multiple times, it's annoying when people claim it couldn't possibly be the amphipods.

 

Funny thing is I'm guilty myself as even I said "it's not the amphipods - they're harmless" to the aquarium director (my fiance) the first time she suggested they were the culprits. Boy was I wrong! Now it's a running joke she always gives me crap for, haha.

 

Made a new trap that I think might work, but was too big to fit in the tank! That's what I get for trying to do it myself without consulting the aquarium director and her superior crafting skills. I will need to get a bottle with a smaller diameter.

 

Also, was forced to finally update the Apex Jr. and VorTech Firmware after the MP10 refused to connect to the Apex Jr. following a power outage. Not a fun process.

 

Quick and dirty FTS before water change tomorrow:

IMG_20200725_203308.thumb.jpg.e8783785e8f592447883759a541f6c45.jpg

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cheesesteak

Things are looking great! Do the gobies try to munch on the amphipods at all? 

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5 hours ago, cheesesteak said:

Things are looking great! Do the gobies try to munch on the amphipods at all? 

It's possible they've nabbed a small one here or there, but the amphipods usually don't come out until after the fish are sleeping and some of them are probably just too big for these gobies to handle. A Circus Goby would probably be able to do some damage, however.

 

Going to try a new trap and more powerful turkey baster. If those don't work, I'm just going to get as many snails off as I can and dip some of the rocks in Coral Revive. It kills pods pretty well when dipping new corals.

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Wingy

I don't  think dipping the rock in Revive or any coral dip is a good idea.  Why don't  you try either hyper salinity or a frigid (as cold as you can get it) saltwater bath.  Those won't leave a chemical residue and shouldn't  cause a die off.   

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2 hours ago, Wingy said:

I don't  think dipping the rock in Revive or any coral dip is a good idea.  Why don't  you try either hyper salinity or a frigid (as cold as you can get it) saltwater bath.  Those won't leave a chemical residue and shouldn't  cause a die off.   

Good point. After some reading, I think a FW dip is the best route.

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Break

Managed to catch one amphipod with a turkey baster last night, but I don't think it's a viable strategy.

 

Woke up this morning to find the smaller cyphastrea had been chewed up to the point I think it's pretty much done for, looks like some of the remaining flesh is just stripping away in the flow. I had a feeling this had started happening when some of the polyps looked too skeletal yesterday. The bigger cyphastrea is in a higher flow spot and seems untouched, for now. I think there might be some damage starting on the goniopora as well, though.

 

I did a ~30 second freshwater dip on the rocks. It did kill a handful of frighteningly big amphipods, but no where near as many as I expected given what I've seen crawling around in the tank at night. Hope I didn't just piss everything off and eliminate a harmful amount of biodiversity (that's probably exactly what I did). I managed to keep the damaged cyphastrea out of the water rather than in the dip, though I don't think it matters much with how it's looking.

 

Not sure what else I can do at this point but try more trap solutions. 😟

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Amphrites
2 minutes ago, Break said:

Managed to catch one amphipod with a turkey baster last night, but I don't think it's a viable strategy.

 

Woke up this morning to find the smaller cyphastrea had been chewed up to the point I think it's pretty much done for, looks like some of the remaining flesh is just stripping away in the flow. I had a feeling this had started happening when some of the polyps looked too skeletal yesterday. The bigger cyphastrea is in a higher flow spot and seems untouched, for now. I think there might be some damage starting on the goniopora as well, though.

 

I did a ~30 second freshwater dip on the rocks. It did kill a handful of frighteningly big amphipods, but no where near as many as I expected given what I've seen crawling around in the tank at night. Hope I didn't just piss everything off and eliminate a harmful amount of biodiversity (that's probably exactly what I did). I managed to keep the damaged cyphastrea out of the water rather than in the dip, though I don't think it matters much with how it's looking.

 

Not sure what else I can do at this point but try more trap solutions. 😟

Jeez... That's awful, supposedly coralbanded shrimp will go after pods at night as well - if that helps - the yellow and blue dwarfs are *supposedly* pretty-safe (non-aggressive) too.

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cheesesteak
On 7/27/2020 at 1:56 PM, Break said:

Managed to catch one amphipod with a turkey baster last night, but I don't think it's a viable strategy.

 

Woke up this morning to find the smaller cyphastrea had been chewed up to the point I think it's pretty much done for, looks like some of the remaining flesh is just stripping away in the flow. I had a feeling this had started happening when some of the polyps looked too skeletal yesterday. The bigger cyphastrea is in a higher flow spot and seems untouched, for now. I think there might be some damage starting on the goniopora as well, though.

 

I did a ~30 second freshwater dip on the rocks. It did kill a handful of frighteningly big amphipods, but no where near as many as I expected given what I've seen crawling around in the tank at night. Hope I didn't just piss everything off and eliminate a harmful amount of biodiversity (that's probably exactly what I did). I managed to keep the damaged cyphastrea out of the water rather than in the dip, though I don't think it matters much with how it's looking.

 

Not sure what else I can do at this point but try more trap solutions. 😟

How's the cyphastrea and the amphipod battle? 

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Break
On 8/1/2020 at 2:33 PM, cheesesteak said:

How's the cyphastrea and the amphipod battle? 

Sorry for the lack of updates - the proverbial excrement has hit the fan in regards to real life. The facility I do business out of has permanently closed due to the pandemic and federal unemployment benefits have now expired, so I have been scrambling to pivot in order to make some kind of income. Hadn't expected this - should have spent less on this tank build 😬

 

The larger cyphastrea is doing well, though the smaller one is now a bare skeleton. I think being in a spot with high direct flow prevents the amphipods from going after it (at least for now).

 

Things have mostly stabilized after the FW dips. Some zoas are doing well and growing while I can't tell if some of the others are "melting" or if their mats are just being chewed away by the amphipods. Those little bastards are still present in decent numbers. Traps haven't worked, too hard to squish/spear them, might have to temporarily put in a fish (Circus Goby) to eat them, but I'd hate to do that since I feel two tiny fish is already crowded in terms of both space and bio-load. 

 

It seems the fish are doing quite well and the YCG seems to be gaining weight - at least I'd like to believe so!

 

The goniopora looks good, but is also receding a tiny bit. Two polyps are gone and there is now a bit of bare skeleton exposed. I've been syringe feeding it directly with Reef Roids and Benereef 2-3 times a week in addition to broadcast feedings here and there, so I'm not sure if it's due to starvation, inadequate flow, or just being munched on. 🥴

 

It's possible the tiny alkalinity swings (hardly more than a point) from weekly water changes are part of the problem, which means I may need to change over to hw-Marinemix Reefer Salt Mix sooner rather than later. The tank sits pretty steadily at 8.6dKH and that salt is the best match for it.

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cheesesteak

Dang, sorry to hear about the job. Unfortunately, you're not alone in this situation. Here's to hoping things get better soon and our electeds do a better job of taking care of us in the meantime. 🤞🏼 At least the YCG is adjusting! Best of luck with dialing in what's ailing the zoas and cyphestrea. 😬

 

 

 

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6 hours ago, cheesesteak said:

Dang, sorry to hear about the job. Unfortunately, you're not alone in this situation. Here's to hoping things get better soon and our electeds do a better job of taking care of us in the meantime. 🤞🏼 At least the YCG is adjusting! Best of luck with dialing in what's ailing the zoas and cyphestrea. 😬

 

Being self-employed certainly has it's ups and downs - at least I'm able to work in some capacity for the time being. 

 

Yes, at least the fish are doing well! The YCG eats like a pig now and is best buddies with the Sharknose Goby - they even cuddle together at night sometimes when the sharknose isn't sleeping in the den he's dug out under the main rock. It's pretty cute.

 

Right now I am leaning towards temporarily adding a Circus Goby (if I can even find one) to see if it can put a dent in the amphipod population. I've read about others having success doing so. I hate to overcrowd this tiny tank so much, but after two+ years of hopelessly battling these damn amphipods and watching so many of my beloved corals get eaten, I'm willing to give it a try.

 

I really wish I had a tank big enough for a wrasse - I honestly find that to be one of the biggest downsides of having a pico.

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Amphrites

Yeah, I'm not planning or willing to go without wrasse+damsel and I don't blame you for wanting a safer alternative to dwarf cbs to take care of those damn pods. 

Still frustrates the heck out of me that folks will scream til' blue that "pods can't be what's killing your coral".

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36 minutes ago, Amphrites said:

Yeah, I'm not planning or willing to go without wrasse+damsel and I don't blame you for wanting a safer alternative to dwarf cbs to take care of those damn pods. 

Still frustrates the heck out of me that folks will scream til' blue that "pods can't be what's killing your coral".

I know it drives me crazy, especially as I have watched it happen firsthand constantly over the years - there are many kinds of amphipods and they will be opportunistic predators if needed! It's the same with asterina stars. There are plenty of forum threads floating around with photo/video evidence, so I could care less about what naysayers would like to believe. I looked into the blue dwarf cbs after you mentioned it, but I just don't trust shrimp. Aside from skunk cleaners, they get a pass.

 

Here's a great excerpt from this article where some possibly poisonous amphipods straight up tried to eat a diver's face: http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2004-09/rs/index.php

Quote

On April 2, 1983, I was diving in an area called Pole Pass, in the San Juan Islands of Washington. During this dive, my dive partner and I came across a large sea star, Pycnopodia helianthoides, that was spawning. It was absolutely covered by a swarm of the amphipods and they were tearing off pieces of its upper surface. As we attempted to get close, the swarm rose and a portion of it settled on my face and before I knew what was happening the bugs were biting my face and lips. I rapidly "back pedaled" and managed to brush them all off, but by the time I had done this, they had managed to break my skin in several places and I was bleeding quite profusely. NASTY LITTLE BUGS!!!

Fortunately, most reef aquarium amphipods are much more benign. The above experience, however, ought to convince most aquarists that they cannot take the non-predatory nature of amphipods for granted. On the other hand, amphipods that are reclusive and which lack warning coloration are probably quite safe and beneficial to our systems.

But yeah, let's lump all amphipods together into that "harmless" category. 🙄

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Amphrites

Privilege of information, can't know you don't know, if you don't know enough to tell. One of the nightmares of communication lol, although in this case they do know something, just not enough about it to know they're wrong.

 

Crazy excerpt, but not surprising, " sea lice " horror stories have been around for quite some time haha.

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