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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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Break
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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Break

Real life continues to be a dumpster fire both figuratively and literally (California is burning). The heatwave and some of the worst air conditions in the world right now are not helping. Though the temperature in the tank has never climbed over 80F° thanks to the fan, the LC Blizzard Bizzaro isn't looking too good - wouldn't be surprised if I lost it at this point. I feel this partly is due to it being in a hot spot under the light, lost one similarly to a record heat wave a few years back.

 

I have upped my water changes to be smaller, but more frequent, about ~2 per week. It allows me to feed the fish frequently and hopefully get through this batch of Red Sea Coral Pro, so I can make the switch over to HW-MarineMix Reefer Salt Mix.

 

Most of the zoanthids are doing quite well, with decent growth and improved coloration, including the Rainbow Infusions despite the fact that they appear "melty" most of the time. I'm desperately trying to prevent the goniopora from receding any further.

 

The amphipods have completely decimated what remained of the mango tango zoanthids and now only bare rock remains. It seems they have moved on to eating the scrambled egg zoas and apparently the larger branching cyphastrea, that otherwise, was doing quite well. It now has bits of flesh missing and I've caught them in the act at night with my red flashlight.

 

These f***cking reef roaches are really sucking the joy out of the hobby for me. I'm on the hunt for a Circus Goby (Priolepis nocturna) to cull their numbers. It'll be a temporary resident since 3 fish is way too much bio-load for this little tank; good thing I'm already used to doing very frequent water changes. Everywhere seems to be out of these right now, so I'll be calling fish stores in the Bay Area to see if they have any in stock or can get a hold of one. If it eats these damn amphipods, it will be worth the car rental to go pick it up.

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debbeach13

Sorry you have all this going on. I do hope things get better for you.

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Wingy

A hyper salinity soak might work.  

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cheesesteak

The news out of Cali is terrifying. Stay safe out there! 

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Break

The misfortune continues.

 

When I feed the tank, I turn off the Vortech and return pump. The Aqua Jr. turns them back on after 15 and 20 minutes respectively. Today the sharknose goby swam right into the front of the vortech seconds before it turned back on. It killed him instantly.

 

My fiance is inconsolable that the clown goby has lost his best buddy. She spends all day with the fish since she works at the desk and had become quite fond of their antics - it's been rough on her to say the least. Having kept (and inevitably lost) fish my entire life, in addition to working in a few LFS in my youth, I've experienced things like this and my heart is more hardened to livestock losses. Still, it was pretty sad and I feel like a total idiot for not foreseeing this issue. 😞

 

I immediately ordered a NemProtect Guard for the Vortech to prevent this from happening again. For the time being, I'll be manually ending the feed cycle as soon as the clown goby has eaten the majority of the food.

 

The aquarium director has demanded we get another Sharknose Goby as soon as possible. Of course, LiveAquaria is currently out, so I'm on the hunt. Found a shop in Washington State that has some ORA ones in stock, but it's $70 for shipping. 🤔

 

Given how things are going lately, I've ordered replacements for all the surge protectors in the apartment (I can't install GFCI outlets here, unfortunately). I'll also be ordering a new heater tomorrow as the one I have is a few years old.

 

At least the smoke has cleared up a bit and I can go outside without risking an asthma attack (got my inhaler Rx refilled today just in case, though).

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Snow_Phoenix
On 8/22/2020 at 11:19 AM, Break said:

Real life continues to be a dumpster fire both figuratively and literally (California is burning). The heatwave and some of the worst air conditions in the world right now are not helping. Though the temperature in the tank has never climbed over 80F° thanks to the fan, the LC Blizzard Bizzaro isn't looking too good - wouldn't be surprised if I lost it at this point. I feel this partly is due to it being in a hot spot under the light, lost one similarly to a record heat wave a few years back.

 

I have upped my water changes to be smaller, but more frequent, about ~2 per week. It allows me to feed the fish frequently and hopefully get through this batch of Red Sea Coral Pro, so I can make the switch over to HW-MarineMix Reefer Salt Mix.

 

Most of the zoanthids are doing quite well, with decent growth and improved coloration, including the Rainbow Infusions despite the fact that they appear "melty" most of the time. I'm desperately trying to prevent the goniopora from receding any further.

 

The amphipods have completely decimated what remained of the mango tango zoanthids and now only bare rock remains. It seems they have moved on to eating the scrambled egg zoas and apparently the larger branching cyphastrea, that otherwise, was doing quite well. It now has bits of flesh missing and I've caught them in the act at night with my red flashlight.

 

These f***cking reef roaches are really sucking the joy out of the hobby for me. I'm on the hunt for a Circus Goby (Priolepis nocturna) to cull their numbers. It'll be a temporary resident since 3 fish is way too much bio-load for this little tank; good thing I'm already used to doing very frequent water changes. Everywhere seems to be out of these right now, so I'll be calling fish stores in the Bay Area to see if they have any in stock or can get a hold of one. If it eats these damn amphipods, it will be worth the car rental to go pick it up.

I have a circus barred goby in a picoreef full of zoas, which does have a lot of pods - especially amphipods, and BME, the fish will keep the pod population down, but it still won't clear the tank entirely of pods. 

 

What I mean is this fish *might not eradicate your amphipod population completely. But the presence of the fish in the tank alone *might be enough to scare the bolder pods from coming out to disturb the corals. 

 

Just make sure there is a shadowy overhang somewhere in your tank for the fish to feel secure. They perch upside down, are usually nocturnal and relatively cryptic, so you might not see it very often, let alone out in the open. 👍

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9 hours ago, Snow_Phoenix said:

I have a circus barred goby in a picoreef full of zoas, which does have a lot of pods - especially amphipods, and BME, the fish will keep the pod population down, but it still won't clear the tank entirely of pods. 

 

What I mean is this fish *might not eradicate your amphipod population completely. But the presence of the fish in the tank alone *might be enough to scare the bolder pods from coming out to disturb the corals. 

 

Just make sure there is a shadowy overhang somewhere in your tank for the fish to feel secure. They perch upside down, are usually nocturnal and relatively cryptic, so you might not see it very often, let alone out in the open. 👍

Thanks for sharing your experience, Snow! I love your little pico, by the way - you've really managed to fit a lot of coral in there!

 

I don't expect to entirely eradicate the amphipods, but I figure having a nocturnal predator to cull their numbers and even out the ecosystem will help. I also just want to put the fear of god in the little buggers. You can't see it in the pictures, but the entire back of the big rock is essentially an overhang that should provide some cover (if I'm ever able to find one for purchase).

 

Also, I jinxed myself in my last post - the smoke is back with a vengeance. Was outside working for a few hours this morning and I smell like I've been standing in front of a campfire all night.

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Amphrites

As an addisonian dysautonomic with preexisting asthma, I have no idea how people live around those fires.

 

Had a bad bogfire where underground peat slow-burned when I was in highschool, just about killed me before I even know anything was wrong with me. And at the time I was playing a  4.5 point tennis game, running 5k's and working construction in the off-time. But that summer I was indoors and just feeling awful, about a foot too dense to put two and two together though.

 

I hope you can find a circus goby to help this system out, it's miserable having a predator that defies what agency we have over our systems.

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On 8/28/2020 at 12:02 PM, Amphrites said:

As an addisonian dysautonomic with preexisting asthma, I have no idea how people live around those fires.

 

Had a bad bogfire where underground peat slow-burned when I was in highschool, just about killed me before I even know anything was wrong with me. And at the time I was playing a  4.5 point tennis game, running 5k's and working construction in the off-time. But that summer I was indoors and just feeling awful, about a foot too dense to put two and two together though.

 

I hope you can find a circus goby to help this system out, it's miserable having a predator that defies what agency we have over our systems.

Stuck inside with an N95 mask and inhaler/nebulizer handy is how, lol, or an air purifier if you were lucky to get one before they became impossible to find. I know some folks who have had to tape their windows shut for a better seal to keep the smoke out. To make matters worse, practically no one in the Bay Area has air conditioners, so the choice is to be hot or be able to breathe.

 

Having been a competitive athlete my entire life and now working in the strength & conditioning field, people are always surprised when I bust out my inhaler (which was practically never until recently). I how forgotten how hard it becomes to think! But I guess that's par for the course when your brain is oxygen deprived.

 

My triggers are mostly allergy induced and, of course, I'm allergic to almost every plant and animal under the sun - much less severe now, but I was hospitalized by a petting zoo more than once in my youth. 😜

 

By decree of the aquarium director I've ordered a new ORA Sharknose Goby, an ORA Grube's Gorgonian, and some Mohican Sun Palys. Hooray for credit cards? 😅

 

No luck on the Circus Goby yet, but it seems most of the zoas are outgrowing the pods ability to munch on them. 🤞

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Amphrites

Mohican sun's are cool paly's, looking forward to seeing those. Yeah, sleeping in an n99 kind of sucks, taping windows sounds familiar too XD 

 

OH, you may appreciate this, https://cambridgemask.com/

They're hard to find right now because of SCV-2, but I can sleep and exercise in these, in addition I've never worn a mask that can almost completely remove odors (and I have serious hyperosmia), when I first fell ill and things started getting rough these masks made it possible for me to go back outside and tolerate the rubber smell of a gym for short periods.

The whole story on their website sounds like a sales gimmick, but they made a big difference for me.

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