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jservedio

Jack's New EXT-50 Lagoon

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jservedio
On 1/15/2021 at 9:31 AM, ajmckay said:

I'll second this - the photos are great!   I need to take more honestly!   A few years ago I went out and picked up an extremely well used D60 just for that purpose. I even got an old macro lens with some extensions.  They're a bit trickier though - almost need the corals on a frag rack of sorts to get close enough. 

 

I've thought about replacing my 40br with a lagoon tank - maybe the 25g one since I don't have a ton of space though.  Seeing yours set up with the nice stand is making me want one lol. 

Thanks! All my pictures from before mid-2020 were all taken with a D40x from 2007, so your D60 is plenty of camera to get some good shots. My macro lens is only 40mm, so I know what you mean about getting right up on top of the corals!

 

The 50g is pretty big and takes up almost the footprint of a 3' 90g tank. I've never seen the 25g one in person, but all of the Nuvo EXT and INT tank's I've seen have been fantastic. IMO, the stands are about the same as the Red Sea systems, but not quite as nice as the Waterbox stands. If you like doing plumbing and DIY, the Nuvo tanks are amazing.

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jservedio

For Christmas, I got a heavy-duty tripod with a shorty boom arm for macro, a macro rail, and a porthole so I should be able to get some really good shots once I get a little practice with the new gear. Here are some super low effort handheld high-ISO shots from testing out the porthole - I am really excited for what I'll be able to do when I get the tripod and macro rail out!

 

 

Here's a shot of my FF Digi with some zoas growing up through it - never been able to get a decent shot of this before and once I get out the tripod, it'll be oh-so-crisp.

 

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Here is a top-down of my other maxi-mini that I've never been able to take a picture of. Also, a pretty nice colony of zoas that face the back side of my tank and you can't tell they exist from the front or side:

 

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Any here's a picture of my Setosa doing well and growing pretty quickly.

 

setosa.thumb.jpg.13557db81f20867414dc61b0da3bf843.jpg

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jservedio

And the macro rail certainly makes things a lot easier! Here is a test picture of micro feather duster that's about 2mm across at 100% on the cameras sensor (1:1 macro). It's only at f/5, 1/30s, and ISO-1250 so it's a mess with the DoF and tons of noise, but man can this thing focus. Once I get a little more light and am able to stop things down significantly, the quality of my pictures should get much better than anything in the past. It's some pretty cool gear.

 

micro-duster.thumb.jpg.71b7b82662d6f6678c1246670437daae.jpg

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jservedio

Was playing around with the new gear a little more this morning from the tripod and it's definitely awesome. There is a learning curve, but I don't think it'll be too steep.

 

 

Top down of the Bowerbanki without having to shoot through the surface of the water!

 

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Top down of my Orange Crush echinata -  starting to get a little more ball shaped

 

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I definitely need to start picking up some more lords to start growing out on tiles, I've only got 4 frags. One of the cooler plans I've got for this tank is to replace nearly all of the sand on the right side of the tank with a sea of lords grown on 3-4" hexagonal tiles and doing two layers. I should need 4-6 more frags and 2-3 years of growth.

 

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Leather is doing pretty good too, Kind of surprised the clowns haven't jumped in since it's bigger than their nem for the time being.

 

leather2.thumb.jpg.06b33e83977e614436749d38ab2517cf.jpg

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ajmckay
23 hours ago, jservedio said:

Thanks! All my pictures from before mid-2020 were all taken with a D40x from 2007, so your D60 is plenty of camera to get some good shots. My macro lens is only 40mm, so I know what you mean about getting right up on top of the corals!

 

The 50g is pretty big and takes up almost the footprint of a 3' 90g tank. I've never seen the 25g one in person, but all of the Nuvo EXT and INT tank's I've seen have been fantastic. IMO, the stands are about the same as the Red Sea systems, but not quite as nice as the Waterbox stands. If you like doing plumbing and DIY, the Nuvo tanks are amazing.

Awesome photos!  Yeah I got the D60 about 4-5 years ago for like $30 - but it's pretty well used.  I think the shutter count when I got it was over 100,000 lol.  Yesterday I picked up a used 18-55mm AF-S kit lens for it, prior to that I was just using a cheap manual focus Tamaron zoom lens for general stuff and an older 55mm f/3.5 Micro-Nikkor-P Auto for fish pics.  I have an M2 extension for macro but I'm still not very good at macros.

 

Eventually I want to get a new tripod - I only have one of those flimsy aluminum ones that collapses really small.  Using a boom arm is a great idea that I honestly hadn't thought of.  You can get much closer to the glass/water surface with that since the tripod can only get so close!  Wondering if there's something second hand on FB marketplace lol.

 

I like your idea of creating an acan garden - that would look quite awesome once it's filled in.  And even beforehand.  I like acans, but about the only place I see decent ones around me are at frag swaps - which those have been cancelled for a while now. 

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jservedio
3 hours ago, ajmckay said:

Awesome photos!  Yeah I got the D60 about 4-5 years ago for like $30 - but it's pretty well used.  I think the shutter count when I got it was over 100,000 lol.  Yesterday I picked up a used 18-55mm AF-S kit lens for it, prior to that I was just using a cheap manual focus Tamaron zoom lens for general stuff and an older 55mm f/3.5 Micro-Nikkor-P Auto for fish pics.  I have an M2 extension for macro but I'm still not very good at macros.

 

Eventually I want to get a new tripod - I only have one of those flimsy aluminum ones that collapses really small.  Using a boom arm is a great idea that I honestly hadn't thought of.  You can get much closer to the glass/water surface with that since the tripod can only get so close!  Wondering if there's something second hand on FB marketplace lol.

 

I like your idea of creating an acan garden - that would look quite awesome once it's filled in.  And even beforehand.  I like acans, but about the only place I see decent ones around me are at frag swaps - which those have been cancelled for a while now. 

 

Those old 55mm Micro-Nikkor lenses are fantastic and super sharp - definitely better than my 40mm Micro-Nikkor for what we are using them for. I just got a decent aluminum tripod, but I didn't get it specifically for macro stuff - I got it as just a general medium-weight tripod that just happens to have a little mini boom.

 

For shooting in the fish tank, I actually prefer using a double-braced heavy cymbal stand with a boom for security - if that thing can hold my 9 pound ride cymbal while I bash the shit out of it, it can handle like 4 pounds of camera gear over saltwater! Plus, they are way cheaper if you pick up a used one. The threads on the cymbal stand are different, but a heavy duty ball-head adapter can be had for like $15-20. They are pretty enormous though and super heavy (more than 15 pounds of solid steel), but you get more than 20" of boom and it's counter-weighted.

 

All the LFS here suck for higher end corals, but thankfully we have a huge local community and a bunch of garage type sellers with big frag systems. Just takes a lot of time to hunt down the nice stuff.

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jservedio

While changing some water today, all three colonies of blastos were puffed up and happy all at once so I snapped a pic. The purple blasto has been starting to throw off little "bounces" in a few of it's polyps in the last couple of years. I have no idea why, but it certainly looks cool. It also look way better under white light - it just washes out in blues like other purple corals do.

 

I'm going to extend this rock a little since right now it's only about 7" across and add another frag or two. Should be pretty awesome when there are more than three. Not too bad when the red and green blastos started out as just a single polyp a couple years ago. I've still got 12 pounds of rocks sitting in front of my stand, so maybe I'll finally get around to actually scaping this week.

 

 

blasto_island.thumb.jpg.1eaef668c9597eb1e235fb4f83d8bc04.jpg

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jservedio

Was playing around with my macro rail to see how well it'd do with image focus stacking and while I only had enough battery for 5 exposures, I am thoroughly impressed even if there are a couple of blurred areas. Next time I'll do it properly with 10-12 exposures to get ~50% overlap and it'll be razor sharp front to back. Though, not too shabby for just 5 shots with almost no overlap and 15 minutes of effort. The effective aperture is a little over f/32. With more exposures, I'll be able to get the back 2-3mm into focus as well.

 

JF Insane Rainbow polyp:

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A.m.P

From my understanding Blasto's can get bubbles from overexposure sometimes, not necessarily the kind of overexposure that leads to chronic bleaching, but the kind which still makes it more difficult for the animal to keep up. Though that's old, old information by now lol, who knows if it's true or not...

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jservedio
1 hour ago, A.m.P said:

From my understanding Blasto's can get bubbles from overexposure sometimes, not necessarily the kind of overexposure that leads to chronic bleaching, but the kind which still makes it more difficult for the animal to keep up. Though that's old, old information by now lol...

Interesting! Learn something new every day, thanks.

 

I did a little more reading on the subject and I really don't think it's from the lights since it's really not that bright and I had it in the tank for a good 4 years before this started happening. It does coincide with it being placed right next to an acan echinata and platygyra so I think it's far more likely that it was damaged fighting with the acan or just getting hit with platy sweepers.

 

It definitely battled with the acan, and won?!?!! (blasto in foreground blurred):

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And the platy right on it's other side for years is nasty, too (you can even see it in the background!):

angry-platy.thumb.jpg.7a21a8e44302e0c90e61a0e978b5bb84.jpg

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Pjanssen
On 1/14/2021 at 12:32 PM, jservedio said:

Clowns found their new home! Not quite the roomy luxury of this anemones mom, but it's already 30% bigger than it was an should be 3-4x the size in a year or so. They'll just have to be patient.

 

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I didn’t think BTA’s hosted clowns. Lucky! Wish mine would. My clowns currently live in a torch colony, and it think it keeps the torch from growing. Oh well. Animals are gonna do what they want. Everything looks great!

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A.m.P
1 hour ago, jservedio said:

Interesting! Learn something new every day, thanks.

 

I did a little more reading on the subject and I really don't think it's from the lights since it's really not that bright and I had it in the tank for a good 4 years before this started happening. It does coincide with it being placed right next to an acan echinata and platygyra so I think it's far more likely that it was damaged fighting with the acan or just getting hit with platy sweepers.

 

It definitely battled with the acan, and won?!?!! (blasto in foreground blurred):

blasto-echinata-round2.thumb.jpg.7b955f4580abde89f237d26bd2aba51e.jpg

 

Oof, the acan did a number there didn't it? Yeah, I meant it was oldschool thinking and not necessarily more accurate than a wives-tale, not that it was common-knowledge, poor-wording on my end lol. 
 

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jservedio
18 hours ago, A.m.P said:

Oof, the acan did a number there didn't it? Yeah, I meant it was oldschool thinking and not necessarily more accurate than a wives-tale, not that it was common-knowledge, poor-wording on my end lol. 
 

The blasto did way more damage to the echinata if you can believe it! And not poor wording at all- I understood what you were getting at and you are definitely right. If you are interested and haven't seen it yet, I found this cool article from 2016 on ReefKeepers where a nearly identical blasto to mine developed bounces after being attacked by a Galaxea: https://reefbuilders.com/2016/08/16/bounce-blastomussa/

 

There were also a few threads on R2R I found where people had similar stuff happen to blastos from fights with other corals and others mentioned light bleaching - so apparently it's not all that uncommon. Thanks for the tip, it's super cool and appears to be permanent and will possibly be passed to frags.

 

 

19 hours ago, Pjanssen said:

I didn’t think BTA’s hosted clowns. Lucky! Wish mine would. My clowns currently live in a torch colony, and it think it keeps the torch from growing. Oh well. Animals are gonna do what they want. Everything looks great!

Oh yeah they do! These guys stared at multiple RBTAs for years and years before they finally climbed in and didn't even notice them until they were taking up 1/2 the tank which is why I was surprised they found the baby so quickly. I'm pretty sure they can force anything that isn't actively eat them to play host and do plenty of damage. These guys actually were hosted by an acan echinata about 7 or 8 years ago and their constant love rubbed a hole right in the middle of it, so it was donut shaped. Took years for it to recover!

 

Here is the "donut echinata" back in 2013 with the culprits caught in the act (it was originally sold to me as a favia, but clearly isn't!) - they were so tiny back then!

 

sleepy_clowns.jpg.87d50fd2c693112e9d4256cd8e074206.jpg

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A.m.P

I can believe the blasto beat the echinata, another oldschool wives tale held that plain-jane merletti's will melt through just about anything they fall onto.
I just can't seem to keep favia from bleaching in my system, they grow like absolute weeds for the first few months, then run outta' steam and bleach, blows my mind a bit to be honest.

I got a Top fuel, kept it in the same spot without any changes, came in half-melted and overgrew its' own skeleton then down the plug and onto the rock in a month. Stalled out of nowhere and now the top quarter sits there bleached with full polyp extension and bright, perfect colors on the skirt around it. Corals are something else.

I've had to move my stylo a dozen times since getting my own pair of clowns, one's absolutely hell-bent on sitting in it and nips at it constantly XD

And thanks for the article, fun read, would be awesome if it kept the growth and passed it on.

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jservedio

About a month after breaking up the monti that was shading everything out really badly, everything beneath it is starting to recover pretty nicely. My hulk micromussa is still down some color, but definitely up in mass:

 

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Also have a frag of austera on my rack that I had cut a few weeks ago and was able to practice a little more with focus stacking of the leading growth growth edge. This one is 11 images at f/8 so it's much more even, but I think next time I need to wait a little longer for the water to stop moving and bump up the ISO or lights just a little to get things sharper. Definitely fun to play around with! For reference, the entire image is only actually 1/2 an inch across - austera have teeeeeeny tiny polyps:

 

austera_growth.thumb.jpg.985367d1dbd029c7b869167e2bcfddac.jpg

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jservedio

Another few pictures from up on my main acro rock - I haven't taken many pictures from this because I lost a lot of color during the tank transfers, getting sick, and just in general being lazy with the tank, but figured I'd post some "before" shots so I can see as it progresses.

 

But first, here's a much better shot of my FF digi and little zoa island which is popping up a 2nd baby now!

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Here is a tangle of three acros all growing together without much vertical growth. The scale here across the two pictures is about 7-8". I started with 3 acros in a 6" radius and it looks like this after 2.5ish years. All you guys who put like 10 acros in an 8" radius are going to have a real bad time in short order - spread em' out and have some breathing room! The Yellow Tips simply no longer has a base left after being overtaken - thankfully it grows faster than it's attacker.

 

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And another shot of the mess

 

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Never mind those vermetids - they just provide a nice texture for the acro bases!

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jservedio

Small update for my orange lords - I'm up to 6 polyps and a small bud. Not too bad for a year from a single polyp. Unlike the acros, they have been absolutely loving getting neglected. Oh, also a sweet focus stack of it!

 

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jservedio

Haven't been doing a whole lot of photography, adding livestock, or making changes with the tank lately now that the weather is warming up between the baby and climbing season starting, but things are still chugging along and getting bigger.

 

While I didn't catch it happening, three of my acros and a cap frag have been locked in a battle for a while and the smallest one that died back in January is now becoming a base for the other two.

 

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The nem has gotten a bit bigger with the disk close to 3", even though even my male clown still dwarfs it.

 

td-clowns.thumb.jpg.f840d6e0f71bc246e369a8870c5451ab.jpg

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aclman88

Amazing pictures as always. Are these taken with the 40 mm micro lens?

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Christopher Marks

All these SPS corals tangled up in each other is so neat to see happening. The little zoanthid polyp island too! Things you'd see happening out on an open reef, everything battling for its own space. Always love your photo updates @jservedio!

 

When is your next climb?

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jservedio
2 hours ago, aclman88 said:

Amazing pictures as always. Are these taken with the 40 mm micro lens?

Yup! It's pretty much all I've got left these days. I gave away my D40x and lenses to my brother recently, so the 40mm is all I've got that can focus closer than 4 feet. One of these days I'll get a longer macro, but a wide angle zoom is first in line for non-fishy photos. Spending $500+ on a lens is hard to justify when I can just wait a few years for my corals down low in the tank to get bigger and fill up the frame from further away 😁

 

 

1 hour ago, Christopher Marks said:

All these SPS corals tangled up in each other is so neat to see happening. The little zoanthid polyp island too! Things you'd see happening out on an open reef, everything battling for its own space. Always love your photo updates @jservedio!

 

When is your next climb?

Thanks, Christopher! It really kills the growth speed, but I'm a pretty patient person and I prefer the natural look so it pays off (eventually...). At least the slow growth buys me more time to procrastinate working on the tank and buying livestock - I've still got 10 pounds of clean rock sitting next to the tank and tons of scaping work to do!

 

Nothing big planned yet for this year yet - I've just been trying to get out to the local crags as much as possible to get back into shape! Got out this past Wednesday for my birthday and probably again the next couple Mondays, but nothing really big or exciting. Once it warms up a bit in the mountains, I always try to get out to the Linville Gorge for some bigger and more remote stuff.

 

Maybe if we get COVID under control, I'll be able to get out to CO in the summer or NV in the fall like I usually do. Though, my one partner has been trying to get me out to Ouray every winter to get on ice with him, but there's just something about swinging around a pair of medieval weapons inches away from your skinny rope that is a little disconcerting as an extremely clumsy person.

 

While I never drag my nice camera down into the gorge since getting down involves scrambling hundreds of feet down a ravine that is essentially a waterfall and then rappelling in the last hundred feet, you can get some really nice pictures even with just a cell phone from places you can't see as a hiker. IMO, it's the most beautiful place east of the Mississippi and by far the most remote!

 

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(you can hike to this one!)

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And, for good measure, an action shot!

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