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billygoat

Billy's 40g Gorgonian Garden

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billygoat

It's been a busy day for the new tank! The delayed package with my sand did arrive, but when it got here it wasn't in very good shape... 😅

 

IMG_1472.thumb.JPG.6d92693a8a748cd1110acd2acf4c6fe5.JPG

 

It seems that this package was damaged badly in transit, and that UPS attempted to fix it without much success. The bag of sand inside was punctured, as though it had been stabbed with a knife, and had leaked all over the inside of the box. The new heater I had ordered was soaked and crushed, and in place of the heater controller and extra SpinStream nozzle I got a shoe emblazoned with Snoopy:

 

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Just the one shoe; right foot only. Not really sure what that was about.

 

Anyway, BRS said they would replace the missing and damaged equipment (they were as confused as I was regarding the shoe), and the bag of sand was intact despite being punctured, so I went ahead and filled the tank using a backup heater that I had lying around. Which means we're still proceeding according to plan, despite the unexpected setbacks! Behold, the first fill:

 

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Currently running nothing but the return pump and a heater. I'm going to let the water clear overnight (I have some floss and a filter sock on it right now) and then perform a water change on my 18g tank in the morning. Water from that water change will go into the 40g here, along with two bags of biomedia and the contents of my 4g cube. So first animals will be added tomorrow! Stay tuned. 😁

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Tired

I bet if the shoe fell out of another box, and whoever tried to fix this one shoved it in there because they thought it came from this one. Otherwise, my vote's on package gremlins. Sure looks like something wanted in there.

Last time we had a box look like that, it was because it had been left on our porch overnight with some non-perishable foods inside, and some sort of animal really wanted the pasta. 

 

Hopefully everything likes it in there. Can't wait to see all those gorgonians in a nice tall thing. 

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billygoat

I broke down my 4g cube this morning and moved its contents into the 40g. So far these test subjects seem to be doing well. They've been in the new system for about 3 hours but are already showing good extension.

 

IMG_1477.JPG.6d20e02140159a81be0f3d14771a8f33.JPG   IMG_1478.JPG.6d5a969caa260202ac8f97d8b788eb40.JPG

 

Moving livestock and breaking down tanks sure is a lot of work! But I am excited to get the ball rolling here. 😁

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Xanthine
On 9/25/2020 at 7:36 PM, billygoat said:

I got a shoe emblazoned with Snoopy: 

Just the one shoe; right foot only. Not really sure what that was about.

 

Sorry about the shipping issues but that shoe story is one of the funniest things I've seen in awhile - I'm actually laughing out loud at the absurdity of it - plastic wrapped but only single shoe...and the design...just...what....lol

I can only imagine your reaction upon first finding it, hahaha!

 

Congrats on the new tank, can't wait to follow along with the progress!

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billygoat
23 minutes ago, Xanthine said:

Sorry about the shipping issues but that shoe story is one of the funniest things I've seen in awhile - I'm actually laughing out loud at the absurdity of it - plastic wrapped but only single shoe...and the design...just...what....lol

I can only imagine your reaction upon first finding it, hahaha!

 

Congrats on the new tank, can't wait to follow along with the progress!

Thanks! 😁 The shoe honestly had me in stitches... I thought it was hilarious. The UPS guy came up to my house with this destroyed box and asked me "Should I mark it down as damaged?" I reached my hand inside the huge hole in the box, felt everything all wet and crushed, and pulled out this random shoe... "Yeah," I told him, "let's do that." 😂

 

Test subjects all seem to be faring well this morning. I may begin moving over a few of the larger rocks from the C-Vue, as I won't be able to gradually transfer the sand bed otherwise.

 

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Unfortunately I also discovered a long, thin scratch on the front window of the tank... it's very fine, and in fact I didn't even notice it until I first put a light over the display yesterday, but now that I've seen it I can't unsee it... 😅 Oh well! It's nothing that serious (will probably never show up in a picture) and at any rate there's nothing I can do about it. I know all aquariums have their little idiosyncrasies like that, so it's not too big of a deal. 

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Tired

It kinda looks like a smaller tank burst over this one. Just, pop! And there's rocks everywhere. 

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Nano sapiens
On 9/20/2020 at 3:41 PM, billygoat said:

I've been dreaming about it, talking about it, and threatening to do it for about a year now, but the order is finally placed and the time has finally come: I'm upgrading! 🥳

 

The entire purpose of this upgrade is to make life better for the corals that I already have. I love gorgonians, and growing huge, bushy, mature colonies of these beautiful corals is my only goal in reefing (and possibly also in life 😅). This tank will be the vessel that allows me to achieve that goal.

I think a lot of people don't realize just how big/tall a mature gorgonian colony can be for many species, so this is a great upgrade!

 

Hope all proceeds according to plan and we'll see a lush gorgonian-dominated 'marine garden' here soon 👍

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billygoat
On 9/27/2020 at 9:53 AM, Nano sapiens said:

Hope all proceeds according to plan and we'll see a lush gorgonian-dominated 'marine garden' here soon 👍

That's the idea! In fact I went ahead and accelerated the plan a bit: all the rocks and livestock from my Caribbean biotope got transferred into this tank today! 😁

 

IMG_1483.thumb.JPG.e541ba27dcc7572bc93493dee0b45227.JPG

 

My initial plan was to transfer things gradually - a rock a day, a few cups of sand here and there - but I quickly realized that the more I took out of my older system, the less stable it would become. Plus, moving new rocks into the 40g every day was bound to re-disrupt everything over and over again, especially considering I'd have to move things around a lot to complete the aquascape. Better then to do everything all at once! The 'scape is very similar to what I had going on in the 18g (just with more leeway between colonies) but it still took me almost 4 hours to complete. Lots of work, and a few minor things are definitely going to get tweaked and re-tweaked in the coming weeks, but I am pleased with the result.

 

Though I designed this aquascape with one eye to the future, I was unfortunately unable to completely eliminate potential shading issues. I think that when you're growing 'gorgs past a certain point, something is just bound to get shaded, period - they simply get too big. That could become a problem in the future, but if it is I will worry about it when the time comes. For now I think the 'scape worked out reasonably well. When viewed from a bit further away it becomes clear that the gorgonians have plenty of room to grow:

 

IMG_1487.thumb.JPG.5582c94a371839645301b789d5786f0a.JPG

 

I also did not yet break down my previous tank! The sandbed of the C-Vue remains, with no rocks or animals in the tank:

IMG_1482.thumb.JPG.2a86e87dbb2b08e4ca0a68bebe2863f3.JPG

 

My revised plan is to transfer most of the sand from the C-Vue into the new tank very slowly - just a cup or two a day - and in doing so hopefully capture the cool benthic fauna in my old tank without dealing with the nutrient apocalypse that would surely occur if I tried to move the sandbed all at once. This is going to be a slow process, but I am not in a hurry.

 

TL;DR: it's been a day! I finished my tank transfer and now I will drink a beer. 🍺

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Diamonds x Pearls

There's a song that goes like nothing that a beer can't fix. Well deserved.

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debbeach13

That looks fantastic. I bet it feels great to get it done.

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billygoat
12 hours ago, debbeach13 said:

That looks fantastic. I bet it feels great to get it done.

Thanks! It does indeed feel pretty darn good... the upgrade has really been a long time coming. I was stressed out about it at first, but now that I've got it all put together I feel very good about my decision.

 

17 hours ago, Diamonds x Pearls said:

There's a song that goes like nothing that a beer can't fix. Well deserved.

Sound advice! In fact, it might be almost time for another... Beer is an important catalyst, you know, to assist with my... aquascaping! Yes, of course - that's it! Great thinking. 🤔😅

 

Good extension in everything once again this morning. I'm especially liking the view from the left side of the tank. The scape has some great depth when viewed from this angle.

 

IMG_1488.thumb.JPG.c6190e8f694a16e261f020cbfdb009a6.JPG

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Poison Dart Frog

Everything looks happy. Not sure how you could have done any better with the tank transfer. 

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billygoat

Day 3 since the transfer, and my corals continue to settle in. I'm trying my best to just leave them alone and not mess with their positioning too much.

 

This Eunicea sp. is especially beautiful.

 

IMG_1489.thumb.JPG.e10401c1bf89d32c9b74f853884fac8d.JPG

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hinnenkm

Awesome! I would love it if I could get my seahorse tank looking half that good!

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billygoat
1 hour ago, hinnenkm said:

Awesome! I would love it if I could get my seahorse tank looking half that good!

Thanks! I'm actually thinking about keeping seahorses myself, but I am worried that my rock flower anemones will end up stinging them. 😓

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lizzyann

Yay, so excited to watch those gorgs grow out!

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billygoat
36 minutes ago, lizzyann said:

Yay, so excited to watch those gorgs grow out!

Thanks @lizzyann! I managed to hold off the urge to upgrade for a long, long time, but once I started seriously entertaining the possibility of getting a bigger tank it didn't take me long to cave in. I noticed awhile back that you were thinking about upgrading too - any plans to get something new going in the future? That beautiful aquascape of yours would look mighty good in a 30 long, or maybe the 50 lagoon... 😉

 

 

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lizzyann
14 minutes ago, billygoat said:

Thanks @lizzyann! I managed to hold off the urge to upgrade for a long, long time, but once I started seriously entertaining the possibility of getting a bigger tank it didn't take me long to cave in. I noticed awhile back that you were thinking about upgrading too - any plans to get something new going in the future? That beautiful aquascape of yours would look mighty good in a 30 long, or maybe the 50 lagoon... 😉

 

 

Hehe don't tempt me! I certainly may upgrade at some point but that's a loooong way down the road. I can't fit anything bigger in our office/studio (where mine currently is) and I have a 90g freshwater tank in my living room that unfortunately gets no attention ever since the beginning of my reef tank. So if that one ever completely goes downhill or I run into a sudden spurt of motivation or free time I might tear it down and move to a single bigger reef tank to show off in the living room instead 🤷‍♀️.

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hinnenkm
6 hours ago, billygoat said:

Thanks! I'm actually thinking about keeping seahorses myself, but I am worried that my rock flower anemones will end up stinging them. 😓

This would be the perfect tank for them! I would take the rock flowers out though because they will sting. You could always do a nano tank with them or something....?!

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Tired

I had always heard that seahorses are really prone to bacterial infections, so should be kept a few degrees lower than reefs, in particularly clean tanks that often don't have substrate. Are the captive-bred ones hardy enough to be just popped into a reef tank now? 

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Sharbuckle
On 9/28/2020 at 6:08 PM, billygoat said:

That's the idea! In fact I went ahead and accelerated the plan a bit: all the rocks and livestock from my Caribbean biotope got transferred into this tank today! 😁

 

IMG_1483.thumb.JPG.e541ba27dcc7572bc93493dee0b45227.JPG

 

My initial plan was to transfer things gradually - a rock a day, a few cups of sand here and there - but I quickly realized that the more I took out of my older system, the less stable it would become. Plus, moving new rocks into the 40g every day was bound to re-disrupt everything over and over again, especially considering I'd have to move things around a lot to complete the aquascape. Better then to do everything all at once! The 'scape is very similar to what I had going on in the 18g (just with more leeway between colonies) but it still took me almost 4 hours to complete. Lots of work, and a few minor things are definitely going to get tweaked and re-tweaked in the coming weeks, but I am pleased with the result.

 

Though I designed this aquascape with one eye to the future, I was unfortunately unable to completely eliminate potential shading issues. I think that when you're growing 'gorgs past a certain point, something is just bound to get shaded, period - they simply get too big. That could become a problem in the future, but if it is I will worry about it when the time comes. For now I think the 'scape worked out reasonably well. When viewed from a bit further away it becomes clear that the gorgonians have plenty of room to grow:

 

IMG_1487.thumb.JPG.5582c94a371839645301b789d5786f0a.JPG

 

I also did not yet break down my previous tank! The sandbed of the C-Vue remains, with no rocks or animals in the tank:

IMG_1482.thumb.JPG.2a86e87dbb2b08e4ca0a68bebe2863f3.JPG

 

My revised plan is to transfer most of the sand from the C-Vue into the new tank very slowly - just a cup or two a day - and in doing so hopefully capture the cool benthic fauna in my old tank without dealing with the nutrient apocalypse that would surely occur if I tried to move the sandbed all at once. This is going to be a slow process, but I am not in a hurry.

 

TL;DR: it's been a day! I finished my tank transfer and now I will drink a beer. 🍺

I think it’s looks absolutely fantastic! So natural and perfect. Can’t wait to see it grow. 

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billygoat
13 hours ago, hinnenkm said:

This would be the perfect tank for them! I would take the rock flowers out though because they will sting. You could always do a nano tank with them or something....?!

It would certainly be a cool setup with the seahorses, but unfortunately I think removing the RFAs would be pretty difficult - there are only two large ones, but also dozens of babies that will eventually grow to a size where they could threaten the seahorses. Getting all those 'nems out of there is more work than I'm willing to sign up for, so I should probably just avoid it. 😅

 

11 hours ago, Tired said:

I had always heard that seahorses are really prone to bacterial infections, so should be kept a few degrees lower than reefs, in particularly clean tanks that often don't have substrate. Are the captive-bred ones hardy enough to be just popped into a reef tank now? 

I worked with seahorses for awhile in the past and found them to be fairly forgiving once they get past a certain age. We kept them in a large (~1200g) community reef tank with gorgonians and other Caribbean fishes. The main problems I remember with them involved their tendency to reflexively grab on to anything that touches them (which means anemones and strong-stinging corals are out of the picture) and the fact that they get aggressively outcompeted by most other fish at feeding time because they are too damn slow. You're right though - the bottom line is that they're too much work, and I don't really want to have to deal with that in my reef.

 

11 hours ago, Sharbuckle said:

I think it’s looks absolutely fantastic! So natural and perfect. Can’t wait to see it grow. 

Thanks @Sharbuckle! I was definitely going for the natural "rubble zone" look that you find in a lot of nearshore Caribbean habitats. I'm glad it comes across that way.

 

I have a question for you guys. Yesterday I removed the mat of brown star polyps from the middle of the tank so that I could transfer some more sand over from my 18g tank. I figured it would just be a temporary thing and that I'd replace the star polyps once I was done with sand transfers, but now that I have them out of there I kind of like the open look of the central area. Do you think the 'scape looks better with or without the star polyps? I'm curious to know what everyone thinks!

 

 

IMG_1483a.jpg.f523691ce1dcb17d302f5205559d1718.jpg  IMG_1493a.jpg.7d6ba9d1826fa4433cf99839a4fa1235.jpg

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Ratvan

I do like the open look more, would they grow on the backwall?

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Amphrites
1 hour ago, Ratvan said:

I do like the open look more, would they grow on the backwall?

Lol, they'd probably grow next to the tank with a squirtbottle.

I like both looks, but it really is just a huge colony of those polyps.

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Gravity

Just catching up on everything. And the new tank is already looking great!

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