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billygoat

Billy's 40g Gorgonian Garden

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lizzyann

I think I like the cleared space in the middle a little more as well!

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hinnenkm

Didn't catch that you had babies too, that's awesome!

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mitten_reef
4 hours ago, billygoat said:

 

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

 

Copied this over for ya

 

I'm a big fan of some open floor space (don't be fool by how crowded my tank looks, lol).  Plus, the bright orange ric gets center stage on the open sand version....how could I not pick that one?  my vote is the one on the right.  

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Tired

Yeah, not having the briar patch looks better. It's going to look a tiny bit odd until the sand is a bit less white, I think, it's very bright right now, but that empty space will help everything else be shown off. Especially once the gorgonians start to take up more space. You could put some rics around the edges in the back of the empty area, too, to soften it up a little. I think KP Aquatics has a sort of pinkish ric now and then? Could be fun to see how many different varieties you can get in there. 

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Amphrites

To be fair Florida's gulf sand is pretty freakishly white, gotta' love limestone.

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billygoat
10 hours ago, Ratvan said:

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

As @Amphrites mentioned, those star polyps will indeed grow on the rear wall... or basically anywhere else where there is saltwater and light. 😂 I think it's best to avoid having them anywhere near my gorgs though: that species is known to grow by encrusting up the stalks of gorgonians, killing them in the process.

 

4 hours ago, Tired said:

You could put some rics around the edges in the back of the empty area, too, to soften it up a little. I think KP Aquatics has a sort of pinkish ric now and then? Could be fun to see how many different varieties you can get in there. 

I'm hardly opposed to having more Rics, but I think I'm going to end up with plenty of them even if I don't buy any more! Mine have been dividing pretty rapidly of late, though I wouldn't be surprised if they slow down a bit as they adjust to the new tank. Eventually I am likely to end up with more of them than I know what to do with though. 🤔

 

Also, thank you all for your great input on the aquascape! The more open option with no corky fingers in the middle seems to have met with unanimous approval, so I think that's what we'll do. It should be better in the long run since anything on the sandbed is likely to eventually get shaded out as my gorgonians grow taller. The tank really is very much more open with those star polyps anyway. When fully extended they take up a truly enormous amount of space.

 

I got this overhead shot at feeding time yesterday to show how open the sandbed looks, but I noticed that it also features a rare lights-on appearance by the Terror Star. That thing is definitely not getting any smaller... 

 

IMG_1491.thumb.JPG.63ff37a95aaf10bb00f945585ce7464d.JPG

 

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billygoat
8 hours ago, hinnenkm said:

Didn't catch that you had babies too, that's awesome!

It's alright - the babies are super tiny, so there's no way you could have seen them from the pictures! There are definitely a lot of them though, on pretty much every surface in the tank: rocks, sand, even on top of some of my zoanthids. Here's one living in a snail shell.

 

IMG_1450.thumb.JPG.9ef395f5433785636b36a8ba17a1edf8.JPG

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caas1496
11 hours ago, billygoat said:

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. 😅

 

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.

 

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

Can’t quite explain it but the empty space in the middle gives it more sense of depth. I like it too. 

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Sharbuckle
12 hours ago, billygoat said:

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. 😅

 

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.

 

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

Without 110% 

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Sharbuckle
1 hour ago, billygoat said:

As @Amphrites mentioned, those star polyps will indeed grow on the rear wall... or basically anywhere else where there is saltwater and light. 😂 I think it's best to avoid having them anywhere near my gorgs though: that species is known to grow by encrusting up the stalks of gorgonians, killing them in the process.

 

I'm hardly opposed to having more Rics, but I think I'm going to end up with plenty of them even if I don't buy any more! Mine have been dividing pretty rapidly of late, though I wouldn't be surprised if they slow down a bit as they adjust to the new tank. Eventually I am likely to end up with more of them than I know what to do with though. 🤔

 

Also, thank you all for your great input on the aquascape! The more open option with no corky fingers in the middle seems to have met with unanimous approval, so I think that's what we'll do. It should be better in the long run since anything on the sandbed is likely to eventually get shaded out as my gorgonians grow taller. The tank really is very much more open with those star polyps anyway. When fully extended they take up a truly enormous amount of space.

 

I got this overhead shot at feeding time yesterday to show how open the sandbed looks, but I noticed that it also features a rare lights-on appearance by the Terror Star. That thing is definitely not getting any smaller... 

 

IMG_1491.thumb.JPG.63ff37a95aaf10bb00f945585ce7464d.JPG

 

Love the open sandbed. Soooo much nicer. If it was up to me there wouldn’t big a single coral on it. 

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SaltyTanks

Looks fantastic and I like the open look more.  I feel like the brown star polyps front & center is distracting. And without it, you end up with a nice clean natural looking sand bar that creates a nice depth illusion. Can’t believe you were able to make the transition this quickly!

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billygoat
17 hours ago, SaltyTanks said:

Looks fantastic and I like the open look more.  I feel like the brown star polyps front & center is distracting. And without it, you end up with a nice clean natural looking sand bar that creates a nice depth illusion. Can’t believe you were able to make the transition this quickly!

Thanks! It came together a lot faster than I expected it to, but I realized partway through the aquascaping process that I had been planning this tank (mostly subconsciously, I think) for months, so when the time came all I had to do was implement what I had already been thinking.

 

Regarding the illusion of depth, I'm thinking the same thing as @SaltyTanks and @caas1496 - having the large empty space at the center of the tank helps to accentuate the height of my gorgonians. This effect should become even more pronounced once the corals start to grow taller. I really want the 'gorgs to be the focus this time around, and this open sandbed is a good way to achieve that.

 

I also want to try and preserve the "rubble zone" look that is common to this sort of habitat in the Caribbean (gorgonian beds often occur in areas near the front or back of the reef crest, and are commonly strewn with chunks of coral rubble that wave action brings down from the reef above), but I don't want my sandbed to look super cluttered with little chunks of rock and such. Trying to emulate the natural environment and still create a balanced composition is challenging, but I think I can get there. Here's the latest FTS (with the sandbed unfortunately all washed out! I really need to get a better camera) :

 

IMG_1496.thumb.JPG.411ced934bb45e04582285129a65133d.JPG

 

I moved that large shell towards the center of the tank and my sailfin blenny immediately went inside of it. He hasn't left since. Typical blenny - always wants to be at the center of things. 😅

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billygoat

Spent the whole morning doing cord management! Not the most exciting part of the hobby, but definitely an important one. 😂

 

My original plan was to mount my power strip and controllers on the side of the stand or on the wall next to the tank. In the beginning I just tumbled everything inside of the stand, assuming I would get around to mounting it later (I was lazy and didn't want to drill anything), but I actually came to like the tank's clean look without any cords hanging off of the side. I decided to devise a way to keep everything out of sight:

 

IMG_1497.thumb.JPG.bee650ba5e8fc18f8c2a9a85195f5b45.JPG

 

Having your power strip and battery at the very bottom of your stand is generally not a good idea, since water could trickle in there and pool on the floor in the event of a tank overflow. This stand has a false bottom (the lower shelf sits on a pair of metal bars that run across the width of the base) so it's not quite as risky, but I took some extra precautions just to be doubly safe: I put the power strip, battery, and associated adaptors on top of a few pieces of plastic to keep them off the ground, I made sure no cords were touching the floor at all, and I opted to use the same 2 gallon ATO bucket I had on my 18g tank. This way the electronics are protected against pooling water, and even if the ATO fails and dumps an entire bucket of top-off water in the tank it will not be enough to overfill the rim.

 

The downside is that I'll have to refill my topoff bucket more often because it'll only be a 2 gallon container, but I think I'm okay with that. 👍

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billygoat

Performed the tank's first water change today. From here on out I intend to do a 4g (10%) water change every 2 weeks.

 

I also installed a new IM SpinStream nozzle. I had good success with this nozzle in my 18g tank, but the IM 40 here has a dual-nozzle design that required me to buy a 2nd SpinStream. Can you tell which one was transferred from my old tank? 😅

 

IMG_1499.thumb.JPG.0b127b793af512b6c4b2f933a062e74c.JPG

 

I noticed that the old, well-worn nozzle spins considerably faster than the new one. It also makes quite a bit less noise. I remember these things take 2 or 3 weeks to break in, so I'm sure they'll be even after a month or so.

 

Also, I am looking to get rid of the brown star polyps that were unanimously voted out of this tank. Would anyone be interested in this stuff? The colony is pretty large (>7" long and about 3" wide) and takes up a large amount of space when fully extended. There are several encrusting sponges attached to it as well. I will mail this coral to anyone who wants it for the cost of shipping. Send me a PM if you're interested! Bonus points if you're in the Los Angeles area and can pick it up without me having to mail it. 😅

 

IMG_1494.thumb.JPG.ae2a9dd25d0cb6d81a63b8722dc4d4fc.JPG

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debbeach13
13 minutes ago, billygoat said:

Can you tell which one was transferred from my old tank? 😅

Nope can not tell.

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Ratvan
9 hours ago, billygoat said:

Also, I am looking to get rid of the brown star polyps that were unanimously voted out of this tank. Would anyone be interested in this stuff? The colony is pretty large (>7" long and about 3" wide) and takes up a large amount of space when fully extended. There are several encrusting sponges attached to it as well. I will mail this coral to anyone who wants it for the cost of shipping. Send me a PM if you're interested! Bonus points if you're in the Los Angeles area and can pick it up without me having to mail it. 😅

 

IMG_1494.thumb.JPG.ae2a9dd25d0cb6d81a63b8722dc4d4fc.JPG

Just need to find another Caribbean Biotope to offload it into really. 

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billygoat
3 hours ago, Ratvan said:

Just need to find another Caribbean Biotope to offload it into really. 

I think I'll end up having to donate it to an LFS or something. Reefers here on N-R are too savvy to actually want this stuff. To be honest, I didn't actually want it either: I was trying to buy a branching Corky Finger (which is not invasive and is much cooler-looking), but the listing on the website I purchased it from was unclear and I ended up with an encrusting one instead. 🙄

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kekke1082
On 10/5/2020 at 8:42 AM, billygoat said:

I think I'll end up having to donate it to an LFS or something. Reefers here on N-R are too savvy to actually want this stuff. To be honest, I didn't actually want it either: I was trying to buy a branching Corky Finger (which is not invasive and is much cooler-looking), but the listing on the website I purchased it from was unclear and I ended up with an encrusting one instead. 🙄

I'd actually be interested! I love star polyps (all vatieties) i think my tank may still be rather new for even the indestructible star polyp, however, it has been seeded now with some live rock and seems to be doing well. I'll send you a pm.

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Poison Dart Frog

I bought a "corky sea finger" from Gulf Coast and ended up with the encrusting kind too. Though I kinda like it since it adds movement. It's not colorful but it's kinda cool in its own way.

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billygoat

Hoo boy! It's been a busy week. I got a new job at an aquatic livestock wholesaler and it's been beating me up! But I've still had time to take care of the tank, and I even have a few pictures for today.

 

Everything in the tank is doing well. A few of my gorgs went through an adjustment cycle and had their polyps closed for a few days (I think this is a response to new light/flow patterns in the new tank), but all seem to be extending regularly at this point. The last straggler is this yellow whip gorgonian (Pterogorgia citrina) which got kind of overgrown with algae for awhile, but it is starting to come around a bit more every day:

IMG_1505.thumb.JPG.3d8f219f513369ad354d968171386b7b.JPG

 

My purple plume gorgonians (Muriceopsis flavida) are going nuts. Great extension every day, and they seem to have already grown since being transferred to the new tank.

IMG_1506.thumb.JPG.2ee5afceec1a55bbd3138db4f3c4b6de.JPG

 

I also managed to find some space for a small chunk of brown star polyps in the display. It's in the back-center of the tank, so it's much less obtrusive than it was when I had it right smack in the center. Not the flashiest coral, but I like the way it sways and adds a unique sort of motion.

IMG_1504.thumb.JPG.de1e1e7019b6ca300f0f50b8948266bf.JPG

 

The glare was bad this morning, but a new FTS is coming soon (I hope)!

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melson

I know I'm late but you've upgraded! Nice!

 

I still can't believe you're content with little to no fish, to me that's what makes this hobby the most fun. But different strokes I guess!

 

 

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kekke1082

Its looking good! Lobe2 that you added the star polyps back into the aquascape. The gorgs look happy! 

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billygoat
On 10/12/2020 at 7:12 AM, melson said:

I know I'm late but you've upgraded! Nice!

 

I still can't believe you're content with little to no fish, to me that's what makes this hobby the most fun. But different strokes I guess!

 

 

Oh don't worry - fish are coming sooner or later! I just wanted things to settle down a bit before I added anything new. And also of course I have to take my time and figure out what to get... but that part should be easy enough when the time comes. 😁

 

How's your Caribbean tank doing @melson? What sort of fish do you have in there these days?

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melson

It's doing well! Well actually currently battling red slime... One treatment of Chemiclean didn't quite do the trick so I will have to hit it again.

 

In terms of livestock I still have various hermits and porcelain crab, and I have all my fish except my jawfish. The jawfish jumped out and committed suicide. I don't know how he escaped, I've always had a lid, but I found him at the base of my furnace when I was changing out the furnace filter. What's really crazy is I don't have an intake grate near the tank except a heating vent maybe 8 feet away? Poor thing's last moments I couldn't imagine!

 

I look forward to seeing what sort of livestock you get! It seemed anything from Florida to CA where you are takes a beating and can't quite get situated in your tank. Hopefully a 40g can make the difference!

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billygoat
On 10/16/2020 at 7:53 AM, melson said:

It's doing well! Well actually currently battling red slime... One treatment of Chemiclean didn't quite do the trick so I will have to hit it again.

 

In terms of livestock I still have various hermits and porcelain crab, and I have all my fish except my jawfish. The jawfish jumped out and committed suicide. I don't know how he escaped, I've always had a lid, but I found him at the base of my furnace when I was changing out the furnace filter. What's really crazy is I don't have an intake grate near the tank except a heating vent maybe 8 feet away? Poor thing's last moments I couldn't imagine!

 

I look forward to seeing what sort of livestock you get! It seemed anything from Florida to CA where you are takes a beating and can't quite get situated in your tank. Hopefully a 40g can make the difference!

Sorry to hear about the cyanobacteria! I had a bout with it in the early days of my C-Vue and so I understand what a nuisance it can be... hopefully you will beat it quicker than I did! 🤞 (It took me two or three months)

 

I certainly have had some poor luck with shipping fish long-distance in the past, so I think this time I am going to try to source them more locally... I may have a lead on something Caribbean in the neighborhood here, so stay posted for new additions in the next week or so! 😁 I also have some store credit with KP Aquatics, but I'll probably end up spending that on invertebrates rather than fish.

 

Here's a characteristically washed-out FTS from this evening. Tomorrow is water change day, so this is how the tank looks at its dirtiest. It's tough to see in the picture because of the extreme contrast (my phone decided I could choose between blindingly white sand and mostly-in-focus corals, or super dark corals and normal-looking sand - I went with the former) but there a coating of film algae and copepods all over the window and a dusting of diatoms on the substrate. My snails are working hard, but they haven't gotten any reinforcements since the upgrade so they are struggling to keep the film algae down to a normal level. I'll probably end up bolstering the clean-up crew pretty soon.

 

IMG_1509.thumb.JPG.5e432ca947d8902dddbbd08b767e7d35.JPG

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