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billygoat

Billy's 40g Gorgonian Garden

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billygoat

A few more photos today before I plunge back into the workweek!

 

Faced with a lack of rock crevices, caves, and other hiding places for new fish that may be arriving this week, I decided to add yet another shell to the tank. This one is quite large - I think it is a big whelk shell. It's possible that it's not a Caribbean species (I plundered it from my family's shell collection and have no idea where it originally came from), but if anyone asks just tell them it's a juvenile queen conch or something. 😅

 

IMG_1510.JPG.ae83a41b766e3ed0ffac24bb9aee08f1.JPG   IMG_1513.JPG.f43572a38d03cad7fb144f82d9395112.JPG

 

My Ricordea and their neighbors are also looking fresh after today's water change. It's been nearly month since the tank transfer now and everything seems to be doing well. 🤞

 

IMG_1511.thumb.JPG.a45bf8af1f46e7de658f7de424614031.JPG

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melson

Lol do you get people that ask if this is a 100% Caribbean tank all the time? 🤣

 

Because usually when I have guests over and I say "Everything in this tank is from the Caribbean." They say "Oh okay! ...So where's Nemo?" *facepalm*

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Tired

The shell looks a little like a lightning whelk shell. I don't think it is one, but I'd hazard a guess that it's a relative. It's probably at least from near the Caribbean. And it's not like it'll be identifiable down to species once the algae covers it, anyway. Nice solution to the lack of caves.

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billygoat
10 hours ago, melson said:

Lol do you get people that ask if this is a 100% Caribbean tank all the time? 🤣

 

Because usually when I have guests over and I say "Everything in this tank is from the Caribbean." They say "Oh okay! ...So where's Nemo?" *facepalm*

I have to say... I think I am the only person (outside of N-R here of course) who's actually very interested in my tank's Caribbean theme. Even people I know who care about aquariums think my tank would look good with a BTA and a pair of clowns. 😅 Nevertheless, I keep trying to follow the plan... though I admit that it is sort of changing over time. In the very beginning I wanted to model a particular habitat (the back-reef "rubble zone" where gorgonians are commonly found), but over the last few years my tank has turned into a more general display of Caribbean stuff. I like to think of it as the Caribbean royal sampler - a tank that contains a variety of iconic species from around the region. Anyone who's been to a reef in the West Indies or Florida will probably recognize at least a few things in my tank.

 

5 hours ago, Tired said:

The shell looks a little like a lightning whelk shell. I don't think it is one, but I'd hazard a guess that it's a relative. It's probably at least from near the Caribbean. And it's not like it'll be identifiable down to species once the algae covers it, anyway. Nice solution to the lack of caves.

Definitely something along the lines of a lightning whelk, yeah. I have a sneaking suspicion that it might be from South Carolina. My family lived in Charleston when I was very young and I remember collecting quite a few shells from the beaches there, so there's a decent chance that it's native to that region.

 

Right now the new shell is jarringly white, but when I imagine it all pinked up with coralline I find myself rather pleased with the way it fits into the aquascape. Here's what it currently looks like in context:

 

IMG_1515.thumb.JPG.99e839d41955561b6288e0645424d6ac.JPG

 

The shell may even become overgrown with Ricordea and zoanthids if it doesn't get moved around too much. I think that would probably make for a pretty cool display.

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billygoat

New livestock arrived yesterday from KPA. These are my first new additions in a very long time (8+ months) and I am very excited! 

 

Cherub angelfish. It's not at all afraid of me, but it's scared of the camera! Better pictures later:

 

IMG_1520.thumb.JPG.4591d5f40c0487ca523634e32968cbc2.JPG

 

New gorgonian colony - purple candelabra. This is a species that I already had in my collection but it's my favorite so I decided to get another:

 

IMG_1527.thumb.JPG.11607dd001591d0ad03117c1beafc4ef.JPG

 

Huge super weird tunicate! Because why not? We'll see if I can keep it alive:

 

IMG_1526.thumb.JPG.11fe2aba96fe3432ac32794c6b68fddf.JPG

 

Also got some snails and things to flesh out the clean-up crew for the new tank. More pictures to come soon!

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kekke1082

that cherub angelfish is the cutest! I saw one in person for the first time a few weeks ago and instantly fell in love with it! I am eager to keep one but it will have to wait until i have a larger tank. i do not think it would thrive in a 10gallon even as small as they are. maybe when the 10gallon gets upgraded eventually. 

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JBM

Fantastic looking tank, and quiet the adventure along the way!

 

Glad I stopped by for the read

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billygoat
On 10/22/2020 at 9:11 AM, kekke1082 said:

that cherub angelfish is the cutest! I saw one in person for the first time a few weeks ago and instantly fell in love with it! I am eager to keep one but it will have to wait until i have a larger tank. i do not think it would thrive in a 10gallon even as small as they are. maybe when the 10gallon gets upgraded eventually. 

It's really a great fish, as far as I can tell. Very active with truly beautiful colors, though it does seem a bit shy. I imagine that will get better with time though - it's only day 4 of it being in my tank, after all. I agree that it would not be appropriate for a 10 gallon tank though, as it seems to require quite a large area to roam and forage in.

 

I have not seen the angel take prepared foods just yet, but it has been relentlessly picking at algae and copepods on my glass so I am not too worried about feeding it for the time being. Here's a photo from today:

IMG_1531.thumb.JPG.1f365dccf582beb613dd8def989b9bde.JPG

 

The new gorgonian is also doing well. Considering it's been in the tank for less than a week, this amount of polyp extension is very good for this species:

IMG_1529.thumb.JPG.b5a866aabde37a51837340de94d2189c.JPGJt

 

It should be fully up to speed in a week to 10 days, I reckon.

 

On 10/22/2020 at 12:52 PM, JBM said:

Fantastic looking tank, and quiet the adventure along the way!

 

Glad I stopped by for the read

Thanks for taking the time to check out my tank! I've got a few more tentative plans for new livestock in store, so hopefully I can continue to deliver. 😁

 

I forgot to mention these little guys too: some smaller orange tunicates that I got with my last order. They are not nearly as big as the huge gray tunicate in the center of the tank, but I still find them quite interesting.

IMG_1530.thumb.JPG.7300cd20bb65f6cb31b70b41533a520e.JPG

 

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A.m.P

That little angel is adorable.

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JBM

care to share where you order your gorgonian?

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billygoat
On 10/24/2020 at 3:36 PM, Amphrites said:

That little angel is adorable.

The cherub is definitely a really cool and active fish. I can see why it might be a bit misleading for some people though - it clearly needs a lot of space to roam around, despite being less than two inches long. 

 

2 hours ago, JBM said:

care to share where you order your gorgonian?

Sure! All of my gorgs came from either KP Aquatics or Gulf Coast Ecosystems. The newest one came from KP.

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Sharbuckle

Makes me miss all my old gorgs! The cherub angel ya awry. I’ve always wanted one 

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Snow_Phoenix

That tiny angel is very cute. 😊

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kekke1082

@billygoat I'm wanting to add a macro species or 2 to my display but I've been having a hard time finding a species that is found particularly in the caribbean. from my research it seams that just about any species of macro algae that grows around FL/Gulf of mexico would be acceptable. would you happen to have any suggestions in that regard? or know of a good resource for finding more info on which species of macro would be appropriate? 

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Tired

I'm not who you asked, but I like codium. Hardy, fairly slow-growing (so it won't cause trouble), looks neat. ReefCleaners sometimes has it in stock, and all their stuff (unless marked as an import) is from Florida. IIRC, species of codium grow nearly worldwide. 

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kekke1082
15 minutes ago, Tired said:

I'm not who you asked, but I like codium. Hardy, fairly slow-growing (so it won't cause trouble), looks neat. ReefCleaners sometimes has it in stock, and all their stuff (unless marked as an import) is from Florida. IIRC, species of codium grow nearly worldwide. 

Thanks I will check them out! I was on their site a few days ago looking at mini brittle stars. Didn't even think to look for macros on their page 😂

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billygoat
On 10/25/2020 at 8:22 PM, Snow_Phoenix said:

That tiny angel is very cute. 😊

It's definitely super adorable, and has been a huge hit with the family too. Everyone is like "oh, you finally have a fish that actually swims around!" (this is after six months of just having a grumpy ol' sailfin blenny in my tank 😂)

 

On 10/26/2020 at 6:43 AM, kekke1082 said:

@billygoat I'm wanting to add a macro species or 2 to my display but I've been having a hard time finding a species that is found particularly in the caribbean. from my research it seams that just about any species of macro algae that grows around FL/Gulf of mexico would be acceptable. would you happen to have any suggestions in that regard? or know of a good resource for finding more info on which species of macro would be appropriate? 

My go-to place to get macros on the internet is Gulf Coast Ecosystems. Everything you see on their site is sourced from the Caribbean or the Gulf of Mexico, except for Hypnea pannosa and Halymenia durvillei, which are Pacific species that they culture in-house. Reef Cleaners is another excellent source for macros, as @Tired mentioned. I've gotten quite a few from them over the years too.

 

GCE also has a great "growing guide" on their page - a sort of info dump for growing various types of algae. I think it is quite well done despite being a bit dated.

 

As far as macro choices for a Caribbean tank go, I think you can't go wrong with any kind of Halimeda (it grows all over the place in the Caribbean) and Gracilaria hayi is another good choice if you're looking for something more showy. The most iconic Caribbean macro is probably Sargassum, but it's quite difficult to find for sale and difficult to care for as well.

 

 

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kekke1082
12 hours ago, billygoat said:

It's definitely super adorable, and has been a huge hit with the family too. Everyone is like "oh, you finally have a fish that actually swims around!" (this is after six months of just having a grumpy ol' sailfin blenny in my tank 😂)

 

My go-to place to get macros on the internet is Gulf Coast Ecosystems. Everything you see on their site is sourced from the Caribbean or the Gulf of Mexico, except for Hypnea pannosa and Halymenia durvillei, which are Pacific species that they culture in-house. Reef Cleaners is another excellent source for macros, as @Tired mentioned. I've gotten quite a few from them over the years too.

 

GCE also has a great "growing guide" on their page - a sort of info dump for growing various types of algae. I think it is quite well done despite being a bit dated.

 

As far as macro choices for a Caribbean tank go, I think you can't go wrong with any kind of Halimeda (it grows all over the place in the Caribbean) and Gracilaria hayi is another good choice if you're looking for something more showy. The most iconic Caribbean macro is probably Sargassum, but it's quite difficult to find for sale and difficult to care for as well.

 

 

I have seen the Sargassum before, sucks that it is hard to care for. I will check out gulf coast ecosystems again. I spoke with someone there a few days ago actually! they came up during my research when I was looking for a few things. I will have to place an order with them after i get situated. I still havent moved my stand into the apartment yet ( i Hate stairs and i have no one to help me move it). and i still have to figure out how i am going to mount my lighting 

 

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Tired

I've read that types of sargassum which grow attached to rocks are easier to keep. The stuff that floats at the surface needs to be turned over periodically and given very bright light, so is particularly tricky to keep. Even public aquariums have trouble. But it's the surface thing that makes it an issue, so it seems reasonable that the clinging kinds are easier. Never tried them, I don't have the space or the lighting, but might in future. I'd love a tank with some clinging sargassum and some of the pretty sargassum shrimp I can collect at the Texas coast myself when a lot of the stuff rolls in. And I'm sure the shrimp would love to be rescued from a seagull-laden fate.

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farkwar

Have you ever got one of these on any of your gorgonians? (Ps, the purple one is beautiful)

Screenshot_20201029-041703_Firefox.jpg

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Frozen_Reef

Oh @billygoat I am so happy to see that you got an upgrade and to see all those gorgs having some extra height! I think I might be back after a 3 month "Recuperation" period to figure life out and plan out life

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billygoat
On 10/29/2020 at 4:16 AM, farkwar said:

Have you ever got one of these on any of your gorgonians? (Ps, the purple one is beautiful)

Screenshot_20201029-041703_Firefox.jpg

Thankfully I've never seen a flamingo tongue snail come in on one of my gorgs... but I remember them being all over the place in the Caribbean, so I suppose it could happen! They're pretty showy, so I imagine that the retailer would probably remove them before shipping. But you never know! 😅

 

On 10/29/2020 at 8:23 AM, Frozen_Reef said:

Oh @billygoat I am so happy to see that you got an upgrade and to see all those gorgs having some extra height! I think I might be back after a 3 month "Recuperation" period to figure life out and plan out life

Thanks for your kind words, and welcome back! It's one heck of a time to be alive but I hope you are doing well. Exciting to hear about the new tank too! Keep me posted on your progress. 👌

 

So, anyway! It's been a super busy week for me but the tank is doing pretty well despite receiving less-than-optimal amounts of attention. Here's a new FTS:

IMG_1538.thumb.JPG.ed9b6e199a122e7fa7c74df83a279f86.JPG

 

And from a bit further out:

IMG_1537a.thumb.jpg.467a6654d455d6f1a6e9518c76f26839.jpg

 

The new 'gorg in the back is still acclimating, but I think it's doing very well. Pretty much everything is doing well, in fact... with a few exceptions. This Siderastrea (or whatever it is) has been closed up for a few days now and is starting to get encroached upon by coralline algae:

IMG_1534.thumb.JPG.8ac8673ea9c139ed655a8f6a04ed16bb.JPG

 

Not sure what's going on there, but hopefully it will get its act together soon. 🤷‍♂️

 

My large green RFA has also been acting a bit weird and shrinking up lately. This may be related to its reproductive cycle, as it started doing this right after a spawning event. I don't think there's any water quality issue at hand because my other big RFA looks fine, and if it were light or flow the 'nem would just move, so... we'll play it by ear with this guy. I think it's just being a bit dramatic and will likely be back to normal soon.

IMG_1533.thumb.JPG.3b8ea9011def0a9024cbdc1cb354c97b.JPG

 

The new tunicates seem to be doing really well. Or at least I think they are? Not entirely sure how to tell if a tunicate is happy, but they're always expanded and filtering, so I guess that's a good sign. I've been broadcast feeding Brightwell phytoplankton supplements once or twice a day, so hopefully they're getting enough to eat. This giant honker is my favorite of the bunch (you can see some of his bright orange buddies in the background too):

IMG_1532.thumb.JPG.1ca1f2d06396c87499e4f5d5e7862e96.JPG

 

What a bizarre animal.

 

Last but certainly not least, followers of my previous tank will no doubt be pleased to learn that the Maw is back up to speed and seems to have fully recovered from its brush with death during a power outage a few months ago. Kind of a weird camera angle here but I was trying to capture its size:

IMG_1539.thumb.JPG.e46e26f9f751dd70e90cbebb11293c22.JPG

 

I'm sure it will be back to eating gobies and porcelain crabs in no time. 😂

 

That's all I've got for now! Thanks for visiting. 

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Frozen_Reef
3 minutes ago, billygoat said:

Thankfully I've never seen a flamingo tongue snail come in on one of my gorgs... but I remember them being all over the place in the Caribbean, so I suppose it could happen! They're pretty showy, so I imagine that the retailer would probably remove them before shipping. But you never know! 😅

 

Thanks for your kind words, and welcome back! It's one heck of a time to be alive but I hope you are doing well. Exciting to hear about the new tank too! Keep me posted on your progress. 👌

 

So, anyway! It's been a super busy week for me but the tank is doing pretty well despite receiving less-than-optimal amounts of attention. Here's a new FTS:

IMG_1538.thumb.JPG.ed9b6e199a122e7fa7c74df83a279f86.JPG

 

And from a bit further out:

IMG_1537a.thumb.jpg.467a6654d455d6f1a6e9518c76f26839.jpg

 

The new 'gorg in the back is still acclimating, but I think it's doing very well. Pretty much everything is doing well, in fact... with a few exceptions. This Siderastrea (or whatever it is) has been closed up for a few days now and is starting to get encroached upon by coralline algae:

IMG_1534.thumb.JPG.8ac8673ea9c139ed655a8f6a04ed16bb.JPG

 

Not sure what's going on there, but hopefully it will get its act together soon. 🤷‍♂️

 

My large green RFA has also been acting a bit weird and shrinking up lately. This may be related to its reproductive cycle, as it started doing this right after a spawning event. I don't think there's any water quality issue at hand because my other big RFA looks fine, and if it were light or flow the 'nem would just move, so... we'll play it by ear with this guy. I think it's just being a bit dramatic and will likely be back to normal soon.

IMG_1533.thumb.JPG.3b8ea9011def0a9024cbdc1cb354c97b.JPG

 

The new tunicates seem to be doing really well. Or at least I think they are? Not entirely sure how to tell if a tunicate is happy, but they're always expanded and filtering, so I guess that's a good sign. I've been broadcast feeding Brightwell phytoplankton supplements once or twice a day, so hopefully they're getting enough to eat. This giant honker is my favorite of the bunch (you can see some of his bright orange buddies in the background too):

IMG_1532.thumb.JPG.1ca1f2d06396c87499e4f5d5e7862e96.JPG

 

What a bizarre animal.

 

Last but certainly not least, followers of my previous tank will no doubt be pleased to learn that the Maw is back up to speed and seems to have fully recovered from its brush with death during a power outage a few months ago. Kind of a weird camera angle here but I was trying to capture its size:

IMG_1539.thumb.JPG.e46e26f9f751dd70e90cbebb11293c22.JPG

 

I'm sure it will be back to eating gobies and porcelain crabs in no time. 😂

 

That's all I've got for now! Thanks for visiting. 

I love this tank and seeing the Maw back in the tank makes me think of the good old days of fried tomatoes and eating gobies 

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debbeach13

I think considering this tank has only been running for a couple of months and it was a transfer of a tank that was great but it looks very mature and does not look new at all. One of the most successful transfers I have watched. Good job.

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billygoat
11 hours ago, Frozen_Reef said:

I love this tank and seeing the Maw back in the tank makes me think of the good old days of fried tomatoes and eating gobies 

I tried to put the Maw in kind of an out-of-the-way location this time so it would be less likely to eat my fish, but once it starts to get bigger again the risk is definitely there. I just can't bring myself to get rid of the thing though. It has a certain appeal to me. 😅

 

2 hours ago, debbeach13 said:

I think considering this tank has only been running for a couple of months and it was a transfer of a tank that was great but it looks very mature and does not look new at all. One of the most successful transfers I have watched. Good job.

Thank you! The tank has definitely seen some small growing pains and hiccups, like diatoms on the sand and various issues adjusting flow and light, but all in all it's been very smooth. I think porting over a supercharged biofilter from the old tank really helped to smooth the transition, and the partial sandbed transfer that I performed likely helped out a bit as well.

 

It also helps that I have barely any fish, so the bioload has been relatively small and easy for the new tank to handle. I am thinking of setting up a refugium a bit later on in the event that I get a few more fish.

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