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FishProblem

2.5 Gallon Caribbean Pico

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FishProblem
46 minutes ago, Tired said:

You don't need to worry about treating the rock. Observation is just fine. I'd set a couple bottle traps in there (with ventilation holes so the stuff in the traps doesn't die) in case there are any crabs or whatnot. 

 

API is not an accurate brand, having something else is generally better.

Awesome! Are there any bad guys beyond aiptasia I should be looking out for like worms?

Yeah trying to test in the beginning of my cycle with API was a total drag, and not worth the inaccuracy. I've got Salifert now for Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate, and just got the Red Sea Pro Phosphate kit. I think that should tide me over for a while, at least.

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Tired

Unpleasant worms are fairly rare. Eunicids scare people, because bobbits are a eunicid, but many are harmless enough. Parasitic isopods are possible, but also very rare. They look like a white roly-poly/pillbug/what have you, with very large black eyes. I would suggest having a turkey baster and a red light (or flashlight with red tissue paper over the lens), to check on the tank at night and quickly remove anything that looks suspicious. When in doubt, pull it out alive, put it in a cup of water, take a picture, and get an ID. Worms and other critters should be fine overnight in a reasonably large cup of clean tank water, if it's too late in the day for ID answers. 

 

You will probably see a lot of worms. Most of them are harmless. 

 

This is a good source to learn about what you're looking at. You'll probably never see most of this, but it's an interesting thing to flip through either way.  https://chucksaddiction.thefishestate.net/hitchhikers.html

 

When you get the rock, inspect it for corals and macroalgae. Make sure to place the rock with those exposed to the light. Look up "starlet coral" and "cup coral" for some of the more common hitchhikers. If you see what looks like a dead coral skeleton, put it in the light anyway- sometimes they're alive and just highly retracted. I accidentally put a live coral under an overhang in my tank because I saw a white skeleton and figured it was dead, and only noticed it had flesh months later. Chiseled it off the underside of the rock, and it's fine now. 

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FishProblem
7 hours ago, Tired said:

Unpleasant worms are fairly rare. Eunicids scare people, because bobbits are a eunicid, but many are harmless enough. Parasitic isopods are possible, but also very rare. They look like a white roly-poly/pillbug/what have you, with very large black eyes. I would suggest having a turkey baster and a red light (or flashlight with red tissue paper over the lens), to check on the tank at night and quickly remove anything that looks suspicious. When in doubt, pull it out alive, put it in a cup of water, take a picture, and get an ID. Worms and other critters should be fine overnight in a reasonably large cup of clean tank water, if it's too late in the day for ID answers. 

 

You will probably see a lot of worms. Most of them are harmless. 

 

This is a good source to learn about what you're looking at. You'll probably never see most of this, but it's an interesting thing to flip through either way.  https://chucksaddiction.thefishestate.net/hitchhikers.html

 

When you get the rock, inspect it for corals and macroalgae. Make sure to place the rock with those exposed to the light. Look up "starlet coral" and "cup coral" for some of the more common hitchhikers. If you see what looks like a dead coral skeleton, put it in the light anyway- sometimes they're alive and just highly retracted. I accidentally put a live coral under an overhang in my tank because I saw a white skeleton and figured it was dead, and only noticed it had flesh months later. Chiseled it off the underside of the rock, and it's fine now. 

I have a headlamp with a red light setting. I cannot wait to drive my gf insane wearing it in the bedroom late at night to peer into the tank. I love catching creepy crawlies. It'll be like messing around in a tide pool, except I can do it inside in January 😛

I'll definitely give any poorly looking corals a fighting chance. Thanks for the reminder, I probably would have tossed one if I came across it!

 

 

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ReefCap

Following along. I love the idea for this tank! 
 

I don’t know much about Caribbean tanks but I hope to learn a thing or two from you. Good luck!

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Tired

 image0.jpg?width=473&height=630image0.jpg?width=473&height=630

That's a starlet coral I found. Most of the skeleton was covered in algae, so I thought it was dead. When I inspected it on the rock, the flesh you can see here was retracted completely into the skeleton from stress, almost completely invisible. I didn't realize at the time that one patch of the skeleton not being covered in algae meant it was alive, but that's a good indicator. If you find a coral skeleton that has a patch with no algae on it, that patch may still be alive. 

I chiseled this piece off the underside of the rock, and it's been (very slowly) growing for awhile now. Starlet corals aren't flashy, but they're neat, and somewhat rare in the trade at this point. They aren't legal to collect from the wild, unless it's one that has settled on a rock someone placed out in the ocean for maricultured live rock. Like this one. Legal to have once you get one, just not legal to go and get. With the increase in dry rock use, these are getting rarer and rarer to find. 

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FishProblem
On 1/6/2021 at 2:04 AM, ReefCap said:

Following along. I love the idea for this tank! 
 

I don’t know much about Caribbean tanks but I hope to learn a thing or two from you. Good luck!

Well I don't know much about reef tanks at all, so we can learn together! Thanks!

 

 

On 1/6/2021 at 10:53 AM, Tired said:

 image0.jpg?width=473&height=630image0.jpg?width=473&height=630

That's a starlet coral I found. Most of the skeleton was covered in algae, so I thought it was dead. When I inspected it on the rock, the flesh you can see here was retracted completely into the skeleton from stress, almost completely invisible. I didn't realize at the time that one patch of the skeleton not being covered in algae meant it was alive, but that's a good indicator. If you find a coral skeleton that has a patch with no algae on it, that patch may still be alive. 

I chiseled this piece off the underside of the rock, and it's been (very slowly) growing for awhile now. Starlet corals aren't flashy, but they're neat, and somewhat rare in the trade at this point. They aren't legal to collect from the wild, unless it's one that has settled on a rock someone placed out in the ocean for maricultured live rock. Like this one. Legal to have once you get one, just not legal to go and get. With the increase in dry rock use, these are getting rarer and rarer to find. 

This is getting me so excited about my live rock! It should be shipping out today or tomorrow, and I can't wait to get it.

 

I've got some big updates, but I'll try not to ramble.

 

The tank had been reading 0, 0, 50 and then five days later 0, 0, 25. So...


On Saturday, I started building my cleanup crew. I found a shop in Manhattan that had ceriths listed on their site, so I bought six to start for pickup. While I was in Manhattan anyway, I stopped at my usual LFS and the Petco in Union Square, which has an absolutely awesome aquatic section, and looked for scarlet hermits and virgin nerites. I wasn't surprised that I couldn't find the nerites anywhere. I did pick up a little scarlet hermit from Petco though. It's adorable and I'm totally enamored. I ran into Manhattan Aquarium quickly to pick up the ceriths, and then got right back to my double parked car. I did my first water change - two gallons to clean things up and bring my salinity up to 1.025. Everything acclimated well. I got the Innovative Marine AccuDrip acclimator and it's awesome. I'm usually fumbling with airline hose like a fool when I drip acclimate livestock and this made it pretty much enjoyable.

Some pics of 'em cause they're all adorable:


244585089_ScreenShot2021-01-11at10_52_01PM.png.2a7da6d85381ceaa157339d8cf2c420c.png

 

919830322_ScreenShot2021-01-11at10_53_12PM.png.91e5f91964cabe6ff7e55cac5fee2ef3.png

 

523840847_ScreenShot2021-01-11at10_53_24PM.png.2746ef1b992260e833caf0652a8226da.png

 

1464163243_ScreenShot2021-01-11at10_52_45PM.png.fb0d8b0e07b148747e953ec3a0947063.png


But as I gazed happily at my ceriths, I realized something was off. They're the wrong snails. The ceriths pictured on the Manhattan Aquarium store page are the Caribbean dwarf ceriths I want. But these are larger - and even worse - Mexican ceriths. The biotope is off to a rocky start. I'd been daydreaming about ultimately building a pico reef bowl too, with the live rock that I'm going to seed the tank with. But now I'm thinking that's a solidified plan, cause my gf already loves the snails and I won't sacrifice the integrity of this tank's biotope concept. So eventually, the Mexican ceriths are getting the boot and moving to the bowl. Then I'll replace them with the right snails. Unless! Can anyone confirm or deny the distribution of this species? I've spent a good deal of time trying to figure out what species they are, but I'm coming up short.

In the meantime, the ceriths are doing a killer job mixing up the sand bed, and I already have a few gleaming white patches on the rock. They're great little helpers.

 

As if I weren't excited enough about having animals in the tank, on Sunday I GOT MY FIRST CORAL. Do I sound excited enough? I am very excited. A girl on the local forums was selling Utter Chaos Zoa frags for $10, and I sorta couldn't help myself. I wore glasses and a face mask (thanks covid) and used my aquascaping tweezers to move the frag from container to container cause I've got a few cuts and didn't have gloves on hand. They were pissy, but started opening up when I dipped them in Coral RX. By Monday morning all but one of the five polyps were fully open. The one is still being moody, but I'm going to give it some time. I am SO absurdly excited. It's gorgeous in every light, blues, mixed, even lights off. I can't stop looking at it. I do need to get myself some latex gloves so I can break the stem off the frag plug and actually mount the frag. The plug is just too big for my tiny rock work.

 

IMG_6047.thumb.PNG.9496cf6978a45fc2e8a0ab96268c03ed.PNG

 

I haven't tested since before I did the WC, so I'm going to test again tomorrow morning, including for phosphates with my new Red Sea Phosphate Pro kit. I'm mixing up a batch of new water overnight just in case I need it. My water level is a little low from using some of the tank water for acclimation, so I need to add some saltwater back in anyway.

 

That's all for now!

 

 

 

 

 

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Tired

Oh, Utter Chaos are nice. They can morph really easily (change colors and patterns) under different lights, so yours may change a little. Nice price on those, too, and good job on the palytoxin safety. Utter Chaos are one of the definitely toxic ones- some people have had reactions after not taking proper precautions. Really nothing to worry about with some basic sense and PPE. 

 

Make sure to have plenty of empty shells for your scarlet hermit. They prefer a specific kind of shell: heavy ones. You can look them up online to see what they like, every result is wearing the same idea of shell. They can be fussy. They also like to flip small objects to look for food underneath, which is really cute until they get big enough to flip any frags you don't have glued down. Then it's still kinda cute. 

 

Are your ceriths these? https://www.reefcleaners.org/store/out-of-season/stocky-cerith-detail 

Because, since ReefCleaners sells them and doesn't mention them being imported, I would assume Florida has those ceriths. I'd be a little surprised if they were in Florida, but not in the Caribbean. 

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FishProblem
1 hour ago, Tired said:

Oh, Utter Chaos are nice. They can morph really easily (change colors and patterns) under different lights, so yours may change a little. Nice price on those, too, and good job on the palytoxin safety. Utter Chaos are one of the definitely toxic ones- some people have had reactions after not taking proper precautions. Really nothing to worry about with some basic sense and PPE. 

 

Make sure to have plenty of empty shells for your scarlet hermit. They prefer a specific kind of shell: heavy ones. You can look them up online to see what they like, every result is wearing the same idea of shell. They can be fussy. They also like to flip small objects to look for food underneath, which is really cute until they get big enough to flip any frags you don't have glued down. Then it's still kinda cute. 

 

Are your ceriths these? https://www.reefcleaners.org/store/out-of-season/stocky-cerith-detail 

Because, since ReefCleaners sells them and doesn't mention them being imported, I would assume Florida has those ceriths. I'd be a little surprised if they were in Florida, but not in the Caribbean. 

I didn't know that about the color changing! That's pretty cool. I wonder if these will - I asked the seller about her lighting and it's really similar to mine. I was pretty thrilled about the deal I got - now I just hope I do right by them. Good to know they're on the definitely toxic list, too. I'd been seeing conflicting info, but have decided that any zoas I ever mess with are going to get the hazmat treatment.

I've been looking for the shells so I have them in the tank sooner rather than later. Found a couple decent options online, so I'm going to explore further and order some tomorrow. I saw that ReefCleaners helped some people out by hand selecting the shells for them, so I might email them to see if I can take that route.

 

Unfortunately, no. They're these (the Mexican, not Caribbean, of course): https://www.liveaquaria.com/product/1159/?pcatid=1159

 

Every site I've found them on lists them just as Cerithium sp. , and many describe them as being from Mexico. I can't remember the page I saw it on, but I'm pretty sure I saw it implied that they're from the west coast of Mexico, not the east. I spent a lot of time yesterday pasting all the "cerithium" hits on WoRMS into google image search and did not have any luck. There's an ID site I'm going to try too, as soon as I find the bookmark.
 

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ReefCap

I’d do the pico tank sooner than later if you want to keep your biotope true. They bread quick usually spiral pattern eggs on the glass.

 

Also I could be wrong but I don’t think utter chaos Zoas are a type from the Caribbean, I think they are Pacific Ocean.

 

I do love the red sea PO4 test kit, the Hanna PO4 kit is easier to read because it’s digital, but make sure you don’t try and read it near your reef lights. I read my red sea tests in another room with zero blue light because blue lights with a blue test makes it impossible to read accurately.

 

Keep up the good work, can’t wait to see more! 
 

P.S. if your in NYC my buddy says Manhattan Reef is the only place they go locally and I trust him for all things reefing.

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FishProblem
9 hours ago, ReefCap said:

I’d do the pico tank sooner than later if you want to keep your biotope true. They bread quick usually spiral pattern eggs on the glass.

 

Also I could be wrong but I don’t think utter chaos Zoas are a type from the Caribbean, I think they are Pacific Ocean.

 

I do love the red sea PO4 test kit, the Hanna PO4 kit is easier to read because it’s digital, but make sure you don’t try and read it near your reef lights. I read my red sea tests in another room with zero blue light because blue lights with a blue test makes it impossible to read accurately.

 

Keep up the good work, can’t wait to see more! 
 

P.S. if your in NYC my buddy says Manhattan Reef is the only place they go locally and I trust him for all things reefing.

Yeah I've seen pics of the eggs... I don't mind removing them for the time being but you're right that I don't want that to become a long term issue.

I am worried about the Utter Chaos not being Caribbean, but I did some research and so far have found that DNA testing has shown it's one of a pair of "sibling species" that are genetically indistinguishable outside of identifying the collection location. These species were split up by the Panama isthmus so recently that current DNA technology can't differentiate them. Soooo I feel pretty comfortable right now letting that one slide. I'm going to be more diligent about IDing the species of the zoas I add in the future, and if I decide the Utter Chaos don't belong, well. Into the bowl! Tbh I could kick myself for not having looked into it earlier.

Good advice! I've been reading all my tests away from the reef tank either by a window or under one of my white planted tank lights for accuracy.

Thanks! I've hit a couple snags already, but I'm learning through it, so I don't mind too much.

P.S. Good to know! I'll keep that in mind while I explore the shops in the city. 🙂

 

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