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Diamonds x Pearls

[UNS "5gal" nano] On the shores of Tsushima

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Diamonds x Pearls

[I moved the previous text block down to the second post]

 

State of the Aquarium: December 2021

IMG_20211130_162056667.thumb.jpg.0ec633e43e4717d0b4a9c2c7ff90e17f.jpg

 

Abstract

[I'll get to this after 90ish days of actual coral keeping]

 

MATERIALS AND METHODS AND MADNESS <- Click on this to jump down to the core block of text

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8/29

I think I'm mostly moved in. It's been a while, N-R. I'm still in a bit of a financial hole because moving from MD to CA is an expensive endeavor.

Another biotope, yes. The showroom at work decided to get rid of a couple nice Ultum Nature tanks since maintaining them on top of the three large display systems was asking for much...and all of our clients really ask for systems that are superbly big. I have two four-gallon rimless tanks, one cube and the other rectangular. I'm not sure which one to use...let alone I don't have any furniture to put them on. It'll be some time until I actually get a build list and an abstract moving forward. Hang in there. I'll be back soon. 

 

9/19

We're kinda back. Fedex arrived yesterday with an end table I bought off Amazon that was advertised to support over 100 lbs at the tabletop.

Nothing too fabulous here.

 

However similar to the TOTM I am using a UN tank of the same dimension. It's advertised as their 5 gallon nano model but it shoots above 4 gallons. As it stands I have an Amazon brand (Lominie) Freshwater Light. However it feels bright enough to support what I am planning to do. The same make does have a saltwater model which should suffice and has even the same form factor. These tanks are about 14x8x8 considering net measurements (in other words without the glass). As of now, this tank came with an Eheim 2211 canister filter. I'm not really planning on using this filter as the tubes are old and not pliable and only generates 60 gph. Perhaps it may stick around as a closed loop recirculation pump only because I hate throwing things out.

 

IMG_20210919_130848711.thumb.jpg.a5089104bffa904467dc55960f00b877.jpg

 

 

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Background information:

 

The uppermost bound of coral reefs is found around 34°N latitude around Jeju and Tsushima Islands. Probably the most significant of this find is that cooler water tolerant invertebrates and coral species are able to recruit so far north thanks to split offs in the main Kuroshio Current. The hope with this aquarium is capturing a tiny chunk what you may find up there. Unfortunately there isn't as much literature and I can't seem to find a diving video I was happy with. However it wouldn't be my coral journal if I didn't cite anybody, so I still tried my darnest to glean information. Partly why I wanted to work with this biotope is that I am willing to try to go on without a heater. Yep, no heater. Entirely reliant on ambient temperature around me.

 

To me, the Tsushima reefs are interesting because their mean SST (sea surface temperature) hangs around 19.5C with the low in March (13) and highs in September (27). Coral communities found here are far different from what is seen from their southern counterparts. It's way less diverse than my previous build based from the Ryukyu Islands. There's really four genera observed here: Favia, Echinophyllia, Lithophyllon, and Cyphastrea. A couple papers make mention of Hydnophora.

 

Coral Reefs of Japan, Sea of Japan Ch. 6.

The Pliocene to recent history of the Kuroshio and Tsushima Currents (check out table 1)

(it's in Korean LOL) Evaluation of Jeju/Tsushima Hermatypic Corals as Sea &nbsp;Surface Temperature (SST) Recorder

Coral reefs at 34°N, Japan: Exploring the end of environmental gradients

 

This build will follow a really shallow environment like less than 2.5 meters shallow. Based on the Reef book and the core sampling paper we'll be working with decent sized colonies of Favia speciosa. I think just recently this coral has been reclassified as Dipsastrea. I may sneak an Echinophyllia chalice just for giggles.

 

As you may tell from my stocking choice and the title. Yes, a lot of sweepers. Fun.

 

(proposed) Materials:

"5 gallon" Ultum Nature Systems nano rectangle (4.33 internal volume)

Lominie Freshwater Light

Fluval SEA Marine Nano 20W

Eheim Type 2211 Canister Filter

Sicce Voyager Nano 1000 (270 gph rating)

Eheim Ebo 50W (just in case we get too cold)

A small scattering of sand

A small quantity of rock, 3 pounds or even less.

 

(proposed) Livestock:

The biggest Favia speciosa colonies I can find.

An assortment of cerith and margarita snails and red leg hermit crabs

 

(proposed) Methods:

I really liked keeping the elegance coral earlier this year and I wasn't bothered with doing 100% water changes on a weekly basis. Because of that maintenance practice, it practically struck out the need for more in-depth parameter tracking. I did realize however it took a long time to cycle an aquarium because there was barely any stuff for the bacteria to grow on. Feeding the corals will only take place once a week with some Reef Roids mixed in solution with Fuel or another amino acid based liquid. But that's mostly all I can think of is a weekly water change and feed. If you're wondering where's my water coming from. It's coming from either one of two sources...the Tenji Inc showroom OR natural seawater directly from Monterey Bay, more specifically the waters right under Cannery Row. I'm surrounded by marine protected areas so theoretically the water is cleaner. I'll have to run a preliminary test of my local seawater. I'm confident that I might be okay.

 

However with doing 100% water changes I immediately can tell the problems I may have with priming back the canister filter and considering the limited workspace. I ran a test of the filter in the morning with a 80% full tank and I wasn't exactly thrilled with its performance and how it doesn't have a primer like the Marineland and Fluval models do. In place, I am thinking of running just a Tidal 35 with maybe a nano Koralia.

 

I hate to be that guy, but I might just skirt away with a freshwater light. Colors might not be great, but this project isn't really considering that.

 

Heater will still be installed but set at its lowest (18C) setting.

 

RODI top offs will require a visit to work or Whole Foods (can't beat 40 cents a gallon).

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banasophia

Nice, looking forward to following. 

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growsomething

Fw natural daylight lights look great in reef tanks 👍🏽

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Ratvan

I do love watching your set ups progress, plus have often wondered what an all Favia Nano would look like. Following along with eager interest

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Diamonds x Pearls

Tomorrow is loot day! I always find myself at SaltwaterAquarium.com getting supplies from there rather than Bulk Reef Supply. It's probably because I don't want to deal with other competing buyers, haha.

 

On 9/19/2021 at 2:22 PM, Diamonds x Pearls said:

[...]

 

(proposed) Materials:

"5 gallon" Ultum Nature Systems nano rectangle (4.33 internal volume)

Lominie Freshwater Light

Fluval SEA Marine Nano 20W

Eheim Type 2211 Canister Filter

Sicce Voyager Nano 1000 (270 gph rating)

Eheim Ebo 50W (just in case we get too cold)

A small scattering of sand

A small quantity of rock, 3 pounds or even less.

 

(proposed) Livestock:

The biggest Favia speciosa colonies I can find.

An assortment of cerith and margarita snails and red leg hermit crabs

 

(proposed) Methods:

[...]

Finalized Materials:

"5 gallon" UNS nano rectangle (4.33 gallons internal measured volume)

Fluval Sea Marine Nano 20W

Sicce Voyager Nano 1000 (270 gph) - apparently similar price point as the reliable Koralia nano 240. Time to impress me, Italy.

Eheim Ebo 50W - temperature is set to 19°C (that is 66.2° Freedomunits) as the low temperature cutoff. My freshwater tank holds mid 70s.

Borrowed sand from the freshwater tank...I don't feel like buying substrate

WTB a small quantity of sandstone  Two Little Fishies STAX, 5lbs.

A shot glass for my brain suffering or my coral growing

 

Finalized Livestock:

3x 4" colonies of Favia speciosa.

A collection of margarita snails, inherently hailing from cooler waters.

 

Finalized Methods:

100% water changes weekly. Manmade water from my employer. I just need to write a check or ask to take it out of my paycheck each pay period. I'm planning to have the photoperiod just 4-6 hours long. If I remember, I'll check for salt creep on the light since there is no lid for this tank. The tank will be receiving indirect sunlight in the morning through a window as it will face east by northeast. Because of this, the lights will probably ramp up on around lunch time and continue until dinner time. Speaking of dinner, I juggled the idea of feeding at least twice a week with the pumps off for 15-30 minutes of contact time. I'm considering the Fauna Marin LPS pellets soaked in Red Sea AB+ and Seachem Zooplankton, target fed. However I am feeling a little lazy and would like to just create a Reef Roids and Coral Gumbo suspension in the same liquids and just broadcast it into the system. The animals have a week to eat right? No dosing as the water changes should be sufficient. If you're wondering, my work uses standard Red Sea salt. No filter changes, just relying on the nitrifying bugs.

 

Intended Goal:

Something remotely resembling the rocky shore of Tsushima Island, the northernmost coral reef. Waters will vary from the warm end of temperate to actual tropical. Hopefully with strong feedings and consistent water changes we'll have nice round masses to look at. I've heard some people are able to print multiple mouths on a monthly basis. Granted I have temperature to work against, but we'll see how my house is insulated. This is what we're trying to go for...

PAsJhKNL7smNu77rchw7EA-970-80.jpg.99314f84232405974553eda5d0303da2.jpg

 

Rationale:

Why just limited flow? Unlike the previous build, this type of reef appears in mostly sheltered and turbid bays. This means that the geological features provide a lot of protection from wave energy. A more standard coral reef is often characterized as high-energy and exposed to waves.

 

Angriest? Yeah, space is limited in here and kinda over there. Also coverage is very high, but diversity is low. We aren't going to a bouquet you see on TOTM awards.

 

Reef rock? No, we're going full biotope throttle as we're even trying to match basal rock. There are some accumulation of carbonate structures, but not significant enough to be a typical coral reef. I'm not quite certain yet on the actual geological makeup of Tsushima, but I'm willing to bet its older sedimentary rock like sandstone. Also it might be easier to glue on a flat face.  Apparently rocks are a little weird to buy online and of course actual rocks are dense. I'll be planning to a 5lb pack of STAX oolitic rock. 

 

Those are huge colonies. Yeah, I got tired of seeing frags honestly. While growing out frags to colonies is a lot of the fun. Sometimes there are corals out there that have subjectively awful growth rates. Favias can be like that. Anecdotally, some beg to differ. Yet, if I can get a 10cm+ colony, then why not... my poor wallet.

 

Acknowledgements:

@Postlarval Kow I stalked his TOTM since it was literally using the same glass box. I got motivated seeing it how it manifested to a very attractive tank.

My direct supervisor, Austin Lefevre. Yes, the same guy that founded Aqua Box, launched Cherry Fish, wrote articles for Reefs, and spoke at MACNAs. Now he and I work for Tenji and are enjoying the fruits of living in Monterey.

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IMG_20210924_180746658.thumb.jpg.03548302a8d01184eefc91ec77f39f2f.jpg

We're getting there.

 

The FluvalSmart App isn't too hard to work with. It requires location access and hopefully it'll find your device. It spits out a list and from there you can use exported presets. For my purposes I use an auto mode with my own designated on off and sleep periods. Of course, I also choose color combinations. Right now I have it 50% pink, 66% cyan, 75% blue, 85% violet, and 75% cool white.

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This month we'll be cooking off the STAX rocks I just ordered tonight. I'm planning to cycle the rocks at the office showroom for about a month. I've decided against using a substrate since if I do use all 5 pounds of STAX it should be sufficient surface area for the bacteria to grow. But before we all do this, I'd like to build a structure with the pieces I'll be given. Reefing LEGOs. 

 

I also ordered a digital thermometer. 

 

My check books came in the mail. I haven't ordered new books in about... 10 years. Since I'm using my work's made saltwater mix, it's only fair that I pay for it. 

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I've been pretty lazy and also been busy working on other people's tanks, so I made it to push aside all my other more demanding hobbies this weekend to really just focus on building this up. Here we are 10 days later and I could have had the rockwork cook in a mature aquarium.

 

Normally everyone would stack the STAX rocks vertically like you would a stack of books, newspapers, and burger patties. However when you build this way you're accounting for some space behind the scape so you can work around in your cleaning or allowing water to easily pass through. This build doesn't really do that because I'm really limited on space. I visualized basically a quarter of a sphere and tried to build to something similar to that effect. The handy thing about the STAX is that you can build horizontally, meaning instead of piling it up its set side to side along the flat edge.

 

I made an L shape with 2 STAX pieces so that the rock will sit flush to the bottom and back of the tank, so that the scape will seat better. I got pretty lucky that the rough edges were able to just sit with each other.

 

IMG_20211017_091657317.thumb.jpg.8fa69ed29c2012708fd1bd3d788d9854.jpg

 

Now the tough part was that you have a horizontal stack going across a flat smooth surface. I had to rely on the character the flat side hoping that whatever nib, knob, and divet would accept the rough sides of the STAX.

 

IMG_20211017_091633637.thumb.jpg.2ffa0cbe7c0588ff60438c5460dc763b.jpg

 

Another consideration is water flow. This sometimes gets missed when we're enthusiastically creating a scape. While it was gluing the STAX together, I was hoping to keep the pores and channels somewhat contiguous so that the water being pushed from the powerhead could potentially enter the rock through the holes. Admittedly, this can't be 100% hydrodynamic. In the end, I can see myself just grabbing the glued stack and just rinsing it in clean saltwater on a regular basis.

 

IMG_20211017_092730961.thumb.jpg.4e95009cbed26899bd97210d3f440303.jpg

 

I do find this difference makes this product pretty revolutionary in making the scape you want, and it allows variation and creativity. I didn't end up using all pieces. I don't need that much rock to put up so few colonies. It's hard to tell from the images, but I was gluing the stack together in a manner where each pore and hole would still be connected. It's not 100% hydrodynamic, but I thought of the possibility of taking a turkey baster and being able to give the rock a good blast from the outside in. In the end, I could just yank the rock out and just swirl it around in clean saltwater.

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IMG_20211017_130955329.thumb.jpg.7247ec2c6e4a4676f3851d10d236db53.jpg

 

Now if it was left as is with a sideways stacked rock on top of a flat piece. It wouldn't look believable or look nice anyway. Imagine a lonely summer sausage on a dinner plate or a wooden cheeseboard. A very poor looking meal. You need more elements to help with the lines or at least make the cheeseboard an actual cheeseboard. So we add cheese.

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Fortunately the box of rocks does come with small commitments, so you can see I glued a small piece to the right, and I stacked three smaller pieces on the left to help blend in the stack. For now, I'm not planning to glue the flanking sides as we might need flat sides to place a future colony.

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The top isn't the most glamorous view as the lines between the stacks are obvious. I'm hoping over time something will grow in the seams.

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The right side of the aquarium got some love too. There are two pieces of rubble stacked to help soften the lines and make it more cohesive with the rest of the scape. IMG_20211017_131913339.thumb.jpg.f4d4e0c6238fbb099d88a70b9b0dfd3f.jpg

IMG_20211017_131922764.thumb.jpg.40365d9410800ae434c311593bbb3bdf.jpg

IMG_20211017_131856334.thumb.jpg.bd5d01e7091acc87b37e12a8d9724b9b.jpg

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DevilDuck

Oh yeah! Welcome back!

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Tamberav

Since it isn't wet yet... stick a mug in there and join the nano-reef contest!

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Diamonds x Pearls
2 hours ago, Tamberav said:

Since it isn't wet yet... stick a mug in there and join the nano-reef contest!

Oh it wouldn't be fair. My actual office/showroom has a really mature 125 and 600 gallon reefs. Plus, I do have a client that has a 700ish reef with so much coral that it does go wall to wall!

 

I'll think about it.

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Diamonds x Pearls

Happy Wet Day.

IMG_20211022_160931251.thumb.jpg.289c7b41eba346da958ea7364764941f.jpg

The thermometer is set to 69°F...nice

 

So yes I'm taking a shortcut. Rather than lug my kindergarten art project to work and have it cook in our showroom reefs I snagged a dead cyphastrea skeleton that was in the sump. You can see the lump next the thermometer on the left. I got pretty lucky as coincidentally the reefs in Tsushima were historically cyphastrea dominant systems.

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Over time, something grew finally. There's a nice sheet of diatoms over the skeleton, so at least there's a visual indication of algae fuel is existing in the water. I ghost fed only twice between now and this previous post, just several NLS pellets that I normally use for the freshwater neighbor.

 

I purchased a wild Australian specimen from LiveAquaria's Divers' Den, a nice 5" colony with blue and green septa. The mouths are pinkish. I would have a store photo of it but of course I didn't think to screen shot it before I actually bought it this morning. There's a multi-step process in acquiring the coral. I'm having the colony visit my work and I'm going to have it quarantine for a couple of days. On the weekend, I'll revisit work. Have it go through a dip of Coral Revive for 15 minutes, then bag it up in completely new water. On the flip side, I'll be doing a 100% water change the morning of. In the meantime, I'm warming up the tank a bit to 72 so the specimen can acclimate to its future temperature setting. The LADD corals live in 75 degree water, so I don't want to immediately temperature-shock it. Over time, the plan is to walk the heater down to back to 68-69 degrees. Hopefully this wild specimen can handle the changes. Coral of this species should be handle high latitude-esque circumstances.

 

Sunday, I'm expecting a shipment of Reef Roids (30mg) and a 250mL bottle of Red Sea AB+...add a feeding syringe. I added a Cat8 cable because...why not. Thanks Amazon.

 

LiveAquaria apparently takes Paypal now which is awfully dangerous for because I'm a huge sucker for their 6 month credit program...

 

Now, I will scramble for my margarita snails. If not, I'll have red leg cortez crabs.

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sango

I’m loving this concept! I’ll be following along with great interest. 

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Squid_reef

Exiting! following along.

 

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Diamonds x Pearls

Long day at work. I had to calibrate a client's Trident and introduce a whole tetra school at another client. To reward myself (and mostly I should have planned better), I got 5 margarita snails. You might be saying, but aren't they limited in reef aquariums?

 

Sure. they are. Any margarita is generally harvest from the Eastern Pacific of an undisclosed location (some sites indicate a natural range from the Bering Sea to Southern California). Bonus points for local species. From personal experience SoCal's SST can get up to high 60s maybe even 70 on a late summer day, but typically on average 50s and 60s suit best. At higher temperatures you're basically making this snail work its life even faster. Unfortunately in this aquarium, it may get too cold for the usual suspects for a snail-only clean up crew. I don't like chancing ceriths and trochus snails to (at the time of writing this) 69°F water. This is where the little margarite should shine best. The identity of this tank can be pretty confusing. Since I'm expecting temperature to range from the accepted "tropical" range to the upper end of the accepted "temperate" range...so subtropical? Did I create a new genre?

 

IMG_20211118_201837956.thumb.jpg.aad62759d2bc2165c7889089e88fe0a4.jpg

 

The outlier I flipped him over. Now, it is scurrying around. There isn't too much algae growing, but that should soon change after this weekend.

 

If anyone is buying from LiveAquaria, a lot of their stuff is delayed. My coral specimen is stuck in Oakland. Thanks, FedEx, so much for overnight... I was literally in San Jose today. If only I could yank it off the commercial jet...

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The coral landed safely. I floated the bag for 30 minutes and put in a specimen cup so I can stare at it for 15 minutes. I changed the water by half every 5 minutes, so in theory it would be 50, 25, 12.5, 6.25% of the original water to ease the colony into the water I had in the quarantine tank.

 

IMG_20211119_130951257.thumb.jpg.0739aa7bccb818513170703647b71820.jpg

 

I'm not sure how this is going to fit. I might have to literally flip my rock scape to accommodate for it.

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sango

How's the new Favia coral doing? Did you move it out of quarantine yet? How's it working with your aquascape? Have you started the temperature acclimation?

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Diamonds x Pearls
On 11/26/2021 at 11:21 AM, sango said:

How's the new Favia coral doing? Did you move it out of quarantine yet? How's it working with your aquascape? Have you started the temperature acclimation?

Coral is doing pretty well. It got moved out of QT on Monday. Temperature acclimation is going fine. I've brought the heater down to 71°F.

 

As for aquascaping it surprisingly fits the flat face pretty well so I don't see a need to move any rocks. I just need to find a day to glue it.

IMG_20211130_162031507.thumb.jpg.85de8d3f155ed0013f4c0146d17f2e68.jpg

 

IMG_20211130_162106257.thumb.jpg.da7cb77c6afdb1fd1b192e03ce672df8.jpgIMG_20211130_162015500.thumb.jpg.3b5a5095bb349c6c636bfbf160f181e6.jpg

 

There's also a barnacle that came with the colony. Apparently, it survived the CoralRevive dip.

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DevilDuck

Thats a serious piece of favia! Looks great in that spot.

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