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Cultivated Reef

9to5 - The Drop-in Reef


Grundler

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Contest Journal Title

 

Hello Nano-Reefers!
I've been a mostly-lurker since 2004 (with a different account name). I'm a huge fan of this site and always look forward to seeing the next Tank of the Month. I've been keeping mostly nano reefs on and off since that time. I've always wanted to enter a contest but it has never worked out for me...until now!

Full disclosure: I've been delaying entry into this current competition because I already have an office tank! I've had a 7 gallon desktop reef that has evolved from a 2.5 gallon pico that I originally set-up for my wife. The inhabitants have been moved around across several tanks over the last 3 years. I intend to leverage the below quote from @seabass:

 

On 9/17/2021 at 3:32 PM, seabass said:

I figure that a lot of the livestock that will be used in this contest, will be taken from other running tanks.  So I wouldn't necessarily disallow running tanks, which are completely broken down for the entry pic, and then set back up.  However, hopefully, there would be some sort of plan to change and/or improve it.  IDK, maybe just using frags from this tank (and the tank itself); or better yet, just use frags from the current tank, in a cool and unconventional container.

I will be dropping much of the contents and inhabitants of my current tank into a spare tank of the same make and model! I'm borrowing this spare tank from a friend for exactly this purpose. There's a chance, judges allowing, that I'll transfer everything back into the original tank soon after the contest has begun (I prefer my tank which lacks the LIFEGARD logo in the bottom right corner, which can be seen in the contest entry photo below). Judges, please let me know what, if any, additional steps I might need to take to satisfy entry with what is an already running tank.

 

Of course, I will be altering the aquascape and improving the look of this reef. In addition, I will be adding more corals and inverts to the tank to engage in the progression aspect of this competition. The general theme of this reef is meant to take full advantage of the "gimmick" that the aquarium possesses: an inwardly sloped front glass panel. The visual effect that results is a slight forward rotation of the aquascape's viewing angle, showing a bit more "top down" than can normally be seen in a standard tank. I have (and will continue to) stocked this reef as predominantly a zoanthid garden. Stocking consists of zoanthids, rock flower anemones, and various other round-shaped corals and inverts that both take advantage of the aquarium's visual gimmick and are low maintenance in their care. At one point I had considered a "binary" theme, with round and straight corals filling in for 1's and 0's (that might be what I pursue for this contest). There are existing fish, but they will be juggled around for the contest run. Alongside my empty tank contest entry photo, I have included a photo of the "before" incarnation of this reef such that I can sufficiently establish a baseline to transform over the coming months.

Current Full Tank Shot:

FTS 12/27/21: 

 PXL_20211227_203912826.thumb.jpg.68f73d2baf75b06ad28b29041e3a9caf.jpg

FTS 12/27/21 (with Night Sight filter): 

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Contest Entry Picture:

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The established aquascape that will form the basis for this contest:

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Equipment:

  • Aquarium: LIFEGARD Full View 7 gallon AIO
  • Light: AI Prime HD with a hanging kit on a reptile lamp stand
  • Wavemaker: AQAMAI KPS
  • Return Pump: Hydor Pico 300
  • Heater: Aqueon 150 watt
  • Filtration: sponges, activated carbon, ceramic bio-media
  • Algae Magnet: Nimble Nano

 

Livestock:

Tentative list. To be updated upon "dropping-in" the old aquascape as I will be rehoming some corals.

  • Coral
    • Zoanthids
    • Blastomussa
    • Sarcophyton
    • Acanthastrea Pachysepta
    • Ricordia Yuma
    • GSP
    • Frogspawn
  • Fish
    • Yasha Haze Shrimp Goby
    • Banggai Cardinalfish
    • Yellow Clown Goby
  • Inverts
    • 1x Candy Cane Pistol Shrimp
    • 4x Rock Flower Anemones
  • Like 8
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Welcome to the contest!  I always enjoy them, it encourages me to document what is happening with my tank.  I love RFA but can't seem to keep any color in my zoas.  I will be following along to see how you change it out.

  • Like 2
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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

I completed the "Drop-in"/move/tank switch two weeks ago. The tank has had time to settle down since then. 
As can be seen, I've modified the aquascape somewhat by rotating the primary rock structure clockwise, slightly. I've also moved several of the larger corals around (the big toadstool, the frogspawn, and the Acanthastrea Pachyseptis) and added four new zoanthid frags (I really need to sit down and make a list of varieties). I've also added a few large scoops of a larger grained sand to the base of the rocks; I wanted to give the pistol shrimp more than just sugar-fine sand to build its burrow. I still need to decide what I'm going to do with the GSP in the front. It was in the tank to begin with because I love this particular strain of GSP and didn't want to get rid of it entirely. However, it really throws the look of the aquascape off, and I want it gone.

All photos are taken using my phone, a Google Pixel II XL. For FTS's below, the first is using the basic setting and the second was taken using the "Night Sight" filter which I find tends to capture the IRL look of the tank very closely. In the future I'll be including one of each FTS; I like the idea of using a filter to capture the "best" look of the tank, but I also feel strongly that an unfiltered photo should be included for reference.

 

Viewers might notice that my wavemaker is missing in the photos. It stopped working today, with the controller flashing a red light. Apparently this means that the rotor is blocked. I cleaned it thoroughly and it still wouldn't work; so now it's currently soaking in vinegar. I'm hoping that gets it back in working order. It's a sweet little pump and I've had it less than a year.

 

PXL_20211227_203912826.thumb.jpg.9409e9e9501e9d88bde5ec62725bffd5.jpg

PXL_20211227_203937096.NIGHT.jpg

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  • Like 6
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24 minutes ago, Grundler said:

I love this particular strain of GSP and didn't want to get rid of it entirely. However, it really throws the look of the aquascape off,

I would probably keep a small frag.

Tank and all the corals look very nice and healthy.. The drop in/move went well. Interesting contrast in the photo. I like the side by side RFA's.

  • Like 2
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5 hours ago, debbeach13 said:

I would probably keep a small frag.

Tank and all the corals look very nice and healthy.. The drop in/move went well. Interesting contrast in the photo. I like the side by side RFA's.

Thanks!
I actually have two small frags sitting in the back behind the toadstools (barely visible in the reflection on the glass). I had considered gluing the GSP to the background, but I think it would ultimately mar the lines of the aquascape and throw-off the visual effect. I think I'd end up hating it.

 

My main problem now is that many of the zoas have (and had before the move) contracted and half-shrunk. I'm stepping up my water changes, but I think its due mainly to asterina stars preying on them (I've pulled out 7 so far). 

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

So I must have had some residual soap on my hands when I reached into my tank yesterday. Woke up this morning to a very upset reef. The LPS in particular looked hugely distressed, with at least one frogspawn po lyp looking to be lost for sure. Zoas were all closed up. RFAs and fish looked just fine though.

 

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Luckily I had some water mixed up already for my other reef. I performed a ~4.5 gallon water change and threw in some fresh carbon (which I had neglected to do after this weekend's scheduled water change). Things began looking better almost immediately. About 5 hours later and I think I'm mostly in the clear. Might have to replace the frogspawn (which has been a PITA for the entire time I've had it).
 

PXL_20220215_195139199.NIGHT.thumb.jpg.84580403a1eebdfa9c3c4229c1253f2c.jpg

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  • 1 month later...

Things have fully recovered, including the frogspawn head that is visibly torn in the above photos!
I went to Reef Stock back on the 6th and I picked up some new frags for this tank. Mostly zoas, but also a new red/red RFA and a very nice orange/pink yuma for the top of my rock. Here are some pics of them both before and after mounting.

PXL_20220306_234236095.NIGHT.thumb.jpg.5fbd3a5d59171766062c277b882d00d7.jpg

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  • 1 month later...

Been battling cyanobacteria; about to start dosing Chemiclean. Been treating for flatworms on and off too. I managed to snag a Nero-3 off of Craigslist for cheap. I need to finish pulling frags that aren't part of my vision for the completed scape (mostly the big toadstool in the back right). 
Here are some more recent photos:

PXL_20220407_010831609.thumb.jpg.82ba4f5435f1e77d887895672cde529e.jpgPXL_20220405_171420335.NIGHT.thumb.jpg.f32eb7cbae362c83ed0fb5ec1aef9a68.jpgPXL_20220405_162528704.NIGHT.thumb.jpg.769e5a27941baa024116bec2078cbd3d.jpg

  • Like 8
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On 4/21/2022 at 12:07 PM, BioBoy16 said:

wow that's a great little reef. the color pops everywhere! Have you ever gotten your RFAs to breed?

Thank you! No breeding yet. I would love it if they did.

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On 4/27/2022 at 11:57 AM, Grundler said:

Thank you! No breeding yet. I would love it if they did.

Dang hopefully they will soon! I have seen the babies and they are often have really cool colors. I got two more the other day and could have sworn a little baby nem was stuck to one. Saw it on the sand bed went to go grab it and it floated away never to be seen again, lol. I've heard lots of feeding and getting the lighting schedule just right can help, but those are just anecdotal thoughts. Haven't found concrete evidence as to what prompts it. Seems some ppls breed and some ppls don't :/. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I forgot that I had left some flatworm treatment in the tank after my last post. I've been extremely busy. I was reminded when everything started looking terrible. My Yumas, my LPS, some of my rock flower anemones, and many of my zoas all were negatively impacted by this little mistake of mine. I took corrective actions and most corals have been making a comeback (RIP 2x frogspawn polyps). I'm grateful that the contest allowed for 15 days to post final pictures because if had I posted on May 1st my tank would have been a total mess.

 

Aside from those troubles, this tank has been really hard to photograph. Right when the corals are looking their best, during midday, there is way too much reflection coming in through the window to get good shots. At night, several of my zoa colonies and my toadstool tend to close-up. Intermittently my CuC (1 blue legged hermit and one large trochus snail) tend to stroll across my rockwork and close up everything that they touch. It takes perfect timing to get a halfway decent picture and close-up shots just never look right (hence the lack of them).

That said, here are a couple final pictures of the reef as well as its companion FW tank (and their biggest fan):

image.thumb.jpeg.edfbb7c7ef25608c7918a2dfecca18b8.jpegimage.thumb.jpeg.8c82953074bd5389ced94497ace51d08.jpeg

 

image.thumb.jpeg.7d8858ade1c44b809de29a758c66f5ed.jpeg

 

Being a part of this contest has been really fun despite the last minute issues! Thanks again to @seabass for organizing it! Thanks to @Christopher Marks for keeping the site going for so many years!

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On 5/15/2022 at 9:41 PM, Grundler said:

I forgot that I had left some flatworm treatment in the tank after my last post. I've been extremely busy. I was reminded when everything started looking terrible. My Yumas, my LPS, some of my rock flower anemones, and many of my zoas all were negatively impacted by this little mistake of mine. I took corrective actions and most corals have been making a comeback (RIP 2x frogspawn polyps). I'm grateful that the contest allowed for 15 days to post final pictures because if had I posted on May 1st my tank would have been a total mess.

 

Aside from those troubles, this tank has been really hard to photograph. Right when the corals are looking their best, during midday, there is way too much reflection coming in through the window to get good shots. At night, several of my zoa colonies and my toadstool tend to close-up. Intermittently my CuC (1 blue legged hermit and one large trochus snail) tend to stroll across my rockwork and close up everything that they touch. It takes perfect timing to get a halfway decent picture and close-up shots just never look right (hence the lack of them).

That said, here are a couple final pictures of the reef as well as its companion FW tank (and their biggest fan):

image.thumb.jpeg.edfbb7c7ef25608c7918a2dfecca18b8.jpegimage.thumb.jpeg.8c82953074bd5389ced94497ace51d08.jpeg

 

image.thumb.jpeg.7d8858ade1c44b809de29a758c66f5ed.jpeg

 

Being a part of this contest has been really fun despite the last minute issues! Thanks again to @seabass for organizing it! Thanks to @Christopher Marks for keeping the site going for so many years!

This came out really awesome! I debated on this style tank myself and now I definitely have to get one....or 3 😅. I might go for the AIO models though but we shall see. I'm in the process of finally getting my fish corner together so lots of racks and tanks to go up first before I can buy any new tanks 

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On 5/18/2022 at 2:08 PM, kekke1082 said:

This came out really awesome! I debated on this style tank myself and now I definitely have to get one....or 3 😅. I might go for the AIO models though but we shall see. I'm in the process of finally getting my fish corner together so lots of racks and tanks to go up first before I can buy any new tanks 

Thanks! These are actually the AIO version of the tank. Definitely worth getting IMO!

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15 hours ago, Grundler said:

Thanks! These are actually the AIO version of the tank. Definitely worth getting IMO!

I'll keep an eye out for them on Amazon again. I have a lot of rewards points I need to use 😅

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  • 1 month later...

Just an update shot. I've moved this tank to a new room which has made it much easier to take photos. The banggai cardinal is getting too big for the tank. Luckily, I was able to score a NUVO Fusion 40 (complete set-up) on Craigslist for super cheap; so I will be upgrading just as soon as I'm satisfied that the soft cycle is over. Probably will continue with the theme of primarily zoas and a few LPS; would like to add a micromussa section. I'm also really tempted to add a BTA of some sort, but I'll probably talk myself out of it as I expect they'll drive me insane down the road.

image.thumb.jpeg.1a7880515f19c8af14fb99afdf1a7acf.jpeg

 

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  • 2 months later...

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