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Ann

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Orange sponge? Hmm, you mean the stuff in the first picture?? That's actually a type of coralline algae.

 

Best regards

 

Ann

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The B. merleti seems doomed, it's fading away and I'm not sure why. Also the hitchhiking tunicates are shrinking due to a lack of the correct food, I'm not surprised really but none the less still a teeny tiny bit disappointed.
have you tried adjusting/changing the flow dynamics around the tunicates? perhaps your flow is too high. my tunicates have also died back to low/no-flow areas. i had done some re-aquascaping and exposed many of them to open water and higher flow (relatively speaking) and they slowly died off.

 

i'm suspecting they (the ones i have at least) are bacteriovores and other nanoplanktivores. such tiny food sources tend to move very slowly (micrometers) and over short distances (millimeters = lifespan) when aggregated. i just read that somewhere. :P

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Hi Ann,

your tank continues to impress - it has such a "large" feel to the aquascaping and placement of corals and the quality of the pictures remain top notch.

i havent ordered zoos from the US - i may yet do so but i have found some nice pieces and hope to get some more from an ebayer although they probably wont have the colours found in your tank.

As we must be nearing the end of the comp, good luck and i bet you have enjoyed this comp as much as i have. (i am hoping the uk nano forum organises a similar comp!)

 

Brian

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Ann, love the new pictures! Those blue zoas make me so jealous! I wish you were state-side :) As far as the zoas behaving the way they do, mine do the same thing. Not really sure why but part of me wonders if it's in response to water temperature changing somewhat during the day. Let me know if you figure it out! I think you have one of the best picos in this competition and pretty likely to win! Best of luck and look forward to more updates :)

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looking great as always ann. i may take my sargassum out today after reading about ur research. i am not running any carbon or anything. dont want there to be any probs. w/it. doesnt look like your tank has a problem with it though. doin fabulous. very nice pico.

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Orange sponge? Hmm, you mean the stuff in the first picture?? That's actually a type of coralline algae.

 

Best regards

 

Ann

 

Oh, cool. Did you purposly try to get it to frow there or did it just happen to grow there?

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Thanks so much for the comments peeps! :D

 

tiny, the tunicates are no more sadly. One day they were there looking deflated and the next day they were gone entirely. Eaten or...? I don't know what exactly. One day I'd like to set up a tank specifically for these guys and feed the hell out of it, in the hopes of being able to keep them for longer. I didn't really go all out for them in this tank as I was always concerned about turning it into an algae coated horror.

 

Brian, yeah this competition has been and continues to be great fun. I never would have set up this Pico without it. The UK comp looks fun too if it gets off the ground but I really am all tanked up and there's no way would I get permission for another one from my better half. Nooo way at all!

 

Max, it just came on the LR. I'm not sure how well it's doing really, I think that it would actully prefer less light than it's currently receiving.

 

Karen/Shiva/anybody else interested :P

 

The zoas have shown some improvement since I removed a lot of the Sargassum but I don't think that it's directly related to toxins per se. I decided to investigate any and all of the water quality parameters and stumbled on the fact that by the end of the day the pH of the tank has risen to almost 8.6 (measured electronically using an IKS pH probe). Anything above 8.5 is a concern, not that it's something that I've ever come across in my other tanks. :rolleyes: I've come to the conclusion that the 'problem' does in fact lie with the algae, it is stripping the water of all the carbon dioxide (see here for more info on high pH and causes). After all there was/is rather a lot of it, there's the kelp and the green paddle-like stuff plus a big ball of Chaetomorpha in the refugium.

 

To try and 'fix' it I decided to simply aerate the water more (as suggested in the link above). I tried adding an airstone to the refugium, well, that idea lasted all of about 15 minutes. :lol: The bubbling drove me crazy and the splashing as the bubbles popped at the water surface was horrendous, so I pulled the airstone sharpish. Instead I decided to alter the lighting schedule over the refugium so that it is reverse lit to the main tank. The benefit here not only hopefully that the pH will be more stabilised as the Chaeto will be photosynthesising at a different time to the kelp etc but also the fan won't have to work quite so hard during the day and the heater will not have to work quite so hard at night. :) That's the idea anyway.

 

The day after I changed the lights the pH only made it up to 8.34 but that's not a true value as the lights were off for a lot of the day due to me spending ages faffing around with the hood. No matter how hard I try there is some light seepage into the main tank at night, the refugium sits directly behind the Pico and the hood is an all in one jobbie. How much light is too much for corals at night? Do any of you other Pico-ers have HOBs that are reverse lit and if so how do you get round the problem of light spill when the tank is supposed to be sleeping?

 

That's all my news for now.

 

Best regards

 

Ann

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Do any of you other Pico-ers have HOBs that are reverse lit and if so how do you get round the problem of light spill when the tank is supposed to be sleeping?
can you position the light show it shines from the rear side of the hob versus over-top? then it's just a question of an opaque background shielding the display area from the lit hob-fuge area. the lighting doesn't necessarily have to be overhead.

 

if you can't position the light that way i think you'll have to create a false wall between the hob/fuge and the tank running on top of the back frame (assuming you have the opaque background already in place). then it's just the small aperture or the hob return that will let in some light at night.

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tiny, I'm way ahead of you there. :D The light is fixed directly above the 'fuge and there's no changing it without major modifications so I've gone with partitioning idea (hence the reason the hood was off so much when I measured the pH to be 8.34). I've cut up a length of black acrylic to fit in the hood between the fuge and the Pico but because of the pipework, wiring etc I've had to cut access holes. As you can imagine there is some light spill through these holes and the tank seems kinda bright to me. Then again in a dark room any light at all seems bright really, I'm just not sure if this amount of light is too much light. I know some people actually rig up moonlights over their tanks at night but this is not a soft blue light more of a soft white light. :blink::blush:

 

Best regards

 

Ann

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should be good then! ;)

 

don't worry, the moon's usually whiteish here in the US anyways, not blueish. i think you'll be ok. :lol:

 

i always thought the blue led is more for just replicating the depth-effect color and softening it for us. even a small white led is pretty bright from what i've seen. i think a whiteish light would be more effective as a moonlight anyways. jmo

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Fingers crossed then. ;) It's maybe a bit more than a soft white light, say a very bright full moon on a cloudless night effect rather than a partially eclipsed moon on a cloudy night. :lol:

 

Hmmm, what happens to corals if they don't get a chance to 'sleep' anyhow? :closedeyes::wacko:

 

Best regards

 

Ann

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Hey Ann! Thanks for the update :) Now lets see some more pics!! My zoas have been acting kinda funny as well so I wonder if it's the macro algae thats causing the problem *hmmmm*. Hope to see more pics soon :D

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Oh my goodness, I don't believe it!! I just spotted Mr Crabbie for the first time ever. It's been so long since I found that empty exoskeleton that I was beginning to doubt that he truely existed. Well he does, and he's very much alive and quite cuddly looking too. Now that I know where he hangs out I'm going to watch out for him some more. ;):lol:

 

Best regards

 

Ann

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is he in camouflage? what's he been eating? algae, i hope. :P

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Ann, just out of interest, what's the Alk? How big a pH swing were you getting?

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Ann,

 

Your tank is looking excellent as usual :) Sorry to hear about the tunicates they are interesting to keep - I've only been successful with them in larger tanks as well.

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Hey, looks good. The next time you thin out your macro send it my way.

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Tiny, the crab is so well camouflaged that I can be looking right at him and not know that he's there till he moves a leg. I have pinpointed his cave in the rocks now and can find him lurking in there most of the time. I have no idea what he's eating, I don't think that it's a diet of corals. He gets excited (ie comes out of his cave a little) when I add food into the tank so perhaps he's just a scavenger or maybe he's just a friendly vegetarian.

 

I would be very pleased if he would start to consume some of the amphipods in this tank though as these little devils are fast becoming quite a nuisance. I've watched them actually run into the Blastomussa polyps and pull out food before the coral has a chance to ingest it. That's not all though, twice now I've watched a gang of these critters attack a Stomatella causing the snail to drop it's tail to enable it to make good it's escape. The tail is rapidly devoured by what seems like whole families of amphipods, its really quite scary! :wacko:

 

Raven, the alk was 7.4 at the time of testing and the pH was swinging from an average of 8.1 to 8.6, which seems like a big move to me. Now that the refugium is reverse lit the swing is 8.04 to 8.27. I've only tested it the once so far but the corals do seem much happier with the change, with none of the zoas showing the shrivelled up appearance late in the day.

 

I have a ton of new pics to post. :)

 

Best regards

 

Ann

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So here we go. The zoanthids seem to be doing well are all growing with the exception of the little orange ones, I just don't know what makes those guys tick. No new mushrooms to report though the orange Ricordea florida has two separate mouths now so I assume that they'll be two of them sometime in the future. The blue Discosoma mushroom has settled in nicely and I'm hopeful that it'll make babies eventually. The small red dot 'shroom is still, well, a small red dot.

 

The biggest change is that I decided recently to pull out both of the Blastomussa corals, for some reason they were not entirely happy in this Pico. The B. merleti was always retracted and the B. wellsi though growing well (I counted at least 9 new heads when I took it out) was not thriving as I know it can. As I look back on some of the older tank shots I can see that it too just wasn't expanding as much. I'm not sure if this is good thing or a bad thing really. :mellow: So anyway I've decided to stick with a mainly zoanthid theme and in the space that the B. wellsi was I've placed a new zoa rock. Don't ask me what these zoanthids look like, they could be just brown for all I know as I've never seen them fully open. I've had them for a while now (they were LR hitchhikers) and they've been in 3 different tanks so far. My large angel tried to eat them in the big tank and then they were oevergrown by Chaetomorpha in the sump and then, they were picked upon by my Sexy shrimp in the nano. Hopefully in this Pico I can give them a chance a life. :happy:

 

One last thing of note is that the growth of bubble algae caused the piece of rock that I had attached the orange mouthed zoas to pop off the rock. Grrr! I have yet to find another spot to which I can try and reattach these zoas.

 

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Here are the new zoas, looking cheesed off which is not surprising considering their past history.

 

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I love the Fungia, this it how it looks at night.

 

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A few other stuff of interest, maybe... :)

 

Star light, star bright...... just a shot of the back glass looking very much to me like the sky at night. Interesting beginnings of coralline encrustation.

 

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This worm is doing well, complete with baby black Stomatella giving it's tube a quick clean.

 

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Vermetid snail.

 

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Another foram.

 

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And, big drum roll.............. introducing my elusive lil crabbie friend. Sorry for the overexposed picture he doesn't like to hang around for photo shoots very much.

 

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Just a few tank views to finish off.

 

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Best regards

 

Ann

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i love the crab! he even looks guilty in that pic! :lol:

 

the sargums make the tank look huge to me for some reason. like it's a public aquarium display. B) a really nice touch imho.

 

i thought the one blasto was doing really well. i thought the other was just cramped/shaded.

 

the encrusting sponges look great too! imo, it's the little things like that (e.g. forams, sponges, dusters, etc.) that show a healthy tank/ecosystem. :thumbsup:

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