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  1. Good points, all. I'll admit I was working from an assumption that the OP was going to start the tank out with uncured base rock and was seeking the lowest cost, least testing-intensive way to get this show on the road while avoiding the need to be concerned about any existing livestock in the process. And contributed my own personal bias against the "dead shrimp ina pantyhose" starter method <shudders at what a tank going through this smells like>. Muffin87 - as you can see there's a lot of ways to do what you're trying to do. Good luck!
  2. Kinda, with a couple tweaks. Spare yourself some headaches - start with some Dr. Timms or Fritz Zyme ( or just about any reputable live bacterial culture starters), an ammo alert badge from Seachem and just dose in pure janitorial ammonia until the badge just changes to the warning color. Keep it there for 2 to 3 or more weeks. Midway through this you could also add some decorative macro algae so the tank doesn't look so fallow. IMO nothing can be added to a brand new tank to instantly make it ready to support a full load of fish & corals, save moving fully established sand and rock over from an already running tank. And even then it's up in the air for some critters. Save your money and do it right. This will spare you a lot of testing - when the badge no longer registers ammonia, add some more slowly over a couple hours until it does. I wouldn't bother with nitrite testing at all during this, and nitrate only towards the end of the cycle to make sure you actually have a biofilter and at a safe level for fish to thrive. After the initial cycling, suggest you track alkalinity instead of ph. It'll lead to being able to keep many soft corals or large polyp kinds and give you more meaningful idea of what's going on. If alk starts to rise, your calcium may be going down; if you can't keep alk stable, magnesium might be low. The macro algae will also tell you a lot about what's going on... when it's growth takes off you may have an excess of nitrate/phosphate and need to do some water changes; if it starts to break apart you may need to feed more or one of your big three is too low. That's also a pretty heavy bioload of fish for a 13.5/15 gallon tank. Choose smaller specimens and be prepared to have to be more disciplined about feeding/water changing than most. Adding them slowly over time (weeks apart, better a month or so) will also allow time for your tank to adjust to the increase in waste. It can be done... I won't lecture you to the contrary as there's at least one TOTM on here with a whopping 5-6 fish in it that's smaller than yours and fully stocked with corals to boot. And my own 9 gallon tank's full to the brim with lps, rock flower anemones and crabs/shrimp plus 2 fish.
  3. Good luck on your order! Those 10-packs are big enough that VIP always tucks in something unexpected/unusual color-wise. Here in ATL the temp this season ping-pongs around so much it's Vegas odds on shipments not passing through one extreme or another. Chance of it freezing or roasting? How 'bout both! Not to mention, shipping routes are...strange. Local store near me had a shipment get tied up at JFK just as the arctic blasts hit. Not pretty and a total loss. But why would a supplier's order of carribean livestock go through ANY airport in the upper half of the country at this time of year?
  4. To chime in on the why not captive bred question... it takes several months of dedicated target feeding or over a year of normal to get the typical baby rfa up to the size that a place like VIP reef will risk shipping out. Unfortunately it's not very economical for most smaller players in the supply chain (including local stores) to put this kind of time into it compared to wild harvesting. Some larger outfits (I recall seeing an article in some online reefing publication a couple years ago about Tropicorium doing so) run larger scale raceway tanks (which appear to be lined with coarse gravel, Seafurn) to breed and raise them in sufficient quantity to stay in business doing so. Of course, the easier solution is for those of us who opt to keep them trade/sell the tank bred ones locally as we're already resigned to most $'s going in the "away from our pockets" direction.
  5. Awesome news! I've got about 20-odd that popped up in the last couple weeks as well. But mine tend to show hints of their dominant color scheme within the first few days... mostly orange-or-green disc/white tentacled ones. Patience is a virtue - the really prized color & gradients don't tend to develop for weeks or months, so just keep feeding the ones you can get at. Can't wait for what starts showing up once they ones I added in early-mid 2017 (including that purple pin-striped one from you) get to me mature enough to breed.
  6. This. (Seabass' statement) For what it's worth, I've never personally seen a rock flower anemone arrive at a store in a starved condition. I HAVE seen plenty that looked the part after a few weeks of being under inadequate lighting or without feeding at said stores. :/ But it take weeks for them to show it, not days. Most short-term deaths happen due to shipping stress or injury... and my bet is that the bulk of the shipping stress is really just improper removal from their holding tanks somewhere along the supply chain. Pretty much any injury to the foot is eventually a death sentence for these anemones. I think Seafurn actually wound up in double jeopardy on this - he had a couple nems pass with what clearly looked like injury AND some kind of fireworm that may have been snacking on his first order of anemones from VIP.
  7. Watch it over the next couple of weeks (take pics if you can for time-lapse comparison) and see if the colors noticeably fade & the tentacles start to shrink back down into nubs... that will tell you if it's starving or just a weirdo. If it IS starting to starve & you happen see it moving around even a little, cut the pumps and nudge it well away from that spot - the foot will not be anchored firmly and you can probably get it off the bottom of the tank with nothing more than a few gentle nudges with an old credit/bank card cut in half. I've had a couple that bunkered down in locations that were either too shaded or otherwise unsuitable and had them start to waste away... it's always better to intervene sooner rather than later when that happens, as it can take weeks or months for a starved rock flower to recover.
  8. Cost vs worthwhile

    Another hidden benefit to buying the AIO (and the flip side to Ajmckay's point to the downside of "buying it twice" for key parts) is that you'll have a compatible temporary spare for anything critical. Upgraded reef light goes bust? You have a spare. Powerhead quits on you? You have a spare. Will they be as nice as the upgraded stuff? No, but they'll buy you time to source a replacement or trip the light fantastic with your chosen vendor's RMA process. Never downplay the value of having a couple key parts on hand to downgrade a crisis into an inconvenience.
  9. Dead trochus?

    Just glue/epoxy the empty shell onto the rock of your choosing. I've never had any luck trying transplant feather duster worms
  10. Dead trochus?

    Yep, that's dead. Especially when there's no snail left to hold the operculatus (the brown door/foot thingy) on. If you have any hermit crabs in the tank, a dead or dying banded trochus hitting the sand is like ringing a dinner bell - they WILL eat it. Looks really clean in there - how old is the tank? After being a big fan of banded trochus I have come to the conclusion that they're almost TOO good at their jobs. Unless you have a decent supply of film & hair algae, they'll starve to death in a "traditional" nano sized tank. I've found I can only keep 2-3 smaller ones alive in my 9 gallon, and that's with intentionally not scraping the glass. Been steadily switching over to the less aggressive dwarf hermits as the mainstay of the cleanup crew as they can do double duty mopping up uneaten food.
  11. Wrasse choices

    Seriously?! That's crazy! I'm watching my pink streaked wrasse get bullied away from my yellow clown goby's favorite blastomussa perch. Yes, by a yellow clown goby. I've only had it for a few months, but I'm just not seeing the wilder side yours manifested. Here's hoping you just got the crazy atypical specimen.
  12. Wrasse choices

    I'm the wrong one to talk from a stocked/overstocked point of view, so I'll just answer the question you asked. In a 25-gallon tank a Tanakas, Possum or Pink-streaked wrasse are possibilities from both a temperament and adult size perspective. They're all pretty small and stay that way but are more shy than the sixline. You MIGHT be able to pull off adding a sixline as the last fish in and hope that the existing fish's pecking order keeps it in its place, but I wouldn't. My vote would be for the pink-streaked if you can find it. A fellow NR'er recommended that as a good active swimming smaller tank fish. After my failure keeping elongated dottybacks (they REALLY like to hide in temporarily switched-off powerheads) I fell back to it when the local store happened to have one. Awesome fish and fairly sociable once it gets used to a tank.
  13. I have a yellow clown goby in my tank since way before I caught the rock flower anemone bug, a ruby mandarin for (about 1.5 years) as well as a relatively recently added pink streaked wrasse. All are/were in the habit of picking food off the anemones from time to time and I've witnessed them getting tagged a couple of times, but shake it off quickly. My suspicion is as many others have said - a healthy fish can handle an encounter with the relatively mild sting of a rock flower anemone. PS - SHOULD... should be able to. Every time you make a blanket statement in this hobby something happens to prove you completely and utterly wrong.
  14. NanoBox Diffuser Splash Guards

    I was being a little bit facetious... a Tide has plenty of oomph to make up the 10% loss.
  15. NanoBox Diffuser Splash Guards

    So... nigh-total blending (and no more banding whatsoever) at the cost of less shimmery reflections in & around my tank. Hmmmm... is there a downside to this? Count me in for a mini - but isn't the splashguard shape different from the stock mini due to mine being one of your round prototypes?
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