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About Teebo

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  1. I have been in the freshwater planted tank hobby for several years now, I have really enjoyed it and tried all types of aquascapes from wild jungle to Japanese style Iwagumi. The last year or two I have been researching everything I need to know to start a marine tank which is making me loose interest in my freshwater tanks. Right now I have a 2 gallon riparium and a 16 gallon Iwagumi, the 2G seems to be just as much if not more maintenance than the 16G! My thinking is that a well planned out small reef tank would be less maintenance than freshwater. I have never really been a big fish person so I have no worries of dealing with a large bio-load, I was always into the plants and the fish just complimented the scenery...inverts interest me though. The problem with both tanks is I have to manually dose Excel daily because I choose to not complicate them with CO2. With the Iwagumi I have to constantly trim the carpet of dwarf baby tears, and then net it all from the surface, then tiny pieces randomly come loose throughout the week so that stands out to me with it being rimless and I find myself with a cup of water and a tooth brush collecting the tiny pieces. The small tank needs trimming just as much since its smaller and also has a carpet, plus tiny vines and needs constant nit-picking. I think number one problem here is the trimming and cleanup of what you trim off. The only thing I have going for me is the shrimp keep the plants clean and snails keep my glass clear enough for me to not have to ever clean my glass. With a reef tank there is no constant trimming, fragging is done less often than maintenance-trimming in freshwater aquascapes. The only thing is I am going to be heavily drawn to trying to aquascape with macro-algae and base my live stock around that (non macro eaters) so hopefully macros will not require as much trimming. I will attempt to maintain my glass with snails the way I have been in freshwater, the trick is you need to feed them, if you have enough snails to keep the glass clean they will constantly be hungry without supplemental food imo. I do not mind using dosing pumps and an ATO, and doing water changes will be minimal since I will be for sure using macro-algae along with emerging marine plants. I may even try using my macro-algae in 1 or 2 corners of the tank with spot lights on staggered timers, so the coral is lit during the day and the macros are lit as night...keeping photosynthesis and pH stable. I know people do this with refugiums but I want to use an AIO without a sump to keep it simple. With this low maintenance theme I have to keep the salt creep in mind when choosing a tank, I really love rimless tanks so I think my only option is to get an etched tank where the rim is not fully transparent. I have seen them on the internet before mostly used with wave makers though. I was at my LFS here in Tampa FL when I saw the Cobalt C-Vue lineup of tanks which got me thinking about ditching my freshwater tanks and finally getting into a marine setup. I was between their 18 gallon and the 40 gallon...not that I really want a 40 gallon tank but the panoramic dimensions of it are attractive to me, plus the room for red mangrove roots since I have amazing access to a legal mangrove selection (calm down people lol). Suggestions?
  2. That is ultimately my goal, but I may have a non-refugium transition period where I am just growing plants in the back of an AIO sump or in planter baskets suspended on the back wall.
  3. I never mixed any of this with my tank, this was a completely isolated native project. However I did just recently return all of this to the shore a few days ago as I have ended this study. Exposed to the elements the rain became a time consuming challenge constantly diluting the water, throwing off the chemistry. Entering the hurricane season here there was no way I was going to continue balancing the water it would become a daily task. I ended up using sea water and table salt, somewhere in the brackish range sometimes peaking at full ocean salinity. Since I never ended up with any mangroves in the 3 planters I decided to cover them months ago with a few layers of white foam plates to reflect sunlight and reduce surface area exposed to sunlight. I noticed algae growing on the exposed surface area which was consuming nutrients I am adding, you can see the bubbles photosynthesis was producing. The liquid nitrogen by Flourish was getting too expensive for an experiment so I switched over to Green Leaf Aquariums KNO3 powder, it will last me a long time since this experiment is a nitrate consuming machine. Some plants have come and gone but the emerged blade grass, Railroad vine, and some sort of a sea purslane have remained through nutrient drops. This is some sort of a new species of vine I recently found, ended the experiment too soon to verify it is not just a juvenile Railroad vine but I am quite certain it is a different salt tolerant vine species. It is certainly growing much better than the Railroad vine is. There is also a recently added nano species of "vine grass" you can see now growing vertically and flowering, great candidate for reef tanks...should grow horizontally outside your tanks lighting footprint. Also another recently found species is a round-blade version of an emerged sea grass. The same container also has a large species "vine grass" probably not as recommended as the nano-species I just showed. Look closely you can see two sea snails they accidentally came in as babies on the blade grass months ago, they cleaned the salt off the grass blades as it accumulated and ate algae off the shells in the container...they have been returned to the shore. Unfortunately the Railroad vine and unidentified sea purslane does not do well in long-term submersion, even with stable nitrogen and trace dosing they both continued to drop their elder leafs. Railroad vine elder leafs yellowed and sea purslane shriveled when they were suppose to turn red. I will try them again indoors in a more stable environment. To my surprise after lifting the foam plates I found what I believe to be maco-algae which came from ocean water....the diffused light must have been enough. There was also the signs of the beginning of Coralline.
  4. Good advice. Yes I have been to Marine Warehouse they are the best aquarium shop I have ever seen in person, they are #1 on my list. I will check them out, thanks!
  5. I have not been out in the field specifically hunting for Marsh Elder yet, so I can not confirm, but based on photographic research I would say the leaves look too wide in the link you provided above. I believe there is both an inland freshwater marsh elder and a coastal saltwater marsh elder, each completely different species.
  6. So it has been a few weeks now since I started this experiment, and I have mixed results so far. The temperatures for FL plummeted right after transplanting, and I kept going through inconsistent nitrogen swings. At least one of these plants are a nitrate consuming MACHINE, a 5ppm baseline of nitrate flat lines practically overnight to 0ppm in about 5 gallons of water. I am using a mix of Osmocote fertilizer and Seachem liquid nitrogen, however I am unsure how fast the other macro traces are being consumed in relation to nitrogen...all I can test for is nitrates assuming they are being consumed at an equal or greater rate than all other nutrients. I have read that iron is the fastest consumed nutrient and if you test for iron you can base all your other nutrient levels off the iron. Between the inconsistent nitrogen, and cold temperatures, the plants also started to loose sunlight exposure as I noticed the trees surrounding my lanai screen house filling in. So I moved the project to another area of my lanai that gets much more sun, it is hard to determine the exact cause of the wilting because it could be temperature, sunlight exposure, or both...lack of sun will not only affect photosynthesis but also keep the plants from warming up in the morning the way they would on the coast during cold mornings. 2/3 of the plants in the back left corner died off before the sun and temperature started changing which leads me to believe they are just not going to work in this type of setup. However the remaining plant in the back left corner is thriving, and I have identified it as Searocket (Cakile). Not much change with the grass in the front, but the two plants in the back right corner have been through ups and downs. I have identified the plant that has red mature foliage as Seapurslane (Sesuvium portulacastrum) which seems to be doing well, the nitrogen bottoming out however caused the mature red foliage to yellow and fall off. Lastly the Railroad Vine (Ipomoea pes-caprae) has also been through ups and downs, the leaf stems keep going limp and seem to improve in the sunlight but it has finally had enough and rejected all new growth for the time being. I found an interesting article on FL shoreline plants that states "Only a few plant species can tolerate the stresses of a dune environment, particularly frontal dune sites. Foredune plants must be able to survive being buried by blowing sand, sand blasting, salt spray, salt water flooding, drought, heat, and low nutrient supply" Turns out the plants listed as frontal zone are the plants I found on the shore and are doing the best with submerged roots. If I had to guess which plant consumes the most amount of nitrates based on growth rate it would be the Searocket
  7. Thank you, I never considered that before
  8. I recently moved down to the Saint Petersburg area of Florida which is on the lower central west cost. I have read about the nearly 360 mile long continuous reef system in south FL Miami/Keys, and how it is the third largest barrier reef ecosystem in the world. I will eventually make it down there but for the time being I would like to see what I can off the western coast where I am located. I am having a hard time finding information other than it does exist, but compared to the southern system is discontinuous and has less biologically diverse communities (fish or coral?) none the less still must be interesting to see. I know the Gulf side is warmer, and I believe I am on a weather hardiness zone line because in late February/early March I do not see any flowers in the Tampa area but less than 2 hours south toward Englewood (south Sarasota) you begin seeing many species of flowers during that time. This got me excited when I saw "Cape Coral" on the map but I can not really find anything about coral reef system off the shores of Cape Coral? The best I got so far on my area though is that 100 miles northwest of St. Petersburg there are submerged pinnacles 60-80ft below the surface....you would need diving gear though. I assume there is snorkel depth reefs in the keys but nowhere on the west coast??
  9. Thanks for the kind words, I am in love with this experiment. Constantly trying to break the barriers and introduce new things to the aquarium hobby. Another thing I am trying to obtain is the invasive Brazilian Pepper "tree" or plant. They compete with mangroves for territory, and they grow massively large from a single root system, not even allowing their own seeds to grow near the tree they must be carried out of its territory to sprout. This means no other plants are allowed to grow within its territory, I believe it is some type of allelopathic defense which means I am scared to put it in my water system as it could potentially kill everything else living in the tub. Even if I did start one, it would have to be from a cutting or seed since no new sprouts are anywhere to be found near the trees. I was visiting a mangrove boardwalk park this morning when I noticed a few signs identifying salt marsh plants, this Marsh Elder really got my attention. I will be on the lookout for it now. Slightly off topic relating to submerged plants (not macro-algae) I saw a sign describing 4 different species of sea grass found in my area, the grass I obtained is not one of these 4 as it is an emerged species of salt tolerant grass. This really has my brain thinking, since display refugiums can be hard to stock since some fish and shrimp will actually eat your macro-algae the different species of sea grass and emerged plants will provide the same nutrient export without the risk of it being eaten. Personally I feel sea grass in the display tank does not look bad if it is concentrated to one area to look like a mini grass bed, if you can get the proportion/scale right of your tank.
  10. This is what I came up with to experiment with a little marine garden, inexpensive thick plastic tub and 3 plastic mesh/lattice trash baskets. I cut the baskets down so they all fit perfectly since they have a taper. It is located outside in my lanai which prevents a good amount of bugs from accessing it, plus the water is salt so it kills anything that lands in it. I added 3 plastic storage jars as well, I am reserving the baskets for mangroves that I am working with the state to obtain via my job. I decided to use crushed shells for my substrate, since my house is surrounded by them because sand would just wash out into the black tub over time. I am using water directly from the ocean, level with the baskets, and I just top the water off with tap water. Surprisingly I tested the ocean water for nitrates and there was absolutely nothing, not sure if this was because the water was taken from the mouth of an inland lagoon with tons of mangroves but I am not sure how the mangroves stay green if the nitrates are not present unless they are being consumed so fast they are not detectable? The GH was through the roof my test could not even find the ceiling on the level, and the KH was 150ppm. So I am supplementing with fertilizers, there is a little Osmocote Plus in the tub as well as a few Seachem aquarium products such as Flourish, Iron, Potassium, and Nitrogen....I have Excel and Prime but chose not to use them as I do not see them fit....although Excel may not hurt them. I have the plantings broken up into 3 categories: what I believe to be weeds, grasses, and some cool native plants that I favor in appearance and success. I had found 3 different types of "weeds" growing along the shore, but although they may be tolerant to a salty substrate they do not seem to tolerate submerged roots except for one and I think you can tell which one. One is wilted, and the stemmy plant is also wilting, but the other seems to be growing and staying firm. I have faith in this grass working out, it was growing in the same exact conditions. Would make a great addition to the base of display Mangroves in a refugium of some sort or shallow frag tank. This would be my favorite container, there are two different plants here. One is Railroad Vine, and the other is something I am yet to identify but the mature leaves turn red like a Croton plant....they are not really what you consider leaves they have a waxy coating too I assume to resist water. Both this plant and the Railroad Vine produce a beautiful flower as well. In the freshwater aquarium hobby we dose iron to boost red colors in plants, and I can already see that starting to effect both this unidentified plant and the Railroad Vine. Little off topic but if you grow a Croton out of an aquarium that you dose iron in the plant will skip the yellow phase and its new foliage will be red, sometimes with the mature foliage turning yellow the plant literally grows in a reversed color scheme. I am convinced these plants can be weaved together to grow as one vine mass out of a tank and toward a window or light....possibly around the room like a Pothos Vine the way people do with freshwater tanks. My lanai has a custom lighting system which stays on blue most of the time during the evenings after the sun has gone down, it is almost an ultraviolet blue but is not actually UV...I just thought it was funny they are already in training for a reef tank lighting spectrum! This will be a very fun harmless experiment, and maybe I can inspire someone to extend their hobby a bit greener
  11. The last plant I pictured above is a weed I think, but the one above it with red highlights and white pre-flowers (that are now opening) seems to be more of a native plant and doing very well in captivity so far. I found some coastal grass today growing directly in the gulfs salt water. This is not seagrass you can tell it can not be submerged but it is growing emerged in salt water. I grabbed a little bit for my experiment, which I will post pictures of soon. A little further inland I found what I believe is the same grass fully mature with dried spiky seed pods.
  12. Teebo

    Backyard Mangrove Experiment/Study

    I am honestly finding all 3 of them mingled together right at the shore line, so I am going to test the theory. I have updates to post soon, I finally got a small housing setup together in the pool lanai.
  13. Teebo

    Backyard Mangrove Experiment/Study

    This was a very good statement, I did not realize black and white can not grow without substrate, I thought all substrate is a buffer to maintain a certain humidity level, provide nutrients, and act as a foundation for the plant, anything grows hydroponically with the right amount of care so I am a little confused. I really wish I could have the best of both, red base with the smaller whites leaves. I will admit I do not own a marine tank yet, I just do constant research on starting one to save from learning with living things lives. Therefor I have not bought a refractometer yet, BRS was sold out last time I went to buy one. Many on amazon say they do not hold calibration or are not best for marine tanks so I just figured I would wait it out and buy from BRS. With that being said, I still want to begin playing with these mangroves! Can someone please help me with a water to salt ratio to mix marine water using table salt to ocean salinity? I would rather be safe and mix slightly lower than ocean water since I do not have a refractometer yet, can anyone give me somewhere to start? I read 1/2 cup per gallon, I see no reason why table salt will not work if I am also using a fertilizer. Should I get non-iodized? I really do not feel like paying for marine salt just to play with trees in my backyard.
  14. Teebo

    Backyard Mangrove Experiment/Study

    What about black and white mangroves? Does the freshwater variable only apply to red species?
  15. Lets get the elephant out of the room, a commercial building I help maintain on the coast of Florida has mangroves that grow up to the buildings edge. They are legally allowed to clear a 6' buffer zone between our building and the groves which has not been done in over 5 years therefor I plan on bringing home one of each type to study in my backyard, and release my findings to various forums for educational purposes. So with that out of the way, I am trying to setup my experiment but have some thoughts on how I am to house these, I was thinking about just using simple Tupperware with powerheads but an open body of water is going to create a habitat for mosquitoes to breed in my backyard. I read there are a few species of saltwater mosquitoes found along the coast but what are the chances they will find my backyard over a dry land buffer zone with only freshwater pools? I want to compare the growth rates and patterns between freshwater and saltwater, as well as between species alone (red, black, and white). If they were ever released into freshwater environments I think they could potentially become invasive. To keep things cheap I was just going to use table salt and slow release fertilizer such as Osmocote. I am not sure if mangroves rely on the cal/mag traces in ocean water as much as nitrates and phosphates. The salinity level is something I am not sure about, should I use brackish or 1.021 to 1.026 gravity? I do not have room inside to dedicate to this with artificial lighting, not for all 3 species so I will be relying on natural sunlight.