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  1. TJ's Bust'em Up [and go] Custom Reef! Welcome to my build thread! Well, rebuild thread I suppose... or maybe upgrade thread? The Details: This thread is going to follow me taking my very new reef, and completely redo the guts of the aquarium. This will include the sump, plumbing, skimmer, fuge/frag lighting, etc. and I am going to go custom with all of it! Or nearly all of it. The sump is being built by Pro Clear Aquatics, the light by Dave @ Nano Box Reef, and I am going to use colored plumbing to match it all up and take the vanity side of this build to the next level. The Livestock: As with all of my builds, I am planning to go primarily with colorful sticks and clams. I really can't help myself... I just can't reef any other way and feel satisfied. The tank was originally set up with LPS and Softies to keep things simple and look full as fast as possible for a video shoot. With that concluded, I am moving over to sticks ASAP! As you read on through this thread you'll see I've already begun to move out softies and bring in SPS. Nothing too fancy just yet, but as things settle in I will get my hands on some more impressive pieces. I am not necessarily going to be chasing down "designer corals" because they tend to be heinously over priced, but rather just focus on getting some nice colors from the LFS or trade with other hobbyists for nice frags. For fish, the tank is currently home to a pair of Percula Clowns, Starry Blenny, and a [likely cyanide caught] Convict Tang. Details on the system can be seen in the original post below. ------------------------------ Original Post Below ------------------------------ Alright folks, I'm just going to leave this thread here... Lots to do before I start really posting about what is happening, but lets just say I have a new reef, its already set up, but I think I am going all out custom for the sump / plumbing etc. and will kick off the thread once everything arrives! And yes, I will probably go crazy with sticks like I did last time. This time I will hopefully avoid any mass die offs caused by acro specific viruses that can not be controlled... Sad times. THE FUN BEGINS IN 10, 9, 8... About the tank: European tank, low iron glass, holes drilled at the top of the rear panel, utilizes XAQUA INOUT overflow system, grey stand with removable front panel for a ton of access. Dimensions are 70 x 50 x 50 cm (roughly 27" x 20" x 20") About the scape: I used CaribSea Life Rock to give the corals something to grow on. Mix of the standard boulders and the branches paired with a bit of smashing, stacking, and putty eventually lead me to this scape. How far along is the build? So this reef was hastily assembled for a video shoot (not for a build series, but rather for a commercial of sorts to introduce a new product/line from a well known company) and was never intended to hang around. Once I got it up and running with corals and a few fish, my daughter became quite drawn to it, and my wife doesn't hate it, so I figured it should stay. Of course, I should have known that the second I set up a reef I'd be bitten by the bug... What are the plans? I am planning to change up most of the corals and go heavy on the SPS, but more importantly, I want to completely redo the guts of the system. I slapped this together with great equipment, sure, but I want to go custom and really make the system my own. I have already gotten in touch with Pro-Clear aquatics who have ordered my custom acrylic and will be building a sump for me based on a modified design I sent them yesterday (23/02/2017) and I will be getting some pretty plumbing to really turn this system into a hot rod (no flames though...) So, if you stick around, this thing should get pretty interesting relatively quickly! I assume the sump will be at my place in a few weeks, and that is when we can really kick things off!!!
  2. So I’ve decided to launch an investigation. I went to my LFS a few weeks ago and saw they had just received a school of orange spotted filefish. Always an optimist, I asked the store if they would feed them frozen mysis for me to observe. Miraculously ALL the filefish in the tank began to eat the frozen food. The filefish has just arrived the day before and were in a system running heavy copper so this made absolutely no sense to me. not thinking twice, I asked them to bag up the one with the best appetite and took it home. I put it in an observation tank for a week but it didn’t eat so I added it to my display to reduce its stress and hopefully have more luck. I used a dead acro skeleton with mysis and grocery store shrimp smeared on and it picked at it. A few days later I happened to feed some flake food to the tank and crazy as it sounds the orange spotted filefish swam all around the tank gobbling any piece it could find that would fit in its mouth. Since then ive been crushing the flakes to a smaller size and giving tiny feedings to the tank 3x a day and the filefish’s belly is perpetually bulging. But the story doesn’t end there. I told a friend of mine about my crazy luck and what I had seen in the store and he asked me to grab one for him and hold it until we meet up at reefapalooza next week. Although a few weeks had passed I went back to my LFS and saw they still had several of the filefish remaining and all with fat bellies. Amazing! the store confirmed that they had only been feeding the tank frozen foods. Also no coral or copepods present in the tank either. So I grabbed two more. One for my friend and one to hopefully pair with the filefish I have. that was yesterday. This morning I found my male and female filefish sleeping together. They woke up when I added flakes and the new filefish picked at a couple while the established filefish raced around gobbling up pieces of any size it could find. the one I set aside for my friend was really stressed alone in the observation tank I had put it in. It needs a water change. But I added a little frozen mysis and again even the third filefish woke up and raced around gobbling the mysis. Even chewing and spitting the pieces that were too big until they were small enough to swallow. This all seems too good to be true. It remains to be seen if these fish will survive long term but the fact that they’re all eating prepared foods from the water column, with little or no training, immediately after being introduced to a new system, is ridiculous. I need answers. I am not an very experienced aquarist. I research as much as I can and I will jump through hoops and spend hours each day monitoring and providing for my tanks as best I know how. I still make impulse buys. I still try things I shouldn’t (this may be one of them). But even I seem to be doing something that is rarely possible for veteran reef keepers. im not stroking my ego here. It can’t be me. It has to be the fish. Perhaps they were trained by the fish distributor? Perhaps it’s just a massive coincidence of fish personality? But my favorite theory is that it’s the collection site that makes the difference. I got the details of where my LFS got that batch of filefish. I called them and am waiting for a call back from their head of sales to answer my questions. Heres what I’m most interested in hearing back about. From you all. And from the head of sales. Does the collection sight determine success or failure for these filefish in an aquarium environment? It stands to reason that slight deviations in environment throughout the region where these fish live could effect how they behave. I know they went extinct locally near japan when the specific choice species of acropora died out. That population couldn’t even adapt to eating other acros. Maybe another reef has fish that are more opportunistic. Maybe one area has orange spotted filefish that have adapted to eat copepods as well as coral. Or montipora ad well as acropora. (These are all things I’ve heard orange spotted filefish (OSFs) will eat in captivity when not accepting prepared foods. And finally maybe there is a small region where the OSF has adapted to eat whatever smells good. A place where, for whatever reason, the filefish have evolved to lose the instinct to be so picky. If this is the case it’s huge news I think. Imagine what an expert aquarist could learn about OSF husbandry it they had access to the opportunistic specimens I just got. What if everyone had access to the opportunity to have a filefish that will feed. We could all learn how to truly care for this fish once the hurdle of food rejection is off the table. So im determined to learn where these particular filefish came from. I will ask if any more are available from that area. And if I can manage that. I will try to recruit as many people as I can to join me in the experiment to learn what drives this fishes behavior. I would love love to hear any thoughts and feedback. Any questions. Or even any requests. If I can manage to organize another set of OSF from the same reef to my LFS I am willing to buy and ship them on behalf of any determined experienced aquarists out there. I may be getting way ahead of myself but I feel this could be an opportunity for the whole hobby to learn and grow and I don’t want to think I missed the opportunity to share it with everyone by keeping my theories to myself. Sorry this his is so long. Really hope somebody reads it all...
  3. Michael_

    Sponge Recovery

    Sup guys I've had this orange finger sponge for a few months, and it's been through so much - high nitrates, parameter changes, etc. It's lost branches and shrunk. I've finally been able to get it into a stable, clean tank without fish, and I'm curious about it's recovery. Sometimes when I squeeze it lightly, it releases that orange color on my fingers. Is it basically dead? Will it recover on it's own or do I need to help it somehow? how do I get the algae off it? Thanks
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