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Old 07/29/2019, 01:11 PM   #1001
Chasmodes
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Wow, such a cool tank. The macros are filling in nicely. Hopefully, the manatee grass continues a comeback. The ecosystem seems to be thriving seeing that all of your filter feeders are doing well, and your fish seem happy and ready to spawn!


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Old 07/29/2019, 02:04 PM   #1002
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Thanks Kevin! Despite the manatee grass setback, everything seems to be humming along nicely.

I'm stoked with the neon damsels' developing romance. Hopefully I won't destroy the harmony that exists with such a low fish load, once I start adding new fish. It looks like two tuxedo damsels will be added next, in a few weeks. Hopefully Papillon will enjoy having some new buds, and the neons aren't disturbed. I'm sure it will be an adjustment. That's why I decided to try an observation box to transition them into the display. It'll give everyone some time to get used to each other before physical contact can be made. Hopefully, this will reduce stress to all, including me!


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Old 07/30/2019, 07:12 AM   #1003
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Sometimes those boxes are the ticket. Years ago (back during the coral skeleton FO days), I had a problem when I introduced a new pygmy angel to my tank (Centropyge heraldi). The flame angel went after it like crazy and tore up it's fins, even put a scar on the side of it from the gill plate barb. I pulled the herald's angel out and treated it in QT with an antibiotic until the gash healed, then, used one of those boxes in the DT to acclimate the herald angel during reintroduction to the tank. At first, the flame wouldn't leave the box alone. Eventually, it became less and less interested. After about two weeks, I let the heralds angel go into the DT and never had any problems after that. At the time, I had a subadult blue angel, and three pygmy angels (flame, potters and heralds). They all got along after that. I was so relieved! So yeah, it's a good move, even just to be safe.


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Old 07/30/2019, 11:16 AM   #1004
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Thank you Kevin, so much for that! It was just what I needed to hear. I think the transition box will be very helpful for these fish especially.

Now, tell me all about your experience with Herald's Angel fish. I've been looking into that one as a possible harem or pair. What did you learn about them?


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Old 08/02/2019, 08:17 AM   #1005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Hoaster View Post
Now, tell me all about your experience with Herald's Angel fish. I've been looking into that one as a possible harem or pair. What did you learn about them?
Well, I didn't have a pair, so I can't speak toward aggression within the species. But, once acclimated and used to each other, I had three different species of dwarf angels that got along well. My Herald's angel lived about six years until a power outage while I was away during the summer did my fish in. My Brother was taking care of the tank at the time but was in school, so he didn't get an air pump working in time. But, it was a fat, healthy fish until then. I love the subtle green and orange patterns on the dorsal and anal fins against the vibrant yellow. I'd say that they are worth trying as a harem. If you can get that to work, then you'd have a nice, active bunch of fish that will add a nice amount of color to your tank. Plus, as far as angels go, they're relatively inexpensive.


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Old 08/05/2019, 08:39 AM   #1006
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Thanks Kevin! The Herald's Angel Looks to be a good candidate for a semi-peaceful community. I may try 1-3 of them.


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Old 08/05/2019, 11:06 AM   #1007
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They are full of personality and, if the harem works out, would be a beautiful addition to your tank!


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Old 08/05/2019, 12:06 PM   #1008
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From what I've read, they are less dependent on algae than some dwarf angels, which makes them more attractive to me. I love the color and the subtleties too. The big question on them for me would be what harm could they do to my ecosystem, and would it be small enough to justify keeping one or more. Their diet of micro algae and detritus could be a net positive for my tank, depending on what else they like to eat. Maybe I could test what macros they'd eat in QT, before fully committing to keeping them.


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Old 08/06/2019, 05:13 AM   #1009
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Just catching up Michael after another vacation with family. Sounds like the tank is doing well.


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Old 08/06/2019, 06:39 AM   #1010
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Thanks Dawn. Yep, it's humming along.


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Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 08/06/2019, 11:05 AM   #1011
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A little plant management today.

I moved a few sprigs of feather caulerpa from less desirable areas to more desirable ones - the back wall. I removed some large clumps of black grasilaria. Pretty easy to do, when they get so big. Little frags get released, so I chase them down with a net.

I've also been monitoring my army of snails interest in eating this undesirable plant. I've noticed one area where it is receding. I think the lack of micro algae causes them to look for alternatives. This is great, as long as they don't go after the desirables!

One of the 'shrub' grasilarias (not as fine as the regular, red grasilaria, not as thick as the tree grasilaria) was getting too big and was shading some of the Halymenia elongotta and Botryocladia. I swapped it out with a smaller one, trading their positions on the patch reef. This should allow much better growth for those more desirable, showy plants.

Mr Crabs, the emerald crab molted the other day. Today he finally ventured over to the patch reef, where green bubble algae is growing. He's been painfully close, but I haven't seen him go after any yet.

The Manatee Grass continues to grow back, but at a snail's pace. It looks like damaged plants are not recovering (so far, at least), which is a bummer. So all new growth is coming from plants that weren't harmed. If this holds true, it will take a long time for it to get back to its former glory.

SaltySully, would you be up for another manatee grass run?

Also, the Tuxedo Damsels (2) are still doing well in QT, at week 3. I'm considering moving one in with the other, to get them used to each other, and to test out the transition box. One of them seems like he would appreciate some company. We'll see!


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Old 08/10/2019, 11:48 PM   #1012
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Today I started raising salinity in the QTs to match the display salinity. I added a small measure of salt every two hours to go slowly. I should have it done tomorrow, then I can get the two Tuxedo Damsels into the transition box, in the display. I'm pretty excited! Hopefully, they'll all get along. The new guys look great, with no signs of illness in QT.

Then I'll get the QTs disinfected and ready for the next round of fish. Next week I'm getting some more Neon Damsels and some Green Clown Gobies. I also have some mini brittle stars coming. They reproduce in aquariums and are great detrivores.

The Feather Caulerpa is just starting to take off. I'm agonizing on whether to remove it or not, while I still have the chance. With the Fern Caulerpa starting to come around too, I'm very tempted to get rid of the less preferred feather variety, in favor of the prettier, in my opinion, fern caulepra. It's hard to get rid of a plant I've been rooting for (sorry). In the big picture, I'd rather just have the fern. I'll make a decision tomorrow, when I have my hands in the tank.


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Old 08/11/2019, 11:06 PM   #1013
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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
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Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 08/12/2019, 10:15 AM   #1014
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OK, so the new Tuxedo Damsels are in the display. I had them in the transition box for hours before releasing them. I had expected to keep them in it for days, but my mind was changed by their behavior.

Curiously, Papillon (the original tux damsel in the tank) kind of avoided confronting them while they were in it. He was curious, but never got too close. He showed no aggression whatsoever. This made me wonder if he was maybe happy to have the company. So I watched for a while. Everyone was being cool. Then the new ones had a few squabbles, while still in the box. Not good. This, combined with Papillon's low aggression, convinced me that I should release them into the tank, to give them more room and reduce stress. It just seemed like they were ready to get to know each other. So, I let them out…

Once released, they immediately gravitated towards Papillon. They all just kind of huddled together for a little while, like they were introducing themselves to each other. There was some tension, but it looked more sexual than territorial. Gradually, they started swimming about, getting to know the place.

This morning, they're spreading out more, eating well, and generally getting along great! Huge relief! I was worried that not adding them all at once would be disastrous. So far, it appears all three prefer the company of each other over solitude. Yay!

The fish watching for me is now way more interesting, having three of these black and white beauties swimming about. I can tell all three apart, with their size differences and their variation in coloring, so I should be able to name they new guys too. I'll watch them for a while, to see if any of them starts acting male or female, before settling on names.

I decided to remove the feather caulerpa. I figured it was now or never. It was a big picture call. Remembering how much work I had to do, pruning C. racemosa in v1, I decided not to keep this very fast grower. The big question is, will I be able to fully remove it?! The fern caulerpa grows slower, so it shouldn't be much of a pruning burden.

With tank temps climbing to over eighty degrees everyday, the Codium is dying back. I'm hoping with fall fast approaching, temps will drop soon enough for them to bounce back, from the little frags scattered about. It would be cool for a yearly cycle of growth and die back to happen in my tank, just as in Nature.

Next, I'm off to prep the QTs for new guests!


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
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Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 08/12/2019, 11:16 AM   #1015
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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
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Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 08/12/2019, 01:23 PM   #1016
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The pics look great, the fish look happy, and your tank looks great too. I'm glad that the newbs get along with Papillon. Damsels are very personable fish.

Interesting about the Codium. Did you notice exactly what temp it started to die back? That's a species that I'd be interested in collecting.


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Old 08/12/2019, 01:51 PM   #1017
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Thanks Kevin!

Yeah, the new damsels are cool! So far, they're doing great. I'm watching them a lot, to see how their behavior evolves, in my tank. I think they're gonna be perfect. I may add one or two more, later on. But next, I've got more Neon Damsels on the way.

In my research into Codium, it was recommended to keep the water temp below 80. I set my heater to 76 in anticipation of their arrival. It seemed to work well, as they grew and thrived. As temps climbed this summer, my tank temp swings as high as 82, so I think 80 is a good temp ceiling for codium.

I think it would be a cool plant for your oyster reef!


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
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Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 08/13/2019, 06:40 AM   #1018
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I think damsels are very interesting fish. I remember that my first saltwater fish purchased was a blue devil damselfish. I was so impressed with the colors. The hobby became saturated with them, and they developed a bad reputation. But, I still find them quite beautiful.

In your case, the fact that you can keep multiple species in groups is impressive, and they get along with everything in the tank. That's a testament to your research and planning. Well done.

I may try a few saltier spots later this summer to collect for my oyster reef tank. I'd like to collect either a striped burrfish or a planehead filefish for the tank. A tropical stray butterflyfish would be a nice addition too. When I go there, I expect to find some Codium and other macros too. I'll have to bump up the salinity a bit in my tank, if I do this. Maybe next month...


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Old 08/13/2019, 09:56 AM   #1019
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Thanks Kevin. I've always had a thing for damsels. I really love their vivid colors and active nature. The fact that they're hardy and inexpensive makes them even more attractive. But, their reputation for being pugnacious is well deserved. I started looking into them again, after giving up on Chromis, with their 'uronema problem'.

There are a few fairly well-behaved species out there. From what I've gathered so far, you want to avoid species that farm algae. These are the most territorial, as they are guarding a specific area of substrate. In a smallish tank, that could include the whole tank! It's the water column plankton pickers that tend to be more docile, since they are less 'tethered' to any one area of substrate to defend. Still, I think they need roomier tanks then they are often given. Also, I think it helps to keep them well fed, to reduce aggression. One other factor is the age of the fish. Older fish are just more territorial and grumpy. I always try to get the smallest fish available. For example, I got a Talbot's Damsel. This fish has the reputation as the most docile damsel. The one I received was older and bigger, and he was a terror!

All in all, I'd say SOME damsels can be great in a semi-peaceful community, with the right choices. So far, the tuxedo and neon damsels are doing well for me.

I don't know your current salinity, but you may not have to worry too much about it, with macros. Most adapt well to fluctuations. Drops in salinity often go hand-in-hand with increased nutrients, like after a big rain, often triggering macro blooms. Inland lagoons' salinity have a good bit of seasonal variation. Also fish can tolerate lower salinity as well, as it makes their bodies' job of osmo-regualtion easier.

I look forward to seeing what you collect!


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Old 08/14/2019, 05:44 AM   #1020
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Thanks Michael, that's good to know about the salinity drop affects on macros. I have to be careful with the fish, but I guess it might actually work out and knock off some parasites, link instant hypo treatment.


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Old 08/15/2019, 10:12 AM   #1021
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The new guys. With just the addition of two, small fish, the dynamics of the tank social fabric have changed massively.



Note the mangrove pod on the left. There is growth in the growth tip.



All of these Botriocladia, or red grapes plants grew out of the live rock.


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Old 08/15/2019, 12:29 PM   #1022
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Excellent pics. I bet it's fun to search for micro life in there too with your magnifying glass.

BTW, it's cool doing the "eye spy" thing looking for the barnacle blennies


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Old 08/17/2019, 11:24 AM   #1023
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Thanks Kevin! I do have fun with the magnifying glass! Lots to see.

Lately, I'm looking at the growth tip on one of the mangrove pods. After virtually no change for months, I'm seeing changes daily now. It looks like it's getting a new leaf or two. Also, some Petticoat Algae is starting to climb the 'trunk'.

Another thing I'm looking at with interest is the new emerald crab. I'm trying to decide if his actions are helping or hurting the system overall. I'm not happy with some of the destruction he's caused. He's eaten one small clump of bubble algae, so far, which is what I wanted him for. He needs to ramp up his bubble algae destruction to tip the balance in his favor, or I may remove him. The overall system is more important than any one member.

I'm seeing a few remnants of the feather caulerpa I removed last weekend. It's not bad. I should be able to wipe it out.

The maiden's hair (or turtle weed) clump I got a few weeks ago died back mysteriously. Fortunately, some survived, as well as a few other hitchhiker plants I've yet to ID. I really want this plant to spread all over the back wall.

I've had a ton of tank watching lately. I had a tooth extracted, so I've been sore and parked on the couch everyday. I've really enjoyed watching how the new fish have affected the dynamics of the tank. The tuxedo damsels kind of go their own way, but interact with each other frequently. The two new ones are bigger than Papillon, which probably helped introduction. Now I'm trying to discern sexes. At this early juncture I'm guessing that Papillon and the smaller of the two new ones are female, and the largest one male, but I could be wrong. Probably too early to tell, but it's fun trying.

The two neon damsels are adapting well to the new guys. They've upped their game a bit to match the new guys' energy. I ordered some new ones from Live Aquaria, but they back ordered them, unfortunately. My hope is to get five more, to bring their number to seven. Then I may try to add two more tuxedos, for a total of five. And that will likely do it for damsels.

Next, I'm trying to figure out if a dwarf angel or two would work in my ecosystem-in-a-box. The Herald's Angels look promising. I just want to avoid getting fish that gradually wipe out my macros, or destroy some other resident that's beneficial to the system.

Next, I'm seriously considering tank-bred Fridmani Basslets. I'm thinking a harem of four. These would take the place of the Royal Gramma harem I had in v1. They have nearly identical preferences for vertical topography, and should enjoy the fake wall and it's caves.

Well, I kind of rambled on there. It helps me keep up with stuff. I hope everyone is having a nice summer!


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Old 08/17/2019, 05:34 PM   #1024
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I had lots of catching up to do, Michael. I love the view of your tank from the side glass with all the macros and especially the red grape that grew out of the live rock.

The mangrove pod sprouting is very cool. I did not know that they could sprout leaves under water. I have always wanted to do a mangrove so it will be fun to watch yours progress.

The tuxedo damsels are great additions. Are the mollies still in the tank? I know Kevin was able to find barnacle blennies in your pics but I could not find them. LOL

Nice job Michael.


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Old 08/17/2019, 08:55 PM   #1025
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Thanks Dawn, for the kind words!

That side view is fun.

The mangrove was sort of spur-of-the-moment, sort of back-of-my mind-I-wanted-to-try-one. After a quick read, it seemed better to get the pod in the dirt, than keep the growth tip emergent, with a floating setup. I wanted a situation that I enjoyed looking at, and hopefully, would grow a mangrove. I don't know if it will work. We'll see.

I'm loving the tuxedo damsels! They're kind of calm and stoic. Their coloring is so graphic, they're hypnotic to watch.

There's one molly left, living in the "Shallows" overflow refugium. It's one of the last babies, and is around an inch long now.

Look for the blennies in that last pic of the red grapes.


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