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Old 05/17/2019, 11:44 AM   #876
Michael Hoaster
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Thanks Dawn! I'm glad you like the rock work. Hopefully I can leave it alone! I really appreciate your comment on the lack of the fake mangrove root. I don't miss it either. I think the sand bar and patch reef combo provides enough interest and variation to make up for the loss. I am enjoying the colors as well. I was surprised how much I like the combinations of color in both green and red areas. It would be easy to allow the reds and greens to mingle more, but I think keeping them separate (mostly) will look really nice, as the plants mature.

I haven't named any mollies. Probably because I think of them as 'temps'. The ones I have now are the 3rd or fourth generation of offspring from the originals I bought when I had the Look Downs in v1. I'm not crazy about the way they look in a marine tank, but when I see them eating algae, I'm reminded why I like them so much. Like cucumbers or serpent stars, they're not much to look at, but their utility is hard to beat. They'll likely be moved down to the QTs in the near future. The female is pregnant, so I might wait for her to give birth beforehand, because I like having a school of tiny fish. We'll see.


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Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 05/17/2019, 12:02 PM   #877
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Thanks Kevin. They're no oyster cultches but I like the rock scape too. Maybe it could inspire similar designs, where the reef's footprint is greatly reduced. I was inspired by fresh water planted tanks, for this design. I really liked seeing a lot of variations of green and texture within the areas of green, and then a small splash of red. That's what I'm going for. It's a new challenge to start with a design plan and stick to it, but I'm enjoying it so far, and I think it will grow into just what I wanted.


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Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 05/18/2019, 07:42 PM   #878
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Big Ulva export today. I wanted my reds to be less spread out, so I moved the Dragon's Breath from behind the barnacle shells to the right of them. I like the tighter grouping.



From the end, down low.



From higher on the end.



Barnacle Blenny in the rock.



Rocks from the front.



The other Barnacle Blenny. Good look at the unknown green plant that's growing from some of the rocks. Also the Halymenia elongota (I think), which should grow into something special!



Back towards the grasses. The Codium plants are still doing well.


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Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 05/19/2019, 02:21 PM   #879
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Looks Great. I like the look


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120 RR Bare Bottom & 56 Bean animal connected to one sump. Life Reef external/blueline 40 HDX, Carbon reactor, GFO reactor, proton 48 led, 2 Kessils 160we tuna blue on 120 & 6 HQ t-5 on 56, b
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Old 05/19/2019, 05:31 PM   #880
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Thanks VWD! It's coming along. When the plants are grown in and I have more fish it'll really look good. I'm enjoying the journey and learning about Nature, in the process.


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Old 05/19/2019, 07:31 PM   #881
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Looks really good. You have such nice varying shades of both red and green. Also your macros have varying textures too. I really like that.


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Old 05/19/2019, 09:16 PM   #882
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I really like that too, Dawn, thanks! I've still got a few more plants to get, but I like what's happening so far.

Now I'm trying to figure out how much added nutrients are optimal for them. It's a slow process, but I like it.


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Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 05/20/2019, 06:50 AM   #883
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Amazing how fast the plants are filling in!


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Old 05/20/2019, 11:45 AM   #884
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Thanks McPuff! The plants have been doing well.

I'm just now hitting a point where I can see growth stalling a bit. So now I'm adjusting the dosing. I'm also trying to make sure no vital nutrients are missing, or limiting growth. When you start driving plants harder, with plentiful light and nutrients, you run the risk of using up some of the trace elements. Water changes and fish food should replenish most, but I don't do many water changes and I don't have many fish just yet, so I think there may be something in short supply, and limiting growth.

Competition could also be a factor. Ulva is a great plant for sucking up excess nutrients and competing with micro algae. Now that I'm out of the woods with micro algae, it is competing with my desirable plants. So I'm going to keep the Ulva trimmed back more, to see if that helps. I ran into the same issue in v1, with Caulerpa racemosa.


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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 05/21/2019, 06:04 AM   #885
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That's a good problem I think. Just enjoy the steady growth rather than trying for boom-bust growth.

Bad news for me... my black and pink cucumber has surprisingly withered away to nothing. Happened very suddenly too. It was doing really well and then just poof. I wonder if that is what has happened to the other cucumbers too... The existing literature must be woefully incomplete as everything I read says they will have plenty to eat in a 60 gallon. Perhaps they need some real muck in the sand in order to be satisfied. I guess I'll just have to rely on the sand sifting stars from now on. Hopefully they don't meet the same demise.


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Old 05/21/2019, 07:28 AM   #886
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Steady growth is ideal. If only it was that simple! When plants lose their normal colors and start dying back, it's cause for concern. That is what I'm seeing. So I'm trying to find the sweet spot of nutrient levels that works best for my plants and my light levels. It's a challenging target to hit, and it's constantly changing!

Sorry to hear about your cucumber. I agree, knowledge about their care is lacking. I believe they consume much more than most aquarists allow their tanks to provide. Typical reef tanks are too clean to support them. I'm not even sure my tank, which would be considered filthy by reefing standards, can provide enough food for mine. So I add sinking pellet food for my cucumber, and other detrivores in the sand bed.


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
our desire to conquer and control everything, and walk hand in hand with Mother Nature. -Walter Adey

Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 05/21/2019, 03:14 PM   #887
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Everything looks great, including the mystery plant. In the first blenny picture, he's really hard to find. It's like my daughter's old eye spy books! But, I found him. Man, do they blend in well. It's a good thing that they are very active or you might have a hard time finding them!!!

Sorry to hear about your cucumber, McPuff...


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Old 05/21/2019, 05:44 PM   #888
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I have found it challenging to keep multiple macro algaes all growing and thriving. Michael, you are right to keep the ulva trimmed back and limited. I add coral vite and strongium with water changes. Its all a guessing game as to how much is enough however. I just closely watch everything. I do have the fish making lots of fertilizer! ��


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Current Tank Info: A 56 gallon (AIO) high nutrient macro algae/coral reef, a 30 gallon seahorse macro algae reef w/ 20 gallon sump and a 2.5 old school dwarf seahorse tank
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Old 05/21/2019, 06:50 PM   #889
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Thanks Kevin! They do blend in, don't they. I imagine you looking and looking at the pic, only to find him/her there, staring back at you, with that hilarious expression!

The green mystery plant is one I have never, ever seen. A little reminiscent of the wine glass plants, but each 'cup' is comprised of multiple leaves. They kind of remind me of trees in a Dr. Zeuse book!


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
our desire to conquer and control everything, and walk hand in hand with Mother Nature. -Walter Adey

Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 05/21/2019, 06:57 PM   #890
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So true, Dawn. Variety is nice, but it's challenging! I have a pretty good selection of nutrients to dose. Nothing fancy, but it should get the job done. I'm working on figuring out the frequency of dosing that works best for what I have. The Ulva is helpful, especially if I overdo it. I just need to keep it cropped down for now, while I figure the rest of the plants out. Like you, I rely on frequent and thorough observation.


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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 05/22/2019, 06:30 AM   #891
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Hoaster View Post
Sorry to hear about your cucumber. I agree, knowledge about their care is lacking. I believe they consume much more than most aquarists allow their tanks to provide. Typical reef tanks are too clean to support them. I'm not even sure my tank, which would be considered filthy by reefing standards, can provide enough food for mine. So I add sinking pellet food for my cucumber, and other detrivores in the sand bed.
I think my definition of "dirty sand" and actual dirty sand is quite different. I can vacuum the sand and see all sorts of gunk pulled out. Problem is that it's coming from the bottom of the sand, which the cucumber cannot reach. The top of the sand is often quite clean due to fish and flow. Extra pellets would be good but my tangs are constantly searching for food and likely pick up all the pellets that do make it to the bottom. So maybe a cucumber isn't the best addition to a reef with lots of active fish. I could, however, see them doing quite well in a lower flow system where sediment is allowed to settle a bit more. Michael, your system should be able to support one, especially if you're adding the small type.

Well, we try something and learn from it. Lesson learned for me. Sand sifters appear to be more suited to a reef given their ability to burrow and actually find the nutrients WITHIN the sand versus on top of it. The reef is a fun classroom isn't it? :0)


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Old 05/22/2019, 12:59 PM   #892
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Thanks McPuff! I think you're right about my style of tank being better able to support a cucumber. This reflects the differences in the chosen environments we're modeling - pristine reefs versus low current lagoons. I suspect there are many more cucumbers per square yard in a lagoon than a reef.

As you said, we try stuff and learn. Learning new things does make it fun.


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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 05/31/2019, 09:44 PM   #893
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I'm still puzzling with my dosing. I think I need to up the frequency. I haven't committed to a regular schedule yet, which probably doesn't help. The seagrasses were going like gangbusters, but now some are turning yellow, looking less than happy. The macros look a little better, but not great either. I'll do an ulva export this weekend. I may prune the large red as well.

Seeking the balance! Getting the right nutrient levels to match the rates the plants can use them is a challenge. I'm hopeful I'll figure it out. I've got the big 3 covered: Carbon, Nitrogen and Phosphorus. Plus a few trace elements: Magnesium, Iron and Calcium. I've just got to find the frequency.


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
our desire to conquer and control everything, and walk hand in hand with Mother Nature. -Walter Adey

Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 06/01/2019, 05:30 AM   #894
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I know that you don't do WCs often but maybe if you try one now it will help supply what is lacking.


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Current Tank Info: A 56 gallon (AIO) high nutrient macro algae/coral reef, a 30 gallon seahorse macro algae reef w/ 20 gallon sump and a 2.5 old school dwarf seahorse tank
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Old 06/01/2019, 05:50 AM   #895
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That is an option. Thanks Dawn!


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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 06/02/2019, 01:50 PM   #896
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Here's a quick Before and After, from today's export:


Before. Note all the Ulva on the sand bed and walls. I made a few adjustments to the red area as well. The large red macro that may or may not be Dragon's Breath, was shading some of the others. Note the difference in the next pic.



After. Not much Ulva left. It comes back in the blink of an eye. Dragon's breath now wraps around the barnacle shells, making it a little less crowded.


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
our desire to conquer and control everything, and walk hand in hand with Mother Nature. -Walter Adey

Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 06/02/2019, 05:17 PM   #897
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I like the changes you made with the dragon's breath and the other red macros. Its more aesthetically pleasing as well as functional in my opinion.

You must have removed lots of ulva as the green grass area looks less green. Hopefully the grasses will grow more when they do not have to compete with the ulva for nutrients.


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And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, ...and God sawthat it was good. Genesis 1:20 - 21

Current Tank Info: A 56 gallon (AIO) high nutrient macro algae/coral reef, a 30 gallon seahorse macro algae reef w/ 20 gallon sump and a 2.5 old school dwarf seahorse tank
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Old 06/02/2019, 08:59 PM   #898
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How nice of you to say Dawn, thanks!

I'm enjoying controlling the aesthetics in this tank. We like to tinker! I think, with time it will fill in well.

Concurrently, I'm trying to assist, or at least get out of the way of Nature, in bringing together a functioning, mini-ecosystem. Lately I'm focusing on plants, which form the structuring elements. Next, I'll revisit pods and a diverse community of detrivores. I want to see if I can close the circle, where detritus production balances with detritus processing/consumption. I wasn't quite able to, in v1. It may not be possible, in a closed system, but it's an ideal to strive for.


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
our desire to conquer and control everything, and walk hand in hand with Mother Nature. -Walter Adey

Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 06/02/2019, 10:15 PM   #899
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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
our desire to conquer and control everything, and walk hand in hand with Mother Nature. -Walter Adey

Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 06/03/2019, 05:47 AM   #900
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Quote:
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How nice of you to say Dawn, thanks!

I'm enjoying controlling the aesthetics in this tank. We like to tinker! I think, with time it will fill in well.

Concurrently, I'm trying to assist, or at least get out of the way of Nature, in bringing together a functioning, mini-ecosystem. Lately I'm focusing on plants, which form the structuring elements. Next, I'll revisit pods and a diverse community of detrivores. I want to see if I can close the circle, where detritus production balances with detritus processing/consumption. I wasn't quite able to, in v1. It may not be possible, in a closed system, but it's an ideal to strive for.
It will be interesting to see if you can strike that balance of detritus production and detritus consumption. My guess is that you may get there for awhile but the law of physics that says that everything goes from a higher state to a lower state would imply that you may have to occasionally add something to keep the chain going. Of course you are feeding the fish which is adding something so maybe....
Its all rather fascinating to watch it play out, especially with interesting characters like the cucumber along with the fish and plants. Then with each added cast of characters it will be fun to just watch them do what they are designed to do and see how they fit in the whole ecosystem.

Hhmm, I see kids taking field trips to your house to learn the science of an aquatic grasslands ecosystem! Ha ha, ok well maybe not! Grandkids perhaps, unless they are like mine. They are not still long enough to observe anything in my tanks, LOL. I would need to add some car chases and explosions for that to happen.


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Current Tank Info: A 56 gallon (AIO) high nutrient macro algae/coral reef, a 30 gallon seahorse macro algae reef w/ 20 gallon sump and a 2.5 old school dwarf seahorse tank
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