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Old 12/11/2018, 08:47 AM   #176
McPuff
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I ripped out the orange capricornis to open up some space for additional branching corals. The Plymouth swap was just on Sunday so it gave me reason to make the change. Found a few really nice mini colonies and can't wait for them to put on a little growth, though I guess I should just make sure they survive first! So far they are looking great.. and unique!

FTS_Dec10.jpg

Close up of the changed area.

new_corals.jpg


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Old 01/02/2019, 11:48 AM   #177
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Aquarium is looking nice!


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Old 01/14/2019, 09:52 AM   #178
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Aquarium is looking nice!
Thanks Ed! I removed a few more corals and ended up with some frags. The idaho grape is now in the lagoon and no longer in the DT. It was taking up too much valuable real estate. :0)

I realized that I now have 20 fish which is more marine fish than I've ever had at one time. Planning to add 3-5 azure damsels just to increase activity. They are passive as well so there shouldn't be any problems. After that I'll probably be done adding fish unless I decide to get a puffer or another trigger...


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Old 01/14/2019, 11:21 AM   #179
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That must be a wild realization to come to, that you probably shouldn't add any more fish to a 300 gallon tank! So much of aquarium keeping is adding and building up. It's an odd feeling to have to stop.

I'm actually kind of envious! All the research and shopping can get tedious. Now you can kick back and enjoy your handiwork!

What do you think will be your focus going forward? Adding corals? System tweaks? Relaxing?


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Old 01/15/2019, 06:38 AM   #180
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That must be a wild realization to come to, that you probably shouldn't add any more fish to a 300 gallon tank! So much of aquarium keeping is adding and building up. It's an odd feeling to have to stop.

I'm actually kind of envious! All the research and shopping can get tedious. Now you can kick back and enjoy your handiwork!

What do you think will be your focus going forward? Adding corals? System tweaks? Relaxing?
I think I could add more fish if I really wanted to... but I don't want to get to (or past!) a tipping point where I'm struggling with nutrients. I know my tangs and angel will still get much larger and that is basically the same as continually adding more small fish. So I think you have to plan ahead for this if you want to be successful. To be honest, it is kind of stressful adding new fish. All of the QT, then the acclimation, then the worry over interactions. It takes about 3 months for that whole process. I have a nice peaceful (mostly) assemblage at this point and it is just too nice to watch. I'd hate to mess it up (as I've done before) and add stress to something that is supposed to reduce stress.

As for my focus going forward. I'll add some corals here and there. Still have some real estate and there's a huge coral swap in about 10 days. :0) I don't think I'll remove any more for a while but I'll have to prune some for sure. Other than that, I'm basically on maintenance mode. About 20 min per day of small tank chores and that's really all it takes. Considering a peristaltic pump for the Ca reactor but otherwise no real changes to the system. It's nice to be able to just sit and watch.

Oh, there is one project I did start... the stand and canopy. I really didn't like either when I purchased the setup. The stand was covered in FRP so I removed that. It had one door so I actually cut a second. I have skinned the stand in 1/4" plywood to hide the glue that attached the FRP. It also evens out the doorways as one was larger and offset. Now they are identical. I'll paint the stand, add trim at the top and bottom, and then I'm going to add 4 hanging doors using heavy duty picture hangers. It will look more like a "normal" stand at that point (shaker style). Once that is complete, I'll work on a solution for the canopy. It's just been a frame so far and there is a lot of light spill because of it. My plan is to add trim to the base, then create removable panels that will resemble canopy doors. I want them fully removable so I don't lose any access to the tank itself. I'm working through solutions in my mind but I do like the idea of those picture hangers here too. Seems more robust and reliable than magnets.

This was always going to be a winter project and I'm glad I'm finally getting to it. It should transform the whole thing into more of a showpiece. And by closing off the canopy it'll make the inside of the tank really stand out! I'm looking forward to that. I've got some work to do... but I have a plan so it feels like the heavy lifting is done already. :0)


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Old 01/16/2019, 12:12 PM   #181
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This is a great primer. I have a 180 and I am planning to move to a 330 this summer if all goes well.


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Old 01/16/2019, 12:14 PM   #182
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Are the videos reposted anywhere? The links are dead


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Old 01/17/2019, 06:45 AM   #183
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This is a great primer. I have a 180 and I am planning to move to a 330 this summer if all goes well.
Thanks, glad you enjoy it! If you have any marine pure media, put that in your sump now and let it get colonized. They hold a massive amount of bacteria which can be used to seed your new tank. If you do this, and add a cup or so of dirty sand from your current system, you'll have no cycle.

The videos are gone... I took them down when I changed the format of my youtube channel. Instead of reefing, I am moving into the automotive realm as there is more I can/want to do there.


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Old 01/28/2019, 09:35 AM   #184
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McPuff,

You make a lot of wise points. I was recently asked how many fish will I put in my 300, and the answer was far less than what a typical 300 would have. I thought along the same lines as you, when the tank is finally established, fish will get bigger and the biological load will in kind increase. Why stress it with many fish? I do buy into the notion that corals like/need fish poop to be happy but there's (as you say) a tipping point. To be mindful and stay far enough away from that point is where longevity and happiness come from. No need for unnecessary headaches.


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Old 01/28/2019, 10:27 AM   #185
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How did the swap go?


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Old 01/29/2019, 06:30 AM   #186
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How did the swap go?
Thanks Jimmy, we're definitely on the same page. It's a lot easier to add nutrients if the system becomes deficient, rather than battle with high nutrient load constantly. I'm surprised that I have as many fish as I do, though many of them are small and will remain small. I have a few azure damsels on order and after I add those I don't envision adding anything else for quite a while.

The swap went really well. I didn't win any of the raffles though. :0( Found a bunch of corals I simply could never rationalize buying! :0) Did spend a bit more than I ever have in the past but got some really nice frags and mini colonies. A couple are no-names (which I like) but they are fantastic. I'll have to come up with some names for them! Most of my real estate is now taken once again and there is room for grow out. There is one large-ish spot toward the back of the tank and I never knew what to put there. It seems like a great spot for a pink birdsnest. Gotta find a small colony and let it go nuts. Should look pretty great and contrast nicely with the crayola stag (purple).

I'll have to post some more pictures soon showing the updated scape and canopy (once it's done... waiting on the darn doors to be shipped!).


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Old 01/29/2019, 05:21 PM   #187
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Thanks Jimmy, we're definitely on the same page. It's a lot easier to add nutrients if the system becomes deficient, rather than battle with high nutrient load constantly. I'm surprised that I have as many fish as I do, though many of them are small and will remain small. I have a few azure damsels on order and after I add those I don't envision adding anything else for quite a while.

The swap went really well. I didn't win any of the raffles though. :0( Found a bunch of corals I simply could never rationalize buying! :0) Did spend a bit more than I ever have in the past but got some really nice frags and mini colonies. A couple are no-names (which I like) but they are fantastic. I'll have to come up with some names for them! Most of my real estate is now taken once again and there is room for grow out. There is one large-ish spot toward the back of the tank and I never knew what to put there. It seems like a great spot for a pink birdsnest. Gotta find a small colony and let it go nuts. Should look pretty great and contrast nicely with the crayola stag (purple).

I'll have to post some more pictures soon showing the updated scape and canopy (once it's done... waiting on the darn doors to be shipped!).
McPuff - No names are the best . No absurd price tags...lol. Looking forward to the new pics.


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Old 03/14/2019, 12:52 PM   #188
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It's been a while since I've been here, but wow, so many changes! The last FTS looks fantastic. Do you have any since? How is the BF angel doing? Sorry that the annularis didn't work out, they're a stunning angel. If you ever decide to add a pygmy angel, what about a lemon peel or heralds angel? Either of those will add a nice splash of yellow, they're great tank mates and very hardy too. Lemonpeel angels have cool bright blue trim which is pretty stunning, IMHO. Heralds angels are subtly trimmed with orange and green on their fins, also quite beautiful.


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Old 03/15/2019, 07:15 AM   #189
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Thanks Kevin, the tank is doing pretty well. Some of the larger colonies are growing really fast. All the fish and corals seem to be happy. I lost my frag of garf bonsai and I'm not sure why. Just moved a small frag of 20k lokani into a fully lit space. I've had this one nearly a year and it's barely grown at all. Hoping that it'll be happier in the full blast of light but we'll see. I got it from a friend and didn't realize how rare it is. Very cool looking coral.

Here is an FTS from March 3.

FTS_Mar05.jpg

I'm actually in the process of making a few changes to coral placement. Going to remove my pink stylo and tricolor validia colonies, cut them down, and then place the smaller colonies. It's so hard to know where to place these when they are just frags. Once they grow up you sometimes realize that a small tweak is required. That's all that is happening here. And I'll have a bunch of frags to sell.

I also bought a bunch of frags at the last 3 swaps. Other than trades, I'll be done buying frags probably until next winter when the swaps run through again. :0)

As for the pygmy angels, there are two that really catch my eye at this point. The Potters and the multibar. Both are rather difficult but I believe they would do equally well in my large and mature tank. My worry would be the QT process and getting them through it. I've read that some people choose not to QT them but that also scares me quite a bit. Too much of a risk. So for now, the only additions will be the 1 half black and 2 azure damsels that are in QT. Considering a swissguard basslet as well. Maybe a few more damsels and/or cardinals.

The blueface is doing great. Getting bigger for sure and is nice and fat. Transition is somewhere between juvenile and adult. Lots of yellow coming in. The caudal spot is starting to show. Rings are getting less pronounced.
I've never had one this large without it being a full adult pattern. Could be because it's the only angel in the tank? Not sure. Pretty well behaved with other fish. Started to nip at soft corals so I removed them and now keep them in the lagoon with the humu trigger. That part of the system is so fun!

OH! The other thing I've been doing is refreshing the stand and canopy. Because I had to work within the confines of original design (I didn't build it) the outcome will be pretty good, but maybe not terrific. I'm ok with that. I removed the FRP that covered the stand, cut a second door, added 1/4" plywood skin to make the doors even size/shape. Currently adding trim to the bottom and top of the stand. Purchased 4 cabinet doors and will hang them with heavy duty picture cleats vs hinges. This will be optimal as the hinge approach would NOT have worked at all. The actual build portion is nearly complete. Still have to prime and paint the doors, and paint the stand. After that is complete I'll do something similar with the canopy. Once the canopy is complete, it'll be nice NOT to be blinded by light overspill!!!


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Old 03/15/2019, 08:33 AM   #190
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Your tank looks great! Good luck with the cabinet completion. I can't wait to see it!


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Old 04/10/2019, 01:10 PM   #191
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Thanks Kevin, the tank is doing pretty well. Some of the larger colonies are growing really fast. All the fish and corals seem to be happy.
Here is an FTS from March 3.
Lookin Good


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Old 04/12/2019, 01:14 PM   #192
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Things are growing in nicely!


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Old 04/15/2019, 08:38 AM   #193
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Thanks all. Here's an FTS using a new set of filters (polyp lab clip-on)... makes a huge difference!

FTS_April2019.jpg

I actually cut down a couple large-ish colonies (pink stylo, tricolor validia) to get a better growth pattern (i.e., bushier) closer to the rock. For the validia, I kept about half of the colony and ended up with some great "frags" if you can call them that! The true pink stylo got chopped a bit more and I mounted it in 3 different places in the tank. I may take this approach with a couple other corals too, such as red planet (really like that one!). So now I have a zone in the middle where there are a few small frags/colonies. It should look really good in another year when they have all grown in quite a bit more.

Just added three damsels to the DT over the weekend: 2 azures and 1 half black. They hide quite a bit so far but I have no doubts they'll be out and about soon enough. They are quite a bit smaller than the chromis and Talbott's damsel that were already in the tank. Also have a Swaless basslet in QT but it'll be almost 4 weeks until it goes into DT (it just finished TTM on Friday). Unfortunately, I lost a two spot wrasse in TTM on day 3 just yesterday. Bummer and not sure what happened. :0(

Also added a GEO 618 calcium reactor as my original reactor had a small crack and therefore was leaking. I'll try to repair it and maybe use it as a huge chaeto reactor or sell it (fixed of course). The Geo should be more than enough for my system though and it does save me a bit of space. Gotta get it dialed in but should be stable in a day or two. Next thing will be to add a peristaltic pump to really keep things steady.


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Old 04/15/2019, 02:34 PM   #194
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Good update! Lots happening! Tank looks gorgeous!


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Old 04/16/2019, 06:52 AM   #195
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Good update! Lots happening! Tank looks gorgeous!
Thanks Michael! Yes, lots happening for sure. It was getting a little overwhelming to be honest as there were simply too many small and large projects going at the same time. I really had to just try and get a little done here and there to make things more manageable. The CA reactor replacement was an extra issue that added unnecessary anxiety. Thankfully that looks to be stable already (!) and performing better than my last one. Big relief.

I haven't talked much about it but the stand re-facing is going really well, but also taking a long time. Finally have the trim installed, along with the cleats on the doors, and the cleats on the stand. Doors are test fit on the stand and look pretty good (better than pictured). Next steps are to prime the stands, add some more finishing nails to the trim, caulk the trim, cover holes, and then paint the whole thing. Then it's done! Actually isn't that much work and now that it's nicer outside I should be able to get those doors primed and painted a bit more easily (although it's going to rain the rest of the week).

stand_rough_fit.jpg

After the stand, it's the canopy that needs some "doors." I'm going to try to find 2 stock canopy doors and turn them sideways. May also use a cleat system to hold them in place. Haven't given this much thought in a while so still struggling with it a tad. Will be nice to reduce light spill and be able to focus solely on the inside of the tank. It's been about 2.5 years since I got the tank so it's about time I like the way the whole package looks!! :0)


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Old 04/16/2019, 07:28 AM   #196
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I know how you feel. I get overwhelmed too. Stuff piles up when you aren't looking! Your cabinet is coming along nicely. It's going to look great!


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Old 04/17/2019, 07:41 AM   #197
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I know how you feel. I get overwhelmed too. Stuff piles up when you aren't looking! Your cabinet is coming along nicely. It's going to look great!
Thanks Michael. Sometimes, I just need to remember that plodding along and making progress slowly is going to get the job done... and probably better than if I sped it along. And it generally benefits the reef to make any changes slowly.

I'm really trying to take a hands-off approach for the INSIDE of my reef now (i.e., "watch mode"). Other than adding corals, I do not do much of anything where my hands need to be in the tank. Just the usual pump cleaning, glass cleaning (no hands in tank!), sometimes rock scrubbing (minimally invasive and infrequent), and gravel vacuuming (rare). Otherwise, most of my time is spent feeding the fish and starting at them and the corals (let's call it monitoring). :0)


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Old 04/17/2019, 11:38 AM   #198
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Plodding is good. Take your time, enjoy the ride!

I like the hands-off approach. It gives Nature the space to contribute.


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Old 04/18/2019, 06:35 AM   #199
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Fish update: Over the past few months I've lost a few fish. The most recent was my ruby headed wrasse (C. cyanopleura). No idea what happened with this guy. One day, about two months ago, he must have flipped out and then became reclusive. He basically hid in a pile of rocks all day every day. Came out only a few times. Probably didn't even eat. Finally on Monday, I found him out of the rocks, but lying on his side and occassionally flitting about the tank, obviously on the road to death. I had this guy (supermale) for about 6 years so I'm guessing it was only about 8 years old or less. I guess that old age could be the ultimate cause of death (stroke?). Who knows.

Also lost the tail spot blenny which had seemingly no cause. It always came out to eat, was never chased or bullied. Was so fun to watch. Had it about 4-5 months and one day it was just dead. No signs of illness or injury. Weird.

The third was the female PJ cardinal. I thought she was thick with eggs but once she died I determine she must have had some type of blockage. Poor girl. Had her about 7-8 years. The male is still going strong.

Last year I lost a solar wrasse (C. solorensis) and I think that one could be chalked up to old age even though I had it about 5 years (6-7 years old, max). I believe this one went blind, then had trouble finding food and eventually withered away.

Just last week, I bought a two spot wrasse (Cheilinus bimaculatus) which is the smallest of the maori wrasses (only gets about 5-6"). At first glance it doesn't appear to be all that great but if you've ever owned one you know how cool they really are, especially as adults. It was eating food only moments after being put into TTM #1. Unfortunately, it was dead two mornings later. I don't believe I didn't anything wrong here, just bad luck. May try for another but we'll see.

For about two months, my melanurus wrasse has had a white spot... actually his entire pupil is white. It appears to be cataract and it seems fairly common among this species (based on my research). He acts pretty normal but is clearly blind in that eye. I'm hoping the other eye will not be affected for a while because that will certainly lead to his demise. I really enjoy having a melanurus, especially given their propensity for hunting flatworms and [probably] bristle worms (I NEVER see them). So when this one passes, I'll get another one for sure.

It's weird when you've had fish long enough that they can start to die from old age. You wouldn't think this could be true after 5-7 years but life spans are generally shorter in captivity. Kind of sad and it bring a change to the fish community. You are then left with a gap that you can leave empty or fill with a new fish. The latter requires finding the right species, TTM, then QT. This does take a couple of months altogether which can be a bummer but it does provide the ability to rejuvenate the fish assemblage in your reef. Not sure yet what I will do but I'd say that 1-3 wrasses are in my future (Scott's, Labouti, leopard?). Maybe not until the fall.

Well, that was a long update and a bit of waxing poetic I suppose. Hope you enjoyed. :0)


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Old 04/18/2019, 07:38 AM   #200
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Thanks for sharing this. It's uncomfortable to talk about. Nobody wants to publicly list their fish deaths. I've lost more than my share over the last year or so. It fills me with shame and dread.

It is somewhat comforting to hear it coming from someone with such a great reputation for taking superlative care of their fish.

It's hard to imagine what our fish go through on the way to our tanks. It's a safe bet that it is very stressful and often fatal. Even getting them through QT is no guarantee. It's impossible to know every factor that could contribute to their demise.

I'll continue to look to you for the best example of fish care I've seen.


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Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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