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Old 08/18/2019, 05:26 AM   #1026
vlangel
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My tablet died so I am looking on an older smart phone screen, which is smaller than the new screens. I think I see barnacle blennies in the lower left and the upper right? My pair are still doing great too. They are awesome little fish, so much personality packed in such a small package!


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Old 08/18/2019, 10:41 AM   #1027
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Yep, you found 'em! I'm glad to hear your barnacle blennies are doing well. They're such cool little fish!


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Old 08/21/2019, 05:47 PM   #1028
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Mister Crabs appears to have died not long after molting. Before you conclude I have mistaken the discarded carapace for a dead crab, I'll point out that I can see both the carapace AND the dead crab. I saw him alive, right after molting, then dead the next day. I know that they are vulnerable when molting, but I can't imagine what could kill him in my aquarium. I guess this answers my question of whether to keep him or not. It does not help in the bubble algae department. I had hopes he'd take care of it, after finding one small bunch of bubbles eaten. But he was rather destructive, for such a small crab. So I was leaning towards giving him a little more time to get after the bubbles, then removing him. Rest in peace, Mister Crabs.

I guess I'll have to manually remove the bubble algae. I've done it once before. I remove one live rock at a time and take a brush to them in a bucket to try to remove all bits of it. It'll be stressful to the other life on the rocks, but if I'm carful, not deadly. I just hate moving them.

The mangrove with new growth has two leaves forming. It's so strange to see it change so rapidly, after months of nothing.

Speaking of growth rate, I've been doing some more research on Manatee Grass. It seems they have a distinct growing season in Spring. That corresponds with my experience. That was when mine were multiplying like crazy. So now, after losing many of them, the plants that I have left are growing, very sloooooowly. So I won't expect too much growth over the winter. It's not great news, but it's good to know. It'll save me the effort to 'figure them out', so I can just focus on something else, until springtime - like green macro algae.

I was surfin' my sites the other day and found some more Maiden's Hair (or Turtle Weed) for sale, at Reef Cleaners. I've had dismal luck with macros from them, but I'm taking another shot. I'd really like to get it to take off in my tank. Ideally, I'd get 3/4 of the fake wall covered. That would be sweet.


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Old 08/23/2019, 01:35 PM   #1029
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Do you still have your sargassum? I did not notice it in the recent pics but I was looking for blennies so could have missed it.


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Old 08/23/2019, 04:36 PM   #1030
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Yes, I still have the sargassum. It was easy to miss, as the Petticoat algae overran it. I pruned it back a bit, to give the sargassum more light. There are actually two of them growing from the rocks, in different places. I'm hoping they'll grow taller at some point. I think that since they're at the dim end of the tank, it's going to take some time. I'm definitely keeping an eye on them. The larger one put out some spikey-looking things recently, so I have hope something is afoot!

Well, the reef cleaners order was a mixed bag at best. Again, they sent plants that were not what I expected. Chlorodesmis is what they called it. What I got was a wirey moss-like macro, that does not move in the current, like Chlorodesmis does. But it looks OK enough to keep. I'm actually more interested in a hitchhiker plant it came with - Neomeris Annulata, I think. This one looks like a cross between Codium and Maiden's hair. It grows like a turf, but is thicker and spongey, like codium. I've placed a few clumps of it around the back wall.

Good to hear from you, Dawn. It's been pretty quiet on your end lately. You got something cookin' over there?


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Old 08/25/2019, 10:49 PM   #1031
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The Seagrass Sandbar and Patch Reef are plodding along. While the reds keep growing, I'm turning focus to greens. The Fern caulerpa is gaining momentum and spreading about. The new moss macro is on the back wall and the barnacles. I've planted a few bunches of Neomeris, mostly on the back wall. The real Chlorodesmis plant is recovering and putting out new blades. A few strategically placed Ulvas fill in the gaps in the Manatee Grass.



Patch reef. Between the few reds I bought and the ones growing from the rock, I don't need anymore reds. I just need them to grow in a bit more.



First Mangrove leaves forming.

I did a little macro export today. I left the stuff on the sand bed alone though. I'm going to try letting it go for a while to see if it would be a good pod haven. I'm still trying to improve the conditions that will favor diversity of the lower food chain residents.


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Old 08/26/2019, 07:20 PM   #1032
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I have been quiet because I am still trying to catch up from travelling. The yard and flowerbeds needed some serious attention. I am not really making any sort of changes to the tanks at this time, just maintaining them.


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Old 08/26/2019, 10:42 PM   #1033
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Right on, Dawn, happy gardening!

Today I received the second half of my order from Florida Pets - another half dozen micro serpent stars. They threw in a rhizome of Manatee Grass with five shoots on it. I divided it up so I could spread it around the sand bed a bit. I turned off the lights before adding the micro stars. Otherwise they'd be devoured before they touched the sand. It's kinda fun watching them 'parachute' in. I'm hoping to get a proper breeding population of them going.

By leaving my sand bed messy, I'm giving the bottom dwellers more habitat space. If I really let it go, I may even be able to keep mysids! They are seagrass dwellers in Nature. I've just doubted I could keep them alive long in my tank full of hungry damsels. I tried adding them once, in v1. They lasted less than a week. I think the key is to provide enough structural refuge, like you'd see in a natural seagrass bed. So now it's dirty AND messy. It will be interesting to see how far I can stand it. I can sense my goalposts of aesthetics/naturallity are going to move again.

After going on about the Manatee Grass' growing season being in the Spring, I noticed today that the ones I have left have grown taller. Slow and steady is progress. I'll take that.

I really want to get the back wall covered in greens. I've just about got everything I want. Now I want coverage. I still hope to get the Chlorodesmis to take off, but I want it to grow back more before I try transplanting it. It seems sensitive to being handled. So far, the fern caulerpa is leading the race to grow. I think it will look nice when it fills in some. I love the mexicana leaves. They contrast with the thin seagrass leaves nicely. I have no idea how the Neomeris will do in my tank. I just got a few hitchhiker frags of them. I'd love for these to take off as well. It's a cool plant. Nature's shag carpeting.

It's nice to have a plan to fall back on. It's really helped me avoid making spur of the moment choices. I can close my eyes and see a vision of how I want the tank to look. I'm not there yet but I'm headed that way!


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Old 08/27/2019, 12:43 AM   #1034
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Still loving this tank! Which is the sargassum?


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Old 08/27/2019, 08:07 AM   #1035
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Thanks Hadla!

You can't really see the sargassum on the pics on this page. On page 41, post 1015, pic #3, you can see the golden brown leaves between the base of the two green mangrove pods. And that's not a really good look at it. Hopefully, it will grow taller, and I can get a decent shot of it.


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Old 08/28/2019, 11:18 AM   #1036
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Ok thanks! I’m trying to find the best weed like macros for my tanks... that are easily obtainable in California ��


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Old 08/28/2019, 11:51 AM   #1037
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Sargassum weed is rather difficult to keep alive in aquariums, for some reason. They need a ton of light, since they normally float at the surface of the sea.

My best weed-like macro recommendation for a Cali-resident is Ulva and Grasilaria. Ulva responds very quickly to nutrient spikes and grows very fast. Grasilaria doesn't need as much light or nutrients, so it can hang on through lean times of low nutrients.

Hope this helps and good luck!


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Old 08/28/2019, 01:42 PM   #1038
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Hoaster View Post
Right on, Dawn, happy gardening!

Today I received the second half of my order from Florida Pets - another half dozen micro serpent stars. They threw in a rhizome of Manatee Grass with five shoots on it. I divided it up so I could spread it around the sand bed a bit. I turned off the lights before adding the micro stars. Otherwise they'd be devoured before they touched the sand. It's kinda fun watching them 'parachute' in. I'm hoping to get a proper breeding population of them going.

By leaving my sand bed messy, I'm giving the bottom dwellers more habitat space. If I really let it go, I may even be able to keep mysids! They are seagrass dwellers in Nature. I've just doubted I could keep them alive long in my tank full of hungry damsels. I tried adding them once, in v1. They lasted less than a week. I think the key is to provide enough structural refuge, like you'd see in a natural seagrass bed. So now it's dirty AND messy. It will be interesting to see how far I can stand it. I can sense my goalposts of aesthetics/naturallity are going to move again.

After going on about the Manatee Grass' growing season being in the Spring, I noticed today that the ones I have left have grown taller. Slow and steady is progress. I'll take that.

I really want to get the back wall covered in greens. I've just about got everything I want. Now I want coverage. I still hope to get the Chlorodesmis to take off, but I want it to grow back more before I try transplanting it. It seems sensitive to being handled. So far, the fern caulerpa is leading the race to grow. I think it will look nice when it fills in some. I love the mexicana leaves. They contrast with the thin seagrass leaves nicely. I have no idea how the Neomeris will do in my tank. I just got a few hitchhiker frags of them. I'd love for these to take off as well. It's a cool plant. Nature's shag carpeting.

It's nice to have a plan to fall back on. It's really helped me avoid making spur of the moment choices. I can close my eyes and see a vision of how I want the tank to look. I'm not there yet but I'm headed that way!
I love the vision you have for this tank and I can picture it in my head. You certainly get kudos for patience and persistence with this version! I would really struggle to wait for each stage to fully develope before moving ahead.


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Old 08/28/2019, 01:49 PM   #1039
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Quarantine Start Date Aug. 28 for Allen's Damselfish.

I received my back ordered damselfish today, from Live Aquaria. Acclimation was a little frantic, as they told me the fish would be in water at 1.021 salinity, and they came at 1.016. So I had to quickly adjust salinity in three QTs.

Each QT got Stress Coat and General Cure to start with. Once they've settled in I'll start lowering salinity to hypo levels. I also have metroplex on-hand, if I see any signs of uronema. I may go ahead and start it prophylactically, since once the tell-tale signs are there, it's too late.

It seems strange treating damsels like some frail, delicate butterflyfish or something, but here we are. The Allen's Damsels are not great shippers, so it's seems a good idea to go the extra mile. I'm really trying hard to get my act together on the QT front.

Time will tell!


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
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Old 08/28/2019, 02:00 PM   #1040
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Thanks Dawn!

Really most of my patience is just the result of stuff not being available. Having the plan keeps me from improvising or taking shortcuts. It gives me a big picture view for the tank, and any new purchase or change must fit into the master plan. Otherwise it'd be a free-for-all!


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
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Old 08/28/2019, 10:46 PM   #1041
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All the new Allen's Damselfish are looking good so far. They're a bit timid, but they're gradually loosening up. I tempted them with food and I think everyone ate, which is good on the first day. I'm becoming convinced that nutrition is half the battle, if not more. Thank you Dawn, for your Chubby Fish Theory!

I am so excited to have more of these fish! More gorgeous than any blue devil, and a great community fish, to boot. Having more blue flashes to balance with the black and whites is going to be dazzling. I can't believe my good fortune in finding both of these fish. Everything you want in a damsel, nothing you don't.

I'll wait to see how I do with this round of QT, but I think I'm making some progress in the quarantine process. It's only taken me around thirty years, or so. I love that I'm still learning. I better shut up. I don't want to jinx it!


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
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Old 08/29/2019, 05:56 PM   #1042
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Today I'm seeing signs of Uronema in the new damsels. So I mixed up some Metroplex, Focus and frozen food, to get the meds into the fish. I'm feeding them a lot today, because I don't know how much longer they'll have the appetite to eat. It's crazy how fast uronema shows up. I hope it's not too late. They look good otherwise, and they're eating the medicated food well. I also went ahead and started them on antibiotics as well, to help heal any sores.

I'm not oblivious to the irony that I gave up on Chromis because of their uronema problem, only to encounter it again with these damsels. LUCKY ME!


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
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Old 08/30/2019, 05:04 AM   #1043
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Good luck Michael. Hopefully your QT protocol and your quick actions to treat the damsels will pay off. Are they still eating well? Each day they continue to eat well improves their chances of fighting off disease, although I have not dealt with uronema.


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Old 08/30/2019, 07:58 AM   #1044
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Wow, a lot has happened while I was away on vacation! Your tank is progressing nicely with the new additions, manatee grass growth, and the leaves sprouting on the mangrove roots are amazing too. Who needs a fake mangrove root when you can grow the real thing?

Those blennies were hard to spot in that pic that you pointed out to Dawn, but it was fun finding them.

I hope your new damsels fight off the uronema. Good luck!


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Old 08/30/2019, 10:04 AM   #1045
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Thanks Dawn.

I'm down one damsel this morning. I'm kinda bummed but I'm determined to keep going. I'm encouraged that the rest look good and continue eating the medicated food. I'm thinking about moving one from the QT that had the death in it, into the QT with only one fish in it. These fish seem to like each other's company. The tank with only one fish in it has the most timid fish, so I'm hoping that moving the other one in with him will help. I don't know whether this is the right course of action or not. It seems to me, getting the fish out of a tank where the other fish died would be a good idea. Or, by moving the survivor into the other QT, am I just infecting another tank? I was thinking about giving him a fresh water dip before transferring him.

I'm not sure what to do! For now I'm going to wait. The more I think about it, the more I think I should leave him there and keep treating the tank, and not infect another tank.


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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 08/30/2019, 12:28 PM   #1046
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Thanks Kevin! I hope you had a nice vacation.

Yes, I guess things are humming along OK. It would be pretty cool if the mangroves made it. I'm not completely sure, but it looks like the other one is starting to show growth at the growth tip. I never really seriously considered them for my tank, given the full hood setup. Now I think if they make it to the surface, maybe they'll just make do and grow towards the light and self-bonsai in the space available.

I'm stoked to get more micro brittle stars. Hopefully, their population will explode. It's challenging to put so much effort into creatures you rarely see, but I'd like to find out how well an army of detrivores can perform in my tank. Letting the grasilaria on the sand bed grow unrestricted is something I'm trying out, to give the pods 'n friends more structure or refuge, to allow their populations to grow. With enough cover, they may be able to maintain a stable population, despite the damsels hunting them.

Thanks for the good luck wishes with the damsels. I feel a little like a twenty four hour nurse right now!


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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 09/01/2019, 12:41 PM   #1047
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Day four of QT. I haven't lost any more damsels, since the first one. I believe my efforts are working. After such dismal luck dealing with Uronema, I'm tempted to call this a breakthrough, but let's wait and see.

In the meantime, here's what I've been doing to fight uronema:

First, I assume that all three of my quarantine tanks are infected with uronema, before the fish are even in there. Why? Because uronema does not need a fish host to survive. If you've had uronema before, your tank is still infected! So, for every new round of QT, the tanks get disinfected with bleach solution. This includes anything wet, so filters, heaters, everything gets the treatment. This starts you out with a clean slate. I wonder how many fish I infected before, just by not doing this first step!

Next, I get the QTs' salinity matched to the incoming water the fish are bagged in. This allows me to float the bags for 15 minutes or so, then release them right into the QTs, without dripping, or other acclimation techniques. This avoids the "Death in Bags" described in Sk8r's excellent thread. Again, I wonder how many fish I doomed, just by doing the previously 'recommended' acclimation technique!

Each QT got a dose of Stress Coat and API's General Cure. The active ingredients in General Cure are Metronizadole and Praziquantel. Metronizadole is the medication I found the most consensus on, as a uronema cure.

Since this parasite gets deep into the fish, internal treatment is needed as well. I used Metroplex combined with Focus and Garlic Guard mixed into frozen mysids and cyclops, for a medicated food. They seem to be eating it pretty well. So now, we're treating both the inside and outside of the fish. This seems to be important with uronema.

Since open sores are part of the symptoms, I'm also treating them with antibiotics. I have Erythromycin on-hand, so that's what I'm using. This requires two days of dosing, followed by a 25% water change, then repeat, for a total of four doses and two water changes. For replacement water I'm just using fresh water. This will get the salinity down to hypo salinity levels, which is an excellent treatment for ICH, and it eases the burden of osmoregulation for the fish, making their lives a little bit easier.

Today, I have one more dose of erythromycin to do, and a water change tomorrow. This will get me down to hypo level salinity. I'm probably going to continue with medicated food for a few more days to be safe. The suggested treatment is for five days or until symptoms disappear. Then I'll feed 'regular' food heavily, to fatten them up. Hypo salinity will continue until one week remaining in QT, then I'll start ramping salinity back up to display tank levels, for introduction.

The cost is considerable. Cost for five fish was $63. Medication was $70 (not including the Stress coat, Garlich Guard and Erythromycin, which I already had). With the one fish lost, that brings the price per fish up to $33.25 - for damsels! This is probably the main reason Uronema has gotten so bad in the industry. Curing cheap fish isn't cost effective. So the problem persists, with no end in sight.

As for me, I'll be thrilled if I can keep the remaining four happy and healthy. Having six of these beauties in my tank will make it all worth it!


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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 09/02/2019, 11:05 PM   #1048
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Day 5 of Quarantine. 4 out of 5 fish remaining.

It's a little hard to tell, but the new Allen's Damsels look pretty good. They're still eating the medicated food, and they're getting used to my presence. I've been feeding them a lot. This gives me hope. It's still too early to call, but their eating is a good sign. In my previous experience with Uronema, all fish died within 2-3 days. I'll keep them on the medicated food for a few more days. Every day that passes makes me think they just might make it! If I can get them through QT, it will be a triumph. Because of the struggle, it means more and I'm more invested.

Back in the display, the other mangrove pod is definitely starting to change at the growth tip. I guess I'm going to learn about mangroves. I bet they're enjoying the dirty sand bed.

I replaced a supplemental light over the right end of the tank. It's blue. I've done this before, in v1. It adds a nice hint of blue at the shady end, and provides a good transition light for dawn and dusk. It simulates depth as well, making the right end appear deeper.

The Turtle Weed is bouncing back nicely. It looked like all of it died, but it seems to be coming right back. There's a tiny frag of Caulerpa Serrulata growing from the same rock. That's the serrated blade variety. I'll let it grow for a while and see if I like it. It will add another shade of green and texture to the tank. I've just about got all the green plants I want. Now I want them to cover the back wall.


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Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 09/03/2019, 03:24 PM   #1049
Chasmodes
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Very interesting. It sounds like your plan to cure these fish is doing well. Fingers crossed here for ya. Regarding the medicated food, did you medicate the food, or buy it medicated?


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Old 09/03/2019, 06:00 PM   #1050
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Thanks Kevin! Day 6 and it's still working. Woo!

Definitely the most effort I've put into quarantine, ever. Something had to give. It's awful to lose fish to illness and it was happening way too much. So I went to work researching. I made some good progress with the last Tuxedo Damsels and that was encouraging. I knew that the Allen's Damsels would be a real challenge, with their propensity to contract Uronema.

Uronema is a bit like Dinoflagellates. There's not a lot of consensus on what works and what doesn't.

To answer your question, I medicated the food. Metroplex, Focus (which binds the medication to the food), and Garlic Guard (to make it all taste good, so they eat it). The food was frozen mysids and cyclops.

I was feeding almost every two hours, the first two days, because I worried they'd lose their appetites. I'm still feeding it now (less frequently), and will for another day or two, depending how long this last batch lasts.

With the last water changes, I've got the QTs down to hypo salinity, to ward off ICH, and to ease their osmoregulation burden. I'll keep a sharp eye on them in the coming weeks and try to fatten them up, before introduction. I'm really looking forward to it!


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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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