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Old 12/08/2019, 08:45 AM   #1176
lapin
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When the mangroves get 10 feet tall you can open up the ceiling and make an observation tower for them


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Old 12/08/2019, 09:05 AM   #1177
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My cat would love that! Nice to hear from you lapin!

I'm still not sure they will survive, but they're still growing.


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Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 12/09/2019, 06:52 AM   #1178
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Cool thing about finding the manatee grass rhizome and turning it into potential growth elsewhere in the tank!


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Old 12/10/2019, 08:57 AM   #1179
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Yes, Kevin, that was a real bonus! We'll see how it goes, but I may not need to buy more of them. The ones I have left are doing well. If I can get them well distributed over the winter, I should be in good shape for the spring growing season.


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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 12/18/2019, 11:56 AM   #1180
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Hoaster View Post
I got the itch to get some shots. One year!


Full width shot. Note removed caulerpa from the sand bed, leaving the seagrasses more visible, top to bottom.


There are passages under the live rock, made by the Allen's Damsels! They use their tails.


So much life!


Blue guys.


See the String of Pearls on the right. I think this could be a good spot for it. One of my favorites!


Francois and friends.


Yellow Sponge and photo bomber.


Another String of Pearls shot. Note the increasing plant life on the back wall.


A celebration in colors!
Gorgeous pics Michael. It was great reading about the progress of the macros in the patch reef and on the back wall. I really like the petticoat macro there. That is neat about the sheol grass flourishing and the manatee grasses sending out rhizomes. That is cool how you can compare to V1 and see how your selectiveness and planning has paid off. Thank you for sharing with the rest of us.

I have been MIA on the forum for a while but still enjoying my own tanks. I did experience a sad loss however - Delilah died totally unexpectantly about a month ago. I have no idea of the cause. Just one of those things I guess.


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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
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Old 12/18/2019, 11:59 AM   #1181
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My favorite shot is the next to the last one with the string of pearls and the mangroves. It is so colorful but in a natural way and I love that!


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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
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Old 12/18/2019, 12:16 PM   #1182
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Thanks Dawn! Nice to hear from you again. It is good to take a break from the forums now and then. So sorry to hear of your loss. That's got to be heartbreaking, especially with all the effort it takes to keep them happy and healthy. I know it's a labor of love.

It certainly is my pleasure to share this experience. I get so much from the discussion!

I like that next-to-last shot too! I have struggled to keep the String of Pearls plant happy for some time now, but it hangs on. All of a sudden, it's flourishing! It seems to be very particular with lighting. When I moved it up against the back wall, I was sure to keep it's relative position to the light the same. Thankfully, it seems to be happy. The mangroves have been a real pleasure!


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Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 12/19/2019, 03:02 PM   #1183
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I think that the second to last one is my favorite one too. Awesome shot.


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Old 12/20/2019, 05:33 AM   #1184
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The last shot is great too and it features so manyvof the fish which is cool. Michael, are any of the mollies still alive? I know comparatively, that fresh water live bearers have short life spans as opposed to the damsels. I have not noticed any mollies for a while in your pics.


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Old 12/20/2019, 09:17 AM   #1185
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No, I don't have any more mollies. Over the course of a year or so, they gradually disappeared, one by one, until I had none.


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Old 12/20/2019, 09:43 PM   #1186
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My tank's been a bit neglected for the last two weeks. I've been sick with the flu. Hopefully, I'll get my hands in there this weekend, to tidy up. It's hard to look at it when it's been neglected, and you don't feel well enough to do anything!

I'm getting a flu shot next year!


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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 12/21/2019, 10:21 PM   #1187
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I managed to do some aqua gardening today, mostly weeding. Now the tank is tidier overall. I was able to move around a few more manatee grass plants too. My seagrass patch is coming back! One of the manatee grass blades can reach the water surface now. A small but good milestone. I'll be more impressed when I have around ten blades reaching the surface, but i'm happy to have one, to start.


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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 12/23/2019, 11:23 PM   #1188
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I snuck in a little more weeding today. Two weeks of neglect demands some payback. It's looking pretty good now.

I finally removed the large Dictoya growing on the back wall. I let it grow for a while to see if it was going to be iridescent and pretty. Not quite enough! It mostly looked golden brown, so bye now. Plus it can overrun a tank easily.

It's funny, how much this is really just gardening, and how much gardening is just removing plants you don't want! In my experience, if you don't keep some control over what's growing, things can get out of hand quickly. So I keep 'editing', to stay on track to reach the vision.

I'm still focused on the health of the ecosystem. It's doing well and maturing nicely, with abundant pods, worms, micro stars and snails. So, as I garden, Nature keeps chugging along, performing a symphony of processes, keeping the system in balance.


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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 12/25/2019, 05:37 AM   #1189
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Funny when at first we hope something will grow. Then when stuff takes off we have to keep it under control. Great place to be in.
Happy holidaze


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Old 12/25/2019, 09:15 AM   #1190
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Right on lapin!

Five years ago, when I started with v1, I had no idea what would grow for me, so I tried my hand at a lot of different plants. I ended up with a jungle, but at least I got a good idea what worked, what I liked, and what I didn't. This time around, I have a more refined vision of what I want. So I have more of a garden.

With regular additions of CO2 and ammonia, the plants don't want for much. I have to keep an eye on things, or I'm back in the jungle again!

Happy Holidaze!


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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 12/29/2019, 06:01 PM   #1191
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My seagrass sandbar lagoon has passed the one year mark. In this post I'll touch on some of the successes.

When I set out to do this tank, I wanted it to teach me about plants and animals, and how they interact in ecosystems. I learned to see my ecosystem-in-a-box holistically - that you can assemble a great cast of characters, and they will perform a beautiful, natural ballet. Rather than replace Nature with gizmos, I've given it the run of the place. The filtration is also the display. I think it looks pretty good.

I wanted to test some theories I thought of in v1.

First, I fully committed to dirt in the substrate. Since seagrasses are higher plants, it makes sense to provide dirt for their roots. This resulted in much quicker acclimatization and the manatee grass flourished.

Another thing I tested was my clean up crew. By having a great crew on standby in a holding tank, I was able to add new players as needed. This resulted in a shorter, less stressful algae phase.

Also, I encouraged early algae formation, to get the process started quickly, rather than fighting it, only delaying the inevitable. This hastened the algae phase as well.

Another key puzzle piece was to provide the algae with competition for nutrients. Probably the best plant for the job was Ulva. This macro is quite the piggy, making it a great utility plant. I started with a one inch square piece of it. I have since exported yards of it!

This naturalist approach seems to suit me. I'm happy to say I've learned quite a bit. Most importantly, I've learned to see my aquarium as one whole, natural system. It's a collection of natural processes, that turn out to be excellent at maintaining aquariums.


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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 12/31/2019, 08:16 AM   #1192
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Hoaster View Post
My seagrass sandbar lagoon has passed the one year mark. In this post I'll touch on some of the successes.

When I set out to do this tank, I wanted it to teach me about plants and animals, and how they interact in ecosystems. I learned to see my ecosystem-in-a-box holistically - that you can assemble a great cast of characters, and they will perform a beautiful, natural ballet. Rather than replace Nature with gizmos, I've given it the run of the place. The filtration is also the display. I think it looks pretty good.

I wanted to test some theories I thought of in v1.

First, I fully committed to dirt in the substrate. Since seagrasses are higher plants, it makes sense to provide dirt for their roots. This resulted in much quicker acclimatization and the manatee grass flourished.

Another thing I tested was my clean up crew. By having a great crew on standby in a holding tank, I was able to add new players as needed. This resulted in a shorter, less stressful algae phase.

Also, I encouraged early algae formation, to get the process started quickly, rather than fighting it, only delaying the inevitable. This hastened the algae phase as well.

Another key puzzle piece was to provide the algae with competition for nutrients. Probably the best plant for the job was Ulva. This macro is quite the piggy, making it a great utility plant. I started with a one inch square piece of it. I have since exported yards of it!

This naturalist approach seems to suit me. I'm happy to say I've learned quite a bit. Most importantly, I've learned to see my aquarium as one whole, natural system. It's a collection of natural processes, that turn out to be excellent at maintaining aquariums.
Thank you for your commentary on successes after 1 year. It is easy to see how v2 was more deliberate and planned out than v1, and it seems you were rewarded for your efforts.

You have also inspired me to incorporate some of your ideas into my reef when I do not have seahorses anymore. I plan to tie their 30g tank/20g sump system into the reef tank. I will place the 30g tank next to the basement sump where it will overflow into the 20g sump. I will remove the skimmer. I want to add soil into the 30g tank and layer it like you did and plant grasses. I already feed my macro algae reef heavy but will increase the bioload by adding more fish, again mostly blennies and gobies. Hopefully the grasses will utilize the added bioload so that the reef stays in balance with the added fish load.

Anyway it will be fun to see how what I have learned from watching your reef responds in my own tank.

One question: are there any steps you took in v2 that you consider a failure? I do not remember anything but I am interested in your take on it.


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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
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Old 12/31/2019, 01:48 PM   #1193
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Thanks Dawn!

It's been a pleasure having you along! I benefitted from the re-do, for sure. I learned a lot from v1. I think I improved on it. I'd almost recommend including a re-do phase as part of a build.

It's not all rainbows and unicorns of course. I did make some mistakes. I'm in the process of rounding them up for another post to go with the 'successes' post. Stay tuned for failures…


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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 12/31/2019, 06:22 PM   #1194
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Too me, I see lots of unicorns and rainbows. If there were errors you have kept them well hidden.
Happy New Years


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Old 12/31/2019, 10:06 PM   #1195
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Thanks, lapin for the kind words! Sure there were errors, but did I learn from them? Hopefully, I can report in the positive. It's good to assess things at one year.

Happy New Year!


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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 01/01/2020, 10:11 AM   #1196
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So, lets take a look at some less than successful things that happened in the first year of the Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon. I can think of two that stand out. I'm sure there were more, but my mind is good at forgetting my goof-ups.

First, I never got my water movement situation to the point that I wanted. I wasn't able to get my main circulation pump up and running, because I wasn't able to get enough flow through the out-flow part of the closed loop. This caused multiple issues, not the least of which was a huge amount of micro bubbles. I attempted several solutions, like the 'question mark' stand pipe, to no avail. I thought of some other possible solutions, but they required me draining the tank, and I don't have the tools I'd need to do them. I also realized that my pump was too loud to do the job in my living room. Combined, these issues caused me to take a pause and consider my alternatives. I am now researching pumps that are quiet and adjustable, to meet my needs. In the meantime, my tank has a lazy, back and forth flow from the wave box and additional circulation through my canister filter. It's not ideal, but it's not a disaster. Seagrass lagoons can be pretty calm. And the back and forth wave action does an excellent job of mimicking Nature.

Number two was kind of a biggie, and one I have a hard time forgiving myself for. Just as my manatee grass was taking off, reproducing like crazy, I noticed some were turning yellow. I was slow to react, given the great growth, but that hesitation cost me dearly. Over the course of a couple months or so, I went from around sixty plants to around thirteen. Yep, the plants I care the most about were almost wiped out, because I didn't react quickly enough to their decline. Yikes, what a screw up! In my defense, manatee grass is tricky, because of it's relatively slow growth, it's hard to know what is affecting it. So you try something to benefit it, and then you wait for a couple weeks to see results. So it's difficult to know if what you're doing is working, or is some other unknown factor affecting them.

Luckily, I noticed the decline looked a lot like the decline I saw in v1, when I reduced the salinity to hypo levels. I checked salinity, and sure enough it had dropped significantly. I traced the drop to my feeding regime. I was putting frozen food in fresh, RO/DI water, so I was adding fresh water three times a day. I have since switched to using tank water to thaw frozen food. I'm also more vigilant in checking the salinity level.

One silver lining to this calamity was the uptick in growth of my shoal grass. It liked the drop in salinity. So, while my manatee grass was disappearing, the shoal grass flourished and really filled in the empty spots nicely. In fact, I ended up with a surplus that I am now in the gradual process of pruning back.

In the months since, the manatee grass has bounced back pretty well. I have been able to transplant several to get them better distributed. I have more to transplant this winter, before the spring growing season, but overall, I'm in good shape to have a good patch of manatee grass by summer.


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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 01/01/2020, 11:37 AM   #1197
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Thanks Michael, I appreciate the honest assessment of v2. As I read your post I remembered both problems that you cited. I had forgotten about the time and posts dedicated to the 2 problems because of how well v2 is flourishing. I am glad for the reminder so hopefully I can kearn from your mishaps.


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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
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Old 01/01/2020, 01:06 PM   #1198
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Thank you, Dawn! Overall, I had a great first year, so it was easy to forget my mess-ups.

But they did happen. What did I learn from them?

First, it is better to figure out ALL of the plumbing for a new tank BEFORE moving on to the funner stuff. I made the mistake of thinking that since my PVC plumbing was unchanged from v1, it would work fine in v2. I failed to take into account the new fake wall's obstruction to flow. If I had tested the plumbing beforehand, with ALL of the elements in place, I could have spotted the problem and would have had the option to drain my tank if needed and fix the problem. With the tank up and running, I have fewer options to work with to solve it.

Second, I need to be more vigilant at noting decline in plant growth. When it comes to plant nutrients, my tank has an embarrassment of riches. I shouldn't have any plants declining. If I do, I need to sort it out - not wait for things to improve. If I had taken quicker action, I wouldn't have lost so many manatee grass plants.

So there you have it: the successes and failures in the first year of the Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon! Maybe next I'll list the things I want to happen in the second year.


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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 01/01/2020, 06:21 PM   #1199
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Michael,
A good DC pump will be quiet, but they don't like head pressure.
There are 3 I would consider, Abyzz & Royal Exclusive,($$$).
The 3rd would be Deep Sea Aquatics.
Because they can be variably controlled bigger is usually better.


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Old 01/01/2020, 06:27 PM   #1200
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Michael,
A good DC pump will be quiet but they don't like head pressure.
I hear the new Vectra pumps have resolved their heat issues.
One of them or a Deepwater DC pump should do it.
They can be flow controlled so IMHO bigger is better in this case.
They are so quiet you have to check flow to see if they are on.


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