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Old 04/16/2017, 05:59 PM   #2451
Michael Hoaster
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I agree, wilder, the ecology is fascinating! You're so right about plants, and how they constantly change and change their surroundings.

I'm so glad you enjoy the thread! It's nice to hear, thanks!


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Old 04/17/2017, 08:39 PM   #2452
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Here's a few quick and dirty (really) pics, just to record stuff. I tossed all the new plants in, then left for camping over the weekend. They pretty much arranged themselves.



So the new reds ended up front & center, which I'm okay with at the moment. I did place a couple of reds on the root and wall.



With them all piled up in front, I can look at them and decide where to put them. The mollies and the gramma have been rooting around in there. They seem to like it.



From the left end. All these on the rocks grew there on their own. Plants seem to plant themselves without much help from me just fine.



Note the new sand bed rubble. Isn't that sexy? So natural! Now I wait for spaghetti worms to appear. I saw a brittle star's legs today.



Some kind of grasilaria, I think.



You can just see the codylactis, peeking over the big red pile.



Life finds a way.



Right end of the sand bed. Note the tiny condylactis. I think it's still improving. Those two reds out on the sand bed planted themselves there. Cool.


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Old 04/18/2017, 09:04 AM   #2453
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Life finds a way.
Yes, it does! Just ask Dr. Sam Neill Your tank is looking better already. Things should really take off in this tank soon!


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Old 04/18/2017, 09:37 AM   #2454
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Nothing like a GCE order to bring new life to the party!

Sure the plants get the most attention, but I'm more excited about the live sand. Once I feel like I have enough detrivores, I'll be ready to add some fish. The barnacle blennies in QT are looking good.

It's coming together!


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Old 04/19/2017, 02:43 PM   #2455
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It's lookin real good, GCE's macro's are always good. Do you see anything popping out on the back wall?


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Old 04/19/2017, 03:20 PM   #2456
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Thanks rucnnefish!

Ironically, I got the plants because I wanted their live sand. They only offer it with their fuge pack, so I ordered that. Then I asked if they could exclude the chaeto and caulerpa and substitute with plants of their choice. They were cool with it. So I basically got (along with the live sand) a mini red sampler with some ulva added, which was perfect. You know you have a good vender when you're not particular about what they send-it's ALL good!

Not much popping up on the back wall yet. In the brightly lit part there is a tinge of green that looks to be cyano bacteria. It appears to be kept in check by the plague of snails and molly fry. I've planted a few macros on the back wall to see how they'd do. They include ulva up near the top, right under the light, two grasilarias (I think), a botryocladia, and a halimeda. The halimeda is supposed to be one that spreads like a ground cover, but so far, no dice.

I'm still trying to figure out what I want to grow on the back wall. I know that I want something that doesn't require constant pruning, like the caulerpa racemosa I had before. I think ideally, I'd have something that requires very bright light, so it would only grow up near the top. This would create a nice overhang that shades the lower wall. That would free me up to try some sponges and other low light possibilities. Also, having the lower wall shaded would provide a nice backdrop for the seagrasses.

So I'm researching the possibilities for back wall residents, while trying out a few plants that I have on hand.


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Old 04/19/2017, 10:23 PM   #2457
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I mounted a few more plants today. I must say it's nice to have more color again.

Now, if I can get some good grass growth, I'll be happy. I guess the manatee grass regressed a bit, during hypo salinity. Plus I pruned down ones encrusted with cyano bacteria. The shoal grass did great and now has the upper hand. I do hope these two can coexist peacefully, as they look so good together! After about 3 rounds of pinching, the turtle grass looks nearly defeated. I only see one new blade just starting.

It's an interesting situation to be in, with this sort of 'reset'. I get another shot at getting what I want and what I don't. If I succeed, it demonstrates that even the confines of a box can't stop an ecosystem from recovering from a traumatic event. If we have some understanding of what nature wants and needs, we can help it, so it can help us.


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
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Old 04/20/2017, 05:51 AM   #2458
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After about 3 rounds of pinching, the turtle grass looks nearly defeated. I only see one new blade just starting.
Cool, I was wondering how that was going and was about to ask. I like the look of the Ulva too. Do you think that you can sustain it long term? Have you had any problems with the Ulva?


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Old 04/20/2017, 08:14 AM   #2459
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Yeah, I like the look of the ulva too. I'm not sure if I can keep it long term or not. It grows well but so many 'crew members' love to eat it. During hypo, it was a slowly, losing battle. Now, I'm seeing signs it may be able to out grow consumption. But of course the snails and pods are bouncing back as well, so it's tough to call. I've kept it before and it gradually disappeared over time. I think it could be maintained, with enough light and the right combo of nutrients. The only problem with it, is, it is crack to herbivores!

Are you considering it for your oyster reef? I think it would work visually very well!


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Old 04/20/2017, 09:01 AM   #2460
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Glad to hear about how GCE is flexible on the fuge pack, I plan to order it as soon as I get my proper lighting for my 90 macro, I can have them leave the chaeto out and substitute something else. I would rather have small samples of the reds and caulerpas to see what takes than the larger portions they have


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Old 04/20/2017, 09:18 AM   #2461
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GCE is simply the best. I do wish they offered their live sand as separate item, so tweaking orders wouldn't be necessary. I think it helps to keep it simple so it's not a PITA for them. Just telling them what to leave off, and letting them sub whatever they want, seemed to work well.

I look forward to following your progress, BonesCJ! What did you decide on for lighting?


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Old 04/20/2017, 10:07 AM   #2462
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Probably going to go withe Orbit Marine Pro LED light, it looks like it will server its purpose and its about half the price of two Kessil units


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Old 04/20/2017, 10:41 AM   #2463
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I have zero experience with LED lighting, so I'm no help. Just make sure it is adequate for your tank's depth. So often it happens that we try to save a buck, but end up spending more, because we have to compensate for the inadequacies of a cheaper choice. I'm as cheap as they come, so research is very important. Luckily, with the internet, we have access to tons of good info to help guide us. Good luck!


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Old 04/20/2017, 11:50 AM   #2464
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How are all the weeds doing Michael?? - did you like my 4/20 pot reference for you Colorado folk? Haha

Find any potential cool new fish??

I had the older orbit LED fixture and it's not enough to sustain high light critters. The new pro fixture is better, but I wouldn't use it to try and light anything more than a bubble tip at 15-20". All really depends on tank size and what you plan to stock it with. For a little more, you can get one of the numerous Chinese "black box" fixtures that are way brighter and penetrate much better.


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Old 04/20/2017, 12:18 PM   #2465
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The weeds are doing well, thanks Sam! It's funny, I didn't catch the reference until you pointed it out. Colorado is a nice place to be!

The seagrasses seem to be recovering. It's not as fast as I'd like, but is it ever?

Not a lot to report for potential new fish. Lately, I've been leaning towards more small fish, and maybe no big personality fish at all. After watching the tiny molly fry explore my big tank, I'm more convinced. Without a big 'attention hog', I'm more able to enjoy my tank as more of an ecosystem, and less of a 'stage' for Mister Personality.

Having said that…If my condylactis doesn't make it, that will open up the door to try a Caribbean butterfly fish or two. Right now, I'm looking at the smallest fish first, to get them in before the more boisterous ones.

Good info on the lighting!


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Old 04/20/2017, 06:39 PM   #2466
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Are you considering it for your oyster reef? I think it would work visually very well!
Definitely, and if it doesn't keep in the tank, I can keep it in the fuge. This is one species that I can collect locally


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Old 04/20/2017, 08:02 PM   #2467
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Yes, Chasmodes, I think I remember seeing ulva in one of your videos. It's a freaky seaweed, looking more like wadded up plastic wrap than a plant. Great nutrient uptake and loved by all herbivores. It moves great in the current too, which is nice and mesmerizing.


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
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Old 04/21/2017, 08:38 AM   #2468
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I know you are thinking about not having any big "show fish" and possibly keeping lots of little fish, but...
Have you thought about some sort of Caribbean angler?
They more or less stay in one spot and can constantly feed on Molly fry. Plus they're neat fish.
The only downside is it could eat a Gramma or Blenny.


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Old 04/21/2017, 10:05 AM   #2469
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I was just looking at a sargassum angler! No doubt he'd be in hog heaven with the molly fry. I'll look into it. My main concern would be that they grow to be big enough to threaten the 'paid for' fish. There are some Caribbean file fish that might work as well. The cool thing about anglers and files is that they are more camouflaged and low key, compared to say, a tang. So they wouldn't hog the show so much.


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Old 04/22/2017, 07:37 PM   #2470
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Today I removed the three adult mollies from the display. That leaves me with around twenty fry. The adults were just getting a bit large, and I want to add the barnacle blennies soon.

I did some more plant placement, for what it's worth. I don't think I've ever gotten a plant to attach where I placed it. I bumped up the CO2 rate to see if I can get things to grow faster. It's been three weeks since I buried some plant tabs. I'm not seeing the grasses respond yet, but I did move a lot of them around, so they probably need more time to settle in.


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Old 04/23/2017, 09:27 PM   #2471
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New pics!



The whole shebang.



I got most of the reds placed.



Views from the right end.












The seagrasses are slowly coming around.


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Old 04/26/2017, 09:42 AM   #2472
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I love those pics through the roots The grasses are looking nice and green too. How are the blennies doing?


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Old 04/26/2017, 10:57 AM   #2473
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The tank's coming along pretty well I think. Unfortunately, something went wrong, and four out of five blennies died in QT. I don't know what happened. My best guess is that they were stung by some larger aiptasias. So now I'm breaking down the QT tank to rid it of all aiptasias, before I try to add anything else.


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Current Tank Info: 180g Caribbean Biotope Seagrass-Mangrove Mudbank Lagoon
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Old 04/28/2017, 06:05 AM   #2474
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Sorry to hear about your blennies, condolences. I'd rank aiptasias right up there with ticks and mosquitos in the top ten types of critters that need to go extinct. I think with regard to my oyster reef concept, I don't have to worry about aiptasias because they don't do well at our latitude, so none to collect as hitchhikers. I still need to worry about ticks and mosquitos


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Old 04/28/2017, 07:51 AM   #2475
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Thanks Chasmodes. I had never thought of aiptasias as dangerous to fish. So, when I moved my live rocks into QT, it was to keep the life on them alive, while the display was in hypo. I knew there were aiptasias, but I didn't know of a danger from them. Even when I googled it, I found very little info on their possible danger to fish. And, of course, I don't know for sure that they were the culprit.

I've had a few pop up in the display too. I tried the hot water trick without success. So I decided to try ammonia, since I was already dosing it in small amounts, for the plants. It seems to be working, but I would not recommend anyone else use ammonia, because of the danger of ammonia poisoning. I'm only able to get away with it because of my large tank volume and large plant bio mass. Seagrasses, and most plants, prefer ammonia as their nitrogen source, but in the confines of aquariums it's dangerous, so nitrate is a safer nitrogen source. The best, safest way to give plants ammonia, is to keep a high number of fish. They give off small 'doses' continuously and much more safely.

So there's another big difference between planted tanks and reefs. A high fish load in a reef tank, puts a strain on the system. In a planted tank, a high fish load actually benefits the system.


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Current Tank Info: 180g Caribbean Biotope Seagrass-Mangrove Mudbank Lagoon
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