A weedy reef

Fishbird

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I’m calling my tank the weedy reef because I’m hoping to cultivate a biodiverse ecosystem in a box that contains both corals and macros (seaweed). I also am taking the approach that I’ll let whatever pops up from my live rock stay, unless it becomes an obvious problem threatening the life of other organisms in the tank. (If i find Aiptasia and bubble algae, they’ll be out.)

Tank: aqueon 29 gallon
Tank update: the 29 gallon bowed so I moved to a Aqueon 20 long.
Light: Orbit marine IC
Filtration and water movement: 2 aqueon quietflow 20 filters. One contains activated carbon in a media bag from BRS.
Rock: Aquacultured live rock from KP Aquatics and GulfLiveRock

Goals
1. Keep this tank going for a year (a variety of mishaps have meant that I’ve had to move the rock quite a bit since I received it. I want it to stay where it is now.)
2. Going forward all organisms I add will be organisms that can be found somewhere off the coast of Florida. This won’t result in a true biome but will still represent a specific geographic location.
3. Create conditions so that rough head blennies, small gobies such as green banded gobies or masked gobies, and rock flower anemones spawn.
4. Perhaps raise some of the larvae/fry from any of the above organisms?

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Ron Reefman

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This is an interesting idea. I live in SW Florida and collect some critters out of local waters as well as while snorkeling in the Florida Keys. At one point in the past I had a 4'x2'x14" shallow, local, reef tank. It was fun.

I'll follow your build thread and if you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

PM sent.

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Fishbird

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Good update/news: I’ve added a refugium to my tank. My goals for the refugium are as follows.
1. Support a breeding population of copepods. My fish (in QT currently but hopefully making the move to my DT in the next couple of days) are roughhead blennies and in the wild they would eat harpacticoid copepods so I’d like to supply them with their natural diet as much as possible.

2. Grow macroalgae to feed my urchins and snails if they need supplemental feeding. I’ve chosen to grow ulva and red ogo in the fuge. I may decide to add some chaeto at some point but for now I want to grow these palatable macros as a backup food source for my herbivores.

3. Nutrient export. I know opinions on this one are all over the place but I have a hard time imagining my fuge will add nutrients (if any of the macros start to die off I’ll remove them) so we’ll see! I don’t have a very powerful fuge light so if I decide I want/need more nutrient export from the fuge down the line I might get a better light.

4. Provide some degree of pH stabilization.

Bad/neutral update: it’s taking me longer than I expected to get the rockwork right before gluing it, because one of my urchins hides in the rocks during the day. It only comes out when lights are off and I don’t want to pull apart her cave when she’s hiding in it so I’m trying to work in the relative dark but that’s slower going. We’ll get there though!

Next steps:
1. Glue rockwork together
2. Add sand
3. Make screen lid
4. Finish doing hydrogen peroxide treatment on a piece of rock with bubble algae (currently in a separate QT)
5. Move blennies
6. Power cord management
7. Add/make an opaque background so I can run the fuge light overnight. Right now it lights up the tank too so I’ve been running it during the day instead.

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SMSREEF

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I love your live rock. I read you used both KP Aquatics and GulfLiveRock.
Would you suggest one over the other? Or do them both again?

I started with dead on my new tank and regretting it big time right now...
 
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Fishbird

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I love your live rock. I read you used both KP Aquatics and GulfLiveRock.
Would you suggest one over the other? Or do them both again?
I really like them both. Based on my rock, it is true when people write that KP has more "interesting" shapes.

When I unpacked the rock I had more macro scale/easily visible interesting hitchhikers on the GulfLiveRock but after the KP rock had settled in I found an urchin, a pistol shrimp (still haven't seen him/her actually, but I got confirmation again yesterday that he/she's still in there), a brittle star, at least three species of feather dusters, some snails (some species of Cerith I think),different kinds of worms, some cool macros and several different colors of coralline.

I cured the rock separately so I know that everything above came in on the KP rock. On the GulfLiveRock I got hitchhiker corals, cool macros, a clam that is still alive a couple of months later, tunicates (still alive), sponges (still alive), two mystery anemones, different kinds of coralline and something that I'm 99% sure is an animal but I don't know what it is. It is still alive too.

In both cases I put the rock in a 10 gal tank with 6 or 7 gallons of water and did aggressive water changes (100% for the first three days and then 25-50% every day for a couple more days and then every other day) and I lit the rock as well. I got a lot of GHA and I had survival/recovery of the various photosynthetic hitchhikers.
 

SMSREEF

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I really like them both. Based on my rock, it is true when people write that KP has more "interesting" shapes.

When I unpacked the rock I had more macro scale/easily visible interesting hitchhikers on the GulfLiveRock but after the KP rock had settled in I found an urchin, a pistol shrimp (still haven't seen him/her actually, but I got confirmation again yesterday that he/she's still in there), a brittle star, at least three species of feather dusters, some snails (some species of Cerith I think),different kinds of worms, some cool macros and several different colors of coralline.

I cured the rock separately so I know that everything above came in on the KP rock. On the GulfLiveRock I got hitchhiker corals, cool macros, a clam that is still alive a couple of months later, tunicates (still alive), sponges (still alive), two mystery anemones, different kinds of coralline and something that I'm 99% sure is an animal but I don't know what it is. It is still alive too.

In both cases I put the rock in a 10 gal tank with 6 or 7 gallons of water and did aggressive water changes (100% for the first three days and then 25-50% every day for a couple more days and then every other day) and I lit the rock as well. I got a lot of GHA and I had survival/recovery of the various photosynthetic hitchhikers.
Thank you for the info.

It sounds like I can't go wrong with either one! I definitely would plan on quarantining in a different tank with good lighting and do large water changes like you did when I get some.
 
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Fishbird

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Well, things have changed. Just over a week ago I realized that there was a slight bow in the front and back panels of my 29 gallon tank. Google and several well respected members here told me it was normal and ok but I haven’t been able to feel relaxed about the situation so today I moved everybody to a 20 long. I was really worried about my fish but they ended up retreating fully into their holes in the live rock so I just lifted the rock out of the tank and into a 5 gallon bucket with airstone while I swapped the tanks, and then from the bucket into the new tank. Way easier than having to catch them with a container, for sure!

Here’s the tank; I still have to get the rock arranged to my liking but I didn’t want to mess around with things and stress out my animals any more today after the move.

Here’s one of the blennies checking out the new rockscape while tucked safely under one of my corals.

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Fishbird

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My Ulva in my refugium had grown a fair bit so I took some out and put it in the tank yesterday evening. I have to figure out a better way of securing it in the tank because it got sucked to the powerhead pretty quick but my blue tuxedo urchin, one of two “invasive species” in this biotope, sure is happy.

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How often do you "blow out" (with a pump, turkey baster, etc.) your rock work

  • Once a week or more

    Votes: 192 25.3%
  • Monthly

    Votes: 125 16.5%
  • A couple times a year

    Votes: 85 11.2%
  • Once a year

    Votes: 19 2.5%
  • Never

    Votes: 127 16.8%
  • When I think of it

    Votes: 118 15.6%
  • With Water Changes

    Votes: 92 12.1%

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