Aqua Mans journey

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Aqua Man

Aqua Man

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Never been a fan of water tests. Takes time! So in the past I never really new what my water Parameters were. I did test occasionally for nitrates. Salinity was the only thing that I checked regularly.

At the beginning of this year I started upgrading to better test kits and testing weekly. Still not my favorite thing to do.
Nitrates 25 Nyos
Phosphate 0 Hanna ULR
ALK 7-8 API
Ca 450 API

0 Phosphate is not good! Going to start dosing NeoPhos. I think I’ve given my self Dinos battling the turf algae.
 
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Aqua Man

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@footgal hello and thanks for stopping by! The learning curve for me has been steep.
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was not a complete loss. Still have my first fish, the Clown. The finger leather and mushrooms survived.
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The other Corals I started adding in at the beginning of the year.
 

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@footgal hello and thanks for stopping by! The learning curve for me has been steep.
ADED9F5A-AE95-45A2-806E-CB739911FC76.jpeg

was not a complete loss. Still have my first fish, the Clown. The finger leather and mushrooms survived.

image.jpg

The other Corals I started adding in at the beginning of the year.
Wow! Very pretty. I noticed some very nice zoas in earlier pics, did they make it? The rainbow infusions were beautiful. Utter chaos zoas have proved both affordable and gorgeous for me and relatively quick growing, if you wanted to try some out. Got mine from a local reefer $15 for 4 polyps. Is that a Yuma mushroom? I love those! I got a free floater as a freebie but it never attached and I accidentally sucked it up from the detritus pile during a water change and it never recovered. I think a toadstool leather would look good in your tank. Very beautiful green polyps when it’s happy! Mine has proved incredibly hardy, it was a craigslist rescue and had 0 polyp extension when the guy gave it to me.
 
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Thank you footgal! Not sure if it’s a Yuma or Florida. Pretty much all the corals in the above FTS were added this year. I do have a Toadstool! Added a couple weeks ago :)
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even came with a little discosoma hitchhiker!
 

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Quite a journey, indeed! Losses are inevitable in this hobby, even for very experienced reefers. Best we can do is try to minimize them and learn from past errors.

The aquarium looks like it's in a much better place than it was a few posts back. The green algae can be very persistent, but a few patches here and there aren't really an issue. It only becomes an issue when it spreads around and starts to encroach on corals which often occurs with elevated nutrients and when not enough, or the right kind, of bacteria are not present in the system.

Many recent reef aquarium issues stem from an insufficient and/or incomplete microbiome (bacteria/archaea population) caused by the use of 'dry rock'. Not sure what your Petco rock is, and considering that you've used chemicals in this system, I would suggest adding at least one piece of true ocean live rock, or alternatively a piece of live rock from a healthy, mature reef aquarium. BTW - 'Bacteria in a bottle' is great for new setups, but won't give you the bacteria diversity that may be lacking in your system. Also, can't stress enough that once the bacteria have been added and established try not to use any commercial products that disrupt the microbiome.

Personally, I'm a proponent of keeping a live sand bed as long as it is maintained properly. However, a BB is certainly doable if there is enough surface area for the bacteria to colonize (usually is in most aquariums, unless the bio load is quite high).

Coral cover is actually a stabilizing thing. Healthy corals utilize nutrients, but also shade out and/or displace algae and other pest organisms that grow on the rocks. I like to frag from my existing corals once established so that I can cover the rocks faster and it provides a little insurance just in case one of the colonies dies.

Colonial hydroids are a bit of a pain, but can be easily controlled by restricted feeding of very small feeds. If they get shaded by corals, and they don't get fed regularly, they tend to either just 'exist' or eventually die off.

Hope that helps...
 

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Agree with Nano above. True love rock is very important to me, I have three reef tanks and all the rocks came from either very established tanks (20+ years running) or the ocean. The microbiology those rocks provide are irreplaceable IMO and my dad has been working in aquarium stores/ running reef tanks for almost 40 years and we both agree that dry rock is never the same. Yes, you can get some not good things from it but the benefits outweigh that. I don’t have sand in any of my tanks nor did I dose any bacteria or pods and everything is flourishing for me. I do think that the live sand probably helps but for me it’s just too much of a hassle to keep clean.

Your toadstool looks great! Just got a Japanese toadstool yesterday for myself and I’m so hyped about it. I think some kind of euphyllia would be beautiful in your tank but that’s up to you since you’re struggling a little bit with water chemistry.

A lawnmower blenny might be good just to help you in the future should you have another algae outbreak and I’d suggest beefing up your CUC maybe with an emerald crab for bubble algae, and a few more hermits/ snails (I follow 1 of each per 1-2 gallons for nano tanks). Personally I like astrea, stomalla, and turbo snails just cause they stay smaller and seem to do pretty good work, especially the stomalla. The hermits are pretty good about detritus and stealing reefroids, causing general chaos and stealing my heart some how. There are prettier ones like Halloween and electric knuckle species if you’re interested in those, they same to do the same general job. It’s really hard for me to feed the correct amount since I only have a pair of itty bitty clowns so I got a fire/ blood shrimp that helps eat the extra food to prevent an over feeding disaster and algae blooms. He’s doing really well!

Maybe try getting your clown a friend? Make sure he’s quite a bit smaller to give them a good chance of pairing up and be prepared to rehome if the pairing doesn’t go well, but some aggression in the beginning is normal and expected so the larger one asserts her dominance. I don’t know much about this since I bought my pair as babies and they naturally just paired up with zero aggression but from reading on here, it sounds like pairing adults is more difficult but I’m sure someone in the clownfish forum has some good advice! I’ve also seen clowns host in euphyllia if there was no anemone available so that could also be cool to see. Have fun with your tank! It might be worth it for you to try a live sale since you have to go so far out of your way for corals
 
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Nano Sapiens thank you for stopping by!

Petco rock is man made and not aragonite or calcium based. I’ve taken all but one piece out awhile back. The flat piece on the top making the cave is from LFS and was not dry. That store has been there for years! Still not the ocean though. Also added a handful of live sand at one point from there also. Finger leather has made its home in the Petco Rock and it has some nice coralline that I’m trying to get to spread.

The Hydroids are really neat looking. To bad they are a pest.
Thinking back and looking at old pics I think my tank started to change when I removed the sand. I have considered adding it back. The Mushrooms on the left are attached to the glass. Not sure how to move them without damaging the foot. Your mushrooms are beautiful by the way!

The clown gets fed once a day. I rotate between pellets and mysis. Might not be feeding the tank enough? For the corals it’s a mix of stuff called coral cuisine and coral gumbo. Once or twice a month. Fish is healthy. The corals, I’m still learning their cues. Recently started to add the phyto I’m culturing.

Your help is very much appreciated.
 
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Foot gal, congrats on the Toadstool and the shrimp!
The Clown probably would try and sleep in a Eupyllia. The Xenia is hosting her now. I think she would stress a frog spawn to death. Also pushes all my frags into the corner. Smothered a Kenya tree almost to death.
A friend might be what she needs! I’ll look into it.

Hermit crabs are a favorite even though they move stuff around occasionally. The blue legs are my favorite. I’ve been wanting to add a few cerith snails. LFS hasn’t had any. Or a lawnmower blenny, I had one once and they are really neat fish.

Thank you for your advice, much appreciated!
 
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It’s no problem! I got my first reef tank as a 16th birthday present instead of a sweet sixteen and I haven’t looked back. I love everything that I have and haven’t lost a single coral yet! I know that it’s probably a mix of luck, advice from my dad, and a whole lot of reading and research both on R2R and through ‘The Reef Aquarium’ series by Charles Delbeck and Julian Sprung. The books are a little old but everything apart from the epoxy tips are still useful! The book came out before putty epoxy so it has a very long winded explanation of how and when to use liquid epoxy. I would definitely recommend reading all three books and referring back to them any time you have an issue or asking questions on here. No question is stupid!

I’m so glad your clown is hosting! I wish mine did that... just a stunning RBTA with gorgeous bubbles that they refuse to touch at all, really a shame.
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I’d love for you to get an elegance/ anemone after you feel like your tank is stable enough, just so the clown has something real to host. IMO elegance is better for an established tank with corals in it already because it won’t move on its own like an anemone will. Elegance are also usually cheaper and will grow multiple heads instead.
 
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That’s a nice bubble tip you have there footgal.
Not going to be adding anymore corals for awhile. Pretty sure I have Dinos. Need to find a happy medium. Went from one extreme to another. Messy tank to way to clean of a tank!
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they look like sesame seeds and move around. I think they are osteropsis. Ahh the joys of a reef tank! Lol
 
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So I started to dose NeoPhos and saw an immediate response from some of the corals. The Dinos seem to be less also.
F0387B51-17BB-4E5D-947F-6E414584AD99.jpeg

Favia is looking better! Nice and puffy with tentacles out.
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Toadstool looks good, no more brown strings smothering it. The yellow encrusting sps has great PE.
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Kinda nervous about having sticks in my tank, never had them before. Those 2 were given to me for my birthday. Looks like they are doing well so far.
 

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So I started to dose NeoPhos and saw an immediate response from some of the corals. The Dinos seem to be less also.
F0387B51-17BB-4E5D-947F-6E414584AD99.jpeg

Favia is looking better! Nice and puffy with tentacles out.
09AF6E01-CB23-4FBD-BA71-08CB2D9C7D53.jpeg

Toadstool looks good, no more brown strings smothering it. The yellow encrusting sps has great PE.
AE1F3898-5044-49A7-8656-31059A414F2E.jpeg
F99081E3-A5FD-4D54-82A5-FCC79DEEE10D.jpeg

Kinda nervous about having sticks in my tank, never had them before. Those 2 were given to me for my birthday. Looks like they are doing well so far.
your stuff looks great! I believe your yellow encrusting sps is either cyphastrea, pavona, or montipora (my bet’s on pavona but better pics would be helpful). Your fire digi (red stick) looks really great! Brilliant colors and polyp extension. Sticks IMO aren’t very hard, you just need to read them and figure out what they want. Glad you’re doing so much better!! Keep us posted :)
 
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Thank you Nano and Footgal!

The yellow SPS, from my notes is a Psammacora. Added a month ago. Looking fuzzier now that it’s not starving!
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some progress. As mentioned, it’s good to cover up the rocks with coral to help with algae, looks nicer also. Haven’t glued things down yet because I was taking out my rocks frequently to scrub them. The Yellow SPS is also my very first SPS, so I wanted to make sure I didn’t kill it before I glued it down. Lol

Since I was gifted the birds nest and the digi I’ll have to re think my future coral placement. Does the digi encrust like other SPS? Maybe I can get it to spread under the birds nest? Things to think about while I dial in my water parameters. :)
 

Nano sapiens

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Thank you Nano and Footgal!

Since I was gifted the birds nest and the digi I’ll have to re think my future coral placement. Does the digi encrust like other SPS? Maybe I can get it to spread under the birds nest? Things to think about while I dial in my water parameters. :)
Birdsnests are a bit tricky regarding lighting. Digitata will typically encrust as well as branch.

Check out the Tidal Gardens's series of videos on Birdsnest, Montipora, etc. for good info on light, flow, etc.
 

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I have a forest fire digi and it has not encrusted at all. Got lots of new branches tho :). I think it just depends on how much flow they’re in. IME acros grow towards the flow (towards powerheads) so that might help you with placing your gifts! My birdsnest loves the light and medium flow, but it really started growing after I target fed it reefroids, since then I’ve fed every coral in my tank reefroids and my growth rate tripled. Definitely worth the money imo.
 
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Tidal Gardens does have some great info. Watched a few, actually just listen. I live in the sticks with terrible internet. So I listen on the way home occasionally. Which is not the same because he shows some beautiful corals!

Reef Roids, I’ve thought about getting some. BRS seems to be out of stock when I look.
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Dinos still in retreat! Did a small water change and added this frag table The other day.
Came home the other day and the Gorg was laying on the Mystic sunset monti. Montipora slightly bleached because of it. Not a fan of the look of it but at least my frags will be safer from my CUC!
 
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