Dawn's 56 gallon natural nutrient garden

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vlangel

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I have been noticing that the water level in my DT had risen, actually to the point of being at the top of my overflow box. Last week I saw that it was almost to the top of my overflow box so I took out the standpipe and used a bottle brush to clean all the holes in it. I had thought that would remedy the problem but with the water even slightly higher, obviously it did not.

The only other thing I could think of being the problem was that something was in my U tube slowing the flow down. Since I use HOB overflow boxes, I always dread breaking the syphon as it means that I have to get the syphon going again. Anyway, I needed to investigate this before the water in the DT rose any higher. Good thing I did, there was a lot of thick hair algae in the tube and the bottle brush cleaned things up nicely. I decided since I switched to LEDs and they hang higher, that there is more spill over light hitting the U tube, thus growing the algae. I made a duct tape shield over the U tube so hopefully will slow the growth of algae. Anyway, it was good that I investigated.
 
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I should not even say this, as I worry it will jinx how well everything is going. All my new macro algae and all my new animals seem to have settled in very well.

The masked gobies are secretive but I catch glimpses of them in holes under the rock work. The new neon gobies both eat well. The chiton and the cucumber will make appearances whenever. Overall, it's better than I imagined.

Also running carbon has really made my water look so crisp and clean. I used to always use carbon for that reason but had gotten lazy about it. It's worth the trouble however.
 
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I am learning the masked gobies' hide outs. I had seen a tiny pile of excavated sand under a rock ledge and suspected one of the tiny gobies did it. Well, this morning when the blue lights came on, I saw one right near there.

And last night I saw 2 gobies at the back of the tank in the open water just above the opuntia macroalgae. I bet they have paired up which is cool.

The neon gobies seem to fight some which I hope does not continue. I was a little worried that this tank is not big enough for 2. If they continue to fight, I may need to attempt to catch one and move it to the sump, but I prefer not to have to do that.

I have not seen the chiton or cucumber but those are both animals that I only expect to see occasionally.
 
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Well the cucumber made an appearance the day after I wrote the prior post, LOL. It has changed from a drab brownish gray color to a pale yellow, which is very cool. My other cucumber I used to have was always brownish gray. This new cucumber is much more attractive. It's probably the rust color sand that is giving it a nice hue! LOL
 
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I did the responsible thing and caught the harassed neon cleaner goby and moved it to the sump. KP Aquatics warned that these cleaner gobies can fight if the tank isn't big enough. I was hoping that my tank was big enough but seeing the one goby always being chased proved that it is not. While the persecuted goby was cowering at the water line, I swooped in with a big net and caught it. I had thought catching a small skinny fish like that was going to be impossible. Anyway, it should be much happier in the sump.
Thanksgiving video.
 
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Yesterday Dave and I went to one of our lfs to get Coral Vite. They don't carry it anymore which was a bummer. However, I did not come home empty handed. I bought 3 feather dusters (and got one free since it was stuck to another), some ulva, and 2 firefish gobies. I like that firefish hang in the top portion of the water column and they are an easy fish to care for.
Unfortunately one of them jumped while we were eating dinner. My lid is made up of 2 pieces that fit together. I wasn't as careful as I should have been and there was an 8th of an inch sliver between the two and somehow that little guy made it through that small space. That stinks and I feel horrible for not being more careful.
 
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Some happy news,,,I had not mentioned that about 3 weeks ago I had stopped seeing Barney, the barnacle blenny in his coco worm tube. I was sad but he was one of my oldest fish and I did not know how long their lifespans were. I figured he just died.

Not so, this morning I saw him in the sump/refugium. Apparently he went over the overflow. Now I need to decide whether to tear the sump apart to get him or leave him there. He would be fine except I do not trust Rice Krispie the pistol shrimp not to make a meal of him.
 
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The firefish goby has adjusted well so I am giving him a name; Spike. Angelica, the Coral Beauty on occasion chases him but it's pretty half hearted and Spike does not appear intimidated.

All 3 feather dusters that I bought are opening up so I am feeding the tank more micro food for their sakes although I noticed yesterday that the flame scallop seemed to appreciate it as well.

I noticed that the opuntia is growing well in some places. It actually seems to like the less lit areas of the tank which is surprising to me. Most of the caulerpa cupressoid has receded so I am not optimistic about it's future in the tank. A lot of of the lobophora has also disappeared but in a few spots it still looks healthy so I will just wait and see. Finally the ulva that I just got last week at the lfs looks very good. I have tried it many times without success but this is the first since I have had LEDs and also since I have fed the tank so heavily. It's vibrant green is very nice in the display.
IMG_20221216_091532160.jpg
 
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I tore the sump apart today to catch Barney. Of course he ducked into a hole where I could not see him. Fortunately I put all the live rock in a 5 gallon bucket with saltwater. I could not find him in the sump anywhere, nor could I find the neon goby. Eventually the goby came out when I fed the sump. So I began putting the rock back into the sump. When all the rock was back in I saw a fish left in the dirty water in the bucket. It was Barney! So he is back in his coco worm tube, in the display tank hopefully to stay.
 
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Sadly the chiton perished! I thought my tank would be well suited as there is algae in different places but apparently it needed something that it was not getting in my tank. I was not able to find much on their needs so I guess I will not be getting anymore chiton's.

On a happier note, Karl the cucumber is flourishing.
 
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I have been wanting more flow in the display tank because of all the detritus that continually settled on everything. I am hoping more flow will keep the detritus in suspension until it can be filtered out.

I looked at powerheads but really did not want to spend more money. So I decided to look in my bin of unused pumps to see if I had any old Rio pumps that could work. I saw my gyre which I put away because I was not happy with it but decided to see if cleaning it would help. Much to my surprise it did help so I have set it up. I do not have the owners manual to instruct me how to program it but I did manage to get it on a continual mode at 40% which is the most that I would want in my tank anyhow. This should add about 1200gph to what I had and hopefully the gyre motion will lift detritus.

The feather dusters seem to like the added flow if nothing else.
 
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My display is doing well with the gyre in it, although it is not stopping detritus from settling on rock work and in the macro algae. The filter feeders definitely seem to appreciate the added flow however.

Yesterday I used a small airline tube to syphon detritus out of the display. I guess I will need to do that periodically.
I ordered 4 more feather dusters from KPA. I just love them and have had good luck with them (if I don't try to move them once they settle). That will make 9 feather dusters, LOL! I also ordered a purple plume gorgonian and cheato. I have lots of flourishing macro algae but did not have cheato and it will add green texture to the display. My little tank is filling in nicely and has a mature reef look about it. I am happy with where it's at.
IMG_20221230_152837288.jpg
 
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I decided to take my gyre to Reef Gallery to see if Jaime could show me how to clean and operate it. Jaime was so helpful. He checked both sides and cleaned the components and then he showed me how the controller works so I could set it up in the mode that I wanted.

When I brought it home, it worked amazing and moved so much water that I was really glad Jaime had shown me how to change the flow rate. I think it will definitely be more effective of keeping detritus from settling now.
 

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The members' tanks cycle through so fast that I need to look through a lot of pages to find my thread so I figured I would also journal it here. Here is my link:

https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/dawns-natural-nutrient-reef-garden.546312/

I took a video featuring a lot of the critters that reside in this tank: fish, shrimp, crabs, snails, asterina stars, micro starfish and even bristleworms! Once it is uploaded I will post it here.
Dawn, what are the long blue fish with the black on their tail ?
 
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Dawn, what are the long blue fish with the black on their tail ?
That is a blue grundgeon (hhm, not sure of the spelling) but they are in the dart fish family. I had 2 but like a lot of dart fish they were extremely shy. They stayed hidden 90% of the time, and I wonder if their relatively short lived life in my tank was because their tank mates caused them stress. I did love their color however.
 
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I took this pic to show another R2R member what the greens look like in my tank. This is at 10 am so the lights are still not fully ramped up. They have the same light as I do.
IMG_20230111_101017427.jpg
 
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My order from KP Aquatics came. One gorg was in brown water in its bag but it looks ok in the tank. Everything else was perfect.

I did do some major changes on the left side of the tank. Removed more of the green palys that were mixed in with purple sponge. I actually puttied a seahorse figurine from my pet store days at the seahorse onto the rock. Maybe it's tacky but it's a tribute to my love of seahorses as a fish and my love of my working days at the Seahorse pet store. Hopefully when macro algae and coral grow on it, it will blend in better. I hope to take a video when the cloudiness clears.
IMG_20230111_145401250.jpg
 
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The tank is still a little cloudy from planting the new stuff from KP Aquatics but I made a video anyway. Everything new looks good except the gorg that came in the brown water. I am sure that KPA will do right by me if it dies.

The video starts out with the gyre on so you can see the flow and how it affects the tank. Then I turn the gyre on feed mode so the shimmer is not so distracting, although with the return pump and tunze powerhead still on the shimmer is still bad in some parts of the video.

Let me know what you think of the seahorse figurine. Is it tacky or kind of ancient temple ruins like? Remember that I am letting coral or macroalgae to overgrow it, ha ha! My feelings won't be hurt if you don't like it.

Saw 2 of my masked gobies being chummy!
IMG_20230112_115006823~2.jpg
 
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kevinl

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Looks like you have excellent water movement throughout the entire tank!
What ya gonna do when those anemones start to take over? I see one hanging out on the overflow box.
Sorry, not a fan of the figurine, your tank is so natural looking I think it pulls your attention to much.
NOW, when you had the real seahorse tank that was so amazing!!
 

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