Dawn's natural nutrient reef garden

vlangel

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Hi folks,
This tank has been up a while but my vision for it has changed. This tank was set up in October 2016 as a seahorse species only tank. I was upgrading to keep 3-4 seahorses. I spray painted a mural of my first stallion Adam on the back glass in memorial to him, since he had just passed prior to this set up.
Leak test. by Dawn Gilson, on Flickr
I painted the bottom glass underneath to look like sand so I could keep my ponies in a bare bottom tank. I have found with seahorses that are high maintenance that a bb tank is much easier. The tank and ponies were doing great until I got bored and decided to change things.

January 2018 I added sand to the tank. I got bored of the almost sterile unnatural look of the seahorse tank.
2018-01-17_03-05-59 by Dawn Gilson, on Flickr
2018-01-26_06-07-16 by Dawn Gilson, on Flickr
When I worked at a lfs we used to tier our FW aquascapes. I have always been a fan of DSBs so I wondered if I could tier my SW aquascape. I used my live rock as the retaining wall. It worked pretty well, especially having a column tank that had some height.

I had added some pajama cardinals but now that I had sand and hiding places I thought some gobies and blennies would be cool. It was until 2 of my 3 ponies came down with skin infections after the new fish arrived (There is a good reason seahorse keepers have specie specific tanks ). That was September 2018 and it meant another change for the good of my creatures.
2018-11-29_04-59-13 by Dawn Gilson, on Flickr
I went into the archives and dragged out my original 30 gallon XH seahorse tank and set it up for the ponies right next to the now 56 gallon natural nutrient tank. The seahorses got the basement sump since I needed that for their many WCs. The natural nutrient tank became an aio with an AC 70 hob filter. It has an Ice cap gyre and a Coralife 4 bulb HOT5 fixture. Presently it has 12 fish, mixed coral, and assorted macro algae which help export nutrients, (along with a 5 gallon WC once a week). Here is the last FTS.
2019-01-23_11-02-50 by Dawn Gilson, on Flickr
FISH: 2 pajama cardinals, 2 blue gungeon dart fish, 2 green clown gobies, 2 yellow head fang blennies, 2 barnacle blennies and 2 combtooth blennies (one a linear and the other an orange spot).

INVERTS: 2 peppermint shrimp, a pom pom crab, an anemone crab, a few small blue legged hermits, a few emerald crabs, 2 bumble bee snails and a handful of nassarius snails.

CORAL: aqua trumpets, neon green trumpets assorted acans, 2 different blastos, xenai, gsp, assorted shrooms, zoas, palys, sun coral, snake coral, assorted sponges, assorted gorgonians and a couple unidentified SPS.

MACRO ALGAES: codium, feather caulerpa, green grape caulerpa, mermaid fan, shaving brush, halimeda, an unidentified green macro, red titan, and red grape caulerpa.
 
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Subsea

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I like the poetry of that, “Natural Nutrient Reef Garden”.

Dawn, I have never seen you at “at a loss of pictures or words”. I thought the power outage and cold took its toll. I have always loved your displays. In fact, after viewing some of your instagram pictures, I am always in awe of the gorgeous ornamental macros in your display tanks. Previously, we credited it to colder operating temperatures, but now I think the credit goes to a meticulous garden keeper. I look forward to development of this thread. Without a mature live sandbed to recycle nutrients up through numerous food webs, I could not operate a reef tank. Kudos to you.
 
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vlangel

vlangel

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I like the poetry of that, “Natural Nutrient Reef Garden”.

Dawn, I have never seen you at “at a loss of pictures or words”. I thought the power outage and cold took its toll. I have always loved your displays. In fact, after viewing some of your instagram pictures, I am always in awe of the gorgeous ornamental macros in your display tanks. Previously, we credited it to colder operating temperatures, but now I think the credit goes to a meticulous garden keeper. I look forward to development of this thread. Without a mature live sandbed to recycle nutrients up through numerous food webs, I could not operate a reef tank. Kudos to you.
Thanks Patrick, I was trying to choose the right words to describe my tank. I am glad you like it and I also thought it had a poetic ring.

My sandbed is only a year old but the bulk of my rock is 20 years old and some of it is large and dense, (namely the pieces that are the retaining wall for the sand). I am counting on that rock to both provide nitrification and denitrification. With 12 fish that need to eat multiple Xs a day, I am dumping a lot of food in the tank and even I am shocked that the macros are utilizing the nutrients so effectively that I am not fighting any nuisance algae issues. I get some film algae is all. Honestly this is the funnest (is that a word?) tank I have ever had. If the blennies are not being adorable then the crabs or shrimp are doing something cute. Its been great and I am excited to continue with my vision for it. Stay tuned!
 

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Thanks Patrick, I was trying to choose the right words to describe my tank. I am glad you like it and I also thought it had a poetic ring.

My sandbed is only a year old but the bulk of my rock is 20 years old and some of it is large and dense, (namely the pieces that are the retaining wall for the sand). I am counting on that rock to both provide nitrification and denitrification. With 12 fish that need to eat multiple Xs a day, I am dumping a lot of food in the tank and even I am shocked that the macros are utilizing the nutrients so effectively that I am not fighting any nuisance algae issues. I get some film algae is all. Honestly this is the funnest (is that a word?) tank I have ever had. If the blennies are not being adorable then the crabs or shrimp are doing something cute. Its been great and I am excited to continue with my vision for it. Stay tuned!


I agree, funnest is a word. Better than “a word”, funnest is “The best way to start a reef tank”.

My first image this morning is a sparkling clean substrate that has been ChemiClean treated twice in the last five days. Converting 25 year Jaubert Plenum to a reverse flow undergravel filter is an ordeal that needed doing for my detritus packed substrate. Because I was unaware of the impact a Melaanarius Wrasse had on detrivore janitors over a two year span, I lost the battle to maintaining 25 year old deep sand bed. Previously, I lightly stirred gravel in top layer and feed filter feeders the bacteria plankton and left the rest of the maintenance to the detrivore crew.

I could not operate a reef tank without a sandbed to process nutrients and feed the tank with a diversity of larvae from complex food webs.
 
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vlangel

vlangel

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I agree, funnest is a word. Better than “a word”, funnest is “The best way to start a reef tank”.

My first image this morning is a sparkling clean substrate that has been ChemiClean treated twice in the last five days. Converting 25 year Jaubert Plenum to a reverse flow undergravel filter is an ordeal that needed doing for my detritus packed substrate. Because I was unaware of the impact a Melaanarius Wrasse had on detrivore janitors over a two year span, I lost the battle to maintaining 25 year old deep sand bed. Previously, I lightly stirred gravel in top layer and feed filter feeders the bacteria plankton and left the rest of the maintenance to the detrivore crew.

I could not operate a reef tank without a sandbed to process nutrients and feed the tank with a diversity of larvae from complex food webs.
Your tank is looking amazing I think. I have always loved the color in your tanks, the green, reds, throw in some blue and yellow fish and you have a stunning rainbow of color. Its very pleasing to the eye, both soothing and stimulating at the same time. I am glad the cyano cleared up. I know from my own experience that although I like color I like white sand, ha ha!
 
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vlangel

vlangel

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Hi Dawn following along. If this turns out anything like you're past tanks it will be very nice.
Hey Diamond, thanks for taking a look. I've spent most of my time in the pipefish/seahorse topics for the last 4 years so I am happy to hear from you. I appreciate your vote of confidence! How are you? Do you have a tank?
 
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Diamond1

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I'm good thanks for asking! Everything going ok for you?
I do still have a couple tanks my 29 and a 14 gallon nano. I tore down the 29 and stuffed everything into the 14 and set it on cruise control for a couple years. I had some health issues and I took a break from Reef2Reef and my tanks took a hit but I have been back at it recently when I decided to build a reef-pi and reboot the 29.
Here's my reboot thread.
https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/29-gallon-reboot.468241/

Do you still have the bowfront? I really liked that tank.
 
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vlangel

vlangel

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I'm good thanks for asking! Everything going ok for you?
I do still have a couple tanks my 29 and a 14 gallon nano. I tore down the 29 and stuffed everything into the 14 and set it on cruise control for a couple years. I had some health issues and I took a break from Reef2Reef and my tanks took a hit but I have been back at it recently when I decided to build a reef-pi and reboot the 29.
Here's my reboot thread.
https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/29-gallon-reboot.468241/

Do you still have the bowfront? I really liked that tank.

I am happy that things are now good and you are involved again on R2R. I am impressed with how well thought out your 29 reboot tank is. It looks great and your craftsmanship is admirable.

No, I sold the bowfront. I felt it was a bit small for 3 ponies so I upgraded to the 56 column which had a similar footprint so I could keep my 30" Coralife HOT5 fixture. I was starting to fill our basement with empty tanks, LOL so I put it on Craig's list. A girl who has 2 lionhead goldfish bought it and she was very happy with it. They were in a 10 gallon so I am happy for her that she could give them such a nice space.

Someday my plan is to only have this 56 gallon tank when my ponies live out their natural lives. Then I will hook this tank up to the basement sump.
 

Diamond1

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I'm glad to be back on R2R too.
Nice to hear that the bowfront found a good home and it sounds like you have a good plan going forward.

My advice is to get rid of all the tanks in your basement, the temptation of having an empty tank can be hard to resist.:rolleyes:
I have a 40 gallon breeder in my basement that is continually calling to me ("Set Me Up!! Set Me Up!!..)
 
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vlangel

vlangel

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I'm glad to be back on R2R too.
My advice is to get rid of all the tanks in your basement, the temptation of having an empty tank can be hard to resist.:rolleyes:
I have a 40 gallon breeder in my basement that is continually calling to me ("Set Me Up!! Set Me Up!!..)
I know what you mean about that! LOL
 
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vlangel

vlangel

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Nice video. You have a very nice looking tank there. I love your fish selection.
Thanks, there are 2 blue gungeon dartfish also but they are very shy and did not come out while I was videoing. I am guessing from your avatar that you like blennies and I have 4 different types of blennies in the tank, a linear, an orange spot, 2 yellow head fang blennies and 2 barnacle blennies.
 
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