Starting (over) slow and trying to do it right!

SueAbu

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Well here is Day 1 with my lonely surviving mushroom transplanted into the cycled reduced-sized-do-over!
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29G simple as can be setup (with a good light). 1 fish and some CUC to get it cycled and provide the biome.

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Right now, the most interesting thing are the sticker decorations my grandson added to help us along...

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In the middle of Covid, my craigslist hunter husband found me a 75 gal tank that someone was giving up on. Sand, rock, equipment, sump, a Duncan, a toadstool, this mushroom (or maybe his daddy), a rock beauty, a watchman and something else all came home and THEN I figured out how to set it up and what each thing did.
When I made my first coral pack purchase on here, I didn't understand that "great pack for the beginner" meant "... Pack for the LPS/acro beginner"... And I started my trial and error with the hardest ones to keep alive! Fast forward a year and they (the surviving 7 of 10) were actually growing! So, I decided to up my game and got real lights. Everything stalled.
Then I went back to school and had no time.... And then we moved. Catastrophic Coral Failure. (The fish, however, thrived! They have moved into a 95G, have gotten too big for their britches, and are like a clique of mean girls to the new kid in class... No coral for you.)

So now it's time for doing it right. I've done much more research. Starting small. Adding what I like, not what is priced well. Limiting the fish. Focus on the color and the look. I find I'm fond of softies because of the movement. I also like the LPS and their monster mouths. Some may call that easy for beginners, but I just didn't get what I was looking for with the tiny polyps, holding my breath each day hoping I didn't see more white than color.

Here goes!!!!
 
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SueAbu

SueAbu

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Well, it's been a month. I read an old article about adding depth to my aquascape, so I reverse the usual mound of rocks and added rocks up and back, on the sides.
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My single watchman is getting bigger, but I may get him a friend because he's proving to not be all that into the hair algae that's starting up. I have added some softies that had been outgrowing the tank at the local PetC. Then, I added some zoa's and a goni from one of the live sales, on here. I'm in LOVE with them and they've already sprouted new polyps!
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I know.. I know.... I'm still so new to zoas that I get excited at every little new mouth to feed. But that's the fun of a build, right?!?

Plus, I get to brag about this gorgeous goni!!!!
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I wish I could take pictures in the blue light to show you how it glows purple with glitter on the tips...

I actually wrote myself a not last week and stuck it on the tank. "Sue, you can't touch this tank until Sunday"... so that I stopped making snap decisions and let the coral decide whether they liked where I'd put them...

Now if I could just find the perfect shell for my hermit who is getting too big for his britches and tries on a new shell each day! Never know what I'm going to find walking around the rocks!!!
 
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SueAbu

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Update at almost 4 months. Maybe this thread is for the tank builders, rather than everyone else. It's nice to look back at how far the tank has come when you get frustrated. I'm, all of a sudden, excited again about how great my corals (and coral-adjacents) are doing!!!! I now have 17 colonies... 16 I bought and 1 that jumped ship off the larger zoa in the top right corner. I got the large zoa and the mystery mushroom (top middle) from the LFS for $5 because they'd been there longer than any employee who could remember what they were supposed to be. Score! The mushroom is pink tipped and has just started to show a yellow-green base under blue light. The scrambled egg zoas I got have 10 polyps now (from 4?), twizzler zoa now has 5 (from 3?) With the zoa order I got the monti in The top right and for the first time, ever, I have sps growth!!!!

The rocks have been rearranged countless times as my precarious balancing doesn't always work (and we have micro earthquakes in Maine) or the dogs play into the tank. The Xenia are attached, though and power through each tumble.

I had a lawnmower in there but he randomly took a long nap at the bottom. My 1" long watchman is getting braver. He came out last night, while my hand was IN the tank, to supervise the reconstruction.
 

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SueAbu

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My livestock is growing like crazy in here!! When I got he blue-legged hermits, they were, she'll and all, the size of a pencil eraser... Now, they're on their 2nd up-sized shells!
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The Kenya tree toppled and the middle trunk broke off... However, "baby" seems to be doing just fine, tucked into a hole in the rock a few inches away. (Didn't know if I could glue the open trunk, so I'm going with, "if it's working don't mess with it")
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I've branched out into new LPSs because I just love to watch them. Sooo cool! Here's a Acan I couldn't resist at the local, independent coral guy... (Now my profile pic)
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No bribery needed. I'll be updating again after the 18th when I'm expecting some new additions in the o'night mail!

Question: I have a plain ole anemone not doing so well in the FOWLR tank. Can I put it in here? My watchman is bigger, but is he smart enough to stay away? (I like him better than the nem.)
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SueAbu

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Six months update!!!! Total coral count (including unintentional Kenya and zoa colonies, broken off and self-planted): 32
I've gotten away from my original intent of "just softies" as I fell in love with LPS, zoas in particular. Now I just go with what moves.... With a couple SPS I got as mystery frags. (I can't even seem to kill THOSE, this time!)
Overview video:


Close-up, half-and-half videos:


My stomatella hitchhikers (now about the size of quarters, each) are having babies:
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This is he first time I've been able to get a view of the emerald in months!

I've just added some new narcissus snails and I'm going to have to find bigger shells for my hermit!

Now for questions....
I'm overrun with copepods and flat bristleworms!!! Nothing seems to be eating them. Suggestions? Thks!

With only one fish and the huge cuc, my parameters are spot-on. I've never had the problem of my corals doing SO WELL that I need more room, but it is coming to a point where I'll have to consider upgrading in size. That will likely be the next update!
 
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SueAbu

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I've never had this problem before. They are all doing so well, they're making babies!!!! My longest resident mushroom has divided and has become a monster! (See my first post for a pic of how small and sad it was)
I love it!
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I added a new flat mushroom because I couldn't resist... And all around it, I'm getting divisions. My hammer has gone from 4 heads to 7. My candy cane (pic) is sectioning off. Even my little Duncan (latest addition, last month) looks to be prepping tentacles for a 3rd head.
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Of course, now I've jinxed myself and it will all crash, right?
 
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SueAbu

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Remember this little guy, what someone called my "lone survivor" from my first reef tank attempt?
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Well he's done had babies! 3 of them!!!
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In fact everyone is having them!!
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Just 29 G with a top filter, a water fan, and one light and: Here's what the tank looks like just a few short months after "starting slow"...
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Sooooo now the family is "movin' on up"!!!! Today starts the "upgrade"!!!!!
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This is the original reef tank setup. 50 gallon, if my math is correct. Sump in the cabinet, below. New pumps and protein skimmer. I have to learn how to do it all over again!!

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SueAbu

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Upgrade (mostly) complete!!!
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Back to sump, not hob filters...
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Got a new wave maker. Don't know if it's too strong for the size of the tank.... Everyone is still being a little cranky (including both fish), and I can't find the goni, but they'll come around.
 
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SueAbu

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Upgrade (mostly) complete!!!
IMG_20231001_163855634_HDR.jpg


Back to sump, not hob filters...
IMG_20231001_163754994.jpg


Got a new wave maker. Don't know if it's too strong for the size of the tank.... Everyone is still being a little cranky (including both fish), and I can't find the goni, but they'll come around.
 
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SueAbu

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The Tidal Gardens corals came today!!!! They're HUGE!!!!on the bottom is a Zoa I got in March from... Another place... Which has been adding polyps, like crazy from the original 4-5! (I thought...) Above it is the new addition from TG. 23 polyps!!!!!!
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Here's the tank while the new guys were in the dip...


Here are the new arrivals!!!!



I also had them send me some emerald crabs. ( some also huge!) And this guy is already feeling a little territorial!


The white light goes out in 9 minutes. I can't wait to see them under the blues!!!!!!!
 
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SueAbu

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We'll be breaking down and moving in the next couple weeks. I've taken this because the reef looks so great and I'll want to remember this moment if it all goes to heck, in process.

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It's February. At last count there were about 60 coral critters to account for, 2 fish, 4 crabs, a bunch of snails and sundry CUC. ITS FEBRUARY. IN MAINE.

Fingers crossed!
 
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SueAbu

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Move, Day 1... Well, my 2 fish made it, even though one landed on the floor. I'm not sure how the live rock... Or coral babies directly attached... Fared, yet. I'm quite worried because the buckets of water/rocks traveled in the back of a truck and got A LOT colder than they should have. I'm bracing myself to be sad.... *Sigh*
 

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Move, Day 1... Well, my 2 fish made it, even though one landed on the floor. I'm not sure how the live rock... Or coral babies directly attached... Fared, yet. I'm quite worried because the buckets of water/rocks traveled in the back of a truck and got A LOT colder than they should have. I'm bracing myself to be sad.... *Sigh*
Best of luck with the move! Hoping everything goes smoothly for you
 
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Moving day plus 2 months and a small shopping spree on eBay.... Not to mention taking advantage of the lfs pricing, them not knowing what they had (huge galaxia in bottom rt corner) and my adorable husband bringing home the orange and green zoa because it was on clearance at the other lfs.

I had my first encounter with brown jelly disease and, out of nowhere, lost one of the newer duncans I got a couple months ago. The remaining Duncans and frogspawn, as well as a couple zoas were dipped in the PL Coral Primer Dip a couple hours ago and are still mad at me-closes up, but coming around (I hope). I'm also treating to the tank with night time Cipro 0.125mg/mL I learned on r2r. I
t's been a longnnnnnnnng road to coax out the old Duncan (lower) since the first move, when the other two heads never came back.

I'm also OVERRUN with small shrimpy things. The first time, I got the orange and blue fish and my little hunter took care of them. Now he's just lazy and letting them run amok. I'm hoping if I stop feeding him, he'll start hunting again. He's just an ******* and mostly spends his time picking on Skipper the watchman goby.

Sorry is a bunch of segments. I maxed the file size limit to upload and had to break them up. But check out my sad little starter hairy mushroom, now!!! I lost the original and 2 offspring, on a separate rock, in the move, but these just divided again, to make up for it!
 

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SueAbu

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Moving day plus 2 months and a small shopping spree on eBay.... Not to mention taking advantage of the lfs pricing, them not knowing what they had (huge galaxia in bottom rt corner) and my adorable husband bringing home the orange and green zoa because it was on clearance at the other lfs.

I had my first encounter with brown jelly disease and, out of nowhere, lost one of the newer duncans I got a couple months ago. The remaining Duncans and frogspawn, as well as a couple zoas were dipped in the PL Coral Primer Dip a couple hours ago and are still mad at me-closes up, but coming around (I hope). I'm also treating to the tank with night time Cipro 0.125mg/mL I learned on r2r. I
t's been a longnnnnnnnng road to coax out the old Duncan (lower) since the first move, when the other two heads never came back.

I'm also OVERRUN with small shrimpy things. The first time, I got the orange and blue fish and my little hunter took care of them. Now he's just lazy and letting them run amok. I'm hoping if I stop feeding him, he'll start hunting again. He's just an ******* and mostly spends his time picking on Skipper the watchman goby.

I've also got a small, but growing aiptasia problem. I have the killer stuff,but am a bit chicken to use it, in case I don't get the whole thing and cause an eruption.

Sorry is a bunch of segments. I maxed the file size limit to upload and had to break them up. But check out my sad little starter hairy mushroom, now!!! I lost the original and 2 offspring, on a separate rock, in the move, but these just divided again, to make up for it!
 

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SueAbu

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Welcome the solution to my amphipod problem....
Screenshot_20240516-110935.png


The other two fish in the tank are Skipper and Gilligan. I'm thinking Marianne the Mandarin?

And I am so PROUD to announce new additions to the family! ‍ Of course. The mushrooms split and the zoas grow new heads... But now the big things are popping out mini-mes!!!!

1. Not 3 weeks after losing a sister Duncan to the dreaded Brown Jelly, dipping all the neighbors in everything anyone suggested and treating the tank with Cipro... My remaining Duncan has popped up 6 new polyps!!
2 on the front:
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And FOUR on the back and smaller branch:
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2. These merletti were supposed to be a single, 5-polyp frag. I was furious when I was sent 5, individual sticks with a single polyp, each. I had room for one frag, not 5!
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That was a month ago, maybe 6 weeks.... Now I've got way more than 5 polyps per frag!
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3. That same vendor sent me the saddest looking UFO scan, again supposed to be a double head, but looked like it had been whacked. (They figured sending me a couple other random, single-headed acans, would make up for it...)
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As I was inspecting something else, I just noticed how that sad little dud has rebounded and had his own mini-me.
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Plus. My green hairy mushrooms (the original) keeps dividing!

I've screwed up so many things in these tanks, I am always stunned and humbled when they grow and prosper.
 
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