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Old 09/04/2015, 04:22 AM   #901
Whiterabbitrage
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Don't forget to test your iron levels. And your silicate levels too if you are dosing.


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Old 09/04/2015, 05:36 AM   #902
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Thanks Karim. That's good to know. I seem to remember peppermints out during the daylight hours, but maybe I'm confusing them with skunk cleaner shrimp. It is pretty wild to think about all that goes on during the night in our tanks, and we have no clue!

Morgan, I haven't started dosing silicates yet. At what levels should I dose to for sponge support/growth?


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Old 09/04/2015, 02:38 PM   #903
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How much you dose depends on the strength of your stock solution and how fast your tanks uses it. There are articles on RC which is where I got my info. There is a good one on the chemistry forum from 10/31/2013 called Waterglass Sodium Silicate Dosing. And if you google there is also an article from Advanced Aquarist. You should read them yourself because I don't want to steer you wrong. But I really am pleased with dosing. I had a Red Tree Sponge that was actually growing ( then it died when we moved ) but I do see traces of it coming back now. Seriously, you won't be sorry dosing this stuff.


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Old 09/04/2015, 03:01 PM   #904
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Ok great, I'll check those out. Thanks!


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Old 09/05/2015, 11:41 AM   #905
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I did a little export today-mostly caulerpa racemosa. That stuff has really taken off, covering the left two thirds of the back wall and creeping around the substrate surface. This is the same macro I put in the tank on day one, gradually (and completely) disappeared, and months later came back, with a vengeance!

The manatee grass seems to be the first to respond to the dosing, getting taller and taller. Hopefully I'll get some daughter plants coming up soon. The turtle grass is just the opposite. Lots of daughters, but not much height.

I've noticed that some the aiptasia anemones are gone. So the peppermints are doing their job, working the night shift.

The purple condylactis is staying put, and still gorgeous. With the demise of mr pederson, I think I may abandon the anemone shrimp thing. With several species of fish planned that would love to eat them, it seems an uphill battle. It's tough spending twenty bucks on a ridiculously tiny shrimp, that ends up feeding a ten dollar fish! Maybe a porcelain crab or two instead.


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Old 09/05/2015, 09:20 PM   #906
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My Beautiful Mess

Snapped a few more pics!

My tank is just plain going wild. The macros have really run amuk! Not everyone's cup of tea, but I'm loving it. I can't stop looking at it!



Pretty good look at the blue macro that popped up about a month ago. Anyone remember what this one is called?



Turtle grass with daughter plants. I'm tempted to try and separate them and spread them out, but instead I think I'll just leave well enough alone!



The seagrasses swirling in the current. Through them, you can see my tan gorgonian frag. I've moved it again, as it wasn't happy in the last location. this time I rotated it 180 degrees. I read that besides orienting them perpendicular to the current, they have a preferred upstream and downstream side. Polyps are out. Maybe this will do it!



And of course, another shot of the purple condylactis! Photos just don't do it justice, but I try. Also note the leafy phenotype of what I think is Grasilaria. I touched it today and it was stiffer than I expected. It almost felt calcified.


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Old 09/05/2015, 09:23 PM   #907
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Time for the Atlantic blue to tend to the garden!


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Old 09/05/2015, 09:41 PM   #908
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That gorgonian really just dislikes everywhere you put it doesn't it.

As a replacement for Mr. Pedersen, how about an anemone dwelling fish instead? Are there any fish that associate with condy nems? Or maybe Mr. Pedersen just wasn't happy with the anemone? If you gave it a few more tries, then I think it would look really neat to see him cleaning the residents, who wouldn't eat him because who eats the cleaner?


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Old 09/05/2015, 11:07 PM   #909
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My thought, Karim, was to get the macros to ridiculously overgrown, and then add the tang. If there was enough growing, maybe they could reach an equilibrium of consumption v growth. I think it would take a substantially bigger tank to achieve this goal. It might work for awhile, but when the tang gets full grown, it would probably eventually wipe it out. Of course, I'd try to keep it well fed, but I still think it would finish it off. So I am reconsidering the tang.

I am planning a harem of four cherub angel fish. I think they will eat some macro algae, but not that much, so this may be the right amount of consumption v growth. Ideally, I get a consumer, that keeps the macros trimmed, without decimating them.

Right now, I'm really enjoying the jungle! I'm not ready to give it up yet.


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Old 09/05/2015, 11:08 PM   #910
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...


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Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Macro Algae Lagoon

Last edited by Michael Hoaster; 09/05/2015 at 11:12 PM. Reason: repeat post
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Old 09/05/2015, 11:33 PM   #911
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I'm trying my best to find the right location and orientation for the gorgonian. I've had it for close to a year now, and its' still alive, so I'm hopeful. But overall, it's declining. So yes, I will continue to try to reverse that trend. The more I read, the more I'm convinced I should keep attempting to find the sweet spot for it. I'm not going to just let it die without a fight.


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Old 09/06/2015, 01:11 AM   #912
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get a small juvenile... it won't put a dent in it.

Most people overestimate how much a single tang can eat.

I have 10 tangs (including two massive ones) and I don't feed any algae for a week - just a little flake food from the autofeeder to keep the system going.

They get excited when I put nori over the weekend, but they're not done eating all the algae in the tank. All the hard spots around the overflow stay fluffy.


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Old 09/06/2015, 08:26 AM   #913
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A yellow phase juvenile was what I had planned. I just think, once it matures, with its favorite food all around and easy to get to, it'll wipe it out. And then, if it decides to go after my seagrasses… catching a large, fast fish is not fun. I'm still researching. I'd love to keep one, but not at the expense of the rest of the tank. We'll see!

KP Aquatics has a neat feature on its site, where you can enquire about specific species they sell. I took advantage of that, but they never responded. Too bad. Unresponsive online retailers do NOT get my business.


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Old 09/06/2015, 08:55 PM   #914
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Does the same concept apply towards tangs: only feed as much as they can eat in 5 min?

Most fish are full in that time frame after a single feeding - would a tang eat a comparable amount to this theory throughout the day? Eat a little hear and there till its full, then repeat when it gets hungry later on or constantly eating like a horse or cow. Lol


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Old 09/06/2015, 10:04 PM   #915
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If food is there, they will graze on and off all day. They don't get much nutrition from their diet and compensate by eating more. So you put a caribbean tang in a tank full of caribbean macros…well the cow comparison is pretty accurate! And there's the other possibility that it can grow into a raging bully.

I'm sure I can get away with it for awhile, starting with a juvenile. I'm just not sure if it will be worth it in the big picture. And as we're all painfully aware, one wrong fish choice can be disastrous.

Having a peaceful community of fish is very important to me. I don't want stressed out fish. Plus there's me - I want to look at my tank and have my stress levels go down.

I'm as anxious to get more fish as anyone else, but I'm still focused on building my little ecosystem from the bottom up.


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Old 09/07/2015, 09:32 AM   #916
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Photo Flashback

I thought it might be fun to repost some my earliest pics of the tank build.


This is my very successful fresh water planted tank. I had to rip all of these very happy plants out, to begin this adventure. The wife was not happy…


This is my very first pic of the very early stage of the fake mangrove root build. I bought the wire at home depot. The plastic soda bottles were later replaced with a plastic pitcher. That was a project!


This is the beginning of my fake mud bank back wall project. Not all of those bottles made it in the final iteration, but most did.


And here's the deep sand bed planter I fabricated with old dead coral skeletons. Not bad, eh?


All three in the tank, with about half the substrate in there. It was a huge relief to get these done!

I guess the thing I'm most proud of is that they all work! The mangrove root hasn't fallen apart, even with the vibration from the powerhead inside. The fake wall hasn't floated away, and the barnacle blennies and shrimp are enjoying the caves. The DSB planter confines the DSB to a specific area of the tank, while still looking very natural.

Having finished all these 'technical' projects, I'm now focused on the biological aspects of the ecosystem. This is perhaps more challenging, trying to understand and take advantage of the natural processes going on in my big plastic box.


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Old 09/11/2015, 01:28 AM   #917
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I've been dosing iron and potassium nitrate. And I've got CO2 injection, through my canister filter, which has calcium carbonate and bio pellets. A quasi CO2/calcium/bacteria reactor. It's a multi-purpose gizmo!

The red macros really colored up and the caulerpa racemosa is everywhere. The seagrasses grew in length but some leaves turned yellow a little quicker, I think. So, I suspended iron and potassium nitrate for two days. I'll resume minimum dosage tomorrow.

I haven't found exactly what I'm looking for in Sodium Silicate. This is for the sponges. So are the bio pellets, producing excess bacteria for them. The test sponges look good but none are taking off either. I've been adding some tap water for silicates and trace elements. I may have a slight uptick in diatoms, which may be a good sign for the sponges.

It's a bit of a balancing act, dosing stuff. Gotta be careful. I'm seeing some good early results. I'm finally making an effect, and now I've got to fine tune it.

The bottom of my tank is alive with pods and spaghetti worms everywhere. I hope they like the phytoplankton and zooplankton I add to the tank brew. They seem to appreciate the multiple grain sizes of the substrate, offering some refuge right in the tank.


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Old 09/12/2015, 05:24 AM   #918
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The macros are more vividly colored than they were a week ago. The caulerpa racemosa peltata is like kudzu. An atlantic blue tang might come in handy…

I'm still tweaking the dosing. Either the current regime is better for the macros than the seagrasses, or the macros are just reacting faster to it. Or they may be outcompeting them for nutrients. Not sure how to change that. Maybe reducing the macro biomass, in relation to the seagrass biomass, would help. I'd rather not have to do that, though.

I'll give it some time. I don't mind the macros growing faster than the seagrasses. I just want the grasses to grow faster than their current rate. Not sure how I would favor the seagrasses over the macros. Dosing the substrate, rather than the water, is an idea I've been playing around with. I may experiment with that some more.

I need to be cautious. I could easily upset the balance in my tank. Take it slow…


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Old 09/12/2015, 09:03 AM   #919
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Hoaster View Post
You sure have some beautiful colors going on in the tank! Would like to see another pic with the purple condy in there too.

You must be doing something right!


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Old 09/12/2015, 12:17 PM   #920
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Thank you Sam! I'm still easing into the dosing thing, trying to get my lush meadow! I'll see if I can get a good shot of the purple condy today, after a bit of caulerpa pruning.

I am suspending iron dosing today, to see what effect it has. The seagrasses appear to be yellowing quicker. It's subtle but noticeable to this hyper-observant aquarist! I'm wandering if that points to iron toxicity. I'll observe for a few days, and continue nitrate dosing. Then, I may suspend nitrate dosing, to see what effect that has. Also, I bought another brand of stump remover (potassium nitrate), so I may try it to see if the grasses like it better than the one I'm currently using.

All this experimentation is a little nerve-wracking, but I'm erring on the side of caution.


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Old 09/14/2015, 09:47 PM   #921
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I did a little research on aquatic plant nutrient deficiencies. I'm trying to figure out why older leaves on my seagrasses are yellowing and dying more quickly. It seems odd there would be any deficiencies, given the fact I've been dosing lately. However, seeing as how I'm driving the plants harder, it makes sense that stuff I'm not dosing could be getting used up quickly, like minor and trace elements.

Here are some possibilities:
Nitrogen deficiency-seems unlikely since I'm dosing nitrate. But I'm also dosing iron, and I'm being very conservative with the nitrate, so it is possible.
Magnesium deficiency-symptoms match up pretty well to what I've got, so I may try dosing magnesium sulfate, which is epsom salt.
Zinc deficiency-seems unlikely with my well water additions daily. It's a trace element. Doing a water change may help, as salt mix has trace elements added.

Since the macros are responding so well to dosing, I can't help but think they're outcompeting the grasses. This brings me back to how do I favor the grasses over the algae? I came very close to pushing some plant tabs into the substrate today, but didn't. I think I should give it more time and keep playing with the dosage levels. And do a water change. If a water change helps, but only for a short while, that would point to minor and trace elements, like magnesium and zinc.

I think I'll mix up some new potassium nitrate, using a different brand I bought the other day. Let me just put on my lab coat…


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Old 09/14/2015, 09:50 PM   #922
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how often do you do water changes?


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Old 09/14/2015, 10:17 PM   #923
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Lately it's been about once a month, as things have been going pretty well. When things are sucky, like when I had cyano-hell, I'll do them once a week.

With my ridiculously low fish load and rapidly growing macros, I feel pretty safe. I am doing some macro export about once weekly as well.

How's your chaeto farm going? Are you exporting some?


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Old 09/14/2015, 11:58 PM   #924
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I'll be honest - i do water changes mostly to replenish things like trace elements and the like. It's much better than dosing, with fewer chances to go wrong.

If you need some nitrates, i could send you some of my fowlr water...


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Old 09/15/2015, 12:10 AM   #925
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I'll be honest - i do water changes mostly to replenish things like trace elements and the like. It's much better than dosing, with fewer chances to go wrong.

If you need some nitrates, i could send you some of my fowlr water...
That's what I was thinking too. You may need to do changes to rebalance your trace elements vs. remove excess nutrients.


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