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Old 09/03/2019, 06:37 PM   #1051
vlangel
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Good job Michael and thank you for telling us, followers what you did step by step to beat uronema. I never used to QT fish but ever since I began keeping seahorses where QT new ponies is important, I began QTing all my fish. It definitely cuts down on fish deaths. I used to say if I could get a fish past the first 2 weeks I could have that fish for years. Well QT has upped my percentage of getting them past the 1st 2 weeks.


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Old 09/03/2019, 06:57 PM   #1052
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Thank you Dawn!

After seeing too many fish die, I knew I would have to up my QT game. I want specific fish, that fit into a plan. In the past I could just try fish I liked, and keep what lived.

I have learned so much from this experience. That's good! I just don't want to claim victory too soon. I'll feel better at two weeks!


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Old 09/04/2019, 10:09 AM   #1053
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1 week into quarantine, I still have four Allen's Damsels. I'm gaining confidence!

Who da thunk quarantining damsels would be so challenging?! For some reason, these particular damsels don't ship well, so they come in very stressed and vulnerable to illness. The first day they looked fine. Day two and one was dead, and the rest had lesions on their sides. Uronema happens so fast! I was very fortunate to have caught it in time to prevent the rest from dying.

I did the research, bought the meds, made a plan, and executed it. This is a big turning point for me. I was always too slack and impatient to do a proper QT process. And I had zero success with meds. Armed with newfound knowledge, I feel like I now have a fighting chance of keeping new fish alive. It feels good!


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Old 09/05/2019, 12:45 PM   #1054
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QT Day eight! I still have four Allen's Damsels.

I'm back to considering moving one fish in with the other single. I think he needs to be socialized. He hides too much, in my estimation. The two in a tank together are out and about much, much more. Now that I'm more or less out of the woods with uronema, I think now may be a good time to do it.

I'm not sure I have enough good reasons to do it though. After good health, I want the fish to be happy and well adapted, so it can take its place in the community. Moving it to the tank in my home office will give me a better view of him, plus I'm in there more, so I can keep tabs on him better. I believe he'll come out his shell, with a buddy to interact with.

Potential downsides? Increased stress. Reinfection. Fighting. Death.

I'm going to think about it more. If I do move him, I'll report the results.


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Old 09/05/2019, 08:46 PM   #1055
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Dusk on the Seagrass Sandbar/Patch Reef



Here's a shot of the new, blue supplemental light, after the main, metal halide light turns off. I love the gradation of light across the tank. It's fun to go from the warm colors of the metal halide to the cool blue dusk tones. After that, it's the LED moonlight. Having multiple light settings really adds to the fun!


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Old 09/06/2019, 04:29 AM   #1056
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I really like the lighting for the dusk/dawn look. Such a soothing mood to unwind to.


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Old 09/06/2019, 10:05 AM   #1057
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Thanks Dawn! It is soothing.

The bulb itself is nothing fancy. It's a 23 watt, 100 watt equivalent, compact fluorescent flood light, with a blue lens. I like it better than the daylight bulb it replaced, which was too bright for a proper transition to dark. Plus who doesn't like blue.

Day 9 on the Allen's Damsels' quarantine. Four damsels still remain.

I still haven't moved the singles together. I guess there's really no rush. Maybe I'll give it another week. I hesitate to do it, when I consider the risk. I keep asking myself, "am I more confident the fish will continue to live in the tank it's in, or moved into another tank?" My answer is that I'm more confident keeping him where he is. Stress of capture, fighting, competition for food, disease transmittal, all pop into my head. I'd really be kicking myself if I moved him and he died!

I do think it'll happen at some point. We'll see.


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Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 09/07/2019, 05:59 PM   #1058
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I redirected a few fern caulerpas towards the back wall. Removed any feather caulerpa I found. Exported only a little of the brown grasilaria. I cleaned the glass.

Other than that, I'm letting Nature do its thing. The brown grasilaria on the sand bed does appear to be providing habitat for pods 'n friends. This could be very good! A sustainable pod population in tank full of pod-eaters would be amazing.

I still hope to get the back wall enveloped in green. The fern caulerpa is climbing. A few others are trying to establish. A little time will help.

Speaking of time, it's QT DAY 10 for four Allen's Damsels. Woo!

They're looking good! The only treatment they're getting now is hypo salinity. They're off medicated food, and enjoying mysids, cyclops and flake food. I'm so stoked to have gotten them this far. I think they're gonna make it. This experience gives me so much confidence going forward.

I really look forward to getting them into the display. Six of these living jewels zipping around is going to be cool! Quarantine is such delicious anticipation! These fish have already become important to me, because of the struggle we shared. The financial cost loses importance.

After observing the three tuxedo damsels for a while now, I think I may add two more. Given the space they have and their personalities, five should be just about right. They're pretty mellow. I love how they look too. I'll wait and see how the new Allen's do with everyone first though. I want the fish to be happy with their numbers, so they can interact naturally, without undue stress. I have truly enjoyed studying these beautiful creatures!


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
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Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 09/08/2019, 12:46 AM   #1059
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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
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Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 09/08/2019, 09:40 PM   #1060
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Today I moved a couple of manatee grass plants. They had grown too close to the walls, so I moved them towards the middle, where they're needed. If these transplanting go well, I may move more.

I rotated the rock with the turtle weed on it, to see if I can get it to grow onto the back wall. This is the plant I want the most on the walls, but so far it hasn't happened. I'm not sure how to manipulate it without damaging it. I think I just need to give it everything it wants, so it grows and spreads.

Got some new pics posted last night. I tried to get some good ones of the fish, but they're challenging. It's hard to capture their beauty.


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Old 09/10/2019, 10:16 PM   #1061
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QT day 13. Four fish remain. So stoked!


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Old 09/11/2019, 02:57 PM   #1062
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That's great that your damsels are doing well in QT! Your tank will really pop when you finally get it fully stocked. Heck, right now, it looks fantastic! Your research on your damsel choices really paid off, as well as with the QT steps you've taken. Nicely done.


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Old 09/11/2019, 03:47 PM   #1063
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Thanks Kevin!

I appreciate your encouragement on QT. I really had a bad run there, so I had to make some serious changes. Beating Uronema is very encouraging.

The Damsels are beautiful. I'm kind of returning to my roots of very colorful, graphic fish, like I had in my first marine tank. It's fun!

Two weeks into QT!


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
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Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 09/12/2019, 05:23 PM   #1064
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I love the pics! Your tank is moving into a more mature appearance and with the stark splashes of color from the fish its very appealing. I am happy that it has been so enjoyable (and successful) thus far.


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Old 09/12/2019, 09:16 PM   #1065
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Thanks Dawn!

Yes the tank is maturing. I look forward to the greens getting more coverage - a lot more. I may need to prune back some of the reds. My Manatee Grass looks like it's been scarred by a boat propeller. Ulva has stepped in to fill the scar for a while, while it heals. I kind of like it. Its like lemonade from lemons! Also letting the brown grasilaria grow as a ground cover between the seagrasses is doing well too. The fern caulerpa is also crisscrossing the sand bed, and climbing the fake walls.

Stark splashes of color describes the fish well. I can't wait to have the four new blue guys in there! Once they're in I'll watch them for a while then decide what's next. I'm guessing I could keep as many as ten, but I want to keep them low stress, so we'll see how six do, and then decide.

It has been enjoyable! Assisting Nature in building an ecosystem in a box is an enlightening journey. I'm also surprised how much enjoyment I got out of quarantine success. Keep learning!


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
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Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 09/16/2019, 09:53 AM   #1066
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QT day 18. Four fish still remain.

Everything looks good, after two days away camping.

The second mangrove pod has sprouted two leaves, so they're both growing. I don't know if starting them out fully submerged will work out, but I'm hopeful. I've seen photos of them in Nature growing like that. From what I read, getting the roots in the dirt is the best start for them. I've also read that having the growth tip above water gives them more oxygen access. So this is an experiment. Can they get enough from their roots to extend their leaves to the surface?

The important thing for me was to give them a shot at growth, in a way that I could live with for the next several years. It's got to look right, or I don't want them. There's no way I was going to float them in styrofoam, or some other hideous arrangement. I am done with ugly 'solutions'.

I was looking at some earlier pics of them. I had thought they had shown zero growth, before the tips developed leaves. But there was some change. The 'trunks' of the pods moved to orient them better towards the light, long before the growth tips showed change. I imagine the roots are doing very well in my yard dirt!


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
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Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 09/17/2019, 10:17 PM   #1067
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QT day 19, all good.

It won't be long before introduction! The new guys are noticeably smaller, so they'll probably get chased a bit. Shouldn't be too bad. I bet they'll be happy for the company. They seem a little more social than the tuxedo damsels. I may use the intro-box again.

While watching the tank, I try to imagine the four new neon damsels in there too. How will their presence affect the community? I think it will add energy and color. I hope to see more natural behavior. I've read that the males will intensify their colors to compete for mates. I wouldn't mind that! Hopefully no one feels crowded. I will be watching to see how they all get along. After some time, I'll decide whether to add more of either damsel, or consider the next additions.

The manatee grass plants I transplanted are ok, I think. Just moving a few plants really helped. It looks better. Also I'm still enjoying the ulva filling the big gap. It's cool watching it grow naturally, filling a temporary niche, as it does in Nature. I haven't touched it in weeks. It looks like green flames. Pretty!


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
our desire to conquer and control everything, and walk hand in hand with Mother Nature. -Walter Adey

Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 09/18/2019, 10:54 PM   #1068
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The brown grasilaria is a macro algae I tried to extinguish, but couldn't. I pruned it regularly and it came back bigger. Finally, I've let it go and grow, especially on the sand bed. Strangely, in just the last couple days I've noticed it is reducing on the sand bed and the back wall. It seems to be dying back. Very interesting!

Why and why now? The snails may be eating it. They may have reached population numbers forcing them to expand their menus to include it. Maybe by letting it grow uncontrolled, it exhausted a critical nutrient, in effect starving itself out. But all the other plants are doing well. I have also let the ulva grow larger and the fern caulerpa is rapidly expanding as well. Maybe one or both are outcompeting for nutrients or maybe its allelopathy-plants' chemical warfare.

Whatever it is, I'll be watching closely. Will it continue on the path to destruction? Will it bottom out and rebound? We shall see!


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
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Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 09/19/2019, 07:47 AM   #1069
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Your thoughts on the Gracilaria dying back are fascinating. Thanks for the updates on your tank. I may not always comment on each one, but, I can assure you that I'm following every update. Life gets in the way of my internet activity LOL.

Very cool about the mangroves. Since they seem to be showing growth in the direction of the light, will that change your light scheme on the dark end? Was the idea of the dark end to mimic the faux mangrove root and create shade? Maybe if you light that area, the mangrove would grow up instead? Or, does that kind of thing matter to you? Anyway, it's really cool that they're growing so well. Your tank is, as I've said before, paving the way for others.


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Old 09/19/2019, 09:36 AM   #1070
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Thanks Kevin!

I post a lot! No need to comment on everything. I appreciate what you post, a lot! My life is pretty simple these days, so I have more time than ever to putter around with my aquarium and talk endlessly about it. I think it's therapeutic!

Having a plant that I've been fighting off for months, then giving up and letting it grow, only to have it die back on its own is pretty bizarre! I looked this morning and it's still declining. I'd be OK if it disappeared!

I don't plan to change the lighting for the mangroves. My hope is that they will be happy growing towards the metal halide light. Then they will need to grow into the space in the hood. It's not an ideal situation for them, but I think it can work. Plants are adaptable. There's a good bit of space for them in there. And I can prune where needed. As long as they get what they need to prosper, I'm guessing they'll do OK.

It's kind of strange, growing trees in my aquarium. I don't fully know what to expect, this being my first attempt with them. I don't even know if they will survive, growing fully submerged. For me the important thing is that I'm growing mangroves on my own terms, in a way that I can live with. My hope is that they can conform to what I have already, not requiring me to change my setup for them.

Increasing the light on the right end of the tank would bring its own complications. The red macros would not be happy for sure. Plus I love the asymmetrical gradation of light I get across the tank. So the mangroves, like the other residents, are less important than the overall system. Hopefully they can fit in.

QT at 3 weeks!


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
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Old 09/19/2019, 11:20 PM   #1071
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I removed some brown grasilaria from the back wall, as it was already sloughing off. It continues to die back.

I finally figured out a good planting technique for seagrass on long rhizomes with multiple shoots. I'd never been able to get the whole rhizome buried, leaving roots exposed. So, you place the rhizome on the sand where you want it, then position three or four finger tips along its length. Then slowly move it back and forth lengthwise, while gently pressing it down into the sand. Remove your fingers and push a little sand over it and you're done.

This new planting skill should come in handy when I get some new manatee grass. SaltySully is getting me some new grass to replace the ones that died and fill in the large gap they left. Thanks Stephen!

I'll try to take better care of them this time. It's embarrassing to kill off most of your pivotal species. Ugh! At least I figured out my mistake and corrected it. The remaining manatee grass plants are doing well. Another learning experience!

By the way, my mistake was to let salinity drift too low. It looks like 25ppt is the lower range for them. I now have it at 30ppt-much closer to full strength seawater. My original research told me 25 was optimal. After more research, it looks more like 30. I think it survives in 25ppt water, where it doesn't have to compete with turtle grass, but 30ish is more optimal.

I'm very excited and privileged to get more of these plants!


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
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Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 09/20/2019, 01:00 PM   #1072
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Very nice that you're getting more manatee grass to replace what you lost! It's also rewarding to learn from your mistake, and be able to get your grass bed perhaps better than before.


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Old 09/20/2019, 01:34 PM   #1073
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Thanks Kevin!

I consider myself very lucky. Without SaltySully, I'd be looking at a very long wait to get more manatee grass.

Learning from my mistakes takes some of the sting out of making them. Seems like I'm getting lots of practice lately. I do believe I can get the manatee grass back to better than it was. It will be challenging to get it back to the density I had, but I'm pretty sure I can get them to grow taller.

In v1, I had some blades in the three to four foot range. This is taller than they normally grow in Nature. How can this be? It's about the light. Manatee grass grows taller to compensate for lower light levels. Though my 400 watt metal halide (with spiderlight reflector) is good, it's not as bright as sunlight. So, I expect to get taller growth again.

QT 22 days.


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
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Old 09/22/2019, 12:13 AM   #1074
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FTS. Seagrass with ulva filling the gap. Splash of red patch reef is getting crowded.



Lots of botryocladia with a flash of blue. The allen's damsels seem to get prettier as they grow.



Closer view of the ulva. See also the fern caulerpa behind and up the back wall. Just above the allen's damsel is the turtle weed at the base of the wall.



A few days ago this area was three inches deep with brown grasilaria. Now its all but gone. Kinda hard to tell but the shoal grass is in front, manatee grass in back. Though I won't miss the grasilaria, I do like having a ground cover between the grasses.



It's still got a ways to go, but the plants are growing in well. The mangroves have about a foot to go to the surface.



Pretty fish.



End view.



Dusk lighting.


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
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Old 09/23/2019, 05:43 AM   #1075
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It's really coming together! I didn't notice the yellow highlighting on the tuxedo damsel's tail, nice! And the allen's damsels are pretty stunning. I see that the manatee grass is getting tall again, sweet! And the red macros are filling in nicely. How much longer will your new fish be in QT?


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