Reef Central Online Community

Home Forum Here you can view your subscribed threads, work with private messages and edit your profile and preferences View New Posts View Today's Posts

Find other members Frequently Asked Questions Search Reefkeeping ...an online magazine for marine aquarists Support our sponsors and mention Reef Central

Go Back   Reef Central Online Community > Invert and Plant Forums > Marine Plants & Macroalgae
Register Blogs FAQ Calendar Mark Forums Read

Notices

User Tag List

Reply
Thread Tools
Old 10/31/2014, 09:51 AM   #1
braden
Registered Member
 
braden's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Manassas, VA
Posts: 38
Post braden's Caribbean seagrass/mangrove aquarium

For some years now, I've wanted to set up a seagrass tank. I had a acropora-focused reef tank in high school; but after tearing that down when I went to college, I wanted to try something different. So, next thing I know, it's 21 years later. Ouch.

But I'm finally in a spot in my life where I feel like I can do this and do it justice. So, here we go…

The tank is a 93-gallon Marineland frameless "cube", 30"×30"×24". It's lit by three AquaticLife 150W metal halide pendants with inexpensive 5700K bulbs in them.

About a week and a half ago, I added 280 lbs of CaribSea Ocean Direct Oolite and 60 lbs of uncured aquacultured Caribbean rock from KP Aquatics (a.k.a. Sea Life Inc.). The tank is still cycling; my ammonia levels have started to come down and nitrite is rising. At this rate, I figure I've got another couple of weeks until things stabilize.

So, pictures:





It looks a lot bluer in the pictures than it does in person; but the lights are a bit bluer than I expected. I will probably try some 5500K bulbs.

I deliberately got more rock than I'd need to improve my chances of retaining a diverse set of microfauna and seeding the sand bed more effectively. I'll get rid of 30-40% of it after the tank has cycled and it's fully cured. As I'll be growing seagrass, the tank will have mostly a sandy bottom (until it's covered by grass, of course ).

The sump is a 20-gallon high tank that I have partitioned with a compartment for the pump and a place for a foam block. The return pump is an Eheim Compact+ 5000. I intend for the biological activity in the tank to take care of just about all the filtration. As I'm going for a more nutrient-rich environment than a reef tank, I don't intend to use a skimmer.

I'm going for a South Florida/Keys seagrass/mangrove biotope with this tank. I'll have some macroalgae; but most of the vegetation will be vascular plants: turtle grass and red mangrove. I'll be trying to source the fauna from the general area of the biotope I'm trying to recreate. I'd like to add some seahorses once the tank is well-established; but I suspect the first fish will be a blenny or two. I might go for a watchman goby/pistol shrimp combination as well. I've thought about jawfish; but what I've read recently suggests they may be happier in a reef setting than a seagrass one. A small filefish or two is a possibility as well.

So, there it is. I'll post further here as things evolve.


Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG_1606.jpg (97.4 KB, 539 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_1607.jpg (88.5 KB, 533 views)
braden is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10/31/2014, 10:43 AM   #2
Michael Hoaster
Registered Member
 
Michael Hoaster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 3,480
Nice! I love cube tanks. I had a 60 gallon cube as my first marine tank. It's hard to tell from the picture, but how deep is your sand? I think turtle grass (and mangroves) like a deep sandbed. From what I've read, they have huge roots, when established.

Sounds like you have a great plan!


__________________
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 Lagoon in the works
Michael Hoaster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10/31/2014, 12:27 PM   #3
braden
Registered Member
 
braden's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Manassas, VA
Posts: 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Hoaster View Post
It's hard to tell from the picture, but how deep is your sand?
Yeah, the picture's really dark at the borders; and the way the light reflects internally off the glass, only the first inch or so of the sand gets illuminated. But there's 6-7" there. I am toying, nonetheless, with adding one more 40 lb bag of sand.

I need to do a better job of evening it out all around the tank. It's still higher on the left side as a side effect of how it got put in the tank; but it's rather difficult to even out with all the rock still in there.


braden is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11/03/2014, 03:18 PM   #4
braden
Registered Member
 
braden's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Manassas, VA
Posts: 38
I was fortunate enough to acquire four Thalassia plants from a local gentleman who was having success with them.

Twelve more shoots are arriving tomorrow; so I'll be doing more planting soon.

The tank appears to be nearing the end of its cycle period. Ammonia is negligible; nitrite has already peaked and is back down to 0.6 ppm; nitrate is at 7 ppm.

With all the plant life I'm adding, I feel like I need to start adding some animals to feed so that the plants will have a sufficient nitrogen source. I'm also starting to see a bit of hair algae (a few tufts are visible in these pictures), though it's still manageable.







Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG_1615.jpg (87.7 KB, 512 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_1616.jpg (98.9 KB, 507 views)
braden is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11/03/2014, 05:19 PM   #5
Michael Hoaster
Registered Member
 
Michael Hoaster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 3,480
Wow, those are nice! Jealous!


__________________
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 Lagoon in the works
Michael Hoaster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11/04/2014, 05:10 AM   #6
JLynn
Registered Member
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Dallas, Texas
Posts: 290
Very nice! Will this be a strictly planted tank? If not, there is this beautiful little sponge called Chalinula molitba that, according to the pictures I found on The Sponge Guide (http://www.spongeguide.org/speciesinfo.php?species=93), is found in Thalassia testudinum meadows in the Keys and the Bahamas. It is very, very pretty, and seems to stay fairly small, which makes it a good candidate for an aquarium. It also grows on the sand, right in the midst of the seagrass, which is a departure from the norm.

If you are at all interested in sponges, I highly recommend you give the Sponge Guide a look; it has over 200 Caribbean sponges listed, complete with pictures and some biological info. I was thrilled to find it. If nothing else, the pictures give you a good idea of what different Caribbean biomes look like, which could be very useful for you, if this is going to be a biotope.


JLynn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11/04/2014, 07:54 AM   #7
braden
Registered Member
 
braden's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Manassas, VA
Posts: 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by JLynn View Post
Very nice! Will this be a strictly planted tank?
No; it's a biotope tank. So, anything that occurs within a Caribbean/South Florida seagrass bed and is workable in a 93-gallon aquarium is a candidate.

Quote:
If not, there is this beautiful little sponge called Chalinula molitba that, according to the pictures I found on The Sponge Guide (http://www.spongeguide.org/speciesinfo.php?species=93), is found in Thalassia testudinum meadows in the Keys and the Bahamas. It is very, very pretty, and seems to stay fairly small, which makes it a good candidate for an aquarium. It also grows on the sand, right in the midst of the seagrass, which is a departure from the norm.
I like it. That's a great idea... Thanks!

I had not given a whole lot of thought to sponges. There are a few encrusting ones on the rocks that have survived the curing process, including a nice bright red one. But in the past I haven't had much luck with sponges. Of course, my previous experience was more than 20 years ago; and one of the more significant advances in the hobby since then is the availability of more and better foods for particulate feeders. So, sponges are probably worth another look.

Quote:
If you are at all interested in sponges, I highly recommend you give the Sponge Guide a look; it has over 200 Caribbean sponges listed, complete with pictures and some biological info. I was thrilled to find it. If nothing else, the pictures give you a good idea of what different Caribbean biomes look like, which could be very useful for you, if this is going to be a biotope.
That is an excellent resource. Again, thanks!


braden is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11/05/2014, 06:12 AM   #8
JLynn
Registered Member
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Dallas, Texas
Posts: 290
You're welcome!

Quote:
Originally Posted by braden View Post
No; it's a biotope tank. So, anything that occurs within a Caribbean/South Florida seagrass bed and is workable in a 93-gallon aquarium is a candidate.
In that case, I highly recommend checking out Guit's "Rose Garden" over on the Nano Reef forum (nano-reef.com, not RC's nano reef forum). It is an incredible little Floridian biotope with macro algae, several Manicina areolata, an Oculina sp., 2 masked gobies, a rusty goby, and a shrimp, all of which were collected from Florida or as hitch-hikers on Floridian live rock. Very inspiring. I am pretty sure Manicina areolata can be found in seagrass meadows, too.


JLynn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11/05/2014, 01:55 PM   #9
braden
Registered Member
 
braden's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Manassas, VA
Posts: 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by JLynn View Post
In that case, I highly recommend checking out Guit's "Rose Garden" over on the Nano Reef forum (nano-reef.com, not RC's nano reef forum). It is an incredible little Floridian biotope with macro algae, several Manicina areolata, an Oculina sp., 2 masked gobies, a rusty goby, and a shrimp, all of which were collected from Florida or as hitch-hikers on Floridian live rock. Very inspiring. I am pretty sure Manicina areolata can be found in seagrass meadows, too.
Wow... That's a huge amount of coral to get "free" on live rock. Lucky bastard.

Nice tank.

I've got a little spot of something reddish that I think is coral on one of my rocks. The whole thing's about the size of a dime. It has pretty small polyps (if that's what they are), probably 1.5-2mm.

I've got some green star zoanthids and orange Ricordea en route. This is not going to be a polyp-heavy tank; but I wanted to add a bit of color. (I also need an excuse to start squirting a bit of food in the tank so that my plants can have a nitrogen source.) I'll be on the lookout for the M. areolata. Though my favorite in that tank is probably the Oculina.

BTW, I think I found the fish I really want for this tank once my grass bed is established: http://www.fishbase.org/summary/3073

Unfortunately, photographs seem a little hard to come by. The fish will probably be difficult to come by, too. I don't think they're especially rare; but their specialization means they're a poor choice for most aquaria.


braden is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11/08/2014, 11:28 PM   #10
Amphiprion
Premium Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Mobile, AL
Posts: 6,691
Tank looks quite nice! Seems like things are coming along well.

I don't think you'll have to worry about sponge growth. It will likely happen eventually, as long as the water isn't completely stripped. My tank has generated quite a bit of sponges--some growing right on the sand and glass. I also have a few tunicates that have taken off.

Also, as an aside, do check LA, as they have Thalassia seeds that are sprouted and ready to go. I haven't tried these personally, but seeds transplant much better than individual shoots.


__________________
You've done it now, haven't you?

Current Tank Info: 40g breeder patch reef w/ seagrass; 2-250w XM 10K; Vortech MP40wES & MP10wES; BM Curve 7 skimmer; carbon & occasional GFO
Amphiprion is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11/20/2014, 06:57 AM   #11
jimbob321
Registered Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: space coast of fla.
Posts: 99


[/QUOTE]

i would have been disappointed. see pic from there site.
there's not as much life on there.
i was going to place an order till i saw your pic.'s


Attached Images
File Type: jpg Live Rock4_500_500 (1).jpg (42.6 KB, 97 views)
jimbob321 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11/20/2014, 01:06 PM   #12
JLynn
Registered Member
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Dallas, Texas
Posts: 290
Well, there are several different "levels" of live rock that they sell. I believe that the "premium" live rock is what you posted a picture of. I don't know whether or not braden has the premium live rock, but if not, then that could be the reason for the discrepancy. You should probably check out reviews of them before dismissing them entirely.


JLynn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12/27/2014, 09:55 AM   #13
griss
RC Mod
 
griss's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: In The Jungle (Wildwood, MO)
Posts: 29,140
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimbob321 View Post
i would have been disappointed. see pic from there site.
there's not as much life on there.
i was going to place an order till i saw your pic.'s
Quote:
Originally Posted by JLynn View Post
Well, there are several different "levels" of live rock that they sell. I believe that the "premium" live rock is what you posted a picture of. I don't know whether or not braden has the premium live rock, but if not, then that could be the reason for the discrepancy. You should probably check out reviews of them before dismissing them entirely.
I'd be interested in knowing what rock Braden purchased from them as well. I'm considering buying one or two of their "10 lbs of Premium Cured Live Rock (Shipping Included)" packages to add some color and diversity to my tank. However, if Braden's rock is their Premium rock, I'll have to pass on that.

I know their rock get great reviews, so I'm assuming Braden's rock may be their cultured base rock.


__________________
George

Current Tank Info: 40 Gallon Caribbean Biotope & 75 Gallon Indo-Pacific Biotope

Last edited by griss; 12/27/2014 at 10:00 AM.
griss is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12/28/2014, 08:36 AM   #14
jimbob321
Registered Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: space coast of fla.
Posts: 99
OK in a month or so i'll be purchasing 10 lbs of "Premium Cured Live Rock" from K.P.
and 10 lbs "Premium Decorative Live Rock" from Gulf live rock.
i don't have herbivores to pick it clean,i have seen beautiful rock turn bare in a few months with a tang in there munching away at it.
i'll start a thread when i get the rock...


jimbob321 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12/28/2014, 09:47 AM   #15
Michael Hoaster
Registered Member
 
Michael Hoaster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 3,480
Sounds like a plan, jimbob. I have purchased rock from Gulf Live Rock, and it was very heavily encrusted. If I ever add any live rock to my current tank, that's where I'll get it. I look forward to your thread!


__________________
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 Lagoon in the works
Michael Hoaster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12/28/2014, 09:49 AM   #16
Michael Hoaster
Registered Member
 
Michael Hoaster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 3,480
Braden, how's it going?


__________________
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 Lagoon in the works
Michael Hoaster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01/03/2015, 09:36 PM   #17
guits
Registered Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by braden View Post
Wow... That's a huge amount of coral to get "free" on live rock. Lucky bastard.

Nice tank.
Thanks! I stumbled upon this post while searching "manicina" (which obviously is my reefing "interest" if you've been to my thread on nano-reef...) and wanted to say hi. I've been a member of RC forever but have never posted. For my tank, I've been extremely lucky to collect a bunch of corals that we have here in the US which you can only obtain on aquacultured rock. I do have to say it took a bit of patience and lots of live rock orders, with a good bit of very excellent live rock without any coral hitchhikers being given away. I wouldn't say it was exactly "free" in that sense but I know what you meant

I think your seagrass tank is an awesome project and is looking great. I would love to someday have the space to do something similar, especially if I can ever source stargrass. Prior to my return to reefing, my interest was freshwater planted tanks and South American cichlids, so I would love to do a saltwater planted tank someday.


guits is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03/12/2015, 11:45 AM   #18
braden
Registered Member
 
braden's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Manassas, VA
Posts: 38
[Apologies for the long absence; life's been busy.]

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimbob321 View Post
i would have been disappointed. see pic from there site.
there's not as much life on there.
i was going to place an order till i saw your pic.'s
I think the lighting washed out a lot of the color in the pictures. It's a bit more vibrant in person. That said, while I wasn't disappointed, I can't say I was overwhelmed, either.

The rock came with enough life that I saw my sand being colonized by worms within hours of adding the rock. I got a fair number of crabs, a pistol shrimp, a pencil urchin, and a nice feather duster worm. And that's just what survived the curing process.

My main goal with the rock was to add diverse microfauna from the region I'm trying to represent with this aquarium. It accomplished that. I appreciate that other buyers might not be looking for the same thing.


braden is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03/12/2015, 11:53 AM   #19
braden
Registered Member
 
braden's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Manassas, VA
Posts: 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by griss View Post
I'd be interested in knowing what rock Braden purchased from them as well. I'm considering buying one or two of their "10 lbs of Premium Cured Live Rock (Shipping Included)" packages to add some color and diversity to my tank. However, if Braden's rock is their Premium rock, I'll have to pass on that.
I got their uncured rock. I do not think what I got was their "premium" rock.

Quote:
I know their rock get great reviews, so I'm assuming Braden's rock may be their cultured base rock.
It was not that.


braden is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03/12/2015, 12:15 PM   #20
braden
Registered Member
 
braden's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Manassas, VA
Posts: 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Hoaster View Post
Braden, how's it going?
Pretty well.

Three out of the four plants I got from the local gentleman who had it growing well survived; and all 12 of the seedlings I got from liveaquaria.com took root. Also, three small bits of Syringodium I received incidentally (attached to some Halimeda and Udotea) have survived and are slowly growing. Speaking of those macroalgae, they've really taken off in the tank. I started with a couple specimens of each; now, new ones sprout in the sand throughout the tank.

For a while I was unsure things were going to make it. All the plants lost a lot of leaves at first. But that subsided, they took root, and the tank stabilized. I had a brown cyanobacteria problem for a little while; but that subsided (eventually) with the addition of a protein skimmer (Eshopps S-120). I continue to have a bit of a hair algae problem; and I'm considering additional herbivores to manage it (perhaps a lettuce slug or two).

Recently, the aforementioned local gentleman decided to take his tank in a different direction; and aside from a few plants he transplanted to a smaller tank, I have inherited the rest of his turtle grass stock.

Last weekend I pulled a good portion of the rock out of the tank and planted the lot of it. I expect to go though the leaf loss process again with the new stuff; and some of the bits I planted probably won't survive (the extraction process was a bit traumatic). But at this point I have quite a few plants.

I'm going to start adding an iron/magnesium supplement soon. I'm not entirely satisfied with the growth rate of the stuff I already had; and particularly with the addition of the new plants, I think it's warranted.

I will post some pictures soon.


braden is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03/12/2015, 12:28 PM   #21
braden
Registered Member
 
braden's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Manassas, VA
Posts: 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by guits View Post
For my tank, I've been extremely lucky to collect a bunch of corals that we have here in the US which you can only obtain on aquacultured rock. I do have to say it took a bit of patience and lots of live rock orders, with a good bit of very excellent live rock without any coral hitchhikers being given away. I wouldn't say it was exactly "free" in that sense but I know what you meant
Ah... I didn't realize your tank was the product of quite that level of persistence; I thought perhaps you'd gotten quite fortunate with an order or two.

I admire your persistence, though. It's great to be able to obtain those corals at all; and even better that you're having such success with them.

Quote:
I think your seagrass tank is an awesome project and is looking great. I would love to someday have the space to do something similar, especially if I can ever source stargrass. Prior to my return to reefing, my interest was freshwater planted tanks and South American cichlids, so I would love to do a saltwater planted tank someday.
Thanks!

Many, many years ago, prior to my first foray into reef tanks, I kept cichlids as well. And while the tank had a plant or two, calling it a "planted" tank would have been a bit of a stretch.


braden is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03/12/2015, 05:25 PM   #22
guits
Registered Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 28
I recently purchased some seagrasses for my Florida-themed seahorse nano, so hopefully I'll be able to grow them too!


guits is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03/18/2015, 10:28 PM   #23
braden
Registered Member
 
braden's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Manassas, VA
Posts: 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by guits View Post
I recently purchased some seagrasses for my Florida-themed seahorse nano, so hopefully I'll be able to grow them too!
It needs abundant light, a deep sand bed, and, from what I'm reading lately, iron. I just started with an iron supplement; so I'll see how that goes.

The depth of the sand bed may be the biggest challenge in a nano-sized tank.

Here are some pics of the tank shortly after planting the most recent lot of turtle grass. Some leaf die-off is already in progress, as you can see from the yellowing leaves.






Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG_1704-800.JPG (99.3 KB, 187 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_1705-800.JPG (97.9 KB, 186 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_1706-800.JPG (98.7 KB, 190 views)
braden is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03/18/2015, 10:43 PM   #24
Michael Hoaster
Registered Member
 
Michael Hoaster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 3,480
Pretty cool aquascape! Good luck with your new plants!


__________________
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 Lagoon in the works
Michael Hoaster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03/19/2015, 01:31 AM   #25
KeithP
Registered Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Walnut Creek, near San Francisco
Posts: 39
I like it. i find the grass very appealing.


KeithP is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
biotope, caribbean, mangrove, seagrass

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:43 AM.


TapaTalk Enabled

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Powered by Searchlight © 2018 Axivo Inc.
Use of this web site is subject to the terms and conditions described in the user agreement.
Reef CentralTM Reef Central, LLC. Copyright ©1999-2014
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging v3.3.0 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2018 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.