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Ron Reefman
11/27/2015, 08:59 AM
The short version of my question is, I'm considering getting into some NPS Gorgonians and I'd like some help, advise, comments, warnings... whatever.

Here is my situation. I've been in the hobby for 10 years. I have a 400g+ system that is now 5 years running. There is a 90g sump, a 45g refugium, a 45g DSB, a 180g mixed (mostly sps) reef and a 75g hexagon that I'm changing from an anemone tank to a Gorgonian tank. And the MH lights have been swapped out for leds.

http://i395.photobucket.com/albums/pp37/RonReefman/P6060062_zpsbcfcac6d.jpg (http://s395.photobucket.com/user/RonReefman/media/P6060062_zpsbcfcac6d.jpg.html)


I put a couple of photosynthetic Gorgonians in the tank about a month ago. I collected them in the Keys (legally and with a license). They appear to be doing very well so far. My plan was to collect a different species of Gorgonian or two the next couple of snorkel trips late next spring and summer. But then I remembered there are NPS Gorgonians that are very cool looking.

The 75g tank as of now. A branching species and an encrusting species (at the bottom). The zoas are just in there for color and will probably go away.

http://i395.photobucket.com/albums/pp37/RonReefman/P1010030%20R1_zps8sfq6ad1.jpg (http://s395.photobucket.com/user/RonReefman/media/P1010030%20R1_zps8sfq6ad1.jpg.html)


The 75g hex tank water flow in and out of the tank can be controlled separately from the 180g reef as can the wave maker and smaller power head.

So would they do OK in a tank with photosynthetic Gorgonians?

I have been shutting down the flow to the 75g when I feed the tanks so the food stays in the tank longer. The only fish in there is a diamond back goby.

I currently feed the tank a wide variety of foods from froozen PE foods, Rod's and others, liquid foods like Reef Nutrition, Azox, SELCO Boost, NAUPS and AminoOmega, flake food, powder coral food, granular food and nori. It would be easy for me to do a separate mix for the Gorgonian tank. BTW, I tend to over feed so my fish are plump and my corals grow very well.

What foods work best for NPS Gorgonians?

How often do I need to feed?

With just one fish, how about if I restrict the flow of new water in and out of the 75g so food stays in longer? There is a lot of flow with a wave maker and a power head.

Thanks for reading and any feedback will be appreciated. I don't want to buy a nice NPS coral just to starve it to death.

Tigerdragon
11/27/2015, 09:06 AM
Should be ok i have a nps gorgonian have had it bout a year they just have to be fed usually 2-3 times a week and if you have a decent fish load that can help some spot feed but i dont i feed the tank and thats how all my corals get fed

Ron Reefman
11/28/2015, 05:29 AM
Thanks for the comments, anybody else care to offer up some advise for a newbie in this area?

herring_fish
11/28/2015, 07:29 PM
It looks like you know how to handle these things already.

I have been growing filter feeders and NPS for a long time. Just like everyone says, they need lots of food. It sounds like you are feeding them well. I donít think anyone knows what is just the right mix of foods so I throw the kitchen sink at them. Try to feed as often as you can and as much as your particular system can handle, processing away the waste and still keeping the nutrient load in a good range.

It looks like the branching brown gorg, coming up from the bottom, is brown so it should be photo synthetic which is what I think you said. Can you point out the other one(s) that you have? I guess that the speckled purple stuff at the top is calcareous algae?

Ron Reefman
11/29/2015, 06:42 AM
herring fish, thanks for the help.

I've been in the hobby for 10+ years and have 3 DT and a frag tank. I just haven't tried a NPS coral since I tried a sun polyp way back 8 or 9 years ago and only ketp it alive for about 4 months. But I really didn't know what I was doing back then!

I think I can feed the 75g hex tank pretty heavily and keep the food in the tank and in suspension pretty well (I just hope it's good enough). And I'll use a filter sock for the water that gets returned to the sump and change it more often than I do the other socks from the 180g reef that use the same sump.

At the bottom right of that same pic there is an encrusting gorg that came home from the Keys at the same time as the branching gorg. They both seem to be doing very well. There are 2 smaller purple ribbon gorgs that I have had for a year in another tank. You can see part of one at the bottom left of that pic. They just got moved into this tank after the new corals came home from our snorkel trip. In their other tank they didn't get fed as well as they should have and they are struggling at the moment. They were rescues off the beach of Sanibel Island (west of Ft Myers on the Gulf Coast). In the winter (or what passes for winter down here) we get a few northern cold fronts that make it this far south. We get a west or northwest wind and some bigger waves than normal. So lots of 'stuff' washes up on one specific beach. We go out and do some 'rescue collecting' ASAP after the front. These ribbon grogs had washed up on the beach over night and I brought about 7 of them home the next morning. I lost a couple, but the rest survived. I still have these 2 and I've sold the others off to fellow members of our local club.

This 75g tank was originally going to be a seahorse tank, but I gave up that idea before I got too involved and made it an anemone tank. My anemones now are in a shallow 65g tank in another room and the gorgonian tank idea is just getting started. I was just going to collect 1 or 2 species each snorkel trip to the Keys next spring and summer until the tank looked good. Then I was looking at a local website GulfCoastEcoSystems, and they sell locally collected gorgonians and I considered driving up to his place and just buying some. That's when I stumbled onto the idea of trying an NPS gorg.

Do you, or anybody else here, have any favorite sellers of NPS gorgonians? Gulf Coast Eco Systems doesn't collect them so I need a good source.

I appreciate any help I can get in this specialty forum.

Ron Reefman
12/06/2015, 04:47 AM
If I'm going to start into the world of NPS corals, I'd love to hear some suggestions on a good starter NPS that is more hearty. I expect to work my way into this over time and would like to start with a coral that is more likely to survive.

Thanks for any suggests.

noy
12/06/2015, 04:06 PM
If I'm going to start into the world of NPS corals, I'd love to hear some suggestions on a good starter NPS that is more hearty. I expect to work my way into this over time and would like to start with a coral that is more likely to survive.

Thanks for any suggests.

Check out reef hobbyist magazine (one word) and check out the 2013 Q4 issue. There is an article on NPS corals generally - too much to duplicate here. Their next issue will have an article on keeping sun corals.

Also read the sticky'ed thread about on keeping NPS corals.

Reef Frog
12/06/2015, 04:33 PM
Cool. Rescue collecting after a storm. That's very interesting. Never heard of that. Are viable specimens easy to find and healthy? Can anybody do this or is a permit required?

Julian Sprung has a good video out there on the web on his rather large Florida biotope and gorgonian tank. I can't remember if it a dedicated NPS tank or if some or all of the gorge are photosynthetic. But it's unique & worth a look.

I agree that presenting the right zooplankton food sizes is going to be critical. Some of the freeze dried options I use (for other things) list multiple plankton species and detail size ranges on the label. Mix a few together, adding some oyster eggs, cyclops, Rotifers etc and this might give you full coverage for the "kitchen sink" approach. But yea, I imagine you're going to need to develop a really effective export procedure. Also, lots of uneaten food like this always seems to land on the live rock & sand. So blowing it and getting it suspended in the water column would also provide food. Maybe you can test individual foods seperately and observe the feeding responses?

Great project you have going there! I hope you keep the thread updated.

Ron Reefman
12/07/2015, 08:23 AM
Check out reef hobbyist magazine (one word) and check out the 2013 Q4 issue. There is an article on NPS corals generally - too much to duplicate here. Their next issue will have an article on keeping sun corals.

Also read the sticky'ed thread about on keeping NPS corals.

Stickies... man it's been so long since I've needed them I forgot to even look. Great suggestion, thanks! I'll also go back for the article. I really want to see this work, so I'm willing to put some time into learning before I get started with an NPS coral.

Cool. Rescue collecting after a storm. That's very interesting. Never heard of that. Are viable specimens easy to find and healthy? Can anybody do this or is a permit required?

Julian Sprung has a good video out there on the web on his rather large Florida biotope and gorgonian tank. I can't remember if it a dedicated NPS tank or if some or all of the gorge are photosynthetic. But it's unique & worth a look.

I agree that presenting the right zooplankton food sizes is going to be critical. Some of the freeze dried options I use (for other things) list multiple plankton species and detail size ranges on the label. Mix a few together, adding some oyster eggs, cyclops, Rotifers etc and this might give you full coverage for the "kitchen sink" approach. But yea, I imagine you're going to need to develop a really effective export procedure. Also, lots of uneaten food like this always seems to land on the live rock & sand. So blowing it and getting it suspended in the water column would also provide food. Maybe you can test individual foods seperately and observe the feeding responses?

Great project you have going there! I hope you keep the thread updated.

Here in SW Florida it takes just the right kind of storm and they only happen a few times a year from Dec to March when a good strong cold front from up north makes it this far south so we get a 15mph or better wind from the west or northwest. It's been almost a year since I did my last beach walk after a storm and I'm anxious to get out and do it again. Next time I'll take some pics of the beach and my rescues and post a thread. We didn't take any actual 'collecting' pics. So I'll make sure that happens next time.

Pics from Dec 2014:
These just give an idea of the beach conditions. It's after the front has gone through, so the water has calmed down some and it's sunny, but it's pretty cold for us in SW Florida who are use to 75 degree days in December!

http://i395.photobucket.com/albums/pp37/RonReefman/P2140242_zpsoljuo644.jpg (http://s395.photobucket.com/user/RonReefman/media/P2140242_zpsoljuo644.jpg.html)

Me behind one of a number of lobster traps that were washed up in this storm.

http://i395.photobucket.com/albums/pp37/RonReefman/P2140196_zpsckrplthw.jpg (http://s395.photobucket.com/user/RonReefman/media/P2140196_zpsckrplthw.jpg.html)

My wife found this little guy inside a Pin shell tring to hid out and stay wet until the tide came back in. But since it's not windy anymore the waves at high tide still wouldn't have reached it. So we took pics and then released it back into the Gulf.

http://i395.photobucket.com/albums/pp37/RonReefman/P2140234_zpshp03n4gb.jpg (http://s395.photobucket.com/user/RonReefman/media/P2140234_zpshp03n4gb.jpg.html)

This is typical of the hard tunicates that wash up.

http://i395.photobucket.com/albums/pp37/RonReefman/P2140217_zpscdtmg1iq.jpg (http://s395.photobucket.com/user/RonReefman/media/P2140217_zpscdtmg1iq.jpg.html)


As for keeping food in the tank moving and not getting flushed out by new water too quickly, I think I can control that already. But I definitely want to make that process easier if I'm going to be doing it 3 or 4 times a week. I drain the 75g tank into the skimmer end of the sump and I can use a smaller filter sock 4"x16" inside a larger sock 7"x18". If need be, I can even start to use a filter media between an overflow weir and an underflow wall into the return pump section of the sump.

I already feed with variety of powdered coral foods, some flake food and some granular food. I feed liquid foods like Reef Nutrition R.O.E., RN Oyster Feast, RN Roti Feast, RN Mysis Feast, Micro Nutrition Naups, Aqua-Tech Azox Coral Diet, Fish Nutrition S.E.L.C.O. Boost, Fish Nutrition Marine Frenzy, Brightwell AminOmega, and frozen foods like PE Calanus, PE Mysis, Rogger's Reef Food, Rod's Food, LRS Fish Frenzy, LRS Reef Frenzy. I expect with some help, I'll be able to pick out the better (smaller) foods too use with NPS corals?

Ron Reefman
12/22/2015, 07:15 AM
Well, I've tested my ability to control flow in and out of the 75g hex tank which will be for the NPS corals without messing up the 180g mixed reef which shares a sump/refugium with it. I also tried extra heavy feeding for a few days and my triple filter sock idea was able to collect all the 'extra' food that gets drained out of the hex tank when I open it back up to flow from the main pump. BTW, there are still 2 wavemaker pumps working in the Hex tank even when the main pump is not flowing to the tank.

Does this plan sound like it will work? I close of flow to the NPS hex tank and shut off the wavemakers as well. Feed the NPS corals and wait 30 minutes. Then turn the wavemakers back on to get food circulating in the tank and let them run for an hour. Then open the drain so that flow to and from the sump is open again and the extra food gets filtered out by a triple filter sock (a fine mesh sock (3"x13") inside a felt sock (3'x14") inside a second felt sock (6"x16").

OK, so what would be the most hearty and easiest NPS coral to start with? I'd like to go with a gorgonian, but if some other NPS is a better starter for me, I'm perfectly OK with that. Any and all suggestions are welcome?

laga77
12/22/2015, 07:43 AM
Sun Corals and Dendros will do very well if fed enough. 3-4 times a week with worms, mysis, cut up shrimp and squid. Avoid pellets and stay with fresh food. Not only are my colonies growing, they are spawning. I now have over 20 Sun Coral "babies" in a 50G tank, and that is only the ones that are visible.

dismayed
12/24/2015, 07:48 AM
Sun Corals and Dendros will do very well if fed enough. 3-4 times a week with worms, mysis, cut up shrimp and squid. Avoid pellets and stay with fresh food. Not only are my colonies growing, they are spawning. I now have over 20 Sun Coral "babies" in a 50G tank, and that is only the ones that are visible.

Just curious how you are feeding... Do you target feed everyone, or do you turn off pumps temporarily and dump the food in the tank?

laga77
12/24/2015, 10:54 AM
I target feed everything from the Sun Corals, Gorgonians, Chilli Coral, Spiral Coral,LPS and SPS, Seahorses, and even some fish like my Marine Betta who is very shy. The pumps get shut off just long enough for whoever is getting fed to grab a hold of the food. I use this http://www.marinedepot.com/ps_viewitem.aspx?idproduct=KM2711&child=KM2711&utm_source=adwordsfroogle&utm_medium=cse&utm_campaign=adwordsfroogle&utm_content=KM2711&gclid=CManmrb59MkCFQMMaQodBd0HLw. I heat the end and put a bend at the end to help reach tight places. The bend also helps in keeping the liquid in the feeder from running out. I do feed a lot, so I run an AWC system along with GFO and GAC. The last couple of months I started dosing with vodka and that is helping a lot in keeping nitrates low.

Ron Reefman
12/25/2015, 04:59 AM
dismayed, happy to have another NPS 'newbie' in the thread.

dismayed
12/25/2015, 08:14 PM
Part of me really wants to just have multiple tanks and one of them being NPS. I just don't think I can/should do that though lol.

On the other hand if I ever end up working from home I am so setting up a small NPS tank in my office.

Actually in addition to my reef tank I'd love to setup a shark/Ray tank, aggressive tank, seahorse tank, and NPS tank. I don't know what's wrong with me. Maybe at this point it would be more cost effective to own part of one of my LFS's lol.

dismayed
12/25/2015, 08:16 PM
I target feed everything from the Sun Corals, Gorgonians, Chilli Coral, Spiral Coral,LPS and SPS, Seahorses, and even some fish like my Marine Betta who is very shy. The pumps get shut off just long enough for whoever is getting fed to grab a hold of the food. I use this http://www.marinedepot.com/ps_viewitem.aspx?idproduct=KM2711&child=KM2711&utm_source=adwordsfroogle&utm_medium=cse&utm_campaign=adwordsfroogle&utm_content=KM2711&gclid=CManmrb59MkCFQMMaQodBd0HLw. I heat the end and put a bend at the end to help reach tight places. The bend also helps in keeping the liquid in the feeder from running out. I do feed a lot, so I run an AWC system along with GFO and GAC. The last couple of months I started dosing with vodka and that is helping a lot in keeping nitrates low.

I meant to reply, maybe I didn't hit submit, but wanted to say that's a great suggestion (the target feeder device).

Ron Reefman
12/26/2015, 06:12 AM
laga and/or anybody else, I have a couple of questions:

What is an AWC system? GFO and GAC I know.
From the time you shut off the flow for feeding, until you turn it back on, how much time elapses?
How often do you feed?

laga77
12/26/2015, 08:41 AM
AWC = Automatic Water Changes. It is really the way to go if you have the room for a reservoir tank. I am limited on space but I was able to squeeze in a 65 gallon tank. There are a couple of different systems out there. I like the Litermeter from Spectrapure. When feeding the Sun Corals, the flow is shut off for about 2-3 minutes. Just enough for the corals to get a good grip on the food. The Suns and Dengros get fed 3-4 times a week, or more, if their tentacles are really extended. The filter feeders get fed every night with new born baby Brine Shrimp. I run two BS hatcheries so I can harvest one every other night. This also helps with the Mandarins and Pipefish and some corals. I also raise Axolotl`s which when young feed on BBS. Feed your corals whatever fresh foods they are willing to except. Please stay away from pellets as they contain things like wheat and soy. Ever see a marine fish or coral in a wheat field?

Reef Frog
12/27/2015, 12:48 AM
RR: your method of keeping excess food out of your primary reef sounds good. If you can purge the NPS tank periodically of excess food detritus, and the tank isn't constantly lit with high intensity reef lights, I bet you can control algae effectively. It will be interesting to see where your nitrates & phosphates end up, and if you'll need to take any additional nutrient export methods.

Liked the pics. Collecting things yourself & knowing you rescued them is pretty neat and adds a new dimmension to the hobby for sure!

Ron Reefman
12/27/2015, 05:23 AM
laga, thanks for the follow up and suggestions. I have to admit that I'm more than a little concerned about the new level of effort that keeping NPS will require. And I don't mind adding work to my routine (I'm retired). But when we go away on even short 4 or 5 day vacations (we do short trips to the Keys 3 to 5 time a year) it will increase the workload on our cat and aquarium sitter!

Reef Frog, I tried out shutting down all the flow in the 75g hex and feeding the gorgonians in there. After a few minutes everything had settled so I turned on the wavemakers and it sure stirred up a lot of the food that had settled out. So I shut them down again. After 3 30 second stirs followed by a few minutes of no flow I started the flow of new water back into the tank. The triple filter sock idea worked better than I had hoped. The big outer sock hardly had to catch anything.

I haven't been doing water changes, maybe 25g every 4 to 6 months on a 400g system. But I'm going to start a new regime this week and do at least a 25g change every other week for a few months to kind of flush the system out a bit. Then do one every month depending on how nitrates and phosphates do. I haven't had any issues with them until very recently. I think in part due to my not harvesting enough chaeto from a rather full 45g refugium. I may start dosing some Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) as a carbon source as well as for the health of all the critters.

And we are holding our breath waiting for that first strong cold front of the season so we can get out to Sanibel Island and do some rescuing. Current forecasts look good for about 7 to 10 days out. But in weather forecasting terms, that's really iffy. We usually find some pistol shrimp, peppermint shrimp, tiny serpent stars, small porcelain crabs embedded in soft orange sponges that wash up. And there have been a lot of other things the waves happen to wash ashore as well like NPS purple gorgonians and sand dwelling NPS anemones. When it happens I follow up with some photos.

Any comments, questions or suggestion? All are appreciated.

laga77
12/27/2015, 08:25 AM
But when we go away on even short 4 or 5 day vacations (we do short trips to the Keys 3 to 5 time a year) it will increase the workload on our cat and aquarium sitter!


They will be fine without food for that long. I have done the same a couple of times in the past 2 years. I feel my feeding schedule is for optimal results and not just for survival. There are many people out there that feed way less. They just don`t get the growth rate that increased feeding gets.

dismayed
12/27/2015, 10:20 AM
This is probably a dumb question... Has anyone invented a refrigerated automatic feeder yet? I was just thinking that would be really handy for situations like the above.