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HuskerBioProf
01/16/2017, 04:13 PM
Okay, I really enjoy some of the build threads in this macroalgae forum, so I decided to start my own. I have gained a lot of knowledge from reading through these threads, and I hope people will chime in with ideas and thoughts.

This build is the antithesis to the sterile reef tank. My other tank is a 40 breeder SPS tank. I love watching the shapes and textures of the colonies as they grow, but the tank looks nothing like what I remember from my diving trips. One of my favorite parts about diving and snorkeling in the Florida Keys was looking at all the tiny, diverse life on the rocks. I hope to capture some of that in this tank.

I want this tank to be reminiscent of some of these Caribbean dives, but not necessarily an exclusive biotope. I would rather utilize some indopacific species that remind me of those in the Caribbean than have the vacancy due to stringent collection policies. This is a photo I took on a dive years ago that shows some of the aspects I would like to incorporate.
http://i1038.photobucket.com/albums/a467/TylerCMoore/IMG_6192_zpskdog4qi5.jpg

I originally wanted to center the tank around mangrove roots using an artificial root, inspired by the beautiful tank by Michael Hoaster.
http://i1038.photobucket.com/albums/a467/TylerCMoore/AAB9097B-EC0B-4F2C-A441-EEAE42E7F7B8_zpsf0d8smca.jpg
http://i1038.photobucket.com/albums/a467/TylerCMoore/72A2AC93-4E73-4183-9224-66B014209390_zpsaovo6hqh.jpg
However, I didn't like how disproportioned the mangrove root looked in comparison to the rocks. And with the tank so small, I decided to focus on more of a patch reef surrounded by "sea grass" (more likely will be Caulerpa prolifera). To do this, I am using a couple larger rocks to the left side, trailing off into some rubble.

http://i1038.photobucket.com/albums/a467/TylerCMoore/C17F6588-273E-4A8B-8616-D080C6F3559A_zpsw7qmxn2y.jpg

I ended up coming across an Eshopps sump from someone local for a trade on some stuff I didn't need, so I am using it for this tank. It is a little overkill, but gives room for equipment if I ever want it. So far, this is a low equipment tank. I only have a Current USA Orbit Marine LED light- no skimmers or reactors, yet. I haven't decided on whether to run a skimmer, yet. That will probably be based on how the tank is performing with all the algae as a natural filter combined with the heavy feeding of the filter feeders.
http://i1038.photobucket.com/albums/a467/TylerCMoore/1D1EF51F-E9EF-4680-8DA6-4427A5CB4EE0_zpsp6tph1lm.jpg

I would really like to stock this tank with tiny gobies and small, interesting invertebrates. I added some rock from my well-established tank to see everything, and don't really expect much of a cycle.

More updates to come soon, I have an order of some easy algae on the way. I'd love to hear some thoughts/ideas.

Michael Hoaster
01/17/2017, 05:18 PM
So far, so good! I look forward to seeing your vision come alive. What easy algae do you have on the way?

Here's an article on another 12L tank, for inspiration: ************dotcom/2012/08/06/seagrass-aquarium/

Michael Hoaster
01/17/2017, 05:22 PM
Really? Well, if you are interested, google small seagrass aquarium.

HuskerBioProf
01/17/2017, 06:00 PM
Are you talking about the "Halophila" tank? I have checked that one out. Certainly neat. I don't want to have too deep of substrate, because the tank is only 9" deep, so I might be limited to H. ovalis if I want actual seagrass. It would be nice to have some in there, even if Caulerpa prolifera looks more like seagrass that I am familiar with thanH. ovalis ..ha. The ovalis is pretty sweet, still.

Michael Hoaster
01/17/2017, 06:14 PM
Yes, that's the one!

I agree, C prolifera makes for a good seagrass look. Shoal grass may work in your tank, and it looks like seagrass.

Devaji108
01/17/2017, 06:26 PM
Very nice I will be following for sure!
I an interested to see how your macros do introduced to a new system. I think I added to many from the get go. Greens are not doing the best in my tank.


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HuskerBioProf
01/17/2017, 06:41 PM
Very nice I will be following for sure!
I an interested to see how your macros do introduced to a new system. I think I added to many from the get go. Greens are not doing the best in my tank.


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I'm curious too, but I thought I would give it a try as they are really cheap (compared to corals). I also took some live rock out of the sump of my main tank and had some other rock cooking in salt water for a while. I figured that even if there is a bit of a cycle, the algae should be able to directly fix nitrogen from the ammonia. I have been "feeding" the tank some of my home made fish food mix the last few days whenever I fed my main tank. Hopefully that keeps the bacteria levels up.

Michael Hoaster
01/18/2017, 02:00 PM
"I would really like to stock this tank with tiny gobies and small, interesting invertebrates." - HuskerBioProf

Check out KP Aquatics. They have a great selection of tiny gobies and small, interesting invertebrates. How about a spotted anemone shrimp, in a condylactis, corkscrew or flower anemone? Pistol shrimp/goby pair? A harem of sailfin blennies! Lots of tiny friends to choose from.

HuskerBioProf
01/18/2017, 06:16 PM
"I would really like to stock this tank with tiny gobies and small, interesting invertebrates." - HuskerBioProf

Check out KP Aquatics. They have a great selection of tiny gobies and small, interesting invertebrates. How about a spotted anemone shrimp, in a condylactis, corkscrew or flower anemone? Pistol shrimp/goby pair? A harem of sailfin blennies! Lots of tiny friends to choose from.

Thanks! I have looked at KP Aquatics, but when you highlight "Fish", there is only "seahorses and pipefish" that drops down. I never clicked on it to see the great selection of Caribbean fish.

Michael Hoaster
01/18/2017, 06:25 PM
Well that's weird. I do recall their site to be bit wonky, but I've never not been able to look at their fish selection.

velvetelvis
01/18/2017, 07:09 PM
Thanks! I have looked at KP Aquatics, but when you highlight "Fish", there is only "seahorses and pipefish" that drops down. I never clicked on it to see the great selection of Caribbean fish.

Just click on the "Marine Fish" heading.

Marine Fish (http://www.kpaquatics.com/product-category/marine-fish/)

I got my two cherub angelfish (currently forming a pair) and my cleaner shrimp pair from them. They have outstanding livestock and customer service.

HuskerBioProf
01/19/2017, 06:00 AM
Yes, I realized you have to actually click on the link.

I really like the selection of tiny gobies.

Jessie2406
01/20/2017, 07:18 PM
I love kp aquatics! Bought from them multiple times, my only issue was my "mated pair" of coral banded shrimp were not in live at all. One killed the other in 5 min. But other than that love them

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velvetelvis
01/20/2017, 10:41 PM
Yes, I realized you have to actually click on the link.

I really like the selection of tiny gobies.

Oops, I didn't mean to sound snarky! I didn't realize that I had to click on the link when I first visited the site, so I thought you might have made the same mistake. Sorry if I came across as trying to sound superior.

HuskerBioProf
01/21/2017, 08:12 AM
Oops, I didn't mean to sound snarky! I didn't realize that I had to click on the link when I first visited the site, so I thought you might have made the same mistake. Sorry if I came across as trying to sound superior.

No, it is funny because I didn't realize it at first either.:fun2:

HuskerBioProf
01/22/2017, 08:13 AM
I'd love to hear some other thoughts on fish choices. Obviously in the 12 gallon I have to be pretty selective. I really like the idea of anemone shrimp in a condy as well as other little inverts, so I don't want anything that will eat little shrimp.

I would prefer several smaller fish, but am worried about the tiny gobies just sitting being duds all day. Any thoughts or recommendations?

(I'll post some pictures soon, the live-plants.com order was pretty awesome. The only problem is how much of everything they sent! Pretty much filled up my entire tank. I had to prune the day I got it in)

BlueCat1949
01/22/2017, 02:13 PM
I liked having sexy shrimp in my 10 gallon macro tank. They are colorful, interesting to watch and really don't need a big tank at all. I had 6 in my 10 gallon but you could easily fit twice that in you tank.

Michael Hoaster
01/22/2017, 02:44 PM
Beware the duds! The sailfin blennies are cool, showing off their dorsal fins. Sexable with males black and females light. A little harem of those would be fun to watch! How about several different shrimps? Sexy shrimps aren't anemone shrimps I don't think, but look cool. I think they eat sea stars. You could add some asterinas to feed them, possibly reaching equalizing populations. Porcelain crabs host with anemones as well. Maybe a peaceful damsel or basslet?

HuskerBioProf
01/22/2017, 04:14 PM
I like those ideas. Maybe a big group of sexy shrimp, plus a few unique inverts such as anemone shrimp, porcelain crab, pom pom crab, and some others.

I really like the idea of sailfin blenny harem. I have heard they are really neat but have never had one. I have done some searching and can't find anyone who has done that. Any tips based on your royal gramma experience? I do like the idea of having a mated pair (or harem) of something in the tank to interact and create some eggs for food for the inverts/gorgonians.

Here are some pictures. I got a little bit of ammonia, but it seemed to have cleared quickly due to all of the rock from my main tank. I have a bit of a diatom bloom now, but the snails are taking care of it. Hopefully everything holds up after the bit of ammonia spike.

I took out a lot of the C. prolifera they sent, because it was just overbearing. I also added some more sand to give some substrate depth in case I want to add some seagrass or more "planted" macroalgae.

http://i1038.photobucket.com/albums/a467/TylerCMoore/IMG_1677_zpstx1euwfk.jpg
http://i1038.photobucket.com/albums/a467/TylerCMoore/IMG_1679_zpsqvzkfvya.jpg
http://i1038.photobucket.com/albums/a467/TylerCMoore/IMG_1687_zpsz0jenqmd.jpg
http://i1038.photobucket.com/albums/a467/TylerCMoore/IMG_1689_zps8iqqetkb.jpg

BlueCat1949
01/22/2017, 04:35 PM
The C. prolifera might be too big for your tank. If you place it along the back and keep it pruned it could work. If it takes off it will block the view of all your other macros and rock work. Caulerpa brachypus is like a miniature of prolifera and can be trained to grow as a carpet in the front sandy area.

If you look at the pix I posted with the 3 sexy shrimps they are on a carpet of C. brachypus. The paddle grass and other short growing seagrasses take a long time to fill in and are much more demanding. They need nutrients at the roots and very strong lighting compared to most macros.

I like what you have done with your layout so far and this could be a really nice set up when your macros fill in. Good start.

Michael Hoaster
01/22/2017, 06:18 PM
Looks amazing! Nice macro-scape. I like the codium too!

God point on the C. brachypus, BlueCat1949.

Michael Hoaster
01/22/2017, 06:27 PM
Oh yeah, on the harem thing; bigger is better, so no one female gets too much aggression/attention from the male. I doubt that's a big issue with sailfins, but a good general rule. I bet you could do 4.

HuskerBioProf
01/22/2017, 06:33 PM
Yah, the prolifera doesn't seem to be doing what I hoped. I may switch to actual sea grass for the look I want. Maybe look into the other Caulerpa species that you suggested.

I like the idea of the harem of sailfins. But I can't find anyone that sells them by male/female. Do I have to put them all in at once?

Michael Hoaster
01/22/2017, 06:37 PM
I bet KP Aquatics would. Tell them you want 3 light ones, one dark one.

Chasmodes
01/23/2017, 08:05 AM
Looking good!

Sailfins would be awesome in your tank. Maybe some Caribbean dartfish for mid depths? Pipefish and/or seahorses would be good once your tank is well established.

A cherub angel would be cool, but I'm not sure how they'd be with shrimp.

HuskerBioProf
01/23/2017, 09:23 AM
It is only 12 gallon. Are we sure multiple sailfin blennies would be okay?

Michael Hoaster
01/23/2017, 10:52 AM
Are we ever sure? I'm not one to advise you, since I have no experience with a tank that size.

I will say that with a macro algae tank, a higher bio load is helpful in maintaining the higher nutrient levels the macros need. In reef tanks, we struggle to keep nutrients low. With macros, we struggle to keep nutrients high enough to maintain growth. It's a different mindset that a lot of macro keepers have a difficult time adjusting to.

But you have just started the tank. Right now, you have a tank full of macros, with almost nothing in there to feed them. Lots of instability, as bacteria and algae get established. I tried to keep nutrients low when my tank was new. I still got a nasty algae phase, and my macros got smaller and smaller, until they disappeared. When I added fish, the macros came back.

In the end, you're going to run your tank as you see fit, and Mother Nature will do her part. You'll make adjustments, depending on your priorities, and eventually you'll realize your vision.

HuskerBioProf
01/23/2017, 12:32 PM
Yep. I am not so worried about nutrients (I can't even keep detectable nitrates on my SPS tank), I am more worried about them killing each other competing for space. Have you seen anybody keep a sailfin harem?

Michael Hoaster
01/23/2017, 01:05 PM
"I am not so worried about nutrients (I can't even keep detectable nitrates on my SPS tank)"-HuskerBioProf
This suggests the "reefer mindset" I mentioned above. Maybe you should be worried about the opposite-not ENOUGH nutrients for your macros.

No, I have not seen anyone keep a harem of sailfins. I am considering keeping one myself, so I have done a little reading. Everything I can recall would suggest that sailfins would be good candidates for a 9small)harem in a small tank. But don't take any one person's word for it. Study up and draw your own conclusions. And let us know what you find out.

Michael Hoaster
01/23/2017, 02:48 PM
Whoops! I'm sorry, I hope I wasn't insulting. I did not mean to be. I wanted to point out the mindset change needed to succeed with macros, that I, more than most, had to grapple with too.

Macros, like any other plant or animal, need food. Greedy ones, like caulerpa need even more. They will quickly strip your tank of necessary nutrients, which is why dosing becomes so important.

Anyway, you don't really need me to tell you these things, being a biology professor, so I'll try to control myself!

HuskerBioProf
01/23/2017, 04:40 PM
Yep, I get it. I am just saying how my SPS tank sucks up more nitrate/phosphate than people think. Symbiotic algae require inorganic nutrients, too, and people overestimate how "sterile" SPS tanks need to me. I imagine even more so in a macro tank. The trouble in my SPS tank is you can only put so many fish in a space before they start to attack each other. I will look into it and see if it seems like it would work. They do seem like cool fish.

Michael Hoaster
01/23/2017, 05:47 PM
I agree. Definitely more so in macro tanks. I applaud your care in fish picking. You do have a real space issue to deal with. I do think you can have a descent, tiny fish community in there. You know, the duds might not be as duddy in your 12. A small group of one of those tiny gobies could look cool. I really enjoyed watching the social interaction of my barnacle blennies, despite the fact that they stayed in their holes most of the time.

Ron Reefman
01/24/2017, 06:07 AM
Husker, that tank is looking very nice! Congratulations.

HuskerBioProf
01/24/2017, 01:17 PM
Thanks folks. I will keep thinking about fish and keep an eye out for neat groups/pairs of fish that might work.

HuskerBioProf
02/01/2017, 07:09 PM
Well, I decided to just let myself be inspired by something when I saw it. I stumbled across this bonded pair of radial filefish on Diver's Den. I couldn't pass them up. They are really neat to watch in the macro tank as they interact. You really have to look for them as they swim around because they can be quite camouflage at times.
http://i1038.photobucket.com/albums/a467/TylerCMoore/FileFishPair_zpsfbdblz69.jpg

Michael Hoaster
02/01/2017, 07:37 PM
Nice. It's great that you got two of them. They're so much more interesting, interacting together. Great pic too!

Jessie2406
02/01/2017, 08:10 PM
They are beautiful!

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Ron Reefman
02/02/2017, 05:45 AM
A mated pair, that's cool. I think file fish are nice. I'd love to get a tasseled file fish but they get too big for my tanks.

HuskerBioProf
02/02/2017, 07:24 AM
They aren't super colorful, but they have neat patterning and eyes. I was hoping they might prevent the aptaisia problem that some people tend to have in macro tanks, as well.

BlueCat1949
02/03/2017, 05:20 PM
Cool looking fish, how big do they get? Is the bigger one the male or the female?

Michael Hoaster
02/05/2017, 04:02 PM
The aiptsia file fish I had was very adept at disappearing right in front of me. Such cool fish!

What do they eat? Mine went after gorgonians, spaghetti worms, even my anemone.

HuskerBioProf
03/06/2017, 07:53 PM
Soooo, I feel like I just let down my new found macro algae brethren. Somebody local was looking for a macro algae tank, and I have been mulling over the idea of upgrading my 40 Breeder SPS tank to a larger peninsula tank, so I decided to sell him my whole 12g setup in order to [partially] fund the upgrade and consolidation to a single tank.

I wish I had the space (or desire, or spousal approval) for 2 tanks, but I had to chose my main love. It is just too fulfilling to watch those SPS sloooooowly grow as you watch them day to day. Maybe some day in the future I will get to revisit my dream of a "dirty tank." Until then, I am excited about getting to put together my dream SPS system: a 5'x2'x2' star fire custom peninsula tank.

I will still follow along with all you awesome macro folks!

Michael Hoaster
03/07/2017, 12:00 AM
Best of luck with the new aquarium! It sounds like a dream tank. Do a thread!

I'm a believer in the one tank only thing. Do one tank well and that's plenty!

Ron Reefman
03/07/2017, 06:17 AM
Soooo, I feel like I just let down my new found macro algae brethren. Somebody local was looking for a macro algae tank, and I have been mulling over the idea of upgrading my 40 Breeder SPS tank to a larger peninsula tank, so I decided to sell him my whole 12g setup in order to [partially] fund the upgrade and consolidation to a single tank.

I wish I had the space (or desire, or spousal approval) for 2 tanks, but I had to chose my main love. It is just too fulfilling to watch those SPS sloooooowly grow as you watch them day to day. Maybe some day in the future I will get to revisit my dream of a "dirty tank." Until then, I am excited about getting to put together my dream SPS system: a 5'x2'x2' star fire custom peninsula tank.

I will still follow along with all you awesome macro folks!

Too bad about the spouse not wanting more than one tank. I consider myself very luck that mine is OK with 2 systems that each have 2 tanks. And each one is different. A 125g mixed reef DT and a 50g display refugium and the other system is a 65g shallow reef (4'x2'x14") for local Gulf of Mexico and Florida Keys collecting and a 25g shallow frag tank. The only one I would do away with is the frag tank. I could keep frags on a rack in any of the 3 other tanks, but I hate having frag racks in a display tank. And the shallow reef tank is just way too much fun and too tied into our love of snorkeling.

Good luck with the new start up and like Michael said, do a build thread!

iced98lx
03/07/2017, 12:05 PM
Link up the new build here when you start it!

HuskerBioProf
04/06/2017, 08:03 PM
Thanks, folks. The macro and Caribbean-style tanks will still have a place in my heart. Maybe someday.

Here is the new build, off to a rocky start:
http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2627600