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HuskerBioProf
06/10/2017, 06:04 AM
Some of you may have seen my Mr. Aqua 12g long macro algae tank that was up a pitiful couple of months. I decided pretty quickly that I would rather have one one big system than 2 little systems for a multitude of reasons.

For the past several months I have been working on my new build upgrade: 150 gallon SPS display, 75 gallon sump, 55 gallon display refugium.

Here is the plan for the setup, creating a bit of a multi-habitat aquarium nook for my office:
http://i1038.photobucket.com/albums/a467/TylerCMoore/150GPeninsulaSketchup-Room_zpsnexruf93.jpg


I am not going to talk much about the main display tank in this thread. This thread will focus on the "display refugium." There are a lot of people with considerable macro algae/seagrass experience who check this subform, so I would love to hear any suggestions and advice.

Here is the overall plan:
I want the tank to mimic the feel of the Florida Keys patch reefs surrounded by seagrass
Nutrient export is not a primary concern, as I have a jumbo skimmer for the system
I am planning on stocking the main display with Anthias, so nutrient export would be an ancillary benefit (along with providing planktonic food for the display)
Deep sand bed to house mainly turtle grass, perhaps other species
Foam rock wall in the back corner made from Great Stuff Black Foam + Rock Rubble + Sand + LEGOs (yes, LEGOs)


Equipment (so far):
Lighting: Reefbreeders Aquasanrise Plus R120
Flow: MP10wqd + return pump
Other: No reactors or funny complexities on this system; my best success with SPS (this is still connected to an SPS system) has been with simple feed + flow + skimming


This tank will drain directly into the shared 75 gallon sump. The tank will be ready to fill in the next few weeks, so I look forward to any suggestions!

I will keep this thread updated with progress on this portion of the system.

HuskerBioProf
06/10/2017, 06:07 AM
A local was selling a 55g + oak stand for cheap. I thought it would be much easier than building the stand by myself, as I am already working on the stand for the main display.

I wasn't too fond of the red, though..
http://i1038.photobucket.com/albums/a467/TylerCMoore/CF387BF6-D657-4AF7-BF37-AD88047B2A75_zps5ytuyeum.jpg

Sanded off the red and painted the inside with Killz. I didn't go overboard with the Killz, as the entire area under this tank will be dry dedicated to electronics.
http://i1038.photobucket.com/albums/a467/TylerCMoore/BA0C2C50-C5A8-47A1-8612-113A1E43DB1F_zpsqpz3r5po.jpg

Restained (to match the display tank stand):
http://i1038.photobucket.com/albums/a467/TylerCMoore/B3143C9E-C3E8-47D1-80AE-CB5B6F6C4BC2_zpsyetrfdhw.jpg

HuskerBioProf
06/11/2017, 07:23 PM
Foam rock structure made out of rock rubble and Legos. http://i1038.photobucket.com/albums/a467/TylerCMoore/41A0668E-6944-4F74-9E8E-1358AB72D27A_zpsaavrxwvk.jpg

http://i1038.photobucket.com/albums/a467/TylerCMoore/1BB4F117-7BBB-4685-B4B9-7D5F260ED89D_zpsbe0dwqbv.jpg

http://i1038.photobucket.com/albums/a467/TylerCMoore/5D040F2E-38F5-402C-8740-FE56A3BB52CC_zpszln7znat.jpg

http://i1038.photobucket.com/albums/a467/TylerCMoore/2897ACBD-B844-430E-9663-B7A69E833B95_zpsgavhps3m.jpg
http://i1038.photobucket.com/albums/a467/TylerCMoore/E69B07A5-DA12-456B-9859-E2CD4404F4F8_zps7zjepgoq.jpg

BonesCJ
06/12/2017, 06:40 AM
Clever use of Lego's, I Like.

HuskerBioProf
06/13/2017, 12:26 PM
Clever use of Lego's, I Like.

Thanks. We'll see if it ends up looking okay in the actual tank.


I made some progress on the rock structure. The system might be ready to set up in the next week or two.

http://i1038.photobucket.com/albums/a467/TylerCMoore/7C74C1E0-DA60-49DC-91F5-80EE0BB6F806_zpspftc44hs.jpg
http://i1038.photobucket.com/albums/a467/TylerCMoore/DEAFFCCE-7482-4046-A08D-CFE32F431493_zpspyl7vpkr.jpg

Chasmodes
06/13/2017, 01:40 PM
Looks great!!!!

HuskerBioProf
06/13/2017, 06:26 PM
Thanks. I think it will look okay when the algae starts filling in.

Ron Reefman
06/14/2017, 03:25 AM
Husker, that project is moving right along and looking good. What kind of foam did you use to make the structure? The use of legos was genius!

HuskerBioProf
06/14/2017, 04:55 AM
Why thank you. The foam is Great Stuff Pond Foam (black). I have read the yellow is not as easily reef safe. It is very sticky, but I like how you can create a seemless structure instead of just a stack of rocks.

HuskerBioProf
06/15/2017, 07:36 AM
Testing out the new light.

I'm very impressed with the color blending on this. I'm curious to see how it looks with water and some life.
http://i1038.photobucket.com/albums/a467/TylerCMoore/49A03798-5437-4BC4-AE4D-838B1251915A_zpsx7dvg7qw.jpg

JoeyH08
06/18/2017, 04:48 PM
OMG! Is anyone else using Legos to create rock work? That is amazing! Theres nothing in them that can leach into the water? Thats brilliant.

HuskerBioProf
06/19/2017, 11:07 AM
OMG! Is anyone else using Legos to create rock work? That is amazing! Theres nothing in them that can leach into the water? Thats brilliant.

I am pretty sure they are fine. I have seen reef tanks up with large Lego structures (like a Lego Colosseum or pirate ship). I also know they are notorious for their high quality plastics that don't chip off any colors and are completely non-toxic (kids eat these things). However, in looking around, I couldn't find them used to make aquascapes. They really work pretty well for a "rebar" for the foam.

Michael Hoaster
06/19/2017, 10:24 PM
Your fake rock scape looks way cool! Legos, brilliant. How are you securing it all from floating?

Great illustration by the way. I'm stoked you're doing seagrass!

HuskerBioProf
06/20/2017, 11:31 AM
Your fake rock scape looks way cool! Legos, brilliant. How are you securing it all from floating?

Great illustration by the way. I'm stoked you're doing seagrass!

I am securing it with a combo of spraying it right onto the glass (it stuck pretty well), sticking quite a bit of live rock rubble into the foam, and burying part of it under the sand. I hope that works. The sand is going to be deep enough for seagrass, so it will cover and weigh down a lot of the foam, hopefully.

Michael Hoaster
06/20/2017, 01:02 PM
That just might do it! Long term though might be iffy. Buoyancy is a powerful thing. If it is attached to something under the whole sand bed, like a thin piece of plastic, you get the weight of the whole sand bed holding it down. Hard to say from here! Fill the tank with water for a while and see if it holds.

It's gonna be cool!

HuskerBioProf
06/20/2017, 03:21 PM
Do you think I should silicone it to the glass? I'm not sure if silicone would bond strongly enough to the foam to be structural.

Michael Hoaster
06/21/2017, 12:06 AM
It's hard to say. It may be fine as is. Throwing some water in there might give you a better idea. I'd hate to complicate your situation unnecessarily. I'd also hate to see your cool design break up. Maybe show it to a physics prof, or someone who might know about this sort of thing.

I'm almost sorry I brought it up, but I guess it's better fix things at this stage, rather than later.

HuskerBioProf
06/21/2017, 07:06 AM
It isn't just you. A member of our local reef group said he had the stuff attached to his glass in a freshwater tank for a year before it fell off. I have it connected on three sides of the glass, which might help a bit. The plan is to half the structure on the left about half buried in the sand and maybe put a rock on it. It will be a fun experiment!

JZinCO
06/21/2017, 07:40 AM
Husker, I followed your last thread on macroalgae. My last macro tank ended up becoming absorbed into my DT and sump. Eventually, I would like to have a multidisplay system like:
60gcube--125g long--60g cube all at the same height, moving the mixed coral reef contents from the 125 into the 60s. Then the 125 will be a Fla Keys tank with gorgs, sea grasses and tanks. I am thinking of the patch reef/sea grass ecotone as well but scaped as a few coral bommies. I would also lay 3" of mineral soil (yeah, I'm crazy but that's how we learn, good or bad) below 2" of sand.

So for that reason, I'll be following yours.

- How will you import Keys life? I plan on using TBS and Gulf Live Rock and possibly augmenting with livestock from KP Aquatics and Carribean Tropicals.
Also I've built a couple rock walls. Here are some of my experiences:
- The best experience I've had is to take rock and join them into whatever structures using foam (i.e. 90% rock, 10% foam). I've found it difficult to have a mostly foam background. Sand doesn't stick around and crushed coral eventually gets picked off by inverts. One thing I haven't tried is to, after forming the foam and pressing in sand/crushed coral, lay clear coat epoxy to coat the outside.
- For some reason the white great stuff holds better underwater but tends to turn pink when exposed to light. The brown stuff stays brown.
- Adding in rock to the structure also weights down the structure and keeps from floating.
- Affixing the structure to the back wall, or multiple walls is best. I've adhered to the bottom of the tank and that doesn't hold well long term unless anchored by sand substrate or rocks.
- Silicone is a decent adhesive but best results were when I sprayed foam directly onto the glass (it also cleans up easier in case you scrap it)
- Also, let everything cure thoroughly! I was 90% done, filled the tank and found some parts to be bouyant, I partially drained, added more foam to the glass, and re-filled the tank hours later. I almost killed off coral and a fish months later when I moved in livestock. It wasn't until I drained and let everything dry that the foam's chemicals left the water.

- One example of my struggles with foam. I wanted to create a little cryptic zone I could watch life grow in. It was 4"x5"x5". Essentially a 4 sided box with bottom and side facing the glass open. I siliconed it to the bottom of the tank. The little foam box had rock rubble on the outside to look natural. Filled up water.. bouyant and ripped the sealent hold.. added 2" sand on top of the box.. still bouyant... added 8 lb of rock..stayed still, until I slightly moved one rock on top the box...

Anyhow those are my thoughts. I'd hate to see you do work just to have the sand/crushed coral coat slough off and/or the whole thing float.

JZinCO
06/21/2017, 07:55 AM
Also, I've heard of people using lego frag disks and racks: take a flat piece as a rack and one can snap on or off frag disks as needed.
good call on the ingenuity

BonesCJ
06/22/2017, 07:18 AM
When I did a all foam back wall the same way on my 90 gallon aquarium I used 2 x 2 pieces of egg crate and siliconed them to the back glass first. After they cured I sprayed on the foam and it never went anywhere! Just straight onto bare glass unfortunately is iffy, the buoyancy of the foam is intense. Sorry to be a buzzkill.

HuskerBioProf
06/22/2017, 08:39 PM
Thanks for the tips, folks. I will look into it and see what I can do to reenforce the structure to prevent it from floating away.

Michael Hoaster
06/23/2017, 01:43 AM
As I've said, your design is cool. However, if you were to say you were going to scrap it and start all over, I would have a few suggestions. One of the best reasons to use foam in the first place is to move the rock work up onto the back wall, freeing up valuable real estate on the tank bottom, for say, seagrasses. Your design doesn't take advantage of that. In fact it could be easily done with live rock, which wouldn't have buoyancy issues, and would also be much more beneficial to your system than foam. Your design covers two third of the bottom. One good way to combat buoyancy is to tightly fit your wall between the bottom and the top frame of the tank. Other tips: push out air while it cures, voids like plastic bottle caves fill with water, rather than air, less bulky-less floaty, eggcrate makes a great, structural framework to lock the foam into. Hope this helps!

HuskerBioProf
06/23/2017, 05:45 AM
The problem with doing too much on the back wall is that this is a 55 gallon and it is so narrow front to back. Part of the goal with the foam was to create a structure that I liked that fit the 55gallon footprint. I also kind of wanted to create deep sand areas without having to fill the entire bottom up with sand- the plan was to have most of the foam structure on the left covered with sand. This would create pockets that are deep enough for turtle grass with other areas only deep enough for the other genera, while conserving sand. I liked your idea of having that deeper sand bed area that you retained with rocks. The 55 gallon is only 12" wide, so these things can eat a little tricky. It needs to be 12" wide to fit into the space allotted in combo with the other tank.

Thanks for all the suggestions. I probably have a few weeks before this will be getting wet, so Ibhave time to think things over.

Michael Hoaster
06/23/2017, 06:15 AM
Those are all good points I hadn't considered. Best of luck with it. I can't wait to see how it turns out!

Randy27
07/04/2017, 03:15 AM
Any updates? Following along :)

HuskerBioProf
07/04/2017, 10:11 AM
Great to hear!

I think we are going to move everything into the basement tomorrow. I should have some pictures up if everything goes well.

HuskerBioProf
07/14/2017, 09:34 AM
Everything is moved in. It was a bit tricky getting the whole system plumbed together, but I got it.

My display fuge has a few inches of fine sand and some corser sand will be added today.

My question is: should I go ahead and get some seagrasses and mud to add, or would it be better to let the tank mature a bit? I do worry about adding muddy substrate to an established system. I have been trying to read as much as possible, but the information and anecdotal experiences on seagrasses are much more limited than stony corals.

WheatyBits12
07/16/2017, 04:48 PM
Can you explain why you are worried about adding muddy substrate to an established system?

HuskerBioProf
07/16/2017, 05:53 PM
I'm mostly worried about all the gunk in the mud that might impact the SPS tank that is plumbed into this system. It may be paranoid, non-evidence based worries.

So, I was vasilating over whether or not I liked the foam structure. I also heard the concerns from everyone here, that was making me want to rethink things. Well, the foam made the decision for me. After the tank was up for 3 days, the entire thing detached. It made an incredible noise and I thought I blew out the PVC or my stand cracked. I am now just going to have minimal amounts of live rock to leave room for the algae and grasses. I think it will look better.

I will post pictures as soon as it clears up. The foam earthquake really shook up the tank.

Michael Hoaster
07/18/2017, 10:30 AM
It's a big commitment adding mud. It's scary!

Whenever I add it, I always have fine sand, ready to go as well. Right after I add the mud, I add the sand on top of it IMMEDIATELY. This will help avoid getting the mud everywhere. I use a plastic cola bottle with the bottom cut out, invert and fill with sand, like a funnel. I put my finger over the opening and direct the sand right where I want it.

No need to wait on plants. The cycle/biological filtration competes with plants. Plus you already have an established tank attached, right?

Sorry to hear about your foam scape. Buoyancy is a very powerful thing. I like your idea of minimal live rock and more room for plants.

I look forward to seeing how it turns out!

HuskerBioProf
07/18/2017, 10:34 AM
The system is reasonably established, but not the sand. I brought over all the live rock plus more.

The Photobucket episode made it a pain to post pictures, so I haven't yet. I ordered a few macro algae and a couple seagrass sprigs (shoal and turtle) to give everything a shot. I want to see if I can get by with my current amount of substrate (~6" on the thick end). If not,I will add more later.

Michael Hoaster
07/19/2017, 12:40 PM
Six inches should be close to enough for the turtle grass. My shoal grass only grows an inch or two deep, so you may be good! Getting that sand alive will help. You can buy the critters themselves, or live substrates filled with the critters. I recommend GCE's live sand and Florida Pets live mud.

HuskerBioProf
07/19/2017, 05:10 PM
I added a bunch of my previous sand that is pretty mucky, but I figure the new macros will soak up any of the goo they contained that could destroy my Acros. I added some macros today and some turtle and shoal grass. It was tricky to dig the substrate out deep enough for the turtle grass so as to not damage the roots, but I think I managed.

I also added a coral beauty angel. A fish I really like, but one I didn't want in my maincoral tank.

HuskerBioProf
07/19/2017, 07:06 PM
Here is a shot of the room showing both tanks (before adding the macro/seagrass). The display refugium on the right is the focus of this thread.

http://i.imgur.com/fRvLx3p.jpg?1

HuskerBioProf
07/19/2017, 07:10 PM
FTS of the display fuge.
http://i.imgur.com/LtgOARs.jpg?2

HuskerBioProf
07/19/2017, 07:28 PM
And with the algae/seagrass.

http://i.imgur.com/KjTvr1z.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/qUfBWL3.jpg?1

Michael Hoaster
07/19/2017, 09:06 PM
Looks great! Nice pics too.

JZinCO
07/19/2017, 09:18 PM
Lookin good!

HuskerBioProf
07/22/2017, 03:47 PM
Thanks folks. To me, this is the perfect setup. I get to watch my SPS grow into interesting structures and colors on the left, and I get my natural looking algae/seagrass lagoon on the right.

Michael Hoaster
07/22/2017, 08:35 PM
It is a cool setup! The best of both worlds!

Chasmodes
07/27/2017, 06:39 AM
Looks fantastic! Sorry to hear about the foam wall coming loose.

HuskerBioProf
08/06/2017, 08:13 AM
I had the lights on the display refugium running reverse with the main display, for pH purposes. However, I didn't like always have one tank dark (or bright, for that matter). I like looking in on the tank with only the moon lights, and the blast of light from the adjacent tank prevented that.

At first, I thought the reverse cycle helped the pH stay up (based on Apex readings). However, I reversed the cycle two days before we left it n vacation for a week. When we returned, the pH dropped again despite the reverse pH cycle. It seems our biggest problem is our breathing, and I won't worry about solving the "problem" unless it turns out to be one. I'm going to slowly switch back to synchronized, as to not freak out the coral beauty that lives in there.

Michael Hoaster
08/06/2017, 10:30 AM
I can see how that could be annoying, the way you have them set up together. Having them on the same light schedule should be fine. The pH 'smoothing' is great but not absolutely necessary.

How's it coming along? I'd love to hear more about the challenges you have balancing the needs of both systems, and how you deal with them.

HuskerBioProf
08/06/2017, 01:19 PM
The turtle grass has dropped a few of the blades, but from my reading that seems normal after planting. I tried to be delicate with the roots, but it was a challenge. Each rhizome shoot has about 3 blades remaining now, and they look green and healthy. I moved my powerhead (an MP60) to the opposing end, because I kept finding grass shoots in the impeller. I don't know if they were falling off naturally or were being pulled out by the pump.

There is a coral beauty angel in there who seems to enjoy picking on the epiphytic algae, which might become a benefit.

The shoal grass seems to be doing well, and may have actually sprouted some new shoots. It is hard to say, as optimism has a funny way of influencing one's vision.

The macro algae all looks relatively healthy. I think I may have too much light for the Botryocladia in an attempt to keep the seagrasses happy and have the tank function as a waste removal for the SPS by blasting it with light. However, in response, the Botryocladia has turned to a beautiful dichromatic, with the grapes being a light pink and the branches retaining the dark red. I must say I prefer the look over what I typically see in macro algae tanks. I keep seeing the little grape clusters breaking off and making their way to the main display tank, but my Kole tang seems to think they are special treats.

HuskerBioProf
08/07/2017, 03:36 PM
Here are a couple update pictures. A local was selling these stunning, multicolored RBTA. I have considered having this display refugium also be a tank to house species I love but don't want in my SPS tank. Thus, anemones seem to fit perfectly into this scenario. I'm going to make sure the anemones acclimate okay into the new tank, and then I will transfer my clown over.

Here are a couple of photos before they go into their requisite shrink/hide fiasco that has occurred with every BTA I have had.
http://i.imgur.com/AEEF1t6.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/oUuZatP.jpg

Here is the Botryocladia in its new, peculiar coloration.
http://i.imgur.com/O88RczC.jpg

BonesCJ
08/08/2017, 07:55 AM
Heads up, mine pretty much fell apart after going through the exact same color shift yours did, all the little balls just "popped" off, so keep your eyes on it.

HuskerBioProf
08/09/2017, 05:46 AM
Thanks for the heads up. I turned my lights down a bit a few days ago to see if that helps. They seem stable now.

JZinCO
08/09/2017, 07:21 AM
heads up, mine pretty much fell apart after going through the exact same color shift yours did, all the little balls just "popped" off, so keep your eyes on it.

+1

Michael Hoaster
09/01/2017, 09:51 AM
How's it coming?

HuskerBioProf
09/01/2017, 07:51 PM
Everything is going well. The grasses aren't growing much, still, but they aren't dying. I guess we will call that a win. The anemones are healthy and I have a tank full of SPS that is growing and coloring up. It is the grass that is the most boarderline. My Halimedia opportunia is starting to grow quite a bit, as well as some of the other macros.

There is some really cool algae that has come out of nowhere in this tank. Tons of little critters crawling around. I am definitely enjoying the tank.

Michael Hoaster
09/02/2017, 12:12 AM
That's great! You're balancing two, connected systems! In my experience, grasses take a while to get going. Your macros are growing. Sounds good! What do you think the cool algae that's popping up is?

HuskerBioProf
09/02/2017, 03:24 AM
It is Cymoplolia barbara, so not that uncommon, but it is pretty cool.

I also have more life in this tank in a shorter amount of time than any past tank. There are many arthropod species, flatworms, many large polychaete fan worms, and even tiny snails crawling around. Part of it is the mature live rock, but I think most is from the deeper sand and all the algae habitat.

Michael Hoaster
09/02/2017, 09:54 AM
That one is cool. I have some too. It sounds like you're having an explosion of life!

HuskerBioProf
09/04/2017, 03:21 AM
Here's a bit of a photo update.

Hypnea
https://i.imgur.com/x1y3FbP.jpg
Cymopolia barbata hitchhiker. This photo is a week or so old, it is now about double the size.
https://i.imgur.com/7lpLTTO.jpg

Cinnamon clown and anemone
https://i.imgur.com/Z3eNj5L.jpg

Michael Hoaster
09/04/2017, 09:03 AM
Awesome pics!

Michael Hoaster
09/27/2017, 09:14 PM
How's it coming?

Subsea
09/27/2017, 09:57 PM
Here are a couple update pictures. A local was selling these stunning, multicolored RBTA. I have considered having this display refugium also be a tank to house species I love but don't want in my SPS tank. Thus, anemones seem to fit perfectly into this scenario. I'm going to make sure the anemones acclimate okay into the new tank, and then I will transfer my clown over.

Here are a couple of photos before they go into their requisite shrink/hide fiasco that has occurred with every BTA I have had.
http://i.imgur.com/AEEF1t6.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/oUuZatP.jpg

Here is the Botryocladia in its new, peculiar coloration.
http://i.imgur.com/O88RczC.jpg

I started reading your thread from the beginning and really like your display refugium. It would be what I would consider to be a macro lagoon, very nice tying it back in to your other display tank. With respect to the Botryocladia botryoides, it shows that color as light intensity goes up. I have not found it to do well in intense light. According to Russ Kronwetter at GCE, he collects this macro in 60' - 120' of water in the Gulf of Mexico. Not very bright at that depth. When 40W florescent tubes were what we used in marine aquarium lighting, two 40W tubes over a 55G tank grew a Red Grape bush that was 16" tall and took up 30% of the tank. The color was a deep burgendy color: flotation balls and stems.

Good fortune on your display refugium. I will continue reading this thread.

HuskerBioProf
10/05/2017, 05:56 PM
Thanks for following along. You are right, it doesn't appear to like the high light much. However, my grass, other algae, and anemones do, so I leave it high. The botryocladia seems to be managing okay despite the high light.

Michael Hoaster
10/06/2017, 10:34 PM
How's the balancing act? Both tanks 'helping' each other? I'd love to hear more of your experience with this dual ecosystem setup.

HuskerBioProf
10/10/2017, 03:07 PM
How's the balancing act? Both tanks 'helping' each other? I'd love to hear more of your experience with this dual ecosystem setup.

Everything is going reasonably well. I don't have a ton of nutrient export algae in the display refugium/lagoon. As such, there has been a bit of a brown hair algae outbreak in the main tank. I think partly from over feeding, partly from the tank still being newish. Also, the main tank got some red bugs brought in on one of the frags. They are being a bit of a pain. I'm trying to not treat anything with chemicals, and instead have an H. chrysus yellow wrasse as a control measure. So far, it is working okay but not great.

The SPS frags are growing well and are coloring up quite nicely (aside from the 3 or 4 that have bugs on them and are kind of pale). Alkalinity has been between 8.0 and 8.3 dKH for a month, which is certainly helpful. I haven't tested nitrate or phosphate for quite a while and did my first water change on the tank last night to try to knock down some of the algae/cyano.

I think the system would benefit from some faster growing algae and perhaps a little more water flow to reduce cyano and to prevent algae in the main tank.

It definitely is looking pretty "dirty" in there, which I like. I'll try to take some pictures soon.

Michael Hoaster
10/10/2017, 03:45 PM
Has anyone ever avoided the algae phase? Not to my knowledge. I think it's a natural part of succession and critical for long term system stability. I was just rereading my three month cyano struggle in my own thread. It was hell! I tried to avoid chemicals too, until I finally gave in-to chemiclean, combined with four day blackouts, manual removal and water changes.

That's cool you're using a wrasse to get those bugs. In my experience, the best way for that to work is for them to have little else to eat. Maybe a drastic reduction in feeding would work, like once a week.

I really admire what you're doing. I think a lot of folks will benefit from your experience.