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Old 03/03/2017, 08:37 AM   #26
McPuff
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Gosh, I'm really bad at posting updates. I've made the "final" changes to my rock scape and I'm very happy with how it looks (so far...). :0) Since setting up the 300 I have only removed rock (none added). Having the extra open space has resulted in the fish being more active, swimming throughout the entire tank more, and generally looking happier.

oblique_sm.jpg
Oblique angle, with blue filter

blue_tank_sm.jpg
no filter, the left side is actually different now and has fewer rocks near the overflow. I'll have to get another pic to show more detail.

I've mounted and remounted corals that previously were in a limbo-type situation. I had a few "coral smears" that began to branch so those are being placed and are growing nicely. It's like getting a free coral! I have about 3 more species I'd like to add and then I'll be done adding corals... but I'm in no rush to get them. I'm more excited about the fish at this point.

Speaking of fish, the Lt and naso tangs are doing very well. Getting bigger and fatter.
tangs_sm.jpg

AND, I picked up a gorgeous pyroferus tang last week from the LFS (no pic yet). I've wanted one for a long time so it's exciting to have one. He's about 4" and already developing points on the caudal fin. He's on tank 3/4 in the TTM process so it'll be about a month before he gets to the DT. He'll be a bit large than the other tangs so I'm not too worried about aggression coming his way. I'll test it out but I have a feeling the pyroferus will be the most aggressive of the tangs (though the Lt may "win" out). I'm amazed at how this fish goes for food. It's quite encouraging.

Still want to add a few more fish, but have decided to "X" a few of those listed above (e.g., spotted toby). I think the pyroferus will be the last tang, at least for a while. In a few months I'll likely get the juvenile blue face and annularis angels. I first want to ensure that all coral colonies are large enough to withstand a little nipping here and there as it's bound to happen. Then I'll look for a trigger and puffer for the pond/tub. They'll be my little dogs. :0)

Otherwise, not a ton has changed. The calcium reactor is fully operational and I'm VERY happy with the regulator from CO2art in the UK. I did get a coral banded shrimp but it never comes out. It has molted 3-4 times so it's much bigger. Maybe it'll be more social when full size. I also added an emerald crab and it's so fun to see that guy out and about. I have always like those.

I'm strongly considering upgrading my Apex Jr to a full apex. Just don't think the Jr has sufficient memory to handle much actual control. Mine has been quirky and a friend had similar issues. I don't ask it to do much but it seems to be near capacity with 2x VDM, PM1, EB8, pH probe, 2 temp probes. That doesn't seem like much at all, especially when I see what others are doing with a FULL APEX system. The full seems MUCH more robust so the change is almost certainly coming. I'd love to hear any thoughts on this. Anyone see this with their Jr past or present?


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Old 03/03/2017, 09:50 AM   #27
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Nice rockscape! You've got some nice, big corals too. Looks like it's all coming together for you. Congrats!


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Old 03/03/2017, 02:03 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Hoaster View Post
Nice rockscape! You've got some nice, big corals too. Looks like it's all coming together for you. Congrats!
Oh, you noticed those? :0) Yes, my goal is fewer, but larger coral colonies. I don't think I'll even have 15 species of SPS in the system but if I can achieve my vision it should look pretty cool. That purple stag colony is getting huge... the pictures are already a couple months old. I'll have to do some serious pruning in a couple months. It's very thick so I'm glad I've got some strong tools for the job. Good problem to have I suppose. :0) Like I said, I have to take some new pictures showing the more-or-less complete rock scape at this point. I'll try to do that this evening or weekend. I should also do another video. Thanks Michael!


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Old 03/03/2017, 06:19 PM   #29
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Oh yeah I'm very into rockscaping! The combination of emulating nature and artistic expression, and functionality is where things get interesting!

I'm also totally with you on the fewer, bigger coral thing. It's much more interesting and natural looking.

Yes please, more pics!


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Old 03/07/2017, 06:52 AM   #30
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Thanks Michael! I think the rock work looks a bit better now... let me know if you can see a difference in the new pics.

The left side:

left_reef_sm.jpg

A full tank shot:

Center_reef_sm.jpg

And the right side, which hasn't really changed much... other than the stag growing even more. :0)

right_reef_sm.jpg

There are very few changes I want to make to the display at this point... probably just mounting a few additional corals and that's it. Otherwise, I just want to build a new canopy and some type of shell for the cabinet.

I tried to get a good pic of the pyroferus tang in TTM but he wouldn't display for me. So it may have to wait until he goes into the display next month. He's got one more day of TTM and then he'll be in QT for about 4 weeks. I'm very hopeful for this fish. It's beautiful, it eats a ton, and it looks very healthy. Just have to follow procedure. :0)


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Old 03/07/2017, 08:16 AM   #31
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I looked back and forth at your full tank shots. It looks like you broke up the left hand bommie with a bit of an alley. Really nice! Very natural. Yeah, you're done!

Good luck with all the other stuff!


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Old 03/08/2017, 07:26 AM   #32
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I looked back and forth at your full tank shots. It looks like you broke up the left hand bommie with a bit of an alley. Really nice! Very natural. Yeah, you're done!

Good luck with all the other stuff!
Exactly! I like what I'm left with now... mostly very large rocks forming the structure. Just want to add more fish at this point.

-pyroferus tang (about a month away - graduates TTM today)
-small blennies (3-4)
-yellow head jawfish (1-2)
-annularis angel juv.
-blueface angel juv.
-peppermint basslet (hopefully)
-tilefish


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Old 03/08/2017, 02:18 PM   #33
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Small blennies and jawfish may have trouble competing at feeding time, especially with big, agro fish. Tilefish can be iffy too. All your small/timid choices should go in before the big guys.

I thought you were more of a Rambo fish guy. Are you going kinder and gentler now? If not, consider small fish that can hang with the big boys, like pseudochromis, damsels and pygmy angels.

That's my 2 cents. Good luck with everything!


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
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Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Lagoon in the works
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Old 03/09/2017, 08:15 AM   #34
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Small blennies and jawfish may have trouble competing at feeding time, especially with big, agro fish. Tilefish can be iffy too. All your small/timid choices should go in before the big guys.

I thought you were more of a Rambo fish guy. Are you going kinder and gentler now? If not, consider small fish that can hang with the big boys, like pseudochromis, damsels and pygmy angels.

That's my 2 cents. Good luck with everything!
I'm not toooooo worried about the blennies. I'll have them in an acclimation box. Would be the same with the jawfish. I'm still not positive on those because of what you've written above. Have found a few people that have a similar assemblage and it works for them so I'm hopeful.

The tilefish... I have read more about them and they seem hit or miss. Really don't want to deal with that... I like to know the fish will survive when I'm doing all I can to acclimate them. So the tilefish will be a wait and see if I can find a healthy specimen that is eating, etc. May not ever happen but they are a cool fish and not very common to reefers (I'd say).

Rambo fish?! Ha! I have had a lot of fish for sure and I used to have more of the angels, triggers, puffers. Since I got into reefing it's transitioned more to the little sweethearts I suppose. Now I'm getting back towards some of the semi-aggressive fish (tangs, angels). I miss triggers a lot so I'll be getting one for the tub for sure, along with a dogface puffer of some type. They are just TOO cool and enjoyable to not have now that I've got the space.


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Old 03/09/2017, 08:58 AM   #35
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Yeah, if you can find a tilefish that's eating it could work. It'd have plenty of swimming room! If you are successful with them, you'll have to share your secrets, because I want one too! I love those fish.

An acclimation box? Is that like an aquarium within an aquarium? Wouldn't that spoil your beautiful reef scape? Why add an artificial construct to your beautiful scape to keep fish that can't hang? Especially with so many other good choices.

It may help to list all the fish you are considering. Then prioritize them, and delete the ones that don't work with your most important ones.

That's so cool you have a tub you can put your bigger, more agro fish in. You've certainly got room for lots of choices. Jealous!


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
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Old 03/09/2017, 02:16 PM   #36
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Yeah, if you can find a tilefish that's eating it could work. It'd have plenty of swimming room! If you are successful with them, you'll have to share your secrets, because I want one too! I love those fish.

An acclimation box? Is that like an aquarium within an aquarium? Wouldn't that spoil your beautiful reef scape? Why add an artificial construct to your beautiful scape to keep fish that can't hang? Especially with so many other good choices.

It may help to list all the fish you are considering. Then prioritize them, and delete the ones that don't work with your most important ones.

That's so cool you have a tub you can put your bigger, more agro fish in. You've certainly got room for lots of choices. Jealous!
The acclimation box would only be temporary to ensure that all resident fish can adjust to the little guys and vice versa. It would only be in for a week or so. Otherwise, I would totally agree with you!

I do have a priority list for the yet-to-be-purchased fish... it's just in my head. The angels are next on the priority list and I'll get them at the same time. I will probably wait a few months but the timing is undecided. I've got a lot of work travel from May to Nov so I wouldn't be able to QT and acclimate new fish during that timeframe. So it may not happen until next winter!! :0( The good news is that will give my corals a lot of extra grow time.


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Old 03/20/2017, 09:43 AM   #37
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Small update for today. I have made some changes to my utility room/fish room that have been really nice thus far. My wife is in commercial real estate so I was able to get some 30x24" cabinets for free (sweet!). This has provided a bit more work and storage space.

fish room.jpg

The Brute has been my trusty RO reservoir for some years now. I'm hoping to upgrade to an Ace Roto mold (AR) 55 gallon and that will go in the corner on the 2x4 stand. Then I'll probably use a smaller 35 gallon AR for saltwater mixing and set it where the Brute currently resides. Then I can simply use gravity to flow new saltwater into the system sump.

I also just purchased a couple cute little Darwin misbar clowns from a local breeder. They look terrific and are so fun to watch. They are just marinating in QT for a while... they need to grow a bunch too as they are only about 1.5". Seems far too small to go into the main tank. But I may actually try to plumb a small acrylic tank into my system, get an anemone and just keep them in that.

QT-RO.jpg

Any thoughts on the clowns? If they go into the 300 they will probably never have an anemone but they do have several large LPS in which they could host.

The pyroferus tang is doing amazing in the pond/tub. It eats nori out of my hand already. Very personable fish! I'm planning to put it in display this coming weekend. If I don't find the time, no worries on waiting the extra week. Regardless, excited to make that switch and don't anticipate any issues with aggression other than [maybe] the lieutenant. I'll use an acclimation box to see what happens over the first few hours and release him at night.


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Old 04/12/2017, 08:07 AM   #38
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Making a little more headway towards becoming more efficient. I recently purchased a Norwesco 65 gallon vertical (RO) and 30 gallon PCO tank (saltwater). Had to take a while to think through the entire setup and how everything would connect and work. I have finally figured it out!! Started to set it up last night. Have a few more "baseline" activities to perform tonight most likely. Then I can begin to fill the 65 with RO. This will also supply a constant source of water for the ATO container. I'll use a Mag 9.5 to push water from the RO to the saltwater mixing container. Saltwater will be gravity fed into the Sump.

I actually don't anticipate doing many water changes as I've had such great success with my minimal approach. Probably about once per 2-3 months I'll do about 10% and that will mostly be to remove Sump and fuge/pond detritus. But for now, the GFO, chaeto, and marine pure blocks are doing a killer job of reducing/removing nutrients. Since I set up the system in October, I've only done 2 10% water changes. My bioload is growing every day and I see no ill effects of feeding pellets, frozen, and Nori. To me it seems like a lot of food but I think those little pigs could eat even more... food certainly doesn't last even 1 minute before it's gone. That said, I may increase the amount. Here's my updated fish list and the stocking plans (timing TBD):

1 chromis
1 foxface lo
1 Talbott's damsel
1 naso tang (too little to sex, has tendency for dark coloration, thinking male)
1 pyroferus tang (chocolate mimic)
1 lieutenant tang
1 scopas tang (very dark, almost black)
1 ruby head wrasse
1 solar wrasse
1 melanurus wrasse
1 pink spot watchman goby (over 12 years old)
1 caribbean spotted hawkfish
2 pajama cardinals
2 Darwin misbar clowns (still in QT -- tiny!)

Wow, didn't realize I had so many fish in there. :0) Still hoping to add the following at some point:

blueface angel (going to be fall before this happens)
annularis angel (same as above)
humu trigger (Rhinecanthus aculeatus or similar) to stay in pond
dogface puffer (Arothron spp. TBD) to stay in pond
starry or sailfin blenny
purple or blue chin tilefish (maybe)

That is probably about it. I'll update with some pics of the new water system once it's up and running.


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Old 04/21/2017, 07:37 AM   #39
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Small update - I cemented the necessary parts to attach the RO reservoir to the saltwater mixing container. I decided not to affix the tubing permanently as I won't be making saltwater every day or even every week. But it's going to be a very easy solution that simply requires putting a pump under the RO reservoir and hooking up some clear tubing to barb fittings. Plug in the pump and we're golden! Tonight I'll fill t he saltwater tank for the first time... I wanted to give a day for the cement to cure and get the fumes out of the tank/fittings/etc.

I'll take some pics and a video as well.

On a sad note (for me), I noticed a few small spots on my pyroferus tang just a couple days ago. Not sure what it is but I'm not too happy about it. As you are aware I've been really careful when adding my new fish (TTM, QT). So it's possible that there was already a pathogen in the tank... or it's possible I'm just a bit unlucky. Yesterday it didn't seem that the fish were any worse off... no spreading. I fed a LOT of Nori w/garlic and will continue to do so on a daily basis. I'll also minimize the meats. Also feeding spectrum pellets regularly. Otherwise, all the fish are acting normally and eating a ton. So I'm hoping that it's just a minor "event" and everything will clear up very soon. Unfortunately, I go on a two week work trip next Saturday... so I really need to hope for the best between now and then. Anyway... ugh.


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Old 04/25/2017, 10:22 AM   #40
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Ok, finally have some pics to share for the water "station."

Here you can see the whole room, including both of the new containers and their connection with a mag 9.5.

new_saltwater_station.jpg

It's been nice to have a larger reservoir, especially with all my travel coming up. No need to worry there for a few weeks if I'm only using ATO.

Here you can see the 30 gal PCO tank that I use to hold/mix saltwater. I drilled a single hole for the RO water input. Super easy to fill. Nice opening in the top as well for pouring in salt. And I can reach into the bottom of the tank to install the pump, etc. I'm glad I went with a horizontal tank for the saltwater!

Adding saltwater to the Sump is easy as well. I just place a length of 1" flex PVC into the 1" ball valve, open the valve and let it flow for about a minute. Since Sump is lower than the mixing container this works very well. Fills super fast! I did my first water change last night using this system and it took about 10 minutes... but that was because I siphoned out a bunch detritus. I'm guessing it'll take me less than 5 minutes to do a 20-30 gallon water change on most occasions. Not bad!

saltwater_container.jpg

And finally, this picture shows how the RO tank is plumbed to the ATO (small 1/4 pex valve), the saltwater mixing tank (large ball valve)... and I also included a gate valve so I can get small amounts of RO water on demand. Definitely recommend having this type of addition to your system if you're planning one!!!

I decided NOT to leave the pump attached and constantly plumbed because I won't be making saltwater very often. This will allow me to empty the lines and not get stale water sitting around. So I just store the pump and lines in the cabinet in between uses. I'm quite happy with the decision and it's super easy to install the pump and lines.

attached_containers.jpg

One issue I had is a small leak at the pump. Need to figure out why this is happening but the interim solution is to simply place the pump in a bucket lid or other shallow container.

Otherwise, the system works very well. Let me know if you have any questions about anything.


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Old 08/03/2017, 05:20 AM   #41
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Fortunately and unfortunately, I don't have anything of note to report at this time. I've been abroad for nearly two weeks (again) and the system has been steady throughout. My wife takes care of the tank while I'm away and does a great job. She's very details oriented, thankfully. :0) That's the fortunate part. The unfortunate part is that I can't do anything on the tank while I'm away. No new fish, corals, water changes, etc. I have a long list of things I want to do... mostly adding fish, but it'll all have to wait until November.

I DO need to upload a current FTS as the corals and fish are all getting bigger. Actually, I need to massively prune the sour apple birdsnest. I'll give away frags to anyone locally that is interested (48170). I assume some will be fairly large. This is a beautiful coral and I am quite surprised how much I like it.

OH, silly me. I do have a cool update. The Darwin misbar clownfish have a new home. I built a 12" acrylic cube and connected it directly to the system via manifold. Last summer I constructed a very cool piece of liverock using e-marco 400 and about 4 small pieces of rock. It's been in the system the whole time and now looks very cool. It fits perfectly in the small tank and I have to say that it's almost like I planned that piece for this exact purpose (it was luck actually). Anyway, I only put the clowns in this tank a couple of days before leaving so I'm excited to see how they have settled in. At this point there is no light on the tank (just ambient from the refugium) and it just has a small maxi mini 404. I'd like to put in a tiny pulsing pump (let me know if you have any suggestions!). I am going to add a DIY light that is already built. The goal will be to add an anemone for the clowns and I may also put some zoas in there along with a softy and/or some LPS. Or maybe they'll just host in a hammer and I won't do an anemone at all. Easier!! I'll post some pics of this once I'm back. I did take videos of the build process so I'll edit those together and post on my youtube channel and link back here. It was a VERY easy process and I'm happy enough with the look of the whole thing. Is it perfect? No, but it's functional!

Now I'm considering making an acrylic sump to replace what I currently have (60 gal). That will be a bit costly, but a heck of a lot less than buying a custom sump. But before I [maybe] do that, I'm going to build a new "sump box" for my filter socks. This is another thing I will need to document and post as I think it's a terrific way to modify an existing sump.

Well, this has turned into more of a "teaser" post than anything. I hope to provide some more visuals in the next week or so!


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Old 08/04/2017, 10:24 PM   #42
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Glad the tank hasn't gone south while you have been away.

I'm anxious to see the new clone tank with the manifold


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Old 08/08/2017, 04:43 PM   #43
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Well, I got back and everything was alive and looked fine.... but the tank was kind of a mess. Lots of additional algae. I think the fish got a bit overfed. It took a while to clean it all up, do a water change, change the GFO, clean just about everything I could. Even moved a couple corals that were starting to get crowded. The clowns are looking really happy in their new home and I have to say that I'm really happy with that little tank so far!

See the happy little guys? :0)
clown-1.jpg

Trying to show the rock shape.
clown-2.jpg

A view from the top.
clown-fullsm.jpg


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Old 08/15/2017, 01:01 AM   #44
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Just in case anyone is interested, here is a video I made to document the DIY build.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1Btfj6kKCE


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Old 09/11/2017, 06:32 AM   #45
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Well, it appears that my work travels have finally taken their toll on my system. It was a weird situation and a unique one for me. I believe it started with my pumps getting all funked up and not being cleaned often enough. This LED to the tank getting less flow and allowing more detritus to settle on rocks. I came home to a dirty tank that had Cyano on the sand and on the rocks. What I didn't know, however, was that it was calothrix and not the standard BG slime that we all know and love. Well, I decided to treat with Chemiclean as it's always been VERY useful and I've never had an issue with it.

Day one: A day after dosing, I noticed there was NO effect on the Cyano. This is when I did a bit more searching and found the culprit was likely calothrix, a different type of Cyano that is apparently not affected by chemiclean. I kept the skimmer running but took off the collection cup. I did not submerge the airline, which I have done in the past. Should have done this to reduce microbubbles, but it was not a big deal overall.

Day two: Start to notice the red planet and pink efflo are looking bleached. polyp extension is good and it doesn't look like any tissue loss. Still, it's time to do a water change to begin removing the chemiclean. Done and done.

Day three: Water is getting very cloudy. Red plant and pink efflo are experiencing RTN. Green slimer and giant purple stag are looking bleached. I'm getting worried. Do a second water change and replace skimmer collection cup.

Day four: Water is even cloudier. Apparently I've got a bacterial bloom. At this point, I can tell the green slimer, red plant, and pink efflo are dead. Hard to tell with the purple stag... still has polyps out. I begin microbacter7 treatment and amino acids.

Day five: Water is cleared up quite a bit. Continue to dose microbacter7 and amino acids. Purple stag is definitely on its way out as I can see flesh falling off. Milka stylo is also shedding toward the base and a few tips. Other small SPS have died by this point. Hammer coral is showing tissue recession and I can't tell if the caulastrea is retracted or receding.

Day six: water is mostly clear. Still dosing. Did another water change to remove calothrix from sand and rocks. Big purple stag totally dead at this point. Removed all the dead Corals, including the hammer. Not sure if any of the hammer frags on the tub will survive. We'll see. The Frogspawn still looks alive. Caulastrea seems alive. Neon green caulastrea is also alive but both are retracted, not puffy.

Here is how the tank looked before last night's water change and skeleton removal:

coral_bleach.jpg

And here is the giant stag after removing it. I was actually quite surprised by the sheer size of this thing! It came out in two pieces which is good because it wouldn't have fit out of the tank in one piece. Shown on top of a 5 gallon bucket. I'll piece it back together after it's sun bleached and use it as a decoration. Actually looks pretty cool.

stag_dead.jpg

Today: I'm actually amazed at how much larger the tank looks now without the huge stag. I had considered chopping it down quite a bit but that decision is no longer required. I'm still not sure if the Milka stylo will survive but this morning it's looking a bit worse so I doubt it will survive. Another desktop decoration most likely. Looks like the hammer frags in the tub are all dying. The Frogspawn also looks to be on its way out. The green caulastrea will probably be a desktop decoration as it looks like only a few heads have survived so far (out of 60 or so). The neon green caulastrea looks like it will survive. Water looks to be quite clear but I will continue to dose microbacter7 and aminos for a few more days to ensure stability.

Believe it or not, I'm not that bummed out about the Corals. It does suck, but I'm really glad that the fish were not at all affected. That would have really upset me. They seem to be totally fine and are eating and swimming and happy. I will probably not replace the SPS for a while if at all. I still have two more work trips of two weeks each so for now I'm going to let the system stabilize again. My plan is to add some softies (sinularia, gorgonians, etc.). The brains, stylos, and LPS will likely survive so I'll plan to keep them for now.

Here is a video explaining the whole ordeal in case you are interested. I'll post some pics of the aftermath once the tank settles down and clears up fully. Actually looking forward to moving on and planning the next steps.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KH3uA9DmF5U


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Old 09/11/2017, 08:26 AM   #46
MrsReefK
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Hey buddy, I know you are not heartbroken over the loss of your corals/bacteria bloom, but always sucks to experience. Kudos to you for keeping your head up.

I forgot you are located in SE Michigan. If you're ever up near Grand Rapids, holler. You can stop over and see our setup (525 gallons total), our SPS frags are open to you at any time without charge if you decide to get back into them ever! We don't have any rare or amazing ones, but open doors.

Your scaping is gorgeous!!


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Old 09/12/2017, 07:36 AM   #47
McPuff
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Originally Posted by MrsReefK View Post
Hey buddy, I know you are not heartbroken over the loss of your corals/bacteria bloom, but always sucks to experience. Kudos to you for keeping your head up.

I forgot you are located in SE Michigan. If you're ever up near Grand Rapids, holler. You can stop over and see our setup (525 gallons total), our SPS frags are open to you at any time without charge if you decide to get back into them ever! We don't have any rare or amazing ones, but open doors.

Your scaping is gorgeous!!


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Wow, I really appreciate the generosity!! I did end up losing the milka stylo just yesterday. It's really amazing how much different the scape looks now. The fish have a ton more room to move around and they actually seem to like it. I may try to replace a couple of the sps like the green slimer and perhaps the milka. Those are two that I have always liked quite a bit, they grow well, and they are [generally] quite hardy. I'm hoping that there are no more losses but still uncertain about the frogspawn and hammer... and the yellow porites. The former 2 seem to be holding on a thread. The latter is probably a goner but we'll see. The clarity is back to very good... and thankfully too because I have to go out of country for two weeks starting Saturday evening. I'll continue to dose microbacter7 for a few days. At least glad that I could stabilize everything well in advance of leaving. Here is an updated pic (not great quality) of the tank from last night. I want to do a bit of rescaping on the right "island" so this incident also provides that opportunity.

update_nocoral_sm.jpg


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Old 09/12/2017, 10:19 AM   #48
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Absolutely, anytime. I do like the new look! Looking great!


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Old 09/13/2017, 12:25 PM   #49
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Wow, I love your tank McPuff. Sorry about the coral losses. Good luck!


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Old 09/14/2017, 07:36 AM   #50
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Wow, I love your tank McPuff. Sorry about the coral losses. Good luck!
Thanks! I'm upbeat about it. Although it is not ideal to lose nearly all of my sps, I am looking at this as an opportunity to make some changes and head in a new and exciting direction... one that I've always wanted to do in fact!


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