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Old 11/12/2019, 10:35 AM   #1151
lifeoffaith
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Hoaster View Post
Thanks for following, lifeoffaith!

I'm curious about your reasoning for abandoning weeds for sticks. No judgement, just curious. Would you care to share?

Reefing has a much better road map for success, than weed-keeping. By now, the important numbers to hit for corals are well known, as well as which devices are needed to hit them. So, I would think it would feel less daunting and mysterious to follow those well-worn steps.

For marine plant growers, there is a lot of conflicting information, and many of the methods and techniques fly in the face of conventional wisdom. I can see how some might shy away from such uncertainty.
I think part of it is similar to what you discovered in V1, that sticking to a specific region was more difficult than expected. I also had my new fish all dissapear, I suspect due to the arrow crab that was in the tank. He eventually died, and my other tanks were "out of sight, out of mind" and were being neglected. I had two fish that I wanted to put into this tank and they didn't fit with my plan to stick to Carribean species, so that kind of forced me out of the box. Also, I do really miss a decent coral set up which I haven't had for a while, so I decided to just change up my approach a bit and go back to corals.

All that said, I'm doing some very early preliminary planning for a frogfish tank, so I will likely go back to some sort of macroalgae/sponge tank in the new setup alongside my coral tank. You may remember that was my original plan for the macroalgae tank, and that got put on a back burner for a bit.


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Old 11/12/2019, 02:44 PM   #1152
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Outstanding pics. Your tank is so amazing, all the variety of flora and fauna. The colors are amazing too. The patch reef looks almost an extension out from the wall, very natural. Wow, those mangroves are shooting up fast!

Two questions for ya:

How are the tuxedos getting along now?

What's the algae in the upper LH corner of the wall?

Keep up the good work, and thanks for taking/posting pics! Great stuff, man!


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Old 11/12/2019, 05:11 PM   #1153
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Thanks Kevin!

I'm pretty stoked with how it's going! A lot of the life came from the live rock. I just provided the conditions needed, and voila! The mangroves have about a foot to go to reach the surface. I have no idea if they'll make it or not. They're turning out to be more than I expected - in a good way. The fake root was so big and horsey. These little guys are just right!

The tuxedo damsels have reached an understanding. Brutus and Papillon keep the left half of the tank, and Francois stays in the right half. At feeding time, he's allowed to eat, like everyone else. Otherwise he's basically been ostracized. Papillon, which I now believe to be female, visits him occasionally, and they seem to have some chemistry - more so than with Brutus, who shows no interest in spawning that I can see. I'm still kind of tempted to try to add one or two more. We'll see!

Is the algae you're asking about kind of gold-to-brown? If so, that's the brown grasilaria I've been trying to get rid of. It's been in decline, but it still hangs around.


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Last edited by Michael Hoaster; 11/12/2019 at 10:47 PM.
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Old 11/12/2019, 10:13 PM   #1154
Michael Hoaster
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Thanks lifeoffaith! Good luck with your reef tank!


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Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 11/12/2019, 10:21 PM   #1155
Michael Hoaster
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I hate when I post pics, then it goes to the next page!























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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 Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 11/13/2019, 02:22 PM   #1156
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Excellent pics again. The algae that I was referring to is where the tuxedo damsel is in the 3rd pic against the wall.

Also, I meant to ask before, how is your barnacle blenny doing?


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Old 11/13/2019, 02:40 PM   #1157
Michael Hoaster
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Yep, that's brown grasilaria. It can look OK as a stem plant, but it also grows as a turf phenotype, which I have, and I really don't like it. The brown color looks dingy and dirty.

My two barnacle blennies are doing well. They do fine with all the other guys. Since they were in the tank first, they're pretty bold! They're not living super close to each other, but the female swings by to visit the male occasionally. I actually tried to get some pics of them, but none were good enough to post.


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Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 11/14/2019, 08:07 AM   #1158
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Wow, it's really filling in nicely!


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Old 11/14/2019, 09:08 AM   #1159
Michael Hoaster
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Thanks McPuff!

It's coming along. I'm not driving the system quite as hard as I did in v1. By that I mean I'm not dosing as frequently. I'm trying to maintain some control over growth, so I can rip stuff out if I want to, before it takes over.

Right now I have a macro or two I may want to remove. The more I look at it, the less I like the fern caulerpa, on the sand bed at least. It's fine on the back wall, though it's struggling against my army of snails for survival. I'm just not digging it between the grasses. I never planned for it to grow there, but I let it happen to see how it looks. I may pull it out this weekend, gumption permitting.


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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 Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 11/15/2019, 08:00 PM   #1160
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The tank is looking fabulous! The mangroves really are cool and add a very pleasing dimension to the scape. Tbe grasses appear to have rebounded nicely.


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Old 11/15/2019, 10:43 PM   #1161
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Thanks Dawn!

I've had a blast tinkering with the scape, not unlike yourself! I must admit, I'm enjoying the mangroves much more than I expected. I know it's not that big a deal, but it just feels cool to grow trees in a marine aquarium!

The grasses are alright. I've got some good manatee grass plants, but they're not very tall right now. I'm not expecting much growth over the winter, but a little would be nice.

The general trend is to get more growth on the back wall, and to select which plants to remove. Filling in and weeding out…weeds…in my weed garden.


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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 Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 11/18/2019, 10:32 AM   #1162
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This weekend I decided to pull the fern caulerpa from the sand bed. I just didn't like the way it looked between the grasses. Plus I'm a little concerned it could having negative affects on them. On top of that I want to be able to see the individual grass plants better, from top to bottom. This way I'll be better able to keep abreast of their progress.

It was a tedious project! And I'm not done. Pulling them out stirred up a lot of dirt and stuff, so the water got too cloudy to see what I was doing. My plan is to let them bounce back a bit, so I can see what I missed, then go after them again to finish it up. In my experience, caulerpa is rarely ever 'finished', so I expect it to be somewhat of a regular maintenance item. We'll see how it goes. I don't plan to remove it from the back wall at this point. I don't mind it there, as part of range of plants that I hope will eventually cover it.


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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 Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 11/18/2019, 05:20 PM   #1163
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Hey Michael. You have a great tank! Sorry if this has already been answered, but where do you get your seagrass?


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Old 11/18/2019, 07:10 PM   #1164
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Hey ThePurple12!

Florida Pets dot com, Aquarium Depot dot com, Gulf Specimen dot org all sell seagrasses. I also have a guy who collects in Florida, but his wife just gave birth, so he's not available for a while.

Good luck! Let me know if I can help more.


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
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Old 11/18/2019, 07:14 PM   #1165
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Thanks!


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Old 11/20/2019, 10:25 PM   #1166
Michael Hoaster
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I'm liking the seagrass without the fern caulerpa mixed in. I'm not finished pulling it all, but it already looks better to me.

The back wall is gradually getting colonized. The two turtle weed plugs I planted are hanging on. Not sure they'll make it yet, but it looks possible. It's funny, the plant I like on the back wall the most (so far) is the petticoat algae. It moves well in the current and it looks cool seeing it top-down on the wall. It's yet another freebie from the live rock. So far it's been confined to dimmer lighting, but some started growing in the middle of the seagrasses, so I think it likes bright light too. I'm still trying to get more planted on the back wall. I have a growing bunch of dictoya on the back wall. It's got some iridescence, but maybe not enough to keep it. It's a very invasive plant that could overrun my tank.

That's one of the downsides to giving plants everything they want - you end up getting uninvited plants that you need to manage.


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
our desire to conquer and control everything, and walk hand in hand with Mother Nature. -Walter Adey

Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 11/22/2019, 08:58 AM   #1167
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I always envision my Dad using a hand weeding tool in the front yard as I read posts of your gardening. Only, your tank has way more color and interesting stuff than my Dad's yard did!!! I look forward to your next pics once your weeding is finished.

It's interesting that the Florida Pets website sells a blenny that is in the same Genus as the ones that I keep, the Florida Blenny (Chasmodes suburrae). It's listed in the FW section, weirdly. They prefer brackish to salt, and it's not in the SW section from what I saw.

My blennies are Chasmodes bosquianus, or the striped blenny. They're coloration is similar with some slight differences, and the Florida blenny has a smaller mouth and a little different skull structure. They love oyster reefs too. As far as compatibility goes, they'd be a great tank mate for your fish, except I'd worry about the barnacle blennies with them. Something to keep in mind down the road. They get 3-4" long.


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Old 11/22/2019, 10:49 AM   #1168
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Thanks Kevin!

I'm enjoying the gardening element for sure. I want my slice of life to be pretty. I'm trying to have a bit more control over what grows and what doesn't. When I look back at old pics of v1, I'm aghast at the free-for-all. This time around, I'm attempting grow a plantscape that reflects a pretty specific vision.

So far, I'm very happy with the patch reef and all the plants that have sprung from it. The plants that grew out of the live rock now far outnumber the plants I bought separately!

For now, I'm focusing on getting the back wall planted. I still have a ways to go there, but I'm happy with the progress. I've been 'auditioning' plants to see how I like them. I've just about got it figured out. I just need to keep planting my faves and before long, I'll have the back wall covered in life.

Next, I'll be returning focus to the manatee grass. I'm currently working up the gumption to remove a fair amount of the shoal grass. It took off when I let salinity drift down. It grew right up to the front glass, and also crowds the manatee grass in places. There's just a bit too much now.

I have thought about other blennies and gobies. But I have doubts they could compete at feeding time, with all the quick plankton pickers I will have. So I kind of doubt I'll add any more. But you never know…


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
our desire to conquer and control everything, and walk hand in hand with Mother Nature. -Walter Adey

Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 11/22/2019, 03:54 PM   #1169
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Following your progress has been a fascinating process for me. Interesting about the shoal grass. Does that species usually mix in with manatee grass? Did you consider two separate grass beds for each species and meeting together? Or, is there so much shoal grass that it's outcompeting the manatee grass for nutrients?

BTW, a Florida blenny would never have a problem competing for food. Their behavior is much like the blennies that I kept. Here's a video of one of the feeding times where my daughter is feeding them:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iz9iLiCqUNE&t=44s

Also, notice the mummichog (killifish) in the video. They're fast at getting to the food...the blennies pretty much beat him to the food most of the time, leaving him picking up scraps.

Another plus about Florida blennies is that I doubt very much that they'd eat algae of any kind. They are so closely related to the ones that I have, so I'm confident that their behaviors would mirror mine. They're strictly meat eaters. When I fed them Rod's food, which has bits of macro algae in it, they'd try and eat it but always spit it out. They never grazed on algae of any kind. My only concern with them in your tank is if you had fish small enough to fit in their mouths. Down the road, if the barnacle blennies die off and you're looking for something else, these are inexpensive options, and tons of personality. Just something to ponder as your tank evolves.


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Old 11/22/2019, 10:47 PM   #1170
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Thanks Kevin! It's been a pleasure having you along.

Both Shoal and Manatee Grass are pioneering species, and often intermingle. I only had two, tiny shoal grass plants, when I started up the tank. I planted them in front, since they are smaller. They were all but invisible until I let the salinity drop. Then they grew and spread pretty quickly, filling in where my manatee grass was dying. I don't think it outcompeted as much as it pioneered where it found opportunity. I don't mind having it at all, I just want to be able to see the manatee grass and monitor it's progress. So I need to prune some of it back.

Thanks for the blenny info.


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
our desire to conquer and control everything, and walk hand in hand with Mother Nature. -Walter Adey

Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 11/25/2019, 04:57 PM   #1171
Michael Hoaster
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I did another round of sand bed caulerpa removal yesterday. Today I still find more. I guess it's going to take a while to get all of it. I do like it better, visually, and I can keep closer tabs on the manatee grass.

I'm still trying to leave some ground cover macros, but not full coverage. I'd like a natural, patchy coverage that looks nice, and increases pod habitat structure.

The String of Pearls plant looks better than ever! Unfortunately it's not attached to a rock, so I'm having trouble getting it planted. So it gets moved around by Seymore the sea cucumber, and Mom, the fighting conch.

My patch reef looks perhaps better than ever, since I last pruned it. I'm stoked to have that part of the tank flourishing and look forward to progress on the back wall, and the manatee grass.


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
our desire to conquer and control everything, and walk hand in hand with Mother Nature. -Walter Adey

Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 11/27/2019, 10:10 PM   #1172
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I got the itch to get some shots. One year!


Full width shot. Note removed caulerpa from the sand bed, leaving the seagrasses more visible, top to bottom.


There are passages under the live rock, made by the Allen's Damsels! They use their tails.


So much life!


Blue guys.


See the String of Pearls on the right. I think this could be a good spot for it. One of my favorites!


Francois and friends.


Yellow Sponge and photo bomber.


Another String of Pearls shot. Note the increasing plant life on the back wall.


A celebration in colors!


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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 Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 12/03/2019, 10:03 AM   #1173
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Wow, what a celebration of color it is! Very nice photographs Michael. The photo bomber one cracked me up. The last two shots are nothing short of amazing to me. I really love the mangroves too. They're much more colorful than I expected! What are your plans for them when they reach the top of the tank?


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Old 12/03/2019, 12:47 PM   #1174
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Wow, thanks Kevin! I know my pics aren't the best in the world, so it's nice to hear a compliment now and then. I really wish I had a macro lens to capture some of the smaller details that don't show in my iPhone pics. There is so much growing out of the live rock I'd love to show off.

I almost missed the photo bomber. I only saw it when I almost cropped it out of the pic!

I'm really digging the mangroves too. I haven't planned too far ahead with them, since I still don't know if they will make it, being fully submerged. If they do grow above the surface, they'll have close to two feet of vertical space in the cabinet, above the water line. I imagine they'll bend and grow towards the light. If they continue to grow well, I may have to prune them a bit, to keep it manageable. Other than that, I'll probably just let Nature figure it out. Plants are amazingly adaptable. Since they will be growing out of view, I'll be less concerned with how well that part of them looks. We'll see what happens, and I'll try to accommodate them as best I can.


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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 Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 12/07/2019, 11:07 PM   #1175
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Another two rounds of tidying up the sand bed this weekend. Making good progress with the caulerpa. I found a nice, long rhizome of manatee grass right up front. I pulled it up and cut it between plants to break it up into about seven plants. I planted them around, filling holes. That will go a long way in rebuilding the manatee grass bed. Woo!


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
our desire to conquer and control everything, and walk hand in hand with Mother Nature. -Walter Adey

Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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