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Unread 12/25/2021, 05:23 PM   #2126
vlangel
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Thank you! I guess I need to do some more reading on hermit crabs. I want to keep both snails and hermits but the snails are more important. The hermits would be there mostly to eat excess mysis since the seahorses are messy eaters. I thought I could toss a bunch of shells for the hermit crabs into the tank and I'd be good. I keep terrestrial hermit crabs but even then they are a single species tank. I was fascinated with the idea of keeping aquatic hermit crabs but I want the tank to work more then indulge in my fascination ;P
I also like nassarius snails, especially in seahorse tanks. They efficiently clean up leftover mysis in tanks with sand substrates but without the danger of an accidental pinch that could start a skin infection to a pony.


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Unread 12/25/2021, 05:27 PM   #2127
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I'm glad you asked, Dawn, on time left in quarantine. At two weeks in hypo salinity I've seen no signs of ailments in either new fish, so I'm thinking I could introduce them in the next few days!

I'm so excited to see how they affect the fish community, and the ecosystem. The Blue Tang will bring speed, the Foxface will transform the aquascape, and step in as my replacement. You know your setup is low tech when you can replace yourself with a fish. Ha!

QT15
That is wonderful that the tang and foxfaces have been so healthy and not shown any signs of disease. They should definitely add a new dimension of dynamics to your ecosystem. And being a lover of fish, I am very excited for you. A fun way to start 2022!


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Unread 12/25/2021, 10:43 PM   #2128
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Exciting times for sure! Of course I got ahead of myself. I have to slowly adjust salinity in their quarantine tanks up to that of the display. That'll take a few days to a week. I started adding salt today, so the process has begun.

I can't imagine all the ways they will affect the tank!


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Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Unread 12/27/2021, 01:43 PM   #2129
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Raising salinity in the QTs continues. I'm really jonesin' to get the new fish in the display.

I've been doing little 'bites' of aquarium maintenance. Yesterday I finished up pinching seagrass blades. This accomplishes a couple things. Since I'm pinching off yellow ends it makes the grasses look more consistently green, which looks better. And, it frees up more swimming room for the fish. This will be especially important for the new Blue Tang. As most people in the hobby know, blue tangs are extremely busy fish, constantly darting around and generally making the other fish look like they are in slow-motion. I really believe this one fish is going to transform the viewing experience for the tank.

Next up will be a good glass cleaning.

QT19


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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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Unread 01/01/2022, 02:08 PM   #2130
Michael Hoaster
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Happy New Year! 2022 woohoo!

Boulder had a rough finish to the year, with a terrible wildfire that destroyed hundreds of homes. We were very lucky up in the foothills to 'only' lose power for about 26 hours. Oddly enough, this is the first time we've ever lost power for more than a couple hours, in 20 years up here.

I bring this up because it put me in a precarious situation with the two quarantine tanks. I have no back-up power, so I had to get creative. I was terrified of losing the new tang and fox face, so I was desperate to figure out a way to keep them alive.

Being avid campers, the wife and I had little trouble adapting to camping in our house. But it was very challenging applying that camping, problem-solving mentality to aquariums in a cold house.

I racked my brain trying to come up with solutions, without a lot of options. I narrowed it down to two issues: heat loss and oxygen loss. At 20 and 26 gallons neither tank had much in reserve.

I have a battery powered bubbler, but it was dead, so I had to find an alternative. That turned out to be a new Christmas gift our daughter gave to my wife - a Milk Frother! It's a very small, hand-held blender of sorts. Holding the business end right at the water surface, I was able to generate an impressive amount of bubbles. For heat loss I used our Jet Boil from our camping kitchen kit. Basically, it's a tiny gas burner with a dedicated mini-pot. It's mainly used to heat water quickly for hot drinks. I repeatedly boiled tiny pots of tank water and added it back into the QTs. I did this routine of frothing and boiling tank water over the course of the night. After getting a few hours of sleep, I got up early and went at it again. This was the most stressful time because I could see the fish were struggling, and I knew their chances looked grim. And, honestly I've grown very weary of reporting fish deaths here on RC. So, I doggedly struggled on with my rather primitive (and tedious!) efforts.

Long story short, they survived! When I think about it, this is one of the biggest triumphs of my aquarium-keeping life. Finding a way to keep those delicate fish alive is something I will be proud of for a long time!

Now it's back to raising salinity, so I can get these two beauties into the display. Should be around two more days.

QT24


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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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Unread 01/01/2022, 02:36 PM   #2131
Minorhero
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Happy New Year! 2022 woohoo!

Boulder had a rough finish to the year, with a terrible wildfire that destroyed hundreds of homes. We were very lucky up in the foothills to 'only' lose power for about 26 hours. Oddly enough, this is the first time we've ever lost power for more than a couple hours, in 20 years up here.

I bring this up because it put me in a precarious situation with the two quarantine tanks. I have no back-up power, so I had to get creative. I was terrified of losing the new tang and fox face, so I was desperate to figure out a way to keep them alive.

Being avid campers, the wife and I had little trouble adapting to camping in our house. But it was very challenging applying that camping, problem-solving mentality to aquariums in a cold house.

I racked my brain trying to come up with solutions, without a lot of options. I narrowed it down to two issues: heat loss and oxygen loss. At 20 and 26 gallons neither tank had much in reserve.

I have a battery powered bubbler, but it was dead, so I had to find an alternative. That turned out to be a new Christmas gift our daughter gave to my wife - a Milk Frother! It's a very small, hand-held blender of sorts. Holding the business end right at the water surface, I was able to generate an impressive amount of bubbles. For heat loss I used our Jet Boil from our camping kitchen kit. Basically, it's a tiny gas burner with a dedicated mini-pot. It's mainly used to heat water quickly for hot drinks. I repeatedly boiled tiny pots of tank water and added it back into the QTs. I did this routine of frothing and boiling tank water over the course of the night. After getting a few hours of sleep, I got up early and went at it again. This was the most stressful time because I could see the fish were struggling, and I knew their chances looked grim. And, honestly I've grown very weary of reporting fish deaths here on RC. So, I doggedly struggled on with my rather primitive (and tedious!) efforts.

Long story short, they survived! When I think about it, this is one of the biggest triumphs of my aquarium-keeping life. Finding a way to keep those delicate fish alive is something I will be proud of for a long time!

Now it's back to raising salinity, so I can get these two beauties into the display. Should be around two more days.

QT24
Barista survivalist. That's pretty hardcore. Happy you are safe and the fish made it! Happy new years!


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Unread 01/01/2022, 02:50 PM   #2132
Michael Hoaster
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Barista survivalist. Ha! Thanks Minorhero!

Hey, are you going to start a thread for your seagrass tank? I'm totally happy to discuss here on mine, but it's nice to have your own. I really look forward to seeing how your journey progresses!


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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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Unread 01/01/2022, 06:09 PM   #2133
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I am glad you're safe Michael.
I wondered if you were anywhere near that fire. It was horrible.
A small generator is in your future.
Happy New Year.


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Unread 01/01/2022, 09:33 PM   #2134
Michael Hoaster
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Thanks Vinny! This one wasn't too close to us, and the wind direction pushed it away from us too. We just had multiple power lines down in my neck of the woods. The wind itself was scary. My house shuddered in some of the higher gusts.

Some of the news footage I've seen is just apocalyptic.

Not a huge fan of generators, but if I had a fancy reef setup, I'd probably get one. At the least, I'll invest in multiple battery-powered bubblers.


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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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Unread 01/02/2022, 10:51 PM   #2135
Michael Hoaster
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Today I did another bite of aquarium maintenance - glass cleaning. Knowing the new fish were almost ready to be introduced, I wanted to get it ready for serious viewing.

Once I was done, I started wondering why I wasn't going ahead with adding them, so I added them. The damsels were pretty mean, so I turned out the lights early to settle everyone down. Hopefully, they'll all get used to each other and get along.

We'll see in the morning…


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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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Unread 01/03/2022, 09:32 AM   #2136
Michael Hoaster
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I got up early this morning before the tank lights came on, to observe how the new guys were doing in the display. Unfortunately the Fox Face is rather shy and he's hiding out, mostly. He does venture out a little, but it would be nice if he would swim around more, and take some of the attention the Blue Tang is getting. The tang is holding his own, despite the Talbot's Damsels' hassling. It looks like the tendency is that they are gradually settling down.

Another thing I observed is the Talbot's Damsels spending some quality time together in a barnacle shell. Looks like spawning. That might explain their aggressiveness.

I'll keep checking and report back later.

One thing I'm noticing so far is that the tank has more nervous energy, and suddenly it looks like I have plenty of fish!


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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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Unread 01/04/2022, 10:33 PM   #2137
Michael Hoaster
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I've been feeding the tank heavily, trying to keep everyone fat-and-happy. Last night the Blue Tang was getting pretty beat up by the male Talbot's Damsel. I turned the lights off early again. I half expected to find it dead this morning. That damsel was relentless. I've seen other fish die from less. Ah Damsels!

Laying awake in bed, I hatched a plan to catch one or both damsels. I awoke early again to witness their spawning behavior and hopefully, trap them in the barnacle shell with a net. But the female never came around to his barnacle lair, and I was unable to catch the male alone in it either.

When the lights came up, the tang was the last to emerge, but he seemed okay. A miracle! He also seemed to have a better flow with his tank mates, attracting less aggression. I might not have to remove the damsels after all, though I may give it another try anyway. It would be nice to be rid of their aggressive energy.

The Fox Face is gradually getting more bold. I never knew these fish were so good at camouflage. An added bonus feature! It disappears in the seagrass, swaying in the current. Reminds me of the Filefish I had awhile back.

So, with all the drama we've endured together, the new fish have revealed their names to me; Miracle Max and (Where's) Waldo.

Fish watching has been engrossing! Who needs tv? I've got a wide screen Nature show…


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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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Unread 01/05/2022, 11:10 AM   #2138
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Oh wow Michael, I expected to hear news of the new fish since I was gone over the holiday break but holy moly, I was not prepared for all that!!! Kudos to you for being resourceful and thinking out of the saltwater box! I am so glad that you, your family and fish all weathered the storm.

From my aquarium tech days with the lfs, I learned that lack of oxygen can kill fish fast, especially the higher respiration fish like tangs and angels. Cardinalfish, pufferfish and clownfish can go longer in low oxygen situations. Anyway, after witnessing a few tank crashes due to lack of oxygen overnight, I bought battery back ups for all my tanks with fish even though in the 30 years that we lived here our power was never out more than a few hours. Finally for Christmas about 5 years ago I asked for a power inverter. It's a 1000W and was less than $100. I only used it once 3 years ago when our power was off 3-4 days but it was amazing. It ran the return pump, and heater easily. I put the lights on about 4hrs/day and we still could run our fridge and computer. It paid for itself in peace of mind during that one outage.

What I especially like about it as opposed to a generator is that it is very easily stored, it does not have to be ran periodically and of course the price tag. For me, it was the right call, but we have a fireplace and most of our appliances are natural gas powered so a power outage is not as impacting to us as it is for a lot of folks.

Damsels sure can be feisty farts! Mine have not been much trouble but I really have not added much since them either.

We need pics as soon as it is feasible.


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Unread 01/05/2022, 10:03 PM   #2139
Michael Hoaster
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Thanks Dawn. It was a HUGE relief not to let any fish die! All the work was worth it.

I'll look into the Power Inverter thing, thanks!

Yes, even the mellowest of Damsels can get mean as they age. Many of them are great community members, as juveniles.

I will get pics asap. Can't wait!


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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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Unread 01/05/2022, 10:45 PM   #2140
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Today I had some time to really do some fish watching. It is my great fortune to have a tank overgrown with seaweeds, and now with the fish to eat them as they do in Nature. It really is a wide screen Nature show. The downside is that they'll eventually consume it all, excepting the seagrass. Then what will I do?

Max is settling better into the community everyday. He's already starting to get his 'strut' on. He swims the length of the tank and is just beautiful. He cruises around and hangs with everyone like a social butterfly. Still, he's one of the smallest fish in the tank. When he pals around with the Allen's Damsels, they seem to intensify their blue color, making for quite a show.

Waldo is turning out to be a revelation. He looks more at home among the weeds and grass than any other fish I've kept. He swims through the seagrass with ease, then stops and totally disappears before your eyes. He gets way down into the macros too, eating and hiding simultaneously. He's even swimming about in the open occasionally. I'm sure he'll get bolder too. Today, he split his time between the big Gracialria and the seagrass, where he munches contently on Caulerpa. Salad bar! He does seem to be avoiding the Sargassum, so it's my guess that it will be the last macro standing.

New fish euphoria!


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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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Unread 01/06/2022, 11:59 AM   #2141
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Ha ha, now you probably can understand how fish can be my first love in my aquarium. So many personalities and interesting interactions among everybody. I find it addicting but to the point where its hard not to keep adding one more. And the danger with that even when I've done my research is that any additional fish can change the dynamics of how everyone interacts with one another. It was hard to realize that the addition of Tommy eventually probably led to the demise of Marmalade. I just never thought of a tang and an orange spot blenny having trouble getting along with one another, even though they both eat a veggie based diet. Maybe it was an individual fluke that Tommy was so antagonistic toward Marmalade, who knows? That is always the risk however so lately since my tank seems to be in a sweet spot with everyone getting along well, I am mostly content to leave things be. Although I do think about looking into open water swimmers, LOL.


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Unread 01/06/2022, 12:11 PM   #2142
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Having more fish is awesome! For sure it is tempting to keep adding 'one more'. The only thing holding me back is the desire to keep stress low for the fish (and therefore me), and to keep the ecosystem functioning as desired. It is a challenge, but also one the funnest parts of the hobby!


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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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Unread 01/06/2022, 12:42 PM   #2143
Vinny Kreyling
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Perhaps a school of Gold Stripe Cardinal fish Dawn?


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Unread 01/06/2022, 12:45 PM   #2144
Michael Hoaster
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I got up early again this morning to see if I could catch the Talbot's Damsels, and to snap some pics. The female damsel is once again playing hard to get, so no luck catching them today, but I'll keep trying. I did get a few pics, but none of the new fish. Waldo is exceedingly shy when I get close to the tank, so it may be a few more days (weeks?) before I get a good shot of him. Max stayed hidden for hours after the lights came on, so no pics of him. It gave me a scare, but he's since come out, and seems fine. I will definitely take more pics, and hopefully the new guys cooperate!


Full width shot. Not the best pic, but I like to show an overview to start. Just left of center/top you may be able to see where the back wall has been grazed bare in a small area. Change is coming!



From the end. Royal Gramma harem and Scarlett, the Tomini Tang. I'm getting a fair amount of bubble algae. This morning I found some partially eaten. Good evidence that Waldo eats that too. Yay!



Stanley was a good poser for me. Isn't he pretty?



A decent pic of one of the Allen's Damsels. Hard to tell but he's BIG! Two are about 5 inches long, and one about 4. Still my favorite damsel!



Hard to believe that the sailfin tang will eventually dwarf the tomini.



A pair of living jewels!



When they're not grazing, these two often follow each other around.



Three amigos.


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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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Unread 01/06/2022, 01:15 PM   #2145
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Perhaps a school of Gold Stripe Cardinal fish Dawn?
Vinny, its so funny that you have suggested those because I was thinking that a school of cardinal fish might be cool. They should be safe from the clutches of Rice Krispies, the snapping shrimp but also get along peacefully with the fish I already have. I am gonna think on that some more.

I wondered about a group of chalk basselets too. The basselets might hover too close to the bottom of the tank to be safe from Rice Krispies however.


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Unread 01/06/2022, 01:19 PM   #2146
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GREAT PICS Michael! Stanley is stunning. I like how he and Scarlett buddy around together.
Your aquarium pics look like they were taken by a diver on a dive because your ecosystem looks so authentic and natural. I just love how it has developed.


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Unread 01/06/2022, 01:25 PM   #2147
Michael Hoaster
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I love how fish make friends. Very kind words about the natural look of my tank. Thanks Dawn!

More pics to come!


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
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Unread 01/06/2022, 04:46 PM   #2148
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That is cool when a friendship among fish develops. I have seen it multiple times and sometimes between different species. I have even witnessed fish friends staying close by to comfort an ailing/dying friend, especially with the seahorses. Its very touching to see them do that. Of course I have also seen quite the opposite where there is no compassion and a fish is harassed to death (literally). Like you, I like to try to avoid that at all costs!


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Unread 01/06/2022, 05:38 PM   #2149
Michael Hoaster
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Yep, fish can be mighty cruel. The natural world is without pity. I've witnessed my fair share of it. It just looks so matter-of-fact too. There'll be some poor fish laying on its side, gasping for oxygen. Another fish swims up and says,"hey Ralph, you're not looking too good (chomp). I'll come back (chomp) and check on you latter, when I get hungry again (chomp chomp)."


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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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Unread 01/07/2022, 05:33 PM   #2150
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You made me laugh when you described Ralph's dying experience but when it's happening in your tank it's not funny at all!


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