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  1. #51

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    2 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by kaybee View Post
    In 2013 conditions in my reef took a serious turn for the worse when my tank experienced a dinoflagellate outbreak which lasted for multiple years and almost motivated me to quit the SW-side of the hobby. (I'll write about that at another time)...

    MY BOUT WITH DINOFLAGELLATES

    In 2013 my reef tank became inflicted with dinoflagellates (which are protists) which persisted for several years, which took the form of a photosynthetic greenish-tan snotty matter that seemed impervious to every remedy that I threw at it (elevated pH, 3-day photo-period blackouts, manual removal, etc). I was finally able to rid by tank of it several years later in 2017.

    At that time I had embraced the Ultra Low Nutrient/ULN method of reef keeping and strove for undetectable nitrates and phosphate levels no greater than 0.03ppm. I also maintained a low bioload (3 small fish in a 65gal) which I fed very sparingly (once every 3 days). Dino's took a strong hold on over the live rock and stony structure of my frogspawn colony and to the extent that it was smothering some of the small budding polyps.

    Years later in 2017 I stumbled on what would cure my tank of this infliction. I instituted two changes relatively at the same time so I am not sure if one of these fixed my dino problem or if the combo did the trick. None of these changes were done to combat dino's but I noticed a rapid decline and the ultimate eradication of dinos within 3 or 4 months after these changes were put into place:

    - I decided to feed my fish once a day instead once every 3 days.
    - I upgraded the flow in my tank by replace powerheads with a masxpect gyre.

    The gyre, which provided a completely different flow than what my power heads provided almost immediately began to 'uproot' a lot of dino in areas that the flow from my powerheads could not provide. The increased/different flow also seemed to prevent the dino from regrouping, so it wasn't regenerating in areas as it had done so before.

    I think the increased feeding created an enviroment which contributed to the dino losing its edge in the system. After being a multi-year nuisance, the dinoflagellates disappeared in a matter of months.

    I later read that ULN systems can be suitable for dino development (something to do with the fact that microbes and algaes that thrive in higher nutrient environments somehow outcompete or keep dino 'in check'. These are absent or reduced in ULN systems which enables dino to dominate.

    Last year I upgraded my system from a 65gal reef to a 75gal reef with 31gal sump (with refugium section), and more than doubled my fish population (from 3 fish to 7). Also running two gyres instead of one.

    While I still feed the fish once a day, I feed a lot more per session (six pinches of pellets instead of one pinch). I also feed my corals twice a week rather than once every 1-3 weeks, and have allowed by phosphate to reach 0.09 to 0.15ppm, rather than triving for 0.03ppm and below.

    Looking back at it, I used to feed my LPS corals mysis shrimp weekly, I must have stopped doing that between 2009-2012. Could explain why I had no issues with dino from 2006-2012.
    African cichlid and saltwater aquariums

  2. #52

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    3 Not allowed!
    Attempting to catch up on over a year of updates.

    By Aug 2018, (well probably way earlier than that!) I was running out of space in my 65gal reef.

    The frogspawn and trumpet coral colonies were taking up too much space (in all three dimensions) and were overshadowing corals beneath their breadth and stinging adjacent corals:

    Quote Originally Posted by kaybee View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kaybee View Post
    In another marine tank, a 75gal SW fish-only set up that originally housed 4 fish (porcupine puffer, maroon clownfish, neon velvet damsel and a flame hawkfish), but over the years only the damsel and flame hawkfish were left.

    I wasn't into adding more fish and there would have been problems with my 5" neon velvet damsel accepting new tank mates. When my nearly 12 year old damsel passed away in mid-2018 I didn't want to get anymore fish for this tank, but it was an awful lot of space for a single 3" flame hawkfish.

    I briefly considered just moving the flame hawkfish to the 65 reef, but ultimately decided to kill two birds with one stone: Move my reef from my 65gal to the 75gal, the flame hawkfish will reside in the same tank (which could be converted into a reef tank).

    Unlike my 65gal reef and soon to be broken down 75gal fish-only systems which were sump-less with a hang on back protein skimmers, I decided this new 75gal reef system would have a sump (with refugium section), and an in-sump protein skimmer:

    Nov 2018
    empty75.JPG
    Last edited by kaybee; 12-21-2019 at 04:34 PM.
    African cichlid and saltwater aquariums

  3. #53

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    3 Not allowed!
    Back to Nov 2018...

    I then had the task of relocating my existing livestock from the 65gal to the 75gal. I think I transferred 40% of my existing sandbed to the 75gal and the rest was new sand that I had on hand. Made for some murky work.

    I didn't realize just how much coral I until I temporarily relocated them to containers and the like. I then when to work cutting away much of the frogspawn and trumpet coral skeletons so as to reduce the volume of space the branch colonies took up. Rendering large connected branched colonies into individual 'stalks' with living tissue and polyp heads at the end took more than a couple of hours.

    It seemed as if I was dealing with a good hundred or so coral heads. I then placed the frogspawn stalks in the sand and live rock crevices, occupying the rear-right of the tank, the trumpet corals I just placed in the sand on the far rear-left. I placed all the other corals in the tank which was arranged in a sprawled low aqua-scape (if you can even call it an 'aqua-scape).

    75gal reef tank in Dec 2018 nearly a month after the move from 65gal:
    75gal_dec2018.JPG
    Last edited by kaybee; 02-04-2020 at 02:00 PM.
    African cichlid and saltwater aquariums

  4. #54

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    2 Not allowed!
    From Dec 2018:

    Close up of green leptastrea frag (note the pale montipora spongedes to the right, the effects of nutrient deficiency):
    dec2018_green lepto.JPG

    Various corals:
    dec2018_various.JPG

    Various SPS corals: (red dragon acro, blue stylophora, bird of paradise seriatopora, green pocillopora).
    Aside from the stylo and seriatopora, none of the corals were yet positioned in their permanent positions. In hind-sight I wish I would have spaced the SPS corals 6"-8" of space to allow for future growth.

    dec2018_various_sps2.JPG

    Green pocillopora:

    dec2018_pocillopora.JPG

    The larger pocillipora is a different species from the one at the left (which was actually sprouted from remnants of the above green pocillipora.

    A year earlier (from the 65gal): Here is the larger pocillopora from the photo above a year earlier as a new frag:

    65gal_2017.JPG

    Also of note, in this 2017 pic, in the rear are a 2 or 3 war coral polyps. I was able to salvage these from the larger parent colony which in my 65gal gal were completely overshadowed by a large trumpet coral colony. These salvaged war coral polyps can be seen in the 2nd photo above at the upper right of the pic, having increased in number.

    I wasn't able to rescue the war coral mother colony until I set up this tank. By this time it was completely bleached due to the effects of coral overshadowing. It has since recovered. (recover from complete bleaching to full coloration took about 4-6 months). What is interesting is that the mother colony was a combination of red polyps and teal-green polyps with neon green centers (it continues to grow in that pattern today). However the rescued red polyps with neon green centers has continued to grow with just that pattern.
    African cichlid and saltwater aquariums

  5. #55

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    3 Not allowed!
    As my 75gal reef tank appeared in late-Dec 2018. I elevated some of the SPS corals (With the digital cameral I have, I am still unable to capture how the tank looks in person):

    Left-side:
    22dec18_leftside.JPG

    Center-ish:

    Of note, those two pocillipora were originally a single colony, the one one the right broke off from the main colony during the transfer.

    22dec18_center.JPG

    Right-side:
    22dec18_rightside.JPG

    Somewhat full tank shot:
    25dec18_fts.JPG
    African cichlid and saltwater aquariums

  6. #56

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    3 Not allowed!
    I forgot to mention, back Nov 2018 when I took out all of my corals and live rock, I was finally able to capture this beast. (This pic appears earlier in this thread taken years ago in the 65gal but not sure if photobucket is blocking or not, so here it is again). The disturbance of moving everything around must have made it bail out from its lair.

    Huge bristleworm (not the 'ordinary' kind, count the inches):
    bwfw2.JPG

    I had THE opportunity to discard this beast. But reflecting on how it has done no harm in the last 12 years I decided to re-introduce into the tank. But for hours I was on the fence about it. In the mean time I had isolated it in a plastic cup with a couple of inches of water in it, and placed it on the table and went on to other business of transferring the tank.

    I should point out that outside of the tank the actual size of this bristleworm was about 4.5" or ~11cm in length, way shorter than it appears in the photo, so it has the ability to constrict/expand in length; still had the width of a pinky finger, though.

    After some time I went to check on it (I was still on the fence at this point) and to my dismay, the bristleworm was NOT in the cup (which was 5" or 13cm tall). (insert shock emoji).

    I finally found it wrapped completely around the base of the cup like an o-ring. I put it back in the cup (with cover this time).

    Like I said, I put it back in the tank and haven't seen it since. There have been years between sightings, so I am pretty sure it still in there 'til this day.
    Last edited by kaybee; 02-04-2020 at 03:50 PM.
    African cichlid and saltwater aquariums

  7. #57

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    2 Not allowed!
    Wow on everything, but a special 'yikes' for that bristleworm. I'm very glad to see your tank is doing well and enjoy seeing the pics and updates.

  8. #58

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    1 Not allowed!
    I know nothing about SW fishkeeping, but how did you handle that worm?...you can't touch them with your bare hands, right?
    10 Gallon Beginner Tank... Journal
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    “If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went” - Will Rogers

  9. #59

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    0 Not allowed!
    WOW and Yikes too. Those just creep me out and it looks huge-even though you said it came out to 4.5".

    Also curious as to how you scooped it back in. Glad it isn't damaging the current set up.

    BTW the current set up is just amazing. I know how the camera can't do the real thing justice. I find that sometimes a video can capture the tank better.
    75 Gourami/Eel tank
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  10. #60

    Join Date
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    2 Not allowed!
    In Jan 2018, I acquired some additional fish: a black clown fish, a tomini tang and a horse face blenny. They joined the two azure damsels and royal gramma (all three which I've had since Sep 2006), and the flame hawk fish (which I had since Oct 2007).

    As mentioned I used about 40% (give or take) of my existing sand bed which had been in my tank since 2006, and since I got the tank, stand, live rock and sand used from a fellow hobbyist, it's definately older than that. The transfer into the 75gal made the water very murky for a couple of hours after the transition.

    The move unlocked all sorts of nutrients I guess because my tank experienced a hair algae bloom that persisted for about 3 months (Jan-Mar 2019). For awhile there was a patch so large that my black clownfish hosted it. For those three months my tomini tang exclusively ate this stuff and ignored fish food. It and the horse face blenny ate the algae constantly. Eventually, the hair algae bloom dissipated.

    With its algae patch gone (this stuff was an inch to an inch and a half in length), the clownfish moved on to host the frogspawn corals which it defends.

    It was about 2 weeks before the tomini tang took to fish food after the algae disappeared. While it greedily eats fish food, I've never seen it as fat as it was when it feasted exclusively on the hair algae.

    Pics from Jan 2019 during the early stages of the algae outbreak. I have never seen it to this extent in any of my other tanks or tank moves (from the 45gal to the 65gal), just a lot of diatoms on the glass and the like. This was something else. Unfortunately I don't have any pics from Feb 2018 when it was at its worst:

    Very early stages of the algae outbreak. At its peak the clownfish would have been completely obscured in the algae patch.
    algae.JPG

    This stuff was everywhere and the tomini tang, in the center of the pic, loved it. It was all it would ever eat. It completely ignored fish food during feeding time.
    algae2.JPG

    The algae outbreak would get a lot worse before it got better. If I used 100% new sand I imagine the algae outbreak would have been less severe.
    algae3.JPG

    The horse face blenny, like the tang, loved this stuff (though the blenny far was greedier, it would graze on algae around the clock and aggressively take a big share of the fish food too). I think this blenny was the first fish my wife ever picked out. I was aiming to get a tailspot or bi-color blenny, so I didn't research the horse face. It can be fairly belligerent, though these days it doesn't chase the other fish...as much. From what I've read these get any from 4" to 7". In Feb 2020 this fish is right at about 5".
    algae4.JPG

    Full tank shot in Jan 2019:
    jan2019_fts.JPG
    Last edited by kaybee; 02-04-2020 at 04:55 PM.
    African cichlid and saltwater aquariums

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