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Pearls of the Antilles - Macro algae reef system

Discussion in 'Marine Plants - Macroalgae' started by lljdma06, Jul 5, 2011.

  1. jaidexl

    jaidexl Prolific Poster

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    That'll probably work out for you since you'll find it can be hard to keep macros in place with a lot of flow, I actually had to back down from a 1500gph pump to 900 on my big macro tank, and still had ball valves 1/4 shut. Gorgonians (not the encrusting type) and birdsnest coral appreciate more flow directed at them as it helps keep algae off of them, but many macros are hard to mount and just get swept up too easily.
     
  2. lljdma06

    lljdma06 Prolific Poster

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    Yeah, it's just a pain. Stupid oolite. LOLOL On the positive, the LR is fabulous. MY 2.5g and 8g are already ready for the CUC. This is due to my LR already being cured. :)

    llj
     
  3. JByer323

    JByer323 Junior Poster

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    Your hardscape is awesome.
     
  4. lljdma06

    lljdma06 Prolific Poster

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    Thanks, I can't really take any credit. The Haitian rock is pretty amazing to work with.
     
  5. lljdma06

    lljdma06 Prolific Poster

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    Life appears, an urchin... bleh...

    Some pictures... All cleared up. I shifted the rock a bit to look for the urchin a couple of days ago and didn't put it back in scape form. LOLOL I also reduced the flow. I'm running only one Koralia 425, still gives me about 10x turnover, so I'm not really complaining. Plenty for macros and seagrasses. I just haven't removed the 750 yet. Tried running just the 750, but still had sandstorm. so stopped.

    [​IMG]

    My sea urchin is still alive... Actually was super suprised to find him during the day. It's a young pencil urchin. A hitch hiker & also an algae eater. I can either remove him, or keep him and work to find macro algae that isn't palatible. He's too large for my 8g, but the 36g isn't a bad size for him. There were several species of macro algae on my list that fit that criteria and I think I can find a happy medium that still makes this a nice planted marine, yet will not end up a giant sea urchin salad!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And some video of the urchin.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhu-m4SFnmw

    In addition to the urchin, we have speghetti worms, colonial hydroids and a feather duster (small one). Looks like my sand storm days are over. :)

    thanks for looking.
     
    #65 lljdma06, Aug 26, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 26, 2011
  6. lljdma06

    lljdma06 Prolific Poster

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    Picking the plants... TOM! LOLOL

    Well, I did some narrowing down. Doesn't seem like I did, but I'm also taking into account availability, so if one species isn't available, you'll see a similar substitute, especially with the macro algae. I also took into account whether or not the algae is edible, so the urchin won't bother it. I'll grow some edible stuff in my refugiums so I can feed him. :) I still want to name him. He needs a fun Pirates of the Caribbean name. :D

    Halophila decipiens - short seagrass, thanks Tom for putting it in your tank, now I want it. :D
    Halodule wrightii - tall seagrass, resembles vallisneria a bit
    Halimeda incrassate - A Halimeda for the substrate
    Halimeda opuntia - A halimeda for rockwork
    Padina - very cool brown macro, looks a bit like some terrestrial mushrooms
    Dictoya - brown macro algae, more fragile than the others
    Chondria - red algae, fine texture
    Gelidium - more leathery, and fernlike

    Thanks for looking. With the color of the rock, I'm not even sure I want a red macro anymore. Anybody have any thoughts?

    llj
     
  7. lljdma06

    lljdma06 Prolific Poster

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    Nobody has thoughts... LOLOL

    I had a NitrIte spike but it's starting to go down. Thank goodness. Diatoms are getting messy. LOL... Some pictures for you. These aren't great, I've been enjoying some beer today. LONG day at the University.
    fts

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

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    See, diatoms are definitely there. Have not seen Mr. Spinypants at all. :( I have dubbed the urchin Mr. Spinypants.

    I'll tell you, Becks Oktoberfest is delicious!

    llj
     
  8. lljdma06

    lljdma06 Prolific Poster

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    Added my CUC 9/3... Peeeechurs!

    Nitrites are zero, did a water change, about 35-40%, and I put in my CUC. I've got the following...

    7 tiny blue-legged hermits
    3 ceriths (2 teeny ones and one medium one)
    3 Nassarius snails (2 big ones and one small one)

    I'll add more I think. Especially Nassarius, these guys are great.


    Fts

    [​IMG]

    Acclimating...

    [​IMG]

    LR, but with a teeny, tiny Acetabularia macro on it.

    [​IMG]

    You can see nassarius if you know what to look for.

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    Blue leg hermit shed...

    [​IMG]

    Cerith snail, the largest, he goes everywhere.

    [​IMG]

    Mr. Spinypants, still hanging in there. He seems to have moved to this rock which is great because I can feed him easily. The problem is that pulling him out of the crevice will cause him undo stress. If he ventures out of the rock, I'll catch him and put him in a critter keeper I got to isolate him, but at least I can feed him crushed pellets regularly because I know where he is. He gets fed 2x a day, but I can certainly increase the amount.

    [​IMG]

    I have no idea what this is a picture... Can't see on the thumnail in photobucket.

    [​IMG]

    More LR

    [​IMG]

    Can you spot the Nassarius?

    [​IMG]

    Here he is! With a feather-duster friend... These nassarius are great, they go everywhere. I want more. Ideal for the DBS.

    [​IMG]

    Hermit crab and cerith... In the crevice

    [​IMG]

    fts with actinics

    [​IMG]

    Tank was much cleaner this morning. CUC is doing a good job. I may expand it a bit. Plants and macros will be ordered soon, when I get paid. :D

    Thanks for looking, my plant list is a few posts back. I'm lonely again... :(

    llj
     
  9. lljdma06

    lljdma06 Prolific Poster

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    This tank is very messy, but my parameters are good.

    A bit of an update. Still no plants. Was going to buy them this week, but my credit card was stolen, so now I have to wait. I hate waiting. But like two weeks ago I got my first corals.

    First mushrooms. They are more green in person. Like a kelly green, but they photograph blue.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Blue-legged hermits on the Haitian rock.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Another view of the mushrooms. It's a decent sized rock too.

    [​IMG]

    FTS, this tank's still kind of dirty. I have to get my butt in gear and do some more tests in this tank. I had a concert this week, though, so I couldn't do anything.

    [​IMG]

    My pencil urchin also has been found and is now isolated in a critter keeper, so I can feed him. He's regrowing his spines. Also, tonight I'll be adding a frogspawn from my 8g to this tank. It's just too agressive for the 8g and my Yuma corals and zoas don't like it at all. So it goes in this tank until it can be rehomed. Newbie mistake.

    Thanks for looking.

    llj
     
  10. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Shrooms look good in this tank, color is nice........

    I did a 90% water changes today, those diatoms on the sand......they are able to move down and up in the sediment, so if you cover them with a fine dusting of sand, they will poke up and through it in a few hours.
    I need something that eats those, but not the grass.

    Sand shifting gobies would be good...if they did not also uproot plants.
     
  11. lljdma06

    lljdma06 Prolific Poster

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    I have this same dilemma, though I don't have grass yet. Have you heard of this species? Parablennius marmoreus? Called the Seaweed blenny. It's a local species, gets about 5 inches long, a little less. Eats vegetable matter. Requires a tank with high amounts of micro algae in the tank. Diet can be supplemented with Spirulina in dried and frozen form. Was looking up fish in my guide and found it. I wonder if John over at reef cleaners can dig this one up. It says it'll nip at stoney corals and clams, but I'm not keeping any of these. Don't know how far you intend to go with corals. I'm not going past softies. I know also Emerald crabs will eat this micro algae too, but I'm super concerned about adding an emerald crab with all the macro algae and seagrasses I'll be having. Either that or jawfish for sand sifting, but jawfish are predatory, the blenny is a vegetarian. What do you think? I'll post this over at Reef central too. Maybe we'll get some imput.

    I like the shrooms too. They look great under the actinics. I think zoas will look stunnin as well, as will the Ricordea florida. It's taking shape, it's just an algae mess right now. And I do big water changes too, just not 90%, but I don't have seagrass yet.

     
  12. lljdma06

    lljdma06 Prolific Poster

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    Forgive me for not posting here regularly. I've had a busy performance schedule. This tank has gone through some major updates, but I thought I'd start with the most important update. I now have a Planted marine. :D

    The Moment of Truth... Plants arrived (11/16/2011)

    My package from Gulf Coast Ecosystems arrive yesterday. I'll admit, I was pleased with the packaging. Very heavy package, but you can see why...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The plants were fully submerged and packed in water, then placed in a styrofoam box with insulation. Excellent packing.

    I ordered...

    2 orders of Halimeda opuntia
    2 orders of Halodule wrightii (shoal grass)

    But it seems I also got a Halimeda discoidea as well. No problem, still received plenty of H. opuntia. I've got spare plants too. Here are the plants out of the packaging...

    Halimeda opuntia

    [​IMG]

    Halodule wrightii

    [​IMG]

    OMG! Water in the bags stunk like High Heaven! Thought I was gonna puke. :sick: But, it smelled just like the gulf coast, so it's great to have such local plants. The plants themselves did not smell, so I know it wasn't the plants, just that lovely Gulf Coast water with all that organic content. Yum!

    So, I basically treated the H. opuntia like anubias and attached them to the rock work, which is consistent with how I see it growing in photographs. The Shoal grass was treated with a lot of care. I separated it into individual rhizomes and plants, ala Eleocharis or Lilaeopsis species and planted individually and spaced them for spread. Took forever and was very difficult as I had to keep an eye out for my Jawfish, which are accomplished jumpers. This is the initial planting. I may, again, tweak this a bit. Forgive my algae and cyano, I've got a larger Caribbean CUC coming today. :)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

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    Under actinics...

    [​IMG]

    I'm so excited, you have no idea. I think I managed to create a working biotope that caters to the needs of its inhabitants and yet still create an aesthetic aquascape. Again, I've got to tweak things, but I'm very proud right now. It looks like a planted tank, but it keeps with Marine principles. I'm very happy I resisted the urge to "collect" species. I only have three species. I'm also glad I resisted red macro algae. I think there is plenty of red and purples with the Haitian rock. Now I just need the chalk bass and a cleaner shrimp species.

    Getting the grass to grow is going to be a challenge, I've got enough light, I just have to cater to its needs. I don't need break neck growth, just need to maintain it.

    Sooooooooo excited. This took forever to realize. Thanks for looking.

    L
     
  13. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Lifetime Members
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    It looks great! It is very cool. The green over the rock work looks nice. Congratulations! your hard work is paying off.
     
  14. aquabillpers

    aquabillpers Lifetime Charter Member
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    Your odyssey to the kingdom of planted salt water tanks has been so interesting for me! I can't wait to see what it looks like when you get back to Ithaca - or maybe that will be the beginning of the next phase of your journey?

    Please keep posting often, but don't let that get in the way of good beer!

    Bill
     
  15. lljdma06

    lljdma06 Prolific Poster

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    It's starting too. I'm very pleased.

    Never, as I'll often enjoy a beer as I aquascape! I love the Odyssey, and I'll say sometimes this build felt like one. It went much slower than my two other SW tanks and I still need a few things.

    So, after about 10 days of letting it settle in while I busied myself with concerts, I epoxied the macro to the rock and the Ricordea florida.

    Now, this'll kill your neck to watch but here are the jawfish in action...

    [​IMG]

    Now for some tank shots...

    [​IMG]

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    Under actinics

    [​IMG]

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    Another jawfish video because I think they are super awesome!

    [​IMG]

    Seriously guys, the next step is to get chalk bass. I already see roots in the substrate. Going to do a waterchange Monday.

    Thanks for looking,

    L
     
  16. lljdma06

    lljdma06 Prolific Poster

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    Time for an update... 12/10/11

    Guess what arrived at the LFS?

    3 chalk bass, I need one more though

    [​IMG]

    I'm excited, they're eating like pigs

    Updated tank shots

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And videos...

    [​IMG]

    And you may be wondering what those antennae are? I have a mated pair of Coral banded shrimp (Stenopus hispidus). There is the smaller golden banded coral shrimp which is Caribbean but the standard coral banded is also found in the Caribbean, and that is where this pair was sourced. :) They are elegant and splendid to look at. They are fed mysis along with my jawfish.

    [​IMG]

    Thanks for looking. I'm thinking about changing to a Metal Halide or an LED fixture. I'm getting good growth with my CF lighting, but I don't love the look. I like the pretty shimmer I get in my picos.

    L
     
  17. aquabillpers

    aquabillpers Lifetime Charter Member
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  18. lljdma06

    lljdma06 Prolific Poster

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    Thanks Bill. I will. Nothing much to report except that two of the chalk bass died at the LFS, so I need to wait on them. Otherwise, plants and tank are doing very well.

    Neat link. :D
     
  19. lljdma06

    lljdma06 Prolific Poster

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    1/6/12 Photo update! I need to prune this thing!!! Tom, how do I do this??? LOLOL

    Time for some pictures. It's been almost a month. Sorry, this is with my camera phone. I'll get better ones later with my HD camera.

    There has certainly been some growth...

    Before

    [​IMG]

    After

    [​IMG]

    I'm getting to the point where I really need to think about pruning the Halomeda. But I'm kinda scared. I need to ask a few people how to do this.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Some Halomeda discoidea
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The shoal grass is doing ok. I lost some of it to over enthusiastic hermit crabs and burrowing fish and other animals. What's securely anchored though is showing new growth and I trust eventually it'll spread. It's also getting taller.

    [​IMG]

    The Florida ricordea are doing extremely well. I've had two spits already and the pieces are finding rocks to attach too. I'd like to expand the corals to include St. thomas mushrooms and some grandis polyps as those are Caribbean, If I can find bulls eye zoas for the top half, that would be sweet. Those are a Florida Keys zoanthid.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Finally, it looks like I got me another macro algae. I know I didn't order this. Hehehe It looks like either Chondria or Ochtodes, but I'd love some confirmation.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Thanks for looking, I'm still waiting on my chalk bass. I'm down to one at the local fish store, so basically I've asked her for 5, which I'll then quarantine at home. I also want to add more shoal grass, now that I'm much better at planting it, but I'm running into the problem that everything is now out of season, so I won't be getting any for a while. In the meantime, I'll fix what I've planted so far and hope that the stuff spreads a bit.

    L
     
  20. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi,

    It looks great! Keep up the good work and keep posting!

    As for trimming, try a small section first. If it has a rhizome type growth, I would try splitting it. If more stem like, I would top a bit of it and see if it branches. I bet it will.

    Remember that if conditions are good, you SHOULD be able to trim and expect regrowth/expansion/branching.
     

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