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Old 06/14/2018, 07:06 AM   #26
taricha
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Good to see the new thread continue the path of interesting stuff.
I wonder how the mud differs chemically from the typical reef sand. One thing that comes to mind, is that some formulations of phytoplankton growth media use "soil extract" in order to provide the trace elements - I assume simulating runoff from land. I wonder if the mud acts as a reservoir for Trace elements for the plants.
The other idea that comes to mind is that I would assume the mud has more Organics that gradually break down over time in order to feed the base of the plants.

Where are you getting mud from?


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Old 06/14/2018, 08:22 AM   #27
Michael Hoaster
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Thanks taricha. Yes, I would expect the mud to have abundant organic material, as well as all kinds of fauna, adding biodiversity. I have read that seagrass likes soft, muddy sand to root in. In the previous setup, I added some of this mud, then covered it with sand, so it's not exposed to light or the bulk water. The grasses responded well.

I got it from Florida Pets. It is actual, black, stinky mud. So you don't need a lot.

Rather than planting in clean sand, I want to give the grasses a fertile home right from the start, rather than waiting for nutrients to build up. And since they are true, rooted plants, they take up a lot of nutrients from the soil.

So hopefully, my dirty sand bed will provide a good home to both the grasses and micro fauna, adding nutrients and diversity to the foundation of the ecosystem.

While we're on the subject, I wanted to elaborate on the reasoning for using multiple sand grain sizes. Layers of different grain sizes are conducive to different pore water oxygen levels and thus different kinds of bacteria. By layering with coarse at the top, medium in the middle and fine on the bottom, I should get a gradient from aerobic to anaerobic to anoxic conditions. This should foster diversity in bacteria, which is a good thing. Also, the coarse top layer provides habitat (and refuge) for pods and other tiny creatures to feed on accumulating detritus.


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Old 06/14/2018, 01:29 PM   #28
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I need to bookmark this post so when I redo my tank I can reference it.


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Old 06/14/2018, 10:07 PM   #29
Michael Hoaster
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I'll take that as a lovely compliment! Thanks Dawn. I look forward to a fun journey!


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Old 06/14/2018, 11:12 PM   #30
Michael Hoaster
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Let's talk a little about the plants.

If things go well, 2/3 of the substrate will be covered in Manatee and Shoal Grass. These are both narrow bladed seagrasses that I like a lot. They are slow to establish, but worth the effort.

I will also attempt to keep several macro algae. Having grown many over the last four years, I have a pretty good idea what I want, and just as importantly, what I don't. Several of the macros I acquired became pests later, popping up all over. I'm going to be pickier this time around. My vision is to have a lot of greens and a splash of reds.

So, besides ecosystem building, I'm also gardening. I want my ecosystem to be pretty. I want an aquarium writhing with plants!

Next let's talk about dosing.


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Old 06/15/2018, 04:22 AM   #31
Subsea
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Back in the dirt…

Starting up my new ecosystem requires a foundation for life. A suitable substrate for the sand bed creatures and the seagrasses is required. To support biodiversity, I will provide a variety of sand grain sizes, dirt, mud, shells and rubble - just as I've seen in Nature. It will not be a sterile, dead sand bed. It will be messy and wriggling with life.

How will this new substrate differ from the previous one? It will have more dirt and mud in it. In my experience, the grasses and the creatures enjoy it.

I managed to save a number of spaghetti worms from the old setup. I'll be adding live sand and live rock. I'm really hoping to get the bottom of the food chain established early. I believe this will help with stability, in an unstable phase of the tank's life.

Other members of the crew include two species of reproducing snails (Cerith & Mini Strombus), a fighting conch and a sea cucumber. Right now they're in my holding tank. I'll add some serpent stars and pods as well.

This an important step. Laying the foundation for life. Yay!
Yes to starting at the bottom of the food chain. The first time I got the mix and match diversity from IPSF, I went into a dark closet with differrent colored backgroundsas and shined flashlight thru bags to see squiggly things.


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Old 06/15/2018, 09:36 AM   #32
WYA123
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I am learning so many new things from this, especially about the substrate. Can't wait to see how your marine garden turns out.


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Old 06/18/2018, 01:28 PM   #33
Michael Hoaster
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Thanks WYA123! Lots of ways to do substrates. Obviously, the dirt components are unnecessary if not growing seagrasses. Macros get all their nutrients from the water.


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Old 06/18/2018, 04:36 PM   #34
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Let's talk a little about the plants.
I will also attempt to keep several macro algae. Having grown many over the last four years, I have a pretty good idea what I want, and just as importantly, what I don't. Several of the macros I acquired became pests later, popping up all over. I'm going to be pickier this time around. My vision is to have a lot of greens and a splash of reds.
If you are going to do green macro what green will you do and why?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Subsea
Yes to starting at the bottom of the food chain. The first time I got the mix and match diversity from IPSF, I went into a dark closet with different colored backgrounds and shined flashlight thru bags to see squiggly things.
Recall what mix and match you did?


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Old 06/18/2018, 05:00 PM   #35
Subsea
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I have done IPSF numerous times. I coupled diversity with micro fauna & fana with Tang Heaven Red by the pound.

http://www.ipsf.com/livesand.html
While you would not need nitrification bacteria, everything else in that kit will work to the benefit of your sandbed.


Since then, I achieve this biodiversity when introducing diver collected live rock. From my perspective, I want to maximize the complete benefit of biological filtration by using this sustainable source of live rock. In the early 1990, a handful of visionaries purchased long term lease rights west of Tampa in 30’ of water and placed 20 million tons of limestone from rock quarries inland.

I also suggest getting live sand from live_plants which is GCE, GulfCoast EcoSystem.


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Old 06/18/2018, 08:00 PM   #36
Michael Hoaster
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Great question, lapin. What greens and why.

The greens I am interested in are Maiden's Hair, Ulva, Tufted Joint algae, and Pine Cone algae. I think the maiden's hair will work well on the fake wall, as a nutrient uptake turf, that should move well in the current. Ulva is a nutrient sponge that should help compete with micro algae, as well as provide food for numerous herbivores. The tufted joint and pine cone algae both naturally occur in seagrass beds, so they will add diversity there. Because they both need calcium, they will be good indicators of calcium levels.

I probably won't do any caulerpas, but I can't promise. They generally grow too fast, and require too much pruning.


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Old Yesterday, 08:15 AM   #37
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Your plan sounds terrific! This will be a fun thread to watch (again)


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Old Yesterday, 04:48 PM   #38
Michael Hoaster
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Thanks Kevin! Hopefully, it will be fun. It's interesting to me to see what I'm doing differently this time around - not much. So, either I made some good choices before, or I didn't learn anything making bad ones!

This is really just a refinement of the previous iteration. Some might ask why bother? My answer is that I learned so much the first time, doing it over gives me the chance apply what I learned, as well as fix a few things that needed correcting.


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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 Macro Algae Lagoon
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Old Yesterday, 05:22 PM   #39
lapin
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Quote:
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Great question, lapin. What greens and why.
The greens I am interested in are Maiden's Hair.
That stuff looks very cool.
Dont they call that turtle grass? Have you grown it before? Do you now if it grows out of control or is it well behaved?


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Old Yesterday, 06:16 PM   #40
Michael Hoaster
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Yes, I think turtle weed is another name for it. I have not tried it before. GCE's plant guide says it grows moderately, requires high light and current, and they classify it as advanced. So it sounds like a difficult to keep plant, that's probably not invasive. I may not have success with it. But, as you said, it looks cool, so I'm going to try it. I suspect that if I am able to keep it alive, it may well be invasive. It sounds like it is unpalatable to herbivores too, so it's a risk.

I'm hoping to grow it on the fake back wall, and maybe the fake root too. I think it would look really cool, moving in the current.


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