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Old 12/02/2017, 01:26 PM   #2901
Michael Hoaster
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Thanks for the good question, Subsea.

I thought this needed clearing up. I did not treat my inverts with hypo salinity. I moved them to my QT to be in normal salinity, while I treated the display with hypo salinity. I did this because I couldn't catch the royal gammas, which were infected with ICH. The inverts, of course, are a lot easier to catch.

My sponges and anemone withered away in the QT because of neglect - my own fault. I (wrongly) assumed the anemone would get plenty of food, with all the molly fry in the QT. The lighting wasn't adequate either. I had hoped I could bring it, and the sponges, back to good health, once I got them back in the display.

Looking back at the whole scenario, I think my choices were, all in all, wrong. I desperately wanted to save the grammas. In doing so, I ended up sacrificing so much more. With hindsight, I guess it would have been better for the tank as a whole, to let all the grammas die, and run the tank fallow for a while, without resorting to hypo salinity treatment. After all, I was only able to save one gramma. And now, with him still in the tank, I can't add a peppermint shrimp to eat the aiptasias! And I have no idea if he will be cool, when I try to start up a new harem. Irony, anyone?

What did I learn?

1 Don't impulse-buy beat up Look Downs, or ANY other fish.
2 Quarantine ALL new fish.
3 When contemplating any treatment, like hypo, consider the tank as a whole, rather than clinging to saving a few fish. I know that sounds kind of harsh, but I am trying to manage an ecosystem, and that, sometimes requires harsh decisions.

I lost my pivotal species - the manatee grass. I had read that they could withstand short hypo salinity events in nature, but I guess six weeks was too long. They were OK right to the end, so I think they could have made it, if treatment was a month long.

Sorry for the wordy answer, but it helps me to sort it all out.

Lessons learned, onward and upward!


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Old 12/04/2017, 01:07 PM   #2902
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I read through this thread!!! Awesome Thanks!


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Old 12/04/2017, 01:19 PM   #2903
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Welcome jayporksandwich!

You read the whole thing? Impressive! Having done that, do you have any questions or observations? It's nice to get a fresh perspective.

Thanks for reading!


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Old 12/04/2017, 11:50 PM   #2904
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Fewer and fewer sea hares to hunt down. Yay! Next I'll be returning my efforts to the aiptasias. Hopefully, as I get better at "the art of aiptasia-x" (thanks Subsea), I will have success. Hang in there folks! It's bound to get more interesting around here at some point…

Speaking of anemones, my little mystery nem is still on the outside of the weir. It's so tempting to try and move it into the display, but I'm trying to be patient and let Nature take its course. I'd hate to damage it, just to speed up the process. If it is indeed my long lost purple condylactis, it has survived without any help from me, so I think it's best for me to just stand back and marvel!

I've been thinking about other new fish possibilities, and I've come up with one I'd never really considered. Now, stay with me on this. First let me say that I have a lot of pods. They're in the sand, on the plants, even all over the fake wall - the tank's crawling with 'em. I have no doubt I could sustain a mandarin fish, but of course that would break the biotope rules, and I'm not interested in them anyway. My point is, lot's of folks keep mandarins in regular community tanks and they do fine, minding their own business, hunting pods. I was thinking that I could get fish with very similar feeding styles, that are caribbean. So I am seriously considering…pipefish! They are so freaking cool, and they are actual, seagrass residents. Ideally, I'd get two - a male and a female, so they could, you know, do it. Wouldn't that be sweet! I could periodically replenish the pods if/when needed. If I got really lucky, they might even learn to eat frozen rotifers and cyclops.

So, what do you think? Am I nuts?


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Old 12/05/2017, 12:03 AM   #2905
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So, what do you think? Am I nuts?
YES!! And you should consider the pipe fish. Going to go for the Caribbean specific ones?

Leave the nem where it's at, if you move it now it might get lost forever.

When you posted the lurking comment the other day, I thought you had sent me a message. Haha


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Old 12/05/2017, 12:19 AM   #2906
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Actually, Sam, I thought of you immediately after I wrote "Am I nuts?" I knew you would jump on that! The lurking thing was for folks that might be reading, but never comment. It's pretty quiet around here these days. I get lonely…

I'm glad you agree on the (yes, caribbean) pipefish, as well as the nem. I'm still struggling to wrap my head around the possibility that my old condylactis is still alive!


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Old 12/05/2017, 10:50 AM   #2907
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Actually, Sam, I thought of you immediately after I wrote "Am I nuts?" I knew you would jump on that! The lurking thing was for folks that might be reading, but never comment. It's pretty quiet around here these days. I get lonely…

I'm glad you agree on the (yes, caribbean) pipefish, as well as the nem. I'm still struggling to wrap my head around the possibility that my old condylactis is still alive!
Seriously Michael? Pipefish? Seems pretty... AWESOME!! :0) Definitely get a small group of them. I'd say 4 or 5 maybe? What species are you thinking? I guess it's most important to see what your system could support naturally (i.e., pods). That would be a terrific addition.


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Old 12/05/2017, 11:27 AM   #2908
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Thanks McPuff! Four or five would be awesome. I was thinking of just trying two to start, see how it goes, and then consider adding more. But maybe starting with more would be better. Having more company might make them feel more secure. My concern would be that more would wipe out my pod population quickly.

I have zero experience with pipefish, so I'd love to hear from anyone that could shed some light on this idea. I was just thinking, since I have lots of pods, and none of my current fish seem interested in them, that my tank could support some slow, pod hunters.

When I kept Phyllis, the aiptasia-eating filefish, she did fine hunting for food, never eating the food I fed the tank. It seems like pipefish, which move at a similar pace, could do well in my tank, as long as I don't introduce any tank bullies.


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Old 12/05/2017, 12:51 PM   #2909
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I think pipefish are a great idea. If u find that you are needing more pods you can always create a PaulB mandarin diner which feeds his pipefish as well. He has a thread specifically on how to build one and you have plenty of places to put it that won't deter from the overall scape.
I've been lurking lately but still love reading all of your updates.


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Old 12/05/2017, 01:12 PM   #2910
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Thanks for chiming in wilder! Lurking is fine and I'm happy you're reading. I just get a little discouraged sometimes, when it's just one post after another by me. I do tend to yammer on, so it's nice to hear different perspectives, as well as questions about what I'm doing.

I was just reading about pipefish care and saw the PaulB thingy. I'll keep it in mind.

Cheers!


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Old 12/05/2017, 06:00 PM   #2911
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Michael,
Don’t you have a type of a cryptic zone that allows water back and forth but no fish? Could pods go back and forth as a type of refugium?

Chilli is doing well in display. My friend Timfish gives me 6 months. In the past, I have kept sea apples for two years. I know so much more today about complex food webs using bacteria and algae as the foundation of the live food chain on the reef. You should buy all fish at once. Often in school fish, newly introduced species are subjected to pecking order.


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Old 12/05/2017, 07:01 PM   #2912
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Yes, Subsea, I have a coast to coast overflow-turned-in-tank-refugium. It's not cryptic, but, like the tank, half is well lit and half is shady, for a nice light gradient. I have chaeto and other macros along with pods galore and who knows what else in there.

Glad to hear your chili coral is doing well. Keep us apprised of your cryptic refugium progress.

For all my complaining that I can't keep sponges, I sure have a lot of them. There are around ten pink, encrusting sponges, as well as several white stringy ones, and a whole bunch of tiny ones that have a tinge of purple. My latest attempt at a red tree sponge started out badly, but now looks better. Some necrotic tissue caused it to break off about an inch and a half down from the tip. I re-placed the tip and the remaining necrotic tissue on remaining part is wearing away, rather than growing. So I'm hopeful it will survive and grow.

I agree on introducing the pipefish all at once. I'd love to have four, but with all the fish I've killed in the last year, I'm kind of gun shy. So if I do attempt them, I'm leaning towards two.

I too have learned a lot about food webs 'n stuff, and it makes this hobby so much more interesting, as well as less work for me!


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Old 12/05/2017, 07:50 PM   #2913
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Can you show pictures of “Coast to Coast overflow refugium”. It sounds interesting.


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Old 12/05/2017, 10:45 PM   #2914
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I tried to find a decent pic, but there's really not much to see. It is hidden behind the fake wall. It has no teeth. So all you can see is the top of the fake wall, and the water level is slightly higher. My tank is five and a half feet long and the fuge is five feet long, eight inches tall and two inches front to back.

It simulates the shallows of a lagoon, where only very small fish and pods, etcetera can enter and leave, any time they want. When I decided against a sump, it seemed like a good way to make use of it. Its location makes it difficult to look into, so I leave it be. The only time I mess with it is when the chaeto overgrows out of it. Then I pull out chaeto like a magician with one of those never ending handkerchiefs.

I think it works great. I like that it's hidden. I don't like (and don't have) any visible man-made objects in the tank. The only downside is I don't get the coast to coast surface skimming I originally designed it for.


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Old 12/06/2017, 06:49 AM   #2915
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Fewer and fewer sea hares to hunt down. Yay! Next I'll be returning my efforts to the aiptasias. Hopefully, as I get better at "the art of aiptasia-x" (thanks Subsea), I will have success. Hang in there folks! It's bound to get more interesting around here at some point…

Speaking of anemones, my little mystery nem is still on the outside of the weir. It's so tempting to try and move it into the display, but I'm trying to be patient and let Nature take its course. I'd hate to damage it, just to speed up the process. If it is indeed my long lost purple condylactis, it has survived without any help from me, so I think it's best for me to just stand back and marvel!

I've been thinking about other new fish possibilities, and I've come up with one I'd never really considered. Now, stay with me on this. First let me say that I have a lot of pods. They're in the sand, on the plants, even all over the fake wall - the tank's crawling with 'em. I have no doubt I could sustain a mandarin fish, but of course that would break the biotope rules, and I'm not interested in them anyway. My point is, lot's of folks keep mandarins in regular community tanks and they do fine, minding their own business, hunting pods. I was thinking that I could get fish with very similar feeding styles, that are caribbean. So I am seriously considering…pipefish! They are so freaking cool, and they are actual, seagrass residents. Ideally, I'd get two - a male and a female, so they could, you know, do it. Wouldn't that be sweet! I could periodically replenish the pods if/when needed. If I got really lucky, they might even learn to eat frozen rotifers and cyclops.

So, what do you think? Am I nuts?
Hi Michael, I am sort of a long time lurker and quiet admirer of your tank. I began following because I keep seahorses and macro algae are a part of my tank. I was interested in the grasses even though I will never have that with seahorses.

Anyway, I have gotten a brackish pipefish in when I ordered grass shrimp from a FL supplier. I think he collects them in tributaries so maybe that is not true carribean and not acceptable for your tank. The salinity that he send them in is .017. They are easily acclimated to full marine however. They are signathus scovelli, I think. They are rather plain in that they are light tan with some striping. I have kept them in my feeder shrimp tank and found that they convert to frozen mysis pretty easily and they seem pretty hardy.

As a rule, pipefish have relatively short lifespans of about 2 years. They also have the same vulnerabilities as seahorses to bacterial infections. Like seahorses they are immune deficient in the gut, the gills and their skin (since they do not have scales). Your tank by virtue of what you are trying to create may have lurking strains of vibrio and other pathogenic bacteria. That is definitely not a criticism, because most contained systems do. We seahorse and pipefish keepers can't test for vibrio and other pathogenic bacteria. We just combat it with over the top husbandry/filtration and large weekly water changes. The conditions we create to keep our animals is unnaturally sterile which I think would be counter-productive for what you are trying to achieve. All that said, I have found these brackish pipefish to be pretty tough considering that I do not give my feeder tank the attention that I give my seahorse display. So for what its worth, that's my experience.

Dawn.


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Old 12/06/2017, 07:55 AM   #2916
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I was out for a few days but I'm back. Wow, a lot has happened since I was last on line. I like your ideas about the pipefish and/or dragonet. I sent you a couple PMs about an available Carribean dragonet.

I wouldn't be too hard on yourself about sponges that you stock. I think that the reason that the hitchhikers do so well is that they establish themselves. With ones that you purchase, you never know about how they are handled before they get to you (especially if the collector removes them from the water). But, I guess with a little luck the purchased ones should thrive if the hitchhikers do.


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Old 12/06/2017, 08:51 AM   #2917
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Are you lurking?

Hi there! Thanks for reading! I'd love to hear from you. ALL questions and comments are welcome. Come on down and let's discuss stuff!
I've been off line for a bit, but I'll return to catch up when that happens. Keep up the good work and posting your results. We're here!


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Old 12/06/2017, 08:59 AM   #2918
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Thank you vlangel, for your insights! That is just the kind of hands-on experience I was hoping to hear. I really appreciate it. The brackish pipefish sounds like a good candidate. I run my tank at about 1.018. Getting them to convert to frozen foods is kind of important, especially since my QT isn't crawling with pods. After all the bad luck I've had, I'm going to be very strict on quarantine. Would you say that pipefish are just as vulnerable as seahorses to infections, etc?

You bring up a good point with regard to what I'm trying to accomplish with my tank. I'm trying to favor the plants, with high nutrients. I dose ammonia! So I favor bulletproof fish. This sounds like the opposite of what dedicated horse and pipe folks do.

Most maps of the Caribbean include the southern end of Florida to be the north west 'corner' of it, so I think these would be ok, biotope-wise. From what you are saying, it sounds like these are the hardiest of a not very hardy group of fish. Hmm…


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Old 12/06/2017, 09:59 AM   #2919
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Glad you're back, Chasmodes! Thanks for the kind words regarding sponges. Between possible collection errors and my heavily dosed tank, sponges have a real challenge making it in my tank - at least the big, pretty show sponges. I am very happy with all the encrusting varieties I have, so it's cool.

On the lurking post, I hope I didn't make anyone feel guilty. I just want to encourage anyone who's reading to comment or ask questions. I'm like a spoiled child that needs attention!


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Old 12/06/2017, 11:41 AM   #2920
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Thank you vlangel, for your insights! That is just the kind of hands-on experience I was hoping to hear. I really appreciate it. The brackish pipefish sounds like a good candidate. I run my tank at about 1.018. Getting them to convert to frozen foods is kind of important, especially since my QT isn't crawling with pods. After all the bad luck I've had, I'm going to be very strict on quarantine. Would you say that pipefish are just as vulnerable as seahorses to infections, etc?

You bring up a good point with regard to what I'm trying to accomplish with my tank. I'm trying to favor the plants, with high nutrients. I dose ammonia! So I favor bulletproof fish. This sounds like the opposite of what dedicated horse and pipe folks do.

Most maps of the Caribbean include the southern end of Florida to be the north west 'corner' of it, so I think these would be ok, biotope-wise. From what you are saying, it sounds like these are the hardiest of a not very hardy group of fish. Hmm…
Yes, that is exactly right. As a seahorse keeper, I incorporate the macro algaes to help the tank look natural but also for nutrient export. My 56 gallon column tank only has 3 seahorses, about 4 trocus snails and 2 peppermint shrimp and yet I have a SCA-302 protein skimmer that is rated for 180 gallons. Amazingly thats not overkill because it effectively pulls out caked on gunk every week plus I harvest an enormous amount of macro algae every 3 weeks.
And that is while doing 24 gallon water changes every week!

Some seahorse keepers use only artificial decor with the live rock in the sump. Macro algae, coral and rock can trap uneatten food and detritus which is problematic for ponies. I turkey baste everything a couple of Xs a week and then syphon out the debris. Also I have 22Xs turnover with a lot of it hitting the painted glass floor so stuff stays in suspension a long time. I really miss a sandbed but seahorses are enough work without adding continual vacuming the sandbed.

Next time I order shrimp I will pay attention to what part of FL they come from and let you know. And from my limited pipefish experience, (which only includes 2 species)I would say that these are pretty sturdy. I kept them pretty long and they were only in a 5.5 gallon tank with the shrimp. They were doing great until I got a sickly batch of shrimp and then I lost them, (along with one of my seahorse who ate the shrimp). :-(


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Old 12/06/2017, 12:18 PM   #2921
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More great info, vlangel! Wow, you horse keepers are dedicated! Respect! That kind of maintenance is close to the opposite of what I do. The more I know, the less I look like a pipefish keeper…

Chasmodes just turned me onto some Caribbean dragonets I'd never even heard of. Maybe they would be a better choice for me.

Thanks again for your insights!


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Old 12/06/2017, 02:15 PM   #2922
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I think for my 20g high, I'd need a high capacity turkey baster and 20g weekly water changes to get it in seahorse shape, LOL.


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Old 12/06/2017, 03:59 PM   #2923
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More great info, vlangel! Wow, you horse keepers are dedicated! Respect! That kind of maintenance is close to the opposite of what I do. The more I know, the less I look like a pipefish keeper…

Chasmodes just turned me onto some Caribbean dragonets I'd never even heard of. Maybe they would be a better choice for me.

Thanks again for your insights!
You are very welcome. Someday when I am ready to give up ponies maybe I will take my tank in a similar direction as yours as I really liked how your tank progressed before the fish got ich.


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Old 12/06/2017, 04:00 PM   #2924
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i think for my 20g high, i'd need a high capacity turkey baster and 20g weekly water changes to get it in seahorse shape, lol.
lol!


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Old 12/06/2017, 05:28 PM   #2925
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It makes me wonder, as sensitive as seahorses are, how are they not extinct? Given all the crap that ends up in the sea, you'd think they'd be gone, or at least endangered.

Thanks, vlangel. It would make sense to me, that after all the hard work you've done for them, that you'd be ready to kick back and do something easier. I'm sure it's a labor of love.

"…I really liked how your tank progressed before the fish got ich." Me too! Kind of a setback… I even remember, before everything went to hell, I was thinking, "This is really great! Now what's going to happen to screw this all up?"

I guess what's important, is how we react to a tank disaster. After enduring a hefty dose of shame, I am now proud of how I am getting back on track. In fact, I think it's time to stop saying things like " after killing so many fish", or "after my hypo salinity ordeal". It's time to put that behind me.

My tank's doing great and the future looks bright!


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