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Old 12/29/2017, 10:28 AM   #3076
Michael Hoaster
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Thanks guys.

Sam, I took a look at the black box LED thing. They look to be a viable option, with some shortcomings. I'll keep them in mind. BRS did an in-depth video comparison on them:

https://www.bulkreefsupply.com/video...rth-the-price/

I'll probably not get a caribbean pistol shrimp. Porcelain crabs are a possibility, especially if I get the purple condylactis resurrected.

The fish plans are always subject to change. Right now, I'm leaning towards nothing but bomb-proof species. Peaceful coexistence is also a requirement. So I'm picky. Combine that with my priorities on some fairly challenging plants, and it makes for a tricky situation.

One thing that would make fish selection easier for me, would be a fool-proof, guaranteed-to-work, fish trap. If I knew I could easily catch ANY fish that didn't work out, I would feel free to try more 'borderline' options. Anyone out there know of one? My home-made 2 liter soda bottle trap works fine for some fish, but not all.

A rather complicated solution for another tank someday: build a fake wall, substituting fish traps for bottles, for the fish caves. I don't even have the energy to flesh out the idea, but it's possible…


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Old 12/29/2017, 12:25 PM   #3077
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I trained a chromis for 5 days to go in a water bottle to eat and caught it first try.
I caught jawfish with a tiny barbless fishhook in mysis instantly.
But... Azure Damsel was too bleeping smart and fast for every method I could find over 3 months.
Finally, the only guaranteed method for me. Drain the water into a few plastic tubs down to a couple of inches. Fish come out of hiding and swim along glass trying to leave. Net the fish out easily. Pump water back in. Like 15 minutes.
Nothing suffered, except some rockwork wasn't strong enough to stay stable without buoyant support of water, and it had to be reattached.


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Old 12/29/2017, 01:05 PM   #3078
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Good ideas taricha. Lots of good ones out there. Moveable partitions are another option. Draining a 180 is a bit of a stretch for me, and the bottle caves complicate it further. I'm sure there are tons of creative strategies for catching fish out there. I wonder if there is a thread?

If I had a large quiver of catching strategies, I'd definitely be more open to more fish species. Hmm…


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Old 12/31/2017, 01:29 PM   #3079
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Have you ever felt like your LFS is baiting you? The other day I walked in mine and they had seven royal grammas, four chalk bass, two spanish hogfish, a queen and a rock beauty angel - all Caribbean species. Somehow I managed to resist.

Today, I did a water change, trying to remove some dinoflagellates. I know I got rid of some, but there seem to be a lot still in there. I may have to syphon more out through a fine mesh net, and just return the water. It's a handy trick when you've got a lot to get rid of, but not enough water to replace it all. And apparently water changes are discouraged for dinos. I went ahead and put some new charcoal in the canister filter as well. I only use it in rare situations like this. I don't want to strip the water of dissolved organics, that feed a variety of filter feeders.

The tank's doing well otherwise. The shoal grass has filled in nicely and is growing tall. The caulerpa racemosa peltata is growing back, now that I've just about rid myself of the caulerpa slugs. I only managed to find four today. There are still some lingering aiptasias, but I keep X-ing them. Only very tiny ones remain.

The few remaining fish are doing well too. Percival, the male sailfin blenny, has taken up residence in the same barnacle Leroy used to occupy. Betty, the female is quite the huntress, constantly stalking pods. Big Daddy 2.0 continues patrolling the back wall. I may get some mollies back in the display, to help consume dinos.


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Old 01/01/2018, 02:43 PM   #3080
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I've been re-reading articles on dinoflagellates. I've decided to take a more aggressive approach. It sounds like this stuff requires a full commitment. "You wanna get nuts? Let's get nuts!"

Yesterday, after the partial water change, I did another, but retuned the water through an improvised filter, to prevent returning dinos back into the tank. I started another blackout, this time wrapping the tank, so no light can get in. I have suspended all dosing, including CO2. I added baking soda to raise pH. I also plan to get some more phosphate media, to make sure those levels are low. After blackout, I'll run a reduced photoperiod. I will also do water changes on two consecutive days to remove any remaining traces. If all looks good after that, I will gradually increase the photoperiod again. I may add hydrogen peroxide as an extra measure, but I hope I won't need to. Sterilizing the tank water sounds a bit extreme for this kind of tank, but I'll look into it.

Happy New Year!


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Old 01/01/2018, 03:29 PM   #3081
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UV sterilizer will reduce the dinoflagellates. They travel through the water column, so UV will be effective in preventing then from resettling. Once you have the sterilizer set up for a week I would suggest a 4 day no light period. After this mostly all of the Dino's will disappear in the following week after lights back on. I think it is critical in this period to not do any water changes. Feed well and let your nutrients stay relatively high to encourage macro and micro algae growth. Good luck!


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Old 01/01/2018, 05:49 PM   #3082
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I've been re-reading articles on dinoflagellates. I've decided to take a more aggressive approach. It sounds like this stuff requires a full commitment. "You wanna get nuts? Let's get nuts!"

Yesterday, after the partial water change, I did another, but retuned the water through an improvised filter, to prevent returning dinos back into the tank. I started another blackout, this time wrapping the tank, so no light can get in. I have suspended all dosing, including CO2. I added baking soda to raise pH. I also plan to get some more phosphate media, to make sure those levels are low. After blackout, I'll run a reduced photoperiod. I will also do water changes on two consecutive days to remove any remaining traces. If all looks good after that, I will gradually increase the photoperiod again. I may add hydrogen peroxide as an extra measure, but I hope I won't need to. Sterilizing the tank water sounds a bit extreme for this kind of tank, but I'll look into it.
....But what if it's not dinos? Seriously I have seen any pics you posted that looked strongly suggestive of dinos.

I've seen cyano, diatoms, spirulina, chrysophytes, cryptomonads all do a really good impression of dinos. And your tank is really not typical dino case.
Sending you a PM of a write up for a couple of simple testing protocols (peroxide test and coffee filter test) for those without microscope access. Microscope capable of ID dinos down to the genus can be had for under $20, and for $70 you can get a scope that will blow your mind with what lives in your tank.


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Old 01/01/2018, 05:54 PM   #3083
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Thanks, and welcome, MGP!

I do have a UV sterilizer, but it's not plumbed in. Maybe I could do some kind of temporary setup. I'll think about it. I was just researching using hydrogen peroxide, but I would think UV would be safer, since few tiny inverts would be exposed. I have a lot of tiny crew members I'd like to keep alive.

I really appreciate your suggestions. You sound confident in your method. Did it work for you? I ask because I've read quite a bit of conflicting info, and it appears that, with multiple species of dinos out there, what works for one fails for another.

I'm not sure all of your suggestions would work for my situation. My tank is pretty much the polar opposite of a reef tank. Rather than keeping nutrients super low, for pristine, reef-like conditions, I dose nutrients heavily to feed a lot of plants. I think this, combined with CO2 injection, and a new, brighter light, led to my dino outbreak. Since I was already doing what you suggest (high nutrients), I tend to think I might should go in the opposite direction, to STARVE them of nutrients. But who knows?!!! THAT'S the biggest problem with dinos.

After re-reading your post, I think I may have misinterpreted you. Were you suggesting I raise nutrients AFTER I get the dinos under control? If so, I agree. I will definitely resume dosing for the plants as soon as I am confident the dinos are gone. I tried continuing with dosing, to encourage plant growth earlier, and it didn't seem to help. So now I'm halting dosing and pruning back macros.

I'm certainly no expert (don't wanna be!), but it may be that given the variation in dinoflagellates, the key may be for us to try different things to find what works for our own individual species.

Thanks again! If you have anything else to add, or any clarifications, I'd be greatful.


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Old 01/01/2018, 06:38 PM   #3084
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Hey taricha! Thanks for chiming in on this.

Sorry I haven't posted any pics focusing on what I think are dinos in my tank. I'm so vain! At first, I thought my seagrasses were so happy they were pearling! Then I thought they were diatoms. What pretty much convinced me they were dinos were pics I saw online, and some descriptions I read. In the morning, there's not a lot to see. Just some beige/gold/brown snot here and there. As the day goes on, it coats the plants and oxygen bubbles form more and more, until they pull the stuff up to the surface. Netting it out is only partially effective, as they break up and slip through it. Doesn't that sound like dinos?

"And your tank is really not typical dino case." Can you explain what you meant by that? I agree with you but I want to see if we mean the same thing. I look forward to your PM, thanks!


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Old 01/01/2018, 06:42 PM   #3085
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My aquarium has quite a few different species of macro algae that I collected in many areas along the Western coast of FL. I believe this ultimately led to the introduction of Dino's into my system. I have never fully identified the species of dinoflagellate, but they are not toxic to my invertebrates and I don't generally see bubbling. I think with the methods I used, the species of dinoflagellate is irrelevant. No light for 4 days and UV sterilizers will kill just about any quick growing algae that has part of it's life cycle in the water column. I think a common mistake people make is not extending the blackout long enough. I think 3 days is too short. Oddly enough I was forced to do a 4 day blackout in September when hurricane irma knocked my power out for 4 solid days. I had always struggled with Dino's previous to that incident. I had been running my UV for a while before the power outage, so the dino population was weakened at that time. When my power came back on the tank looked great and the macro algae prospered. This lasted for a month, I had to go out of town so I wasn't able to feed the tank which led to my macro recessing and ultimately the Dino's to come back. This time I'm making sure to keep the macros growing and I also added some hydrogen peroxide. 2 mls twice a day. I am not completely convinced the H2O2 has done anything though, but it certainly hasnt seemed to hurt anything either


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Old 01/01/2018, 11:14 PM   #3086
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More great info MGP! That's so cool you can collect your own macros. It sounds like you have a tank similar to mine.

I agree, I like four days as well. I've used it for cyano bacteria too. I'm not certain at this point how critical it is to know which species it is either. Taricha has sent me a PM I think will help shed some light on the subject. I haven't had a chance to read through it yet but I will shortly.

I doubt my strain is toxic to invertebrates either, as I still have lots of snails, and I've had it for a while now. However the molly that was eating them has been off for some time, but hasn't died. So I'm not sure.

Bottom line, it seems to me that dinos pop up, just like other nuisance algae, when we have an excess of something, that isn't taken up quickly enough to prevent it. I agree though, that it makes sense to keep the macros happy and processing nutrients, to outcompete the dinos. But how do we favor the macros over the dinos? Phosphate came up in some of the info I've read. Maybe I overfed my fish, and dinos can take up phosphate more efficiently than macros. Or maybe I wasn't dosing enough iron, limiting macro growth, and this allowed the dinos a chance to get a foot hold. And there are tons more possibilities! In all the stuff I've read, there are way more options presented to treat the problem, than to prevent it. There a lot of suggestions to limit available nutrients, and growing macros was also recommended.

"When my power came back on the tank looked great and the macro algae prospered. This lasted for a month, I had to go out of town so I wasn't able to feed the tank which led to my macro recessing and ultimately the Dino's to come back." -This suggests to me that when your macros recessed, they dumped nutrients back into your tank, fueling dinos again.

The median C:N:P (Carbon-Nitrogen-Phosphorus) atomic ratio of benthic marine macroalgae and seagrasses is about 550:30:1. So if macros die back they are dumping mostly carbon into the water. CO2 came up a lot in my research as well. With reduced photo periods and blackouts, lowering CO2 levels and general reduction of nutrients, I'm kind of back where I started. I still believe that the brighter light, and heavy-handed nutrient dosing got me in this mess. Favoring the macros, while killing back the dinos seems to be the way out. Figuring out how to do that is the tricky part! I'm going to look into setting my UV unit up temporarily and also dosing hydrogen peroxide, while I'm doing the blackout. Then I will export all I can, and then get back to favoring the macros with (more careful) dosing.


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Old 01/01/2018, 11:50 PM   #3087
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What pretty much convinced me they were dinos were pics I saw online, and some descriptions I read. In the morning, there's not a lot to see. Just some beige/gold/brown snot here and there. As the day goes on, it coats the plants and oxygen bubbles form more and more, until they pull the stuff up to the surface. Netting it out is only partially effective, as they break up and slip through it. Doesn't that sound like dinos?

"And your tank is really not typical dino case." Can you explain what you meant by that? I agree with you but I want to see if we mean the same thing. I look forward to your PM, thanks!

I mean that typically Dino onset follows a period of low P (or N). Usually, someone has aggressively employed methods to combat algae and when they finally succeed in making the GHA recede a new brown slime pops up. Some people it's too much GFO, some it's too much carbon dosing, some lanthanum chloride, some killed most of their algae with an algacide. Or wiped out a lot of microlife with an antibiotic or other strong chemical. Those are the stories that are typical. Our normal problem dinos thrive in settings where there's little biodiversity and can handle nutrient starvation better than most things.

Your description does sound like dinos, but other things do follow that pattern.

UV is a great option, for all dinos except one strain that stays on sand/rock. And a reduced light period up to a short blackout can be helpful in pushing more dinos into the water column where UV will get them. So I mostly agree with MGP, except not a fan of long blackout.
Peroxide feels like a non-option for you. So many oxidizer targets in your tank, and dinos may be more resistant than most of them.


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Old 01/02/2018, 07:11 AM   #3088
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If you want to keep your sponges (which I know you do) then continue to avoid the Rock Beauty as its diet is primarily sponge in the wild.


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Old 01/02/2018, 09:33 AM   #3089
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Thanks taricha!

You've given me more to think about regarding possible causes. It seems that imbalance is a likely cause, whether it is too much, or too little of something. You mentioned it popping up after a difficult battle with other problem algae, when our tanks are often out of balance. Low phosphate seems like a long shot for me. I feed pretty heavily.

I think the biggest difficulty may be balancing killing the dinos with providing for the needs of the rest of the system. As with most algae issues, I suspect persistence is going to be a major factor.

Thanks for your thoughts on UV, blackouts and hydrogen peroxide!


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Old 01/02/2018, 09:39 AM   #3090
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McPuff, I totally agree with you.

Though I haven't had much luck with big, showy sponges, I have accumulated a lot of encrusting varieties, that I'm very happy to have. Another big strike against Rock Beauties is their being quite the opposite of bullet proof. I do love them though! Maybe some other tank…


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Old 01/02/2018, 06:00 PM   #3091
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I just set up the most heinous UV setup in the history of aquariums. It ain't pretty!

I turned on the lights for awhile, to feed the fish and catch slugs. I got about eighteen.

I'll rewrap the tank and turn off the lights until tomorrow, when the blackout is over.


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Old 01/02/2018, 06:27 PM   #3092
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Bottom line, it seems to me that dinos pop up, just like other nuisance algae, when we have an excess of something, that isn't taken up quickly enough to prevent it. I agree though, that it makes sense to keep the macros happy and processing nutrients, to outcompete the dinos. But how do we favor the macros over the dinos? Phosphate came up in some of the info I've read. Maybe I overfed my fish, and dinos can take up phosphate more efficiently than macros. Or maybe I wasn't dosing enough iron, limiting macro growth, and this allowed the dinos a chance to get a foot hold. And there are tons more possibilities! In all the stuff I've read, there are way more options presented to treat the problem, than to prevent it. There a lot of suggestions to limit available nutrients, and growing macros was also recommended.
Iím not convinced that macro algae and Dinoís compete for nutrients directly. I think their optimal growing conditions occurs at different nutrient levels with Dinoís having great success in extreemly low nutrient levels, macro algae prospers at low to medium, and micro algae and Cyanobacteria flourish in high nutrient conditions. I think good macro growth is indicative of a good balance in the tank. Dinoís, micro algae, and Cyanobacteria will undoubtedly cover up macro algae when this balance is off one way or the other, and outcompete for light.

With all that being said I think itís important to control them in the water column with the UV, kill them off the substrate with the blackout, then maintain good nutrient levels using the macro algae growth as an indicator. Seems like you are headed in the right direction, I just hope turning your lights on everyday isnít keeping them alive. Interested to keep following and see what happenes


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Old 01/02/2018, 07:53 PM   #3093
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Caribbean Biotope Seagrass Tank

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I just set up the most heinous UV setup in the history of aquariums. It ain't pretty!

I wanna see...


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Old 01/02/2018, 11:06 PM   #3094
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MGP, I think you may be right, that dinos could flourish in low nutrient conditions. It sounds like that's what you experienced. But, as I am learning, there are multiple species of them that show up in aquariums. I believe you and I have/had a different species. You said that yours didn't bubble. Mine do - a lot. And I know for a fact that my tank was experiencing higher nutrient levels and higher than normal lighting. Given that high nutrient levels are given as a cause for some dinos, in multiple articles I've read, it makes sense for me to proceed, based on the evidence in front of me.

I can't thank you enough for your suggestion of using UV. I started that up today. I'm hoping it's use will negate the need for me to dose hydrogen peroxide. Today was the third day of blackout. I have not turned on the lights until today. I did it so I could feed the fish, set up the UV and take a look at the tank. I noticed that my caulerpa that is starting to come back had lightened a bit - not good. I believe that this macro may be the key to getting the balance back. It responds well to nutrient dosing greedily and grows like kudzu in my tank. So tomorrow, I'll end the blackout but reduce the photoperiod. I'll give the UV time to work it's magic, while encouraging my macros to 'get back to work'.

Thanks again for your help!


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Old 01/02/2018, 11:31 PM   #3095
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Sam, there's no way I'll post a pic of this mess! Heinous! I will give you a written description, you perv.

Starting at the bottom (in the tank), I have an old Eheim pump with a half inch outlet. My UV unit has one inch outlets. So, I start with half inch tubing, then stuff the end into three quarter inch tubing, which is then stuffed into the end of one inch tubing, going into the UV. No clamps or barb fittings holding the tubes together, though there are barbs at the pump and UV. Another one inch tube returns the water to the tank. Cords are strung willy nilly, in equally heinous (and temporary) fashion. The UV unit just sits on top of the tank, straddling the middle eurobrace.

Doesn't that sound lovely? But hey, it's under the hood! "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!"


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Old 01/03/2018, 12:16 AM   #3096
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Lol thatís how I siphon water out of my tanks for water changes. Just cram a smaller tube into a bigger one until its long enough. Haha


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Old 01/03/2018, 07:02 AM   #3097
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McPuff, I totally agree with you.

Though I haven't had much luck with big, showy sponges, I have accumulated a lot of encrusting varieties, that I'm very happy to have. Another big strike against Rock Beauties is their being quite the opposite of bullet proof. I do love them though! Maybe some other tankÖ
I think it's just like with any other "sensitive" fish. Once you get them to eat prepared foods they will be fine. But from what I've read on that species, that is the difficult part. Kind of like the Potter's angel (if you're familiar) which is a Centropyge spp that thrives largely on sponge. But once they are settled, they seem to be just as hardy as most other Centropyge angels.

My point is that you could definitely have one if you're willing to set up a QT system for a few months to hold this fish. Not that big a deal really if you've got a place for the QT.


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Old 01/03/2018, 08:50 AM   #3098
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Agreed again, McPuff.

But you have to admit, the Rock Beauty has a dismal record in the hobby. I have read many accounts of them doing great for as long as a year (usually much less), then suddenly they just die. I have never encountered a three to ten year success story. Maybe with modern quarantining methods and proper nutrition, we'll start hearing of success with it. Lately, I've managed to kill even hardy fish, so I'm kinda gun shy. I'd be very interested to read any accounts of success with them. Sound like a challenge?

The real hurdle for me with this fish isn't just the fish, it's also the experimental nature of the way I'm running this tank. With the plants being a priority, much of what I'm doing flies in the face of 'good husbandry'. Unlike the reef side, there's still not a lot of solid info on running this kind of tank. I'm finding that plants respond well to heavy nutrient dosing, and I've been pushing the limits to see how much is enough and how much is too much. My current dinoflagellates issue is a probable indicator that I have found those limits.

So I have concluded it is best for me to avoid sensitive fish and stick to the hardy ones. At least for now.

Ideally, I will build up a good fish population, which will naturally 'dose' the tank with CO2 and ammonia, so I won't need to as much. I've got two QTs up and running now, so I can introduce two groups of basslets simultaneously. I'm just waiting for a couple other things, but it should be soon!


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Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Lagoon in the works
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Old 01/04/2018, 07:44 AM   #3099
McPuff
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Hoaster View Post
Agreed again, McPuff.

But you have to admit, the Rock Beauty has a dismal record in the hobby. I have read many accounts of them doing great for as long as a year (usually much less), then suddenly they just die. I have never encountered a three to ten year success story. Maybe with modern quarantining methods and proper nutrition, we'll start hearing of success with it. Lately, I've managed to kill even hardy fish, so I'm kinda gun shy. I'd be very interested to read any accounts of success with them. Sound like a challenge?
I completely agree with you. The rock beauty has a pretty horrible track record for survival in home aquaria. I would never buy one for that reason. Some people are certainly able to keep them successfully though I'm not sure on the duration (there have been a couple here in RC). Your plan to stick with hardy species seems very smart to me and I consider myself in the same boat. Luckily, many of the Caribbean species are quite hardy!


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Old 01/04/2018, 09:01 AM   #3100
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McPuff, I guess we'll just have to agree to agree!

Hey, I mentioned your rockscape on "DIY 600+" for aquascaping. He's looking for ideas. I pointed him towards your vid on post #82. If you had a good still of your rock work, I bet he'd be thrilled to see it.


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Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Lagoon in the works
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