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Old 07/24/2018, 06:58 AM   #101
vlangel
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Thanks SaltySully! Plan's great. Execution slow.

I'm starting to picture it in my mind. A lush seagrass meadow spreads over three quarters of the substrate. A few, very carefully selected macros provide additional color and texture. It all moves hypnotically in the back and forth wave action…
Such a soothing picture! I like it.


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Old 07/26/2018, 11:16 PM   #102
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Thanks Dawn! Imagining is nice, but I need to do the work to make it happen. I've been camping two weekends in a row. This weekend I hope to make some aquarium progress!


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Old 07/28/2018, 04:32 AM   #103
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Camping! How dare you sir! You have work to do and pictures to take! The nerve!




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Old 07/28/2018, 11:33 AM   #104
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I know! This time of year is a tough time for me to get stuff done on the aquarium. There's so many other fun things to do! And the stuff I'm working on now is just drudgery, for me at least.

But it's got to get done! I'm going to stay home this weekend and git after it!


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Old 07/28/2018, 11:52 PM   #105
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OK, I got a little something done today. I got the fake root sanded down for repainting. PITA. I think I'll stick with the fake root work until it's done. Then it's on to the fake wall!

I've been thinking about what I'll do differently, on the new tank startup. I think the biggest difference will be in the substrate. In the first version (v1), I started with clean sand, and only a little dirt on the very bottom, seven inches down. This time, I plan to have a much more fertile substrate, that's ready to nourish seagrass roots on day one. It seemed like in v1, the grasses had to wait a long time for the substrate to accumulate helpful plant nutrients.

I might try waiting on adding macros, instead of adding everything at the same time. I remember thinking more than once with v1, that planting just the grasses at first might help. I had a fast growing caulerpa that I'm pretty sure outcompeted the grasses for nutrients. I'd like to give the grasses my total focus on startup.

And, as I've mentioned before, I will be rather picky about which macros I'll keep this time around. Ones like caulerpa and grasilaria are just too invasive. I want to increase seagrass biomass to exceed macro algae biomass. We'll see if Mother Nature agrees with me.


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Old 07/31/2018, 07:54 AM   #106
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I know! This time of year is a tough time for me to get stuff done on the aquarium. There's so many other fun things to do!
I know the feeling. I'm an outdoors guy. Once I get motivated to work on something, I'm all in, but until then, it is easy to get distracted with a fishing trip or something like that.

Glad to see that you're moving forward. Your plan makes sense to me. I might do something similar with my tank regarding the substrate. I plan to collect my own mud and sand for the base layer from the Bay. Then, I'll supplement that with play sand. I'll sprinkle some broken shells and small shark teeth for visual effect. The big difference is that I probably will start with the macros before going with the sea grass, mainly because my vision of the tank doesn't have a lot of room for a large grass bed.


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Old 07/31/2018, 11:13 PM   #107
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Thanks Kevin! Yeah, your oyster reef will dominate, so not a ton of room leftover. See what macros you like first. You can always try a single specimen of grass to see how it does, if you want to test the waters.


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Old 08/01/2018, 09:46 AM   #108
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Be sure to but a sand cap on top of the dirt. Tannic acid will leach out of the soil and make the water brown.

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Old 08/02/2018, 04:44 PM   #109
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Thanks SaltySully! Good point.

Whenever I added mud, I would always immediately cover it with sand. I had no problems with dirty water at all. Even a pretty thin layer of sand was effective.

Right now, while the tank is still down, I am soaking some garden soil in water. When terrestrial soils are suddenly submerged, lots of chemical reactions happen and nutrients are released into the overlying water, often spurring algae. So this should help the dirt 'settle down' a bit before I put it in the display. And of course, I'll cover that too.


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Old 08/02/2018, 09:07 PM   #110
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Sounds like you have a good plan.

Once my house is finished I will be putting a grass flat/ patch reef system in. My stand is 5' long so that is how big the display will be. The plan is for a large meddow of turtle grass with a mix of calcified stem algae. In the meddow I want a few freestanding colonies of branching sps. The meddow will be 3/4 of the tank ending in a live rock wall dominated by some brain/map corals.
Coral species to be determined.

I also want to try a few sponge species that are all over the grass meddows down here to see if it is possible to collect and keep them in captivity.

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Old 08/02/2018, 09:49 PM   #111
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It sounds like you have a good plan too! Gonna start a thread for it?

I had good luck with turtle grass. It puts out daughter plants and spreads. Free standing corals and a live rock wall sound cool too. And sponges!

Can't wait!


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Old 08/02/2018, 09:52 PM   #112
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I am planning on it. I would like to get the turtle grass to bloom.

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Old 08/02/2018, 10:17 PM   #113
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Awesome! Getting aquatic plants to bloom is the equivalent of getting fish to spawn. Flowers are biologically expensive, so the plants have to be pretty happy to afford them. If you can get them to flower, that would be impressive!

I'm pretty sure I got one of my manatee grasses to bloom. I think they were male flowers and were not showy at all. Seagrasses are crazy! Separate sexed plants. Underwater blooms and pollen! Most fresh water plants send their blossoms above water.

I'm going to have to go ahead and make that one of my goals as well! Flowers!


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Old 08/04/2018, 07:57 AM   #114
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I wish you luck, looking forward to seeing progress

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Old 08/04/2018, 06:23 PM   #115
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Awesome! Getting aquatic plants to bloom is the equivalent of getting fish to spawn. Flowers are biologically expensive, so the plants have to be pretty happy to afford them. If you can get them to flower, that would be impressive!

I'm pretty sure I got one of my manatee grasses to bloom. I think they were male flowers and were not showy at all. Seagrasses are crazy! Separate sexed plants. Underwater blooms and pollen! Most fresh water plants send their blossoms above water.

I'm going to have to go ahead and make that one of my goals as well! Flowers!
Wow, that sounds like a loftly goal. I wish you the best of luck and would love to see that happen in your tank!


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Old 08/05/2018, 11:26 PM   #116
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Thanks SaltySully! I look forward to showing progress. It's been a pleasure talking grasses with you!

Thanks Dawn. Getting seagrass to bloom is a pretty lofty goal, for sure! I'm hoping to parlay my four years of experience with them into further progress, so I think it's possible. In v1, it took a looooong time for them to get established. I went very slowly into dosing and substrate fertilizing. It was all new ground for me. This time I have a better idea of what to expect and what I can do to help. So I have high hopes!

Progress! Today I repainted my fake mangrove roots. I wasn't that happy with the original color. It came out too light and too grey. This time I went with a dark brown to black color. I'm hoping they will look more realistic. Assuming all went well, I'll add a mat clear coat and seal up some spots with silicone sealant. And that should complete the root phase! I was really worried I wouldn't be able to fix it, and I'd have to abandon it. I'm not absolutely sure, but I think it's gonna make it.

What's next? I guess it'll be mounting the wave box and doing the fake wall thing. I'm not looking forward to messing with that foam stuff, but again, now that I've done it before, it seems less daunting. If I do it well, it should look a lot better, and much more natural.

Slowly but surely, it's coming along…


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Old 08/07/2018, 06:32 PM   #117
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Time to show the progress!

Here's a quick pic of the repainted, fake mangrove root, not to be confused with the creatures from "War of the Worlds". I wanted to see it in the tank, before I clear coat it. I haven't polished the acrylic yet, so sorry about the image quality. Note the color is much darker than in v1. In my opinion, the root and the fake wall were too similar in color before. Now it's more brown, rather than grey, which I think makes it look more like wood.



Also note the thin light diffuser on the tank bottom. It is zip-tied to the fake wall. With a deep sand bed on top, it helps to hold the wall down. The new fake wall on the left end will also be zip-tied to it.

I have removed the deep sand bed planter. It was very effective, but I have something else in mind for v2. I will bury some rocks in the sand to help hold its depth, then I will let the current sculpt the substrate.


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
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Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Lagoon in the works
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Old 08/08/2018, 05:45 AM   #118
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Looks good. The light gray is closer to the natural color of mangrove bark above the surface, but once under wayer they become almost black. Once they are covered in algae and other benthic creatures it will be better than before. Down here in the keys the most common animal on mangrove roots is a orange colonial tinicate.

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Old 08/08/2018, 07:23 AM   #119
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Fake mangrove 2.0 looks really good!


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Old 08/08/2018, 07:56 AM   #120
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Looks great. Once stuff grows on the root, fuzzyness (is that a word) will make it look a bit lighter in color. I really like this version. Good idea for the wall hold down. The current in my tank has changed the sand bed big time over 6 months. It really shows where the current is and is not. Supprised the ... out of me.


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Old 08/08/2018, 08:19 AM   #121
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Thanks SaltySully. I had originally painted it darker before, but it was so shiny I ended up sanding it off. This time I went for near black, and if the mat clear coat turns out shiny, then so be it. It will get encrusted with life. Good to know about the tunicates. I had some small, clear-ish ones before. I do plan to add some new live rock to bring in some biodiversity.


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Old 08/08/2018, 08:20 AM   #122
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Thanks McPuff!


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Old 08/08/2018, 08:29 AM   #123
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Thanks lapin. Yes, I agree, nature should step in and do the 'finish work' on it. Foam walls like mine, with no rocks, need all the help they can get, to keep them from floating out. So the zip ties are helpful. I noticed the same thing in my tank before. The current does a lot to the sand bed!


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Old 08/08/2018, 10:40 AM   #124
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The mangrove roots looked fantastic before, but with the darker color, wow, very realistic. I like the zip tied light diffuser idea to hold down the foam. I will consider that for my FW tank wall. I was thinking about wedging the wall in from across the tank somehow by forming a brace of some sort. With all of the foam that I have in that wall, I might need both options!


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Old 08/08/2018, 11:02 AM   #125
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Thanks Kevin! It's better. Nothing like the detail you've done on your rocks, but I think it will do. I think with the volume of your wall, you'll need every trick in the book. It sounds like you've got it covered though. I hope I haven't bee too annoying about it!


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