Saturday, December 13, 2014

New Reef Tank part II

Apparently I never published this:  an update for this post is that a year later, the tank is alive and doing well, actually both tanks are alive and well and about to outgrow their spaces and I'm just kind of letting them do their own thing. . . I'll post new pictures in a future post.  Smiles

The last post left you with the final "rock structure" for the natural biological filter rock in my new Reef Tank.  There are shelves and shady overhangs as well as lots of holes to plug frags into.  I forgot to tell you two things though.  Those little pickle creatures on the previous post are "good guys" they are little cucumbers who help sift and clean in the sand and rockwork.
 The Brittle starfish also survived.  Although this experience with the starfish suddenly reminded me that since I didn't have any fish I wasn't feeding anything so there was nothing in the tank for the starfish to scavenge/clean up/feed on.  So I figured out what they needed and the brittle will actually come out and take the little shrimp piece from the tweezers.  The serpent star isn't brave enough to do that.  We've also been finding what are either mini/micro starfish or baby starfish.  The majority are supposedly mini/micro starfish and they just clean in and around the rocks and sand, but one of them is growing quite large, so I'm not sure which it is.

Just to the left of center is the large skeleton of an old brain coral (the wiggly wavy thing leaning on the center white rock.  It is slightly covered with coralline algae).  I am planning to start a bunch of Zoanthids on it in the hopes that they will spread and cover it so it looks like a living coral again.  
After the Decatur Frag Swap, I purchased a couple items from people who were making their own frags and who lived fairly close to me.  I learned a hard lesson, don't agree to buy things sight unseen.  I'm not mentioning names, one was a good experience and the other only one item I purchased is actually doing well.  I got several zoas, a ricordea mushroom a piece of toadstool leather coral and some star polyps.  The surviving zoas found a home on the brain coral skeleton. 
I got a rock of blue daisy polyps.  These daisy polyps weren't what the store owner or I thought they would be.  They are pretty, but they are so incredibly tiny they are almost invisible, LOL.  There is a picture of these on the video at the end.
We ordered Copepods and Amphipods for the refugiums from Reefs2go as well as some zoas and star polyps to meet their minimum requirement for free shipping.  Here are some of the things I got from Reefs2 go:  First of all it came in really cute "treasure chest" styrofoam box inside a cardboard box.  When opened, there the bags and bags of orders, each item in a separate bag.  
There were hermit crabs, 2 different kinds of snails,  green star polyps, an orange carnation tree, 2 differently colored ricordia mushrooms, and several types of zoas, some yellow star polyps and of course the pods.

I found places for everything, you can see some of them in the top picture, although I watch them for a couple days and move them as needed depending on how they act.  I don't usually permanently attach them until I am sure they are going to open and be "happy" in their location.  Every coral has its own needs as to light/shade, water flow or no water flow.  
Then the fun began.  There was another Swap, Fragtoberfest on October 5.  Was that ever fun.  Again my sister accompanied me and we enjoyed ourselves immensely.  There were about 10 coral vendors, one or two hobbyist coral vendors, and a supplies vendor, as well as fresh shredded pork sandwiches and chips etc.  They had a couple of people who gave great talks about reef tank subjects and had great raffle prizes, of which I won several, 4 gift certificates for various shops and some frozen coral food.  The items I got are in the container still on their frags.  As you can see, some are large frags others are small.  
Everything was in excellent condition and most started opening up right in this container before even making it into the tank.  There were two items that went into a quarantine tank even after being dipped because one had something I didn't know what it was on it.  It looked like a white worm or slug but was fairly long and wrapped around the polyps and there were also some comma shaped smaller pieces.  I thought it was a polyp eating slug that is a problem, but once I removed it it didn't move any further, so I'm not sure what it was but I treated as if it was a slug as advised on a forum and then placed it in a separate tank to be sure it doesn't regrow on it.  It's the white and reddish stuff on the brown tall polyps.  
We found some really pretty and interesting items at Fragtoberswap.  In addition to lots of new zoas, we got some clove polyps, a small very pale blue gorgonian, a montipora, some neon green star polyps.  I'm not sure what the red thing similar to a organ pipe is but it has the prettiest little daisy like polyps on it.  There are several new ricordia mushrooms and several lovely polka dotted discosma  mushrooms as well as a nice bright orange slightly bumpy mushroom.

 I placed more zoas on the brain coral as well as the on the upright rock framing the flower/cabbage leather coral.

Earlier this week Mr. C and I visited a local Aquarium store and I fell in love with a Tyree Neon Green Toadstool but the store wouldn't sell it as they're hoping to eventually make frags from it.  So I asked the FaceBook groups I'm on if anyone had any of these.  First I was told usually there is a vendor with some and one of the other club members (I am a member of this club, the BNARC, Bloomington Normal Area Reef Club, and they are the ones that put on Fragtoberswap).  Anyway, one of the other club members said he had one and he'd bring it for me.  The one we saw in the store had a white body and head with bright neon green polyps that were slightly fluted at the ends.  This is it, although the polyps aren't out in this picture.  You'll see it in the video below.  There was also a vendor who said his was a Tyree Neon Green Toadstool, although the head on this one was brown, so I purchased it, too and sure enough, they both have the bright green polyps but different colored stalks and heads.

Then on Sunday I went over to Reefs R Us in Paxton, IL to pick up my Christmas Tree Worm rock.  I had the Christmas Tree Worm Rock on the bottom as the worms prefer not bright light, but they grow on a piece of Porites SPS Coral which would require light.  I had another item, a purple Gorgonian of similar size and shape that didn't seem happy with the amount of light it was getting, so this morning I swapped them and surprisingly, the Christmas Tree worms ALL came out in the bright light, no problem and by this evening the Gorgonian is all the way expanded, so apparently that swap was the right thing to do.  So without further ado, here is a video of my reef tank the way it is currently set up.  There will be a few more things added here and there, but it is almost to the point of just letting it grow out.  I hope you enjoy the visual field trip of my reef tank.  Sorry a few places the zoom went too far and wouldn't focus, but I tried to not move too fast or swoop around, so hopefully no one will get sea sick.

One more really cool thing is the number of items in the tank that flouresce under the moonlight portion of my lighting system.  I love to watch them and even night dive with a flashlight to see what comes out in the dark.  I tried to catch it in this video, but for some reason the fluorescence doesn't show up well on camera.

Thanks for coming along on my visual journey as I create a miniature coral reef in my own home.  I'll update when anything changes.  Smiles

2015 Polymer Clay Challenge

I haven't written a blog post in a long time, but I'm joining a 2015 Polymer Clay Challenge to create something every week.  Since I'm primarily a caner, I guess my goal would be a cane a week.  This will definitely be a challenge, as some are quick to make and others might take a full week to put together and reduce.  But I'm going to try.  I'm not sure how to put the button on here, but I'll try. . .2015 Polymer Clay Challenge  maybe that does the job???

These are the rules:

How to Join

  1. Make a decision what you will commit to making from clay during the course of 2015.
  2. Write a blog post announcing your commitment to join the 2015 Polymer Clay Challenge.
  3. Grab the button below & add it to your website.
  4. Leave your name & website in the COMMENTS below linking your written statementof what you will commit to making with polymer clay in 2015.
  5. Throughout the year, write a blog post and tell us (the polymer clay community) how you are doing.
  6. Share throughout social media using #2015PCchallenge
  7. Join the FaceBook Group here.

This is a free endeavor with no strings attached! Simply challenge yourself & commit to being creative in 2015.

So that's it for now. . . I guess this means a commitment to writing a blog post a week, too. . . might be good for me to do so.  

Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year or if you don't celebrate Christmas, have a wonderful Holiday Season, whatever Holiday you may celebrate.  Smiles