Jump to content

Chris's Pico Pest Reef!


Chris
 Share

Recommended Posts

On 12/24/2021 at 4:59 PM, Streetwise said:

Can you or anyone else educate me on macro algae? This wasn’t a marine tank topic in the 1990s, at least for me.

If I'm being honest, I've yet to really get a handle on them myself! Their care requirements aren't as well documented as most coral, and it seems that some of them simply don't thrive in the average aquarium.

But, as a rule, you treat them much like freshwater plants. You have two overarching groups of macroalgae, and three different colors (that matter for the hobbyist):

You have calcified and non-calcified algae, and some that fall somewhere between the two. Calcified algae are rigid, and tend to be less edible for herbivorous animals. However, they require calcium (among other things) to grow, and can quickly deplete a tank of minerals without dosing. The Cactus Caulerpa I posted is semi-calcifed - it's somewhat rigid, but it's not stiff, per se. An algae like Caulerpa Prolifera is almost completely non-calcified, and feels similar to a blade of grass.

The three color groups are brown, green, and red.

Brown species tend to live very near or at the surface of the water, like Sargassum. These species receive tons of direct sunlight and usually very heavy flow, and as such, most people don't have good success with keeping most of them in tanks. I've tried Sargassum twice, and it slowly died off both times. Something like a Blue Scroll Algae is brown with blue iridescence in the right lighting, and is much more attainable for the home hobbyist.

Green species tend to live in the first 20 meters or so of ocean depth and are usually used to relatively intense sunlight - but nowhere near what brown species receive. These are probably the most common ones you'll see - they're usually some of the easiest ones to grow, and are great at absorbing nitrogen in the case of most non-calcified species.

Red species tend to live somewhere below 5 meters or so, and are used to lower levels of sunlight and even nearly complete shade. These are very popular ornamental species, like Gracilaria Hayi, Dragon's Breath, or Galaxaura. Some are completely non-calcified, but IME, most of the red species available in the aquarium trade are at least semi-calcified. These also require high levels of iron (like red plants in freshwater tanks), but tend to be slower-growing.

Macros have really only been popular as ornamentations for the past few years in niche groups, but they're growing in popularity, I think. Macro tanks can be a great change from your regular reef tanks.

Here's a 10 gallon macro tank I had in March of 2020 - you can see several species of red macroalgae as well as some Sargassum on the right. Plus, some second (and third!) generation saltwater guppies.

1573065365_FTS3-4.JPG.5307780498c90502f41051d1d43e7bb0.JPG

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 2
  • Love 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

So,  I picked up some friends for this tank today! It may get... interesting?

I've decided that I want a Gaudy Clown Crab for this tank - they only get about 1", but are known to be zoa and paly eaters, making them a good choice for this tank, IMO. But they're extremely seasonable and are only available through one retailer AFAIK, so I'll be waiting a minute for one. I went to a store today and bought a 1 1/2" Orchid Dottyback and a Peppermint Shrimp to keep the tank active for now, since I was getting a bit bored with it just being hermits and snails.

Dottybacks are known to eat shrimp and snails, but I'm hoping that with this guy being so tiny, he'll leave the Peppermint alone. He'll be rehomed to a larger tank before I get the Clown Crab, so that's not a concern. For now, I think this'll make a great growout tank! They're a popular pico fish because they're usually sold so tiny, grow slow, and are too aggressive for most communities. It works out!

Pics to come, once everyone isn't so terrified of the tank (and me). For now, enjoy this video of my increasingly large population of bristleworms - there are two around the shell, but there are several more in the rock behind the shell! I've found several that were over 4"! Cool but a bit terrifying.

 

Edited by Chris
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

So, unfortunately I've lost the majority of the macros over the past month or so. I feel as if the lack of feeding and competition for nutrients from the cyano and nuisance algae may have played a role - as well as the hermit crabs, and their tendency to uproot the planted macros I had. All that remains is some Cactus Caulerpa, which may be going through anther round of die-off now - I'm unsure.

The tank hasn't received much maintenance - a couple top-offs, and one 25% water change. Water parameters are all in line, although I suspect all the nutrients in the tank are just caught up in biological growth - all the algae, cyano, and Aiptasia.

Unfortunately, the peppermint shrimp died right after acclimation. I'm not sure what happened - I acclimated it normally, and nothing seemed amiss at first. It was a bit pale coming out of the bag, but I assumed that was just due to the stress of the move.

The dottyback has done well, though. Still super shy, but I've gotten it to eat some baby brine shrimp. Forgive the out of focus video and dirty glass - it looked fine on the camera LCD, so I didn't notice till I went to edit it 😕

 

  • Like 1
  • Love 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/1/2022 at 5:46 PM, Robert said:

Cool tank build I agree I kind of like the pest anemones I always thought they looked cool.

I'm glad you're enjoying the build! I've always been attracted to the weirder and less mainstream animals in the hobby. Once you look past what's traditionally considered "good" or "bad" in the hobby, I find that there's a lot of beauty to be found in what people traditionally consider pests.

Oh, and keep up the good work. The team at the Co-Op never ceases to amaze!

  • Love 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've never understood why people don't appreciate what humans have labeled "pests". Most of them serve a very valuable service to their environment and when looked at closely have some pretty amazing abilities and purpose in the cycle of life. I love this tank. 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/1/2022 at 8:37 PM, xXInkedPhoenixX said:

I've never understood why people don't appreciate what humans have labeled "pests". Most of them serve a very valuable service to their environment and when looked at closely have some pretty amazing abilities and purpose in the cycle of life. I love this tank. 

Thanks! I definitely understand why people don't like certain things in their tanks, but I don't think the animals really deserve to be hated, either. Aiptasia can destroy a reef tank - but that's not their fault. They've evolved to be aggressive for a reason, just one that doesn't go well in our tanks.

The little guy was out and about when I got home. He looks good, to have just come home from the store. There is one white spot on his gill plate, and I can't decide if it's ich or sand. If it's ich, I have Coppersafe and a treatment tub on hand, and there are no other fish in here, so no biggie.

IMG_5828.JPG.68ddff5731e63c687f98834051f54a4a.JPG

IMG_5838.JPG.4fb5f8541da732de186aab5893b9a92a.JPG

IMG_5840.JPG.5b7bf90a7197a2661ee2edfd2ab99a9d.JPG

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
  • Love 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree, they don't deserve to be hated and I understand why they are not welcome in certain environments (I'm not going to let ants or roaches or mice invade my home but understanding why and how they show up and using prevention methods will keep me from having to do erradication efforts). Healthy respect and understaning of nature is what we should all strive for. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Alright, so no white spots today - with it being such a large spot, I'm thinking it may have just been a piece of sand. It wouldn't surprise me if he is carrying ich, but I'm not too worried about it, because:

  1. Dottybacks are rock-dwelling fish, meaning they have extremely thick slime coats that have evolved due to constantly being around stinging organisms in the rock as well as parasite spores on the rock
  2. I'm not cross-contaminating anything in this tank anyway, since there's all the aiptasia and cyano going on.

If he gets more than a spot here or there I'll remove him and treat. If not, he'll be alright in here!

 

  • Like 1
  • Love 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/2/2022 at 10:07 PM, eatyourpeas said:

What a fun little fish! I love his little housekeeping antics. 😍

He's been a lot of fun so far! I actually didn't know that dottybacks moved sand around like that! I was under the impression that they were exclusively rock-dwelling fish. Very cool, regardless!

The LFS didn't say, but I'm wondering if he's tank-bred or not. Most wild-caught fish I've kept have needed some time to settle into tank life - this guy just kinda found his groove almost immediately.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/2/2022 at 10:33 PM, xXInkedPhoenixX said:

Oh my gosh, I think I found my new internet crush. 🥰 ...that fish is stinkin cute. 

Aww, man, I thought you were talking about me for a second 😞 (jk)

He is very cute. He's reminding me a lot of a blenny, actually. Very inquisitive, and always up to some sort of mischief.

  • Haha 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/3/2022 at 8:09 PM, Robert said:

I love dottybacks. I got a strawberry basslet in my tank. One of the last fishes I added so aggression is actually fairly minimal

I didn't know you had a salt tank! Very cool.

I'd never had a dottyback due to the aggressive tendencies I've heard all about, but it's good to hear that they're not always as bad as some say. Eventually, this guy will probably move to a larger tank, so it's good that I (probably) won't have to worry too much about mixing him with other fish that can hold their own.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...