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ChrissFishes01

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Hey guys!

So, I recently had a disaster in my hobby. My apartment had to be treated for pests, and I was required to remove all of my tanks from the apartment during treatment. During this time, I ended up losing about half of my livestock - including my beloved Peacock Mantis Shrimp.


I do really miss having a mantis shrimp - they such cool little creatures. Very interactive, inquisitive, and always getting into some sort of trouble in the tank. Reminds me of my puffers, in some ways! But I don't think I want another peacock right now - I want to try a different species. One I've had my eye on for quite a while.

The Wennerae Mantis, Neogonodactylus wennerae!

p-832-Neogonodactylus-wennerae-resize.jpg


These guys max out at around 3", and are perfectly suited to small tanks. They're smashers (meaning they have modified claws to break open shellfish), just like my peacock was, but with much less power. These guys are able to hunt down crabs, shrimp, and snails, but are going to struggle to crack open anything with a thick shell.

I went to my LFS today, and picked up a 5.5 gallon Seapora glass tank for $16.99. It's a nice tank for the price - Seapora makes nice stuff, IMO. I rinsed it out, just to get any dust out of it, and this was it.


Next, I decided to paint the back black, since the tank wasn't going right up against a wall. I taped off the rim of the tank with duct tape, cause that's all I had lol.


I just use some Krylon Black Acrylic paint and a roller for this. I prefer spray painting but I don't have an area to do that here, so rolling paint on is the best I can do. It looks fine from the front side of the tank, but usually looks kind of "meh" from the back.


First coat:


I did three coats total, which got me a decently opaque surface. This is what the tank looked like, pre-fill:

https://i.imgur.com/3UUk3SJ.jpg

I added some sand from the Peacock Mantis tank, which has long been dried, but not cleaned. I'm hoping all that dead gunk in the sand will help get us a strong cycle in this tank. Whenever I filled it the first time, I ended up getting milk, basically. Gotta love aragonite.

https://i.imgur.com/HVXvpKw.jpg

I had just used plain freshwater to fill that time, though, so I drained the tank and added in the rock. I'm using a piece of marco dry rock that I had from a previous tank, a piece of well-seasoned rock that's got some life already on it (although, not much algae due to being in a bucket), and a piece of rock I got from the LFS. I got this particular rock for a reason - but that's gotta be a surprise.

Whenever I refilled the tank (with saltwater this time) I was careful to do it slowly to minimize cloudiness. The powerhead I bought (Aquatop MCP-1) was way too strong for this tank, and was blowing water around. So, I pulled my Koralia Nano 240 out of my 10 gallon QT, and switched them around. Each tank is better off, I think. Then, I tossed in a preset heater and a thermometer, and we're off to the races!


I'll update this post tomorrow, and tell the story of why I picked this rock, and what the extended plans are for this tank.
 
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ChrissFishes01

ChrissFishes01

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Alrighty, so last night (after my last post) I realized that I had put the "special" piece of live rock in upside-down - oops! I flipped it over and re-arranged the scape just a tiny bit. Here's a FTS:


If you didn't notice, the reason I chose that particular rock is the fact that there's three chonky aiptasia living on it, and some red slime, to boot. The girl in the store gave me the weirdest look when I asked for the rock and declined her offer to treat it with Aiptasia-X - pretty sure she thinks I'm crazy, now! For the uninitiated, Aiptasia are pest anemones that reproduce like crazy and sting corals and other anemones. They can be a nightmare to get rid of!


Believe it or not, despite me owning several marine aquariums, I've never actually had these guys, and I've always been intrigued. I know that they're basically the devil, but that's kind of the point of this tank, right? Now, if I could only find someone who had Majanos (which are another pest anemone, but these are usually more colorful!)...

The other piece of live rock (on the right) I chose because it's covered in these micro feather dusters. Not a pest by any means, and I love having them in my tanks. However, they do reproduce like crazy, and I figured they fit the theme fairly well. Plus, it's always fun to see where they pop up next! You can see some old, dead tubes on the piece of dry marco rock in the middle from it's last tank deployment.


I'm hoping to find some Majanos, but haven't had luck so far. I think they're gorgeous, personally. I'm also thinking some Yellow Polyps, Brown Palys, Caulerpa Prolifera, Caulerpa Racemosa, and maybe some other fast-growing macros might find a good home here. I'm always open to suggestions, too!
 

Rocky998

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Cant wait to see it when its done! Also, I noticed you are from Kentucky (I saw it on your profile)... I lived there a long time ago but never knew about a lfs there!
 
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ChrissFishes01

ChrissFishes01

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Cant wait to see it when its done! Also, I noticed you are from Kentucky (I saw it on your profile)... I lived there a long time ago but never knew about a lfs there!
Thanks!

Yeah, there are a few here! There used to be more. @PheonixKingZ is from Kentucky, as well. His LFS is (I believe) Petropolis Live, which is a movie store/fish store combo.

Mine used to be Ocean Wonders before it closed down due to COVID - then it was Lear's Fish and More, before that one closed down a few weeks ago. Now, I'm going to Berea to Adventure Pets for some stuff. They're okay. I'd much rather be closer to Petropolis or to some of the stores in Louisville/Cinci!
 

Rocky998

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Thanks!

Yeah, there are a few here! There used to be more. @PheonixKingZ is from Kentucky, as well. His LFS is (I believe) Petropolis Live, which is a movie store/fish store combo.

Mine used to be Ocean Wonders before it closed down due to COVID - then it was Lear's Fish and More, before that one closed down a few weeks ago. Now, I'm going to Berea to Adventure Pets for some stuff. They're okay. I'd much rather be closer to Petropolis or to some of the stores in Louisville/Cinci!
Sounds awesome! I loved Kentucky! We lived about 30-45mins away from Georgetown... I may be wrong though cause I was just 10 then, so its been a while lol
 
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ChrissFishes01

ChrissFishes01

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Sounds awesome! I loved Kentucky! We lived about 30-45mins away from Georgetown... I may be wrong though cause I was just 10 then, so its been a while lol
I'm about 30 minutes away from Georgetown! In Richmond. You may have lived here, lol.

It's a beautiful state, and I don't know that there are many places I'd rather live!
 

Rocky998

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I'm about 30 minutes away from Georgetown! In Richmond. You may have lived here, lol.

It's a beautiful state, and I don't know that there are many places I'd rather live!
LOL! The coincidences... I actually remember at least the street name I was on and looked it up on Google maps and then did the directions to Georgetown... We were actually only 15 mins away!
 

PheonixKingZ

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Do you plan to keep the Aiptasia? They will quickly spread and take over the tank.

What else do you plan to stock with?
 
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ChrissFishes01

ChrissFishes01

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Do you plan to keep the Aiptasia? They will quickly spread and take over the tank.

What else do you plan to stock with?
That is the plan, and the point! I have some Aiptasia-X on hand, so if/when I do find that they're smothering something I want to keep in here, I can try and keep them off. But, I'm fairly certain that I won't be doing that - the main point of this tank is to let what happens, happens. I'm not a huge fan of manicured scapes, and this is just taking that a step further - I'm simply stocking the tank and regulating water quality. Everything else is up to the inhabitants, unless something happens that demands attention (a caulerpa sexual event, for example).

Well, so far I'm fairly certain about the mantis shrimp - it'll be the sole sessile inhabitant, most likely, since it'll quickly hunt down other sessile inverts and this tank is a bit too small to handle the bioload of the mantis and a small fish (not to mention that not all smashers are fish-safe).

As far as corals/macros/anemones, I'm really sticking to the fast-growing pest theme. Yellow polyps, red/blue mushrooms, Majanos, Caulerpa, Chaeto, Xenia, GSP, Cinnamon Palys, stuff that people end up complaining about. If I end up with an Aiptasia Garden, so be it!
 
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ChrissFishes01

ChrissFishes01

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Alrighty, just placed an order from Reef Cleaners for:

Brown Button Polyps
25 Assorted Hermits
10 Dwarf Ceriths
5 Nerites
10 Zig Zag Periwinkles
Pencil Cap Macro
Caulerpa Mexicana
Cactus Caulerpa

Not all of this is going into this tank, but a few hermits, snails, button polyps, and the two Caulerpa species definitely will be.
 

PheonixKingZ

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Alrighty, just placed an order from Reef Cleaners for:

Brown Button Polyps
25 Assorted Hermits
10 Dwarf Ceriths
5 Nerites
10 Zig Zag Periwinkles
Pencil Cap Macro
Caulerpa Mexicana
Cactus Caulerpa

Not all of this is going into this tank, but a few hermits, snails, button polyps, and the two Caulerpa species definitely will be.
Reef cleaners is a horrible website. I have a friend who ordered a Pom Pom crab from them, and the crab had so many infections that it lost its “Pom poms”. She also ordered 3 emerald crabs in that order, all of which were DOA.

She said she contacted them, and they would give her a refund if she were to ship everything back to them. That’s right, the 3 dead and 1 drying shrimp.
 
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ChrissFishes01

ChrissFishes01

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I've had nothing but good experiences with reef cleaners. I always get extra snails/crabs, and he emailed me right after my order (not an automated one) asking if I had any preference on type of nerite. I've always heard good things.

Have you actually looked up reviews for them, other than what your friend told you? They're mostly positive, and every vendor has a few bad reviews. I definitely wouldn't go around calling them a "horrible website".

Pom-Pom crabs can lose their pom-poms for a lot of reasons - not saying that your friend's didn't have an infection, but it's very common to see them with only 1 (or 0) pom-pom, and it's unrelated to health issues. They simply lost them at some point. That really sucks about your friend though! They've always offered me refunds with just pictures, although there is a time window in which you're supposed to have the pics in, so maybe she was outside that time period? That's standard across most vendors.
 
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ChrissFishes01

ChrissFishes01

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Noticed a few things in the tank today.

For one, I'm starting to get the lightest patches of diatoms around the tank. To be expected, for sure. Another pest, I guess? ;)

For two, the red slime has spread overnight. I'm now seeing long strands of it coating things in the tank. You can see it in between these feather dusters:

FD cropped.JPG


For three, I'm seeing more and more pods in here. At any one time, I can look into the tank and find one within seconds. A great sign! They look to be of the non-coral eating variety, so that's good. I'm also seeing some other hitchhikers - namely, little tiny white worms that have appeared all over the tank. They're not flatworms, but are more like white spaghetti worms. Strange! I haven't been able to get a pic yet - they're teeny.

And, finally, the Aiptasia are getting bigger and are gaining a tiny bit of yellow around their mouths. This guy in the back in particular has gotten huge:
Aiptasia.JPG


That was with the pump off - when it's on, his arms stretch a good 4" across that rock. I'm glad I got a species with at least a little color and long, flowy tentacles! Some of them are short, stubby, and brown/translucent. Not as fun to look at.

Oh, and I fed one a piece of mysis shrimp. I recorded it, but I think I'm going to gather footage throughout the week and post it all together on the weekends, to avoid unnecessary links. Here he is with his tentacles in his mouth, though!
Aiptasia Eating.JPG
 

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