Chris's Pico Pest Reef!

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ChrissFishes01

ChrissFishes01

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Why not get rid of the aiptasia and get some coral in there? There are plenty of coral out their that you can keep in a tank that small, that aren't a danger to the future of the tank. ;)
I'm sure there are! But that wouldn't fit the tank's theme too well, now, would it?
 

xxBarneyxx

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Absolutely love this! I love mantis shrimp and it's been "on the list" to set up a mantis tank for probably about 15 years.

Love the idea for the tank as well. Definitely get some nice macros growing in there. Will give it a bit of colour and biodiversity.

Will be interesting to see how the Aiptasia develop when unchecked, think it's a great experiment and could work out pretty cool.

If you do want a little bit of coral in there I would suggest xenia and greenstar polyps. Xenia especially spreads like wildfire and could probably be considered a pest. Could grow both across the back glass.
 

FishHobby99

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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!

View attachment 144969


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.
Interesting. Never thought of painting back of tank. I use the fish background plastic TLF sells for 15 cents an inch.
 

Rocky998

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Interesting. Never thought of painting back of tank. I use the fish background plastic TLF sells for 15 cents an inch.
15 cents an inch can get pretty expensive... At first it looks cheap until you have a big tank and your total is way more than you wanted to spend on a picture
 
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ChrissFishes01

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Absolutely love this! I love mantis shrimp and it's been "on the list" to set up a mantis tank for probably about 15 years.

Love the idea for the tank as well. Definitely get some nice macros growing in there. Will give it a bit of colour and biodiversity.

Will be interesting to see how the Aiptasia develop when unchecked, think it's a great experiment and could work out pretty cool.

If you do want a little bit of coral in there I would suggest xenia and greenstar polyps. Xenia especially spreads like wildfire and could probably be considered a pest. Could grow both across the back glass.
Mantis tanks are a ton of fun! They're not something that I had envisoned myself keeping, but out of all the animals I lost, I was probably the most sad about my mantis. So personable, and always a great conversation starter!

Macros are probably going to be the focus in here - I do think that eventually the Aiptasia are going to overwhelm all but the most aggressive corals, so I plan to make sure I have enough macros in here to make the tank look nice, since the Aiptasia will have no effect on them. Considering switching to a different freshy light in the same spectrum, but I'm not decided on anything, yet!

So far I've got some Zoas coming - I do think Xenia and GSP are on the list! I've been looking into particularly aggressive corals, as well, to see if there are any who may work out in such a small tank and still fit the theme. Most of them have huge sweeper tentacles, though, so that makes it a little tougher!

Interesting. Never thought of painting back of tank. I use the fish background plastic TLF sells for 15 cents an inch.
It's a pretty common way of doing things! As long as you use acrylic paint, it dries easy and comes off with a razor in one or two swipes.

Nothing new to report on the tank, really - the two Aiptasia I posted about yesterday still look PO'd, and they've both moved about an inch. Not sure what's up, but I'm gonna chalk it up to nems being nems.

I ended up adding a small airline to the tank to help get rid of some of the surface scum I'm getting. Likely temporary - just until I find something a bit more long-term appropriate.
 
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PheonixKingZ

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I'm sure there are! But that wouldn't fit the tank's theme too well, now, would it?
I don't know, it could end up like this tank if unkept:
05CCA99D-278E-4E2A-B283-4076BE404B7C.jpeg

(That person actually had an aiptasia growing on a fish, which is possible, just super rare)
 

xxBarneyxx

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(That person actually had an aiptasia growing on a fish, which is possible, just super rare)
It probably means I'm a terrible person and I feel bad for that fish but that did make me laugh out loud.

Xenia isn't traditionally aggressive (no sweepers, stingers or chemical tricks) but it spreads surprisingly quickly and is pretty mobile so might actually be able to survive if grown on the glass to give it a bit of space to work with.
 

PheonixKingZ

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It probably means I'm a terrible person and I feel bad for that fish but that did make me laugh out loud.

Xenia isn't traditionally aggressive (no sweepers, stingers or chemical tricks) but it spreads surprisingly quickly and is pretty mobile so might actually be able to survive if grown on the glass to give it a bit of space to work with.
If he is wanting coral to grow on the glass, there are plenty of options. (GSP, monti, anemones, etc)

He did get it successfully removed from the fish by the way. (It was a Foxface) His tank started very fresh and clean until a little aiptasia was introduced to the tank. From there on out it just spread and spread. This is why it's important to remove pests when you see them, so they don't cause issues down the road.
 
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ChrissFishes01

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I don't know, it could end up like this tank if unkept:
View attachment 145499
(That person actually had an aiptasia growing on a fish, which is possible, just super rare)
That is certainly the worst aiptasia infestation I've seen! I'd be fine, with it though. This is a pest tank, set up with my intent to fill it with pests, not a tank to keep pests out of. I've got several other tanks I can set up if I want to keep lots of coral :) As far as I know, most shelled inverts are safe from anemone stings (especially from small nems), so I don't think the mantis will ever be at risk, either.

It probably means I'm a terrible person and I feel bad for that fish but that did make me laugh out loud.

Xenia isn't traditionally aggressive (no sweepers, stingers or chemical tricks) but it spreads surprisingly quickly and is pretty mobile so might actually be able to survive if grown on the glass to give it a bit of space to work with.
It is a bit of a funny thought - maybe something I'd think about in passing, but never expect to happen!

I'm thinking of trying a small frag of xenia and GSP just to see how it does. Worst comes to worst, they're aquacultured $15 frags, so it's not a huge loss if they don't make it.

I haul out my blowtorch every time the husband gets uppity. Haven’t had to use it for month.
Gotta keep em in line somehow ;)

Reef Cleaners order is here. Gotta acclimate and such.
 
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ChrissFishes01

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So far, so good!

As usual, it looks as if the mailman played a few rounds of football with the box. It's amazing that this is the quality of service that we consider acceptable.

Box.jpg


Inside, I found a cooling pack (they ship from Florida) and an insulated bag. When I've done large orders from them in the past they've shipped everything in a styrofoam cooler, but this entire box weighed less than three lbs.

Box 2.jpg


Here's the Cactus Caulerpa - a decent portion, although some of it has melted back:
Cactus.jpg


Caulerpa Mexicana:
Mexicana.jpg

Pencil Cap:
Pencil Cap.jpg

Brown Button Polyps:
Polyps.jpg

Zig Zag Periwinkles:
Periwinkles.jpg

Nerites:
Nerites.jpg

I ordered10 Dwarf Ceriths and got this many:
Micro Ceriths 2.jpg


Hermit Crabs:

Crabs.jpg


No obvious DOA's yet, although time will tell with everything. The die-off on the macros is normal - believe it or not, macroalgae ships worse than freshwater plants, lol. It usually bounces back quickly, though, especially green species like these.

I'll post pics of stuff in the tank tonight!
 

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