Biotopes - Help A Teacher Out!

Czynot

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I don't command angles in reef tanks. Most butterfly are not reef safe either (besides copperband butterfly). Cant trust them. I suggest tangs. Kole/ bristtle tooth tang are good tangs to have. They will keep your tank clean of algae.
Zoa and Green star polyps are very easy to keep corals. They are almost impossible to kill. It is possible water not stable, high nutrient, heavy metals or not enough light will cause a decline on the easy corals.
Why not do a simple local water sea life tank. Class trip to the beach to collect small fish/ and creatures.
I am in brooklyn. I have all the GSP you need and i have some zoa to donate. Hit me up if you are in Bensonhurst area a day in advance.
 

ichthyogeek

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Ok!
I will have to find our 'local pet store' because from the sounds of it our petco isn't going to cut it.
We initially ordered from a store out in Florida, so most if not all the species are wild-caught and aquarium acclimated from Florida (which is whey we opted for seagrass and coral).
I was a little nervous about putting fish in with the seahorses, would gramma bother them?
Our flame scallop has already attached himself with byssal threads is he still movable?
We were able to get a pretty stable pod colony that our dwarf seahorses fed upon... I do think the upkeep is going to be too much for our class though. But, moving the jelly in the small cube can make that aquarium a bit more exciting. I will reconsider the biocube as a seagrass (now I just need to find seagrass for sale). We already have 6 inches of live sand and some clams (not sure what type I forgot about them because they stayed underground) live inside (I was told it was good for deep sand beds).
We feed our corals with reefroids (because I read I could). (Ill take pictures of both to get a better diagnostic on them).

That being said.... my macroalgae (brushes, fans) are NOT growing in the biocube. I finally got some caulerpa to start (I took out all but 3 crabs), the fans are turning brown/black/grey and crumbling. Would seagrass be easier to maintain?

The gramma, neons and cardnal fish all sound great (will they be ok with little mangrove/upsidedown jellies?)

Cheers,
Ellie
Grammas won't bother seahorses, but you have to be certain that you can take care of the seahorses. I recommend joining a seahorse specific group (ex. Seahorse Source's Group on FB), since they are finicky. As for tankmates: grammas and neon gobies will be fine. Peppermint shrimp will also work as well. I should note that these are for standard sized seahorses and not for H. zosterae, the dwarf seahorse.

If you can, move the rock the flame scallop has attached itself to. It would be rather hard to try and remove the scallop from the byssal threads.

Check to see if your upside down jelly has too strong of a sting or not for the seahorses. Last thing you want is to accidentally kill off seahorses with too many stings.

Seagrass would not be easier to maintain. Like I said, they need a really deep sand bed. If you're going for a seagrass "look", I would recommend Caulerpa prolifera.

For caring for your macroalgae, what is your tank's magnesium levels? It could be a lighting issue, it could also be a magnesium issue, or it could even be an iron issue.

Your best bet, is to look up the care of upside down jellyfish. Worst comes to worst, you can probably isolate the jelly to something like a breeder basket.
 

ichthyogeek

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Tangs... HORRIFY ME! I have read too many upset tang owners.
We have a small A.percula and a large A.ocellaris (I am assuming, he has what I can only describe as bells-palsy because half his face doesn't really move...). He came with the 125g and the owner didn't have much information about him or the velvet damsel (we had to google that one to find out what it was). Stichodactyla haddoni looks expensive as well. He has been in love with a pink Condylactis Anemone (who I later realized would love to eat him, but the clown is too big at the moment, which I think bother the Condylactis Anemone because it keeps moving around the aquarium). The clown LOVES that anemone though. My rock anemones are really hardy! I just adore them (the clown doesn't though).

I have a redsea protein skimmer that appears to works great! My biocube had one added (can't close the back lid, but I figure its better to have it).

I only have 1 additional wave maker (I couldn't have too much flow because my jellies were NOT happy with it. We lost 1 of 2 to the current.

Which is hardier Butterfly, Tang, Angel? We have a budget for 1 'expensive' fish.

Students wanted an eel, but I think I can get away with using a engineer goby (it is a public school after all).

Should I attempt any coral in the large tank? Or should I stick with Fish and try to grow some coraline algae. I may just cover the tank in rock anemone... they love reef-roids.

Thank you SO MUCH for the input.

Cheers,
Ellie
IMO a dwarf angel would be the hardiest of all of the fish. I would look into a snowflake moray though, they are pretty neat fish.

If you can get donations of coral, then feel free to, but I wouldn't recommend buying any coral at this point. It seems that you've got a lighting issue, so it might be better to fix that before doing anything else.
 

Falreef2021

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Toadstools, Leathers, Xenia, Anthelia, different kinds of mushrooms. Consider one of them (the smaller tank with Bubble tip anemone and rock flowers.
 

Prof.Ellie

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I don't command angles in reef tanks. Most butterfly are not reef safe either (besides copperband butterfly). Cant trust them. I suggest tangs. Kole/ bristtle tooth tang are good tangs to have. They will keep your tank clean of algae.
Zoa and Green star polyps are very easy to keep corals. They are almost impossible to kill. It is possible water not stable, high nutrient, heavy metals or not enough light will cause a decline on the easy corals.
Why not do a simple local water sea life tank. Class trip to the beach to collect small fish/ and creatures.
I am in brooklyn. I have all the GSP you need and i have some zoa to donate. Hit me up if you are in Bensonhurst area a day in advance.

We are 4 hours from the nearest beach (I am in Texas). I am not sure how I wound up in this forum, but here I am! We do have a local freshwater tank which is so easy to take care of (we have a complete food web in there with beetles eating our live breeder fish babies... just amazing). These marine biotopes are far more tricky than I had anticipated (and I anticipated it to be difficult.
I may go down to the gulf of Mexico (not known for its reefs..... most places near the coast are very polluted) but I don't know the rules/regulation on specimen collection. I have been in the area for 2 years and haven't made it out to the coast yet.

My Zoa's and star polyps are troopers, they have been through so much, I am very proud of them! Our mushrooms are doing ok too! I will get a more comprehensive water testing kit to figure out exactly what is wrong with our water.

We have the one Centropyge angels. My students insist it is a baby and at least once every other week I will have to re-explain to someone that it is a dwarf species. Ours is very entertaining.

Thanks for your input!
Cheers,
Ellie
 

Prof.Ellie

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IMO a dwarf angel would be the hardiest of all of the fish. I would look into a snowflake moray though, they are pretty neat fish.

If you can get donations of coral, then feel free to, but I wouldn't recommend buying any coral at this point. It seems that you've got a lighting issue, so it might be better to fix that before doing anything else.
I was considering a snowflake moray, but I had concerns about the dwarf angel and invertebrates in my tank.

I have moved all our coral to our small tank (with the better lighting).
 

Prof.Ellie

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What I know about the small cube!
It has a built in filter/protein skimmer.
1620211155063.png


Light timer doesn't work, it has unoriginal light: New light - Aqueon OptiBright + LED

Current issue of concern:
1620211285218.png
1620211306944.png

My Gorgonian are dying!!!!


1620211341095.png

My macro algae are dying! (except that Caulerpa which seems ok...)
Since removing most of the crabs and snails from this tank there has been a huge uptake of the brown algae.
 
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Prof.Ellie

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Our large tank.
1620211665156.png



Lighting:
1620211711670.png

LED Aquarium Light Power 120W, Voltage AC86-264V, Frequency 50-60Hz.

Protein Skimmer:
1620211728669.png
Red Sea Prizm Hang-on Protein Skimmer

Filtration:
1620211750518.png
Penn-Plax Cascade CCF5UL Canister Filter



Current issues: Little to no Coraline growth (the shelf-like coral that was on the live rock has bleached and died). Brown zoa's aren't very happy. Jelly fish (they had a larger area of sand but the rocks were moved after they died) and horseshoe crab died in this system.


ANY recommendations (even aesthetic ones) will be taken with thanks!

Cheers,
Ellie
 

Czynot

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What kind of sand and rocks are in the large tank? It look like play sand.

That light looks like a chinese black box. They usually don't have good spread. you will need 2-3 of those light for that size tank.
-Your protein skimmer is too small for the tank.
- I do not see any pumps in the tank for water movement. Any dead zone (no flow) will have detritus settling onto the sand bed. Stagnant water is very bad for marine tank. It will have sulfur build up.
- Marine tank do not use canister filters or wet/dry filters. This two type of filtration are mainly used in freshwater tanks. Canister filter can be used in marine tank ONLY if it is cleaned regularly (weekly), otherwise the canister filter will be a nitrate factory.
Coraline do not grow out of thin air. You will need a coraline source to seed the tank. You can get this from a rock that is cover in corline. or glass scraping of coraline. LFS will able to give you a small coraline rock to seed the tank.

Most species of Gorgonian corals are not photosynthetic (white polyps) . They will require daily feeding.

Aqueon OptiBright are not good led. They are only good for fish only tanks. It don't have the PAR or spectrum for corals.

I will suggest keeping Green star polyps, pulsing Xenia and zoa. Pulsing xenia should create a lot of interest for the students as they will pulse. They are easy and very hardy. GSP and xenia are consider weeds of the sea.
 
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Prof.Ellie

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What kind of sand and rocks are in the large tank? It look like play sand.

That light looks like a chinese black box. They usually don't have good spread. you will need 2-3 of those light for that size tank.
-Your protein skimmer is too small for the tank.
- I do not see any pumps in the tank for water movement. Any dead zone (no flow) will have detritus settling onto the sand bed. Stagnant water is very bad for marine tank. It will have sulfur build up.
- Marine tank do not use canister filters or wet/dry filters. This two type of filtration are mainly used in freshwater tanks. Canister filter can be used in marine tank ONLY if it is cleaned regularly (weekly), otherwise the canister filter will be a nitrate factory.
Coraline do not grow out of thin air. You will need a coraline source to seed the tank. You can get this from a rock that is cover in corline. or glass scraping of coraline. LFS will able to give you a small coraline rock to seed the tank.

Most species of Gorgonian corals are not photosynthetic (white polyps) . They will require daily feeding.

Aqueon OptiBright are not good led. They are only good for fish only tanks. It don't have the PAR or spectrum for corals.

I will suggest keeping Green star polyps, pulsing Xenia and zoa. Pulsing xenia should create a lot of interest for the students as they will pulse. They are easy and very hardy. GSP and xenia are consider weeds of the sea.

We had purple Coraline on a few rocks. (I'm no expert but I do know life doesn't spontaneously occur.)

We feed our gorgorian ReefRoids every other day, we can definitely increase that to daily. We give it to our rock anemone too.

I'll get a new light for the biocube. Any Suggestions for a tank that size?
I already new we needed new lights for the big tank. I'm ordering three new ones.

Our nitrates haven't been an issue with our cannister. We monitor it frequently we will have an ammonia spike right after we add phytoplankton supplements or zooplankton supplements but they correct themselves by the end of the school day. We can clean it every other week, but we haven't been. Would every other week be ok? What else should we use if not a cannister?

We have two wave makers on either side of the aquarium. We do get build up in pockets though. One of those spots is where the flame scallop set up shop. There are two fake rock sculptures, the rest are live rock, they had purple coraline (it's all bleached), brown zoas, red algae, green algae (not much my clean up crew has eaten all of it!) Do we have too many rocks? Should I get rid of the fake rocks(they are the fishes favorite)? The rocks had spikey tube wormy things we crushed before putting back in the tank.

I am not sure about the sand. The tank was donated, it came with the light fake rocks, clownfish and velvet damsel. We got the live rich from someone else (they were so pretty purple, but have bleached out).
There are large shell chunks in the sand, so I'm not sure if it's play sand. I didn't want to rinse it when we transferred it to the classroom because we had to put the fish back in it and needed it to be fairly fish ready. We also kept 50% of the water so it would cycle pretty quickly (fish survived!) Should we get more substrate?


Pulsing Xenia sounds neat! I have caulerpa mexicana culturing in my at home tank I was going to bring over.

Thank you for all the advice!

Cheers,
Ellie
 
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Prof.Ellie

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Toadstools, Leathers, Xenia, Anthelia, different kinds of mushrooms. Consider one of them (the smaller tank with Bubble tip anemone and rock flowers.
I have several rock flowers in our large tank. Should I move them to the small tank? I was thinking of getting several more for the big tank (since they are the only sessile things doing well).
I LOVE the look of leathers, but are they hardy? I'm leaving towards Xenia.

Thanks for your advice!
Cheers,
Ellie
 

Czynot

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Sand don’t look white in the pic of the large tank. That is why I ask. Unknown play sand can have contaminants such as metals and silica.
You do not need that much rocks. A rock wall just block flow. Too much rocks and sand will have high nitrifying bacteria. This is good if you have high bio load. But you do not have high bio load. You will drive the nitrate and phosphate so low that you will get dino bloom.
I suggest to get icp test on the tank water. This way you know if there are high heavy metals or contaminates in the water.
AI prime lights is good for small tank 24x24” for low light demand corals. No matter what light you get. You will need to know the par levels. You don’t want to burn the corals or not enough light for the growth. Our eye can’t judge the par level. You will need to borrow or rent a par meter.
 

Czynot

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Please post your water parameter.
Salinity
Alkalinity
Magnesium
Calcium
PH
Nitrate
Phosphates

Coraline will grow when water conditions are good and stable.
 


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