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Everything posted by mogurnda

  1. One of those things that scared the pants off me when I was new to anemones, but it has happened every few months for the past 12 years, so I am used to it. Still a big spooky, though Happened to take a few shots this time around. The GBTA usually takes up about half of the 90 gallon. Came home a few nights ago to find it completely deflated, except for one or two tentacles. Clowns were not happy at all. Back to almost 100% this morning. No idea why it does this. Maybe it was tired of the old water on the inside, and wanted to do a purge? Maybe it's tired of the clowns laying eggs under it, and wanted to remind them who's boss?
  2. Thanks all! I don't know whether there is something special about the species, or it has just been in captivity for so long, but it seems like the most bombproof of the gorgonians. Tricia, My weekends are usually eaten up by work in October, but I can send some along with another local if you remind me. There is always some that needs to be cut back.
  3. Looks like the famous "Scott711 Gorgonian." I brought a bunch in for the fragfest. Grows best with a lot of light, and medium to high flow. Use a razor blade or other sharp object to scrape some of the flesh from the underlying skeleton, and then glue the skeleton to the rock. I find the best way to secure it is to make a little cone of epoxy putty, and then put a hole in the top of the cone (like a little volcano). After a day or so you can use super glue or epoxy to cement the gorgonian into the hole. Alternatively, you can just place the frag somewhere it will stay put, and it will encrust on its own soon enough.
  4. I would upgrade the firmware, but definitely plug it into the router rather than using wifi. It doesn't take as much time as you might think, and allows you to get bugs fixed before they cause problems. My decision point was when I had a two week trip coming up. It would suck to discover a bug when you're thousands of miles away.
  5. For the past several years, I have been exploring the world of sea slugs in the genus Elysia. They are cool for any number of reasons, including their exploitation of the chloroplasts from their food algae (kleptoplasty). I was very excited to see that one species recently made it into the journal Science, because of a weird, complicated relationship between the slug, the species of Bryopsis on which it feeds, and a bacterium in the alga that makes a toxic compound that ultimately protects the alga and the slug. Here's the summary figure from the article (Zan et al. (2019) “A microbial factory for defensive kahalalides in a tripartite marine symbiosis.” Science 364:eaaw6732; unfortunately behind a paywall) The authors discovered a bacterium living within the species of Bryopsis algae upon which Elysia rufescens feeds. This bacterium is responsible for the production of a chemical compound called kahalalide F (KF). The following observations are what make the story more interesting: The bacterium makes KF by stitching together amino acids using a biochemical pathway very different from that used by animals and plants. The bacterium, “Candidatus Endobryopsis kahalalidefaciens,” has adapted to the comfortable life inside plant cells by getting rid of many of its genes, and can no longer live on its own. Although E. rufescens concentrates KF in its tissues to deter predators, it does not maintain the bacteria in its tissues. This contrasts with the chloroplasts from Bryopsis, which a separated from the other cellular components and continue to photosynthesize in the slug. There is a writeup on my page here: (It Takes Three to Tango). If you have access, you can find the article at https://www.sciencemag.org/
  6. Thanks! Not sure why it is so unusually large, but we definitely enjoy it.
  7. Dang, Dave, that is so cool.
  8. Hey Garrett, Welcome back! Great to see one of the oldsters re-emerging!
  9. Thanks! I wonder how many other old-timers don't post because things aren't changing. BTW, your frag got knocked by someone (I'm blaming the urchin), but is hanging on.
  10. look like hydroid medusae, or maybe small sea spiders (pycnogonida) .
  11. If you want to make your pot plants produce buds, then use the red "bloom" light. Apologies if this violates forum policy, but that is truly what the bloom setting is for. Macroalgae do not produce flowers, and will want a balance of red and blue, and it does not hurt to have some of the middle of the spectrum as well. I do not expect that the red is hurting your algae, but it is not likely to be helping. I have had Chaetomorpha growing well in near-zero phosphate, and have more trouble with it if the PO4 gets too high. Mine waxes and wanes for unknown reasons, so it may be something like that, or it could have become too dense and had poor circulation on the interior of the clump.
  12. I first thought the title was "Dead Fish Care." I figured you could either cook or toss it, depending on freshness. I have this problem all the time with the FW loaches. They lie in the most unlikely positions in the middle of the day.
  13. I am in a biology department, and have access to RO water and an IT department willing to let me hook up an Apex controller to the LAN, so have it a lot easier than most. Before you set it up, make sure they don't shut off environmental controls on weekends or holidays, and that they do not spray insecticides. My office got to 99 degrees on July 4 this year (saved by the chiller), but in previous years, I learned which animals can take the heat (sea slugs) and which can't (amphipods) before I understood that facilities shut everything off during holidays.
  14. My tanks always sit high, so I miss out on the top view. Good point.
  15. This is why I hesitated to post anything. No matter how bad a businessman is, someone will defend them. I stand by every detail of my story, and have the emails to prove it. I eagerly await additional details. If he has been thrown under the bus, he earned it.
  16. This may sound heretical, but has anyone but me gone back to glass lids on their tanks? I haven't used glass tops on my coral tanks for about 18 years, but have recently gone back. It started in my algae culture tanks, when I realized that growth was not limited by light intensity, and I put the lids back on my 90 reef while I was away this winter. Even with some splash and salt deposits, I only lose about 20% of my PAR, but I'm only using the LEDs at 60% anyway. Cuts the evaporation rate by about 80%, so I don't have to think about the ATO as often. Corals have as much color and growth as ever so far. Anyway, is it time to rethink the topless thing? Now that most people have shifted to LED fixtures, which put out more than enough PAR, and don't have the heat issues of halides, is there a benefit to being lidless? I guess is looks cleaner, especially for a rimless tank, but otherwise it just means you have to top off more and use some form of screen to prevent the occasional fish jump.
  17. You saying I post too often? The anemone never splits unless it's really stressed, so I am hoping not to see a split for a while. You're first on the list, though.
  18. I just installed a Reef Breeders 48" V2 LED light, replacing the old IT2080. Love the low profile and the excellent colors. Thought it was a good time for a long-overdue update. Full tank shot. The anemone now owns about half the tank, with an island of mixed corals on the other half. The clowns love their mcmansion. They were posing, so I played with the macro function. The angels and engineers are being shy, so no photos of the rest of the fish today. Softies and hammer. The 27 cube with turtle grass and Bryopsis (for the slugs) has been enjoying the nutrients from the 90, and is getting overgrown. Time to thin the grass. The slugs are happy, though. This photo actually shows two, but they are squished together while mating. Some eggs from a recent brood. The group is producing about an egg mass per week, on average. Out for a morning crawl. More soon.
  19. Agreed. Also, do you have tridachnid clams or something else that the pyramidellids will parasitize? Otherwise, you may as well ignore them.
  20. I would be comfortable with a lot more fish being "beginner unfriendly." As pointed out in various posts above, it would have two positive effects. First, fewer beginning aquarists would buy fish they are not yet able to care for. We have all made those kinds of mistakes, and they will continue to happen no matter what, but higher price tags will discourage at least some bad choices. On the other hand, this is where a lot of the money is for the retailers, because an experienced aquarist can keep a fish for years, and therefore not buy much of anything once the tank is stocked. I haven't bought a fish for at least 4 years, so am not contributing much to the industry. Second, it will encourage captive breeding. One of the problems breeders like ORA face is that it's cheaper to buy many wild caught fish. They had to stop breeding mandarins because they couldn't sell them, for example. I expect that the number of species available will go up, and the prices will go down, when fish can be raised on a much larger scale. In my fantasy world, rare fish like carmabi basslets, which are very difficult to collect, will be more widely available once they are bred in captivity. I still think there is a big place for sustainable collection, which benefits local communities. The problem is that the industry has never come up with a credible way that we aquarists can be sure of the origins of our fishes. None of us want to contribute to the destruction of reefs for the sake of our hobby, but we have to trust an industry that, by necessity, wants to keep costs down. It's ironic that Hawaii, with some of the best practices, cut off collection. And Happy New Year to all.
  21. Nonsense. They can simply not sell them. By my count, Arking Mark has killed 5 so far in his "studies," with only one survivor so far, and he is more conscientious and experienced than most. I expect the pair will end up dying in the hands of another "expert" who doesn't understand his or her own limitations. Given the hundreds of species of all shapes, sizes and colors, I am at a loss as to why a retailer can, in good conscience, sell fish that are almost certainly going to die. The reefs face huge challenges, and I honestly don't know how big an impact this kind of activity has, but I do know that it makes the hobby look bad.
  22. Has it really been two years since I last updated this thread? Lots and lots and lots has happened in the meantime. The colony is increasingly successful, and we are gearing up for another semester of experiments in the spring. One of the biggest changes in the replacement of the old, narrow slug system, with one that provides better access to everything. The top two tanks are a 20L for Bryopsis pennata, and a 15 regular for sea slug stock; the middle row has half-height 5's and 10's for Bryopsis plumosa, and the bottom has the sump, Apex controller, and a doser for NO3, PO4, HCO3, Ca, vinegar, and micronutrients. The biggest breakthroughs have been: 1) figuring out the conditions for sustainably rearing enough Bryopsis to keep the slugs fed. 2) finding out that the babies will only eat B. plumosa, and not B. pennata. They look very similar, but plumosa is finer. They start out very cute... Soon they have rhinophores and parapodia... and before you know it, they are all grown up (the girl below is about 2 months old). I am still fine-tuning the rearing procedures to be a little more predictable, but I am on the third generation. I just collected an egg mass from which I hope to rear the exact right number of little slugs for the students' experiments. They are susceptible to starvation and attack by protists during their first weeks of life, but at any other stage the eggs and baby slugs are essentially bulletproof. It will be exciting to do some neuroanatomy. Big thanks to WAMAS, by the way, for providing funds for some of the reagents we have been using. I hope to be able to show off some of the results before summer.
  23. Holy cow! I thought I was the only one. I had an awful experience with these guys back in 2016. I needed two holding tanks and two I-mazes (think narrow acrylic troughs) for research in Mexico in 2016. Because the equipment needed to be shipped to San Diego, and then put into a van to get to the field station, I had a very firm drop dead date. I made this clear when I placed the order. I placed the order on the last week of April. I also added a couple of 16" cubes to the order in mid-May, and they appeared willing to produce those as well (with the caveat that it was impossible to get more than a sentence out of them over email). As the deadline approached, my emails from the time show a series of requests for information from me, followed by silence or excuses from them. After they missed the final deadline for shipping on June 14, I sent a desperate message. I got a message back about how hard it is to make a tank that looks perfect, and that I should go to someone else if I needed it sooner. These tanks were going to a garage in Baja, why would I need perfection? What do these clowns think a deadline means? In desperation, I contacted Glass Cages, who got the tanks done and shipped to San Diego in the nick of time, without a hiccup. It was great to work with actual professionals. I never posted any feedback, because I did not want to seem like a whiner. Pure Reef seems to make beautiful sumps, but, to be as charitable as possible, they are not businessmen. I guess I was lucky that I only lost sleep worrying about whether I would be able to do my research, and that their lack of professionalism did not cost money as well.
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