I picked up a Cali Tort at Hide Tide Aquatics. They had a really nice Walt Disney acro that I nearly got. Although it looked nice in the blue lights, it wasn’t quite as striking in the white light. My partner prefers the white light so I have a long stretch in the middle of the day with white lights. Also, I wanted something extra hardy. The Cali Tort looked good in both lights and - like most classics - my assumption is that it’s pretty tough. Now that it’s in my tank, it may not be the final choice for this spot. It’s not bright like everything else and it’s a little harder to see against the black background of the skimmer and ATO sensor. Bright is a theme of this tank, and I wonder if @Darkxerox was right to suggest a yellow anacropora. I’m still pretty committed to trying an acro in this tank and I already have an anacropora (which I love and highly recommend btw), but I could see myself ultimately getting a goldenrod. Even if I don’t keep the cali long term, imo, it’s definitely an upgrade from the pink Cadillac. The blue color is the touch of class I was looking for.
For a couple weeks, I started my water changes by using a turkey baster. I was surprised how much detritus it kicked up and it was, in some ways, satisfying to pursue a “clean” tank. In hindsight, I think this was a mistake. I’m curious to hear from other people, but I felt like I got a nutrient spike and algae bloom. I think using the turkey baster may have upset some bacteria or other critters. I was doing more frequent and larger water changes and the algae just kept coming – getting worse even. I think I let “clean” overpower “stability” in my thinking. I’m going to prioritize stability for a little bit. Having stopped the baster for about a week, it already seems to be making a difference but it’s hard to say. There’s a lot of lag with these things sometimes.
The watermelon chalice has two new eyes. The digitata is growing into a star occupant. The skin has grown in some spots that had died back (before my time) and reclaimed it from some algae. It’s getting thicker and growing in multiple places, not just the two main tips.
A piece of a torch tentacle came off. It’s happened a couple other times. I think there’s some sort of bivalve shell or something on its stem where the tentacles get trapped and cut off. Anyways, a little piece of the torch was floating around the tank – which you notice because it’s neon green – but then I later saw the piece sitting on the ricordia. At first, it seemed as if the ricordia was trying to eat it, but I then realized it was being stung. It was there overnight and although the ricordia is probably just fine, it was definitely not happy about it. I worry that these torches are way too tough for a crammed tank. I would love to get recommendations on what can withstand them. Zoas maybe?
Torches can lose a tentacle here than there from getting bumped or tangled in strong water flow. And yes your want to remove them ASAP if you see them cause it can sting lots of other animals as it floats around. I've pretty much kept them out of range of other corals but haven't seen many other corals that can take sustained stings from them @thephoreefer would know best about things torches can touch.
I would keep using the baster but just be sure you're not blasting corals, just live rock. You can also run a piece of filter floss on your pump intake after doing then then pulling that after the water clears and you finish your water change.
What sort of inputs are going into the tank? Given that you don't have fish, there really shouldn't be much adding nutrients right?
Inputs at this point are only for the blood shrimp. About 10 "small" pellets about every other day. I try not to feed it more than it can eat in a sitting. I'm not doing AB+ or phyto right now. There's usually a lag between my posts and the present (e.g. this post was written a few weeks ago) and it's possible I was still doing a drop of phyto twice a week at that time.
I was careful not to blast the corals. If I'm understanding you correctly about the filter floss, I'd have to fit it in front of the powerhead intake grill. I'm not sure how gracefully that will stay in place.
What do you see as the advantage of the blasting the rockwork? It could have been a total coincidence, but it struck me as weird to have a sudden, moderate algae bloom when the only changes were more frequent and larger water changes and the turkey baster technique. I'm doing fewer, smaller changes now and the algae hasn't come back yet. The baster also more work for me. It was fun for a while, but I don't want to be obligated to do it.
I'd love to hear @thephoreefer chime in on who can handle a torch sting. It's possible the only solution is isolation. But the reason I suggested a zoa is their defense mechanism usually is to close up and hold its ground, whereas some fleshier LPS corals get their skeletons exposed and don't recover well.