High Tide Aquatics

"The Lab" - Josh and Tiffany's IM Nuvo EXT 200

Update 10-28-23

Next batch of coral in the tank: all the stuff I got from the frag swap, as well as the torches I got from @thephoreefer , the nice chalices from @Invictus , and a purple tip frogspawn from @thesassyindian . So far everything's adjusting well, and the tank's filling in nicely! I put an acro in from the swap as an SPS tester piece, so that'll be a bellwether before we start building up the 'shelves' above the euphyllia/goniopora gardens.

Next steps will be adding:
  • A pair of mandarin dragonets from High Tide Aquatics after they're done with QT*
  • A bunch of QT'd CUC from Inverted Reef
  • Another few torches, goniopora, acans, octospawn, and hammers from CFM, as well as a magic carpet mushroom and OG bounce from @Srt4eric
*: Unrelated tangent, but shout out to AlgaeBarn for upgrading our order of 4 jars of EcoPods to 4 jars of GalaxyPods!

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Update 11-7-23
More stuff in the tank: specifically, a QT'd mandarin dragonet pair from @hightideaquatics and QT'd hermits/turbo snails/conchs from Inverted Reef. Hopefully they'll start attacking the turf algae, but I have to say I've never seen fighting conchs this big before. I made a joke to my wife that they're not conchs, they're chonchs.
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Update 11-7-23
More stuff in the tank: specifically, a QT'd mandarin dragonet pair from @hightideaquatics and QT'd hermits/turbo snails/conchs from Inverted Reef. Hopefully they'll start attacking the turf algae, but I have to say I've never seen fighting conchs this big before. I made a joke to my wife that they're not conchs, they're chonchs.
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It’s different form one I have mine don’t have horns
 
Update, 11-8-23

Well, that could have ended poorly. Our full tilt favia fell off the rock. My wife said, "I didn't like it there; can we move it here?" so I did. Two days later, I realized I hadn't seen the firefish. Then a lightbulb went on and I realized I'd glued the favia over the hole it liked to hide in on that rock.

I moved the favia again, and the firefish is okay. Lesson learned.
 
Update, 11-16-23
Upgraded my XR30 G5 blue to a G6 and put it over the tank. Let there be light!

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Went through my first 'test' with the tank when my wife and I were out of town for almost a week. We came back and everything looks good (possibly even better, honestly). Clean-up crew is starting to make a dent in the turf algae, and getting everything dialed in paid off in spades. Hiccup aside on Nov 10 (and a weird event on the 11th), I'll take that alk stability any day of the week:

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My stepmom fed the tank for us; to maximize failsafe and redundancy, I'm going to start interspersing frozen feedings with pellets/dry food so the tank will still be okay even if I'm forced to be away and she can't watch it.
 

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Update, 11-24-23

Updated the stock list to reflect what is currently in the tank and their names. The mandarin pair have been doing great in the tank, so: so far, so good!

Conchs and nassarius continue to, very slowly, make a dent in the turf algae. I've been working with Inverted Reef on Humblefish, and they've been kind enough to help out with an upcoming custom order of QT'd conchs, dwarf ceriths, and bumblebee snails; so I'll be able to add those in ~3 weeks.

Speaking of additions: we've wanted a sand sifting goby in the tank for a while, but didn't want the more commonly available ones (orange diamond and yellow head sleepers) because of how much of a sandstorm they can kick up. So, after some debate, we went ahead and ordered a Buan's goby from Biota because we think it's pretty cute, and seems to be less...obsessive than the other options. Additionally, since we're doing another round of QT ourselves - and my wife has wanted one almost since we started the hobby - we picked up a fat, healthy-looking bluestreak cleaner wrasse locally.

Given how sensitive wrasses can be during QT, I'll be raising the copper *very* slowly over the next 4 or 5 days until the goby arrives, then following the normal regime of copper power + formalin + prazi + medicated food for the next couple weeks. Fingers crossed!
 
I thought wrasses don’t like copper tho?
My understanding is that wrasses don't like most medication, period. I'm just following the Humble Fish QT guide using Copper Power; specifically:

"There's a reason they are sometimes referred to as "pain in my wrasse". :p These fish flat out don't like being in quarantine; especially a rockless, bare bottom environment. They are prone to flukes and internal parasites/intestinal worms. Wrasses are not a big fan of most medications (so take care never to overdose with them.)

QT strategy: Since these fish prefer to lay on sand sometimes (Leopards will burrow), it is advisable to have an area of sand in the QT for them. (Sand in a glass Pyrex bowl works.) You definitely want to deworm all wrasses using praziquantel. Fairy wrasses, Leopards, Halichoeres spp, Anampses spp, Labroides spp, Thalassoma spp, Pseudocheilinops spp tolerate Chloroquine well; Flashers, Coris spp & Pseudocheilinus spp DO NOT. When using copper, most wrasses seem to do better in chelated copper (e.g. Copper Power) than ionic (e.g. Cupramine). Regardless of brand, raise copper very slowly (4-5 days) when treating wrasses."
 
Update 1, 12-15-23
Unfortunately, "pain in my wrasse" proved accurate. I was raising the copper extremely slowly (reaching therapeutic in 6 days), but still proved to be too much for the poor guy and he didn't make it. :(
 
Update 2, 12-15-23

For the past couple years, I've had an intermittent issue where single heads of a torch would slowly start having flesh recede from the bottom up (usually biased to one side) and die. It's not BJD, since the flesh just slowly peels off and dies rather than 'gelatinizing'. I've tried CoralRx dips, iodine baths, antibiotic dips, antibiotic tank treatments, and KFC dip. Nothing worked, and this issue has persisted across several tanks (though there is some coral (torches) that has been through all of them). I've also done ICP tests and Aquabiomics multiple times while having these issues, and everything came back normal, which (IMO) rules out issues with contaminants getting in from exhausted DI resin, chloramines, etc.

Recently, the same thing happened to an absolutely stunning reverse tiger we got from @Arvin R and I'm getting fed up. Looking closely, I saw some white bugs that moved extremely quickly on the tiger's flesh while it was dying. I've heard bits and pieces about white bugs on euphyllia, and that they can be irritants/harmful to coral, but nothing concrete. A thread can be found here with examples: https://www.reef2reef.com/threads/white-bugs-on-torch-coral.719783/

After thinking about it, I'm opting to dose Interceptor to deal with these. I don't typically opt for the chemical/drug approach, but nothing else has worked. Based on instructions found here I'll be dosing 2.5 pills of the 51-100 lb dosage (23 mg; or a total of 57.5 mg for 250g total water volume) once per week for three weeks. I'll have the skimmer running (cup off), UV off, and carbon off for 24 hours, then will turn them back on.

I will note that, given the way Interceptor works, this is likely going to knock down/kill the copepods in my tank and may affect the hermit crabs as well (I've heard mixed feedback on that), so I'm going to transfer the hermits that I can to another tank. Fingers crossed, since this issue has already cost me five heads of Lucky Corals holy grail and the most beautiful reverse tiger I've seen in person.
 
What about dipping one of the Euphyllia in an interceptor solution and see if anything comes off first?
I may give that a shot, but - given not every torch may be affected/have a high enough concentration of bugs to see them - my thought flow chart goes:

If bugs fall off, then treat tank with interceptor

If bugs don't fall off, can't rule out white bugs due to possibly not being infected/not having high enough concentration to see after dip
 
Update 1-3-24

Dosed the Interceptor for white bugs on euphyllia using the protocol I listed in my prior post. It did indeed kill off the hermit crabs I couldn't get out (except for one that is apparently a GD tank), as well as severely reduce my copepod population. Fortunately, my mandarin pair will eat frozen and (if anything) they've gained weight over the course of the treatment.

It's too early to say but, qualitatively at least, the torches seem happier. They seem to be more consistently extended and haven't had any of the random days I've had where one or two torches will seem pissed off for no reason. Hoping this has solved the issue, but I'm waiting another four or five months before buying any more nice torches to confirm.

On happier news: got a big batch of CUC from Inverted Reef to finish building out my crew. I also picked up a QT'd bella goby, pearly wrasse, and bluestreak cleaner wrasse from another seller. Have to give them a special thanks because, nearly four years ago now, my wife saw a bluestreak at an LFS and wanted one. Our tank at the time was too small for it, so she had to wait. It's been 'That Fish' for her for a long time now.

My 'That Fish' was the desjardini tang. And now she has hers, and the tank is truly ours.
 
Update 1-12-24

For posterity, a quick bit of info on the Interceptor treatments.

Inverts it killed:
  • My hermit crabs
  • My copepods
  • My white bugs
Inverts it didn't kill:
  • My snails (trochus, nassarius, cerith, fighting conch, strawberry conch)
  • My corals
Inverts it didn't kill, but I thought it did, so I bought a replacement and now have two of them instead of one:
  • Tiger pistol shrimp
Whoops. Welp, given they're on opposite ends of the tank now, I may consider a yasha or randall's goby to have two goby-shrimp pairs in the tank.

I'm also kind of at a loss, because the pearly wrasse I added to the tank has just...disappeared. I have a tight-fitting lid (that I put on the second after I added it to the tank), all the other fish ignored and left it alone when I added it, but I haven't seen it in over a week. So, poop.

Those hiccups aside, everything's been going great! Bella goby has been a FANTASTIC addition to the tank and has made an almost immediate impact in cleaning up the sand. Still not perfect, but WAY better than it was and getting better every day. Minus a hiccup where my CarbonDoser solenoid died and I had to replace it, the calcium reactor has gone off without a hitch and I've been within a constant ~0.2 dkh over a 24 hour period. Everything seems happy (or, in the case of the elegance coral, recovering more every day).

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