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Old 01/01/2020, 09:22 PM   #1201
Michael Hoaster
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Thanks Vinny! I'll check those out. I really want a quiet pump! I was wondering if Vectra had fixed their heat issues. That may be fancier then I need. But I am interested. I'm also looking into Tunze pumps. Since I have a Tunze wave box, it would be cool to synch up the wave surges in a master/slave setup.


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
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Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 01/02/2020, 04:15 PM   #1202
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What a great year and summary. I've had fun watching your tank evolve. Here's to year 2 of v2!!!!


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Old 01/02/2020, 09:29 PM   #1203
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Thanks Kevin! I've enjoyed the company!

I do look forward to the next year. I could reach the vision by this summer! We'll see.

I look forward to seeing your tank come alive as well!


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
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Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 01/03/2020, 07:01 AM   #1204
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So, what's up for year two in the Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon? I'm not really sure. For a start, I'll list some things I'd like to happen.

I'd like to get my overall water movement improved, while sticking to my no visible plumbing rule. If I can find a pump that moves enough water without being herd, that will be a good start. The tricky part will be integrating it into a tank that's already up and running. I think I can drain the water down to accommodate the process, as long as I can do it quickly and fill it back up. I'm still thinking on it. I may need to think outside the box on this one.

I hope to get the Manatee Grass back to lushness. I think I'm on track to do it. The plants I have now are doing well and growing tall. I still have a few more to move, to get them more evenly distributed. So when the growing season hits, they'll have room to multiply.

Getting the back wall covered in life is another goal for y2. I'm happy with the progress so far. There's a little ways to go. I've still had no success getting any of the Turtle Weed transplanted onto the wall. I at least have kept the plant alive, while I try to figure it out. In the meantime, it sits leaned against the wall, with the hope some will make the jump on its own. It's a challenging plant, but it's doing well, so I'm optimistic.

One of the big surprises coming out of the live rock was a macro algae I've never seen before, that I named Petticoat Algae. The thing that most surprised me is that I like it up on the back wall, as well as growing between the seagrasses on the sand. This little plant could end up being the dominant plant in the tank! It seems adaptable to a wide range of lighting levels, moves well in the current, and generally looks good wherever I put it. I have been trying out several plants to serve as ground cover, on the sandbar, and this looks like the winner. It will provide great structure and refuge for all my pods, worms and micro star friends. I'm stoked to have a hitchhiker plant turn out to be so useful! I'd like to get this plant covering a lot of the back wall, as well as the sandbar in year two. I'm well on my way to getting there.

On the patch reef, I'd like to get some of the less prominent red macros more prominent. As much as I love the Red Grapes, I'd like a little more variety. There are two or three plants I have in place, that just need to grow bigger, so I prune back the grapes to give them more light and room to grow.

Also on the patch reef, Ive got a good selection of sponges that I'd like to see more of. So far, I haven't made any efforts to feed them, but I may change that this year. In v1 I had pretty dismal luck with the sponges I bought and added to the tank, but the hitchhiker sponges always did well. So this time around I have resisted buying any, and will focus on cultivating what I have on the live rock.

This is a pretty good list of year 2 goals. I'm confident I can reach them, and if I do, I should achieve the overall vision of the tank I've been dreaming about. Yeah!


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
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Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018

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Old 01/05/2020, 11:31 AM   #1205
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A quick update pic:


In this full width image, I wanted to point out the height of several manatee grass plants. Five or six of them can now each the surface. Woo! Also note the green mound at the back is the turtle weed. It's still doing well, but resisting my transplanting small plugs to the back wall. And you can see the petticoat algae spreading on the sand bed at the front-right, and just above the tuxedo damsels on the back wall.


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
our desire to conquer and control everything, and walk hand in hand with Mother Nature. -Walter Adey

Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018

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Old 01/05/2020, 06:56 PM   #1206
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I putzed around this weekend, so I had to get a few pics. Two more from the end:


Greenin' up!


Note the manatee grasses scraping the ceiling. Oh yeah…


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Old 01/06/2020, 11:11 PM   #1207
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I went back and found the date I got the mangrove pods - June 13, 2019. Almost seven months ago. I was just curious. They seem to be doing ok.


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
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Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 01/10/2020, 05:58 AM   #1208
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Love how your tank is progressing! It just keeps getting better and better! I was slow to warm up to how your lights provide a full sun lit portion on the left with an appearance of a shadowed portion on the right. I guess it was the legalist in me. However you have gotten me to 'see the light' of providing a shadowed area, LOL.


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Old 01/10/2020, 09:00 AM   #1209
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Thanks Dawn! I know what you mean. It wasn't easy for me leave the lighting asymmetrical. It's hard not to just light the tank evenly. But I like the idea of providing a lighting 'gradient' to provide different light levels to different plants and other things, like sponges. Now that I'm used to it, I like how it simulates depth and shading from a suggested mangrove tree. If my mangroves make it, they may actually provide some shade.

Believe it or not, some of the reds are still getting too much light, as evidenced by their lighter red coloring. My 400 watt, 6500K metal halide light puts out a ton of light. It's an indoor growing bulb, not an aquarium specific one. It puts out 35,000 lumens, compared to about 18,000 for a 10,000K bulb. Also my reflector gives me enough spread to light the whole 5 1/2 foot tank. So I have to scoot the light over to the left to get that shading.


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Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 01/11/2020, 10:03 PM   #1210
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I did a little export today. I still have some undesirable macros to pull. I got after the reds too, giving some of the smaller ones better light. I'm also in the process of raising salinity again, as it drifted down to 28ppt, and I'm shooting for 30.

I'm super stoked my manatee grass has gotten so tall. It's nice watching the tank and seeing it touch the water surface. It's not easy filling out the 30 inches of height available. I've still got a ways to go, to get the density I want but I'll take the height for now.

Everything is chugging along fine. The plants are filling out the scape. They just need time.


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
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Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 01/13/2020, 01:14 PM   #1211
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Everything looks great! The manatee grass and those mangroves should fill up the upper part of the water column nicely. The "petticoat" algae looks really cool. I agree that it really spices up your tank. What a great hitchhiker addition!


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Old 01/13/2020, 03:43 PM   #1212
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Thanks Kevin! I'm pretty stoked with the manatee grass progress. I'd like to get a few more transplanted, so they are more evenly distributed. I'm still working on that. I should have them where I want them soon, so they can get established in time for the spring, when they start (I hope) multiplying.

The mangroves were kind of an impulse buy. And I only bought one - one was a freebie. So I'm not a particularly serious 'mangrove guy'. But I'm lovin' 'em, and I'm enjoying watching them grow. They've doubled in height. They look to be well-rooted in the soil, though they haven't put out any prop roots yet. I didn't plant them perfectly vertical. They did that themselves. It'll be cool if they can reach the surface. At seven months, I'm guessing they are growing slower than ones planted emergent. But I wanted to control where exactly they grew from, so floating them in styrofoam wasn't really an option.

The petticoat algae has become pretty important in my tank. I'm in the process of getting more on the back wall and the sand bed. As I pull it out of the plants on the live rock, it gets transplanted. A huge hitchhiker addition!


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
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Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 01/16/2020, 09:37 AM   #1213
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Hey Michael, do you know anything about eelgrass (Zostera marina)?


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Old 01/16/2020, 09:43 AM   #1214
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Hey Kevin. I'm afraid I don't. Does that one grow near you? I've seen it mentioned here and there, when researching the grasses I've kept, but I don't remember anything. Are you considering it for your oyster reef?


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
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Old 01/17/2020, 03:57 PM   #1215
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Hey Kevin. I'm afraid I don't. Does that one grow near you? I've seen it mentioned here and there, when researching the grasses I've kept, but I don't remember anything. Are you considering it for your oyster reef?
No problem. I wasn't sure if you researched it or not, or if you considered it for your tank. It sort of grows near me, or supposedly does, about 2 hours away. But, finding the grass beds isn't easy, and I'd need to bring my boat probably. I might have better luck further South along our Eastern Shore, but that drive is about a 4-5 hour drive to get to the grass beds. Also, some areas are protected, so narrowing it down to spots that aren't protected might be hit or miss. I'd be better off buying it. I do have a buddy who says he can get it from his distributor, maybe... But yes, I'm interested in trying it out in the big tank.

That said, if I can get our macros to do well in my tank, that might be good enough for me. The lighting on my 20g tank isn't good, or at least, I think that's my biggest problem with macros, adequate lighting. I couldn't even get Ulva to survive long.

BTW, no progress yet on the big tank. I need to get my act in gear soon. I have started cleaning up and prepping the area, but no actual work on the stand yet. We are getting frigid temps here this week, so I may do some work on it this weekend.


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Old 01/17/2020, 04:26 PM   #1216
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Eel grass sounds nice, but sketchy to get. With the 18" inch depth of your cube and a deep sand bed, you don't have the depth for tall grass. Shoal grass (12") should work, and I can hook you up with some of that, if you like.

Cleaning and prepping is a start! Just keep doing one next thing…

It sounds like the biggest impediment to getting aquarium stuff done is your addiction to fishing! Been there! When I lived in Florida! It takes frigid temps to keep you out of the boat!


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
our desire to conquer and control everything, and walk hand in hand with Mother Nature. -Walter Adey

Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 01/18/2020, 11:12 AM   #1217
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Keep on keeping on Kevin. You will get there 1 step at a time!


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And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, ...and God sawthat it was good. Genesis 1:20 - 21

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Old 01/19/2020, 02:21 PM   #1218
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This morning, on first viewing, my tank was pretty cloudy. It looked a lot like a caulerpa meltdown. A quick look around revealed that it was the turtle weed. All but a small portion was white-yellow. It did this once before, but it didn't cloud the tank, that I remember. If it does what it did last time, it will disintegrate then regrow from the small, living bit.

In the meantime, the filter feeders and plants can enjoy what was dumped into the water column. The water is clearing up pretty quickly.

I wonder what brought on this incident. In the previous melt down, I think I may have caused it with rough handling. I had removed some caulerpa that was crawling over it. This time it may have been caused by an industrious neon damsel. I had seen it digging around the rock the turtle weed grows on. It looks like the rock has settled into a hole, so maybe it didn't like that.

Oh well, I hope it comes back OK, as I still haven't gotten any to grow on the back wall. I need for it to regrow, so I can try again.


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
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Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 01/20/2020, 07:00 AM   #1219
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Being that you have had 2 incidents with the turtle grass, would you describe it as more finicky than the manatee or shoal grass? I am just asking so that someday when I incorporate seagrass in my system I have more facts. Right now I am leaning toward shoal grass for sure but still trying to learn and prepare for that day.


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And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, ...and God sawthat it was good. Genesis 1:20 - 21

Current Tank Info: A 56 gallon (AIO) high nutrient macro algae/coral reef, a 30 gallon seahorse macro algae reef w/ 20 gallon sump
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Old 01/20/2020, 10:13 AM   #1220
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Thanks for asking Dawn. You've brought up a point of confusion. I have kept two different plants with 'turtle' in the name - turtle grass and turtle weed. In v1 I kept turtle grass, which is the large, broad-bladed seagrass. In this tank (v2) I'm keeping turtle weed, (also known as maiden's hair) which is a short, thin-bladed macro algae. I apologize for not making that clear. I should have.

Now onto your question. I found turtle grass to be no more challenging than manatee or shoal grass, as far as getting it to grow and prosper. There were no melt-downs or other problems. Really the biggest challenge with it is that it needs a very deep sand bed for it's large roots, like a minimum of seven inches. Another downside, for me at least, is that, like in Nature, it gradually overruns other grasses. This happened in v1, just as I was realizing that I much preferred the thin-bladed manatee and shoal grasses. If I were to keep turtle grass again, I would plant it as the only seagrass in the tank. It reminds me of the freshwater plant vallisneria. It puts out daughter plants and spreads over everything else.

My turtle weed melt-downs make me think it is related to the caulerpas. I have found it to be kind of challenging, because I haven't been able to frag and transplant it successfully. And those melt-downs bring it to death's doorstep, but I have kept it alive for several months now.

Manatee grass has been the most challenging seagrass for me. It is the most sensitive to salinity fluctuation/drop. But I love the long, thin blades! I'm still trying to figure out it's favorite salinity. In all my research, a range of salinities were suggested, which helps a little but not a lot. Right now I'm aiming for 30ppt. In v1 I kept them at 25ppt, which appears to be the lower range of preference.

Shoal grass is the easiest seagrass to keep for most people, in most aquariums, in my opinion. It flourishes in lower salinity, which is nice for cheapskates like me, saving money on salt mix. It needs only about three inches of sand bed depth. It grows to around a foot tall, making it the best choice for average size tanks. I think it would make a great first seagrass for you, or anyone interested in trying to keep seagrass.

Best of all, I have more than I need, and can send you some when you are ready!


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Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018
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Old 01/20/2020, 03:12 PM   #1221
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Ahhh, thank you for straightening me out. I am not typically a detail person so I am not shocked at myself for missing that you have kept both Turtle grass in v1 and now turtle weed in v2. Now that I know you were speaking of turtle weed in the post above I completely understand.

Thank you for the comments on all the grasses as well. That gives me more ideas how I will set up my 56 gallon macro reef when the time comes. The shoal grass probably would be the best choice for the back right of the 56 gallon display. It should nicely de-emphasize the DIY weir style overflow I plan to make. The gyre nearby on the reverse flow mode should create a nice undulating motion that hopefully will be hypnotic, (at least in my mind).

I can keep turtle grass in the 30 gallon XH (current Seahorse display) where I will try to imitate what you did with garden soil and different size sand to create a deep substrate. That tank will be relocated to the basement right next to the 20 gallon sump so it can gravity overflow into the sump since it is a tall tank and much higher than my sump tank. I may even add a little live rock and have a tiny patch reef like your tank.

Given what you have said about the manatee grass I think I will avoid it completely. So as you can see your threads have given me a lot of inspiration for the direction my aquarium system is going to go. Sometimes I get so excited to get started but in the same breath I am not ready to say good-bye to the ponies yet. I plan to enjoy my ponies for as long as possible and then I will have this new venture to keep me from being too sad about not keeping seahorses anymore.


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And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, ...and God sawthat it was good. Genesis 1:20 - 21

Current Tank Info: A 56 gallon (AIO) high nutrient macro algae/coral reef, a 30 gallon seahorse macro algae reef w/ 20 gallon sump
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Old 01/20/2020, 10:30 PM   #1222
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Ok good, your welcome! I should have been more clear.

I'm happy to hear of your interest in seagrasses, and flattered you're inspired. I think both of your ideas sound great, and it's certainly smart to plan ahead. I agree it'll be a good new venture, when the time comes. For now, enjoy those ponies!


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
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Current Tank Info: 180g Seagrass Sandbar Lagoon, START DATE November 28, 2018

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Old 01/22/2020, 03:37 PM   #1223
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Ok good, your welcome! I should have been more clear.

I'm happy to hear of your interest in seagrasses, and flattered you're inspired. I think both of your ideas sound great, and it's certainly smart to plan ahead. I agree it'll be a good new venture, when the time comes. For now, enjoy those ponies!
It was not that you were not clear. It was me seeing 'turtle' and not going any further that made me assume that both items were the same thing, ha ha! I take full responsibility.


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Old 01/23/2020, 11:26 PM   #1224
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I had another moose encounter on my cross country skis! This time I came up behind a large specimen that was walking down the trail. I know that it's not good to surprise them and I was heading right into that scenario. So I stopped about forty yards short of him, and carefully, quietly turned around and got the heck out of there! I checked over my shoulder a couple of times as I skied away, and was relieved to see he wasn't chasing me. I was struck by how much more dangerous this encounter felt, compared to the last one, where it just ran across the trail in front of me.

Nature is dangerous and thrilling and beautiful!


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As many naturalists and environmentalists have suggested, we should set aside our arrogance,
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Old 01/28/2020, 01:57 PM   #1225
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Ha ha, my husband, Dave and I have been wanting to see a real moose in the wild forever. We are avid motorcyclist and had thought when we have gone through NH, ME or through Yellowstone park we surely should have crossed paths at some point. We have motorcycled in all the lower 48 and have never seen one. Its not fair that you have seen 2 while skiing! JK
This summer our plan is to go to Alaska via alcan hwy and through British Colombia and Vancouver. If we do not see a moose on this trip we are going to proclaim that moose are a myth! Again JK but we have seen a lot of cool animals but not any moose.


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