• You are viewing the forum as a Guest, please login (you can use your Facebook, Twitter, Google or Microsoft account to login) or register using this link: Log in or Sign Up
  • You can now follow UKAPS on Instagram.

Journal Shangman’s Crystal Ball

shangman

Member
Joined
13 Jul 2020
Messages
1,094
Location
London
I’ve been dreaming for a while of trying a marine tank, ever since I first saw the <beautiful macroalgae-focused tanks of TigahBoy>. And then my friend @Courtneybst <started his marine tank>, I saw it up close irl, and it was only a matter of time before I dipped my toe in the salty waters.

I’m going simple and holistic trusting my freshwater instincts, so it’ll be a macroalgae planted marine tank with a mangrove and some cute little inverts. I want to make a lovely little weird alien garden, a la the garden in Trapdoor.



The tank is an 8g/32l glass bowl with a wide top opening. The curved glass massively distorts what’s inside and makes it all look much bigger, but I quite like the effect. For filtration a bit of live rock and a wave maker, along with the macroalgae and a mangrove to keep things stable. The tank is in a window that’s South-West facing, with great light, which I think the mangrove will really like it and hopefully become a tree (oh no, what a convenient reason for an upgrade that would be). I’ll also have an AI Prime Fresh over it.

B1704AD1-87EE-458E-95B5-22DCD91DA26E.jpeg

Hardscape-wise, the main piece is a coral skeleton my mum collected 40 years ago on holiday in Devon, it’s been knocking about for years with no proper place, so I finally gave it one! There are also 3 small bits of live rock in there from my LFS, apparently been in their system for years and is a really important part of the filtration.

At first I didn’t see any obvious life on the live rock, but I have noticed a single tiny brown zoa on it, and a small 6-pointed asterism starfish moving around this morning! Very exciting, possibly a pest but until it becomes an obvious problem I’ll consider it a blessing.

08A629A1-3937-4924-86C6-7DC782917A94.jpeg

The tank was started last Thursday, and is going through a dark(ish) start for the first month so the live rock bacteria can start to colonise the dead coral too. Then I’ll add the light, mangrove propagule and the macro algae and away we go!

49420C63-61F6-4D69-BC56-D29EF608C53E.jpeg


2C5FF4EE-9B57-433F-A57D-D0E7651C0940.jpeg


19BC9293-2D16-426F-94B6-70654F088A36.jpeg


69D0F1A1-F539-42B6-B913-48D792E30312.jpeg
 

Attachments

  • F4E94159-9D1D-4D6D-B90C-AE7A92BB833B.jpeg
    F4E94159-9D1D-4D6D-B90C-AE7A92BB833B.jpeg
    1.5 MB · Views: 59
Last edited:

shangman

Member
Thread starter
Joined
13 Jul 2020
Messages
1,094
Location
London
Ok listen gang you’ve GOT to try out a little marine tank, I’m a week and a half in and I constantly discover new tiny life in there on the live rock rubble (which I got for free from my LFS!). The creatures are so small they’re almost impossible to photograph, but on top of my single zoa and asterina stars (I have quite a few of these of all different sizes) I’ve now found TINY FILTER FAN WORMS (started with one and now I see 3!! So cute), and this morning I discovered the stripy tentacles of a BRITTLE STAR!! I also saw a mysterious pale green blob which disappeared so I guess is alive but I have no idea how to ID!

Just discovering all this tiny life, a new little part of the ecosystem every few days is so exciting and interesting. The ecosystemness of marine is more obvious and layered and pretty than the freshwater side. More weird things! I haven’t seen anything move over to the dead coral rock yet, I guess when that starts to happen then we’re really in business.

I’ve decided to add my first culture of copepods later this week to add to the diversity, getting some mixed copepods from eBay rather than just the feeder ones.

I’m not adding corals for a while, but I’ve found several people who live max a 20 min drive/train away and who have all sorts of lovely little things for very cheap, often £5-10 a frag. A great way to start and try things out!
 

seedoubleyou

Member
Joined
29 Mar 2022
Messages
561
Location
Windsor
Marine tanks are far more interesting than freshwater that’s for sure.
I just couldn’t bear the blue lighting taking over my home anymore 😩.
If I could find all the right macro algae and enough of it, I think a 90cm macro algae tank could be cool. Almost Dutch style but marine.
 

shangman

Member
Thread starter
Joined
13 Jul 2020
Messages
1,094
Location
London
Marine tanks are far more interesting than freshwater that’s for sure.
You won’t get me admitting that yet 😅 I think they satisfy different things, and I love both! There is a serenity to freshwater where you get lots of schools of different little fish at different layers living in harmony, it feels less hazardous. Marine isa beautiful poison alien garden, the creatures are more suspicious and you can’t have lovely social groups, but individually the fish are spectacularly beautiful and so funny looking. I would like to have a good sized tank of both, with small fish and holistic ecosystem vibes with totally different outcomes and looks.

I just couldn’t bear the blue lighting taking over my home anymore 😩.
If I could find all the right macro algae and enough of it, I think a 90cm macro algae tank could be cool. Almost Dutch style but marine.
Yeah I’m not bothering with the blue lights at all, really don’t like the look and don’t really care about the fluorescent colours! I’m sure I can get a great colourful look with macro algae and other things mixed in.

Tbh I am hoping that I can convert my 90cm to marine macroalgae as you described next year, once I get used to it in the bowl, the water mixing and save up a bit. It’s really interesting seeing what macro algae we can get, I hope more slowly becomes available … though quite enjoy the marine thing of hunting for tiny bits of what you want in the back of a tank in a random LFS
 
Last edited:

seedoubleyou

Member
Joined
29 Mar 2022
Messages
561
Location
Windsor
There’s a company in Croydon who supply and deliver Sea water, you just leave your containers outside. I always used them for convenience. (Not the cheapest option though)
To gain the benefit of a good varied fish selection you do ideally need a large tank for marine, that was the downside for me.
Large tanks for a great display, nano tanks for enjoying the intricate details and intimacy of micro life.
If you haven’t already, watch Puff wonders of the reef on Netflix!!
 

shangman

Member
Thread starter
Joined
13 Jul 2020
Messages
1,094
Location
London
There’s a company in Croydon who supply and deliver Sea water, you just leave your containers outside. I always used them for convenience. (Not the cheapest option though)
To gain the benefit of a good varied fish selection you do ideally need a large tank for marine, that was the downside for me.
Large tanks for a great display, nano tanks for enjoying the intricate details and intimacy of micro life.
If you haven’t already, watch Puff wonders of the reef on Netflix!!
What are they called? I live near Croydon, interesting to know the options. The water seems to be the most annoying thing about marine tbh.

I don’t really have any interest in the big fish that require a big tank like tangs, angels, etc luckily! I want a 90cm that’s like the nano tank you describe, perfect to keep a some weird smaller fish that will leave a good amount of the weird small creatures alone. Blennies, gobies, possum wrasse, pipefish, mandarin I think would all be amazing in a macroalgae rock pool kinda tank, with some easy but still lovely corals like gorgonians and every type of peaceful invert I can find! 90cm would let me make a great lil paradise. And really love the freshwater plant alien version vibes of the macroalgae as you say, so into that. Dutch on acid

Will watch the Netflix show, good show to watch on this hot hot day 🥵
 

shangman

Member
Thread starter
Joined
13 Jul 2020
Messages
1,094
Location
London
Natural Sea Water Supplier. They actually owe me 50L so tell them Chris Walker who was a customer sent you and said you can have my 50L to try them out
Thank you that's so kind! It is nice to use real sea water ngl, I guess it's the same appeal as rainwater for the freshwater fish.
 

shangman

Member
Thread starter
Joined
13 Jul 2020
Messages
1,094
Location
London
The tank is now 3 and a half weeks old, and I've stopped the dark start. I just used a black binbag some light still got through, so I had a thin layer of green algae on the glass. I've read that copepods are great for dealing with algae and generally great for the system, so I bought some on ebay and added them to celebrate the 3 weeks, and they ate it all in 3 days which was awesome. I now have a lot of hydroids on the glass, I think because of the copepod population (which they eat), apparently they'll go away on their own later. Every time I find something new I have to research it, cos I genuinely have no idea what a lot of these things are which is so exciting! They do make it harder to see in, I need a marine glass scraper that'll work with a bowl.

From the tentacles waving about I think I have 2 brittle stars in there too, and a pleasing tiny dot of neon orange whih hopefully will grow. A few days ago I also noticed a pink-orange bristle worm, which completely freaked me out because it looked MASSIVE, like 10cm!! So I took out the live rock and fished it out as it was quite brightly coloured and I think it was a fire worm, without the magnification of the glass bowl it went from 10cm to like... 2cm lol.

This morning my first 2 bits of macroalgae arrived, a red grape Botryocladia, and a bit of codium. Hopefully the rest should arrive this week, which will hpoefully quickly hide the heater and powerhead from view. I also have a mangrove coming, and once that's here, I can get a lid to custom fit it and get rid of the plastic I've taped to the top.

IMG_0910.jpg

I'd like to get a tiny tiny hermit crab, some snails and maybe a soft coral or two at some point soon, there's so much choice with the soft coralfs it's quite overwhelming, especially as I can't actually fit that many in there. Any suggestions for what you guys would put in?
 
Last edited:

seedoubleyou

Member
Joined
29 Mar 2022
Messages
561
Location
Windsor
If you get a hermit, just bear in mind you’ll need shells for it to grow into.
I highly rate astrea snails and found them to be most efficient.
Dosing a little phyto will help your pod population.

Soft corals, obviously Zoanthids as they’re hardy and come in so many colours.
You can add mushrooms, there are three main species, Ricordea (IMO these are the nicest), Rhodactis (can grow like weeds) and Discosoma (I’ve never actually kept)
You could try a bit of gorgonian, but in my experience they like flow.


Softies to avoid, Kenya tree (grows large), pulsing Xenia (will plague your tank one way or another), Green star polyp (can be isolated but not worth the risk), you could try clove polyps (really lovely corals, but can also plague your tank)

There are so many corals out there and the best way to see what works, is to either try it, or research soft coral tanks and see who’s had success with what.

Your little marine ecosystem is coming along nicely and it’s good to see all this micro life now.
One night once it’s been dark for a while, hit your tank with a little red light and you’ll see what’s really living in there.
 

shangman

Member
Thread starter
Joined
13 Jul 2020
Messages
1,094
Location
London
If you get a hermit, just bear in mind you’ll need shells for it to grow into.
I highly rate astrea snails and found them to be most efficient.
Dosing a little phyto will help your pod population.

Soft corals, obviously Zoanthids as they’re hardy and come in so many colours.
You can add mushrooms, there are three main species, Ricordea (IMO these are the nicest), Rhodactis (can grow like weeds) and Discosoma (I’ve never actually kept)
You could try a bit of gorgonian, but in my experience they like flow.


Softies to avoid, Kenya tree (grows large), pulsing Xenia (will plague your tank one way or another), Green star polyp (can be isolated but not worth the risk), you could try clove polyps (really lovely corals, but can also plague your tank)

There are so many corals out there and the best way to see what works, is to either try it, or research soft coral tanks and see who’s had success with what.

Your little marine ecosystem is coming along nicely and it’s good to see all this micro life now.
One night once it’s been dark for a while, hit your tank with a little red light and you’ll see what’s really living in there.
No worries, I have several enormous boxes of shells from when my dad made a v ott shell mirror in the bathroom, ranging from tiny to massive, so perfect for the hermits! I'll add some just for my new lil hermit when I get them.
A few astrea snails are on the list:) I don't have that much microalgae yet, I'm sort-of waiting for the uglies to hit before I add snails and the hermit, in case they don't have enough to eat. Good idea/bad? I think @Courtneybst had some baby snails I might nab too, not sure if they were astrea or turbo.
And definitely will dose some phyto! That's on the list to start adding next :) Hopefully that kickstarts more exciting processes

Definitely want to try some zoas, though it's hard to tell which to get because all the photos have such heavy blues and contrast! Am hoping to find a little zoa garden rock to add v soon though, I love the mix these often have. Some have beautiful orange/red, wondering if they might stay a bit like that with white light.
I am planning on adding a small gorgonian, I will add it right in front of the powerhead, hopefully that will make it happy.

Lolsss I was planning on adding a small kenya tree and xenia and green star polyps! whoops. I went to the Horniman museum a few weeks ago and did see GIANT Kenya tree and thought... hmmm. Will avoid these ones for now, I was thinking of clove polpys and/or organ pipe coral instead of the xenia, I just love the movement they have.

Thank you! I'm loving the microlife, although the bristle worm did gross me out a bit lol. Will have to have a look next time I get a bout of insomia, would love to know what else is in there! Hopefully no tiny bobbit worm or anything like that.
 
Last edited:

Garuf

Member
Joined
30 Oct 2007
Messages
5,647
Location
Copenhagen
How are you going to regulate salinity? With evap on such a small volume isn’t it going to creep like no-ones business?
 

shangman

Member
Thread starter
Joined
13 Jul 2020
Messages
1,094
Location
London
How are you going to regulate salinity? With evap on such a small volume isn’t it going to creep like no-ones business?
The evaporation is very low when the lid is on (will soon be a nicer lid too), and hidden behind the sofa I have a big bottle of RO to top up when it needs it (usually only needs a tiny bit). I'm checking the salinity every few days to get used to it, so far been keeping it at .024 ok. I don't mind topping up, it'll just be part of the routine of this tank like feeding when I eventually add a few critters, or spraying the orchids on the freshwater tank next to it. I'm also keeping things which are quite hardy.
 

shangman

Member
Thread starter
Joined
13 Jul 2020
Messages
1,094
Location
London
Give it a go and see what happens, however you’ll definitely need to segregate them on their own rock.

Zoas will all look brown with no blue lights, so just buy ones you like and see how they look in the sunlight once in your tank.
I’ve now got some Utter Chaos zoa, they’re actually really nice with a good orange colour and pattern. Got a short list of some other zoas that look nice in white light too, so I’ll slowly add more of those on the front rocks. These colours aren’t super bright but they do look natural and beautiful, and I think by the time it’s matured and I’ve added all the little things I want to add it’ll be really fab and cute.

Only got crap pics, the downside of the bowl is that it’ssooooooooo hard to take closeups! It’s great for a vibe but the details are hard to see ngl 😅

2AF5A2D1-BCCD-43E5-B800-81DDFFFBCB58.jpeg
 

seedoubleyou

Member
Joined
29 Mar 2022
Messages
561
Location
Windsor
Utter chaos are really nice zoas, like any coral blue light really shows off what they’re about. But in that pic they looks great.
I think finding zoas with contrasting colours will be key for a white light tank.
 

shangman

Member
Thread starter
Joined
13 Jul 2020
Messages
1,094
Location
London
Should’ve done more updates on this tank but haven’t, whoops! Lots of ups and downs.

So a day or two after I last updated the post in early August, I added some more macro algaes. I added caulerpa taxifolia, caulerpa racemosa, with blue octo and gracilaria from @Courtneybst .

After a week it seemed ok, so on the Saturday I went to my LFS to pick up some life to add. I got a black foot trochus snail, 3 red hermit crabs which I was told stay 2cm or under. I also got a common “pink”(peachy beige) gorgonian, some neon green star polyps, and a little zoa just see to which was neon yellow in the shop and basically pale brown at home lol - all three for £10 each. None the less, I love it all! At the same time I started dosing some phyto every 2 days.

3AC06F05-CB81-4A90-868A-2F47A5813EE4.jpeg


Then I had a really sh*tyy Sunday so on Tuesday I went with Courtney to AAC to make myself feel better with some ~ exciting purchases. I had only intended to get a purple gorgonian, but when I was there there were 3 barnacle blennies!!! And I had to have them, they are on the top of my fish list.

Of course some of this was a mistake, because 2 days later the people gorgonian started to MELT. It looked really grim, I very stupidly hasn’t taken account for the second heat wave we’ve had, and it got a day of intense sunshine until I realised and covered the window. I read online that it is a cooler water species, gave it to Courtney to see it would recover in his tank as he has one, but sadly it didn’t. I did a 50% water change just in case it released something poisonous into the water.

THEN…. The ugly stage began. OK A very thin brown slimy algae appeared with long hairs with bubbles on. I was really worried I had totally screwed up buying these creatures, and worried that I had dinos which could hurt them - particularly my hermits and snail.

116252DC-CDD3-4D36-85C1-776133ACBD9E.jpeg


I realised at this point I hadn’t been dosing any ferts in the tank yet and that a lack of nutrients could be making the problem worse, so I ordered some Tropica Specialised Nutrition and ChaetoGro. I also read that the fish should be fed well, not sparingly and that’s fine in marine at the start at least also for the extra nutrition. This has worked really well!! A week later the unpleasant bad algae is obviously massively receding, and the macro algae has started to recover and take over - green ones at least, and reds slowly but surely.

50039B30-F1D2-46A5-8B93-BB83C13E0364.jpeg


That was a few days ago, at this point I added £8 of copepods from eBay to try to help a bit more too and that really worked well, and here is today…

8DA65B58-E99C-45B5-ACE0-82676C2C172D.jpeg

B8B47903-885F-483F-B210-EECB4427D44B.jpeg


So it’s all on the right path I think, though there is still some algae. I have also had a hermit molt and change shell, super glue killed some aiptasia and put the mangrove propagule higher up with a plastic stick. So far other than the gorgonian it’s going well, I shouldn’t have bought it in a heat wave and should’ve waited longer to add it. I’ve just bought some more red algaes to try. Also REALLY need an actual lid now - it’s time to try to make the tank actually beautiful rather than just survive.

This week I’ll make a post showing more of the barnacle blennies which are FANTASTIC PERFECT little fish!! They are like fish from SpongeBob come to life with eyes that go in every direction independently and big pink mouths. They love to be fed and are almost always in view. And tiny! I need to try to get some better pics and vids that do then justice. Here’s a crap picture to start with, they’re like tiny cartoons.

532C046E-594C-4732-98E9-EDEE704D2300.jpeg
 

Attachments

  • 04F835DD-F0D6-447E-8EDB-FD5022ACD01F.jpeg
    04F835DD-F0D6-447E-8EDB-FD5022ACD01F.jpeg
    4 MB · Views: 34
Last edited:

shangman

Member
Thread starter
Joined
13 Jul 2020
Messages
1,094
Location
London
Utter chaos are really nice zoas, like any coral blue light really shows off what they’re about. But in that pic they looks great.
I think finding zoas with contrasting colours will be key for a white light tank.
Thanks!! I also really like people eaters. Was thinking of trying some tubbs blue zoas to get next to the utter cahows for contrast like you said! Hopefully can make a nice little zoa garden, they look great mixed up. Side note - zoa names are so odd!
 

shangman

Member
Thread starter
Joined
13 Jul 2020
Messages
1,094
Location
London
Great that it's starting to turn a page!

How did the super glue go for you? I have several aiptasia popping up and now I'm thinking I should have just dealt with the mother lol.
It seems to have worked good so far, they haven’t come back yet. I think it’s good to be proactive with them! Mine went from one to two quite quickly so I knew it needed to be dealt with.

They were in the live rock very deep… at first I tried to super glue them under the water which didn’t work at all lol, it just makes a big balloon of glue. On the upside that glue did stay quite near the aiptasia, the live rock is complex enough that precisely I took it out to treat the aiptasia but couldn’t work out which holes they were in once it was out of the water. So with the balloon glue placed near, I took out the live rock and quickly filled the 2 holes fully with glue. Hopefully I fully got them caught in it, but it’s hard to tell, wouldn’t be surprised if they return one day.
 
Top