20 Gallon Sarcophyton-dominant Tank

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CenlaReefer

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Some months ago, I transitioned everything from my 10 gallon sarcophyton-dominant to this new 20 gallon tank. Here is my old thread about the 10 gallon system:

http://lareefclub.com/community/threads/sarcophyton-dominant-10-gallon.45913/page-3#post-460019

The newer 20 gallon system looks less full because of the size upgrade and because I got rid of some mushrooms because they were too stinky (literally). My wife complained of the smell when I did water changes. Getting rid of many of them actually made a big difference in the smell.

I will plan to keep you all posted with picture updates. I do not plan to change the lighting or aquascape much for some years. Some of the toadstools like the yellow Fiji look better with more natural light. Others are more attractive with more blue light. I am currently using an AI Prime HD light over the tank with a small, cheap strip of natural daylight LEDS on the left side to help the yellow Fiji color up more yellow. The cheap lights are from Tetra that I got from WalMart.

This 20 gallon tank and my 20 gallon frag tank are both plumbed together to share a common 30 gallon sump. Neither tank nor the sump have any fish ever since the last LARC meet when I got rid of my last fish. I am going fishless for a while to prepare for a possible move to New Jersey by the end of the year.

I would like to add some toadstools or other softies later after the move. I especially hope to add a toadstool with extra long polyps one day.

Here is a pic of the new 20 gallon tank from last week:

toadstools 8-10-17.JPG
 

Humblefish

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Looks good, Kevin!
 

BluewaterLa

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This is one of my favorite tanks to look at, I have a embedded liking for leathers from the beginning of my coral keeping experiences.
There was a period of time where I went back to keeping live rock and fish only, eventually I put a couple leathers in the system to satisfy the coral need.

Tank looks great Kevin. I wish you luck with the move and hope you and your family remain happy where ever you guys call home.
 

CenlaReefer

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This is one of my favorite tanks to look at, I have a embedded liking for leathers from the beginning of my coral keeping experiences.
There was a period of time where I went back to keeping live rock and fish only, eventually I put a couple leathers in the system to satisfy the coral need.

Tank looks great Kevin. I wish you luck with the move and hope you and your family remain happy where ever you guys call home.

- I was disappointed that it is not as full-looking as the 10 gallon. Once it fills in more, it should be much more attractive. Thanks for the best wishes! I will keep you all updated when I find out in October if we move or not. Even if we move, I would love to keep an account on LARC if the moderators do not mind.
 

Humblefish

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Even if we move, I would love to keep an account on LARC if the moderators do not mind.

Not only do we not mind, but we INSIST that you continue to use LARC no matter where you move to. ;)
 

CenlaReefer

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Mike, this is a close-up picture of that really nice toadstool that I got on a good deal from you a while back. It has a very distinct polyps. I remember that it was a pinkish tint when you had in your system:


IMG_0192.JPG
 

BluewaterLa

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Thats a really nice leather and I agree the polyps are very nice and wispy at the end almost feather like.
The mother colony is still doing great in my tank and has gotten huge. This thing started out as a small dark brown blob of goo on the side of a small piece of live rock about 5 to 6 years ago, I would say the size of a pencil eraser but flat.
I had a feeling it was a type of soft coral so I kept it in a small cube tank at the time and within a month or two a single polyp emerged from the goo.
After three polyps were grown out I was able to identify it as a toad stool and my wife liked the little goo even more as she got to watch it grow from basically nothing.
Now in the 210 it has sprouted two more babies right near the stalk, not sure if this was fallen tissue or polyp bail out that resulted in the the new additions
I will have to get a good picture of it now and look into my phone for a comparison photo and post it for you to look at.

Yours looks great and healthy. Seems to be getting some green color to the top mantle, mine did this for a time when light intensity/ spectrum was low in the area the leather was placed. Under higher light intensity the pink really starts to come out and shine in this toadstool.
Have you noticed your leather polyps feeding on particulate foods/ matter like reef chilie ? Mine feeds similar to Xenia pulsing, when the food it likes contacts the polyps they close bringing the food into the middle, really neat to watch as most leathers seem not to respond to foods like this one does.
 

CenlaReefer

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Yours looks great and healthy. Seems to be getting some green color to the top mantle, mine did this for a time when light intensity/ spectrum was low in the area the leather was placed. Under higher light intensity the pink really starts to come out and shine in this toadstool.
Have you noticed your leather polyps feeding on particulate foods/ matter like reef chilie ? Mine feeds similar to Xenia pulsing, when the food it likes contacts the polyps they close bringing the food into the middle, really neat to watch as most leathers seem not to respond to foods like this one does.
Thanks Mike!

I do not plan to increase the intensity or change the spectrum of the lighting for quite some time. I guess I could put some more supplemental blue on the right side. I am not going to be heartbroken if it never turns pinkish again. I like it as-is. Still, these corals would be great in a 40 breeder or other spread-out tank with varied lighting in 4 or more regions. The exact same corals would take on 3-4 different colorations in the different regions of the same tank. Perhaps that is a project for the distant future.

I occasionally spot-feed my toadstools a really fine, liquid stuff all mixed together: Kent Phytoplankton, Reef Roids, Reef Chili, & finely smashed-up Fauna Marin LPS pellets. Sometimes I just broadcast dose the Kent liquid when I am in a hurry. That has allowed a nice pod population to develop in this softie tank. I notice an excellent feeding response when I spot feed the Kent liquid Phytoplankton diluted in some saltwater from the tank. Normally fish poop dissolved in the water is fine for these corals; however, I have been without fish since June.
 
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CenlaReefer

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I found an older, (never-before-posted) close-up pic from my 10 gallon that shows how nice these corals can look when they start to fill-in and get a bit more close together. I love that overlap appearance from this front view.

If you look closely, you can see lots of those annoying tube worms. I was able to transfer every single coral and not get even one of these buggers to pop up in the new 20 gallon setup. Following Humblefish's advice, I gently pulled each coral from its base. If you ever do this with a yellow fiji, wear gloves. The toxin caused my hands to burn, yet it was not too painful after I washed my hands a couple of times. I love this pic so much yet I wish I did not get the reflection of the blinds to mess it up on the right side.

IMG_1026.JPG
 

CenlaReefer

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I am getting some inspiration from Sanjay for the future of this softie-only system. I am amazed that he can run this with virtually no live rock at all... just a little sand on the bottom. I definitely want a cleaner-looking sump than his! I would prefer to have a sump with chaeto only and no skimmer:

 
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CenlaReefer

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What is the most beautiful fish I can keep in my 20 gallon softie-only system that would otherwise not be reef-safe with other corals? For instance, are there any nice fish that have a habit of nipping at corals yet would not nip at softies? A particular angel fish? Here is an interesting, older article that has me thinking about an angel:

http://www.advancedaquarist.com/2003/10/fish
 
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Humblefish

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IME; most angelfish will nip on a leather once or twice, but never again due to the noxious taste. But some large angels will take a big chunk before they learn their lesson. :p I housed half a dozen dwarf angels in my 150 with several different leathers. But in a 20 gal I would only put a Pygmy Angel: Cherub, Yellowtail or Fisher's.
 

CenlaReefer

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IME; most angelfish will nip on a leather once or twice, but never again due to the noxious taste. But some large angels will take a big chunk before they learn their lesson. :p I housed half a dozen dwarf angels in my 150 with several different leathers. But in a 20 gal I would only put a Pygmy Angel: Cherub, Yellowtail or Fisher's.
The Fisher's Angelfish is beautiful; Liveaquaria says it is rated for a minimum of 55 gallons. I guess I could get a small one and then size up the tank as it grows. How long do you think it would take to out-grow a 20 gallon tank?

Any other ideas for a very colorful fish that would remain a bit smaller? Perhaps something easy to keep? I guess I could just go with a mated pair of nice clowns. I am also looking for fish that do not bite or jump.
 
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Humblefish

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The Fisher's Angelfish is beautiful; Liveaquaria says it is rated for a minimum of 55 gallons. I guess I could get a small one and then size up the tank as it grows. How long do you think it would take to out-grow a 20 gallon tank?

They usually stay small (2-3") so I think one Fisher's could live in your 20 provided he is the only fish. Buy the smallest one you can. This guy is the smallest dwarf angel of them all and IMO could probably live in your 20 gal indefinitely: http://www.liveaquaria.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=15+2730+455&pcatid=455

Any other ideas for a very colorful fish that would remain a bit smaller? Perhaps something easy to keep? I guess I could just go with a mated pair of nice clowns. I am also looking for fish that do not bite or jump.

There's chromis (including Blue Reef Chromis), firefish, Pygmy/Possum Wrasses, blennies, gobies and tilefish if you wanted something not-so-common.

As far as not jumping, all fish jump. It's just that certain species (wrasses, firefish, tilefish) are more prone to jump.
 

CenlaReefer

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I having second thoughts about sizing-up later. I want to keep this tank small for quite a while longer. My brother and I are fans of the green clown goby. I think a mated pair of neon blue goby fish (Elactinus oceanops) would be nice. One of the ONLY things my wife loves about reef tanks is seeing tiny little baby fish. One of the things I HATE about aquaria is seeing the parents or other fish eat the baby fish. This happened when I kept Banggai cardinalfish. Do the neon blue goby fish eat their babies? Would a green clown goby eat them?

I did hear before that neon gobies require the water to remain cooler (72 -75 degrees). Is that correct?
 

Humblefish

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I believe that is a Caribbean species, so should be warm water. I think @clsanchez77 has 2-3 of them in his tank.
 

clsanchez77

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Just to clarify, I have 2 and they are still in DT. All is doing well but they seem quite docile and I'm not sure they are ready for prime time just yet. CP is wrapping up and I will start doing some water changes from the DT. I may introduce a rock or two to restore them back to grazing habits.

A 20 gallon tank greatly limits your options. The pygmy angel is the smallest and most docile of the angels and I will argue the least likely to bother your corals. But I don't think they will be happy in a small tank and/or one without live rock. They are rubble zone denizens and my observation is they like to spend more time in shelter than out. For a 20 gallon tank, you will be most successful with cardinals, basslets, dartfish, grammas and smaller gobies. Limit your clownfish to Oscellaris. Here is a wrasse that only grows to 2 inches, but I have no experience with or knowldege of:
http://www.liveaquaria.com/product/2908/pink-streaked-wrasse?pcatid=2908&c=15+1378+2908

I believe clown gobies are native to branched SPS colonies and may be stressed in a rockless softie tank.

I have never had neon gobies rear babies in a reef tank. I have had them mate, but I have never seen the babies. As of now I am down to one and I think my hawkfish decimated all my masked gobies. I may introduce a new pair of neon gobies. I have never encountered any literature suggesting the neon gobies required cooler water. They have the same tropical range as all the other Atlantic/Caribbean fish we currently keep.

Catalina gobies on the other hand require cooler water.

If I may, can I suggest an oscellaris clown with one of the shimp/goby combos and a mated pair of firefish? The firefish will need some rock, but you could keep it very low profile, like no more than 4" high and say no more than a 1/3 of your tank footprint.
 

CenlaReefer

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Here is a wrasse that only grows to 2 inches, but I have no experience with or knowldege of:
http://www.liveaquaria.com/product/2908/pink-streaked-wrasse?pcatid=2908&c=15+1378+2908

I believe clown gobies are native to branched SPS colonies and may be stressed in a rockless softie tank.

I have never had neon gobies rear babies in a reef tank. I have had them mate, but I have never seen the babies. As of now I am down to one and I think my hawkfish decimated all my masked gobies. I may introduce a new pair of neon gobies. I have never encountered any literature suggesting the neon gobies required cooler water. They have the same tropical range as all the other Atlantic/Caribbean fish we currently keep.

Catalina gobies on the other hand require cooler water.

If I may, can I suggest an oscellaris clown with one of the shimp/goby combos and a mated pair of firefish? The firefish will need some rock, but you could keep it very low profile, like no more than 4" high and say no more than a 1/3 of your tank footprint.

Thanks for the input Chris! I will have to check that wrass out. Yea, I did read what you mentioned about the clown gobies. I do think you are right that they will not be happy unless they have some branching SPS corals. Perhaps I can put them in a display with lots of branching montis in a year or so.

Regarding the cooler water, perhaps it was the Catalina that I was thinking about. I did some google searching on the neon blue gobies (elactinus oceanops); they live from Florida to the Caribbean islands and such. They would be perfect for a typical reef tank temp. What sort of like expectancy do they have? I have seen a similar-looking tiny fish in FW tanks and always loved them.
 

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If you ever make your way out toward Aquatic Sealife they had a Pink Leaffish in stock last weekend. Cool little fish with minimum tank requirements. Pic for reference
b99e0578c834e7c587da615a984db2ed.jpg
 
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