Second time’s the charm?

Last Sunday, I finally felt ready enough to set up the nano tank again. I threw out all the old sand, rescaped it and cycled it.

It took a long time for me to feel confident enough about owning a tank again after being so discouraged with the number of livestock that died after Ida. But, I have a good feeling about this second go around. ๐Ÿ™‚


Little Shrimp, But My BIG Mistake

Recently, I picked up a Yasha Hase goby!

I was on the fence about getting a goby because a lot of them are just not my favorite in terms of appearance, but this one really appealed to me. And, I also didn’t want to spend the $$ on Dracula gobies which also have a unique coloration but not as unique finning. Currently, the YHG is still under two inches long, and I have not been able to determine whether it’s old enough to be sexed. I’ll give it a few more months, and then see if I can bring in another of the opposite sex to get them to pair. I could have bought a bonded pair on LiveAquaria’s Diver Den, but I’m trying not to use LA too much. I find that price after shipping is just not very fair or favorable.

Since certain gobies and pistol shrimps are known to form a symbiotic relationship, I decided to pair it with the Randall’s pistol shrimp which has similar coloration to the YHG. But when I called around, none of the shops in my area had any! I checked online also, and while the shrimp itself is cheap <30$, overnight shipping would immediately triple it in price. No point in paying overnight shipping for just the shrimp when I have nothing else to order with it.

I placed a call to my LFS (shoutout to Aquatic Sealife, they’re always so accommodating), and they placed an order for pistol shrimps.

I received word a couple days ago that they had received shipment. So I drove there as soon as I could once my schedule allowed it, which happened to be the 24th! To my luck, they did receive at least one Randall’s pistol shrimp!

Randall’s Pistol Shrimp (alpheus randalli)

Very colorful, very eye catching and also very tiny! This little guy was less than an inch long. But, I was excited nonetheless to be able to get one so quickly given that other people were also having difficulty sourcing them.

I acclimated him, and it was time to let him loose into the tank.

But then that’s when the BIG MISTAKE on my part happened.

I never thought to turn off the powerheads in my tank because none of my other shrimp were this small. Whelp…

Imagine my horror when I release the pistol shrimp into my tank, and he immediately gets sucked by the Nero 3. I manage to get him off, but I see one of his claws floating through the water. I panic smashed all my neros off, and watched horrified as the traumatized shrimp tried to swim his way in the tank to a safe spot. Eventually he did find the small rock cave that my blenny used to use and took up residence there.

Honestly, it was such a traumatizing oh sh*t moment for me. I had never turned off my powerheads prior to today for introducing new inverts and fish, and it was truly a lesson from hell on doing it.

It’s been a few days since that incident, and my shrimp hasn’t made much of an appearance. However, I know he’s still alive because the sand in the area keeps moving and shifting daily. I’m hoping that my YHG finds it soon and that they will pair up, and all the trauma will be the past.

From what I saw it looks like the snapping claw is what came off. Based on what I read, the non-snapping claw will transform into a snapping claw and the other claw will grow back in a few months. So, he should be fine going forward.

But man, I really think letting him into the DT without turning off the powerheads was once of the worst mistakes I’ve made in a while. I don’t think I’ve felt my heart rate and blood pressure sky rocket quite like that in a while.

I just figured it was worth sharing so that you guys don’t make this simple mistake either and safe yourself some panic!


Lose One, Win One

Ugh, I think one of the worst things about this hobby is losing fish.

And when I say lose fish, it’s a pretty vague term because in reef tanks there’s two types of losing fish. The first one is seeing your livestock visibly dead and needing to be fished out, and the second one is just fish is gone. No body, no appearance, just a complete disappearance.

I honestly think the second type of loss is the worst because there’s no way to confirm whether the fish is gone or not without ripping out all the rock, and then it becomes an entire endeavor. And yet, that’s the first kind of fish loss I experienced in this reef tank of mine.

When I buy fish, there’s a certain amount of planning and thought that goes into it. It’s not just about buying a fish that looks good but also finding one that will fit into your aquarium without causing aggression or overstocking. Knowing that my fish tank has a 33g display volume and is only 2 feet long, I wouldn’t add a fish that gets longer than 6 inches or needs a tank larger than 30 gallons (like a tang).

It also means that given those constraints, I’m extremely limited in the type of fish I can add to my tank which also meet my personal fancy.

That said, I spent a good month or so researching what kind of wrasse would work with my tank type because wrasses are so popular in reef tanks but many of them also require more than 60 gallons minimum. Eventually, I settled on the possum wrasse over the pink streaked and six line due to their appearance and personality.

After looking around, I managed to find a store in North Carolina that had a white banded possum available. I paid for overnight shipping, had it delivered.

White Banded Possum Wrasse

I loved it ever since I first laid eyes on it. It has a striking appearance, but it also has a cuteness to it with its giant eyes. But, the fish I received was actually really stressed, and I had a sinking feeling that the fish wasn’t going to make it. From the moment I took out the bag from the box, I saw that the fish was floating on its side towards the top, and if it moved, it would move towards the bottom of the bag and float in a 45 degree angle with its tail floating up top.

I went ahead and tried to acclimate it in a box, but I could tell it was still stressed out. Given how cryptid these guys are, many people suggested not trying to acclimate them into a box and just letting them loose into the display. So I did, and I watched the fish disappear into my big rock work. That was the last time I saw that fish. It’s been over two weeks, and I still have not seen this fish come out again, even at night.

I’m pretty sure the fish is gone. I’ve read that sometimes people find or see a fish that disappeared months ago for the first time again, but I’m not very hopeful with this fish given how stressed it was when I first received it.

I’m actually very upset to have my first fish loss with this tank; that it was with this possum wrasse no less. It was a hassle trying to procure it, and I have nothing to show for it now. So, obviously, the only thing I can do now is just to get another possum wrasse. But, what if there are no more white banded possum wrasses available?

So, I settled for the yellow banded possum wrasse this time. Yes, I say settled because honestly I think the white banded possum looks the best and there weren’t anymore of those or the Tanakas available. So, I only had the option of the yellow banded. Considering even the yellow banded possums are fairly rare in terms of availability, I went ahead and purchased it.

So, I placed my order (with a different vendor who had it in stock), but I really didn’t have high hopes for this one either. Luckily, the odds were in my favor this time.

The yellow banded possum wrasse I received was more lively in the bag. I went ahead and acclimated it in my tank for a couple hours to make sure it wasn’t too weak to swim in the flow and let it loose in the display tank. And, instead of immediately gunning for the rocks, it floated around and took its time taking in its new surroundings.

Yellow Banded Possum Wrasse

Its been about 5 days since I’ve added the second possum wrasse, and I’ve seen him swimming around every morning pecking at pods. He has a curious way of swimming, almost like he propels himself through the water instead of swimming side to side.

I’ve grown to appreciate his personality because he doesn’t seem as shy as most possums. He really only seems camera shy, and I’m glad to at least have one success story with a possum wrasse since there are people who seem to have no success with them at all. It’s almost like this second wrasse was a complete redemption fish sent by the fish gods who took pity on me regarding my terrible first experience.

If you don’t have a possum wrasse, I highly recommend it. They can be weirdly fun to watch. I’m hoping to get a better macro lens soon so that I can take some real photos of my fish.


Pandemic Pickup, How I Got Into Reefing

Hello, my name is Clo.

Thank you for taking the time to read through my writings. I appreciate it. Writing has always been a hobby for me, and I’m excited to tie into my new hobby of reefing by being able to document how my first nano reef tank will progress.

I’ve always loved doing research and reading through other people’s experiences any time I pick up a new hobby, so I figured documenting this would be something fun to do as I jump head first into keeping a reef tank.

A little about me, I originally started with high-tech fresh water tanks. I had a 17 gallon tank for a couple years that was torn down when I moved back into my parent’s house to return to school for nursing. During that time, I just kept a small 5 gallon planted tank in their house that housed a betta splendens and a couple snails instead. That tank was also closed down as I graduated and moved to another city with my husband.

Aside from that, I’m currently living in New Orleans, LA. I am an intensive care nurse, and my other hobbies include fountain pens, journaling, writing and eating good food. I spend my free time drinking coffee and listening to my husband talk about the stock market. ๐Ÿ˜‰

In the middle of 2020, I started entertaining the idea of putting up a fish tank again for when I move into my apartment. I loved having a fish tank, and I missed having something to look at that wasn’t just a TV or a computer screen. It was also something I wanted to share with my husband, who has never had fish tank of his own but greatly enjoyed my previous freshwater tank. At the time, I just had no idea whether I wanted to do another planted freshwater tank or finally dip my toes into a saltwater tank. Naturally, I started doing some research, and I quickly fell into a deep well of information after seeing a beautiful macroalgae tank that had been posted to Reddit. Really, that and my love of ocellaris clowns in anemones cemented my decision to start a reef tank.

Since I was between jobs, I took this time to just research a bunch about different brands, equipment, aquarium tanks, common mistakes, and what a typical first year looks like for a reef tank. In February of this year, armed with my new found knowledge, I pulled the trigger on ordering a Waterbox AIO 35.2 gallon with my shiny, new nursing money.

Ultimately due to the age and size of the apartment, coupled with being on the second floor, I settled for a <40 gallon size. Another factor that heavily affected my decision to stay at or below 40 gallons was the fact that my previous largest tank was only 17 gallons. This new tank is already double in size; I didn’t want to be overwhelmed with doing maintenance and/or water changes and the logistics involved.

At the time I placed the order for my fish tank, I was originally quoted 6-8 weeks for delivery with backorder. I found that to be false, it took over 10 weeks for delivery, and I did not receive any updates on delays from Waterbox. Any time I did call them, no one would answer and I had to leave a voicemail. That was actually really weird for me. I was really surprised about that because everyone praises Waterbox for their support and communication, and I honestly just thought that they sucked. At one point, I was questioning why I even ordered one when I could’ve gone with an Innovative Marine or Red Sea instead, but by that time it was too late to cancel or change my order.

The tank officially delivered May 7th.

It was finally scaped and flooded on May 19th!

And that’s how my initial reefing journey started!