Pinchy Palace Journal

This is a forum dedicated to Hermit Crab Association members posting pictures of their crabs and crabitats.

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Scarletfire
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Re: Pinchy Palace Journal

Post by Scarletfire » Sat Nov 23, 2019 12:29 am


Moe2076 wrote: Congratulations! Thanks for all your posts and pics complete with the ever useful "dont make the same mistake I did" section! I so look forward to seeing it as you progress and I love reading about things I should avoid, as I am building/upgrading right along side you.

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Thanks!

Okay, I'm done sort of. My hands super sticky, so couldn't really, well, do anything until the silicone dried enough to remove.

Mistake #1
I should have got a caulking tube vs a squeeze tube. The Silicone exploded in the bottom, then subsequently the corners where I tried to twist up and do damage control.

The Silicone is great and did what I wanted,but at the same time, I needed to work fast. I chose Permatex RTV silicone because it's used in automotive and doesn't have mold resistant additive. Meaning, it's stronger than door/trim regular silicone, tested mechanically to be automotive grade. Secondly, I wanted to choose RTV specifically, which means "room temperature vulcanization", which means that it'll cure much faster than regular silicone (cures instantly when exposed to moisture). The skin will cure within 1 hr, and fully cure within 24 hrs if not sooner.

Mistake #2
Because I was rushing to get the next piece on before it got cured too much, I missed out on putting textboxes onto the glass pieces as the alternative clamps. I also ended up rushing and did it in order of long, short, short, long. The second short piece stayed in place as there were 3 sides to adhere to immediately, but the other short side.... There's a lot more work to come to re-prep that piece and surface. I shouldve done long, long, short, short as the long pieces would've stayed in place by itself.

Mistake #3
I didn't cut the opening large enough, so I took a long time trying to squeeze silicone out, resulting in amplifying mistake #1.

Mistake #4
After mistake #1 where I ended up with silicone all over my hand I touched too many other surfaces. That's a lot of clean up later.

But hey, all things said, it'll be very secure; you can't even make it budge 10 min later when applied properly.

Things I did right
#1 the blue plastic was great. The short side to do later fell in several times in which I gave up. If the plastic wasn't there, it would've contaminated the stuff in the tank. Also when I do clean up later, the blue is easy to remove.

#2 this sealant is great stuff although expensive. It's the same cost as my caulking tube for resealing the tank earlier. Same cost, but 3x less.

#3 I prepared a disposable flat spoon ahead of time to ensure the glass is flush with the edge of the tank.

More scraping to come.. Exciting...

What I did right #4
It was the right idea to buy the better larger handle scrapper. I've used it every step of the way so far.

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Scarletfire
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Re: Pinchy Palace Journal

Post by Scarletfire » Mon Nov 25, 2019 8:08 pm

Always.. Scrape away from you when working with silicone. I became complacent and ended up with a nice cut.

I didn't have an issue before. This new silicone... Because it's much stronger, it's also harder to remove. Bu they, it's doing what it's supposed to.

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Scarletfire
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Re: Pinchy Palace Journal

Post by Scarletfire » Fri Nov 29, 2019 5:12 pm

After lots of scraping, it is finally done! It is now time to resume ziptying egg crate with great difficulty as it's already in the tank. ImageImage

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Overmountain1
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Re: Pinchy Palace Journal

Post by Overmountain1 » Sat Nov 30, 2019 1:58 pm

Looking awesome! They’re gonna love it! I like the shelf across the front too, I want to do something like that with my 72.


Dave the Wondercrab~Pat~Maggie~ Billy~Pop~Corn~Ten~Sam~MissTeri~Tim~Gene~ Barry~Mr S~Princess + 5 Es + Mr EnDoh =my crabby clan!


Moe2076
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Re: Pinchy Palace Journal

Post by Moe2076 » Sun Dec 01, 2019 12:45 am

Looking amazing!! It looks like it's really coming together great! I really like that egg crate shelf you got going on there! Keep up the hard work and good idea posting! I can tell you have spent so much time putting it together (That you may see at least 1 other person try to duplicate in the near future!
18 PP: 2 teenie 3 small Gumbo; 1 small/med shell diva; 6 med: Evil Kenival 6 med/large
3 dogs: Maltipoo Tosh Pomeranian/Spitz Kaylee: Rotwieler/hound Bear
4 cats: Dottie calico Luna: DSH grey and white Moxie:kitten with spunk Ellis:Big lovey orange tabby


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Re: Pinchy Palace Journal

Post by Scarletfire » Sun Dec 01, 2019 4:44 pm

Overmountain1 wrote:... I like the shelf across the front too, I want to do something like that with my 72....

Moe2076 wrote:... I really like that egg crate shelf you got going on there! Keep up the hard work and good idea posting! I can tell you have spent so much time putting it together (That you may see at least 1 other person try to duplicate in the near future!
Haha thanks! The shelf across the front, I took from someone else in the forum. I plan to add an additional vertical brace to that front shelf in the future, but in the mean time...

Here's what the lid looks like so far. I'm waiting for the acrylic hinges to come in, but ebay always takes a long time. Once I figure out how the hinge will work, I'll put the lid handles on.
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Breaking it down... A piece of glass that spans the top surface minus 1/4" was split into 4 pieces. It was an aethetics reason that I covered even the braced top sides, so that it doesn't look off looking down from the top. It's 6mm glass, for the reason I'll explain later.

I don't like glass on glass, so the corner protector was added to the inside between the lid, and the glass bracing. This also added a smooth surface for the glass lid to slide on, and when putt long the lid back on, it'll also limit glass on glass.

As for glass-on-glass between the lid pieces, I added a shower trim. I originally only wanted a U-channel, but I couldn't find any of that at any local stores. With the additional vinyl piece (used to stop water, butin this case to trap humidity), I'm hoping that will hold up. I installed it with the vinyl piece on the bottom of the lid sections, and vinyl piece on the top section on the outermost sides. To get this piece to stay on the glass, the glass needs to be at least 6mm. The glass brace was 10mm, and the shower trim fit as well, although tight, so I don't recommend anything thicker than 10mm.if you don't plan on doing the trim, use a lighter piece of glass (3mm) and you'll save on cost.

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On each piece of glass, I added some rubber cabinet stoppers, rectangular to be parallel to the sides. This makes it so when it slides, a) the ends can't accidentally fall off if I pushed them side too hard, and b) the glass lid will slide parallel and not too front/back, so I can move out the lids without thinking too much. The added benefit is that if I'm taking off the lid, I can set it on top of another glass lid without it being glass-on-glass. For this reason, I should've done 4 square rubber pieces, one in each corner. I was thinking about it before, but was too lazy to go out to the hardware store.

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Side Note: I updated the first post to section it out, and to track the progress. If you're looking for a specific component I did, the listings are by date of the post.


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Scarletfire
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Re: Pinchy Palace Journal

Post by Scarletfire » Tue Dec 03, 2019 5:51 pm

These acrylic hinges finally came in from ebay. After looking at the pivot angle, it needs quite a large gap, the diameter of the circle in the middle where it hinges. Although I could replace the shower trim with a corner adhesive bumper... It would look super tacky. Although it was a waste at least it was cheap.

I may find a purpose for the hinges in the tank yet. ImageImage

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Re: Pinchy Palace Journal

Post by Scarletfire » Mon Dec 30, 2019 10:50 pm

With most of the wedding planning out of the way and the cats settling in very well, also knocking over most of the plants and climbing on the crabitats, I finally got more progress.

For the lid, I removed the rubber rectangles, cut them in half, and moved them to the corners, minus the end two lids where the outer most corners are actually in the middle as a marker to stop so I don't push the lid off the top by accident. All handles are vertical so that I can stack one in between two lids in the future.

For decor, I used all the driftwood and decor pieces I had lying around, maximizing access to the sand for digging and climbing areas. I made it so the least amount of the driftwood actually touched the sand.

Hamster wheel, I haven't decided whether to take the current one from the smaller tank or to buy a new one. I've been waiting for it to go on sale, but haven't had any luck since I started this build.

I'll be adding this shrimp shelter to the freshwater pool
It was finally on sale for boxing week! Substrate will be black carib sea,stocked with snow ball neocaridina as opposed to the originally planned amano shrimp. Guppy grass from a friend brought along some mini red ramshorn snails. I'm hoping they'll breed and potentially become food in the future.

Yes there's two bromeliads by the fw pool. They were knocked over so many times, courtesy of my kitties. I figured I'll try this to see if they'll be okay.
ImageImageImageImage

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Re: Pinchy Palace Journal

Post by aussieJJDude » Tue Dec 31, 2019 4:08 am

Looking good! Loving the update.

Imo, neos are a good choice. They very hardy, and unlike amanos, self populate so you dont have to worry about replacing them in the future. (Amanos also get large, as your probably aware).

If you haven't already, I'd reccomend adding some moss for the shrimp. They love to graze on moss, due to the biofilm and aufwuch. (Stay away from java, it grows in an ugly clump, and other moss varieties/species would be a nicer choice IMO)

Are you planning on adding anything to the SW pool?

May of mentioned it prior, but what do you plan on using for filtration on the pools?

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Re: Pinchy Palace Journal

Post by Scarletfire » Tue Dec 31, 2019 9:37 am

aussieJJDude wrote:
Tue Dec 31, 2019 4:08 am
Looking good! Loving the update.
Thanks! I've been taking my time and enjoying the process.
aussieJJDude wrote:
Tue Dec 31, 2019 4:08 am
Imo, neos are a good choice. They very hardy, and unlike amanos, self populate so you dont have to worry about replacing them in the future. (Amanos also get large, as your probably aware).
Only reason why I was considering amanos before was just in case the hermit crabs wash their salty claws in the fw and makes the water brackish that the amanos can handle them, but sustainability trumped that thought as the salt would be pretty diluted haha.
aussieJJDude wrote:
Tue Dec 31, 2019 4:08 am
If you haven't already, I'd reccomend adding some moss for the shrimp. They love to graze on moss, due to the biofilm and aufwuch. (Stay away from java, it grows in an ugly clump, and other moss varieties/species would be a nicer choice IMO)
I was thinking about flame moss; they look pretty cool and I haven't done that variety before. My thought... I will get some stainless steel wire mesh, zip tie that to egg crate, add some rocks, and tada! Make a moss wall. Haven't done it before.. but I think it'll be interesting.

I might pick up some petite annubias as well.
aussieJJDude wrote:
Tue Dec 31, 2019 4:08 am
Are you planning on adding anything to the SW pool?

May of mentioned it prior, but what do you plan on using for filtration on the pools?
SW will be filtered with an Odyssea Clean 100 Surface Skimmer Aquarium Filter. Substrate will be crushed lava rocks (I am cheap and I don't need that much. Decor will be stacked lava rocks. I'll only have a trochus snail. It was recommended on the FishLore forum for this small of a size, and they can also flip themselves back over unlike turbos apparently (darn). I'll look be looking into chaeto / macro algae.

FW will be filtered with a simple corner sponge filter.

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Re: Pinchy Palace Journal

Post by aussieJJDude » Tue Dec 31, 2019 11:07 pm


Scarletfire wrote:
Only reason why I was considering amanos before was just in case the hermit crabs wash their salty claws in the fw and makes the water brackish that the amanos can handle them, but sustainability trumped that thought as the salt would be pretty diluted haha.
Haha, neos are pretty tolerant. I've accidently introduced salt (not enough to be considered anywhere close to brackish (1.005+) and they did fine. So I think you'll be fine, but yeah - I do agree with you!
I was thinking about flame moss; they look pretty cool and I haven't done that variety before. My thought... I will get some stainless steel wire mesh, zip tie that to egg crate, add some rocks, and tada! Make a moss wall. Haven't done it before.. but I think it'll be interesting.

I might pick up some petite anubias as well.
Flame moss is a good choice, thimk you'll like it.

Honestly I'd skip the SS mesh and sandwhich the moss in the eggcrate with some flyscreen or plastic canvas. Its a lot cheaper than SS mesh.

Petite is a nice choice.


SW will be filtered with an Odyssea Clean 100 Surface Skimmer Aquarium Filter. Substrate will be crushed lava rocks (I am cheap and I don't need that much. Decor will be stacked lava rocks. I'll only have a trochus snail. It was recommended on the FishLore forum for this small of a size, and they can also flip themselves back over unlike turbos apparently (darn). I'll look be looking into chaeto / macro algae.

FW will be filtered with a simple corner sponge filter.
Sounds good.
- since your using a power filter, I'd reccomend skipping the lava rock and going with live rock. It will help seed your filter, provide home for bacteria and I've found my crabs do like to graze live rock.

I'd ditch the lava rock for substrate, it will trap a lot of waste (increase nitrates!) and doesn't allow the trochus snail to dig. A better choice would be aragonite sand, not only does it allow the snail to dig, but also reduces debris being trapped in the rock since the waste will sit on top of the sand (allowing you to remove it, or to be sucked up by the filter). Will also help buffer the water, not only for the snail, but to ensure its pH stays high.

Turbos also grow a little too big - I was going to add one to my tank but decided against it due to their size.

Highly reccomend the chaeto, my crabs loved it!


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Scarletfire
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Re: Pinchy Palace Journal

Post by Scarletfire » Wed Jan 01, 2020 11:38 pm

aussieJJDude wrote: Haha, neos are pretty tolerant. I've accidently introduced salt (not enough to be considered anywhere close to brackish (1.005+) and they did fine. So I think you'll be fine, but yeah - I do agree with you!


Flame moss is a good choice, thimk you'll like it.

Honestly I'd skip the SS mesh and sandwhich the moss in the eggcrate with some flyscreen or plastic canvas. Its a lot cheaper than SS mesh.

Petite is a nice choice.



Sounds good.
- since your using a power filter, I'd reccomend skipping the lava rock and going with live rock. It will help seed your filter, provide home for bacteria and I've found my crabs do like to graze live rock.

I'd ditch the lava rock for substrate, it will trap a lot of waste (increase nitrates!) and doesn't allow the trochus snail to dig. A better choice would be aragonite sand, not only does it allow the snail to dig, but also reduces debris being trapped in the rock since the waste will sit on top of the sand (allowing you to remove it, or to be sucked up by the filter). Will also help buffer the water, not only for the snail, but to ensure its pH stays high.

Turbos also grow a little too big - I was going to add one to my tank but decided against it due to their size.

Highly reccomend the chaeto, my crabs loved it!


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Note to self: don't alt tab or the post will be deleted. Did that 3x already.

Fw pool was set up with carib sea and cold water. Went shopping, and decided to switch to flourite dark in case I want to do more complicated plants in the future. Came back to all sides of the tank 2oth condensation. Cold water was a bad idea. I can't clean the sides because it's sandwiched in between the other tank and egg crate. I'll wait for the condensation to go away... But not sure how long this will take, or if I should carry on. Q1: Do I need to do a design change?

I ended up with Phoenix moss as it looked cool, and came only on SS mesh. Until I reset the tank, I guess it'll stay in this bin.

I was looking at chaeto before, but forums only mention that they're in refugiums. Q2/3: does it matter if they're in an open part of the tank? Is there a way to make it look better than a sprawling mess?

In the sw pool, I was thinking of dumping the flourite dark in as it is porous. Q4: Does this not work as it is not fine enough and too sharp for snails?

Tank in development, my biggest crab is wondering when the new home will be ready. It was staring at me for quite a while. I was surprised it didn't hunker down as usual.

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Re: Pinchy Palace Journal

Post by aussieJJDude » Thu Jan 02, 2020 4:11 am


Scarletfire wrote:Fw pool was set up with carib sea and cold water. Went shopping, and decided to switch to flourite dark in case I want to do more complicated plants in the future. Came back to all sides of the tank 2oth condensation. Cold water was a bad idea. I can't clean the sides because it's sandwiched in between the other tank and egg crate. I'll wait for the condensation to go away... But not sure how long this will take, or if I should carry on. Q1: Do I need to do a design change?

I ended up with Phoenix moss as it looked cool, and came only on SS mesh. Until I reset the tank, I guess it'll stay in this bin.

I was looking at chaeto before, but forums only mention that they're in refugiums. Q2/3: does it matter if they're in an open part of the tank? Is there a way to make it look better than a sprawling mess?

In the sw pool, I was thinking of dumping the flourite dark in as it is porous. Q4: Does this not work as it is not fine enough and too sharp for snails?

Tank in development, my biggest crab is wondering when the new home will be ready. It was staring at me for quite a while. I was surprised it didn't hunker down as usual.

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1. I dont think so, once the water heats up a little much of the condensation should disappear. In saying, water droplets on the glass due to condensation (from the tank to outside) could be an issue, so may need to be moved slightly so you can get in there if needed to wipe water away wth a pair of long noze tweezers (good for aquascaping and aquariums if you have aquariums) and a piece of paper towel.

1 (bonus). Phoenix moss (also known as fissidens) so a nice moss. I love my fissidens, and shrimp love to graze it. Its very slow growing (compared to other mosses, like flame, xmas, java) so keep that im mind. I do find that fissidens do appreciate cooler water (below 75F) but hopefully it adapta well for you in your crabitat.

2/3. No, the reason why its placed in sump is simply due to not wanting to grow algae in the main display. Unfortunately there's no nice way of growing cheato, but there are other algae species which are slightly more ornamental which may work (like dragons breath if it is an issue.

4. I would suggest against flourite in SW. Partially for two reasons:
- organics in SW ideally should be kept on the lower side of the spectrum
- while the snail can burrow in flourite, it won't be able to easily.
Flourite is course, and waste will become trapped leading to nitrate buildup. Nitrates in marine should be avoided by many aquarists.
- it's a waste of plant substrate to dump into marine!

I'd really consider a shallow sand (aragonite... Very good buffer) if you do want to have some success with a nano SW setup. Since its basically inert (at least compared to flourite) you dont have to worry about excess organics in the water, which in a nano can swing rapidly.


(The mini hairgrass is a finicky plant, which may not do well depending on water params and lighting. In soft acidic water, and good lighting, the hairgrass should be fine... but ideally for best success, CO2 injection is reccomended. :/ Its one of those plants that work for some, but not others.)

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Topic author
Scarletfire
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Re: Pinchy Palace Journal

Post by Scarletfire » Sun Jan 05, 2020 8:21 pm

With plants in the tank now, I lowered the lights so it's only 4" from the top of the tank. I've already hit it several times today, just need to get used to it. Note to self: it's hot when on after a day's worth of light. I was looking into make the light fixture height adjustable with pulleys, but I may settle for a hinge instead for simplicity and less mechanical parts. This will be tabled until after everything else is done. Or when the plants start dying so I can get the lights lower.

I started dosing seachem excel and seachem flourish. Realizing that Phoenix moss grows slowly... I grabbed some Java and Christmas moss from my fiancee to make the back moss wall. I haven't done that before, so hopefully that was an okay way of doing it. I also "borrowed" a few ramshorn snails to keep the tank cycled, and produce some poop for the plants. Forgot if I mentioned it before, but seachem stability was also added after dechlor water to get a nitrogen cycle going.

The hair grass was separated into 4 chunks. Itll look ugly until it's properly carpeted...

Went to reptile store and picked up some terrestrial moss, usually used in frog enclosures. Hopefully these turn out okay. I've put them on driftwood, egg rate and slate to see what they attach to.

I need to figure out when the next live rock shipment is to my local fish store for the last eco system in the tank.

A few things I need to figure out:
- are the 5500K lights sufficient for the sw pool if I only havr macroalgae, 1 snail and no corals or fish? All the LFS marine lights are 10000K+ with super high blue spectrum.
- how to fertilize the terrestrial moss as some readings say not to fertilize them directly.
- how to secure the handles to the lid better. As I'm using 6mm glass VS the typical 3mm used in aquarium lids, there's a significant more weight, and the included adhesive isnt holding up. I may remove it and use the silicone sealant I used to reseal the tank. Image
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Re: Pinchy Palace Journal

Post by Scarletfire » Sat Jan 11, 2020 12:27 am

Terranium
The moss seems to be doing.. okay? The patch on egg crate seems to be doing better than the others. It has a little less light as it's high up but off to the side. The one directly under isn't as green as the other ones. The one on slate looks.. neither good nor bad. When I got the moss, it was a brown in some spots to begin with. I'm hoping that it will grow in time.

Freshwater
Yesterday's water testing read:
Ammonia 0.25 PPM
Nitrite 0 PPM
Nitrate 5.0 PPM

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I'll add some more stability and measure again after a week.

Lighting, I ordered an additional grow light that can clamp on somewhere for the freshwater plants. I really want the hairgrass and rotala to not only survive, but propagate too.

Saltwater

After finishing up research, I went to my LFS on Monday to look for live rock as they had a shipment on Saturday. I found out that they cure the live rock with freshwater. I was pretty sure this is ridiculous as the purpose of buying live rock is to instant start your tank with bacteria already cultured on the rocks. I opted to dead / dry rock. Confirmed with the FishLore forums that this is insane and defeats the purpose of buying live rock.

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Picked up a small bag of aragonite sand. Although I wasn't buying into the "live bateria" in a bag that's barely moist, it was the smallest bag that they carried, to have some minimal amount of sand for the substrate.

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Fun story, on Monday when I grabbed the hardscape, the LFS person asked me what I was doing with such a small saltwater tank as it can't have much of any livestock. He was amazed at what I did to the tank. When he asked me what I'll be keeping, I said, well, just hermit crabs, shrimp and snails, he laughed. When I came back today to buy RO water, he remembered me and told his coworkers of my build. Apparently she also kept purple pinchers in a 40 gallon tank!

Other

You may have seen my post in the emergency section. There's record breaking rain, starting early tomorrow morning followed by everything freezing the day after. Food, water, and moss is almost ready to go.

I just need to figure out what to do in case of a blackout if the lines ice up or someone knocks over another electrical pole. The crab room is quite warm when the door is closed. I filled up quite a few bottles of dechlor water, to hold some level of warmth. I'll move the humidifier back into the crab room in the morning so the humidity in the air will hold some heat too.

Yes I can get over the top sometimes with preparation.
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