Fish In Fourth Quarter Of 2007

This page contains all the tank events from 1 October 2007 to 31 December 2007.
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Starfish Food And Coral Fight
9 December 2007

We've been paying more attention to the Gorgonian since fragging it and have a suspicion that the small starfishes may be responsible for denuding it.  Notice here how a starfish is at the end of one of the fronds having (we happened to notice) started at the base of the same frond.  Lo and behold the frond is in bad shape.

The small starfish having denuded a frond of the Gorgonian

A spot of browsing on Reef Aquarium Guide suggests that this might be an Asterina Anomala starfish which munches on algae and, in some circumstances, corals.  We will watch it a little longer to be completely sure, then start removing them whenever we see them.

While we were taking the above photograph, we noticed something more exciting happening above it.  The Euphyllia had been reaching out with one of its fronds and, in so doing, had touched one of the Zooanthids.  It immediately closed up and trapped the end of the frond.

The Euphyllia frond trapped by the Zooanthid

The battle didn't last more than a few minutes: the frond survived to sting another day.

The Zooanthid disengages

The Zooanthid, however, is the worse for wear from the sting.

Zooanthid suffering from the sting of the Euphyllia


Fragging Time
1 December 2007

The Gorgonian has been suffering a bit from what we thought was nuisance algae.  This has been creeping up its stem for a little while now: you can see the black bits in the pictures below.

The gorgonian ailing Close-up of the ailing part of the gorgonian

We decided to "frag" it (take fragments: effectively take cuttings) to save the good parts.  An  article on Reef Aquarium Guide suggested cutting off the good parts, stripping away a portion of the pink flesh and then using gel-type superglue to attach these bony stems to a new base.  Here is the process in pictures.

The base, made from an old razor shell we once collected with a small steel bar shoved through it for added weight
The fragments cut away from the bad bits The fragments attached to the base with gel-type superglue
All the fragments on their new base
The fragments back in the tank

While stripping away the flesh from the stems we noticed that the inner skeleton is black on the larger pieces, so the black we were seeing on the Gorgonian wasn't necessarily nuisance algae but could instead have been the retreating flesh (though there had definitely been nuisance algae on the original base to which the Gorgonian was attached).  The skeleton was more whitish on the smaller fragments, so either that's a normal change in colouration or we didn't cut off enough diseased stuff.  We wait and see.


More Motion
1 December 2007

Decided to increase the flow in the tank by adding a Hydor Koralia 3200 l/h pump.  We've placed it low-down on the right-hand side in the main tank, attached to the sump wall.  The Finger Leather Coral is being blown around a lot more now; let's hope it likes it.

Have also bought another Cleaner Shrimp to return our cleaner population to two.


Baby Toadstool Progress
25 November 2007

The two baby toadstools are growing up.  You can't quite see it from this photo but there is a definite stem to them now.  They are smaller than, but similar in shape to, the parent toadstool coral when we originally bought it.

A pair of baby toadstool corals progressing 


Trachyphyllia Motion
15 November 2007

Having spotted the feeding antics of the Trachyphyllia (see below), we've been wondering how it produced so many little arms while only seeming to squirm slightly.  To see it more clearly here is a time-lapse film of it feeding, speeded-up 150 times (shots taken at 5 second intervals over a period of 20 minutes).  All this activity was triggered by placing some krill and associated particles in the water, which are visible as a light snow in the film.  The Trachyphyllia is revealed to be a great big disembodied mouth yumming away.

The Trachyphyllia contorting itself to feed

We used RAD Video Tools to stitch the video together from a sequence of sequentially-named stills.


Aaaaaah
14 November 2007

When the tank lights have gone off the Maroon Clownfish retire to the hole in the rocks that they have adopted for their own and rub up against each other.  There was just enough light this morning to get a video of them.

The Maroon Clownfish canoodling


Trachyphyllia Action
13 November 2007

Just after feeding the fish tonight we noticed that the Trachyphyllia was looking particularly large.  The ring around its middle had distended and lots of tiny arms were sticking up, presumably to catch particles of the food we had just dropped in the tank.  Crazy.

Trachyphyllia with its hands out A close-up of the little hands through the Mesoscope

Maroon Clownfish
11 November 2007

Couldn't resist it.  Aquatic Fanatics has become Totally Tropicals (same staff, different owner) and is in the process of re-stocking.  Part of the new stock is a pair of Maroon Clownfish, the female being about five times the size of the male.  Having discussed the deaths of the Clown Fish, there didn't seem to be an obvious environmental reason why they should have been struck-down and none of the other fish have shown signs of illness so we're putting it down to bullying.  The Maroon Clownfish female is quite big enough to stand none of that: she is now the biggest fish in our tank at about 10 cm long.  Notice the barb across her gills, which caused some problems getting her out of the net in the shop. 

Maroon Clownfishes: the female about five times larger than the male Barb across the gills

Oh, and the mushroom polyp has started forming a cup shape now.  It is being stung by fronds from the Euphyllia next door to it (causing the contraction at the bottom of the cup), so we have moved it a little to the right since this picture.

Mushroom Polyp forming a cup shape


More Corals
10 November 2007

Rather than buying more fish just yet, we've taken the opportunity to stock up on corals.  Coral Garden Aquatics provided:

Euphyllia "hammers"

Another form of Euphyllia: "hammers".  Very pretty with greenish hammers on the ends of the fronds.

Pulse Coral "Red Sea"

Another variety of Pulse Coral: Red Sea.  Our existing ones are apparently Elongata and aren't as delicately feathered.  We bought two small colonies and have plugged them in low-down on our live-rock wall; they should move up it more slowly than the Elongata.

Mushroom Polyp

A pair of mushroom polyps, the main one pictured here inside-out.  In the shop it formed a really nice cup but probably needs to settle down a while before it will do that again.

Zoanthid colony

A colony of Zoanthids, which we have placed at the base of our live-rock wall in the hope that they will spread up it.

Turbinaria

And finally, a Turbinaria, which looks awfully like a pigs ear.  Annoyingly, a few glass anemones seem to have arrived with this stock but, interestingly, with the Turbinaria have come a few creatures in tubes.  You can see one of the tubes at the base of the picture above and there is another to the right; here is a view through the Mesoscope of the creature that inhabits it.  Chuck G on Reef Aquarium Guide has identified it as a Vermetid Snail.  While these are usually considered harmless, Patrick™ on Reef Aquarium Guide has found them to infest and take-over a reef.  Since there are only these two isolated specimens we're going to watch them carefully.  They feed by sending out threads of mucus to snare titbits which they then reel in, eating both thread and catch.  You can see a thread extending from the tube in the picture below. 

Vermetid Snail Vermetid Snail tube

Deceasement
8 November 2007

Not a good day in the tank: both Clown Fish died today.  There was nothing externally wrong with them, they were just lying dead on the gravel come evening.  The tank parameters aren't unusual; nitrates still show 12ish mg/l, which is higher then we'd like but not out of order.  Most mysterious.  We should also record that the new Orange-spotted Goby had disappeared when we came back from holiday at the end of August: maybe it was bullied after all.  This means we're down to four fish: One-spot Fox-face Rabbit Fish, Long-nose Hawkfish, Regal Tang and Bangaii Cardinal (in order of arrival, oldest first).  On a positive note, the Long-nose Hawkfish has not attempted to eat the other Cleaner Shrimp.


Sump Life
31 October 2007

Had a look in the sump tank on my way out to work this morning and the margarine tray left in there (for no very good reason) was absolutely teeming with copepod life.  Here's a video to prove it.  All of this comes from the live rock we started the tank with.

Teeming life in the sump tank The old margarine tub in the sump tank

Five Tongues
28 October 2007

Following the rather fuzzy video of the urchin's five teeth, we happened to catch it up against a clearer portion of the tank glass today and got this video that shows it has five tongues as well as five scary teeth.  Neat.

The urchin's five tongues and five teeth


Trachyphyllia And Euphyllia Progress
14 October 2007

We added more coral to the tank today in the form of a Trachyphyllia, a solitary-polyp mushroom coral.  This was originally labelled a Green Fungia but we have been reliably informed by Joe Cushing of www.aquaticcastle.com that it is really a Trachyphyllia.  The Fungia is described here and the Trachyphyllia here.

Trachyphyllia

The plastic bag holding the Fungia as we inserted it rubbed up against the Euphyllia, hence the Euphyllia retracted its many arms.  This allowed us to see quite how much the calcium base has developed since we bought it just under a year ago.

Euphyllia glabrescens' many heads (see the new one hidden at the bottom) The Euphyilia in November 2006

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