Sunday, December 30, 2007

Send Out the Clown

Yesterday started off like any other day. All my fish seemed happy and doing well. They all ate in the morning. I got the camera out and took some macro pictures of my fish and coral. I took a picture of this Ocellaris clownfish.

Within a few hours it was laying on the bottom of the tank. I picked it up and looked at it and noticed that its stomach seemed a little swollen and pale. I put it back in the tank and it swam sideways under some live rock. There has been no sign of it since.

So what happened? I didn't use the flash so I know I didn't stun it. So how can a fish that looked so healthy end up dead a few hours later? Could it have gotten stung by a coral? Could it have eaten a bristleworm? I have no idea. I'll bring a water sample to the pet shop today to make sure everything is okay. I have noticed that my Xenia isn't looking that great these days. It has stopped pulsing and looks kind of thin. Perhaps I need to start adding some iodine.

Update: I had my water tested later that day. 0 nitrites, 0 nitrates, pH 8.2, calcium 360ppm. Except for the calcium being a little low the water conditions are perfect. I have been dosing with Oceans Blend two part calcium. However, it is recommended that I dose before the lights turn on to avoid pH spikes. Well, I've been sleeping in turn my time off of work. Since the lights are on a timer they have been on by the time I wake up so the calcium hasn't been added for a few days. I also picked up some iodine at the pet store. I'm supposed to dose 3 cap fulls each week. We'll see if the Xenia starts to look better.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Asexual Reproduction Update

On December 2nd I wrote about how my mushroom anemone looked like it was propagating by stretching and splitting off a piece of its foot. Well, that's exactly what it did. A piece did split off and now it has formed its own mouth. Usually, it is obscured by the mother anemone. You can see the child in this picture before the mother fully expanded.

Here is a picture taken this morning. Note the small mushroom anemone with a mouth.

Here is a picture of the same anemone while dividing.

Bubble Anemone on the Move

Last night I bought a green bubble anemone and placed it on a piece of live rock. I bought it while it was attached to a small piece of live rock. The owner of Beyond the Reff couldn't get it to detatch from the rock so he included the rock with the anemone. On the way home it detatched from the rock. It was a long ride home; about an hour. This morning it moved to the side of the rock. It looks like it is moving out of the direct light.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Bubble Anemone

When I was a kid, probably in high school, our family drove from Chicago to Washington state and Oregon. One of the most memorable parts of that trip was exploring the tide pools along the coast. The tide pools were full of life and full of pink anemones. This was the first time I has seen such a creature and I couldn't get enough of them. It blew me away that these were animals and not plants. Up until that time I thought all animals pretty much had arms legs and eyes, usually in twos no less. This anemone thing was completely alien and it fascinated me. I was touching them in the tide pools and was amazed at how its tentacles would close around my finger. Looking back I know that it was this experience that sowed the seeds of my fascination with coral reefs and the life that inhabits them.

Since that time I always wanted a reef tank. In that tank I always wanted an anemone of my own. That dream has now come true. I am now the proud owner of a green bubble anemone.

I have two Ocellaris clownfish in the tank. I'm hoping that they will host this anemone but I'm not that optimistic. In the wild tomato clowns host this anemone. We'll just have to wait and see.

In other news it's been close to two months since I have had my tank up and running. The coralline algae is still growing and spreading across the tank. Here is a picture of my heater which was purchased new for this tank. As you can see the coralline is spreading like crazy.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Is it too early to start another tank?

I really love this hobby! I love observing the growth of my corals, crabs, shrimp and fish. Even the snails are interesting. One of them is eating all of the hair algae that has grown on one of my filter tubes. My yellow tang won't touch the stuff but somehow a snail found its way there and hit the mother lode.

All that I can see and do with a reef tank is great. However, there is a fish I have always wanted even lusted after. That fish is the Picasso Triggerfish.

The Hawaiian name for this fish is Hu-mu hu-mu nu-ku nu-ku a pu-a-'a which supposedly means fish with a pig-nosed face. I prefer Picasso or even the scientific name Rhinecanthus aculeatus . I really don't think that the female triggerfishes would be happy if they knew they were being compared to pigs in Hawaii. Incidentally, when I read the Hawaiian name of this fish to my family at home my daughter started singing a song from High School Musical. Apparently, their is a song about this fish in High School Musical that was deleted. Hmmm, I wonder why.

I digress. I love this fish but I can't put it in my reef tank because it will eat my shrimp and pretty much anything else that will fit in its mouth. The only alternative is a second tank. Sounds like something to do early next year.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Growing Tongue

I'm glad to report that my tongue coral is growing. It has new clear polyps along the edge where it was cut to make a fragment. It also has clear new polyps along the bottom.

Over the weekend I happened to notice that the flesh polyps of this coral were pretty retracted and stiff. They were so stiff they weren't swaying in the current at all. All of the polyps were green instead of brown. Then, all at once, the flesh seemed to expand and all of a sudden the coral moved. It didn't move much. Just a millimeter or two. But it did move. Then, the coral turned brown again and the polyps slowly fully expanded. I'd like to know if anyone else has ever seen this.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Live Rock Hitch Hikers

One of the pieces of live rock I bought yesterday has about 5 or 6 Christmas Tree worms or Horseshoe worms. I'm not sure which yet. These frighten more easily and retreat into their tubes more than the one I already have. I first noticed them when I saw movement on the rock when I approached the tank. There are 2 or 3 larger red ones and some very small ones that look gray right now. I'll post pictures soon.

Monday, December 3, 2007

More Live Rock

I bought 15 more pounds of live rock today. Unfortunately, these pieces aren't as nice as the first batch I bought. Although they are light and have a lot of surface area a lot of the coralline algae appears to be dead and white. It was hard to tell this in the store because the rocks are only under actinic lights. They still look nicer than most of the live rock I have seen at other stores. In two months these will likely be completely covered by colorful coralline algae again.

The white spots I noticed on my tang yesterday are gone today. Hopefully, it will stay that way.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Yellow Tang

My yellow tang has been eating like a pig. So much so that I have throttled back and didn't supply any nori today. I'm concerned that I am overfeeding. I have a small patch of red algae covering a patch of sand. The tang has also now started to take both frozen and flake food. I guess he has learned from his tank mates. I noticed a few white spots on it yesterday. This morning the spots were gone. However, tonight they are back again. I have seen this before on my Royal Gramma where the spots have come and gone. Hopefully, these too shall pass.

Asexual Reproduction

The largest mushroom false coral I have, I believe, is about to generate a clone of itself. For the past couple of weeks it has been stretching its foot along the surface of the rock. The foot started to pinch off at one point. Now it has stretched and pinched off so far that there is just a small strand of flesh between the farthest point and the parent. See the picture below.

I'll keep an eye on this. I'm curious to know if the child will move farther away from its parent or if it will stay put right where it is. I would like to see some of these move onto other rocks. I have no idea how I would move one though.