Monday, February 4, 2008

Birth, Death, Stupidity and Hopeful Recovery

This past weekend in my familyroom reef was quite eventful.

Sexual reproduction, to be more exact. I witnessed one of my mushroom anemones spawning. A fine stream of sperm or eggs was exiting its mouth. The anemone was green at the time whereas all of the others on the same rock were brown. The anemone had the same appearance that it has when the lights are first turned on in the morning with the exception that its mouth was larger than usual and it looked a lot more relaxed. By the time I grabbed my camera, which has been living on the end table closest to the tank, the event was over. Here is the picture I was able to take. The mushroom anemone that spawned is the green one smoking the cigarette.

I'm not sure why they call it a mouth anyway. It should be called the multi-purpose orifice since anemones eat, poo and breed through this "mouth".

I lost my flame angelfish this weekend. It was starting to get adventurous and swimming in and out of all of the openings and caves in my live rock. It never ventured out of the shadows of the rock but it was coming into plane view quite a bit. On Saturday morning I couldn't find him. Then, to my horror, I saw red and blue fins sticking out of the intake to one of my power heads. I quickly turned off the power to the pump and removed the victim. It was lifeless. It got to close to the intake and got sucked in and was plastered up against the intake screen. I had been operating this powerhead from my old setup for months without the cone shaped screen since I couldn't find the screen. I only meant to use this power head temporally while I was setting up the tank. However, since everything was going well I didn't want to change anything. I've looked for the cone shaped screen to buy individually but I haven't been able to find them. Per Murphy's law my most expensive fish to date was the one to get killed. Talk about bad karma.

After the loss of the flame angel I considered pulling out the powerhead while I looked harder for a new screen or replaced it. I was afraid of the impact of the reduced current on my corals. I decided that removing the powerhead would be like closing the barn door after the cows escaped anyway. I also figured that the flame angel incident was a fluke. Everything ran fine for more than 3 months without an incident. What is the chance of another incident occurring before I replace the powerhead. It turned out to be pretty damn high. Yesterday evening I couldn't find my blue tang. I gasped when I spotted a yellow tail fin sticking out of the powerhead. Like a bad recurring nightmare I turned off the powerhead and removed the tang. This time the fish was still alive. He had the deep impressions of the filter screen on one side of its body and looked stunned but it was alive and swimming. It even went to the glass and started eating algae. This morning he was up and about swimming and eating. The impressions of the screen have faded to just thin white lines. Hopefully, he will make a full recovery without getting an infection. We'll see. By the way, the powerhead is now turned off.