Monday, April 28, 2008

New Corals

This weekend was the annual Pet Club Sale at Birds and Beasts in Crystal lake. If you are a pet club member you get 25% off of pretty much anything in the store. This includes CORALs. Normally they are priced at $60 - 10% off or $54. This weekend they were $45. I bought three. I know I shouldn't have because it really is a lot of money. However, I made the sacrifice anyway. Not for me but for our economy. My economic stimulus check will be direct deposited soon. By spending this money on these three corals I did my part in securing a prosperous future for America.

Here they are.

Number one. Some sort of a brain coral....I think. I had my eye on this one for a few weeks. One week a salesperson said it was a brain. The next week a different person said it was a tooth coral. I really don't know. I looked around and couldn't find any pictures that looked like this one. When I add Rod's food to the tank it some times lets its tentacles out to feed. Whatever it is it is beautiful.

The next one is a different brain coral. Also colorful. This one is very different from the green brain I bought months ago. The green was is very fleshy. This one is not. After I got it home I saw there was some exposed skeleton on it. This isn't good since it makes it susceptible to a green boring algae.

Finally, because size does matter, I bought a huge colt coral. It is big enough to frag now. I think I'll wait and see how quickly it grows first.

As you can see in the above picture my Coralline algae is out of control. It is growing everywhere now. Even on the front glass. Time to get the razor out.

Monday, April 21, 2008

6 months

I'm a few days past the 6 month point and all is going well. In the tank that is, I had a small flood in the basement which was uncool.

I thought I'd take this opportunity to introduce you to my Regal Tang. No, its name is definitely not Dory. You may remember about a month ago he came down with Ich. He is doing well now. He is still small but growing and he has had no further encounters with powerheads.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Green bubble tip anemone moved again

After spending more than a month or so in the same location near the bottom of my tank my anemone decided to move. Last week I performed a water change and it didn't like getting stirred up by me adding the water as quickly as I did. It closed up and moved to the backside of the rock without really moving its foot. The next day it opened up very nicely. It looked like it was enjoying the water change. A few days later it decided to poop. This could mean that it wasn't too happy. I'm not sure what it really means but some say it was expelling some of its zoothanthellae and by shrinking up it was doing its own water change. A few days later I tried feeding it. It began to move the food towards its mouth using its tentacles. I'm not sure how much it ate because my cleaner shrimp stole most of its food.

Now it has moved to the dark top back corner of my tank just above a power head. Its foot is attached to the glass. I'm glad I didn't have my powerheads running. If I did it surely would have been sucked up into the powerhead when it released its foot and floated to this location. The anemone is opened and it looks otherwise healthy. I've noticed in the past that feeding the anemone seemed to result it in moving. Perhaps it really doesn't like to be fed. I hadn't tried feeding it for months but I decided to try again after reading how they should be fed every few days.

Friday, April 18, 2008

New Corals

Last Sunday I dragged the family to Birds and Beasts in Crystal Lake, IL. I wanted to get one coral but we walked out with two. A Toadstool Leather coral and Star Polyps. They have quite the selection there and my wife and I couldn't decide which we wanted more.

Here is the Toadstool with its polyps extended.

It will frequently retract its polyps. It looks odd and naked in this state.

It took a few days for the Star Polyps to extend. But now that they are out they look great. There are still some polyp at the bottom of the colony that don't quite want to extend.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Anemone Poop

Yes they do and out of their mouths no less. Pretty disgusting if you ask me. This evening my green bubble anemone decided it was time. It shriveled up really small and opened its mouth really wide and secreted a mucusy substance (poo). I was there to witness it all and document this momentous event for you my readers. It's a dirty job but somebody has to do it.

Here are some anemone poop pictures:

I guess the shrimp liked it.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Death and Taxes

They say the only certain things in life are death and taxes. Well, for me anyway, you can add flooding into the list of certainties. When I mixed a batch of water this weekend for a water change I decided to adjust the connection on my DI water container's float valve. It always dripped a little bit. However, I refused to call it a leak since it evaporated faster than it dripped. Sure, the underside of the container would be a little damp but nothing more. On Sunday I decided to fix this leak. I applied a little more Teflon tape and tightened the connections. I was set.

Monday night I decided it was time to print out the taxes. We were reamed so hard this year it hurts to sit. Every time I think I'm turning into a Democrat I turn back into a Republican at tax time but I digress. The Democrat in me decided to use the printer in the basement office since I can manually do two sided printing and save a few trees using that printer. So while checking on my print job I felt a cold sensation on my foot through the carpeting. At first I thought something pinched me. However there was nothing there but 2 year old carpeting. I decided to feel for the culprit. When I pushed down on the carpet I was able to feel that it was wet underneath. It was like the carpeting was floating. I ran into the other room and saw my RO water container was completely filled and water was everywhere. Mind you this is at about 9:30 pm and my taxes aren't done yet.

I solicited help from my wife we moved her collection of books that were on the floor. Oddly, these were all still floating and had not gotten wet yet. However, it didn't take long for the carpet to get soaked once we started walking on it. My wife tried in vain for hours to suck up the water using the carpet cleaner but alas it was not to be. At 11:30 we decided it was time to rip out the padding to save the carpet. SO the carpeting got untacked and rolled back. The padding that was drenched was ripped out and hauled away. There is no way that the carpet cleaner could have dried that carpet. The padding was completely saturated. After using the shop vac to dry the floor the carpeting was rolled back and dried with the carpet shampooer. We then placed some milk crates under the affected area and set up a fan to blow under and over the wet carpet. We also have a dehumidifier running. Taxes got signed and we went to bed at 1:00 am. Hopefully, we saved the carpet.

I didn't take the time to figure out the cause of the leak. It looked like a powerhead or heater cord got tangled with the float valve keeping it open and allowing the container to overfill.

Incidentally, I bought two corals on Sunday. Star Polyps and a Toadstool leather. I'll post pictures soon.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Pom-Pom Xenia

My Pom-Pom Xenia that I acquired a week ago appears to be doing well. It pulses like crazy now and it is growing. It's taller now than it was a week ago. I purchased it on a small shell. When I put it in my tank I put a rock on the shell to hold it in place. The coral's foot has now stretched and is grasping both the shell and now the rock. Hopefully it continues to do well. I would love to have a rock covered with these pulsing polyps. Some people who have these say they get out of control and start to take over the tank. Hopefully I'll be able to prune the coral and sell the frags back to the LFS so I can start to make some profit.

Enjoy the video. It shows the coral at its true speed.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Saltwater Hitchhiker

A lazy blue-legged Hermit crab hitching a ride on an Astrea snail.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Pom-Pom Xenia Update

My new Pom-Pom Xenia was pulsing a little bit last night. It was kind of difficult to tell how much because the current would cause it to sway and tended to keep its polyps mostly closed. Not clenched shut like a fist but but the current wouldn't allow them to open all the way. This coral, by the way, is on the opposite side of my tank from the powerhead that I had running.

I unplugged the powerhead to see how this would affect the coral. Within a few seconds the coral came alive like the finale of a fireworks display. All of the polyps were constantly closing and opening at random times. Pretty amazing to watch. I really hope I can get this one to grow and thrive.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Red Scooter Blenny

While at Beyond the Reef on Thursday I decided to pick up a Red Scooter Blenny. They had red ones and they had the normal brownish grey ones. I thought the red would stand out more so I payed the extra $10 for him. It turns out that when he is sitting on the rocks he is difficult to see because the red blends in with the Coralline. It's a cool fish to watch scoot around looking for food. They have oversized ventral fins that they perch on. They spend much more time resting on these fins than they do swimming. It essentially uses these fins as legs.

Looking at this fish makes you think about the resemblance to Tiktaalik as discussed in Neal Shubin's book Your Inner Fish. It also resembles the Darwin fish car plaques that show the tiny legs protruding from the fish's body. Also take a look at their eyes. Click on the picture above to zoom way in. Their eyes look like lizard eyes. What will the descendants of Scooter Blennys look like in a few million years? Will they some day leave the ocean floor and head for the beach? Maybe they will if we humans don't manage to destroy their habitat first.


My poor Xenia has shrunk away to practically nothing. It's still there but it is almost microscopic. The arrows in the picture point to what is left. I have no idea why it did this. All of my other corals are growing.

Perhaps it is not to be in my tank. Maybe my temperature, 78deg F, is too high. Perhaps it likes a slightly different salinity or different lighting. Who knows? This is supposed to be an easy beginner's coral but I have not been able to get it to thrive. Even in failure I'm amazed at what this Xenia has done. What other animal shrinks and shrivels away to nothing? Animals, in general,grow throughout their lives until they reach their final size and then die. This thing has shrunk down to the point where it is about to disappear. It still has the little coral polyps but they are tiny. How has it done this? Can you imagine an ill human shrinking away to oblivion? It just doesn't happen. Perhaps it would if we didn't have skeletons.

I do love the look of a pulsing colony of Xenia. I walked into Beyond the Reef on Thursday and they have a massive colony of white Pom-Pom Xenia pulsing away in their display tank. It is amazing and hypnotizing to watch. They did have some frags for sale so I bought one. See the picture below. Maybe I'll have better luck with this variety. It is pulsing in my tank albeit a little slower than I would like. Perhaps it too will shrink away to nothing. If it does, I'll give up on Xenia. At least for a while.