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Thread: Chesapeake Bay Oyster Reef Biotope Tank

  1. #91
    DIYFK member FLDave's Avatar


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    Pardon my ignorance but.....

    Will you treat the display tank in any way? Are the parasites likely to have survived long enough in that tank as to cause new problems when you re-home your stock?

  2. #92
    DIYFK member Chasmodes's Avatar


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    No problem at all Dave, thanks for the question. Six weeks with the tank fallow should be long enough that all of the parasites will die off as they will starve and not complete their life cycle. If there are bacteria (the bad kind), my hope is that the immune systems of the fish can prevent infection, otherwise, I may be forced to treat the DT with an antibiotic. Time will tell. In the future, any new fish that I capture for the tank will spend 3 weeks in QT treated with copper.

    So far, day 4 of QT and the fish are doing well, and I don't think that they have a bacterial infection. I think what I was seeing was their slime coat giving off excess slime from two stressors, the parasites creating discomfort and also stress from being chased around by the dominant breeding male. Life it QT has quieted all that down now.

    I had to do a 50% water change as ammonia spiked (the QT is cycling) and add more copper to keep it at a therapeutic level. Last night, I had some leftover live bacteria in my fridge leftover and the expiration date is still to come, so I dumped it in the QT. It may work, but most likely the copper will kill the introduced bacteria. My hope is that it might speed up the cycling of the QT. I'd rather not do water changes so often so I can keep a stable treatment of copper. Testing for copper is crucial. Last night, ammonia was high and nitrite was zero. I have a sneaky feeling that I'll be doing another water change tonight.

  3. #93
    DIYFK member Chasmodes's Avatar


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    Quarantine is boring when it comes to watching my fish. Plus, my worry gauge is double what it normally is. That said, the fish are all doing fine. They look healthy, they're eating, they establish and maintain pecking orders, and defend territories, albeit zip tied pieces of PVC pipe. They were very skittish the first week and a half, but now respond to me during feeding time and don't flee during that time or during water changes, testing or treatment of meds. I guess that they're used to it. I have to wonder if any spawning activity will occur. Has anyone had that happen in QT while treating diseases?

    Regarding the treatment and disease status, the fish have completely stopped scratching since about the fourth day of treatment, and the white film and spots on the fish are gone. They all look fat and healthy, breathing looks normal. So, to be safe, I'll have them at least in QT for 2 more weeks with copper, then another two weeks for observation after I get rid of the carbon. By that time, the tank should be parasite free, as it would be fallow for six weeks. I'm 1/3 of the way there, and so far so good.

    The display tank is also a bit boring, although it is interesting to see more of the invertebrates than when fish are in there, specifically the crabs and bristle worms. The white thing is definitely a tube anemone and only fully extends after dark. When I turn the lights on, it draws back into a hole in the oyster shell. More jellyfish budding polyps have shown up on the same shells as the small anemones, if that is what they are. They could be another jellyfish species budding polyp, but I haven't seen any long tentacled jellies swimming around the tank. I have seen the short tentacled ones from what I know are the budding polyps, floating around in my tank. It's pretty cool, but I think that my power filters kill them off.

    Some of the tunicates died off, but about a dozen of them are still alive and feeding. The mussels are still alive as are the barnacles and open up to feed when I add plankton. But overall, the DT is a bit boring without the fish, although the grass shrimp constantly cruise the tank without the fish in there. I had one shrimp commit suicide as I found it on my tank top glass. I can't figure out how it jumped out of the only tiny hole, but it did.

    I only put the lights on for 4 hours a day, and cyano and other hair algae species have died way back, as have some of the other light dependent life, perhaps dinoflagellates? So the tank water is gin clear and the tank looks really clean. One month to go, and all will return to normal.

    So, what happens then? I will work on the big tank for sure, but also keep the 20g long QT tank set up just for that purpose, with the mummichogs to keep the tank bacterial population going and use it for new collections. I will use the 20g high for invertebrate collections as an observation tank, keeping it fishless and fallow, so that any invertebrates, shells, or anything else becomes parasite free before adding it to the display tank. And once the 100g is set up, the 20g long DT will become a macro tank, most likely for sticklebacks and other weed loving bay critters. All of my current fish will go into the 100g oyster reef tank.

    Future stocking list additions to the fish that I have now will include a hogchoker, a few more striped blennies, maybe one to three feather blennies, maybe some sheepshead minnows, perhaps a porcupinefish, and hopefully a tropical stray spotfin butterflyfish. My goal is to catch them all, but, I may have to purchase the last one if I don't have any luck finding any.

    I'm so happy that the QT process is going well so far. My nerves will be much more calm when I can return all of the fish to their oyster reef home.

  4. #94
    DIYFK member HillbillyHomer's Avatar


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    Click here to enlarge...Glad to hear that things are working out!..Click here to enlarge

    i dont know anything about salty tanks. But will the tube anemone come out under moon/blue light?

  5. #95
    DIYFK member Chasmodes's Avatar


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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by HillbillyHomer Click here to enlarge
    i dont know anything about salty tanks. But will the tube anemone come out under moon/blue light?
    That's a good question. I guess I'll need to check that out!

  6. #96
    DIYFK member FLDave's Avatar


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    Amazing........

  7. #97
    DIYFK member Chasmodes's Avatar


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    Thank you Dave.

    Here is the display tank, fishless (fallow) as it looks today. I keep the lights off but save a few hours each day and have reduced feeding to a tiny bit of flakes each day plus bottled plankton 3x per week, so much of the hair algae and cyano has greatly reduced:
    Click here to enlarge


    Video updates:
    First video of the QT, fish are doing well, doing what they do but in a pretty much sterile, copper treated environment with PVC pipes zipped tied for hiding spots:



    I'm pretty sure that this is a small tube anemone. It is bigger than the jellyfish polyps but smaller than the Ghost anemone. This guy is growing though, about 2x the size that it was when I first found it. It retreats to hide when I turn on the lights, so it is light sensitive. I may flip the oyster shell over once so it stays out when the lights come on, not sure yet. I doubt it is a worm, because it has too many tentacles, and don't seem feather like as most filter feeding worm tentacles appear.



    with the fish out of the display tank, the invertebrates and far less shy. Bristle worms come out to play a lot more these days. I believe that this species is commonly known as a clam worm. Here is one out foraging. I have yet to see one attack anything. They have a pretty nasty proboscis and will bite if handled (like bloodworms) but they seem to be very skittish. Even grass shrimp spook them, as you can see at the end of this video. I find them quite fascinating to watch. I'd say that I saw perhaps a half dozen different ones out at various times. There are many more tough, because there were at least a dozen that I could see along the edge of the tank glass in their burrows that never came out.



    Remember the tiny anemones that I thought that I had? Well, they never seem to grow any bigger than what I can see enough of with a magnifying glass. So, I have been observing more and more, looked at this video, and then researched, and found that they also are moon jellyfish polyps, just a different stage (before budding). So, I'd say I have about a dozen either budding or non-budding polyp moon jellyfish in my tank.


    Here's another moon jellyfish polyp:

  8. #98
    DIYFK member Chasmodes's Avatar


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    Update on my brackish tanks:
    In the 20g Long display tank, which is fallow, I finally got a good video of what I was trying to ID earlier, and I'm pretty sure it is a ghost anemone, but still could be a tube anemone. I'll have to study more about both to determine this. But, it's not a worm, definitely a cniderian. I am also ruling out that this is a jellyfish polyp, because it's much larger than those, and is growing, and has not changed to a budding polyp. It has been there for a long time also. Also, in the video, I found a small tunicate that I hadn't seen before just to the left of the anemone. I think that my tunicates are reproducing. This is the second one that I've found. I need to go back and look at older pics and vids to determine if this was there before or not.

    Also, the ghost anemone wasn't doing well in the 20g high. All of a sudden, it wasn't attached to anything, its tentacles were withdrawn, and it looked a bit withered. I did a water change and it looked a little better for a while, but then became detached again. So, I took the opportunity, since it wasn't attached, to move it to the 20g long display tank. It is attached to a shell now and is doing much better. The tentacles haven't fully extended yet, but the main body and overall health looks much better. I've wanted to move this creature to the display tank for a long time.


    The fish are in their last week of copper treatment, and are doing well. They're eating and look very healthy. After the last day of treament, then I will do water changes and add carbon to get rid of the copper. After that, I'll observe them in QT for a few weeks until the display tank fallow period ends, and then they get to go home.

  9. #99
    DIYFK member Chasmodes's Avatar


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    A couple more videos:

    The fallow display tank:


    A couple Harris Mud Crabs (Rhithropanopeus harrisii), one of two species in the tank. I always thought that these were a nasty muddy brown when collecting them in the field, but in a tank, they "clean up" really nice, and I find them quite attractive. They are very secretive though, but during the fallow period, when the fish are away, the crabs will play.

  10. #100
    DIYFK member Chasmodes's Avatar


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    The tank is doing well, as is the QT process. All of the fish are eating well and active, but they seem more aggressive right now. I'm not sure if it is due to breeding behavior, or just stress from a QT environment. As far as the fallow display tank, I found a third anemone on the underneath side of the oyster shell that the second anemone adopted as home. I thought earlier that they were tube anemones, but now I think that all three of them are ghost anemones. The one that seemed in poor health that I moved from the 20g high to this tank seems very healthy again. Here is a video of it below, sorry for the poor quality. I'll try and get a better shot of it in the future. The anemone moved from a razor clam across about 3" of sand to the base of the largest oyster cultch, and has stayed there ever since.


    I also found another unidentified invertebrate. I think it is some type of worm, but I'm not sure. It has moved to another oyster shell since this video, so it's not completely sessile. Here's a video of it:


    Most of the tunicates died off, but 3 of the larger original ones are hanging in there and seem to be healthy. I have two "new" ones that I've found that seem to be juveniles, about 1/4" wide now, one that I've found on an older oyster shell that I collected and also one on my cultch, which leads me to believe that they reproduced in my tank. The grass shrimp, mussels, barnacles, and the many bristleworms are also doing well.

  11. #101
    DIYFK member HillbillyHomer's Avatar


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    Worm? Looks like a big Guppy Poo Click here to enlarge
    Click here to enlarge

  12. #102
    DIYFK member Chasmodes's Avatar


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    Yes it does!!!! Click here to enlarge

  13. #103
    DIYFK member Chasmodes's Avatar


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    Looky what I found in my tank?







    This little snail shows up 6 months after my last collecting trip. I never saw any evidence of snails in either of my tanks. Last night, I saw it feeding on the side glass of the tank. It is tiny, and at first, I thought it was just a gas bubble from algal growth on the glass, but it moved... So, I zoomed in with the camera, and saw it was a gastropod, and took the video. I have no idea what species this is, and I assume it's a grazer.


    Why is this a big deal? I keep finding life in the tank that I haven't seen before, like this snail, and the third anemone that I didn't know that I had. Where the heck did this guy come from? I was wondering if things can be introduced via bottled store bought plankton? Anyone know? I've tried several kinds, the latest being Reef Nutrition Oyster Feast and phytoplankton...

  14. #104
    DIYFK member Chasmodes's Avatar


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    I have some new additions to the oyster reef system in my holding tank shown in the video below. On Saturday, I brought home two small four spined sticklebacks, Apeltes quadracus, two species of Ulva macroalgae, a few more sea squirts and a cluster of mussels, and two beautiful large ghost anemones. When I say large, I mean about as big as they get, about 1.75" wide at the tentacles, and about the same length for the base. These are also not pure white like the others in my display tank. Rather, they have a pinkish hue to them. Here's the video:


    The sticklebacks are feeding on small copepods and amphipods, but ignore my offerings. I guess I'll have to start raising some baby brine shrimp or buy copepods until these fish are big enough to eat the frozen foods. My plan is to keep them in this tank for a while, but move them into quarantine and treat them with copper. At that point, the holding tank (my 20g high), will be for invertebrates and macroalgae, and will remain fallow. After 6 weeks, then I'll move stuff to the display tank. If I go collecting and bring more stuff home, then that clock resets. The point is that I don't want to introduce ich to my display tank.

    Eventually, this summer, I hope, I'll have my big tank set up and all of the fish and invertebrates will move to that tank, except for the sticklebacks. I will keep the 20g long as a stickleback tank, with macroalgae as the dominant aquascape, with perhaps an oyster cultch or two (to be made later).

    After this weekend, all of my fish that are in quarantine will move to the display tank. I had a tragic death on Friday night, however. One of the female blennies went carpet surfing. I have no idea how she got out. My guess is that she jumped through the egg crate top that I had, because there weren't any other openings large enough for her to fit though. Now I'm down to 5 males and one female blennies in the tank.

  15. #105
    DIYFK member Chasmodes's Avatar


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    The fallow period is over and my fish are not out of QT and back into the display tank. While in QT, they were pretty much doing the same territorial chases that they've always done, defending their favorite piece of PVC pipe. But, after a few days in the display tank, the males established homes in their favorite oyster shells and really colored up into their spawning colors, pretty much like the one that I caught last week. Not only that, they're defending their 6" of space, all the while chasing, flashing, and harassing the female, I guess, to breed. It's weird though, like a love-hate relationship. They get all fired up and flash when they see here, then they both display side by side and shake (mostly the male), then he chases her away. Only, all of the males are after her like this. Her tail has been pecked a lot, and at one point was almost down to the caudal peduncle, but has since grown back some.


    The male spawning coloration includes a bright blue spot on the dorsal fin as well as a dark stripe and a yellowish/orange stripe along the front half of the fin. Also, they darken up their entire bodies almost to the point that their stripes fade away, their fins become tinted with orange, their pelvic and anal fins darken up and are trimmed with a white and black border, and their cheeks become and orange or peach color. You can really see this in the video that I'm posting below. That bright blue spot is quite pretty. The males are about 3.5 to 4 inches long now. In the six weeks that they were in QT, they grew quite a bit. It's hard to believe that it was less than a year ago that all of the fish were less than an inch and a half long.


    The female remains in the juvenile coloration, mottled with vertical bars and faint horizontal variable stripes. She is the smallest fish in the tank at 2.75 inches, but she is tough as nails.


    In this video, there are two scenes of a pair of males sparring over territory, presumably over a potential place to spawn and guard eggs. The first battle begins at the 3:30 mark, and the second one at the 5:02 mark. The video finishes showing the object of their affection, a female striped blenny.

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