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Thread: Chesapeake Bay Oyster Reef Biotope Tank

  1. #61
    DIYFK member HillbillyHomer's Avatar


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  2. #62
    DIYFK member Chasmodes's Avatar


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    Now I just hope I can keep the barnacle and the tunicates alive! I'm not sure how much food they need, so it will be trial and error.

  3. #63
    DIYFK member Chasmodes's Avatar


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    Update: I purchased some bottled phytoplankton to feed the barnacle, tunicates and mussels that are in both tanks. The bottle directions state that it is concentrated and you only need to add one capful per 50 gallons twice per week. Since I have a good many filter feeding organisms, I'm going to do this three times per week and see how it goes. I may have to look into culturing my own. I also purchased some ChemiClean to eradicate the cyanobacteria, but haven't applied it yet. The longer dark periods seem to keep it at bay. I don't care too much if I see a little of it, but it was getting nasty and taking over the tank. I have this product in my back pocket if I need it.

    Rather than ramble on, I figured I'd post some more Chesapeake Bay Brackish eye candy...In the 20g long, I moved a shell with tunicates and a couple mussels on one side of it up and wedged it tightly to the right cultch. I think it looks great, plus, it's easier to observe them. This goby found it to be his favorite hang out:
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    Here's a view of the cultch with the new addition:
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    Full Tank Shot:
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    A few blenny pics:
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    Can't forget the skilletfish:
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    I thought that this was a tunicate, and until I inspect it closer, it could still be one covered with unknown material or organisms. But, it occurred to me that it could be a stickleback nest. We did catch one stickleback during that last collecting trip. That fish currently resides in QT at the Glen Echo Park Aquarium:
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    And guess what showed up in my 20g high tank of death? I was excited to find new life! I believe this to be the ghost anemone, Diadumene leucolena:
    Click here to enlarge

  4. #64
    DIYFK member HillbillyHomer's Avatar


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    Click here to enlarge...i AM jealous...Click here to enlarge

  5. #65
    DIYFK member Chasmodes's Avatar


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    Thanks Homer!



    Well, I found out what the ball like structure is, but have no clue what is covering it (second to the last pic in my post above). I pulled it out of the Gracilaria and got examined it. While examining, it was blob like, kind of like a tunicate, so I thought that it might be a tunicate, but wasn't sure. So, I placed it on the substrate near the front of the glass to observe it, and last night I noticed one siphon. So, I confirmed that it is indeed a tunicate. I have no idea what is covering it. I'll have to get a closer pic tonight.


    Also, the new anemone eats flakes and brine shrimp Click here to enlarge

  6. #66
    DIYFK member Chasmodes's Avatar


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    Update:


    No pics or vids this time, sorry. I've been sick and haven't had the energy lately.


    In both of my tanks, I've noticed that there is a decent population of copepods and other tiny life forms on my front glass. I assume that they're all over the tank, but they're very tough to see. I found another barnacle that I didn't know that I had. I've been feeding the filter feeders 3 times per week, 1.5 cap fulls each time of the bottled phytoplankton. We will see if that works. So far, the mussels are open a lot more, the tunicates seem like they're doing well, the pod population has grown, the barnacles are out scooping up food more, and the ghost anemone is doing very well. I found a small tunicate under a razor clam that was not there before, so I think that perhaps they've spawned at least once in the tank.


    I cleaned the glass in the 20g long last night. The pods are interesting to watch, but, I need to see my fish, so I wiped them away along with the algae that they were eating. The skilletfish are the most brave fish in my tank, almost always first to my hand to receive food. Last night, when I cleaned the glass with my magnet algae scraper, all of the fish scurry for cover during that time, except one skilletfish that bravely clung to the glass that I was trying to clean. He would not get out of the way! I had to nudge him with my finger so I could clean that 2" square spot that he was clinging to. And, he resisted, not wanting to move. I was laughing the whole time Click here to enlarge

  7. #67
    DIYFK member Chasmodes's Avatar


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    I have some pics to share from last night. I will have videos later but still need to process them. But for now...


    Skilletfish clinging to the oyster cultch:
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    Tunicates above, goby below:
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    Naked goby sitting atop a shell with tunicates and live mussels:
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    A photogenic striped blenny:
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    Grass shrimp feeding off detritus over some tunicates:
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    In the 20g high, a cluster of mussels feeding on a phytoplankton meal:
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    Also in the 20g high, a ghost anemone awaiting its next meal:
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  8. #68
    DIYFK member Chasmodes's Avatar


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    As promised, videos from last night.

    This first video shows grass shrimp eating an unknown organism or object. I've wondered if it is a tunicate covered in other fouling organisms or a discarded stickleback nest (we did catch a stickleback the day that I brought this home, thinking it was a tunicate). It is kind of globby in texture. At one point, I thought that I observed a siphon, but now I'm not so sure. The grass shrimp has been devouring the attached material though. I've never seen a stickleback nest, so perhaps if anyone has seen one, they could let me know if this might be one or not. Thanks.


    This next video is not exciting, but I find it interesting. It's a bunch of tunicates and a couple live mussels (opened and feeding, I guess). Around the 5 second mark, one of the tunicates ejects something from its siphon. Is it one of their tadpole larvae? I lost track of it in my tank when the current got ahold of it. I didn't observe any movement from it trying to get to a settling spot, but wouldn't that be cool?


    The next video is interesting as a blenny is foraging, checking out every nook and cranny around the macroalgae. But, around the middle of the video, decides to enter an oyster shell at about the same time a skilletfish enters, and a brief but harmless battle ensues:


    The last video is basically the same spot where several blennies decide to hang out and watch my camera watching them...the three amigos!

  9. #69
    DIYFK member Chasmodes's Avatar


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    Here's a close up pick of that unidentified object or life form:
    Click here to enlarge


    I love picking up my magnifying glass and examining my tank, looking for new life forms that I haven't noticed before, in addition to admiring the ones that have been there. I enjoy examining my fish close up, noticing their intricate color patterns and structural details that seem to blend together when viewed with the naked eye.


    I have noticed bristle worm burrows in my sand bed against the glass, and though I have yet to see them, the burrows change daily, so it's a matter of time that I catch them in the act. I also found two other types of worms and perhaps a third unknown animal that could be a worm or maybe a tube amphipod.


    One of the worm species that I discovered while viewing through my magnifying glass were ones that I've seen before but thought that they were hair algae. When I looked closer, I noticed that this "algae" didn't sway with the current as other algae normally does. They tended to bend and turn in opposition of the current. Then, when one just all of a sudden disappeared into it's hidey hole, that confirmed my suspicion. These worms are on a few of the oyster shells that I introduced into the tank long ago. I haven't found them anywhere else or in the sand bed, so it's a colony. At least, I think they are worms. I'll try and get a pic in the future. They are found in tiny holes in the oyster shell or perhaps the many tiny tubes that are on these shells, although I haven't been able to tell if the worms built the tubes or not.


    I have observed the tubes, found in both of the pics in this post, but haven't seen the animal. However, I've seen waste pushed out of the tubes and into the current, so I know that something lives in them. They could be these worms or perhaps tube amphipods? I have no idea, but I'll keep watching. Here's a pic of the tubes:
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    Another type of worm, perhaps another type of bristle worm, builds soft tubes out of slime (perhaps) and sand, and they can be found when I pick up a shell and look underneath, and also on one of the tunicates. I'll get a pic of that one. I saw it move, so life is in the tube...


    So, the diversity is expanding, building from the bottom up. I still need to add some mud to the tank to move that further along.

  10. #70
    DIYFK member Chasmodes's Avatar


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    I woke up on Saturday morning, turned on the tank lights and found 23 of these on the glass that I've never seen before. My first thought was snails, but I've never had any snails in the tank, and they don't move at all. So, what sessile critters are they? Tunicates? Mussels? Barnacles? My guess is juvenile barnacles. I haven't scraped them off the glass yet and I wonder how many others are in the tank that I can't see. It is interesting how new life just pops up.
    Click here to enlarge

    Also, I've been watching those tubes and found out that they're definitely the dancing worms that I saw. I've seen them stretching out from the tube in search of food. And, I caught them on video feeding after stirring up the tank (so it snowed in the tank as much as it did outside of my house that day):



    Oh, and remember the sea squirts video, where I thought I saw a tadpole larvae? My daughter noticed at the 8 or 9 second mark that it appears in the screen again and looks like it swims off with the tail moving! It's hard to tell, but I'd like to think that is what it is. Here's another look:


  11. #71
    DIYFK member hightones25's Avatar


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    Awesome!

  12. #72
    DIYFK member Chasmodes's Avatar


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    Thank you hightones! More to come when I get more pics or vids... I learn something new about this tank every time I watch it.

  13. #73
    DIYFK member hightones25's Avatar


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    Looking forward to that!

  14. #74
    DIYFK member Chasmodes's Avatar


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    I'll get some more vids uploaded this weekend. I have to clean the glass. It's full of algae, baby barnacles (I think) and copepods right now! It's not that I've been lazy (although I have been), rather, it's because I enjoy watching the micro life in the tank with a magnifying glass, and the front glass is the best place to see that without having to get a microscope. I think my fish are getting jealous though Click here to enlarge

  15. #75
    DIYFK member Chasmodes's Avatar


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    Updates:


    20g long:
    The Ulva died off for the most part. I won't collect any more Ulva until I set up the larger tank with better lighting. It looks good for a while though, but when it dies off, it isn't pleasing. I can't tell how the Gracilaria is doing. It seems to be holding its own, but not growing at a fast rate. The mud crabs never come out any more, but they are there as you can see them if you prob the dark hiding spots with a flashlight. They're getting bigger. The budding polyp jellyfish is done producing baby medusae, so I can't tell if it is dying or will continue to produce them. The tunicates are hanging in there, but I think that I'm losing one of them. I'm feeding them bottled phytoplankton three times each week. The baby mussels are still going strong. All of the fish are accounted for. It took a while to do an inventory, but eventually, I find times where they're curious and come to the front of the tank and peer out from their hiding spots. The skilletfish are the exception, as the best time to count them is at feeding time. Everything else is doing well, parameters, etc.


    20g high:
    I still have the three mummichogs. They've all recovered from their disease symptoms for the most part on their own, but they still show signs of the parasites. They are very resilient fish. I purchased some copper and a copper test kit, mainly because I might try it in the future after I collect fish, but also to treat these fish. My goal is to get them out of this tank and run the tank fallow. I will treat them in a plastic storage bin and after they are disease free, donate them to the public aquarium. The ghost anemone is getting bigger. I'm waiting for it to bud off and reproduce, but so far it has not done that. All of the tunicates except one have died despite me feeding phytoplankton three times a week. The cluster of mussels enjoys the phyto feast though and are doing OK. Ulva does better in this tank, but it isn't growing much or the die off is very slow. I don't have to prune it. There are mud crabs in this tank also, but I rarely see them.


    Photo updates from the 20g long:
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    Lots of folks in the reefing world like the blue tank look, so I'm playing too Click here to enlarge
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  16. #76
    DIYFK member Chasmodes's Avatar


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    I thought that I'd post a couple pics.


    Grass shrimp feeding on a cyanobacteria patch. I've seen a few of these shrimp with reddish purple stomachs, so they eat some cyanobacteria and definitely feed on detritus that settles on it. They don't eat enough cyano fast enough to make much of a dent in it though. I haven't applied the treatment that I bought yet, hoping that it dies out naturally. Right now, the cyano isn't taking over the tank, so that is a good thing.
    Click here to enlarge



    Naked goby in his hangout, with some shrimp standing guard.
    Click here to enlarge



    This skilletfish doesn't seem to know which way is up half the time...or maybe he thinks the same thing about me?
    Click here to enlarge

  17. #77
    DIYFK member Chasmodes's Avatar


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    I also have a couple videos of my barnacle, who has been very actively feeding lately. Also, he's been looking for love in all of the wrong places, but more on that when I can capture that on video. I've been trying, but he has been camera shy. Of course, the blennies are hams and have to photobomb the videos. The first video is before feeding, the second video is after I fed the filter feeders bottled plankton. All of the filter feeders are doing much better. The barnacle activity is the most solid evidence of that because he's feeding all the time and trying to mate. I find the barnacles to be very delicate, graceful and quite beautiful despite their ability to found boat hulls. Also, if you look closely at the tiny tubes around the barnacle and his oyster shell, you can see the plankton feeding tube worm tentacles searching for drifting meals.




  18. #78
    DIYFK member HillbillyHomer's Avatar


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    Click here to enlargeClick here to enlarge

  19. #79
    DIYFK member Chasmodes's Avatar


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    OK, remember the jellyfish budding polyp (scyphistoma)? After a week or so of me discovering it, all of the larval medusas were released and I never saw them again. The base of the polyp remained but seemed to wither away to almost nothing. Well, last night, I noticed that it budding more larval medusas! These things keep on going! I'm amazed. This is really a cool event because the local aquarium is starting up a jellyfish tank, and I promised them that if I saw this again, that I'd donate them to their tank. How exciting!

    Here's the old video again in case you can't visualize it from before:

  20. #80
    DIYFK member Chasmodes's Avatar


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    Not much to update, everything seems to be going well. A couple of my gobies have been scratching a little bit, so my paranoia kicks in each time. But then again, they've always done that to some extent. I saw the largest blenny scratch and its gills were really pumping a lot more than normal one evening, but since then, it's back to normal. I think that when I set up the big tank, I'm going to quarantine all of these fish and treat them with copper before adding them to the bigger system. I'll set the tank up fallow for six weeks at the same time. So, that is on my to do list, to set up a quarantine system.

    Now, this video creeps me out...


  21. #81
    DIYFK member HillbillyHomer's Avatar


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    A Lot of little thing going on in that one...Click here to enlarge

  22. #82
    DIYFK member Chasmodes's Avatar


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    Last night, after feeding my fish, I watched them so long that I was way past my bed time, LOL, so I'm a bit tired today. I discovered another live barnacle that I never noticed before. I'm sure that it's been in there for several months.


    Also, I'm pretty sure the worm that was feeding in my last video is a clamworm (aka ragworm). From what I've read, even though they get large and creepy, that my fish aren't in any danger.


    In addition, I have a new critter, but I have no idea what it is. It kind of looks like an anemone, but could be the head and tentacles of another type of annelid. It doesn't go after the brine shrimp like the other worm does, and I have yet to see the tentacles pull anything in. That is why I doubt it is an anemone.


    If you look to the left edge of the video below of the feeding worm, you can see the tentacles, and they move about 1/2 way through the movie. Has anyone seen this before?


    Here's a link to the video again:

  23. #83
    DIYFK member Chasmodes's Avatar


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    I was able to get a better video of the newly found critter. I have no idea what it is, but I suspect it is some kind of annelid. It doesn't do much, just sits there, waiting for detritus, I guess. Anyone know what this is? This is magnified 6x.


    Also, I have another anemone, as it turns out. I think this is a ghost anemone, but it much more pink than my other one. This is magnified 6x.


    This video is just a video update of the tank. The fish aren't very active as this is about an hour after they ate and stuffed themselves silly. The blennies and gobies are pretty much just hanging out in their hiding spots. Last night, I was kicking myself because the fish were really active. I'll catch them more active on the next video. Sorry for the glass not being clean, I forgot to do that before shooting the video. But, you can see all of the pods on the tank.

  24. #84
    DIYFK member HillbillyHomer's Avatar


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    Click here to enlargeClick here to enlarge

  25. #85
    DIYFK member Chasmodes's Avatar


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    Some recent pics:
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  26. #86
    DIYFK member HillbillyHomer's Avatar


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    ill say is again.

    Click here to enlarge...i Am Envious...Click here to enlarge

  27. #87
    DIYFK member Chasmodes's Avatar


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    This barnacle in my Chesapeake Bay biotope aquarium is trying to breed. Normally, their probing male reproductive organ will find a suitable mate and the process is complete. However, in this video, you can see milt released into the water column. An interesting note, barnacles, in proportion to body size, have the largest male reproductive organ in the animal kingdom!


  28. #88
    DIYFK member Chasmodes's Avatar


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    Here's a video update where the fish are a bit more active (shot last week).

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