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Thread: Chesapeake Bay Oyster Reef Biotope Tank

  1. #61
    DIYFK member HillbillyHomer's Avatar


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    Click here to enlargeClick here to enlarge

  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:
    Click here to enlarge

    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:
    Click here to enlarge

  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:


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