Some marine shots (big pics)

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Some marine shots (big pics)

Postby Donya on Tue Feb 06, 2007 12:52 am

Well I've been off having the life sucked out of me by an internship and working on too many degrees at the same time and a dysfunctional e-mail that seems to receive mail from some places and has quit giving me errors when it's not delivering mail and...RANT RANT RANT :toomuch: :toomuch: :toomuch: AAaauuuughhhh...I'll have some freshwater updates too, but sw stuff is what I pulled off the camera first.

Anyway, I've seen some pretty fascinating stuff over the last year exploring the world of marine gastropods outside Nerites. Among other things, I've been bitten, cut, stung, and jabbed more times than I'd like to count. I also had some biological disasters that are just an occurance in the early stages of saltwater tanks unfortunately. I'd like to share some pics of the gastropods and things I've got running around...please keep in mind, the tank with most of this stuff has been running for over a year and I do not recommend venturing into a tank like this without doing heavy amounts of reading. Not doing research before this stuff can be a hazard not just to the animals' health, but also to your health, since marine systems often get colonized by animals that can bite/sting/etc. Rule of thumb: wear gloves when possible.

A before & after...the before is under regular freshwater lighting.

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and now looks like this after having put a desk lamp that is really metal halide onto it (around 8-10wpg), thereby allowing the macroalgae to go nuts:

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The tank seems to be putting out more biomass than I am putting into it, which I can only attribute to CO2 assimilation by the macro algae. It is growing about 1/2-1 handful of plant per day. In addition to some supplimental feeding I give the snails (since the macro algae isn't a complete diet for most of the species), it is supporting 3 large Turbo fluctuosa, one Trochus, some young conches, and a wierd as-of-yet unidentified spikey snail. Every 2-3 weeks I have to harvest the algae growth and trade it to a local store. Basically if I don't do that, I run the risk of the tank overgrowing and killing me in my sleep :err:

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This is the Trochus species. Not a lot to say about it since it doesn't do much interesting...just does laps around the tank and leaves a trail that is micro-algae free. Sometimes it wades into the macro algae to browse. Not as interesting a species to me as apple snails :lol:

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2 of my 3 Turbos. They are very friendly, and they spawned in my tank recently. I spotted baby snails briefly, but I have the sinking feeling that they may have been had by other predatory invertebrates (not ones I added...this stuff literally grows out of the rockwork over time) lurking in the tank. At any rate, the spawn is a good success and means they are quite happy with the conditions. I'm hoping for another go at it over the summer if I can catch future baby snails and isolate them.

There is also a Cerith species of some sort in the upper right. Those guys may have spawned in the tank earlier...I'm not sure. I seem to have a couple too many of them, and can't figure out how it happened.

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Not sure if I've posted this pic before? It's the only decent picture I have of my weird unidentified spikey snail. It's basically unhandlable because the spines around the whorles have sharp edges, and it has little needle-like spines on the bottom of its shell. The LFS gave it to me because they didn't know what to do with it and didn't know what it ate :roll: it's been going happily for a year now.



And some other gastropods that arn't snails....these can only be in the tank because of the outlandish macroalgae situation I've wound up with. They would can't just be in any old tank and survive, and can even pose a hazard in some cases.

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These are the main macro-algae control, since that is basically exclusively their diet (top one is actually light green...camera washed it out). The top one sucks the juices out of the algae stems, and the bottom one just kinda eats everything. The one on the bottom is basically a big naked apple snail, right down to the eye structure and the mouth parts. Pretty amazing similarity really. It's like a big lump of hairy, warmish sillyputty when in-hand. Top one is too wiggly to handle, and it is photosynthetic because it steals chloroplasts from the algae it eats :o yep, photosynthetic gastropods. That was a new one to me.



Also, I may as well put it in the same message...some of the weird/dangerous/annoying stuff I have had to put up with along the way...these are some of the hazards of marine keeping. I can't emphasize enough: these are the things that have nailed me in terms of bites and stings. The animals pictured below, although they can be ecologically beneficial in a tank, are not your hand's friend--they often come into marine tanks by accident and appear unexpectedly. Don't touch stuff like this unless you are absolutely sure the species is harmless or are or are wearing thick gloves! These are part of the reason why handling live rock with gloves is important.

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Fireworms. 12" fireworms in this case. Most of mine arn't this big, but fluffy one and fluffy two started harassing the snails, so I had to evict them to a 1 gallon saltwater bowl on my desk. They are very predatory, and those bristles on them break like fiberglass on skin contact. I suspect these guys of having picked off my baby Turbos (unless they materialize again), and I have a scar on my wrist from being bitten by a smaller individual. Lovely animals :angry:


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Came in as a white nib on a rock, now 2" and stings like the dickens. Gastropods seem immune to it (thick slime coat perhaps?), since I've watched many snails and opisthobranchs go right up and give it a good shove. However, this anemone has killed quite a few fireworms that got too close, so not everything is immune.

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Corallimiorphs...of an unidentified species. They look cute, but they are very predatory and can eat things close to twice their size. This type can also sting, although not so much to humans. Mainly they sting other inverts, some snails included (although conches seem immune?? Strange stuff). They were a freak occurance in my tanks since they rarely breed so prolifically in captivity. :-?
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Postby Pollux on Tue Feb 06, 2007 2:30 am

wow, what a great tank, it must be a lot of work. I would love a salt water tank but I don't think I am a good enough aquarist.
If you have time would you mind telling me about your setup?
Every 2-3 weeks I have to harvest the algae growth and trade it to a local store. Basically if I don't do that, I run the risk of the tank overgrowing and killing me in my sleep :err:
hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha :rofl:
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Postby luvfishies on Tue Feb 06, 2007 5:01 am

Donya, so good to see you around again!

Sounds like you're as busy as ever.....doing too much, as always.

Great mini-SW tank. Don't you just love all the critters that seem to crawl out of the rockwork? Neat stuff, and you never know what you're gonna get when you're getting LiveRock. Just Awesome!

Oh, and don't you just hate those Bristleworms/Fireworms? They're not as bad as aptasia anemones though.......those things are just UGH!
>>-)))o> skwij <--CLICK!
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Postby Donya on Tue Feb 06, 2007 6:27 am

doing too much, as always.


Yep...this time more than ever :oops: worst schedule/work-load I've had to date.

Oh, and don't you just hate those Bristleworms/Fireworms? They're not as bad as aptasia anemones though.......those things are just UGH!


I have the joys of both...LOL. Actually the pest nems havn't been so much of a problem for me. I pick them off and stick 'em on the side of the powerhead to use them as extra particulate filtration since that's where the flow's highest :lol: it's just fortunate though that I don't have anything in there that can really be hurt by them (no finicky corals or anything). There's also an urchin in there that comes out sometimes to bop the pest nems and seems to keep the littler ones beaten down (literally lol). Fireworms are my main problem, since there is little to keep them under control. Removing fluffy 1 & 2 solved most of the problems (fluffy 2 took a month to outsmart and catch in a trap...dang things are too intelligent lol), but I still can't stick a finger in the substrate safely.

Great mini-SW tank. Don't you just love all the critters that seem to crawl out of the rockwork? Neat stuff, and you never know what you're gonna get when you're getting LiveRock. Just Awesome!


I've gotten some really good and really bad stuff that way. The sheer amount of biomass transported in it amazes me, but I got hit with a couple zingers from the live rock: a nudibranch that crawled out and promptly nuked everything, and a baby mantis shrimp that went on a small rampage early in the tank's history. On the plus side, I did get a whole host of small snail species, starfish, brittlestars, sponges, tunicates, tube worms, and the list goes on of course :)

If you have time would you mind telling me about your setup?


Well, if I don't do it now I'm going to get sucked into the darn internship stuff again and not see the light of day for another month... :err: ....so here goes:
- crushed coral substrate, 1-2"
- around 8lbs LR if I remember...I can get away with going light on it because of all the macro
- excessive lighting
- rotating powerhead that gives around 20x turnover when clean
- air pump into the powerhead to keep the water well-oxygenated at night in case the macro decides to do reverse photosynthesis (can happen)

And that's about it equipment-wise. Water stats are 0 on all bad stuff all the time and the sg is on the high end at 1.025-1.027, which seems to be where the snails are happiest at oddly after trying a range. It's basically a 15 gallon sterilite tub (12g of water) with a 2-piece lid that I fold over at night to keep evaporation rates down (open during the day for heat reasons). I don't have the dimensions of the tub on hand but it probably only has 10" deep water, since it's flatter than normal tanks. The large amount of space above the waterline is to keep exploring Turbos from hopping out by accident during the day. Food sometimes gets stuck on the side and lures them above the waterline briefly.

it must be a lot of work.


Most of the work is in studying, planning, and technical aspects, and trying to ballance the ecosystem. The bulk of the manual labor is made up for in gobs of chemistry and ecology reading. The rest of the work is just sort of routine...it's mainly a nightly check of pH & sg, a topoff...and of course the mandetory giving of a treat to the big opisthobranch and feeding the mooching Turbos at the surface :lol: Turbos are pretty much like sw canas. Setting up the tank was a bit of a drag time-wise, since that required a lot of fine-tuning and water param adjusting, but now that it's up and running it sorta runs itself with minimal direction from me. That's either good or bad depending on how you look at it :err:
"That's not a snail...it's a water goat!"--In loving memory of Eatith
http://pantheon.yale.edu/~dvq2/ - My Research
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Postby pbgroupie on Tue Feb 06, 2007 4:32 pm

Donya, I am awed. :o Please tell me you still take some time for your music and art. Glad to see you had time to pop in and update us. We're rooting for you girl! :hey:
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Postby peggyd3 on Tue Feb 06, 2007 10:23 pm

Hiya Donya,
Nice to see you posting about your sw experience! Your pictures show a whole other world, a painful one :wink: but a very interesting one! Thanks for sharing with us. Continued success with your projects.
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Postby Donya on Thu Feb 08, 2007 12:12 am

Donya, I am awed. Please tell me you still take some time for your music and art. Glad to see you had time to pop in and update us. We're rooting for you girl!


Every now and then I get some time; it's only a fraction of what I used to have, but alas, the cartoons force me to do their bidding occasionally:
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v281/ ... nnyc1s.jpg
Random sea bunny cartoon (I can't force myself to call them sea hares...it's just...wrong). It was a new medium so it's kinda sloppy :oops:
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Re: Some marine shots (big pics)

Postby morphriz on Tue Feb 13, 2007 12:44 pm

Cool tank!

Fun to see that it's still up and running!
cheers
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