Good Stuff

I have been going from a bare bones, sorta, tank back to something that is an approximation of a natural system.  My aquarium is nothing I would call a reef tank a the present time, more like the emulation of a habitat someplace near a reef.  In other words, no stony corals, yet.  And probably not for a long time.  For the last couple of years my system has mostly been focused on maintaining my research animals.  And it had been an adequate system, as far as it went, it just wasn’t the most aesthetic aquarium of all times.  In fact, it was pretty much the other extreme.  To a large extent, this condition was due to my health problems, which finally seem to be fading a bit.  I simply didn’t have the time to maintain it properly.

So…

I have been in the process of converting my aquarium into a more attractive system designed to maintain and support my research beasties of the present, my Diodogorgia colonies.  Now, like any good scientist, I don’t want to spend any more time than is absolutely necessary in this exercise.  I am NOT one of those aquarium hobbyists who spends all waking hours puttering around his/her system.  Nope.  I want to put the animals in the system, and sit back and enjoy it as I can, relaxing… Not working.

My research has shown that Diodogorgia colonies need strong, and more-or-less laminar currents to feed well.  It just can’t capture prey very well in either particularly slow currents or stagnant situations, nor in strong currents that are irregular, the type of water flow generated by so-called wavemakers, and oscillators.  So I have created a Diodogorgia gully along one side of my system with the wall of the aquarium being one side, and live rock being the other.   At one end of the aquarium, I have three relatively powerful powerheads to create the current.  I can’t, in this situation, use propeller type pumps, because the ones I have create a noise in the tank that irritates my spouse – apparently anywhere in the house (and, it is a noise I can’t hear, sigh…)  .  So…  a compromise, but it seem to be working so far.

Yesterday’s event of notice was the arrival of a shipment of sand bed and “maintenance” critters from Indo-Pacific Sea Farms.  I been periodically purchasing this type of critter from this vendor for over ten years, and other than the fact that some of the animals are misidentified (more about that below), I have nothing but good things to say about the operation.  The animals arrive in good order, ALWAYS.  The animals arrive in labeled bags, ALWAYS.  And the animals are reasonably priced, ALWAYS.   

Yesterday, I got a shipment of “bristle worms” – amphinomids or fire worms, the classic scavengers, some of their “Mama Mia” worms – these are cirratulid worms, not terebellids as it states on the webpage.  See this online article to tell the diffence between the two types of worms.  Nobody in the hobby, as near as I can tell, actually sells terebellids, but many folks misidentify cirratulids as terebellids.  Folks,  the presence of a lot of tentacles isn’t the sole diagnostic characteristic for a terebellid, those tentacles have to arise from a specific body region and the whole worm has to have the proper morphology.   Similarly with the cirratulids.  These two types of worms are NOT hard to tell apart. 

This is one of the cirratulids I got from IPSF. They do well in a good sand bed and are great detritivores.

I also got some mini-stars, small brittle stars, and some of the the “miracle mud,” some sediment containing real microscopic sediment critters, as a recharge for my sand bed.  This latter stuff is what live sand should be when it is sold, but other than IPSF, I don’t know of any vendor that actually sells it.

Finally, I finished off my order with some good grazing snails, three of the Trochus IPSF sells, and an order of grazing columbellids.  Although IPSF calls the latter Strombus maculata, they are clearly not a strombid.  However, that misidentification doesn’t get in the way of their grazing abilities, which are truly awesome.  These little snails are probably a species of Euplica, but that is really not important.  And here is an article that discusses the differences between the columbellids and the conchs (= strombids).  Again, they are not hard to tell apart, and the columbellids are really the best grazing snails in the business; additionally, they survive far better in reef tanks than do strombids.

This is one of the columbellids added to my system. See the linked article for differences between these animals and conchs (strombid snails).

Finally, and the thing that makes IPSF a REALLY great place to buy from, is that all of this stuff is aquacultured.  They raise it all.  YES!!!!  A marine aquarium animal vendor that is doing business like it should be done.   I had a heck of a good time yesterday adding all of these animals and a few other things, some algae, besides to my tank.

Until later,

Cheers.

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