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Brackish 20 Long Chesapeake Bay Aquarium


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#1 Chasmodes

Chasmodes
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  • Central Maryland

Posted 21 July 2017 - 07:25 AM

For now, this is my "mini" oyster reef, a holding tank for specimens that I collect.  Currently, it houses five juvenile naked gobies (Gobiosoma bosc) that are about 3/4" long and one small grass shrimp.  

 

I'm going collecting this weekend, but won't add anything to the tank unless I get a juvenile blenny of about the same size.  I may also add one or two juvenile skilletfish.  I also hope to add some snails and greenery.  I'll look for macros that I find or maybe some widgeon grass to add, so that I can have some added nitrate control and also improve the looks of the tank, along with food for the snails.

 

After cycling the tank, I added some of the smaller cultches (oyster clusters) of my oyster reef construction.  I did this for a couple reasons:

  1. Added biological filtration value
  2. Cover for the fish
  3. Aesthetics
  4. Just to see how they look in an aquarium.  So far, I'm very pleased.

The filtration for now is just a hang on back power filter.  The substrate is play sand from Home Depot, washed and then seeded with Bio-spira.   The tank cycled in about 10 days.  Last night, ammonia was zero, nitrite was zero, and nitrate was about 50 mg/L.  I'm very impressed with that product.

 

Regarding Bio-spira, there isn't much info on the web about using products like this for brackish water.  Since the sg is about 1.015 in this tank, I went with the salt water product.  I read somewhere that tanks under 1.007 will require the fresh water product, above that, the saltwater version.  Well, it worked great so far.  Ammonia was gone in two days, nitrite gone in three days.  Nitrates have gradually risen since, hence the need for the macros or grass.  Even after adding the salad, I'll do another 10% water change this weekend, especially if I'm adding any new critters.

 

I will transfer the inhabitants to the main tank eventually.  After that, I'm not sure of the direction that I'll tank.  They oyster structure will be moved to the main tank, but I may build some for this tank eventually.  The shells on the bottom will remain.  I envision this tank as a macro/seagrass tank housing either a few four-spined sticklebacks or perhaps a seahorse/pipefish tank.   Time will tell.

 

Pics:

Naked Goby (Gobiosoma bosc)

Attached File  IMG_7693.JPG   190.43KB   1 downloads

 

More naked gobies, broader view

Attached File  IMG_7692.JPG   163.78KB   1 downloads

 

Full tank shot

Attached File  IMG_7690.JPG   172.81KB   1 downloads

 

All of the inhabitants are doing well.  They are all fat and sassy, even eat out of my hand after a week in captivity.  The fish pick on the shrimp some, but haven't hurt it.  I keep thinking that they'll either kill the shrimp or it will die, but, it keeps on showing up and surprising me.

Up until now, I've fed them flakes and frozen brine shrimp, and the fish ate both from the start without issue.  I also plan to catch amphipods to add to the tank to supplement their diet.  I saved frozen oysters and will feed them some of that too from time to time.


Kevin Wilson


#2 gerald

gerald
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  • Wake Forest, North Carolina

Posted 21 July 2017 - 08:36 AM

Are you sure there's water in there?  Looks way to clean to be real.


Gerald Pottern
-----------------------
Hangin' on the Neuse
"Taxonomy is the diaper used to organize the mess of evolution into discrete packages" - M.Sandel


#3 Chasmodes

Chasmodes
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  • Central Maryland

Posted 21 July 2017 - 10:12 AM

LOL, I just cleaned the front glass before the photo!


Kevin Wilson


#4 mattknepley

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  • Smack-dab between the Savannah and the Saluda.

Posted 21 July 2017 - 02:53 PM

There's really water in there? My tanks don't look that neat when they're first set up! Looking more closely I think I see one of the gobies under some cover. Cute buggers. Interested to hear how this turns out!
Matt Knepley
"No thanks, a third of a gopher would merely arouse my appetite..."

#5 MtFallsTodd

MtFallsTodd
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  • Mountain Falls, Virginia

Posted 21 July 2017 - 06:58 PM

Cool tank.
Deep in the hills of Great North Mountain

#6 Chasmodes

Chasmodes
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  • Central Maryland

Posted 24 July 2017 - 08:56 AM

Thanks guys.  I'm trying to keep up with cleaning it...we'll see how that goes, LOL.

 

I added a few more goodies from our last collecting trip, 2 blennies, 3 skilletfish, some grass shrimp and some Ulva macroalgae.  I also added some razor clam shells to mimic the ecosystem where we caught the fish.  We only intended to introduce 2 skilletfish to the tank, but apparently one was stuck to a razor clam that we didn't see.  My first hitchhiker!  We also had a small stone crab show up (not sure of the species yet) as a hitchhiker, probably was on the Ulva.

 

Here's a full tank shot:

IMG_7712_zpsskockt87.jpg

 

Here's the larger of the two blennies (Chasmodes bosquianus), hanging out with a naked goby:

IMG_7714_zpsodlmlhul.jpg

 

Here's a video of the smallest striped blenny that I caught, ducking for cover:

 

This is the bigger of the two blennies that I kept:


Kevin Wilson


#7 Chasmodes

Chasmodes
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  • Central Maryland

Posted 25 July 2017 - 11:56 AM

Sorry guys, I can't help it.  More photos and videos of my fish and tank.

 

The little feller (Chasmodes bosquianus, striped blenny juvenile):

IMG_7727_zpsdgwaj7dz.jpg

 

Chasmodes bosquianus (striped blenny), the bigger of the two.  I like how when he hides in the Ulva that the light shines through giving him a green appearance, adding to his camoflage!

IMG_7731_zpspdduf3gd.jpg

 

Grass shrimp.  I have no idea what species it is.  Some day, I'll learn to tell the difference.

IMG_7749_zpskaofmvns.jpg

 

Mr. Big again.

IMG_7751_zpsmuu1iza0.jpg

 

Full tank shot, night time views:

IMG_7753_zpsrl9zeskr.jpg

 

This time, without a flash:

IMG_7755_zps8oo8o9r4.jpg

 

Videos in the next post.


Kevin Wilson


#8 Chasmodes

Chasmodes
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  • Central Maryland

Posted 25 July 2017 - 12:01 PM

Videos:

 

Smaller of the 2 blennies:

 

The green martian blenny morphing into an earthly form:

 

 

 

 


Kevin Wilson


#9 Chasmodes

Chasmodes
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  • Central Maryland

Posted 25 July 2017 - 12:01 PM

Panning the entire tank, from full tank view to checking out the critters antics:

 


Kevin Wilson


#10 mattknepley

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  • Smack-dab between the Savannah and the Saluda.

Posted 25 July 2017 - 04:21 PM

Those are some cute buggers! How long will the hob filter suffice for your purposes? How long will this tank be able to house its current inhabitants? (I'm completely ign'ant when it comes to brackish fish.) You said you made your own water as opposed to collecting it, right?
Matt Knepley
"No thanks, a third of a gopher would merely arouse my appetite..."

#11 MtFallsTodd

MtFallsTodd
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  • Mountain Falls, Virginia

Posted 25 July 2017 - 04:48 PM

Love those blennies!!!!
Deep in the hills of Great North Mountain

#12 Chasmodes

Chasmodes
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  • Central Maryland

Posted 26 July 2017 - 06:54 AM

Thanks guys!  I've always wanted to keep them and now I couldn't be more thrilled. 

 

As far as the filtration goes, eventually, this tank will convert to another habitat for either seahorses or sticklebacks, so I'm not too worried about it.  If I need more, I have a sponge filter that I could add.

 

Plus, I'm doing regular partial water changes and will keep up that routine until after I move these guys to their new home.  I believe that the macro algae will also thrive and provide me with a good system to export nitrate from the system as I harvest it.  My only concern right now is if the current light is adequate to grow the Ulva effectively.

 

I tested on Monday and Tuesday nights.  Monday, no ammonia, slight amount of nitrite, and nitrate was 60 ppm, so I did a water change.  Last night, no ammonia, no nitrite, and nitrates at 50 ppm.  I believe once the Ulva takes hold, nitrates will go to zero.  Then the challenge will be to provide enough nutrients for the algae.

 

Also, the brown microalgae that appeared after the tank cycled has been disappearing, leading me to believe that the Ulva is having a positive effect and is outcompeting the microalgae.  I hope that is the case.


Kevin Wilson


#13 Chasmodes

Chasmodes
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  • Central Maryland

Posted 27 July 2017 - 10:09 AM

Last night, I fed the fish frozen mysis shrimp, which I thought would be a little big for them, so I only used 1/2 a cube. They went nuts and stuffed themselves silly. The mysis shrimp were about 3/4 the size of the little blenny and he ate one somehow. Also, you could see the white of the shrimp inside the gobie's buldging bellies.  The gobies are only about an inch and a half long, so the mysis shrimp seemed big for them.  But, they ate them anyway.  It was comical.
 
Another funny thing happened. The larger blenny was hovering about mid depth looking for a frozen mysis shrimp to eat, and one of the skilletfish swam up to him and tried to "cling" to the side of the blenny! It was hilarious. The blenny didn't seem to mind, but the skilletfish couldn't hang on and slid off. I've never seen that before and I've kept skilletfish before.
 
I'm not sure if I mentioned it or not, but there is a tiny mud crab hitchhiker that I found in the tank. I didn't intend to keep any. The blennies both attack the crab like it's their last meal, so I don't know how long it will live. So far, it still has all appendages and eyes intact, and has created a burrow under an oyster shell. Every time a fish or shrimp come near it, the crab scurries down the burrow. It reminds me of fiddler crab behavior on a marsh bank.
 
Another interesting thing is that the blennies seem to ignore the grass shrimp as potential meals. This might change as the blennies grow into adulthood. At least, I expect that. The grass shrimp are interesting to watch and are plentiful for me to get. So, if these fish eventually feed on them, that would be OK with me.
 
I also have a weird colony of something growing on the side glass. I saw a colony earlier and scraped it off. It was kind of calcarious and had some resistance when I scraped it off. I'll have to get a picture when it grows large enough. I think that they're hydroids perhaps, but not sure, could be bryozoans. 
 
I'm going to try and collect again this weekend. I won't keep any more fish unless I get something ultra cool, but no more of the species that I already have. I'd like something to cruise the open water of the tank though. A spotfin butterflyfish would be my ultimate goal for that. But, the main reason to collect would be to get more macros, copepods and amphipods along with some live sand and maybe some mud to add to the tank. 

Kevin Wilson


#14 Chasmodes

Chasmodes
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  • Central Maryland

Posted 01 August 2017 - 11:16 AM

I added two more tiny juvenile blennies to the tank along with shells full of live out of the Bay, some macros and added widgeon grass (I think it is widgeon grass anyway).  Widgeon grass does well in the wild on sandy bottoms, so well see.  I picked up some floating by while we were collecting.
 
I'll post pics on this post, and a video on the next one.  I added a bunch of whole oyster shells to my structure along with the macros and really think that the tank looks great.  All of this will wind up in my 100g eventually, but for now, it's fun to watch.
 
I also added a circulation pump (upper LH corner of the tank) which really helps. 
 
Here's a full tank shot:
IMG_7897_zpsauewuvob.jpg
 
Skilletfish upside down.  Can you see him? These guys are comical and are my daughter's favorite now:
IMG_7823_zps3ob51aoy.jpg
 
The largest striped blenny (Chasmodes bosquianus) in my tank.  They really should rename the common name to skunk blenny because of the stripe down the front of their face from the dorsal fin.  But, it's not my call!  This guy is about 1.5" long and grows to about an average of 3", but up to 6" according to Fishbase.  I have yet to catch one over 4" long.
IMG_7837_zpsnwftppq6.jpg
Here he is again peeking out from an oyster shell.
IMG_7850_zps4xrdl44l.jpg
The striped blenny again perched on the oyster cultch.  You can distinguish blennies from the Genus Chasmodes from Hypsoblennius species because they are more laterally compressed:
IMG_7852_zpskhmkhflr.jpg
Gobiesox strumosus, the skilletfish, attached to any oyster shell.  I have five small ones in this tank.
IMG_7855_zpsp1dupdc9.jpg
A naked goby (left, Gobiosoma bosc) perched on an oyster shell next to a juvenile striped blenny.   The widgeon grass is in the background.
IMG_7857_zps5guetkzx.jpg
 
 

Kevin Wilson


#15 Chasmodes

Chasmodes
  • NANFA Member
  • Central Maryland

Posted 01 August 2017 - 11:17 AM

Chasmodes bosquianus peeking out of an oyster shell.
IMG_7861_zpsyf313gyj.jpg
 
Notice the specialized ventral and pectoral fins of the skilletfish (Gobiesox strumosus) that allow it to cling to just about anything including shells, bottles, aquarium glass, fingers, and the inside of HOB filters!  An interesting fact is that even after death, the specialized fins will stick to things.  Moving forward seems to dislodge the suction, while pulling back causes the suction.
IMG_7869_zpsiztrf0aa.jpg
The skilletfish is tough to see in this picture, blending in very well.  See him?
IMG_7900_zpsf2hogllz.jpg
And over the top he goes!  Side view.  This type of clingfish is called the skilletfish because of its pan like shape.
IMG_7901_zps7fbuqtyn.jpg
Frontal view of the striped blenny (left) and a naked goby (Gobiosoma bosc) under the oyster shell, perched on a razor clam.
IMG_7907_zpsdditqbqm.jpg
 
And I'll end the post with a video showing the critters in action.  Hope you like it!
 

Kevin Wilson


#16 Doug_Dame

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Posted 01 August 2017 - 09:08 PM

Very neat !!!


Doug Dame

Floridian now in Cincinnati
 


#17 Chasmodes

Chasmodes
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  • Central Maryland

Posted 02 August 2017 - 06:44 AM

Thanks Doug!  I can't wait to get home from work and go sit and watch this tank...every day.  What's wrong with me???!!!

 

I'm determined to get the big tank up and running as soon as I can.  One reason is that I know that the lighting that I purchased will be good for growing macroalgae and sea grass.  My goal is to build an ecosystem as much as I possibly can.  It will take time, but some day, I'll get there.


Kevin Wilson


#18 gerald

gerald
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  • Wake Forest, North Carolina

Posted 02 August 2017 - 01:56 PM

You're asking the wrong crowd.

 

 I can't wait to get home from work and go sit and watch this tank...every day.  What's wrong with me???!!!


Gerald Pottern
-----------------------
Hangin' on the Neuse
"Taxonomy is the diaper used to organize the mess of evolution into discrete packages" - M.Sandel


#19 Chasmodes

Chasmodes
  • NANFA Member
  • Central Maryland

Posted 07 August 2017 - 07:18 AM

I had about at least 15 grass shrimp in my tank and the number seems to be about half of that now.  I saw the largest blenny attack and kill a small grass shrimp this past Wednesday just after I approached the tank.  These fish are well fed.  What I've noticed is that these fish recognize me as providing food and become very active, almost to the point of a feeding frenzy, when they pretty much attack anything that moves.  It's not just the blennies, but all of the species seem to do this.  Well, before I could drop any food in there, one of the small grass shrimp became a quick meal, killed by the biggest blenny but ultimately swallowed whole by a thieving skilletfish.

 

Well, yesterday, it happened again.  I didn't capture the crime in progress, but I did manage to film all of the fish conspiring in the cover up to hide the evidence:

 

I also have some pics of some fish that I caught last week.  These are larger adult striped blennies that are currently in a 20g high aquarium.  

 

IMG_7981_zpsynfzresc.jpg

 

IMG_7963_zpswcwy4y4t.jpg

 

IMG_7958_zpszi0nhax0.jpg

 

IMG_7956_zps1zjhayez.jpg

 

This striped blenny and skilletfish shared this oyster shell for about an hour without incident.  In my other tank, that doesn't happen much.  I'm sure if they were breeding it would be a different story:

IMG_7940_zpsuy4jfslz.jpg


Kevin Wilson


#20 littlen

littlen
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  • Washington, D.C.

Posted 07 August 2017 - 09:39 AM

Such a cool little tank.  I enjoy all those critters.  Keep it up!


Nick L.



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