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Brackish 20 Long Chesapeake Bay Aquarium


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#21 Chasmodes

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 07:35 AM

Thanks Nick.  I'm going collecting again this weekend.  My goal is to bring home more macroalgae, sea grass, more live sand, amphipods and anything else cool enough to add to the tank.  Since my other 20g has now finished cycling, I may bring home a few sticklebacks along with the grass.  I have a new spot to try out that looks promising, plus the old reliable spots that I've hit before.

 

Here's another video of my fish feeding on the grass shrimp that they killed:

Kevin Wilson


#22 littlen

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 08:44 AM

The ulva looks really cool in there and adds a great deal of pop to an otherwise cryptic tank.  A small, planehead filefish would be a cool addition.  It'll probably get bigger than you want, but while small would be a very distinctive addition that shouldn't bother your other fish at all.   =D>

 

 

I know the blennies can be aggressive/dominant feeders, but I am impressed with the goby and skilletfish taking charge on the shrimp!


Nick L.

#23 Chasmodes

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 08:51 AM

Thanks Nick!  Yeah, the filefish might be OK after growing once I move to the bigger tank.   They are very cool fish, for sure.  My wife wants me to catch a spiny burrfish.  I'm on the fence about that one.  Maybe in my search for sticklebacks when scooping up weeds, I might find a filefish!  I guess the filefish would eat my hydroids???  That would be cool because I can find plenty of hydroids.


Kevin Wilson


#24 littlen

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 10:05 AM

Yup, Burrfish would be another cool fish to have in there for some mid water movement.  You can't go wrong with one of those either.  I give your wife a +1 for the suggestion.

 

I couldn't say for sure that the filefish would go after hydroids.  Perhaps adding a few of the Bay species of hermit crabs would work for them?  
 

 

Perhaps a Hogchoker for good measure?!


Nick L.

#25 Chasmodes

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 10:23 AM

Yes, a hogchoker is on my list if I can catch a small one.  So far, I haven't found any but admittedly, I've been focused on hard substrates.  My luck might change while hunting for sticklebacks and netting the weeds.  Down by Point Lookout, I found some weeds and sticklebacks along a sandy weedy shoreline.  I was a bit surprised that I didn't catch a hogchoker there.  My new spot that we're going to has a lot of potential and, at least from Google Maps, seems to have a variety of habitat.

 

Many years ago, I caught some hermit crabs at Ocean City and brought them home for my tank.  They were pretty cool until my trigger fish at them!  I haven't found any hermit crabs yet, but maybe the SG is too much on the fresh side at 1.015-1.016 where I've been collecting of late.


Kevin Wilson


#26 mattknepley

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 06:13 PM

Geeps, I didn't realize how much of this thread I had missed! What a sweet looking tank, Kevin, absolutely gorgeous. Second, those little fish are some ferocious wee-beasties. The way they're shredding those shrimp I half expect to start hearing Marlin Perkins doing a voice over ("I watch safely inside the submarine as Jim dons a dive suit and tries to steal the carcass from the frenzied fishes...") Seriously, that Skilletfish is terror! But in a fascinating, scaly-cute way. I can see why they're your girl's favorite. Are the shrimp getting killed by one fish, or do the fish gang up on one, or do the shrimp just get tagged so often over the course of day or so that they crap out?

You sir, are a bad influence; I so want a tank like this now. Not that mine'd be pretty, but still...
Matt Knepley
"No thanks, a third of a gopher would merely arouse my appetite..."

#27 Chasmodes

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 06:38 AM

Thanks Matt!

 

The way they're shredding those shrimp I half expect to start hearing Marlin Perkins doing a voice over ("I watch safely inside the submarine as Jim dons a dive suit and tries to steal the carcass from the frenzied fishes...") 

 

:mrgreen:  :mrgreen:  :mrgreen:

 

The largest blenny seems to be the killer and the rest follow.  The first time I observed a shrimp being killed happened right after I turned on the rec-room light and walked in.  They associate the light, and me, with food, and I sat down for a minute to see how they were doing, with the intention of feeding them shortly after.  The fish all moved to the front of the tank and began a feeding frenzy without food, picking on each other and the shrimp.  All of a sudden, the largest blenny went nuts on a shrimp and killed it within about 20 seconds, then as he was trying to ingest the shrimp head first, a skilletfish took hold of the shrimp from the tail end and stole it away from the blenny and took off, with the blenny taking chase.  Then, the skilletfish swallowed it with one gulp.  

 

All of the shrimp killings have been like this except this last big shrimp.  I honestly thought that the little shrimp would be killed first and was shocked when I saw this one dead.  I guess the other night when I saw a couple limbs missing on the big shrimp that should have been a big clue.  Every fish seems to take a nip at the shrimp now and then, most of the time without damage.  But, apparently, now and then they take a piece.  So, there probably is predatory activity against them of some sort all of the time.

 

Yes, these are pretty easy to set up if you have access to their habitat.  Bring a corner of it home and set up your tank.  The Perfect Dipnet has now landed me scads of gobies and skilletfish, and 22 blennies so far.  One thing that I've discovered while collecting is that not only do you need to find a hard substrate for the blennies (discarded or live oyster shells, clams, razor clams, etc.), but when you scoop, you need to gather the shells too.  I've found some of the fish still inside them.

 

I have some pics of "other life" that I've found growing in the tank that I'll post later after I process the pictures.


Kevin Wilson


#28 Chasmodes

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 06:56 AM

This colony of hydroids (I think) is growing on the right side glass back in the corner of the tank.  It started out as a small star shape and is now about an inch across.  There was another one early on that I scraped off of the back of the tank, not knowing what it was, then this one appeared:

IMG_7995_zpsvzuvj6fc.jpg

 

Shot of the corner of the tank:

IMG_7996_zpsgvgvzwq4.jpg

 

There are hydroids growing all over this widgeon grass, and a pretty long flowing colony shown by the arrow, with a naked goby photobombing my effort:

IMG_7998_zpssqdnplww.jpg

 

The fish perch all over this grass and don't seem bothered at all by the hydroids.  The blennies seem to pick at them when they're browsing for food.  I don't think hydroids are their favorite food, but they sometimes spit them out and sometimes ingest them.

 

This blenny was photobombing my attempt to capture a good shot of the long flowing hydroid.  The picture of him looked too cool not to post :)

IMG_8003_zpsp7hctj2z.jpg

 

I don't know that this is.  I doubt they're hydroids because I don't see tentacles or polyps.  Maybe bryozoans or macroalgae?  Anyone know?  They're popping up on some of the oyster shells that I recently introduced.

IMG_7997_zpst7clonbb.jpg


Kevin Wilson


#29 gerald

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 10:10 AM

The star-shaped things might also be bryozoans, judging from their segmented appearance.  Gotta get you a scope, unless maybe there's one at a nearby school or vet office they'll let you use.  Digital "microscopes" (really just a web cam with a magnifying lens) are pretty cheap and let you save pix or videos on the computer.  "Veho" is the one i have, but there's several others.


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


#30 Chasmodes

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 11:33 AM

Thanks Gerald!  I'll have to get a good scope for such things.

 

What I thought might be hydroids on back wall actually being bryozoans seems logical, because when I scraped the first one off the glass, I had the sense that it was encrusting and not soft.  I didn't think hydroids were encrusting.  But, I don't know much about them or bryozoans for that matter (except seeing them fossilized).


Kevin Wilson


#31 Chasmodes

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 06:47 AM

I took a couple interesting videos.  Hope you like them.

 

Feeding frenzy:

 

Skilletfish Antics:

 


Kevin Wilson


#32 littlen

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 10:53 AM

That's a loaded tank!  You could charge the local kids to come feed/play in your touch tank.  Those blennies can give a good little nip when they [their mouths] get a little bigger.  Was that mysis they were feasting on?

 

How have you found the ulva to hold up in your tank?


Nick L.

#33 Chasmodes

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 05:03 PM

Ha! Yeah, probably could! They are aggressive when you catch them in the net and bite. It doesn't hurt but kinda surprises ya. We fed them a combination of frozen brine and mysis shrimp last night.

The Ulva was dying off but some of it is starting to grow again. There is a hitchhiker crab and n the tank that has been tearing holes in it which made me think that it was dying faster than it really was.maybe I need ma better light. Nutrients ore there, ammonia negligible, nitrite zero but nitrate is about 80 ppm. This is with heavy feeding and 14 small fish in that tank.

Kevin Wilson


#34 littlen

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 07:18 PM

It's still a great tank! How far along is the main display? And how many fish do you think you'll have in it?
Nick L.

#35 Chasmodes

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Posted 17 August 2017 - 07:27 AM

Thanks Nick!  I purchased most of the equipment for the big tank but need to finish the stand.  I've been working on a related oyster reef fish project and have been out collecting on my free time for the most part, hence the delay.  I'd like to get it set up asap though, so if we get a rainy weekend in the next month, then I'll work on my stand then.  I also think that I need to add an electrical line for my basement where the sump will be, because where I want to put that sump (on the other side of the wall from the tank that is in the rec room), there are no electrical outlets..  I can set the tank up sumpless until then though.  Once I get the electrical work done (and need to save money for that), then the plumbing is next.

 

I purchased an RO/DI unit and will set it up later too, after I get the electrical work done, because I want to build a water changing station near the sump as well.  For not, I have well water and am just using it straight in the tank (along with water conditioner products).  My thought is that any extra minerals might actually help the Ulva, macroalgae, and widgeon grass growth.  I'm confident that when I set up the big tank, that the lighting will be sufficient to grow any plants that I put in there.  

 

I think that I will have a pretty heavy bioload eventually in the big tank (about 100g) so that there is enough nutrients for plant growth.  I want blennies to dominate the tank.  But, if I had to put together a stocking list, it might look like this:

 

15 striped blennies

5 skilletfish

8 naked gobies

a bunch of grass shrimp

maybe a mud crab

one hogchoker

some fish for the upper water column, ideally a spotfin butterfly fish and/or a striped burrfish and/or planehead filefish

 

If I catch any clown or green gobies, then I'll put then in the tank too.  If I catch a feather blenny (Hypsoblennius hentz), then I may or may not add him to the tank.  I might opt to put him in his own tank.  It would depend on how well it gets along with the striped blennies.

 

As far as the grass goes for the 20g long, it seems to be greening up again and sprouted a seed pod yesterday, so it seems to be making a comeback.  On my next collecting trip, I'm going to bring home some substrate to aid in the root growth.  So far, I haven't added much from the Bay yet.

 

Here's a pic from the other night, the biggest blenny in the 20L that is almost 2" long now:

Attached Files


Kevin Wilson


#36 mattknepley

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Posted 17 August 2017 - 03:18 PM

Those fish tamed up fast! A real treat to watch.
Matt Knepley
"No thanks, a third of a gopher would merely arouse my appetite..."

#37 Chasmodes

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Posted 21 August 2017 - 07:30 AM

Thanks Matt.  They were quite entertaining for sure.  Those fish were in my 20g high.  Against the objections of my daughter, I gave all of those fish away (details on all of that will be revealed some day, when the time is right).  I did, however, bring home the biggest skilletfish that we've caught yet and added it to this tank.  It is currently the only fish in the tank, hanging out with a bunch more grass shrimp and three hitchhiker crabs.  I also added a big bunch of the red macro and a bunch of Ulva.  I wanted to keep some sticklebacks in this tank, but I didn't catch any yesterday.  Oh well. 

 
This is the jumbo skilletfish in my photo tank that I brought home and put in the 20g:
IMG_8081_zpspvng48b0.jpg
 
Here's a really good view of the specialized fins that the skilletfish (and clingfish) have that allows them to use suction to grip oyster shells, glass, and even fingers clear.png
IMG_8085_zpsdepyx05o.jpg
 
Here's a current look of the 20g high:
IMG_8099_zpsodmxazpg.jpg 
 
In the 20g long, I added some red algae and it looks great.  Also, the widgeon grass that I put in last time didn't root, so I tossed it.  I brought some more home that had some roots and planted it, so we will see.  I meant to bring home some substrate but didn't do that.  I caught 7 more blennies, kept the three smallest and added them to the tank.  I also added more oyster shells to create more hiding places for the additional blennies.  I also added more grass shrimp.
 
Here is one of the blennies that I brought home:
IMG_8080_zpsvcvcuv8v.jpg
 
Here's a FTS of the 20g long:
IMG_8095_zpsnyuzyofm.jpg
 
The red macro and the new widgeon grass:
IMG_8097_zpsfvj3urdj.jpg
 
 

Kevin Wilson


#38 Chasmodes

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 06:56 AM

Juvenile striped blenny, Chasmodes bosquianus

IMG_8107_zps9sf1uoli.jpg


Kevin Wilson


#39 littlen

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 07:24 AM

I like the little pot-belly resting on the shell.  They are awesome little cryptic colored fish.  Can you only imagine if they had some darter-y colors!?


Nick L.

#40 Chasmodes

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Posted 23 August 2017 - 02:06 PM

Yes, they're fun to watch, always on the move, foraging, and defending their space, except when they stuff themselves and go off into hiding.  The males have some color, a small blue spot on the dorsal and some orange and yellow on the fins, but not nearly as colorful as are many darters.  Now, tessellated (Hypsoblennius invemar) and orange-spotted blennies (Hypleurochilus springeri) can give darters a run for their money ;).  I'd have to travel to the Gulf to have a shot at collecting those.  But, for now, I'm happy with these critters.  What they lack in color, they make up for in personality.


Kevin Wilson




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