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Brackish 20 Long Chesapeake Bay Aquarium


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#101 Chasmodes

Chasmodes
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Posted 08 December 2017 - 08:21 AM

Here's a close up pick of that unidentified object or life form:
IMG_8898_zpsgsewcoax.jpg
 
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:
IMG_8900_zpsig24sjta.jpg
 
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.

Kevin Wilson


#102 Chasmodes

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Posted 08 December 2017 - 10:53 AM

Just as an FYI, as you may have noticed, I've been posting a lot of pics and videos and such along with the progress of this project.  I like seeing and watching them too, and, I also like to document my progress and such.  But, it's also to share information.  When I was researching and dreaming of doing this project, there really wasn't a whole lot of info out there or even pictures of the species that I'm keeping.  And there isn't much on the web or literature about the husbandry of these critters either.  So, I feel obligated to post about it so if, perhaps, someone else wants to do this, that they can see what I went through and have a good idea of what to expect.  There is other info out there but it takes a lot of searching to find it all.  The only videos of these fish were pretty much about 10 seconds long.  When I wanted to learn about them, I felt that I couldn't get enough. So, sorry if it's too much posting and such.  I hope you all enjoy my tank almost as much as I do.  That's why I share, because I can't wait to get back home and watch my tank.


Kevin Wilson


#103 Chasmodes

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Posted 11 December 2017 - 08:40 AM

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.
IMG_8907_zpsolqhi3pg.jpg
 
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:  

Kevin Wilson


#104 Chasmodes

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Posted 11 December 2017 - 10:53 AM

Just another observation regarding the tube worm video. After watching this a few times, it appears that these are very efficient detrivores. Watch as they catch and pull detritus into their tubes for consumption. In addition, organic material that lands on the shell next to them also gets pulled into the tubes. I'm really amazed by this. It looks like time lapse photography, but it's regular speed. I kind of get the creeps watching it as I imagine 10' tall versions of this things in a sci-fi movie! 

Kevin Wilson


#105 Chasmodes

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Posted 12 December 2017 - 08:43 AM

I thought today might be a good time to look back and compare my progress.  I have a long way to go, but I've come a long way.  The 20g long is a tease to what my 100g will be, but in the meantime, it has been fun.  I hope you enjoy the recap:
 
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Kevin Wilson


#106 Chasmodes

Chasmodes
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Posted 12 December 2017 - 08:46 AM

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Kevin Wilson


#107 Chasmodes

Chasmodes
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Posted 12 December 2017 - 08:47 AM

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Thanks for following!
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Kevin Wilson


#108 gerald

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Posted 12 December 2017 - 09:48 AM

yes!


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


#109 brackishdude

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Posted 12 December 2017 - 03:10 PM

You not getting enough praise!  I have really enjoyed watching the progress of your tanks, and the oyster reefs are awesome works of art.  Do not let the lack of applause slow you down!

 

What is your specific gravity?  I keep a Gulf of Mexico/mouth of the Mississippi brackish 180 gallon tank with many similar species as you, but I have been unable to catch blennies yet.  I am envious of yours, along with your many invertebrates and skillet fish.

 

I keep my tank around 1.005–1.008, and have a half dozen or so hermit crabs caught in similar salinities that have been happy for 6 or 8 months.

I also keep inland silversides, a code Goby, Sheepshead minnows, Rainwater Killis, bayou killies, blue fin killes, long nose killies a single diamond killi, mosquito fish, mollies, a jade goby, and nerite snails.



#110 Chasmodes

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Posted 12 December 2017 - 04:00 PM

Thank you Gerald and Brackishdude!

 

Brackishdude, my tank is currently at 1.012.  I've caught blennies in as low as 1.008 though.  I try to measure each spot at each collecting trip as well as temperature.  I figure such parameters might be behind my success at locating certain species or not at any given time of year.  For example, I caught as many as 17 blennies in late September with 1.010 SG at 74 degrees.  My last trip was in November where the SG was 1.012 but the water temperature (bottom at 4') was 47 degrees.  We caught just about every species that I had previously except blennies, which confirms what I've read about them perhaps going deep when temperatures fall.  I only wish I had gone one or two trips in between to see about what temperatures actually trigger that migration.

 

As far as collecting blennies, my hunch is that if you can find an oyster reef or hard rubble substrate, then your chances go up in catching them.  Also, my success increased by scooping up the shells along with the fish and sort through them.  Where we found a good many empty shells, we found blennies and skilletfish.  Gobies were caught in just about all collecting areas (hard or soft substrate, shells or weedy areas as were killies, pipefish, sticklebacks, sheepshead minnows and eels).  Ironically, although we did find some live oysters at our most productive blenny spots, the key was that anglers or watermen were discarding shells as a result of harvesting shellfish or using them as bait, providing suitable habitat for perhaps new oyster spat but definitely fish and inverts.  Also, if you know anyone that is farming oysters, ask to go with them when they check their baskets.  Inside you'll find blennies, gobies, skilletfish, toadfish and just about anything that wanders in there.  If I lived along the water, I'd be farming my own oysters!


Kevin Wilson


#111 Chasmodes

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Posted 27 December 2017 - 09:53 AM

Time for a quick update.  In the 20g long, the Ulva that I added a few months ago isn't making it, but it seems that the Gracilaria is OK, not growing, but stopped dying off and is holding its own.  All of the fish and inverts look OK.  The crabs rarely come out but now and then, if I use a flashlight, can see one hiding in the rocks.  The filter feeders are doing OK, so it seems.  The tunicates look the same, the mussels open and close normally, and the barnacle is out and feeding often.  Dosing the phytoplankton seems to be the ticket.  The worm and pod populations are doing well.  I discovered another new life form, a filter feeding organism that resembles and anemone perhaps, or the head of the worm, coming out of the sand, kind of reddish in color and about 2-3mm wide.  I suspect it is a small anemone, but, it seems to open and close like pulsing zenia or perhaps a jellyfish.  My first thought was that it is a larval budding polyp of a sea nettle.  But, why would it show up after so long?  Weird.  If it turns out to be sea nettles, then I'll get them out of the tank and perhaps donate them to the public aquarium.  We will see.  I need to take a video of it to see what you all think.  Anyway, it's pretty cool!
 
The 20g high hasn't changed much except that I haven't gotten rid of the mummichogs yet.  I need to do that so I can run that tank fallow for a decent amount of time and get rid of the parasites in there.  However, the sick mummichog seems to have fought off and recovered from all of the parasites.  It is an amazing and resilient species for sure.  But, they have no place in the future of my system, so they'll be gone some day.  I decided not to euthanize them though, so I'll quarantine them and treat them, and then figure out what to do with them later.  If I treat them, then I might be able to donate them to the local public aquarium.  Maybe I'll set up a tank just for them.

Kevin Wilson


#112 Chasmodes

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Posted 28 December 2017 - 09:14 AM

I really like the look of the Ulva in this tank, but I think that until I set up the larger tank with better lighting, I'll not add it to this tank any longer.  It just dies off.  It looks great while it's alive, but ugly when it decomposes, although, I imagine all of the detritivores and herbivorous microfauna enjoy it.  I can't tell if the Gracilaria is dying off or not.  If it is, it takes a lot longer.  I moved the tunicates up onto the reef after reading that contact with sediment or partial burial might lead to an earlier death.  They seem to be doing OK, but time will tell.  Here's a full tank shot:

IMG_8985_zpsovfjvh40.jpg

 

A zoomed in section of the right cultch, where I've moded all of the tunicates:

IMG_8982_zps2461i4wc.jpg

 

After observing and taking pics and vids of my newly found creature, I've determined that it is indeed a larval form of a jellyfish (a budding polyp or ephyra), although I'm not certain of the species.  It's about 2-3 mm wide.  I'm not sure what to do about this, because, although it is cool, adult versions would kill my fish.  I wonder if my powerhead and HOB filter will kill these juvenile jellies or not.  Maybe I should just remove them now.  It appears this morning that perhaps one of the ephyra separated from the budding polyp, because this morning it was a lot smaller.  Here's a video from last night:

 

Here's a video update of the tank:


Kevin Wilson


#113 littlen

littlen
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Posted 28 December 2017 - 12:48 PM

That is a cool item to have discovered (ephrya).  I don't think it has much of a chance of survival in the tank.  From hungry mouths that might snap it up (even if they spit it right back out, the damage will have been done), and filter intakes.  The phytoplankton is an excellent food source for it/them but again, I don't see it making it.  Let's just say it is a moon jelly, and does survive--for a time, it wouldn't be large enough to capture any of those fish.


Nick L.

#114 Chasmodes

Chasmodes
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  • Central Maryland

Posted 28 December 2017 - 01:23 PM

Thanks Nick. 

 

I guess that I'll leave them be, observe and not worry about it.  GEPA (Glen Echo Park Aquarium) might want some jellies, so maybe I'll catch a few of these for them and they can set up a special tank for them.  I guess I got the stage name wrong, that this budding stage is actually called scyphistoma.  I'm just happy that I was able to ID it to this point.  I'm amazed that it took this long for me to discover them in my tank.  However, maybe there have been more of them all along throughout the tank, hidden from my view until now.

 

I need to make glasses out of magnifying glasses... some cheap lens from the CVS plastic ones, a little duct tape, and a pair of broken sunglasses...will have me looking like a weirdo but easier to view micro stuff without spending a lot of money, LOL.  Or, I could just spend the money and get a microscope.


Kevin Wilson


#115 Chasmodes

Chasmodes
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Posted 28 December 2017 - 01:26 PM

Oh, and after some Youtube searches, most of the videos of the ephyra that they've ID'd as moon jellies look just like this one, so I think you may be correct on your ID.  The sea nettle ephyra have longer thinner tentacles and are almost white or translucent, while mine are reddish in color.


Kevin Wilson


#116 Chasmodes

Chasmodes
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Posted 05 January 2018 - 08:21 AM

Updates:

 

20g long: 

The Ulva died off for the most part.  I won't collect any more Ulva until I set up the larger tank with better lighting.  It looks good for a while though, but when it dies off, it isn't pleasing.  I can't tell how the Gracilaria is doing.  It seems to be holding its own, but not growing at a fast rate.  The mud crabs never come out any more, but they are there as you can see them if you prob the dark hiding spots with a flashlight.  They're getting bigger.  The budding polyp jellyfish is done producing baby medusae, so I can't tell if it is dying or will continue to produce them.  The tunicates are hanging in there, but I think that I'm losing one of them.  I'm feeding them bottled phytoplankton three times each week.  The baby mussels are still going strong.  All of the fish are accounted for.  It took a while to do an inventory, but eventually, I find times where they're curious and come to the front of the tank and peer out from their hiding spots.  The skilletfish are the exception, as the best time to count them is at feeding time.  Everything else is doing well, parameters, etc.

 

20g high:

I still have the three mummichogs.  They've all recovered from their disease symptoms for the most part on their own, but they still show signs of the parasites.  They are very resilient fish.  I purchased some copper and a copper test kit, mainly because I might try it in the future after I collect fish, but also to treat these fish.  My goal is to get them out of this tank and run the tank fallow.  I will treat them in a plastic storage bin and after they are disease free, donate them to the public aquarium.  The ghost anemone is getting bigger.  I'm waiting for it to bud off and reproduce, but so far it has not done that.  All of the tunicates except one have died despite me feeding phytoplankton three times a week.   The cluster of mussels enjoys the phyto feast though and are doing OK.  Ulva does better in this tank, but it isn't growing much or the die off is very slow.  I don't have to prune it.  There are mud crabs in this tank also, but I rarely see them.

 

Photo updates from the 20g long:

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Kevin Wilson


#117 Chasmodes

Chasmodes
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  • Central Maryland

Posted 05 January 2018 - 08:23 AM

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IMG_9005_zpsls3nmedi.jpg

 

IMG_9013_zps7bhf2yb6.jpg

 

Lots of folks in the reefing world like the blue tank look, so I'm playing too :)

IMG_9014_zps4z8ocgfd.jpg


Kevin Wilson


#118 littlen

littlen
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Posted 05 January 2018 - 09:20 AM

Copper treatment in another system/tank is a good idea for new fish.  You could also try hyposalinity---if nothing else, a quick dip for any new shells, rocks, inverts that you collect.


Nick L.

#119 Chasmodes

Chasmodes
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  • Central Maryland

Posted 05 January 2018 - 09:28 AM

Thanks Nick!


Kevin Wilson


#120 mattknepley

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Posted 06 January 2018 - 10:01 AM

Wow, great stuff, Kevin. As was said earlier, don't let the lack of applause slow you down regarding posting on these endeavors. November through the end of December it's pretty much a given I won't be forum active. Too dang busy and tired. But the few times I did sneak a peak at the goings-on, this thread was always a go-to. New-to-me critters, new-to-me applications and approaches, documented successes and shortcomings, humor, photos and videos, and deep appreciation for family and aquatic life. Everything I could want in a thread, whether I am decent enough to say so or not!

By the way, those worms can mosh! Any time the critters in the pit eat stuff that is unlucky enough to enter, them's LEGIT!
Matt Knepley
"No thanks, a third of a gopher would merely arouse my appetite..."



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