Finally I can confirm that the Whitecap goby and pistol shrimp partner are still alive. Yesterday the hole at the front of the tank reopened a tiny amount and an antenna popped out and waved around, additionally there were several shots heard throughout the day. Phew! There was no sign of the goby however as the hole was too small and awkward to see in to. Can a tiny fish like that survive sealed up underground for 6 days without food? I honestly thought not, I am so pleased to say I was wrong about that. I guess there could be small critters such as copepods to snack on but it's hard to imagine being confined in the dark with no route in or out for days on end, fine for the shrimp perhaps but what about the goby??
Anyway today at the first feed of the day the front hole opened up a little again, at the second feed it got a bit wider and lo and behold a white head appeared below. Whoop whoop! I got to see the shrimp and fish at the third AND last feed of the day too. Three sightings in one day, crikey I'm not sure I can cope, lol! Now I just need to see the whole body of the fish to know if it's skinny or not and to take a photograph of the pair together of course. I can dream can't !! Needless to say the Whitecap has now been named Gordon (from the film Flash Gordon, gotta love Brian Blessed's catchphrase). :o)
My other good news is that Kylie the Pink Streaked wrasse has also begun to feed and is now starting to hang out with her new best buddy Edna the Possum wrasse. She still looks a bit unsettled but we are heading in the right direction so all is good hopefully.
I need to clean the glass now ready for a new FTS tomorrow, wow January passed by really fast.
It's all gone quiet on the pistol shrimp and Whitecap goby front, no positive sightings since Wednesday the 25th and no new burrow holes have appeared in the sand either. Still apart from their absence the tank looks to be doing OK. Parameters are within normal ranges and the corals that I have look fine, time for some new additions methinks.
I still really want to add an Acropora colony with a commensal crab hidden in amongst the branches but all the colonies I have seen have really large bases which would be difficult to find places for on my rockwork. I could cut them down I suppose but it would be hard to do without damaging the coral, not to mention freaking out the crab, so I decided yet again to stick to small frags only. Unfortunately the tank is going to look pretty empty for ages whilst they grow out and I will have to make sure that I stay strong and don't get tempted to fill in the empty gaps with extra corals. So anyway on Saturday I chose a beautiful green frag of Acropora formosa (I think) and a frag of Seriatopora hystrix. Additionally I perhaps rather foolishly decided to purchase another fish, one that will hopefully be on display (eventually) for a bit more time than my current fish stock. I settled on a small Pink-Streaked wrasse who I was assured by the LFS was not just a pretty fish but also functional predator of the troublesome red bugs etc. I don't have any of those in my tank at the moment....but you never know.
Needless to say the tank is now in fishy turmoil again. The Nudus gobies have moved out of their new (version 2) home and even Candy the Red Striped goby has changed her usual perching spot. Sigh! Interestingly Edna the Possum wrasse doesn't see bothered at all and seems to be ignoring the new fish. Who knows what the Whitecap is thinking imprisoned under the rockwork (alive I hope!). I must point out though that the Pink Streaked wrasse does not appear to be aggressive at all to any of the resident fish, she has spent all of today cowering in the right-hand back corner of the tank.
I think that's it for new fish additions for a while, the current occupants need to settle down and chill out a bit.
So I managed to sneak up on the gobies and capture them doing their thing, gosh it's such a hard life waiting for food to float by. It's not the best shot but at least they are all present and correct. You can't tell from the photo but the T. nudus gobies have grown quite a bit over the last 7 and a bit weeks (even with their bout of self-imposed hunger strike following the introduction of Whitecap goby & pistol shrimp pair).
I'm happy to report that the Whitecap goby is fine. The pistol shrimp seems to have settled down in one area now (fingers crossed it stays there) and pretty much every time I feed the tank the same hole opens up and it's relatively easy to drop a bit of food down there. Unfortunately the pistol seems to snag all the food, I didn't see the goby get any at all yesterday. Do pistol shrimps share food with their goby partners I wonder? I'm betting not. At this rate I'm certainly going to have the fattest Red Spotted pistol shrimp ever.
Today I haven't observed so much shrimp activity, it's probably digesting all that food from yesterday, lol. Anyway I tried feeding one last time just now and the Whitecap definitely got a nice sized chunk of mysis after I'd distracted the shrimp with it's own piece of food.
I'm also pleased to say that the T. nudus gobies have abandoned their hunger strike now. I don't see them as much as I used to when they lived in the cave which is a shame. They are now hanging out on the far right-hand side of the rockwork along with Candy the Trimma cana goby. They all seem to get along fine which is good. I need to try and get a photo of the three amigos together but every time I approach with the camera they vanish like lightning into a hole in the rockwork.
As expected, the hole had not reappeared at the front when I got up on Saturday morning, however some other serious sand moving had taken place overnight. I guess the T. nudus gobies will not be moving back into their cave anytime soon because it no longer exists, it’s been totally filled in with sand. I now refer to it as the wall and not the cave. I may not be able to actually see the pistol shrimp much but it’s certainly making it’s presence known within the tank.
When it came to the first feed of the day to my very great surprise as soon as food hit the water a crater appeared in the sand just in front of the wall and a claw popped out, how very, very convenient! I was able to drop a piece of mysis right into the hole whereupon it quickly vanished. I dropped another piece in hoping to catch a quick glimpse of the Whitecap but sadly I did not. The view is not the best as you have to peer at an angle down through the glass again and the burrow vanishes under the rocks but still I’ll take that. I hope he stays put and works on it some more. I am hoping to be treated to views of the goby hovering at the lip of the burrow with the pistol in constant contact with his antennae hard at work shovelling sand. Ha, we’ll see! Sadly at the moment the hole does not remain open very long, the movement of the conch and other members of the clean up crew fill it in very quickly.
I managed to get brief glimpses of the shrimp at later feeding times but nothing of the Whitecap. This morning the same thing happened at feeding time, the ‘sinkhole’ reopened and a claw appeared at the bottom, but where is the fish?! I need to see the fish too just for my peace of mind, I hope he’s still OK in there.
Right, on to other reefing matters. I decided to whip out the algae magnet this morning and give the glass a much needed clean, I’ve only done it once since the pistol and goby pair were introduced in the hopes of allowing them time to settle. Anyway a layer of algae had built up allowing the copepods to flourish. There were literally hundreds of them! I actually felt bad squishing them with the algae magnet. Edna clearly needs some help eating them. Anyway it was at that time when I was taking extra care not to pick up any grains of sand and scratch the glass when I something new caught my eye. An Aiptasia!! Sitting there brazenly ‘growing’ out the the sand bed. Where on earth had that suddenly come from?! OK, I’ve only added two sets of corals, the first coral came with zoanthid munching nudibranchs, now the second with Aiptasia. I can’t wait to see what’s going to arrive with the next lot, planaria or a Eunice worm perhaps?? Now that's something to look forward to, rofl!
Well my wonderful view of the Whitecap goby and pistol shrimp partner has been somewhat short-lived. Lurch the conch came bulldozing over their newly constructed burrow this morning and proceeded to fill it in whilst performing his routine clean-up duties. Normally I'm thrilled to see him cruising around keeping the sand clean looking but not today. Doesn't he realise that area is now off limits? I'm betting the shrimp will be burrowing somewhere else tonight, somewhere that I can't see I'm sure. :o(
Talking of clean-up duties my eldest recorded a time-lapse video of the tank with his GoPro Hero4. At that time the tank just contained snails and a couple of hermits. I feel exhausted just from watching how busy the 'crew' are, they work so hard.
Breaking news, both fish and pistol shrimp are alive!! I am so overjoyed that I feel the need to crack open a bottle of bubbly right now to celebrate and it's all over a fish less that a couple of centimetres long. My family think I have finally lost all my marbles.
After my posting yesterday I heard a single shot from the tank so I was fairly confident that the pistol was still alive and then this morning I discovered a new hole had appeared in the sand right in front of the rock pile. He couldn't have picked a better spot really because if I peer down at an angle I can partially see into the burrow. After a few minutes peering into the hole I thought I saw some movement, a pale object that could have been the fish but equally could have been the shrimp. Looking through glass at an angle really distorts objects and before long spots were starting to dance before my eyes. I could have been staring at a bit of sand wafting in the flow for all I knew, lol! Anyway I decided to pull myself away and prepare the first meal of the day, a delicious mixture of PE mysis, Omega-3 brineshrimp, cyclops and Calanus. I was in two minds as to whether I should try and drop food directly into the hole or not in case I scared whatever it was in there away. In the end the need to know was too great and I gently pipetted some food towards the hole. As luck would have it a small piece of mysis stuck in the sand on the lip of the hole, shortly after that a beautiful Whitecap goby poked it's head out and ate it. I also saw the antennae of the shrimp. Boy, am I a very happy reefer today. :o)
Sadly there's still nothing much to report on the new fish and shrimp additions. I've not seen the Whitecap since Monday night when it came out and swam around after the lights went out. I did add another dose of live copepods last night in the hope that they might tempt the fish out to eat, but no joy. I can't deny that I am fearing the worst for the little fish now. With regards to the shrimp I did catch a tantalising glimpse of an antenna poking out of a tiny hole at the base of a rock on Tuesday morning, it was a blink and you could have missed it moment. Gosh, what I wouldn't give for x-ray vision right then (and indeed now!!). Who knows what's going on underneath those rocks? The shrimp has been oddly silent since the first night and there's not much in the way of observable digging activities either. Having said that a hole has re-appeared in the sand at the back of the right-hand rock pile today which I can only assume is the pistol shrimp's handiwork. Unfortunately there was a T. nudus goby sitting at the top of the hole and not the much longed for Whitecap, argh!
Not a whole lot to report regarding the gobies and pistol shrimp over the last couple of days. The Whitecap is nowhere to be found during the day but it does venture out after the lights go down and roams the tank. It looks so tiny and seems to be easily buffeted by the flow, I am yet to see it eat anything. There have been no sightings of the shrimp at all and no pistol shots heard either, I can't decide if I am more worried for the fish or the shrimp now. The T. nudus gobies are also still unsettled although #1 (Hop) has started to eat again, #2 (Skip) is still on hunger strike. Edna the possum wrasse and Candy the Red Striped goby seem completely unfazed by the new additions, nothing puts them off their food, lol!
With all this upheaval I have failed to mention that on Saturday I added a few more corals to the tank. A couple of small Acropora sp. frags and a single head of Lobophyllia sp. I haven't taken any photos of them before today as I have been avoiding cleaning the glass in fear of causing even more disturbance to the fishy occupants. I decided to risk it today however.
I was out of bed like a shot yesterday morning so that I could check in on the tank before sunrise. To my horror I discovered the pair of Scaleless shrimpgobies (T. nudus) had been evicted from their cozy cave and were currently sitting out on the sand in the rear left hand corner of the tank which was not good from their point of view or mine! There was no sign of the Whitecap goby at all, I checked the weir comb but nothing was stuck on there, I also stood on a chair and peered into the overflow chamber with a torch in case it had taken a ride but nothing there either (thank goodness for that at least!). There were signs of the pistol shrimp’s work as holes had appeared under the rockwork (left-hand rock pile) that had not been there the day before. When the lights started to ramp up the shrimpgobies switched over to the far right-hand side of the tank looking rather unhappy (to my eyes at least).
I checked on the tank all day long but saw no sign of the Whitecap, I did see brief glimpses of the shrimp as it excavated more sand from under the rocks. It’s a good job the rocks rest directly on the base of the tank as I can quite easily see how rock slides can occur in tanks containing these guys. The shrimpgobies showed no interest in eating any food whatsoever, another sign of their displeasure at the new state of affairs. In the early evening however they begun to check out the new holes that had been dug by the shrimp, now that was certainly a surprise to me.
Finally in the evening during what must have been my 100th check on the tank that day the Whitecap goby suddenly appeared from a hole right in front of me. It was alive!! I can’t tell you how relieved I was, however it was soon apparent to me that the only reason it had come out was because it had been chased out by one of the shrimpgobies! What the…?! Of course the Whitecap rapidly vanished down another hole but at least I now knew that it had made it through the first night and day. I hope tomorrow things will have settled down a bit.
Hi, my name is Lisa and I live in Derby, UK. I am a self-confessed reefaholic!