Happy New Year everyone, I hope you all enjoyed the festivities.
I am pleased to report that my tank has corals in it at last! I took absolutely ages at the LFS deciding what to buy. I'm still not sure if I have made the right choices but the deed is done now so I'll have live with the consequences. My criteria for selection were small pieces/frags only and easy(ish) corals to care for. So I am now the proud owner of a small rock with a scattering of zoanthids, a frag of Stylophora pistillata and a frag of Acanthastrea sp. At the insistence of my son I also came home with a couple of micro hermits. As far as my kids are concerned, crabs are absolutely awesome and corals are just blah! I did however, put my foot down at the suggestion of buying a clam at this point. As much as I would love one I think the tank is too young and unstable at the moment.
With regards to the resident stock, the squat lobster is still MIA so it's looking like he's probably gone up to the great reef in the sky, I doubt that I'll be getting another if that is the case. He will be my first loss and will be sorely missed. The Scaleless Shrimpgobies are spending more and more of their time hidden in their cave and have become very protective of it too. Any hermits that venture too close are immediately attacked. Neither goby has fed today in fact I have only seen one of them (not sure which one) a couple of times this afternoon. I do hope they are OK. Edna the possum wrasse has become a bit more confident and I can feed her directly from a pipette, she still quite shy and prefers to swim close to the rockwork and hang out under overhangs though. Candy the Red Striped goby is going strong and seems unfazed by anything at all, food is definitely on top of her list of priorities.
I had to leave the tank in the capable hands of my eldest son for three days over the Christmas period whilst I was away visiting the in-laws. Amazingly everything survived the ordeal, lol, although the squat lobster is currently MIA. I am hoping that he is in hiding following the shedding of his exoskeleton but equally he may have passed on. I will be very sad indeed if he has died.
I really need to get my dosing regimen sorted out. The alkalinity dropped as I wasn't dosing which is somewhat unexpected since there are no corals in the tank to suck up the calcium and yet the calcium and magnesium levels remained stable.
As predicted the growth of algae (interestingly on the live rock only and not on the sand) has increased with the addition of the new Mitras light so to keep on top of it just before I went away I decided to add some more CUC. One more small Black foot Trochus was introduced along with a Mexican Turbo snail for added variety. The Turbo snail (named Pablo) has done a wonderful job eating the furry looking algae that has started to cover the well lit areas of live rock.
Day 60: Argh, horror of horrors! This morning I discovered that Stripes the squat lobster had lost a limb (the left cheliped). How on earth did that happen? As far as I am aware there is nothing in the tank that would attack him. The gobies are tiny, the shrimp ignores him, the snails are veggies. The Nassarius are zombie-like.... lol! I guess the most obvious suspects would be the scarlet hermit crabs but they are tiny, I mean smaller than the lobster himself and he's pretty small. Stripes looks unbalanced now, I'm hoping he'll regrow the claw after he's moulted a couple of times.
To make matters worse he decided to scale the silicone at the back of the tank and hang out at the back of the weir. If he turned sideways he could take a dive through the comb and over. I suppose it could be considered a good place to catch food particles as they pass by on their way down into the sump but the flow is fairly high for a tiny crustacean. Anyway things took a turn for the comical later on in the evening after the lights went out. A Cerith decided to join him at the top of the weir and he proceeded to hitch a ride on the back of the snail's shell as it worked its way around the front of the comb cleaning off the diatoms. When I turned in for the night they were still 'together' half way along the comb, I wonder by that time that he was not clinging on to the snail for dear life. I wish I'd taken a photo of that! Will I still have a squat lobster come morning time??
Day 57: I'm loving the new crusty additions. The Bruun's cleaner shrimp is an amazing little thing, we have named her (no idea of the sex actually!) Crystal as she is pretty much completely see through with just a few spots of colour and her insides visible. She is pretty hard to find unless you are specifically looking for her.
The crinioid squat lobster is all over the tank, in a new location every day. We have named him Stripes, not very original I know. I'm pleased just to be able to admire him, I'm sure in a bigger tank with more rockwork he would be almost impossible to locate once introduced. He has really long chelipeds (the first pair of legs with the claws) they look rather unwieldy to me but I guess they are perfect for him. I wish that I could keep him with a crinoid friend but crinoids are extremely difficult to care for long term due to their filter feeding requirements. Luckily squat lobsters do not need them to thrive in a reef tank environment.
Day 53: Time for some crustacean action! I have a particular fondness for shrimps and crabs and am hoping that with a smaller tank I'll be able to introduce and actually observe some of the more reclusive species. In keeping with the smaller theme I chose a Bruun's cleaner shrimp, Urocaridella antonbruunii and a crinoid squat lobster, Allogalathea elegans. I also introduced a couple of Striped Nassarius snails, Nassarius sp. to scavenge excess food, fish waste and detritus in addition to keeping the sand turned over.
Hi, my name is Lisa and I live in Derby, UK. I am a self-confessed reefaholic!