I decided that the clean-up-crew needed a bit of a boost. Whilst I still have two original Ceriths introduced in November 2016, the pair I added 6 months later are no longer with me. I don't get to see these snails very much as they only come out to play when the lights go out but I find they are hard workers and (in a very, very small way) useful keeping the sand turned. So I introduced 6 more. In addition to which I added 5 more teeny-tiny Blue Leg hermits (complement the two already present) and, after much deliberation, an Emerald crab. I have wanted to keep an Emerald crab for ages but have always wimped out of adding one at the very last minute, this time however I actually went ahead and did the deed. I had hoped that it would deal with an ever growing number of Valonia (bubble algae) that were popping up on one particular piece of the rockwork.
On day one the Emerald crab (Bruce, as he is now named) picked at the rockwork (good) and sampled the Superman Montipora and Seriatopora hystrix (not good!). On day two some of the small fan worms that I'd been carefully nurturing disappeared but I'd kinda expected this, what I didn't expect however was to wake up to 3 complete branches of Seriatopora stripped of flesh. Alarm bells were definitely ringing. Day 3, things looked worse for the Seriatopora, losing fans worms is one thing but eating corals is a no-no so a quick herding with a pipette into a glass cup (not too bright this crab) and down into the refugium he went. Now Bruce spends his days in bliss and munching on the veggies like he's supposed to. Sadly he never got the chance to deal with growing number of Valonia in the DT.
Here's a quick pic from day 1 before he blotted his copy book:
And now here's a quick video of him living it up in the veg paradise that is the refugium, those grapes are oh so tasty (but maybe not so much as coral, rofl). Apologies for the freaky red lighting, it's not great for videos but the algae seems OK to grow under it.
So, Benji the hermit crab is just minding his own business cleaning off the algae growing on Lurch the conch's shell and wham, Lurch's operculum shoots out and knocks him off in the blink of an eye. I guess Lurch didn't want his shell cleaning after all, lol!
Here we have a Cerith trying to hide amongst the zoanthids, but come on, that blinding white shell is not making it easy is it? Lol! Perhaps if it didn't spend weeks/months 'sleeping' under the sand things might be different. I'm just glad to know that he (or she) is still in the land of the living.
There's one zoanthid morph that I've been saving a spot for in my tank but have never seen it for sale in an aquarium shop or via my favourite online supplier so I decided to give E-bay a whirl instead. I ordered two polyps of the "Utter Chaos" zoas, they arrived promptly and were in great condition, I was very pleased (and relieved) with my purchase. I did treat the polyps to a dip in Reef Primer just in case there were any unpleasant hitchhikers, it seemed unlikely on such a small frag disc but as I didn't know the source tank I decided it was not worth the risk. I can see why these zoanthids are so popular, the fluorescent orange colour really 'pops' under the blue LEDs. I roughly chopped down the frag disc as much as possible and hope the remainder will be grown over and hidden asap. I hate frag discs on show in the DT!
I also added a few more snails today to boost my clean up crew as I've noticed that the resident crew aren't quite managing to keep the algae growth in check, not unsurprising now that I am feeding the tank more. So a big welcome to Laurel, Hardy, Eric & Ernie the Trochus snails and Del Boy & Rodney the Ceriths.
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 26: Oh yes the diatoms are really here now! Time to take the plunge and add a small clean up crew. I do feel a touch nervous as I have no way of knowing if the cycle has actually taken place or not, I've never set up a tank and not been able to follow the progression of ammonia to nitrite and then nitrite to nitrate. Still I'm going to trust that all is well and take the plunge. Two black-footed Trochus and two ceriths were introduced after careful acclimation.
Hi, my name is Lisa and I live in Derby, UK. I am a self-confessed reefaholic!