A couple of days ago I noticed one of the conches had knocked over the Walking Dendro as it clumsily pushed past it in search of more food. Whilst I find that rather annoying it did allow me to snap a quick photo of the underside of the coral. The perfectly round hole for the peanut worm can easily be seen.
I also took the opportunity to set up my phone to record a video of the base of the coral, hoping to catch the moment the worm popped its head out of the hole in order to right the coral again. I left it alone for 15 minutes and when I checked back sure enough the coral was upright. However on viewing the footage I was gutted to find that it was the pulsing flow from the nanostream pump that had pushed the coral up again. Darn it, foiled again!
I have been really loving the little NPS coral garden that I have going on in my tank, the show of polyps at night is really amazing. So when I spotted a couple of slightly different looking sun corals and another similar species for sale online I was tempted. I moved them in and out of my virtual basket at least 4 times before finally committing to buy.
I ordered two Tubastraea and a Dendrophyllia, they were delivered safe and sound at the beginning of September. Here they are placed on the sand right after delivery.
The first sun coral has beautiful solid yellow polyps.
The second colony is orange and, as you can see from the photo below, it arrived with a few heads of black sun coral attached to it (seen at bottom of the photo). Five of the heads are totally black and one (not visible in the photo) has a green sheen to it rather like my T. micrantha. Two, maybe even three corals for the price of one, nice!
Here's a quick snap of the sun coral garden at night with the new corals settled in. The yellow one is bottom right and the orange one (with attached black heads) can be seen upper left.
The last coral in the delivery is pretty small in size but it's really rather cool! It's Heteropsammia cochlea aka the Walking Dendro, this a solitary free-living coral with a hidden surprise inside. Living within the coral is a Sipunculid peanut worm, the worm extends outside the coral via a hole at the base in search for food and in doing so moves the coral along on the sand. The coral provides the worm has a safe haven and the worm keeps the coral clean and free of sediment, a symbiotic relationship.
I wish I'd taken the time to snap a photo of the underside of the coral before I placed it in the tank but I forgot in my haste to get it settled. As luck would have it I set the coral on the sand at a slight angle leaving the hole just viewable from the side of the tank. I set myself down and waited for the worm to emerge. I waited and waited but there was no sign. Since I'd bought the coral mainly for the worm I must admit I was a little disappointed. The coral is able to live without the worm but I really wanted to 'see' it walk across the sand in my tank! I gave up my vigil briefly to tidy up the delivery box and acclimation equipment etc., I was only away for the briefest of moments but when I checked back on the coral it was upright with the hole now hidden underneath. Darn it, I'd missed the worm, typical! Still it was alive and that's what mattered. The next morning the coral had moved about 4 cm leaving a furrow of sand behind it, exciting stuff.
During the last two and a half months it's not moved very far at all in fact it's stayed entirely within the front right hand corner of the tank, working around an area of about ten square centimetres in very slow circles every day. I can't actually see the coral moving, I just notice it's in a different spot every day. I have seen the worm since when it had positioned the coral right to the front pane of glass. I could see a tiny head next to it cleaning grains of sand with my magnifying glass.
Hi, my name is Lisa and I live in Derby, UK. I am a self-confessed reefaholic!