Oyster Reef Aquarium Project

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Re: Oyster Reef Aquarium Project

Postby Chasmodes » Wed Jan 31, 2018 8:20 am

Some recent pics:
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Re: Oyster Reef Aquarium Project

Postby Chasmodes » Thu Feb 01, 2018 5:16 pm

This barnacle in my Chesapeake Bay biotope aquarium is trying to breed. Normally, their probing male reproductive organ will find a suitable mate and the process is complete. However, in this video, you can see milt released into the water column. An interesting note, barnacles, in proportion to body size, have the largest male reproductive organ in the animal kingdom!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfZLE7VY8Fg&t=117s
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Re: Oyster Reef Aquarium Project

Postby Chasmodes » Mon Feb 05, 2018 10:02 am

Here's a video update where the fish are a bit more active (shot last week).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrPHZQUVVKI&t=1s
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Re: Oyster Reef Aquarium Project

Postby Chasmodes » Mon Feb 26, 2018 12:55 pm

It's been a while since I've provided an update, so here is an update in case anyone is still reading this thread. I'm probably the only one, LOL. No pics or videos this time, unfortunately.

Ever since I set up this tank, off and on, some of the fish have shown signs of parasitism, in particular, scratching themselves on the oyster shells or substrate. Until recently, mostly the gobies have been doing it, with a blenny doing it once in a rare while. But now, All of the gobies and several of the blennies have been scratching much more frequently. And, three of the blennies have visible signs of parasitism or disease of some sort, mainly a loss of overall color on their sides (faded, a bit whitish but not solid white), and on Friday, I noticed one of the blennies frequently cowering in the corner, which is another sign of disease (and I'll add a but...later), and, this blenny is showing some cysts (like ich, larger, so I don't think it is velvet) around the head. It is a male blenny, and has also been biting his tail, as if to attempt to remove something. I also noticed my largest male with similar symptoms, and he would only show up for a few bites of food, then hide again. Only a couple blennies didn't show any symptoms, and neither did any of the skilletfish. All of the fish ate well, even showing up to feed out of my hand (which is comical as I try and spread the food around the tank, skilletfish and blennies chase my hand and try to intercept the food from my fingers). So, I don't think I'm too late.

So, I had to take action, not wanting what happened to my other tank where all of the fish died. I suspected flukes and/or ich. I set up a 20g long quarantine tank and began the process of catching my fish for treatment. Well, as you might suspect, blennies, gobies and skilletfish aren't ones to come to the net. So, remove all of the cover (my oyster reef and shells) and left the invertebrates in the tank. It took me quite a while to coax the blennies and skilletfish out of the many hiding spots in the oyster cultches. Some of the fish were in the individual oyster shell (matching pairs, connected and open). And, within one of those shells was my largest male that was always hiding except for food, and infected with the disease. And in his shell, were eggs.

MY FISH WERE BREEDING! He was guarding eggs, hence, the reason that he wasn't coming out for food. It also might have been part of the reason that the other large male was cowering in the front corner of the tank. So, this is great, because it was a goal of mine to breed these fish, but, at the same time, it stinks because I had to remove them from the display tank.

After setting up my quarantine tank treated with Cuprimine (a copper medication) to kill ich and/or velvet, I brought the fish in and gave each of them a freshwater dip for 5 minutes. I was happy to see that this didn't stress out the fish much at all, and after each one, put them in the QT. I noticed some external parasites falling off, but the main reason to do the dip was to look for flukes. There may have been a few, but, not many at all, and certainly not enough to cause a fish to be sick and stressed. There may have been a bunch of smaller parasites that I couldn't either see or ID with my magnifying glass. So, maybe that wasn't a total bust, because FW dips can provide some relief of the symptoms, albeit temporary.

So, this is day three of QT and they are now being treated with a full dose of copper. 27 days to go. The display tank is fallow, save for the invertebrates, and will remain fallow for 6 weeks. After the QT period is up, I'll keep the fish in there for observation until they are ready to go back into the DT.

A friend of mine suggested a possible bacterial infection, so if the whitish film doesn't go away, I will try treating them with antibiotic. Anyone know if I can use antibiotics and copper at the same time?

Once I'm done with this process, then the QT tank will remain my QT tank for future collections. I plan to use the other 20g tank as a holding tank for any new macroalgae, invertebrates, substrate or shells that I collect for my display tank, with the idea that keeping them in observation for 6 weeks serves the same purpose as keeping a tank fallow, to make sure that they are parasite free for the most part.

Until then, it will be a challenge to control ammonia and nitrites for a few days while keeping the dose of copper at the most effective level. I took out a sponge filter from my other tank to aid in the cycling of the QT. The QT has a bunch of PVC pipe pieces and parts for the fish to hide in, and they're taking to them. They're scared to death of me now, understandably, and also very spooky. They don't like their new home much at all, but, they are eating. I reduced their feeding to once per day and half of what I've been feeding them until the QT cycles.
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Re: Oyster Reef Aquarium Project

Postby Chasmodes » Wed Mar 14, 2018 1:07 pm

Quarantine is boring when it comes to watching my fish. Plus, my worry gauge is double what it normally is. That said, the fish are all doing fine. They look healthy, they're eating, they establish and maintain pecking orders, and defend territories, albeit zip tied pieces of PVC pipe. They were very skittish the first week and a half, but now respond to me during feeding time and don't flee during that time or during water changes, testing or treatment of meds. I guess that they're used to it. I have to wonder if any spawning activity will occur. Has anyone had that happen in QT while treating diseases?

Regarding the treatment and disease status, the fish have completely stopped scratching since about the fourth day of treatment, and the white film and spots on the fish are gone. They all look fat and healthy, breathing looks normal. So, to be safe, I'll have them at least in QT for 2 more weeks with copper, then another two weeks for observation after I get rid of the carbon. By that time, the tank should be parasite free, as it would be fallow for six weeks. I'm 1/3 of the way there, and so far so good.

The display tank is also a bit boring, although it is interesting to see more of the invertebrates than when fish are in there, specifically the crabs and bristle worms. The white thing is definitely a tube anemone and only fully extends after dark. When I turn the lights on, it draws back into a hole in the oyster shell. More jellyfish budding polyps have shown up on the same shells as the small anemones, if that is what they are. They could be another jellyfish species budding polyp, but I haven't seen any long tentacled jellies swimming around the tank. I have seen the short tentacled ones from what I know are the budding polyps, floating around in my tank. It's pretty cool, but I think that my power filters kill them off.

Some of the tunicates died off, but about a dozen of them are still alive and feeding. The mussels are still alive as are the barnacles and open up to feed when I add plankton. But overall, the DT is a bit boring without the fish, although the grass shrimp constantly cruise the tank without the fish in there. I had one shrimp commit suicide as I found it on my tank top glass. I can't figure out how it jumped out of the only tiny hole, but it did.

I only put the lights on for 4 hours a day, and cyano and other hair algae species have died way back, as have some of the other light dependent life, perhaps dinoflagellates? So the tank water is gin clear and the tank looks really clean. One month to go, and all will return to normal.

So, what happens then? I will work on the big tank for sure, but also keep the 20g long QT tank set up just for that purpose, with the mummichogs to keep the tank bacterial population going and use it for new collections. I will use the 20g high for invertebrate collections as an observation tank, keeping it fishless and fallow, so that any invertebrates, shells, or anything else becomes parasite free before adding it to the display tank. And once the 100g is set up, the 20g long DT will become a macro tank, most likely for sticklebacks and other weed loving bay critters. All of my current fish will go into the 100g oyster reef tank.

Future stocking list additions to the fish that I have now will include a hogchoker, a few more striped blennies, maybe one to three feather blennies, maybe some sheepshead minnows, perhaps a porcupinefish, and hopefully a tropical stray spotfin butterflyfish. My goal is to catch them all, but, I may have to purchase the last one if I don't have any luck finding any.

I'm so happy that the QT process is going well so far. My nerves will be much more calm when I can return all of the fish to their oyster reef home.
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Re: Oyster Reef Aquarium Project

Postby Chasmodes » Fri Mar 16, 2018 11:05 am

Here is the display tank, fishless (fallow) as it looks today. I keep the lights off but save a few hours each day and have reduced feeding to a tiny bit of flakes each day plus bottled plankton 3x per week, so much of the hair algae and cyano has greatly reduced:
Image

Video updates:
First video of the QT, fish are doing well, doing what they do but in a pretty much sterile, copper treated environment with PVC pipes zipped tied for hiding spots:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xbfU6pneDPs

I'm pretty sure that this is a small tube anemone. It is bigger than the jellyfish polyps but smaller than the Ghost anemone. This guy is growing though, about 2x the size that it was when I first found it. It retreats to hide when I turn on the lights, so it is light sensitive. I may flip the oyster shell over once so it stays out when the lights come on, not sure yet. I doubt it is a worm, because it has too many tentacles, and don't seem feather like as most filter feeding worm tentacles appear.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0d3oCpKJGs

with the fish out of the display tank, the invertebrates and far less shy. Bristle worms come out to play a lot more these days. I believe that this species is commonly known as a clam worm. Here is one out foraging. I have yet to see one attack anything. They have a pretty nasty proboscis and will bite if handled (like bloodworms) but they seem to be very skittish. Even grass shrimp spook them, as you can see at the end of this video. I find them quite fascinating to watch. I'd say that I saw perhaps a half dozen different ones out at various times. There are many more tough, because there were at least a dozen that I could see along the edge of the tank glass in their burrows that never came out.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_MdxenmysA

Remember the tiny anemones that I thought that I had? Well, they never seem to grow any bigger than what I can see enough of with a magnifying glass. So, I have been observing more and more, looked at this video, and then researched, and found that they also are moon jellyfish polyps, just a different stage (before budding). So, I'd say I have about a dozen either budding or non-budding polyp moon jellyfish in my tank.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MT8aDnRnMY

Here's another moon jellyfish polyp:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gh0px_aVnCs
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Re: Oyster Reef Aquarium Project

Postby Chasmodes » Mon Mar 26, 2018 8:31 am

Update on my brackish tanks:
In the 20g Long display tank, which is fallow, I finally got a good video of what I was trying to ID earlier, and I'm pretty sure it is a ghost anemone, but still could be a tube anemone. I'll have to study more about both to determine this. But, it's not a worm, definitely a cniderian. I am also ruling out that this is a jellyfish polyp, because it's much larger than those, and is growing, and has not changed to a budding polyp. It has been there for a long time also. Also, in the video, I found a small tunicate that I hadn't seen before just to the left of the anemone. I think that my tunicates are reproducing. This is the second one that I've found. I need to go back and look at older pics and vids to determine if this was there before or not.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hofBRYavqJk&t=1s

Also, the ghost anemone wasn't doing well in the 20g high. All of a sudden, it wasn't attached to anything, its tentacles were withdrawn, and it looked a bit withered. I did a water change and it looked a little better for a while, but then became detached again. So, I took the opportunity, since it wasn't attached, to move it to the 20g long display tank. It is attached to a shell now and is doing much better. The tentacles haven't fully extended yet, but the main body and overall health looks much better. I've wanted to move this creature to the display tank for a long time.


The fish are in their last week of copper treatment, and are doing well. They're eating and look very healthy. After the last day of treament, then I will do water changes and add carbon to get rid of the copper. After that, I'll observe them in QT for a few weeks until the display tank fallow period ends, and then they get to go home.
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Re: Oyster Reef Aquarium Project

Postby Chasmodes » Tue Mar 27, 2018 10:32 am

A couple more videos:

The fallow display tank:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-w3soi4hkLM

A couple Harris Mud Crabs (Rhithropanopeus harrisii), one of two species in the tank. I always thought that these were a nasty muddy brown when collecting them in the field, but in a tank, they "clean up" really nice, and I find them quite attractive. They are very secretive though, but during the fallow period, when the fish are away, the crabs will play.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRMXr0LUz6c
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