Jan 25, 2010

Tank Crash

I've been putting off writing this blog for a few weeks. I experienced my worst aquarium nightmare over Christmas break. We were traveling a lot to visit relatives, and I wasn't giving my aquariums as much attention as I should have. We're not sure what caused the crash, but one day when I came home, I knew immediately something was terribly wrong. Three out of five of my seahorses were laying dead on the floor of the tank, and the fish that were left were breathing hard, discolored, and obviously stressed. I was quick to blame it on my sea cucumber, Pentacta anceps, but I'm not certain. I estimate that whatever disaster struck, happened right before I came home that day. The fish that died looked as though they had just died, and the ammonia was still at zero ppm.

We quickly did a 50% water change and put a pound of carbon in the filtration. Within a half hour, the fish that survived started to perk up. All in all, the crash could've been much worse. I lost most of my small gobies, 3 of my seahorses (Kuiter, Ellis, and Debelius), my Yellow-fin Flasher Wrasse, and my squat lobsters. All of the other inverts were fine, in fact, my Sun coral was open while all this was going on. My two seahorses Juniper and Hoover, Flashing Tilefish, and all 3 of my shrimp gobies survived (with their shrimp friends), Curious wormfish, 3 Brotulids, and Yellow Eye Anthias survived. Amazingly, one tiny red Eviota goby also survived. The Lionfish and Coral Croucher are in another tank.

I was most devastated by the loss of my seahorses. Seahorses have so much personality, they are truly pets and can't be "replaced" when they are lost. I miss Ellis, Debelius, and especially little Kuiter hitching on my fingers when I put my hand in the tank. I'll be getting a new, larger 120 gallon aquarium soon, so I'll wait to get any more seahorses until after that tank is set up and doing well.

Hippocampus erectus

Portrait of Ellis

seahorse erectus male

Jan 24, 2010

Coral Guard Crabs

I recently wrote an article for Reef Tools about Trapeziid Acropora Crabs and Pocilloporid Guard Crabs. The article explains the physical and behavioral differences between Crabs of the genera Trapezia and Tetralia. The article also offers some tips on keeping Acropora Crabs in captivity.

This photo shows a captive Trapezia cymodoce in an Acropora secale.

Read a more detailed version here.