Chesapeake Bay Oyster Reef Biotope Tank

Discussion in 'Member Tanks' started by Chasmodes, Apr 28, 2017.

  1. Chasmodes

    Chasmodes Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    More photos and videos of my fish and tank.

    The little feller (Chasmodes bosquianus, striped blenny juvenile):
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    Chasmodes bosquianus (striped blenny), the bigger of the two. I like how when he hides in the Ulva that the light shines through giving him a green appearance, adding to his camoflage!
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    Grass shrimp. I have no idea what species it is. Some day, I'll learn to tell the difference.
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    Mr. Big again.
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    Full tank shot, night time views:
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    This time, without a flash:
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    Videos in the next post.
     

  2. Chasmodes

    Chasmodes Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Videos:

    Smaller of the 2 blennies:




    The green martian blenny morphing into an earthly form:


    Panning the entire tank, from full tank view to checking out the critters antics:
     
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  3. Chasmodes

    Chasmodes Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Not long ago, the tank had a bunch of brown and green microalgae, not too bad and normal for a pretty young tank. But, now it's disappearing probably due to competition from the Ulva that I added recently.

    Ammonia zero, nitrite zero, nitrate was 100 ppm on Saturday, down to 50 ppm now. I did a partial water change on Monday that helped that along too. I haven't noticed growth in the Ulva, so it's just a suspicion now of what I think is going on. We will see.

    I hope to get some live sand to boost the copepod and worm population in the tank. The blennies love bloodworms. I also hope to get a couple more types of macroalgae along with amphipods to stock the tank. As I keep collecting, one goal would be to constantly bring home a source of live food for these critters.

    The grass shrimp so far have been a pretty good cleanup crew. This should last until the blennies grow large enough to eat them.
     
  4. Chasmodes

    Chasmodes Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Last night, I fed the fish frozen mysis shrimp, which I thought would be a little big for them, so I only used 1/2 a cube. They went nuts and stuffed themselves silly. The mysis shrimp were about 3/4 the size of the little blenny and he ate one somehow. Also, you could see the white of the shrimp inside the gobie's buldging bellies. The gobies are only about an inch and a half long, so the mysis shrimp seemed big for them. But, they ate them anyway. It was comical.

    Another funny thing happened. The larger blenny was hovering about mid depth looking for a frozen mysis shrimp to eat, and one of the skilletfish swam up to him and tried to "cling" to the side of the blenny! It was hilarious. The blenny didn't seem to mind, but the skilletfish couldn't hang on and slid off. I've never seen that before and I've kept skilletfish before.

    I'm not sure if I mentioned it or not, but there is a tiny mud crab hitchhiker that I found in the tank. I didn't intend to keep any. The blennies both attack the crab like it's their last meal, so I don't know how long it will live. So far, it still has all appendages and eyes intact, and has created a burrow under an oyster shell. Every time a fish or shrimp come near it, the crab scurries down the burrow. It reminds me of fiddler crab behavior on a marsh bank.

    Another interesting thing is that the blennies seem to ignore the grass shrimp as potential meals. This might change as the blennies grow into adulthood. At least, I expect that. The grass shrimp are interesting to watch and are plentiful for me to get. So, if these fish eventually feed on them, that would be OK with me.

    I also have a weird colony of something growing on the side glass. I saw a colony earlier and scraped it off. It was kind of calcarious and had some resistance when I scraped it off. I'll have to get a picture when it grows large enough. I think that they're hydroids perhaps, but not sure, could be bryozoans.

    I'm going to try and collect again this weekend. I won't keep any more fish unless I get something ultra cool, but no more of the species that I already have. I'd like something to cruise the open water of the tank though. A spotfin butterflyfish would be my ultimate goal for that. But, the main reason to collect would be to get more macros, copepods and amphipods along with some live sand and maybe some mud to add to the tank.
     
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  5. Maritimer

    Maritimer Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Reef Squad Leader CTARS Member R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor

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    I've heard about tropicals showing up already as far north as Rhode Island, so hopefully you'll get lucky!

    ~Bruce, who hasn't been out seining for tropicals in many a year
     
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  6. Chasmodes

    Chasmodes Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Well, no strays on my last trip this past weekend. But, we did catch more of the same. Of the catch, I added two more tiny juvenile blennies to the tank along with shells full of live out of the Bay, some macros and added widgeon grass (I think it is widgeon grass anyway). Widgeon grass does well in the wild on sandy bottoms, so well see. I picked up some floating by while we were collecting.

    I'll post pics and a video. I added a bunch of whole oyster shells to my structure along with the macros and really think that the tank looks great. All of this will wind up in my 100g eventually, but for now, it's fun to watch.

    I also added a circulation pump (upper LH corner of the tank) which really helps.

    Here's a full tank shot:
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    Skilletfish upside down. Can you see him? These guys are comical and are my daughter's favorite now:
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    The largest striped blenny (Chasmodes bosquianus) in my tank. They really should rename the common name to skunk blenny because of the stripe down the front of their face from the dorsal fin. But, it's not my call! This guy is about 1.5" long and grows to about an average of 3", but up to 6" according to Fishbase. I have yet to catch one over 4" long.
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    Here he is again peeking out from an oyster shell.
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    The striped blenny again perched on the oyster cultch. You can distinguish blennies from the Genus Chasmodes from Hypsoblennius species because they are more laterally compressed:
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    Gobiesox strumosus, the skilletfish, attached to any oyster shell. I have five small ones in this tank.
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    A naked goby (left, Gobiosoma bosc) perched on an oyster shell next to a juvenile striped blenny. The widgeon grass is in the background.
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    Chasmodes bosquianus peeking out of an oyster shell.
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    Notice the specialized ventral and pectoral fins of the skilletfish (Gobiesox strumosus) that allow it to cling to just about anything including shells, bottles, aquarium glass, fingers, and the inside of HOB filters! An interesting fact is that even after death, the specialized fins will stick to things. Moving forward seems to dislodge the suction, while pulling back causes the suction.
    [​IMG]
    The skilletfish is tough to see in this picture, blending in very well. See him?
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    And over the top he goes! Side view. This type of clingfish is called the skilletfish because of its pan like shape.
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    Frontal view of the striped blenny (left) and a naked goby (Gobiosoma bosc) under the oyster shell, perched on a razor clam.
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    And I'll end the post with a video showing the critters in action. Hope you like it!
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2017
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  7. Chasmodes

    Chasmodes Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    I had about at least 15 grass shrimp in my tank and the number seems to be about half of that now. I saw the largest blenny attack and kill a small grass shrimp this past Wednesday just after I approached the tank. These fish are well fed. What I've noticed is that these fish recognize me as providing food and become very active, almost to the point of a feeding frenzy, when they pretty much attack anything that moves. It's not just the blennies, but all of the species seem to do this. Well, before I could drop any food in there, one of the small grass shrimp became a quick meal, killed by the biggest blenny but ultimately swallowed whole by a thieving skilletfish.

    Well, yesterday, it happened again. I didn't capture the crime in progress, but I did manage to film all of the fish conspiring in the cover up to hide the evidence:


    I also have some pics of some fish that I caught last week. These are larger adult striped blennies that are currently in a 20g high aquarium.
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    This striped blenny and skilletfish shared this oyster shell for about an hour without incident. In my other tank, that doesn't happen much. I'm sure if they were breeding it would be a different story:
    [​IMG]
     
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  8. Chasmodes

    Chasmodes Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    All of the fish flock to the front of the tank now when they see me as they associate me with food. I fed them frozen brine shrimp last night and the smallest blenny sat on my finger and ate, claiming first dibs :)
     
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  9. Chasmodes

    Chasmodes Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Here's another video of my fish feeding on the grass shrimp that they killed:
     
  10. Chasmodes

    Chasmodes Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Last night I took a few more pics focusing on the "other life" that is appearing.

    This colony of hydroids (I think) is growing on the right side glass back in the corner of the tank. It started out as a small star shape and is now about an inch across. There was another one early on that I scraped off of the back of the tank, not knowing what it was, then this one appeared:

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    Shot of the corner of the tank:

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    There are hydroids growing all over this widgeon grass, and a pretty long flowing colony shown by the arrow, with a naked goby photobombing my effort:

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    The fish perch all over this grass and don't seem bothered at all by the hydroids. The blennies seem to pick at them when they're browsing for food. I don't think hydroids are their favorite food, but they sometimes spit them out and sometimes ingest them.



    This blenny was photobombing my attempt to capture a good shot of the long flowing hydroid. The picture of him looked too cool not to post [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    I don't know that this is. I doubt they're hydroids because I don't see tentacles or polyps. Maybe bryozoans or macroalgae? Anyone know? They're popping up on some of the oyster shells that I recently introduced.

    [​IMG]
     
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  11. happyhourhero

    happyhourhero Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Truly awesome tank man! I love the updates.
     
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  12. Chasmodes

    Chasmodes Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Thanks HHH!
     
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  13. Tahoe61

    Tahoe61 Moderator Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Showcase Editor Partner Member 2018 Build Thread Contributor Partner Member

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    Absolutely love your tank, I check out every update. :)

    Well done!
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2017
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  14. AcroNem

    AcroNem Well-Known Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    Following! Really cool build.
     
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  15. Chasmodes

    Chasmodes Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Thanks Tahoe and Acro! I appreciate the feedback. I hope to get out collecting again this weekend to bring back some amphipods, grass shrimp, more macros and more grass. If I catch a cool fish, I may bring it back too (hoping for a hogchoker, spotfin butterfly, burrfish, or maybe a planehead filefish). Otherwise, it will be just doing some sampling of species that I already have (catch, document, photo, release).

    If I can't get out collecting, then I'll probably work on my stand to get that finished.

    Also, regarding what I thought were hydroids, they could also be bryozoans, so I have to get a better look at them, and certainly a better picture.
     
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  16. cpvince

    cpvince Well-Known Member

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    What a unique build! Love it!
     
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  17. Chasmodes

    Chasmodes Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Thank you cpvince!
     
  18. nautical_nathaniel

    nautical_nathaniel Goby Whisperer R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Build Thread Contributor

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    Such a cool tank! I've been wanting to do a native tank for my area but sadly I've ran out of space in my apartment for more tanks :(
     
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  19. Chasmodes

    Chasmodes Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Thanks Nathaniel (hope I got that right)! I know the feeling. I have the 100 build ongoing, a 75 freshwater build ongoing, and 2 twenty gallon tanks up and running. I have 4 55 gallon tanks and a ten gallon tank that I'm scheming to set up, but not sure where to put them!
     
  20. Chasmodes

    Chasmodes Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    I took a couple interesting videos. Hope you like them.

    Feeding frenzy:


    Skilletfish Antics:
     
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