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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    Thank you 1bitereefer!

    I will shoot another video of the 20g long and post it soon. It is amazing to me how fast these fish grow. Some of the blennies were just a little bit over an inch long when I collected them, and now they're about 2-2.5" long now! All of the fish have grown, but the most growth has been with the blennies. There are 4 crabs in this tank (2 different species of mud crabs), but I've only seen two of them now and then, both last night. I suspect that the other two are still in there but only come out at night if at all. The grass shrimp numbers have decreased, at least I think, because I only counted three of them last night. There could be a few hidden in the macroalgae and within the oyster reef cultches though. I suspect that a few of them fell prey to the fish.

    The bryozoan colonies have grown some, but not at the rate that they did early on during the life of this tank.
     

  2. Chasmodes

    Chasmodes Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Very quick update with the 20g long. One thing that I noticed last night, for the first time in months, a piece of Ulva was floating around the aquarium. Somewhere in the mass of red macro, in the middle, I found a little bit attached and growing. That made me smile, Ulva can survive in this tank. After a closer inspection, I found another piece tucked between the oysters. It isn't a lot, but, it's something, surviving, without me adding a bunch more.

    The Ulva in the 20g high tank of death is surviving, a lot of it too, along with three mummichogs, an unknown number of mud crabs (between 1 and 5, because they almost never come out), and about 8 grass shrimp. Oh yeah, I moved the last small mummichog, a male, from the 20g long to the 20g high tank of death, because, he would have been killed anyway by the blennies. I caught them chasing and biting his tail and it was shredded. I suspect the smaller killi was killed the same way. He was eaten by the gobies and blennies, nothing left of him now. The killi that I moved started courting the two females right away. I misidentified one of the females last month as a male because it started courting behavior. Apparently, mummichogs get even more confused about their own sex as I do trying to ID them. They are all doing well, although, I suspect that they are carriers of the disease that killed my other fish (at least one of them was a carrier). I hope the 20g long is OK, so far so good, no signs of disease (scratching, etc.) by any of the fish.
     
  3. Chasmodes

    Chasmodes Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Here are a few videos of the 20g long. Hope you all like them. So these videos show an hideous amount of cyanobacteria. Since I shot them, I've reduced the lights on to about 2-3 hours after I get home for work. Today is the third day. So, it is dark in the tanks for most of the day and night. The result is that most of the cyano has died off. I will continue until it's gone. Hopefully, at that point, the macros and other green algae can get a better foothold. Other than the cyanobacteria, the 20g long is doing well. Water parameters are perfect.





     
  4. Paul B

    Paul B Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Reef Spotlight Award Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor

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    I love it. After I move I may re set up my local Long Island tank
     
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  5. Chasmodes

    Chasmodes Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    That would be awesome!!!!
     
  6. Jeremy K.A.

    Jeremy K.A. Active Member

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    So cool, I absolutely love it and may have to give it a shot!
     
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  7. Chasmodes

    Chasmodes Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Thanks Jeremy. Look forward to seeing your work!

    Update:

    The 20g long cyano problem has been reduced to a minimal amount by cutting back the lighted period to 3 hours per day, darkness the rest (not total blackout though). The tank looks a lot better. I went collecting on Saturday, and we caught everything except for pipefish and blennies. The water temperature on the Bay was 49 degrees, so those species probably already headed out to deep water. I added a couple colonies of tunicates to the tank along with another attempt at growing Ulva. I also tossed the old red macro algae for some healthier specimens. The old was holding it's own, but the new brought a few amphipods to the tank. I added a couple live razor clams to the 20g high along with some tunicates.

    Regarding the tunicates, razor clams, and mussels (a.k.a. sea squirts or sea grapes), I'm hoping that they'll help with the detritus, but I may have to purchase some food for filter feeders to keep the alive long term. Again, this is an experiment. What works well will continue into practice and what doesn't will be a lessoned learned idea left in the past.

    As far as the cyano, I still plan to treat for it chemically to get rid of it all together. I need the longer photo periods so the Ulva has a chance to grow. Patches of GHA are growing too, but I don't mind them, they kinda look cool.

    Here's a full tank shot video:


    A little closer in, focusing on the largest cultch:
     
  8. Chasmodes

    Chasmodes Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    This video is a close up of one of the tunicate colonies. That's all they do, siphon, blow out waste now and then, and contract when fish touch them. Still, I think they're cool and really enhance the aquascaping, giving more of the appearance of a living oyster reef. I will do whatever I can to keep them alive long term. I will try feeding them over the counter planktonic food for now.

     
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  9. Jeremy K.A.

    Jeremy K.A. Active Member

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    Curious, where do you get your livestock from anyways?
     
  10. Chasmodes

    Chasmodes Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    I collected all of the livestock (fish, inverts and plants) directly from the Chesapeake Bay, about an hour and 15 minutes from my house.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2017
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  11. Chasmodes

    Chasmodes Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Here are some pictures of the 20g long for those looking for updates and don't have time for videos. I have a couple more videos that I'll post later today. I have to do some work on them first.

    Full Tank Shot:
    [​IMG]

    Two colonies of tunicates (sea squirts):
    [​IMG]

    A couple blennies surrounding a patch of green hair algae:
    [​IMG]

    A pair of grass shrimp:
    [​IMG]

    A tunicate that found its way into an empty oyster shell. It was attached to the red macroalgae (gracilaria sp.?) in the foreground. I have no idea how it wound up in the oyster shell. My hunch is that either a fish or mud crab moved it there, probably the former.
    [​IMG]

    A close up of the tunicate colony:
    [​IMG]

    If you zoom in on the center of the above pic, on one of the tunicates is an encrusting bryozoan colony. I can't tell if it is alive or not. I don't see tentacles, so maybe not. I hope it's alive though, that would be really cool. If it isn't, it is still encouraging because these tunicates probably spent their entire lives at this location, so the chances of me finding more live bryozoans are pretty good. I'm optimistic.
    [​IMG]
     
  12. Chasmodes

    Chasmodes Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    I finished with the last two videos. Hope you like them. Sorry for them being shaky at times. I was using a tripod and sometimes when you re-position the camera, the tripod sticks even though I loosened everything. I need to find another way to do it.

    In this video, you can see a live barnacle at the 50 second mark:


    I kept the camera focused on the largest cultch in the area where the blennies are the most active. It is fun to watch them pop in and out of their hidey holes.


    Thanks for watching and checking out my thread. I hope you like the videos. I watch them every chance that I get when I'm away from my tank!
     
  13. Chasmodes

    Chasmodes Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Update: I purchased some bottled phytoplankton to feed the barnacle, tunicates and mussels that are in both tanks. The bottle directions state that it is concentrated and you only need to add one capful per 50 gallons twice per week. Since I have a good many filter feeding organisms, I'm going to do this three times per week and see how it goes. I may have to look into culturing my own. I also purchased some ChemiClean to eradicate the cyanobacteria, but haven't applied it yet. The longer dark periods seem to keep it at bay. I don't care too much if I see a little of it, but it was getting nasty and taking over the tank. I have this product in my back pocket if I need it.

    Rather than ramble on, I figured I'd post some more Chesapeake Bay Brackish eye candy...In the 20g long, I moved a shell with tunicates and a couple mussels on one side of it up and wedged it tightly to the right cultch. I think it looks great, plus, it's easier to observe them. This goby found it to be his favorite hang out:
    [​IMG]

    Here's a view of the cultch with the new addition:
    [​IMG]

    Full Tank Shot:
    [​IMG]

    A few blenny pics:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Can't forget the skilletfish:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I thought that this was a tunicate, and until I inspect it closer, it could still be one covered with unknown material or organisms. But, it occurred to me that it could be a stickleback nest. We did catch one stickleback during that last collecting trip. That fish currently resides in QT at the Glen Echo Park Aquarium:
    [​IMG]

    And guess what showed up in my 20g high tank of death? I was excited to find new life! I believe this to be the ghost anemone, Diadumene leucolena:
    [​IMG]
     
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  14. Paul B

    Paul B Well-Known Member R2R Supporter Reef Spotlight Award Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor

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    I still love it.
     
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  15. Breadman03

    Breadman03 Well-Known Member Catskill Reef Member

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    I don't comment much, but I check out your thread all the time. I love the build and it looks great!
     
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  16. Chasmodes

    Chasmodes Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Thank you both for the compliments! I need to make sure that I push forward to upgrade to the big tank.

    I had one setback yesterday with an oyster cultch. One of the shell halves came apart without any help from me or any critters. It's disturbing that the Gorilla Glue didn't hold. Everything else seems solid as a rock though. So, to fix it, I'll need to get some glue that works underwater. I've heard that some do, but have never looked into it. Any recommendations?
     
  17. Chasmodes

    Chasmodes Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Well, I found out what the ball like structure is, but have no clue what is covering it (second to the last pic in my post above). I pulled it out of the Gracilaria and got examined it. While examining, it was blob like, kind of like a tunicate, so I thought that it might be a tunicate, but wasn't sure. So, I placed it on the substrate near the front of the glass to observe it, and last night I noticed one siphon. So, I confirmed that it is indeed a tunicate. I have no idea what is covering it. I'll have to get a closer pic tonight.

    Also, the new anemone eats flakes and brine shrimp :)
     
  18. Chasmodes

    Chasmodes Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    Update:

    No pics or vids this time, sorry. I've been sick and haven't had the energy lately.

    In both of my tanks, I've noticed that there is a decent population of copepods and other tiny life forms on my front glass. I assume that they're all over the tank, but they're very tough to see. I found another barnacle that I didn't know that I had. I've been feeding the filter feeders 3 times per week, 1.5 cap fulls each time of the bottled phytoplankton. We will see if that works. So far, the mussels are open a lot more, the tunicates seem like they're doing well, the pod population has grown, the barnacles are out scooping up food more, and the ghost anemone is doing very well. I found a small tunicate under a razor clam that was not there before, so I think that perhaps they've spawned at least once in the tank.

    I cleaned the glass in the 20g long last night. The pods are interesting to watch, but, I need to see my fish, so I wiped them away along with the algae that they were eating. The skilletfish are the most brave fish in my tank, almost always first to my hand to receive food. Last night, when I cleaned the glass with my magnet algae scraper, all of the fish scurry for cover during that time, except one skilletfish that bravely clung to the glass that I was trying to clean. He would not get out of the way! I had to nudge him with my finger so I could clean that 2" square spot that he was clinging to. And, he resisted, not wanting to move. I was laughing the whole time :confused::D:D:D
     
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  19. Chasmodes

    Chasmodes Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    I have some pics to share from last night. I will have videos later but still need to process them. But for now...

    Skilletfish clinging to the oyster cultch:
    [​IMG]

    Tunicates above, goby below:
    [​IMG]

    Naked goby sitting atop a shell with tunicates and live mussels:
    [​IMG]

    A photogenic striped blenny:
    [​IMG]

    Grass shrimp feeding off detritus over some tunicates:
    [​IMG]

    In the 20g high, a cluster of mussels feeding on a phytoplankton meal:
    [​IMG]

    Also in the 20g high, a ghost anemone awaiting its next meal:
    [​IMG]

    Thanks for looking.
     
  20. Chasmodes

    Chasmodes Well-Known Member Build Thread Contributor

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    As promised, videos from last night.

    This first video shows grass shrimp eating an unknown organism or object. I've wondered if it is a tunicate covered in other fouling organisms or a discarded stickleback nest (we did catch a stickleback the day that I brought this home, thinking it was a tunicate). It is kind of globby in texture. At one point, I thought that I observed a siphon, but now I'm not so sure. The grass shrimp has been devouring the attached material though. I've never seen a stickleback nest, so perhaps if anyone has seen one, they could let me know if this might be one or not. Thanks.


    This next video is not exciting, but I find it interesting. It's a bunch of tunicates and a couple live mussels (opened and feeding, I guess). Around the 5 second mark, one of the tunicates ejects something from its siphon. Is it one of their tadpole larvae? I lost track of it in my tank when the current got ahold of it. I didn't observe any movement from it trying to get to a settling spot, but wouldn't that be cool?


    The next video is interesting as a blenny is foraging, checking out every nook and cranny around the macroalgae. But, around the middle of the video, decides to enter an oyster shell at about the same time a skilletfish enters, and a brief but harmless battle ensues:


    The last video is basically the same spot where several blennies decide to hang out and watch my camera watching them...the three amigos!
     
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