Collecting Hawaiian inverts for home aquarium

Ghost25

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I am going to the island of Kauai soon. Collection of marine life for home aquariums is legal, provided you comply with standard fishing regulations. No take of coral of any kind, no sand or live rock. Some species of oysters, clams and snails are explicitly forbidden and some crustaceans like spiny lobster have size limits. But my expectation is there will be many small inverts I can take.

I am there for 4 days and flying back to CA. Obviously collection closer to flying out is best. I'm thinking I could bring a small heater, maybe even a powerhead or airstone to keep them alive in a bucket of seawater. Bring some handwarmers, plastic bags, and buy a styrofoam box there.

Anyone have experience with this? There are tons of inverts there not commonly seen in the aquarium trade. Reef safety is a concern. Haven't found much about importation to CA, but I have flown with marine fish before and airport security at LAX didn't care. Any thoughts?

Read the FAQ from Hawaii Division of Aquatic Resources before you give me a hard time: https://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dar/fishing/faqs/
 
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I am going to the island of Kauai soon. Collection of marine life for home aquariums is legal, provided you comply with standard fishing regulations. No take of coral of any kind, no sand or live rock. Some species of oysters, clams and snails are explicitly forbidden and some crustaceans like spiny lobster have size limits. But my expectation is there will be many small inverts I can take.

I am there for 4 days and flying back to CA. Obviously collection closer to flying out is best. I'm thinking I could bring a small heater, maybe even a powerhead or airstone to keep them alive in a bucket of seawater. Bring some handwarmers, plastic bags, and buy a styrofoam box there.

Anyone have experience with this? There are tons of inverts there not commonly seen in the aquarium trade. Reef safety is a concern. Haven't found much about importation to CA, but I have flown with marine fish before and airport security at LAX didn't care. Any thoughts?

Read the FAQ from Hawaii Division of Aquatic Resources before you give me a hard time: https://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dar/fishing/faqs/
Love the zebra hermits. Best hermit there is but hard to find now
 
Zoanthids

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I like hermits but worried they will kill my Astreas and Trochus. Obviously empty shells minimize this but we'll see.
I have a single zebra and it’s a model citizen. My blue legs are the devil but the zebra hermit doesn’t mess with anymore. It routinely cleans the algea off the backs of snails and doesn’t even attempt to mess with them or flip them
 

ReefBeta

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I am going to the island of Kauai soon. Collection of marine life for home aquariums is legal, provided you comply with standard fishing regulations. No take of coral of any kind, no sand or live rock. Some species of oysters, clams and snails are explicitly forbidden and some crustaceans like spiny lobster have size limits. But my expectation is there will be many small inverts I can take.

I am there for 4 days and flying back to CA. Obviously collection closer to flying out is best. I'm thinking I could bring a small heater, maybe even a powerhead or airstone to keep them alive in a bucket of seawater. Bring some handwarmers, plastic bags, and buy a styrofoam box there.

Anyone have experience with this? There are tons of inverts there not commonly seen in the aquarium trade. Reef safety is a concern. Haven't found much about importation to CA, but I have flown with marine fish before and airport security at LAX didn't care. Any thoughts?

Read the FAQ from Hawaii Division of Aquatic Resources before you give me a hard time: https://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dar/fishing/faqs/
per the FAQ, you can even catch fish like yellow tangs, flame wrasses, as long as you don't sell it. You can use either nets with a stretched mesh of more than 2 inches, or “hand (scoop) net” less than 3 feet in total. Or just fish with hooks. They all sound pretty challenging way to catch a tang though lol.

Best way to transport them is to carry it with you onto the plane. Bag it like the fish store right before you leave for the plane. You won't need heater if you're not too cold in a t-shirt.
 

WheatToast

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Ghost25

Ghost25

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I have a single zebra and it’s a model citizen. My blue legs are the devil but the zebra hermit doesn’t mess with anymore. It routinely cleans the algea off the backs of snails and doesn’t even attempt to mess with them or flip them
Good to know. Calcinus laevimanus is the species of zebra hermit in the most common Hawaiian islands. Reef Cleaners sells Calcinus seurati, or at least that's what they claim. Yes, I had electric blue legs and they were murders with the snails.

per the FAQ, you can even catch fish like yellow tangs, flame wrasses, as long as you don't sell it. You can use either nets with a stretched mesh of more than 2 inches, or “hand (scoop) net” less than 3 feet in total. Or just fish with hooks. They all sound pretty challenging way to catch a tang though lol.

Best way to transport them is to carry it with you onto the plane. Bag it like the fish store right before you leave for the plane. You won't need heater if you're not too cold in a t-shirt.
That would be really cool if I had a large tank. But I have a 20 gallon, and pretty well stocked with fish. So no live fish, though I may spearfish. Didn't even think that I wouldn't need a heater, yeah the temp is 78-82F all day so if that holds it's not necessary. I probably should bring a powerhead though. You think 50/50 water/air in the bag to give enough oxygen?

I'm going freediving, and I routinely freedive 10m, and can do as deep as 25m so that should open up species not found in tidepools.

Definitely want some urchins, chitons, brittle stars, and snails. I figure most algae eaters are safe. I love crabs but I know some are not reef safe and can be hard to ID.
 

Chrisv.

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My one tip is to print out and highlight copies of the regulations. Expect a hard time. If you are within the law, you should be able to show it to the people who you will encounter.
Actually, I will harp on this point a little more: you should email the folks that regulate this and have a reply from an official that you print and have on hand to show.
 

ReefBeta

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Good to know. Calcinus laevimanus is the species of zebra hermit in the most common Hawaiian islands. Reef Cleaners sells Calcinus seurati, or at least that's what they claim. Yes, I had electric blue legs and they were murders with the snails.


That would be really cool if I had a large tank. But I have a 20 gallon, and pretty well stocked with fish. So no live fish, though I may spearfish. Didn't even think that I wouldn't need a heater, yeah the temp is 78-82F all day so if that holds it's not necessary. I probably should bring a powerhead though. You think 50/50 water/air in the bag to give enough oxygen?

I'm going freediving, and I routinely freedive 10m, and can do as deep as 25m so that should open up species not found in tidepools.

Definitely want some urchins, chitons, brittle stars, and snails. I figure most algae eaters are safe. I love crabs but I know some are not reef safe and can be hard to ID.
red pencil urchin is very cool. It's also rarely for sale on mainland too.
 
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Ghost25

Ghost25

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First day of diving/tidepooling and this is what I have. A few of the hermits, a cowrie, and a few tidepooling fish. I will return the fish to the ocean since they clearly like to hang out above the waterline.

I saw surprisingly few small inverts while diving. I saw several sea cucumbers, rock boring urchins, and several other large urchins. One small cone snail, an octopus, a pistol shrimp way too small to grab. I saw one brittle star but it got away, and a couple small crabs, but I was swarmed by fish that would divebomb and eat them as soon as I flipped a rock!

I'll go out again and see what I can get. My GoPro lost it's charge so no pictures from today's snorkeling.
 
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MrTPlush

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Been awhile since I flew out of Hawaii, but there was a special security line and scanner for live plants/animals. You better make sure you had any necessary license to take the specimens or you will have a really big problem on your hands in the airport and a really big fine.

Other than that, have a great time! I could be out in that Hawaiian water every day looking at the life.
 

Uriken

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I want to share my experience but this doesn't mean it will happen to you cause I think my "attitude" at the moment was part of why things went downhill. Anyways, I had a friend I worked with for many years here in northeast Ohio. One day he quits and moves to Hawaii (Kona) to live with his brother and hug trees. I keep in touch and got a bright idea to have him start gathering things for me from the ocean. He wouldn't cause it had nothing to do with green leaves. Yet one day I go out to visit. The entire trip I had in mind to get some cleanup crew type critters if possible. It took some looking and deeper water snorkeling but I found some nice hermit crabs, shrimp, and an assortment of snails. To the point,..when I got into LAX for the next flight home; they went through my bags and whoa! What is this sir? I like an idiot said, "What's it look like?". Anyways I got the riot act I couldn't take that and I could be fined. Blah blah. No "business" paper work on the stuff or permissions as to what it was. To this day I don't know if it was all legit or just an officer that wanted to error on the side of caution but it ended up wasting my time.
 

Tamberav

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My understanding is security is a lot more intense going into and out of Hawaii with live animals and not like flying say from MN to Arizona or some such.
 

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