Ron Reefman's Rock Flower experience

Discussion in 'Anemone & Clownfish Discussion' started by Ron Reefman, Jun 22, 2018.

  1. Ron Reefman

    Ron Reefman Lets Go Snorkeling! R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor

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    I've been in love with anemones even before I was started in this hobby about 15 years ago. I really got crazy about them when I started to collect some while snorkeling in the Florida Keys (with the proper license) about 12 years ago. I totally fell in love with the very colorful Rock Flower anemones when I first saw them at the VIP Reef (LFS in Miami) display at Reef-a-Palooza in Orlando, FL in 2014. But what drove me over the top was when 2 of my Rock Flower anemones got together and had babies about a year ago! These are the two parents.
    [​IMG]P9290013 by Ron Lindensmith, on Flickr
    [​IMG]P9290014 by Ron Lindensmith, on Flickr


    I never saw the spawning event or the actual birth of the babies. In fact it was my wife that discovered a bright orange "dot" on a rock and she asked me what it was? It was the first of about 8 or 10 babies we eventually found in the surrounding area.
    [​IMG]P9290007 by Ron Lindensmith, on Flickr
    [​IMG]P9290005 by Ron Lindensmith, on Flickr


    Over the next 8 months we watched them slowly grow. There are a variety of color variations but most were either mostly orange face & green or white tentacles like one parent or mostly all green which isn't like either parent.

    Then about 2 months ago we decided to sell our 120g DT and just keep the 50g cube. This was our original system.
    [​IMG]20170223_155902 by Ron Lindensmith, on Flick

    And this is the currently the setup of the 50g cube that we parted out of that system. It is a work in progress.
    [​IMG]20180622_143629 by Ron Lindensmith, on Flickr

    But as I was selling off a lot of coral from the 120g tank, I started finding a few more Rock Flowers growing in with big zoa populations. They can be very difficult to see, especially when the are even smaller than the zoas they are living with! Here is a pic of two that I saved by cutting a cube out of the bigger rock with a big zoa colony.
    [​IMG]20180622_143853_resized R1 by Ron Lindensmith, on Flickr

    I even saved a few others that weren't at the edge of the rock by using a small diamond edge glass cutting hole saw! The little cores of rock, nem and a few zoas fit nicely inside a1/2" PVC end cap.

    All that was good and I had about 15 to 18 Rock Flowers. They were all moved to the 50g cube and seemed to be doing just fine. The 120g tank, stand, sump and other hardware all sold to one buyer and was moved from our house. The surprise came when we discovered an entire new batch of tiny Rock Flowers now in the new tank! Most of them were in the area of the parents, but some had moved all over that tank. In total I now have about 35 Rock Flowers anemones, but most of them are still quite small. Here is a very small rock that was near the parents with about 8 or 9 Rock Flowers anemones on it. I pulled the rock and put it in a small glass cup to take this photo.
    [​IMG]20180622_144303 R1 by Ron Lindensmith, on Flickr

    Other babies are in the sand.
    [​IMG]20180622_143722_resized R1 by Ron Lindensmith, on Flickr

    And one even found its way up to the magnet at the back of the powerhead at the back of the tank!
    [​IMG]20180622_143728_resized R1 by Ron Lindensmith, on Flickr

    Here are a couple shots of the parents and some of their kids as of today.
    [​IMG]20180622_144452 R1 by Ron Lindensmith, on Flickr
    [​IMG]20180622_143642_resized by Ron Lindensmith, on Flickr

    I don't claim to be any kind of an expert when it comes to Rock Flower anemones. In fact I'd love to chat with anybody who know anything about them and share info. If anybody has any questions for me, I'm happy to try and answer them. And when I do, I'll be clear about what I know for a fact, what I've heard from others that I trust, and what I've heard or read from other less reliable sources.

    And if anybody has any questions about my collecting while snorkeling in the Florida Keys, I'll be happy to share that info as well. In fact we were just there and I brought back on Rock Flower anemone from the shallow waters (2' deep) which are much less colorful than the spectacular colored ones that I understand come from 30 to 50 feet deep. This is the one I collected in its original home off Vaca Key (the city of Marathon) at a tiny island less than 1/2 a mile out from the motel we say at!
    [​IMG]Rons rock flower anemone by Ron Lindensmith, on Flickr
     
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  2. Jet915

    Jet915 Active Member

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    Awesome, thanks for your post! Do you feed the babies or do they just grow on their own? I have about 21 RFAs in my display tank, I'm hoping to get some babies, my biggest worry is I have alot of predators (fish, shrimp etc...), not sure if they would eat babies if I ever got them.
     
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  3. dbl

    dbl It Takes Less Energy to be Nice Staff Member Team R2R R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Leader Partner Member 2019 Reef Tank 365 Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor Hospitality Award

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    Hey Ron...what a great write up and thanks for sharing it. Having seen Ron's systems in person, these pictures do not do them justice. It still amazes me this stuff happens in our living rooms.
     
  4. Rispa

    Rispa Valuable Member

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    Thank you for the write up! It was a very good read. It makes me want to get a couple more and see if I start discovering babies hehe
     
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  5. Ron Reefman

    Ron Reefman Lets Go Snorkeling! R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor

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    Hey, it's just me showing off! Happy to do it. With 21 RFA in your tank, I think if you keep them well fed you'll get babies sooner or later. My old 120g DT were I had the first batch of babies had a six line wrasse (and several other fish that are carnivores), two cleaner shrimp, several pistol shrimp (local collected), 2 sea cucumbers (different species and locally collected), RBTA. mini-maxi anemones, halloween hermit crabs, scarlet leg hermit crabs, flame scallops (locally collected), lots of serpent stars and brittle stars (locally collected). I have no idea how many babies were produced, but I got 10 to 15 that survived each time. I think you'll be OK. Two points; I think keeping them very well fed helps and when they do have babies, they can be VERY hard to find until they start to grow in size. As new born babies they were barely any bigger than the period at the end of this sentence. My wife noticed the first one only because it was a very bright orange dot on a dark purple rock!

    Thanks David. I'm looking forward to being a regular here at R2R even though my move from another forum comes just as I'm downsizing from 400g (4 tanks) to a single 50g cube. I still love the hobby. And like you said, having this kind of world in a glass box inside our house always amazes me. That's why I love snorkeling so much... it's as close as I'm going to get to seeing a really alien world. My tank reminds me a little of Pandora, the alien world in the movie Avatar. Especially in the evening when it's dark and the blue leds make everything fluoresce!

    I only had 3 when I had my first round of babies. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. I think I had OK conditions in my tanks and I kept the RFA's well fed (like once every week or two). I just used fish and coral foods mixed up in a beer mug with tank water, turned ALL the pumps off, and fed them with a turkey baster. They grab food pretty quickly and after 10 or 15 minutes I started the pumps back up. BTW, I delayed the start up of the skimmer as it would go crazy after feeding. I'd start the skimmer a couple of hours later. And I do use filter socks in my sump. This last tank didn't have a refugium, but the new sump that is going in the cube system will have a refugium.
     
  6. Jet915

    Jet915 Active Member

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    Great, there is hope! Im feeding mine about once a week directly (mysis).
     
  7. Ron Reefman

    Ron Reefman Lets Go Snorkeling! R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor

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    As I've said, I'm no expert, but I do have a fair amount of practical experience. And IMHO, if your water quality is good, and you feed like you are, once they get to full size, they'll propagate for you. Do you have the colorful RFA or the more plain, shallow water variety (which is all that was available before the colorful ones were discovered and made available).
     
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  8. Jet915

    Jet915 Active Member

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    I have mostly ultra rfas from a few different souces, heres a pic.

    20180518_191628.jpg
     
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  9. mfinn

    mfinn likes zoanthids R2R Supporter Photo of the Month Award Partner Member 2019 Build Thread Contributor

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    Nice tank.
    I've always loved the rock flower anemones.
    Are you target feeding them?
     
  10. Ron Reefman

    Ron Reefman Lets Go Snorkeling! R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor

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    Absolutely!

    As I understand it, most/all of the very colorful RFA come from deeper water. The guy I know who collects them says he is roughly 40' deep at his 'special' site for collecting RFA. And at that depth I don't think there is enough light for the zooxanthellae to do enough photosynthesis that the anemone can survive without some feeding. I watched mine get smaller and smaller over months until I started target feeding. It took some months, but my breeding pair are about 3+" in diameter now. At the same time I have RBTA's and mini-maxi anemones that I don't target feed and they do just fine in my tank. I typically feed heavy one day and very light or not at all the next day or two. I target feed the RFA about once a week, sometimes more and sometimes less depending on how much time I have.

    At the same time I have a RFA that I collected in just 2' of water. It's MUCH less colorful, but still a cool animal. My theory is that because it comes from shallow water it gets WAY more PAR (sunlight) and therefore has zooxanthellae that do enough photosynthesis that it doesn't need to be target fed much if at all.

    My theory may or may not be correct. I've looked all over for info to confirm or refute my theory, but there is precious little info of any kind about RFA's (shallow dwellers or deep water)! But over the past 2+ years all my experiences have tended to agree with what I think is right. If anybody has any links or good scientific data either way, I'd love to see it!
     
  11. Ron Reefman

    Ron Reefman Lets Go Snorkeling! R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor

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    That's a very nice collection! What kind of light do you have and do you know the PAR at the depth where the RFA are? You have a couple of pretty good sized ones so I'd say you could see babies in the not too distant future.
     
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  12. mfinn

    mfinn likes zoanthids R2R Supporter Photo of the Month Award Partner Member 2019 Build Thread Contributor

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    Awesome information.
    What are you feeding them?
     
  13. tankstudy

    tankstudy Valuable Member

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    My original breeders consist of just the colorful RFA's but in their spawns, I have highly colorful individuals and a large number of not very colorful individuals, very little fluorescence, if any.

    I've witnessed the release of their brooded offspring many times and the color of the RFA is identifiable on the very first day. Some articles say that color develops later on but from what I have seen, the oral disk color is pretty much the same as what you see on the first day. I've not seen color change in the colorless ones.

    I'm a big fan of RFA's too. For their price range, their colors, size and hardiness are pretty unbeatable.
     
  14. Ron Reefman

    Ron Reefman Lets Go Snorkeling! R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor

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    I feed a huge variety of foods. I use a big, oversized beer mug and add 3 or 4 turkey basters full of tank water. Then I add in whatever food I feel like I haven't used recently. I have several different frozen foods, Reef Nutrition liquid food, flake food, some dried coral food, freeze dried food and even some fresh caught live food (an advantage of living in SW Florida near the Gulf of Mexico). I also add some vitamins or other nutritional additives. Occasionally I'll add some Ascorbic Acid (vitamin C).

    I know it's a crazy mix. But our local club does a big Reef Conference and we get lots of donations for a huge raffle. Some of the donations are foods and it seems not many people want them. So I put tickets for them and I win a lot. I haven't bought anything but some live food in several years! Tickets for the raffle are $1/each, but the best deal is 150 tickets for $100. That's what I buy. Every year for the last 4 or 5 years I've come home with $300 to over $400 worth of stuff (at online prices).

    Very interesting! Are you saying you already had both types of RFA's before you had a breeding event? And maybe a not so colorful RFA spawned and the colorful RFA took it in and therefore you got a mix of RFA's?

    My two were both colorful and fluoresced well. And we found the babies because under the blue leds even the babies fluoresed like bright little dots on some dark rocks and in the sand. I have several babies that are rainbow of green tentacles with yellow and orange faces. I have one very small one that I think is just going to be an all yellow face with green tentacles. And I agree with you that the colors are there at birth.

    So tankstudy, do you target feed yours? Any other info you'd like to share? Here's a crazy thought, maybe we should swap a kid or two in order to improve the DNA mix?
     
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  15. Jet915

    Jet915 Active Member

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    Unfortunatley i dont have a par meter but im running an LED and T5 retrofit combo.
     
  16. tankstudy

    tankstudy Valuable Member

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    I have just colorful RFA's but their cross produces many that are very plain or drab l0oking. One of my largest females produces a 7:3 ratio of colorful to colorless. This makes me think that colorful ones were at one point from colorless individuals, similar to how goldfish and koi were originally bred from carp. Although, somehow, in the wild, colorful individuals may have a survival advantage.

    Once every 1-2 weeks. If you overfeed them, they just spit it all out. Use to feed very large portions but they always spat it out.

    It would be a good idea once I start breeding the 1st & 2nd generation, however, it maybe a few years lol at rate these creatures grow.
     
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  17. Ron Reefman

    Ron Reefman Lets Go Snorkeling! R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor

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    Good leds and t5 combos should be way more than enough good light. I'm currently running just a Reef Breeders Photon V2. I'm thinking of adding a second one, not that I need the extra light. I run this single fixture at only about 60% and get 175 PAR at 20" deep. But I'd like to have two so I can run the one in back more blue than the one in front. It gives the tank an extra look of depth, like it's 36" front to back instead of just 24". The second fixture would also work as a backup should one of them ever fail... I always like having a spare or a backup.

    Curious that your offspring are a mix of colorful and plain. So far, all 30+ babies that I have found have been very colorful and the all fluoresce like the parents.
    So how many babies did you get? Since I didn't see either of my spawning events I can't say for sure. I've had 2 events and on average about 15 babies. But it's possible some were lost to wavemakers, predators (wrasse, serpent stars, sea cucumbers, crabs...). So I have no idea what a typical or average number of offspring per event is.
     
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  18. tankstudy

    tankstudy Valuable Member

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    My large 4" female produces around 70-100 off spring. My smaller females around 3" to 2" produce about 30-40.

    The number of offspring seems to depend on how much sperm there is. If I catch an event happening and fertilize the females directly with sperm from the males, I produce very high numbers while if I hope for sperm and egg to meet, I get much lower yields.
     
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  19. Ron Reefman

    Ron Reefman Lets Go Snorkeling! R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award Reef Squad Build Thread Contributor Article Contributor

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    Wow! That's a huge number compared to my experience. I'd go crazy for 50+ babies. Do most of yours survive? Do you get any advance notice of either the release of sperm or the release of the babies? Do the anemones look different? Is it during the full moon? Is more likely at night than during the day? Or do you spend way too much time looking at your tank so you end up seeing everything? LOL! Just kidding. But any help with this would be most useful. Thanks in advance.

    Ron
     
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  20. hart24601

    hart24601 Valuable Member R2R Supporter R2R Excellence Award

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    I have several RFA in my 3g pico reef and have noticed quite a few babies as well! It's pretty awesome to see them.
     
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