• For a Limited Time the R2R Partner Membership is NOW OPEN! Get some cool swag and chances to win part of over $20,000 in prizes! Click here for more details

Snorkeling & Collecting Discussion Group

OP
Ron Reefman

Ron Reefman

Lets Go Snorkeling!
View Badges
Joined
Aug 12, 2012
Messages
6,696
Reaction score
15,752
Location
SW Florida
The last of my collection pics include a couple of small clams. I've found them good survivors in my tank and as filter feeders, they are useful for cleaning the water.

20200822_130806.jpg

I already have some zoas from the Keys, but I brought this small group home for the RFA breeding tank, just to have a little something different in there.

20200822_130855.jpg

I assume that this is a sponge, but I wasn't too sure when I collected it. I had not seen anything quite like it in the areas we snorkel frequently. We'll see how well it does now that it's in the 90g DT.

20200822_134116.jpg

So that's the end of this Keys trip. I have lots of clean up crew now. Yesterday I counted no less than 50 critters working on the glass of the 90g DT!

Somebody asked me about the value of what I collected. To be honest, I never really gave that a lot of thought because most of what I collect are inexpensive critters. I almost never collect fish because they are much more difficult and require time and patience. But since we had a good trip this time, I felt it might be fun to see what the value was.

I haven't bought snails or any of the other things we (I) collect for a long time, and I was surprised to see ordinary Astraea snails selling for $2.99 at Live Aquaria. Or a decorator crab selling for $35.00... YIKES! So I totaled up all that I had and used Live Aquaria prices since they had 90+% of what I had. The total shocked me. The ones I found prices for added up to $450 and after looking around to find prices on less common things like Chitons, Limpets, clams as well as guesstimating a price for the ordinary zoas and the total rose close to $550.

Now that was a big 4 day's worth of collecting. I don't normally bring home nearly as many critters. We are limited to just 20 critters per day per person, and we normally only collect the 2 days we snorkel. This was an unusual trip since we got out 4 days. And had 4 days of great weather.

On the other hand, if I had been a licensed wholesale collector I could easily have collected 20 times that I did, probably even more.

Until the next trip, I hope you all enjoyed this recounting of our great week! And as always, I'm happy to answer any questions you may have (if I can)!
 
OP
Ron Reefman

Ron Reefman

Lets Go Snorkeling!
View Badges
Joined
Aug 12, 2012
Messages
6,696
Reaction score
15,752
Location
SW Florida
Have y’all seen the videos of invasive lionfish in Florida being hunted by pistols?! It’s crazy
No. Have a link?
A. I really see a lionfish and when I do, they are kind of deep... or at least toward the bottom in shallow water.
B. I didn't think the bullet from a pistol (or most any gun) penetrates the water very far at all.
 
OP
Ron Reefman

Ron Reefman

Lets Go Snorkeling!
View Badges
Joined
Aug 12, 2012
Messages
6,696
Reaction score
15,752
Location
SW Florida
I've never seen anybody ever have a gun that will fire underwater! That's crazy.

But as close as he was getting, why not use a spear gun, collect the fish, clean them and eat them?
 
Top Shelf Aquatics
OP
Ron Reefman

Ron Reefman

Lets Go Snorkeling!
View Badges
Joined
Aug 12, 2012
Messages
6,696
Reaction score
15,752
Location
SW Florida
This morning my wife and I are going to Bunch Beach in Ft Myers. For those who are at all familiar with the area, it's about a mile before you get to the Sanibel Causeway (the bridges and islands that get you out to Sanibel Island. It's a beach with hard pack sand some areas closer to the estuary with silty sand and more sea grasses.

We drag nets (I use a thin pool net with a plastic edge) through the grass and collect a couple kinds of shrimp, small mollusks, the odd tiny fish and occasionally some other critters. In the past we have caught dwarf sea horses, but they require a very different tank set up to survive in captivity.

I'll post up what we saw and collected when we get back. At the very least, it should be a good day at the beach and wading through shallow water.
 

Everything Aquatics

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Jun 20, 2020
Messages
604
Reaction score
565
Location
Massachusetts
Wait, what? What info posted here explains tropical fish being as far north as Massachusetts? I'm not surprised to hear that they may get that far north with warming water and the Gulf Stream, but was that discussed in this thread?
I caught a trigger fish in my lobster trap in north shore mass DF48968B-363B-4752-9BF5-AB23A6E9FC5F.jpeg
 
OP
Ron Reefman

Ron Reefman

Lets Go Snorkeling!
View Badges
Joined
Aug 12, 2012
Messages
6,696
Reaction score
15,752
Location
SW Florida
A day at Bunche Beach, Ft Myers, Florida. This is maybe 15 miles from our house by car, but only 4 miles as the crow flies! Since we are just after a full moon, early this morning was a pretty low, low tide. The water off the beach doesn't get very deep until you get out 200 to 300 yards. At low tide we had big areas of silt/sand bottom exposed. Even at a 'normal' low tide almost all the sand you see here would be under at least 6" of water. The bridge in the background is part of the causeway that goes out to Sanibel.

P1010331.JPG

I'm getting too old (or too lazy) to carry a bucket with water around to keep my collection in, so we came up with this. It works, but now I think I'm going to build my own that will be even better.

P1010309.JPG

We went to an area we hadn't been in a long time. Once upon a time I tried to keep dwarf sea horses. They really need a tank of their own, they need to be over fed and you need to do a lot of water changes... like every 2 to 3 days. But we did find a dwarf sea horse. This one is full size!

r1.jpg

Elaine caught me working some really shallow water full of a fine sea grass. I came up with dozens of stomatella snails with almost every drag of the net.

P1010337.JPG

One of the common members at the top of the food change (for those living in the water) is the Crown Conch. They get about as big as a Fighting Conch, but these are carnivores. So we don't bother with them.
This one is about half the size of a full grown one.

P1010342.JPG

Then Elaine took a photo of one under water... which was about 6" deep! ;Hilarious;Hilarious;Hilarious Notice the snout sticking out the front (looks like a tiny elephant trunk!

P1010471 R1.jpg

Here is a full size Crown Conch shell (notice the spikes that make up the 'crown'. But there is a monster living inside! Make this guy 6 feet tall and put him in a science fiction horror movie!

P1010496 R1.jpg

We always see lots of tube worm cases around. But I can honestly say, this is the very first one either of us has seen with the worm making itself visible! It's 2" to 3" in diameter.
EDIT: After further investigation, we now believe this is actually a tube anemone and not a tube worm. As stated, we see lots of empty tubes in the shallow water, but never one with the worm exposed. But we have never seen a tube anemone other than in photos and in aquariums.

P1010455 R1.jpg

Elaine is a semi-serious birder and loves to paint them. So she was able to get pretty close to this Great Blue Heron. I think some variation of this photo will soon be a painting!

P1010405.JPG

And I borrowed the camera so I could take a shot of Elaine, so you can see who takes most of the photos I use here.

P1010477.JPG

All the snails and shrimp are in a 5g holding tank for over night. Tomorrow I'll take some photos, move some of them to the 90g DT and then do one more post here.
 
Last edited:
OP
Ron Reefman

Ron Reefman

Lets Go Snorkeling!
View Badges
Joined
Aug 12, 2012
Messages
6,696
Reaction score
15,752
Location
SW Florida
I hate to admit it, but I must have spent 3 or 4 hours yesterday sorting out the animals we brought home from the estuary/beach the day before. It was very labor intensive. And I'm not done. There are some VERY small snails still in the holding tank and many of them are tiny Ceriths, and I'd like to try and save them as well. But that sorting will require a magnifying glass and a pair of tweezers!

There were a lot of Stomatella Snails which are good little algae eaters, and they stay small. But mixed in were a lot of young Crown Conch that were about the same size as the Stomatella. And they are carnivores, not reef safe and grow to about 5". The same size as a fighting conch. There were a variety of other critters in the mix as well.

This represents about 25% of the Stomatellas.

20200905_095830.jpg

There were also 2 kinds of shrimp. Some tiny thin ones you can see in the container in the photo above. The others are grass shrimp. If I collect a lot of them, I'll put them in a Ziplock bag and freeze them to use as fish food later. But I didn't get as many, maybe a dozen, and all but a couple were quite small. So I just put them in the 90g DT.

20200905_090705.jpg

I was a bit surprised to find a number of very small sea hares that ranged from 1" to 2" in size. Several went into the 90g DT and a couple of the smallest went into the 16g RFA breeding tank.

20200905_095844.jpg

I did happen to get a couple of tiny fish that I can't ID yet. But I put them in the RFA tank. In part for the fun of the anemones and in part because if the survive and get big enough to be a problem, they will be easy to catch as there are no rocks in that tank.

20200905_182252.jpg 20200905_090024.jpg

Also collected were a huge number of very, VERY small snails that are difficult to ID with the unaided eye. Most of them just look like black dots on the glass of the holding tank! The few bigger ones are Stomatella, The tiny ones are a mix of Stomatella, Crown Conch. Ceriths and some bubble snails.

20200905_202209.jpg

20200905_202203.jpg

Here is a really close in macro shot. It looks like most of these are Ceriths and I'd really like to sort them out and move them to the DT. But it's going to be a time consuming and detail oriented job.

20200905_175451.jpg

I also brought home a couple of medium size Mangrove propagules. They were all over the shallows laying on the sand or in the grasses. I must have picked up close to 25 of them and stuck them into the sand. Maybe, just maybe (5% chance) some will take root and grow. Most of them were in the open shallow water. But I did a handful behind and between 2 big flat rocks that we visit almost every time we go to this site. My hope is the rocks will help protect the propagules from waves during windy weather. If any make it, I'll report back after our next visit!
 

Mattiejay6

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Aug 19, 2013
Messages
1,017
Reaction score
259
Location
Fredericksburg
I am slowly working my way through this thread and absolutely love it! My family and I are talking about coming down and stay in Key west for a few days for some snorkeling and beach time! Does anyone have any recommendations for Airbnb or a good central spot? And close by snorkeling?
 

SMSREEF

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
May 27, 2016
Messages
1,364
Reaction score
2,693
Location
Miami
Back from the sea grass beds. Found some more cool macroalgae.
Caught 3 ninja snails, some ceriths, couple hermits and a decorator crab.
not sure if all the others snails are safe... Everything is going into quarantine tank for now. I hope I didn’t get any snail/clam eating snails. C2736E2E-798E-4DA7-A148-D8A332C25DBE.jpeg
 

SMSREEF

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
May 27, 2016
Messages
1,364
Reaction score
2,693
Location
Miami
I am slowly working my way through this thread and absolutely love it! My family and I are talking about coming down and stay in Key west for a few days for some snorkeling and beach time! Does anyone have any recommendations for Airbnb or a good central spot? And close by snorkeling?
Are you driving down?

If your kids are young and you just want beach time you may stay further north.
Key west has a lot to do and is awesome if you want to walk around and go to restaurants, shops, rent bikes, mopeds, etc.

But it’s a little more pricey than the keys a little further north.

If I was going for only snorkel and diving, I would go somewhere around Marathon or lower.

If I wanted to have fun out of the water I would definitely choose Key West.

One of my favorite places is Bahia Honda State Park. But I don’t think you can collect here. Just a good place to have a beach day and snorkel. 36850 Overseas Highway Big Pine Key FL 33043

anywhere you stay (if it is on the east side of islands and open to ocean) you will be able to snorkel out of your hotel and see some really cool things in the seagrass beds.
 
Top Shelf Aquatics
OP
Ron Reefman

Ron Reefman

Lets Go Snorkeling!
View Badges
Joined
Aug 12, 2012
Messages
6,696
Reaction score
15,752
Location
SW Florida
Does anyone know what this is?
It has a hard shell. Caught in Miami grass bed. DC04A162-EC67-4546-835C-C0D0820F6C24.jpeg
Looks like an olive snail.
I believe it's a type of Stomatella Snail (rather than an Olive). It's small and stays small. It's an algae eater. See the first photo in post #570 above. I collected a lot and added them to both my DT and my RFA breeding tank.

stomatella snail.jpg
 

SMSREEF

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
May 27, 2016
Messages
1,364
Reaction score
2,693
Location
Miami
Looks like an olive snail.

20200907_200643.jpg
Thanks @fishybizzness That seems really close, shell is exact same color. But mine is not quite as long (the pic I posted makes it look longer because of the body).
I believe it's a type of Stomatella Snail (rather than an Olive). It's small and stays small. It's an algae eater.
Thanks @Ron Reefman its very similar to stomatella but shell is a little different. I turned it over to get a better look.
0BD56BEF-29C6-49DF-AC25-1C70C9B71413.jpeg
DA1E847E-FADA-416F-90AA-95485AEC80C9.png
I googled all day and think it may be this one, but still not certain. this is my best guess so far: bubble snail.
4CAAE119-A4BA-42D6-BCA4-BB494493A4D3.jpeg
I hope it is because it’s reef safe and eats algae like stomatella. But, it’s nocturnal so I’m not gonna see it which is a bummer.
 
OP
Ron Reefman

Ron Reefman

Lets Go Snorkeling!
View Badges
Joined
Aug 12, 2012
Messages
6,696
Reaction score
15,752
Location
SW Florida
Yup! That's it. I got some of those at Bunche Beach as well. I'd guess my count was 25 stomatella to 1 bubble snail. They are good algae eaters as well.

Good job!
 

SMSREEF

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
May 27, 2016
Messages
1,364
Reaction score
2,693
Location
Miami
Yup! That's it. I got some of those at Bunche Beach as well. I'd guess my count was 25 stomatella to 1 bubble snail. They are good algae eaters as well.

Good job!
Thanks Ron!
I had a blast out there and am so happy with my catch.

I did a kinda fun thing to attract fish. I picked up a couple clam shells and started clicking them together. It attracted some small grunts and larger snappers. They were just watching so intently and checking out what the sound was. Also following me to see what I stirred up in the grass bed.

I think next time I'm gonna wear gloves though. I was afraid every time I sunk my fingers into the sand to get one off the macroalgae that I was gonna get stung by a bristle worm or something.:oops:

My goal is to catch a mini seahorse or two. Where do they usually hang out?
 

Have you ever used a spoon, hose and rubber band together to remove algae?

  • YES

    Votes: 9 3.8%
  • NO

    Votes: 119 50.0%
  • What the heck? (see the thread)

    Votes: 110 46.2%

Online statistics

Members online
2,332
Guests online
4,684
Total visitors
7,016
Top