Thoughts on Microfauna From a Noob

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andiesreef

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Hello everyone, hope you're all having a great day. I was inspired to write this post because I was doing some maintenance on my 4 month old 20g long. I've been researching marine tanks since about November 2020 and after having one up for a few months I have seen my tank begin to mature. Coralline algae has begun to spread, my filter pads are crawling with pods, spots of algae have begun to appear in the sandbed, and today I found that my HOB filter was filled with tiny feather dusters. I'm so thrilled with that last discovery. Now, I know dusters can be a sign that there is a sufficient amount of particulate matter in the water, but I do feed my corals so I assume that is why they are there. But to the point.

I have loved the ocean all my life. Seeing the dusters reminded me of my dives off the Florida Keys. I ran my hand over a massive boulder-sized porites colony filled with Bisma worms and watched them retract as I blocked the light. I have been having a hard time with fish and corals lately, but I remembered that from a tank of acrylic and some plastic filter and heater parts, I have created an ecosystem. We as reefers are so lucky to bear witness to a little slice of the sea in our own homes, much like little versions of the reef ecosystem I saw in the Keys. I tend to forget about little things like pods and dusters, but they're part of the backbone of the system. They're little biological indicators that a tank is probably doing well and can support life. And we get a chance to create that ourselves. Sponges, worms, starfish, algae, snails, and so much more really complete our systems.

I've gone from being terrified of every new thing in my system to seeing it as interesting, even if I do end up needing to remove it. Even pests like Aiptasia and nudis are just trying to survive; they were born to compete with corals and live in a harsh ocean. Algae also exists everywhere in the sea - or else, how would herbivorous animals like tangs, urchins, etc. survive? Even the pests have their place in the ecosystem.I think that's one of the major ways I've changed as a reefer since I first set up the system. I am so excited to learn more in this hobby. So whether you're a noob like me or a veteran reefer: what are your favorite parts of the hobby? And are you in awe of every little thing in your system(s) like I am? Or is that just me? o_O

Bispira_brunnea_%28Social_Feather_Duster_Worm%29.jpg

Here are some worms similar to what I found in my filter - I believe they are social feather dusters (Bispira brunnea for all you taxonomy nerds).​
 

Dan_P

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Hello everyone, hope you're all having a great day. I was inspired to write this post because I was doing some maintenance on my 4 month old 20g long. I've been researching marine tanks since about November 2020 and after having one up for a few months I have seen my tank begin to mature. Coralline algae has begun to spread, my filter pads are crawling with pods, spots of algae have begun to appear in the sandbed, and today I found that my HOB filter was filled with tiny feather dusters. I'm so thrilled with that last discovery. Now, I know dusters can be a sign that there is a sufficient amount of particulate matter in the water, but I do feed my corals so I assume that is why they are there. But to the point.

I have loved the ocean all my life. Seeing the dusters reminded me of my dives off the Florida Keys. I ran my hand over a massive boulder-sized porites colony filled with Bisma worms and watched them retract as I blocked the light. I have been having a hard time with fish and corals lately, but I remembered that from a tank of acrylic and some plastic filter and heater parts, I have created an ecosystem. We as reefers are so lucky to bear witness to a little slice of the sea in our own homes, much like little versions of the reef ecosystem I saw in the Keys. I tend to forget about little things like pods and dusters, but they're part of the backbone of the system. They're little biological indicators that a tank is probably doing well and can support life. And we get a chance to create that ourselves. Sponges, worms, starfish, algae, snails, and so much more really complete our systems.

I've gone from being terrified of every new thing in my system to seeing it as interesting, even if I do end up needing to remove it. Even pests like Aiptasia and nudis are just trying to survive; they were born to compete with corals and live in a harsh ocean. Algae also exists everywhere in the sea - or else, how would herbivorous animals like tangs, urchins, etc. survive? Even the pests have their place in the ecosystem.I think that's one of the major ways I've changed as a reefer since I first set up the system. I am so excited to learn more in this hobby. So whether you're a noob like me or a veteran reefer: what are your favorite parts of the hobby? And are you in awe of every little thing in your system(s) like I am? Or is that just me? o_O

Bispira_brunnea_%28Social_Feather_Duster_Worm%29.jpg

Here are some worms similar to what I found in my filter - I believe they are social feather dusters (Bispira brunnea for all you taxonomy nerds).​
Sounds like you are going to enjoy this hobby for years to come. The discoveries will not stop until you quit looking. I am the same way. Get a microscope and the marine universe will open up even further.
 
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andiesreef

andiesreef

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Sounds like you are going to enjoy this hobby for years to come. The discoveries will not stop until you quit looking. I am the same way. Get a microscope and the marine universe will open up even further.
I have a feeling I'll enjoy it a lot too. I've loved the ocean my entire life and remember making up my own scripts for "ocean documentaries" as a little kid! And I believe I've got a cheap microscope around somewhere from one of those kid's science kits. I've looked at snail eggs and such from freshwater tanks under it and they are really cool to see up close.
 

Dan_P

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I have a feeling I'll enjoy it a lot too. I've loved the ocean my entire life and remember making up my own scripts for "ocean documentaries" as a little kid! And I believe I've got a cheap microscope around somewhere from one of those kid's science kits. I've looked at snail eggs and such from freshwater tanks under it and they are really cool to see up close.
I found a saltwater aquarium to house many more organisms than a freshwater system. The creatures also seem more alien.
 
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andiesreef

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I found a saltwater aquarium to house many more organisms than a freshwater system. The creatures also seem more alien.
Absolutely! There is so much more to discover, so many creatures to research, and so many different approaches to every aspect of the hobby. Every time a question is answered, 3 more pop up.
 
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