While visiting fish stores during my travels, I'm always looking for that special something. This anemone's huge bubbles was just the thing that day. And these clowns loved their home... who could blame them? That BTA is awesome, the striations mesmerizing!
While tabling corals are my passion, I don't proactively seek them out for my reef. This one was added to my 280g reef and grew out slowly but man was it amazing. The best view of course was from above. It didn't survive the period of time it took for me to set up the next reef tank when the 280g leaked, so pictures will be the only way to appreciate it forever. I need to get a few more like this acropora. :)
I purchased a coral that looked like an oversized ricordea, but was told it was a bubble coral. The best description I'd ever come close with was a 'pearl bubble coral' and it was grew nicely in my 280g for several years. Eventually it perished and I've never seen another one like it. The pinks and greens looked painted upon the inflated pearls, mesmerizing me often.
I had to park this picture here as one of those times you know you'll likely not re-live later. Holding a massive colony before it has a chance to break up into smaller chunks was a fun time. Plus it puts into perspective the size of the colonies that had grown in my 400g reef over a 3.5 year period.
This coral was commonly called the Scripps acro, purportedly because it came from the Scripps Institute. Apparently they had a reef tank at some point in the past. I really enjoyed how this SPS grew, creating a thicket or forest like area along the back of the 280g's rockwork. The bright green sticks were especially nice to see in the dusk blue period.
When you see clownfish eggs, usually they are brightly colored the first 24 hours. Mine have been vivid orange, and then they turn brown for the next week or so. When they appear silvery like this one, that's because all those eyes are looking at you, and they are about to hatch in the next 24-48 hours.
The Colt Coral is the very first one I ever purchased. It's in the leather family, growing talk stalk-like appendages that sway in the current. It was a fast grower, requiring me to trim it often.
This beautiful acropora was in a friend's reef in Austin, Texas. The nickname must have come from the color of this SPS's skin.
This comical looking fish is a fun addition to any tank, and even I couldn't resist its charms when it posed for my lens. Lawnmower Blennies do eat algae, but I've watched this fish swim up and try to take a chomp of Spock, literally trying to latch onto her body as if there was algae to consume. Of course, Spock was furious, turned hard and fast sending the blenny into a hasty retreat. She'd pace the tank a couple of times, basically muttering to herself "As if I was a moss-covered wall... tsk!"
The 199g sump is the biggest sump I've constructed thus far. Water enters the rear left corner, flows to the right, then to the front and finally back to the left end where the return zone exits to an external pump. This raceway method prevents microbubbles, although with a 14' travel time there shouldn't be any. The equipment sits on acrylic shelving to keep it clean. The refugium zone allows for a DSB, and the live rock zone in the front can be used for additional natural filtration.
These fish aren't hard to breed, and some hobbyists discover tiny fry in surprising places like deep inside their sump hidden from view. Considered at risk and now protected in the wild, captive bred Banggai fish would be the better choice for aquarists to purchase from their local stores or breeders.
Early 2012, I built this box for new fish introductions and named it The Peacemaker. As new fish were introduced via this box floating in the main display, the regulars could see the newcomers without being able to attack them. Everyone could see each other, but aggression levels were eliminated. After three days, the fish are released into the reef without concern.
The only clam I purchase are Tridacna maxima because of their vivid coloration and the shape of their shell. I prefer maximas over all the other clam offered. ORA has a great selection, for example.
The Crayola acropora grew in my 280g like a weed. As soon as I had a palm-sized piece, I placed it upon the one beneath it creating a stair-step look that was impossible to overlook. The nickname came from the variety of colors seen when studying this species closely.
The structure of the A. secale coral indicates it likes high flow and can totally take it. I've purchased this species a couple of times, and will do so again in the future.
This particular picture will always be one of pride for me. I'd gotten a new camera, shot this moment in time, and love how it captured the essence of my full-blown reef. This tank was the definition of mature, probably somewhere around the 4 year mark.
It's funny about Chalice corals. People often referred to the mouths as eyes. When you bought a coral, they'd say it comes with "x amount of eyes" when really they should have said "x amount of mouths" on that frag. As mine grew out, I was constantly amazed at how beautiful the skin of chalice corals was, and my nose would virtually be pressed up against the glass to take it all in. Here are three mesmerizing pieces I grew out.
This LPS has big giant polyps, each one with a mouth at the center. The Lobophyllia coral clearly belongs in the Large Polyped Stony family.
These zoanthids are but a few of the hundreds of types we see these days. I like them, but don't collect them like others.
Did you know Favias have feeder tentacles to capture prey? Here's a shot of some of them opening up during the daylight period. Usually you'll see this more at night, or around feeding time if you are doing so on schedule every day to where the coral anticipates the meal by internal clockwork.
Acropora is the species most hobbyists wish to attain to, and with enough experience, time and money, they will eventually have them in their reef. A decade ago you could purchase a small colony and put it in your tank. Of course frags existed back then as well, and we grew ours out from frags because it was fun to observe and usually cheaper. They grow in different ways, some like a bush, others like a table, and others extending branches. Here are three that grew in my reef.
The Coco Worm is one fancy featherduster. It's tube is a calcified shell that the worm retreats within when spooked, and that colorful crown is what it uses to trap foods. I saw this during a tank tour in Dallas.
When the flow was off in my 280g, the BTA tentacles stretched out in every direction. I still have these bubble tips in my 60g Anemone Cube, all these years later. And those are my original clowns. The bigger one lived for 12.5 years, dying suddenly under mysterious circumstances. I still miss that A. percula.
Before the days of "Walt Disney" acros, there was a species called Acropora tenuis. I still think the WD coral is another A. tenuis, just with vivid coloration like Disney would demand.
This is an Orange Ball Anemone, supersized with a macro lens. Usually they are about 3/8" in diameter from tip to tip. This was a bigger one, maybe 3/4" in diameter. I have them throughout all my tanks, and they are opportunistic filter feeders. I think they are quite pretty, and study the rockwork after lights out with a flashlight to find these little guys wide open. During the daytime I hardly see any.
Bubble Tip Anemones are so pretty, especially when it's on display like this one. I spotted this Rose BTA in a hobbyist's reef in Austin during one of my trips.
These fat corals are Dendros, or Dendrophyllia to be exact. And they look incredible with a macro lens. Open during the day time, they are hungry looking for food while absorbing some photosynthetic magic as well. Look at the texture of each tentacle.
While visiting a LFS, I saw this and had to capture it. This is a skunk cleaner shrimp on a fan gorgonian.
The first clam I ever purchased was a blue Tridacna maxima, and it continues to be my preferred species of clams to keep. I'm sure I'll be getting more in 2017.
Lionfish always have a majestic presence, but in recent years their proliferation in non-native waters has put them on the undesirables list. It's a predator, eating anything that fits its ravenous jaws.
I spotted this coral during one of my tank tours, and captured this image. Later I had it printed and framed, and it still hangs on the wall when you enter my home. this is an Acanthastrea echinata.
Such a great looking coral, but no-one that got a frag from me kept it alive. Eventually I lost it as well.
The 280g reef ran for almost exactly 6 years. It was my favorite because it did so well and in general filled me with pride. Looking forward to saying the same about my 400g one day.
This gem of a coral seemed to hold its own in the midst of all those lovely zoanthids, making for a wonderful shot.