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Old 09/21/2006, 09:56 PM   #1
piercho
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Lightbulb Invertebrates for no/little rock, sandbed tanks.

I'm starting this thread as a diversion while I gather gear for tank2 and try to keep tank1 running until then....

What large invertebrates do well in sandbed tanks gets asked occassionally. I thought I'd share what invertebrates have done well for me on sand and hope other lagoonal/sandflat/grass tank keepers will chime in. I've kept most of these invertebrates for over 4 years and consider them all appropriate for seagrass tanks - and easier to keep than seagrass.

IMO, all the invertebrates I will post should do well in fairly simple setups. In all cases the nitrogen cycle should have stabilized before you introduce these with no detectable ammonium or nitrite. In most cases pH should stay within 8.0-8.4 through the day. In some cases alkalinity and calcium should be buffered routinely (daily) by addition of ballanced additives like limewater (kalkwasser for you Germans), 2-part buffer, or similar.

I start off with Tridacnid clams.


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Old 09/21/2006, 10:05 PM   #2
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I'll add Macrodactyla Doreensis, ( LTA, corkscrew anemone ). My favorite.


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Current Tank Info: 100 gal lagoon/seagrass, 100 gal sump, Lifereef 72" skimmer, 180 inwall, 125 inwall seagrass/lagoon in progress
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Old 09/21/2006, 10:13 PM   #3
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Tridacna, "Giant" clams.

Tridacna clams.
Illumination: moderately high to very high.
Flow: low to moderate, some specie tolerant of high flow.
Buffering: total alkalinity and Ca++ buffered to near, or above, NSW levels.
pH stability: sensitive to rapid pH swings, but can recover. Generally, should be kept in aquaria with enough gas exchange to have stable pH levels.
Nutrients: Per D. Knopp, tolerate low levels of elevated nitrates, and may survive better with detectable nitrates (5 ppm or less) in the tank.
Feeding requirements: Newly introduced, small (<2.5”), or weakened clams may benefit from live phytoplankton or suspended yeast.
Tank benefits: Tridacna filter POM and absorb DOM, and generally improve water quality while placing very little bioload on the system – unless you feed your clam.
Tank considerations: clam spawning could cause a tank crash due to O2 depletion. Addition of phytoplankton or yeast can place a high nutrient load on the system.
Recommended resources: “Giant Clams” by Daniel Knopp.
Comments: Tridacna have a reputation for being hard to keep which is undeserved, IMO. IME, clams purchased from a quality vendor are durable, much more so than many fish and coral. There are various recommendations for keeping clams on sandbeds. My advice is to place a rubble pile of shell and coral fragments where you intend the clam to go when you construct the sandbed. The rubble pile gives the clam something to attach to, and is solid enough to help keep it from sinking into the bed as much as it would if placed on fine sand.
There is a lot more that you should know about Tridacna before trying them, with several hobby resources on line and in print. I recommend Knopp’s “Giant Clams” as a resource, and recommend you read it before getting a Tridacna clam. If I had to recommend any specific clam, I would recommend farmed Marshall island T. squamosa.
My 4-year-old Marshall Island T. squamosa
My 4-year old T. maxima. The maxima attached to a large horse clam shell, and then the horse clam shell was placed on the sandbed.


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Old 09/21/2006, 10:20 PM   #4
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David, could you detail what you think the requirements of M. doorensis are, in your experience? I set up tank1 to keep M. doorensis, and had one for 18 months. At about 15 months mine started to go downhill, shrank, and eventually died while exposing black (should be white) messenterial fillaments. On the other hand, I have seen one in a kitsap county reef tank that is over a decade old. That tank was quite simple: DSB, rock up the back wall, a skimmer and no sump with VHO lighting.


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Old 09/21/2006, 11:05 PM   #5
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Macrodactyla Doreensis aka. (Long Tentacle Anemone, Corkscrew anemone)

Illumination: moderately high to very high.
Flow: prefers low flow ( just enough to make tentacles sway )
Water quality: high, with stable NSW parameters
Nutrients: tolerate low levels of elevated nitrates, I maintain up to 5 ppm nitrates for seagrass, anemone continues to expand and grow, with no noticeable ill effects.
Feeding requirements: Feed atleast three times per week with a food that it will accept and digest. Mine prefers silversides, but kryll, and fresh supermarket seafood may be an acceptable alternative.
Tank benefits: They are really cool!
Tank considerations: A full grown M. Doreensis can be up to 18 inches in diameter and requires a sand bed ( preferably fine ) of atleast 3 inches. Seems to be most comfortable with its foot buried in the sand wedged underneath a piece of LR.
Recommended resources: "Marine Invertebrates" by Ron Shimek, "Clownfishes" by Joyce D. Wilkerson
Comments: My experience leads me to believe that M. Doreenesis is a poor shipper, and either comes to the LFS with problems due to shipping stress, or is not being correctly cared for at most LFS's, and ends up coming to the inexperienced hobbyist as an animal which is already doomed to perish. Leading many hobbyists to believe that M. Doreensis is a difficult species to keep. When the opposite is true, M Doreensis if provided with a proper environment and regular feeding is an exceptionally hardy animal. Efforts to promote propagation are now underway, and hopefully one day M. Doreensis will be commonly available as such, and reduce pressure on wild specimens.
My30 gal breeder tank with LTA and Clarkii clownfish
Closeup of clownfish hosting


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Old 09/21/2006, 11:22 PM   #6
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Piercho, sorry to hear about your LTA I havent kept on e that long yet. I had one which did very well for about a year, and then when a beautiful purple one came into the LFS I got greedy and purchased it. Soon after adding to my tank ( without QT ) the established one stopped eating, the new one never accepted food, and both perished. The one I currently have, I have had for about 6 months, it has more than doubled in size ( well over 12 inches in diameter now ) since the pic I posted was taken. Its under T-5 lighting.


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Current Tank Info: 100 gal lagoon/seagrass, 100 gal sump, Lifereef 72" skimmer, 180 inwall, 125 inwall seagrass/lagoon in progress
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Old 09/22/2006, 11:57 AM   #7
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Cerianthus "tube" anemone

Cerianthus tube anemones.
Illumination: Not Photosynthetic, so lighting is not a requirement. Usually won’t fully extend in bright light.
Flow: very low to moderate.
Buffering: does not matter.
pH stabiltiy: don’t know.
Nutrients: don't know, don't think it matters.
Feeding requirements: Must be fed, and are easy to feed. Mine likes frozen mysis, and similarly sized foods.
Tank benefits: None.
Tank considerations: Can grow large with regular feedings, and will burn sessile invertebrates within their tentacle sweep. Can capture small fish, especially fish just introduced. Established fish are not at risk, IME.
Recommended resources: None.
Comments: Don’t remove the anemone from its fibrous tube, despite what you may have heard or read. Bury the fibrous tube below the sand, with the top just below the surface of the sand. A short while later the anemone will push its way up. Very easy to feed with fast, sensitive tentacles that pull bug-sized foods to the center disk. Likes a dimly lit area of the tank, if one is available.
My 4-year old tube anemone. This one has typical tentacle coloration, but you will see other colors like dark purple and orange.

This weekend I'll try to do Sabellid fanworms that can colonize a sandbed, and two genus of Caribbean Gorgonians that branch up from a holdfast. I just need to snap some of pics.

Thats a great-looking LTA, David. I like the look of T5 flourescent. Here an old pic of my LTA under 6500K MH when he was large and in charge, along with Carla the interior decorating, knuckle biting, sand-fanning Premnas.


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Old 09/25/2006, 01:00 AM   #8
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Tree-like Gorgonians

Arborescent, photosynthetic Gorgonians.
Illumination: Dependant on specie and where collected.
Flow: Dependant on specie and where collected.
Buffering: total alkalinity and Ca++ buffered to near, or above, NSW levels.
pH stability: don't know.
Nutrients: I think your Tank should have low DON levels. I don't know how well these type Gorgonians can reject microalgae or hair algae attack.
Feeding requirements: For the most durable ones, none.
Tank benefits: None.
Tank considerations: None.
Recommended resources: Aquarium Corals, Eric Borneman.
Comments: I purchased wild-collected Caribbean Gorgonians “purple willow” (Pseudopterogorgia) and “orange sea rod”(Muricea) from Dr Mac. For the few months I’ve had them, they have been easy to keep. The hardest task was attaching the base of the gorgonian – which had been popped off the substrate - to a solid object that it can encrust to. Then that base must be stable enough not to roll over in the sand as current blows on the Gorgonian. Contact with grass blades does not seem to bother these Gorgos at all.
Many LFS gorgos I’ve seen are not photosynthetic, and may die even with attempts to feed them. Refer to Borneman for general information on identifying and keeping Gorgonians. I expect these coral are not strongly associated with sandy areas. But they don't seem to mind contact with seagrass, either, and don't cast much of a light shadow.
My purple willow. This sucker grows fast and has thin, flexible branches. I think its best suited for low to moderate currents. I couldn't get a good straight-on shot of it, so I took a top down.
This is my orange knobby sea rod. This ones much stiffer than purple willow, and stands up well to strong currents. It seems to grow slowly, but the base encrusted to its anchor fairly quickly.


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Old 09/29/2006, 04:23 PM   #9
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Fan Worms

Sand-associated fan worms
Illumination: does not matter.
Flow: very low to moderate, some specie tolerant of high flow and the ones pictured in this post have to be cleaned off my pump intake screen in the sump fairly regularly.
Buffering: does not matter.
pH stability: Don’t know. The specie pictured in this post will spawn in response to rapid pH swings.
Nutrients: does not matter.
Feeding requirements: IMO, a fanworm specie either will or won’t survive in your tank. Those that won’t often starve despite your efforts to feed them, so I would not bother. Those that will can sometimes spread at a shocking speed – another reason not to feed them.
Tank benefits: Fanworms filter POM, using digestable particulate as food, and using undigestable particulate to help build their soft tubes. Generally improve water quality and reduce detritus accumulation while placing very little bioload on the system – unless you feed them. If grown where they can be harvested, may be useful as export.
Tank considerations: Addition of phytoplankton or yeast can place a high nutrient load on the system. May compete with Tridacna for available POM.
Recommended resources: None.
Comments: The worms most seagrass-tank-people will want will build their tubes in soft sand. Trading with people who have them is the most reliable way to get them. These fanworms are preferential graze for some fish like Copperband butterflyfish which will eradicate them from a tank in short order. Other fish may pick at their fans and irritate them.

Fan worms growing in the sand in my tank. Even for tanks constructed solely to house plants, with low flow and elevated nutrients, these worms will likely do well. They also add some interest as the withdraw into and extend out from their tubes. A lot of visitors either don't notice or don't ask about by my coral, but almost all ask what the fanworms are. The grass in this picture is shoal grass. The green coral is branching hammer. A head broke off and fell onto the sand and has been spreading there for a while.


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Old 09/29/2006, 06:49 PM   #10
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Wow I really like those fanworms, have you considered selling some?


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Current Tank Info: 100 gal lagoon/seagrass, 100 gal sump, Lifereef 72" skimmer, 180 inwall, 125 inwall seagrass/lagoon in progress
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Old 09/29/2006, 10:20 PM   #11
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Thanks a lot. No I haven't thought about selling any. I think these came to me five years back via one of what was then just a handful of local reefers.


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Old 09/30/2006, 10:13 AM   #12
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piercho can we get an FTS (full tank shot ??)


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Old 10/06/2006, 06:37 PM   #13
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Here are a couple from my gallery taken about a year ago. This is before the shoal grass and worms started to grow back in after the tank move August of 2005.
Endshot
Front shot
I don't think that there will be any full tank shots this year as I've been fragging my SPS and hanging what is left from monofilament to get them ready to move to a new tank. The shots of the Gorgonians and worms a couple of posts back were recent partial shots, though.


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Old 10/07/2006, 05:55 AM   #14
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could a tube anenome pose a threat to clownfish like a maroon? I'd put one in there but i'm afraid she might try to host it, i dont want one to kill my fish....


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Old 10/08/2006, 03:54 PM   #15
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Probably a bad idea to mix clowns with tubes. They have been known to eat a clown.
Same rule applies to elephant ear shrooms.


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Old 10/15/2006, 12:58 PM   #16
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Cycloseris "disk" coral

OK, last one for me. Disk coral, specifically, the Fungiidae Cycloseris genus.

Illumination: Varies based on where collected. Take your cues from the Cycloseris color. Orange Cycloseris do well in moderate light. The green "Kiwi" Cycloseris also seem to do well in moderate light. More intense light for that tasty yellow linked above, I would imagine.
Flow: In reef tank flow terms, these coral are best suited for low-moderate current.
Buffering: total alkalinity and Ca++ buffered to near, or above, NSW levels. These are stony coral.
pH stability: Not sure, but I would think stable pH params (8.0-8.4) is advisable.
Nutrients: does not matter.
Feeding requirements: I would feed these coral occasionally. I usually put frozen mysis on the disk surface. However, this coral eats most anything, including dry fish food. In a tank with fish or shrimp, a container may need to be placed over the coral until it ingests the food.
Tank benefits: None.
Tank considerations: These coral are slightly mobile.
Recommended resources: None.
Comments: Cycloseris are small disk coral. I have a couple of specie, they don't get over about 2" in diameter. Other disk and slipper coral genus can grow much larger.
Each Cycloseris disk is an individual coral polyp. Cycloseris disk coral can be propogated by breaking it into pie-slice sections. Also, if a section of the disk becomes too damaged for the coral to grow back over the skeleton, baby cycloseris may start growing at the margins of the damage. After a while, these babies drop off. I've propogated my Cycloseris both ways.
Cycloseris can be placed on a very fine sand substrate. Healthy Cycloseris have a tremendous sediment rejection capability and sand that drifts onto them is no problem. They can move slowly by inflating and deflating their bodies.
Cycloseris are, IME, among the toughest stony coral. They are much more likely to do well than other sand-dwelling stony coral like open brains, elegance coral, or long-tentacled plate coral.

This is one of my 3-year old orange Cycloseris. At one time these were fairly expensive coral, but the price has moderated over the last year or so. A flatter, green Cycloseris sometimes shows up, sold as "Kiwi" coral.


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Old 02/27/2008, 07:27 PM   #17
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a carpet anemenem would probably do very well in a lagoon tank, considering that is where they are often found with clownfish. Needs very high light though.

Family: Stichodactylidae
Range: Indo-Pacific, Atlantic
Color Form: Brown, Green, White, Gray, Blue, Pink, Purple, Orange
Ideal Supplements: Iodine, Trace elements
Tank Set-up: Marine: Sand, coral rubble
Reef Compatible: Yes
Tank Conditions: 72-78ÂşF; sg 1.023-1.025; pH 8.1-8.4
Water Flow: Medium
Light: High
Dominance: Aggressive
Care Level: Difficult


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Old 12/19/2008, 09:58 AM   #18
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Sorry to revive an old thread, but I found this blog pretty interesting(provides some great insight about inverts and fish found in seagrass beds and lagoons):

http://wildfilms.blogspot.com/2007_07_01_archive.html


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Old 12/19/2008, 10:00 AM   #19
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And another:

http://tidechaser.blogspot.com/2008/...t-semakau.html


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Old 03/29/2009, 06:47 PM   #20
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One thing I found really intersting was going to a library and looking up all the invertebrates that live in turtle grass beds. There are a bunch of corals that are naturally from them (some that aren't very popular in reef tanks but are very hardy).

There is this one coral that doesn't always attach to the substrate but rolls around. You can find it with polyps all the way around! I forget what it is called but I will look it up.


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Old 03/29/2009, 10:23 PM   #21
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Chucks addiction has a great write up on seagrass beds as well as other zones. In the seagrass one he has a picture of one of the corals you describe that rolls and has living tissue all the way around. http://www.chucksaddiction.com/zone1.html


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Current Tank Info: 100 gal lagoon/seagrass, 100 gal sump, Lifereef 72" skimmer, 180 inwall, 125 inwall seagrass/lagoon in progress
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Old 09/11/2013, 08:26 AM   #22
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It is good post and hope you all like it.


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