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Old 06/10/2018, 11:15 PM   #476
Tylers_reef
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Hello, sorry to go sorta off topic but does anyone here have locations to find rock flower nems around the key largo area?


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Old 06/11/2018, 05:54 PM   #477
Ron Reefman
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I don't, but then I don't snorkel much up that way. I know of a few spots down in the Middle Keys. But you do realize that the rock flowers you'll find in the shallow water while snorkeling won't be anything like the crazy colors in the marketplace online, right? I've never seen any like them in 14 years of snorkeling.

I do know a licensed collector who does a lot of great colorful rock flowers. He won't tell me where exactly, but he says they are down 40' to 60' and he scuba dives to collect them. He also says they are not anywhere close to shore.

I'll be out snorkeling the Middle Keys this coming weekend with our local aquarium club.


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Old 06/15/2018, 02:20 PM   #478
Tylers_reef
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Originally Posted by Ron Reefman View Post
I don't, but then I don't snorkel much up that way. I know of a few spots down in the Middle Keys. But you do realize that the rock flowers you'll find in the shallow water while snorkeling won't be anything like the crazy colors in the marketplace online, right? I've never seen any like them in 14 years of snorkeling.

I do know a licensed collector who does a lot of great colorful rock flowers. He won't tell me where exactly, but he says they are down 40' to 60' and he scuba dives to collect them. He also says they are not anywhere close to shore.

I'll be out snorkeling the Middle Keys this coming weekend with our local aquarium club.
Ok, I saw you mentioned an island in Florida bay earlier that had like a drop off covered in them. Could you tell me where that is exactly?


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Old 06/15/2018, 03:26 PM   #479
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I'm in the Keys this weekend. My wife and I snorkeled the island this morning. I even collected a rock flower anemone, green and white tentacles, white face and a very purple mouth.

When I get home on Monday I'll do a google earth image showing where the island is. It doesn't have as many as it did many years ago. But my wife and I agree, there were probably somewhere between 300 and 500 and the island is only the size of a big house! It's on the Florida Bay side of Vaca Key (Marathon) and just a few hundred yards to the northwest off the tip of Crane Point. The nems are all up close to the vertical wall where the island meets the water. But 99.99% of them are well attached to the rocks with their feet attached in deep holes. So a hammer and a small chisel may be required. I happened to find the one I collected attached to the surface of a big rock just a few feet from the island and it wasn't in a hole, so it was easier to remove! LOL! My wife got a nice photo and I'll post that up as well.


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Old 06/15/2018, 05:50 PM   #480
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I'm in the Keys this weekend. My wife and I snorkeled the island this morning. I even collected a rock flower anemone, green and white tentacles, white face and a very purple mouth.

When I get home on Monday I'll do a google earth image showing where the island is. It doesn't have as many as it did many years ago. But my wife and I agree, there were probably somewhere between 300 and 500 and the island is only the size of a big house! It's on the Florida Bay side of Vaca Key (Marathon) and just a few hundred yards to the northwest off the tip of Crane Point. The nems are all up close to the vertical wall where the island meets the water. But 99.99% of them are well attached to the rocks with their feet attached in deep holes. So a hammer and a small chisel may be required. I happened to find the one I collected attached to the surface of a big rock just a few feet from the island and it wasn't in a hole, so it was easier to remove! LOL! My wife got a nice photo and I'll post that up as well.
Awesome, Iím in Key largo now so my only other question is. What kind of habitat would I be looking for that would hold them?


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Old 06/16/2018, 06:55 AM   #481
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Reefman View Post
I'm in the Keys this weekend. My wife and I snorkeled the island this morning. I even collected a rock flower anemone, green and white tentacles, white face and a very purple mouth.

When I get home on Monday I'll do a google earth image showing where the island is. It doesn't have as many as it did many years ago. But my wife and I agree, there were probably somewhere between 300 and 500 and the island is only the size of a big house! It's on the Florida Bay side of Vaca Key (Marathon) and just a few hundred yards to the northwest off the tip of Crane Point. The nems are all up close to the vertical wall where the island meets the water. But 99.99% of them are well attached to the rocks with their feet attached in deep holes. So a hammer and a small chisel may be required. I happened to find the one I collected attached to the surface of a big rock just a few feet from the island and it wasn't in a hole, so it was easier to remove! LOL! My wife got a nice photo and I'll post that up as well.
Don't get caught using it or with it on you vessel, the FWC is very testy as to approved devices for collecting....and a hammer and chisel don"t qualify lol...


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Old 06/18/2018, 05:45 AM   #482
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Awesome, Iím in Key largo now so my only other question is. What kind of habitat would I be looking for that would hold them?
I collected 2 this trip, but normally I don't collect any. I have 30+ of the colorful rock flowers in my 50g cube. I just wanted a couple of the more ordinary looking ones so I can show people who come to see my tank the difference between the two.

Both were in hard bottom rocky areas. The nem wants a good place to attach it's foot. And both were in about 2' of water. I didn't have to do anything but reach down to touch the bottom.


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Old 06/18/2018, 06:53 AM   #483
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Here are three good places to snorkel, and two of them are where I collected a rock flower anemone.

First is a small island just off the tip of Crane Point in Marathon. The island has no name. It's not the area due west of Rachel Key but the island that is between that shallow spot and Crane Point. It is a rock island and drops a foot or two into the water and has a lot of shallow sandy bottom as you move 1 to 3 feet away from the island. There are lots of rock flowers around about half of the island and 99.99% of them have their foot very well attached in holes that make them nearly impossible to get them out.

Screenshot 2018-06-18 07.57.38 by Ron Lindensmith, on Flickr


Next is the Horseshoe. It is at the northeast end of Spanish Harbor Key (one Key south west from Bahia Honda Key). It's an old quarry from when Flagler built the railroad back in the early 1900's. Inside it's 40+ feet deep, but around the outside there is lots of rubble and shallow flats. At the mouth of the quarry the bottoms slopes from the surface to 15' deep and there are lots of critters. There aren't nearly as many rock flowers here, in fact not many at all. But I happened to find one attached to a tiny rock so it was easy to collect.

Screenshot 2018-06-18 07.52.26 by Ron Lindensmith, on Flickr


Third is just a great island to snorkel, or was before Hurricane Irma. It's just 1/4 mile from the boat ramp at the southwest end of the Seven Mile Bridge. The north side of the island, from the boat dock around to the opposite side is shallow, 1 to 3 feet, and the bottom is covered with lots of old, mostly dead finger coral that is just rubble on the bottom. In among the rubble lots and lots of small sponges have taken hold. There are more emerald crabs, sea stars, sea cucumber and curly-Q anemones than you can count!

Screenshot 2018-06-18 07.59.45 by Ron Lindensmith, on Flickr


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Old 06/20/2018, 08:19 AM   #484
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OK, we had a pretty good time last weekend. The weather was pretty darn cooperative as the wind was very light (5-8 mph), visibility was quite good and it was about 40-50% overcast so we did have some good sunlight for taking underwater photos. Here is a shot of the tiny island we collected at with our Zodiac in the background. I always love pics like this because it reminds me of how quiet, serene and peaceful it is when it's just my and my wife out snorkeling!
Florida Bay island 02 by Ron Lindensmith, on Flickr

Although the islands from Vaca Key (Marathon) south were hit pretty hard by Hurricane Irma, the offshore habitat appears to have been mostly unharmed, at least the sites we looked at. But Little Money Key itself was really looking bad as almost all the vegetation was dead.
Little Money Key after Hurricane Irene 2017 by Ron Lindensmith, on Flickr

And the opposite side of Spanish Harbor Key from the Horseshoe was seriously eroded. The grassy slope down to the water was half washed away! The vertical rock wall is new.
A DSCN8254 R2 by Ron Lindensmith, on Flickr

Since I have over 30 colorful rock flower anemones, I decided to collect one shallow water, less colorful rock flower for people to compare when they see my tank. This was about the nicest one I saw all weekend.
Rons rock flower anemone by Ron Lindensmith, on Flickr

And I wanted a new flame scallop since mine got crushed when I was moving rocks from one tank to another (totally my fault).
Flame scallop by Ron Lindensmith, on Flickr

We'll be back again very early in August and probably go to the Dry Tortugas for an over night camping stay some time between Sept and Nov.


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Last edited by Ron Reefman; 06/20/2018 at 08:31 AM.
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