This weekend I made two rockpooling trips in search for some small sea urchins, a few nice rocks and seaweed to finish the tank, and hopefully some surprises which is always the best. I wanted to write about the lights and seaweeds next but I found some new to me species so I write a bit about that.
First up was Baile na habhann Pier where I was hoping to find purple sea urchins. I couldnt find an easy way to the mark as the sun was coming down soon so I strolled along the rocky shore without any particular plan. Most pools here where fairly similar, completely covered in pink paint weed and a few limpets some of them also completely engulved by the paint weed. As I went on further out it got more interesting and I found a few small mussel beds and some big pools. As my eyes where scanning the pools for spiny things very soon they landed on some big sea urchins. Very happy about the find I soon realized that it wasnt that easy. Most of them where well protected in crevices and hard to reach. I didnt know how easy its going to be to remove one and I certainly didnt want to damage them by trying so I kept looking for a less shy one that was more exposed. As I found one with access all around I found it wasnt even that difficult to remove them by hand and happily looked at my first sea urchin. Its kind of purplish on the body and the spines are greenish, really amazing I found the many arms with suckers on them. Not too much time as it was getting dark so I headed back and picked up some velvet horn, one of my favorite green seaweed.
Next day, lovely and sunny but cold, I wanted to checkout another new place. Southwest of Spiddal Pier along the coast. Lots of pools here too and the tide was really low and the sea flat as a mirror which meant I could go right in the water on the shore in places that are rarely not submerged. Some of the pools here had almost no growth of seaweed in them and looked fairly barren but I spotted a tiny blenny in the middle of it apparently feeling really safe as I could net him extremely easy which was a great start. The Blennies are just amazing creatures the way the can move their eyes and head. Great to watch and I was always hoping to find a very small one that isnt a big danger to everybody else in the aquarium. Soon after I found another more brightly colored smaller sea urchin in a rather low pool. I was looking under stones that where in a very shallow place but actually I would say under the tidal mark or very close to it and there was lots of live under them. Found Brittle Stars a Common Star, a few beautiful velvet crabs (too quick for picture), an edible crab, a pure white crab, rocklings and many large blennies. Extremely satisfied to have seen so much I returned and on the way back stumbled upon a few nice small rocks with tiny red beadlet anemones on them that I brought with me. A great looking rock with lots a seaweed shoots and fan worms caught my attention, thought it would look great and when I turned it around there was a beautiful anemone on it (find it hard to identify, maybe Strawberry as the column is green with red spots), great find. Under most of those rocks where loads of what I think are some sort of amphipod, I brought some as I thought they might be a good supplement to the cleanup crew or someones dinner. However I found one later in the aquarium that seemed dead so I am not sure was it killed or just not able to survive for some reason.
A great few sessions with lots of surprises and a few new inhabitants. I am finding it hard to scientifically identify species especially seaweeds so I might edit my post in the future when I know more. Anybody reading this feel free to comment if you can identify any of them.
Here a few pictures of the new inhabitants and the tank the way it will stay for now as I am happy enough with the amount of rocks in it.