Started writing this post about three weeks ago, only finishing it now with more updates so its a bit mixed…
A good clean of the tank was badly needed.
Removed loads of hairalgea and old dead seaweed. Was hoping to find some new seaweed on my last trip but to my extreme surprise the pools looked much worse than my tank! For the first time 😉 Havent seen the pools here in about three weeks and a lot has changed. Almost all seaweeds are completely overgrown with epyphites and hairalgea. In fact the only seaweed that was nealry untouched was Fucus, Thongweed and Ulva. So maybe my hairalgea problem is completely natural this time of the year?
So no new seaweeds apart from lots of Ulva to bring some nice color.
To reduce the bioload I wanted to reduce some Stock. The Threespined Sticklebacks are a beautiful perfectly suited aquariumfish but they are now fully grown (7cm) and getting a bit bossy. Also just a few days ago I think they are preparing to breed. Wanted to keep them to watch what happens but one of the males has made a nest and is of course constantly chasing everybody in the LHS of the aquarium away very aggressively. For that the Aquarium is just too short and very hectic and I think stressfull for everybody so I thought its time they go back into the wild.
Also the largest of the Snakelocks and four small ones are going. They do really well and in fact the bigger one is now a massive 10cm across the oral disc from about 2,5cm when introduced in November last year.
During the cleanup the Butterfish showed his face and looks in good condition. I believe the adding of amphipods is keeping it well fed. They are easy to find under wet rocks in sandy areas.
Also the “hairy” crab which I havent seen or I shall better say not found in weeks was on a completely overgrown rainbow wrack just near the front glass. It hasnt shed since addition but seems ok. Actually I think I have identified what it is with a bit of a shock. It could be a juvenile Great Spider Crab Hyas araneus, actually one of the largest irish crab that can grow 30cm legspan! When juvenile they decorate themselves and can rarely be found at extremely low tide near the shore. Not a lifelong rockpool species so, but very cool to imagine this fellow is once going to be that size, but as long as it behaves as friendly as it does and doesnt grow too big it can stay.
During the last visit to the rockpools at coral beach I was really lucky and had some great new finds.
First off from the first scoop and in many others where lots of tiny 4-6mm Lumpsuckers Cyclopterus lumpus. Never seen them here before. Over the course of the session I must have found at least 50 of them they where so numerous. I kept four, three tiny ones for the 60l and one (the biggest) for the maintank. They are very intriguing, move very slow and smooth but can also twitch really fast. Cute little fellas and surprisingly goods swimmers even in the high flow environment in the maintank. Also numerous but nowhere near as much as the lumpsuckers was the Sea Snail Liparis liparis. Some completely white but a strickingly bright yellow one had to come home with me. Absolutely stunning color. Dont have good pictures but hopefully for the next post.
Another new find was the short spined sorpionfish. I found numerous long spined ones in the past but never a short spined one. Nice red colouration though probably subject to change it has a place now in the predator tank along with the blenny.
First here below a small baby one, only about 13mm long. It is allowed in the maintank for now. Its actually feeding, or trying to swallow a piece of frozen mysis.
And here below the big one, about 7cm that is in the 120l Predator Tank Section. The eye just looks otherworldly…
A few months ago while rockpooling a discarded shell of a long legged spider crab found its way into my net. This time in the same pool I caught a much smaller live one 🙂 I think its Macropodia deflexa. Really happy about that and perfect timing as its perfect for the peaceful environment of the 60l section of the breeding tank. Very hard to focus with the camera as its such a complex creature 😉
A tiny beautifully white yellow coloured nudibranch was nearly missed in the net. I think its Polycera quadrilineata which feeds on sea mat Electra pilosa of which there is plenty in the 60l tank so it is an extremely welcome new guest. Its only about 10mm long.
But the best find for me must be what was also found in great numbers in many of the pools a small fry fish. Not too smart or not scared so easily to trick and catch 🙂 30-50mm
Perfect replacement for the Sticklebacks, I like to catch very small animals and then release them when they grow too big. Upon the first close look at the fins it seemed like it had to be a Pollachius species, probably Coalfish Pollachius virens from the looks of the jaw. I could hardly believe this find of a fry fish that will grow to meter size in the wild so wasnt going to get too excited yet. It did seem after some research that is was actually Pollachius virens but now a few weeks have passed and the lateral line is more pronounced and clearly visible and seems to have shifted from a straight line (P. virens) to the typical curved line of P. pollachius. I am not 100% sure but the lateral line is definitely Pollack Pollachius pollachius but the jaw still looks more like the P. virens. Very exciting stuff! The pictures are from three weeks ago when the lateral line seemed pretty straight especially on the lower picture. This one is the only one not really feeding well and moving strangly since introduction, dont think its going to make it, the others are all feeding well even on flakes and pellets and have nice full bellies.
The two spotted gobies had a really close look and occasional tail nip at them in the beginning but they do seem to get along fine now. The flow of the powerheads is now decreased a lot as the Pollack fry are a lot smaller and not as skillful swimmers as the sticklebacks yet. After a few weeks now they grew fast and seem to have adapted well to aquarium live and are now actually bigger that the gobies 😉 More pictures in the next post…