It has been more than five months since the last update on my Red Sea Max 130D so high time for nr 16. I have bought a media basket to force the water more through the filtration material, which cannot be a bad thing, but otherwise have done very little. I have not been diving as much as I wanted, and still have not gone to any of the deeper sites where I perhaps could have found some Dahlia anemones, larger Brittlestars or other interesting things. I have a red seaweed growing from the rocks; it has encrusted all rocks in a deep red colour and grows out of in a bit of a lettuce-shape. At first I thought it was the invasive species Grateloupia but the shape and colour are a bit different, I will enquire at the Seaweeds of the NE Atlantic facebook group what it is. I have some green algae but they grow in tufts that can be easily removed so I cannot complain really. Below a shot of the tank, it does not look great but there you have it:The anemones are still so-so. I think that plumose anemones need very fines foods and water changes, which I do not really do and as a result they are often closed and not growing. The strawberries and beadlets still don’t do as well as they did, no idea why. My Red-speckled anemones (Anthopleura ballii) on the other hand do great and are my favourites. Below a photo of a specimen I collected at a good low tide in Flushing this week and one in my aquarium that has grown quite a bit. It fluoresces in the middle. I have some squat lobsters rummaging around as well as a cool hairy crab. I have got rid of prawns as they are so aggressive! Every time I opened the hood and stopped the pump, they came swimming to the top, legs tickling and scraping on the plastic and attacking my fingers. They are part of the reason that my fish have not fared too well. I had some Pollack for a while but they eventually succumbed. I believe my flow is on the strong side, and with an occasional missed feeding and less energy, the prawns and anemones will not tolerate any slip up! I caught some Sand smelt (see here for two videos) with my big net from the quay but these formed a meal for other inhabitants within the day. I caught a Topknot (by hand) (see here) but that disappeared after a while too. I have two or three Cornish suckers that do well though. As soon as I feed they stick their noses from under rocks and dart out to catch some defrosted shrimp but otherwise you hardly see them. I was lucky to catch a bright green juvenile Ballan wrasse Labrus bergylta of the quay which does great (they are not as nervous as the more common corkwing wrasse). I caught another individual (I only ever caught three) but the first one started picking on it, changing from bright green to a more subdued marbled green. I was not in time to release one of them and the second fish died unfortunately.
It was high time to get some rocks in the aquarium; always a bit difficult to do this aesthetically I find. Perhaps I should add some more but for now there are at least surfaces to hide under or attach to. I removed all seaweeds except for the fast growing Chrysymenia wrightii (I have had to prune parts of it already so it might act as a good nutrient sink). It is bright red and there are very few algae on it now I’ve placed it downstream of the Tunze pump. I will not add anymore seaweeds but instead wait for them to naturally settle and grow from the rocks. Tired of die-offs and algae problems! I replaced the first Sea scorpion with a smaller individual. I’ve decided to go for more sea anemones, which means it would be cruel to have small fish (juvenile Corkwings or Two-spotted gobies) around, so I might as well have large predatory fish in there as well. I hope to catch one or two more Sea scorpions (they’ll have to be similarly-sized otherwise they will devour each other). I will make sure I always have some shrimp in the tank to serve as live food (they are fun to watch in their own right of course). I will also add another Snakelocks anemone. It would be nice to also add a commensal Leach’s spider crab but I am afraid it might get eaten by the Sea scorpion so I’d better not. I have added a couple of white and orange Plumose anemones Metridium senile (I found them on a pontoon, more on that in a next post).They are quite small and sometimes shrivel up, so I have been handfeeding them pieces of defrosted shrimp and they already look better. I will try some Strawberry or Beadlet anemones too; other anemone species are hard to find when not diving (although that hopefully wil happen soon too!).