With the aquarium back on track, it is time for some more tank-related posts. I released one of the two Corkwing wrasse I caught, as the slightly bigger one was quite bullish. The Corkwing is very beautiful, although it has the nervous habit of chasing its reflection in the glass sometimes. I caught two small (4 cm) Fifteen-spined sticklebacks Spinachia spinachia as well that I wanted to observe. One disappeared without a trace and the other I did not see feeding on frozen artemia so I released it again. Most if the time these fish were facing the seaweed, probably to pick off any tiny crustacean that would appear.
Very difficult to photograph these restless fish with a phone! I am not attempting to decorate the tank with rocks etc just yet, as I first want to experiment with trying to keep different kinds of seaweeds alive (I hope to have more luck now I have the LEDs and chiller). I plucked some of the seaweeds but for some I chiseled off small pieces of the bedrock they are attached to. (I might try to use superglue to attach small pieces of rocks to a rack, similar to frags in reef tanks.) I have a whole bunch of seaweed species, but it seems that the more I learn about them the less I know….False Eyelash weed or Beautiful Eyelash weed? Red rags or Starry liver weed? Irish moss or Grape pip weed? Of course I also collected a small Bushy rainbow wrack (see the first picture). It is very fuzzy, partly due to epiphytes, and hardly iridescent but it hasn’t seemed to die on me just yet. (Note that as this is a perennial, slow growing and usually not abundant species which harbours a lot of other life on it too, it is important to pick as little as possible.)
With the aquarium ready and a neap tide, I resorted to some fishing from the quay with my humongous (>2.5 meter) net. This thing is a pain when moving/emigrating but I’m glad I’ve kept it. It is custom-made for RAVON: Reptielen Amfibien en Vissen Onderzoek Nederland (Reptiles Amphibians and Fish Research The Netherlands), a great club that I joined for a while when living in Holland. (The ‘fish’ in the acronym covers only the species living or migrating in fresh water). The net can be bought via the RAVON web shop; at the time they also sold a handy cuvet:
I have scraped along the sides of the main quay in Flushing a number of times now (btw, the quay was built by the Dutch; Flushing is named after Vlissingen in Zeeland, the old Cornish name of the village is Nankersey). Two-spot gobies (the most common semi-benthic species), a rock goby and even a Fifteen-spined stickleback Spinachia spinachia have ended up in the net. The last species I did not keep, as they prefer live food that I cannot offer them, but I took it home for a quick pic:
I never caught young mullet, a species that is great for the aquarium, which is strange as they are common around water fronts. This weekend to my surprise I caught two wrasse for the aquarium:
a Rock cook Centrolabus exoletus and a Corkwing wrasse Symphodus melops. Two very beautiful little fish (both species grow up to 15 cm, these were around 5 cm). Here the Rock cook Corkwing wrasse that looked superficially like a Rock cook but back home in the aquarium showed its distinctive spot on the base of the tailfin (best way to identify is counting scales and rays but that is almost impossible now; useful info on wrasse determination on this angling site):