Tanks A Lot

Posted by on Mar 18, 2016 in General Chaos | 0 comments

I’ve been struggling trying to figure out what to make a blog post about this week. It’s part of my fairly nebulous ‘become a real writer’ plan to write a blog post a week and here I was set to fail in week two. The more I thought about it though, the more I realized why should this blog only be about writing and writing related stuff? I mean, it’s my blog after all. I make the rules! So the rule now is that there are no rules! So here you are, at the first inaugural post about random crap that interests me. This week’s edition is aquariums!

I took up aquarium keeping about four years ago. While I lived in CT I had only freshwater tanks: one 30 gallon and a couple of 5 gallons. When I moved across the country I broke those tanks down, and the 30 gallon cracked while in storage, so that was the end of that. I intended to restart the hobby after we settled in, but this time I wanted to up the stakes; this time I wanted a saltwater tank. Saltwater is trickier. There are more things to balance in the water chemistry, and slight changes in salinity, dissolved minerals, and temperature can have a big impact on the inhabitants of the tanks. So, I did research for a couple of months and plotted and planned. Then, on the 23rd of January I jumped in!

I started with live aquacultured rock, that was in the Gulf of Mexico only a few days before it flew out to me. This is a 100% sustainable practice, since the rock itself is artificial and nothing is removed from actual reefs. Since then I’ve been adding fish and critters a couple at a time. Where possible I always buy captive raised, because there is less impact on the reefs of the world and also tank-raised are more hardy. Here is a shot of the full tank today:

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So far, I have to say I like saltwater more than I ever did freshwater. There’s something awesome about having an entire ecosystem growing in the corner of my office. Every day I can look in and see something new I didn’t know was there. It’s amazing. I’ve chosen to go with a very natural type environment for my tank, though many people prefer a more stark and clean look.

Okay, now I’ll take you on a tour of some of my favorite inhabitants.

This is a fox coral. It was my first coral. I like it because the polyps remind me of flowers.

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This gorgeous fellow is called a Royal Flasher Wrasse. Sorry he’s a little out of focus, he never stops moving.

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This shot has a bunch of my favorites all in one place! In the foreground is a pincushion urchin wearing some shells as a hat. I’m not sure why he thinks this is such good camouflage, but he’s rarely seen without at least three. Straight up from him the little green dots are something called a blastomussa coral. To the right of that the red and white stripped fish is something called a scooter dragonet who is very entertaining. And immediately to the right of him are the very red tendrils of a flame scallop which is a neat filter feeding bivalve.

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And the little purple beauty here is probably my favorite of all, an orchid dottyback. Behind her the green thing is a sort of calcified algae called a mermaid’s fan.

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So, that gives you the macro view that I have in the back of my office. Whenever I need a little break from writing I go over there and stare inside for a while. I’ve even gotten a few ideas from the strange and wonderful things I’ve seen inside. So I guess this post did end up being at least a little bit about writing after all.

Hearts and puppies,


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