Re:mandarin goby-dragonet


Sissy wrote:

Well there is allot of pros and cons in usting live rock with sea horses. I personaly

Man, I wanted to hear what you had to say! 🙂 Internet connection time out?

Well, personally I’m a big fan of live rock. Because of the massive quantities of beneficial bacteria that thrive both on the surface and deep within the substrate, LR is a great way of maintaining superior water quality. Commonly nitrate levels are kept lower in a tank stocked with live rock, since the bacteria needed to break down nitrate are anarobic and can live deep in the oxygen-poor sections of the rock. LR, of course, also provides a refuge for the copepod/amphipod population needed to keep a brace of seahorces and a dragonet or two. Finally, live rock provides some fascinating viewing experiences as time progresses. Most live rock will have creatures living deep within the crevices of the rock that start to "sprout" a few months after the rock is re-cured, including corals, coraline algae of course, and the occasional bit of sponge. "Fresh" live rock is even more varied in it’s livestock, but you run the risk of pest species sometimes. I’ll get to that in a moment.

Dragonets are beautiful. I have an ocellated mandarin (often called a scooter blenny) in my reef tank, and I’m getting a green mandarin dragonet for my seahorse tank in a few weeks. As I’m sure you are aware, they are great little additions to a tank with a lot of personality, but their diet requirements can be sometimes demanding. Like Pete said, a refugium would definitely be the way to go if you’re set on keeping LR out of the tank. But consider the pros and cons before you choose that set up.

If I may ask, why exactly don’t you want LR in the tank? Are you concerned with pest species? If I may offer a suggestion or two, there are a few ways to deal with the problems of pests on live rock. I’m not going to go into a curing lesson here — there are many different and excellent articles available online in regards to curing LR, and I won’t tell someone that one method is necissarily better than another. Let’s just assume you have your rock cured, or mostly cured.

First, and this is only my personal experience, but try to buy your LR from a LFS. You have the benefit this way of looking at the pieces and picking out exactly which ones you want. You can also observe the LR in the pet shop’s tank before you buy it sometimes, and watch to see if there are critters moving about it. You can also choose from most places how "live" the rock really is. My LFS is great, they have separate curing tanks for LR that is plain coraline-encrusted rock, some that is fully cured, near cured, and a tank for rock that is SO live it has lots of macroalgae, coral frags, etc, already heavily populated.

Second, if you choose your live rock and bring it home, you can always submerge the rock in a plastic container filled with RO/DI water. Many mobile organisms will flee the rock in a couple minutes of this exposure in attempt to find a proper saline environment. This includes pest bugs such as bristle worms and mantis shrimp. The downside of this is that if there are existing copepods on the rock, they will go too. This is less of a problem though because you can always re-seed the rock with fresh pods later. If you have the benefit of doing this in a white plastic container, you can also pick and choose the life that has fled the rock. In other words, if you see a crab or snail that you decide you want to keep, you can rescue it from the RO water and plop it in the tank for later.

Finally, go over the rock with a toothbrush, tweezers, and syringe with lemon juice. Remove any sessile organisms you don’t want with the brush or the tweezers. The dreaded Aptaisia anemones are pretty hard to see if the rock is out of the water, but if you do see them, or one sprouts later, you can inject them with the lemon juice. This is a trick I found online, and I’ve recently had the opportunity to try it. I’m happy to say that it is pretty effective! Use a diabetic syringe of 1 cc or .5 cc, and just inject .1 to .2ml of juice to the stalk or mouth of the anemone. It takes a day or two, but it works.

Well, I’m at the end of my speech here, so I’m getting off of the soapbox. It’s pretty evident that I am a fan of LR in a display aquarium of any kind, and I think you would find it easier than you expect to properly maintain your new dragonet’s and your sea horses’ food supply with the proper amount of rock in your tank. I’m no expert, this is just my opinion for what it’s worth. I’m just another schmoe with aquarium life constantly on the brain! 😆

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