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Coldwater box fish with flukes       3/31/16
I have an Ornate Boxfish that came to me last September in poor shape. He had a very cloudy eye and what looked like a lump on one fin.
He is still in qt almost 8 months later although he now shares qt with a few starfish, some snails and some anemones.
His tank is 75 gallons, kept at 61 degrees and he is well fed and cleaned.
The cloudy eye cleared up within a month, but the lump stayed. After 4 months, the lump was gone, but small spots showed up on all his fins.
These turned into the exact same kind of lump as the original blemish on his pectoral fin, except they were all over all his fins. We treated with Melafix,
<No!!! An at times toxic scam>
Prazi, formalin (twice), neoplex, Ruby reef
<.... see WWM Re>
and vitamins. We even did a freshwater dip on the back half of him, while keeping salt water running over his gills and mouth.
One day, we did a manual inspection on these lumps and I tried to remove one. It came off with just a bit of effort, and upon inspection under a microscope, we found it had a leach type mouth and was actively looking for its host. We removed 15 in total from the fish.
We treated the wounds with polysporin and they appear to be healing. We also ran a double dose of Prazi after we removed the parasites. However it is a month later and we notice there are some very fine white dots and a couple of these dots appear to be growing.
<See (as in actually READ on WWM re other Anthelminthics.... coldwater settings... don't work as well>
How do we break the cycle and get rid of these pests?
<Reading... don't have the time, desire to re-key>
I would like to get the boy into his permanent home eventually and don't want to have him continue to suffer with parasites.
Here is an image of the flukes after we removed them. They were about 10mm diameter, and looked like poplar seeds. They were flat, round and slightly raised in the middle. They appeared to have a small 'tail', no eyes, and a
round sucker mouth on the underside. I froze them, in case someone could give me a better ID.
<Neat! Write back later after reading, trying other Vermifuges. READ before trying misc. "medicines" that are scams. Bob Fenner>

Re: Coldwater box fish with flukes       4/2/16
I appreciate your comments on Melafix, and will keep it in mind for future use.
<Ah good... if only there were statutes for selling such products as there are for human remedies....>
As we had started out 8 months ago dealing with 2 issues on this fish, we were looking for a solution to treat his eye that was not a sledge hammer.
It is quite possible that the Melafix had no impact at all on anything and that it was just good qt protocol that helped the eye clear up. So no more Melafix for us!
<Good... can interrupt nitrification; and who knows what other detrimental effects?>
Based on additional readings as you suggested it appears the parasite is a capsalid monogenean Trematode, except ours are huge compared to sizes I have found in reference material on line (ours measure 10mm easily).
<Yes; can occur this large in cooler water species>
I cannot find any references to how well a coldwater Boxfish will handle freshwater dips, or hyposalinity,
<Are fine w/ both>

so am opting instead for prolonged treatment in Praziquantel over the next couple of months, based on a starting program of 2.5mg/l and increasing over 10 days to 10mg/l and holding for 4 days. Will repeat 3 times. Does
this dosage get too aggressive?
<Mmm; no>
We did not eliminate the parasites at 5mg/l when we did Prazi last time.
<As you prev. stated; yes>
We can also change qt tanks between treatments and disinfect the tank with Virkon to eliminate any chance of detached eggs or free-swimming juveniles from surviving. Is this overkill?
<Likely so>
When we took Prazi to 5mg/l for a week during the last treatment program, we saw no change in the infection, and did see that the Boxfish quit eating. My concern with higher dosages is finding the balance between killing the parasites and not killing the fish.
I cannot find any information on suppression of effectiveness of Prazi at lower temperatures, but will call Hikari today.
<Ah; good>
If the Prazi does not work, then it appears we will have to try formalin again, although the last time we did formalin (both times), it had zero visible impact on the adult parasites.
<Assuredly, formalin WILL kill all external parasites... given dosage, exposure time>

Over the last 8 months I have had the advice of the marine biologist at our zoo and a fish vet, both of whom suggested using formalin. However have also read that formalin can be hard on fish.
<It is a biocide (kills all life... crosslinking peptides....)>

It may be that we have to do a higher concentration bath and then move the fish to a clean qt tank, but unless the parasites detach during the bath (and as adults they are clearly visible) they just come with the fish. Or
we manually remove the adults and focus on killing the juveniles with formalin.
If you think the ID on this parasite is wrong, please let me know. We cannot see any in the gills or in his mouth, but this does not eliminate the possibility that they are there or even internal. He does eat well, but has also lived with this infection for over 8 months.
<Monogenetic Trematodes are VERY common on fishes. VERY>
I have asked the seller if he has ever dealt with this parasite, and he has not. He did however notice what he thought was just a fin ray growth (which was the parasite) before the fish was shipped to me.
Thanks for your comments and help.
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Help with an anemone that will not open. Cold, small system; chem. allelopathy     10/29/14
I hope everything is well.
<Yes; thank you>
I have a small ten gallon coldwater marine tank which I currently keep "only" at 61 degrees as any lower and it starts to have condensation problems on the exterior.
<Ah yes; some aquariums for this use have a double wall, the space between viewing panels with a bit of drying agent>
My finny friends are an elegant blenny (Omobranchus elegans) and a Catalina goby (Lythrypnus dalli). In the tank with them are an unspecified hermit crab, some red macroalgae, some olive and black turban snails and a number of anemones and Corallimorphs. I have an orange beadlet anemone (Actinia equina), some white and orange plumose (Metridium spp), some aggregating anemones (Anthopleura elegantissima)
<Am familiar with these Actinarians... studied them in college and dived in their range many times off California>
and probably 50-100 of both the typical pink "strawberry anemones" (Corynactis californica) and some bright yellow with purple tip "jewel anemones" (Corynactis haddoni).
<Mmm; all this can't live together comfortably in ten gallons>

The problem is with none of the above I was simply giving a stock list in case you think something might be a culprit. My problem is with a previously large and beautiful "true strawberry" anemone (Actinia fragacea).
I've had this setup for about a year possibly longer and everything is growing well (although I feed the strawberry and jewel "anemones" some little pellets about 3x a week and I haven't noticed a lot of expansion of their colonies but neither are they dying. Some rogue polyps do wander far from the colonies but the colonies' numbers seem to be stable, so any tips here would be helpful). However, my true strawberry anemone has stopped opening about 2.5 to 3 weeks ago. It is mindboggling because it was a piggy always open and demanding food for a solid year and was a good eater of silversides. It was full grown when I bought it and I didn't want more than one "show" true anemone of its color so I only fed it about half a silverside every week to maybe twice a week some weeks. It stayed the same size, nice and full always demanding more food for about a year.
Now it stays sunken in and unopened. It even appears to have shrunk a bit from starvation but it could be just my imagination. It is not splitting in two to my knowledge, just shrunk down into a tight ball of about a
Ping-Pong size. I can't see any parasites, "brown jelly" or anything else that seems to show it's being harmed. It just simply refuses to come out.
I've tried blowing water with coral food where the opening should be to tempt it out and it just refuses.
Any suggestions?
<The best: move it or all to a much larger volume... Perhaps using a bit of GACarbon in your filter flow path will relieve the likely allelopathy here.
Do have a read: http://wetwebmedia.com/CorlCompArt.htm
and as much of the linked files at top that it takes for you to understand.
Bob Fenner>

Are there any commonly available "tropical" marine fish that actually prefer temperate 62 degree F water?     12/3/13
<Mmm; yes... Catalina gobies (Lythrypnus), Blue-spotted Jawfish...>
I live in Florida and have a nice little ten gallon planted freshwater tank and four tropical reef tanks ranging from a 6 gallon Fluval Edge with soft corals of various types (although my pulsing Xenia is starting to run away in that tank....Grrr)
<Trim it back and vac regularly>
 and a yasha goby with its pet/worker slave shrimp to a 30 gallon Biocube with a variety of sps and Lps hard corals and an assortment of aggressive fish that were carefully introduced and have been doing "swimmingly" for a couple of years (a neon Dottyback, a yellowtail damsel and a falco Hawkfish all of which have their own territories and there are no squabbles (damsel high, hawk middle and dotty skulking along the ground and in various caves I've set up) even during feeding.
So.....my question has nothing to do with the above humblebrag (which is really just to show I have some at least limited experience in your world).  However, since then we have bought a 20 gallon coldwater marine setup as my wife and I have spent a fair amount of time on the Left Coast recently despite living in Florida and have seen how in the right hands a coldwater tank can be just as beautiful (or at least almost) as a typical tropical reef tank. 
<Oh yes>
In place of corals, we have some stunning quickly growing colonies of jewel "anemones" in the Corynactis genus (a variety that is highlighter yellow with red tentacle tips, one that is a bright neon green with pink tips and the more common "strawberry" variety that are pink with purple tips) and an assortment of true anemones (plumose anemones or Metridium genus in white, orange and a pretty rare lime green variety; a couple of the beautiful in small doses but very common aggregating anemones Anthopleura elegantissima; two small green moonglow or burrowing anemones Anthopleura artemisia; a burnt orange beadlet anemone Actinia equina; and a "true" strawberry
anemone Actinia fragacea.      The tank looks great although it's a little sparse as it will probably be 6 months to a year or more before the Corynactis colonies grow in sufficiently to cover the rockwork.
In addition to the true anemones and "anemones", we've got a basic assortment of coldwater cleaner snails including the black turban snails Tegula funebralis that are frequently seen in Florida LFS as reef cleaners; purple olive snails Olivella biplicata;
<Just picked up a nice shell of which at Volleyball last wknd... imported sand here in San Diego... beach to bay>
 and periwinkles Littorina littorea.  Other members of the cleanup crew is a fat and healthy eccentric sand dollar/biscuit urchin Dendraster excentricus and five micro hermit crabs supposedly in the Pagarus genus (although one is getting much bigger than the others so I'm keeping my eye on him in case he turns out to be too big and aggressive).  At the moment for our "display" active critters we have a Catalina Goby Lythrypnus dalli;
a fluffy sculpin Oligocottus snyderii; a stout shrimp Heptacarpus brevirostris and a porcelain crab Petrolisthes eriomeris.
So far everything is doing well and is fat and healthy except the plumose which refuses to come out in the daylight and a small spot prawn and previous Catalina Goby that was living in the tank with the other aforementioned fish.  The other Catalina goby and small spot prawn were fat, eating well and both completely disappeared with no signs of illness, distress or aggression from other creatures.  I assume they both dove head first into one of the true anemones despite the retailers assurance they "live with anemones and would never get caught".
My dilemma and the reason for the extensive write up is that I would like to get more activity in the tank and miss the "free swimming" fish I have in most other tanks.  The only true coldwater fish small enough for my tank are all bottom dwelling Sculpins and gobies or else incredibly rare in the trade micro filefish and small lump suckers that go for hundreds of dollars per fish.  However, as I live in Florida I can't keep the "coldwater" tank at 50-55 like they do at public aquariums as the condensation becomes too much in an ordinary Florida home.  So I keep it at a balmy for them 62 degrees and it hasn't seemed to noticeably affect anything (unless that's the reason for my plumose's shyness).
Can you think of any small "tropical" fish that would be happy in 62 degrees AND not be stupid enough to dive head first in the nems?
<Mmm, well; I wouldn't add anything more to this small volume... IF you lived locally, I might buy a fishing license, do a bit of tidepool
collecting... some small (young) Surfperches, perhaps a Girella... even a tiny Hypsypops for a while would be fab. Bob Fenner>
Re: Are there any commonly available "tropical" marine fish that actually prefer temperate 62 degree F water?     12/3/13

Thank you for the response.  That's unfortunate as I would like something in the top and middle portions of the tank free-swimming.
<Ah yes; many possibilities. Do you have a copy of Miller and Lea, bulletin 157? Any of Sam Hinton et al.s works re the W. coast? BobF>
Re: Are there any commonly available "tropical" marine fish that actually prefer temperate 62 degree F water?     12/3/13

No but I will see if I can track some down and review.  Thank you.
<Ahh, I look forward to our future communications. B>

Coldwater marine systems (UK)   1/26/11
There's an excellent site on UK / Atlantic species, here:
> http://www.glaucus.org.uk/wetthumb.htm
> Including this survey of the ten most commonly kept species.
> http://www.glaucus.org.uk/PF2.htm
> I'd agree with much of what's written there for experience. Some will chime with the observations of marine aquarists. For example, Asterina gibbosa does just as well in coldwater tanks as those little Asterina species in reef tanks. Also, the Beadlet anemone is the one now widely sold on eBay and elsewhere as the "brackish water" anemone and suchlike, a testament to just how hardy this bright red anemone species happens to be.
> If I could encourage you to get people thinking about latitudinal distribution though, that makes a huge difference. If people concentrate on southerly species at the northern limits of their range -- often things like wrasses and gobies -- they'll find these adapt extremely well to room temperature. It's the polar species at the southerly limits of their distributions that often adapt most poorly. Chillers are fine, but chilling more than 2-3 degrees seems to produce such condensation on the glass the results aren't worthwhile, in my opinion.
> Cheers, Neale
> > <Thank you for this... will use this in an upcoming pc. for AFM/FAMA on coldwater marine systems>
Ah, the article is to be on W. coast, E. Pacific species, systems; but will gladly post this to WWM. Cheers, B

Strange Question (not really)'¦Cold Water Animals in Tropical Systems -- 07/01/09
I have a 240lt marine reef tank and have seen various comments on the forum on how other hobbyist bring rock, Caulerpa etc back from their neighbouring shores to fill their tank.
<<Indeed'¦ Those fortunate enough to live in 'Tropical' climes'¦and where local laws allow such collection>>
Now here's the puzzler for me. All these live in warm tropical climates which is suitable to the hobby.
<<Ah yes'¦>>
However I live in the U.K. (Cold water - certainly too cold for my big toe let alone a tank).
<<Mmm'¦ I do understand. I lived in East Anglia for 3 ½ years and remember having to wear a coat while surf-fishing off the shingle in Felixstowe'¦in JULY! And even though the occasional Triggerfish or Lionfish shows up around Land's End in the summertime, the local marine life around all the UK is not suitable for a 'Tropical' display>>
Is it possible to acclimatise rocks, weed etc for a marine tank??
<<Only if you are going to set up a tank where you can maintain the water temperature at that from which you collect your specimens. Your local marine life can NOT be acclimated to a Tropical marine system>>
It would certainly help to know what is possible to culture from such cold shores.
<<Many things'¦but only if kept in a 'cold' system. Even should you find something that 'seems' to do okay in a tropical system, you can be sure that its lifespan will be severely shortened. Cold/temperate water species have no business in tropical systems>>
Many thanks,
<<Happy to share'¦ Cheers mate, EricR>>

Eel from Monterey Bay -- 03/31/09
Thank you for your time and response. Sadly the porcupine puffer didn't make it.
<Sorry for your loss.>
I do however have another question that hopefully you can help me with. My brother brought home an eel from the ocean (Monterey Bay) and he is just a little guy, about 3 inches.
<Two big mistakes: Taking home an animal you don't know and putting it into an environment that does not resemble its habitat.>
I don't know what kind of eel he is.
<Send clear pictures.>
I tried to look him up but he pretty much looks like all of the eels I have seen on the internet. I was told at the LFS that he wouldn't make it because he was a cold water eel beings as he came from Monterey Bay.
<Won't do well in the long run.>
But I didn't want to let him just die so I figured I would just give it a try. He has been in there for 4 days now and seems to be doing very well. We are trying to feed him thawed octopus and he doesn't seem to want to eat.
<Possibly you'll have to start with live food like small shrimps.>
Do you have any tips or anything that I can try to keep this guy alive?
<Sure: Find an adequate, chilled home or set up another tank in a cold place. Since the eel already is in your tank I cannot recommend putting it back into the sea.>
I can't do a chiller because its a tropical tank but he seems to be doing ok so far.
<'So far' being the key words here. If this is a sub-tropical to temperate water eel it won't do well in a tropical tank, because its metabolism is not designed to run perfectly at higher temperatures.>
But it would be really awesome to have this eel for a long time as it would make a cool story about how we got him. I can send a pic if you would like if it would help to know the type of eel.
<Yes, much of what could be given as advice depends on the species or even the group we are talking about.>
I've always wanted an eel and this one is really cool, because he seems to change color and stuff. He gets along with the 2 damsels and clown fish. I just want him to eat something. I just don't know anything about eels so any help would greatly be appreciated. Thank you for your time.
<Let's start with some clear pictures, an ID and possibly finding a cooler home for the eel. Cheers, Marco.>

Re: Native marine fish; selection, maintenance 2/9/08 Thanks, that's pretty helpful. You said that Beadlet anemones are a good choice. <Yes, among the hardiest organisms on the planet. I've seen them being sold as brackish water anemones for tropical aquaria!> Well, the biggest rocks I found were smaller than my fist. Also, there weren't any tide pools. Do they even form on sand beaches? <No; sandy beaches are very distinctive in terms of fauna. Most organisms either burrow into the sand (e.g., clams) or move in and out with the tide (e.g., flatfish). There aren't many things that walk about or sit on the sand because they'd be exposed to predators. So you need to find, at the least, groynes and harbour pilings and the like, and explore them for suitable organisms.> As to the kelp fish, I'm almost positive It wasn't one, as they are a pacific species, however, it looked almost identical in body form so that's what I called it. <Oh. Well, I'm going to assume it's some sort of Labridae or Sparidae. There are really a whole bunch of small perciform fish that can be easily mistaken for one another.> How do you find the fish in the ocean? I mean, with the waves and all I couldn't see a thing. <That's why collecting from tide pools is easier. You have to be a little creative. Marinas and harbours can be good, and I've caught, for example, pufferfish and halfbeaks using nothing more complex than a net and a careful wander about an oyster bed on the mouth of a marina at Stuart, FL. You need to "think fish" too. Fish and inverts aren't everywhere: they prefer shade and shelter, and good clean water as well. So choose the places you're explore carefully, and take time to (carefully) lift over seaweed and stones, always putting them back afterwards. Many organisms are invisible at first pass, especially flatfish, shrimps, etc that change colours. You have to stop and stare for a while. Once you get your eye in (what biologists call a "search image") your brain will become programmed to spot these hidden animals and it becomes a LOT easier.> The only reason I got what I did was that I had the idea of looking in masses of seaweed and I'd find one or a max of two animals. You said to read a book on the marine fauna of the area I'm collecting, are there any specific titles you know of? <I like the 'Petersen Guides'. The title 'A Field Guide to Southeastern and Caribbean Seashores' would likely be most useful. There is also 'A Field Guide to Atlantic Coast Fishes', but that'll not cover the invertebrates and includes a lot of fish you'll never see or be able to keep.> I have tried to find them before, and have had no luck. Also, could you give some more information on catching the crabs on a baited line? That sounds like a good idea if I decide to go with larger fish. <Catching crabs is very easy using a hand line of some sort (as opposed to a proper fishing pole). I don't know the proper name of the device, but here in England at least you can buy them from any shop by the seaside catering to tourists, since EVERY kid spends the summer catching crabs and other tide pool animals at some time or another. You bait a hook with, really, anything. A bashed-in mussel or limpet works well, but so will some chopped seafood from the grocery store. Drop the line somewhere plausible. If there is a crab, it'll come out quite quickly, grab hold of the line. If you're careful, you can pull the crab up and net it before the crab lets go. Some species are less tenacious than others, but as a rule Shore Crabs are incredibly easy to catch this way. That said, for the small ones you want, it's easier to just turnover seaweed and pick them up by hand.> Could part of my problem finding fish be that I was in water 2-3 feet deep? <Honestly doesn't make much difference. A shallow tide pool will yield lots of fishes if you know where to look and are exploring a decent bit of shoreline.> Thanks for your help, Brandon <Do visit the BMLSS web site, here: http://www.glaucus.org.uk/wetthumb.htm Lots of info on keeping native (British) marines, the principles of which hold for any non-tropical marine fishkeeping. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Native marine fish; selection, maintenance 2-9-08 Thanks again for all the information. I wish that we Americans in general held our native fishes in more respect. <Well it's not "we Americans" in this instance, since I'm British. But I get your point, and it holds equally well here. Maintenance of native British fish, whether freshwater or marine, is fairly uncommon. Oddly enough, it was very common during the Victorian era, when Gentleman (and quite a few Ladies) would maintain marine aquaria containing anemones and the like.> It would be so helpful in getting information. I just have a few more questions (at the moment anyway). First, do you know if minnow traps work (the ones that have the cone shaped entrance)? <Should work. Certainly worth trying out. If nothing else, I bet if you baited them they'd catch lots of shrimps and snails.> I'm thinking about buying one. Thanks for the suggestions on where to find the fish. I've had no experience with the ocean as I've only been there twice (once when I was about a year-and-one-half old and last year when I was fourteen-and-a half). Do you have any specific ways that you really like for catching fish/inverts over sand? <It's actually very difficult over sand because few animals that swim about over sand are small enough to do well in tanks. It really is rocky shores that you need. Estuaries are also very good, as are salt marshes. Both of these environments are common enough in Florida, but do always remember that these environments are also frequented by things like crocs and alligators (alligators less so in brackish/marine environments).> I badly wish there were rocky beeches down in Florida so that I could try to get tide-pool animals. <Indeed. Do also look online if you want to get a few things to start off with. There are marine supply houses like Sachs Aquaculture that collect and ship all sorts of American fish/inverts.> Thanks again for all your help, Brandon P.S. Are there any anemones that live over sand? <A few, but nothing very dramatic, and they're never very common in shallow water. Sandy shores are constantly changing as the sand moves with each tide, and there's very little cover for animals unless they burrow into the sand. So sandy environments are great for clams and burrowing crabs, but bad for anything that depends upon solid objects for shelter.> I really wanted some when I last went to the ocean, although I wasn't expecting to find any. <Oh dear. Well, good luck, Neale.>

Re: Native marine fish; selection, maintenance What I was meaning by "we Americans" was referring those of us who live on this side of the Atlantic as I was aware that you were British. Sorry I didn't clarify that. However, I was of the opinion that cold-water marines and natives were relatively popular over on your side of the ocean. I guess I was wrong. What made me think that is in a lot of my aquarium books by Dr. Axelrod he says that Europeans tend to keep a lot more native fish than we Americans. <Really? Not read this. But may be so. I do have at least one book from the 50s or 60s called "Marine Aquaria" and it's all coldwater stuff.> However, all my books are pretty old (70s-late 80s [yes, I know, I need to get some more modern books. However, with such a good website like Wet Web Media, I've been able to get along pretty well without that extra expense]). <Ah, but we won't be there when you go fish shop shopping, which is where a really good aquarium atlas comes in handy!> Anyway, you've been very helpful; in talking to you for what, two-three days, I've gotten more information than I've been able to find in months. Thanks a lot, Brandon <Happy to help, Neale.> Hey, I forgot to ask in my last email, do you know of any other marine supply houses? I was able to find one besides Sachs Aquaculture, but that was all. Thanks, Brandon <Not familiar with any in the US, so can't help. But do a search for "Biological Supply" and you should come across a few. Do also grab a book on native fishes so you can check adult sizes, water chemistry requirements, temperature, and so on before you drop the cash. Cheers, Neale.>

Who is the author to your book? <L. A. J. Jackman is the author, and the title is simply "Marine Aquaria", published 1957, Cassell & Co. Turns out you can buy it online easily enough; e.g. on Amazon for the princely sum of $6.> Is it very helpful? <I think so. There's stuff on how to collect, what to collect, and so on. Obviously, given the book is 50 years old, the stuff on the hardware aspects are rather dated. But any other marine aquarium book will fill you in on that aspect of the hobby.> If so, I'll try to find a copy of it, although it'll probably be pretty hard with a book that old. <Seek and ye will find. Do also try your public library; librarians can be remarkably helpful when it comes to solving problems like this!> Thanks, Brandon <Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Cold Water Marine fish tank in the U.K  9/26/08 Thanks for that Neale am I right in thinking that, if I by uncured rock and cure it at the temp I am going to use it. It will become live rock and filter my cold water marine tank. <Correct; there is nothing specific about live rock that magically fulfils this function; rather it is huge surface area available for bacterial colonisation, plus the limited flow of oxygen through many of those holes, that allows nitrifying bacteria to colonise the outside and the denitrifying bacteria to colonise the inside. There are artificial ways to create the same environments. It just so happens live rock is (relatively) cheap and (very) decorative. Put tufa rock or any other porous rock into an aquarium in sufficient quantities and you will get essentially identical effects. Moreover, your coldwater invertebrates and algae will encrust the rock, so that long term, you'll have something visibly as well as functionally identical to cured live rock. However, do remember to use appropriate quantities, and bear in mind lower temperatures slow down bacterial metabolism, as well as those of fish and invertebrates. Cheers, Neale.>

Cold water animals, sel.  12/26/07 Bob- Hey I've been asked to write an article on cold water tanks and their inhabitants (I'm thinking Pacific Northwest). I have no problem writing the article, and I even plan to set up a tank like this. Do you have any leads on where I can go to order anemones, shrimp, Seastars, and other items well suited (coming from) the Washington/Oregon area? Thanks much, Adam <I would try one of the "Biological Supply" houses... e.g. Carolina... B>

Chesapeake Bay Tank Hello Reef Gurus, Greetings from Tidewater ,VA ! I already have a 70 gallon tropical reef tank, but last week I was given a 55 gallon tank & stand, which I wanted to set up as another reef, but my wife reminded that we have 2 children in diapers & reef tanks ain't cheap! (she always foils my plans- aarrgh!!). So in lieu of a reef tank, I am setting it up as a local Chesapeake Bay tank, complete with live rock & sand from the bay. Nothing like free! <I do not know if this will be much cheaper once you factor in the expensive of a chiller and electricity maintaining those cold water temperatures.> So here are my questions- The tank is being run by an Emperor 400 with bio-wheels, lighting is supplied by a 110 watt compact fluorescent, and 2 free hanging powerheads for circulation- is this enough filtration/lighting? <Seems adequate.> Right now the tank has 4 pieces of "live rock", mostly covered in green & red macro algae with some small anemones, tube worms, and barnacles. Other than small hermits and snails, the rest of the livestock will be locally caught fish- from the minnow seine of yours truly! You would be shocked to see the fish we are catching off the beach, juvenile puffers, pipefish, seahorses, lookdowns, spadefish, filefish, various jacks , and sometimes "lost pelagics"- i.e. butterfly fish & other cool stuff that swims into the bay during the summer. <Yes, I have heard many stories of Caribbean fish wandering to far North during the summer.> I am wondering if I could/should use LSB using local live sand, <Sure, but stay thin, less than 1" deep as an experiment.> do I need a skimmer for the plant rock, <It would be nice.> and is this enough light for the rock as well? <Seems ok, but your growth or lack there of will them you shortly.> Right now the bulbs are 10k. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanking you in advance, Joshua Scialdone <Please see here for some additional information, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cold.htm -Steven Pro>

Sub-tropical marine species Hi Bob, <Anthony Calfo in his stead, my friend> Hope all is well with you. <and the same to you in kind> Do you know of any commercially available sub tropical species that would do well in a 44g seahorse coral kept at 71.6 degrees? <if seeking species of fishes: my advice would be to avoid most or all. Seahorses are so patently gentle and require so much food that most other fishes will be a significant burden and direct competition for food. They really fare best in species tanks only> Are there any soft corals that will do well at this temperature? <there certainly are a both soft and hard coral species that live very fine in this range, however all such invertebrates are protected in US waters and none others are imported that I know of. I recently tried to secure temperate invertebrates from CANADA and discovered that the process was somewhat complicated and the sources were too distant for safe transit> The Baensch Marine Atlas has 21 degrees celcus(71.6 F) listed as the low end of the temp range for quite a few species. I was wondering how these fish and corals would do at the low end of their recommended range,  <not recommended because aquarists don't have otherwise ideal parameters like the ocean to support such animals living "on the edge". It really is asking a bit too much IMO> as I usually keep my fish in the mid range of their temp requirements? <agreed...very wise> Thanks as always, Leslie <with kind regards, Anthony>

Re: Sub tropical marine species Hi Anthony, <salute> Thank you for the prompt response and info :). I am a bit bummed that my temperate tank won't be as pretty as my tropical tanks, but then again the magnificent abdominalis should make up for that what my tank will lack in the way of temperate inverts. <Ahhh.. the temperates have their own unique beauty> I understand your concern about keeping seahorses. It certainly is valid and apropos in light of what keeping seahorses meant in the not so distant past. However, I feel compelled to share with you that with the recent advent of commercially available aquacultured seahorses this has dramatically altered what keeping these truly incredible creatures means for all of us who have fallen so deeply in love with them. No disrespect intended here.  <understood and agreed> Your willingness to share your knowledge, expertise and experience is always greatly appreciated. I always look so forward to the warm, patient, gentle, caring, and humor laced way with which you and Bob respond to so many inquiries. I would like to return the gesture and share with you some of my experience keeping these incredible creatures if that would be acceptable.  <very welcome with thanks!> Just a friendly exchange of information. If you have heard this before I apologize and hope you do not misunderstand and take offense as none is intended.  <none will be taken... a re-enforcement of knowledge at least> If you have not had an opportunity to keep any of these, ever so amazing captive bred creatures, you would be very pleasantly surprised :)!! We have been blessed and are very fortunate to be able to keep these magical creatures thanks to Ocean Rider, South Australian Seahorse Marine Service and Ocean Oddities. <fine organizations... unfortunately, most queries from aquarists are from individuals that are considering already imported to already purchased wild harvested specimens. Very few people do their homework first and ask us "where to buy" seahorses. In such cases we have been eager to recommend Ocean Rider and Seahorse.org> I have been keeping captive bred seahorses for almost 4 years now. They do not present the typical problems of their WC cousins. They do very well when kept with appropriately chosen gentle tankmates and can actually be quite aggressive eaters. They are healthy, hearty and willingly accept and thrive on frozen foods. <and properly handled wild caught ones will do the same.. unfortunately, most are mishandled or starved on import. A few years or even decades has not changes the inherent physiology of the animal. We are simply blessed with properly handled and well conditioned tank-raised specimens> They are quite amazing. Believe it or not most are more aggressive eaters than you would ever expect. Mine race from all areas of the tank when those first few shrimp start to scatter about in the gentle current. They eat frozen foods one to 2 times a day depending on their size and age. The diet recommended by the breeders......Ocean Rider, South Australian Seahorse Marine Services and Ocean Oddities ....consists mainly of frozen Mysis as well as enriched frozen bs, with occasional live treats. The availability of commercially CB seahorses has made keeping these magical creatures in our homes a reality for so many more than the previously recommended advanced marine aquarists only. In fact my very first marine aquarium was set up for CB Ocean Rider seahorses. I did very well, as did the ponies. I found they were not much more difficult that many of the freshwater fish I had previously kept. I just recently lost my first pair of Ocean Riders to a tank crash. I had them 4 years or so. They were in excellent health prior to the crash. <this is very fine for aquarists with species tanks for seahorses, but I may never recommend even CB specimens for the mixed community fish tanks that most aquarists would like to put them in> Have you had the opportunity to visit www.seahorse.org.  <yes... a very fine site to be recommended> I am proud and honored to be one of 13 directors. We have over 800 members and a very active board. Jan 1, 2003 will be our 2 year anniversary. Our members are keeping seahorses very successfully in modified species tanks with the appropriate carefully chosen tankmates. They are thriving.....growing, colorful, active, courting, breeding and reproducing viable fry. We usually recommend allowing the horses to settle into the tank, get comfortable and establish an eating routine prior to adding any tankmates. Although they usually eat within hours of being acclimated if food is offered. <excellent> The tankmates we suggest are gentle fish of course, including species from the following groups.....gobies, Jawfish, dragonets, non-algae eating blennies, Firefish, assessors, Cardinalfish, and the lined, fairy or flasher wrasses.  <agreed... and not recommended with aggressive common community fishes like damsels, clowns, tangs and angels> I have found my captive bred seahorses seem to show interest in and enjoy the tankmates. In addition to the tankmates listed above, Ocean Rider actually recommends and has clients keeping them successfully with Percula Clowns, some Butterflies, Tangs and Wrasses, recommending avoidance of Damsels, Triggers, Tomato Clowns, Anemones, and any aggressive fish. <without limitations I would disagree with some of the above> Some of our members have kept the horses successfully with Fridmani Pseudochromis and I have kept them with a pair of Black Cap Basslets without any problems.  <they are actually peaceful fishes... no surprise, and what beauties they are!> As with any tankmate I always recommend adding all tankmates with caution keeping a very watchful eye, with the understanding that the fish will be removed at the first sign of any misbehavior.  <very wise> As I have found even the most peaceful fish occasionally seem to have a "roguish" bad apple requiring strict disciplinary action.......removal and relocation. <agreed> For the occasional slow eaters we get around the food competition issue by feeding the tank first and/or target feeding the slow pokes with a turkey baster. I have found this works very well. I hope what I shared was helpful and not in anyway repetitious for you or offensive <very helpful... thanks again for sharing> Thanks for listening I know how incredibly busy you must be. <a labor of love :) > With Kind Regards, Leslie <best regards, Anthony>

Mussels Hi Bob, I was wondering if adding New Jersey sea animals to my aquarium is a good idea. (Your thinking probably not???)  <Depends... on whether they're physiologically, physically, behaviorally compatible... to what you can offer> My aquarium is a 30 gallon fish and hardy invert tank set up for a few months. Its got a Prism skimmer and a Marineland Emperor filter, and 20 lbs of live rock and 3 lbs of live sand. It contains 4 blue leg hermit crabs, a damselfish, and 2 porcelain crabs. I was thinking of adding mussels, crabs of different sorts, and maybe a few other bivalves. I see many butterfly clams (Donax variabilis) on the shore especially at low tide. Is it wise to include them into my tank, or should I just find other things to put in it? Thanks much for putting up with me, Jen. <Well, this is really a small volume of water... what will you do when it's the equivalent time of winter there? Return the native animals? Get a chilling mechanism and remove the tropical animals? I encourage you to study what the shore there has to offer (much, have been to NJ numerous times), and perhaps put up a specialty tank that mimics the conditions (thermal, current, lighting...) of some part of the offshore environment and attempt to keep a few types of organisms you have a desire to study further. Bob Fenner>

Deep Water Bob: Just watched an amazing show on Discover Channel (Blue Planet) about deep sea life. <Yes... a factoid re the depth of water on this planet. If all land were smoothed, it would be some ten thousand feet deep (shades of Waterworld!). And though light, dissolved gas is limited there, much diversity and abundance of life to be found in other than the thin skin which is the pelagic zone>   There are truly amazing creatures down there - I especially like the luminescent variety like the anglers (use light for bait) and the shrimp the can set luminescent "depth charges" to confuse predators. Anyway, my question is: have you ever encountered a man-made environment, like a tank that displays these creatures?  (Kind of like the dark rooms at zoos for nocturnes) <Mmm, yes. There have been public aquarium and research set-ups that 1) lack light, 2) are kept very cold... to house abyssal life... types that could be hauled up as such> I would think that would really be something to see - I'm sure having a home display of these would be much too difficult.  Could these creatures survive at low pressure, or would their tank have to be pressurized or something? <Some, like Giant Isopods, are routinely kept, fishes thus far don't "make it".> Boy, you think Angels are expensive; I would hate to see prices on THESE deep-sea dwellers! <We will see this... some day soon in my estimation> Regards <Thank you for writing. Bob Fenner>

Dungeness crabs in a home aquarium? I live in Tacoma Washington and do a lot of fishing and crabbing. I was wondering if you had any ideas or pointers on keeping Dungeness crabs in a home aquarium for later consumption. I haven't been able to find anything on the internet on care and requirements for Dungeness. <Dungeness crabs are very tolerant of a wide range of salinities, as you know, they are often found in estuarine areas, I would recommend full salinity (33-35 ppt). Also, unless you are pumping in natural seawater for the system, I would foresee a chiller as being necessary. Being carnivorous, they could be pretty easily fed a ration of shellfish/shrimp/crabs and similar foodstuffs. Beyond these considerations, I would think normal good aquarium husbandry would be the only issue to their keeping.> Thank You, Morgan Moroni <Best, Chris>

Keeping locals (cool/cold water marines) To all the wonderful WWM staff (especially Anthony) Please have your coldwater specialist answer this      As a So. Cal. resident, going to piers often, and seeing on an almost regular basis many pet trade specimens (sharks and rays) 2 of which I have seen at my LFS.  I have never known what they were except a famous few, but would like some care data on my locals, especially the ones I am interested in.  They are numbered an listed in the order I would like them.  As previously mentioned,  I am looking into a 220 gal tank, and cold water is still an option.  Their captures will be mentioned also.  First, Zapteryx exasperata.  Is it 'exasperating' to keep (pun intended)? <Nope. Refers to markings> I find this to have an occasional appearance at the piers.  Second is Rhinobatos productus, <Note to readers, these are Guitarfishes... dorso-ventrally flattened Elasmobranchs (shark relatives)> These are there almost every other time I go.  This is also the one at the LFS, but it was kept at 78 degrees! <Not well or for long>   Is there a similar looking species that it could have been, but then again, there was also a Urobatis halleri <I changed the spelling> in there.  What would be first, but there is the size constraint, is Triakis semifasciata. <Too big, active for such a small, rectangular system>   I found this to be much more than semifascinating. (pun again intended)  My friend hooked one of these himself, fishing for a Productus. His 180 gal was lowered to 75 pushing it for both the shark and the tangs.  Final for the locals I wish for is Urobatis halleri.  This was interesting later, as a different fish was identified as one.  That story was with a small Myliobatis californica.  One about a foot and a half wide was pulled in by my friend, and believing it to be a stinger, went to cut it off. <Yikes... this fish gets VERY big... as wide in the wild as your tank is long> Finding none, he assumed some thing had happened, and the stinger had fallen off.  He took it home, lowered the temp of his cage again, (the leopard went to 3 feet, and was released)  Now he had two rays, a blue-spotted and an eagle (unknowingly)  He took good care of it, but it succumbed to temperature poisoning (as we call it) 75 degrees wasn't good enough for it.  It lived about 16 months.  I could not find them on your site, at least not their name specifically, the sand shark.  I believe it to be either Heterodontus francisci (most likely) or Cephaloscyllium ventriosum.  Do you know about the advanced care of either of these? <Try the Google search tool on the WWM homepage (bottom left)>      Now enough with the stories.  what kind of chiller would I need? <Kind as in size? There are calculators for draw down (the diff. between ambient and desired temp.) by volume... I would look for at least a 1/2 HP unit> To take a load off the chiller, could I make ice cubes from RO water to use for evaporation top off? <You could... but this is very laborious, tiring>   What kind of lighting, substrate, etc.  would I need? <Please reference the sections on WWM on coldwater systems... the links therein>   What type of filter media would I need? Carbon, bio-balls, filter pads, etc.  Would I need a current, or a wavemaker? What type of decor is possible?  I saw your site that says little decor.  How much would they eat? <All covered on the site>   Looking at a possible placement of smaller food-sized fish or inverts for a shark or ray in a separate tank.  aka grunion and other small bait fish, or sand crabs, urchins, etc..  Would I be able to keep a water dweller (leopard) with a sand dweller (banded guitarfish)? <Could be done in a large enough system. Hundreds to thousands of gallons>   Please save me from giving the same fate as the poor eagle ray. Thanks for your time, another person named Bob <Bob, time to "hit the books". Bob Fenner>

New coldwater ideas Hi Bob! I am once again looking into a coldwater system, but on a much grander scale.  I am looking at a 900 gallon acrylic system. (I was just reading about the insulative advantages of acrylic over glass in coldwater on your site) It will be 10' long by 4' wide by 3' tall. <Neat> the stand will be a reinforced steel frame used in hardware stores, covered in wood for a more aesthetic appearance, and will also have a 220 Tidepool/bait/refugium tank in the bottom middle of the stand. It will have multiple reinforcing walls inside the stand. For filtering, I am looking at a large fluidized bed going to a wet dry (the wet-dry to help reoxygenate the water after the fluidized bed sucks out all the oxygen. the chillers will be custom made from some DIY plans off the 'net, I will probably make 2 to 4 before I get the temp at a steady 60-66 F  Its going to be outside (if/when I get it) so no artificial lighting will be used except for red bulbs for nighttime viewing. I might put 1 or 2 full spectrum bulbs on the Tidepool, for the algae. Are there any commercially available coldwater algae-eating snails? <Yes... or should I say, there are wholesalers who purchase cool/coldwater ones from the U.S. west coast and these are available, often sold as tropicals> do you know about the legalities of collecting organisms and rock from tide pools/rubble areas? <A little. Is this for California? All States have their "fish and game" groups, laws, licenses/taxes... and there are protected areas, sizes, often seasons, limits, species... contact the "fish and game" (sometimes called by other terms, e.g. Dept. Natural Resources... re what they require, limit> is it legal to purchase fish (horn/swell sharks and guitarfish especially) off the piers and keep them? <I think so. Quite a task gearing up for these moves though... but a very worthwhile adventure... need good battery operated air pumps, a 12v ("cigarette lighter") fluid moving pump... can be had from bait/tackle shops...> If you want them, I can send you some of my plans from the computer (it is not entirely exact, the refugium may need to become smaller if more chillers are required) Thank You, Robert <Send it/them along when you have them done or thereabouts. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Cold water marine tank in the UK, collecting Actinia    4/16/06 Hello, <Hi there> I'm very much into tropical freshwater fish keeping and would like to start looking into keeping a cold water British saltwater tank. I haven't been able to find that much information which goes into enough detail for me. <Mmm, there are some very good books (e.g. by Dick Mills), even magazines (Marine World) that give good coverage here... and some very worthwhile articles worth pursuing by Dave Wrobel... requiring a large library/college visit likely> The tank I would be using is 33in long by 15 in wide and 18in high. I would really like to keep some /Actinia equina/ or similar with some small fish. Where would I find /Actinia equina /easily? <... Perhaps a stockist... otherwise a biological supply house> I'm not into diving etc but getting to the coast isn't a problem for me, I currently live in South end, Essex. <Do check re local laws concerning collection> The tank is lit by 2 x 20watt tubes. I currently have this tank setup as a planted tropical tank and the lower light loving plants seem to do well. Getting my hands on a aquarium chiller isn't a problem. Maybe I can speak to someone on the phone to find out more or be put in contact with someone who already keeps such a tank? thanks for your time, Graeme King. <Try some of the local hobby clubs that are nearby. Contact info. can be found re in the back of Marine World Magazine. Bob Fenner> Live rock in a cold water marine system  11/7/05 Hello crew <Hi there Patrick> I kind of have a dumb question if you don't mind; could cured tropical live rock be placed in a cold water marine setup, without affecting the beneficial bacteria? <Mmm, depends on how much cooler... will subtend metabolism... might create a physiological stop for a time... but usually some will live, prosper a few days, to weeks later> Thank you for your time, Patrick. <Cheers, Bob Fenner> 

Coldwater Hermit Crabs in a tropical arrangement? 10/31/05 Hello WWM Crew, I have a 25 gallon SW tank. Currently the tank is set at 78 degrees. I was wondering if a coldwater hermit crab species could live in my tank. I live in Monterey, California where there are many local tide pools that are occupied by many hermit crabs. I've looked online and the hermit crab species is Pagurus samuelis. I figured that since they are tide pool dwelling animals they are acclimated to frequent changes in their habitat,  <Good point> such as temperature, so they may be able to be ok at 78 degrees. What is your opinion? Thanks, Taylor. <Might adjust... if tried/introduced during the warmer time of the year... but don't think these will live well or long kept in a tropical setting. Bob Fenner> 

Cold marine tank question- anemones and lighting -- 03/18/07 Dear WWM denizens, <Of the deep?> I've enjoyed your FAQs quite a bit, but am finding it tricky to find information on setting up a cold marine tank. <We don't have much... yet. Do a search about for the written works of Dave Wrobel here...>   I have found the wonderful people at coldwaterfish (a yahoo group) and the occasional lurker on saltwaterfish.com knows something about cold marine tanks, but still am encountering difficulties. <Okay...> I have a 1/6 hp chiller, protein skimmer, and powerhead, in my 29 gallon tank.  I'm writing today to ask you about anemones.  My tank is going to be a sea star dominated tank- <It's kind of small...> I'll have 1 bat star and probably two ochre stars, <Patiria and Pisaster? Know them well...> but I'd also like to have a couple of anemones.  No (or maybe 1) fish, a couple of hermits, a couple of snails, that's it. <Mmm, again... wish this tank were bigger> Does anyone on WWM know about lighting requirements and Pacific NW anemones? My initial research indicates that they need less light than tropical anemones, and indeed, that even fluorescent lighting would be sufficient for a couple of small anemones. <Do need some of the same requirements... of temp., CRI as other Actinarians from the tropics... not as much intensity...> Your response is most appreciated.  Thanks again for being there on the web. Rachel <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/index.htm Scroll down to the Anemone tray, the bits on lighting... And do consider penning an article or twenty on this field! Bob Fenner>

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