This post is part 10 of the epic reef series.
Life undersea is so different from the terrestrial beings we are used to! Corals look like plants but they are really animals that have to be fed food. Life forms like urchins and starfishes move in a fascinating way. Invertabrates continually surprise me. And the fishes, well, they just act like regular fishes, nothing strange about those. This is why this post will concentrate on all the other creatures.
Small Polyp Stony Corals
These corals are rigids, and the frags we have mostly just look like sticks. Sebonaut really likes them.
Soft Corals, Large Polyp Stony Corals and Anemones
Because they are soft, anemones and soft corals display a relaxing movement with their polyps and tips that move with the current.
Most can completely close themselves to sleep at night or if they feel threatened. The picture below shows a few of the many shapes our bubble-tip anemone can take. It is also able to move itself elsewhere, if the location is not to its liking!
Zoas, as people call them, are soft corals that are very common in saltwater aquariums because they are easy to care for and come in a variety of astonishing colors. They look like little flowers. So much that I decided to build myself a zoa garden (soon). They also close at night.
Here are a few more corals we added, just because. You know, there is no such thing as too many sorts of corals. Well, not too many yet.
Shrimps and Hermit Crabs
Invertebrates are really my favorites. I’ve told you before about my shrimps: the tiger pistol shrimp, the peppermint shrimp and the lysmata cleaning shrimp. We also have a bunch of hermit crabs, but their number is slowly but surely going down as they kill each other over the best seashells. Even though we added plenty of empty shells to the tank…
Then, there are crabs. I did not want to get any more crabs after the crab-shrimp saga (see Part 7 – Crab and shrimp saga ). But, the pom-pom crab is sooooo cute. It’s the middle one in the photo collage with the shrimps just above. He really is my favorite aquarium inhabitant, even though I rarely see him because he prefers to come out at night. He holds a tiny stinging living anemone in each claw and waves them at anyone who tries to mess with him. This is why it is also called a boxer crab (Lybia). He only drops the anemones when he is moulting, but he takes them back as soon as this is over. He also uses the anemones to pick up food everywhere, which feeds the anemones at the same time.
Well, we got one more crab just after I wrote this. It is an emerald crab. It is supposed to be reef safe. In the epicture below, you also see the new rock that we added to rebuild a stronger arch in the right side of the aquarium.
Urchin, Snails and Starfishes
We also have a few non-legged invertebrates. That includes my Valentine’s Day present (red starfish and pink urchin). Unfortunately, we sold the urchin, which we nicknamed bulldozer, because it kept breaking our most fragile corals. The buyer said he had plenty of algae in his aquarium, the urchin is probably going to enjoy it more over there.
Of course, we have plenty of small, medium and large snails, astraea and turbo. They are really good at eating algae.
Back to the starfish. I made a video of it moving. It is faster than you’d expect. Kind of a fast slow movement.
So, that’s it for the tour, I hope you enjoyed it.