An Epic Reef Part 8 – Best friends forever

An Epic Reef Part 8 – Best friends forever

This post is part 8 of the epic reef series.

Good news: Lily, our tiger pistol shrimp, is doing better. She seems to have recovered from the attack of the bad crab (see Part 7 – Crab and shrimp saga). Her claws grew back and she started digging again.

Shrimp and Goby Symbiosis

Lily’s best friend is Gandalf, the watchman goby. Always on the lookout, he monitors the perimeter. He is ready to warn his friend in case of danger, as if he was about to throw a resounding “you shall not pass”!

Lily is listening because her eyesight is not very good, so she often keeps an antenna in contact with the goby. In exchange for her protection, she is happy to dig relentlessly an underground mansion in which they can both take refuge.

The two friends share their home and food. In the wild, their symbiosis allows gobies to lay their eggs and breed in the shelter of the tunnels that they are not able to dig by themselves.

Shrimp at Work

When it comes to digging, Lily does it very well. It’s one of the most fun animals to watch in our little marine world (I’ll share the others soon). She is constantly expanding her underground empire. Not to mention that she does not only dig, she solidifies the entrance to her palace with the help of shells she finds on her path.

Shell Solidified Entrance
Shell Solidified Entrance

Here is a small video of our shrimp at work, under the supervision of her friend the goby.

Other Symbioses

Clown Fish and Anemone

Another common symbiosis in reef aquariums is the one which unites clown fishes with their anemone. The anemone offers protection against predators and the clown fish provides crumbs of food during its passage. This is made possible by the unique ability of clown fishes to secrete a substance similar to the irritating mucus of their host, which protects them unlike other species.

In nature, the protection of an anemone is absolutely necessary for the survival and reproduction of clown fishes. They are usually territorial and only one couple will occupy each anemone and even defend it against intruders if necessary. Our clowns have probably been raised in aquariums because so far, they completely ignored the anemone. After several weeks of cohabitation, they just started yesterday to approach it slightly. To be followed… I can not wait to see them rub in it.

Clown Fishes Not Interested in the Anemone
Clown Fishes Not Interested in the Anemone

Cleaning Service

Another hard worker of our aquarium is our little shrimp Antoinette. This small lysmata shrimp loves to offer a cleaning to the fish of her entourage. They position themselves within her reach and she strips them of all the tiny residues that cling to their scales. I tried to make a video of this activity to show it to you even though my fish Ti-Mé wanted all the attention for himself.

Valentine’s Day Gift

I’ll end with the romantic Valentine’s Day gift I received: a beautiful red starfish and a pretty pink sea urchin. Even their colors are in the theme of the love celebration!

Valentine Day's Present
Valentine Day’s Present
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