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Bloom of life in my shrimp tank - including hydra!

This is a discussion on Bloom of life in my shrimp tank - including hydra! within the Invertebrates forums, part of the Freshwater and Tropical Fish category; --> Originally Posted by Tha Bizness Today I found more Hydra. It appears some individuals now have buds growing off of them forming new hydra. ...

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Bloom of life in my shrimp tank - including hydra!
Old 02-03-2012, 03:47 PM   #11
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tha Bizness View Post
Today I found more Hydra. It appears some individuals now have buds growing off of them forming new hydra.
Yes, that is exactly how their asexual reproduction was described. In nature, this only occurs when resources are plentiful. When food supplies dwindle (typically as winter approaches), hydra begin to reproduce sexually resulting in fertilized eggs that can overwinter or otherwise weather the storm until conditions improve.

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Originally Posted by Tha Bizness View Post
They seem to stay in a small localized area still and have only colonized a small area of the simulated driftwood in the tank. It also looks as two individuals have climbed to the end of a strand of java moss and their foot(s) are now combined on it. They just sit at the end of the strand waving in the current.
This is textbook as well. They can move by sort of inchworming their way across the substrate, or by drifting in current, but they prefer to conserve energy and catch prey in exactly the manner you described.

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Originally Posted by Tha Bizness View Post
I saw a smaller sized dead shrimp in the area of the hydra colony. I didn't remove him but the tank took care of his body within a hour or two. It appeared to be eaten by other shrimp and snails.
It's possible it was killed by a hydra, but I'd be surprised if their method of capturing prey proved to be so inefficient (i.e., killing without feeding). If they do start eating shrimp, you ought to be able to tell. Digestion is said to take a couple days with indigestible portions of the prey being more or less regurgitated a few days after consumption. Because of the color of the RCS, I'm guessing they'll be visible while enclosed within the hydra.

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They are growing in number. I also have seen a huge decrease of the little brown swimming spots.
More evidence suggesting that the little brown swimming spots are cyclops or daphnia. I would guess that their dwindling numbers could lead to a couple different outcomes:

1) The hydra feast until their preferred food runs out, stash some fertilized eggs around your tank and die off. This is probably what happened in the cases where people described the hydra outbreak as very quickly appearing and disappearing without intervention. If this proves to be the case, watch out for an ammonia spike if there's a mass die-off and they all start decomposing.

2) The hydra feast until their preferred food runs out, then acquire a taste for your shrimplets.

Either way, I continue to encourage you to stay the course and see what happens next. You've always got the Spixi in your back pocket if you decide to eradicate! Incidentally, you might want to start looking now. I did a quick search for Spixi snails and couldn't find any for sale from the usual suspects.

Last edited by onemanswarm; 02-03-2012 at 03:50 PM..
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Old 02-06-2012, 07:58 PM   #12
 
6 days after seeing my first hydra they have established a nice little colony. Not sure how much longer im going to keep this going as their population has exploded to the point where I have seen hydra floating thru the water column. I may throw a couple of bolivian rams in there to see if they can take care of the issue with out using chemicals. I have had no luck finding Spixi snails to control the issue.


I was able to image the hydra group... A pic is here: Hydra Colony | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
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Old 02-06-2012, 08:56 PM   #13
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tha Bizness View Post
6 days after seeing my first hydra they have established a nice little colony. Not sure how much longer im going to keep this going as their population has exploded to the point where I have seen hydra floating thru the water column. I may throw a couple of bolivian rams in there to see if they can take care of the issue with out using chemicals. I have had no luck finding Spixi snails to control the issue.


I was able to image the hydra group... A pic is here: Hydra Colony | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
Okay I already wanted to hang out with you just because of your crazy shrimp tank. Then I saw your telescope. Your astrophotography is awesome dude! If you should find yourself shooting in northern Illinois in need of a caddy to haul some gear and act all giddy seeing Messier objects, PM me any time!

Revised list of things to do if my wife dies before me:
1) Become a falconer
2) Become an astrophotographer
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Old 02-06-2012, 09:19 PM   #14
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tha Bizness View Post
6 days after seeing my first hydra they have established a nice little colony. Not sure how much longer im going to keep this going as their population has exploded to the point where I have seen hydra floating thru the water column. I may throw a couple of bolivian rams in there to see if they can take care of the issue with out using chemicals. I have had no luck finding Spixi snails to control the issue.


I was able to image the hydra group... A pic is here: Hydra Colony | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
FWIW, I was looking for info about Bolivian rams eating hydra and found a couple threads where hydra appeared in a tank with BRs. Blue Gourami seem to be the hydra specialists of choice, but they'll almost certainly go for your RCS in addition to (or even instead of) the hydra.

A few thoughts:
1) If they seem to be centered on the simulated driftwood, could you scoop it out of the tank and scrape them off?
2) Some people encourage dosing hydrogen peroxide (2mL per gallon per day) making sure that it makes direct contact with the hydra.
3) There's also a dog deworming medication on the market (fenbendazole) that will take them out. Some claim it worked without impacting other inverts. Others suggest it poses a big risk to shrimp/snails.

A couple questions:
1) Are you still seeing any of the suspected daphnia/cyclops?
2) How are the RCS doing? Any hydra-related casualties?
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Old 02-07-2012, 10:25 AM   #15
 
I see dwindling numbers of the suspected daphnia/cyclops which is why I think they have taken to drifting on the currents. The ones I see drifting my guess are more mature and larger then most. The ones that are drifting I have been watching get sucked up in the filter where they are cut up into tiny pieces. I don't know they die or regenerate in the filter floss...

I am going to keep this going for a bit longer but I am concerned with how fast the hydra population has grown. The images on my page are blown up of course so u really can't get an idea of scale but they are starting to take over a small area of the driftwood.

I have seen no hydra related RCS deaths but if a shrimp was to die - it would be eaten pretty quickly by the hungry snail population.

Off topic - thanks for the comments on the astrophotography. It is a passion of mine that I don't do enough of these days. I moved recently to a much more light polluted area so its kinda taken a backburner. I have been thinking of going into microscopic photography to satisfy that passion. I like taking photographs of things that are there but we just cant see for whatever reason.
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Old 02-07-2012, 01:04 PM   #16
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tha Bizness View Post
I see dwindling numbers of the suspected daphnia/cyclops which is why I think they have taken to drifting on the currents. The ones I see drifting my guess are more mature and larger then most. The ones that are drifting I have been watching get sucked up in the filter where they are cut up into tiny pieces. I don't know they die or regenerate in the filter floss...

I am going to keep this going for a bit longer but I am concerned with how fast the hydra population has grown. The images on my page are blown up of course so u really can't get an idea of scale but they are starting to take over a small area of the driftwood.

I have seen no hydra related RCS deaths but if a shrimp was to die - it would be eaten pretty quickly by the hungry snail population.

Off topic - thanks for the comments on the astrophotography. It is a passion of mine that I don't do enough of these days. I moved recently to a much more light polluted area so its kinda taken a backburner. I have been thinking of going into microscopic photography to satisfy that passion. I like taking photographs of things that are there but we just cant see for whatever reason.
Careful for an ammonia spike if the hydra do start dying off en masse. You're probably right about them riding the current in search of greener pastures. Keep us posted on the progress whatever you choose to do. In the meantime, I'll keep an eye out for Spixi snails.

A couple years ago, I was doing some backyard binocular astronomy and found Andromeda for the first time. I was fundamentally changed by the realization that the light I was perceiving had traveled for 2.5 million years before implanting itself in my retinotopic map. It must feel good to track down those objects and capture their image in such impressive fashion!
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Old 02-10-2012, 01:02 PM   #17
 
Tank update:

Looks like there was a massive birth of the unidentified swimming dots recently. The visible hydra population continues to increase but the larger older members of that population seem to have moved elsewhere or detached themselves from the colony and were sucked into the HOB filter. The remaining members show budding so I expect another boom in visible hydra soon as they detach from their 'parent'

I did see a dead juvie shrimp yesterday. My daughter said she watched one drop dead the other day after being by the hydra colony. On a side note my daughters class is studying hydra. My daughter told her teacher and my pics are being used in the lesson now..

To observer individual hydra I use a Canon DSLR w/ a 200mm macro lens. The canon has "live view" so I can see these animals 'close up' in real time. Pretty cool. I wish I had the version of the Rebel that can do video.

On astronomy - I was hooked the first time I saw Saturn.
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Old 02-13-2012, 06:13 AM   #18
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tha Bizness View Post
Tank update:

Looks like there was a massive birth of the unidentified swimming dots recently. The visible hydra population continues to increase but the larger older members of that population seem to have moved elsewhere or detached themselves from the colony and were sucked into the HOB filter. The remaining members show budding so I expect another boom in visible hydra soon as they detach from their 'parent'

I did see a dead juvie shrimp yesterday. My daughter said she watched one drop dead the other day after being by the hydra colony. On a side note my daughters class is studying hydra. My daughter told her teacher and my pics are being used in the lesson now..

To observer individual hydra I use a Canon DSLR w/ a 200mm macro lens. The canon has "live view" so I can see these animals 'close up' in real time. Pretty cool. I wish I had the version of the Rebel that can do video.

On astronomy - I was hooked the first time I saw Saturn.
Your hydra pictures are amazing. Figured you must have had some pretty powerful glass at your disposal! I'm not at all surprised to hear that your images are being put to good use in your daughter's class. She'll certainly have a leg up on her classmates when she takes the hydra quiz. In the meantime, you should enter the shot of the hydra on the leaf of the sword in the photo of the month competition on this site. I'd vote for it! So hard to get a sharp shot of something so small, especially in an aquarium.
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Old 02-13-2012, 12:10 PM   #19
 
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p.s. Are those Hydra eggs or maybe nymphs on the leaves adjacent to the adult hydra in the pic? Seriously, submit that photo for the contest! That's one of the coolest aquarium shots I've ever seen.

Any chance you'd be able to image the suspected daphnia/cyclops without a microscope? If not, maybe that's your excuse to get the microscope you've been thinking about!
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Old 02-13-2012, 03:42 PM   #20
 
Ill check the image when I get home. If its what I think then I wasn't able to blow up enough to tell. I did try to image the 'fast moving dots' but zoomed in it just looked like a white football.

Tank update - The hydra have pretty much populated the entire tank and on track to over take it. I see them on the glass, the plants, and other equipment in the tank. They are all over. Many that I see have buds growing on them.

I have decided to end the 'experiment' - I added a dewormer known to kill hydra late yesterday and within a couple of hours noticed the individual hydra starting to die. We will see if this kills them. The interesting thing tho is that after I added the dewormer the small worms in the tank started going crazy and started swimming thru the water column in large numbers.

I haven't looked at the tank since last night but I expect them to be dead when I get home.

I must admit I did enjoy observing this all taking place. I wish I could have found an invert predator of the hydra. That would have been interesting variable to add.

Ill add the image to the contest. Thanks for your comments!
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