Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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sillyzoedog 07-25-2008 10:19 PM

coral, live rock, and shells
i have these extra shells that we included in a purchase that i made of home and now i see these wormy looking things crawling in and out of them, what are those?

with the live rock, does coral grow from it? i have noticed changes in my live rock since i got it a few weeks ago.

is coral difficult to maintain/take care of? people say it is, but why?

SKAustin 07-26-2008 03:05 AM

The "wormy looking things" could be any number of things. There are hundreds of marine based worms that could be found in your system. Without photos, or at least a better description, any attempt at an ID would be a complete shot in the dark.

Can you be a bit more descriptive of the "changes" you are observing in your live rock? Generally, when you buy live rock, It is quite "dirty" looking. Once it's been introduced to your system, Fish, Snails, Crabs, Starfish, and various worms will begin to feed off of the "dirty" stuff (mostly dead hitchhikers and coral, plant life, and detritus). Over a relatively short period of time, the rocks will start to take on a cleaner appearance. If conditions are proper, you will also start to see coralline algae growth on your rocks. Eventually, you rocks will become well covered in nice purple and/or red coralline. It is possible to see hitchhiker corals emerge from the live rock, and providing they are kept in proper conditions, it is possible for them to thrive. The downside to this is, in most cases, the hitchhiker corals are plain and unattractive. The corals you see in most aquariums are usually either glued to their rocks, or strategically placed/mounted so that they can grow and take foothold to the rocks.

Corals are very delicate, sessile (in most cases), invertebrate animals (that's right, animals, not plants) that have special needs.
Corals require proper lighting, as most feed off of zooanthelle algae that grows within their bodies.
Corals require constant flow (current) within the tank to keep them clean, shed old "skin", and to bring planktonic food from within the water column to them.
Corals require proper levels of calcium, bicarbonate, magnesium, and other ions for continued growth and health.
Corals require impeccable husbandry as water changes are needed not only to remove nutrients, but also to replenish the major and minor ions in the saltwater.
Some corals even require spot feeding for continued survival.
And the thing that perhaps makes it seem difficult, is that different corals require different levels of all of the above.

But essentially; No, corals are not difficult to care for. They require more attention, and better understanding. They require a more devoted hobbyist, as Reef Tanks require daily attention.

Hope that helps

sillyzoedog 07-26-2008 06:01 AM

thanks, yes that helps a lot-thanks for your time!

SKAustin 07-26-2008 06:56 AM

You're Welcome

sillyzoedog 07-27-2008 08:17 PM

I did figure out that they were bristle worms, from what I read, it is best to remove them, so I got them out right away.

sillyzoedog 07-27-2008 08:30 PM

sk-just checked out your tank photos, your salt tank is incredible, i love it. i am just working with a 29 gallon, but am working my way up to 55 or 75g. just taking it slow and learning everything i can. i also loved your cichlid tank, that is actually where i came from-we've kept cichlids for the past 5 years. i really had a hard time with the aggressiveness of the cichlids...but i loved their personalities at the same time-they are so interesting to watch.

SKAustin 07-27-2008 10:21 PM

Thank you for the Compliments, It's a labor of love.

As for the bristleworms, contrary to what you may have read, the common Bristleworms (pink front end, grayish-black tail end) are very beneficial to your system. If you still have the little guy, I'd toss 'em back into the tank. They are scavengers and often take care of dead snails, crabs, and fish that may otherwise have gone unnoticed.

sillyzoedog 07-28-2008 03:40 PM

ok, thanks! unfortunately, these guys are long gone, but i will keep that in mind for the future....what a learning process!

SKAustin 07-28-2008 05:26 PM


Originally Posted by sillyzoedog
....what a learning process!

Yes it is. Don't worry, you'll get the hang of things in due time.

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