Tuesday, August 7, 2007

MIRROR MIRROR

 mirror mirror DSCN3898
This is an image I shot in a friend`s tank. He owns an aquarium store in the valley.
This is a great shot to explain a few things about corals. These all come from somewhere, & one might image eventually there would be none left in the wild. None of these corals come from wild natural reefs. Those who are horticulturally savvy, know very well how nice it is to have a friend ask you for a cutting of your prize flowers or some of your special bulbs. Likewise with corals, a cutting will start a complete new colony. In the left foreground is a soft coral. It has no calciferous skeleton. Every little nub on it will produce a new coral. With a razor blade, slicing a piece off, then securing it to a piece of rock with reef safe epoxy or even a loose rubber band, will make a nice addition to ones reef. Within a few months it will look like the parent coral.
All the corals in this tank are clippings from a mother coral or parent coral. Sure, but it had to come from the ocean somewhere.
Absolutely, but you only need a small piece of one to get a new colony started without destroying the parent one. More & more, marine husbandry is advancing to where most clams, & there are some gigantic ones of unimaginable colors, are raised for the trade. We`ll get to trade again in a few . Most of the fish you might normally see, [if you`re a reefer] are now captive bred. This not only lessens the removal of these specimens from the oceans, but during the study of these animals, valuable information about them is discovered which aids in the increasing knowledge of how to protect our oceans. I`ve not met any reefers who did not have a reverence for the oceans & their inhabitants. Another aspect that is not understood is the fact that these animals are captive. In the wild, the animals most aquarist keep, would never venture any further than the limits a tank defines. A shrimp is not found six miles away next week; it has it`s little area it has carved out & in which it finds enough food & enough protection. It will spend possibly 25 years in the same location along with the fish who have determined their own little spots to live their lives. When stocking a tank, one must consider which specimens they would like to keep. This then has to be parsed into who eats who, till one has a selection that includes predators & prey from the top to the bottom. It would not work out, not to mention quite costly, to have a fish that has soon devoured all the others. There is also the consideration of where the fish naturally live on a wild reef. Some fish are crest inhabitants, others are substrate inhabitants & form their little holes in which to carry on their lives . There are cruisers that may be herbivors & cruise the whole reef feeding on algea.
Still, predators are in the tank, but we feed them also, which lessens predation on your specimens. Now that a selection has been made they must be introduced into the tank in an order which allows all of them to live a nice life. The least aggressive fish must be introduced first to allow them to find a nice spot where they can duck into if danger approaches. If you introduce the most aggressives in first, they will chase down the next ones you introduce who have not yet picked a safe spot. They will be killed. So the order of introduction is very important.
Also, once you do introduce a fish, it is very difficult to undo your decision. Catching a fish in a pile of rockwork covered in corals is a really good plan if you`re planning a disaster. So that you better understand reefers dedication to not being a burden on the animals in the oceans & for that matter anywhere, & being advocates everywhere & anywhere for the care of our differing ecosystems, please feel free to ask me about anything that may help you understand the special feelings I have about the animals I have & to answer questions that you may have that are more of a negative nature, possibly because of a lack of understanding how these marvelous reefs work. Now , to get back to trade. Like all trees, plants, shrubs, or grasses, they all grow & must be trimmed. With corals the same is true. We can`t just let corals grow to the point where one is depriving another of light. These are mostly all photosynthetic, so light is a major factor to consider. What to do with all these trimmings? FRAG MEET. There are aquarium clubs everywhere, just as there are sewing circles, photography blogs, motorcycle swap meets & so on. Reefers get together & swap frags, the common name when you cut your corals back & produce fragments of the original. Some reefers are famous for their special kind of species or kind of coral. These are sought after by many, & promises of getting a cutting from the next fragging are pretty much always kept. Reefers are proud of their corals like Margerie, is proud of her roses. So water your gardens & share your Peonies. And please have a great tomorrow.
The eye in the sky, all seeing, in the header is the opposite end of a "Long Spined Urchin". You can click on it for a few more peeks at my mysteries. Also on Planet Earth, a "Christmas Tree worm' in a beautiful color morph can be clicked for a little blues.

21 comments:

AndiF said...

I was going to say "what a fascinating post" but I realized that all your posts are fascinating. It's wonderful to get to be so amazed and educated and entertained first thing in the morning.

Have you ever considered trying to do a photo/essay book? (Possible title: A Year in the Life of an Aquarium)

Family Man said...

I agree with Andi on all you posts and pictures. Wonderful colors today.

Kidspeak said...

Hi, KH,
We've been out of pocket and hadn't checked into your gorgeous site. Great pics, and I've learned so much about the animals you have - not to mention the glorious way you show them.

We went to a restaurant while we were gone - they had two large saltwater fishtanks, and the poor beasties! Told T313 that you'd be even more upset than I was at seeing such mucky looking tanks. I wish they'd stop using sea life as a piece of decor if they don't or can't take proper care.

Knucklehead said...

Good Morning Andif,
I may do that in the near future. Ihave two more tanks I`m setting up & one is almost ready to fill. I`ve been saying that for a year, but now reality is creeping close.
I went & looked at all the wonderful images from your vacation trip via the link at Olivia`s. One thing I noticed throughout was the sounds. I didn`t hear a sound, but the overall one of nature. A very soothing pictorial & the vistas are mind blowing. Please advise Mr. Jim of my impression of these shots. I tried to send a message but it seems to want me to send a postcard to someone.
I imagined myself there at every shot, like a virtual vacation.

Knucklehead said...

Hey FM,
Thanks, have a great day.

Knucklehead said...

GOOOOD MORNING Kidspeak,
You made my day. Thanks for coming.
On a sad note, it is unfortunate that there are some people who don`t even know they`re idiots. Most resonable people would never go back to a business that obviously does not respect the creatures we`ve been charged with taking care of.
So in effect his business could not be improving as well as it would if he maintained a healthy & vibrant tank. It`s too late for that person possible to ever learn but still the animals suffer. In the community of reefers I belong to this is a situation that we report to other members to go check on places like this. If you would send me more info on this place I`ll definitely have it made known to members in that area. You know where I am.
Thanks Kidspeak.

NDD said...

Yep, I agree with the above commentors once again!

"Fascinating" and "educational" definitely being the operative adjectives.

Thanks for the enlightenment on coral acquisition for the reef tanks.

Knucklehead said...

Morning NDD,
I`m used to just rapping about stuff & don`t take into account questions that people may have, things I take for granted. I realize more & more the importance of a place like this. When I go to IVG`s place, I`m amazed at how he knows all the flowers & has links to more info on them. One should go away a little more enlightened when visiting, & have the desire to come back for more. Presenting info in a nice package is good mentally & visually. A sum of both is even better. As you say "Fascinate, Educate & Reciprocate".

AndiF said...

Thanks -- I'll pass that on to Jim (who'll be delighted as he admires your photography greatly).

I think that's one of the best thing about the internet -- the way it let's us share those things that bring us joy and knowledge and wonder.

Knucklehead said...

Good afternoon Andif,
I just recently got involved with this contraption.
I wish I had found out what a computer can do for the benefit of so many a lot sooner. I feel like on overdrive trying to absorb everything about it. It is wonderful, as you say, how so many can come together, on whatever it is, that you can`t touch, it doesn`t smell, it`s always ready, we call the internet. I think it`s good I found this medium as late as I did,
otherwise I might be dangerous. [ to myself].
Jim, the feeling is mutual. I seem to remember you telling some one to take their attitude elsewhere when they cried about the pic from the sixties on the cover of foToFair. I remember the good way you diffused the situation. He was never heard from again.

olivia said...

Hi there Head. This looks like an underwater rainbow ... it's beautiful. I love the idea of a shrimp being happy and living in the same place for 25 years.

Knucklehead said...

Olivia,
It`s even better when you have your buddy with you.
I have shrimp that are basically blind. They live with a seeing eye fish.
They both live in a little burrow that the shrimp digs out, & surrounds the openings with rubble & shells.
As it digs through the substrate, the shrimp uncovers little bug-like animals that the goby eats. When the shrimp leaves the burrow, & he is always out scouting for more rubble to rebuild with, he never goes further than his antennae, is long, from the goby. People say, "AWWH, how did he get blinded?", but they are all blind. If danger approaches, the fish signals the shrimp through it`s antennae, which is always touching the fish. I`ll post a symbiotic pair like them soon.
How`s things Olivia?

olivia said...

Well that story makes it even better ... I'd love to see the shrimp ... and I'd love to see the one w/ the sonic claw -- remember I asked you about that kind of shrimp? It can knock out it's prey by the sound of snapping it's claw?

Things are going okay -- I'm happy to be home ... :)

Knucklehead said...

Olivia,
You`re going to have to settle for seeing the shrimp & the goby. The shrimp will never venture out of the burrows, which are interconnected beneath the substrate, without the shrimp doing a visual "sweep" of the area. When the goby signals the "All clear", the shrimp will come out. So, one might see the goby alone, but never the shrimp.
As for the pistol shrimps I have had a few & still have one that still freaks me out when he snaps his claw. It sounds like your tank just snapped a big crack in it.
One can never guess when a shrimp will die of old age, because determining their age isimmpossible, unless you were present at their birth. Old age often happens when you get careless & something eats you. I`ll get some images out for a little pictorial, in the next short while. Bring on the suggestions, anyone.
That`s a good one Olivia, & I`m glad you`re home, if it makes you happy.

olivia said...

Well considering how important Mr Goby is to the shrimp, I'd love to see him ... :)

Knucklehead said...

Olivia, you`re on the edge right now. Some people call it their Johnson. I`ve never heard it called "Mr. Goby". And obviously a "shrimp" would be quite vain calling it that. hah
And it`s mrs. Goby, anyway.
No, Olivia, I don`t know the sex of either one, but it brings to mind another future post on the sex changes in fish. It`s quite extraordinary how they change sex & the when & why of it.
Another good suggestion.
I found out today I`m going to be taking a flight on a historic plane called the "Liberty Belle".
The plane is now being shown in England, then over to France & back here. My buddy Dick Sawyer was over today to see how I was doing on a project I`m working on for him & he spent an hour here laughing at Coconut`s antics while we were watching a DVD of an interview with him. He brought over a few presents for me including the nose art of the B-17 Liberty Belle, & a magazine with a 3 page foldout of the plane. It`ll be in my header tonight with a litte more on the click. I gave him the pic of him for his wife I had sent out to a few people here. He wondered when I took it, but that`s my secret.

olivia said...

Aha, you found my flickr comments ... :)

Knucklehead said...

Olivia, I hadn`t but I just changed preference to be notified. Great minds think alike.
Fools never differ.

olivia said...

LOL

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Wow K-Head, I'm sorry I don't get over here daily... have to change that or I'll be spending hours here! Absolutely amazing work on these, but we have a question (and about the flickr stuff in general too): how are you lighting these? Is there some black light involved or just fluorescent? These views are, for the only word that comes to mind for me, otherworldly!

We've always wanted salt water aquariums but just don't have the space or the money for them, so if you don't mind, we'd like to adopt yours. :-)

Outstanding stuff my friend, and I'm so grateful you're sharing it all with us!

btw, love how you guys into the aquariums refer to yourselves as "reefers!" Must be some kind of madness, eh?

Knucklehead said...

IVG,
You like the word Reefers eh Bud?
The lighting on my shots in the tanks are pretty much impossible to figure out. First I have high powered blue actinic lights then there`s a set of daylight actinic fluorescents. Add 400 watts of 20,000 K Metal Halide bulbs, mix a flash unit from the camera. Now, you tell me if you can figure it out except by the seat of your pants. It took me a while to stop trying to figure it out. I just don`t even consider it anymore.
Tonight I`m posting a different kind of lighting. Now if you think my stuff looks "otherworldly", you should see it on reefer.
Hah, Thanks IVG. I`m trying to give a little more info on my subjects now & will be trying to add more of my tips on shooting stuff. I`m a "I wonder what happens if" kind of guy, so even though I get good results sometimes, it`s usually part of my experiments in light.
Check my post later tonight or tomorrow. It`ll be a different lighting scheme.