Return to the Center of the Teabox

I’m in a bit of a holding pattern when it comes to the 65g and feel rather like a small child who’s been told that he’s headed off to Disneyland.  The plane tickets have been purchased, the bags have been packed, and all that’s left is for the day to arrive – meanwhile, the small child is annoying friends and family alike by telling everyone in earshot that I’m goin’ to Disneyworld! I’m goin’ to Disneyworld! I’m goin’ to Disneyworld! until the only sensible thing to do is to pack up the kid and mail him to the good folks at Disney with a note saying “He’s your problem now.”

I’m gettin’ a big tank!  I’m gettin’ a big tank!  I’m gettin’ a big tank!

Mister Smithers (black thing, center) committing insurance fraud.

Mister Smithers (long black thing, center) committing insurance fraud on the barren moonscape that is the Teabox.

Bah.  Let’s do an update on an existing tank, because there’s always something happening in the Teabox.  Remember my poor little flame goby with the broken spine?  He’s fine.  Doing quite well, as a matter of fact, no spine broken or nothin’…  I have caught him swimming. Lying around in shells all day is a goby trait – I accept that – but Smithers has learned that if drags himself to the edge of his shell home and open his mouth, I will shove food in it.  Full, he sighs and pretends to go back to sleep until I’m out of eyeshot, then he pops out of the shell and flitters about the tank like a pretty black-and-gold butterfly.  Which is, to be blunt, why I paid American cash money for him in the first place, so he’s only getting hand-fed for another month until I’m sure he’s fully recovered and he can then pull food out of the water column like every other fish on in God’s green earth blue sea.

(Okay, maybe two months.  He’s very cute when he begs.)

The Teabox is also home to a pipe organ coral which… I’m not really sure how that happened.  Sometime between when I started breaking down the Teabox and when I discovered Smithers alive in a crack in the last piece of rock in the tank, I got rid of the rest of the live rock.  When I discovered Smithers alive, I needed to pick up some more live rock to replace… talk about a circle of stupidity.

A pipe coral!  Mine does not look like this - imagine a rock wearing a few small flowers.

A pipe organ coral! Mine does not look like this - imagine a rock wearing a few small white flowers.

The short version of how a pipe organ coral ended up in the Teabox is that my local LFS had thrown some of its dead coral colonies into the live rock bin, and the pipe organ happened to be the right size for the tank.

It’s making a rather dramatic comeback, which surprises the crap out of me because the Teabox is not set up for corals that require medium-to-strong light.  I’m guessing that the transition from an unlit live rock barrel to a tank with mid-range PC lighting was like letting a starving orphan out of a dark box and giving him vegetables, vitamin pills, and a rudimentary education.  In time, the orphan will feel sufficiently nourished to try for that scholarship to Harvard (which he’s bound to get because he fills their “lived in a dark box” quota for that semester).  Same with my pipe organ coral, which started out with a few tiny sprigs of surviving polyps and is now regrowing multiple clusters.  In a few months when the pipe coral has recovered to a point where it requires brighter lighting, I’ll move it into the new 65g.

I’m gettin’ a big tank!  I’m gettin’ a big tank!  I’m gettin’ a big tank!

Unfortunately, the pipe organ coral is encrusted with nuisance pests.  It has bubble algae, a few aiptasia anemones, and I think it came with some sundial snails.  These need to go before it’s introduced into a clean tank, so its stay in the Teabox is a quarantine period.  I’ve been gradually tackling these problems as they come, but I’ve also noticed some bristle worms living inside of the colony.  The literature says that this is a very bad thing because bristle worms eat pipe organ coral, but there are plenty of tanks with pipe organ corals and bristle worms are found in almost every reef tank out there.  Maybe it’s just a matter of getting the coral to the point where it won’t crash if a worm comes along for a casual snack…

Well, I’m out for lunch.  Unless Brown has mailed me off to Seaworld with a note saying, “She’s your problem now,” I’ll see you in a few days.

~ by KBSpangler on March 28, 2009.

One Response to “Return to the Center of the Teabox”

  1. Holy resucitation, batman!

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