Ocean

worms, and the spawning swarm increases in size and activity level.

As if the displays of bioluminescence associated with spawning were not sufficiently strange to warrant interest, Odontosyllis is among the many species of marine worms that also exhibit the phenomenon of epitoky.The epitoke, or sexually reproducing form of the worm, differs in significant ways from the nonsexual form that spends its time grubbing in the mud on the bottom. The epitoke may exhibit loss or major alteration of internal organs and muscles, alteration of appendages to facilitate swimming as opposed to crawling, and development or enlargement of sense organs, such as the conspicuous eyes of Odontosyllis. Swarming at the surface is the sole job of the epitoke and insures that both eggs and sperm will be discharged into the water simultaneously, increasing the likelihood of successful fertilization. After fertilization, the egg develops into a larval form that remains in the plankton for a while before settling to the bottom to metamorphose into an adult.

Given that the larval form is small, that the adult feeds on detritus, and that the spawning display of bioluminescence occurs several times throughout the year, the Bermuda Fireworm might easily be included in the reef aquarium. Although I have never tried to accomplish this, it occurs to me that one could throw quite a party with the worm's spawning display being the main attraction. Guests could enjoy their drinks and snacks while observing the corals and fishes, until the lights on the aquarium, and finally the room, were slowly dimmed to simulate sunset. An hour of romantic twilight would allow the drama to build, and then the room lights would be darkened completely, as the fire-worms swam up, one by one, from the rubble at the bot-

148 Natural Reef Aquariums torn of the tank. Moon-watching parties are popular in an organism is taken is not absolutely necessary to its sur-

Japan. Why not a fireworm fest?

vival, key elements of the organism's ecology — a specialized

The Bermuda Fireworm is a good example of a species diet, for example — must be provided. This means that it that is associated with a specific microhabitat. Its remark- is important not only to know something about the enviable spawning behavior only occurs in shallow water, over a ronment from which a specimen is taken, but also to iden-substrate of pebbles and gravel, in coves that are sheltered tify the organism with accuracy (see "No Fear Taxonomy," from the force of heavy waves. In this respect, it is like the page 249. The organism's scientific name (genus and species, when known) can often be used as a key word when wants to accommodate reef species will want to take their using references to locate information about its lifestyle. A

liUill LI iv^ J.W1C-C JLIV^aVJ VVdVLJ. ill LlliS ICOJJ^LL, J. I IO HrVV_ Lll^

majority of reef organisms, and the aquarist who really ixnnf-c tr\ cnpnpc AXM 1 I nront t"/^ f-ol/p f-npif idiosyncrasies into account.

species that lives among rocks at the water's edge may be

Specialization is the rule, not the exception, to the closely related to another species living in deeper water with lifestyles of the organisms of the coral reef. While a precise a very different lifestyle. Such information is essential to re-creation in the aquarium of the environment from which the design of an appropriate aquarium habitat.

Beautiful Reef Marine Aquariums

Creating a Reef Environment

If water conditions are as indicated in Chapter Five, the aquarium should be suited to any of the organisms found on or around coral reefs. If you have become a novice marine aquarist, no doubt you are anxious to add some of these beautiful creatures. But before you begin stocking up on reef organisms, you should do some careful planning and a bit of research. The fish, invertebrates, and macroal-gae you will find in your dealer's tanks come from a wide variety of locations and habitats in nature. In the confines of an aquarium, you can hope to reproduce only a tiny segment of a real habitat. Thus, concentrate upon one particular type of habitat (microenvi-Creatures for an unusual temperate marine biotope: Clown Shrimp (Lebbeus grandi- ronment), and attempt to replicate manas) and Crimson Anemone (Cribinopsis fernaldi) off British Columbia, Canada. this habitat as faithfully as possible.

Part 2 - Introduction 149

There is really nothing new in this approach; serious freshwater hobbyists have been keeping "species tanks" and "habitat tanks" for years. All the marine hobbyist needs, in order to emulate these tried and true methods, is information. In Part 2, we will explore detailed examples of marine habitats and the types of organisms that populate them. Conditions of lighting, current, etc. will be similar for organisms that live together in nature (sympatric species). This makes it possible to create an optimum setting for a community of organisms, rather than settling for an average set of conditions that diverse organisms all will tolerate but that are not really ideal for any one species.

Another major reason for keeping sympatric species together in the same aquarium is that organisms from one part of the ocean have had no opportunity to develop a natural immunity to parasites and bacteria that are harbored by those from another part of the world. One may also be surprised by unusual behavioral interactions between species that would not normally encounter each other. If one is unsure of the original habitat of a particular species, references should be consulted. There are many excellent field guides and picture books available that will aid greatly in distinguishing species from Florida, Hawaii, the Sea of Cortez, Australia, etc. Dealers should be able to provide locality information about the specimens they stock, but many do not. (You'll likely find that the dealer who knows or is willing to track down source information for you is also a purveyor whose business is built on healthy livestock Fringing reef off Oahu, Hawaii: the aquarist has a wealth of and good service rather than low prices and fast turnover.)

Reef Aquarium Images

geographical areas and habitats that can be replicated.

When considering a setup from a particular locality, remember that some species are readily available only from identical. Most algae-eating snails available to aquarists, on certain parts of the world, although they may also occur the other hand, are collected either in Florida or Mexico, elsewhere. The Scarlet Cleaner Shrimp (Lysmata amboinen- even though similar species are found worldwide.

sis)) for example, is found on coral reefs throughout the

Don't plan on a Florida or Hawaii tank, however, and world and is collected from many locations. For aquarium expect to put true stony corals in it. All corals found in U.S.

is waters are currently protected by Federal law, and any spec-

wona ana is conecrea irom many locanons. ror aquanu purposes, the Atlantic-Caribbean species, L. grabhami,

150 Natural Reef Aquariums

The COMPLETE guide to Aquariums

The COMPLETE guide to Aquariums

The word aquarium originates from the ancient Latin language, aqua meaning water and the suffix rium meaning place or building. Aquariums are beautiful and look good anywhere! Home aquariums are becoming more and more popular, it is a hobby that many people are flocking too and fish shops are on the rise. Fish are generally easy to keep although do they need quite a bit of attention. Puppies and kittens were the typical pet but now fish are becoming more and more frequent in house holds. In recent years fish shops have noticed a great increase in the rise of people wanting to purchase aquariums and fish, the boom has been great for local shops as the fish industry hasnt been such a great industry before now.

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