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Synchronized Swimming

The free-baller from the aquarium store said that a lot of non-school fish will live peacefully in a big tank full of just salt water but once a reef or other habitat is introduced they start getting all territorial and dramatic. Interesting, huh?

So here’s an update on how things are going with the mini-world in the living room. (These pictures just represent the species, not the actual fish in the tank… but it’s a close match.)

  • Damsels. Their three-musketeer brotherhood has been broken. Damsel #3, after being sufficiently bullied, developed the weird white spot fish disease. He found, or rather, was forced into an alcove in the reef. Three days ago, in an amazing display of bravado-psychosis, he busted out of the alcove and swam freely in the tank. All was well for 24 hours. Then Alpha Damsel and Damsel #2 attacked Damsel #3, ripped off 20% of his scales and caused him to develop a huge infected gash. Mikey rescued him from the tank and put him in the fish hospital. He swam in his little tank and refused to eat. A giant white bubble grew bigger and bigger on his midsection. Mikey couldn’t bear to let the little guy suffer. Some experts suggest chopping their heads off for a quick death. I am quite sure that Mikey would pass out and he agreed. So Damsel #3 got a swim down the toilet tank. We’re hoping he makes a miracle trip to the ocean. So with Damsel #3 gone, Alpha Damsel quickly turned his attentions to Damsel #2. In fact not only did he turn his attentions to his fellow kind, he started attacking everything else in the tank too. Mike tried to get him out but discovered that it was much easier to get fish into the tank than it was to get them out. A funnel-trap crafted out of a one-liter soda bottle was suggested as the solution.

  • Red Starfish. This guy gets around! He’s been spotted inverted, grasping the rock from underneath the reef, suctioned up against the back wall, chillin’ on the top of the reef in the algae bed and, currently, inching his way up the aquarium’s front face. His brother, the Brown Starfish, stays hidden in the sand. He moves along the floor, either burrowing under the reef or close to the right-hand side of the tank.

  • Snails. Such chewy creatures. The tank began with seven. They burrow deep down in the sand, with one little pipe sticking, like a periscope, out of the granules. They’re extremely hard to see in this condition. Come feeding time, the tribe pops out of their burrows and aggressively chomp down on whatever they can get their mouths on. They’re supposed to be herbivores and algae eaters. A few snails will occasionally scale the glass, chewing up green slime in their chubby wakes. One laid an egg sac and a few days later, seven became eight. I thought salt-water snails scavenged for their shells like hermit crabs but apparently they are already born with their little houses. The snails were also involved in the death of the Large Crab. We’re not sure if they murdered him but they sure were feasting on his carcass the next morning.

  • Fire Shrimp. The fire shrimp likes hanging, upside down, to the base of the reef rocks. He will also switch it up by venturing to the back of the tank and crawling all over the rocks on the right-hand side. The Alpha Damsel tried to beat him up but Mr. Shrimpy did not cede.

Yellow Tang

  • Yellow Tang. Poor guy, he’s entirely too big for this tank. Sir Tang swims angularly, fitting himself into coral pods on the left-hand side of the tank. He’s got white stress marks on both sides of his body. Although he’s supposed to be a grazer, we’ve never seen him eat a thing. I’ve witnessed him continually crashing up against one stalk of coral. Mikey’s rigging up a complex netting to fish him out and return him to the aquarium place.

Lawnmower Blenny

  • Lawnmower Blenny. This guy is a party animal. He’s the most fun to watch of the group. He chomps down in the algae fields with wild and jerking motions and smooched the back of the tank plumb clean. LB doesn’t take any shit from the Alpha Damsel which we all appreciate. Mikey’s seen him do back-flips off the plastic floaty thing at the top of the aquarium. LB likes to look you in the eye when you’re staring into the tank. I’m half-afraid that he’s going to vault out of the water and attack me.

Rabbit Fish

  • Rabbit Fish. He’s a new addition to the tank so while we haven’t gotten a handle on his personality, he seems affable enough. He was super stressed out when Mikey first slid him into the tank, as noted by his splotchy exterior. But soon he turned to his posterior a calm yellow and tried to get to know Sir Tang a bit better. Sir Tang did not appreciate this gesture. So the rabbit fish grazed on some algae and is now swimming back and forth along the length of the tank.

One Response

  1. sweet fish and the description. I just started a mini tank myself.

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