Biodiversity

Discussion in 'General Discussions and Advice' started by Paul B, 8 Sep 2011.

  1. Paul B

    Paul B

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    It's raining and I feel like rambling. Biodiversity. I am facinated by this. I also think it is a cool word. But for us aquarists it is restricted to marine animals, some good (for our tanks) and some bad (for our tanks). All animals are good for something, at least they think so. Even paracites have a purpose and a niche, although I can't think of one at the moment.
    Looking at an aquarium we first notice the fish, then the corals and rocks and as we get closer and more interested, we can barely pick up movement in darker areas. Under and between rocks, crawling or slithering through the substrait. These are the things that facinate me. Yes I have some fish and corals but they are common. Everyone knows all about them and we all have or had them or at least seen them. But the creatures from the darker zones, thats where the real action is.
    In my reef there are maybe 18 fish, but I would imagine that for each fish there are a hundred brittle stars, fifty bristle worms, a thousand amphipods and possably a million copepods. I never counted so don't hold me to those numbers.
    But we rarely look at a tank and say "wow what a cool amphipod that is". Well I do, but I am a little strange.
    Take a brittle star for instance, very cool animal. They hang out all day under a rock with one or two arms sticking out. I am not sure why they are hiding because almost nothing eats them. I guess it is because even though the fish don't eat them, they do pick them up, chew on them, then spit them out. Maybe that is the reason they hide. Good reason, anyway, how do they even know they are hiding? They have no eyes, no brain, and no ears. They don't even have a lateral line like all true fish have to help them get around. Instead of those sensors they have others more suited to a bottom dwelling animal. Even without eyes they can sense light. We can also if we just close our eyes we can tell light from dark. But what really facinates me about these and animals living in similar habitats is the fact that even without a brain, they are so much better at some things than we are. Maybe not basketball or pole vaulting but their ability to find food. We humans can smell certain foods from a few feet away but if you put blindfolds on us and put us in a room with 4 or 5 fans blowing the air all over the place I doubt we would know where the food was.
    Snails and crabs can, as can brittle stars and bristle worms. Sharks can do that with blood and they can sense electrical signals but they have a brain.
    I have a small tank with local snails, worms, crabs and shrimp. There is a small powerhead in there also. If I throw in a pellet, in about 5 seconds the seemingly sleeping snails all turn in the direction of the pellet and "race" to the exact place, trying to beat out the crabs. I don't know how much a dry pellet smells but I don't think it is all that much but I really don't have any idea how these "lower" animals can know the direction to go. Especially with the water swirling about, but they never falter, they know exactly what direction to go.
    Amphipods are another cool animal. Most tanks don't have these as I collect them in the sea, they are different from copepods that are in all tanks as they are many times larger. We tend to call anything tiny a copepod but they are not all the same. Many of them are the young of crustaceans and most of them will die in a tank long before they get much larger than a real copepod. They haven't yet mastered the art of growing up away from the sea which is the reason we don't see baby hermit crabs or coral banded shrimp all over our tanks. Hermit crabs and shrimp spawn all the time as do all crabs and shrimp but the babies all die in a few days.
    It must be frightening to be one of these animals, Oh wait, they have no brain so I guess they can't be frightened, good thing too because as a brittle star lays around waiting for a meal there are also, in the same hole bristle worms. They crawl all over each other but they don't seem to mind.
    I guess these creatures make better neighbors than some of us.:blush:
     
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  3. ShaunSwindon

    ShaunSwindon

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    Awesome post mate. I find myself not even staring at my Fish but rather in between all my live rock to try and spot a "rare" sighting :thumbup:

    Good times ;)
     
  4. Keanan

    Keanan 2time

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    Nice read Paul. I'm the same, I will always look for "things" in the LR and sand.
     
  5. Paul B

    Paul B Thread Starter

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    I spend plenty of time with magnifying glasses on stareing at the rocks. When my wife comes down to look for me I grunt and pick up a dumbell.
    [​IMG]
     
  6. Keanan

    Keanan 2time

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    :lol:
     
  7. rob189

    rob189

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    i lie on my floor and stare into my sump for ages.. i love it!
     
  8. MistaOrange

    MistaOrange

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    Great post Paul I too look for the odd creatures running around in my tank even when lights out I sit there with a little torch.
     
  9. Paul B

    Paul B Thread Starter

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    "What is that thing?"
    [​IMG]
     
  10. Paul B

    Paul B Thread Starter

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    I don't know how many of these local mud snails and grass shrimp are in my reef but I dropped two pellets in this spot and with in 5 minutes there are 8 mud snails and 3 grass shrimp here fighting for lunch.
    The tank is 6' long so they came from long distances to get here.
    [​IMG]
     
  11. Paul B

    Paul B Thread Starter

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    Yesterday I was looking at this guy who was resting in a hole. Suddenly I noticed there was something in there with him. I took my flashlight (that I keep next to the tank) and peered in. It was a huge bristle worm wrapped around the bleeny. At first I thought the fish was dying and the worm was eating him. But on closer inspection the worm was only hanging out with the fish and needed a place to rest it's tail which was almost completely wrapped around the fish.
    I put in some black worms and the bleeny came out to grab some then hurried back to the hole where the bristl worm again rested his tail over the fish.
    This fish has been with me a few years so I guess he knows where the safe places to rest are and he is in no danger.

     
  12. Nsteyn

    Nsteyn

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    Awesome writeup. Tnx!


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    Last edited: 10 Sep 2011
  13. erle_vaughan

    erle_vaughan

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    bhahahahaaaa
     
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