News / Species Spotlight / Species Spotlight - Winter Livestock (12/22/16)

Species Spotlight - Winter Livestock

Species Spotlight - Winter Livestock
Winter is the time for comfort, good food and warmth. Celebrate the change in seasons with some of these themed livestock.
Its the season for chestnuts roasting on an open fire, so why add some Chestnut Cowries to help keep your aquarium clean. They are an egg-shaped snail with a mantle that can completely cover its shell. There are teeth around the opening of the shell, which provides protection to the snail from predators. This type of cowrie is native to the California waters, which means they do best in cooler water. During the night they will scoot around the rocks and glass grazing on algae. Use caution when adding to a reef aquarium because they are mostly herbivores but can nip on soft corals especially if there is not enough algae present.
Blue is one of the colors of winter! The Blue Linckia Star will make a brilliant focal point in the aquarium. They will stand out while consuming the detritus. Like most sea stars, these have fairly simple needs; consistent food and stable water parameters, and lots of rock to grow algae on. Watch as they anchor to the rocks and glass then wave to you as you admire the tank. Helpful tips: Dont house them with wrasses from the Halichoeres or Coris genus and dont be afraid to give them a little supplemental food like nori, especially if the aquarium isnt rich with algae.
Time to start decorating for the holidays and the Decorator Spider Crab is the ideal helper. They mastered the art of disguise while assisting in keeping the aquarium floor clean. The decorator crab starts off with a very white shell, so for camouflage the crab will cover their body with algae, sponges, shells and coral. This behavior can result in harm to some soft corals, but in large reef aquarium, this act may actually assist in propagation of corals. They will then molt out of that shell when it is time for them to grow then will recycle some of their decorations. They will scavenge through the aquariums floor for food, but for continued health provide a supplemental diet of meaty foods and algae.
Have you picked out your tree yet? Aquacultured Assorted Tree Coral is a must for this holiday season. They are a soft coral that requires very little attention. Since this coral grows quickly, providing a substantial amount of room could help protect neighboring corals. This coral will grow in just about any condition, but will do best in areas of moderate flow and moderate light. Soft corals can be chemically aggressive; using some activated carbon in aquariums will keep other corals healthy. This coral gets its nutrition from photosynthesis and filter feeding. Supplementing their diet with planktonic foods will enhance growth and coloration.
The Green with Red Eye Brain Coral would look great in any reef aquarium, especially during this holiday season. This coral is very easy to keep as long as they are frequently fed marine based meaty meals. Target feed when the lights are off several times a week. They need very little light, but can tolerate a higher lighting condition if acclimated to it slowly. This brain coral prefers low to moderate water flow, which should never be direct. Be sure to secure this coral well to prevent it being knocked over, which will damage the fleshy mantle of the coral. This coral does have sweeper tentacles that come out at night that may sting nearby corals so be sure to provide enough space.
Aquacultured Snowflake Ocellaris Clowns just screams winter and who doesnt love catching snowflakes on their tongues. Try putting this clownfish in anemone displays, and they will very likely choose a host anemone fairly quickly (just avoid condylactis.) A great way to display these clowns is in a bubble anemone display. They are accustomed to captive conditions, reef safe, eat processed foods, and are easy to keep in pairs or small groups.
Snow falling is one of the prettiest things to experience. The White Blenny will look like a little snow on the rocks and substrate. With minimal effort these colorful fish can be kept very happy, healthy and well fed. The reef safe blenny generally acclimates quickly to the captive environment, though they will jump if startled. An aquarium of at least 30 gallons with a good mix of open swimming space and rockwork will make a suitable home for the life of the blenny. They can be aggressive with similarly sized and shaped fish like dartfish and gobies (including other White Blennies). They are omnivores and require a mixed diet which should include finely-chopped marine meaty foods and pellets.