NANFA-L-- Trip to the keys

Subject: NANFA-L-- Trip to the keys
From: DeMarle, Stephen (
Date: Thu Dec 30 2004 - 10:34:13 CST

I just got back from the keys. Mostly fishing on the reefs. Caught a nice
38in grouper and was kind of happy about it. Then we got to the canal where
we dock the boat and saw the 400 lb blue marlin the guys down the way had
caught. My nice grouper was barely bait size for that guy.

While I was down there, I collected some things for my reef tank. Not sure
if any of this will survive but if anyone has any experience let me know.
What I collected were some very thin mussles from the dock. Very common all
around there. The largest ones are about 4 inches round and maybe 1/4 in
wide. I think they are flat tree mussles or something like that. The ones
higher up on the moorings would get out of water-in-low tide but the lower
ones would only get out of water on a very low tide, if even then.

I also collected some sort of a red sponge. These were growing with the
lowest mussles and then down another two feet or so. They were growing
around the shadier side of the docks but there was plentiful algae growing
around them. They are red and about 3 inches long and 3/4 inch wide. They
do not have the central opening that some sponges have but rather seem to be
solid sponge. When I collected them I made sure that they did not come out
of the water.

While fishing near the reefs we pulled up something that I think is a
gorgonian. It's about 11 inches long, gray, and pretty hard/stoney. It
branches a lot but the branches only go about 2.5 inches off the main stalk.
The branches themselves branch off once or twice. I haven't seen any polyps
yet and I'm not really sure it's alive. Time will tell.

Finally while fishing inshore we hooked another type of gorgonian. They had
been ripped off their attachments in the storm surge (small craft advisories
that day and the day before) and were floating down with the current. They
are gray in color with green polyps. They weren't branched much and look
like a sea whip. Since I couldn't keep the entire thing (My tank is very
large but they were around 3 or 4 feet long) I just clipped off a couple of
branches and dropped the rest back in the water. I'm hoping to attach it to
some live rock. I sort of ID'd it last night but can't recall the name
right now. Supposedly pretty hardy and durable once they get acclimated.

I already culture green"salt"water and marine rotifers for other filter
feeders in the tank but I'm not sure if that will work for any of these. If
anyone has any advice on keeping these, especially the red sponge, I'd
appreciate the advice.

Steve in Atlanta
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: Sat Jan 01 2005 - 12:42:09 CST