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Little fungiid factory--back in business?


c est ma

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One of the first coral-like items I purchased for my 5.5g (on 9/14/05) was a small rock with 3 brilliant orange/red Discosomas and some blue/tan/pink multi-colored discos on the other side. When I got it home and inspected it closely I discovered it also had a Porites colony and a tiny thing with stout tentacles that I first feared was a majano.

 

But via the ID forum here I learned how to determine that it in fact had a hard skeleton and concluded it was some kind of cup coral. Then, some months later, I discovered that it had detached and become a tiny, free-living fungiid of some sort! I had a couple of threads about it here (there are a lot of pics in the first thread):

 

http://www.nano-reef.com/forums/index.php?...c=79751&hl=

 

http://www.nano-reef.com/forums/index.php?...c=79853&hl=

 

Not too long after the latest pics in the first thread, my emerald crab slashed the little plate open whilst going after a big clump of Cyclopeeze it had ingested...RIP baby plate... :angry:

 

After that, I kept checking for new babies, but meanwhile the discos, esp. the multicolored ones, were proliferating like crazy and overwhelming the little rock and surrounding area. Eventually they killed the Porites and completely engulfed the plate-generating site, seeming to kill it, too. (Once in a while I'd clear a sight-line down to the plate site only to see nothing but the "wagon-wheel spokes" skeleton...)

 

Eventually the whole right corner of the tank was filling up with discos, a red macro, and Xenia. It was an invert haven (pods, brittle stars, sponges) and my breeding green banded gobies loved it, but it was also a complete mess...:

 

dscn0460largebp4.jpg

 

I kept pruning & removing with every cleaning but I finally decided I wanted to see more of my tank again, so this month (5/3/07) I cleaned out almost all the Xenia, most of the multi-colored shrooms in that corner (they'd long since taken hold in many other places in the tank) and pruned the macro way back. To my surprise, I found two little patches of Porites that had begun to regenerate under all the shrooms. I think that when the shrooms piled up, they shaded the ones beneath which then died out, thereby creating some space between the old Porites site and the overhanging shrooms, allowing the Porites to grow again...

 

dscn1495largehl9.jpg

 

Here are a couple of shots of the cleaned out corner:

 

dscn1554largeba3.jpg

 

(Whee! I can actually see my GSP and the merletti in the back again!):

 

dscn1556largeew5.jpg

 

A few days later (5/6) the Porites was looking much stronger:

 

dscn1635largema7.jpg

 

Of course, now the orange disco is expanding over the top Porites colony & killing it...

 

In the process of cleaning off the original shroom rock, I of course uncovered the original plate-generating site again (it looks like a little cannon sticking sideways out of the top of the rock). It looked as hopeless as ever--just a dead coral skeleton wagon wheel. A little coraline had even grown over the left side of it. I tried to chip it off, but the skeleton septae were too crumbly, so I left it in place.

 

Nevertheless, 3 days (5/6) later it looked as if a little nub of tissue was sticking out of the site (red arrow)!:

 

dscn1705largewitharrowxb2.jpg

 

Sure enough, the thing's regenerating, and quickly. Here's a shot from 5/10:

 

dscn1773largeox9.jpg

 

And here's one from 5/18:

 

dscn1826largect7.jpg

 

Oooh, I am so thrilled! I so hope I get another baby plate again!

 

--Diane

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  • 1 month later...
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Well, I happened to have some more recent pics, so thought I'd update this thread, just for the record. The baby plate is has not changed much in one month, but is eating well and looking good. Seems like it took the last one quite a while to detach, so I'm trying to be patient.

 

I had trouble getting a good shot tonight--didn't want to reach in and move the rock, so found myself trying to get a shot of something very tiny (~ 0.5 cm) several inches into the tank, behind a gorgonian, etc:

 

(Baby plate in center, facing right)

dscn2243largebo6.jpg

 

So the telephoto (below) simply would not focus! You can see the tentacles & mouth of the plate, though:

 

dscn2205largeea9.jpg

 

Every once in a while it completely recedes, and I first think that it might have detached. A thorough search turns up nothing, though, and next day it re-emerges at the same spot. Sure looks skeletal at the time, though. I don't know how fungids can do this!:

 

dscn2137cropped2largeuy5.jpg

 

(Jeez, I know that algae looks awful. I just don't like to mess around so close to the plate. It's a hard spot for the CUC to get to, too.)

 

Meanwhile the Porites colonies have been growing like crazy:

 

dscn2158largekd4.jpg

 

--Diane

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A 40W, 20" Satellite fixture; 10,000K/460nm actinic (double bulb). :)

 

Remember, it's just a 5.5g AGA tank.

 

--Diane

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  • 1 month later...

Okay, tonight I noticed that a light-colored band had developed around the base of the baby plate. I'm hoping this might be a sign that it's getting ready to detach:

 

dscn4723largeze5.jpg

 

dscn4724largeeb6.jpg

 

(sorry for the focus on the next one--this is in a hard place to zero in on)

 

dscn4733largexv9.jpg

 

I looked back in my notes, and it was 5 months from the time I purchased this frag (9/14/05) till I found the first baby plate (2/10/06). Now, it's only been 3 months since I weeded out the shrooms that were covering the plate site. But it may not always take 5 months to detach...also, it's possible that I missed a detachment that might have occurred before I found my first baby plate--the detachees are awfully tiny and could have fallen beneath the shrooms and just gotten stung to death.

 

--Diane

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Gorgeous! Hey when you trimmed your xenia did you do it in your 5? I would like to trim mine but I don't want to mess the tank up. Happy reefing

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what kind of crab is that in the picture next to your porites? i LOVE your plate producing rock... im completely jealous being that plates are my second favorite coral.

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Gorgeous! Hey when you trimmed your xenia did you do it in your 5? I would like to trim mine but I don't want to mess the tank up. Happy reefing

 

Yeah, I did it in-tank and it was very messy--and scary. When Xenia is unhappy it lets you know. And it's difficult to get two hands into a 5.5g and see what you're doing. Of course I did water and filter material changes afterward. I've actually trimmed/removed it several times over the years but this last time was the most intensive bout. I used a combination of sharp scissors, scalpels, and forceps to go after some of the bits that were left. I still have new sprouts springing up on both rocks but can nip them easily while small. The good news is that most of the big stuff survived my butchery and I found it a home at an lfs...

 

 

I love your rics!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Thanks! They do happen to do well for me.

 

 

This is very interesting. I had no idea plates were formed like that.

 

Most of us didn't, but in the first go around I did hear from other people with similar stories. This could be the kind of thing best observed in a hobby aquarium.

 

 

what kind of crab is that in the picture next to your porites? i LOVE your plate producing rock... im completely jealous being that plates are my second favorite coral.

 

Pom pom crab. See this thread:

 

http://www.nano-reef.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=67217

 

or just search the name and find many threads on them. One of the best nano crabs ever and fascinating to boot.

 

Yeah, as soon as I discovered this hitch hiker, plates rapidly became one of my all time favorites. If I ever get a bigger tank, acquiring some Fungia will be one of my first objectives. (I'm hoping to grow up any new plates that detach--maybe it/they will eventually require a bigger tank. :) )

 

--Diane

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  • 3 months later...

Okay, 3 months later...

 

Plate still growing well, still not detached...I continue to think "any day now," but am no longer holding my breath. :D Here are some recent pics:

 

Here it is after ingesting some Cyclopeeze:

 

dscn8112largeko3.jpg

 

And from the front...that cyclopeeze really helps the mouth show up in a pic!:

 

dscn8185largeqz2.jpg

 

Here's a series of what it looks like when it recedes. It only seems to do so when it's been annoyed, such as when it's been tromped over by some member of the CUC. This skeletal look used to scare me--I still don't understand how stonies can do this and be just fine!:

 

dscn8604largebo1.jpg

 

This one's a bit dark--shows the star pattern better:

 

dscn8607largerh7.jpg

 

dscn8608croppedlargedi9.jpg

 

How it looks normally...the last one looked asymetrical from the side like this one, too. I think it's just some gravity thing...:

 

dscn9005largedx7.jpg

 

And from the front--really hard to get detail here, as it's pretty transparent (though overall it's developing it's pink & green color stripes):

 

dscn9011largewf5.jpg

 

Here it's caught a sinking pellet! (pink blob, wrapped in spotted plate tents):

 

dscn9021largejz1.jpg

 

Don't forget, this guy is still very tiny--cm scale in background:

 

dscn9043largedg8.jpg

 

Where it is in the tank (with sinking pellet...and cerith):

 

dscn9031arrowlargezr9.jpg

 

Well, that's how things stand ATM. Thanks for looking! :)

 

--Diane

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  • 4 weeks later...

This looks very amazing. That's why I love this nano reefing so much, because you just never know what you'll get even if you plan for it.

 

What is your regiment in terms of filtration and upkeep/additives?

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This looks very amazing. That's why I love this nano reefing so much, because you just never know what you'll get even if you plan for it.

 

What is your regiment in terms of filtration and upkeep/additives?

 

klarion, I am so glad you found this thread and like this story, too. I just find it so exciting. I was telling someone recently that what captures my attention the most about my little tank is the "unexpected biology." There's just SO MUCH going on, even in a tiny tank--I'd never have thought that a 5.5g could be so continually fascinating.

 

A part of it is what Formerly Icyuodd calls the "nano mystique," the idea that our small size allows us (or forces us! :)) to concentrate on small things that might go unnoticed in a huge reef...

 

As far as your questions go, I am a very laid-back (read "lazy") reefer. I rely more or less totally on weekly water changes, which are a breeze in such a tiny tank. A few years ago I did a lot more testing, and played around with two-part solutions, buffers, and the like, but I've found that I get equal if not better results by just being regular with the water changes. My tank is no doubt a bit nutrient rich--the proverbial "dirty softies" tank, but nothing that I'm trying to raise appears to suffer for it. I have mostly rics, shrooms, and zoas, but this same little rock that has the fungiid generator also has a thriving hitch hiker colony of Porites. The only other stonies in the tank are a B. merleti that has gone from 3 to approximately 30 polyps and an encrusting monti at the very top which is rather new and being closely watched, but looking vigorous so far.

 

The filtration is a HOB Penguin mini, in which I use the standard filter cartridges, changed weekly, and try to keep a bag of fresh Phosgard as well.

 

This bump is a good excuse to add some recent pics, though I'm a bit embarrassed by the amount of algae around the little plate. It is a hard place for my CUC to get to, esp. since the Porites below has gotten so big--snails don't want to crawl over it. And I've been afraid to clean near the fungiid now that it's got so much growth to it...don't want to risk accidentally damaging it.

 

Anyway, these pics are as of 12/5/07. In them the little plate was mostly closed, and in the first pic you can see how big its underlying skeletal diameter has gotten relative to the diameter of the area it grows from:

 

dscn0099irfanbv0.jpg

 

In this shot from the front it's really starting to look like a little plate:

 

dscn0107irfanqx8.jpg

 

I think it probably would have detached by now if I were spot feeding it more, but I've only been doing that about once a week of late...I'm afraid I've been too reliant on sinking morsels, which the plate isn't always succesful at catching.

 

Thanks for looking!

 

--Diane

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Diane, your tank is truly a magical bonsai-scaled wonderland.You have a rock that poops out my favorite coral over and over! I am so jealous! Maybe they are heliofungias, whiuch would truly make me green with envy. Kinda hard to tell the difference at this size.- Josh

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Diane, your tank rocks.

 

I was struck by how much your tiny plate resembled the cup coral pictured on melev's site:

 

Melev's cup coral

 

I have a tiny one of these in my tank, or so I think, perhaps it will grow into a plate!

 

Keep the great pix coming!

Ben

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Josh, I'm glad you saw this! I have been SO lucky in getting this little fungiid site, the breeding gobies, and the spawning brittles! It never ceases to amaze me.

 

Diane, your tank rocks.

 

I was struck by how much your tiny plate resembled the cup coral pictured on melev's site:

 

Melev's cup coral

 

I have a tiny one of these in my tank, or so I think, perhaps it will grow into a plate!

 

Keep the great pix coming!

Ben

 

 

Oh, and believe me, I called it a cup coral right up until the time the first one detached! Actually, when I first got this piece and saw those pudgy little tentacles I immediately thought I had a majano...I was brand new to reefing...I'm SO glad I didn't nuke it back then!

 

Then I, with some help from the people here, determined it had a stoney skeleton and decided it was a cup coral. Then, one day I found this on the substrate:

 

dscn3974medium9qo.jpg

 

After I put it in a little watch glass (so it wouldn't get lost--remember, it was very tiny) and fed it up for a while it looked like this:

 

dscn5058medium6hf.jpg

 

And this:

 

dscn5227medium2dv.jpg

 

And then... :angry::angry::angry: my emerald tore it open going after a nice clump of Cyclopeeze it had eaten...sigh.

 

So now I'm waiting for the next detachment.

 

--Diane

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Hey Diane,

 

Here's the little guy I found in my frag tank, curiously not far from where a plate had been sitting the last few weeks. Looks an awful lot like yours in the 7 or 8th pics in this thread. Cup or plate or other? I suppose time will tell. (Sorry for the pic quality; I'm still working to master your magnifying lens technique.)

 

Ben

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Wow, that sucks... KILL THE CRAB!!! :angry:

 

It wasn't the crab's fault...just his nature. Of course I was devastated to lose the baby plate, but I just took the crab back to the lfs.

 

When the plate site was overgrown with Discosoma, I thought they had killed it. So I got another emerald... :blush: Now I am training it to take food from my forceps--that's how I grabbed the last one...

 

 

Hey Diane,

 

Here's the little guy I found in my frag tank, curiously not far from where a plate had been sitting the last few weeks. Looks an awful lot like yours in the 7 or 8th pics in this thread. Cup or plate or other? I suppose time will tell. (Sorry for the pic quality; I'm still working to master your magnifying lens technique.)

 

Ben

 

Ben, that looks very cool! Though not exactly like mine, I'd say it seems to have a lot of plate characteristics (note that I'm no expert).

 

I you feel like checking my older threads about this coral, that I linked to in one of the early posts here, I believe you'll find one or more links to other little plates that other people rec'd in a similar fashion. I remember at least one that was significantly different looking from mine.

 

Well, actually, I decided to look back myself, and the one I remembered looks more like mine than I thought. Here's one that Gili had:

 

http://www.nano-reef.com/gallery/showphoto...mp;ppuser=16789

 

http://www.nano-reef.com/gallery/showphoto...131&cat=500

 

Hers (his?) stayed attached to the rock much longer than mine did...

 

 

Whatever you have, congrats!! Have you tried feeding it?

 

--Diane

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I just fed him for the first time tonight, and he seemed to take a cyclopeeze. He doesn't resemble your latter pix or the ones you linked above, but he does look a lot like the pix you shot back in May, although those were side views, so maybe you could see something that I can't. This fellow usually only opens at night; here's another pic I just took under the flashlight. You can make out the tentacles a bit. Hopefully this guy is harmless and will grow up big.

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Ben,

 

OK, in that last pic, it really looks like a Pseudocorynactis to me. These are actually in the corallimorph order (along with shrooms, rics, etc.), and often called strawberry anemones or fish-eating anemones. They are non-photosynthetic, which might explain why yours mostly opens at night. And obviously it would need to be fed--glad you were able to do so.

 

Despite the rather scary name, many have kept them for quite a while without problems. Here's a file of threads about them--if you look through these you will find various pics & info. Let me know what you think.

 

http://www.advancedaquarist.com/issues/oct2002/invert.htm

 

http://www.nano-reef.com/forums/index.php?...ctis+corynactis

 

http://www.nano-reef.com/forums/index.php?...p;#entry1320875

 

http://www.nano-reef.com/forums/index.php?...seudocorynactis

 

--Diane

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I think you nailed it! Thanks for the links and the id. My only reservation is that unlike most of the pseudoc's pictured in your links, mine is nearly colorless (maybe it will develop color as it grows.) But it really does look a great deal like the coral in the first nano-reef thread you've linked.

 

Happily, this fellow lives in my fishless frag tank. No fish for you!

Thanks again!

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I enjoy puzzles. :)

 

I think you will find some of the threads say that they're safe with fish until quite big...but if yours is already sans fish, that's great.

 

There may be more species and/or color morphs. I believe I've seen clear ones before. Cool hitcher!

 

--D

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