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Sydney Biotope - rock pool / temperate - 70 Litres

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Sydney Biotope - rock pool / temperate - 70 Litres

Postby Pittwater Blue » Tue 29 Jul, 2014 7:08 pm

Hello Everyone,

I've recently made the move from freshwater to marine aquariums. I live near the coast (Pittwater area, Northern Beaches, Sydney) and I'm planning to set up a biotope aquarium of a Sydney rock pool. So essentially I can collect everything from of the rock platforms (no protected species or collecting in protected areas).

My long term objective is to have a healthy biotope. I am looking to learn about salt water aquariums such as the ecosystem processes and monitoring for when I set up a larger system. I know larger systems are more forgiving, but I'm potentially moving so I want to learn as much as I can with a smaller system before I establish a larger one in my new place. I am also going to keep costs very low (I'm a full time student) with total budget of $100. I already have a tank and filters.

System type: standard 2ft aquarium

Strike up Date: 30th July, 2014

Stand: Furniture (solid set of draws)

Hood: glass covering

Sump: None

System Water: NSW (I will collect water from Pittwater, not near boat ramp or drain)

Skimmer: A hang on the back skimmer from ebay, $54 it does 500 litres/hr and includes a small sponge filter. (see below)

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Protein-Skim ... 51b48f6ef1

Evaporation Top Up: NSW

Filtration: internal eheim filter 2006 (180 litres/hr) and external hang on the back filter (300 litres/hr). Filter media is matrix and white wool/sponge. Filtration system also supported by sponge in skimmer.

Temperature Control: none. The tank is in a cool room, I will watch the temp as summer approaches, but rock pools temperatures fluctuate a lot so there is plenty of leeway.

Substrate: Beach sand. There are lot of tiny little prawn-sea monkey like things and there are already ones hatching.

Lighting: A $12 48 light LED lamp, clip on. (also from ebay) Do the plants/growth need any special lighting such as UV? :bow: As these LED don't.

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/48-LED-Aquar ... 0921649905

Fish: nothing planned at this stage, perhaps some blennies, whatever I can find in the shallows, fish will be added after a tank has cycled and I buy a test kit to check water quality.

Live rock: On the rock platforms I found what I would describe as 'growth' which I was able to pull of in chunks. It contained mussles, worms and just dense green growth and small plants. It also had some sea weed growing off it. It seemed to covering most of the rock platform and in the tidal pools. I took 3 loose pieces each about 10cm long. I am hoping this will act as a natural filter? :bow: I would like some anemones and sponges but they were steadfast stuck on the rock platform and I didn't want to pull them off.

Invertebrates: snails, small crab, urchin

Maintenance: 10 litres / week

Other costs so far: Matrix and filter wool $18

Total cost so far: $84

I would love to hear what you all think, suggestions, constructive criticisms (lol) etc. As my filtration system is rather 'light' I won't be putting to many fish in there, and what ever it will be ill keep them small. I really have no interest in setting up a reef aquarium (and I can't afford it lol). I've spent a lot of time diving on reefs but I still find the idea of setting up a local system fascinating. I would also like to hear what you think about potential fish. I was also thinking about a dumpling squid, making it a species tank.

Pics to come in following days.
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Re: Sydney Biotope - rock pool / temperate - 70 Litres

Postby terbit » Tue 29 Jul, 2014 10:15 pm

Hi Mate
All sounds good, but you might want to investigate what you can and can't collect legally, or it could end up costing you a lot more than the $100 you have allocated.
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Re: Sydney Biotope - rock pool / temperate - 70 Litres

Postby Pittwater Blue » Wed 30 Jul, 2014 12:02 am

Hi terbit,

I have been doing research here and on NSW Fisheries. As far as collecting fish and inverts goes in the rock pools, most things are fine as there are huge or no bag limits, or no minimum size limits. There are protected species such as pipe fish, which I'm not touching. As long as you are collecting for 'bait' then its fine. So that is my cover I guess, and I bought my fishing license. But there is no information about collecting for aquariums. I will stick to 'bait' for ease.

What I am unsure about is collecting the 'growth' that I mentioned, or even rocks. I couldn't find any information about that. I'm not sure what fisheries would say. I have read that its illegal to collect shells, rock etc from protected areas, so I would assume that its not illegal in non-protected areas. I would love to hear if anyone knows more about thins.

From the DPI document found here:

http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets ... et-737.pdf

there are two types of zones on the Northern Beaches where you cannot collect from the rock shelf. There are Intertidal Protected Areas (Bungan Head / South Newport, Mona Vale Headland, Shelly Beach Headland and Dee Why Headland) and Aquatic Reserves (Barrenjoey Head, Narrabeen Head, Long Reef).

Cheers.
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Re: Sydney Biotope - rock pool / temperate - 70 Litres

Postby bimborocks » Wed 30 Jul, 2014 8:52 am

Sounds like a really cool idea, I can't wait to see some pictures of your tank :thumbsup: - um I mean 'bait livewell' :devil:
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Re: Sydney Biotope - rock pool / temperate - 70 Litres

Postby BlakeyBoyR » Wed 30 Jul, 2014 1:21 pm

Make sure you're not using NSW for evaporation top-up or you'll end up with a salinity problem.
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Re: Sydney Biotope - rock pool / temperate - 70 Litres

Postby Polyps » Wed 30 Jul, 2014 1:43 pm

Looking forward to seeing more.
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Re: Sydney Biotope - rock pool / temperate - 70 Litres

Postby pebbles » Thu 31 Jul, 2014 8:39 pm

:wavey: Pittwater Blue,

This sounds like a very unique project - although many of these creatures are hardy when it comes to water quality, intertidal species might be a bit difficult.

Pittwater Blue wrote:.....I'm planning to set up a biotope aquarium of a Sydney rock pool. So essentially I can collect everything from of the rock platforms


Personally, I would only collect from areas that don't go 'dry' between tides as they are more likely to survive. Keep in mind any shells that are on dry rock between tides, may decide to wander outside your tank in an effort to replicate conditions. :angel:

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Protein-Skimmer-Pump-Create-Oxygen-500L-Hr-For-Aquarium-Fish-Tank-Saltwater-/350921649905?pt=AU_Pet_Supplies&hash=item51b48f6ef1


Doubt the skimmer will do much ... :pirate:

Evaporation Top Up: NSW
just in case you're unaware, evaporated water should be replaced with freshwater not seawater. Otherwise the salinity will eventually be too high.

Do the plants/growth need any special lighting such as UV?


TBH I haven't kept these types of algae, but personally I would try and let the tank get some daylight as that would have the correct spectrum. Of course, the room shouldn't overheat or the tank will too. I think you'll notice as temperatures change throughout the seasons, so do the types of algae and tunicates etc... In your local rock pools.

As an aside, I'd stay away from sponges and tunicates for the time being. Large tunicates growth around rock pools in sydney is largely related to nutrient cycles and is kind of 'boom and bust', so I wouldn't try replicating that for the time being.

RE: anemones. Waratah anemones are attractive, come in a few colours (and may eat small fish). No idea about whether they can be collected though. :-s

RE: fish. As soon as you add fish, you add food, and it's harder in a small tank with little filtration to avoid nuisance growths of algae or Cyanobacteria etc... This is why I would only add one or two small algae eaters and that's it. Be especially careful with crabs, as many are opportunistic predators (albeit interesting to watch). Maybe a small local mantis would be more entertaining?

Anyway, hope this helps.

:cheers: angie
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Re: Sydney Biotope - rock pool / temperate - 70 Litres

Postby Pittwater Blue » Sun 03 Aug, 2014 12:22 pm

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Hi Everyone- thanks for your information, particularly pebbles.

Firstly, I love marine aquariums. There is just so much life bursting in the aquarium. Every time I look I find something new. There are small slugs, a tiny white urchin, anemones, mussels, crabs, various snails and star fish that looks like mimic octopus. They hitched a ride on the growth.

I have uploaded some pics. This is day 6 of the aquarium and I added some fish today that I caught locally. There are two Blennys (around 5cm) and a small one, and 5 small fast swimming fish. I was going to wait longer but it seems it established itself much faster than I was expecting. I tested NO2 NO3 and PH and all clear so I went down to the rock shelf and caught these guys.

Pebbles- You were right about catching stuff that is dry. Some of the snails keep climbing out of the water, which is fine as its sealed, but I would rather they stay in the water. I've noticed the black ones don't climb out. Also I will be careful with topping up. So its okay to add de-chlorinated sydney tap water to adjust gravity? Will steer clear of tunicates and sponges. As for the UV, the tank is in a well lit room with lots of windows but not in direct sunlight. From memory when I kept reptiles, glass blocks UV rays so I may need some special lighting? So far all plants and algae look fine and are taking root. But this may not last... :crossfingers:

Later on I would love to get a mantis shrimp (even though many of you find them to be pests :nut: lol) or even very small glommy occy. I guess both would have to be caught as I don't think any an LFS would sell them, and I'll need a larger tank. I did see two gloomys in the rock pools, both with around 8cm mantles. Very funny to watch, they kind of watch you back. One even reached out one of its arms to me. Kind of like E.T. It was very surreal.

more feedback etc. greatly appreciated!
Last edited by Pittwater Blue on Sun 03 Aug, 2014 12:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Sydney Biotope - rock pool / temperate - 70 Litres

Postby Pittwater Blue » Sun 03 Aug, 2014 12:38 pm

* correction: 'bait pool acquarium' :clownfish:

My pic descriptions didn't come through. So-

First pic: full tank, two Blenny's sitting on the sandy bottom.

Second pic: Right side with small fish. I'm not sure what they are. They look like frozen bait fish that I used to sell when I worked at a boatshed. My brother suggested baby mullet, and they certainly look like them. I caught them in a small shallow pool. Not entirely sure what I will feed them yet, I have seen them eat float bits in the water.

Third pic: Left side with growth.

Fourth Pic: New filter / skimmer. Works great so far. The internal Eheim 2006 is hidden below creating a moderate current.

Fifth pic: Blenny. Not sure what type, there lots of these guys swimming around so I would assume some 'common' variety. Perhaps a eastern jumping blenny? Very beautiful fish. It has large wings.
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Re: Sydney Biotope - rock pool / temperate - 70 Litres

Postby Fishnoodle » Sun 03 Aug, 2014 11:19 pm

Really interesting project. Ive thought of doing this in the past but never actually followed through with it.
It looks great!

Id avoid using tap water wherever possible for your top ups
RODI water is best for such things
Buying a unit now would be well worth it considering that you are moving onto other SW tanks in the future

PS. I may be in the market for a gloomy occy in the future so Ill be hitting you up :cheers:
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Re: Sydney Biotope - rock pool / temperate - 70 Litres

Postby Pittwater Blue » Tue 05 Aug, 2014 11:03 am

thanks Fishnoodle.

I am looking into RODI water... expense I wasn't expecting but worthwhile the investment i believe.

Although I saw those two glommys in the day I reckon there would be more at night so I'm going down at night with torch to see whats about. Let me know if you do set up a sydney system.

I keep finding new life in the tank, including a small hermit crab and a kelp coloured shrimp.
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Re: Sydney Biotope - rock pool / temperate - 70 Litres

Postby millotoli » Wed 06 Aug, 2014 5:31 pm

out of interest what are the blennies eating?
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Re: Sydney Biotope - rock pool / temperate - 70 Litres

Postby Pittwater Blue » Wed 06 Aug, 2014 6:41 pm

I haven't seen the two large ones eating yet. I have seen the small one eat green growth (only twice) off the rocks as well sand which he then spits out. Likely eating detritus. :dead: I am certain they are Eastern Jumping Blennys. Can't seem to find much online about them, I presume they are herbivores.

I have tried different foods in the tank with varying success, and found that those long silvery fish, which are either a hardyhead or baby mullet, love eating beta splenda food :pirate: , as well as the green growth. Actually everything smashes the green growth.

Is it possible to add more than 5 imgaes? I won't let me add more.
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Re: Sydney Biotope - rock pool / temperate - 70 Litres

Postby gianniz » Fri 12 Dec, 2014 12:55 pm

bit late but that's not a blenny. It's rock cale, they don't last long in tanks.
also you cannot take rocks from nsw.
and occy wise, you cannot take it from Sydney harbour and harbour rock platform.
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Re: Sydney Biotope - rock pool / temperate - 70 Litres

Postby funebris » Fri 12 Dec, 2014 10:05 pm

gianniz wrote:bit late but that's not a blenny. It's rock cale, they don't last long in tanks.
also you cannot take rocks from nsw.
and occy wise, you cannot take it from Sydney harbour and harbour rock platform.


True not a blenny...... they are jumping joeys, AKA Lepidoblennius haplodactylus.
So a type of threefin.

As to difficulty, just need to give them what they need.
They are one of the few marine fish I have bred and raised in number.
Quite amusing watching the girls lay eggs into the sand as it looks like they are...... well humping the sand.
I used air powered corner filters that were loaded up with coral rubble. Fed the tank very heavily, which resulted in large pod populations.
Very low tech tank.

I'd imagine the "octopus" is just a striped brittle star
XD
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Re: Sydney Biotope - rock pool / temperate - 70 Litres

Postby Jimmy656 » Sat 13 Dec, 2014 10:34 am

Tagging in for the Journey :)
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