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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi everyone,

It's been a while since I've posted anything here, but I've been following this forum for quite some time and I find it probably one of the most useful resources on reefing on the net. So here's my story...

I've got a 92gal corner tank that's been up and running since mid-April. I've listed the livestock and specs below. Last night, my wife and I were watching a bit of television when I noticed the fish going nuts - like in a feeding frenzy you would see on Discovery. I got up and took a closer look, and saw ton of little things floating around in the water column. Upon closer inspection, each one looked like a small copepod or perhaps even a baby brine shrimp, each wriggling aimlessly through the water being carried by the water flow. There were a TON of these things... hundreds of them. I'm not really worried about them being a problem for the tank, but I'm wondering just what they were, and why they appeared all at once.

I wasn't able to get a picture simply because I was in awe watching the fish go crazy over them, and didn't think to scoop a couple into a cup to get a closer look or snap a photo.

I'm wondering if the cleaner shrimp spawned and the larvae entered the water column all at once when they reached the next phase? Or has anyone ever heard of a copepod swarm before? Really wish I had a photo to post for you guys. Any ideas?

Livestock:
92gal corner tank with 20gal sump
Water parameters stable and normal

4 Blue Chromiis
2 True Perc clowns (male and female)
2 Red Scooter Blennies (male and female)
1 Mandarin (female I believe)
1 Red Sea Sailfin Tang (medium sized)
1 Foxface Rabitfish (medium sized)
1 Diamond Watchman Goby
2 Skunk cleaner shrimp
1 Peppermint shrimp

PS - I also have 6-10 small fry I believe from the scooter blennies sheltering under a brain coral polyp that rests under the sand. I don't expect them to actually live to full size, but they are sheltered for the moment and getting bigger every day!
 

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probably copepods. Generally nothing to worry about. THey are generally more active at night so they may have been like that for awhile. Sometimes a boom in the population of bristleworms or pods can signal an abundant food source, like something dead or a buildup of nutrients. Maybe test you water just to be safe.
 

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Do you have any shrimp? About 2 weeks ago, it looked like my tank was a snow globe all shaken up. It happened shortly after lights out. My best guess is it was the cleaner shrimp releasing it brood. The next morning the eggs were no longer on/under the shrimp's tail. It looks like we are gonna have some shrimp babies cause they both are carrying eggs now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Do you have any shrimp? About 2 weeks ago, it looked like my tank was a snow globe all shaken up. It happened shortly after lights out. My best guess is it was the cleaner shrimp releasing it brood. The next morning the eggs were no longer on/under the shrimp's tail. It looks like we are gonna have some shrimp babies cause they both are carrying eggs now.
Yep - I've got two cleaner shrimp. The more I think about it, the more this is what I'm thinking happened. After what you've posted, it makes perfect sense now. I never noticed any eggs under the tails of my shrimp, but they do a pretty good job of hiding and most of the time all I can see are their little heads poking out of their caves. I don't usually get a very good look at anything they'd be hiding under their tails.

This event didn't happen after lights out. It happened about 3/4 through the lighting cycle. It was really cool to watch.
 

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Could have been something spawning. Hard to say without a picture.

Regarding the fry, I'd really be surprised if they're the scooter blennies, I've never heard of them breeding in captivity, as they actually spawn (so you wouldnt see a clutch or have fry gathered under normal scenarios).

Dragonets rise straight up to the surface as a pair with their ventral sides together. As soon as they reach the surface the eggs and sperm are released (in about 15 seconds), and then they dive back to the bottom and bury themselves in the sand. They will do this only in areas where there is a strong surface current, that will carry and disperse the eggs over a large area. Some dragonets have been known to migrate far distances to find a suitable place with a strong current.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Although maybe it was the scooters spawning that you saw the aftermath of?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIHlp93ZWMs

(and to edit my earlier thought, I meant I hadnt heard of them being bred and raised in captivity, though clearly the youtube shows them breeding).
Very cool video! I haven't seen that one - I've seen something similar regarding mandarin dragonets though, but that was in the wild.

I don't think that's what I saw last night though. There were hundreds of copepod or shrimp things in the water column - no eggs to speak of. Looking closely at them I could easily see them wiggling around aimlessly. I'm leaning more toward the theory that they are cleaner shrimp brood.

Regarding the fish fry, there's definitely several under my brain coral polyp - they swim back and forth under the fleshy part of the polyp that provides a bit of shelter and lifts off the sand a tiny bit when the polyp inflates during the lighting period. Don't ask how I noticed them, I must've seen some movement during my many hours of sitting and watching the tank. I was thinking they could be little scooter blennies simply because of their current shape, although they could just as easily (and more likely) be chromiis. I definitely don't think they're clownfish, because I haven't noticed any mating preparations on their part and no eggs under the leather they're hoasting currently. And, the brain coral polyp is about 2/3 of the length of the tank away so... I seriously doubt their clowns.

My wife and I are just playing a "wait and see" with the fish fry. They get a bit bigger every day and hopefully they'll make it, though I'm not getting my hopes up. If one makes it, maybe I can trade it to the LFS as a miracle fish! I'll start taking some pictures tonight so I can document just in case one does somehow make it to a juvenile or adult stage. :)
 

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Here is a pic of one of my cleaner shrimp with a load of eggs. The green tint under the tail is the eggs. According to info on the net, cleaner/skunk shrimp are hermaphrodites. If you have more than one they will breed.

Sorry about the pic quality, I am still trying to figure that camera out.
 

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Jewel 260L tank
2 x 150 halide
4 x t5
2 x ocilaris clown
fireshrimp
2 x marroon clown

It seems that cleaner shrimp usualy let their nauplii swim free about half hour after lights go out, at least this has been the case with mine. Ive been taking the shrimp out just before it drops them so I can keep the babies seperate. They both seem to get eggs after each other, non stop.
 

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Jewel 260L tank
2 x 150 halide
4 x t5
2 x ocilaris clown
fireshrimp
2 x marroon clown

It seems that cleaner shrimp usualy let their nauplii swim free about half hour after lights go out, at least this has been the case with mine. Ive been taking the shrimp out just before it drops them so I can keep the babies seperate. They both seem to get eggs after each other, non stop.
Have you had any success raising the young? I would think it could be a nice money maker.
 

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Pod Swarm

Not yet as I keep stuffing it up like unplugging the heater to use the microwave then forgeting to plug it in again, then I come down in the morning to dead ones. had some more boxing day and two more lots Sat 3rd. Sexy anemone shrimps keep spawning also but not got around to them yet.
 

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Yep sure seems like it. Most I've managed is 2 weeks before they are all dead. I'll keep trying tho cos every couple of weeks now they have more and 2 to 3 days after those I get more but I think these are from my oscilaris clowns as they look a different colour and are even smaller!
 
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