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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Well, my lab tanks are really starting to come together again. Finally. And they are really attracting a lot of attention from my students and many visitors (e.g. prospecive students and others visiting the campus) now that they are healthy and attractive and more diverse again. This is what these tanks are for, and I'm thrilled that they are getting to be useful in this way again. I view these tanks in the lab as missionaries of sorts (or maybe I'm the missionary and they are the tools of my work...whatever), spreading the word about biological diversity – demonstrating to people who might never spend any time really looking closely at any natural ecosystem that there is a LOT of marvelous biological diversity out there in the world, and that we need to take care that we don't lose it. People will not protect what they do not love, and they won't (or can't) love something that they do not know even exists. There is nothing like watching a brittle star (for example) scrambling across the bottom of the tank grabbing at food and stuffing it into its mouth to light the fires of curiosity in a person who might never have thought twice about animals other than humans, dogs, cats, etc.

Anyway, getting the tanks back in shape after the disasters has taken a lot of work from me (and there is a LOT left to do in my second multi-tank system), but also a lot of help from some very generous people. Lots of people have helped me with my lab tanks (David Grigor rises to the very top of my list for amazing generosity in terms of time spent helping me in the past). More recently though, a number of folks have helped out a lot by helping me re-stock, and re-diversify our tanks. Derek and Jerry have recently been very generous in this regard. Thank you to all of you (including others I did not name here)

Anyway, here are some photos I took today.

First, some photos of the rose anemone tank (formerly the seagrass tank, in my old, out of date aquarium website at http://www.augsburg.edu/home/biology )

The anemone has been beautiful lately, and the little zooanthid/sponge/coral/tubeworm garden in the front left is wonderful (Derek and Jerry might recognize some of their contributions in that photo).

In a minute, I'll post photos of the reef tank to the right of (and connected to) the anemone tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
OK, now here are some shots of the reef tank that is connected to the anemone tank. Those of you familiar with my old reef setup (you can see the old arrangement in the link above) in this same tank will notice that I have a much more open structure this time to allow for more coral growth. I sort of miss the old rock arrangement, but this new setup will be very cool I think once the corals put on some size. This new arrangement uses a lot less rock than the old setup did. I ended up having at least 1/3 of my old rock left over when I was done aquascaping this time.

The reef is fairly bare looking at the moment, but as you can see in the one closeup shot, there are lots of little frags all over the place. In 6 months to a year, I think they will be crowded, in fact (they are a pretty close together right now, if one considers long-term growth), but I can trim them and spread them out into the 220 once the Anemonia mess in that tank has been dealt with somehow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
And here are some shots of the nice ocellaris clownfish pair in the reef tank. They have been back in this tank (after a semester in a 20 gallon holding tank) for a few weeks now. They have been dipping their fins into the Xenia and green soft coral in the front right of the reef tank for at least a week now. Yesterday they finally took the plunge, and they have now fully adopted the Xenia in particular as a surrogate for an anemone.

By the way, I challenge you to look at these photos of these clownfish and not be convinced that you should never keep clownfish alone without a mate again. It just seems so right for them to live as a pair. And boy are they content and happy looking in that Xenia (so, as I'm sure you know already, an anemone is certainly not a necessity for keeping clownfish and observing hosting behavior).
 

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Bill, I'd be interested in trading for some of the 2nd post 2nd pic coral. LMK, I'm always in the neighborhood of Augsburg because I'm at St. Thomas.
 
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