Editorial: December 2006
Just about a year ago a pet store in Portland, Maine going out of business asked me if I would take a seastar. I recognized that it was a Protoreaster lincki (commonly called a red-spined star), and consequently realized that it would be unwise to put it into my reef tank, but it might be okay in my 40-gallon refugium. I’m happy to report that it has made its home there for about a year. From what I can tell it appears to thriving. It moves slowly – it is after all a seastar – about the tank, preferring the glass bottom and walls to the old coral skeletons. From what I can tell it eats the “slime off of the glass.” Exactly what the slime is composed of that it eats is unclear. I suspect much of the slime is diatoms. It doesn’t have a taste for cyanobacteria – unfortunately. One of these days I might try it in the reef tank, since from what I have observed it is only interested in “slime.”
As many of you know I like to push the reef keeping envelope. I currently have a pair of Red Sea purple tangs (Zebrasoma xanthurus), a pair of Zebrasoma desjardiniis, a A. achilles, and a Zebrasoma flavescens. Also have a juvenile Parcanthurus hepatus in the refugium, which I will add to the reef tank when it is big and strong enough. I also have a clown trigger and Huma Huma trigger in the reef tank. All of the above, with the exception of the Achilles where put in at the same time as juveniles. Interestingly enough, they have easily quadrupled size in less than a year. The Achilles was added later, but was much larger than the other tangs. All of the tangs squabble, but I have yet to see a torn fin, or ripped body. The other so-called reef tank no, no, is a mature Euxiphipops navarchus. Admittedly, the tank is large, with lots of hiding places. One of the great things about lots of tangs is that when not eating food offered by me they spend most of the day grazing on the rocks, walls, and equipment, and in that way keep the tank clean of unwanted algae. The two following photos show some of these fish just mentioned, but I was unable to get them all together. It’s not easy to get six tangs to pose together.
With this last issue for 2006, I want to express my appreciation for the growing readership of Advanced Aquarist. Currently, our publication gets over 5 million hits a month, with 1,323,630 page turns per month, and is read by about one hundred thousand unique visitors each month. These numbers are only for our publication; Reefs.org gets close to 12 million hits monthly.