Branching Tubastrea spawned!
by, 02-20-2012 at 05:51 AM (3555 Views)
It's late, probably between 12:30 a.m. and 1 a.m. and I still needed to feed the suncorals. The food was waiting nearby, thoroughly thawed since the majority had been fed to my reef earlier this evening. When the reef is dark the suncorals open up to feed, and as long as I feed them often they are predictable.
When I feed the suncorals in my frag tank, I turn off all the flow and turn on the white light above to see those little hungry mouths. The deep green branching suncoral has been extremely shy to light, closing down quickly when even a brief beam of a flashlight passes over its polyps. It's taken a few months but now it tends to stay open and I feed it first before it can close down, retracting its polyps tightly. As I fed, I noticed little white round dots in the tank, primarily floating on the surface. I stared at the contents of the tank, which isn't all the diverse. The Tubastrea colonies, 10 lbs of valonia, bristleworms, mini-serpent starfish, a Pom-pom crab, an emerald crab, and a few acans make up the population. None really seemed likely as candidates for these tiny eggs. Staring at the suncoral colonies, they too didn't seem to be doing anything special. Then I saw a few eggs jet away from the branching suncoral.
I was fascinated because the polyps were essentially closed. There most be about 40 heads on the branches, and there was no way to determine which one might be next to produce spawned eggs. Even as I focused my camera's lens on a polyp, a different one out of focal range released a small cluster. Since the flow was off in the tank, any activity had to be credited to the coral polyps.
I took a bunch of pictures, and here are the best of the session.
With the flow off, a few images were taken of the suncorals and the new wire coral I received recently.
Here's a video of the eggs blowing around when I turned the flow back on.