Thursday, June 26, 2008

Makassar Pictures!

Hello everyone. For today's topic, I'd like to share some pictures from the last Makassar, Sulawessi trip. All the coral pictures are from this trip but the red Bali brains and the cynarina donuts.

So we took this bicycle taxi to eat at a local fish restaurant. It was just me and my wife. We couldn't figure out how much to pay for the fare and all I had was a 20,000 rupiah (a little over $2), so I gave it to the tired bicyclist. He was very happy. The word must have spread that I was a good tipper because the next time we came out from the hotel, we were greeted by a whole bunch of these guys. They were all smiling and pointing to their bicycle rickshaws! I found out that normal fare would have been less than half of what I gave.

We got to the restaurant and they offered us this titan trigger!

They also had an assortment of groupers and snappers.

We ended up choosing a grouper to get steamed. It was ok, nothing like a fresh live one. We also ordered some grilled shrimp. Along with rice and vegetables, it was a pretty good meal.

Here we are at another restaurant. This one specializes in the free range chicken. These are very small birds but taste like candy!

So here is what I do. Walk into the coral ponds and carefully look for nice corals. The floating basket comes in handy. It is kind of like picking fruit, except that the fruit is on the ground. Hours of doing this and my back feels like it is on fire!

Here I am carefully looking for damage on some rose anemones.

Sometimes, there is no place for me to walk. I have to position myself in all sorts of ways to pick the nicer corals!

So Makassar is known for their fabulous Ricordia yumas. Just gorgeous, blue and red with a green rim!

Here is an assortment of some choice corals that I just finishing picking out.

Red yumas are one of my favorites! Check out the size below - wow!

This thing is nearly 4 inches wide, without being fully opened! When it is really happy, it can probably reach 7 inches!

Beautiful symphyllia brain. It even has blue-purple mouths! This coral will go on sale soon in the US from an online company.

Stunning red goniopora! Once is a while I'll run into a super rare one with yellow centers.

Super Acanthastrea echinatas are not so hard to find from Makassar!

Very nice deepwater lobophyllia! These have orange and green. They color up nicely under halides!

Another beautiful Acan echinata. This color morph is referred to as "orange crush" in the US.

The best Acanthastrea lordhowensis comes from this region of Indonesia!

Another beautiful Acan lord. This extra large colony is brick red in color!

Encrusting montiporas are not that common in Makassar. But they do come in sometimes. I passed this one up because it was damaged.

Stunning red Bali brain! This trachyphyllia is known as Wellsophyllia here in Indonesia. There is a green morph, and those are called Jakarta brain.

Another beautiful Bali brain!

Before common, now very hard to find. I was lucky to get these pieces in!

Gorgeous cynarina donuts. This one is super metallic and super large!

Another superb cynarina donut. This metallic orange specimen can open over a foot long! The skeleton base is about 5-6 inches! Both of the two large pieces came in really bangged up from the islands. They are recovering now and will be ready for shipout soon.

That is it guys. I'm going to be busy for the next few days so I will post when I'm back in Bali. By the way, I went and visited the Jakarta bird market yesterday - way cool!. I'll have pictures from that trip along with more corals in the upcoming posts.


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Awesome Anemones!

Usually when we go to East Java to pick corals, we end up staying overnight. There is a hotel that sits right in the middle of the suppliers, and we always end up staying in this nice hotel.

Here is the view from outside the hotel room. Remember the pier from previous posts? It was here that I took these beautiful photos below, of the sunrise in East Java.

I got up at 6 am and walked out to the water's edge. I was amazed at what I saw. The sun was just creeping over the horizon. I rushed back to the room and grabbed my trusty Fujifilm digital camera. Notice the landmass on the right? That is part of Northern Bali.

I zoomed in and took this picture right after the first one above.

I took this picture a minute later.

It seemed like the sun was rushing to rise. If I didn't take the picture myself, I would think this picture is a sunset!

Ok, now let's jump into the main topic for today - awesome anemones! During my adventures to East Java and Sulawessi, I run into some fabulous anemones. If you don't have a trained eye, it is difficult to identify the anemone species. I will attempt to show the differences so we can all become anemone identification experts. Me myself is not an expert, but I have consulted with a true expert. Her name is ShuTin, remember the lady with the monster tank in Monterey California? She is in the process of propagating many species of anemones. Soon they will be available to fellow reefers. I will give more information on this when the time comes.

Most of the following anemones were from this past week's collection. A few pictures are from the past.

This is about eight Rose Anemones (Entacmaea quadricolor)clumped together. So beautiful, it looks like the basket is burning with flames!

Bubble tip anemones come in all sorts of colors. Specimens like this green tip metallic pink with a red base is not common. Unbelievably beautiful!

Another rare morph of the bubble anemone, metallic orange! If I was a clownfish, I would make this my home:)

This bubble tip is more plentiful, but still nice with purple tips!

A close up of a rose bubble tip. This one happens to have real bubble tips. I would say at least 50% of these anemones have longer tentacles with short bulbs at the tips. I think these differences in the tentacles and bulbs are due to environment differences. But they do have one thing in common, they are so nice!

A basket of choice Macrodactyla doreensis, commonly called long tentacle or L/T anemone. This basket has a metallic green one with white tentacles. It also has two different color morphs of purple. And of course can't forget the metallic red one in the middle!

Check out this amazing doreensis, it is green with purple tentacles! This color morph is extremely rare and I've only seen a handful of these.

Ok more rare than the green/purple one, is this insane pink one! Just a gorgeous anemone!

Usually one can id the anemones from the tentacles and shape. But the species of the Stychodactyla are hard to differentiate. Usually common name of "carpet anemones" is used to id these type of anemones. The best and easiest way to tell the differences is to look at the verrucae (bumps) on the base of the anemones. There are three different species of carpets that look similar. There is the gigantea, the haddoni, and the more elusive mertensii. The blue one pictured above is a gorgeous gigantea. It had just come in from the islands and was stressed. The verrucae on the giganteas normally run half way down to its feet.

Here are some more examples of giganteas. These are large anemones (such the name "gigantea"), that can sting and eat large fish in your aquariums. In the wild, they are generally found in shallow water in the sand. The only problem with giganteas is that they have a hard time adapting to captive environments. Their long term survivability is very poor.

A couple of gorgeous red giganteas. Unfortunately the red morph of this species seems more sensitive than the blue or the purple. If you have a red giantea alive for more than 6 months, you are extremely lucky!

Another species of the carpet family is the Stychodactyla haddoni. This species lives a little lower down the water column and is also found in sand.
This particular specimen has red mixed in with some other colors.

Here is another photo taken with flash. The red is more apparent now. I've seen specimens of this color turn into brick red under some good lights.

Here is a close up view of the verrucae. The verrucae on the haddonis are very small and are only found at the most upper part. We can assume that if the carpet anemone has a smooth foot, with no bumps, then it is most likely a haddoni species. The good thing about this particular species is that generally they are hardier and easier to adapt to captive environments, far better than their cousin the gigantea. Also the fact that they are a smaller species, makes them ideal for our reef tanks. Keep in mind though that a full grown haddoni is still a big anemone.

Another beautiful carpet. This one is orange - red!

The final species of the carpet at interest is the Stychodactyla mertensii. These usually are found deep down on the rocks. Like the gigantea, this species can get large. However, unlike the giganteas, this species can adapt to captive environments well and flourish. By far these are the strongest and most suitable species for our reef tanks. The only problem is that I've only been able to find green ones here in Indonesia. I only see a few pieces at a time during my trips, so definitely not common. I do hope one day I'll find a blue or a red one!

The verrucae on the mertensii are small and run all the way down its foot to the base. I believe this species of carpet is the one that clownfish like the most. What I mean is that most species of clownfish will host in a mertensii.

A basket full of giganteas and one mertensii in Sulawessi.

A beautiful Heteractis magnifica! Finding a color morph like this is no easy task. Commonly called the ritteri anemone, this species can be difficult to acclimate to captive environments. They have a history of just melting away in our tanks. But anemone "cefu" master ShuTin, has been successful not just keeping these alive, but even one step further and successfully propagating them! Pretty amazing!

Here is another Heteractis species that can be a challenge. The famous malu anemone. Many people have heard it but can't id it. There is another species of the Heteractis that is worthy of mention. It is the crispa, the sebae anemone. I have a picture of a super pink with purple tip specimen in my camera but left the camera chord in Bali (I'm still in Jakarta), so I'll have to post it later at another time.

Check out this crazy looking hellfire anemone. It has green, orange, purple, crazy colors! Of course none of the clownfish will host in it. But still is very pretty!

Ok, if anemones can crossbreed between different families, this one would be it. A very strange looking anemone. It has bubble tips but has the base of a sebae (crispa) anemone!

Here is the base. It definitely looks like a Heteractis crispa on the bottom.

Check out this strange and pretty anemone. It is very unusual in that it has little white bumps at the base of the tentacles. I've consulted with ShuTin and she tells me that it belongs to the family of anemones called Phymanthus, the same family as the hellfires.

Here is a picture of the base. It does have a pretty purple base!

Another not so reef friendly anemone, the deepwater pseudocorynactis. These have extremely sticky tentacles that can sting very badly if handled wrongly.

Ok guys, I hoped you enjoyed today's post on the anemones. I hope now you get a better idea of identifying the many different anemone species.

Before signing off, take a look at this article that I found in a newspaper. The paper is called Bali Times and is written in English. I'll post cool little stories of interest whenever I run into one. Enjoy!


Aquaculture Northern Bali

November Corals Collection Part. 1

November Corals Collection Part. 2

Aquaculture - November Shipment

Coral Showcase - September 2008 Inventory

Holding Facility's Corals Collection Showcase 2007