In a larger environment like Pohiki Pond, there are extensive cracks and voids between layers of lava as well as in the spaces between large and small rocks. Generally the metabataeus tend to stay in hiding and we were able to capture such a high percentage because John Chan was specifically targeting them. My efforts with a larger long-handled net swept the rock surfaces and probably accounted for catching a larger number of opae-ula.
|A primary objective was to create breeding habitats for both species. It utilized a 2-gallon glass cylinder with bonsai base mount and halogen light unit with dimmer switch. This is a prototype for the future line of Micro-Lobster Showstopper Breeder Tanks. The central aquascape was constructed with several pieces of selected high-velocity pumice ejecta that had an uncommon brownish surface coloration to add variety to the enlarging Micro-Lobster exhibit at the Fuku-Bonsai Center. The pieces were joined together with colored cement to feature a large double opening tunnel-cave and several pinnacles on top of which small groups of opae-ula could gather to socialize.|
Metabateus need higher water quality and 1/2" to 3/4"
high-ejecta lava pumice was installed between the central lavascape and
the back wall. A slotted 3/4" plastic pipe was angled into this
area before the gravel habitat was positioned. When an airline was
placed into it, it would function like a standard aquarium undergravel
Because the opae-ula are smaller, have a lower oxygen requirement, and would want to stay away from the metabataeus, opae-ula breeding habitats were place off to the sides and created with Pohiki wave-smoothed 1/4" to 1/2" stones up to 2" deep.
|The photo at left was the first photo taken of the new Pohiki Mixed Tank as the opae-ula began to reappear out of hiding. For some reason, only the opae-ula were seen on the first day when the unit was put together. Although the opae-ula and metabataeus were similar in size it was very easy to identify them even without the loupe. The photo shows more than half of the total 29 opae-ula population. They seem to like the lower right front part of the landscape. Only one or two metababataeus were briefly seen on the first day.|
On the second day, I counted 27
opae-ula out in the lower right front part of the tank. They were
not moving much and I saw 2 or 3 metabataeus on the top of the
aquascape. A very tiny amount of spirulina was floated but none went
to the surface to filter-feed.
In another tank containing pale and banded opae-ula from Oahu, it took 4 months before a few would rise to the surface to filter-feed. They go up very slowly and only about a fourth of them have learned to filter-feed. But those that do are noticeably larger and tend to enjoy being on top of the coral formation.
With a total of 29 opae-ula and 19 metabataeus, there will be heavy pressure on the opae-ula. Even with such a large number of predators, I believe that the opae-ula will survive and reproduce. But I predict that the metabataeus will begin to kill off each other until just a few remain. This is the start of a long term experiment and there will be periodic updates.
TO BE CONTINUED . . . STAY TUNED!