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Chowing Down

Kevin, They arrived at about 11:00 this morning and I took them home and acclimated them. I put a little aiptasia in the container while they were and they started chowing down, and one laid some egg ...

~ By Austin

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Berghia Acclimation Process

What you need to acclimate Berghia

Notes: The following acclimation information is written for 1/2" Berghia or large adult Berghia. Please follow these instructions for 1/4"+ Berghia as well with the following in mind: when you are ready to place the 1/4"+ Berghia in your tank we recommend placing them on the live rock, near some Aiptasia but in an area of lower flow to start. The 1/4+ Berghia should be up to 1/2" size within 7-9 days in your tank.

Salty Underground cultures Berghia in a salinity of 1.025 and very low nitrates. If your water parameters are very different you should to acclimate your Berghia slowly for about 2 hours. If you have very low nitrates and your salinity is the same or .001 off 1.025 then an hour of Berghia acclimation time should be sufficient.

Tools needed:

  1. Vinyl airline tubing – 3/8 inch or smaller
  2. Berghia transfer Pipet (included free as a part of your order)
  3. Clean plastic pitcher or container of similar size and shape.
  4. Bucket
Berghia feeding

When your Berghia nudibranches arrive, look for any Berghia that may have crawled into creases of the plastic bag. The Berghia will crawl all over the bag, and the Berghia can get into the creases and be smashed as the bag is moved. Berghia can be hard to see in the plastic bag too, especially if the Berghia are balled up, so be careful when moving and opening the bag.

Sometimes the Berghia are a little sluggish when they arrive. This does not mean the Berghia are dead. When Berghia die there is no movement even after drip acclimation or they turn into a little pile of shapeless goo.

Please note that the Berghia sometimes loose volume or size in shipping. Berghia will regain their size once the Berghia acclimate and eat some Aiptasia. Even large Berghia are relatively small creatures compared to many of the animals we add to our saltwater aquariums. Berghia will more than double in size in your tank within a few weeks of going into your aquarium.

Begin the Berghia Drip Acclimation Process

This method is geared toward sensitive reef tank inhabitants. You must be willing to monitor the entire acclimation process. You may also use a similar technique that does not require dripping. The basic technique involves adding very small amounts (1 or 2 ounces) of your tank water to the Berghia bag every 5-10 minutes for 2 hours.

Gather a clean, 3 or 5-gallon bucket designated for aquarium use only and a clean plastic pitcher (clean of soaps and residues).

  1. Start by floating the closed bag in your display tank or sump to acclimate water temperature for about 20 minutes.

  2. Carefully open the bag.

  3. Carefully place the Berghia bag into a tall container like a plastic pitcher. Try to extend the sides of the bag up the inside of the pitcher. The water may in the end drip over the sides of the pitcher so you may want to put the pitcher in a bucket as well.

  4. Using airline tubing, set up and run a siphon drip line from the main aquarium to the pitcher sitting in the bucket. Tie several loose knots in the airline tubing, or use a plastic or other non-metal airline control valve, to regulate flow from the aquarium. It is also a good idea to secure the airline tubing in place.

  5. Begin a siphon by sucking on the end of the airline tubing you'll be placing into the bag in the pitcher. When the saltwater begins flowing through the tubing, adjust the drip by tightening one of the knots or adjusting the control valve to a rate of about 3-5 drips per second.

  6. Watch over the process carefully. Do not let the nudibranch spill or float over the edge of the bag. The Berghia will sometimes cling on the surface tension of the water while they are in small containers and float over the edge of the pitcher. Berghia may also actively crawl around the bag during acclimation process.

Since the Berghia have not eaten for 12-24 hours, you may try feeding the Berghia while they drip acclimate. Scrape a small to medium sized Aiptasia  sp. off the aquarium glass or other smooth surface with a razor blade (or similar tool) and drop it in the bag with your Berghia. Berghia nudibranches may or may not eat. It’s a good idea (but not mandatory) to try this so the Berghia are fed before they go in your tank. Don't let the Aiptasia land on a Berghia. The Aiptasia can sting the Berghia.

At the end of 2 hours of acclimation process, feed your fish and then turn off your lights, pumps and powerheads. This will create the best environment for the Berghia to go in your reef tank and successfully grab onto the live rock without being disturbed by fish or water current. You can turn everything back on after the Berghia have a grip on the rock, usually within 5-10 minutes.

Don't try to handle the live Berghia with you hands, Berghia nudibranchs, even large Berghia are very fragile. Use the Berghia pipet provided to suction to the Berghia to get it out of the bag one at a time. If the Berghia are attached to the bag dislodge the nudibranch by gently blowing some water at the Berghia with the pipet.

White hungry Berghia eating an aiptasia

Do your best to place the Berghia on the live rock in your tank near some Aiptasia. It's best to place all the Berghia in the same area of your reef tank and not spread the Berghia out. Berghia will either start eating Aiptasia or will move into crevices of the live rock and disappear from view. Do not let the Berghia float into an Aiptasia's mouth. They can be eaten if dropped directly in the mouth area of the Aiptasia. Berghia can be stung if placed too close to an Aiptasia.

2 Berghia with their egg strand

You may notice a small, white, circular strand of Berghia eggs in your shipping bag. Suck the Berghia eggs out of the bag and place them in the live rock where the current is very low like under a rock. If you are lucky, they will hatch for you.

Your Berghia are egg laying size. They will typically grow to 1" - 1 1/2" in size. You may or may not see the Berghia again once they are in your reef tank. Berghia are nocturnal and you can sometimes spot Berghia at night with a flashlight. Because Berghia are nocturnal they typically eat and come out at night.

When you begin to run out of Aiptasia you may spot the nudibranch during the day. If they are all white or cream colored it means that the Berghia Nudibranchs have not eaten for 24 hours or more. You can help the Berghia by moving the Berghia closer to an Aiptasia you can still see. If you do not see any Aiptasia left, give the Berghia to a freind or sell the nudibranch to your local fish store. Berghia typically starve at around 5-7 days of not eating.

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