View Full Version : Report from Collecting Tropical Strays in Long Island

09-24-2013, 12:52 AM
We had the amazing opportunity to join the Long Island Reef Association (LIRA) on their annual collecting trip this past weekend. We had planned to go a few weeks back on our own, but when club members caught wind of it, they urged us to join them on their trip, which we did. And it was AMAZING!

We drove up Fri. evening and stayed with a couple from LIRA in Hicksville, NY. Sat. morning I went diving with another club member I met on Reef Central to dive the Pongogue Bridge. In 30 minutes, we collected a total of 11 spotfin butterflies, a snowy group, a king fish, and a small puffer. I almost had a file fish, too, but it got away!

Once the tide turned and we had to come it, I snorkeled around the bridge and caught a beautiful male seahorse, which I gave to the family we were staying with, as he breeds them, and was in need if a "local" male! I also got some urchins and hermit crabs.

Next it was off to meet up with the LIRA club where I seined with the owner of the Long Island Aquarium, and several club members. We caught all kinds of neat fish: both local and tropical. We had TOO many fish to take back! Truly!

The next day we seined at Oak Beach with the family we were staying with, but since we hit it at high tide, we didn't get anything too exciting. We did catch 4 gorgeous blue spotted cornet fish, but they were simply too big to transport or house.

We were offered passes to the Long Island Aquarium, but weren't able to take them up on the offer this time, as we had to drive home on Sun.

We ended up bringing home a total of 24 spotfin butterflies, 1 tiny threadfin butterfly, two small puffers, a doctorfish (tang), 3 pipefish, a goatfish (probably caught 30 or more!) a snowy grouper, two kingfish, a Caribbean lizard fish, a pinfish, two sea robins, some killifish, a goby, shrimp, urchins, and hermit crabs, and several other fish I can't think of right now. Everything made it back safely, and now the fun part- getting them to eat!

The trip was so much fun and definitely an experience of a lifetime. I made some terrific connections, and the LIRA club would LOVE to host the Pittsburgh club next year for a collecting trip of our own if there is interest! They said they can get us great hotel rates to stay right next to the aquarium, and set up a tour of the aquarium as well as some collecting excursions (seining and scuba for those who are interested). I know that we are planning to go back next year and would love to see others join us!

If there is a fish on this list you are interested in, I am willing to share! I am keeping the tang, the puffers, the grouper and several butterfly fish for sure, but let me know if there's something you'd like and are able to house: I am especially interested in finding homes for the goatfish, lizard fish, and fairly large (4") pinfish.

09-30-2013, 12:00 PM
Awesome. That sounds like such a good time. I wonder when you are going to be taking off for Florida. I've read peoples experiences with collecting trips and they sure do excite me. I would love to go on a trip. I'm glad that you had a good time.

09-30-2013, 12:34 PM
What do you plan to do with all those fish?

Not to sound mean but it seems the types and amounts you collected are a bit much for any aquarium keeper.

10-04-2013, 11:54 PM
I managed to find homes for everything I was looking to give away. Many of the fish I brought back because they were going to die anyway and thought that I could share with other club members, which I have. Many of the smaller butterflies didn't make it because they never ate, but the larger ones (1 1/2 inches +) are all doing well. The fish that are left will reside in my 135, 70 and 50 gallon tanks, once they are through quarantine, of course! So far no signs of illness, but I am not taking any chances!