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I recently took a trip to the San Diego/Carlsbad, CA area to visit family and had the opportunity to explore local marine life. The eastern Pacific along the California coast is pretty cold (50-60F if memory serves) so I was curious as to what kind of critters I'd find. I managed to convince my girlfriend to walk a mile down the coast to a tide pool to see what we could find.

What we found was anemones...lots. We had to take a lot of care the whole time to not step on them there was so many. I'm not a big nem nerd so I'm not sure what kind they are but they look familiar. Most were green, though we did find this guy with some red:

While I was taking these pictures I noticed the tremendous amount of macroalgae around the nems and the lack of corraline. There was some, but I've gotten used to seeing tank pics with rocks covered in corraline that just seeing spots of it here and there was a bit of a surprise. On the algae side, I counted around half a dozen different types in one spot. Most were red.

We also noticed that some of the nems were completely out of the water and covered themselves with shell fragments. We also saw a few that were close to the water surface that had some shell coverage (less than those exposed to air). I'm not sure why this is...protection from the elements? Predator (bird) deterrent? Bonus points if you can count the different types of macroalgae in this one:

another one:

While we didn't see any fish in the tide pools, we found some neat inverts. Mostly snails and a couple crabs, though we did see some kind of pods in one pool. They were quite large. We also came across a girl petting a 10" long sea slug which was weird but that's California I guess.

We were also able to make it to the Birch Aquarium at the Scripps Institute at UCSD. They had quite a few local species tanks with plenty of "no photography" signs as well as a few tropical reef tanks without.

I found these tanks to be beautiful and more natural to form than a lot of the ultra-sterilized tanks we see in the hobby these days. In the tide pools and Birch tanks I saw a huge variety of algaes, pest anemones, etc that made me rethink my approach to my own tank.

One other note was that of flow. At the tide pools, even at the lowest part of low tide, there was a huge amount of flow with even the smallest wave. At one point I watched a surge of water about 3 inches deep wash over a stretch of pools 20 or so feet long and then completely retreat. This happened every 5 seconds or so. That's an enormous amount of flow in the "low flow" part of the day.

Anyway that's all
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