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FAQs about Sea Apple Sea Cucumbers

Related Articles: Sea Cucumber, Marine Scavengers, Sand Sifters

Related FAQs: Sea Cucumbers 1, Cuke IDs, Cuke Behavior, Cuke Compatibility, Cuke Selection, Cuke Systems, Cuke Feeding, Cuke Disease, Cuke Reproduction,

It's the kiss of death, from Mr. Goldfingerrrrrr

Indonesian Sea Apple... reading 5/26/2010
Ok, so I've searched everything I could find on your website but haven't seen anything pertaining to what I'm about to tell you, I'm sorry if I missed something. I have an Indonesian Sea Apple that I brought home with me to Utah on a drive from California. I have had it for a week today. I knew it could release toxins
<And more... a tank, even entire store killer>
into my tank (but didn't know just how finicky it is!) and put it into a quarantine within my 55 gal established aquarium.
<Too small a volume...>
The aquarium has been set up for about a year or so and all the chemistry (pH, nitrites & nitrates etc.) is healthy, the salinity is 1.019-1.021.
<Too low>
The salinity of the quarantine has gone up though, due to some evaporation, (though water from the aquarium is regularly used for refill, the salinity has been a constant problem) and is currently between 1.025 and 1.026.
<About right>
The temp. is about 79 degrees Fahrenheit. I've been feeding it liquid Phytofeast
once a day and it's feeders have been extending into the water.
To me the apple has looked healthy and calm the last four days, it did take a couple days for it to look happier after transporting it and all.
Anyway, I noticed this morning that there was this pink bubble floating in the quarantine
<?! I see this... looks entire... something from inside the Cuke... a Polian Vesicle?>
with the sea apple, only one bubble not attached to anything. I have included a couple of pictures of it in attachments, with the apple below it in one. The bubble is somewhat translucent but is pearlescent, giving the opaque appearance from the flash of the camera in the pictures.
It appears to be a fleshy bubble and it eludes me as to what it could be??
<Me too>
I looked at the reports of reproduction and this does not sound like that at all, I thought maybe it could be an internal organ but it isn't attached to the sea apple, is it possible it lost just one organ completely?
<Oh yes... can/do "throw up" most all internal organs when "distressed">
Also, there seems to be something hanging from the end of the bubble, almost like tiny feeder feathers and they are yellowish like feeders. I'm not sure...
I didn't see anything coming from the apple last night, but it has been kind of upside-down for a day or two, with its feeders extended on the bottom of the quarantine tank (didn't seem upset though, I think its been fine like that). I tried to see through the bubble since it's translucent and for the most part it seems hollow, but it's uncertain from the little I can see.
If you have any ideas on this it would really help, thanks for all you do!!!
<... I would not place this animal in your system... Read here:
Or learn to/use the search tool as you should have before writing... and sending some 11 megs of pix. Shame!!! Bob Fenner>

Sea apple poisoning 11/22/09
I read what articles I could find about sea apple problems, but my question is different. Some time ago I started losing fish in my 120 gal tank. I checked for predator crabs, poor water parameters, parasites, etc. What I and my mentor settled on is sea apple poisoning.
My fish were dying, but everything else was fine, even my clam. I did a complete water change, rinsed my rocks, and started over doing frequent water changes.
<Mmm, might need to do more...>
Last week I started to restock after trying a couple new fish, bringing my fish number up to 12, adding some new corals and an anemone.
<Anemones are problematic thus placed with other Cnidarians>
my tank looked as good as it ever had for a few days, and then one morning I had 3 dead fish, and several more have died since in a 30 gal. tank. I had stirred a little sand the day before. Did I release more toxin from my sand?
<Maybe... but in all likelihood your previous cleaning was insufficient.
There may well be added complications of allelopathy twixt the new anemone and "corals">
I am going remove all my sand, clean my tank, start over and re-season my tank, but do you think that my rock is non-usable?
<Yes... with some chemical filtrant use...>
Perhaps I can soak my rock
separately and use later?
<Soak it in?>
Replacing 130 lbs of rock is not economically feasible at this time.
Thanks for your advice. Jeff G.
<Boyd's Chemipure, Poly-Bio-Marine's PolyFilter... See WWM re these, and consider moving out the Actinarian. Bob Fenner>

Re sea apple poisoning 11/22/09
Sorry...I neglected to mention that I removed my Cuke and apple earlier with no intentions of reintroducing them. Also, did you mean that with proper chemical filtrant my rock would be usable?
I also meant to add that my tank redo includes all new sand just in case.
I realize my cycle time will be increased, but better safe than sorry?....
<A useful and usually valid statement. You could thoroughly freshwater rinse, air-dry the present sand, use at some later point. Cheers, BobF>

Re: sea apple poisoning -- 11/22/09
Is it necessary to replace all my water, or just extensive cycling with good carbon and poly filter....and if so, how long should I cycle at 1200 gph before adding fish?
Thanks very much for the help!
<... I would run the system a week with the filtrants, try a few "test damsels" after for a week. RMF>

Sea Apple question 8/12/09
Hello. I have a question concerning a Sea Apple I have had for 3 years.
It appears to be releasing small orange particles from its rear end.
<I see this material>
My understanding is that eggs are released from the anterior end as well as internal organs during stress. Am I incorrect?
<You are not incorrect>
If you could take a look at the picture and let me know I would appreciate it.
Water parameters are:
Temp 26.9C
Ammonia, Nitrate and Nitrate are immeasurable
Calcium is 390.
James Miller
<This mass may be a remnant of Cuvierian Tubules... Please read here re:
I would carefully vacuum out this mass if it is released. Bob Fenner>

Re: Sea Apple question 8/13/2009
Thank you for the advice. The bulk of the beads were released right after the photo. My tank is a 29 gallon
<Yikes, small...>
using an OR3500 in the sump to supply a Beckett skimmer and to return to the main tank. Luckily I removed the floss where the eggs
<Good move!>
were trapped and dumped 2 pounds of activated carbon in the sump as a precaution. No livestock was lost this time, though I will need to watch my Cukes more carefully as there are 3 in the tank. Again, thank
you for the advice.
James Miller
Okayama, Japan
<D'oh tashiite mashiite my friend. BobF>

My sea apple or cucumber, hlth. mostly 9/22/08 <Mmm, all Sea Apples are Cucumbers... Holothuroids> don't really know the difference, but its feeders on its mouth are gone, <Interesting... that it didn't poison your system> we had our power out for about 20 hours and I did about 10 water changes small ones all night and day. Will they grow back or should I take it out? <... up to you. May well grow back...> It does have like two small white ones, not sure it they grew back that way or what, I don't see it letting any liquid out or anything. Also its opening it mouth like its still feeding its just the two small feeders are too short to go in. Unsure I would appreciate any info you can give, I have and still will be reading your site. Thanks Kelly c <Do so... Here: http://wetwebmedia.com/cukecompfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Sea Apple Hitchhiker: Pea Crab - 3/21/08 Hi, <Hi there Joe> I am researching this for someone and I haven't been able to get an answer as of yet, I was hoping someone here could help me. <Hope so!> This particular issue is with a Sea Apple <Uh-oh> it showed signs of not doing so well for a few days. There was a white portion of it looking like it was deteriorating and expelling its insides. <Not good> Since then and further observation the owner noticed that there was something inside the sea apple, it was a small crab or what looks like a crab. <Yep> Do you know or have heard of this happening, <Not specifically with Sea Apples/Pseudocolochirus spp., but I've heard of it in relation to other Cukes/Holothuroids. Sea cucumbers can be hosts to many different organisms, including Pearlfishes/Carapidae, Polynoid Polychaete worms, Periclimenes shrimps, as well as crabs (Pinnotherids, Portunids/Lissocarcinus orbicularis, Eumedonids/Hapalonotus reticulatus, etc.).> and what type of crab this is. <Looks to be a Pea Crab, family Pinnotheridae. These are small crabs that live in Cukes, tunicates, bivalves, etc., with varying degrees of commensalism to downright parasitism. While some live and do only low key, if any damage to its host, others can cause more threatening damage, such as atrophy of the respiratory organs/'trees'. Here are some examples of this family of crabs: http://www.unige.ch/sciences/biologie/biani/msg/teaching/photos%20liste/Pinnotheres%20pisum.JPG  http://outdoors.webshots.com/photo/2762668420086890761xKfyFR >  I attached a pic for reference, <Thanks, good photo!> up until the white deterioration of the portion of the apple it was healthy and doing well. Tank is a 150gal, 0 nitrates, salinity 1.024 and pH 8.4. <I'm guessing that the crab has been removed permanently from the Sea Apple. If not, I would do so. I would also recommend keeping a close eye on the Sea Apple for further decline. They can do significant damage to a system when they die! Please see this link for more information re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seacukes.htm > Joe Brillon <Take care, -Lynn>

Re: Sea Apple Hitchhiker: Pea Crab -- Now, Sea Apple in Trouble - 3/24/08 <Hi Joe> Thank you very much for your response as I have passed the info on. <You're very welcome.> It appears now that the area of concern has worsened. <I'm so sorry.> And the cause is unknown...any idea's what could of caused deterioration in the body of this animal? <No, I'm sorry to say that I don't. There are many possible causes including predation/picking/rough handling at some point. It could have gotten too close to a heater, pump intake etc, or it could be starving and deteriorating. These are notoriously difficult animals to keep. They need pristine/stable water conditions, a good supply of food, and lack of predation to survive - and in this case, to have a shot at recovery. Also, unless the Sea Apple is in a species tank/kept alone, I would move it to a quarantine tank to avoid the possibility of its poisoning the other tank's inhabitants. At the very least, I'd run carbon/PolyFilter, and have a large amount of prepared water on hand for a major water change should the Cuke decline further/die. Signs of decline would include deflation, expelling of insides, and losing color. Either way, I'd have a QT set up for either the Cuke to go into immediately, or the fish/shrimps, etc, to be moved into should the worst happen. Please see this link for more information regarding Sea Apples/tank poisonings. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cukeselfaqs.htm > Joe Brillon <Sure hope everything works out for your friend and the Sea Apple. Take care, -Lynn>

Crab soup du jour?

Indonesian Sea Apple 8/15/07 Hey guys, love the website and the information you so kindly provide. With that said, I work at my LFS and have been working in aquaria for about 4 years. I purchased an Indonesian Sea Apple for my 30-gallon community tank, <... Yikes...> knowing (or at least thinking I did) the inherent risks of the organism. I have had the Cuke for more than 4 months and he receives daily doses of Marine Snow <Of almost no nutritive value> and has appeared to be doing well (no inflating from stress, no loss of size, no moving in the tank once established). Today however I came home and noticed that one of my favorite fish had passed, one of the ones I had had in the tank for a while (5-6 months). I peered into the tank and noticed what appeared to be little green balls (about the size of a flea perhaps?) floating all around in the water. I examined the Cuke closely and it appeared to have strings of these little balls wrapped around a few of its feeding feathers. Another reader had written you about a similar experience ("little yellow balls" in his case) and I was wondering if this is in fact the Cuke reproducing? <Possibly this... or fecal material... or?> I couldn't find any info on how they reproduce. Is it common for them to reproduce in captivity? <Not uncommon> Also, if so are the eggs simply themselves toxic? <Can be, yes> I have never done a full change on my tank and unless I notice labored breathing or anything of the like I don't intend to, at least until I establish that this did in fact come from the Sea Apple. <Good point... this material could be unrelated to the Holothuroid> Aside from him the only other inverts in the tank are a pair of Skunkback Cleaner Shrimp and Peppermint Shrimp, <Could be their eggs... though unusual to be released as such> Margarita Snails, Blue-legged hermit crabs and a small Tiger-Tail Cuke and of course the corals (mostly Euphyllia, Toadstools, Zoos and Mushrooms). Thank you for any insight into this odd situation! Alec Parodi Valencia, CA <Do keep a close watch on this system... "If" something goes sideways with the Sea Apple... all could turn into bouillabaisse in minutes... Bob Fenner>

Re: Indonesian Sea Apple 8/15/07 PS - Somehow missed the section on your site with the information about the sea cucumber reproduction. I now see that this is exactly what happened. Despite my cautions with it dying being a problem, I never thought that it THRIVING (i.e. reproducing) would be a problem. In the last 2 months though I have had my rose bubble anemone split once and my toadstool leather reproduce through self-fragmentation a total of 12 times. Guess I am taking TOO good of care of my tank. Alec Parodi Valencia CA <Heee! Possibly. BobF>

Re: Indonesian Sea Apple 8/15/07 Thank you very much for the reply and information Mr. Fenner! Wanted to update you as to the situation - I checked the water chemistry and the only thing that was off was the nitrates (around 15, ppm I suppose?) which is a tad unusual considering that with the amount of bacteria in the system the tank has never gone above 5-10. So after I noticed labored breathing from the fish I did a 60% change. <Good move> Several hours later I had lost 1/2 of the total fish in the incident, <... sorry to realize> including the original fish that played the role of the canary in the mineshaft apparently. Shrimp seem to be fine, as do a couple of the surviving fish, although the cardinal looks like he is on his last leg. <IF at all possible, DO MOVE the remaining livestock... fish and non-fish to an entirely different setting/system!> I removed the Cuke from the tank and haven't seen anymore of these "little green balls" since. The water chemistry after letting it sit overnight was perfect. Is there a risk leaving the eggs which inevitably fell into some of the live rock, etc? <Not much> Or would it be like any other organic matter and simply raise the ammonia or nitrate? <Perhaps just the dying fishes> I just want to make sure that as they dissolve they will not toxify the water. One last question (I promise!) was what commonly available food do you recommend as an overall feed for inverts in a tank (corals, dusters, apples, etc). <Do general my friend... possibly just a large, healthy refugium tied in... with live organisms being produced, exported from there> I know that is a question which is a bit silly considering that all of the above feed on different particles of different nanometers, but thought I would ask anyhow. The info I have read on the apples indicate their feeding apparatus can only capture particles ~<50 nanometers. Thanks again! Alec Parodi Valencia, CA <Keep studying, applying yourself my young friend... Consider writing your experiences, fields you are interested in... into articles for sale. Bob Fenner>

Re: Indonesian Sea Apple 8/15/07 Thank you very much kind sir, have spent most of this morning on the site (which BTW I was excited to see referenced as a, well, reference in the last issue of Tropical Fish Hobbyist Magazine)! Alec Parodi <Ahh! Thank you Alec. Bob Fenner>

Sea Apple = A-Bomb 03/25/07 I am completely heartbroken and devastated. All the fish in my main saltwater tank (135 gallons) were just killed by a Sea Apple that eviscerated while I was at work except for three fish. <Unfortunate, but all too common. I am sorry for you loss.> Only two paired Ocellaris Clowns and one Blue Green Chromis survived. Fifteen others sadly died, including four cleaner shrimp. Apparently this happened when my local electric company temporarily terminated electricity and my equipment turned off. I came home to find the devastation, dead fish everywhere and the worm-like insides of the Sea Apple were all over the tank. <Such is the risk of keeping Holothuroids in a populated tank. Evisceration is really more of an eventuality than a risk. It most likely WILL happen and at an inopportune moment.> By the way, there were all kinds of unidentified creatures in the tank that I have never seen before, some were crab-like, others had shapeless forms and were about a half inch wide, what are these things? <Various Polychaete worms, and other crustaceans most likely. Impossible to say for certain without a photo, even then exact I.D. is hit or miss.> Fortunately I had a second tank where I put the three fish (24 gallon Nano). They seem to be doing OK. <This is a good thing. Why don't you have a Quarantine tank?> Unfortunately, I have a pair of established Tomato Clowns that immediately started hassling the Ocellaris' and the Chromis so I caught one of the Tomato Clowns and put him in a ventilated breeding unit to isolate him from the others. I am working on catching the other which is hiding in his Bubble Tipped Anemone, I hate to have to do this but I want the stressed fish from the other tank to be able to relax and de-stress without being chased all over the tank. <Another reason to have the quarantine tank.> Do you think this is a good idea? <Would be better to have a quarantine tank. Go purchase a 10 gallon tank, and a heater and filter. Place some established media from the Nano that you have into it's filter. Then place your stressed fish into it. This is much better than hassling an established environment.> I need advice on what to do now with the main tank. <Siphon out the remaining viscera, and about 70 % of the water. Over the next few days do a 20% water change each day. This should dilute the poison. Make sure that you get ALL of the dead animals. They will be broken down as part of Nitrification, and will pollute your tank.> I will remove the dead fish but what do I do with the corals, they seem to all be fine, will they survive? <Hard to say. Time will tell.> Should I remove the corals immediately to plastic container with chemically adjusted RO water? Or should I risk putting the corals in my 24 gallon Nano? <I would follow the water change plan firstly. Then if the corals start to degrade I would consider moving them. You don't want to do anything drastic that might crash the Nano too.> Would that possibly poison the water in the Nano? <I would think that the increased bioload would cause problems.> I also have two Crocea Clams, will they likely survive? <Again time will tell. Please see above Re: Water Changes.> After I remove the corals and snails or anything else that is still alive what should I do with the water? I would assume I should completely drain it, is that correct? <Please see above. I would NOT drain all of the water.> What about the live rock and live sand, what should I do with them? How will the worms die and how should I get rid of them? <Not really sure what you are asking. I was under the impression that these worms were already dead. If not, then NO LEAVE THEM ALONE. They are GOOD for your system, and are present in all healthy systems.> Are these worms toxic themselves and if they remain alive in the rock after the cleanup are they harmful to the tank? <No. They are your friends. Likely came out because they sensed carrion which is what they eat.> After a complete water change which I'll assume I should do, how soon can I replace any fish and corals? <Do not do a complete water change. I would do one large change and then a few days worth of 20% changes, and then a weeks worth of small 5-10% changes. Start adding fish one at a time and QUARANTINE them. I would say one fish every two weeks.> Should I treat the tank in any way? Do I have to completely recycle the tank? Could you please take me through the proper steps I should take at this time, I need help. <If you don't change all of the water at once you should be fine. There are obviously some creatures that survived.> When I eventually pick myself up and slowly add fish back to the tank I vow to always listen to the advice of the WetWebMedia crew. You guys know what you are talking about. <Thank you for your kind words.> My story is probably a typical one; I asked about Sea Apples from a LFS and was told that they were harmless filter feeders. <More or less true, unless you irritate one.> I was attracted to their bright colors and figured I could trust the store owner. I didn't do my research and found out a few days later through your site that Sea Apples were potential killers and should be avoided. <Doh! You should always research before purchase.> I contemplated returning the Sea Apple and was strongly leaning toward doing just that until I did some further research with obviously less well-informed "experts" that theorized that a tank wipeout was extremely unlikely. <They obviously have not kept Holothuroids for extended periods of time…> They also said that most of the fish would survive even if it did happen and there likely would be time to get the fish out. <Again Holothurin/Holotoxin is a very powerful neurotoxin. It also depends on the kind of Holothuroid that you have. Some are worse than others.> Unfortunately, you were right and they were dead wrong and my fish paid the price. <Sad to hear this really.> I feel responsible because I was forewarned by you after I bought the Sea Apple. I had a healthy thriving tank with no deaths for seven months. The water was good, I was doing routine water changes, all the fish were healthy and I had the Sea Apple for about six months with no problems. I have learned a painful lesson and I vow to be a more conscientious fish owner from this point forward. <We all learn from our mistakes. Everyone was new to this at some point.> I usually follow your advice to the tee but all I takes is one major mistake. I also learned to never trust my LFS without doing research before hand. I know this is a touchy subject but what would you do in this situation regarding the LFS that sold me the Sea Apple. What action and I don't necessarily mean legal action would you take. <I would make my situation know to them. If they seem unconcerned or callous about your plight, I would further go to the local Marine Aquarium Society. I would tell them what happened and ask that they not patron this establishment. You could put up a blog to share this experience, etc.> I am curious to read your response. In the meantime I can really use some immediate help with this mess ASAP. <I hope that this helps.> Thank You, <You are welcome.> (please feel free to post this for others to read in the Marine Aquarium articles) <This correspondence, like all correspondence to WWM will be posted. Brandon.>

Have you received this, I haven't seen a response. 3/26/07 <Yes this was received. Should be an E-mail in your in box waiting on you. I have a copy of the response that I sent. Let me know if I need to resend it.> Where will I see a response, I could use some help with my problem. <You have received an E-mail, and you can check the response on the daily FAQ section of the site as well.> Thanks <You are welcome. Brandon.>

Strange wipeout, reef... toxicity... Cuke 2/20/07 I am a reef keeper for over 10 years with several large reefs. I recently set up a 34 gallon small reef. Reef had 4 medium seahorses, 1 percula clownfish, 2 cleaner shrimp, and a medium sized sea apple. Live rock, live sand, and protein skimmer. Everything fine for 2 months or so. Last night everything looked fine. Looked this morning the fish were all dead. The other reefs were fine. The 2 cleaner shrimp were still fine and the sea apple <...!> looked fine with no evidence of a discharge from the sea apple. Last night I had fed the fish in all my tanks frozen Mysis and also put 2 small capfuls of DT's phytoplankton in the water of the 34 gallon reef. 1- Since the sea apple looks fine and no evidence of a discharge or discoloration in the water. I am skeptical he had anything to do with the wipe out? <I am NOT> Can a sea apple blowup or discharge poison and look fine a few hours later and the water look normal? <Oh yes... think about this... Would an organism have some sort of defensive mechanism that would damage itself? Not likely> 2- Could the Mysis have been bad and killed the seahorses and clownfish and not affected the fish in the other tank who were fed the same Mysis? <Mmm, not likely at all> 3- Could it have been the DT's phytoplankton had gone bad? <Nah> I have no idea what happened. <Is only a guess... but am very sure the Holothuroid could have been the root cause here... Have seen this species take out an entire store... on centralized filtration. Other general probabilities include a "bug" (insect) flying in, poisoning the system, an errant use of a household cleaner/aerosol, a cascade-event with some sort of microbial/algal die-off... Bob Fenner>

Sea Apple - 3/6/2006 My sea apple had something orange coming from its butt what is this and what should I do? <<There is no information to go on here, so I suggest removing the Apple to QT, keep your water quality pristine, and watch. Sea apples are notorious for fouling whole systems, so removal ASAP is recommended. Lisa.>>

Sea apple... disaster - 03/05/06 My sea apple has some type of orange string coming out of her "butt" what is this? What should I do? <Carefully, and I mean with utmost caution, remove this animal INCLUDING this material. Please see here: http://wetwebmedia.com/cukecompfaqs.htm Bob Fenner>

Sea Apple For a Nano?--Not Advisable (6/7/05)
Hi, I inherited a 12 gallon Nano cube and am interested in keeping a sea apple. The only other livestock I plan on having is Zoanthids, Blasto, and possibly a couple sexy shrimp. Will this tank be large enough and will the lighting be bright enough (24 watt pc) to accommodate what I am planning on stocking? Also, is there anything that I mention that may not get along with the sea apple? Could you possibly point out some of the more notorious apple antagonizers so I can avoid them? <Anything that nips, as in virtually any fish.> The apple is definitely the focus of the tank and I'm willing to house only that creature if need be, but I'd love to make things look a little more interesting. Thank you. Mike <Sorry Mike, but I have to advise against this. The vast majority of Sea Apples slowly waste away and die even in big tanks. They are very difficult to feed. In a small tank such as yours, the chances would be even less, not to mention the devastation if it releases its toxins. Study the FAQs and articles about these on WWM and elsewhere. It is possible to set up a nice little Nano reef in a 12. I suggest you study WWM and check out our Nano forum on our chat forum for info. Hope this helps. Steve Allen.>

Research And Dedication, Sea Apple - 05/04/05 Hi Eric, Hope al is well. Regarding the three-year-old Sea Apple Pseudocolochirus violaceus and the husbandry techniques, I can't say I actually do anything extraordinary. It has always been kept in a system that houses fish, the first two and a half years with a breeding group of 10 Banggais Pterapogon kauderni, and for the past year with 1 Blue/yellow tang Acanthurus coeruleus and 5 wreck fish Pseudanthias squamipinnis. Very small amounts of brine/Mysis/Gammarus shrimp etc are fed pretty much every day. Once weekly the system is feed on newly hatched brine shrimp which is always targeted on the Sea Apple. I do this by siphoning the brine shrimp through an Artemia sieve… well to be truthful a hanky, and place the contents into a 50ml syringe with a 3 mm wide 20 cm long catheter tube (clean from the vets of course). The syringe is then filled with tank water and a bit of phytoplankton (5-10ml) and the contents are gently released around the tentacular crown. This took a bit of practice, not only for me but also for the Sea Apple. The timing and pressure of the flow has to be right and the animal has to 'learn' that you are trying to feed it and not harm it, other wise it will retract into a tight ball. I leave the protein skimmer of whilst feeding, and for about an hour afterwards. Any way hope this may help anyone having trouble with this species. Best wishes Andrea <Hello once again Andrea! While I still can't recommend this creature be kept at all, you seem to have gone the extra measure to research/learn something about it/them, as well as going to the trouble to provide extra care for its survival. If others learn to apply the same caring and effort to keeping other "easier", more appropriate creatures, our hobby will be well served. Thanks so much for sharing. Regards, Eric Russell>

It's A War Zone Out There! (some kind words) - 05/02/05 Thank you so much for the reply!! Its good to know there are people out there who care enough to offer good sound advice. < Hello again Andrea...happy to serve. > I keep a watchful eye on the sea apple, but he has been an inhabitant of the tank for 3 years now (I realize I've been very lucky!) < Wow! Maybe you could share what you do to maintain this specimen? > Once again, thanks Best wishes, Andrea < More than welcome my friend. Eric Russell. >

Sea apples -Nooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!! - 11/24/03 Hello I believe I have a Australian Sea Apple, and the other day it was secreting yellow little balls, possibly eggs. <Possible...either way....not good!!!> But the next day 2 of my fish died. <Craaaaaap. Sorry to hear about that. Yes, well, this is why these are not good in mixed aquaria. Either dedicated tanks or not at all my friend.> I was curious if it was from eating those balls. <Absolutely, but just being in the tank with this noxious material would be enough to kill everything in the tank! Doesn't even take eating it. Do read about this on our site.> I did a 90% water change <More frequent water changes with about 30-50% daily might help. 90% percent was probably necessary though. Do read up before purchasing any inhabitant you are to take into your charge. Good luck ~Paul>

A Rotten Apple? (Sea Apple In Peril?) Hello, <Hi there. Scott F. with you today!> I hope you can help me. I have a sea apple that has slowly deteriorated. I can't seem to find any information on the web on the care for this animal. I've had it two years and I believe my clown and wrasse have chosen to pick on it. It started having little white lines all over his body. I thought these might be scars. The Sea Apple went and hid under a rock somewhere and I couldn't find him. I was cleaning my tank and looking for him and found him all shriveled up and what appeared to be his insides coming out. Isn't this a defense mechanism? <I suppose it could be...Usually, this happens as a response to some sort of stress...> Well, I scooped him up and put him in a zip and am floating him in the tank. I also heard if they die they can poison everything else. So I'm not sure what to do. How do you know if they are dead? <You'll be able to tell quite obviously. A very "deflated" appearance, and off color.> He still has color, but looks real bad. I have another tank with a golden puffer in it, that maybe I can transfer him to. Not sure if puffers eat sea apples. <Well, he might take an exploratory "bite". Personally, I would isolate this animal in it's own tank. The potential for a release of toxic material is great. Err on the side of caution, and make sure that whatever tank he is in has aggressive chemical filtration, with activated carbon and/or PolyFilter running 24/7.> My puffer doesn't even bother the snails. Okay, hope you can help. I don't want to keep the sea apple in a bag too long, but don't want to pollute my tank either. I have a hospital tank but I'm at work now and it will be late this evening before I can do anything. Thank you, glad y'all are here to help. Liz <Well, Liz- I guess the best course of action is to isolate the animal in that extra tank as soon as possible, and maintain good water quality and stable conditions. Hopefully, that could help bring about a recovery for the animal. HTH! Regards, Scott F>

Cucumber: Good news & Bad news.... Good morning Bob, hope all is well with you. I have been using the method we discussed with setting up my water changes a week before I do them, and that is working out very well!! I can see the difference in my corals, too. Everything seems to be much better off for not using the water conditioner. Thanks for your help with that!! <Ahh, very good.> But now I have another concern. I have either heard or read someplace that Sea Apples can kill off your whole aquarium if they happen to die in there. <Yes... in point of fact, they don't even have to die...> I have what was sold to me as an "Australian Sea Apple". Everything was fine with this animal until 2 days ago, when it got accidentally burned by my heater. It is a pretty good burn, too. The site has flaked off and is hanging. It's up near where he opens up to extend his tentacles. He got burned once about a year ago, and healed up fine but he managed to do it again to himself. I'm concerned about the rest of my community if he doesn't make it. Is this a valid concern?? <Yes, a valid concern... is this Cucumber large? Red, white and blue? Please read over the section on Sea Cucumbers, and compare the images placed there on the site: www.WetWebMedia.com> I have since purchased a new heater, one that is shrouded to protect the animals, and is controlled with a remote thermostat. <Very good> Thank you for your time!! Pat Marren <Do read over the WWM site and associated FAQs, and keep an eye on your other livestock... especially the fishes... will show dramatic and quick changes in behavior (gasping), swimming erratically (at first, last...)... I would move them (the non Sea Apple livestock) IMMEDIATELY if you observe this... Bob Fenner>

Re: Good news & Bad news.... Sea Cuke Bob, the one I have is just like the one first pictured on your web site, the red white & blue one. it is a pretty good sized one, too. Should I panic?? What should I do with it???!!!! Pat Marren <No panic... but I would trade it in... too much potential for a large problem... have seen this species take out many, many systems. Bob Fenner>

Re: Good news & Bad news.... Hmmmmm......do you think in it's injured state that it's liable to poison my tank?? It is moving around like normal and extending it's tentacles to feed. I am really concerned about this whole thing. Do you think he's in pain?? <No pain... these animals are absolutely amazing in their regenerative properties... as you might imagine... what else could they do if some animal wanted to sample them? Swim away?> Hey, how would you like a slightly used sea apple.......free!!!! <Oh no you don't! Thanks for the offer though. Bob Fenner> Pat Marren

Sea Apple I have a sea apple (purple with yellow tube feet). It has been OK the first few months I have had it but over the last two weeks, it has developed a small area of discoloration (paleness) and is not feeding as well and looks smaller. Should I worry? <Maybe... Sea Cucumbers can be trouble... larger ones, the few sold as this species in particular... Please read over the section on these echinoderms posted on the www.WetWebMedia.com site> What might be wrong and do you have any suggestions for me as to what I can do for it? <It may be wasting away... perhaps there is something not to its liking in your system... maybe it is succumbing to some sort/s of internal parasitic, infectious complaint/s...> At first I was feeding marine invertebrate smorgasbord liquid) and frozen brine shrimp but I have changed her food to liquid phytoplankton lately as the store I frequent has been sold out of the invert smorgasbord. Am I feeding him/her properly? How often should I feed? <Mainly detritivorous, sorting and sifting out the surface of the substrate for foodstuffs/micro-organisms... don't be too fastidious about vacuuming... keeping the tank "clean"... do keep offering other "bottom" foods.> I have it in a 20 gallon tank with a spotted green mandarin and a brittle star. <This is way too small a system for this species... If this specimen is a four or more inches in length you may be in for a very unpleasant surprise... Do read over the WWM site. Bob Fenner> Any help would be appreciated. What might the discoloration indicate? <Likely "something" wrong...> THANK YOU! Stephanie

One Sea Apple and Anemones Dear Mr. Bob, This is my very first time on writing to you. I hope that you can help me. <Me too> I got a Sea Apple and the name is Paracucumaria tricolor and a Sea Anemones. Both of them are very beautiful. About the Sea Anemones I have not have the detail yet. I got my Sea Apple last Saturday, and this morning I found that she was under my life rock. She keeps hiding in-it, and it looks like in the form of Vacuum type. Not as I got it last Saturday. When I bought her. She was very soft and looks very fat. But today I found that she was totally not as same as before. She looks like a Vacuum Sea Apple and was very hard. <This happens... do read over the survey piece on our site on these and other sea cucumbers: http://WetWebMedia.Com/seacukes.htm The one you have is problematical in captivity> So I am worry about is she all-right ? I picked her and put it on the live rock. Hopefully she will be fine. <Probably fine... they do have more/less turgor at times> one thing that I am very very worry because today I visit some website and found that Sea Apple will eat the Anemones. Is this correct??? <Sometimes> What does Sea Apple eat?? And is it very difficult to keep? I read some Marine Fish book mentioned that Sea Apple is very easy to keep she eat almost all kinds of left over food and green algae. Actually I got her is because my tank have lots of Green Algae. <Mainly detritus... found, sopped-up with the feeding apparatus on the front of the animal. Not algae.> Today I read some website and wasn't sure about this. They said that Sea Apple is very hard to feed and will make up the whole tank up if she die. My goodness, after I read this I am worry about this!!! <You should... this happens... If the Sea Apple "becomes upset" or should "die mysteriously" things can go downhill very quickly. As stated, not an animal I recommend for aquariums> Worst thing she will eat Anemones. Is it true that Sea Apple is very hard to keep??? <Harder to keep than many of the smaller, more appropriate Sea Cucumber species aquarists employ. The bottom line is I'd return this animal, trade it in for something less potentially toxic... and study up before purchasing future livestock> I want to know how to keep and feed her??? Pls help. Thanks for your time of reading this. sfo <Be chatting and studying my friend. Bob Fenner>

Re: One Sea Apple and Anemones Dear Bob, Thanks for your replied. Actually the website that you recommended to me is the website that I went. <Oh! That's our site> Worst still this morning she totally went into it I can't see any thing. So I will go to my office to have a look after my dinner. Wish me luck..! Anyway if I found that she is still in the vacuum size what I should do??? How can I determine that she is Dead??? <Good question... hard to tell... dissolving, bad reactions of other livestock...> Pls tell me what to do?? <I would remove this animal, return it whence it came. Bob Fenner> Thanks

Re: One Sea Apple and Anemones Dear Mr. Bob, This morning I observed that the Sea Apple is still as same as yesterday. As what you suggest I will send it back to the Fish Shop. Hopefully they want to accept it. <Please refer them to my opinions as posted on our website. Bob Fenner>

Pseudocolchirus oxiolugus I am looking for any info on the Australian sea apple Pseudocolchirus oxiolugus I have found next to nothing on the animal. Can you help me out? thanks Brian <A risky choice for pet-fish use. Please read re this and related species of Sea Cucumbers on our site: http://WetWebMedia.Com/seacukes.htm And related FAQs page. This species goes under other scientific names btw. Bob Fenner>

Sea Apple? Dear Bob: I just received an order from FFExpress and one of the things I got for my reef tank is an Australian Sea Apple. This apple is huge! Its about 10" X 4.5" What my question is, will this apple release toxins if it gets near my anemones. About 20 minutes after I put the apple in my tank it started heading straight for my biggest long tentacle anemone (8"). Then when my apple fell right into the anemone I got worried so I moved him to the other side of the tank. Any suggestions would be great! Thanks, Boyd Bunk >> These animals are very poor risks for small marine systems (only hundreds of gallons)... Keep an eye on your livestock... and be prepared to dump most all the water and replace it... add PolyFilter... and remove the animal/or the rest of your livestock if/when the Apple/cucumber eviscerates, or dies... Bob Fenner

Sea Apple liability... lawyer question? Bob, Who should be held responsible when a retailer sells a customer a sea apple which poisons the tank and doesn't even tell the customer how to feed it? In looking back now, soon after I purchased my first sea apple and added it to the tank, I started losing fish quickly. My first sea apple died because I wasn't told how to feed it and was told that it blew up from the inside out because of lack of food. I was told when I bought it that it fed much like that of an anemone. I have purchased a second sea apple now from the same retailer and I am starting to see my fish die again, one by one (four in the first 24 hours the sea apple was in the tank). I didn't know about the poison the sea apple puts out until recently and I read the question sent in to you by Ryan. The retailer where I bought both of my sea apples says he took the poison out of both of them. My question to you is: Is this possible?
<Re the first responsibility question... I don't know. The retailer for assuming the customer knows enough? The customer for buying something without investigating it sufficiently ahead of time? Concerning the second question; I've never heard of such a thing as removing the poisoning capacity of sea cucumbers... but don't believe it really can be done. They have a few mechanisms (front and back)... including "throwing up" much of their internal organs... some bits of which are toxic. and regenerating them later. How would you do this preventative surgery?> I also bought a spotted moray eel (approximate size: 8") which ate other expensive fish and bit me! I was also sold a panther grouper that ate my shrimp the first night it was in the tank. I was never warned by the retailer about the eel or the panther grouper's eating habits or their aggressive behavior. <Hmmm, maybe time to look around for other dealers.> I am not asking you to be an attorney, but in your professional opinion, don't you think the retailer has a responsibility to the customers he sells to advise them of possible problems or special feeding habits--especially in a community tank such as mine. This certain retailer has even been to my house and is familiar with my tank. Sincerely Submitted, Ronnie <Sounds dedicated, just not very well informed. Bob Fenner >>

Question: First off I would like to say you have a great site, keep up the good work. My question is about a sea apple. I recently bought one and now I think I may have made a mistake. I have talked to may local retailer, and he tells stories about being sued for sea apples poisoning an entire tank. Also, he commented about their eggs killing an entire tank. In the past few weeks I have noticed small white growths all over my live rock, and I am concerned that these are "baby" sea apples. I would appreciate any input you have on this matter.

Bob's Answer: Ryan, I doubt that these are "baby" Sea Apples (they're definitely not). But you should be concerned. Paracucumaria, in particular of all their Order, are bad news. They don't have to reproduce to cause real trouble. Just getting "upset" by being sucked against an intake, burned by a heater, tormented by you or a tank mate... can/does bring about the end of many a pet fish hobbyists avocation.

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