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FAQs about Non-Vertebrate Animal Compatibility/Control

Related Articles: Marine Invertebrates, Marine Invertebrate identification, Marine Invertebrate Selection, Marine Invertebrate Systems, Marine Invertebrate Disease, Marine Invertebrate Reproduction, Quarantine of Corals and Invertebrates, Feeding Reef Invertebrates, Lighting Marine Invertebrates, Water Flow, How Much is Enough

Related FAQs: Marine Invert.s 1, Marine Invert.s 2, Marine Invert.s 3, Marine Plankton

Hyper-Salinity For Ridding Live Rock Of Unwanted Guests -- 07/21/11
Hi Bob,
Something here you may or may not want to post. I have seen on a couple of sites where the etailer suggests that you use hyper-salinity to rid live rock of unwanted guests by placing the rock in a pail of saltwater mixed to 1.035-040. I can't help but wonder how the hyper-saline water can tell the difference between unwanted and wanted hitchhikers.
Putting organisms in something that is almost twice as salty as seawater will likely kill or stress out wanted organisms. You may be able to chase out that dreaded Mantis Shrimp or Bristleworm but you will also be harming or killing wanted animals. It's like the old saying, "throwing the baby out with the bath water". In my experience, most live rock doesn't have unwanted guests due to the long transit time where the rock is completely out of water. James
<Will post/share. B>
re: Hyper-Salinity For Ridding Live Rock Of Unwanted Guests

Thank you!
<Thank you. B>

Invertebrates? Sys./comp.   02/08/09 Hi WWM, Great Site. My wife thinks I spend too much time on it though. <Hehe... too much time? Never!> Despite that, I still have a question that I couldn't already find an answer to. I've had several successful marine tanks over the last 15 years, but no experience with reefs. I currently have a FOWLR tank that includes a Picasso trigger, emperor angel, lunar wrasse, 3 Bannerfish, and 4 false Percs. Lighting is 3 rows of 'old school' fluorescent bulbs (1 actinic spectrum) and water circulation is moderate. My question is, are there any invertebrates, or groups of invertebrates, that would survive under these conditions? <Hmm... the angel and the puffer are likely to pick/nibble on just about any coral you try to keep. But if you don't mind taking the risk, you might try a leather coral. They can adapt to low light, are low maintenance and usually grow fast. I would still strongly suggest you upgrade your lighting though... at least to compacts or VHOs. Cheers, Sara M.>  

Trigger/Angel-"safe" inverts  10/7/08 Hi, crew, I always come across questions such as "which triggers are reef-safe?" or "which angels are reef-safe?". <Neither really; while some species may work successfully in some tanks, both families evolved to eat invertebrates, so at least some of the things in your tank are at risk of becoming food.> I'll have an 8 foot x 2.5 x 2.5 foot tank, and am really interested in a Clown Trigger and an Emperor Angel. If I can't have both in this 375g tank, then at least the Imperator. <Clown Triggers are comparatively aggressive fish, and I don't really recommend any triggerfish outside one or two genera (Sufflamen, Melichthys) being kept in community settings. Does of course depend on the specimen. Emperor Angels can of course be kept in multi-species tanks, with the proviso that (as ever with Pomacanthidae) that they're "top dog".> So, my question is, what inverts/corals are most probably trigger or angel-safe? <Angels specifically go for sponges, so that's the main group to avoid; that isn't to say they won't have a go at other types of invertebrate, but provided they are well fed, and the tank is sufficiently large, any damage tends to be minimal. With triggers, shrimps, molluscs, annelids and echinoderms are all easy meat. Some triggers ignore cnidarians (corals, anemones, etc.) but many don't, and the Clown Trigger is one that will damage, likely consume, such animals given the chance.> The FOWLR does not appeal very much to me, and if I can't have inverts, then it will be a pure reef tank with reef-safe fishes only. <Would HIGHLY recommend that approach, perhaps building up experience of this aspect of the hobby generally before thinking about either a trigger or the Emperor angelfish. Do remember the Emperor angelfish has a poor survival record, in part because less experienced hobbyists are attracted to this animal without fully comprehending the demands it places on its keeper. There are many easier to maintain angels out there.> However, if I can have an Imperator as my "showcase" animal, and still have a reef, then that would be great. <Suspect it would be worth doing a bit more reading before anything else...> Thanks for any recommendations! <Cheers, Neale.>

Possible sea cucumber problem  6/18/08 Hello, <Hello, Jack!> I've searched and searched, and cannot find any specific answers, so out of desperation I'm asking my very first question! <Sounds good. Thanks for searching!> In one of my labs, I've got a 4 month old, 75gal marine tank (w ~20gal sump) which...until this morning...held only a cleaning crew (snails, hermits, and two peppermint shrimp), live sand, live rock and gobs of green algae. I just received two "Marine Invertebrate" sets and some jellyfish from Ward's Scientific, <mm...yes> and within an hour of introducing the various species (I know, too many at a time, but it's the only tank we've got...I still need to get a quarantine tank going) BOTH peppermint shrimp were in the open, on their sides, twitching. They died about 2 hours later. http://wardsci.com/product.asp_Q_pn_E_IG0013628_A_name_E_Invertebrate+Living+Specimen+Set+1 http://wardsci.com/product.asp_Q_pn_E_IG0013629_A_name_E_Invertebrate+Living+Specimen+Set+2 http://wardsci.com/product.asp_Q_pn_E_IG0013404_A_name_E_Jellyfish+Living+Specimen I took great care to minimize introducing very much foreign water to the tank. <Okay. How did you acclimate them? Did you slowly transition the water in the bags to system water, or did you just release these organisms into the tank? Simply dropping them in would most likely kill them promptly.> Especially, from the sea cucumber bag! I called Ward's, and they could only tell me that the genus/species was "Cucumaria". <Generic...> Nevertheless, I suspect the Cuke got freaked out in transit and spewed some toxins upon arrival. <Much more a predation response than environmental> Are there any other possible explanations, given the long list of newly introduced critters (check the ward's links, above)? <Be advised that the animals sold by Ward are not compatible with each other, and are rarely properly identified by the company. In my experience with these sets the instructions for care are poor, and the animals sick or doomed upon arrival. The jellyfish, for example, are completely unsuitable tankmates for the other offered specimens, and will require special aquaria to house them. Most of the echinoderms sold by Ward simply cannot be kept without intensive feeding and water change regimens- not what a zoology or invert. phys. class needs!> I've done a partial water change. What other precautions should I take? <I would test your water parameters and see if something is seriously out of whack, and review acclimation procedures. Perhaps consider paying a bit more for some select, research specimens from another source.> I promise, to never introduce so many animals to the tank, ever again. Thank you! <No problem.> -Jack <Benjamin>

Re: Possible sea cucumber problem - 6/18/08 Thanks for the prompt response. I've had a few hours to further research the situation, here's an update: 1. Acclimation occurred over the entire morning yesterday: a) each bag was floated for 1 hour; followed by b) adding tank water to the bag (1 pt tank : 2 pts bag volume) and another hour of floating; followed by c) emptying 1/2 of that water (into sink), topping off w tank water, and floating for another 1/2 hour; and finally d) adding critter to tank while minimizing the introduction of baggy water. Snails and hermit crab were rinsed under tapwater too. <If anything, this might have been too long, but since you had them floating temperature shouldn't have been a problem. I doubt acclimation was the problem.> 2. Nobody else was dead this morning. Yay! <Glad to hear it!> 3. I no longer attribute the shrimps' demise to the cucumber. A more likely suspect would be the jelly's. They'd shed lots of slime (nematocysts?) in transit, and 2 out of 3 had actually LOST THEIR MANUBRIA...incidentally, the injured jelly's and detached mouth-pieces are still pulsating on the tank's floor. I now hypothesize that the shrimp were knocked off by free-floating nematocysts. <Very possible! Cnidarians can shed a lot of stinging cells under stress.> 4. I consider the Cassiopeia's doomed if they remain in this tank, and a hazard to whatever strolls past them. <Both correct.> I'm setting up a temporary 10gal w/ steep live sand "banks" on either end, and setting up a weak submersible filter on the bottom to create a pseudo-circular, vertical current. I've got some high-power full-spectrum fluorescents (used on lizards) I can put on a timer, too. Meanwhile, I'll see if anyone around here wants em (LFS, Bio dept, aquarium...) and, worse case scenario, I'll preserve them for our teaching collection (I waste NOTHING around here!). <Sounds like a good plan.> 5. More research has me concerned about the Featherdusters and predation from: red and blue-legged hermits, brittle star, and the urchin. Real, or paranoia? Time will tell... <There is certainly risk, but they should be fine. Hermit crabs will eat just about anything, given the chance, but as long as there is easier food to be found, they probably won't be going after something the have to catch.> The determining factors in choosing Ward's over the LFS: very good prices (surprising, actually), guaranteed delivery, a 20% off coupon and an established tax-exempt account. <Understood.> The lack of documentation was acceptable, since I'm quite capable of researching various problems, <Clearly. You definitely did your homework before you wrote this reply!> but I'm ashamed to have assumed that their sets were compatible...and to have created this Darwinian situation. <Selective pressure notwithstanding, compatibility and mortality are perpetual problems in aquaria. I wouldn't lose too much sleep over your assumption- it is reasonable to expect that sets of specimens from a reputable supply company would be compatible...that said, often time accuracy is sacrificed to Mammon in this hobby.> I should have known better, given that they included Aiptasia anemones in one set! <Probably helps keep the price down...and, given they aren't overfed they can be fascinating. You might be interested in information re aiptasia culturing/filtering...use of aiptasia to clean water.> Best regards, -Jack <The same! Benjamin>

Parasitic echinoderms, actually other select phyla   2/22/07 Dear Mr. Fenner, <Michael> I just finished your article titled "Spiny-skinned animals, phylum Echinodermata"**.  I doubt your statement that echinoderms "...are the only phylum with no known parasitic members, though they are often hosts themselves." <Mmm, this stmt. should be modified, pre-affixed with "Of the common phyla seen/used in ornamental aquariums,...">   I do not know of any parasitic species in a number of phyla, including ctenophores, Sipunculids, echiurans and chaetognaths.   <Amongst how many current animal phyla?> Do you know of any references regarding parasitic species in these phyla? Sincerely, Dr. Michael Baltzley -- Michael Baltzley, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow Division of Biological Sciences University of California, San Diego <Tried the quick look/see on the Net re comb jellies "as" parasites... dismal... Am a local San Diegan, and even UC alumnus... and do make it down to the S.I.O. library (one of 19 I believe on the SD campuses)... and will take your question with me when I have opportunity to use their Zool. Abstracts, BIOSIS, et al. computer search bibliographic tools. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: parasitic echinoderms   2/24/07 Dear Mr. Fenner, <<Just Bob, Michael>> Thanks for your response. <Amongst how many current animal phyla?> There are currently about 35 animal phyla.  I say 'about' because invertebrate taxonomy is always being revised and modified.  Wikipedia has a reference page listing the current animal phyla ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phylum).  I would not assume that the Wikipedia entry is all-inclusive or completely accurate, but it is a good summary page. <<Ahh, thank you for this>> <Tried the quick look/see on the Net re comb jellies "as" parasites... dismal... Am a local San Diegan, and even UC alumnus... and do make it down to the S.I.O. library (one of 19 I believe on the SD campuses)... and will take your question with me when I have opportunity to use their Zool. Abstracts, BIOSIS, et al. computer search bibliographic tools. Cheers, Bob Fenner> I did a quick search for parasitic members in the phyla I mentioned previously--echiurans, Sipunculids, ctenophores and chaetognaths--in ISI Science Citation Index and didn't find anything.  I would be very interested if your search turns up anything. Thanks, Mike <I "know" of no parasitic members in these other phyla as well... as previously stated, I should have prefaced the bold statement with "amongst" the few phyla common to aquarists... But will do a bit of searching and write back to you. Bob Fenner>

Starfish and Hydroids?  Blue Linckia (Linckia laevigata) Better Left in the Sea.  2/7/07 Hi WWM! <Hi Travis!  Mich here!> I was thinking about adding a blue Linckia star to my 80 gallon reef tank, but after researching some of the LR hitchhikers I think I have, I'm not sure if it's a good idea.... <No.  It is not a good idea, but not for the reason you suggest.  The natural and necessary diet of these beautiful Blue linckia (Linckia laevigata) is unknown.  Though the will accept meaty foods, they seldom live more than 18 months in captivity and appear to die from malnutrition.  If you purchase this creature you are likely dooming it to an early death.>    What I thought was an abundance of mini-dusters of my LR may actually be an infestation of "colonial hydroids" in stationary/tube form! <Could be.> Would a Linckia star (or any starfish for that matter) be damaged/irritated by crawling over rocks covered in hydroids? <Possibly, but not really this issue here my friend.> Thank you, <Welcome!  -Mich> Travis. Attached is a pic--I don't have a good macro/close-up setting on my digicam--but you can sort of see the hydroids on the LR on each side of the mushrooms. <Blurry!  but I see.>

Addition of New Invertebrates Hello, <Hi there> I have a relatively new (approx 6 mo.s old) 120 gallon marine aquarium. I have a few fish (2 fire fish, 2 Percula clowns, and a royal Gramma, ), 3 anemones (2 long tentacle and a magnifica anemone), a banded coral shrimp, a fan worm, several small blue legged hermit crabs, and a cleaner shrimp. (Sorry for the invoice list) I really enjoy the inverts as much as the fish. I plan on adding some new fish over the next few months but I really want to add more inverts. My question is what other inverts can I add before I run into incompatibility issues? <The list is long> I would like to add a blood shrimp and maybe a arrow crab. <The Lysmata should be fine, I would not place an Arrow Crab here> Is there a problem with so many different types of inverts in the tank? <Possibly, yes> The new fish I would like to add is a yellow tang and/or a Naso Tang. Do you have any tricks on getting them to eat? I know they are veggies and I have been told they like seaweed, but the real trick is getting them to start to eat. Any suggestions?

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