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FAQs about Non-Vertebrate Animal Selection

Related Articles: Marine Invertebrates, Marine Invertebrate identification, Marine Invertebrate Compatibility, 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

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Online Ordering 9/1/08 Hello, <Kayla> I am looking to purchase several invertebrates for a new tank and was searching online retail sites. What are your recommendations for ordering online? <I personally used to order quite a bit of my livestock online. I now don't mostly due to finding great local dealers nearby.> There is one site that is significantly lower in price than others (saltwaterfish.com); is this a red flag? <Hmmm, not really, I have ordered from them a few times and have been satisfied.> I would like to research the sites and see what others who have ordered have said, but cannot find an effective way to do this. <Do check in the online forums, small and large. You can see what many people are saying about the different online vendors, not just the experience of one.> Thanks for the help, Kayla <Welcome, Scott V.>

Bristleworms and amphipods disappeared?!   6/22/08 Hi All, I thought all was going well in my 46 gallon reef tank, but I just realized that some time in the last several months my bristle worms and amphipods have disappeared. I have been keeping an eye on my fish (a tank raised clown, a blue chromis, and a royal Gramma as well as my corals, some mushrooms, green torch, colt coral, palm coral, and a very slowly (not sure why) dying flowerpot coral. <Very common... see WWM re the genus Goniopora... all polyps need to be fed...> Somehow I forgot about the arthropods and bristle worms which used to be in abundance in my tank! Just did a water chemistry test, and nitrates are 0-5, s.g. is 1.022-1.024, ph slightly on the low side but kinda a chronic problem 7.8-8.0. Adding buffer with ro water top offs. I have a UV sterilizer that I added several months ago...might have coincided with the disappearance of these critters not sure. I have a protein skimmer with a surface skimmer box, and plenty of flow, a rio 2100 and a maxijet1200. Oh and 80 lbs live rock. I have three little red crabs and two turbo snails and two really large snails (I forgot their name-very common). Anyway, just wondering if I should worry that these critters disappeared or not? <If they are of benefit...> I feed flake formula two in the am and marine cuisine about 1/4 of a cube in the evening. One thing...I do live in Phoenix. its 115 degrees here now I keep my house at 78 degrees though the tank consistently reads 82. <I was out there last weekend giving a pitch... hot!> One other interesting development there seems to be a new soft coral forming. I'll describe. Pure white many almost clear/opaque tubules about the size of a wad of gum and kinda has the shape of a wad of gum. I scraped some of it off the crevices of my live rock and it came right back. It doesn't seem to bother anything in the tank, but do you have any clue what it is? Hope I gave you all the info you need and I hope you can help. Looking forward to your reply. Thanks, Erika <Mmm... "they come and they go"... Likely the dwindling water quality, too-low spg has summat to do with the disappearance of some of this life. I urge better maintenance, observation/attention. Bob Fenner>

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>

Inverts... title please... sel.  04/11/2008 Hello <<Hi, Andrew today>> I have a 72 gallon FOWLR tank. My stocking list looks like this: 2 Ocellaris clowns 1 Blue-green Chromis 1 Royal Gramma 1 Neon goby 1 Yellow tang 1 Scott's fairy wrasse 1 Flame Angel 1 Black brittle star 2 cleaner shrimp 30 Nassarius snails 5 Cerith snails I still have not purchased the wrasse or angel for my tank yet. <<I would suggest you don't have anymore room for more fish>> Fishwise my tank is pretty stocked and lately I've become interested in the inverts for my tank. I have been looking to add some but I am starting to get worried that I might overload the tank or worse off starve them to death as I do not like to overfeed my fish. I am looking to add 3 camel shrimp, an urchin (probably a pincushion) an emerald crab for my hair algae and a pink sandsifting cucumber. Would this be to much for my tank? <<I would add all besides the cucumber, its personal preference, but i have seen too many tanks go bad because of an issue with these, and to me, its not worth the risk. With regards to feeding / bioload...Its all fine, you should not experience any issues>> Thanks, Adam Law <<Hope this helps, thanks for the questions. A Nixon>>

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