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FAQs about Non-Vertebrate Animal Systems

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

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.>  

Clearmax aka Phos-X: why the cautionary warning re inverts?   1/6/09 I have a 50 g reef tank, loaded with live rock and a good, deep (4 to 6 inches) live sandbed, with 25 g sump/refugium in which I have more live rock and sand in the refugium, and in the sump an Urchin protein skimmer and a phosphate reactor where I have been using Rowaphos. While my phosphate levels remain below 0.5 and my nitrate is about the same, I prefer to have the phosphate reactor there to deal with any excess in case of occasional overfeeding-- it's backup protection "Just in Case". <I see> I did have Chaeto in the refugium, but I wasn't paying close attention to it and it melted on me, and the resulting toxin killed a couple of corals before I figured out the problem. <Unusual... Do you mean the genus Caulerpa?> Livestock is: one six-line wrasse, one flame angel, two percula clowns, one Firefish, two cleaner shrimp, half-a-dozen blue-legged crabs, one Foxface (which I will sell when he gets too big), and a mural goby. Coral includes Duncan coral, frogspawn, hammer coral, torch coral, bubble coral, brain coral, plenty of mushrooms of varying sorts, white star polyp, and some xenia. I use distilled water for WCs, but I do use Prime-treated tap water to top up the tank, having checked it out for bad juju. My city's system is fresh water straight piped from Canada's unpolluted Precambrian Shield. Its only problem is the chlorine and chloramine the Prime removes, and in summer, we do get some algae bloom in the lake the water comes from, along with higher than I'd like phosphate (one reason for the reactor). My nearby LFS doesn't carry RowaPhos so I picked up Clearmax (which used to be Phos-X). The product insert says to use with caution on marine invertebrates, but offers no further explanation, nor can I find one at the Hagen/Fluval site. <Mmm> Have you any knowledge of why this caution would be there? <My foremost guess is the identification of a need for "some" soluble phosphate... is an essential nutrient... Think back to H.S. chemistry... ADP, ATP... of all life... You don't want to remove all... for fear of chemically starving chemoautotrophs. Fishes and most mobile invertebrates should be fine via feeding...> I can always put the stuff in the HOB filter I have dedicated to phosphate removal in my discus tank if there any doubt whatsoever about the wisdom of using it in the reef tank. Judy Waytiuk <I would not be worried if you have any measurable HPO4 presence. Bob Fenner>

Re: Clearmax aka Phos-X: why the cautionary warning re inverts?   1/6/09 Thank you for such a quick response!!! It's much appreciated, especially knowing how busy you WetWebbers are!! <Am barely keeping my head above water! Wait! What am I saying? I'd rather that it be underwater! Cheers, BobF>

Invertebrate bioload 10/31/05 I've seen a few articles on WWM where one of the crew had said that most invertebrates do not add significantly to the bioload. <It all depends on the dry weight of the animal, and it's metabolism> -The following paragraph describes my tank and my plans with it. Please skip it if you don't have time or feel it's not necessary to answer my question (which is found in the last paragraph).- I have 30lbs. of live rock "cycling" in a 20 gallon acrylic tank (30" by 12.5" by 18") and I would like to add some larger inverts. I have a couple of powerheads that pump a total of ~210gph, a Prizm skimmer, 2in. of extremely fine aragonite (I think it's like .1 - 1mm grain size), and two 65 watt power compacts (one 10kK, one 50/50).  The system is closed, I do not have a sump of any kind. I am currently using SeaChem's SeaGel in some pantyhose and I plan to use C-balance's two part Ca./alk. additive and Lugol's. This is my first marine tank and I know that you all recommend the "beginner" to start with something that is at least twice the vol. I am trying, but I've researched reef aquaria for a year-and-a-half before I bought the first piece of equipment for my tank and I really don't have space for anything larger than a 20gal. tank.  I don't plan to have any fish in my reef, they're not really what brought me to the hobby, it was the corals. I'd like to start-off with what I hear are considered easily kept corals, like zoos. and Starburst polyps, then move on to some softies and possibly even some of the captive-grown Acropora on LiveAquaria.com. I'd also like to try a T. maxima. I know these critters require quite a lot of light, and some even suggest not to try them without MH lighting, but others say they can be kept under PCs as long as they're placed very high in the tank. <I've had 3 baby maximas grow like crazy under PCs in a nano, placed high in the tank> Okay, now on to my questions. The inverts. I plan on keeping in my tank are snails (like Astrea tecta or Cerithium sp.), shrimp (like Lysmata amboinensis), hermit crabs (like Clibanarius sp.), sea stars (like Echinaster sp.), lobster (like Enoplometopus sp.), and Tridacna clams (like T. maxima). All of these guys are found on LiveAquaria.com, I don't have any LFSs close-by :(. Do you think these critters will add significantly to the bioload of my tank? Do you think a skimmer is even necessary without any fishy inhabitants? <I would definitely use a skimmer, but the bioload listed sounds fine> Thanks a lot, I really appreciate your help and advice,  Trent <Anytime - M. Maddox> 

Problems after salinity increase 3/6/05 I recently raised my salt level (it was pretty low). In the last two days I noticed one of my emerald crabs dead, my xenia has shrunk and my brittle star has lost an arm and had some white spots on him. Should I wait, do a water change or other? Thanks, John  <Salinity changes are very hard on inverts, and what you are describing is probably due to this change. I would suggest increases of no more than 0.003 (1.017-1.020 for example) in any one day and giving the animals a couple of days to acclimate. If you have been more aggressive than this, I would just give everything a few days to acclimate (trying to drop the salinity back down will just add to the stress). Also, I would strongly suggest checking your salinity measuring device against another aquarists, a local fish store or a refractometer. "Swing arm" style devices are notoriously inaccurate. Best Regards. AdamC.>

Copper and Inverts 12/27/04 I want to keep fish as well as some inverts. I have one anemone and some very nice polyps. Will the dosing of copper affect these inverts dramatically?  <Yes!!!  Copper is harmful if not lethal to almost all inverts.  Copper must never be used in the reef/invert aquarium.  Best Regards.  AdamC.> Starting aquarium for nudibranchs or flatworms 9/24/04 I have a fish only tanks for a number of years. I am now interested in starting a species specific tank for nudibranchs or flatworms. any web sites, books, articles, recommendations would be helpful. thanks mark <hmmm... both are rather challenging. The Opisthobranchs for their oft-obligate diet on inconvenient (to us) prey... and flatworms for much of the same (largely predatory too). There are some great nudibranchs that can be cultured though... temperate and tropical... carnivorous and herbivorous. Check out some the fine ID books at Behrens seachallengers.com... and be sure to visit the seaslugforum.com on the Web. I have an article on culturing Berghia nudibranchs in the January issue of reefkeeping.com if it interests you. Best regards, Anthony> More on the Make-A-Wish Tank (3/15/04) Dear Steve, <back again tonight> Thank-you for your quick reply and concern about our son.  He is well now. The doctors at Mayo's do not expect the cancer to return but we still go every three months for checkups.  It will be one year in May and then we will go every six months for checkups. <So glad to hear this. I hope he remains well. As a pediatrician, I have lost several wonderful young patients to various cancers. It's always great to see some recover.> I read your article, I actually read it a couple of times before. <Credit for authoring goes to someone else on the crew.>  We'll try to be patient.  After having the tank fallow for over a month, I thought we were being very patient but guess we'll begin again. <Hard to say why it didn't work. Give it 8 weeks this time an enjoy the perfusion of fascinating life you will witness.>   Thank you very much for your advice and words of encouragement.  We do already have a cleaner shrimp but may get another. <Or even two or three. These should get along well in groups. As hermaphrodites, they mate freely and produce all sorts of yummy eggs and larvae. (Don't expect any to live to be seen by you.)> We have enjoyed the inverts and the corals.  Anemone crabs have been a lot of fun to watch too.  Should I slowly increase the salt level from .019 to .022 or higher (I had lowered it on the advice of  local aquarium service person although I read it wasn't low enough to kill the ich, still thought maybe his experience had shown it to help) <I would raise to 1.024 range over a couple of weeks or so. Your inverts will be much healthier.> Sincerely, DeNeffs
<Glad to be of service. Steve Allen.>

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