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FAQs about Lobsters

Related Articles: Lobsters, Slipper LobstersThe Selection and Care of Spiny Lobsters in Home Aquaria by Adam Jackson,

Related FAQs:  Micro-Crustaceans, Amphipods, Copepods, Mysids, Hermit Crabs, Shrimps, Cleaner Shrimps, Banded Coral Shrimp, Mantis Shrimp, Anemone Eating ShrimpCrustacean Identification, Crustacean Selection, Crustacean Behavior, Crustacean Compatibility, Crustacean Systems, Crustacean Feeding, Crustacean Disease, Crustacean Reproduction,

Panulirus versicolor (Latreille 1804), the Blue Spiny Lobster.

Suggestion for your Page       6/23/14
I was just exploring lobster and fish resources when I came across your page from another link:
I noticed you link out to some external pages and thought if you take suggestions I would recommend our awesome resource, "100 Fun Facts About Lobsters." We just created it and it has a bunch of great images and information.
Maybe you could add it if you think it fits well on your site.
<Ahh, will do; on the Biblio. and in the FAQs. Thank you, Bob Fenner>
Best wishes,
Re: Suggestion for your Page      6/24/14

Awesome, thank you!
<Thank YOU Jesse. Up and linked. BobF>

quick question... Lobster/Cray...    4/23/2011
We are unsure if the P. versicolor: The Blue Spiny Lobster is fresh water or salt water. Could you clarify? It would help settle an argument.
<Panulirus versicolor is a marine animal, like all Spiny Lobsters. There may be some confusion because Spiny Lobsters are sometimes called Crayfish (mostly outside the US) hence an animal called a Blue Crayfish might be either a Spiny Lobster or a freshwater Crayfish. As ever, using Latin names should clear up any misunderstandings. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: quick question   4/23/2011
Marine = salt water?
<Uh, yes. From the Latin word 'mare', sea. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: quick question   4/23/2011
Thank you, sorry for being so annoying.
<No problem. I'm pretty used to annoying people by now, being a high school science teacher and all! Happy Easter, Neale.>

Snowflake Eel and Purple Lobster....   4/2/11
<Hey there.>
I wish I was writing in on a more pleasant note but it is as it is... I added a baby Snowflake eel to my 29 gallon Bio Cube (water is all fine) and acclimated him well.
<A tank of this size won't be sufficient for very long. This eel will reach at least 30 inches.>
He is a very healthy and energetic 8in guy. As he investigated my large liverock, he came upon my 1inch long purple lobster's cave... He fought him on a territorial issue and the lobster ended up with a missing claw.
<Lobsters are simply considered food by most Echidna species.>
It was a rookie mistake but this IS my first tank and I thought they would be alright because the place I bought him from had him in a tank full of cleaner shrimp and lived peacefully with them... He (allegedly) never even nipped at one and none went missing:( He and my Coral Banded Shrimp on the other hand have bonded quite well and he eats the eel's scraps.
<Shrimp species that clean fishes (Common Skunk cleaner shrimps, but also Coral Banded shrimps are among them) are - aside most hermits - the only common exception to the rule that crustaceans are eaten by this genus of eels. They are often recognized as useful by the eel and not eaten. But sometimes even they can be attacked.>
My question is; what can I do to help them all get along
<Easy. Separate them.>
and I had planned on adding one or two Ocellaris Clownfish (sorry for spelling <Why?>) in a few days when I see how the bio load is. I understand that there is risk involved but I will keep the eel well fed and away from the Clowns (the eel is about 7-9 in long, I haven't had the chance to measure him though).
<Keep them away from the Clowns? How are you going to do that, using a divider? Sit in front of the tank with a net 24/7?>
Does this stock sound acceptable?
<I would not mix Echidna nebulosa with small fishes, especially not in small quarters. This species undergoes a gender change from female to male at some point. As this happens many Snowflake eels start eating small fishes (can happen before that, too, on occasions). Overfeeding eels to keep them from their natural food is not a good idea. While they might be too full to hunt you are risking fatty liver disease in the long run or while the eel is still young unnatural fast growth and deformations (Phil Purser called this "power feeding").>
I will put in about 4-6 small cleaner hermit crabs to help clean up.
<If they are well armored their chances are good. However, I've seen E. nebulosa pick hermit crabs out of their shell in a case where the shell was too small to completely hide the hermit.>
I really love the eel and he is well taken care of with a huge amount of dark liverock to live in.
<Build proper caves, incorporate PVC pipes if you need/wish to. Loose rocks can and likely will tumble.>
It is just full of tiny caves and interlinking tunnels. How else can I reduce the bio load?
<Easy. By not adding more livestock. You can also incorporate a strong skimmer, algae refugium with deep sand bed, etc... Read here:
I understand the eel excretes a lot of umm fecal-matter...
<I guess we all do that.>
This is quite disgusting
<Poo in general is not very attractive...>
but what animals take care of fecal matter?
<Cleaner shrimps and hermit crabs often do as well as larger brittle stars.
The skimmer also will, with time.>
My LFS can order just about anything and I am sure something would help...
I can't find help on this anywhere else please any information you can give to keep my eel healthy and happy along with my desired stocking of one or two clowns (my LFS recommended a small puffer as he will be good with all of the open space or a Yellow Tang as I plan to upgrade to a 55 or 75 in December but I know that is still small for them what do you recommend?)
<I'd not add more until you actually have the larger tank up and running.>
I want to keep my eel happy but since he hides in rock all day, I would like a nice fish to look at other than at feeding time. I have done some research but found little please give me your expert advice it would be GREATLY appreciated.
<See here for compatibility: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/snowflakemoray.htm 
and http://www.wetwebmedia.com/snoflkeelcompfaqs.htm .  Read, read, read...
Cheers, Marco.>
Re: Snowflake Eel and Purple Lobster.....  4/2/11
Wow! Thank you for the fast response that message was quite funny by the way and helpful. I have a sub question to ask out of pure amazement. I saw a rare clownfish (can not remember its name!) at my LFS... He was blue and black and yellow I believe and looked like an Ocellaris other than that and was about 1.5in long. They claimed he was incredibly rare and "an honor to have in the store!" ... His price tag was $300.00. Why was he so expensive?
<Probably for being rare and people paying high prices for rare fishes. "Free" enterprise economy.>
Ok, so back on track, the reason I asked was because tomorrow, my LFS makes its monthly fish ordering in which it orders anything you ask for from places all over the world. That is why I would like to know what kind of pretty/interesting fish I could put in. I ask because the eel sits in his cave all day long and makes my tank dull and boring.
<Im sorry to hear that. However, I personally wont recommend another fishy tank mate for a tank which will be outgrown by its current inhabitant. In larger tanks there would be a number of possibilities for tank mates for such a moray, but simply not in a small volume.>
I understand the need for patience and all but I really would like something to look at most
all times not just when feeding. What would you (an expert) recommend for a small tank with a cleanup crew and 8IN Snowflake eel that can live in a 29 gallon until December?
<My honest answer has to be: I recommend to wait until you have a larger tank. I guess this is December.>
Please answer, I am really rushed and any tips or anything but a link to a website would be GREATLY appreciated. <<!>>
<Deciding about new fishes or buying them in a rush is never a good idea. Take your time. Please read where I referred you to in my last email a lot of information on compatibility, systems and so on. Maybe you'll come to the same conclusion that other fishes in a tank of this size are not a good idea>
I have been doing research for about an hour and a half but found nothing that answers my questions and I can't stay up all night as the order goes out at 11am central time. Remember, it doesn't have to be for sure, just some suggestions would help me out a lot... Thank you all a lot.
<Patience. This is nothing to rush into.>
I am sure you always hear this but this site really has given me so much info on saltwater tanks...
<Thanks for your kind words. Marco.>

image request, Panulirus interruptus juv.    2/8/10
To whom it may concern:
My name is Christine Merrick, and I am working on a photo research job for a Solomon Biology text book, and I need an image of a spiny lobster larvae (Panulirus Interruptus) available for permission in high res 300dpi format. Can you help me with this? Please advise. Thank you,
Christine Merrick
Account Manager
<I don't have such, nor know of folks currently who might, but would you like me to post your contact info. on the site in hope that someone who does will contact you? Bob Fenner>
Re: image request   2/8/10
Yes, that would be wonderful. Thank you so much for your quick response.
Christine Merrick
Account Manager
<Will do so then. BobF>
K1 Creative
271 West 1st Street
Eureka, MO 63025
e: cmerrick@k1create.com
p: 1-800-886-6122
Oh, Christine... it dawns on me to mention Norbert Wu... have you contacted him re this Palinurid image? He has considerable work of juvenile and micro-crustaceans from off the N. Am. coast. B
Re: image request   2/8/10
No,...can you tell me how to reach him?
<... http://www.norbertwu.com/>
Christine Merrick

Purple Lobster, unknown crustacean predator control reading  10/17/09
<Good morrow to you>
I have a quick question. Searched WWM but no results for this particular issue.
I have two purple reef lobsters in my reef tank. They apparently hitchhiked in from some LR purchased from a local reefer. Have had them for about 6 months in my tank without issue. Now - they are going after anything and everything.
<Mmm, typical>
I throw in some chunks of shrimp 3x a week in an effort to keep them fed.
However they continue to eat anything within reach. I have attempted to catch them but they are too quick and nimble. I have tried an acrylic fish trap with the door opened only a small amount. Neither have assisted in removing them from the tank.
<There are other types of such traps... some you can make yourself... even just plastic bottles laid on their side, baited...>
Do you have any suggestions / methods for catching them? Do you know of a possibly better trap and bait I could use? I was thinking of have tried mysis, raw table shrimp and seaweed. Cassidy making a trap out of net similar to commercial lobster trap. The only issue I'm thinking of is all of my inverts go in at once to become the lobster's buffet.
Thank You,
<Yes and yes... first off, I suspect these "lobsters" are actually either Alpheids or Mantis... Please read here:
and here: http://wetwebmedia.com/HighInvertInd.htm
re moda for their control. Bob Fenner>

Re: Purple Lobster, yep!   01/18/09
Thanks for the quick reply. He has already eaten a 5" half black tang and 5 Anthias.. and who knows what else.
Last night he was eating a VERY large sally lightfoot. So these little guys have no fear! I have attached a picture as I am fairly certain its a purple reef lobster. Not the best picture but I had to use flash since he was tucked away.
<You are correctamundo>
I will try the water bottle method with some predator tablets or table shrimp tonight. Hopefully I am able to remove them soon!
I also have one more question.. I had two Pyramid Butterfly Fishes.. I was able to catch one and now I cannot catch the other one. Tried several different types of fish traps, net, by hand etc. Is there anything I can do to slow this guy down or 'stun' it without causing any harm. He has taken a liking to eating coral after 6 months of good behavior.
<May have to drain the tank down to pretty low to give you good odds here... No worries re exposing "corals' temporarily. BobF>
Thanks again,

Re: Purple Lobster  10/19/09
The tank is 340 Gallons so draining it isn't exactly an simple undertaking lol. I would be afraid of causing more harm than good by doing that. I've heard of people leaving the lights off for like 30 hours then turning everything on at once to stun the fish.
<Mmm, if you can make the room very dark... get into the tank wearing some sort of "night goggles" or using "red light", you will find most of the reef fishes "sitting/laying" on the bottom>
Think that would be useful and would it harm coral to have lights out for that long? How long can the coral go without light?
<Days... it's sometimes very dark underwater for extended (storm) periods.

Enoplometopus spp 7/25/09
Lobster time. I have a 155 gallon bow front tank with angels and butterflies. Sounds heavenly, huh? Anyways, I wanted to add something other than fish. After searching the net, I did find a place that carries Fire Coral. I didn't like the color the had at the time.
<... Millepora... only comes in one colour... Fawn or so>
I already have a ton of yellow in my tank. I will keep checking back there for other colors. So, how about one of these reef lobsters? Can a lobster that grows to 5 inches pick off one of my butterflies?
<Mmm, maybe... if very hungry>
Oh, I do have a royal gramma that's huge, 4+ inches, and a blue lined goby? It eats algae and sifts sand. Great guy. I read all the post about these lobsters. Bob doesn't really state whether he approves of them or not in his "low down of the lobsters" page.
<Heeee! I do like this genus for many rough and tumble reef settings...
Gorgeous and very interesting... though often very retiring>
I'm willing to toss it a clam from the market now and then. There are so pretty.
Take it easy,
<Will do Becky. Bob Fenner>

Lobsters, sys. set-up 101  6/1/2009
I really need your help. I was hired to set up a lobster tank for a new restaurant. I've never set up a lobster tank. They have the materials but they want me to do the initial set up and maintenance. Please help!
<Mmm... well... our businesses were in the field of fabricating and installing/maintaining such... If you have scant to no real experience with marine systems period though... I would hire this work out. Otherwise... peruse/read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsetupindex.htm
Bob Fenner>

Purple lobster... beh., hlth.  4/6/2009
Hi, I don't know if you will be able to answer my question or not. We are quite puzzled as to our purple lobster. We have a 55 gallon salt water tank.
Our purple lobster used to only come out at night and on occasion just to sneak food and run back into his rocks. For the past two weeks he has not been hiding, he has been out in plain site.
<Has become acclimated to the new paradigm>
Our water tests are good as far as nitrate, nitrite and ammonia and what ever else my husband tests for.
But anyways. The past 4 days the lobster keeps going upside down.
<Oooh, not good>
And if you flip him back over about 10 minutes later you see him laying there upside down moving his legs etc.. We don't know why he keeps doing this. Have you ever seen or heard of why they do that.
<Mmm, yes times two>
He hasn't molted his shell in a little
<A good clue>
while that is what we thought of at first. Thanks Monica
<Likely a matter of something missing or out of balance with alkalinity and biomineral (Ca, Mg...) content, or another deficiency effect (e.g. Iodine/ide)... Please use the terms "molting health" in the search tool
here: http://wetwebmedia.com/WWMAdminSubWebIndex/question_page.htm
and read the cached views for a while. Bob Fenner>

Purple Lobster: Ringing the dinner bell for Triggers 3/27/2009
I was wondering if anyone knows why my purple lobster died suddenly.
<How long did you have this lobster and how big is your tank?>
I just tested my water this morning: nitrites 0, ammonia 0, pH 8.2 temp76, salinity 1.024. Nitrates were 20ppm but that is compared to what they were.  My nitrates were in the process of coming down, but he seemed healthier when the nitrates were at 100ppm.
He came out and ate Mysis this afternoon but was dead by 9 pm.
I have a Huma trigger and Yellow tang.
<Ah Ha....>
Do you think the trigger did it. He did look bitten except his tentacles were very short.
<Most likely. crustaceans are a natural food source for them.>
I am thinking of getting rid of my trigger.

Lobster holding Tank and Ammonia 10/29/07 Hello Crew, I was hoping you can help in asking a question for me? <More than one!> I recently set up a 180 gallon lobster tank in my restaurant. I've yet to add any lobster but was concerned that if there was some ammonia in the tank (1-2ppm) or Nitrite would that have any effect on humans? <No problem for humans> would it be dangerous to eat?. <No... these are common readings for captive crustaceans in such settings... Are not detectable when the animals are prepared for consumption. Are mainly a problem in adding newly arrived stock... the bioload increasing very quickly. Hence the use of fluidized bed filters, oversized bio-media period... oh, and chilling of the water/system to greatly reduce the metabolic rate of the animals> I don't plan on have deteriorating water but just a worse case scenario. Thank you, Joe <Not a worry, concern. More important to try and keep ammonia, nitrite low to preserve the health, prevent weight loss of the stock. Bob Fenner>

High load lobster tank  10/25/07 Dear Bob, Anthony, Alex, Wendy, Adam, ... and Friends: <Hello Wences!> Congratulations on a service that answers the most difficult questions like a sea breeze. I hope you can help me some with my efforts to build a lobster grow out tank on as close a circuit as possible in the North of Spain. <Neat> Now that I am about to retire from engineering I want to grow lobsters for fun (and if possible butter). I have made my research (including reading most of your marvelous write ups in WWM) and would like to use methods such as proposed in ?Stocking density and shelter type for the optimal growth and survival of western rock lobster Panulirus Cygnus? with the local, cool water, lobster P Elephas. Only ?small? difference is I need to use a closed, recirculating water system with the fewest possible water exchanges. <Okay> I am planning on an 80 gallon tank, which at the end of the grow-out will be stocked at the 1% level (3, 2 kilograms or 7 pounds) of lobsters, being fed to satiation (2% of body weight equivalent to 64 grams of mussels and /or pellets) <Ok...> I plan to use (unless you suggest something better) dim blue lighting during the day and infrared to observe behaviour by night. <Sounds fine... red would be better> I understand the water treatment facility may need to be larger than the tank itself and am planning for a protein skimmer working on the surface water and a bottom drain circuit that will first decant as much solids as possible and then treats the effluent. <All right> My question is first if you can comment and improve on the above and second if you can help me with the design of this treatment system. After reading your WWM recommendations I understand there are these possibilities: 1. Wet/dry filter plus sulphur denitrator in sump (With /without additional skimmer). 2. Deep calcareous sand bed for denitration (also with /without additional skimmer). 3. Lighted algae refugium with deep sand bed for denitration / dephosphation (also with /without additional skimmer) <This should work> Which will you recommend and what dimensions do you consider adequate? <Only practice can/will tell here... measures of metabolite accumulation, ready large volumes of water to change out... Will you be chilling the water? This can/will greatly affect the rate of metabolism, gas solubility...> Bear in mind that if we are successful we shall have a 15000 gallon tank for an upgrade: A friend's swimming pool!! <Yikes... do bear in mind that Lobsters are territorial, cannibalistic...> And also that you will all be invited for D&D (Diving and Dinner) here in Bilbao, Capital of the World in the beautiful Bask Country Cheers Wences <You're on! Look forward to swapping recipes and drinking fine red wines with you in future. Bob Fenner>

Larval crustacean ID  ? 09/14/07 Hi there I would like to know what that is ... shrimp ? crab? it has a body length of 4cm and it seems to eat jelly fish regards Olly <It's a larvae crustacean, specifically the "phyllosoma" stage of a spiny lobster, probably Panulirus sp. but I'm not sufficiently expert here to be sure. Anyway, they don't eat the jellyfish, but hitch-hike, drifting about for a period of around a year, at which point at a length of 4-5 cm they leave the jellyfish and settle down on the seafloor. This period of drifting allows them to travel vast distances and so colonise parts of the sea where they simply wouldn't be able to access as lumbering adults. "Phyllosoma" means "leaf-shaped", a particular reference to their very thin and flat body. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Lobster, Reef or otherwise, comp.   2/13/07 Mmmm, actually did some research from various sources on the Purple Reef Lobster.  Seems that Scyllarides, Justitia, and Panulirus are not reef safe, but from what info I gathered, was that Enoplometopus was reef safe. <Not in my experience, I assure you... If hungry, will eat most all> Example, quoting Julian Sprung's statement from his book, INVERTEBRATES, A QUICK REFERENCE GUIDE, "Reef safe, usually docile, but capable of harming small fishes". But, feel you are more knowledgeable and experienced than he, so I will go with your advice. Thank you, James <Thank you for this follow-up my friend (and fellow pet-fish acolyte). BobF>

Starfish Compatibility 2/9/07 - 02/09/2007 I have a 25 gallon tank FOWLR tank and wanted to get a Serpent or Brittle Star. The only thing is that I have a Chocolate Chip Star and Purple Reef Lobster. My question is do you think all 3 will get along? <Should be no problems with the starfish, I'd be more concerned with the lobster going after small and/or sleeping fish.  James (Salty Dog)> <<James... no... the Lobster is going to be a constant question mark... the CCS could eat the Ophiuroid... RMF>>

Culturing Lobsters- can't seem to control the water chemistry  11/28/06 Hi, <Hello, Michelle here.>  I'm experimenting with lobsters for a project in my marine biology class.  <I'm presuming the experiments don't include butter!> I have had 4 1 1/4 pound lobsters for about a week now and my ammonia level keeps spiking. At this point my set up is 3 large Tupperware storage tubs (one with a divider down the middle to separate two lobsters) with about 10 gallons of a mixture of Long Island Sound and an Instant Ocean mixture of water in each. I have a 10 gallon filter and two aerators in each tub. I feed my lobsters raw pieces of clam about every three days and thus far they have not seemed to be defecating much. This morning, I finalized a new tank filling it with completely new LIS and Instant Ocean Water. I tested the ammonia level before introducing two of the lobsters to the tub and it was at the control level. Approximately an hour and twenty minutes after I had placed the pair of lobsters in the tub, I tested the ammonia level again, it had spiked! Since then, I have treated the water with a sort of ammonia eliminator. Two of my lobsters in the most concerning tank seem to be a little more agitated than the other two. However, that could just be their personalities. The water does not appear cloudy and I have my marine biology teacher working along side me. She feels that they should be okay for now. But I would like to figure out how to keep my tanks completely stable because my deadline is nearing. If you have any advice for me, I'd greatly appreciate it. <Wow!  Nice to hear about such a program being offered at the high school level!  Good for you!  Kudos to your teacher and your high school!   If this is only a temporary project, of say, less than a month, the quick and easy answer here is frequent (possibly daily) water changes and increasing the quantity of water if possible to make the environment more stable.  Also feed very sparingly.  The better long term solution would be to set up an appropriate home, which would include living biological filtration.  There is a lot to learn/read. The following articles are good starting points. Hope that helps.  Good luck to you with your experiment!>    http://www.wetwebmedia.com/estbiofiltmar.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/filtration/biological/biofiltr.htm       http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nutrientcontrol.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/filtration/marineFiltr.htm Thanks a lot, Amanda John

Inappropriate Fish Mix...and Now a Red Lobster Too! - 09/12/06 Thanks for the Great Website!! <<Welcome>> I have a 100G saltwater tank with 2 Yellow Tang, 1 Coral Beauty, 2 Clown Fish, 1 Tiera Batfish, and 1 Clown Trigger. <<You're overstocked with a mix of inappropriate tankmates my friend.  The two Yellow Tangs will likely not get along for the long term in this size system...the Tiera Batfish is a difficult to keep fish that will outgrow this system...and the Clown Trigger will also eventually outgrow this tank...but not before killing all else in it.  We're here to help, but please do help yourself (and your wet pets) by researching your purchases "before" you buy>> To help combat dirty sand, I purchased a Red Lobster that has been at my LFS for a very long time. <<Another inappropriate choice.  This creature is not a substrate cleaner...but it will stalk/devour your fishes, that is if the isn't big enough to get to it first>> I was under the impression that if a Red Lobster was well fed; he would not bother with his tank mates. <<May help "some"...but doesn't change their nature/instinct to hunt for their meal>> After adding the Red Lobster, I fed him 2 times.  This morning I found my Batfish dead, wedged in the rocks. <<Likely unrelated...and the inevitable outcome for this delicate species in this tank>> Should I return the lobster (if I can catch him)? <<Indeed...as well as the Clown Trigger and one of the Yellow Tangs>> I fear for the rest of the tank. <<Is well founded.  Please spend some time reading/researching and choose more suitable inhabitants for your system.  Let me get you started here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fishonsetup.htm >>

Purple Lobster Injured   8/16/06 Hi guys..... <And gals...>     I've had so much fun reading and educating myself about  reef tanks here. I have a 125gl marine tank cycling, just about done. A friend  was tearing down his 8 yr old reef tank and gave me his purple lobster along  with some snails, hermit, etc. I had about a 45 minute drive home...went to  start acclimating everyone with a drip setup and the lobster had one of his  front claws broken off!! <Happens... with good care, nutrition, time... will re-generate this limb> I was soooooo upset for him. It must have been crushed  by some shells is all I can think of. Will he be able to still feed and care for  himself with only one front left?? <Very likely so, yes> Not sure what to do. Lisa <Just the above... Bob Fenner>

Re: Purple Lobster Injured   8/16/06 Thanks Bob..............    Been sweating it over here watching him like a hawk but he  appear active enough and is moving around "filtering" food it looks like. Guess  we'll just be calling him "Lefty" for a while! <Heeeee! Or "Lucky"> Thanks for setting my mind at ease a bit. Lisa <Glad to. Bob Fenner> Purple Lobster? Eating machine   6/23/06 Hello WWM! <Deborah> I recently bought a Purple Lobster for my 24gl reef tank. I had looked him up on one website before buying him, and it said that they got no more than 3in. Well, after further research (unfortunately after I bought him) I found that they can really get up to 5in. I really like my lobster, but if he is going to be a big threat to my fish (1 Firefish, 1 barnacle Blenny), <Will eat these fishes...> then I would like to give him back to the fish store. If that is necessary, then how can I catch him? <Best to systematically remove the decor in this system, use two nets to direct this crustacean into a glass container underwater...> Being nocturnal, I rarely see him, and I have bonded with my fish and would not be a happy camper if they were eaten! Thank you! Sincerely,     - Deborah <I would do this soon. Bob Fenner>

Lobster/Macro Algae Refugium?  5/11/06 Dear Crew, <Hello.> Long time reader, first time poster! <Awesome.> Great site, it has helped me in countless ways with my new salt water venture.   <Great to hear.> My question is: <*Drum-role please.> I have a 55G tank and I am looking into converting a 10G aquarium I have set up that currently exclusively houses a Purple Lobster into a refugium. <Cool.> (He was put there based on recommendations I read in your FAQ's, plus I was losing fish, & I came home from work one night to see him munching on my coral banded shrimp!) <Not uncommon.>   My question is, is it OK to convert this tank into a refugium and still let the Lobster live in it? <No, defeats the purpose of the pod-generation, not to mention he will be destructive to any macro-algae you put in there.> The purpose of the refugium is to help lower my Nitrates which hover around 10 PPM.  I plan on the 6" DSB and Chaetomorpha, per other FAQ suggestions I have read. <Yeah.. if that's what you want get rid of the lobster.> Thank you for your time, I have spent many hours perusing the site and, like most people, have found MANY answers from the FAQ's. <Great.> Thanks, <Anytime.> Craig <Adam Jackson.>

Stocking Levels .... and types   4/18/06 Hello WWM Crew! <Jeremy> I wanted to know if I am overstocking my tank. <Mmm, not from what shown. Though the lobster will eventually consume about all here.> I tried to be as detailed as possible usually when I read peoples emails they lack specifics which you always ask for. I have read many articles on your web site and found many important changes and tweaks for my setup. Besides the stocking question how long have (who ever answers) been doing this and are any (all) of you marine biologists? <Mmm, my bio. is posted on WWM... am an old timer academically and industry-wise> Thanks for the help with the web site and information, I am an avid fan of your picture of the day and have been getting more people at my work that like fish to view it. Marine Tank Setup Mechanical Parts 75 Gallon Glass Tank ? Inch Lexan covering top 1 Red Sea Prizm skimmer on side of tank 2 20K VHO Fluorescents 40 watts 12 Hour cycle 2 Actinic 40 watts 6 Hour mid day cycle 1 Fluval 304 Canister Filter inline 5w TetraTec UV 1 AquaelUnimax Pro Rated 90 Gal Built-in 9w UV 2 Profile Powerhead 602 1 Coralife Digital Thermometer Quarantine Tank 10 Gallon Tank 1 inch Live Sand bed 1 Penguin with bio-wheel Filter (rated for 55 gal) 1 Heater 1 18inch 15watt 20k light 12 hour cycle Non-Livestock 2 ? inch Live Sand with crushed coral mix 40lbs Approx Live Rock (Fiji) 50lbs Approx Tufa/Lava Rock 15lbs Approx Rainbow Rock 1 Green Polyp Colony 4 inches from surface Fish Livestock 1 Yellow Tang 4-5 inches 2 Yellow Tailed Damsels 1 inch 1 Blue Damsel 1 ? inch 1 Lawnmower Blenny 1 inch 1 Yellow Clown Goby 1 inch 1 Sleeper Banded Goby 3 inches 3 Scooter Blennies 1 ? - 2 inches Invert Livestock 1 Spiny Blue Lobster <Keep your eye on this... predatory> 5 Turbo Snails 5 Astrea Snails 5 Checkerboard snails 5 Cerith snails 1 Electric Flame Scallop <Rarely live> 5 Oysters (Seafood variety for lobster) 5 Clams (Seafood variety for lobster) 5 Hermit Crabs (Variety) 2 Condylactis (small pink tips) 1 Feather Worms 1 Bubble Tip Brittle Fancy Sea Star 1 Tiger Tail Sea Cucumber 6-8 inches Water Stats Salinity: 1.025 PH: 8.3 Temp: 77-80 F Nitrate: 40ppm <Too high by about twice> Nitrite: 0ppm Ammonia: 0ppm Feeding Schedule Liquid Phytoplankton 5ml once every other day Frozen Mysid Shrimp twice daily one cube at a time Frozen Silverside fish 1"x2" inch chunks once every other day Water Changes 7 ?  Gallons every 2 weeks Instant Ocean salt mix brand Supplements Used (per directions on bottle) <Add these through the pre-mixed water changes> Marine Buff Calcium Iodine Trace Elements Strontium & Molybdenum <Bob Fenner>

Palinurus in FW, FLA   4/15/06 Hi you appear to be the most knowledgeable person on the web about crustaceans, <Assuredly I am not> I have a question. I saw a Caribbean spiny lobster in a freshwater canal in south florida. <Interesting... I have caught, eaten quite a few of these...> I must also point out that Snook, tarpon, Mojarra and other normally saltwater fish have been locked in these canals. But how can this be explained? <More euryhaline than I'd imagined...> Maybe it got transported from some far away place where freshwater spiny lobsters are common. Maybe it got properly acclimated, help! am baffled <Perhaps got "blown in" by a storm... maybe circulated in at an early pelagic life stage? We have another palinurid species here in S. Cal. (P. interruptus) that lives in surprisingly fluctuating and poor water quality in our bays... Bob Fenner>

Blue lobster problems  - 03/11/2006 Tank setup: 110 gallon tank large filter, pumps, reserve tank (all proper setup for size of tank) Animals: (1) 2inch Panulirus versicolor  blue spiny lobster <... a beautiful animal, but more of a voracious predator than scavenger...> (1) 4inch yellow tang (1) 3inch scooter blenny (1) 2inch flame angel (1) 3inch Bicolor Pseudochromis (1) 2inch 'Nemo' clown fish (3) 1/2 blue/green Chromis (1) 4inch royal purple clam (1) (base size: 1 inch) purple sea urchin (1) 7inch brittle star (2) 1/4 inch chocolate chip starfish (2) 3inch peppermint shrimp (1) 1inch flame scallop (1) (body 1inch) arrow crab   (10) assorted sized cleaner snails (9) assorted sized cleaner shrimp (1) 4 inch bubble anemone (2) 1 inch purple mushrooms (2) 4 inch purple mushrooms (1) 9inch rose colony polyps (1) 3 inch "Waving hand" xenia colony   Problems: 1:We just got rid of a 5inch aggressive blue damsel and our yellow tang is now bullying (i.e. biting, chasing, nipping, posturing) everything else (except the lobster). Is there anything we can do to stop this? <Mmm, get a much larger system... yours being as crowded as it is "raising the agonistic behavior bar"... Maybe adding more macro-algae or dried (human food) algae will curtail this...> 2: Our lobster is eating our snails and crabs left and right! <Ah, yes... will ultimately consume all else... Not a joke, a prediction based on personal experience> We want to feed him something meaty, but are not sure to go about it. Also if we feed him these meat chunks, will he stop eating our snails and crabs? <Not for long... This animal is mis-placed here... if you have/had a tied-in "sump" you might be able to keep it there. But the amount of waste produced is even problematical...> 3: The lobster is now eyeing the clown fish. The clown fish has no proper anemone because the scooter blenny tends to bump into things and we're afraid he'll get stung and die. To protect the clown fish, should we remove him from the tank? <... I would trade out the Palinurid> 4: Our royal purple clam is not doing too well. We feed him Marine Snow every day, <This product has almost no nutritive value.... Please see WWM re Tridacnid Foods/Feeding/Nutrition, Systems...> but he just won't open at all most of the time. Is this normal? <No... is an indication that "something/s" are wrong... Likely too much commotion...> Thank you so much ~Everyone who takes care of the saltwater tank @ Big Walnut High School <"In my day" we were lucky to have guppies in school! Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Purple reef lobster   03/07/06 Hello, I had a question about a purple reef lobster. (I want one.) How well would it be in a 20 gallon aquarium with 2 green Chromis (I read on WWM they should be okay), a Firefish and a Condy anemone? <... not a compatible mix...> Is it likely that if well fed, it might not be so bother some? The guy at the fish store said it was a scavenger and reef safe (but than again they said the urchin was reef safe...). Thanks Brian <Please, take your time... look up each of these species on WWM... read their System FAQs, Compatibility FAQs... Bob Fenner>

Differences between lobsters/crayfish/species....?   1/26/06 I recently purchased an "electric blue lobster" from a trusted pet store, but when I search the internet for information, I find many different names/species/varieties. <Yes... you start to understand the value in scientific names... many organisms have more than one common moniker, and these are often applied to more than one species> I called the pet store to see if they knew the Latin name of the species they sold me, but to no avail.  I have searched for hours for a way of determining what it is that I have actually purchased.  Could you enlighten me as to what the physical differences are between lobsters versus crayfish, species of crayfish, and how to identify what variation I have? <Can... a beginning... both common names are applied to a few groups of crustaceans... marine and fresh... that is, the terms crayfish and lobster are often used for different taxonomic groups... They are not definitive as to their systematic classification> I also wanted to commend you on the fantastic website you have here.  I am extremely impressed (almost a little overwhelmed) by the enormous amount of information you supply.  Thank you!! Tammy <A photograph will be useful here. Have you read through the freshwater and marine articles on crayfish and lobsters posted on WWM? There are some pix, systematic information, identifications there. Bob Fenner>

Langustino from the food store for pets Sup,      I have a pretty funny question to ask, and I'm serious and I feel dumb asking the fish store. Could you *buy a lobster* from the *supermarket* and put it in your tank. if you did *what would it eat* and *would it hurt your fish?* thanks s' much Ryan O <I have kept both the Homarus americanus and Panulirus interruptus (from the East and West U.S. coasts respectively) bought from such outlets in captivity... both require chilled systems, good filtration, circulation, aeration, and yes, both clawed and spiny lobsters eagerly eat most all other life kept with them. Bob Fenner>

Somebody Went Under a Dock, And There They Saw a Rock,  But It Wasn't a Rock, It Was a Rock! Lobster!  (a.k.a Panulirus)  12/10/05 Hi Everyone at the WetWeb, <Hello Paul, Adam J with you tonight.> I'm hoping that you might be able to identify a green banded, orange tentacled lobster I saw whilst scuba diving in Florence Bay, Magnetic island, Queensland (tropical) Australia - a big ask I know, but I have trolled the web for a week now with little success, so I jumped at the chance to ask you for some assistance. About a good adult fore-arm in length of carapace (looked a monster underwater wearing bug-eyes!), no claws, but with tentacles at least a metre in length... As I mentioned earlier, green bands (perhaps just shell sections) from tail to eyes, then orange 'nose' and 'feelers'! What I would have done for a Nikonos u/w camera! <Well without seeing it I will say the best I can do is narrow it down or make a guess, so bear with me my friend. From your description, especially the color and claws (lack thereof) and area will help somewhat. I'm pretty sure you have a spiny lobster in the Panulirus genus, if I had to take a guess at the species I would say possibly P. gracilis (Green Spiny lobster) or P. versicolor (Painted Rock Lobster).> Thanks, <Quite Welcome.> Paul Houston <Adam J.>

Rock Lobster - 12/11/2005 Fantastic help - thanks Adam! <No trouble, my pleasure.> I've noted down the species type you suggest and I'm going to go running back to Reef HQ (AIMS is too far away, at this stage!) and see if they can find some pics in their smallish library. <Cool.> I'll let you know how I go.  Thanks again for your help! <Yes please let me know, I hope my "guesses" will at least be close.> Paul <Adam J.>

Lobster Death - 11/25/2005 I am so sad...my purple lobster "Mitts" died today.   <So sorry to hear of this.> I have had him in my 10g aquarium since the end of May.   <Too small a system, long-term....> He's molted many times and done quite well....  His antics have been interesting for sure.   <Very neat animals.> Lately he's  started to eat my cleaner snails so I had to stop purchasing them.   <Mmmmmmm, escargot....> There are also three different types of Damsel fish in the aquarium.   <Too much life, too small a tank.> They are doing well.  I tested the water and it's clean.... <Readings?  There's a lot more about water than "clean"....  Ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, salinity, calcium, alkalinity, iodine....  All are important factors, especially with invertebrates like Mr. Mitts.> I did do a water change (25%) the other day.  This morning he was dead...just sitting on the bottom in the sand.  Do you have any ideas as to why he died?   <Mm, not without a lot more information....  but my first guess is that calcium and/or iodine were too low.> Do they have a short life span?   <Not all that short.> Is there something I should have or could have done differently?   <Again, without more information, I really don't know.  At this point, though, I would very strongly urge you against adding any more animals to this tank - even with "just" the three damsels, it's very fully stocked.> He will be sorely missed....  Mr. Mitts..... Thanks so much,  Aimee P.S.  I have been having minor problems with red algae and was out of town for two weeks and my pet sitter didn't know to turn the light off in the tank each day.... could that be what happened? <Not very likely....  Algae and light aren't directly harmful to most animals in most cases.  I do wish you the best, and hope for the best for a future Mitts for you in a larger tank some day in the future....  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Lobster Death, Water Testing - 11/26/2005 Thank you Sabrina.... <Sure thing, Aimee.> With regards to the testing...I only tested for ph, nitrates, nitrites and ammonia. <And salinity/specific gravity, too, I hope?> What would you recommend using to test for calcium and iodine? <I'd go with Salifert or LaMotte.  LaMotte, though VERY high quality, comes with a very high price tag, too, so that may be a deciding factor.  Iodine's a toughie; very frustrating/difficult to test.  Some folks don't test it at all, but with the lobster's death, it'd be a good idea to know where you stand on it.> Once again, thanks for the input.... <Any time, Aimee; and again, I'm sorry for your loss.> Hope you had a happy Thanksgiving! <I did, and I do hope you did, as well!  Thank you.> Aimee <All the best,  -Sabrina>

Large Lobster Question 9/28/05 Dear Crew, So, I have been to a couple aquariums and I have always been fascinated by the large Caribbean Spiny Lobster. I'm wanting to know what is necessary to maintain one. Would a 90 gallon be sufficient if he was the only one in there? Or would I need more length than height? <Almost any aquatic animal should be kept in a tank that as at least as large in every dimension as the full adult length of the animal.  A 90 gallon tank would not meet this requirement for an animal of this size and the animal would not be able to turn around in it.  Also, there would not be enough space to create sufficient cover in the tank and leave some moving room for the lobster.> I am trying to get a hold some lobster trappers to see if they will mail me one live, as I can't find any in the online fish stores. I have posted looked over you FAQ for lobsters, I have posted a question, but I didn't get the information I need (invertebrates key word: large lobster question). Any thoughts and guidance is appreciated. Sincerely, Danny  <The commercial collection of these animals is strictly regulated.  Part of the reason that they aren't available from aquarium outlets is that specimens of suitable aquarium size are illegal to harvest.> Thanks for taking the time to read my letter. All right, what I am trying to do is purchase a Spiny Caribbean Lobster and place him in a 90 gallon at home.  I understand they reach two ft. in length and are a warm water species. What I don't know is the feasibility or if I am better off buying a tank with more length. The lobster will be the only animal in the tank. <In addition to my advice above, I would suggest that you focus on a tank with more width.  While still a bit small for such a large animal, a 120 might be more suitable with it's 24"x48" bottom.  I personally would lean more toward a 30" minimum width.> I want to order one from an online lobster trapping company so it can be shipped home. That way I can skip the years of waiting for him to get large. <It may be difficult to get a commercial fishing outfit to send you one lobster and to pack it in a way that is consistent with long term survival.  Also, large adult animals usually adapt poorly to aquarium life.> I have read your FAQ and I have posted in the Chat Forum under the name Pariah (search large lobster question), but I didn't get any good advice. I looked online for a looong time but found only recipes on how to cook them. So I ask you for advice. Thanks, Danny Doyle <My best advice is to compromise and choose a species of spiny lobster that is legally available in the trade at more reasonable sizes and allow it to grow larger in your care.  You will end up with a more attractive specimen that is easier to obtain and will have better chances at survival.  Best Regards.  AdamC.>

Question about spawning Anthias <?> and a greedy Red Reef Lobster 7/26/05 Bob, <Susanne> First off,  I have several of your books, and have the utmost respect for your knowledge and your attitude about fish husbandry at home and care of our reefs in the seas.  I was grateful to find your email address since our aquarium at home has suffered some unusual behavior lately and we could use your help. <I'm bringing you in as a character reference next bank loan ap.!> We have a 135 gal saltwater, predrilled tank, with some live rock, a wet-dry system and a protein skimmer. I've been keeping saltwater fish for about 10 years. This system was set up in February. Over time, I stocked it with a Red Reef Lobster, <Great animals... gorgeous, but a bit opportunistic re feeding...> 1 male and 2 female bicolor Anthias, a few hermit crabs, astral snails, a Yellowtailed blue damsel, 1 Kole tang and an imperator angel. The tank has been doing well. The lobster has molted twice already. About 3 weeks ago, my boyfriend and I noticed that the females were hiding deep in rock crevices.  The male was also acting peculiar.  About 10:30pm we discovered little "things", swimming frantically all over the tank.  When they hatch they are white free swimming, and will swim to the lights, and generally like to hang out on the edge of the tank, often slightly above the waterline (but still in the lip where the surface tension).  The size on hatching (or at least appearing) varies from about 3-7 mm.  They are worm-like, no legs, definitely have eyeballs.  They can morph their shape from short and stubby to very elongated. Hatching has been continuing for 2 weeks, for an hour or two late in the evening - just before the lights go off.  All of the Anthias (male & female, though more pronounced in the female) retreated into holes and stayed there for some time before the hatches.  The hatchings are still continuing 3 days after the last Anthias lost a fight with the lobster, although the number has diminished significantly.  We captured them using a flashlight and a glass and transferred them to a heated incubator bowl.  Here they generally stay on the side of the bowl, but they spend part of their time in the live sand
<... a strong clue... not Anthias> we added.  They are being fed ZooPlex twice a day immediately after an almost complete water change (the bowl has no filter or aeration).  We use aquarium water for the changes. Since the hatching, they have not changed significantly from their original shape, but have approximately doubled in length.  There were some losses after the first night, but the current survival rate appears quite good - no significant decline in numbers is noted. There isn't much in the literature about spawning Anthias, other than they're pelagic egg layers, which has been consistent with the male's behavior.   The behavior patterns across the board are consistent with what information we have been able to find about spawning in general, but the transition from larval state to fish seems to be taking a long time.  Any information on how long it will take for them to move to a 'fish' form or recommended food etc would be appreciated. <Am actually thinking these aren't fish at all... but pelagic life stages of Polychaete worms...> We have not been at all scientific in noting times/measurements etc, if there are some you would like, please let us know, and we will do our best to oblige. Or, if you think we have something other than baby Anthias in our nursery, we'd also appreciate your input. <Any chance for an image?> Meanwhile, the lobster, who had been dining very nicely on frozen squid, brine shrimp, bloodworms etc has acquired a taste for Anthias. They were easy targets while they were pre-occupied and he's managed to savagely nail all three in the last week.  He has not had any interest in his frozen food, and the concern I have is that he is ruined from eating prepared food ever again.  I didn't feed him for a few days and he still doesn't want the frozen squid.  It may be too early to tell since he's just consumed probably double his body weight in the last week in "Anthias".  He's also eaten a sleeping goby and a few damsels, but the latest rash of attacks is getting after my tank favorites. I'm concerned he'll get my imperator angel - still a juvenile about 3". <Might>   Any tips you can give on feeding habits.  We really like the lobster in the tank. He's otherwise been doing well and he's quite entertaining. But his new favorite dish is out of my budget if he continues. Any general advice you could give me would be greatly appreciated. Like the Anthias, there isn't too much info I was able to find on the lobster situation.   Thanks in advance for your help. Respectfully, Susanne Dvorak <Wish I could proffer a better prospectus, but the Lobster should go... unless you want to risk any, all fishes it can get its claws on... at night, when most fishes are sleeping/resting on the bottom, w/in rockwork... Bob Fenner>

Lobster & Tang 7/10/05 Hi There! <Hello> I've had my saltwater aquarium setup for 4 months now. I have been noticing peculiar behavior between my purple lobster (4") and my yellow tang (3"). The lobster sits in between live rock 99% of the time and just seems to watch the tank all day. <This is what they do... nocturnal animals> I noticed my yellow tang hovering near the lobster den often. I looked closer and saw what looked like the lobster massaging the tang with its tentacles and moving its claws up and down along the tang's side like he's scratching his back. What kind of behavior is this? <Some sort of interaction... perhaps the tang is seeking cleaning... the lobster trying the tang out as a potential food item> The lobster is absolutely non-aggressive and has never gone after any of my fish. I just thought it was strange that the tang just loves to go near the lobster all of the time. I though he might have been teasing the lobster at first, but the lobster doesn't move away. Any thoughts? The tang is probably the most friendly fish in the tank. It seems to like to swim alongside the other fish and other fish like to be near it. Thanks! Heather <In the wild, Yellow Tangs are frequent visitors to shrimp attended cleaning stations... mainly Stenopus hispidus in Hawai'i... the Lobster may well come from this part of the world. Interesting. Bob Fenner> - Lobster Cleaning - WWM Crew, Your website has been most helpful over the years! I have a lobster that is at least a decade old named Boris. <Amazing... and good for you and Boris.> He is from the cold water in the pacific. Unfortunately, he has a black fungus that is growing on one of his tentacles. Is this condition a problem? <Probably and artifact of his age - I've noticed that specimens that get to live long lives (like those in public aquariums) do acquire things like this on various parts of their bodies. Is typically due to lack of cleaners in their system, and also their sedentary and often isolated lives. Does it not go away when he molts?> If it is, is the best way to treat it to remove the affected tentacle or is there a way to do so using chemical treatments? <Actually, if Boris would tolerate it, I'd go after it with a tooth brush.> I would prefer the chemical treatments, as Boris weighs over 35 pounds and he is quite difficult to handle. <I can imagine. I'd just try to scrub that stuff off... do what a cleaner fish or shrimp would do in the wild. But all in all, probably not something to be ultra concerned about...> Thank you very much! Marshall <Cheers, and many long years to Boris. J -->

Diet For A Purple Lobster - 06/10/2005 Hello, <Ahoy thar, matey!> I would like to know what is the correct diet for the Purple Lobster, Enoplometopus sp.  I am currently feeding shrimp and seems to like it, is there anything else I could feed it?  Please recommend. <Most likely Enoplometopus daumi.  A shy little bugger, but beautiful!  You can offer him meaty foods, especially human-consumption clam, shrimp, squid, scallops....  Freeze these foods before using to prevent spreading any pathogens, then just thaw a piece when you feed him.> Thank You <You bet.  Wishing you and your pretty purple pincered pal well,  -Sabrina>

- Getting Rid of a Purple Lobster - Hello, I have a purple reef lobster and, until two weeks ago, all was well in my 110 reef tank.  Then all my fish disappeared, except two percula clowns. Corals are all fine.  I've seen some of the fish bodies in the tank, which leads me to believe it may not be the lobster. <Uhh... don't sell that lobster short. There are most certainly predators and in my own experience they do kill and leave the corpses for later on.> My water tests within standard reef parameters.  After reading your FAQ's on purple lobsters, I've decided to remove the lobster just to be cautious.  What methods do you recommend? <Stick it with a skewer? You could prepare a trap but really these are large enough to be caught by hand and though you might get a small pinch, they can't really do you any damage. Would just use something as a prod and back it into a corner where you can grab it.> Thanks, Susan <Cheers, J -- >

Commercial lobster tank I have been in the lobster retail business for four years now, using a closed system with bio, refrig., filtration, oxygen etc. <Mmm, you've come to the right place... Our companies used to design/engineer, manufacture and maintain such systems> In this industry it is very competitive, so information is often not disclosed from other retailers. I do understand what I need to do to maintain my system. There are times though, that I am very frustrated with my nitrite levels. I never have a problem with Ammonia. When I load in 300 lbs of lobster into my  750 gal. tank system, the ammonia cycles out within hours.  Is there any way to speed up the nitrite process. <Mmm, yes... a few ways that I'll mention below> Changing out 30 percent of the water does not drop the nitrite level at all. Will frequent 50% water changes hurt my bio, since this seems to be the only thing I can do, which in the long run is very costly. <Yes... lots of water, time...> There is a detox (the answer from my tank installer to make me spend!) for large loads but ammonia is not my problem. The Detox seems to make the nitrite levels go uncontrollably high, even WITH  water changes. Could there be something wrong with my bio, when even with 50% water changes, it doesn't even effect the level going down.  These high nitrite levels make the lobsters very sluggish. Am I also hurting the lobsters with frequent water changes (I make my own salt water with synthetic salt) by taking out the natural elements they bring to the tank or is it really the 3-5 days in the high nitrite levels that causes the higher mortality.   Thank you. The Lobster Lady <Do look into the use of fluidized bed filters, filtration... the use of BioSpira (Marineland product)... that they'll hopefully sell you in bulk. Do you manipulate specific gravity at all? Keeping this a little low is advised (will add weight to the lobsters...) but not changing it much (0.001 spg) in a day... Do you use Baking Soda, Sodium Bicarbonate to maintain pH, alkalinity or some other (commercial) product for same? Let's chat re. Bob Fenner>

Re: Lobster Lady Dear Bob, <LL> Your response to my letter has certainly sparked my wheels turning in my head. I love the challenge. <Good> This morning I went out to check the tank which at the moment only has 8 lobsters in it after selling 400 lbs in the last two weeks. The nitrite levels are still very high. between 2.0-5.0. I only occasionally check the pH. I use well water. I am no expert on pH... <You should become so... if your pH is high/er, the nitrite (and ammonia) will be MUCH more toxic. Depressing same may save you a bunch of dead bugs> since my tank installer said "Don't worry about it, worry about your ammonia". It seems the occasional times I check the pH it seems in the lower 7.0 range , but since you suggested it today I checked to find it at a higher 8.2. Is a good range (8.0) for lobsters? <Yes> But usually it is lower. I'm learning something new. Where do I need to keep the PH to help the nitrite process faster? <Mmm, steady is more important than a given point, but near 8.0 is good> My well water is hard water. Is this a factor? <Oh yes> There is dolomite, carbon and limestone in the bio. I was told to add limestone when they realized they didn't bring enough dolomite when they installed my tank. Would the limestone be affecting the pH or bio growth. <Assuredly yes... dolomite is however more soluble...> In reassurance, can I say that my bio is effective if I don't have an ammonia problem? <Mmm, yes, at least the first part... conversion of ammonia to nitrite> There are times when I feel that it is all guessing game. How do I know there is an affective bio? <There are a few ways... indirectly by measuring as you have is one> My bio looks very clean! My stones are still white with just a dusting of green after 4 years. Could the high levels of nitrite be due to the increase of volume due to mothers day, and the higher load level than usual after a slower winter. <Yes... load, stress, feeding history, temperature... all factors. The use of a fluidized bed system will likely be able to "speed up" nitrification to account for these changes> Is it good to let the nitrite levels stay high since there aren't many lobsters in there right now....does this increase the effectiveness of the bio for future loads? <Mmm, much to say... not good for nitrite or ammonia to exceed about 1.0 ppm... among other things this forestalls the complete establishment of cycling...> Is it bad for the bio that after having 300-400 lbs in the tank it will go 4-5 days with only 2-10 lobsters in it? <No... this is enough "food" for the microbes involved> The tank temperature is 38-40 degrees. I have a eSHa Marinomat hydrometer, which reads 1.020 correctly since it is temperature effective. The cheaper other two hydrometers I have read 1.023 -1.024 on the specific gravity, so I consider the Marinomat more correct since it take temp into consideration. If I trust the eSHa Marinomat, should I keep it higher than 1.020? <I would not. NOT. Better for several good reasons to leave about where you are... and again, to not let vacillate much. Pre-mix, store new water...> I cannot believe I have found help on the internet. I will research the BioSpira. I don't know what it is yet, so I need to see how it works in my style system. <Days, years back we used modified microbes (Bacillus subtilis) for this purpose... to goose the forward reaction series of nitrification... in crustacean, mollusk holding systems> I have a two tiered tank. The upper tank is filled 1 1/2' deep with the bio, and a Plexiglas with holes lying directly on top of the bio media. The bottom tank is all water and about 2' deep. The pump pulls the water through three towers with filter cartridges and a refrigeration unit outside the building. I change the filter cartridges once a week. <What a lot of work these are... and a bazillion dollars in cartridges and electricity to push water through them over the years... DO look into the FB technology... will save you tremendously... as the activity there will greatly eliminate solids> I store lobsters in the bottom and a portion of lobsters on top of the Plexiglas over the bio media. The lobsters moving around does move away debris that forms under the Plexiglas, on top of the bio media. I've always wondered if this hurts the bio. The water falling from the top tank into the bottom tank on over flow gives the tank oxygen. The tank pumps 90 gal. per minute. Do I sound OK? <Mmm, yes... if this is all working for you. A few modifications, maybe having a look/see re your pump/s, pumping... there may be some significant savings here> I purchased the system from a well known tank installer on the Maine coastline. He's an old timer, so he hates the biology of it. Thanks for your help. Laura <We are biology my friend. Bob Fenner>

Reef Lobster Hi there. Let me be the next person to say that WWM is an amazing resource and I sincerely appreciate you guys, the experts in your fields, taking the time to educate us lesser mortals! I have several tanks, saltwater and fresh, and like most of such persuasion am an incurable tinkerer. I'm currently attempting to maintain, in addition to the large central display tanks, a series of small species tanks featuring specific biotopes that are quasi-'natural' or at least able to support less-than-fully-reef-safe individuals. My latest project centers around an Enoplometopus daumi that, per your advice, is not suitable for any of my reef tanks. I've dedicated a 15g tank to this 2" beauty, complete with a LR/LS combination suitable to that size tank. BUT, I'd like to expand the livestock at least a bit. Can you recommend ANY tankmates, preferably fish, that could be happy in such a small tank and be somewhat less likely to be expensive food for the lobster? How about a mantis -- will they just smack each other around the tank? Ideally, I'd like to stock a few cheap fish, damsels or the like, just for motion and color during the day, and would be willing to do so even with some risk if the losses were rare. Your input would be greatly appreciated. <Hal, according to my references the reef lobster is suppose to be reef safe although harmful to fish as you know.  They do like a thick gravel bed for burrowing along with rocks for hiding places.  They are very aggressive toward others of their kind so two of them is out of the question.  You will also need to add iodine for these critters as it helps for proper molting.  As far as fish, I would probably put something in there like Chromis since they prefer the upper area of the tank.  Good luck with the species tank.  James (Salty Dog)> Kind regards, Hal

Rearing Reef Lobsters 1/22/04 I am a great fan of your site and would like to join other forum readers in thanking you for the outstanding service you provide. I am writing because I recently acquired an Enoplometopus daumi (purple reef lobster) that is "pregnant"--numerous orange eggs are attached to the underside of her tail. I would like to take a shot at hatching and rearing the young. Are there any prospects for success in a captive system? Are there environmental parameters other than the obvious (good water quality, etc.) that I could provide which would improve the chances of survival for the young Enoplometopus daumii? Thanks so much, Chris <I'm not aware of a specific spawning report on this genus, but let me suggest you dig into some google.com searches for fisheries information on lobsters (be sure to run down the citations and bibliographical refs you see on the pages)... and perhaps consider buying the neat little hobby book, "How to train and raise peppermint shrimp" by Kirkendall (see Amazon.com) for perspective on rearing Arthropod kin. Best of luck and life. Anthony>

And Now For Our Disappearing Lobster Act....  12/13/2004 I recently introduced a purple lobster into a 75 gallon tank with about 45 lbs of live rock.  I have not seen him since the first day.  I've read they are shy and nocturnal but is it normal I wouldn't have seen anything from him for 4 days?   <This strikes me as a normal thing - I wouldn't be too worried as of yet.> Maybe he's crawled into the rock and died?   <A possibility, indeed, but I think it likelier that the lobster has just found a comfy place to hide out while he gets his bearings in his new place.  Sneak out for a look at the tank well after dark.  Bring a dim flashlight with some red cellophane taped over it (hey, that's one thing Christmas merchandising is GREAT for, red cellophane!!).  Drop in a bit of shrimp or other meaty food, somewhere near the rockwork.  Wait.  With all due luck, once he's settled in some, you'll catch a glimpse of him, maybe get to see him eat.  If so, you'll probably be able to determine where in the rock he spends most of his time.  After a while, you'll probably be able to coax him out any time of day with a bit of food (shrimp, fish, scallop, whatever) in front of his lair.> Should I disrupt the fish by moving all of the rock around to look for him (to make sure he's not dead)? <I would not do this.  I don't believe it's necessary.  Do be testing for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate, just in case.> Thanks for your help. <Any time.  Wishing you and your lobster pal well,  -Sabrina>

- Keeping the Purple Lobster at Bay - Hello Crew, I recently had to fight a bout of ich and removed all my fish to quarantine and let the main tank go fallow for 35 days. About two days after I started the fallow period I purchased a small Purple Reef Lobster and added him to the main tank. Here is the description of my setup. 1) 20 gallon main display 2) 20lbs live rock, 3) 1 LPS (Goniopora lobata?), 4) 3 mushrooms (Rhodactis spp?) 5) Lots of amphipod / copepods 6) 7 small to medium Hermit Crabs 7) 10 Turbo snails 8) 1 colony of yellow polyps (Zoanthus sociatus?), 9) 10 Gallon refugium (lots of algae including natural algae growth from live rock) 10) 10 gallon sump all share water via pumps and overflow 11) 2 Fluval 204 canister filters After the 35 day period I reintroduced the five damsels into the main tank and overnight one of the damsels disappeared. Two days later I found his carcass floating at the top missing the head and badly chewed up. After reading the FAQ's on lobsters I come to find out they are/can be predatory not just scavengers. I plan to create a new setup with a 75 gallon main tank, my 10 gallon refugium and a 10 gallon species tank for the lobster. Until I do this, what is the best course of action for keeping the lobster fed, fat and sleepy so he does not hunt down and kill the rest of my damsels when the lights go out? <Keep it in a different tank - I don't trust lobsters as far as I can throw them... unless they are the edible type, and then are best with drawn butter.> Regards Manny <Cheers, J -- >

Commercial lobster store 2/8/04 Thank you Anthony, <cheers> Another question if I may. Subject, oxygen content in the water. What is the best way to get the water aerated, is a venturi (assuming there is enough pressure) adequate to aerate for 1-2000lbs of lobster? <hmmm... likely can be of use, but venturis are not without their serviceable needs/challenges. Nothing beats the economy and reliability of a blower (air) running open rigid lines (3/8" or 1/4" tubing) ala aquaculture style. With a range of 1 to 2000 lbs of lobsters, too... you will want/need to finesse all aspects of filtration, including O2 saturation, with regular testing. That is the thing you should obey> We have a noisy pump blowing bubbles at present, several people tell me it is doing very little, other than giving us a headache. <quite the contrary... and if you will take the tie to run an O2 test you will see. Air driven diffusers placed at the bottom of the vessel will usually outperform venturis. DO see if you can find such references to this in the fisheries data>> Questions never dry up from here I'm afraid, too many damn experts opinions seem to differ! Cameron   <I suspect you need to consult real experts in the fisheries field my friend... and not pet fish folks. There is hard data/science there for husbandry of livestock in large qtys that you have/will have. Anthony>

Glass or acrylic for commercial lobster store Good evening crew. <good evening> We `are adding 7 tanks to our saltwater system. 4m long, 1m wide and 600 to 900 high. We will have lobster and shellfish in plastic cases. Water temp, 13oCelsius (Fahrenheit?..) Air conditioning in the room at 21o Celsius. We have been given mixed advice about using glass or acrylic. Is glass strong enough, will it crack, will it have condensation running down it. Your thoughts please.. Regards, Cameron <lets play it safe here and consult the specs sheet for a glass and acrylic manufacturer. Glass can easily do the job (has done so for many years in public aquaria easily up to 1000 gallons). But it is a poor insulator and sweats terribly when holding chilled water. Either way, seek tolerances of "deflection" (ability of pane to bow without breaking) to confirm that your expected capture of the panes is consistent with mfg recommendations/expectations. Anthony>

Lobster sales Q's Hey Guys, <Hello Jon> I'm a newbie business guy thinking about selling Lobster (a lot).  I have a two-part question.  How long can I expect them to live in my tanks and how do I set one up? (type two buy.. etc)    <Refrigerated they should last for several days to a couple of weeks... better to sell sooner, FIFO... as they lose weight... and are sold by such. Set-up as in systems? Business? If you don't know this yet... time to work for someone, visit about in the trade for a while> Thanks in advance for any help you can give me! Jon <Bob Fenner, remembering Jon Handrus of Calif. Crustacean>
Lobster sales Q's
Hello Again, Thanks for your response.  I guess to be more specific, how long do you think I can keep them healthy by recreating there natural environment? Jon <Indefinitely. That is, by recreating these (or other organisms) natural environments you can keep them for about their natural lifespans... The vast majority of folks who re-sell the homarids and palinurids as human food keep them on hand for the shortest time possible... for obvious reasons (turnover, profitability...). Hence, days... Bob Fenner>

Re: Lobster sales Q's Thank you again for responding.  Sorry if I upset or offended you in anyway.  Your answers although informative they were very abrasive.    Take care   <Mmm, no offense taken, or intended... I still don't know what (to a point) you are/were "looking for"... If it's your intention to work in, or engage yourself as the owner of a business selling live lobsters, I encourage you to work in the field (for someone else) for a while... You obviously do NOT know enough to "just start" such an enterprise... IF you simply don't know enough to answer the simple questions re how long these animals can be kept in captivity, or how this is done... this statement re your preparedness is even more negative. The "aquatic source protein" business is very competitive. IF I have entirely missed what you are trying to find, so sorry re. Good luck to you. Bob Fenner>

Lobsters & corals? Oh, my! 3/3/03 last summer I purchased a medium sized white branching type coral and placed it on the bottom of my tank near where the purple & red lobster has taken up residence.   <Ahhh... OK> It did well until one day part of it's branches were ragged and wilted.  Over the next week or so it deteriorated and piece by piece until it was gone. <indeed> In the fall I ordered a variety of small corals, one of which was a branched white soft coral with just a tinge of green.   <hmm... please do take the time to research the needs of these corals beyond their proper names before you buy them> Over the course of a few months it has more than tripled in size and became a nice vivid green.  Two days ago I noticed that it had shrunk down, as it does at night, but more so and did not stretch out during the day.  Now I just got home from work and here it is, mostly gone.  It also had been placed buy the lobster's lair.  In fact it is pulled under the rocks , probably 4" from where it started.   <no doubt> I didn't think that lobsters ate corals.  Am I pointing the finger at the wrong suspect? <Oh, heavens no! The only people that will tell you lobsters are reef-safe are the folks that sell them ;) Small coral lobsters like the individual of which you speak (almost certainly an Enoplometopus species) are categorically carnivorous scavengers. They do not systematically seek to wipe out a reef aquarium on arrival... but will nibble on most any sessile invertebrate that they can get their claws on when the mood strikes them. Under no circumstance is that cool little lobster "reef-safe"> Nancy D   By the way, so far the anemone and the corals are doing fine together.   <I am truly disappointed that it is even attempted (and for how often it is done by aquarists)> I did at first suspect it had stung the coral as it had me when I got my arm too close, but really don't think that is the case.  It would be too far a reach and corals closer to it are doing fine. <you have my sad assurance that this anemone, with a lifespan of decades, will not live to see but a couple years at best most likely if it is forced to live in a crowd of corals. It is unnatural for most anemones (few live among the other cnidarians on the reef proper)... and they only appear to "do well" in mixed company for a matter of mere months. My advice is to give it a proper tank without other stinging corals/anemones. Best regards, Anthony>

Compatibility issues 3/4/03 Oh my, have you given me something to ponder.  I know I can give Mr. Lobster to my co-worker who has a fish only tank.   <they really are great scavengers withy big enough fish... its a shame they are rather shy for how beautiful they are> (I already gave her a star fish that I found out was not coral friendly who now eats out of her hand).  The anemone is a different story as she doesn't have adequate lighting for it to live.  I'll check around.   <good to hear, my friend> I know a couple other folks who might be able to give it a good home.  I hate to give away the Tomato clown as I have had him for nearly 5 years but he and the anemone are 'best friends' and I would hate to break up the pair. Ah, the social complications we run into! <indeed... the complex relationships on a reef are many... therein lies the rub and attraction :) > Thanks for the advice, Nancy <kind regards, Anthony>

Re: reef lobster hello! this is my first time writing to this page. i currently have a Daum's Reef Lobster (sold to me as a Purple Reef Lobster) living in my 55 gallon soon-to-be-reef tank...he's quite shy and only comes out at night...actually, i saw him for the first time in 2 months last night! anyways, would it be safe to add another one or will they fight? <Definitely fight in this size system> i have a friend who would like to give me her lobster...they are of similar size and even though they're quite reclusive, i would love to have another....i appreciate any information you could give me. thank you very much!!! ~Lisa <Thank you for writing. I would not take this risk. Bob Fenner>

Re: ammonia in lobster when lobster have high levels of ammonia in blood what is the long term effect or how long will it take to purge from blood <... there are known physiological effects... on the blood chemistry, capacity to utilize foods... behavior. Can be purged within minutes to hours...> what is high levels we use sea water and discharge about 10000 gal pr hr looking for help thank you  Percy <Need to start further back here... Tell me/us about your culture facility... are you recirculating water? Manipulating pH? Using a standard feed? What species, life stages are you dealing in? Bob Fenner> Ammonia in lobster we are in the offshore lobster we have a tank that hold 45000 lbs or 13000 gal   water we pump in discharge over the side we use dry air pump to agitate the water  sea temp 50 we fish about  four days  the size about one to six lbs we have had  crab in tank      Percy <Have you experienced losses from metabolites? (like ammonia). If you can, do monitor the ammonia, and do your best to increase water flow over the animals if it approaches 1.0 ppm. Bob Fenner>

Lobster in an Aggressive Tank Bob, enjoy the info you graciously provide... <Steven Pro in today.> I have an 80 gallon tank with the following livestock: zebra moray 12", snowflake moray 12", Blueline grouper 3-4", Niger trigger 3-4", and a pink tailed trigger 4-5". All fish doing great, I have a Venturi type protein skimmer (SeaClone) and emperor wet dry as well as a 400 gph powerhead. My question, I am looking to add a purple reef lobster to clear up detritus on floor, (have just a slight skin of crushed coral) I had a nice red legged hermit, but shortly after I introduced the zebra moray and blue line grouper, the hermit, which had survived more than a year and a half, went AWOL. I understand that purple reef lobsters can be predatory, but since I have a "tough tank", I am wondering if he would pose any threat to my fish, and just as important, will my fish make short work of him? <You are right on the second part, someone will eat the lobster. -Steven Pro>

Lobster under the Christmas Tree (Building a Lobster Tank) Hi, <<JasonC here, standing in for Bob who's away diving.>> My husband has his heart set on a lobster tank for X-mas and I have been searching on what to get. The size tank I can have is 60 X 18. I wanted to know what I need to buy and where can I buy it? We don't know anything about it and he wants this as his new hobby. Diane DelleCave <<Well, there are quite a few lobsters out there, and I'm going to guess by the size of the tank.. do you mean the lobsters you can eat or the lobsters the size of crayfish? Ok, you could eat those too, but I doubt you'll ever see a plate of them. Anyway, that aside there are a bunch of different lobsters, and another fascinating invertebrate called a Stomatopod - the Mantis Shrimp. A "lobster tank" is a "species tank" - you wouldn't really be able to keep anything else in there that wouldn't fall prey to the main attraction at some point. In short, they have to be kept by themselves, anything else is probably food. So... that's the reason you might also want to look at a mantis shrimp - they are very cool and pretty too, but smart and fierce predators. You can read up on both here: Lobsters: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lobsters.htm  Mantis Shrimp: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mantisshrimp.htm  For basic tank setup, you can start reading at the following link, but you should also check your yellow pages for a Local Fish Store who might be able to help you procure the tank and various equipment you will be needing. Tank Setup: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marineSetUp.htm  The larger lobsters require a chilled setup and you can read up on cool water marine. Cool Water Marine: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cold.htm  So... you are just beginning. Do look/read before you leap - and then look and read again before you leap. Move slowly and you will get the best results long term. If you are building a dream system, you may not have a lobster under the Christmas Tree - if you needed a custom tank, for instance. Speaking of which, you should also browse the links section for tank manufacturers and various online e-tailers that are also a good equipment source. Links: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/links.htm Cheers, J -- >>

Lobster Question Hi my name is Mike,  <Cheers, Mike... Anthony Calfo> and I have a question about a lobster I have recently acquired. It is a blue spiny lobster, and I like him a lot.  <very cool creature> I have noticed recently that he keeps his tail curled up under him for most of the time, especially during the day time. At night, when the lights are off, the tail stays behind him, flat on the ground like normal.  <a perfectly natural posture for this animal> I have another red spiny lobster too, I don't know if that factors into the equation or not.  <not at all> I was thinking that the blue lobster may have his tail up underneath him to make himself feel safer, as he was added only a couple of days ago. Well, if you could email me back, and tell me what you think, that would be great. Thank you for you time. mike <no worries, my friend... just feed them a diverse menu of foods and watch them grow. Anthony>

Red Lobster - Enoplometopus species Hey there!  <Whaaaaasuup? Anthony Calfo here answering WWM queries, staring at blue actinic lights with cool shades on and whistling Moody Blues tunes> You're FAMOUS at Old Town Aquarium.  <Yowza! That's truly a pleasure to hear since I recently gave up hope on being rich or handsome!> When I told one of the guys that you actually wrote me e-mail he just about fainted.  <I'm sure I need more friends that are so easily impressed as that gent <smile>> Anyway, if you'd be so kind ... please tell me if I can keep a "red lobster" in my 25 gal. reef tank. <Nope...and thanks for asking...next question! Ha! Actually, not everyone admires sexy lobsters as you an I do (and I do seriously). However, they are truly and consistently destructive in reef aquaria> Tomorrow is the day that I go to pick up my first round of inverts -- hermits, shrimp, star fish, etc. Recently I've developed an interest in keeping a lobster but only if it is compatible with the others that I plan to keep. Any information that you could provide would be great ... I was looking on marinedepotlive.com and they state that this specific  <safe in the sense that reef invertebrates are likely to be safe form being eaten... however, all best are off on the fish... and I assume you were not going to set up a fishless system? Predation is not a question of if, but when with lobsters. The other concern is the bulldozing activities of Lobsters with LPS corals that may be hardy with regard for water quality, but alas with not take repetitive falls/injury from the frisky crustaceans> lobster is "reef safe," but I'd just like to make sure. After all, you're not the one trying to sell it to me!!! <very wise thinking, bro. Which reminds me... I should give Old Towne Aquarium a call to see if they are stocking my book <wink>.> Thanks Robert, Steve Pro, Anthony Calfo, etc. You are all great and very helpful. Ari Klein <thank you very kindly... and I will see you at the Midwest Marine Conference in Ann Arbor Michigan this March, eh? How about 2003 at the Chicagoland IMAC conference? Can you tell that I'm just a junkie for reef-nerd conferences? 10 years running <G>. Anthony Calfo>

Lobsters in Galveston? Hello Dr. Fenner, I have written you before about my excursions to the muddy and murky waters of Galveston Bay. <Yes, I recall> Today, while catching ghost shrimp under the causeway (for my very hungry flounders & Searobins) I happened upon 2 critters that look a whole lot like lobsters and not crayfish. The largest one (the other is too small to tell), about 11/2", is greenish grey with bands all down his tail and one very large claw & one small pincher. It also has 2 sets of antennae (whatever they are called), 2 out to the sides and 2 in front. After just a short while in my tank this crustacean started moving pebbles around to build a shelter. From what I could read, it looks to be a lobster, but a friend of mine insists that they can't live in Galveston. Who wins this bet? <Mmm, well, there are lobsters known from the area... but don't think this is one of them. A large claw (you should only have spiny lobsters, palinurids, there... but there are snapping shrimps (Alpheids), other crustaceans that fit the bill/description. Bob Fenner> Thank you for your time, sincerely, Steve Tilotta

Re: lobsters in Galveston? Once again I lost a bet, but gained some knowledge. Indeed you were correct, it is a snapping shrimp. I was surprised to see that they sell for $18 on one site. <What's next? Folks paying big bongo bucks for fleas, ticks, cockroaches?> Maybe I can make a few trades with the pet stores I frequent. Thank you again Robert for your assistance. Steve <You're welcome my friend. Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

fisheries supplies? Hey, Bob... First of all... a very big thank you for the apparently kind referral that you gave Edwin at All Seas about my book.  <Anthony, you, your work is/was simply presented as you/it are> He is placing a nice first order. I must have been taking my medication when I wrote some of the passages in the book to earn a favorable review from you <smile>. <Mmm, possibly> Secondly, a local aquarium service fellow has been asked by a local seafood market to propose filtration for a 3500-4000 gallon lobster system. He is already aware of Marineland systems and has a lot of past experience with them... but wants to look elsewhere. Can you recommend an aquaculture or fisheries supplier that he might look into for commercial filtration components?  <Yes, have him contact Robert or Chris Krechter at RK2, 760-746-7400, mention my name if he'd like> Aquacenter is the only one off of the top of my head that I could recall. I guess I remember Fritz and Argent working the field but don't even know if they are still in that business. Any good guys you can point him to? <A few others, try the Krechters, RK2 first. Know what they're doing (some of their gear you've seen in the Pittsburgh Zoo/Quarium re-do). Nice folks too> I hope you've had a very peaceful holiday. <And you my friend. Bob Fenner> Kind regards, Anthony

Lobster in a reef ? Hi there Bob, I have a 180g tank with 5 tangs ( Z. desjardinii, Z. xanthurum, Naso lituratus, A. leucosternon, a. Sohal ( the "king" and my favorite ) ), a pair of Premnas biaculeatus ( the male is very small, 1" ) ,Valenciennea, and a Labroides dimidiatus ( fat and 1 year old in my tank ; eats everything, from Artemia to flakes, and its crazy about Nori :) ). <Great> As far as invertebrates goes, I have soft corals, a Hydnophora, two big big big brain corals ( 10" diameter each ) .  <Have pix of one over 25 feet in diameter in Tobago!> I also have several Astreas snails. No hermits. I own also a Entacmaea Quadricolor for 5 months and in great shape.. <Okay> Anyway, I got several questions for you : * My LFS have a reef lobster, a Enoplometopus daumi or debelius.. Cant figure which one, but its safe to add to my reef ? <Hmm, "not really"... they can, will pick at most everything if hungry> * I Tried 3 times to have Lysmata shrimps in my tank.. No luck, they settle in fine, and then in 1 or 3 months, they vanished.. Why ? Naso eats them ( he's big, 6 to 8 " ) ? Anemone ? <Maybe... or perhaps you have a lurking Mantis, Alpheid shrimp/s> * I own a red Seastar.. Can I add a blue laevigata ? <Yes> * I want to add some angelfish, Genicanthus species.. If I add 4 females and 1 male, will they school ? <This tank's actually a bit small for this grouping... maybe one male and a single female> * My light system is 3x150w MH, 9x9w actinics and 2x36w actinics... Can I keep a Nephthea coral ? Are they hard to keep ? <See the site: http://wetwebmedia.com/soft.htm> * I've heard that mandarin fish requires sufficient Amphipods and copepods.. I do believe that I have them.. Even so, I've also heard that they are easy prey for anemones ? Its that true ? Cant I keep them because of my Entacmaea ? <With the mix you have I would worry the Mandarin would not be able to compete for food, am concerned about the possible "lurker" and yes to the danger from the Entacmaea.> Thanks and regards, Goncalo Proenca <Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner>

Lobster addition? Dr. Bob, <Howdy> The manager at my local fish dealer suggested a Spiny Blue Lobster as a colorful scavenger for a large, moderately aggressive fish tank (500 gallons, Bonnethead, yellow tang, 2? Fijian Blue Devils, angel fish) with a fine sand substrate. From what I've read in a variety of sources, opinions regarding this species run from Reef Friendly? to killer. <More toward the latter... in your list, do you mean "Bonnethead" as in a shark?> Your descriptions on species that I'm familiar with tend to be completely accurate with behaviors I observe, so I trust your opinion more. As an omnivore, will this creature eat detritus as readily as meaty foods? <No to the detritus... an eater upper of meaty food items, including slow tankmates> His central body mass is approx. 5? now and he's housed with a number of small fish, but when he's 8? - 10? will he put the omni? in omnivore? <Indeed, even sooner> Even if he's totally safe with my current inhabitants, if I buy him and have to supplement his diet with additional meaty foods will the net result be more bio load? What's the recommended feeding regimen? <Great excreters of ammonia, other wastes... Feed two, three times a week... with a tool down to its area toward "lights out"...> My current filtration system is overkill for the tank (wet/dry rated for a 1,000+ gallons, canister filters rated for 300 gallons, skimmer/turf scrubber rated for 300 gallons) and I have respectable water turnover 3.8 times/hour. <I wouldn't call this "overkill" for a 500 gallon system with what you list in it... e.g., I would increase the circulation by two, three times.> But I would like to keep the sand surface maintained, and a lobster would be more interesting than a host of hermits. Also read your scavenger section on found a supplier for farm raised queen conchs. Would the lobster and conchs work well in tandem? Any other suggestions for general grounds maintenance? <No... the Lobster will/would eat the shellfish. Look into Goatfish here... Bob Fenner> As always, thanks for your advise! J.D. Hill

Pincerless Lobster A friend of mine recently decided to take down his 55gal tank. He sold me about 25 lbs. Fiji live rock, wet dry filter, skimmer, all the pumps, UV sterilizer, coral beauty, starfish, and a lobster for about $200. What a deal that I got!!!!! I can not seen to find any information on the lobster and starfish anywhere on the net. The starfish is blue, looks like a serpent star, round center with long legs, very prickly. He is fairly large. What do you know about this guy? Second, the lobster I have never seen one like this before!!! He is bright orange and purple, and about 2 1/2-3 inches. He was real beast to catch. He ended up releasing both his front pinchers to get away, which I was told will eventually grow back in about 4 weeks. What type of lobster is this, and what do you know about him? Thanks for the help Bob, Patrick < The Serpent could, may well be, one of several species... most innocuous, but at least one known to be a fish eater (when they're sleeping)... The Lobster sounds like an Enoplometopus... a Hawaiian... and do get to some 6-8 inches... and are as opportunistic as other lobsters... Take a look further on the Net, a large library... there are many references to these animals... Invest in volumes 2 and 3 of Baensch's Atlases with your big savings? Bob Fenner>

Lobsters for Reefs? Hi. I'd like to know if lobsters are appropriate animals in a reef tank. Thank you. >> Hmmm, not really. Let's see, how to put this... There are some smaller species that will kind of go okay if/when put in as "babies" but they all get big, rambunctious and destructive ultimately... trying to eat most any type of sessile animal... If I absolutely had to have one I'd look into the genus Enoplometopus... Bob Fenner

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