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FAQs about Amphipod Crustaceans

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

Related Articles: CrustaceansAmphipods, 'Pods: Delicious and Nutritious By Adelaide Rhodes, Ph.D, Copepods, Mysids, Isopods, Shrimps, Coral Banded Shrimp, Cleaner ShrimpP. holthuisi Pix, Mantis "Shrimp", Lobsters, Slipper Lobsters, Hermit Crabs, Squat Lobsters, Crabs, Arthropods, Pycnogonids (Sea Spiders),

"Amphi-pod", "unequal or both" (like amphibians, both types of life, aquatic and terrestrial), "feet"

found something strange..       5/30/14
hey, i found something strange when i ate shrimps the other day, cant figure out what it is..
<Neat! Some sort of spiky orange amphipod! Bob Fenner>

Unknown animal in my reef tank.   5/3/13
Hi about 3 weeks ago I noticed about 100 tiny  creatures in my tank.
Looked like a really small string. Most were brightly colored  about 1/4" to 3/8" long and about 1/32" wide.
I figured it was either bristle worms or some other worm that must have been in the live sand I added to the tank several days earlier.
<Mmm, nah>
 Now I those guys are about 1/2" long and look like tiny shrimp. Antenna and the curled tail, and the bright color is gone. They only come out at night. And are fast as he'll when it comes to getting out of the  light.
What could it be and if I need to get reed of them how do I do it?
<Are beneficial...>
Mainly I'm worried if it is a mantis shrimp. I got a lot of small fish that could suffer in the long run. I'm attaching some pictures. I also got videos of the darn things if that would help identify them.
<Are all their legs about the same length? Am guessing these are Amphipods...: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/amphipodfaqs.htm
Bob Fenner>

Re: Unknown animal in my reef tank.   5/4/13
They were to small to tell for sure but from what i could see they have even length legs. Do amphipods have multi color larvae? How big will they get?
Thank you.
<Larvae are very small; not visible to the naked eye... the ones you sent pix of, described may be full size. BobF>

Identification     9/4/12
Hello everyone,  just hope you could help identify this thing.  It is in a 29 gallon Bio Cube that I am using to cure rock.  This Bio Cube was used for a few years until I moved to a larger tank.  I left the media and the sand and a few love rocks.  I am now putting some base rock in the tank to cure before I add it to the main tank.
<Mmm, let's see; all legs appear similar... Think you've got an Amphipod here... aka a scud. Bob Fenner>

Re: Identification     9/4/12
Is it normal for them to be so large?  If they stay in the tank with nothing to eat them could they get out of control?
<... search and read on! B>

Little 'bugs' swarming on star polyp     12/5/11
I am sooo grateful to you folks, and I hope I'm not wearing out my welcome.  But I am constantly running into curiosities.
<Life is grand eh?>
My star polyp which I've had for about 5 weeks is swarming with little 'bugs' of some sort.  They don't seem to be doing any damage, but they still make me nervous.
Before I mashed a captive onto a slide, I was able to (barely due to its tiny size) note a few things.
 It is about 3-4 mm long and perhaps 1/2 mm in diameter.
 It is very light tan, somewhat transparent
 It has two very long antennae, two shorter antenna-like things, six legs (not positive of this), and a funny pronged tail.
 They scurry in fast, short bursts and dive into holes in the rock if frightened.
<Mmm, yep>
I apologize for the poor photo, but my microscope does not have low enough magnification to get it in one shot.  So I had to take three shots and crudely stitch them together.
<Fab...!>
Any idea what this is?  I assumed it was some sort of amphipod, but I looked at a huge number of amphipod photos on the web and none of them looked anything like this to me.
<Looks to be what you state, Scud! An Amphipod member>
Thanks!
Tim
<Neat animals to have. Bob Fenner>

 

Re: Little 'bugs' swarming on star polyp -- 12/5/11
Bob - Thank you!
<Welcome Tim>
  I am having a great time learning new things with this seemingly endless hobby.
<Beyond my life time for sure>
By the way, I have to thank you for that microscope photo of the amphipod that I sent.  You probably don't remember, with all the emails you answer. 
But early this year, shortly after I stocked my first tank and asked you a question based on a crude verbal description of something emerging from live rock, you encouraged me to get a digital microscope.  I did so then, and it has opened up a whole new world.  Thank you!  I live just 15 miles from a state university, and I inquired there to see if I could audit a marine biology course, but they don't have a single marine biologist on the faculty!  Arrgh.
Tim
<Let's change this situation to Ahh! Cheers, BobF>

live rock hitchhiker - what is it?   11/18/10
Hello Wet Web,
<And Wendy has...>
can you identify this little monster I found in my live rock?
<Mmm, yes; looks to be a Caprellid Amphipod... a skeleton shrimp>
Thanks,
Wendy
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Amphipods Irritating Maxima clam?   12/7/09
Hello
<Kevin>
I am having some concerns over one of my maxima clams not opening completely. At first I thought it could be pinched mantle. I have researched this and don't find a whole lot out there on the subject.
<Oh! Barry Neigut just had our online 'zine run his definitive piece on this ailment:
http://wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_6/volume_6_4/clams.html>
I am also hesitant to do the prescribed freshwater dip which could possibly kill an already stressed clam. Especially since I am uncertain this is what it could be. When the lights are out in my tank I searched with a flashlight and noticed amphipods all over the outside of its shell. Attached is a picture pointing a few out.
<Well done!>
Placement is in the base rocks in sand. I believe they are amphipods after searching this site and many other
references.
<Do appear to me as thus>
I am wondering if they are irritating the clam causing it not to extend its mantle fully.
<Could well be>
I also notice a few crawling about during the day which leads me to believe this could possibly be the case. I have
another maxima which looked very good for a while now showing the same signs. Amphipods are all over this shell as well. I have a crocea clam the amphipods don't seem to bother which looks great. Maybe moving the maximas
higher up away from the sand would solve the problem?
<Mmm, doubtful... I would...>
Also nothing else in the tank seems to bother the clams (2 true percula clowns, hippo tang, kole
tang, Banggai cardinal, 2 cleaner shrimp)
My calcium is 380 (working to get this to at least 400). Alkalinity is 11dKh. Magnesium is 1200 ppm. pH is 8.2. Any insight would be great.
Thanks in advance.
Kevin
<I would seek either to bait/trap them out (meaty food wrapped in some filter media, stuffed in a plastic pipe... at night) removed after an hour or two), or look to "renting" a relatively, most likely non-Tridacnid-predator that will hunt down, eat these. The list is long here; I would sort through a search on the Net in general. Bob Fenner>

Meat eating amphipods... comp./removal   8/26/2009
Hello! I have a nano tank (approximately 20g) that up until recently has not had any problems--all creatures are growing, show great polyp extension, and coloration. My parameters are all in line with the hobby standards and I do not dose anything.
<Good desc., protocol>
I change approximately 40-50% of the tank water per month, which is about 2.5g per week. I recently noticed seemingly large amphipods hanging out at the base of my red people eater Zoanthid colony and I just assumed they were cleaning up, until now. The last few nights I have witnessed the amphipods eating the skirts and then moving on to flesh surrounding the mouth and by morning all that's left of the polyp is a horrible looking nub. They have devoured almost four polyps and I fear it's going to continue.
<Likely so>
The rest of the colony continues to look beautiful, fully extends, and doesn't have Nudibranchs, Zoa spiders, poxs, or any type of infection.
I have done some research and it seems that there's differing opinions whether amphipods actually behave in this manner.
<Some species definitely do>
For three nights, I have personally witness these creatures sitting, picking, and eating the flesh. I have tried to shoo them away, but can not sit in front of the tank all night. Also, I have purchased a 6-line wrasse to help control the amphipod population, but it seems that the wrasse goes to sleep well before the amphipods come out.
<Good observation>
I have thought about feeding the tank extra food in case the amphipods are starving, which doesn't seem like a good idea due to increasing the nutrient load and aiding in another meat eating amphipod explosion. I've thought about removing the Zoanthids to another tank, but I'm worried that the amphipods will just start munching on another colony. Do you have any other suggestions? Words of wisdom?
<Bait them out, remove them>
I greatly appreciate your help. WetWebMedia is a fantastic resource, thank you!
Sincerely,
May S.
<Do "look about" re various trapping products, procedures... can be done. Happy hunting. Bob Fenner>

Amphipod Control - Advice Requested -- 05/28/09
Hey folks,
<<Matt>>
Great website - one I try to recommend as often as possible, along with "Conscientious..."
<<Thank you>>
Let's get straight to it...
<<Alrighty then>>
Background:
I'm running a 38 gallon, open top "coral only" SPS style (300w MH lighting, 29 times tank volume turnover in flow) reef tank that's just passed its first birthday.
<<Cool, but'¦no fish? Is up to you, but I would consider a small fish or two to help add some Nitrogenous compounds for the benefit of the corals'¦not to mention'¦I just like fish [grin]>>
Converting to a closed or otherwise screened top is not an option, at least not in the foreseeable future.
<<I personally prefer an 'open' top for reasons of better gas exchange, light transmission, evaporative cooling'¦and recommend same>>
There's a 30 gallon sump (about 300gph flow through it) underneath holding about 15 gallons. There's a near-term plan to add about 200 (maybe as much as 350) cubic inches of live rock fragments to the sump as a natural baffle.
<<Okay>>
I say coral only in quotes because in actuality it's a tank dominated by amphipods and a heavy side population of bristle worms.
<<Mmm, I see'¦and this is a problem?>>
Please find a 100k JPEG image of my tank attached (possibly at the bottom) to this message.
<<I see it'¦ And I like the fact that you are utilizing 'two' siphon overflow boxes rather than one'¦and hopefully to provide some measure of safety/redundancy should one fail/become blocked, rather than to simply increase the turnover rate of the system>>
Problem and questions:
I've been researching to find out the "best" amphipod control - in terms of fish or invert - and am not having a lot of luck making the decision.
<<Hmm, well'¦the limiting factor is the size of the tank, but I can think of a smallish wrasse or two that would do the job nicely>>
In short, here's what I'm considering in no particular order (and I'm still willing to consider others):
* Dragonet (Red, Mandarin, etc, whichever)
<<Really needs a larger system for the long term>>
* Midas Blenny
<<A possibility>>
* Sixline wrasse
<<The best option of the three in my opinion re hardiness and suitability to the size of the system>>
A big problem with the research I've done is people's slack in speaking about "'pods" as if every kind of 'pod is the same as every other kind of 'pod.
<<Indeed'¦many varieties>>
Cope's and Amph's aren't even remotely similar in almost any way! LOL
<<And differences within the families/genera as well>>
Consequently, most/all of the (few) recommendations out there on "pod eaters" are not 100% useful.
<<Mmm, I don't think the 'recommendations' need be that specific here. Most any predator of small benthic inverts/crustaceans will happily go after your collection of 'pods'>>
Anyway, going down the list here's the results of my research so far...
Dragonet:
I did manage to find a reference to one gut analysis of wild Dragonets and Amphipods were found 75% of the time. This is good, but I'm not sure I have any cope's to speak of and only a scant few Mysids are even seen lately. All amphipods, all the time, and they're big and aggressive. As long as an all-amph diet would be acceptable, then I may have him covered. I'm guessing he's not going to be a big candidate for jumping as they keep to the rocks/bottom and 95% of my rock is in the bottom half of the tank. (lots room for coral grow-out)
<<This fish would prefer/go after the smaller Copepods and Mysids available, and probably the smaller Amphipods'¦but I think the size of your system determines this fish is better passed up>>
Midas Blenny:
I couldn't find any consensus on whether they are able to eat amphipods,
<<Would'¦if not 'too' large>>
which are both big and aggressive compared to copepods or mysids, or whether it's likely they'd hunt my pods in the first place.
<The Blenny is more likely to munch algae and pick plankton from the water column. They will pick at the rock and take small crustaceans'¦but there are better fishes for what you have in mind, in my opinion>>
From anecdotes, some fish seem to be "domesticated" and lack the interest in hunting pods altogether.
<<Mmm, yes'¦ I have noticed this phenomenon with many of the so-called 'pest anemone' and even 'nuisance algae' SOLUTION fishes. Much easier to wait and be 'fed' (and likely more palatable too) >>
So, speaking in likelihoods....will these guys hunt and eat my amphipods?
<<To some extent, yes>>
I also couldn't really glean any consensus if these guys are likely to be jumpers.
<<Is a possibility (as with most any fish)'¦but less likely as the only fish in the tank'¦and really of small concern in my opinion>>
Again with my tank being relatively "tall" and the rock work being relatively "low-slung", do you think this should be an overriding concern?
<<Nope>>
Six Line:
Aggressive enough and will probably keep the population of pods in check,
<<Much in agreement'¦the best option of the three>>
but known as a jumper.
<<A small concern>>
Enough to rule him out?
<<Nope>>
Shrimp:
I've also thought a shrimp would be interesting, but definitely not much info out there to suggest they'd be very effective (if at all) at amphipod control.
<<Agreed'¦not a good solution re>>
Thoughts or other alternatives?
<<Go with the Sixline'¦ This fish is best suited for the task and the size of the system>>
Sorry for being so long winded, and I appreciate any feedback!
<<No worries>>
-Matt Carroll
Herndon, VA
<<Eric Russell'¦Columbia, SC>>
P.S. I've seen the amphipods swarm and eat little white brittle stars and they regularly trim the skirts off my Zoa's.
<<Indeed, quite predaceous (which makes them beneficial detritivores too) and will also cannibalize their own if food becomes short'¦ aren't you glad they're not the size of a house cat [grin]>>
P.P.S. I've got about 20 Cerith snails (successfully breeding), 3 Turbo's, 4 margaritas and 3 remaining hermit crabs for algae control. Would you recommend any additions to this crew for a post-amphipod- hegemony tank? :-) Feel free to be specific.
<<The crabs will rule (not a fan), and will take out snails and each other as/when needed to survive'¦not to mention going after your corals/emergent life on the rock (very opportunistic predators). But to help fill the 'detritivore void' left by the reduced 'pod' population, I would consider adding a dozen Nassarius snails to this mix. EricR>>

Re: Amphipod Control - Advice Requested -- 05/31/09
--
I do like the Sixline - even has an interesting personality on top of its other features.
<Indeed'¦as well as a very aggressive nature'¦but this is not a problem here as long as you don't try to add other fishes at a later date>
I also thought since it'll likely be a single-fish tank forever that maybe a Pseudochromis would also be a good alternative.
<Ah yes'¦>
My LFS seems to have a consistently good selection of these too (Diadema, Neon, Arabian, Purple, Orchid and Bicolor usually.). Thoughts?
<My first choice would be the Purple/Strawberry Basslet/Dottyback (Pseudochromis porphyreus) for its small size, but any of the others would likely also be fine for what you have in mind>
P.P.S. I've got about 20 Cerith snails (successfully reproducing, laying eggs about every other day), 3 Turbo's, 4 margaritas and 3 remaining hermit crabs for algae control. > Would you recommend any additions to this crew for a post-amphipod- hegemony tank? :-) Feel free to be specific.
<<The crabs will rule (not a fan), and will take out snails and each other as/when needed to survive'¦not to mention going after your corals/emergent life on the rock (very opportunistic predators). But to help fill the 'detritivore void' left by the  reduced 'pod' population, I would consider adding a dozen Nassarius snails to this  mix. EricR>>
---
Will consider adding more Nassarius (have one left from the initial clean up crew...hasn't grown noticeably in about a year) but I've got the impression (well known online sources) that they and hermits aren't too dissimilar in their predation of sand-bed (and other) micro-fauna, etc. Is this correct though?
<Not to my knowledge/in my experience'¦at least with the small species I have in my system (Nassarius vibex, to about 3/8'). Perhaps you are referring to Ilyanassa obsolete, often mislabeled or misrepresented as Nassarius obsoleta by unknowing or unscrupulous vendors'¦which is a 'temperate mud snail' that is reported to go after your sand bed fauna, and even your other snails>
I have allowed/caused the hermit and Nassarius populations to dwindle from 10 and 10 down to 3 and 1 over the last twelve months to alleviate this stress on whatever emergent life they are eating. On this note, I mentioned before that I wasn't "sure I had any Copepods" in my first message....serendipity has struck and sometime yesterday I had the first Copepod bloom I've seen in probably 12 months!
<Neat>
(First since adding the initial clean up crew, that is...go figure.) Sweet! They're still going nuts, so hopefully they'll be a common sight once again!
<Indeed>
Since my anti-hermit, anti-Nassarius strategy seems to have finally paid a dividend I wonder if you'd recommend keeping with this strategy or still recommend a big bump in the Nassarius population?
<If true Nassarius snails, yes'¦ Is up to you, but I see no problem re>
(Perhaps the hermits really did all the damage?)
<Maybe so>
Do you think I should be fine on the algae-control front, or possibly a boost will be required there as well?
<I wouldn't expect a problem with the addition/feeding of a single small fish, if you are not having such problems re with you current maintenance regimen now'¦the system should be able to cope>
There are quite a few baby (1/8"-1/4" or so) Ceriths cruising the tank already, so maybe that population will expand as the available food increases...presuming it will increase.
<Agreed>
I've also been thinking of supplementing with some striped Trochus snails anyway...I'm interested to hear any thoughts or recommendations you may have.
<Not a big fan of such snails for their tendency to 'bulldoze' small corals/frags off rocks as well getting 'tipped' and dying'¦but don't let that stop you if you want to add a few>
Thanks again for sharing your opinions. Much appreciated!
<Is my pleasure>
-Matt
<EricR>

Critter ID: Gammaridean Amphipods  12/15/08 Hi there, <Hi Aaron, Lynn here this evening.> I was just wondering if you could identify these small critters, (about 1/4") that I get out of my filter pad about every 4-5 days. <They're extremely common, harmless, beneficial little detritivores called Gammaridean Amphipods, or scuds.> It's from a 125 gallon reef ready saltwater tank. Live sand, live rock, small animal load, bio-rocker filter in a 29 gallon aquarium sump. If you need more info please let me know. <Thanks to your very nice photos, I believe we're good to go.> I would just like to know what they are, <Fish food! Seriously, fish love to eat these little guys.> how they get in my filter pad, <After hitchhiking in on live rock/macro-algae, etc, they get there through the circulating water and tend to stay because it's a nice, safe, food pantry. Those filter pads collect all sorts of detritus - fish food/algae etc, particles that the little critters thrive on.> and if they are good or bad critters. <They're very good - all part of the biodiversity of a successful system. For more information, please see this link: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/amphipodfaqs.htm> Thank you Aaron
<You're very welcome. Take care, Lynn>

bugs... SW Waterstriders?  -08/27/08 Hi guys, I am sorry if I missed my answer in one of the archives but I am lost on what is in my tank. I just started a 35 gallon saltwater tank with live rock I bought from LFS. It has been running about 4 days and today when I opened the lid to test the water I found all these bugs swimming on the surface. They are the size of gnats and are black. I scooped most of them out but I don't know where they came from. It looks like there flying around but when I look at water level they are skimming the surface. They do not appear to be swimming around my tank. I have two other tanks and I am familiar with most of the common "bugs" but I could not find an identity for this one. Any help is greatly appreciated-thank you. <Hmm... sorry, it's really hard to say without a picture. Have you seen any more since? Best, Sara M.>  

Uh... SW Waterstriders? really?   08/27/08 Hmm... I thought salt water pelagic insects were fairly uncommon (only five Halobates species).... and don't they have long skinny legs? But I don't know... Sara <Are rare indeed... the reason for my ? mark. Hopefully they'll send in some pix. B>

Re: bugs, SW  08/28/08 Yes there were more a few hours later. I put some in a bowl and tried to get a picture but they were to blurry. I used my magnifying glass to look at them and could probably describe it better. The head appears to be a light red and there are two long antennas on the head and what appears to be four legs and two antennas on the rear shaped like a V. The front antenna are the longest and some look like they have more than two. They are very small, the body is about this size -- Some are smaller and a few bigger ones. There were a few floating shells the shape of just there body this morning. I used my magnifying glass and could not see any crawling on the rock or glass and they are not swimming in the water. I am sorry no picture I hope this helps. <Hmmm... interesting. Bob thought of Waterstriders, but these don't sound like them (and pelagic SW Waterstriders are pretty rare anyway-- and they wouldn't likely reappear in any case). My "educated" *guess* is that they're some type of pelagic amphipod. Maybe like this one...? http://www.dnr.sc.gov/marine/sertc/images/rollovers/pelagic%20amphipod.jpg> They don't fly but they stay on the water surface. I am guessing they came on the live rock but I don't know of any bugs that hang out on the water surface. I know they sound kind of like amphipods <Haha... read my mind.> but I have never had any only on the water surface. <Ah, but there are pelagic (i.e. water-surface dwelling) amphipods. We just don't see them that much. They're not likely harmful (likely won't even survive long in an aquarium).> Thanks so much for your time. <Thank you for sharing with us, Sara M.>

Re: Uh... SW Waterstriders? really?   08/28/08 Hmm... from his recent additional description, I now think they're pelagic amphipods... kinda like this one: http://www.dnr.sc.gov/marine/sertc/images/rollovers/pelagic%20amphipod.jpg What do you think? Sara <Oh, so they were/are underwater. B>

Re: bugs 08/28/08 The amphipod picture looked right on. <Awesome! ...glad you/we figured it out!> I had looked up the Waterstriders before contacting you and they did not look the same. Thanks again you guys are awesome. <De nada, Sara M.>

Ideal Amphipod Breeding Substrate 04/01/2008 Hello again Crew, <<Hello, Andrew today>> I have a 17g tub that I plan to culture amphipods in. I've heard that Chaeto, liverock, sand, and sponges are good breeding substrates. In your experience, which of these are the best? <<Chaeto, live rock and sand>> Here are the side and top views of my current plan for the container. I intend to make sections out of eggcrate and pump water so it flows through the Chaeto (thus rolling it) and back towards the pump. <<Hope this helps, A Nixon>>

Amphipod Culturing/Boiling Rock - 03/27/08 Hello again Crew, <<Greetings>> My cousin has lost interest in the aquarium hobby and is selling his 10g tank. I'm thinking about buying his live rock and/or live sand and using it to make an amphipod culture. <<Cool>> I have several questions. <<Okay>> 1. Can Ulva or Chaetomorpha be grown using only sunlight? <<Sure…if it gets enough>> I'm thinking about having the culture container near a window so I don't have to use lighting. <<If the tank will receive some direct lighting it should work…is worth a try for sure>> Apparently, after reading about the "copepod farm in a 5L bottle" on your site, phytoplankton can grow from sunlight alone. <<Indeed>> 2. Just to clarify, the macroalgae is the food source, right? <<No, not so much as the epiphytic matter that is on it, and the other surfaces in the tank. The dense matrix of the macroalgae (Chaetomorpha excels in this, in my opinion) will function primarily as a place for the critters to live and breed>> If so, will the pods eat all of the macro or will it grow quickly enough to stay ahead? <<I've never seen/known this to be the case…under the right conditions, the macroalgae will likely outgrow the tank and require pruning. To optimize your "pod" populations I suggest supplemental feeding. I find the inexpensive shrimp pellets from Wal-Mart, etc. to work well here and are very easy to feed>> Also, what would I feed the macroalgae? Skimmate? Plant fertilizer? <<Mmm, no…this would/will quickly pollute the system. Judicious feeding of the pods will supply nutrients for the algae as well. Have you given any thought to filtration/water circulation? Something as simple as a small air-driven internal sponge filter will probably suffice…though this "refugium" would work better if plumbed directly to the display it is intended to support>> I read that amphipods are omnivorous and that they'll eat anything. Would it be beneficial to add meat to their diet? <<As in the fore mentioned shrimp pellets, yes…or even a pinch or two of a quality flake food>> 3. How would I deal with evaporation in a smaller setup without having huge salinity fluctuations from manually topping off the water every day? <<Daily "topping-off" is likely your best/most economical solution for this small tank…and should work fine>> 4. How does live sand and live rock help amphipods anyway? <<Provides a matrix/structure for shelter, breeding>> I've heard of people successfully using playground sand for aquariums/refugiums. <<Yes>> Could I use this in my 'pod culture? <<Certainly>> 5. Let's say I culture the amphipods and whatever they eat. I'm only feeding a pair of maroon clowns, a BTA, and whatever else will eat them in my tank. Will this culture be more or less expensive than buying food? I know that's hard to answer, but can you ballpark it? <<Look to this culture as a "supplement" to feeding…not as a replacement. You will still need to provide some prepared foods to your fishes/inverts>> This is assuming, of course, that I don't sell any 'pods or 'pod food to people and make some money off of it. Don't get the wrong idea. This isn't an attempt to make a profit. <<But no reason it can't…though I think it would need to be much larger>> I just want to do this for the experience, for the natural food source, and because watching things eat each other is awesome. Now to the part about boiling the rock. My cousin's rock is completely covered in Cyanobacteria and Aiptasia anemones. I'd like to kill them. Could I just boil the rock and kill everything so I can just rinse/soak it and not have to cure it? Kinda like a dead coral skeleton (which, technically, it actually is)? <<Sure…though a less smelly/messy approach may be to let the rock sit out in the sun for a couple days, then a freshwater soak overnight followed by a good rinse with the hose>> Well, that's it for now. TIA, Random Aquarist <<Regards, EricR>>

Re: Amphipod Culturing/Boiling Rock - 03/28/08 Hey, thanks for the help. <<Quite welcome>> I have a few more questions for you. <<Okay>> 1. I found a bucket of dry CaribSea Eco-Complete Planted substrate that my dad had planned on using a few years ago. All of my dad's fish are dead, so could I use this? <<Dunno>> My concern is with the coarse nature of it and possibly any chemicals it could release that aren't ideal for saltwater. <<This is my concern as well…though you could contact CaribSea and get their take/advice re>> 2. I've heard that sponges are great for amphipods. Should I put in a bunch of filter sponges? <<Course filter sponges like those made for pond filters can indeed serve as "housing" for amphipods and other critters…but if you are going to use Chaetomorpha, I don't see these as necessary>> 3. I've also heard that pods like a lot of surface area with their live rock. Should I break the live rock into pieces and make a 'pod pile instead of just having a few large pieces? <<If you are adding rock then yes, "rubble" will provide more of the small cracks/crevices they prefer>> 4. And lastly, I found a lot of sealed bags of Dainichi cichlid food that my dad also planned on using back in the day. They're in sealed bags and are only a few years old. Could I feed this to my amphipods or does this freshwater food lack the nutrients needed by saltwater fish? <<See if the "pods" will eat it…it may/should be just fine>> Thanks again, Random Aquarist <<Cheers, EricR>>

What's This... Two of The Same Pics of Hair Alga... New Pic of Amphipod   8/22/07 Hmmm... I thought it was some kind of macro algae due to it large size and thickness the pics are very close up in macro mode. <Is a macro alga, just not a beneficial one. I personally would remove, but if you enjoy it let it be. I would just be careful that it doesn't spread too much.> the plants are silver dollar sized....on them were little critters I will attach another pic of the critter that I was able to get a better pic of <Yes a decent pic. Is an amphipod not a copepod. Copepods only have one eye that is generally centrally located. Your pic appears to show a peripherally positioned eye. I suspect this is a Scud, a Gammarus shrimp (Gammaridean amphipods) that are beneficial detritivores and make tasty natural snacks for you livestock. They commonly hang out on hair algae. More here and related links in blue: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/amphipodfaqs.htm > thank you sir <Mmm, no sir, not a sir, but you are welcome nonetheless. Mich>

The Attack Of The Amphipods 8/10/07 Hellow my fellow reefers. <Hellow?> Feeling the August heat yet? <The humidity is killing me here.> I just have a quick question, hopefully you can be of assistance. I have a 46 gallon 1 1/2 month old reef tank. Couple weeks ago I noticed an amphipod crawling on my live rock. After researching your great website I found out how beneficial these critters are. So.....I ordered a 20 amphipod pack from IPSF.com. <Wouldn't think they sold in that small amount.> I was very pleased with my order, got a few other things for free from them. Anyways, it's been about 2 maybe 3 weeks since I acclimated these guys and now they are everywhere. I thought these were nocturnal critters and these gladly come out during the day. I mean I can see any where from 10 to 30(if not more) of these guys at any given time of the day. HUGE ones, medium ones, and very very small ones that I think only I can see with my great vision. hahaha. They must be reproducing...and as I'm going to be upgrading to a 72 gallon here shortly, I am not up to purchasing any fish that eat them YET. <Most fish will gobble them up.> Everything from my 46 is going into the 72 and of course I will need to purchase some more live rock and do the cycling thing all over again. Can you have to my <too many> amphipods? <Nope> I know their safe....but there's sooooooo many. I never thought I would have that much success having these guys...with no predators I can see how it would get out of control....just curious if one can really have to many of these guys. Really...their everywhere...almost scary. <No worries my friend. Once you add fish to the system, they will keep them under control. No harm whatsoever, but rather beneficial.> Thanks for being here for us. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Amphipod Question? Do Amphipods Molt? Yes. - 08/01/07 Hello my fellow reefers. <Hi there, Mich here.> Howzit? <Alright I guess.> I have tried to find the answer to my question with no success. Hopefully you can help me out. After noticing a few amphipods on my month old reef tank, I did my research and found out how beneficial these little guys are. After that, I made an order to IPSF.com for a bag of these critters. I was very please with what I received. Even got an oyster shell with three free mushroom guys. Very nice. <Yes.> Anyways, three days after acclimating these guys I noticed floating, clear, molted skeletons of some good size amphipods. I am sure these are the new guys that I received from IPSF as some were very good size. My question....is this how they grow? <Some...yes.> Is this shock from acclimation. <Mmm, I suspect just normal molting.> All my parameters are correct. I proceeded with the floating bag method, drip system, and despite what I usually do here, I dumped the whole bag into the main system. I did this because that's what IPSF suggested to do. <OK.> No ammonia spike followed thank goodness. QT tank on the way by the way. <Good! Get it going...the sooner the better.> Anyways, any insight here would be great. <I would not be concerned.> I know a few of my hermit crabs molt due to growing, just wondering if amphipods do the same. <Some do.> Thanks for all your help. You guys have been here sense <Mmm... since> day one. <Good to hear.> Good day. <And to you!> PS, no spell check as my hotmail is acting up and will erase this whole email. This is the third time I've had to write this darn thing. What the? <Sorry for you trouble.> Thanks guys. <Welcome! Mich>

Shrimps? Amphipods?  4/17/07 Hello Folks. <Hi> Love the site. I've spent many hours browsing its pages with fascination ever since I started up my 30 gallon tank last September (7 months ago). <Good to hear.> I've been wondering what these fellows are (see attached photo) for quite some time. I have seen similar descriptions from other submissions on your site, but the visitors in my tank seem quite a bit larger than "plankton." At first they started out as many thousands of these very tiny (smaller than ant sized) mainly white/translucent guys living in the live sand bed (but crawling up onto the glass at times.) They were easily visible during the day. But over several months they have grown in size (main body over 1/2" long), but much less in number. <Probably seeing two different organisms, smaller copepods and larger Amphipods.> During the day I can barely catch a glimpse of a few of them in the shadows/crevices/caves within the rock. Then, tonight, I was taking some night photos with a flash camera and I managed to catch this picture. Several HUNDRED of them seem to swarm out at night, like cockroaches.  <Nocturnal.> I am hoping they are simple detritivores.... so I may ignore them (although, they are a bit creepy.) <Quite efficient cleaners, and a sign of a healthy tank.> What do you think? Thanks! - Dennis <Do a Google search on Amphipods, I think this is what you are seeing.> <Chris>

Re: Zoa and Amphipod Problems... Unrelated   3/21/07 Hello Mich I'm back again..   <Doug, it's been so long, what 24 hours, maybe more!  Hee!> I'm seeing something very similar in my freshwater planted tanks as well.. They look similar to the ones in my SW tank just smaller.. Maybe .125" compared to .2-.4" in my SW tank..  These fw ones will eat pellets, cutup shrimp and catfish fillets..  They also like to rip moss to shreds.. This pic is of one tearing the fronds off of a piece of moss..  A friend took this pic..   <WOW!  A great macro shot!> Are they similar?   <Likely so.> Do you think there is a chance that the SW ones might eat meatier foods like the fw ones do?   <Yes, they are detritivores... eat waste... dead foods, not living corals, thought they may appear to be as they will stealing food and cleaning waste from corals.> Thank you in advance for any info.. <You're welcome!  -Mich> Doug Again I'm attaching a link to the pic because I don't know how to resize.. http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c306/fishnfst/gammashrimppic-1.jpg <This is a fine option.  And again a wonderful photo, kudos to your friend!>

A beauty!

Xenia Anthelia Pt. 3 (Sorry) ID Scud (Gammaridean amphipod)   3/21/07 <Hi Brian, Mich with you again.> Okay, so the last of my three part letter. <I'm starting with the end.> My last question for you it about this little guy (photo below). Looks like an amphipod to me, but it's pretty big. <Is an amphipod.> Any idea what this might be? <Yep, a Scud or Gammarus shrimp (Gammaridean amphipod).> I have also seen the same critter in my tank in a silver / white shade. This one was in my sump feeding on food bits that went through the overflow. <All good my friend, A harmless, beneficial detritivore and a tasty snack for your fish.> Thank you so much for your time, it is greatly appreciated. <You're welcome.> Take care and have a great week. <The same to you!  -Mich>
Brian C.

Re: Zoa and Amphipod Problems... Unrelated   3/21/07 Hello <Hi!  Mich here.> I read through a bunch of text regarding predatory amphipods..  There seems to be some conflicting info about whether they are carnivorous or not..  I'm having problems with some Zoanthid colonies ceasing to open during the day...  Some of the colonies were originally 50-60 polyps and reproducing extremely fast..  About a week ago they stopped opening..  The first day they didn't open I did a 10min freshwater dip to check for Nudi's...  Nothing showed up at all.. I placed the colony back in the tank and waited until the evening still nothing..   About 2am I check on them again.  My main lights are off at this time so It's a little hard to see..  There are about 40 of these "amphipods" (I'm not really sure what they are) swarming all over the colony that stopped opening plus 2 other colonies..  I watched them for a couple of minutes and it definitely looks like they are pulling off pieces of the zoas..   <Mmm, pulling off algae.> My tank parameters are as follows..  Bare bottom 33g, 60lbs of rock, EuroReef 5-2, 150w heater, Seio 620, 150w MH de pendant..  The sump is filled with Chaetomorpha.. KH 10-12 calcium 450 <Allow to drift under 400> magnesium 1300 Ph 8.0 ammonia 0 nitrite 0 nitrate > 5 temp 77-78f I was hoping to find out for sure if these things are eating my zoas..   <No.> I'm also looking for suggestions for control of these critters..   <Not recommended.> Maybe some sort of Wrasse..  Any and all info would be much appreciated.. I'm providing  a link to a picture of them..  I'm not sure how to attach it to this email..  I originally tried to take a pic of them in the dark with flash and they all scattered.  The pic came out all blurry so this is the best I could do..  A couple of them came back after a few minutes so I snapped this picture.. http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c306/fishnfst/evilpods99.jpg <A very nice photo.  These are scuds (Gammaridean amphipods) and are not the source of your problems.  These are harmless, beneficial creatures.  I suspect you may be seeing them scrap algae of your Zoanthids.  I am not sure of the cause of your problems, but I have found that increasing the circulation to these closed up Zoanthids can help.  You might try adding a power head and checking your outlets, perhaps your circulation has been unknowingly reduced.  I hope that helps.  -Mich>
Re: Zoa and Amphipod Problems... Unrelated   3/21/07 Thank you very much for the prompt reply Mich.. <You are most welcome!> I did remove one powerhead from my tank recently..  I thought I had too much flow with two Seio 620's and a Koralia's 2..    The tank is only 24"x20"x16"tall.. Flow seems adequate still with only one Seio 620 and my mag3 return pump...  I will add one power head back to see if it helps.. <Hopefully it will!> Off Topic:  I appreciate the easy going and concise answers.  I was originally apprehensive about sending my question due to fear of getting my grammar and spelling ripped apart in an open forum :)   <No need to fear! Underdog is here... Oh wait, that's something else!  There really is nothing to be apprehensive about.  If there is an effort made to follow the posted directions you won't have a problem.  But you would be surprised by the blatant disregard for requests of proper grammar and spelling we receive.  We get queries filled with "i this" and "i that" or ALL CAPS or just chat room speak "cuz it ez".  We do not want to post anything in this format.  We use these queries to educate and help others.  It must live up to a certain standard to achieve this goal.  We are all volunteers and it is time consuming to fix all these problems.  After a while it can get exceedingly frustrating, especially for Bob, who has dedicated thousands upon thousands of hours of his life building this site.  We provide a free service and ask for very little but an attempt to keep things on a level where all can understand and benefit.> Thank you for going easy on me..   <No worries my friend.> If you can post the pic to my reply it would be much appreciated as well.. <Oh, but of course!>.   Thanks Again,
<You're welcome again, -Mich>
Doug

Colored Amphipods, Lack of Capitalization 12/1/06 <G>reat website!! <L>ots of useful information, and <I> mean LOTS! <K>eep up the good work. <Hey San, JustinN with you this morning. Thanks for the kind words.>   <A>nyways, <I> was looking at my tank during the night hours and <I> stumbled upon this amphipod. <I> was very interested and was watching it dig the sand around the rock. <O>nce it came out of the small hole, it was black, not white like the others in the tank. <I> looked all over but couldn<'>t find anything about black amphipods. <I< was wondering if you would know anything about it.   <T>hanks, keep up the good work   -<S>an <Well, San, my guess is it is likely just a variant of color on the amphipod due to something either consumed or genetic. I have amphipods in my fallow 20 gallon tank that show signs of blue, green, and red shimmer in them, but are otherwise identical to all the other pods I've seen. No worries here. Also, please do use proper capitalization and punctuation in all future correspondence. All is posted for the world to see, and if you don't do the corrections, someone on this end will. We are an all-volunteer staff and are limited in man-hours, and such corrections take a lot of time out of the day. -JustinN>

Amphipods Molting? - 09/05/06 Hello Crew, <<Hey Brian>> Quick question I'm sure you have been asked this before... <<Mmm, maybe...>> I looked all over and no answer for my questions. <<Ok>> I bought 1 piece of live rock from the local pet store a week ago and yes it was cured.  And today these little clear white bugs with legs are floating around my tank dead? <<No, not dead...empty.  What I believe you are seeing is the cast-off (while molting) exoskeleton of a small crustacean called an Amphipod...a beneficial detritivore to your tank and food item for many reef inhabitants>> Is this normal? <<Indeed>> My water tests are all perfect. Thanks for any help, Brian <<Nothing to worry about here.  Regards, EricR>>

Amphipods For Free...Too Good To Be True?   6/23/06 Hi there, <Hi there! Scott F. here today!> I have a quick question. A while ago I had to treat my 29 gal. for saltwater ick. During the isolation there were no predators for the pods that I had and they flourished. There were hundreds of them everywhere swimming around. Because of this I had thought it a good idea to purchase a mandarin Dragonet. Unfortunately, with the reintroduction of the fish, the numbers of pods have gone down significantly. I'm now afraid that the Mandarin might starve. I was wondering, since money is a little tight, are cold water 'pods similar to warm water ones? I was thinking it would be easy to just capture some of these guys and set up a breeding tank for them. Would it be alright to feed these guys or not? From what I remember they look almost identical to the pods in my tank now. Any feed back would be appreciated. Shawn <Well, Shawn, you ask an interesting question. I'm sure that the temperate amphipods are similar in nutritional value to the tropical ones, but I have another concern: Introduction of wild-caught amphipods (tropical or otherwise) is potentially a vector for disease introduction. Personally, I'd rather seek out a captive source (such as Reed Mariculture or Ocean Pods- do an internet search), where you're assured captive-propagated, pathogen free creatures. As an alternative, 'pods collected from a fellow hobbyist, who's healthy tank has a well-established population, would be a better source. Hope this helps! Regards, Scott

Amphipod Heaven! (Cultivating Amphipods In a Dedicated System)  8/31/05 Hi again Scott, <Hi Nancy!> It's been a while. Here's the latest. The tank now has 4 Canary Wrasses, with one having become male.  He's the most colorful and dominant. <This is a great way to keep these wrasses; and, as you are witnessing, one will generally become the dominant male...You'll see some really interesting behaviours among this group. I'm sure that you're enjoying them!> I added a male Anthias, but when I was away on vacation, it started hiding and has since disappeared completely (2 weeks).  I'm guessing the competition over food was too disturbing.   <A very distinct possibility. Unfortunately, the majority of Anthias do require particular attention to feeding and tankmates.> Anyways, my question is really about setting up an amphipod tank.  I thought the wrasses would really like a high number since they pick at the rock all day.  I ordered amphipods and seaweed from IPSF. <My favorite source!> They're currently in a 37g tank w/ heater, small HOB filter, live rock and 2x65w pc lighting. I can't find in the FAQs the ideal set up. <Wow! Sounds like you've created amphipod heaven! Essentially, any dedicated water vessel with soft flow and suitable grazing substrates (ranging from filter pads to small pieces of live rock rubble, or even macroalgae, such as Chaetomorpha) will do the trick. Many hobbyists find that these little guys will grow in huge numbers in crazy locations, such as inside of mechanical filtration systems, in their system's sumps, etc. Lighting is not too important, unless you are trying to grow the macroalgae.> How often do you feed the tank flakes? <I'd feed small quantities on an "every few days" basis, taking care to avoid having large quantities of food decompose on the bottom. In fact, if you have lots of macroalgae and rock, supplemental feeding may not be required.> When I do a water change, should I use tank water from the 90g or fresh salt water? <If it were me, I'd use water from your display tank.> Should I use a powerhead or a hob filter? <You could even get by with an air driven sponge filter!> I plan to add some rubble to the bottom.  Do I siphon out the debris on the bottom? <Excellent idea with the rubble. I would not siphon the detritus, unless it becomes excessive, as it will help provide more foraging for the amphipods.> Do I leave the lights on all the time? <I'd use a regular day/night cycle> What I'd really like, if you know a source, is to read up on the ideal tank set up for a dedicated amphipod and copepod tank.  As always, thanks so much for the advice and sorry if I missed the info in the search.  Nancy Ishikawa <Well, Nancy- I'd do a basic search on the 'net under "amphipods" and see what comes up. My real favorite source for this kind of nuts and bolts advice is fellow hobbyists...Everyone seems to have their own "recipe" for cultivating these creatures. Anthony Calfo's "Book of Coral Propagation" is a great source for this kind of stuff, as is Bob and Anthony's "Reef Invertebrates". Hope these point you in the right direction. Sounds like you're off to a great start! Best of luck! Regards, Scott F.> Not Mantis…Amphipod - 06/19/05 I have read on your site that mantis shrimp are a menace to aquarium keepers. <<Hmm...maybe, depending on specie, size...but fascinating creatures in their own right.>> In my saltwater tank's refugium, I noticed several small "things" scooting around and chasing each other. <<Yes...the benefit of a refugium.>> The were moving too fast, and I could not get close enough to get a good look at them.  Today, however, I saw one of these "things" on the bottom sand substrate of my display tank.  I looked at it and it looked like a tiny shrimp.  It was about a quarter of an inch long with its tail curled under.  It was a very pale gray, almost white and they have two antennae on their head.  I was looking online at pictures of mantis shrimp, and they were rather large, and brightly colored.  Can my shrimp creatures be baby mantis shrimp or are they some other species. <<Can't say for sure without a picture, but your description sounds very much like amphipods to me.  A beneficial detritivore and aquarium food source.>> I have not added any decorative shrimp to my tank ever, so they must come from my live rock. <<Yes>> When they are uncurled, they kind of look like a centipede, because they are long and have a lot of legs.  Sorry I can't send a picture, but if you have any idea what they might be, and if the are beneficial or harmful, I'd greatly appreciate it! <<I don't think you have anything to worry about but do have a read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/amphipodfaqs.htm>> Thanks, Mike <<Regards, Eric R.>>

Do pods survive powerheads? Hello, I hope this hasn't been asked before.  I look in FAQs and didn't see anything about diaphragm pumps.  Does anybody make them for aquarium use? << For water or for air?  For water, I don't believe so. >> I am starting a refugium for my 90 gal and need to get a return pump.  Do the various pods, rotifers survive the trip through an impeller? << Yes they do.  In fact I think everyone uses impeller pumps for sumps.  >> Hope you can shed some light on this for me. Thank you <<  Blundell  >> Producing 'Pods (Amphipod Propagation) Hello Mr. Fenner, <Actually, Scott F. here this afternoon!> My friend has a Mandarin and we want to build a tank to breed worms and pods for her Mandarin. If we do such a thing, can the worms and pods be transferred from my tank to hers, or will they be too small? <Well, they are not large creatures, but they are captured without too much effort. Regardless of their sizes, they will be beneficial to the fish that she's keeping!> What would be the best way to harvest them for the Mandarin in the other tank? <You might want to use a fine mesh net to do some "sweeping" of the bottom of the propagation tank. Even better still, if you could somehow hook up the prop. tank to the display housing the Mandarin, then the animals may very well be swept into the main tank with little or no intervention required on your part. The concept of a refugium is based upon this very need-having an attached system to help process organics and "feed" the display!> The plan is to use a 38 gallon tank with a bag of live sand and some live rock and Caulerpa (sp?) algae. How important is the live rock to getting this going? <A nice quality live rock will be helpful, but you could certainly get by with some "rubble"- small pieces of rock that will provide a nice place for the 'pods to forage. You may also want to use some Chaetomorpha macroalgae, which has a rather dense composition, and forms a network of hiding/feeding/breeding places for these animals> Does it need to be uncured to make sure there still are worms and pods on it?  Would cured rock have any left? <Ideally, you'd want cured rock pieces; You can usually convince the staff at your LFS to sell you some "rubble" from the bottom of one of their live rock holding tanks. That will do the job nicely and inexpensively.> Could we seed the tank with like 15 pods from mail order and would that be enough to get the population going? <Sure. That would be a start. You may also want to see if a fishy friend has some available-perhaps in some filter media or rock pieces...> How long would it take to get enough going to feed the mandarin on a regular basis? <Well, these animals have a fairly rapid reproductive cycle, but you're probably talking a couple of months before you could get a sustainable daily harvest> What else would I need to make the tank an optimal tank for worms and pods for mandarin gobies? <Really, not much else. Just make sure that you don't have any fishes that will out-compete the slower Mandarins in their search for these food items. With a lot of patience and attention to some details concerning the "food production", you should have a very successful setup!> Thank you for your advice. Brendgol Majewski <My pleasure, Brendgol! Good luck in your efforts! Regards, Scott F.> Do Amphipods Eat Seastars? (6/8/04) Hi Guys and Gals, <Steve Allen today> I was wondering if you had ever come across a case of amphipods attacking a starfish? <I have neither heard nor read of such, but one never knows for sure.> I have a Fromia sp starfish (milleporella I think) which has been in my reef tank for about 6 weeks, and seems to have been fine until a couple of days ago.  Then, over the last two days, the ends of three of its legs have become injured, with the red skin removed and the inside of the legs showing... yuck!  I moved the starfish to the refugium just in case it was being attacked by a hermit crab or something, but when I checked on it after an hour or so there was an amphipod at the end of each injured leg, clearly eating it alive. Do you think that the amphipods in the main tank could have been responsible for causing the injuries in the first place?  Or are they just being opportunistic and feeding on the already injured starfish? <This latter explanation is far more likely. I highly doubt that amphipods could break through the thick skin of an echinoderm, but ones it's broken down by something else, they'll definitely go for the free lunch.> My tank has been running fishless for the last 4 weeks due to an outbreak of ich, and during that time the 'pod population has exploded. I have moved the starfish into my saltwater mixing container, which is heated and aerated but has no filtration. <consider an inexpensive sponge filter.> (The QT is out of the question as it is currently housing my fish and no doubt still has traces of copper medication).  Do you have any further advice on how to treat its injuries / give it the best chance of recovery?  <Clean, pure water is your best bet. If deterioration persists or spreads, you might consider adding an antibiotic.>   Water parameters are all good - Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 0 - 2ppm, Temp 27 - 28C (summer has finally arrived here in the UK) <Hope it doesn't get too hot. I'm sure you won't enjoy breaking 100F again.> , SG 1.024. <Excellent, this is just what it needs. pH? Keep this and salinity very stable.> Thanks for your help! - Rob <I certainly hope your Fromia recovers. Keeping it away from things that will eat its exposed flesh before it gets a chance to heal will help greatly.>

Quarantining Amphipods (4/28/04) Guys, <Steve Allen here.> Sorry to bother you with this simple question. <Short, but not simple.> I think I know the answer... but I'm asking anyway... I'm getting some amphipods from www.aquaculturestore.com. I intend to start a small pod population in a 72G tank with 3" fine sand bed (.2mm to .5mm grain size)10# live rock, 30# dead rock, 6 Lysmata shrimp, 2 hermit crabs and 1 Banggai cardinal. <With these creatures already in there, your amphipods may well get eaten before they can reproduce. Have you considered a refugium?> And to the question -do I need to quarantine the pods for 3-4 weeks? <Well, there are different opinions here. Most in the crew would QT every living thing. I'm a little more liberal and would personally not QT amphipods that were cultured in a fish-free system, but this is a bit of a risk, so the safest answer is yes. Another reason for you to QT is to see if you can get them to grow and reproduced in the QT so you have a source of new amphipods if they have trouble establishing in your tank. Sorry... <No apologies needed, this is a legitimate question.> Narayan Amazon donation to WWM crew... and critter ID 3/17/04 Hi crew! I recently visited the Amazon honor system site http://s1.amazon.com/exec/varzea/pay/T3P5J4CVWEJER0/104-7018091-5491941 and donated some well deserved money to your website, and encourage everyone else who frequents this site to do the same. <very kind thanks for this my friend... it is not necessary, but it certainly is appreciated. The money is put to good use to be sure> The money I spent on the donation pales in comparison to the money I have saved by using the advice provided by this site.  I work in the computer business, and know these sites are not free, nor cheap.   <indeed... Bob funded this site wholly out of his pocket for quite some time and continues to do so when/if site revenues fall short. It is a labor of love in so many ways by him and those of us that have migrated to him and his efforts/our shared interests here> Thank you, too, to all of the volunteers on the site who use their own time to help all of us.  Genuinely..... Thank you. <I thank you again for your very considerate understanding and support> Ok, now for my question.  I have an infestation of "critters" in my tank.  I have witnessed a dozen or more of these in my tank.  I caught one, put it on a towel, and took a picture of it.  Hopefully it will show up clear enough to ID.  Thanks for the info in advance.  Rick from Michigan < a clear pic, and no worries... this is one of the most desirable microcrustaceans/microzooplankters... called an amphipod. They are harmless scavengers that are nutritious meals for fishes and corals. Some folks culture these in refugiums, they are so desirable. Enjoy my friend. With kind regards, Anthony>

Identify mystery critters (this time with photos!) OK, after mounting a complicated and highly technical surveillance operation I was able to retrieve two examples from the tank tonight.  I have attached their mugshots (one guy has two photos).  Best I could do with the equipment at hand (canon a70 and magnifying glass).  These guys were tiny. <I'll say!> I would really appreciate any ID you may give.  If these are bad, I want to get them out.  If not, they are welcome residents in my 20gal.   <The first is an amphipod (crustacean), entirely harmless, perhaps even beneficial, the second a Polychaete ("bristleworm") species of some sort... likely the same challenge as the "pod"> I have also noticed since my first email that my tr. percula may be developing ich.  The power went out a couple of nights ago and the temp dropped a bit.  He seems his normal goofy self but I want to avoid it if possible.  Will raising the temp to the mid 80's in and of itself get rid of the ich or are more drastic measures needed? <Raising the temperature will NOT likely eradicate the Crypt/Ich, but it might be worthwhile to just wait, hope for some sort of detente... add a cleaner (Lysmata shrimp, Gobiosoma goby...) and hope at this point, rather than setting up a separate treatment tank...> I also have a Firefish that has shown no signs as of yet. My original message is below.  Thanks again for all of the help! Keith
<I'd be studying up re these issues in any case. Bob Fenner>

Pods 3/9/04 Hello, I've always had a very high rate of pods and other bugs.  For about a month hey all disappeared, and i think my white sand star is the culprit!  Any suggestions on how to get the pod level back up. Scott. <your white star is not likely the culprit, although it is a burden on other desirable life forms in the sand (needing 100 gallon tanks per star minimum to survive). Its more likely that their food source was limited (better skimming, less feeding, removal of a fish) or that a new fish was added that preys on them. We cover numerous strategies for encouraging microcrustaceans growth in tanks and refugiums in our book "Reef Invertebrates". My best advice here is for you to set up a fishless refugium to cultivate more 'pods. Best regards, Anthony>

Predatory 'Pods? Hi All, <Scott F. here today> I am currently anxiously awaiting on the FedEx guy to deliver my dwarf seahorses.  I was considering purchasing some amphipods due to an article I read.  The article stated that if you buy adult amphipods, they will be too large for the dwarfs to eat, but the dwarfs can munch on their babies.  This sounded like a good live food choice, in addition to enriched brine shrimp.  The problem is someone posted on a BBB that amphipods are predatory and will eat the dwarfs and their fry!! Can you tell me if in fact this is true, or is it that as long as your keep the amphipods bellies full they will breed and serve my purpose and leave my dwarfs alone? <I suppose that it's possible; however, I have not seen this myself. I would tend to err on the side of caution with dwarf sea horses. It may be better to pass on the amphipods and try to culture Mysis. They are a better choice for a food item, IMO> I appreciate your help.  If my assumption is correct, what do you recommend to feed the amphipods, or would it be better if I kept them in a separate container and sucked out the babies? <If you are intent on feeding amphipods, I'd use that procedure> I appreciate your help and advice!  Love WetWebMedia!!  Tracie <Glad to be of help, Tracie! Thanks for the "props"...Go Mysis! Regards, Scott F.>

Sustaining Amphipods - 3/3/04 Hi, I ran through your FAQ about DSB and the pods that could live in it. You guys mentioned somewhere that the pods will proliferate in the DSB until one day when they will suddenly be wiped out due to insufficient food to sustain their population. <They more than likely will meet a point (depending on the animals food preferences) of median or balance. A population can only survive as long as its food supply. If there are too many animals and too little food (and the food source is completely eradicated quickly without replenishment) then there could be a "crash". A delicate balance indeed>  My question is what should I feed them with to continually sustain their population? <Amphipods are very omnivorous and will eat most anything> Dr Ron Shimek suggested of topping up the DSB with pods starter kits, but I'm only interested in sustaining the pods continually. <try Spirulina pellets, flake foods, frozen foods (Mysid, Formula-One, Cyclops-eeze) and foods of that sort but if these 'pods are in the display aquarium then they will likely eat leftovers or by product from fish or coral feedings.> Any advice is appreciated, thanks :) <You bet. Thanks for being part of it all ~Paul> cheers, 'Pods, 'pods and more 'pods (1/3/2004) Hello Crew: <Howdy. Steve Allen tonight> First off I hope you had a great holiday!  <Indeed, hope yours was as well.> Thanks for all the firsthand insight into saltwater aquariums.  <I learn something here every day as well.> Your website has allowed me to come a long way in a fairly short amount of time.  I have a 45 gallon SW setup with 2 False Clowns, 2 yellowtail Blue Damsels, 60 Lbs LR, a 5 gallon refugium, <does this drain down into the tank or is it pumped back up in.> and many many snails, crabs, worms, and such.  I have began seeding the show tank about 5 months ago with live amphipods.  I have a pod breeding kit in the refugium, <do they seem to be multiplying> and another 10 gallon setup used just to grow amphipods. I am doing this all with the intent on raising a Mandarin in the very short future.  <Please be patient and read a lot more about these. I would suggest that a few more months will enhance your chances of success. Many successful Mandarin-keepers waited a year or longer for a stable population of edible microcritters. Probably 90% (or more) of all Mandarins sold starve to death. Also, Mandarins do not do well with aggressive fish. I would be concerned about how the Damsels will treat it.> I have been pondering a 1 time drop of about 150 amphipods into the tank just prior to purchasing the Mandarin. <Give 'em time to reproduce.> Would this be a bad thing, and overload the system?<No, these tiny critters will not measurably add to the bioload of your system.> Skimming, filtration, water quality, and water movement in the tank are all optimum. <Good. I trust this means zero on ammonia and nitrites.> What would be your insight into my situation of the Mandarin? <Be patient, choose tankmates carefully, read more on WWM and elsewhere. Even better: get a bigger tank first. There are hundreds of hits on Google that document the poor survival of and requirements for occasional success with them. Most recommend 55G per Dragonet minimum, some 100.> thanks in advance, Steve <Hope this helps>

Amphipods are attacking my Zoanthids 1/2/04 Hi I've always heard that amphipods are desirable, but.  I am returning to the hobby after 20 years, encouraged by new techniques. <Happy new year, Malcolm, and welcome back to the hobby!> I have a 125g tank with a 30 gallon home-made eco-system style sump (using Kent Marine bio-sediment and Caulerpa taxifolia) - the sump also has a Prizm pro skimmer at one end and a 9 watt UV hanging at the other.  Between the pump and three powerheads (on a Red Sea wavemaker) I have about 1200 gph total flow.  300 watts of compact pc lighting on 14 hours a day.  90 lbs of Aragamax plus 20 lbs live sand, 150 lbs of live rock. <All sounds good.> The tank has been up for two months.  Temp 79; SG 1.024.  After the water had settled down (zero ammonia, nitrites, nitrates) I added a cleaner crew (~25 assorted snails, a brittle starfish, six red and three blue-legged hermits) and 3 Lysmata wurdemanni.  About two weeks ago I added a rock with a healthy colony of Zoanthids.  A few days ago I added a Randall's Goby that had been in quarantine for three weeks. <All still sounds good.  Kudos on your patience and quarantine practice!> All was going well until yesterday when I noticed that the rock with the Zoanthid colony was becoming infested with amphipods.  Amphipods and other small invertebrates are plentiful in this tank.  There is a lot of life in both the sump and the main tank, but so far I have not seen anything that I thought was harmful.  The worst the amphipods have done up to now is occasionally to irritate the Astraea snails. <Lot's of life is the benefit of having the patience to let the tank stay fish free for a while.  I am curious about the amphipods irritating Astrea snails.  Might it be possible to get a pic of one of these 'pods?  You may have to capture a couple and put them in a dish.  Get as close up as possible.> I have attached a photo of the Zoanthids.  Three days ago they were all wide open and bursting with health.  Now I can see amphipods apparently eating tentacles - most of the polyps stay retracted most of the time.  Some seem to be unable to protect themselves and amphipods appear to feed at their tips - these are the polyps that appear to have had their tentacles eaten. <I can't rule this out as impossible, but amphipods are generally vegetarians, and have mouth parts highly adapted to grazing algae.  My hunch is that this would prevent them from being able to eat Zoanthid flesh.> I've moved the colony rock off its perch on a live rock shelf and onto sand - I tried to shoo the amphipods off with blasts from a baster (this may have worked partially). <It is possible that the 'pods are physically irritating the Zoanthids, but even this seems unlikely.  They don't look too bad, and sometimes just need some time to settle in.> What can I do? <I would see if they improve on their own.  Please do try to send a pic of one of the suspect amphipods.  There is a possibility that you have some parasitic or predatory 'pod, but these are quite rare.  Also, inspect the colony carefully for predatory snails.  They would be turbinate with a cone shaped opercular cover.> This is my first question, but the advice I've read here has always been terrific.  Thanks in advance and happy new year.  Malcolm Young <Glad you have found the site helpful!  Best of luck.  Adam>

Re: Amphipods are attacking my Zoanthids 1/4/04 Dear Adam et al:  Thanks for your quick response to "Amphipods are attacking my Zoanthids". Since I wrote (but before your reply), I moved the Zoanthids to a PVC pedestal in a 10 gallon quarantine tank (see photo).  During acclimation I tried two 10 second freshwater dips.  These did the Zoanthids no harm, and each time 4-5 amphipods dropped off.  My girlfriend and I have extracted half a dozen more amphipods using a baster. We have seen no snails.  I previously attached a photo of the Zoanthids after the attack was a day old.  I am attaching photos of some suspect amphipods and of the Zoanthids in their new home.  There is also a photo from a couple of days before the attack showing how the colony had looked for a couple of weeks. I should add that during the attack, before the move, my girlfriend and I both caught amphipods clearly feeding at the top of polyps that appeared to have lost their tentacles. <I did a bit more digging, and amphipods lean more toward carnivore than I originally thought.  It is still my assertion that typical amphipods will not actively prey on live corals under normal circumstances, though.> I estimate that slightly more than half of the colony is damaged.  These amphipods (which I have thought of as Gammarus shrimps) are the same as I have had since getting my first ten pounds of live rock in August.  They range from a few millimeters to perhaps as large as 1.5 cm.  They are ubiquitous and abundant - at night I might see more than one per square inch on average all over the tank- there must have been a couple of dozen inhabiting the rock with the Zoanthids.  The demise of the polyps seemed to coincide with a population bloom of the pods. <It may be that the once the initial population of pod's grew, they ran out of food and turned to the Zoanthids.  Providing them with more food or waiting for the population to fall back in line with the amount of available food might help.> There are still a couple of amphipods in the colony rock - I am trying to suck them out with a baster when I see them - one of these is in a photo (4mmAmphipod-alive.jpg).  The polyps contract when the pods contact them. <All of my Zoanthids always seem to have a lot of pods among the polyps.  You are describing some really big pods though!  Usually, .5-.75cm is pretty big, so if you have some 1cm+, they are monsters!  It is possible that their sheer size is irritating.> The Zoanthids appear to me to be recovering after 24 hours in the quarantine tank.  However, most have been pretty chewed up.  This tank has a few pods, but maybe 5% or less of the density of the main tank.  Will the polyps regenerate?  Or are the damaged polyps doomed?  Most important, do I have mutant pods? <Your Zoanthids should recover fine after the pressure is removed.  It is possible that you do have a particularly predatory strain of pods, but probably more likely, you just have some really big and hungry ones that have gotten that way from lack of predation pressure.> One more amphipod photo - this one is about 3mm long.  He was crawling around the polyps (spotted because of their contraction). You mentioned that amphipods tend to be vegetarian.  Although these seem to feed primarily on algae, I have often noticed that they go after  small bits of seafood that I feed to my 3 peppermint shrimp, so I don't  think that the ones I have are pure vegetarians. <As I said above, I did re-check and find that they do tend toward carnivore, but rarely on living tissue.> One last thing.  I intend to put a six-line wrasse into the quarantine tank in a week, my second fish.  I hope he will eat the amphipods  in the tank and on the Zoanthid colony. <Six line's are extraordinary 'pod predators.  It will certainly help limit the population.  Best Regards!  Adam>

Re: Amphipods are attacking my Zoanthids Dear Adam et al: Thanks again for your spectacular help! Don't bother to reply to this, as I think I agree with all the advice I have gotten and things are getting under control.  Just some further observations: I agree that it was only the larger pods (>1cm) that were seen eating tentacles on otherwise healthy looking polyps. The smaller pods have only been seen feeding on injured tissue. I agree that the population seemed to be a trigger - but there is always a supply of varied algae.  On the other hand, they do go after any crumbs from feeding the 3 peppermint shrimp voraciously, so maybe they are extra-hungry. The only other suspect for initially injuring the Zoanthids is a pure white bristleworm that I believe to be benign (.3-.4" diam; two inches of length has been visible three times in a month- never near the Zoanthids). Again, thanks for your help.  You've put me on the way to a solution. Malcolm Young

Feeding the 'pods 9/2/03 Dear Anthony, <cheers> Thanks for the advice re. lighting my second refugium. With 150 watts, 10,000 K I have seen two cups of Chaetomorpha expand to a solid block 2"x12"x16" growing in an egg crate box 2" below the lights and 1/2" below the water surface. <outstanding!> In Reef Invertebrates you mention a "daily feeding" for amphipods. What is your favorite food for these guys, misses, and the other critters we want to cultivate? Flake food and freeze dried krill floats and goes over the overflow. I would like to find something that I can put in an automatic feeder if possible. <it depends... the larger microcrustaceans have a meatier palate, and will take sinking food pellets (like shrimp pellets). Many of the smaller bugs, however, prefer greenstuffs... maybe phyto (like DTs or home brew live phyto) or even concentrated Spirulina pellets or wafers. Do experiment... but very small quantities> Do the 'pods eat the Chaetomorpha? <again.. depends on the species. Some use it merely as an effective home/living substrate... while other rasp epiphytic matter from it> They seem to enjoy crawling around in and I wonder if that's enough food for them? Having largely defeated the micro algae and with a light fish load per gallon and 300-350 ORP, not much food source comes down from the show tank. Looking forward to the next in the series I am, <we are writing feverishly as we speak <G>. Looking to release it perhaps mid 2004> Howard in Wisconsin ----- who needs his aquarium 'cause there's not many critters to see diving in Lake Michigan. Planning trips to Dominica and Fiji this winter for "aquarial inspiration". <safe travel my friend... be chatting soon. Anthony>

Attack of The Amphipods! Sorry I can't provide a picture for my two questions, but here goes. <I'll give it my best! Scott F. with you today!> I have a Firefish who is not eating well, and seems to be lurking in the back of the tank, hiding most of the day. He is a little bloated, and has what looks like white tissue (feces? Worms??!) coming out his waste duct. It's almost like a little streamer.... any idea on what this could be? <Could be some sort of intestinal parasite. I'd consider one of the medicated anti-parasitic foods that you can find from retailers...> Second question, I've noticed what look like tiny shrimp in my refugium. This wouldn't bother me, but I swear they resemble tiny mantis shrimp! Eep! <I'll bet good money that they are Mysis shrimp. A harmless and beneficial refugium component. Do a little internet surfing using the word "Mysis", and I'll bet that you'll see pics that resemble the creatures that you're referring to!> Anyplace that has good pictures so I can try and classify? They almost look like a cross between potato bugs, and shrimp, and they run around even with the lights on, mostly on top of the sand. <Ahh...now these sound like amphipods...Also harmless, and greatly beneficial to your system's eco-diversity!> There are dozens of the little suckers. thanks for any answers! Miguel <It's all good, Miguel...Not to worry. Regards, Scott F>

Attack of the 2mm Pods!!  2/26/03 Hello everyone,<Hey Mike!  Phil here w/ ya...> First, I would like to thank you all for providing such a beneficial website.<Thanks, it is our pleasure!>  I am keeping a 125 gallon FOWLR tank and everything is doing well.  I recently had a bamboo shark hatch into the tank and subsequently removed a little of my live rock to give him more space and try to prevent abrasions.<FYI, this shark needs a tank 220 plus gallons in the next year or so!!>  When I moved the live rock to my hospital tank (29 gallon) I was very scared about what I observed during the evening.  I turned the light on in the tank and observed a couple small (1-2mm in length) transparent looking creatures attached to the glass.  I turned the light off and grabbed a flashlight with red lens and observed many (I mean a lot here) little brownish like creatures moving about the live rock.  They are very small (again 1- 5mm in length) and move quite quickly into crevasses when the lights come on.  I am extremely worried that they are harmful and may be in my main system.  I do have many little tube like fans on my rocks so I thought they may be bristleworms, but I want to be sure these things aren't dangerous.  I am willing to take whatever measures necessary.   I have a 125 with a 5 inch live sandbed and 40lbs of live rock.  It is running a MagDrive 1200gph in the sump, 260 watts of PC light, a Sealife motorized 250 protein skimmer and another hang-on skimmer for redundancy.  I do still have my bioballs in my wet dry because my nitrates have been staying down below 20 (ammonia is at 0, nitrite is at 0, SG is at 1.025, and temp is 78-79 degrees).  Thank you so much in advance for taking the time to answer these questions.  I read your daily Q and As almost everyday (of course after I'm done reading my medical journals).  Mike<Well Mike it sounds like you have pods!  A good thing I might add.  These little guys are what seahorses eat.  Not a threat to the shark or really any aquarium creature.  Check this out for a little more info: www.wetwebmedia.com/amphipodfaqs.htm  Hope this helps!!  Phil>

2-Part Additives and Amphipods Thanks so much for your prompt response... hate to bother you again, but as usual one question leads to another. First off I was questioning about Reef Success +3 by SeaChem - my error, the product is by Red Sea.  Do you know anything about using this as a long term Calcium supplement?  If not familiar or don't like it what do you recommend that is "easy" and "inexpensive" to use?  Your thoughts on B-Ionic? C-Balance? <Haven't used the Red Sea product. The B-Ionic and C-Balance are products I have used...Just follow the instructions and you should be fine...I wouldn't call these products "inexpensive" over time! A better long-term solution is a calcium reactor. Well worth the higher initial investment, IMO> To answer your question on maintenance, except for routine checks on equipment, I perform a 20% (10 gal) water change at the end of every month. I use Instant Ocean.  Water temp 79 deg, salinity 1.023.  I clean/change the filter sleeve in the Marineland Magnum 350 and replace with new carbon in the media container (fill container about 20% of carbon). <Keep up the regular maintenance...Do try regular smaller water changes> Also, regarding the mandarin goby - this is my ultimate goal - how can I "crank up the development of amphipods and copepods" to sustain keeping a mandarin - I though my investment in the Live Rock with the 260W Corallife Power Compacts would accomplish this... have I gone astray? <You seem to me to be on track. I'd begin with a starter culture from a firm like Indo Pacific Sea Farms or Inland Aquatics and culture amphipods in a separate aquarium for a while, then introduce them to your display in "phases". Be patient- it will pay off for the Mandarin to come!> Thanks again for your help by sharing your experience. <Any time! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Amphipod destroyer - 2/8/03 HI guys <Hi there. Paul at your service this evening> I am looking for some advise on a certain fish. <OkieDokie> My 72 gallon aquarium has had an outbreak of 10 legged whitish crustaceans of some sort. <Probably some sort of amphipod or copepod. Check this link out and/or do a search on WetWebMedia for even more information on these very beneficial animals to your tank. Trust me, you want them! (If they are copepods or amphipods): http://www.wetwebmedia.com/amphipods.htm http://www.museum.vic.gov.au/crust/amphigal.html > The glass is covered with them these being extremely tiny and scattered here and there are some larger ones maybe the parents. What would you recommend eats these small critter, <There are many animals that would love a meal of these extremely important pieces of the marine food web. Very beneficial to have in a tank for many reasons. Grazers as well as detritus eaters. They breed and bring food to many different marine animals, seen and unseen. I would do my best to continue multiplying these valuable creatures. Perhaps scoop some and bring them to a marine club after identification. (or send some to me!!!!> I have a large substrate bed and about 60 lbs of live rock. Mandarin fish or maybe a six line wrasse <Mandarins are beautiful animals. Having been fortunate enough to dive and explore them in their natural state and habitat I would recommend something other than these hard to keep beauties. Very sad to see fewer and fewer in the wild only to be less than well off in captivity. A six line would do the trick as well as many others, but I believe you are better off with these animals than without. Do your best to preserve them, in my opinion/experience> Thank you S. <Thank you, and I hope I was helpful. Peace my friend>

Answer #2 - 2/8/03 HI guys I am looking for some advise on a certain fish. My 72 gallon aquarium has had an outbreak of 10 legged whitish crustaceans of some sort. The glass is covered with them these being extremely tiny and scattered here and there are some larger ones maybe the parents. What would you recommend eats these small critter , I have a large substrate bed and about 60 lbs of live rock. Mandarin fish or maybe a six line wrasse Thank you S.   <Just another follow from me, Paul. Check this link out. A very important read regarding the Mandarin fish plight. Good to be a conscientious marine aquarist. Strive for it at all times. http://ozreef.org/reference/mandarin_survey.html Good luck! Let me know if I can be of any more help.>

Recommend any corals as amphipod-eaters? 2/8/03 Greetings to the wise and witty WWM merry folk! <and G'day to you 'yon.. merry... er... dude> I've been studying carefully all the relevant references to AMPHIPODS in your superb website, <danke> but I'm still seeking any specific recommendations (or dissuasion) you might offer regarding corals which  like to catch & eat amphipods (esp. Gammarus). <actually... most corals will... especially LPS> I'm not trying to eliminate the amphipods, just to find a small, hardy, presumably LPS or soft coral which needs only moderate light and will benefit from the nutritious, nocturnal little buggers. <LPS would be best... few true soft corals will/can... but Corallimorphs and some Zoanthids yay> If a small LPS is permissible, my only concern is that its tentacles not injure my fish or sting my existing corals (the latter can be relocated somewhat). <its doable... although there are concerns for allelopathic aggression with all corals> Reconnaissance first.... 20-gallon reef/lagoon saltwater tank, 4" live sand (fine coral), with Marshall Islands live-rock occupying about 20% of tank volume; lots of  multicolor coralline algae growing on LR. Regular use of "B-Ionic" two-part additives for alkalinity and calcium/minerals. Distilled water, never tap water. Lighting is two PC fluorescents (a 55-W 10K blue, and a 55-W daylight full-spectrum). Combination filter/skimmer (brace yourself) is the notoriously awful "Skilter" 400, which I modified by inserting a fine airstone into the bottom of its normally noisy/inefficient bubble chamber (tight budget, baby). <no worries... I have seen many such modified Skilters work well> Water quality and calcium/trace minerals are actually very clean and stable, although I permit nitrates to occasionally linger in the low single digits before performing water changes. <a good idea for coral.. necessary> No Cyanobacteria or green algae, with only occasional mists of diatoms on tank walls (instant snail food). NOT a purist's "reef," hence my use of term "lagoon." <sounds natural and healthy> The instant I can afford it, however, I jump to a larger tank and an Aqua-C protein skimmer. And halides. <no hurry on the halides unless the tank is deep> Residents = one lemon damselfish; two Ocellaris Clown; one Pseudochromis diadema; one Twin-Spot Goby (all reasonably respectful of each other!). Polyps & Corals = Montipora digitata (green and orange frags, both flourishing); purple blue Acropora frag and brown Pocillopora[??] (both up high and growing slowly); frilly green/brown mushrooms & brown disc mushrooms; Millepora with multicolor Xmas-worms (doing great!). <definitely long term issues with the SPS and Corallimorphs together. I'll put my money on the 'Shrooms winning and I'm pretty sure I'll win the bet> Several small "feather duster worms" in live rock. Approx. 8 various reef-safe tiny hermit crabs. Snails = Trochus, Astraea, <Holy cow!!! You are one of the few people to write in and correctly spell "Astraea". You go brutha!> Nassarius, Cerith, Stomatella varia. Hundreds of amphipods, but only under flashlight at night. Several kinds of small beneficial" "bristleworms""" (those were Toonen Marks, heheh).  No Fireworms or (large) predatory worms. One 2" incredibly-hardy mystery bivalve (not Tridacna) snuggled into a live-rock foxhole. Lurker = I'm tracking a possible pistol shrimp or juvenile mantis shrimp (no known casualties yet, but little nocturnal popping noises come in pairs....). <no biggie either way likely> Foods = enriched-brineshimp flake, also Nutrafin pellets, and SMALL amounts twice-weekly of thawed frozen Mysid shrimp. Occasional doses of Kent "Micro-Vert" filter-feeder food seems to keep the feather-dusters growing. The goby, hermits, and snails snatch anything edible the moment it hits bottom. <whew... I'm still with 'ya> So, the idea is to make use of some of the amphipods as live food, while adding to the coralscape. I'd prefer a splash of color but I'm wary of soft corals or anemones due to risks of chemical warfare and my small tank. <actually... your Corallimorphs are one of the very worst invertebrates to keep in this regard. You tank would benefit long-term by pulling them out.> Sexy items like Distichopora/Stylaster or red "Chili *Coral" seem appealing, but their impact on amphipods ("amphipact"?) is uncertain? <agreed... the Chili coral might take a bit... and is hardier by far... but neither will satisfy you likely> My understanding so far is that SPS corals couldn't hurt a flea, or an amphipod. <agreed> Notes: The Twin-Spot Goby (my kids prefer "Four-Wheel Drive") does considerable sand-sifting but hasn't hurt the LRs amphipod population, <correct... seeking Polychaetes more so. Still... bury Mysid on occasion if necessary to maintain his weight> nor does the sandbed ever seem to lack for little new worms and nitrogen-processing capacity. The Pseudochromis instantly nails the rare amphipods that are stupid enough to venture out in "daytime" or at dusk, but that fish mostly relies (pigs out) on the aforementioned frozen Mysid shrimp and sleeps soundly when the Amphipod Parade begins at sunset. <Wow... Pseudo's can usually decimate 'pod populations even in larger aquariums. Sounds like its the nutrient influx that's helping the pods to flourish. No hard at all though... quite helpful.> Thanks for your astoundingly helpful website! <best regards, Anthony>

Red Open Brain being eaten Guys, My reef tank is just shy of a year old.  It is loaded with small gray shrimp-like crustaceans.  I call them "critters". About three weeks ago some of these damned critters decided that my Red Open Brain was an all night smorgasbord. They have eaten the red colored outer flesh down to the skeleton on a section that is now fully 3/8" wide.  I am angry beyond words.  I had an Eiblii Angel do the same thing, but I simply removed him from the tank. I can't remove hundreds upon hundreds of critters.  I even purchased a Mandarin Goby about a month ago to help control the critters, but he can't eat all of them. The Red Open Brain, along with my three other LPS's, all eat 4 times per week (clam, squid, shrimp, krill). Before I lose this coral, what do I need to try? <Time to "raise the bar". Will your system, other livestock tolerate a small wrasse species? Please read through www.WetWebMedia.com marine section re Pseudocheilinus choices: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pseudocheilinus.htm Bob Fenner> NOTE:  The brain is located on the substrate right in the middle of the tank. Sincerely, Mark Schwartz

Red Open Brain being eaten Anthony, if the coral were dying for another reason, wouldn't the flesh look necrotic in some way? <not at all... if the coral was merely suffering from attrition there would be no pathogenic species to create a necrotic symptom> My lighting is PC fluorescent.   <if that means normal output... OK. Low light for most coral, but fine for the brain if the tank is less than 20" deep> I feed all four LPS corals four times per week.   <excellent! Finely minced I hope (nothing bigger than 1/4"? Else a tear is inevitable like with anemones)> They all eat every time. (One red brain, one green brain, one tongue, and one Favia brain).  Oh yeah, I also want a red lobo and a Favites brain.  I like brain corals :-) The Favia is well off by himself  (10 inches to the nearest coral -- the tongue, plus, the Favia is up on a rock, while the brains and the tongue are on the substrate). <all good> The red brain is downstream from a tongue coral (6 inches separation).  The tongue has been in the tank the longest (10+ months).  It has also clearly grown (in width, anyway). Chemical warfare from the tongue against the red brain? <possible... but not so severe as to be primary. Bigger concerns would be a weak water change schedule (less than 25% monthly), poor skimmer performance, lack of chemical media (monthly carbon or better), aged lamps (over 6 months old)> Sincerely, Mark Schwartz <Anthony>

Red Open Brain being eaten? Not by amphipods Mr. Fenner, <Anthony Calfo with the follow-up> The tank also counts among its inhabitants a 6 line wrasse.  He has been there about 10 weeks. I have 13 fish total, all quite small, all about 1.75 - 2 inches in length, except for the Mandarin, who is maybe 3 inches, and two (Ptereleotris zebra) bar gobies who are about 2.5 inches long. 7 damsels, 2 clowns, 3 gobies, 1 wrasse. I have room for more.   <OK> If you have a "critter eradicator" of choice you would like to see me try, please let me know. <A Pseudochromis would work very well> This coral has suffered enough.  It is a beautiful pink/red color, which is why it occupies the center position in my tank.  I'll be damned if I'm going to lose it to a bunch of micro-shrimp. <you are very mistaken here Mark. The shrimp (amphipods) are not carnivorous.. they are merely scavenging the dead and dying tissue... and they are of tremendous benefit to the tank. People set up refugiums to culture as many of these micro-crustaceans as possible, and there are businesses dedicated to farming and selling these creatures to aquarists! Your brain is dying for another reason and they are just doing their job. Common causes of death with red open brains include excess light (metal halides over this VERY deep water coral... sometimes found at 80')... also feeding with chunks of food that are too large and cause an internal tear (krill, chunk shrimp, etc)... or a complete lack of feeding (this coral is one of the most food dependant requiring feeding of 3-5 times weekly, and some need daily. Dude... consider these possibilities and please enjoy or ignore the natural plankton that you have been blessed with. They are partly food for your other corals at night!> Thank you for your assistance. Sincerely, Mark Schwartz <best regards, Anthony>

Miniature glass shrimp Good Morning/afternoon/evening or just good-day mate!! Just a quick question. I have a 55 gallon FOWLR. I am using 2 sizes of crushed shells/aragonite as the substrate. Whenever I clean my Fluval 304, I find hundreds of what looks like miniature glass shrimp running about on the bottom. They are anywhere from 1/32" to 1/2" long. I find many of the same critters when I vacuum the substrate. I never see them in the tank. Are these guys beneficial? <Yes> Should I stop vacuuming? <No> I tried to fish them out of the waste water and dump them back in the tank but my Picasso Trigger and Long-Nose Puffer make short work of them. I am assuming they arrived on my LR which is about 3 months old. <Yep> Thanks, as usual, for your time. <For more information, go to www.WetWebMedia.com and search for amphipods. -Steven Pro>

Quick Pod ID Hello Crew! <Howdy> I have tons of these crawling around my live rock and in my CPR hang-on refugium.  I have searched WWM and still am confused to what they are.  After weeks of trying, finally got a good pic of one.  It is around 7mm long. Is it a copepod or amphipod? Thanks Ray PS  Feel free to use this pic on your site if you want, just credit me with the pic. <Will do. This is an amphipod. Bob Fenner>

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