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FAQs on Chiton Foods/Feeding/Nutrition

Related Articles: Chitons, Mollusks, Sea Slugs

Related FAQs: Chitons 1Chitons 2,& FAQs on: Chiton Identification, Chiton Behavior, Chiton Compatibility, Chiton Selection, Chiton Systems, Chiton Disease, Chiton Reproduction & Mollusks, Sea SlugsSea Slugs, Marine Snails 1Marine Snails 2, Marine Snails 3

Chiton Diet/Mysis Distribution - 4/6/08 Hello again Crew, <Hi there, Random> I'm planning on ordering a Detritivore Kit from a certain company and have heard that such kits include Chitons and mysis shrimp. <Okay> 1. Do Chitons eat macroalgae? <Depending on the species, yes, it's possible. Of the herbivorous species (a few are carnivorous), they'll reportedly eat film, filamentous, macro and coralline algae, along with diatoms and possibly Cyanobacteria. These are all scraped off of hard surfaces by way of a radula (tongue like organ with rows of hardened teeth). I'd find out from the company exactly what the diet is of the specific Chitons they offer. If you can get the species name, that would be even better.> 2. I'm making a biotope. Do mysis shrimp naturally exist in the Indo-Pacific? <Yes, the species include Mysidopsis gibbosa, M. indica, and M. kempi.> Well, that's it for now. <Okay> TIA, Random Aquarist <You're very welcome. Take care, -Lynn>

Chitons eat coralline -- 10/30/2007 A little while ago I sent y'all some pictures of some large inter-tidal Chitons from Florida I have in my tank. I them remember a query we had a little while ago asking if there were any animals that eat coralline algae. <Oh yes... they do> We know that some urchins and Chitons will eat it. And now I can tell you (within a reasonable degree of certainty) that these Chitons eat coralline algae too. I've been watching them chew little patterns in it for a few weeks now. :-) Best, Sara <Danke. BobF>

Name that Invert :) ...In six notes or less: Chiton   5/23/07 Hi Crew <Hi Jackie, Mich here!> I was hoping you could help me identify this invert that I purchased.   <Better to ID first then purchase.> I am very new to reef keeping and have been researching every animal that I have.  This one, I cannot find anywhere.  It seems kind of like an abalone in that it has 4 small holes on top of its back. <Hmm, Chitons typically have eight.>   However, it does not have a shell.  More like a leathery smooth back.  I am enclosing a pic, but I apologize it isn't very good.  This is what I have observed.  It is nocturnal.  It is grayish, brownish, green colored with dark brown stripes around it on the fringe/feathery area (cerata?) below the mantle but above the foot.  Its shape is oblong with perhaps a bit of a point on its rear end.  It has two rhinophores (striated bulbs I think).  It spends almost all of its time on the live rock, but sometimes ventures to the glass, stays low in the tank anyway.  I have not seen it on the substrate ever.  It can retract its head into its mantle - when it is resting or frightened it pulls itself into the mantle and appears more circular/oval in shape.  It can be somewhat flat (1/8th inch perhaps), but have noted a few instances where the foot/ underside seems to almost inflate such that it doubles in width.  I have trouble thinking it is a Nudibranch since all that I have seen suggest they are quite colorful - this invert is almost hard to see when it's on the rocks.  It doesn't seem to have a shell even though its top is smooth and seems thickish.  Nothing else in the tank bothers it.  For the longest time it seemed to spend all its day time resting in the crevice/cave that my Daum reef lobster hangs out in during the day -  oddly, since the lobster is very possessive of it's lair and nothing else seems to be able to even approach it without getting snapped at.  It seems to feed off the rocks/glass and I have not seen it bother any snails or my crab or clowns.  It rests upside down almost exclusively.  It is about two inches long and about half inch across, eighth inch width I guess.  So I hope this helps you to help me find out what this creature is.   <I believe you have a Chiton, though a limpet might also be a possibility, but I'm leaning toward a Chiton.  More here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/chitonfaqs.htm > What is its diet?   <Chitons are herbivores.> Where does it come from? <Chitons are found in all seas.> I tried to find out more from where I got it at the pet store but I am now doubtful of the knowledge of the staff there since they also sold me a sand sifting tiger star and I have neither the substrate depth or tank size to sustain it (I am going to try to exchange it).   <It is always best to do your own research before making any purchases.  Unfortunately, sand sifting stars typically starve to death in captivity.> My tank is 20 gallons.  I have about 10 pounds live rock.  Aragonite substrate about 1.5 inches.  Rio Nano Protein Skimmer.  Aquaclear hang on filter with foam and carbon inserts.  Elite hush hang on filter with BioMax in place of cartridge.  T5 Glo Daylight and Actinic lighting.  Tank occupants are Red Mithrax Emerald Crab, Green Bubble Tip Anemone, <Mmm, I personally am not a big anemone fan.  They like to go for walks at the most inopportune time, which can spell disaster, especially in such a small system.> Daum's Reef Lobster (purple), <Should be in a larger tank, closer to 50 gallons.> Two false Percula, Sand Sifting Star, 3 Star Snails and one bumble bee snail that is currently missing in action.  Water parameters are all good.   <Vague.> Using RO. <Good.> Salinity is 1.026.  Temp is 80.  Thanks for your help. <Welcome!  Please do get in the habit of researching prior to purchasing.  Mich> Jackie

Re: Name that Invert :) ...In six notes or less: Chiton   5/24/07 Hi Mitch <Hi Jackie, Mich with you again.> Thank you for your prompt reply.   <Welcome!> Please know that I have definitely learned a lot of (hard) lessons since setting up my reef one month ago.  Rest assured that I will never purchase another animal for the tank that I haven't researched in full.   <Glad to hear!> I was just taking the advice of the LFS staff who just said yes or no to compatibility when I pointed to stuff in their show tanks.  The learning curve to marine tanks is steep.   <Yes, there is always something more to learn.> This site has been a plethora of info for me. <And everyone else!> I agree that the invert is likely a Chiton.   <OK.> The thing that bothered me about giving it that classification is that I could not see eight holes on top and it does not have identifiable plates.   <Some look fleshy or leathery.> In fact last night I think I saw more like what looked like a whorly type of lineage on its mantle top. <Possible.>   It was on the front glass last night and I saw the bottom is very smooth and very much like a Chiton.  It has a fairly large orifice for a mouth, with what looks like a red radula? <OK.> Thanks for your help.   <Welcome!> Water parameter last nights test Nitrates and Ammonia are somewhat elevated at 5.0 and 0.25 respectively <Zero for both is optimal.> (I think since I have been overfeeding in fear that the sand sifting star will die before I can take it back) <Shouldn't starvation is typically a slow death.> Nitrites 0.00 and pH 8.2.  Temp 80.  Salinity 1.025  Have a bit of brown algae still and some of it is a bit like hair.  Substrate these days looks a bit littered with rusty patches?   <Nuisance algae, Likely Cyano/BGA.> I feed HBH Flake Frenzy for the two false percula and HBH Super Soft (about 5 pellets a day).  Every other day I give a quarter square of frozen Mysis shrimp. (Which I try to squirt with a baster around the bubble tip)  Too much?   <Does sound like a hefty amount for a twenty gallon tank.> The clowns always look hungry. <My cats always look hungry too, and will eat to the point of vomiting if allowed.> A few other questions - I have the Master Saltwater Test kit, which tests nitrates, nitrites, ammonia and ph.  What other tests should I purchase? <Likely Calcium and Phosphate.  Would consider other brand names as well... more here:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mtestbrands.htm > Since I am now using RO water exclusively, what kind of buffers do I need or do I? <pH/Alkalinity, Calcium more here and related links in blue: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marphalk.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/alkalinity.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/caalkadds.htm > Thanks again!   <Welcome again!> Happy fish keeping.
<And to you!  Mich>

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