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FAQs about Crustacean Systems

Related FAQs: Crustaceans 1, Crustaceans 2, Crustaceans 3, Crustacean Identification, Crustacean Selection, Crustacean Behavior, Crustacean Compatibility, Crustacean Feeding, Crustacean Disease, Crustacean Reproduction, Micro-Crustaceans, Amphipods, Copepods, Mysids, Hermit Crabs, Shrimps, Cleaner Shrimps, Banded Coral Shrimp, Mantis Shrimp, Anemone Eating ShrimpHorseshoe Crabs

Related Articles: CrustaceansMicro-Crustaceans, Amphipods, 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),

Crustaceans will sample/eat most anything biological

Lonely Crustaceans? 1/02/07 I have a quick question. <OK, Graham here.> Can you keep a setup with only shrimp and crabs,  no fish? <Yup.> I have a 200 gallon setup FOWLR and have recently started a 50 gallon.   So far I only have live rock in it. I was leaning towards only shrimp and things. Will they survive without any fish? <They will be fine. There are some symbiotic relationships that a few of the shrimps enjoy, but they do not suffer appreciably without the association. Furthermore, if you feed them *only what they need*, the water quality should be near pristine. > Thanks. <You're welcome.>

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

Keeping mole crabs Dear Sir or Madam,    My son collected some mole crabs at the beach.  I brought them home with some sand and seawater.  Can they be kept alive at home? <Can be, though not easily> Habitat, food? <Fine, deep (a few inches) sand, lots of water motion, fine, meaty foods (or a refugium growing same)...> I have them in an aquarium with water pouring over them.  Do they need to be able to climb above the level of the water? <Mmm, not above it, but under sand, yes. Bob Fenner>                                    Thank you!

Coquinas, Sand Fleas (sand crabs) native Gulf tank...? Hi Team, Thanks for all the great advice, you guys are awesome!  Okay this is going to be an odd question... I kept a reef aquarium for about 5 years. Lost it in divorce. Recently started new tank. 75gal, VHO@ 4.5pg, 40lb live rock, 5" substrate aragonite/fine sand. Three damsels to cycle all survived. After tank cycled, I decided to do something I was never able to do with my established tank. I waded into the Gulf of Mexico (.5 miles from me) and gathered some native critters. A bucket full of live coquinas and sand fleas (common name), after looking them up I understand they are correctly termed sand crabs even though they resemble giant fleas. <All good common names> I fully expected all critters to perish, but thought the experiment might be fun for my son (age 12).  Well, the critters have not perished, after two months they are still all doing well. The sand fleas fly up out of the sand occasionally and dash around the tank before burrowing back into the substrate. The coquinas have very delicate little "pipes" they raise into the water through which they feed. <Yes... the first pairs of "antennae" modified as filter feeding devices> Disturb the sand, and they burrow back in. I can't find ANY information on keeping these critters in captivity. <There isn't much... in the popular literature. You may want to search with the help of a science librarian... at a large/college> My question is, for long term survival, should I be adding any additional nutrients to the tank? <I don't know... perhaps a living sump/refugium, plenty of pulsing circulation...> I've slowly added a few other things to tank, some long thin snails that I found on base of mangroves underwater, Astreas, emerald crabs, Mexican hermits, brittle stars. I'm also growing red and white mangroves in the tank for nitrate control. (floating w/Styrofoam) All measurements zero a week after mangrove addition. I'm considering keeping a "native" Gulf of Mexico tank at this point due to odd success so far. Suggestions or know anyone else doing this? Thanks!! Bev Bradenton, FL <A grand experiment. Please see here re doing a search: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/litsrchart.htm. This is what many "petfish writers do"... bridging the enormous gap of science writing to practical husbandry. Bob Fenner>

Lowest salinity safe for crab and shrimp? Hello again. I apologize for so many questions, there is so much to learn. I have read over all the FAQ's regarding lowering specific gravity for reduction of ich. I am leaving my tank for 2 months without fish hosts to greatly reduce parasites. <After two months, there will be no more parasites. They will all perish in one month.> There is a Lysmata cleaner shrimp and a white spotted hermit crab in there with live rock, my question is what is the absolute lowest I can reduce salinity to without killing my crustaceans? <No need to do the low salinity with no fishes, but anyhow, I would not go below 1.018.> Right now I have it at 1.019 with a temperature 84. <I would leave as is.> Regarding my 2 quarantine tanks one with a maroon clown and neon goby and one with purple tang and neon goby what is the lowest salinity possible these fish will tolerate? <I have read of treatments as low as 1.010.> If my maroon clown shows no signs of parasites and seems very healthy can I please take out the CopperSafe, it has only been in for 7 days, but she has been visibly parasite free for 6 days. <I would run the suggested course of treatment.> I know she is sensitive to copper and I want to take it out as soon as is safe to do so and put in a piece of live rock to hopefully help with reestablishing bacteria after the copper. <There are other treatment options in you do not like copper; daily water changes and freshwater dips are my two favorites.> Also is it okay to take copper out of purple tang's tank after 2 weeks even if she still has faded spots/scars on her body. <Same advise as above> Thanks again for all the wonderful help and advice, I would be so lost without your website. No one at any of my LFS can ever agree or seem sufficiently knowledgeable to trust. ~Kylee Peterson <That is a shame. -Steven Pro>

Mid Course Correction (Making Adjustments To An Existing Tank) I started my first saltwater tank shortly after Christmas. It is a 55 gallon Wal-Mart special. I am running two 20-30 gallon hang on the back filters I had from some old freshwater tanks. I have about 2 inches of sand. <Do consider going to 3 inches plus, or reducing to 1/2 inch or less...2 inches is a biological "no man's land", too shallow for complete denitrification, yet too deep to be fully aerobic...> I have never tested anything other than the specific gravity of the water. It has always tested a little high, but all creatures seemed to be thriving, especially the algae. <Understandable. It's quite possible that you have a buildup of nutrients, such as nitrate and phosphate, which may be contributing to the algae problems. This is where water testing for these compounds is helpful> I have to clean the glass every two weeks. I have: 1 Red Scarlet Hermit Crab 10 Dwarf Blue Leg Hermit Crabs 1 Emerald Mithrax Crab (Now Deceased) 1 Sand Sifting Starfish 1 Dwarf Snail  (Hitchhiked when I bought Blue Legs) 1 Chromium Fish 5# Fiji live rock 5# Bali live rock (New) 1 Molly Miller Blenny (New) 1 Nemo (New) Percula Clownfish <Hah, Hah...Nemo...> Everything is doing great, with the exception of the dead Crab. It was doing fine until a little over a month ago. It's shell started turning white and I noticed it seemed to be trying to scratch or pull it's shell of with it's pincers. I figured it was trying to molt. The white slowly and continuously got worse. I figure when it died today it was 75% covered in white. I never noticed any abnormalities in it's behavior. I also am not aware of how long it should take them to molt. I called and talked to a technician at Drs. Foster & Smith and they said to start checking the Iodine and Calcium levels and adding as needed. <I was thinking along the same lines...Rather than supplement, though, you may find out that regular small water changes will help provide the "supplementation" that your system needs> When the crab died I had not yet been able to get to a store to buy test kits, iodine, and calcium, therefore I do not know what levels they are currently at. Those items will be next on my list of purchases for my tank though, because the Emerald Crab was one of my favorite creatures thus far and I plan to replace it. I searched and read about sometimes these animals will die when trying to molt. With all this in mind do you feel the crab died while trying to molt, or more likely something else caused it do die? Also, if it died while molting would it have probably died on its own, or did I cause it to die by not checking the iodine and calcium? Also, I would appreciate any other advice you may have. <Well, it's tough to say...But I think that it's a possibility that the crab died as a result of water chemistry issues, or perhaps, even a predator...hard to say. Those water tests will be illuminating, for sure!> I have never tested Nitrates and Nitrites due to fact I have been told in my situation they should be alright. I use tap water and add Chlor- out. I also used live sand and sand together. <Well, tap water has a lot of undesirables in it which can contribute to a number of problems in closed systems...Consider utilizing RO/DI or another purified source> Thanks for your time, MH <Well, you may want to pick up a copy of "The New Marine Aquarium" by Michael Paletta, or Anthony's "Book of Coral Propagation"...Both will give you a bunch of solid information that can help you correct a few things and get your system running in top form! Good Luck! Regards, Scott F>

Dying Crustaceans Hello again!! We're having a little problem . .. Here are our tank specs: 90 gal all glass aquar. Berlin Sump protein skimmer 3 total powerheads Parameters: pH: 8.2-8.4 Spec Grav: 1.023-1.024 Ammonia: .25-.50 <Should be zero.> Nitrate: 0 Nitrite:  Our tank has been set up for one month. We cycled it with 100 lbs Fiji live rock. One week ago we put 2 Percula clowns in (which are doing great, eating, swimming, color is good), 13 turbo snails, one black spiny urchin, one red legged crab and one blue. Everyone was doing fine until on Wednesday (we added everyone on Saturday) we noticed a dead snail in the morning and then one this afternoon. The LFS told us that was fine and gave us 3 more turbo snails and 2 sally light foots. Then we kept noticing about a snail death a day. Crabs all doing fine. Again, the LFS (which is a great one by the way) said everything was fine. Then this morning we noticed one of the sally light foots and a few more of the snails were dead. We were a little distressed. Keep in mind, fish doing fantastic!! We called the LFS and they said it could be copper b/c we used distilled water initially and have been topping up the water with distilled. <Possible, I do not like/recommend distilled water for the same reason, metal contamination (copper, iron, aluminum, etc).> But I did some research on this and it says that the algae would be greatly affected by copper too and we have a massive overgrowth of hair algae and tons of other macro (grape, etc) algae growing in our tank. <Copper and iron are both nutrients to algae and plants and would promote their growth.> We're going right now to the LFS to get the water checked for copper . . . but we're a little discouraged. Do you have any input for us?? <Wait for the test and see what it says. Also, put a Polyfilter in the tank somewhere and see what color it changes to.> Thanks for your time!! Katie <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Dying Crustaceans II Hello again, Thanks for the advice. We went to the LFS and had our water tested for copper and it was totally negative. So we didn't buy the filter. <The Polyfilter would give you an idea if it was something other than copper, another contaminant.> They chalked it up to a bad batch of snails. They had many dead ones in their tanks. <Perhaps, they do not tolerate changing salinity well at all.> So we weren't worried about it and bought a red lipped blenny yesterday. He's doing fabulously, going crazy pecking off the live rock. Looks great. But a new problem this am. One of the clowns has a bulging eye. I'm assuming it's some sort of infection. <Probably a slight physical injury with a secondary infection causing a buildup of fluid behind the eye and bulging/cloudy. Try one tablespoon of Epsom salt per five gallons of water in the main tank. This will help relieve the fluid and allow the fish's immune system to kick the infection. You can also feed a medicated food for bacterial infections.> We'll call the LFS today for info on treating him, but we're so distressed!! We're doing a 10 gal water change today to hopefully pull the ammonia down to zero and we're washing all the sponges (in the overflow and sump) and changing the carbon out. Anything else you can recommend?? <See above. My first instinct is to test water and then do a water change whenever anything is amiss.> Thanks again. Katie <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

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