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FAQs about Micro-Crustaceans Compatibility

Related FAQs: Microcrustaceans/"Pods" 1, Microcrustaceans 2, Pod Identification, Pod Behavior, Pod Selection, Pod Systems, Pod Feeding, Pod Disease, Pod Reproduction,  Amphipods, Copepods, Mysids, Brine ShrimpHermit Crabs, Shrimps, Cleaner Shrimps, Banded Coral Shrimp, Mantis Shrimp, Anemone Eating ShrimpRefugiumsCrustaceans 1, Crustacean Identification, Crustacean Selection, Crustacean Behavior, Crustacean Compatibility, Crustacean Systems, Crustacean Feeding, Crustacean Disease, Crustacean Reproduction,

Related Articles: Micro-Crustaceans, Amphipods'Pods: Delicious and Nutritious By Adelaide Rhodes, PhD, Copepods, Mysids, Hermit Crabs, Shrimps, Cleaner Shrimps, Banded Coral Shrimp, Mantis Shrimp, Anemone Eating Shrimp,

Mysis and Amphipods, comp.    8/3/10
<Hello Felecia!>
Can Mysis and amphipods live together peacefully in the same tank?
<In a refugium? Sure. In a separate culturing vessel of some kind? Not likely, as one would out-compete the other>
At what stocking level? I know that Mysis can be cannibalistic toward each other. I do not think I have seen them stocked in the same tank.
<I have and have had both in various refugiums before.. some species are carnivorous I am sure, but their numbers really depend on the amount of food and space there is for them. Their numbers, in other words, will take care of themselves, and there is not much you can do other than to provide as much suitable habitat and environment you can in order to encourage these and other micro-crustacean life. Look to the coarse filter sponge
materials for a great network of tunnels that amphipods will take advantage of, and mysids like to congregate around small open spaces in live rock structures>
Keep up the excellent service you provide.
<Will try! Look for articles by Ron Shimek on these on either his website, and/ or Reefkeeping magazine, and if you can it would be worth borrowing/ purchasing a copy of 'Reef Invertebrates' by Fenner & Calfo. I have only
just re-read the excellent section/s on these in this book while sunning myself in baking hot Seville>
Thanks
<No prob.s, Simon>

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>

Re: Amphipods Irritating Maxima clam? 12/16/2009
Dear Mr. Fenner,
Wanted to thank you for your help with my Maxima. I removed the clam from the sand to move higher in the rock work. I decided, while it was detached, to give a freshwater dip knowing after I placed it in the rocks it could be challenging to remove if necessary. As soon as the clam was placed in the dip water the amphipods on the clam fell off.
<But fast>
There were quite a few more than I had actually thought. After 20 minutes I returned it to the top 1/3 of the tank and am happy to report the clam looks 100% better. It has attached, has been wide open and has been for about a week. Thanks again for your help.
Best,
Kevin
<Ahh! Congratulations on your success, and thank you for your report here.
BobF>

Green mandarin, chewed    12/7/09
Hi there I have a 75 gal reef tank 30 gallon sump 6 months old. It has 3 PJ cardinals, 5 chromis, 1 yellow tang, 2 cleaner shrimp. When I started my tank I seed the live sand from three tanks. From 15 feet
away you could see pod shells in the tank they were big.
<?>
I decided to get a green mandarin (*tank was 6 month old).he was doing well within hours hunting for pods and a little elusive. Day two he looked great .had a bit of sand on his tail but hey he wanders on the bottom sometimes. Day three he seemed to be missing some of the flesh between the bones in his tail kept an eye on him.
<Eaten, beaten. Needs to be removed, STAT!>
Day four all the flesh was gone off his tail and had a with spot which appeared to be a missing piece of skin, it was white. I put him in the sump and he lasted another 12 hours. I wanted to get an other but wondered if you have seen or heard of this before. I will add a couple of pictures. Thanks for reading Paul
<What's that saying? With a twang like Jeff, the Dude's alter-ego:
"Sometimes you eat the bar, and sometimes the bar eats you"... Summat has chewed this Mandarin to bits... could be your "pods"... I would not place another Callionymid here. Bob Fenner>

Re: Another Algae email... substrate, LR change outs/additions, pod culture, comp.   12/31/09 Hi Bob, Thanks for the info. It sent me in all the right directions. I would like for you to clarify for me on your recommendation to change out some of the substrate (and LR in time), is it (in your estimation) a lack of biological activity or is it a lack of buffering/tract elements capacity? <Actually both these are primary reasons> I am thinking that I will just scoop a few cups off of the top of the LS and scrap the rest and change out all at once and re-seed the new. <Okay> I have the opportunity to do so when I drill the overflow, as the tank will be empty. Or should I have a little more patience and replace in thirds over several months. <This would be better> Can I re-use any of the current sand after rinsing. <Mmm, yes... though it will be less soluble... a "neat" experiment can be done short or longer term... the short one might involve some "new" sand and your old... of the same depth/volume and/or weight... mixed in with water, some dilute acid (perhaps just vinegar)... and having a few days go by... remeasuring both samples... Longer term, if you had two aquarium settings you could do the same sort of experiment, measuring before and after... You will find that the "older" sand dissolves more slowly> Aragonite sand is expensive and I would like about 5-6" depth. I have 2 kidneys and can sell... well, never mind :). All joking aside, I want to make the smartest decision. <Adding a bit more new live rock would be even superior... biologically> The algae on the sand bed does feel slimy. Silky may describe more accurate. Descriptions are subjective. I do wish I had a microscope. <I wish every household did... and the curiosity to use it... Costs much less than (for many folks monthly) cable TV...> Also, my bulb on the HQI 150w over the refugium-to-be is about 16 months old. It is a 10,000K... do I need to replace with a new bulb for the Chaeto? <How many hours do you run it? Do you have a PAR meter? Does it seem that the green alga is growing too little with it?> A semi-related question. I do not see any copepods in my tank. I shine a flashlight at night and see nothing. I don't think I have ever noticed these at all. Is it possible to have the population completely eradicated and not repopulate? <Yes... is very possible... Hence the "re-inoculation" suggested...> I have literally thousands of amphipods. Again, no fish in my system for 8 months or so. I have an Emerald Crab that will eat them (Copepods), but that is all. I have had shrimp and other Copepod predators before. Could the conditions in my tank have caused them to completely die out at an earlier point - my tank did over heat last summer to about 90F for an afternoon? <Mmm, more likely the former> Do Hermit Crabs dine on Copepods? <Some do, will for sure if they can catch them... Do know that the Copepoda are an enormous assemblage... size, feeding mode et al. very diverse...> I believe I have read on WWM somewhere (I think an outside link from the FAQ's... Maybe Advanced Aquaria article) that Amphipods will eat Copepods, true? <Some can/do> I am about to drill the back of my tank for an overflow and half inch return line to put the fuge into action. Keep your toes crossed for this. <Go slow...> I must give a plug for www.glass-holes.com if I may, as they are truly a top shelf business. <Ahh, thank you for this. ScottV was kind to drive down and visit this last week here from Fresno. We had a great time visiting fish stores, the Birch/SIO aquarium, chatting> Awesome service and products good prices and free shipping. Take Care and thanks in advance. Stay safe and have fun tonight (New Years Eve). Don't know if one can stay safe AND have fun at the same time. :). Scott <Mmm, a bit of a conundrum, but, yes, partly. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Flame angel killed by sunk clown? And mystery small crustaceans  -- 10/02/08 Aloha :) Is it possible for a sunk clown to injure a healthy flame? <Mmm, yes... a large Sunk/Skunk clown could> Tank is 500 liters and heavily understocked. <Interesting terminology> I had the flame since 2 years and had taken him from a fellow aquarist who had him for 3 years. He was healthy and was the aggressor. <One> After around 6-7 months one day I see him missing a bit of tail and then in a day or two I see fins ripped off. <Yikes!> Even then, He would swim in and around the clowns territory without being bothered. I tried to catch him briefly to quarantine him but he just hid himself. Next day I see my small one inch mud crab(maybe mud crab) eating him. Had eaten almost half the body overnight. <Yes, happens> My clowns are a bit edgy after that. Next day I see the crab on its back. I was in one piece except the flesh inside. Did it molt or is it dead ? <Can't tell from here> I have had 2 mandarins and a baby blue tang disappear before. <Mmm, this crab may be too much...> Seems a bit far fetched for either the crab or the sunk injuring the flame angel? <Not to me> Or do I have a mantis shrimp or some other predator? <Could be> Another question. My tank is crawling with pods. They are always seen on the glass and big ones on the rocks. Small ones are around a mm and big ones are around a cm in size and white to transparent. Some are even flowing in the currents. They are pods I believe as I see them moving and have seen them using a magnifying glass. Both my mandarins died and sometimes my Palythoa don't catch them either. What's the deal? <Perhaps they are "too tough", smart or unpalatable... Even may be "not what you think", predatory... Any chance for you to catch, take some high-res. pix of these, send on? Bob Fenner> Cheers Ranjith

Amphipod/Shrimp Question... and Rock mining worm?? 6/20/08 Thank you guys for hosting a great site! Most of my questions and concerns have been addressed by browsing your QA's, but, alas, I still have more questions! <Fire away.> Background: 29 Gallon, 4 weeks old, 35# LR (UBER LIVE at that).. dual powerhead, emperor 280 bio-wheel mechanical filtration, protein skimmer on order, installing in 3 days. Ammonia, Nitrite, Copper and Phosphorous are at lowest range for my test-kit, near zero. Calcium 460ish (high). Ph is 8.0, target 8.2. KH is at 10. Temp is (cringe) 81-82 but a temperature solution is in sight. <Temp is fine as long as it is stable.> Living things I selected to put into tank: 2 young (1" ish) captive-bred Ocellaris. 10 Nassarius snails, 8 turbo snails and 1 small rock with 8 purple Mushroom corals. <Ok> Living things that came with the rock: Aiptasia Anemones (treating with a calcium paste stuff directly applied, made by Blue Vet); tiny starfish (Probably Asterina, not out of control), tiny (supposed) brittle stars hiding in rocks acting like filter feeders (their leg shape is too distinct to be anything else I've seen, also seems to fit with behavior); <Micro stars are very common and harmless.> HUNDREDS of various feather dusters (up to 3/4" while out), spaghetti worms and other types of "happy" filter feeders; 4 brown w/green center zoanthid-polyps; 2 (or more) small red and purple (bi-color?) bristle worms, 1 mystery white-tipped polyp (waiting to see how it grows) and the two critters I am concerned about... I only wish I had a camera to photo these items, but... Concern 1: possible shrimp or amphipod. it was seen in the light, moving like a bouncy flea along the sand. It is approx 3/16" long and banded in a red/white pattern like a red banded millipede, but with white instead of black. It remained curled up while bouncing. No noticeable larger front appendages, but, that isn't saying much with the size of this critter. Before I scared it off under a rock by looking at it, I sat and watched it dig in the sand like a dog in a cartoon digs in the yard for a bone; it never burrowed, just sifted and inspected. I don't know what this critter is, and if it is potentially a pistol or mantis shrimp... it looks like a very opaque amphipod... kinda. I R BRINY NOOB. Any information you have would be great. <Sounds like an Amphipod of some sort, I would not worry about it unless you see it doing something harmful, and I doubt you will.> Concern 2: thing, maybe worm. Black, tube shaped, lives in hole, doesn't come out. (now, with IQ) The hole is shaped like a miniature Hot Tamale Candy, or an elongated circle, and is approx 3/32" wide, and perhaps 3/8" long. The sides are unusually parallel. Inside this hole, *appears* to be a living, black, "single-tube coffee stirrer"... it will retract slightly when we use the turkey baster to disturb the algae (our first bloom, don't want it to settle)... but, the STRANGE part is... it seems to be mining out the rock. <Many creatures will borrow into rock to make their own home.> The best way to put it is that the barely visible part of this animal is a conveyor belt. every second or so (irregular timing) a tiny grain of sand will come down the top-outer side of this coffee-stirrer-worm-thing (not from inside the tube, instead it is magically balanced on top) and drop off onto my brown zoos. It has never come out of the hole in the slightest, it reminds me of a discovery channel show on how they bore tunnels now, with the conveyor of rocks coming out and dropping off. the diameter of the tube opening doesn't seem to be an irregular circle, it seems to be VERY circular. My first guess was Peanut worm, but, that just didn't fit, this is hollow. <Interesting, my first guess would also be a Sipunculids/peanut worm.> There is another hole in this same rock the SAME shape and dimensions... with sand coming out 1 grain at a time, just no visible "coffee stirrer" in it. <I'm guessing its the same thing, just deeper borrowed.> I almost wonder if this *thing* is the last survivor from Roswell, NM. <Get some tinfoil hats ready! Might want to try to contact Dr. Ron Shimek over at the Marine Depot forums, IDing these types of creatures is one of his specialties.> While I have someone with knowledge reading, I'll go ahead and ask if you think my tank has space for 1 royal Gramma, <Yes> 1-3 shrimp (cleaner, maybe a peppermint for Aiptasia) <Sure> 2 green "clown/gumdrop" gobies, <Be aware that these are very difficult to feed often, mostly eating Acropora coral in the wild.> and months later a Flame Angelfish as the main show fish. <The tank is too small for this fish unfortunately.> Any suggestions you might have for these two mystery critters would be great. -A. Beretta <Chris>

Pods.. Friend or Foe?  Likely Friend.  4/10/07 Hi WWM crew.   <Hi!  Mich here.> I've recently noticed a boom of pod population in my tank. <OK.> I have a small 12g AquaPod with the HQI MH. <OK.> The problem is, I don't know what kind of pods they are.  Definitely not amphipods, but similar to it. Kind of flat and the largest one I've seen is maybe about 2mm long. <Do they look like the ones pictured here?   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/amphipodfaqs.htm  I'm guessing you are seeing Scuds or Gammarus shrimp (Gammaridean amphipod).  They are beneficial detritivores.> I have some on the walls of the glass and I know that they're copepods. While looking at my tank today, I noticed the unknown pods around my zoanthid rock. I also noticed that a couple of the polyps were kind of wiggling around and looked as if it was getting lifted off from one end of the base. Is this the pods doing? <Likely so.> The polyps were also closing with them crawling over them. I've searched everywhere and couldn't find a good match on these pods. Your help would surely be appreciated. <In general photos make things easier.> Thanks <Welcome!  -Mich>

'Pod Power! Just a couple quick questions about some things in my tank. <Sure...> I have bugs, a lot of them all over the sand.  I just purchased a sand sifting star and wanted to see if it had moved since the lights went off. I turned on my bedroom light and looked at the star and noticed a ton of little gray bugs crawling all over. I had seen a few of them before but never this amount. I mean a lot of bugs! Seeing all of them gave me that weird feeling and gave me goose bumps, gross! <Think of them as "Mandarin food", and they won't seem so ugly...Amphipods (that's what these are) are a valuable food source for many fishes...Very good news, really!> I read a few things about bugs on your website but you say they are good, but this many? <I'd consider them quite good, really. The fact that they are proliferating so well means that you have optimal conditions for them. Many hobbyists would love to have this "problem"!> What would be the best way to lessen the amount of them? <Acquire fishes that like to eat them, or consider removing them and offering them to your fellow hobbyists (perhaps as trade for other stuff?). I'll bet a lot of people will be interested!> I have noticed in the day time a few what seems to be shedding from the bugs floating around in the water. Second question: I have no idea what this thing is. It was a hitchhiker on a piece of LR that I bought. It lives in a little hole about an inch of the sand. During the day it slowly pushes sand out of the hole that it has collected during the night. I saw it last night for the first time. It was in the hole but had a "straw" like thing sucking up sand. It is probably on an inch long. It is white in color and I could see the sand moving up the "straw". After sucking up some sand it just went back into the hole. But all day long bit by bit it brings the sand to the edge of the hole were it builds up and forms a little mound on the bottom up to the hole. Do you guys have any idea what this could be? It has not caused any harm seems to be cleaning small amounts of sand. <Sounds like a Terebellid "spaghetti" worm, or a Spionid worm. These are harmless detritivores- all part of the diversity of a helpful organism in the aquarium- enjoy them!> Okay, Last question: I have a little crustacean in that same piece of live rock. I was reading and found a question someone asked about a clicking sound in their tank. My little crustacean does this all the time. Is it a mantis shrimp or a pistol shrimp? It has tentacle like things that it uses to get its food. If I put my feeding stick right next to its hole it will come out and "click" every time tries to pinch it. <Could very well be a pistol shrimp or mantis "shrimp". Neither is something most of us like in our aquariums (if we have fishes, of course), so you may just want to take out this rock and place it in another tank, preferably just for the shrimp. They are fascinating creatures in their own right, and are neat to watch...just not in your reef or FOWLR tank, in my opinion!> I am sorry for all the question but I can not ask my LFS because they are pretty much worthless when asking for advice. <We are always here for you! Take care! Regards, Scott F>

Microcrustaceans 3/6/03 I have little white wormlike bugs crawling on the inside of my tank glass they just appeared today. All I have in the tank is a Huma Huma trigger and an orange clown I have had both for a few months.13 pounds of live rock and that's it. There is an attached picture I hope you can tell me what they are. <they are beneficial microcrustaceans like amphipods and copepods. They were imported with live rock or live sand most likely and are very helpful micro-scavengers and food for fishes and invertebrates. DO enjoy :) Anthony>

Micro-crustaceans- good 4/27/03 Hi I just bought a long tentacle anemone a couple of weeks ago for my 55 gallon tank. He seemed fine at first, but I had a problem with ick and had to quarantine all my fish. Here is the problem. My tank is now over run with tiny shrimp and I am not sure if they are bothering my anemone. <no bother... they are natural food/plankton> When I feed him he is overrun by shrimp and they have been stealing his food. <little to worry about... he eats them at night <G>> Is this something I should be worried about? <not really... a future fish added to the tank will knock the shrimp population down> On one hand the seem to keep him very clean but on the other hand the shrimp really seem to irritate him. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Keith <no worries... do an Internet search for "amphipods" and enjoy. Kind regards, Anthony> Amphipods, copepods, and worms... OH MY! - 8/27/03 Morning Mr. Fenner, <Mornin' Bri>     Yesterday I installed a Custom Sealife moon-lite on the canopy of my reef aquarium. <Cool. I utilize these lights as well> Shortly after the lights in my tank went off I saw these little creatures swimming from the rock to the surface of the water. <Sounds like amphipods and/or copepods Do a search in google for more information. Use amphipods and copepods as your search words (one at a time of course)> Some of them would then swirl around on the surface and secrete a liquid that looked like soda fizz. <Mating reproduction methods> These creatures were the shape of a rice grain but much smaller and were tan in color. <Definitely some sort of copepod or amphipod> Should I start scooping them out or are the natural? <No way. You should thank the tank Gods for such luck.> Also lifting up a small rock yesterday I saw two black centipede looking worms about an inch long. <Sounds like a type of bristle worm. You should try and get an ID> I took one out and lost the other inside the tank. Should I worry about this also? <I wouldn't worry much. I would gain a positive ID then decide what to do from there. Check this out: http://wetwebmedia.com/worms.htm Search in Google for marine worms and see what you find as well.> Thank you in advance for any help you can lend. Sincerely, Brian S. <No worries, mate. -Paul out>

Copepods - 8/27/03 Thank you for all your past and future help. <That is why we do what we do> I have a 2 part question. 1). I have what a LFS said was "awesome copepods"  During the recent blackout I shined a flashlight into my tank. I was very surprised to see hundreds of these copepods running all over my sand, rocks, snails etc. Is this alright <Wow. Sounds like saltwater heaven. There are a great many aquarists that would love to have this as a "problem"> and what fish/inverts can control this? <Quite a few, but I wouldn't worry much about this at all. They are not doing any damage. If you have corals they will likely chow on the various larval stages of these copepods, and there are a great many fish that will find these as a tasty snack between meals. You could do what I do though, and let them flourish> 2). I also have small white specks growing on my glass, overflow sump etc. What is this and how do I control this? <Well, "white specks" is quite an ambiguous statement at best. Outright vague. Could be great many things. If we are talking about living white specks, well then these are likely offspring of the copepods or amphipods. Also could be the start of calcareous dwellings of tube worms (just starting out) but could be a great many things. I believe the existence of these little guys (either way) says that your tank is much along the lines of a veritable refugium. What a wonderful dilemma! Delight in the life. -Paul> Thanks again

Amphipods, copepods, and larvae....oh my! - 2/20/04 Hi WWM crew, I'm new to the marine hobby (after ten years of planning, I finally committed to a tank for real, instead of reading and videos)<Good for you. Welcome to the marine hobby> Setup is as follows: 240 litre Juwel with inbuilt filter (also added full bed U/G with a 1200 litre per hour powerhead) Additional Fluval 204 external, so that I can rotate filter cleaning with the Juwel. (This one also has some Polyfilter) Water is R/O made with Tropic Marin to 1.021SG. Tank was cycled using Biomature (took 2 months), got a massive Nitrite spike, then settled down to zero, along with the ammonia. <Excellent and good of you to wait for a few months> Started doing water changes, to get the high Nitrates down, <A by product of nitrite> then added some LR (with a little crab stowaway, that I'm watching carefully) After a few days, added cleanup crew, in the form of 5 x red leg hermits (plus some well boiled shells for house hunting), 3 x Turbo Snails. Added 2 small ( about 2cm ) percula clowns, then waited a week ( still zero/zero Ammonia / Nitrite), before adding a Blood Shrimp. <Sounds well thought out> Observed small numbers of tiny creatures of varying sorts on LR, but was pleased to see them, and noted the crabs snacked on them occasionally. <yes> Still carried out another couple of 10% water changes, to really hammer the Nitrates (better for the shrimp?), <Better for all> and the algae which formed during the cycle has started dying off. (The crabs and snails were munching on this royally, so I was pleased again, plus it was a good green algae [supposed to be good?]) <well, yes and a natural cycle> Wash the filter media in tank water, and only clean half of the media in each filter at a time (better for the bio?) <Excellent> Anyway..... One of the hermits moved house into a new shell......great fun to watch.....<You know....funny you said that> I have been keeping saltwater aquarium keeping for over 3 years and I never get tired of watching hermits either> Fish etc (and new shrimp) feeding well on frozen brine shrimp and cockle, plus occasional dry food mixed with water to soften a bit. <Excellent. Another thing for the dry foods is to soak it in Selco Marine vitamin (lipids) supplement. Will soften the food and add more nutrients for the animals> Fish are happy, mobile, and like playing in the jet from the powerhead, scared me at first, but they seem to like going back for more... Today the shrimp had molted, and seemed happy....but.... Noticed a LOT, and I mean a LOT (hundreds), of very small white creatures, quite mobile, all over the algae on the back wall of the tank, and some on the front glass. <Excellent. These are likely various copepods and zooplankton. Could even be a larval stage for various animals in the live rock. Fear not my friend! Consider this one of the most important and useful parts of the new tank syndrome. Second only to the nitrification cycle> They don't appear to be troubling the clowns, or the other tankmates, but should I be worried?, <Fear not> or doing anything about it? <Nothing. Keep doing what you are doing. You want them to thrive> creatures are about a half millimetre, and can move about. <Likely amphipods or copepods. There are some great pictures of these beneficial animals in "Reef Invertebrates" by Bob Fenner and Anthony Calfo. Pick up a copy when you can. A great guide to the known and unknown> It's almost like something has spawned them overnight! <Not overnight, but likely recently> Appreciate your guidance here...... best regards, and thanks for the great website. <Thanks to you for being part of it all. ~Paul> Bob (UK)

Kacia's fish problems 3/19/04 Hi,  Can you help?? <Hi Kacia.  Adam here, help is on the way!  I'm going to go get someone right now.> I've asked several people and it seems my only option is to throw out the live rock...My fish have been dropping like flies, except the clown fish (Percs) and it seems it is because they don't sleep in the rock.  I have hundreds of tiny little bugs running around my tank at night, all over the rock and sand.  I'm told they go into the gills of the fish and suck the life right out of them. <Hmmmm...  Little vampire bugs!  While there are some predatory isopods, these are very rare and usually easily spotted attached to the fish at all times of the day.  They are usually quite large, not very numerous and hard to miss.  I think what you have is a nice  mix of harmless, regular old beneficial 'pods.> They lose color and then die within a day or 2.  I have lost 2 Tangs, 3 Domino Damsels, 1 clown and an angel fish recently.  Should I throw out the rock or bleach it and just use it as regular rock??  Kacia <I don't think we can blame this on the rock or anything that came with it.  Please don't bleach it and waste a precious natural resource.  Please do write back with details about when the tank was set up, the type of equipment, the results of any tests you perform, and your general maintenance, etc., and we will get to the bottom of your problem.  Best Regards.  Adam> Shrimp loss/bug appearance link? I couldn't find an answer to this question but sometimes my wife has accused me of not looking behind the orange juice. I recently lost a cleaner shrimp.. just up and died. I was not too concerned about that but I have very very small white things on the glass surface of my tank. There are many. The fish don't seem to be affected. I have a hippo and two clowns and a wrasse plus some crabs and another cleaner shrimp. No problems with any of the fish but concerned about the white bugs.  Any help would be appreciated. Thanks, David <It is extremely likely that the appearance of the "bugs" has little to do with the timing of your shrimp loss... perhaps the latter's passing contributed something nutrient-wise to the water... but the small crustaceans you are seeing are unrelated otherwise. Bob Fenner>

Re: Shrimp loss/bug appearance link? what are the small crustaceans and will they be a problem to the fish?  Thanks again. <Don't know even to the Class w/o a good micro-pic... likely an amphipod or copepod... take a look with a magnifying glass... on the Net and these names as a reference. Bob Fenner>

Microcrustaceans (4/28/04) Thanks for the info on my salinity/SG. <My pleasure.>  It seems to be leveled out at the moment.  But, I have another dilemma.  I've noticed that there are tons of little what look like baby shrimp crawling all over the tank. <Lucky you!> I'm assuming they came on my live rock, since I haven't put anything in there.  Is this a bad thing? <No> If so, what should I do about it? I've read about a type of shrimp (Mantis) that are pests and was wondering if that's what these are. <NO. Mantis shrimp are big carnivores. Check for pix on WWM.> They are so little yet it's hard to tell. <They won't get much bigger. IF they crawl, these are most likely amphipods and/or copepods. If they swim, they're most likely Mysis. Great live food. Read more by searching these terms on WWM.> Any suggestions? <Don't worry. Be happy.> Thanks Jen <You're welcome. Steve Allen.>

Nitrites and little white bugs Hi Blundell!  I have some general questions: << Hi. >> 1.    I recently mixed a batch of artificial salt into purified water in a 7.7 gallon tank.  No fish, no rock, no sand, no nothing.  Just a power head. I've had it running for about a week and when I took the PH today it was at about 8.1 or so but the Nitrite level was .05!  My question is what is causing it? << I'm guessing some very small impurities in the salt.  But that is nothing to worry about.  If you were to add one teaspoon of flake food to that tank and test the water in a week that number would be much much higher. >> There's nothing in the water to produce ammonia!  Am I missing something? 2.    I have a 20 gallon container that I am using to cure live rock in.  I have an 800 gph power head circulating the water.  It's been in there for 3 days and I am using natural sea water. << You are fortunate to have that resource. >> I took the Nitrite and, as expected, it is off the charts.  I took the PH and it is at about 7.3 or so.  Do I need to take steps to raise up the PH or do I concentrate on getting the Nitrite level to 0 first. << I'd change water.  I think that will solve both areas during this cycling process. >> 3.    Is there anything I can add to lower the Nitrite level more quickly in either established tanks? << Hmmm, not really.  I think move live sand and rock always helps, and then just giving it time. >> 4.    I am seeing what looks like little white bugs is the best description I can use for these little critters in my 24 gallon marine tank.  They are on the glass.  I have some live rock in there, a Clown Trigger, a small eel, a couple of damsel fish and two small anemones.  What are these things and how can I get rid of them? << Oh don't get rid of them.  Most likely copepods which are very beneficial to your system.  You want as many odd little creatures as you can get in there. >> Thanks so much for all your help! Martin <<  Blundell  >>

Pods/Snail Population Issues Greetings. <Hi! Ryan with you today> Thoroughly enjoy your helpful website (and the books that your "crew" have written are amongst the best in my library). <Ah! Great to hear!> Couple of questions about my system  Started in April (2004), it's 125g FOWLR.  pH is 8.2, temp 78 all tests are 0 (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate),  phosphates not readable on the test kit and I use RO/DI H2O.  I use an ETSS reef devil sump/skimmer set-up and don't pull a lot of gunk (feeding flake on an automatic feeder once a day and frozen foods every evening).  Only additives are weekly doses of Kent TechAB Occupants are a black-tipped grouper, a sail fin tang, a pink tail trigger and 3 obnoxious yellow-tail damsels.  Inverts include a blue Linckia, 2 white sand sifting stars and a black brittle star.  Many blue legged crabs and a variety of snails (Astrea, narcissus, a couple of turbots).  There's a couple of sally Lightfoots and an emerald crab hiding out in there as well.  All-in-all a fairly peaceful set-up, relationship-wise. <With this population, you certainly should be pulling a cup a day of gunk from your skimmer.  Try soaking all parts in half RO/DO, half vinegar (the type for washing fruit) and see if performance improves.> Questions are: 1)  I seem to have nearly a hundred baby snails on the glass at night...is this going to be troublesome as I go forward?  Do I need a controlling organism in the tank? <The population will stabilize once you get the nutrient issue resolved.>  2)  I used to have amazing copepod activity, now it seems limited to the refugium (CPR HOB)...although nighttime flashlight inspection does indicate some still exist;  is that an issue or are the 2 sand sifters just keeping the population in check? <Your stars are eating like pigs- And killing perhaps the best algae eater in your tank.  In fact, the amount of algae now uneaten by your pods may have left a niche for these "excess" snails.> 3)  many, many string-line "tubers" for lack of a better work stretch from the live rock, sand bed and even a patch of spaghetti algae that I have...are these worms or dusters and should I be concerned about their proliferation?; they are from 1/2" to almost 4" in length and are nocturnal...sort of look like long skinny peacock feathers; any issue with these organisms? <Wonderful filter-feeders.  Enjoy the diversity.> 4)  I have quite the crop of hair algae in a couple of sections of the tank and clinging to the back-wall, no red or brown algae, just nuisance green hair algae....my lighting is 96 x 4 PC 96 x 2 actinic on from noon to 11:00 PM and 10K white on 1:00 to 10:30 PM...might this be too much for a FOWLR?  I have been using a toothbrush attached to a magnum 350 to suck out the algae as I brush it;  might this be causing more harm than good? <No, the lighting is fine.  You need to get that skimmer to pull the nutrients out the tank before they can break down into "algae-food."  Try what I've recommended above.> As always, thanks for your patience.  This salt-water deal is quite a bit more challenging than my African Cichlids. <It won't be once you're balanced!  Good luck! Ryan> Grunfeld in Detroit

Too many Pods? - 12/8/04 Hi! <Hey, Claudia> I'm still in the hobby thanks to the great information your website has given me throughout the years. <This is why I am volunteering here at WetWebMedia. Thank you for the validation of my efforts.> But now I have another issue... <Alrighty> One fine day I just decided that I don't want any fish, only corals, soft ones just for now. <I have done the same> My tanks is 26Gal. mini reef with live rock and only soft corals, some bristle worms, sponges and TONS of copepods, which is fine by me, <Sounds awesome!> very entertaining to see them fighting over that last piece of algae, that is until they attack the zooxanthellae in my polyps <Huuh?!>(Palythoa)<Haven't heard of this from a common amphipod or copepod> so I need something which eats them and which is not a fish (fish just eat too many of them) <Well....maybe just one fish?> in other words I need something which can live off the copepods and which won't extinguish them so that I don't have to feed it after the copepods are gone. <Well. One small wrasse might do the trick but in such a small tank will likely extinguish your colony fairly quickly. (in the process become the fattest little bugger you ever seen). I personally have never seen amphipods or copepods eating algae out of my Palythoa. I have many tanks at my disposal as well as many friends in the business and industry who have never asked  or related to me such an occurrence. Strange. I would do more research. I too, will look into this a bit more. In the meantime, not sure what to tell you. Try adding some algae (Nori strips or sinking Spirulina chunks for them to munch on. ~Paul> Please help me... Cheers,
Claudia
 

Microcrustaceans eating Xenia? Hello Again, <Hey, Mike G here.> I'm Baaaack! (Said With the 'spooky' Voice) Hope the crew is doing okay. Bob, Anthony, Marina, How are you? I'm good minus the disappearing Xenia, and a couple of critters that might be eating them. Since you guys are the experts, I'll let you tell me. <I'll do my best to help you out> Man, I am going for stupid king 2005. Over the past two three weeks, my xenia started to disappear overnight (in the QT). I did some watching, the big ones disappeared, little ones started to grow, and then all gone. <FWIW, It is somewhat common for Xenia corals to "melt" when in unfavorable conditions or after drastic changes in water parameters. From the descriptions you offer, this is what I am led to believe has occurred. Check the below link for more information on Xenia and Xenia "melting" (Note topic "Xenia Health about 3/4 down the page: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/xeniidfaqs3.htm > Have one cluster left, moved into its own isolation tank after shaking off these guys. Pic1 is both of the critters I found. Pic2 and Pic3 are of the bigger one- easily ½ inch in length. Is that what is eating the xenias? Bunch of the buggers in the tank! Huge! Then the top guy in Pic1 and Pic4 (Color is false image for better shape ID) are the 3/16 inch guys. Any ID help would be greatly appreciated. <I am happy to inform you that you have absolutely nothing to worry about, at least from the creatures of which you have attached pictures. Pictures two and three are of Amphipods, marine crustaceans of the genus Gammarus. Picture 4 is of a Mysid Shrimp, genus Mysis. Picture 1 is of both a Mysid Shrimp and an Amphipod. Both microcrustaceans are welcome and benign inhabitants of nearly every marine aquarium. Check these two links for more information on Amphipods and Mysid Shrimp: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/amphipodfaqs.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mysidfaqs.htm Wonderful photographs, by the way.> Thanks in Advance as always, Dan <Glad I could be of assistance. Hope your Xenia problem clears up.> P.S. I can't wait until Bob's Book Arrives -- Lot's of answers I bet! He He. <<And many more questions. RMF>>

Pods eating coral - Coral eating pods..? I was reading the Q&A forums trying to find out if pods were eating my xenia. The fish store that I shop at says that pods only eat dead or dying things. I have noticed, however that a few people seem to think the pods are eating xenia and zoanthids. I have a similar story. First I had a small finger leather, that looked like it was ripped off it rock. I came home from work to find it floating on the bottom of the tank. There was a lot of "flesh" left on the rock, as I inspected the situation, I noticed several big pods eating the flesh. I tried to replant the leather but it disappeared over the next day or so. My hours of work don't allow me to keep a close eye on things so I don't know exactly what happened to it. As the leather disappeared, a colony of xenia began wilting.  Upon inspection of the sick xenia I noticed that the pods had regrouped to the Xenia. I thought that it could be that conditions weren't right causing the xenia and leather to die and the pods were just taking full advantage. My pH was low 7.7 so I adjusted my power head to get more top water movement. However ,there is another colony of xenia 2 inches away from the one that died. There are no pods on it and it seems to be fine. If the water conditions caused the leather and the first xenia colony to die, why not the other xenia. It doesn't seem to be a coincidence that things are dying after the pods start to congregate. I thought I was just paranoid of some sort of pod conspiracy, until I started reading the Q&A. Is it just coincidence or could something be going on? Gary  <IF, they are pods, they are not going to eat live coral. Your LFS is correct is saying they eat dead material, fish poop, waste, whatever. You may have another critter in there causing the damage. James (Salty Dog)><<RMF disagrees... whatever group of crustaceans these "bugs" are part of, they may indeed consume cnidarians that are compromised... and maybe ones not so... It may be that the "other" Xeniid colony was "aware", or just "different" in its tastiness, response... to these critters>>

Coping with Copepods Hi,  <Hello Deb, James here at 6:43a.m., wife is snoring so it means get up.> I have a few questions about Copepods. If James is there, as you know I had some trouble with my new saltwater tank. I had all my fish die due to what I was told was a bacterial infection in the tank. The tank has been fish free except for one cleaner shrimp, one fire shrimp, and 10 snails. I just noticed today that I have what looks like a million tiny white bugs all over the glass of my tank as well as swimming in the water of the tank. I think I have what has been described on this web site as Copepods. As I have been reading for hours now, these seem to be a good thing, <An excellent food source.>  and the sign of a healthy tank. The only thing that is confusing me is everyone who has posted something about this subject seems to have either live rock or corals, that if I understand correctly bring these into the tank. I have neither. The only thing I did do was bring my red knob Starfish home from my LFS as they were holding it for me until my tank was "Clean". They had it for a while so I needed to take it back. Could I have brought these copepods home on the Starfish?  <Possible, you don't need many to get a lot as they are prolific breeders.>  If not how would they come to be in my tank as I have no live rock, I have lots of rock but not live rock. Also with this many in the tank can I start to put fish in or will this many drive the fish nuts, <I'm sure you will have a fish that will quickly dispense of them.> if they crawl on their bodies. I understand not all fish eat these copepods.  <You have no worries, these critters are perfectly safe. James (Salty Dog)> Thanks in advance for you help.  <You're welcome>

Coping with Copepods -II HI James, <Hello Deb> Thanks for your advice. I think I will go and get a few fish today, as I only have one yellow tang in there now and she was covered this morning with the copepods. I did go get a cleaner wrasse (spelling) and he is doing a good job keeping her clean. I will ask when I go the LFS if they can recommend a fish that likes to "Dine" on these little critters. <Debbie, again, keep in mind these critters do no harm whatsoever. As you add fish they will soon disappear. Don't let the LFS talk you into a mandarin. They certainly will eat the pods, but when they are gone you will have a hard time keeping it alive unless you've got plenty of live rock to sustain the pod population, and the mandarin. James (Salty Dog)>  <Editor's addendum: It should be noted that we also strongly discourage the purchase of cleaner wrasses for any/all but the largest of systems with appropriate food sources - i.e. sufficient numbers of large fishes.  Please see Bob's many remarks concerning their sales/use in most home aquaria.>

Coping with Copepods - III Hi James, Thanks for your advice. That is just what happened, they recommended a mandarin, but thanks to your wonderful website, I knew better then to add this fish to my tank. I did not get anything as they did not have a great selection today, I will try again during the week and in the meantime I will continue to read and educate myself about the world of Saltwater.  <Deb, reading is the best way to get a foothold in this hobby. Not only ours, but there are several sites with tons of information. Here is a good course for you that I have attached. James (Salty Dog)>

'Pod Predators (3/23/05) Hello,  <Hi. Steve Allen with you tonight.> I am in the process of setting up a 29g reef tank. I saw what I thought were Aiptasia so I ran out and got 2 peppermint shrimp.  <Rash actions seldom accomplish the desired effect.>  In hindsight I think these were just hitchhiking tube worms.  <Study pictures of Aiptasia. I assure you that you will then know one when you see it. Tube worms have a hard, opaque (calcific or leathery) tube. The stalk of an Aiptasia is the same color and translucency as the rest of it.>  I don't have any fish yet, just the shrimp, 6 hermits and a turbo snail. I am going to get my corals established before I add a fish or 2. I am wondering what impact to peppermint shrimp will have on my pod population?  <They will eat them.>  I'd like to have the tank teaming with pods before the fish go in. These shrimp are constantly grazing and I wonder if the poor pods have a change to get established?  <The shrimps definitely have a negative impact on this. If I were you I'd take them back. If you really want a thriving population, you ought to look into getting a refugium.>  Thanks for all your help.  <I hope it does help.> 

Pods attacking snails? 06/11/05 Dear WWM crew; Hello, and hope you are doing well.  <SUP> I really enjoy your website. <<Thank you :)>>  Two quick questions for you guys.  Today I was looking at my tank and saw two copepods possibly attacking a Cerith snail.  I could see right away that the snail was not dead, it was cruising around eating as usual.  The two copepods were running around and over the snail's shell, and then one of them stopped and lingered for a moment on the snails foot.  The snail didn't seem affected at the time, and its been about three hours since it happened and the snail is still behaving normally.  So my question is, would copepods attack a live snail, or was it not an attack at all and I am just being paranoid?   << Paranoid :)  They are probably just picking at the algae on the shell of the snail or around its base.  No worries. >> Also, how capable are Cerith snails of righting themselves if they end up on their backs somehow?  Could it be fatal, or am I just being paranoid again?   << Paranoid :)  Cerith snails definitely can upright themselves.  It is cool to watch.  The come almost completely out of their shell and grab the sand bed.  Then they spin their shell around to make them upright.  Astrea snails are the common snails you see in stores with a Chinese hat shape that cannot right themselves. So if you do not flip an Astrea snail over it will die >> Thanks in advance. Love, Adam G. Mesa, AZ << Thanks for the support.. EricS >>

Pods... undesirable7/5/05 Hi WWM, Recently I'm seeing "ant-like" pods burrowing in my live rock and some of my coral. Two of my soft coral look sick and these pods are crawling in and out where the tentacles of the coral are supposed to be sticking out. Are these pods harmful, <Could be> they seem to come out of their hole just for a split second and look like small red/black ant about the size of 2mm. I freshwater dip one of my live rocks and a whole bunch of them came out swirling, struggled and die in about 15 seconds. Thanks and keep up the good work. Regards, Yik Sing <You might want to look into adding a fish predator that will eliminate a bunch of these crustaceans. There are many choices. Bob Fenner> Six Line and Pod Relationship  - 01/24/06 I have a 40 gallon reef tank (2 years old). <Cool.>   I recently added a small sixline wrasse (approximately 1 1/2 inches) which is the only copepod eater in the tank.  Tankmates are: hermit crabs, corals, 1 pair of percula clowns, and three bar gobies.  I am wondering how often I need to replenish the copepod population?  I have found a couple places that I can order them online.  Any advice on this would be greatly appreciated. <Six-Lines are skillful pod hunters it could easily destroy your population every few weeks. The bottled products are great to seed tanks but they are expensive for regular usage. At this rate it will be quite pricey to keep buying culture pods, so why not spawn your own? Look into a refugium, a small hang on variety such as those offered by Eco-System and CPR would be a great addition for your tank.> Thank you, Pam Vlatas <Adam Jackson.> OSTRACODS For Mr. Fenner: follow up regarding bugs/parasites - 03/07/2006 Hi Mr. Fenner, Just to let you know that I could finally ID the organism: they are ostracods. I found some info about them. Here is a link: http://www.gre.ac.uk/schools/nri/earth/ostracod/introduction.htm I could not find anything about them parasitizing corals so far. <Mmmm, I don't think this is likely... though there is an ever sliding scale twixt commensalism, mutualism parasitism, predation... and many intergradients> It seems they can even be a bonus for my mandarin. Although given the number of ostracods in the tank I think he may be ignoring them. I still don't get it why there is such a high concentration of ostracods on that torch coral thought... I guess I can only keep an eye on it. Please let me know if you have any idea or comments. Thanks! Dominique <Thank you for this update. I would leave these organisms be... much more likely to benign to beneficial... than harmful. Bob Fenner> Marine/Feeding   3/10/06 Hi crew, I was wondering if you could give me some advice. <Sure.> I have a 55 gallon tank with some live rock, macro algae, camel shrimp, hermit crabs, snails and a Yellow Watchman Goby.  The tank is soon to be the home to a pair of seahorses (I'm holding off on making the  purchase till everything is perfect).  I seem to have a large number of copepods and feel that population control might be a good thing.  I was wondering if you might be able to recommend a fish that would eat some of the copepods yet still be peaceful with the seahorses?  <A neon goby will work.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks, Scott Marine Velvet...Copepod Invasion - 06/14/06 My tank currently has velvet and I have it under control and am letting it sit empty to cycle through. <<I assume you mean "velvet"...letting the tank sit fallow for 6-8 weeks is a good approach.  I'm guessing you have had a read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/amylloodiniumart.htm >> But now I have an issue with little bug like creatures in my tank.  I have looked in the pest control section of you site but could not find anything resembling these guys.  These little white bug-like creatures are all over the glass.  Each is about the size of the tip of a pen. <<Ahh...not pests...beneficial copepods.  Do some reading here and among the associated links:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/copepodfaqs.htm >> There appears to be hundreds of them all over the glass. <<Is a good thing>> At first I didn't think much of it and brushed them off of the glass, but now there seems to be little cockroach looking creatures about the size of a pin head crawling all over the rocks now. <<Likely amphipods...another beneficial (group of) organism(s).  See here:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/amphipodfaqs.htm >> I was just wondering what these things are. <<Beneficial crustaceans>> Is it possible that after I let my tank cycle the velvet problem out the fish will eat these creatures? <<Oh yes!>> Or what do can I do? <<Study and enjoy>> Does something need to be done? <<Nope...>> Thanks, Jonathan <<Quite welcome, EricR>>

Feeding FD Cyclop-eeze, Cleaner Shrimp (conspecific) deaths,   7/30/06 Hello there.  I hope all is well in your neck of the woods.  I am enjoying a little cooler weather here in PA (about 80 today versus the 95 it has been for a week). <Yikes, even warmer in S. California, but likely with much less humidity> Anyway,  I have some questions on separate topics I am hoping to receive some assistance with.  I recently purchased a yellow clown goby who is in qt right now, just hanging out.  Before the purchase I did much research about feeding this little cutie and, of course, subsequently developed a bit of anxiety I would have trouble getting it to eat.  I picked up some items I came across on your site that were suggested to entice eating.  He is eating frozen mysis shrimp and Sweetwater zooplankton. <Good> I also bought some Cyclop-eeze, however, herein lies the issue.  The maker is Argent.  They do not provide any info on how to administer it, and I checked their site out, and it doesn't provide anything on that either.  For some reason they do not give you any sort of insert with it, even though they say to check it out, nor does the can tell you anything...other than to read the insert or check out their site.  GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR! <Strange... I would write them re> I did find an inquiry on WWM regarding this matter, however I continue to be feeling dumb about it.  I should mention it is the freeze dried type, and it is a fine powder. I tried to add it directly to the tank, but it floats.  I then tried mixing it with some mysis, but as soon as it put it in the tank, it separates.  The shrimp slowly sink, but the Cyclop. remains at the surface.  Any suggestions? <Try soaking overnight, adding the bits/parts/organisms that sink... sucking them up with a baster> Now, on to my other issue.  I am new to the hobby, about 8 months.  I have a 46 G bowfront FOWLR system.  Inhabitants are 2 TR Ocellaris clowns, one Royal Gramma, one Allen's damsel, some snails and hermits, plus one remaining skunk cleaner shrimp.  I initially had one cleaner, but thought maybe he'd like a friend.  My husband thinks I tend to put human emotions onto animals, <Mmm, a human trait...> but what does he know? <Would/could likely guess if he were another animal...> Anyway, I purchased a second skunk cleaner maybe 2 months after the first and they quickly became buds and were so for months.  One morning as I was checking everyone out, I saw the molted shell of one, saw one of them hanging where he usually does, but didn't see the second one right away.  Then under a piece of the live rock, I saw, what looked to be another molt being devoured by "pods."  And, I mean being devoured.  I knew then it was my other shrimp.  In the past whenever either of them molted, no amphipod went near it. <Mmm... likely consumed by its conspecific> I do not know which shrimp it was, the first or second purchased.  They were both the same size, although the second one was smaller than the first upon purchase.  I was devastated.  I decided I wanted another one, so we got one a couple weeks later, probably half the size of the existing one.  All was well now for 3 days, until this morning.  I saw a molted shell, and a few inches away, the little guy being devoured by those darn pods under a piece of live rock. <Not by them directly... they're just cleaning up the bits that were left> All I could see was his little legs sticking out.  Of course, in my mind I am picturing an organized group of pods had picked him up and carried him off.  Again, my husband says I am too dramatic.  Do you think they are killers preying on a vulnerable creature? <No... tis the other Cleaner... not able to be easily added to in such a small world> I do not know if it is a coincidence.  Maybe a bad molt?   <Not likely> I am just really sad now.  I think the cleaner shrimp are so cool.  After the first death, I read that iodine will help with the molt, <Yes> so I did purchase a bottle thinking maybe a low level led to the first demise, but actually just dosed yesterday for the first time according to the directions.  And voila, a molt already.  It has been about 2 weeks since the larger one molted though. <I see> The other inhabitants are all thriving.  Temp 78, SG 1.023, Ammonia and Nitrates 0, Nitrites may be a little high, at <20, but that practically has been the case since day one.  No matter what I do, I cannot lower it. <You will, in time> It has never fluctuated, except when my tank was cycling in the beginning.  It was very high initially, then dropped as my tank was cycling.  I do a water change of 9 gallons every 2 weeks.  Would I be better off doing smaller, more frequent ones?   <Possibly... though I would look into adding a refugium, DSB, macro-algae there> I also want to note I change the filter media as recommended.  It is a Fluval 304, plus I have a Super Skimmer, which I think is useless.  Every once in awhile a little grime will coat the neck, but never once have I collected foam.  It will collect water after a water change for some reason, but I think that is due to the use of Prime, my dechlorinator.  At this point, I feel the skimmer is a waste of swimming space, and I would love to get rid of it altogether, but I guess that is not recommended.  This is my second skimmer actually, the first was a Seaclone...USELESS!  That only collected water too.  Sorry for the tangent. Can you tell I am frustrated? <A bit> If you have any advice, it would be greatly appreciated.   Thank you for your time and expertise on these issues and for compiling such a wonderful knowledgebase.  I reference your site so often.  Have a good day. Sincerely, Tiffani <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/nitratesmar.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner> Fw: Killer Pods?????   7/30/06 Hello, <Tif> Here I go again.  Let's hope third time is a charm.  Well unfortunately since I sent this both times, my remaining skunk cleaner has passed.  This actually happened within the past hour or so.  He was fine this morning, ate, swam, etc.  Then a couple of hours ago, he was just lying on the bottom on his belly.  It looked like his legs were just twitching a bit.  My first thought was he almost looked paralyzed in a way.  The one thing I did notice was what I could normally see inside his body area now looked different.  I could always see something almost "fluttering" inside, <Mmm, yes... the "gills"> if you will, until when he was just lying there . . . then that wasn't happening.  I just now feel like such a failure and am so saddened.  Happily, all other fishes are perfect.  Water parameters are as they were Sunday. I hope this time it comes through.  Even if I am to be chastised for something, at least I will feel comforted in the fact that someone listened and can maybe steer me in the right direction. Tiffani <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/clrshrpdisfaqs.htm and the linked files above. This loss likely related to a water quality issue. Bob Fenner>  



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