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FAQs on:  Territoriality/Aggression/Predation/Traumas

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Anyperodon leucogrammicus

Emerald crab and Lubbock Wrasse... Decapod omnivorous-ness     12/3/14
Hello WWE Crew
I read your site threads on emerald crabs and wrasse and did not see my question so here it is.
I have a 55 gallon tank nitrates, nitrites and ammonia are all 0 PH PH 8.3. Water parameters are in check. The tank has been up and running for 3 years. It has live rock, it's inhabitants include a pajama cardinal , a tiny chalk bass and a rather large Emerald Crab.
<Like all decapods, Mithraculus become opportunistic omnivores>
It also had a pair of Lubbock Wrasse.......the Wrasse seem you have disappeared.
<Are great escape artists... Cirrhilabrus species... check the carpet, smiling cat/s>
I removed my live rock and can find no trace. I was gone for a day and my husband said he had not seen them since I left when I asked him.
Could my Xlarge emerald crab have caught them while they were sleeping and eaten them?
<Yes>

I didn't see the female wrasse 2 days before I left. I thought she was in the rock work hiding. The lid was tight but I checked the
floor and behind and under the tank stand just in case. Still there is no trace of either one.
<Crab bait>

The emerald crab is about 3.5 inches wide from one end of his carapace to the other from end to end not eyes to backside. I am tempted to give him to my puffer fish in a different set up as an early Christmas dinner.
<Shall I sing a song?>
The wrasse were beautiful. Any thoughts as to if he or she is the culprit?
Do emerald crab normally get this big?
Kellylynn
<See my comments on WWM... the butler/crab "did it". Bob Fenner>

Frustrations... NO3 high, pH too low... mysterious fish losses? Predation     7/24/14
Hey there bob. I have my tank running the best it has in probably ten years. Fish are healthy, skimmers working properly and my nitrates are a manageable 40 thanks to bio pellets .
<... .what happened w/ the CO2?>

One issue I have is fish loss. Last week I lost a blue ring angel I had for a while doing really well. Came home to find him swimming around with both eyes gone, torn out. I put him out of his misery, felt horrible. Nice fish too.
Chalking it up to not every or every fish gets along, today I came home and my aregula (so?)
<Look it up>
butterfly also suffered some the same fate. Healthy one day, the next torn up with both eyes missing. The most aggressive fish I have are a powder blue and a porcupine puffer.
Is this something people just come to expect with fowlrs, or is it maybe something I should be doing differently, feeding more than twice per day etc?
<...? Yes... READ on WWM>
Very upset and starting to see why people opt for more peaceful, reef tanks.
Thanks
RE: Frustrations     7/24/14

Ah yes, c02. A friend of the family is a home inspector who is going to set up his meter in various parts of the house. He doesn't believe it is an issue, but promised to run the tests to confirm.
<Am very interested in knowing the results>
In the mean time, after speaking with American marine, and comparing it to another ph meter, he wants me to send it back to exchange, as it showing issues calibrating? As a test, I mixed up new saltwater outside in fresh air for 24 hours, and at 12 alk, measured 7.8 ph. According to randy
Farley, that simply is not possible outside.
<Something; again... is not right here>
I will let you know how the co2 tests come out . Thanks
<Thank you. BobF>
co2 update... and ongoing fish predation, SW     7/30/14

Hey Bob-
<Robert>
Co2 levels in the house with ac on and doors and windows shut was 700 ppm.
From what I understand, in normal conditions, a typical house will have between 400-1000.
<Mmm; well; when I was a kid, there was about 350 ppm in the atmosphere;
now there's about 400... Some houses have 1k; but this is still high>
And lastly to follow up on a question I asked last week, about eyes going missing, there are two more victims this week.
<... the puffer>
A large emperor angel, is now missing an eye, and a red stripe athia, which is missing both eyes. The emperor angel had both eyes when the lights went off last night, this morning just on eye.
Is there a disease that will cause this to happen relatively quick?
<... no>
I have not witnessed any aggression from any of my fish during my time watching it.
Likely culprit could be the porcupine puffer, guinea fowl puffer, Hawaiian durgeon trigger, or a niger trigger.
<Could be any; my bet's on the Diodontid>
That's four fish in two weeks that have succumbed to eyes gone missing.
<Separate them....>
Thanks
RE: co2 update    7/30/14

Understood. Is that when there was 6 feet of snow on the ground year round, and 45 degree up hill walks, both to and from school?
<Heee! On horses!>
Kidding aside, I am glad I know it is not at a dangerous level in my house.
But further confused about low ph, if that's safe, and alkalinity is good, what gives.
<... see, one last time... WWM re pH, Alkalinity. This mystery... test kit/s, mix; needs still to be solved>
Also, I am going to 1 by 1 remove the fish until I find the criminal. Not really a good test, because of the fish left, they are pretty tough, the easier, samples (variable) are already damaged.
I am thinking a puffer too, but just curious, what makes you say the diadon (porcupine) over the guinea fowl (arothron)?
<See WWM re>
... Ich returns, again   7/31/14
Hey Bob-
<Rob>
On horses? That trip doesn't seem so dismal anymore now does it?
The porcupine puffer is coming out today and going back to lfs. No way a 40 dollar fish is going to consume money like that on me.
But I am going to try this one more time, before letting mother nature (not really though, mom nature did not put these creatures in a 6x2x2 space after all).
<Ah no>

inquiries. Fish divots         3/12/14
Hi Bob, or whomever (thanks in advance)
My fiancés father has a FO system and today while I was there, I paid particular close attention to some of his fish.
Two things stood out to me, and before I say anything to him, I want to ensure what I saw to be correct.
First, he has a larger Koran angel like I once did. On the fish, you could see little white patches towards the back half of the fish. You could also see salt like speckles (flukes?)
<May be>

 on or near his gills. Advising him to freshwater dip the fish to see if that was the case, he did, for 3 minutes in aerated, RO, temp adjusted water. After 3 minutes, those specs were still there.
<Possibly "just blem.s"... mucus-filled pits from some sort of injury>
I am assuming they can not be flukes since these would have most like fallen off the fish?
<Likely>
 Or could it be once the flukes get in the gills, they are protected? I didn't want to use the word crypt just yet and open that can of worms.
Secondly, he has a powder blue tang, about 5 inches or. It has what appears to be "stress bars" on the actual body of the fish. However, on one side, and one side only, there appears to be divots or craters. Right behind the fin that flaps as the fish swims.
<These too>
I am not sure how to describe it, however, the best I can give is when someone has bad acne as a kid, and later on it leaves terrible scars or craters, appears something like that.
<A type of HLLE... not always caused/linked to Octomita>
My first guess is HLLE, but I have never seen it up close and personal. If my description seems synonymous with HLLE, I will nicely mention it, and from what I understand, better nutrition with perhaps Selcon may help.
<Always>
I know the tank is grounded, not sure about nitrates etc.
Any input where I could be of better help would be appreciated. Thanks
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter. Mixed Cnid sys.; all new fishes die, disappear overnight...   10/12/13
Sorry if this is redundant, but I e-mailed a few days ago and think my mail got lost in cyberspace. And I want to thank you for such a cool, helpful site--it has really been a great source of information for me.
<Haven't seen this>
I have a 100g reef tank with a 30g sump. This tank was inherited with the house we bought 6 years ago, so I don't know the initial set-up history and whether the original fish were ever sick, etc. I had also never had an aquarium before so there was a huge learning curve while I sorted out how to take care of this thing. Now, I have a wonderful hobby that I didn't even know existed.
<Neat!>
So, here's my dilemma.  With the tank came an adult Naso tang (which I re-homed once I realized the tank was too small for him), an adult yellow tang, and a mated pair of clowns. I still have the 3 original fish and they are apparently very healthy. But, EVERY new fish that I've attempted to introduce to the display dies within 1-6 weeks with really no signs of illness prior. Like, eating vigorously and normal behavior the night before, disappeared the next morning never to be seen again.
<... maybe I did see this. Disappeared?>
More details: All parameters seem fine, SG 1.025, pH 8.2, no detectable nitrites, nitrates, phosphates,
<... no NO3 or HPO4? Strange>
 etc. Ca is 380-420, temp is 78 regulated with thermostat and
heaters/chiller. There are no meds or additives in the display as I have a ton of soft corals
<What species, families are these?>
 and inverts. The corals are super healthy, in fact the colt coral has achieved weed status.
<Trouble; toxic. So far this is the prime candidate of new losses; but the dissolving?>
Inverts include: turbo and narcissus snails, a pink sea urchin, 2 cleaner shrimp, and blue-legged hermits. I have lost some inverts over the years, but nothing I would consider abnormal. Most of my Turbos are several years old.
I put all new fish in a quarantine tank for 3-4 weeks after a freshwater dip. They do great in the quarantine (which is supplied with seasoned display tank water). The losses have included: a bicolor blenny, pajama cardinals (3), a pygmy angel, a juvenile Foxface, and the last loss was 3 blue damsels. I didn't want aggressive fish in the tank but thought they would at least be hardy, but alas, the last one is gone.
I've never seen a predator in the tank, and I'd think after 6 years I might have seen a clue if there's a mantis or something stealing my fish at night. I do have a ton of live rock (not sure how much since I didn't initially stock the tank) and it would be a near-impossible chore to remove it all w/o destroying some of the coral. The tank is also built into the wall, so added difficulty there.
My other thought is a disease process in the tank that the "originals" are immune to. I can catch all of the fish pretty easily-the tang is quite tame and the clowns aren't great swimmers. My plan is to catch them all, do a fresh water dip, then put them in QT and run the display fallow for 8 weeks, then try again.
<Mmm, won't solve this issue>
Does this sound like a reasonable plan? Should I also set up a trap for possible predator while I'm doing this?
<Worth trying>
 I've heard of the inverted bottle trap, but I'm thinking I'll just catch gross benign hitchhikers that will make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up (I may never be the same if I have to deal with a huge Bristleworm
or something).
<Maybe>
Thanks!
Amanda
<That the new purchases in quarantine did fine, WITH water from the display tank discounts the Alcyonacean poisoning possibility... I would try a few types of traps. Previously I referred you to our sections on Stomatopod and Alpheid compatibility (that have input re traps, trapping). I would add the Polychaete worm compatibility reading per your comments. Do you know how to find these files? Bob Fenner>
Re: Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter    10/13/13

Wow, thanks so much for the quick reply!
<Welcome Amanda>
To answer your questions, the corals are: colt coral (everywhere-I "weed" it weekly, and this all started from a single 2" frag),
<Do read re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/alcyoncompfaqs.htm
These soft corals produce copious amounts of Terpenoids... chemical warfare agents... particularly if "competing" or challenged...>
 various mushrooms, a 14" rock covered in zoos, some palys, a large hammer, and a few toadstools and other leathers.
<.... all these as well. You likely have an allelopathogenic event going on here>
There is also a large hitch-hiker rock anemone.
<Misplaced... the likely trigger>

I actually have a small Foxface who has been in "permanent" QT (3 months or so) since I've been afraid to move him up to the display.
<A good test fish... for "when it's over">
 My QT is a 55g with about 20lb live rock so he's pretty happy in there. I'm thinking of moving the other fish into this aquarium to rule out the "mysterious illness" theory.
<Only on a day where you can place in the AM and watch, be there during... to move>
 While I'm doing that, I will put some mouse and bottle traps in the main tank and see what I get. Hopefully nothing that will give me nightmares.
<Good>
I'll keep you updated. Thanks again,
Amanda
<And one other reading assignment:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/CorlCompArt.htm
and the linked files above till you think you have a grasp.... BobF>

Pistol Shrimp? 2/25/13
Hello, I've had a case of the disappearance of two burrowing fish. I have a 120 gallon reef with a yellow head wrasse, a slip<pery> dick wrasse, a whitetail tang, a blue tang (Caribbean) and two blue Chromis and a royal gramma.  In June last year, I bought a Pearly JF. He dug a burrow in front of a rock in the center of the tank, and was visible throughout the day.
His fins were slightly ragged, but he ate Newlife Spectrum pellets and Mysid. He seemed very happy. Then, about 1.5 months later, he doesn't cover up his burrow at night and peeks out from below the sand. Mind that he had a good SB to dig in. The next day he's gone. No signs of aggression from tank mates, no body, no new burrows. I give it some time, he doesn't show up. His burrow was empty. Then, in December I bought a diamond Head goby.
He dug a burrow in the same exact spot and the next day he was gone. Now I hear popping/snapping all day and night. It's audible over the radio and is distinctly different from water trickling. I have seen neither hair nor hide of anything looking close to a pistol or mantis shrimp in my tank, and curiously enough, my cleaner shrimp is happy as can be.
<What species is this cleaner? Stenopids are fish eaters>
 I have tried traps but nothing ha<s> shown up. If this is a pistol shrimp, it's definitely Atlantic, which Is bad news. I have a hard time believing it's a mantis because it's stayed out of sight for so long.
<Mmm, well, there are some small, more reclusive species of stomatopods...
or could even be some variety of aggressive, largish bristle worm/s at play here>
Coincidentally, I saw a hermit crab go bouncing down my rocks, accompanied by a cacophony of popping whenever he bounced, but I doubt he made that sound.
<Me too>
(I am positive that neither fish jumped out of the tank and did not make it into the overflows) I've officially called off the search for the fish and will probably find out what caused their demises before I buy another burrowing fish, which I love.
Thanks, Luis.
<Try other traps. Have you read re on WWM? Bob Fenner>
Re: Pistol Shrimp?

Thanks for your reply. The cleaner shrimp is a skunk cleaner shrimp, mostly keeps to himself, cleans the fish every now and then.
<Are almost always safe>
I haven't read too much yet, but I'll need to find the criminal. I'm thinking of redoing my rockscape, that should probably be when I should look for the shrimp, right?
<Yes... do wear gloves... some folks splash soda water into cracks, crevices to flush out hiders>
 I'll try traps. I'm thinking about the bristle worm part...I don't think I have any monsters yet...but I could be very wrong, the tank is a year old.
<Have seen some really neat footage of co-inhabiters w/ fishes in tubes...
Including large bristleworms. B>
Re: Pistol Shrimp? 2/25/13

I know the popping is definitely a clue to what's causing the disappearances. Do you think it's a pistol shrimp or mantis shrimp?
<Could be either, or both>
 It's not so much as a knocking as a popping, but I know that water sort of distorts sound.
<Ah yes. B>

Re: Disappearing Burrowing Fish    11/24/12
Alright, thank you. I have been hearing a sound in my tank for some time that sounds like a pistol shrimp or mantis.
 It sounds more like a popping than clicking,
<Ahh, could be from either, both>
but no other fish have died. As far as a Bristleworm, would it have to be big or just big enough to kill at night?
<Yes... these are quite common, and usually commensal... i.e. they don't kill the host fish/excavator>
:( I'd hate to hear that's how they died- a hitchhiker, but thanks anyway.
<Welcome. BobF>

Seeking some expert insight. Mysterious (predatory) losses   5/23/12
Hello Crew,
<Joe>
     I absolutely love the work you all put into this site. I have kept tropical fish for many years with much success and have finally taken the dive into the wonderful world of everything salty and have had a saltwater aquarium up and running for about 6 months. I need some advice and will try to be as descriptive and thorough about my build, stock, and water parameters as humanly possible.
<Good>
     So without further ado here are my details. I have a 55 gallon glass aquarium with the following equipment running Aqueon QuietFlow 55/75 HOB filter, Eshopps PSK100H skimmer,  All Glass Aquariums 200 watt heater, 4 bulb Coralife 48 inch lunar T-5 lighting system, two Maxi-Jet 600 power heads one on each side for circulation, and a Seio 1000 GPH power head that i have at the very top of the water column for surface agitation. A side note I am currently working on a DIY Sump/Fuge setup can't wait to get rid of that HOB filter.
<Good to have redundancy>
   The stock level as of two weeks ago before my current problem is as follows 50 lbs of live rock, 3 Turbo Snails, 8 Red Leg hermits, a Emerald Crab, 2 Peppermint Shrimp, 2 False Perc. tank raised Clownfish, a Royal Gramma, a Six-Line Wrasse, a Yellow Tang, a Bartlett's Anthias,
<Social animals... if there were but more room>
 a Lawnmower Blenny, and a small Orange Ricordea.
     The water temperature is always in the 79-80 degree range. The water parameters as of this afternoon are as follows Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 10, PH 8.0, and salinity is 1023.
<I'd raise up a few thousandths>
    Now finally onto my problem. Two weeks ago I lost my presumably male clown as he was the smaller of the two. Found him stuck to the side of one of the Maxi-Jet 600s in the morning. I assumed that the female had rejected him and put him down. So i checked my water to make sure there was no ammonia spike with his death and everything was normal(and when i say normal i mean ammonia 0, nitrite 0, and nitrate below 15 with a PH ranging from 8.0 to 8.2 and salinity around 1022 to 1024). About a week and a half later i found the female clown dead in the morning in a crevice in the live rock and noticed when removing her she looked kinda beat and torn up.
<Mmm, perhaps the Pseudocheilinus, maybe the Mithraculus... or something hidden?>
Now i began scratching my head a bit more and once again checked the water and everything was normal again. I feel this should be mentioned with all of the losses mentioned here i have seen no unusual behavior from my fish all appeared healthy and ate normally. Finally this morning I awoke to find my Royal Gramma was the next fatality in this chain of events and the final straw that led me to seek some outside insight. She also was removed beaten and torn. I checked the water twice today and the most current readings are stated in the above paragraph.
     Doing my own research into this mystery i have come to a few possible conclusions. One theory is the Six-Line Wrasse is a mass murderer.
<Yes; my first guess>
Which i suppose is possible he did always seem to have a vendetta for the Royal but never bothered the Clowns. Second theory i have come up with is after doing some research is that it is possible that some of my equipment could be leaking stray voltage into the tank water.
<I discount this... all would be mal-affected>
This theory i am going to test later on today with a voltmeter and get a grounding probe regardless of the results. The third and final conclusion I have come up with is the possibility of a Mantis Shrimp or some other predatory hitch hiker killing my smaller fish.
<Ahh, yes... my third guess>
 I am at a little of a loss but am pretty sure its one of those three guesses most probably the first but would like some expert opinions. Thank you in advance for your time and consideration once again love everything you guys and gals do. Sorry for the super long question.
<Mmm, well... if you had other tanks... I'd bait/trap to see what you might have... remove the Sixline for a while, or trade it in. Bob Fenner>

Re: Territorial Clown    5/1/12
Well it has been about a month now. I have attempted 2 more times to reintroduce the clown (with the lights off) waiting 7 days in between. The clown immediately went for the Kole Tang which has made a full recovery since the attack. I have some images of the tang when it was damaged and now as a before and after reference.
<Have to be separated permanently>
To make matters worse the tang has now become a bit aggressive toward the other rock grazing fish and now chases around my wrasse, and potters angel.
The clown has been in the sump with two other damsels for almost 3 weeks now. I'm debating on whether to give him one more chance or not but am not hopeful that he will stop and don't feel like breaking the tank down again now. Perhaps one of these coming weekends.
Cheers,
Mike
<BobF>

Damsel Assault (or was it?) – 04/24/12
I recently added a Starcki Damsel (1.5 inch) and a Halichoeres chrysus (2.5 inch) to my 150 gallon tank. Cohabitants include Centropyge tang,
<<Hmm…a missing comma/description>>
ocellaris clown, Tomini tang, Falco hawk, long spined urchin, and three green Chromis (smaller than starcki). At this time I also rearranged the approximately 150 pounds of live rock. For a couple days, the only thing I noticed was a general "feeling out" of everyone. Then I was gone for a day and when I got back, my Nassarius snails were finishing off my wrasse (who had been eating well and sleeping under the sand at night previously) and my Starcki had a significant (1/4 to 1/2 inch) vertical wound on the back third of his body. I find it hard to believe it would have been a rock or something, so which of my inhabitants are the most likely culprit?
<<Several possibilities…Tangs, Angel (Centropyge?), Hawk…even the Chromis>>
My Falco is fairly aggressive,
<<Indeed>>
but didn't know if it could produce a wound this significant.
<<Maybe…or maybe caused by running in to something while being chase>>
The tangs could (Tomini is about 4"), but I was surprised that they would bother the Starcki.
<<Though unlikely, don’t discount their ability to do harm to smaller non-threatening/competing tankmates. Especially when well established>>
Any thoughts?
<<Is a guessing game at this stage. It’s possible the wrasse was already compromised when you received it…it’s possible the injury to the Damsel is a fluke/accident, or something else altogether (bacterial/parasitic complaint). No way to say what or who (if any) is the culprit here>>
Thanks for all you guys do!
<<Happy to share>>
You're a Godsend to those of us muddling through!
<<Keep muddling/learning! EricR>>

disappearing fish   1/19/12
Hi,
<Rudy>
My fish keep disappearing and I'm hoping you can help me.
<Me too>
I have a 30 gallon FOWLR tank that has finished cycling; it has been running with about 15 pounds of live rock for about 5 weeks.
I have a sea clone skimmer and a HOT Magnum filter running.
I put in a six line wrasse that swam around and ate for three days, and then I found it dead on the bottom of the tank.
Had the LFS check my water, and it was fine.
I then put in a blue damsel and it quickly swam to hide in the live rock.
That's the last I saw of him.
The next day I tried to feed it, but it never showed, also I can't find the body.  I looked on the floor but no fish.
I also have some hermit crabs (small ones) a turbo snail, emerald crab (who does not seem to move from his spot on some coral),
<This species is often predaceous. Read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/MithraxCompF.htm
and a peppermint shrimp
(who I haven't seen in days).
<Mmm>
I did notice two small brown anemones on the live rock.  Could they be stinging the fish to death?
<Not likely; but a remote possibility.>
Can I possibly have a mantis shrimp?
<Yes; and/or Pistol/s. Do you detect/hear any noise... clicking, popping, coming from the tank... esp. at night?>
  The crabs seem to be doing just fine.
My next plan is to add a clown fish - something big that can't hide.
Any suggestions?
<Yes: to remove, systematically, all rock/decor and rinse it... in soda water... in order to discover if you have a problematic crustacean (or large worm!) present. Please read here re:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mantiscompfaqs.htm
Otherwise, you can try baiting/trapping...>
 I hate losing fish this way.
Thanks,
Rudy
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: disappearing fish   1/19/12

Thanks, I am going to take out the live rock and clean it this weekend.
<Ah, good>
Just to review the procedure:
1. Remove one piece of LR and dip or pour soda water on it?
Any particular type (sprite, coke, ...)
<Not a brand, but type... If the rock is small enough, dip into a pan of the soda water...>
Do I submerge the LR into a bucket containing the soda water?
<Ah yes>
Do I hold the LR and use a turkey baster to blast the soda water into all the holes?
2. Put LR in a separate bucket and repeat process until all LR has been treated.
<Sure>
Should I wear any protective gloves? (Can a mantis shrimp hurt me?)
<Could if it's large, and bristleworms, other organisms in/on the LR can as well. Yes to the gloves>
If I have a mantis shrimp will it just fall off the LR?
<Likely will "scoot" out on contact>
Also, I have a 30 gallon tank and only about 15 pounds of LR.  Should I take this opportunity to add more LR?
<I'd hold off for now>
Should I douse the new LR with soda water before adding it to my tank if I get more LR?
<A good idea to isolate... quarantine a few weeks>
Can I slowly add more live rock over the next few months or will this keep my tank cycling and kill my fish?
<See WWM, or the above>
Sorry for so many questions but I am excited about actually being able to keep fish alive in my tank.
Thanks,
Rudy
<Welcome. BobF>
Re: disappearing fish   1/19/12

Great news!!
I just saw my damsel swimming in the tank!
Apparently he dug a small cave under one of the rocks in the sand.
Odd he didn't come out for food yesterday, and wasn't swimming all evening.
When he saw me he quickly swam into his cave.
I still don't know why the six line wrasse died.
My LFS told me even though they tested the water and everything was fine, that my tank was still cycling.
LFS said with only 15 pounds of live rock in the 30 gallon tank, it would probably take a little longer than 5-6 weeks to cycle.
It's been 5 weeks so far.   LFS suggested I wait another week before adding
some more fish.
<Good advice. B>
Rudy

Fishy Cooperation: Scientists Discover Coordinated Hunting Between Groupers, Giant Moray Eels    1/4/12
> Hello Marco, Bob,
> Thought this might interest.
> http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/12/061206095317.htm 
> Cheers, Neale<Have observed this association in the wild myself. B>
And now saltwater Piranha! I.e. some damselfishes!    1/4/12

Really? Sounds extraordinary.
Am watching a new BBC documentary called "Great Barrier Reef: Nature's Miracle". Some amazing footage. There's the Epaulette Shark, which apparently is adapted to the reef top. During low tide and when exposed to air, the shark can walk about on the coral from one pool to another, and even shuts down parts of it brain to conserve oxygen. Apparently this is its ecological niche, feeding at low tide when other fish and crustaceans can't move about or escape from pools of water.
There was also a White Damselfish, apparently the fish responsible for more attacks on divers than anything else on the reef. Not fatal ones of course!
If this show appears on BBC America, do watch.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0198pww
Cheers, Neale
<Ounce/gram for ounce/gram, the toughest, most territorial animals I've ever encountered>

Coral beauty growth    11/26/11
Hello,
I am going to attach a picture of a growth on the right lower fin and under belly of my coral beauty. i noticed it on his fin first about 3 weeks ago and thought it an injury from a crab,
<IS a physical injury>
because like the cleaner shrimp he likes to come up to the emerald crab to get "cleaned". The last two days he has not been coming out from his cave that much to graze. I have actually never seen him eat, only graze. I offer him an assortment of algae sheets, my sis, krill, brine and flake and pellet. Can you please identify the growth so I know how to proceed with treatment?
<See WWM re such>
I have a 55 gal. Reef tank with two clowns, assorted crabs, snails, and shrimp.
Thanks
Rob
<We don't accept files larger than a few hundred Kbytes. Bob Fenner>

Subject: Coral beauty growth    11/27/11

Deleted as well
Hi,
I emailed earlier today about a growth on my angel. Here is another picture
to help identify. The growth is eating away the fin and forming a "hole" in
his under side by the fin.
Thanks for the help
Rob

Re: Coral beauty growth    11/27/11
Thanks for the reply bob. Sport about the size so you think it is a physical injury?
<Almost assuredly... Remove the Mithraculus>
I would assume from the crab. I will read up on out however the last two days he has been acting different. <ly> As I said out and about not as much and not grazing. Does the injury get infected?
<Can; easily at times... there's no real cure/treatment for such other than good quality and nutrition... BobF>
Rob

Cramped conditions are giving rise to fish-on-fish violence
Crowding life  
> Hello Bob,
<Neale>
> Of interest?
> http://io9.com/5844116/cramped-conditions-are-giving-rise-to-homicidal-fish
> Cheers, Neale
<Ah yes... a common behavioral reaction/repertoire from crowding amongst many species... Including Homo. B>

Regarding scopas tang, over and mis-stocked 55, Labroides placement     9/25/11
<... three plus megs. of a crap photo... Do you have any idea of what it takes to download this in Fiji? Do you care? Arrgghhh!>
Hi there, hope all is well with you. Since being in this hobby, for about 6months with saltwater fish and corals, I have learned so much from the site. Okay I purchased a juvenile brown scopas tang and a baby bristle tooth tang. I qt for 2 weeks, with no meds, I decided to add it to my 55 gallon until my larger aquarium finishes
<... not much room>
cycling after a freshwater dip. In my tank I have a pair of tomato clowns,
<Will become dominant here; beat the tar out of most all other fishes>
2 cleaner shrimp who molt regularly, 2 peppermint shrimp, cleaner wrasse
<This Labroides is misplaced here. See WWM re... trade in while there is still time>
who always eats, and cleanup crew. I have a few soft coral mostly Zoas and mushroom and about 55 lbs of live rock.
Okay, everyone is fine...no hostility unless the female clown is putting the male in place or arguing with the emerald crab,
<Will get worse>
but my cleaner wrasse seems to be harassing my scopas.
<Yes... too few "customers" here...>
He nips and nips and one fin, almost like a Pitt bull. I'm not sure I'd he is hurting smokey the scopas or not. Now here's the prob. Now he has sum spots that kind of look like Ick. How is that when I follow your website religiously.
<... stress from the Labroides, too short a quarantine period>
What should I do. It does look like its been spreading bc its been 3days and he still swims and plays with the other tang, and he eats. He always been shy so Imma try to take a good picture.
I feed then Mysis, formula 2, Nori, seaweed, and krill. I soak their food with garlic from SeaChem. Could the wrasse be stressing him out, plz don't tell me I have to remove them and let my tank fallow. Thanks so so very very much!!
<Start w/ removing the cleaner and reading on WWM. Bob Fenner>

re: Regarding scopas tang    9/26/11
I'm so sorry about the crappy pic, he kept moving,
<The size...>
I'm so sorry, and I didn't realize you was <were> in Figi, my dream trip.
<Come on out and visit>
I think I already had answered my question when I sent it to you. So sorry to waste your time.
This morning we are gonna remove everything and let the tank rest. But isn't a 20 gallon to <too> small for my stock,
<Yes>
I know it is but even for temporary purposes?
<Only very temporary... tens of minutes>
Well I'm not gonna burn you out with these novice questions.
Thanks so much and have safe travels.
<Thank you. Please read on WWM re the species you list/have, re Cryptocaryon and in-tank treatments, and remove the Labroides as previously suggested. BobF>
re: Regarding scopas tang   9/26/11

Ps. I do very much care. :-)
<Ahh, good. B>

75g fish compatibility problems   7/13/11
Hi,
<Hello Tony>
I'm having problems finding a group of fish that will all live happily together in my 75g tank.
<Oh?>
My tank is a 4ft tank 75g with no sump and internal protein skimmer. It is a coral reef tank with at least 100lbs of live rock and not huge amounts of swimming room for the size of tank.
It has been set up for around 10 months. All parameters I believe are good, ammonia/nitrite 0, nitrate around 5ppm, ph. 8.2 and S.G. at 1.025. I have about 8 years fish keeping experience but only about 3 years or so with marine.
My current stocking is as follows:
Kole Tang (3.5 inch long been in tank for 7 months)
Yellow fin flasher wrasse (male, 3.5 inches long, in tank for 6 weeks)
Purple Dartfish (fully grown, in tank for 9 months had fish for 3+ years)
Ocellaris clown (2.5 inch, in tank for 9 months had fish for 3+ years)
Royal gramma (3 inch long been in tank for 4 months)
Also in the tank is a coral banded shrimp, snails and various coral mainly LPS with a large section live rock covered in mushroom coral.
The problems is that the Kole tang and the wrasse are attacking most other fish in the tank.
<Mmm, well... if this tank were a bit larger... 100 gallons, five foot long or more, I'd be getting two or more females to go w/ the Wrasse...>
The Kole tang will chase the purple Dartfish the moment it appears from the live rock (which is very rare these days). The wrasse will also do this but not quite so aggressively.
The wrasse is attacking the royal gramma. The aggression was the other way around when I introduced the wrasse to the tank but now the wrasse is charging at the gramma and has caused some damage to its fins.
The wrasse sometimes does this to the clown also but I haven't seen any damage as yet.
The Kole tang follows the wrasse around constantly where ever it goes, it doesn't attack the wrasse but it is probably irritating it. It is also around whenever the wrasse attacks the gramma and clown but I'm unsure as to whether it is showing aggression to the other fish or just following the wrasse.
I'm considering removing both the Yellow fin wrasse and Kole tang and returning to the LFS. The tank is maybe a bit small for the tang and the wrasse lacks females which are not easy to get hold of here. I like both fish and will be sad to part with them but I will do whatever to bring calm to the tank. Is this the best course of action?
<May seem a bit odd, but I'd first try covering one outside end panel w/ paper... to negate internal reflection. At times, territorial animals "get riled up" seeing their own reflections in aquariums. This may well solve the issue of agonistic behavior here>
If I have to remove the aggressive fish what would you recommend replacing these fish with for a happy tank?
<I'd try the paper first>
I'm finding it hard to find fish that are suitable my size tank and get along with the other fish, corals and inverts. I was thinking of a Banggai cardinal fish and some form of blenny (I liked the bicolor in my previous 25g tank but it did annoy my Duncan corals). Will these be suitable.
<The blenny might have problems w/ the Gramma, Microdesmid>
Any help or advice you can give will be very much appreciated.
Thanks for an extremely informative website.
Tony
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Crab id, Angrish   3/31/11
hi there I found this mean lookin thing in my tank any ideas please
ive lost a snail and a hermit crab and thinkin this is the bandit
any help would be great thanks
dan =)
<Dan... see WWM re writing us... Proper English... and Decapods. Bob Fenner>

 

At my wit's end/ mystery predator  1/26/11
Hi crew,
<Sean>
I find myself in a rather unfortunate and frustrating situation. My 20 gallon reef tank has been up and running for almost 2 years. I have not added any new rock in almost a year, and I have not added any new livestock or corals in several months. About 4 months ago, my favorite fish, an A. percula that I'd had from the early days of my tank, vanished without a trace.
<Mmm, outside the tank? Cat w/ a grin?>
I replaced it with a small pair of Perculas, and the first one was gone within a week. The other one followed suit shortly after. My clean up crew has also disappeared little by little.
<!?>
Thursday night, my pistol shrimp went missing, and Saturday afternoon I found what's left of it ripped to pieces and most of its shell cleaned out. Picture a lobster dinner just before the check comes. That's basically what I found outside my shrimp and goby's burrow. I still have my yellow watchman goby, but it is hiding in a bolt hole deep inside my rock work, rather than being its usual territorial self and staring me down when I'm in front of my tank.
So my question is this... What the heck is killing all my livestock?
<Most likely a Mantis/Stomatopod, but might be a large/r Errantiate Polychaete, or even a nasty Decapod>
I haven't seen or heard any evidence of a mantis shrimp or a rock crab or even an unusually large bristle worm.
<Oh! There are our guesses>
I moved my tank a few weeks ago, and I found nothing in the tank, nothing on the rock, nothing in the shipping container I moved the rock in... I've checked the lights on, with the lights off, with a flashlight... Nothing. No burrows, no pile of empty hermit shells, no evidence of moulting... Nothing.
Can you help me with my homicidal ghost?
Thanks.
Sean Campbell
<Maybe setting a baited trap at night... Otherwise, systematic removal of all decor (spritzing w/ soda water) and "combing" the substrate might well reveal the culprit here. Bob Fenner>
Re: At my wit's end/ mystery predator  1/26/11

Thanks Bob. I have a friend coming over this evening to help with a hypersaline dip and soda water spritz. I'll let you know what we find.
<Thank you Sean. BobF>
Re: At my wit's end/ mystery predator  1/27/11
Hi Bob, we dipped and spritzed every piece of rock in my tank, and all we found were small bristle worms, micro brittle stars, some tiny limpets, and a couple of small hitch hiker bivalves. I would like to add another fish or two, but not until I figure out what's been killing off my livestock. I'm stumped. Any other suggestions?
Sean
<Mmm, well... it could be some other cause at work here Sean. Maybe some aspect of water quality is/was killing your fishes, and they just rapidly decomposing. Only way really to tell, assess is by "bioassay"... i.e. adding new fish/es. BobF>

Missing fish, Saltwater 1/19/11
Hi WWM staff!
<Hello>
I have on occasion written via email to the WWM staff over the last 8 years of my saltwater tank hobby. This time I am missing 2 fish.
First, I have 2 saltwater tanks. The main tank is 75 gal reef tank which is doing just fine. I added fish after much encouragement from WWM staff. I had back surgery and hired someone to take care of my tank who gave ideas for more colorful fish and I have now my favorite fish! Midas Blenny, blue/green Chromis as we saw these in real life snorkeling in Tahiti and my lovely sweet yellow Tang. Guess who is my favorite!
<Hopefully more than 1 Chromis, they do best in fairly large groups. I don't think you included your favorite fish in the email, which must be Dogfish Fenner.><<Haa!>>
Anyway, onto my missing fish. A couple years ago I set up a 30 gallon reef tank. I have some small green striped mushrooms, some branching frogspawn, some xenia and polyps which grew from a rock I had for 5 years.
I have a serpent star who was living for the past year with my 2 inch yellow Watchman Goby and a Purple Fire Fish. I also have a few Nassarius snails.
We do have a crab that lives in the tank of unknown origin. I don't know if my son who started this hobby with the 75 gallon tank years ago put this crab into the tank or it came with a piece of live rock. In any case, this little fellow has red striped legs, back pincher and the body is flat about the size of my small finger nail.
<Probably too small to be a threat to all but the smallest fish.>
One day our purple fire fish who was very healthy in a tank that is doing very well disappeared. I waited a couple months and then added to Bengali cardinals that are quite small, tank raised and I am hoping male and female.
At this time I noticed my yellow Watchman Goby was missing. He has not come out to eat as his usual pattern for a week. I have 1 large rock with various nooks and crannies for fish and critters to live in. The tank now has 4 smaller rock with 4 inches sand bed. To encourage and assure my Bengali Cardinals are eating I was feeding more often and watching to see my new fish were eating. My Watchman Goby did not come out to eat the past 3 days which is highly unusual for him/her.
I did a water change and moved the rocks around so I could lift the large rock, placing it so now the is rock standing vertical with just a 2 inch portion into the sand for support. I moved the other rocks away, and located Crabby the crab. I removed the crab with his rock containing my polyps. I was waiting to see if my Watchman Goby would come out from the large rock if he is in there. I set up a smaller group of rocks for him to hang out amongst but few enough so I could see him. I also have visual around the entire large rock.
I planned to get rid of Crabby the crab but after several years of enjoying just him in the tank and having reverence for life I cannot grab him with a tweezers and get him out of his rock.
<I doubt he is the problem.>
That was when I wondered if the serpent star could have grabbed my fish during the night and ate them.
<That would be my guess.>
Although he would have eaten the Purple Fire Fish even though he was burrowing with the Watchman Goby and for 2 months afterwards. The serpent star we have had for years, he has a center size of a silver dollar and is brown in color.
<Mine is about the same size, and never bothered anything till I tried to add a couple of mollies, he grabbed them right out in the open as they small by. Stupid tasty mollies.>
I am looking for advise, information and knowledge from your experience and background with these wonderful animals.
<Assuming he did not die from other causes and was cleaned up by the crab and other critters which can happen very quickly I would put my money on the serpent star.>
I haven't said much regarding the parameters of the water as they are fine.
I do test, and also do frequent water changes especially on the 30 gallon!
I have read much over the years on WWM and know my parameters are not the cause of fish missing when no parts could be found and they had been healthy, eating and swimming well the day before. I can provide this information if you think it will be a benefit.
Susie
<Odds are it was the starfish, and you may have to decide if you want to keep him with small, rock-loving, easily catchable fish or find him a new home without the temptations.>
<Chris>
Re: Missing fish, Saltwater 1/20/11
Chris,
<Hi>
You confirmed my thoughts. I will keep Crabby as he is my husband's pet so to speak. For now I am out of rock loving fish but wonder would the serpent star be able to catch my Bengali Cardinals?
<He might.>
These are my favorite fish--only ones- in this tank. But, the fish I love the most now is the Yellow Tang who just is so sweet.
<They are very nice fish.>
My Chromis are a odd bunch. I purchased on line 9 fish. They were very, very small to start with 3 died shortly after getting them they were very inexpensive and I was reimbursed. The remaining 6 are 5 or 6. 3 grew fairly fast and most certainly there is one leader in this pack. 3 will swim the tank the other 2-3 are hiding mostly in my huge amount of branching frogspawn or on the other side in the rocks. I thought they would want to stay as a group also.
<Usually but not always.>
1 or 2 is not much larger than when I purchased them and I try to go out of my way to feed small food, extra to the area where he hangs out. Because they hide so well in the frogspawn or behind a rock I am not sure if I have 5 or 6. Hopefully, the other 2-3 will grow to the same size and just perhaps they can all hang out together.
When we were snorkeling we were surrounded by a crowd of over 500 Green/Blue Chromis. In the wild they are so beautiful!
<It is something to see.>
So my question is:
Do you think my Bengali Cardinals are safe from the Serpent Star?
<Hard to say, definitely target feed the star which will hopefully help.>
For color I though I might add a tank raised Clown Fish who could possibly enjoy the Frogspawn in the 30 gal tank.--or is this not a good idea?
<It will probably be fine.>
And, would the Clown Fish be safe from the menace of the tank--the serpent or crab?
<Same chance as the cardinals.>
And, I was just reviewing all the Clown Fish now available at Live Aquaria--I would choose a peaceful Clown Fish but it seems that Live Aquaria recommend more than 1 Clown Fish indicating they should be kept in a group.
What do you think?
<One or two, but not more. They do best in pairs, but fine alone too.>
I have only seen 1 Clown Fish in the wild, not in groups.
<They will group with 1 male, 1 female, and juveniles in 1 anemone in the wild, but once they juveniles mature they get thrown out.>
If they will not be safe I can take the chubby meat eating Serpent Star to the LFS or offer him to the local Saltwater Reef Society.
<Mine has never bothered my clowns, but they are full grown, so it is hard to predict what it's future behavior will be.>
Susie
<Chris>

killer in the tank   9/15/10
Dear crew;
<Seth>
It seems I have a killer in my tank; my previous losses (hermits, snails, and one small damsel) were separated by months, but in the last week, a skunk cleaner shrimp and a fire shrimp have gone, and today my serpent star is missing most of two arms. Clearly the killer is growing in size and aggressiveness! I know it's possible to trap the culprit, but unless it's a Mithrax crab, who is much larger than when I got it a year ago, (approximately 2" across now), I may have never seen it. If I do capture it, I'd hate to get rid of the Mithrax only to find it's not the culprit...
So my actual question is, a) do you think it more likely the Mithrax is the killer or some other yet unseen hitchhiker such as a mantis shrimp?
<Could be... either, even an Alpheid>
And b) if I can capture him, would he survive in an unlit refugium?
<Oh yes>
(I have a Red Sea Max 250) I have seen the Mithrax at night with a red led flashlight many times eating algae, and of course there's none in the small refugium built into the tank. So what do you think? Also, if you have a favorite way to try to capture the culprit, what would it be?
<Traps... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/mantiscompfaqs.htm
and here: http://wetwebmedia.com/swcrabcomp.htm
As always, tanks for your great website and advice! Regards, Seth.
<Welcome! BobF>

Clownfish not behaving properly, aggression 7/26/10
Hi ,
<Hello>
I am having problem with my False Percula Clownfish . I have tank of 180 litres of water and all the other parameters of water are ok . I have 1 False Percula Clownfish , 1 Sebae Clownfish , 1 Humbug and 1 Yellow tail blue Damselfish.
<An aggressive tank.>
All were having food . But recently I found that the False Percula Clown which used to swim in front of the tank is now hiding near the filter and the Sebae Clown is going behind the percula.
<Aggression.>
The Percula Clownfish is also not taking food . Please help me with an answer whether this is happening because of the aggression of the Sebae Clownfish?
<Most likely is.>
Or the Percula Clownfish is sick ?
<May become so if the situation is not rectified.>
If so then how can I solve the problem.
<Remove one of the clowns to a different tank.>
Should I add another false percula clown?
<More clowns will not help the situation.>
Or add a carpet anemone.
<Will only complicate things.>
Please help me.
Regards
Arpita
<Clowns are territorial and aggressive, which is what you are seeing here.
It is generally a bad idea to mix clown species in anything but the largest tanks.>
<Chris> 

Lemonpeel angel - keep or take back? Angelfish systems - 20 Gallons is too small... 5/11/2010
Hello,
<Hi Carin.>
First off, I very much enjoy your website. I did read through the information already posted about lemonpeels. I have had my Lemonpeel angelfish for about two years? The tank is small, only 20 gallons, but nitrates are always 0 ppm when I test.
<20 gallons is too small for any sort of angelfish.>
I do have a problem with low ppk, <Alkalinity> which in turn causes low pH; I have started adding buffer and increasing the frequency and quantity of water changes (2-3 gallons about every 1 1/2 weeks). I have managed to get the pH to stay above 8. Other residents include a cleaner shrimp, one true Percula clown, a scooter blenny, an emerald crab, a snail I rarely see, and a newly acquired bubble-tip anemone.
<Your tank is severely overstocked. In a tank that small, the anemone is likely to sting everything else.>
I bought the Lemonpeel after reading that it is an easy keeper. Well, it is alive, that is true. But I am constantly battling fin rot on this guy.
I understand that this can come from stress, from poor water quality, and a poor diet.
<Yes. Stress and poor water quality most likely.>
I was feeding Nori several days a week to start, but when he seemed to eat anything, I gave it up. Now I'm back giving Nori a couple times a week. I feel Mysis, brine, emerald frozen food, and I switched to the flake with the highest algae content I could find. I took a happy damsel back to the store because it was harassing the Lemonpeel. And yes, I have treated once with Erythromycin; the antibiotic helped, for a short while, then the fin rot came back. Stress+ Lemonpeel= Finrot. And now...the Lemonpeel not only struggles with fin rot, but it is more aggressive than ever.
<No surprises there.>
My Lemonpeel, previously docile, now antagonizes my clown non-stop (which led to the anemone purchase--no hosting so far).
<Further contributing to the overcrowding.>
In fact, two weeks ago, the clown's mate of four years jumped out of the tank, presumably because the angel would not even leave it alone at night.
<The Lemonpeel is stressed due to overcrowding and poor water quality. You need a bigger tank or you need to get rid of some fish. In either case, you are going to have to step up the water changes. Lose the anemone, unless you have enough of the right light and pristine water, it is doomed as well.>
Cut to chase. I'm attached to this fish. It came from the wild, and I want to give it a good home. I fear that taking it back to the local fish store will cause it to end up dead in some one else's tank. But it's not happy. What do I do? Is my tank just too small?
<Yes >
Should I rehome the fish myself, screening the prospective new owners? I'll miss that bright yellow meany, but I want peace back in my tank.
<This, or get a larger tank
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/StkgSmSWsysArt.htm.>
Thanks,
Carin
<MikeV>

Re: Lemonpeel angel - keep or take back? 5/12/10
Thank you for your speedy response.
<Hi Caron, my pleasure.>
I took the angel and the scooter blenny (it was eating well, but the feeding of Mysis and brine in large enough quantities for it to catch was hell on my filter) back to the lfs this morning.
<Ahh, good.>
I am waiting for an appropriately sized Percula in exchange. I think I am going to keep the bubble-tip anemone for the moment. It is eating and settled, seems to be okay right now. I have a Coralife 50/50 65 watt (10,000K with 50% True Actinic 03 Blue phosphors) lamp. Lots of live rock, a hang over Marineland filter for a 30 gallon tank(mine is a 20g), and a little powerhead on one end. No skimmer. My salinity is about 1.024 (working on gradually raising it for anemone), the temp is 79-80, my nitrates are zero, as well as NH3...still the alkalinity is low, but I am working on it. I do not have a calcium test kit. I have been using the Kent Nano supplements. How often do you suggest I perform water changes, and of what size?
<20 - 25% every week.>
I thought that 3 gallons almost once a week was a lot.
<It isn't bad, but anemones are very sensitive to water quality issues.>
Also, what do you mean when you say the anemone will sting almost everything else in the tank?
<Anemone tentacles are loaded with nematocysts or stinging cells - that is how they capture their prey. Clownfish are immune, but any other fish or invertebrate can be stung, perhaps to death.>
I have no corals; will it sting the other invertebrates and clown?
<Other invertebrates yes.>
I was considering morphing this tank into a clownfish tank with some corals and the anemone. Can you suggest any? The anemone is in the corner of the tank under the powerhead. Could I put nothing on the opposite end of the tank?
<It is generally considered unwise to add other corals in an anemone tank unless the tank is very large. Anemones release stinging cells, corals release toxins - all of this is designed to ensure the anemone or coral has enough space to grow. In the ocean, it isn't a problem, but in the small confines of a tank, it turns into a form of chemical warfare.>
I would love to get a bigger tank, but it is not feasible for me right now. I have neither the space or the funds to start one. Am I still overstocked with: a pair of true Percula clowns, a bubble-tip anemone, a cleaner shrimp, a snail, and an emerald crab?
<That is very tight, but workable if you keep the water quality up.>
Can I ever add xenia or frogspawn?
<I wouldn't. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/anemcompfaqs.htm 
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/anemcompfaq2.htm 
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/anemfaqs2.htm >
Thank you again for your input.
<My Pleasure,>
<MikeV>

Crazy eel? Feeders? -- 04/03/10
Hey so my eel, has gone crazy,
<Rather behaving natural.>
I recently bought a 6 inch wrasse (I think) he was over an inch round, and I can't seem to find him, is it possible for a 12 inch very thin eel, to eat such a big fish, or would it be my grouper fish, or med size lion fish'¦
<Sorry, my crystal ball won't answer me the question which of your predators ate the small fish you added and of which you don't know exactly what species it was, maybe the fish is just hiding. The eel's definitely a possible medium sized wrasse eater'¦ just as the other two named. Cheers, Marco.>

Missing Ocellaris Clown, 3/10/10
Dear Crew,
<Hi>
My tank is 46 gallons with live rock and live sand and a skimmer.
I did some water tests today at 9.00am I have 1 x Royal Gramma 1 x Yellowtail Blue Damsel
and 1 x Ocellaris Clown, and as I cleaned my glass with my algae magnet the clown was swimming by as if interested. I then went to bed as I am on night shift. On getting up I looked into my tank but can't seem to locate my clown anywhere. I have checked by looking the best I can in all the nooks and crannies of my live rock and can't seem to see it anywhere. My skimmer is a hang on type so the pump is in my tank and the in feed to the pump doesn't have any grill or mesh over the in feed. I was wondering if it had gone in there but my skimmer hasn't faltered as if blocked or anything, just to make sure I disconnected the skimmer and when the water level was leveling off it back flushed water through the in feed but nothing came out, no bits of fish or anything. Now I'm wondering where it's gone.
<Have you checked the floor, clown can and do jump.>
Is it hiding in some crevice or has it died in some crevice or has something eaten it I only have 5 Snails And 3 Hermit Crabs.
<You would be surprised how fast a dead fish can be processed by scavengers in a reef tank.>
Nothing seemed untoward I have had it 2 weeks with no problems and it swam all over the tank. Can you tell me the likely scenario or is it common for clowns to hide for a while. If it's died how can I remove it if I can't locate it, as I dont want my water to suffer as my specs are perfect.
Thanks in advance
Gary
<Generally clowns are not big on hiding in the rock work unlike your gramma or many other fish. I think in this case I would assume the worst.
Chances are a single clown decaying in this sized tank is not going to make a big difference in your water quality so I would not worry about it too much here. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but check the floor around the tank carefully, you may find him there.>
<Chris>

Mystery Predator -- 12/14/09
I have 55 gallon fish only aquarium with approximately 60 pounds of live rock. The tank has been set up for over a year and everything is fine concerning nitrites, nitrates, salinity, and so forth.
<Need values, not subjective evaluations>
Here is a list of
the current inhabitants.
1 maroon clown
<The alpha fish>
1 black sail fin blenny
1 pistol shrimp
1 watchman goby
1 pygmy angel
1 scooter blenny
1 six line wrasse
1 coral banded shrimp
<The alpha invertebrate>
1 Nazareth snail
3 green chromis
1 sand sifting sea star
Several small hermit crabs
<Which species?>
My question concerns the destruction of my shrimp. I used to have a cleaner shrimp that we bought about 7 months ago, and it just recently died. I woke up in the middle of the night to see it near the bottom of the tank partially covered in sand with a stringy slime substance around it. In the morning it was pulled back to the rear of the tank where several dead hermit crab shells are. These also seemed to die quite suddenly. My sifting sea star was the closest to the dead shrimp in the middle of the night and also had some of the slime on it. It seemed to be attacking a hermit crab shell at the time as well. Also, about a month ago I observed my coral banded shrimp had some of its legs and antennae removed. The next day its large claws and most everything else was gone as well. It finally grew these back however it looked as if something had attacked it. Also my old black sail fin blenny went missing one day without trace. I get up during the night to see if anything is going on but I never find anything going on. Some say that we may have a worm or a mantis shrimp, but I haven't seen either. Could it be the sand sifter attaching my shrimp and crabs if it is not getting enough food or is it something else?
<Likely the Stenopid... could be the Premnas... my bet is on the Boxer... Not the star.
Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/cbscomp.htm
Bob Fenner>
Thank you

Re: Mystery Predator -- 12/15/09
I was thinking that as well but the boxer was also attacked and had most of its appendages removed.
<Could be more than one antagonist here... And not enough hiding spaces?>
Is there anything else that could have come in on live rock and attacked my coral banded shrimp as well?
<Sure... as you state, the more likely groups are Stomatopods and Alpheids... but, as they say on late night TV ads... "There's more!". I'd be building, buying a trap or two, using various baits in it at night and checking in with a flashlight to see who might be the culprit/s. BobF>

Fish Disappearing/Mantis Shrimp? 11/17/09
Hi,
<Hello Arturo>
half a year back I contacted you to find out methods to capture mantis shrimp. Well ever since I bought the live rock for my 175gal, small fish had been disappearing. I´ve lost about 10+ small fish in a period of two years.
Among the missing small fish, the only survivors are two ocellaris clownfish, who have their own RBTA, its been suggested that had kept them safe from threats.
<Certainly helps.>
My other fish left are big fish: 1 Sailfin, 1 hippo blue tang, and one middle size Copperband Butterfly.
I also captured 3 mantis, and according to me, there was one more left who was the tougher.
Well, every night there were clicking noises, I never really saw the bastard,
<Mmm, I'd like to rename to Lysiosquilla bastardi.>
I only followed the noises and started moving rock to the sump.
<OK>
Well one day the clicking noises in the main tank stopped, and they started in the sump. So I dried all of the live rock in the sump for like a week, and once it was completely dried, then I placed it back in the tank.
Clicking noises completely stopped, and after 2 weeks I bought a Bicolor Blenny. The Bicolor Blenny was placed in the display tank and was never to be seen again. What the?, it can´t be, well it was my first blenny.
So I bought an expensive Mystery Wrasse.
<Yikes, you chanced a 200 dollar fish.>
It lived happily in my tank for 3 months and they hide in the rockwork a lot, and nothing would happen to it, very healthy, eating a lot and now its been gone for a week... No signs of splashing, no corpse on the floor, no corpse on filter sock, sump, etc. It completely disappeared...
<"No corpse on the floor"...Do you have a cat by chance?>
When I was sure I had mantis, fish also just disappeared, but now its been like 5 months since I got rid of the clicking noises.
So it's really weird to have a perfectly healthy fish just disappear like that, but now that I remember the blenny incident, then it reminds me a lot of what used to happen when I knew there was mantis, except that this time there´s absolutely no clicking noises, not even at night, I check my tank at night all the time, feed my corals, etc. And no noises, if a critter was to make a clicking sound, I would have heard it by now.
So why is small fish starting to disappear again?.
<My first thought would be that you still have a mantis of the spearing type rather than a smasher. My other thought would be a large Serpent Star, but I'm sure you would have mentioned that. Mmmm, Bob may input his thoughts here. James (Salty Dog)>

HELP!! Disappearing fish!/The Great Houdini 3/6/09 In my 75 gal saltwater tank, I am having a disappearing fish problem. It's like the Lochness Monster is living in my aquarium! <Tank to small for keeping such.> The tank was purchased from a gentleman who had it for several years but moved. It had live rock, some snails, sand, filtration, etc. The current tankmates are a Golden-Headed Goby, a Lawnmower Blenny, a Hawkfish, a Six-Line Wrasse, a Foxface, a Chocolate Chip star, and a sea hare (Bob the Blob). <I don't believe Bob is going to like this.><<Mmmm. RMF>> The wrasse is very small, probably 2 to 2-1/2 inches long The Foxface is medium sized. <How about the Hawkfish, specie and size.> Over the past few months, we have had quite a few fish die in this tank but now it seems to be stable. The problem is, things keep disappearing. We had a very small clown that completely disappeared, no trace left. We had a small Seahare that we purchased a couple of weeks ago, seemed fine for a couple of days, and then it was just gone, completely. We added the Foxface a couple weeks ago and it's been fine. Then, last night, I added a new Seahare and a small blue tang. This morning when I went to feed them, the Seahare was doing great and the blue tang was gone, GONE!! <If your Hawkfish is a Freckled Hawkfish, this may be the culprit, they tend to supersize their orders. The Spotted Hawkfish and Falco Hawkfish are also both capable of eating smaller fish and invertebrates depending on the fishes size and meal size.> We emptied the tank of rocks, shells, plants and sifted through the sand, but nothing! What could be happening? How can a fish be there when you go to bed and then be completely gone in the morning when there isn't anything really aggressive in the tank? Any help would be much appreciated! <Get back with me with your Hawkfish identification. Have you checked behind the tank for any jumpers?> << Thanks, <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Tammy

Re HELP!! Disappearing fish!/The Great Houdini 3/6/09 Thank you so much for your response. <You're welcome.> The Hawkfish is a Longnose Hawk - Oxycirrhites typus. He is only about 3 inches long, maybe a tiny bit longer. The Blue Tang I added was small, not quite as long as he is, but much taller due to the difference in their shapes. I can't imagine that the Hawkfish could have eaten the tang completely. <No, now that I know what kind of Hawkfish you have.> I'm sure the tang weighed about the same as the Hawkfish. A little smaller end to end but much, much "taller". We also checked thoroughly for jumpers. This aquarium is built into a wall but has access all around through a cabinet. We searched twice with a flashlight just to make sure. We're sure he didn't jump ship. Could it possibly be the starfish? <No, not a Chocolate Chip Starfish. If you had a large Brittle Starfish it would be a good possibility.> <<Actually... if the fish were on the bottom, impaired, even just weak from being new... the CC Star could be the culprit. See WWM re the compatibility of this species.RMF>> We don't want to lose anymore fish. I feel so badly for the tang (I know, not as badly as he feels!). Any advice appreciated. <Have you bought any live rock lately? A possibility a Mantis Shrimp could have hitchhiked. Do you have an overflow? If so, have you checked in there? Very possible that if the Blue Tang was under stress or have an illness, they have a tendency to wedge themselves into crevices and could have possibly died there. Based on the information you provided me with, I don't know what else to tell you as you mentioned that no remains were discovered, etc.> Thanks, <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Tammy

Re HELP!! Disappearing fish!/The Great Houdini 3/6/09 Well, we're stumped. <And I also.> We haven't bought any live rock lately. On that tank, we have two canister filters so no overflow. We just purchased a sump to put on it but won't do that till next week. I think from now on, if we add any more fish, we'll just add larger ones. <Whatever the cause/problem, it will surface eventually. Keep a close eye on the system for unknown predators. You did not mention disease so I've ruled that out, but then, there would be remains.> Thanks so much for your help and humor, <You're welcome, Tammy. Sorry I haven't been much help, but I'm as puzzled as you. James (Salty Dog)> Tammy

Will a Fish Forget? - 02/08/09 Greetings, This is my second question sent to your site in approximately 8 years (I prefer to read the info). I have a very healthy Tomini Tang who has enjoyed my tank for the past two months until I added a Starfish Blenny two days ago. I was under the impression that since the tang and blenny are completely different fish types and extremely different bodies that there would be no aggression. I was wrong. The Tang immediately responded by charging the blenny at sight and continually harassed the poor, unreacting blenny. The harassment continued for two days. I was fortunate enough to net the Tang in the first try and displaced it to my sump, as a form of "detention". My question then is: with an appropriate amount of time away from the display tank, and even with the option of using a smaller QT to keep the Tang and hopefully "disorient" the fish (ala his first time at the LFS and being reintroduced into my tank) is it probable that the Tang will react like a new addition and forget his past territories and aggression? Or is it probably a lost cause and I should look into trading the Tang away? I certainly understand that WWB cannot predict what a fish can or will do, but I'm looking for any modest opinions. Thank you for your efforts, Allan <Allan, there's some misconceptions in the hobby about fish "forgetting" or "ignoring" rivals and enemies. The bottom line is that disrupting territories and rearing fish together from juveniles work because of something called Dear Enemy theory. Put simply, animals learn to recognise potential rivals in their immediate neighbourhood that are always there, i.e., with territories next to their own. The theory says that if they constantly attacked them, they'd waste energy on disputes that don't matter, since both parties already have their territories fixed, so they aren't trying to take one another's resources. By contrast, if a stranger enters the territory, the territory holder recognizes that animal as a new, potential threat, and reacts accordingly. So in terms of ecology, Dear Enemy is a way for animals to conserve energy for those fights that matter, while accepting rivals that aren't an immediate threat. In an aquarium we get antagonistic animals to coexist by allowing them to define territories as they grow up, or by putting animals into the aquarium in order from least to most aggressive. Either way, territories are defined and accepted. When you add a new fish, it isn't a "dear enemy" but a stranger, and the territory holders go berserk. Now, when aquarists rearrange all the rockwork and other territorial markers, they force the fish to redefine their territories from scratch, and that is a common approach when people add new fish to established tanks. It's standard practise among African cichlid keepers, for example. Adding the Blenny was essentially adding a stranger to the system, and while the Tang accepted already resident fish in the system (its Dear Enemy) the new fish was viewed as a threat. Next time around though the Blenny *may* be accepted as a Dear Enemy, provided the Tang is removed long enough that it establishes a whole new territory in the quarantine tank or wherever it is being kept. The Tang won't "forget" the Blenny, but what it (hopefully) will do is accept alongside all the other fish as background Dear Enemies not worth expending too much energy fighting. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Will a Fish Forget?  02/08/09 Very much appreciated AND I learned a new term (Dear Enemy). Thank you! -Allan <Happy to help! And now, you can spend the next few days trying to apply Dear Enemy theory to human relationships! Cheers, Neale.>

Flame Angel aggressive towards Maroon Clown Fish... crowded mess 1/18/09 I am writing because of strange behavior in my 47 gallon reef. The occupants of this well-established tank are: Blue Damsel Flame Angel Maroon Clown Fish Dragon Goby Six Lined Wrasse Frogspawn Coral Montipora Coral Donut Coral Spaghetti Coral Rock Anemone Bubble Tip Anemone Leather Coral Crocea Clam <The mix won't last. See WWM re compatibility.> Lighting is 150 W metal halide/50/50 Power Compact Skimmer is AquaC Remora Fluval 205 50 lbs. Live rock The maroon clown fish is the remaining male of a mating pair of which I lost the female a few months ago. For some reason, the Flame Angel is showing aggression towards the clown fish. It has actually inflicted damage to it. <I bet.> I don't recall ever reading anything regarding Flame Angel's being aggressive, except of course perhaps towards other dwarf angelfish. <Well, they are not always angels!> The clown fish is showing no signs of any parasitic malady. However, this male, as his larger, more aggressive female partner, seems reclusive in the tank, often being the last to come out to feed. <Not usually the case with Maroon clowns.> The Anemone (bubble tipped) is not a large specimen, perhaps quarter sized , and the clown fish is naturally staying with it most of the time. <Quarter size or ? full grown size?> I am looking at the tank as I am writing this, and the Flame Angel just initiated another attack on the obviously wounded, fish. <Hmmm, they need to be separated.> I am really curious as to why this may be occurring. Conditions in the tank are pristine. <But it is a small volume for both these fish.> I am going to try to remove the clown fish into a smaller quarantine tank. <A good move.> I would like to know what I can attempt to treat him with as he obviously has some external wounds.. <At this point just quarantine him unless he shows some sign of infection. Finding him a new suitable home is even better.> Your reply will be greatly appreciated. I would like to save this fish. Regards, Jeffrey Castaldo <Welcome, Scott V.>

Disappearing livestock 11/13/08 Greetings crew! Hope this day finds you all well! <Thank you Josh> I have several reef tanks and have been in the hobby for about five years, and today's question/concern is about my smallest - a 29g tank with a 15+g sump in my office. It is about 7 months old, pretty darn young in the scheme of things. I had seeded the tank from a previous tank, and let it cycle for a month before adding any livestock. All the parameters are stable right now, and have been for a few months. (SG 1.026, nitrate <10, Ph ~8.3, phosphate 0, nitrite 0, ammonia 0, 79F). It currently has an Electric Blue Damsel and a Sixline Wrasse, a finger leather coral, some Zoas, some xenia, mushrooms, a candy cane coral, a dozen scarlet hermits and a dozen or more Astrea snails. Here's what's been happening however. There used to be an orange spotted goby (first resident of tank), a small Banggai cardinal and a fire shrimp. All had been in the tank since it had stabilized, and had been doing very well for a long time. The shrimp had successfully molted 3 times since he was added. <Mmm, a bit too frequently?> The two surviving fish were added a month or so after the original residents. First the cardinal died, and there was a crab feast going on near rock X (I'm calling it that because I will be referring to it quite a bit). Then one day, the goby disappeared. We didn't see any sign of him for days, then saw a little bit of flesh sticking out from rock X under which he had made a home. Very disheartening as he was eating well, and seemed happy and healthy for a few months. Then just a few days later, the fire shrimp disappeared. He was much loved, and everyone in the office had taken a liking to him and his antics. We found one of his antennas sticking out from rock X - which is completely on the other side of the tank from where he normally hangs out. In fact, he had never been that far over in the tank before. I suspect he was molting and thus an easy target when whatever happened. This of course led me to believe that something was in rock X. After some close observation we spotted a small hitchhiker crab poking out from the rock. <Mmmm...> Immediate response is "ah-hah!". I setup a trap using a 20oz bottle with the top cutoff and inverted and baited it with some mysis. This didn't quite work. I ended up catching two hermits and my Sixline, who couldn't figure out that he could just swim out. Multiple attempts at trapping the crab failed. The next step I took was removing rock X, placing it into a bucket with siphoned water from a water change, and setting multiple traps in the bucket. Again, no success. After this had been going on for some time, I pulled out the big guns - club soda. I submersed the rock in the club soda, and sure enough, two little crabs came scurrying out. The concern is that they were tiny - about the size of a dime. Could such small crabs be the culprits of all the disappearances? <Nah... accessories after the fact counselor> They did have pointed tips on their claws, not flat like you would find on a Mithrax, which led me to believe they were carnivorous, but that's a broad assumption. It just didn't seem likely that they killed these animals - maybe partook in the feast afterwards though? <We are in agreement> The crabs have since been banished to a refugium on one of my other tanks. <Good> Next step - I dug around in the now cleared sand under where rock X had been with a turkey baster (rock X was still in a bucket). At a certain place the sand seemed to collapse. This made me think two things - either this was a tunnel the orange goby had dug while he was still in there, or perhaps there was another burrowing creature. Of course this made me think mantis shrimp. Is that an unfair guess? Obviously if I have one, he needs to be caught and relocated. <Could be...> I guess the question is do you think that the small crabs could have caught and killed the missing livestock? <Nope> Since the crabs have been captured there have also been two empty Astrea shells that showed up near the now returned rock X. Would a mantis attack snails? <Could, definitely> I just brought in my professional video camera and setup some motion activated software in an attempt to catch some video of anything unusual in that area of the tank at night - this is at my office, so nobody is around after 6pm. I'll let you know if I capture anything cool or unusual on film. There haven't been any snapping noises, but again, nobody is here at night. <Heeee!> I want to eventually replenish some of the livestock, but obviously I'm nervous about doing so right now. The only fish that remain are active open water swimmers - which contributes to my predator in the rock/sand theory. Thoughts? Suggestions? <The price of freedom? Constant vigilance> Thanks as always for your insight! Josh <Glad to share. Bob Fenner>

Missing fish... Lysmata, really "cleaning"   4/25/08 Hello wet web crew <Keith> I have posted a few times before and you have been a wonderful help To refresh I have a 30 gal long reef that I have been having many (To date I am missing 3 peppermint shrimp, two sally light foot crabs, 1 green Chromis, a scooter blenny, and a Purple back Pseudochromis. All of this has disappeared without trace.) animals come up missing. <Mmmm> Since I last posted I moved my tank to another house completely broke everything down and did not find any serpent stars or any predators that I could identify. The move went smoothly no deaths and it has been 2 months set up at my new place. With the move I set up a 46g square refugium and plumbed it directly via overflow to the reef. This has all been going good the nitrates are down to almost zero and everything seems to be running smoothly. <Good> I had had no disappearances until the last week. When suddenly my six line wrasse up and vanished. The tank is well sealed so there is no way the fish can jump. Then a few days after that I had my favorite fish that I had have over a year now my cherub pygmy angel disappear. This is becoming a real problem where I am afraid to restock my tank I test my tank weekly and have a very rigorous upkeep schedule I am really trying to keep everything as best as I can. The stock I have left is an Ocellaris clown, a 3-stripe damsel, a skunk cleaner shrimp, a blood shrimp, a number a blue leg hermits, a Mexican turbo snail, and some Nassarius snails. <Either one of the Lysmata species could actually be the perpetrator here. This small volume is impossible to get away from a predatory shrimp> If you can think of anything I can do I would greatly appreciate your input. <Feed the shrimp better...> Other than this problem all my corals and the rest of the tank looks beautiful with no problems at all. So I am kind of stuck. I think I may have been a little bit overstocked anyways so I want to get another pygmy angel and leave it at that any suggestions? <Will likely be consumed...> Thank you all for your help Keith Fontes <Again... perhaps better observation, feeding... moving the shrimp/s to the 'fuge... Bob Fenner>

Eibli tang getting attacked by something at night, possibly worms  04/14/2008 Hello, <Good morrow> I have an Eibli Tang that shares a 55 reef tank <Mmmm> with a Flame Hawkfish, Percula Clown, and Scribbled Rabbitfish. <Needs more room> The only coral I have is a trumpet coral. The last couple of months I've been noticing that my tang would have wounds on it and fins a little nipped. <Yes> I didn't think much of it as they were really minor and small, I figured maybe the Rabbitfish was getting a little nippy at it or it was rubbing on rock and getting small scratches. <Possibly, but much more likely the Hawk> Then about a month ago I noticed that the wounds were always almost a perfect circle and that the fresh wounds would only happen over night, they were still rather small, maybe 3mm in diameter. I would always see the fresh wounds right away in the morning so it was happening at night. I have since staked out my tank at night many nights trying to find the culprit. The only thing I have seen is worms, from looking at the worm id posts on this site I know I have bristle worms for sure but all that I have seen are about 1-2 inches long. I also have either ribbon worms or peanut worms, they extend out of the rock and seem to feel over the rock for food at night, but never fully come out of the rock. They are black with brown bands but are not segmented at all. My only theory is that the Tang wedges between rocks at night to sleep and these worms find him and suck on/eat him while he's sleeping. <A possibility> I can never seem to find where he is sleeping at night, all of the other fish I can find but never him. I don't believe it to be any kind of parasite as it only happens at night. <Is not a parasite> Lights will go out and there are no wounds, the next morning he will have a bloody circular wound on his side, or a big chunk of fin missing. The wounds are now growing in size and severity basically over the last week or so, he now has some that are 1cm in diameter. The Tang acts like nothing is wrong, he still eats well and swims around the tank like normal. I've tried rearranging the liverock hoping that may help but no luck, whatever is causing it still finds him. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Attached is a picture I took today, by photography skills are not great but hopefully it helps. Thanks, Quintin <I would remove this fish to another system, pronto... Perhaps try baiting out, removing the larger worms (covered on WWM under Polychaete (in) Compatibility)... but I suspect the Hawkfish mostly here. Bob Fenner>

Unknown HHiker predator   4/5/08 Recently I have been stocking a new reef set up. 90 gallon with sump and 20 gallon refugium. I started with Live rock. Before adding any fish or inverts I observed the live rock for about a month. <A good practice> Noticed a Mantis shrimp and successfully removed. I then added two peppermint shrimps, a cleaner shrimp, fire shrimp, sally longfoot crab, emerald crab (dime size) , a blue leg hermit ,five turbo snails,8 small red leg hermits and a black brittle star fish. All the inverts have been doing well. Water parameters are great. Now to my problem. First fish added was a Lawnmower Blenny. After three days, found a piece of his skeleton remains attached to a piece of live rock. <!> I then added a scooter Blenny. A month went by and all was OK. I then added a 1.5 inch six line wrasse, and a 2 inch ocellaris clown. after three days, the wrasse is missing, I did find what seemed to be a piece of fish or some sort of organic material in a mucus cocoon under a piece of live rock. I believe it is a piece of the six line wrasse. I suspect something is attacking my fish. <Me too> Before these fish disappeared I did notice that they were inactive the day preceding their demise. The very first day these fish were introduced, they were very active and eating, so I do not suspect illness. They both disappeared three days after their introduction. Whoever the culprit is , has not attacked the blenny or any inverts. All shrimp and crabs OK. <Noted> How can I identify the culprit? <Baiting and trapping> About a month ago I did see a worm with bristles sticking out from a rock. I was observing the tank at night with a flashlight. I only saw about one inch of him before he retreated back into the rock. Would a worm attack fish and leave inverts alone? <Some species do, yes> I have not seen this worm for over a month now. Should I set traps with pieces of fish at night to see if I can trap anything. <Yes, I would> Should I remove the existing fish and inverts <I would leave these in place> and place in the refugium until I trap the culprit. Any advice would be greatly appreciated Frank <Bob Fenner>

Fine Spotted Fairy Wrasse Lemon Aid? (Dealing with Lemonpeel Angel Aggression) 03/19/2008 Good morning- <Hi there! Scott F. in today!> C. punctatus I believe is the correct name. <No, it's SCOTT F> Heheh, just kidding...Think your reference to a wrasse got cut off?> I have a 55 and the current inhabitants are 1 Lemon Peel, 1 False Perc, 1 Firefish goby and 2 Yellow tail Damsels. The Lemon Peel rules the tank and probably chased the smaller Perc to his carpet surfing death. <That sounds about right, given the typical personality of this species.> I would like to add another Perc and at the same time add a flame hawk and 1 or 2 C. punctatus. Can I add 2 to my 55 if they are not a pair but just 2 individuals or do I need to find a pair or just add a single? <I would limit my fish additions in this aquarium. Maybe the "replacement" Perc and the Hawkfish. The Hawkfish, may be able to better stand up to the nastiness of the Lemonpeel than the Wrasses. Really, adding any new fish to a relatively modest sized aquarium with a known "alpha fish" is a dice roll. Be prepared for possible issues and the need to rescue someone if things get out of hand. You could try the old trick of shuffling the rockwork around to create "new" territories for everyone, but this still may not work. Be forewarned!> I would like to have 2 fairy wrasses so the male will display and stay more comfortable. I want to add them all to the main tank at the same time to spread out the aggression from the Lemon Peel. I would Qt the new arrivals for a month. I would put the LP in the fuge for a week or so until the new fish have been in the main tank and settled down. Thanks again! Walt <Well, Walt, the idea of the "timeout" for the Lemonpeel is a good one! I'm still a bit hesitant to give you the thumbs up for the two Fairy Wrasses. I think that one more fish is really all the system could handle from a bioload perspective, as well as a social one. I can't imagine the Lemonpeel getting any more sociable, but he will ultimately accept (or kill) the other fishes in "his" aquarium. Sounds rather brutal, but this is the reality of stocking dynamics. Proceed with caution! Regards, Scott F.>

Aggressive Lawnmower Blenny or Brittle Starfish! 03/11/2008 How are you all? Thank you once again for all of your help! <<Good Morning, Andrew here today>> Ok, can you tell me who the culprit may be? About 5 days ago I purchased a Midas Blenny. Very pretty and sweet he acclimated to the tank and was out swimming in an hour. <<You did not quarantine for 4 weeks??>> He happened to scout out a hole in a rock that my lawnmower blenny sleeps in every night and camped out for a bit before the Lawnmower spotted him and had a fit! He was trying to get him to get out by shaking his body against the hole but the Midas was scared and wouldn't come out. The Blenny then went into the same hole and pushed him out very quickly. I then noticed a white very small spot on the Midas' left fin. <<Could of been caused by the two blennies in the same hole>> Over the past few days it has gotten smaller. I have been soaking food in Garlic Extreme. <<Garlic extreme is not a cure for anything. All this will do is bolster the immune system a little>> Two night ago all my fish were fine. They all ate and disappeared as they do when lights go out. I also had a small Bi colored Blenny for about a month now. The Midas has been staying in his hole for the most part except to come out and feed and swim on his side of the tank closest to his rock. I noticed yesterday a.m. that the Bi colored Blenny was missing! I do have, or shall I say did have until today, a Brittle Starfish. I took him to my LFS and gave it to him. He said that it wouldn't have been the Brittle and that I should keep him as he was so beautiful and looked "well fed" He said it was probably my Lawnmower Blenny that killed him and the Starfish ate him. <<This is a good possibility. Depending on the species of brittle you had, some are known fish predators like the green brittle. What SP. of brittle was yours?>> I couldn't help it and told him just to keep him because I didn't want to take anymore chances. I noticed that my Six Line Wrasse has a bite out of his tail fin! The Lawnmower has NEVER bothered my Wrasse or Dwarf Coral. Do you think it was the Brittle or the Lawnmower? <<Lawnmower blennies are not aggressive fish per say, except to others of similar body shape>> I had been feeding my Brittle every night at first by hand with shrimp and scallops and fish. The LFS said not to do that and only feed him every three nights or so. Do you think he got hungry and ate my little Bicolored friend? The Lawnmower chased the Bi color every once in a while but never came close to trying to bite him. 65 gallon with 75 lbs. live rock and several small frag coral Order which introduced and time in tank flollows: Dwarf Coral Beauty (2 Months) Six Line Wrasse (2 months) <<this fish should of been added last>> Lawnmower Blenny (1 1/2 months) 3 Blue Green Chromis (1 month) Bi-color Blenny R.I.P. :) (3 weeks) Midas Blenny (5 days) Starfish Brittle Starfish (1+ months) gone now ( My Son bought it) Algae eating starfish (2 months aprox.) Shrimp 1 Skunk cleaner (1+ months) Water param.s have been great. I check them every week as well as have my LFS just to compare. <<At face value, i would say its a possibility that you can put this disappearance down to the brittle star. Out of the fish you stock, the 6 lines wrasse is about the most aggressive, and really should of been added last. My advice, now the brittle has gone, is to monitor the current stock>> Thank you in advance for your opinion and all of your help! Rachel <<Thanks for the questions, Hope this helps. A Nixon>>

Re: Aggressive Lawnmower Blenny or Brittle Starfish! 03/12/2008 Hi Andrew! Thank you for your quick response. <<No problem>> Yes it was a Green Brittle. Attached is a photo of what looks like him setting up for the evening for his dinner! At the time I took the pic, I thought he was just getting "comfortable" with his environment. The LFS my Son bought him from said that don't eat fish. My Wrasse has never bothered one fish except for a Purple Pseudochromis that I added. He immediately went after him. I quickly got the Pseudo out and took him back and traded for the Midas Blenny which he has not bothered once. The Six Line is probably my favorite fish as he is always out. He really seems to "dance" in the current at the front of the tank when I turn the stereo on. Almost seems to be to the beat of the music! He is really cool! I added him in the beginning due to a bristle worm problem. I did do extensive research but it seems as though all the reef safe community fish I am interested in can become territorial and should be added last. Where do you start? <<Well, where do you start? that's always a good question. The best place to start is by having at hand a good selection of books to research, rather than forums>> Anyway, after looking at the pic and reading my response to your questions, do you still think it was the Green Brittle? <<Yes, i would be happy in saying it was more than likely the green brittle. They can be / are predaceous>> Or should I go back and get him? To tell you the truth, I thought he was cool that he would eat out of my hand. But on the other hand, he kind of gave me the creeps because he reminded me of a Tarantula! I just thought he would be nice to have because LFS said they ate everything down to fish waste! <<He he he...yes, they do eat everything down to fish waste, including small fish too>> Thank you once again Andrew! Rachel <<Good luck Rachel, hope the above helps. A Nixon>>

Fish gone missing! SW pred. f'  1-31-08 Hello. <Hi. Yunachin here.> First thank you all at WWM for your help. <You're welcome.> Second I have an issue. I have a 30g reef tank that is very healthy. I do weekly water changes and test the water regularly. Since the inception of my tank I have a predator hiding in the depths of my live rock. To date I am missing 3 peppermint shrimp, two sally light foot crabs, 1 green Chromis, a scooter blenny, and now the latest addition a Purple back Pseudochromis. All of this has disappeared without trace. <Wow! That is quite a few.> This creature seems to strike at random as I still have some of my original livestock. <Which is?> I assume that it is an opportunistic feeder that is nocturnal. I have watched the tank by night and have not seen anything or heard any clicking (mantis shrimp) that probably does not mean much as I don't watch it every night. <Firstly, most mantis shrimp that do click are not nocturnal and usually do not prey on fish. They do on crabs, shrimp and snails. Have you checked the surrounding areas for any jumpers?> I am switching over to a 150g in the next month when I move and I was wondering if there is anything I should look for or anyway I can get rid of this pest? Any ideas as to what it might be? <Send me the list of the fish that you left out and we can go from there. Right now I am thinking that it could be a green-serpent starfish. Check out this link for more information: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/grbritstrf.htm ; > Thanks <You're welcome-Yunachin>
Fish Gone Missing RE 2-1-08
Hello Yunachin <Hi there!> The fish that I still have in my tank are a Green Chromis, Ocellaris clown, Cherub Pygmy Angel Skunk Cleaner Shrimp, Blood Shrimp, Peppermint Shrimp Trumpet Coral, and some Green Star Polyps. <Sounds good. I just wanted to check to make sure there were no other potential predators.> There have been no jumpers and the tank is covered. That is the first thing I thought of once I started missing fish. <I definitely think there is a Green Serpent Star in your live rock. These brittle stars can arch up in the sleeping caves of fish and drop down onto the fish and inverts, almost like dropping a basket on top of them. I would suggest when you move your rock into your larger tank; do a thorough search of your rock to see if you can find him. Here is some more info on the brittle star family: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/brittlestars.htm ;> Thanks for your help <You're welcome!>

Tank Aggression 11/20/07 Hi there. <Hi, need some info before responding. How large is your tank? James (Salty Dog)> I have done significant research on this and have an idea of the answer, but I would really appreciate your input. I've had the same fish in this tank for a few months, and I have not seen any signs of aggression -- until recently. Even now, I haven't seen any aggressive behavior first-hand...but for the last couple of weeks or so, several of my fish, one by one, have been showing up with ugly-looking wounds on the tops of their bodies. Here is what I have in my tank: 1. Yellow Tang (3.5") (introduced last) 2. Coral Beauty Angel (3") 3. 3 Green Chromis (1-1.5") 4. Hybrid Anthias (appears to be a mixture of a tri-color and maybe a squareback) (3.5") 5. Diamond Goby (4") 6. Midas Blenny (4") 7. Indigo Dottyback (3.5") 8. Six-Line Wrasse (1.5") 9. Carpenter's Flasher Wrasse (2") 10. Peppermint Shrimp (large) 11. Several hermit crabs The fish which were injured were three green Chromis (which died shortly thereafter) and, most recently, the Anthias (which is now notably and understandably shy, but does not *appear* to be that badly injured). I think you'll agree that I can easily eliminate the Chromis, the Anthias, the goby, the blenny, and the hermit crabs as potential culprits. I also don't believe that the tang or the angel are to blame. Based on my research, the fairy wrasse also seems unlikely to become aggressive. Also, I simply don't think that the six-line wrasse is big enough to inflict the type of wounds I was seeing on the Chromis. That leaves me with the Dottyback and the shrimp. I haven't been able to find much of anything about peppermint shrimp becoming aggressive towards fish, especially not something the size of the Anthias. So, by process of elimination, that leaves me with the Dottyback. I've read on your site (and others) that Dottybacks can be quite aggressive, although usually more so in wild-caught ones than tank-raised ones. The hype about the indigo Dottyback, however, is that it's got "all the spunk of a Fridmani, but none of the aggressive tendencies," or something along those lines. Do you agree that the indigo is the most likely culprit, or have I missed something? Thanks so much! -Marty

Re: Tank Aggression 11/22/07 The tank is 50 gallons, with at least 60 pounds of very porous, well-seeded live rock. I know it's on the smallish side, but I've been very careful in creating the environment this time, adding the most aggressive/territorial species last, and the tank has been established for 6 months now so should have good biological filtration. <Your tank is much too small for all the fish you have, and I'm sure the tang is the culprit in this case. The tang is just protecting the very little property he has to defend.> Thank you! <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> -Marty

Queen Angel/ Fire Shrimp Big Fish- Bigger Problems? (Stocking Compromises) 11/19/07 Hi WWM, <Hey there! Scott F. on the bridge of the WWM starship tonight!> My name is Tom, and I have a few Questions about my tank. I have a 100 gallon tank with a Large Yellow Tang, 2 Percula Clownfish, a Copperband Butterfly, a Blue Hippo Tang, 2 Small Damsels, a Purple Lobster, 2 Fire Shrimp, an African Red Starfish, and 4 Turbo Snails. I also have 110 lbs of live sand and a whole lot of live rock. I have just introduced a Queen Angelfish to my tank. <Oh, man- "buzz kill" time, sorry. That's a pretty serious crowd for this sized aquarium! What do this aquarium, a can of sardines, and the WWM Crew after a free MACNA buffet have in common? "I know, Scott- they're things that are STUFFED!" Exactly. Think about the long-term implications of such a packed aquarium. The Hippo Tang and the Queen Angel are HUGE fishes when they mature (the Queen can hit 18 inches in length and the Hippo pretty close), and require very large aquariums to accommodate them for anything close to their potential natural life spans (decades). Time to start shopping for a larger aquarium.> It was pretty shy at first, but now it chases the blue Hippo Tang and Copperband and it pretty aggressive towards them. Is this normal and will this behavior fade? (same thing happened with the Yellow Tang, but it wasn't as aggressive) The Angelfish hasn't bit off and fins or caused damage to any of the fish. <This may very well change! Like a thirsty frat boy at a keg party, the Queen Angel will get meaner and meaner until it gets what it wants- total domination of the aquarium! These fishes have a reputation for extreme territoriality in the wild and in captivity, and this will be magnified significantly in a crowded aquarium. I'd consider giving these potentially larger fishes to aquarists who have the quarters to accommodate them comfortably.> My second problem is that the Angelfish has been bothering my fire shrimp. It has bitten off some of their claws and legs. I have separated the shrimp and put them in a separate container in the same tank allowing plenty of water flow. <Good move and quick thinking. In this case, there is certainly potential for the shrimp to become either Angelfish chew toys, or the appetizer for their next meal!> I am going to care for them until they regrow their limbs in their next few molt. (Hopefully it works...) I was just wondering if it is unsafe to keep any type of shrimp or crab in the same tank as the angelfish? <I'd be hesitant with the larger angels...the potential exists for an unhappy outcome if they are kept together. It's not 100% certain, but it's a possible risk.> I have been told that they could be in the same tank, but obviously not in mine. Is this a big problem? Would coral banded shrimp or cleaner shrimp be better to have? (also been bothering my snails, but no damage) <I would feel better with Cleaner shrimps in there, but again- fish are like people, and have unique personalities. Perhaps your Angel has some sort of crazy vendetta against shrimp because of an unfortunate incident hat occurred after the fish settled out of its pelagic stage...Perhaps it was imply in an ornery mood that day. Who knows? Regardless, I'd take the cue and not house this fish with shrimps. Of course, given your aquarium's size, I wouldn't keep this fish, either!> I like fish a lot but I also like a lot of inverts too. <Yep- can relate. I like seared Ahi Tuna but my budget usually screams "Starkist"! Such is life! Really, the solution to a successful mixed aquarium with fishes and inverts is to choose compatible animals. In other words, if you like delicate stony corals and you love Teardrop Butterflyfish, you're going to have to compromise- separate aquariums, or a different species of Butterfly that's planktivorous.> I would like to have a tank filled (but not overfilled) with all kinds of life. Would it be best to take the Angel back to the store? <Absolutely! This is a very conscientious approach, and I'm proud of you for learning! It's better for all parties involved here! In the hobby, like in life, you can't have it all, but might be able to have most of it!> Thanks for your time, Tom <My pleasure, Tom- keep learning and sharing! Regards, Scott F.>
The Missing Bannerfish  10/20/07
Just wanted an opinion on a strange occurrence... <Okay> 200g FOWLR 200lbs live Tonga rock 28" Snowflake Moray 2 x Bannerfish (one 4", one 6") 5" Harlequin Tusk 5" Magnificent Foxface 3.5" Longnose Hawk fairly large banded serpent star <... Ophiarachna incrassata?> I wrote awhile back about my smaller Bannerfish and how it has a habit of floating on the surface and one particular spot in my tank. I got the Bannerfish together and they've been 'friends' since May. Furthermore, they briefly picked on (2 - 3 days?) the Magnificent Foxface when he was a new addition back in late July. Since then, everyone's been getting along extremely well. I've had the Moray for a year now and he's always shied away from all the fish... especially the Bannerfish. He won't feed when they are present. There have been a few instances of them taking food from his mouth, freaking him out, etc... So, let's back up about 10days ago. I notice the larger Bannerfish slowly moving down on top of the smaller Bannerfish and ripping a tear out of the base of his long trailing TopFin. The fin was torn, but was mostly grown back as of last night. For the past 10 days, I've noticed a little bit of nipping but then they swim along side one another as if they're 'friends' again. I remember thinking to myself that it wouldn't surprise me if the smaller Bannerfish was going to be a casualty. I don't know why I thought that, maybe the fin nipping and the long time habit of laying flat at the surface just seemed rather odd. I figured that if the flat surfacing habit was actually a problem... the problem would've taken it's toll on this fish a long time ago. <An unusual behavior...> Of note, the odd time... either of the Bannerfish pick at the Magnificent Foxface. The Foxface doesn't seem stressed out about it at all after all it's the 2nd biggest fish in the tank (eel aside) mass wise. My other observations... the eel hasn't been eating as regularly as it has over the past year. It seems interested in maybe a 1/3 of what I'd usually feed him per feeding... feeding him twice a week. However, he always seems to show his face with interest whenever meaty foods are in the tank for the other fish. Since I noticed his hesitance feeding, he's lost a bit of weight... enough that it was noticeable for sure, but still not a scrawny eel by any means. <Okay> I saw both Bannerfish swimming about acting normally today at 7am. This afternoon at 5:30pm, within about 20seconds I knew something was not right in my tank. The two Bannerfish are the most aggressive eaters in my tank and they are always begging at the surface when I'm in the aquarium room. Only the larger Bannerfish showed up. I turned the pumps off and used a flashlight to check for a fish hiding in distress or a carcass. Couldn't see anything. I did notice my large banded star in a different location that I'd never seen him at before. I figured I'd check out the eel so I coaxed him out with a bit of krill. I'd say he looked a little heavier than usual. I also did an ammonia test which indicated a reading of zero. Then again, if there was a carcass in the tank would it take a day or two for ammonia to show up on a test kit? Would a 4" Bannerfish even cause an ammonia reading in 230gallons of water volume?? <Mmm, not especially... if the system was well-"cycled"...> My theory... either the two Bannerfish got into quite the tussle and the smaller one perished. <Not likely> Perhaps the smaller Bannerfish got stuck by the Foxface? <Only a bit more likely> I'm thinking from 6 months of observation the Snowflake did not seek out and kill the smaller Bannerfish as he ducks back into shelter when either of the Bannerfish are around. Does it sound likely that the fish had perished and perhaps both the eel and the large banded star cleaned up the carcass? <Much more likely, yes> I don't want to rip apart 200lbs of liverock to look for a carcass that I am about 80% sure resides in the belly of my Moray Eel. The carcass could be in some of the tunnel work that the eel has dug out. Definately not in a covered overflow or out of the tank as the eggcrating on top is securely in place. <Not a good idea to take the system apart... This fish is gone, entirely> What are your thoughts? Do nothing but keep up with the ammonia tests for a few days? Think the other fish woulda chipped in on feeding on remains? Can a 4" Bannerfish be devoured by my critters that quickly? <Yes... surprising to some I know> I'm a little bit leery about putting my 4" Regal Tang in the tank now... even though he has 3+ weeks of quarantine left. Dave <I would keep your eye on the Brittlestar... Bob Fenner>
Re: The Missing Bannerfish - 10/20/07
Thanks Bob. <Dave> To clarify... the serpent star is beige/brown with back bands on it and a black circle around the body disc. It's quite commonly offered at the retailers in Calgary. The star used to reside in my smaller tank, mostly with my yellow watchman goby. I would think it would be unlikely that the star caught/killed the Bannerfish, but the different position I found the star in on the same day my fish perished would certainly suggest that it had a hand in cleaning up the carcass... which is a good thing i suppose. <Yes> He seems to do a fine job eating the Snowflake Moray leftovers. With the likelihood of the eel/starfish cleaning up the scraps... would you agree that I shouldn't be overly concerned about other stock at this point? (i.e. my new 4" Regal Tang after he finishes quarantine). <Yes> Thanks, have a great weekend! Dave <You as well. BobF>

Question about reef tank... unknown predator eating fishes  10/14/07 I have a 120g reef tank. I set it up august 2005. I have damsels, Chromis, a Naso tang, a purple tang, and a yellow tang, and 1 clarkii clown. Everything has been fine up until this summer. All of my bottom dwelling fish, gobies, mandarin, and blenny have suddenly disappeared. Next my smaller damsels have disappeared. Now my blue velvet damsel, whose bigger at three inches, has what looks like a shallow, but wide bite mark on his side. I have had an ongoing problem with bristleworms. I catch a few every night, and occasionally I get a large one. The biggest was 12 inches, that got caught in my overflow box. I caught a crab earlier this year. No one knows what kind it is. I got rid of it. It looked like a sally lightfoot, but was told it wasn't one. I'm not worried about the clownfish. He stays in his foot long anemone or swims near the surface. The tangs, however, stay in the rocks at night. They grew up together and school together with no fighting. I really need to know what's in my tank, or if it's the bristleworms doing the damage. <Could be them... or crustaceans... Mantis, crabs...> I'm almost out of damsels, and I really don't want to lose those tangs. I bought them when they were the size of a quarter and now they're at least 5 inches, Naso is about 7 inches. I didn't read about tangs not getting along until after I bought them. So, I feel like I'm lucky they get along so well. I also have polyps, mushrooms, Kenya tree, and other soft corals, and a brain coral, and they are fine. Do you know what could be going in my tank? Could it be bristleworms? In case you need to know, I check with a red light several times throughout a lot nights. <Good> All I ever see is copepods, bristleworms, tiny starfish, brineshrimp, and several of what looks like shellless snails on the glass. And I check during the day. I haven't bought any new rocks, everything have been the same for over 2 years, minus the missing fish now. Thank-you, Robin Cook <I'd try a baited trap or two types... to see what there is to see. See WWM re such. Bob Fenner>
Re: question again... unknown predator 10/14/07
This is Robin Cook again. I just e-mailed a few minutes ago about my damsels and bottom dwellers disappearing. I forgot to say that every so often all the fish jump, like electricity has hit the water. <Mmmm, a good clue... likely a Mantis or Alpheid... snapping!> My hands have on occasion been in the tank when this happens and I don't feel anything. I don't know if that has anything to do with losing fishes, but thought I would include it. There's only the skimmer and pump that has an electrical cord that's submerged. I live in the south and don't use a heater. I really doubt it has anything to do with electricity since now I see a fish with a mark on it's side. I can try to take a picture, but I'm not good at photographing fish. Believe me I've tried to get pics after I've thoroughly cleaned the tank. Robin <Try the traps. Bob Fenner>

Missing fish(es)??? Many predators... - 10/01/07 Greetings, I have a 180-gallon tank with 250#'s of LR. It's been up and running for about 2 1/2 months. This is what I have in it, a tube anemone, <A very pretty fish eater, will eat ugly fish too!> large green brittle starfish, <Fish eater> flower anemone, <Fish eater> 3 emerald crabs, <Fish eater> 1 sailfin tang, 10-15 hermits <Fish eater> /snails,1 Peppermint Shrimp,1 yellow watchman goby and 1 Urchin. Now I'm missing or have not seen my Lawnmower Blenny, Fire Fish Goby and Blood Red Shrimp in a couple of weeks. <Is a big tank... could still be hiding out. But with so many potential predators....> I keep checking my livestock daily and write everything down in a notebook. <This will benefit you. Is a very good habit to be in!> I think my brittle star had them all for dinner or could it be the tube anemone or flower Anemone. <All are possibilities! Hard to determine who is the guilty party here.> Please let me know what you think. <I think you need to decide what you want to keep in your tank and make more appropriate choices so not to lose so many little lives!> Thanks <Welcome! Mich>

Attention Bob Fenner; Trapping a Damsel and A Query (NRA V.s 2,3>  8/21/07 Hi Bob <Kerry> Please let me begin by apologizing for sending this through the FAQs. It seems that the link to email you directly doesn't work. <Yes> Thanks again for your assistance with my Lawnmower Blenny/Feather Duster issue. All is well and they are in our display tank now (with no interaction to date; we are keeping an eye on things). A story to share if I may (nothing new to you I'm sure, but interesting to us) and a query after that; Two years ago, my-then-boyfriend-now-hubby and I got into the hobby, setting up a 20 gallon marine tank. Being rookies, we made the typical mistakes and lost corals for making them, but we have been successful (to date) with our fishes and Corallimorphs and we have learned as we've gone along. We chose 2 small Perculas, a Regal Tang (who was so small he could hide behind a quarter if there had been one in the tank) and a small Three Stripe Damsel. Nine months after starting out we moved and "moved up" to a 90 gallon tank (the 20 is now one of our quarantine tanks). For two years the fishes have gotten along wonderfully. The Damsel and Tang have shared sleeping quarters almost from day one. We thought we had the Damsel who was the exception to the rule regarding Damsel attitudes. We should have been so lucky!! <Things... e.g. Damsel beh., changes> Recently, we decided to add some new "critters". Being (somewhat) wiser, this time we did our research. We attempted to choose our new pets wisely, trying to ensure that they would not occupy the same areas as our current fishes and that their "personalities" would be compatible. We quarantined them. We rearranged the rocks. We acclimated them with water from the display tank; the lights were dimmed while we did so. We added them to the display tank with the lights dimmed. We had approximately 20 minutes of peace and then our exceptionally calm Damsel became possessed and gets worse daily. From the time that the lights come on until they go off, he chases the new fishes (a Firefish and a Canary Wrasse; the Blenny has been left alone as he didn't react the first time he was charged). Neither of them has been driven into hiding but the Tang appears to be stressed by it all. He has been spending the day frantically swimming back and forth behind the rocks. He is a "fraidy fish" with a nervous disposition but this is atypical behavior for him. Hubby had to make a tough decision (the Damsel was one of his choices when we started out), opting to get him out of the tank. We looked for suggestions of how to accomplish it; almost all saying that we would have to take the rock out in order to net him. For a while it seemed we would have to. We ended up using a twist on an acrylic barrier. We had a relatively large piece of "eggcrate" left over from making a shelf to use when cycling live rock. I (half) jokingly suggested making an "eggcrate" barrier to trap him; hubby cut it so that it just fits inside of the tank (front to back) and cut notches for the frame at the top of the tank so that it goes from in the substrate to protrude above the water level by a few inches. He moved most of the rock to one half of the tank (an awful pile, but it stayed submerged) but was unable to get the Damsel to go to the other end of the tank. He was becoming frantic and getting "creative" with ideas of how to trap the Damsel (I could see my life degenerating into an aquatic "Caddyshack"; the ideas scared the beejeebers out of me...if only the Damsel knew!!). Yesterday, I moved two rocks which made up the "roof" of the hidey hole the Damsel and Tang were in (more through good luck than good management) and much to my surprise they bolted to where we wanted them. I put the "eggcrate" barrier into place, got out the net and the Damsel and I went to battle. (The Tang went to hide behind a pump; a wise choice considering that "net work" is not my forte). The Damsel immediately recognized that he wasn't going to be able to get through the middle of the barrier so he swam up and down the edge where it met the front glass. After about 5 minutes, I managed to net him. I spread the rocks out again, gave the Tang about half an hour to come out from behind the pump and peace is reining supreme. For a fish the size of the Damsel, the "eggcrate" worked wonderfully. It was easy to cut to the exact shape, light enough to be able to manage with one hand and the Damsel was too large to fit through the grid (but saw it so he didn't smash into it thereby injuring himself). I had recognized some time ago how bright the Damsel is, but this experienced has certainly confirmed it. His behavior changed with ours and he certainly knew where to look for a potential escape from behind the "eggcrate" barrier. It saddens us that he isn't in that tank any longer but again, we've learned (his nature won out over his nurture and we've moved one more tiny step up that darned steep learning curve!!). Now for the query... We are (finally) adding a sump and small refugium to the display tank. Out came our "invert" bible, Reef Invertebrates, Natural Marine Aquarium Series, and we both read the refugium and "plant" sections. Doing so reminded me to search online for Volume 2, 3, etc. (I bet you're shaking your head by now). I managed to Google my way back to WWM and found a letter/reply posted some time ago about this very thing. Is Volume 2 still "stalled"? If so, please add my voice to those clamoring for it!! <Is still stalled... I am wont to produce the last volumes by myself... JasonC has stated at times that he is working on the layout of the fishes (V.2)... it is timely IMO... for the market... and I've penned the ancillary pieces on Selection, Quarantine... and Antoine and I did about half the articles... some years back...> In all seriousness, thank you so very much for all you do for the hobby. Collectively, "The Crew" provides much insight and has a wealth of knowledge that benefits hobbyists and their pets all over the world. Again, with many thanks and appreciation!! Kerry <Welcome my friend. Re the Dascyllus... I might try adding two more of this species (will spread aggression, attention...) or ultimately give this one fish away... there are other settings where it will co-exist more peacefully. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Polyps. Lots of Hermits, Damsels... and a "who dun it"    5/21/07 Hello, and thanks for taking time to help me. I am a 15 year old novice in a fishy crisis. <Good start> I have a 30 gallon Salt water tank, which has been running for about 6 months now. My live stock is currently about 20 blue leg hermit crabs, 5 red leg hermit crabs, <Yikes... this is way too high a stocking density for these...> spanning from about 1/8 of an inch to 2". I also have some misc. crabs (none reaching more than a half an inch in size) Also have sand sifting star which I was given by the LFS because it was injured in there tank and had lost an arm. I also have about 20 plus Orange Polyps spanning from 1/4 of and inch to about 21/2 inches when fully open. I HAD 2 false perc clowns and 3 blue-green Chromis <...> knowing that this would be all the fish I put in the tank. <No> Slowly but surely my fish started disappearing. Over a span of 3 weeks my fish disappeared overnight. Now I know when you usually hear the words disappear you think that the person just haven't looked hard enough. I have taken all rocks out of the tank gone through all the filters and dug through the sand. These fish are gone, no where to be seen. <Likely consumed during the night while laying near/on the bottom... after much beating during the day by the alpha individual> I am now down to one blue-green Chromis (the biggest of all the fish in the tank) who seems to still be there when I awake every morning. I have research the issue but nothing has really answered my question, Can/Do/Will Polyps eat fish? <Yes> I know they are do no photosynthesizing and they are fed tri-weekly. Its been about 2 months now and the Chromis is still alive, but I am still a little scared about putting more fish in this death trap called a fish tank. <Is really too small to house such damsels, including Clowns (which are also Pomacentrids> Your Input on any of the information/livestock would be much appreciated. Thank you for your time, Ryan <Please read here re stocking small marine systems: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/smmarsysstkgfaqs.htm and the linked files above, and in-text where you find links and lead yourself. Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Polyps. Lots of Hermits, Damsels... and a "who dun it"   5/23/07
Thanks Bob, I guess I would just like to clarify on a few things. 1. How many Hermits would you say should be in a tank of this size. The local fish store told me 1 per gallon... <None per gallon. Please... learn to/use the search tool/indices on WWM... For this here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/crabs/hermitcrabs.htm and the linked files above, and elsewhere re Marine Scavengers...> 2. Are you saying the alpha fish is killing the other fish which are then eaten at night? <Most likely scenario, yes> If so would you approve of me trading it in for another fish at the LFS so i could stock my tank with new fish all at the same time. <I would NOT do this "all at one time" stocking in such a small volume... Again... there are a few tens of thousands of folks that use our site every day... learn to look all this up> 3. You said yes Polyps do eat fish. How big does the polyp have to be to eat the fish. Could the polyps in my tank have eaten my fish? 4. Is a watchmen goby going to be bothered by hermit crabs? I was thinking of stocking my tank as follows. 2 false perc clowns. 1 watchmen goby 1 firefish however many hermits you see fit. 4 margarita snails 1 sand sifting star. 20 Orange polyps 30lbs of live rock 4 inches of live sand Thanks for your assistance. Ryan <Have just skipped down. RMF>

Clownfish and regal tang, Six-line Wrasse and missing shrimp...  Mis-stocked SW...  - 03/09/07 Hi, <<Hi Tom.>> I have used your excellent website many times before and have a query that I couldn't find (admittedly I was a bit quick) anywhere. I have a Percula 90 with 2 common clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris), a regal tang (Paracanthurus hepatus), a sixline wrasse (Pseudocheilinus hexataenia) and a 6 spot goby (Valenciennea sexguttata). My problem is that I added the clowns after the tang and it has sort of adopted one of them as its friend, I don't mind this but they are now shutting out and attacking the other clown. <<Your tank is too small to house a regal tang to maturity.  Returning/re-housing the tang is your best option here.  If you must have a tang, look at the smaller species commonly called 'Kole'.>> Another problem is that since I have added the sixline wrasse one of my 2 cleaner shrimps has gone missing, would the wrasse have attacked it? <<Absolutely!>> It is about the same size as the shrimps and didn't and still doesn't go near them for cleaning. <<..But will gladly go near than for eating. Not uncommon, especially during moulting.>> Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thank you Tom Parr P.S. I have used you before and you helped the most out of everyone I asked. Thanks for that as well :) <<Glad to help Tom. Lisa.>>

-Minimizing aggression- Hello to all! <Hello! Kevin here> You guys have helped me plenty in the past, and I'm hoping you can help yet again.  I have a 60 gallon tank with current inhabitants being a tomato clown, cherub angel, yellow tail damsel, Firefish, and a bicolor blenny.  Yesterday I purchased a Splendid Dottyback from my LFS, and he is currently in quarantine.  From what I've read, these are one of the most aggressive Dottybacks? <Yep.> I'm wondering if it'll bother my Firefish and blenny....whom have been coexisting for about 7 months now....which is also the length of time since I last added a fish. <It may, but it's nice that the non-aggressive critters are already established> I guess I'm hoping that they'll be established enough already.  Any suggestions on how to minimize aggression upon introduction? <Not really, since the more aggressive one is being added to an established tank.> Also, would it be safe to rearrange and add live rock with the fish still in the tank? <This will only work against you by removing the territories of the already established fish.> I just don't want to go through the hassle of netting all those little buggers!  I also wanted to add 3 green Chromis.  Would this be a good idea or has my tank reached it's capacity? <There's always room for Jell-O.. er... Chromis that is.>  There are some mushrooms and zoanthids in there as well, but that's it by way of corals.  I just don't want to overstock, but I appreciate the Chromis' iridescent green color. <I think you should be all set, good luck with the new addition! If it starts beating on the residents, you'll want to remove it.> Any input would help! thanks much for a great website.  Karina <Good luck! -Kevin>

Shy Emperor Angel and Fishing Hooks Hey Bob, Quick question about an Emperor that I just bought. <Anthony Calfo in your service while Bob sits staring at his hand... "all natural" acid flashback, I think> First of all it was at the store for about 2 months and ate out of my hand there.  The transition to my home was so smooth because he just went into a bucket <grumble, grumble... buckets are very hard on fish eyes/membranes... a bad way to ship. Soft plastic bags flex. LFS boo-boo> and into my tank without a net. <excellent and considerate!> 5min after being in the tank he was approaching the top when I came to the tank.  He is PERFECT and curious and eager.  The only problem I'm having is that my 2 tangs are such voracious eaters that even thought the Emperor is going after food, he's not getting as much as he should. <three words for the yellow tangs... barbless trout hooks, er...never mind> The result is my overfeeding which is obviously no good. <agreed...unacceptable> Any ideas? <remove the tangs to quarantine until the angel establishes dominance and familiarity with tank and other mates, then re-introduce the tangs into the Angels territory... but no guarantee. Tangs can be assertive> Will he just learn to get more aggressive when it comes to feeding time?  <hard to say... will suffer in the meantime> He's the biggest guy in the tank so he's not being chased or anything. <its all about attitude... just look at domino damsels; you'd swear they eat wolf cookies and drink gorilla milk every day for breakfast> Thanks Bob....keep up the great work. Rick <doing the best I can, Anthony>

Netting Lorenzo, <Bob back, barely> Excellent. Thanks for the tips. I actually got one of the tangs out today. He was the docile one that was getting picked on by "big yellow". Got him with the net by blocking off his main entrances to the rocks. All the other fish would chase him off when he tried to use their entrances as escape routes. <Good technique> Now, I still wanted to remove a coral beauty and the domino. I'll just have to be persistent I guess. The coral beauty is gonna be a real pain because he is very shy and a suspended feeder. Worse case is I leave him. At least he is a small fish. This will leave me with 5 fish (Yellow tang, Naso, small Fiji damsel, and 2 clowns) in my 75 gallon. What do you think? This should be okay right? Anyway. Thanks again...Steve <Sounds fine. Bob Fenner>

Can you help... (fish compatibility questions) Dr. Fenner, <Just Bob, please> I hope you will receive this letter. I have been reading every part of your web site dealing with saltwater aquariums. I have two of your books as well as a few by other authors. A dear friend of mine has written to you before and recommended that I write to you and get a few answers to some questions I have. <Certainly> The tank I have plus all of it's equipment was a b-day gift that I received at the first of the year. 85gal, wet/dry filter with no bio-balls, red sea skimmer, 300 watt PC lighting on 10hrs. a day, water temp 78 degrees, all water parameters just right. 3 blue damselfish, 1 yellow tail clown, 1 flame angle, 1 hippo tang, and 1 valentini puffer. <A very nice gift> My questions are as follows; 1) I have one damselfish who during the day slides behind the overflow box. It will not come out unless I am offering brine shrimp. He is pale blue, skinny, but a very active at night. Is this normal for some? Or should I become concerned? <Probably normal... this is likely a social species (either "hanging out" in a group, or duking it out one on one all day...) that "misses its conspecifics"... If you have enough room, you might consider adding a couple more of this same species> 2) My hippo tang has to be even more shy then the damselfish. He will cram it's self into rock crevasse s (70lbs LR) He will eat the dried algae sparingly but has become sporadic swimmer if he does venture out. Yet again, should I be concerned? <No... this is a reclusive species in general... some become more outgoing in settings with lots of activity in and outside of their tank> 3) the last of my questions is if you think the fish I have now are compatible? I know there are always personality differences but speaking generally how do you feel about the mix. <They're a "good mix"...> I should also add that the only fish I have that shows much aggression behavior is the angle and the clown, but I have observed that any nips happen if one comes to close to the other personal rock. Any advice would be of great help. <All marines are "nippy" to an extent... likely no problem here... no real damage is evident I'd bet.> Congratulation on an outstanding we site!! It has and still is my saving grace. Clair <Thank you for your kind, encouraging words. Do consider adding the couple more damsels... and a bit of live rock with macro-algae on it... this may help to stir some interaction amongst your livestock... Bob Fenner>

Re: Can you help... (fish compatibility questions)  Bob, I hope you remember an e-mail that I wrote a few days ago. I know you receive numerous e-mails in a day. I feel like I am taking advantage of your generosity. I hope this is not the case. To sum up my previous letter, I ask about my concerns over my shy Hippo Tang and the hiding Damselfish fish. A disaster in my eyes has befallen my fish. I have two blue devil damselfish who are active fellows. I came into the room that houses my tank to see the two of them picking apart my hippo tang. He was very dead. :( I took his body and a water sample to my LFS to see if they could find the cause of death. (they offer a autopsy for any fish bought at their store) No parasites detected and my water was just fine. <This happens, sorry to state... "Psychological stress" commonly offered as a cause of death...> I came home and all looked well in the tank. That night I noticed my flame angle hiding which is very unlike her. She is always swimming about. My yellow tailed clown was fine. This morning I wake up to find my puffer dead! Now I cried my eyes out because he was my buddy. :( So I went through the same routine with my LFS as above, and got the same explanation. <Regardless, I would execute a modest water change, add some activated carbon to your filter flow path... to aid in removing some of the "results" of these fishes passing> My flame angle will not come out from behind my live rock wall. The clown as always swims around like she owns the place. The damselfish are fighting like cats and dogs. I see wounds around their fins and middle body. The damselfish that hides behind the overflow box has come out only to nip at the other two until they drive him back into hiding. <Damsels can become very aggressive... to the point of trouble, by species, size/growth, size of system... they are at least to some degree responsible for your losses> It seems selfish of me to seek your advice but I am at a loss. My only idea is that the damselfish could see the tang was weak and went after him. That resulted in my puffer and angle stressing and killing the puffer and put the fear of god into my angle. That is my novice theory. <I am in agreement> Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 0, S.G. 0.023, temp 79 degrees. I have reduced the light to 5hrs a day. Is there anything I can do? I don't want my angle or clown to die! Should I get those blue devils out? If yes, how? ( I have tried over two months to get them out only to have given up a few weeks ago) <I would likely trade the Damsels in... for something more easygoing> I apologize for the lengthy letter. Thank you so very much for you time and knowledge. I wish there was something I could do in return. Warmest regards, Clair <Your friendship, involvement is more than adequate reciprocation. I thank you. Bob Fenner> 

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