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FAQs about Sea Slugs, the Opisthobranchs, Foods/Feeding/Nutrition

Related Articles: Sea Slugs, Nudibranchs,

Related FAQs: Seaslugs 1, Seaslugs 2, & FAQs on:  Seaslug Identification, Seaslug Behavior, Seaslug Compatibility, Seaslug Selection, Seaslug Systems, Seaslug Disease, Seaslug Reproduction, & Marine Snails 1Marine Snails 2Marine Snails 3 Nudibranchs, Nudibranchs 2, Nudibranch Identification, Nudibranch Behavior, Nudibranch Compatibility, Nudibranch Selection, Nudibranch Systems, Nudibranch Feeding, Nudibranch Disease, Nudibranch Reproduction, Berghia Nudibranchs, Snail ID 1, Snail ID 2, Snail ID 3

Always investigate and cogitate BEFORE purchasing re what the species you have in mind consumes... Buy it with this organism, organisms... and think on how you're going to supply this/these food/s long-term 

Death to Caulerpa! Hey all, Everyone here has seen my tank. It's a pretty nice tank, and I am proud of most of it. Well, perhaps I should rephrase that. I am proud of everything except my Caulerpa. Grape and Parasail dominate my tank. The grape hitch-hiked on my Ritteri's foot, the Parasail literally grew out of the rocks. I saw it as benign, and left it. Huge mistake. For several months now, I have not seen my rocks. The Grape really does not grow too much, but the parasail does. It covers the rockworks, and has smaller stems and tough roots, making it impossible to extricate.  <I lived through this same problem quite a while ago. Aggressive manual removal which included hand picking and a stiff bristled scrub brush along with dropping the temp allowed grazers to get ahead of it.   Eric Borneman wrote a phenomenal piece on the specific nutrient ratios that favor certain "algae", Cyanobacteria, Dinoflagellates, etc. It is hard to find (I recently looked and came up empty). If you can find it, it has some very useful information that could be used to develop a strategy based on manipulating an easily controlled nutrient (Nitrate perhaps).>  It grows over my corals, imbeds its roots in their flesh, and starves them of light. It grows around 4 to 5 inches a day, and will not go away. Daily I pull out about this much:

I have just recently acquired a 6" Sea Hare from IslandReefs.com. The owner there, Tom, says he feeds them Caulerpa as they have run out of hair algae. Sadly, I have yet to see mine even notice the stuff! He just glides right over it without a second glance...eats my Ulva sp. Seaweed, my Nori, my Seaweed Selects, and my Hair Algae, but not my Caulerpa. Tom swears they do, but I have yet to verify that. <I have also heard the claim that these guys will eat Caulerpa, but I would try and find out which kind they actually did eat. With such a noxious battery of defensive chemicals, it is very likely that some might be more or less palatable. Also, it is likely that Caulerpa will only be consumed as a last resort. If other foods are offered or available, they would be eaten first. So, you may have to starve the See Hare into eating it.> What other means are there of naturally controlling Caulerpa? I do know that a specialized species of Sacoglossan Slug, Oxynoe viridis consumes Caulerpa and Caulerpa only. I also know that no online vendor or local vendor sells them. Help! I HATE MY CAULERPA! Mike Giangrasso <You could take your cue from the loonies about San Diego bay and in Australia and put a big tarp over it... Oh, No! Even better.... blast it with bleach. Wait! Huge doses of Copper Sulfate delivered with a fire hose! OK, all of those ideas would kill everything in your tank, just like they killed everything in the immediate area they were applied in the wild. And for our next stupid human trick, we'll rid Hawaii of chameleons by exfoliating the whole place with Agent Orange (the herbicide, not the 80's Orange County surf-punk band). Sorry for the sarcastic rant. As for the O. viridis, try IPSF, Inland Aquatics and do a search on RC. Those are your best bets. Hope this helps.  AdamC.> 

Seahare comp., fdg. Hi Bob Another new question for you......Does a Sea Hare care what it has in its mouth? <Mmmm> That may sound really stupid but I have a Zoanthus colony with a very fine hair algae (green, massively invasive) encroaching and I believe smothering. If the Sea Hare chooses to eat the algae, will it also eat the polyps in the same mouthful? <I do think Aplysiids care... and Zoanthids are very toxic... Do read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/seaslugsopisthobranchs.htm and the linked files above... many Seahares are misplaced in aquariums... and elsewhere on WWM re Zoanthid comp.> Best wishes as always Sarah

Re: Sea Hare (Aplysia dactylomela) And "Ink Scares" In A Take-All Battle Against Hair Algae! -- 01/30/08 Thanks for the reply! <<Very welcome!>> Follow up question: My fish guy says the Sea Hare may eat red algae and he's not sure about it eating Coralline growth on live rock. Does it eat Coralline? <<This has never been a problem in my experience'¦these creatures generally feed on 'filamentous' algae>> I've attached some pics of my algae infestation. <<Yes, I see'¦not so bad as some I've witnessed, and even experienced myself. I must also make mention'¦that lovely Sea Apple you have is of more concern/poses a greater risk of poisoning your system than any inking issue with the Sea Hare>> Thanks a lot guys! <<Great gals here too'¦ Happy to help, EricR>>

Aplysia feeding  11/6/07 Hello everyone, A friend of mine purchased a sea hare as an algae-eater, on the recommendation of her local marine aquarium store. The slug devoured the problem hair algae within days. The owner of the store says that she'll probably have to bring the sea slug back because there isn't any food left; it seems he sort of loans them out as biological control rather than sells them as pets! Anyway, my question: will Aplysia eat anything other than live green algae? I suggested Plec wafers and Sushi Nori, but is there anything better? Or is the store owner right, that these sea slugs shouldn't be kept in tanks once the green algae is gone? <Well, I consulted with my friend Mike G. (gastropod enthusiast) and he informed me that the Univ. of Miami raises them on Gracilaria sp. algae. However, please note that these animals don't live very long even if you do feed them right. Even in the wild, they only live maybe 2 years. And when they come into the aquarium hobby, they're likely already at least 6 months old (maybe older). So please don't be too crushed if it doesn't last long even if you find some Gracilaria to feed it.> Thanks, Neale <De nada, Sara M.>

Sea hare?... pass 4/12/04  Hi There  <howdy>  My LFS has sea hares they are selling for which they claim is algae and Cyano control. I have heard before that the sea hares can consume Cyano.  <some do>  These dudes are real ugly rock like critters. Do they really help control red algae/Cyano??  <its likely a moot point. The few sea hares that make it into the aquarium trade are typically temperate species (cool waters). They are naturally short lived to begin with. Not a safe or recommended choice IMO. Furthermore, they would be treating the symptom (Cyano) and not the problem (nutrient control). Focus on the latter my friend... we have many recommendations for this in the archives. Do a keyword search from our home page at wetwebmedia.com for "Cyano", "sea hares", "nutrient control", etc. Anthony>

See here... Sea hare 5/3/04 Tube Anemone Good evening my wonderful reefers! lol <live it, swim it, smoke it... er, well.. two of those things at least> I won a Aplysia dactylomela the other day at a raffle.  I won it on purpose out of sympathy, I didn't want it to end up with some poor bloke w/out a clue where it would starve to death. <interesting... perhaps a polite mention to the club/donors to be more conscientious about submitting items of challenging needs for random win/purchase by others> After a bit of hunting around my tank for some red algae (which proved non-existent, the info on the specific type of algae these guys eat is rather lacking, a lot of authors say they eat red algae they just don't specify what kind! I think it must also take them a while to adjust their diet to green algae) <I do not spy it quickly at hand... but we have a link in our bibliography for our Reef Invertebrates book to a web page that lists the exact foods for many species of opisthobranchs> I tried putting in some red/purple Nori by Two Little Fishies (Julian Sprung & Co) and my guy started to chow down. Since then all it does is eat and sleep. hehe <Ahhh... good to hear> I was wondering if you could tell me approx how long this sea hare lives?  I've read from 1-2 years is all.   <hmmm... I am not certain, although I recall the larger temperate  species living somewhat longer than the typical 24 months or less> Do they live longer if they don't mate?   <nope... not to my knowledge. There is precedent to support this in other mollusks (like the famous octopuses with a defined lifespan, breed or no)> It's funny, I live in Miami and went snorkeling the other day and saw a mated pair of Dactylomelas.  I didn't know mine was the same even though I've seen them many times when I snorkel. Also, treading into dangerous waters... are there any colorful Nudi's that can be easily kept in a reef tank or is this a lost cause? <hmmm... sort of. The key to any Nudibranch is identifying and supplying their food source. Many will keep and breed easily if you can do this. I keep an active colony (several hundred!) of beautiful blue Berghia (Aiptasia eaters). Other folks keep and breed Elysia sp algae eaters... some folks even dabble with the Zoanthid eating species. The problem with keeping in reef tanks is that most such systems have excessive powerheads and overflows. If you plan well though, you can keep some beauties> I always feel so bad when I see these really amazing looking, doomed Nudi's at the LFS.  There should be a campaign on to stop the collection of specialized feeders such as these. <no formal campaign is needed. Educated aquarists simply vote with their dollars and do not buy them. They die in the dealers tank, and when it happens enough times, the dealer stops ordering them <G>. You might help this along with  a polite mention of the reality (supported by a helpful list of web links or photocopied documents) that you give to the LFS. If that doesn't work... tell us their name and we'll post them on the wall of shame <G> Ha!> Oh, about how big will a tube anemone get in a reef tank?   <it won't... because it does not belong in a reef tank and will never be placed there by a conscientious aquarist. If you know of anybody tempted to the contrary, please direct them to our extensive archives at wetwebmedia.com for an explanation why not <G>> Will I need meters of sand eventually? lol I hope not. ( <8-12" would work nicely... let it mature for 6-12 months before putting a Cerianthus in a species specific tank (no corals or other anemones unless you intend to sacrifice some)> Ah, the pot calling the kettle black I know, but I'm going to try and provide for it) It's only 3 inches long at the moment and eating fine. <sigh... disappointing> Thanks for all your help! Love you guys, Morgan <sob...sob... another anemone destined to be a statistic. Anthony :p>

Feeding lettuce Nudibranchs <Hi Kerry, MacL here> I am wondering what types of algae the lettuce Nudibranch  eats? 
<I'm quoting here from http://www.seaslugforum.net/display.cfm?base=elyscris&id=3863. "In choice experiments they found that E. crispata would eat a number of species of siphonaceous green algae including Batophora oerstedi, Bryopsis plumosa, Halimeda spp, Penicillus spp, Caulerpa paspaloides and Caulerpa racemosa. Jensen & Clark (1983) later showed that another species of Caulerpa, C. verticillata (a very finely branched species, which looks a bit like a tiny Christmas tree), is the preferred food of the juveniles of this species."> And a second question is what kind of algae is the green film that grows on the glass of the tanks and is this one that the Nudibranch eats?
<Difficult to answer could be several different types.> Thanks for All the info on you website It is my main source of Info in the hobby. <so glad its been of help to you. Good luck, MacL>

Elysia crispata nutrition/feeding  1/18/06 Hi my name is Beth and I just received an Elysia crispata as a  gift.  As interested as I was with this gift, I know it can spell disaster  if I do not get enough information on him as quickly as possible.   Basically I need to know if it will eat Caulerpa or not. ( I have heard  contradicting answers). <Some do, but not exclusively, enough... and can be trouble> Also I do not have strong enough lighting for  corals but my macro algae does great... maybe too great.       If this guy needs a different environment let me  know, and if the Caulerpa isn't appropriate please tell me what is ... along  with the common name so that if I need to get some even the kids at the store  will know what I am talking about.          Thank you for your time...  my lettuce slug thanks you to!                              <Mmm, more fine, filamentous greens. Please see here: http://www.seaslugforum.net/display.cfm?id=12310. Bob Fenner>                                                      -  Beth

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