Submitted by melev on Tue, 08/15/2017 - 00:58
Harlequin Shrimp - Hymenocera elegans - are gorgeous creatures. I've never owned one myself, but was able to get a good picture of one while visiting a LFS. These shrimp only eat starfish, and will otherwise perish in our tanks. If you choose to own this shrimp, you'll have to buy a starfish or two each month just to keep it well-nourished. There is a chance it will eat the tiny white starfish (Asterina), but since I've got several Serpent starfish already in reef, I'm not willing to buy this particular shrimp to see if that is true.
Submitted by melev on Mon, 08/14/2017 - 21:26
This Commensal Shrimp - Periclemens holthuisi - was hanging out in a carpet anemone at the LFS, and I had to take its picture. The anemone seemed unaware of its presence, and due to the lack of coloration of the shrimp, it was nearly invisible. Reef-safe.
Submitted by melev on Mon, 08/14/2017 - 21:23
Chitons are little tiny creatures that crawl all over the rockwork grazing for film algae. As you can see above, sized against a dental tool while crawling on a cutting board, these critters are small. This one was on the shell of a Maxima Clam. There are many kinds and colors, but their shape tends to remain the same. I have seen larger ones occasionally. Check your tank late at night and see how many you'll find; you'll be surprised. Reef-safe.
Submitted by melev on Mon, 08/14/2017 - 21:18
This recognizable pattern is created by Cerith snails (not the snail you see munching to the right). The thousands of white dots left in a serpentine pattern are cerith eggs, which when left unbothered will result in cerith babies! I've seen this pattern appear in my tanks on occasion. Unfortunately they were laid right over the silicone which spoiled the photo. Reef-safe
Submitted by melev on Mon, 08/14/2017 - 21:16
This is a Cerith snail. These are great algae eaters and can be found in many places in the tank: on the rockwork, crossing the sand and cleaning the glass. The benefit of these guys is that they have the ability to right themselves if they fall off an object, thus they don't succumb to hermit crab attacks as easily. Rather than lying there helpless, they get right back to what they were doing before.
Submitted by melev on Mon, 08/14/2017 - 15:27
The orange worm is a predatory worm that needs to be extracted once discovered in your reef. It exudes a toxin to stun its prey, and devours it. If spooked, it retracts back into the safety of the rockwork via that same toxin-slime that it builds in its wake. It will appear to be bright orange when spotted in the tank during flashlight duty. Avoid shining the light directly on this worm if you hope to catch it, and have forceps handy.
Submitted by melev on Mon, 08/14/2017 - 01:12
If you like to buy coral as a colony rather than a frag, you'll often times also inherit acro crabs. These little guys rarely stray out of the coral head, because they remain safe within the branches. They catch food that drifts through the coral, and keep the coral clean of detritus, nuisance algae, and other waste. Their symbiotic relationship is extremely beneficial to both the coral and the crab, because the branches keep the crab safe from becoming fish food. Reef-safe.
Submitted by melev on Mon, 08/14/2017 - 01:10
This guy is an Arrow Crab. Originally I bought one because I was tired of the abundance of bristleworms in my tank, his favorite meal. However, I had a Coral Banded Shrimp and he killed the Arrow Crab relatively quickly. After many years, the CBS died, so I got a new Arrow Crab. Mainly I enjoy this creature because of its delicate structure and blue pinchers, and because it is not a crab that likes to hide. Some report it will kill fish, but it would have to be smaller fish if at all. I've never had any negative experiences. Reef-safe-ish.
Submitted by melev on Mon, 08/14/2017 - 01:07
The T. gigas clam can grow to be several feet in size. The one in this picture was acquired at 23" wide by a local fish store for their 1000g display. A big tank is required by anyone wanting to care for this species of clam. It's going to need a lot of space, and as you might have surmised will be utilizing calcium constantly. This type of clam belongs to expert reefers, and even those people find them challenging.
Submitted by melev on Mon, 08/14/2017 - 01:01
I always read suggestions from others that Urchins are good algae eaters. Well, this urchin - Arbacia punctulata - sure seems to love coralline, the purplish algae I actually want! Oh well, its not doing too much damage over all, with 120lbs of LR in the tank. It travels over the rockwork and the glass, and hasn't been problem at all. It does knock over smaller frags like a bulldozer sometimes. Reef-safe.