My Reef Now A work in progress

Monthly Archives: September 2014

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Stomatella Snail Hitchhiker

stomatella snail

My latest hitchhiker is the Stomatella snail from the family trochidae which is a harmless herbivore that (according to Chuck’s Addiction) has a unique way of fooling predators. “When attacked or pulled off the glass by us, it will drop a large portion of its foot, much like some lizards that break off their tails in an attempt to keep a predator busy while it makes its escape.”

It looks like a cross between a snail and a slug with a cap-like shell. The shell only covers a small portion of the animal which makes is somewhat vulnerable to predators. Stomatellas are herbivores and feed upon micro algae. They also seem to be multiplying in my tank. We noticed the first one within minutes after introducing a fairly large coral live rock in my tank. Within about 6 weeks we noticed a smaller one. The larger ones are approximately 1″ and the smaller about 1/2″.

You can read all of the details for these snails at Reef Keeping. According to Reef Keeping, “they are quite good grazers, and also reproduce well in aquaria lacking hermit crabs and shrimp predators”.

I most always see these guys at night after the lights have dimmed. They are methodically working the live rock for algae. More pictures are available at Reef Corner.

stomatella snail

Asterospicularia Coral

Asterospicularia Coral

Blue/Purple Asterospicularia is a newly-available “soft” octocoral from Indonesia. I purchased this one from LiveAquaria.com. There are two types: branching and the matting (the picture of mine is the matting). These corals look similar to Xenia, but do not have a pulsing action. The above picture is in my tank after two months (purchased 7/23/14 and picture from 9/12/14) and has probably grown by 20 – 25%.

According to Live Aquaria, these are peaceful corals and do best in a well-established tank. It requires moderate lighting (placed about 1/2 to 2/3 down in my tank) with medium flow.

Like many other soft corals, Asterospicularia contains the symbiotic algae zooxanthellae from which it receives the majority of its nutritional requirements through photosynthesis. It does not require additional food to maintain its health in the reef aquarium, but benefits from the addition of zooplankton. I tend to feed my corals once every 7 to 10 days.

Asterospicularia

Hitchhiker and Pest Identification

zoanthid eating nudibranch

My first destructive pest — Zoanthid Eating Nudibranch. Treat with Two Little Fishes ReVive Coral Cleaner (smells like Pinesol, but is made from natural plant extracts – not iodine) for 30 minutes in saltwater (tank water) dip 30 minutes in a bucket. Re-dip every 2 to 3 days to catch next group of eggs that hatch. Total duration is planned for two weeks.

revive coral dip

9/3/14 – After 1st dip, lots of dead nudibranchs. Two zoanthid colonies that were dipped, opened 80% the next day (probably only 20% open before the dip).

9/6/14 – 2nd Dip – saltwater, 25 minutes. Expanded to include more zoa colonies. Fewer nudibranchs

9/12/14 – 3rd Dip – saltwater, 25 minutes. Expanded to include more zoa colonies. Fewer nudibranchs from 9/6/14 dip. All corals opened nicely within 24 hours.

Resources for Identifying Pests/Hitchhikers

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Reef Tank – from RTAW Reefpedia; everything from Chitons to Coraline Algae to Nudibranchs and Spindle weed.

Chuck’s Addiction Live Rock Hitch Hikers – great selection organized by organism type.