Author Topic: MCMAC Presentation: Bob Fenner - The pros and cons of coral hitchhikers  (Read 2133 times)

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Offline psa

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The pros and cons of hitchhikers in the reef aquarium
(see next post, below, for bibliography/further reading and links)

Anything from live rock to fish can bring hitchhikers into the tank.  Even frozen food can bring in microbes.

Number one source of help/trouble: Live Rock

Many unwanted hitchhikers come in with traded corals

Almost anything can be a hitchhiker, except for "higher vertebrates".  Defining a pest is much like defining a weed.  Most hitchhikers:
  • are benign
  • serve as food
  • clean rock and substrate
  • make things interesting

Alternatives to hitchhikers are worse: toxic treatments or only keeping one or two forms of life in the tank.

Prevention is the best medicine.  Quarantine and isolate.  Dips and baths can help, but use them with care.

Hitchhikers:
  • Blue Green Algae (Cyano).  Very toxic, changes its environment to suit itself.
  • Other Algaes
  • Hydrozoans.  Stinging growths, often Christmas tree-like in appearance, which require physical removal.
  • Pest anemones:  Aiptasia, anemonia, tulips, etc.  Can be an effective water filter if not stinging other creatures.  Physical removal is ineffective, though chemical injection can work.
  • Flatworms.  He does not recommend treating them, since they are usually harmless and treatments can kill the rest of the tank.
  • Polychaetes (bristleworms).  Ignore unless they get out of hand or dangerous.
  • Molluscs:  Nudibranchs, gastropods, bivalves.  Predatious snails and slugs, etc.  Physically remove them and their eggs.
  • Crustaceans.  Crabs, etc.  He would remove most all crabs because they are opportunistic feeders which will remove other forms of life from the tank.
  • Stomatopods and Alpheids:  Mantis and Pistol shrimp.  Not usually a problem, though they can really hurt your hands.  Monitor and remove if necessary.  Often very interesting and beautiful.
  • Smaller crustaceans: copepods, isopods.  Red Bug (mainly Acroporids).  Isopods are mainly fish parasites, often in the mouths.  Treat red bug with chemicals, preferably before it gets in the main tank.
  • Echinoderms: Brittlestars, Asterina seastars.  Can be predatious in huge numbers, but not usually a problem.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2009, 03:37:44 AM by psa »
Years ago my mother used to say to me, she'd say, "In this world, Elwood, you must be" - she always called me Elwood - "In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant." Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.

Offline psa

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Bibliography/Further Reading:

« Last Edit: July 20, 2009, 03:34:08 AM by psa »
Years ago my mother used to say to me, she'd say, "In this world, Elwood, you must be" - she always called me Elwood - "In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant." Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.