Amphipods eating zoanthids!?

Skuhlig

New member
Got a pretty new frag of green zoas for my 30 gallon nano a couple days ago. All polyps seemed happy, opened up, and had good color until i noticed 3 decent sized (maybe 1/4 inch or so) amphipods just hanging out on the colony. I wasn't very concerned until the polyps closed and didn't start to open up again. So i promptly shooed the pods away and noticed tiny nibble marks on the skirts of the polyps. I was quite surprised and rather irritated to find this out. I'm trying to create a nice zoa rock in my system but do not want to buy more frags if my amphis are just going to enjoy them for lunch =/ Any comments/ suggestions on how to stop the amphis from snacking on my zoas? If i have to, i guess i could try to eradicate the amphipods, but would rather not b/c they really are beneficial and definately do more good then bad in my system. I've had no problems with them snacking on any other corals.

Mobile Inhabitants:

skunk cleaner shrimp
royal gramma
true perc clown
firefish
a few blue legged and a few red legged hermits
4 astrea snails
 

greech

New member
You sure the pods weren't zoanthid eating nudibranchs? Might want to google a pic of them and if that's what you saw do some more research.
 

Skuhlig

New member
100% sure. I may be new to this website, but i'm not new to the hobby. As soon as the little buggers get back on the zoanthids i'll take a picture and post it up so everyone can see.
 

Skuhlig

New member
Just to make sure we're all on the same page these are the pods i'm talking about. Pretty much your run-of-the-mill amphipod. They still haven't started eating the frag since i shooed them off about 2 hours ago, but as soon as i see them actually on the frag again, i'll take a picture just to be 100% thorough with my documentation.

rtklzs.jpg
 

NanoReefWanabe

New member
though they are opportunistic feeders like most other crustaceans, there is generally more then enough food in the tank for them to eat...chances are the polyps where dying and they were doing you a favor by getting rid of them...or they were eating dead flesh off them...obviously if something is biting, crawling, poking a coral it will irritate enough to close...
 

Skuhlig

New member
though they are opportunistic feeders like most other crustaceans, there is generally more then enough food in the tank for them to eat...chances are the polyps where dying and they were doing you a favor by getting rid of them...or they were eating dead flesh off them...obviously if something is biting, crawling, poking a coral it will irritate enough to close...

well i certainly agree with you. However the polyps all look very happy when the amphis aren't nibbling on them (i did see small bite marks). So i doubt they're dying - it doesn't mean it's ruled out - i just really doubt it. Btw all other corals are quite happy. No SPS in this system though. Predominately LPS and a couple softies.
 

Retromagnolia

New member
I know this is an old thread and you probably solved this problem a while ago but I thought I would add my research findings for anyone else who is googling the problem. :).
There are actually different types of amphipods, some herbivores/detritus eating and some carnivourous. In the ocean this isn't an issue because there's food and space for everyone, but in a reef tank the carnivourous amphipods could obviously be a problem. They DO eat zoas. Or mor likely the zooplankton and zooanthea found in zoas. They are also know for eating invertebrate larvae.
If for some reason your fish are not eating them, (my fish spit them out unless it's my six line) then I would consider removing it's food source. If they're taking over the tank it could be from coral food being added to the tank in abundance. I had an issue with them and I was adding zooplankton to my tank all the time with the idea of "more the merrier". After stopping the supplements for a while they seemed to die out a bit. I still have amphipods but they no longer chew my zoas. My theory is they are mostly the herbivores that are left.
To back my research I have a link to a great article about amphipods in general. Check it out!
http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2004-09/rs/index.php
 
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