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Tired

RFA sting practical experience- what do your critters think?

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Tired

I'm looking for people who've seen animals touch their rock flower anemones, and what those animals did in response. I'd also be curious to know if you've touched those specific anemones.

 

Reason is, I know many anemones feel sticky to the touch. The stickiness comes from the nematocysts (tiny, venomous harpoons) firing into the skin and clinging on. To an animal with thinner skin than we have even on our fingertips, that's a painful and potentially dangerous experience. But I've noticed, when placing my RFAs, that they don't feel sticky. Now, I've only handled three, but none of them are sticky at all to the touch. 

 

I've also been watching animals touch them. One of mine is perched on some zoanthids, and is my biggest example. It's not hurting the zoanthids in the slightest, though the ones being sat on aren't happy. My micro decorator crab recently snuggled under it like a blanket for awhile. And, to top it all off, I've just watched an amphipod molt, while sitting on its oral disk, and casually walk off. The amphipods in my tank seem to avoid walking on the tentacles, but on closer inspection and watching, it's only because the tentacles move towards them. One is currently sitting wedged between the tentacles and the glass, perfectly calm and mobile, fidgeting around as normal. They aren't getting stung, or aren't feeling it. The RFA does occasionally move its tentacles into an amphipod, like it's trying to capture, but doesn't seem to be able to get ahold at all. 

 

So I'm wondering, who's seen things touch their RFAs, and what? I'm looking for information about all animals, mobile or not. Except for clown gobies- I've seen enough pics of those sitting in nastier anemones (including condys!) to believe that they're immune. I'm also largely not interested in info on clownfish, except if the clownfish was definitely not hosting the RFA. Or in cleaner shrimp, since they can walk on other anemones. I'd be interested in hearing if a cleaner shrimp touched a RFA with its body, though. Mostly I'm wondering about fish. I found a person on another forum claiming that their RFA ate a goby that got blown into it by the current, but I can't imagine how even a large RFA would keep ahold of a goby, if they can't sting. Maybe amphipods are more sting-proof than fish? 

 

Also not interested in any "I walked up to the tank and my RFA was eating my shrimp" info. I'm only looking for situations where a live, healthy, freely mobile animal (or, as mobile as corals get) bumped into a RFA, and its reaction could be seen. Did it flinch away at all? Move away? Did it have any marks on it later, or show any signs of distress? Did it touch the oral disk, the tentacles, both? Especially if it's a molly or guppy. And be sure you just have a standard RFA, not one of those long-tentacled ones with the stronger sting, or something different entirely like a minimax anemone.

 

(long story short, I'm considering some Endlers' livebearers for my tank, as they can be acclimated to saltwater and stay very small. But they investigate everything with small nips, and I'd hate for one to get badly stung up by a RFA while tasting it. I'm wondering if RFAs even have the stinging power to do any harm.)

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Clown79

Anything that's touched my rfa's, fish, hermits, snails have had no issues.

 

I don't handle anything with my bare hands.

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DSFIRSTSLTWATER

I have a rock flower hanging out with acans, a montipora and one is basically touching my blasto. No I'll effects at all. Rfa really don't seem like they hurt anything.... I have heard of them taking down a fish but never seen it myself

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DSFIRSTSLTWATER

Here are a couple quick pics for reference.

IMG_20191216_202842_MP.jpg

IMG_20191216_202834.jpg

IMG_20191216_202812_MP.jpg

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Tired

If you look up things like "rock flower anemone eat fish", you see a few people claiming theirs caught and ate a perfectly healthy fish. I know some anemones do that, but after encountering one of these for myself, I'm really a little skeptical. I've seen a couple of people who thought they had a RFA but either had a minimax nem or a very unhealthy bubble tip, and I wonder if that's what happened. Or- someone on here had a very long-tentacled RFA that they said stung harder, either a regional variant or another species, so maybe those pop up now and then. 

 

I'm usually not inclined to handle reef aquarium things without gloves, but it seems like the safest way to gently remove a RFA from a transport bag and get it onto something. I'd be afraid to try prying it off with any kind of tool. If my hands are clean and my nails are short, I won't hurt it. Peoples' responses to anemones seem to vary, so the first one, I tried brushing with a couple of fingertips first. When it didn't sting me enough for me to mind (or at all, that I could feel), I took that as an indicator that it wasn't going to do me any harm. No sharp edges on these to get cut on! 

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jack1978

I have had a few .... still have one.  My large one would walk everywhere and seemed to seek out his roommates and kill them .... coral. 
-He was evicted. 
 

My current RFA - I introduced some healthy fish from an order.  One was a small Cardinal.  Swam down, touched the RFA and did spirals until it died within the hour .... couldn’t right itself. 

3 hours ago, DSFIRSTSLTWATER said:

Here are a couple quick pics for reference.

IMG_20191216_202842_MP.jpg

IMG_20191216_202834.jpg

IMG_20191216_202812_MP.jpg

Nice stuff in there!

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Tired

What does yours look like, then? Because I've never heard of an RFA stinging coral to death. They also don't tend to walk much. And none of the "RFA killed a fish" stories I found were about something dying that fast after a minor sting, only of RFAs engulfing fish entirely or stinging them badly in the first place.

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jack1978
2 minutes ago, Tired said:

What does yours look like, then? Because I've never heard of an RFA stinging coral to death. They also don't tend to walk much. And none of the "RFA killed a fish" stories I found were about something dying that fast after a minor sting, only of RFAs engulfing fish entirely or stinging them badly in the first place.

About 6” in diameter.  Purple disc with bright green tentacles.  Loved it.... looked like an old school Joker Paly.  I think he was moving due to not having a good crevice or foothold.  
 

My current one (The Fish Killer) started doing the same until I got it a rock, drilled a large hole in the middle for it to run its foot through and down to the glass bottom of the aquarium.  He’s been there for about 2 years now, model citizen.  Pink/White/Purple disc with neon orange and white tentacles.  About 3 - 4” in diameter 

- The cardinal could have been stressed from shipping.  Although the other 5 fish that arrived with it were fine and healthy.  

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NoOneLikesADryTang

I have a six line wrasse in my RFA garden, and he swims all around them, through the smallest gaps, and doesn’t get snatched up by them, and I’ve got some that are definitely big enough to eat him. 
 

I have noticed that zoas tend to close when next to them, and will even try to lean away from them. 
 

I did have a tort get stung by their tentacles to the point I had to move it. 
 

I also had a pistol shrimp get blown in to one... It became an expensive meal, that I sadly was a witness to. 
 

Hermits and snails don’t seem bothered by them one bit. 
 

Most of the anemone isn’t sticky, but their tentacles are. When I feed, I put the food in the tentacles and they’ll fold it to their mouth. It’s a really neat to watch them eat. 

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Clown79
13 hours ago, Tired said:

If you look up things like "rock flower anemone eat fish", you see a few people claiming theirs caught and ate a perfectly healthy fish. I know some anemones do that, but after encountering one of these for myself, I'm really a little skeptical. I've seen a couple of people who thought they had a RFA but either had a minimax nem or a very unhealthy bubble tip, and I wonder if that's what happened. Or- someone on here had a very long-tentacled RFA that they said stung harder, either a regional variant or another species, so maybe those pop up now and then. 

 

I'm usually not inclined to handle reef aquarium things without gloves, but it seems like the safest way to gently remove a RFA from a transport bag and get it onto something. I'd be afraid to try prying it off with any kind of tool. If my hands are clean and my nails are short, I won't hurt it. Peoples' responses to anemones seem to vary, so the first one, I tried brushing with a couple of fingertips first. When it didn't sting me enough for me to mind (or at all, that I could feel), I took that as an indicator that it wasn't going to do me any harm. No sharp edges on these to get cut on! 

I just wear gloves, they slide ride off bags when they stick to them so it's been easy removal.

 

 

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Clown79
11 hours ago, Tired said:

What does yours look like, then? Because I've never heard of an RFA stinging coral to death. They also don't tend to walk much. And none of the "RFA killed a fish" stories I found were about something dying that fast after a minor sting, only of RFAs engulfing fish entirely or stinging them badly in the first place.

Don't normally hear of rfa's eating healthy fish nor stinging them to death. My blenny sits on mine.

mine have walked around alot, my bta's only move within their area if I do a major change like flow/light. 

 

My hermits have gotten lightly stuck to rfa's.

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TNSRFR

I got 6 RFA for the first time and place them in my tank last Friday (4/30).  I debated for a long time whether to start RFA garden or not due to reading about them eating fish.  I went ahead and got them realizing that I maybe taking a chance.  This morning I found my chromis dead on my sandbed.  He was in the back of my tank not near RFA but I really think it may have something to do with his death.  I’ve had him for 8mos and he’s been very active and healthy.  He ate good as usual last evening but find him dead in the morning?  I’m so afraid for my other fish since I have quite a few small fish.  I may have made a mistake adding them to my tank...

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SeaFurn

My RFAs will wreck any ricordea. They usually survive but it takes them over a week to recover. That’s the only coral I’ve had any issue with.

I have a six line that will swim into them to grab pieces of food. While he tries to avoid the tentacles sometimes a few touch him and it doesn’t seem to be a problem. My clown fish have touched them too, unintentionally, with no I’ll effects. 

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Tired

Your RFA did not kill your chromis. Chromis are active midwater fish, they don't come anywhere a RFA can touch, and RFA have a really mild sting. I've seen it for myself at this point. I watched a shrimpgoby perch on a RFA, twitch up a little, perch again, twitch again, and finally move half an inch to the side to avoid it. No harm whatsoever. The only circumstance where I'd buy an RFA eating a fish is if it somehow managed to engulf the fish entirely (maybe huge anemone, tiny fish, bad luck?) and eat it that way, in which case you wouldn't find a body. 

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TNSRFR
1 hour ago, Tired said:

Your RFA did not kill your chromis. Chromis are active midwater fish, they don't come anywhere a RFA can touch, and RFA have a really mild sting. I've seen it for myself at this point. I watched a shrimpgoby perch on a RFA, twitch up a little, perch again, twitch again, and finally move half an inch to the side to avoid it. No harm whatsoever. The only circumstance where I'd buy an RFA eating a fish is if it somehow managed to engulf the fish entirely (maybe huge anemone, tiny fish, bad luck?) and eat it that way, in which case you wouldn't find a body. 

I’m kind of coming to that RFA may not have anything to do with my chromis dying.  I’ve done a lot of research on chromis that says they don’t have very long survival rate.  He ate really good and very active but did get picked on slightly by my other fish.  I’ve had him for 8 mos and for him to die after getting RFA seem too coincidental.  It’s always sad to loose a fish though...

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