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Need something to defend rock flower anemones from amphipods. Must be pico-suitable.

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I have amphipods chewing on some of my RFAs. They're eating the tentacles, stingers and all. I have a goby who eats them, but I don't want to encourage him to go over to the anemones, and I think most of the damage happens at night anyway. He's a trimma goby, he's diurnal. 


What animal reliably hosts RFAs and will defend them from amphipods? I assume white porcelain crabs will do the trick, but I can't find any in stock to buy online. I've isolated the anemones, should I just keep them separated until they heal up and I can get a porcelain crab? I'm not putting sexy shrimp in here, I have zoanthids. 


Do antenna gobies feed at night? I was hoping to eventually get one for this tank, but I'm still unsure if a trimma goby and an antenna goby are too much for a 4.5gal. Thoughts on that? I have a bit of macroalgae in here, and am considering ways to add a tiny (hand-sized) HOB 'fuge. Which would, of course, likely make my pod problem worse, unless I could manage to keep amphipods entirely out of it. How large are baby amphipods? 

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This guy might do the job for you. He's tiny yet but a cutie.




It won't sit on your RFAs and a bit cryptic but seem like quite the little hunters.




I have one in my 6g along with two other tiny fish. Mine goes crazy for live worms (will eat frozen too) so I imagine a moving pod would also be a target.


I doubt the RFA will harm your small fish....my greenbanded used to accidentally sit on mine all the time then hop off like a hot plate but none the worse for wear.



I have never seen any of my shrimp gobies feed at night.


I am not sure if my porcelain nem crab would help with amphipod invasions or not. He seems pretty lazy but can't hurt to try one.

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You can't fool me, that's a scorpionfish! Seriously though, love the look, but I think 3" may be a little large as a full size. Is yours active, or does he just sit? Do you know if he's active at night? My trimma goby is doing a pretty good job of eating pods during the day, so I think I need something nocturnal. Trimmas sure aren't- this guy vanishes when the lights go out.


Any idea what's being eaten in that photo? The length reads 'worm', but it looks kinda like a very elongated chiton. 


I had another thought: coral croucher "gobies". They're nocturnal, right? Spotted ones get to 2", and that tall body makes me wonder about bioload, but the 1.5" pygmy coral crouchers are basically just clown gobies with weapons. Do you know much about these and how much space they like? I've read some people think they're nocturnal, so I wonder if they might want to move around at night (and therefore need more space than I have), or if they really do just sit in one place all day.


Really, no visible harm to the greenbanded? I didn't expect it to kill the fish, but I thought it'd hurt him, maybe cause a poison-ivy effect when touched. If it really is just an uncomfortable thing, that relieves some worries. I know I've seen people claim that their RFA ate a fish, but I wonder if that's misidentified minimaxes, I don't think the average RFA can catch a fish. 

What do RFAs eat in the wild? I had thought from research that they eat plankton, but, watching amphipods crawl entirely unhindered through their tentacles, I wonder if they have the sting to kill anything. I do notice that my red one, which feels a little bit stickier than the rest to me (as in, it has stickiness, period), doesn't have any amphipods on it. They have reasonably large mouths, and clearly want to put something in those, but I can't see mine eating anything. Maybe they get copepods sometimes. 


Porcelain crabs, if you get the right species, like to hang out underneath and on top of anemones. Which is where the amphipods are. I assume the porcelain crab would dislike amphipod houseguests and chase them away. I want a porcelain crab, anyway, I was planning on one. I like that they're fake crabs.


I'm also going to slowly up my flow a bit, since pods don't appreciate that. I don't need them to be gone, and I don't think that's possible, but maybe I can annoy them into not bothering the anemones. Some combination of making the anemones less hospitable, thinning out the pods, and maybe finding the right amount to feed (enough that they're full, but not breeding further) should hopefully work. 


I'm also going to try, as a temporary measure, putting the anemones in a raised cup attached to the wall. I don't think amphipods are going to go all the way up the tank side and into a cup with the current bombarding them. They aren't super fixated on the anemones like it's a tasty dead thing, they just seem to want to eat tentacles when they encounter them. At least the anemones seem to be... okay? They're expanding decently, and they aren't leaking any visible substances. They're just missing parts. 

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He is eating a bristle worm. I got one for my pico to keep all the critters in check. They are apparently built to do just that. They don't seem big bodied to me...kind if flat shaped almost with big fluffy fins.


Not sure about the coral conchers... I didnt think people had good long term success with them but I could totally be wrong.


My Catalina gobies live with much more aggressive nems than RFAs. Gobies don't seem to be stupid. I suppose they have to have some wits about them to stay alive.


This is the info @Nano sapiens gave me about the hasslet:


Great and unusual fish for a reef tank.  A few caveats though: They will find or make a burrow and tend to stay hidden during the day (will come out for food, eat for a few minutes, then back to the cave).  They will come out and forage at night, so turning lights on all of a sudden will make them real skittish and likely jump.  Eat everything, so a small tank will soon be devoid of pods, worms, collunista snails. Etc. (including Bristleworms).  They have a whole lot of extra vertebrae for extreme lateral manueverability, so they can literally make a 180 degree turn on a dime (so cool).  I didn't see any aggressive behavior towards any of my smaller nano fish, but I suppose something like a real small Eviota might be on the menu.


I had mine for over a year.  Due to larger size than most nano gobies and slower lifestyle, I would take a guess at maybe a 5 year or more lifespan.


Those huge pectoral fins are likely used to corral swarms of benthic organisms like copepods and such.


And lastly, they have a huge range from Australia up to Taiwan (salt & brackish), so they are very adaptable.

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Really? It looks like a segmented thing. The bristleworms I'm used to are pink, with white bristles, and don't have armor plates that jut out to the sides like that. 


If this guy can really eat all the amphipods, I'm very intrigued. I don't know that I want him to eat ALL the inverts in here, I do need those for scavenging, but I guess I could set up a 'fuge? And he might not eat the micro brittles entirely out of existence, since they stay so deep in the rock. Mostly I would like for him to not eat my trimma goby. May have to do some research into those, but thanks for the suggestion- they look really cool. 

How big is yours at the moment? The couple of sources I can find online recommend a 20+ gal tank for them, and I don't know if that's just an arbitrary guess, or if they actually like to move around. 


Edit: read that a Hasselt's stripped all the microfauna out of a 12gal tank, and I don't think I want to deal with that. Definitely keeping the suggestion in mind for later, though- when I can get a tank large enough that he can't reduce the biodiversity to "corals, fish, nothing else". 

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