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Tired

Tips for a slightly bleached RFA?

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Tired

I got this interesting RFA from my local shop recently, a bit on sale because it's had a hard time. It's missing some tentacles off one edge from getting too close to something aggressive, and apparently the lights in their anemone sale tank were too strong for it. 

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It looks nicer in person, the orange is really iridescent in spots. About 1/3 of its disk looks to be the right color density, the rest is translucent to varying degrees. The remaining tentacles are maybe half the color they should be? It's not very responsive to food, but I just got it on the 15th, so it may still be settling in. It does react appropriately when touched by annoying animals.

For the first couple of days, it was crammed back into this little crevice in the rockwork, barely visible. It's come out a bit further now, but looks somewhat thick, instead of nice and spread out. Can I trust it to move in and out of the light according to its needs? 

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Garf

How many tentacles are missing? What does it look like in that place? That is the main thing to worry about. Hopefully it is healing, keep an eye on further tissue damage from whatever stung or iritated it. 

 

I would say let it do its thing, the only issue would be if it is too weak to move, and the place it has ended up is somehow bad for it (too much light, flow for example). It is good that has come out and reacts to things, just keep an eye on it. Giving it some small food like reef roids or reef chilli might be a good idea, but I would avoid large pieces for now, as those can be hard for RFAs to digest.

 

 

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Tired

It's missing maybe 1/5 of its tentacles? Which I know isn't great. The missing area looks clean enough around the edges, and it doesn't look like the actual disk was seriously damaged. It doesn't seem to have any stingers or anything stuck to it, and there aren't any scavengers that seem interested in it. I don't think it's dying, I'm just looking for some general advice to give it the best shot. 

Curious to see if this one's colors will change as it recovers, or just get stronger. Green-and-white frill, orange disk, lime green mouth. I don't think I've seen one like this. 
I'll give it a bit of reef roids in a day or so, to see if it wants to eat then. It didn't take a mysis shrimp that I gave it yesterday.

 

It's definitely not in too much flow, the whole tank's decently low-flow. There's another RFA right next to it that's fine with the flow, too. 

 

This is it a couple days ago. It completely vanished the day I put it in, then stayed like this for a couple days. I assume it would continue to do this if it was in too much light. Its color looks a bit better than when I got it, so I'm hopeful.

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Tired

I tried feeding it some reef roids today. It didn't curl up in time to catch them, so they all kinda just slid off (since it's still vertical), but it opened its mouth quite a lot in response to the smell. So I just set a mysis right on its mouth, and it ate that. 

 

Oh, and my porcelain crab stood on it briefly. It lives in the non-ultra RFA next door, and didn't seem impressed by this one. Probably a good thing, I don't know that a stressed anemone really needs to be trod on. And the porcelain crab tries to steal food sometimes. 

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NoOneLikesADryTang

I think you’ve got the right idea. Keep it in low flow, and low-ish light. It’ll move to more light if and when it’s ready. As long as the fooT isn’t damaged, and it’s still sticky, it’s got a good shot of recovery. 

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Tired

It doesn't seem to be too sticky, but it did briefly cling to my tongs when I was placing it in the tank (very gently, I didn't smush it), and it can hold onto food placed onto its tentacles. It's definitely moving in and out of the crevice as needed, and closing up appropriately at night, which I'm taking as good signs. 

 

Do you know if there's any truth to the idea that RFAs will trade zooxanthellae? Wondering if this one's new neighbor (the other one moved up closer) will help it out at all.

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NoOneLikesADryTang

I’ve never heard that, but anecdotally, I have noticed one one gets sick, and starts melting, the ones around them often will do the same... Now, whenever I see one that isn’t looking good (they look way worse than yours does) I’ll pull it and segregate if in a small box.
 

So would I believe it’s possible? Certainly. Am I skeptical to think that they’re not intelligent enough to recognize a sick one and try to help? Yep. 

 

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Tired

Well, plants of the same species will help each other out. Trees in forests often have their roots woven together, and some species will send nutrients to an ailing member of the group. There are even albino trees, completely unable to photosynthesize, that are still alive because other trees are feeding them. 

If RFAs did have a function to transfer zooxanthellae, they wouldn't have to be particularly conscious to do it. There would just have to be some sort of chemical signal that an ailing one could send, to which a healthy one in contact with it would respond by releasing algae. No idea if it's an actual thing, but it seems entirely possible, and it wouldn't require any 'thinking' beyond basic stimulus response. 

 

I'm pretty hopeful about this one. It's not in terrible shape, it's definitely not getting worse, and it seems to be doing a little better. Any thoughts on how much/often I should feed it? I think it would be in the 2-3" range if it was properly, fully extended. I don't want to overwhelm it with food, but I'm sure it needs some extra materials to build itself out of. So I'm thinking a PE mysis (big as mysis go, nearly an inch long) twice a week might be reasonable, probably with a light dusting of reef roids before it to get the nem excited. 

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NoOneLikesADryTang

I don’t feed mine that often, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a couple times a week. For a while I was doing every other day, and it didn’t seem to negatively impact them at all.
 

That mysis might be hard for them to digest, if it’s an inch long. I just feed mine frozen, that I’m feeding the fish, or even pellets. 

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Tired

Might stick to half a mysis, then. It's pretty skinny, it's not like it's a 1-inch cocktail shrimp or anything. I know twice a week is what people do when they're trying to get a nem to grow, and I am pretty much trying to get this one to grow. I'm just trying to get it to grow tentacles, not size. 

 

Thanks for the advice. I'll try to remember to update this with how it does.

 

I actually got this one based entirely on an over-the-phone description- I was placing a curbside pickup order at my LFS for a few things, and asked if they had any interesting RFAs. The guy said they had a lot of ones with the red-orange center and white rim, paused to look more thoroughly, and went "oh, there is an interesting one", and I was pretty much sold right off. It's not the prettiest RFA I've seen, but it's definitely interesting. I hope I can get it to breed eventually, this would lend some interesting genes to the pool. 

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Tired

Well, that was fast! Not a week after purchase, and we have tiny tentacles. 

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Forgive the photo quality, my phone hates trying to focus on that area. Almost the entire damaged area is lined with budding tentacles, which were definitely not there before now. I'm going to continue feeding it every few days until those tentacles are full-sized, I think. Though the porcelain crab may make that difficult, since it's moved in. Its original home anemone moved to a slightly different spot in the tank, and the porcelain wanted to stay in this area.

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Tired

Still progressing well. The tentacles are growing, and the nem isn't showing any stress signs. Color hasn't changed any, but I guess that probably takes awhile to improve, if it has to reacquire or multiply algae.

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Tired

Color seems to have gotten slightly worse, not sure why. Will test the water when I find my test kit. My shallow-water RFA and everything else in the tank is fine with whatever parameters are, at least. Did a 30% water change just in case. 

 

I think the porcelain crab may be stressing it out. I KNOW the porcelain crab is stealing food from it, including swiping a piece of food I set on its mouth. It hasn't extended fully since the crab took up residence. I noticed today that it had its foot puffed up like they do when they're about to move, which also makes them unable to clamp down and avoid being removed, so I took the opportunity to very gently peel it off the rock. It's now in a cup attached to the side of the tank, where the porcelain crab can't get to it. It has a big shell to hide under, and is in fairly low flow, but not stagnant water. I shielded it partially with a piece of semi-transparent tupperware lid, so it can move to an unshielded part if it wants more light or hide if it wants less. It's very slowly moving to wedge its foot under the shell now. 

 

I'm going to keep it in the cup until it's healthy again. I think it just can't deal with having a porcelain crab tromping on it while it's trying to heal, and I can't feed it with the porcelain crab there. Once it's healthy and can quickly wrap around food, the porcelain won't be a problem, but right now it moves VERY slowly when getting food to its mouth. Sorry, porcelain crab, you've been evicted. Go move back into the other anemone. 

 

Edit: its mouth was open, but not gaping like dying anemones do, so I put some reef roids on it. It curled up and ate them! It hadn't been reacting to food when I tried earlier today, which worried me, but it definitely reacted now. Makes me think it's feeling better in its new spot. The dislodged crab has gone to the other anemone now.

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mcarroll

I would stop trying to feed it directly – you're essentially baiting the crab in there.  

 

Like corals under good conditions, there's no NEED for an anemone to feed on hunks of food.  That's what the photosynthesis is for.  And it sounds like conditions are good!  (Run those tests when you can tho.)

 

As long as there are plentiful dissolved nutrients (which they need PLENTY of) I wouldn't worry beyond that.  Feed the fish, let the fish feed the anemone van pee and poo as usual.

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Tired

Don't bleached anemones need to be fed to get enough energy, though? 

 

I put it up where the crab can't bother it any more, in a cup with plenty of ventilation. 

 

It's done something weird; it spit up a bunch of bits of what look like crumpled-up mysis shrimp. A lot of mysis, way more than I've given it lately. I haven't even given it any mysis the past few days, it spit up the last one I offered. I figured that must be too big of a piece, and I've been giving it reef roids. It looks like it hasn't been digesting any of the mysis I've given it for quite awhile. That's concerning- is it possible it has internal damage somehow? 

It seemed to be doing better the past couple of days, spread out nicely and making itself comfortable in a crevice, but looks worse today. Seems to be done throwing up, but it's all scrunched into a tiny ball, and it's stayed like that all day. It looks like how they sometimes crumple up at night. 

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Tired

Well, it's slowly un-crumpling now. I noticed it hasn't spit up any of the reef roids I've given it lately, so I guess those are easier for it to digest? Maybe it just can't handle large food items at all. Didn't think a piece of mysis would count as 'large' for a reasonably-sized RFA, but okay then.

 

I have a theory that it might have been too stressed to digest its food. I don't know if that's something that happens to anemones. I'd think it would have retreated into somewhere to hide if the crab was stressing it that badly, but maybe it was in too much need of the light to shrink up? Best guess I have.

 

I'll give it a couple days of being left entirely alone, then maybe try a tiny bit of reef roids again. 

 

Think something might be up with the other RFA, though. It looks like it's been getting smaller lately. I don't like that, and I don't know what would cause it. Everything else in the tank is fine, and most of it is growing. Still can't find my test kit, but I can't imagine what out of the tests I have (calcium, alk, magnesium, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, phosphate, possibly something else?) would be out of whack enough to make an RFA shrink, without hurting zoanthids, acans, a blasto, and a sympodium. 

The only thing I can think of that might be bothering it is, I don't have my ATO set up. Nothing else seems to mind that, but I'm suddenly wondering if the anemones do mind. The shallow-water RFA in question looks fine, it's extended and everything, and it has a nice fast response when I give it food, it's just getting smaller. Tried looking up things like "anemone shrinking" online, but all I found was a bunch of people freaking out over normal nighttime closing up, a couple people who had anemones just sort of rapidly implode, and some discussion about anemones starving in too-clean tanks. I give it a piece of mysis about once a week, and sometimes a bit of reef roids a few days after that, so I really don't think it's starving. 

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mcarroll
1 hour ago, Tired said:

I have a theory that it might have been too stressed to digest its food.

I don't have any research to cite on this, but someone I know who's an anemone whisperer told me that feeding them is stressful.  Seems true, however strange it sounds.

 

5 hours ago, Tired said:

It looks like it hasn't been digesting any of the mysis I've given it for quite awhile. That's concerning- is it possible it has internal damage somehow? 

In general, if they are meeting their needs with photosynthesis they might not eat.  Vis versa is also possible.  (Corals and anemones.)

 

We take great pains to set up a nice environment for photosynthesis, so it's not surprising that he would be doing well with it.

 

Ejecting stomach contents is equivalent to pooping – so not cause for alarm IMO.  Just stop forcing the food issue and let him recover as he appears to be doing, and let him eat incidentally as he see's fit.

 

1 hour ago, Tired said:

would be out of whack enough to make an RFA shrink, without hurting zoanthids, acans, a blasto, and a sympodium.

A king-sized poly has a king-sized need for nutrients.  Think about larger fish and their larger O2 demand.....they are the first to succumb when O2 levels drop.  So it goes with P and photosynthesis.

 

Check out:  Phosphate Excretion by Anemonefish and Uptake by Giant Sea Anemones: Demand Outstrips Supply

 

Keep those fish in the tank pooping and the anemone will be fine!  😄

 

2 hours ago, Tired said:

shrinking

Shrinking can be from a lot of things, but lack of PO4 is one of them.

 

Flow dictates access to nutrients though, so it's not a given just because it's in the water.

 

(I'd get him out of that cup....no flow, right?)

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mcarroll

You think he looks bleached, btw?  Or just the way he's acting he seems that way?   (In the pics he looks quite brown.)

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Tired

Oh, no, he's definitely bleached. Partially translucent around the surface layer and tentacles when I got him, and worse now- the tentacles barely have any color, and I can partially see his guts. At least all the tentacles are regrown. 

 

The thing that worries me about spitting out the food is that I'm pretty sure he spit out all the mysis I've given him for a couple weeks, largely un-digested. I know they'll spit out a food item if it's too large, but they're not supposed to do that. I thought him eating when I gave him food meant he wanted the food, but apparently not. Maybe eating is reflexive? 

 

If an anemone is too bleached to get all its energy from the light, what happens to it? Would he start shrinking up if he needed to be fed to stay healthy? I could always just not feed him for a week, if I knew how to tell whether that was okay, and then try some reef roids. 

 

I only have one fish, and it's an inch long, so that's not outputting much in the way of nutrients. I do feed the LPS corals in the tank, and some of my zoas, so I'd imagine that helps a little. Will upend everything tomorrow to find my test kit- not doing it tonight because I'm in the middle of another project, and I don't think anything in this tank is fix-it-tonight urgent. 

 

This is NOT the normal tank lighting, this is the super-dim light I leave on for an hour in the evening in hopes of coaxing amphipods out to where my goby will eat them. I didn't really bother trying for a nice pic because the light was about to automatically shut off. So, here's a terrible photo, in lieu of me trying to describe what's going on. The cup gets some water circulation through it, it's not stagnant- that'd kill something fast. I figured the best place to put something out of reach of a porcelain crab is up on the glass. The anemone seems to be repositioning itself, which I'm taking as a positive sign. The gray thing in with it is a big shell, big enough for it to jam its foot inside if it wants. Before it decided to spit out an alarming amount of gunk, it was settled down between the shell and glass, spread out. Wonder if it moved up to get better flow for this? 

I have a tupperware lid set on top of the tank lid, to make a shadow. The back half of the cup is slightly shaded, compared to the front, so the anemone can choose how much light it wants. It hasn't been stretching, so it seems to like the light level in the front of the cup. 

The other anemone is under that porcelain-crab-shaped smudge in the back. The flow isn't terribly strong, nothing in this tank wants that, but the turnover rate should be pretty decent. 

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mcarroll

Bleached anemones always looked like this, with that peculiar greenish hue along with the white, for me:

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I've never seen a bleached one look as brown as yours...tho I'll grant you I'm not sure that I've specifically seen a bleached RFA:

On 8/19/2020 at 5:07 PM, Tired said:

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On 8/20/2020 at 8:12 PM, Tired said:

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Are you absolutely sure that's not just an interesting color morph with a brown disk and white tentacles?  

 

Looking through pics on Google, I see lots of similar color variants (including white tentacles....not greenish-bleached....but white) that aren't bleached.

 

The fact that yours is growing tentacles indicates good health....doesn't seem to act stressed or bleached.

 

2 hours ago, Tired said:

Maybe eating is reflexive? 

I don't know for sure, but that is my impression from being around them.

 

2 hours ago, Tired said:

If an anemone is too bleached to get all its energy from the light, what happens to it?

If you allowed the stress to remain that caused the bleaching then sooner or later it's going to be toast – feeding or no.  (It didn't bleach from a lack of food, so food can't really be the answer.)

 

Once the stress is removed and ideal conditions return, they should be able to absorb new dino's from the water (perhaps even the ones they ejected) and resume normal life.

 

2 hours ago, Tired said:

I only have one fish, and it's an inch long, so that's not outputting much in the way of nutrients.

Well, at least keep him on a regular feeding schedule.  😉

 

2 hours ago, Tired said:

The flow isn't terribly strong, nothing in this tank wants that, but the turnover rate should be pretty decent. 

Well...turnover rate (volume of water movement....GPH) doesn't tell you a whole lot about what the flow is actually doing.

 

In the case we're discussing, the point of concern is the polyp's boundary layer.  The boundary layer of water contains the polyp, and due to friction, pretty much stays there around it.  Any food or gases have to penetrate this boundary layer in order for the polyp to breath or feed.  Defeating this boundary layer takes force.  Force is measured in a water's velocity...fps or cm/s.

 

Even with lots of GPH being injected to a tank, it's very possible for water velocity (as experienced by polyps in the tank) to be inadequate for one or more of the corals in the tank.

 

Check out Oceanic Forcing of Coral Reefs and this search.

 

 

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Tired

I may try slowly upping the flow in the tank, to see if I can increase it without bothering anything else. But judging by the porcelain crab always filter-feeding from right next to the green anemone, and by the motion of the ever-present stirred-up-sand (I have a pistol shrimp), the flow for the tank does go right over where the green anemone is. It doesn't look like it's in a particularly stagnant spot or anything. And I wonder if the porcelain crab being on or near it might help disrupt the boundary layer? Since it's usually waving its fans around and probably does something interesting to the water movement. 

 

The fish is definitely on a regular feeding schedule. He eats the amphipods in the tank, and every time I see him, he's nice and fat in that 'just had a good meal' way. 

 

...well, orange anemone has left the cup. He's hanging off the bottom of it now. Hopefully the crab doesn't notice. Must keep a close eye on him so he doesn't walk into my rics! I wonder what he's looking for? 

 

I've never heard of a partially translucent rock flower anemone. He definitely has less color than before the crab started walking on him, which I doubt is a good thing. 

This is an oversaturated dealer's pic from online, but I'm pretty sure he's this color morph. Orange disc, lime green mouth, green and white tentacles. He definitely had hints of colors to the tentacles before, and they're now more transparent. I really don't think I should be able to see his innards through his disc, at all. I'll try and get a good picture after he's opened up today. I don't think he's fully bleached, since he still has colors, but I was under the impression that corals and anemones can lose only some of their algae, which produces a sort of transparent effect. I know I see people who have a neat-looking, semi-opaque bubble tip anemone, that later regains its color and turns out to have just been partially bleached.

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jservedio

I didn't read the whole thread, but with any stressed new anemone, your best bet is to put it in a corner away from everything else in lower light and flow and let them move from there. The biggest thing is not feeding them until they are mostly recovered. Keep feeding your tank heavily to keep dissolved organics up and just forget about it.

 

If an injured nem can't properly digest the food quickly, it'll break down inside them and do more damage, so best not to feed. Plus, it requires them to expend energy to eat - let the remaining zoox do their job and leave it be for a long time. Don't be surprised if it's not back to normal for a year.

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Tired

Yeah, I've been giving it food, and it's been accepting the food, but has apparently not digested... really any of it, except maybe some of the reef roids. I'll have to remember that anemones will evidently eat even when they can't actually do anything with it. 

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Tired

Something appears to have gone very wrong. 

Yesterday, the anemone was hanging off the underside of the cup, directly over some ricordeas. That didn't look like a very good idea, so I very gently removed him from the cup, and put him on top of a nearby rock instead. I'm quite sure I didn't damage him while moving him, he didn't look damaged at the time, and I don't think he ever touched the ricordeas. I expected I'd look over there today and see him all splayed out and comfy. 

Today, I've got this to look at instead of anything nice. 

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I have no idea what's happened. Those two patches of what I'm sure are anemone meat are about where I put him last night. When I put him there, I saw him shifting around a bit before lights out, like he was trying to get comfortable, then the lights turned off and I stopped checking. 

I don't think that's mysis he's been spitting up, on reflection. I think it's mysis-colored flesh, for the most part, and some undigested food.

It looks like the edge of his disk stuck to the glass, then tore off when he moved. I have absolutely no idea what would cause that. I haven't seen anything go near him, aside from a single amphipod that seems minorly interested in the loose bits of flesh, and there aren't any stinging animals he could have gone up to. My hermit crabs don't tend to go over there, or I'd wonder about them. I also think if they'd tried to eat him, they'd be back over there again today, instead of wandering around the tank as usual. I don't have any nassarius snails or other meat-eating snails, closest I have are ceriths. There are some zoanthids nearby, but I don't think he's gone over to them, and I very much don't think zoanthids do this sort of thing. The only thing he's touching right now is halimeda. I don't think I somehow got corrosive halimeda. Nor can I imagine that the algae on the glass could do this. 

To my knowledge, there are no aggressive animals in that rock. It has a couple black micro brittle stars in it, and maybe a bristleworm, but the bristleworm lives at the bottom of the rock and I don't think micro brittles could do that level of damage even if they tried. I also, again, think that they would still be there to eat if they had found food. Bristleworms sure come out during the day when there's food to be had. 

My only theory is that whatever he's spitting up is just very sticky, maybe covered in mucus, and stuck to the wall. As he's crawled away from it, he's pulled pieces of himself off, that were probably already in bad shape to start with. 

 

So... this doesn't look good. There seems to be a significant chunk of oral disc missing from this guy, and I can see some of his guts. I'm not taking him out of the tank until he's clearly very dead, but I don't have much hope. Yeesh. He's actually still moving around, like he's looking for a good spot, but pretty slowly. 

 

Any idea what the hell happened? My current guess is that he ate food he couldn't digest, that rotted, and rotting food is bad for anemones. Clearly rotting food is bad for anemones, I just don't know if it would do THIS. Maybe bacteria got enough of a foothold in the rotting food to get into the anemone? 

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Tired

Okay, yeah, it's dead. Took it out of the tank.

 

I'd noticed when I first got it that its internal organs looked slightly asymmetrical. I'd thought maybe that was normal for anemones? But I wonder now if a loop of intestine might have somehow been herniated away from the rest of things, or something along those lines. 

 

Trying to figure out (at 1am) what went wrong. Leaning towards a severe internal defect or injury, possibly made worse by food it couldn't digest. Going off of how fast this went downhill, I think it was building for awhile. Not terribly happy- looked like things were going well there, with the tentacles regrowing and everything. Then it just started spitting up what was apparently portions of its internal organs, and, yeah, that's bad for anything. 

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