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Sexy Shrimp vs SPS Corals


phinatic

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I am having a serious issue with my Sexy Shrimp. I have 5 in total in my 13.5 G Evo. I recently added 9 small SPS frags for the start of the reef:

 

2 Birds Nest

2 Stylophora

2 Monty Digitata

1 Plating Monty

1 Encrusting Monty

1 Sea Fan

 

I ordered them through the mail and it ended up being two days in shipping. Upon arrival they were in pretty good shape other than the encrusting monty. Just a few hours after being in the tank they were starting to extend their polyps and had nice color.

 

However, the encrusting monty went downhill quick. Not sure if it was the shipping, or the iodine dip (Seachem Reef Dip) I used, but it reacted very poorly. All frags went through the same dip and the others look fantastic. It started shedding and lost nearly all of it polyps overnight. Most of it was dead the next day. The sexy shrimp began eating the dead tissue on the monty and I let it go, chalking it up to them just cleaning up. After a while, they started to get into the tissue that still looked good. I moved that frag to a different area to get it away from them. I'm 90% sure they were eating good tissue after the dead stuff was gone.

 

That's when they moved on to the stylophora. They will not leave them alone. They keep climbing on them and picking at them. I cannot tell what that are picking at, but I would love to keep them off of them. Pretty frustrated after a few days of chasing them away. Ready to go Pulp Fiction on them. Any advice? Should I catch them and sell them off? My SPS are the priority along with my clownfish.

 

 

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Adding water params as that will probably come up. They are where I wanted them for SPS. Flow is also good and the corals seem to love it with full extension and movement.

 

  Temperature Salinity pH Alkalinity Ammonia Nitrite Nitrate Phosphate Calcium Magnesium
Target TRUE TRUE TRUE TRUE TRUE TRUE TRUE TRUE TRUE TRUE
Current 79.000 1.026 8.100 152.000 0.000 0.000 < 5 0.125 400.000 1260.000
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Have had the same experience with pocillipora and birdnest trying to keep them with sexy shrimp. Not sure if it's something i'm not feeding them or if they just like munching on sps

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9 hours ago, mcarroll said:

How do they act when you feed them?

If I drop flake or frozen in the water, you can see them grabbing at it as it passes by in the water column. Occasionally, you will see them actually crawl after some food that gets stuck somewhere. Mostly, they let it come to them and will grab it as it goes by.

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I caught one of the shrimp in the act. He pulled good polyps out of the middle of the purple stylophora, so it wasn't even tissue on the edge that "may" have been in distress. I captured him and put him in shrimp jail for the time being. Waiting to see if there are others that try the same thing.

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3 hours ago, Woodini said:

Birds of a feather 🪶 

Yep. Just waiting. After making an example of him, the others haven't yet made their move. I'm sure they are plotting.

 

 

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Interestingly enough, the sexy shrimp haven't touched a small anacropora frag I put in my pnw 1g for about 2 weeks now, with it actually showing growth.

 

Like I mentioned they had previously ate all forms of birdnest, poci, or stylo I tried to put in there..,

 

PXL_20230514_214729176.thumb.jpg.9992470ce0167413ed3774a46e5f75af.jpg

 

There is 3 of them together in there. You can see the perfectly fine anacro top left

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14 hours ago, phinatic said:

I caught one of the shrimp in the act. He pulled good polyps out of the middle of the purple stylophora, so it wasn't even tissue on the edge that "may" have been in distress. I captured him and put him in shrimp jail for the time being. Waiting to see if there are others that try the same thing.

I'm not doubting at all what you're seeing....but if the edge polyps are in die-off, it's at least logical to consider they other polyps may be in distress as well, maybe just in an earlier stage.

 

14 hours ago, phinatic said:

If I drop flake or frozen in the water, you can see them grabbing at it as it passes by in the water column. Occasionally, you will see them actually crawl after some food that gets stuck somewhere. Mostly, they let it come to them and will grab it as it goes by.

If they're acting like good planktivores at feeding time, then "something" is attracting them to those polyps.  

 

They don't seem to be going after corals in general as far as you've mentioned.

 

IMO feed the shrimp more and see if you get get them "satisfied" enough to leave the coral alone.

 

Otherwise, I agree somebody has to be moved or otherwise isolated. 👍

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32 minutes ago, mcarroll said:

if the edge polyps are in die-off, it's at least logical to consider they other polyps may be in distress as well, maybe just in an earlier stage.

I get it, but the one they went after looked like it was the healthiest of the bunch. It had even encrusted the frag plug and extended its polyps after only a few hours. Now it is missing little patches where they were picking at it. Those areas looked good from the start. They have shown no interest in the birdsnest or the montipora (plating or digitata). They also crawl on the sea fan, but don't seem to be irritating that either. In the case of the sea fan, I think they may have actually helped it by getting rid of its initial shedding.

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all I can say on sexy shrimp is I had a tank of 12 of them or so a few years ago. I also ran into the issue of them also picking my corals, mostly LPS. I kept them for a couple months, but I kept seeing the corals look unhappy. the corals looked better after they were gone, and no more losses.

I imagined that maybe they got the taste for them, becoming opportunistic, there wasn't enough food, or the small number of frags I had couldn't handle the stress from them. 

 

I do like them aesthetically but I just couldnt resolve the issue I was having with corals while they were in tank, ended up trading them to LFS for more than I paid for them. 

 

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6 hours ago, mcarroll said:

then "something" is attracting them to those polyps

I'm thinking it was a crime of opportunity. From their home base, the stylophora are the closet on the frag rack. I took some pics of the frags in their current state. I used an orange filter to get a cleaner look at them and be able to focus the camera better.

 

Purple Stylophora - You can see the encrusted base was picked at, as well as a few sections in the middle. With the culprit now jailed, and the others staying away, it has started re-extending.

 

coral1.thumb.jpeg.583f3fb54b6b63651f10e98700c24110.jpeg

 

Neon Green Montipora Digitata - Polyps all open, including the newest growth at the tips

coral7.thumb.jpeg.85a7150f3458a5fb0099122dbbb3f532.jpeg

 

Yellow birdsnest and Bird of Paradise - Both extended and moving in the flow

coral6.thumb.jpeg.dda8745826c8512d854f896fd18940fe.jpeg

 

Orange Montipora Digitata. Also looking good with polyps on the ends of new growth.

coral5.thumb.jpeg.125e79a53b477a903ce578fed56de60f.jpeg

 

Neon Green Stylophra - This is another one they picked at somewhat. Now it looks happy.

coral4.thumb.jpeg.fbb9e5a709158fb32a8091fb2457a1a9.jpeg

 

Neon Green Plating Montipora - Also has good color and little polyps are opened up. They hang out around this one all day, but don't mess with it.

coral3.thumb.jpeg.26490b257100606a36352e7d779bc5a9.jpeg

 

Amber Sea Fan - They do crawl on this one, but no visible ill effects from it. It's only gotten better each day.

coral2.thumb.jpeg.bd687051eb751fb52c5c8f0351f55da4.jpeg

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5 hours ago, mcarroll said:

So what about the idea of feeding them more (even more) to get their appetite off of the coral?

I'm going to up the food over the next week or two and test for N and P rising. If I can keep that low, I'll keep increasing. Jury is still out on the shrimp that is in timeout. He's in a glass mounted isolation box. Thinking I may keep him in there for an extended period and feed him fish food before he gets paroled :) Maybe I can break the SPS eating habit and give the frags time to get a firm foothold. It's been uneventful since he went into the penalty box, so it may just be that specific animal with the issue.

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On 5/27/2023 at 8:59 PM, Woodini said:

Birds of a feather 🪶 

Looks like you were correct. After a brief cease fire, they started back up on that same coral (purple stylophora). This is after 2 days of heavy feeding as well. After 2 more shrimp were caught in the act, I've decided to capture all of them. Got 4 in shrimp jail and 1 that is still on the loose. He's probably the ring leader. :)

 

Luckily, I found two local people that are both interested in trading for them. They have softy tanks with established shrimp populations.

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As a test, I placed a frag into the shrimp jail to see if they would go after it. It was a frag they were previously snacking on. I also increased their food and changed them over to a mix of plankton and greens. Previously, they were eating the excess flake, pellets, mysis and brine from the clowns. They have been on the frag picking at algae growth, but the polyps are still untouched after a week. Interesting response from them. I'm considering parole but it could just be their next ploy.

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The shrimp were officially paroled today. I moved their favorite algae to the other end of the tank to get them away from the frags, so we will see how it goes. I may be netting them back out soon, but it won't be for lack of food.

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I absolutely hate these shrimp. They didn't touch the coral all day, and then I woke up to this. They chewed a bald patch into the side of it. This is my official warning to all who follow: Do not mix SPS with Sexy Shrimp.

 

 

shrimpdamage.jpeg

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