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My sally lightfoot is eating my corals

Bin Weed

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Well, over the past few months i noticed a one of my nice colonies of zoanthids (orange and green if that matters) deteriating. Last night i woke up to wiz and checked my tank. I saw my sally lightfoot munching on the colony. Ive tried to catch him by hand wit no success. The lfs said it was reef compadible as well as websites ive checked. Whats the best way to get him out w/o stripping my tank down to nothing but sand and glass. Homemade Trap?



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  • 2 weeks later...

use a bottle fill with tank water drop food to bottom and lay in bottom of tank crab goes in bottle comes out. good luck

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That seems like very odd behavior for a Sally. Are you sure there isn't another cause and it is just eating the already dead zoo's? That would be more in character for it.

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It sounds like it is redecorating time for your aquarium, like what I had to do a few months ago.


The only way you will probably get him out is by pulling out at least 1/2 your LR and trapping & catching him with a net .


Now you can move all your rock exactly how you wanted it (unless like me, YOU ALREADY HAD IT PERFECT the first time!!!!).


I had the same thing happen to me, with the live fish store telling me the SLF would be reef safe but let me tell you, no way!!!


I have heard so many people say that they will be cool and others say only when they get to big will they be a problem. Well check out almost every book and see what they have to say, just like I will tell you, not reef safe.


I had a Fox Coral and I noticed the shell of it start to disappear little by little. One day I found my SLF having it for breakfast. Not only this but also when I would feed my fish he would claw at all of my fish, usually they got away but one time one got nicked, and I knew it was only a matter of time before he really got one good. To me it is not worth having some crab eating all of my expensive corals that I work so hard to keep. They do a good job cleaning algae but also destroying your reef.

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slf crabs are opportunistic animals. If they are not getting enough food, they will adapt by eating certain corals. Many people say they are reef safe because in large aquarias they are actually benefical. They will pick at corals and actually help spread the coral around through laceration. Though in small nanos the small, prized frags we have will easily get stripped of all life. Best way of removal is like stonepilot said home-made trap out of a bottle.

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Thanks guys

Im sure its the SLF eating the zoos and possibly the other corals. Im going to try to trap him using a 20 oz bottle, some rubble and some frozen brine.


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ben1234 has it right. They will take opportunity when under fed. All crabs can eventually cause problems. Even if its just knocking over corals, thats bad enough. At least Hermits can be easily plucked out by hand if needed.


Has any one tried catching a crab from a tank the way you catch a crab from the bay? Tie a piece of shrimp on a string after feeding the fish. drop the string in the tank. When the crab starts eating it you slowly pull up the string untill it is within netting range. The crab hangs on to his food and doesnt let go unless its startled.


I dont know if this will work. I never tried it but it seems likely to succeed.

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