Coral Ripped Apart

Adriifu

Member
Hello. I was cleaning the sides of the tank with a sponge when I saw that my Kenya Tree, which was getting huge, was literally cut from the stem and the rest of the coral is nowhere to be seen. It almost looks as if it was eaten by something. I can’t believe it. This was my favorite coral in the tank out of the bird’s nest, leptastrea, and mushrooms, all of which are doing wonderful. What could possibly have done this?? I have a clownfish, goby/pistol shrimp pair, and two trochus snails. I have noticed that there have been tiny starfish in the tank. I believe they are asterinas, but I can’t tell. Please help.. The photo of my coral shows it several months ago and it was much bigger than that.
 

Jesterrace

Member
Did you go with actual live rock? (Not dry rock or life rock). It's possible you got a nasty hitchhiker that is coming out at night (ie Mantis Shrimp, Xanthid Crab).
 
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Adriifu

Member
Jesterrace said:
Did you go with actual live rock? (Not dry rock or life rock). It's possible you got a nasty hitchhiker that is coming out at night (ie Mantis Shrimp, Xanthid Crab).
I mostly went with dry rock, but I did get some live as well from my LFS. I’ve never seen any pests like those, though. The only thing I got from those rocks were pods, bristleworms, and starfish. Is it possible that the Kenya tree dropped itself to reproduce? That’s what people are telling me on a separate forum.
 

Jesterrace

Member
I guess it could be, as I am not very familiar with Kenya Tree Corals (only by name and pictures). One of the tests for pests is to listen for clicking sounds (ie Mantis Shrimp, Xanthid Crabs) If you are hearing that at night then shine a light in the tank and you might see one. Do that and it might help you trouble shoot what is going on.
 
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ryanr

Moderator
Member
Hi,
Sounds like a pest to me too. In addition to Jester's comments, it is possible for nudibranchs to hitch-hike, they're like sea slugs, and don't make any sounds.
Hermit crabs are also known to eat coral, even some of the so-called 'reef-safe' varieties.
 
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Adriifu

Member
Jesterrace said:
I guess it could be, as I am not very familiar with Kenya Tree Corals (only by name and pictures). One of the tests for pests is to listen for clicking sounds (ie Mantis Shrimp, Xanthid Crabs) If you are hearing that at night then shine a light in the tank and you might see one. Do that and it might help you trouble shoot what is going on.
Thanks. I won’t be home until next week, but I’ll make sure to do that.
ryanr said:
Hi,
Sounds like a pest to me too. In addition to Jester's comments, it is possible for nudibranchs to hitch-hike, they're like sea slugs, and don't make any sounds.
Hermit crabs are also known to eat coral, even some of the so-called 'reef-safe' varieties.
If it was a pest, wouldn’t the coral slowly deteriorate? This happened overnight with no recent changes to the tank for months.
 
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Adriifu

Member
Jesterrace
Hi, this might be a weird question, but do you know what those popping sounds sound like exactly from the xanthid crab? I have a pistol shrimp in the tank and he makes a lot of noise, but I just want to make sure that it's him and not a pest. I recently saw a crab about the size of a penny in the rocks while I was trying to feed one of my favias. I shined a light on it and it disappeared. I barely got a glance at it, but from what I saw, the legs seemed longer than that of a xanthid crab and kind of had a pattern to them, maybe striped? I'm worried this is what ate my Kenya tree if it didn't just drop its own branches to reproduce.
 

Jesterrace

Member
So, I take it the crab you saw is definitely a hitchhiker?

Here are the varieties of Xanthid Crabs:

Xanthidae - Wikipedia
 
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Adriifu

Member
Jesterrace said:
So, I take it the crab you saw is definitely a hitchhiker?

Here are the varieties of Xanthid Crabs:

Xanthidae - Wikipedia
Yeah.. thanks! I’ll see if I can find him again. I hear popping noises at night, but they sound like they’re from my pistol shrimp.
 
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Adriifu

Member
I found him today! He seems to live near my discosomas.
 
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Adriifu

Member
I caught him lol. Don’t ask how.
Is it a xanthid? stella1979 Jesterrace
 

stella1979

Member
Good job on catching the little guy! For reasons that ryanr mentioned, I have never had a crab in my reef tank... so don't know much about them and thus, am quite reluctant to ID your little hitchhiker. Hopefully one of the guys will be able to help today.
 

MomeWrath

Member
Kenya trees reproduce like crazy, and unless they are being eaten are nearly impossible to kill. That was my very first coral - they are absolutely beginner-proof. As long as there is viable tissue left on the rock you should have a whole new Kenya tree soon! And soon after that you will have more than you know what to do with! Amazing that you were able to catch that crab. I had a gorilla crab in my first tank and I wasn't able to catch him until I tore the tank down!
 
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Adriifu

Member
Magicpenny75 said:
Kenya trees reproduce like crazy, and unless they are being eaten are nearly impossible to kill. That was my very first coral - they are absolutely beginner-proof. As long as there is viable tissue left on the rock you should have a whole new Kenya tree soon! And soon after that you will have more than you know what to do with! Amazing that you were able to catch that crab. I had a gorilla crab in my first tank and I wasn't able to catch him until I tore the tank down!
Yeah, it’s already been growing back fairly well. I’m surprised I managed to see him, let alone catch him. He blended in very well.
 

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