Do Feather Duster shed?

pepetj

I have two wild caught "giant" feather duster, most probably Sabellastarte indica. They receive ZooPlex as main food but they also catch their share of in-tank pods (I collect them from an Intertidal Reef zone once or twice a week for my Mandarin Dragonet pair).

Last week both stop displaying their feathers so I got worried. Three days into this behavior I noticed they were still alive but seemed to have lost their feathers. Today I noticed the feathers are growing back as they venture to display them.

Do Feather Worms shed their feathers? There seems to be little info on their life cycle and behavior in captivity.

Here are a few pics to show my observations: (Placed in tank December 2010; Monday Feb 8th first day they were not displaying their feathers)

Pepetj
Santo Domingo
 

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    Feather Duster pair December 29 2009.JPG
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  • Feather Duster pair January 17 2010.JPG
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  • Feather Duster pair January 28 2010.JPG
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  • Feather Duster pair February 11 2010.JPG
    Feather Duster pair February 11 2010.JPG
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  • Feather Duster pair February 20 2010.JPG
    Feather Duster pair February 20 2010.JPG
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Stang Man

Dusters will drop there heads when there's a problem such as water quality and being threatened from a predator. What other info can you give me? what's your water test read etc. ?
 

pepetj

Lighting: 120W from T8NO (six lamps: 2 actinic, 2 at 18,000K, 2 at 10,000K) + 92W from T5HO (four actinic).

Total Volume of Water in system: 15-16 gals.

30lbs of Live Rock. 6" Deep Sand Bed (aragonite reef sand) in DT, 4" depth in mini-fuge.

Temperature: A bit higher than ideal. 29-31C (84-88F).

Salinity: Stays quite close to target 1.026, +/- 0.001 due to evaporation and RO top-off. 53.5 mS/cm2.

pH 8.1-8.2 (midnite-noon).

REDOX: within -120 to +170 mV

KH: 7 to 9 dKH. It fluctuates if weekly water change is not performed, from 9dKH to 6dKH in three weeks. I've added two teaspoons of Instant Ocean SeaBuffer for a few days as needed. Twice has pH fallen to 7.9 at 6dKH.

Ammonia, Nitrites: ZERO

Nitrates, Phosphates: Almost ZERO (DIY Algae Turf)

Ca, Mg: Stable at high end (No need to use my Kalkwasser)

What confuses me the most is that other species of feather dusters are even reproducing in my Nano Reef tank.



Pepetj
Santo Domingo
 

Attachments

  • Wild Caught Rock Encrusted Feather Worms.JPG
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Stang Man

It's possible that dusters infrequently spawn in the home aquariums.When this is about to happen. The first signs are usually evident in the early morning. when the dusters emit plumes of either eggs or sperm. The adult worms normally shed there feathers.This is beleived to be an adaption that keeps the parents from eating their own larvae. but it may just be a part of the process of clearing the decks for action. as I mentioned before they loose ther decks if attacked by predators. If left alone, after two to three weeks a new head will reappear and eventually grow back to it's full size.
 

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