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CUC snacking on my acan?


TheGooseWhisperer
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Twice now something has munched about 1/4 of a dime sized acan polyp during the night. The frag has been in the tank for a couple years and this has only recently started. The only thing I've added to the tank lately is some CUC members (snails and hermits) to replace MIA/empty shells. The first time the acan got munched there was a new snail in very close proximity. I'm terrible with names, but its a common snail variety with a pyramid shaped shell (not a turbo grazer or the ones that burrow in substrate). There are other types of snails and hermits, all typical stuff, in the tank too.

 

Another possible culprit is a relatively fast moving, nocturnal, mantled, speckled white snail. It has been in the tank a long time, but since it is only out at night and the acan has been snacked on twice now at night it has me suspicious. Maybe he took a little taste one night and now has a favorite midnight snack?

 

A zoa frag with about 15 polyps had a few polyps looking like they were melting down from the top down. Other polyps were unaffected on the same frag. It got progressively worse over the course of a few nights until i moved it to a frag rack. Since then its stabilized and is actually recovering a bit. Not sure if this is related or not, but the timing coincides.

 

Ideas?

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its definatley not a snail and I would really doubt a crab. The zoas missing could be a box snail but from what ive heard you would really know if you had one of those as they would decimate a 15 polyp frag within a day. My guess would be water flow. If a coral gets pissed enough you can loose polyps overnight. They can just melt completley away. I dont think it would be a preditor just due to the fact that acans are a really noxcious coral and not very apealing as snacks. I have seen my acans try and eat hermits before lol shell and all before the hermit squirmed away. Have you moved the acan somewere else in the tank? Checked your params?

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Acans can be pretty sensitive to low Magnesium in your water. You might check that first. There is also a very small pest that eats acans, you will see a white line of sand or mucus in the area that the pest is eating your acan. Is it possible the acan got stung? If so, or if its just receding due to water conditions, your clean up crew might be on it to eat the dying tissue.

 

For the zoas you would know if you had a sundial snail, it would be on the colony until all the polyps were gone. Since you say its recovering that probably rules out nudibranchs. I find zoas will sometimes do great in one spot for a long time. I've had colonies in the same spot for 2 years, then bam they start melting even though nothing has changed. I move them to higher flow and they recover. IMO your zoa problem was flow.

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My feeling is that the zoa issue is unrelated, but i cant rule that out so I was sure to mention it. There are other frags with polyps an inch away that were totally unaffected and there has been no sign of an issue since i moved the frag in question.

 

As for the acans, I cant imagine they are edible, but the evidence in the morning is pretty compelling. It literally looks like a pizza with a slice taken out. The skeleton is completely bare and bright white. If it was water param/flow/etc wouldn't there be multiple polyps affected? There have been 2 incidences of this now and its just a chuck out of one polyp on an 8-10 polyp frag. First incident was on one polyp and the second is on its nearest neighbor. Should I move the frag and continue watching it? There is nothing near enough to sting the colony so i would rule that out. Sure wish I could have a red light with a security camera for the tank:p

 

I had sundial snails in my tank over a year ago. Unfortunately it was during a time that I didnt pay much attention to the tank and the population exploded to over 50 snails. I lost 90% of my zoas that had been growing like weeds previously.

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What kind of fish do you have? The reason I ask is because our acans were doing well all puffed up and then all of a sudden most of them started deflating. I didn't think it was a water parameter issue because it happened so suddenly but bumped up the mg and calcium and still nothing. After asking on other boards and talking to Isaac I suspected our hippo tangs had suddenly developed a taste for acans. I never saw them pick at them but I am not able to spend all day at the tank watching them. We finally got them both out and a few weeks later puffy acans again except for the ones that were so stressed out.

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The only fish that would be in question is a pygmy cherub angel. The acan and angel have been in the tank together for over a year now. The angel "goes to bed" at night and I'm pretty confident the assault is happening overnight. I moved the frag to another spot with similar lighting and possibly a little better flow. Hopefully that does the trick.

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This kinda sounds like brown jelly disease stuff. I had a nice size Acan with about 30 or 40 mouths, start with one mouth gone over night. I then worked its way down in a line to the edge and then started to work its way around. After I tried to stop it with a Iodine dip with no success, I tried to frag it by cutting the bad side off. It then start again as I don't think I cut it all off and after another fragging try I ended up losing the whole thing.

 

I say Brown jelly as after the flesh died it looked looked like brown jelly or slime. But from what you have described is the same thing that happened to my Acan.

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