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Katrina
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Hi All,

Does anyone know how to get the little blue crab in my tank to stop eating the plating coral in the picture? It just started chowing down in the coral this week. The hermit crabs decimated the snail with the claw last week. My kids did not appreciate seeing the hermit crabs literally tearing the snail up... or maybe they did enjoy it. It is hard to tell. My 3 peppermint shrimp have all disappeared... I am not sure what it happening. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. 
 

Katrina

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7 hours ago, Katrina said:

Hi All,

Does anyone know how to get the little blue crab in my tank to stop eating the plating coral in the picture? It just started chowing down in the coral this week. The hermit crabs decimated the snail with the claw last week. My kids did not appreciate seeing the hermit crabs literally tearing the snail up... or maybe they did enjoy it. It is hard to tell. My 3 peppermint shrimp have all disappeared... I am not sure what it happening. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. 
 

Katrina

70C94144-E4AB-4411-A6F8-9C9B00A2E34F.jpeg

I believe your plating coral is a chalice and possibly the sand has killed off some tissue and the crab is eating that dead tissue.

Depending in what type of crab it could be eating the live coral but that’s not typical

you might (if possible) place the coral off the sand if in fact sand is causing tissue necrosis that the crabs eating

To the kids

”Well kids this is the circle of life, nature at her not so pretty stage”

You could always add a fish that would eat the crab (circle of life 😳)

Maybe an apology for my humor or lack off but it’s the truth 

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Thank you, everyone.

1. The offending crab is an emerald crab. My daughter says it was seen taking a broken off piece of the live coral and eating it in its cave. 
2. The offending hermit crab is red, but a blue one joined the snail buffet after the snail was already dead. There are a lot of various sized shells. The hermits are just jerks. 
3. And finally, what is the concern with the palys?
 

Katrina

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Those palys contain palytoxin. I believe those green ones are known to contain high amounts of palytoxin. I also had a emerald crab that would occasionally eat the same hollywood stunner chalice occasionally. He was banished to the sump. 

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Hi, @Katrina.  I don't want to hijack your thread with a diatribe about palytoxins, but, well, I guess I am.  I'll try to keep it brief.

As most of the people on the forum know, I had a rather scary exposure which has left me with slight vision loss in my left eye.  I am a sort-of experienced reefer and should probably be so embarrassed about the situation that I keep the experience to myself, but I think it is too important to share so that others take it seriously.  I can give you details if you would like, but the upshot is that I knew the palys were dangerous so when I saw that they had spread, I had the brilliant idea of removing them.  Since they can kill surrounding coral when you remove them, I had the additional brilliant idea of removing the rock and pulling them off the rock with tongs.  I wore goggles and gloves to be "safe."  Somewhere in this process, I must have touched my eye with my glove or with my hand after touching my glove or who knows.  There was no pain or problem...until the next morning.  I won't bore you with the details (though I'm happy to share them if you want), but suffice it to say that it was literally the worst pain I have ever experienced and I spent the ensuing months treating with a specialist at OHSU so that I wouldn't lose my eye.  I'm happy to report that I have almost all my vision back now.  Almost.

Anyway, I would obviously recommend that you get them out of there, but it is tricky because there are risks doing it in the water and risks doing it out of the water.  I don't want to give you advice, but if it were me I would carefully, and in full safety garb, take the whole rock out, put it in a plastic garbage bag, seal it, and dispose of it.  I would not try to save the rock.  I know rock is expensive, but so is a specialist at OHSU.  

One more thing--remember that palytoxins are not just a danger to your vision.  They can be fatal if somehow inhaled or they get into your body some other way.  Best to read the article Reefnjunkie posted as well as other case reports.

Good luck, and let me know if you have any questions.

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Well, this is not what I was expecting when wanted to know about a crabby crab. I, quite honestly, know almost nothing about keeping a salt water tank. This is a school sponsored tank and, sadly, our person moved recently.  If those corals need to go, is there anyone that would be willing to help with this when we are out of social distancing restrictions? Maybe when the tank needs to move again in the late summer? I definitely don’t need to accidentally poison myself, family, or my students. 

Katrina

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Emerald crabs can be jerks, I've had two in a row devour some of my corals, the recent one an entire frag plug covered in tube corals almost overnight. I thought they were fed quite well too. As far as the palys go I'm sure someone would probably help you out with just removing them if you're worried and don't want to touch them yourself. I have a few types but I don't mess with them much, I've never tried fragging them or anything, I've gave away rocks with them but that's about it. Just pulling out the whole rock and tossing it is your best bet like someone mentioned I'd think too if you're worried about them. Just don't try to boil them or scrape them off the rock, I think that's where people get in trouble with them. The problem is they can multiply and people try to get rid of them or scrape them off a rock so yeah just toss the whole thing or give it to someone maybe?

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 5/1/2020 at 11:43 AM, Katrina said:

Well, this is not what I was expecting when wanted to know about a crabby crab. I, quite honestly, know almost nothing about keeping a salt water tank. This is a school sponsored tank and, sadly, our person moved recently.  If those corals need to go, is there anyone that would be willing to help with this when we are out of social distancing restrictions? Maybe when the tank needs to move again in the late summer? I definitely don’t need to accidentally poison myself, family, or my students. 

Katrina

I'm assuming this is Katrina with the tank at Beach Elementary.. This is Jamie. Do you want to give Alex a call later and we can help talk you through this? 

1. Emerald crabs are really cool, but yes sometimes they can be jerks. He may or may not be eating the coral though. Sometimes they are eating the algae and it looks like they are eating the coral.

2. The coral is really close to the palys and that could be causing some problems, that chalice can be pretty aggressive. But I agree with the other comment that it looks like there's some sand on it and it could be causing die off, so it could just need a little air from the turkey baster to keep it healthy.

3. The palys are fine if you aren't moving them around or touching them much (totally agree with the other comments about not trying to scrape them off). But I"m sure you can trade them in at Seahorse for something else if it is more comfortable. They look like they aren't on the main rock so I'd just use some tongs to take them out or just wear gloves to grab them

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