Is That A Sweeper Tentacle In Your Polyp, Or Are You Just Happy To See Me?

More fun with the tank!

Another micro-brittle star came in on a frag yesterday, which I discovered while acclimating everybody. This led to two interesting lessons learned–A) a brittle star can MOVE (seriously, you don’t think of starfish as speed demons, but that thing could haul pentacular ass) and B) the grip of a panicked brittle star is stronger than the turkey baster.

Since the star wants nothing more than to get itself into a rock hidey-hole, and I was going to be spreading super-glue all over the rock it was clinging to, I wound up having to stick the whole frag in the tank and shake vigorously, (not recommended for corals more sensitive than the soft-bodied and incredibly hardy zoas) whereupon it finally came off, was washed partway around the tank, managed to snag a chunk of rock with one arm and immediately vanished into his new rocky home. So I have another micro-brittle star now, somewhere, who is having as much of a heart-attack as something with a primitive sea-water based circulatory system can have.

Unfortunately, I also have a new pest. Two digitate hydroids came in on a rock frag. These are bad. Think like a jellyfish with only one tentacle that sits on the rock and fishes with it, and stings like a bastard. And in some tanks they don’t do anything and in others (and nobody’s quite sure WHY, except maybe too much protein in the water) they spread like crazy.

Not wanting to take any chances, but unwilling to dispose of the rock they were on (which is a spectacular frag covered in beautiful brown-and-green palys) I went to work. One of them has been brutalized into temporary submission, (i.e. I ripped most of it off in a panic, and now I have to wait for it to grow back to see where the heck it IS) the other one I slapped a blob of marine epoxy over. Hopefully that, combined with inhospitable conditions, will kill ’em. (Swear to god, this tank is so half-assed looking. Epoxy and super glue everywhere…I can only hope stuff will grow to cover it in time.)

Speaking of things that sting, my candy canes (which may actually be trumpets–the distinction is narrow and based mostly on density of growth habit) had their sweeper tentacles out this morning! See those nubby round bits on the ends? Yeah, those sting. They’re so short, comparatively, that they’re nowhere near anybody else, so this is a pretty reef-safe coral despite that, and it’s very pretty. They mostly come out at night, according to the internet, but I’ve had the lights on for an hour and the biggest one is still idily waving a few around. The torch also has those, much more aggressively, but I’ve never actually SEEN one.

I just have YET ANOTHER reason not to stick my hands in the tank without gloves on…

Leave a Reply