Aquarium Design, Installation and Maintenance, Thousand Oaks, CaliforniaMarine Aquarium Maintenance and Installation, Thousand Oaks, California

Coral Parasites


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As with Fish and Live Rock many additional species can 'catch a ride' on a Coral. These specimens can be harmless or they can be harmful. Which ? This all depends on how they behave towards their host coral.

In general they can easily be removed, provided you can reach or retrieve the coral. Some though can be difficult to locate, and frustrating to locate and remove.

The following are some that I have found in my, or my customers, corals.

These pin-head sized Nudibranchs are specific to Montipora Capricornus species corals. I had picked off the ones that were visable but within days the remaining ones began to eat away the edges. Look for retreating edges when purchasing these corals.

I kept wondering why a Finger Leather Coral would'nt open up for more than a day. I removed the coral when I noticed something appeared to be eating it and found this little beige crab tucked tightly in between some of the branches. It was easily picked out.

These small starfish have the potential to graze on SPS Corals, although I found this one on the base of a declining LPS Bubble Coral. Various authors indicate that they are generally harmless, but if you notice a reseeding area around your coral it is worthwhile to investigate it further. They are easily picked off the coral.

This little 'fuzzy' crab has made his home within the branches of a Pocillapora. He has cleared out an area free of polyps. Whether he is eating the polyps or removing them to make room for himself is undetermined at this time. With a thin rod he can be driven out from the coral branches.

Flatworms ( planaria ) can become a plague upon the corals. They don not seem to harn the coral but are aestatically unattractive. Supposed Six-Lined and Dragon Wrasses, or Mandarin Gobies and Scooter Blennies may feed upon them. There is no easy remedy to eliminate them.

This snail was found burrowing into the base of a Toadstool Leather coral. It is not determined if the snail was consuming the coral, but the coral previously showed a decline, and after the snails extraction the decline slowed, but it is still declining. 



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