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New to saltwater, very unexpected hitchhiker.

Discussion in 'General Marine / Newbie' started by Kannan Fodder, Jun 28, 2017.

  1. Kannan Fodder

    Kannan Fodder AC Members

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    Hi all!

    I've been absent for a while. Long story short, my old job was extremely frustrating, and I became a rather negative person because of it. Changed jobs, much happier now, and I actually look forward to going to work again.

    I bought a BioCube 32 back in August, and have been researching potential stock. Finally got inspired to set it up. I started with premixed saltwater from my LFS, CaribSea live sand, and a little over 15 lb of Fiji live rock from my LFS. I've since added more live rock, but probably am well short of the 32 lb advised by the "1 lb live rock per gallon" quote I've gotten from several people.

    Livestock intentionally added is 2 ocellaris, 1 peppermint shrimp, 1 emerald crab, 3 zebra hermits, and 3 reef hermits. I've been considering some small gobies or blennies - specifically a redhead goby and barnacle blennies. I'm also going to add some easier corals.

    Livestock that entered on the live rock includes at least 11 brittle stars, at least 6 asterinia stars, at least one huge amphipod, a peanut worm, countless tube worms, and a pistol shrimp.

    Which brings me to the point of the post.... How good/bad is a pistol shrimp? I had considered getting one that was partnered with a goby, but this guy is close to 2 inches, and has staked out a crevice in my main piece of live rock. And it doesn't take too kindly to the emerald crab getting anywhere near!

    I'm concerned because this shrimp isn't partnered, and is living inside the rock instead of excavating a burrow in the sand. It also poses a threat to small fish, so the redhead goby and barnacle blennies are probably out.

    Any advice/suggestions?

    Thanks!
    ~Michelle
     
  2. OrionGirl

    OrionGirl No freelancing!

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    Do you know what type of pistol shrimp it is? A pic might help get it ID'd.

    I'd actually be happier with it in rock--digging in sand can result in collapses. Pairing it with a goby would help--they're less aggressive when they have a guard/buddy.

    If you don't want to keep it, talk with your local LFS, they might take it. Looks around for SW aquarium clubs in your area, as it likely would find a good home that way as well. It would also do very well in a small setup of it's own with a goby. If I were closer, I'd happily get it and put it in a 12 with a lump of rock and a goby. They're awesome critters, if you can work around their needs.
     
  3. Kannan Fodder

    Kannan Fodder AC Members

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    Thanks for the advice! I actually work at my LFS, and asked them about it yesterday after finding it. They have a trap if I decide to rehome. Not sure what kind, and I only saw it briefly yesterday when it chased the emerald crab out of its hiding place. It's grey and white, and the only reason I'm sure it's a pistol shrimp is the fact I saw the oversized claw at the same time I heard the tell tale clicking. (I've been hearing the clicking, but it coincidentally happened as the lights were automatically dimming.)

    I have a 32g BioCube, and the only fish currently in the tank are a pair of midnight ocellaris. I know a pistol shrimp might limit critter options, so am asking before making drastic decisions. I'm actually considering just sticking with the clowns as the only fish. My LFS said the shrimp might not pair with a goby, but they do have some really neat shrimp gobies.

    This is my very first saltwater tank, and to be honest, I've had quite a bit of fun discovering the hitchhikers. This one was just a complete surprise, and I'd like to take proper care of it if I do end up keeping it. I'm just asking for advice so I can make decisions based on what's in the best interest of the shrimp.

    And I'll try to get pics.
     
  4. OrionGirl

    OrionGirl No freelancing!

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    That's great to hear. I'm a big fan of hitchhikers, as they often are some of the coolest additions. Too often, people want their SW tank to be completely controlled, and set themselves up for a big fight as a result. Most pistols will pair, but not with all gobies--some are quite picky.
     
  5. Kannan Fodder

    Kannan Fodder AC Members

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    Talked more about it at work yesterday, and it might be a tiger pistol shrimp. There are other kinds that could be really bad, so they loaned me a trap so I can catch and ID it. So far all I caught are my reef hermits. It might take a few days or weeks to catch it, but so far it hasn't caused any problems.
     
  6. tanker

    tanker Josh Holloway--Be mine!!!

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    Pistol shrimp are normally harmless, and make nice tank mates.
     
    OrionGirl likes this.
  7. OrionGirl

    OrionGirl No freelancing!

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    Agreed. I know lots of people who say pistols cause problems, but haven't ever spoken to anyone who HAD one cause a problem. They shoo other things away from their home, but that's about the extent of it. Unlike mantises, which are always a problem in a community setup.
     
  8. Kannan Fodder

    Kannan Fodder AC Members

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    No luck trapping it yet, but no problems either. It's been in the tank for a month now. It's actually been quiet the past couple days, except when I scrubbed algae yesterday.

    The trap is just to ID the guy.
     
  9. Kannan Fodder

    Kannan Fodder AC Members

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    Update. So far no luck with the trap. Am looking into making my own, because someone got in and ate all the bait Friday night. Saw one of the mini brittle stars climbing in the trap this morning.

    The critter hasn't been as active the past few days, and has apparently moved around within the rock. I discovered there is one massive cave structure within the rock, and I'd originally bought the rock because of the potential hiding places for nano fish. I haven't gotten a good look other than the animal I've seen recently is green. I saw a silhouette of something with an oversized claw, but a head on glimpse of what looks like a small mantis - so am very confused and looking forward to a positive ID!

    I was told that green is a common color for mantis shrimp, but can pistol shrimp be green too? The first time I saw it, it really looked like a large grey and white tiger pistol, but the glimpse I got last night was much smaller and green. It does not sit still long enough for me to grab my camera.

    I've heard the comment "saltwater is hard".... No, it's rather interesting, educational, and fun.
     
  10. OrionGirl

    OrionGirl No freelancing!

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    I'm not the familiar with pistols, honestly. I do know there is a green mantis, but it's slicer, so any fish in there would most likely been killed unless it's under an inch.

    The other possibility, and it would depend on where you got the rock, is that you had 2 hitch hikers, and the mantis killed the pistol shrimp. Just my experience, but pistols tend to hide more when unpaired, while a mantis will sit and watch you. So...pick a time when you can see the openings to that cave structure, and hang out. Don't move much, just sit and watch. Set your camera on a tripod, maybe?
     

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