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Old 10-16-2003, 01:25 AM   #1
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Feather Duster blues

Ok, this one has me stumped.

My newer 55 gallon (8months) has been giving me a few fits, and one of the symptoms has been poor feather duster health. My typical, LFS vanilla feather dusters I've had in the tank for a couple months constantly lose their heads, and when they do have heads, they are ragged and very small. When I purchased them they were gorgeous.

Tank parameters seem ideal; PH is at 8.3-8.2 and never fluctuates more. Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate are at non measurable quantities. Pink/green/tan coralline algae is going gangbusters in this tank along with Xenia and 'shrooms. About 60lbs of good LR and good circulation, but who knows if it's producing enough plankton. Tried adding some marine snow, and target feeding, but no dice. More/less water changes = no effect LFS guy suggests that too much bio matter in the water can cuase feather dusters to deteriorate in such a way.

I can't move the featherr dusters back to the reef tank because a pair of dwarf angles in there treat them like a salad, and I'm not progessing anywhere with this tank until a supposedly hearty animal like a feather duster can do well.

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Old 10-16-2003, 05:59 PM   #2
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Your problem may be from a type of predator other than fish. Some species of shrimp or other "unseen" foe may be the culprit. The constant loss of the crown is normally predatation and the jagged edges would support that. Jagged edges will also be appearant when the crown is being newly regenerated. How long have you had them?

Personally I have never done anything to actually feed the tank with dusters in mind with the exception of live phytoplankton. Even in it's abscence there is usually just slower growth not any actual losses.

Have you tried checking for hitchikers or the like? Peppermint shrimp or camelbacks

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Old 10-17-2003, 01:36 AM   #3
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I've had the dusters about, oh 4 1/2months. When they first 'tossed' their crowns I assumed it was new tank acclimation, which is common for feather dusters, but something is seriously wrong here considering they've never recovered.

I'm also starting to suspect some damage on a micro-level from some unseen assailant, but have no idea where to start. My coral banded shrimp won't allow the presence of competiting shrimp either, and has even been catching bristle worms on a regular basis, so we can rule that out.

The solid growth of coralline and xenia would seem rule out any water parameters I'm not testing for {shrug}.

Thanks for the ideas!
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eat, feather duster

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