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Old 06-27-2009, 09:54 PM   #1
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feather duster query

Hi, I was just wondering if anybody could tell me what is happening to my giant feather duster worm please. I checked the other posts but couldn't find the exact problem I have so I thought it best to start a new thread. So...the tank has been running since beginning April, 60litres, stable params (ammonia, nitrites and nitrates all 0, pH is between 8.0 and 8.2 I think. Sorry, test is difficult to read) and the feather duster has been in for a couple of weeks with no problems really. It is extending a little too far out of the tube (say a centimetre or so) and its crown is curling at the ends. I have fed liquid invert food occasionally and brine shrimp a couple of times per week but I haven't actually seen him eat any of the shrimp. Oddly enough, my aiptasia (pet anemone!! Don't ask.) has moved away from him and I am wondering if there is a clash between them. Perhaps the feather duster has been stung? Other possibilities that I could think of are an increase in temperature over the past week with the hot weather - max 79 deg. Also, I have noticed my hermits, snails, sexy shrimp and cleaner shrimp all trying to 'clean' him. Usually he permits this, but sometimes retracts, especially when the cleaner tries to clean his crown!! The thing is, it could be so many different things causing him to stress, how do I know which it is? I am supposed to be doing a water change over the next few days but I don't want to make the problem worse. Also, if he is going to shed his crown and leave the tube, what do I need to provide to enable him to regrow? My substrate is ceramic media with live rock on top but I do have some shells if they need crushing for the purpose. His tube is not entirely smooth, looks a little cracked but it's hard to tell if it's really cracked or just irregular as he has built it. Hoping the tube hasn't been damaged by the cuc. Any offers of help gratefully received!!
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Old 06-27-2009, 10:11 PM   #2
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Well, The aiptasia could of killed some of the crown and the CUC might be removing it. Whats with the pet aiptasia anyways? Well, Just try to let it be. And how is it overextending? Mine is usually out with the worm visible slightly as well.
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Old 06-27-2009, 10:26 PM   #3
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Your featherduster won't eat brine shrimp. It get's most of it's food from the water column. The aipatisia might be harming it. The hermits would only feed on it if it had dead areas. If it shed it crown, it will grow a new crown from the same tube. The tube is not hard it is more leathery in composition.
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Old 06-27-2009, 10:27 PM   #4
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The cuc have been on him since I got him, on and off. Actually they seem to be leaving him alone at the moment, which I am pleased about because the lfs never said anything about aiptasia or cuc harming him. The aiptasia came with the live rock, I was new to marines (still am really but completely new to it) and asked if it would be okay to have just one and the lfs said some people hate them and others like them. It is really big, I like the look of it so he bagged it in water on the rock. The only time it has ever moved is when I first put it in the tank so I don't know why it is moving now. It doesn't seem to be reproducing all that quick and the few babies move quite a lot so sometimes I remove them. I know you are going to tell me this makes them reproduce faster but it doesn't seem to have done...yet lol! If the population takes off I will try a peppermint shrimp or other method. The way it is overextending is as you said, with 1cm of worm visible, roughly. Usually I can't see the worm at all and its crown has never been curly before. It's funny, I thought it was the aiptasia but could it be the cuc? I'm thinking they would more likely damage the tube if anything but I guess the cleaner could have irritated the crown if he kept hassling him!! You're going with the aiptasia as the culprit then? Shall I try to feed him and see if that helps? What about the water change I had planned? Been trying to feed my clown goby up a little so I'm worried there will be some detritus to vac this week. Thanks for your help AMD.
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Old 06-27-2009, 10:32 PM   #5
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Oh, so it's perfectly fine for the hermits to 'pick' at the tube if they are removing dead matter? Seems like they must be doing that - every member of the cuc has had a go and then moved on but the cleaner is a bit more of an obsessive-compulsive. He even follows me as I move, he's a greedy little critter! I read that feather dusters can eat brine shrimp but you must be right as when I put it in the tank he doesn't seem to touch it. If I'm feeding frozen brine, pellet, flake and invert food on alternate days then surely he is getting enough from the liquids? Yes the tube looks sort of dusty and a bit leathery, hard to describe but it sounds normal-ish. The aiptasia is a distance from him now, I've no idea why he moved but wouldn't that mean he is no longer a threat, unless he moved closer, which seems unlikely?
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Old 06-27-2009, 10:33 PM   #6
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Looking over the post, I think the CUC is cleaning up the extra food that you are feeding the Duster. Cut back on feeding it and see what happens.
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Old 06-27-2009, 10:36 PM   #7
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The only thing he is getting specific for him is the invert food, and I think I've only given that once or twice at most since I got him. But I guess he is getting liquid and particles from the other foods - I am feeding to try and help my goby as he is looking thin. Would the food situ affect the feather dusters health then? I thought this was a bullying issue? Do you think it could be the heat also, as I've read that they prefer cooler temperatures generally? Thanks - sorry for all the questions.
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Old 06-27-2009, 10:47 PM   #8
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79 degrees Is pretty cool. I would not worry about that temp. Keeping it constant is more important. 79-83 is pretty normal.Just watch and see what happens with the duster. It should be Okay. I bought two about a year and a half ago and loss one soon after. It all comes down to how they were collected. the one that survived has been host to one of my clownfish. and its still going strong...
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Old 06-27-2009, 10:52 PM   #9
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Here is a picture of it.
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Old 06-28-2009, 05:36 AM   #10
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Thanks for that Thincat - wow cool pic! He is cute, must have buried his tube deep into the sand - mine had the same size crown but a longer tube. Your sand is really deep. Unfortunately I went to look at him last night after posting the message and he was stretching out further and curling his crown even more - then this morning he has shed it completely. The water has been an unstable temperature because the thermostat on the heater is set to 25 deg, so it has risen by 4 deg over the hot spell. Will that not be a shock to the feather duster? So, it could be quite natural that he has shed his crown then? There's me blaming the aiptasia, which incidentally has moved again overnight. How strange, could it be that whatever is stressing the feather duster is also stressing the anemone? I am going to be getting a pair of clowns after my holiday, I didn't realise they would use a duster for a host - how cool, wish you had a picture of that to show me aswell! At least my duster hasn't completely left his tube, that's what was worrying me. Just have to wait for him to regrow I spose. Thanks so much for your help and the great pic - I will check my params today. Do you think it is safe to do a water change over the next few days while the worm is 'naked'?!!!
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