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Thread: Coral Warfare

  1. #1

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    Default Coral Warfare


    1 Not allowed!
    I had two micromussa - who had been living side-by-side for months - suddenly decide to duke it out yesterday.

    I came home from work and sat down at my computer desk, which is next to my reef. I looked over and noticed this:

    IMG_2277.JPG

    I knew something was wrong because this is how it usually looks:

    IMG_1740.JPG

    So I turned off the wavemakers so that I could get a clear view through the top of the tank and was greeted with this wonderful sight:

    IMG_2271.jpg

    For reference, this is how those two corals have coexisted as neighbors pretty much all year:

    IMG_1748.PNG

    The little one obviously lost, but I'm still a bit amazed at the damage it was able to do to the larger purple one before it got taken out.

    The destruction of tissue was absolute. After blowing off the little one with a turkey baster, its skeleton was the only thing left.

    IMG_2279.JPG

    Just goes to show you how vicious these things can be. Also how unpredictable. By all accounts, these two should have existed peacefully as they were the same species, and there are many examples online of people with "gardens" of dozens of them together. Spardas believes that it was a secondary casualty brought on by all the changes in the tank from the silicone issue. That the changes in water chemistry sparked a survival response in one of the micromussa and caused it to lash out at its neighbor, who in turn retaliated.

    It's the first time I've had corals fight each other. I was well-aware of marine warfare and I have been very careful in selecting where certain species are placed in my tank. As mentioned above, what happened shouldn't have happened...it was just a series of unfortunate events that originated from the silicone used for the sump.

    Clinically, it is a fascinating event and one that my 5yo son deemed as "super cool," but for someone who had a bit of emotional investment in the animals (me) it was a firm kick in the huevos...especially after finally getting everything in the tank back to a healthy place and replacing the duncan I had lost last week.

  2. #2

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    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Sorry to see this, never any fun. Your right, it's odd to see this, I have three of mine sitting next to each other. The only war fare I've had to deal with was when my frags were on a rack waiting for the 90. My blenny pushed a hammer coral frag into a birds nest, and the birds nest didn't stand a chance.

  3. #3

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    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Ouch, that sucks. I had to move my birdsnest a couple months back because my hammer was getting too big and almost within reach.

  4. #4

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    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Another bit of amazing discovery with these corals. Although you believe this battle might have resulted from the difficulties with the silicon, would you later try another similar one in the same position? Or since it's shown its aggressive potential, is it better left alone?

  5. #5

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    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Honestly, that hasn't been something I thought about until you brought it up, Sue. I'm not quite sure. I didn't mind losing the smaller coral so much because it has always been a bit of a runt compared to the other two of the same species I have, but coming home to all that damage to the big purple one really hit me hard. It is my first coral that I bought last year and I have been carefully nurturing it for months to get it to where it is now. This is what it looked like when I first got it:

    2017_12_18_21_52_52_ProShotgggg.jpg

    The dedication I put into caring for it really allowed it to grow into a nice colony with beautiful purple and greens. When I first got it, my wife gave me a "yuck" look and wasn't very impressed. Now it's one of her favorite corals to look at. Having it severely damaged after all that time and effort makes me very hesitant to have it near anything from here on out.

  6. #6

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    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Alas, the larger coral did not survive the ordeal, either. I removed its skeleton yesterday.

    No other corals in the tank seem to be upset. I'm hoping that this was an isolated incident and that Spardas was correct in that it was just a bit of warfare between the two animals as opposed to some parasite that somehow popped up in the tank.

    This brings the total casualties to:

    6-headed duncan
    Firefish
    Two micromussa

    I wish I had been able to figure out what was harming the corals much sooner. If I had switched out the silicone a week or two earlier, most of not all of the animals that perished might still be alive. Can't help but feel awful about it. They're dead because of a simple thing that I had overlooked, that wouldn't have been missed had I just taken my research on silicone one tiny step further...

  7. #7

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    Default


    1 Not allowed!
    So sorry to hear about the loss of both corals. I don't know that those can be attributed to the silicone issue though. My guess is that one or both of them simply grew enough to slightly encroach on the other's territory. One step too far sort of deal and the battle was on.

  8. #8

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    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    They were nestled together for months with no issue. This particular species is well-known for being peaceful to others of its kind, and many folks like to make "gardens" of them.

    skittles2010-1.jpg

    I don't believe the silicone directly killed either of them, but I am agreeing with Spardas that the stress of the chemicals along with the frantic water changes and such triggered an aggressive response from one of them. In my mind I picture two paranoid idiots with guns pointed at each other. One farts and then all hell breaks loose as they both freak out and start blasting away at each other.

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