• Looking to buy a cephalopod? Check out Tomh's Cephs Forum, and this post in particular shares important info about our policies as it relates to responsible ceph-keeping.

Corals and stuff


Jul 11, 2003
I was just wondering what are everyones experiences with keeping corals and other things (feather duster, polyps, clams etc).
What kinda supplements do you give them?
Do they work well with octos?
Are they difficult to maintain?

Any info about them would be appreciated :smile: .

When you add stuff like that you run the risk of it either being eaten or messed about with... Might be okay but then again might not, chances are that the ceph would either try to eat it or accidntly kill it while moving rocks about...

Also most polyps sting and may hurt an octo...
But if i were to run the risk (not saying i will), what would i feed them? Is it just some stuff that comes in a bottle that i squirt into the tank a couple times a day??
okay, for arguments sake :smile:

Clam.. is a filterfeeder and in an octo tank would moe than likely be an expensive meal... so a filter feeder food for that

same for the feather duster

polyps will photosynthesise in your tank and will also take little bits of shrimp that you pass to them and anything else they catch :smile:

All good LFSs should sell liquid food for these animals
okay :wink:

not really, lots of people set up reef tanks specially to keep these types of things and find it difficult!!!

The clam would be the hardest as they require seriously bright lights and that's something the octo wont like... have a check at what a clam will cost you... that might change your mind!!! :P
hahaha ok clams are out :P . Does this difficulty level go for all the other corals? I guess i was under the inpression that as long as they have bright lights and you feed them that liquid food stuff then thats all u have to do. o well
biggest problem for us is that we have a bloddy big messy octopus sitting in the tank making a LOT of waste... most coral keepers would expect to have a near sterile tank... that's pretty much impossible for us!!! LOL
There are a lot of "sort ofs" and "maybes" here. You kinda can keep some of this stuff. Kinda can't some other. Here's my take:

1. Clams are pretty and really neat, but like Colin says, expensive, prolly octo-food and quite light-hungry--like corals, despite being animals they depend heavily on photosynthetic symbiotes.

2. Featherduster worms and such seem to be fine. My live rock came with plenty of them. Larger ones might be a bit finicky.

3. Sea urchins are a mixed bag. Rather than a pencil urchin, I highly recommend a blue tuxedo urchin (Mespilia globulus.) Pencil urchins tend to be more like little bulldozers, knocking things over and actively burrowing into your live rock. M. globulus urchins seem much milder, are prettier anyway, have short, relatively safe spines (still, don't try stabbing yourself!) and don't knock things over quite as enthusiastically. In general, they do just fine. Brittle stars are also recommended. Many "normal" starfish (non-brittle) are NOT recommended in a reef tank, however! Many of them tend to eat things you may want to keep, like clams or corals.

4. Corals can be kept. But it depends enormously on the tank, the corals, the other inhabitants, and your willingness to take a bit of financial risk. I keep some corals and had no problems with my first octo. But individuals and species vary--he was so cautious, perhaps he simply didn't encounter them often. Not all corals are the same--effectively all of them sting, but with wildly varying results, and different results for different animals--some don't even notice it at all. At least one of my corals can and has stung me. Soft corals (ones that don't build calcareous skeletons) release toxins into their environment which might, depending on the species, be a threat to an octo, or to you.

Keeping corals with an octo is a compromise and a guessing game. You need to accept the risk that you could lose either animal. If you do your research well and choose milder species (rather than rushing out and buying the Really Pretty Ones, which I've done once or twice!) you may minimize the risk to the octo, but the octo may decide to move the coral, which could injure or kill the coral. I'm not a true expert, but if you want to try corals I might recommend green star polyps to start. They're pretty much harmless to most animals, mostly photosynthetic (you don't really need to feed them,) easy to keep, and they grow nicely.

Tank conditions do matter for corals, but each species has its own needs. Most coralkeepers have stringent water quality, because many of the prettier stony corals require such conditions, but those conditions actually harm some species. In general, you'd want carefully maintained water quality (doable with your setup) and TWICE the lighting you currently have (I understand you have about 110 watts of fluorescent?) That may not be octo-friendly--you would at least want to provide extra dark caves for hiding. You can probably cheat in the lighting department. If you pile your live rock high enough, choose corals that don't demand tons of light, and mount them high on the rock, closer to the lights (say, the upper 1/3 of the tank) then they might be happy with your current light setup.

wow i really appreciate the thorough coverage on corals and stuff :notworth: . Given this information i may have to pass on keeping these (at least for a while until i can buy another tank). Haha i may just have to get one of those posters that go on the back wall of the tank that make it look all pretty :P . However, i may go for one of those blue tuxedo urchins. What exactly do u mean by bulldozers? Will it ruin my live rock? Will i have to feed it?

thanks again
Rusty just means that they can just push stuff about and go over things rather than round them.. eg if you did have corals they just march right over the top.

feeding an urchin is fine but dont do it too often, just remember they are helpfull as scavengers, dont let them get lazy LOL

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