Claire Corlett

Fish Food, Fish Tanks, and More
My Favorite Reef Aquarium Symbiotic Relationships

My Favorite Reef Aquarium Symbiotic Relationships


Symbiotic relationships are one of the most
interesting parts of this hobby for me. Ever since I was a kid I was fascinated with
seeing animals packed together on a reef. Although I know now the reef is a battlefield
for real estate, there are still these pockets of cooperation between completely different
animals that is amazing. This video is about five such relationships. Now the title of the video is “oddball”
relationships because I’m sure everyone is very familiar with this one. Clownfish and anemones. This combination is likely responsible for
drawing more people into the hobby than anything else. I figure we can take a look at some less common
partnerships going forward. Before we get to the rest of the list, I’m
sure I am going to get questions about this particular shot so I may as well explain it
now. The anemone is a long tentacle from Vietnam. It just happened to detach and got gently
blown by the return to spin in place to form an anemone carousel for two clownfish. It spun like this for hours. I could not replicate something like this
if I tried. A definite oddball are hermit crabs of the
genus Paggurita. These little guys live in colonies of Astreopora
however I’ve seen them in other corals when they are collected from different regions. For example, these yellow crabs are from Australia
but I’ve seen blue ones from Fiji that were living in Platygyra. When they first came onto the scene there
really wasn’t a care guide to go off of so we had to try our best to keep them alive. We have found that they filter feed mainly
and seem to really like small meaty foods such as rotifers. They seem to do better with heavy feeding
but it’s important to not overfeed and pollute the tank because the food they consume is
not likely to be quickly consumed by fish or other inhabitants. They usually never leave their burrows, but
one day I did see one leave its den and hitch a ride onto a snail shell. They kind of look like a wasp. I don’t know what this was all about but
I have a feeling they don’t survive long outside the coral so I made every effort to
get it back to its original hole. Hopefully the little guy made it back. Next up are sexy shrimp and mini carpet anemones. There are actually many types of shrimp that
develop symbiotic relationships with both corals and anemones, but the sexy shrimp are
my personal favorites because they do this little dance with their tail and are not nearly
as reclusive as some of the other inverts. That is actually one of the things that kept
some really cool symbiotic relationships off of my list. The critters often hide so much I never can
get a shot of them. The other nice thing about this pair is that
they are very easy to care for. The anemones themselves are very tough and
don’t move around as much as some other types of anemones such as bubble tips which
are likely to run laps around your tank. The shrimp are active and can take care of
themselves so you don’t have to go out of your way to feed them. I should mention that sexy shrimp will host
in any number of things, not just carpet anemones. I personally haven’t had them bother any
other corals but when it comes to shrimp, it always is a possibility that they might
nip at some polyps. Next is the Bisma worm rock. These feather duster worms are colorful and
have excellent vision because any motion they detect sends them hiding in their coral host. The worms grow inside colonies of corals such
as Porites and occasionally an oddball coral such as Cyphastrea. As you can probably guess they are filter
feeders. I often get asked if they reproduce and increase
in number over time. Unfortunately I don’t have a good answer. I can tell that the tubes that they grow in
lengthen over time but I can’t tell if the individual count goes up. In any case, these worms bring a lot of interest
and motion to what would otherwise be a motionless coral. Sticking with the worm theme, this one is
a really subtle oddball. This coral is a walking Dendro and I have
to put Dendro in quotes because it’s not a Dendrophyllia at all. It’s actually a photosynthetic coral called
a Heteropsammia. The thing that makes it interesting is that
it serves as a host to a peanut worm that lives at its base. You can see the small hole right at the bottom
and unfortunately peanut worms are super reclusive so it’s not likely to come out. Despite the worms shyness, the interaction
with the coral is pretty cool because it drags the coral around the substrate with it. Each day you can expect this coral to be in
a different location on the substrate as the peanut worm scoots around. Although the coral is photosynthetic and can
get most of its nutrition from light, the Walking Dendro is a capable predator and can
gobble up food if offered either meaty frozen foods or in this case coral pellet food. We started with a fish and I’ll end this
video with a fish. The last symbiotic relationship on my list
is the partnership between the yasha goby and a pistol shrimp. I love that the fish acts as a lookout for
the shrimp that is nearly blind while the shrimp tends to a burrow it makes for both
of them. The shrimp almost always has one antennae
on the goby as a means of communication. I also like how they have matching red and
white stripes. Anything that is a striking red and white
is not particularly common in this hobby. Off the top of my head I can only think of
two other things, a peppermint bodianus hog fish and a peppermint angel which is almost
never seen in the hobby. At first these two were super reclusive but
over time the fish came out more and more and now it spends almost all of its time out. The shrimp isn’t out much, but if you are
patient it makes an appearance once in a while. Ok that pretty much does it for my top 5 favorite
symbiotic relationships. In the comments below, let me know what are
your favorites. Don’t forget to like comment and subscribe. Bye guys.

67 comments on “My Favorite Reef Aquarium Symbiotic Relationships

  1. Awesome vid! So cool how those critters bind together. Another red and white fish (with yellow fins) is the Ruby Red Dragonet.

  2. I have 3 out 5 you mentioned πŸ˜€ Symbiotic Relationships are just too cool to now have in ones tank! Also, awesome video like always Than

  3. This is really beautiful, I love it. What about the coral and the zooxanthellae themselves? It isn't odd-ball though, I suppose. Nice work πŸ‘

  4. clingfish and urchin
    I also have one of those little crabs I got him in a xmas tree rock have had him for a long time now , there is also a weird little shrimp that lives in the rock I cant identify him though

  5. As always, great video Than. I do have a question…Do you know of a beneficial relationship, if any, between an acro crab and acropora coral? I'm 6 months into this hobby and already have 1 of these crabs and doesn't seem to leave the coral. Thanks in advance.

  6. great vid Than ! thanks as always for sharing your knowledge . like always watching your vids like these make me want some new stuff in the hobby every time πŸ˜‰ haha tanks again and waiting on the next one

  7. Great video Than, I have a 20 gallon that has a bonded pair of yasha gobies that are paired with a bonded pair of pistol shrimps on one side of the tank. And on the other side there is a bonded pair of Dracula Gobies that are paired with a bonded pair of pistol shrimps. I've never had an issue with them and they seem really happy. The picture has been on BRS. but I could show you one if you'd like to see it.

  8. Great Video Than! However, I don't know if paguritta crabs or the Christmas tree worms are symbiotic. What benefit does the coral get for hosting them?

    If anything, I would say they are almost parasitic… but nonetheless, the harm is negligible and is why I think they are very interesting and beautiful creatures.

  9. I've been hunting for a lil yasha goby ever since my watchman passed away, my pistol shrimp has gone on a tunnelling rampage!

    (And pom pom crabs really should come out to dance for the camera more, I love my little guy. I was so lucky to get him on video!)

  10. wow! those hermit crabs are amazing!!! it would be amazing to have a colony or two of them in a tank! my fave symbiotic relationship yet

  11. If my yellow tang (juvenile) stays close to the my dotty back like it was its parent, what would that be considered?

  12. I had only seen watcher Goby pair with pistol shrimp before but you're right these two do look great together with those matching red stripes!

  13. had a Sexy shrimp for the past few years and has always stayed/made a home in a small cave in my live rock, bought a bubbletip anenome a few weeks back and today saw the sexy shrimp hovering around the Anenome! finally he's moved home.

  14. Beautifully filmed video. Excellent editing. Great footage. Thank you for sharing! Very educational and interesting!

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