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· Watchful Goby
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321 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just got a hammer coral (my first LPS!). I'm acclimating it now, but have discovered a little hitchhiker that scurried off of the coral. He's really tiny (1cm at most), and I don't know if my hermit crabs would even let him grow up in my tank. Several questions:

a) What is it?
b) I've always sort of wanted a star. Is it safe to keep him?
c) If he's dangerous, should I do a freshwater dip to scare out any other dangerous critters?

Thanks!
 

· Watchful Goby
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321 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I was just about to post a follow up asking if it was a brittle star!

It's starting to give me the heebie jeebies. I don't know if I'll leave it in my tank if all it does is sit around.

Is it at all beneficial?
 

· Watchful Goby
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321 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the info!

It's just been creeping me out sitting in the acclimation bucket. My aquarium is a happy place, I'm not sure if I'd like something that creeps me out in there.

I've also read that starfish have no centralized nervous system, so I don't feel too terrible putting it in my waste water bucket.

I hope I'm not a terrible person.
 

· Registered
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110 Posts
Why on earth would you toss something that is a natural inhabitant, beneficial to the tank, and something you'll rarely see anyways? If that creeps you out, I suggest you stop looking at the tank and find a different hobby.
 

· Happy Clam
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947 Posts
If you put it in your tank, you will never see it again. They find a place hidden in the rocks and never move. If you have other corals in the tank, you probably have a lot more of these in your tank now as it is.

I don't know why it creeps you out...I actually find them cute as a button. Very peaceful, harmless, and good for your tank.
 

· Watchful Goby
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321 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
It is true that we, as rational humans and moral agents, do have a duty of non-maleficence. We ought not cause pain to other creatures. However, defining pain or unhappiness or dis-utility is difficult in non-human forms of life (it even is difficult to compare pain between humans). The brittlestar has no centralized nervous system, and cannot experience pain in any human sense of the word. Certainly, killing a spider causes more displeasure to the spider than any trauma to the brittlestar. I'm not sure if our duty of non-maleficence extends to creatures this basic in structure.

From a purely utilitarian standpoint, we ought to weigh the consequences of our actions. If we introduce the brittlestar to my aquarium, it may keep my aquarium slightly cleaner and it will live a brittlestar life. I will, however, have a lesser opinion of the fruits of my favourite hobby, and every time I look at my tank I might get creeped out by the sight of it. Currently, nothing about my tank creeps me out. If I choose to dispose of the brittlestar, it may experience some amount of displeasure and I might find that a little saddening. My tank will remain brittlestar-free and I will not be creeped out by anything.

Weighing these two options with a utilitarian eye results in the second option seeming better. The pain of me, a rational human capable of complex emotion, outweighs the pain of the brittlestar, a small organism capable of no emotion whatsoever and may not even feel any pain.

I enjoy reefing. The first thing I do when I get home in the afternoon is look at my tank, and its the first thing I look at in the morning. I get a huge amount of pleasure from my tank. My tank is a happy place. It is beneficial for it to be creepy-free.
 

· Watchful Goby
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321 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
You've caught me! All ethical arguments ever break down when we assume people are irraitonal.

Am I the only one who thinks that way of devouring prey is awesome? If I could eat my sandwiches by shoving them directly into my stomach that I have removed from my body.... wait you might be right. Thats kinda nasty.
 

· Registered
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1,001 Posts
I had a whole bunch that came in on a couple pounds of live rock. I saw them immediately after adding the rock to my tank then assumed they died. It wasn't until I moved the rock from one tank to another that I saw them move around again. You'll most likely never see them again. They are a good addition to your CUC but, as it is your tank, if you must remove them, nobody is going to stop you.
 

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(I've got an Ethics exam in a few days and was provoked. Watch out!)
You should take a good ecology class. To see the beauty of the complexity in natural ecosystems. Throw a small piece of live rock in the bucket and let the brittle star hide in it then hide it in your tank out of site. Pitty the harmless creature, its not colorful for a reason, its probably tasty to fish.
 

· Watchful Goby
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321 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I had my Ecology exam on Wednesday! If I have to draw another Lotka-Volterra isocline again...

Your posts have moved me. I saw little brittlestar in my waste-water bucket this morning (that I lazily hadn't dumped yet) and turkey-baster-transfered it to my tank.
 
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