I felt bad for Claws, the coral crab. He'd regrown his pincers but still continued to hang out underneath the clam. He was eating extremely well but he was not living as nature intended and according to some articles these crabs are obligatory commensal in that they actually require a coral host for survival. I couldn't bear the idea of loosing him as well as Pebble (see its-a-pebble-but-its-a-really-nice-pebble), so I began searching for a new 'home' for him.
Whilst Trapezia cymodoce can be found hosting in amongst branches of Acropora sp. more extensive research on my part has indicated that they seem to be more commonly associated with the genus Pocillopora. Since I don't currently have any Pocillopora species in my tank adding particular crab turned out to be not the best livestock idea I've ever had. I needed to rectify that asap. To maximise my chances of Claws approving of a new coral home I needed a Pocillopora sp. that was large enough to to house Claws and make him feel secure but not too large that I couldn't actually fit it in my tank since space was becoming a premium.
After scouring the web I settled for a small maricultured Pocillopora sp. colony. It was listed as Pocillopora eydouxi, I have to assume that this is the correct identification but in all honestly I have no idea, Even after spending hours studying 'Corals of the World' by Veron I still can't really tell the difference between some of the different Pocillopora species. I just had to hope this coral would fit the bill.
The online listing showed the coral to be somewhat pink but when it arrived it just looked brown, probably due to shipping stress, but no matter hopefully it would colour up again once it was settled. I set the coral on the sand whilst I dealt with the rest of the order, I can never just buy one thing, lol. I also boosted the clean up crew in the from of a black spiny brittlestar, Ophiocoma sp. Once the star had been added to the tank and vanished under a rock, I took the time to really check out the new coral and.... WTH! It already had a crab living in it. This new crab was really, really tiny, about 1/10the size of Claws but to my eyes looked to be the same species. What had I done now? In trying to help Claws had I doomed really Tiny Claws?
I waited a week for the coral to acclimate before fixing it into position on the rocks. During that time Claws remained living at the base of the clam and Tiny Claws stayed happy in his comfy coral home. The morning after the coral had been stuck down I discovered Claws had moved in. I immediately searched for Tiny Claws and was amazed (and relieved) to discover that he too was still in the coral. Now either Claws and Tiny Claws are prepared to share or they are male/female and have paired up or maybe Claws hasn't even discovered his tiny new friend yet? Whatever, potential disaster has been averted for now.
Here is the (brown) Pocillopora.
Claws loving his new home.
Tiny Claws can be seen to the left with a partial view of Claws (bit of leg and claw) to the right.
Hi, my name is Lisa and I live in Derby, UK. I am a self-confessed reefaholic!