Re-Opening the Pistol Shrimp Debate

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salty_noob

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So there are a bunch of posts on line asking if a pistol shrimp can kill fish and I was willing to let one random fish death go, but today I am convinced that my PS is a serial killer and from this point forward will be known as Jeffrey. My tank has been running for 8 months now and things are going pretty well, I am fairly lightly stocked and my PS has been in the tank for about 6 of those 8 months. Up until today I have had only one random fish death (Benggai Cardinal) who was happy and healthy until overnight was simply dead, no sign of disease or damage, just laying on the floor in the area of my tank we call "Oakland" because of all the shots fired by the PS. This morning, my biggest fish (Coral beauty) who has been with us since just before the PS was dead on the sand in the same neighborhood, again no signs of anything wrong (other than being dead), it was eating and looked perfectly healthy yesterday and everyone else in the tank is just fine.

I am in process of setting up my next, bigger, tank. But I am now seriously considering if I should transfer him to the new set up or find him an alternative home.

Thoughts?
 
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A Young reefer

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I really don’t think that pistol shrimp is the one responsible for these deaths. Especially that you mentioned there are no signs on the fish of any damage.
IMO a pistol shrimp is very less likely to be able to kill such relatively larger fish.
Wether or not rehoming the PS is something up to you, but I am concerned that maybe something else is happening that you don’t know of.
 
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salty_noob

salty_noob

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I really don’t think that pistol shrimp is the one responsible for these deaths. Especially that you mentioned there are no signs on the fish of any damage.
IMO a pistol shrimp is very less likely to be able to kill such relatively larger fish.
Wether or not rehoming the PS is something up to you, but I am concerned that maybe something else is happening that you don’t know of.
Forgot to mention, it's been 4 months between the 2 fish deaths, no sign of illness in any of the others :

Royal Gramma
2 B+W clowns
2 Banggai Cardinals
1 Azure Damsel
2 peppermint shrimp
1 porcelain crab
1 emerald crab
6 trochus and 10 cerith snails
some zoas and a "xenia" and one toadstool leather all doing well.
55G tank, 78 degrees, 1.026, 0 (A), 0 (Nitrite), 10 (Nitrate), PH 8.2, Phos .1 (falling slowly), Calcium 450, not testing Mag
don't use API, mostly Hanna and Nyos, Milwaukee.

The only sign of aggression ever in the tank was from the Coral Beauty and that was very rare.

Nothing has changed in the tank since a 10% water change a week ago.

As was the case with the Banggai previously, the day before I would have said the Coral was the picture of health
 
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tehmadreefer

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look at the post directly above yours, it clearly is up for debate. I was probably on the "no" side until today.
Says some hobbyist… I’d suggest looking up their natural behaviors on such site as National Geographic and not rely on YouTubers and hobbyists for definitive advice. Just a thought…
 

GarrettT

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What’s to debate? PS do in fact hint and kill fish. 100% fact. Do a bit of research before posting such debate…
Do they actually hunt and seek out fish though? Is that really a fact? Mine doesn’t appear too, but will murder any snail that looks at him wrong.
 
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A Young reefer

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Forgot to mention, it's been 4 months between the 2 fish deaths, no sign of illness in any of the others :

Royal Gramma
2 B+W clowns
2 Banggai Cardinals
1 Azure Damsel
2 peppermint shrimp
1 porcelain crab
1 emerald crab
6 trochus and 10 cerith snails
some zoas and a "xenia" and one toadstool leather all doing well.
55G tank, 78 degrees, 1.026, 0 (A), 0 (Nitrite), 10 (Nitrate), PH 8.2, Phos .1 (falling slowly), Calcium 450, not testing Mag
don't use API, mostly Hanna and Nyos, Milwaukee.

The only sign of aggression ever in the tank was from the Coral Beauty and that was very rare.

Nothing has changed in the tank since a 10% water change a week ago.

As was the case with the Banggai previously, the day before I would have said the Coral was the picture of health
Not sure honestly, but I am pretty confident that it isn’t aggression or the PS.
 

A Young reefer

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Do they actually hunt and seek out fish though? Is that really a fact? Mine doesn’t appear too, but will murder any snail that looks at him wrong.
It doesn’t make sense though, how would a coral beauty or the bangai end up in the pistol shrimps “cave”. If it was a smaller fish that lives between the rock and sand most of its time I would then put the possibility.
 

fryman

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Pistol shrimp will kill and eat a fish, sure. But killing a fish and then leaving the body untouched? Color me skeptical.

*edit*: How big is this pistol shrimp? Coral beauty is an enormous fish compared to any pistol shrimp I've ever seen.
 
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salty_noob

salty_noob

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Pistol shrimp will kill and eat a fish, sure. But killing a fish and then leaving the body untouched? Color me skeptical.

*edit*: How big is this pistol shrimp? Coral beauty is an enormous fish compared to any pistol shrimp I've ever seen.
I would also consider myself a skeptic on this topic, shrimp is not that big ( I would assume he's fully grown at 2-2.5"), Coral was not a baby, probably 2". Neither of the fish were pulled into the PS's burrow, just on the sand very close by.
 

sfin52

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Clarification please. in your original post you said nothing about being in its cave. Later stated it was in its cave.

I'm skeptical of the ps as well.
 
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ISpeakForTheSeas

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Is anyone here actually aware of a case (preferably confirmed by video and/or scientific study) of a goby-paired pistol shrimp (or even one not paired) actively hunting? Because the only confirmed case I can find at the moment is one of an apparently unpaired pistol shrimp killing a cleaner shrimp that came right up to the front of the pistol's burrow.

Between the fact that I can't find any verifiable evidence of these shrimp actively hunting and the fact that their primary diet is thought (with at least one study's worth of supporting evidence) to be their goby partner's feces*, I'm strongly inclined to believe that these shrimp basically go out of their way not to kill most things (but they will defend their territory - i.e. their burrow). So, personally - unless someone has verifiable information that says otherwise - I would guess the odds of a pistol shrimp taking out two fish (including one that is relatively large) while they are not actively encroaching on it's burrow and while it has access to it's primary food source are extremely low. That's not to say it couldn't happen, just that it seems incredibly unlikely.

*Here's the link to the study referenced above:
 
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salty_noob

salty_noob

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Is anyone here actually aware of a case (preferably confirmed by video and/or scientific study) of a goby-paired pistol shrimp (or even one not paired) actively hunting? Because the only confirmed case I can find at the moment is one of an apparently unpaired pistol shrimp killing a cleaner shrimp that came right up to the front of the pistol's burrow.

Between the fact that I can't find any verifiable evidence of these shrimp actively hunting and the fact that their primary diet is thought (with at least one study's worth of supporting evidence) to be their goby partner's feces*, I'm strongly inclined to believe that these shrimp basically go out of their way not to kill most things (but they will defend their territory - i.e. their burrow). So, personally - unless someone has verifiable information that says otherwise - I would guess the odds of a pistol shrimp taking out two fish (including one that is relatively large) while they are not actively encroaching on it's burrow and while it has access to it's primary food source are extremely low. That's not to say it couldn't happen, just that it seems incredibly unlikely.

*Here's the link to the study referenced above:
Interesting perspective given that the PS no longer has a goby partner. The goby and PS went in at more or less the same time, I saw almost nothing of the PS for 2 weeks after he went in and the goby was randomly swimming at all levels of the tank. Then they seemed to find each other and they were both quite active and visible around the burrow for a while until the Goby took a leap out of the tank (no lid, my fault). Since then I don't see much of the shrimp, but I hear him often in the evenings and see him very occasionally, I wonder if PS's that are not paired are more aggressive?

First fish death was not long after the Goby left the tank, second one 4 months later.
 
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