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Woke Up to 20ish Dead Fish


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So last night my medusa worm thought it would be a fabulous idea to go through a powerhead. How do I know? I saw him do it (super gross). I thought it wouldn't be an issue since I got the "body" out (even grosser) but apparently not.

A few of my fish are still swimming around happy and are showing no signs of stress. My plan for today is to...

1) Cry.

2) Fill all my reactors with carbon.

3) Cry again.

4) Do a large water change.

5) Hope that the rest of my fish don't die.

Is this the best that I can do? Is there anything else I can do?

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I'm not able to catch the survivors. I'm not sure if it would really help though. The toxin is already in their bodies.

I'm sorry man that sure does suck. Are you able to catch the survivors to put them in toxin free water?

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Does anyone know if these things are poisonous to people? I'm really ambivalent to stick my hands in there to get the deads out and my grabber is not really doing the trick.

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Ah jeez man. That's terrible. Sorry Derek for the rotten luck. Lmk if I can help with anything since I am just down the road. I am heading out for 1-2hrs but should be around after that the rest of the day.


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Advanced aquarist article quote grabs:

"These toxins also affect humans, and many people suffer moderate to severe skin and eye irritation if they come into contact with these toxins (Cunningham and Goetz 1996). Some cases in which toxins came into direct contact with the eyes have resulted in blindness, and deaths have even been reported in cases where people have eaten these animals without the proper preparation." -in context of the most toxic species... so may be not applicable but still makes me want to stay away from it.

"In general, toxins are only released when the cucumbers are under severe stress (such as being chewed up after being sucked into a powerhead or overflow grate), and a diligent aquarist will usually prevent this from ever happening, and therefore never experience any problems with one of these animals. If however, and accident happens, and the cucumber is stressed severely enough to release its chemical defenses, then a good water change, together with an efficient skimmer and some activated carbon are usually sufficient to prevent any fish from asphyxiating from the soap-like holothurin."

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Here's my population. X denotes that it is confirmed dead.

Sailfin Tang (1) X
Orange Shoulder Tang (1)
Blonde Naso Tang (1) X
Blue Regal Tang (1)
Purple Tang (1)
Yellow Tang (2) XX
Vlamingii Tang (1) X
Yellow-Eye Kole (1) X
Blue Green Chromis (4) XXX
Ambon Damsel (1) X
Maroon Clown (1)
Cinnamon Clown (2)
Flame Angel (1) X
Coral Beauty Angel (1) X
Golden Angel (1) X
Lamarck's Angel (1) X
Koran Angel (1)
Passer Angel (1)
Cleaner Wrasse (1)
Hoeven's Wrasse (1)
Argus Wrasse (1)
Nebulous Wrasse (1)
Marine Betta (1)
Dwarf Comet (1)
Starry Blenny (1)
Red Hawkfish (1) X
Flame Hawkfish (1) X
Spotted Hawkfish (1)
Blue Throat Triggerfish (Female) X
Red Japanese Waspfish (1)
Yellow Dottyback (1)
Green Dottyback (1)
Orangetail Dottyback (1)
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Surprisingly the tank still looks very lively in light of all that loss. I couldn't imagine the beauty of all of those fishes swimming around when you had the full population.

Sorry for your loss bud!

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I'm really sorry. It's amazing how even on a tank as big as yours this toxin was still strong enough to do so much damage. I wish I could help out. But not sure what I could do for you.

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Thanks everyone. I really appreciate it. All my remaining fish seem to be doing alright. I think the worst of it is behind me.

Lesson learned...

Medusa worms, while cool, have a bad side effect that is one that can happen to anyone even if precautions are taken.

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Thanks so much. The glove is awesome and helped me take care of this without being freaked out.

I have an aquaglove that should cover you up to your shoulder if you need it. About to leave but can put it out by the front door if you want to grab it.


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I was so sad when I read this. So sorry for your loss. =( They were so pretty. What is a Medusa worm? Is that like a sea cucumber? I do not want to add any to my tank.


It is an odd little cucumber. http://www.reefs.org/library/article/r_toonen7.html. A cucumber with no feet or something. Anatomy is not my thing.

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