Impossible to keep in reef tank?

February 1, 2000
From: Chris Elmore

I recently purchased a Nudibranch from a local pet store in Charlotte, N.C. It is purple with a white border, has yellow horns and yellow frilly bits. I have since been told they are impossible to keep and can wipe out my tank. Can you elaborate on this? Thanks!

Chris Elmore

Elmore, C., 2000 (Feb 1) Impossible to keep in reef tank?. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Chris,
Have a look at the photos of Hypselodoris bullocki. Is your animal like one of those? If so, have a look at some of the messages and discussion below yours to find out a bit about the animal.

The only nudibranchs that could cause an 'Armageddon' in your tank are members of the family Phyllidiidae, such as Phyllidia varicosa, which secrete rather toxic chemicals into the water. But you mention 'frilly bits' which I assume are gills, so it can't be a phyllidiid as they don't have visible gills.

If you could send me a sketch or photo I could be a lot more specific.

Best wishes,
Bill Rudman.

Rudman, W.B., 2000 (Feb 1). Comment on Impossible to keep in reef tank? by Chris Elmore. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

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