Re: keeping nudibranchs in the aquarium?

January 7, 1999
From: Rob See

Dear Bill,
Many thanks for the valued information on the Phyllidia varicosa, which I now no longer have inhabiting my marine aquarium. I have become quite taken with these colourful beasts, however, and am curious to learn of any species that can be kept easily in a reef tank, and will not die in a matter of weeks, or kill anything else. Could you please help me with this query?
Thank you.
Rob See

See, R., 1999 (Jan 7) Re: keeping nudibranchs in the aquarium?. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Rob,
Apart from the phyllidiids, which are a special case, the general problem with keeping nudibranchs in aquaria is the problem of feeding them. Sponges, hydroids, sea anemones, ascidians and bryozoans are all food of particular nudibranchs and all are difficult to keep alive in aquaria, especially if they are regularly being nibbled on!

I know dedicated aquarium keepers who keep chromodorids in aquaria, but that requires finding them alive on a particular sponge that can also be transplanted into the aquarium. It also requires you to regularly replace the sponge with another healthy sponge of the same species. [To distinguish what a chromodorid looks like, look at any of the species listed under Chromodorididae in the Species List]. Some aeolids are also amenable to aquarium life but again you need to identify their food. There is one species in New South Wales, Austraeolis cacaotica which seems to be a generalist feeder but most are very specific feeders.

Sorry I can't give you an instant recipe for success but if you are keen, think of it as a challenge. I'm happy to give some advice if you find something which seems to be working, but I would need a photograph.
Best wishes
Bill Rudman.

Rudman, W.B., 1999 (Jan 7). Comment on Re: keeping nudibranchs in the aquarium? by Rob See. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

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