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Man Moves Aquarium After Fish Goes Missing, Finds This

Man Moves Aquarium After Fish Goes Missing, Finds This November 22, 2022Leave a comment

An Expert

He couldn't believe his eyes the first time he saw it. He'd never seen anything like it before, which was strange since he regarded himself as an expert on marine life. And as he gazed at it in admiration and terror, he began to speculate.

How did it get in there? How was he going to take it out? He didn't feel adequately prepared for the task. But what would become of his other creatures if he did nothing?

Just A Fish Enthusiast

U.S. Air Force_Staff Sgt. Jake Barreiro

Such conundrums are not often visited by owners of fish tanks and home aquariums. Most of the marine life that people normally keep is harmless fish, coral, turtles, etc. And, indeed, that’s what YouTube user Gurutek was used to. He was an avid aquarium enthusiast and liked to keep all sorts of colorful, tropical fish. 

But one day, he realized he’d gotten more than he bargained for — and his whole aquarium could be at risk.

Vanishing Coral

Wikimedia Commons_Tappinen

Gurutek’s fish tank was quite large, and he kept it stocked with a wide variety of fish and coral. He also tried to ensure the water conditions were just right so the marine life would flourish. But, one day, he started noticing something strange. 

The coral in his aquarium appeared to be going missing. At first, he thought he might be imagining things. But then, whole coral colonies started disappearing overnight. Something was not right.

Trying To Solve The Mystery

Pixabay

He tried to think of what could be the cause for his disappearing coral. Some fish species, including parrotfish, are known to eat coral. But he didn’t have any of those fish in his tank. He then ensured the water temperature, acidity, and salinity were at the right levels because that can affect coral health. He also inspected the remaining coral for signs of disease. 

But none of these factors would cause coral to disappear overnight. He knew it had to be something else but couldn't pinpoint it.

Keeping His Eye On It

Public Domain Pictures

Unable to identify the source of the mystery, he had no choice but to buy more coral to keep the colonies healthy. He didn't let go of the issue, though. He started paying closer attention to his fish tank, looking for signs or clues that could lead him to the answer. 

But, hard as he looked, there didn’t seem anything amiss. Then, as he researched possible marine predators, he came to an important realization.

Creatures Of The Night

YouTube_gurutek

A lot of ocean predators only come out to hunt at night. That's probably why Gurutek hadn’t been able to spot whatever was eating his coral. So he decided to stay up and sit in the dark in front of his aquarium. That’s how dedicated he was to find the culprit. 

After a few nights into this experiment, he finally made some progress. He saw movement in the sand at the bottom of the tank and caught glimpses of something slithering about. But it was too dark.

Little Success

Wikimedia Commons_16toki

Gurutek couldn’t see what the mystery animal was in the middle of the dark room. But when he turned the light on, the creature stopped moving, and Gurutek could not spot it again. Despite his failed attempt, he tried to find the animal a few more times, succeeding only three times in the course of a year. 

Clearly, this was a creature that did not want to be found. But the reckoning came when Gurutek decided to move his aquarium. 

Nowhere To Hide

WikiHow

Gurutek was relocating his huge aquarium to a different spot, so he began the arduous task of taking everything apart so he could move it. He transferred the fish, rocks, and other contents to temporary tanks. Finally, all that was left were a few chunks of dead coral and the sand at the bottom of the aquarium. 

Using a long tool, Gurutek stirred the sand until he came upon a moving thing. Finally, the creature showed itself.

A True Monster

YouTube_gurutek

As the creature crawled out of the sand, Gurutek and his friends could not believe their eyes. It was long and slender like a water snake but had bristly feet like a centipede and didn’t seem to have a head. It was terrifying. 

After recovering from the shock, Gurutek used a pair of tongs to try and catch it. Instead, the creature’s tail snapped clean off and continued wiggling while the rest of its body frantically circled the aquarium. It was a nightmarish sight. But what was this monster?

Its Identity Revealed

Alamy

After doing some research, Gurutek finally uncovered the identity of this aquarium intruder: a Bobbitt worm, also known as a sand striker. It is a predatory worm that dwells on the ocean floor and usually hunts by way of ambush. 

With its sharp teeth and extraordinary speed, it can easily slice its prey clean in half. Gurutek’s fish and coral clearly were no match for this hellish creature. But what was it doing in his aquarium?

Accidental Stowaway

YouTube_gurutek

Bobbitt worms are usually found in warm oceans such as the Indo-Pacific and Atlantic, which leads many to wonder how one ended up in a British man’s aquarium. However, like many sea creatures, these worms are broadcast spawners. 

This means that females release their eggs into open water, and the males fertilize them as they are discharged. Sometimes the eggs adhere to plants or rocks for survival, which could explain how one of them hitched a ride to Gurutek’s tank. So what did he plan to do with it?

Rehoming The Worm

YouTube_gurutek

Despite being fascinated by this otherworldly creature that lived in his fish tank for two years, Gurutek did not want to keep it. After all, it was a fierce predator with a powerful toxin that could kill or severely harm all the sea life in his aquarium. 

So he contacted a fellow marine fish keeper, who was more than happy to take the huge worm and give it a new home. Meanwhile, Gurutek decided to share his discovery with the world.

A Fascinated Public

YouTube_gurutek

Gurutek uploaded the video of the Bobbitt worm to his YouTube page, and soon it gained a lot of attention — being viewed over 8 million times. Most of the commenters agreed that the creature was terrifying, and many suggested Gurutek should kill it, while others said he should dry it and frame it. 

Others couldn’t comprehend how it had lived in his tank for so long without him noticing, which is a fair point. But there’s precedent for that.

Other Sneaky Worms

Flickr- krokodiver

There are two recorded instances of Bobbitt worms being accidentally introduced into aquariums. The Blue Reef Aquarium in Newquay, England, once found a specimen in a tank display. Staff had noticed injured or disappearing fish, as well as coral, sliced in half.

Just like Gurutek, they discovered it while taking the display apart. A branch of Maidenhead Aquatics in Woking also found a Bobbitt worm in one of their aquariums. By the way, do you know how this worm got its name?

Questionable Namesake

ABC News

Many animal species are named after the scientist who discovered them, so it would make sense that this is how the Bobbitt worm got its name. But that’s not the case. 

The worm is named after Lorena Bobbitt, the woman who, in 1994, gained international infamy by cutting off her husband’s genitals. It makes reference to the Bobbitt worm’s sharp, scissor-like jaws.

Just How Old Are These Creatures?

GETTY IMAGES

The Bobbitt worm is by no means a new creature to this planet. There were two cases in which Bobbitt worm fossils had been found. One such occurrence was in Taiwan, where the fossil found was dated to about twenty million years old, and the other was discovered in Ontario, Canada, where the fossil is believed to be four hundred million years old.

But such fossils are fragile and tend to dissolve, so how did these survive?

The Taiwan Dig

LUDVIG LÖWEMARK

Professor Ludvig Löwemark and professor Masakazu Nara were in Taiwan searching for trace fossils of other ancient animals when they stumbled upon the twenty million-year-old Bobbitt fossil. In total, the professors discovered 319 fossils at the sites they were busy with.

But the Bobbitt fossil had them intrigued.

Examining It

LUDVIG LÖWEMARK

The professors took their findings back to the lab and started analyzing them. Thanks to a chemical analysis that showed that the fossil had a high iron content, they deduced that the fossil was a burrow typically made by soft-bodied animals.

The high iron content accrued because the worms tend to stabilize their burrows with mucus.

Distinct Shape

Public Domain

The burrow was L-shaped, proving that it was made by a soft-bodied animal because it can’t dig much since the ground becomes too hard. But the real proof came when the professors noted that the burrows weren’t the same size as other burrow diggers like eels.

The professors then compared the burrows to that of modern-day Bobbitt worms and found a match.

How Big Is Big?

Public Domain

The longest Bobbit worm ever discovered was found in an aquaculture raft in Shirahama, Japan. It was a whopping 117 inches long and weighed 15.27 ounces. But that’s not a common sight. A typical Bobbitt worm is about 3 feet long. 

However, some larger worms- approximately the size of the one found in Japan- have also been found in Australia and the Iberian Peninsula.

Stealthy Predators

Getty Images

The longest Bobbit worm ever discovered was found in an aquaculture raft in Shirahama, Japan. It was a whopping 117 inches long and weighed 15.27 ounces. But that’s not a common sight. A typical Bobbitt worm is about 3 feet long. 

However, some larger worms- approximately the size of the one found in Japan- have also been found in Australia and the Iberian Peninsula.

Can’t See

acidcow

Bobbitt worms have eyes on the front section of their heads, but they are practically blind. Instead of seeing their prey, they sense them with their antennae. 

They don’t have a brain, though. They rely on a large sector of nerve cell clusters in their autonomic nervous system instead of spending the day thinking about fish.

Prey Is Not Helpless

acidcow

Over time fish have come up with a deterrent for Bobbitt worm attacks. Certain tropical fish like the Peters’ monocle beam tend to throw sharp jets of water at Bobbitt worms when they try to attack, and they often don’t act alone.

Once one sees it, the rest will join the defense.

Wide Jaws

Discovermagazine

A Bobbitt worm’s jaws are wider than its body when they are fully extended. The Bobbitt worm will often be completely hidden in its burrow, with only its wide, extended jaws sticking out as it waits for its next meal to approach.

And those jaws are strong enough to cut its prey in half.

Power Of Bristles

Pond5

The Bobbitt worm’s body is covered in powerful bristles that allow them to grip onto the walls of its burrows and quickly push out when prey is within its grasp. It also helps them to pull their prey in.

But the Bobbit worm is not the only ocean creature that knows how to pack a punch.

Powerful Shrimp

Akron Zoo

The Mantis Shrimp is a small creature- only about 0.4-11.8 inches in length- and it's a real beauty. But this shrimp can pack a punch that will leave its enemies wobbling. Nothing is confirmed, but it’s said they could have the fastest punch known to science.

Could that be true?

Survival

Wikipedia

Mantis Shrimp are among the most important predators in many of their habitats, but they are often misunderstood. Many shrimps burrow underground or take shelter in holes, but some of them prefer fighting over hiding.

They can spear, stun and dismember their prey, but what about their predators?

Interactions With Humans

critterfacts

Humans who handled shrimps incautiously often report having painful wounds caused by the shrimps, but how can such a tiny critter possibly inflict such injuries on a human? It’s all in the name. Mantis shrimp either have calcified “clubs” or sharp forelimbs which help them defend themselves or strike their prey.

That’s what makes the Mantis Shrimp such a powerful puncher.

Actual Damage

earth.com

When a mantis shrimp strikes, its movement is fifty times faster than the blink of an eye. Its acceleration is faster than a .22 caliber bullet, and that alone can cause severe damage to whatever it is within striking distance.

But the damage isn’t the only thing such a fast strike does, especially not underwater.

Unique Side Effect

YouTube BBC Earth Unplugged

The punch of a Mantis Shrimp is so powerful and fast that it boils the water around it. So even if the punch doesn’t connect, the swirl of boiling water that follows is sure to do something to its predator or prey.

But their punch isn’t the only thing that makes them unique. They also have odd mating behavior.

In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author's imagination. Any resemblances to actual events, places, or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.