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FAQs about Live Rock Hitchhiker/Creature Identification 18

Related Articles: Live Rock, Reef Systems, Refugiums,

Related FAQs: Live Rock, Answering Some LR FAQs by James Fatherree, LR Hitchhiker ID 1, LR Hitchhiker ID 2, LR Hitchhiker ID 3, LR Hitchhiker ID 4, LR Hitchhiker ID 5, LR ID 6, LR ID 7, LR ID 8, LR ID 9, LR ID 10, LR ID 11, LR ID 12, LR ID 13, LR ID 14, LR ID 15, LR ID 16, LR ID17, LRID 19, LRID 20, LRID 21, LRID 22, LRID 23, LRID 24, LRID 25, LRID 27, LRID 28, LRID 29,  LRID 30, LRID 31, LRID 32, LRID 33, LRID 34, LRID 35, LRID 36, LRID 37, LRID 38, & Non-Vert IDs 1, Tubeworm ID, Polychaete Identification, Live Rock 1, LR 2, LR 3, LR 4, LR 5, Curing Live Rock, Live Rock Selection, Shipping/Moving, Placement, Lighting, Water Quality, Live Rock Studies in Fiji Collaboration & Charts, Copper Use, Marine Landscaping, Marine Biotope, Sumps, Refugiums, Faux Rock,

Re: Florida Liverock and the unsuspecting Novice... Shades of Doug Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide..." "Sir, HHs... Hmmmm"> 04/02/09
Bob (or other crew member)
<Ave Marci>
I checked out the PowerPoint on hitchhikers you mentioned on your last response and found it interesting. It would have been nice to be there to hear the discussion to fill in some gaps, but it was interesting nonetheless.
<Mmm, I do so wish that technology... or my grasp of what is likely already available/application-wise here... was a bit further on. I have given a few presentations (.ppt) on this topic/subject, some of which were videotaped, including said discussions... I would post these for review if I knew how><<Oh, and I will post the "article version", after it runs in the pulp press... as usual>>
I also decided to use some of my monthly 'tank budget' to buy your book, Conscientious Marine Aquarist. That should have come with the tank. Its very informative and really geared to someone with my level of experience, more so than the other books adorning the bookcase.
<Is designed for beginner to intermediates... with enough (I hope) lead ins to encourage folks going further>
Since I sent the last email, I've decided to go hunting in the tank for some of these bad critters. In the last 2 weeks, I've used various methods including water bottle traps, clear glass with food in the bottom, commercial traps, and even using fishing line with some bait on it to lure unsuspecting critters out of the rock so I could pick them off with tongs; which is my favorite - instant gratification!.
<Heeee! Oft cited as a "western" trait, methinks this encompasses all humans, perhaps I'll venture a bit further and say all Primates>
In addition to the multitudes of critters I've taken out over the last 9 months since getting the rock, I caught 13 xanthid crabs (I'm using the term generically here for any crab that's hairy, black-clawed, and downright ornery),
<Good desc.>
removed 10 more whelks - Gemophos tinctus, I believe, and one small mantis shrimp. Last night, I saw my
lovely Eunicid worm attacking a serpent star once again and decided it had to go.
<"Go go Godzilla">
It required moving half the live rock to the other side of the tank and some digging in the sandbed, but I was successful. I had only seen about 6 inches of this worm at any one time before, but now that its out, it measures over 2 feet!
<Now that's a worm! Leto III?>
So, the tank is more peaceful, but I still have crabs I don't want in there - the ones I can see, at least, seem a bit smarter than the others - and perhaps a bit smarter than me. I've also seen 2 more Eunicid worms that may or may not be good, may or may not grow to 2'+ in length. The tank still clicks and pops, I've got more mantis in there or pistol shrimp - which I understand also may or may not be good. And given the number of whelks I've found, and the small size of some, I'd say they reproduced and many more are in there somewhere.
<A possibility for sure>
As I mentioned previously, I'm fairly patient, and I haven't purchased any livestock for the tank in the way of corals or other sessile inverts. I've only got the 3 anemones and gorgonian that came with the rock in there. So, I'm in a position where I can break down the tank fairly easily and can move good critters to my refugium or QT for a while if necessary.
Since the tank seems to be overrun with nasties, and I don't feel its fair to introduce more livestock into an environment where they could potentially be food, what options do I have?
<Keeping up the predator (that's you) pressure>
I've read about freshwater dips for live rock to chase out bad guys. What happens to the rock when I do this?
<Some other "stuff"/life gets stressed... hopefully not too much>
Am I going to kill the good bacteria and coralline growing on it?
<Mmm, decidedly not... these are very tough, resilient... and if only "some" is left somewhere in the system and conditions are propitious, "they'll be baaaack">
I've also heard of just filling the tank with freshwater for a few days, and pretty much starting over.
<Mmm, nah. Don't do this>
I'm OK with that if its my only option. I understand that there's always the chance to introduce something in the future, miss something no matter what level of effort I employ, and that sometimes variety is just plain fun... But, I'd rather get my tank to a known state, instead of adding new critters only to find out I need to break down the live rock again to remove a 2' long predatory worm, or watch my invert population slowly and inexplicably dwindle.
Thank you again for all of the help!
<And you for communicating so well... T'were it me, mine, I'd go ahead with whatever slow, steady stocking plan you're devising... And not be overly concerned with the "nasties" as you call them here... The universe is not as didactic as it is oft-presented... in this case, there are always some undesireables coming, going... best to be aware, vigilant, but otherwise take all in stride, enjoy while, what you can... ignore as much as you can't otherwise remove easily. Entiendes? BobF>

Live Rock Book? 3/16/09
hi my name is Liz ...
<Hello Liz, I see your "shift key" isn't working on your PC.>
i was wondering if there is a book that shows the different types of live rock and that really goes into depth on the microscopic organisms that grow on them....??
<None that I am aware of that deal specifically on what you're looking for.
Bob and other crew members may know of one.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Emailing: marine life 049, marine life 047, SW alg ID 3/15/09
Hi everyone, I'm a new at this - and totally intrigued by all that grows on live rock! Can anyone identify this growth on my live rock. Its growing in my Aquapod 24 gal with metal halide light, which was set up for
4 months ago, and it appeared about two months ago - and growing. Is it safe to leave in tank? Thanks. EG
Your message is ready to be sent with the following file or link
marine life 049
marine life 047
<Hello. This is a marine alga from the genus Padina, know colloquially as "scroll algae". It is safe? Much like any other alga, in small quantities it's attractive and interesting, but if conditions favour the algae compared with other encrusting organisms, it will take up the available "ecological space" and can become a pest.
Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Emailing: marine life 049, marine life 047 3/16/09
Thanks Neal.
<Most welcome.>
I'll leave the 'scroll' algae in for now and keep watching it for signs of 'invasion'. There are two groups of three, about 3/4 of an inch high at present, and growing on a piece of live rock that is detached from the main body of live rock in the tank; would be easy to remove if the need arises.
Also, the day after I took these photos, I found a Turbo snail eating part of one of the scrolls (good to know).
<Indeed! Sea urchins will also eat them.>
Again, thanks for the info! I'm a frequent visitor to Wet Web Media , and I'm always impressed with your vast knowledge base! EG
<Ah, in this case the benefit of having been a marine biologist some time ago. Mostly a freshwater fishkeeper nowadays! Cheers, Neale.>

Miracle Mud And C-Balance Not Balanced 2/16/09 ID Of Critters On Live Rock Hey guys, <Hello Steven> I have a few questions for you and I would also like you to ID something in my tank. Let me give you a tiny bit of background before I get started. I have a 55 gallon reef right now and I would like to upgrade to a 200 gallon reef when I move out :) . I am making some changes in my 55 gallon reef to test out some new things before I implement them on a larger scale. Right now I use the Berlin method of filtration with an AquaC Remora Pro for skimming, RowaPhos to remove the extra phosphates, and C-Balance to keep the calcium and alkalinity in check. In my new tank I would like to try to keep the maintenance cost down so I figured why not try out for Miracle Mud'¦ I figured I could save some money on C-balance and maybe not even use a calcium reactor. Here is the problem: I put the Miracle Mud in the Aquafuge with some Chaeto and reduced the amount of C-balance that I added by around half. The calcium level is going up but the alkalinity is going down. My calcium is around 470 and the alkalinity is around 2.8 mEq/L. I called Ecosystem and they said that the mud won't boost the alkalinity as much as the calcium. I called Two Little Fishes and asked them if I could use more of part B to balance things out and they told me never to do that. They told me to always add equal amounts of part A and B. I have been using some reef buffer by Seachem to keep the alkalinity raised instead. Is this a viable long term solution? Will I end up problems down the line using the combination of C-balance, Miracle Mud, and Reef Buffer? <This is one of the reasons I do not like using Part A/B products. I'm for dosing a la carte, supplement individually when required. Your 2.8meq/L reading is just fine.> Next Question... I am using the Aquafuge medium with a 404 mini pump (for additional flow) and the 24 watt light that it comes with. Even with the extra flow from the 404 mini I am still having problems with algae covering the mud and Chaeto. It is getting so annoying that I am thinking of selling the fuge and going back to using C-balance exclusively. <The mud isn't what is causing the algae problem, it is excessive nutrients in the water. I've used the Ecosystem Fuge and I did not have any algae problems due to the Miracle Mud.> I sent you a picture of the Aquafuge so you can get an idea of my setup. Did I put too much Chaeto in the Aquafuge? <I think so, half of that would be good. You may want to read the FAQ's here on Miracle Mud filtration. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mudfiltrfaqs.htm> Should I add another mini pump to get some more flow? I am not really happy with this setup-up compared to the old method of just adding C-balance. Can you let me know where I went wrong? I don't want to have problems like this in my new setup. <You never mentioned nitrate levels, stocking levels...what are they?> Now I have one more question. I found a website that sells a 3 part Calcium-Alkalinity dosing product that is really really cheap. I could use it in the 200 gallon aquarium without worries that it will get excessively expensive. Can you let me know if it is a reputable brand? I can get 10 gallons of each part for 90 bucks. http://www.tbaquatics.com/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=4&products_id=100 <I've never heard of it. Try posting this on one of the reef forums. On another note, I'm not a big fan of adding calcium and buffer simultaneously. Is better to dose on separate days.> If this is the same as C-balance then it's a great deal. <Can't help you much here, best to post. I prefer to use products like Seachem, Tropic Marin, etc, and buy in the larger sizes which makes it more economical to use.> Last thing I promise. There are two things in my tank I was hoping you could ID for me. I have some sponge looking things that are growing in low light areas of the tank and also little white circles that are appearing my rocks. I have included pictures. <Pictures are too blurry, but I'm thinking they are a sponge of some type.> Thanks!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Steve

Gray stuff 02/09/09 Hi Guys, <Michael> It's been a while since I wrote to you guys, I guess no news is good news, right? <Possibly... or a dearth of novelty, excitement, challenge...> Well, I do have a problem now, I have this gray fuzzy stuff growing on my rocks, my powerheads and on the walls of my tank. I have searched high and low on the site and the only thing I can find that resembles mine is on this page: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lridfaq11.htm written on 6/28/06. It's a 150G tank with sump wet/dry, Aqua-C 180 skimmer. History of my tank is that it was running perfectly healthy for 3 years, housing a volitans, porcupine puffer and California round spotted stingray. I had a pipe leak in my kitchen that flooded my house. <Yikes!> Long story short is that my house needed to be restored due to the flood water damage. The contractors that restored my home did not cover the tank tops and got paint in the tank. It took a little over a week before the contaminants wiped out the 3 in my tank. I had a gray fuzz infestation that followed. I left the tank uninhabited for 3 years. Last year I decided I wanted to get that tank back up and running and cleaned the tank out and got everything going again. To this day, I have not added any fish, because this gray fuzzy stuff has come back and I don't want it to cause any more deaths in the tank. Since it is fuzzy, my first guess is that it is fungal and not an algae. <Likely a mix... broad... of various small life... including algae, other protists...> I recently ran copper treatment in the tank, and that wiped out the 8 snails I added in the tank as a clean up crew, which I suspected might happen. Do you have any idea what this is or what I can do to eliminate it? <Mmm, I'd either add more, some new live rock on top of it directly... Or bleach what is there presently and add some new LR...> I'm about ready to just nuke the entire tank and system with bleach water and start all over again. <Oh! This is what I would do as well> I'd really hate to do that and waste all that salt water and RO/DI water, <Mmm, don't have to if you want... but I would toss it, rinse a few times with tap...> but if I have to, then that is what will have to happen. Thanks again and keep up the great work on the site! Michael P.S. If the attached picture isn't too clear, I can try to take another one. <Is clear enough... Your system has issues with solubility of the "old" hard materials present, a lack of biodiversity... The best, shortest repair approach... bleach, rinse, rinse, refill, some new gravel and rock. Bob Fenner>

Unknown Polka Dot Blob?, 8/18/08 Hi all you wonderful people! <Hello> I have been scouring images until my eyes feel like they are going to fall out & wonder if you can point me into the right direction... I honestly try to find it on my own, so as not to bother you, until I give up! Was thinking it could be a poriferan, then ascidian, tunicate, egg sac, etc. I see a couple pieces of bubble algae real close. Can the bubble algae turn into a polka dotted blob? Just kind of wondering if I should scrub it off? <Is most likely a species of Botryocladia, fairly common. Like the more common green bubble algae, it can overgrow a tank if allowed to.> Thanks in advance for being so darn smart - you will most likely know what it is right off the bat! <Hardly, just happen to get a related query a few days ago.> Judy

strange clam-like object on live rock -08/05/08 I have a piece of Fiji live rock that has a strange clam-looking thing attached to the inside of a hole in the rock. It is usually partially open, but when you slightly bump it with something it clamps tight against the rock. I have attached four pictures...3 of it open and 1 of it closed. <Hmm, it's hard to tell from the photos, but they look like hitch-hiker oysters/bivalves or possibly tunicates. Please browse the following links (and their associated ID/FAQs pages): http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bividfaqs.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/invertidfaqs.htm> I have circled it with an orange circle. I was curious if you know what it is and if it is harmful to my other tank inhabitants. <Seems highly improbable that they're harmful... likely just harmless common hitchhikers.> I have a Clarkii clownfish and a Sebae anemone in with it. <Best,
Sara M.>

Is a bivalve. RMF

Unidentified Intruder: Sponge -- 7/29/08 Hey guys, <Hi Angie, Lynn here this morning.> I have a 125 gallon saltwater tank, have had it for two years. <Nice size.> In December, I moved an hour away and to move it, we tore it completely down and restarted it (our only choice). <Bet that was fun!> I set it back up as soon as we moved in, and have not put any livestock or plants or corals back in it since. It only contains a few tiny snails and a random hermit crab here and there. They are thriving on the small amount of algae that has grown, so we aren't putting any food at all in the tank, nor are any of the lights in the tank on at all. <Okay> This week I have decided it's finally time to get some fish for it, so I was doing a final cleaning and check over, and found this in the tank. I do not remember it being there even recently, so it had to have grown literally in the last few days. It is white/translucent in color, is about 2-3 inches tall, and seems to be stiff, it does not wave in the water. It has smaller "tentacle" like protrusions at the base, as well as the one main tentacle. I am curious to see if it is something that possibly survived the move, and the 6 months with no food and no light. <Yep, it's a neat/harmless little sponge/Poriferan that survived and eventually took off when conditions became favorable. They're tough little guys that don't need light - just some current, nutrients in the water, lack of predation, and they're happy campers!> Previous to the move, we had a few smaller damsels, two serpent stars, shrimp, crabs, snails, and a few Condy and flower anemones. The Condy is what it looks like the most to me, but I am no expert! Any idea what it could be and do you think it will be detrimental to any fish or corals I put in it? <No worries, it's just a neat little addition to the biodiversity within your system. For more information, please see these links: Second Query down, titled 'Help with Sponge ID 8/31/06': http://www.wetwebmedia.com/spongeidfaq4.htm Query: 'Help to Identify -- Sponge 4/19/08': http://www.wetwebmedia.com/spgidf7.htm Here's the main WWM page (see links at the top of the page as well) http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sponges.htm Thanks, Angie <You're very welcome. Take care, -Lynn>

Green Substance, the Jimmies, now don't you hear me? ID guessing 07/07/08 Hi! We're preparing to move our tank and have been watching a "growth" that's dark green and frankly looks like the ice cream "jimmies" or "sprinkles". It started on the top spot of one of the rocks and recently another patch showed up on another rock. I checked the Marine Atlas but can't determine if this is algae, or what and above all else is it something to get rid of? Thanks in advance for your help! Bill <Perhaps a pic? Too much of a guessing game with the little info. provided... You have read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marinvind1.htm at the top. Bob Fenner>

What is this on my live rock? 07/07/08 Ok I was moving around my larger live rock getting ready to move it to my new 120 reef aquarium and found 7 of these things on the back part of a rock. It came from a always dark area, and I just wanted to make sure they are ok, and not bad. I thought it might be some kind of mollusk, but was told to ask you. Thanks, Clint & Ashley <Hello Clint & Ashley! Looks like some species of Spondylus (or "thorny oyster") to me. These are cemented (i.e., non-motile) scallops. Spondylus have a scallop-like build, but one valve is cemented to the rock and both valves bear spoon-like projections that trap algae and sponges and help to camouflage the animal. Could possibly be Chama spp. though; a similar organism known as the "jewel box oyster" though if I recall correctly it is not a member of the oyster/scallop order Pterioida but some sort of Veneroida. Chama spp. can be recognised by the very deep valve cemented to the rock with a small moveable lid-like valve on top (hence "jewel box"). I remember seeing one of these in a reef tank my father had at home during the 1980s. Seemed to be very hardy and lasted for years without any specific care, though I don't offer that as expert advice on maintenance! Cheers, Neale.>

Good guess/resp. RMF

Black growth on coralline algae... no pix 6/22/08 Hello, <Hi there> I have a 1.5 year old predominately SPS tank with great coralline algae growth. Recently, some black growth has increasingly begun to appear on some of my live rock overtaking the coralline algae. I believe I may have imported this unwelcomed growth on a frag plug a couple of months ago. It appears as if the coralline algae is decaying into this black growth. The entire back wall of the aquarium which is covered with healthy coralline algae seems unaffected by this black growth however I feel it's a matter of time before it succumbs to the same fate. My corals do not seem affected at this time continue to thrive. Any suggestions on what this is and how I can eradicate it? Thanks Darrell <Photos would be of great help here... Likely this is mainly a blue-green algae growth... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/maintenance/index.htm Scroll down to Algae, BGA... Bob Fenner

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