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FAQs about Live Rock Hitchhiker/Creature Identification 19

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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 18, 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 2LR 3, LR 4, LR 5, Curing Live Rock, Live Rock Selection, Shipping/Moving, Placement, Lighting, Water Quality, Live Rock Studies in Fiji Collaboration & ChartsCopper UseMarine Landscaping, Marine BiotopeSumps, RefugiumsFaux Rock,


Hitchhiker ID: 6/11/09
Hello Crew!
<Hello Esther!>
The wonder of my marine tank still amazes me, as it is well over 3 years old and over the course of the last 2 days a new hitchhiker appeared.
While I have always been able to find 90% of my hitchhiker ID's through your site, I could not find this one on any ID pages. I have no idea if this is a hydroid, Bryozoan, or something else? Pest or foe? All I can describe is that it seems to be colonial (sharing the same base, and just 5 minutes ago it started what I believe is spawning material in tandem with the 3 others I have found in the tank).
As I said these just appeared 2 days ago. Thus I am thinking it's a pest, but would like to hear your thoughts on the matter please. I have included pictures of the ID in question as well as its releasing of material.
<Thanks. Unfortunately, I can't see enough detail to be able to ID. If you could send along several larger, high res photos, that would be super.>
Thanks, you have always been there for me for the last 3 years, and my tank is successful due to my research and this site.
<On behalf of Bob and crew, past and present, I thank you for your kind words! Please do send along more photos, if possible, so we can hopefully ID your mystery hitchhiker!>
<Take care, LynnZ>

Re: Hitchhiker ID query  6/13/09
Hi Bob,
<Hello Lynn!>
I've got a hitchhiker ID from a gal named Esther that's got me stumped.
Yesterday, I requested larger photos, received them today, but am still in the dark. Some parts appear tunicate-like, while others appear algae or sponge-like. I've looked all over and just can't quite figure it out.
Thank you in advance for your help! I'll go ahead and move the query into your folder.
Take care,
<Thank you. My response to Esther copied below. BobF>
Re: Hitchhiker ID

Thanks Lynn,
<Hi Esther, BobF here... Lynn asked me to take a look/see at your mysterious HHs>
I hope these are better (they are higher resolution at least). If not I can move the rock that they are on and try to get a better picture, but that means moving coral and other rocks too...
<Are indeed novel (to me at least!), but my guess/bet is on these being Ascidians/Sea Squirts... with the blue "lines" being gonadal... Shouldn't be dangerous, and are indeed testimony to your good, steady care. Bob Fenner>

Re: Hitchhiker ID query 6/13/09
Thank you so much, Bob! That query was driving me batty. I figured it was probably some kind of reproductive event...but of what, I didn't know.
<And I have not much confidence in my guess here either... the pix show that the "components", or individuals do "close up" behaviorally (I think)... and when I made the one pic as big as I could w/o losing too much resolution, the individuals did look like sea squirts... more than anything else!>
By the time I got through looking at Google images of tunicate and sponge reproduction my eyes were practically crossed! Heeeee...I'll take an obscure snail - or even a crab ID, any day over something like that! But hey, the good news is that if I see something like that again, I'll know what the answer is!
Thanks again, take care,
<Thank you Lynn. BobF>

Need Help Identifying: Sponge -- 6/8/09
Hello All,
<Hello Brandon>
Good Day to you all.
<Thank you and to you as well!>
I'm curious if you guys could help me identify this "growth" in my tank.
<You betcha - it's a harmless, filter feeding sponge/Poriferan.>
I've tried searching with various explanations and can't seem to find anything that helps me.
<We can fix that. WWM has a lot of information regarding these, starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sponges.htm . Be sure to look through the associated links at the top of the page as well.>
I've noticed a few of these guys growing in my tank. They come and go, but this one is pretty consistent and the largest I have.
If you could help me that would be great and also is it bad?
I had to take the picture with my phone and I apologize for the quality.
<No worries, that's a good photo!>
Thank you,
<You're very welcome>
<Take care, LynnZ>

Strange tentacles extending from a rock... Better than strange tentacles extending from your bed! 6/7/09
<Ok, been watching too many horror movies lately I guess!>
I have a concern about something I've seen in my tank. A piece of live rock, that until recently had star polyps on it, has dozens of long, thin, clear tentacles extending from it.
They all come from holes somewhere in the rock and if I prod them with my tweezers they all retract and they seem to catch some sand and other particulate matter in them.
<No worries about these, my friend.>
They don't seem to have harmed the nearby colt coral and mushrooms, but like I said The rock they all seem to come out of used to have dozens of star polyps,
<I am unaware of anything fitting this description that would prey on star polyps. There is a Nudibranch (Phyllodesmium briareus) that will feed on Pachyclavularia (Briareum) violacea. Star Polyps are among the more chemically toxic corals and are usually the allelopathic winners, which is one of the reasons they can be so difficult to control in a closed system.
This allelopathy is often a detriment to other corals.>
and is now completely barren.
<Pachyclavularia can be a nuisance.>
I have watched them come out and they all seem to slowly drift out and land on another rock.
I am not sure whether or not you know what this is, but hopefully you can let me know if it is a good idea to remove this rock or not.
<Keep the rock.>
On a closer inspection of the "tentacles" they seem to appear very similar to that of my bubble coral, though I have no evidence that they sting.
<No, are just grabbing at a passing meal.>
The tank is a 30 gallon with 30 lbs of live rock and has been running for 9 months now. The star polyps were in the tank for nearly 7 months and disappeared from the rock in less then a month.
<Could be any number of causes, but if you get involved in a local club there is likely to be someone who would gladly donate a new patch to you.>
Any help you can offer me will be greatly appreciated.
<Hard to tell without a photo as far as an ID is concerned, but what you describe is unlikely to be harmful to you tank inhabitants.>

Sponge Identification: Syconoid Sponges. 6/3/2009
Hello everyone,
<Hi Nathan.>
I have a identification problem that I cant find anywhere. These things have shown up in my tank in the past 2 weeks. Could you help identify what they are, or send me in the direction that would help.
<Sure, they are Syconoid sponges. Sign of a nice stable system. They will come and go as the nutrient levels in your tank change.>
I have been doing SW for about 10 yrs and just started to get into coral.
I haven't added anything new in the tank for over two months. So this is really got me.
,they have been in the rock, just waiting for the opportunity to grow.>
The first picture is a normal zoom of the items. They are the white things right in the middle of the picture. I'm not even really sure how to describe it. The second picture is of the larger one in picture one, zoomed in.
Thanks a bunch ahead of time. If you need anymore info on the tank, please let me know.
<Do check this page out - lots of entries for them:
onoid+sponges&btnG=Search >

What is this growing on my live rock? Probable Egg Strand -- 5/28/09
<Hi Scott>
I read through all the live rock hitchhiker pages and found a few descriptions of what this could be but nothing with pictures. I've got this stuff growing on 2 of my rocks that have been in the tank for about 2 months now.
<How long has it been around - days/weeks/more?>
It looks a lot like ramen noodles but a lot smaller.
Any ideas what this is?
<Do you have any snails in residence - Ceriths by chance? That looks a lot like an egg strand, possibly snail or even some kind of slug/Nudibranch. Cerith snails leave a very similar squiggly, loopy 'snail trail' of eggs. Please see the first FAQ, titled 'Gastropod egg ID 8/1/05', at the following link for an example: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/snailreprofaqs.htm . By the way, if you don't have any Cerith snails and you'd like to pursue an ID, please send us a livestock list and we'll see if we can't solve this mystery.>
Thanks, Scott
<You're very welcome. Take care, LynnZ>

Live Rock ID 5/5/09
Hi Crew,
I've read your web site for months as we set up our saltwater tanks.
We've had tanks for about 35 years on and off, but things have changed dramatically. That's most likely from folks like you who have disseminated useful and valuable information to this hobby. Kudos for the great work.
<Thank you>
Now for my question.......
I purchased some live rock which I think came from the Florida Keys.
It's filled with polyps, sponges and the critter I'm trying to ID here.
They stand about 1/4 inch off the rock, though the smallest are still barely above the surface. Even the smallest send out the polyps you see in the 2nd picture. I'm just curious if you have any idea what they may be? (Sorry, if the pictures are too large. Making them small lost all detail - hindering ID.)
Thanks for your help.
<Mmm, given your clue as to origin... and the prominent/distinctive features of the corallites (deep pits, alternating protruding and smaller septa...) I do think these are Hidden Cup Coral, Phyllangia americana
(family Faviidae)... Is mostly found "under rocks and ledges" in the wild, and often has more color... reddish-brown. Bob Fenner>

Question about creatures in my live rock 04/24/09
<Hi, I'm sorry for the delay in responding to you.>
I am a beginner into the world of SW tanks so I apologize if you have talked about these creatures somewhere and I just couldn't find it. I have a small 10 gallon tank with a whole bunch of live rock a few hermits/snails, a sun coral, a watchmen and pistol, and orchid Dottyback. Now that you know the guys in the tank I had a few questions about the creatures in the live rock that are slowly appearing. I have been able to identify an Asterina star and I wanted to know if I should be removing this guy before she/he multiplies or if it should be ok.
<It should be fine.>
I also have already been able to identify a few different feather dusters. But the real mystery is a clam shaped thing that looks soft and clear and 2 shells like a clam facing up attached to the rock. What could this be?
<It is likely some type of bivalve. But it's impossible to say without a picture.>
Also we have a brown jellyish looking thing, what could this be? I can try and take pics in the future.
<An aiptasia anemone maybe? Again... we really do need some pictures if you can take some.>
Thanks for your help in advance!
<De nada,
Sara M.>

What are these? 04/23/09
Hi, could you please tell me what are these saltwater plants?
<Hehe, um, no. They are Aiptasia. Please see here:
How do I get rid of them?
<There are a few different ways/methods;
They seem to have started growing all over my live rocks & aren't allowing my polyps to open...they are very aggressive! They seem to multiply quite quickly...I would describe them as saltwater weeds. The other day when I was feeding my shrimp a silver fish, this little plant grabbed it & sucked it up! Please help! When I tried going in to manually pluck them out of the rocks, they would retract into the holes of the rock...
<Plucking them won't work and will actually make matters worth. Please read the above linked articles.
Sara M.>

Unidentified Orange Eggs: Snails most likely. 4/8/2009
<Well hello there.>
I have a 120 gallon display reef tank. Currently I have a large number of corals and a minimum number of fish.
My livestock list other than corals is :
A single purple Firefish
A juvenile pair of onyx clown fish (they are both approximately 6 months old)
A male and female mandarin fish
A pair of sexy shrimp
Misc. assortment of emerald crabs, Mexican turbo snails, turbo snails, blue legged hermit crabs, a single sally lightfoot, mated pair of coral banded shrimp and other miscellaneous snails.
<With you so far.>
We were away for a long weekend and when I returned home I noticed my Sally Lightfoot midway down in the tank on some rockwork chowing on some small orange eggs. The eggs appeared to be on the rock however it looked like she pulled up a large chunk of them and was having an evening snack
<As crabs will do.>
The eggs were small orange eggs all laid together on a rock. I am hoping to find out where these eggs might have come from, it's the first time that I have ever seen these type of eggs in my tank. I can't seem to come up with an answer on who may have laid these eggs? Any help is appreciated.
<Difficult to tell without a picture, but mandarin eggs tend to be white\transparent, Shrimp eggs are usually a bluish-green. Clownfish eggs are orange\red, but Clownfish do guard their eggs, so I doubt the crab
could get close enough to eat them.>
<If I had to fathom a guess, I would say they were snail eggs.>
Thanks in advance-
<You're Welcome>

Little rust red things, Planaria, 4/6/09
I have these little rust red colored flat worm looking things on my glass and now on my live rock.
Any idea what they are and how to get rid of them?
<Most likely Red Planaria, see here
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pestflatwrmanthony.htm and related FAQs for more.>
They are about 1/8" wide and slightly longer than wide
Please see attached picture.
<Tough to tell for sure from that picture.>

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