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FAQs about Live Rock Hitchhiker/Creature Identification 25

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 18, LRID 19, LRID 20, LRID 21, LRID 22, LRID 23, LRID 24, LRID 26, 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,

Strange White "Hair" on Rocks 7/26/10
Hello Wet Web Crew,
About two months ago, I bought 3 pieces of "base rock" that looked like white manufactured rock, even though it was said to be "Reef Rock" (from reefcleaners.org). Silly enough, I cycled it in water for two weeks, just in case there was anything living on it that could be harmful to my aquarium.
Anyway, to get to the point, during the last week, (only) these three rocks have sprouted what looks like 1/4" clear hairs everywhere on them (see photo). The "hairs" sway in the current and almost look like a velvet fuzz.
<Good desc.>
My tank has been established for 2+ years, without any new additions in the last few months except these rocks. Any idea what the "hair" is and if it could be harmful to my fishes and corals?
<Is likely an algae or mix of algal and Protists... not harmful... and will "go" of its own accord in time>
Also, I've checked all of my tank conditions and all seem fine (Nitrates are close to 0 most of the time due to skimming, water changes, etc, so I am in doubt of it being a bad algae even though it could be).
Any help in identifying this would be greatly appreciated!
<A microscopic examination would very likely be more definitive, but barring such investigation, I would not worry. Bob Fenner>

live rock hitchhiker id 7/25/10
Hello Wet Web Crew,
I recently had some Fiji live rock shipped to my home (pretty hot and cooked looking by the time it got here), and have several large 3-4 inch patches of some light brown 'encrusting' stuff I'm hoping you can identify.
<The first appears to be some sort of Brown algae (a Phaeophyte), though it could be sponge material... the second is almost assuredly Lobophora, another Brown... see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/brnalgae.htm
I peeled some off of the rock and took magnified picture of the underside as well. I'm not sure whether to scrape it off entirely or leave alone.
<I'd remove what comes off easily>
It's in qt now so want to decide before it's ready to go in display tank.
My worry is that it's some type of unwanted pest like fire coral .....
<Nah, just biomass that will add as pollution to your tank, water>
Thanks for your observations,
<Welcome! Bob Fenner>

Little White Growths: Syconoid Sponges -- 6/22/10
<Hello Val, Lynn here today.>
I'm fairly new to the hobby and fell headlong into it. I can sit there for hours and look at all the life in there!
<Ah, a kindred soul!>
Anyways, I'm at a loss in identifying the following organism. I've been through your website, which is a bottomless pit of valuable information (thank you), and I haven't found any mention or photograph of this.
<They're there; you just have to know where to look and granted a sponge isn't normally the first thing that comes to people's minds when they see these things!>
The organisms in question are round or oval, attached at the base, varying from 2-10mm in width. They have an opening at the opposite end to where they are attached. My first thoughts were egg pods, but now I'm not sure.
<They do look a bit like egg capsules of some sort, but they're actually harmless, filter feeding, sponges in the genus Sycon (aka Syconoid, pineapple, or Q-tip sponges). They tend to appear in great numbers in new systems then dwindle to a few here in there, usually within filters, sumps or around the dimmer areas of the main tank. For more information and photos for comparison, please enter the term Syconoid in our Google search engine: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Googlesearch.htm >
50 gal tank contains: 1 Hippo tang, 1 yellow tang,
<These two will get crowded and stressed in a hurry in this size tank which can lead to aggression and increased susceptibility to disease.>
2 percula clowns, 1 PJ Cardinal, 2 cleaner shrimp, colony of button polyps, star polyps and Kenya tree. 2 strawberry tip snails, bumblebee snails and Asterinid snails, blue-legged hermits and 2 porcelain crabs.
All parameters are normal, except perhaps slight phosphate levels that are now in check.
Any help is appreciated, thanks a lot and keep up the good work
<You're very welcome, and thank you!>
Val Bourque
Memramcook, NB, Can
<Take care, Lynn Z >

Was: half-black angel question, now HHs 6/15/10
Hi crew,
I wanted to send an update on the fouling of our tank last fall (original message attached below). To recap, we went on vacation and our automatic feeder was a bit too much of an overachiever than we would have liked,
causing an ammonia surge and killing many of our critters. We quarantined the survivors, a Yellow-tail Damsel, Sand Sifting Sea Star, Turbo snail, and Hermit crab.
It is now 9 months later and 3 of 4 have survived (the sea star mysteriously disappeared into the sand never to be heard from again--we will not be buying another now that we know likely course of life in captivity with "small" tank and insufficient sand). All of the remaining survivors are doing splendidly and were put back in the DT after it re-cycled.
<Ah good>
We have continued with our hobby (obsession?) and continue to read as much as is palatable.
<Do chew between bites!>
Recently, we bought a few more pounds of LR and discovered the animals shown in the attached pictures. From what I can tell, the first pic shows a Chiton of some variety, the second a brittle star (with cleverly hiding anemone--Aiptasia I think--at the bottom),
<Yes, yes and likely so; an anemone of some sort at least>
the third and fourth pics are closer shots of the anemone, and the fifth pic is a close-up shot of the star (I have yet to find out specific species).
There are also a handful of smaller Aiptasia that are lighter in coloration scattered along the underside of that particular piece of LR. I believe there may be a Peppermint shrimp in our future.
<A good choice>
I have no pressing questions, just wanted to share the update and thank you again for your site.
<Thank you for the update Lance. BobF>

LR Hitchhikers 5/28/10
Greetings and salutations,
<What is it about stating over and over for folks to limit their attachments to "a few hundred Kbytes" that is so hard to comply with?>
Awesome site. I've spent many hours reviewing and reading the tons of information you provide and it's really helpful.
<Evidently not the instructions on writing us James>
The only thing I haven't been able to find is the identity of three hitchhikers that came along with some live rock I purchased from a local saltwater fish store. The first one I need identified is resting on the sand in the bottom right corner of the attached photo. It looks to some type of clam but I've been unable to find anything resembling it on your site or anywhere else online.
<A clam of some sort.... PLEASE take and send individual images of appropriate size of what you have in mind>
I bought it along with some LR believing it was just a piece of dead coral and was rather surprised to see it close its shell a couple days after adding it to my tank.
The other two specimen are attached to the top portion of the "clam's" shell. I believe the large red, leaf-like plant is some type of macro algae, but still would like to know it's true identity and if it's harmful or not. My guess is it's not harmful as it's not caused any problems so far.
<Is a Red... Rhodophyte... maybe a Fauchea sp.>
The last one looks like some type of mushroom or sponge-like growth just underneath the "macro algae".
<Mmm... maybe another algae>
Although it's growth is not symmetrical like a mushroom. Last think I need to know is if either of these two specimen pose any problems for the "clam" or whatever it is.
<GRIN> Thanks in advance for your outstanding support and assistance.
<Bob Fenner>
Re: LR Hitchhikers 5/28/10
My apologies. I did read the instructions but forgot to crop the photo before attaching and sending. Here's the cropped photo weighting in at 366kb and IAW the rules.
Thanks for the assistance.
<Thank you. BobF>

Re: LR Hitchhikers 5/28/10
Hi Bob,
That clam is either Spondylus or Chama. The latter is sometimes called the "jewel box clam", the former is the "spiny oyster" despite being a type of scallop. I kept both during the 80s, and the Chama lasted years, eventually being returned to the shop when we broke down the marine aquarium. The Spondylus wasn't so lucky, though I still use its shell to the present day as a nesting site for gobies!
<Ah yes... have done quite a bit of collecting (for food) with the local Spondylus... and some science for the predominant Cortez species...>
For the benefit of your correspondent, Spondylus has a few spoon-like spines that trap algae and sponges, hence its Latin name. Chama has dozens if not hundreds of shorter spines bunched together almost like ruffles. Both are cemented to rocks or other hard grounds.
Cheers, Neale
<Will accrue. B>
Re: LR Hitchhikers 5/28/10

Are they good? I used to find fossil Spondylus quite a lot on my post-doc work -- but after 100 million years there's nothing other than a handy source of calcium carbonate!
Cheers, Neale
<Oh, yes, to eat and the shells can be very nice as well. B>
Re: LR Hitchhikers 5/28/10
> Are they good? I used to find fossil Spondylus quite a lot on my post-doc work -- but after 100 million years there's nothing other than a handy source of calcium carbonate!
> Cheers, Neale
<As with all the shellfish I've had occasion to sample, the cool to coldwater species are "tastier" to my palate than the warmer/tropical ones... That being stated, the means through which they're prepared is definitely of matter... Am not a big fan of "fried", particularly deep... methods. But just "cooked" by citrus and a bit of nut flake (there are several) and maybe a drop or two of sesame oil and seed... Either singly or mixed with other seafood bits, fresh tomato, onion, cilantro... Eeeyum! B>

Unidentified Hitchhiker 5/19/10
<Hi there>
I recently bought a Ricordea frag that has some tubeworms and some kind of pink stuff growing on it, but the question I have is about a little blue guy, seen in the attached photo.
<Neat! Nice pic>
I scraped away the Ricordea it is butting against in the photo, and shot some diluted phytoplankton at it. Today, it looks like it may be growing.
There are darker blue spots between the yellow half-moon shapes on the tip of the large polyp, and it looks like it may be splitting.
It is probably less than half an inch long, and translucent. It looks like the inside is a threaded or ribbed tube. Its stem is shrouded in a fleshy translucent tan blanket. It's soft, and reacts to touch and feeding.
Any help identifying Mr. Blue would be appreciated.
<This is almost assuredly an Ascidian... a Sea Squirt... Not harmful... indeed, testament to the good care all have lavished on the Ricordea over time. Read here re: http://wetwebmedia.com/ascidfaqs.htm
and the linked files above. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: Unidentified Hitchhiker, Asc. 5/20/10
Cool, thanks a ton!
<Welcome in kind, measure. B>

A Substance That Looks Like Mold 5/18/10
<Hello Matthew>
I have a 150gal reef tank with a fuge and 90lbs of live rock and have recently been more and more curious about this growth on one of my rocks, also close to this growth is a group of what looks like sea vases.
<The only thing I see is the small colony of Xenia coral. Is this what you are referring to?>
Please let me know what you think of these thanks in advance. I have followed your website with great awe and interest on your vast knowledge and would like to bring this question to only the experts, this is my first post but am expecting criticism.
<The mold growth appears to be sponge growth.><<Agreed. RMF>>
In the 1st pic(102_1152) there is some type of worm not a bristle worm but is greyish and looks like 4in when it comes out of the rock but have not seen it completely come out so actual length is unknown.
<Likely a Nematode of some time, should cause no problem.
Thanks in advance
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Re A Substance That Looks Like Mold 5/18/10 5/20/10
Thank you for your quick and courteous reply.
<You're welcome.>
I am not referring to the Xenia coral I was actually referring to a worm like thing right above the Xenia in the crevice and the other tunicates I was referring to are just to the left of the sponge. Do you know of anything that will eat Dinoflagellates, ...
<and may want to read here and related articles/FAQ's located in the header.
James (Salty Dog)>

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