Please visit our Sponsors
FAQs about Non-Vertebrate Animal Identification 57

Related Articles: Marine Invertebrates, Marine Invertebrate Systems, Marine Invertebrate Compatibility, Marine Invertebrate Disease, Marine Invertebrate Reproduction, Quarantine of Corals and Invertebrates, Feeding Reef Invertebrates, Lighting Marine Invertebrates, Water Flow, How Much is Enough,

Related FAQs: Non-Vert IDs 1, Non-Vert IDs 2, Non-Vert IDs 3, Non-Vert IDs 4, Non-Vert IDs 5, Non-Vert IDs 6, Non-Vert IDs 7, Non-Vert IDs 8, Non-Vert IDs 9, Non-Vert IDs 10, Non-Vert IDs 11, Non-Vert IDs 12, Non-Vert IDs 13, Non-Vert IDs 14, Non-Vert IDs 15, Non-Vert IDs 16, Non-Vert IDs 17, Non-Vert IDs 18, Non-Vert. ID 19, Non-Vert. ID 20, Non-Vert. ID 21, Non-Vert. ID 22, Non-Vert. ID 23, Non-Vert. ID 25, Non-Vert ID 26, Non-Vert ID 27, Non-Vert ID 28, Non-Vert ID 29, Non-Vert ID 30, Non-Vert ID 31, Non-Vert ID 32, Non-Vert 33, Non-Vert ID 34 Non-Vert ID 35, Non-Vert ID 36, Non-Vert ID 37, Non-Vert ID 38, Non-Vert ID 39, Non-Vert ID 40, Non-Vert ID 41, Non-Vert ID 42, Non-Vert ID 43, Non-Vert ID 44, Non-Vert ID 45, Non-Vert ID 46, Non-Vert ID 47, Non-Vert ID 48, Non-Vert ID 49, Non-Vert ID 50, Non-Vert ID 51, Non-Vert ID 52, Non-Vert ID 53, Non-Vert ID 54, Non-Vert ID 55, Non-Vert ID 56, Non-Vert ID 58, Non-Vert ID 59, Non-Vert ID 60, Non-Vert ID 61, & Marine Invertebrates, Marine Invert.s 2, Marine Invert.s 3, & FAQs about: Marine Invertebrate Behavior, Marine Invertebrate Compatibility, Marine Invertebrate Selection, Marine Invertebrate Systems, Feeding Reef Invertebrates, Marine Invertebrate Disease, Marine Invertebrate Reproduction, & & LR Life Identification, LR Hitchhiker ID 1, Anemone Identification, Aiptasia Identification, Aiptasia ID 2, Worm Identification, Tubeworm ID, Polychaete Identification, Snail Identification, Marine Crab Identification, Marine Invert.s 1, Marine Invert.s 2, Marine Plankton,

Coral question, ID 12/2/11
Thanks or providing a great source of info.
I recently found two pieces of coral
<Mmm, the organism in the pic sent... not a coral, not even a Cnidarian>
which look rather strange, and have inquired as to what species it is with several People in the hobby.
It is fleshy, and forms shape to your hand or crevice, as seen in the picture. The orange spots seem to be polyps, but not sure as they have not popped out.
What is it? Aquarium placement, water flow and light requirements?
<Appears to be an Ascidian (are there two vents... incurrent and ex-?, I can only see the one in the image)... Or possibly a sponge/poriferan of some sort. Bob Fenner>


Re: Coral question
The other is identical to the pic I sent, only 1/4 smaller. I am not sure what you mean by two vents, incurrent and ex-.
<Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ascidians.htm
Re: Coral question

I do not believe the spot you are referring to is a vent. It appears to be the spot where it was attached to another rock. It does not have a vent like other sponges. Is it a type of golf ball coral?
<? No. B>
Re: Coral question 12/2/11

I read your article on ascidians. What I read resembles the coral in my aquarium. It does respond to touch and even changes shape. Also, it does not behave as a sponge would if it were exposed to open air.
This seems to be a very unique species, of which none of my colleges no anything about.
Can you provide some care guidelines?
<... not w/o knowing what this organism is... There are di/trichotomous keys to sea life... Spend some time searching these.>

soft white tube thing, ID 10/28/11
Hi guys,
Love your site and have spent a ridiculous amount of time on it :-).
<You and me both>
I was hoping that you could tell me what this "thing" is?
<Mmm, the little white thing toward the bottom center?>
I've searched for hours on your website and others and I can't find it anywhere. I don't think it's Aiptasia, as I've dealt with that before. It's just magically grown out of my sand bed the other day. It's a soft white tube shape that is completely opaque. In the light it's about ½ an inch tall and just over a ¼ inch wide with a short white fringe or crown. It does shrink back into the sand when it's dark. I've attached a photo. Hope you can help and thanks!
<Mmm, can't really make this out... might be a tubeworm of some sort... even a Sea Pen... or a Polypoid animal of one order or another... I'd keep it and see! Cheers, Bob Fenner>

What is this? Aiptasia or tube worm, maybe? 10/25/11
Hi, I sent the below email earlier.
Since then, I have thought a lot more, done a lot more Googling, and seen this critter drag its tendrils back into the base (tube) extremely fast when I approached it, so I'm wondering if it is maybe a tube worm, especially as the tendrils, as I said below, look more like feathers.
I guess I'll leave it be, unless you tell me it is an Aiptasia.
<... There's no graphic to tell you anything re. Bob Fenner>

 ID Please 8/30/11
Hello WWM Staff! You guys are awesome!
<Why thank you>
I have searched but unable to find an ID photo for these little guys on the glass of my 2.5 AIO Office Reef. It has been up for a few weeks and this is one of the critters that has come out of my Florida LR. They seem to be feeding on some new algae on the glass. My guess that it is some sort of flatworm. Any ideas?
<Mmm, too unresolved in your pic to tell... More likely some type of mollusk/snail... a Limpet or Chiton perhaps. I'd leave there, enjoy!>
Thank you!
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>
Jeremiah M.

Hitchhiker (tube-dwelling Terebellid, maybe) -- 07/03/11
Good evening,
<<Morning Gabe>>
I feel like I've been sending you constant emails.
Anyway, I've found another hitchhiker on a piece of LR and was wondering if you could ID it. It is the pink things in the picture, and one seems to have clear protrusions coming out of it. Gabe
<<Hard to say really (picture not close/clear enough), but this might be tube-dwelling Terebellid worms'¦with the tubes perhaps covered in coralline algae, or maybe a pink encrusting sponge. At any rate, likely harmless if not beneficial. I would watch and enjoy. EricR>>


Please help with parasite ID and treatment! 6/12/11
Hello WWM,
I have a 24g Nano cube that has been up and running for nearly 5 years.
It has gone through lots of changes and a few moves but has never had a "disaster" occur. I am running a 6x18w nova T5 light fixture and have a general assortment of LPS, SPS, and softies in the tank. All of my water param.s are in check and obsessively watched. I have recently had this little parasite attach to some of the corals in the tank. Its round and has a marking that resembles an iris in the middle...think of the "Eye of Sauron" minus the flames and hobbits.
Oddly enough it doesn't seem coral specific as its been on some Favia and now some of the Acroporas. It doesn't seem to be eating the coral as I see no sign of tissue decay or reduction but the host coral is never very happy to have this rider on its back. It will lost almost all polyp extension and stay that way until parasite is blown off. They do move around slowly and seem to congregate on
particular spots on the coral...safety in numbers or something of that sort. I have tried Melafix as my LFS promised me this would work,
<No... a poor idea, product...>
it hasn't even made a dent and they are still happy and thriving. I have searched for hours on-line and posted numerous ID's on the many on line forums with nobody giving me a specific answer other than, "I bet its a type of flatworm". I can't (easily) dip the coral as its attached to some base rock and would require the destruction of my entire aqua-scape. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated! Thanks a lot!
Patrick McCoy
aka. Peef
<Mmm, well... could be some sort of worm, crustacean, perhaps even "spider mites"; need a better resolved (likely microscope) image to be more sure... There are chemical treatments for both, as well as a growing list of purposeful predators (if they'd fit, get along)... All are gone over on WWM. I suggest you search, read there. Bob Fenner>

White disks in marine tank 5/30/11
I have in three places on my rock. These little disks that look like a fan or sand dollar all about the size of a small finger nail (adult).
Also they are growing long like a spine next to each other. There is roughly 5-8 in a row. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
<Mmm, could be an algae of some sort (what colour are these?), sponge... even a Foraminiferan... Please send along a well-resolved photo.
Bob Fenner>

HELP! This creature is eating my corals! 5/27/2011
I don't know if this is a Nudibranch or something else,
<The latter... A Chiton, Polyplacophoran. See here: http://wetwebmedia.com/chitonidf.htm
but I found it
attached to my sun coral two nights ago and the sun coral doesn't look very good now.
<Mmm, don't eat such, but perhaps just cruising about...>
When I tried to remove it, I expected it to be soft but it wasn't.
It had a hard structure - not like a shell but maybe a bone structure.
<Has shell plates...>
It was really stuck to the coral too. I had seen it in the aquarium previously but never attached to any of my corals. My red slime algae problem has reduced significantly o I was hoping the creature was eating it. It is small and oval when not extended. It stretches to at least 4 times its normal size. It was hiding inside the hole in the rock below the sun coral and stretching up through a hole at the top. It came out of the hole last night and moved (I have no idea where yet) and I snapped the picture then. Sorry they aren't better pics - I think I was too close.
<Likely so... w/in your lens' focus field/distance>
Should I transfer this thing to my fish only tank or dispose of it?
<I'd keep it>
Or was it just going after red slime algae which sometimes grows on the edges of this coral?
<Likely so>
Thanks so much for your help.
<Read re Tubastrea, here: http://wetwebmedia.com/dendrodisfaqs.htm
and the linked files above. These Dendrophylliids need some special care (each polyp feeding)... but can be kept. Bob Fenner>

Unknown parasite/ organism found in filter 5/23/11
WWM crew,
I have been searching the site for a while, and can not find anything to help me out. I am tearing down a 55 gallon, and was cleaning the filter and this weird little critter came out.
<Looks to be some sort of flatworm... these are often only mildly damaging... more like "space parasites" then actual; some are "free living">
The critter DID not come out of the intake or outtake holes, but I am still interested to know what it is.
The 55 gallon was a holding tank for a couple of my brackish water red and green scats, that have since been moved over to the 90 they came from (I moved 800 miles, and could not part with fish). I did an extensive look at the fish, and I do not see anything that would hint it is a parasite. They are eating like pigs, and they all have there color. No red streaks, or visible irritations of the scales on any of them.
<Not at all likely parasitic or environmentally damaging to fishes>
System set-up was a 55 gallon, with a Jager heater (set to 80), Rena XP2 canister filter, Whisper 300 air pump, sand substrate (Caribsea, to be specific), and the SG ranged anywhere from 1.008-1.0015. I fluctuate the SG, for better health of the Scats. Levels of Nitrates, Nitrites, and Ammonia, all read 0.
The critter is about a centimeter, by a centimeter, and has veins that are running the entire surface of the body. In the center, there is a mass that looks like blood. To me it almost looks like a tick you would pull off a furry animal. I looked in the books I had available to me, and did not see anything like this. I also have NOT punctured the center blood looking mass
out of fear of what could happen. Any information you could tell me would be greatly appreciated.
Until then, back to cleaning!
<Thank you for your message. Bob Fenner>

Enlarged, but blurrier

Another Live Rock Hitchhiker ID 5/15/11
Dear Crew,
Thanks so much for your time! Just a quick ID today.
I noticed several of these organisms upon viewing my reef this evening. The tank has been set up for several years and has seen flatworms, bristle worms, and Aiptasia among other pests, all which have been easily managed thanks to WWM!
I've never seen anything like these and they have seemed to have just popped up.
Nothing new has been added to the tank in 7 or 8 months.
They seem to have a mucus foot, and tiny shell, and two clearly identifiable antennae. They look like baby snails. The one on the top is actually two that are in close proximity. I'm sorry about the pic quality- these boogers are tiny, perhaps 1 mm or less.
I've not read much about snail reproduction evolving beyond the egg stage in home marine aquaria and therefore doubt that's what these guys are.
Any ideas? Friend or foe?
<Are these actually moving? To me they look like small Syconoid sponges.
Please see the Net, WWM re. Bob Fenner>

Re: Another Live Rock Hitchhiker ID 5/15/11
Thank you Bob!
<Welcome Joe>
I really appreciate your time! This is a busy month for you!
<Don't know what I'd do if I had a real job!>
These are definitely moving. The pic was taken of the ones that are crawling on the aquarium glass. I did some posting on our local forum and a couple of folks thought they look like Collonista snails, which they indeed do.
In any event, I doubt that they are any harm to the reef.
<As long as not too many in number...>
Thank you again, enjoy yourself, and as always, stay safe!
<Thank you. Cheers, BobF>

Pest in marine aquarium, Planaria? 5/2/11
Hi guys
I am hoping your expertise can help solve my problem!
I have a 150l reef aquarium, live rock based, set up for about 8 years. I have mainly soft corals, a few hard corals, clean up crew and five fish.
Over the past few months I have noticed these small things on the glass.
They are a terracotta brown in colour, approx 2 millimeters in length, roughly rectangular, but they seem to have a "waist". They are now taking over the system, the rock is covered with it, and they settle on the glass between wipes.
Originally, I thought they may be eggs, but I don't think so now. They don't appear to move, though, so I am not sure if they are a strange type of worm or an even stranger type of algae. I've taken a few into a LFS, and they were clueless. Too small to photograph, sadly
Any ideas
Kind Regards
<Tough to say without a picture but my first guess would be Planaria, see here for pictures and see if they match.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fltwmid.htm >

ID this thing ... - 2/9/11
Hi Crew member,
Attached are several pics of something from my tank. The bright red ball appeared, stuck just under my RBTA.
Tank is a 72G Bowfront with a 30G sump/refugium, FL live rock, DSB - running for about 1.5 yrs. Known inhabitants are mostly common to the hobby - Scopas Tang, Niger Trigger, Blue Damsel, Blueheaded Wrasse, Engineer Goby, (2) Clowns, Coral Banded Shrimp, RBTA and a mix of Atlantic/Caribbean and Pacific corals including SPS, LPS and softies.
The brightly colored fuchsia ball is about the size of a pencil eraser, has a felt-like surface, sticks to the live rock, fish won't touch it, seems to have a soft "shell" that has split open. It doesn't appear to be porous
like a sponge ...but that was my first guess.
<Mine too.>
Any idea what the hell it could be?
<Are there any apparent openings (two, dissimilar in size) on the surface?
If so my guess would turn to a sea squirt/Ascidian... At this size this could be a Foraminiferan... http://wetwebmedia.com/marprotozfaqs.htm
Thanks for your thoughts.
<Do send along better resolved images if/when you can. Cheers, Bob Fenner

re: ID this thing ... - 2/9/11
Hi Bob,
Thx for the quick reply. And my eternal thx for access to your wealth of knowledge! My Scopas will forever be in your debt.
Those are the best images I could get - no macro lens and a bowfront tank (
the digital camera really struggles with angled shots and focus).
<Ah yes. Am familiar>
It does not appear to have any well formed openings. The surface is like dyed felt.
The casing-like structure could be a leathery shell or random growth on the surface that was broken when the ??? grew a bit.
I looked up FORAMS HOMOTREMATIDAE and it is a possibility. Perhaps in an early stage of growth - before branches form.
For now, it has drifted away to some dark recess of the tank.
<I'd leave it be; enjoy it!>

What is This? - 2/9/11
Morning to all of the WetWebMedia crew specially to the person who answers me =D
<Howdy Leija>
Well, simple question here, I want to know what are those white little things on my rock, at first I thought they might be Copepods, (I am waiting to get copepods, so I can introduce a Mandarin), but copepods
aren't as white as this fellows, can you please help me.
Thank you very much.
Ingrid Leija
<I've tried to spiff up your pix, crop them... these appear to be some sort of small segmented worm... Likely edible, perhaps palatable to your Mandarin. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

White Spots, on glass, using WWM 1/17/11
Hey WetWebMedia,
I have some very small white specs that appear on my glass time to time.
They resemble very tiny pieces of Styrofoam or small specs of substrate gravel, which they are not. They just seem to stick to the glass. Any idea what these might be?
<Likely tubiculous worms... but could be quite a few other things... Put this string: "small spots on glass marine" in the search tool here: http://wetwebmedia.com/Googlesearch.htm
and read the cached views>
I looked throughout the WetWebMedia posts and articles and could not find anything.
PS: I'm fixing to buy a calcium reactor any brand recommendations?
<... also posted: http://wetwebmedia.com/calcreacsel.htm
and the linked files above. Please learn to/use the indices, search tool on WWM. BobF, who'd rather be out diving>

Critters on Glass, 1/12/11
Hi Crew!
I was wondering if these are tomont cysts attached on my aquarium glass.
<Are not, the cysts are not visible to the naked eye.>
These were the best pictures I could take. My tank is fallow right now but wanted to know if I should knock these off to be sucked up through my filter.
Thanks for the info.
<Looks like they might be hydroids,
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hydrozoans.htm .>
Hydroid Jellies 1/12/11
Hi Crew! I was wondering if these are tomont cysts attached on my aquarium glass.
<Mmm, no. These are very likely Jellies, Hydroids. See here:
These were the best pictures I could take. My tank is fallow right now but wanted to know if I should knock these off to be sucked up through my filter.
Thanks for the info.
<Mmm, they'll likely "disappear" of their own accord in time (days to weeks). If there are only a few I would not be concerned... If numerous, they might sting your purposeful livestock. Bob Fenner>

Re: Critters on Glass, 1/12/11
Thanks for the info but these are about the size of the head of a straight pin or the dot of a pen.
<I would still bet on them being hydroids.>
This is a very close close-up of the "thing" in question. Never had them in my tank before until I had an Ich epidemic...
<Unrelated except that the tank being fallow probably allowed these to propagate a bit better than before.>
hence the fallow tank. I'm thinking it's something I should continue to get swept out but I didn't want to try if they were say copepod eggs, amphipod eggs, good things.... would love to know what they are.
<Not something I would be overly concerned with, can be removed if they bother you, but you will not most likely get them all.>
Re: Re:

Help with ID of mystery coral 1/9/11
Greetings and Happy New Year Wet Web Crew!
<... groan... seven plus megs of pix... We ask folks to limit these to a few hundred Kbytes>
I am hoping you might be able to ID a mystery coral (I will admit to not being 100% sure about that, Heisenberg not withstanding) that's been a delightful "hitchhiker" on some live rock I purchased about three months ago. Unfortunately I do not know where the live rock originated before it found its way to my LFS.
There are a number of these creatures that can be found around the system, but all are in shadowed areas, primarily on the underside of rocks. They are perhaps 1/2 in length at this point - it's hard to tell with all of them because they seem to grow in crevices the depth of which is difficult to gauge.
The polyps/filaments are always extended. Day, night, doesn't matter.
They are hard/rough to the touch (early on I thought it might be a slime/red algae because there were no polyps visible. I was glad to be wrong there!
I have searched the site (which is excellent!) as well as combed through Borneman's book and have also tried a few Google searches but nothing seems to fit. I've read descriptions of both Tubastrea and Sponges that could fit, but have ruled out sponges primarily because when the rocks were moved they were out of the water for 10-15 minutes and growth continued. Tubastrea seems unlikely as I am not feeding these poor things specifically yet they appear to be thriving. We originally thought it might be Montipora but now that it's large enough and extending those long extensions, pretty sure that's not it either.
Please see the attached photos for details. Unfortunately it is nearly impossible to get a good photo of the skeleton as its polyps/extensions obscure them and, well, they're always out. From watching the growth they do appear to share a base and "branch" from there (there is another grouping in the photos to the top/right that appears to be doing this), but there are other growths like this that are singular (I believe you can also see some of them in the photos to the top and right of the larger grouping). Seriously, this stuff is all over. Only some of it, however, thrives - those groupings that are in the shadows.
Hoping someone has some idea what these are and if there's anything I should be doing differently or even if I should be very, very afraid of it. You never know...
Thanks very much in advance!
<Likely Ascidians... see very similar here:
Bob Fenner>

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: