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FAQs on Stinging-Celled Animals 2

Related Articles: Cnidarians, Water Flow, How Much is Enough,

Related FAQs: Cnidarians 1, Cnidarians 3, Cnidarian Identification, Cnidarian Behavior, Cnidarian Compatibility, Cnidarian Selection, Cnidarian Systems, Cnidarian Feeding, Cnidarian Disease, Cnidarian Reproduction, Acclimating Symbiotic Reef Invertebrates to Captive Lighting

Some nice Mussids from friend/aquarist Ahmed Giyas in the Maldives.

Bad boyz- hydroids 12/30/03 Hi guys <howdy> Can you please identify these "creatures", they are about a quarter of an inch long and have a "coil" at their base. I'm also not sure about the green bubbles. Are either of these a problem? <the tube-like critters are stinging hydroids and the bubbles are a Valonia type algae or Halicystis stage of Derbesia hair algae. All are pests. Do read through our archives of articles and FAQs for the (nutrient) control of such organisms> Thanks and regards Adrian
<best of luck my friend. Anthony>

Unidentified Hitchhiker 7/18/03 Greetings again to the crew! <cheers> You guys & gals rock. <thanks kindly> You've provided my (& thousands of others) much needed assistance in the past, and I need to call on you again.  Recently, I have found a couple of unidentified critters growing on my live rock.  Most of the rock has been fully cycled for more than 6 months, yet strange & wonderful things just keep popping up!   They aren't Aiptasia, and don't look like Anemonia majano, but do resemble either an anemone or mushroom.    <indeed... in the pic I can see both mushroom corallimorphs and zoanthids> Not the best picture quality I'm afraid, but should be enough for identification.  The creature in question is the whitish disc shaped animal in the center top of most of the pics.   Clicking on the pics in the gallery will lead to larger pics, and another click will give really big pics.  Hope you can identify these, so I can start the eradication process if necessary. Thanks, Neil <definitely grab yourself a good Cnidarian ID book. Eric Borneman's Aquarium Corals is a top choice. Best regards, Anthony>

Cnidarian hitchhiker on live rock 6/5/03 I searched the related FAQs, but could find few things that resembled this little guy. Considering that it is one of the only visible things I've found living in the tank after what Anthony referred to as a 'hard cure', I'm personally interested in what this little creature is. <appears to be an anemone> It visibly retracts into its tube from light when I turn on the actinics in the morning, and slowly re-emerges (within 5 minutes) after the lights are off. <Hmmm... perhaps on of the aggressive fire or antler anemones... babies have been common on live imports in the last 6 months> Possibly some sort of tube worm sifting nutrients out of the water? It is quite sad when the last ray of hope in my tank rests on a 3 millimetre 'pest' :) <heehee... if it is in deed a fire/antler anemone... it is truly of a dreadful order. Watch for it to develop branching aspects like the following genera: Heterodactyla, Thalassianthus or Actineria> As an aside, purple/red coralline algae seems to be making a comeback on  some of the rock. The bleached parts on top are still dead however. have a great weekend,- Chris <no worries, mate... some fresh live rock to seed it and continued stable Ca and ALK and the rock will be quite handsome in mere months. Best regards, Anthony>

Please help identify blue-fringed creature While vacationing at Dune Allen, Florida just east of Destin I saw these washed ashore during several days of turbulent ocean activity.  On may 6th, thousands of quarter-sized disks washed up.  (about an inch in diameter and perfectly round and about a half inch thick)   I am dying to know if they are jellyfish, anemones or something else.  on one side they were smooth and flat with a pattern of silver radials. around the circumference was a thick fringe of royal blue thin tassel-like tentacles or appendages about 1-1.5 in. long.  when I turned them over there were dozens of white anemone-like polyps.  what are they?  I would be so grateful for a response. <very difficulty to be certain without a picture. Still... if it was a Cnidarian, Cassiopeia "upside-down jellyfish" are a strong possibility. They are very mild (so-called "non-stinging") and get their blue/green/brown coloration from symbiotic algae. Please use the genus name given above to archive on our site and beyond on the web. Best regards, Anthony> Shipping corals Hey Bob!! <Hello Debra> I attended your talk in Denver at Marine Showcase recently and you discussed transporting gorgonians without large quantities of water.  Basically, they were layered between wet newspapers and stacked in a cooler.  I'm trying to find info on what other corals can be transported via this method.  I've heard that zoanthids fare well this way. <I have heard and seen this as well. However, stony and soft corals (scleractinians, alcyonaceans) and all other polyp groups fare poorly moved this way. All others need to be submerged in water during transport> Hope you can help me. Thanks, Debra (you sat next to me in the front row during the door prize drawings.) <Ah, yes. Bob Fenner> RE: shipping corals Thanks for the speedy reply!! <Welcome> After some exhaustive searching, I have found that people have shipped Acropora, star polyps and zoanthids by "dry shipping" with success.  I'm hesitant, however, to draw the conclusion that species similar to Acropora, for example Montipora, would fare as well. <Me too> I'll keep looking for additional information.  I find this topic rather intriguing. Take care, Debra <Please do share what you find. Bob Fenner>

Identification of Inverts: Shrooms and Pest anemones 4/20/03 Hello, <Buona Pasqua> This is my second email today and I really appreciate all the help!  I was wondering if you can help me identify a couple inverts that were purchased earlier this week.  I know you are asking why did I purchase something if I did not know what it was?   <indeed, we must be so very mindful, if not simply respectful, of all living creatures to research them to know if we can provide for their needs before we tackle them home> I have to ask myself the same question. <you know the answer <G>... no worries... just learn and resist a repeat> The salesman I bought them from appears to be quite knowledgeable and I trust his opinion, but I am now questioning what these organisms really are. I have had conflicting identifications from everyone who has viewed them.  The first (rooms) are what I was told are mushroom anemones.  (Is there such a thing?) Someone else has told me they are coral.  Can you tell from the photo what they are?   <all somewhat true... they are specifically corallimorphs (AKA "False Coral", "Mushroom Anemones"). They are cnidarians like coral and anemones... but are much more closely related to stony coral (Scleractinians) than true anemones. In common language... you may certainly call them "mushroom polyps"> What is the care and maintenance of these, if you know.   <most are very hardy and need only moderate water flow and lighting. Somewhat regular feeding (small amounts weekly) is helpful for growth. Do research on the 'Net and in books 'shroom genera like "Discosoma" or "Actinodiscus"> The second (polyps) are what I was told are Star Polyps.   <nope.. not even close to being Briareum (Starpolyps)> Now someone else has told me they are nuisance anemones.   <BINGO... they appear to be or be related to Anemonia majano... a pest anemone> Can you tell from the photo what they are?  Specs on my tank:  29 gallon, 2 65 watt CFs, BakPak 2 skimmer, Fluval 304, hanging BioWheel power filter and at least 20 lbs of live rock.  My tests are all zero with nitrates being 5-10.  Will this environment maintain these animals properly? <yes... very fine> Thanks again for all your help, Blake <before you buy another animal, my friend... let me suggest that the next $30 you spend be on a good coral book like Eric Borneman's Aquarium corals. Bob Fenner and I have a new book on Reef Invertebrates being released within weeks covering all else (shrimps, crabs, starfish, refugiums, plants, algae, etc). Such references will help you make informed buying decisions in the future. Best regards, Anthony>

Soft Corals 3/28/03 Good day WWM Crew, <cheers, mate> I have a Toadstool Mushroom Leather (Sarcophyton) and a Thin Finger Leather (Sinularia) and I just want to ask about some observations I made: 1 ) I have noticed that every morning when I wake up, before any lights come on, that both of these guys have long sweeper tentacles waving all over the place. Do they use these to feed, or are they just used to keep other livestock at bay? <the latter if that's what they truly are... purely defensive> I have noticed that their tentacles and polyps are out in the morning before lights come on, but when I get home from work (5:00 ), the tentacles and polyps are retracted and stay retracted the remainder of the evening. I'm not sure why this is. <because these soft corals feed very little organismally. More so by translocation (of nutrients from photosynthesis) and absorption. Some nanoplankton too... but they really cannot eat any large plankton or prepared foods> It seems to me that the light would stimulate their polyps and tentacles. <not really... the tentacles are a very small part of the photosynthetic tissue overall> 2 ) Do they have to have their tentacles and/or polyps out to feed? <nope> 3 ) I also have some corallimorphs ( Actinodiscus, Discosoma ). I believe they are called Green Fluorescent Mushrooms. How do these feed? <all of the above: organismal, absorptive plus perhaps by mucous too> I have never seen any kind of tentacle or polyp. Most of them are also "folded up", instead of laying flat. What does this mean? <they've been watching depressing news coverage> Note: I just got these corals this past Saturday. <time needed to acclimate for certain> 4) I have been feeding all of the above including a bunch of Palythoa (Green Button Polyps) a frozen algae. I can't remember the name, I think it's Reef Treats. It's not just frozen algae, but has many meaty foods such as brine shrimp, Mysid shrimp, sea urchin, squid, clams, oysters, and scallops. <ahhh, yes... the fine meaty fare is better here> Anyhow, I realize these are filter feeders, so I soak the food in garlic and put in a small blender and use a turkey baster to target feed the corals and coral polyps. I have only fed them twice since I have had them.  Is this a good practice, or is there something better to feed? <truly depends on the species. Some like more phyto- than zoo-plankton> As always, thanks Charlie <best regards, Anthony>

Everything and the kitchen sink 2/28/03 Can you mix soft corals with hard corals and can my saddle carpet and bubble tip anemone live in peace with my Brain star coral ,Yellow leather coral, and my bubble pearl coral? <ahhh...no. Read more about why here: www.WetWebMedia.com  Best regards, Anthony>

Re: Unknown critter Hey Gang! How's it going? I just caught this critter out from under a piece of live rock. It's not quite a half inch long, has a snail like foot, a hard shell that looks like a beetle of some sort. I sent a few pictures to help ID the ???                      Do y'all think its a threat? If not, I'll toss it back in the tank. I appreciate any assistance.                                                 Thanks, Scott in Denver <I'll be... looks like a Sea Pansy (like Renilla, an Anthozoan...) Put the name in your search engine. Not likely a problem in your system. Bob Fenner>

Re: Coral IDs Thanks for the ID, Anthony. I have read that the SPS corals need very bright light and strong water movement, <do be careful of believing any such generalizations. SPS corals can be found in 1 foot of water and they are found at 100 foot! Always go by species needs/history.... not family needs> how is it these three different species are on one rock, <good question and some logically explanations for it. One possibility is that it is an appropriate SPS for the zone that the soft coral was collected in . Indeed, if it is a Montipora as suspected... it would be moderate to somewhat low light and moderate water flow (unlike most SPS, yes). Or, if it is a "high light" SPS, it could simply be one of the tens of thousands of planulae that settle out successfully but do not survive the random place of settlement. Drift, currents,... who knows where larvae will settle. Most do not survive to maturity> placed there on purpose maybe? <unlikely... but I cannot say, you did not mention the origin of the rock for me to compare with the species suspected> The leather & shrooms should have the same basic needs as far as light/water movement are concerned(?). <similar... moderate light and water flow at most> I'm going to leave the group alone unbothered for, uh.. well, I'm just going to leave it as if in a permanently placed spot, and see what happens! One last thing, the LFS said they feed their corals a "spray dried marine phytoplankton", <I'm sorry to hear it> so I got a turkey baster along with the food, for direct feeding about twice a day(?) <OK... worth experimenting... but most corals don't eat phyto. And those that do sure can't eat the large particle size of such products. Gorgonians are phyto feeders. Your Capnella may feed a little on phyto too. Most other corals feed on zooplankton. A refugium would provide far more and better food here> Thanks for your time, I definitely appreciate it. Scott <best regards, Anthony>

Beginning Corals and fish Hello, My name is Kem. I am planning to set up a 46 gallon reef tank. But I do not know which kind of corals are best for the beginner. I would also like to know what fish are best for beginners also. Thanks a lot. <Hello, I would start with Soft corals, and maybe some mushrooms.  Damsel fish are a good place to start.  You might want to pick up a good book as well.  Let us know if you have any questions along the way.  Best Regards, Gage http://www.wetwebmedia.com/soft.htm  >

LR Freebies I have about 60 pounds of Live rock in my marine aquarium and it's doing great.  It's been in there for about 8 months now and really taken off.  I have noticed a lot of interesting growth on the rocks in places.  There are some sponges (which I have removed except for a few interesting ones) but I also think I'm seeing some corals forming.  is this possible?  They look like small polyps and such.  I have no other corals in this tank right now, just live rock and marine fish.  Is it uncommon to have corals grow from live rock or am I seeing things?  Just wondering. <It is indeed possible for corals to "just happen" from even what appears to mostly dead, old live rock. What a planet eh? I'm not leaving! Bob Fenner> John

Starting With Corals Could you please tell me what corals would be best for beginners to purchase. So many people have so many different opinions and I would like info. from only the best! I already have a mushroom, some sun polyps, a flower pot coral (which I am having mixed thoughts about, now) and a pulsating xenia.  Thank you! Connie <Wow, Connie- that's kind of like asking what stock to invest in! As you surmised, you'll ask 50 people and get 50 different answers! If it were me, I'd start with mushrooms (like you have), some hardy Sinularia leather corals, maybe Pachyclavularia violacea (Green Star Polyps), and possibly, a Sarcophyton leather coral. Xenia is a wonderful coral that can thrive under a variety of aquarium conditions. Most of the above corals are reasonably hardy, tolerate a bunch of different lighting and current schemes, and are reasonably forgiving. Perhaps most important, they are all available as captive-propagated specimens, so that the unfortunate failures that sometimes happen when we're starting with corals will not have a negative impact on wild reefs. Do read up on these corals to get an idea of their husbandry, characteristics, and proper placement in your aquarium. I love soft corals-you can make a gorgeous display with just hardy "beginner's" soft corals. Eventually, you could try some "large polyp stony corals", such as Caulastrea and Trachyphyllia. Have a lot of fun researching these corals on the WetWebMedia.Com site. Also, you should pick up Anthony Calfo's "Book of Coral Propagation" and Eric Borneman's "Aquarium Corals", which are two of the best guides out there for coral enthusiasts. Good luck! Scott F.>

Mystery Polyp Hi guys, <Howdy> >Thanks for so much help, here's another one for you. <Yikes, no thanks!> I was checking on my fish after the powerhead gave out and noticed I have some new inhabitants.  I found a young brittle star about 1.5 cm across and two which I believe to be polyps.  These guys are huge, the one in this picture is about 3 cm across.  Any idea what it is?  I never bought them, they just kind of popped up today.  Thanks. <Yeah... what many consider a pest anemone species, due to its propensity for rapid division/reproduction, crowding out/stinging other sessile invertebrates... an Anemonia sp. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/anemoniafaqs.htm and the linked files. Bob Fenner> --Rene

Mystery Polyp  Hi guys, Thanks for so much help, here's another one for you. I was checking on my fish after the powerhead gave out and noticed that I have some new inhabitants.  I found a young brittle star about 1.5 cm across and two which I believe to be polyps.   <very cool!> These guys are huge, the one in this picture is about 3 cm across.  Any idea what it is?   <alas... it is not clear enough from the image. Does not appear to be stony, though. Perhaps anemone in nature> I never bought them, they just kind of popped up today.  Thanks, Rene <and you will discover so many more things in time as the rock and sand mature. So many more things are never seen unless you peep at night. Wait several months and then sneak up on the tank with a flashlight filtered through red cellophane. 3-4 hours after the tank has been pitch black... peep with the flashlight and see many wondrous denizens of the night! Enjoy. Anthony>

Anemone/Coral Conundrum Crew, <whassup, Buttercup?> You would think that after reading the CMA, WWM FAQ's, and starting Anthony's excellent work, BOCP, that I would not ask this question, but I have this haunting desire to mix a rose E. quadricolor anemone with SPS corals.   <are you really going to make me burn frequent flyer miles to find and slap you? :) And you best have some tasty beer when we show up too or your getting a dead snail in the pillow case... Ha!> I'm starting a new 360g (96"x24"x36") in the spring and I want to fulfill a childhood desire of keeping an anemone/clownfish combo once the tank matures.   <excellent... but best done in a species tank. I may have a solution for you... read on> (It's not that I believe this symbiotic relationship is not needed for my denizens to thrive, I just have this picture in my mind since picking up my first Neon Tetras 20 years ago)   <understood and agreed> I have been reading books for two years to reacclimate myself to the hobby, but I can't shake the desire for bringing my SPS and Anemone passions together.  If I make the Anemone the priority, are there any SPS' that would be more tolerant of the chemical warfare that would eventually ensue?   <beyond issues of chemical warfare (which I can live with in systems that have aggressive water change and chemical media schedules <weekly>, and dual skimmers that work very well)... the main concern is the inevitable motility of any given anemone in a crowded tank of sessile competitive cnidarians. There are many other issues too... but this is a biggie for starters> Would this war impact any of the planned Tridacnid clams in the system?   <little effect on the clams IMO> I don't mind a challenge (you should see the rest of my stocking plans); <excellent to hear!> I just want to find that elusive win-win-win for inverts, fish, and fish keeper alike. Thanks, Rob <very good, then my friend. My solution is for you to have your cake and eat it too... just on separate plates. Specifically, put your anemone and clowns (and no other stinging animals) in an inline feature tank (like an upstream refugium) and enjoy the benefits of system filtration and water quality without fear of direct attacks. I'm thing a magnificent focal point for your great 360 reef: perhaps you could have an attractive 60 gallon hexagon poised right next to the big tank and set slightly higher (or lower) on a pedestal stand. A single pendant halide shines down into the tank (175 watt will be fine)... and the anemone and colony of clowns fill the entire tank. You can even have a small mangrove tree growing out of the top and supported by track lights on the wall! This separated inline tank is plumbed to overflow into the display (if the anemone tank is higher) or be fed by the display (if lower) before overflowing itself down the line to the sump. Many possibilities here... but you will never get me to recommend any anemone in a display with other cnidarians. Do consider this dramatic yet functional solution. best regards, my friend. Anthony>

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