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FAQs on Identification of Stinging-Celled Animals 1

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

Related FAQs: Cnidarian IDs 2, Cnidarian IDs 3, Anemone ID 1, Cnidarian IDs 4, Cnidarians ID 5, Cnidarians ID 6, Cnidarian ID 7, Cnidarian ID 8, Cnidarian ID 9, Cnidarian ID 10, Cnidarian ID 11, Cnidarian ID 12, Cnidarian ID 13, Cnidarian ID 14, Cnidarian ID 15, Cnidarian ID 16, Cnidarian ID 17, Cnidarian ID 18, Cnidarian ID 19, Cnidarian ID 20, Cnidarian ID 21, Cnidarian ID 22, Cnidarian ID 23, Cnidarian ID 24, Cnidarian ID 26, Cnidarian ID 27, Cnidarian ID 28, Cnidarian ID 29, Cnidarian ID 30, Cnidarian ID 31, & Aiptasia ID 1, Stony Coral ID 1, Stony Coral ID 3, Mushroom Identification, Soft Coral ID, Alcyoniid ID, Xeniid ID,

Medusa coral 4/1/05 Dear all, I appreciate you must receive thousands of emails/day... <Hundreds per week to be sure>  <<Editor's note: This is why we kindly ask that ALL emails use proper capitalization, punctuation, etc., please.  Otherwise, we are left with a great deal of editing work to do, such as with this one, which takes away time that could be spent answering all these emails.>> But I just hope you might be able to help with some much needed advice. I recently 28/03/05 purchased a medusa soft coral from a local store the coral looked great and a good size when on show however since placing it in my home aquaria (Rio 180 with Fluval 304, Red Sea Prizm skimmer, Juwel internal filter, 2 x MaxiJet 1200 for circulation, approx 1/4 tank volume live rock, standard t8 twin lighting system with reflectors [included when bought]). The coral does not appear to want to open, it has shrunk considerably and I have noticed that one or two of the many 'fingers' of the coral are turning a dark brown colour. My water quality is good - as far as home test kits will tell - just struggling for and answer as I have two colonies of yellow polyps which are doing great [bought at same time]. pH 8.2 Temp 26C Nitrate 0 Ammonia 0 Calcium 440 Any help you could give would be great. I know its only early days but rather be proactive than reactive Many thanks, Wes Knights Marine beginner <I sincerely want to help you my friend... but without a picture or scientific name, I have no idea what this coral is or what the health issue is. Common names like "medusa" coral mean next to nothing across the country and around the world. Please do buy and use a good book on corals, mate. Eric Borneman's "Aquarium Corals" would be an excellent start. Anthony>   
Mystery Cnidarian, ID Hello folks, First of all let me say how much I love the site. GREAT work done here. <Glad we can offer it> I have two questions today. 1.) I need some help identifying this soft coral shown in the pictures attached. (Hopefully you'll be able to tell something from the pictures. There not the best.) <The purple bit in the front, center? Looks like a soft coral, but I can't tell much from the pic... can you take a larger resolution image, crop it to make the subject bigger... send that?> 2.) The 'critter' ;) seems not to be doing well this past week. (I've had the little guy about 4 months) When I first got it would come out and be pretty open and then at night would get really small (almost down inside of itself.) Then the next morning, after the lights were turned on, out would come again nice and expanded. I noticed earlier this week that it would not expand as large as it did after it was first purchased. Most of the time the difference between the 'expanded' state and the 'closed' state is about 1/4 of an inch where as after purchase it would be about 1 1/2 inches. I'm wondering if you have any ideas about the problem. <Natural behavior with many day feeding species> Tank, inhabitants and water levels: 30 Gallon 1 Yellow Tailed Damsel 5 Blue Legged Hermit Crabs 1 Peppermint Shrimp 1 'critter' as shown in pictures pH 8.2 Ammonia 0 Nitrite 0 Nitrate 0 Gravity 1.24 Temp. 78 Thanks in advance for the help and keep up the GREAT work !!!! JD James D <AnthonyC is out till Monday, but am placing your message in his box for a better response. Cheers. Bob Fenner>
Coral ID and husbandry: a Xeniid? 2/21/05 Hello folks, First of all let me say how much I love the site. GREAT work done here. <thanks kindly!> I have two questions today. 1.) I need some help identifying this soft coral shown in the pictures attached. (Hopefully you'll be able to tell something from the pictures... not the best.) <indeed... a tough shot to ID from (do try to fill the frame with your subject... pill the animal near the glass when possible and you get close to the glass on your side too). From this distance... it looks like it could be a Xeniid> 2.) The 'critter' ;) seems not to be doing well this past week. (I've had the little guy about 4 months) When I first got it would come out and be pretty open and then at night would get really small (almost down inside of itself.) Then the next morning, after the lights were turned on, out would come again nice and expanded. <yes... normal polyp cycles> I noticed earlier this week that it would not expand as large as it did after it was first purchased. Most of the time the difference between the 'expanded' state and the 'closed' state is about 1/4 of an inch where as after purchase it would be about 1 1/2 inches. I'm wondering if you have any ideas about the problem. <a common cause of this is falling pH and/or low Alkalinity. Do see if your pH is below 8.3, or ALK is well below 8-10dKH. This would do the trick. Also a lack of water changes or iodine may have a similar effect> Tank, inhabitants and water levels: 30 Gallon 1 Yellow Tailed Damsel 5 Blue Legged Hermit Crabs 1 Peppermint Shrimp 1 'critter' as shown in pictures pH 8.2 Ammonia 0 Nitrite 0 Nitrate 0 Gravity 1.24 Temp. 78 Thanks in advance for the help and keep up the GREAT work !!!!  JD <if this pH reading is by day with lights on, then it is falling much lower at night... and you do have the beginnings of a pH problem. Examine where it might be coming from (read the archives here at wetwebmedia.com on pH issues). You may need to dose more Kalk to support Ca and ALK... or simply use more buffer. Better aeration and more frequent water changes will help here too. Anthony>

Many thanks and ID question... First, let me say "thank you" for myself and all the others you have helped.  I've been reading and absorbing as much as I can from your site. <Ah, good> Some LR added to my tank has apparently been "dead rock" for over a month; it was a very small piece, and I bought it because I had thoughts of adding some zoos to it later.  It has been slowly coming to life, and recently sprouted a small colony of about 20 little thingies.  They are very tiny (~2-3mm tall) and look like a small wind turbine -- narrow stalk and four 'arms' in a cross at the top with small dots at the ends. <I see them... Hydrozoans of some sort> I've attached a picture, hoping that you can ID them. My apologies for the focus, but even in macro mode, they are tough to capture. Thanks again and warm regards, Matthew <A good enough pic. These can be troublesome creatures as a group... stinging you and your livestock... but generally they "cycle out" of their own accord in time. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hydrozoans.htm and the linked files (in blue, above) where you lead yourself. Bob Fenner>

Jellyfish Dear crew members, Have been learning a lot and enjoying this site so much! Thank you for your work! Searched and searched but to no avail...I have a 2 month old 90 gallon with Tidepool wet dry, Turboflotor skimmer, U.V, power compacts 4 65watt460NM and 10,0000K 2 white bulbs, 2 actinic--24 inch bulbs. FOWLR -2 ocellaris tank bred clowns and one royal Gramma. I have noticed a very tiny creature which I can best describe as a jellyfish though I think I caught from the site that this could be a stage for something else. You called the stage medusa or something. Anyhow, these guys look like a shuttlecock from the badminton game. White top then transparency then white again with legs that are transparent. Just a hair larger than those white bugs running around on the glass (copepods). These "jellyfish" can stick to the glass or a rock or float all over the tank with a pulsating jumping motion. The fish don't eat them. What is this? Once on the site I thought someone asked the same thing but then I never really got an answer. Please, could you help? Thank you so much for being out there. Renee' <As you state, likely Medusoids of some sort... and evidence of your good set-up and care... they are "coming off" your live rock... Likely will pass over time... strobilation of the remainder. Bob Fenner> 

Cnidarian ID 1/30/04 Please help me identify this animal? It seems to live half-buried in the sand, with a sort of crown of tiny tentacles sticking out. During a recent partial water change it became dislodged and this revealed a small, short, sort of squiggly purple body, something like the leathery texture of a sea cucumber, but not as long. It soon covered itself again. The whole thing is maybe 1 cm long and more or less purple, with clear tiny tentacles that have whitish round ends on them. I have made a drawing of what it looks like to me: Sincerely,-Laura Butler <excellent drawing my dear, and if the "balls" on the end of the tentacles are accurate, then it is quite descriptive. It strikes me as being a Pseudocorynactis Corallimorph or kin. It is seemingly anemone like at any rate. A photograph would help me to confirm it if you can provide one. Kind regards, Anthony>

-Strange Polyp ID- Hey Guys, I just bought some plants for my Refugium. <Excellent> And my son pointed out something that looks like a polyp.  It is Rose color looks like a yellow polyp when retracted except it has a clear pink body. It has long tentacles that are conical shaped not flat like my Yellow Polyp, and they are not just on the edge when open, like a button.  Then it's behavior is very strange.  Like I said it was attached to a Caulerpa racemosa, so I took out the plant and placed it on a live rock and placed a small piece on the plant  so it would not float around.  The next morning it was gone.  Ah man it had floated away, I searched all over my 75 gal tank and found it under the little rock. <Wow, what luck!> So I turned the rock over because it was attached to the underside.  When I got home from work it was back under the rock.  So, I move the rock thinking the current was to much.  Two hours later it was back under the rock.  The LFS where it came from it was housed in a low lighted tank full of plant and algae.  Could it be just sensitive to the bright light of my tank? <Likely. I think we can definitely rule out the possibility of it being a any type of Zoanthid. It sounds to me like an Aiptasia, although Aiptasia are brown (could possibly be seen as pink under some circumstances I suppose). This critter is moving around fast enough to not be a polyp, and Aiptasia can definitely travel so I think that's what we have here. If you notice more and more, start nuking them (refer to the many pages of Aiptasia FAQ). If possible, get a picture, maybe I'm way off, but I doubt it. -Kevin> Or is this not a Polyp but an anemone? Thanks again, Kevin

Mushroom ID 6/30/04 Good morning,  I recently purchased a rock that houses two varieties of polyps and a rock anemone, but one of the other "inverts" I can not identify.  (I would have included a photo, but it is not in a "photo reachable" spot in the aquarium.)  There is just one of whatever it is.  It looks, if you can imagine, like the top of a single branch of a trumpet coral - fleshy and full - but just sticking out of the rock with no base (as a mushroom would).  It feels just like a trumpet coral, as well - soft and gushy.  If I touch it, it might shrink a little, but it does not close up.  It's color  is a neon red with a neon green center, and it's about 3/4 inch wide.  It's beautiful, and I've never seen anything close to it in appearance to help me identify it.  Any ideas???  I'm just really curious. Thanks so much, Bess <Hi Bess.  You have me stumped.  These kinds of ID's are very hard to make from a verbal description.  If it is possible to move the animal to a place to photo, that would be ideal.  Either way, please describe the following:  Does it have an internal skeleton?  Does it have obvious tentacles?  Are the tentacles only around the edges or distributed all across the surface?  When disturbed, does the animal pull back into itself or just sort of shrivel.  Even with all of the above inform, ID may not be certain.  Best Regards.  Adam>

Rock Anemone and Clownfish Question Hi,          I have Rock Anemone that have grown on my LR and are reproducing well. These Anemones appear to have come naturally on the LR. Most are brownish but others are a pretty pearl color but are all definitely the same type. How big do these Anemones get and could they host Clownfish or Damsels at all? <Mmm, could be true anemones (actinarians), but I'm guessing these are "coral anemones", aka Mushrooms... Please read through WetWebMedia.com re for identification and care> I want to get a couple clownfish but am unsure what kind of Anemone to get from my LFS due to the fact that I am unsure what kind of lighting I have. <Uhh, study here... you likely are not ready for this...> Under the lighting I have now I have several good patches of sponge coral, Featherdusters, and an unusual semi-hard coral that occasionally will turn white, grow and then becomes its normal fuzzy purplish color, all of the above came naturally upon the LR and are all doing well. <Due to your good water quality, husbandry> Aside from these I have three types of snails, a reef crab of some sort, and a spiny legged starfish that lives inside one of the LR. Thanks for reading and I hope to hear from you soon. Sincerely, Krista Mouw <Kita, do research here... your answers and more are archived on our site. Bob Fenner>  

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>

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

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>

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 'Shrooms 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>
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>

Unidentified Medusoids like swim-abouts Dear Bob I have recently discovered these tiny creatures in my marine tank, evidently they arrived on my live rock, and have as yet been unable to identify them. I was hoping you could perhaps shed some light on this mystery. The creatures in question are about 1 to 2 millimeters big. They look like little jellyfish. They have a round transparent top section with tentacles at the bottom and they swim all over the tank-during the day however they adhere to the glass-sticking to the glass with their tentacles. Any information would be appreciated. Thank you Jolene <This does sound like either some form of "jellyfish" or Hydrozoan... either juveniles or intermediate reproductive forms... Please see the link on the various Invertebrate group articles posted on our website: www.WetWebMedia.com for the "Hitchhikers FAQ" on the Net which may provide more specific identification... tentacular, aboral, Medusoids... yes scyphozoans or hydrozoans (maybe even Ctenophorans...). Bob Fenner>

Coral information/classifications  Hello! My name is Joe. I am interested in obtaining some assistance from you.  <Pleased to make your acquaintance Joe> I have read many of your articles and have heard nothing but great things about the research you do as well as your credibility in the industry. <A reputation that I'm very proud of... have endeavored to do my best> I am in the process of establishing a web site for my coral propagation business and my intention is to provide hobbyists with pertinent information.  <Very good> My desire is to provide a pictorial representation of each coral I am offering along with care instructions, background information on the coral (it's origins), and a breakdown of the species name (gender, phylum, class, etc).  I believe this will yield very positive results for the hobbyist. The majority of suppliers are simply selling their corals (mostly wild caught) with the common name and there is no accompanying information. Our customer can then make an educated decision on the corals that will mostly likely thrive in their tank. We also plan on purchasing propagated corals from various hobbyists and research foundations, propagate! tie them and give them credit on our web site for that particular coral (example - this coral came from Joe's tank or name that particular research foundation). <Lots of time, effort in building and maintaining such a site... I salute you> Of course in dealing with the foundations we will donate some of the proceeds to help them with their further research. I think it's a great idea to get others involved with our propagation business. I've spoken with some friends involved with this and they love the idea of being able to share their prized corals with others and have their names associated with it. While we are not looking to save the world by ourselves here, we feel that coral propagation is going to be our only alternative in the long term if we want the reefs of the world to survive. In the next few years serious restrictions may be enforced to protect the coral reefs from further destruction.  <Or even the casual, almost insignificant portion due to the ornamental industry> Also providing hobbyists with captive bred species we feel they will have better success with them as it is! known that most captive bred corals are much hardier than wild caught specimens.  <Absolutely in agreement> I thank you for your time in reading this email and I look forward to  hearing from you....  Joe Zamalkany, Jr.  Vice President  Reef Splendor Inc.  866-286-8220  Email Joe@reefsplendor.com  Website http://reefsplendor.com/  <I look forward to our further involvement and the growth of your business. Bob Fenner>

Coral common names  Bob, I'm working on a field guide book to the corals of Hawaii. They tell me that dive guides there really prefer common names for species. But I haven't found anything with the common names to most of the Hawaiian corals. Do you know of any standard lists of common names for corals used in the aquarium trade? Many thanks! -Doug <Good question. The hobby side adopted the names used in "A Practical Guide to Corals" by Borneman and Puterbaugh a few years back... but it doesn't cover many species... A few wholesaler's have added a few more names... see Walt Smith's pages: www.wsi.com and then there are many, many, too many synonyms... Hopefully you can help "straighten us (the hobby and business) out". Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Jelly-fish things I have seen jelly-fish like things in my 50 gallon reef tank. What can these possibly be? <Hmm, could be scyphozoans (jellyfish), salps (pelagic tunicates), many others... take a look over the www.WetWebMedia.com invertebrate sections. Bob Fenner>

Coral id... reference works High Praise Mr. Fenner, You are quite a knowledgeable man of the trade and I have enjoyed reading what you offer in the various sources related to WetWeb and FFExpress. <Thank you for your kind words> My reef has been up for about 5 months and is charging hard. I have been doing fish only salty setups since I was twelve (now 24) so reefs were the natural progression and it's wide open. I do tons of homework on the subject as I am sure you do.  <Good for us> My question is this... where can I find coral references in regards to all their likes and needs. <A couple of recent works are exemplary: Eric Borneman's "Aquarium Corals", and Dr. Veron's three volume, "Corals of the World"... you must have seen these> like a notes type situation on all the corals in the FFExpress repertoire. Maybe I should give you specifics. (was trying to keep this short for your sake) I will wait for a reply and if you are not too busy I will write again. Thanks in advance. <No need for brevity. Use the space to make known what you are trying to. No real "notes" per se available... but there are enough in-print references, magazine articles to "make your own" which is what I advise (it's about the only thing TO DO...). Be chatting. Bob Fenner> Best Regards, Brady p.s. any links to your setup(s)?? <Yikes, like a plumber with bunk faucets at home, you wouldn't be impressed with what we have here...>

What is this? Bob, My tank is only a few months old and now my live rock is beginning to blossom with life. The problem is I have no idea what some of it is (and won't until Santa brings me some books). The attached picture shows a cluster of dark red growths. They are about 1/8th inch in dia.,1/4th inch in length with a white tip, and 1/2 inch hairs on top as well. I would like to know what they are so I can learn more about them. Thanks for your expert help. Thom Walters <Hmm, some sort of Polypoid life... a big, important group in marine/reef keeping are the "stinging-celled animals" (corals, anemones, much more... this colony is some of this assemblage. Please read through this description: http://www.WetWebMedia.com/cnidaria.htm Bob Fenner>

Re: follow-up on new system questions Hi, how are you? I'm trying to study up on corals before I start stocking anything, but I ran into a taxonomy question that has me stumped. In Sprung's new book he divides all corals simply into hard and soft, but FFExpress and others have as separate categories: soft, polyps, mushrooms, and leathers. Another text (not sure which one) said that LPS & SPS are imprecise hobbyist terms that don't correspond to any real species or genera. So how's a beginner supposed to decode all these terms? <Size of polyps is indeed "misleading"... as a few of the now fifteen families of true/stony corals (Order Scleractinia) have both types in the same family... Think Jules is/was just doing something convenient in designating "corals" as hard/soft...> Is there a reference on your site or elsewhere you'd recommend?  <There is a rundown of the higher taxonomy of the cnidarians (the phylum of stinging-celled animals) placed on our principal site here: http://www.WetWebMedia.com/cnidaria.htm And much better ones in print in Fossa and Nilsen's "Modern Coral Reef Aquarium" v. 2, Robert Barnes six editions of "Invertebrate Zoology"... among others> I'm assuming that, as a novice, I should avoid aggressive/venomous corals as well as anemones and sea cucumbers; do you agree?  <Mmm, there's much more than this to consider... perhaps important to study a bit more, but not let this stall your initiation into actual set-up and stocking of more hardy, smaller colonies/species. Bob Fenner> Thanks and best wishes, Al Tribe

Freshwater tolerant Anemones and Corals Dear Sir, I am trying to find information on the above and in fact if they do exist -various publications have mentioned them with no further information etc... Can you assist Many thanks Andy Mawe <In scientific and hobbyist literature there are a few freshwater stinging-celled animals... small, transparent. None of interest to the trade. Bob Fenner>

Mystery Creatures/Macroalgae/Mysis! Dear Crew, <Scott F. here today> I've checked the 'hitchhiker' and other sites for this animal that appeared on some new live rock. I don't know if they are  polyps or an anemones. The center is hard (calcium?) from 4 to 6 mm. diameter surrounded by a number of 1 to 3 mm. points of hard material. Crystal clear, colorless tentacles about 7 to 10 mm. long emerge and detract from the periphery. At first I thought they were Aiptasia but they have no "neck" and the center portion does not retract when disturbed. I don't want any undesirable stuff in the refugium that could migrate to the rest of the system. Can you help? <Really hard to determine from here, especially without a picture, but I'll bet it's some kind of anemone-but don't hold me to that. Perhaps you could forward a pic that Anthony or Steve could review to help identify this animal They're working their collective butts off, along with Bob, on a new invertebrate book, and may have a good idea as to what these creatures might be!> By the way, the Gracilaria, Chaetomorpha, and Ulva are doing well but the Ochtodes (blue ball) disintegrated in a couple days. After only 3 weeks, the mysis are very plentiful and already feeding the show tank. <That's terrific!> Should I be feeding the mysis? They have lots of algae and some surplus food and detritus coming down from the show tank. Howard in Wisconsin <Yep- I'd let nature continue to do the job! Sounds like everything is going well. Keep up the good work!>

Oops a clarification on unknown life form email I noticed I messed up on the first picture I sent earlier today. Te branching structures are on the right, not the left...oopps. I only sent 1 picture this time, in case you already received the other email. I was wondering if someone could look at the attached pictures and see if they could identify the organism. In the first picture you can see the 'entire' organism, (that is, if it is one organism). What I am referring to is the red growth (reminds me of a lichen that you would find on a tree in the woods) and the small branching structures you can see to the RIGHT SIDE on the photo. <These are almost certainly an algae of some sort.> The second photo is of the red growth that is on the 'rock' (in this case actually a clam shell), I attached this one so you could see how the growth is flat along the surface (like a coralline algae would be) but, it grows 'edges' off of the surface around the perimeter. Any ideas? Thanks for your help! Ann <Might actually be a Blue Green Algae growth... you might take a closer look under a microscope or loupe. Bob Fenner>
Oops a clarification on unknown life form email Thank you for the lightning fast reply.  <Anthon Calfo with the follow-up> I don't think it's an algae but, I'll see if somehow I can check it out.  <I've seen the pic and agree, algae> The red surface actually 'peels' a clear film from time to time.  <hmmm... if true, the sloughing may indicate and animal> The branching structures are actually pretty small @ 2 cm or so and they are fuzzy. I was searching around the web today and I'm beginning to wonder if it is some type of encrusting Bryozoan.  <it doesn't look hard and you didn't mention a rough/stony/calcareous texture... I'm still banking on alga. Not clear from photo though... I'll trust your comparative eye. Do consult "Marine Plants of the Caribbean". It has many circumtropical algae and Bryozoan species Id.ed> Thanks for your time! Ann <best regards, Anthony>
Re: oops a clarification on unknown life form email Another speedy reply, you guys are great!  <we're bored and naked... what can I say. Er... that is to say... we're naked in the collective sense, not the literal group sense. We're strange... but we're not silly freaks> Hey, I decided to try to take another picture. This time with the lights out and I think it came out much better (why?...I don't know). <honestly still tough to tell my friend... but I do appreciate your attempts. If you were using your flash and took the picture at an angle, that's perhaps the best you can do with what you have> You can see the tannish/white branching structures. The red surface does slough off a clear film.  <are you looking for an ID on the two different organisms? The red species to the left does look like a red algae species. The tan branching specimen looks like a branching hydroid or perhaps a branching Hydrozoan> I will consult the cited book ASAP. Thanks again! Ann <excellent... best of luck, it s a great little book. Anthony>
Re: oops a clarification on unknown life form email Another speedy reply, you guys are great! Hey, I decided to try to take another picture. This time with the lights out and I think it came out much better (why?...I don't know). You can see the tannish/white branching structures. The red surface does slough off a clear film. I will consult the cited book ASAP. Thanks again! Ann <Ahh! This is starting to look more like a Hydroid of some sort... a group of the stinging celled animals, phylum Cnidaria... that includes corals, jellyfishes... Please see here: http://www.WetWebMedia.com/cnidaria.htm and on the Net with your search engines and the term: "hydroid" Bob Fenner>

Strange polyp classification I own a marine tank and some strange polyps started to grow on my heater about a month ago. I am doing an honors bio project on them and want to classify them. I have narrowed it down to either Scyphozoa or anthozoa classes. Here are their characteristics:   1.. white tube-like body with clear mesophyl layer surrounding it   2.. central body cavity with very fine tentacles surrounding the mouth of the cavity   3.. algae grows on them but they do not appear to be harmed   4.. about 1-1.5 cm long at most. Can be down to 2mm (appx.)   5.. sessile   6.. reproduction through budding Do you know what they are? <Mmm, no... but do agree as to their being cnidarians most likely> I have a friend with access to a lab and wish to section one. Do you know proper sectioning protocol or what stains are best for soft bodied invertebrate marine organisms? <In my day Hemolysin and Eosin were the dyes of choice... soaking, relaxing cnidarians in isotonic KCl (about 5% if memory serves) and then cooling to death (in a refrigerator)... embedding in paraffin and sectioning (in a microtome) at various thicknesses... Bob Fenner> Thank you for your help. From,
Brandon Pietras

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