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FAQs about Sea Cucumber Identification 3

Related Articles: Sea Cucumber, Marine Scavengers, Sand Sifters

Related FAQs: Cuke ID 1, Cuke ID 2, Cuke ID 4, Cuke ID 5, Cuke ID 6, Cuke ID 7, Cuke ID 8,  & Sea Cucumbers 1Sea Cucumbers 2 Cuke Behavior, Cuke Compatibility, Cuke Selection, Cuke Systems, Cuke Feeding, Cuke Disease, Cuke Reproduction,

Can any one tell me what kind of worm this is? -- 03/07/09 It came in with the sea lettuce from the Florida Keys. What do they eat? Is it possible they could eat seahorse fry? Thank you. Glen <Mmm, yes... is not a worm... but a sea cucumber... Euapta lappa... Not likely to eat fishes. See the Net re. Bob Fenner>

Anemone ID 2/5/09 Hi WWM Crew! <Hello Jessica> I've used your site many times to answer many of my questions, but have stumbled across an ID I couldn't make without writing in. I posted the pic on our reef club boards, Googled, and asked a LFS. So, now I get to bother you guys! Yay! This appears to be an anemone. It of course came in on live rock. It's diameter is about the size of a quarter. I haven't seen any pictures like it. It's tentacles actually look very similar to my pink cucumber, but clear. It even feeds the same way, inserting one tentacle at a time into it's mouth. It doesn't move from it's spot. Any idea what particular type this is? <Too small a pic to even see. Is only 4 to 5kb in size. Resize to 200-300kb and resend.> Pictures attached! Thanks for all that you do! <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Jessica

Re Anemone ID 2/5/09 I got overzealous in my cropping. Perhaps this is better? <Is better size wise, but too blurry for me to take a stab at identifying it. Bob may be able to. If it's not posted on the daily FAQ's tomorrow, then I'll get back with you. James (Salty Dog)> <<Does appear to be an Actinarian... Please see/read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/anempt2.htm RMF>>

Re: Anemone ID 2/5/09 Query 2/6/09
Hi Bob and James,
I was just going over the dailies and noticed the "Anemone ID 2/5/09"query. What's shown in the photo is the feeding apparatus of a rock dwelling Cuke/Dendrochirote Holothuroid. There's an excellent photo at the following link and a corresponding query titled "Anemone-Like Creature ID: Rock-Dwelling Cucumber -- 10/21/08" with other links included: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/NonVertID41.htm .
Hope that helps. The first time I saw one of those in my tank, I thought I had a tiny hitchhiking basket star! I didn't realize there was a cucumber attached. What's really neat though, is watching them feed. Each tentacle works independently. Once a passing bit of food is caught, it curls in on itself, brings the food into the mouth, then unfurls back into position. Very neat indeed!
Take care and have a great weekend,
<Thank you "eagle eye Lynn". BobF>

Re: Anemone ID 2/5/09 Query 2/6/09
Heheee! If I really had a good eagle eye, I'd have figured out what the thing was that looked like part anemone, part Cuke! I looked at the photos yesterday when the query came in and decided...yep, that one's for Bob! I'm so nice, aren't I! To me, it looked like a Cuke and an anemone got together and had one heck of an ugly kid!
<A ha!>
Take care and have a great weekend,
<I'm leaving for Lost Wages, uhhhhuuuuhhhh uhhuh.... To give a pitch. BobF>
Lucky you! It should be nice there this time of year - have fun!
<Thanks hon. Take care! B>

Re: More: re: Anemone ID 2/6/09
Thank you Bob, and I understand you are a celebrity now from what I've been reading.
How is your singing talent? May be much more money to be made.
<Both about zip! BobF>

Anemone-Like Creature ID: Rock-Dwelling Cucumber -- 10/21/08 Hello, <Hi John> I have a quick question on a creature that I have residing in my tank. It looks like the top of a cucumber but has no body that I can see. <You hit the nail on the head! What you're seeing is the pretty little feeding apparatus of a rock-dwelling Dendrochirote Holothuroid/sea cucumber. The rest of the body is hidden within the rockwork. By the way, nice photo!> It does not seem to change positions in the tank, <Typical. They tend to find a crevice or hole and stay there.> ..and doesn't seem to have harmed anything so far. <Nope, they're harmless suspension feeders.> It will spread out it's "branches" and collect particulate out of the water column, when it catches something it will put the "branch" in its mouth and "lick" it clean. <Terrific observations. That's exactly what it looks like. When one of the tentacles captures a bit of food, it curls inward, bringing the food to the mouth; when through, the tentacle unfurls back into position.> I have tried to find information on this, but have had little luck. <Try this link, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cukeidfaqs.htm - starting at the query 'Odd Invert With Eight Tree Branch Shaped Tentacles! Holothuroid 8/21/07', and continue on to the one just below it titled 'Anemone Id? Nope, It's A Cuke! 8/10/07'. Be sure to also look through the related links at the top of the page.> Thank you for your help and time. <My pleasure, John.> Sincerely,
<Take care, -Lynn>

Re: Anemone-Like Creature ID: Rock-Dwelling Cucumber -- 10/22/08 Hello again, <Hi John!> I just wanted to say thank you very much to Lynn for the quick response on the identification. <You're very welcome. It's always a pleasure to share information regarding such neat little creatures. It's especially nice to share it with someone as observant as you are!> Also the links you suggested were very informative and helpful. <Excellent!> Sincerely, John <Take care, -Lynn>

New Accidental Familial Addition    8/8/08 Hi, <PS> My partner and I just ordered some macro algae for our aquarium and when we got it we found the little guy in the attached picture (sorry for the crappy quality) roaming through it. We think he's an impatiens sea cucumber (Holothuria impatiens) but we're not sure which is why we're writing; <Might be...> we don't want to doom him/her to a life of hardship by turning him over to our LFS but at the same time we also don't want him taking down our whole aquarium as Sea Cucumbers are known to do. <Mmm, not this one> Well some of them are known to do. Some of them, we've read, can be quite beneficial and are nonpoisonous. If we got the species right, we read that this little guy can be either poisonous or not poisonous. <Generally not this one> Yeah we had the same thought: which is and how do we tell? That's where your knowledge; expertise and serious kindness come in. <Mmm, how do you tell... from gross dissection of specimens, accumulated anecdotal accounts... seeing a bunch in friends aquaculture facilities out here in Hawaii...> Any ideas on what the species is if it isn't an impatiens? <Not from this pic, no> If we did get it right, is there a way we can tell if he's poisonous? When we got the algae we noticed that right near him there was a huge glob of yellow sticky mucous looking stuff (it looked like some of it was still slightly coming out). We put two and two together from our reading and determined that this mucky looking stuff was probably the tubules that the species is known to expel (this particular species, assuming we got it right, doesn't eviscerate like regular sea apples and some other species of cucumbers). We read that the tubules from the impatiens can contain Holothurin (but not always) so we cleaned that out before we put the macro algae in the aquarium because we didn't want to lose any of our fish. <Mmm... I would not be overly concerned... if this system is large, well-established, well filtered... should be little actual potential poisoning from this animal> Right now he's in our little refugium which is isolated from the hermit crabs and fish that might pick on him and cause him to hit critical mass and nuke our tank. If we can keep him to give him a good life, we'd like to but again we don't want him killing everything else (or even just our fish) in the aquarium. If you think keepage is a possibility, we'll research on food stuffs that he likes to eat and set him up with a little sandy refuge permanently as our other inhabitants might not be so keen on leaving him be (we've a couple of starfish, some hermit crabs that are of particular worry and our two clown fish tend to be masters of the tank and push the other inhabitants around a little bit). Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. D <Were it me, mine, I'd keep, enjoy this animal. Cheers! Bob Fenner>

Re: New Accidental Familial Addition   8/9/08 Hi Bob; <D> Thank you so much for your reply. I apologize for the quality of the photograph; it was hard getting the contrast right because h/s is dark and was sitting against a dark backdrop of macro algae. I'll try to describe h/h in a little more detail (for the readers h/s = he/she and h/h = him/her): h/s is a dark molasses colour with largish white spots that run along the length of his body. He speckled with tiny white dots. When we first spotted h/h the spots were flat and he was drawn up to about an inch in length. Once h/s was in the water, turned out the spots were spiny protrusions (the speckles I think were tube feet). He tapers at one end (I'm assuming this is the anal end because it was the end that the ejection was protruding from) and at the other end are his gill/feeding apparatus which he opens and closes as described in much of our reading by extending finger like protrusions and then curling them back in towards him 'mouth'. Hopefully that will give you a better picture. Again, we searched through hundreds of pictures of cucumbers on the internet and the H. Impatiens is the closest species we could find that looked like him. Hope this helps. <A good description... and this species is a frequent hitchhiker on algae culture purchases> Our aquarium is a two year old 45 gallon bow front with about 40 pounds of live rock and about a three inch sand bed. We've got two giant pieces of dead coral that make up little hidey holes for our various residents. We've a Fluval 405 filter <Do make sure the intake screen is in place... and that rock is piled about this to prevent this, other benthic invertebrates of size being sucked up against> with two containers of ceramic pre-filter; two containers of activated carbon, one container of contaminate removal resin (bagged), two containers of poly fine filter media, and two containers of porous bacteria filter media. We have an Aqua-C remora protein skimmer <The intake to this too> and an in-line heater. Our main power head is a magnetic driven type power head that has the drive apparatus on the outside of the tank with nothing but impeller on the inside attached magnetically. <Ditto> The impeller intake is grated and runs the entire length of the of the housing but it is not a fine grating and the output is open, but it moves water all around the entire tank so it's pretty powerful. We test PH and salinity twice daily with the former sitting 8.2-8.3 and the salinity at 1.026. Temp stays at a balmy 78 degrees, <All good> although here in San Francisco we do have a few hot days where it gets harder to maintain the consistent temperature and it has at times risen to 80 to 82. <No worries> Those days are rare and we try to keep an eye on the weather and if it does feel like it's getting warm we use a fan to evaporatively cool the water. This usually works well and the temp usually only fluctuates a degree or so. We do ten percent water changes twice per week (we make our own salt and fresh water from deionized tap water using an adjuster to set the PH for the fresh water and aeration balancing for the saltwater). <Very good> The Fluval is cleaned and thoroughly washed once per week (the bio media is washed in fresh saltwater). We test all of our parameters once a month and at the last testing about a week ago Ammonia, nitrites and copper were at zero, phosphates were at 5 ppm (we've isolated the cause of this and have taken corrective actions), nitrates were at 20 PPM, calcium was at 340 ppm and the GH is 7 degrees. Our inhabitants include two maroon clown fish, about eight hermit crabs, three zebra turbo snails, a cowry, a hatpin and pencil urchin, a chocolate chip starfish, a strawberry and Mithrax crab, two cleaner shrimp, a blood shrimp and two fighting conchs. All are happy healthy and living it up at Chez Aquarium. <Heeee!> So do you think we'll be able to keep him? Many thanks for your help and advice. D <I do think... you are! Cheers, BobF>

Medusa? --nope, sea cucumber ID-05/14/08 Hello guys and gals, I have a quick question for you. . . Is this a Medusa worm? <nope> I have two of them to my knowledge. I have searched and this sure sounds like a medusa from what I've read, but I haven't seen any pics that actually look like this. These things came with a little substrate I got from the LFS to seed my tank with. They can contract to about .5" and they actually will look like a peanut when all shriveled up, but they can get about 2-3 inches long when expanded. There are little tentacle things that are radically oriented in the mouth. The tentacles are constantly feeling around for food and help the thing to move around. Each tentacle also has smaller tentacles on it. <'Tis a sea cucumber. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seacukes.htm> I found them when I dumped the substrate in, but I have them isolated outside of the tank right now. I've read bad things about medusa worms and sea cucumbers in tanks etc, so I'm not sure if I should allow these to be in the tank. I have a 90 gallon fish/reef tank with a 20 gallon sump and an AquaC urchin skimmer. (I know, the skimmer is undersized, but the bigger one wouldn't fit in the sump under the tank!) <Congrats... they are cool critters. Enjoy!> Great site, and thanks for the help! Scott S. Heck <De nada, Sara M.>
Sea Cucumber--good idea? bad idea? 05/14/08 Very cool, thanks for answering what these things are! Can you tell me how large these particular ones get? I assume there is still a decent amount of risk as far as something making them mad and poisoning my tank? I'm a little wary of putting them in after reading about them on your site! <Oh, sorry about that. That article is more about the bigger cucumbers that might be sold as pets. These little ones that come in as hitch hikers aren't likely much of a threat. I wouldn't worry about them. There are probably more in your tank anyway (you might never even find them!). If you're really worried, just run some extra activated carbon.> Thanks again! Scott S. Heck <Best, Sara M.> Re: Sea Cucumber--good idea? bad idea? 05/14/08 Sweet, in they go! Thanks again! Scott S. Heck
Hitchhiker ID - some kind of cucumber   2/27/08 WetWebMedia Crew- First off thanks for your work on the site. It has been an invaluable resource to me for the past 5 years and without it I would never have been able to start the successful reef tank I have today. I also bought a copy of Bob Fenner's book which I loan out regularly to potential new reefers. <"They call him the pusher..." Heeeee!> I have about 50 lbs of mixed South Pacific live rock in my 30 gallon tank with a 1 inch layer of sand. My tank has been running for 1 year and 8 months. While siphoning I accidentally discovered an interesting hitchhiker which is undoubtedly a Cucumber of some sort. I was hoping you might be able to help me identify it. The picture is attached. <Mmm, is definitely a Cuke... Most reminds me of a Holothuria edulis...> It's transparent with a slightly iridescent purple hue. I've accidentally dug it up twice while siphoning, but otherwise is never visible above the sand. I've "found" it twice and it's definitely grown a bit since I last saw it. WetWebMedia supporter, Wellington Lee <I do think it's a "keeper"... and testimony to your good care of the system. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Please ID this Slug... Cuke  01/18/2008 Dear Crew, <<Hello Andrew, Andrew here>> I've just started curing live rock and this (see photo) crawled out, should I be worried? <<That is a Stichopus chloronotus, or more commonly known as a sea cucumber. More information can be found here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seacukes.htm >> I know that there are slugs and worms that live exclusively on corals, and as I plan on putting corals in this tank I am anxious. Also, I'm using a Red Sea Prizm skimmer, and was wondering how I tune it. <<These are a "VERY" temperamental skimmer indeed. Its just a matter of adjusting the water value. Not the best of skimmers really and I would look to consider an upgrade in the near future>> I know there is valve on it that restricts water flow, but I'm not sure what kind of skimmate (I think that's what it's called) I should be aiming for. At the moment, the skimmer is running on maximum flow rate, and is churning out a foggy water-ish skimmate, should I be aiming for a think sludge, or froth? <<Running correctly, you should end up with dark brown/green sludge in the collection chamber>> I've tried researching this, and all I've found was that this skimmer requires daily attention. Please excuse my ignorance, as this is my first attempt at a marine tank. I appreciate any help you can give me, Andrew <<Thanks for the questions, A Nixon>>

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