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FAQs about Non-Vertebrate Animals 2

Related Articles: Marine Invertebrates, Quarantine of Corals and Invertebrates, Feeding Reef Invertebrates, Lighting Marine Invertebrates, Water Flow, How Much is Enough,

Related FAQs: Marine Invert.s 1, Marine Invert.s 3, & FAQs about: Non-Vert IDs 1, Non-Vert IDs 2, Non-Vert IDs 3, ... Marine Invertebrate Behavior, Marine Invertebrate Compatibility, Marine Invertebrate Selection, Marine Invertebrate Systems, Feeding Reef Invertebrates, Marine Invertebrate Disease, Marine Invertebrate Reproduction& Marine Plankton

Periclimenes imperator on a sea cucumber.

Identification of strange inhabitants Hi Since you were so wonderfully helpful with my surface film problem on my marine aquarium I hoped you might be able to advise me on the identification of two inhabitants of my tank. (ps I have a 40G marine tank with 20Kg of live rock, a yellow tang, 2 regal tangs, 2 percula clowns, a mandarin blenny, a scooter blenny and a chalk goby. ) The first I am a little worried is a 'glass anemone' as I think from my readings that this is not a good guest for the aquarium and should be removed. <It is. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/aiptasia/aiptasia.htm and the FAQs files beyond> The second I have no ideas about but might be interesting, by the way its the small purple round bit in the middle of the picture. it is about an inch across and a 1/4 of an inch high <Neat. Appears to be a small sponge colony. No worries. Bob Fenner> Darren

Help! I Got Bristle Worms, Triffid Anemones & Blue Blobs color with a sheen and a paddle like tale.  At first I was frightened, thinking about the fact that I had my hands all over those rocks!!  Then I began thinking that this is just another show of good stuff going on with my tank.  I grabbed my trusty Marine Aquarium Problem Solver book and began trying to ID these guys.  Well, under the "Invert Pest" section I learned about Bristle Worms.  They described a trap to get them out. <Mmm, that's one method... if you consider them worth extracting. Please see here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bristlewrmfaqs.htm and the linked FAQs files beyond (in blue, at top). Bob Fenner>

Centipede like creature Hello! I have 75 gallon reef tank (mainly soft corals, 3-serpant stars, 2- tangs, 2- cleaner shrimp and several hermit & snails) running since April. I have notice a pink/orange centipede like creature that only comes out at when the lights go off. I have been only able to view it when I surprise it late at night with a flashlight.  I only view it for a few seconds and it quickly disappears into the rock. However, It appears to several inches long-( 6-7 inches) What do you think it is?  Is it harmful to the other inhabitants or my coralline algae?  - Thanks Ron <Mmm, this is likely a "bristleworm" (errantiate polychaete annelid)... and getting to be a bit too big for my liking. Please read here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/polychaetes.htm and onto the linked FAQs files (at top, in blue) re formulating a plan for its removal. It won't eat your coralline algae, but may be too much of a consumer of other beneficial life in your system. Bob Fenner>

Livestock Selection; gauging invertebrate metabolism contributions Hi Bob, I've been reading through your articles and FAQs about selecting and stocking aquariums.  I've come up with a question that others have asked, but I'm not exactly sure of your answer.  I've read that you believe in adding the "clean up crew" first.  I have no problem with this, I'm actually starting to like shrimp and crabs a lot.  Based on the articles on your site, in my 125 gallon tank, I can put 25 - 50 inches (depended on who was answering the email questions) of fish in the tank.  I've already added 4 scarlet reef hermit crabs (.5" - .75" each), 10 turbo/Astrea (mixture) snails, and one coral banded shrimp (~ 2 ").  I originally planned this to be a fish only tank, so I have no live rock, but did add some so-called Living Sand to help with cycling.  I had several Damsels in the tank for cycling, but have lost all of them.  Do you factor in the size of the inverts the same as the fish, or does it not matter as much.   <I do figure it in, but at a fraction of the metabolic load, consequence of fishes... like half> I really wanted a porcupinefish, and given that they can grow to a good size, I don't want that to be the only fish in the tank ( along with the inverts).  I also wanted a couple of Black Percula Clowns (mated pair at LFS), a blue or yellow tang or both, and a yellow tailed Damsel.  I know I need to keep the tank under-stocked, I'm just worried that the inverts will take up all of the space.  Any help would be appreciated, and thanks for all the good info on your website! <I would leave the puffer out here... too large, likely to eat much of your invertebrate, and fish life... and consider adding at least some (a few pounds) of live rock. This really helps to keep systems stable, animals fed and happy. Bob Fenner> Vince

The name game: Invert IDs Bob, Since you did such a great job identifying my Linckia multifora I thought I would pick your brain again in the" name that thing in the aquarium" game. <Anthony Calfo picks up the loose ball and runs with it... he's down to the 40... the 30... the 20...> The first in picture 0041, there are several of these little white football shaped pod looking things in my tank. This one is attached to the stalk of my frog spawn, any idea what it is?   <A red algae (several genera possible)... he's down to the 10... the 5...> The second in picture 0002, is this animal vegetable or mineral? <a Syconoid sponge... he's down to the 3... the one yard line!... but wait, what's that?... he spots the beer man... he's running off the field... he's jumped into the crowd of fans...Ohhhh, almost... no wallet in the uniform. Beerless again> I hate to keep bugging you with these things, but do appreciate the knowledge I'm acquiring. Thanks Robert <and we are glad to share it... however strangely it is delivered. Anthony>

Microscopic creatures on my aquarium glass Hello, I have a salt water tank with live sand and rock.  I recently stirred my sand and now I have microscopic creatures on my aquarium glass.  Less today than yesterday when I stirred the sand.  Do you have any idea what these are? <Many possibilities... if crustaceous, perhaps common amphipods or copepods. All very helpful to water quality/ecology and also quite nutritious for fishes and corals. Best regards, Anthony>

Re: mystery growth and bio-wheel Greetings and Happy Holidays! <And to you and yours> I have had some odd looking things growing  in shaded spots in my 55g FOWLR tank for the past couple months, and while livestock appears to be doing great and water parameters are as close to perfect as I could hope I am still stressing over what/how/why these things are in my tank. I usually see these things on my BioWheels or in the bottom of my skimmer at no more than 1/4" long, but after taking my Emperor 400 out for a cleaning I found ones almost an inch long in the filter insert area. Sorry about the poor quality pics, but its all my crappy digital camera would do. I run some cut to size mechanical filter padding in the emperor so I am thinking these aren't uneaten Mysis or other uneaten food products, but of course I may be wrong. I have noticed a good amount of baby Astrea snails and Mysis that come from nowhere and quickly get consumed...for what that's worth. heh <Don't think those organisms are involved with these. These appear to me to be either some sort of slug (Opisthobranch gastropod mollusk), or Sipunculid, peanut worms. Not a problem.> A semi-related question: This tank has been up and running for 5 months. Month 4 saw nitrates drop from 10 to 5ppm and month 5 saw nitrates go from 5 to undetectable. I removed a BioWheel at the beginning of month 4 and was planning on leaving the other in until my planned refugium was up and running for at least a month. Refugium will not be within the budget for another couple months so in the meantime I would like to replace the infested bio-wheel (re: included pics) with a fresh one. Well actually add a new one and wait a couple weeks before removing the old one. Probably will be answered in my earlier question, but what do you think? <I would just leave the "infested one" on. The animals pictured are not a danger. More beneficial than harmful. Bob Fenner> Thanks a lot WWM!

White Creatures in Sump <Greetings, Joe, JasonC here...> I have noticed white creatures in my sump and overflow.  There are roughly three shapes they take.  Small rough white objects that adhere to the walls, heaters and pumps in the sump.  The second is flat and tube shaped which occurs along with the first and finally the third is much larger.  It is white and round about the size of a pea and often cone shaped that lives in the overflow mostly but is also seen on the floor of the sump.  They are somewhat of a pest seeing as how they often grow over the inlets of my pumps reducing the flow. <Ahh... I can see why they might be a pest to you, but I can assure you, they are for the most part harmless and a sign of a healthy system. Even if these didn't occur in your system, in time other organic matter would be clogging the plumbing so... it comes with the territory as they say.> I can remove they with a razor on the harder surfaces but with the plastic components I soak the object in hot fresh water and scrub, occasionally I must use a bit of bleach to soften them. <Well... if they are on pieces you can remove for cleaning, try some vinegar next time - they are calcium based and should come right off next time.> I searched around your site and through my books and have found no mention of them.  I am assuming they are from my live rock along with all the other life forms I have noticed over the last 18 months growing. <A safe assumption.> If you can be of help and let me know what they are or could point me in a another direction I would be appreciative. <They are just various types of tube worms and snails. Really not a big deal.> Your site has been of enormous help throughout my fish keeping hobby and I would like to thank you.  I have almost given up a few times until the info on your site gave me the knowledge and courage to try and it has brought great results.  Thank you once again.. Sincerely, Joseph M Howell <Cheers, J -- >

Invert problems... Poisoned Starfish & Snails? I have a 300g system set up as follows: natural seawater,55g sump with chiller, skimmers, return pumps,55g refugium with red mangroves, Caulerpa, sea lettuce, various algae. I have 3 175w 5500k halides supplemented with VHO actinics that are all vented. I have tested nitrites, nitrates, ph, calcium, magnesium, iodide, iodine, strontium, and my alkalinity. The water fluctuates between 77 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Now here's the problem, just in the past day I noticed that all my brittle stars and my nudibranchs have become immobile. They are not dead just stopped moving. Everything else fish and inverts are fine. All the hermits, cukes, other starfish, and all fish are fine and show no signs of any kind of duress or any other types of abnormal behavior. This is the first time I have ever had this happen and was just wondering if anyone else has or might have any suggestions. PS=Tank has been up for bout year and half all was fine till yesterday. Thanks Bill Huggins <the symptom of sudden starfish immobility is actually rather common (snails too... have you checked your shelled snails? Turbo and Astraea species and the like). It almost always coincides a large water change and often with a new sea salt. Sometimes the change, increase or addition of a new supplement does the same (Magnesium and other metals rank high for OD potential). Osmotic shock is also a candidate... as with adding a large amount of freshwater after a period of slight neglect of evap top off. I'm also somewhat disturbed about you comment "all my nudibranchs"?! I really hope that you've misused this term and mean some other shelled snails. The are very few nudibranchs that can realistically and responsibly be kept in captivity. Most of the "bad guys" will starve to death in a matter of months (and many are toxic by the way... hmmmm?). The few suitable species graze nuisance algae (Derbesia, Bryopsis, etc) and unless you have a hair algae farm in your tank... they will die too. Please tell me that you didn't mean to say "nudibranch", my friend... or we may have another dimension to your tanks ailment. Else, do consider new sea salt, large water change and salinity shock. Best regards, Anthony

Little White Creatures Hi to all wetweb crew...hope yo u all are fine.... <Yes! Scott F. here today> I have some problem here. I just bought a powder blue tang 2 weeks ago and he is dead now. my problem is when I woke up this morning he was dead and I saw a lots of small little white spot all over the tank surface. Is the thing that caused my powder blue to die? <Possibly, but- these may be some form of planarian or other organisms, perhaps even plankton, which are generally harmless.  Almost impossible to determine from here, unfortunately. You need to do a little research on the wetwebmedia.com site to confirm what these creatures might be.> If they are dangerous, how do I kill them? Because there are lots of them...The things came when I just put in some new liverock that I picked from the beach. Is the liverock what caused those white animals to grow in my tank? Pls help me there. thanks...see u then.. <Well- there is a good chance these creatures are some type of parasite- really hard to determine from here. Picking up live rock off of the beach was probably not a good move. What you may need to do is remove your livestock from the tank for some period of time for safety, execute water changes-generally re-assess your husbandry techniques (like water changes, etc.). Check water parameters- pH, alkalinity, nitrate, etc., etc. You need to find out what is causing these creatures to proliferate. Keep an eye on things, and let us know if we can help you further. Good luck Regards, Scott F.>

Invert ID... not much to go on here. Fun anyway :) Hi all Can you tell me what the black colored spheres are that have popped up on one of my rocks? There have only been a few polyps on it for months and now these things have appeared out of nowhere. Thanks <black spheres...hmmm... that's the best description yo can give, huh? <G>. OK... here goes my list of guesses in order of increasing likelihood for identification of the mystery objects: plastic buttons, Raisonettes, non-pareils (if spotted), dingle berries (do you own a bunny and does it sit atop the tank?), eyes staring back at you from a tear in the fabric of time... and... an encrusting sponge. In that order. Thanks for asking. Best regards, Anthony>

Creature ID<Bobster... a WWM query has requested your input/perspective on a creature ID<<Okay>> (third e-mail) nope...not a cop....just a new reef person who has found something in this tank that he has seen in LFS tanks and figured Anthony would know what they are...but i obviously have stumped the expert... <Heehee... stumped the experts? I am neither (stumped nor an expert<G>). Please understand, bud... from our position having seen thousands upon thousands of invertebrates in our collective decades of WWM crew experience... your description of "black colored spheres" is about as generic as a description can get. Without a picture of any more information... the field has been narrowed down to a few hundred creatures... maybe more. Doh!> these are  glossy black and smooth...they don't have tentacles, polyps or mucus, hair or pores...they don't change shape except to get larger...nothing eats them....they don't respond to anything. they just sit there on the rock... <Okey-dokey... I'm going to suggest you browse through 'Net images of encrusting sponges or colonial tunicates. Use a magnifying glass if possible to search for any visible structures on the surface (inhalant or excurrent siphons/pores, etc)> now as far as being a good story teller...i prefer the readers digest type stories... <OK> i tell the parts that are important to the story...had the spheres had any of the above mentioned items i most likely would have included that in the story...but  alas....they are just little 3/8 in. black spheres that appeared out of nowhere and do nothing... <maybe they are politicians> or at least i hope they do nothing seeing as how Anthony cant tell me what they are....maybe we should pass this on to bob... <will do so 'fer sure... we both need schooled here> I'll bet he knows  <G> (hope you can take a little good natured ribbing too) <absolutely! And please do proffer a photo if/when possible. Could clear all up right quickly. Best regards, Anthony>

Critter ID's Hello there Quick question for you. I purchased a bunch of blue legged hermits, Clibanarius tricolor. The little guys make short work of brown algae. Also coming with my crabs were 3 larger crabs. I haven't been able to find a picture of them anywhere at all, and am not sure what species it is. They are voraciously eating at the algae in my tank as well. Two have completely cleared a 5 lb piece of rock on their own in 5 hours. Anyway, this is their description. I am hoping you can ID them for me. Candy-apple red antennae, bluish-green mouth antennae with red tips [the pair of short legs right under their eyes that are constantly moving [sorry for my ignorance of the anatomy of these creatures]), rust colored legs (the hairs growing on the legs are reddish) with a lot of green flecks/dots. Gives the legs an almost bluish appearance with a red outline. The joints on the legs have a small bit of red. The claws are of even size and are tipped red, with the rest of them being the same color as their legs. They aren't large at all, the max width of their legs while they are moving around is probably 2 cm.   <Please take a look here for pictures http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/crabs/hermitcrabs.htm> The other creature I am unsure of are the snails. He had them in his reef tank with other crabs and snails and said they've never bothered anything in his tank except algae. He called them "pyramid" snails, and said they were not Astrea types. They have shells that spiral up and slightly to the right. The shells have black markings on a greenish background, and the very tip of all the shells look like they are plated with mother of pearl. Most noticeable is the coloration on their bodies. They look almost like they have zooxanthellae in their flesh, as their mouthpart and food are a dark color with bright, neon green markings. Very pretty. I should add they too are extremely effective and clearing out algae. They crawl right over some of my small sponges, sucking the algae off but leaving the sponge intact.   <And here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/gastropo.htm Also, the Baensch's Atlases are very good for ID'ing many creatures.> Thank you so much, whomever answers my questions!  Sincerely, Robert <Best of luck to you in your search! -Steven Pro>

Mystery Hitchhiker Hello All! <Scott F. here tonight> Just wondering if you could help identify a newly discovered hitchhiker. <Will try> I bought some live rock the other day (LFS), one of the pieces happened to be a nice piece of white coral. It had some very good coralline (sp?) on it and weight practically nothing, so I said sure throw it in too. Now the question: I noticed a tiny little grey spot on one of the coral branches. It has a similar shape/pattern of a starfish, grey to blue in color with white surrounding its shape, all in all about the size (diameter) of a pencil eraser. My first thought was wow, cool I have a spot that looks like a starfish on my coral. But today IT MOVED! :-)  WOW, IT'S ALIVE! and slowly moving around the coral branches...Any thoughts on what this might be? <Wow- really tough to determine from just a description...If it looks like a starfish, acts like a starfish, and moves like a starfish, it could be...anything! Really- can be any type of starfish...probably harmless- possibly predatory...Best bet would be to send a pic so that we could attempt to make a visual identification of the creature.> >I've started posting the web address in the news groups when someone asks a question and they get some silly answers. I tell them to check this site out because you guys are experts and willing to help out a newbie! <We are all still learning in this hobby! Sorry I couldn't be more specific on this ID- do try to send a pic if you can and we'll do our best to ID it!> Thanks again for all your help. Daver <Thanks to you for sharing with us! We'll chat soon!  Regards, Scott F.>

Re: small clear shrimp like creatures in gravel I've been all through your site but haven't found a direct answer. For several months now I noticed small, clear, shrimp like creatures, about 1/4 inch long, in my gravel, (crushed coral). They don't seem to do anything except dart around in the gravel and don't ever leave the gravel. What are they and should I be concerned? Thanks <No worries Gary. These are as you say some sort of crustacean. Can you make out the arrangement of their legs? Likely an amphipod species. Bob Fenner>

Do crabs and snails need air? Do regular or hermit crabs require air, or can they stay fully submerged in water all the time? <There is more than one kind of hermit crab...some are mostly land based and need lots of air while others are ocean dwellers that can do fine without air. The ones like pet stores sell in the little terrariums need air and will die if fully submerged all the time> Snails? <The same can be said for snails...>

Re: eggs I have seen many egg like sacs on my glass. they look like an elongated sac with a small crown around the top they grow to about a quarter of an inch in length. I have not seen any thing lay these pouches. I have some snail that lay eggs but nothing like this. The ones on the glass also seem to attach by a root system or shoot. They do not alter their appearance at any time. I am assuming this is a stage of development, but have not seen what this is.  Can you help me? Thank you <Whatever these are they are likely deposited at night when you aren't watching. It is difficult if not impossible to identify most of these critters and eggs without a photo, and sometimes even then. Not to worry, they are unlikely to be anything harmful, but add to the wonder and enjoyment of our indoor ecosystems.  Craig>  

Sandbed Critters In a past Aquarium Fish Magazine article mention was made that there are kits available to replenish the critters that live in the live sand bed.  The article stated that this could or should be done once or twice per year. I have searched the web high and low for any type of kit. Do you know of any supplier for these kits? <Lots of them! For starters try IPSF.com (Indo-Pacific Sea Farms) and InlandAquatics.com: Then check the etailer links at Wetwebmedia.com. Have fun searching!> Thanks, Gordon <You're welcome! David Dowless>

Re: Treatment Questions My comments about the information database... yes that's what I meant...in that I have received sooo much information from reading your FAQ sections and hearing other people's stories. <Yep! Tons of information in the database!> One last question before I leave you alone.  Is it true that invertebrates don't get bacterial infections??  Do I separate my shrimp and crabs from the main tank as well??? <Good question. I believe that invertebrates can get infections, however, I have left these animals in "fallow" tank situations and still had good results...This area still needs more investigation, IMO!> Hmmm, my mandarin goby needs the live rock to survive right?  Is it a good idea separating him too? <I would. However, you can target feed him Mysis or other foods in the isolation tank, usually with no problems.. Best of luck to you on your efforts. I think everything is gonna be fine for your fishes; just be patient and "stay the course", okay? Regards, Scott F.>

New Reef Invertebrates Book shipping info and sample Dear crew: Just wondering is the new book coming out at march 2003 including any topic such as breeding of invertebrates? <yes my friend... an entire chapter in fact> And how much for shipping to Canada, I live in Calgary, AB, postal code T3K 4L7 Eric <if you want a copy signed by all three authors, it can be pre-ordered for $40 USD ($32 domestic) from the website. Disregard the domestic price... we charge manually and will apply the extra fee for postage when we process your order. We also have a sample chapter posted now at: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BookMatters/WWM/NMA-RI/NMA-RI_Tridacnids-demo.pdf Order information here: http://wetwebfotos.com/store/nma-ri.html with kind regards, Anthony>

Metronidazole & Inverts Hello, I have a 65 gallon fish/invert set up with a miracle mud sump, couple of powerhead/sponge prefilters, a magnum 350 canister filter, and live sand/rock. I currently have a smoldering case of ich or similar (small white spots on the fins). <It sounds like Ich.> The fish don't seem bothered and continue to eat and behave normal. The water quality has remained stable for some time (tank set up almost 18 months) with a temp of 81, sg of 1.023, nitrite 0, nitrate 10-20. The inverts are three species of starfish and many hermit crabs along with everything in the liverock and in the teeming sump. I know that copper is the gold standard for ich cure and I have used it before. <Always best done in a separate quarantine/hospital tank, never in the main display.> However, I was wondering if Metronidazole is at all effective in the treatment of ich? <It is/was the active ingredient in Tetra's medicated food for the treatment of parasites. It was supposed to be a fairly effective product, but I believe it is no longer available.> And more importantly, what does it do to inverts like mine? <I do not know if it is safe when dosing into the tank. If you made your own medicated food, you should be ok.> Also, would you recommend dropping the salinity with starfish on board? <No lower than 1.020. Anything lower than that would make me nervous.> I know they can be sensitive to that. <Yes, both the low salinity and any abrupt changes.> Finally, in addition to the obvious environmental manipulations and in lieu of copper, do you have any other suggestions? <Removal and treatment in a separate tank would be the most effective and safest solution. Please see www.WetWebMedia.com regarding parasite treatment and quarantine tanks.> Thanks for your help, Steve Thornton MD <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Strange white stuff Hey WWM. <Hey Simon> I have noticed a strange patchy white substance in my 55 gal reef. I don't think it's fungus (well infectious fungus), as it's not growing on anything but the bare rock. It appears like a translucent slime, and I swear it has tiny filaments waving in the water. The patch(es) is getting closer to my Cynarina, should I worry? Maybe I'll move the coral just in case. Thanx as always Simon L. <please send a good digital image of the growth when you can... not sure from the general description if it is incidental, parasitic or other. Kindly, Anthony>

Reef tank frustration (alkalinity, env. disease, invert.s...) Dear Bob, <cheers, love... Anthony Calfo in your service> I hope you can help me with this one. Actually I'm embarrassed to even be asking for help as I am by trade a professional aquarist, working for an aquarium service company for over 15 years, with 4 years prior experience in general fishkeeping before that.  <no worries at all... impossible to be an expert on all things. And a pleasure to learn a lifetime long> I was there at the inception of the reef keeping hobby!!!! So here it goes, and please don't tell anyone. <nobody but the thousands of daily FAQ readers> I have a 35 gallon reef tank with live sand and live rock. It has 2 internal powerheads with connecting sponge filters, and the back filter is an Aquaclear 500 that has a sponge and carbon. I do 15% water changes weekly, sometimes more recently because of my problems. My water chemistry is as follows: pH 8.3 Temp 76F Salinity 1.021 kH 20 and Nitrate 10 ppm. I have 0 Nitrites and 0 Phosphates. I know the kH is a little high, which has just happened recently to add to my problems.  <you dKH is actually sky high and endangers your system for a precipitous fallout. Please do water changes until you get closer to 11-12 dKH> And the problem is, any invertebrate I put into the tank seems to go into a coma. They don't die they just act like they are drugged or something, and a leg of my serpent star fell off. It's insane!!! I deal with reef tanks all the time and have never run across this.  <just curious... have you tested your magnesium or manganese levels or used Crystal Sea salt mix?> I have 2 fish, 1 Royal Gramma and 1 Yellow tail blue devil both of which are very happy and healthy.  <indeed.. all different tolerances than inverts. Still... do consider using a PolyFilter to check for color change and indication of a contaminant> I checked for copper also which only had very slight traces, probably coming from the pipes in the house.  <strange... should be zero. Definitely consider regular use of PolyFilters in the system> I have even gone so far a to have a $160.00 water test done on my water which comes from a deep well. That tested out good except for higher than normal levels of Manganese, which they said was not harmful. But could this be poisoning my inverts?  <Bingo!... they were wrong and you win the hairy Kewpie doll that bares an unsettling resemblance to Danny DeVito> After I put the crabs, starfish or snails in the tank they seem to be ok for several hours until they just slow down and stop moving. Their not dead just not moving, however some do die. I am totally frustrated and emotionally upset, I love these animals and take pride in my good husbandry.  <understood and agreed, my dear> Something is eluding me, even my boss can't figure it out. I hope you have some ideas. Any help will be greatly appreciated !!! Sincerely, Deborah  <indeed...such invertebrates have great sensitivity to metals of all kinds where fish are more tolerant. The Polyfilters are great for absorbing metals. Do consider pretreating water to screen it. Best regards, Anthony> Cheney Wells, Maine

Re: Another "what is it?" question You wrote: <shell or no shell?> I looked at it closer, and I don't see a shell. I managed to sneak up on it with a flashlight (turned it on pointed somewhere else and slowly moved it to point at the whatever-it-is). There are definite ridges along the back that I can see through the covering, but they don't look hard enough to be a shell. I watched it graze on the rock, and it has a definite head and mouth, along with two stalks that point out of its head. The color is a uniform dark blue everywhere, even under the covering mantle. It's an incredibly deep, velvety color that doesn't reflect, even when a light is pointing right at it. I tried taking another picture of it, but it contracts incredibly fast. As soon as the flash goes off on the camera it turns into a small, distinguishable lump and you can't see anything on the picture. There's no shell showing, even when it's contracted. It's fairly fast when it's used up the food in one spot and is finding somewhere else to feed. It slowly scours the algae right down to polished rock, then moves on and finds another spot to graze. The spaghetti worms don't like it - when it gets into an area where they've attached they pull in all their feeder legs until it's gone. It doesn't seem to bother anything else, and just wants to eat the algae. I called a local fish store and they told me they didn't know what it was but I should pull it out and throw it away, just in case. That doesn't seem right. <I cannot say for sure what this is without seeing it. It sounds harmless, as with many of the creatures that sneak in on the live rock. I would let him stay for a while, if you notice that he is causing problems then I would get rid of it. Any way to get a shot of him without the flash? Best Regards, Gage>

Some New Critters ?? Reef ID Just found some new 'critters' in my tank this week... <yes, my friend... Syconoid sponges. Harmless. Prolific at times when dissolved organics are high as from overfeeding or more often (in an otherwise healthy tank) from a lack of aggressive skimming (daily skimmate production) I first noticed them attached to the underneath parts of the live rock, about 1 week after introducing a new coral piece to the environment,  <they are common and occur in most tanks in time> yellow polyps attached to a piece of rock...I probably can see about 15 or so in my tank. Not one of them is in the direct light, they all seem to be flourishing in the shadows of the tank... <exactly... sumps too where there is adequate water flow and nutrients> And noticed today, maybe about 20 to 25 more of them in my sump, which gets almost no light ... <I really need to read further before I answer a query <G>> Bob, I was wondering if you can help me identify what this phenomenon is, is it a 'wanted' or a 'unwanted' addition to the tank??? How would I control it ??? <wanted... and nutrient control if needed. Most aquarists don't have a skimmer that is well adjusted to produce daily skimmate. Tweak as necessary... unless you have a SeaClone/prism in which case you might simply have a wheel chuck> I included a picture, had troubles trying to get a close up of it since it was so small... <a fine picture... thanks kindly> 120Gal reef tank - 30 inches deep ( tank has been up 6 months ) 2 x 400watt Metal Halide <way too much light unless you only have SPS and clams. You may very well notice corals suffering from photoinhibition after 12-18 months. They'll look fine until then likely> temp 79 PH 8.24 Alk 8dkh ammonia 0 nitrate 0 nitrate 0 phosphate 0 calcium 450 magnesium 1380 <Ca/ALK dynamic in your tank is splayed (but still safe) with Ca on the highest end and ALK on the lowest. Be very careful not to raise your Ca any higher for fear or precipitating ALK. Allow Ca to drop closer to 400ppm and bring ALK closer to 10-12dKH for a more comfortable range> Any help would be appreciated
<best regards, Anthony Calfo>

Identification Hello. <cheers!> This is my first time to ask a question.  <welcome indeed :) > I have spent hours reading and learning from your website. Thank you in advance.  <our pleasure to serve> I have a couple questions about identification. I have a new growth on a Tonga branch rock. It is the shape and texture of a raspberry, but is a dark purple color.  <likely a red algae species> Any ideas what this might be? Also, at night I can see a worm moving through the substrate. It is right against the glass, so it is easy to see. it is not a bristle worm. it appears to be 3 - 4" long, but very thin. Its diameter is probably less then .7mm pencil lead. Should it be removed? or is it OK? <most worms are harmless or even beneficial. Please leave it in peace to flourish and enrich your live sand fauna.> Thanks Tracy <best regards to you in this wonderful hobby!>

Re: Small creatures on the glass Well Jason (or whoever is next on the wheel), <<It's JasonC again.>> it's next to impossible to get a photograph of these miniature creatures, as they are very small. I have however rendered an accurate drawing of one for you. They appear crystalline but that could also be because they are so small. Anyhow, see if this helps <<I looked at the picture... if these actually move about then perhaps they are mini brittle stars, and if not... then I'm not sure. I have seen these things before and I wouldn't be worried about them. It is very common to get this type of life along with live rock, and if they are thriving then it's a sign that your tank is doing well. Enjoy.>> .... And again thanks. <<Cheers, J -- >> Les Davis

Hitchhikers Guide... The critter and hitchhiker ID page that we often refer people to has become incredibly stale. While trying to find something to answer a query this morning, almost every off-site link clicked came up as gone or broken. <Thank you. Will send a note re to the authors. Bob F> Just thought you'd like to know before you refer someone there. Cheers, J --

Inverts QT Hi WWM !!! you are doing a great service to all of us!!  <thanks kindly> Anthony I have been reading your book and its great, and also your note, it is really true, "the gift of knowledge is second only to the gift of ones time... give both freely" <so true... my pleasure to inscribe it> In Guatemala we have only 2 (medium) specialized stores in marine fish and inverts. Yesterday I was visiting one of them and she told me "you don't need to put in QT the inverts just the fish" and it hit my mind like lighting, because I fact I assume I have to put the inverts in QT, I never read it about... <you are correct my friend... perhaps you can teach/school your local pet store owner! Every living creature should be put through QT. Although an invertebrate may not contract a fish disease, it can still be a carrier (by virtue of the very water around and in it having come from a tank of other fishes!). Anything "wet" should be put through QT: live rock, plants, snails, crabs, corals, etc. Everything... it is the safest way. Even when the risk is small.. the few short weeks of QT are a very modest demand to insure prevention of parasites and diseases... even pests (like flatworms, nuisance algae, etc that develop from unseen places on an invertebrate or rock). Do observe all in QT for a minimum of 2 weeks and preferably for 4 weeks> Thank your for your comments Regards Carlos <best regards... Anthony>

Re: Inverts QT Good afternoon gentlemen! <cheers> Ok, I knew it! We need to put in QT the inverts too, but (it can sound silly, do I need to perform Fresh water baths to the anemones, corals, etc? <not a silly question at all, my friend. A very good question. The answer is no. Although some sick corals benefit by a brief FW dip, most invertebrates will be harmed by the freshwater for osmotic shock. Inverts in QT is more of an observation and acclimation period. We are looking for pests and predators or other hitchhikers. Bait the tank with meaty foods a few times at night to see if any bad shrimp or crabs come out> Tks may the force be with you! <and also with you :) Kindly, Anthony> Carlos

What was THAT?? Hi WWM friends. Today as I walked by my FOWLR tank I happened to catch a glimpse of something being ejected OUT of my live rock. It was wispy, very much like cigarette smoke. It came squirting out and dissipated into the water. Any ideas??  <yep> Somebody in there spawning maybe?  <possible... but not likely> It was freaky. Hope it doesn't hurt the tank. Wes <no worries... there are many burrowing organisms in live rock: boring clams, urchins and more. Somebody was simply mining a bigger or better home. Enjoy the diversity>

Copper and coral again I may be crazy, but I thought I was told that if I used CopperSafe in my tank that it was free floating and would NOT absorb into my rock and crushed coral.  <that is complete crap... whoever told you that was ignorant indeed (as in not-knowing, although I wonder about some of the turnips at LFS I have met)> Although it would explain why I can't seem to get inverts to do very well in the tank. Tell me I am not crazy and that what I heard was right....I hate to think of trashing 110 lbs. of coral and a ton of my rock. thanks Robert <sorry, bub... but medication of any kind should NEVER be used in a display tank. That's what quarantine tanks are for, my friend. a proper QT is 4 weeks and the display tank unmedicated runs fallow without a host for the pathogen in the interim. Your rock is "poisoned" by copper. Still not to be wasted... you have choices, The rock can be used in fish tanks or any aquaria where inverts cannot crawl across the stained media. Or... you can use a bunch of poly-filters for months to slowly pick up liberated copper and resist buying any more snails, anemones, corals etc for many months until it all clears up. The rock is still biologically quite useful. best regards, Anthony>

Inverts Hello Bob, first I would like to thank you for the great website and for your previous help. Thanks to you my 30 gallon fish/invert tank looks great. BUT, I think I might have run into a problem. I've had an arrow crab, hermit crab, and a flame scallop together for a while now with no problems. <Not yet. Please read here regarding the flame scallop, http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bivalvia.htm> I added a chocolate starfish today and then started to read your FAQ's and found out that crabs like starfish, and starfish like clams. <The chocolate chip starfish is toxic, so no one should attempt to eat him, but he might attempt to eat your scallop.> What should I do. <Read before you buy.> Respectfully yours, John <Sincerely, Steven Pro>

Zoanthids BUTTON Polyps HELLO, I HAVE A TANK WITH BUTTON POLYPS AND I SEE LITTLE CREATURES THAT LOOK LIKE BUGS LIKE LITTLE COCKROACHES THAT COME OUT OF THE ROCK WHEN THE LIGHTS ARE TURNED OFF, <they are amphipods and highly beneficial detritivores for your tank. Very good zooplankton to feed fishes and corals> ALSO THEY ARE DOING SOMETHING TO MY POLYPS BECAUSE THEY WILL NOT COME OUT. <not correct my friend... they can not harm your coral. The worst they could do is scavenge decaying tissue. They are harmless and VERY desirable to have. Your coral is irritated for another reason> WHAT ARE THEY AND WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT IT BEFORE THEY DESTROY ALL MY POLYPS? THANKS TED QUERCIOLI<changes in light or water quality are the two most likely cause to the polyps not opening. If the coral is new or has been moved recently, then the polyps may be trying to adapt to the change in light at the new depth or position.>

White and green sesame seeds Hi! I recently noticed that I my live rock has these white and some green looking spots on my Live Rock. They are very small (seed like). I just noticed them about a week ago. They seem to be spreading and they closely resemble sesame seeds that you would find on a poppy seed bagel. Have you ever heard of these or seen they them. I wish I could send you picture. They do seem to be spreading. I have now noticed them on the shells of some of my snails. Its starting to worry me because I recently lost three Xenias for no reason at all. Please let me know what you think. I have also attached pictures depicting the seeds, on the rocks and even on some of the snails. Someone said they might be Nerites snail eggs, what do you think. Thanks in advance- Anj <<yes, yes - no worries. Is as I thought and replied previously. These are harmless. Cheers, J -- >>

White and green sesame seeds Hi! <<Hello!>> I recently noticed that I my live rock has these white and some green looking spots on my Live Rock. They are very small (seed like). I just noticed them about a week ago. They seem to be spreading and they closely resemble sesame seeds that you would find on a poppy seed bagel. Have you ever heard of these or seen they them. <<Sure, my tank is full of things like this.>> I wish I could send you picture. <<You can if you'd like.>> They do seem to be spreading. I have now noticed them on the shells of some of my snails. Its starting to worry me because I recently lost three Xenias for no reason at all. <<No worries, these are likely a calcium-based tube worm, a tunicate, or other fauna-type organism. Certainly not the culprit in the loss of your Xenia.>> Please let me know what you think. Many thanks in advance- Thanks Anj <<Cheers, J -- >>

Uninvited Marine Tank Guests... I am inundated with some unwelcome guests in my marine tank. I have a 55 with only a few fish, no inverts, no live rock. I have a canister filter, and a wet/dry. I only see these animals when I feed my fish, the rest of the time they must be living in the substrate. There appear to be three stages to their life span. <in general... look over the following two links for a quick reference to many of the incidentals we come across in live rock and sand: http://www.reefs.org/hhfaq/pages/main_pages/faq_rock3. http://www.rshimek.com/odd_critters.htm> 1. There are tiny dark brown grains in the substrate, also adhering to the inside of the filter. <hmmm... more than a few things it could be... need a better description or photo> 2. Tiny white "flea like" animals soon follow, they travel all over the glass. <typically copepods if dots/flea like> 3. Bigger, worm like animals, about 1/8" to 1/4" in length, which crawl all over the glass and ornaments. <numerous marine worms in aquaria with like rock...most beneficial> They don't seem to bother the fish, but I want them gone!  <Gone!!! Good Lord, that's what people are waiting for and paying good lonely to get when they buy live rock and sand!? The microfauna provide natural and continuous (hopefully) food, they support the biological stability of the system through scavenging... so many benefits. If you really want them gone, you'll need to remove all live rock, live sand and/or nuke the tank with copper. Yikes!> They are really beginning to increase in numbers. Any suggestions? <sure... many fish are voracious predators on such fauna... pseudochromids are near the top of the list. Do look for plankton and crustacean eating fishes that will be compatible> thanks, WA <best regards, Anthony>

Bugs in my tank??? Hello Bob! <Anthony Calfo in your service> While looking in my tank this am, checking all my critters, I noticed a very small (actually many) "thing" crawling on the glass on the inside of my tank. I had not noticed this before. It looks like a very small teardrop, less than 1mm in length, and white. I stated this week using "micro Vert" by Kent Marine to feed my feather dusters and flame scallops. Could what's in this be causing the little "bugs" I'm seeing? Should I do anything about it.  <many fascinating and wonderful microorganisms are brought in with live sand and live rock. Most all are desirable for sure! Send a picture for an ID if you like but no worries. And the food did not cause to help this creature> None of my fish are acting strange, no rubbing, rapid breathing or any other signs of illness. Maybe I'm just paranoid. I lost a whole tank of friends to marine velvet a while back. I don't want a repeat disaster. If you have any suggestions, I would greatly appreciate it. Kat <do browse the Q&A archives for like topics for reassurance <smile> Kindly, Anthony> 

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