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FAQs about Non-Vertebrate Animal Identification 27

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

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Critter ID, blurry pix    9/4/07 Attached are some images of a critter in my live rock. It stays in the same hole in my rock all of the time and is only visible at night. I have no idea what it is and have searched the archives extensively. I can take the end of my target feeder and come close to it. It retreats and I don't see it again for a half hour. It doesn't seem to notice when I shine light on it. Two of the images are cropped and I included the original for scale. Any idea? <The photos are much too blurry my friend. Any chance you can take some clearer ones? If you want a TOTAL guess, it might be a tunicate. But honestly, it's impossible to say from these photos. Best,
Sara M.>

Id Question: Syconoid Sponges - 9/3/07 <Hi Dave and Laura> A bunch of these puffballs just started appearing on the bottom of some of our live rock. There aren't a lot of them yet (but the sudden change from 0 to about 10 implies a large acceleration that makes me nervous). <Understandable. A sudden increase like that always gets my attention! Luckily, these guys are no problem.> They look like small white puffballs about 3mm in diameter with tufts of hair sticking out the top. Any idea what they are? <Yep, no worries. They're commonly seen sponges of the genus Sycon, also called Syconoid sponges. Harmless, even beneficial, these little filter feeders thrive/multiply in high nutrient conditions. As the excess nutrients wane, so will the population of these neat little sponges. Please see the FAQ's re: Sycon/Syconoid sponges at this WWM link for more info: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/spongeidfaqs.htm > Thanks
Dave and <You're very welcome! --Lynn>

ID Needed Please'¦ Egg Mass'¦ Perhaps of a Polychaete Worm   8/30/07Hello, <Hi Brad, Mich here.> I cannot thank you all enough for what you guys do for us! <Just trying to help. Thank you for your kind words.> That being said, I'm stumped on this one. Can you possibly ID this for me? <I'll give it a try!> I have two of them growing out of my sand bed, they are a bubble of some sort with specks inside. Good/bad? <Excellent picture by the way. Is the reproductive matter of something, an egg mass, likely an invert, and from what I have read, but have been unable to find pictures to really compare is it may be that of polychaete annelid worms. Nothing to worry about and when they hatch, likely in a day or so, it will make a tasty treat for your fish and corals.> Thank you for your time in this matter! <Welcome! The Brad

Odd Invert With Eight Tree Branch Shaped Tentacles! Holothuroid   8/21/07 Hello Crew, <Hi Sean, Mich here.> I have scoured the net trying to identify the invertebrate in the attached picture. Since I've been able to successfully identify several of my other LR hitchhikers on your site I thought I'd ask the experts. While the photo does not show it well the tentacles are very dark near the base then become the white with reddish bands further out. This particular invert appears to have eight tentacles similar to tree branches that are constantly curling back into itself like it is bringing food into its mouth. Only one tentacle at a time appears to move towards the "mouth" area. If there is a significant movement near it it will pull all the tentacles back into the small hole in the live rock. Each tentacle shown here is about 1.5 - 2 inches long and they emanate from a hole that is approximately the circumference of a thin, adult pinkie finger. Any ideas on what type of invert this may be or something else that behaves similarly? <Is a Sea Cucumber, we just recently had another query like this with a very similar picture. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cukeidfaqs.htm Fellow crewmember, Lynn did and excellent job describing the needs, care, and provided links to relevant reference information. Please refer to the query titled: Anemone Id? Nope, It's A Cuke! 8/10/07 > Best regards,
<Cheers, Mich>

Invasion of the isopods?  -- 8/19/07 A couple of questions tonight... 1. Saw these over the past couple days after the full lighting switches off. Just ID'd a Bristleworm from WWM, but its a fairly small one, so he's (she's?) safe for now. But these little guys have me a little more worried, just because of the sheer number of them! Trap like a 1920's era pelter, or not quite yet? <From the picture in the other email its a Stomatella snail. Love those things, completely safe and wonderful to watch. You'll enjoy them. You have a bunch because you have a bunch of algae, if you want to get rid of them send them to me. Mine are all gone.> 2. My tank is going through some troubles right now (46G FOWLR) due to the water temperature being out of control, and I've been trying to get that back in order. Our house doesn't have AC (it will next year!), and we've just gone through 4 weeks of 30C weather which has raised the average temperature to around 84F. I have a fan blowing across the surface of the water, and I've dialed back the 10000k light a couple hours a day. Any other suggestions? <I've been known to take fresh water that has had prime added to it and put it in the ice cube maker and after it freezes add it to the tank. I've also known people to put the ice cubes in baggies so the water can't get out but I prefer to put the prime in it because I figure I'm dealing with a lot of evaporation anyway. Good luck, MacL> Thanks!

White Substance Id - More Snail Eggs! - 8/8/07 Hello, <Hi Matt> Quick question: Can you tell by this picture what this is on the side of my in-tank refugium? <Yep, it looks like you've got a neat little trail of snail eggs!> It appeared overnight, and it starting to disappear. <Typical> The only thing in the refug is a Caribbean Anemone crab recovering and two Margarita Snails. Could it be eggs? <Definitely. If your Margarita snails are Margarites pupillus, I believe those are broadcast spawners, so that rules those out. By any chance, do you have any Cerith snails in there as well, or in the display? Please see today's FAQ, top query, titled: 'Critter ID -- Gastropod Egg Mass -- 08/07/07' at this link for comparison: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/daily_faqs3.htm and more at this link as well: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/snailreprofaqs.htm> Thanks,
<You're welcome! -Lynn>

Spider Webs in my Saltwater Tank... Likely Vermetid Snails - 08/05/07 Hi <Hello Joe, Mich here.> I have a 10-gallon saltwater tank. And ever since I added a feather duster I have noticed that there is a white spider web type things in my tank they touch the feather duster and live rock. I have sucked them out with a Siphon but came right back. Like I say they look like spider webs in my salt water tank any ideas? <Mmm, a photo would be most helpful here. But sounds like you have a sessile snail, like these Vermetid snails from the Dailies page on 08/05/2007. Hopefully you can see the image here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/MolluscPIX/Gastropods/Prosobranch%20PIX/DSC_3282.JPG You can read more about them here: http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2005-01/rs/index.php These snails send out a mucous web in order to trap food items floating in the water column.> and solutions? <These snails are harmless and a solution per se is not required.> Thanks as always, JOE <You're welcome as always! Mich.>

Identification Request... More snail eggs! -- 08/02/07 I would like some help identifying the lacy, leaf-like "growth" on the glass of my aquarium. <Snail eggs. Second snail egg query today. Is it a full moon?> I've looked all over the web for similar photos, but since I don't know what to call it, I'm running out of ways to describe it in search engines--so far nothing matches. <Yes, this can be an exercise in futility.... and can be quite time consuming.> I see this on the glass every once in awhile. Sometimes more elaborate patterns. It seems to deteriorate (or get eaten?) after a day or so. <The likely the latter.> I'm fairly new to the marine aquarium hobby, so forgive me if this is one of those "duh" questions that I should have found the answer for with an "obvious" search query. <No worries... this is how we learn.> Most things I find in my tank I have gradually identified, but not knowing what they are to start with can make it quite time consuming. <"Beetlejuice" reference here?> Thanks for your help on this one. <Welcome! Mich> David

Re: Identification Request... More snail eggs!  8/4/07 Thanks, Mich. <Welcome David!> That surely explains why I've recently started seeing little tiny snails on my glass!!! <Mmm, unfortunately, this is not likely the case.> Too small to tell what kind yet, but with a magnifying glass it looks like they could be either turbo snails or Astraea snails (I have both in the tank). <Don't mean to burst your bubble here, but is more likely a different species all together. The only larger marine snails that readily reproduce in captivity as far as I'm aware of are Stomatella snails.> Neat. Thanks for helping me make the connection. <Sorry, but I doubt that there is really a connection.> While I was first trying to decide what corals and fish to put in my tank (and convincing my wife we could afford it!), I spent lots of time just sitting on a stool in front of my tank watching and marveling at the tiniest things going on just in my live rock and sand. <Yes is one of the simple joys of keeping a marine tank! Just be careful which people you tell that you spend several hours staring at the rock in you tank. Some may begin to needlessly worry about you.> Now the fish and corals can lure a person away from the tiny things because of their larger size and activity, but even while I enjoy them, I try to look past them still to keep up with the intricacies of the tank. (My yellow tang seems to know I'm not paying attention to him and keeps himself in front of me whenever I sit and watch, moving to whatever side of the tank I'm watching from.) <Mmm... perhaps a Pavlovian response to food!> There's just so much to see in there. <Yes, hours upon hours of entertainment! Please continue to enjoy the amazing display of life your tank can reveal. Cheers (and keep staring!)

ID a Cocoon-like Sack... No Photo... Perhaps a Poriferan? -- 08/02/07 Hello WWM Crew, <Hi Cris, Mich here.> Quick question for you... I have a 55-gallon saltwater aquarium. Inhabitants include: 1 yellow tang, <Should be in a large tank. At least 75 gallons preferably much more!> 1 Coral Banded Shrimp, 2 Cleaner Shrimp, 1 Hermit Crab, 1 Coral Beauty Angel, 1 True Percula Clown, 1 Maroon Clown and live rock. All inhabitants are friendly with the only aggression issue being from my CBS towards my Angel & Tang. But nothing severe. They all generally get along. <OK.> Today, I found a cocoon like sack attached to and artificial plant close to our filter. Its somewhere between nickel & dime size and looks kind of like a spider egg sack. I'm completely clueless on what this might be... Any ideas? <Perhaps a sponge? A photo would help here.> Is it good or bad? <Likely harmless.> I've been searching for some clue online but I've had no luck of finding anything <Try looking at some of the photos on the sponge ID FAQ's. More here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/spongeidfaq2.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/spongeidfaq4.htm Thanks so much, Cris

What are these???? Fish food! Small crustaceans ID  8/1/07Hey Guys, <Hi Mark, Mich here.> I am pretty new to having a marine aquarium and have found your site to be a great wealth of information. <Wonderful to hear!> Currently have a 56 Gallon (not 55!!!) <I have a 46-gallon (not a 45!!!) which has been doing well. <Very good.> I have about 70lbs of live rock, remora pro, emperor 280, 18w turbo-twist UV and a couple of powerheads for flow. <OK.> The tank is minimally stocked at the moment with 3 damsels, 1 emerald crab, 3 hermit crabs and 10 snails. I recently added a 10 lb piece of cured rock from my LFS. Tonight when I fed the fish I noticed a number of tiny "shrimp-like" creatures collecting at the surface. I shut off all water flow to get a better look and these things seemed to appear from nowhere. There were over a hundred mostly visible at the top of the tank near the light. As you can see from the Picture (sorry about the bad shot but these things are borderline microscopic) they have an opaque body with a red tail. They almost resemble shrimp, but given the size it is difficult to tell. All of this leads to the obvious questions: What are they? <What you describe reminds me very much of the reproductive behavior of Lysmata spp. shrimp, (the red tail and collecting at the surface). But you didn't mention any shrimp. So if that's not a possibility my next thought would be mysis shrimp, thought in my experience these tend to stay low in the tank and not so much gather at the top.> Do I need to worry? <No.> What are their natural predators? or how do I get rid of them? <Your fish/crabs will likely enjoying eating them. Is a beneficial supplement to their diet.> Any help is appreciated. <Hope this helps.> <Cheers, Mich>

ID Question,... crab? not enough information - 7/23/07 HI Crew <Howdy> A really quick one, can you Id this tiny, tiny, thing for me? It's about 5/6mm <I'm guessing you mean 5mm to 6mm> and I found it latched onto one of my corals (sps). It's not new cause I've had nothing new in the tank for a couple of months, and is it harmful? <Sorry, can't make that call without more information (including photo(s)/more thorough physical description). Have you noticed any damage so far?> Pretty sure it's a crab, but it's very tiny and I think I can see pinchers, about 1mm. <Again, need more info. Could be a commensal crab (crab benefits from the coral, while the coral isn't harmed), or any number of little critters. For comparison, see this link for photos of crabs in general, and commensals at the bottom of page: http://home2.pacific.net.ph/~sweetyummy42/hitchcrabs.html> Got to go as I should be at work cheers Keep up the good work btw <Thanks, and good luck --Lynn> <<Lynn.... where is this file? Were there any pix? RMF>> Live Rock Critter Q ?!?!? No photo...  7/13/07 How are the masters of information doing today? <Hmm, master of my domain perhaps. Heehee!> All is well I hope. <Could be better, could be worse.> I've used you guys plenty of times as it seems I have a new question every day. <Hee! Me too!> I can't imagine how you respond so quickly every time. <It's a group effort, and as Bob likes to say, he keys quickly> Thanks. <Welcome! ...from all of us.> I've spent the good part of this morning looking through the archives to find out what the heck I saw today for the first time in my 2-week-old reef tank. <OK.> Could find nothing and as I don't have a camera to help I'll try to explain it the best way I can. <Mmm, I'm sure you're familiar with the maxim "a picture is worth a thousand words"> Hopefully you can help. <Will try, but with out a photo...> This new guys is 2 cm MAXIMUM. Could be smaller. VERY SLOW MOVER. <In comparison to what? A fish or a snail?> I got to watch this guy for quite awhile this morning. Did not seem to be in a hurry. Brown. Looked like it had a small covering of thin hairs on outer shell. <Is there an inner shell?> the critter is perfectly oval shaped. rounded shell ( lady bug like) if that helps. <The more detail the better.> The interesting thing to me is he had two very easy to see antennae on the back of his shell. <The back of his shell, not the front of his shell?> (dragged them along as he went, <In front or behind?> one on each side jettisoning out at an angle but definitely. no longer than half a cm. That's as good as I can explain him. <Well, I think I need a couple hundred more words here or a photo to try to give a positive ID here. I'm having a difficult time thinking of any one creature, that fits all the characteristics you mention. Some things that came to mind that you might want to do a Google image search for include: Stomatella snails, Chitons, limpets, Nudibranch are a few to start with.> Is he good, bad. <I'm sorry but I can't tell from the information provided.> Do we know what he is? <Nope.> Thanks for your time. <Your welcome!> You're my one stop shop for RELIABLE info. <Thank you for the kind words.> Priceless. <Ok, hand over the MasterCard! Mich>

ID Lint? Mini Wheat? Sponge?  -- 07/08/07 Hi- <Hello Ellen, Mich here.> Found this on my live rock. <Umm, what?> Looked around your site and the only real explanation I could find was that it is a type of sponge(?). <Could be, or could also be some lint from my gym socks... a frosted mini wheat... my best guess, and is purely a guess, is a Syconoid sponge. Yes, no, or maybe so? Image attached, though it's not the best. <Mmm, I'll say! A better picture may provide a more definitive ID. Check to see if your camera has a macro setting... helps tremendously on close up work... the symbol often looks like a flower.> Thanks. <Welcome!> I enjoy the site.
<Glad to hear this. Mich>

Strange creature, cannot identify..  7/6/07 Hello Crew, <Crystal> This site has been a lot of help for this first time salt water hobbyist. I would like you're help in the identification of this little creature that has been growing on my live rock. It closes up when disturbed, some what like a little ball. It appears to have a small slit in the center, kind of like a mouth, and tiny tentacles coming from the edges. It has not moved from this spot, so I believe it to be some kind of tube worm, but cannot find a picture. Can you please give me some kind of idea? I like to know about everything in my tank, and it is driving me crazy to not understand what this is. Attached is somewhat of a clear picture. <It looks like a member of the Zoanthid family. See here - http://wetwebmedia.com/zoanthid.htm> Thank you very much, Crystal <Pleasure, please resize your image to around 200kb next time please. All the best, Olly>

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