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FAQs about Non-Vertebrate Animal Identification 35

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Pest anemone? Mmm, no 05/21/08 Hi, Wet Web. I am starting to get over run with a little pest. They are about the size of a pencil eraser and only live in the shade. Please see the pic I attached. It looks like a volcano or round tube with some tentacles at the top. I can't seem to find a similar pic or article anywhere. Please help. I have a 6 month old reef tank with 200 pounds of Fiji live rock. Thanks as always, you guys are the best! Joe. <Is a Syconoid sponge... no worries. See WWM re (the search tool, indices). Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Acropora W/Feather Duster Type Thing? (Nope'¦Sounds Like Neat Little Barnacles To Me) -- 05/16/08 Good late evening/early morning WWM crew: <<Greetings'¦is late Friday evening here now>> I recently made a purchase at a LFS that has me worried. <<Uh-oh>> I bought what appeared to be a small 2" Acropora frag, species unknown. I inspected the coral thoroughly in the store's tank, but the main 400 watt halides had yet to come on (only actinic lights and the ceiling lights on at the time). Not seeing anything unusual, I had the employee bag it up and took it home. After a few stops along the way (90 mile drive from store to house), I got home and placed the coral still in bag in my sump to temp acclimate. I forgot about the coral and went out to dinner; arriving home several hours later and began acclimating it to the tank's water. All in all, the coral was in the bag for no more than 8 hours. <<Okay>> After several scoops of tank water into the bag, I proceeded to dump half the water out and repeat; this process went on for approx 45 min, all the while I was prepping the rubble that I wanted to attach the frag to and clearing a spot on the sand bed to place the newly acquired piece (I know; no QT is bad, I'm shaming myself for it now). <<Lesson learned then>> By the time I was ready to attach the frag my main lights were out for the night, so I glued the frag to rubble and again, gave the coral a thorough visual inspection while out of water waiting for the super glue to set. After a few minutes, I returned the coral to my specimen container with tank water to make sure it wouldn't fall off (need to find a better glue, but that's for a different discussion). After another few minutes, I placed the coral in the center of the tank on the sand bed and called it a night. The next day, the polyps were extended on half of the coral; the other half, where polyps should be, there were larger holes with fan/feather type extensions that would open and close. <<Ah! Barnacles! It is not uncommon to see Acropora species hosting the interesting creatures>> In appearance, somewhat similar to the webbed-appendages on a porcelain crab that they use to catch particulates in the water column. <<Yes indeed>> These fan/feather things react to food; I tested with feedings of Cyclopeeze to which their movement in and out increased dramatically. They are almost completely transparent and not only do they move in and out of the holes in the coral's skeleton, they can rotate 360 degrees when extended. <<How lucky you are'¦ Do watch and enjoy these organisms'¦while they last>> In searching through the internet and WWM, I came across a question from another hobbyist to which Adam replied that the critter in question was a Aeolid nudibranch. <<Mmm, nope'¦not in this instance in my estimation'¦is a barnacle by your description>> While the affected coral in question is clearly not a Montipora (to me at least, wish I had a digital camera to get a picture for you to confirm), <<Me too!>> how much risk is there that this can spread to my other small-polyped stony corals? <<Virtually non-existent'¦ You will be lucky if these filter-feeding organisms survive for more than a few months in captivity, much less propagate>> Or what I should ask first is: do I in fact have a nudibranch infected coral or is it possible that the coral frag grew over some other sort of deceased coral skeleton to which these fans were still attached? <<No'¦you have nothing to fear here>> I have seen feather dusters great and small; but my eyes have seen none that grow from within a SPS coral. <<Indeed>> And I am positive that there were no white spots, lesions or other signs of damage to the coral when purchased--the usual slight loss of tissue at the bottom where it was recently fragged and subsequently grown directly in the sand bed was the only visible thing wrong with it. Since acquisition on Monday, there has even been a small amount of new tissue growth at the base as an effort to encrust onto the piece of rubble. I have several varieties/colorations of plating, encrusting and branching Montipora in the tank, as well as pocillopora sp., Acropora sp. and pavona sp. Not to mention numerous Zoanthids, palythoa, euphyllia sp. (2 diff specie); short tentacle plate coral; 2 trumpet/candy cane corals; 2 gorgonians. The tank in question is a 40 breeder with 20 L sump. Tunze 9010 skimmer; lighting 400 watt SE XM 20k halide; lots of macro for nitrate removal; refugium on reverse light cycle from DT. Pair of modded Tunze 6025 powerheads and MJ 900 for added flow (1 or 2 additional Nano Streams will be added once my tax return finally comes :). Current readings are 1.024 sg; 7 dKH (always run on the "low" end despite dripping saturated lime water at night and dosing 2-part regimen daily); <<Perhaps trying a different test kit is in order>> calc 400 ppm. I dose the 2-part solution according to the mfg's recommendations to raise/maintain loss of 1 dKH loss of alk and 10 ppm calcium per day. No detectable ammonia, nitrites, nitrates. The coral was purchased Monday of this week. At the writing of this letter it is 1:35 am on the East Coast. <<I too am on the East Coast (SC)>> So far, none of my other corals have shown any signs of stress, disease, loss of color; all show normal polyp expansion/extension. <<This unexpected hitchhiker on your SPS frag is no reason for concern>> Any advice is greatly appreciated. <<Take a deep breath and enjoy them while they last>> Thanks for all you do to keep hobbyists like me loving and better understanding the beautiful and magnificent creatures we have in our marine tanks. -Eric <<Is a pleasure to share. Eric Russell>>

Please identify -05/16/08 I have a newly established system...about 8 weeks old. Has 1" - 1 1/2" live sand with 65# of live rock. Currently have about 30 blue/red legged hermit crabs, 6 turbo snails, 3 emerald coral crabs and 1 sand shifting starfish. The system has been pretty stable with our current reads in normal range with the exception of the ammonia at ..25 (curing some rock that was added about 1 week ago). I am fairly new to reef systems as I haven't had any salts set up for about 7 years and the changes have been tremendous. Thank you for your website as it has certainly helped me in the process and helped to identify some of the pests that come. <cool> My question is that I have this little critter that is growing on my live rock that I can't seem to identify. I apologize as the photo probably isn't clearest. <I'm sorry but the picture is much too blurry for an ID.> It never moves from the rock that it is on and remains pretty much stationary except when we close the cabinet below the tanks or look at it closely (changes the intensity of the light) it closes up. It is tear dropped shaped, maybe 1/4" overall length and has 4 "antenna" type fingers out of the top of it. It splits in the center at the top when it opens up so that 2 fingers go to one side and 2 go to the other. It also has a dark "hole" or coloration to the middle. <Huh, sounds strange.> I hope that helps....I'm not the best at describing things. Could you shed some light into what you think it may be. Someone told me that they thought it was an oyster, but, it doesn't have a hard shell. It almost looks like the end of some type of worm. <Could be... please do try to get a clearer photo.> Thanks for your help. Michelle
Sara M.>

Re: Please identify 5/17/08 Sorry about the photo, here are a couple a little farther off....as you can see it blends so well into the rock that it is hard to distinguish it from the rock, but, it definitely moves, closes shut really fast when light or movement is detected (it is in the center of the first photo and a little farther towards the bottom in the other). Does this help at all? <Yes, thank you. It definitely looks like some kind of bivalve. I can't ID it down much more specifically than that, but it's probably a small oyster of some kind. Typically, they're quite harmless and even enjoyable.> Sorry about the file sizes, I just wanted to make sure you could see it better! <No problem> Michelle
<De nada,
Sara M.>

Critters I need ID'd, good or bad? 5/16/08 Greetings, I have 55 gallon reef tank with: green brain coral, green and orange button polyps, green Zoanthids, pumping xenia, 2 toadstools leathers, a torch coral, one large condy anemone (in a spot by himself, not near my coral), and a crocea clam. Fish include: yellow tang, two Percula clowns, green clown goby, scissortail goby, coris wrasse, three chromis, and a yellow headed sleeper goby. Also, a cleaner shrimp and a few feather dusters.  With that said, I have several tiny "anemone" looking things spreading across my live rock (critter4.jpg). <Possibly Aiptasia? I'm sorry, I can't really tell from that photo.> I thought they were glass anemones, but they are far too small and the largest they get are about 3 mm. Any idea what they are? The second photo (critter3.jpg) is of a little guy that keeps peeking out from under one of my zoos. He is red with what looks like black hairs? <The pic is pretty blurry, but it looks like a feather worm.> Again, any idea what he is? I also have several little white spiral things on my glass. <These are likely spirorbid worms.> Any help in identifying these things would be great. Thanks, Jared <Best,
Sara M.>
<maybe Aiptasia? <feather worm

Saltwater Tank - Aiptasia? 5/16/08 Hello wwm, I got a saltwater tank for Christmas and did all the necessary stuff to get it started etc. I have been maintaining it well but lately I have noticed some weird stuff in the tank. It is a 29 gallon biocube. Anyways there have been about 20 of these...Anemone looking things with tentacles and they eat the food I put in the tank. Do you have any idea what these are? They don't really look like anemones more like these little bases with tentacles coming out of it and a mouth sort of thing. <Could these be Aiptasia? http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/Aiptasia/aiptasia.htm> Also there are two living barnacles in the tank that filter feed quite often and was wondering if that will harm anything. My big concern is these purple pinkish things that grow on the bottom of the tank on the sand. they have a jelly looking base with these tentacle like hairs coming up from it, <These sound like spaghetti worms.> Look like tentacles made from fibers, is any of this bad or is it normal, or can you identify them? thanks for the help <Hmmm... you have my guesses, but it's impossible to truly ID these things without pictures. Best, Sara M.>

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

thousands of teeny tiny creatures on my aquarium glass!  05/09/08 Hi WWM crew! Love your site. I have a question. A couple weeks ago I noticed these little almost microscopic white specks on my aquarium glass. I have a 29 gallon freshwater aquarium. They almost looked like tiny white specks of residue left from a paper towel I used to wipe the glass. But upon further inspection they are moving! Slowly along the glass and some are even floating in the water. These are tiny, minute creatures. I've searched planaria but they are so small it is difficult to make out the tell-tale shape of the usual planaria look - being worm like with two protrusions on each side at one end.  These are almost about the thickness of a strand of baby hair. and the longest I've seen are a little over 1/16 of an inch long. They are barely visible unless you get close to the glass but there are thousands of them on the glass. Are they copepods? They are so small..too small to even get a decent photograph. I've noticed that the fish don't seem to mind and are relatively unaffected. Are these something to worry about? I've not added any new rocks or plants. I have a bamboo plant that has been in the tank for about 8 months. I've done water changes and vacuumed the gravel and tested the chemistry and everything seems normal except ever since these have appeared the water has been pretty cloudy. I feed my fish once a day, and only the amount they can eat in 10 minutes. Do you know what these could be? - thanks <Annie, yes, these are most likely copepods (or similar) if on the glass. Absolutely harmless in themselves, but the fact they are growing at all indicates they are finding lots to eat. Couple that with the cloudiness of the water, and there's perhaps an over-feeding or under-filtering issue. Fish need only sufficient food they eat in 1-2 minutes. Honestly, it's better to err on the side of caution and feed too little. Do also check your filter is up to snuff, perhaps starting by rinsing the media once every 3-4 weeks. If needs be, upgrading the filtration system. I always recommend a filter that offers 4 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour _at minimum_ for small community tropicals, and at least 6 times the volume of the tank for bigger fish like cichlids and goldfish. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: What is this? Is it bad? It's a Chiton and it's good! 5/5/08 <Hi Nick> Sorry I forgot to attach the pic on the last one. <No worries. Thanks for the photos. -Lynn>

Another weird ID Needed: ? - 5/5/08 <Hi Joe!> I am bound to stump you guys. <I think you've succeeded with this one! Or at least you've stumped me!> Not that I am trying, but as luck would have it these oddities just keep popping up. This time this little thing has popped up in a QT, nothing in it but a maroon clown and the pic is of it growing off of a filter sponge. <That's good to hear. When I first saw the photo, I thought that was the substrate!> Notice the little cord type attachment to the sponge. <I can just barely see a thin upside down 'V' shaped thing under it. I had to enlarge the photo to see it. I do see another squiggly structure in front of the mystery object, but it looks like a feather duster.> So far you guys are 3 for 3, I hope this can be 4. <I'm so sorry but I honestly don't know what it is! My initial impression is that it could be a sponge (possibly a Syconoid) of some sort. Although there are some species of thinly stalked sponges (Glass sponges/Hyalonema), I'd be very surprised if that's what this is. I think in this case the cord could be throwing us off. This could be a Syconoid attached to either a piece of fiber (with stuff growing on it so it looks thicker), or part of a feather duster. Another possibility is an Ascidian/sea squirt. There are some stalked varieties, but the bases are thicker so scratch those. It could be something like the Rhopalaea sp. shown at WWM (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ascidpt2.htm ) attached to a fiber/duster, but note the obvious siphons and thin walls. I wish I could see the surface of your mystery object a bit better. I can't tell if it's fibrous, gelatinous, covered with openings/siphons, or what. My last guess is that given the overall shape and apparent bubbles of air/gas around the object, maybe what we're seeing is the result of decay/bacterial activity. This is out of my area, so bear with me -- I could be very wrong! Maybe a piece of organic matter/food landed on the sponge (or something died there) and was surrounded and consumed by bacteria. The resultant structure may have initially developed into a small sphere, but gas formed in the interior and it started to rise and form this teardrop shape. That outside fuzzy area with the tiny bubbles could be more bacteria -- a bloom around the outside. Anyway, those are my best guesses.> Any info is appreciated... Thanks in advance...Joe. <You're very welcome, Joe. I'm sorry I couldn't give you a positive ID, but I just don't have enough information. Take care and have a great week, -Lynn>

Strange unidentified spongy thing -- 5/3/08 Hi, <Lai> I noticed some stuff that came along with my live rock, and it seems to have grown somewhat. I cant imagine what it could be, but it looks like spongy eggs! Just wondering if you guys knew what this is and if its bad for my tank? Should I try to get rid of it. (no, its not the shrimp), the other 2 grey things... Lai ps. Thanks in advance! You guys have been so helpful! <Mmm, looks to be either an amorphous type Ascidian/Sea Squirt or some sort of sponge itself. Not harmful... even beneficial in ways. Bob Fenner>

Algae, Sponge, Bryozoan?  4/28/08 Hi, <Howdy> I just had a quick I.D. question for you guys.? I hope I'm not wasting your time with this as I'm new to the hobby.? Thanks in advance for any help you can give me.? I am attaching a picture rather than ineptly trying to describe this.? Is this a form?of?red coralline algae starting on my live rock?? <Mmm, nah> I've been reading thought the many pages on your site on saltwater aquariums and more specifically those pertaining to reef tanks and frankly I'm hooked.? The hardest part at this point is the patience required after reading about the many forms of life that can sprout from my live rock.? I already have several sponges, feather dusters and other tube worms that have appeared on my rocks and can't wait for more to appear.? Despite this sporadic life appearing, my rock seems somewhat barren, but given the relative short time that I have had them (six weeks) I have no doubt that I am being impatient once again. Thanks for the help! both from your reply and the huge amounts of information on your site) Ty <My guess from the pic alone is that this is either a sponge or Bryozoan... Any change of a closer up shot? Bob Fenner>

Re: Algae, Sponge, Bryozoan?  4/29/08 Hello again. Unfortunately the location of this critter makes it kind of tough to get a closer picture.? Its location is in a small cave.? The picture I sent is already pretty close in and is at the max that my optical zoom goes on my camera.? The animal in question is hard like the live rock if that helps in the ID.? Also the roof of the cave it is in has a mass of stringy filaments that I assume have nothing to do with this ID (probably the feeding? lines of some worm?)? In any case? the stringy stuff? never gets out of the? cave and has been building up on the roof.? Should I reposition the rock so that the string can get out of the cave? so the worm or whatever it is can feed???Sorry i don't have any good pictures for you right now as I am at work, but I can get some to you tonight when I get home.? Once again thanks for the help.? Also I have cropped and resized the original picture and attached it to this email. Thanks, Ty <I'd leave all as is... this growth/organism is no problem. Please fix your English before sending... BobF>

Foramiferan ID 5/6/08 Sorry forgot to put the link in Hi, I think I finally found something in regards to my previous ID question.? I believe it is a foram, specifically Homotrema rubrum. More information about these can be found here http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-07/rs/index.php .? Check out Figure 3. Can you confirm my guess?? Thanks for all your help. <<Hello, yes i would concur with the ID on this. Thanks, A Nixon>> Ty

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