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FAQs about Non-Vertebrate Animal Identification 36

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Strange hitch hiker... not strange... tubeworms, sponge, SW& 6/19/08 Hello crew, Thank you for all your helpful advice I have learned so much from your website. I have a question about a hitch hiker in my tank. I bought some Chaetomorpha algae and put it in my two in-tank refugiums. I now have tube like worms growing on the glass around the refugiums and attached to the refugiums. They are white and grow out in a tube shape. They remind me of the siphon tube on a Nassarius snail. It appears to have a mouth at the end and it attaches to the glass with "branches" or "feet". They appeared very quickly and in large amounts. I have the tube worms with the hard shell that appear as tiny swirls on the glass and its not those. I reviewed all the worm questions and did not see a picture. It does not look like the pictures of aiptasia or hydroids that I have seen. If you could help in anyway I would be very appreciative. <It's really hard to say without a picture, but my *guess* from your description would be some kind of sponge.> My tank is a 57 gallon tall, Aqua Clear 70 filter, heater set at 77F, about 10 pounds of live rock, two seahorses, a skunk cleaner, one harlequin shrimp, two chocolate chip sea stars (one being eaten and one in the refugium for later), one feather duster, a toadstool leather coral, and several hermit crabs and snails. My tests are Ammonia-0, Nitite-10, Nitrate-0, PH-8.3. The only thing recently added was "reef bugs" and liquid calcium by Kent. Thank You for any help with this. I will try and get a picture but any ideas to look up would be great. <It sounds like a sponge, but who knows? I'll likely be able to help you a lot more if you can send in a photo. :-) Best, Sara M.>

Pest or pleasant? Stomatellids - 6/13/08 Hello experts <I'm as much an 'expert' here as I am a Tang! But happy to help...> In our 550L Reef tank we have discovered this creature: is it a friendly Chiton or a snail pest? <Neither! This is a stomatellid snail. These little chaps are tremendous algae eaters, besides being fun to watch. They'll grow and reproduce in your aquarium as well, provided conditions remain favorable.> It's body is much bigger than is small, rather flat shell. OR. Am I looking two different animals?? <Nope, just one. Enjoy!> Kind <The same!>
Clive Rabson

Bizarre Creature Identification  6/9/08 Good Morning Crew, <Good evening Toni, Mich with you tonight.> My fiancé' and I are new to saltwater aquariums and we are very excited about our new found hobby. <Welcome to the briny world.> He loves to sit and watch for what seems to be hours on end! He reads a lot about things on the Internet and we stumbled across your site. It's truly a God send! <Glad you have found it helpful.> We have a question. We acquired this very strange live shell, from the coast near Corpus Christi. <OK.> It looks like a million individual mouths that continuously open and close. They each have a feather like tongue that they stick out each time they open their mouth. The tongues resemble feather dusters, but the look like little feather claws that the creature waves around before it draws it back in. It is so strange that its kinda creepy. I have attached a picture. Can you identify it? <Hard to tell from the picture, but your description sounds like a barnacle.> I've Googled everything I can think of, but no luck. We have a 25 gallon tank. It's still fairly new, maybe a month 1/2 old the water levels are holding at the levels the pet shop says they should <Best not to rely solely on the pet shop. Please educate yourselves. Perhaps do some reading on our site.> and it doesn't seem to be negatively affecting anything. We have a Peppermint shrimp, damsel, a goby, and several pounds of live rock. <You have a very small system, please read and be careful of how much more livestock you introduce.> There also seems to be another creature that rode along with it. It isn't very clear in the pic, <Mmm, I'm not seeing it in the pic, sorry.> but it is small and bluish. It seems to have some sort of tentacles and it came from the shell and has now attached itself to the live rock. We thought it was a sponge or coral or something, but now I am convinced its an animal. <Actually sponges and corals are animals.> Any ideas on what this might be? <Mmm, possibly an aiptasia or anemone of some sort, but is really a guess at best.> I am concerned because these were not store bought. Are they dangerous? <The barnacle is not, though they typically don't live long in captivity.> Please help! I'm going crazy trying to figure this out! Sorry for the poor quality pictures. <Yeah, not the best, next time try using the macro feature on your camera.> How are others getting such great pictures of the life inside their tanks? <Use the macro setting, usually looks has a symbol that looks like a flower, typically a daisy.> You can barely see the bluish-purple creature its on the left at the bottom of the rock, but it looks like some sort of soft bodied snail like thing with short blue spiky looking tentacles one end of its body. <That sounds like a Nudibranch, but if it is relatively stationary it is likely not.> The rest of it looks textured with little bumps, but not tentacles. <Definitely look for the macro setting and if you can get a better image please feel free to send it in. I will gladly try to help you figure out your mystery creatures! Cheers,
Toni McCrary


Question, ID, no images  6/5/08 Hi WWM Crew, I have found each answer you have provided to others very helpful and use your site often! This particular "creature ID" I was not successful in finding any insight on and was hoping you would help me to the best of your knowledge!? <Is my habit> In this particular saltwater set up I house a Snowflake Eel, Damsel, Niger Trigger, Chocolate Chip Starfish, 2 Pencil Urchins, and several Crown Conches... and the unknowns! <Mmm, do keep an eye on the Odonus... may well sample the invertebrates here> The "unknowns" I speak of are flat white disk looking things that are suctioned onto the glass by a clear plate like suction cup. They stick straight out from the sides of the tank. I also noticed that there are many more of them along the side of a rock and they are all lined up evenly spaced. They are about the size of a nickel and do not seem to move anywhere. I only have base rock in this tank, no live rock so I'm not sure where they came from! If you could help provide some ideas for me as to what these are I would greatly appreciate it! Regards, Amy <Mmm, really need photos... perhaps these discs are Ascidian colonies... see WWM, the Net for pix... Bob Fenner> Mystery Thing'¦Holothurid? -- 06/05/08 Good evening! <<Morning now'¦Hello!>> I have a mystery guest in my 40 gal. reef tank that I can't find an I.D. for. <<Oh?>> I found it on the glass yesterday. It is about an inch long stretched out, purplish in color and covered in what look like tube feet. <<Hmm'¦>> It also had about five antennae-like things coming off of what I think is the front, but if I get too close they retract. <<From your description, this sounds like a species of filter-feeding Holothurid '¦a Sea Cucumber>> I am attaching picture I took, I tried to zoom in and crop it, but I'm not sure if it worked. <<There was no picture with this email>> I saw one of these creatures at Petco once, and was so curious what it was they let me have it, but when I put it in our tank it immediately shriveled up and floated under a rock. <<Typical'¦easily swept away by water motion unless given an opportunity to attach itself first>> Could it be a type of sea cucumber? <<That's what I'm thinking, yes>> I can't seem to find anything like it on your site. <<Though it may differ in color, have a look at the examples here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seacukes.htm >> Any ideas as to what it is? <<As stated'¦>> Thanks for your help, Amanda <<Quite welcome. Enjoy this animal while it is around'¦they generally don't do well in captive systems unless of some size and supported by a plankton generating refugium. But do check out the links at the top of the article page on Cucumber systems and feeding. Regards, EricR>>  

Sedentariate Polychaete ID   6/4/08 Quick question - I noticed on the back wall of my tank there is white spiral? It looks like a @, well more circular. Like you drew a perfect circle then went around the original circle two more times or so? Any ideas? It almost looks like ring worm? Should I be worried? Tank info below... <Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/featheridfaqs.htm Bob Fenner>

Re: What went wrong!? Invert. ID  -- 6/4/08 I didn't see anything that came close to what I was talking about below. This is what it looks like exactly but it is white. <Ahh, perhaps a reproductive event... mollusks... BobF>

Re: What went wrong!? Found my answer here ------) http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seaslugrepro.htm Thanks! <Ahh yes! BobF, who has a friend with your last name here in San Diego... JoeC> Re: What went wrong!? Joe Curry huh.....maybe a distant relative, is he rich? <Heeee! Lives in a nice neighborhood...> JK, thanks for all your guys help!
<Welcome John. BobF>

Unidentified organism  6/4/08 Hi there, I have had a 300 gallon set up for almost a year now; I have added a deep sand bed of about 5 inches some cured base rock that is coming along nicely.&I have added hermits and snail, along with two fish awhile back.&nbsp; I have two rapids pro filter/skimmers.&nbsp; Water parameters are great.&nbsp; I have&had no problems at all.&I have noticed that there is a lot of small bristle worms.&nbsp; Now i have noticed these clear long web type of organism.&nbsp; Having a close look along these long strands that are mainly on the walls,&nbsp;but have noticed they are on the rock and hermit crab shells as well.&nbsp; They have hydra type heads along the strings and are branchy almost like a web or varicose veins.&nbsp; I assume it is a hydroid, all help appreciated, thanks! <Impossible to tell from this desc.... please send along a pic... well-resolved... Bob Fenner>  

What is this plant or animal ??  5/29/08 Hello Crew ! <Lisa> I purchased this item for my salt water reef tank because I thought it was really cool looking. But the people at the fish store did not seem to know what it was.. In quote he said it was more plant than animal??? I am curios if any of you might have a better answer for me. The picture is not real clear, I tried to get a better one to no avail. it is creamy in color, soft to the touch and forms crystals at its base and underside as well as a few erupting from the top spongy parts, I can pull them out with ease kinda like pulling a splinter out. pulling them out does not seem to affect it at all. The crystals are small about 2ml long and whitish. They seem to fall off the underside and collect underneath. <Crystals... I was going to guess this was some sort of Soft Coral of the Family Alcyoniidae: http://wetwebmedia.com/alcyoniidsii.htm but now... am pretty sure it's a Sponge of some sort... the crystals> Thanks for any input you might have. Lisa the curious <I'd just keep removing bits of it if it's growing too much... keep it isolated on the few rocks it's spread to. Bob Fenner> Re: What is this plant or animal ??  5/29/08Thanks Bob, You mentioned to keep it isolated on the rock it is on, did you say this because could it be damaging to my reef or just overtake it. Lisa <Mmm, kind of both... some sponges (not all) have proven to be "aggressive" chemically, physically... best to "keep them isolated"... or is that lyric "You gotta keep 'em separated"? BobF>

What's this? Need more information - 5/25/08 Hi <Hi Sue, Lynn here this morning!> I have a newly established marine aquarium and I'd like to know if I have a feather duster forming. I took pics but you'd never see it because they were bad quality, sorry. <Yep, small subjects can be a real challenge to photograph. You might check to see if your camera has a "Macro" mode. It's usually represented as a small flower icon (like a Daisy), either on a button or within the menu mode of the camera.> It's growing off the live rock, clear with a black sort of spot about a third of the way from the top. It's very small at the moment and I wondered how feather duster worms actually form. <It depends. There are many, many different types of what's commonly called a feather duster. Please see these links for more information: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/feather.htm http://www.advancedaquarist.com/issues/aug2002/invert.htm > I've researched this but can't find one at such a small stage. <How small is it - in inches or mm? Do you see a tube or feathery crown at all? I'm sorry Sue, but I just don't have enough information to go on. The good news is that what you're seeing is most likely harmless. Just keep an eye on it and if you're ever able to get a good photo, please send it along!> Regards Sue xx <Take care, -Lynn>

Freshwater Amphipods? -- 05/21/2008 Hi, <Hello Adam.> I was wondering if you guys could help me identify these little critters. <Sure will try.> They came in a shipment of feeder goldfish, possibly originating from Florida. For all intents and purposes, they look like brine shrimp crossed with clams. When they get scared, they close up in a bivalve-esque fashion and just look like little clams. But they will also swim around like little brine shrimp, and obviously have legs and eyes and antennae. <These are Ostracods aka Seed Shrimps. They are one (or possibly several) group(s) of Crustaceans with clam like shells. A internet search for Ostracods will bring up a lot of interesting facts, e.g. http://w3.gre.ac.uk/schools/nri/earth/ostracod/introduction.htm.> They don't seem to bother anything, so I assume they are filter feeders. Thanks! ~Adam <They are most likely beneficial creatures, only very few are parasites, most feed on detritus and decaying plants and animals, a few are predators. Ostracods are often used as fish food. Cheers, Marco.>

<Cool!! -Sara M.>
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