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FAQs about Non-Vertebrate Animal Identification 10

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

Related FAQs: Non-Vert IDs 1, Non-Vert IDs 2, Non-Vert IDs 3, Non-Vert IDs 4, Non-Vert IDs 5, Non-Vert IDs 6, Non-Vert IDs 7, Non-Vert IDs 8, Non-Vert IDs 9, Non-Vert IDs 11, Non-Vert IDs 12, Non-Vert IDs 13, Non-Vert IDs 14, Non-Vert IDs 15, Non-Vert IDs 16, Non-Vert IDs 17, Non-Vert IDs 18, Non-Vert. ID 19, Non-Vert. ID 20, Non-Vert. ID 21, Non-Vert. ID 22, Non-Vert. ID 23, Non-Vert. ID 24, Non-Vert. ID 25, Non-Vert ID 26, Non-Vert ID 27, Non-Vert ID 28, Non-Vert ID 29, Non-Vert ID 30 Non-Vert ID 31, Non-Vert ID 32, Non-Vert 33, Non-Vert ID 34, Non-Vert ID 35, Non-Vert ID 36, Non-Vert ID 37, Non-Vert ID 38, Non-Vert ID 39, Non-Vert ID 40, Non-Vert ID 41, Non-Vert ID 42, Non-Vert ID 43, Non-Vert ID 44, Non-Vert ID 45, Non-Vert ID 46, Non-Vert ID 47, Non-Vert ID 48, Non-Vert ID 49, Non-Vert ID 50, Non-Vert ID 51, Non-Vert ID 52, Non-Vert ID 53, Non-Vert ID 54, Non-Vert ID 55, Non-Vert ID 56, Non-Vert ID 57, Non-Vert ID 58, Non-Vert ID 59, Non-Vert ID 60, Non-Vert ID 61, & Marine Invertebrates, Marine Invert.s 2, Marine Invert.s 3, & FAQs about: Marine Invertebrate Behavior, Marine Invertebrate Compatibility, Marine Invertebrate Selection, Marine Invertebrate Systems, Feeding Reef Invertebrates, Marine Invertebrate Disease, Marine Invertebrate Reproduction& LR Life IdentificationLR Hitchhiker ID 1, Anemone Identification, Aiptasia Identification, Aiptasia ID 2, Worm Identification, Tubeworm ID, Polychaete Identification, Snail Identification, Marine Crab Identification, Marine Invert.s 1, Marine Invert.s 2, Marine Plankton

Little white pests...but not Aiptasia...and other problems Hi, hope you can help! <Will do my best> Background: We have a 125 gal saltwater tank with 2 filters, protein skimmer, but no reef lighting (yet). <... but some lighting?>   Inhabitants are a yellow tang, firefish, coral beauty, 2 cleaner shrimp, a pink knobby cuke, a dozen or so hermit crabs, and damsels.  (Neon damsel, blue damsel, humbug damsel, 3 green Chromis.)  We have several large live rocks, and a few pieces of fake decorator coral junk while we wait to get the right lighting to add the real stuff.  Substrate is a mix of live sand and crushed coral.  Chemistry and temp perfect.  Tank is about 6 mo.s established.  All is well in there. We have a 20 gal hospital tank for inductees and sick guys, currently only inhabited by 2 cleaner shrimp and a few hermits, about 4 months old.  A few pieces of decorator plastic caves, and a few pieces of live rock.  Same substrate.  Same chemistry and temp as 125 gal tank, but our new fish dont survive it not sure if something is wrong in there or if we are getting bad stock or whats going on.   <Good list of speculations... you are using your big tank's water there? I would> We dont want to introduce new fish into the big tank, because weve already experienced chasing down the sick guy in the big tank, and its not good for any of the other inhabitants. <Well-stated>   We had two lunare wrasses in the main tank for about a month that were trying to eat everyone else, so we moved them to the hospital tank for a few weeks before returning them to the pet store, and they were fine in there. <Interesting... gives weight to the "initial bunk livestock" theory> We feed with frozen multi-pack foods in the eve, and leave dried seaweed pieces pinned up during the day, both of which are eaten voraciously, but nobody looks to be starving, or even close, and the shrimp are molting and hermits moving to new homes, but no visible food decaying or spike in nitrates, so think we are good with feeding. Problem #1:  Every time we get new fish, they die in the hospital tank, usually within 3-5 days of arrival.  We do 10% water changes (in both tanks) every week.  We have tried a 100% water change in the hospital (several times).  We have tried restoring it with water from both the main tank and clean water source to help match. <Ah, I see>   (Water source is completely purified, we bought a water purification system solely for the tank water, and add Oceanic Salt.) <I would read over re synthetic salt mix brands... on WWM, the Net... and switch to something else (myself)>   Occasionally we see signs of ich on the new guyswhen we do, we remove the carbon in the filter and treat with Kick Ich. <This product is worse than worthless. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/homeopathfaqs.htm At best it's a misleading placebo, worse, it may be poisoning your system to a degree> but sometimes no signs of ich, they just keel over.  We used to induct our fish over a several hour period to the hospital tank, lights off, adding ¼ cup to their bags at a time until introducing, but have gone even farther now to a drip method where we place the fish and water in a (covered, dark) container, and slowly drip the hospital tank water into the container until it overflows into a bucket (4-6 hours or so), before introducing the fish into the tank.  Still they die.  Any advice or thoughts??? <Lots... for here, try a Polyfilter in your water flow path... see if you "get any color"... You likely have a poison source here... perhaps a bit of metal from... a clamp? Ornament? Check with other hobbyists in your LFS/source store... do they have similar lack of "luck?"> Problem #2:  Several months ago we were thrilled to see a bunch of little white things birthed in our 125 tank and floating around.  (Hey, stuff is living!!)  =)  They were free-swimming, with a tiny ring of tentacle looking things around the top, sort of hydra-looking, and may have been Aiptasia, <Nah... not this life's M.O.> but if so did not last long.  (Probably got eaten.)  About a month ago, there was a birthing of same in the hospital tank.  We had added some live rock, and also infused some water from main tank, so dont know source.  At the time there were (doomed) fish in there, so only one of the birthed critters survived.  He lodged himself on a shell and grew to be about an inch or two long!  He was white, with a large rotund belly, and a small hole at one end.   <Sounds like my ex-brother in-law> No visible tentacles, really, but a small circle of very short hair like things around its hole.  Interior appears almost hollow.  No narrow base, far removed from Aiptasia descriptions, obviously alive due to growth, but not movement, (stationary in all regards), and very ugly.  Sort of like an onion?  After another batch (3) of new fish died, we removed him as well, as we did not know what he was and he was therefore suspect. (About 3 weeks ago.) <Likely not related to your fish mortalities, and don't know what this is exactly... see below> Last week, there was another birthing of these things in the hospital tank! They appear first as free-floating creatures with little umbrella heads (very tiny), almost like hydras, but then affix themselves everywherethe glass, heater, shells in the substrate, and commence to filling out with the wide belly onion look.   They are growing, and are now already probably 1/8-1/4 inch long.  I have searched and searched and cant determine what these things are.  They fit the description of Aiptasia in how they arrive and behave, but not at all in appearance after that. <Actually, not an actinarian (anemone) but likely a hydroid of some sort... a guess based on your description of appearance and life history. Not desirable, but no reason to panic either... they are originating from a bit of live rock (strobilizing is the fancy word). They will "run out of eggs" someday soon.> Any help? <Oh yeah, getting to something in the way of a real solution... Here's the big wind-up and the pitch.... a refugium! I'd attach another (live) sump container to your existing system, put it on at least a reverse timed lighting schedule (do get some light for your main tank if you don't have this as well), and grow some live macro-algae, have a DSB there... Voila! Whatever the problems are/were, solved. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm and the linked files above till you understand rubber band. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Tracy

What Is It? - 06/12/05 Hi, <<Hello>> We have these little white things popping up all over our tank and don't know if they are good or bad.  This is the best picture I could get I hope you can tell what it is.   <<Can't say for sure from the pic...but my guess would be an ascidian, or a Syconoid sponge.  Filter feeders that are both interesting and beneficial...and of small concern as incidental "pop-ups.">> I was also curious, do you know what a good book is to try and find this stuff out. <<Yes...Calfo and Fenner's "Reef Invertebrates>">> Thank you, Kathy <<Welcome, Eric R.>>

Questions of Curiosity Hi Crew, <<Hello Person.>> I am trying to follow your (collective) advice on controlling hair algae in my 10 gallon and it is improving slowly. <<Very good.>> I have two large (2") brownish snail shells that I picked up at the beach here in New York which have been in my tank for over a year. They rarely have any nuisance algae on them. They are covered in a turquoise color (on the side facing the light) with some yellow and purple sprinkled in. It does not come off with a tooth brush. And only one other clam shell is like that. Everything else has either plain green algae or hair algae. Is it a type of coralline algae and why does it not grow elsewhere. <<Oh, that's a question! Ok, likely it is a type of coralline, and I would guess it's not growing elsewhere because its growth may be limited to a higher nutrient-containing, colder water.>> I bought a Ricordea that came glued to a soft plastic tube of some sort and a spaghetti worm used to live in it. Now I can see a fuzzy end of something with an opening that looks like a squirt of some sort but I can not see the body of it. Would a squirt live in such tight quarters. <<A squirt will live where a squirt will live. Who can say what motivates such a squirt?>> And I finally have a bristle worm. <<Have you been waiting in anticipation?>> I found him in the rock attached to a candy cane I bought a few months ago. I know people complain about them but right now I am enjoying mine. It is a real bright orange with tufts of bristles sticking out. <<May be a fireworm instead. Ever wonder why they're called "fireworm"?>> The candy cane also has two tiny tube worms on it with bright red feathers about 1/8 inch. <<Cool beans!>> Is there any chance they will multiply. <<Ah, another question (I like using question marks for these). Sure, why not? If this one's doing well, then whatever its specific needs are, you're meeting them, yeah? As for the worm, whether it be bristle or fire, high levels of detritus will bring up numbers of bristles, but that will ensure your loss of the hair algae battle. Therein lies the conundrum.>> Thanks <<Welcome. I sign this - Marina>> 

Sweeper tentacles concern Hey WWM <Joe> I have these strange creatures in my tank. I cannot see the actually organisms body but sometimes sweeper tentacles are seen. I am starting to see more and more of these things. Usually they are seen at night but sometimes during the day. The only part of the organism is the sweeper tentacles trying to catch food. I just noticed some coming out of my star polyps also. What can stop these things...they are taking over! thanks Joe <Likely some sort of worm ("Spaghetti") and no need to worry... Use the term on WWM and enjoy. Bob Fenner> 

Micro-Mini-globs on reef tank glass! Hi Bob I have e-mailed your site before and was given some helpful information so I am giving it a try again. Just wanted to say that the endless e-mails you receive must be overwhelming yet you seem to answer them all. <One... at... a time> I can sit for hours and read the responses given by your team. Anywho Here is my dilemma. I started noticing small white dots on the glass of my mini-reef thinking it might be macro-algae starting to grow. On closer examination, with a magnifier or loop, I noticed these dots moving and they werent round at all. They move like a slug, the front (?) end that this creature is moving in, is shaped like a bullet (rounded), the tail end is shaped like a u with two points, like a snakes tongue.  Their shape becomes fatter or thinner (or stays the same) as they move. Regardless of how their shape changes, they are always rounded at one end and two pointed at the other end. They were concentrated mostly near the water line (until I cleaned the glass a couple of days ago). I can still see them down by the substrate, on the glass and in the crushed coral. Any idea what these mini globs of matter could be? <Likely either worms or snails of some sort> And do you think I should remove them as best I can? <No... they will likely go/pass on their own with time> Or should I be happy I have globs of matter in the tank? <Ah, yes> Thanks in advance for any insight you or another member of your team may provide. Regards, Thomas <Thank you for writing, sharing. Bob Fenner> 

Mystery tunicate or sponge? Hi there.. I emailed 'Mike' to try and figure out how to post pictures when I use the chat/forum, so until I hear back on what is probably a horribly easy thing to do, I am sending this pic to you all for help with identification. No, I just couldn't resist this impulse buy, even though neither I, nor the 'experts' at my beloved LFS could ID this amazing thing. We all think it is a sponge or more probably a tunicate. any ideas?? Thanks greatly. <Your jpg is an unsupportable format... Please see WWM re these two groups... easily discerned with close observation. Bob Fenner> SW hitchhiker thing Hello gang, <Bryan> Hope all is well. I have a small 20g tank with a 2-1/2" Taenianotus Leaf Scorpion. Tank parameters are temp: 76-77F, NH3:0, NO2:0, NO3:20, Sal:30. Co-habitants include many Columbellid snails, 2 or 3 Clibanarius hermits, 1-1/2" Mithraculus type crab, Zoanthid polyps, a bundle of Chaetomorpha, and the usual micro/macro tag-a-longs. Filtration is by AquaC Remora and 25% IO water change weekly. The fish did a 4 week QT, no copper, no hypo or F/W dip. The rest of the tank (including live rock) was directly introduced. I noted this character on the surface film, 1/8" in diameter resembling a small freshwater Argulus louse. It breaks the surface tension and begins floating downward. I can see a swimming or oscillating motion but the sucker descends in a straight path... until it contacts the Leaf Scorpion and gloms onto the fish's side. The Scorpion reacts by doing its side-to-side thing. By morning, the little arthropod-y thing is gone. So... Is this little creature familiar to anyone? I realize the description is vague and pictures non-existent but was hoping that it is a common, non-pathogenic fellow. I will also check with Shimek. Thanks Bryan <Is it grey/ish in color... Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/isopoda.htm.  Bob Fenner>   

Unidentified Creatures, Friend Or Foe? - -05/07/05 Dear WWM crew, Although I haven't heard back from you with regards to my last e-mail, I did in fact find a picture on-line of my mystery creature and I'm afraid it isn't good news.  It's described as a myisopod although google didn't give me any links when I tried that word.  I've attached the picture to this e-mail.  The website for Tampa Bay Live Rock is where I found this picture and they recommend that you remove it immediately as it will act as a fish parasite.  Do you know anything about these creatures? <What you have is an "isopod"...I believe the "my" was used to show possession as in "hey!  That's my isopod" <G>.  These organisms are indeed parasitic, have a read here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/isopodfaqs.htm and on the associated links in blue.> Thank you again for everything that you guys do! Best wishes, Karen <Regards, Eric R.>

Odd hitchhiker id Dear Crew, <Mike> On the same small piece of live rock (2" x 4") in my refugium that I found a hitchhiker moon polyp on, I am discovering something I have never heard of or seen before. Since I have no idea what it could be, I have no idea where to start.  It looks like a bubble. I noticed it 2-3 months ago. It was really small, maybe about 2mm. I had thought it was just an air bubble that was in my refugium. It never went to the surface, and since then it has grown and is now about 5-6 mm in diameter. It is a sphere. It is semi-transparent, and has a brown color to it. If you know what this is, could provide links on the site to it, or if there isn't much on the site, I would appreciate if you could inform me on this mystery hitchhiker. Thank you Mike <Could be a few things... my first guess is a "bubble algae" of some sort... take a look on WWM re this name (in the Google search tool...) or Valonia... Bob Fenner>

Growth on green star polyps Hello, I have a question about a small white fuzz ball on my green star polyp colony. It is only about 1x2mm, but it doesn't exactly look natural. It is attached quite well and I am not sure if this is some kind of critter that could potentially hurt the growth of my coral. Any suggestions of identifications would be very appreciated. <Mmm, maybe take a read through the "Identification" FAQs files archived on WWM re marine invertebrates... likely this is an algae or sponge colony... not harmful, could be excised... Bob Fenner>   

Hitchhiker ID Hi Crew, <Damien> I would appreciate some help to id this creature that came with LR. <Nice pix> I have seen it a few times before, poking his head (or the first inch of its body) out of different pieces of LR in my tank. However last night it came out completely and actually start grazing on the back glass just like the snails. I took the opportunity to take some pictures of it and then moved it to a nursery box hanging on the side of the tank. It is active at night and I think it feeds on algae (right now that is in short supply, apart from a patch of red wire algae, this could be the reason why it took the risk to leave the LR). It is about 4 inches long when stretched out. However it curled up to form a ring when I caught it with my hand. And its body is not soft as it looks but instead quite firm. <Interesting> I have compared the information I can find on the web and referred to Anthony and Robs' Reef Invertebrates book, but did not see anything like this. I hope you can help me with this and advice whether I should return it back to the tank or leave it out. Thank you very much in advance. Damien Kwok Hong Kong <Judging just from the pix I would have guessed this was a flatworm, Platyhelminth of some sort... but your description of the feel and behavior on touch make it seem more likely to be a gastropod, Opisthobranch of some sort or a chiton, polyplacophoran. A neat, beautiful creature at any length, that I would enjoy, not remove. Thank you for sending this along. Bob Fenner>

Creature Identification Could you help me identify what is grow among my mushrooms? I have searched Reef Invert By Anthony Calfo & Robert F. book and Invert book by Sprung. There are two of these under the mushrooms and what I thought was rock is soft tissue. What ever this is, is only on the front edge of the rock.  If I move or get next to the rock it will close up and look like a belly button.  My first thoughts was barnacles but there appears to be nothing in the center. Any Ideas? Kevin <Am going cross-eyed looking, but from the twin, dissimilar siphons observed this looks like some sort of ascidian, sea squirt... Not harmful, indeed indicative of your good care. Please see here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ascidians.htm Bob Fenner>

What is in my tank? Hello, I'm a long time reader, but this is my first question. I recently, about two months ago, set up a 29 gal. It has a maroon clown, pencil urchin, chocolate chip star, and a cleaner shrimp in it. I came home today and I noticed several (around 70) little white wormlike things moving around on some of my live rock and a few are on the glass. After I saw those, then I saw little white blobs with several little appendages that split like a "Y" at the end. I then noticed some more little white objects swimming freely in the water, these objects looked exactly like an extremely tiny jellyfish and moved like jellyfish as well. I am really hoping that you will be able to tell me what these are. Thank you very much. Tate <Mmm, my rough guess is that the first are some sort of polychaete worm, the second a type of hydrozoan (strobilized from your live rock)... You can use these terms and your search tools or WWM for pix, much more. Bob Fenner> 

White worm? Guys, I seen a white worm pop out of a hole in the rock.  It's mouth opened and it excreted approx four - five small brown pellets.  About the size of a tip of a pencil. It had two horn like tentacles sticking out the front of its head. I never seen this creature before and have had the tank for about a year now.  I know it is probably hard to identify without a picture and if I see it again I will make sure I have the camera ready.  Any ideas would be appreciated. <Please read through WWM re invert., worm identification. Bob Fenner> Steve What the Heck? Banded Sea Krait in my New Tank..?? Hi <<Hello. This is Marina.>> I have a question about my reef tank. Yesterday while admiring my Fiji live rock, I noticed something moving about. It was very tiny, (about 2 inches long and the diameter of a safety pin). <<The pin bit itself, or a closed safety pin?>> It moved exactly like a snake. It was white with black bands (or maybe black with white bands, not sure exactly). <<None of us ever are.>> It did not show itself for long, maybe 30 seconds and retreated into a hole in the rock. I have tried to ID it, but the only thing that I can find that even looks similar is the banded sea krait sea snake. Is it possible for one to be in my aquarium via the live rock? <<Yes, it's certainly possible. However, if the diameter you're talking about is the "pin" part, I am much more inclined to believe you have some sort of worm in there, many would also match this description. I also don't think even newly hatched kraits (hatch on land) are as small as two inches, but don't hold me to that. I saw an adult my first day in Bali while snorkeling (and getting *very* seasick - JEEZ, huh?).>> Please help as I am new to salt water reef keeping, and I hate the thought of a snake preying on my fish. <<Well, if it were a krait, it certainly WOULD prey on your fish. Just as compelling here is the added responsibility of caring not just for a snake, but a highly venomous one - though they're fairly peaceful, not so nippy as, say certain rattlesnakes. However, I doubt at this point it's a krait. Can you get a photo sometime, maybe? Search our site on worms and worm photos, Google black & white marine worms, see if you get anything close and let us know, please. Marina>> P.S.: Two weeks ago, one of my damsels had one of his swimming fins ripped off, (little tiny bones were showing) at the time, I assumed it was from a fight with another damsel, but now I'm not so sure. <<I would still assume it was another damsel, especially if particular species. If it were a krait it wouldn't try on something so much larger than itself. Hope you REALLY like those damsels, if an aggressive species you're going to have a whole lot of fun trying to get them back out! Marina>> 

What the Heck? So, if it is a Sea Krait.. Thank you so much for your speedy reply, I have a camera sitting next to my aquarium, so the next time it comes out, I can get a photo. <<Good idea. I hope you can get a shot.>> If it is a sea krait, according to the literature that I have read, they have to come to the surface for air every so often... <<Indeed, and come to shore to breed/spawn. Beautiful snake, though I do wonder how bad the poop smells (all other snakes' poop smells STRONGLY of rat urine).>> I will be watching for this behavior as well. I will check out the info on worms and let you know if I see anything that resembles what I have in my tank. Thanks again, you guys are awesome. <<You're welcome, my friend. Marina>> 

Tentacle ID Hi crew; I just wanted to start by saying thanks for all the good information you have provided me. I would be lost without your help. I hope you can help me identify the source of these strange tentacles that I discovered the other night. What I see appears to be a reddish brown tentacle about the diameter of a hair. At first, that is what I thought it was. My daughter has reddish brown hair and I thought one ended up in the tank. It has been known to appear just about anywhere.  Well, as I reached into the tank to remove this "hair", it suddenly snapped back into a deep hole in my live rock. I have been watching it now for several nights and tonight I have seen the most activity yet. Tonight, nearly a dozen tentacles were extending from this hole, some almost 3 to 4 inches long. I still haven't seen what's at the base. I also watch a hermit crab walk across this rock and come in contact with on of these tentacles and it literally jumped off the rock. I don't know if from fright or what, but it just continued on its way. Any thought on what it could be? Is there any way to remove it it's a bad thing? Thanks for your help. Larry <Mmm, could be one of a very large number of living things... a Cnidarian of some sort (possibly an anemone for instance), or a type of worm... a serpent star or two... Likely not harmful enough to launch an eradication campaign... We have many such strange ID queries/answers posted on WWM. Bob Fenner> 

New Tank Hi,  <Hello Dan> Just set up marine tank 3 days ago. Have an anemone, <Not a good idea in that new a tank>  a hermit crab and another crab got in there on the live rock. Found a picture of the anemone on your site , you said it is a Macrodactyla doreensis... "Green Long Tentacle. We are planning to add clown fish, shrimp (cleaner and red), starfish, yellow wrasse, turbo snails, coral and possibly a seahorse (not checked with shop if seahorse will be ok,) but they have said all others will be fine together. Will these be ok with the anemone?  <Nothing, except clowns, are really safe safe with an anemone. The seahorse, definitely not.> Also the crab we have found - how do we best get rid of it. Found similar pictures on here (dark brown crab with weird red eyes) and all advice is to remove. We don't see him much, he hides in amongst the rocks in the very bottom of the tank. <You could use a mantis trap and try getting him that way. Other than that you will have to pull the rock out he hides in.> Is the hermit crab ok to be left in there? <Yes>  I think it's a blue legged hermit - it has red/ orange feelers, 2 blue legs and 2 black from what we can see. (he's tiny!). Last thing - have things growing out of the rock - we think one is a tube worm - impossible to get pics of as its so small. It's maybe a centimetre long, clear with white feathery looking bits on the end. It goes back into the rock sometimes. The other thing growing is in a clump of about 5 bits. They are very pale, nearly see through with pale yellow/green bands on them. They move and sometimes go back into the rock.  <Without pics of these to look at, they could be almost anything. Much information is available on the Wet Web media. Type in the keyword in the Google block and go.> Sorry to ask so much. Thanks in advance  <You're welcome>

Worms? Or Crustaceans? (4/5/05) Hey guys how are you doing lately?  <Speaking for myself, fine thanks. Steve Allen tonight>  Well, last night I went into my room to do my usual (night inspection) of the saltwater tank and to check on my new Ricordea mushrooms I had acclimated that day. Well, I saw these white worms swimming freely against the glass of my tank. They looked like mosquito larvae swimming only white and sort of bristly so I assumed bristle worms?  <Bristleworms remain in hiding during the day and even at night, they would not come out onto the glass. They would stay close to the rock. They don't swim either. They keep most of their body on a surface just like an earthworm does on your driveway. I'm more inclined to think that these are amphipods or Gammarus shrimps. Search on the web for pix to compare.>  I called my LFS and they said probably just a harmless species of worm that came on your LR.  <I agree. Most bristleworms are not harmful unless the numbers get out of hand. Fireworms are another matter.>  They don't really tell me much being I'm fifteen and whenever I go in there I tend to teach them a thing or to....  <Good for you. Maybe you should look around for someone who treats you with a little more respect.>  ...so I decided to talk to people who know what they're doing.  <Hopefully we do.>  Any help would be much appreciated.  <I would not worry much. Do look at pix of the creatures I mentioned.>  Thanks--Aaron  <You're welcome.>  P.S. I got into this hobby about 2 years ago and have loved it more and more each day. There is so much cool stuff you can learn ...(and teach to the less knowledgeable LFS staff) I am really happy I started this great hobby and your site has made it 50% easier, thanks for all your help.  <I hear ya. It's great to have enthusiastic young people like you in the hobby. You're the future of it. Have you considered joining a local marine aquarium club?> 

Crinoid/Tube Worm ID? Dear wise and omniscient ones, I have noted a phenomenon today that is so weird, I can scarcely figure out how to Google for it [though I've given it my best shot]. Four days ago I placed forty pounds of live rock in my 75 gallon tank. Today I saw a filamentous material, appearing to emit from one of the rocks, which stretched out into the water flow. It looked like nothing so much as cigarette smoke in the air. It was wispy, gray-white, and the portions that broke loose swirled and spun in the water before being sucked into the power-head intake. It was a temporary condition, as the material stopped emitting and what came loose was filtered out. I am baffled. Any idea what it might be or might have been? <Yes, it is a tube worm or possibly some type of crinoid. These types of animals use a mucus net to catch detritus and nutrients from the water column. A good sign of pristine water conditions. Have a look: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/worms.htm. Good luck, Ryan>

-Copepods out and About- Hi my name is Kevin. <Hello Kevin, Justin here.> I have a 30 gallon tank with 1 clown fish, 2 domino damsels, and 1 hermit crab. My tank is running for about 4 months now. <Sounds great.> One night as I was feeding my fish, I noticed many little white creatures crawling on my glass!!! Mostly near the bottom and on/near the silicone sealant. They are really tiny and it looks like there body shape is like a rod shape!!! They don't seem to bother my fish at all though. Please tell me what they are and if they are harmful and if they are harmful, please tell me how to get rid of them. Thank you for your time. <Well Kevin, do not worry. These animals are called copepods and are very beneficial to your tank. They are also a sign of a healthy tank, and I would not worry about them at all. If they are bothering you on the glass, you can scrape them off, but other than that, you do not need to worry or do anything.> <Justin (Jager)>

Limpets for Dinner Hi gang: While cleaning the glass on my reef today, I pried loose a hard-shelled creature. It's resembles a snail -- sort of cone-shaped hard white shell with a rough surface texture -- with a soft interior that grips to the glass, but once they settle in, don't move for weeks/months on end. I've never seen anything on these creatures that resembles a head, eyes, antennae, etc.) <Sounds like limpets. The small ones are common, harmless detritivores.> Anyway, as the critter slipped from my tweezers' grasp, my piglet-with-fins pacific blue tang darted over and gobbled the thing, shell and all. I waited for him to spit it out. . . but didn't see it happen. The tang is about 5-6" long. . . the shellfish about the size of its eye (which I know is a rough gauge of stomach size for fish). What're the chances of my fish being in big trouble in terms of intestinal blockage? And is there anything I can do to help? Chuck  <No worries. I doubt that the fish would have eaten something it can't digest. Also, digestive acids should make quick work of dissolving the shell. Best Regards. AdamC.>

How Can You Tell...? How can you tell the difference between Aiptasia anemone and a feather duster?  I have something coming out of my live rock and I want to know what is the differences I should be looking for to tell them apart. The pictures are not really helping me. <Very easily discerned. Put these two groups of animals names in the Google search tool here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/index.html and look at their images... one's an anemone... the other a worm... Bob Fenner>

Swimming starbursts I have looked through several articles on the site but I'm still unsure about what I am seeing and hoped someone could help me out. About 4 or 5 days ago, I started noticing that there were white starburst- looking things attached to my glass. They are about 3 times the size of the copepod bugs. They didn't seem to be moving then, but today I saw two of them swimming. They look like an octopus because the middle comes up to propel the body, then followed by the 8 tentacle things. <Ah ha! Good description> When it moves to the side, it obviously was the same shape and size as the starburst I saw on the glass. What could this be? <Jellies of some sort...> I have one sandsifter star, a skunk cleaner shrimp and 2 percula clowns. No corals or anemones. Thanks in advance, Christy <These cnidarians (either scyphozoans or hydrozoans) will likely cause no harm and "simply pass" in a few weeks... Enjoy them while you can. They are "strobilizing" from some part of your live rock no doubt. Bob Fenner> 

Pod-like problem Hi, I am relatively new to your site, I have read many articles but have never posted a question. I have a 39 gal. reef/fish tank with plenty of cured live rock. Last week we noticed there are two things (sorry, not sure what to call them) that have appeared by some of the rock. They look like some sort of pod, similar in shape to a swollen grain of rice, but about the width of a pencil. They are yellowish in color, and have a feather-duster like 'hair' sprouting from the top. I have looked around the internet and have not found anything that explains what these are.  Could you tell me what they are and are they harmful to my tank? Thank you for your time, ~Jennifer <Can't tell you what on the basis of the info. provided (a pic would be nice), but very likely not harmful... in fact their presence is indicative of good conditions in your system. Could be a worm, ascidian, sponge, holothuriod... Bob Fenner> 

Syconoid sponge and Valonia ID 3/14/05 Folks: Attached are two photos that I need help in identifying. <Not attached w/email> First: Over the past month I've had an outbreak of white downy growth on my LR. They are about 1/2-3/4 inch from base to tips (no discernable stalk), with the "branches" about this size of a quarter in diameter. The "branches" aren't normally as "thick" as in the photo, but a few hours ago I stirred the sand and some of the fine particles stuck to the branches. <these are harmless filter feeding Syconoid sponges... but their sudden burst in population is a clear sign of a nutrient problem in your tank. They only grow to the (nutrient) load that supports them. You are likely overfeeding, overstocking, weak on water changes (25% monthly... 20% weekly would be much better)... and perhaps your skimmer is not performing as well as it should (minimum of several cups of dark skimmate weekly)> Second: on one pc of LR there are 3 steel-gray-colored bubble-shaped objects. I don't think they are air or N2 bubbles, since they seem robust and there are small air bubbles and a planarian attached to one of them at the moment. They look like the helmets that aliens wear in bad sci fi movies. <it is the somewhat dreaded "Valonia" bubble algae... also nutrient driven. Do look up these names and solutions in our archives with a Google search from the home page (wetwebmedia.com). And rest assured that if you control the excess nutrients (strong water changes, increased water flow and better skimming), they will wane... and you might be spared from the impending microalgae bloom ;)) Hope the pix come thru. Thanks for all you do. Ken Baker <thanks kindly, Anthony>

Sycon/Syconoid sponges 3/13/04 First off, thanks for the excellent resource, it has helped me countless times! I have been noticing odd growths in my canister filter (Fluval 304), take a look at the image. I couldn't find any discussions of such growths, any ideas what they might be? Thanks, Jonathan <they are harmless filter feeding sponges my friend... use these names for keyword searched to learn more. Kindly, Anthony>  

Spongy spores P.S. Please tell me what sort of white and pink spongy "spores" this is growing all over our live rock. Also, please see the photo of the "finger-like" coral - do you know what this is? It's growing fast all over our tank. We would love to have more coral, but want to be sure all this stuff isn't bad. You can see from the photos that we also have a nice amount of coralline algae that is growing all over the tank. <Looks like a Syconoid sponge occurrence... there are a few ways you could reduce its spread... mainly nutrient limitation... with the use of a sump/DSB and/or live lighted macroalgae there...> P.S.S. I can also send you some small movies if you like of how the blue tang USED to swim lively in the tank instead of hiding all the time. <Mmm, no, but thank you for the offer. Bob Fenner> 

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