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FAQs about Non-Vertebrate Animal Identification 12

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 10, Non-Vert IDs 11, 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 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

Ant-Like Bugs In My Tank! - 01/11/06 First I would like to say Thank You for all the help and knowledge from all you experienced aquarist! <<Glad you find it of use.>> This hobby has made me read like never before! <<Me too!>> A month ago I purchased a giant feather duster.  I noticed in the adjacent tank there was a sea urchin crawling with bugs 'Problem should have been a sign to not buy anything from this place!' <<Not necessarily so.>> But to my mistake I did, since then the feather duster has died due to a wrasse ripping his head off. <<This can be hard on feather dusters...>> Now I have noticed the same bugs crawling everywhere in the shadows of light, under rocks, crevices etc, also on the flesh of a sea apple <<YIKES!!!  Not reacting to the presence of the "bugs", but rather to the fact you have a "sea apple."  Please do some (more) reading/research re these creatures.>> and elsewhere!  I've done much research and can find nothing on these critters, they run around like ants is my best description! Any info on what I should do would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!  Info on my setup and livestock please look here for details http://www.ratemyfishtank.com/friendEmail.php/imID1728 <<Sounds like you have noticed the amphipods growing/multiplying in your system...can be a beneficial natural food source for fishes and more.  Have a read here and among the indices in blue at the top of the page:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/amphipodfaqs.htm Thank you again! Mike <<Regards, EricR>>

White Critters - 01/10/2006 In the sump only I find these things that are flat and about 3/16's in diameter with a tube sticking out about a quarter of an inch long. They are white in color and do not seem to move about at all. They are in a high water flow area. Some others are more like a cylinder and attached at one end. Can you please help since I have never seen these prior to this. <Without a pic. it's hard to say with certainty. Most likely they are simply a Polychaete of some sort.> <Welcome. - Josh>

Mystery Hitchhiker  - 01/05/06 Hi, This critter came to my 6 gallon tank on a small piece of live rock. He's less than an inch long, has a hard shell, and seems to be stationery.  He does lift slightly up off the rock and open up that v-shape (as in this pic), but then sinks back against the rock and closes it up.  I've done tons of searching on line, but can't seem to find anything similar, and it's driving me nuts!!!  Any thoughts on identifying him would be greatly appreciated! <Mmm, my best guess is a type of ark shell/bivalve (Arca species). Bob Fenner>

Livestock Abuse, On Purpose!?, Josh with Foot In Mouth - 1/05/2006 <<Ok. I'm sorry. I completely missed the accidental, while adding LR to tank intro. here. I feel like a big IDIOT!>> Hello, I have a black knobby starfish, I brought it home on some LR and I had no water from it's previous tank so I dumped it in my tank, (during a cycle). <Why?> Over the past few weeks, I haven't seen him, then all of a sudden last week he came out. Every day he is out, scouring the sand bed, munching on it looking for food. The cucumber <What!? Have you at least established what this creature is!?> stood up to nitrite levels. of 10 ppm, <When life hands you lemons...> nitrates of 40ppm +, and not to mention that 10 minute drive home out of the water. Now my question is, how did this creature live and how do I properly care, for it, and feeding is my main problem, as I think my sandbed is too small for the cucumber which is 12 cm long, and about 1 inch thick. <You nearly sound like you were HOPING for the worst! Feeding is not your main problem here. I would say it is lack of consideration. It seems like you actually knew better than this already.> Also, you ever come across such behaviour, and a creature as delicate as a cucumber live through those parameters and the stress of not being properly introduced into the aquarium. <Unfortunately YES! This is a sad situation for many uninformed beginners, however I've never heard of such a nonchalant attitude toward it. Please inform yourself about desired specimens before acquiring them, and avoid abusing them. - Josh> <<Whew! I'm an ass! I apologize, I only slept 2 hours last night and I'm clearly not in good shape to be on today. You've gotten lucky on the incidental critter/its survival. Bonus! First you'll have to establish whether it be star, cucumber or Chiton. The care for these from here out you can find in the appropriate FAQs. For the sand bed thing, you can always direct feed instead of leaving it to forage naturally. Alright, you can punch me in the face if ever we meet. Now, I'm out for the day. I'm really, REALLY sorry friend. If anyone needs me, I'm on a long walk off a short pier. - Josh>

Non-Inverts ID-8  - 01/03/2006 Hi there Bob, I saw the following post on your Non-Inverts ID-8 FAQ on wet web media and would like to add to it but couldn't figure how to do that : <You're doing it> Sponge? Greetings: Have searched your archives and forum, but haven't seen these, and I'd like to know if they're "bad" or "good". They resemble small (.5 to 1 cm) pineapples, but appear to be sponges. They prefer lower light in my 125 reef tank and my 44 FOWLR, judging by placement. I've attached a small photo. One or two reside on live rock, but most are on "reef bones" or other dead / ornamental rock. Bob's book discusses sponges that can harm other invertebrates, and I have various corals / anemones. Any worries? <Don't think so... do they move about? Looks like a small sea cucumber to me... oriented as it is on its apparent side... with processes/tentacles grouped on one end> Also, I have very small (1mm) hard, white objects on plumbing and glass. They're semi-circular, looking like miniscule gnocchi (sans alfredo or marinara sauce). Any concerns there? <Nope... these are very likely tubiculous tubeworms... large ones are often called featherdusters...> Indispensable web site and archives! Have found answers to every question (few hundred or so!) since starting a year ago. Someone needs to collate your archives into a curriculum. <Yikes... you're frightening me...> My fish and invertebrates most sincerely THANK YOU for putting in all the hours answering these questions. Jon in da Nort'woods <Bob Fenner in strangely rainy Southern Cal.>

My addition: Horror Movie Spawn? Dear Bob, I have a 55 gallon Reef tank with fire and cleaner shrimps, hard and soft corals, turbo snails, hermit crabs and a variety of fish (Tang, fire goby, Heniochus, clown fish). Everything grows phenomenally well (perhaps because I have all your books or I have been lucky!.  I do a 20% water change each week, have carbon and phosphate filtration and feed fish on frozen veggies and shrimp twice a day. Strong fluorescent icecap lighting. Anyway, I have the exact same two types of unidentified critters (and only these) mentioned by this poster, both occurred at the same time as well. I added 6 Trochus snails to the tank to snack on a bit of green algae and low and behold the tank suddenly filled with the little white dots (spiral Spirorbidae copepods I believe based on your other postings).   <Spirorbids are polychaetes... one of a few families of tube-dwelling segmented worms> Likewise at the same time I noticed one larger white "pineapple" growing under a rock. It got to about 1/3-1/2 of an inch and almost spherical over a period of 2-3weeks and then overnight all my plumbing and pumps were nearly clogged with smaller versions (about 2mm long). Nasty! Hundreds of them, stuck on the glass etc - but interestingly not many in the main tank. It was almost like the bigger one suddenly spawned all the smaller ones which got sucked into the sump and then grew. So my questions are: 1. Can it really be a coincidence or are the White dots related to Trochus snails (I saw a similar situation posted on another FAQ) - e.g. are they juvenile snails that one day will turn into 5000 Trochus snails munching on the tank in some kind of horror movie spawn?!? <I do think they're unrelated... but time will tell> 2. What can I add to the tank that will snack on the white dots and control them - it's looking like the north pole in some areas!? Invert, fish, napalm, whatever. <You might try a small wrasse species... perhaps a yellow "Coris"> 3. Could the "pineapples" be related to the white dots in any way, given timing? <Yes, but unlikely> (aside from both being passengers on the snails at the same time) 4. Presuming the pineapples are harmless, what can I add to my system to either eat them or get them out of the plumbing? <Will very likely cycle out on their own... wait a few weeks> 5. Will the new generation of pineapples each spawn and force me to run from another horror movie situation? Many thanks Tim in New York <Likely not... often something, enough missing in the environment to allow, sustain such spawnings/animals. I would be patient here. Bob Fenner>

Critters  12/26/05 Hello, I was watching a recent addition to my aquarium, a long-tentacled anemone, which has an anemone crab living with it.  Within a few of the tentacles of the anemone were small white particles which, much to my surprise, would occasionally appear to scurry back and forth within the tentacle--clearly they are alive.  I asked my wife to confirm, and unless this is a shared delusion, they are really there, and look somewhat like a 1-2mm horseshoe crab, though it's hard to get a detailed look at them.  Has anyone heard of this?  Could this be a parasite or a larval form of something?  Thanks for reading...<I'd believe a larval form of some critter.  I wouldn't be alarmed, sit back and enjoy.  James (Salty Dog)> Todd More Mystery Critters in the Reef Tank  12/13/05 Hello all, <Hi.>      I have a question,  i recently found a medium  sized spiral shell on one of my live rocks, and it seems to have a resident  living in it. I don't know what it is, but it looks like a snail. it doesn't  move, as it part of the rock, and when it eats it sends out "webs" and  then reels them in when its loaded up with all kinds of particles. the shell is  a cream color and the resident is a mustard earthy brown. anyone have any clue  as what it could be? any info would be great. <Hard to say without a picture, but I would guess a tube worm or feather duster from your description, search WWM or Google with these phrases, compare pictures and see if this is what you have.>   Thanks again, Heidi
<Welcome, Adam J.>

White Spot on Rock..? Tiny Tubes, Maybe 12/4/05 Hello, I have had my saltwater tank set up now for about 8 months. All has been going well up to now. About a month ago I noticed a couple of white spots on once of my rocks. I tried scratching it off with my fingernail, but it was hard and did not come off. I didn't think much of it at the time. Now, every piece of rock in my tank has these white spots on them.  <<Yes, they appear to be a type of tube worm, but honestly the type/name completely escapes me now.>> I can't seem to find what they are. I don't know if they are harmful or what will get rid of them or if I should just leave them alone.  <<Oh! They're thriving, and completely not harmful (unless you break a nail or scratch yourself on them). Leave them be.>> My tank is a 46 gal bow front. It has about 35 lbs of lace rock, and 10-15 lbs of Tonga and Fiji live rock. I want to get more live rock but if these spots are harmful I don't want to risk it.  <<No worries here, my friend.>> I hope the pictures I attach are helpful with the identification.  <<They would be if I weren't having such a big brain fart right now. I was hoping one of the other, more knowledgeable crewmembers might have a go, but there seems to be some confusion on what to do with emails with images, and someone keeps putting your message into my inbox. So, while I can't tell you exactly what they are, I *can* tell you they're quite common, not a bad sign at all (like finding your tank full of "pods"), and are likely either teeny tiny little filter feeders, or detritivores who may be sending out little mucous-y fishing lines across the rock for feeding. In the meantime, try one of the reefing bulletin boards, WetWebFotos, reefs.org, Reefland or the like. Marina>> Thank you very much for your help. James 


Questions On Lighting and Invert. ID - 12/06/2005 Hi Crew, <Hello.> I seem to have a mental block about lighting. So, if I have a 10 gallon with mushrooms and candy cane and some fish. Am I better off with 96W quad 10,000k or with a 96w quad 50/50 act/10k? Right now I have the 50/50 and it seems ok except for a couple mushrooms that prefer less light. <That's really up to you/aesthetic preference. Either will be fine, so if you've already got it just use it. When it's time to replace bulbs you can try a different combo. and see how it suits you, just remember to acclimate your livestock properly.> I have the candy cane for about a year. It came with various tube worms on it. <Rather common.> Recently I noticed something poking out of the base. It looks like a light brown snowflake about 1/16 of an inch across. It looks just like a magnified picture of a snowflake. There are two of them and I can not see any tube. They seem to be coming out of a space in the base. Where should I look to ID these? <Try searching the net for images of the Serpulid fan worms. That's most likely what you're seeing and they are commonly found in live corals as well as live rock. If this turns out to be the case, then don't worry about them possibly harming your coral. - Josh> 

Octopus, or What?  Probably a Brittle or Serpent Star  12/7/05 Hi Guys, <And girls right? Oh, and Hi Oleksandr> I hope my question won't look strange but I really need an answer from Pros. <Oh...Hope I'll do instead!> I have quite a new tank, a bit more than a month old. I added a few inverts. during the last two weeks; 15 hermits, 15 different snails and an Emerald Crab, to get rid of hair algae that have grown quite large during cycling. So, put to now the LR and the tank is crystal clear. But what I saw today kicked me out of my chair. <If you don't stand up for yourself now they'll walk all over ya'.> I was adding small pieces of shrimp meat in order to see whether I can get a good enough amount of copepods/amphipods <Not really going to help so much as degrade your water quality.> because I want to have a Mandarin in my 30g and before I buy one I want to make sure that they will have enough food. <Sorry friend, but this beautiful fish is not suited for your tank. You'd need a large, very mature system with a refugium to have a chance at keeping the Mandarin well fed and healthy. Very wise to have thought ahead though.> Anyhow, I put a few pieces inside one of my LR, sit in front of the tank and start looking who will take first bite. To my great surprise, a small creature came out from between the rocks. A really tiny guy with a tablet-like body ~2mm in diameter and ~5 tentacles of approx. 1 cm long. On its dark back there was something like a cross. This creature took the meat with himself and moved to a small cave. Apparently he does not like a light. It reminds me of an octopus, besides its "legs" looked like an octopus tentacles. <More likely to be a Brittlestar of some sort.> But is that possible? <Yes, but not probable.> How this guy survived cycling, and if it is not an octopus, who could it be? <My money's on a harmless Brittlestar (LR hitchhiker), useful detritivore> And do I need to get rid of it? <At this point no. Just observe, innocent until proven guilty.> I already have a crab that came with my LR that I plan to get rid of and I don't want another guest. Thank you in advance!!! Oleksandr <You're welcome. - Josh>

Re: An Octopus or What Is This?  12/7/05 Hi Josh, <Hi Oleksandr!> Thanks a lot for the answer. <No sweat.> That was indeed the Brittlestar, when I got your reply I searched the net for a picture and found one similar to what I saw. <Oh, good!> Honestly I was a bit upset about your comment on the Mandarins but I guess you are right, besides upgrading a tank to a larger one sounds like a good project for the future! <Careful, this gets quite addictive;) As for the Mandarins I can understand your disappointment, they're some of my favorites as well. Don't just take my word for it though, check out this link http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mandarins.htm and follow the blue links above. This will give you a good idea of what you're up against. It's always good to have goals right!> Thanks once again! Oleksandr <Glad to help friend. - Josh> 

Stow-aways of Live Rock  11/28/05 Good Evening, <Morning! John here answering your query from Shanghai> I have been searching your site for a few hours now, and I have yet to come across an article that resembles the problem I am about to explain to you. I have a 20L with good H20 quality, a nice assortment of fish, and as I recently discovered something new. I first noticed something was up when I turned on the lights in my marine tank to find what appeared to be 1/4" long mini "centipedes". I use centipedes loosely because I can not come up with a better description, they are 1/4" inches long (for now) they are white/pinkish, have what appears to be a segmented exoskeleton/body, and from what I could see, appendages on their front and rear. This alarmed me, but I hoped that some of my Blue Leg Hermits would make short order of them. Apparently not because tonight I saw what looks like a "nest" made of what looks like spider webbing on my live rock, its size was comparable to a cone snail.  My question for you has a few parts,  1) what the heck are these creatures?  2) are they dangerous to anything in my tank?  3) If they are dangerous what can I do about them? Any help you could provide would be much appreciated.  Chuck from Boston. <(1) They sound like bristle worms. Generally (yes, there are rare exceptions to the rule) beneficial detritivores that keep your sand bed turned over and add to the bio-diversity in your tank. The "webbing" you refer to sounds like something else. Much more information can be found on our Bristle Worm FAQs pages.  (2) Likely not. Enjoy the diversity of interesting life in your tank! Best regards, John> 

Aquasaurs?  11/15/05 Hey WWC! <Howdy>     I was flipping through a magazine and found a little 3/4 gallon tank that they sold with two to three Aquasaurs.  Supposedly these little guys have stayed the same for about 25 million years. The 'tank' was a little more than a clear plastic tub. I tried to look up any more information on them, but all that came up was more advertising for the same thing. What truly are Aquasaurs?   <Likely the modern-day spin of "Sea-Monkey"... Artemia salina, Brine Shrimp. Bob Fenner>  <<Do they look anything like this?  Marina>>    
Can you ID this?  11/12/2005 It's not a very good photo but it's the best we got. What you see is about 1/2 inch long. Thank you <... looks "worm-like"... Many such possibilities. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/wormidfaqs.htm.  Bob Fenner> 

Mystery growth and Putting the Cart Before the Horse - 11/12/2005 Hi WWM, <Hello Teddy. I'm very sorry for the delay on your response. It seems for the time being I'll be without home net access.> I have a question for you guys and gals. <Shoot.>  Lately I have discovered little white creatures on my glass. They were first in the refugium now they are spreading pretty quickly. <This is likely from excess nutrients, will probably "run out of gas".>  I don't know what they are but if you look really close to them they seem like white balls with arms or hair sticking out of them. <Sound like Syconoid sponges.>  About 8 arms or hair around the body. They look like snowflakes. <Or...?>  Just wanted to know what they are if you guys knew what they are. BTW I have a 55g saltwater tank. The test kits show everything is in the norm. If you need more info let me know. <If you could take a pic. that would be most helpful.>  Thanks for taking the time.  Teddy  <Sorry I've taken so long. - Josh> 

Sand question  11/9/05 I have a 10 gallon SW with 1.5" sand, fish and mushrooms. It is now about 30 months old. I noticed a patch of sand (about 4x4 inches) that looks like a mound. First I thought it was my Gramma excavating which he does every once and a while but I ruled that out. The mound started coming to a point. I decided to explore it and I dug into it. The sand seems to stick together as if it were magnets and it feels clumpy to the touch. <Good description> Water parameters are stable; ammonia 0, nitrate 0 and even nitrites 0 (since I added some Chaeto). I do not clean the sand since I do not see a need for it. I never see any debris on it so I assume my critters and worms are taking care of everything. Is this anything to be concerned about?  <Mmm, not much... likely this is some species of worm or mollusk at work/living... with such small systems aging, it is a good idea to "shake up" the chemical/physical make-up periodically... add, replace a good part (a few tens of percent) of rock, substrate... Bob Fenner>   

Identification ? 11/4/05 I relocated some zoos a few weeks ago and notice this thing starting to grow out of the side of the frag. It looks like a strawberry. <Yes> The bright red spots on it appear to fluoresce. The structure is significantly different than bubble algae. There is a central stem that the nodules are growing from...sort of like a tree. There are two other strawberry looking buds developing symmetrically under the original bud on the same stalk.  It's also odd that it is coming from a frag that has been in my tank for 8 months. But growth rate is somewhat alarming since it was nonexistent a couple weeks ago to now having 3 "buds". I don't want it to get to a certain size and go sexual and have these all over...even though by itself it looks pretty cool. Any ideas as to what it is? <Looks like either a sponge or more likely an Ascidian (Sea Squirt) colony to me. Bob Fenner> Here's the photo: http://www.jimsflies.com/reeftank/mystery_growth.jpg - Thanks, Jim 

what is it? Poor English and not using WWM 11/3/05 hello I just looked at my yellow polyps and some live rock and saw these little sea monkey things crawling on them are they harmful to the coral if so how do i get rid of them there is lots of them. thanks for the help. <Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/crustidfaqs.htm Bob Fenner> 

Little Off White Balls 10/26/05 OK this is a weird one. I got home today and saw 4 little off white balls floating around my reef, at first I thought to myself " this is not good" then I noticed that my Spaghetti Finger Leather was closed up on just one of the branch's on the end. These little balls looked just like little pieces of the Coral. Do they breed like this or is there something else I should look further into. <<Hmm...what you describe sounds like "budding." I've known LPS species to do this but not Leather corals, though that's not to say they couldn't. Some keyword searches on the Net (coral budding, leather coral reproduction, etc.) might turn up something.>> V/R Matt <<Regards, EricR>>

White cysts <likely encrusting, tubiculous worms> - 10/23/2005 I noticed a number of hard white things (cysts?) <I doubt it.>  about the size of a large sand grain attached to the black plastic part of the built-in overflow in the tank. There were about 20 of them and I scraped them off. They didn't come off easily. Now I'm thinking they may have been Ich cysts. <Let's not get hasty!>  All fish are fine in my FOWLR tank.  What do you think they were and is there anything I need to do? <Personally, I'm inclined to believe they would be Polychaetes (likely Spirorbids). Many on my overflow as well. I think you are safe.> Mitch Wohl <Josh> 

Bright Orange Stuff Growing on the Substrate - What Could it Be? 10/17/05 Hi Crew! <Steven> Basics: 220 gal. FOWLR, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 15 nitrates, SG 1.023, temp 80 F.  Three month old aquarium with cured Tonga live rock, aragonite substrate (5") lots of coralline showing up. We have a large wet/dry, protein skimmer (working very well), trickle filter, PolyFilter, and a refugium with crushed live rock/Caulerpa.  Livestock: 5" Fiji Bicolor Rabbitfish, 2" volitans, 1.5" Chevron, 30" Zebra Moray eel. Questions: I have bright orange/red stuff forming on the substrate - algae?  If so what kind? <Maybe... perhaps a sponge... no way to tell from here> Also my Rabbitfish since week 1 (had him 5 weeks now) he has shed his slime (I think its slime), but he otherwise is active, good color, hogs down on Nori, and eats pellet food, shrimp pieces, and flake food. He eats very well and active swimmer. He sheds big sheets of what appears to be slime, is this normal or should I be worried? <Likely normal> Also is it normal for the eel to lay in the rocks with his head sideways or upside down the day after he eats? <Mmm, no> Doesn't move around much in the last two days since he ate Tiger shrimp (one piece cut into several pieces that was frozen and soaked in Zoe as it thawed out). Your comments and help are greatly appreciated. You guys are dedicated and your help is bar none the best out there! Steven
<... welcome. Bob Fenner> 

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