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FAQs about Non-Vertebrate Animal Identification 16

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 12, Non-Vert IDs 13, Non-Vert IDs 14, Non-Vert IDs 15, 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

Alien V?

Smoking Hitchhikers 07/10/06 Hello, and thanks again for all of your great information. <<Hello...and you're quite welcome!>> I have used your site religiously since starting out and things are going fine. <<Excellent>> My question regards a few hitchhikers that have "appeared" in my tank. <<What a neat hobby this is, eh?>> They seem to have the slime over the shell. <<...?>> Some are black, some white. <<Hmm, could this "slime" be a fleshy mantle?...cowries perhaps?>> I have maybe 3 or 4.  My concern is if they are a danger to my soft corals. <<Hard to say without knowing more/seeing a picture>> I have noticed every now and then they stop and have a smoke.  They start puffing little smoke billows for about 10 puffs in a row and then it won't happen again for a while.  Any ideas? <<Is likely spawning behavior>> I'm sorry I have no photo. Thanks so much, Jill <<While unwanted hitchhikers are a possibility, often times these incidental organisms are harmless, with most "cycling out" of a system in short order.  I would keep watch and enjoy the critters while you can/remove them if it becomes apparent they are harmful.  Regards EricR>>

Stagnant SW tank water critter ID  7/5/06 Hi, <'Mornin> I have a marine tank, about 30 gallons, which never had more than 2 fish in it. They didn't survive, <...?> and I grew discouraged and abandoned the tank. However, I never emptied the water, and the tank has been sitting for about a month. A form of life has begun to flourish in the tank, but I have not been able to find out what it is. Perhaps you can help. The tank has turned into something of a science project in its neglected state, as one would predict. There are literally thousands of extremely small, barely perceptible nearly translucent rod-shaped creatures, less than a millimeter long, much longer than they are wide, that propel themselves through the water by bending themselves in half. They congregate on the glass and on the water's surface. If the light is good you can see them whipping themselves about the tank. They are not visible unless you know to look for them, but the water is just teeming with them. I plan to resurrect the tank after I move to a new city, having learned from my mistakes. But I now wonder if the life forms taking residence in the stagnant saltwater of this tank would be harmful to either me, or if they would harm future fish residents (I will wash out and dry the tank, but I wonder if the life form would survive this and come back?) <Mmm, very likely not harmful to either... Probably some form of crustacean... as a group, amphipods from the description of their locomotion... Beneficial> It seems unlikely that this creature could survive the fast-moving waters of a properly filtered aquarium, but they had to exist in some small number before I turned off the filter a month ago in my discouraged state of mind. I am sure there are many potential candidates here, but do you have any clue as to what is in the tank? Thanks, Chris Kilmer <I'd try to save a few of these with some of your substrate... can serve as food as well as keeping the system clean. Bob Fenner>

Strange Creature   7/2/06 OK, so I've been meaning to ask you guys (and gals) about this creature, but I've only caught glimpses of it until now. Its about 3-4" in diameter and roughly circular. It has no discernible body and when it moves (which it can do pretty quickly), it flows almost like water, following the contour of the rocks. It is grayish-brown, spotted, and very thin. If touched it gets agitated and the edges become very scalloped. I'm sure someone there must know what this thing is. Its certainly interesting. Its right below the orange sponge in the 2nd picture and roughly in the center (towards 8 o'clock from center in the first. Thanks TJ <Good description and nice photo of a resident flatworm. See similar here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/flatworms.htm Mmm, though many folks seem to panic re such animals presence, I would leave this one be... not likely harmful. Bob Fenner>

Unknown Marine "Bugs"...Pods   7/2/06 Hi guys and gals, <Hello Janie> It's Janie here...the one with lots of drama and trauma going on.  I need to ask about something I haven't seen on the site. My month or so old, replacement 4ft marine tank (replaced one that cracked) has literally THOUSANDS of tiny white "bugs" on the glass.  They are pin head size, elongated like tiny tadpoles, and they appear to be feeding on the algae on the glass. They "swim" and change places on the glass, but do not APPEAR to free swim in the tank, though being so tiny, in a tank with a sand base which is still very new, you can't tell what is wafting around in the water IF they do detach from the glass.  What are they?  I'm certain I never had them (or at least never SAW them) in my old (cracked) tank.  I don't know if I should be concerned or not.  I have been going through HELL since my tank cracked, and just wrote to Bob about a disastrous attempt to quarantine my fish for white spot (in this new tank) during which I copped contaminated salt, but I forgot to ask about these "bugs". I hope you can help...you always do...I've lost faith in my local aquarium supplier. <No worries, a pod population of some kind, beneficial, actually.  Do they look like this?  May need a magnifying glass here.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_2/cav2i1/Pods/pods.htm> Thanks, in anticipation. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Janie.

We be jammin' with... What?  6/29/06 Hello I am having a problem with my White Rasta. It was doing great for months now it is dropping and no longer stands up. I had the same thing happen to my Pink Rasta. It completely withered away. Now months later it has reappeared and growing fast. What is the deal with these things.........HELP IF U CAN <What's a Rasta, man? BobF>

An Invert and a Medication Question  6/25/06 - *Is this a Paly? - please help!* I forgot my INVERTS question, although it is no less important. <Okay> 2 months old 26 Bow, FOWLR. 1 Yellow Watchman Goby, 2 Damsels (Chrysiptera hemicyanea and C. parasema), 1 Cleaner Shrimp, 1 Hermit Crab, 1 Turbo Snail. Temperature is a little high now due to the sweltering heat (84F) but I am working on ways to repair that. Water parameters are close to perfect: Ammo and Nitrite - 0 ppm Nitrate 20 ppm pH 8.3 Salinity 33 SG: 1.023 I don't have reef yet (Fish-only with live rock), so my knowledge is not that vast in that area. That's where your help can come handy.... 2 months into having the tank, I discovered --a Mysterious Being-- growing in a hole in the rock. (I had bought the rock from a person with an established aquarium (unfortunately, we've lost touch so I can't ask him what it is). It looks like a "yellow polyp" and it grows out of a perfectly shaped white tube that can pass for plastic if I didn't know what it was. When stressed, It quickly pulls back into the tube, only to come out again in a minute. I looked through inverts pictures and it resembles the most Protopalythoa sp. or Acrozoanthus sp. <Interesting... but Zoanthids don't build such tubes, nor do they "move quickly" as you relate> It is worth noting that it is been with me from the very beginning, through a horrible cycling where ammonia was much beyond what any test can measure (once I did a 50% water change and the ammo test still showed the darkest green, you can imagine). *This means It must be hardy. *Secondly, the aquarium was fishless and not fed anything in the fist month (I was an absolute beginner and did not quite know what I was doing). *This means that it feeds on its own *(zooxanthellae?). Thirdly, I rarely switch the lights on (only for feeding/watching, no more than 2 hrs/day). *Which means it is also a low-light organism. * With all this in mind, can you share some suggestions as to what It might be, and is it harmful or useful? <Likely not much of either> (I've seen a poly on a pic but I do not know much about its properties in a tank). I do not plan to have a reef yet, but the Goby has chosen the same rock hole for his observation post, right next to It. I wonder if this proximity is OK for Goby. *His back has been turning black lately *(he's been stressed from me moving the decorations around and from the rise in temperature but is it only that?) 2) This may be related to the Mystery Being from my first question, and if it is, poor me--- In the last few days, I've been finding strange formations spread on the glass. They are white, pretty flat and one would think they were grains of sand if they did not have-- the perfect spiral shape of a snail shell! <This is what they are... tubiculous Polychaetes> They range from the barely visible to about 1 mm in diameter. I've seen them on the bottom and sides of the Live Rock for some time and I thought they were some kind of fossils. But now they've ventured to the glass in overwhelming numbers (about 100 today). They don't look like anything alive (yet!). They look more like calcareous formations, dry and unmoving. I am not sure if they grow. It is hard to scrape them off with one's nail, but it was easy with the Mag-float sponge. I stopped doing this, though, not to worsen my situation. Any guesses? 3) The RED BUD. Another thing also grows on the rock and I wonder if it is related to the first two. It is very tiny, 2-3 mm at the most. It also grows from a tube. The tube is attached to the rock, like a tiny swirl of glue some dwarf sprayed on the rock. Tube is close to the rock's color, indiscernible yellow-brownish-tan color. Out of it comes an orangy-red bud, like a flower's bud, half a mm. probably. It pulls back into the tube when threatened. What can it be? <Many possibilities. Likely another type of worm... could be a mollusk, Cnidarian or even a crustacean though...> Thank you enormously for reading this and trying to answer these questions. Happy that this community exists, yours, Depth <The first organism I suspect is a Sedentariate Polychaete. I would leave all as they are. Bob Fenner>

- Critter Identification 6/15/06 - Bob, <Actually, JasonC today.> First of all, the site is awesome, super informative and great for someone like me who's been in the cichlid world for some time, but didn't know squat about Marine tanks! Temp-78.5 Sal-33 Spec G-1.025 Instant Ocean seawater reading 0 ammonia, low nitrite, under 10 nitrate I have a 55 gallon with 40-45lbs of Carib. Reef rock from LFS down here in South Florida. I'm still cycling... week 2.5 and am starting to see some fun little critters show up out of the live sand and rock. The one that is the most interesting is these 2 little white mounds on the edge of a rock, maybe pencil point size. From these two points are 2 hair-thin, feather strings (maybe 4-5 inches long), that at first thought was some of my wife's hair that somehow got into the tank, lol. Upon watching these things, they will pull in the feathers every few min.s or so. Quite neat to watch, but I haven't a clue as to how I would even look them up to figure out what they are... any ideas? <Some type of worm.> One the Aiptasia front, killed a pinkie sized invader with some Joe's juice the other day, made me feel tough... but I am starting to see a bunch of little white polyps starting to hang on the back of my tank's glass, and they aren't all running around like 'pods! Are these the enemy? <Time will tell.> If so, do I smear'em with the magnet, or is there a snail that will suck them right off when the time comes? <Wait until they gain some size before you eradicate them. Only a small handful of things that come with live rock are bad - most are beneficial.> Grain of sand in size. Thanks so much!, Brad - WPB <Cheers, J -- >

- Found new life 6/15/06 - Hi Crew, It has been a while since I peeked into my SW tank at night with a flashlight because I have not added anything recently and figured there would be nothing new. I found two new things. One is a snail or slug of some sort that only comes out at night. It looks like it has a small shell over part of it. It is always on the rocks and is so well camouflaged that if it does not move you can not tell it is there. I think I saw it when I put something new in my tank a few months ago but then it was about the size of a grain of rice. Now it is about 1/2 inch and very plump. <Think you are correct, but I've forgotten the name of these guys.> The second thing I found is actually there all the time but I just did not notice it. It is on the glass and looks like red thread with branches. It is about two inches long. The ends of the branches seem to have wispy white lines extending from it. It does grow slowly but it does not move. I looked around to see if there were any others and I found a few more but they are very tiny, about 1/4 inch. Any idea what it could be? <Sounds like a hydroid but could also be a type of worm. More on identification here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marinvind1.htm Cheers, J -- >

Mystery Animal - Is It Harmful? Serpent Star, worms? - 06/14/2006 While tearing down a friend's tank I <"I" please....> discovered what looked like a tiny serpent star. It had six stripped legs and crawled out of a rock. My friend told me that her tank was covered in these stars/worms. I searched the FAQ for a pic but didn't see one. I am curious because I am taking some of her live rock. Are these worms? <Without an image or a very, very detailed description, I couldn't tell you if they're worms, stars, or ducks.  But I don't think they're ducks, at least.> If so are they harmful? <Again, couldn't tell ya without first finding out what they are.  Keep reading, searching....> Will my six line wrasse take care of them? <Couldn't say.  Maybe.  Maybe not.  If they're ducks, I'd say not.  Try some google searches of the site and of the web in general and see what you can find.> Thanks <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Saltwater invert. ID   6/10/06 I was on your site looking for the names of the strange things growing and living in my tank. I have found a number of them, except one. I have these stringy white arms coming up from my sand, it looks as if they made their tube out of sand. If I move the sand around or my fish do their all over the bottom of my tank. You can see them during the day but when the lights go out, they all  come out and it looks like white hair swaying in the current. they also attach  them selves to the bottom of my live rock as well as other things. What are  they? <Likely Polychaete worms... though could be Ophiuroid stars...> Are they good to have or harmful? If they are how do I get rid of them?  Thank you........ Dave Nahodil <Not harmful in either case... even beneficial. I'd leave them be. Bob Fenner>

White specks on mushroom coral  - 06/07/06 Hello there!!  Quick question regarding my mushroom corals.  I was looking at the mushroom corals today and noticed very tiny white dots attached to the mushrooms.  They do not move at all but when I poke them with a stick, they quickly dart around the mushroom.  They move sporadically.  I happened to siphon one out into a cup to observe it (they are like the size of a flea).  They do not look like amphipods or copepods that I see in my tank. Once in the cup, I poke it with the stick.  Since it has nothing to hold on to, it would swim and dart around with no sense of direction (Similar to a fish darting around when they have ich).  I Googled mushroom coral parasites/pest but nothing comes up.  I have no idea what this is and is it harmful to my mushrooms or any of my other corals such as colony polyps and frogspawn coral. <Mmm, from your description of morphology, behavior these are likely some species of small crustacean... and not likely of harm. I would tolerate them... and enjoy them while you can, as it is highly likely they will "cycle out" on their own. Bob Fenner>

Sea Spider? - 06/05/06 I have a quick ID question for you guys.<<and gals>> Let's see if I can give as much information as I can. <<Okay>> I'm not sure it will be enough because I can't get a good pic. <<Mmm...>> I found this thing on my Zoas tonight after the lights in the tank went out.  I have 4 Zoas colonies and I found two organisms on the same colony.  The rest seem to be clear of them.  These things are about 5mm in diameter, have 8 legs, are a brownish clear color and have radial symmetry.  I would normally say some kind of micro sea star, but I'm not sure.  One was wrapped around the stalk of the Zoas, seeming to squeeze it - which makes me think some kind of parasite.  I pulled it off and it was NOT happy - all writhing around.  I found another of the same colony latched onto a rock.  They are not pretty, very insect looking. <<Possibly a sea spider (Anoplodactylus erectus), a carnivorous marine arthropod.  Try a Google search re and see what you think>> I was just wondering what it was, if it's harmful, and what I should do about it. <<If indeed a sea spider it is likely harmful/should be removed>> <Mmm... don't appear that deleterious in the wild... RMF> Thanks so much, Jennifer K. <<Hope that helps.  Regards, EricR>>

Sea Spider? II - 06/06/06 EricR, <<Hello Jenny>> That absolutely looks like what it is! <<Ah!  A successful ID then>> All I can say is yuck! <<Ha!...they are kind of creepy looking...>> I read around and it seems that they may feed on corals and other inverts. <<Is what I know of them as well...though must say, I believe Bob does not consider them as harmful as we might think>> I've had this tank established for almost two years and w/o additions for over 4 months.  Where the heck did it come from?   <<Mmm...likely been there all along, or were spawned from the live rock>> Should I just manually remove them if I see anymore? <<Tis up to you...maybe try observing their behavior...removing if you notice a deleterious effect on your corals>> I only found two that one night, no other time.....  I do not want anything detrimental in my tank!  Help! <<Time for some close observation>> Thanks so much, Jenny <<Happy to assist.  EricR>>  

Sponge/Tunicate ID - 06/04/06 Hi, <<Hello!>> What is this? <<Don't know exactly, looks similar to a Syconoid sponge>> I read that they are from Florida (came on a piece of Florida rock) and that they excrete an acid to burrow into the rock.  (Clionidae?) <<Possibly...from the class Demospongiae>> Doesn't look totally the same, but just to make sure!  Would that keep the pH low? <<The secretions from these sponges?...no...look to other causes if this is a problem>> PS:  I think the bubble algae looks cool in contrast to the sponges and it has not gotten on any other rocks yet. <<Agreed...but do keep an eye out...can become problematic very quickly if/when conditions are right>> Thanks! Carrie :)
<<Quite welcome, EricR>>

A photo for you    5/24/06 Greetings Crew: <Brad> Here is a photo for you.  I've searched the marine invertebrates I.D. area for some time now and have yet to find one of these.  Can you point me in the right direction to find out if he is friend or foe? <More the latter... this is some sort of Isopod... can be destructive, particularly in numbers... might reproduce if there is more than one... I would siphon/remove it> Also, please let me know if you like to get photographs of plants and animals from time to time. <Oh yes. I/we do> Thank you for all the good you do,
<Bob Fenner>

Are these father Duster worms reproducing ... not yet  - 05/20/2006 Hi, <Howdy> Here are two pictures of what is happening. Notice the small tubes coming out of the middle with cone like ends. http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g265/jonjenmatt_woobaa/featherdusters1.jpg http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g265/jonjenmatt_woobaa/featherduster2-1.jpg <Yep... a species of Sabellid most likely> I purchased these on LR w/ mushrooms, it also has an unidentified hard coral. http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g265/jonjenmatt_woobaa/unidentifiedcoral1.jpg http://i58.photobucket.com/albums/g265/jonjenmatt_woobaa/unidentifiedcoral3.jpg <A Faviid of some sort apparently> I have since transplanted the mushrooms and the coral has begun to spread and more Featherdusters are showing up. Any insight you have on the worms or coral would be appreciated. Please feel free to use the pictures. Thanks, Jen <Please see: http://wetwebmedia.com/feather.htm and http://wetwebmedia.com/faviidae.htm and the linked files at top. Bob Fenner>

ID this Worm Please  - 5/8/2006 Hello, <Hi there> One of the members of my reefing site has found this odd worm. I've attached the picture in hopes that it can be identified. I've searched the internet all over and can't find anything more than just some type of Polychaete worm. <Mmm, maybe... given the one pic, the segmented nature, the look of some sort of "pleated" tail/telson here... am thinking this could be a crustacean even...> Really wondering if this guy is harmful. I'd say probably not as the majority are just scavengers of detritus and whatever they can find. Just looking for a more exact id.   The user on my reef site say that it walks on legs that are located underneath. <Oh... a crustacean even more likely then...> The legs she described are somewhat in motion and form,  like the smaller legs located under the tail of a shrimp. Thanks again for the wealth of info you all provide. Steve <Well... would need more images... close-ups of the head/mouth mostly... to get closer in identification... but am given, due to the size of this animal to suggest just leaving it in, enjoying it at this time/junction. Bob Fenner>

Please help identify strange creature!    4/25/06 Hi crew,            Last night at local charter boat docks Miami} I saw the strangest creature!                 Swimming on or near surface was an animal the size of a dinner plate.                  It had very flexible wings resembling a stingray. When it flapped, the wings almost touched together at the completed stroke It was molted brown in color It had a short stubby neck with no discernible eyes or mouth. Almost as if it had been beheaded. It had a short thick stubby tail. Its underside was lighter in color, and its belly had a very obvious egg sac or pouch. It was basically swimming in circles under the dock lights. As I lay on the dock, I was no more than 5 feet away. I called a fisherman over and he said he had caught one in his castanet before. Then of all things, he pointed to a much larger one!!!!, darker in color. My impression was they were spawning. They were basically round in shape, very flexible and looked to have flesh resembling an octopus or squid. I have run these docks since childhood [I'm 52] and fished these waters the same and I was perplexed. I ran home for my shrimp net and bucket, but they were gone on return. Tonight I am going back with my gear and a Camera! Any Ideas? <... spaces twixt your sentences please...>                           Paul <A pic would help... my guess/bet is on a ray of some sort, but could be a cephalopod as well... Bob Fenner>

Hitchhiker-unable to ID    4/14/06 For days now I have looked over the hitchhiker FAQs section and all over web for what I have on my rock (or should I say in my rock) and no luck, it could be ignorance or impatience, but I give up and need help. (I did find two of three HH's I have...all good to have).  I have what looks like a flower (polyp maybe) that retracts at lightning speed back into my rock. it doesn't look like nuisance anemones.. three of the four look like baby feather dusters and the other has pure white tips.  When they retract into rock you can not see them (as they go in, you see all their tentacles (for lack of a better term) squeezing back into the rock out of site. They retract when a hermit crab or fish comes near and then they come right back out when danger passes.  Are these good, bad or cool?  <Without a pic to view it sounds like they are fan worms.> The other two identified were spaghetti worms and chili sponge ( correct me if you wish, but I honestly think this is what I have. I couldn't believe it myself (months of research) ...it has purple/pinkish branches attached to rock and grows at a very slow pace.  Help please (no pics, so sorry).  <Pretty hard to ID without a pic, could be a sponge of some sort.  James (Salty Dog)>

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