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FAQs about Non-Vertebrate Animal Identification 17

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I'll take some of that!

What is it?    11/14/06 I know you get overloaded with 'what is this creature?' questions. However, I have browsed your webpage and only become more confused on whether it is some type of worm, snail or slug. I just noticed him crawling around the live rock a few days ago and our tank is over 2 years old. He has two small antennas, and what looks like a soft type shell on his back. You can also see in the second picture a very obvious sucker and is about 1 inch in size. I am assuming he came in with the live rock and has just matured enough to be seen. I am just curious, any suggestions would be helpful. I always like to tell those who look in my tank what is there. Thank you Shannon <Does it have a shell? Maybe a Stomatella Michelle says... Eric doesn't see the shell, thinks it's a Nudibranch... Me? I've had too many Kona Brews to tell... BobF>

Re: what is it?   11/15/06 Dear "crew", Ok, I'll look up some pictures of a Stomatella. I have never heard of those, a few more faq's on Stomatella's would be great. It does have a shell. The little creature showed up again last night and I reached in to touch him and there is a hard shell on his back. Shannon <Mmm, use your search tool/s on/off WWM with the genus name... Plenty there. Bob Fenner>

Re: Re: what is it?   11/15/06 Thank you for heading me in the right direction. After doing some more research on a Stomatella, I am 100% sure I have a  Stomatellid. However, I am a bit concerned because the posting that lead me to this critters name was about how they had over run a tank. Is this a problem I should be concerned about? <Mmm, highly unlikely> Since I have one, are there probably more that came in with the live rock. How big will he become? <Not too large... not a problem> It seems otherwise he will be a good cleaner for the tank and I should just let him go about his business. Your thoughts and any other facts on stomatellids would be appreciated. Thank you, Shannon <Mmm, the Net... Bob Fenner>

Unknown Creature - 11/11/06 Hi, <<Hello>> I love your site.   <<Thanks!>> I recently noticed hundreds of tiny white creatures on the glass walls of my tank. <<Cool>> They are smaller than the head of a pin and are barely visible under a low powered microscope. <<Copepods likely>> I sent a small picture of one of them. <<Mmm yes, a drawing actually...but a good/descriptive drawing>> Sorry if the picture is vague but it was all I was able to see. <<Enough to go on/venture a guess>> I know that there are probably many types of certain species but is there a certain group you can put this organism in? <<Indeed...I believe it to be a Harpacticoid...a copepod>> Is it possible to tell if it is harmful or not? <<These are beneficial, even desirable organisms.  Many of the creatures you keep will consume these very quickly>> Thanks for any help you can give me, <<Happy to share.  Eric Russell>>

Help with IDs on weird things in my tank   11/6/06 Hey WWM Crew :) <Howdy> I admire the bejeebers out of y'all and appreciate your help. I've asked the folks at the LFS about some of these things, and they don't seem to know.  One senior guy suggested that we should get an arrow crab to get them <Them?> out of the tank but upon further research, an arrow crab would probably be a bad thing. First the details: 90 gallon Oceanic Bowfront with 30 gal sump below including refugium and in-sump skimmer.  Bio Bale to reduce noise. Lighting is an Orbit SunPaq Dual Daylight (10,000K & 6,700K),  Dual Actinic (460nm & 420nm) and  Lunar Light strip. Temp is maintained 79-80 Salinity is 1.026 measured with refractometer Nitrates - 0 Nitrites - 0 Phosphates - 0 - we use a Phosphate Reactor Ammonia - 0 Calcium 400 KH - 125 <?> To double check my own test, I took a sample down to the LFS yesterday - they use a totally different brand of test - to confirm.  Water was all good, Ph was slightly low at 8, resolving with buff. But, I have these weird things in my tank.  The first I removed after watching it play now you see me, now you don't.  From everything I've been able to find, and lacking knowing what it is, that is a very small amount, it's some kind of bad sponge. http://www.webspecialty.com/aquarium/whatzit1.jpg Next, these sponges?? <... seem to be...> have started growing under one rock.  I found one kind on your site, seems innocuous but the big puffy things may be Ascidian?? <Possibly>   That means I don't know.  But they're spreading and I'm wondering if they're good or bad and if they should go.  http://www.webspecialty.com/aquarium/sponges.jpg The one on the bottom - close-up - is here http://www.webspecialty.com/aquarium/sponge2.jpg Now, on to the worms??  I've searched and searched.  The guy at the LFS looked at this picture and said these were bad and suggested the arrow crab.  But I've watched them, they really don't come out much, they never seem to bother the corals, and there are countless scads of them in the tank.  http://www.webspecialty.com/aquarium/stripeworm.jpg The next worms are different.  They come out in the dark or when the actinic only is on.  They're soft, white and sway a lot. http://www.webspecialty.com/aquarium/whiteworm.jpg  They are also numerous in numbers and come out of the sand as well.  As with the other worms??  They don't seem to bother the corals. <I wouldn't worry re these worms... or make overt movements to remove them> But something is bothering the corals.  They seem to do great for months and suddenly crash.  Somebody suggested that a hermit crab walking on it might cause it to die.  We have two skunk shrimp, one peppermint shrimp and a number of hermit crabs, two emerald crabs, one strawberry crab and snails. So I guess what I'm asking is are these good critters or bad critters?  The fish in the tank are a regal tang (huge, trying to catch), an orchid Dottyback, one azure damsel, 3 firefish, 1 Banggai cardinal, 1 yellow wrasse.  As long as the big tang is in the tank, we have problems as it likes to rearrange corals and rocks and knocks things over a lot.  We have very few corals, a pineapple coral, a candy cane coral, a tree leather coral suddenly not doing well, several mushroom polyps, assorted polyps and grape coral, and some xenia that are morphs of their former beautiful selves. Any help would be deeply appreciated.  I sent links vs. attaching photos to make it easier for y'all. <Thanks> A thousand thank yous for your attention and response, Lisa
<Welcome in kind. Bob Fenner>

Little Piles of Sand - 10/21/06 Hi. <<Hello>> Just a quick question for you. <<Okay>> I just recently noticed, this week, small piles of sand popping up.  I was curious which creature in my tank could be making these. <<Maybe a species of worm or small sand-dwelling crustacean>> We've had our tank for a year now and never have seen this before. <<Possibly newly introduced on live rock/coral additions>> The livestock we have is: Mandarin goby Powder blue tang 2 clown fish Dwarf lionfish Purple Gramma Picasso trigger Bi-color blenny And finally we did recently add a very small zebra eel (oops forgot to add) we also have 2 cleaner shrimp, a couple turbo snails and a few hermit crabs. <<Mmm, am curious as to the size of this tank.  I suspect long-term overcrowding here>> If you have the time, we'd love to find out what could be making these piles all of the sudden. <<Perhaps you can provide a picture to help?>> PS - we did change some rock around a few months back and a very very tiny brittle sea star came crawling out but have never seen him again. <<Probably still around...these ophiuroids are not fond of the light>> Thanks for your time! Sincerely, Olivia Mendonca <<Regards, Eric Russell>>

You have new Picture Mail! And Crap English!  - 09/14/06 Hey yous, great site yous got here, I spend lots of hours just checkin things out. Well I'll be short with this question, what the heck is this? found it in my refugium this morning on the glass in the skimmer section. tank is only up and running three months,75 gal, 100 lbs of live rock, 3 inches of live sand, two damsels so far and apparently this thing, your help would be appreciated,  thank you,,, Chris..P.S sorry for the pic its from my cell phone. <... bizarre... but looks like a terrestrial larval insect... of which there are exceedingly few that are marine (though quite a few that are freshwater). This is likely a juvenile polychaete worm. BobF>

Bryozoans? - 09/06/06 Hi Folks, <<Jan>> As usual, thanks so much for the great service that you provide!!   You & your website have become an indispensable component in my efforts to create a happy & balanced tank. <<We're pleased you find the site useful>> This stuff (see attached photo) has started growing in my tank, which is a new tank (since May 2006).  I have no idea what it is. <<Mmm, the picture could be a bit closer...is difficult to discern...>> Can you help? <<I have three guesses here Jan...this looks to be either a species of hydroid, in which case you may want to take action to remove...or, more likely I suspect, a species of Bryozoan, in which case you can sit back and enjoy while they last...and my last guess would be a species of sponge, also no reason for concern>> Thanks, Jan   <<Quite welcome.  EricR>> <My guess is with Eric's. Likely Bryozoan colonies. RMF>

Orange Hair-Like Things - 09/04/06 Hello crew! <<Hey Josh!>> Just a real quick question. <<Okey-Dokey>> I noticed last night on the live rock next to my clam, there are several very very small hair-like things... worms maybe? <<Good possibility>> They are orange and all come out of the same spot, almost like tentacles. <<Ah, yes...a Serpulid worm possibly...or maybe even the arms of a small serpent or brittle starfish>> Are they bad? <<No>> Are they going to injure the clam? <<No>> One is almost touching the small foot of the clam.  I moved him temporally until I hear back from you. Thanks... <<I don't think you have anything to be concerned about here>> Josh Henley <<Regards, Eric Russell>>

Some new tank mates: who might they be?   9/1/06 Hello crew. <James!> New discovery number 1 looks like a sand dollar; or at least is round, flat and about double the size of the tiny gray/white starfish that seem to proliferate like weeds. <Mmm, might be these... Asterina> I put the size at about maybe 6mm but I never get a great look. What I have seen looks like an amber color. The substrate came from the Caribbean. What other flat critters would fit the bill? <A bunch... mainly mollusks, echinoderms...> I had never seen a live one before.   New discovery number 2 looks like a jellyfish. This was discovered while cleaning the tank. It was extremely small and I would put the size of the 'medusoid' form at about 3-4mm in diameter. The color was a translucent white. I don't recall seeing anything resembling tentacles. Are there any desirable coral larvae that fit this description? If not when seen again I shall remove. <Pix please> Wish I had pictures but there was no getting to the camera in time. <... maybe next time> A note for Bob (please pass it on if you would): I don't know if you are still in NJ, I couldn't make it down to Jenkins for the NJ Reef gathering. I would have loved to have been there. Thank you. James A. Zimmer <Sorry to have missed you. "Lost" your contact info. (either the ISP server deleted from being "old" or somehow I clicked it off... just stayed in/around Belmar... but a hoot! BobF> Re: Some new tank mates: who might they be?   9/2/06 Awwww =( Unfortunate, but it happens with computers all the time. Just be glad it wasn't catastrophic hard drive failure... been there and OUCH (even with backup data)! <Yeeikes... I try to be diligent re backing up to a remote HD... every month and before long trips> I had a continuation of events that left me more than drained so I am unsure about how I would have made it down to Belmar and been coherent. They are now about 1/2 solved. <Only half way to go!> Assuredly, we shall have a chance to get together on another occasion I am sure. It would have been nice to sit and have a few beers and chat though. For future reference: James Zimmer I have seen neither of the two critters I mentioned in this email since I wrote... I will be diligent and take pictures if at all possible. I thought the 'jellyfish-like' form was just a shell from an amphipod at first but then I noticed it was round and more jelly-fish like. James <Mmm, still... many possibilities. BobF> Small eel?  8/25/06 Last night, after the lights were out, and we were heading to bed, my husband checked our 55 gallon tank again. He then asked me if I knew anything about a small worm-like thing that could swim in the current. After watching it for a few minutes, we decided to try and net it to remove it from the tank. It was surprisingly easy to catch, and we put it in a small Tupperware type container. Taking a closer look at it, it swims like an eel, is about a three quarters of an inch to an inch long, white in color, with a bluish tip (about an eighth of an inch long) to the tail. Under a magnifying glass, it appears to have a ridge/fin down it's spine. Our tank inhabitants are: 1 clownfish, 5 blue/green chromis. 1 lawnmower blenny, 1 mandarin, and 2 clown gobies. Plus of course, the cleanup crew, and coral. We put the unknown fella into our quarantine tank for now, until we can hopefully get an ID on him. My digital camera should be returned to me next week, so I can hopefully get a picture of him. Any help with ID in the meantime would be appreciated. Thanks, Jenn <Is likely a worm species of some sort... there are many, and a bunch of these do "come out" at night... Look closely at some nighttime feeding video of Manta Rays... should be on the Net... Youtube.com... see all that swimming wiggling worm-like plankton? Bingo. Not likely harmful. Bob Fenner> Marine "Rolly-Poly" Bug - 08/06/06 Hi Guys, <<And gals...Morning to ya>> I found a critter in my tank and am loss as to what to do with it.  It is about 1" long with a hard oval 'shell'  on it's back the size of a small fingernail with a few faint stripes.  It has two long thin antenna and several short spiky protrusions.  The underside appears to be flat and snail like.  It glides along and will roll up into a ball when dislodged. <<Mmm, sounds like a species of Chiton...likely nothing to be concerned with>> I currently have it sitting on the counter in it's own bottle of H2O and will give it a bubbler till I hear from you as to whether it goes back or is a pest I don't want.  I did look up on the site but didn't see any pics or descriptions that looked similar. <<Can't be certain without a positive ID, but I would place back in the system and observe, enjoy...can remove if it "proves" to be "unfriendly">> Thanks, Nancy <<Regards, EricR>>

Re: Marine "Rolly-Poly" Bug - 08/07/06 Thanks. <<Welcome>> I just put the little guy back in and he promptly crawled off. Guess he is glad to be home. <<Indeed...I have dozens (hundreds maybe) of Chitons in my system...no more destructive to fauna than Astrea snails in my experience...and better bioturbators...>> Nancy <<Regards, EricR>>

Anemone ID... No, but...   8/3/06 I looked through all of your postings on the Anemone ID pages.  After browsing the Cnidarian pages, I'm not even sure this is an Anemone.   <Many closely resembling Cnidarian groups...> I didn't see any photos of this one, though I did see a roughly hand drawn picture on the top of the AnenomeID1 page.  Unfortunately I couldn't find it again with an actual description.  Also, it looks similar to the fuzzy picture at the top of the http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cnididfaqs5.htm page, but I couldn't get a definitive answer on what this is.  Really, I just want to know if this is something I should kill or not. <?... then not>   This was the first one I noticed (shortly after tank cycled, about 4 mo ago), but there have been 2-3 others that popped up in the last couple months, and probably another ten in the month since then. <Mmm... define a "pest", "weed"... an undesirable organism... in too great a prominence, number... crowding out other life, utilizing more than space that you'd like to have dedicated else/other wise>   The biggest one is about 1/2" at the most.  I had this same type of thing in my 55 gallon FOWLR tank last year, and a peppermint shrimp and increased Kalkwasser completely eliminated them.  (I tried to pick them off for several weeks, but they kept coming back). Here are the photos, but they are a little fuzzy.  The organism in question has a meaty base, with little tufts of "hair" sticking out of it's top. http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/russjohnson/album?.dir=/1cabre2&.src=ph&.tok=p hx2sRFBaYcBoHDP <Blurry... looks somewhat like an ascidian to me...> I also have a question about glass anemones.  Some of the postings seem to indicate that they appear and disappear.  They are not (very) mobile, right? <Correct> The reason I ask is that I have what, until I started trying to ID this attached anemone, I had what I thought were tiny jellyfish or some other hydroid on the front of the tank. <Might be> I'm still rather certain that that's what these are, because they dart around the tank with incredible speed, an they looked just like the photos of the hydromedusae, Staurocladia oahuensis. Thanks a million!! Rusty <... They're this mobile? Than not anemones or ascidians. Please send along clearer, larger resolved image/s. Bob Fenner>

Re: Anemone ID... No, but...   8/3/06 No, the little buggers scooting around the tank were a completely different organism, which I identified as probably a "Staurocladia oahuensis", obviously, not a Cnidarian nor an Anemone.  You confirmed that they could not be glass anemones for me as they were much too mobile. <Ah, yes... sorry for the confusion. Have/had just come in from a red-eye flight from HI... should stay off the Net till rested> I re-read your email a couple times, and I wasn't clear if you were asking ME to define "pest" or "weed". Is it a correct assumption that you are saying this organism is a pest organism? <Mmm, no... trying to make a point, and yes to asking... about what constitutes such... i.e. what is a pest/weed?>   If so, could you recommend how to get rid of them?  In my FOWLR tank, I picked up a Peppermint shrimp, which seemed to help along with increased flow and Kalkwasser additions.  This is a Reef tank, so I'm not sure that I want to toss a Peppermint Shrimp in there, because in my (now) FOWLR tank, the Peppermint shrimp ate my mushroom corals. Anyway, if you think the organisms in the photos are detrimental, could you give me some pointers in getting rid of them?  Physical removal isn't realistic. Thanks again, Rusty <Mmm, please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/cav1i3/aiptasia_impressions/aiptaisia_impressions.htm and the linked files at bottom... About the same tech. Bob Fenner, still sleepy, slow and fuzzy>  

Sponges and tunicates... UnID-able invertebrates   7/22/06 Hello, I have been debating if I should send these photos or not but as you can see.... I am wondering about this bright yellow sponge looking creature. It has many fiber looking parts all of which spontaneously began growing on a piece of LR with a glove polyp (healthy and growing). Also, there have been these strange clear, spiral-shaped egg sacs being deposited every night on the same glove polyp colony--what is this from? <Likely a mollusk of some sort...> No QT for this one specimen, I was soo excited :-( . Anyway I have also included a photo of a tunicate which is very cool!! Do you know what kind it is? The tunicate has an orange body with white rimmed openings. <Mmm, can barely make out this solitary animal...> Ok, next question is about a set of openings in my live rock. They are almost perfectly round and each opening looks like a pair of conjoined circles, out of these often comes some sort of light, touch, current sensitive pink creature with small black marks around each of its openings along with small cilia looking protrusions circumfronting each of the two openings. I have two of these and they come out often just to the edge of the LR opening--what are they? <Can't tell from this description> Next, in the same piece of LR I have something with 8 white tentacle looking arms (each one looks like a succession of lambda signs) when this creature is out it is constantly bringing one arm at a time back into the live rock as if to feed whatever is at the end of those strange arms. HELP!! Thank you for your time, REALLY!! <All sound neat... would enjoy them... as it seems you are! Cheers, Bob Fenner>

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