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FAQs about Non-Vertebrate Animal Identification 4

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 5, Non-Vert IDs 6, Non-Vert IDs 7, Non-Vert IDs 8, Non-Vert IDs 9, Non-Vert IDs 10, Non-Vert IDs11, 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 38Non-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

Octopus cyanea in Hawai'i.

Interesting Hitchhikers (1/8/2004) Hey Crew, how's it going? <Fine, thanks. Steve Allen tonight> I have these two creatures in my tank that came with my live rock and was wondering if you could identify them for me & say whether I should leave them be or haul them. The first one I have no clue as to what it is but I can say that it never moves or retracts & hasn't grown at all. <A bit out of focus, so hard to be sure. Appears to be some sort of coral. A sharper picture that also gives some size perspective would help.> Second I am pretty sure is an urchin of some kind, maybe a tuxedo. There are 2 of them and have both doubled in size. <Lucky you. Do read up on these. Seldom a problem. Eats mostly algae, including coralline. Will sometimes much sessile invertebrates too.> They also decorate themselves with sand, rocks and even molted crab shells. <Yes> I have attached 2 pics of the first creature & 1 pic of the second.  Cheers, Dave. <To you as well.>


- ID Questions -  Good morning WWM peoples,  A bunch of questions from watching my tank most of the night and seeing some strange things.. Pics are at http://www.geocities.com/cypren/fish.html   1) First is while peering through the tank with my flashlight I was suddenly startled by something moving real fast all over and the only thing I know that moves fast (my blenny, the only fish ATM) was in my view. It was a wormlike thing spiraling about very fast and very erratically. It did this for almost three minutes going crazy all over the tank. It was about 3.5-4" long light brown-nearly translucent except for a dark stripe down the center- on what I assume was the top. The head was a little darker and I noticed no legs or other appendages or anything except I believe it had two antennae on the head. hard to get details due to very thin size. 3 pics near top After the crazy spiral about it landed and began to crawl very slowly all over the sand on the bottom. I can not imagine how something so slow on the sand could of launched itself to swim about like that! <Sounds like a worm... was that what the question was?> 2) Second is a snail like creature - I believe it is some kind of Nudibranch but I honestly have never seen one so I am not sure... It was about 1" in length had two eyes, two projections 1/3 of the way back and halfway down the back three more projections standing up.. almost translucent and pinkish in color. 2 pics bottom right <Does sound like a Nudibranch but impossible to tell from those photographs.> 3) The snail I sent pics of a while back for Id climbed out of the sand - it has been seen only one other time in the past few weeks - up the glass and started snorkeling or something. I was sticking a tube up out of the water (yes OUT of the water!- it was constricting almost like it was trying to breathe air) and it was and moving around at top of tank doing this for a few hours. Any idea what's up with that? <Nope... could be an amphibious snail, many collected for the marine hobby are this way, unfortunately. Again, this is just a guess.> I took a bunch of pics of this cuz it was just plain weird IMO... 4) How can you tell the difference between a Crossosalarias macrospilus (trip spot blenny) and Salarias ceramensis & Salarias fasciatus (lawnmower blenny)? I know that might be a tricky one but any idea where I might find the info? <Take a look on fishbase.org - search for both fishes. There are differences is distribution and coloration.> Do the spots that are reflective/shiny have anything to do with the way they change coloration? <No shiny things that I am aware of.> Also if I hadn't seen the pics on your sight of the blennies I wouldn't have believed you actually get a pic of them! =D 5) Re copepods and relations... A friend has a 55 gal with med coral substrate and an UGF. He has had a Mandarin (Synchiropus picturatus ) that he has kept for ~9 months and it is always active, well filled out and always eating voraciously. Yet somehow his tank is always crawling with 'pods! Tanks been up for ~10 months maybe, with only about 40 lbs of live rock and no skimmer. Any idea why/how the 'pods are so abundant? <You should ask him, not me.> Could it be related to the UGF or no skimmer or both? <No idea.> Any clue on this? <Perhaps just lucky - good live rock, good starter kit, could be any number of reasons.>  Apologies for the length and thanks for any help/insights - JCasey  <Cheers, J -- > 

Reef tank invader? 1/4/03 My friend from a pet store and I have come to challenge ourselves with making simplistic reef aquariums, using merely live rock (much cheaper than buying sensitive anemones), and seeing what will grow under nothing more than a 50/50 reef light. We were told it couldn't be done, but my friend who got the head start on me already has a good deal of life growing on her live rock in only a 5 gallon mini aquarium. <A great experiment!  As you have seen, good quality live rock can have plenty of interesting critters waiting to come out.  Many of us don't get to enjoy them because of the predators we add (fish, hermit crabs, etc.)> When it comes to my own, first off, I'd like to know about this invader that I have in it. Aside from all the problems that I have with identifying an eel in my main 55 gallon fresh/brackish water aquarium, I somehow brought in this little worm/caterpillar looking thing that fell out of my liverock that I bought for my experiment. Well, the experiment is inside of a 10 gallon. Assuming it at first to be some sort of lifeless or dead matter, I grabbed it to toss it out of the aquarium, and then felt this horrible sting. My hand went numb and now I'm taking a very long time to type this email one handed since my other hand is a blimp, and by time I had come back from rinsing and cleaning my hand, the little thing was gone. I was told by the people at the store that I picked up a fireworm, but I cant find anything about pictures on your website for the time being. <It certainly sounds like some kind of bristle worm.  True "fire worms" are Caribbean endemics, so unless you got your rock from Florida, it is just a generic bristle worm.  I would suggest getting medical attention.  The bristles on the worm penetrate your skin and break off.  Sometimes they contain a mild toxin.  The bristles can cause an infection or you could be hypersensitive to the toxin.  In the future, handling live rock and such critters with gloves is highly recommended!> Will I ever see this wretch again so I can mutilate him with a tweezers in vengeance before throwing him away? <It really is kind of harsh to seek vengeance on a critter that has been dragged from it's home, sent around the world and defending itself in the only way it knows how.> Aside from that, I had a question about my saltwater setup. When it comes to reef aquariums, I'm aware that any waste contaminants can bother the organisms, and I only have a 10 gallon set up. Inside of this 10 gallon there is a Tetraodon nigroviridis puffer acclimated to saltwater who still only measures about an inch, and to make sure that I don't overfeed and break the sensitive system, I give him only a single fish food flake in the morning, in the evening, and a small snail a day for supplement. <Regardless of how sparingly you feed, you will have to balance the import with some kind of export.  That could come in the form of water changes, skimming, algae harvest, etc.> What actually worries me is the brown algae growing on my live rock. I started with a few crumbles first to see if life would sprout out of them in saltwater, and so far I have actually cultivated three microscopic anemones so far, but the rest of the rock has grown a full cover of algae. Are there any tips or safe chemicals that I can use to prevent this algae from growing on the new chunks of live rock? <There are no such chemicals that can be recommended for salt water.  My suggestion is to add a snail or two that are too large for your puffer to kill.  Also, start occasional water changes.> My idea is that the light is on for too long every day, although I'm not really the best at controlling algae in the first place. Any help. <You really need the light to support the critters that you are hoping to culture from the rock, so try the snails and some water changes and see if that helps.> Adam

- What is This? - Dear WetWebMedia Crew: Greetings and Happy New Year. Thank you for your very kind attention to the questions of struggling aquarists. Do you know what these creatures are? <Honestly, I don't... these pictures will be posted on the daily FAQ, however and with any luck someone else might be able to identify them.> They are growing on a mat of Cyanobacteria and appear to be about 500 to 1000 microns in diameter. Here's one view: and another: At first I thought they could be hydras, but they don't seem to have the right number of appendages. <It doesn't look like you have some hydroids in there, but I still don't know what that green thing is.> Here is a digitally zoomed photo from the first view: One type of creature seems to have four-fold symmetry, and the other eight-fold. I was under the impression that cnidarians had either six-fold (or some multiple of six-fold) symmetry (corals and anemones) or nine-fold symmetry (hydras). Are these none of the above? <Could even be algae...> Should I be thrilled or dismayed to have them in my tank? <Hard to say when you don't know what they are, but in general am always impressed by the diversity of life.> The tank went through a period of fairly heavy Cyanobacteria growth. It started slowly and faded slowly. At its height, it covered about 70 to 80% of the rock and substrate. It now covers about 1 to 3%. I didn't do anything to try to remove it except to feed sparingly and maintain the skimmer. I didn't panic either (although I came close) because I have seen similar growth patterns in my other tanks, just not quite that bad. (Also, I am not sure that Cyanobacteria and other micro algae is necessarily all that bad. Perhaps I am wrong. I admit that I don't like the way it looks.) <Actually, BGA can compete with your biological filter in the nitrogen cycle - nitrogen being a basic plant food, so this algae in bulk can be trouble.> In this tank, the retreat seemed to be the result of some very small amphipod-like creatures that I have not been able to photograph. I tried. Just got blurs (the glass in this tank is very thick. Chromatic dispersion makes it almost impossible to photograph small objects on the substrate). The tank is a 125G with 4 to 5" of sand and 95lbs live rock. It has been set up about 4 months. It holds two small ocellaris, 3 emerald green crabs, 3 peppermint shrimp (not seen in a long time), 1 sally lightfoot crab (small), 1 purple lobster, 1 slipper lobster and 1 turbo snail. I have added about 20 turbo snails over the past few months until I came to believe that it was the slipper lobster that was killing them. At that point I had about 12. One by one they have fallen and the slipper lobster is almost always on hand to devour the remains. The tank doesn't have any filter - just a protein skimmer which produces about 2 ounces of dark skimmate a day. Also in the tank, several pieces of xenia and one Goniopora. (I know. The fellow at the store told me it was a good starter coral. In a warped way, maybe he is kind of right. I did my homework after making the purchase and just before I repented. I have resolved to do my best to keep it. That is why it is in this tank instead of my display tank.) There is 650 W of PC fluorescent lighting (half 10,000K and half actinic). There is no ammonia, nitrite and no measurable nitrate (using several test kits) but probably plenty of dissolved organic compounds. The tank produces plenty of macro algae, which I remove periodically. The calcium level is 410 to 425ppm, and I dose with a calcium bicarbonate-based supplement daily. (small doses which I adjust biweekly). I add iodine weekly at about half the vendor's recommended dosage. My sincere thanks for listening to me and answering me. Respectfully,
<Cheers, J -- >

White Spiral Things Hello crew, luckily I haven't had to bug you guys/gals for a while.  My tanks have been doing much better with all of your help.  I recently added some turbo snails to my tank to help with some hair algae that started to grow again:-(  Anyway, now there are these little white things growing on the coral skeletons and on the tank walls. They seem to grow in a spiral fashion like a snail shell, but they are attached and do not move.  I do believe they were brought in with the snails.  I have not seen any sign of an animal inside the shells, but maybe they only come out at night. Everyday I seem to get more, so something is possibly alive.  At first I thought it was a type of coralline algae growing, but when they get bigger, you can see the spiral shape.   Hope you have some ideas.  I've attached a picture of them.  The area in the picture is about 1" x 1" although it looks bigger in the picture. <These are sedentariate polychaete worms... likely members of the family Serpulidae... types of featherdusters if you will... filter feeders, harmless, beneficial. Bob Fenner>

- Id This - Hi See you articles at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/. They are great but I am not able to identify these. Can you help me to identify them. <Yes, image one is a tube worm, two and three are sponges.> So should I get rid of them? <No, I wouldn't - you shouldn't.> And how? <Relax and enjoy them.> Thanks, Derrick
<Cheers, J -- >

Mystery Hitchhiker on LR (12/23/2003) I'm relatively new to the art of Salt Water aquaria and am continually fascinated by the variety of life you find a few chunks of live rock.  <me too> I've been able to identify most but I can't find this guy anywhere.  Is it a sponge?  A coral? A Martian?  Can you help? <This does appear to be some type of encrusting sponge. Hard to say which one specifically, but likely harmless, though some sponges are toxic. You might want to post the picture on WetWebFotos and solicit an ID there.> Thanks for the months of help you've already given me. Troy <On behalf of the crew members who have previously helped you, you are certainly welcome. Steve Allen.>

Polyp ID (12/22/2003) I was wondering if you could help me identify a polyp that I used to have in my aquarium. It's brown with a stalk. It looks kind of like one of those Dr. Seuss trees or something. Kind of like a fuzzy Pom Pom glued to a straight stick. They were small, the "pom poms" being about the same diameter as some airline tubing. They were also colonial, spreading in a carpet like fashion. If I had to guess, I'd say they were about ? to ? of an inch tall. They swayed with the currents. I lost them in a move and was trying to get a name so I could get some more. I looked through pictures on the WWM site for about an hour, and couldn't find them, I guess because they aren't very dramatic.  <Really not possible to ID without a picture. Take a look at Clavularia and xenia.> Oh, and by the way, the Wet Web Photo site is not working all that well in case you guys didn't know. <having some problems since changing hosts. Zo is working on it.> If you could point me to some pictures and possible names I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks, John Jordan <Hope this helps, Steve Allen>

Mystery Critter Follow-up (12/22/2003) Hi, to answer your questions, the size of my tank is 5 ft (L) x 45cm (W) x 2 ft (H) it has been set up for a bit over 6 months, yes, it has live rock about 4kgs and 6 green Chromis.  I got the live rock from VEBAS aquariums in Fremantle Western Australia.  I believe they get the rock from coral bay and have a license, I have got some wet sand from the beach (they could have come in that) they look like little prawns ???? thank you u for your reply could you please help, please reply ASAP <As before, I strongly doubt that these are mantis shrimp, but Ian is right, a picture would be helpful. Neither of us can make an ID without seeing a picture. Do check WWM or other sources for pictures of Mantis Shrimp and copepods to see if either match. The largest copepods get to nearly a centimeter in length. I have these in my tank. Mantis Shrimp will get to several inches in length. If you or a friend have a digital camera, do send a picture so we can try to give you a better ID.> thank you, from Ryan <You're welcome, Steve Allen>

What the heck are they? Hey guys, bought the latest book and it is phenomenal, best one I have seen in a while and really helpful.   <thanks kindly... its very redeeming to hear.> My reason for writing are the things that have popped up in my little reef tank.  I know I am not the first one to have these but cannot tell what they are.  The little creatures look like little white jellyfish and are n o bigger than 1/4" in diameter.  The swim around and look just like miniature jellies.  I have searched but couldn't come up with an answer.  Please help and lemme know if I want them. Thanks Sean <without a clear picture, I cannot say for certain. But you may indeed have Cassiopeia jellyfish larvae (common from importing small hermits and snails). Else, if you have mature coral in the tank, you have some other cnidarian larvae. Anthony>

Parasites floating in the tank... nope 12/16/03 hi have 175 gal salt water tank .have developed parasites they look like tiny white worms and I mean tiny you can see them on the fish and also in the tank by the millions. tried treating it but no luck. also the fish have developed HITH can you help please.    thank you <I cannot say for certain if your fish have parasites, but I can assure you that no fish parasites that you are likely to ever encounter can be seen with the naked eye in the aquarium water or on the aquarium walls, gravel, etc. No such thing fortunately. :) The worms at worst are a sign of overfeeding... but may instead simply be beneficial microorganisms from live rock or live sand. Please review our section on wetwebmedia.com regarding fish diseases (many articles and FAQs to read and learn from). Anthony>

Critters in my refugium Can you help me identify some critters in my refugium?  They swim, are 0.25 to 0.5 cm in length, are mostly translucent, have a fish like tail and antennae on the end I would identify as the head.  They swim along the bottom as well as the top of the refugium.  I can't imagine these being fish or shrimp.  The refugium is loaded with macro algae, live rock rubble and amphipod/copepod type critters. <Hi Brian.  It sounds like you have a thriving refugium!  If you have ruled these critters out as amphipods or copepods, I would guess mysids next.  Mysids tend to stay near substrate, swim around quickly and erratically, and look like tiny shrimp.  It is also possible that they are the larvae of another critter that has spawned in your tank (clown fish, decorative shrimp, crabs).  It is hard to guess without a picture.  I would lean toward the larvae idea if they are only occasionally present.> Is there a upside/downside to having these guys in my refugium? <It is likely almost all upside and little or no downside.  Very few critters that meet this description are pests, and those that are would have done significant damage if they are present in large numbers.  Hope this helps.  Adam>

Hitch-hikers 12/16/03 I was wondering if you could help me determine what these creatures are that I found in my tank.  They were all live rock hitchhikers.  Photos attached. The first is a picture of what appears to be some type of Anemone. <yes... agreed. Cannot discern species though> The next two pictures appear to be some type of Nudibranch.  It's very tiny, greenish/bluish/beige in color, with two antennas.  (look in center of pic). <alas, the subject is too distant in the image. We cannot discern anything here to even a generic level. Do try to shoot pictures with the subject filling the frame> The final picture looks like some type of underwater armadillo or something. It blends in pretty well with the rocks.  (look in center of pic). <this is a chiton (polyplacophoran)... a harmless and wonderful algae grazer. Do enjoy> Thanks for any help that you could lend. Arnold <best regards, Anthony>

Live Rock Hitchhikers -- Friend or Foe? (12/14/2003) Dear Sirs! <Hejsan Kalle. Var I Sverige h?sar du ifr??> My 900 litres aquarium has got new Living rock- about 50kg fr? Indonesia! <usually very nice live rock> Its with nervous fingers I write to you, because there are some animals I don't know what they are! First its a perhaps a not living thing: http://www.saltvattensguiden.se/upload/bilder/-KH-_thing.JPG That I found almost floating on a rock, its transparent - see through it. It remind of a skeleton bit. But perhaps not! It was gone after a went away a few sec. If you think it reminds of a skeleton, you perhaps have some books you can check? <Hard to say from this drawing just what you're looking at. Is this the whole thing or just part. Looks to me like it's probably one end of some sort of crustacean, probably harmless.> I do not have fishes mis, or any! so it must have arrived with the stone! <Many things do, that's the beauty of live rock--as Dr. F. once said, "It's alive!"> Next is a clam like ting... It moves fast as a turbo snail.. It has a elephant nose like in front- pink. I saw it at night time and when I use the flash lamp on it close, it pull both halves together quick! I have heard of murder snails from Australia--but this is more like a clam- but still same "nose" as the snail family from Australia..... The picture is drawn- my digital camera give me just blur pics! <It is hard to get good digital pix of small things in a tank.> But you see how I saw it! Almost like Living rock.. except it moves and have a pink nose! So- is it dangerous???? for me- and my corals/fishes? <No> http://www.saltvattensguiden.se/upload/bilder/-KH-_mussla2.JPG 1: front 2: top And still- it has two halves, not like a snail as a one- so more like a clam <It sure looks like a rock-boring clam to me--no worries, enjoy.> <Kalle. You are experiencing the wonders of the diversity of life brought into a tank on live rock (LR). That's why we call it LR, because it has so much life on it. All kinds of wondrous creatures and algae will spring forth from this rock. "New" creatures can show up after months. Believe me, you want most of these things in your tank. Very few of these are things to be feared, but rather are to be enjoyed. I personally find these and other invertebrate life more interesting that the fish (though they fascinate me as well. What sort of tank are you planning? You've got a nice big one there. Will it be a reef? You really ought to buy the book "Reef Secrets" by Alf Jacob Nilsen and Svein Foss?(fr? Norge). It has a lot of great info, including sections on the good and bad critters that come in on live rock. The two main things to watch for an eliminate are Mantis shrimp and certain large Bristleworms. Also check here: http://www.reefs.org/hhfaq/index.html> <I see that you have already found www.saltvattensguiden.se which seems like a very useful Swedish site. Continue also to visit WWM. I have found it a wonderfully helpful place.> Thanks for all help- <vars?od -- Steve Allen, som har bott I Sverige och ? gift med en svensk> Kalle Holmstr?, Sweden

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