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FAQs about Non-Vertebrate Animal Identification 5

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 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 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

Harmless flatworm- eats copepods 3/23/04 Greetings Crew!  Hope everyone is doing great.    <with hope for you in kind my friend> Can anyone ID the critter in this photo?  It kinda "pulses" as it traverses the glass.....  Thanks!  Brad <the creature is a harmless flatworm that preys on micro zooplankton. Its presence is a very good indication that you have excellent and uncommonly strong populations of copepods likely. They wax and wane naturally in the aquarium in an inverse predator-prey relationship. Enjoy :) Anthony>

Glass anemone/s Hello Crew, <Drew> I am finding saltwater to be an amazing way to pass the day away, I am new to it and bought some live rock recently and awoke to find some interesting critters showing up on it, first was a sea squirt now I have 4, also looks to be a scallop coming out and something else that not sure yet, one person suggested it could be some sort of crustacean egg, only time will tell. My question is this, I have attached a photo, I am not sure what this critter is I bought some shells for my blue legged hermit grabs at my LFS, they had them all in an aquarium with some dead coral skeletons and some live rock, he said find what I want and put them in a bag and bring them to the counter, so I selected some shells took them and brought them home, I used some of my water from my aquarium to swish them around in the dropped them into the tank. about an hour and a half later I saw this critter sticking out of it so I moved it on top of some live rock. Only other description I can give of it is it has a whitish stalk and brown and white bandings. Thanks again Drew
<An Aiptasia. Please see WetWebMedia.com re.
Bob Fenner>

Eggs on the Powerhead Greetings from snowy Illinois!   (I'm not happy about the white s*** on the ground either) <Opposite end of the spectrum here in Cali!  And yes, I have a bottle of ice cooling down my reef- It's 85 out there! Ryan> I am wondering if you could help me identify something I found in my tank.  I was doing a major clean job (20% change, clean all pumps and filters, blow off rocks) after a second treatment with Chemi-Clean to get the red algae under control when I noticed some "things" on one of my powerheads.<OK> There are 15-20 of them on the powerhead and a few on the adjacent glass.   They are about 1/8" in diameter and look like clear bubble-domes attached to the surface.  Inside you can see 6-10 tiny white spheres, each about 1mm in diameter. (I should get a job at NASA for mixing metric and English units) The only things in my tank that I have seen up there, and who can get up that high, are my turbo snails and my Strombus snails. <Sounds like they're gettin' down to me.  Snails like to hang out at the water line, because they typically breed in tidal areas.> Are these some sort of snail egg pouches or is it the start of some new algae or coral in my tank?  Or did aliens land in my living room and deposit pods that will hatch and take over the world? <Remains to be seen> I have attached a pic but due to the low quality and the fact they are so small makes it hard to make out. <Can't see the detail required to ID an egg, but I would put my money on baby snails.  See ya! Ryan> Thanks a ton!

- Worm ID - Hi, I am very new to the saltwater hobby.  I have a 90 gallon FO tank, has been up and running for about 2 months.  I have started to notice very small ( size of a hair) black worms in my sand and on my rock.  Any idea what they are and if they are bad. <I think they are small, black worms... probably not harmful.> Like I said they are the size of a hair and maybe 1/4" long and black?? <Sorry I don't have a more exact answer for you, but the worms are among the most diverse group of organisms on the planet. Hard for even the PhD's to be true experts, and I am neither.> Thanks,
<Cheers, J -- >

Help with ID - Get two answers 3/13/04 Can you help ID these. I get two different answers. Tube Worms or Hydroids?  Thanks Ray <These look like hydroids to me, but it is hard to be certain.  If their tubes are hard an they withdraw quickly, they are likely tube worms or "feather dusters" of some kind.  If the tubes are soft or leathery and/or they don't withdraw very quickly, they are likely hydroids.  If you decide that they are hydroids, I would eliminate them for their potential to become pests. Best Regards.  Adam>

Follow up to ID... Tube worms or hydroids 3/19/04 Thank you. The tubes are hard and they do withdraw, although I'm not sure if it is quickly. I will have to check that out next week if I get a chance. Ray <Hard tubes likely rules out hydroids.  Even if they are, the formation of calcareous tubes is time consuming and will greatly limit their ability to reproduce to plague proportions.  I would leave them be and marvel at the diversity of critters that come along with live rock.  Best Regards.  Adam>

Marine invert. ID to whom it may concern, <In this case, it's Graham.> I am 12 yrs old and have my own saltwater aquarium. my dad helps me when he can (my parent are divorced) it's very nicely kept and looks great. <That's good to hear!> I have 2 clown fishes, a green chromes, and a damsel. I was looking at my live rock and I saw a little, white, fat, cotton like thing living on it. what are they? <These "cotton-like" creatures sounds like sponges. There are many species which are commonly found on liverock.> can they hurt my fish? <Not at all. In fact, some sponges can actually benefit fish by providing them with a healthy food source. I hope this helps, Julie. If you have any further questions please feel free to email us back. Take Care, Graham.>                                                     Sincerely,                                 Julie

Creatures that go bump in the night Saluti, <Hello, Graham at your service.> Thanks for the great site.   <Thanks for the great comment!> I have found many answers there and find myself reading FAQ's that don't even apply to me.  Hate to bother you guys but I can't seem to find my answer in the FAQs Anyway, I have observed a couple of nocturnal critters in my marine tank and was hoping you might be able to ID them as friend or foe.   There is one worm that I caught (visually) slipping back under a live rock.  He is flat but looks like a centipede (many legs).  His posterior section was red in color and the rest (what I could see) was more brown in color. What I could see of him was approx 1 inch in length and approx .6 cm across <Most likely a Bristle worm -- they're completely harmless and very beneficial to your aquarium.> There are many (at least 15) very small shrimp like critters that come out at night and scavenge the bottom and live rocks.  They appear to live in the rocks.  They are almost see-thru but have a dark brown dorsal area.  They have a couple of antennae but don't appear segmented like "normal" shrimp.  The biggest one was maybe .5 cm  I first noticed these guys soon after starting the tank.  There was one initially and now they have multiplied like rabbits.  Wish I could capture these guys on film... <Most likely a type of Isopod, Copepod, or Amphipod. Again, these are also harmless and beneficial to your aquarium.> What do you think....I have a true percula and a Firefish with two turbo snails and a couple of Cerith snails (20 gallon starter) and I would like to protect them from any potential "bogeymen"  I have ID'd everything else that has crept from within the live rock but these guys are a mystery. <Your chances of getting a predaceous worm or invertebrate in your tank are quite slim. Most of these "bogeymen" are actually very beneficial.> Thanks for all of your help via the site and email. <Thank you! Take Care Keith! Graham.> Keith

Egg sacks or sponges? II 3/9/04 Anthony. Ok. That problem resolved, I took out that piece of lace rock and just went and got 25 more pounds of liverock.. problem solved. <heehee... yikes! Your solution of "if we don't know what it is... get rid of it/kill it" sounds frighteningly reminiscent of some governments' policies> New question: In my other tank I have fish and inverts (crabs, starfish, snails). Overnight there was a burst of something. Best way to describe it is about 100 little white flecks stuck all over the sides of the tank. They are oval in shape, reminds me of paint splatter, very small about the size of a ball point pen tip...if you look closely there is a small circle within the oval. I wish I could take pictures but they don't come out right. I posted on the forum and the opinion is it could be baby snails... but nothing bad. Do you agree? Heather <again... with a description like "specks with a circle in it", it could be thousands of things. You have to give us more to work on here for an ID without a picture my friend :p Instead... do peruse the published works of aquarium authors that focus on invertebrate life forms like Dr. Ron Shimek... many helpful articles on this general topic (micro-organisms). Anthony>

Purple Eggs And Ham, Or Just Purple Eggs? ("Eggs On Glass") Hi Scott <Hi there!> How are you? <Doin' okay> I notice that I have some type of markings on several areas of my glass. The look like little white dots which are actually turning purple. They look like eggs. Could this be snail eggs or some type of eggs? Will try and get u a pic. Thanks. Regards, Ziad Limbada <Well, if they look like snail eggs, act like snail eggs...They may be snail eggs! See what "hatches" out of them! Have fun! Regards, Scott F.>

Egg sacks or sponges? 3/8/04 Hello All! First let me say thanks for the info. and the website forums. I'm new to the hobby, love it, but have questions on a regular basis and everyone is soooo helpful! <thanks kindly... do tell a friend about us> I have a newer 75G tank with lots of live rock (mushrooms, sponges, polyps, etc. on it), no invertebrates and only a few aggressive fish. In the morning when I first turn on the light, I noticed that overnight there is what I can best describe as something that reminds me of a bug egg sack growing on my one piece of granite rock, it is ovalish in shape, a bubble, not clear, kind of hazy...if I pull off the "skin" of the sack, underneath on my rock is what looks like grains of salt except they are grayish in color....what in the world is this stuff? <no idea without an image, alas. Do send if you can. Could be anything from your description> Yesterday I pulled a piece of the skin off and this morning it is right back the way it was? Some people thought maybe it is a sponge starting to grow (which would be great!). I just want to make sure it is not some bad "bug" trying to populate my tank. <not likely dangerous at all> Let me know what you think. Sorry I'm a pain, but I'm new to the hobby and you only learn by doing....thanks so much as always, your help and advice is invaluable to me!!  One of the reasons why I love it so much as there is always something new going on in my tanks! Heather <hmmm... do look up sponges of the genus "Sycon" as they are most likely/common if it is a sponge here. A pic, again, if you can (full frame shot and close up to be useful). Anthony>

Need Identification Hello all, <Hey Jason>   I have a problem. I am facing an unknown enemy. My 55 SW aquarium has come under attack from this algae in the photos. Let me give you a background. My tank was perfectly healthy, but I think I was over feeding. I had hundreds of bristle worms and small tube worms. Since I had all of those worms, I knew I had too many nutrients, so I cut feeding in half. This was about 3 months ago. Since then, this algae has surfaced. I have not added any livestock to my tank in roughly a year. This villain seem to only grow in the sump and tubing (low/no light). Parameters in my tank are normal. I can give you specifics if you need. I don't have but a few test kits here. My LFS tests my water for free. I just find this odd since I have never seen this before and only since I have reduced my feeding. Any ideas? Best Regards, Jason <Interesting material. I do hope you have access to a hundred, two-hundred power microscope. This could be an algae (likely a blue-green/Cyanobacteria), or maybe a red (rhodophyte) of some sort... but it could otherwise be a sponge species or even a fungus... A microscopic examination will tell all... is the material nucleate? Are the strands mycelious? Bob Fenner>
Re: Need Identification Bob, <Jason> Thank you for your fast reply. Unfortunately, I do not have access to a microscope. I guess I need to start saving...Seems it always something doesn't it. <Take a look on the WetWebMedia.com site using the Google search tool on the homepage or indices under the term "QX3"... a very nice unit for very reasonable cost... plugs into a USB port on your computer> Could you or any of your colleagues provide an "identification" service if I ship this material in cold packs to you. I would be more than willing to pay for your service. My back is against the wall. Sincerely, Jason <Mmm, interesting idea... would likely be as quick to go on by a High School science department, or college... and ask to have some help looking. Bob Fenner>

Re: Need Identification, QX3, microscopes in general Bob, <Jason> I looked into the QX3 microscope from Intel Interplay. I found this and thought I would pass it along. http://www.intel.com/support/intelplay/qx3/index.htm It appears that Intel no longer makes, supports (by phone or email), or guarantees it to work with future operating systems. Its sad because it looked like a nice piece of equipment. <Rats! I have one on my desk here... and have given them as gifts to many young people... the last ones were something like fifty-sixty dollars U.S.... Incredible price for the amount of technology. Maybe you can find some stock that is "remaindered" somewhere... I never used their support... not necessary IMO/E> I did a little searching for other digital microscopes. Seems most were in the <$1000 US range. I did find a nice little unit from Olympus http://www.olympusamerica.com/seg_section/seg_product.asp?p=1&product=717 for $795. I was hoping to find something in the >$300 range. Do you know of any others off hand that I may have missed? Thank you again for your time and patience, Jason <Too much money for the purpose in mind. I do encourage you to look about at the inexpensive import models (there should be something available under a hundred dollars) and/or keep your eyes open for the occasional school and hospital sales where these institutions sell off old gear they're replacing. Bob Fenner>

Tiny Life Forms-Big Worries? Hi again! I hope everything is fantastic on your end, and thank you ahead of time for helping me! (And thank you to Scott F. for helping me last time!). <Scott F. back with you tonight!> I have a question that might be hard to explain, I certainly can't take a picture of my critters in question because they are *extremely* tiny and also they are so amassed on my tank glass that it's virtually impossibly in some spots to tell one from the other.  They are teeny, tiny blackish specks, sort of an elliptical shape and I'll bet 100 of them could fit on the period at the end of this sentence, they are crazy-small.  They move, so they're not just algae specks and there are literally hundreds and hundreds *of millions* on the glass, they are multiplying at such an amazing rate, it's chaos.  I don't think it makes any difference necessarily, but I never noticed them before I put the VHO lights on my tank.  I'm relatively convinced that they aren't harmful, they stay on the glass on patches of algae and that brown diatom "dust" but I was hoping for an idea of what they could be since they seem to outnumber the sand grains in my tank 2:1.  Craziness.  Thanks for sharing your time and knowledge, you folks are an outstanding resource!!                                Rachael <Well, Rachel- I guess I'll have to take a guess, here. Either they are some form of very small amphipods, planarians, or other small inverts. I would not be overly concerned unless you notice some problems with your fishes or corals. Just keep an eye on things. Regards, Scott F.>

Things that crawl in my tank... in a bad way My favorite crew, <Ryan> I wish to dive into your sea of infinite wisdom once again, this time it concerns my 55g marine main display.  Currently the tank is recovering for a nasty case of ick (the fish that survived are doing well in my QT). The tank is now in a "fallow" state (but there are invertebrate, is this ok?). <Yes> My first questions are what is the bug that attached pics of, is it a bad bug, how to rid the tank of them? <No problems... this is an amphipod species (note "different" types of legs). Not harmful, actually desirable.> There are many of these bugs running around probably about 40 or so. Secondly I have read that sometimes a marine system can never recover for and attack of ick or some other protozoans, how do you determine if this is the case for your system? <Only time, experience can determine such> A tremendous thanks, Ryan King P.S. sorry about the large files, I just wanted to make sure that you could get a good look. <No worries. Bob Fenner> Re: things that crawl in my tank... in a bad way Mr. Fenner, Thanks for the timely replay and the info.  I also wanted to let you know that I find your book's very resourceful and I find wetwebmedia as a powerful information database.   keep up the great work, Ryan King <Thank you for your kind, encouraging words. Bob Fenner>

Tiny Critters (shades of Don Ho) I have a 110 gallon tank I set up around New Year's day which just cycled (used live sand and only 10 pd.s of live uncured rock).  I haven't added any fish yet am in the process of setting up a quarantine tank with some of the cycled water. There are some "critters" in the tank.  Lots of very small (pin-size), white circular worm-like things on the glass and something that looked like a rolly polly (isopod?) that dug itself into the sand.  Are these harmless or should I be worried?   <You shouldn't be worried unless you see small bug-like invertebrates hanging from the sides of your fish. Most likely these bugs you saw were either Amphipods, Copepods, or Isopods. In this case, they're harmless> The aquarium store sold me uncured rock and said it would be ok for a starter tank and would help the cycling.  Now I wonder if I introduced some things that I shouldn't have. I really enjoy reading your book! <I agree, Bob's book is very informative.> Thanks!!! <No problem. Take Care, Graham.> Elaine

My, what dark oval eyes you have...? (02/29/04) Hey crew, <Hi! Ananda helping out tonight, playing a hunch on this one...> Thanks for all the help so far.  You guys take a lot of the stress out of caring for a new tank. <We aim to help!> This one is going to be hard and unfortunately I don't have a digital camera. Either way I can't see much of the new creature anyways. I looked through the inverts section and didn't come across anything like this little guy. Today I noticed to antennae sticking out of a hole.  At first thought they were just a tube worm but I noticed that each one split into two at the ends. I also noticed that there were two little "eyes" looking around. The shape of the eyes were oval and very dark.   <Right now, my brain is saying "Cool! He might have a mantis shrimp!" Check pix at http://www.blueboard.com/mantis/ and see if anything looks familiar.> I didn't get to see any of his body as he is too timid to come out of the hole in the rock.   <Yup, sounds like a mantis.> I noticed an empty hermit crab shell next to the hole....hopefully the crab wasn't eaten....and it definitely isn't the hermit in the hole.   <Well, the hermit may have switched shells.> I got home tonight and noticed that the hole had been filled in. <Yup, they do that, too. Cool little critters for a species tank.> Being curious and maybe not altogether smart I poked it the handle of a net. At this time a piece of shell, clump of sand (not sure what) fell into the hole. The little guy poked his head out and looked around and then put the piece back in place. <I would, too, if you banged in my door. ;-) > Unfortunately it can't describe him much better than that as I haven't been able to seem out of his hole. <The behavior sounds very much like that of a mantis shrimp.> IF you can identify this or even point me in the right direction to try and identify him that would be great. Thanks again, Todd Hawman <Our resident mantis fanatic is lurking about the forums again. Try posting at http://wetwebfotos.com/talk on the Marine Invertebrates board with more descriptions, if you can, and see if P-F thinks you've got a mantis. You might want to put a piece of frozen shrimp next to the place you saw the creature so that it's less likely to go for a moving target (aka a hermit crab). --Ananda>

Tiny Critters (2/29/04) Hi, I have these little creatures in my tank that look like little ants. I was wondering if you knew what they were and if they're harmful to my banded cat shark? <Almost certainly copepods, tiny marine crustaceans that are harmless. Search the term on WWM to learn more & find pix for comparison. Hope this helps, Steve Allen.>

I love when new things appear Morning Bob, <Afternoon Todd> I woke up to find these 2 critters in my tank.  The big one was crawling around on the live rock and I'm assuming (possibly wrong) that it is some sort of worm (possibly the horseshoe worm).  Just wondering if you could id...sorry about the pic...I don't have the luxury of having a digital camera.  The smaller one was on the glass.  I believe that it is some sort of snail.  I looked through all three non-vertebrate sections but was unable to find anything like these guys. <Mmm, well... You got me... the upper drawing might actually be some sort of nudibranch or other Opisthobranch gastropod mollusk... the lower to the right thing? If it's crawling, maybe something of the same group... if it had legs, perhaps a crustacean of some sort> Hope you can help me out. Thanks for the help you guys are awesome, Todd Hawman
<Thanks for writing. Bob Fenner>

White fluid shot out of live rock???? While watching my tank, a fair amount of white fluid shot out of one of my live rocks.  What in the world would do that?  I was in the process of adding water to the tank when it happened. It looked cool but I wonder if it is bad or not?? <Sounds like something in your tank released sperm. I've had hundreds of Stomatella varia spawns in my aquarium -- most of them travel to the top of the rockwork and release sperm (which often appears as you described - white fluid being shot into the water column). It is harmless and shouldn't be any problem.> Thanks for all of your help.... <No problem. Take Care, Graham.>

Unknown White String Thing.. still unknown 2/24/04 Hey Crew <howdy> Hope all is well.  I have a 35 gallon hex with a Fluval 404, Bak Pak skimmer and a 96 watt PC 50/50.  I have 2 Perculas, 1 Coral Beauty, 1 cleaner shrimp, A small open Brain, a scallop (I know you disapprove, but I take good care of him), 8 margarita snails, a couple hermits and a sand sifting star.  Ph 8.2, Ammonia 0, Nitrites 0, Nitrates 10, Temp 80.  My question is regarding white hair like stings that have shown up in my tank over the last week.  I have read through every FAQ I can find but have not found anything that answers my question.  I have attached a few pictures for you.  Sorry for the quality, a hex tank makes it hard to get close up pictures, so I had to enlarge them.  They are primarily on the glass but I do have some on the LR.  They are stationary (or if not, none of them have moved) and appear to just lifelessly wave in the current.  I am not even sure if they are alive!!  At first I thought some sort of snail excrement or eggs, but there are to many and they are about 1mm thick and 1.5" long.  My only thought is that they are some sort of worm or ectoproct.  I have not seen a negative effect on the system, but that does not mean they are harmless.  I appreciate your help! Have a great day! Scott <alas... the pics are low res and a blur. Nothing we can see from here. It would not be surprising if it were a worm though. Do send a better pic if you can in time. Read more on polychaetes in the archives until then or beyond. Kindly, Anthony>

What are those little bugs? (2/24/04) Hi, <Howdy. Steve Allen here>   I hope you have the answer. <I'll try.>  We have a 55 gal. saltwater that has been set up for about 5 months.  All our fish are well, level readings are normal.  Problem is what appears to be lice like parasites on the walls of the tank. <Probably not parasites.> Are they a danger to our fish and how should we treat them. <Most likely no danger at all. If they swim/crawl around, they are almost certainly harmless (actually beneficial) mini-crustaceans known as copepods. "Fish lice" are isopods that hang directly on fish. If they appear to be attached to the wall, they may be some sort of harmless marine worm.>  We also noticed larger white parasites that appear to be snail like with a fan tail, also on the walls of the tank. <Do they move? May actually be a mini featherduster worm.> Any advice would be appreciated. <None of these are likely harmful. Enjoy the diversity of life in your tank. Read here to be more certain: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/invertidfaq4.htm http://saltaquarium.about.com/cs/pestscopepods/a/aa061200.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/copepodfaqs.htm http://www.rshimek.com/Invertebrate%20Key%20to%20Major%20Taxa.htm >   Thank you. <Hope this helps.>

Critters...2/24/04 I was wondering if you might be able to give me a bit of info on some critters in my tank. After I sold my lunare wrasse I noticed some jelly like critters on the side of the glass. They move kind of like a snail, but they have no shell; The front part of them inflates and drags the rest behind; They are a clearish white. I'm sending along a picture I drew of what that look like, hope it helps. Any info will help, thanks so much.... <The critters you described are a type of flatworm.  They are nothing to worry about.  Enjoy them while you have them as they tend to rise and fall in population, often disappearing all together.  Best Regards.  Adam>

Tentacle thing on my rock 2/12/04 I bought some live rock to cycle my tank at my LFS. Later that day I saw a semi-transparent whitish tentacle about 1" long. Its base was coming from a tube which looked like it had been constructed from tiny coral pieces and had a small brown disk on the end. It waved around the water for a while and then retracted the way an earthworm does. I have not seen it since then so no pics. Later on I had to rearrange my rock, and during this I accidentally bent the tube thing. Since then the disk is gone but the tube is still there. Any ideas what this could be and if it could still be alive? I have been careful since then not to mess with it in hopes that it will revive. Is there anything I can do to encourage this ... thing if it's not harmful? <What you saw was a type of tube worm.  Harmless and in fact beneficial.  It may have been killed, but more likely will be fine.> My tank is a 10 gallon soon-to-be reef (I am still waiting for it to finish cycling). I was also wondering if you could recommend a skimmer to use in this tank. I have not been able to find any small enough for it, and I am thinking of just DIYing one. My LFS owner said I didn't need a skimmer for this small a tank though, so do I need one? This is my first saltwater tank so any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time! <A 10 gallon reef is a challenge in terms of maintaining stability in water quality, salinity and temperature, so you will have to be on your toes!  I agree a skimmer is not necessary.  Doing 25% water changes every two weeks (a snap when you are only taking 2.5gal!) will be more than adequate.  If you would really like a skimmer....  I thought I would never ever recommend this product, but a Skilter might be appropriate.  Totally overwhelmed on any bigger tank, this device may meet the needs of a 10gal tank nicely.  The filter chamber could be used for additional small pieces of live rock or to run carbon, etc.  Welcome to the hobby and best of luck!  Adam>

- What is That? - Tonight I looked down to check the water level in my sump, and I notice a white looking fungus around the water edges; A lot of little white bits of it are floating around the top of the water in the sump too. I was wondering if you might be able to help me find out what this is, and how to get rid of it? <I have no idea what it is - perhaps you could put a sample under a microscope to get a better idea of its nature. As far as getting rid of it, I'd just get in there and clean it out by hand, daily if necessary.> My fish look fine, so I don't believe its bothering them much, but I want to make sure it doesn't become a problem.... Any advice would be greatly appreciated... <Keep cleaning. Cheers, J -- >

Slime/Fungus in sump??? Hello! <howdy> I've greatly enjoyed reading your site. I have a much read copy of Bob's book, and I just ordered Anthony's. <ahhh... thanks kindly my friend> After a few months with a marine setup, and with much help from your crew, I think I've got the basics down and I'm starting to figure out the general areas I need to learn more about.  I'm writing to ask about something strange which is growing in my sump. I suppose I should give you the background: 30 gallon tank w/Emperor 400, 36 watts PC to see the fish 20 gallon 'sump' w/ CPR BakPak skimmer, 36W 5500K PC. I put sump in quotes because it's really become a second display tank. The 30 gallon has 3 blue devil damsels, 2 peppermint shrimp and a couple turbo snails. The 20 gallon has 2 Turbos and a small colony of mushroom anemones on a pile of zombie rock (used to be dead, but now it's slowly coming to life). We started out 3 months ago with the idea of starting a small FOWLR and we're now shifting toward an invertebrate tank with a couple incidental fish. <heehee... giving in to the force <G>> We're trying to move slowly and carefully and giving ample time for the system to adjust to additions. Water conditions are all good, and we just started with SeaChem Ca additive (half the amount it says on the bottle until we get Ca and better Alkalinity test kits) to encourage the coralline. <all good> I've attached two photos of the translucent white bubbly stuff which is growing on a new piece of dead rock in the sump. I saw small amounts of this on another rock, but it's really taken off here in the 3 or 4 days since adding the rock. It's not Cyanobacteria (that's on another rock), and it's like no algae I've seen online. I tried algaebase, but it's hard to browse there without knowing at least the common name of what you've got. The snails haven't touched it yet, but they've only been in the tank since I read on your site that they'd ignore the coralline two days ago. I sucked off some of it during the weekly water change last night, but left the rest for now. <hmmm... tough to say. It rather looks like it could be decay. But if the rock is old enough (fully cured), then it would likely be a sponge growth. The pics are good but not close/revealing enough to see inhalant or recurrent pores (sponge or not)> So should we worry about this stuff crawling out of the tank in the night to take over the city? What is it? If it's not terribly harmful, I'd rather leave it and watch what it does. <yes... agreed!> Thanks! -Dave <with kind regards, Anthony>

Sponge ID - 2/11/04 Well, I DID find 2 sponges that are in my tank, Leucetta sp, and this ugly one I have been looking at for months>>>a white sponge. <Sorry for the delay. These pictures still look like a faded Leucetta sp as well> I recently asked someone on your team what it could be and I think it was Fenner that said it sounded like "reef snot"! <Sounds like Fenner> UGH! Was that gross or what. <Well, I'm a guy. Takes a little more than the mere mention of snot to gross me out> I could be mistaken about Fenner though, maybe it was one of the other guys! <Still sounds like Fenner> In any case, my tank has it! <Not a bad thing. Some can't keep sponges alive even if their very existence depended on it> thanks for the sponge tip though, I had no idea. <Well, good luck to you. Thanks for being part of it all ~Paul> Pam

Could you please help?  <That's what we're hear for :) > I noticed a few nights ago that there was a "bug" in my overflow.... I have a 175 gallon reef tank. I have a few corals among a few angels, tangs, etc.... I was looking at the overflows (from the side) and I noticed a "bug" running around the bottom of it. It looked like this: it was all of 1cm long, a greyish/white color (its color reminded me of the freshwater-ghost shrimp). It had quite a few legs. My husband and I could not make out what it was (it hid when I shined the flash light on it). Then, the following night, the halides where off and the "night lights" where on, in the tank, when I noticed something moving on top of a piece of live rock cliff that we have. It was the same thing, so I grabbed a flash light and tried to inspect it closer but again, it was only visible for a moment as it ran "into" the rock, so to say, Because of the shape of the rock, I couldn't tell if it hid in a whole in the rock or if it hid behind a little lip. Either way, it is really starting to worry me as I have NO idea what this is.... I don't know of it could be a shrimp larvae or something.   We just recently treated our tank... well, we were having a problem with Ich so we removed all of the fish and put them in a quarantine tank and treated them and we put the corals in another quarantine tank. We then dropped the salinity to 0.14-0.15 in our main tank and raised the temp., and left it that way for 2 weeks (in hopes of the parasites "exploding"). Could this of caused something goofy to happen with larvae or something? I just don't know what to think or even what to do about it. Please help! <These bugs, from your description, don't sound like a problem. They're most likely amphipods, copepods, or isopods. These "pods" are not harmful for your aquarium (with the exception of parasitic isopods, which will be seen hanging off the sides of your fish. Unless you see these bugs hanging from fish or nipping at your hand, you have no problem). The bugs you're seeing are most likely scavengers which will feast on detritus, fish waste, left over fish food, and algae. They're certainly nothing to be worried about.> Also, just a quick question, what is your opinion of an ideal salinity and temperature for a salt water aquarium? We've read so many different opinions and we would really like to also know yours. <I've always aimed to keep the salinity in my aquarium at 1.026 and the temperature around 80 degrees F. Temperature can vary between species being kept. Some species of SPS do better with a higher temperature of around 83degrees F., while others prefer cooler waters of around 78 degrees F. Anywhere from 78-83 degrees should be fine.> Thank you!!!  Danielle < No problem.> Graham Stephan

White Things (2/5/06)  I have a 75g reef set up about 4 months now, and yesterday I noticed my temp had shot up to 86.f. my heater shorted out I guess. <Bummer. I hope your animals survived.> Anyway while I was investigating the tank I have noticed that the entire tank is covered with living white little {I guess} parasites. never noticed them before but since yesterday the sides of the aquarium and also my corals <which parts> and rocks are covered with it don't know if its the itch or what. any ideas/treatments? I know they didn't just show up overnight but I never noticed before.  <No worries. These are not parasites. They are some kind of worm or other invertebrate. If they're on the glass and you don't like them there, scrape them off. Ich is invisible (microscopic) except on fish. Hope this helps, Steve Allen.>

White Spirals...? Hi, Sorry to take advantage of this great service you guys offer, but I have one last question for ya... <Oh no, you're not taking advantage of us at all! We appreciate your emails and enjoy answering them. Always remember that if you have any question which are not already answered in the FAQ, please email us.> for now at least because your book Conscientious Marine Aquarist is en route.  Anyway, I've been watching these small white spirals develop around my tank  They are about 1/16" Diameter right now and they are scattered over my glass and partially on the filter draw up pipe.  I'm assuming that these are some type of snail.  I did read of another site though that these could also be the beginnings of some feather dusters.  What do you make of it? Please don't tell me they are urchins...Thank ya kindly <From your description, it sounds like you have Spirorbidae worms. They're simply harmless worms which form a spiral shaped calcareous tube. They're filter feedings. Usually they're a good indication of a healthy aquarium.> Take Care, Graham Stephan

Mystery marine creature... is it safe? I have seen a very small creature sticking out of one of my live rocks. sorry I have no picture at this time I will do my best to get one if it is needed.  This creature is like a very small feather looking thing that is what appears to be white in color with small black rings on it. I don't know if this is the actual creature or just what it uses to feed itself.   There are a few other creatures that I'm not for sure what they are. they are small round hollow looking tubes that look to be attached to one of my live rocks. three are yellow in color, one is a blue-ish color, and the other is white. they have a lot of little hair like things that stick out the front and form a circle like a feather duster but they are too small and attached to the rock to be feather dusters. <Many too many creatures like you described to guess. Nearly all are harmless and signs of good tank health.> Another question is how long does it take a long tentacle anemone to be comfortable in a new aquarium and is there anything I can do to speed the process. I purchased one a week ago and it seems to be very stressed. it gapes from time to time but not for long periods of time. it also swells the top of itself up and retracts it tentacles. is this normal or is there something I might need to change. by the way I have them in a 5 g aquarium for the time being the one I had broke and these are the ones that survived. for the time being I have a 50/50 bulb on them no more than 3 inches above the water behind a plastic shield (does the shield need removed or replaced with glass) a 2 stage BioWheel filter, 50 watt heater, and a 7 inch bubbler. I add a few supplements every other day. for instance iodine, calcium, strontium & molybdenum, and essential elements. Plus I have a 50 watt halogen that points toward the tank from about 2 feet from it. if there is anything you can do to help me it would be appreciated. <Your anemone does sound stressed. It is very unlikely that a 5g aquarium can be equipped to care for it. Biowheel filters are not really suitable for reef tanks as they tend to promote the accumulation of nitrate. The lighting you described is probably also not adequate for anemones (at least strong VHO required). Controlling salinity in such a small tank will be difficult as well. Please discontinue any supplements except for calcium and alkalinity (buffer). Iodine, Sr and Mb can all become toxic very quickly in such a small tank. I would recommend that you test Nitrate, Salinity and alkalinity and take steps to correct any of those that are out of range. For the well being of the anemone (and any other animals in the 5g), please replace your broken tank ASAP.> thanks Dustin sweet <Best Regards. Please do write back with any more questions. Adam>

ID stranded creature 1/27/04 Hi guys! I hope you have time for a couple more questions today. =) 1. No one can seem to identify this at the WWM forums. I need help identifying something in my tank. I have them in my profiles but I am also attaching the forum links below. I hope they're not something to worry about. http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/thread.jsp?forum=25&thread=15461 http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/thread.jsp?forum=25&thread=15079 The picture just isn't clear enough my friend... can only see a strand that could be a worm, hydroid or a price of string <G>. If the creature has symmetrical "hairs" that are issued from the length (closer to the top usually) of the strand like a comb... it may be a hydroid. Do look up pics of the same in Paul Humann's "Reef Creatures" if you can access a copy> 2. My 140g tank has been set-up since august. So far, my coralline hasn't grown much. They're still just patches here and there. How do I help induce their growth? <stable calcium, alkalinity and magnesium (use test kits to meter this) and the addition of some Calcium gluconate (SeaChem Reef Calcium) with strontium will grow them very fast in the next 3-4 months> My Nitrates are at 25ppm. They're a bit high but I believe there is something inaccurate with my tester. I am using Tetra testing kits and I just tested our distilled bottled drinking water and it too measures 25ppm. Ammonia and nitrates are 0. I have two 30" 25w actinics as well as a 40" fluorescent on a 12hr 10hr cycle respectively. I have a couple more questions but wouldn't want to bother you too much in this email. Thanks so much for your time! And thank you so much for your unselfish contributions to this hobby we all love! Ken Millan Philippines <very welcome my friend... best of luck. Anthony>

Nudibranch or flatworm? Guys, I really hope these pictures do not take up to much of your space.  I have a fairly recent 75 gal reef setup. I have what I think is either a flatworm or Nudibranch of some type. It only comes out  in the dark and darts away from any light. I could not get a great picture of it, but maybe you can tell me what it is. I looked through the seaslugforum and your site and saw nothing that resembled it. I doubt it will live long in my tank.  The front is tan with some white dots in a line. it has a seem down the middle and is striped with tan and a darker gray tapering toward the back. About 3 inches long and 1 inch wide.  Let me know if I should remove it. I do have some soft corals in the tank. Thanks for any feedback.  Darren <Quickly moving out of the light? Mmm, my guess is on a flatworm. Likely no problem if you don't see it actually munching on your sedentary livestock. I'd ignore it. Bob Fenner>

Anemone/worm crossbreeds? 1/20/03 Hi there! I have used your site often, but this is the first time I have been unable to find my answer, which is quite remarkable ;)  Usually when I search for anything unrelated to aquariums, I seldom find anything.  The internet is like satellite television, thousands of channels, nothing useful LOL.     I have a 35 gallon hex reef tank, which is doing great, but I have an ID problem.  I have a cluster of "things" (for lack of a better word, hence the reason I am sending this) on one of my rocks.  I can't seem to get a decent picture of them, further frustrating my ID of them. So, I shall describe them to you, in the hopes you guys can figure it out for me.  They look like a cross between an anemone and a tube worm of some sort.  I have seen pictures of the tube worm to which I am referring to on your site, as well as having read descriptions.  I also have several of this type of worm in my system.  Unfortunately, I am having the darnedest time finding them again, now that I need them.  Now, these worms that I know are beneficial, have a very thin, hard brown tube, that to me resemble a tiny tiny twig, and from this tube, protrude two antennae, rather like an insect's.  However, the ones which I am concerned about have this same tube, BUT the main difference comes in the "crown" of this particular worm. I recently had some Aiptasia come into my tank on a lovely frag of some zoo's.  Unfortunately, I didn't notice them right away, and they stung several polyps to the point of non-existence.  I have since eradicated them using boiling water in a syringe.  I am pretty confident they won't be returning, unless they are hitch hikers on a rock again.  My tank is very healthy and well maintained.  The crown of this worm, ( I am assuming worm because of the hard tube) resembles the tentacles of the Aiptasia.  They sway and are rather hair-like, not fan-like at all.  My reason for concern is the lovely sponge these little guys are co-habitating with.  If they are harmless, I fully intend to keep them, I am all for diversity, and am not squeamish, but I really like this sponge.  It is quite fascinating, being transparent white with opaque white branches in it.  I would like to keep it growing well.   The point of this ramble is that I was hoping that my description is accurate enough to get a couple ideas of what these might be in order to narrow my research a bit.  Sorry for the ramble, run-on sentences, and  shoddy paragraph structure....(I need an editor)  I hope you can help me out.  Thanks, and best regards,  Caryl Frei   P.S.  Your site is such a helpful tool to those of us who are landlocked.  You allow us to keep a slice of the ocean in our homes. <Hi Caryl.  Glad you like the site.  Although I can't tell for sure what these are from your description, they are likely harmless.  Probably just another variety of tube worm or feather duster.  Adam>

Question about jellyfish Hello, <Hi Bill and Donna!> I'm a customer of Marine Warehouse in Tampa, Florida. During a visit for a few items this evening we took along a sample of water with items that look like tiny jellyfish that have begun growing in out 10 gallon salt. The folks there took a look and said "Those are jellyfish and we've NEVER heard of them reproducing in a 10 gallon. You should email Anthony Calfo or Bob Fenner at WetWebMedia and let them know what's going ons". These animals start out growing on the rocks, then sort of "detach" themselves and, well, swim around the tank like jellyfish--the size of a bb or so. <Wow!  This is one of my favorite things about this hobby! There are several possibilities here.  Some hydroids have a "medusa" stage that is planktonic and resemble tiny jellyfish.  Some of these could have reproduced in the tank or been accidentally imported.  Also, some hydroid or jellyfish medusae could have been incidentally bagged in the water with another animal.  Is this worth our sending you an image? <Probably not.  It is unlikely that any of us have the references to make a positive ID, even if you could get a good enough pic.  It is interesting that you got sent to just the right place...  Anthony had this same experience in his greenhouse, and traced the introduction back to a shipment of Astrea snails from Florida.  He grew the medusae out into full adult Cassiopeia (upside down) Jellyfish!  The pump free, well lit, fine sand bottom environment of the green house, combined with the fact that Cassiopeia are photosynthetic bottom dwellers and probably the only jellyfish that is even remotely suitable for the home aquarium all contributed to this enigmatic success.> All the best,  Bill and Donna Tampa <Thanks for sharing this great experience.  I'm sorry to say that most jelly fish will not survive under any circumstances, and even if they are Cassiopeia, duplicating Anthony's greenhouse conditions would be difficult.  If they are hydroids, you will see them start to settle out onto tank surfaces.  Best regards!  Adam>

Re: Question about jellyfish 1/20/03 Hello, Adam; <hello again!> Thank you for your information! They seem to be jellyfish, as they're hatching and swimming about the tank. Fascinating stuff, actually. Do I need to do anything to get rid of these or will they "dissipate" on their own, having run through their hatching? Also, you may be interested to know we have a (Mated) PAIR of Mandarin Gobies in a 10 gallon tank and, have so far, been quite successful in raising them. I don't think this is too common.  All the best,  Bill and Donna Strickland <I suspect whatever these critters are will meet their demise in pumps, filters, etc.  If they are hydroid medusae, some will probably settle out.  In some cases they can reproduce to pest proportions, but it is rare.  Kudos on your success with spawning and rearing mandarins!!  Spawning is fairly common in the hobby, but rearing the young is not.  Please do share your success and techniques.  Best Regards!>

Invert ID - tunicate? 1/13/04 Hi guys <cheers, Jerry> I have quite a few of these in my reef with more developing.  I am guessing that they are some kind of sponge.  Can you tell from the enclosed picture what it is? Thanks Jerry <sponges and tunicates can look quite similar. Its tough to say from the pic, but the organism looks familiar to me specifically and if it is slimy in appearance is a tunicate most likely and not a sponge. We have more info on these two groups and distinguishing them in our book "Reef Invertebrates" (Calfo and Fenner 2003). Or proffer a better close of the creature (filling the frame of the pic) and I'll try for a better ID. With kind regards, Anthony>

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