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FAQs about Live Rock Hitchhiker/Creature Identification 12

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Related FAQs: Live Rock, Answering Some LR FAQs by James Fatherree, LR Hitchhiker ID 1, LR Hitchhiker ID 2, LR Hitchhiker ID 3, LR Hitchhiker ID 4, LR Hitchhiker ID 5, LR ID 6, LR ID 7, LR ID 8, LR ID 9, LR ID 10, LR ID 11, LR ID 13, LR ID 14, LR ID 15, LR ID 16, LR ID17 LRID 18, LRID 19, LRID 20, LRID 21, LRID 22, LRID 23, LRID 24, LRID 25, LRID 27, LRID 28, LRID 29, LRID 30, LRID 31, LRID 32, LRID 33, LRID 34, LRID 35, LRID 36, LRID 37, LRID 38, & Non-Vert IDs 1, Tubeworm ID, Polychaete Identification, Live Rock 1, LR 2LR 3, LR 4, LR 5, Curing Live Rock, Live Rock Selection, Shipping/Moving, Placement, Lighting, Water Quality, Live Rock Studies in Fiji Collaboration & ChartsCopper UseMarine Landscaping, Marine BiotopeSumps, RefugiumsFaux Rock,

Chromodoris kuniei

Live Rock, white Spots, and Brown Colors  3/10/07 Hello, <Hi Kyle, Mich with you tonight.> I've recently purchased some cured live rock for my 110 gallon aquarium. It's been in my tank roughly two weeks and the water conditions are perfect.   <Vague.> Over the past few days I've had a white substance appear on a little over half of my rocks... 40 lbs of rock, and some of it appears like a spider web, and some of the white growths appear to be something similar to salt you would see in the street after the snow dried up.  The areas affected are about half of an inch to an inch in diameter...  Is this good or bad?   <Most likely not a problem.  Difficult to identify anything with out a photo.> Also, when I purchased a large live rock, it was completely white, and now has turned brown.. is this normal, good or bad? <Again, a picture is worth a thousand words.> I also have had little lime green spots appearing on the rock, it appears to be algae growing on certain rocks... good or bad? <Depends on the type of algae.  Is time for you to start reading my friend.  Lots here and the related links in blue: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/liverock1.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_2/cav2i3/Live_Rock/live_rock.htm Sorry for all the good or bad questions, I'm a little new to Live Rocks. Yes, time to educate yourself.  Please do some research on the site, there is plenty of excellent info available. I would also recommend a book by Robert M. Fenner titled "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist.  It is an excellent book, especially for a beginner, but belongs on the shelf of every saltwater hobbyist, in my opinion.> Thanks for the help, Kyle P. <Welcome!  -Mich>

Martian Pictures, Ascidians at least    02/17/07 Hello Crew! <Marti> I have learned an amazing amount of information by reading and searching through your site - thanks for such a great resource.  I noticed that people often have questions about "hitchhikers" on LR, and wanted to send you two good pics of tunicates that may be found attached to them. <Very nice images> Based on information in your site, the translucent ones seem to be Rhopalaea species (?R. crassa), but I am still not sure what species the "green" Martians are. Can you help ID? <Mmm, no... other than that they are tunicates... Both indicative of your good care.> Thanks again for a great resource! Marti D. <Thank you for your kind words and sharing your images! Bob Fenner>

Live rock hitchhiker ID number one million... Zoanthid   2/12/07 <Hi Gino!  Mich with you today.> Like you don't get enough of these already.   <No problem!  I am rather fond of them.> I've very excited to be a new FOWLR hobbyist.   <Welcome to the salty world my friend!> I've had my tank for several months now and my live rock has sprung life from ugly worms to amazing feather dusters.   <Like a swan!> There are also colonies of tiny filter feeders that resemble hairs with split ends.   <Cool!> I do have something rather interesting that I need some help identifying so I can figure out how to care for it.  There is nothing on your site resembling the characteristics of this thing that I could find.  I've actually spent months looking at pictures to no avail. <Months!!! You are patient.> It is about 5 millimeters long protruding nearly horizontally from the edge of my live rock curving slightly upward while the lights are on and it is fully blooming.  Once the lights go out it takes several hours to transform back into its fleshy stem leaving nothing but a puckered tube half its potential size with no dish at the end. The dish at the end appears to have thin, short radials and the center has a lightly-hued bump.  It doesn't emit anything.  It doesn't move much with the current.  I don't have spectacular lights.  Just a 55gal with two hood lights. <Wow!  You have managed to grow a zoanthid under Very low light conditions. Lucky you!> My emerald crab grabbed it by the stem one day flattening it out and squeezing something delicious from the tube and the expanded dish disappeared for a few days while it reconstructed itself. <Yes, emerald crabs are not strictly herbivorous as many mistakenly think.> Bubbles happen to pass right through it and it seems to hug up closer to the side of the rock.  I mostly see it open as it appears in the photo, but sometimes at night  I see it all buttoned up as mentioned before.  Any help would be greatly appreciated. <Sure please start read here and look at the linked pages highlighted in blue at the top of this page:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/zoanthid.htm  >    Thank you,

Tube Worms  2/11/07 Hi, <Hi Adrian, Pufferpunk here.> I've a 55 gal tropical saltwater reef and fish tank.  In the past couple months, I noticed a lot of tiny, 0.5 cm, white tubes protruding from the live rocks.  What are they?  Do I need to worry? <Those are tiny tube/feather duster worms.  Beneficial filter feeders.   See: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/feather.htm~PP> Thx, Adrian

Live Rock sprays out a mystery cloud.  2/5/07 <Hi Jeff!  Mich here.> Thank you for your time.   <Welcome.> My tank has been up and running for about 4 to 5 months now and I have seen the most craziest thing today.  I have a 46 gallon tank with about 50 pounds of live rock.  Only a few big rocks though.  The one with the mystery cloud is the heaviest, most solid rock in there.  My list of species is 1 Sand-Sifting Starfish,2 Clarkii Clownfish, 2 Skunk Cleaner Shrimp, 3 Dwarf Blue Leg Hermit Crab, 3 Random Snails, 3 Random Feather Dusters, and plenty of life coming off of the live rock.  I have 2 Maxi-jet 600, a Penguin Powerfilter, and a protein skimmer w/maxi-jet 1200 so I would say i got plenty of circulation.  Now this mystery cloud only  happened for about 30 seconds but it was enough to startle me.  A cyclone started to come out of a crevice of my big solid rock.  It was enough to make the whole tank cloud up.  Like I stirred up the gravel or something.  It was some kind of cyclone of white dust or powder or something.  It kind or looked stringy or something.  I just happened to see it start and I don't know if its happened before.  I have all my pumps hooked up to one power switch so I was able to turn all my pumps off quickly and it still continued.  I am sure that this did not come from any of the currents but from something else.  What could be inside this rock?  I immediately did a 10% water change just incase there was some kind of poison and everything seems to be fine but this really seemed out of the ordinary.  I went through many WetWebMedia.com articles but I didn't even know where to start with this.  Thank you for any help.   <I believe you witnessed a spawning event of some sort.  I'm really not sure what, as the possibilities are numerous.  Not a bad thing.  -Mich>   Jeff...  P.S. Great Website <Thanks!>

Unknown Possible Sponge on New Live Rock  1/30/07 Hi Bob or whoever is in today.   <Hi Dave!  You have Mich today.> I have purchased 100lbs. of Fiji live rock to start cycling my 135 gal. tank.   <Welcome to the salty world!> It has been in the tank for 5 days now and I noticed a white mushy looking thing on the rock.   <Oh!  Lot of cool stuff come on/in/with the live rock!  This was one of my favorite parts of setting up a tank!  Just seeing what kind of cool creatures emerge!  Hours of enjoyment staring at rocks... not everyone understands this...be careful who you tell it to...they might question your mental status...  Hehee!> It doesn't seem to be decaying or rotting should it be removed or left in the tank.   <If it doesn't seem like it's dying, I would let it be.> The tank has been running for 2 weeks with no rock in it.  I presently have just a trace of ammonia, there is a pic attached and the white thing is the highest in the tank. <<Mich... gots to move the answered queries with pix to the folder labeled... RMF>>  <Looks like it might be a sponge.>     Thank you in advance. <You're welcome!  Enjoy the process!  -Mich>    Dave

UFO's on Live Rock   1/30/07 Hey guys love your site, it's helped me so much. <Glad to hear it!> Here's the problem I bought some live rock & of course it had passengers. In the picture I've circled in red the 2 species that I cannot find anywhere. I realize that one is a species of urchin, & the other is some kind of anemone. Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks <Search WWM re: Aiptasia/pest anemones for the left and pencil urchin for the right....Adam_J.>

Red tree-like growth on LR   1/27/07 Hi.  My 55 gallon Saltwater tank has been set up for just over a year.  I ordered 50#s of live, uncured rock that was touted as "Caribbean table rock".  It was beautiful when it came in, but during the curing process lost all of the "stuff" that was on it.  I cured it by placing in a 60 gallon plastic tote for 3 weeks, with 2 powerheads and a thermometer running constantly.  Then moved it into my tank, added aragonite and saltwater, then waited a month before adding cleaner crew.  Now I'm operational with about 90 #s of LR (a few more pieces from the LFS), and I've built a sump.  I'm really getting into it! <Good> Just before Thanksgiving I let the tank go for about 1 & 1/2 months; lights went out, no water changes, etc.  I had a massive hair algae bloom which covered 1/2 of the tank, and grew to half a foot long in some places (yuck!).  However, along with the hair algae, some beautiful bubbly Caulerpa grew, so when I built my sump, I moved the Caulerpa down to the sump.  The most curious thing is this red, tree-like growth that was found underneath the clumps of hair algae.  It seemed to be shaded fully by the hair algae.  It is very "stiff" and "twig-like", and is attached to the Caribbean rock by a single trunk.  It is about 1 & 1/2 inches tall, by about the same width at the widest part of the branches.  A second one was also found, but in the process of removing the hair algae I damaged the second one and it didn't survive. I have searched your sight to exhaustion and can't find another picture of this item.  Can you please identify it?  2 pictures attached.  Also, now that the hair algae is removed, should I move this little guy down out of the direct light? <Mmm, not likely useful> Running two 150W MH (15K spectrum), two 96W power compacts (10K actinic) and two 36W power compact 50/50s.  Red tree is about 1 & 1/2 feet away from one of the MH. Thanks, Barbara <Very blurry... this is likely either a red algae or a Bryozoan. Bob Fenner>

What's this? (Or: Where's my macro-button on this camera?)  1/16/07 Hi guys, <Hello, Carlos.> I've been working on identifying this item I have found on my LR. My guess is that it's tubiculous polychaete. <I'm with you on this one. I only wish I could see it in the pic!> Best description of it is a tube-like worm that is coiled at its base and shoots out from the center. From the head, very fine string like tentacles come out and then retract. It seems like recently numerous ones have appeared on my LR. <Sounds good to me.> Should I be concern<ed> that this is a nuisance critter or is this a benefit to the tank. Thanks. <Should not give cause to worry, Carlos. This just means your LR is maturing. Enjoy! -Graham T.>

Strange growth on live rock...   12/31/06 Hello, <Hi Jennifer, Mich with you tonight.> We are saltwater tank novices, but even the expert who helps us isn't sure what's growing on our live rock. <Can be challenging.> The best way to describe the new additions is... little inverted tear-drops... that are maroon/ dark purple in color. The largest ones are about a centimeter tall. They are cropping up all over the rock... individually... not clumped together.   <OK> At first we thought it might be some kind of coral because it was only on one piece of rock, but today I noticed some similar buds on a second rock. <This doesn't rule out coral.> I've searched the web for hours looking for something similar. Any ideas? <I'm afraid I can't help you with only the written info provided.   You know the saying a pictures worth a thousand words...this would help.  Do you have access to a digital camera with a macro feature (usually a little symbol that looks like a flower for close up photos)?  If so try to get a clear macro shot and send it in.  Someone should be able to assist you.>   Thank you, <Welcome.  -Mich> Jennifer

LR Hitchhiker ID Question.    12/26/06 Hi Guys. <Hi there!  Mich with you tonight!> To steal a line from The Simpsons. Best... Site... EVER. <Gee! Thanks Bart!> I have spent many, many, many hours over the past year or so reading on your site and I can't even begin to tell you how much my corals thank you. <Please tell you corals they are quite welcome!  But I'm sure they are thanking you too, for learning about their care.> After noticing a snapping sound coming from a tank which has lately had a number of unexplained hermit crab deaths, I managed to catch this pistol shrimp (I think that's what he is at least). <Yep, that's him. Family Alpheidae.>    It's approximately 1/4 inch in length, which makes me wonder if it is even possible this little guy could be my killer or if there is some other reason my cleanup crew is dying. <Really, that small?  Looks bigger in the photo.  Seems awful tiny to be creating problems, though possible if hungry enough/defending it's borrow.> The tank is a 20g cube, 30 lbs LS, 35 lbs LR, 96 watts PC lighting.  Livestock <and livestock too, I'm guessing> is approx 20 hermits, 10 snails, 2 perculas (babies, which will graduate to my bigger tank as the grow) and  3 bubble tip anemones (used to be 2, but one split).   <Careful with these, can cause problems and your water volume is quite small it one decides to relocate into the filter intake.> Water levels is <are> within normal limits and he <the> tank has been up and running for approximately 6 months. Any chance of getting me an ID on this guy?  I can't seem to find any photo that matches him in the FAQ's and on associated sites. <Family Alpheidae.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pistolshrimps.htm  Very similar to the first photo, don't you think?> Apologies for the photo quality.  It's the best I could do. <No apologies!  Decent photo.> Thanks and keep up the awesome work, <Welcome!  Thank you for these kind words.  -Mich> Dave Ploessel

Re: LR Hitchhiker ID Question.    12/26/06 Thank you for the quick reply Mitch! <You are quite welcome. Hehehe, Michelle with you today!>   Merry X-mas too. <Season's best to you also!> I'd already seen the WWM page you directed me to and noted the similarities, but was hoping to find the exact specie.  By doing photo searches using google on the web for every specie in family Alpheidae I think I did finally find the exact match though.  He appears to be an Alpheus leviusculus - The only photos I found on the web are at http://www.meerwasser-lexikon.de/eng/59/1566 Alpheus/leviusculus.htm  Looks to be it!   <I would agree!> Unfortunately it's not a goby pairing shrimp, but I'm excited to have him in my tank anyways, and he has been returned to his home.   <Very good!> The size was correct too - he's less than 1/2 the width of my smallest fingernail.  That photo was just really blown up!   <Yes.> Apparently this particular flavor doesn't get bigger than 0.79 inches. <Just a tiny taste!> Thanks for the help and keep up the good work! <I'm not sure how much help it was, but you are most welcome.  -Mich>  
Live rock "critters" question  - 12/18/06 Hi folks, and thanks for all the wonderful information. <Hi Kevin, Mich with you.  You are very welcome, thank you for your kind words.  Glad you like the site.> I have a 75 gallon LR tank which I have had for 12 months (and previous owner had running for 2 years).  From your site, I have identified most of the critters I see at night, but still had a couple of questions: <OK.> Can you have too many calcareous tubeworms?  At night, their little red feather dusters pop up all over the liverock (drawing attached) <Would be a personal preference, can you be too rich or too thin?  Should not be a problem unless you view it as a problem.> I'm also noticing more Chitons (pic attached).  I initially noticed them in the sump with my small, extra pieces of LR, but now see a handful on the glass and more on the main tank LR.  Can you have too many of these? <See above comment.> I also have a myriad of tubeworms, with most being pinkish, an inch or two long, and very thin (diameter of the small, thin rubber bands).  However, I also have larger "worms".  They are brown with a lighter underside, segmented, about 1/2 the diameter of a pencil and up to 3-4 inches long.  They come out at night, stretch across the LR, and appear to use a mouth to attach/ feed along the LR.  They always retract back into the LR when light hits them.  They look almost like a dark brown mealworm (b/c of segmentation) on steroids.  I know these aren't a problem but was wondering if they sounded like tubeworms, or something else?  Probably a dumb question...but there are so many LR critters at night it's a little overwhelming for a relative newbie. <Kind of hard to tell from your description without a photo.  But peanut worms (Sipunculid) come to mind.  Do they look like this?   http://www.reefs.org/hhfaq/img/sipunculid.jpg If so, they are a harmless scavengers who feed on detritus.>   Sorry, no pics...digital camera died.  I promise not to ask any more critter ID questions until my digital is fixed :) <Get the camera working!  You know the saying... A picture is worth...> Gracias!

White sponge? Dead Coralline?? please help   12/16/06 Hey Bob,  Hope all is well.  I have a three week old reef tank going. Recently I have obtained some white buildup on my liverock, it is somewhat hard but smooth... not too slimy like algae.   I've done some research (your website and LFS) and come to the conclusion that its one of two things.  Sponge which is spreading throughout my tank.  Or coralline algae which has died off. <Mmm... likely a combo. of a bit of these and "just" a warping population of decomposers... doing what they do in such circumstances... Shades of Leeuwenhoek... ( http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&rls=com.microsoft:en-US&sa=X&oi=spell&resnum=0&ct=result&cd=1&q=Leeuwenhoek&spell=1), I should be encouraging you to purchase a "cheap scope"... a plug here for the QX series by Intel-Mattel... fabulous... and take a look/see at this world> At first I thought it the later. Reasoning that I DID have a sudden decrease in salinity from about 1.0285 to about 1.026ish in the matter of two days (now remedied with top-off unit).  I am interested in what you think it is and how best to fix it. <... the spg change? Is toward where you want to go/be... I'd stay with this... adjust/make new water outside the system... close/match it...> I've been told to buy some "rock cleaner" and use a toothbrush to clean the rock. <Ohh! You mean fix the "crud" on the rock... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lrcurefaqs.htm "and the linked files at top">   But I'm concerned that this will only make the sponge spread (if indeed it is sponge)... <A bit of this... but a whole host of fungi, protozoans, worms...> and I'd hate to remove the rock from the tank in order to clean, but will do what is necessary. Here is a couple more details about the tank just in case...and two links to pictures of this nasty stuff. ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate remain 0,  KH steady @ 10,  Ca steady @440, <Mmm, I'd let the calcium drift below 400 ppm...> Ph 8.2-3,  Phosphate .25, temp 78,  two clown, one blenny, two Chromis <Already?> http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a157/nchher/aquarium/DSC03367.jpg http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a157/nchher/aquarium/DSC03364.jpg Please help me get rid of this stuff!! Thanks so much!! Scott Davis <Keep monitoring water quality, do the occasional change out of some water if deemed necessary, but mostly read where you've been referred... and enjoy the process. BobF>

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