Please visit our Sponsors
FAQs about Live Rock Hitchhiker/Creature Identification 15

Related Articles: Live RockReef Systems, Refugiums

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 12 LR ID 13, LR ID 14, 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,

Red Tube Hitcher 02/19/2008 Good afternoon! <<Hello, Andrew here>> I've noticed some strange red tubes among some zoanthids today and I was wondering what they were. I figure they are some sort of filter feeder, but I'd like to know if they are harmful to my zoas. These tubes shut and retract a bit if I touch them. I have attached a couple photos of them. There are more on that rock, too, but all seem to be connected to something in the base. Thank you for your time! Zoë Stevens <<What you have there is a sea squirt, or otherwise known as an Ascidian. These are a harmless filter feeder and will not hurt your Zoa's. More info can be found here and the linked articles and FAQ's. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ascidians.htm >> <<Thanks for the question. A Nixon>>

Who you calling a squirt?

New live rock really is alive! Using WWM   2/14/08 Hi, <Hello there> A couple days ago my girlfriend bought me a small (half pound) piece of cultivated live rock for my tank. She got it to help my tank rebuild the beneficial bacteria because I just broke it down and started over almost from scratch. The tank is a 29 gallon and it had been running for over 20 years but had barely been touched in the last 5 years (my father took care of it before). After talking to someone at a well respected fish store, he recommended I break down the tank and replace almost everything (replace the crushed coral, remove the under gravel filter, etc.). I took his advice and bought new crushed coral, replaced the under gravel filter with an Aquaclear 50 and SeaClone 100 protein skimmer. I also upgraded to a high output 50/50light. For the moment I'm using the old heaters and one of the powerheads for extra circulation. The only inhabitants are a Damsel, a Clown, 2 Bumble Bee Snails, and a few stalks of Xenia (which are the main reason I wanted to clean things up in the tank). After I broke down the tank I put some of the old crushed coral in a bag in the power filter to help with biological filtering. Otherwise almost everything except the livestock is new. The only problem I'm really having is that the PH is too low for the Xenia. <See WWM re pH and alkalinity...> I think the problem is that our water is a bit on the acidic side and even though I ran some of it through a RO system, that only made the PH worse. <... removed what little alkaline material there was...> We do have some Nitrates in our water (<20ppm) <This is more than just "some"... I would not drink this water, nor use if for cooking> but I'm not super worried about that right now. Otherwise all seems good so far with the water quality, though I realize the tank will probably have to cycle again. Anyway on to my main question. The piece of live rock my girlfriend got me looks beautiful. It's a deep purple and has a good bit of plant life on it (which I'm fond of and hope will grow). <Not plant... algae... looks like some sort of Caulerpa...> I think it also has a couple pieces of Aiptasia on it which I haven't decided what to do about them yet. After I realized the Aiptasia might be hurting my Xenia I moved the live rock to the other side of the tank. A few minutes later I noticed that the live rock seemed to be moving! After convincing myself I wasn't crazy, I realized it was moving. A small rift had formed in part of the live rock. I took a flashlight and looked inside and saw what looks a lot like teeth. Beyond that it doesn't look very "rock like" inside. I also noticed that it closes up when I turn off the light, so I'm fairly sure there is something in there. <Does look like a bivalve...> I've asked a few people who might know and they are baffled. They say it might be a Clam or Oyster but I can't find any that look exactly like it. What could it be? I would suspect it must be something fairly hardy to have survived in there through everything. I'd like to figure out what it is so that I know how to take care of it. I've included the best picture I have of it. Do you have any ideas? Thanks. <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/bividfaqs.htm And learn to/use the WWM search tool, indices. Bob Fenner>

LR Hitchhiker: Sea Slug or Flatworm - 2/12/08 Hey WWM, (great site!) <Hey Bill, thanks!> Today, my roommate and I were upgrading from our 28g reef tank to a nice 46g bowfront. <Nice!> As I was moving the live rock from the 28g, I noticed a very small critter crawling on the glass. <How small/what size?> It looks like a slug of sorts, two antennas, slug like body, with very small bright neon green things running down it's back. <What kind of 'things' - stripes, bumps, ruffled/finger-like projections (cerata), etc?> I was amazed to find yet ANOTHER critter to appear, and in turn, it brought me directly to my computer in search of an answer. Any help would be much appreciated. <Hmmmm, it does sound like a sea slug or flatworm of some sort but without a photo, that's about as close as I can get to an ID. Most of these guys are obligate feeders that hitchhike into our tanks, survive until the food source is gone, then die out. Unless you have a tremendous number of these, or are seeing some damage, I'd leave them and enjoy them for as long as they're around. Please see WWM for more information, comparison: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seaslugsopisthobranchs.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nudibran.htm > Thanks Bill <You're very welcome! Take care, -Lynn>

Re: LR Hitchhiker: Sea Slug or Flatworm - 2/12/08 <Hi Bill!> Thanks, for that great info, <You're very welcome.> it appears to be very similar to Flabellina exoptata, which I found through your link. <Great.> I would say, it was about a centimeter long with finger like projections running down it's back, just like you asked. However, the colors weren't like anything I saw in those pictures. Maybe it varies coloring as it ages. <Color can vary quite a bit with sea slugs. I'm not sure whether it varies with age, but it's possible. I know they vary according to region, diet, whether they've just fed, or are starving, etc. It's entirely possible, though, that your little sea slugs could be another species within the genus Flabellina, or in the same family, Flabellinidae. There's a lot of red, orange, and violet in that family, but not much green, however. I did find one (Tularia bractea) that had green cerata. Here's the link for you to compare: http://www.seaslugforum.net/factsheet.cfm?base=tulabrac Also, here's the species page for the Sea Slug Forum. This is a terrific site. If you have the time (and T. bractea isn't the right species), you can look through, and compare the others listed: http://www.seaslugforum.net/specieslist.cfm .> Thanks again, and I'm sure you guys appreciate proper spelling and punctuation. ;) <Heheeee! Yes, we do, and thank you! Take care, -Lynn>

What is it? -bivalve ID 02/07/08 Hello WWM crew, and hope your day is going well. We have a "critter" on our live rock that we noticed some movement out of about a week ago. The LR has been in the tank for about 4 months now and was fully cured when we got it. It almost looks to us like some type of clam or something. It has a sort of "tongue", for lack of a better word, that sticks out where the bluish arrow is in the picture, and when we tap on the glass it retracts and constricts. We also see it "close" from the red/yellow arrow all the way around to the same spot on the other side, almost like a clam shell closing. It is never "open" more than you see it in the pic though, and we are quite curious as to what exactly it is. It seems firmly attached or fused to the LR and the only movement is when we tap on the glass and sometimes when we approach the tank. So, oh wise and wonderful WWM crew, what is it? Is it harmless or something to be concerned about? <Well it does certainly appear to be some type of bivalve (and a pretty cool looking one too!). I couldn't tell you which specifically. Please see here for some help get a better idea of what it might be: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bivalvia.htm In any case, I don't know of any such bivalves that could be any problem. They're all pretty harmless.> Thanks for all of the great info and help once again. <De nada,
Sara M.>

Re: Unattractive Sand Bed, Lack of Coralline and Green Live Rock  2-05-08 THANKS. THANKS, THANKS, Rich - you guys are the BEST!!!!!!!! I would never have attempted the saltwater hobby without WetWebMedia help. (I try to limit my questions to one post a year, however long that post is! (LOL) <Ask Away!> Aleasha P.S. I recently discovered what I believe to be two tiny sponges (white, round, fuzzy puffy things) on my live rock AND what must be a hitchhiker from somewhere - a tiny sea hare-looking creature about a quarter inch long. Hoping this is a good thing, and loving discovering new things to add to my tank's (lack of) biodiversity. <probably tunicates or sponges. This link should help, follow thru all parts for more info... http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sponges.htm > Thanks again and will let you know how it goes after implementing your suggestions! <Please let us know if things improve!-Rich>

Critter identification and questions -01/30/08 Hello Crew, I commend you all in your vast source of information you've put together here on the web. I've spent countless hours reading through this material and quite frankly, may have a case of information overload. I'm new on the saltwater scene and loving every minute of it. I've just finished setting up my 38 gal corner tank w/ a 4"-5" DSB and I added 40 lbs of live rock a few days ago from the LFS. I few things have emerged for the LR and I'm hoping you'll confirm what I think they are. I believe pictures 1 & 2 are button polyps, <Pic 2 is an Aiptasia. Pic 1 looks more like a button polyp.> although I'm not sure if they're the same species. I think pictures 3 & 4 are the either bubble coral or more likely bubble algae, <bubble algae for sure> but the one in 4 may be dying. I'm also concerned that I may have partially covered the mouth of #3 with LR (if it is bubble coral). <No, this is not coral.> Can it move or reposition itself since I glued the rock in? I've also seen some snails and a couple of small bristleworms. What do you recommend I start feeding them all? <Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/cav1i3/Progressive_Recipe/Progressive_Recipe.htm> By adding cured LR, can I consider my tank "partially cycled". What do you recommend should be the order of additions? I thought I had read somewhere to add corals first, then fish and finally invertebrates and the clean-up crew. Is this correct, or does it really matter? <Maybe this will help: http://www.asira.org/cycling Also, please do make use of the search feature on this site for more info.> Thank you for your help...I'm sure I'll be back again soon. MIKE <Best,
Sara M.>
LR Hitch hiker ID... s  -- 1/28/08 Hi Guys and Gals, I've recently gotten back into the whole aquarium thing after a long absence, boy have things changed! Anyway, I'm fascinated by this whole Live Rock thing. <Is indeed amazing> In fact, in the 5 months that I've had the tank up, the only fish I've added is a fire goby because I'm so amazed by all the things you get for "free" when ever I add live rock! Okay, now I'm realizing that it's not ALL good. I'm pretty sure that I'm a proud new owner of a Glass Anemone <Yes> So as part of the battle, I bought a peppermint shrimp. We'll see how that goes. Please tell me if I'm wrong about the ID on this little guy, I wouldn't want to harm him if I don't have to. (Notice how the pests are always "he"s?) <Mmm, yes... but hurricanes are labeled for the tender gender...> Then I found this thing on the back of one of my rocks the other day. It's bright green with darker green longitudinal stripes. It doesn't like the flash on the camera either and closes up when it goes off. It's not hard shelled, but firm. It's about an inch long and has a really solid hold on the rock and doesn't react if I touch it. I was thinking some kind of sea cucumber, but I've spent hours (at work of course!) searching the web and WWM, but I don't see anything similar. <Looks like a Colochirus to me...> Last but not least, there's this crab... At first, I thought it was my scarlet crab out of it's shell, but now I'm almost positive that that's not the case. The hole in the LR he's in in this photo is about 1" in diameter. He uses those fans as filters and grabs unseen stuff every couple seconds. I'm suspicious that this might be what has been beating up on my fire goby. This is the only time that I've seen it. <Is a type/species of Porcelain (false) Crab... a Squat Lobster...> any ideas on IDs would be greatly appreciated. I'm hoping that I don't have to try to get rid of any of this. <I wouldn't> I would like to eventually have a mostly reef tank, mostly soft corals and anemones. <Do read re this last...> Thanks for all your help! I've been reading through other posts here for the past couple of months and it seems like you guys have great info and big hearts for taking the time to share it! Kirsten
<A pleasure, adventure to share. Bob Fenner>

White bacteria/fungus growth on live rock... oh yes  -- 1/26/08 Hi Guys! Great website and a special thanks from someone who's just getting into the hobby. I have had my 125 salt water tank for about 4 months and have enjoyed every minute of it. My water conditions are: 1.025 salinity, 0 nitrates, 0 phosphates and have various fish including a blue, purple and yellow tang, a few clowns, 4 anemones, <Yikes...> a couple of yellow watchmen gobies, pistol shrimp, about 40 snails, 25 Nassarius snails, etc. (they all seem to get along. I think it's the way I introduced the more aggressive fish later on). My question is about my live rock. I supplemented my live rock with some dead base rock hoping the seeding would work and it the base rock has started to turn a nice green/purple. <Mmm, likely will in time> Recently, however, I have noticed a pure white growth starting on the dead base rock and has now started to grow on my purple live rock. Is this bad?! <Mmm, nope> I took a rock out and looked at it more closely. It isn't slimy or 'hairy' and I tried scrubbing it off with no luck. Could this be algae growing that hasn't got it's colour yet? <Yes... or... sponges... but likely a mix of species... algal and otherwise... but no real worries> Any help would be greatly appreciated. <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/lridfaq14.htm and the linked files above in the series. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Pat

LR Hitchhikers 01/16/2008 Good evening Bob & Crew, <<Hello, Andrew here>> I trust this e-mail finds you all well. <<Very well thank you Mike, however your attached image only shows a white square??>> It finds me confused, but I guess you get a lot of that. I either just received a nice bonus from my LFS or I received a problem. I'm hoping that you might be able to tell me which. I recently purchased a Leather Coral of the Toadstool variety 3?- 4?across the top on a 6?stem and it is now in my 14gal. Oceanic Bio-cube. This is a live sand and live rock cube with two small A.O. Clowns, a tiny Common Cleaner Shrimp, four Hermits and a Short Tentacle Plate Coral. I've just purchased the Oceanic Skimmer for this cube but haven't installed it yet. So far parameters are holding at 78 deg., SG 1.023, PH @ 8.2, 0 ammonia and nitrites, 10 nitrates, calcium over 300 (sorry, that's as close as I can get - cheap quick dip test kit recommended by LFS will be changing it for standard kit next trip). <<Good idea. The dip strip variety of testing kit are very inaccurate>> To my recent findings. The Leather Coral came attached near the edge of a small flat rock about 4? across. I had a perfect spot for this on the substrate and all was well until this morning when someone in my office asked me Is this what you mean by Live Rock?? Camouflaged and encrusted, if you will, right into an edge of the rock is a living clam just over 1" long. A boring clam I presume Dr. Watson. There was no colorful mantle to give it away and the entire clam, except for a thin darker line around the opening edge of the shell, is the exact same color and height as the rock. It is opening and closing ever so slightly and slowly and was barely noticeable. <<Would need a photo to give you an identification of the clam>> Now if that wasn't enough, when we were examining this tiny clam, we noticed that in the middle of this rock (relatively flat across the top) there is an area approx. 1?x 2?(also relatively flat and again looks exactly like the rock in color perfectly camouflaged) that was moving up and down like a diaphragm, again just slightly and very slowly almost unnoticeable but definitely moving. It looks like the middle of this rock is breathing! <<This will either be a flatworm/Nudibranch/sea slug and again, a photo would be needed to identify this for you. Review the attached links on these>> <<http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nudibran.htm>> <<http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seaslugsopisthobranchs.htm>> <<http://www.wetwebmedia.com/flatworms.htm>> Now I'm faced with a nice palm tree looking Leather that seems happy enough, some type of baby Boring Clam and who knows what (sponge?) all on a little flat rock about the diameter of a tennis ball. Mother Nature can really pack it in, I guess, but the Leather sure had that cultured look on display in the store. Did everyone along the way miss all of this? <<Sometimes the hitchhikers are not that easy to spot and some fish stores will only give live rock a cursory look for obvious hikers>> I have a few concerns here. I have been unable to ID this clam. Will it grow to 6? or 3 feet (if it survives)? It is still getting direct light from the stock PC's on an angle because the Leather is tall and not too wide across (but that might change soon) and I have no idea what is slowly pulsating in and out in the middle of this rock! <<If you can email more photographs of these, we shall be able to identify them>> Is the clam at risk from partial shading from the Leather? Could this pulsating ?thing? be some kind of well camouflaged sponge of the type that can be harmful to clams? Can a sponge look exactly like the rock? Could the Leather be at risk from this as well? <<All these questions, and more light on the subjects with pictures>> Folks, this one is beyond my limited knowledge and powers as an aquarist. I need a surgeon and an exorcist! Do you have either, or both, in your crew? I could just bring this back to the LFS, but I doubt they will be bringing a Priest to the operating room anytime soon either. They might just charge me more for the clam and the creature from the deep that they missed! Should I get these things out of my tank anyway? <<There should be no need to take it back>> One just never knows what this hobby, and live rock, will bring next. <<Its one of the wonderful aspects of marine aquaria keeping, the little surprises we grateful receive on a new piece of live rock, the diversity of life is immense> Any ideas? Suggestions (other than Dr. Exorcist, that is)? Ok, ok, just one more quick one if you don't mind (as if the first one wasn't enough). I promise to make another contribution! (Don't worry - we all know that's not why you ultimately do this) The LR in my newly cycled 29gallon Bio-cube brought with it a ½? high white stalk / stem about 1?in diameter and then the flat top is slightly larger than the stem and sporting some tiny round brightly colored medium green polyps? I can't ID this one yet either. Maybe it needs to grow a little more to make ID easier, but in the mean time, I'd like to be able to look after it so it has a chance to do so. <<Sounds like it could either be a Zoa or a Paly, a photo again would be better, as all I could do is just guess>> As always, your time and attention are greatly appreciated. And now? my fish, my corals, and the creature from the deep thank you. Mike from Canada, eh. <<Thanks for the questions Mike, I hope to receive pictures by return and we can get this cleared up for you as soon as possible and give you an idea of what you exactly have. A Nixon>>

Live Rock ID Help, Sponge Perhaps 12/5/07 Hello WWM Crew, <Hello> First off, thank you for the excellent resource. WWM has helped me establish my 29 gallon FOWLR. <Thanks for using it.> The tank has been up and running for 4 months now, and things are going great. Tank params are currently: Salinity 1.026, Nitrate 0, Nitrite 0, Calcium 410, Temp 77-79 (Natural light causes slight rise during day). <Could bump up the heater so the temperature holds steady at 79 if so inclined.> I have some excellent coralline growth and have been told the recent molting of my hermit crab is a sign of a successful environment. I recently switched to 50/50 bulbs as my tank is relatively deep. Within a week of doing so a bright orange growth appeared on my LR. This growth is approximately 3 inches in circumference overall and is composed of multiple tiny (1mm) hex's or ovals. It is relatively hard (think Astroturf..not soft like grass or hard like rock) to the touch and does not react when touched (no "open" or "closed" state). A photo of this growth can be viewed here: [url=http://www.saltbucket.com/d/11549-1/DSCN0794.JPG][img]http://www.saltbu cket.com/d/11551-2/DSCN0794.JPG[/img][/url] . The growth in question is just north of center in the picture. The shape is not easily seen in the picture, but the orange color is apparent. The 'hex" shape is identical to the green growth surrounding the orange growth. I am assuming both the green and orange are the same specie of organism. If you could please help me identify what this is I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you again for all of the information and hard work you put into WWM. Sincerely, Scott Pasley <Looks like some sort of sponge growth to me, hard to be more specific without using a microscope. Will probably continue to grow as long as whatever conditions favor it are maintained.> <Chris>

White Squiggle?-11/28/2007 Hello Crew! After weeks of reading through your website months ago), I have decided to start a Reef Aquarium. Can you say INTIMIDATING? I have a couple questions. This is my first post, and I would appreciate any constructive criticism. 1. My readings and tank specs are as follows. 55 gallon standard aquarium. Seaclone 100?Protein skimmer Tetratec 30-60 mechanical filter w/carbon 2- 30 gal. heaters (maintaining 77-78 F) 2- 250 gph powerheads approx. 45-50 lbs. live rock 2- 65 watt actinic blue? lights 2- 65 watt 10,000K whites salinity = 1.025 calcium = 360 (supplemented w/ Fuji Gold) <Hmm, I suggest using something else for calcium and alkalinity adjustment (Kalkwasser, 2 part solution, and/or baking soda, calcium chloride, etc.) ammonia = 0 nitrite = 0 nitrate = 0 2. As far as livestock goes; 1- lonely Mushroom A 3x3 in. colony of green Zoanthids 1- Pulsing Xenia 2- different unidentified leather corals maybe finger and toadstool) 1- serpent star 1- Cleaner Shrimp (HUGE!) about 10 of each: Blue leg hermit, Astrea, and Cerith Snails. 1- False Percula (in quarantine) 1- neon cleaner Goby (in quarantine) I also seem to have a sponge infestation (About 25, Sycon's I believe... white, cotton looking, ovular shaped with a "crown") I have a noticeable amount of little bugs crawling around too, which from what I have read is good. (typical microfauna?) <Yes, this is a good thing.> Onto my question. Last night I noticed something extremely peculiar on a piece of live rock though. It is a white, "squiggly" substance. It looks fairly porous, and only extends about 2.5 in. Are these possibly eggs of something? I did not find anything in your search feature that resembled this. And I tried to get a picture, but had no success, it is too small and I cannot get my camera to focus on it. Is this something I should worry about? <Can you determine if this is a living thing? Does it retract during the day? Honestly, it could be just about anything: mesenterial filaments, egg mass, sponge, worm... it's really impossible to say without a good photo.> Your help and criticism will be greatly appreciated. This hobby is SOO extensive <That it is.> that it is a great to know you are here to answer questions. Thanks a MILLION! <My pleasure,
Sara M.>

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: