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FAQs about Live Rock Hitchhiker/Creature Identification 17

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 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,

Identification assistance   6/19/08 I've looked every where for an image close to this to id just what is growing and is it good. Pictures attached. Water parameters are almost perfect. NH3-0, No2-0, No3-5, Calcium 460, Phosphate 0, 9 DKH . SD-1.024 10% water change weekly. 55 gallon reef setup. Remora skimmer, wet/dry sump, 700 gph return, 265 watts of 65k( 8 hours) and actinic(10 hours). 60lbs LR and aragonite substrate. Can you help me id this red fast growing entity? Once I know what it is I can figure out what to do about it if anything. <It looks like Cyanobacteria. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bluegralgae.htm> ~ Karl <Best, Sara M.>

Re: Identification assistance, BGA    6/19/08 Thanks for the quick response Sara. I came to the same conclusion but can't understand why. Water parameters are perfect. <Well, for one thing, there's likely no such thing as "perfect" water parameters in any marine tank. Secondly, nutrient levels can be low *because* you have algae/Cyano growth. These organisms can use up the nutrients such that sometimes you don't detect them. When you test for these things, having high levels is a certain problem... but having low/zero levels doesn't necessarily mean you don't have a problem.> The PC lights are needed for 2 anemones. There is indirect sunlight but no direct sunlight. The best method would be to starve the Cyanobacteria, <Of nutrients, yes... of light, no. Cyanobacteria can do quite well even in very low light. In fact, there are species of Cyanobacteria which can actually live inside of rocks. When scientists went looking for an organism that might be able to survive on Mars, they looked at Cyanobacteria. That's probably a lot if useless trivial, but point is... it's a survivor (thus dimming the lights probably isn't going to help).> I surmise so I cut the PC lights by 2 hours and placed a cover on the front of the tank during the day. Any hope that will help? Would like to keep the anemones if at all possible. <Do more water changes, add more filtration, feed less (if you can)... more water flow might also help. Etc... the topic is covered quite extensively here on WWM (please see the FAQs pages linked on the article I linked you to).> I really do appreciate your knowledge and advice. ~ Karl
<De nada,
Sara M.>

Agreed. RMF.

Possible Fungus Question 6/13/08 Hey Guys, First I would like to thank you all for the amazing work you do, this website is best resource a marine husband could have. My tank is a 120 gallon FOWLR with a 25 gallon sump. I have just added 440w VHO with 2x white and 2x blue bulbs. My tank has been up and running about year now. A few weeks ago I added a nice pink rock from a co-workers tank to help stimulate some coralline growth. I now have a new organism that is completely taking over my tank. It is growing on the bottom sides of the rocks as well as on the tops, it is off white almost tan in color. It varies in length from 1/8 an inch to 1/2. It looks like a small branch, it has a single stem with between 2 and 6 branches coming from the stem. They seem to grow faster in areas with less current and light. There are literally thousands of them in my tank, they were not there a week ago. There is not enough pigment to be a algae and it grows in the shade. Its rapid spread makes me think it could be a sponge species but it sways freely in the current. I have attached a photo to help. My water parameters are well within range. I am currently scrubbing the rocks with a toothbrush daily to help combat the infestation. If you could please help ID this organism and recommend a fix action I would be very grateful. Thank You for all the work you do. <Mmm, well... this looks to me like the green algae genus Derbesia or such with more gunk on it... but could be a Hydrozoan... though it doesn't have the gross morphology/symmetry one usually sees with this group. Could you send a closer up, well-resolved pic? Do you have ready access to a low power microscope? Bob Fenner>

Not a fungus. RMF

Mysterious Growth... Looks like Lobophora to me! 6/12/08 Hi Everyone! <Hi Bob, Mich with you tonight.> Well, even though I'm calling it a mysterious growth, it may not be a mystery to you. <Tis not.> I've attached a picture of a leafy growth. (I apologize for the photo but it's the best I could take. I couldn't get any closer with my camera.) I believe it to be some sort of algae but I am not certain what it is. As you can see, it tends to follow the contour of the rock. It's actually rather interesting. The question is, of course, is this friend or foe? <Looks like Lobophora to me, in which case I would remove ASAP. More here and related links in blue: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/brnalgae.htm > Should it be removed? <I would!> Thanks for your time and <Welcome,

Me too. RMF.

Live Rock Creature and Mysterious Fish Disappearances -- 05/27/08 Hi! <<Hello! '¦and apologies for the delay>> We purchased an established Bio-Cube for our kids in January with live rock and had several fish in it a few months ago and they are slowly disappearing.... <<Uh-oh>> We are down to our clown fish and there is no trace of the other fish (no bodies, nothing!!!) <<Not unusual>> The other day I was cleaning the tank and there was a long black arm hanging out of the live rock (slug like) when I tried to move the rock it sucked itself back into the rock. The kids and I have been researching this online and have not found anything. <<Hmm'¦I can only guess (can you get a picture?), but this may be an Ophiuroid or a large Polychaete. Try a Google search on these keywords and see what you think>> Is it possible this mysterious creature is eating our fish and if so what is it? <<Maybe, if small fishes'¦ Another possibility is the fish died from environmental factors/disease/etc and this 'creature' is merely 'cleaning them up'>> If not do you have any thoughts as to how our fish are disappearing without a trace? <<As stated'¦ Some more information about your tank would be helpful (water parameters such as salinity, pH, temperature, ammonia/nitrite/nitrate levels, et al). What is your experience/skill-level concerning marine fish keeping? Have you tested the water parameters of this tank? If you are new to the hobby there is much to learn. Obtaining an all-in-one system like the Bio-Cube does not ensure success. I don't mean to sound condescending, but 'I' don't know what 'you' don't know. We have much information to convey, please start reading here (the first two trays): http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/index.htm Thanks! Ryan, Jeni, and the munchkins <<Happy to share. EricR>>

Identification -- likely Hydroids -- 05/27/08 First off, thank you all for being so kind as to help identify a coral I have asked about before, and now have a larger image of so you can get a better look at the rooting/matting system of it. <Please send earlier correspondence along when mailing follow-up questions.> I have been told that this is anything from Hydroids to Clove Polyps, none of which I believe it is. <Add me to the ones saying Hydroids.> It grows really well. <Hydroids do so, especially nasty ones.> I took the first clump out in November, and here it is again creeping onto the rocks. <People have left the hobby because of these things.> It does not sting, and it doesn't suffocate anything that I can tell... <Can possibly hurt and eventually kill corals.> I really like it, but I don't want to harm anything, so if someone could please help to properly ID this, I'd greatly appreciate it. <Likely hydroids of the family Tubulariidae, possibly even genus Tubularia (compare to internet and literature pictures) or related. Should not touch sensitive corals, may become a pest or simply vanish someday within a short time. Cheers, Marco.>

Gorgeous pic. RMF

Unidentified cloud -Possible Feather Duster Spawning, Mantis Shrimp -- 5/21/08 Dear Crew! <Hello Scott, Brenda here! > Thanks for all you do. <You're welcome! > Have spent many a late night just browsing your web site, trying to learn everything. <Great! > My question today is one that I'm not sure where to start looking. I have a new tank that has just finished cycling last week. I have a LOT of life on the live rock I obtained for the new 150 gallon. My question is that occasionally I see a cloud of white film jet out from the rock which quickly dissipates in the current. <A spawning event! > I'm not sure if this is an invertebrate within the rock? <Yep! > It is completely random and occurs from nearly all the rocks in the tank off and on. I haven't been able to actually see the precise spot(s) where the cloud comes from. I do know I have many small feather dusters throughout the tank. Could it be them? <Yes, or a snail. See here for feather duster spawning: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/featherreprofaqs.htm > I also know I have a one inch mantis (that I have seen once quickly). <Yikes! I recommend getting that Mantis Shrimp out before stocking your tank. More information found here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/stomatopods/mantisfaqs.htm and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/stomatopods/mantisshrimp.htm > Please let me know what it may be and where I can start reading about them. Thanks for your hard work!! Scott <You're welcome! Brenda >

White Dome like bumps on Live rock.  4/18/08 Dear Bob thank you for giving the opportunity to find the answer to this mystery in which I have looked all over books and the internet and yet have not found an answer to identify what lies on my rocks. I noticed this calciferous dome round bumps on my live rock and cannot identify what these are. All my water parameters are in the range of recommended rates and I am not having any problems but I have never seen anything like this before and there are plenty of them all over my live rock. I have sent an attached picture, they say a pictures says more than a thousand words. These spots are on all my rocks and I also noticed one on my circulation pump. <Mmm, at first I was tempted to guess these might be snail eggs, but these look to be Foraminiferans to me... any chance of a real close close-up file of size pic? BobF>

(Not So) Weird Stuff On Live Rock -- 04/16/08 Hi. <<Hello>> I am upgrading my tank and I am a little worried about transferring some of the live rock from my current tank to the bigger one. <<Oh?>> Several pieces of the live rock have tons of tiny little "spikes" sticking out of them that were not there to begin with <<Mmm, yes'¦emergent life>> --they are smaller than feather dusters--which I have tons of as well but have heard they are not harmful. <<Indeed>> The "spikes" are a tan color and I would think they could be worms but they never seem to move. <<These are likely the calcareous 'tubes' of a Serpulid worm species'¦a beneficial detritivore and nothing of concern>> There are also a few patches of a translucent substance that almost looks like a cocoon or spider's nest underwater. <<Possibly the sticky filaments these worms use to trap detritus/feed>> Should I throw out this live rock or is there a way to brush it off or treat it and get rid of the weird stuff? <<I would simply use/re-use as is'¦and benefit from the already present bio-diversity upon and within the rock>> Thanks, Brendon <<Happy to share. EricR>

Green Tendril Growths: Neomeris annulata - 4/10/08 Hi, <Good evening> I'm running a 10-gal Saltwater aquarium, with a dual compact light with about 12 pounds of live rock. The tank has been running for a couple months, live rock and sand were from an established system. Water tests show all levels to be normal and nitrites/nitrates low. <Definitely refrain from adding any livestock until nitrites are stable at zero.> I have a few various types of non-harmful algae with a little bit of green hair algae. Recently I have noticed a few very small green tendrils popping out of one of my pieces of live rock. They are neon green and only a few mm long. I have attached pictures of them. I was wondering what they were and if they were harmful. <What you have is Neomeris annulata, a beautiful, calcium loving macroalgae. It doesn't usually get out of hand, but with such a small system I'd keep an eye on it (along with any other algae present) and manually remove if necessary. Please see WWM for more information regarding, starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/greenalg.htm, and/or enter "Neomeris annulata" in our search engine: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/WWMAdminSubWebIndex/question_page.htm > <You're very welcome. Take care, -Lynn>

Can you identify this colony? Sponges! 4/6/08 Greetings Crew. <Hi Robin> We discovered this neat little growth and are curious if you know what it is. <Yep, it's a harmless little grouping of sponges.> I have searched the site and can't find anything similar. <There's one at the top of the following link that looks very similar: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/spongeidfaqs.htm . For more information regarding sponges in general, please see the following link, as well as those listed at the top: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sponges.htm > Thanks, as always, for your help. Robin
<You're very welcome. Take care, -Lynn>

Unknown HHiker predator   4/5/08 Recently I have been stocking a new reef set up. 90 gallon with sump and 20 gallon refugium. I started with Live rock. Before adding any fish or inverts I observed the live rock for about a month. <A good practice> Noticed a Mantis shrimp and successfully removed. I then added two peppermint shrimps, a cleaner shrimp, fire shrimp, sally longfoot crab, emerald crab (dime size) , a blue leg hermit ,five turbo snails,8 small red leg hermits and a black brittle star fish. All the inverts have been doing well. Water parameters are great. Now to my problem. First fish added was a Lawnmower Blenny. After three days, found a piece of his skeleton remains attached to a piece of live rock. <!> I then added a scooter Blenny. A month went by and all was OK. I then added a 1.5 inch six line wrasse, and a 2 inch ocellaris clown. after three days, the wrasse is missing, I did find what seemed to be a piece of fish or some sort of organic material in a mucus cocoon under a piece of live rock. I believe it is a piece of the six line wrasse. I suspect something is attacking my fish. <Me too> Before these fish disappeared I did notice that they were inactive the day preceding their demise. The very first day these fish were introduced, they were very active and eating, so I do not suspect illness. They both disappeared three days after their introduction. Whoever the culprit is , has not attacked the blenny or any inverts. All shrimp and crabs OK. <Noted> How can I identify the culprit? <Baiting and trapping> About a month ago I did see a worm with bristles sticking out from a rock. I was observing the tank at night with a flashlight. I only saw about one inch of him before he retreated back into the rock. Would a worm attack fish and leave inverts alone? <Some species do, yes> I have not seen this worm for over a month now. Should I set traps with pieces of fish at night to see if I can trap anything. <Yes, I would> Should I remove the existing fish and inverts <I would leave these in place> and place in the refugium until I trap the culprit. Any advice would be greatly appreciated Frank
<Bob Fenner>

What Are These Calcareous Discs On The Live Rock? ...Nerite Snail Egg Capsules  3/30/08 Hi Crew, <Hi Tom, Mich here.> Could you tell me what these small (1-2mm) gray/white discs are that are growing all over our live rock? <Yup.> They're flat, hard, round plates and can easily be popped off intact, not like the usual coralline algae I'm familiar with. <They are Nerite snail egg casings. You can read more about them here: http://www.advancedaquarist.com/issues/sept2003/invert.htm > The tank is about 130G and has been set up for 3+ years. Some of the rock has been in use 6+ years, some less than 2 years. We run a Chaeto fuge, calcium reactor, PhosBan reactor, EV180, 2x 250W Ushio 10K MH lamps (10hrs/day) w/T5 actinic/blue. Good circulation, over 4000GPH total from 2x SeaSwirls, 2x Koralia-type powerheads, and a chiller loop. We keep mostly SPS up high, a few small Euphyllids placed low, and a medium fish load. Water tests as follows: 80-81 deg F SPG 1.026 dKH 10.9 Ca 425 Mg 1320 NO2, NO3, NH3 are all consistently zero I scrubbed several rocks clean about 2 months ago but the discs are regrowing. Seems strange that they just started showing up about a year ago. They only grow on the live rock, while the walls and sides of the tank grow lots of pink, purple, and maroon coralline. I'd rather have the coralline cover the live rock...but mostly just these discs, alga, and a little Cyano seem to grow well on the rocks. <All very common.> Thanks, <Welcome! Mich> Tom

Re: What Are These Calcareous Discs On The Live Rock? ...Nerite Snail Egg  -- 04/1/08 Capsules Thanks Mich, <Hi Tom> Let me provide a better description for you. I'm not sure these discs are egg casings, at least they're nothing like other snail eggs we've seen come and go. <No they are quite different than the gelatinous masses many other snails produce.> They look/feel like some kind of non-organic growth. <Yes, they feel very tough, almost calcium like.> They don't have the sesame seed shape of the Nerite egg capsules as described in the linked article. These discs are flatter, thin, and brittle...a tiny, plate-like, calcareous growth. Think of a miniature poker chip, but even thinner and with a sharp edge. They're evenly spread over all areas of the live rock...high, low, everywhere. They number in the thousands, not just tens or hundreds. <Yes. Your description/image appear to me to be consistent with Nerite eggs.> We have mostly Astraea, Nassarius, and Ceriths. We do have a few Nerites and Stomatellas that hitchhiked in, but not in large numbers. This morning I couldn't find any Nerites at all. Wish I could get a better picture for you. Do you still think these are produced by Nerites? <Yes I Tom
<Cheers, Mich>

ID Help... Reproduction Gone Wild... No Pics  3/30/08 To who may be able to help me out... <Hi Bill, Mich with you.> I have several questions. <Me too! Why am I short of attention? Got a short little span of attention. And whoa my nights are so long...> A few weeks ago, I noticed a few white dots on my live rock. Now there are more than I'd like to count. They resemble an extremely tiny shell, about 1mm in diameter. Any clue as to what they might be? <Possibly. Do they look like this: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/MolluscPIX/Gastropods/Prosobranch%20PIX/Vermetids/white_thingies%20what%20is%20this.JPG http://www.wildsingapore.com/chekjawa/largfoto/r422fx.htm If so, you have Nerite snail eggs capsules. You can read more about them here: http://www.advancedaquarist.com/issues/sept2003/invert.htm > The other day I was exploring some cracks and crevices with a small flashlight. <Yikes! This is starting to sound like a little TMI moment.> I noticed a goo like substance in a crevice. <Oh, it's getting worse!> If I had to compare it to something, it'd have to be freshly placed glue from a hot glue gun. <Oh boy!> Thoughts? <Umm, many, but most of them I can't share here! I'm thinking reproductive matter'¦ Umm, for, umm, many reasons. But is umm, hard to tell from the description.> And finally, the feather dusters we have in our tank have been reproducing like mad. I'd say in about a month, they'll be completely covering the rock they inhabit. <Are you sure they are feather dusters? Reproducing that fast makes me wonder if you have hydroids of some sort. A picture would be most helpful here. Perhaps take a look at some of the images on this page: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hyzoanidfaq.htm and the subsequent four pages highlighted in blue at the top of the page.> Thanks in advance, Bill

Hitchhiker... Tunicate  3/30/08 Hello, <Hi there Laurie, Mich with you today.> First I'd like to say that you folks are amazing, I have learned a great many things from you guys! <Glad to hear!> However, after searching through all of the hitchhiker pics and questions that I could find I was unable to identify this creature (photo attached). <I see.> The picture is not mine but I found it (unidentified) on another forum. <Ok.> The one in my tank is in a different position, more upright as opposed to this one being sideways - but they look almost identical. It almost has the appearance of an organ (bodily not musically) with an in valve and out valve......... when threatened it closes rapidly. <Looks/sounds like a tunicate to me. More here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ascidians.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ascidpt2.htm > I have no clue where else to search for what it may be. Any help would be appreciated and if I missed the answer in one of your many areas to look I apologize for redundancy. <No worries. I apologize for the delayed response Thanking you in advance,
<Welcome! Mich>

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