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FAQs about Live Rock Hitchhiker/Creature Identification 3

Related Articles: Live Rock, Answering Some LR FAQs by James Fatherree, Live RockReef Systems, Refugiums

Related FAQs: LR Hitchhiker ID 1, LR Hitchhiker ID 2, LR Hitchhiker ID 4, LR Hitchhiker ID 5, LR ID 6, LR Hitchhiker 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,

Unidentified Objects on Live Rock 7/9/05 Hi Again WWM Crew. Two questions in 1 day. Sorry. I have a 5 gallon nano tank at the office with 3 large pieces of live rock. This tank has been setup for more than a year. I've noticed on the top piece of live rock, black bulbs growing out of the rock. They do increase in size over time. There were three. Once broke off. I examined it, but could not figure out what it is. It appears to be partially hollow. The shell is hard. There are two left. I'm attaching this picture, hoping may you guys have seen this before. BTW, yes that is slime algae you see back there. I'm trying to get rid of this outbreak. I need to go back to frequent water changes. <If you're talking about the three dark green bubbles, you have the dreaded bubble algae which can (if not controlled) reach plague proportions.  James (Salty Dog)> <<James, how 'bout a ref. to our Green Algae ID pages... control? RMF>> Thanks,

Black/Silver ball growing on live rock Hi, <Hi Scott, MacL here with you today> I have a marine aquarium that has been running very well indeed and life is starting to sprout all over the place. <Isn't it exciting!> I have a few fish; Clark's Clown, Yellow Tang, a Blenny and a Damsel plus a few hermit crabs and turbo snails. I have a large amount of live rock also that is all gradually turning pinker and sprouting new life, little creatures, little fan things and tubes with tentacles on - sorry don't know the proper words for them. <Titles aren't needed, but if it helps you have coralline algae.>  One thing that I am curious about is something about the size of Pearl and is growing on one piece of live rock. It is dark black/silver, sphere shaped and I cannot work out what it is. It is getting bigger, slowly but surely. <Not being able to see it I have to guess its either a type of algae (Valonia) or a sailors eye. You might take a look at the pictures on the site and see if any of these fit. Good luck, MacL> Any ideas?

Sponge? <Hi Ray, MacL here with you this evening.> I have a quick question about the 50lbs. of LR I have in my 55 FOWLR tank. The rock is over two years old and doesn't have much in the way of feather dusters, mushrooms, sponges, etc but does have some nice coralline algae. Recently, a white fuzzy material has been growing like crazy on two pieces of my rock. It has grown in patches about the size of a dime and has reached lengths of about half to three quarters of an inch.  It appears to grow much better on the underside of the rocks which are darker than the tops.  I am surprised to see this growth since the rock has been stable for two years. From reading in the archives, all I could find was fuzzy growths on fish or die off of LR but I don't have anything dying off of my LR.  DO you have any idea what this could be? <My first guess is that you are getting some sponge growth which is actually a good thing. I get them a lot between my rocks or on the undersides of them.> Thanks,

IDs of "stuff on a rock" 9/18/04 I was wondering if you could help me identify some of the wildlife I've got living on my live rock??  I've uploaded them, was wondering if you can help me identify some of the live creatures http://www.fatesend.com/aquarium/ Thanks in advanced. CJ. In this order... your pics are: a rhodophyte algae, a rock boring urchin, a limpet, the beginnings of Codium algae, and a Scleractinian coral like Oculina. Best regards, Anthony>

Strange hair worm 9/17/04 Hi, I have just started up a saltwater tank about a week ago.  I have noticed many different little creatures growing on the live rock.  However I noticed one that has me concerned.  It is in a hole in one of the pieces of live rock, it has long tentacles that are so thin that they are easily over looked (about the same diameter of cat hair, and some strands even thinner).   The only reason I noticed it was when it was moving some of the sand back into the hole.  I looked at pics of the medusa worm but this worm is a lot smaller than the pics.  Also if it is a medusa worm, should I remove it?  I haven't heard anything good or bad about this type of creature.  Thank you for your help!  I love your website, keep up the great work!!!!!! <your worm sounds like it could simply be the harmless detritivorous Spionid hair worms. Do a keyword search of that name on our website and beyond to see if the descriptions sound like a match. kindly, Anthony>  

Safe or Not? Hello     I have these white looking worms growing on one of my live rocks and I would like to know if the are safe or not. << Yep, safe. >> I have noticed the same small white semi circle (baby worms I guess) on  one of my blue legged hermit crab shells.  Is it infesting my tank to the point where I need to get rid of it.  << No, I like all sorts of critters to be growing in my tank. >>     My tank is a 35 gal containing 23 lbs of live rock, with 25 blue legged hermit crabs, one pink tipped anemone, one chocolate chip starfish, five turbo snails, one scarlet cleaner shrimp, one yellowtail damselfish, two green Chromis and one false clown fish.  Don't know if you needed to know that. << Always helpful to have the whole picture. >>     I have attached two pictures. Thanks for any help << Looks to me like something good, and I would keep growing any sort of worm, or tube worm, that appears. >> Lisa
<<  Adam Blundell  >>

Tiny almost clear little guys.... Thank you so much for all of your help. Quick background:  110 gallon tank.  80lbs on live rock.  3 Damsels, 1 cleaner shrimp, 1 Anthias and 1 Naso Tang.   The other day I was looking in the crevices in my tank and their in part of the live rock was 3 maybe 4 clear tiny things which seemed to be swimming back and forth.  They moved so fast that it took me at least 20 minutes to get an idea of what they looked like.  They are almost clear.  Definitely have eyes and a tail. They are approx. 1 cm long. << 1cm?  that is pretty big for most unidentifiable items. >> They definitely seem to be swimming. There is just no way to get a picture of these little guys and I have no idea what they are.  Any ideas on what they could be?  << I'll guess a Mysis type shrimp if they were swimming, and not just crawling around. >> Thanks << Sorry I can't be of more help.  Try searching around this site some more. >> Lisa <<  Adam Blundell  >>

What's That Brown Stuff On The Live Rock?  Hi,  <Hi there! Scott F. here today!>  I have a question about my live rock. We purchased 75 pounds of Tonga Eva uncured live rock around March 19 for our 90 gallon saltwater tank. It is cured now, But I notice that the rocks are getting quite brown on the top row. Why is this happening? We used Kent Marine concentrated liquid calcium and now are using Combisan full spectrum marine supplement. We put this in the tank once.  We were using 20,000 K lights for about 10 hours during the daytime and a 50/50 in the early morning and one hour before bedtime. All night long for about 1 week we have a moon light. Today, when I noticed so much brown on the top layer of rock, I switched the light to the 50/50 K in the day and will use the Actinic blue 03 for the morning and one hour before bed until I hear from you. Did the 20,000 K cause this brown discoloration?  <I doubt it...Light alone is not probably not the cause. I am a big fan of 20000k bulbs, myself. See my thoughts below on your potential issues...>  What type and how much light do we need in the daytime and what should we be using in the early morning and one hour before bedtime. How many hours do we leave the lights on?  <I like to keep my lights on for 10-12 hours per day. The "dawn-dusk" simulation is interesting, but I don't think that it's absolutely essential.>  Is the moon light ok to use all night?  <Sure...not harm. It looks pretty cool, too!>  Will the rocks turn back to the pretty colors from last month? HELP  Thanks, Cindy  <Well, Cindy- a couple of thoughts here. First of all, the brown" coloration that you describe sounds to me like it may be some form of algae, which is not entirely uncommon in newer systems with an abundance of nutrients and immature nutrient export mechanisms. I don't believe that the single dose of Combisan could have created an algae bloom, but continuous use of such products could create nutrient excesses over time. It's a good product, IMO- but I think that most well-managed systems which are on a regular water change schedule will need these types of all-in-one products. How do you know what substances and nutrients are being removed, and in what quantity-unless you test for them? Just a thought. As far as the rock returning to its original splendor- sure, I'm sure that it will, given time and continued good husbandry on your part. Keep at those regular, small water changes, continuous use of activated carbon/Poly Filter, and aggressive protein skimming. Use of herbivores, such as snails of various species, is never a bad idea! Don't forget our oft-repeated advice: If you are going to add something to the water (such as additives, etc.)- be sure to test for it, so that you can, indeed, be sure that its use is warranted. Be patient, and I'm sur that you'll be admiring the rock once again! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

What is it? Hi,  <Graham at your service today.>  I have a live rock related question. Did check faq's but not sure I found the answer. Have 72 gal tank with 28 lbs base rock. About two or three weeks ago I added 8 lbs of cultured gulf live rock which I purchased from a LFS. (No fish or other life forms yet, will be adding more live rock but hopefully not cultured, don't like the rock itself) One piece of the rock has some Caulerpa growing on it along with a number of maroonish (red?) branched structures that look treelike growing in clumps on the upper surface of the rock. Initially there was some white stuff on the "trunks" and I assumed that whatever they were, they were on there way out. However they have persisted and the white stuff has continued to grow to the point that in some places short fine spines have grown out from the white material. At first I though that I was dealing with some sort of sponge and then a red algae. Couldn't find any photos of anything like this. Any thoughts on what either of these might be???  <Well, Keith, it's very difficult to tell without a picture. However, I can make some guesses of what it is. From your description, these organisms sound like foraminiferans. These are mostly sessile (non-moving), but can move with the use of temporary structure called a pseudopodia -- the pseudopodia resembled a little arm. This arm reaches out and pulls the rest of the creature along. These organisms are harmless detritus feeders which may add some small color to your aquarium.>  Thanx for entertaining my question. Great site, regards Keith  <Thanks! Take Care, Graham.>

Live rock growth ID 3/28/04 (Vermetids?) Hi all, <howdy> I have a 55g reef tank that has been up and running well for over a year.  Just recently, I have noticed a breakout of growth all over the live rock and everything else for that matter, even the bases of my corals.  I am not sure how to explain it, but it looks like prickers on a plant.  Little pins sticking up from everywhere, they are very brittle.  Any ideas? thanks -Brian <there are more than a few possibilities here... do look up (sessile) Vermetid snails or Serpulid worms. Both build hard, sharp, stony tubes. Pics on our site/the web and in our new book "Reef Invertebrates" by Calfo and Fenner. Anthony> DSB, anoxic dilemma? 3/18/04 (Perhaps the term hypoxic for the mid-zone) Hi bob, <Anthony Calfo in his stead> I have a question regarding depth of substrate. You mention to use 1" or less (completely aerobic) and 3" or more to create an anaerobic environment for denitrification. You mention any substrate thickness in between those parameters would cause anoxic havoc. I'm a little perplexed by this. <me too... I am nearly certain Bob would have never said this... and I agree with part of the assertion, but would not use the phrase "anoxic havoc". Where is this from  my friend. Our book, the archives, etc?> Firstly, the anoxic environment created by 2 inches is still an anoxic environment and I do not understand how it differs from 3 or more inches of substrate? <part of the misunderstanding indeed... I do not believe a 2" substrate can get adequately anoxic for NNR... and if you'll take the time/years to use and study DSBs, the you will see that 3"/75 mm is the bare minimum for effective NNR... hence the rule> Wouldn't both anoxic environments (in between 1-3 inches and 3" plus) create H2S? <not the goal at either depth, and regardless cannot be assumed without an address of nutrients sunk to feed/fuel the conversion> How is it that one is safer than the other? I'm sure there is something I am missing here, <yes> I just want to understand what that is. <me too> Please do not refrain from becoming really technical in order to get the point across (that is if you have time to), that is, layman's terms are not necessary, nor is the need to explain technical terms. <no time alas at length... but please let me direct you to the extensive detail and discussion we have of it in our "Reef Invertebrates" book or the free wetwebmedia.com archives (much info there if you will take the time to sort through it)> My last question. Why would one want to rid Live rock of its biodiversity...i.e.. removal of mantis shrimp...etc. How would they be detrimental to 1) fish only tanks or 2) reef tanks? Are these animals prone to being hosts of pathogens detrimental to animals/organisms in the tank more so than animals commonly kept in aquaria? Or do they just eat factors important in maintaining good water chemistry? Why are they deemed unwanted? <depends on the species. You must ID that first. Spearers catch and kill fishes... even the smallest/"safest" smashers instead still mow through other desirable invertebrates like gastropods. Judge them by what you deem more useful in your aquarium... purchased snails/fishes... or expensive meals> Thanks so much! Mars <rock on... Anthony>

Possibly Pesky LR Hitchhikers (3/9/04) Hi, <Hello. Steve Allen here today.> I have a couple questions about some interesting things happening in my reef and fish salt water tank. <OK>   On one of the LR, I see a group of transparent green air bubble or green grape like things growing.  They are hard as a rock.  Do you know what they are?  Can you send me the url so I can read more about it? <Sounds like Valonia to me. Start here for a picture and search WWM for more on the problems it can cause: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/greenalg.htm >   2nd interesting thing is that several months ago I noticed a thing grew out or on a dead rock in the tank.  It's brown, has a lot of tentacles like an anemone, has a shape of an anemone and would close up at the top when it grasps food.  It's been slowly growing.  Now I see 5 more growing next to it in these 2 months.  And the 1st one just moves a little to another rock nearby.  I've had a couple anemones in my tank for a while.  Could these small ones be the baby anemones?  <More likely Aiptasia (very bad> or Anemone majano (not as bad). Search on these two on WWM for pix & info.> Is it possible or hard to breed anemones in a tank? <Highly unlikely for your anemones to reproduce sexually and have larvae survive. Reproduction by fission is commonly seen: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/anemonereprofaqs.htm > Thx, Adrian <Hope this helps.> White Spots on Rocks <2/29/04>   I set up a 75 gal 110 lb live rock w/2 inches trying to get to 3 inches of aragonite sand in December been up about 3 months ago. All going well after last email for the starving mandarin given to us---seeded the live rock with copepod culture and started tank just for copepods. And, Caulerpa. Mandarin eating all the time. <Good>  We also have a damsel, pincushion sea urchin, skunk cleaner shrimp, 5 emerald crabs, 4 red legged crabs and 14 blue legged crabs, 4 bumble bee snails, and a moon snail. the urchin and the moon are mostly on the glass.   In the past 3 weeks we added We have a stripped mushroom rock on one end, a xenia in the middle and at the other end a newer fluorescent mushroom with bumps or is it a hairy type I am not sure. None of the critters seem to be causing this effect. Now the problem is tonight we noticed white spots occurring throughout the tank on our live rock. Bleaching I presume. <Not necessarily.> Took measure of the water parameters: pH 8.0-8.2, Ca 420 which had been 475 so I had a little more Ca getting up to 450, iodide 0.3, alkalinity good to excellent, no nitrites, scant -10 ppm nitrates. Compact Fluorescent lighting with 4 10,000k 65 watt and 4 65 watt actinic, CPR back pak skimmer, Eheim canister, Rio 1100 pump, and a UV sterilizer. The rock had been increasing in purple coralline algae and was quite beautiful. Did a water change today 15 gallons as part of maintenance. Had saltwater mixed and aerated, w/ heater for over 1 week.   What can we do? Will this destroy the live rock and the tank? Please advise. Sue <Can you describe these white spots better? Are the actual fades patches in your coralline? Or do they look more like tiny calciferous bumps? If the latter, then they are some sort of harmless invertebrate. Hope this helps some. Steve Allen.>

- Question about Live Rock - Hi Guys, Hope all is well. I have a question, I have added some new (cured) pieces of live rock to my tank, as the old ones had nothing left  for the fish to graze on. 1. How do I keep the new rock healthy and full of life for my tang with HLLE. In the past I added calcium with my water changes. Is there a better way? I would like to have that purple coralline growth on the rocks. <You will need to add calcium in some form or another - coralline algae requires it.> 2. I am now keeping the old rock along with a few pieces of the new rock in a 30 gallon tank with a heater, filter and small skimmer. I did this to establish new growth and this way I can switch back and forth whenever I need to. <Good plan.> What should I added to promote growth on the older rock? <Time, patience, good lighting and some nutrients.> And do I keep the lights on in the day and off at night, they way it was in the main tank? <Yes.> Thanks for your assistance, with the advise I got from Anthony the fish has began to recover from HLLE. <Glad to hear.> I am doing small weekly water changes and I added Mysis shrimp, Nori and vitamins to their diet. The advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you Gillian <Cheers, J -- >

- Fauna Questions - Hey Crew! Not sure whom is getting this, but thank you in advance! I received from Gulf View a shipment of their live rock a couple weeks ago. First off let me tell you that the rock is amazing. If DHL had not messed up it would have arrived in less than 16 hours. and that's from Florida to the central valley in California. As it was I still got it less than 30 hours after it was packed. <Imagine if you had used air freight... it could have been there in five or six.> Dale was in touch with me the entire time. On it though came a few bivalves, some quite large 3" to 4" long. They are shaped like mussels, but i cant tell what they are, they seem to be attached to the rock "backwards" and they only open maybe a millimeter or so, and quickly close even if i just walk by the tank. a couple were broken because DHL really handled the rock bad.. (Box was torn, and Styrofoam was broken as well but Dale double bags the rocks in VERY thick plastic bags). I pulled off the broken ones since i was sure they were going to die. Should i pull off the rest? <I'd leave them be.> The smell from the rock was good actually.. I mean it was not unpleasant.. just smelled faintly of the ocean. I rinsed in 1.030 SPG water for about an hour before adding to the tank. its been a bout 5 days, and so far no spikes in anything. I have a Emperor 280 filter, a skimmer, and halide lighting on them right now. there are a bunch of little corals that are round, about 1/4" diameter, white skeleton with transparent tentacles. Are these going to make it? <Hard to say.> I heard that some Caribbean corals are not photosynthetic. they are really cool to look at, and add a nice addition. I cant seem to find anything remotely close on any website that resembles them. Also do Xenia sting? <Not that I am aware of, but they do have other ways of waging chemical war.> I have a small stalk that has popped up next to a quite large Ricordea. and the mushroom seems to be shying away from the xenia. Maybe its me being paranoid. Since both corals seem very healthy. The half that is next to the xenia seems to not expand like the other half.. and it used to be fine. I also had a quite large piece of "grape" Caulerpa break off and get caught up and spit out in about a 1000 pieces by a powerhead. other than pieces floating everywhere is this anything similar to it going "sexual" should i be worried? <I'd keep an eye on things, perhaps have a water change ready to go in case the Caulerpa does crash.> Also In my skimmer are a couple pieces of macro algae. Its an older model (4-5 years old) and there is no way to get to these. It looks like Ulva, problems? <I don't think so.> Oh one last thing. I have what i think is Aiptasia on the new rock. However it seems a much darker brown than the pics i have seen, and it also has striped tentacles. <This still sounds like Aiptasia.> I will probably be buying a peppermint or two in the next few days. but if these seem to be not Aiptasia then i am less likely since the coral banded will probably get the peppermints. <Probably.> He already took care of a camel shrimp. Sorry one last question. At what size should i be manually feeding Ricordeas? I have had mine for at least 6-8 months, and have added DT's about once a week to the tank but have not seem the need to hand feed meaty foods like i have recently read some people are doing. <You could use Mysis shrimp... you'll be surprised what Ricordea can suck up.> I have about 10, the largest being about 3" in diameter. thanks again for all the help

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