FAQs about Live Rock Hitchhiker/Creature
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Rock, Reef 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 20,
LRID 21, LRID 22, LRID
24, LRID 25, LRID 27, LRID 28,
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
2, LR 3, LR 4, LR 5, Curing Live Rock, Live Rock Selection, Shipping/Moving, Placement, Lighting, Water Quality, Live Rock Studies in Fiji Collaboration
& Charts, Copper Use, Marine Landscaping, Marine Biotope, Sumps, Refugiums, Faux
Hitchhiker ID: 6/11/09
The wonder of my marine tank still amazes me, as it is well over
3 years old and over the course of the last 2 days a new
While I have always been able to find 90% of my hitchhiker
ID's through your site, I could not find this one on any ID
pages. I have no idea if this is a hydroid, Bryozoan, or
something else? Pest or foe? All I can describe is that it seems
to be colonial (sharing the same base, and just 5 minutes ago it
started what I believe is spawning material in tandem with the 3
others I have found in the tank).
As I said these just appeared 2 days ago. Thus I am thinking
it's a pest, but would like to hear your thoughts on the
matter please. I have included pictures of the ID in question as
well as its releasing of material.
<Thanks. Unfortunately, I can't see enough detail to be
able to ID. If you could send along several larger, high res
photos, that would be super.>
Thanks, you have always been there for me for the last 3 years,
and my tank is successful due to my research and this site.
<On behalf of Bob and crew, past and present, I thank you for
your kind words! Please do send along more photos, if possible,
so we can hopefully ID your mystery hitchhiker!>
<Take care, LynnZ>
Re: Hitchhiker ID query 6/13/09
I've got a hitchhiker ID from a gal named Esther that's
got me stumped.
Yesterday, I requested larger photos, received them today, but am
still in the dark. Some parts appear tunicate-like, while others
appear algae or sponge-like. I've looked all over and just
can't quite figure it out.
Thank you in advance for your help! I'll go ahead and move
the query into your folder.
<Thank you. My response to Esther copied below. BobF>
Re: Hitchhiker ID
<Hi Esther, BobF here... Lynn asked me to take a look/see at
your mysterious HHs>
I hope these are better (they are higher resolution at least). If
not I can move the rock that they are on and try to get a better
picture, but that means moving coral and other rocks too...
<Are indeed novel (to me at least!), but my guess/bet is on
these being Ascidians/Sea Squirts... with the blue
"lines" being gonadal... Shouldn't be dangerous,
and are indeed testimony to your good, steady care. Bob
Re: Hitchhiker ID query
Thank you so much, Bob! That query was driving me batty. I
figured it was probably some kind of reproductive event...but of
what, I didn't know.
<And I have not much confidence in my guess here either... the
pix show that the "components", or individuals do
"close up" behaviorally (I think)... and when I made
the one pic as big as I could w/o losing too much resolution, the
individuals did look like sea squirts... more than anything
By the time I got through looking at Google images of tunicate
and sponge reproduction my eyes were practically crossed!
Heeeee...I'll take an obscure snail - or even a crab ID, any
day over something like that! But hey, the good news is that if I
see something like that again, I'll know what the answer
Thanks again, take care,
<Thank you Lynn. BobF>
Need Help Identifying: Sponge -- 6/8/09
Good Day to you all.
<Thank you and to you as well!>
I'm curious if you guys could help me identify this
"growth" in my tank.
<You betcha - it's a harmless, filter feeding
I've tried searching with various explanations and can't
seem to find anything that helps me.
<We can fix that. WWM has a lot of information regarding
these, starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/sponges.htm . Be
sure to look through the associated links at the top of the page
I've noticed a few of these guys growing in my tank. They
come and go, but this one is pretty consistent and the largest I
If you could help me that would be great and also is it bad?
I had to take the picture with my phone and I apologize for the
<No worries, that's a good photo!>
<You're very welcome>
<Take care, LynnZ>
Strange tentacles extending from a rock... Better than
strange tentacles extending from your bed! 6/7/09
<Ok, been watching too many horror movies lately I guess!>
I have a concern about something I've seen in my tank. A piece of
live rock, that until recently had star polyps on it, has dozens of
long, thin, clear tentacles extending from it.
They all come from holes somewhere in the rock and if I prod them with
my tweezers they all retract and they seem to catch some sand and other
particulate matter in them.
<No worries about these, my friend.>
They don't seem to have harmed the nearby colt coral and mushrooms,
but like I said The rock they all seem to come out of used to have
dozens of star polyps,
<I am unaware of anything fitting this description that would prey
on star polyps. There is a Nudibranch (Phyllodesmium briareus) that
will feed on Pachyclavularia (Briareum) violacea. Star Polyps are among
the more chemically toxic corals and are usually the allelopathic
winners, which is one of the reasons they can be so difficult to
control in a closed system.
This allelopathy is often a detriment to other corals.>
and is now completely barren.
<Pachyclavularia can be a nuisance.>
I have watched them come out and they all seem to slowly drift out and
land on another rock.
I am not sure whether or not you know what this is, but hopefully you
can let me know if it is a good idea to remove this rock or not.
<Keep the rock.>
On a closer inspection of the "tentacles" they seem to appear
very similar to that of my bubble coral, though I have no evidence that
<No, are just grabbing at a passing meal.>
The tank is a 30 gallon with 30 lbs of live rock and has been running
for 9 months now. The star polyps were in the tank for nearly 7 months
and disappeared from the rock in less then a month.
<Could be any number of causes, but if you get involved in a local
club there is likely to be someone who would gladly donate a new patch
Any help you can offer me will be greatly appreciated.
<Hard to tell without a photo as far as an ID is concerned, but what
you describe is unlikely to be harmful to you tank inhabitants.>
Sponge Identification: Syconoid Sponges.
I have a identification problem that I cant find anywhere. These
things have shown up in my tank in the past 2 weeks. Could you
help identify what they are, or send me in the direction that
<Sure, they are Syconoid sponges. Sign of a nice stable
system. They will come and go as the nutrient levels in your tank
I have been doing SW for about 10 yrs and just started to get
I haven't added anything new in the tank for over two months.
So this is really got me.
,they have been in the rock, just waiting for the opportunity to
The first picture is a normal zoom of the items. They are the
white things right in the middle of the picture. I'm not even
really sure how to describe it. The second picture is of the
larger one in picture one, zoomed in.
Thanks a bunch ahead of time. If you need anymore info on the
tank, please let me know.
<Do check this page out - lots of entries for them:
What is this growing on my live rock? Probable Egg
Strand -- 5/28/09
I read through all the live rock hitchhiker pages and found a few
descriptions of what this could be but nothing with pictures.
I've got this stuff growing on 2 of my rocks that have been
in the tank for about 2 months now.
<How long has it been around - days/weeks/more?>
It looks a lot like ramen noodles but a lot smaller.
Any ideas what this is?
<Do you have any snails in residence - Ceriths by chance? That
looks a lot like an egg strand, possibly snail or even some kind
of slug/Nudibranch. Cerith snails leave a very similar squiggly,
loopy 'snail trail' of eggs. Please see the first FAQ,
titled 'Gastropod egg ID 8/1/05', at the following link
for an example: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/snailreprofaqs.htm .
By the way, if you don't have any Cerith snails and you'd
like to pursue an ID, please send us a livestock list and
we'll see if we can't solve this mystery.>
<You're very welcome. Take care, LynnZ>
Live Rock ID 5/5/09
I've read your web site for months as we set up our saltwater
We've had tanks for about 35 years on and off, but things
have changed dramatically. That's most likely from folks like
you who have disseminated useful and valuable information to this
hobby. Kudos for the great work.
Now for my question.......
I purchased some live rock which I think came from the Florida
It's filled with polyps, sponges and the critter I'm
trying to ID here.
They stand about 1/4 inch off the rock, though the smallest are
still barely above the surface. Even the smallest send out the
polyps you see in the 2nd picture. I'm just curious if you
have any idea what they may be? (Sorry, if the pictures are too
large. Making them small lost all detail - hindering ID.)
Thanks for your help.
<Mmm, given your clue as to origin... and the
prominent/distinctive features of the corallites (deep pits,
alternating protruding and smaller septa...) I do think these are
Hidden Cup Coral, Phyllangia americana
(family Faviidae)... Is mostly found "under rocks and
ledges" in the wild, and often has more color...
reddish-brown. Bob Fenner>
Question about creatures in my live rock
<Hi, I'm sorry for the delay in responding to you.>
I am a beginner into the world of SW tanks so I apologize if you have
talked about these creatures somewhere and I just couldn't find it.
I have a small 10 gallon tank with a whole bunch of live rock a few
hermits/snails, a sun coral, a watchmen and pistol, and orchid
Dottyback. Now that you know the guys in the tank I had a few questions
about the creatures in the live rock that are slowly appearing. I have
been able to identify an Asterina star and I wanted to know if I should
be removing this guy before she/he multiplies or if it should be
<It should be fine.>
I also have already been able to identify a few different feather
dusters. But the real mystery is a clam shaped thing that looks soft
and clear and 2 shells like a clam facing up attached to the rock. What
could this be?
<It is likely some type of bivalve. But it's impossible to say
without a picture.>
Also we have a brown jellyish looking thing, what could this be? I can
try and take pics in the future.
<An aiptasia anemone maybe? Again... we really do need some pictures
if you can take some.>
Thanks for your help in advance!
What are these? 04/23/09
Hi, could you please tell me what are these saltwater plants?
<Hehe, um, no. They are Aiptasia. Please see here:
How do I get rid of them?
<There are a few different ways/methods;
They seem to have started growing all over my live rocks &
aren't allowing my polyps to open...they are very aggressive!
They seem to multiply quite quickly...I would describe them as
saltwater weeds. The other day when I was feeding my shrimp a
silver fish, this little plant grabbed it & sucked it up!
Please help! When I tried going in to manually pluck them out of
the rocks, they would retract into the holes of the rock...
<Plucking them won't work and will actually make matters
worth. Please read the above linked articles.
Unidentified Orange Eggs: Snails most likely.
<Well hello there.>
I have a 120 gallon display reef tank. Currently I have a large number
of corals and a minimum number of fish.
My livestock list other than corals is :
A single purple Firefish
A juvenile pair of onyx clown fish (they are both approximately 6
A male and female mandarin fish
A pair of sexy shrimp
Misc. assortment of emerald crabs, Mexican turbo snails, turbo snails,
blue legged hermit crabs, a single sally lightfoot, mated pair of coral
banded shrimp and other miscellaneous snails.
<With you so far.>
We were away for a long weekend and when I returned home I noticed my
Sally Lightfoot midway down in the tank on some rockwork chowing on
some small orange eggs. The eggs appeared to be on the rock however it
looked like she pulled up a large chunk of them and was having an
<As crabs will do.>
The eggs were small orange eggs all laid together on a rock. I am
hoping to find out where these eggs might have come from, it's the
first time that I have ever seen these type of eggs in my tank. I
can't seem to come up with an answer on who may have laid these
eggs? Any help is appreciated.
<Difficult to tell without a picture, but mandarin eggs tend to be
white\transparent, Shrimp eggs are usually a bluish-green. Clownfish
eggs are orange\red, but Clownfish do guard their eggs, so I doubt the
could get close enough to eat them.>
<If I had to fathom a guess, I would say they were snail
Thanks in advance-
Little rust red things, Planaria, 4/6/09
I have these little rust red colored flat worm looking things on
my glass and now on my live rock.
Any idea what they are and how to get rid of them?
<Most likely Red Planaria, see here
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pestflatwrmanthony.htm and related
FAQs for more.>
They are about 1/8" wide and slightly longer than wide
Please see attached picture.
<Tough to tell for sure from that picture.>