FAQs about Non-Vertebrate Animal Identification
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Coral question, ID 12/2/11
Thanks or providing a great source of info.
I recently found two pieces of coral
<Mmm, the organism in the pic sent... not a coral, not even a
which look rather strange, and have inquired as to what species
it is with several People in the hobby.
It is fleshy, and forms shape to your hand or crevice, as seen in
the picture. The orange spots seem to be polyps, but not sure as
they have not popped out.
What is it? Aquarium placement, water flow and light
<Appears to be an Ascidian (are there two vents... incurrent
and ex-?, I can only see the one in the image)... Or possibly a
sponge/poriferan of some sort. Bob Fenner>
|Re: Coral question
The other is identical to the pic I sent, only 1/4 smaller. I am
not sure what you mean by two vents, incurrent and ex-.
<Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ascidians.htm
Re: Coral question
I do not believe the spot you are referring to is a vent. It
appears to be the spot where it was attached to another rock. It
does not have a vent like other sponges. Is it a type of golf ball
<? No. B>
Re: Coral question 12/2/11
I read your article on ascidians. What I read resembles the coral
in my aquarium. It does respond to touch and even changes shape.
Also, it does not behave as a sponge would if it were exposed to
This seems to be a very unique species, of which none of my
colleges no anything about.
Can you provide some care guidelines?
<... not w/o knowing what this organism is... There are
di/trichotomous keys to sea life... Spend some time searching
soft white tube thing, ID 10/28/11
Love your site and have spent a ridiculous amount of time on it
<You and me both>
I was hoping that you could tell me what this "thing"
<Mmm, the little white thing toward the bottom center?>
I've searched for hours on your website and others and I
can't find it anywhere. I don't think it's Aiptasia,
as I've dealt with that before. It's just magically grown
out of my sand bed the other day. It's a soft white tube
shape that is completely opaque. In the light it's about
Â½ an inch tall and just over a Â¼ inch
wide with a short white fringe or crown. It does shrink back into
the sand when it's dark. I've attached a photo. Hope you
can help and thanks!
<Mmm, can't really make this out... might be a tubeworm of
some sort... even a Sea Pen... or a Polypoid animal of one order
or another... I'd keep it and see! Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re What is this? Aiptasia or
tube worm, maybe? 10/25/11
Hi, I sent the below email earlier.
Since then, I have thought a lot more, done a lot more Googling, and
seen this critter drag its tendrils back into the base (tube) extremely
fast when I approached it, so I'm wondering if it is maybe a tube
worm, especially as the tendrils, as I said below, look more like
I guess I'll leave it be, unless you tell me it is an Aiptasia.
<... There's no graphic to tell you anything re. Bob
ID Please 8/30/11
Hello WWM Staff! You guys are awesome!
<Why thank you>
I have searched but unable to find an ID photo for these little
guys on the glass of my 2.5 AIO Office Reef. It has been up for a
few weeks and this is one of the critters that has come out of my
Florida LR. They seem to be feeding on some new algae on the
glass. My guess that it is some sort of flatworm. Any ideas?
<Mmm, too unresolved in your pic to tell... More likely some
type of mollusk/snail... a Limpet or Chiton perhaps. I'd
leave there, enjoy!>
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>
Hitchhiker (tube-dwelling Terebellid,
maybe) -- 07/03/11
I feel like I've been sending you constant emails.
Anyway, I've found another hitchhiker on a piece of LR and
was wondering if you could ID it. It is the pink things in the
picture, and one seems to have clear protrusions coming out of
<<Hard to say really (picture not close/clear enough), but
this might be tube-dwelling Terebellid worms'¦with the
tubes perhaps covered in coralline algae, or maybe a pink
encrusting sponge. At any rate, likely harmless if not
beneficial. I would watch and enjoy. EricR>>
Please help with parasite ID and treatment!
I have a 24g Nano cube that has been up and
running for nearly 5 years.
It has gone through lots of changes and a few moves but has never
had a "disaster" occur. I am running a 6x18w nova T5
light fixture and have a general assortment of LPS, SPS, and
softies in the tank. All of my water param.s are in check and
obsessively watched. I have recently had this little parasite
attach to some of the corals in the tank. Its round and has a
marking that resembles an iris in the middle...think of the
"Eye of Sauron" minus the flames and hobbits.
Oddly enough it doesn't seem coral specific as its been on
some Favia and now some of the Acroporas. It doesn't seem to
be eating the coral as I see no sign of tissue decay or reduction
but the host coral is never very happy to have this rider on its
back. It will lost almost all polyp extension and stay that way
until parasite is blown off. They do move around slowly and seem
to congregate on
particular spots on the coral...safety in numbers or something of
that sort. I have tried Melafix as my LFS promised me this would
<No... a poor idea, product...>
it hasn't even made a dent and they are still happy and
thriving. I have searched for hours on-line and posted numerous
ID's on the many on line forums with nobody giving me a
specific answer other than, "I bet its a type of
flatworm". I can't (easily) dip the coral as its
attached to some base rock and would require the destruction of
my entire aqua-scape. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks a lot!
<Mmm, well... could be some sort of worm, crustacean, perhaps
even "spider mites"; need a better resolved (likely
microscope) image to be more sure... There are chemical
treatments for both, as well as a growing list of purposeful
predators (if they'd fit, get along)... All are gone over on
WWM. I suggest you search, read there. Bob Fenner>
White disks in marine tank 5/30/11
I have in three places on my rock. These little disks that look like a
fan or sand dollar all about the size of a small finger nail
Also they are growing long like a spine next to each other. There is
roughly 5-8 in a row. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
<Mmm, could be an algae of some sort (what colour are these?),
sponge... even a Foraminiferan... Please send along a well-resolved
HELP! This creature is eating my corals!
I don't know if this is a Nudibranch or something else,
<The latter... A Chiton, Polyplacophoran. See here: http://wetwebmedia.com/chitonidf.htm
but I found it
attached to my sun coral two nights ago and the sun coral
doesn't look very good now.
<Mmm, don't eat such, but perhaps just cruising
When I tried to remove it, I expected it to be soft but it
It had a hard structure - not like a shell but maybe a bone
<Has shell plates...>
It was really stuck to the coral too. I had seen it in the
aquarium previously but never attached to any of my corals. My
red slime algae problem has reduced significantly o I was hoping
the creature was eating it. It is small and oval when not
extended. It stretches to at least 4 times its normal size. It
was hiding inside the hole in the rock below the sun coral and
stretching up through a hole at the top. It came out of the hole
last night and moved (I have no idea where yet) and I snapped the
picture then. Sorry they aren't better pics - I think I was
<Likely so... w/in your lens' focus field/distance>
Should I transfer this thing to my fish only tank or dispose of
<I'd keep it>
Or was it just going after red slime algae which sometimes grows
on the edges of this coral?
Thanks so much for your help.
<Read re Tubastrea, here: http://wetwebmedia.com/dendrodisfaqs.htm
and the linked files above. These Dendrophylliids need some
special care (each polyp feeding)... but can be kept. Bob
Unknown parasite/ organism found in filter
I have been searching the site for a while, and can not find
anything to help me out. I am tearing down a 55 gallon, and was
cleaning the filter and this weird little critter came out.
<Looks to be some sort of flatworm... these are often only
mildly damaging... more like "space parasites" then
actual; some are "free living">
The critter DID not come out of the intake or outtake holes, but
I am still interested to know what it is.
The 55 gallon was a holding tank for a couple of my brackish
water red and green scats, that have since been moved over to the
90 they came from (I moved 800 miles, and could not part with
fish). I did an extensive look at the fish, and I do not see
anything that would hint it is a parasite. They are eating like
pigs, and they all have there color. No red streaks, or visible
irritations of the scales on any of them.
<Not at all likely parasitic or environmentally damaging to
System set-up was a 55 gallon, with a Jager heater (set to 80),
Rena XP2 canister filter, Whisper 300 air pump, sand substrate
(Caribsea, to be specific), and the SG ranged anywhere from
1.008-1.0015. I fluctuate the SG, for better health of the Scats.
Levels of Nitrates, Nitrites, and Ammonia, all read 0.
The critter is about a centimeter, by a centimeter, and has veins
that are running the entire surface of the body. In the center,
there is a mass that looks like blood. To me it almost looks like
a tick you would pull off a furry animal. I looked in the books I
had available to me, and did not see anything like this. I also
have NOT punctured the center blood looking mass
out of fear of what could happen. Any information you could tell
me would be greatly appreciated.
Until then, back to cleaning!
<Thank you for your message. Bob Fenner>
Enlarged, but blurrier
Another Live Rock Hitchhiker ID 5/15/11
Thanks so much for your time! Just a quick ID today.
I noticed several of these organisms upon viewing my reef this
evening. The tank has been set up for several years and has seen
flatworms, bristle worms, and Aiptasia among other pests, all
which have been easily managed thanks to WWM!
I've never seen anything like these and they have seemed to
have just popped up.
Nothing new has been added to the tank in 7 or 8 months.
They seem to have a mucus foot, and tiny shell, and two clearly
identifiable antennae. They look like baby snails. The one on the
top is actually two that are in close proximity. I'm sorry
about the pic quality- these boogers are tiny, perhaps 1 mm or
I've not read much about snail reproduction evolving beyond
the egg stage in home marine aquaria and therefore doubt
that's what these guys are.
Any ideas? Friend or foe?
<Are these actually moving? To me they look
like small Syconoid sponges.
Please see the Net, WWM re. Bob Fenner>
Re: Another Live Rock Hitchhiker ID
Thank you Bob!
I really appreciate your time! This is a busy month for you!
<Don't know what I'd do if I had a real job!>
These are definitely moving. The pic was taken
of the ones that are crawling on the aquarium glass. I did some
posting on our local forum and a couple of folks thought they
look like Collonista snails, which they indeed
In any event, I doubt that they are any harm to the reef.
<As long as not too many in number...>
Thank you again, enjoy yourself, and as always, stay safe!
<Thank you. Cheers, BobF>
Pest in marine aquarium, Planaria? 5/2/11
I am hoping your expertise can help solve my problem!
I have a 150l reef aquarium, live rock based, set up for about 8 years.
I have mainly soft corals, a few hard corals, clean up crew and five
Over the past few months I have noticed these small things on the
They are a terracotta brown in colour, approx 2 millimeters in length,
roughly rectangular, but they seem to have a "waist". They
are now taking over the system, the rock is covered with it, and they
settle on the glass between wipes.
Originally, I thought they may be eggs, but I don't think so now.
They don't appear to move, though, so I am not sure if they are a
strange type of worm or an even stranger type of algae. I've taken
a few into a LFS, and they were clueless. Too small to photograph,
<Tough to say without a picture but my first guess would be
Planaria, see here for pictures and see if they match.
ID this thing ... - 2/9/11
Hi Crew member,
Attached are several pics of something from my tank. The bright
red ball appeared, stuck just under my RBTA.
Tank is a 72G Bowfront with a 30G sump/refugium, FL live rock,
DSB - running for about 1.5 yrs. Known inhabitants are mostly
common to the hobby - Scopas Tang, Niger Trigger, Blue Damsel,
Blueheaded Wrasse, Engineer Goby, (2) Clowns, Coral Banded
Shrimp, RBTA and a mix of Atlantic/Caribbean and Pacific corals
including SPS, LPS and softies.
The brightly colored fuchsia ball is about the size of a pencil
eraser, has a felt-like surface, sticks to the live rock, fish
won't touch it, seems to have a soft "shell" that
has split open. It doesn't appear to be porous
like a sponge ...but that was my first guess.
Any idea what the hell it could be?
<Are there any apparent openings (two, dissimilar in size) on
If so my guess would turn to a sea squirt/Ascidian... At this
size this could be a Foraminiferan... http://wetwebmedia.com/marprotozfaqs.htm
Thanks for your thoughts.
<Do send along better resolved images if/when you can. Cheers,
|re: ID this thing ... - 2/9/11
Thx for the quick reply. And my eternal thx for access to your
wealth of knowledge! My Scopas will forever be in your debt.
Those are the best images I could get - no macro lens and a
bowfront tank (
the digital camera really struggles with angled shots and
<Ah yes. Am familiar>
It does not appear to have any well formed openings. The surface is
like dyed felt.
The casing-like structure could be a leathery shell or random
growth on the surface that was broken when the ??? grew a bit.
I looked up FORAMS HOMOTREMATIDAE and it is a possibility. Perhaps
in an early stage of growth - before branches form.
For now, it has drifted away to some dark recess of the tank.
<I'd leave it be; enjoy it!>
What is This? - 2/9/11
Morning to all of the WetWebMedia crew specially to the person
who answers me =D
Well, simple question here, I want to know what are those white
little things on my rock, at first I thought they might be
Copepods, (I am waiting to get copepods, so I can introduce a
Mandarin), but copepods
aren't as white as this fellows, can you please help me.
Thank you very much.
<I've tried to spiff up your pix, crop them... these
appear to be some sort of small segmented worm... Likely edible,
perhaps palatable to your Mandarin. Cheers, Bob Fenner>
White Spots, on glass, using WWM 1/17/11
I have some very small white specs that appear on my glass time to
They resemble very tiny pieces of Styrofoam or small specs of substrate
gravel, which they are not. They just seem to stick to the glass. Any
idea what these might be?
<Likely tubiculous worms... but could be quite a few other things...
Put this string: "small spots on glass marine" in the search
tool here: http://wetwebmedia.com/Googlesearch.htm
and read the cached views>
I looked throughout the WetWebMedia posts and articles and could not
PS: I'm fixing to buy a calcium reactor any brand
<... also posted: http://wetwebmedia.com/calcreacsel.htm
and the linked files above. Please learn to/use the indices, search
tool on WWM. BobF, who'd rather be out diving>
Critters on Glass, 1/12/11
I was wondering if these are tomont cysts attached on my aquarium
<Are not, the cysts are not visible to the naked eye.>
These were the best pictures I could take. My tank is fallow
right now but wanted to know if I should knock these off to be
sucked up through my filter.
Thanks for the info.
<Looks like they might be hydroids,
Hydroid Jellies 1/12/11
Hi Crew! I was wondering if these are tomont cysts attached on my
<Mmm, no. These are very likely Jellies, Hydroids. See
These were the best pictures I could take. My tank is fallow
right now but wanted to know if I should knock these off to be
sucked up through my filter.
Thanks for the info.
<Mmm, they'll likely "disappear" of their own
accord in time (days to weeks). If there are only a few I would
not be concerned... If numerous, they might sting your purposeful
livestock. Bob Fenner>
Re: Critters on Glass, 1/12/11
Thanks for the info but these are about the size of the head of a
straight pin or the dot of a pen.
<I would still bet on them being hydroids.>
This is a very close close-up of the "thing" in
question. Never had them in my tank before until I had an Ich
<Unrelated except that the tank being fallow probably allowed
these to propagate a bit better than before.>
hence the fallow tank. I'm thinking it's something I
should continue to get swept out but I didn't want to try if
they were say copepod eggs, amphipod eggs, good things.... would
love to know what they are.
<Not something I would be overly concerned with, can be
removed if they bother you, but you will not most likely get them
Help with ID of mystery coral 1/9/11
Greetings and Happy New Year Wet Web Crew!
<... groan... seven plus megs of pix... We ask folks to limit
these to a few hundred Kbytes>
I am hoping you might be able to ID a mystery coral (I will admit
to not being 100% sure about that, Heisenberg not withstanding)
that's been a delightful "hitchhiker" on some live
rock I purchased about three months ago. Unfortunately I do not
know where the live rock originated before it found its way to my
There are a number of these creatures that can be found around
the system, but all are in shadowed areas, primarily on the
underside of rocks. They are perhaps 1/2 in length at this point
- it's hard to tell with all of them because they seem to
grow in crevices the depth of which is difficult to gauge.
The polyps/filaments are always extended. Day, night, doesn't
They are hard/rough to the touch (early on I thought it might be
a slime/red algae because there were no polyps visible. I was
glad to be wrong there!
I have searched the site (which is excellent!) as well as combed
through Borneman's book and have also tried a few Google
searches but nothing seems to fit. I've read descriptions of
both Tubastrea and Sponges that could fit, but have ruled out
sponges primarily because when the rocks were moved they were out
of the water for 10-15 minutes and growth continued. Tubastrea
seems unlikely as I am not feeding these poor things specifically
yet they appear to be thriving. We originally thought it might be
Montipora but now that it's large enough and extending those
long extensions, pretty sure that's not it either.
Please see the attached photos for details. Unfortunately it is
nearly impossible to get a good photo of the skeleton as its
polyps/extensions obscure them and, well, they're always out.
From watching the growth they do appear to share a base and
"branch" from there (there is another grouping in the
photos to the top/right that appears to be doing this), but there
are other growths like this that are singular (I believe you can
also see some of them in the photos to the top and right of the
larger grouping). Seriously, this stuff is all over. Only some of
it, however, thrives - those groupings that are in the
Hoping someone has some idea what these are and if there's
anything I should be doing differently or even if I should be
very, very afraid of it. You never know...
Thanks very much in advance!
<Likely Ascidians... see very similar here: