FAQs about Non-Vertebrate Animal Identification
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Re Hydroid? Cnidaria? Sponge? Our mystery guest is...
Greetings Wet Web Crew!
<Hello again Lori!>
I had written a couple of weeks ago but others have had issues
with my e-mail and given I included several very large hi-res
photos, well, never hurts to ask. Because I know you can't
possibly be busy updating the site or answering other queries or
doing other productive things (like jobs and stuff). :-)
In any case, I've continued researching while I waited and am
now even more confused than ever. I've uploaded as hi-res a
photo to Flickr as I can for your viewing pleasure:
Descriptions and other IDs on the site here seem to indicate it
could be a Hydroid.
<Mmm, yes. I had replied to this query>
Or a Hydrozoan. Or perhaps a Sponge or maybe some strange
communal relationship between one or more in some sort of
twisted, undersea love triangle. Or maybe it's a coral of
some sort? That'd be awesome but my day has been going such
that I would not expect that to be the case. A photo in
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/AscidIDF4.htm seems eerily similar,
though the body of these and formations appear foliate and
digitate in nature, though it's hard to tell whether the
foliate forms are simply two or more fingers in a colony growing
very closely together. Your answer to the query referenced in the
FAQ above, by the way, pointed at Hydroid/Hydrozoans but after
reading those FAQs this does not seem to be the case? Of course
I'm not the expert, which is why I'm writing you.
<I do think what you have pictured is both Ascidian AND
Hydroid... the "feathery bits">
The branches are firm. When they first appeared a few months ago
I feared Cyano or slime algae, so I brushed at them and they did
not give at all - they were actually fairly rough to the touch.
So I continued watching. The rocks upon which they were growing
were moved - and thus exposed to air - about a month ago to a
150g tank, which at first disabused me of the notion they were
sponges but then again with the new arrangement these could be
The extensions appear quite rigid in the photo but close
observations shows them to be more flexible, more like a polyp or
tentacle than a rigid extension. There are many, many of these
growths, but only ones growing downward in shadows on the
underside of rocks or in crevices exhibit rapid growth and these
extensions. Those in the photo have grown about 3/4" in the
past month to extend out of the crevice they are in.
I'm running 1 14,000K HQI metal halide (150 watts) and 4 (39
watts) HO T5 actinics.
Any thoughts are greatly appreciated - they are interesting to
see growing but if they're dangerous I'd rather remove
them before they turn into a plague. I do have higher resolution
photos but am reluctant to attach in case that's keeping my
e-mail from being delivered. If you received my first e-mail but
haven't had a chance yet to respond, my apologies. If you did
respond and I didn't receive (which has also happened in the
past month or so, or so I'm told) my apologies.
<See here: http://wetwebmedia.com/NonvertIDF56.htm
I'd buy you a beer to make up for it but I'm not
traveling much these days. :-(
<If you're close by, I'll drive on over!>
Thanks for the great site and all the great information!
<Welcome! Bob Fenner>
re: Hydroid? Cnidaria? Sponge? Our mystery guest is...
Ah, thank you very much for re-responding and my apologies about
the size of the original photos. Will keep to minimum or use
Flickr in the future.
<Ah, thank you>
Now I just need to figure out what happened to your
<Yikes! Am not a high-tech kind of guy>
<As many welcomes. BobF>
Update: Is the mystery guest really Sporadotrema?
I have good news and an update/question regarding the
The good news is I discovered you were caught in the big
technology QT in the sky. My SPAM filtering service has been
updated and unlike my system your e-mail will go straight to the
You (well, perhaps not "you" per se but BobF unless
this is BobF and then "you" really does mean
"you") had suggested my mystery guest was both Ascidian
and hydroid. I was reading about pods (because I found tons of
them in both my systems - wheeeee!) and followed a link that led
me here and there and then to this image:
<Mmm, could be!>
That certainly appears to be the same critter as in my photo. A
Foraminiferan identified by the image as "Sporadotrema
I'm fairly certain of the id based on the photo match - even
the test appears the same as described, especially as
occasionally I can see particulates caught in it that eventually
disappear. I did a search on WMM and did not find any further
information on Sporadotrema but did find more on Homotrema
rubrum. Interestingly the photo around which the discussion of
Homotrema is based (here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/lridfaq7.htm)
looks a lot more like the one in the aforementioned link/image
that describes it as Sporadotrema.
Now I've been trying to read about forams (which is
fascinating and has led to the ID of some of the other growth
forms in my system which appear to be Homotrema rubrum) but
I'm not finding much about Sporadotrema except in lengthy
very scientific journals that are more confusing than anything
else. For the most part I gather these are (a) not dangerous, (b)
not toxic, and (c) require very little attention on my part. Do
you concur with this conclusion? Is there something else of which
I should be aware?
<I do concur w/ these statements. Not harmful esp.>
If I'm reading things correctly they're both
Foraminiferans so it shouldn't really matter but now I'm
curious (and a little excited to perhaps have found an answer to
the question "what are those 'bearded things'
growing in the system??").
<I do (still) think these are another organism. Do you have
access to a dissection 'scope?>
Thanks in advance (for wading through this message and for all
the great information you provide!)
<Do please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marprotozfaqs.htm
Lynn's ID et al. re Forams. BobF>
strange new creature on glass 12/6/10
Dear WWM crew,
Firstly, thank you for your informative web site, love it!
Secondly - the reason for the email... Hopefully the pictures got
The first is when I found it, the second is two days later.
Seeing the PVC in the background, you can tell that it
doesn't move much, whatever it is.
We had a rough couple of weeks and I wasn't "able"
to change the water at all. Once I did a test for ammonia,
nitrite, and nitrate levels and saw bad news, I began to change
the water. One gallon at a time. I took the 55gallon tank down to
about half, moving the hammerhead coral to keep it submerged (by
the way, are these bad? I heard of stinging tentacles that come
out at night that kill neighboring fish and coral).
<Euphyllias can be tough on Cnidarian neighbors, physically
Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/carycompfaqs.htm>
And slowly added water back in... again, one gallon at a time.
This little critter is still hanging out and moves a little bit
daily. I can't for the life of me figure out what it is,
where it might have come from. We have not added anything new in
at least 4 months, and that was a blue starfish. Our live rock is
all at least 1 year old in this tank.
Currently our water parameters are "okay" with nitrates
being at around 40 (ppms?)
<Mmm, too high. I'd keep, allow at half this
Another half water change in a couple days should hopefully fix
this. Salinity is between 1.021 and 1.022.
<... too low. See WWM re>
Temp runs about 76 degrees. We have about 30 pounds of live rock,
an inch or less of live sand. 1 brittle star, 1 cleaner shrimp
(red w/ white stripe down his body), 1 green mandarin (sp?), 1
<These spellings are correct>
4 green blue chromis', 3 mollies (looking for a new home),
and 2 false clownfish (that live very near the creature of the
glass). 2 snails, at least 4 tiny baby snails, a few mini brittle
stars, 4small hermit crabs. Only current filtration is a hang on
the tank filter (sump tank and protein skimmer are not in use at
Hope you can identify our little creature!
<Considering the size, growth (thank you for the two images),
the swellings at the growing ends and their extensions, lack of
motility... I do think this is a Hydropolyp/Hydrozoan species of
some sort. I would carefully scrape and vacuum it out during a
water change. Please read here:
and here: http://wetwebmedia.com/hyzoanidfaq.htm