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Old 11/16/2011, 11:23 AM   #1
Sk8r
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Pix & ID: Critters that come in your rocks: the good and the bad.

Generally---you WANT tiny life in your tank; a lot of it: a flashlight after dark should show you a LOT of critters on your sand.
Keepers: Good Guys bristleworms, spaghetti worms(in fact ANY worm, except one, listed below under bad guys). Spionids are fine. They're cleaners, like other things.
Mysis shrimp, tiny tiny tiny shrimp that make you think they're baby fish. Free fishfood.
Copepods and amphipods---copepods are white dots that move. Amphipods look like rolypolys or sow bugs. They do not have visible eyes! [if you see on of those, it's bad!] Again, free fishfood, and you can't have dragonets withOUT them.
Snails, stomatellas (saddle-shell snails). Chitons. Limpets. Wonderful guys. I'll add: strombus grazers, little snails that spin silk and use ropes to get where they're going.
Sponges (water filters). Occasional weird growths like networks on your rocks. These are great filters and improve water quality.
Occasional patches of algae that won't last long. In general, confine plants to your fuge. They block light, shed, and make problems.
Shrimp: cleaner and pistols, with caution: If you hear clicking in your tank---bad news. Pistol shrimp often kill fish. Pistol/goby pairs can end in the death of other fish in the tank. I had one kill its own roommate.
Micro-hermits with bitsy claws are fine. They walk on corals, but don't harm them. Neither would you, if you weighed that little.
Asterina stars: little starfish with a short leg: generally harmless Micro brittle stars, big brittle stars. All nice little cleaners.

Bad guys:but even these are ok in your sump I recommend AGAINST any crab but micro-hermits, whatever. Ever. Ever. Interesting to watch, but they need their own tank. Period. They eat fish, or other valuable things.
Shrimp: usually bad news, unless you want a mantis or pistol, and they're great specialty creatures: clicking in your rocks---pistol. Fish are in danger.
Eunicid worm: looks like a centipede with obvious tentacles on its head. Starfish in general. Green serpent stars.
Caulerpa algae: any rock that has it should be discarded.
Isopods: a cirolanid isopod looks like a roly-poly (sowbug) with obvious slanted black eyes. It attacks fish.
Flatworms--like the Star Trek emblem, a comet-thing on your glass or rock, with a forked tail.
Aiptasia, majanos---little 'volunteer' anemones, brown, nuisances.
Hydroids, look like a yellow-brown little mat of fuzzytopped sticks, about the diameter of a needle, about a quarter inch long. THey sting. Not nice.

In general, if you're in doubt of a hitchhiker, put it in your sump after posting a picture of it. Most things that don't go nicely in a tank can live a useful life in your sump, eating surplus food and detritus. A lot of neat things like barnacles, tunicates, and little clams don't last long in our tanks. Wish they did.


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Salinity 1.024-6; alkalinity 8.3-9.3 on KH scale; calcium 420; magnesium 1300, temp 78-80, nitrate .2. Ammonia 0. No filters: lps tank. Alk and cal won't rise if mg is low.

Current Tank Info: 105g AquaVim wedge lps reef: 3 firefish, yellowhead jawfish, yellow watchman, 3 chromis, tailspot/starry blennies, pink margin fairy wrasse, mandarin, kalk, radion pro, gyre, Eshopps s-200 skimmer, basement sump.

Last edited by Sk8r; 11/18/2011 at 01:30 PM.
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Old 11/16/2011, 11:47 AM   #2
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Asterina stars can be bad and should not be put in the sump. I did that after I brought two home only to find out a few days later that they had eaten a ton of corals at the LFS that I had gotten them from. Yep you guessed it I now have them in my tank and every morning before work I scout my DT out and pick them out with tweezers. Occasionally I find them on my zoas.


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Old 11/16/2011, 12:49 PM   #3
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Mmm, let's add that if you have softies, they can be a problem...or at least that there is a species of asterina that is predatory. It would be hard for one of these to transit through a pump to the DT, but it could happen.
Mine occasionally leave a brighter pink track across my coralline. That's all. And there aren't many.


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Salinity 1.024-6; alkalinity 8.3-9.3 on KH scale; calcium 420; magnesium 1300, temp 78-80, nitrate .2. Ammonia 0. No filters: lps tank. Alk and cal won't rise if mg is low.

Current Tank Info: 105g AquaVim wedge lps reef: 3 firefish, yellowhead jawfish, yellow watchman, 3 chromis, tailspot/starry blennies, pink margin fairy wrasse, mandarin, kalk, radion pro, gyre, Eshopps s-200 skimmer, basement sump.

Last edited by Sk8r; 11/18/2011 at 09:27 AM.
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Old 11/16/2011, 02:59 PM   #4
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Not all isopods are bad. Sphaeromatids, look similar to cirolanids, but can curl into a ball when touched. Cirolanids can not. Sphaeromatid isopods are harmelss detriivores.

Sphaeromatid isopods:





For comparison: http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2002-05/rs/


Another example of harmless isopods is the munnid isopod, very commonly seen in our tanks.








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Old 11/17/2011, 10:12 AM   #5
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Thanks for those pix. Never have seen one of those guys. My cheato moss is so tame, in the pod department. But I have an amazing collection of limpets.


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Salinity 1.024-6; alkalinity 8.3-9.3 on KH scale; calcium 420; magnesium 1300, temp 78-80, nitrate .2. Ammonia 0. No filters: lps tank. Alk and cal won't rise if mg is low.

Current Tank Info: 105g AquaVim wedge lps reef: 3 firefish, yellowhead jawfish, yellow watchman, 3 chromis, tailspot/starry blennies, pink margin fairy wrasse, mandarin, kalk, radion pro, gyre, Eshopps s-200 skimmer, basement sump.
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Old 11/17/2011, 11:52 AM   #6
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Great info Sk8r, thank you! Tried to bait a xanthid crab to a cup last night and he had me in suspense so many times...moment I thought he'd dive right in, he hides back in his hole! lol Maybe I'll try a piece of silverside tonight instead of krill...oh and just noticed last nite too, I have another smaller crab feasting on my rock.


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Old 11/17/2011, 11:59 AM   #7
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Thanks! Let's see if we can get some more pix into this thread: it's real helpful to have photos.


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Salinity 1.024-6; alkalinity 8.3-9.3 on KH scale; calcium 420; magnesium 1300, temp 78-80, nitrate .2. Ammonia 0. No filters: lps tank. Alk and cal won't rise if mg is low.

Current Tank Info: 105g AquaVim wedge lps reef: 3 firefish, yellowhead jawfish, yellow watchman, 3 chromis, tailspot/starry blennies, pink margin fairy wrasse, mandarin, kalk, radion pro, gyre, Eshopps s-200 skimmer, basement sump.
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Old 11/17/2011, 02:49 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sk8r View Post
Thanks! Let's see if we can get some more pix into this thread: it's real helpful to have photos.
Mithrax? Pulled a dozen of these out of my tank when it was cycling - took a month to get them 'all'. Then just a few weeks ago (6 months in) I turned up a 13th. It was dead near a new torch I'd added - no idea what killed it. Presumably it was killed by something as it was out in the open.


It also turns out I think I have a eunicid worm as well. I've seen it twice but assumed it was just a bristle - would have been easy to grab him if I'd only known - so THANKS for this post. I know now and I'll watch for him. I'll try to get a pic up later.

SK8R's NOTE: look at those big claws. That's trouble. Sump!


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Last edited by Sk8r; 11/18/2011 at 09:28 AM.
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Old 11/17/2011, 03:13 PM   #9
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Just because everybody needs to know a bristleworm when you see one: meet Sam. I lost him in a move, along with Frodo and two others called Fred and Barney. These larger ones tend to have one hole in one rock and to pretty well stick to it, but they are really great cleaners, and I greatly miss these 4. All my current ones are little guys.



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Salinity 1.024-6; alkalinity 8.3-9.3 on KH scale; calcium 420; magnesium 1300, temp 78-80, nitrate .2. Ammonia 0. No filters: lps tank. Alk and cal won't rise if mg is low.

Current Tank Info: 105g AquaVim wedge lps reef: 3 firefish, yellowhead jawfish, yellow watchman, 3 chromis, tailspot/starry blennies, pink margin fairy wrasse, mandarin, kalk, radion pro, gyre, Eshopps s-200 skimmer, basement sump.
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Old 11/17/2011, 03:29 PM   #10
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Corals can be mean

Note the string coming off this bubble coral. That's a 'sweeper,' or stinging tentacle, and this is why you don't put stony coral within 6" of any other coral, downcurrent. This coral is annoyed because it smells another coral on the ledge above it.



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Salinity 1.024-6; alkalinity 8.3-9.3 on KH scale; calcium 420; magnesium 1300, temp 78-80, nitrate .2. Ammonia 0. No filters: lps tank. Alk and cal won't rise if mg is low.

Current Tank Info: 105g AquaVim wedge lps reef: 3 firefish, yellowhead jawfish, yellow watchman, 3 chromis, tailspot/starry blennies, pink margin fairy wrasse, mandarin, kalk, radion pro, gyre, Eshopps s-200 skimmer, basement sump.
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Old 11/17/2011, 03:31 PM   #11
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Snail eggs. Some live. Some get eaten by fish. MOST get eaten by fish, or we'd be hip deep in snails. Unfortunately the ones you hope would reproduce successfully seem to be particularly delicious.



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Salinity 1.024-6; alkalinity 8.3-9.3 on KH scale; calcium 420; magnesium 1300, temp 78-80, nitrate .2. Ammonia 0. No filters: lps tank. Alk and cal won't rise if mg is low.

Current Tank Info: 105g AquaVim wedge lps reef: 3 firefish, yellowhead jawfish, yellow watchman, 3 chromis, tailspot/starry blennies, pink margin fairy wrasse, mandarin, kalk, radion pro, gyre, Eshopps s-200 skimmer, basement sump.
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Old 11/17/2011, 04:11 PM   #12
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thanks sk8r.... question though... my tank is not up and running just yet. but when it is are those little pod things in the pictures even visible with a naked eye? or do you need to hold up a magnifying glass


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Old 11/17/2011, 04:54 PM   #13
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Oh, those are magnified. The tiny white copepods are about the size of two grains of salt together. But they move. And if you look real closely they have legs. The larger amphipods are about the size of a sowbug, or rolypoly, but many are about half that. Mysis shrimp, which you may also see, usually are about the size of a little black wood ant.


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Salinity 1.024-6; alkalinity 8.3-9.3 on KH scale; calcium 420; magnesium 1300, temp 78-80, nitrate .2. Ammonia 0. No filters: lps tank. Alk and cal won't rise if mg is low.

Current Tank Info: 105g AquaVim wedge lps reef: 3 firefish, yellowhead jawfish, yellow watchman, 3 chromis, tailspot/starry blennies, pink margin fairy wrasse, mandarin, kalk, radion pro, gyre, Eshopps s-200 skimmer, basement sump.
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Old 11/17/2011, 04:59 PM   #14
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ive seen the mysis shrimp at my LFS... but ive never seen pods... yet, the owner said he would give me a tour of the big fuge he has down in the basement. so im sure i will see some fun things in there


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Old 11/17/2011, 05:26 PM   #15
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Actually if you look closely at the glass in the snail egg pic, there's a white dot. That would be one.


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Salinity 1.024-6; alkalinity 8.3-9.3 on KH scale; calcium 420; magnesium 1300, temp 78-80, nitrate .2. Ammonia 0. No filters: lps tank. Alk and cal won't rise if mg is low.

Current Tank Info: 105g AquaVim wedge lps reef: 3 firefish, yellowhead jawfish, yellow watchman, 3 chromis, tailspot/starry blennies, pink margin fairy wrasse, mandarin, kalk, radion pro, gyre, Eshopps s-200 skimmer, basement sump.
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Old 11/17/2011, 07:17 PM   #16
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Aiptasia (some are lighter, some are dark)
aiptasia1.jpg

Amphipod
amphipod1.jpg

Barnacle
barnacle1.jpg

Bristleworm
bristleworm3.jpg

Bubble algae (valonia)
bubble_algae.jpg


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Old 11/17/2011, 07:25 PM   #17
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Cerith snail with isopods on the glass
cerith&isopods.jpg

Cerith snail eggs
cerith_snail_eggs1.jpg

Collonista snail
Collonista_snail2.jpg

Limpet
limpet1.jpg

Eunicid worm (sold to me as a medusa worm)
medusa_worm1.jpg


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Old 11/17/2011, 07:29 PM   #18
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One variety of hydroid. There's a huge variety of hydroids & they don't all look alike. This kind turned into the little jellyfish shown.
hydroid1.jpg
jelly_polyp5.jpg
jellyfish5.jpg

Peanut worm. They come in a variety of colors and various feathery head types.
peanut_worm1.jpg
peanut_worm1b.jpg


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Old 11/17/2011, 07:32 PM   #19
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Pineapple sponge
pineapple_sponge2.jpg

Pods
pods1.jpg

Stomatella
stomatella_varia1.jpg
stomatella_varia2.jpg
stomatella_varia2b.jpg


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Old 11/17/2011, 07:42 PM   #20
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Asterina star and pyramid snail
starfish&snail.jpg

Nerite snail eggs
nerite_eggs.jpg

Serpulid feather dusters
serpulid1.jpg
serpulid2.jpg

Mini brittle starfish
starfish2.jpg


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Old 11/17/2011, 07:45 PM   #21
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Colonial tunicate
unknown9b.jpg

Tunicate
tunicate1.jpg

Vermetid snails
vermetid1.jpg
vermetid3.jpg
vermetid_feeding1-rc.jpg


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Old 11/17/2011, 08:40 PM   #22
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Wow! I just found out what at least a half a dozen things are in my tank that I just couldn't get a pic of. Thanks!
And Sushigirl, your tank much be a veritable cornucopia of little critters


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Old 11/17/2011, 09:01 PM   #23
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That was my old tank from years ago. And the camera I had back then was better at macro shots LOL.


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Old 11/17/2011, 10:43 PM   #24
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Man there are so many pests out there.Wish I could do it all over again with dry dead rock and QT everything. I would love to use the rock I have in my display on a bigger tank in the future but I know I have some unwanted hitchhikers is there a way to dip or clean the rocks of pests and still keep it live with all the beautiful coraline algae?


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Old 11/17/2011, 11:19 PM   #25
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...is there a way to dip or clean the rocks of pests and still keep it live with all the beautiful coraline algae?
It's not the smartest thing I've ever done, but to get rid of the last few of my hitchhiking crabs (the ones so stubborn they wouldn't come out for even fresh water dips) I placed the pieces of LR that I suspected of having crabs into a bucket, then poured club soda through the holes/caves. The crabs got out in a big damn hurry.

It sounds extreme, but I suffered no discernible fallout for my ridiculous actions. I still have plenty of creepies and there was no increase in nitrates (i've never had ammonia). Before going crazy though, you could try an hour or two in a bucket without water with the lights off, or a short fresh water dip to see what you get.

All that being said, the time we spend with our live rock during the cycling process feels like a rite of passage. It's also a lot of fun. Maybe it gets old after you've set up several aquariums, but I think everyone in the hobby should go through those ups and downs at least once


**edit**
Here's the pic of my suspected eunicid - the pic isn't as good as sushi's (thanks so much for posting those!) but I think it's safe to call it a positive ID? Just above where the pics cuts off I have two colonies of Zoas




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2 MP10w 1 Koralia 425 PH, 3 Reef Brite LED Bars, 15g Sump
Tunze DOC Skimmer 9002 and 2 150w Eheim Jager Heater @ 78.5 degrees

Last edited by WetShepherd; 11/17/2011 at 11:31 PM.
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