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    No freelancing! OrionGirl's Avatar
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    Hitch Hikers Guide to Your Live Rock--or, What is that thing?

    Just thought it might be a good idea to post some links, and some general descriptions for the commonly found hitch hikers that come in with live rock.


    Eeeek! There are BUGS in my tank!

    Most likely not. There are a variety of micro fauna living in every healthy system, especially reefs. Copopods and amphipods are some of the most common ones around.


    What is that pink thing?

    Worms, worms, wonderful worms! Worms are the detrivores of the aquarium. There are many kinds--some bristle, some not, but most are harmless. Peanut Worms and bristle worms are very common, and are beneficial additions to the tank.

    Who is making all these little white coils?

    Stony tube worms! Some worms live in holes in the rock, others build their own, sometimes using secreations to glue together what ever is handy--crushed coral, sand, etc. They are not harmful, and tend to fluctuate--sometimes they are all over, other times you'll have to search to find more than one or two.

    Something clicking this way comes...

    Could be a problem child, otherwise known as a mantis shrimp. These little buggers can be the bane of the tank, or the centerpeice of a system. Two basic varieties--clubbers and spearers. Lighting fast, they are also knick named thumb splitters for good reason. The making a clicking noise when hunting, usually at night, and will kill mobile inverts (crabs and shrimps) and small fish. Eels and octopus will make short work of them, but may not work out in a reef. Several methods for their removal are available--commercial traps, DIY traps, or patience and some freshwater.




    More to come--including links to some of my favorite hitch hiker identification web sites! Please feel free to add your own critters and links as well!





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    Thumbs up

    GREAT! thread. Wish it was here when I started and was looking for info



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    No freelancing! OrionGirl's Avatar
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    Thanks--I think Boogie linked to all my favorite sites, except ...

    http://wish.wodonga.tafe.edu.au/kwaldon/hosts.htm for identifying anemones--not often seen on live rock, but just in case!

    http://www.rzuser.uni-heidelberg.de/~bu6/ Great for flat worms and nudibranchs, which pop up frequently, though many will not survive.



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    No freelancing! OrionGirl's Avatar
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    Just thought I would add:

    Sponges! Many, many kinds will hitch hike into your tank on live rock. Sponges tend to prefer high flow, low light areas--inside sumps and protien skimmers. Generally harmless, though many angels will make a snack of them. Sponges come in a variety of colors and shapes. They don't move, don't react to touch, and are, well, spongy if you touch them.

    http://www.aquarium-design.com/sponge.html



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    ok, I have this "thing" which I tried to match up to pictures on the hitchhikers web site to no avail. Can you help? Its either a polyp or anenome. Its NOT an aiptasia. I have already successfully hunted one of those. (I'll share my own version of a classic method if you'd like) This thing is flat, rather like a greenish sunflower. The tentacles are short and have club shaped ends. They lay fairly close to the rock, extend somewhat when lights are on. Any clues?



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    No freelancing! OrionGirl's Avatar
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    Sounds like a polyp--does it retract? Can you see a central mouth? How big is it?

    Does it look like this?

    http://www.shirleyaquatics.co.uk/pag...ge/coral01.jpg



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    Sort of, but not exactly the same, but then how many species of polyps are there?
    Like the picture it does have a central mouth. Its overall color is greenish to yellow green. The tentacles surround the mouth, but my creatures tentacles have rounded, clubby ends, and they're somewhat shorter. But I think basically the structure is the same.
    They are lying against the rock for the most part, but do extend outward somewhat; I see this movement when I turn the lights on; at the end of the day, they retract when I turn the lights out.
    Mine are not ocurring in a large cluster like the picture; there are two together on one rock, and a single one on another rock.
    Does this give you a basis for a closer id? will they multiply???



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    No freelancing! OrionGirl's Avatar
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    Not specifically, sorry. Does sound like a polyp--the ones in that link are usually called yellow polyps, and it sounds like yours has thicker feeders. Most polyps are not a problem--I can't think of any that would really be considered a pest. I wouldn't worry much--just watch them, and if they start reproducing in huge numbers, then you may need to remove them.



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    thanks!



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