By Charles & Linda Raabe
Mactan Island, The Philippines
© 2009 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Foraminiferans - The branching white type are usualy mistaken for a sponge, if you look closely you can see what looks like thin hairs at the ends of the stalks, these are the Rhizpodia which collect food particles, they also can be red and are usualy only a single stubby branch no more than 1/4 inch tall, which at first led me to believe they were a type of branching coraline algae. As you can see, this animal classification has many members which do not resemble each other much. Click on the link for a detailed article on this family group.
SEA SPIDERS - Most that are found in our tanks are very small and difficult to see, they are little predators usualy having a specific prey species, most do not last long in our systems. Click on the link for a detailed article on this species. Sea Spiders in the news.
SYNAPTID SEA CUCUMBER (medussa worms) - Same Family as sea cucumbers, but does not have the "feet" that sea cucumbers do, I find a variety of this species in the grass beds here, all seem to be harmless detritus feeders, spending their day just mopping up the grass and rocks for organic matter.
SEA CUCUMBERS- Its all but impossible to get a species specific ID on any but the most popular species that are offered for sale. From time to time you may find one that has hitch hiked in on some live rock or even sand. All of which can be considered harmless detritus feeders and should pose no problem as long as certain safe guards are in place to prevent their being harmed by pump inlets.
CTENOPHORES - I have only ever found or seen this creature living on the undersides of leather corals, it is very transparent and usualy only the very long stringy feathery feeding aparatus is noticed as it waves outstretched into the currents. Harmless filter feeder and will do no harm to the corals it hides under.
JELLYFISH - and their Schyphostome reproductive polyps which will bud off small jellyfish. The polyps are reported to able to inflict a very nasty sting with their nematocysts, so be careful in handling them. They are also extremely difficult to eradicate. Most hobbyist confuse the structures for hydroids when in fact there are numerous species of jellyfish which reproduce in this anchored polyp form.
Jellyfish reproduction shown in the below series of six photos, which results in a free swimming Cassiopeia andromeda
Jellyfish Schyphostome (reproductive polyps)
The Jellyfish Cladonema sp.
CLAMS - These tend to be a very frequent find on live rock and for the most part, do well in a reef tank, all of which are harmless phytoplanktonic feeders.
Below: A member of the Arciidae family
Various other species:
swimming file clam in the family Limidae
BARNACLES - Not a commonly found animal as they do not seem to do well over the long term in most systems. Both species shown have attached to corals, the first, causing no real harm, the second though is large enough to suppress the coral polyp and will most likely be a stress factor. While a few small species seems to cause the coral no harm, I would imagine if they were able to breed prolifically in an enclosed system they could start to cause coral health issues. Overall though, a harmless filter feeding and interesting to watch as they fan the water in an open/close motion while being able to turn the fan at will to take advantage of differing water currents.
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Used by permission. Many thanks to Charlies and Linda Raabe for their support. www.chucksaddiction.com