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Old 01-21-2004, 01:51 PM   #1
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Is this a brittle star???

I am fairly new to the saltwater/reef aquarium hobby. I have admired it for years, and now I have my own 65 Gal tank with about 60 lbs of liverock. I have recently noticed anywhere from 2 to 4 or 5 long thin extensions protruding from a small hole in one of my pieces of liverock. They appear to be about 1 to 2 inches in length, and only appear at night when my tank lights are off. If I shine a light on them, the retract back into the rock. Could this be a brittle star living inside the live rock? I never see it come out of the hole, (in fact, the long arms pretty much take up the entire diameter of the hole when they are extended) and I thought brittle stars lived in the sand or under liverock and came out at night. Thanks for any help in indentifying this mystery. -Kevin
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Old 01-21-2004, 02:33 PM   #2
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Sounds like it is a star, but possibly not a brittle. Brittles have spiky things on their legs, and there was no mention of these in your post. Being fairly new for you, and hoping that you already know this: Don't try to pull him out-his legs will fall off. He could very well reside there until he grows out of the hole.

Stacy
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Old 01-21-2004, 04:24 PM   #3
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actually, sounds to me like you are seeing bristtle worms. These are very common in LR and just fine to have in your system. One warning is to not try to touch them with your hands. The bristles are actualy tiny spines that will break off under your skin and cause a fair amount of iritation.
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Old 01-23-2004, 09:43 AM   #4
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Thanks for the info. I have seen a couple of bristle worms in my tank and have read that they are benefical detrius eaters. What I'm seening in that hole are a lot smaller in diameter and move very slowly. Now that you mention it Stacy, I have seen little spiky things on them and the coloration looks like it has thin black rings alternated with thicker reddish-brown rings. I've noticed it for about 3 months now. Thank you all again for the useful information.
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Old 01-23-2004, 09:49 AM   #5
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yeah I defimnately agree with Billy.. first thing I thought of was bristle worms..
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Old 01-24-2004, 09:58 PM   #6
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Bristle worms are pink for the most part.
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Old 02-18-2004, 08:53 PM   #7
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I have seen some bristle worms with some pink and blue, I have also noticed tiny serpent stars in my crushed argonite near the edge. They are sooooo tiny, but i can see the distinct center and five thin, long (relative to their current size) arms.
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Old 02-19-2004, 09:41 AM   #8
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Whats strange is you say that the hole is about the same size as the legs/worms. Since the star has a center disk that all the legs are connected to if the hole these legs are extending out of is no bigger than the leg itself then it leads to belive its more a worm than a star leg. Any chance on a photo?
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Old 02-19-2004, 05:23 PM   #9
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Whats strange is you say that the hole is about the same size as the legs/worms. Since the star has a center disk that all the legs are connected to if the hole these legs are extending out of is no bigger than the leg itself then it leads to belive its more a worm than a star leg. Any chance on a photo?
I will see if I can get a decent pic of the dwarf serpent in my tank. Just recently found it the other night looking for whelks. The descriptions sound similar. Five legs standing straight up in the water column.

Cheers
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Old 02-19-2004, 05:42 PM   #10
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i will also try to get a pic and submit. What's really strange is that the legs are split between two holes in close proximity of eachother. For example, 3 legs out of one hole and two out of another. I have only seen them at night and they vary which hole they extend from (one night they may all come out of one hole, the next I may only see 2 legs total, later, all five) and I've only counted 5 legs total at any one time.
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