When do hitchhikers appear?


New member
I'm almost to week three in the cycling / curing process, and I'm curious: when do hitchhikers typically appear? I had a small diatom bloom already, and I've got a single algae peppered rock, but when should I expect to see the other life living in those rocky holes? Could it be possible I lucked out and got "dead" live rock? I have 135 lb of Fiji Premium from LiveAquaria.com.


RC Mod
Staff member
RC Mod
No way to know. It can be hours, days, months or even years. You may not ever see anything, but they can die during the cycle too.


New member
Hitch hikers are usually a surprise. Unexpected critters. Not having them does not mean that you got "dead" live rock. The "live " part of the rock is beneficial bacteria that will break down waste and protein. You don't see them but they are hard at work breaking down ammonia and such.

Only a few more weeks and you should experience a rise in ammonia, a brown algae on the sand. That will go away. Then start adding fish.

BEST of luck and welcome to RC


New member
Oh no, I know what live rock is and why it's live. I was rather talking about nuisance critters like aiptasia, bristle worms, mantis shrimp, that sort of thing. :) I would love to see some "cool" hitchhikers, but if I can avoid the bad ones I'm a happy camper.


Hopelesly Addicted Member
Most stuff in live rock is not visible to the naked eye. The three things I tend to get are bristle worms and sometimes featherduster or micro brittle stars. If you have brittles you will likely never see them except an arm poking out at midnight. Featherdusters are tiny and if you look really close you might see some. look for little hard white tunnels on the rock.
If you don't have any bristleworms that is pretty suprising.
Try getting up late at night and looking into the tank with a red flashlight to see all these noctournal critters. Otherwise they will dartback into hiding.
Good luck!