Invertebrates are animals without a vertebral column. Insects, snails, clams, crabs, worms and octopus are all examples of invertebrates, while animals such as fish and mammals are vertebrates.
A lot of different invertebrates live in the sea and can be successfully kept in marine aquariums. In some set ups, the invertebrates are the main attraction, while others utilize invertebrates merely as clean-up crews or to add some extra features to what’s mainly a fish tank. Invertebrates are also popular as food for other organisms and sometimes live food avoid being eaten and manage to eke out an existence in the tank. Invertebrates can also be involuntary introduced to the aquarium since small creatures can be stowaways on unclean equipment, decorations and similar.
Examples of invertebrates sometimes kept by aquarists are coral, anemone, squid, octopus, cuttlefish, nautilus, crabs, clams, sea snails and sea slugs (including nudibranchs, sea hares and sea cucumbers). So called live-rock are often home to plenty of small invertebrates.
Invertebrates from widely different families have little in common except for the fact that they have no vertebral column, so it is advisable to research each type of invertebrate well before attempting to keep it in captivity.
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