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FAQs about Featherduster Worms 1 

Related Articles: Featherduster Worms, Polychaete Worms

Related FAQs: Featherdusters 2Tubeworms 3Tubeworm ID, Tubeworm Behavior, Tubeworm Compatibility, Tubeworm Selection, Tubeworm System, Tubeworm Feeding, Tubeworm Disease, Tubeworm Reproduction, Polychaete Identification, Polychaete Behavior, Polychaete Compatibility, Polychaete System, Polychaete Selection, Polychaete Feeding, Polychaete Disease, Polychaete Reproduction

Spirobranchus gigantea in the Bahamas

Feather duster worm Bob and friends, Could you please update your website with respect to feather duster worms? Lots of us are buying them because we read that they are easy to keep in your book. <What? Easy to keep? I hope this is not stated as such> OK, so we learn more over time but make sure you put a strong caution on your web page? http://www.wetwebmedia.com/feather.htm <Will read over the section there and on CMA and post your note> Feather duster not easy to keep happy. They shed their heads if they don't receive enough phytoplankton and they keep growing back smaller and smaller until they die over the course of a year. I HATE when things die a slow death (or die at all). http://www.reefcentral.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?s=&postid=616280#pos t616280 Rob Toonen and Ron Shimek have detailed descriptions of their requirements. http://www.aquarium.net/1096/1096_3.shtml http://www.reefcentral.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?s=&threadid=9819&hig hlight=toonen+and+worm Here's a site on phytoplankton. http://www.esvco.com/prod17.htm Thanks, Allyson <Thank you for your input, caring. Bob Fenner>

Feather dusters, hitchhiker id, bubble spewing powerhead One of the Shaving Brushes that I got in a mail order Thursday has a clump/blob/coil of yellow/orangish stuff that looks like a string of pearls. It is hard to the touch and is imbedded at the base of the green, right above the calcareous tube. The "pearls" are about 2-3 mm in diameter with an equal sized space between each and the next one and the "pearls" are held together with a strand of the same color. Do you have any idea what this might be? I have no digital camera or I would send a photo. <Could be a sex product or colonial invertebrate species of some sort...> Please advise about placement of feather dusters. I put them in the tank and this a.m. they are all laying down, rather than standing up, but are all open. One spewed out a bunch of cloudy puffs this morning. It didn't leave any mucus trails, just cloudy puffs, 6 or 7 of them. Does this signal trouble? <Not necessarily... but do take a look at the images on WetWebMedia.com re these polychaete worms... http://www.wetwebmedia.com/feather.htm should not be just laid on the bottom of your tank> Finally, billions of bitty bubbles are shooting out of my fully submerged, 1 week old, AquaClear 402 powerhead. It is located in the back right corner of my 46 gal bow front, below and slightly to the right of my SeaClone protein skimmer. In the back left I have an AquaClear 300 hang on filter. I turned off the protein skimmer and the powerhead is still shooting out tiny air bubbles is spurts, about every 10 seconds. I have no coral - unless it is slowly developing on the LR, but I haven't seen any yet. Do I need to stop this bubble shooting? If so, how do you suggest? <Please use the search feature... on the bottom of the homepage of WWM: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ inputting your search terms... and read through the many FAQs re "tiny bubbles" and your gear. Bob Fenner> TIA for your help. Jeanne

Chelmon rostratus & Christmas Tree Worm Hi Robert! <Steven Pro in today. Bob is in Arizona making a pitch to one of their local clubs.> Always Herv?the French aquarist owning the flounder ;-) I'd like you to confirm what I'm thinking : I have a Chelmon rostratus in my tank and someone would like to give me his Porites with "Christmas tree worms" but I'm afraid that the worms could become a great meal for my Chelmon! What do you think about that? <Yes, definitely would become food. The Porites and Christmas Tree Worms are popular, but fare rather poorly in captivity. The Porites are generally VERY bright light corals and the worms are difficult to feed. -Steven Pro>

Bisma rock (AKA Koko worm rock... a Porites species) hello, <Cheers... reefer Anthony Calfo in your service> I was wondering about purchasing some Bisma rock but I have gotten a lot of different responses some people say fish won't eat them and others say that they will leave them alone,  <my heavens... that really depends on the fish species!> they also told me the rock they are in is actually coral and if it dies the worms die also.  <half true...the rock is live coral (Porites species) but it does not die when the worms die. However.. this is one of the most demanding coral species (and fanworms) to keep alive. It needs extremely !!! high light (Metal halides almost without exception) and extraordinary water movement that will bother most fishes> I was wondering if you could give your opinion on the situation. I have a 3"red sea Sohal tang, 3"clown trigger, 3" Miniatus grouper, 6"Adult emperor angelfish, hermit crabs, snails, xenia, mushrooms, 100lb LR in a 100 gallon tank w/ reef sun lighting. thank you <the trigger and angel are both likely to make this addition a sacrifice and waste of money. Save part of the reef and don't buy it, my friend. Anthony Calfo> Ian Behnk

Harmful chemicals? Hi Robert,  <Anthony Calfo in your service> Two quick questions about recent happenings in my tank. 1) I recently bought a dwarf angel for my tank, and he has caused the worms in my Porites rock to hide all day. He actually hasn't really been picking at it, but I believe that his continues presence has scared them.  <hmmmmm... don't bet on it unless you have been peeping at night/early AM>> The rock used to be on the sand floor, but is now on the upper shelf, away from the angel most of the time.  <wow... be careful about moving the living Porites so suddenly (light shock).. a good way to bleach or kill it> I know that at night the worms come out to feed, but they used to come out all day and night.  <fare enough> Is this still adequate for the worms to survive?  <depends on available and appropriate foodstuffs> I am going to be getting a new tank in 2 months, but I need these worms to survive until then. Should I increase my planktonic feedings at night (phytoplankton and Black Powder)? <may not be necessary... but do review your use of Black Powder in light of scientific research and an intelligent consensus of such phyto substitutes efficacy. Some brands have been demonstrated to be useful and some useless. Look for Dr Rob Toonen's comparative study on the web about such substitutes and also look in the archives here at WWM for how best to apply phyto subs (must always be refrigerated, must be fish (less than six months old) and must be mechanically blended (blender) prior to each feeding for optimal particle size...else limited usefulness)> 2) Also, a rock fragment that had a xenia on it had recently fallen from its' perch and onto my green star polyp rock. The Star polyp rock has ever since been closed up completely. This has been for about a 36 hour period. I have raised the rock up closer to the light as well as in a good high current area underneath my skimmer spout. I am not sure if the xenia had exuded some kind of chemical compound to bother the rock, or if perhaps the angel is bothering it.  <absolutely no question that the fallen rock or Xenia had nothing to do with its retraction (Xenia are weakly aggressive). Dwarf angels are very often predatory on coral... rather nibblers> However, the angel had been in the tank for a couple of days without the polyp rock ever closing up. It only began to fully close after the xenia incident.  <unrelated... the star polyp may simply need better current, but now having been moved to a new light level it may take a little longer to open. Please review the article" Acclimatizing Symbiotic Reef Invertebrates" in the archives of WWM> Please help! Should I dip the rock in a Lugol's dip? Or should I just wait?  <Yikes... easy there fella! If you don't see an infection...lets not medicate.> And if I do wait, how long should I wait before I begin more drastic measures of curing the star polyps? I had taken a look this morning, and none of the polyps had come out. I am very concerned...Paullee <no worries my friend... this is an incredibly hardy animal. Test your water chemistry for peace of mind...watch the angle closer and let the coral adjust if you feel that the current is sufficient (random turbulent). Many stay closed under stress for more than a week. Kindly, Anthony>

Pitter Patter of little Feather Dusters Hey Rob, <<Not Robert, but JasonC filling while Bob is away diving.>> First, thanks for the advice on fixing my parasite problem (leave fish out for a month, raise temp, and lower sp. gravity), my new tankmates are now flourishing nicely (yellow tang, 2 cleaner shrimp, black and white striped damsel, blue w/yellow tail damsel). Now for my question. I just realized that one of my feather dusters moved to another part of my tank. The weird thing is (at least I think), is only the top part (head or feather part) separated from it's main body. I know they move body and all, but just the head? <<this is one of their mechanisms for reproduction - clone oneself and send the clone adrift.>> It seemed to attach itself (the feather part), underneath, a little piece of my button polyp coral, that had separated in the past. Is this normal, will it grow another body, and will the original body grow another head? <<all normal, should grow a new crown in a little time.>> Thanks, Joe <<You are welcome. Cheers, J -- >>

Feather Duster Color Oscillation Bob, I recently purchased a feather duster via mail order. It arrived without a crown but seems to be regrowing it nicely - it is about 3/4" long now after about 2 weeks. It was collected somewhere off Florida. It looks as if the worm might be splitting into 2 worms within the same tube. I see two separate cones. What I wanted to ask you about is a strange color oscillation in the worm(s). It is very subtle but the color changes from lighter brown to a darker brown and then back. The period of the oscillation is about 5 seconds. The two sides or two worms seem to oscillate opposite of each other. While one is light the other is dark and then the swap. Like I said it is very subtle but definitely happening. I can't attribute this to any fluctuations in lighting and even that wouldn't explain why half of the worm changes and then the other half. It seems to do this all the time. I noticed it about 2 days ago. I just wonder if you have seen this before or if it is unusual. It is very curious either way. God must have a sense of humor. Kenneth <Indeed. Yes, have observed... a normal behavior. You have keen observation skills. Bob Fenner>

Featherduster Fellows, Have you ever seen a feather duster actually come right out of it's casing, worn part and all, and then start worming around looking for another home, or is this thing on it's way out. Just got it yesterday and while I was watching it come right out and floated to the substrate all by itself. It's moving around a lot, like it is physically OK. I have attached a picture - top right you can see it's casing, and the worm itself on the bottom left. It seems to be trying to make another home. Thanks once again for the absolutely fabulous advice and kind patience. <Please read through the Featherduster FAQs page on WetWebMedia.com here. Not an uncommon occurrence. Bob Fenner> John

Coral Choice and Strange Pseudochromis The tank is a 20 long with 25 lbs. of LR, a pair of powerheads, a Prizm protein skimmer, 2.5" of LS, a small (but growing) handful of Sawblade Caulerpa, a 3/4" ORA maroon clown, a 3/4" tank-raised Pseudochromis springeri, and a 2" bicolor blenny who is slowly recovering from HLLE. <You may want to try soaking their foods in Boyd's Vita-Chem and/or Selcon from American Marine. Both are excellent supplements and good for treating HLLS.> There are also a couple of turbo snails, ~5 blue leg hermits, and 3 red leg hermits. Nitrates are at about 10 ppm, and we are getting a calcium and an alkalinity test before we even get the lights so we can monitor that. Right now, the lighting is a single NO fluorescent, but next week my fianc?and I are adding a pair of 65 watt, 10,000K PC's (JBJ fixture). This will give us a total of 130 watts over a 12" tank. We have been putting together a list of the sessile inverts we would like to keep, and would really like your opinion. So far, we want to add (in this order): Feather duster <The Feather Duster is not photosynthetic and will require daily feedings. You can read more about their care here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/feather.htm and here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/featherfaqs.htm> Green star polyps Small Tridacna sp. clam <The only small clam is the crocea and not to be recommended to beginners.> Bubble coral Brain coral These will be added at a rate of one or two every couple of weeks over a period of months. Does this sound feasible? <The rate of addition sounds good. See other notes above.> Also, what do you think the chances are that the clown will keep house with the bubble coral? <Hard to say. A frequently mentioned surrogate for an anemone is the toadstool leather.> My second question is about our springeri. He seems to be really attached to the crabs. He rubs up against them and worries them, but not like he is going to eat them, more like he is trying to move them or wants them to clean him. He does this with both the red legs and the blue legs. It is the most bizarre thing I have ever seen, and no one at our dealer's has any idea why he would do this. I was hoping that you, in your semi-infinite marine wisdom, might be able to shed some light on his behavior. <I do not know what he is doing. It seems odd to me that a captive raised fish would still have the instinct to approach for a cleaning. Maybe that is why he is approaching the wrong kind of animal. If you want to see cleaning behaviors, try one of the cleaning shrimp, Lysmata amboinensis or grabhami.> As always, your willingness to share is much appreciated! Laura Rushing <You are quite welcome. -Steven Pro>

Fanworms and a Healthy Malu Anemone! <Greetings Benji... Anthony Calfo here for Bob while he is undercover as a park wiener vendor for the CIA...or was it the NSA, hmmmm maybe the FBI (no... not the Full Blooded Italians, the Federal Bureau of...oh, never mind> Attached are some pictures of some critters that I have in my tanks. I'm not sure if they are Aiptasia or some other harmless type worm. <the latter, goombah. They are sexy and desirable fanworms. Nice to have around although a bit prolific> They are very sparse in my main tank, but very heavy in my 29 gallon cycling/quarantine tank. It is most likely the total lack of any other tank mates in the 29 gallon that lets them get their numbers so high there. <nope... other reasons like dissolved organics/sediments, etc> Also I have attached 2 pictures of my anemone. I have only had him a few weeks now, but he is much more brown than when he first arrived. How much more color will he gain or does he look pretty ok. Thanks for your time. <Browner would be much better with dark purple tips. To often these "Malu/Singapore" anemones arrive yellow or white with pink tips and even sell at a higher price... pretty ironic for a bleached, starved and unnaturally colored animal that will almost certainly die within a six months to a year! Anthony>

Feeding a Feather Duster <Steven Pro filling in for Bob for awhile.> I have an XL Hawaiian feather duster I try to feed him with turkey baster just like the rest of my filter feeders but he does not retract, just sits there wide open...I am feeding a blend of fresh brine shrimp, flake, Zo? Nori, and invert food <I hope you are using baby brine shrimp, crushed flake food, and ground up Nori. Feather dusters feed on fairly small plankton.> Bob oh guru of the aquaria please help, is this normal?? <Yes, they pass the food down to the mouth and will not retract when feeding.> I guess I expected him to pull food into his tube and consume there. I have read the section on these guys to no avail!....Thanks in advance AGAIN!...Joe Grunstad <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Feather Duster Lovin' hello. Tim from Wisconsin here.  <Greetings Tim... Anthony Calfo here answering mail for Bob whilst he is out getting fitted for wings and a flight harness to perform as baby Cupid at shopping malls for Valentine's day> I read all I could on feather duster questions and answers. Very interesting! I really love this site, now added to favorites.  <me too...an amazing amount of information and soon to be expanding much bigger...look out for it> My question is, I had purchased two Hawaiian feather dusters about two weeks ago. They are going strong. <they are filter feeders, bud. Be prepared> As I was looking at my tank tonight, I saw three more dusters , real small, but just like the Hawaiian dusters. One is on a piece of rock that I just put in the tank two days ago. My question is, besides breaking in two, do these dusters have other ways to reproduce? (i.e. eggs. ) Any answer would be greatly appreciated.  <the successful sexual reproduction of "Hawaiian feather dusters" is not likely or possible in the short period of time that you've had your little beauties. You are noticing entirely different species of fan worms appearing from your live rock (or like product). They may never grow anywhere near as large, but they are wonderful just the same. Enjoy. Anthony>

Feather Duster Hello, I have a Sabellastarte feather duster (Giant Hawaiian) that just Dropped its crown. I know they do this when they are extremely stressed, but the work has been under no abnormal stress. Do the worms also drop their crown in order to adapt to changing conditions (e.g. different food supply)? <Yes... and this genus from Hawai'i is known/notorious for this> I normally feed some freeze dried brine shrimp once a week along with my daily feedings of my few fish. The only changes that I have made are: began soaking food in Selcon, added a KI solution (added 10-15 drops to my 40 gallon, about every other day for about a week, one drop per gallon produces one gallon of .06 mg/L I-), and fed once with Julian Sprung?s Phytoplex. Everything else (except the gorgonian) seems to be doing good. I am curious as to the other causes other that stress for the loss of the crown. One final question, should I leave the crown in (possible reproduction?) or take it out? <Leave all in. Maybe take a gander at the polychaete FAQs here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bristlewrmfaqs.htm and beyond. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Kevin Cossel

Mystery Creature Dear Mr. Fenner, <Jodie... Anthony Calfo sitting in for the traveling Bob show> I am new to the aquarium scene. I've had my 55-gal set up and cycling with 2 yellow-tailed blue damsels for about a month. I recently bought a very (I mean very) small piece of live rock from Fiji. After about a week of introducing it to my tank, I have noticed an unusual creature. It is only about a centimeter in length, and clear bluish "petals" that shoot back into its tube when I shine a light on it. I've taken a magnifying glass (it's right in the front of my tank -- easily visible) and I can see two tiny black dots moving around inside the "petals" or tentacles. I was excited thinking I'd gotten a free feather duster, but after reading about some nuisance anemones that retract into tubes, I'm concerned.  <not an Aiptasia at least... they are not tube animals> I've looked all over the net and can't seem to find any pictures about this creature. <search this and other sites better for pictures of "feather" worms using the keyword like "fan worm" (more specific and likely in your tank than a large "Feather Duster" species>  I read every letter in your Aiptasia section, just to end up more confused. I just need to know if I should be excited, or worried that my tank has cancer.  <relax... most likely another treasure of the sea> Any info you could give me would be greatly appreciated! Thanking you in advance, Jodie PS You seem to be a great source of knowledge! Is there anything you don't know? =) <if you can send a digital picture, I'm sure I could help with the identification of the mystery animal...regards, Anthony>

Re: feather duster blew its top! Thanks for the quick reply; I'll try a Fromia next, but this morning my feather duster looked as if it had simply retracted into its tube as it does sometimes, until I saw...YIKES...a mass of tentacles on the sand across the tank!.. The LFS who sold it to me about a month ago said, "They do that sometimes; they blow their top(sic), and it's often not a problem. It might grow back or it could mean it's dead...wait and see." > That didn't sound plausible, let alone likely, but I thought I'd get your opinion... Thanks in advance. <Good to gather, consider a few data points. Bob Fenner>

Butterfly and feather duster - compatible? Hi Robert, Great site! I use it whenever I need to research a new addition. <Ah, good to be acknowledged for what one is, hopes to be... this to me (my working definitions) is the essence of "love"> I'm thinking of adding a butterfly to my tank (either a threadfin or lemon.) I have three Hawaiian feather dusters already established. Will they be safe? Or is adding a butterfly a bad idea? <Should be fine with these fish/es... as long as there is food otherwise... a large enough system, lots of live rock, regular feeding... not much likelihood of predation. Bob Fenner> Regards, Kevin Olayan

Continuing saga of the disappearing feather duster: Continuing saga of the disappearing feather duster: Hello again Robert, I have been gathering quite a bit of info at your web site, one fact about feather dusters "blowing their tops". Well, my missing duster was found last night! I was looking at it's tube, when low and behold it slowly emerged, then went back in, then,.... emerged again, and "POP"! The little sucker jettisoned into the wild blue yonder! It floated away to my amazement in the current, and I was surprised that my Dominos didn't even blink an eye as it floated by, waving its arms along the way! I followed it to the bottom corner of LR, in which it found itself a nice crevice to sit in. Then, this morning, it was on the sand, dangerously close to a powerhead, in which case, I promptly pulled the plug! So now, my question is: Did this Duster reproduce?  <Mmm, no... just moved, changed locations> What will become of the tube,... another duster? <Maybe... or the "old worm" may simply build a new house about it> Thanks for this fun site! Pamela Mary <Thank you for being part of it. Bob Fenner>

Sick feather duster fan worm and calcium questions Hi, hope you're doing well and have a happy holiday season! I 've had a feather duster for about a week and it seems very sick. The last half of it's tube ( distal end where it's attached to rock) is turning black, soft, and ugly --was originally all a uniform gray and quite hard.  Also it no longer retracts the fan when approached or touched. I plan to take it back to LFS to see what they think, but I trust your opinion more...any ideas?  <Not good... dead or dying...> My system: 46 with 70 # LR, 60 # aragonite, Eheim, CPR BakPak, one MJ powerhead. Temp-77, SG 1023-1024, AMMONIA, nitrites, and nitrates all zero, Calcium 300(red sea) and 340(hagen), pH 8.2-8.4, and alk approx 3.2(red sea; I have a hard time with the color comparison and may try a different brand test kit). Livestock - one fan worm , scarlet hermits, snails, 5 soft corals, and one bubble coral> BTW, the bubble sometimes seems a little shriveled up for sev. hrs to a day or so then seems fully distended and fine again. Is this variability normal? <Yes> I've had it about two weeks; it's about 8" below two 96 watt PCs (one blue one on 14 hrs/day; one 10,000K daylight on 12 hrs/day ). It's fairly close to the return from the Eheim, so the bubbles are in constant motion that doesn't seem too violent to me , but I have nothing by which to judge how much flow is ok. When it's shrunken, it's also sort of beige instead of the usual pure white. Sound OK? <Yes, typical> The calcium question is what's the best way to get it up to 400-450. <A working calcium reactor> I'm using C-balance(2 part) and did a 10% h20 change but it 's staying low. How does one know whether to just use more of the C-balance I'm not up to the max dose), or to add a Ca supplement? <Need to have records... one way, of alkalinity changes with addition of part 2 here... if not depressing alkalinity, can add more part 2> Should the 2-part supplement always be used in equal amounts? <Not always... depends on readings for calcium/biominerals and alkalinity, desires, livestock...> I've read the site but can't seem to find an answer there. Thanks as always for your help;; I hate to think what it would be like to get started in this hobby without your guidance. Happy New Year! PS Just called the LFS re the fan worm and they were very uninterested in even looking at it! <I'll bet.> I'm is the SF bay area and can't believe the shortage of decent marine stores! any recommendations in my area? maybe I just haven't found the best ones. <Nippon Goldfish (not just goldfish as you will see.). Bob Fenner> Re: Sick feather duster fan worm and calcium questions Thanks for instant response! very much appreciated!!. Nippon was the store in question, I'm afraid; <Yikes... do you know Steve there?> lately they've seemed very unhelpful and their livestock looks pathetic, except for this one feather duster which was beautiful in their tank and now may be dying. Actually the back half of its tube is more greenish and almost translucent, not really black and its fan is waving and looking fine.  <Oh! Then do just leave it in place...> If it is dying , does it sound like I ;ve done anything to kill it? I don't want to get more if so till I figure it out. About the calcium: like so many of your ;;correspondents, I'm trying to get by without another expensive piece of gear, for now anyway. I'm unclear what kind of records you're referring to. <The tests you do for the qualities in question... do you keep a journal of when, what was observed?> My Ca levels have been about 300-350 all along;; pH seems to be slowly drifting down from 8.4 to 8.2; Alk also drifting down from 3.6 to 3.2-3.4; have been using 15 ml of each of the 2-part C-balance daily or almost daily). I tested the Ca in my QT tank which is empty and it's also in the 300-350 range. What should it be in newly made up SW with Instant Ocean?  <If memory serves closer to 400... their (Aquarium Systems) reef salt mix is even more artificially boosted> As long as I test the parameters, is there any reason not to experiment with going up to the max dose on the C-Balance and also adding a pure Ca supplement?  <Not really. Just take your time.> There are so many brands out there... any recommendations on either brand or type( chloride, hydroxide, liq, solid, etc)? Thanks again! <Stick with one manufacturer's line unless you know exactly the chemical composition of the materials you're using, and their interactions. Bob Fenner>

Re: Sick feather duster fan worm and calcium questions Hi, again, just checked the KNOP website to learn more about the Ca reactors and it seems you need a sump to use one; <Mmm, not so... can discharge directly into systems> I forget to mention that I'm sumpless...if I don't have clams or lots of hard corals what's a minimum acceptable Ca level, anyway? Isn't the ocean about 380? <Please read over the calcium and related sections posted on WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner>

Keeping Polychaeta [Co-co] Worms Hello Robert, I was reading your web page and it has been the most comprehensive page on Polychaete worms I have found so far. <Amazing... as this group deserves much, much more... for instance, I intend to collect, micro-photograph example worms, perhaps write up the more common families in detail...> About 2 weeks ago I bought a Co-Co worm from my LFS. I think it is a Spirobranchus gigantea, although they do not give species names. It has a calcareous tube with two red feathered heads at the top. It is a gorgeous worm and I paid 60 dollars for it. <Wow!> I currently run a 29 gal with an altered eclipse hood-(55 watt Smart Lites) and a protein skimmer in the tank. I have 2 Leathers, Mushrooms, a Hawaiian featherduster, Waiving Hand Xenia, Flame Scallop, 2 Banggai Cardinals, a cleaner shrimp, and an Alveopora I bought with the Co-Co worm. I was feeding DT Phytoplankton once every 2 - 3 days. Mysis Shrimp every 1 -2 days. <Sounds very nice> The guy at the LFS said I was feeding enough to keep the Co-Co worm and that I would need to raise my calcium. So I started a Kalkwasser drip into the tank For about a week the worm was out and beautiful. He was out all the time, day and night and only retreated when startled. Then he retracted farther and farther into his tube so that the entire head was retracted into the tube within 3 days. On day 2 I went back to my LFS and asked about the worm and took a sample of my water to them. The guy at the store said my water parameters were ideal, the resident specialist said that Co-Co worms were "swine" and needed so much food that you tended to foul the water trying to feed them. <Mmm, I disagree... perhaps more concentrated feeding with a baster would do...> He suggested that the worm could be doing one of two things. One- I am not feeding him enough and he has retracted into his tube after not finding any food in the water. (If the worm is hungry, why isn't he fully extended looking for food?) <Many possibilities... I suspect the water quality is not to this animal's liking. Do consider switching from the Kalkwasser to a two-part liquid supplement here> Two- The food I am feeding him is too fine and he is remaking his feathers so they are more efficient in filtering the DT Phytoplankton out of the water. So I have been hand feeding the worm DT Phytoplankton once everyday, I turn off the protein skimmer for about an hour when I feed. He now comes out about a quarter of the way but no more. So far the rest of my corals have been doing well under this new regiment of feeding, as a matter of fact I think they like it. I am keeping an eye on the Alveopora as he is photosynthetic while the others can filter feed. Unfortunately DT Phytoplankton is not cheap. <Look for similar foods that come in larger sizes... or consider culturing unicellular green algae for your use. Not hard to do> After reading your article I am raising my salinity from 1.022 to 1.024 and see what happens I may take it higher to 1.025. What do you suggest? I am also going to look for a website that sells nauplii or rotifers (frozen I hope). Maybe that will help. Any insight would be GREATLY APPRECIATED!! Thank you very much for your time, Trilby Wilson <You display all the knowledge, ideas I have on the subject. I would continue with them. Bob Fenner> Feather Duster Question Hey Bob, <Hello> Hannah from Nova Scotia, Canada chattin to ya now. I've read your web site, and the FAQ's for many things already, but not sure on this one....we bought a Hawaiian Feather Duster from our "good" LFS a few months back....we placed him low in the tank, and all was fine. He blew his crown, ran to your web site and learned all was "ok".... <Generally> we have since added more live rock, a few more fish, and of course I had to rearrange the rock (didn't like the way they looked, didn't look 'real'), but before I did that, his tube was slowly disappearing, and the next day I noticed him hiding behind one of the rocks beside his tube....I pulled the tube and kept an eye on him for the next few days. All was fine until I couldn't find him (this was my excuse to DH to change the rocks around), and low-and-be-hold there he was....no tube yet...but he was still alive. Now it's been about 2 months later and he is still kicking, but no tube yet??? <Takes a while, materials, food...> and his feathers still aren't fully back......not sure what to do...He used to love to be fed, along with my anemone, green open brain, Octobubble...but I can't get to him now (way in back under egg-crate)......would you mind being so generous as to share your wealth of knowledge on this for me..... <Leave this animal be... and try not to be too fastidious about keeping the system "clean". Cleanliness is not sterility> Tanks Specs: 66 gal @70lbs live rock temp 79 1 5500 MH 2 10000 reg fluor 3 actinics 303 Fluval biological filter 15 gal sump w/carbon bags, live sand, snails red sea prism protein skimmer mult power heads levels are all 0 1 purple tip anemone 1 Octobubble (which was pretty near gone, but looks nice and perky now) 1 green open brain (you should see this thing after feeding time......WOW) 1 md size green star polyps 1 sm size green start polyps 1 candy cane 1 leather devil fingers yellow polyps 4 bunches of anthelia 1 sm bunch of xenia 2 green/purple Ricordea mushrooms 1 small mushroom (red with a bit of green tint....but only one??) multi snails multi hermit crabs 2 black serpent stars 1 red crab 1 green emerald 1 yellow Sailfin tang 1 electric blue damsel 1 domino damsel 1 clarkii clown (actually looks like and arf/arf of clarkii and allardi) he also prefers to play in the md size green star polyps then the anemone..... 1 Banggai cardinal 1 green mandarin (my baby ! ) 1 tubeless Hawaiian feather duster I hope I didn't leave any information out....If I did. you can yell at me later...... TIA for any help you can offer...... <Thanks for your frank and enjoyable write-up... do leave off with the carbon filtration, and try not to worry, or move things around. This "duster" will likely regenerate in time. Bob Fenner> Hannah

Help, my featherduster's gone mad... Hey there-- Quick question this time. My feather duster is shooting a small cloud at fairly regular intervals. Is this a response to perceived aggression? Reproduction? <More likely the latter> It's had physical contact (slight brushing) with other items in the tank before without this kind of response. Are other organisms susceptible to this cloudy emission? <All sorts... for apparent egestion/elimination and reproduction... Bob Fenner> Cheers, Derek P.S. Ich treatment seems to be improving, though parasites remain stubborn on one fish in spite of copper readings that say medication is in the right range. If my copper (Cupramine) had fallen out of solution (new hospital tank with coral sand) would I be getting false readings from a copper test? <No, shouldn't if the kit is matched chelate with chelated copper: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/coppertestfaqs.htm>

Live rock question hi Robert, I have newly discovered your site and find it very interesting and helpful. <Glad we have found each other> I am just starting up my saltwater tank and had a question for you. I'm hoping you can help me out on the problem of (and am not sure exactly what they are) but they're thin white almost transparent worm looking things that come out from my rocks and collect sand from the floor and make tunnels all over my rocks. Are these sweeper tentacles?  <Mmm, no. Usually called tentacular/feeding crowns. Of tubiculous (tube-building) sedentariate (they don't move about) polychaete (lots of bristles as opposed to oligochaetes "few bristles" like earthworms) annelids (segmented worms)...> Are they harmful? and if so, how do I get rid of them? <Not harmful, likely will pass on their own. More beneficial as filter feeders, food for your livestock. Just keep the viewing panels wiped clean of them and enjoy.> I hope you know what I'm talking about, thank you, Joe <Very common, no problem. Bob Fenner>

Feather Duster Worms In my set up, how many feather dusters can I add? I don't want to over strip the water <Indeterminate number... depends on species, health (dead, dying ones can/will pollute a system)... your desires.> Recall set up: My system: 9 weeks old --> 75 gallon 15x24x48, Sump --> 30 gallon sump with bioballs (all over flows and returns are in a trapezoid in the back middle of the tank), UV sterilizer, Berlin protein skimmer, 150 watt heater never on); Natural filtration --> 90 lbs. live rock (FFE), 80 lbs. live sand (FFE), good water circulation (all via powerful return pump and four return pipes), 96 x 4 PC lights (two actinics, two daylight), all cycled -- daylight 7 hrs day, 9 hrs actinic. My Parameters: Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate = 0, Temp swings from 77-81 during most 24 hour periods, Strontium and Calcium added periodically. Livestock: Kole Tang, Hippo Blue Tang, One True Perc Clown, Banggai Cardinal, Samoan Blue Rim Clam, Large Wrasse, Leather Coral (two heads) Large Button polyp colony, 50 gallon clean up crew (FFE), 75 gallon reef relief (FFE), two large cleaner shrimp, and one more sifting star. <Please read over the "Selection" parts of our site on livestock, and Feather Dusters. Bob Fenner>

Feather Dusters Bob, Great site and it took me forever to find it.  <Wonder how we could make ourselves more evident> I am looking to "try" to propagate SABELLASTARTE MAGNIFICA, and am trying to do some massive research over the internet. Some questions that I can't seem to find the answers to are: 1. Do you know of a substrate that simulates the mud they live in? <The very mud they ARE found in...> 2. I've seen sites that say asexual and sexual reproduction for them, if it's sexual how do you know if you have a male or female? <No worries... will change, rise to the occasion> 3. Has anyone successfully mated or at least had a worm "branch" off from the main tube? <Assuredly> 4. Any sites you can recommend would be greatly appreciated. <Libby Hyman's work on polychaetes... Robert Barnes Invert. Zoo, "Buzz"baum... really, a computer search bibliography at a college library. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Matt S.

Re: Feather Dusters > Bob, > Great site and it took me forever to find it. > <Wonder how we could make ourselves more evident> Well I had to do a search at google.com using the scientific name, and it was on the second set of links. There was only 10 links I believe, but again it had to be the scientific name, which required some digging through the internet also. <Thank you for this> > 1. Do you know of a substrate that simulates the mud they live in? > <The very mud they ARE found in...> Actually I'm in Michigan so getting my hands on that stuff would be a little difficult, unless you care to ship me a couple pounds? ;) But any ideas for synthetic or other that I can order. <You could ask your local fish store to let you gather the mud/muck in their live rock curing tubs (really), or next best I'd order a pound or two of Leng Sy's "miracle mud": http://www.ecosystemaquarium.com/index.html> > 4. Any sites you can recommend would be greatly appreciated. > <Libby Hyman's work on polychaetes... Robert Barnes Invert. Zoo, > "Buzz"baum... really, a computer search bibliography at a college library. > Bob Fenner Ok, I'll do some more research on those. <There is MUCH known about the group... Bob Fenner> Thanks again, Matt S.

Featherduster Worms I have had a Feather duster in my tank now for about a month and last night it slid out of it's tube and moved about half way across my 55 gallon tank. I have read your FAQ's on this but it doesn't seem to conform to any of the previous discussions. This particular feather duster has not lost any of it flumes (as would be normal if it was stressed) and as of this morning it has yet to attach to any of my live rock. Is this normal?  <Hmm, yes... as in, "this happens"... and your mobile featherduster may well build itself another tube/home> Should I try to move the feather duster into a hole in my live rock so that it may attach and have some protection.  <No... it can/will move itself if so inclined> I am not really worried about anything picking on it as there is very little in the tank right now. Also what does the feather duster need as far as supplement/tank condition to start building a new tube? Thanks <Some particulate feeding... a couple of times a week... detailed on the WWM sites "feeding" FAQs. Bob Fenner>

Featherduster Question Hi there. Hopefully you can answer a question that I've been unable to find the answer to. <I'll try> I've read the article and FAQ on www.WetWebMedia.com (GREAT site, BTW) on featherdusters, but couldn't find anything that directly addressed this. I have 3 featherdusters, two of which blew their crowns after a nasty sea cuke accident. When I was reaching in there to clean up some bits of "leftovers", I knocked one of the dusters off of the live rock I had set it on (fairly new and hadn't attached yet). When picking it up, I noticed that the tube felt very flimsy. Curious, I felt the other one I got as well as the established one, and those were flimsy as well, not like the established one felt like when I placed him in the tank. Any guidance on this? Could it be a lack of calcium or something? Do the tubes deteriorate? <The tube-building polychaete worms do indeed require good water quality and ready silicate, carbonates, protein to build their homes... the basic guidelines, levels for reef aquariums for water are fine here, in addition to regular feeding. Bob Fenner> Thanks. ~Scott

Please help. (featherduster worm losing its head, Kathy Lee will you cover that?) Hello, I have a feather duster worm which has been doing very well for the last two months since I bought it. Well, last night, I discovered it started to move it's entire body OUT OF IT's tube! Today, I discovered that it completely left it's tube and is sitting at the base of one of my peces of live rock. Plus it's feather's are withering away (though I understand that this is normal). <This happens> Is the whole, "leaving the tube" thing a bad sign? <Not necessarily... and if you've read through the "Featherduster Worm FAQs" posted on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com you've read over others experiences with similar events... Not much to do, or worry about... and likely "another head" coming right up...> What should I do? <Keep your system optimized and stable... and enjoy, learn from it. Bob Fenner> Doug

Feather duster Hi Mr. Fenner, I recently relocated my established 75 gal. reef tank into a 120, everyone survived the move very nicely. The reason I'm writing is my feather duster has been going through some changes since the move. He hasn't lost his crown and from what I've read he would lose this if he was stressed. The tannish papery tube in which he resides has been deteriorating away. It began getting transparent at the tail end approx. 1 week ago and has been eroding away towards the opening. I can very clearly see 75 % of the worm now and only a small amount of his tube is remaining. what do you suggest I do? I'm thinking one of the crabs arrow for bristle control, sally lightfoot, emerald and dozens of blue legs) in the tank may eat him. Thanks Ray <All too possible that the Arrow or Sally may have a go, or have had one for that matter, at eating this worm... The waning you mention is not unusual, and with time, feeding (try the DT's phytoplankton mixed, soaked with Selcon trick...) it will likely rebuild its tubiculous home. Bob Fenner>

Re: feather duster foods Hi again Mr. Fenner, Thanks for the advice. I called our nearest fish store, which is close to 2 hrs away, and they do not have phytoplankton. They said they have Marine Snow, any comments?  <Yes, this stuff is a scam... no real nutritional value... a real shame on TLF. Sorry Jules, my opinion> Anyway, do you know of a store on the web where we could get some? <Look on the www.WetWebMedia.com Links pages... and jump to the folks listed there as etailers...> Also, how much phytoplankton and Selcon do we give? Thanks again! Mercedes <Directions on the bottles... Bob Fenner>

Featherdusters Hi Bob, love the site-its my first visit. I have two large featherdusters (Sabellastarte magnifica) which were doing fine. I haven't seen the 'dusters' out now for a couple of days, and a close inspection has revealed lots of tiny white critters running all over them. Also one of the tubes has started to change to an unhealthy black colour. I've read thru the FAQ on the site - but I don't believe they are reproducing - they haven't shed their heads. Do I need to be worried - or just patient. <I am worried...> If a worm dies, will it pollute my tank? <Not much... how to put this?... There is not really that much protein, fats, carbohydrates to these animals... that is, they don't have much potential for pollution... and most systems have more "efficient" filtration mechanisms than the worms might use in their perishing> Thanks for any advice you could give. Phil <I would pull them out, give them a whiff... if they've died, been consumed... you will know... Bob Fenner>

Re: Featherdusters Bob. Thanks for the very swift response. I tried to remove the 'dodgy' looking Featherduster but it was well anchored to the substrate/live rock. <Yep, this is "non-biological", i.e. "dead" adhesive the animal provided... that will retain its tube for some time... whether there is anyone "home" or not...> I was concerned that I was going to do more harm than good so I left well alone. I guess I'll just have to monitor closely? <Not too closely... as I stated before... practical consequences of these animals perishing is not a big trouble... in an otherwise well-maintained, well-filtered system...> I think the critters might be amphipods or possibly isopods. I'd like to examine one closely - but I cant catch one! lol. Thanks, Phil <They're pretty easily trapped in and amongst filter media suffused with something meaty... like in a plastic pipe section, or fitting during the dark/night... and lifted, netted suddenly... Bob Fenner>

Re: Featherdusters Thanks Bob Managed to take one of the FDs out of the tank complete with the LR it was attached to. The worm is still alive but out of its tube and attached to the bottom of the LR. I've obviously put it back and guess I'll just have to hope it will build itself another tube? <Only time will/can tell> I couldn't look at the other duster as it was attached/underneath a large piece of rock. Phil <Bob Fenner>

Fish Show Hello there Bob, Question: Do you know of a marine fish/reef show in the Chicago Area? <Am sure there is at least a "tank tour" type of one... have you contacted the local society? URL is on the Links pages on www.WetWebMedia.com> Question: Growing from my live rock, several critters with a tan center tube with several upward pointed filaments at the top end. Whole thing is about 3/8-1/2 inch long. Any idea what it is? <Sedentariate polychaete annelid worms... types of feather dusters... see the above site for pix, more> Question: 72 gal reef, 70 pounds live rock, trickle filter and protein skimmer. Water quality excellent. Current stocking: 4 False Percula Clowns (Amphiprion ocellaris), 1 Lunare Wrasse (Thalassoma lunare), 1 Sailfin Tang (Zebrasoma veliferum), 1 Lawnmower Blenny (Salarias fasciatus), 1 Royal Gramma (Gramma loreto), 1 Rainford's Goby (Amblygobius rainfordi), an assortment of hermit crabs, turbo snails and 2 Tonga Abalone (Haliotis sp.). I would like to add one bright blue fish and a couple of cleaner shrimp. Think I can do it? If so, any recommendations? <See the WWM site... about the Cleaners, Fish Selection, and that Abalone...> Comment: A reader recommends Chicagoland LFS, Living Seas and The Sea Shell, two very good shops. Would also recommend Scott's in Westchester, Illinois, less of a selection, but good hearty stock. <Okay, thanks for this... will post for others use.> Love your web site, and keep up the good work. <Thank you my friend. Bob Fenner> Regards, Frank Canzolino

FD Featherduster Worm Update Bob--thanks for your past responses and insights. I just purchased a copy of your book, "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist," on eBay.  <What? Sniff, someone's giving up their copy!?> I can't wait to get it and read it from cover to cover.  <Am sure you'll enjoy, benefit from the experience> (I noted from comments about your book on WWM that all the retailers are out of stock, and I also found that to be true. eBay is always the first place I look for hard-to-find items.) If anyone else inquires, let them know that they can buy your book on the web at http://www.bestfish.com <http://www.bestfish.com> , or on eBay (listings posted by this seller), while supplies last. They only had two of the books up for auction this morning, and I've already snapped up one of them! <Will post this, thanks> On the featherduster--last night when I got home from work, he was partially retracted into his new tube. Seems that he has already regenerated about 1/2" of it--so he's going to be fine. Tough little devil. <Yes, amazing animals... you will see I've had many interesting personal experiences with polychaetes...> One other note--we put in 3 small horseshoe crabs on Sunday to help stir up the sand and eliminate some of the detritus at the bottom of the tank. Two were doing fine and emerged last night during the tank feeding. I found the third on his back near the back of the tank, in acute distress--his legs were moving much like those of an insect that had received a spray of insecticide--retracting and extending very slowly.  He was unable of self-mobilization. I removed him into a glass of tank water for examination. He had a white fungus-looking growth under the front part of his shell, that I could see through the shell. The white growth was only on the front part of his underside, in the "head" area-- and not all over his underside. This obviously was some kind of disease or fungus. (He ultimately died, and I froze his remains for examination by the LFS.) Any ideas what this might have been? <The motion is natural, and do agree with your appraisal of the disease... the balance shifted to death for this specimen... BTW, not great "stirrers", "cleaner uppers" for tropical marine systems... Read over the Sand Stirrers section of the WWM site here.> P.S. I just finished reading the article and Q/A column on quarantine. The crabs were not quarantined. New livestock will be in the future, as ignorance is no longer a viable explanation. . . <Ahh, very good to read of your commitments to improvement.> Thanks much for your responses. Once I get your book (by priority shipping, I might add), there should be fewer issues that I can't resolve on my own! <Next time their stocks dip, am going long on FedEx and UPS! Bob Fenner> James A. Deets

Discarded Feathers Hi Bob: This is a "5th deep breath note" ... referring to your "10 breath" advice when faced with a perplexing marine event. Two days ago we bought three Giant Feather Duster Worms (Sabellastarte magnifica?) for our 8 week old LR/LS 40g system. All seemed to go well until this morning. While admiring the intermittent feathery displays, we were shocked when during one worm's extension of feathers they [the "feathers"] simply dropped off the end of the tube and drifted away in the current! The feather "crown" was intact attached to a whitish ring at the base. Assuming the discarded feathers were not a good addition to the environment, I fished them out of the tank. Now I am not sure what's going on. Are you familiar with this worm behavior? The inhabitant is in the tube [featherless?]. Is it dying? I'm anxious about leaving a declining specimen in a small tank. Thanks in advance for your insight - Tom Stecik <Am indeed familiar with this "loosing their head" behavior of tubiculous sedentariate polychaete worms as this... strange as it may seem, this is a "natural" behavior... Don't remove the seemingly empty "worm tube" and stand by to be impressed, as this organism will likely be re-emerging in a few days to weeks with a need crown of feeding "feathers"... Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner>

Featherduster Worm Question I added a featherduster worm to my 115 gallon reef a few weeks ago--he was one of our first livestock purchases for a new aquarium. He was perfectly happy and always visible from the time we put him in. This weekend, I upgraded to VHO lighting, and he disappeared. I surmised that he is light-sensitive, and moved him lower in the tank- <Yes, good move> -but he still rarely emerges and when he is out, he is very sensitive to any vibration or movement, and often disappears for hours at a time.  <Agreed... good behavioral traits...> We also added three tangs this weekend--so there's also a lot more activity in the tank than before. I suspect he will adjust to the lighting and extra fish activity and be fine and I should just not worry about him, as based on the other FAQs I've read, these are very hardy and can take a lot.  <I concur> However, would he be happier if he were relocated in a cove out of the direct light?  <Would seek a compromise positioning where you could enjoy seeing this tubiculous worm and it can be more out of the lime light> Thanks for any insight you can provide! James A. Deets <Be chatting my friend, Bob Fenner>

Featherduster Worm II Latest on the featherduster worm--I had moved him lower in the tank a few days ago, as I mentioned. However, I was going to move him to an even more shady spot under a rock this morning. When I tried to dislodge him from the large rock where he'd taken up his latest residence, his tube slipped off! Will he make a new tube? <Yes, likely... there is a bit "more" of this animal in the old tube...> Any chance he'd go back into the old one on his own? <Not likely> After he was "disrobed," he worked his way deep into the hole on the rock--so he appears to be relatively well-protected at this point--but moving him off the rock now would be impossible and probably attempting it would tear him in half. (Based on the turn of events, I also won't be alarmed and send a panicky email if he sheds his feathery head from stress, and for protection, since he's not able to fully retract his feathers into the rock with his body. . .) James A. Deets <Read through the Featherduster Worm FAQs stored on the site: www.WetWebMedia.com for solace. Bob Fenner>

Feather Duster Hi Bob, Had something happen last night that has left me wondering, 'What the HECK!!!'. About a week ago I purchased two large feather dusters and placed them in my tank after some acclimation. Two days ago, one of the dusters shot its feathers off. I have had this happen before and they grow back in a few weeks. (Probably due to stress?) <Yep, seen it, suspect you're right.> Yesterday evening however I noticed what looked like a reddish caterpillar under my heater, slowly wriggling. I figured the worm had crawled out of his tube and I thought I would try to coax him back in. When I grabbed the tube, there was still 1/2 worm in it, and it was moving also! I left this half in the tube hoping it would regrow some feathers. <See above.> Did this worm a) reproduce by splitting in half? b) tear himself in half due to stress? c) other? <Probably one of...> Should I leave both worms be right now, and see if they produce another tube/feather? <Yes, what I would do.>  Thanks for your help Brian >> You're welcome. Bob Fenner

One duster, two duster... My featherduster worm wasn't coming out of its tube until today. And I noticed that the crown split into two. There are two "circles" now. is this normal? thanks >> Yes. Many species (there are several in the two families of sedentariate polychaete worms we call Featherdusters) do this sort of reproduction. They may continue to occupy the one tube, build another adjacent to it, or the one may give up its home to the new individual. Interesting, eh? Bob Fenner

Something Strange Today I found something strange in my tank, partially buried in the  substrate. It looks like a transparent white tube, about 3/4" long and 1/4"  wide. Both sides are flat and brownish, but one has a segment near the end.  There are white lines that run along the tubes exterior, but what disturbs  me is the small black worm-like creature inside. I am assuming it is some  egg-like contraption laid by a creature in my liverock. Do you have any  idea what it could be? I am, of course, assuming it's a worm of some sort,  but I thought bristle worms laid their eggs in small white lumps on the  rock. Besides, if something laid this tube it would have to be HUGE!  Anyway, I was just wondering... -Matt Lindstrom >> I'd bet almost anything this is one of the MANY sedentariate polychaete worms (as opposed to the MANY errantiate polychaete worms... many of which are termed "bristle worms") that builds its own home... some out of sand, others out of chitinous material, still others out of.... carbonaceous matter. And no problem really. Some times in the wild you can see tentacular feeding apparatus of some types of these "Spaghetti Worms" (pic at my www.wetwebmedia.com site under "Worms" in the Marine Article Index), and the popular "Featherduster Worms" or "Bisma rock" Worms are of this category... not dangerous. Bob Fenner

Thanks for your advice in the past! I have 2 more questions... The day after introducing a new Feather Duster into our tank, our Yellow Tang tugged at the tube and collapsed the end of it. The worm hasn't shown himself since. Should I leave it alone, or trim the end off?  <Leave it as is... if the worm can/is surviving it will re-surface> Is it advisable to use vacation pellets while on vacation, versus no feeding? Our 55 gal tank has LR, inverts, and 5 fish that get along well. It seems that they could get by with grazing, but I would hate for them to get so hungry that they would eat the starfish, or each other.  <Hmm, if the tank isn't too crowded metabolically, I'd NOT feed it for a few days... if you have to, PRE-MEASURE prepared foods and LABEL them PER DAY for a trusted "feeder" (leave a couple of phone numbers of folks in the know), and HIDE the rest of foodstuffs...> Thanks for the service you provide with your Daily Q & A. I have made it my homepage so I never miss a day. Scott >> <Me too, Bob Fenner>

Feather worm ID I have a very small bluish worm attached to the hard part of a brain coral. When I looked at it with a magnifying glass I could see what looked like a feather duster at the top of it. Is that what it is or is it something I need to get rid of. Thanks >> Probably is some sort of feather duster (sabellid polychaete) worm... and I wouldn't get rid of it... not really a problem, and a neat animal to have, look at. Bob Fenner

Featherworm light taxis I RECENTLY PURCHASED A BISMA WORM ROCK. I HAVE VHO LIGHTING AND WHEN THE  LIGHTS ARE ON THE WORMS DO NOT COME OUT. AFTER THE LIGHTS GO OUT I USUALLY  WAIT ABOUT 1/2 HOUR AND I SHINE A LIGHT IN THE TANK. THE WORMS ARE OUT IN  FULL BLOOM. CAN YOU TELL ME WHY THEY DO NOT COME OUT IN THE DAY? >> Maybe the light is too bright for them? Maybe they're just in shock from being moved? Maybe they're some planktonic organisms that are coming out during the night that they're filter feeding? You can count on being able to train them in time though... by gently squirting (with a designated turkey baster) some meaty food/water in their direction during the day/light hours. Bob Fenner

Feather Duster Ho Bob, I picked up a Purple and White feather duster at my LFS over the weekend. I have it planted in my live sand bed. The only time it opens up is when one of my fish bump into it and knock it over. A few minutes after that, it opens. I "re-plant" it, standing it up, it doesn't open. Do I have a weird feather duster or am I doing something wrong?? Thanks Bob - I enjoy your Q&A's David Hacker >> Hmm, hard to say at this point... these animals are unpredictable... and many species only do well in semi- to really polluted settings... out of the light... I'd place the animal sticking more out of the rocks... in a darkened area... Bob Fenner

Regarding my feather duster I have a salt water tank. Everything in it is healthy and doing ok. I purchased a large feather duster about 2 months ago and he is doing great. I figured I'd add another one the other day. This morning when it was time to feed the fish I noticed the whole feathery area of the feather duster just fell off. Why? What do I do? Is it now dead? >> Thank you for writing... What you describe, the loss of the feathery "head" (actually the head itself is inside of the feeding apparatus) is pretty common... And mainly an after-effect of the moving and handling these sedentariate polychaete annelid (yep, related to the errantiate-bristle worms)... most all are "yanked" from muddy/silty harbors, kept w/o food for days, then shipped to wholesalers stateside... then to you possibly by way of other intermediaries...  And don't give up on this animal. Ofttimes they will "regrow" the tentacular apparatus... so just leave "the rest" of the tube (and worm inside probably) in place. Bob Fenner

Feather dusters I had a problem with my tank recently, everything made it thru o.k. except  for my feather dusters. I found what I think was the feather part of one of  them, and the other does not come out any more either. I see movement within  the tube part still though, and they jump when you walk by the tank some  times like they are still alive. Will the feather part grow back??? Should  I do anything to help them grow??? Thanks Scott Earl >> Yes to the "feather part" of these polychaete worms growing back if conditions are propitious... Why did they "throw" their feeding crowns in the first place? I would baste them (as with pureed food in a turkey baster) twice a week... and do your best otherwise to keep water quality high and stable. Bob Fenner

Unidentified critter What creature is building an elongated tube-like structure from bits and pieces of the coral rubble and sand substrate in my tank? It measures about 5cm long by 0.5 cm wide, is hollow and arises from the sand. I have a 75gal with 80# live rock that has been up for about a year. There are plenty of tube worms on the rock and some sponge growth also. I assume this is some invert that came in with the live rock, but have been unable to ID (or see) it. Should it be removed? Thanks Ross Siemers >> Most likely this is a close relative of the other tube worms you have... some make calcium carbonate based tubes, others are more leathery... and some attach bits of gravel, shell as you're seeing... There are some other animals that do this as well, the vast majority are innocuous... I wouldn't worry or remove the animal. Bob Fenner




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