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FAQs about Featherduster Worm Selection

Related Articles: Featherduster Worms, Polychaete Worms,

Related FAQs: Worm Selection, & Featherduster Worms 1, Featherdusters 2, Tubeworms 3, Tubeworm ID, Tubeworm Behavior, Tubeworm Compatibility, Tubeworm Selection, Tubeworm System, Tubeworm Feeding, Tubeworm Disease, Tubeworm Reproduction, Polychaete Identification, Polychaete Behavior, Polychaete Compatibility, Polychaete System, Polychaete Feeding, Polychaete Disease, Polychaete Reproduction,

Re: feather duster systems 7/13/05
Thanks for the insight! I have read many, many articles on wetweb and think I may have found some of the answers. One more question. Is it safe to place the featherduster on top of the LR? Two of mine are right on top and my Turbos and hermit crabs walk over them. Should I move them and place on the substrate (crushed coral) or inside a crevice in the LR? Or does it even matter? <Depends on the species involved...some live in/amongst particular substrates. Bob Fenner>

Hawaiian or Other Feather Duster Question, stkg./sel. 2/17/12
<Hello Drew>
First of all, I truly appreciate how great a site this is and how much you do for everyone. Thank you.
<You're welcome.>
Second, I'm considering purchasing a feather duster or two for my 75 gallon reef aquarium. I have a 20 gallon refugium I use too for growing pods etc and macro algae growth for nutrient export. I have some teeny feather calcareous tubed red dusters already growing around my tank and to make a short story long, are there benefits to having one or two of these "big" guys in my tank?
<Other than attractiveness, no.>
Will they help with filtering out excess food and nutrients from the water?
Would it be noticeable?
<Would be miniscule, not noticeable.>
Your probably wanting to know what's in there too...
Small Faviid brain (baseball size)
Small Plating Monti (2x5)
A Frogspawn head and Hammer coral head
2 False Perc Clowns
1 Chalk Bass
2 Watchman Gobies
1 Pistol Shrimp
3 Zebra Dartfish
1 Tomini Tang (he's like a cow, eats all day and you know whats all day too)
And a tiger shark. Kidding.
Thanks again for such a fantastic site/wealth of knowledge and commitment to help others succeed.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Drew Dickson
(please don't tell my boss I'm doing this at work... THANKS)
<What's it worth to you?>

Xmas Tree Worms 02/17/09 Dear WWM, You guys do an amazing job. Based on the website there are tons of different types of xmas tree worms. The ones I am referring to are about ? inch to 1 inch long and have a spikey operculum at the end of the filter/crown. I bought a coral with a bunch of these worms and thought it would be ok because I've had the xmas tree worms the smaller kind ? to ? inch in a coral, no operculum and there was no problem with the cleaner shrimp per se. <That's not the only problem though... the main problem is that we can't feed them correctly (don't know how).> The problem is that I have 2 cleaner shrimp is that they are typically very hungry and curious so before I put this new coral in the tank I fed them some food to keep them occupied. I noticed they were poking around the new xmas and didn't think much of it. I went to watch TV and came back about and hour later. I noticed that it was weird how a light shining on these worm made them retract but the shrimp's antennae touching them did not make it retract, so I figured cool so I thought incorrectly. The shrimp snatched one of the worms by the spikey operculum and ripped the crown right off and started digging inside the hole. The shrimp then retreated and started eating away. I also saw the whelk snails start getting excited and start heading toward the hole and poking around and trying to get inside. Usually they only get that excited about food so I take it as a bad sign. These whelk are reef safe never seen them eat coral, just crawl over them. <I don't think anyone (at least not here) says that any whelk is truly reef safe...> The question is: is that worm eaten by the shrimp gone or did it just detach the crown and will eventually regenerate? <I don't know. It's possibly it just snagged the crown, but you said it also pulled the whole worm out. If that's the case, I wouldn't expect it to regenerate.> Will whelk attack the worms? <Depends on the type of whelk...> Based on what just happened, I'm assuming either the shrimp goes or the worms go and co-existence is highly unlikely? <apparently> Thanks for your help. <Again, I would advice against trying to keep "Christmas tree worms"... not just because of the shrimp, but also because we (aquarists) just don't know how to feed them well enough to keep them alive for much more than a year. I tried my best to keep a few alive for as long as I could. I'm friends with DTs and at the time, he was generous enough to give me loads of phytoplankton and oyster eggs for my effort. Even with all his help, I was still only able to keep them alive for a little over two years.> Steve <Cheers, Sara M.>

Re: Xmas Tree Worms, Sedentariate Polychaete sel. 02/18/09 Hi Sara M, Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. I've attached a couple of pictures in case you wanted to post some examples and serve as a warning to other reefers. <Thanks> The small ones without the operculum the shrimp did not bother. The red ones with the operculum the two shrimp and the whelks (could see proboscis) tried to attack with a vengeance. DT's is some serious, high quality stuff. <I agree.> And I understand not buying stuff to kill because it does the world a disservice. The LFS said they were easy to care for so I took a shot. <Ah, be careful of unscrupulous LFS employees. They tend to say everything is easy to keep... unless they're trying to sell you something, then everything is difficult unless you have X. They certainly aren't all this way, and some of them even believe the misinformation they give out, but again, always do your own independent research.> The small worms I've had since 5/11/08 (9 months) and the big ones were purchased 2/16/09. I guess the only thing at this point to do is to update you to confirm their longevity and share the information with others. <A noble endeavor for sure... a good way to make the best of a mistake. Cheers,
Sara M.>

FEATHER DUSTER QUESTION! Hitching a Ride at a Snails Pace - 07/18/07 Hello masters of reefing info. <Heeehee! Well, that is a mighty big title that I am certainly unable to fill! Mich with you tonight.> Once again I turn to you for help. <Is why we are here.> I recently added a few more Astraea snails to deal w/ my green algae bloom. <Hopefully not too many as starvation can be an issue.> I'm not worried, it's a new tank, and I know it goes through these stages. <Yes.> However I found the coolest darn thing the other week. <A box of stuffed with $100 bills hidden in the attic that you can use to support your reefing illness?> On one of my new snails, medium size, there is a feather duster attached to his underside. <Oh, neat! Liked my idea better!> I'm assuming he was already attached when I bought him <Likely so,> ( the store didn't know about it) as I do not have any feather duster "hitch hikers" on any of my two week old cured live rock. <OK.> My question.. is there anything I can do to keep him. Will he out grow the snail and fall off ( I might lose him then). <I presume this feather duster has a calcareous tube. If this is the case he will likely be fine.> Is he a danger to the snail ( the snail happily eats algae as we speak.) <No. Should not be a danger to the snail.> NOTE : the duster seems to be getting bigger already! <OK.> It is quite amazing to watch this snail move along the glass with a beautiful brown and white-stripped 4cm width feather duster waiving the currants. <Wow! Four centimeters! That is huge to be living on a snail! If this feather duster has a soft tube I might be tempted to remove it from the snail at some point. I would continue to observe and hopefully you will be able to tell if one is having a negative impact on the other, i.e. the snails mobility is impaired or the duster loses its' head. At that point or perhaps before, I would separate the two. I would do this by using a scalpel or a single edged razor blade. Be careful not to cut the worm itself. The worm can regenerate its own tube.> Have you guys ever heard of this happening. <Mmm, no, not that big!> Anyways, your input is valuable here. Things that happen like this is exactly why I love having a reef tank. <Yes, is quite a sight to see I'm sure!> Thank for your help. <Welcome! Mich> FEATHER DUSTER QUESTION! Hitching a Ride at a Snails Pace - 07/18/07 Hello masters of reefing info. <Heeehee! Well, that is a mighty big title that I am certainly unable to fill! Mich with you tonight.> Once again I turn to you for help. <Is why we are here.> I recently added a few more Astraea snails to deal w/ my green algae bloom. <Hopefully not too many as starvation can be an issue.> I'm not worried, it's a new tank, and I know it goes through these stages. <Yes.> However I found the coolest darn thing the other week. <A box of stuffed with $100 bills hidden in the attic that you can use to support your reefing illness?> On one of my new snails, medium size, there is a feather duster attached to his underside. <Oh, neat! Liked my idea better!> I'm assuming he was already attached when I bought him <Likely so,> ( the store didn't know about it) as I do not have any feather duster "hitch hikers" on any of my two week old cured live rock. <OK.> My question.. is there anything I can do to keep him. Will he out grow the snail and fall off ( I might lose him then). <I presume this feather duster has a calcareous tube. If this is the case he will likely be fine.> Is he a danger to the snail ( the snail happily eats algae as we speak.) <No. Should not be a danger to the snail.> NOTE : the duster seems to be getting bigger already! <OK.> It is quite amazing to watch this snail move along the glass with a beautiful brown and white-stripped 4cm width feather duster waiving the currants. <Wow! Four centimeters! That is huge to be living on a snail! If this feather duster has a soft tube I might be tempted to remove it from the snail at some point. I would continue to observe and hopefully you will be able to tell if one is having a negative impact on the other, i.e. the snails mobility is impaired or the duster loses its' head. At that point or perhaps before, I would separate the two. I would do this by using a scalpel or a single edged razor blade. Be careful not to cut the worm itself. The worm can regenerate its own tube.> Have you guys ever heard of this happening. <Mmm, no, not that big!> Anyways, your input is valuable here. Things that happen like this is exactly why I love having a reef tank. <Yes, is quite a sight to see I'm sure!> Thank for your help. <Welcome! Mich> Giant feather duster question... Placement 5/15/07 Should my feather duster be placed in my substrate or is it okay to have it wedged in my live rock? <You pick. Either will be fine. Predators (if any) are *slightly* more likely to attack if placed in the substrate, but they frequently attach to both rocks and substrate. I would place it where you get the most stunning presentation. -GrahamT> -Chris

Protula magnifica - 03/09/07 Dear Crew: <Paul> I've read through the feather duster FAQ's but am a little confused by bad advice. I have what I know to be a Protula magnifica. I researched feather dusters, as species specific information was limited, before I purchased him or her and figured it would fall under the same guidelines as other dusters. <For the most part, yes> Yet an LFS employee told me it needs no feeding just bright lights, <... no> don't worry I've been target feeding with DT's administering the food from the underside of the crown with the skimmers off. The problem is the tube broke about 3 inches from the bottom. When you look at the bottom, of the half where the worm resides, it seems semi closed by a sponge shaped structure inside of the tube. I mean semi closed where the block has holes but you cannot see the worm through it unless you get really close maybe (I have no desire to look that close at that end of my worm). Can I bury this end? <Yes... better still... to "wedge" it in a solid area... as in or between rock/s> I have a coarse sand substrate. Should I try to glue the two pieces back together with superglue gel? <No, I would not> or should I leave it on the top of my live rock (wasn't 100% sure about the bright light thing)? <I'd "stand it up" twixt the rock...> Is Cyclop-eeze or frozen rotifers a good food source? <Yes> I appreciate any help and suggestions you may have and thank you in advance. Paul <Mmm, and a fave suggestion... do consider a "living sump", a refugium... for several benefits, one of which is endogenous food production for such filter feeders. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/refugium.htm and the linked files above... in order... Rationale... Bob Fenner>

Feather Duster in Sump...Should I Move It? - 10/13/06 Dear WetWebMedia Team, <<Hi Jay!>> I recently found while staring at my under-tank mud-sump a feather duster attached to my pump. <<Quite common>> It's small but has a fully formed tube and a nice size crown. <<Indeed>> Should I remove it and move it to the main tank? If so what's the safest way to do so. <<I wouldn't try...would likely do harm>> I'm sure it is content there but I do not want it to somehow get in the suction of the pump and killed. <<Not likely to happen. The worm settled where it is comfortable and is able to gain nutrition...trust its instincts and leave it be>> Any advice would be great. <<You have mine>> Thanks, Jay <<Regards, EricR>>

Feather Duster Lighting Requirements ... zip 6/2/06 Hello WWM Crew, <Dustin> I bought a feather duster today and was wondering if my 3-400 watt metal halide lights would be too much light for him. I have a 240 gallon aquarium that is 31 inches deep. Should I put him under a rock or just anywhere on the bottom bed? <The latter> Are there many organisms that would not like the intense light from the MHs? Or do most enjoy the bright light. Thanks, Dustin LeCave <Most species used in the trade can/will adapt to bright conditions. Bob Fenner> Christmas Tree Worm Care - 05/10/2006 Hi Crew, <Hey Howard, how goes it?> My question regards the keeping of Christmas Tree worms. <Okay.> I recently got 2 pieces of rock 4-6" that is covered with Porites coral and numerous small Christmas Tree worms which are now in my 55 gal. <Neat…> Florida live rock tank with various hermits and snails. The tank has 4 X 65 watt PC lighting and I try to keep my water parameters as good as I possibly can with a SG of 1.026, PH 8.2, Alk. 11 dKH, and nitrates always close to 0. <Good.> I have read that Christmas tree worms in general prefer lower light and low flow conditions such as under a rock cave or similar. <Different species are adapted to different niches.> I've also read however that the Porites coral rock they are located in is a very high light loving specimen and also requires good water flow. <Yes.> My question is should these rocks be placed high up and as close to the lights as possible and be given good water flow..... <Yes…if you want the Porites to survive.> or lower down on the substrate out of the bright light and in a lower flow area? <See above, these worms are likely adapted to the same niche as the Porites, in the wild and in the aquarium however you will most likely see them actively feeding at night.> Also, would these worms survive on feeding of DT's phytoplankton alone given every other day, or would other supplemental foods also be necessary? <This along with a refugium would be my choice.> These specimens are quite beautiful and I really want to give them the best care I possibly can! Thanks. <Anytime.> Regards, Howard W. <Adam J.>

Feather Duster Removal - 12/13/05 Hello, <<Howdy>> Is it possible to remove a feather duster from a piece of live rock that it has attached itself to without killing it? <<Is possible, but must be done very carefully so as not to damage the worm or its tube.>> I need to move it to another tank and I can't exactly fit the rock that it has attached to into my main reef tank. <<As an alternative, you might consider removing the rock and breaking it in to smaller pieces with hammer and chisel.>> Thanks, Brian <<Regards, EricR>> - Looking for Blue Feather Dusters - Hi, I have been looking and looking for a blue feather duster (not the Christmas tree worms), and I have finally found one in my LFS. They were going to sell it but changed their mind. They would not tell me who their dealer is either, so I was wondering if you know of any online stores or local San Francisco bay area stores that might have blue feather dusters. <Is up to you to scour all the available sources. I have never once encountered a blue feather duster to the point that if I saw one that wasn't in its natural environment on the reef, I would think it had been dyed that color. I am not aware of any outlet of marine aquarium specimens that specifically carry blue feather dusters.> I guess they are pretty rare. <I would think so.> Any help if much appreciated. <Cheers, J -- >

Should I collect my own feather dusters? Hi am thinking of collecting some yellow feather dusters that live in colonies from local waters for my aquarium. Can you suggest the best method of collection. << Well I'm not sure what your local laws and regulations are, but I think feather dusters are easy to gently pull off. >> My aquarium is 40 gallon or so how many should I look at getting and I presently have five different damsels namely lemon, blue/yellow, sergeant major and two wild caught with eye spots one is blue/black the other is blue/yellow that I have never managed to ID. << It is all about food for dusters. I suggest just getting a couple, making sure they do well, then consider adding more. They key is feeding them lots of plankton. >> I have a wrasse similar to a Christmas wrasse (also wild caught) various small starfish, a cowry, an orange slug and two purple/orange/black nudibranchs (all wild caught), oh and a closed brain coral. Will any of these harm the feather dusters? << Yes, the wrasse and cowry are possibilities. No way to know for sure. If they are all well fed, then I wouldn't worry about it. >> The sergeant major tends to pick at the coral when it has been fed but it doesn't seem to harm the polyps just pinches its food. From what I have read they are fed much the same as the coral small shrimp etc squirted into/onto it. Do they need specific lighting conditions? << Not really. >> And on another note I would love to get a clown fish, Nemo specifically, the LFS has them in regularly but wont hold fish for more than a day, am unable to go to another LFS inside of 5 hours drive away or else I would as this one knows bugger all about marines but stock and sell them anyway. Are the clownfish prone to diseases, which ones, are they readily treatable in the display aquarium, would a cleaner wrasse solve those problems better (have read not to get one unless diseases are present as they would likely starve is this true) << Yeah, stay away from cleaner wrasse. Most anemonefish are very durable and great beginner fish. Just make sure they are eating, look healthy, and well quarantined. >>, are they compatible with my other fish/invertebrates? So many questions sorry much appreciate this and looking forward to your answers! << Should be good fish, good luck. >> Nicole << Blundell >> Missing Tube Worm (9-23-03) Hello again, <Howdy, you got Cody today.> I have a question... well I would start off by telling you have a great site and all, but I bet you get sick of people telling you got a great site I even told you got a great site once, but anyway 2 Days ago I had purchased a Tube worm so I floated him for an hour and arranged him on the rocks 4-5 times to see where he looks best at (poor guy), so I excused him for not coming out. But two days is enough! So I picked up his tube and realized nothing was in it not even his beautiful burgundy and gold crown. But I also saw a rip in his tube near the back, but he couldn't take the crown with him could he? Or did I pay 12 dollars for an empty tube and my specimen is still in the pet shop but there's no way. Though my dealer did pinch the tube off a little from another one. Could he be in my substrate making a new tube I wonder? How would I know if he's making a new one though? Please write back quickly I trust you all more than my dealer.<These are all possibilities. He could of "jumped" when you were moving him but I bet he is still at the store. Next time try to either buy both of them or buy one that is by itself. You probably wont be able to tell if he is in your tank for a while as he will be buried in the substrate making a new home. Cody> Thanks a lot, Chris

Bisma Worm? Hello current on-duty correspondent, <Howdy> My LFS has a piece of live rock with what they are selling as a "Bisma Worm" in it. It appears to me as number of Christmas tree worms - Identified from Bob's book (Spiro something gigantea?) <indeed> They have had this rock for a number of months, and the worm's) is thriving, even growing in their reef tank. I've seen many corals perish in this tank over the last few months. The rock has a few polyps growing on it, and some feather dusters, etc. also. <very challenging creatures to maintain... filter feeders that need dissolved organics to survive... enough that most folks struggle with nuisance algae in an effort to supply them or watch the worms starve within a year because they fail to do so> So, is Bisma another name for the same species? <a common trade name for many such fanworms> How hardy is this creature? <one of the most difficult... I would never recommend them to a casual aquarists. For a species specific or research tank OK> I read here that Christmas trees are difficult to keep long-term. It appears to be flourishing in less than ideal conditions, but is it probably starving to death slowly? <exactly the latter my friend. Many can hang in for up to a year> Thanks for your time and insight.<best regards, Anthony>

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 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>

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