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Bristle/Fireworms Selection and De-selection FAQs 

Related FAQs: Worm Selection, & Bristle/Fireworms 1, Bristle/Fireworms 2Bristle/Fireworms 3, Bristleworms 4, Worm IdentificationPolychaete Identification, Polychaete Behavior, Polychaete Compatibility, Polychaete System, Polychaete Feeding, Polychaete Disease, Polychaete Reproduction

Related Articles: Worms, Polychaetes, Flatworms/Planaria

How long is too long for dried worm eggs?   6/17/16
Hi folks!
<Sal>
Been dry for almost four years, since Sandy. Just filled the 55 this week. I had my live rock in water with heat and PH the whole time (fed it now and then) and drained the tank after a quick clean-up, but I left everything dry. I was wondering, if there were any Bristleworm eggs in the sand, would they survive dry all this time?
<Unlikely>
I know brine shrimp can go a few years dry, but I have no idea about worms or any other critters that may have laid eggs before dying.
I am really stoked about getting this up and running, and I hope saving what I could will make it happen quickly. I'm getting a pair of A. ocellaris back from a friend of mine. I gave them to him 6 years ago, when they were just 4 months old, and now they've just started laying eggs. I don't expect to be remembered, but I had quite a bit of back-n-forth with
several of the crew in early 2010. To refresh your memories, the baby clown on page 5 of the clownfish breeding section is one of mine. Yep, I'm THAT guy, hehe.
<Welcome back!>
If you folks think the worms are gone forever, I'll see about getting a cup of sand from a friend.
<Yes, I would>
Very much thanks,
-Sal
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: How long is too long for dried worm eggs?       8/18/16
Hi Bob!
<Salud Sal>
Much appreciate your quick response ;) I wasn't too hopeful I would get bonus bristles, but I had to check with the worm guy. Really appreciate all the time you and the entire crew puts in at WWM. Just referred a friend today and expect he'll be scrubbing for info.
Be well,
-Sal
<Thank you, BobF>

Worm explosion     10/24/13
I have a 45 gal saltwater tank that was mostly fish with live rock. I say mostly as there were several hermit crabs in the tank. I say this in past tense because my tank "crashed" after adding live sand and I lost everything.  I removed the sand and replaced it with crushed  coral and drained the tank and replaced the water. It's been set up, and empty except
for the live rock and now worms, for about 3 weeks.  The worms have just appeared in the last few days.  There are dozens of what look like bristleworms.  The last edition of live rock was over 3 years ago.  Where could these worms have come from and what can I do to get rid of them?
<They were always there,
their numbers were just kept in check by something else, maybe the hermits, maybe limited food, but now with no competition their numbers are increasing.  Chances are they will return to previous levels with time/competition.>
Is it safe to add an anemone with these in the tank?
<I would not add an anemone to this tank, it's too small, but the worms will have no effect on an anemone.>
I've attached some pictures.  Thank you!
<Nothing attached.>
<Welcome>
<Chris>

Bristle worm ID clarification 3/11/05 Dear Adam, I'm emailing you in response to an earlier posting regarding bristleworm/fireworm ID. Here's what was posted: (original message and response is between **'s) **"I just realized that I should have given you a description of the worms to determine how diligently I need to be in removing them. Unlike the smaller half orange/half grey, these are more of a solid steel grey with large white tuft like bristles. When the light hits them, they are almost iridescent (you can see hints of purple). They are also flatter and much wider than the common worms we have in the tank now. They look like some of the pictures of fireworms but have no orange at all that I can see. Thanks for your quick response! <The orange color is a pretty diagnostic characteristic. The worms you are describing are almost certainly harmless detritivores. I would consider them innocent until proven guilty. Best Regards. AdamC.>"** I have a dozen or so 2"-3" long bristleworms with the front half being a dull orange and the rear half grey with tufts of white bristles all along its body. These are about 1/8" in diameter. So far they seem to mind their own business, although there was only one 4 months ago and I see more every day. After reading the bristleworm and Live Rock hitchhiker ID, I am confused. One response states that these are harmless as long as they are <4", while another post recommends that you only tolerate the thin ones, implying that the fat ones with conspicuous bristles are harmful... <The list of "bad guys" is much shorter than the list of "good guys". I would rather describe the few to be worried about. They are the true Caribbean fire worms (which are bright orange), the long thin red ones that prey on snails and any that are clearly seen damaging another live animal. There are occasional worms introduced that look quite different than bristle worms that can occasionally be harmful when they grow large. Otherwise... innocent until proven guilty!> Your comment "The orange color is a pretty diagnostic characteristic" piqued my interest. In your opinion should these worms be removed? If yes, will traps work? I tried tweezers and these guys are faster and smarter than me. As for predators, my reef tank has none and I'd prefer to not add one since it will feed on the desirable critters too -I have plenty of amphipods, copepods and starfish I'd like to retain. Thank You, Narayan  <The little guys that are half dull orange and half brown are common and harmless. The bad guys are all orange. Thanks for giving me the chance to clarify! AdamC.>

Battling Bristleworms Dear WWM Crew, <Scott F. your Crew member today> We have a 30 gallon saltwater tank that has recently come under attack of bristle worms. The large ones are quite large and have become aggressive against some of our snails. <That's not good> We have a coral banded shrimp that we would like to keep. I have heard that some wrasse may eliminate our problem, but I am also curious as to whether anything else would eat them. <Well, some people claim that Banded Coral Shrimp do tend to eat bristle worms. Pseudochromis are also praised as keen predators of bristle worms. In fact, some people use Arrow Crabs for this purpose, although you should not keep an Arrow Crab with a Banded Coral Shrimp- they are arch-enemies!> Several anemones also inhabit the tank thanks to our live rock and we would like to ensure their survival also. Thanks in advance for any suggestions! Connor <Well, Connor- any of the above animals can do the job. Do consider that the "risk" of small bristleworms may not be that great. Sure, they can be a bit of a nuisance to certain corals and sessile inverts (and some snails, as you seem to be experiencing!), but they are also beneficial, similar to terrestrial earthworms, helping to keep the sand bed clean. If the population gets out of hand, of course, intervention is never a bad thing. Regards, Scott F>

Bristle worm (and Aiptasia eradication success!) Dear Mr. Fenner I read a previous article concerning glass anemone eradication using a vinegar injection. I used this method and found it to be a huge success. Today I noticed a big bristle worm in one of my rocks. I tried baiting and waiting it out, but no success. Then I thought I'd try injecting it with vinegar or injecting vinegar into its cave - I tried the latter and out popped the worm - 15cm long - I then netted it. <Thank you for this "data point"... Full strength white vinegar? How did you administer it? Bob Fenner> Jolene
Re: Bristle worm
Good Day Mr. Fenner It was normal white vinegar-the kind you use everyday at home. I used about 1ml in a syringe and squirted it into the bristle worm's hole. <Ahh, thank you for this. Will post on WWM. You may have saved many people a great deal of grief. Again, thanks. Bob Fenner> Jolene

What about those Bristle Worms? Jason, sorry last thing, <<ok>> I have read Robert's book and it doesn't say anything about Bristle worms only that they are dreaded. <<there are both good and bad bristle worms - the bad ones should be removed.>> Can I still proceed as planned with the 50% change of water? <<don't let bristle worms stop you from doing a water change.>> No more questions thereafter....promise. Tamara <<Cheers, J -- >>

Large bristle worms in the reef tank Hi, Guys, <whassssup, Marc?> What's your thoughts on large bristle worms in a reef tank?  <just wanna hug 'em> Say, something like the 12" monster I removed from my tank last night? <or grill 'em> I know they can get bigger but that's big enough for me. I haven't noticed any coral predation or any problems but based on Delbeek and Sprung who seem to be anti-large bristle worm, I removed him. Now, I'm wondering if I just removed a harmless scavenger. <I would agree with the later... Fireworms from the Atlantic can be a problem (as were common with Atlantic live rock when Jules and Charlie wrote their books)... but common bristleworms are no big deal for the most part. Still...12" is a doozy> D&S seem to suggest most of the big worms can be a problem. Some of the discussion groups seem to think some are just big scavengers. Myself, I'm inclined to believe this was just a scavenger, perhaps made larger by the fact that I have a V. puellaris goby that probably eats most of the small ones (I don't seem any worms in the substrate like I do in my other tanks).  <agreed> The theory being that rather than having lots of small ones, I have a few big ones who have managed to escape the goby. Or maybe it is just a different type of worm. Anyway, I'm not too keen on a worm that large in the tank.  <yes> Seems like a waste of bioload if nothing else. I'm sure there are plenty of other smaller ones to do the job. And the thing was heavy, probably as heavy as any of my fish or more so. It was a form of nutrient export to remove ;-) (Maybe culling Fireworms isn't such a bad nutrient export come to think of it) <hehe> Just wondering what your thoughts were on this. I'm not one for yanking critters from my tanks. I tolerate a number of miscellaneous crabs, worms and snails. Only other thing I ever pulled was a snail I thought was a checkerboard-zoanthid predator (probably wasn't). I tend to just leave the tank be. But that monster worm was both a surprise and remarkably catch able so out he came. <have you thought about taxidermy for it?> There's a picture here in case you haven't seen enough pictures of big bristle worms...http://www.four-hands.com/Marc_n_Renee/fishtank/images/fireworm_3.JPG Thanks, Marc <mmmmmm... good eatin'. Anthony>

Bristle Worms Bob, <Anthony Calfo in your service> This is more of a curiosity question....I've had a saltwater tank (40 gal reef) for about 5 or 6 years now. There have always been at least some bristle worms in the tank from the live rock but since I lost my pseudo springeri 6 months ago they seem to have multiplied quite a bit.  <yes... the pseudochromids are wonderful predators on this slightly annoying pest> Tonight I came home a little late and the lights had been off for awhile, but when I turned the room light on I noticed in the tank about 30 or 40 tiny (1/2 inch long) bristle worms frantically wriggling about in the water column (the larger adult worms in the tank are 2 or so inches long). I have never seen this before and I've looked at my tank quite often after the lights have been out for a while. Any ideas what was going on here? <Mardi Gras would be my first guess... but at any rate, the many segmented worms found in reef systems, including small bristle worms, can actually be a great benefit to the substrate (much like garden worms in soil). If they bother you, put another natural predator in... else, control them by careful feeding practices (they can be easily controlled with skimming/starving)> Thanks, Chris Donovan <best regards, Anthony>

HELP - Bristleworms Dear Sirs, I have an invasion of these nasty creatures in my relatively new second tank. White with black and red markings....been told they are harmless? <Most are, but without a picture, I cannot be sure.> What in the way of livestock can I add to a tank containing only Green Chromis at the moment will help me. <Fridmani Pseudochromis or a Six-line wrasse could be helpful.> There are 50+ and trapping would take forever. HELP........ Regards, Steve Tope <Good luck. -Steven Pro>

Webs Hi Crew: The other day I noticed what looked like spider webs coming off of this new piece of live rock. Taking a closer look I saw that they are coming out of these tiny tube shaped things. They are only on the new live rock and I don't want them to get on the other rock (I don't like the look of spider webs in my house or my reef). Any information on this and how to get rid of them. Thanks. Rich <Very likely this is/these are species of tube-dwelling (sedentariate), polychaete ("bristle") segmented worms (annelids), aka "Spaghetti Worms"... and not a problem. I'd leave them be. Please see: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/polychaetes.htm and the links there for info. and pix. Bob Fenner>

Bristle Worms Hi Bob how are you. <<I'm not Bob, but I am well... thanks for asking.>> I have a 115 gal. salt water tank. I noticed the bristle worms. But the thing is I have over 100 in the tank should I start to get rid of some of them. <<I wouldn't bother... or perhaps just find a fish that would enjoy the live food and help keep the worm population in check - perhaps a six-line wrasse.>> Please help me. I have asked other people through the internet but no one will respond back to me. <<I don't think you have anything to worry about unless these worms are the size of a pen or pencil. It just means good things are happening in the tank. These populations of organisms have a way of keeping themselves in balance. No worries.>> Please help me. From Krystal <<Cheers, J -- >>

Bristleworms Hello, how are you? <Just fine, thank you.> Today I fed some Mysis shrimp to my tank inhabitants and a couple landed on the live rock that didn't get eaten. About an hour after lights out I noticed a large bristle worm that came out of that rock that the Mysis landed on. I have never seen him before. He looks like the picture at the top of the faq on bristle worms. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bristlewrmfaqs.htm Except he is white (slightly pink) and his legs are farther apart than the one in the picture. He is about 4 inches long. I don't know whether I should just let him be or try and trap him and get him out of there. <Leave him go.> I don't want him to start killing my live stock. <Why would he?> Can you give me some advice? <He was merely doing what bristle worms do, scavenge.> Thanks for all your help. I have really learned a lot from studying on your site and from your answers to my questions. Kevin <Have a nice day! -Steven Pro>

Bristle Monster Hello, My reef-keeper friends all seem to have a love for keeping bristle-worms in their tanks and don't seem to understand why I hunted a single bristleworm that I could see at night in my tank. I have a 60 gallon tank, and one night I came out to see a worm stretched from the sand to the top of a rock about 16 inches away. So I set out to bag this monster with a pair of kitchen tongs, but man was that thing fast. It would recoil and disappear into the sand within a blink of an eye leaving a dust cloud of sand in it's wake. Well, after two weeks of hunting this monster, I was finally able to snag it as it was wrapping itself around a snail which was on the glass of my tank. The bristle worm was 26 ? inches long and about as thick as a pencil. My question is: was I wrong by yanking this worm out of my tank (and subsequently destroying it before flushing it into the sewer system) or should I have left this thing in my tank? I mean I haven't lost any crabs (other than maybe a couple of hermits-though the other hermits may have been the culprits) or fish and all of my corals seem to be doing fine. I've heard that these worms are great for your substrate, but just kinda got unnerved about having a two foot long creature roaming the sand of my 4 foot long tank. Thanks, Greg <Greg, To be sure, not all Bristle worms are "bad". Most will eat only necrotic flesh so you don't typically have to worry about them eating livestock. A good rule of thumb is to leave them alone unless they are destroying something. However, given the size of your specimen I don't think I would have hesitated to do the same thing.-Dave Schmottlach->

Bristleworm... no worries Hi, <cheers> I was wondering if you may be able to identify this creature. After reading through your faq's ( thank you for all your wonderful/useful information ), I think it is some kind of worm. When it was first spotted it looked all red with "bristles" all around it. After a little surfing I thought I had a fireworm.  <nope... just a common bristleworm. They can be helpful detritivores and useful in the sand fauna as long as you don't overfeed or undercirculate the tank allowing their population to explode. Many wrasses and pseudochromids will eat them anyway. Other fishes too. Enjoy in the meantime> But after watching it more I don't really know. I did my best to get a good photograph of the bugger.  <very fine> I even managed to move him to a cup - easy because he was hiding in an empty Astrea snail shell. After looking more carefully, it looks like it may have legs on both sides. What do you think?  I hope it is something useful. If you think it is dangerous, please advise too. <overrated as dangerous. More good than bad. A healthy tank benefits by some... simply be careful to not overfeed> I can't thank you enough for all the great work you all do, Mike <our great pleasure, Anthony>

Bristleworm population control by predation I have had a Macrodactyla doreensis (long tentacle anemone) for about three months. He dwells in my 125 which contains about 200 lbs of rock. I am afraid I can find no effective control for the hungry fireworm population, who emerge at night and chew on the anemone's foot. Now he has developed a puffy spot and it looks to be Vibrio as shown in the Reef Aquarium Volume 2 page 363. I removed him to a hospital tank with a small skimmer on it. I will try the recommended treatment but think recovery will need divine intervention. My question is what nocturnal animals control these beasts on the reef. My assasi trigger thinks they are tasty, but he goes to bed when the lights go down. My clowns and anemone crab are homeless. Is there no hope for fireworm control? Sadly yours, Kathy Benson  >> Yikes... it's outright war! If it were me, I'd stock a pair of Pseudocheilinus octotaenia, or P. evanidus (don't worry about them fighting, or color variants... These should be fast, large and smart enough to stay shy of the trigger, but will put a dent and a half in your worm population. Don't overfeed them with "other" foods. Alternatively and additionally, I'd try trapping the larger ones in a commercial or home made device. Bob Fenner

Bristleworm population control by predation Hey Bob, I love your column and I have a question for you. Which is the best fish to combat those orange head worms?. I have a 40gl. reef with shrimps, a yellow Tang, one Clarki with a host anemone, and one yellow tail Damsel. Please tell me about those worms, there are getting always around my clams. Thanks!. >> I like it too! The best fish to eat many types of these pesky polychaete (bristle) worms? Kind of depends on what else you have in your tank livestock wise (so the intended eater doesn't munch on them) and what types of worms (size-wise mainly). Many crabs will eat these worms (and other things), as will triggers and some angels. A few wrasses will scarf them up (the genera Pseudocheilinus and Paracheilinus for the small worms, some Coris, Halichoeres for larger ones)... for you, I'd look into some smaller species of hermit crabs and hope or buy/make a trap to set at night, remove in the bottom. Your tanks a bit small for a larger worm eater. I have been asking around a bit and am looking for a way to eliminate or control the numbers of worms in my substrate. I have heard people say, that dotty backs and arrow crabs work, I have heard others say that emerald crabs would get rid of them, I have had one retailer tell me to get rid of all my rock and substrate and come buy more from him!!! the jerk... What do you recommend? >> All these critters should help. I wouldn't get rid of your rock or substrate, but would consider giving the heave ho to that dealer. Bob Fenner
 

Question: I am fairly new at this salt water side of the hobby. I am wondering how much of a problem bristleworms are. I noticed one or two in the live rock I purchased nearly a year ago, and have been noticing more and more ever since. I purchased one of those cheap plastic trap gizmos and have yet to trap a worm. I seem to have better luck with tweezers or scissors. The last one I saw was too large to fit even the trap. I have a large carpet anemone which doesn't seem bothered by them, but everything I hear about them says they feed on invertebrates. I want to start adding corals, but not if these worms are just going to consume them. Do I really need to be concerned? Is there anything that feeds on bristleworms? Am I doing something wrong that is helping them proliferate? Thanks for any help.

Bob's Answer: All good questions and concerns: For one, there are many polychaetes called bristleworms. Two, most are innocuous, a few desirable... as food, sifters and movers of material... Three, most will not, do not harm corals or other desirable livestock. Four, yes there are many animals that eat these ubiquitous marine worms. Some of the butterflyfishes, gobies, triggers, wrasses, some shrimp and tangs notably... of course they must fit in with your other livestock... Fifthly, you are probably doing little to cause, but a great deal to allow them to proliferate. Lack of predators and competitors in a necessarily unnatural setting (small marine volume of macrobiotic life), feeding (perhaps excessively... but hard to manipulate...), but very often, worm and other invertebrate pop. growth problems just work themselves out over time. I wouldn't go overt in efforts to eliminate all of these critters unless they become an obvious problem. Then I would go the bio- predatory route.


Question: If you don't have many corals are bristle worms still a danger? What damage do they really do, and how do you get rid of them? Traps don't seem to work very well.

Bob's Answer: Tracy, I'll admit to you that I spent a few years "sorting and identifying benthic marine invertebrates" as a cheap labor grad. student - mainly errantiate polychaete worms. There are MANY species of so-called bristleworms. If you want to lose some sleep, take a look at Roger Steene's latest underwater picture book. A few pix of a three meter (not a typo, yes ten foot) "bristle worm" that comes straight out of the substrate to grab hapless fishes is pictured! Bristle worms as a group are not unlike the more familiar decapod crabs....opportunistic omnivores. Even if you don't have corals, they'll gladly eat everything else you have over time. Either selective physical removal, nuking of gravel, rock and substrate or biological warfare (e.g. the hungriest triggerfish on the planet) are called for.

Question: I am fairly new at this salt water side of the hobby. I am wondering how much of a problem bristleworms are. I noticed one or two in the live rock I purchased nearly a year ago, and have been noticing more and more ever since. I purchased one of those cheap plastic trap gizmos and have yet to trap a worm. I seem to have better luck with tweezers or scissors. The last one I saw was too large to fit even the trap. I have a large carpet anemone which doesn't seem bothered by them, but everything I hear about them says they feed on invertebrates. I want to start adding corals, but not if these worms are just going to consume them. Do I really need to be concerned? Is there anything that feeds on bristleworms? Am I doing something wrong that is helping them proliferate? Thanks for any help.

Bob's Answer: All good questions and concerns: For one, there are many polychaetes called bristleworms. Two, most are innocuous, a few desirable... as food, sifters and movers of material... Three, most will not, do not harm corals or other desirable livestock. Four, yes there are many animals that eat these ubiquitous marine worms. Some of the butterflyfishes, gobies, triggers, wrasses, some shrimp and tangs notably... of course they must fit in with your other livestock... Fifthly, you are probably doing little to cause, but a great deal to allow them to proliferate. Lack of predators and competitors in a necessarily unnatural setting (small marine volume of macrobiotic life), feeding (perhaps excessively... but hard to manipulate...), but very often, worm and other invertebrate pop. growth problems just work themselves out over time. I wouldn't go overt in efforts to eliminate all of these critters unless they become an obvious problem. Then I would go the bio- predatory route.

Bristle Worms Good Evening,  HELP. really...I have a huge, that I have seen bristle worm...how do I get him out? I am desperate...this thing seems to be at least 5 inches long and I have tired to catch him with tweezers... Thank You, Laura  >> There's no need to fear, Anti-Worm is HERE! Actually, the "bigger they are..." the easier to remove. Try this, tonight when you turn off the lights, place a discrete (large, compact) bit of meaty food (like a big part of a cocktail shrimp) in the corner that is most open and closest to your worm... and keep a sharp eye out... it should be out to feed shortly and you can remove it with a net. Good fishing! Bob Fenner

Bristle Worms I apologize if this is a question which can be found in the Archives but my only access is at work and I can't spend the time to read all of them. I've been very successful with Salt Water Aquariums for over 12 years now. Last week, for the first time, I added some Fiji Live Rock to a newly acclimated tank. My only concern is Bristle Worms. I have gotten them in other tanks before from live plants and they managed to kill everything in time. Are Bristle Worm an issue of concern for live rock users? If so, what can be done to avoid a potential problem in the future. Being that my tank is so new I like to hopefully kill them off before they do become an issue. Thank You Very Much for any Advice. Lu Ann Lubrano >> This is a "tough one"... Yes, bringing in deleterious species, including several types of bristle worms IS a concern with live rock (along with other types of hard-substrate based material as you know)... and there are no "sure fire" methods of guaranteeing totally "worm free" live rock... My friend Walt Smith in Fiji, does about the best job by thoroughly hand cleaning and hose-blasting all new rock with seawater and then misting it for days ahead of shipping (you ought to see the mass of mainly worms that accumulates under this rock!)... Some folks seek to "starve" the worms by using long "curing" times... I don't think this really works... you'd have to leave the rock on its own for years... Some people hint at using anti worm compounds... sort of like for domestic pets... Others use high Kalkwasser, low specific gravity... and more novel approaches... We use "big ole mean fishes" like triggers and then different sorts of wrasses (Pseudocheilinus), and Centropyge angels in with our ongoing live rock filter/coral culture units... with our eyes always open for the odd worm... Bob Fenner

How do I get rid of bristle worms in a 55 gallon reef aquarium full of live rock and corals without harming the rock/coral? does anything eat these worms? >> A few types of animals will take on a few types of bristle worms (there are MANY species, of incredible diversity...). Need to know what other sorts of organisms you have... in order to suggest what you might try... that wouldn't likely be eaten... as well. I would start with a couple of Peppermint Shrimp if they will go with your other livestock... and maybe a Paracheilinus, or Pseudocheilinus wrasse species... Bob Fenner

Polychaete annelids  When you said this would be a long read you were not joking were you !!!!!!!! Who would have thought so many different people would write so much on worms? I do have a question for you though,,,,something I have not found discussed yet. How do you introduce spaghetti worms to your tank? I would like your opinion on proper acclimation techniques, do you bury them , or can they do it themselves? There is much written on the subject but not a lot (that I can find) that would be understandable to the common aquarist like me. Thanks again for your time and look forward to seeing you at Reefland. Jim Bell >> Sorry for the late response... have been on a liveaboard (in the Sudan no less) the last... Best way is incidental... with live rock they're imbedded in... Bob Fenner who sends you to Libby Hyman, Betty and Robert Barnes, Olga Hartman... and the years I spent looking at , IDing polychaetes!

2 questions Hello Bob, Its been awhile since I have contacted you, hope all is well. My first question has to do with spaghetti worms,,,,,what can you tell me about them or where can I find some good links? I have ran a search on your page , but not found anything . I am thinking of introducing some into my reef ......The second question is do air bubbles cause some sort of eye disorder on marine fish? I thought at one time I read on your Q&A that a bubble wand in a tank was bad for this reason , but again , cant find it .Thanks for your time and effort. Jim Bell >> Hey there. Spaghetti Worms? I'd start the long read on polychaete annelids period... This will be a very useful exercise, trust me. And yes, they're worthwhile. Maybe you can pen an article for the hobby press on what they are, they're use... And very fine bubbles in aquariums (much smaller than a millimeter in diameter) are not welcome... evidence of uptake, embolism (Emphysematosis is one fancy name for the condition), exophthalmia (bilateral "pop-eye")... you understand... but most all "mechanical aerators" made for aquarium use are safe... it's the odd mix of air and volute blending gas and water together under pressure that cause problems.  Bob Fenner

Bristle Worms Hello Bob, I need a little help ridding my tank of bristle worms. I want to use a fish to get rid of them. Can you give me a couple of fish that would eat them and not my other crustaceans. Preferably a wrasse that would be reef safe. Also I have some cotton looking stuff (like Q-tips) growing in my tank. Can you tell me what this is and how I can get rid of it. Thanks for all the help you have given my and other reef keepers. Adam >> Look into one of the more peaceful "Lined Wrasses" (genus Pseudocheilinus, like P. tetrataenia) or a "Flasher" of the genus Cirrhilabrus. The cotton looking stuff may be an algae, or some sort of decomposition/fungal product... I would just try to siphon it away with a narrow gauge piece of rigid tubing attached to a flexible hose. Otherwise, these areas will pass, be supplanted by other life forms in time. Bob Fenner

Bristle Worms? Bob, Hello, I hope you are doing well and having fun with your many adventures. <Yes, but never enough time for all...> I have a quick question for you that I hope won't take to much of your time. <Ah, good> I recently set up a new reef system (Berlin method) with 50 lbs. of Walt Smith's Fiji live rock that I purchased from FFE. The rock cured and all is well except that last night when the lights went out, a turbo snail comes hauling-tail from around the corner of a piece of rock with a thin reddish worm (4-5 inches long) hot on it's heals! The worm looked like it was trying to bite the snails butt. I jumped up and ran upstairs to get a pair of tweezers to catch the worm but, I was too late. The snail jumped off the rock and ran across the gravel and the worm went back under the rock and in a hole.  <Neat. Sort of sounds like an "Invertebrate Thriller" chase scene...> The snail looked OK and began eating algae on the gravel/tank glass edge. Later on I saw the worm eating a copepod. I wasn't able to catch him. <Take a look at this months (March) issue of the hobby magazine, FAMA. Bob Goemans gives some solid direction on how to build, operate "worm traps" for marine aquariums...> My question is: Was this worm trying to catch and eat the snail or was it defending it's territory?  <Probably the former> I am very concerned because this is a reef tank and I want to keep hardy soft and hard corals and clams. I currently have a small six-lined wrasse, an algae blenny, a royal Gramma, mix of Astrea and turbo snails and a few scarlet reef hermits. <You might need/use a couple of Peppermint Shrimp... a temporary "enforcer" like an Arrow Crab... these are detailed on the site: www.WetWebMedia.com> Should I try and catch it or leave it be? What is the best way to catch them? <A tube or whiffle ball with meaty foods inside, covered by fish line, jammed with Ehfi-Fein flocken (polyester filter media Eheim offers)... or their Grob flocken for larger animals... See the former citation> I also noticed a large bristle worm in one of my rocks. It is whitish / gray in color with tufts of white bristles on its sides. It is some what flattened and thick. I would guess it is at least 5 inches long but, it only comes out a few inches from its rock. Is this also a bad worm and will it hurt anything in my tank?  <Too likely yes... large errantiate polychaetes are too often bad news...> I put a piece of fish inside a stocking next to it's hole and it didn't touch it. Is this a good method to catch bristle worms. <Perhaps a baited trap (the all plastic ones sold by warehouse home improvement stores for small rodents, resold w/ the label pulled off for a few times their cost in the pet-fish interest...)> I know there are thousands, if not millions of species of worms out there. Since your are very familiar with rock from Fiji, especially from Walt Smith, I thought you might know the disposition of the more common worms that come on Fiji live rock. HELP!!! Thanks for your help. Tom <There are zillions in total numbers for sure... would gross out everyone, but I have photos of a few inches deep of these worms that "wriggle", "rinse" out at Walt's in their involved cleaning process... of a certainty they don't/can't get rid of them all... most are innocuous, even beneficial... the larger species, specimens are to be avoided, eliminated. Bob Fenner... as stated above... with traps, predators.>

Success <removing the polychaete worm that ate Detroit> Bob, I wanted to let you know that I captured the worm mentioned in the post below. I use a glass pipette that is 12 inches long with a piece of fish in the far end. It was about 15 inches long stretched out. I identified him on the internet as a Glycerid polychaete worm. Thanks for your help! <Zounds what a monster! Have a close up image of a worm of the family Glyceridae at home... taken in the blasphemous college years... blown up with the statement: "God is a Polychaete" below... take a look at the head on this thing... multiple eyes, jaws...> I have an unusual creature that came on my Walt Smith Fiji Rock. It looks like a tridacnid clam or a tunicate or tube worm of some sort. It is solid deep blue/black with an inhalant and exhalent siphon. It's about a 1/2inch long and 1/4inch wide. It has fleshy mantle (like a tridacnid clam. It is embedded in the live rock and will retract into the live rock when startled. I can see jaws or a shell of some sort close together when it retracts. The fleshy mantle comes out both in the day and at night. Do you have any Idea what this might be? The fleshy mantle comes out both in the day and at night. <Hmm, not much to go on here... it doesn't move around? Likely some sort of stinging-celled animal... but this doesn't say much... I'd leave it be and see what develops. Bob Fenner>
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