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Bristle/Fireworms Compatibility/Removal FAQs 2

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

Related Articles: Worms, Polychaetes, Flatworms/Planaria, Lined Wrasses,

Hey, how's it goin'?

Possible starfish <crinoid> worm      8/18/18
Good evening,
Tuesday I received a beautiful red feather sea star. When he got here there were a couple pieces of his legs floating in the bag. Figured not a big deal, just shook up from shipping. So acclimated him & placed him in the frag tank connected to my main tank. Yesterday I saw more pieces of legs in the tank, and more today! Not good! When feeding the pair of clowns I have banned to the frag tank, I saw a worm "in" the starfish, weaving in between the legs & underneath. Yuck! What a time it was trying to suck it out with the turkey baster. Didn't want to hurt the starfish, he's already in rough shape! He has lost a lot of his leg length and almost all the feathers! I hope I can save him.
I'm attaching a picture & short video of the worm, & a before and after pictures of the starfish. (Sorry for the dark pic of the starfishes entry into the tank). I'm never seen a worm like this. He doesn't look like the typical Bristleworms I have.
Can this particular worm cause the starfish to shed his legs or can it kill the starfish? Never seen one until this one! Ugh!
Hope you can help ID it! Any info about the worm, or how to save my starfish (if possible), would be greatly appreciated.
Have a great weekend! Tammy
<Mmm; this worm appears to be a species of Errantiate Polychaete. I don't think it is/was parasitic or predaceous; perhaps just got caught along for "the ride". I hope your crinoid recovers; they do have amazing capacity for repair. Bob Fenner>

Wrasse encounter with fireworm      10/28/17
Good morning Crew,
I have a Solon Wrasse that had a run in with a large fireworm a few weeks ago.
The bristles were very obvious, but they eventually dissolved as expected.
However, he's never really seemed to come back around.
<Ahh, this takes a while... >
He'll get out and swim around in spurts, but generally hides out the majority of the day. At this point, I suspect a secondary infection, and am thinking I should remove him to a hospital tank for treatment.
<Mmm; if this fish is eating (as a base line behavior), I'd leave it where it is>
My two questions are, is this prudent, as while his behavior has changed, he does not seem to have any obvious issues such as weight loss or outward physical damage, and I'm worried about stressing him more.
<You are wise here>
Second, if I do remove him for treatment, what should I treat with? There are so many antibacterials around.
<Yes; and none...>
<Please do report back with your further observations. Bob Fenner>
Re: Wrasse encounter with fireworm      10/29/17

Thanks for your reply. Unfortunately he seems to be getting worse instead of better. He was eating several days ago, but now I'm not sure if he is or not. He's not reacted to food placed in the tank when I've been watching,
I'll try to target feed him tomorrow if I can get to where he's hiding with a baster.
Tonight he was just laying on the sand in the front corner of the tank.
<A normal behavior to extents>
His breathing seems normal, possibly some minor dorsal fin damage. He's just super lethargic. My biggest concern is that 4-5 days after the incident he seemed almost back to normal, but he now seems to be getting progressively worse.
<Again; it is my experience that moving traumatized fishes as this is worse than leaving them in place. Bob Fenner>
Re: Wrasse encounter with fireworm      10/29/17

Follow up to my earlier email below:
Fed some frozen by targeting the area where he was resting with a baster.
He grabbed the largest piece he could, but almost seemed like he was winded afterwards. He rested on a piece of live rock and was breathing more rapidly, before hiding behind the rockwork.
<Might be "winded". Fishes have hematocrits (packed cell volume; percentage of cells to liquid/plasma per their blood; but their environment has little oxygen (7-8 ppm, vs. 21,000 in our terrestrial/surface world). If/when they
are "damaged" and/or "leak" their capacity for "breathing" is diminished... Trouble. BobF>
Re: Wrasse encounter with fireworm      10/29/17

Thanks Bob. That was my feeling too, but I wanted to double check with you and your crew. I'll just keep an eye on him and make sure he gets targeted feedings until he's back to normal. I'll be sure to e-mail you with the results.
<Thank you. This is what I'd do as well Adam. B>
Re: Wrasse encounter with fireworm     10/31/17

Good Afternoon Bob,
Much worse today. Colors are muted and he is swimming erratically, falling headfirst onto the substrate and crashing into things, coming to rest vertically wherever he runs out of energy. He did not take food at all, and definitely looks like a fish near the end now.
<Not good signs. B>
Re: Wrasse encounter with fireworm     10/31/17

Unfortunately, he didn't make it through yesterday. I've known the worm was in there for years, but had never seen a need to remove it despite its size (Almost as thick as my pinky, probably around a foot long, though it's never come all the way out) as it had never shown any interest in any of the living inhabitants.
<Oh; the encounter was likely started by the Wrasse>
Even now, this was just an unfortunate accident, not an attack. But it's making me consider trying to trap it and move it to the sump to prevent future such occurrences. There's also a good chance there was something else going on that contributed.
<Sounds good. Do see WWM re Polychaete Compatibility/Removal FAQs for input on traps here>
<Thank you, Bob Fenner>

Unknown worm.      7/10/16
After a couple of years of happy reefing and not bothering you guys. I added a new rock to my tank. And a couple of days later I noticed a worm in my tank. Looked all over your site and haven't found one that matches.
About 2 foot long and about 1/4 inc in circumference. It has legs like a centipede but they seem to point up and down. About every third one or so is sticking up. The head end looks like a worm with a square shovel for a head. I tried taking a picture but it sucked. I found one online accept that I didn't see eyes on mine, but the shovel shaped extension is similar. Mine might have been a bit more squared and thicker. I have seen it a couple of weeks but I haven/t realized how big it was until it has migrated earlier this week and it seemed to go on forever. But judging on where the head was and the tail was its about 2 feet maybe more. It wasn't a concern until I saw it bug my turbo snail earlier today. It didn't seen to have taken a bite just poked it with the head end an than gave up after several attempts. I attached a couple of pictures and a video. Hopefully it will all fit in your inbox. Please let me know what you think it is and if I should try and get it out. And if I do, should I wear some sort of protection. Thank you. Artur.
<Hi Artur
Jordan with you tonight. Unfortunately you have an Oenone fulgida. A particularly nasty predator that I'm all too familiar with. They prey primarily on gastropods but I've seen them go after other inverts. They are primarily nocturnal and it is odd that you saw one during the day. I would take that as a sign that there are likely many more. I've had success removing them with a PVC trap. Use an 8 or 9 inch piece of PVC capped with removable ends. Drill a small hole in the pipe for the worms to enter. Bait the trap using PE Mysid inside a mesh bag that is tied shut so they cannot get to the bait. Place in the tank at lights out and pull in the morning.
Wear gloves as the worms produce a toxic mucus. Conus regius can be used to keep numbers in check but it will prey on beneficial Polychaetes as well.>

Re: Unknown worm.  ID and Polychaete control 7/9/16        7/12/16
I have a healthy cleanup crew with many different worms. Will i be able to separate the nasty one from the good stuff? If yes than what's the best way? If not than how do i limit the amount of benign worms i have to throw away. Im assuming that the thing was just looking for a new home because i have transferred a rock from my friends tank in to mine recently. Or at least i hope so. Dealing with an infestation of those things is not what i want to do. Thank you for the quick response. <Hi Artur. I have limited saltwater experience but have dealt with these things myself. Someone else with a better idea may chime in here as well but I introduced a predatory specie that would remove them much like a freshwater assassin snail would kill and consume nuisance snails. Conus regious would be a wise choice. Like Jordan said there are likely many more. Id use the PVC trap and depending on how large your system is I would consider building 2. I inherited a 400 gallon system from my father with these ugly little critters in it. I made 3 traps and introduced a small armada of 5 Conus regious and it cleared them out of the system rather quickly. Feel free to contact us anytime with anymore questions. Good luck. ~Ian>
re: Unknown worm.7/9/16        7/12/16

I had a crown conch before. It ate all of my snails. Its like fighting fire with fire. Ill stick to the traps. Any suggestion<suggestion?> on the size? Do i need to makw<make likely > it longer than the worm i intend to catch? What about the width? I have some one inch pvc im not using, will that work? I got a 65 gallon but its being overfed relygeously<...>. So my worms and copepods and stars are probably enough to keep your 400 as clean as a wostle. I had a batch of 30 Turbos die in my sump about a month ago and the tank didn't even get phased. So im assuming that even if i catch the really bad worms it will be accompanied by about 100 of the good bristle worms and stars. Not to mention the copepods. Any type of bait that the nasty creater will go for that others would not touch? I don't want to decimate my cleaning crew in the process of catching the buggers.
<Please spell check before sending. Unfortunately that's the trick using bait as it will attract a range of critters including the bad worms. I would use mysis shrimp cubes fresh or frozen in a small mesh bag that they cannot get to or consume. I'd use 2" diameter PVC pipe around a foot long. Check the trap regularly and remember to wear protective gloves as these nasty things can and will release a toxic mucus. Then I would empty it into a half full white 5 gallon bucket and if there are any beneficial creatures in there take them out of the bucket and toss them back into your system. Dispose of the other miscellaneous nuisances how you wish. ~Ian>
Re: Unknown worm.    7/13/16

Thank you l. Very much. (I type in multiple languages so i had to shut the spell-check off. Sorry about that.)
<Very welcome. Best of luck to you. Ian>

Disappearing hermits       12/8/15
Hi guys, how's things?
<Fine Nic; thanks>
I have a quickish question for you today, something that has been baffling me for some time.
I have a 75 gallon saltwater tank. Over the past year or so most of my hermit crabs have completely disappeared...shell and all.
<Quite common... most species folks employ aren't entirely aquatic and they overcrowd.... and many fishes, invertebrates eat them; esp. when they leave their shells to molt
At one point I had 3 significant sized Halloween hermits, many blue legs including one really large one, 2 zebra hermits, two unknown purple hermits, two unknown red hermits and a ton of the little black ones. All I have left now are the two red ones and a handful of small blue legs. I even recently bought two pale tan coloured ones which also disappeared within about 2 days.
I understand that hermits will fight if there aren't enough shells, but since I have plenty of shells in various shapes and sizes, and since I've never found an empty shell (I knew exactly what the big Halloween hermits were wearing) or body parts I can't see this being the case. They have literally disappeared into thin air.
So my question is, have you ever heard of someone else experiencing this?
<Oh yes>
Is there possibly some type of carnivorous crustacean that could be hiding in my tank that would only target hermits, dragging the shells under the rock?
<Yes; and worms>
As far as I know there is only one single place in the tank (under a large rock) that I can't see from one side of the tank or another.
The only fish I have are a female maroon clown
<Mmm; might be the perp.>
and 3 azure damsels (who lay eggs daily by the way!).
Hopefully you can provide me some clue as to where they are going! I would love to get some more but I need to know why they are disappearing first!
Thanks so much in advance!
<I'd review what's posted on WWM re undesirable hitchhikers, and try baiting, trapping the culprit... using various baits, including hermits.
Bob Fenner>

Re: Disappearing hermits... The Polychaete "did it"!         12/10/15
Thanks so much for the reply Bob. I did as you suggested and read all about undesirable hitchhikers.
<Ah, good; and?>

I've never heard any clicking in the tank so I'm doubting it would be a mantis or pistol shrimp.
I started thinking about your possible worm suggestion, and remembered I had seen 2 fairly large bristle worms many months ago. So I've spent the last few mornings while the lights were still out trying to find them with a red light. Well this morning I discovered one, and when I changed the light from red to white I noticed he is a very pale colour but very
<Yeeikes! I see it in your pic!>
The attached photo is not mine but it looks exactly like what I've found.
He's pretty big from what I can tell. Is it possible this is the culprit who is causing all my large hermits to disappear?
<Oh yes>
I forgot to mention earlier that it's only the smallest hermits I have left.
<Ahh; even more sure>
If it is the bristle worm eating them would he be dragging the shells (some of them 1.5 inches across) under a rock as well?
<Definitely. If you look in its lair, you fill find them there.... onomatopoeia!>

Or should I be finding empty shells still? That's the part that really baffles me, not finding empty shells or body parts.
Please let me know if you think this guy is the culprit and I will attempt to remove it!
<Yes; see/READ on WWM re baiting, trapping these bristleworms out, and DO BE CAREFUL re getting stuck (in your hands) by their podial spines! Bob Fenner>


spikes or worms in blennies mouth        3/8/15
I have a midas blenny that I have had for quite some time. Today, I noticed something strange on his mouth and face.
<Ah yes; almost assuredly Bristleworm/podial "spines"... have seen; heck, had these stuck in me at times>
I thought it was something stuck in his mouth, but it's definitely on his face as well. Are these worms of some kind, or are they small spikes of some kind. Other fish includes A purple and yellow tang, a percula clown, magnificent fox face, a coral
banded shrimp and some various snails. They've all gotten along with no problems up to this point. I should mention that I did bring home some new live rock today from the LFS. Could some stingy creature be lurking in the rock?
<Mmm; yes; see WWM re Errantiate Polychaete (control)>
I've attached 2 pictures. Thank you[image: Inline image 1][image: Inline image 2]
<Yes; and hopeful these will do the usual; fall out in time. No treatment suggested. Bob Fenner>

white hairs on zebra dart fish    10/24/13
I have 4 of these little guys in my 90 gallon reef tank. All of my fish are non aggressive and get along fine. I noticed that this guy had these little white hairs coming out. Do you know what these are and should I remove the fish, or try to remove the fish?
<Yeeowch! I do know... these are almost assuredly the podial spines of a Bristleworm... The dart got too dang close... They will wear, fall out on their own over time; I would not try catching the fish... too much stress alternatively.
Bob Fenner>

Re: white hairs on zebra dart fish     10/25/13
Thanks Bob, it all makes sense now. I do have bristleworms.
<Ah yes; Microdesmids DO live "with" such... I would be considering baiting/trapping and removing some of the larger part of the Errantiate Polychaete herd here. A bunch re archived on WWM re Bristleworm Compatibility FAQs. Cheers, BobF>

Re: white hairs on zebra dart fish    10/26/13
I have two of the green traps and just picked up a coral banded shrimp to see if he can help.
<Ahh! We shall see. Good hunting! B>

Of bristle worms and clams     5/10/13
Hello everyone. I have always seen bristle worms as the good guy as I have never seen one eat anything unless it was dead or dying.
<Mmm, well, there are many species... some much more predaceous than others>
I just got a Derasa clam yesterday. It is a beautiful clam and is doing well. It was even trying to attach today. Suddenly I saw a bristle worm poking around on the rock the Derasa was trying to attach to. It must have touched the clam's foot because it caused the clam to retract violently and it fell on its side. These are the garden variety bristle worms. They are not Eunicids or anything like that. Should I be worried? Thank you as always.
<I would be worried/concerned... and be moving the Clam and/or baiting out/removing the bulk of these worms. Bob Fenner>
Re: Of bristle worms and clams     5/10/13

Thank you Bob for the heads up. Shortly after I wrote you I moved the clam onto some branch rock and it is in a position that should make getting into the byssal gland harder to reach. I will try to bait out the worms. Should not be too hard. I have been watching closely in the mean time.
<Real good James. Cheers, BobF>
Re: Of bristle worms and clams       5/11/13

Ok one last question for today. How long does it take a juvenile Derasa clam to lose its byssal gland and drop into the sand assuming ideal conditions?
<Can be lost, dead and gone w/in an hour... more often a few days>
Thank you Bob and the rest of the crew. I have learned tons already from this site and will continue to for a very long time to come.
<Ahh, am glad you have benefited, enjoyed our shared efforts/time. BobF>

How do bristleworms attack? 3/29/13
Hi there
I've been 'attacked' by a Bristleworm in my tank.  I was moving rock and corals between tanks with gloves on this morning and saw one more rock I could grab and was too lazy to put the gloves back on.  It hurt a bit when it happened but it's OK now as long as I don't play with the hairs.  I thought I'd show my kids and they freaked out thinking I was contagious!   After they calmed down a bit my son had a good look then asked if they shoot out the hairs or do they actively stab you?
<More the latter... not active, but your mechanical contact and pulling brought out these>
 I had no idea!  So whilst I'm waiting for PVA glue to dry I thought I'd ask the question here… How *do* they attack?  Do they see you coming and aim for you or do you actively have to jam your fingers on them? 
<Mmm, there may be some positioning, but most all encounters I've had were passive on the worms' parts>
One more question…Am I a real reefer now I've been electrocuted (mildly), stabbed by a urchin, spent all my money, been bitten by a clown fish, flooded the house and stung by a Bristleworm?
 Or do I need to be cut by my tang first?
<I'd say you're part of the club already!>
Thanks heaps!
Camille :)
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Bristleworm  Infestation  5/2/12
I just returned from vacation and discovered that the  return pump tube in my wet/dry system popped off and overflowed 5 gallons of  water onto my floor.
<No fun; and poor design/planning on the installer's part... See WWM re wet-dries... need to turn off the pump with the system filled, determine that there is sufficient transit volume space... to avoid such spills>
  I had a house  sitter that reattached the tube and added more RO to the tank.  What she did not know is that it also  needed salt!  The pump may have not  been working for a day or two.  My  house sitter found my Butterfly Tang

 dead in the tank and removed it.  
Four or five days later, we returned home (she could not  remember which day this happened), and my Brittle Star was being eaten by  Bristleworms. 
They also ate my  Pincushion Sea Urchin and my Coral Beauty is nowhere to be seen.  When I fed the 3 fish that I have left,  Bristle Worms came out of the Fiji rocks and the live sand and started to eat  fish food!
  I have never seen this  before, or a Bristleworm with the tank lights on.  I took out all of my Fiji rock and  pulled out as many Bristle Worms as I could; and I did a water change.  I have found that tap water sprayed on  the rock flushes them out pretty good and have had no problems in the past doing  that.  I would normally find a few  hear and there, but nothing like today.   
The live sand is highly infested; I really do not know  what to do.
<You have choices...>
  I thought of putting  traps out, but there are so many, and of all different sizes, I did not know if  that was my best option.
<Is one>
 I did buy  an Arrow Crab, but he better have a big appetite!  I was wondering if I should replace my  sand, sift my sand, or clean the sand with fresh water (I am thinking that would  kill the sand).  I have had my tank  for 15 years and have never had a problem like this.
<... Mmm, just "natural selection">
 I would gladly welcome back the green  algae bubble problem or even the Triffid anemones
in exchange for these  worms!  
I have leathers, Button Polyps, a Sebae, Tomato  Clownfish, Cardinalfish, and a Lawnmower Blenny in my tank right now.
Do you know if the infestation and aggressive behavior of  the Bristleworms was cause by the return not working, salt content, dead fish,  or a
combination of all?  
Any advice that you could give me would be very much  appreciated!  Below is a photo of the Bristleworms removed from the  Fiji rock.
<I'd go the trap route. Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/polychaewmcompfaq2.htm
and as much of the linked files above as you deem prudent. Bob Fenner>

Cup o' worms

bristle worms, incomp. 2/19/12
I have a fifty gallon reef tank that has been set up for over ten years.
It is stocked with SPS corals, clams and rock anemones. Fish inhabitants are a pair of Perculas, an argi angel and a navarchus angel.
<This last needs much more room>
There are no shrimp or crabs. Recently, I added eight gobies, neons and red head. They were all doing well when they started to disappear, one per night. It was a mystery to me but I may have the culprit. I would like your opinion. After the disappearances, I found several large bristleworms.
One monster was the size of a pencil. Most of the others have been around two inches long. Could these have been preying on the gobies?
<Ah yes; or maybe the rock anemones. Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/polychaewmcompfaq2.htm>
Thanks. Dennis
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

My bicolor blenny grew...a beard? 2/10/12
Hello Bob and Team at WWM!
Hope all is well with you and yours!
I noticed that my bicolor blenny has something stuck on his face...upon closer observation, it is as though he has grown a beard! I know that my Halichoeres melanurus had just turned from a "she" to a "he", and for Ranma 1/2 fans...maybe, he wanted to look more macho in the tank. Anyway, the bicolor blenny appears a little distraught by this, is trying to eat, but seems that he has "sticky mouth" pellets will stick to his lips. I've tried looking on line and reading through different faqs but can't seem to find anything. Most things are about blennies keeping their mouths open, or if there is some obvious damage. This bristle-ly beard growth..."Fu-man Chu" like is very strange. Please advise!
Enclosed is a picture. I've shrank it down some. hope you can see it!
Jamie Barclay
<These spines are from notopodia, parapodia of a Bristleworm (Errantiate Polychaete) of some sort, species... yes, Yowch! Will work themselves on their own in time (akin to cactus in our hands). BobF>

Re: My bicolor blenny grew...a beard? 2/10/12
Thank you, Bob!
It is so nice to hear from you!
<Nice to be heard from!>
I was thinking he looked like he got stuck by porcupines, but knowing there are no porcupines in the tank...
I wonder how this little fellow did this?
<Looking a bit too close...>
I adore this little guy as I've had him for 4+ years now. My husband and I are leaving to the Maldives this Sunday,
<Ahh! Have been there, the Ari Atoll... I do hope the current political issues there will not be a bother>
and it seems that every time something pops up it is when we are on our way somewhere!
I've fed him some of his usual food stuff just now and he is eating with vigor.
As always, it is so nice to "chat" with you and to learn from you!
Best wishes,
<Cheers, BobF>
Re: My bicolor blenny grew...a beard? 2/11/12

We are going to two resorts at Ari Atoll this time. We were told that political situation will not affect tourism...but we will see!
<Mmm, I do hope so as well. Do see the piece today on the cover of WSJ re the situation there. Though the country appears to be "going Islamist", I too think there will be no troubles for tourists. The people themselves there are very gentle and kind.>
Best wishes to you, Bob!
<And you, B>

Polychaete worm and snail comp Name & Advice 10/3/11
Tonight, I witnessed mucous around one of my brand new (and looked to be very healthy) Ceriths...upon closer inspection, I saw a worm that certainly didn't look like my average-Joe bristle. It was thick, more like a Fireworm, and seemed to have a very large mouth that sucked like a snail snout. It was pale in coloration and stout...
I went to the site to research and saw this response to one of the questions in the section:
"Dead ones, yes. Live ones, no. There is a type of worm that is bright red, long and thin that prey on snails by smothering them in mucous before eating them."
My worm was not bright red, nor long and thin--but there was definitely an undeniable ball of mucous surrounding the shell's opening. I've never been able to keep snails in my tank, I always thought it was because I didn't acclimate them properly...what should I do?
<Bait out and remove the worm/s in question>
What is this worm called?
<Harvey? Can't tell from the description>
What are the chances that the mucous was from the snail, not the worm?
<Better than middling>
Is that the defensive mechanism of a snail?
<One, yes>
Thank you for the help and taking the time to read.
- Ruth
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Large Bristle Worm 7/27/11
Good morning to you all,
<And a good morning to you, Jennie.>
I have yet another question that I need advice for. This morning I caught a large (10 inch at least) Bristle Worm with tweezers that was out eating a piece of my crabs food, but now I have him I'm not sure if I did the right thing as I know mostly bristle worms are very good to have as they clean up for you,
<Yes, an excellent detritivore.>
I have a few small ones but only max of an inch or two nothing of this ones size, have I done the right thing as he is a big boy and only likely to get larger which might hurt one of my fish, as he was living very closely to my Yellow Watchman Goby (Alan) and when ever the worm came out my Alan would go and hide, or should I be putting him back? If I shouldn't put him back, oh what do I do with it?
<Although there are few species of Bristle Worms that are predaceous, I prefer removing the larger ones from my system as larger worms could become predaceous if the opportunity arises. May want to read here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/polychaecompfaqs.htm>
Please help me.
Thank you once again, Jennie Bailey, England
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Question about Bristle Worms, comp. 7/13/11
<Hi Bri>
I have read through the Bristle Worm FAQ several times. I notice a common thread to most responses, the worms are most likely benign or even helpful except for the larger individuals. How large can the worms grow before I should be concerned?
<Mmm, depends on the valued livestock present... typically though, several inches...>
I now know that I have been overfeeding my fish. the abundance of nutrients has caused an explosion in the Copepod and Bristle Worm populations. I am not concerned about the pods in the least (I am thinking about eventually getting a Dragonette) but the number and shear size of some of the worms has me wondering. They all appear to be a solid bright pink color, and most live under the same piece of live rock as far as I can tell.
My aquarium is 240 gallons, and currently contains:
-1 juvenile Queen Angelfish
<May well eat smallish Bristleworms... larger w/ growth/size>
-1 Threadfin Butterfly
-1 Sailfin Tang
-1 Regal Blue Tang
-1 Purple Tang
-1 Lemonpeel Angelfish
-2 Percula Clownfish
-1 Carpet Anemone (I believe it is an Hadori)<Haddoni>
-1 Scarlet Skunk Cleaner Shrimp
<Hippolytids too consume worms of all sorts>
I also have a handful of Hermit Crabs and a good number of various snails.
I am not sure of the exact numbers though, I had a Porcupine Puffer until about a month ago who would occasionally make a snack of them.
<Ah yes>
My concern at this point is that the Bristle Worms will turn on the Anemone.
<Not likely>
I realize that the population will decline and then stabilize once the excess nutrient problem is taken care of, but I am afraid that less available food will lead the worms to look to other places for sustenance.
<Trap the larger ones out, dispose>
I would also like to add a few more shrimp. A pair of Peppermint Shrimp to take care of some Aiptasia Anemones that have shown up and possibly three or four Thor amboinensis. Of course if I add the Thors I will need another anemone for them to host, which again makes me worry that the Bristle Worms may attack that anemone or even the smaller shrimp.
<Again, unlikely>
I know that the shrimp will all help to clean up the excess nutrients which will lead to the Bristle Worms having less to eat and a decline in their total population, but will it also lead to the larger worms eating my aquarium inhabitants more rapidly?
<Can't say>
Do I need to be concerned about individual worms that are larger than approximately 5 inches?
<Possible... it appears you are>
I believe that I have at least four individuals of that length (two significantly larger but difficult to tell their total length because they never fully leave the live rock) as well as another six or seven individuals approximately one to three inches. Also, should I wait to add the addition shrimp until after the Bristle Worm population begins declines, or will adding them now help to hasten that along without endangering the Shrimp?
<Up to you... again...>
Thanks for your time,
Brian Rogers
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Strange worm that killed/ate snail - ate, yes, killed, not likely- 1/6/2011
Hi Folks,
<Hi Richard.>
As always I appreciate all of the help all of you give all of us.
<Me too. Is how I was able to learn as well!>
I noticed one of my snails not moving for a day and decided it might have gone to snail heaven,
<Likely so.>
so I picked it up to check and low and behold I find this "Critter" in the snails shell, just finish off the last of the snails "meat".
<Doing what it does best. Cleaning up the detritus.>
Could someone be kind enough to ID this thing?
<Is a bristle worm. Generally they are harmless scavengers, and this one was working hard cleaning up your deceased snail, which was probably long gone before the bristle worm showed up. Careful handling these worms as they can leave a nasty rash. Those bristles contain an irritating venom.
More reading for you here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/polychaetes.htm >

Bristle Worm Sting -- What to Expect? -- 12/11/10
Hey WWM guys,
How's it going?
<<So far so good>>
Earlier today when I was moving some live rock I ended up touching a very large Bristle worm of some kind.
<<Been there>>
It was discovered living under a colony of star polyps and its very wide looking considering it's a mere 4 inches. It's not like the others in my tank ether, its blue with a strong iridescent appearance. The others I've seen are tiny by comparison and are solid red. This one also seems to have a much more ornate looking and easily recognizable head region.
<<Thousands of possibilities/species>>
Anyway it seems to have released a battery of hairs into my index finger,
<<Mmm, yes -- the Setae (hair-like structures) of these critters are extremely sharp and detach upon contact, remaining embedded in your flesh and causing irritation>>
some of which are now so deep I do not believe they can be removed.
<<Attempts at extraction most often result in these Setae breaking off/working deeper in to your skin -- furthering the irritation. Carefully dabbing the area with some packing tape or the like (wrap a bit 'sticky side out' around a couple fingers of the opposite hand and gently press against the afflicted area) may help remove some of the Setae. But more than likely you will be left to wait for the embedded particles to 'dissolve' over the next day or so>>
It was quite uncomfortable for a while, similar to tiny Metal slivers.
<<Indeed 'some are considered mildly venomous which will increase the discomfort. I have been 'stung' more times than I like to admit (just don't like wearing bulky/cumbersome gloves to work in the tank), most times I don't actually see any Setae protruding from my skin as they most often just break off at the surface, but I have certainly come to recognize the sensation. In my case, the irritation is generally gone within a few hours>>
The pain is mostly gone now but the region on the finger where the hairs went in is
currently VERY itchy and feels slightly swollen up, though there is no visible marks anywhere.
<<This is common 'in my experience>>
Besides these symptoms I feel fine, it seems more like a minor annoyance then anything else.
<<Most often the case>>
I'm just wondering if I should expect this to get any worse.
<<I'm no physician, and folks can/will react differently, but based on my own experiences, no 'though you will probably have some tenderness to touch in that area for a few days. I do suggest that you 'disinfect' the area of contact by rinsing the spot with some Hydrogen Peroxide from your local drug store>>
And what can I do about this itching?
<<A dab of over-the-counter itch cream containing Cortisone may provide some measure of relief>>
According to the aquarium literature I have, some people have allergic reactions to the hairs of some Polychaetes, which is initially what made me concerned.
<<This is true'¦ Anyone I have ever known to come in physical contact with bristled Polychaetes have only ever experienced local pain/itching/swelling of the contact point 'and then for no more than a couple days, in extreme cases. But do not take this as medical advice'¦ If you are prone to such allergic reactions (as in being allergic to insect venom/stings) or your symptoms seem to worsen, you should probably consult your physician>>
<<Happy to share'¦ EricR>>

Bristle Worm Removal & Anemone Question, LTA sys. 8/5/10
Hello, Crew!
<Hello Ashley>
I have a 90 gallon reef aquarium with 2 Ocellaris clowns, 1 Royal Gramma, 1 Carpenter's Wrasse, 1 Coral Beauty Angel, 1 Powder Brown Tang, 1 Yellow Tang,
<Not enough room here for these>
2 Blue/Green Chromis, 1 Midas Blenny, 1 Snowflake Eel,
<A danger to your smaller fishes as it grows>
1 long tentacle anemone, 1 Skunk Cleaner Shrimp (which I have been trying to move to another tank for a month to protect it from the eel that just came in yesterday), as well as various hermits and snails. I am also planning to add a pair of Blue Star Leopard Wrasses in the next few months.
<You are overstocked here already>
I have noticed a few bristle worms hanging out and I was wondering if there was something I could purchase which might help kill these predators.
<These are actually detritivores not predators, and it is 99% likely that they are beneficial rather than dangerous. Have you read WWM re? If you do want to remove them, it is best done by trapping initially, followed by a reduction in food to the system. They feed and multiply on detritus>.
I have a long tentacle anemone and I would hate to see it damaged by these pests.
<Not pests. Part of the biodiversity of your system. Better to enjoy these than waste your time removing something that is doing a good job, i.e. eating detritus while producing plankton>.
I have also set-up a 16 gallon refugium (completely separate from the main tank) this week, and I see a bunch of bristle worms in the new live rock I bought. I would like to put something in this tank when it finishes cycling
to get them under control before I add plants and possibly seahorses. It can eventually be moved to my 90 gallon, or kept in the 16 gallon tank, depending on what kind of critter it is and what I decide to put in the tank later on. Suggestions?
<None. Control of these if they get to plague proportions is gone over on WWM http://www.wetwebmedia.com/worms.htm
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bristlewrmfaqs.htm >
Finally, I purchased a long tentacle anemone a little over a week ago and he has yet to attach to a rock.
<Because they don't. They need a deep sand bed (6 inches deep and a foot across of mature sand) and a lot of space>
He has been sitting in a cave since putting him in, and every time I try to move him he ends up in the same spot.
<Trying to move anemones yourself is futile I'm afraid. They go where they want to. One of the reasons these are best for species only displays>
I think his foot may have been damaged, because there was some white stringy stuff coming from the base, but most of that has gone away now. It is nice and puffy, opened up, and the mouth is just a small opening (no guts coming out). Seems healthy, and I am pretty sure it ate a Chromis a few days ago. Went from 6 Chromis to 2 in just three days... Soon after I saw a brown slime coming from the opening in the anemone's base. I have tried everything from burying it's base in the sand, to using a net to encourage it to attach, to gently placing the base in a hole in the rocks, etc. Nothing seems to work! I haven't touched it in a few days...is there anything else I can do or should I continue to let it be? Should I be worried that it is dying?
<Read/ learn about this animal, this would have better been done before purchase http://www.wetwebmedia.com/macrodoreensis.htm >
As always, any help is appreciated. All of you are always so helpful. I am a big fan of the site and its never-ending information.
<No problem>
Have a wonderful
<Thank you!>
Well done Simon! BobF

Worms and Corallines, ScottT's go -- 7/7/10
Hi Crew-
<Hi Sal!>
Hope everyone's well and had a great weekend! As you've all been so helpful in the past, I turn to the masters once again. I've got two problems, and I hope you can help with at least one. I've got about 80 pounds of LR in a
55, sand bed, inverts, corals, and some fish (including a pair of successfully breeding A. ocellaris).
<Great work!>
I've got a large, persistent population of bristle worms which I have been trapping, etc. for months. They keep returning. I've got both the Hawaiian Fire and the grey varieties. Some of those get quite large, and I once pulled one out that was almost 10 inches long. At my wit's end, I'm seriously considering removing all the rock with nothing on it I want to keep and soaking it in chlorinated tap water (bleach added?) for a few hours or a day while I sift through the entire sand bed to remove anything in there that's not sand. Is there a better way to kill these things
*permanently* than to uproot the entire tank? Also, how do I treat the rock that may contain corals, polyps, Chitons, and other life I want to keep?
<Have you considered embracing them? They do a nice clean up job. I personally love them.>
The other problem is, I am growing a *thick* coat of corallines all over everything. I have not added calcium to my reef tank in over 5 months, and the coralline grows about 1/4 inch thick in that time. Short of the above method which kills the worms, is there a way to stop it from growing? It's quite annoying, as it is encrusting all my polyps and must be broken off with a forceps at least once per month or the polyps will get strangled.
If I add any calcium at all besides what is available in the salt mix (Instant Ocean) I must free the polyps every week.
<I'm putting this back for someone who knows more to respond. You should get two replies.>
Much appreciated,
<Scott T.>

Worms and Corallines, RMF's go -- 7/7/10
Hi Crew-
Hope everyone's well and had a great weekend! As you've all been so helpful in the past, I turn to the masters once again. I've got two problems, and I hope you can help with at least one. I've got about 80 pounds of LR in a 55, sand bed, inverts, corals, and some fish (including a pair of successfully breeding A. ocellaris).
I've got a large, persistent population of bristle worms which I have been trapping, etc. for months. They keep returning.
<As they are wont to do>
I've got both the Hawaiian Fire and the grey varieties. Some of those get quite large, and I once pulled one out that was almost 10 inches long. At my wit's end, I'm seriously considering removing all the rock with nothing on it I want to keep and soaking it in chlorinated tap water (bleach added?)
<Mmm, I wouldn't do this... likely some individuals would be reintroduced with the rock>
for a few hours or a day while I sift through the entire sand bed to remove anything in there that's not sand. Is there a better way to kill these things *permanently* than to uproot the entire tank?
<... Predators, trapping... Read here:
and the linked files above>
Also, how do I treat the rock that may contain corals, polyps, Chitons, and other life I want to keep?
<... can't really. There are no processes, chemical treatments that are strictly harmful only to Errantiate Polychaetes>
The other problem is, I am growing a *thick* coat of corallines all over everything. I have not added calcium to my reef tank in over 5 months, and the coralline grows about 1/4 inch thick in that time. Short of the above method which kills the worms, is there a way to stop it from growing?
<... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/corlinecompfaqs.htm
quite annoying, as it is encrusting all my polyps and must be broken off with a forceps at least once per month or the polyps will get strangled.
If I add any calcium at all besides what is available in the salt mix
(Instant Ocean) I must free the polyps every week.
Much appreciated,
<Please learn to/use the search tool, indices. Bob Fenner>

Re: Worms and Corallines -- 7/7/10
Hi Bob-
<Howdy Sal>
I replied to Scott, but our emails crossed. I did use the search tool, thanks for the reminder, but the trouble is, I have a lot of worms. Also, I mostly catch Nassarius snails by their siphons if I use a trap.
<Try different trap/s, bait...>
Meanwhile, the *hundreds* of worms can't get trapped because the snails have blocked the trap entrances and stolen the bait.
<Heeee! Maybe move the snails elsewhere while hunting Vermes>
Any ideas on making that a more efficient task?
<None that isn't archived. B>
Re: Worms and Corallines -- 7/7/10
I'll try moving the snails. First, I got to catch' em ;)
<Reads like your present trap/ping should do it here. B>

Re: Worms and Corallines, ScottT's go -- 7/7/10
Hi Scott-
<Nice to hear from you Sal.>
Yes, I have embraced the worms (Bob's trained me well!) but they're hunting down my snails and corals. I have a nice chunk of base rock that came with four ribbon worms. They do a great job of cleaning up and don't bother any of the more desirable animals. But the bristles are getting out of control. Mostly, it's the large grey ones that are trouble, so I try to pick or siphon them out when I can. They are so bothersome that some of my mushrooms have detached themselves from their rocks and are riding the currents to escape. I don't know if they are attacking the mushrooms or if they are just foraging and irritating them -- but there's an exodus in action. When they land, the 'Shrooms look good, open fully, and appear to be fine. Some of them reattach quickly, others have waited for better locations, I guess.
<I understand. I'm glad Bob could respond to that.>
The polyps have it worse, I think. I bought a frag with over 50 little stars and about 30 clove polyps. All the stars got strangled, and all but 8 cloves died from the coralline crust. I scraped and chiseled off a lot of coralline about 6 months ago, and divided the cloves. One frag is up to 8 and the other has about 12 polyps now, but every time they make progress, the coralline covers their feet and makes tight girdles. It actually closes up some of the crevices and holes in the rock, and sometimes *entirely* blocks the intake screens on my power heads. I think this is more important than the worm problem.
I really need help with this. I appreciate any you can offer.
<I scoured the FAQs about this issue.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/corlalgfaqs3.htm . Most people have the opposite problem, not enough coralline. There were a good handful of people who did have the same problem as you though. None of the Crew who responded to those emails had any miracle method. Coralline needs the same things as your corals to grow. Scrape off power heads, and soak in vinegar. Remove rocks that have it, but no corals and sterilize them.
Probably just letting it dry for a week. Shake it in freshwater, then seed it externally to the display a while before adding it back. I suppose to slow its growth, make the tank less hospitable to growth in general? Lower light, lower nutrients. This won't help the corals though. How about this idea. Attach corals large enough to the cleaned rock so that the rock is shaded by coral. Ones in the family Euphylliidae come to mind. Then the coral should be able to out-compete the coralline? Clearly I also have no real advice, sorry.>
<Tell us if you find a better solution, Scott T.>
PS - I found the perfect "tweak" for the clown fry situation. I'm up to near 100% hatch rate and about 60% survival. Yep, I'm still doing that freshwater tried and true stuff, but it all works very well ;)
<Great work! Your survival rate sounds good also. I spent a bit of time recently with some clown breeding pioneers. 60% overall is very acceptable.>

Nano tank, big worms. -- 03/20/10
Hello, to all.
I appreciate your time in advance. I am new to this hobby, and am just starting to study for a future tank. (To give you an idea of how green I am.) I am visiting my dad though, and he has a Nano with a small problem, so I am writing on his behalf.
He has a 12 gal, stable, reef Nano. Water quality, temp is good and 20% water change weekly.
In it is:
1 goby
1 Brittlestar
couple sm hermits
several sm snails
3 peppermint shrimp
1 pistol shrimp
1 pom pom crab
He also has some small soft corals
The problem is the worms. There are several types of worms taking over the tank.
<Taking over?>
I know, they are part of the glorious ecological system and some are beneficial, but they are getting huge and actually displacing other species from their homes. (The brittle star and the peppermint shrimp abandoned their homes and now the shrimp is "missing".)
I wouldn't have thought this was possible, until we put in a trap
and I saw the size of these monsters.
They were way too big to get in them,
<Bigger trap/s>
but certainly investigated it. One type are now pencil thick, long (I have only seen half their bodies because they are long enough to actually reach the sides of the tank without coming all the way out), maybe 8-12 inches, and there are several of them. Their coloring is black, except for the white fluffs they have equally spaced down their bodies. This is a problem for a couple reasons. Things, small shrimp, the feather dusters my dad loves and polyps, are disappearing, at night. Second, they are big enough to force our other animals out and in such a small tank, "hidey" holes are at a premium.
The advice I need, what kind of species are appropriate, given the size and species already in the Nano, to include in this tank as a natural predator.
<You have some of these already... and the volume is too small here for the others...>
I have researched many species that have been recommended in the forum, but, each has its' own problem. I don't think there's enough space for a harem species, as some of the smaller wrasses are and I don't want a species that will eat all the shrimp and polyps. It's a small tank, and I fear that species that "might" cause problems are more likely to in that environment.
I just don't want to cause more problems than we solve. What would you recommend, or is there another type of mechanical assistance that we might do?
<Bigger, better trap/s... Try a glass soda bottle, laid on its side, on the bottom, with something meaty at the end, toward 'lights out' time... when you can/will be there to watch, reach in with a net and scoop out some of these large/r worms>
So far, we have bought commercial traps (worked for the smaller species of worms), built bigger ones on our own from advice on forums that should have, but haven't caught them, baited with all kinds of foods, and even tried to physically catch them. They are fast, lol. We even starved them to aid the traps, (but, you starve them, you starve everything else).
Looking for advice from someone with a lot more experience than me.
Like I said, thank you so very much for your help in advance and apologize if I was unable to find a clear answer posted already in the forum. I appreciate anything you can come up with.
<Do read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/polychaecompfaqs.htm
and the next file in this series linked above for solace and input. Bob Fenner>

Re: Nano tank, big worms. Removal! 3/25/10
Your answer was much like I expected. It is wonderful to have people with more experience verify things you have only begun to grasp, such as species interaction and space requirements.
Just an update though, lol. I actually began to physically remove some of the worms that I could get hold of. Sometimes, this included stabbing them and pulling them out.
<Wowzah! You must have good vision and eye-hand coordination!>
This alone has reduced the worms. It also produced a side affect. This "blood in the water" has actually heightened my fish's appetite for these worms.
I even had an "argument" with the goby over one. I wanted it out, he wanted to eat it, lol. His eyes were much
bigger than his stomach and I didn't want the worm breaking down in the tank. Now, my dad's "worm collection" is being decimated by a voracious posse of animals waiting to get a piece. I have not seen any of those bigger worms in a couple days now and doubt I will.
Anyways, my point is to thank you all for your kind patience in helping those of us that are just starting out. I have always wanted a salt tank of my own, but always saw the whole thing as a bit overwhelming. It's a long ways from fresh water, blue gravel, some tetra, Plec, blue plastic rocks and a water wheel, to a large ecosystem with fish that may very likely have some territorial and personality issues. With your help and the information you provide via this site, books, affiliates, etc. I am much more confident that the answers are out there. Anotherwards, in a very long winded way, thank you. I know that I am not the only one who appreciates it.
<Thank you for your kind, encouraging words Deana. Much appreciated. BobF>

Bristle worms, 2/11/10
<Hello, next time please use proper capitalization and grammar so we don't have to correct it for you before posting on the dailies.>
My name is George Kelly and this is my question.
What can I use to get rid of bristle worms what will eat them.
<Why do you want to get rid of them, they are generally beneficial detritivores and relatively harmless. Unless they are getting very large or you witness them sampling your corals I would leave them be. In these cases there are commercial traps available that I would use.>
Re: Bristle worms 2/11/10
Sorry I was just trying to get an answer to a question thank you.
p.s. I did not think that I was getting graded on my capitalization and grammar.
<As all correspondences get posted for others to use it needs to be easy to read and understand, and do to volume of emails we receive we are not able to edit all ourselves. See here for more
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/WWMAdminSubWebIndex/question_page.htm .>

Very Large Bristleworm in live rock, avoiding 2/8/10
Dear WWM Crew. Today I purchased some live rock from my LFS. After putting it in my tank and turning the lights off I found to my horror a Bristleworm the length of my 26 gallon bow front . I was wondering if there is anyway to prevent hitchhikers from getting into my tank with the rock without killing the good bacteria and coralline algae. Thought you be interested to see how big it was.
<Many such introductions can be prevented through quarantining of hard materials (LR, stony corals)... Read here:
and elsewhere on WWM; re quarantine procedures. Bob Fenner>

Bristle worms, comp. redux -- 02/02/10
Hi Crew,
<Hi Samuel>
A recent question relating to bristle worms seems to echo a prevalent sentiment that these guys are bad for your tank.
<Hmmm, not in my opinion they aren't>
I don't have any now but probably would benefit from them since I have no critters to eat leftover food etc. except for some very tiny worms. And like any other critters they will only overpopulate if you have too much of what they consider food.
<Is this a statement or a question? I do agree that these are most usually beneficial rather than detrimental, with only the occasional 'oddball' being troublesome>
I'd just like to second Simon's opinion here... I like bristle worms and think they're generally beneficial. -Sara M.

Wrasse suggestion for Bristol worm control and Compatibility with neon gobies? 1/11/10
<Hello Gerald>
What's your experience with a wrasse in a 24g AquaPod tank with neon gobies?
<Mmmm my opinion is that 1) You should not be putting any more fish in your 24g and 2) There are many different types of wrasse. Some are suitable for small tanks, some get to 2 meters+ long. What type of wrasse are we talking about here?>
I've only 2 neon gobies and 2 Firefish.
Unfortunately I've several unwanted hitch-hikers. I've found a large Bristol worm (and others)
<Not unwanted in my opinion. A beneficial scavenger>.
Will the wrasse definitely take care of a worm even though the worm is several inches long?
<Not likely at all, there are far more tasty things on offer in most tanks than bristleworms. And unless you have seen the worm do damage to anything (not likely) then I would just leave it be. These will scavenge unwanted food/ detritus in your tank and will also reproduce, creating real, living plankton in your system! This is the good stuff believe me>
What are the characteristics of the 4,6,8 line wrasse?
<Ahh, OK we're not talking Napoleon here! Potentially aggressive with your Firefish, and not worth the risk> thanks in advance for your advice?
<No problem Gerald. If your system is running peacefully and smoothly as it is I would not add anything else to it. By all means monitor your livestock and the worm, and if there is a problem remove it manually. If you have too many bristleworms this is usually down to overfeeding. Cut the feeding back and the Bristleworm populations will go back as well.>
Gerald <Simon>

Your Thoughts Please: Bristle Worms: How much is too much? Bristle Worm Control 11/11/2009
Hey Guys,
<Hi Ryan>
You are truly an asset to "newbies" the world over. Thanks for everything you do.
<Thank you for the kind words.>
This is the second time I have e-mailed in. The first time was for strange white spots on a cleaner shrimp, you suggested an alkalinity problem and that was the case. Buffer introduced, shrimp shed, problem has been rectified. Thank you.
<Excellent news.>
I am nearing completion on my tank. I have a 55 gal set up w/ live rock only. Aside from the (since corrected) Alk problem water parameters are excellent. 1 brown scopas tang, 2 Firefish, 1 T.P. Clown (recently purchased so still in QT and doing well) 1 sand sifting star, 2 cleaner shrimp, 4 Turbos, and 8 or so blue legged hermits. I plan on making a flame angel my last addition. I tried coral on my last tank and I just don't have the time to devote to sup. feedings etc. so I am staying with fish, inverts and live rock on this one. I spent the last 3.5 hours on your site reading about the ever present and always misunderstood bristle worm. I took a red lens flashlight to my tank this eve, well after lights out. I saw 3 or 4 poking out of some holes in the LR. I had a problem with over population before but I deployed 2 tube style traps from the local pet store and I haven't seen as many. I know about the live stock I can put in to help keep the population in check, but how many is too many?? They don't seem to be harassing any of my fish/inverts.
<The worms are normally harmless detritivores. As long as they aren't hurting or damaging anything, I would just leave them alone. If you have a very large number of them, controlling the nutrients will keep the worm population in check.>
After putting in the traps initially I caught 8 or 9 worms over the span of a month or two. The biggest was about 3 inches or so. Nothing like some of the monsters I have read about in your forums. I am assuming the ones I am seeing are just too small to travel real far from their hiding spots. At what point (numbers wise) do I need to be concerned, if at all, about the number of BW's in the
tank and the probability they will harm my livestock.
<I wouldn't worry about it. They are actually pretty neat to watch.>
Thanks again!!
<My pleasure.>

Please Help me ID This on Midas Blenny -- 09/14/09
First sorry for the horrible pictures... Photographing an always moving Midas Blenny on the side of him that is always away from you is tough! I will continue to try to get a better picture.
This guy just came out of my QT tank this weekend after going through full treatments of Prazi and low doses of Cupramine. I came home today to find these white looking prickly/sticker things protruding out of his side.
not look like an Ich cyst... These stand straight out from his side.
Almost like you would rub your hand on a thorn bush and come away with stickers stuck into your skin.
<Looks like... "bristles" from the so-named Polychaete worms to me>
Sorry for the poor explanation, but I have never seen anything like this.
Does anyone have any idea what this is?
Thank You,
<Happens to the fastest, seemingly most agile fishes at times... No real treatment... "cures" on its own with time; akin to getting "Fireworm" stings in human hands. Bob Fenner>

Re: Please Help me ID This on Midas Blenny -- 09/15/09
Thanks so much for the help Bob...
<Welcome Landen>
Hopefully this is only what it is. My first concern was possibly velvet since it was so many of them covering the same spot on the Blenny.
<Mmm, not an indication of parasitic involvement.>
That would have been devastating to the 300G display that they are in since I am leaving town for a week today and the tank will be in the wife's hands.
Are there any symptoms other than visual of the "bristles"? Rubbing of the spot, etc.?
<Not really. There are often quite a few of these worms in systems, and Ecsenius, darting in/out of "tight spots" get jabbed... BobF>
Thanks Again,

fish help 9/9/09
Good Evening,
I am having an issue with one of my fang tooth blennies and am not really sure what is going on.
When I saw the fish tonight it looks like it went to war with a cactus! One side of the fish is covered in spikes. I tired to take pictures but the fish is now hiding and will not come out to eat. I am not sure what can do this? Possibly a Bristleworm?
<Very definitely. Polychaete spines are brittle, and the whole point of them is that they break off, irritating the skin of the would-be predator.>
Either way I am very concerned that I have something in my tank capable of doing this to my livestock?
<All reef tanks are filled with animals well able to protect themselves in various ways. While the reef looks harmonious to us, it's actually more of a Mexican stand-off, with different organisms each asserting themselves as they try to obtain resources or defend themselves. The "Fang Tooth Blenny" can be any one of a variety of species, but at least some may be opportunistically predatory, or else one simply darted into the wrong crevice at the wrong time, and bumped into something unpleasant.>
Any ideas how to get these spikes out of the fish?
<Not really possible. Will fall out in time.>
Any ideas what can cause this?
<Bristleworms of all types.>
Thanks, Eric
<Cheers, Neale.>

Symbiotic Relationships... worms, goby, Alpheid... 8/5/09
Greetings to the wonderful crew at WWM!
<Hello, Josh here.>
I would like your thoughts on the possibility of another "symbiotic" relationship between the Yasha Hase, Pistol Shrimp, and Bristle Worm(s). In the beginning few months of getting our Yasha Hase and pistol shrimp pair, we noticed that the Nassarius snail and hermit crabs would try to go into the cave built by the pistol shrimp. The pistol shrimp would get very angry and we hear popping noises all day long.
<That sounds about right.>
Lately we heard much fewer "pops" and noticed during our nightly feedings that bristle worms would come out near the end of the feeding and their presence appears to prevent any hermit crabs or the Nassarius snail from trying to get scraps left at the cave entrance. My husband was worried that the worms would harm the Yasha Hase or the pistol shrimp, but I've watched on several occasions where they are literally touching each other without any ill effects!
<Unless the worms get extremely large, bigger than a pencil in length and girth, I wouldn't really be concerned. In fact some people aren't concerned even when they do get large, if it is hurting the goby, he will learn to avoid them.>
One time, I managed to "suck" onto one of the worms with my syringe that I use to target feed, and as I was trying to pull the worm out of the cave, the pistol shrimp came to its rescue and popped his claws at my syringe!
<Interesting, I doubt it was defending the worm itself, and was more likely just disturbed by the syringe more than the worms.>
I let go of course as I love my little pistol shrimp and doesn't want to take his friend...but are bristle worms their friends?
<Friends, I don't know. Do the mind each other, apparently not, the worms are eating due to the presence of the goby/shrimp pair, and also keeping the snails out. That seems like a good relationship.>
I've read that bristle worms are 'bad' but at the same time, I've read that they help with cleaning up detritus and churn up the sand bed, so 'Next time if I get a chance to grab one of them, should I try to get it out?
<Nope they are actually good for the tank. Just not so great aesthetically.>
Thanks so much for your time!
Jamie Barclay
<Your very welcome,
Josh Solomon.>

again with the bristle worms -- 08/04/09
I'm sorry. I know you've delved into this topic quite a bit. I went against all given advice and befriended my bristle worms, let them flourish, even fed the big one (the first one to come out just happens to be quite big - only 6 inches has ever come out - I even made sure to leave food for it. Then the others appeared, some light pink holographic like the first, others black and pink, a little orangey-ness showing (these I think may be the bad guys, though) I appreciated their help with the clean-up, because I've been without a protein skimmer on a 75 gal. reef tank for several months. I took over care of the tank for someone who is away for a few years and his now ex-girlfriend allowed the whole filtration system go to crap, then had us pay someone who it came out did not know anything about saltwater and further wrecked the filtration line so that now little me is having to become a fast expert with little free time to devote doing not too bad a job of keeping the system balanced. Anyway, a long, thick orangey work with a heavy white bristle popped out from under the oyster shell my lovely colony of xenia had been thriving on and proceeded to munch. There's evidence that it's been at it for days, many white tipped polyp edges, the xenia "petals" just disappearing.
Is there a way to keep the worms I want, but lose those larger predatory worms?
<Mmm, yes... "selective predation" on your part>
They're too big and too fast for me to catch.
<Then bait/trap to remove. See WWM re for variations...>
Plus, I'm fond of some. I'm also reluctant to add new species while the skimmer is off line.
These worms I speak of are kind of large to handle as well.
<And watch your hands about... are called bristle, fire worms for good reason>
On a side note, it your reply to Susan who had a tube attached to a rock with little projections that sent out a web and reeled it in You had suggested that it might be another type of tube worm but, could that not have been the rare(ish?) tube snail?
I was lucky enough to have the live rock produce one, only to have the over-sized snails the tank's mother purchased and added (all on her own, to attend to the algae problem, which they really did little towards) topple down over it in the clumsy way they had and knocked it off the rock, thus killing it. A replacement never grew back :( It was endlessly fascinating to watch it "fish".
<What a planet eh? I'm not leaving! Bob Fenner>

Bristleworm infestation help, 7/31/09
I'm still new to this hobby and really need some help.
<Fire away.>
My husband and I have acquired a 90 gallon tank (equipment, liverock, and livestock to included fish and corals). I have dubbed the tank the Bristleworm tank. It is infested with them. We, of course, did not realize this when we transferred some of the coral into an existing 67G and a 29G.
When I say infested, this is an understatement. We have probably pulled out over a dozen already. I can seem them in the sand, and I can see them in the rocks when I put food in.
<Generally an indication of overfeeding.>
There is probably 100+ pounds of liverock, plus 100 pounds of live sand. The livestock is as follows: 2 blue/green reef Chromis, 2 pajama cardinals, 1 yellow tang, 1 Clarkii, 1 long tentacles anemone. On Thursday, I acclimated a six line wrasse and an arrow crab to this tank.
<Both may help control the worm population, but each have their downside as well.>
Other inhabitants are various corals, both soft and hard. This is what concerns me. I have read where the bristleworms will eat corals.
<Large ones have been known to, but I think generally this is an overrated problem, for the most part they are beneficial scavengers.>
The cleanup crew is basically a bunch of different snails, and a few hermits. There is also a Hawaiian (I think) feather duster and a clam of unknown species in the tank. How else can I control the Bristleworm population?
<There are commercially available traps which work fairly well, and controlling excess food will help considerable as well given a little time.>
Is there another wrasse I can put in there? What kinds of wrasses will eat bristle worms?
<Not much can be relied on, most fish will prefer the more palpable prepared and frozen foods available.>
Now, for preventative measures on the other two tanks:
29G has Zoanthids, hammerhead, and pulsing xenias, 2 peppermint shrimp, a juvenile gold bar maroon clown.. What would be best to put in this tank with the current inhabitants. (Not too fond of the maroon clown, and have considered giving him away or trading him into the LFS).
<This tank will not be large enough long term for this fish, it gets quite large and may not accept any other tankmates.>
67G has 1 neon goby, 1 dwarf flame angel, 2 juvenile misbar (tank bred) Ocellaris, four peppermint shrimp, misc. hermits, 1 scooter blenny, and horseshoe crab in the refugium.
<This crab is a bad choice for aquariums, almost assuredly will starve after wiping out all life in your sandbed.>
This also has corals from the 90G... hammerhead, frogspawn, unidentified branching stony coral, green star polyp, mushrooms, Zoanthids.
Thanks in advance,
<Control the available food for the worms and you will control their population. Traps and manual removal (carefully) will help speed the process.>

Removing Bristle Worm From Bubble Coral 7/8/09
<Hello from Key Largo!>
I have a bubble coral that I purchased 10 months ago. It was injured and only had a few bubbles on it when I bought it (they said it had a 50/50 chance).
<Impressive you've managed to keep it alive this long!>
Anyway I read up about them and started to target feed it.
<This will benefit this coral. I would also recommend you soaking your food in Selcon as well.>
It started to look better. About two months ago it began to grow a new skeleton.
<Very good.>
So far so good. Then last night I saw 2 bristle worms poke out from the skeleton underneath the bubbles. First I was wondering if they are eating the bubble coral?
<Likely not. Generally bristle worms eating dying/decaying matter, not living tissues.>
Second, How do I get them out of there without causing damage to the bubble coral.
<I would likely not remove, you can observe the coral, but even if you see tissue loss, that does not necessarily indicate that the bristle worms are doing the damage, more likely they are doing a beneficial service of removing the damaged tissue.>
Your help would be greatly appreciated. I have a 180 gallon tank with 1 coral banded shrimp, 1 fire shrimp,
<I would add another so they might pair up and the spawn can feed your tank.>
1 blue hippo,1 Kole tang,1 clown, 2 mandarins,1 Flameback angel,1 Foxface, and 1 yellow tang.
<Watch all those tangs!>
Also have many snails and hermits, and 2 feather dusters.

Bristle Worm Control\CBS 3/1/2009 Hi <Hi Mike!> I purchased a coral banded shrimp in order to cut down my Bristleworm population a bit after reading that they would prey on them. <They can, no guarantees though.> Weeks have passed and haven't had any indication of him taking advantage of my ample Bristleworm population so I caught one and offered it to him after ripping it in half for him. He took it, tasted it, but then discarded it showing no interest in feeding on it. <Much like me with broccoli..> Its a fairly small banded shrimp. Was somewhat disappointed in his lack of interest in the worm. Do you think he'll be more likely to prey on them when he's larger? <It may with time. Most bristle worms are actually beneficial to a system. An excess population if worms usually indicates that there are excess nutrients in the tank. With better nutrient control (water changes, algae, refugium etc) the population will decline. You can read more about bristle worms here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bristlewrmfaqs.htm > <Mike>

Mantis shrimp/Fireworm compatibility? -- 02/12/09 Hello! We trapped a fairly large (about 6" long almost 1/2" dia.) Fireworm this evening and removed it from our 240 gal. FOWLR tank. 2 of our fish appeared to have been stung by it recently - bristles on their bodies and a day of decreased appetite/activity and both recovered w/ no lasting effect. <Ouch!> We'd rather not have the worm loose in there, but would also rather not kill it (we're wusses like that). We do have a 5" mantis shrimp set up in his own tank and thought maybe the worm could live there. <Mmm, not likely> So...would the mantis eat the worm, or would the worm sting the mantis, or is it a match made in heaven??? Thanks for your help! Laura <Chances are the Mantis will consume the worm. Bob Fenner>

Eunice aphroditois hitchhiker 1/26/09 I have a 75 gallon with a 15 gallon sump and refugium. It is a full reef tank and is now about 2 1/2 years old. Last night I discovered a Eunice aphroditois in my tank. It is about 12 to 18 inches long and is definitely the Singapore variety. <Yikes> I found? an example of it at http://www.wildsingapore.com/wildfacts/worm/polychaeta/giant.htm? My pictures are not so great. This is definitely the baby. Exact color and all. My question is that this site and one other from Singapore say it eats seaweed. <Mmm, no> However, I have read on may other sites they are carnivorous <Are omnivorous... but will definitely (particularly the females) go after fish, meaty invertebrates... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobbit_worm> and mine surely was after a krill last night. Due to its current size I'm sure it has been living in there quite awhile. Can you tell me any helpful info on them? I read they bite. Any thoughts on whether I should remove it and if so how. Jennifer Cignoni <I would either remove it for safety's sake, keep it in its own dedicated system... or settle on the fact that some animals will likely go missing in time... though you keep this worm fed. Oh, and do watch your hands when in this system. Bob Fenner>

For those that wonder whether there's is a Fireworm... 1/18/09 Dear Bob & Crew, <Yes Martin> I have enjoyed your site now for most of this decade. My thanks for what you do. Bob once graced me with some of his "aquatic voodoo", as he put it, some years back and for that many thanks. <Welcome> As a peculiar gesture of gratitude I thought I would send a rather poorly lit photo of what I, based on my copy of Reef Invertebrates and a bit of surfing, would identify as Hermodice carunculata. In the photo it is 15" long and about 1.5" across. I thought perhaps this photo (or others of the worm alone if you want them?) could assist in future "good worm/bad worm" queries. Perhaps you could point the more typical bristle worm in the foreground as an education to those that fear they may have contracted "Fireworms" with their first use of liverock. By the way...yes He does eat fish... <Oh yes> I have watched an unfortunate Microdesmid (already sick) disappear tail first. In case anyone ever wished to maintain this animal long term (for it is truly spectacular) I have observed it consume all standard meaty marine offerings plus Zoanthids, xenia, various leathers, mushrooms, Aiptasia and majano anemones, fish, Asterina, snails, cheese, beef, you name it! However, after two years it has not even come close to consuming all my corals (48x18x24 with sump) though it does seem to prefer the more colourful. Just do not touch it. My discovery of this hitchhiker with an ungloved hand was an experience not soon forgotten...I should have taken a picture of the results... Cheers and best wishes for 2009, Martin UK <Thank you for sharing. BobF>

Tall... at right

Bristleworm eater, control -- 10/10/08 I have had bristleworms in my tank for a long time now which i know is a good thing but recently i have been seeing 5 or 6 larger ones that are getting to be about 6". I am ok with all of the smaller ones but i just don't like these because i don't want to worry about being stung when cleaning my tank and i just don't like dealing with the big ones. I was just wondering if you could help me decide on possibly one of the Halichoeres wrasse to eat these larger bristleworms? <Mmm, now that they're this big, perhaps no species, specimen will want to... But a larger one might... like the Checkerboard, H. hortulanus... relatively easygoing, available... However... please see below> I have read about fish eating bristleworms, but i have had a hard time finding out if they will eat some of the larger worms too. Would a larger wrasse, say 6inches, be more prone to eat the bigger ones then a fish that is only 3inches? <Yes, I do believe so> I am not worried about destroying the population of bristleworms in my tank because i have a refugium with a lot of them. Oh and my main tank is 55gallon <Mmm, this is going to be too small for this fish in time...> with 1 cinnamon clownfish,1 banded sleeper goby, and some Shrooms and polyps. I would really appreciate it if you could help me out. <If it were my system, situation, I'd look into trapping these worms out instead. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/polychaecompfaqs.htm and the next file in the series linked above. Bob Fenner>

Live Rock "Cacti" Re: Cactus Quills aka Bristle Worm Sting 10/1/08 Hello again! <Howdy> I have a question that I have been trying to get an answer to for quite some time now. About a month ago I decided that I was going to do some aquascaping with my live rock. After I had finished and my hands had dried they began to burn a little. As I took a closer look I noticed what appeared to be tiny cactus quills all in my hand. Someone told me this could be a sign of fire corals in my tank, but seeing as how I only have 50/50 lights, I don't see how the coral could survive for 6 months in that specific tank. This is a FOWLR tank. Any suggestions of what this could have possibly been? I didn't get sick and felt fine, just my hands were on fire and itching really bad! Thanks in advance!! <Did the 'quills' look like this? http://i95.photobucket.com/albums/l127/francis1123/IMG_3110.jpg It is most likely a bristle worm sting. You'd be in a lot more pain if it were fire coral. Please read more about bristle worms here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bristlewrmfaqs.htm and the related articles. Regards, Jessy>
Re: Cactus Quills aka Bristle Worm Sting 10/1/08
No, the quills did not look like that, a lot smaller in fact. <Probably broken off because you kept pillaging around the rocks> I could barely see them. What happened was I put a stupid Condy anemone in my tank and well, it disappeared. So, I decided that I needed to do some aquascaping anyway. I took out all the Live Rock and searched in all the nook and crannies for this anemone and scrubbed the rock with a toothbrush. I never noticed any bristleworms at all, <Most likely you won't see them unless you are looking for them. They have a way of tucking themselves into rocks and only allowing a centimeter of their body to show as they travel from hole to hole> but about an hour later I noticed the quills. These things were so small you couldn't really get a picture of them, but there were about 100 of them in each hand. <I can almost guarantee you that it was a bristle worm of some species. The picture I referred you to is a perfect example of undisturbed line of bristles that were freshly stung. If the man in the picture had kept playing in his tank, they would have all broken off in his skin. Just so happens that a when tweezing he found that they are very delicate and prone to breaking easily. A few stayed lodged in his skin, the only evidence was a red swollen area and itchiness, he too couldn't see them. If you had fire coral in your tank, you would not just be complaining of itchiness an hour later. You would have no doubt about being stung by a fire coral. There is a reason it has its name. May I suggest you not go digging around in your tank without gloves on again. Regards, Jessy>

Huge bristle worm 9/25/08 Thank you for your time. Your site is a big asset to the hobby and I reference it all of the time. While doing a water change last night, I caught a very big bristle worm to say the least. <Don't you just love those?> It was on the bottom of my tank, coming out of some live rock. I was using just some tubing to siphon the water out and it was like fishing when I was trying to suck it up! It took 3-4 minutes to fully pull the worm out. He was very strong and determined not to get caught. Anyway, I now have a 16 inch bristle worm in my drain bucket. <GASP!> Im not quite sure what to do with it/dispose of it. I'm a bit apprehensive to grab it even with tweezers. The barbs on it are huge! <Well it seems to me Corey that you want to dispose of it (I would too), and you have your choice of the toilet or the garbage. If you can just dump it from the container all the better, if not, large tweezers should be fine, I doubt it is going to strike you with fangs like a snake.> Thank you, Corey <Enjoy, Jessy> <<Take care to avoid the "bristles"... you may find out why some of these are called "Fireworms". BobF>>

Bristle worm eradication... electrocution? 7/15/08 I have had a bristle worm infestation in my past two reef tanks (transferring of live rock) . These are nasty critters, and although it is said that they add bio diversity and help a tank in many ways, I really don't like them. My newest tank was setup using only base rock to prevent the transfer of these critters. I have recently been offered a large quantity of good live rock with great coralline algae growth, but there is a catch, there are bristle worms in the rock. My question is , besides boiling or bleaching the rock what would be a good way to eradicate these worms without destroying the coralline which I so desire. <Predators... or... chemical control (Vermifuges)> A friend recommended shocking a tank full of the rocks to accomplish this task. <Interesting... dangerous?> I am not sure of the effect on the algae growth or the voltage/current/duration I should be using. <Not appreciable> I am an electrician and am fully qualified to do this!! Do you think 120v until the breaker trips would do the trick? <Would not say> Or perhaps a bleeding current of 12 v for a day or two. I know this seems like a drastic measure but I cannot run the risk of infecting my 180 gallon with these worms. I could not get rid of them in a 35 gallon with constant tweezing, or the traps. Thank you <Mmm... do read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/polychaecompfaqs.htm and the next linked file above in the series... Perhaps an Arrow Crab... Bob Fenner>

Baffled by a Bristleworm (What to do?) 7/12/08 Hello. <Hi there! Scott F. in today!> 14g Bio-cube salinity 25 ph 8.2 do 25% water changes weekly since the tank is so small. tank's probably overcrowded but very stable. <A mixed blessing, I guess!> I have had the tank 3 or 4 months.... soft corals all doing great and multiplying. the tiny Blue Soft Coral is one of my favorites as well as the Open Brain (in photo above). <Nice!> 1 Blue Spotted Jawfish creates havoc daily spitting sand everywhere...!! 1 Clarkii - 1 inch 1 Yellow Watchman 1 Peppermint Shrimp (in photo below) 1 magnificent Feather Duster (barely can see it in the photo above) 10 or so Turban snails 4 blue leg crabs 4 red leg crabs 1 Emerald Crab (my favorite) <Seems like a nice mix to me...I would, of course, restrain from further additions.> I had found a lot of strange things like a tiny starfish (1/8 inch), which I've lost track of. A tiny Brittlestar, about 1 inch from tips of legs, and an Orange Bristleworm (in photo below). I hate to kill anything...... should I try to trap the Bristleworm? Cynthia Rice <Well, Cynthia, I am not one of those people that feels that Bristleworms are entirely awful creatures. In fact, in my opinion, they can perform valuable scavenging services and "work" the sand bed in a manner similar to terrestrial earthworms. However, they can become quite large, damage soft corals, and possibly even pose a threat to sedentary fishes and invertebrates. In the long run, unless you are able to track the animal regularly (doubtful, because they are rather secretive!), it's a good idea to remove the animal to a dedicated aquarium, refugium, etc. This will assure that the animal will not pose a threat in the future. Hope that you can do this, as they are fascinating animals, well worth the trouble of setting up a small display to study! Regards, Scott F.>

Re: Bristleworm?? good or bad Baffled By a Bristleworm (Cont'd.) 7/27/08 Hello again. <Hey There!> This is a related question about bristleworms.... I ended up taking the entire piece of live rock (with the Blue Flower coral on it) to the LFS because I didn't want to destroy the Bristleworm and they agreed to get rid of it for me. <Glad that you found a taker!> Weird thing.... Since that piece of live rock and the Bristleworm are out of the tank, my yellow watchman goby and my peppermint shrimp seem to come out in the tank all the time.... As if they were scared of the Bristleworm. <Interesting!> Do you think that the goby and shrimp "knew" that the Bristleworm was there and were scared of it? Cynthia Rice <Interesting thought, Cynthia. I suppose that it's entirely possible that these bottom-dwelling creatures were keen to a potential predator. Creatures that dwell on the bottom and are relatively sedentary do need a heightened sense of awareness about their surroundings, so it's not entirely out of the question. Maybe it's a coincidence, but it sounds to me like a distinct possibility! Regards, Scott F.>

Re: Bristleworm?? good or bad 8/8/08 I thought I only had one Bristleworm, but today I have found another one.... So I most likely have more. Oh well. Thanks for your help. Cynthia Rice <Well, Cynthia, where there is one, there may be many! However, the same eradication procedures that work for single individuals will work for groups. Perhaps you should look into an Arrow Crab? A fun animal to watch and a keen predator of Bristleworms. Just a thought! Regards, Scott F.>

Re: Bristle Worm Execution -- 06/28/08 Thanks for the advice... <<I hope it was useful>> I find I need to ask another question about the same issue.... <<Ask away>> It's bad enough to find an eight-inch coral-eating Fireworm (Shimek/Marine Invertebrates/p. 225) in your reef tank, but when you discover another one, well... They've eaten the anchor, the frogspawn, and the torch. We thought we were losing the corals to brown jelly at first, but there really wasn't any jelly. Never even considered it may be a worm problem, as (most) bristleworms are our friends. <<Indeed 'encountering problematic specimens/species is rare (considering)>> It was all a mystery until we saw the first worm I mentioned in my previous email, completely exposed on the sand bed in front of the tank. Easy to net! <<Hmm, not usually this bold/careless 'are generally cryptic in their behavior in my experience. Perhaps this one was already dying>> This one was just so huge and not the skinny red ones that we are used to seeing peeking out of the rockwork. We thought Fireworms were red or orange. <<Not always (many species), as you have discovered>> This one has a grey body and doesn't look so dangerous. <<This is variable as well 'though none should ever be 'handled' with bare hands>> After we looked it up in Shimek and saw what their diet was, it became all too clear what had really been going on. <<Kudos to you on the research'¦>> They are now suspected of also devouring a perfectly healthy crocea clam. <<Would certainly 'clean it up''¦but may not have been the reason for its demise>> Gosh, if they've been spawning!! Yikes! <<This is a possibility I suppose. But I don't think it is as probable as with the more 'common' smaller detritivores we're used to seeing>> With the tank now devoid of fresh fleshy things, what would be the most enticing entree we can use for bait? <<Any meaty seafood should suffice>> I read that meaty foods in a stocking/net is the way to capture errant worms; however, the remaining worm doesn't seem so anxious to eat the krill we've been using in the trap for the past few days. <<Catching these critters can be trying. It may just need to get 'hungrier''¦or maybe you need a better or bigger trap. A simple but effective trap can be manufactured easily enough from a plastic 2-liter soda bottle. Cut off the top third of the bottle and invert this and wedge/tape/glue/secure it in the bottom portion of the bottle creating a 'funnel' leading in to the bottle (much like a 'minnow trap' like you would find at a sporting goods store). Place some meaty food bits in the trap (if the krill isn't working, try some shrimp, squid, or fish flesh from the supermarket), position the trap near the rockwork in your tank 'and wait>> Do they only eat live flesh? <<Nope'¦will scavenge when hungry/preferred morsels are not available>> What do you suggest we use as bait for Hermodice carunculata? <<The krill should do it 'but try the other options mentioned too>> Thanks again! Aviva G. <<Good luck with your hunt! Eric Russell>>

Bristle Worm Trap -- 06/28/08 Hi Bob, <Daren> I came up with a pretty good design/invention for a Bristleworm trap. Been doing some beta (haha) testing in my own reef tank and it works great. Even been able to get these guys during lighted hours with my invention. I think this is great considering these are nocturnal creatures. I even thought about recording it. In reading the related articles about bristleworms on WetWebMedia, I get the understand that some Bristleworm may be harmful and some helpful. But too many of a good thing can be bad too. <All so> I think my invention is far superior to the ones currently on the market and has shown that it really works. Therefore, I was wondering if you have any contacts or companies that you think I should reach to pitch my invention. <Mmm... actually... I'd consider making it yourself, putting it on the Net, and selling it direct... much faster, profitable and more satisfying... am going to ask fellow WWM Crewmember Scott Vallembois to chime in here... as he makes, sells some products for the interest himself...> Your response will greatly be appreciated and I would consider even providing some sort of compensation if this is successful. Sincerely, Daren <And I'll chat with you further. Bob Fenner>

Re: Bristle Worm Trap -- 06/28/08 Hi Bob, <Daren> Just wanted to say one more thing about my invention. The trap are safe enough to do a catch and release of the bristleworms. Thus, one can catch and dispose of the unwanted species and return the more favorable ones. Additionally, what is your opinion of such a product and do you see a market for such an item? <Mmm, there is a niche market... and we have such a huge turnover... more than 100% a year... that there are steady numbers of new customers...> The product is aesthetically appealing and very durable. Nothing flimsy and cheap. I've started to build several test models. Thank you in advance for your opinion. Sincerely, Daren <Again, perhaps a prelim. patent search (to tie all up)... IF done on the cheap... starting a website... seeing if it will sell... BobF>

Re" Bristle Worm Trap, ScottV's valuable input. -- 06/28/08 Hi Bob, <Daren> I came up with a pretty good design/invention for a Bristleworm trap. Been doing some beta (haha) testing in my own reef tank and it works great. Even been able to get these guys during lighted hours with my invention. I think this is great considering these are nocturnal creatures. I even thought about recording it. In reading the related articles about bristleworms on WetWebMedia, I get the understand that some Bristleworm may be harmful and some helpful. But too many of a good thing can be bad too. <All so> I think my invention is far superior to the ones currently on the market and has shown that it really works. Therefore, I was wondering if you have any contacts or companies that you think I should reach to pitch my invention. <Mmm... actually... I'd consider making it yourself, putting it on the Net, and selling it direct... much faster, profitable and more satisfying... am going to ask fellow WWM Crewmember Scott Vallembois to chime in here... as he makes, sells some products for the interest himself...> <<Hello Daren, Scott here with you. I agree with Bob, you should definitely be making this product yourself. Selling direct to the end consumer is far and away going to be the most profitable for you with such a product. For about $30 you can have a website shopping cart going selling your product on the net through sites such as Go Daddy, Website Tonight, etc. These sites make it very easy to setup, just point and click. Our site Glass-Holes.com is an example of these simple shopping carts. I originally met Bob contacting him for advertising on WWM. The advice he gave me is that the best advertising in this industry is word of mouth. This has held very true in my experience. You can spend thousands and see little result. Get some of these units out there for people to use, preferably those active in the forums (sigh). Also, do consider at least a provisional patent. This will cost you just a few hundred dollars and allow you to use the patent pending statement and a year of protection on your product, at which point you will need to apply for a full patent if it seems worthwhile. If you do setup a site to sell these, please contact me (personal email above), I can help you with the basics of design to generate traffic and hopefully sales. Good luck with this venture, Scott V.>> Your response will greatly be appreciated and I would consider even providing some sort of compensation if this is successful. Sincerely, Daren <And I'll chat with you further. Bob Fenner>

Bristleworm outbreak! 6/27/08 Hello! <Hello indeed!> We have a 300 gallon, very healthy tank in our office that has live rock, lots of soft corals, mushrooms, polyps, etc... We have several skunk shrimp (Lysmata), emerald leg crabs, tangs, yellow tail tang, hawk fish, hermit crabs, coral beauty, damsels, to name a few. Now we have recently noticed a large increase of bristleworms (I counted about 10) and a few white string worms that attach to the glass. The bristleworms are quite large and seem to cluster together. I am trying to decide what would be the best way to get rid of the worms based on our stock population so others don't vanish. Our tank is deeper than wider and feeding them and pulling them out might take scuba attire. Is the Lysmata not doing its job getting rid of the bristleworms or did the bristleworms worms get too big too fast? <Neither. Lysmata will not feed on errant Polychaetes.> I would guess they are about 4 inches by 1 cm. Probably longer if stretched out. I will suggest to our fish guy to increase changing the water, check the protein skimmer, etc. <Kim, as long as these are the little purple and orange variety, they're nothing to worry about. These are detritivores that will wax and wane with available food, and shouldn't cause any harm in your tank. No worries!> Help! Thanks.... Kim <No problem. Benjamin>

Bristle Worm Execution -- 06/23/08 Hi, <<Hello>> Thanks so much for all the great info on the site. <<Quite welcome 'is a collective effort>> I read through everything I could find on how to get rid of the bad bristle worm -- he was identified, tried, captured and convicted -- but all I can find is how to capture them, or which predators/ bounty hunters to employ. <<Okay>> (Actually, I would need a most ginormous fish to eat this monster!) <<A big one, eh>> I can't find anything about how to humanely dispatch this guy to the great beyond. Any suggestions are welcomed. Aviva G. <<You can treat is just as you would a sick fish you wish to euthanize 'place the worm in a plastic zip-loc bag and put it in the freezer for an hour, and then dispose of in the trash. EricR>>

Question About Bristle Worm Predator -- 06/11/08 Hi, <<Hello>> Was wondering what type of wrasse, hogfish, or Dottyback that gets over 5 inches and will eat bristle worms (small ones to extreme large ones)? The fish needs to be somewhat peaceful. <<Hmm'¦to meet this last criterion I think your best option is a wrasse from the genus Halichoeres. I think most any species from the genus will prey on Bristle Worms, but a very aquarium hardy species that will certainly 'hunt them out' where it can is H. chrysus'¦often commonly mislabeled as the Yellow Coris Wrasse. Do have a look here and among the associated links for other ideas/solutions (http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bristlewrmfaqs.htm). And also be aware that most Bristle Worm populations are transient 'waxing and waning over time 'and for the most part are very beneficial detritivores, and not to be overly concerned with>> Thanks, Cindy <<Happy to assist. EricR>>

Giant Bristle Worm 5/29/08 I have an 80 gallon tank with a huge bristle worm problem. <I'll say!> I was told as long as the worms were of the "light tan color", not dark and red, were harmless and not to worry. <What? No... there are thousands of species... the one pictured is painful if the podia are touched...> I began to worry when the one in the attached picture came out in daylight and "captured" a piece of sea weed that I had attached to a large shell in the bottom of my tank. I have one of those rectangle acrylic traps with 2 funnel entries on one end and a trap door on the opposite end for crabs. I have used it 4 nights in a row catching at least 30 the 1st night and 7 the next. On the 3rd night I got a really big one--10" and least. But not the MOBY BRISTLE. <Heeeee!> Picture is not of the BIG ONE. Moby came out before living room lights were out. Tank lights were off. He was larger than my thumb. He came out and went through the proper entrance, but being so long, he was still mostly in the rock and sand. He grabbed a large piece of seaweed that was in the far end of the trap and drug the whole thing to the opening but failed to get it out through the little hole. Nothing was in the trap the next day but the seaweed. For the last 2 nights, nothing has been caught but itty bitty bristles. 1 to 2 inch worms. This is really a night mare. Help. Thank you, Peggy Sharp <A matter of a bigger trap perhaps. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/polychaecompfaqs.htm and the next FAQs file in the series linked above. Bob Fenner>

Fireworm issue? 5/18/08 hey guys, I looked for the exact worm on the site so that I wouldn't need to email you. the closest worm I found was the worm from Bristleworm Regeneration 7/14/07. I have 29g reef tank, and personally I don't really care too much about whether or not this worm lives or dies. My tank as been up and running for 2 years almost to the day and its doing great, and this is the first worm I've seen in my tank in about 8 months because I had a 6 line wrasse, until he took over the tank, <Heeeeeee> and two peppermint shrimp which I still have. I kinda freaked out a little because the worms I used to see all the time were the little inch and half black and red fire worms, and this guy is this pinkish red color all over, and he's 8 inches. <!> I know that these worms can do damage to corals, so I figured he could do damage to me, <Ah, yes> so because of the position in the tank, I used a spatula and wound up cutting an inch off of his butt end. I assume the other end will heal, and continue to live, <Yes> the real question I have is if I see this out again, how could I handle it with out hurting myself or cutting it into smaller pieces to remove it, and is there a reef safe fish or invert the could possible eat one this large? <Can be baited, trapped out...> thanks so much for any help, Tom <Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/polychaecompfaqs.htm and the linked files in the series above. Bob Fenner>

Bristleworm BioControl & Fish Compatibility... Stenorhynchus 4/17/08 Hi- hope you can tolerate one more of these questions. I apologize if it's too long. If so, just jump to the last paragraph, which is where I am having difficulty assessing what would be the better choice to make. I've been reading much about bristleworms over the past year or so mostly from WWM, and decided the few I saw around were harmless. <Most all are...> However, I have noted several very large ones lately (or may be the same guy moving around- I'd have to guesstimate 6-9 inches). Tried lots of trapping methods, but thanks to my overly-creative and intricate rockscaping, I could never really catch much. <Best to bait... the all-plastic mouse-traps re-sold for such... or bottles, pipe with Dacron "wool"...> Never noticed them do anything other than occasionally cull my snail population. corals seemed OK, fish happy etc, so I said leave 'em be and let 'em eat detritus. <Good attitude> In the last few weeks however, I noticed that my snails were disappearing like mad (no new additions other than 50 more snails). And even they seem to be under attack. In the last 2 weeks, I noticed my 3 blue-green Chromis seemed reluctant to come out of their refuge in the live rock cave they made home. except to occasionally eat during feeding time. Then one by one, they disappeared, leaving only one guy left. and in just the last few hours he is MIA it seems too. <Yikes!> Well today I reworked some rockscape, cleaned quite a bit and after the lunars came on I saw one that appeared to be very closely appearing to the Hawaiian Bristleworm slink out of the Chromis home cave .. I estimate it was 8-12 inches based on the span of rock I measured, w/no end in sight, body about 3/8 inch wide. looked more white than any color, and in comparison to a typical orangey Bristleworm it had longer bristles spaced farther apart. IF possible I'll try to get a photo if he shows up again (I sat for about an hour but he is in hiding it seems). Maybe it wasn't a bad bristle and he just dined on my fortuitously dead fish-but I doubt it. the last Chromis was a happy camper today , and in the span of 2 hrs he vanished seems gone, and now after 8 hrs I'm almost totally certain of it. After much fussing to try and catch the super-bristle w/tweezers I gave up since the worm decided to hide for good. To get to the punch - I'd like to introduce something to munch on the bristleworms I have, and just wanted advice based on my current fish stock. In my 90 gallon tank I currently have (and have had for over 1 year now): 1 Yellow Tang, 1 blue-green Chromis, 1 long-nose Hawkfish, 1 large Solar Wrasse, 2 spotted cardinals, 1 lawnmower blenny 1 peppermint shrimp. Snails and a few red-leg Mexican Hermits. But the snails are dwindling (I've gone through about 60 in the last 2 months and there's only a few left). Based on most marine fish compatibility charts (LiveAquaria.com etc), it seems all choices have some risk (welcome to life, eh?), but I was hoping you could suggest which would be the most effective causing the least trouble for the other tank-mates: A 6-line Wrasse .which may not get along w/ the Solar Wrasse. Fridmani Pseudochromis .which purportedly might not get along w/my spotted pajama cardinals. Coral Banded Shrimp. may eat/harass my remaining snails, small hermits/peppermint shrimp (if he is still around). Arrow Crab. looks cool, but sounds like he too maybe a problem, with inverts and some fish. Which is least likely to be a larger problem? <I'd go with the Arrow Crab... the best choice as a predator here, easier to remove later...> I appreciate your suggestions and help. I seem to find quite a bit of misinfo. Or conflicting info on the web, and the LFS's around here I think are even more desperate to sell in the down sliding economy. Best Regards George <Happy hunting! Bob Fenner>

Spines In Bicolor Blenny's Mouth/Nose -- 03/30/08 Hi crew, <<Hello, Erin>> Thank you in advance for your time taken answering my question. <<Quite welcome>> I'm not sure if tank parameters are really necessary for this question but just in case: 92 gal w/29 gal sump temp: 78-80, Nitrite=0, Nitrate=2, Calcium=380ppm, Ammonia=0, pH=8.3. During feeding this evening, I looked at my bicolor blenny and it had very small clear spines in it's nose/mouth area. <<Mmm, yes, I see these>> The spines are clear and maybe .5-1mm long all radiating out from the top of the mouth area. I had not looked at the blenny up close previous to this moment all day so, who knows when they arrived there. The food I fed tonight was nothing new- a mix of prawn roe (Nutra Mar Ova brand), and a homemade frozen mixture consisting of raw: squid, octopus, mussel, Ogo algae, krill, and shrimp... all soaked in Selcon. <<Excellent>> The blenny did appear to be breathing heavier right when I noticed the spines but the breathing appears more normal now 30 minutes later. Other tank mates and organisms include: royal Gramma, yellow clown goby, yellow watchman goby, peppermint shrimp, 2 mandarin dragonets (I have a refugium with a very abundant copepod culture and about 130lb of live rock in the tank- they're plump and spawning weekly+), <<Neat!>> Pacific cleaner shrimp, 12 blue-legged hermits, 20ish snails, green bubble tip anemone, <<Mmm'¦and a danger to the dragonets/other sessile inverts>> Kenya tree, pom pom xenia, leather coral, zoos, orange Montipora, Pocillopora, green star polyps, Halimeda and a Chaeto ball that is cycled between refugium and display as a copepod buffet for the mandarins. <<Ah'¦cool idea>> My first thought were spicules of some sort from one of the small ball sponges around the tank (that have showed up on the live rock). <<Doubtful>> Although, just a second ago it occurred to me that I just put the Chaeto ball in the display tank from the refugium and it probably had a few bristleworms in it. <<Bingo! This is my guess as to what these are/has happened>> I'm wondering if my very curious Bicolored blenny decided to pick at the Bristleworm and now has the tiny glass-like spines in its nose?? <<Seems very likely, yes>> Also, is the maze-like clear area on it's gills normal (see pic)? <<Not sure 'is possibly a stress reaction to the spines in its face>> Is there anything that I can/should do for the little guy? <<Best to leave it be>> Will these spines eventually fall out? <<Won't 'fall out''¦but should dissolve away. Just as they would do if they were in 'your' flesh>> I'm afraid that they will affect his eating as they are right at the mouth. <<Maybe, briefly 'but the issue should resolve itself within a couple days. The Blenny will likely be fine>> Thanks again for any advice you give. --Erin <<Happy to share. EricR>>

Fireworm/Bristleworm, ID/comp. - 3/18/08 Hello! <Hi Melissa!> I know you get lots and lots of these questions, but I haven't been able to find a picture of this exact worm to make sure it's not the one bad kind of Fireworm. <Okay> Sadly we also haven't been able to take a picture of it yet. We've got an 8 gallon BioCube with a peppermint shrimp, yellow watchman goby and 3 corals (mushroom, Ricordea, xenia). We've got lots of assorted worms that aren't the bad ones (the long tubey ones that suck in and some substrate ones), but we just got back from vacation today <Welcome back!> ..and sitting on top of a clam shell (no idea how we got this tiny clam in there, but he's pretty cool!) was a mean looking worm. <Arghhh, welcome home, matey!> It was still partially in the rock, but I'd guess about an inch long and 1/8th inch or so around. <Good, it's pretty small.> It was a very deep maroon or bright red color all one color, with separated white bristles. <Hmmm, does sound like a Fireworm, Hermodice carunculata but it could be something else.> The bristles were also really bright white and looked like bunches of cactus spines. <Yep> I've found pictures of bad reddish Fireworms that also fit the bristle descriptions, but the color was not all one color. Is ours the same type? <It could be. There are many, many species of what's commonly called a 'Fireworm'. There are also some relatively harmless/beneficial bristleworms (Eurythoe spp.) that are bright orange. Unfortunately, I'd really need a photo in order to have any hope at confirming what you have.> Should it be removed? <I wouldn't, until/unless it's proven to be a significant risk. The majority of these hitchhiking worms are harmless, especially when small.> If so how...I know if it is a real Fireworm that it will sting so obviously no touching! <You've got that right! That goes for any worm, really. Even the common bristleworms (such as Eurythoe spp.) can still envenomize you and deliver a nasty sting. Beyond that, there's the possibility of infection from some rather nasty bacteria that can live in our systems. As far as removal, there are several different methods. One of which is to bait a clean jar/small plastic bottle (previously containing water), with bits of shrimp, etc., and tip it up towards the area of rock where the worm appears to live. I'd place it there at night, just before lights out and check it in the morning.> We were especially concerned since it was sitting on top of our little clam. <Heeheee! The good thing about clams is that they can 'clam up' and protect themselves! A Fireworm/Hermodice spp, could however pose a threat to other small invertebrates, corals, etc. The larger it grows, the more potential there is for significant predation. Until we know for sure what this little guy is, though, I'd consider him 'innocent'. In the meantime, I'll give you some links with photos for comparison: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/polychaetes.htm http://home2.pacific.net.ph/~sweetyummy42/hitchworms.html Also, you might want to try Google Image Search. Just enter the terms 'Hermodice' and 'Eurythoe'. http://images.google.com/imghp?hl=en&tab=wi > Thanks if you can help us out and we'll keep trying to get a picture of it. <Yes, please. If those links don't pan out, then do the best you can with a photo and send it along. :-)> Melissa <Take care, -Lynn>

User friendly canister filter and Bristleworm control 02/25/2008 Hi Guys: What a wonderful website!!! My question is regarding user friendly canister filters. I'm a bit confused. <<G'Morning, Andrew today>> I have a 55 gallon marine tank with Emperor 400 Bio Wheel, powerhead and CPR Back Pack protein skimmer (your recommendation; thanks so much, love it!!). Have about 70 lbs. of live rock, in addition to crushed coral and base rock. Livestock: (one of each) false percula clown, royal Gramma, striped damsel and a wrasse that eats bristleworms. <<Maybe consider switching out the crushed coral at some point for reef grade sugar sized aragonite sand>> The present equipment keeps aquarium fairly clean between bi-weekly, 20% water changes. Water is clear but never polished. Why is this? Bristleworms? Insufficient filtration? <<Switch water changes to 10% per week, rather than the larger change every two weeks. The bristleworms won't cause dirty water>> Would like to put "water polishing" filter on to really sparkle up the water. Questions: 1. Can I use a canister filter in addition to present equipment? <<Yes, you can do that, and run some carbon in the filter to hopefully clear up the water>> 2. What is you recommendation for a simple user friendly canister filter? What size, brand, model do you recommend for this set up? Keep in mind my mechanical skills are extremely limited. (The CPR BakPak PS is just super!! I need something as efficient and easy to maintain as this). <<The Rena XP2 filter would be a fine choice ( http://www.marinedepot.com/ps_ViewItem~idProduct~AP7313.html ). These are easy to use with tray filtration. You can add a bag of carbon to one of the trays and live rock rubble to the other>> 3. Need Bristleworm control tips in addition to the wrasse which does a decent job but does not eliminate them completely. Is this possible? <<If your bristle worms are not at plague levels, then they are fine to leave in there. They will act as part of your cleanup crew in the tank>> Looked at the Marineland Magnum 350 and Eheim models of canister filters but am not sure which would be appropriate. Would the HOT Magnum 250 do the job? Do you recommend HOT, immersible, or under tank models? <<the marine land is not a very adaptable filter besides running the standard sponge filter, which is not really much use to you....same again with the cheaper Eheim filters, they are just sponge filter pads.. The Rena Xp2 or 3 would be a far better choice>> Please advise. Thanks so much!! June Mary <<Thanks for the questions. Hope this helps. A Nixon>>

Are bristle worms as bad as everyone makes them out to be? Large Fireworm, Good Guy or Bad Risk? 2/21/08 <Hi there!> I have found an at least 10 inch long bristle worm in my refugium of my 180 gallon reef tank. <Yowza! I see it. It looks like Hermodice carunculata, aka the 'Bearded Fireworm'.> This is the first time that I have seen a bristle worm this size. <I've seen some of similar length, but it's always an eye opening experience.> I do, however, have lots of small, bi-coloured bristle worms (orange and black, which I know are harmless). <Yep, Eurythoe/common bristleworms are harmless, beneficial scavengers and detritivores.> I would like to know if this species is dangerous to corals, fish or invertebrates. <Yes they can be, especially one of this size. Hermodice/Fireworms are predators and scavengers. They prey on corals, particularly if it (the coral) has been injured. They also consume gorgonians, anemones, clams, fan worms, and apparently the occasional small fish/crustacean.> My substrate is 4 to 5 inches in depth. I have thousands of micro-organisms in my live sand. One question is, is there enough creatures in my live sand to keep its hunger satisfied? <Not likely - particularly long term. I would remove this worm. As it continues to grow, so will its appetite. I'd be concerned regarding the threat to sessile/slow moving beneficial organisms in the refugium. Heheee, there's a reason why this worm is as large as it is!> So far, I have had no problems with it. I like this size of bristle worm in particular because of it's sand-sifting ability, but should I take it out of my refugium and place it in my tank? <I wouldn't. Right now, he's enclosed with a limited menu. Putting him in the display would be the equivalent of introducing him to a Las Vegas style all-you-can-eat buffet!> My tank has been running for 2 years now. It is established. What is your take on bristle worms? <I think the common little Eurythoe bristleworms are terrific additions to a system. Hermodice Fireworms, on the other hand, I'm a little more cautious of.> I know they're scavengers, but do they also hunt? <Hermodice does, yes.> I was wondering if you could find some information for me on this species of bristle worm, as I have been unsuccessful in finding any. <There's an abundance of information at WWM regarding these, as well as on the internet. You just have to know the best search terms. Try Hermodice or Fireworm. Here are some links to get you started: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/polychaeidfaq3.htm http://www.advancedaquarist.com/issues/may2003/short.htm > Can I safely handle this worm? <Great question, I'm so glad you asked. Absolutely not, and that goes for any Bristleworm. Their bristles ('chaetae'/'setae') are venom-filled and can deliver a nasty sting. They also break off very easily, can be difficult to remove and can be a vector for bacteria. I wouldn't recommend handling any worm with bare hands for that matter, only with tongs or the like. Some species have large jaws that the worm won't hesitate to use if threatened (as in ouch!). It's just not worth the risk. One thing I'd definitely recommend, if you don't already have, is a pair of arm-length gloves. These come in handy if/when you need to aquascape or do anything requiring putting your hands/arms in the water. The benefits are multifold. Not only does this prevent any oils, lotions, etc. on your hands from being introduced into the system, it also protects you from some nasty pathogens as well as spiny, stinging, and otherwise harmful critters that you might encounter. Please see these links (and those provided within) for more information regarding the need for caution/wearing gloves. The photos seen at the second link will most likely keep you from ever sticking your bare hands in a tank again! By the way, arm-length gloves are widely available through e-tailers and occasionally at local pet stores. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Wound.htm http://wetwebmedia.com/woundfaq.htm > Can they be split like earth worms? <If you're asking whether they can regenerate if severed, yes, it's possible.> How do they reproduce? Are they asexual? <Yes, apparently on cue, they swim up into the water column and simultaneously release gametes.> Thank you for your time, and thank you in advance for your help. <You're most welcome, it was a pleasure.> I have included some pictures for you to get a better idea of what this worm looks like. Sincerely, Karl Douville <Thank you for the photos, that is indeed a very large worm! Take care, -Lynn>

Bristleworms... comp./contr. 02/13/2008 Howdy WWM Crew, <<G'day.. Andrew today>> I have a 55 Gal Saltwater Reef Tank, it has been up and running for about 6 months now. I have been trying to get the Bristleworms out of the tank since I received the live rock. I have been trying the Bio route of getting rid of the little pests but so far it hasn't really worked that well. <<Bristle worms are fine to leave in your system. They will happily feed on detritus and act as part of your cleanup crew. If you feel the population is getting large, then try a baited trap, your lined wrasse will help to control these worms>> My stocking list at the moment is:- 1 One Spot Foxface Rabbitfish <<This will need a larger home. Suggest tank size of 75 gal minimum>> 2 Fire fish Gobies 1 Six-Lined Wrasse 1 Red Skunk Cleaner Shrimp 2 Peppermint Shrimp 1 Emerald Mithrax Crab 1 Turbo Snail 3 Hawaiian Zebra Hermit Crabs 1 Blue Legged Dwarf Hermit Crab 2 Ocellaris Clown Fish 1 Lawn Mower Blenny. The question I really want to ask is what can I add to my tank that won't try to kill anyone else? I really have been trying to stock my tank with guys that wont eat each other haha. I picked up the Six line, peppermints and cleaner shrimp to help with the problem, and they have helped a bit but I still have a good amount still in there. I was reading that Arrow Crabs are great for getting Bristles but some of them are quite large, and I don't want the Arrow Crab to pick on some of my other critters. I also read that a Neon Dottyback was great for this purpose to but I'm not sure If he would mesh well with the rest of the crew, being that I've heard they are pretty aggressive. Any help you could give me will be greatly appreciated. <<I would suggest the baited trap route. Take a chunk of raw shrimp, place it near the worm, wait for the worm to take the bait and whisk this out with a net. Repeat as needed>> <<Thanks for the questions. A Nixon>>

Bristle worms and Zoanthids -01/29/2008 Hi Guys, I did a quick search on WWM but couldn't find anything quickly. I just added a very small frag of Zoanthids (after a 10 min dip in Lugol's soln.) into my main tank. This afternoon I got home from a long night shift and found at least 4 sm. bristle worms crawling around them. I pulled off 4 not sure they were good or bad for the Zoanthid and I am completely exhausted from my night shift. Could you just tell me if bristle worms attack or have a symbiotic relationship with my new little frag? <Neither really, they typically just coexist in peace.> I really appreciate it. Thanks, going to bed now. Erika Villanueva <Sleep well, Sara M.>

Clam and Bristleworm, comp. 7/13/07 Hello WetWeb, I noticed that my clam was not opening up like it usually does so I checked it out and saw a Bristleworm inside of the clam next to the byssal opening. However, it is in a very tight spot and don't have anything small enough to grab it. What can I do about this? Will my clam survive? <Oh dear, it sounds like your clam might be dead. How long has it been since it opened up? The vast majority of bristle worms are scavengers. They show up when something dies or is dying. Chances are that the bristle worm is not there to kill the clam, but is there because the clam is already dead or dying. Sorry :( Sara M.> Mike
Re: Clam and Bristleworm, comp.
7/13/07 The calm was very healthy prior to me finding the worm. <The bristle worms will almost always know when your clam is dead/dying well before you do. But ok, if you insist on suspecting the worm, there are worms from the family Oenonidae that eat clams. They drill holes into their victims to get inside them. You said the worm was "inside of the clam next to the byssal opening." That makes me think it's a scavenger, not a predator. But, if you do find a hole drilled into the side of the clam, you might actually be dealing with a clam worm. If that's the case, you can try to lure out the worm with some defrosted clam or mussel meat. They're nocturnal, so it would be best to do this in the very early morning before lights on and try to catch it with the help of a flashlight. Good luck, Sara M.>

Bristleworms & Tubipora comp. -- 07/01/07 Hello all, I have two Tubipora musica. I was looking them over and found a Bristleworm 'snacking' one of the tubes on the larger coral. <This is unlikely. These tubes are made of calcium carbonate. So unless your bristle worms have some serious heart burn, they would really have no reason to be eating the actual tubes.> I do have bristleworms <Congrats. The vast majority of bristle worms are great scavengers.> and hoped that they would not be a problem, but I see that they are. <Nah... they're just opportunists. What you're likely seeing is them eating food or mucus (or both) stuck on or between the coral's calcium carbonate tubes. Or, if the coral is dying (of some other cause), they might be eating the dead/dying coral tissue.> Is there anything I can do to rid the coral of the worms that won't harm the corals? <Not really. But I highly doubt you need too. Truly problematic coral-killing bristle worms are not so common. The vast majority are harmless, if not beneficial. People often assume they're guilty because they tend to be the first on the scene when something dies. But they're simply scavengers (not too unlike vultures). That said, if you're thoroughly convinced otherwise, you could always send us a picture to confirm.> Thank you. Debbie <de nada, happy to help :-) Sara M.>
Re: Bristleworms & Tubipora - follow-up
-- 07/01/07 Sara, Thanks for your prompt reply. The reason I became concerned is I found the following information on WetWebMedia - here's the link: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/blue,pip.htm ... and found the following paragraph. Predator/Prey Relations Coral eating fishes generally ignore blue coral, but Tubipora can be picked apart and is a favorite of those nemesis' of reef keepers, the Errantiate Polychaetes called bristleworms. Apparently I'm misunderstanding the 'picked apart' portion. <No, actually, I think it's the "Errantiate Polychaetes" that is a little vague. It's quite unfortunate that so many very different kinds of worms are lumped in under the term "bristleworms." Even narrowing it down to Errantiate Polychaetes is unfair since this is still a huge group of worms. There are a *few* errant Polychaetes that can be problematic to some corals. However, the majority of errant Polychaetes found in aquariums are not coral predators (a lot of them eat other worms actually). It's just unfortunate that there are a few very nasty species that give the whole group a bad name. These few are pretty scary looking and quite distinguished from most of the more common and harmless bristle worms. So, again, if you're convinced you have one of the "bad guys," please do send along a picture. :-)> So please clarify the above paragraph as I'm becoming confused. <I hope I've clarified it now. Please let me know if something is still confusing.> And yes, bristleworms are great scavengers: an aside my shrimp had molted and I saw the molt shell in the tank and being in the middle of something figured I'd go back and get it later. Later the shell had moved and after searching high and low (in a 10g) I saw an antenna by a rock and looking closer saw a Bristleworm had taken head part of the molt shell. I set my webcam on it and watched it while I worked and it ate the whole thing bit by bit. <Very cool! You are now officially a reef geek. ;-) > Thanks, Debbie <Thanks for writing. Sara M.>

Malu anemone died... Polychaete ID, comp... 5/9/07 Hi Crew, <Hazel> I love your site and have found many answers to my questions. Someone always has had the problem before me it seems. I would like to know what this is though. I have a 200L marine tank and this worm has been in it from the start. He must have been in the live rock. <Yes, very likely> I thought that he was about 8 inches long but he is over 24 inches as I found out when I removed him a few days ago. Something was eating the Cladiella coral and the malu anemone in the front left corner of my tank and he lived in those rocks behind that area. I am not sure he is the problem as he only seems to eat dead items despite his enormous size; <Mmm, yes> I have him in a spare tank at this moment so I can observe him. (He is very interesting because of his size and he loves muscles and eats small dead fish as well as flake food) I do not want to kill him. In my regular tank I saw a small red bristle worm steal some food from the malu anemone as the anemone was beginning to show signs of damage. I have not caught this yet. Too quick for me. <Can, could be baited, trapped...> My tank is water salinity 1.025, ammonia 0, Nitrites 0, Nitrates 0, PH 7.8 am and slightly higher pm. Calcium 380 - 390, I use RO water and mix the salt, change 15% water every Friday, and keep mostly soft corals. The tank is a Berlin system with a skimmer and filter at the back of the tank and 3 pumps moving the water around, two at the bottom and one two thirds of the way up. There is a grill where the water flows to the back part of the tank into the skimmer etc. I have recently added a superb Catalaphyllia which was about eight inches away from the anemone and from the Cladiella, and wonder if that gives off any poisons in the current. <Of a certainty, yes> Could it be that it is blocking the water flow from the area as they are in the front corner? <Perhaps... circulation matters are too-little discussed in our interest> The Catalaphyllia is eating well and is out all day. The clowns have moved in as the anemone has now disappeared. Above the sand, on the first level of rock I have a Tubastraea which is growing very well and has new heads growing from the sides of the existing heads. I feed this every night, sometimes brine shrimp or Mysis and sometimes parts of defrosted frozen fish from local marine store. Also small pieces of shrimp. This has been very good, always open at 7pm ready for its dinner. This has been above and to the right of the malu anemone for some months. Could this give off some chemical that hurt the malu? <Yes> I have one yellow tang, one coral beauty, one mandarin, five blue Chromis, one fairy wrasse, one chalky goby, three pyjama cardinals and a breeding pair of Banggai cardinals (had babies few weeks ago) and the two clowns. The tank is quite peaceful. I have a flame scallop and two hermit crabs, and two Lysmata amboi and three Lysmata wurdemanni, plus a long spined urchin (recent addition for baby cardinals to hide in). Babies disappeared soon after being born and the one I caught died later in the breeding net. I use PhosBan to keep the phostrogen levels down as I feed the fish and the corals on a daily basis. I have kept tropical fish for many years but only had marines for a year or so. I have read up on the marine tanks, on reefs critters corals etc and spoken to lots of local stores people but there is so much to learn, can you help me with this problem as I would love to buy another anemone, but only after I have the right conditions for it as I hate to see it die. Thanks for reading this Best regards Hazel <Please read here re this Polychaete, Hermodice canunculata: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/polychaecompfaqs.htm and the linked files above... And take a jaunt through our page re using WWM: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/WWMAdminSubWebIndex/question_page.htm re Catalaphyllia compatibility, other questions you have/pose. Bob Fenner>

Bristle Worms Everywhere -- 5/05/07 <Hi Danny, Brenda here> I have been home from Iraq about 6 months now and have decided to start a salt water reef tank. It has been running about 4 weeks now and the cycle is complete. Its 36 gal, but I only have 31 lbs of rock. 5 separate pieces. BRISTLE WORMS EVERYWHERE!!!!!!!!!! I have an arrow crab and a striped dotty back, 2 damsel and 2 large turbo snails. I witnessed 1 turbo snail become bitten or stung by a large grey fuzzy worm and has died. I have noticed about 20 bristle worms and need help fast!!!! Should I remove the rock and fresh water dip? High salinity dip? I'm willing to try anything, that includes starting over if I have to!!! 2 or 3 are so big I don't think the arrow crab or the striped dotty back can handle them!! <Are you positive these are bristle worms? Bristle worms are beneficial to your aquarium. They are part of the clean up crew. Your snail was likely dead already and the bristle worm was doing its job. I would only remove the large ones if you don't like them in your tank. If you decide to remove them use a tweezers so that you don't get stung. A high salinity dip will also get them to come out of the rock.> Please give me what you can.... Thank you so much for any help! Danny <You're Welcome! Enjoy your new set up! Brenda>

Fireworm question, source/LS? Clown Dis., Comp. 3/20/07 Hi Crew, <Jennifer> Thanks for all of the help you've given me thus far! I had a question which I couldn't exactly find an answer to in your FAQ's, but I apologize if I'm asking something you've already answered. I recently discovered that I have some kind of Fireworm/Bristleworm in my fish only tank. I have no live rock so I'm not sure how it got into the tank, unless it came from the live sand. The one(s) that I've seen have been at least an inch and a half long, bright orangey red and very thin. <Easily possible> I'm not sure how long they are because I always only catch a glimpse of them just as they are creeping into an empty shell (which I have around for the hermit crabs) or disappearing into the sand. I haven't been able to identify them exactly beyond the fact that they are Polychaetes of some sort. They look a lot like the 4th, 6th and 7th pictures under "errant Polychaetes" on this website http://www.petsforum.com/personal/trevor-jones/hitchhikerworms.html (a link I got from your FAQ's). <Mmm, thousands of species... you've likely read re their possible compatibility...> Now to the question. Last week one of my ocellaris clownfish had a white spot on the side of it's face. It didn't look like ich or anything like that, just a bump. Almost like a white pimple. It was behaving normally and eating and everything so I thought I'd leave it for a day or two and see what happens. Two days later it was complete gone and he seems just fine. Today my other clownfish has a similar white spot in the front of it's face, near it's right eye. I read that the "fire" in Fireworm comes from the effect the bristles have when dislodged into an unsuspecting victim. Is it possible that the bumps on the fish are a result from an interaction with the Fireworm? <Yes> (They like to nose around in the sand to make sure they haven't missed any food after feeding time.) Do the worms pose a danger to my fish? <Can, definitely... Some even to humans> I also have two Nassarius vibex snails who spend most of their days buried in the sand (until feeding time of course). Do the worms pose a threat to them? <Again, a possibility> Should I be worried? Would you recommend trapping them and getting rid of them? <Mmm, no, not necessarily...> If they aren't a threat then having them as detritivores is always good, right? <Likely so> Will they get to a size that I need to be worried about? <Can't tell from here, yet...> Thanks so much in advance! Jen <Best to keep an eye on them... monitor the Clowns' recovery... consider control measures... Posted on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Seahorses, starfish and shrimp comp., worm removal -- 03/09/07 I have a 30 gallon tank with 2 seahorses a chocolate chip star fish and wayyyy to many bristle worms, these worms are everywhere and they hang under need the starfish when he tries to eat... i wanted to add a natural predator to the tank such as coral banded shrimp or peppermint shrimp but don't want to risk injuring my seahorses of its possible. Please let me know if its ok to add shrimp of even a orchid dotty back unless that would harm my starfish~ HELP <Mmm, I do share your concern re the compatibility of a worm predator here with your seahorses... if they are of a small to dwarf species mostly... The CBS might go after them... after finishing up with most of the available worms. The/A Lysmata species is much preferred... maybe the Peppermint, or a Skunk, even a Blood/Debelius... and an Orchid Dotty would almost certainly not harm your horses... and add a bit of interest to your system. Bob Fenner>

Fireworms and bristle worms, population control - 03/02/07 Hi I have a 24-gallon nano-cube reef tank. I have a Firefish, Dartfish, 2 small black clowns and a blue spotted Jawfish in it. <Five fish in a 24-gallon tank! Yikes! Holy over-crowded batman!> I also have an assortment of snails and about 12 dwarf zebra hermits and 1 tiger pistol shrimp, and 2 cleaner shrimp, and a barnacle that came with so live rock. <That's a lot of hermits too.> I am starting to add some coral to it, mostly zoos and polyps. I have live rock and live sand. I also have bristle worms and I was told a Fireworm (looked iridescent under the light). What is the best way to rid my tank of the Fireworm? <Unnecessary, be better off remove a fish or two and allowing more space. Would reduce the nutrient supply being provided to the worms> Will it eat my pistol shrimp? <If it's dead it will, but it shouldn't kill it.> None of the worms are real big (smaller than a pencil) but I do not like the look of them. <They look that way for a reason, natures way of saying "do not touch me"...and you shouldn't. The bristles are venom-tipped and the stings are quite painful.> I feed about 1/2 cube (like Mysis shrimp) of food 6 days a week, after reading you articles I will cut that back to every other day. <That's a lot of food. Likely fueling your worm population. Generally better to do much smaller frequent feeding.> All my water parameters are fine. <Not terribly helpful without actual values.> Is there a way to make sure you don't have bristle worms in live rock when adding it to your tank? <They are beneficial desirable organisms.> I have some curing that I want to add, but I don't want to increase the worm population in my tank. <The worm population in you tank is likely growing because it has a ready supply of food due to overstocking and overfeeding. All interrelated. More here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bristlewrmfaqs.htm and the related links in blue> Thank you, <Welcome! -Mich> Laurie

Large Polychaete comp.? 3/1/07 Thanks again - yet another discovery last night. I believe that I have spotted a good sized eunicid worm - are there concerns? <Could be... if it gets relatively too big, hungry... see WWM re comp. of the group. Bob Fenner>

Spaghetti worm question... - 02/15/07 Hello! We have a lot <I do think this will become a word in time> of worms in our sand-and I thought they were spaghetti worms. All you see above the sand is hairy like tentacles that move leftover particles on the sand. They seem to engulf them. I saw a picture on your site of one that looks like what we have. Their bodies are greenish-brown with light reddish hairy tentacles. Our sand seems to stay pretty white. I recently noticed that it seems part of their body comes up out of the sand-looks like a "loop" it stays up for a short time and goes back under. Good thing or does it mean something is wrong with the sand or water? <Much more likely a good thing> And if they are not true spaghetti worms are they just as good? <Very likely yes> We have a 150 sw fish, live rock, some corals-nothing new added or done to the tank-water parameters unchanged. Up and running for almost 4 years. Another question- we were cleaning the glass inside the tank and down along the bottom of the glass at the top of the sand bed and some big bubbles came out of the sand-now we try not to ever disturb the sand bed-this was just cleaning the glass at the edge of the sandbed. What were the bubbles? <Gas... likely nitrogen> It was like they were trapped in the sand? <Mmm, yes> Thank you so much for any help! Love your site! ML Jones <Welcome. BobF>

Bristleworm ... Mondo... Removal 1/30/07 Hi Folks, <Aaron... are you aware of the photographer in our interest of the same name?> Wanted to say thanks again for all the help in the past, and as you can probably guess by this message, in the future too! I have a fair sized coral tank that's been running really well for a few years now. I've managed to grow some very large colonies, and until about a week ago, everything was great. Last year I started taking fragments from the larger colonies and planting them on the other side of the tank, they took well and until last week grew very nicely. It started with the edges of a large capricornis, it looked kinda chewed one day, <Mmm, Montiporas can develop this appearance for a few "reasons"> didn't really bother it, just the edges had obviously been munched on. I thought that perhaps a fish had gone corallivore on me so I watched them that day and pretty much checked throughout the night- just 2 tangs and 5 dispars in a 180, so it's pretty easy, but I never did see the culprit. <Tangs can/will do this sort of nibbling... for the calcium, to trim their teeth, perhaps for nutrition....> Two days later, a Montipora digitata had the same appearance, it was a frag of another close by that seemed fine, but the frag died. The next day I noticed the ends of a large colony, another duplicate, this one an Acro were white, obviously the tips were chewed off, next day this open hand sized colony of Acropora showed the obvious signs of RTN, and perished hours later. <Yikes... frightening> That night I saw an absolutely tremendous bristle worm. I know most bristles are fine, I see small ones in the sand bed sometimes at night, they rarely get bigger than a few centimeters. This one, I've never seen anything like it before, seems to live in the rock that all the corals I'm having a problem with are affixed to. Quite by accident while walking by the tank at night I saw something stretching from that rock, up and nearly halfway across the tank, it was at least as big around as my thumb, while extended! It wasn't particularly fast, like the small ones, but did retract when I tried to get a better look. The thing is, I've never seen one so large, and I usually ignore them, but this, well, I don't think I should. I was thinking of taking the rock that the sucker lives in out, but honestly, I don't really want to kill it. It's literally the size of an adult garter snake, only thicker, uglier, and I think it acquired a taste for coral. <Maybe> Being that most of what is on that side of the tank is also on the other, and that I've had no problems with anything farther away than a foot and a half from this guys home- do you think he's really causing this? <Is a possibility> I keep my ph between 8.2 and 8.4 night to day respectively, Alk seems fine, calcium was at 320 a week ago, it's higher now, but never really gets below that point with the calcium and Nielsen reactors, everything seems pretty average, other than the Dune worm... <Ooh, am reading the new "Road to Dune" work presently...> oh, btw, is this sucker going to hurt me if I take his rock out? <Also a possibility... I'd at least wear rubber gloves (the podia/paddles along the worms sides can be very painful to get poked by), if not just bait/trap this animal out... See WWM re Polychaete (in)Compatibility)> I got pegged by a Fireworm once, <Yeeowch!> being it's the dull brown slightly iridescent and not brightly colored with the white hairy sides has me thinking it probably won't hurt me, but then again, it might chew on coral too. I know no one is going to believe me, so I'll try to get some photos, I don't want to hurt him, but if he bites me, all bets are off, when I got tagged by that Fireworm I was up all night wrapping my hands in duct tape over and over again, took all the hair of my right hand, was like fiberglass soaked in battery acid, seriously ruined my day. anyway, thanks for listening. Aaron <Mmm... I would bait/trap, remove this animal... and at least isolate it elsewhere. BTW, there are some such worms that get several feet long... some others like Aphrodite that can weigh pounds! Good hunting! Bob Fenner>

Fish only with live rock and Bristleworms 12/28/06 Dear Bob, <Hi Steve, Mich with you tonight.> I searched your web site looking for information relating to my aquarium, I have a 125 Sea Clear system II fish only tank part of the live-stock includes a Copperband Butterfly (read somewhere that he will eat Bristleworms). <Sometimes.> Do Bristleworms cause any trouble to FO tanks? <Generally no, unless you have a super big monster hanging out in there unbeknownst to you, even then questionable need for concern.> I plan to make a homemade contraption to rid of these pesky pests, but again, not sure if its a huge concern to the fish. <No worries, they are not really "pesky pests". They are harmless to healthy animals, act as beneficial scavengers, and should be left in the system.> Thanks. <Welcome! Mich> Steve

Re: Bristleworms comp. 9/29/06 Any idea of how to get the bristle worm to come out again so I can capture it? <Try putting a small piece of shrimp/crab, whatever in an open area of the tank. Might want to place this under a piece of ruble rock leaving a portion of the food in view. The little &%^*#@ should come out and locate the food. James (Salty Dog)> Mark

Dangerous bristle worms? 9/16/06 I currently have a 60 gallon hexagon tank with a Volitans lion fish and a snowflake eel and have been set up for approximately two years. I have just recently noticed that I am starting to get a few bristle worms the largest I've seen so far is about two to three inches in length. I was wondering if this is something that I should be concerned about or should I try to get rid of them and if yes what would you suggest? From what I can tell from pictures they appear to be some type of fire worm. They are a reddish pink color with spots of grey in them. Any advise would be appreciated. Thank You <<Barry: In general, bristle worms are reef safe and good little scavengers. They do however, tend to get big and freaky looking after awhile. At that point, some people, pull them out, and others leave them be. If anything dies in the tank, you will notice all of them sticking their heads out looking for a meal. Best of luck, Roy>>

Choosing a Pseudochromis 8/19/06 First, you guys run an excellent site, I've found many answers to my quandaries searching your pages. <Good> In short I have two problems, tons of bristleworms and several Aiptasia and am looking for a predator that will not harass my present fish. (traps and under feeding just enough to "starve" them out w/o harming my fish have proven inefficient) <Mmm> In terms of the bristle worms, there are just too many of them - small and large. After perusing your site quite a bit, I believe my solution is either a Pseudochromis aldabraensis or a Pseudochromis springeri. In the past I've tried an arrow crab and a coral banded shrimp and they never made much of a dent in the Bristleworm population even though they are supposed to eat bristleworms. <May be better to bait and trap, remove a bunch of these manually... first> My main concern is that either of these Pseudochromis may kill my present established fish (mostly gobies) as I know Pseudo's can be aggressive. I also know that Pseudo will eat shrimp, so what is another species besides peppermint shrimp to take care of the Aiptasia? <None as suitable> I have a 46-gallon reef tank with the following: several large polyp stony corals, two true percula clown fish, a Firefish, a cleaner goby, a yellow watchman goby, two brittle stars, and one long-spined sea urchin. Thank you, Valerie <I would try the trap (suggestions posted on WWM) first... and other means of eradicating Aiptasia (also covered on WWM)... and if still interested in a Dottyback, assure I got a tank-bred, raised specimen (much easier going). Bob Fenner>

Worried About Bristleworms and Clams...An Unwarranted Fear - 08/11/06 Hello again, hope you are having a good day. <<Hi Ryan! Am having some problems with my back today...otherwise fine, thank you>> I am thinking about purchasing a Maxima clam and have heard that bristle worms can eat clams (although I once took a tank down for a customer and he had both with no issues)<<A rare and overrated fear my friend. The bristleworms will quickly devour a dead clam, but very rarely (if ever) attack a healthy specimen. These worms are an over villianized asset to any marine system>> I have a blue Flavivertex Pseudochromis that will hopefully keep the worm population in check. <<Maybe...but not a real concern in my opinion. I routinely feed/encourage the growth/expansion of bristleworms in my reef system...and I have three T. crocea which have remained un-mauled for three years>> Anyway, do you think it is a safe purchase (knowing I have worms)? <<Absolutely, yes>> Also I have 250 watt MH, 2 65 watt PC on a 90 gallon tank (clam would be near top), is this sufficient? <<It is>> Thanks, Ryan Nienhuis <<Always welcome, Eric Russell>> If this email is to Mr. Fenner (I wrote him about this before) the red Favia that was nearly dead has fully recovered and looks great. Thanks again. <<I'm sure he will see this and be pleased to know.
Re: Bristleworms and Clams...An Unwarranted Fear - 08/12/06
Thank you very much for the reply. <<Quite welcome>> I think that was the fastest email reply I've ever received. <<Mmm, indeed...sometimes works out that way. Regards, EricR>>

Emerald Crab murder? By a Polychaete? 7/30/06 Hello crew. I'd like to preface with the "obligatory" first-timer praise/brown-nosing: Your site is a veritable treasure trove of knowledge and shared experience that I and countless others greatly appreciate. <And here's the mandatory courtesy acknowledgement response: "Welcome"> I have spent many a night delving into the FAQ's for the answer to one query, only to find that multiple hours have slipped by and the FAQ I'm on has nothing to do with the one I started on... it's all so darn interesting. So on to my question... I have read in several of the FAQ's about various bristle worm spp. that are known to engulf snails, clams, etc. in a mucous "blob" <Really? Have never witnessed this... generally Errantiate Polychaetes just engulf, swallow whole...> which kills them, leaving them as a tasty meal for the worm. I actually witnessed such an interaction between a worm and a Cerith snail I had just put into the tank that evening. Not knowing better, I thought the worm may have been just checking things out. However, the next morning the snail had not moved, was pulled way back into its shell - i.e., no foot contact with the rock it was on -, and was surrounded by the telltale mucous. It was indeed dead, as a red-legged hermit confirmed by spending the rest of the day picking at its innards and then exchanging shells with it later on. But I digress. On to my question... for real this time... Are emerald crabs ( Mithrax sp.?) <Now the genus is Mithraculus...> subject to this same kind of predation? <Can/could be> This morning I found my lone emerald crab sitting atop a hunk of live rock surrounded by the cloud of mucous that I have come to fear. I decided that if it were from a bristle worm, the crab would be fast enough to free himself and not succumb to its suffocating effects and so I blew away the mucous with a turkey baster. But alas, the poor guy was most certainly deceased. The work of a bristle worm? <Again... not necessarily... will get "fungussy" with death, time going by... Aquatic decomposers are by and large much "quicker" than terrestrial settings> Should I suspect something else, as of yet unseen? <Mmm, could> I can see snails falling victim to such tactics, but its tough to picture an emerald crab just sitting there and allowing a worm to engulf it. Any insight? <Most captive marine crabs, snails are killed/die from unsuitable chemical circumstances, vacillations thereof... of a few genres: "Lack of biomineral and/or alkalinity", nitrogenous waste accumulation, variable specific gravity, "medicine" application... These are outright stated, many examples proffered on the various biological groups "Disease/Health" and "Systems" Subfaqs files> Thanks in advance. And a thousand thanks to the whole crew for your time, effort, and patience. -Jason <As many welcomes. Bob Fenner>

Bristleworm Control 6/26/06 Hello there again. <Hello Ryan.> I have some bristle worms in my tank (just like everyone else), <Not everyone has them.> which is not a big problem to me, but the other morning I saw one eating a snail. Now maybe the snail had died and the bristle worm was just cleaning up but that was something I didn't want to see. I was wondering if you could suggest a Pseudochromis to me to keep things in check ( rare and colorful would be best, I like the unusual stuff and that is the main reason for my email...you guys know your stuff). I currently only have a Kole Tang, clown fish, cleaner shrimp, and several corals in a 90 gallon tank. <Ryan, not all Pseudochromis fish eat bristle worms. Three that are known to eat them are: Springeri, Fridmani, and the Blue Flavivertex. You may also want to read the FAQ's here for other options for control of these pests. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bristlewrmfaqs.htm> Thanks a lot, <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Ryan Nienhuis.

Bristleworm question 6/18/06 I have read through the archive after searching for bristleworms...I found the answers to a few of my questions. <Good> Glad you guys are here. <We try.> A question that sort of presupposes the rest is this. On Friday night my female ocellaris was feeding as normal. No signs of anything wrong with her at all. My other fish were also fine. (2 yellow tangs...a lucky non-violent pairing...a male ocellaris and a lawnmower blenny. All were rambunctious and eager to eat. I got home this afternoon and performed the standard census only to not see my female ocellaris. I finally found her carcass, being nibbled on by my red/orange brittle star and there were two convenient holes, perhaps "drilled" through her body from just behind her left pectoral fin and another in her belly, halfway between the anal fins and the pectoral fins. Could this be the work of a large Bristleworm or should I change the direction of my investigation? Chris <Most likely this was done postmortem, they are very efficient and finding dead things. The predatory varieties of bristleworms are very rare in the hobby. I would look elsewhere for the cause of death in the clownfish.> <Chris>

A Bispira variegata Takeover 6/8/06 I have a 90 gallon reef tank and about 6 months ago I added more live rock. Since then I have what I believe to be Bispira variegata all over and it seems to be getting out of control. <Happens sometimes> They are tiny feather duster type things with tubes. I have brushed them off, but they just seem to return. Is there a fish or shrimp that may eat these pesty things? Please help. Kurt - Royal Palm Beach <There are several animal species that are likely to accommodate you here. Please read: http://wetwebmedia.com/feathercompfaqs.htm Bob Fenner>

Picasso and the food that bit back... Polychaetes 5/26/06 Hey there Crew, <Dan-O> I have a young Picasso Trigger that I fed a bristle worm to. Hungry (his name), went for it and the worm promptly disappeared into his belly. A week or so later, he developed a growth approx. where his chin would be and he doesn't seem to be able to open his mouth to take food. His appetite is the same as he goes for my fingers if they are too close to the tank and he will attack any food I put in the tank, but he can't seem to open his mouth to eat. He hasn't eaten in 10-14 days, so do you think it will go away on its own? Thanks, Danny <I do hope so... is possible the worm feeding and this situation are related... the bristles from some Polychaetes are very sharp, hurt like the Dickens to get stuck in ones hands (I can personally testify). I do hope your trigger self-repairs. Keep offering meaty food items every few days. Bob Fenner>

Mystery worms 5/2/06 Hi, <Hello> I have learned quite a bit the last 2 days since discovering your site and trying to uncover the identity of some of the 'critters' living in my tank. The tank is 3 years old and for the last 1 1/2, has been cared for very poorly for various reasons. Water changes were performed about once every 3-4 months at best, food was dropped in maybe once a month, sometimes the light was left on (or off) for many days at a time. Somehow through all of this, the Yellow Watchman Goby is as healthy and plump as any I've ever seen, a few of the Blue Leg Hermits are still crawling around with little furry (algae) shells, and a few of the Mushrooms are still trying to eke out an existence. About 2 years ago, there was what I considered to be an outbreak of what looked like little mini feather dusters, which I didn't like, so I took all the live rock out of the tank and brushed them off, which was only a temp 'fix' as they kept coming back. During the lapse in aquarium care period, these have appeared to have gone away, which I would guess was due to the poor water quality. After all that lead up, here is my actual question. I have a renewed interest in getting this tank looking and 'living' well again, and am noticing a few of what looks like white thread like worms sticking out of a few holes in the rock, these thread like worms are from 1/2 - 2 inches in length, seem to be in pairs, and are like a transparent white color. They move in and out of their holes, never coming all the way out, don't seem to be bothered by light in the slightest, and some seem to be collecting little pieces of sand or material and they appear to be building tubes. Are these what was in my aquarium before do you think and are maybe a larval stage of the tube like worms I had before? <No> I am not sure I am excited about these inhabitants and was thinking about a 6 line wrasse to help control them. They seem to be appearing in more areas of the tank as time passes. My worry about adding the wrasse is that I plan to add a small Flame Angel and a small Blue (Hippo) Tang to keep my Watchman company and have been reading that they may cause havoc with my other small fish. Do you think you have an idea of what my critters are and if my Six Line Wrasse isn't a good choice for this, can you offer an option or 2 for me. <I'd ignore these worms. Will likely "go" with time, better care> Again, I love the site, and plan to spend many more hours learning from it. I hope I haven't presented a question that has been answered before, and just didn't see it. Thank you for the help, Mike P
<Bob Fenner>

Bristleworm...Good To Have More Than One? - 03/05/06 Hi guys, <<And gals...>> Want to 1st say thanks for the site, I can't believe how much info is available. <<Indeed>> Very nice!! <<Thanks!!>> But I do have a question that I couldn't seem to find the answer to. <<Okay>> I found this post, which has a great pic of the type of worm I have seen in my tank. I saw this a while ago and based on your replies decided not to worry about it, it's another cool addition to my reef tank. <<Agreed...most are harmless to beneficial.>> But, the last time I peeked in with the flashlight after lights out, I noticed about a zillion of these worms poking themselves out of the rock. <<Heee!>> Ok, maybe more like 6 or 7 than a zillion. << <grin> >> And tonight I counted 10. I have all sorts of critters (snails, hermits, brittle stars, sea cucumbers, Nudibranch, anemone, soft corals) that have not been attacked, no weird deaths or unexplained disappearances, so I've not really worried about the worms eating anything. <<Hmmm...so why the concern now?>> Seeing the numbers going up has me a bit worried. <<This is not uncommon (increasing numbers of worms) and usually nothing to worry about. In fact; not to alarm you, you probably have dozens if not hundreds in your tank. Most are beneficial detritivores and many populations can be gauged/linked to overfeeding, though this is not always the case.>> I only have a 55 gallon tank, roughly 3" sand bed......I'm having nightmares of worms crammed into every crevice!!! :-) <<No need to fret.>> Should I be trapping some of these guys and thinning the herd? <<I wouldn't...the worms serve a purpose/add to the bio-diversity of your system.>> Would appreciate any advice you might have for me. In fact if you have any details about this particular wormy guy would be appreciated, as I haven't really been able to find any. <<Mmm, should all be covered/explained in our worm FAQs/articles... http://www.wetwebmedia.com/polychaetes.htm >> Vicky
<<Regards, EricR>>

Overrun with Bristle Worms 2/18/06 Hello, First off let me thank you for such a wonderful and informative website. I have an over infestation of a type of bristle worm. I have a 90 gal. tank with crushed shell and coral substrate. The substrate is 2 1/2 to 3 in. deep , with one inch or so that shows above the trim on the bottom of the tank. <Thanks for the kind words!! Hmmm... crushed shells and coral sounds like the perfect bristle worm farm to me!! Coarse substrates trap detritus, which is bristle worm manna and the substrate itself provides ideal bristle worm habitat. Also... in order for bristle worms to reproduce to large populations, they need to be well fed and generally explosions occur in overfed tanks.> I have had a bristle worm explosion in the past 3 months, to the point that it looks that if you look at an area of substrate that is against the glass 1 in. deep by 3 inches wide you will see 20 different worms. They have now invaded my live rock also from top to bottom. I have read your articles and you talked of a natural die off. I am afraid that if a die off did happen there are so many that it would kill my whole tank. Should I be worried with this? How long will it take before they start to go away? I do not mind a few but there are so many that it makes my tank look awful. Thank you for any thoughts. Lee W. Parker <I don't normally suggest vacuuming substrate in marine tanks, but in your case it may help quite a bit. A commercially available "gravel vac" will remove bristle worms and detritus from your substrate, not only controlling the worms, but also the detritus. For the long term... consider filling in the voids in your coarse substrate with fine aragonite sand (after aggressive worm and detritus removal!). The fine sand will prevent detritus from penetrating into the substrate and will make it less habitable to bristle worms. Also, be careful not to overfeed. Don't worry about a massive die-off. Even if the worms start to starve, the survivors will just eat the victims. Best Regards. AdamC.>

Heniochus Butterfly...Worms In My Live Rock - 02/18/06 Good afternoon! <<Hello...evening here>> I read on your site that Heniochus Butterfly fish require 15 to 20 gallons (minimum) per copy. Does this mean that I can add 2 to a 72 gallon tank? <<Possibly...depending on what else is in/going in to the tank. There are about a dozen different species of Heniochus but the two most commonly available are H. acuminatus and H. diphreutes...I assume you refer to one of these? >> Also, I purchased some live rock from a dealer on the internet, the owner said that he was sending fully cured rock but there were worms in it (or at least they resembled worms). <<Very normal, desirable even.>> I managed to pull most of them out except one. <<Why?>> I put the live rock in the tank. The rock has been in there approx. 2 weeks. Do you think I should look for the rock and try to get the worm out again? <<Nope>> I am a little afraid that this will affect my tank in the long run. <<Doubtful...wouldn't worry about it. Regards EricR>>

Fallow Tank... annelids 02/12/06 Good Evening to whomever is on duty tonight, <Ah, Yo!> First off I just wanted to say thanks for everything that you guys do, it is appreciated in ways I can't express (you know, due to public decency laws). Anyhow here's my question and information: 100g reef tank w/20g Sump (no prefilter or bio-balls) 85 lbs of Live Rock (slowly adding more...now) numerous soft and hard corals (frogspawn, Galaxea, torch, Toadstool and other mushrooms) One Aquaclear 110 filter and 2 900gph powerheads Lit by 4x54T5 HO lamps (2 actinic 2 10k) 8 Nassarius snails 1 Turbo 6 Blue Legged Hermit Crabs 3 Red Legged Hermit Crabs Water: Nitrate - 0ppm Nitrite - 0ppm Calcium - 420 (approx) Ammonia - 0ppm PH - 8.2 KH - 11dkh I had been having troubles keeping fish in my tank for quite some time. I really should say all new fish. I was able to keep 2 damsels quite healthy no matter what I did. (I swear I could have poured window cleaner down the tank and those fish would have been just fine.) After checking and double checking as much as possible (listening for pistol shrimp, checking water quality at different hours, removing crabs and what not) I came to the conclusion that my damsels were just too territorial and were constantly stressing out all new inhabitants. With that in mind I removed them thus removing all fish in my tank. I have been letting it go fallow for the last 2 weeks and have noticed a plethora of new bugs and creatures that I hadn't seen in ages. One of those new arrivals (although I know they had always been there) is annelids. Many of them, and not all of them small. Some that I have seen have been in excess of 5 inches when completely extended. <Yikes> With that in mind, my question is two fold. A. Could they have been the culprit in my mysterious fish deaths, <Possibly, but not likely> and B. are they something that I should concern myself with. <Mmm, not much> I have been continuing to feed my tank small amounts of food to keep the Nassarius snails happy, but I am concerned that I am really just helping increase the annelid population more than it needs to be. Or I could just be worrying way too much over something completely inconsequential. If you wouldn't mind helping set my mind at ease I would really appreciate it. Thanks, Clay <From what you've stated here, I would not be overly concerned with the Polychaetes. Your new-fish losses may be much more related to the allelopathy amongst your cnidarians. Bob Fenner>

The negligent tank owner - 01/03/2006 Hi Bob, <James with you today> While searching the net trying to find an answer to my bristle worm problem I came across your site. I am aware you've probably answered this question a million times but I have a HORRIBLE HORRIBLE bristle worm problem. <Ouch!> I left my boyfriend in charge of my tank of breeding black Perculas, breeding yellow headed sleeper gobies and breeding mandarin dragonets (plus my little eyelash blenny and 3 coral gobies) for 7 months. I now only have my breeding black Percs. He is hopeless when it comes to fish, so I have to give him credit for trying. Over the seven months I was gone he accidentally killed one of my sleeper gobies, then the other died, (and this is where the real problem began I'm sure, he didn't change how much he was feeding my fish). I came home to a bristle worm epidemic. <Mmm homecoming gift?> And no these are not the helpless little detritus eating types. I watched in horror as they stung my eyelash blenny to death and then ate him. <Yikes> I trap the horrid little things every night and remove about 100-200 each go, and these aren't tiny little things they are about 4" on average and have been as big as a foot long in one case. I've had to take out my black Percs for fear of loosing them as well but I have so much coral growing all over my live rock I can't do a whole tank make over like I really want to do. I literally have thousands of the wretched little wriggling worms (can you tell I've really grown to hate them)<Yes> and nothing I do seems to work. I acquired some hermit crabs thinking they'd help and they ended up food just like my other fish. I'm positive they were the cause of death of my two dragonets as well as at least two of my coral gobies, and I watched first hand as they killed (did I mention during the day) my beloved blenny and one of my other little coral gobies. I am unable to get an arrowhead crab (which I am not certain wouldn't be adding one bad to get rid of another) or a Sixline wrasse. <With the population you are experiencing, either of these bristle worm predators wouldn't put a dent in it.> Is there anything you could suggest to help with this epidemic? <Amanda, if this were my situation I'd remove any fish that are in the tank and continue your trapping. If you have access to a Magnum H.O.T. filter I would purchase the gravel washer that is made for this unit and vacuum the gravel daily. This will reduce the food supply in the substrate along with sucking up many of the critters that are in the substrate. As the food supply dwindles, your trapped bristle worm population should increase as they will be more active searching for food. As you know this is not going to be a quick fix but outside of removing the coral and coppering the tank I see no other alternative. You may also want to consider siphoning all the substrate out of the tank and place it in a tub with freshwater for a week or so. This should get rid of the worms that are in your substrate. Challenging, isn't it. Good luck Amanda. James (Salty Dog)> Amanda

Re: The negligent tank owner (part III)/Bristleworms 1/19/06 Hi again, <Hello Amanda> Right about now I am cursing the day I set up a successful system that caused my corals to multiply at a phenomenal rate. So I scraped them all off the walls, the power head, pulled them out of my sump and placed these into one of my clownfish breeding tanks that isn't being used because my clownfish are mad at me and on breeding strike for taking them away from their beloved stand pipe. I figured this was the best place for them as that system is cycled and completely separate from my Bristleworm epidemic tank. Then I set about cutting my coral and live rock apart as directed earlier, and placed all these in my Rainbowfish breeding tubs (my threadfins are pretty mad at me for this. They are not at all impressed with being put into the display tank and having my dogs staring at them on a daily basis). By the way I did empty out the FW and replace it with water from my SW tank :) I totally emptied my sump. Removed thousands of bristleworms, decided there was no way I was going to get them all out of the sump material, so tossed it all, in hindsight probably not the best idea but by this point I was irrational with Bristleworm hate (am going to borrow material from my clownfish breeding setup to re-stock my sump, eventually). I took out all my power heads, realized I only had about 2 pieces of liverock without any coral on it, so put these in with the coral rock, then took out my crushed coral bed, again became irrational with hatred for bristle worms and threw all this out when I realized there were millions of the cursed baby things crawling around in it (I know I know freshwater soak for a week, I did mention irrational hatred of the worms). I took this opportunity to completely clean the inside of my tank (I can actually see in all four sides now instead of just 2). Then I looked in the coral tubs, and realized to my horror that there were even more bristleworms hiding in all the rocks then in the sand bed. So I left my pathetic 3 live rocks without coral on newspaper for about 20 minutes and gleefully pulled out all the bristleworms that crawled out and flushed them. But now I realize my biggest probably. I can't do that to my coral rocks, I don't think, or my coral will die. Am I correct with this assumption? (I know entirely too much about breeding fish and no where near enough about corals) If I put these back into my system without getting all the worms out of them I might as well not even have done this butchering of my tank as I'll just be back to where I started before the whole "spring cleaning". So my question of the moment is: How do I get all the bristleworms out of my live rock which is covered in coral without killing all my coral? I am so frustrated with the Bristleworm probable I you would not believe? I am really hoping you can help me out. <Amanda, if this were my horror story I would take one coral rock out (experiment) for 20-30 minutes. In doing so I'd fill up a clean spray bottle and mist the corals with saltwater every couple of minutes. I'm thinking most of these worms should come out. If this works out and the coral is OK (which I believe it will be) then repeat the process with the rest of the coral rock. I have no other suggestions unless Bob may have a trick or two. James (Salty Dog)> Thanks in advance.

Bristleworms/Follow up - 01/23/2006 Hi again James, <Hello Amanda> No questions this time, the scientific names of my little splitting cnidarians are: Discosoma nummiformis (the purple, red and green forms), Rhodactis indosinensis (two colour variations) I've been informed since our e-mails by a friend in the States that they aren't called Ricordea over there but elephant ears, and the one I didn't mention before, but which grows fairly abundantly in my tank as well is Tubipora musica. Still at a bit of an impasse with the worms, the T. musica and the purple and green D. nummiformis did really well with being taken out of water and sprayed periodically but my D. nummiformis red form didn't like it at all and died, as did the darker form of my R. indosinensis. At the moment I am trying to work out a way to suspend my rocks in the water and have some sort of collection container underneath and hopefully entice the worms out of the rocks with some tasty prawn bits. Will let you know how it goes. <OK. James (Salty Dog)> Cheers Amanda
Re: The negligent tank owner (part IV the curse of the worms)/Bristleworms 1/31/06
Hi James, <Hello Amanda.> I apologize for the long e-mail, but since I hadn't written to you regarding the worms in a while (two weeks I think) I thought you might want the previous e-mails for background. <Yes, always necessary.> If at all possible things have gone from bad to worse. <Yikes.> My entire tank is still mostly dismantled. My clownfish are still in the clownfish fry rearing tanks and still on strike. The corals are still in my threadfin tank and my threadfins have since gone on breeding strike (they really don't like my display tank, I think they got use to the back room, and my dogs running around playing and shedding hair on them on a daily basis is just too much for them).<Maybe a dogfish is in order?> The addition of my threadfins to my Melanotaenia splendida inornata has made them stop breeding. So I now no longer have my three main breeding/best selling fish breeding (the way I was paying for my unnatural obsession for fish I have somewhere between 50 and 75 tanks <Yowzie, when do you sleep?> and my boyfriend has started to protest the taking of grocery money to pay for my "unnatural obsession with slimy things" as he puts it).<Fish have to eat too!> Now to the newest worm problem. They've started eating my corals. I have my corals sitting on a framework suspended above the bottom of the threadfin breeding tank and I've been trying to lure them out at night so I can get them. The traps are no longer working. I'm only catching one or two a night, but I know they are there. When I shine the flashlight on my corals at 2 am they are writhing in worms (I'm not getting much sleep at the moment either) but as soon as I touch them with the meat tongs the pull back into the rockwork and I can't get them out. <Tricky little bleep aren't they.> No matter what time of night I check on them they aren't all the way out of the rockwork so I can't remove them. And now they've started breeding. I didn't know what the jelly masses were at first so I removed one to a fallow system and hatched them and to my horror......baby bristle worms. I now scrape about 50-100 Bristleworm egg masses from my breeding tank every morning (which just adds to my boyfriends assumption that I'm mad since I'm now getting up at 4 in the morning to take care of all my tanks instead of 5) <Amanda, these worms must have a very good food source to be breeding in the numbers you mention.> My corals are getting no food at all at the moment (I shouldn't say no food they have the same lighting they had in their original tank but I haven't been hand feeding them like I was) because as soon as I feed the worms come out and snatch the food right out of their mouths. <Wouldn't feed either.> Now having no other food the worms are eating my corals. They've gone through about 20 of my purple, red and green Discosoma nummiformis and several of my Rhodactis indosinensis. Should I just cut my losses and assume my corals are lost and start again from scratch or do you, or anyone have any other ideas I can try? <Amanda, I believe we are in a no win situation. We've covered all the bases in previous emails and I'm sure you Googled everything there is about bristleworms.> I need to get my FW fish back to their normal habitats before my boyfriend leaves me for starving him to feed my fish. <Amanda, I'll put out a cry for help to the rest of the crew. Perhaps one of the crew may have another idea. James (Salty Dog)> Amanda
Re: Bristleworm query (Antoine chimes in) 1/31/06
I recently answered a query on this topic relative to prepping LR for use in a Seahorse tank. My reply: a fave trick of mine for removing macro organisms such as worms, crabs, mantis, etc is to make a solution of magnesium chloride (not sodium chloride) mixed up to the same specific gravity as NSW (say... 1.024ish) Dip the rocks in this saltwater bath and watch the motile organisms exit rather promptly. For fish-only use display live rock, it accomplishes the goal of removing most if not all potential problem creatures such as parasitic isopods and mantis (stomatopods), as well as pests like the Polychaetes you are hunting in this case. It does little to no harm to there major benthic growth forms for the short duration and after a good rinse. I heard the trick from a chap at SeaWorld FL who does this to prepare LR for use in their fish only displays.
Re: The negligent tank owner (part IV the curse of the worms)/Bristleworms 2/1/06
Thanks for this, I'll try the magnesium chloride tonight when I get home from work. }}I have somewhere between 50 and 75 tanks <Yowzie, when do you sleep?> Sleep?? What's that? It's mostly part of a breeding I'm part of. I did my masters on Australian freshwater native breeding and nutrition and since have been helping the DPI & F re-stock some of the local rivers and streams with their native fish generally of the Genus Pseudomugil, I'm most proud of my mellis, cyanodorsalis and gertrudae tanks (I don't sell any of these they all go to nature to help with failing populations) I also have tons of Melanotaenia tanks, mostly the different spendidas certain areas have different colour patterns more sought after then others and tend to get fished nearly to extinction for that particular water body for the ornamental fish trade, so I help re-stock with the colour variation endemic to that area. Sorry I love my Australian natives and tend to carry on a bit when I talk about them. This was my one and only salt water tank per se (I don't really count the clownfish grow-out tank) and was quite pleased I had it going 4 years with not a single hiccup and then the worms struck. Keep your fingers crossed for me.<I certainly will Amanda. Sounds like a very interesting life you lead. Do feed boyfriend tonight:)) You are sure these are bristle worms and not another genus/species, correct? James (Salty Dog)> Amanda Re: Bristleworm query 2/1/06 Since when are bristleworms a bad thing? I find them to be wonderful detritivores. I have also found that their numbers are ALWAYS proportionate to the amount of food the tank receives. Feed a lot, get a lot of worms. Cut feeding down, and the worm population is cut down. I once had a huge amount of worms - they were absolutely everywhere, too much, really - while I had my messy angler in my refugium. Once I moved him to a dedicated tank, the worms just started to disappear. Takes a few weeks, but works like magic. Mike G

Re: Bristleworm query 2/1/06 We take a piece of shrimp and wrap it up in some bridal veil. Make like a ball about 2 inches in diameter. Then drop it in the tank. The next day you'll find dozens of bristle worms that have made their way into the bridal veil, but can't get out. Just net it out and throw it away. Adam (Blundell)

Re: The negligent tank owner (Part V exit the worms)/Bristleworms 2/2/06 WOOOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOO.....oh yeah, did I mention YIIIIIIIIIPEEEEEEEEEEEEEE. Took one piece of coral rock dipped in prescribed solution and out crawled the worms. About 200 of the horrible little evil things.<Yippee.> Found a couple of pistol shrimp too, at the moment I'm thinking I'm going to keep them as they must have been there from the start and never caused any problems,<Yes, they are fine.> only problems I had were (hehe I can say WERE in regards to them) the worms. At the moment I just have that piece waiting in another tub just to make sure there were no ill effects on the coral, but as of this morning it looked to be doing fairly well I'm also waiting till tonight so I can shine a light on it and see if I see any creepy crawlies I might have missed. I'm positive my boyfriend thinks I've lost it now as he came home to me cackling die worms into a bucket.<Just trying to keep his sanity.> I'll definitely keep in mind the bridal veil thing, <Save yours after your boyfriend and you tie the knot.> might do it on a weekly/monthly basis, just to make sure this NEVER EVER happens again. <Good idea.> Thanks you, thank you, thank you. Amanda <Amanda, I am very glad to hear this. My thanks goes out to Anthony Calfo and Adam Blundell for the help in solving Amanda's curse. James (Salty Dog)>

Bristleworm query response 02-05-06 I was rather upset by your reply on WWM today. <Hmm... Wasn't even aware it was posted. I apologize for upsetting you.> Obviously you have not read my previous posts regarding these worms or you'd be aware that they are not harmless detritivores. <I did not... The crew was communicating solutions to a Bristleworm problem via email, I put in my 2 cents, relating to bristleworms in general.> Also there are currently about 50 different species of worms which are commonly classed as bristleworms. Several of these are also classed as Fireworms. <I am aware... however, the vast majority of infestations are usually related to the benign type I was referring to.> And the two species I have had professionally identified by a good friend of mine, who did his PHD thesis on Hermodice canunculata and is doing his Post doc on other various PREDATORY worms of the GBR, said mine are most definitely NOT HARMLESS and are not detritivores but active predators. <Alright, then.> I am not a fish novice, in fact I know quite a bit about the entire hobby/profession in general. I am aware that overfeeding is the cause for most outbreaks, and was the cause of them initially in my tank as well no doubt as my boyfriend did his best during my seven months overseas to keep my tank healthy but did over feed. I have since been home for four months now, moved my two remaining fish and have not fed my tank at all in nearly 4 months. The worms have since taken to eating my corals, as posted to James within the past two day. So yes many "bristleworms" are harmless detritivores, but there are several species generally of genus Hermodice and Eurythoe which are not detritivores, but are actually predatory. I am not advocating everyone to go out and kill every worm in their tank, but I have actively researched my worms through many different areas and have discovered them to be very HARMFUL and therefore have gone about getting rid of them like any responsible tank owner would. <Again, many apologies for responding out of context/offending you. Have a nice night. Mike G> Amanda

Bristle worm epidemic/Thank you Re: The negligent tank owner no more, Now I need to restock 2/17/06 Hi again, <Hello Amanda.> I really wanted to thank you James (Salty Dog) and the others that helped me with my evil worm problem (I'm the one that left my tank with my boyfriend for 7 months and came home to a bristle/fire worm epidemic which ate my fish and coral). <Boyfriend is forgiven?> I did the dip suggested by Anthony Calfo it worked fabulously. <Great, and a big thank you for Anthony.> I only lost 2 corals to the dip, but I believe that was mostly due to them being partly worm eaten. Out of morbid curiosity I collected all the worms which crawled out of the rock in a bucket and by the end I had over 4 inches or more deep of worms <Yowzie> in the bucket (this was just from the rocks with the corals on them, I don't even want to think of how many were in the sump and tank substrate). I also discovered many other wonderful things that came out in the dip, I discovered that I apparently have a very active breeding population of turbo snails. I had literally hundreds of tiny turbo snails crawl off the rocks (I am rather ashamed of myself for not noticing them earlier), I found a bitsy tiny mantis shrimp, which I kindly donated to the local aquarium since they've been wanting one for display purposes for a while, about 12 pistol shrimp, which are awaiting re-housing in my soon to be newly cycled tank, as well as many other little creepy crawlies which I'm going to re-locate to my soon to be newly cycled refugium. The best one I found though (I have NO IDEA how this one managed to survive, how it got to my tank I've never heard of fish hitch hikers before, or how I hadn't noticed it before) was a tiny little goby I have since identified as Priolepis nocturna. <Very interesting.> So my tank has been put back together (sort of it's very bare without all my coral rocks but I won't be putting those back in until it's finished cycling, I'm actually trading in about half of these to my LFS for some live rock which is coming in on the weekend and fish to be selected by me in my own time). Anyway, I digress. Thank you. <You're most welcome and WWW rides into the sun. James (Salty Dog)> Amanda
Re: The negligent tank owner (boyfriend is forgiven) ... Bristleworm f' - 02/27/06
Hello James <Salty Dog,) <Hello Amanda> I just wanted to give you a brief update on everything and thank you again for the time you took helping me get rid of the worms. <You're welcome> Just as a relatively unrelated side: it's rather interesting to watch the faces of your workmates when you say you have a worm problem, they get a whole range of ideas going through their head that has nothing to do with fish, I tend to find it amusing. The statement "I finally got rid of all the worms" tends to make them take an involuntary step backwards as they envision intestinal parasites :) (I have a rather sick sense of humour) <Understand here as I once told a workmate I have some new crabs, and got a funny look.:)> I have my threadfins (Iriatherina werneri) back where they belong as I've moved my remaining corals in with my clownfish. They've started breeding again as of yesterday, as have my Melanotaenia splendida inornata now that they threadfins are gone (it's wonderful to have enough fish tanks to swap plants/gravel/filter media from that you don't need to worry overly much about cycling, I still like to check for about a week first just to make sure I won't have a freak ammonia spike) My main tank is at the height of ammonia production (somewhere around 16ppm got to love uncured live rock ammonia spikes) I got in my load of live rock from my LFS that I traded some corals for about mid last week. Now that I know I have a Priolepis nocturna and know to look out for it, I see it quite frequently at feeding time. Very fascinating little goby that one. By the way an aside thanks to WWM as I happened to be able to identify the little thing from a post I read about 3 days before discovering him....handy site this one.<Yes it is!> Also just one quick question. Is it common for fish to be hitch hikers or did I just get a one in a million?? <Not common for sure, you got a bonus.> }} (I'm the one that left my tank with my boyfriend for 7 months and came home to a bristle/fire worm epidemic which ate my fish and coral). <Boyfriend is forgiven?> Yes he's forgiven. I can't really get too upset at him as he bought me an apology tank the other day (he felt really really bad about the worms and how much trouble they caused me) for me to start fiddling with and deciding what I want to do with it (possibly my second SW tank maybe a dedicated lion fish tank, have always been rather intrigued by them, lots of research to do first though before I decide). <Good idea.> He really isn't a fish person and I have to give him tons of credit for putting up with my fish obsession. THANK YOU <And thank you for the update, Amanda. James (Salty Dog)

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