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FAQs about Marine Worms, Vermiform Animals Identification 5

Related FAQs: Worm IDs 1, Worm IDs 2, Worm IDs 3, Worm IDs 4, Worm IDs 6, Worm IDs 7, Worm IDs 8, Worm IDs 9, Worm IDs 10, Worm ID 11, Worm ID 12, Worm ID 13, Worm ID 14, Worm ID 15, Worm ID 16, Worm ID 17, Worm ID 18, See Also: Flatworm ID 1 +, Nemertean, Proboscis, Ribbon Worm ID 1, Nematode, Roundworm ID 1, Nematomorpha, Horsehair Worm ID 1, Acanthocephalans, Thorny-headed Worm ID 1, Tubeworm/Featherduster ID 1 +, Bristle Worm ID 1 +, Hirudineans, Leech ID 1, Sipunculids, Peanut Worm ID 1, Echiuran Worm ID 1, & FAQs on: Worm Behavior, Worm Compatibility, Worm Selection, Worm Systems, Worm Feeding, Worm Disease, Worm Reproduction,  & Invertebrate Identification, Worms 1, Worms 2Worms 3, Flatworms/Planaria, Fire/Bristleworms

Related Articles: Worms, Featherduster Worms

Bristle Worms, nutrients and improper stocking choices 10/27/05 Hi There, <Hi Michelle. Before I go on Michelle Ill just say this first. Bristle worms are harmless detritivores {detritivores} for the most partbeneficial actually. If you have an over population usually an abundance of nutrients is the problem, this can be fixed through aggressive skimming, water changes, refugiums and so on. Adding more livestock only fixes the symptom (the bristles) and not the problem (nutrients), in fact more livestock can actually fuel the problem.> Exactly one week ago I ordered a bristleworm exterminator package from an online store. I have a 55 gal homemade hexagon tank. They sent 4 CBS  <Ack! As you now know these animals should be kept singly and or as a mated pair.> Pseudochromis (purple and yellow).  <Mmm, these to may engage in turf wars. A single sixline wrasse would have been a much better choice. Though as stated above using livestock to rid yourself of a bristle overpopulation is not the best route.>  Obviously I only have one CBS left.   <I can imagine.>  The poor thing is laying on his back for the second time today. The first time I thought he was molting, then it got up and moved around to another rock and now he is laying on his back again with a few legs twitching. Is it molting or is it dying?  <My guess is he has suffered injuries from his engagements with the other shrimps.>  If it is dying what do I need to know for the next CBS I get or should I try a different species? <Generally Coral Banded Shrimps are quite hardy, your group just suffered way to much trauma.> Also, how do I know if I have Aiptasia?  <Its a small anemone read here for identification, actions: http://wetwebmedia.com/ca/cav1i3/aiptasia_impressions/aiptaisia_impressions.htm. >  There is this mucus or cob-web looking stuff on one of our live rocks.  <This description does not sound like Aiptasia.>  A couple of those patches look like there are glass tubes growing out of them. It has been like that for a few months. Nothing is coming out of the tubes.  If they are not Aiptasia, what are your opinions on what they could be? <Hard to say without a photo, anything from a feather duster to other various live rock hitchhikers.> <<Likely a type of worm, the genera escapes me now (Terebellid?).  They send out lines of what appears to be mucous that they "fish" with, capture food/detritus, and reel back in.  MH>> Thanks for your help! Michelle <Your welcome, Adam J.> 

Worms 7/22/05 I have a what looks like a worm about 6 inches long its brown and white   striped and is living in my Goniopora, it was there when i brought it, do you  know what it is and if so should I remove it. Also is it poisonous or could it  do any damage to my coral or fish. <There are worms that can damage corals.  Pretty hard to tell what you have from the description.  If you have a digital camera, a pick would be helpful. James (Salty Dog)>

Friend or Foe? Free worm Hello Crew,     I have an identification for you.  I recently saw a small amount of rock/sand like rubble being pushed out of a small hole in my Fiji live rock.  Interested, I stopped to watch and after a few minutes a worm like creature appeared at the mouth of the hole.  It had a white underside and had black 'tiger' pattern stripes on its back.  The end it poked out (which I believe is the head) had a mouth like hole surrounded by small tentacle like arms.  What surprised me is how long it was.  About 2.5"  inches of its body was sticking out of the hole and it didn't look like it was any where near its end. After looking through my books I couldn't find a picture or description of what it is.  I had tried to snap a picture of the little guy but he is very sensitive to vibrations and retreats immediately upon my approach.       Could you tell me what I have? <Yes> I want to know if I can leave it be or if I would have to remove him. I don't have any fish or corals in the aquarium so it doesn't matter at the time what I do. Thank you for your help, Andrew <Is likely one of many possibly errantiate polychaetes... please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/polychaeidfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Web spinning worm We had a piece of dead shrimp in the aquarium.  Our serpent seastar wanted to eat this piece, but would not touch it when a little red worm wrapped around it. A very short time later, we noticed that there was a web-like cocoon around the piece of shrimp, and when the serpent tried to touch it, it had to pull its leg out of the webby stuff.  Any ideas what this is?  I found this to be a bit unnerving myself!  Thanks! <Hard to tell without a pic as there are many different species of worms in the ocean.  If I had to guess, I'd say it was from the Timarete family (Ball of Yarn Worm).  James (Salty Dog)>

- Peanut Worm? - Hi guys. Awesome web page you put together. Very informational! I am new to the reef aquarium hobby and have a question for you. I have searched your FAQ's but cannot find a positive answer. I found what sounds a lot like a peanut worm, however there are a few things I have noticed about it that were not mentioned in other articles. It is brown looks somewhat leathery, about two inches long from what I can tell, and only comes out at night. It comes out of what looks like a spiral embossed in my new Fiji live rock. Also, it appears to dig into the rock in new spots and make new holes. When the lights come on it appears to retract into itself, and at its "mouth" always has what looks to be "crumbs" of the live rock he is burrowing through and there is a lot of this around the hole he comes out of. If this description is not good enough, I will borrow someones digital camera and catch a picture of it. <I'd like to see a picture. What you describe doesn't sound exactly like a peanut worm but it's possible.> I really would like to know what it is and if it will be harmful to corals, since that was why I started the tank. <I'm going to guess that it's likely fine for your tank, and not harmful to corals. Sounds to me like it has a different agenda. I'd still like to see a picture though as when my live rock shipped, I had something like what you describe sticking out of a piece of rock. It was dead, so I pulled it out and it was a very unusual animal - something it seemed was more related to a snail or slug, and almost six inches long, but certainly a burrower in rock. Would like to see if the animal you describe is the same. Never did get a positive id.> Thanks a bunch, Joe <Cheers, J -- > Weird White Round Thing and Scary Worm, Nudi eggs and Bristleworm Ok wet web crew, maybe you can help. I have just introduced a lettuce nudibranch into my reef tank when I put it in after quarantine (3 weeks) it sunk to a certain spot and stayed in that spot for a whole day, it didn't scoot around as it had in quarantine. This morning it was happily munching on some algae on the other side of the tank, that was a relief, but where it was there is a perfectly round white slimy raised 2" across patch that looks like rings with a hole in the middle on some live rock in the exact spot he sat for the whole day.  Unfortunately my attempts to photograph were in vain, 80lbs live rock doesn't leave much room to get a pic. Now I was wondering if it was just some kind of reactionary mucus rings left by the nudibranch, or some kind of fluke or roundworm or parasite that the slug just happened to land on and got trapped stuck whatever. <Mmm, likely a reproductive event... eggs> I know that sounds unlikely but the more I learn about marine life I don't rule out much these days.  And totally unrelated this morning I pulled a 4" worm that was covered in what resembled plated spikes, it was a dark brown green, I saw it and yanked out the dead plate I have for decoration he was crawling on. Then I dropped it into hot fresh water, I know its not good to kill stuff if you can't identify but I didn't want to take a chance it was predatory to fish or inverts, so I caught him while I could. Thanks again for your vast wealth of wisdom you share with us all Mike Yates <This last is very likely a species of errantiate polychaete... Bob Fenner>  Worm ID, or Let's Play "Guess That Worm!" I have just started my first saltwater tank and its cycling right now. I have been looking around on the Internet to try and find out what kind of worm is in the tank. I noticed it when the lights were off and only had on my night view lights. I read all FAQ and couldn't find anything about this one. It was hanging about 1 inch out of the live rock, he had red and white bands. (not length wise) It was smooth and resembled a "spaghetti worm" but with red and white bands. As soon as I turned on the lights he shot back into the rock. (from your sight I learned it is probably nocturnal) If you have time to ID this one I would appreciate it. thanks. Mike, East Lansing, MI  <There are many worms that fall under the broad group of "Spaghetti" and "Medusa" worms. Most if not all are harmless, beneficial detritivores. An exact ID would be impossible. Enjoy it for the diversity that it represents! Say hello to the folks at Preuss' Animal house for us! They are one of the finest local fish stores anywhere and have many friends here at WWM! Best Regards. AdamC.>

Worm ID follow up 5/17/05 Thanks for the prompt response! I went to Preuss' today and Rick basically said the same thing. I am a rookie so I just wanted to make sure it wouldn't harm any livestock down the road. Thanks again Adam! Next time I go to Preuss' I'll tell them Hi for ya. Mike- East Lansing  <Glad to help out. Please do say hello to Rick and the gang. Many of them are friends to many of us! They are all around good folks and dedicated to the animals they keep and sell. Best Regards. AdamC.>   

Mysterious worm in my tank (ID wanted) Hi there, <Hello> A weeks ago I noticed a black worm in my tank that was climbing on my  hammer coral fragment.  It's body looked like a  caterpillar's with bristles covering it. <Hence the name: "bristleworm"> It looked more like a  caterpillar than a slug or worm and was black with blue dots on it. <Neat> While  I was watching it, it took a bite out my hammer coral and I knew I needed to get it out of there.  Over there next few weeks the little bugger eluded me  until finally I decided to pull the rock out (as a last resort).  I left it  out of the water for a bit, in hopes of making the worm come out to  search for water.  After a bit, I poured some water into its container and  its head came out of a hole.  I went to remove it with a tweezers  (thankfully, it was dead) and came to find out that what I expected  was maybe an inch or two long was actually 7 inches long!!! <A youngster!> Attached is a picture of the worm and though it's a little fuzzy,  <Man, I've got to give up drinking cheap vino... This pic is way fuzzy to me> hopefully you can see some of the detail on the head.  I was also wondering what type of worm it was and how it got into my tank? <Mmm, in, on rock or other hard substrate... like a stony coral base> I have added nothing new  to the tank in at least 4 months, so I'm curious as to how it grew without me knowing?  Thanks for any help you can give! Melissa <Take a gander at our Worm ID files posted on WWM... many, many of these worms on this planet. Bob Fenner>

Worm ID Hi, Could you help me identify this "worm" looking creature in my live rock? I've attached the image.  It sometimes squirts some brownish liquid from its tip. Can't decide if I should pull it out of the rock or not? Thanks for the answer and the great website Baris <Looks like a Sipunculid to me... Put this term in your search tools... look at Google Pix... Bob Fenner>

Identification Problem, marine worm Dear Wet Web Crew, <Zach> I was looking at my fish a few minutes ago with the moon lights on only. As I was looking at the live rock I noticed a worm. I am assuming it is nocturnal because I have never noticed it during the day. It looked segmented but I could not tell. It was clearly cephalized and had a pale beige belly. The top was light beige with random brown splotches for about 1 1/2 inches. After that is seemed to be all brown, with the exception of the underbelly. It would hang from the live rock and almost gnaw on the piece under it like a dog gnaws on a bone. It came out of its burrow like a slinky. It looked like an annelid but, once again, I could not tell if it was segmented or not. What is it? Should I worry? <Good description of a few hundred possible polychaete species... If it's big, looks like it's causing trouble...> Another worm I noticed was completely out on the live rock. It looked like it was cephalized but I could not tell. It was not segmented and about two inches in length. It was opaque in color. It did not look at all like a Platyhelminthes. Same questions as above. <Please read through the several marine worm ID et al. files posted on WWM. Bob Fenner>   

Good, Bad or Just Ugly? Platyhelminth Hi Crew! <John> Firstly, This site is GREAT! Ton's of useful informative information all under one roof. <Glad you find it so> I have a beginning 35 gallon reef tank, it has been up about 3 months now. 20 lbs. Live Rock "Fiji" (I believe), 20 lbs. Live Sand, 2 Feather Dusters, 1- 3"X6" rock covered with Green Star Polyps, a Hector's Goby, 3 tiny Blue Leg Hermit Crabs, a Camel Hump Shrimp and tons of microscopic life. Thanks to the information on your site, most of the micro organisms I've observed, I believe to be safe and welcomed additions to the tank. However I spotted about 4-5 of these 1/8" or smaller snot like looking creatures with a flashlight the other night (see attached photo). The rounded end appears to be the head and the end with the two points the back, as I chased it around on the glass trying to get a photo opportunity, this was the way it moved. In its middle is a round yellowish/greenish dot. Hopefully this is it's belly and indicates that it is algae eating. The rest of the body is clear or transparent. Just want to be sure what I have here before I look at adding any further stock to the tank. I've got my eye on a Red Pipe Organ next. Thanks for any help you can give and keep up the great work! John <Neat... good pic, description. Almost certainly this is a species of flatworm... not problematical, will very likely "pass" as your system ages a bit more. I would enjoy them. Bob Fenner> 

Forgot to Move Before Answering - James' Take on Planarians Hi Crew! Firstly, This site is GREAT! Ton's of useful informative information all under one roof.  I have a beginning 35 gallon reef tank, it has been up about 3 months now. 20 lbs. Live Rock "Fiji" (I believe), 20 lbs. Live Sand, 2 Feather Dusters, 1- 3"X6" rock covered with Green Star Polyps, a Hector's Goby, 3 tiny Blue Leg Hermit Crabs, a Camel Hump Shrimp and ton's of microscopic life.  Thanks to the information on your site, most of the micro organisms I've observed, I believe to be safe and welcomed additions to the tank. However I spotted about 4-5 of these 1/8" or smaller snot like looking creatures with a flashlight the other night (see attached photo). The rounded end appears to be the head and the end with the two points the back, as I chased it around on the glass trying to get a photo opportunity, this was the way it moved.  In its middle is a round yellowish/greenish dot. Hopefully this is its belly and indicates that it is algae eating. The rest of the body is clear or transparent. Just want to be sure what I have here before I look at adding any further stock to the tank. I've got my eye on a Red Pipe Organ next. Thanks for any help you can give and keep up the great work! <John, what you have there are called planarians, feed mostly on copepods etc. Relatively harmless and probably won't be around much longer without a food supply. James (Salty Dog)>

Worms in LPS Buenos días mis amigos. I have a couple of Worm related questions: 1.I have a Pagoda Cup Coral (Turbinaria peltata). One of the polyps is missing since I got it and there is constant slime or brown matter coming out of the hole. The only thing that comes to mind is that there is a worm living in the polyp's hole. The way it normally looks is a brownish tissue hanging out of the hole, maybe 2-3 mm in length, and other times it has a long strand of slime attached that drifts away with the current after a few minutes. Is this a worm? If so, is this a worm any of you have seen before? Will it kill the coral? Will it move to other LPSs?  <I'm thinking it is probably the remains of the missing polyp.> 2.I just got a Platygyra Brain and put it in quarantine. I am observing small fan worms (I think) coming out of several of the polyps. They come out and back in as if with the currents and have 5-10 transparent tentacles (3-4 mm in length) in the form of a fan. The holes they are coming out no longer have the green tissue of the polyp but are caves for these worms. Are these fan worms or some sort of boring worms that I should be worried about? Will they kill the animal? Would they spread to other corals and kill them if I put the specimen in the main display?  <Hard to base a response on the description you gave. Are you sure these "fanworms" are not Aiptasia? James (Salty Dog)> Thanks for your help. <You're welcome>

Worms in LPS - II Hi James.  <Good Afternoon, Franz>  Thanks for your response. On the first one, I don't think it's the remains of the Polyp, since its been going on for a little over a month now, and it keeps coming out even if I try to cut it off. Maybe someone else has seen something similar?  <Franz, without a picture it would be hard to even guess> On the other worm, I am 100% sure it not Aiptasia and 99% sure its some sort of fan worm. It comes out intermittently every 1-3 seconds out of the Polyp hole and then back in. It has the shape of a fan (very thin, transparent strands that form a fan in a single plane). <That certainly sounds like a barnacle to me>  I was hoping someone had seen this before, since they are on several of the polyp holes and I fear will eventually kill the specimen.  <Do a Google search on barnacles, look at the pictures, I'm sure that is what it is. James (Salty Dog)> Thanks for any additional advise you guys might provide.  <You're welcome>

Attack of the killer mutant circle worms: 3-30-05 Hi there. <How goes it? Maddox here today...> I have a 55 ga FOWLR tank... <Sweet Jesus> I am in the process of hypo-salinating a MAJOR ich problem, (1.014 or so) that resulted in a virtual total loss (2 damsels remain). <Ouch, sorry to hear it :(> What I am seeing now are tiny white spirals on the glass. They started as a spot, but are growing into a spiral shape. They are ON THERE Too ! not even a scuff pad gets ' em off.  IS this something else invading my tank? Are they from the live rock? Are they BAD???  <Not bad at all - simple "tube worms", sessile filter feeders that excrete a carbonate 'tube' in which to live. They most likely hitchhiked on your live rock> Thanks! <No problem - M. Maddox>

Presumed Polychaete Identification Question - Shootin' Blind Any idea what this could be? It came in a shipment of Fiji live rock. When extended it's about 2- 3 inches long, with tiny bristles on the end. <From your description, I think we can safely assume that you are in possession of a Polychaete Bristleworm.> I would think it some kind of worm? Is it a benefit to the tank or a nuisance? (55 gal) <It completely depends on the species you have, though, for the most part, they are beneficial. See the following links for more information on bristleworms and their conspecifics. The first link is an article on identifying such worms, and should be of most use to you. http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-03/rs/index.htm  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/polychaetes.htm  http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-04/rs/index.htm  Hope this helps you out, Mike G>

Sipunculan Hello!  <Hey, Mike G here> I have what looks to be some sort of deep-sea-looking worm thing in my aquarium. <You have no idea how common that is in this wonderful hobby :-) > My pictures are a bit lacking, but could you give me a hint as to how to go about identifying this creature? <Your pictures are fine for identification of this specimen.> The most significant characteristic I've observed is that to retract back into the rock, he inverts himself and crawls back inside his own body... what a party trick, huh? It's like when you take a long balloon (the kind they turn into animals) and push with your finger on the end so it goes "inside" of itself. <He is a Sipunculan, more commonly referred to as a Peanut Worm. Harmless, benign, and entertaining.> I like him 'cause he seems to get along with my fish (one yellow-tailed damsel, one tomato clown, one royal Gramma.) Is he dangerous? <Not in the least.> If not, I don't want him to be eaten, so are there any types of fish I should avoid adding? <Butterflies, triggers, wrasses, and possibly Dwarf Angels will make a quick snack of him if provided with the opportunity.>

Flying With Ease - A Corkscrew- looking Worm (Could've been a Beatles song title!) Hi, fantastic resource here, I cant tell you how many hours I have spent reading here (answered all my own questions till this one). <Let's see> At any rate, a few days ago a white worm went corkscrewing thru the water column. I only got to see it briefly before it disappeared into the LR. <Neat> I would have to guess it was at least an inch long and flat coiled like a rotini pasta. It was white and maybe 1/8 to ¼ wide. It was spinning like mad as it went by. That was it, have not seen it again since and have no clue where it went (well I know it is still in the tank anyway). Thanks again for the great resource! <Thank you for writing... what you so keenly describe, observed is actually quite common in the ocean... I wish there was some simple (well, so simple I could do it!) way of showing you the effect of dragging underwater video lighting underwater at night on a reef... many, sometimes MANY worms et al. are attracted (nee the moon) to these light sources... there are lots of critters that move about, reproduce by cover of night... and sometimes day... there is little doubt (in my mind natch) that this is what you observed... could be one of many groups of worms... not harmful. Bob Fenner> 

"Worm Reef!" - Watch for the New Show on TV (sung to the tune of Hawai'i Five-0)! I have a reef tank that is crawling with worms. Everywhere you look there are worms coming out of sand and cracks of live rock. They are mostly pinkish with grey in between. What kind are these? Do they hurt me?  <I'm guessing they are bristle/fire worms. They have been known to feed on small clams so it wouldn't surprise me if they ate the scallop. Contact with some species can cause a burning sensation so pick them out with tweezers or needlenose pliers.>  Also I feel as if they killed my flame scallop a day ago and through out the time I've had it set up snails too. What's the best trap I can make at home? Also I'm moving everything from this tank to another in a week, if I take time to pick some out of the rocks, how long can I have the rock out of water and can I just throw them in the garbage?  <I'd flush them.>  <As long as the rock is damp, you could leave it out of water long enough to pick some worms out. They generally will come out of the rock when it is out of water so picking may be easier for you. The smaller ones aren't much trouble, they do help keep the gravel bed clean of detritus, it's the larger ones that can be trouble. James (Salty Dog)> Thanks much.  <You're welcome>

Found a Peanut, Found a Peanut Just Now! A Peanut Worm - Not a Bristle Worm 3/7/05 Dear WWM Crew, I just received a big chunk of live rock that is filled with life. But one thing living in the rock I just can't ID. It seems to only come out at night to feed, and only comes out part, way the times I have seen it. I don't have a pic of this so I'll do my best to describe it. It is a fleshy pink tone, between an 8th and a 16th of an inch wide and seems to stretch out with a circular open mouth and then seems to pluck something off of the near by rock, eating what I don't know. Then it will shrink back down into its hole leaving just its little pink head waving around until it strikes out again. Any info would be great; hopefully it's not some kind of leach, that would suck! (pun intended)  Thanks, Steven V.  <Sounds like a peanut worm. They are common and beneficial. Nice find! Best Regards. AdamC.>

- Mystery Critter ID -  Howdy to all! <Howdy.> I have a question about "spaghetti worms" and mystery substance in tank. Specs: 90 Gallon Reef 2" Crushed Coral on bottom  Stupid Trickle Filter <Have not heard of the "Stupid" brand T/F> 100 lbs LR Oceanic Skimmer Ammonia=0 Nitrite =0 Nitrate=120 !!! Alk=4.0 Calcium= 375-400 81 degrees Salinity=1.024 pH=8.25 Nitrates are terrible, I know. Water changes help for 1-2 days only...  <More circulation inside the tank would help... move some of that water in and among that live rock. That and think about upgrading that trickle filter.> What I have noticed for a long time is this weird white translucent "film/substance" on most of the rocks now. The weird thing is there are many appendages/tentacles protruding from the substance. 6 months ago I noticed it on 1-2 rocks. Now it's everywhere. Wish I had a pic for ya. It looks kind of like a thick spider web or fuzz? But each spot it exists there are 5-10-20 tentacles coming out of it. The "tentacles" blow around with the current and are only .25 inch long and appear hollow. Will try to send a pic later if you need, but not sure how well it will show up.  <Send along a picture... I'm just not sure what these are.> Also, I have these little tubes I have nicknamed "the fisherman". At feeding time, they cast out their line and reel it in when its full. Are these spaghetti worms do you think?  <They are worms, but not spaghetti worms, but your description of "fishermen" is very accurate of their behavior. I'm forgetting their exact name at this moment but they are beneficial, nothing to worry about.>  They are probably .25-.50 inch long tubes. I probably have 100-200 of them or more. I assume they are harmless filter feeders?  <Actually particulate feeders... use their nets to catch and reel back in.> Thanks in advance, Mike T. Detroit, MI BTW, Anthony's book finally showed up yesterday, at least 3 week delivery from Amazon :( Exciting reading!! <Cheers, J -- >

Spaghetti worms Hello. I have what I believe to be spaghetti worms in my mini reef tank (29gals). They fit the characteristics that I have read about with the exception of color. They are green in color, are they still the same worms and beneficial or do I need to panic here? I seem to have quite a few on 3-4 pieces of live rock. Thanks again for being there to answer my question.  <Caryn, these worms live in a tube made of organic material with sand cemented on the outside and they normally live in the substrate or under rocks. You say they are on the rocks, so I'm not sure. Did you do a search on the Wet Web Media for more info? James (Salty Dog)> 

- Worm ID - Greetings, I have acquired a few new additions to my freshly started Salt tank. These are from The Keys in Fl. The brownish worm is approximately 3 inches in length, looks like he's a detritus eater the way he touches everything with his feelers/tentacles. Am I correct, and is he a reef safe guy?  <You are correct, it is a worm and appears to be a type of Medusa worm... feeds on small particles both in the water column and in the sand. Will likely not fare well in a new tank - would need a mature tank [1 year old or more] to thrive. Cheers, J -- > 

Worms: a nematode? Hi Crew!! <Claudine> You wonderful people have answered one of my questions re: general tank set-up before, and were very helpful - thanks! Now I have a more specific question for you. <Okay> I have a 13 gallon tank with goldfish, currently using around 5-8g salt per gallon, some Vallisneria (sp?)<This is it>, and some snails. I do a thorough water change (~50%) once a week via a gravel vacuum, and try to do a small change (~10-20%) in the middle of the week. I feed my goldfish a mixture of fish flakes and frozen peas. They're superbly healthy and doing well. <Sounds good> However, 2 weeks ago, during a water change, I found a worm (1 inch long), round diameter, with a sucky mouth (like a leech), kind of brown in colour. Not knowing what it was (it was on a plant leaf), I killed it and got rid of it - didn't want to take changes with my fish! However, last two gravel vacuums I have done, I noticed that there are some very minute, white worms (maybe 5 - 7mm long, very very skinny - they look like hairs) coming out of the gravel, up my vacuum. I can't actually see them in the tank when it is cycling, only when I vacuum. They seem to be around one particular plant's roots. I haven't actually seen anymore of those big fat worms I described, and I'm not sure if the two are related. Should I be concerned, and is there any treatment necessary? <Interesting... the first animal, with the sucker was actually, very likely a leech... and these latter ones... more likely segmented, though they could be round worms... having a microscope, doing a coronal section near the head, one might see a tri-radiate esophagus... definitive for the phylum...> Also, I have a black and gold goldfish, 6 months old, that is now fading to pure gold. I take it this is normal, and there isn't anything actually causing his black to fade, other than maturation/amount of light/ food he is being fed, anything like that? <Sometimes do fade... normal... sometimes can be reversed, slowed with the addition of foods rich in HUFAs, "carotenoids"... like shrimp pellets...> In advance, sincere thanks. You guys do a great job, and I love the joy my tank brings me. Tis a beautiful thing to have happy, healthy, live things in one's home! Claudine <I would not be concerned re: the worms... nor the color change... your protocol is perfect... though the system could be larger... Bob Fenner>

- Uninvited Guests - Hi guys, the benefit of your collective wisdom is requested. I have a 180 FOWLR populated with a queen angel, Naso tang, harlequin bass and a couple of damsels. Some months ago, I added some live rock from the Florida Keys. Lately, I have been noticing "worms" on the glass, rock, and when disturbed, free swimming - total probably around 2 dozen. They are white, about one-quarter inch, about the thickness of pencil lead. They have an arrow-like head, a tapered tail; when swimming, they do so with an undulating motion and contract slightly; they are attracted to light. <Interesting.>  They ignore the fish, and the fish ignore them. They have been around for about a month, sometimes more obvious than others, and don't seem to turn into anything; Should I worry about these guys, and if so, how might I best eradicate them?  <You might try hyposalinity... dropping the specific gravity down to about 1.015 for a week or so. The fish will tolerate this but you must get to this very slowly, and likewise return to your normal SPG just as slowly; over a couple of weeks. But honestly, these worms don't sound harmful... would keep an eye on things, perhaps look for a six line wrasse or similar that might enjoy these as snacks.>  In the same vein, I have a 20gal reef tank with hard and soft Caribbean corals and assorted inverts and fish. I initially set it up with an undergravel over coral aggregate about 2" deep; it has been running about 3 years, water parameters are good and the corals show steady growth; however, the substrate is growing increasingly full of bristleworms, from one-quarter to about one inch, and at feedings, there appear to be about five per square inch. I don't see any impact, but is there anything that finds them tasty? <Any of the smaller wrasses and/or perhaps a horse-shoe crab would eat them.> Thanks, Steve. <Cheers, J -- >

Very long worm identification I have had my 20g reef setup for about 6 months now with the help of your FAQ's, and just tonight, I have noticed a very interesting worm moving slowly across the glass of my tank about 3 hours after the lights have gone out. The worm is solid white, about 1 mm in width, and about 24 inches in length. The only defining shape is his head which is just a small bluish/violet band about 2 mm back from the his tip. <Neat!> I have never seen him before, and was surprised to see this big spaghetti looking thing crawling around on the glass. He later slid under the sand, but slithered just below the surface as he made his way to the back of the tank leaving a definite trail like a groundhog. I have about 20lbs of live rock from the LPS, and I'm always seeing new stuff like this. I'm more interested in the hitchhikers than my fish it seems. Thanks in advance for any help.  -Alex <Don't know... even the phylum of this worm... likely a polychaete of some sort... but would take removing it, microscopic examination to tell just this. Very unlikely it is harmful. Bob Fenner>

Re: Nano-reef, Thin White worm Bob, <Anthony> Thanks for the speedy reply! It put me somewhat at ease to think that these worms might cycle out as they appeared to be increasing in population rather quickly as of the time of my original note to WWM. <Very typical... to find the shifting of populations, densities of organisms in aquariums with live rock> Well, its been a couple weeks or so since my original letter to you guys and I happy to say nothing is dead, and the worms are indeed cycling out. There are a few here and there, but they are small, and again don't seem to be a problem. If I've learned anything, "PATIENCE" is the key to success in this hobby! <Ahh, perhaps in life itself... "When, where in doubt, wait"> Quick fixes are usually expensive and in the long run and can be devastating as well. The "I gotta do something NOW" syndrome should consist of taping your hands behind your back for a while. I believe most folks will know when something is really bad. <Bingo> I will continue my research as no one I have spoken or written to has been able to identify them, including the capture and trip with one to my LFS.  Keep up the good work! Thanks for always being a lending ear!  Anthony Palladino <A pleasure to share. Bob Fenner>

Identify a worm Hi. I am wondering if you can point me in the right direction.. I would like to identify a species I have recently found in my 55 gal saltwater aquarium. My son and I found a worm or what looks like a worm -- it is tubular, and moves like a worm but while watching it, one end opened up and a small like feather duster tentacles came out and then back in. The worm is a light black in color with rings of cream around him about 4-5 rings. Can you help me find a site to identify this creature. Thank you.  Mari Kalenberg <Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/wormidfaqs.htm   and the linked files (in blue, above). Bob Fenner>  

Tube worm on turbo shell? Sorry for blowing out your inbox, didn't realize my pics were that huge. <Accepted> Just recently, I've notice a thin white crusts on my turbo's shell. As I further investigate I notice red feather like hairs coming out of it... at first I just thought it was some kind of dead animal that was living on its back long ago but then I notice the hair constantly disappearing and reappearing (assuming it does this when it catches food). I also notice 2 hair or tentacle looking feelers coming out of the tip of the same turbo shell in the 4th picture. It too would go in and out from time to time. Could you please identify any it and tell me if its harmful in anyway? <Not harmful... and you may have heard how vivacious shallow water tropical reef environments are... all sorts of life competing for room, other resources... most snail shells have a community of organisms growing on them... coralline algae, likely some sort/s of polychaete worms and a polypoid animal in your case> Picture 4 is the one with the tentacle looking thing. P.S. Let me know if my email size is good or not. I got some questions on algae that I would like to ask but afraid I might be taking up to much space. <These are fine... a few hundred kilobytes per is about right. Tiffs, bitmaps, jpegs... Bob Fenner

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